Thursday, January 18, 2018

Eros or Agape?

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English is an incoherent language when it comes to love. We must first discover the context
before we know what meaning is intended.

Yesterday I overheard on TV a homosexual talking about his coming out of the closet, how he had been warned that his popularity and career would be negatively impacted by his revealing his sexual orientation. "But here I am!", he proudly boasted of his continuing popularity. "Love is love!" he opined. Obviously comparing love between same sex companions with love between a heterosexual couple.

Was he talking about eros or agape?

YHWH defined agape. ἠγάπησεν

For God so loved, that He gave His son.

So when God talks about love, He is talking about giving. When people talk about love, they are often talking about getting. They are talking about feelings, they are talking about sexual orientation. What makes me feel good?

There can be little honest debate regards what the Bible teaches about sexuality. YHWH planned for one man and one woman to be united as husband and wife, and to be loyal to each other for life. He wanted them to procreate and have godly offspring. The fact that mankind violated this principle in many ways never changed God's intention.

When I speak up for Biblical based morality, there are some who are quick to call me a hater, a person who does not respect the "other".  I must be homophobic or Islamophobic?

No, perfect love (Agape) casts out fear.  I am not afraid, not even of death.  But I want people to learn the blessing of giving, and to free themselves from slavery to sin.  With all the talk about the horrors of slavery, who is talking about slavery to sin?  That is a slavery many times worse than the slavery suffered by Africans who were sold as chattel.  When we are enslaved to our feelings, and cannot make righteous decisions in our lives, we are truly without hope, and need a savior.

I hate sin and love YHWH.  God so loved sinners that He gave His Son, so I love sinners.  I do not mean I enjoy running with sinners, but that I want them to have salvation.  Please do not misjudge me. There is no conflict between hating sin and loving sinners.  

Slaves to Righteousness

Romans 6:15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,[c] you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Image result for Elliot He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot loose

Thursday, November 30, 2017


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noun, plural liberties.
1. freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
2. freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
3. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc.,according to choice.

The liberty in view when the Statue of Liberty was erected was number 1 and 2 definitions. But number 3 is a dangerous freedom.  The freedom to do as we please often leads to destruction, depending upon what we please to do.  Those who please to always do the right thing can be blessed by liberty, if they actually know and do the right things. But those who chose liberty to pursue human wisdom, to do as they please without moral restrictions, destroy society.
The secular humanist story is that mankind can make things glorious through human wisdom and caring for each other.  The present focus seems to be on equal distribution of wealth,, and casting off the Patriarchy of dominion by men.  The thinking may be that since men have made such a mess of things, it is time for the women to take over.

In fact, women have some advantages over men.  The Bible pictures Wisdom as a woman.  And Mary, mother of Jesus, has a unique role in human history. We all owe our lives and being to our mothers. And Israel is pictured in the Bible as the wife of YHWH.

Historically, Jewish and Christian culture has been respectful of women.  Men were commanded to lay down their lives for their wives, and to love their wife as Christ loves the Assembly of believers. And men were commanded to be loyal to their wives for life.

But mankind's rebellion against Biblical morality, and determination to do what is natural and what feels good, led to the so called Sexual Revolution of the sixties and seventies.

I was a teenager when Elvis came on the scene, and my father once threw a stick of stove wood at me for my failure to obey his command to stop singing "You Aint Nothin But a Hound Dog". My mother had died a few months earlier, and she would have not approved of my singing either.

Once mankind rejects Biblical morality, Pandora's box is opened, and celebration of diversity, celebration of perversity, and celebration of the human condition runs wild. But there comes a time of reckoning. Society is now intent on stamping out unwanted interaction between men and women.

Nothing much has been said about women on women, nor men on men, as it would be embarrassing to the perversity promotion, the LGBT movement. The big push is to put down the Patriarchal society, and to put women in charge. The feminist movement on steroids.

A crowd filling Independence Avenue during the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., January 21, 2017.

Women’s March, Washington, D.C.  
A crowd filling Independence Avenue during the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., January 21, 2017.

It is a good thing that sexual immorality has finally gotten a bad name among the liberals. It was them, along with L. B. Johnson, who promoted it (sexual immorality) in the sixties. They paid women to not be married, and pushed marriage to the back of the stage.  Finally there seems to be agreement that sexual impulses should be restrained. Maybe we can return to Biblical concepts of ethical behavior? Sexual immorality destroys society.

And wealth redistribution has found its way into the fray.  Put  women in charge, and they will take away money from the wealthy men and give it to the needy.. It seems like a good idea, on first impulse.  Jesus had plenty to say against the wealthy of His day, and even told the Rich Young Ruler to sell all that he had, and give to the poor. And the first century community of believers shared with each other, unselfish and caring. But the sharing was voluntary, not managed by the secular government.

Redistribution of wealth by the secular government has never worked out well in the history of the world.  Almost one hundred million people were killed by various methods including disease and famine by the communist governments of the twentieth century..

Individual liberty and economic freedom seem more aligned with prosperity and blessings. Putting secular government in charge of our lives is a sure kill of individual liberty.  Secular government is a very poor manager. And the idea that it is wrong for people to become wealthy by providing valuable services seems certainly misguided. 

Men have historically been the heads of families in the Bible tradition, and women have been the nurturers.  Wealthy men played prominent roles in the Bible history, men like Abraham, David, and Solomon.  Wealth is not a problem if wealth is used for good purposes. Patriarchy has a biblical basis.  Man was created first, and the woman was made as a suitable helper.  God's will was for man and woman to be united, and to be loyal to each other for life. 

The Holy Spirit gave Paul some instructions about the husband-wife relationship. 

Wives and Husbands

Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 

This is the message from our Creator. He knows what is best for us. In the end, the discussion should be about the Bible vs human wisdom. Secular humanism led the sexual revolution, secular humanism leads the perversion parade, and now is leading the movement to reject Patriarchy. It is a Battle. Decide which side you are supporting, the Bible or human wisdom.

True liberty comes from being in Jesus.

Romans 8English Standard Version (ESV)

Life in the Spirit

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[d] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Heirs with Christ

12 So then, brothers,[e] we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[f] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Future Glory

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
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Victory in Jesus

Sunday, November 5, 2017

What About Evil?

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Church Shooting Sutherland Springs

Pure evil showed his face today, Nov 5th, in Sutherland Springs.  Yes, on Guy Fawkes day.  

Long ago we were warned that those who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind, Hosea 8:7.  

The Biblical concepts of good and evil have been largely rejected by our progressive culture. Inclusion and diversity have pushed back three thousand years of Judaeo Christian heritage.  

Isaiah 5:20
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet 
and sweet for bitter!

Surely it is time to encourage a return to Biblical ethics and morality.  Guns are not the problem.  Evil  ungodliness is the problem. Any person who is truly following Jesus would not murder innocent people.  

Many who have claimed to follow Jesus have been murderers, but they can only murder when they have rejected Jesus and His teachings. A culture of evil inflicts madness upon those who are not protected by the blood of Jesus.  Love from a sincere faith is the solution to evil.

Warning Against False Teachers

1 Tim 1:3 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[a] 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.

Friday, October 13, 2017

What about Buddhism?

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Golden Statue of Buddha
Buddhist philosophy has been a darling of the multitudes who have chosen to reject following Jesus.  Here is a religion that teaches us to think positive thoughts, and to be kind to all living creatures. But even atheists are finding fault with Buddha.

I have visited Nepal and India, home of Buddhism, many times, and observed the temples built to honor Buddha.. It seems strange to see a golden statue representing the reformer who taught against Hindu idolatry.. Also I have looked at the societies where Buddha gained influence, and observed the outcome of practicing Buddhism.  Buddhism calls mankind to be his/her own god, rejecting the Bible and Jesus Christ, but actually practicing idolatry that was condemned by Buddha. 

Buddha deserted his personal responsibilities and his family, and gave himself over to meditation.  Emptying himself of limiting ideas about things that actually are meaningful, he became his own god. This reminds me of Satan's temptation of Eve in the garden.  "You will be wise like God"  the Serpent said.

Here is a short record of Buddha's life. 

The belief that Buddhism is a peaceful philosophy cannot withstand the examination of history.  Buddhism in Japan was a major factor in the development of Japanese nationalism and militarism. 

I personally witnessed via Indian news the terrible war between the Sri Lankan Buddhist monks and the Tamil Tigers, while I visited nearby in Tamil Nadu, India.

And then there is Myamar.

I have personally visited a refugee camp in East Nepal for refugees who were expelled from Burma because they were not Buddhist.  History proves that Buddhism as practiced today is not a peaceful society.  It is nationalistic and exclusive.

I can hear the comments, "What about the horrible history of Christianity and war?"

The answer is found in the church-state combines that developed over time.  Jesus never intended for the secular state to control personal faith.  Personal faith and responsibility are the cornerstones of a society that actually follows Jesus.  The political empires developed by the exercise of religious power write the history of the great apostasy.. The persecution of Jews and the murder of congregational followers of Jesus mark the Apostasy.  The Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Anglican Church, and various Protestant nationalist movements all were militant in their enforcement of politically motivated religious rules.  Church-state militancy was always in opposition to personal faith in Jesus Christ.  Blame Satan for the slaughter.  Wolves in sheep's clothing are always followers of Satan.

Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is actually a follower of the teachings of Jesus.  Everyone knows that Jesus taught us to love our enemies, and to do good to all men.  Thankfully, at the end of World War II, USA efforts to restore and rebuild successful communities in Japan and Germany did demonstrate the teaching of Jesus.

Believers in Jesus need to follow His teachings.  Meditating on good thoughts and doing good to other people are important parts of following Jesus.  But giving up doing useful labor so as to be more "Spiritual" becomes a drag on society.. Money given to Monks and Temples is diverted from the economy, and causes poverty. Jesus teaches us to work with our hands so that we can take care of our families and be helpful to other people.  Work is honorable, and good works are the center of following Jesus...

So yes, we need to meditate on good things, as Paul taught. 

Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness[d] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned[e] and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one gets to eternal life except through Him. When we surrender our lives in faith to Jesus Christ, making a decision to put Him first in our lives, and confessing our belief that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and then are immersed in water by the authority of Jesus Christ, we receive forgiveness of our sins and the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. Communing with the Spirit given to us is the meditation we need in our lives.

Do not be deceived by the emptiness and self delusion encouraged by Buddha. Put your trust in Jesus Christ. He never fails those who trust in Him.

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Thomas believed because he saw

Jesus and Thomas

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin,[d] was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”