Archive for July, 2010

26
Jul
10

Defending Your Bridegroom


Tonight, at bible study, we watched a short movie on fearing God, but for some reason I got something totally different out of what he was saying than what I think I was suppose to. As a side note to what he was talking about, he mentioned the church being the bride of Christ and how we should defend him. After this statement, my mind went to wondering. Think about it… If someone did something that caused physical or emotional harm to your wife or husband, you would probably explode on them in a not so Christian way.  Not that exploding on them is the right thing to do, but there are things that make us get very angry sometimes. Usually it is doing something to someone we love. So, do we truly love Christ?  If so, are we defending him when people misrepresent him? Or how about when people are blaspheming him? How about the false teachers that Paul warns us of; are we correcting them? But when defending him, don’t do it in the not so Christian way in which I referred to above. If you do, then you are taking part in the misrepresentation of Christ yourself.

1 Timothy 6:20-21

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

1 Timothy 1:3-7

3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Just don’t leave out verse five. “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

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22
Jul
10

So…Is God Real?


Well, I guess it is time to finally give my answer to this question…Is God real? I think it is pretty obvious what my answer is, considering I have a Christian blog site. Just to clarify though, I do believe the God of Christianity is real. I have thought about how to explain it to believers and nonbelievers, but I think the only people who would relate would be believers. So, I am going to take a different angle to this question. Recently, I finished reading a book by C. S. Lewis called The Case For Christianity. If you don’t know who C. S. Lewis is, google him and read the wikipedia on him. He was an atheist who turned into a Christian. He was a very intelligent man and wrote many great books. (The Chronicles of Narnia being one) I want to mention some of the things he brought out in this book. I think it will be appealing to nonbelievers as well as believers.

Part one of the book is called “Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe.” In this section of the book he talks about The Law of Right and Wrong, The Moral Law, and The Rule of Decent Behavior, which are all basically the same. There are a few points he makes that I find rather interesting. He starts off talking about The Law of Right and Wrong, which originally was called The Law of Human Nature. Basically, this law states that every human instinctively knows right from wrong. He goes on to tell that there are a few morals various cultures differ in but there is a basis that everyone agrees on. An example he uses is “Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you mustn’t simply have any woman you want.” He also uses an example about seeing someone drowning. “At those moments when we are most conscious of the Moral Law, it usually seems to be telling us to side with the weaker of the two impulses. You probably want to be safe much more than you want to help the man who is drowning: but the Moral Law tells you to help him all the same.” For the sake of keeping this blog short, which is not going to happen, I am going to be limited on what all I can use from this book. But the point he is trying to make is the fact that we will choose the situation which is less natural just because it is the right thing to do. So where do the same basic morals for every human come from or what makes us choose the less intelligent decision, such as diving in a raging river to save someone from drowning? Would it not be a creator?

Now I want to talk about the universe. Let’s start out quoting from the book. “Ever since men were able to think they’ve been wondering what this universe really is and how it came to be here. And, very roughly, two views have been held. First, there is what is called the materialist view. People who take that view think that matter and space just happen to exist, and always have existed, nobody knows why; and that the matter, behaving in certain fixed ways has just happened, by a sort of fluke, to produce creatures like ourselves who are able to think. By one chance in a thousand something hit our sun and made it produce the planets; and by another thousandth chance the chemicals necessary for life, and the right temperature, arose on one of these planets, and so some of the matter on this earth came alive; and then, by a very long series of chances, the living creatures developed into things like us. The other view is the religious view. According to it, what is behind the universe is more like a mind than it’s like anything else we know. That is to say, it’s conscious, and has purposes, and prefers one thing to another. And on this view it made the universe, partly for purposes we don’t know, but partly, at any rate, in order to produce creatures like itself-I mean like itself to the extent of having minds.” (There are other views such as the Life-Force philosophy, Creative-Evolution, and Emergent Evolution. I am trying to keep this as short as possible so I won’t go into them.)  He goes on to tell that neither view can be proven by science because science only works through experiments. But in the end I guess we just have to look at each view and decide which one best fits our thoughts.

So in this last section I want to quote some more from the book. This is a great point that he lays out about “thoughts.” “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen for physical or chemical reasons to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a bye-product, the sensation I call thought. But if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I can’t believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve God.” Wow! I never thought of it like that before.

I know this blog really has been a lot of quotes from this book, but I think it is better to give an answer like this from the point of view of a converted atheist. I have been raised in the church and told about God my entire life, therefore that’s all I know. So I could never know what it is like to be on the outside looking in. But I do know what it is to not know how I am going to make it through the week emotionally, physically, or financially. Throughout my life there have been times in which I had nothing to depend on except God. He has provided for me in every need. In these times it was not by mere coincidence. It wasn’t possible for the outcome to turn out the way it did. Also, my question is, how does everything work together the way it does if there is no creator? (Birth, our bodies, walking, talking, seeing, intelligence, emotions) Is it really the way science explains it? And a lot of them science can thoroughly explain, but how did the things that make up the way we do these things come about to work together perfectly? I guess one day we will all know for sure what is the correct view.

In closing, I want to give one more short quote he says. He is talking about when Jesus comes back. “For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There’s no good (in) saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That won’t be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover what side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It won’t last forever. We must take it or leave it.”

Philippians 2:9-11 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(I couldn’t talk about everything I wanted to from the C.S. Lewis book, so I urge everyone to read it. It is only about 50 pages long but full of awesome facts.)

12
Jul
10

Dealing with Suicide


Yesterday morning, I woke up and for some strange reason I was thinking about people  who commit suicide. Where do they go; heaven or hell? So I decided,  in my mind, they go to hell. Murder is sin. They murder themselves and don’t have time to repent. Right??….. Well …..

I went to Sunday school yesterday morning and Pastor Clayton got to talking about suicide. I don’t think he really meant to get on the subject, but he did.  He was talking about the only unforgiven sin.   Matthew 12:31-32

31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

So does this mean suicide is forgiven? It clearly says the only unforgiven sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. It even says words against Jesus are forgiven. Another scripture he brought out is           Romans 5:20-21

20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So where do people go who commit suicide? I personally do not know for sure and Pastor Clayton never said he knew for sure. I think it is the easiest argument to say hell. I also think grace goes far beyond what we can comprehend. We are not to judge, but we are to be judged. So if you are dealing with a lost loved one who has committed suicide, and your not sure what to think, just remember, where there is sin, there is much more grace.

As a side note….

Just because the lord is very gracious, it doesn’t mean we can go about sinning all the time.        Romans 6:1-4

6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

09
Jul
10

Is God Real?


I am not going to post  an answer to this question until I have a few good answers from my readers. I want everyone who reads this to click the “comments” button on this topic and give me an answer. I would like to hear both sides of the argument; those who do believe He is real and those who do not. I believe this will challenge the believers more than the nonbelievers. But, it will be good for us.

Also, in Brett Wilson’s comment he said “I’ve never been one for debates, mainly because people on both sides tend to defend their side and use the other participants words as ammo to turn back on them.”  I totally agree. I will not approve your comment if it turns into a unprofitable argument.

08
Jul
10

Add to Your Church Daily


On my way home from work today I was thinking about the end of Acts chapter 2. I was thinking about how the Bible says that “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” So then I started wondering. What did they do that pleased God enough for Him to add so many to the church? They had to be doing something right or the Lord wouldn’t have added to them people to disciple. Well lets look at Acts 2:42-47.

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Now I’m going to break it down into the way I see these verses. Verse 42- They were totally sold out to the apostles’ teachings. They lived every inch of their lives the way the apostles taught. They were this way with three important factors; hanging out together, eating together, and prayer…(I’m going to assume prayer together since the others were.) Verse 43- Awe came upon everyone of them because they bought into what was in verse 42. The awe led to great faith. The great faith led to many signs and wonders. Verse 44- They were all together, not bickering, focused on the same thing. Verse 45-They were selling their possessions so that they could give the money to those who needed it. Verse 46 and 47- Everyday, they were at church together, eating together, thankful for everything, praising God, and having favor with each other. That is why the church was added to daily.

So what is the best form of outreach? Apparently it is the outreach of the believers in Acts chapter 2. Their way of outreach added people everyday. Their outreach was spending everyday together in church and then at each others houses in fellowship. In today’s world we complain if we have to go to church more than two times a week.  They also had favor with all people. As christians, we need to be careful and find favor with everyone; at work, playing sports, dining at a restaurant, at school. There are too many so called “christians” in this world that act ridiculous in public and they have given real christians a bad name. Another thing the believers in Acts chapter 2 were doing was selling their own possessions so that they could give money to the ones in need. In today’s world, we love to have the biggest house, the best car, and the newest phone. What do all these have in common? Each cost the most money to have them.  I’m not saying its horrible to have money or have nice things, but if you are stretching yourself to the limit to aquire these things then you are doing the opposite the early church was in Acts 2. If they didn’t have the money to give to the needy, they sold something to get it. How many of us would sell something of ours, just so we can give the money to those in need?

So how do we add to our churches? I think following the example of the early church in Acts is the best way. As a church family, why don’t we devote ourselves to the teaching of the Bible, be in awe of it, fellowship daily, pray daily, support those in need (even if it takes a sacrifice of our own), and lets see the church grow. And as a final challenge to all who are reading, next week invite someone you want to know a little better to your house for dinner, and get to know each other. It is time to see the church grow.

03
Jul
10

How Do I Know I’m Saved?


I was listening to a song today that described life after receiving salvation perfectly. The song is “More Like Falling in Love” by Jason Gray. Some of the quotes are “more like falling in love, than something to believe in,” and ” more like losing my heart than giving my allegiance.”  Wow! Talking about hitting the nail on the head! This song has an awesome description, but what does the bible say? I think it clearly talks about the answer to “how do I know I’m saved?” It is a combination of two things; inward and outward.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

What is that “belief?” Is it just believing that Christ came and then doing whatever we want? Well I guess if I just went by this one verse it could be. (Many people believe in Christ but still do not call themselves christians.) But, I like to take the Bible as a whole and see what it says. The Bible was put together to work together as a whole, not contradicting itself. So lets take that verse and put it with some other verses. 

Inward:

Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.”

This verse comes from Stephen’s speech to the council before his stoning. Notice he called them “uncircumcised in heart.” These men were about to have him stoned for doing things for the sake of Christ. So I would think it’s safe to say they were unsaved men. So maybe to be saved is to have a “circumcised heart.” What does this mean? Well if you were circumcised in the Old Testament it would prove you were a Jew. So maybe “circumcised in the heart” is to establish the fact of being saved. So how do I know if I am circumcised in heart? Answer: Think of the song. Are you falling in love or are you just believing that Christ existed? If you are totally in love with Christ inwardly it will show outwardly. I think Colossians and Galatians gives some good examples of what the outward appearance will be.

Outward:

Colossians 5 – 17

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Galatians 5 19-24

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Well, theres not much to add to that. I think the Bible describes it perfectly. It tells us what we need to stop doing and then what we should start doing. It tells us what the works of the flesh are (which we are to put off). Then it tells us what we will produce with our inward heart changed. We will produce the fruits of the Spirit. I know that we are all human and we slip and fall sometimes, but I think that excuse is used too much. Read verse 24 in Galatians 5. If you’re not producing these fruits then just maybe there is something wrong.

Listen to this song and if you feel the same way he sings about then just maybe you will know you’re saved.

As a side note, I also like another quote from this song. It says “Cause all religion ever made of me was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet.” Expect a blog on this quote.