If you want to attract an honorable lady, be an honorable man.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Playing the Harlot

This started out as a Bible study topic in school, and the more I went along, the more I realized how the principles I was reading applied in so many more ways than I first expected. 

When we first think of a Harlot, we think of a scantily dressed lady on the corner, with a *for hire* sign hung around her neck.

However, the more I dug, the more I realized that there was a lot more to this issue than just that, and it applied to more than just girls. Here are a few things I came across in my studies of Scripture.
Hold onto your hats folks - this stuff is serious and can't be taken lightly. Roll up your sleeves and get ready. Were gonna get down and dirty wid 'dis one.
: D

1. She is out and open for public use. (Genesis 38, Proverbs 7). Openly flaunting her looks and body for public use, for monetary gain or even for mere attention. This could be in dress, makeup, body language, actions and behavior, all used to bring attention her her and her body.

Now, it must be stated here, there are two levels of this angle of harlotry. One is far more obvious, but the other is far deadlier and much more subversive.

The first is the quintessential back-alley hooker. "You want a piece of this? You can have it - for a price."
That's the most obvious and generally thought of application. 1-800-Rent-A-Girl.

The second is, in my opinion, much more deadly, because we don't often see it as it is.
Instead of the girl selling herself to you and whoever has enough to pay the right price, she merely acts in a way that displays her stuff in the open, without actually giving it away. I would say the vast majority of girls in modern day America fall into this category, and this usually manifests itself in two ways.

A. She wears her clothes in such a way as to bring your constant attention to her. They may be tight, they may be skimpy, they may be just plain weird. Just so long as your looking at her, she don't care why.

Her clothes may be fourteen shades of green with a blue spot on one shoulder, tie-die stitching all over one back pocket, and a purple highlight in her hair. It's weird, it's strange, but at least your lookin'.
Her clothes may be skin tight, where you can see ever tendon and ligament on her figure. It's not modest, but boy are you lookin'.
Maybe there ain't much clothes at all. She's the hottest chick in town, and wow, your lookin'.
That's the first type.

B. She acts outrageously, wild, silly, flirty, all bringing and keeping your attention on her.

Whoa, that's new ain't it? Probably hadn't thought of that one, have you? (Me neither, that behavior just plain annoyed me :)

Maybe she wears a nice dress with a nice modest shirt, not too tight and not revealing anything, but she is over-dramatic WAY TO OFTEN, making people look at her. She laughs WAY TOO LOUD, just so people will look at her. She plays a little flaunty with the boys, because they look at her. She says outlandish, silly things, because people laugh at her and look at her.  

You can be as modest as Mother Teresa in clothes and still act like and strut like and flirt like a harlot. Puts a whole new spin on things don't it?     

2. She flatters with her words (Proverbs 2:16)
Openly and overly praises you to raise your pride, because you are more likely to pay attention to her if you are focused on yourself rather than God. Either that or to show you that she thinks a lot of you, hoping you will think a lot of her. 

3. She has forsaken the guide of her youth (Proverbs 2:17).
She has rebelled against all she was taught about right and wrong, and is doing her own thing. She is disobedient to parents, and refusing to take correction, she makes her own decisions.
"I'm doin dis my way"
That one sorta caught be broadside. Sure I had read it, but I had never made all the connections implied there.

4. She has forgotten the covenant of her God (Proverbs 2:17).

She has forgotten, intentionally or no, the commands of God and his promises of blessing upon obedience and the promise of judgment otherwise. She is concerned about what she wants to do, her interests, her desires, her likes and dislikes, and has neglected to turn her heart to follow God.

5. Her paths incline unto the dead (Proverbs 2:18).
The direction she is headed in is not towards Godliness and growing in his grace and mercy. Her path is headed on a fast track for the hot place, with no pit stops along the way. Her entire life goal and decisions are anti-Christian, and are all about her lusts of the flesh.

6. She is subtle of heart (Proverbs 7:10)
This is another one that took me off guard. She knows how to turn you on and turn you towards her without you even knowing it, drawing you away from God. She knows if she came out and said it, you would run like all hell was behind you (and you would be right) but if she approaches it slowly and “subtly” she can bait you in till you are sold before you even knew you were in the open. Creepy.

7. She is sure you won't get caught (Proverbs 7:19, 20).
She is sure that you wont get caught this time, and assures you that its only illegal if you get caught, and encourages you to bust the rules – just this once.  

So, after all of that, I sat back and was amazed. There were all these Biblical aspects of a Harlot that I had never thought about. It goes far beyond just selling your body, that's merely the end point. It starts with how you obey your parents, and how your relationship with God is, and the farther along you progress, the farther from God you get - till you find yourself on the corner.

I mean, sure, I read it, and mentally understood it, but for some reason it never clicked as hard as it did recently.

So, one application I got out of this is that we as Christians must do everything we can to prevent ourselves from leading another Christian away from God, and towards lustful thoughts. Our goal as Christians should be to point each-other towards Christ, not away.

Now it must be stated, not all girls who wear their jeans a little tight and their high-rise low-cut t-shirts are openly trying to subvert guys. In fact, I would say the vast percentage of those who do wear those clothes don't do it because they are trying to subvert the guys. I would say easily most girls don't know how they dress affects guys - in far more ways than they ever could imagine.

Despite the fact they aren't trying to give their Christian brothers a mental battle, we guys still struggle with it don't we?
However, this is where it hurt - this passage and principle isn't aimed only at girls.

Every single stinkin' thing I lined out above about girls struttin' their stuff and actin out for attention, applies with just as much force when a guy struts his stuff and acts out for attention.

So guys, if we spiritually have a hard time with girls who flaunt their body (intentionally or no) don't you think girls might have a hard time when we flaunt our body? How often do we flex our muscles and stick out our chests in front of them? How often to we strut around like a turkey just waiting to be turned to Thanksgiving dinner? How often to we look for ways to use them muscles in ways to make the girls think what men we are? How often do we do things with our God given strength and skill, just to make the girls stare? How often do we act outrageous for the looks? How often do we say that funny thing just because    (be honest, we all know the reason) the girls will get a kick out of it? How often do we......
You get the point.

God didn't make a bunch of principles about conduct for girls and then let us guys off the hook. No sir, you're in this boat too.

If you think a girl displaying things and acting ways she shouldn't gives guys problems, why wouldn't us doing the same thing give girls problems?

Subtle glance under her eyelids in our direction. Heart skip a beat? Same for the girls when we do it.

Shirt cut a little low and maybe just the tiniest bit tight. Hard to look away? Same for the girls when we do it.

Tiniest bit flirty, and paying special attention to you. Head in the clouds? Same for the girls when we do it.

See? It's not just a one-way street.    

This is far more serious than we tend to realize. We often times act, talk, walk, strut, and even flirt just like the rest of the rotten world, with often times similar reasons. What happened to letting our light shine forth? What happened to being different that the world so they can see that we have Christ dwelling in us?

We need to man-up guys, and act in such a way as to guard our sisters in Christs heart, just as much as we wish they would women-up and do the same.

Guys, wanna attract an honorable lady down the road? Be an honorable man now.
Girls aren't looking for a guy that will flirt with any girls that cross his fancy. Girls are looking for men who are following Christ, that can lead them in following Christ.
That folks, will turn a girl on in the right way. It renews her passion for following Christ, not the cute boy.
Man up guys. Do your duty.

Sorry, slightly off topic, but that is awesome.

Girls, wanna attract an honorable man down the road? Be an honorable lady now.
Guys don't want a flirty pretty girl struttin her stuff. Guys want a girl that honors Christ and is holding herself back for her husband.
That folks, turns a guy on in the right way. It renews his passion for following Christ, not cute girls.

When we are honorable, respectful, and know our boundaries, people are attracted to Christ, not us. People see the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us, not the fruit of the lusts of the flesh.

Guys, keeping your heart pure and ready for your wife when you get married is worth far more than any stares from any girl anywhere.

Girls, keeping yourself chaste and held back for your husband is worth far more than any stares from any boy anywhere.

Just thought I'd share that.
It helped me, and I hope it helps you.

Know any other ways we can guard our friends' hearts by our actions? Comment and let me know!  

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Prodigal Son: You?

Luk 15:11-24  And he said, A certain man had two sons:  (12)  And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.  (13)  And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.  (14)  And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.  (15)  And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  (16)  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.  (17)  And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  (18)  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,  (19)  And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.  (20)  And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.  (21)  And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.  (22)  But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:  (23)  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:  (24)  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

This is a story we all have heard many times in our lives, where Jesus is telling how great the joy of God and the angels in heaven when a sinner repents. We read it, nod, internally agree, and move on, knowing and thanking God that we ourselves *aristocratic look as we straighten collar* would never do such a heinous thing as to run off with our father's hard earned money and hang out with prostitutes and such crowd. Thank God for making us so much holier than that poor gutter waif with no scruples! 

Well, that's what we think of ourselves most days if we really stop to think about it. While we may never even dream of running off and living with prostitutes, the underlying heart matter that started his escapade into the land of lawlessness, comes with the territory if you are a human. (Any humans out there?.... Can I see a show of hands?) 

Ah good, you are at least honest. : )   

I think this story has potential that we may have never realized unless we dig deep into it, and see how much this story applies to us in our lives. Now, I don't want you to read this, give me your aristocratic look and check off your chart of how you are such a good child, and go off in your hypocritical state thinking you have achieved a higher state of Godliness than that poor oaf. 

I want you to analyse how you are like that poor oaf, and what you can do to be less like him and more like Christ. After all, that's the main goal in life right? Being like Christ? 

Lets analyse the story to see the in depth heart motives a quick skim-over would miss. 

15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:  (12)  And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 

Ok, so Joe is living in a family - that much is obvious by the fact that he has a dad and a brother. We assume that this is a relatively normal family - dad leading, and even though mom isn't mentioned, we assume she is the stay-at-home helper, and sons are being raised in the "fear and admonition of the Lord." 

Sounds rather familiar. Good looking family, doing everything right, teaching everything right. On the outside, a good, God honoring family. 
However, just because one lives in the perfect family, doesn't mean that ones heart is with the family and following God. How many times have we heard stories (or have been one yourself) where the "good kid" in the family runs off as soon as he is out from under mom and dads authority and all of a sudden is a heathen doing things we never even thought he knew about? That "good kid" on the outside was a fire-breathin' heathen on the inside, who acted right for the mere threat of punishment if he didn't comply. 

So, Joe appears to be one of those cases, since, after all, how many of us who actually are following Gods commands and are loving God and our family go to our dad, ask for our portion of the money that is due us when we get the inheritance?

So he is obviously not with the group on the inside. He wants his money to do as he pleases with it. Now, maybe he thinks he has good reasons for it, but on the whole, he is not happy with life, and is thinks that this will make his day. Lets go to the next section of verses. 

 (13)  And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

So, Joe's got his dough, and he is exuberant in the knowledge that he got his way in what he wanted - for once, he is telling himself. 
So now that he realizes he can do as he pleases, he starts to look around at the outside world that always looked so good, but has never been allowed to enjoy. Oh glory, that looks like some serious fun! He knows that his dad wont stop him now that he has given him his inheritance, and gathering his things, heads out into the big exciting world to enjoy himself in all the things he has been told to stay away from. Now, he lives the life.  He is doing ALL the things he always wanted to do and oh yeah is it fun! 
Next verses.

(14)  And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

Oh, now Joe realizes that wallets have bottoms to them, and so do his pockets, and he is now broke. Then, to top it all off, now there is a famine, and everything goes on a food and money crunch. Nobody can pay to hire him, and nobody can give him food. He blocks out the idea of going back to his dad. Oh no, he is on his own now. Aint going back to that old buzzard and his old fogey ways. So what does he do?   

(15)  And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  (16)  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.  

So he decides he has to work for a living, and he doesn't get everything free. Oh. Um. I think dad said that once. 
Anyway, he has to work. Well, the "citizen" is probably not much better off than he is, and the only thing he can send him to do is to go feed his hogs. He can't pay him, he can't feed him, but he could sure use the help. 
So Joe is now upgraded to "pig-boy" and has the job to feed these roly-poly porkers.

Feed. Oh, he can't bear the thought. He desperately needs food, and if he could bear it, he would have helped himself to the pigs food, just to ease those bone-wrenching aches his stomach is producing.

Back then, those who took care of and fed hogs were considered the lowest of the low. Scum dirt bottom. If you were out playing with the piggies, you were the lowest type of humanity on earth. So, going out and feeding pigs is quite the humbling job. A good shock of down-to-earth 2x4-'tween-the-eyes humble pie dealt straight to Joe tax exempt and free of charge. 

  (17)  And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  (18)  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,  (19)  And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

Then, as we all do at one point or another when we are in sin, we step back and view our situation and the circumstances that got us here. He thinks of all the food that he used to have, and even his servants had plenty of food. He thinks of what his dad was always telling him. How you are blessed when you obey God and those he has put over you. How all those things of the outside world he was always told would never satisfy - never really satisfy. Piece by piece, he realizes how wrong he was and how right his dad was.

(Anybody been there? *raising hand, head down*)
Wow, he's bombed it. Now what? Going back and fessin up that he was wrong seems like the absolute worst thing to do on planet earth - but staying here and starving soon showed itself to be far worse still.

So he decides to go home.

Now, he knows his dad is going to be awful cranky at him when he gets back - how could he not be? How will he explain that he is really repentant, and have his dad believe him? Surely he would disown him - its almost a happened fact that he will. Maybe, just maybe, he will let him come back and live with him in peace if he works as a mere slave for his room and board. After all, that's about all he is worth now - no true son deserts his father and runs with his money. Ouch. What a chunk to swallow.

(20)  And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.  (21)  And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

So, biting the bullet and swallowing more pride than he ever thought possible to have, he leaves the roly-polys and heads for home.

The road home never seems so long as when you are hungry and tired. Every step of the way his stomach growled louder and his feet hurt more. Finally, at last, he is within sight of home. Here it comes - the fateful moment.

Then, horror of horrors, his dad sees him and comes running up to greet him. Oh no, surely he was so mad he is gonna beat the tar out of his son. He was so mad he didn't even have time to grab something - he is gonna light into him with his bare fists.

He closes his eyes and waits for the painful moment. 

But then, to his utter amazement, his father grasps him in a bear hug, glad beyond all words to see him back. 
After the initial shock of actually being wanted home, his conscience kicks in. 
Oh yes, not worthy to be son. Must be servant.
He gasps out the words, and waits for his father to step back, nod and look disappointed.  

 (22)  But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:  (23)  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:  (24)  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

His dad doesn't though. He calls his servants, decks out the house, gets the best food around, and parties. Parties for the son who came back, and had done him so much harm, but loves him just as much anyway.

Anyway, that's the story. It's amazing what we can learn about life and repentance from that story. No matter how bad we think we are, God is merciful. Where sin abounds, grace abounds. 

So, how are you like that son? Ever gotten mad at your parents and thought they were making poor decisions? Ever thought you could do a much better job by yourself, and could get along much better if they would just leave well-enough-alone? That's where this one guys entire trip started - way down at the heart. 

Ok, let me make this easier for you. 

Yes, you have thought that, if you are human and even sorta maybe kinda halfway-even-close like me. I'm almost positive you are. I'm pretty average when it comes to being a big 'ole sinner, and you probably are too.  

So, guys, girls, don't let you fool yourself. You wouldn't do a better job, and that's why you are here learning from them. God has you exactly where he wants you, and he has put the exact people in your life to stretch you and to grow you to be more like him and less like sinful 'ole you. 

Imagine if the son hadn't ran away. Imagine if he had stuck through it, learned to tough it, man up, learn from his parents mistakes and learn to be patient and trust God along the way. It would be a totally different guy at the other end of the story, now wouldn't it? Instead of him coming back broke, guilty, and broken-hearted, leaving a path of destruction in his wake, he might have been sent out into the world a few years later with money in his pockets, a heart humble and following after God, his fathers blessing on him, ready to handle and face the temptations of the world. 

So folks, next time you are really ticked off your beat, stop and think about what happens if you harbor those thoughts, and take that path to where it ends. Instead, Man/Woman up, take on what you have to do in life with all you got, all for the Glory of God.

Feeding pigs included. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Caption Contest

Ok, I saw this on the Field and Stream website, where they have caption contests to see who can put the best caption to a funny picture. Unfortunately, a good portion of them are crude. BUT the whole concept is so much fun, I'd thought I'd try a few. Here is the first picture. Comment as many times as you like with your captions, and I'll announce the winner in a week. No prizes - sorry, this is just for creative imaginative purposes. :) Lets just see how we can look at a simple picture in a new funny light.

Have fun!   

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Calvin: The Man Behind the Myth

   Almost anybody in all reformed circles has heard of Calvin. His "Tulip" points have had a major impact on the world, and his works made a drastic wake during the Reformation. A lot of his views are held by many I know, myself included. Recently for some of my school studies, I have had to read "the Institutes of the Christian Religion" by said John Calvin. Now, let it be said here, I went into this expecting to agree with most everything he wrote, so I was rather unpleasantly surprised when I found that he was further off course that I realized. I will admit that I was reading a quote "abridged translation", but I think the main ideas that he propounded would not have been affected  significantly by that version. Now for all you reformed crowd, hang on, because I think you are about to receive a shock. Don't worry, When he's right, he's right. But when he's wrong, he's wrong.
     Calvin holds true to a lot of biblical doctrine, and after some looking around, it appears he gets a lot of razzing about some of his main doctrines. I will list some of the major points that he agrees with scripture on, and the scriptures that back them up (thank God for the chaps who did all the work of finding them, and for giving me scripture searches and Google to find those chaps!)
1. Man is fallen by his own stupid sin, and God is a righteous God, perfect in wisdom and virtue.

  • Genesis 6:5: "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
  • Genesis 8:21: "And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.
  • Psalms 51:5: "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."
  • Mark 7:21-23: "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."
  • John 3:19: "And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil."
  • John 6:44: "[Jesus said,] 'No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.'"

2. Man can really know nothing till he has a knowledge of God

(Pro 1:7)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

3. The Bible is God's Holy Inspired Word.

2Ti 3:16-17  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  (17)  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

4. God rules and governs all things by His infinite providence

Psa 145:9  The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

5. God made everything by his infinite and powerful word

Genesis 1 and 2

Psalms 8:3-9 -- When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalms 104:24-28 -- How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number - living things both large and small.... These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time,. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.

Psalm 19:1 -- the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.

6. Christ is our Prophet, Priest and King

  1. John 14:24 "These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."
  2. Act 2:22 "Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, A man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know."
  3. Mark 6:4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
  4. Luke 4:43 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.

Hebrews 2:17, 4:14-15, 5: 5-6, 6:20, 7:17, 7: 24-27.


Matthew 2:2
Matthew 2:6
Matthew 21:5  
Matthew 25:31  
Matthew 27:11

7. Christians must live a life of total self-denial

Mar 8:34  And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mar 8:35  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

8. Through Christs death, those who believe in him are justified and made right with God.

  1. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
  2. Rom. 3:22, "even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction."
  3. Rom. 3:24, "being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;"
9. All people, either saved or unsaved, are predestined to their fate from before the beginning of time.

Proverbs 16:4, Romans 8:30, 9:13, 9:15, 9:17-18, 11:5, Ephesians 1:5, 1:11, 2 Timothy 2:20, Jude 1:4.

      He mainly gets chewed out about his propounding of predestination, all the opponents say that man is a free being, and must make his own decision to chose God or to reject him. This is true, to a point. Calvin backs this point up with scripture, and I show of plenty of verses that agree with him.

      BUT. (my mom hates it when I start a sentence with "but") He also has some things that are kinda screwy. Some are more obvious than others, and some are more offbeat than others.
1. Calvin believes that salvation cannot exist outside the church. Here is a quote. (note, this is a abridged translation, but the point is clear)
""beyond the limits of the church, we have no hope of forgiveness of sins and no salvation."
He is rather confusing as to whether he refers to the "church" as the physical gathering of believers, or just the collective group of believers worldwide. He says once that the "church" is the total collect group of believers, but in his arguments it seems like he also means the physical gathering.
Whichever way he defines it, he is messed up there, for the Bible makes it clear you do not have to be in church to be saved. Granted, believers should go to church, but just because they don't, don't mean they aint. :) Sorry, lapsed into redneck there.
2. He seems a bit antinomian.  (sp?) In one of his arguments about the moral law, he seems to fall into the "the law was then" group, moving to "we are under Christ and grace now," which is all true, but seeming to weigh to heavily on the grace, not law, part of the spectrum. That point wasn't quite as obvious, just in subtle undertones.
3. He believes that Christ descended into hell. I know that is a huge debate topic, and I won't go into that here, but he says in this section here
that Christ couldn't just die a physical death, but he had to die a spiritual death as well, and go to hell and fight hand to hand with the armies of hell for our salvation. I have no idea where he got that Biblically, but I can't find anything that lines up with it.
4. He believes that by circumcision in the OT the Jews were made the people of God. It wasn't they by faith following God, but the physical act itself - works based salvation almost. Because he believes that, he believes that since baptism is the new "circumcision", if we are not baptized, we can't be saved - again, a almost works based faith. Then, because it is the act of Baptism that makes us saved, infants can thereby be baptized and be let into the family of God, spurring his interest and hunger for God, and he will then serve God the rest of his life. He ties this belief back to the infant circumcision. He says if the infants were circumcised and let into Gods family then, then why shouldn't we baptize them and let them into Gods family now? He obviously misunderstands baptism and circumcision. It is not the act that saves us, but our faith, believing that what God said was true, is true, and obeying it, that saves us. Baptism is just an outward expression that that person had committed to follow God and obey him. I can sorta see his point about the circumcision, but from what I understand, no one is ever saved because their parents made a decision for them. In acts 8:27-40, we see demonstrated that you are baptized after you have confessed Christ.

5. He believes similar things about communion. In the act of communion, we are spiritually feeding on Christ and the drinking has something else weird tied to it as well.
6. He holds the sacraments on the same level as Gods word.
"The sacraments have the same function as Gods word: they offer Christ to us and in him, the treasures of grace."
Not much needs so be said there. He obviously holds actions up way to high and puts them in place of our salvation.
Over all, not to bad, but not as good as he could be. His main theological points are excellent, and I like his stand on Predestination. Overall, I think he had a pretty decent stand on the principles of the faith. I wouldn't say I'm a Calvinist, but I would say he had a lot right.  

Friday, February 10, 2012

15 Random Things You Didn't Know About Me

A blogging friend of mine recently did a post like this, where he listed things about him that nobody in the cyber world knew. That idea struck me as a good one, and a good way to connect with your followers. So, here I go.

There is no order, just random things about me that you would never know unless you knew me.

1. I absolutely detest pink guns. They are the absolute grossest things known to man in my opinion.

2. My mom said growing up it looked like I had elf ears when I had a flat-top. I've got pictures to prove it.

3. Sweet and hot almost never ever go together. Cold cookies, cold pie, cold ice cream, etc. Hot cookies and brownies are borderline acceptable, but they are much better cold.

4. Italian food, Mexican food, and Suthern food, in opposite order as given, are the best foods on planet earth.

5. I always wear two pairs of socks. Keeps foot cushioning and laundry up and blisters and raw feet down.

6. My handwriting is pretty crumby and my mom says my grammer aint much purdier. :D

7. I like forks. I really like forks. Only use spoons on soup, or where it's necessary.

8. I have a tendency to leave my hat on inside, and forget to take it off. Working on that one.

9. I shoot things for a hobby. If  I have a gun and can shoot it, legally, morally, and realistically, I probably will.

10. My cell-phone ringer is the sound of a shotgun going off and the casing hitting the ground. Totally awesome.

11. Rhino the hamster is my favorite animated character. He's beyond awesome. He's be-awesome. :D

12. I have a severe distaste for Celtic and Irish music. Bleagh.

13. I'm a sucker for a good harmonica piece.

14. I am the slowest texter on planet Earth. Well, it sure seems like it at least.

15. Peanuts and BC are my favorite comic strips. Good honest-to-goodness down-to-earth humor.

If you know something random and weird about me that I missed, comment and share! I'd love to hear it!
Post one like this on your blog, and see what the response is like. You never know what people might post! :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mind Your Manners!

We've all at one point in our our lives heard this simple phrase from a parent or adult when we've stepped out of bounds, and gone too far off the beaten path. We hear it even when we haven't misbehaved, but as a reminder as we go off to a party, or to hang out with friends, or even when we are merely out of our parents direct authority, and are off under another temporarily.

So first of all, what are manners? I mean, if we are to have some, it probably would be a good idea to figure out what on earth we are supposed to have, right?

Well, when we first think of manners, the first thing that pops with a elegant ring into our well trained mind is table manners.

~Don't chew with your mouth open.

~Ask for someone to pass you the bread instead of reaching across the table for it.

~You place your napkin in your lap when you eat.

~In higher class setting, you eat the salad with a different fork than the one you will use for the main dish.

Stuff like that. Simple easy things of table etiquette that are practiced world-wide.

There are other applications of manners, not associated with the table, that are also widespread in their acceptance.

~Shake hands when greeting someone.

~Look people in the eye when you talk to them.

~Don't interrupt when someone else is speaking.

Why? Why are things that are so simple and so menial accepted worldwide with one consensus as proper and orderly?

I did some looking around, and found this definition of manners.

Wikipedia states:
"In sociology, manners are the unenforced standards of conduct which demonstrate that a person is proper, polite, and refined. They are like laws in that they codify or set a standard for human behavior, but they are unlike laws in that there is no formal system for punishing transgressions, the main informal "punishment" being social disapproval. They are a kind of norm."

So, manners are the norm on how we are supposed to act, at the risk of being "socially disapproved". As Christians, social status means about as much to us as who won the ball game last Friday.

So, since we really couldn't care less about what the world thinks of us, should we ditch all worldly mannerisms, and show that we are free from their heathen standards and under Christ's headship solely?
Spit in someones face why don't we! Slap them! Interrupt them! We are free from sinful humans standards!

We know that isn't an option, we know that we are to act better than that, although not for the same reasons that other people do.

So if we don't do it because then people accept us, why do we do it?

Well, you say, its about treating others in way that shows them honor and respect as another human being.-

Ah, now we are getting somewhere.

So manners aren't just a set of rules in-and-among themselves, but are based on some guiding principles that affect how we treat people.

As Christians, this should sound awfully familiar.

Mat 22:37-39  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

So, we are supposed to treat others as we want to be treated. That sounds like a much more Biblical reason to treat people well, than just so we will have "social approval".

*sigh, rolling eyes*
 "Social approval" annoys me.


Anyway, since Christ is our role model for all of life, we use him for an example for how we treat people. He was perfect, in all that he said and did, so we can therefore deduce however he treated people and acted was how we are supposed to act. He certainly didn't do what he did just because he wanted to be socially acceptable. In fact, just about everything he did wasn't. Therefore, we shouldn't either. We need a good ground for why we do things, not just because everybody else does.

So now that we have a foundation to base things off of, we can move ahead.

We respect people because Christ would. We honor people because Christ would. We show preference to other people because Christ would.

How about table manners? Would Christ have table manners? Is eating with the right fork doing as Jesus would do? He broke the eating commands of the day by not washing his hands before he ate. ( I personally follow Jesus' choice in that moment quite frequently. :) )
Are we supposed to *bow* to these worldly standards that the world has set up?
I would make the case that based on the principle of honoring others, if they expect a high level of etiquette, do it. If they don't, don't. In one sense, go with the flow. I think think this is what Paul was talking about in   1 Corinthians 9.

1Co 9:19-23  
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 
And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 
To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 
To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 
And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. 

So Paul is saying to, to a certain extent for the purpose of relating and sharing the gospel, to do as others do. I'm not saying this applies by wearing skimpy clothes and tattoos because the world does. If it is taboo to Christ, it doesn't matter if they do it or not. What he is referring to here is these small things like table manners, greeting etiquette, etc., and similar things that to them, show them that you respect their preferences, and do not insist on doing things your own way. 

So, treat others as Christ would treat you. Prefer one another in life. 
That folks, is good manners.