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Sunday, December 14, 2014

CIX. What happens when you take Christ out of Christmas?

Watching television, seeing all the commercials.  Walking at the local Walmart, Kohl's, and Meijer, seeing all the ads and displays.  Listening to the radio and hearing about the "holiday season" and how we should start planning on events.  Each one of these hammered with hints of competition.  And the worse thing, it was two days before Thanksgiving.  Why have we taken such a time of hope and relations of kin and have turned into such a competitive, anti-Christian, free-for-all event?  The word "season" used to mean a special time set aside for making memories and the collectiveness of sharing our lives and dreams together.  But now it just means beat everybody to the punch, in more ways than one.  Somehow, somewhere the true meaning (yes, a cliche) of Christmas has been lost.  No more wishing anyone a heartfelt "Merry Christmas" for fear of offending people.  No more Christmas carolers walking the streets perhaps for the same fear, or because it takes time away from shopping, or maybe even perhaps because no one feels safe in their neighborhoods. Christmas parties at work are now held in bars and after hours instead of taking time to celebrate with each other at work.  Lights on homes have been replaced with overgrown inflatable lawn decorations.  No more down home, silent nights filled with hugs and baking cookies.  Even churches have to put on elaborate plays to try and show the community how "hip" they are to bring people in instead of just sharing the Gospel and being examples of what we should be.  In all of these things one thing is missed.  The word Christ is still there.  But by our actions we would never know it, except atheists (who probably still celebrate it though).

If you take Christ out of Christmas you are left with "mas", the Spanish word for "more".  This is exactly what happens in our lives when we take Christ out of it, or out of anything for that matter..   Yes, this is a play on words but the premise and thought behind the words still remain true.  There are two ways you could look at it. 

  1. When we take Christ out, then at Christmas all people want is mas; more.  They want the best products. They want the most expensive products (at the cheapest price, nevertheless), and they want more products.  All in the name of love; love that is bought or earned.  Throughout the year they could have had these products but choose to wait to fulfill the hole left in their hearts during this time of year.  And that brings us to the second point.
  2. When we take Christ out, then all people can do is want more.  When they finally realize that the gifts that they bought are opened and shunned losing their hype just a few days later they have to start building up their own hype again only to feel the same way one year later. They are left empty in life and wonder why the Christmas season was not as cheery as it should have been.
People have to understand what the season is all about.  It's not about getting the most, or the best, out of life.  It's also not about cookies or carols.  It's about having hope.  It's about love, but not one that is bought with money, but bought by blood.  This celebration is here to remind us that we can't do it on our own.  One was born into this world to give us all we need.  The gifts are extra.

Merry Christmas, with no strings attached, or regrets...

Monday, June 9, 2014

CVIII. The Wrong Message is Being Sent

This picture has been going around social media for a while now.  And although the idea behind the picture seems admirable and is laden with truth there is one big problem with it.  The wrong message is being sent while the real message is being missed.

The message being sent by this is that men are the cause of all sexual crimes, sexual dysfunctions, and sexual misconduct. This is misleading and actually hurts the case of a young female's insecurity about her body rather than helping it.

Before the argument and name calling starts let's get things straight first.  Men should be taken by their fathers and taught how to treat a female with all respect, honor, and value.  Are males sexist for looking at females and treating them as objects instead of humans?  Yes.  Should males be taught not to "over-sexualize" female body parts? Yes.  Is using "boys will be boys" a horrible excuse for allowing males to get away with their behavior?  Yes.  Is it right to judge a female based on what she wears and thereby treating her as though she has less value in life?  No.  Is it right for males to get away with rape based on a female's appearance?  No.  That seems to be the main points of the message but does this picture tell the whole story?  No.

The missing message is that we have a problem with our culture in general.  The problem with the message of this picture is that it does not train a young girl in how to become a respectable woman.  It only shows and tells her how to stand up against certain practices.  But it doesn't show how to do it in a right way.  It tells a girl to become rebellious only.  As if saying, "go ahead wear things that show your body in a way that is self-disrespecting in order to show a point".  That is not the right thing to do.  Young women should be taught to respect their bodies enough to be modest about it.  Young women should be taught to dress professionally in the work place.  And a s a younger woman going through her pubescent years should not be taught to flaunt it just because you have it.  Bottom line is if you do flaunt it then do not expect complete respect from young men.  This sign just shows how corrupted our society has come when it cares more about the freedom to show your skin than to learn how to respect yourself.  The dress code by schools is meant to keep this kind of drama out of the learning place and should be taught at home.  But parents are not doing their job.

Our culture needs to change.  Our culture needs morals again.  Okay, liberals, feminists go ahead and take all of this out of context and try to mock morality and call this chauvinistic and ancient thinking.  But if you do at least be courteous and uncowardly and let everyone know where you reposted this.

Monday, March 3, 2014

CVII. Legalizing Marijuana

A couple of years ago the question about the legalization of marijuana was asked on the sister site that deal with politics that is now in hiatus.  California (who else) got the ball started with the process of legalizing it.  Back in November Colorado became the latest battleground.  And on the day that it became legal thousands of people flocked to the state to buy their share.  Of course they probably never thought about the fact that they had to smoke it there because you can not take illegal substances across the state line.  But they are pot heads so they probably were not able to think about that anyway.  This time the question is based more on the morality of the issue.  What do we do with marijuana?  Do we treat it like coffee and cigarettes?  Do we treat it like alcohol and medical drugs?  Or do we treat it like cocaine and heroine?  After all everything that has been listed here is still a drug and "has its purpose".  But where is the line drawn about it usage?  The answer to the poll is repeal the laws, create new ones that put a huge restriction on it.  Here are the actual results to the poll about the legalization of marijuana:

  • 17 % said, It was about time, even for recreational use.
  • 4% said, It was needed to stop drug lords/crime.
  • 17% said, Medical use only.
  • 21% said, It's no big deal. It's just like alcohol.
  • 17% said, It needs to be monitored VERY strictly.
  • 21% said, It needs to be repealed.

  • Some Christians think it should be legalized for the following reasons (none of which are valid nor rational):  it takes the money power out of the equation, we can't force our morality on others since we have free will, or there is nothing wrong with it.  Pathetic answers.  It won't take the money out of it since now they can get away with bringing a lot more into the country and will have a bigger market.  Plus they will just move on to harder drugs to sell and then what do we do with those drugs?  There is something wrong with it.  Anytime we put things into our body that alter who we are is wrong.  Medical reasons?  Fine, then put it in a pill and get a real prescription for it.  Some will argue that alcohol kills more brain cells that marijuana, but that is like saying could you please only cut two of my fingers off instead of three.  It still kills.  Some will say it is not that addictive.  The government says it is but some psychologist are on the fence:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-teenage-mind/201012/is-marijuana-addictive.  Think about it.  If it is a drug that people feel the need to fight for then guess what?  If they took coffee off the market, people would fight for it.  If they took soft drinks of the market...hmmm, New York. 

    So what about the third reason Christians would agree about it?  We shouldn't create laws that force people to listen to a moral issue?  There are laws against us all the time and they don't hurt anyone.  Is there a two-way street here?  But perhaps there is truth about creating a law against it.  If it illegal then people due to their disobedient nature will want to try it.  Restricting it won't reduce the usage of it.  Look what happened to alcohol.  Either way there are alcoholics.  Same with marijuana.  There will be people using it no matter what.  And that brings us to the main issue.

    Actually the main issue isn't should we legalize it or not.  The issue is why are people feeling the need to have it.  And the answer to that is because our society is immoral.  We feel the need to live in fantasy worlds.  We can't take reality so we escape it.  We live in a world that only cares about feeling good instead of doing good.  If we look at those who support the legalization we get a better picture at how dumb it is to do so:  http://www.pinterest.com/theinsider/celebs-who-support-marijuana-legalization/.  Most on the list are unrespectable people living questionable lives.  Don't judge?  It is not a matter of judging.  It is a matter of knowing right from wrong.

    But here is the main problem with legalization.  If no one is held accountable then people can use it recreationally at their leisure.  Doctors, pilots, teachers, bus drivers, presidents (wait, never mind) will be coming to work more high.  Without any boundaries the children of today are bot going to know the difference between helping your body or abusing your body.  And then we will wonder why so many kids want to commit suicide and feel they have no purpose in life.  Not all marijuana users will use cocaine and heroin.  But all heroin and cocaine users started with marijuana.  Fact.  We are now getting to a point where it is becoming more and more accepted as part of our culture.  Nothing seems to bother us anymore.  As a teacher there are signs everyday of the culture inside the schools that show lack of motivation for anything in life.  And marijuana is usually a part of those kinds of students' lives.  Nice future we have built for them.

    Until the culture changes, until we can turn people's thoughts around, until we can get people to understand that there are consequences for all of our actions, until we get society to believe in hope again, marijuana should remain illegal, or at least come with many restrictions.  And Christians, do what is right.

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

    CVI. The Great Debate

    On February 4, 2014 the debate of our times took place in Petersburg, Kentucky.  A modern version of the Scopes Trial, if you will took, place between Bill Nye, an American student of science and educator and television personality and Ken Ham, an Australian student of science and founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum.  It was cordial with both sides addressing each other with respect and allowed each side to completely have their own time.  The debate was of course between evolution and creation and focused on the topic of "can creationism be considered viable science?".  That calls to mind the poll that was taken here a few months ago and that basically describes what the actual underlying topic was about.  Can God be proven?  Here are the results:
    • 50% said Yes. But faith is also needed with science.  This is the correct answer.  Faith and science can go hand in hand.  They were never meant to be opposite of each other.  But the problem is in today's world as Ken Ham stated in the debate the world has drawn a wedge between them and makes it look like they can not coexist (paraphrased).  Science was created by God, i.e., He set laws in motion.  Gravity, speed of light, elements, and life forms were all from Him.  Our faith tells us more though.  Science we use to prove things.  Faith we use beyond what we can prove.
    • 12% said Faith is all you need to prove God.  This being a Christian site and many of the followers are Christian makes it simple to understand many would pick this option.  But this is a biased opinion and in not viable to "prove" God.  Faith is all you need to see God but not to prove the physical existence of Him, especially since He is spirit.
    • 6% said Yes. He left scientific evidence for us.  If this was the case then all would believe.  Yes, there is a lot of evidence that points to a Creator (more later for that point) but some things it takes the spirit of God to understand.
    • 0% said No. Science refutes God.  Absolutely not.  The only ones who would say this are those who have been blinded by their own humanism thinking they have enough intelligence for the whole world, while not admitting it.  Those who would have chosen this option try to make believing in God a matter of rationality.  As in if you believe in God then you are not a reasonable person.
    • 0% said Doesn't matter.  Then why the debate? Why is faith and science always clashing.  Why do people get so offended and uptight when discussing these two topics at the same time?  If anyone picked this one it's because they do not care about anything.  If you do not care about where you came from then you would not care about what you are doing or where you are going.
    • 12% said Not sure. Understood.  This topic for those who are neither strong in their faith nor rely upon scientific fact will look at both sides and struggle with it.
    • 18% said Other.  These people are crazy.  What would be a 3rd option?  They won't be back to read this anyway.
    Bill Nye and many others have a hard time with the faith part.  This biggest obstacle it seems is finding evidence without the Bible or using any faith.  One of his major points that he kept coming back to was how he "as a reasonable" man can see how creation is a viable theory to how we got here.  What people like him do not understand is that when they try and use reason they they themselves are using their own personal faith.  All they do is replace creationism with humanism.  They rely upon man's fallibility to explain an infinite universe.  In the debate he brought up how the universe shows signs of being older than the what a literal interpretation of Genesis says.  For example:  How could  light from a planet that is 13 light years away be seen by human eyes if we have only been in existence for 6000 years?  Here is where faith comes.  But, it will be foolish to those who try to disprove God.  When God created Adam, He created him fully developed, not as a child.  Adam was a man with a fully developed body, brain, and could take care of himself.  If there was a doctor and would have been able to do an operation on him he would have found that Adam would have appeared to be a man of maturity even though he was only 1 day old.  The same it was with the universe.  God created the universe with all the laws of science in place.  The first words were "Let there be LIGHT".  And light was everywhere throughout the universe, in place, spread out farther than we will ever know, even perhaps passed the 13.4 billion light years we assume.  Was there a big bang?  Sure.  Out of nothing, in one split second all that we know and beyond came into being already in place and fully developed.  This was one of the main points Bill Nye could not answer when questioned.  What was it before the big bang.  He said, he did not know.  There is the most compelling evidence for a Creator.  Something had to start the big bang.  There had to be something before there was all of this.
    The one thing that Bill Nye could not do during the debate was refute the existence of God.  And no scientific study nor any scientists will ever be able to do that.  At one point in the debate he argues the Bible and its authority calling it an ancient book.  Funny how he and his like rely on other old things but not this one.  Arguing against God may not have been the topic but rest assuredly it was one of his goals:
    This is not to say that Ken Ham is correct on everything.  However, since he does not deny the existence of a Creator then his starting place in finding all the right answers has more authenticity.  It is when he adds his own personal feelings and ideas that it becomes no better than the secular sceince field.

    Science should be embraced.  The scientific method can and should be used when all possible.  But when there are no answers that science has to offer and an ancient book has aldready been written years before any scientific discovery had been made explains it all then that is where faith comes in.
    For more about evolution and a more accurate understanding of creationism, read the following Thoughts:

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

    CV. Timing is Everything

    After Jesus had stayed with the woman and the Samaritans while He was on his way back to Galilee, He went to Cana.  This was the place where He had turned water into wine and was considered His first miracle.  As He got to the city an official had gone to him and begged for Jesus to come back to Capernaum to heal his son, who was close to death.  At first when we read His response it almost sounds like Jesus was unwilling or even quite sarcastic in His answer when He says, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe".  But it was not because He was unwilling for we later read He healed the young boy, but it was because He did not want to only be known as a miracle worker.  The story though seems to have a deeper meaning as all things of the Spirit does.
    To the man whose son was "close to death" the world was about to end.  If his son died there would be no doubt that the man would have mourned and might have never came back from the sorrow that many people go through after loved ones have passed away.  But this is not the point.  To the nobleman it was the proverbial 11th hour.  Time to him was almost at the end.  He was ready to quit and give up because all that he knew was about to end.  But as we read Jesus said, "Go, your son lives."  And when the man got back home he found his son alive and well.  Again this is not the point.  When he asked the people around when it happened they answered him, "At one in the afternoon."  In Hebrew that would mean the 7th hour.
    Many people believe that the Bible is full of numerology and perhaps there is something there to make a connection.  But what is there is unmistakeably a spiritual symbolic meaning of numbers.  The difference between the two is that numbers do not bring spirituality like numerology suggests.  Jesus uses numbers to show He is in control.  The number seven is huge, a sign of God's perfection.  And in the case of the young boy being healed, Jesus had a plan.  To the nobleman, the 11th hour was at hand.  Death, destruction, despair was all around.  All was lost.  But when he found Jesus, Jesus made it the 7th hour.  He gave hope, He restores, He gave life.  Because He works in His time.
    Sometimes in our lives we try to tell God what to do and if we don't get what we want then God either hates us, is not a fair and just God, or He must not be real.  It is during those times we feel desperate, stressed, insecure, and worried about life.  But we don't realize this is His world.  It's His plan.  And sometimes we just have to wait for His timing.  This doesn't mean that bad things will not happen.  Death will still occur.  Trials and tribulations will enter our lives.  But if we hold onto faith then it never has to be teh 11th hour.  God has the final say.  With God it is always the 7th hour.
    In times when the 11th hour is upon us, pray to God to show you the 7th hour and His peace will come upon you and replace all your burdens, if you let Him.

    Friday, January 3, 2014

    CIV. Christmas No More

    It is now after Christmas.  Taking down the Christmas decorations is always a rough thing to do.  As each item comes down another memory is brought back to the forefront of the mind.  Some memories bring tears of joy and others bring tears of heartache.  Lately, it seems there are more tears of heartache.  It's just not the same anymore.  Christmas used to be a "season" and now it has been reduced to barely a day.  Christmas Day used to be filled with excitement to see the joy of people opening gifts of love and now it is a day filled with the joy of seeing which electronic device was on sale.  It used to be "Merry Christmas" and now it is "Happy Holidays".  It used to be a time when people took time out of their schedule to go and spread their love for others by singing on porch steps and sitting by fires telling each other their histories and how much they care for each other and now there is no more time to share because of all the running around we have to do to keep the stores in the black.  There used to be parties of celebration in peoples' homes and now there are just small get-togethers at bars after work.  It used to be for family gatherings, but the family has broken down and kids have to make choices about which parent to spend time with.  No more going to through the woods to grandma's house.  It's not the thought of the gift that counts anymore.  There used to be 12 days of Christmas and now it is a day of the Christmas Story 24 hours on TBS, the one not starring Jesus Christ.  Although there is still the Grinch and Rudolph, there is no more Nestor the long-eared donkey and only an abridged version of Charlie Brown.  No one cares about innocence, only tolerance.  No one cares about sacrifice, only merchandise.  No one cares the cares of others, only their own pride.  No one is willing to let go of their anger for even one day let lone for a whole season.  I guess it is too tough. 
    Perhaps the reason why it brings less happiness than it did in the past is because it is a reminder of how we get older and realize that another year has gone by.  Another year of wasted chances.  Chances to help people.  Chances to change people's lives.  Chances to say the right things to people like I love you or I am sorry.  Those chances you may never get again.  Pride has gotten in the way of compassion.  Christmas was always a time for the world to come together and put away its differences, at least in the Christian world.  But the Christian has lost its place in this world or should it be said has given up its place in this world and much of this is our fault.  Instead of stranding for values, we laid down for value.
    A friend once said that the reason for the gloom is because it is really not the date of Jesus' birth.  But maybe it is more of the attitude of the human race.  We don't care about each other anymore.  All we care about is ourselves.  Not just Christians but the whole world.  Is it better to be politically correct or to wish someone good cheer?  Why has the meaning been lost?  Where is the season?
    The true meaning of Christmas is about hope, peace, and love.  But it was meant for than just one day.  The new year is here, why not start over today and make the meaning last all year, after all the love of Christ is for everyday not just one.

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