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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

CIII. Man of God

Simply put, I am a sinner.  I have done it all.  I have taken God's name and profaned it by using it in ways to damn people, by making promises I did not keep, by being a horrible witness of Christian to those who need help.  I have taken items that I own and made them more special than what they are, escalated them above things I should not have anyway, placed them above things of the spirit, dedicated them before I worshiped God above and have put money on a pedestal.  I have made the day of rest unholy by not caring about people, by not taking time to reflect upon the glories I have been given from the slightest to the largest.  I have dishonored my parents and their names by yelling at them, making fun of them, and forgetting them in times of their need.  I have slaughtered my brothers and neighbors with my actions of neglect or abuse and my words of anger and apathy.  I have looked at other women in ways that I should never have done with my eyes and heart.  I have taken things that were not mine.  And if I did not take them I thought about it and desired after them and planned ways of getting them.  I sometimes do not give what I need to give or help when I need to help.  I do not always tell the truth even when the truth is easier.  I sin all the time.  I do these things constantly.  My actions do not always reflect who I should be.  I fail every day.  I forget to love.  I judge people.  I do not show compassion.  I am pathetic.  I am a loser.  Simply put, I am evil.  I deserve death.  I deserve punishment.  My sins have added up so much over the years that I don not deserve the things in my life.
So why do you ask how am I still a man of God?  Because, I am forgiven!
Because no matter how many times I fail I still try and stand up for what is right even though the world sees it as wrong or intolerant.  I stand up for the morals that God wrote down even though I can never stand up to the measurement.  I still try and live the example that Jesus Christ set for me even if I get ridiculed.  No matter what I do though, I still fail.  I am not a man of God by what I have done.  I am a man of God because of what He has done.  I am not a man of God because I succeed.  I am a man of God because I rely upon Him to help heal what I have done.  I am not a man of God because I shine.   I am a man of God because He is my light.  I am not a man of God because I am perfect.  I am a man of God because I am not perfect.  I am a man of God because I need Him.  By His mercy I am forgiven.
Yes, even though I am a sinner, I am a man of God.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

CII. Happy Hanukkak

Hanukkah. You might know it as the Feast of Dedications. This was a relatively new feast as compared to others in the Bible such as Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover or Pesach) and Feast of Booths (Sukkot). Many think that the miracle of Hanukkah is not a reliable story. But it was one that Jesus celebrated. In John 10:22 it says that while Jesus was in Jerusalem he was in the Temple during the Feast of Dedications.

Hanukkah's short story is that during a time when Israel was under control of a Greco-Persian Empire there was a revolt by the people of Israel. They refused to be listen to this empire. And after the revolt they were going to rededicate the Temple. A menorah was lit and they were going to light a candle for each night of the dedication but only found one flask of oil, enough for only one night. But the miracle was that it burned for eight so a different type of menorah is lit for the days of Hanukkah in modern times.

Worshiping YHWH was outlawed by the empire but the Jews refused to listen. While Torah readings happened sometimes the empire would raid homes and synagogues and to throw the officials off the Jews would take out spinning tops with four sides and hid the Torah. The officials thought they were playing games. So, today a dreidel is now used to commemorate the days.

On the dreidel there are four letters. The letters correspond with the words "a great miracle happened here". Why is this important? The only time in scripture that Hanukkah is mentioned is in John 10. What is the connection? If you read Jesus' ministry in a chronological order it would be the first time that Jesus told the world that He is God!
Tell the world.  Tell people happy hanukkah because you will be telling them you are dedicated to the One who is God.  You proclaim that Jesus is God.  Happy Hanukkah.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

CI. Murder by Pride

Listening to a song by the band Stryper inspired this thought.  Here are the words to the song first of all:

Saturday night's a lie, I follow every cue
Sunday is sanctified, I smile and take the pew
Monday it's back to school - Am I learning, not at all
Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday I just crawl

Seeds that were growing have been dried up by my flesh
I walk the walk and talk the talk but where's the rest
I could have everything even what's behind the stars
But I built my prison without windows, without bars

Gotta fight, gotta stop living a lie
Gotta fall, gotta lay down and die
Gotta stand and run to the other side
Gotta live or it's Murder By Pride

Watching people, including the one in the mirror, and it's easy to see that we live for ourselves too much.  It seems like all we care about at times is how we feel or what makes us feel better about our life, our lifestyles, our thoughts, and our actions.   As the song says our seeds (our ways of life) have been dried up by the flesh.  The flesh causes us to be blind.  We start to focus on our own wants and desires of the flesh and this in turn causes us to lose focus on living right.  We build our own prisons.  We live secret lives.  We live lies.

When we live for ourselves we do these things:
  • We challenge God's word and authority.  This causes us to think less of moral standards or even lose a standard to live by.  When standards of God are lost then humanity suffers chaos.  A world without Godly standards is called 'hell".
  • We exalt ourselves over the wisdom of God.  Humanity that can't even control their own finances, marriages, and other issues in life think they can actually get away with making decisions without God or at least the wisdom He has passed on in the Scriptures?  What makes us think we are right?
  • We feel we are the most important person in existence.  People do not listen to wisdom.  They feel just because they think it then it must be right.  Everyone has a closed mind or turn a blind eye to what they are doing because if they are proven wrong then they have to change.
All of these can be summed up into one word, pride. One being did that a long time ago and a special place has been created for him.  Pride came before his fall and pride will come before our fall.
Sometimes we have to put our own desires away.  When we live our own secret little lives we not only lie to the world but we lie to ourselves.  Yet, we keep going on living that way.  We have to stop living a lie.  Just because things feel okay to do or we no longer feel bad about some of our actions does not meant that we are living right.  We all need certain standards to live by.  Just because God's morals are not what we feel are for everybody does not mean His moral standards are wrong.  We may think it's okay to release our anxieties with alcohol, but it's not.  We may think it's okay to indulge ourselves with "feel good" activities because it has been accepted by the world, but it's not.  We may think our wrongful sexual desires are okay to pursue because it makes us feel good and wanted, but it's not.  We may think it's okay to get revenge or to react in a vengeful way because we feel people deserve it, but it's not.  Just because certain things make us happy and/or we do not understand why God says certain things are wrong does not mean we do not have to abide by His standards.  Sometimes we have to lay down our flesh and die to this world.  If we keep on living for the flesh then we let our pride murder us.

Friday, August 23, 2013

C. Daily Dosage

When your stomach aches the thing most people reach for faster than any other thing is Pepto- Bismol.  The instructions on the bottle say take 2 tablespoons every 1/2 to 1 hour as needed.  When a headache comes around people start to reach for the Advil.  The instructions say take 1 tablet every 4 to 6 hours.  When we suffer from allergies we take decongestants and antihistamines.  Those instructions are basically the same; take a tablet every so often.  When we are hungry we know we need to feed ourselves 3 times daily.  The instructions here is try and complete the food pyramid to get a full and balanced diet.  These are the things that when we feel bad, under the weather, not so right, or unbalanced we take to make us feel better in our lives so we can function properly.  We know taking these things will help or at least give us some security that we have taken steps to make us feel better and that in and of itself gives us hope that we will be up and around like our old selves as much as possible.  If this is the case, then why do we ignore the calling of our souls when they hurt?  Our bodies scream to us to tell us we are not feeling well and we listen to it.  Yet, when our souls cry out that we are hurting we ignore it.  We need to feed our souls daily.
Jesus said He is the bread of life (John 6).  He said those who believe in Him shall not thirst.  Yet, so many people are thirsting and hungry on the inside.  They have holes in their life that can not be filled by material matters or physical desires.  Jesus told us to pray about giving us our daily bread.  We are supposed to get a little Jesus every day!  We wander this earth hurting and feeling alone.  Our souls cry out and desire relationships.  We ache and pain in our souls because we are not using the daily dosage prescribed by the Word of God; the instructions tell us to take it daily.
In Exodus 16 we see how God provided His people with a daily dosage of manna.  Each and every day He faithfully allowed manna to fall from heaven and His people were filled.  They were to collect all they could and let not one drop go to waste.  Today we have spiritual manna.  We have the Word of God.  We have Jesus Christ.  Manna is all around but we don't take our fill.  We pick up pieces when we feel we need it.  We let manna go to waste.  We shall never go hungry if we take the daily bread.
If the wisdom of man is telling us to take certain substances to make our bodies feel better imagine how much more powerful the wisdom of God as He tells us to take Jesus, our daily bread, to make our souls feel better.  Reading the Word, daily prayer, praise in the morning, worship at night.  Take the manna, the bread of life daily and your soul will feel better.

Thank you Pastor Wendell for this inspiration.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

XCIX. The Full Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-17

  • 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might
  • 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
  • 12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
  • 13.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
  • 14  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having to put on the breastplate of righteousness,
  • 15  and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
  • 16  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
  • 17  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
This thought has been used by many over the years but something I heard the other day made me realize something very special about this passage.  Each piece not only has a specific job to do; that is common sense.  None of these can stand alone.  This is why Paul writes we need to put on the full armor of God.  This is not to say that God has a weakness.  It is to say man has a weakness.  Any “armor” we put on that is of flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).  Any opening we give to the enemy is vulnerable.  God wants us to completely trust in Him.  Without trust in God our faith is weak.  Without using all of the armor we show lack of trust or even worse, self pride.  But what does each piece mean?
Helmet of Salvation.  Why do we wear a helmet?  To protect our head of course.  Our eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.  Four out of our five senses are located in the head.  It gives us direction and collects our bearings.  They think, guide, and reason.  So we have to protect these things if we want to protect our lives against the evils of this world.  But there is a deeper meaning to this.  Salvation!  A helmet covers us.  God’s salvation covers us.  Our sins are covered.  It starts at the top.  It is the beginning.  We all wash from head to toe.  When our heads are covered, the rest follows.  Since our sins are covered, the rest of salvation and the fight can begin.
Shield of Faith.  Believing in our cause.  When things of this world try and break us and tear us apart we have something that can block the attack.  Our faith can get us through the worst of times.  Paul tells us that when all things have passed away faith, hope, and love will remain.  It is eternal.  It is always here for us to use.  But there is the catch.  We have to use it!  And the larger the shield, the better.  Many of us have small amounts of faith.  We can take small attacks in our lives but the more battered the less we feel safe with that shield.  The larger the shield, the more we can defend with.  The stronger the material, the more battering it can take.  We need to build our faith each day so that nothing can break it or batter it.  And we get a stronger faith by reading the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
Sword of the Spirit.  Paul specifically tells us this is the word of God, scripture.  It is our greatest weapon.  With the Word in our hands we can stand against the enemy.  Notice one major thing here; Paul writes about many defenses we have but we have one offense---SCRIPTURE!  Everywhere in the Bible when the word “scripture” itself is used it means something that has been written down by God, etched in stone.  What God has said nothing can overrule it.  God’s word is final.  When satan tries to tempt you and you want to fight back then quote scripture.
Shoes of Readiness.  Sometimes we have to be mobile.  Sometimes the path we have to take is rocky and hurts.  Paul tells us to put on shoes that can protect our feet from the path we have to take.
Breastplate of Righteousness.  Your most vital organ is your heart.  Many times we are told we have to protect our heart.  God judges us by our hearts.  If we love, forgive, show compassion, and trust then we have righteousness.  This righteousness protects our hearts.
But after all of this the most important thought is still to come.  Think of a soldier (from Paul’s time).  He can put on a helmet but nothing else is protected.  He can carry a sword but has to defend twice as hard.  He can put on shoes and run if he needs to.  He can carry a shield and wear a breastplate for better protection.  But there is one thing that allows the armor to be fully connected.  It connects offense with defense.  The Belt of Truth!  It attaches the upper and lower extremities.  It keeps you from falling over your cloak.  IT CARRIES YOUR SWORD!  Without truth, nothing matters!  If you do not have the truth, then what are you defending?  Why would you need an offense?  The truth of God is what the cause of Christ is all about.  Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life.  Because Jesus died (truth) and because He was the Son of God (truth) and because He rose again (truth) we have life.  He showed the way by living the truth.
We need to live the truth.  We need to wear the full armor of God.  And above all remember our struggle is not against flesh but against the spiritual forces that hate you.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

XCVIII. Quid est Ecclesia?

What is the Church?
Old Testament terminology equates it to the Temple.  The first temple was the Tabernacle or the Tent of Meeting.  Everywhere the Jewish nation went they would set up a place to where the priests and Moses could go to God and talk to Him, sacrifice, pray, and worship God.  When the physical Temple was built by Solomon all of the symbols and items from the Tabernacle were placed inside, most importantly the Ark placed behind the Veil.  The Temple was divided into parts.  Depending on who or what you are is where you could go inside the Temple.  But only those close enough to God were allowed to go behind the Veil, the curtain that symbolicaaly separates man from God, which Jesus's death caused to be torn in two.  For more information on the temple see http://ideasoftimreligion.blogspot.com/2008/08/iv-worship.html.  The point here being that no matter where God's people are there is God as well, permanently.
New Testament terminology equates it to us.  This new temple is what we are.  The Church are not individuals though.  The Church is a body.  Some are hands.  Some are feet.  Some are speakers.  Some are seers.  But these both have something in common and its the same connection the Old Testament Temple had; God is always there.  And if God is always there how can you let worldly ideas and actions into the Church and/or Temple?

Keep in mind, the church is not the Church.  Small "c" means thet building.  Capital "C" means Christ's body.
The Church is suppose to be:
  1. Spirit-led, not man-led
  2. Glorifying God, not humanistic
  3. Use of gifts to help serve people and God, not show casing human ability
  4. Holy, not worldly
  5. An organism, not an organization
  6. Loving, compassionate, hospitable
  7. Witnesses!
But what has the Church become?
  1. Leaders with egos that can not see past their own accomplishments to see the hurt in some.
  2. Worried about growth in numbers instead of growth in spirit.
  3. Entertainment focused and "jamming" instead of true worship (putting God first).
  4. Lost in culture and becoming immune to the world's sickness.
  5. Business and less personal, more worried about reputation than character
  6. Divided, hypocritical, worried about reputation instead of character
  7. Bad examples because the world sees no difference between living a Christian life and a non-Christian life.
The Church is supposed to be separate from the world for we are not part of this world.  Yes, we have to live in it and deal with it but nowhere in the Bible does it say we are to become part of it.  The book Animal Farm, although not about Christianity, ends exactly the way what the Church has become.
  • "Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike.  No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs.  The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to, and from pig to man again but already it was impossible to say which was which."
The pigs who were supposed to be different and make a change ended up taking on what the humans were doing and in the end became just as bad as humans.  Now, we are all sinners, so do not take away from this Thought that Christians are "better".  That is far from the truth.  What it is saying is we are supposed to act better.  We are supposed to change the world.  But the Church has become so liberal and weak, has watered down the message of Christ so much, has lost the true meaning of worship so much, that the culture ended up changing it.  We have allowed the culture to change sermons, our service to people, our charity, our education, and the worst is we allowed it to change our worship.  A non-Christian would say that is a good thing because it would make the Church easier to deal with.  But due to this changing the Church has become insincere and less relevant to this world.  Ask Europe.  http://ideasoftimreligion.blogspot.com/2008/10/xiii-church-of-culture.html
Yet, the big problem is those who are supposed to be temples do not live holy and don't see the problem.  They want to justify their own beliefs and actions.  Church leaders get egos and prideful and blinded.  They look for validation from friends and family.  The people find excuses to not live outside the culture.  The Church is dying because it is not being the Church.  The Church is supposed to be a witness to the world.  The Temple (you) is with God always.  So, how can we as the Church as a whole or as an individual Temple allow the culture inside?

And the last thing, the Church is not INSIDE a building.  It goes OUT to the world.  Too many people think the church building is the place to get saved.  No, technically the church building is for the Church.  You get saved in your heart, not a building.  But still the church building is there for a reason as well.  It is a place of worship and education but it is also a place where people can feel safe and comforted; a haven, if you will.  The building is a symbol of where someone cango who is feeling down and out because the world has beaten up on them.  When people come into the church building they want to feel safe.  They want to forget their troubles that the world and culture has caused them.  Yet, what does the Church offer?  Programs, sermons, and worship that is filled with the same culture that destroyed the individual in the first place, and mostly just to get a good reputation in the community.  It's like an alcoholic goes to church and the Church offers them a drink and people think the church is cool then.
After reading this many will try and rationalize that reaching the culture means we have to use their ways to bring them in. Jesus went into the culture, He did not become part of it. This is not to say that church buildings cannot hold fun events and be entertaining to crowds. But the event has to be real and sincere, it is not a place to showcase one's talents for their own glory.  Coffee and donuts never saved anyone.  How far can worship service use secular ideas before true worship is sacrificed?  Where is the line?  Answer:  it should stay out as a piece of worship, unless there is a point to it.

Other Thoughts you need to read for more explanation:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

XCVII. Generation Y

If you do not know what Generation Y is here is a synopsis of the living generations are:
  • Baby Builders born ca. 1918-1944 or roughly the ages 69-95
  • Baby Boomers born ca. 1945-1968 or roughly the ages 45-68
  • Generation X born ca. 1969-1992 or roughly the ages 21-44
  • Generation Y born ca. 1993-2013 or roughly the ages 0-20
The age ranges will of course vary from historian to historian but this is close to what many would say.  The reasons these generations change is by what happens in history.  Such as 1918 was a new generation because that is when World War One ended and economic problems started to deeply set in until gradually the Great Depression hit.  These people save everything.  You go to their house and they warehouses of things from the past.  This can be accounted for the times when they were younger they had nothing so they were taught to save.  Tom Brokaw called this generation the Greatest Generation.  Now that is arguable but they knew how to survive.  They had faith in times of trouble.  They were patriotic.  They had moral standards.  Unfortunately, they are also very racist.  Archie Bunkers, if you will.  Not giving them any excuses but their parents came out of the Civil War reconstruction period.  It is not right but is was part of their life.  The year 1945 is a new start because oddly enough it was the end of World War Two.  And the joke goes when the soldiers came home they weren't lonely anymore.  These people complain about everything.  They are all about change.  These are your hippies.  They got recycling programs and told the world about the environment.  They opened the way for civil rights.  But they abused drugs and changed traditional values.  They got rid of "right" and "wrong" and replaced it with "what is right for you may not be right for me", thereby getting rid of moral standards.  The year 1968 is picked is because Nixon was elected.  Now at first that sounds like these people were born under a bad sign.  But what it means tot he world is a change in the Cold War.  Nixon although having many problems opened the doors to talks with the Soviet Union and "Red" China.  There is not much positive news for this generation.  This is why they are called "X".  They feel like they have nothing.  They will run out of money by the time they retire.  They are out numbered and out gunned by the Boomers.  They weren't taught values and were raised to be spoiled, hence the Brat Pack.  And the year picked that started this new generation (1993) is the year Clinton became president, the year the Boomers took over politics (a sad day in history).  Their values became law.  This generation is being raised by people who have no idea how to be parents, so they decide not to get married.  Ever seen Maury Povich?  Guess who they are?  Generation Xers having Generation Y babies.
Anyway, why all of this?  Here is a conversation that went on the other day:
Gen X:  Why didn't you show up the other day?
Gen Y:  I texted you and told you I wouldn't make it.
Gen X:  Why couldn't you make it?
Gen Y:  My friend called and wanted me to go with him.
Gen X:  But you told me you were going to be there so I didn't make any other plans.
Gen Y:  What's your point?
Gen X:  When you tell somebody you are going to do something and then you change plans like that it's like you are breaking a promise.
Gen Y:  So, people do it to me all the time.
Here is the point.  We have raised a generation of people who aren't sorry for anything, who have no recognition of consequences, and who have no logical reasoning whatsoever.  All they care about is their stupid phone, video games, and hand outs.  They are unmotivated, uncompassionate, and zombiefied.
With each generation we have gotten worse and worse.  We have fallen away from faith.  We live for nothing anymore, so there is no fight for life.  We have lost sight of what truly matters.  Hard work and respect are no longer earned but expected for no reason.  We only live for ourselves today.  We shoot people because we can't get our way or feel picked on.  We think our ideas are always better and our opinions are more important than others.  The words punishment and discipline are now negative words.
We need to get back to being disciplined--- will power and trained, survival for the soul.
We need to get back to respect--- to get it, you need to earn it, work for it, an award for our soul.
We need to get back to standards--- something to live for, a guide for our soul.
And yes, no matter scoffers say, we need to get back to God--- something to believe in, to save our souls.
Please do not focus on the definitions of the generations because there is so much more that can be said about each.  Do not miss the point.  We have destroyed ourselves by slowly moving away from spiritual matters.  We have lessened what the Word says, and that includes what the Church does.  We have lost the true meaning of what a relationship with God is and that means we lose everything.
You can try and disprove this but before you try please read:

Monday, April 15, 2013

XCVI. Abortion's Slope vs. Ryan's Hope

Ask yourself this question before reading:  Where do you draw the line on abortion?
Former vice-presidential candidate of the doomed-before-it-got-started GOP 2012 campaign, Paul Ryan stated that he hopes to live in a world where abortion is not even a consideration.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/11/paul-ryan-abortion_n_3065932.html  Of course some of the media (actually only MSNBC) criticized the conservative senator for losing women's attention, respect, and possible votes.
Back in the 1970's when Roe v. Wade happened some argued that if we let abortion become legal then that would open the way for all kinds of abortions to happen.  Some of the opposing side used the argument that the conservative side was non-sense and stated:
  • all the court case did was allow a woman to choose for herself what to do with her body
  • abortion should be a constitutional right. 
  • no one would ever take it to the next level.
Since then we have things called late-term abortions.  Back in the early 1990's this was the new argument and both sides dug in again to state their case.  Again, the argument was that it could open the way for other issues of abortions to be allowed and on other side the same argument of all it did was allow a woman to choose for herself what to do with her body.  Then in the late 1990's we had what was called partial-birth abortions.  Same arguments.  Yet, here we are again and now we hear how of a doctor in Philadelphia has "aborted" babies that were outside the womb.
The slippery slope argument is not a defense anymore in this world.  The culture of the world has gotten so disgusting that the slopes have all vanished.  Abortions have gotten worse.  The court case has not saved women from back alley abortions like they say.  All it did was give precedent for more ways to be aborted.  It is not a legitimate defense against conservative values.  For in the past 40 years we have seen abortions go from unaccepted to protected by law to procedures being expanded to out right murder.  How can anyone argue against it now?  Easily, liberalism will find a way to rationalize what the doctor has done.  Once the baby is out it is not about the woman's body anymore.  But, watch.  The new argument will be about how in a world where health care is so hard to get that people will do drastic things this.
This though is where Mr. Ryan's hope comes in.  The problem actually is not with abortion.  It is with the culture that feels it is an option.  It is a culture that feels sex now, pay later.  A culture to where the only consequences are paid by someone else.  It would be a better world if abortion was not an option because people did the right things when it came to sexual practices.
If you can read these two articles from the links below and not feel the evils about abortion then you have no heart, no conscience, no soul.
Maybe we can finally open our eyes and see that abortion can be rationalized but not be rational.  It is murder.  Case closed.  Sooner or later someone will win a court case that allows someone to kill another based on the constitution.  Don't believe that?  Those who say this is just another slippery slope argument or that this will be an isolated case will only have to look at history to understand they are wrong.  The slippery slope has slipped down the slope.
Adoption...the only alternative choice.
For those who have had abortions, take heart, there is forgiveness.  God can heal the pain.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

XCV. Let No Man Put Asunder

8: The Mormon PropositionProposition 8, the California marriage law was passed by the citizens of California but has been appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States since it was passed by California a few years ago and the outcome was not accepted by those who opposed it.  Many of those opposed to the law blame of course the "religious right".  Does California even have a religious right?  A huge argument by some is that marriage is based in religion and that is why there are marriage laws.  But a question is raised that no one ever answers: who should be allowed to get married?  They want to answer but realize they can't.  Before that issue is tackled here are some other things we need to know about marriage.
  1. All cultures have a form of marriage.
  2. Not all marriages in history had to be sanctioned by the state.
  3. Ceremonies were not always used to "formalize" the union.
  4. There have been many types of marriages that have been allowed and many that have been banned by all cultures.
  5. It seems that all cultures have placed rules on marriages:
    • age, economic status, families, how many, race, religion
    • family obligations, succession, divorce, sexual actions
    • ceremonies, records
    • and yes...types of marriages
And since this seems to be universal then religion is not the only thing that creates marriage laws and traditions.  The culture as the whole in every historical society and age has decided what marriage is.  Cultures do this to allow for property rights, social boundaries, and for the continuation of their culture.  The culture decides what traditions and/or laws define marriage.  Yes, sometimes these cause what some may call discrimination.  Please see end of Thought to get full picture before criticism.
Now since the United States was founded on Christian values, not necessarily Christianity itself, there is a direct correlation between marriage laws and Biblical ideas.  However, the United States is even more strict than what the Bible says.  For instance, the Bible says you can not marry your sister but cousins are within your right.  The United States does not allow certain cousins.  The Bible does not limit the amount of how many wives a man can have, yet the United States bans many polygamous unions.  Although, it is implied in the Bible that it should be limited to just two people.  Adam and Eve are named for each other only.  All major Biblical figures have one person they are committed to.  Some have more than one marriage but they are committed to only one.  The Bible does allow for "civil unions", e.g., concubines, marriages for alliances, marriages not based on love, etc.  The United States though has not allowed civil unions, until the last few years.  So, to say that marriage laws are religious only is actually not the full story, inaccurate.  The government actually has had more influence than religion.  Maybe the government is the problem.
So why can't people answer the question, "who should be allowed to get married?"?  Well, due to our changing culture the question is one know one knows how to answer if one wants to be completely undiscriminating.

The question can be answered but many will not accept it or it will always be argued what the stipulations are.  Those who are for marriage equality of any sort can not answer it.  Because if they answer it what would they say?  Some would say that marriage should be allowed between any two consenting adults.  But, they can't because that would be hypocritical.  Here is why.  If you say "two" people, then why not three, or four people?  If you say "consenting", does that mean that people who have mental disabilities who may not understand the concept of marriage are not allowed?  Wouldn't that go against personal freedom?  If you say "adult", then what is an adult?  Here in the United States 18 is considered an adult, but in other countries, especially throughout history some 12 year olds were considered adults.  So, someone 17 years and 364 days old is not a consenting adult but one day later they are?  The problem with this answer is that as soon as they say two consenting adults, then discrimination happens.  They have placed rules on marriage.  Since this then would not be an answer that is viable then some would have to say that marriage should have to be completely open.  But they can not say this either because if they say that marriage should be completely open then the slippery slope becomes an actual slope.  Marriage has to be one or the other.  Either there has to be stipulations or it has to be completely open.
Here is the point every one needs to understand but many will not like.  Who created marriage?  God.  It is ordained by God.  It is defined by God.  But as always man takes what God had designed and makes their own rules.  One major rule is love each other faithfully.  Civil unions, which are different, should be allowed.  Marriage, by definition, is one man loving one woman.  Not by culture, not by race, not even by religion.  Let no man put asunder.

Friday, April 5, 2013

XCIV. It's the Culture

As Resurrection Sunday (Easter) was this past week many television stations chose to air movies and TV specials about the Crucifixion of Christ. The one that of course that is most notorious of our age is the Passion of the Christ. There is a scene in the movie that explains it all about our culture. Well, actually the Bible explains it all but in the day of electronics who is going to literally read pages?

The scene is when Pilate has given the choice to the Jewish people whom he would release to them as part of a tradition of releasing a prisoner for Passover. The two choices were Jesus of Nazareth or Barabbas. The crowd overwhelmingly chose to release Barabbas. To understand this story more and what it has to do with politics you have to look at the underlining themes. One thing neat about the Bible is the circular pattern of the writings. Hardly any verse or any part of the history can stand alone. The names of these two men we usually hear in Greek since most of the New Testament was written in Greek. Traditions, and the Hebrew translation, state the full names are actually Y'Shua Ha'Natzeret and Y'Shua Bar-Abba; Jesus the Nazarene and Jesus Barabbas, respectively. Oddly enough they had the same what we would call first name. Nazarene of course means the first Jesus was from Nazareth. But what does Barabbas mean in English? Bar means "son of", Abba means "father", or "God". So the choices that people had for release was Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Son of God.

Why is that important to the Church? Because metaphorically speaking the real Son of God was the one who people humiliated, punished, beaten, mocked, spit on, bruised, and ultimately crucified while the fake son of God was let go. The truth was sacrificed for what mankind thought was the truth. Too many times Biblical truth is sacrificed to be politically correct.

The same it is with today's truth. People think that what they feel is correct and just because others back their feelings up then they feel they are justified. They take the truth and beat it up. They stretch it. They bruise it. They mock it. The truth becomes the lie to them, while the actual lie lives on. Those who stick up for the truth are made to sound like they are idiots or bigots.   Liberalism in its modern form is the lie.
Church leaders have embraced this idea.  The idea that the Church should change due to the culture becoming more liberal is what is killing the Church.  The new way of thinking is "succumb" to the culture.  Don't say things that the culture doesn't want to hear because then they won't show up to church.  Well, no one is supposed to show up to church, the church is supposed to show up to them.  All the church cares about today are the numbers.  One of the first things we see in any church bulletin is the attendance number.  The church building is not for the lost, it is for the ones who already know Christ.  Christians are supposed to be witnesses---OUTSIDE the church building.  And sometimes that means going against the culture, staying true to the truth.  Acceptance of life actions, practices, and styles are now common.  This seems like it is the right thing to do but this is why the Bible says there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it only brings death.  Just because it seems like the right thing does not mean it is.  That does not mean compassion for those who are lost should be stopped, on the contrary, telling someone the truth is more compassion than letting someone live a lie and die in their sin.  Sometimes the truth hurts but the truth is what sets you free.  Stop accepting the lies of this world.  We need to change the culture.

Note:  This thought is also located at www.ideasoftim.blogspot.com but focuses on the political aspect of our culture.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

XCIII. Darkness of Light

Ever notice when the lights go off your demeanor changes?  The first thing we do is our eyes open wider.  We start feeling around for location.  You feel lost.  You waves your arms around looking for safety zones.  You feel blind.  Some even get a little fearful, perhaps all of us do.  But after a while we start to get used to the darkness.  The feelings we had just minutes earlier start to subside.  The darkness isn't that bad of a place after all.   The darkness doesn't seem like darkness anymore.  But then when the lights come on we react by shielding our eyes, hiding from the light, if you will.  The light now becomes scary.

Same it is with life.  People are living in darkness, yet they are used to it.  They do not know the fear of the dark anymore.  The darkness to them is no longer darkness.  This darkness is of course an analogy for sin.  At first when people start to sin or are old enough to realize they are sinning, they are scared to do it at first.  This is why when we are teenagers we are afraid to try things that we know our parents would not accept.  N o one picks up a needle and injects themselves fearlessly the first time they see it.  No one cheats on their spouses and feels great about it the first time.  Sin grows on you.  It becomes part of your life.  And the more you do the easier it is to accept it as part of you. 

But when someone comes by and shows us the light, Jesus Christ, we shun away from it.  The truth, when it hits us right in the face, hurts.  Some at that point will hide from the light and will never accept it.  They don't want to face the light because they have gotten used to living in darkness.  Others will hide in the shadows.  They see the light but do not know how to adjust to it.  And still some will open their eyes and notice how dark their lives were.

The younger generation today may not have ever even seen the light.  They have never step foot inside a church or have never been told what truth really is.  They think that what is around them is the only way to live.  Abuse, neglect, and all other kinds of relationship problems is all they know.  The sins of the world are common.  Nothing matters to them because all they have seen is darkness.  Their parents guard them from the light because they have shunned the light.

The good news is once light appears there is no darkness.  As Christians, we are the light.  Unfortunately, there are so many Christians living in the darkness of the world they do not know what the light is anymore.  They have allowed the world's rationalizations to become their doctrines.  The lies from this world have become accepted as "what is right for you may not be right for me".  There are things that are wrong to do in this world.  They always have been and they always will be.  Time does not change values, people do.
Be the light.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

XCII. Natural Rights

John Locke in the 17th Century said that all men have natural rights. There are two things that deal a blow to evolution with this statement.

1. Who gave them these rights? God did of course. Just being alive does not constitute power or freedom. A tree is alive but shares no power in this world, nor a fish, or bird. They can not speak. They can not reason. Therefore they can not know the difference. A fish will keep swimming. A tree will keep growing, and a bird will keep singing. Now mammals will show that they know the difference, yet they only have two responses, flight or fight. Love by a dog is actually the fight response. It stays and reacts to what is given to them. Humans are different. They can actually initiate the situation. They can respond, or not. They can reason, or not. They can speak. They have authority. Given by God. Yet to each fellow human they have responsibility, something else animals do not have. This responsibility means that some need protection from the powerful, hence rights.

2. What constitutes a human? At what point does man gain rights? Was it Neanderthal man? Was it Homo Erectus? Was it Australopithecus afarensis? Was it a primate of the first kind? Or was is algae? Is it fair to say since we all come from the same single cell organism that Homo sapiens are the only ones with natural rights? Yes. Because they are the only man created by God. The others are just figments of man's imagination (flawed science)they are not man; or they are just deformed humans (those who do not meet high standard visual desires of others).

Using science (deism and enlightenment) to show once again evolution is not a valid theory.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

XCI. The History of Man (Short Version)

Chapter OneThe Big Bang
Before there was anything there was nothing, absolutely nothing.  No time, space, or matter.  Then all of a sudden with one breath of an intelligent designer created everything.
Chapter TwoEvolution
The Intelligent Designer then started to design light and life.  With each new passing of the concept called "day" came a new design  Each day was now counted as time.  The idea of light came into fruition and was placed into the space.  Then life appeared from the earth.  Vegetation grew.  A food chain had been started.  Fruits, vegetables, and lush fields had been pulled from the waters.  Single-celled organisms pulsated and multiplied.  Then self-propelled life formed.  First came the fish from the waters, then birds from the air, then reptiles from the slime, and then mammals from the dust.  Finally a design called man also appeared from the dust of the earth but had within it the essence of the Designer which gave it the ability to survive and be the fittest.  This man was naturally selected to be the leader of all matter.  The whole design was completed and came from matter.  All of the known designs for science was now ready for studying.  Everything that can be discovered was placed into motion.
Chapter ThreeRevolution
Man saw the design and wanted more than just being the leader.  It wanted more.  It wanted to be more like the Designer.  It rebelled.  All the fruits and lush fields would now have to have a price to pay before man could attain some.  The Revolution failed.  Many now saw the Designer as a dictator and stopped following Him.  There has been revolution ever since, each one fails.  No one is perfect.
Chapter Four. A Brave New World
With the revolution came many changes.  Fields dried, man lied, woman cried, paradise died.  Years passed and things just got worse.  The Designer (dictator) chose one of the men and decided to redesign some things.  Although He kept the same design he allowed some changes.  The man he chose took all of the remaining life forms into a huge boat; some were perhaps babies.  Unfortunately, some had already been killed when the revolution happened.  Land shifted, waters crushed, bones were buried, debris floated.  Man was given a second chance to live in a brave new world.  But man would not listen to the Designer again.
Chapter FiveGeneology
One family whose father was a man named Abraham stayed close to the Designer and His design.  Because of this man's faihfulness a promise to bring man back to the Designer was given.  A nation born out of faithfulness was brought forth to save the world from it's arrogant pride.  But even this nation fell into the same pattern that all other nations had.  Even though this nation would falter, the promise to save mankind would still be fulfilled.  But many would not listen.
Chapter Six Pax Romana
Time went on, nations rose and fell.  Then on a quiet night, a young woman gave birth and the promise came into fruition.  The Designer sent a piece of Himself to His design.   The baby grew in wisdom and stature.  When He became a man He taught of love, healed those who were broken, forgave the sinners.  He lived perfectly, but died humbly, and yet resurrected regally.  Even as the world mocked Him, He laid down His life and bled so the world could be forgiven.  He was tortured.  He was bruised.  He was beaten.  He was spit upon.  All for love of His father.  He was the Son of God, yet, many still did not listen.  Even though the ultimate act of love was demonstrated mankind refused to listen.  Instead, man tried to explain it with gnosticism, man tried to forget it during the dark ages, man tried to change it during the Renaissance, but the act of love remained the same.
Chapter SevenGrowing Pangs
The world now, since it rejected the Son, is going through growing pangs.  Man hates man due to arrogance and ignorance.  Man kills man through war and stupidity.  Man destroys the environment through negligence and greed.  Man eliminates animals through insensitivity and sport.  Man thinks he is the new designer and distorts the original idea of the design.  Man blames the original Designer, still thinking He is a dictator and creates new rules saying the design is outdated.  Man hates dictator and still mocks the Son.  Matter is trying to show man that time is ending but man will not listen.  Time is showing man that matter will not last.  The rest as they say is history.  It repeats itself.  Man still denies the Designer.  And even now blames the Designer for all of the problems that man has created.  Man finds excuses about God and the relationship we are to have with Him.  God will soon finish His design and the pattern that He had thought of before time.
Chapter EightSecundo Adventu Veniens
On another quiet night perhaps, the Son will return.  Jesus Christ will return and all those who listened to real history will go with Him to a new Paradise.
The End.

Monday, January 28, 2013

XC. Under Whose Authority?

Parents and teachers are the two most influential in a child's life.  Yet parents aren't being parents and doing what they are supposed to be doing and teachers are limited in what they can do and are being more limited year by year.

For years we create objects for children's brain to be stimulated so we add noise to toys.  We add color.  We add movement.  And what do we get?  A child with ADD placed him on medicine and wonder what is wrong with the child.  We sit kids down in front of a television and don't monitor what is on and they watch things full of violence.  We buy them video games about shooting people and quick gratification.  They get shot and they get lives and rebooted.  We let them play for hours without intervening.  What do we get?  Mass shootings and vain acts of infamy.  We tell them to think for themselves and to stand up for themselves and what do we get?  Sass mouths and disobedience.  We make excuses and say they are going to do things anyway so we tell them to wear a condom and what do we get?  STDs and unwanted pregnancies.
Now that the homes have failed what have we done?  Let the schools deal with it.   Teachers are now told that they have to use a method called differentiation in class.  This method calls for each student to basically have their own plan for leaning.  The teacher has to have different lessons for each individual student to meet their learning needs.  Although this seems fair and serves the child, in the end it defeats the purpose.  No job allows each individual to work in their own way.  They have to learn the basics.  Now if the student wants extra work to learn other ways about a subject, then it should be up to that student to put effort and time into it on their own accord.  Teachers are not allowed to reprimand students anymore.  Cellphones are rapid.  Clothing is tattered and disrespectful for the classroom and the individual.  Administrations are weak and cater to loud mouth parents whose child disrupts the whole system.  Teachers are blamed for the results.  But instead of fixing any problem we tell the teachers that we need to allow the students to make decisions.
But we see their decisions; they are the same unmotivated, selfish, focused on sex, Facebook hampered, systematically pampered, and confused decisions they made in their home life. Their decisions cause them to be overly dramatic. They react based on emotions. They end up in situations that hurt their futures, full of regret. They do not know how to think ahead. They do not know what rational thinking is about.
For years states, teacher's unions, school boards, and even national governments have been running schools and what the mode of teaching is at any given time. The pendulum swings all the time but the axis it swings on it tilted...left.
It is time someone stood up and said STOP!  It is time parents become parents and take back authority from their child.  It is time teachers were given back their authority in the classroom.  Children should be not in control of this world.  Children do not know how to think for themselves.  They need guidance.  They need structure.  They need discipline.  Most of all everything mentioned here has to have a higher authority to set the standard.  Yup...God.

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