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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

LXXIII. Who Do You Say I AM? Part 2

If you have come to this point you are now willing to accept Jesus was real or you still are open to the idea He might be.  Many Christians still have a hard time understanding these because they do not believe that Jesus did the things that the Bible says He did.  Without these things happening, Jesus would be no different than Buddha, Vishnu, Confucius, Mohammad, Joseph Smith, and others who had what they considered ways to enlightenment or spiritual greatness.  If these things did not happen historically then Jesus is no better than Harry Potter, Gandolf, Merlin, and others who fairy tale like performed magic.  Rest assured Jesus did these things.  Below is a list of things Jesus did.

Miracles by Jesus. These are real. Not one is symbolic, yet they all have a lesson with them.
  1. healings of sickness, infirmities, and deformities
  2. resurrections
  3. demonic deliverance
  4. transfiguration
  5. prophecies
  6. defying natural laws (water to wine, walking on water, feeding of multitudes, calming storms)

Lessons (short version).  These (and more) are real life lessons and have obvious meanings.  He really said them.
  1. born again
  2. the sabbath
  3. divorce
  4. sexual relations
  5. personal relations
  6. attitudes
  7. money
Parables (short version).  These (and more) are life lessons but have a deeper meaning.  He really said them.
  1. talents
  2. wedding banquet
  3. treasure
  4. lost sheep
  5. lost coin
  6. rich man and Lazarus
  7. good Samaritan
  8. prodigal son
  9. mustard seed
Things He did as God. These things made Him man and God simultaneously.
  1. forgave sins
  2. gave up His own spirit
  3. took sins upon Himself
  4. Resurrected
  5. freed those in captivity
In essence, the Bible states things are real, things can be used as lessons, and that Jesus was fully God and fully man. If there is any doubt about any of these things then calling yourself a Christian needs to be redefined and you need to reevaluate your relationship with God.  But these are just the tip of the iceberg.  Jesus did so much more than what we have in writing.  Main is point is He was a real man, doing real things, but doing them with the authority of God.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

LXXII. Who Do You Say I AM? Part 1

This is a question we all will have to answer one day. Whether we want to admit it or not we already have asked ourselves this question because we all have an answer. But is it the right answer? Matthew 16:13-17
  • 13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
  • 14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; some Elijah; others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
  • 15 He asked them, "But who do you say that I am?"
  • 16 And Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
  • 17 And Jesus responded, "Simon, son of Jonah, blessed are you, for flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but My Father which is in heaven."
What are some of the answer we would get in today's time? Most Christians would repeat what Peter said and think they know it all. Many on the fence would say He was a great teacher with a lot of wisdom. Those on the other side of the fence would say He was just a man. Even yet, others would say He was not even real.

Was He real? Scholars will note that the only major writings we have of Him are from accounts dating after His death. No one in the history of mankind has changed shaped the human race, not even Rome itself. Never has there been so many writings to prove anyone else' existence or non-existence in this case in all history. But why not contemporaries?  They did not write about Him.  But the same could be said of other figures like Muhammad, Buddha, and many others in history.  It does not make them unreal. 

First of all, how many people could write in 30 AD to begin with?   None of His disciples were schooled men, except for maybe Levi (Matthew), and he did write a book.   Others like Peter had friends to do some of the writing like Silas and Mark who only learned of Jesus after His death.  The only ones who would have had the schooling in that area would have been Jewish Torah students. They would not have included something that they felt was blasphemous. Such as Saul.  But when Saul converted to following Christ then even He started to write things down at a later date.  Luke, a doctor, historian and friend of Paul investigated all circumstances.  Roman scholars would not written of such events because it was only a three year period of which they considered no threat to their authority. And if it was a threat to their authority do we think Rome would have included it? But later once Christianity became a force inside Rome writers started to investigate. But of course, they have been disregarded or "debunked" by anti-theists.  And yet, when Homer writes about history (one account) it is accepted as fact by the same people.  So, He was real.  Most historians (subjectively) would agree.

Then who was He?  Born sometime around 4 BC in the land of the Roman province of Judea to a woman named Mary and a man named Joseph, who was a carpenter by trade.  By tradition, Joseph would have trained him to be a carpenter as well.  As He grew He claimed to be more than just the son of the carpenter.  He claimed to be the Son of God.  He claimed to be God.  He taught in the streets of Judea.  He performed miracles.  He forgave sins.  He was tried by Judeans as blasphemous.  He was executed by Rome.  He was raised again by His Father.  He became the sacrificial lamb that took away our sins.  He now sits on His kingly throne, Ruler of the universe.

One day you will be asked, who do you say I AM?  The answer is what Peter said.  One day, At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Some will do it voluntarily because they know who Jesus is, others will be forced to do it because they have denied the truth

Sunday, December 4, 2011

LXXI. The Gifts that Never Keep on Giving

Out of all the commercials for Christmas this year the worst by far are the Best Buy commericals; the ones where individuals are competing against Santa Claus.   They are even worse than Walmart and the over playing of AC/DC's Back in Black (imagine why they chose that song...cha-ching) every commercial break.  Best Buy is not the place where Christmas gifts should be purchased from.  There are no items in that store that promote anything but materialistic relationships that never amount to anything.

When people give gifts it is usually because they want to show someone how much they care.  Most gifts are of course given around Christmas and birthdays.  But when are real gifts given?  Anytime.  It's not when you give the gift it is why you give the gift.  Gifts should be from the heart not the pocket book.  Especially this time of the year when we do focus on what people mean to us.

Buying iPads, iPods, iPhones, cameras, Playstations, Xbox, certain jewelry, and even to the point of some clothes are some items that seriously are a waste of money during the Christmas Season.  Nothing says "I love you" like a iPhone, right?.  "Merry Christmas sweetie, here is an iPad because when I saw it, I immediately thought of you".   These kind of gifts are for people who feel like they have to buy relationships or they feel like they didn't accomplish anything.  No, gifts should be more sentimental.  Pictures of landscapes that remind you of a certain place or time , certain CDs that have that special song on it, other certain jewelry that will remind you of your relationship, these are gifts that we need to be giving.

Sure, this is also a time of celebration.  And certain gifts can show that feeling.  It is also a time when you can give things that people need.  But the reason why you are doing it is because you are sacrificing your own materialism for someone else's needs.  And that is a true gift as well.  We all have done it and will always do it.  Giving material gifts are okay to do, of course.  But too many times all we do is focus on that one big gift, the one that everyone will say, "Wow!", and that usually is something electronic.  But if you look back on your life you will notice that the best gifts you have ever gotten were the small items that no one paid attention to.

This is sort of like the gift God gave us.  God did not shout to the world, "here is something you all want".  But it was something we all needed.  And it was something that was from His heart.  His gift was given in the quiet little village of Bethlehem.  No banners.  No gimmicks.  No sales.  No competition.  But this gift, unlike what Best Buy can do, is the gift that will keep on giving.  Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

LXX. Proverbs for the 21st Century

Sent by a former student and close friend.  A little bit of the lighter side:
  1. A day without sunshine is like.... night. 
  2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
  3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
  4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
  5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
  6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
  7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
  8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.
  9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture most people have.
  10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
  12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
  13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.
  14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?
  15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
  16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
  17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?
  18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
  19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?
  20. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?
  21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, 'What the heck happened?'
  22. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.
  23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.
Thanks to Amber.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

LXIX. From Penn State to the State Pen

Yes.  Joe Paterno was a great coach.  He may be a great man.  He may be a humanitarian, an animal rights advocate, a priest, a boy scout, _________(insert any term of endearment).  But, none of these excuse what has happened under his watch.  Even if he did not know anything about it, he picked his coaches.  He knew the people that he chose and what they were like.  It goes under his reputation and his staff and team are reflections of who he is.  Paterno got fired.  Sandusky is being indicted.  McQueary is on administrative leave.  But this isn't the worst part of the story.  The worst part of this whole story is the way Penn State's fans are.  Shame on them.  Why?  Because they are more worried about their football team and Joe Paterno than what had happened to these young people.  Where is the outrage against what these children have gone through?  Both teams gathered together on the field and knelt.  People wore blue in the stands as a symbol of anti-child molestation.  But after the way these fans are you can't seem to think that perhaps the prayer on the field was for Joe and the blue was for Penn State.

But this is the way our generation is today.  It shows how our moral system has changed.  We will support people like this and forget the victim.  Forgiving them is one thing, but supporting the wrong person and letting things continue the way they are is another.  Bottom line is Paterno needed to resign.  At Ohio State Jim Tressel was let go and all he did was know about how his players were selling their own items.  Which is worse?

Friday, November 4, 2011

LXVIII. To Be or Not To Be

Here are the results from last month's poll:  What are your feelings about euthanasia?  Totals were added from two different sites.  Comments to follow soon.
  • It should only be used on animals (34.6%)
  • It should never be used (23.1%)
  • It is a humane way of letting someone go  (15.4%)
  • Should be done if there is no chance of survival  (5.8%)
  • Other (21.2%)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

LXVII. Technocracy

No, not technology.  You read it right.  Technocracy.  We live in a world that is driven by technology therfore making it a technocracy.  But what has this kind of life gotten us?  Locked into a world that is dependent on machines and cyber space.  How pathetic!  We are one generation away from the reality of the movie WALL-E.  Look at the last 5 years of what we have created for ourselves.
  • Myspace
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Ipods
  • Ipads
  • Iphones
  • Wii
  • Playstations
  • Netflix streaming
There is a commercial that is airing right now that is about a computer.  The ad goes on to talk about how great the speakers are.  They have surround sound good for movies, streaming, and gaming.  Now, what it does for Excel or presentations for work, no one apparently knows or cares.  When did play become more important than work?  Actually, that is the wrong question.  Play has always been equally important to the human race in terms of keeping sane.  But when did play become what we do?  When did work become something we don't want to do?  Too much play and we have become insane. 

When we shop for new computers, phones, or any other electrical gadget, we don't look at the hard drives and see how much memory these things have in order for us to get things accomplished.  We look at the hard drives to see how much games and applications that "connect" us to the world can be done on it.  People spend hours on that asenine (yes, asenine) facebook.  They spend more time with that than spening real time with real people.  People exercise today while sitting in front of a TV hitting a "tennis raquet" in the air.  Instead of talking to someone face to face with a problem, we text them.  People are losing relationships via text messages.   They break up and post it everywhere.  Aren't some things supposed to be private and kept between two people?  Instead of opening up a quiet book and relaxing we're pulling out the Ipad due to convenience.  Everything is for entertainment and nothing is for progress.

Why does any of this matter?  Who cares that we have become this way?  Because we are the human race.  We were created to be with each other.  We were created to connect with each other, not "connect" with each other.  We were made to be there for each other and walk with each other and talk with each other.  We were created to desire for relationship because in the end that is what we are supposed to have with God.  If we can't take the time out to spend real quality time with those we are supposed to beloving then how are we going to find the one perfect love from above?

There's an app for that seems to be the most over used phrase going on in today's world.  Can any of this be actually good or used for the good of everyone?  Sure.  A little play is good and healthy.  But we live in a totally different world.  A selfish little world.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

LXVI. The Addict

Why do people allow substances, feelings, actions, thoughts, or desires to overtake them?  What causes people to turn to lifestyles they would not have normally turned to given any other circumstances?

Here is an interesting article, http://www.hbo.com/addiction/understanding_addiction/index.html?current=0.  Perhaps the answers can only be answered by those who have had addictions.  But here are the results from last month's poll:  Which of the following causes more people to have addictions than the rest?
  • 37% said Emotional instability.
  • 37% said Spiritual weakness
  • 25% said Bad decisions.
  • 0% said Physical illness, a disease.
  • 0% said Genetics
  • 0% said Bad childhood.
  • 0% said Other.
First if all what needs to be remembered as you read is that addictions are not just about drugs.  There are plenty of forms of addictions.  There are drugs, alcohol, work, sex, money, power, crime,  and others.  All of the above cause pain in our lives, even the ones that no one voted for.  The problem is not in the circumstances that shape our lives of pain.  The problem is in the reaction to that pain.  Some choose to seek new relationships.  Some seek a higher power.  Some seek medicinal treatments.  Some seek physical pleasures or mutilation.  These actions can cause addictions and could put many people on a path to destruction.  We all have some sort of circumstance in our lives that could or have formed into some sort of addiction, so we all can have opinions on this topic.

Those who have emotion instability are usually ones that have had some sort of relational problem in their life.  They have been hurt by someone in their life.  Betrayal, abuse, and neglect (traumas) are usually not absent in cases like these.  This one could be added to the choice of bad childhood and perhaps that is why no one chose the answer.  They move on from relation to relation.  They can't seem to find that someone who will take them away from all of the pain they have suffered in their own mind.  When that person can't take the pain away they move to another person.    This relation does not necessarily mean one that involves sexual action.  This could be friends.  They can't seem to keep the same friends over time.  It could be parents.  Children start to look for other father or mother figures to have someone in their life.  If they can not find the "perfect" relationship they look for a way to cope with that relationship by finding an outlet.  That outlet becomes the addiction.

Oddly enough, no one said that genetics are a leading cause of addiction.  But as stated in the article posted here 60% of alcoholics have had alcoholism in their family history.  But maybe we recognize that even though our family has had problems it doesn't mean that we will.  And it definitely doesn't mean that we have to follow those footsteps.  But you can see this as being true.  If babies can be born addicted to crack they can be born addicted to other things as well, or at least predisposed. 

No one said physical illness or bad childhood either. Physical illness can cause addiction by either someone trying to relieve the pain they have in their live. They over use the prescriptions such as many celebrities do. Or they are being so stressed out by some situation they feel like they have nothing else to lose. Probably the reason why no one said bad childhood is because it would be a redundant statement. Starting down a road that has plenty of bad decisions probably can not be pinpointed where it all started such as in your childhood. Besides one has to start making your own decisions and not blame the past for all the mistakes made.

The article has another page that talks about myths of addictions.  Two of the myths are myths, in a way, that is.  Science treats addiction as a disease.  It's not a disease, but a sickness.  But a sickness of what?  The mind.  The substance or action plays on the mind of the individual and the individual can not break free from this thought and thereby causing the person to make irrational decisions, changing the individual into someone they are not.  The doctors try and treat the disease by using other forms of medicine.  This is the myth that is a myth.  The article said that many (when appropriate) are given medicine to curb their instincts, their brain functions back to normality.  But then that means they will have to rely on the new medicine to stay functioning.  That is better than the alternative but it doesn't cure the problem.  The other myth-myth is that addicts are not addicted to all drugs.  That is true for the most but there is an underlying factor here that is not mentioned.  During an AA meeting at a rehabilitation center, after the prayer of serenity was said and all formalities out of the way, one patient said that he was glad he didn't escalate into other drugs and that he didn't start to substitute one drug for another.  Meanwhile the room was getting foggier and foggier because everyone in the room had an average of about nine cigarettes in the hour meeting that was observed.  Nicotine is a drug too.  The man was substituting one for another but didn't realize it.  That could be an example of how addictions are treated with other "medicines".  The other myths seem highly accurate.

But the over all problem that causes addictions is the over all worldly problem of having spiritual weakness.

People turn to physical solutions when the real solution lies in the spiritual world.  Places like AA, thank God for AA, even acknowledge that people have to recognize there is a higher power.  But even as great as AA and other rehab centers are, there still needs that openness to not just accepting a higher power but embracing a higher power.  Accepting a higher power is fine, but what is needed is a full surrendering to the higher power, because if you don't then you are still fighting the sickness.  And yes, the higher power is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

LXV. Grace

One great thought was raised at http://ideasoftimbible.blogspot.com/2011/07/49-galatians.html in the comment section.  The thought was "define: saved by grace".  The thought was very provoking and makes one think, what is Grace anyway?  This question was taken to a couple of Christian websites and shared to see what their respected opinions would be on the subject.  Below you will find what a consensus of many of the answers.  Names and/or avatars are not posted for rules of forums do not permit it.
  • The basic definition for grace has always been "unmerited favor." In other words, it is a gift of love and acceptance which has not been earned or deserved.
  • How about, "God doesn't have to love or forgive us because we sure don't deserve it. But He chooses see us as clean again if we're willing to acknowledge that His Son Jesus is the only way of salvation, and Lord of all, and if we're willing to submit to Him in obedience."
  • "Favor bestowed when wrath is owed".
  • Grace is favor extended to someone out of the goodness of the givers heart. In this case God graced us with the opportunity for eternal salvation by providing the sacrifice for our sins in Jesus Christ.
  • Grace is when we receive what we do not deserve and we do not receive what we do deserve.
  • Grace means unmerited favor. You can't earn it for then it wouldn't be grace it would be wage. You can't deserve it for then it would be merit. Grace is God giving you that which you have no right to, no claim on and no reason to expect.
  • Grace is what God freely and kindly adds when I am lacking to make me whole. So this "new, improved and complete" me in actuality is a very tiny bit of me but a lot of Grace through faith.
In all, grace then seems to be something that God gives His creation.  That gift is not earned nor deserved but God chooses still to give it anyway.  But one point that was missed by all of the contributors (assuming they still meant this though).  Even though this gift is for everybody, not everybody will accept it.  But that is just the definition of grace.  More importantly, what would be the result of grace?  The result of grace is to be covered and made innocent by the blood of Christ.  Those who accept this gift remain covered.  But those who do not accept, figuratively speaking, wipe themselves off.

Ephesians 2:4-9 says
  • But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This basically restates what has already been stated but nicely adds something that was missed by the contributors.  Grace saves you, THROUGH faith.  This faith is in Christ Jesus.  This is what is meant by not everybody accepts grace.  Some do not have faith, thereby grace will not give you eternal life.  The gift of God will save you but only with faith.  If you lose your faith, you lose your salvation.  Therefore once saved, always saved is not accurate in the full sense of the concept.  You are saved by God's grace (gift).  But that does not mean all go to heaven.  Even though there are many rooms in His mansion, scripture does not say that all will see that mansion.  The first part of Ephesians 2:1-3 explains why.
  • As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
We all have lived in sin.  We all are disobedient.  If we follow the desires of our flesh then we deserve the wrath of God.  Then the rest of Ephesians says that our faith in grace gets rid of the wrath.  Those who remain following their flesh do not receive eternal life and still receive the wrath of God.

In conclusion the best answer to what is grace is this:  Grace= God's love, mercy, compassion, and gift all rolled into one.  We can either accept the grace or reject it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

LXIV. The State of Morality

When a Christian tries to talk about morality the question always comes up, "what makes your morality system better than others?".  Or at least something close to that.  Usually the answer, by the Christian, given is "we were founded upon Christianity and those are the morals that made this country".  Whether one believes it or not, does not matter.  Whether this is factually correct or not, does not matter.  Although, one would be wrong to not believe those things, but that is a different argument.

The real question should be, "why does having a moral system be important?".

There was a radio broadcast that was asking its viewers why things were getting so bad.  No one had a real answer.  Most answers conflicted with the ones before it.  The reason why is because we have all strayed from a central morality system and have branched off into other directions to the point that no one can see eye to eye anymore.  Even Christians who say that have a morality system do not follow it like they should or churches have watered down the importance of Biblical teaching so much that Christians have become lackadaisical in their lifestyles.

Anyway, the radio topic opens a whole world that needs to be explored.  Why is the culture of America breaking down?  Why is the view that most Americans have on their own country is that we are going in the wrong direction?  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/direction_of_country-902.html  Politicians can't help.  Ideologies can't solve anything.  "Religious" experiences, like Madonna's or Tom Cruise's, aren't for real.  They are placing band-aids on wide open wounds.

The real problem is that we have a morality crisis in this country.  It has been in Europe for decades.  But many will agree with these statements because their morality system is being questioned.

The answer to why have a morality system is easy to give.  It sets standards for people to live by.  If there are no standards, there is no order.  If there is no order, there is chaos.  If there is chaos, there is no purpose in life.  So people understand that morality systems are needed.  One reason why we all argue is that we have our own morality standards.  But these standards are coming from the flawed minds of men.  This cause too many differences thereby causing too many arguments. 

Now, comes back the question everyone turns this into, what makes Christian morality system "better"?  Do not get Christianity and Christians mixed up.  Although they should be the same, they are not.  Christianity was founded up the actions and mind of Christ.  Christians are imperfect and based their lives on actions and minds of men.  Before you read this list below, read the following post  http://ideasoftimreligion.blogspot.com/2008/08/perfection-of-christians.html.  Anyway, Christianity is a morality system that is needed and best because:
  1. It is based in love for God and people.
  2. It supplies wisdom to live a life that is beneficial for the one living the life and for those that life is surrounded by.
  3. It supplies guidelines to keep society moving forward in a positive direction.
  4. It allows for unity.
  5. It calls for peace.
  6. It supplies a pathway to a higher power.
  7. It leads to discipline that helps one deal with problems.
Now some people would say that this could be said about all or at least other religions, even non-religious thinking.  But that is not true.  They may fulfill 6 of these points.  But nothing else can fill all 7.  Some would say that not all 7 are needed.  But that is rationalization for people to keep living their lives the way they want to.  And that leads to no consequences which of course leads to the way society is today.  No morals.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

LXIII. Public or Private?

A big difference between the to political parties today is about choice when it comes to schooling. The GOP argues that parents should have a choice on where to send their kids to school while most DEM say that would cause some schools to be less productive. The GOP would like to give out vouchers to those parents since most of these schools that would take these vouchers are private schools and cost a lot of money. What's the problem with people wanting to send their kids somewhere to get a better education? Nothing. But who says that just because they are private that they would automatically be better? Here are the results of last month's poll:  Is public education good enough?
  • Yes. I send my child or would send my child to public schools. 3 (15%)
  • No. But I still send or would send my child to public schools. 11 (57%)
  • No. I send or would send my child to a private school. 3 (15%)
  • No. I home school or would home school my child. 2 (10%)
Bottom line is you can get an education anywhere. On the streets, in church, by conversation, and in any school setting.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

LXII. Whip it. Whip it good.

How do you teach someone to do the right thing?  The best way is to BE the example not just set and example, which usually only involves the now overused term "teaching moments".  Instead of just telling someone how to do things in the right (moral) way, one should ALWAYS be DOING the right thing to show someone how to do the right thing.  But, alas, no one in perfect so other methods are needed to intervene, and that would include discipline.

Discipline needs to start at an early age.  From the day that you become a parent, or guardian, is the day that you need to live your example.  Too many times parents want to be friends with their children, or they just want their children to like them.  They want to be the cool parent that their child will want to hang out with and will want to tell their own friends about how cool they are.  Of course that is part of the times we live in.  People are more worried about their reputation than they are about character.  Then when the child starts to make their own decisions and they make one the parent really doesn't agree with, and the parent tries to intervene but the child rebels, the parent wonders what happened and why they can't control the child anymore.  Well, here is a secret.  If this is the way they raised their child, they never had control to begin with.  If you have not established that you are the parent by the time they are 10 years old, forget it, you lost this battle.  One of the greatest things you can do with a child is to give them some kind of morality system to live by.  Make friends of your own age.  Be the parent.

Discipline allows a young child to understand that we all have consequences in our lives.  Everything we do has either a positive and/or negative impact on our own lives and on the lives that surround us, either directly or indirectly.  Sometimes things we do cause pain in other's lives.  If we understand what pain is then we will be less likely to inflict it upon others.  This is not to say we automatically cause pain in a child's life to teach them.  But they need to understand that we do not get away with everything pain-free.  Wrong actions deserve punishment.

Proverbs 22:6 says, Train a child in the way he should go,and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Discipline comes in many forms.  Some only need a stern lecture (not many by the way) and they will not doing anything else.  Some need limitations set in their life.  Some need physical intervention.  Some need all three.  Spanking a child is a legitimate way of disciplining a child.
Here are the results of the last poll:  Should parents spank their children?
  • (35%)  Said Yes. It is very effective and there is nothing wrong with it.  However, keep in mind that spanking is not beating a child.  The butt is soft for a reason.  It is meant to absorb a spanking.  The face was not.  The face was meant to absorb affection.  The hand was meant to absorb the pain of helping others.  The feet were meant to absorb the pain of going the extra mile.  But the butt was meant to absorb the pain of being disciplined, not beaten!
  • (30%)  Said yes. But only as a last resort.  Perhaps this is the best answer.  Other methods should be used first.  This allows the child to understand that violence should never be the first step to any situation.  It allows the child to know that you are a person that can reason through a situation.  This is not to be confused with "reasoning with a child" to allow them to get their way.  It also allows the child to understand that some things can be carried out too far.
  • (10%)  Said no. But the threat should be there.  What good is a threat if you are not willing to use it.  Wishy-washy.  This sends the wrong signal.
  • (15%)  Said no. It may send too many mixed signals about violence.  Only if you hit on areas besides the butt.  Only if you do it out of anger.  Only if you do it excessively.  Only if you do it in a way that isn't needed.
  • (10%)  Said no. It is abusive.  Then you get what you deserve.  If your child disobeys you and you can't do a thing about it, tough luck.  If they are perfect in this way, be thankful.
  • (0%)  Said other.  Again, what does this mean?

Monday, March 14, 2011

PRAYERS TO JAPAN

No posts...

Just thoughts and prayers to our allies, friends, and brothers!

Friday, February 25, 2011

LXI. Behind the Eyes

Challenge
Find someone you know that will be willing to do the following:  Stare into their eyes without saying a word for two minutes.  Try not to let any thought go through your mind, at least anything judgemental.  It's okay to blink but every time you are done blinking remain focused on the person you are staring at.  Then stop for a little bit and this time stare at them for two minutes and think of the person they are.  Think of what they like to do.  Think of what makes them who they are.  Do not focus on their attractiveness or any bodily features. Then stop for a while.  This time stare at them and only have thoughts about things you want to tell them.  Think of things that you want to share with them about your feelings, desires, and dreams.

Here is the problem.  You won't be able to get through the first two minutes and that is a shame.  Why?  Your mind will start to wonder because two minutes will become a very long time just to stare at someone.  Or you may start to laugh because you think the exercise is silly.  Or you just can't do it because it makes you nervous.  You will never get to the second set of minutes.  You will never get to ask yourself if you know the person in front of you.  Or if you actually get to this point you will come to find out you don't know that much about them anyway.  Why?  Because we are too self-involved.  We only care about what we see and feel, not what other's see and feel.

The point is we don't know how to look into each other's eyes and understand who the person is we are looking at.  We don't know how to take the time to get to know them because we are too focused on ourselves.  We have become so cold in the way we treat each other it's all we know how to do.  All the texting, twittering, and facebooking we do waters down our relationships.  We take short cuts to say I love you.  We post private things thinking public expression will solve or enhance these issues.  We hide behind the ICON or avatar thinking there are no consequences by what we say if we don't say them directly to a real person.  We have lost the art of empathy.  And then when we try and have a relationship with something or someone we are not ready for the reality of life.  When someone is hurting we don't see the scars life has given them because we can't look at them.

Plumb, Cut:
  • I'm not a stranger.  No, I am yours.
  • With crippled anger and tears that still drip sore
  • I may seem crazy or painfully shy and these scars wouldn't be so hidden if you would just look me in the eye
Too many of those around us who are close to us are hurting and we are too busy being electronically gratified to notice.  Take the time to look behind the eyes.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

LX. Ozzy Chewed Off Bat Heads

Ozzy Osbourne used to bite off the heads of doves or bats. KISS wore make up. Bill Clinton said he was black and played the sax on the Arsenio Hall show.  McDonald's has Monopoly.  Geico has that stupid little gecko and thise even more inanely Twilight Zonish excerpts on saving money in only 15 minutes.  And then you have those free credit reports that make you pay a fee to actually get the free report.  Or electronic stores saying that they are having a 25% off sale only to come find out that they had raised the prices 26% before the sale event happened.  What is it about gimmicks, limericks, dumb hicks, and risky shticks?  Well, they work!  But how long does the effect last?  Eventually the person falling for these things has to find out one day if the product that suckered them in was worth anything or if it was just all hype.  Sure word of mouth is good for business and it brings people in but if your product is lousy you can have all the Hollywood endorsements you can get, all the catchy jingles you can think of, and all the funniest commercials one can come up with and it will still be lousy, like anything David Hasslehoff sings or acts in.  On the other hand, does McDonald's really need monopoly to get people to eat there?  Uh, no, as long as their fries are cooked correctly and not limp then they will always be at the top.  So if what you are selling is good and/or even perfect then why do you need a gimmick?  So if that is the case then why do churches feel the need to do things like businesses?

That brings us to the poll from last month:  Should Churches use gimmicks to bring people into the doors?
  • 50% said No. There are more important things for the church to be doing.
  • 22% said It doesn't matter if they do or not.
  • 13% said Yes. But only to get people to hear the word of God.
  • 9% said No. It is very un-Biblical.
  • 4% said Yes. It is a good technique.
  • 0% said Other.
If you add these together, 59% said something is wrong with this type of activity.  22% said it didn't matter, and  only 17% said it was okay to do and more than half of those said only to get people in the doors.

First of all what kind of gimmicks would churches use?
  1. "Come on in and get a free sin".  Well, probably not, although that is what the Catholic Church did for a long time with the idea of indulgences.
  2. "Come on in and play pin the tail on the devil.  Have some fun while you put the blame on where it belongs".  Sounds good but what does it prove?
  3. "Come on in or we will come to you".  Enough said?
But there are some real ones and some quite serious ones that are being used in the Church today.  It used to be free concerts and/or festivals.  But now it is free donuts and coffee.  Charity funds with membership.  Win a car (seriously!).  Silent auctions.  Passion plays.  Some churches have even gone the casino route if you will, making bets but calling them challenges instead so as not to confuse or offend those who think betting is a sin.

Where is the line that is drawn? There isn't anything dramatically wrong with a friendly bet but when you use to it promote your church or to raise funds in a non-steward way, wouldn't it become wrong? Just because the money may be used to help certain groups of people, it should not be the focus. If we really wanted to help people then why doesn't the church staffs take pay freezes, or have messages from the pulpit be more about giving from the heart!  Is there something fundamentally wrong here or is this making it into something larger than it is?  The problem is the 17% who believe nothing is really wrong with this type of activity is the leadership.  A great person once said, the church is only as strong as its leaders.  If the leaders think that the Word of God has to be watered down to gimmicks then it is no wonder why atheism is growing faster than Christianity.

Now, it really isn't anti-scriptural as 9% said.  There is nothing in the Bible that says we can't do these things.  Paul even states that he didn't care how the message was brought to the people as long as they heard it.  But, he probably didn't mean that we should offer free coffee and donuts as a substantial gospel message segway.  Wow, donuts and salvation.  How could you lose?

Why not have something called "split the pot"? You go to church buy a ticket for $5 and get a chance to get half the tithes and offerings.  That would really bring people into church. A chance to win money and be saved! Even better than donuts.

All Jesus told us to do was basically lift Him up.  So maybe gimmicks aren't all that bad.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

LIX. The Antitheory of Evolution

A thesis is a statement that needs to be proven.  An antithesis is a word or phrase that shows a negative connection between two things, to err is human.  A theory is an explanation that has been tested and has shown a connection between facts and guesses.  If these are all true then that means evolution is an antitheory; an explanation that needs to be proven but contradicts its guesses and facts, or the lack of facts to be more exact.  Now this (antitheory) of course  is not a real word (anti theory of something though is real) but nevertheless is a real concept.

Here is a little math lesson for you to help explain the whole concept.
  • 1+1=2  and   2+1=3  and   3+1=4  and   4+1=5  and  5+1=6
And so on.  One should get the picture.   There is a progression, a natural progression, to get from one number to the next by adding the same element.  You can not get from 1 to 6 in progression by going straight from 1 to 6.  There are steps in between.  Evolutionists find 1 and they find 6 very easily.  They may even find 2, 3, 4, and 5 as well with research and artifacts.  But they forget there may be infinite rational numbers in between 1 and 2, such as 1.1, 1.2, 1.3678, and 1.976544324565.  All fall in between the two whole numbers of 1 and 2.  Evolutionists find the whole numbers only and say that the theory of evolution is the only reliable collection of facts there are.

In other words, they have been searching for the "missing link" or should we say "links" since the study began.  They think they have found all they need because they have 1-6.

Here is the problem in reality:  they may have found different species that look like they were once related, but they didn't.  They have only found the "whole numbers".  For evolution to work and become a law of nature each stage of evolution has to be found.  Each and every minute mutation has to be found.  And they are not.  There are only bits and pieces of one species and bits and pieces of another completely different species and then they try and connect them.

If evolution was real here is what it means.  Two species have an offspring.  The offspring either picks up a recessive gene or for some unknown reason has a brand new gene, a mutation, that no other specie has had before.  Now this offspring will find a mate and have an offspring of its own.  Somehow this recessive/mutated gene gets passed on to where it eventually becomes the dominant gene or the mutation becomes the norm, not only in its own family line but apparently other family lines.  This single mutation, which is now a common characteristic, makes a new species and the process starts all over.

Over after millions of years and mutations do we finally get modern man.  We have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.  But where is the 3.2?  Evolutionists have only found the "complete" stages of the process.  They have not found all the intermediate stages to fill the gaps.  Oh, some will say they have by claiming they have transitional fossils with the truth etched in them.  Or they will state that they have found groups of species with the same mutation to prove that communities of these species flourished and not just a fluke, thereby proving the evolution process.  They will usually tend to leave out that there are still way too many gaps. Donald Prothero, professor of Geology at Occidental College, said that the total number of species of all kinds known through the fossil record was less than 5% of the number of known living species.  95% is of unknown origin.  (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/12/donald_protheros_imaginary_evi029041.html)  And by the theory of Darwinism, as defined by http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/darwinism.html, Multiply by "budding" into  new species.  Budding of course meaning one species splitting into a new species by retaining as many characteristics as the original species while developing something different to make a new species (1, 1.1, 1.2...).  However, is there evidence that shows how an amoeba became a man with every step of mutation/evolution accounted for by budding?  No.  Why?  Because it isn't the answer.   
Multiplication of species. This theory explains the origin of the enormous organic diversity. It postulates that species multiply, either by splitting into daughter species or by "budding", that is, by the establishment of geographically isloated founder populations that evolve into new species.
Now none of this is saying that two people with blond hair as a dominant gene can not have a baby with dark hair to where eventual dark hair will become dominant.  But they are still people, not another species.

Evolution is a antitheory, an explanation that needs to be proven but contradicts its guesses and facts, or the lack of facts to be more exact.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

LVIII. Stinkin Thinkin

Dr. Phil McGraw, made famous by appearing on Oprah, has a saying he uses when he hears someone not making rational decisions. The decisions people make may allow them to get what they want but in the end it has negative results. He calls it "stinkin thinkin". The following is pretty much a real conversation. It may not be verbatim but the idea is still easy to grasp onto. There is a little bit of stinkin thinkin, but the lesson comes from what you may not hear at first.

Teen: I am going to get my ears gauged.
Adult: Why?
Teen: So I can stand out and tell the world it is wrong to judge me.
Adult: (sarcastically) So you want to do this to get back at the world?
Teen: Yeah, in a way.
Adult: Why do you want to get back at the world?
Teen: I want to send a message to some people. People judge and it's all wrong to do so I want to do this to show they are wrong. I would like to get some tattoos too.
Adult: What did the world do to you that you want to get back at it?
Teen: Well, I just want to show that all people are different and that no one should judge anybody.
Adult: But if you do this on purpose, you force people into judging you. When you walk in for a job interview looking like that (with gauges) you already forced someone into making a judgement.
Teen: But that is what I am trying to show them.
Adult: You realize it is mutilation.
Teen: No it's not. It's just a way of showing who you are.
Adult: So when does piercing become mutilation, instead of decoration? What about piercing the tongue?
Teen: No. If they want to do it, it's okay.
Adult: What about splitting the tongue like a snake, like that one guy?
Teen: That's weird though.
Adult: So would you ever date a girl who split her tongue?
Teen: No I don't want to go that far.
Adult: Isn't that judging?

Stinkin thinkin. He couldn't hear or see that he was splitting hairs and doing the same thing that he didn't want people to do to him. Why would he do that to himself to begin with? Why would a child feel the need to "stand out" the way he wants to?

After hearing this conversation you learn it is not about decoration like just the piercing of an ear that has no feeling. You learn it is not about judging as the teen tries to say it is. You learn it is not about being your own individual. If you really listened to the teen you would hear what the teen is really trying to say. He said it right up front but tried to mask it as something else. It is about getting back at the world. Not the whole world, but his part of it. And the question then rises, what is so strange about his world that makes him want to mutilate himself? One place being pierced may be adornment. Two places may be individuality. But when you get multiple piercings then it deals with your mind set. The same with tattoos. Nothing is wrong with getting something that says who you are. If you get a tiger on your chest, okay. Mother on your arm. A rose on your derriere. Big deal. But when it starts to become an addiction, or when it starts to become an outlet for life, or to "show the world" something, then it is more about a problem in your mind or heart rather than art.

The problem is many people use these things as an outlet for pain in their life. They realize the pain they have inside will not heal with the life they have to live. So they hurt themselves on the outside because they know those will heal. And if they don't then they can always look at the scar and know that at least it's not on the inside. One of these actions leads to another. And many teens start to do other things besides piercing or inking. They turn to cutting. That is stinkin thinkin.

Take a look at the following video. Don't just watch. Listen. http://vodpod.com/watch/1527797-cut-by-plumb

We hear but we do not listen to those who hurt. We see but do not act. We watch but we do not learn. We are afraid to do anything because of the times we live in for fear of judging.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

LVII. No More Heroes

Definition of Hero:  a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his/her brave deeds and noble qualities.

But that definition still leaves a very important thing out of what a hero is.  That just explains what they do.  The Man of Steel, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Captain America, and Spider Man. What do they all have in common? They are known comic heroes in American culture. They all have special powers and/or abilities beyond normal capacity of a human being (flying, speed, suits of armor, climbing walls). They all have gadgets that they have created or that were made specially for them (fortress of fortitude, bat belt, lasso of truth). But these are not what makes them heroes.  All of this just explains the first part of the definition.  The second part is perhaps the more important.

All of the above did (and do) brave deeds.  They have enough courage to stand up to those who are defiant.  Their brave deeds cause stories about them to spread.  Fables, folklore, and legends are born with stories of great deeds.  But sometimes brave deeds are only brought on by the situation.  Not taking away from the bravery but there is even more to the definition of hero that needs expansion.

Noble qualities.  All of the above had something about their character that makes them heroes more than their special abilities, or even their brave deeds.  They all showed character above reputation.  They showed moral standard is more important than instant gratification.  There was something about them that made them put themselves last.  They chose to help others.  They chose to stand up.  They chose to be committed to their cause.  They chose to do what is right!

We don't have any more heroes in this world.  That does not mean that policemen, firemen, or soldiers are not of this nature.  They need to be respected, cheered, and helped in any way.  This is referring to the ordinary person.  The average person doesn't know how to be heroes anymore.  They don't know how because they don't know how to be unselfish.  They don't know about commitment.  We don't know how to do what is right.  Actually, that is not accurate.  We choose not to do what is right.  We choose to do the easy things.  We choose to do the thing that will benefit us the most.

The worst thing about all of this is we live as though there is no consequence.  We live without regard to anyone around us.  We think nothing we do affects anyone around us and that is the complete falsehood or rationalization of our actions.  Everything we do affects others.  If you physically interact with people, that is obvious you have affected them.  If you verbally interact with people, you have affected them.  We know this and we still choose to hurt others with our actions and/or words.  And by the way, words sometimes hurt worse.  Sticks and stones may break my bones but your words cut right through me.

But what people do not understand is that the things we do to ourselves, even though there is no interaction with others, still affects those around us.  You do drugs?  You just hurt someone.  You neglect you children by not paying support?  You just hurt someone.  You are full of hate?  You just hurt someone.  You can't handle commitment?  You just hurt someone.  No matter what we do our action whether done by commission or omission affect ourselves and others.  Everything we do has a consequence.  And here is the most important part of this whole thought.  Our actions are our own responsibility.  Stop blaming others for your whole life.

Anything that takes actual commitment and/or guts to follow through with has an easy way out. Or at least people take the easy way out. No one wants to fight for what is right anymore. If the Batman was real in today's time, he would have been sued by the ACLU. There is no such things as heroes today because we have wimped out of everyday life.


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