Category Archives: Christianity

Leadership; Nonbelievers just don’t understand…

Every now and again I’m reminded of one of the reasons why true believers are so loyal and fixed on Jesus.  Have you ever noticed that there are some people that are so honorable, smart, charismatic, and loyal that others go into orbit around them.  They function as true north, and everyone else is a compass needle.  There are real life examples of this, George Washington was once such human.

There are also fictional characters that function the same way, the most recent example I can think of is Gibbs on NCIS.  Characters like him are so popular because we humans seem to be made to follow courage, justice, caring, etc… People who display these characteristics tend to attract followers who are willing to follow them anywhere.

This can also be a bad thing when people follow charisma simply because they cannot seem to determine their own lives.  They want someone to tell them specifically what to do and when to do it, as well as what to believe.  That is what happens when a cult springs up.  Following a good person is beneficial, following a bad person is detrimental.

What does this have to do with Christianity?  We are so drawn to Jesus because in Him is all goodness and none of the imperfection that brings detriment.  In Jesus we have a human, that because He is also God, is totally righteous, just, loving, merciful, brilliant, honest, loyal, etc… In Him we have a leader that we can totally trust 100% of the time because He has proven Himself in ways that everyone alive can still check out.

We follow Him and love Him because He is Truth itself, He is the Way, the only proper Way, of having a correct worldview.  He loved us so much that He did and does not lead from behind; instead, He paved the way for us giving His life, health, and very self for us, to fix our mess and to forgive our sin.  Why do we love Him and defend Him?  Amongst many reasons, it is because we are grateful to have a leader such as Him.  And, unlike false leaders, He gives us absolute and total freedom.

He teaches us what is best for humans; to forgive, to love, to serve, to hope, to be courageous and strong, to stand up for those that cannot stand up for themselves.  While He is our leader, He teaches us self-responsibility, how to think for ourselves, and how to care for our enemies.  Nonbelievers cannot grasp this idea, they are intent on either following themselves, or other flawed humans.  That is the problem with any other form of idolatry; you are not following the correct leader.  Do you worship money, fame, self, nature, other gods, philosophies?  Then you are not following truth, and it will be to your detriment.

One of the great paradoxes of Christianity is the idea of becoming a slave to Jesus, and that makes you completely free.  A true leader does not try to exert forced control, or tell followers to shut off their brains.  Jesus asks us to freely choose, and enables our choice.  If we do freely choose Him, He then sets us totally free from both sin and the confines of the law, and in effect, He allows us to make all of our own choices in life, while at the same time promising to guide us and guard us if we will heed His voice.  We are painted as sheep; however, it is sheep with no fences but rather a loving and powerful shepherd that tends to His flock.

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Ministry Review; World Vision

Sponsoring a child in need.  Many times that conjures up old commercials from the 80′s begging for funds… that turned out to be lining the pockets of a few of the people in charge, with no money going to the children.  Also, the old model was based upon the idea that Western outsiders knew best how to help a community rather than the community itself knowing what they need.

Gratefully those days are gone for the most part.  If you wish to sponsor a child there are now an array of charitable organizations that have tossed out the old model, in favor of a new sustainable grassroots model.  Also, with watchdog groups constantly checking on these charities it is far less likely that someone is simply pocketing the money.

One such organization is World Vision International.  Each country that is  a part of WV, has their own website; so for example World Vision US is:  www.worldvision.org  This website is a hub that you can use to get news, learn about the organization, sponsor a child, browse their catalog and send gifts such as goats, chickens, microfinance a loan, etc…  World Vision used to catch a bit of flak for advertising as though your money went directly to the sponsored child, but now they have made it much clearer that your money goes to the child’s community, and not just to the child itself.

Each child that is sponsored is assured to be a part of the programs for education, schooling, etc… and you can send extra gifts to the child’s family or community.  This system tends to work better, since the whole community is involved and less jealousy is likely to occur.  Also, the grassroots touch is that each community gives feedback as to what is needed, and what would most help.  Sustainability is one of the main goals of World Vision and they work to make a perpetual change.

Why do I call this a ministry?  Because they are indeed a Christian organization.  This does not mean that they push or proselytize.  Their belief is that they live out part of Jesus’ message by helping those that need a bit of encouragement or a leg up.  There are some areas in the world where Christianity can be taught, they can hand out Bibles, etc… but there are also some areas where Christianity, it active proselytizing, is not allowed.  They still serve those communities, hoping to make an impact for Jesus based on love and action.

The pros of this ministry; it connects you with an individual child, it is a large organization, so can make a big impact.  They have disaster response that is second to none.  They are so well known, so they are also watch to make sure there is no fraud.

Some cons; each country has its own people in charge (which is good too), but this makes it hard to police and constantly insure no one is conning the system, and that funds are being well used.  (However, the organization does indeed run checks, and takes any reports of problems seriously.)  For us more conservative minded Christians, there is a bit of unease when the “social gospel” is focused on, instead of the more salvational message of Jesus, but that is the purpose of this organization.

I don’t usually like to talk about charitable acts, but yes, we’ve just started sponsoring 2 World Vision children, and I’d love to share my experiences on here, and can wait to start writing letters and sending small trinkets along to them via mail.  If you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them, or point you to a phone number or webpage.  If you have any WV stories to share, I’d love to see them in the “comments” section here.

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Helping get the Gosnell mass-murder story out…

The mainstream media refuses to cover this story because it shows abortion for what it is; infanticide, or baby murder.  The story at the following link is indeed graphic.  Swallow it, folks, this is what abortion has wrought.

Philadelphia abortion clinic horror.

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Filed under Catholicism, Christianity, Health, Musings, Of Interest, Religion and Politics

Wake up; take back Feminism…

WARNING: This article talks about mature topics that often are disturbing (and should be).

I’m one of those people that believed Feminism was a foul word, tainted by liberal ideology, and something to be avoided at all costs.  Then I woke up.  The original ideas of Feminism are solid ideas, but the philosophy has been co-opted by the leftwing.  In fact, females do indeed deserve to be treated equally to men, we should indeed have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Life; we have the right to not be murdered and killed simply because we are female.  All over this globe, and down through history, a female’s life is often weighed to be less than a man’s.  I believe this is one reason why feminism in this country took a liberal turn; we won those rights and instead of helping other women in other countries, the feminists in this country turned insular and began to morph feminism into something it was never meant to be.

In countries such as China, male life is held more dear than female life.  That is a current fact.  Babies are killed (often before they leave the womb) or abandoned simply because they are female.  Do China’s policies effect this?  Of course they do.  That’s the point.  In this current age of globalization, isn’t it time that we women in the US start trying to help other women in other countries gain basic rights?  Should that not be the true goal of classical feminism?

Abortion policies under the euphemism “the right to choose”  are anti-feminist.  Abortion is a plague that is scarring women and targeting female babies in particular.  The earliest feminists, were (in the main) against abortion.  Abortion kills scores of females every single day, and leaves the mothers scarred and hurting.  True feminists fight for the lives of the unborn, male and female, and strive to make a world where females who are pregnant have the help and support they need through private charities and support groups.

Liberty; we have the right to not be owned by another human being, or by the government.  We should have the same freedoms afforded to males.  The right to influence government policies for one, which obviously includes the right to vote.  True feminism is pro-democracy.  We should care very deeply that there are women living in countries where things like Sharia law denies liberty and freedom to women.

The pursuit of happiness; we have the right, as much as we are able, to effect our own lives and to make them positive.  Around the globe females, young girls and women, even babies, are being sold into sex slavery.  This is not prostitution, there is no real choice, this is rape on a massive scale done in the name of money.  It takes money to fight the love of money.  Capitalism in a democratic society is one of the main ways to insure women have the right and means to pursue happiness.

On the flip side of sex slavery, in many places, women and their sexuality are seen to be bad just because they are women.  Genital mutilation at the hands of traditionalists (especially in Muslim countries) is torturing and disrupting females every day.  Not only does genital mutilation rob women of their God given capacity to enjoy sex, but also disrupts normal waste elimination, and causes additional hazards to women in childbirth.  Part of being a true feminist should be to put your foot down and decry beliefs and customs that call for the physical mutilation/torture of young girls and women.

If I believe my happiness lies in being a stay-at-home wife or that motherhood is my goal, true feminism supports that.  Somewhere along the way someone started teaching that women must become like men, not equal to them, but literally like men.  Liberal feminists look down upon the women who choose “traditional” paths in life.  It is as though they fear all that is male, and must try to force themselves to become the same as that which they fear.

It is time that we Christians wake up and take another look at what we can do to support females in this world.  Many have the skewed belief that women are seen to be inferior in Christianity, or that we cannot teach, or serve in the church, etc… This is a false view, and one that I hope to tackle in a future article.  Also, read up on this stuff and have your eyes opened.  It can be a painful awakening, but is necessary if we wish to do right by the females in the world.  I recommend the book, and PBS show “Half the Sky.”  Yes, watch out for liberal ideology, but gather and gain the knowledge needed.  Also, if you are looking for a Christian organization helping to make an impact on issues directly related to feminism, check out Wellspring International.

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Church discipline; most churches get it wrong…

Church discipline is one of those areas that is misunderstood and abused even amongst the churches.   There are two views on either side, both incorrect.  One view is that the church is to be the police of it’s member’s sin against God, and if a member is sinning against God, they have to be taken to task, and then shunned if there is no “repentance.”  The other view is that there is no such thing as church discipline; that fellow believers have no right to speak out about sin in the congregation.

The fact is, Jesus taught about discipline, esp. here:

Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

But notice something important, it is if someone sins against you, not against God.  We are to be concerned when someone does something wrong that effects us directly.  So, say there is someone in the congregation that is trying to sleep with my husband.  I now have a legitimate gripe and have been given the steps to take to stop it.  Say one member steals from another, again, we have the steps to work through.

Elsewhere, Paul tells us not to judge another, save whether or not that person is causing another to stumble.  So, what is being established is order in the physical church, not a judgment on that person’s salvation, nor their “sin” against God.  Notice there should be something that has been witnessed by at least one other person.  It is apparent we are establishing a case of earthly import, not a spiritual state of salvation.

In scripture we see that it is the Holy Spirit’s job of convicting and changing a person in regards to sin against God, it isn’t my job.  We are humans, we are going to fight and have disagreements, church discipline is supposed to keep order and safety in the church, settling earthly disputes between believers.  Another reason for this, is that we are not supposed to get the government involved when there is a disagreement between believers.  I’m not supposed to sue a fellow believer, so how am I to make sure I don’t get taken advantage of by one?  That is what church discipline was for.

We have to read the cases in scripture about church discipline and make sure we see the entire context.  Take Paul’s admonishments in 1 Corinthians.  He is talking about issues within the church itself.  So, when the Corinthian believers were sinning, it involved other members of the church with whom they were either sinning with, and against.

The other very important aspect is correct teaching of the gospel.  In a church, you do expect members to behave, not because of themselves, but rather because of the workings of the Holy Spirit.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God; IF the true gospel of faith and grace, and Jesus Christ is being taught, the individuals will respond to that.

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Christians and the Environment

Should Christians “go green?”  Is environmentalism a moral issue?  I can only give my opinion on these and similar questions.

Instead of framing the ideas presented by some environmentalists as a moral issue, I tend to see it as a spiritual issue.  Our morality is rarely linked to the environment; sometimes, but rarely.  Instead, what becomes healthy and good for us spiritually?  I believe scripture points us to a balance.   There are several factors to consider when looking at this; First, God did indeed put humans in charge of the earth, which included animals, plants, and the earth itself.  Second, He built the earth to be resilient.

The first point means that we are at the top of the consideration when looking at environmental matters.  Humans are the pinnacle of this earthly creation, and we were to have a ruler-ruled relationship with the rest of creation.  That means humans are always to be considered before anything else (whales, fish, plants, etc…) and also we are more fulfilled when we are stepping up and safeguarding the environment.

The second point means that the environment is far from fragile.  It is designed to be resilient.  For example when a volcano erupts the gases and effects of the eruption, the ripping of the earth, the physical steam, ash, etc… are devastating in the short term, but long term, the earth adapts.  Take an oil spill caused by humans; oil is actually a natural substance.  There is indeed a shock to the environment if oil is suddenly introduced in mass amounts, but it will recover.

The answer then is a balance; we shouldn’t be panicked over the environment, but we are indeed connected to it in a way that should make us responsible.  If we exercise our responsibility we also reap spiritual fulfillment.  Look at it this way; Adam was designed to be placed in the garden of Eden.  He named each animal, and was surrounded by perfect nature.  We, his descendents, can find working with animals, or plants, or cultivating land, or even just being out in nature very fulfilling in a very basic way.

That brings us back to environmentalism.  There are some “duh” aspects to this, and non-fanatical ways to approach supporting and helping the environment.   Is it a moral issue if I use a plastic bag instead of using my own reusable canvas bag at the grocery store?  No, but there is the fact to face that plastic bags are one of the banes of our existence.  They clutter our houses and blow down the streets like urban tumbleweeds.  They wind up in our water systems, and even get hung up in trees.  Plus, if you think littering is no big deal, get a dog you love and try walking it down a street, pretty soon you are going to “get” why littering is irresponsible and frustrating.

Jesus didn’t just come here to fix us, His sacrifice is ultimately going to save and fix the whole of creation.  He cares about the physical earth, why shouldn’t we?  That being said, humans are the main concern of Jesus, He became human. Jesus was so “down to earth” about things, we should be the same way.   We were meant to have an awesome responsibility, and also to enjoy the physical world. We shouldn’t stress about the environment, nor become fanatical about it (fanaticism often leads to a from of idolatry).  The balanced approach is the best approach for us and the environment.

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Jehovah-Rohi; The Lord is my Shepherd…

This look at one of the names of God is going to focus on one of His more popular names or roles; that of our Shepherd.  This name is commonly known because of Psalm 23 and its “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…”  The fact that it is “Jehovah-Rohi” shows us that being a shepherd is a part of Who God is, meaning it is His character to be our shepherd.

We know from scripture that there are good shepherds and bad shepherds.  One of the differences was to see if the shepherd would be willing to give his life for his sheep.  In God we have the ultimate shepherd, He sees to us, cares for us lives alongside of us… and did indeed die for us.  If one of us goes astray, He comes for us, not to condemn us but to get us out of whatever trouble we’ve found and bring us home.

The other aspect of a shepherd that many people tend to forget is that they do desire the sheep to follow them.  A sheep knows the shepherd’s voice and was expected to follow along, staying close to the shepherd.  I always like to imagine the Holy Spirit as the Shepherd’s sheep dog.  Not in any negative sense of course, but in the sense that the Holy Spirit is what helps guide us, and helps us tune into the shepherd’s commands.  All we have to do is listen for the Shepherd’s voice and respond when He calls; we have to trust Him, in other words, faithe on Him.

One aspect of all of this that should give us comfort, is that God is so far above us, that we are compared to the sheep, while He’s the shepherd.  Sheep aren’t the smartest animals on earth, but have their place, and their uses.   But note; the Shepherd is in charge, and it is His duty to see to the sheep.  If a threat approaches the sheep, it is the Shepherd who deals with it.  How wonderful to be a sheep protected and loved by God Himself!

How wonderful to be able to say, as David did, the LORD is my Shepherd, it is He Who leads, guides, loves, and protects me.  If I stray, He comes to get me.  Another awesome aspect?  That Shepherd, God Himself, became a Lamb that gave its life for me, and you, and to rid of us of sin and the penalty of the law.  This Lamb is so perfect, He meets every criteria of a perfect sacrifice.  Hold on to the fact that God, the Creator of all things, is your Shepherd the second you heed His call.  When times get tough, remember Who your Protector is, call out to Him, He will hear you.

For my other articles on the names of God see; Jehovah-rapha, Jehovah-Shammah, Jehovah-Tsidkenu, and Jehovah-nissi

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John MacArthur’s misunderstanding about the sufficiency of scripture

I recently listened to several sermons by John MacArthur on the sufficiency of scripture, which is what is prompting this article.  By the middle of each sermon I was shouting at the radio, and not “Amen” or “Hallelujah.”  The lead-off was talking about how psychology has infiltrated the church.

Now, I have to be clear from the outset, I don’t think a psychologist has the requisite training to be a pastor, that takes a whole other type of schooling and training.  The opposite holds true; a pastor that has only been trained to teach out of the Bible doesn’t have the requisite training to be a psychologist.  What does any of this have to do with the sufficiency of scripture?  Well, Johnny Mac’s point was that the Bible is sufficient for all spiritual need… which apparently includes mental need from his POV.

Does the Bible contain teachings that apply to psychology?  Yes.  Is it, sufficient in and of itself to treat someone’s mental disorder?  Well, let me ask this; is the Bible sufficient to teach someone to set a broken leg?  The answer to both is “no” without any insult to the Bible.  A human is physical, mental, and spiritual.  The Bible is mainly a spiritual guide, with overlap in the physical and mental areas.  We would never make the argument that if someone is suffering from cancer, that the Bible gives us specific cures.  It is the same for mental health.

MacArthur bemoans the fact that people look for answers outside the Bible… we do that all the time, in fact he does that all the time.  When you have a problem with your car, the Bible does not teach you how to fix it.  Beyond that, what MacArthur teaches sounds like a form of idolatry; the Bible isn’t to be worshiped, God is.  The Bible, as a physical, written document is not sufficient to save anyone.  Only God is sufficient. That is why the Bible should be labeled the word of God, while Jesus is The Word of God.

Further, I did not hear MacArthur teach on Ephesians 4; specifically:

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Notice that these people are to teach, so a written manuscript is not sufficient for the perfecting of the saints.  It takes teaching and guiding, it also takes the Holy Spirit!  Should psychology run the church? No.  Should psychology be preached from the pulpits? No.  Do humans have a mind that can have issues that need addressed outside of scripture? Yes.  To teach anything else is to neglect a God-given aspect of humanity, and to put believers in danger who are listening to John MacArthur.  The danger is that someone suffering from a mental disorder, or mental pain may not get the help they need, being scared that psychology is somehow “of the Devil.”

The Bible teaches us about life, and eternal life.  Without God we are doomed, without Jesus we are doomed, so the eternal state of your soul should be your number one priority.  However, there are aspects to our earthly lives that will have to be dealt with alongside scripture, not out of scripture.  Mental health overlaps with spiritual and physical health, and we need to make sure each of the three is getting fed, and treated.  Scripture helps with all of them, and is sufficient for moral and spiritual teachings, but it was not meant to cover all we humans will encounter here, so the next time my power goes out, I’m not going to quote scripture and think it will magically come back on, someone at the power company is going to have to fix it.

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The Fruit of the Spirit, pt. 9; Temperance

The last fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 is “temperance.”  The Greek word used here is egkrateia, it means self-control, or a hallmark of one who masters their passions.  There should be nothing that has control over us, that stems from our human nature.  So, we have a struggle between human nature and divine nature.  It is more clearly laid out for us in 2 Peter:

2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Notice all those things that are linked together and it all goes back to faith.  We are saved by grace through faith, so that is the starting point.  Trusting Jesus and God is faithing.  That faith and salvation leads to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and that Spirit yields fruit, including temperance.

It is also interesting to me to see the last bit added on; if you don’t have temperance, if we don’t have self-control, it is because we have forgotten that we are cleansed from past sin.  Forgiveness leads to healing, that is forgiveness of ourselves and the realization that God does not hold our past sins over our heads.  If we do not realize that forgiveness it actually leads us to fall prey to our old nature.  Isn’t that interesting?  Legalism will never set us free, it is the fact of our freedom that enables our virtue of things like self-control.  Also notice that Temperance is also then connected on to patience, godliness, kindness, and charity.  Patience, godliness, kindness, and charity flow from self-control.

We struggle with many things that require self-control; drug use, lust, greed, anger, etc… We are promised that if we faithe on God, if we remember and realize that we are set free from all past sin, that we WILL have temperance/self-control, because it is a fruit of the Spirit.  Grab onto that fact, faithe, and remember. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!  That is the path to controlling our human desires and passions, and giving over to the divine nature.

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Blog comments reminder

It has been awhile since I drew attention to the “Respect” tab at the top of my blog.  Please read it before you comment, it explains the idea of respect, and also the very serious responsibility I have to make sure that the truth is upheld.  This is especially important after I write a post that gets the atheist’s anger stirred up.

Christianity, as contained in the Bible, is indeed the Truth and I say that based on evidence and on a lifetime of research into both Christianity and all other major religions, blind faith is not looked on well here; proselytizing of other religions, including atheism is clearly not permitted.  If you can’t abide by the rules, don’t bother commenting.  You have your own forums and blogs for that.  Logical fallacy in the form of personal attack ad hominem doesn’t add to a conversation.

Don’t feed the trolls.

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