Monday, September 28, 2015
We can have a lot of gods in our lives, but they all hinge on that one: the god of me. We have turned into such a me, me, me society. Everything is all about making me feel good, pleasing me, what makes me happy.
Worship and church has ceased to be God-centered, but is instead about what makes us happy, how we feel. We approach worship and church attendance like going to Baskin Robbins Ice Cream.... we pick whatever flavor makes us happiest
Our marriages are falling apart because two self-centered people marry and are more concerned about what makes the god of me happy, then truly loving their spouse unselfishly like God would have them do.
Pleasure makes the god of me happy, so we have affairs, look at porn, smoke, drink, spend our money the way we want to spend it. Whatever makes us happy is what matters.
We claim to love God and want to serve Him, but the god of me wants sexual pleasure, so we overlook verses in the Bible that say sex with another of the same gender is sinful and put our wants and needs before God.
We selfishly hoard our time to do what we want to do: TV, sports, books, shopping, playing video games, playing on our computers and smart phones, while ignoring a world going to hell around us. After all, the god of me needs "me time".
We try to be first in line, we try to find the closest parking place, we want served and waited on as fast as possible when shopping and eating out and get impatient if we have to wait a few extra minutes.
The god of me doesn't like to wait for anything. It wants fed now, it wants sex now.... not after marriage. The god of me is happiest in a fast food, drive through society as long as he doesn't have to wait in line at that drive through.
It has become all about us. But that isn't the way of the Bible, and not what God wants. Jesus said the first shall be last and the last shall be first. He said if we want to be great in His Kingdom, we are to be servants.
I am no wise man, and never claim to be one..... but I wonder if that is the problem in so many people's lives. I wonder if that is the reason for so many failed marriages, broken homes, addictions, foreclosures, bankruptcies, crime, spiritual problems, and a host of other problems: We all have gotten so used to making ourselves happy that it influences everything in our lives from the way we worship to how we love and treat our spouses.
If we had the heart of a servant, if we loved others as we love ourselves, if we put others first and crucified the god of me, what a difference it could make in our lives. But the god of me isn't easily dethroned, and lives on in way too many hearts of even the most faithful of church attendees.
God help me to stop bowing to the god of me, and to concentrate on what God wants for me in every area of my life. That is the way He said to do it, after all.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
But what if the Bible is wrong? What if it is a book of fairy tales put together by men and isn't the Word of God?
I recently had someone insist that the Bible is a book of fairy tales, that it is full of errors and contradictions, and that man wrote it, so it is man's ideas. I have been thinking about this, and I respectfully disagree.
When you grow up in the church as I did, it is easy to believe everything Mom and Dad, the preacher, and your Sunday School teacher say. You just take their word for it when they say something, and everything is just hunky dory.
And then you become an adult. You get out on your own and encounter other ideas and philosophies. You can't ride the coat tails of Mom and Dad's religion anymore, but have to forge out your own belief system and your own relationship with God. You may encounter someone telling you the things about the Bible I have recently been told. You may encounter people telling you God isn't real, and more. And that is when the rubber meets the road. Do you truly believe what you have been taught for years? Is this God truly real to you, or will you be persuaded that He isn't real, and the Bible is just something man came up with?
So here is what I believe about the Bible:
1) It is the inspired and inerrant Word of God.
2) Man did indeed write the Bible, but were inspired by God what to write.
3) The Bible, God's Word, is still applicable for today and whatever we face in life. It has the answers to whatever we need.
4) God is powerful enough and knows everything and is more than capable to see to it that His Word could survive thousands of years of translating, copying, and more and still say what He wants it to say and be what He wants it to be.
5) No matter how inconvenient the truths therein, they are still truth and the Word of God.
6) Yes, the Bible says in both the Old and new Testaments that homosexuality is a sin, and that anyone who engages in that sin will not go to Heaven.
7) And yes, abortion is murder and condemned as sin by the same Bible.
8) I believe the Bible should be read daily, but not as something to just check off a list, or as a way to gain favor with God, but instead as a way to grow in our relationship with God and to have Him speak.
9) I believe it is better to read one verse and get help and truth from it, then to read a chapter or two and walk away with nothing other than feeling we did our Christian duty for the day.
10) I believe all of mankind will be judged some day by how we lived in according to the words in the Bible.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Do I park over the line to my left so I am parked at the normal space between parked cars, or do I park in between the parking lines leaving a huge space between my car and the car beside me? If I park between the lines like you normally would, will that cause people to look at my car and wonder why I left such a large amount of space between my car and the car beside me? If I straddle the line as the car did to my left so I am parked at a normal distance from them, what will the car that parks on my right do? Will they also straddle the line? And the next car and the next until no one is parking in between the lines because of car #2?
After a few seconds of pondering the options, I did as I have done the other mornings I was presented with this dilemma: I parked within the lines, which left a large amount of space between myself and the car on the left.
And then God spoke to me. He does do that occasionally.
Life can be difficult when you're serving God and going against the world. It can be like swimming upstream. I know what is right. I know what the Bible says, but so many around me are going the opposite way, even those who call themselves Christians are going with what the world, society, and culture says is OK, right or wrong, and normal. Sometimes a Christian can wonder if we truly have it right..... are we correct in living our lives by what the Bible says? Should we stand firm against the tide of even Christians who are going with what the world says is right?
I am reading through a book called a 40 Days to Lasting Change, an AHA Challenge, based on a book by the same author, Kyle Idleman titled AHA: The God Moment That Changes Everything. In the chapter I read last night, he relayed a fictional story by H.G. Wells about a man who stumbled onto a village where all of the people were blind. He fell in love with a girl after living there for a while, but the villagers would not accept him as normal or OK unless he had an operation to remove his eyes, He agreed to do so, and took a walk to see the world around him one last time. As he walked, he realized how insane the idea was for him to be blinded, and fled the village. The author made the point that the story is like the world. The world is blind to what is truly right and wrong, blind to God and what He wants, and blind to the fact that they are marching in direct defiance to His plan and wishes....... and yet, they look at those who can see as freaks. They want us to blind like them, to not see right and wrong for what they are, and to be blind to God and His Word.
And that is what God spoke to me early this morning as I backed into a parking place at work and parked inside the lines. That just because everyone else is trying to straddle the lines - changing what is right and wrong - does not mean I am wrong for not doing the same. It just means I need to keep doing what I know is right, keep living for God, keep standing against the things that are being thrown at us and the demands for us to go along with what the world wants.
Many who profess to be Christians are straddling the lines instead of staying inside the lines. They are going along with the world instead of going with what God's Word says.
But God help me to not care about man's opinions, to not worry what others will think when I remain determined to see, and not be blinded.
If I had straddled the line this morning to be like the person beside me, it wouldn't have caused any damage to my soul or my influence....... but if I decide to straddle the lines of morality, of right and wrong, and let myself become blind to make the world happy.... then I will do damage to my soul, my relationship with God, and to my reputation.
So with God's help, I will continue to stay inside the lines, and ask for His help to continue to see in this world full of so many blind people.
In the country of the blind, those who can see are mocked and looked on as being wrong and freaks. The blind want those who can see to be like them, to have no eyesight and also be blind.
Monday, September 21, 2015
This is a verse that has given me hope and a much needed boost many times in my life. There were times I was so deep in depression and discouragement that I read this "out of context" verse every night for weeks.
I tend to read a lot from the New Living Translation and the Holman Christian Standard Bible. They render the verse like this:
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (NLT)
For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (HCSB)
OK, so does God not know the plans He has for ME? Of course He knows the plans He has for me.
Are the plans He has for me not good? Are they for my disaster? Of course His plans are good for me and not for disaster. Bad things may happen to me, but as a Christian I believe He knows what is best and will work good out of bad.
Does God not want to give me a future and hope? Dumb question. Of course God wants to give me a future and hope.
So then why is this verse a problem for so many people? Granted, some verses render the verse that God wants to prosper, but even then I don't take the Joel Osteen approach, but I tend to think of spiritually, not financial, but I rarely read a version that renders it prosper, so that isn't an issue for me.
But then these people bring up context, and talk about the verses that follow this:
12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
If we pray, He will listen. I don't think that applied to just Israel. It applies to all of us.
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Hmm, that sounds like it would apply to us today also.
Ah, verse 14 could be a problem. "I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes." Well, that part of the verse has actually given me hope also for reasons I won't go into here. And you could even spiritualize the last part of the verse, "I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
A person can easily get carried away going through the Bible discarding verses that they don't believe apply to us today, but were only speaking to a specific people of that time. People do it with the verse that says it is a shame for a man to have long hair. That is one argument the pro-gay theology people use.... male prostitution was a problem at the time the New Testament verses were written saying homosexuality is a sin. We scoff at those who say that, yet we should be careful to not do the same with other verses.
The Bible says all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, and instruction in righteousness. That includes Jeremiah 29:11.
There are promises throughout the Bible, who though some may claim were aimed at a certain people, can be examined and still apply for us today because of God's character and His promise that He doesn't change. If He promised the Israelites that He had a plan for them, a future, and a hope.... then that same God can do the same for us today.
If there are those who disagree, let them disagree and leave me alone. The verse has given me and countless other Christians hope down through the ages. And we all need hope.
Friday, September 18, 2015
1) There should be a law against making flog lights on cars so bright that they equal or surpass high beams
2) If Kim Davis belonged in jail for not upholding something that wasn't a law, doesn't Obama belong in jail for refusing to uphold immigration laws and the Defense of Marriage Act? After all, he vowed to uphold the laws and Constitution when he was sworn in.
3) And do the same people who say Kim Davis should just have resigned say Obama should resign if he doesn't want to enforce things that actually are laws?
4) After all of his pro-Muslim statements and actions and his anti-Christian statements and actions, how can anyone doubt Barack Obama is indeed a Muslim....especially after this horrible Iran deal?
5) Why do so many laws for car automobile drivers not apply to motorcyclists? And why is it our responsibility to watch out for them when they are the ones driving an unsafe vehicle? Shouldn't they bear most of the responsibility and drive safer?
6) Why do truckers insist on passing a vehicle that it takes them forever to get around, meanwhile they have several cars behind them waiting for them to get out of the way.
7) Isn't liberal logic an oxymoron?
8) How can anyone support Hillary Clinton after all of the scandals she has had and the obvious corruptness that oozes out of her very pores?
9) Donald Trump is a bully, a jerk, egotistical, and has some of the same traits I dislike in Obama.......why would I want to vote for him?
10) Why do women need make up, redder lips, raccoon eyes, etc. to make them supposedly look better.... and men need nothing to make us look better.....though some men seem to be so ugly they cover their face up with a beard......
11) I'd like Fall a lot better if it wasn't for the fact it is followed by winter.
12) All lives matter. Why is that statement offensive?
13) I sincerely believe Obama as the first black president could have made this country better, united it, helped any racist divides that exist, and gone down as one of the greatest presidents ever..... but instead he has divided this country, focused on his agenda, helped stir up hatred towards police and white people, and sunk this country further in debt.
14) I wonder if the same churches that boycotted theaters for showing Brokeback Mountain also boycotted the ones showing 50 Shades of Grey.
15) It may sound crazy, but I believe Obama is a Muslim plant, and his actions and words over his presidency give that idea merit.
16) I feel Christians have for too long and too easily surrendered our religious freedoms to judges, the government, and atheists and we should have stood up against them.
17)It is beyond bizarre and idiotic that believing in the "right" to kill a baby in the womb is the litmus test for true femininity and women's rights in this country, and that liberal women won't even listen to a woman who is not for butchering babies in the womb.
18) I would rather go my whole life living as if there was a God and be wrong, than to live my life as if there was no God and be wrong.
19) If a Muslim wanted to infiltrate the country by becoming president and try to weaken America, help out our enemies, offend our allies, destroy our economy and freedoms, and make us more vulnerable to attacks by cutting our military, cutting our defense budget..... is there anything different such a person would do than Obama has done?
20) It is sad that people will believe in big foot, aliens, and believe that our country made a deal with aliens to get technology, yet not believe the Bible and that that they need to serve God.
21) To combat this insane wave of letting whichever gender people want to be using whichever bathroom they want to use, schools and businessmen need to put in several one person bathrooms.
22) If Hillary Clinton was a Republican, she'd have been in jail long ago.
23) Most of the people who go to the emergency department are not there for an emergency.
24) I think they should drug test everyone who voices support for the legalization of marijuana.
25) The black lives matter movement was started as a result of a few black criminals getting killed while resisting arrest. Not a worthy cause, to say the least, and they have turned into just another hate group.
26) Barack Obama has blood on his hands of any policeman murdered after his anti-cop rants.
27) I firmly believe organic food isn't any better for you and is just a way to charge more money for items people will buy because of the organic label.
28) I feel like I go to church and plug in on Sundays, then go back to my world apart from the church during the week.
29) The same people freaking out because a Muslim kid got arrested for what looked like a bomb, has no problem with white American kids getting expelled for drawing a picture of a gun, chewing a pop tart in the shape of a gun, wearing an NRA shirt, or wearing a confederate flag shirt.
30) It is ironic that Hillary is suddenly on the offensive for battered and abused women when she helped cover up the sexual abuse of several women by her own husband.
31) If God was incensed at the Israelite for their child sacrifice, how must He feel about America's child sacrifice in the name of women's "rights"?
32) America is afraid of offending everyone but Christians, God, and straight white men.
33) The question was raised by someone if Christians should be the morality police for America. If we are not, the Muslims are going to dictate what is right and wrong for our country, and we will soon turn into the Muslim country Obama said we are.
34) If Donald Trump loves the Bible so much, why couldn't he name his favorite verse?
35) All politicians are Bible-believing and Bible-loving people of God and of the Word at campaign time.
36) Why don't more Christians listen to more Christian music than secular?
37) The pluses of my Malibu I got in February over my Sunfire I had: power windows, power locks, a key fob, lights that go on and off automatically, 2 power outlets that work instead of one that didn't, trunk release button, and power mirrors.
38) I am thankful for the close relationship I have with my nieces and nephews since I never had kids of my own.
39) It is even more cruel to pay a gay person on the back and tell them they are OK and can go to Heaven living the gay lifestyle, as it is to demean them..... not that either is acceptable.
40) Facebook has its issues, but I am thankful for it. I have made friends, found some community, and have been encouraged and helped by things people post.
41) Too many Christians - myself included - don't know the reality of truly denying ourselves and carrying a cross. We look at denial as a dirty word.
42) My prayer lately has been that God would help me be more thankful for salvation, grace, and what He has done in my life.
43) The same modern day Christians standing against Kim Davis would also most likely have joined in the stoning of Stephen.
44) They should drug test every person pushing for marijuana to be legalized.
45) Just because people are already doing something is not a good reason to legalize it.
46) To me as a Protestant, the pope is just another guy, and one that dressed funny at that.
47) I believe it is better to have at least a few different Bible versions to read from, instead of sticking with just one.
48) It is not judging to say something is wrong and sinful that the Bible says is sinful.
49) I sing in the car..... even when I am not playing music.
50) Am I the only one who thinks it a bit weird that heterosexual men will watch half naked men wrestling and boxing?
51) I really need to find a job where I don't have to wear ties.
Monday, September 14, 2015
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For too many years, I couldn't grasp that. I felt there had to be more to it than just repenting and asking God to forgive me. I lived for years feeling there was something else I had to do to be truly forgiven. Part of it may have been my insecurities compounded by fire and brimstone preachers who seemed to delight in making you feel guilty no matter where you stood with God, and part of it may have been struggling with a sin that most Christians have been intent on making out to be the worst sin.
Regardless of the why, I'd sing that verse over and over and didn't truly grasp it until recent years.
"My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to His cross and I bear it no more." To our mortal minds, it seems too easy. No matter what we have done, God will quickly and easily forgive it and hold it against us no more. Others may hold it against us, and we may suffer the consequences of our actions even after God has forgiven them, but they are gone forever from His sight and He will never again hold them against us. The devil will bring them up and try to make us feel we are still guilty and that we still haven't atoned for our sins, but to the One who truly matters, they are gone forever. Truly a glorious thought far beyond what we will comprehend here on earth.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
But I decided to do a blog post in response to what I gained from the comments:
1) I believe in the infallible Word of God, and that the Bible is God's Word and has no errors or contradictions, and God has not changed His mind on anything even if society and courts have.
2) I believe the Bible calls any sex outside of a married man and woman sin, and does not excuse it.
3) I believe being attracted to the same sex is not a sin, but lusting after the same sex or having sexual relations is a sin, so defined by the Bible in the Old AND New Testaments.
4) I believe homosexuality is just another sin and the church has too long looked on people who struggle with it or live it with disdain and revulsion and are guilty of making it into a worse sin than it is.
5) However, it is not like other sins in the fact that no other sin is being forced on us. No other sin gets us branded as bigots and hateful for daring to call it what God calls it, and no other sin has the effects on our society as it does.
6) I believe 5 judges ruling gay marriage is legal is a joke, and that God will never recognize gay marriages, and that no one can legalize sin.
7) I believe Christians need to stand up against gay marriage and the gay agenda, while finding a balance of loving gay people and not hating the sinner.
8) I believe any church or Christian that pats a gay person on the back and tells them they are OK and don't need to change, and that the Bible really doesn't say homosexuality is a sin is doing eternal damage and may end up helping that person to an eternity in hell.
9) I believe God has redemption and grace for the gay person, and just as with all sins demands they leave their sin behind and serve Him. Yes, it is difficult, but so is leaving any other habitual sin.
10) I don't believe people are born gay, but may be born with a predisposition to being gay. I believe that environment affects whether that person will be gay or not. I don't believe it really matters if people are born gay or not, as that still doesn't change God's Word. Fair? No, but people are born with all sorts of defects, prepositions to alcohol, drug, or even promiscuous "straight" sex.
11) I believe God loves gay people as much as anyone else and longs to deliver them from their sins.
12) I believe Kim Walker did the right thing by refusing to grant marriage licenses. That was not part of the job when she started, and just because 5 godless self important judges said it is legal, does not mean they should force her to now do it. I look on her as a hero, and hope if I ever have to take a stand for my faith and beliefs I will not waver.
13) I believe there is no law for her to uphold or keep on gay marriage as judges cannot make a law, something every American should have learned in elementary school.
14) I believe it is possible to oppose gay marriage, believe homosexuality is a sin, and oppose the gay agenda without hating gay people.
15) I believe the pro-gay crowd and the church needs to find middle ground that will make both sides happy, though that may not be possible.
17) I believe that gay rights trump religious rights in the eyes of the liberals and pro-gay crowd, and that it should not. This country was founded on freedom of religion and we have too long stepped back and let the government, atheists, and gay militants take our freedoms away from us.
18) I believe the worst hate and most hate comes from the militant gays..... look up some time what they say about people who dare disagree with them if you doubt that......
19) I believe I have more friends struggling with same-sex attractions than anyone who reads this blog post.
20) I believe change is possible, and even if God never removes the attractions, He is able to help anyone live a celibate and pure Christian life.
21) I believe any gay person who chooses their sexuality over truly surrendering their lives to God and living according to His Word will regret it some day when they stand before Him, which is why we need to fight the ideology and love the sinner.
22) I believe in change and redemption for those struggling with homosexuality, for God has changed and redeemed me..... and if He can do that, He can do the same for anyone.
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
The first stop I made was at McDonalds for breakfast in some small Indiana town. An elderly gentleman was at the counter and motioned for me to go ahead of him. I told him I didn't know what I wanted yet, and to go ahead. He got a refill on his coffee and I stepped up to order.
After I ate my breakfast, I headed for the restroom. As I walked past his table, I noticed he was sitting there with an open Bible that he was reading. On my way back from the restroom, I paused slightly. I wanted to say something, but was afraid I'd come across as a dork, so I left and thought about the man as I set out for Ohio.
But I found myself wishing I had said something. It did my heart good to see someone openly reading their Bible in a public place, and I wanted to tell him so. I wanted to ask him to pray for me as I traveled the 400 miles or so that I had remaining. I wanted to tell him that I too am a Christian and found it encouraging and convicting that he could sit there in a restaurant and read God's Word.
I don't imagine it is the first time. Something about him said he is a regular there. He may very likely go there every morning to have a coffee and read his Bible. I wonder if anyone ever stops at his table and talks to him. Does anyone ever do what I felt too weird to do, and tell him they are a Christian and appreciate seeing him there reading his Bible? Does anyone ever go up and ask him for prayer for themselves or for a loved one?
Does anyone ever walk past his table and feel convicted for leaving the God they once served? Is anyone ever prompted to go home and do some business with a God they used to know, or have never known?
Am I the only one who has seen him and wish that I could be so open about my faith that I could carry a Bible into a restaurant and sit there reading it while people look at me as they walk by or sit nearby?
Oh to be so free and open that I could do that. And God help me to live the kind of life that people wouldn't be surprised to see me with my Bible in a public place.
I will most likely never see that man again on this earth, but I would like to say to him what I didn't last Monday morning: "Kudos to you sir for your example. I too am a Christian, though you have me beat in being so public about your faith. Keep it up. You have no idea whose life you might touch as you sit there with your Bible. And enjoy that coffee."
1) I believe there is one God, and He is three in one: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I don't understand it, but that is OK. A God totally understood would not be God.
2) I believe God created the earth, animals, man, and everything else in 6 literal days of Creation, and that the earth is much younger than the secular scientists claim.
3) I believe we are all born sinners in need of a Savior, and we can serve Him and gain Heaven, or live without Him and spend eternity in hell.
4) I believe God sent His only Son in human form to die for the sins of the world so that we wouldn't have to be without hope, and that we wouldn't have to be constantly sacrificing animals.
5) I believe God sent His Son for all who believes, and that He does not pick and choose who He will offer salvation to and who He will sent to hell with no chance for redemption.
6) I believe that God is far more merciful and long-suffering than any of us will ever grasp or understand.
7) I don't believe it is as easy to lose your salvation as some churches have made it out to be, but neither do I believe that once you become a Christian that you can never walk away or that you will go to Heaven no matter what you do on this earth.
8) I do not believe in a salvation of works, but that if we truly love God we will have good works.
9) I believe all Christians should daily read God's Word and pray.
10) I believe God's Word is infallible, that He inspired holy men to write His words down for us. I believe that He is powerful enough that He has worked through imperfect man to give us His Word without error or contradictions. I believe that the Bible is relevant for today and God has not changed His mind on what is in His Word.
11) I believe Jesus still calls for us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him, though too many of us are shaky on the denying ourselves of anything.
12) I believe God is enough for any need, any struggle, or any situation.
13) I believe marriage is between one man and one woman, and there is no place in the Bible for marriage between people of the same gender, or for multiple marriages.
14) I believe God forms all of us in the womb, that abortion is murder, and that we Christians have not fought the horrible atrocity enough.
15) I believe homosexuality is a sin, that it doesn't matter if people are born gay or not..... that it does not make it OK in God's eyes. I believe only the act of gay sex is wrong, not the attractions, and that God can save people with those desires and help them to live for Him. I don't believe there is such a thing as a "gay Christian" who actively has sex with the same gender.
16) I believe God will forgive any and all sin, and can redeem any life no matter where they have been or what they have done.
17) I believe the church has dropped the ball on social issues and politics, and have too long bowed to the government by not mentioning them from the pulpit enough or at all.
18) I believe the church needs to do a better job of addressing the gay issue, and find a way to stand against gay marriage and the gay agenda while offering hope and love to gay people, especially those sitting in their pews. I don't believe the answer is patting them on the back and telling them their sin is OK with God.
19) I believe the family is very important, a man and woman married til death parts them. I believe too many people marry too fast without getting to know their partner well enough, and that selfishness and the lack of desire to work things out is a major reason for the breakup of marriages.
20) I believe most Christians are too busy, too tied to the world to truly do what God wants us to do while living on this earth.
21) I believe we are all required to forsake all and be missionaries to the world, not just those who go to other countries.
22) I believe in regularly attending church, but that is isn't always necessary to go every time the church doors open. I believe that too often the Sabbath is so full of church and church oriented activities that we don't obey the rest part of the commandment.
23) I believe that when possible we should avoid unnecessary work or strenuous and loud activities on Sunday, and avoid doing as much of our regular every day things we do through the week.
24) I believe if one is single, they must be celibate, that there is no place in a Christian's life for sex outside of a heterosexual marriage.
25) I believe that we are the gender God created us, and that any gender confusion should be treated, not encouraged, and that is anyone attempts a sex change that they are still the gender that they were born as.
26) I believe the church has failed in many areas and that the government has stepped up and done in many areas what we should have done.
27) I believe any Christian worth his salt will vote for candidates who line up most with the Bible and will not vote for candidates who are pro-abortion and have as part of their platform the "right" of women to kill their baby in the womb.
28) I don't believe anyone has the right to end their own life, and that assisted suicide is murder.
29) I believe the church has become too much like the world in beliefs, ideology, the way we dress, what we listen to, what we view, how we vote, and how we live in general. I believe it is Biblical to be in the world, but not of, and all of us have been too influenced by worldly ideas and are not far enough from the world.
30) I believe too many of us get worship wrong. I believe that worship is something we don't do enough of outside of the church walls, and that when we are in the church that it is more about us than about God.
31) I believe music is important and that we should listen to far more Christian music than secular.
32) I believe that we are too focused on entertainment, and that we let too much entertainment into our homes and into our souls than we should. I believe there is music Christians should not listen to, movies and/or TV shows Christians should not watch, books that Christians should not read, and places Christians should not go.
33) I believe there is a limit to how much skin a Christian should show, and that we all should not dress in ways to draw attention to ourselves or a certain part of our body, or in ways that would stir up lust in a Christian brother or sister.
34) I believe that though the Bible doesn't specifically forbid it, that Christians are better off not drinking alcohol, and there are far more reasons not to, than for us to indulge in it.
35) I believe if we had more faith, much more could be accomplished for God.
36) I believe too many of us don't take the time to care about and help those around us, even those that are in our own churches. I believe most of us are too busy, but make time for what we want to make time for.
37) I believe we should not judge people's motives, but the Bible does say we will know people by their fruits and that it is not judging to say something is a sin that the Bible says is a sin.
38) I believe churches need more community and needs to be more than a place we plug into a service or two a week, and don't connect in any way until the next service. I believe the church is far from the model of the early New Testament church.
39) I believe the church needs to be more like a family than most of us are.
40) I believe politics is not the answer for our country, but I do believe if every Christian voted right and stood for the right things that we wouldn't be in as bad of a mess that we are in.
41) I believe America was founded on Christian principles, and that we have for too long let godless politicians, judges, and atheists tell us what we can and cannot do, and that those who came before us would never have caved in and stepped back so easily on issues such as prayer in school, gay marriage, abortion, and other such issues.
42) I believe that the further our country has gone from its Christian roots, the more godless we have gotten, the more immoral, and the more we have come to hate Christianity. I believe if we keep voting the way we vote, if we keep surrendering ground, Christianity will one day be illegal here in America.
43) I believe gay marriage is a travesty forced on us by 5 self important godless judges, 2 of whom should have re-cused themselves on the grounds that they had conducted gay weddings......but an agenda is far more important than integrity and doing what is right.
44) I believe our public schools have become indoctrination camps and Christian parents should not endanger their children's souls by sending them there. I believe the best option is a Christian school, followed by home schooling.
45) I believe God should be the most important part of our lives, and that serving Him will influence everything we do and say.
46) I believe there is a host of things we should not do because we are Christians.
47) I believe in in the verse that says we should be careful not to offend our Christian brother and sister, that it could be taken too far, and that most of us don't even practice it.
48) I believe we can make the Christian walk more difficult than it should be, and that too often it becomes a list of items we check off.
49) I believe that all lives matter, and that no race deserves special recognition nor deserves to be put down in any way.
50) I believe that in spite of all my flaws, my insecurities, my mess ups, my hang ups, and all that makes me uniquely me...... God loves me far more than I could ever realize.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
But I was wrong. I'll admit when I am. Her multiple marriages and divorces happened before she was a Christian, and as trite as it sounds.... all of that is forgiven and under the blood. I wouldn't want anyone to hold against me what God has forgiven me for, so I cannot do that with her. So with that issue resolved in my mind, I support her actions and feel she is being wronged by being jailed without bail. That isn't American, and that is not freedom. Our Constitution should protect her from what is happening.
It shouldn't surprise me, but I am amazed at the amount of conservatives and Christians who believe she should just resign her job or just give the license. After all, gay marriage is the law and since she is working for the government, she has to uphold the law and should check her religious rights, freedoms, and beliefs at the door.
Wrong. There are a few things wrong with that thinking:
1) First off, there is no law for her to uphold. Most elementary kids who have studied government and history can tel you that judges cannot make laws. They can rule on if a law is constitutional, but they cannot ever make a law. They struck down a law forbidding gay marriage, but made no law that Kim Davis has to uphold.
2) Working for the government does not strip anyone of their rights. Government employees still have the same freedoms, rights, and beliefs that we have.
3) Gay rights do not trump religious rights and freedoms. Oh, 99.99% of the time they come up against each other, gay rights win, but they should not trump religious freedoms.
4) God is not OK with homosexuality and gay marriage. His Word - Old and New Testaments both - condemn the sin, and only makes allowance for "one man and one woman til death do us part" marriage. No Christian should have any part in a gay wedding, whether it be the license, baking a cake, or taking photographs of a gay wedding. Will that offend people? Yes, but since when did God say to embrace or approve of sin to make people feel better? Never.
We have become so influenced by the world we live in that we see everything through worldly eyes instead of through God's eyes. Too many Christians are quick to condemn and judge Christians for standing up against these things, and they seem to forget and ignore what people did in the Bible. A friend of mine posted something today that got me to thinking, so consider these cases from the Bible. I am sure that if you could time travel the same Christians condemning Kim Davis, Aaron and Melissa Klein, and others like them to Bible times they would condemn the same people who the Bible lauds for doing the right thing.
Case #1 Daniel:
Even though Daniel was in captivity, he had found favor with the king and was a trusted adviser. Evil men got jealous and conspired against him. They got the king to issue a decree that no one could pray or worship anyone other than the king. They knew that every day, Daniel opened his windows and prayed to his God.
Most of us would still pray, but we'd close the windows, hide in our closet, and whisper our prayers. Not Daniel. He opened his windows, and prayed aloud in the open as always. He got thrown in the lion's den, but we all know how that ended. The lions decided they didn't want Daniel burger for supper, and he came out unhurt.
"But oh," our modern Christians bashing Kim Davis would say, "He is a government employee. He should comply with the order! How dare he openly break the law. He is just trying to make a scene and be a martyr. He needs to pray in quiet and not in public, or not do it at all, or resign his job."
Case #2: Daniel, Sharach, Meshach, and Abednego:
This happened long before the lion's den incident. Israel had been conquered. Those who were not killed were hauled off into captivity. The Babylonians picked out the best looking of the young people they had captured to prepare for the king's service. They would be groomed and given the best of the king's wine, meat, and other delicacies. Sounds pretty sweet. They weren't going to get McDonalds and Taco Bell, but get ritzy and expensive steakhouse fare.
But the young men said no. This was most likely food sacrificed to idols, and some of it most likely didn't fall into what God had ordered for them to eat. They convinced the men in charge to allow them vegetables and water. And they turned out healthier than the people eating the king's fare. Daniel 1:8 says " But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself".
Again, if modern Christians were there, we'd have a different story. They would point out that they were in captivity, don't make waves, the food won't hurt you. Don't make a scene, just do what they say and blend in. God will understand.
But Daniel and his buddies wanted to please God, not a king who had them in captivity and held their very lives in his hand.
Case #3: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:
I know, I am stuck in the book of Daniel, but there is so much in there. I have to use one more. Nebuchednezzer was rather full of himself and built a huge image of himself out of gold that was 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide. Everyone had to gather and at the sound of the horn were to bow to the statue, and anyone who did not would get thrown into fiery furnace.
In that crowd were Sharach, Meshach, and Abenedgo. What would we do? I know what our modern "don't rock the boat" Christians would do. "I'll bow outwardly, but inside will worship my God." Or "I'll bend down and adjust my shoe and appear to be bowing." Or "Oh look, what a neat rock. I'll just bend down and pick it up." Or "Psst, Meshach and Bed.... how about a quick game of tic tac toe in the sand?"
But these 3 guys. They stood while everyone knelt to the gold figure. Since everyone else was kneeling, they were noticed immediately. The infuriated king had them brought before him and gave them another chance. Their reply from Daniel 3:16-18 was "16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
The Bible doesn't say so, but I would imagine they had friends and family pleading with them to just bow and get it over with. "God will understand, and you don't have to actually worship the statue, Just pretend."
The furious king had the furnace heated 7 times hotter and had the three men bound and thrown into the furnace, and they walked out unharmed without a hair on their head singed and not even smelling like smoke.
Case #4: Peter and the apostles
In Acts 5 Peter and other apostles were put in prison for preaching about Jesus. The jail could not hold them, and God opened the doors. They went back to the temple and preached again. And again, they were brought before the authorities and commanded not to preach and teach anymore. Peter and the apostles stood up and said in verse 16 "But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men." After a discussion, the apostles were beaten and ordered to cease their preaching........ and they went out and kept on preaching.
Most modern Christians would have stopped the first time they were commanded, for after all it was a law and we are to listen to the authorities......
The bold truth is homosexuality is a sin. Gay marriage is a mockery of marriage that tries to unite two people living in a sin God called an abomination in a sacred union that God would never recognize. And I firmly believe no Christian should have any part in a gay wedding. There is no right, as God calls it a sin and the supreme court cannot legalize sin, and Christians should not bow down to them just because they tried to make legal what God will never make right.
I don't know what the true issue is. Maybe we have become so much like the world that we are not even interested in standing against what is wrong. Maybe the church is full of spineless cowards claiming to serve Christ, but afraid to do anything that might cost them.... like standing up against the government itself when it is wrong.
Daily there is news about Christians being told we can't do this or that. Prayer has been banned from schools, football captains can't pray with their team or talk to them about God. Chaplains the military are being told they can't mention certain things or they will be out. Our country is increasingly becoming more and more hostile to true Christians, and daily are trying to shut us up and get us to buckle to what the atheists, Muslims, and government wants.
What would these heroes of the faith do? Can you imagine Daniel being the captain of a football team and being told he can't pray with his team anymore? Do you really think he would stop? He faced the lions to keep praying in the open, I doubt a school board or the ACLU would faze him. Can you imagine Paul or Peter granting a gay marriage license? They never did what the religious leaders or government did back then, but obeyed God instead, so no... I cannot imagine them buckling on that issue.
I cannot imagine Jesus baking a cake or doing anything else for a gay wedding, but many of His followers claim we should and side with the world against any Christian who dares to refuse to.
Have we become so used to stepping aside when the government or some judge says Christians can't do this or that, we can't put a cross there, we can't pray there, we have to accept that........ that when some Christian dares to stand up for what is right and dares to stand against wrong that our gut reaction is to stand against them? How sad and pathetic we have become if we so quickly take a stand against someone who is standing against something wrong. Is it wrong to give a gay marriage license? Yes, I believe it is. Are her rights being violated? I think the real question is, should a Christian do something wrong even if the government and other Christians think they should do it? And the answer is a resounding NO!
We have become too concerned about our rights, but yet the real issue is doing what is right. Should we have caved to God and prayer being kicked out of schools? No! Should captains of sports teams buck the system and pray with students anyway? Yes! For too long we have just sat back and let evil take over our country. The atheists go to court and we do what we are told. A judge strikes down a law, so we do what we are told. And then when a Kim Davis comes along, we are angry with her for not just doing what the government says to do.
I don't mean to sound like a prophet of doom, but things will get worse, especially if we keep voting in godless politicians who put in godless judges who fight against Christians with all of their might. If the day comes when we are told we can't have a Bible, will these same cowardly Christians turn theirs in and criticize those who do not? If Christian schools are closed and we are ordered to send our kids to public schools, will those who buck those orders be demonized by weak Christians who are afraid to stand for what is right and against what is wrong?
The day may come here in America that Christianity is outlawed. And we will have no one to blame but ourselves. The courts and government keeps ruling against Christians in most cases that come up in courts, and we are so used to losing that we just accept it, and take a step back. And if we keep doing that, if we keep surrendering ground, pretty soon we will reach that point where Christianity is illegal, owning a Bible is illegal, saying homosexuality is a sin is illegal. And we will stand against anyone who dares to stand against those unjust laws and demand they also obey and cower to the authorities.
Down through the centuries, Christians have defied kings, religious leaders, fellow Christians, and others to do what God wanted them to do. They were so intent on doing right, that they risked it all. And in many cases, they could have obeyed the law and not really broke God's law, but pleasing God and doing right was more important than life. If all of these heroes of the faith who stood strong through the ages could be here today, I believe they would stand with Kim Walker and count her among the faithful and those who have suffered for Christ.
These Christians have printed and distributed Bibles when the law said not to. They have smuggled Jews to safety when the law said they could not. They have met to worship when there were laws in place saying they could not. Over and over through the centuries of Christendom, faithful men and women did what was right at risk of jail, death, torture, and at the risk of being fought by other religious people.
If I ever have to choose between prison or death and in doing the right thing, may God give me the same strength and faith in Him to do what Kim Davis has done. She is as much of a hero as Daniel, the apostles, and other Biblical heroes are. She is doing what is right and standing against the wrong, and has been unjustly jailed for it. And many Christians are unjustly standing against her. We should be supporting a fellow Christian in her battle and praying for her, not writing blog posts and Facebook posts criticizing her and showing our own weakness and cowardice to do what she has done. Harsh? Maybe, but I am tired of Christians standing against other Christians for standing against the wrong and trying to do what is right.
Yes, we need to love gay people. God loves them, but He would never, ever do anything to help them in their sin or do anything to indicate He approves of their sin. He would call them to leave their sin, deny themselves, and follow Him.
This being a Christian is about giving our all, and loving God above all else.... even our own selves. If we "do" Christianity right, it will cost us something. It may mean sitting in a jail cell some day, or facing death. Other Christians have.
When Daniel prayed, why were not others caught praying and thrown in jail? When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow, why were there not others who refused?
And why are there not other Christians refusing to do what Kim Davis is refusing to do. Oh, there are a few, but there should be more. There should be Christian governors standing up against the legalization of sin, There should be mayors, Congressmen, and more to add their voice to saying we will not comply. This is wrong.
May God help us to stand for the right things and against what is wrong. And may God help us to stand with other Christians when they are in a sitiation like Kim Davis is in, and may He help us to not go to the other side and condemn them and fight them. And may God forgive those Christians who have and are fighting Christians who have been and are in these places of standing for their faith.
It will get worse. How many will be able to stand for the truth and serve God no matter what comes? I pray I will be among the faithful.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
They are offended over a dumb flag that has been around for 150 years because a crazed killer had one in his possession, yet ignore ISIS murdering and torturing Christians.
They scream bloody murder when a Christian baker won't bake a cake for a gay wedding, yet ignore Planned Parenthood butchering babies and selling their body parts.
They are outraged that a Christian won't issue marriage licenses to gay couples, but ignore the fact that gay people are being tortured and killed in Muslim countries. And the fact that they are in another country shouldn't matter. After all, half our country was in an uproar recently over a lion that was killed in another country....... so why not be outraged about gay people being killed in other countries? I can see them not caring about the Christians being killed and tortured in other countries, as our media and the liberals have grown increasingly anti-Christian, and the gay community despises Christians, but surely they should be offended by the treatment of gay people in Muslim countries.....
I think it boils down to the gay community - and those who agree with them - hating Christians and Christianity. Why else would they focus so much outrage on Christians here who won't do services for a gay wedding or grant marriage licenses for gay weddings, while liberals as a whole are welcoming Muslims and Islam? Muslims are torturing and killing gay people, while Christians are just refusing to accommodate gay people in certain things and dare to call homosexuality a sin. Were the gay community not a bunch of cowardly, Christian-hating hypocrites, they would be demanding that our president and congressman cease doing business with countries that allow torture and killing of gay people. They would demand Obama not give Iran a nuke deal until Iran does something about the treatment of gay people in their country. They would demand Hillary Clinton give back the donations she got from such countries and stop being so buddy with them, and they would refuse to vote for any candidate who is pro-Muslim and gets political or monetary favors from those countries.
But they don't care. They only care about themselves here in the US and the mean Christians who dare to side with God's Word and refuse to do more than just tolerate their lifestyle. They want us to totally accept it and give no push-back against it and stop calling it a sin.
Granted, the church has a bad track record with the gay issue. We have too long looked at it as a horrible sin while accepting other sins and not speaking up about them. We are outraged about gay marriage and that it makes a mockery of God's intended design for marriage, while overlooking what Jesus said about marriage and divorce and having divorce and remarriage statistics in the church that are nearly as bad as the world.
We have kicked our own children out of the house and to the curb because they are attracted to the same gender. We have joked and made fun of gay people. We have shunned those who live that lifestyle, and made such an anti-gay atmosphere that our churches have people struggling with same-sex attraction who hide in the shadows and are terrified to tell this wonderful family of God their struggle for fear of what will happen to them. Is it any wonder so many gay people hate Christians?
I have offended and angered people on both sides of the issue. I have had people criticize me for speaking out too much against homosexuality. I have had people criticize me for being too sympathetic towards gay people. I have had people say I talk too much about the issue in general, and in fact had a lady from my own church block me, my mom, and my sister because I talk about it too much. I had the mother of a gay son un-friend me because I was too negative about homosexuality. You truly cannot make everyone happy.
The truth of the matter is the church needs to show more love towards gay people. It is just another sin, yet it isn't just another sin. The militant gay community wants to shut up resistance totally and force Christians to do what they want, and there is no other sin that they are trying to force people to accept. However, there are multitudes of people struggling with the desires and attractions who don't know where to turn. They are afraid to tell their friends, their families, their church, and even their pastor. We cannot go the route of many churches and toss out what the Bible says and stop calling it a sin and allow gay people living in sin to participate in church offices, preaching, etc.... helping people believe a lie and go to hell is not love or helping anyone. But we can learn more about the issue, tone down our rhetoric, give the message that yes...we believe it is a sin, but we love you and you are welcome in our church. No man, woman, boy, or girl should feel afraid to come forward and seek help for this issue, but we have made it so that they are. There are countless people sitting in our church pews struggling with same-sex attractions and not knowing where to turn. That needs to stop.
Christians need to find a balance. I do believe the gay agenda needs to be fought. The most militant and extreme gay people want it taught to kids in Kindergarten that homosexuality is normal and awesome and that they should experiment sexually with others of the same sex. They want Christians to shut up, churches to welcome their sin with open arms and not call it a sin, they want to do everything heterosexuals do and have everything heterosexuals have with no limits. Homosexual adoptions, working in any Christian business or church, not having a Christian refuse them any service, not having anyone call it a sin. Those people will never be happy without total capitulation and 100% acceptance by the church and Christians. No one is unreachable, but they are almost unreachable.
But there are so many gay people who aren't Christianophobics. They are just hurting and trying to figure out who they are. The church needs to find a way to not agree with their sin, and somehow love and reach them while trying to stem the tide of the more extreme and activist gay people.
I asked someone once why liberals champion Muslims so much, while putting down Christians and fighting us on every side. Muslims have a terrible record with gay rights and women's rights, both of which are two of the biggest liberal causes...yet Christians just say homosexuality is a sin, and we are great one women's rights. He suggested that the Democratic party hates Christianity so much that they will accept anything else. And he may be correct. That could explain the outrage against Christians not baking a cake for a gay wedding or not granting a license for a gay couple, while ignoring what Muslims are doing to gay people. It is more about hating Christians than actually having rights. It does seem in some of these cases that they have deliberately gone to a Christian business to try to force them to capitulate to their wishes so they could make an example of them. Even this clerk being in jail with no bail..... definite overkill, and it is a definite warning and example to other Christians who might dare to do the same thing. (Picture below of Muslims hanging a couple of gay men)
Let us not be like the liberals and be selective in our outrage, and let is be outraged about the right things. I saw even Christians on Facebook demanding the confederate flag be taken down.....something that was stupid. It never did anything, and taking it down did not accomplish anything other than giving liberals a victory. The same people never post about Christians being tortured or killed by Muslim groups. People are outraged that a county clerk wouldn't violate her beliefs and conscience to grant a marriage license for a marriage God Himself would never recognize, yet the same people seem to have no problem with that woman being locked up with no bail and told she can leave when she changes her beliefs. Even most non-violent criminals get bail, but she doesn't? Is that not something to be outraged about? The same people are not bothered by a president who promised to uphold the law and Constitution, not doing so... choosing to ignore immigration laws to help is immigration agenda, and choosing to ignore and not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act...... why is he not in jail??
We get outraged about a football player deflating footballs, a puppy being left in a car, being on hold too long, our sandwich not being made right at McDonalds, a flag, a lion.......and ignore the things that we should be concerned and outraged about.
I shared this story before: There was a young man who played guitar in his church's worship band. He went to his pastor and told him he was struggling with same-sex attractions, and wanted prayer and help. The pastor assured him he'd pray for him, and the young man left. During the next service at the church, the pastor told what the young man had told him and turned to the young man who was on the platform and said "You are not welcome in my church. Get our of here." And a heartbroken and devastated young man walked out of that church never to return. I don't know what happened to him. I hope he didn't turn from God completely and that he found help at another church. But that is a story that should spark outrage in any Christian. True injustice should bring our blood to a boil, not inconveniences or bandwagons that everyone else is jumping on. That is what the world does, the liberals. That is not what Christians should do.
The outrage is not that a Christian would not bow to what 5 un-elected self important people in black robes decided for our whole country. The outrage is that in our free democracy a judge can jail that woman without bail to try to force her to change her views and beliefs. The outrage is not that a gay couple didn't get a license that doesn't amount to a hill of beans in God's eyes. The outrage is that Muslims are killing and torturing the gay people in their countries and our president and other politicians are in bed with them. The outrage is not that a lion got killed in another country, but that babies are being butchered daily here in the USA and the media, our president, the Democrat party and way too many other people not only are not bothered by that, they are not bothered that Planned Parenthood has been caught selling baby parts...... and refuse to pull funding for the butchers.
The outrage is that people are plunging to hell, and we are too concerned about the wrong things, and too busy with our lives to do anything about it.
Let we Christians not be easily offended and outraged in general, and when we are that we make sure it is about the right things.