Wednesday, November 30, 2005
I thought it might be interesting to list some famous people who share (or did share) the same birth date and some who died on this date. I also listed some moments in history that happened on November 30th.
November 30 Who Was Born on This Day?
1554 Philip Sidney poet, statesman, soldier d: 1586
1667 Jonathan Swift satirist d: 1745
1835 Mark Twain [Samuel Clemens] riter d: 1910
1874 Sir Winston Churchill British statesman and prime minister d: 1965
1912 Gordon [Alexander Buchanan] Parks photographer, poet, filmmaker, novelist
1922 Virginia Mayo actress
1923 Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. actor
1924 Shirley Chisholm politician, author
1924 Allan Sherman [Copelon] comedian d: 1973
1927 Richard CrennaEmmy Award-winning actor
1928 Rex Reason actor
1929 Dick Clark TV producer, host
1930 G. [George] Gordon Liddy politician, radio host
1931 Teddy [Thurman] Wilburnsinger
1931 Bill Walsh Football Hall of Famer
1932 Bob Moore instrumentalist
1935 Jack Reno country singer
1936 Abbie Hoffman activist d: 1989
1937 Robert Guillaume [Williams] Emmy Award-winning actor
1937 Ridley Scott director
1937 Paul [Noel] Stookey singer
1943 Leo Lyons musician, bassist
1944 Rob Grill musician, singer, bassist
1944 Luther Ingram musician, singer
1945 Roger Glover musician, bassist
1947 David Mamet director
1950 Craig Swan baseball
1950 Paul Westphal basketball
1952 Mandy Patinkin Tony Award-winning actor
1953 Shuggie [Johnny] Otis, Jr.musician, guitarist, bassist, harmonica player, keyboardist
1954 George McArdle musician, bass guitarist
1954 June Pointer singer
1955 Billy Idol [Broad] musician, guitarist, singer, songwriter
1955 Kevin Conroy actor
1957 John Aston musician, guitarist
1957 Richard Barbieri musician, keyboardist
1962 Bo [Vincent] Jackson baseball
1965 Ben Stiller actor, director
1970 Des’ree singer
What happened this day in history?
30 B.C. - Cleopatra died.
1016 - English King Edmund II died. Known as "Ironside" for his fierce resistance to the invading Canute who eventually defeated him and became King on Edmund's death.
1700 - Eight thousand Swedish troops under King Charles XII defeated a force of at least 50,000 Russians at the Battle of Narva. At least 10,000 Russians died. The army lost 600. Charles XII died on this day in 1718 during an invasion of Norway.
1782 - The United States and Britain signed a treaty in Paris that ended the Revolutionary War.
1838 - After the French occupation of Vera Cruz three days earlier, Mexico declared war on France.
1853 - In the Crimean War, the Russian fleet attacked and destroyed the Turkish fleet and part of the harbor at the battle of Sinope.
1864 - The United States Civil War Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, took place.
1875 - Akron, Ohio's A.J. Ehrichson patented the oat-crushing machine.
1887 - In Chicago, Illinois, the first softball game was played. It was actually called indoor baseball; using a broomstick for a bat and a boxing glove for a ball.
1922 - Actress Sarah Bernhardt made her last stage appearance in the final performance of "Daniel", in Turin, Italy.
1936 - London's famed Crystal Palace was destroyed in a fire.
1939 - The Soviet Union invaded Finland.
1939 - More than 20 Russian divisions - almost half a million men - invaded Finland in the "Winter War."
1939 - On Columbia 78s, Harry James and his big band recorded "Concerto for Trumpet".
1940 - Lucille Ball and Cuban musician Desi Arnaz married. They would divorce in the 1950s, after the 1954 season run of "I Love Lucy".
1943 - On Capitol Records, Nat ‘King’ Cole and his trio recorded "Straighten Up and Fly Right", the first recording for the King Cole trio.
1947 - Only one day after the United Nations decrees Israel's right to exist, Jewish settlements are attacked.
1950 - Clover Dairy of Wilmington, Delaware offered Sealtest concentrated milk for sale.
1953 - Playwright Eugene O'Neill died in Boston, Massachusetts, at age 65. His vast collection of plays included Anna Christie, Ah! Wilderness, The Hairy Ape, Desire Under the Elms, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and Mourning Becomes Electra. O'Neill was awarded the Nobel prize of literature in 1936. His daughter, Oona, married silent film star Charlie Chaplin. He left several unpublished plays and an autobiography. O'Neill's will stipulated that these were not to be produced until 25 years after his death.
1954 - In London, England, Sir Winston Churchill celebrated his 80th birthday. The festivities were supossedly the greatest ever held for a British subject.
1954 - The first meteorite known to have struck a woman lands in Sylacauga, Alabama.
1956 - New York's Floyd Patterson became the youngest man, at 21, to win the world heavyweight boxing championship when he knocked-out light-heavyweight champ Archie Moore in the fifth round of their Chicago bou.
1958 - The Dewey - the first guided missile destroyer was launched in Bath, Maine.
1959 - Joe Foss was named American Football League commissioner and made about $30,000 a year as his salary for the job.
1962 - U Thant of Burma was elected secretary-general of the United Nations after the death of Dag Hammarskjold.
1964 - The unmanned Soviet spaceship "Zond 2" took off for Mars but communication was lost in May 1965.
1966 - Barbados gains independence from Britain.
1967 - Yemen, then Aden, gains independence from Britain.
1968 - Diana Ross and the Supremes hit t#1 on the music charts with "Love Child", a controversial song for the times. It stayed at #1 for two weeks.
1971 - As the "ABC Movie of the Week", ABC-TV presented "Brian’s Song". The story was about Chicago Bears Brian Picolo and his friendship with Gayle Sayers, who watched him die a tragic death. The movie rated a 32.9 and a 48 share. "Brian’s Song", performed by Michel Legrand, was the movie's theme.
1974 - The Eagles released their hit, "Best of My Love", but it would take until March 1, 1975 for it to hit #1 on the top 40 charts.
1977 - Eric Severied retired from CBS-TV after 38 years in television news. Among those he worked with were: Morrow, Collingwood, Trout, Cronkite, Edwards, Rather, Kuralt, Wallace, Dean and others.
1982 - The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 36.43 points, giving the fourth largest gain in the it’s 87-year history.
1986 - Ivan Lendl became the world's first tennis player to have career earnings over $10 million.
1988 - Radio Liberty, the American-financed Soviet radio station with an audience of 16 million, was opened to the airwaves on this date, along with two other radio stations. The Russians began jamming foreign radio broadcasts in the early 1950s after declaring them tools of subversion.
1989 - A bomb killed Alfred Herrhausen, the chairman of West Germany's largest bank. The Red Army Faction terrorist group claimed responsibility for the killing.
1991 - Archaeologists unearthed a statue of Pharaoh Ramses II in Akhimim, Egypt.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
This is truly a victory for religious free speech, ability to share the truth of the Bible when sharing the gospel, and freedom of association on moral matters and truth!
"The U.S.-based Alliance Defense Fund, which filed friends-of-the-court briefs in support of Green, called the high court's ruling "a huge victory for religious liberty everywhere."
From ADF newsletter:
FROM: Alan Sears, President
You Prayed and God Answered! Pastor Ake Green Acquitted of “Hate Speech” by Swedish Supreme Court!
We just received word this AM that the Swedish Supreme Court – in an unanimous decision - has acquitted Pastor Ake Green of charges that he engaged in “hate speech” when he delivered a sermon on homosexual behavior to his small church.
This is a MAJOR victory for religious freedom worldwide, as a loss would not only have sentenced Pastor Green to jail, but also set an international precedent that radical advocates of homosexual behavior would have attempted to use to legally silence the uncensored preaching of the Gospel around the globe.
ADF Chief Counsel Benjamin Bull, who traveled to Sweden to advise Pastor Green and observe the trial, says: “This is a huge international victory for fundamental human rights, religious freedom, and freedom of speech. Voicing one’s conscience is a fundamental human right. In this contest between religious freedom and the radical homosexual agenda, religious freedom prevailed. As David slew Goliath, Ake Green slew the radical homosexual agenda in this case. We can only hope that will deter other attempts to censor Christian ministers from delivering Bible-based messages against harmful homosexual conduct. Ake Green is a hero and we are grateful for his stand and his perseverance.”
ADF coordinated and funded the filing of friend-of-the-court briefs for the case as well as the translation of trial transcripts into English. Numerous international groups have used these transcripts to prepare their friend-of-the-court briefs on Green’s behalf.
Thank you for your prayers – which along with God’s grace – made this pivotal victory possible!
Some people may still want to label Pastor Green's comment 'hate speech' when he called homosexuality a 'deep cancer tumor' on society. His terminology may not have been pleasant. However, the medical truths and dangers of homosexuality should alarm and concern us all.
Today's (and yesterday's) broadcast at Straight Talk Radio covers this in depth.
From the website:
Today, Straight Talk Radio concludes one of the most important subjects very few are truthfully addressing within the medical community: “The Medical Truths and Dangers of Homosexuality.”
Dr. John Diggs, MD, is a Board-Certified Internal Medicine Specialist in South Hadley, Massachusetts, who has been treating homosexual individuals since the discovery of HIV/AIDS (originally known as GRIDS) in 1981 – and the increase of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases.) Dr. Diggs speaks from his first hand, professional experience, about the real mental, emotional and physical consequences of those individuals who engage in dangerous and risky homosexual behavior.
Dr. John Diggs, a highly respected professional in the medical community, covers a gamut of issues that every listener can benefit from.
*Warning and Disclaimer on Today’s Broadcast: Some medical language may be graphic in nature. Dr. Diggs is sensitive due to the nature of the broadcast and listening audience, however, some terms and diseases that are discussed may be troublesome for some individuals.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
First, unfortunately, we have to see and face just one example of the depths of depravity permeating our world today. Then, we will see who is behind it all and why.
Several weeks ago, my daughter and I watched a Lifetime movie called, "Human Trafficking." I have to admit, the horrendous treatment of women, girls (and sometimes even little boys) who are sold into sexual slavery haunted me for days. I wondered how anyone could ever be so cruel as to be involved in such a horrible, despicable industry.
In my current Bible Study on the book of Genesis, we all read the following verse which described what man was like just before the flood:
Genesis 7:5 - The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
I thought of that verse when I was watching Human Trafficking because it perfectly described the type of people involved in such a horrendous trade that inflicts continual pain, harm, and death on its victims. It is evil depravity at its worse!
Then, I thought of the verse in the New Testament where Paul tells us that "God gave them over to their sinful lusts," (another Bible version states it as "gave them up unto.") I can better understand that verse in the context of realizing Genesis 7:5. When a person reaches the point where every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time, what else could be done for them? The terms "vile affections" include all types of sexual sin.
"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, *sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, *unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
In the following excerpt from the book "Captivating," I was given some new insight about why sexual violence against women is rampant throughout the world:
" It is also rampant against little girls and boys, but more than one million girls are sold into the sex trade every year! Dear God - what is to account for the systemic, often brutal, nearly universal assault on femininity? Where does this come from?
Do not make the mistake of believing that "men are the enemy." Certainly men have had a hand in this, and will have a day of reckoning before their Maker. But you will not understand this story - or your story - until you begin to see the actual Forces behind this and get a grip on their motives.
Where does this hatred for women, seen all over the world, come from? Why is it so diabolical?
For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12 NLT)
The assault on femininity - its long history, its utter viciousness - cannot be understood apart from the spiritual forces of evil we are warned against in the Scriptures. This is not to say that men (and women, for they, too, assault women) have no accountability in their treatment of women. Not at all. It is simply to say that no explanation for the assault upon Eve and her daughters is sufficient unless it opens our eyes to the Prince of Darkness and his special hatred of femininity.
Turn your attention again to the events that took place in the Garden of Eden. Notice - who does the Evil One go after? Who does Satan single out for his move against the human race? He could have chosen Adam...but he didn't. Satan went after Eve. He set his sights on her. Have you ever wondered why? It might have been that he, like any predator, chose what he believed to be the weaker of the two. There is some truth to that. He is utterly ruthless. But we believe there is more. Why does Satan make Eve the focus of his assault on humanity?
You may know that Satan was first named Lucifer, or Son of the Morning. It infers a glory, a brightness or radiance unique to him. In the days of his former glory he was appointed a guardian angel. Many believe he was the captain of the angel armies of God. The guardian of the glory of the Lord.
"You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you:
ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stone." (Ezek. 28:12-14)
Perfect in beauty. That is the key. Lucifer was gorgeous. He was breathtaking. and it was his ruin. Pride entered Lucifer's heart. The angel came to believe he was being cheated somehow. He craved the worship that was being given to God for himself. He didn't merely want to play a nobel role in the Story; he wanted the Story to be about him. He wanted to be the star. He wanted the attention, the adoration for himself. ("Mirror, Mirror, on the wall...")
Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor. (Ezek. 28:17)
Satan fell because of his beauty. Now his heart for revenge is to assault beauty. He destroys it in the natural world wherever he can. Strip mines, oil spills, fires, Chernobyl. He wreaks destruction on the glory of God in the earth like a psychopath committed to destroying great works of art.
But most especially, he hates Eve.
Because she is captivating, uniquely glorious, and he cannot be. She is the incarnation of the Beauty of God. More than anything else in all creation, she embodies the glory of God. She allures the world to God. He hates it with a jealousy we can only imagine.
And there is more. The Evil One also hates Eve because she gives life. Women give birth, not men. Women nourish life. And they also bring life into the world soulfully, relationally, spiritually - in everything they touch. Satan was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). He brings death. His is a kingdom of death. Ritual sacrifices, genocide, the Holocaust, abortion - those are his ideas. And thus Eve is his greatest human threat, for she brings life. She is a lifesaver and a life giver. Eve means "life" or "life producer."
"Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living" (Gen. 3:20).
Put those two things together - that Eve incarnates the Beauty of God and she gives life to the world. Satan's bitter heart cannot bear it. He assaults her with a special hatred. History removes any doubt about this. Do you begin to see it?
Think of the great stories - in nearly all of them, the villain goes after the Hero's true love. He turns his sights on the Beauty. Magua goes after Cora in The Last of the Mohicans. Longshanks goes after Murron in Braveheart. Commodus goes after Maximus's wife in Gladiator. The Witch attacks Sleeping Beauty. The stepsisters assault Cinderella. Satan goes after Eve.
This explains an awful lot. It is not meant to scare you. Actually, it will shed so much light on your life's story, if you will let it. Most of you thought the things that have happened to you were somehow your fault - that you deserved it. If only you had been prettier or smarter or done more or pleased them, somehow it wouldn't have happened. You would have been loved. They wouldn't have hurt you.
And most of you are living with the guilt that somehow it's your fault you aren't more deeply pursued now. That you do not have an essential role in a great adventure. That you have no beauty to unveil. The message of our wounds nearly always is, "This is because of you. This is what you deserve." It changes things to realize that, no, it is because you are glorious that these things happened. It is because you are a major threat to the kingdom of darkness. Because you uniquely carry the glory of God to the world.
You are hated because of your beauty and power.
Add on 11/28/05:
Stasi (co-author)mentioned that the term that God gives Eve when she is created is ezer kenegdo. God states, "It is not good for the man to be alone, I shall make him [an ezer kenegdo]" (Gen. 2:18 Alter) Robert Alter, who has spent years translating the book of Genesis, says that this phrase is "notoriously difficult to translate." Alter gets closer when he translates it "sustainer beside him."
The word ezer, is used only twenty other places in the entire Old Testament. And in every other instance the person being described is God himself, when you need him to come through for you desperately.
Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper, and your glorious sword. (Deut. 33:26,29, emphasis added)
I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Ps. 121:1-2, emphasis added)
May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help. (Ps. 33:20, emphasis added)
O house of Israel, trust in the LORD - he is their help and shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD - he is their help and shield. You who fear him, trust in the LORD - he is their help and shield. (Ps. 115:9-11, emphasis added)
Most of the contexts are life and death, by the way, and God is your only hope. Your ezer. If he is not there beside you...you are dead.
A better translation therefore of ezer would be "lifesaver." Kenegdo means alongside, or opposite to, a counterpart.
Stasi goes on to describe:"... that God calls us to a life involving frequent risks and many dangers. (Isn't that the truth!) Why else would we need him to be our ezer? You don't need a lifesaver if your mission is to be a couch potato. You need an ezer when your life is in constant danger."
(Jesus told us in John 16:33 - These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you *will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.")
Stasi also mentions:
"That longing in the heart of a woman to share life together as a great adventrue - that comes straight from the heart of God, who also longs for this. He does not want to be an option in our lives. He does not want to be an appendage, a tagalong. Neither does any woman. God is essential. He wants us to need him - desperately. Eve is essential. She has an irreplaceable role to play. And so you'll see that women are endowed with fierce devotion, an ability to suffer great hardships, a vision to make the world a better place."
Now, I have done a lot of "skipping around" in the Captivating book within these last two posts. I do want to make it clear that this beauty being described is not just physical beauty. In the "What Eve Alone Can Tell" chapter, we discover why beauty matters and it is vividly described in many different ways. Now, we will see that because every woman bears the image of God, she has a beauty to unveil. Beauty is an essence that is given to every woman at her creation.
Every experience of beauty points to [eternity]. - Hans Urs von Balthasar
There are powerful descriptions of what beauty is within the book. For now, I will just list them.
Beauty is powerful because it matters.
First, beauty speaks. (see Psalm 99:3)
Beauty says "all shall be well."
Beauty also invites.
Recall what it is like to hear a truly beautiful piece of music.
There is something profoundly healing about it.
A life of beauty calls us to something higher.
Beauty is transcendent.
It is our most immediate experience of the eternal.
Beauty says, There is a glory calling to you. And if there is a glory, there is a source of glory.
Beauty is, without question, the most essential and the most misunderstood of all of God's qualities.
All of these things are true for any experience of Beauty. But they are especially true when we experience the beauty of a woman - her eyes, her form, her voice, her heart, her spirit, her life. She speaks all of this far more profoundly than anything else in all creation.
Knowing a woman's beauty requires an unveiling. Whatever else it means to be feminine, it is depth and mystery and complexity, with beauty as its very essence.
Please don't take this wrong. Don't despair. Remember this:
Every woman has a beauty to unveil.
Because she bears the image of God. She doesn't have to conjure it, go get it from a salon, have plastic surgery or breast implants. No, beauty is an essence that is given to every woman at her creation.
Pause for a moment and realize this.
We did not say that a woman is prized only for her good looks. We did not say a woman is here merely to complete a man, and therefore a single woman is somehow missing her destiny. What we said was, first, that Eve is the crown of creation. There is something uniquely magnificent and powerful about a woman. We tried to reveal the immeasurable dignity, the holiness of your feminine heart by showing that it is God who longs for Romance; it is God who longs to be our ezer (helper, companion, help meet); it is God who reveals beauty as essential to life. You are the image bearer of this God. That is why you long for those things too.
There is a radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperately needs.
Did you know that the word "beauty" appears 49 times in 49 verses of the KJ Bible? Here are just a few:
Psalm 27:4 - One [thing] have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
Psalm 29:2 - Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
Psalm 50:2 - Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.
Psalm 90:17 - And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
Psalm 96:6 - Honour and majesty [are] before him: strength and beauty [are] in his sanctuary.
Psalm 96:9 - O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
Again, realize that there is a radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperately needs.
Don't let the enemy of our souls prevent you from revealing just who you truly are in Christ Jesus our Lord!
The subtitle of the book, "Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul" is highly descriptive and inviting. Reading just 4 chapters has already revealed such valuable, ministering information to me. I can't wait to share and discuss this book with my friends!
I have already discovered that what is being shared in each chapter is an unveiling of many things I have thought, felt, experienced, dreaded, hated, loved, feared, over the years. I have come to recognize the reality most of such feelings through reading God's Word over the last 15 years. However, this book is written in a way that also shows me things that I may not have experienced in my own life, but have seen occurring in the lives of many women I know. I now can see much more clearly how, and why, such things have affected other women in my life. This includes those painful, often unspoken but deeply felt times and emotions that women sometimes do not understand and cannot find the answers for. It culminates in that disturbing type of experience(s) that cause us all to ask the question, "why me?"
On the positive side of the coin, the book describes and explains the tremendous experiences of love and joy (thank God) that life can bring despite our pain and suffering. We are shown the true heart of a woman, what she needs, and why she needs it. We are shown the beauty that is a woman's soul; the kind of beauty that is in every woman's soul even if it hasn't been revealed to her yet!
I will admit that the first chapter may seem a bit hokey to some women; especially the "feminist type" of woman. I'm not one of them. Never have been. But I could just imagine those who are feminists rolling their eyes as they toss the book aside thinking that it only contains that typical "fairy tale" stuff of their childhood. My advice? Keep reading! Because if you don't you will probably miss out on the greatest unveiling of your own soul save that of what you'd learn through what is revealed in the Bible.
This book is perfect for gift giving. My own list of women with whom I want to share this book with has already reached 10! I'm sure that even more friends/relatives who would enjoy this book will come to mind.
There is also a companion book that was written for men called, Wild at Heart. Captivating includes some excerpts from it and it looks excellent as well.
Here is what is written on the Captivating book jacket:
"Every woman was once a little girl. And every little girl holds in her heart her most precious dreams. She longs to be swept up into a romance, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventrue, to be the Beauty of the story. Those desires are far more than child's play. They are the secret to the feminine heart.
And yet - how many women do you know who ever find that life? As the years pass by, theheart of a woman gets pushed aside, wounded, buried. She finds no romance except in novels, no adventure except on television, and she doubts very much that she will ever be the Beauty in any tale.
Most women think they have to settle for a life of efficiency and duty, chores and errands, striving to be the women they "ought" to be but often feeling they have failed. Sadly, too many messages for Christian women add to the pressure. "Do these ten things, and you will be a godly woman." The effect has not been good on the feminine soul.
But her heart is still there. Sometimes when she watches a movie, sometimes in the wee hours of the night, her heart begins to speak again. A thirst rises within her to find the life she was meant to live - the life she dreamed of as a little girl.
The message of Captivating is this: Your heart matters more than anything else in all creation. The deisres you had a s little girl and the longings you still feel as a woman - they are telling you of the life God created you to live. He offers to ocome now as the Hero of your story, to rescue your heart and release you to live as a fully alive and feminine woman. A woman who is truly captivating."
Although I haven't read it all yet, I can already sense where the story goes and how it ends. And, of course, it has to do with Jesus Christ. But as with the first few chapters I have already read, I'm sure to experience the "ah ha!" type of reaction as I see more clearly why many women are missing out on all that God intended for them to be!
For my male readers here, I would like to include a brief excerpt from Wild at Heart:
"But God made the masculine heart, set it within every man, and thereby offers him an invitation: Come, and live out what I meant you to be. Permit me to bypass the entire nature vs. nurture "is gender really built-in?" debate with one simple observation: Men and women are made in the image of God as men or as women. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27). Now, we know God doesn't have a body, so the uniqueness can't be physical. Gender simply must be at the level of the soul, in the deep and everlasting places within us. God doesn't make generic people; he makes something very distinct - a man or a woman. In other words, there is a masculine heart and a feminine heart, which in their own ways reflect or portray to the world God's heart."
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1 NKJV)
What is very important to note is that the serpent twisted Scripture and told a lie in his question to Eve. Notice that Eve actually corrected his lie:
2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'" (Genesis 3:2-3 NKJV)
But Satan, in the form of the serpent, twists Scripture again and adds another lie:
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Here we see the temptation. Instead of obeying and trusting God for all that He has provided them, Eve and Adam let the temptation overcome them and they disobeyed God and thus trusted Satan's lie. The seduction was complete.
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Unfortunately, mankind has been falling for Satan's lies ever since. We see this over and over again throughout the history of man. In Genesis 3:12-13 we see the evidence of the very first "blame game" between Adam and Eve. Lies lead to deception, deception leads to temptation, temptation leads to sin, sin lead to division.
So, where do we go to discern truth from error? There is only one place. God's Word, the Bible.
Just like Satan's twisting of the Scriptures in Genesis, man has also done this. How do we discern truth from error then? The Scriptures tell us how.
In Titus 1, Paul tells us how to live godly lives, and how those, such as himself, are trusted to tell others the truth actually received such truth, "3 And now at the right time he has revealed this Good News, and we announce it to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been trusted to do this work for him." (Titus 1:3 NLT)
Notice what the preceding verse says, "2 This truth gives them the confidence of eternal life, which God promised them before the world began-and he cannot lie." (Titus 1:2 NLT)
God cannot lie so His Word is trustworthy and true.
Paul goes on and describes how elders of the church should conduct themselves. This verse is particularly important, "9 He must have a strong and steadfast belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with right teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong." (Titus 1:9)
The trustworthy message that was taught was to teach, "Jesus Christ and Him crucified." The New Testament of the Bible reveals the awaited Messiah that was prophesied in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ fulfilled more than 300 prophecies (with more to be fulfilled at his second coming). Notice that the above verse tells us that those who oppose the "right teachings" must be exposed and shown where they are wrong.
The next several verses tell us that there are many who rebel against right teaching. Verse 10 specifically warns us that these types engage in useless talk and deceive people.
10 For there are many who rebel against right teaching; they engage in useless talk and deceive people. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. 11 They must be silenced. By their wrong teaching, they have already turned whole families away from the truth. Such teachers only want your money. 12 One of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, "The people of Crete are all liars; they are cruel animals and lazy gluttons." 13 This is true. So rebuke them as sternly as necessary to make them strong in the faith. 14 They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned their backs on the truth.
15 Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are defiled. 16 Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are despicable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good. (Titus 1:10-16 NLT)
Or have only one wife, or be married only once; Greek reads be the husband of one wife.
Notice verse 14 says that they have listened to "myths" and "commands" and have turned their backs on the truth. Paul is talking about those who appear to be believers in the church! He goes on and reveals why they have turned from the truth:
1. They are corrupt and unbelieving.
2. Their minds and consciences are defiled.
3. Such people claim to know God, but deny him by the way they live.
4. They are despicable and disobedient.
5. Worthless for doing any good.
These are harsh words, are they not? The result is devastating! For verse 11 tells us that they, have already turned entire families away from the truth.
Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron labeled such people as "false converts" in their book The Way of the Master. This is not a new concept. False converts existed at the time of Paul and throughout history. How do we recognize them? They are guilty of one or more of the 5 traits listed above. We have such people in the midst of our churches today. Be strong and discerning in your faith and hold onto the truth, otherwise you could be led away by such people.
1 Corinthians 2:14 - But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. (NKJV)
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 - All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (NKJV)
Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-31 .
In verse 2, Paul addresses the people at the church of Corinth as, "those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Christ Jesus our Lord, both theirs and ours."
Paul describes the true, blameless saints in these verses:
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul tells us his concern for division:
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
There are not to be contentions among you:
11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you.
What are the current contentions and divisions caused by in our day and age? Many have to do with "works of the flesh."
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the *base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-- 31 that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord."
Only God gets the glory! No act of the flesh, no wisdom from man, ONLY the wisdom from God and the righteousness, sanctification and redemption through Jesus Christ!!
1 Corinthians 14:31-33
31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
1 Corinthians 2:
6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written:
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."*
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the *Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For "who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?"* But we have the mind of Christ.
NU-Text reads mystery.
NU-Text omits human.
NU-Text omits Holy.
New King James Version, ? 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
You may still wonder, how do we know and recognize who is genuinely following God or being deceived by the "author of confusion?"
Paul says it quite well in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (below in last paragraph).
A good indicator is this:
You can discern where a person is, spiritually, through the evidence of whether or not their faith appears to be in the wisdom of men or genuinely in the power of God!
The evidence of a person's faith can be seen through their knowledge of, and adherance to, God's Word. The difference between recognizing those who have "turned from the truth" (see 5 examples above) and those who cling to Christ and His Word make this truly obvious when discerning such matters.
2And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the *testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of *human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
We can be thankful about many things and to many people. But giving thanks to God with a grateful heart should be first and foremost, for when we do, it is only natural to follow that up with thankfulness for the people in our lives.
Materialistic things never matter as much as the Lord and our loved ones. Just ask those who lost every material possession they had in the hurricanes named Katrina and Rita. What was most important to them? Finding their scattered loved ones alive.
During the recovery efforts, it was quite understandable to learn that the survivors asked for the physical needs of water, food, and shelter. But did you know what the fourth most requested item was?
Those disasters drove people towards the desire to know God and His Word. We are hearing not only of stories of survival, but also, hundreds of stories of redemption. That's what God does in the midst of tragedy. He redeems.
My GodBlog friend, Charlie LeHardy has a wonderful post called A Season of Thanksgiving at his Another Think blog. In it, he shared a quote from Cicero:
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." - Cicero Pro Plancio 54 B.C.
I have been meaning to tell Charlie that I love the name of his blog. It reminds me of the verse in Isaiah that says:
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. Isaiah 55:8 (NKJV)
Until I started studying the Bible diligently about 15 years ago, I'd have to admit that my thoughts were hardly ever in tune with the Lord's (as revealed in the Bible) and my ways were certainly not according to His ways.
It is obvious that we can never completely "arrive" at the desired destination of acquiring the complete thoughts and ways of God while here on this earth. But we gain glimpses and enormous revelation through reading His Word.
A relative of mine once said to me, "you've been studying that thing [Bible] for 10 years...don't you know it yet? The answer is no. I can never reach the point of "knowing" it completely.
Fellow believers, wouldn't you agree that we can never stop learning from the Word of God? It is unique in that way; unique from any and all other books in existence today. However, what can be accomplished and is of infinite value is that the more we study, the more we can then see the vast difference and transformation that the Lord has made in our own individual lives. We can look back and see the vivid evidence of God's sanctification process since that moment of being born again! We can see the transformation and sanctification of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ; especially when they share their testimonies. How you ever noticed that no two testimonies are ever alike? There may be similarities, but no two lives are ever completely the same. That's because the Lord redeems us individually. That's what having a personal relationship with the Lord is all about. Your redemption is between God and you! He saves us "one soul at a time." Whether it happened in a stadium filled with thousands of people, at your church filled with hundreds, or when you were in your home on your knees at the side of your bed.
When I prayed about this post last night, I didn't know that the Lord would show me so much! He revealed songs and Scripture to me while I was laying in bed, in the state of being half asleep and half awake. I felt prompted to wake up, get my coffee and start typing!
One song's lyrics stood out in my mind this morning. We often sing it at our church during each year's season of Thanksgiving :
With a grateful heart
For the Holy One
Because He's given
Jesus Christ, His Son.
And now, let the weak say
I am strong
Let the poor say
I am rich
Because of what
The Lord has done for us.
When I think about what the Lord has done for me, for us, at the cross it makes me weep. Jesus Christ loves us so much that he paid the price that we could not ever pay for our sins at the cross. An instrument of execution became the tool of redemption for us all. Jesus came to "make all things new." Sometimes I wonder how anyone cannot see the gifts of love, mercy, forgiveness and grace through God's provision for our salvation!
But some people look at the cross of Christ very differently. In fact, I got an email message requesting prayer for an individual named "Mike" who had made a derogatory post against Christ at another message board. In it, he listed objections to how and where Christians should pray. But one paragraph was particularly sad and unsettling. He wrote the following about the cross of Christ:
"Your corpse nailed to a board is disturbing, and I don't necessarily think kids should see it. Again, just saying. Worshipping it is all well and good, but don't be surprised if other people feel the same way as I do. "
1 Corinthians 1:18 - For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:21 - For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Scripture informs us that the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing! But it goes even further and deeper. Many non-believers find the cross not only foolish, but also offensive. Why is that?
Jesus himself clearly tells us why:
John 7:7 - The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the "natural man" cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God!
1 Corinthians 2:14 - But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.
What Christians view as salvation, is viewed as contemptuous by the unredeemed world. Their attitude is anathema towards repentance. In order for the world to break away from such deception, Christians need to continually share the gospel of Christ. It is our duty to do so. We need to keep the unredeemed in prayer, for it is our most powerful tool against the enemy of our souls.
One of my favorite contemporary Christian music groups is Mercy Me.
I'd like end with the song that the Lord recalled to my mind this morning:
"Here With Me"
I long for your embrace
Every single day
To meet you in this place
And see you face to face
Will you show me?
Reveal yourself to me
Because of your mercy
I fall down on my knees
And I can feel your presence here with me
Suddenly I'm lost within your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of your touch
Here in this moment I surrender to your love
You're everywhere I go
I am not alone
You call me as your own
To know you and be known
You are holy
And I fall down on my knees
I can feel your presence here with me
Suddenly I'm lost within your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of your touch
Here in this moment I surrender to your love
I surrender to your grace
I surrender to the one who took my place
I can feel your presence here with me
Suddenly I'm lost within your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of your touch
Here in this moment I surrender
I surrender to your grace
I surrender to the one who took my place
I can feel your presence here with me
Suddenly I'm lost within your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of your touch
Here in this moment I surrender to your love
Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
Mercy Me music clips!
Go Here for a music clip of this and other Mercy Me songs. (at site, click on "Listen to all", then scroll for song of choice)
Added on Thanksgiving Day, 11/24/05 -
“Remember ever, and always, that your country was founded, not by the ‘most superficial, the lightest, the most irreflective of all European races,’ but by the stern old Puritans who made the deck of the Mayflower an altar of the living God, and whose first act on touching the soil of the new world was to offer on bended knees thanksgiving to Almighty God.”
- Former U.S. Senator Henry Wilson (1855-72), and Vice-President under Ulysses S. Grant (1873-75).
November 24, 2005
In Abundance, Gratitude
Thanksgiving arrives once again and families are gathering across the nation. The traditional Thanksgiving feast has deep roots in our nation's history when the colonists paused to thank God for sustaining them through many dangers. Those who attended the first Thanksgiving feast had tasted the pain of adversity before they tasted the abundance of the great meal.In truth, most of us have never truly been hungry--we have never known the hardships previous generations assumed to be normal. For this reason we are not as urgently thankful as we should be. Our safety, comfort and material abundance can blind us to the fact that we, just like those pilgrim colonists, depend upon the grace and provision of God.So let's remember what Thanksgiving is all about--giving thanks to God for the abundance we have received and the blessings we have enjoyed. Resist the temptation to think of this day and this feast as simply one more holiday occasion.
Happy Thanksgiving from Salem Communications.
Albert Mohler is the host of The Albert Mohler Program.
Read Albert Mohler's blog on Crosswalk.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
I can't wait!
Narnia Movie News
If you haven't already heard about it, just what was the news of the day that Matt exposed on Hannity and Colmes last night? It was the fact that CNN (a.k.a. Corrupted News Network) flashed a huge "X" over the face of Vice President Dick Cheney during his speech yesterday where he excoriated the Democrats who have recently decided to ratchet up their anti-war rhetoric by spewing such hate, contempt and lies about President Bush and the decision to go to war.
The liberal left haters just seem to never be able to restrain themselves from bashing and defaming anyone in the current administration. The personal attacks that have been hurled by them against our President, Vice President, Secretary of State Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld etc. are truly shameful!
They spew lies about Dick Cheney and Halliburton. Yet, look at the liberal hypocrisy of Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand, Al Franken, Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Noam Chomsky, and Hilary Clinton. You tell me whether or not their lifestyles reflect their rhetoric.
Personally, I am sick of each and every one of them and I hope that Peter Schweizer's book embarrasses and inflames them all! Have you noticed that Michael Moore has basically disappeared from the news limelight since this book has exposed his profits made with Halliburton and Boeing; companies that he previously viciously denounced? Hmmm....what's the matter Mikey boy...no protestations that the book is incorrect?
To close my latest political rant, I must draw your attention to Doug Powers blogpost on the mystery of the big X. The end of his post is hilarious! (Note: don't get mad at me for the vulgarity written on the man's t-shirt...just thought I'd warn you.)
Another good post.
Another add on:
"Nobody is saying we should not be having this discussion or that you cannot reexamine a decision made by the president and the Congress some years ago."
"What is not legitimate -- and what I will again say is dishonest and reprehensible -- is the suggestion by some U.S. senators that the president of the United States or any member of his administration purposely misled the American people on prewar intelligence," Cheney said.
Another add on:
Democrats rewriting history regarding Iraq intelligence.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Here is what it said:
"Bertrand Russell on public opinion"
One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways."
This has got to be the most difficult mind game an entrepreneur must play. On the one hand, you must follow your well-honed instincts. On the other hand, you must respect public opinion, in so far as it is required to remain solvent. But I've noticed lately that rather than create a brand that some people absolutely love, most people are trying to create brands that nobody hates. Big mistake!
Awhile back a friend was bemoaning the less than stellar rating he had received from an attendee at one of his seminars. One a scale of 1 - 5, he had received a lowly 1.
"What's so bad about that?" I asked. "It was a [darn] 1!" he replied. "That [stinks]." "No it doesn't," I assured him. "What [stinks] is receiving a whole bunch of 3's."
Today, you want to be either loved or hated. A "5" or a "1." You must discover who YOUR audience truly is and be a protagonist for something which THEY believe in and feel passionately about. And as far as the rest . . . kindly thank them for their opinions and then ignore them. As Bill Cosby once opined: "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
(Note: I changed some inappropriate words in the quote.)
That Russell quote sums up how many in the atheistic, skeptical, non-believing world think. My message board/blogging conversations with skeptics, unfortunately, often boils down to this negative opinion about Christians and God: "voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny."
The rejection of the Bible as inerrant and absolute truth are causing many Christian churches and denominations to compromise the Bible and the bottom line, "politically correct" reason for this is their efforts in "trying to create brands that nobody hates." Isn't this glaringly evident in the liberal leaning churches?
The last paragraph (above, in bold) is the one that stood out for me. Isn't it true that when Christians share the gospel, the recipients often either will love it or hate it? I have seen other blogs which continually mock the Lord Jesus Christ, Christianity, and religion in general.
The mockers, skeptics, atheists, agnostics, followers of cults etc. have some common traits. My experience in discussions with non-believers often leads to the life and death issue. I have also found that such people have other views and experiences in common. One, is anger and/or disappointment with God; two, is mistreatment of some sort at a former church where they attended; three, is hatred for the God of the Bible; and fourth, is rejection of Jesus Christ and an attitude that "it's all just a myth". Such attitudes are often very relevant as to whether one believes in God or not and thus where a person ends up in eternity.
This paragraph could apply to Christian blogging, but it is missing one key element: "You must discover who YOUR audience truly is and be a protagonist for something which THEY believe in and feel passionately about."
In Christian blogging, it is often the opposite. We counter what the audience currently believes. The purpose of a blog like mine isn't so much discovering who my audience is because the people visiting can be quite diverse. The crucial point that isn't included in that quote is the fact that each Bible believing born-again Christian that visits and posts at this site absolutely share the belief in the gospel message and feel passionate about sharing it with others. We have that fact in common. This, we do, despite the rejection we might inevitably receive from visitors.
Those in the "audience" who are not Christians will likely disagree with most of what is shared here. I do agree that as Christians we are to be compassionate and display the 'fruit of the Spirit' (see Galatians 5:2; Ephesians 5:9) whenever possible to those who visit. However, as we have seen, tempers can flare and people can get angry, hurt, or feel rejected no matter how loving we try to be.
Sometimes even the best efforts NOT to cause hurt, angry feelings do not work. The reason is because the person is searching for compromise. Therefore, accepting what we share is outrightly rejected because it is not what the reader wants to hear. If they are looking for approval of sin, then they reject God's call for repentance. The result of this kind of dialoguing is not always "successful" for those who refuse the gospel message. In their minds, it will be viewed as failure. Let's face it, the disciples, apostles, and even Jesus himself had rejection!
We will most likely continue to appear as antagonists towards them. Sharing "the truth in love" does not appear as love to those who will not accept the truth.
Have you noticed that?
No matter how "loving" one presents the truth, the person sharing can still be regarded as "hateful," "bigoted," "intolerant," and any other negative adjective you could think of.
I think that a big reason this is so is because many do not want to face their own sin, the truth of the Bible and who Jesus is. So, in reality, they are rejecting Him and not really us. We are just the sharers of the gospel message. Whether or not one accepts it is up to God and the unsaved person.
Bill Cosby's quote (above) is half correct for the part where he says, "you can't please everybody" is often very true. If our aim as Christians is to please everybody, then it is likely that this means we would be compromising something in God's Word.
Staying true to God's Word in this life IS success. It's not the success that the world focuses on, but it is the success we want to adhere to while following Jesus Christ.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
The transformed Christian is always prepared for every ministry opportunity he or she faces.
1. The transformed Christian stays focused on ministering to the needs of others. (See Mark 8:1-3).
Making oneself more and more useful to God in ministry is key. We are to focus on the needs of others. We can become more discerning of other people. Doing so in a compassionate way is a method that 'gets us down' to where the person is 'living', so to speak, and allows us to 'feel their pain' with them.
Christine's comments: I see this more as empathy than sympathy for them. Sometimes, sympathy for a person can be misconstrued. They may see the Christian believer as someone who thinks of themselves as "holier than thou." This is a common misconception of non-believers. Christians are reminded in God's Word of the fact that, "for such were some of you" so, the reality is very clear. It is ONLY because of Jesus Christ that we are washed, sanctified and justified in the sight of God the Father. No room for a "holier than thou" attitude with that fact!
1Cr 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
I also think that a believer who has been transformed and saved from a certain kind of sin can often (but, of course, not only) be the one chosen to help rescue others who are wallowing from the deception of that same type of sin. Ministries that are geared to help others out of the sins of porn addiction, or alcoholism, or adultery etc. are often led by people who suffered such addictions in the past; but are now set free by Jesus.
2. The transformed Christian honors God with their resources. (See Mark 8:5-9).
By the term "resources" we don't only mean money, but also knowledge, gifts, talent and time. We are to make it available to Him. Realize that even our very lives belong to Him!
Christine's comments: You might be thinking, how can anybody meet this great need? The answer is to let God make up the gap. We are to do what we can with all we have as often as we can with those the Lord places in our path each day.
A devout Christian friend of mine once told me, "Chris, the one person you may have influenced and led to the Lord is just as important as when Billy Graham holds a crusade to reach thousands." She said this to me when I was wondering if my posting on atheist/agnostic message boards was worthwhile. At the time, I was sharing with our Bible study group (that was meeting in my home) that an internet acquaintance who used to mock me about my faith three years ago has now accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. But that was only one person out of hundreds that probably read my posts. He re-connected with me 3 years later to tell me of his transformation. He is now a brother in Christ! You can read more about it at this blogpost.
What this tells me is that we never know what "seeds have been planted" by what we share on message boards or in the blogosphere. The saving is up to God, of course, but we are to follow Jesus' command to go into all the world and share the Good News of the Gospel.
Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Look at the attitude of the Apostles:
Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
Remember Saul's reaction when Jesus appeared before him on the road to Damascus:
Acts 22:10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.
And, remember "where he came from." He was a persecutor of Christians!
Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Act 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen [to his burial], and made great lamentation over him.
Act 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed [them] to prison.
Read the entire chapter in Acts 8 to see the transformation of Saul, to Paul.
In my current Bible study, we were discussing the significance of names in the Old Testament. In the ancient Near East a person's name was intertwined with the essence of his or her being and personality. In the Bible, name-giving has great importance. A change of name (e.g. Abram to Abraham; Sarai to Sarah) is an event of major significance, symbolizing a new character and destiny.
We see such significance regarding the name change of Saul to Paul here in the New Testament as well.
In addition, notice that each of the patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - received his name from God himself. These names, as well as those of the great biblical heroes like Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, are unique, not given to any other person in the Bible.
If you are a frequent reader here, you may recall a previous post about the significance of names given in Genesis.
3. The transformed Christian commits all of their works to the Lord.
When God tells you to do something, it is not always comfortable! Can anyone say Amen to that? Realize that you will have opposition. Comes with the territory! We are to work through it!
The Rock church is going through opposition and persecution during the recent efforts to purchase and build at a bigger site. I have heard of this same scenario time and time again!
Personally, I can't think of hearing about any church that has NOT been opposed by some politician or community when it is proposed. But the great news is this...they get built anyway. That is what trust in the Lord is showing us.
Pastor Miles stated the obvious when he said, "you know you are transformed when you are scared, but you do it anyway."
He concluded by saying we are to pray and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ! Don't spread you're (or anyone else's) doubt; even when the naysayers are babbling, "it can't be done" or when obstacles might be thrown in your way.
The best revenge is success!
Friday, November 18, 2005
Our military is in harms way, fighting an insurgency THAT WANTS us to leave Iraq to early so that they can take the country over from the newly trained Iraqi soldiers, and democratic leaders in Congress WANT THE SAME THING! One congressman (John Murtha) made a profoundly ignorant and HUGELY ILL-TIMED CALL to demand withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. He did this just one day before two mosques in Iraq were blown up with about 74 people dead and 75 people wounded.
This is terribly irresponsible and insane!! And it's appalling that a man in congress thinks he knows better than our military commanders in the field!
And, don't even get me started with Bill Clinton. John Gibson got it right when he said on his show, " Clinton has definitely gone off the deep end!" Go see the video at Fox News and hear the details of Clinton's stupidity in front of Arab students in an Arab country. Does this man even think before he speaks anymore? Sheesh!!
Have you seen the commercial that shows several democratic leaders saying the SAME THINGS that President Bush said back in 2003 about Saddam Hussein and the need for regime change in Iraq? It then shows what they are saying today is the complete opposite of what they believed and said back then.
It is so painfully evident that they are now accusing the President of lying to the American people when they obviously thought and said the same thing about the intelligence information at the time! This is outrageous, people. I hope they show this commercial over and over again to show the sad hypocrisy that is going on with this liberal, anti-war, "we hate Bush" crowd. Keep showing it until the election in 2008. The democrats will lose again.
And Cindy Sheehan...STAY HOME. Let our President have a peaceful Thanksgiving at his Texas ranch. This woman has lost all credibility she had (if, she even had any in the first place) when she took up with the likes of Michael Moore and his ilk. Speaking of Moore, it's time to get back to the book review.
Do As I Say (Not As I Do)
by Peter Schweizer
Hypocrisy has proved to be a wonderful weapon for liberals in their war against conservatives. When a pro-family politician gets caught cheating on his wife, or a conservative pundit turns out to have a bad habit or addiction, their enemies use the charge to good effect. Fair enough. But what happens when the spotlights are turned on liberals themselves? Do the supporters of progressive taxes, affirmative action, strict environmental safeguards, and unionized labor practice what they preach?
In a word: NO.
Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy is Hoover Fellow Peter Schweizer's hard-hitting exposé of the contradictions between the public stances and real-life behavior of prominent liberals like Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, Al Franken, Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Ralph Nader, Barbra Streisand, and many more.
"Much of what follows," writes Schweizer in his introduction, "will strike many people as a revelation precisely because liberal hypocrisy gets a big fat pass from the liberal press, which fails to subject prominent liberals to the kind of intense personal scrutiny that is commonly meted out to conservatives."
Some of the shocking hypocrisy Peter Schweizer reveals:
*"I don't own a single share of stock," Michael Moore declares. No, his tax returns show he has owned hundreds of thousands -- profiting from some of the very companies (like Halliburton and Boeing) he viciously denounces.
*How Moore's working-class, "regular guy" pose is contradicted by his lavish lifestyle and prima donna behavior -- such as traveling the country in a private jet accompanied by a fleet of private SUVs and bodyguards.
*Moore also relentlessly exposes those who fail to meet his standards of racial fairness and equality. So, of the 134 producers, editors, cinematographers, composers, and production coordinators Moore he hired to work on his many movies, how many do you think were black?
*Hillary Clinton supports the right of thirteen-year-old girls to have abortions without parental consent -- yet she forbade thirteen-year-old Chelsea to pierce her ears and enrolled her in a school that would not distribute condoms to minors.
*The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel: ultra-left class warrior, defender of the inheritance tax -- and trust-fund heiress who fought the IRS all the way to the Supreme Court to avoid paying $2 million in estate taxes.
* Princeton "ethics" professor Peter Singer crusades for euthanasia for the severely disabled and terminally ill. But when it comes to his own mother, he operates according to more humane principles (fortunately for her).
*During the 2004 campaign, John Kerry complained that the "super-rich" don't pay their fair share in taxes. Care to guess what percentage of their income Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry -- who are worth over $700 million -- are paying in taxes?
*Noam Chomsky opposes private property and calls the Pentagon "the most vile institution on the face of the earth" -- yet he has made millions in contract work for the Pentagon, owns two luxurious homes, and set up an irrevocable trust to protect his assets from Uncle Sam.
*Ted Kennedy favors racial set-asides on federal contracts -- but when it came to his own investment in an entire city block of Washington, DC, he got his political friends to help him waive an affirmative action set-aside.
*Another of Kennedy's great causes has been support of the estate or inheritance tax. But, he has repeatedly benefited from an intricate web of trusts and private foundations that have kept most of the family pie from ever ending up in the hands of the IRS.
*Kennedy has introduced dozens of pieces of legislation over the years to encourage alternative energy sources. But he helped block the Cape Wind Project -- an effort to provide clean energy for thousands of homes on Cape Cod -- because the project would be built in one of the family's favorite sailing and yachting areas.
*Al Franken habitually calls conservatives "liars" and "mean and nasty" -- yet as a writer for "Saturday Night Live" he penned jokes and skits so mean-spirited they appalled even his colleagues, and he uses brazen lies for his bestselling books all the time.
*Ralph Nader: how he speculates in the stocks of companies that might be influenced by his political activism. How he conceals enormous wealth and a lavish lifestyle behind a façade of pretended frugality.
*Nancy Pelosi has made supporting labor unions a cornerstone of her public career. Yet the vineyards and hotels that comprise her $35 million fortune have one thing in common: they don't use union labor.
*Barbra Streisand: how, on the three causes with which she seems most concerned -- poverty, environmentalism and feminism -- she engages in the very behaviors she says she deplores.
Schweizer makes it clear that when it comes to the things that matter most in our lives -- protection of family, property, and privacy -- even the most outspoken liberals jettison their progressive ideas and adopt conservative principles. In short, he writes, "these do-as-I-say liberals don't trust their own ideas enough to apply them at home...
Which can only make one wonder: If their liberal prescriptions don't really work for them as individuals, how can they work for the rest of us?"
One more thing. Senator Kerry's home state of MA has a check-off box on its tax return form to enable people to give MORE MONEY IN TAXES if one so chooses to do so. Guess what? Kerry didn't check the box!! This extremely rich man is not willing to give more in taxes in his own home state but wants to raise taxes for all the so-called 'rich people' in the U.S. for the federal government? Talk about hypocrisy!!
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Here are the five questions:
1. What makes a Christian blog different from a secular blog in the material that they cover? Why have a “Christian blog” and not a neutral blog that’s written by a Christian? What are you, as a Christian blogger, hoping to communicate to your audience?
2. What was the purpose of having a “Christian Blogosphere Convention,” especially if you could just have an online chat?
3. I’ve heard that the Christian bloggers are hoping to hold TV Evangelists and other mainstream Christians accountable through their blogs. How and why do they hope to do this?
4. What kind of effect do you think the bloggers have on the rest of Christian culture?
5. What effect do you you think Christian bloggers could have on the rest of the blogosphere?
Again, hat tip to djchuang for posting these questions. His answers are excellent, too, but don't peek!! ;-) It is my hope that my friends here will answer the questions in their own words first!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
The photographs alone told the story. Boats jackstrawed like bathtub toys. Buildings ripped from their foundations. Corpses mingled with debris, bobbing in the tide. A little boy, head pulled low in sorrow, teddy bear at his feet. Katrina. “Our tsunami,” as one person put it.
Time will pass on this tragedy, as it has since 9/11, and since the events of April 20, 1999, when the lives of fourteen teenagers were extinguished at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. But in one sense these things will never be old news. The question on the lips of so many is an age old query:
“Where was God?”
ONE WRONG ANSWER
One answer is not going to work: The picture of a broken-hearted God, victimized, agonizing over events out of His control.
This “finite God” view is Rabbi Harold Kushner’s answer in Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? Evil is bigger than God whose hands are tied by the laws of nature and the will of man. Limited in power and perfection, He weeps with us at a world out of control.
According to Kushner, this should bring us comfort. “God, who neither causes nor prevents tragedies, helps by inspiring people to help,” he writes.1
Clearly, the God Kushner has in mind is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the One who brought the universe into existence with a single thought. This is not the God of the Exodus and the empty tomb. A God equally victimized by the march of evil may commiserate with other victims, but He cannot inspire or rescue. He is not worthy of praise, prayer, or trust. Nor is there any real comfort to be gained from one so impotent.
ANOTHER WRONG ANSWER
But what alternative is there? How can anyone believe in God in the wake of the kind of devastation and suffering wrought by Katrina and Rita? The great 20th Century British philosopher and atheist Bertrand Russell wondered how anyone could talk of God while kneeling at the bed of a dying child. It is a powerful image. Like the three-word sound byte “Where was God?” it strikes many Christians dumb. How can anyone cling to the hope of a benevolent, powerful sovereign in the face of such tragedy?
They might consider Christian philosopher William Lane Craig’s response:
What is the atheist Bertrand Russell going to say to that dying child – or to thousands of dead or homeless in Katrina’s wake, or to the parents of 14 murdered highschoolers in Colorado, for that matter? Too bad? Tough luck? That’s the way it goes? No happy ending, no silver lining, nothing but devastating, tragic, senseless evil?
No, that also won’t work for a very important reason. In a world bereft of God, there are many ways to characterize hurricane Katrina, the devastation of 9/11, or the killings at Columbine High: unpleasant, sad, painful, even ghastly.
Yet if God doesn’t exist, the one thing we can never do is call such human destruction tragic, or wanton murder wicked. If in virtue of these tragedies one concludes God doesn’t exist, then the carnage ceases to be tragic at all, if by that word we mean a genuine breach of goodness.
Judgments like these require some transcendent reference point, some way of keeping score. Words like “evil” or “tragic” are parasitic on a standard of moral perfection. C.S. Lewis pointed out that a portrait is a good or bad likeness depending on how it compares with the “perfect” original. But if there is no standard, then there is no “good” or “bad.”
“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust,” Lewis reasoned. “But how had I gotten this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call something crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?....”2
Evil is spoiled goodness. That’s Lewis’s point. We already know this. Note the words we use to describe it: unrighteousness, immorality, impurity. Evil depends on the good. Where does such goodness come from, though?
This point was explored in the movie, “The Quarrel.”3 The main characters, Hersh and Chiam, were boyhood friends who separated in a dispute over God and evil. Then came the Holocaust; each thought the other had perished. After the war, they reunite by chance and immediately become embroiled once again in their boyhood quarrel.
Hersh, now a rabbi, offers this challenge to the secularist Chiam:
If there's nothing in the universe that's higher than human beings, then what's morality? Well, it’s a matter of opinion. I like milk; you like meat. Hitler likes to kill people; I like to save them. Who’s to say which is better?
Do you begin to see the horror of this? If there is no Master of the universe, then who’s to say that Hitler did anything wrong? If there is no God, then the people that murdered your wife and kids did nothing wrong.
If there is no God, it’s hard to even begin making sense of the notions of evil or moral tragedy. The events that trouble us are reduced to mere “stuff ” that happens. There are different kinds of “stuff,” to be sure, some we like (Mother Teresa), and some we don’t (Katrina & Rita), but in a universe bereft of God it’s all reduced to “stuff ” in the end.
But we know better. Words like “wicked,” “tragic,” and “evil” are on the lips of everyone constantly. We cannot describe the events in New Orleans in August, 2005 without them.
But the questions remain: Why didn’t God intervene? Why is He inactive – apparently impotent – when He could restrain both the winds and the wicked? This protest rings hollow, though, because we don’t really want God to end evil, not all of it.
PICKING AND CHOOSING
OUR MORAL TRAGEDIES
Why does this question come up only with magnum tragedies – like hurricane Katrina or the Littleton massacre – or when we are personally stunned by deadly disease or financial ruin? What about the enormous mass of evil that slips by us every day unnoticed and unlamented because we are the perpetrators of the evil, not its victims?
On August 30, 2005 – the same day that the failure of the first two levees submerged some New Orleans neighborhoods under 20 feet water – I wonder how many Americans were committing adultery around the country? What of the cumulative effect of the personal pain and destruction that resulted from all those individual acts of sin?
What of the unplanned pregnancies (and subsequent abortions), the sexually transmitted diseases, the shame and embarrassment?
On August 30, a day that left so many homeless in the Gulf states, what of the children whose homes were broken through marriages destroyed by infidelity? What of the severed trust, the emotional wounding, the sting of betrayal, the shattered families? What of the traumatized children cast emotionally adrift, destined as adults to act out the anguish of this disloyalty?
One careless act of unfaithfulness leaves in its wake decades of pain and destruction and often generations of brokenness. And – to be sure – this evil was multiplied thousands of times over on the same day the levees broke in Louisiana.
I saw no outcry, though, no moral indignation in the local papers or national news because God permitted this evil. Why not? Because we don’t complain when evil makes us feel better, only when it makes us feel bad.
If the truth were known, we do not judge disasters based on unprejudiced moral assessment, but rather on what is painful, awkward, or inconvenient to us. We don’t ask, “Where is God?” when another’s pain brings us profit instead of loss.
We don’t want God sniffing around the dark recesses of our own evil conduct. Instead, we fight intervention. We don’t really want Him stopping us from hurting others. We only cry “foul” when He doesn’t stop others from hurting us.
The problem of evil is much bigger than hundreds of drowned people or thousands of homeless. It includes all the ordinary corruptions that please us, the hundreds of small vices you and I approve of every day. It entails not only what offends us, but what offends God.
The answer to the question “Why doesn’t God stop the evil?” is the same answer to the question, “Why doesn’t God stop me every time I do wrong?” There is a virtuous quality to human moral choice that both dignifies us and makes serious evil possible.
The rules God applies to a serial killer are the same rules He applies to you. If you want God to clean up evil, He might just say, “Okay, let’s start with you.” If you want Him to stop murderers, then you have to be just as willing to let Him stop you every time you do what is evil by His standards. And that covers a lot of ground. Most people won’t sit still for that.
Sometimes the consequences of our evil actions are longlived. It’s hard to know how much has been spoiled by man’s initial rebellion. However, the prophecy that Adam would now encounter thorns and thistles is suggestive (Genesis 3:18). Ever since man has ventured forth from Eden, the world has been a dangerous place. All the forces of nature are wonderful things in their right place, but ominous foes in a world twisted by sin.
WHAT SHOULD GOD DO?
When people ask “Where was God?” I ask “What precisely do you expect God to do? If you were in His place, what would you do?” If you would use your power to stop evil, would you punish it or prevent it? Either choice presents you with problems.
One reason God doesn’t wipe out all evil immediately is that the alternative would be worse for us. This becomes evident by asking a simple question: If God heard your prayer to eliminate evil and destroyed it all at midnight tonight, where would you be at 12:01?
The discomfiting reality is that evil deeds can never be isolated from the evil doer. Our prints are on the smoking gun. Each one of us is guilty in some capacity, and we know it. That’s the problem.
While reading on the Littleton shooting several years ago, I stumbled upon a refreshing bit of honesty and moral clarity by John Hewitt in a piece entitled “Seeking to Make Sense Where There Is None.” Hewitt wrote:
"We would rather think of bad acts as the unfortunate consequences of discoverable and remedial social and personal conditions. Yet it is precisely the account we do not wish to believe that may best capture what happened in Littleton. The two dead members of the “Trenchcoat Mafia,” together with their fellows, may simply have chosen evil in circumstances where others choose to play football or to crave membership in the National Honor Society."4 [emphasis added]
Any judicial action God would take today would pin us all under the gavel. When God wipes out evil, He’s going to do a complete job. C. S. Lewis soberly observed, “I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does....When the author walks on the stage the play is over.”5
No, God hasn’t banished evil from His kingdom – yet. The Bible describes a time when God will wipe away every tear and repair the effects of evil on the world. Men will no longer endure the ravages of wickedness or be victimized by bouts with nature. And no one will ever ask the question, “Where was God?”
Until then, God has chosen a different strategy, a better plan, one that’s moral on a higher level. It’s a plan that ultimately deals with evil, but allows room for mercy as well. It’s called forgiveness.
THE PATIENCE OF GOD
God is waiting. Patience, not lack of goodness or lack of ability, stays God’s hand from writing the last chapter of human history. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness,” Peter reminds us, “but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God is patiently waiting for us to turn to Him.
Suffering, tragedy, and profligate evil now function as warning signals. Like the ache of a limb out of joint, the pain of living in a broken world tells us that something is amiss. If God took away the pain, we’d never deal with the disease. And the disease will kill us, sooner or later.
Why doesn’t God do something about evil? God has done something, the most profound thing imaginable. He has sent His Son to die for evil men. Because we are ultimately the source of evil, God would be entirely justified in punishing us. Yet He chose instead to exercise mercy. He took the punishment due you and I and poured it out on His Son, Jesus, so He could offer forgiveness to anyone who asks.
God is not the author of evil. Neither is He incapable of responding nor unwilling to act. But His remedy for evil is not impulsive. He doesn’t obliterate us, the offenders, with one angry blow. Instead He waits.
Bertrand Russell had nothing to say while kneeling at the bed of a dying child. He could have spoken of the patience and mercy of God. He ought to have mentioned the future perfection that awaits all who trust in Christ.
He might have remembered that a redemptive God “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). He should have considered the Gospel, the only source of hope for a broken world.
But Russell could not. As an atheist he had surrendered those resources. We can do better.
Our dilemma should not be why God allows evil. Instead, our wonder should be why He would pay such an incredible price to rescue us at all when we have rebelled so completely against Him.
When this reality grabs our hearts, we will get down on our knees and ask forgiveness instead of criticizing God for not doing enough.
Your partner for the truth,
President, Stand to Reason
1 Rabbi Harold Kushner, When Bad Things Happen to Good People (New York: Schocken, 1981), 140, quoted in Norman Geisler and William
Watkins, Worlds Apart (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989), 203.
2 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1952), 31.
3 “The Quarrel,” directed by Eli Cohen, released 1992.
4 John P. Hewitt, “Seeking to Make Sense Where There Is None,”
Los Angeles Times, April 23, 1999, sec. B, 7.
5 Lewis, 66.
Solid Ground © Gregory Koukl Stand to Reason 1438 East 33rd St. Signal Hill, CA 90755 1-800-2-REASON www.str.org email@example.com
solid ground solid ground from Stand to Reason
This letter may be reproduced or forwarded via e-mail without change and in its entirety for non-commercial purposes without prior permission from Stand to Reason. ©2005 Gregory Koukl