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Sunday, December 16, 2012

LXXXIX. Where was God?

With the horrible news of the shootings in Connecticut this week our hearts should go out to all of the people who have suffered through these kinds of tragedies that seem to keep happening and at an alarming increasing rate.  Please pray for the victims and survivors, their families, and yes, even for the shooter's families and him.  Why do things like this happen?  Where is God when these things happen?
Many are going to angry just because this post mentions that God has something to do with it but then again look at the title of this blog.
FOXNews asked Mike Huckabee about this.  And if you go to yahoo, huffingtonpost and all of these other stupid media outlets 99% of the people argue against what Huckabee said.  He claimed the lack of God in schools is what caused this.  And out come the atheists and anti-theists trying to tear him up.  However, what the media and the posters are failing to read is that FOXNews asked Mike to answer like a minister not a politician and posed the question to him about how he would answer those people who are going to ask, "where was God?".  Mike's answer was not how the victim's cut God out of schools like the readers and posters are manipulating others into believing, but just the fact that God is just not allowed in schools.  He simply says if God is not there then we need to expect tragedies to happen.  He wasn't blaming the victims.  His best point was this:  if God is not allowed into the front door then why do we expect Him to be at the back door?  It is amazing though how people don't want to hear about God until something bad happens, then people either turn to Him or blame Him.
Anyway, God had nothing to do with this shooting or any other shooting for that matter.  He doesn't have these things happen so we can learn the correct way.  He doesn't put ideas into the shooter's head.  He doesn't pull the trigger.  This all about man.  This is all about how man wants to live on his own and forget about any morality system.  Man's morality says that God is not allowed in schools.  Now we have to deal with it.  Our lifestyles are all about satisfying ourselves and not living for anything anymore.  We do not know how to interact with people anymore.  We play video games that shoot people and we get satisfaction out of.  We are constantly on our cell phones, not talking but playing games or texting.  We are on our facebooks at home, at work, at sporting events, even at church.  Yes this blog is on a computer and uses the technology to reach the masses, but the writer of this blog also says these things to people face to face!  Albert Einstein once said, "I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots," whose survival will depend primarily on being stimulated.  All of the shooters talk about how they want to go out with a bang, be notoriously known, being bullied, or were just plain bored.  One of the first famous school shooters in 1979 is quoted as saying to why she did it is, "I hate Mondays".
So, think and realize, this has nothing to do with God.  It is all about man...and his lack of God.  (of course this will bring the comment about the crusades from atheistic idiots)
But to answer the original question, where was God?  Perhaps we need to look at it this way if we want to talk about God, God is not in the tragedy, He is in the healing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

LXXXVIII. More Observations Of The Church Today

Words in italics were sent from a friend:
In 2012 - Positives & Negatives 

+ Most churches are very accepting of people and where they lack spiritually and can create a place where the "seeker" can find God.
 - Most churches do not preach repentance but only acceptance and then wonder why more do not donate their time or tithe and continue to only seek.
+ Churches really work hard to create programs and classes to increase church growth.
- Churches and their staff work harder on the programs than on converting and the actual visiting of the people the programs are to reach, even when asked.

+ Churches have connections and seminars to encourage one another in their work and accomplishment for Christ.
- Church conventions are often "Rah-Rah" sessions, kind of like the Pharisees in the Old Testament… LOOK AT US!

+ Church staff/preachers really do care about their congregation and who attend their church services.
- When a person decides to leave their church for whatever reason, it is then not "convenient to care" about them any longer and often no closure or encouragement for either happens.
Just something leaders should think about and understand.  It is not the program that saves, it is the message.  It is not the population growth that counts but spiritual growth.  It's not the greeting that people care about it's the bereavement.  It's not the reputation that needs to be worked on but the character.  It's not how loud we cheer but who we cheer for.
Too bad too many church leaders have become world-minded thinkers and say the church is an organization when in reality it is an organism.

Friday, November 9, 2012

LXXXVII. Worship 21st Century

Found this from another blog.  This pretty much says it all about what worship has become.
No substance.  All show.  All production.  All masquerading as "reaching the masses".  That actually translates into insincerity, either intended or not.  If all they do this for is to bring people in then they are not doing what the real command is.  Sure they do it to get the message out.  But the message is (cliche time) watered-down to where the message it seems is more like suggestions than commands.  Many of these new worship bands, which in name itself tells the whole story, play each week as if they are playing instead of leading.  Solos, frets, rolls, streams, and lights are now part of the show.

The Church wonders why people do not get involved with any ministries.  The Church wonders why people do not give enough to support the charities the Church supports.  The Church wonders why people don't fully commit their lives to Christ.  The Church wonders why their influence in the world is being lessened as time goes by.  It is because of the Church.  It no longer sets the example in the world so God got kicked out of everyday life.  Now the Church no longer sets the example of what worshiping God is all about.  In both cases the "me generation" is still alive and well.  Make me feel good.  Make me get the stuff out of my life that keeps me burdened.  Give me something I can listen to to feel better about all the mistakes I have made in my life.  And whatever you do don't tell me what I have done wrong.
Overtures, curtain, lights, this is it, we'll hit the heights, oh what heights we'll hit, on with the show this is it.  Bugs Bunny Worship time.  All fun and no work.  Worship is a sacrifice and until Christians understand this then no worship is true worship.

This is not to say that there can't be any fun during worship.  Do not add words to this Thought that is not there.  Worshiping God is supposed to be fun but even more importantly it is supposed to be about Him, NOT us.  And the most important, it is supposed to be real, not staged.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

LXXXVI. The New Asherah Poles

Does anyone really care about the presidential election coming up on Tuesday?  Do you think God judges us on which candidate we vote for?  Do you think we should vote based more on human reasoning, things that we feel are important personally or or biblical reasoning?  Does the Bible say anything about any of the issues we deal with today?  Actually it says quite a few things about politics or at least what leaders should be like.
There is an old saying that says an organization is only as good as its leadership.  If you have bad bosses to work for and they don’t know how to run the business it won’t make it.  Places like Nike and Ford only got to be as large as they are because of the way their leaders did things.  It is the same with countries.  If their leadership is bad the country falls apart but if it is good then it can last.
So picking the right leader is really quite important.  But why is important?  Most of the people would say because that’s what creates jobs.  But the Bible says in Psalms though that government is only there to protect people from each other not to take care of them.  God will do that.
We are supposed to listen to government.  Jesus recognized the role of government when he told his disciples to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s which was talking about taxes.  He even went to trial when he was accused.  He knew government had a purpose and we need to respect them.  But if it tells us to not to listen to God’s words then we have to remember that God’s word has more authority.  Even if that means it can get us into trouble we need to take a stand.
Daniel in the OT disobeyed the government when the king Darius told everyone that prayer to anything but him was a crime.  Daniel stood his ground and prayed to God anyway.  The ones who were in charge of making that law saw Daniel do it and told the king.  The king because he signed the law had to do something to Daniel in the form of punishment so he threw him into the lion’s den.  But Daniel trusted in the Lord and was saved.  The point here is that Godly values are higher than man’s values.  So what happens when man starts to think he knows more than God?  The men who thought they could overrule God were then thrown into the pit and eaten.
Before Israel moved into the Promised Land they were told not to worship false idols and false Gods that all of the people living there were doing.  It is even one of the Ten Commandments.  But when they got there they started to adopt the practices of the nations they had just got done defeating in battle.  One of the biggest things they started to do was use as a worship object something called the Asherah Pole. 
Asherah was a Sumerian goddess.  She was supposed to be the wife of God, his equal.  She was worshipped as one who had excellence and was powerful over the seas.  Now of course God has no equal.  By the way satan was supposed to be full of excellence and John’s vision in Revelation says he saw a creature coming out of the sea.  Anyway, this was a mythological creature created by the early Sumerians who did not follow the Jewish God called Yahweh or Jehovah. 
Asherah worshiping is mentioned over 30 times in the Bible.  The problem is the Jewish people did not get rid of this worship idol and even built poles in honor of her and each time God burned with anger against His own people.  He told them to tear down these poles.  Some kings did not do what they were supposed to do and neither did the people.  God then handed over the Israelites to certain nations.
When kings like Josiah tore down Asherah poles then Israel was seen a righteous and God returned to them.
Now I am not telling you to go mosques, Buddhist temples here in the US and tear them down.  This story is for us to understand that we are not to tolerate sin or things that lead us into sin.  We don’t have Asherah poles but we do have things that we have tolerated in this country too long.  We are not supposed to let “asherah poles” into our lives.  We are supposed to stand up against it and sometimes that means politics.  So how?
The most talked about topics in the Christian world are: Abortion, sexual impurity, and family values.
The Bible is very open and strict about these two subjects.  It says that God knows us in the womb.  He knows us because he made us; which means we have personality, a heartbeat and a life even before we can see the world.  There are many passages about sexual purity and how the family works.  I won’t bore you with the rest.  These aren’t the only three things that we need to deal with but they are important.
This is not to tell you which person people should vote for because there are over 75 candidates that are running for president.   Every individual has to make up their own mind.  But God is supposed to be part of our laws and moral standards whether people want to admit it or not.  And having people in the government allowing the “asherah poles” into our society is wrong.  God cannot be placed side by side with “asherah poles”.
However with that said, one political party argued about God this year and many of them in that political party were angered when the word “God” was put back into their ideas.  When we as Christians allow our leaders to kick God out and to act like He doesn’t matter, then shame on us and we get what we deserve.
·    Proverbs 29:2--- When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan
God doesn’t care about your political party.  Abortion and things like that are wrong but there is a bigger problem in this country and that is disobedience of God’s word.  Abortion, and all that, are only a symptoms of falling away from God.  The Church for some reason isn’t teaching that anymore.  Christians have to take a stand like Daniel.  The Church needs to make a stand.
Because God said in…
·    II Chronicles 7:14---if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land.
Remember an organization is only as strong as its leader.  The Church needs to be a leader.  And if we are weak then so is our country. 
He may not care about your politics but he does care about what you stand for.  We have to stand for Godly values because in the end He is in control.  He gave us guidelines to live by.  He is the ultimate authority.
And no matter who wins on Tuesday we need to pray for our leaders.
·    1Timothy 2:1-4 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

LXXXV. Diary of a Wimpy Church

Morals, values, and mores (pronounced mor-rays).  These three things have been less net worth in this world as time keeps on slipping away.  And the main proponent for the destruction of these ideals measuring devices is none other than the Church.  Too many pastors, leaders, elders, bishops, and even the congregationalist just sit back and let the culture drive them instead of them driving the culture.
This is why things like the divorce rate in the Church is just as high if not higher than it is in the secular world, of course the secular world in today's time place less value marriage to begin with and decide not to do it anyway so the numbers may skewed a little.  But nevertheless this is just an example of how the Church isn't driving home any messages anymore.  They are afraid of offending people.  They are afraid that they will be considered politically incorrect, without realizing that it is the secular world who came up with that terminology in the first place.  The Church no matter what will always be considered politically incorrect so why not teach what the Bible actually says and not worry about?
Examples that the Church has wimped out on:
  1. marriage fidelity
  2. abortion
  3. family traits and roles and raising children
  4. politics
  5. importance of fathers
  6. abuse and neglect of parents
  7. sexual immorality of ALL kinds
  8. drug abuse and alcoholism
  9. taking care of the sick and needy
  10. evangelism
  11. witnessing
No, today all churches preach about are handling headaches, feeling good about tomorrow, having good music to listen to in church, and how to improve your life in 40 days.  The Church is the wimpy kid on the block.  Hypocritical, childish, and wimpy.
And we wonder why the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

Friday, September 28, 2012

LXXXIV. The Dreaded Slippery Slope

Coming up on the election season (October through election day) we will without a doubt see all kinds of commercials that will try and persuade our thinking about the opposing candidate.  This is called propaganda, an action usually saved for dictatorial leaders who by any other means can not get elected legally or morally.  There is one type of propaganda that is probably used more than the rest and that is called Slippery Slope.  Slippery Slope: A tricky precarious situation, especially one that leads gradually but ultimately to disaster.  Such as:  If this one candidate gets elected grandma may be thrown over a cliff.  Although most slippery slopes are used only to put fear into the other side of the argument many slopes are real and need to be taken seriously.  If one uses drugs one may get addicted.  Slippery?  Yes.  Slope?  Yes.  Real?  Yes.  If one goes outside in the cold one may get pneumonia.  If one plays with fire, one may get burned.  Other slopes come in catch phrases and cliches.  Give an inch...take a mile.  This is a big one since it rings true with people's values and what they want.  If we give into certain things how much more will we want something else?  What a slippery real slope!

With all that said there are two main sets of values, liberal and conservative.  Sure there may be an in between person as a whole but that person will tend to be one way or another depending on the topic.  If one is completely in the middle on everything then that person just doesn't care about anything and that person will get nowhere in life.  Another slippery, but real slope.  Being a Christian though shouldn't we have a certain set of values that do not waiver?  Shouldn't we have a set of values that do not allow slippery slopes?  Last month's poll:  Which set of values is closer to what a Christian should have?  Here are the results.
  • 47% said, Conservative
  • 4% said, Liberal
  • 38% said, They are equally important
  • 9% said, Neither, no one should be limited in their values
The comment section of http://ideasoftim.blogspot.com/2008/08/7-liberalisms-failures.html explains what a typical conservative view is:
1. Sanctity of Life- stopping the act of abortion
2. Morality System- based on Judeo-Christian values
3. Preserving the Constitution- the original ideas, not the reinterpretation of it
4. Strong Military
5. Family Oriented- Nuclear family traditions
6. Market System
7. Low Taxes
8. Small government
9. Preserving American way of life.
10. Death Penalty- for heinous crimes

There are other issues of course. There will be variants of agreements. But if one disagrees with most of the above or thinks a clarification of or acceptions made to the above are needed then a conservative they will not be.
Over the years these values have been slipping down that slope and have been losing their value in American way of life.  And then we wonder why on www.realclearpolitics.com that about 66% of us think we are headed in the wrong direction.  Stop the slope.  Bring the true conservatism back.  Some will of course say that if we did that then we will have digressed thirty years and will have lost all kinds of progress made with civil rights movements.  This did not say bring the conservatives back, it says conservatism.  Follow this slippery slope.
Radio:  1920's  music and books and plays acted over the air waves, all family-oriented
Radio:  1960's music about drug use and promiscuous sex on air all the time but at least disguised
Radio:  1990's Howard Stern...
TV:  1950's family-oriented, I Love Lucy didn't even show them in same bed.
TV:  1970's family-oriented, Mike and Carol in the same bed after extending family
TV:  1990's NYPD Blue, first nudity shown on air
TV:  2010's  Jersey Shore (joke), On Demand, Pay per view
Movies:  1950's no rating system
Movies:  1970's G, PG, R
Movies:  1990's G, PG, PG-13, NC-17, R
We could go on and on about topics where the slippery slope actually was real.  So to say that the slippery slope is just a scare tactic and only extremists want these changes is inaccurate.  It happens.  Religions will hold less value soon.  Marriage is already being changed.  Taxes are being used for the wrong problems.  Abortion is being more widely accepted.  There is no more shock value because we are becoming used to it and immune to the slope.  Liberal values are that slippery slope.  They just keep sliding and opening what they think are opportunities and freedoms, but what they lead to is law suits and chaos.  Liberal values are not needed for liberalism has no set standards.  Maybe having a few liberal ideas are okay to have (but no one has shown any yet) but Christians need conservative values and need to vote for them.

Obama is not that vote.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

LXXXIII. Father of Lies

"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."-Jesus, from the Gospel of John 8:44

We live in a world that would rather believe in lies than believe in the truth.  We do so because if we live the lie then we don't have to change who we are.  Because if we have to change who we are then that means we have made mistakes and there is something wrong with us or we are doing the wrong thing or have the wrong ideas.  And no one wants to admit that.  We are satisfied living in darkness.  We feel we know better than God.  We feel gray areas are fine.  This is why Jesus said some are of the devil.  The world throws away righteousness and takes on evil masquerading as good.  Paul says that satan masquerades as an angel of light.   Many times the world calls good evil and evil good.  They do not know the difference anymore.  Listen to these lies that the accuser has given to us and that we believe:

He turns love into lust.
He turns a baby into a fetus.
He turns a bad day into depression.
He turns depression into suicide.
He turns pain into doubt.
He turns doubt into atheism.
He turns a bad habit into an addiction.
He turns a disagreement into hate.
He turns pornography into freedom of speech.
He turns a condition into an excuse.
He turns knowledge into rationalization.
He turns self-awareness into pride.
He turns humanitarianism into liberalism.
He turns your past into the present.
He turns discipline into abuse.
He turns fossils into evolutionary fact.
He turns civil rights into racism.
He turns community leaders into politicians.
He turns "being good" into being "good enough".
He turns absolute truths into opinions.
He turns "truth in love" into judgementalism.
He turns women into objects.
He turns children into punching bags.
He turns fathers into one-night stands.
He turns a marriage into a definition.
He turns tolerance into apathy.
He turns moral standards into a joke.
He turns a family into a village.
He turns faith into a religion.
He turns the Word of God into an outdated relic.
He turns worship into an argument.
And worst of all he turns Christians into lazy, lukewarm, twice-a-year-pew-sitting hypocrites who listen to these lies.

Funny, though, because a couple of verses before the scripture above tells us how to get out of this mess.  "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”- Jesus, from the Gospel of John 8:32.  But unfortunately, no one wants to live in the truth.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

LXXXII. Eat Mor Chikin'

No, this is not an advertisement for Chick Fil-A.  It is not an endorsement for it nor is it a condemnation of it. It is not a call for a buy-in or a boycott.  It is simply getting some facts in to maybe to clarify some things about the whole situation.  There will certainly be people who disagree with this posting as well as many who will support it.  Neither should be offended nor feel like they are being uplifted and justified.  But let's look at what has been done.  The picture below has some truths to it but many misleadings as well.

The truth of this picture is that many who claim to be Christian would fall into this category. These people do not do all they need to be doing such as going out to the needy, giving to charity, praying at hospitals, evangelizing to the world, all of which Jesus DID say to do.

The lies (misleadings is a better word) about this picture is that all of these people who are against same-sex marriages are not all Christian.  There are some non-Christians even non-religious people who have these feelings as well.  On the other hand even some Christians say that the things that were said by Chick Fil-A president Daniel Cathy were wrong.  So what did Mr. Cathy say?  Here is the line that is posted the most:
"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,' and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about,"
First and foremost he said this in a Christian magazine.  One should have expected him to mention God and his views.  Secondly, he never said he was against the people who practice homosexuality.  He is anti same-sex marriage, "guilty as charged".  But that is his opinion.  He is entitled to it.  He did not cause any harm to human beings.  He did not discriminate on a business level.  He did not refuse to serve, hire, talk to, or let die any individual.  He just believes in a traditional marriage.  Yes, he gives money to organizations who fight against gay-marriage, but that is his prerogative.  Just like those who practice homosexuality can support organizations like PRIDE, LGBTSTQ, GLAAD and any other ones that maybe out there that want the legalization of same-sex marriages.  And no one should complain about that.  Cathy's main idea was that man thinks he knows better than God and is trying to step in and change what God had instituted.  It's not about chicken.  It's not about hate (of people), non-acceptance.  It's about a person's view on a certain subject they disagree with, non-tolerance.  The picture below though does show non-acceptance and non-tolerance.

But back to the first picture.  Christians do need to support food banks, homeless, and hospitals more.  But in defense of some of the ones in these pictures, they probably already do.  True Christians give to charities either up front or through their churches.  They just don't make a scene about it.  They support causes they feel are important but they do not physically and/or verbally emphasize it.  Jesus said to evangelize the world too, but when we evangelize then we are still considered spreading hate.  You can't have it both ways.  Either you do all of what Jesus said or nothing. He surely wouldn't have done this: drive-in bully  but maybe Christians are the only ones who are allowed to be judged.

Friday, July 6, 2012

LXXXI. Cult of Personality

Many "religions" speak of Christ. Even religions that are not compatible with Christianity often speak of Jesus. But this does not mean that these religions are correct. What does the Bible say the main ideas of Christianity are? The following are just small pieces of what Christians believe but are the most important and perhaps explains Christianity:
  1. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Now the Bible does not use these words specifically but do not get bogged down with that. There are things called concepts. Psalm 139:7-12 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
  2. Jesus was fully man and fully God. Jesus was God but He was also man. He felt the same things do. He knows what the flesh is all about. But He is also God because only He can forgive sins. John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God. John 10:30, I and the Father are one.
  3. Jesus was the Son of God (as man) and came to die for all mankind. How could He be the Son of God yet God at the same time? Think of it as when you give something of yours to somebody. It is from you, it is of you, it shows who you are. Now try and put yourself in that place. That is why you are not God (L. Ron Hubbard). You can't do it. But God manifested Himself into the flesh and was called Jesus. The second part is the important part here. 1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed."
  4. Jesus rose from the dead. Without this, our faith means nothing. If God can not raise the dead then there is no hope. Acts 10:40, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.
  5. Jesus will return for those who believe in Him. If He does not return then His promise is a lie. If He is a liar then no one should believe in Him. John 14:2-3, My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
  6. Jesus is the only medium, or mediator, between God and man. Now that does not mean the only messenger of God. It means that there is only one way to God and that is through Jesus, no other being. If someone claims they are the only one to interpret things or the only one who knows God then they are delusional. 1 Timothy 2:5, For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus.
  7. Solo Scriptura. This idea is that the Bible alone is the sole authority by which we live. It trumps tradition and any other liturgical ideas. The Bible was written by the Apostles and fathers of the Church in 1st century AD. When John wrote the final words, the Bible can not be added to.
Beyond these that are mentioned is mostly about comfortability and practice. Such as the type of music or to use music at all is strictly based on opinion. Should leaders be called priests, pastors, ministers, or elders is also another issue that is just based on comfort or opinion (semantics), for all who are called to Christ are ministers (those who serve). Now some issues are based on translation and are open for discussion such as is water baptism necessary or just a sign of obedience. And the answer is, yes. Because as long as someone believes in Jesus then it is a personal relationship with Him. Does communion really become the body and blood of Christ or is it just a symbol of what He did? The answer is, yes. Because it really doesn't matter what you believe. If you take communion with the right heart and mind then God will honor that. If it becomes God then great. If not then you still took it with Him in mind. All that was commanded here its that you do it in remembrance of Him. These issues should not distinguish between a practitioner of Baptist or Methodist or anything else, although people do overstate these differences, and that is a shame. But if one deviates from the seven points above then they could be considered a cult.

Here are the results of last month's poll: Which of the following groups that speak of Christ, one way or another, would you consider a cult?
  • 100% said, Christian Science. This should not be confused with Scientology, the bogus religion created by L. Ron Hubbard and his book, Dianetics, which was actually just a science fiction book. One major problem for this group is that they put so much emphasis on Mary Baker Eddy. It is like her words have authority, see #6 and #7. But the major problem is that CS do not believe Jesus was God. They even think He went out of His way saying He wasn't by always referring to God as the Father. See #2. For more information about CS here is the link. http://christianscience.com/what-is-christian-science
  • 77% said, Mormonism. Humanitarians? Yes! Pacifists? Yes! Great people? Yes! True Christians? Well they have a special book called, the Book of Mormon, written by Joseph Smith. Smith found these writings on a plate in North America. He was the only one who could dictate what the plates meant. And like CS the LDS do not say that Jesus is God but only the Son of God. See #2, #6, and #7. For more information about LDS here is the link. http://www.lds.org/?lang=eng
  • 77% said, Jehovah's Witness. They are also pacifists who believe all violence is wrong which is great. But they are another group that specifically denies that Jesus is God. They even use the same scripture in point #2 above but they say it is an analogy. This group was started by Charles Taze Russell. They have created their own literature called the Watch Tower claiming they are the prophets of God, see #7. They believe that the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation is a specific number of prophets for the end times. Oddly enough there are about 115,000 JW today in the world, almost the number. They also believe in a literal 1000 year reign but that reign will only be those who are part of this 144,000. For more information on JW here is the link. http://www.watchtower.org/
  • 66% said, Deism/Theism. This just means that they believe in God but not an active one. One that just lets the universe run its course. See all the above. For more on Deism, read about John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Montesquieu and someone's modern description because it is not an organized religion. http://www.moderndeism.com/html/deism_defined.html
  • 55% said, British Israelism/Christian Identity. They also may be known as the Worldwide Church of God, not to be confused with local churches of God. This group believes that European/American/Caucasians are what is known the lost tribes of Israel. When the Israelites were taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar and were then released this group thinks instead of going back to Israel they went to places in Europe. They claim to know their ancestry and have long lists of people who may or may not have lived. They hold all beliefs of mainstream Christianity. But they believe that only those who have European blood in them are called to be with God. All of those who are not white, do not have a soul and therefore can not be saved by God. See #3. England is the new throne of David and again they can trace the lineage of Queen Elizabeth back to David. This is the same belief that started apartheid in South Africa and the ideas behind eugenics.
  • 16% said, Catholicism. The only major problem with the RC is when they pray. Many times they call to saints to stand in for them thinking they can get away with lifestyles by asking a saint to help. See #6. But the difference here is that they do pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Not perfect people but do adhere to all 7 points.
  • 5% said, Messianic Jews. Not one deviation from all seven points. The people who said this are just upset with religion. The only major difference is that this group finds their Jewish roots and uses them to gain a more clear understanding of who and why Jesus is.
  • 5% said, Protestantism. Not one deviation from all seven points. The people who said this are just upset with religion. yes. There are differences among themselves but they should not be separated from each other.
  • 44% said, Other. Explain. Seventh-Day Adventist? Unitarian?
  • 0% said, None, all roads lead to God. This is correct. No one should have said this.
What is a cult? A cult is any belief system that takes away the importance of Jesus Christ and what He did. Out of the groups that are mentioned, only three agree to all seven points. You be the judge.

(Note:  This was originally posted on Bible Lessons but was moved due to nature of content)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

LXXX. The Sound of Music

Music was created for the soul to express itself in a heartfelt way.  The beat of music usually can coincide with the beat of the heart.  If one is feeling pumped and ready to move then an upbeat tempo may suit them.  If one is feeling low and depressed then a slower tempo perhaps would make them be able to express their emotions.  There are different reasons for music.  These are some: entertainment, love and other emotions, poetry and art, dance, and even teaching.  Most can be combined if you find the right words and melody to put together.  But there is another reason that is specifically designed to do one very important thing--worship.  Sure you can also combine some of the other reasons with worship but there is something that is definitely needed; the right words and meanings.  To understand what worship is please read the following:  http://ideasoftimreligion.blogspot.com/2008/08/iv-worship.html

In 1984, Prince (and he was called Prince then) and the Revolution created the LP called Purple Rain.  In one of the songs the lyrics mention the "after world".  And since he did this many people thought he had a positive message and may even be spreading a Christian-like attitude.  Of course later on in the LP Little Nicki destroys any notion of that feeling.  Anyway the point being made or the question being raised is, how much music can be considered positive or even pleasing to God?  Just because Godly values may be mentioned, does that mean it is a Godly message?  Through two sites and 55 votes here are the results from last month's poll:  Should secular music ever be played in a church service?
  • 47% said, It's okay if it has a point to it.  This would be okay as long as the point was not to worship God with.  If it was a teaching point such as one reader explained that his church used AC/DC's Highway to Hell to get people to understand without Jesus we would all be on a highway to hell.  Ok.  But that should not be used a s a worship song.  There is a huge difference between playing a song and using it as worship.  There is a huge difference between what churches call a worship "service" and real worship.
  • 29% said, No. There are enough Christian and worship songs.  This is perhaps the best answer.  There are so many songs today that nothing else is needed.  And if that isn't enough there is the original "song book" with Psalms.  But then again, some songs are remade by Christian artists and they have tried to add a Christian meaning.  If the meaning is there and it is meant for the glory of God then it is still okay.
  • 9% said, It's okay because it is a way to reach the unreached.  How is using a secular song going to reach an unsaved generation?  True story: A certain church service used a song by a modern pop rock band as a worship song. The song did have a strong message and if some words were taken out it could have been mistaken for a Christian song. But the band, when looked at from a fuller picture, does not have the most positive message for people to hear in other songs (sexual content, vulgar language). What type of message is this church giving to the congregation and the culture that is looking for Christ? They are showing that there is no difference between the way one is living and the way one should be living. Do you worship God by using non-meaningful words to stir a secular emotion? This is what someone once called a manufactured emotional high. It's not real. And then try to tell people the greatness of God.???  Worship is not for the unreached.  It is for the believer to be used as a way of expressing his/her feelings back to God.
  • 7% said, It's just wrong no matter what.  Maybe not no matter what, see above reasons.
  • 4% said, Yes. There is nothing wrong with it at all.  So, to worship God we should sing Madonna's Like a Virgin, because maybe she is singing about Mary?  For those who answered this way you need to learn what worship is all about.  There is a line that should not be crossed.
  • 4% said, Other.
The type of music isn't the question.  It could hymns of old.  It could be dance.  It could be pop.  It could be rap.  It could be hard rock.  It could be non-instrumental.  It even could be country if it had to be.  It's the message that counts. You could have the slowest of songs played with harps and a piano but have the worst words in the history of mankind.  And it could go the opposite way as well. Many hymns came from secular songs and many do not even have worship elements since they only tell of an emotional story, so even some of them are just not correct to use, as worship that is.  It's not the loudness of it.  It's all about the message and meaning.

Although man is the instrument, God is the musician.  The instrument should play for the musician.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

LXXIX. The 21st Century

The church is irrelevant.  Jesus Christ is outdated, perhaps a myth.  Those who believe in Jesus or go to church are just wasting their time because He is not real and the church is useless.  This is the 21st century.  Believing in Him would be archaic and meaningless.

We have real problems in this world.  We have a high divorce rate.  We have too much murder.  We are too sexually active to where people's lives are destroyed by what their partner does.  We lie too much   We cheat everyone.  We have poverty.  We have war.  We have hate.  There is nothing in the Bible or anything Jesus said, or anything the church can do or say about these issues.  They are completely irrelevant.

Lieing and cheating go on without saying but what about the other issues?  Divorce? According to enrichment journal on the divorce rate in America:  The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%, for the second marriage it is 60% and for a third marriage it is 73%.  http://www.divorcerate.org/.  Murder?  In Washington DC out of every 100,000 people there are 24 that get murdered.  In Louisiana it is 12 the next highest in the US.  Sexually transmitted diseases?  In 2010, over 400 people for every 100,000 got chlamydia, 100 got gonorrhea, 15 got syphilis, not even counting AIDS, herpes, and other types of diseases. http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats10/surv2010.pdf.   Poverty? The US has over 300,000 families living in poverty.  http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/poverty.html.  War?  Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Syria, etc., etc., etc..

With all of these things going on what would we care about what a 2000 year old book says?  Believe it or not the Bible talks about each and every one of these and more.  It mentions and/or alludes to divorce, disease, death, life styles, murder, depression, fear, politics, abortion, sex, stealing, finances, home life, drug use, alcoholism, abuse, neglect, marriage problems.  You name it, the book has it.  So how is it irrelevant?  Because those who do not want to admit that God exists or is on control, or those who who do not want to submit to a higher authority scream at the top of their lungs that it is not.

Monday, March 5, 2012

LXXVIII. Turn the Other Cheek?

Christians are sometimes seen as uncompassionate.  They are intolerant hypocrites who do not practice what they preach.  They say they love but preach hate.  But is this an accurate way of portraying the beliefs of Christians, especially when the topic deals with things that battle their morals?  Here are the results from last poll: If something does not fit in with traditional Christian standard beliefs, how should a Christian respond?
  • 54% said, With understanding and compassion
  • 27% said, Depends on the topic and/or person you are dealing with
  • 9% said, With complete contempt and protest
  • 9% said, Not caring one way or another
  • 0% said, With full tolerance and complacency
  • 0% said, Other
More than likely these answers were given by those who profess Jesus as their savior.  So keep that as part of the focus as you read.  Notice not one person said with full tolerance and complacency.  This is odd because if you look at the way the world is and how Christians act (not respond) then it seems like all they do is tolerate because over the last few decades Christian values have diminished in this country.  Some would say that is a good thing but it is not!  When we take God (the real God, not man's interpretation) out of the equation then we see more violence.  We see more abuse.  We see more depression.  We see more disruption.  We see more hate.   Too many people think Christians hate because they lack tolerance.  The big mistake here is those people think tolerance equals love.   Tolerance does not equal love.  Tolerance equals compromise.  Compromising kills truth.  It is okay not to put up with certain things.  Yet, the world tells Christians we need to accept everything or we are bigots.  Acceptance to everything is detrimental to society.  If we accept everything then EVERYTHING will be accepted.

Not caring one way or another is one step away from tolerance.  It leads to apathy.  When we become apathetic, we care less. When we care less, we hurt more people.

With complete contempt and protest is not the best choice either.  This causes the Christian to be viewed as hypocritical, and perhaps rightly so.  These people need to understand that everyone is at a different level in their beliefs and harsh words can actually condemn someone to a life filled with feelings of resentment towards God.  Yes, certain things need to be brought out to the open and some people need to be put in their place with unbridled truth.  But the words need to be consistent with the truth.  Contempt for the issue is completely acceptable.  Contempt for the person is not.

Nothing depends on the topic or person you are dealing with.  There are lines to be drawn.  There is absolute truth. http://ideasoftimreligion.blogspot.com/2009/11/xliv-youre-okay.html.  Now, there is a method to dealing with different topics and people but never compromise the truth.  See above.

The best way to deal with topics that go against the Christian belief is with understanding and compassion.  We need to realize people are different.  But also remember, truth is permanent and uncompromising.  We need to find a way to tell the truth without destroying people.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

LXXVII. Christianity-Lite

We were called to be the light of the world not lite in the the world.

Churches reach out to seekers but without any substance.  They cater to those who have never known Christ but show them just a shadow of who He really is.  Here is an example of this:  a certain church service used a song by a modern pop rock band as a worship song.  The song did have a strong message and if some words were taken out it could have been mistaken for a Christian song.  But the band when looked at from a fuller picture does not have the most positive message for people to hear.  What type of message is this church giving to the congregation and the culture that is looking for Christ?  Worship God by using non-meaningful words to stir a secular emotion?  And then try to tell people the greatness of God...

It's not the music style that is the problem.  It's not the song in itself that is the problem.  It is the deeper meaning of what worship is supposed to be about.  God looks for those who truly worship not ones that just go through the motions.

  • The purpose of Christ is simple:  He died because of our sins and He rose again so those sins are gone.
  • The message of Christ is simple:  follow His teachings and you have eternal life.
  • The teachings of Christ are simple:  there is a way that leads to life and that is to leave your pride behind and do what is right
If all of these are simple then why are churches making it so hard for people to understand who Christ really is?  They give them the watered-down version.  When this type of version is given to the people then the three simple things mentioned above become hard to follow.  Jesus becomes less important because lifestyles aren't changed that much.  Sure, we all have messy spirits and souls to deal with, but those who know the truth of Christ know not to be satisfied with this messiness.  When we accept Christ we are supposed to be a new creation, one that has gotten rid of the old life.  Jesus said that we can not serve two masters.  If we do not give up our old lives then how do you live a new one?  We are supposed to use the new wine with new wine skins.  What does this all mean?  If you really want to believe in Christ and want to live a new life, then you have to get rid of the old ways.  If you do not, your life will never be fully complete.

Many people, even church leaders, think using that are popular to the world is a way to reach a culture that has been lost.  They feel if you use their language and their styles then they will accept who Jesus is easier.  For the most part, of course this seems like the right thing to do.  These people need to see how much they need a savior in their life.  But if you never show them that the reason why they need a savior is because of their present lifestyles and then don't do anything to change their lifestyles because all you are doing to imitating them, then they will never know the truth.  But leaders will argue that Jesus went to the culture such as when he ate with Matthew and all of those whom the Jews considered sinners.  Yes, Jesus went to the culture but didn't become one of them.  Today the church has become part of the culture and is now being lost in the culture.

We are sending missionaries out into the world.  It is a shame that they may have to send them back into the churches.  Churches need to get back to the truth and stop pulling punches.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

LXXVI. Parenting 101

Bill Cosby said that if a child says no to you that didn't bother him so much.  Because if tell a child to come to you and he says no, you go get them...that means yes.  It's when a parent doesn't do what they mean that bothers him.

Well here is another father that knows what he is doing.  http://news.yahoo.com/dad-shoots-daughters-laptop-over-facebook-post-video-222929321.html.  He did the right thing. 
  • Jordan writes in the video description: "Maybe a few kids can take something away from this... If you're so disrespectful to your parents and yourself as to post this kind of thing on Facebook, you're deserving of some tough love. Today, my daughter is getting a dose of tough love."
He took power away from the child and put it right back into his hands, where it should be, the parent.  In today's time children get away with way too much.  They rule over the parent and the parent caves in.  They try and manipulate every situation and the parent either is dumb or plays dumb and the spoiled brat gets away with it.

Take it from a school teacher (ask any of them).  A student talks too much, get disrespectful, doesn't listen to instructions, never brings materials to class, doesn't care about finishing any work, sleeps in class, is late to class everyday, always has to go to the restroom or nurse or counselor, and then gets an F in class.  The parent comes down to talk to you and yell at you because their child is a good kid.  And if you yell at the child for not doing what they are supposed to be doing, heaven forbid you could lose your job.  Then the schools are blamed for an uneducated society.  Question:  where does education begin?  Answer:  in the home!

Parents are the first line of defense for children.  They need to be examples and set the rules.  They need to be firm and moral.  They need to be consistent and knowledgeable.  They need to know when to trust and when not to trust.  They need to take action...period.  Of course the one major mistake this father did was to allow his child an account on Facebook.  The lap top cost money, Facebook was free.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

LXXV. Purpose in life

Many of us go on through life not understanding who we are or where we come from.  That is why one of the most talked about topics are God, the beginning of man and the universe, and life in general.  We are full of questions and it seems like we never get the real answer we want so we even start question our own existence and its importance.  Here are the results from the last poll:  Do you know what your purpose in life is?
  • (35%) Yes. But I wish it was easier to do.  As expected this is the category where most people fall into.  They know who they are but they also know life is full of problems.  They wish it all could be easier but understand life goes on.  They don't quit.  They are morally sound people but struggle with day to day maintenance.  They survive because they see that there is a light at the end of each tunnel but they know that reaching that light is part of the process.
  • (17%) Yes. I know exactly what I am supposed to be doing.  These are the people we all hate.  It seems like everything goes well for them and we get jealous.  But perhaps the reason why life goes well is because they know about their origins and who created them for a purpose.
  • (17%) No. I haven't found it yet.  At least they are searching.  These are the people who read self-help books or those who are always willing to try new things even if they are dangerous.  But the main problem for them is that they are easily led to the wrong answers.  They will grasp onto the new ideas, fads, fashions, books, trends, or anything that makes them feel happier about who they are.
  • (11%) No. I have no purpose in life.  These are the depressed people.  These are the ones who have emotional problems and end up in institutions (not to be looked upon with stigma).  They seek answers but when they get them they don't want to accept them because the answers seem too easy.  They turn to substances.  They turn negative.  They commit suicide.  They lose all focus on life.  They end up blaming others and even God for their dismay.
  • (5%) Yes. But I don't do it.  These people are jerks.  These are the people who make life difficult because they do not do what they are supposed to be doing.
  • (5%) No. I don't care.  These are the biggest jerks.  They are anti-social, serial-killer, lunatics who prey on others. 
  • (5%) I don't care one way or the other.  Any understand these people?
  • (0%) Other.  This option still is confusing but apparently wasn't needed this time anyway.
So what is our purpose?  If we look at this from a human standpoint, the most obvious answer is we are here to help each other.  Life is difficult.  We have different wants, desires, personalities, and coping mechanisms just to name a few.  We need help getting through this life.  When we see someone cry we comfort them.  When we see someone laugh we join them.  When we see someone who needs physical attention we tend to them.  The main point here is that we are not supposed to make life more difficult.  We are supposed to help as many as humanly possible.

However, we are not just human.  We are spiritual beings as well.  Our first and foremost purpose in this life is to prepare for the next one.  Whether you like it or not, you belong to God and His purpose for you is that you find Him.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

LXXIV. Who Do You Say I AM? Part 3

He was a man.  He was born into this world just like everyone else.  He was not hatched.  He did not just appear.  He did not float down to the earth full grown.  He was born into flesh and blood by ways of the natural world.  His mother was a real woman.  She may have been quite young, no one really knows, but nevertheless she was a real woman.  His adoptive father was real.  He was faced with the problem that he was engaged to a woman who was pregnant with a child that was not his.  Jesus' life started out with controversy.  One of the worst things a child has to hear is that parents really are not his own.  We have certain derogatory names for children in that situation.  Even before Jesus was born He was facing the trials and tribulations of the flesh.

He grew up just like any other child.  He cried as a baby.  He fell down during playtime.  He enjoyed all the things that children enjoy.  His parents weren't perfect.  When He became a teenager He was left in the synagogue by His family and they didn't even know He was gone.  He was HOME ALONE.  But He didn't panic.  He was in His Father's house.  He had come into age.  This was His bar mitzvah if you will.  He was now responsible for His own actions.  From here on out life must have been difficult.  The temptations of this life became even more real since now His fate was in His own hands.

When He became an adult, we see even more humanity come out in Him.  His mother told Him what to do at a wedding, and He listened to her just like any other 30 year old still living at home.  But then He started His ministry.  During these three years, He showed all kinds of human traits.  He cried when one of His friends died.  He became angry when people were doing wrong.  He felt compassion for those who had infirmities.  His heart longed for humanity to be better.  He feared death.  He did not fear the afterlife, but death in the physical realm.  He laughed.  He told stories.  He got tired.  He got lonely.  He felt burdened.  He felt humiliated.  He was bruised.  He bled.  He felt betrayed.

In the end, His death was not due to the Crucifixion.  His death was not due to any human action save for sin.  In the end, He died because He gave up His spirit.  He was done.  All He could do for humanity was done except for this one last thing; giving up His life for us.  When the soldiers went to break His legs since they didn't want anyone hanging there on Sabbath, His were not.  His body was already just a shell.  When the soldiers checked on Him they stabbed Him in the side with a spear.  Blood and water flowed from the wound.  In the end, He died of a broken heart.

He was man.  But, He raised from the dead.  He was God too.

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