C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

Comment Policy: No profanity or blasphemy will be posted. You do not have to agree, but if you would like your comment posted, you will have to adhere to the policy.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Thou Shalt Come - Introduction

As I sit here this twenty-sixth day of December in the year of our Lord 2010, I am prepared to embark on a study less than few have intertwined into their lives. Some may find it an unnecessary learning – and perhaps they are correct in the large scope of life, if the mere reading should consume one – yet I cannot but hope that such will rather enlighten me in much greater things of importance along the journey. For what I find at the end may indeed be less significant – in practical purpose – than the gleanings and wisdom which shall become prevalent along the way. Of which, in no small means, would I be equally content with grasping at the understanding of. Though, likewise I am required to retain this expedition must not be satisfied without the acting upon such found knowledge; for what is faith without works[1]?

It is my belief[2] – from experience with myself, along with others I have conversed with throughout my life – when one is presented or seeks out information or questions concerning virtually all things, there appears to be already in place a sense of opinion, thought, or idea – whether partial or in full – concerning it. Even though scripture declares such is folly[3], mankind seems to find it quite easy to do – perhaps even subconsciously acting upon it. Whether due to previous learning we have received through school, media, society, or possibly from family, church, and books, we appear to find it difficult to simply say, “I don’t know” without actually having some preconceived notion of what it might or should be – according to us.

But, is it so wrong to have predetermined ideas of that which we may not know or fully understand? Or, rather – should we ask – how shall truth overcome our presuppositions, if by chance we do not lend our ears and mind to that which is in contradiction? To limit our study to merely one side or the other – of any topic; especially if we are but novice concerning its intellect – does not make that which we believe true, but bounds us to it as though we have become the final authority by rejecting all other knowledge without evenly considering it. Neither do harsh words, name calling, nor misrepresentation of the other make our case stronger and more profitable for those we deem without. We must maintain that truth is truth, without our vain presuppositions; for we do not establish nor define truth, as truth is whole by itself. Just as our assumptions may lead us to the truth, they may likewise disperse us from it.

So, for this study, I shall try to put away my argumentative mind, while attempting to give equal standing with each author and all books, as they present their case for what they believe to be truth. Using the Bible as the final authority, as did those in Thessalonica[4], I hope to take every point of doctrine and exert its truth in my own life daily.

I shall entitle this study Thou Shalt Come, based on John 6:37; whereby, scripture declares, All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

So begins my study of Arminianism, Calvinism, and those who claim the truth – along with themselves – lies somewhere in between...

[1] James 2:20, 26 (It would do one well to read the chapter in its entirety.)

[2] I realize, possibly a mere presupposition itself.

[3] Proverbs 18:13

[4] Acts 17:11

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Resolutions for 2011

As we draw to the end of 2010, upon reflection, it appears I have been neglecting my blog writing, having only 25 posts in 2009 and 17 posts for 2010. So, for 2011, I would like to make myself a few resolutions.

First, I would like to complete my current work, entitled Kristietiba this coming year. It is my latest book writing project, following my trilogy In the Land of Erde. The storyline is mostly coming about, but just haven’t had the time to formal continue writing it to completion; approximately, halfway through at the present.

Second, I was graciously given a book entitled Unabridged Christianity (Biblical Answers to Common Questions About the Roman Catholic Faith) by Fr. Mario P. Romero. There was a time when I did a good bit of reading about Catholicism and even participated on a Catholic forum, but it has been some time since then. So, perhaps I will make time to read, examine, and respond accordingly. Readers may see some of my musing regarding this posted here.

Third, I was also given a book entitled The Muslim Calvinism Connection by Moody Adams. This perhaps had sparked the greatest endeavor for 2011 (well, in the scope of this blog). For 2011, readers may see a good many posts on the context of Armenian and Calvinist theology, in regards to depravity, free will, predestination, foreknowledge, and the like. I have a shelf of books, along with a CD of writings in PDF for my Nook, which will challenge my presupposition, thoughts, and beliefs.

Of course, last but not least, I hope to increase my prayer and scripture reading time, which the above should also encourage. This also does not include my family time and church responsibilities, so we shall see come December 2011 what has become of these few resolutions.

May you all have a Happy Christmas and Merry New Year…

Monday, December 06, 2010

Christ-Mass at 180 Degrees: A Sin to Celebrate, a Sin to Not

I realize this post may come across as anti-Christmas, as the Grinch, or just plain argumentative, but actually it is more of just a note of thoughts for the individual reader to consider this year.

It is interesting that each year we hear an uproar about people, businesses, or whatever “trying to take Christ out of Christmas”, but I wonder just how many of us know anything about the history of Christmas or actually worship Christ more during the season supposedly celebrating His birth.

First, the word Christmas originates from combining the words Christ (the son of God) and Mass (the Catholic Mass). [1] “The Mass is the complex of prayers and ceremonies that make up the service of the Eucharist in the Latin rites.” [2] Both Baptists (of which I am) and Catholics believe the Lord’s Supper began with Christ [3], but the literal or symbolic nature of the Lord’s Supper is quite different between the two. The Eucharist or ‘Sacrifice of the Mass’ [4] carries with it the idea of Transubstantiation [4]; whereby “Catholic Christian belief [is] in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist” (meaning the bread and wine actually become the literal body and blood of Christ) by their interpretation of such scripture as John 6:53-56 [5]. Whereas Baptist realize the words of Christ were spiritual and not fleshly, for Christ did say in verse 63: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” One may notice all who are saved are also called “one bread, and one body” in 1 Corinthians 10:17. And if the ‘cup of the Lord’ is the literal blood of Christ, is the ‘cup of devils’ the literal blood of devils? [1 Corinthians 10:21]

Point 1: Baptists do not celebrate or believe in the teaching of the Catholic Mass, and the word Christmas appears to have originated with Catholic teachings.

Second, according to some “Christmas history of America” [6], in 1645 Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans took over England, and cancelled Christmas as part of their vow to ‘rid England of decadence’ [moral degeneration or decay]. “Puritans by definition felt that the English Reformation had not gone far enough, and that the Church of England was tolerant of practices which they associated with the Catholic Church. They formed into and identified with various religious groups advocating greater "purity" of worship and doctrine, as well as personal and group piety.” [7] Oddly, during the 1600s, some pilgrims (English separatists, also Puritan in their beliefs) enjoyed Christmas in America, while for others it was outlawed. Even before the Civil War, the North “saw sin in the celebration of Christmas”, while the South celebrated it without guilty conscience. From there, it seems Christmas was promoted in books and Sunday school to the children, then with magazines and decorations to the women.

Point 2: Whereas the Puritans of England seemed to argue that Christmas was not for the Christian (or non Catholic), there were those in America who fought over the idea of whether Christmas was sin or worthy to be celebrated.

Thirdly, when I hear the yearly outcry from professing Christians that this place or that group is refusing the say or promote Christmas, I have to sit back and wonder what all the hoopla is about. Why? Because while we criticize those who do not display nativity scenes or say “Merry Christmas”, I do not see us as Christians doing any more for Christ during a season whereby we claim people are doing less or nothing at all for “Christ’s birthday”. I mean, really, if we would like to demand the lost world (or those “less” Christian) to say “Merry Christmas” to recognize our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (not to mention the Catholic Mass), then why do we as Christians not spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ rather than sitting lazily inside our homes watching football, overeating, and often spending the day with family and friends we don’t always like, with gifts we usually can’t afford?

Point 3: Before we demand a change in other’s priorities, we need to ensure ours are in the right place.

Why does it seem that we - as Christians (or non Catholic) - have gone 180 degrees in stating that it was once a sin (or Catholic) to celebrate Christmas, but now it is apparently a sin (or non Christian) to not celebrate Christmas?

** note: this is not a post against Catholic's or Catholicism, but a post for my Baptists brothers and sisters...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Misguided Advice + Folly Discernment = Disappointing Outcomes

The other day at work, I was asked to help a coworker set their new office furnishing closer to the wall. The furniture was empty, so we proceeded into his office to reposition it. As we took our places on either side of the desk, we lifted it slightly to move it back a little less than six inches. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my hand. Without ever having seen it, a painted canvas had fallen from the shelving attached to the desk we were moving. Neither of us had taken notice of the painting before we started the move; even though he had apparently placed it there beforehand at some point, and I did look at the furniture before helping him move it.

For some reason, a single scripture reference came to mind: Proverbs 18:13 says, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” I realize one may reasonably question how the two – the story and the verse – relate to one another, so let me explain. Within our move, we had the location (the office), the situation (move the furniture), the person familiar or part of the situation (the coworker), and the person invited or entering the situation (me).

Entering the location, even observing the situation and being told of it, I still did not discern the painted canvas which fell on my hand. My coworker apologized for not remembering he had placed the artwork there, and I apologized for not noticing the painting before helping him move the furniture. Thank goodness it was not damaged, but my hand was still hurt, he was still disappointed it happened, and the artwork could have been broken. All because we observed the location and took for granted we knew the situation; instead of taking the time to examine every possible detail before taking action.

This same principle applies in our daily lives, when we interact with family, friends, and those around us. Sometimes we make judgments or give advice, but how often are they possibly made or given without us noticing or discerning all of the key elements of a given situation? Perhaps we think we know all of the information, yet some is merely gossip. What if we have only heard a partial truth, by listening to just one side of the story? How many times have we apologized, only to leave the other person – or perhaps even entire relationships – worse off than they were? All because we answered a matter – by words and/or deeds – without really hearing and/or understanding the entirety of the situation and everything involved?

May we be mindful of our judgments and quick advice to others, as it may prove to encompass a much different – long lasting, opposite – outcome than we might first have imagined.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ephesisans 2 - How Do You See Yourself?

Ephesians 2

God’s involvement in sending Christ and working in mankind for our redemption reconciles us in our relationship with Him and each other.

(vs. 1) And you hath he quickened - to make alive

1. So, the first question is: Have you been quickened, made alive?

You say, made alive from what? (vs. 1) Being dead in trespasses and sins
• Just as Christ was dead and resurrected to life – so are we dead spiritually have a need to be made alive.

Before Conversion (spiritually dead)
(vs. 2-3) Scripture makes reference to our natural state before being quickened.

1. Walked according to the course of this world (is the world in unison or contrast to God?)

2. Walked according to the prince of the power of the air
a. (2 Corinthians 4:4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

3. Conversation in the lusts of our flesh, and fulfilled the desires of the flesh and mind
a. 1 John 2:16: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life
i. Genesis 3: saw tree was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, make one wise
ii. Satan: saw God, desired His position, wished to ascend over God

4. Were by nature the children of wrath

Change of Conversion (spiritually alive)
(vs. 4-7) BUT GOD!
1. God’s mercy
2. God’s love
3. God’s grace

God has given us mercy, love, and grace (through Jesus Christ) – not because He saw something good in us, for we were by nature the children of wrath fulfilling our own desires – BUT in spite of our sin!

Why? That the riches of His grace through Christ may be shown to others.

(vs. 8-9) Salvation is ALL grace through faith in Christ Jesus! WITHOUT works!

Purpose of Conversion (spiritually active)
Though we as Baptist often quote Ephesians 2:8-9 as to our beliefs that one is saved by grace through faith in Christ without works, we seldom quote Ephesians 2:10 to get ourselves out of the pew and into the work.

(vs. 10) We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (ordain = to decree, establish, predestine before hand)

2. So, the second question is: What are you doing for God, as the result of salvation not to gain salvation?

(vs. 11-12) Scripture reminds us Gentiles who we are in the flesh.
1. Gentiles (Uncircumcised)
1. Without Christ
2. Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel
3. Strangers from the covenants of promise
4. Having no hope
5. Without God in the world

Not only were we (1) dead spiritually, we were (2) without hope in the flesh.

To be alien from God and without Christ, is to be without redemption!

(vs. 13-19) BUT NOW
We have been grafted into Christ by the circumcision made without hands (Colossians 2:9-13); the separation of our sinful flesh, and our quickened spirit.
1. Once being dead in sin, we have been quickened by Christ and the Spirit of God.
2. Once being uncircumcised in the flesh, we have been forgiven of sin and reconciled to God.

We have a double reconciliation through Christ:
1. Satisfying the demands of justice, reconciled the Jew and Gentile to God.
2. Abolishing the Mosaic institutions, reconciled the Jew and Gentile into the unity of one body.

1. Abolished the enmity between us and God
a) Sin always causes enmity (a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred)
 "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed" (Genesis 3:15).
 The friendship of the world is "enmity with God" (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15, 16).
• 1 Jn. 2:16: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life
 The "carnal mind" is "enmity against God" (Romans 8:7).
• 2 Cor. 10:5-6: Cast down imaginations and bring into captivity every thought unto God.

3. So, the third question is: Do you have enmity (hostility or hatred) between the flesh, the world*, and the devil, or do you have enmity between you and God?
* the system of beliefs and lusts against God, not individuals.

The Jews bragged they were the children of Abraham, God’s chosen people, were the carriers of the truth – yet they chose idols, men, and lustful desires over God and His Word. Are you doing the same?

2. Abolished the enmity between the Jew and Gentile
a) Reconciled both to God
b) Made twain at peace in one body (body of Christ, the Church)
c) Though once ‘a far off’, we have been made ‘nigh’ to God
 To the Jew, God dwelt in the temple where Gentiles could not go.
 To the saint, God dwells in our temple, our body.
• 1 Cor. 6:19: Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you.
• 1 Cor. 3:16: Ye are the temple of God.
d) Access by one Spirit unto the Father
 (Ephesians 4:4-6) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. *not multiple ways*
e) No more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and household of God
 1 Cor. 10:32 mentions the Jew, the Gentile, then the Church of God.
 Being in the church, we are one body, neither Jew nor Gentile – we are saints!
 I pray you are in the church of God, more so than looking at yourselves as Jew, Gentile, or even Baptists!

4. So, the fourth question is: Are you doing as the Jews in keeping God to yourselves within the local church building, or are you sharing the light of the gospel with the strangers to bring them into the household of God?

Pride and race seemed to affect the relationship between the Jew and the Gentile; does it affect your ability or inability to share the gospel with people?

(vs. 20-22) Christ laid our foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11), and is the cornerstone of all that we are:
1. In our becoming one body
2. In our indwelling of the Spirit
3. In our habitation for God

5. So, the fifth question is: Are you building on the foundation of Christ, merely sitting idle, or tearing down the household of God, the body of Christ? Or trying to build your own building in the flesh?

Read Colossians 3:8-17
But now… (10-12) And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Galatians 5:14 says, For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. That love includes sharing the gospel with the diversity of people.

1. Can you see and feel God’s involvement in your life?
2. Is it changing your relationship with God and with man; making it better?

Christ lived and died calling unto men to repent and believe, to have their sins forgiven and to be reconciled unto to God. What are you doing?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Do You Perfer D.E.S.I.R.E. over T.U.L.I.P.s?

I was recently presented an article, whereby the author suggest the concept of D.E.S.I.R.E over T.U.L.I.P.; stating “There it is—God’s “D.E.S.I.R.E.” for you. It isn’t the T.U.L.I.P., but its not Arminianism either!”

I am not so sure even this article (belief or conviction of D.E.S.I.R.E) gives one “a model of election that would allow me, or any preacher, to expound every verse of Scripture with equal confidence and not have to soft pedal or ignore those passages which are problematic to one view or the other,” as the author hopes himself.

Can Abrahamic Election and Salvation Election (as presented by the author) really be limited to only corporate (Abrahamic) and individual (Salvation)? I mean, we also have those that could be “cut off” individually from their people (the Jews) by breaking the covenant, and a corporate “church” or body of Christ (similar as collective groups seen in “all that the Father giveth me” and sheep “folds”) spoken of in scripture. And wasn’t the picture of individual fleshly circumcision a picture of individual spiritual circumcision? I am not saying Israel and Church are synonymous in Scripture, but I’m not sure I can agree with the author’s limitation of corporate vs. individual regarding Abrahamic and Salvation Election.

Here is a little confusing, or where I am failing to see what the author is saying:
"From God’s perspective there can never have been a single moment when God has not had the totality of His experience (their acceptance and after, or their rejection and after) with each and every human being as part of His “present” (i.e. eternal) experience and knowledge.
God has always experienced those accepting him and praising him in the New Heaven and New Earth as well as those who have rejected him and have been sent to perdition. Thus, the ones He has always experienced accepting and worshipping him are elect and He works in an especially solicitous way to make their call effectual and they will believe as opposed to must believe.”

I can understand the “present tense” of how God sees things (past, present, future as present), but it appears the author suggest that because God sees presently (though future to us) “those…praising him in the New Heaven and New Earth” THEN or BECAUSE OF THIS “He works in an especially solicitous way to make their call effectual and they will believe.”

So, it seems the author is saying that since God experiences the presence of certain individuals in the scope of eternal salvation (future), He works effectually in them (presently) so they “will” believe.

If such is what the author is saying, then by equal contrast, those “He (God) has always experienced the rebellion and the rejection of those who are lost and they will not accept his invitation and call” He will NOT “work in an especially solicitous way to make their call effectual and they will believe.”

I don’t see how the author escapes having foreknowledge contradictions or questioning as he claims TULIP have.

If God works effectual within an individual toward salvation “based” (as the author appears to note) on whether He “experiences” the individual in salvation (New Heaven and New Earth) or perdition (Hell), then how is this different than saying foreknowledge is based on God “looking forward into time” (our time) to see who will accept Christ and who will reject Christ – then only working effectually in those He already knows will accept Him? To me, it seems what the author has done is base God’s “effectual working” choice on man’s “electoral” choice to accept or reject Christ.

And if God presently (though our future) sees an individual in Heaven or Hell, can it not be said one “must believe” or “cannot accept” – for if the future is set (for in God’s eyes it is), then how can the individual do anything but believe or reject – even without the effectual calling of God (per the author)?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We Believe in God, But Pick What We Believe

This morning, while taking a look at a few articles regarding surveys dealing with religion among different generations, I can’t help but wonder if there is indeed a common strand which connects the results.

In the report Buddhist Tiger Woods may be as Christian as many Americans, the writer recalls the comments of Tiger from 1996, of which he said “I believe in Buddhism. Not every aspect, but most of it. So I take bits and pieces. I don't believe that human beings can achieve ultimate enlightenment, because humans have flaws." – and compares it to the line of modern day thinking from professing Christians, that it appears okay to mismatch ideals from within and without Christianity.

Such thoughts among confessing Believers makes itself apparent in that Some Presbyterians see salvation in non-Christian faiths, finding “that 36% of members disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement: "Only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved." Another 39%, or about two-fifths, agreed or strongly agreed with the statement.” As Perry Chang, administrator of the Presbyterian Panel, admits, "There seems to be some universalist streak in Presbyterianism, where some Presbyterians are open to the idea of other paths that folks in other faiths might be taking." And this is not merely among average pew sitters, for “More pastors disagreed (45%) than agreed (35%) and a majority of specialized clergy (60 percent) disagree.”

In claiming Young adults 'less religious,' not necessarily 'more secular', the survey seems to find “Millennials are significantly more likely than young adults in earlier generations to say they don't identify with any religious group.” The statics shows 53% trust God does exist, with 40% claiming to speak with Him daily in prayer, but a mere 18% actually attend church regularly (i.e. weekly).

Coming to the Survey: 72% of Millennials 'more spiritual than religious', we find 65% do not attend church, 67% don’t read their Bibles, and 38% seldom pray; which leads to the revelation that “Many are unsure Jesus is the only path to heaven: Half say yes, half no.” Of course, it is telling when we read “68% did not mention faith, religion or spirituality when asked what was "really important in life."” – “Even among those in the survey who "believe they will go to heaven because they have accepted Jesus Christ as savior."”

Anyone will attest that surveys may not be inclusive 100% of all persons or statics presented, but they are not without merit. In the above, we see (at least with those polled) that although there is a claim that God does exist, those same persons (% wise) do not find attendance in His house (i.e. Sunday School or Worship Service) to be equally essential, or the necessity to speak with Him in prayer and read His Word. Basically: belief without relationship. It would be like one claiming they know their parent(s) are alive, but they never (or seldom) call or visit them. That would not be considered a healthy family relationship. It would be an estranged one.

So, what is the common strand that seems to connect each of these – at least for me? Belief is not the same as faith and practice. James tells us (2:19) “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble,” and goes on to expose the reality that a claim of belief is not the same as an active faith in Christ which produces a lifestyle of Christianity. What I gather from the above links, along with many conversations I have had with persons I know and don’t know, is that many profess a belief in God, even having possibly “prayed the prayer” (finding eternal security in one act, establishing it as a work for salvation rather than it being of grace), but have no interest in reading and studying the Scriptures, or listening to it being expounded upon by a pastor or teacher.

It should not be surprising to notice an embrace of a pool of thoughts (when it comes to religion/spirituality), mixed from many realms of theology and ideology, when persons refuse (or fail to make time) to pray and seek the wisdom and discernment found in the Bible (by reading, studying, and hearing it preached and taught). Christians and non-Christians alike may fall prey to this, as we fail to give importance to God and His Word in active living. When we fail to ensure a faithful relationship with God through prayer, without a correct understanding and acceptance of His wisdom and authority through Scripture, and ignore an active faith in Christ following his lifestyle (all by the power of the Holy Spirit), we need to examine our estranged relationship, acknowledge we cannot simply create our own witches brew of truths, and repent by spending more time in the things of God (the one whom we claim to believe in, and whom will ultimately grant us eternal life).

If we have no time for God now, why should He grant us an eternal life with him? May we repent of our selfish lies, and embrace the truth at our very finger tips. Believing “I take bits and pieces” here and there is basically creating one’s on religion, inserting themselves in the place of God, and becoming their own final authority, which will not hold up in court at the Great White Throne Judgment.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Born Again, Again? Unto Homosexuality, Really?

Sadly, we read of yet another ‘Christian musician’ who claims to continue to hold true to Christianity in one hand, while grasping homosexuality in the other. Some time back it was Ray Boltz, and today it is Jennifer Knapp. Is it not puzzling how we can claim to serve God as faithful servants, while embracing that which He condemns in His holy word? Such is not limited to Christian musicians or to homosexuality, but to openly ask or demand the world (or fans) to embrace the blatant hypocrisy as being humble seems quite self-serving.

Jennifer states: "I hope that the defiance does come across as humble," she explained. "If there's any frustration, it's trying to politely break the yoke of being asked to be something that I just can't be, and with all humility go: 'Just please be kind when you discover the truth.' It's kinda all you can do."

Yet boasts: "I'm definitely getting a lot more friendly winks from the girls (at her concerts) than I have in the past!"

And jokes: "Anyone who has a decade of celibacy has 'complete loser' written on their back” – ‘although she still respects those who do abstain.’

At least, she declares (regarding her new CD), "I just wouldn't find it respectful at all to say, 'Hey, this is something that you want in your store next to your Jesus statue,'" she said. "It would just be disingenuous to try and convince someone that they needed to do that."

“Still, Knapp considers herself a "person of faith" and recoils at the suggestion that she is turning her back on the church”… so, I ask, if living a lifestyle contrary to scripture does not constitute a life of immorality and turning ones back on the truth of God… what does?

When we sin, we are choosing to disobey, rebel, dishonor, and reject the truth and wisdom of scripture (God’s holy word). How else can we describe our actions and current state as any other way but turning our back on God, the church, our faith? Though one may sing with the voice of an angel, marvelous songs of praise to God and our Savior Jesus Christ, it is but naught having a life in opposition to it.

How sad, though no longer surprising, to hear professing Christians describe the biblical Christian lifestyle as a “yoke of being asked to be something that [one] just can't be”, yet oddly feel completely free to live a life contrary to it. May we all judge ourselves, aligning ourselves with the testimony of Jesus Christ and the word of God, repenting of the broad way wherewith with have walked, and return yet again unto the straight and narrow path of righteousness.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Another Perverted Soul Embarks On Gravely Misrepresenting Christ

According to this article at FoxNews.com: ‘Residents of Stephenville, Texas, say they're furious that a local university will allow the performance of a play in which a gay Jesus shares a kiss with Judas and marries two apostles in a same-sex ceremony.’

It always amazes me when persons take not only a flawed premise (which most, if not all of us, are guilty of doing at some point or another), but also an outright denial of truth; to strive not only to misrepresent the teachings and person of Christ, but to go so far as to try and twist that which is good into that which is evil, merely to justify their own depravity. Isaiah says, ‘Woe’ to such persons and such thoughts.

Oddly, as controversial as the topic of homosexuality is today, given the clear instruction against the perversion in scripture – whereby many atheists even acknowledge such teachings – (Genesis 19; Leviticus 20; Romans 1), along with the fight of trying to redefine marriage in America, it is interesting that John Jordan Otte (student-director) would say the reasoning behind his production of the play is: ‘to "bring people together" and help gain acceptance for gay Christians.’

Here are just a few problems with this line of thinking:

1. Who in their right mind would believe that a homosexual depiction of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, of whom thousands upon thousands hold as the Holy Son of God, would have the potential of bringing together the sheep among the goats?

2. There may be professing Christians who practice homosexuality, but it is still a sin of which needs repentance, and clearly is not and will not be justified or accepted by God or His Word, nor should be by His Church. (* note, I said the sin)

3. The misuse of biblical characters into a lifestyle contrary to scripture, history, etc. is the direct result of a depraved mind with the purpose of gaining attention to oneself by corrupting history and defamation of character; just as it would to create a modern movie of depicting Democrats and/or the President (non-homosexuals) as homosexuals. Who would stand for such, claiming it were merely art?

Although John Jordan Otte claims to be a ‘devout Christian’, as he believes, ‘"I am not attacking anyone in choosing this play. I want people to see and understand another side to faith. I want us all to know that unconditional love means just that -- unconditional -- and I believe tolerance is a key message in this play. None of us, not one of us, should ever feel alone or separated from God or whomever we believe in,"’ he clearly misses the message of the scriptures that mankind is lost and dead in trespasses and sin, out of fellowship and separated from God, under the wrath of the Almighty.

While he wishes for us to see ‘another side of faith’, namely unconditional love, he fails to share one must also have repentance. Unconditional love is not God allowing mankind to do whatever we choose, especially in direct contrast to His Word, as if demanding God overlook our rebellion and rejection of Him and His righteousness; yet He embraces us nevertheless. Unconditional love is the Father sending the Son to live a holy life, suffer the death of the cross, with His resurrection from the grave granting forgiveness of sin, the restoration of fellowship, with the promise of eternal life to all who repent and put faith in Christ.

It is one thing to sin in ignorance, and quite another to transgress willfully with knowledge. A ‘devout Christian’ should know the difference, and quickly acknowledge our sin and repent before God. Although ‘freedom of speech’ may give rights to one to pervert the person and teachings of Christ in this life, no such clause shall save the wicked in the next.

Monday, March 22, 2010

OSAS Does Not Justify Abounding In Sin

I recently picked up the book entitled Green Zone (aka Imperial Life in the Emerald City) by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. In chapter 3, You’re in Charge!, I came across the following, which caused me to ponder the comparative thought many seem to believe when it comes to Once Saved Always Saved (aka OSAS).

“My driver, an English-speaking law student who had not dared to flout a traffic rule before the war, now coolly drove on the wrong side of the street, into opposing traffic at times, to avoid traffic jams. When I asked him what he was doing, he turned to me, smiled, and said, ‘Mr. Rajiv, democracy is wonderful. Now we can do whatever we want.’” (p. 52)

Paul tells us in Romans 5:20b-21 and 6:1-2, ‘But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’

Although scripture declares we are not to abound any longer in sin, but have been ordained to walk in good works by the workmanship of God (Ephesians 2:8-10), all too often many professing Christians find ourselves (whether consciously or subconsciously) gravitating to wickedness rather than righteousness. And even though we may not declare such outwardly, within our hearts we almost (or sadly even outright) seem to try to justify our lack of obedience.

Many times in our lost state we may have moments of fear, genuine worry, about where we may spend eternity based on our acknowledgment of poor morality or measuring up to God’s standard of holy perfection. Then we profess Christ with our mouth at our doorstep, a local event (concert, tent meeting, stadium, crusade, etc.), or local church; claiming we realize we are a sinner who needs the forgiveness of Christ, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So, we ask Christ to come into our hearts, possibly get baptized (but there be some who do not even make it to this step of obedience), and then we are all but done with our Christian walk and fellowship with our Savior.

We have done what we have been told must be done to give us a clear conscious and free eternal access to heaven, NO MATTER WHAT WE DO HEREAFTER. We allow sin to abound in our life, expecting, almost demanding, grace must also abound to cover whatever our flesh desires to do; even if is in total opposition to God and His Word, for we have prayed the prayer. As the taxi driver above, we smile, ‘Once Saved Always Saved (salvation) is wonderful. Now we can do whatever we want.’

With our backs pressed hard against the wall we may not claim this, but our actions declare it loud and clear both to God and man. When asked, we quickly mimic, ‘I am a Christian’, though we have no desire to attend church, pray, read or study scripture, speak or ponder the things of God, nor has there been any change in our thoughts and actions since the day we claim to have put faith in Christ.

No, Christians are not perfect, but there is more to Christianity than simply stating ‘I am a Christian’. James tells us (ch. 2) ‘Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.’

Now, let me make it fully clear, I am an advocate who believes scripture teaches once a person is truly saved, they cannot lose salvation; for we are in Christ (Romans 8). Yet, grace is not a license to sin, nor is profession of faith without works WHICH MUST FOLLOW (because of the spiritual quickening and indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us) a proof one is forgiven and bound for heaven. Anyone who claims salvation, yet has no desire for a personal relationship with Christ, needs desperately to examine themselves and seek repentance; for a truly repentant heart does as Christ: gives themselves over to the will of God rather than their own will.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Full or Half-Hearted Repentance

I was reading an article today at Challies.com, entitled Real Guilt and Sinfulness, and the following words of the writer just stood out to me:

I have met countless people who consider themselves Christians and who admit to sin in their lives and feel guilt and remorse for individual sins, but who seem unable or unwilling to admit the incontrovertible fact that their hearts are in rebellion against God.

This statement really made me think about my life before Christ, but also my life after Christ.

I have personally known persons who would not outright claim they were perfect, yet at the same time have difficulty confessing they were at fault for a particular act; lest they could somehow limit or nullify their part of the blame, by focusing more attention on the action(s) of another who surely is more than or just as guilty as they. This can be easily seen in children, whether between siblings or friends, but is rather easily found in the lives of adults as well. I suppose this shows our tendency away from true repentance; for although we may inwardly feel guilt or remorse for personal sins (for whatever one may name as sin in their life), we still have a difficult, almost impossible, time testifying of our guilt before God without casting some or all of the guilt upon another.

As I look at the statement above, I can’t help but ponder the idea of whether or not we as Christians have kept some of our pre-Christian ideas or excuses. I would assume most professing Christians would acknowledge in our pre-quickening state, many, if not all, seldom saw themselves in outright rebellion against God, but merely making mistakes, doing bad things, and just messing up – like everybody does. We would do better next time. The reality is, I fear, we as professing Christians do not see our hearts as we really are when we presently act in rebellion against God. We may humbly shake our heads in agreement with the pastor that scripture teaches there are sins of omission and commission, but do we confess any act we do contrary to the truth of God is done in outright rebellion?

We know better, yet do it anyway! Is this not our heart in rebellion against God? How do we repent of such, when we are confronted with such a truth by the Holy Spirit or spiritual brother/sister in Christ? Do we confess the act, but digress from repentance of the fullness of our sin? Our act of sin is not simply a mistake, but a willful disobedience in outright rebellion against the Holy One we claim to have redeemed us from the very bondage of transgression we so eagerly return to embrace (for whatever cause)! We cannot simply wink at sin, as if it is merely a mistake done in ignorance, or slide it under the rug with our light consideration of it; for all too often we know we are in disobedience, and follow through with the act with a heart and mind steadfast against God!

May God help us to see sin as it truly is, and give us a desire for true full repentance from it!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Technology: The Gradual Time Thief

I happened upon a blog/website today, while doing a quick search to look for a review of a book I was questioned about by a friend of mine but have not read myself. At Challies’ site, I found an interesting article regarding what could be termed Technology: The Gradual Time Thief.

The writer spends a few minutes discussing how he ‘recently came to the realization that email owns me. A good technology that should be at my disposal has instead taken over and put me at its disposal.’ He further shares, ‘When I find myself compulsively glancing at my screen every time I walk by, hoping to see an icon telling me I've got a new message, when I unthinkingly pull out my iPhone to check to see if I've got any new email, I realize I've got a problem. When I sit in meetings with email open, glancing as often to the screen as to the person speaking, I understand that something has gone wrong.’ He goes on to explain, ‘Hear me when I say that email is not a bad thing. It's not a good thing either, really; it's just a thing.’ Then he notes some ideas of how he plans to continue to allow email to be used as a tool, yet not as a controlling factor of his life.

I know personally, this has brought some awareness of my own actions regarding email, blogs, groups, and even Facebook. How much time have I spent checking email, reading blogs, participating in groups, and skimming Facebook feeds, and what percentage of my time has been fruitful in gleaning instructive, important, and productive info worth the hours exhausted in doing so?

As a Christian, I cannot help but ask myself, have I allowed at least equal time for God and my family, in the study of His Word and prayer, along with communication and interaction with my love ones? I scarcely wish to compare.

As the writer notes, I too do not believe interaction with the use of email, blogs, groups, Facebook, etc. to be bad or should be totally denied, for they serve their purpose; but I do believe we need to ensure we are in control of the technology, rather than it being in control of us. We must beware, because it does not necessarily overcome us at the onset, but seemingly gradually over a time of habit till it becomes our norm.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Atheist Presents Gospel, Christian Exposes Unbelief

Apparently, the known atheists Christopher Hitchens sat down with the former ‘minister’ of the First Unitarian Church of Portland, Marilyn Sewell, for an interview. The discussion was based around Hitchens book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

Interestingly, Hitchens describes himself through the words of Pascal, ‘in his Pensées, his great apology for Christianity—“so made that they cannot believe”,’ declaring he is one of the ‘10 percent of us (who) just never can bring themselves to take religion seriously.’ Though, he does not deny ‘religion as natural to humans’ or that ‘we do seem in the majority to have a tendency to worship, and to look for patterns that lead to supernatural conclusions,’ it would seem that he apparently believes he was created (or evolved) without equal proneness to such things within his own being. He notes, it’s not because of intellect, so must it be natural selection? I jest.

In question #4, Hitchens not only presents the gospel, but also exposes Sewell’s unbelief all in one sentence:

The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make and distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?

I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.

From here, the interview seems to turn from Sewell asking Hitchens of his unbelief (atheism), to Hitchens further exposing Sewell’s unbelief of Christian theology and doctrine. Hitchens declares, ‘Paul says, very clearly, that if it is not true that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, then we the Christians are of all people the most unhappy. If none of that’s true, and you seem to say it isn’t, I have no quarrel with you.’ Later, Sewell even shares, ‘I don’t know whether or not God exists in the first place, let me just say that…I choose to believe because—and this is a very practical thing for me—I seem to live with more integrity when I find myself accountable to something larger than myself.’

Hitchens does make a valid point regarding works, in that he says: ‘any good action by a religious person could be duplicated or matched, if not surpassed, by someone who didn’t believe in god,’ which focuses on the ‘works based salvation’ presented by many professing Christians. People, both of the saved and unsaved, do both good and bad works in the flesh, but the differences is that God also judges the motives (the heart) behind the works, and the faith and unbelief associated with them. So, although we can see persons do good deeds, even marvelous selfless acts of kindness, it does not, in and of itself, ensure them the immortality of heaven. Repentance of sin and faith in Christ does; though good deeds should not be absent, but flow forth from such quickening of the spirit (Ephesians 2:8-10).

In the interview, I can’t determine who deserves more remorse. The atheist who declares he was created without the ability to believe, or the professing Christian who claims she agrees not only with ‘almost everything’ the atheist says but while stating she takes the Scriptures seriously (and even reads her grandmother’s Bible), she isn’t sober enough to take it literally nor any of the teachings.

Friday, January 29, 2010

F- Biology Confusion

The Bing search posted the other day on the front page of MSN read, Another Pregnant Man.

It further states, ‘The man is Scott Moore, who grew up as Jessica. His parents helped him make the transition to being male at a young age.’ According to the New York Daily News, Scott (aka Jessica) apparently told his/her parents that (s)he ‘realized he wanted to be a man’ around 11 years old. But, because (s)he is actually a female, (s)he had to start taking male hormones when (s)he was 16 years old. Although they did remove some female anatomy, the cost of surgery meant (s)he could not have the ‘full sex reassignment surgery’; therefore, (s)he ‘still has female reproductive organs’.

Moore’s partner Thomas, was born as the female named Laura, but ‘underwent sex reassignment surgery last year’. Thomas has two children ‘from a previous relationship with a woman who has since passed away.’

This story is just so bizarre, and apparently is not the only one of its kind. Just looking at the facts presented, how can one claim such is natural, normal, or suggest it should be considered even remotely similar to marriage or the proper natural relationship of a man and a woman according to nature (not to mention the Holy Word of God)?

We have, according to the articles, two people born female who desired to be likened unto males. The one (Thomas, aka Laura) that was able to have the sex reassignment was once already in a relationship with a woman. That by definition is homosexuality. The other (Scott, aka Jessica) was born female, did not have sex reassignment, and is now using her female reproductive organs to carry a child, all the while claiming to desire to be male. This too is homosexuality, with even a more perverted twist. Being both females, they could not biology produce a child, so (s)he ‘got pregnant using the sperm of a friend in June 2009, the Daily Mail reports.’

But, yet there is even more confusion to the story. Not only do we have (1) two females wanting to be males; (2) with one female wanting to be male, yet carry a baby as a female; (3) they are ‘legally married’ because Scott (aka Jessica) still uses her female birth certificate to do so.

It is amazing at what lenghts people will go to try to justify their love of sin, and not only with such cases as these, but with many other sins we have and are guilty of committing ourselves. May we be moved by the Holy Spirit unto conviction to repent of sin, and put our faith in Jesus Christ. Pray for your children and those you know, for such stories may surely become the 'norm' should those who despise the Light have their way...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Parents Know Your Children - Church Know Their Parents

Granted, I haven’t really stayed up-to-date with all the news surrounding Rifqa Bary, who has seemingly been labeled the Christian Convert in more than a few articles, but in reading a few reports today of her apparent runaway with the help of church leadership, I couldn’t help but consider a few thoughts in regards to the situation.

1. One article states that Rifqa met the persons of Global Revolution Church through Facebook. This brings up the question; do we know what our children are doing on the internet, and who they may be conversing with online? What are they searching for or being presented with, and what types of topics or activities are they taking part in? Are they beneficial or harmful to the mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing of our children? We can’t and won’t know, unless we take an active role in the personal lives of our sons and daughters. This is not limited to just the internet or cell phone contacts, but also such communication with others from family, church, school, and the neighborhood.

2. There is also the mentioning that Rifqa was apparently previously baptized without the knowledge or consent of her parents. As one who is a member and attends a local Baptist church, I believe we need to remember the biblical God-given leadership of the home as being to the father, as the legal given to the parents, and not try to usurp authority over such. I believe it is more important to try and reach the parents, rather than create animosity or separation between the parent and the child (especially under 18). Conversion takes place in the heart/spirit/soul of an individual and the Holy Spirit, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ; whereas baptism is merely the outward act of obedience of a good conscience toward that faith, and could be delayed if necessary.

3. It appears that the church leadership based their judgments of coercing or helping the girl to run away from home on the words of Rifqa herself, but I can’t help but wonder if possibly preconceived ideas from the mass resources on negative Islamic faith and practices from the news media and elsewhere played a part in their reasoning also. Again, are we not to at least attempt to contact the parents of a child of whom we have confiding in us, or try our best to investigate the claims to see if there is any merit to them? There have been plenty of stories children have told to only later find out they were somewhat misunderstanding the complete story and some outright lying, so should we not be hesitant in making judgments regarding children and their parents till we searched out the truth and find support for the claims we are given?

4. Rifqa’s father claims he loves her, and that she is free to practice any religions she wants. He also states that she has been labeling herself as a Christian since 14 years old, so why would Rifqa now believe or declare a fear of physical harm from her father? As a father, it would break my heart to hear my daughter claim she feared for her safety or life because of me. We are supposed to be the protectors of our children, with our homes a safe haven for them to run to when the whole world seems to be falling down around them. If our children feel they have been rejected by all, they should know we as their fathers (and mothers) are here for them. Even in poor judgment and at times they need correction, they should know it is done in love and for their benefit.

My points here have less to do specifically about the situation with Rifqa (for I am far lacking in information to judge all the factors of such a case), and more as a thinking process of what would/should we do if we were presented with a similar situation within our home or at our church. Parents – we should know our children! And church members – we need to know the parents of the children that may come to our church or contact us without their dad or mom. We are to be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves; therefore let us pray and act upon intelligent decisions.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Earthquake: Judgment or Prophecy

In the wake of the recent tragedy in Haiti, namely the enormous earthquake which has sent many a souls out into eternity, the notable Rev. Pat Robertson made the following comments according to CBS News.

"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it," Robertson said. "They were under the heel of the French ... and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French.'"

The article then quotes Rev. Paul Raushenbush's words directed at Rev. Pat Robertson: "Go to Hell, Pat Robertson -- and the sooner the better," he wrote. "Your 'theological' nonsense is revolting. Don't speak for Haiti, and don't speak for God. Haiti is suffering a catastrophe and you offer silliness at best, and racism at the worst."

So, we have a professing Christian declaring the judgment of God upon a nation he believes is reaping what they have sown by making ‘a pact to the devil’, while another Christian declares the judgment of God upon the first to send him to hell for his comments. Do we see that each of these individuals, while claiming Christianity, take the same ideals, with both having a seemingly lack of compassion? So, who is the better role model, declaring the ideals of Christ they both profess to believe and exercise? Is it the one who condemns the Haiti people to hell, or the one who condemns a fellow believer to hell? I scarcely can choose…

The scriptures are pretty clear about reaping and sowing, both in the positive and negative sense, regarding sin and good works. Yet, the scriptures equally reveal in the latter times there will be wars, rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, etc. Scripture also speaks (in John 9) of a man born blind, whereby the disciples questioned Christ as to whether the meaning of the man’s blindness was due to the sin of himself or his parents. In this passage the disciples (i.e. believers) specifically asked Christ was the reason for the man being born blind due to the judgment of sin (whether his own or his parents). Christ’s answer was, ‘Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.’ Christ’s response was not to say that the man nor his parents had never sinned, but that the man’s blindness was based on the sovereignty of God and not sin.

I used to easily cast judgment myself, as similar circumstances such as Hurricane Katrina struck hard the city of New Orleans and elsewhere, but I have come to rather be more cautious in reserving my opinion of what may and may not be the judgment of God upon a person, people, or place. For it is true that individually whosoever ‘soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption’ and that ‘the wages of sin is death’; and though there is forgiveness of sin through Christ, there is still the chastisement of the Lord and consequences of sin which may affect us the rest of our days. And ‘we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together’ because of the sin and death upon the world because of corruption, along with the appointed ‘acts of nature’ the scriptures prophecy shall be and come.

Therefore, I must conclude, that we (as man) cannot so easily judge a person, people, or nation regarding the punishment of God; for it seems to me, there are those things which come upon us because of our sin, and there be those things which come because they must needs be to declare ‘the works of God’. This is not to say that we cannot see sin as sin, whether in ourselves or others, by the principles of the scriptures, but I am doubtful we can judge tragedy and death is always connected to the apparent sin or rejection of God by a certain person, persons, or place.

Case and point is thus: Take the homosexual, along with a faithful pastor. Both find themselves in the hospital, as the doctor declares to them they have inoperable cancer. The church prays fervently for their pastor, while there are no believers who even know the homosexual to pray for. The time comes; whereby the homosexual and the pastor die, and go out into eternity. Judge ye: if thus was judgment upon the one for the sin of homosexuality, what was the reason for the non-healing of the pastor, and how does one determine the difference?

So, in conclusion, if this earthquake is the judgment of God: is that to say that even the non-Haiti and professing Christians who perished, was because they too (or their forefathers) 'swore a pact to the devil'; they were just in the wrong place and the wrong time; they were being punished for helping the Haiti people; or when God judges He doesn't differentiate between the just and the unjust?

Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience

Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.

Click below to read the full Manhattan Declaration.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Health: Renew Marriage Commitment Rather Than Divorce

Today, I came across an article at MSN.com, apparently provided by Redbook, entitled ‘Can You Spot the Hidden Heart Dangers?’. What caught my eye was not so much this title, but the included subtopic, ‘3. Your marriage’. They propose, ‘It's normal to have your share of tiffs with your spouse, but if your relationship with your partner is marked by constant stress and strain, your risk of heart attack increases up to 34 percent, according to a 12-year study of more than 9,000 men and women published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.’

This really got me thinking. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are approximately at a divorce rate of 3.5 per 1,000 population in the United States. (see data) The Christian Science Monitor claims, ‘The divorce rate fell 4 percent in 2008 to 16.9 divorces per 1,000 married women, according to Census Bureau data. It had previously been on an upward path, rising from 16.4 divorces per 1,000 married women in 2005 to 17.5 in 2007.’

By some sources, we boast over 50% in our divorce rate here in the United States. I say boast, because I don’t see much (if any) remorse or humility with such a standing in the world from us. Even with the cry over the ‘Sanctity of Marriage’, according to The Christian Post, ‘Among all born again Christians, which includes evangelicals, the divorce figure is 32 percent, which is statistically identical to the 33 percent figure among non-born again adults, the research group noted.’

Today, there are many reasons people give to justify divorce. Even as Christians, we tend to bend, twist, and even ignore the very Word of God we claimed to be our source of Truth, just to allow ourselves, family, or friends to escape the feelings of remorse or guilt for desiring to leave their spouse. I am fully aware of the few (and I stress a couple, realizing opinions vary with this topic) Biblical reasons for divorce, but far too often we as Christians are merely grasping at straws trying to pull God into our corner to justify our sinful lusts and covetousness. God is not fooled, nor does/will He excuse our sin.

What this article caused me to ponder is will this be yet a new reason for Christians (or others) to give to try and validate their wish to divorce their spouse? ‘We need to divorce, because my health is being affected.’

I am grateful the article actually posed a positive solution, by stating, ‘To avoid a heart attack—not to mention improve your marriage—consider going for counseling, says Georgiades.’ Now, I am not suggesting every couple that is having problems needs to run out and see a counselor. What I do agree with, is every marriage should seek reconciliation rather than separation, a reason to work at renewing the marriage commitment rather than seeking divorce.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Resolve To Better Actions And Reactions

As we wave goodbye to 2009, we are forced to welcome in 2010. I say forced, not that it is a bad thing, but we really do not have a choice whether or not to embrace it. What we do have a choice to embrace is how we will act and react to all the circumstances that may surround us this year.

Quite often each January 1st, we enlist a good number of resolutions which are seldom kept the entire length of our promise. For different reasons, possibly some within our control while others outside of it, we find our commitments lacking as the days stroll by. Even though we frequently choose to spotlight such self improvements as weight loss, eating habits, better job, do more, quitting things, etc., the initial enthusiasm seems to fade with the seasons.

How about this year, we focus to be more resolute in being a better person not only to ourselves, but also to others? Possibly, we could reach out to family and friends we haven’t spoken to in years, whether because of the miles or grievance. Instead of being simply a silent witness or introvert, why not allow ourselves to have fellowship with the church members and co-workers we see on a daily or weekly basis? What if we take the preliminary steps to reestablish torn or struggling relationships, by allowing ourselves to forgive and be kind to others, whether or not they ask or seek our forgiveness or restoration?

May we all be resolved this year to not only desire better actions of ourselves, but also better reactions to the actions of others. It will be difficult, and most assuredly push us uncomfortably from our comfort zone, but through our patience and consideration of what is right (based on Truth and not the actions of others) how can we not arrive at 2011 a better person with more character?

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.