Monday, June 27, 2011
First of all our Creator has defined marriage as between a man and a woman and made us so that a man compliments a woman and she in turn completes a man. His Word very clearly establishes this parameter and says that those that don't follow these guidelines will not inherit the kingdom of God.
"But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." (To mention just one place)
The point here is that marriage is between a man and a woman and so a union between two people of the same sex is not marriage. It might be some sort of civil union that mimics marriage and it might be legal but is not marriage. To call it a marriage is to rebel against how God has defined it and suggests that somehow it is legit when it is not.
The other thing that the enemies of marriage remain eerily silent about is that once you say that there is no standard by which to define marriage except whatever society comes up with, then we open the doors to allow all sorts of unions with no ability to judge anything as wrong. This is already being seen in European countries where the pedophiles are using the same arguments as the homosexuals are using, that no one has a right to stop them from doing what they want to do.
So inevitably marriage must be accepted as a union between a man and several women or a woman and several men or a woman and her chihuahua or a man and his eight year old son. What disgusted society fifty years ago no longer does and little by little society becomes an immoral cesspool and it falls apart.
As Christians we need to be able to answer those who can't think beyond the next five minutes with biblical as well as logical arguments. Burying our heads in the sand or just calling someone a pervert isn't being ready to give an answer to the hope that is within us.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
In John 14:26-27 we read, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." Here Jesus tells his disciples that part of the Holy Spirit's work in us will be to give us a peace that is far beyond anything the world can understand. Unfortunately it seems many try to bypass the means and just pray that the Holy Spirit would just give them peace; "Wave your sanctified magic wand and give me peace amid all my problems."
But as vs. 26 points out, the greater context teaches that the Holy Spirit will use the teaching of Christ to be what gives them the strength to overcome the world, sin and the Devil. In other words, the peace that Jesus is going to give isn't just going to come down on us suddenly; it comes through learning God's Word and thinking through the implications. The Bible never tells Christians that we need tranquilizers to be calm instead it teaches that we need to have peace with and know our God and know him well.
I like the way the book of Numbers puts it: 6:24-26, "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Job 22:21,22 is good as well, "Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Receive instruction from his mouth, and lay up his words in your heart." Again, notice how listening to him is where our strength is.
Just as I sat down to write this article I had an interesting question posed to me in a phone call. It was concerning the trauma caused in someone's life due to horrible experiences in their past. In this case it was young women who not only had suffered abuse themselves but had children as young as two years old who had been abused. Clearly such things can devastate lives especially when one doesn't know the Lord as Savior. The question was, "Can the Holy Spirit erase these memories out of their minds"? As I understood the question, the point was can he do this so that they aren't haunted by these things and can have some semblance of a normal life. My answer was yes he can erase any memory from our minds but I don't believe that is what he will do.
This relates to what we have been studying on Wednesday nights for the last few weeks. The process of sanctification doesn't happen all at once. The Holy Spirit doesn't just make us strong, mature Christians. We can pray all we want for him to make us holy but if we don't use the means the Lord has given us, it just isn't going to happen. Sanctification comes through growth in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we learn more of God and his will and more of ourselves and as our love for Christ grows we are better able to deal with whatever circumstances he sends our way.
So in the case of those who have suffered some horrible things in their past, the way to overcome them is to have a right relationship with Christ through the cross and to come to understand why these things happen and what God's will is for us in them. The Holy Spirit will give us the strength and peace we need through the Word.
The problem I see with him just erasing them out of our minds is that this defeats the whole purpose of this life in the flesh to begin with. If he was just going to make all our problems disappear then why does he send them to start with? It is glorifying the Lord in affliction that gives our lives meaning. If memories of past horrors disappear from my mind then how can I serve him through them? How can I take up my cross daily and follow Christ if I can't remember the cross?
The words in John 14 were spoken to his disciples so that they would have peace. They were for the most part going to suffer all sorts of horrible things before they died. This has been the case of God's people all through history. Read Hebrews 11. Are we to suppose that the family of some prophet who was sawn in half were supposed to take a sedative to "cope" with this? Even less likely did God see fit to cause them to forget all about it so that they were able to go on their merry way? I don't think so.
Sin brings a lot of sorrow and even horror to life. This is true for all of us and for some in particular. But it is knowing that there is a purpose behind it all ordained by a Holy, Sovereign Lord that allows us to be faithful in it. The only alternative is that God didn't want it to happen but couldn't stop it and so such things have no meaning. Surely the Truth shall make us free; knowing truth gives us the answers we need.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
But we all know that it is easy to find faults with even our brothers and sisters in Christ and be as blind as a bat towards our own shortcomings. My point here is that learning to dwell together in peace in the local church is actually a good thing and not a reason to cut and run because it is hard to get along with each other.
It is not unlike the reason some couples have justified living together instead of committing themselves to each other in marriage. Somewhere down the road they are going to wake up and realize that the person they are lying next to has some real irksome ways. The newness has worn off and it is apparent that if this relationship is going to continue there is going to have to be some self-sacrifice. They are going to have to learn to be patient and forgiving. They are going to have to learn to love even when feelings aren't always cooperating. For the relationship to continue both are going to have to grow and mature and learn that they aren't the most important person.
Today in our narcissistic society it is accepted as the norm to just cut and run. Life is too short to spend it with someone who doesn't please me as I want to be pleased so off I go to find someone else. The problems with this type of thinking are many but let's look at one in particular.
Everyone knows that taking the easy way out means there will be no exercise. If you take the elevator all the time your legs won't get a workout. The same is true if you drive when you can walk. The same principle applies in the spiritual realm. The Bible is full of examples and teachings of how we are to tackle trials and affliction in our lives. These things come that we might learn how to be godly as we overcome the flesh and learn to glorify God in adversity. Think of a few verses that speak to this:
My point is simply that to cut and run when things are difficult means you deny yourself ways to grow in the Lord. In other words, one reason the Lord instituted the local church is because we have to learn to get along with other sinners and this is good for us and we need each other for spiritual growth.
A pastor friend of mine recently put it this way and I paraphrase. "We pray that the Lord will conform us to his image but then turn around and refuse to stick it out in the church. We refuse to be patient with each other, refuse to be forbearing and loving. We will not forgive but hold on to offenses until we can't stand to be around each other." We want the Lord to wave his magic wand and make us patient but we don't want to be patient.
We need to stop and think about this. The church is a great place to exercise the new life we have been given and if we can't be patient with each other, then let's at least stop pretending we want God to conform us to the image of his Dear Son. God is "conforming" us in this life to his image. It means we are going to have to learn how to be something that this flesh does not want to be. It will sometimes be hard but learning to love other sinners is a great place to start.