Blogtober 9th: A Tale of Two Gospels – Poverty vs. Debt

RembrandtProdigal

Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal

 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised…” Luke 4:18

The church’s primary work is spreading the gospel of Christ and making disciples.  I never stop being surprised at the widespread misunderstanding of this.  Some ministries get pretty creative in their pursuit to do this work, and naturally there are critics. One of those creative ministries states at the top of their website that they are “…an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively”.  It is a para-church ministry, (not a church) but it has come under scrutiny in recent years for how it raises and spends money. I watched the comments fly around online about it last summer, demanding that instead of using their collective $7 million budget for their own building projects, they should donate the money to help the state with the heroin addicts. This is assuming the people who gave the money don’t also give to their own church and elsewhere. $7 million is about 1/2 % of the $1.5 billion that was raised last year by candidates for the presidential election…and a failed presidential election for all the candidates but one. Did the people who gave their time, talent and treasure to the presidential election forget about the needy?

$7 million spent by Christians in creative pursuits to proclaim the gospel of Christ may seem very  frivolous, even to other Christians, but if our primary work is the proclaiming of the gospel of Christ, our first love and devotion is to Christ himself. I love this passage:

“Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. 8But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? 9For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. 10When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. 11For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. 12For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. 13Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” Matthew 26:6-13

My own giving will go to a church or a ministry whose primary work is preaching the gospel rather than a government recovery program or an election campaign, but if anyone else feels compassion for heroin addicts, look no further than your own hard earned dollars. Don’t give your money to a politician or a ministry you don’t feel you can support! That is our right and our freedom to give where we wish to give. Even better would be if you are a Christian, give to a Christian ministry that preaches the gospel and treats addictions or join together with like-minded people and start one yourself.

There is a fundamental reason though, that people get mixed up and think it is the church’s primary work to meet every social need society creates. It is the throwing over of the gospel of Christ in favor of the social gospel. A few years ago, a well-known, world religious leader said on more than one occasion that the core and center of the gospel is poverty. It was such a popular statement that it was even reported in the mainstream news, but why would the mainstream news care what a religious leader said about the core and center of the gospel?  They care because it was a statement about the social gospel, which makes an effective impact on people’s views and response to government policy. Regarding the gospel of Christ though, it misleads us into a deadly lie. Christ’s gospel is not about poverty, but about debt. It is about man’s sin debt to God. We cannot repay that debt, except with our own life. “For the wages of sin is death”. Are you willing to die for all of eternity, separated from God in payment for your sin? I don’t want that for you, I don’t want that for me, I don’t want that for Pope Francis or the Dalai Lama. I want to see everyone saved…but none of us can pay that debt to God with our donations, service and government policy. We each own our own debt, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

Making poverty the value at the center of the gospel obscures Christ’s gospel behind the social gospel, which is no gospel. It prevents people from hearing the gospel of Christ and responding right now for salvation. “Today is the day of salvation” The true gospel, the good news, is that Jesus paid your debt, and my debt and every religious and world leader’s debt on the cross by willingly laying down his perfectly obedient life. You can be materially poor and have no debts. Likewise, you can have material abundance and be deep in debt. Not everyone may be able to identify with what it means to be rich or poor. But everyone knows what it means to be in debt.

How is the debt paid? Every person’s most urgent need is to have their sin debt to God forgiven:

And the Lord said, “… I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” – Acts 26

You will notice there are no words here about poverty and the poor, but rather forgiveness which is a concept that means a great deal to someone who is in debt. A debtor who cannot repay is condemned:

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. ” – Jesus, In John 3

~L

 

 

 


 

 

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Was Jesus Married? Talking it Out

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“Why can Jesus have no other bride besides the church?”

L: “That’s an interesting question and one that would make for an interesting discussion. 🙂 I think if you look at scripture and God’s treatment of marriage and the relationship between the bride and groom, you can see God’s design beginning with Adam and Eve, of course, but look at the Proverbs 31 woman and the Song of Solomon for the relationship between a wife and her husband, or lover and beloved. The idea is one bride and one groom. God referred to Israel as His covenant people and spoke of their waywardness like that of an adulterous wife. So, God the Father as ‘husband’ to Israel is similar in imagery to Christ the bridegroom waiting to marry his bride, the church. What are your thoughts about how scripture addresses this issue?”

CS: “The comparison of Jesus’ relationships and marriage is a metaphor, not literal. Even the verses where Jesus is stating that it is not necessary to marry, so that you can devote your full attention to God states that this would merely be a choice and not a necessity. Loyalties can be divided by two wives, provided they are both the same (as two women.) So, a metaphorical marriage to the Church or God has no bearing what-so-ever on an earthly marriage.

If we were to take the metaphor literally, then why isn’t there only one actual nun at any one time, like there is only one pope? Are they not the Brides of Christ?

There is plenty of reason to believe that Jesus was married (from historical texts outside the Bible.) There is nothing stating one way or the other (in the Bible or anywhere else.)

The part about this that fascinates me the most is that people who claim to be devout Christians state flat out that if Jesus were married then he cannot be the son of God. When challenged on this point they refuse to explain why they would abandon their faith so easily.”

L: “I’m a little confused by your reply, possibly because I am not Catholic. I am not familiar with the scriptures where Jesus says it is not necessary to marry. However, I am familiar with the words of the apostle Paul about that and he did suggest that Christians remain as Paul was, unmarried, but that if they could not, they were free to marry. He also pointed out that those were his own words and not a commandment from God. The reference in scripture to Christ and His bride, absolutely does have bearing on an earthly marriage and is very, very plain in Ephesians 5:22-32. That is a long passage and simple to search online. Again, these words are by the apostle Paul, carefully laying out the relationship of a wife and husband as being precisely like that of Christ and the church. He says it is a mystery, so I can see why it would be challenging to understand. The reference that you make to nuns is not anything I am aware of in scripture. There is only one bride of Christ referenced in scripture and that is the Church. There is zero reason to believe that Jesus was married while on earth and there are no accepted scholarly historical texts that challenge his status as unmarried. It’s just not an issue. I’m also not sure what you mean about abandoning faith, rather than people simply stating that a married Jesus is not the Jesus of scripture. Therefore, THAT Jesus is not the Son of God, naturally. It’s like saying that Jesus stopped being a carpenter when he was in his early twenties and spent 8 years as a goldsmith, because some obscure piece of paper found in Egypt said so. It’s not remotely relevant or believable. It’s a waste of time. My faith in Christ alone is not shaken by that. I find it fascinating that people are so easily lured away from the Word of God to cling to any scrap of controversy. There’s enough to do following Christ without being blown around by every wind. Read the scriptures as they are written. Consider the context. Look for patterns and repetition. Allow scripture to interpret scripture. Consider the authors. Read it straight, like you would any other literature. Start with the gospels…the gospel of John would probably be good. Try to lay aside denominational traditions in your mind and look at the text square in the eye. For example, I recently started re-reading Matthew. I was fascinated by Matthew Ch. 8. and how reading it through all in one sitting makes the theme of faith and how concerned Jesus was with faith leap off the page. I read it again. There was much more there… in the verse that says he healed people, fulfilling Isaiah the prophets words “Himself took our infirmities and bare our diseases”, Jesus, creator, TOOK and BARE or carried our diseases. He took the little viruses and bacteria. He commanded them to come out of the sick and he carried them away. Amazing. So much to think about.”

CS: ” >>>Re: ‘And there is zero reason to believe that he was not married.

…I’m also not sure what you mean about abandoning faith, rather than people simply stating that a married Jesus is not the Jesus of scripture.’

Why? This is the simple question that you, and dozens beside you, refuse to answer.

If Jesus were never married, not a single line of scripture would need to be changed to reflect that. If Jesus were married, however…. the same. Not a single line of scripture would need to be changed because of it. It’s that simple.

All I am asking of you and your fellows is an explanation of why you would immediately abandon Jesus as your Lord and Savior if you found out he was married? You keep trying to say it’s a simple thing, but then you go off on long tangents that have nothing to do with that one question that you refuse to answer.”

L: “I said the exact opposite about faith and about abandoning the Lord. If a married Jesus is not the Jesus of scripture, my ‘fellows’ and I are not abandoning scripture and Christ, but rather dismissing the marriage claim. The question of Jesus being married is a ‘what if’ question about an earthly wife that doesn’t exist in scripture. Abandonment of faith in a ‘what if’ scenario is needless speculation, whereas dismissing the actual scriptures about the very real bride of Christ and the direct application to earthly marriage actually is an abandonment of faith in the Word of God…Jesus is the Word of God.”

 

CS: “And now you resort to flat out lying about what I’ve said. I’ve said repeatedly that we don’t know. That’s the simple fact of the matter. There is nothing in the Bible one way or the other. It’s irrelevant.

You, however, continue to claim that you have been granted special knowledge to know that which is unknowable. Let me know how that Pride serves you when you stand before the throne.”

 

L: “And what have *I* said all along? That we can know what ~scripture~  says about Christ. The reason you and I are not finding common ground here is our divergent approaches to scripture. Is scripture authoritative for you? From your statements here, you place it on equal footing with folklore. From a scholarly perspective, how do you come to this conclusion? It’s important to know where you stand on this important issue. I am a family historian. I search documents for dates and details. For example, I had always been told my mother’s grandfather died from an unusual disease no one else had in the family. As an adult, when I began researching family history, I obtained a copy of his death certificate. The cause of death was listed as TB. His mother also died of TB, as did several extended family members. At first, my mom was resistant to the new information. She had always been told otherwise. The other story she knew could have been true, but we don’t know now. We have a lot more evidence to the contrary. Primary sources are important to the study and documentation of history. The bible is no different. Take a look at the studies that have been done on scripture. Look at how much more we actually know about Jesus compared to other historical figures of his time. Now let’s consider folklore. I love folklore. I’ve spent the last 8 years getting to know storytellers and balladeers and understanding their craft. Consider historical figures and weigh the facts about them with folklore. How do we know the difference between historical fact and folklore? Let’s take a pop culture reference. Chuck Norris. He is alive and we can study his life and the facts about him. Legend has it that he was bit by a rattlesnake and the snake died. When he is asked how many push ups he can do, he says “all of them”. He is amused by his own folk-hero status…but we all know these are folk stories. They are fun. They speak to people’s affection for him. This is the same regarding folklore about Christ. Stories about Christ speak to people’s interest in him and affection for him. Who would be mad at people for loving him and speculating on things about it that *might* have been *could* have been or could be? However,  scripture as authoritative and scripture as the rod by which we measure all other stories about Christ and God’s design and plan for mankind, intentionally sets it apart from other material. It’s not a pride thing. It is a decision that you make as an individual. Is it authoritative? Do you trust it as the Word of God? Then have faith in Christ, who *is* the Word of God to preserve for you his word in your own language. Embrace it. Love it. Read it. Stand alone on the Word of God.”

CS: “And again you are back to claiming scripture says something that it doesn’t. No where in the Bible does it say one way or the other whether Jesus was married or not. This is the simple fact.”

L: “And we are back to square one…it says he is betrothed to the church, his bride and the wedding is soon.”

CS: “No, it doesn’t, but please keep claiming you are special among all, chosen by God to know things others don’t. That Pride will lead you to where you deserve.”

L: “Yep. It does. A quick Google search will find a lot of stuff on ‘bride of Christ’. Chapter/verse references include but are not limited to: Ephesians 5:22-29, 2 Corinthians 11:2, Revelation 19:7-9, 21:1-2..Jesus speaks of himself multiple times in the gospels as the bridegroom. Why would that be significant to the Jews? What was Jesus communicating by calling himself a bridegroom? Look at the book of Joel, chapter 2. This is a prophecy of the “day of the Lord”. Verse 16 talks about the bridegroom and the bride. Bridegroom appears 8 times in the old testament. Jesus is referred to in scripture as the last Adam. In 2 Corinthians 11, the bride and bridegroom are likened to Adam and Eve. God’s design is one bride and one bridegroom. The bride of Christ is made up of many…but the many are only one bride. Just one. There’s so much more that would fill so much more space and begin so much more discussion. All of God’s people are chosen by God to know things others don’t. The scriptures are available to all, but not all will read. The bible says the meaning is spiritually discerned. Not all will respond to the call. Not all will be compelled to read and study and know. Why? I don’t know. Jesus said his sheep hear His voice. In the book of Jeremiah, the voice of the bridegroom is mentioned 4 times. 4 being for seasons perhaps? I would have to study it, but the opportunity to study it is available to all. What is plain as day in scripture to me and full of treasure upon treasure is ignored or dismissed out of hand by some. This is as available to you as it is me. What good is being prideful about understanding what scripture says? I didn’t do anything but read it straight like anything else anyone else would read, but I didn’t understand it at first. Even when I didn’t understand a word of it, I wanted to know it and the first step was a blow to all pride and rebellion, repenting of my sin and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

CS: “Yes. His relationship with his followers and the church is compared with marriage as a metaphor. It compares the relationship. It’s not an actual marriage to the church. That has no bearing what-so-ever on whether he was married in actuality.”

L: “Except that it does! Christ’s sacrificial role as bridegroom to the church, His bride, is the template, the real deal, and the model upon which earthly marriage of a man and woman is based…not the other way around. Jesus is the bridegroom of His bride, the church, as seen in the old testament, long before the incarnation. He was already betrothed long before his appearance in Matthew. When he tells to the Jews the parables of the bridegroom, he is revealing *himself* as bridegroom. It has enormous bearing on to whom he is married. What purpose would there be in Christ preparing the church in chaste purity as his one and only, where the church is to be wholly committed to Christ alone, only to have his affections divided by an earthly wife and children? It is nonsensical and not remotely in keeping with God’s character and what we know ~in scripture~ of God’s marriage plan.”

CS: “Your belief that is what is says doesn’t make it absolute. It’s obvious you are clinging to this like a life preserver, and we’re back to my original question. Why? It’s obvious you will never get to an answer, so I bid you good day.”

L: “Bye, bye, CS…Scripture answers your original question. The scripture references I have provided answer your question and there is so much more. All of scripture is about Jesus. All of it. If you cannot see it reading it yourself, remember that Jesus is alive. Ask him directly. Tell him you are not seeing it. Tell Him you have questions and you don’t understand. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5″

CS: “No, it doesn’t, but as I’ve already said, you will never admit that you aren’t perfect in your understanding of the Bible.”

 

What is Life?

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“Some conservative Christians believe life begins at the moment of conception.”

-~Daniel Wallis, Yahoo News, October 2014~

The above quote from the article Arizona School Board Votes to Remove Pages From a Biology Textbook, about biology textbook treatments of contraception, relegates ‘Christian’ statements about when life begins, to philosophy rather than science. If a microscopic fertilized egg was found on another planet, the science community would be falling all over itself to declare they found life on other planets, but the exact moment of human life on earth has been up for intense debate between the Christian and science communities for at least 40 years. Scientifically, why is there disagreement about human life beginning at conception? Why would it not begin there? Is it even a scientific question at all? Or is it merely philosophical? Viability is the battleground now, but that brings to mind the thought that perhaps human life is not a question of life but rather a question of value. When is human life valuable and when is it not? Does this put it more in the realm of economists and policymakers? That depends on the ultimate definition of ‘value’ and  to whom we are accountable.

“…Does evolutionary biology, or do the natural sciences taken together, provide an exhaustive account of the changing world of complex organisms? It may well be that the natural sciences only concern themselves with those features of reality subject to empirical observation. Yet to conclude that there is nothing more that needs to be explained, nothing more that needs to enter into a full picture of the world, is to make a philosophical claim, not a claim itself based on empirical observation…”

Christians know God as creator and submit to his Lordship. Human life is viewed as having eternal value, because The Lord our God is a personal God and has created human life and says it has eternal value. Science is an impersonal philosophy through which the viewer observes the world.

 

“Biological continuity, the key to evolution, does not tell us whether or not an exclusively materialistic explanation of human nature is true…

The traditional pillars of religion that support a view of God as transcendent Creator remain unshaken by the discoveries of modern science…”

-~William Carroll, Oxford University Professor~

God, Creation and Science

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“Scientific knowledge, by its nature, cannot ever be said to be so “settled” as to justify the silencing of critics.”

Charles C.W. Cooke, National Review

In a video series at answersingenesis.org on deep time evolution, Dr. Terry Mortenson posits a  parallel to the creation/evolution debate. He suggests a scenario of a sheriff’s deputy who is on patrol when he receives a call from the sheriff to drive over to a house and investigate a death. Inside the house is a dead body and the deputy is instructed to only consider natural explanations for that death. What would your thoughts be if you were told to do that? The deputy is being told to exclude any evidence that would point to suicide or homicide, because that would be evidence of intelligent design…

Recent news releases prior to the mid-term elections included statements made by the pope regarding everything from marriage to the poor to the church and science. The media are forever accusing Christians and the church of being anti-science. Where did this come from and when did it start? Even a cursory review of the biggies of science history will reveal men of faith in God, like Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), the Swedish naturalist who created a classification system for living things and Nicholas Steno (1638-1686), considered one of the founders of modern geology and stratigraphy. Linnaeus was the son of a Lutheran minister and rather than follow in his father’s footsteps into the clergy, he studied medicine, not abandoning his faith or rejecting biblical historical claims. Steno was the son of a Lutheran Goldsmith. He is credited with being a “pioneer in anatomy and geology.” He later became a Catholic Bishop during the counter-reformation. Both Linnaeus and Steno are considered important contributors to science, even being called ‘scientist’ before the term was ever introduced. There are many others, but considering the creation/evolution debate, their faith is either ignored or only a footnote or abandoned altogether in many instances, as soon as their biographies steer into subject matter that is allowed under the banner of ‘science’. In Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, Enlightenment Era art and science is credited with the whole of human progress that we enjoy today, against the political and religious thinkers of the day. The scientific thinkers who are said to be responsible for propelling humanity into advancement were philosophes. They claimed sole ownership of reason and empirical evidence as their foundation. Their methods for observing the world and addressing the ills of humanity were and still are philosophical. Rejection of any supernatural evidence and only material, natural explanations and evidence would be permitted. They viewed the world through their own philosophy, but demanded that they no longer be called philosophers, but rather ‘scientists’. Their goal was to rebrand their worldview to be accepted  as superior to all others:

“Today “scientist” is not only an accepted title—it is a coveted one. To be a “scientist” is to be someone with an acknowledged right to make knowledge claims about the natural world. However, as the 1894 debate suggests, the term has a fraught history among English-speaking scientific practitioners. In retrospect, Huxley and Argyll’s rejection of “scientist” might seem merely quaint, even petty. But the history of the word “scientist” is not just a linguistic curiosity. Debates over its acceptance or rejection were, in the end, not about the word itself: they were about what science was, and what place its practitioners held in their society.”

~- The History of Scientist, Renaissance Mathmaticus~

Someone, somewhere, decided that the philosophical debate is settled for science and that the scientific mainstream is above the fray and authoritative – That their methods above all others provide proof of that which is true.

Dr. Nabeel Qureshi states in his video about God and medicine:

“The scientific method is not science – It is a philosophy of how to do science…The world around us should be explained by repeated observations. This process of verifying facts through repeated observations is called induction – Inference by induction…This is very different from deduction. For example, 2+2=4 follows the rules of deduction – the rules of mathematics…Inductive conclusions are conclusions reached through repeated observations where we expect to get the same result every time. This is exactly how science works.”

Samir Okasha of the University of York in England states regarding inductive and deductive conclusions:

“The word ‘proof’ should strictly only be used when we are dealing with deducted inferences in this strict sense of the word.  Scientific hypotheses can rarely, if ever, be proven true by the data.”

In the Deep Time Evolution videos I linked to at the top of this blog post, Dr. Mortenson quotes James Hutton (1726-1797), considered the father of modern geology:

“The past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen  to be happening now…No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe…no action to be admitted except those of which we know the principle.”

~ James Hutton~

“Notice what he is saying,” says Dr. Mortenseon. “He is saying we MUST look at things a certain way if we are going to reconstruct the past history of the globe. He just ruled out creation and the flood before he has even gone and looked at the rocks. He has ruled out the supernatural. He didn’t come to that conclusion after doing scientific research. That was an a priori philosophical assumption… Every geologist since 1840 has been trained to think and do geology this way.”

Dr. Mortenson says that this way of doing science, this philosophy of looking at the world, is called uniformitarian naturalism. He outlines 3 assumptions of uniformitarian naturalism:

  1. Nature of matter is all that exists. Not all scientists believe that, but they do science as IF it is true. It is how they are trained.
  2. Everything can and MUST be explained by time, chance and laws of nature. All other explanations are excluded before any research is done.
  3. Processes of geological change have been operating at the same rate, frequency and power as we see today. We have volcanoes and earthquakes and tsunamis, but as we reconstruct the past, we cannot allow any more of the little catastrophes that we observe today or any greater in power to happen any differently, because all things in geologic history have to be assumed to have happened the same as they do today.

“Most significantly, recent work in cultural anthropology and the sociology of knowledge has shown that the conceptual framework that brings the natural world into a comprehensible form becomes especially evident when a scientist constructs a classification of a rock formation. Previous experience, early training, institutional loyalties, personal temperament, and theoretical outlook are all brought to bear in defining particular boundaries as ‘natural’”  ~James A. Secord in Controversy in Victorian Geology: The Cambrian-Silurian Dispute, 1986~

Dr. Mortenson concludes:

“…So when a geologist goes out to look at the rocks, he is bringing with him his previous experience, training and worldview. He’s bringing with him his starting assumptions, before he ever sets foot on the field of study and looks at the rocks…If you start with uniformitarian naturalism, you will end with uniformitarian naturalism. If you start with biblical assumptions, the world confirms biblical history.”

Dr.  Qureshi’s questions are excellent here:

“How is science different from faith? The vast majority of what you know in science is based upon what other people have told you. Have you yourself tested and seen with your own eyes?…In order to do science, it requires faith.” 

Dr. Qureshi states the 4 avenues of receiving knowledge: Our senses and tools to enhance them, testimony or publishing, reason and memory. He explains that science strengthens these avenues, but all avenues are fallible. “Science is just one approach,” he says. “Science and religion are 2 sides to the same coin.”

Naked Truth

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This blog post has evolved. I don’t know that I have any regular readers. So, even though it’s been published for a few days, I haven’t received any comments and I hope the unimportant things went unread. So, much of the things I wanted to say in the moment, I have removed. I checked and rechecked. Some mistakes may still be in here. I tried to answer some questions as much for me alone as anyone who might read this post. I had so much to say, but I edited out many things that when I thought about it, were temporary things and not eternal things. I wanted to speak about the culture, but culture is temporary. The issues up for grabs these last weeks are a prison…a trap. I was reminded of the picture on the internet captioned “Cat traps” or maybe “Kitteh traps”. They are just boxes placed randomly on the ground and every one had a cat in it. That’s what these cultural issues remind me of. They are culture traps.

I was talking to my daughter recently about conflict with others. I asked her why she thinks I might be having trouble communicating with some people and she reminded me of a story called the parable of the naked truth. The story relates the character ‘naked truth’ walking through town and no one will look until ‘story’ explains that truth must dress up so people will look. Even though I greatly appreciate story, cold, hard facts comfort me personally more than sentiment. It may be difficult and even infuriating for many to look on the naked truth. I am not skilled at dressing it up properly to make it easier on the eyes…or ears. Storytellers do a better job with this, but alas, I’m not one.

Here are some responses to several things I mentioned in my previous blog post about scripture and current events.

Biblical Marriage

I found a kind blogger with a generous post about this issue. If you are truly interested:

Here’s a link that describes the mystery of marriage, as the bible teaches.

What is sin

In the old testament scriptures we learn of God’s law, of His character and of His people. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s law. In Christ, when we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe what scripture says about His life, death and resurrection and abide in Him and obey Him, we are His. ( Romans 10:9 and John 3:16) When we are His, we become slaves to Christ and no longer slaves to sin. Here’s a Romans 1 treatment of our slavery to sin. I’m sure if you’ve been in on this discussion for awhile, you are familiar with this passage. As you can see, these sins are the result of not glorifying God and being thankful to Him. We all have been there, but in Christ we don’t have to stay there. Continue reading Romans. Read and read. It is my favorite.

No other gods

In regards to the old testament verses referenced by numerous others over the last weeks in regards to marriage and homosexuality, The image I couldn’t get out of mind was that of the Israelites, having walked out of Egypt, away from slavery, through the Red Sea, having been saved by God, they grew impatient and reminiscent for their ‘security’ in Egypt. They decided God and Moses didn’t care about them anymore, and they created a ‘god’ from their gold…dancing around the golden calf, giving up on Moses ever coming down from the mountain. If you want to read that story, go to Exodus 32. This is what happened to God’s people when they worshipped another ‘god’ and this was even before the law! So, the old testament verses of God and His law as it relates to Israel are what you are reading and hearing. If you say, “Well, I am not a slave to Christ and I’m not an Israelite, and I don’t think I’m a sinner. So, all of this doesn’t apply to me. It applies only to religious people.” Ok. You can say that.  At the moment, our laws still permit us the liberty to do that. We can still reason together.

If you are interested, for more about God’s Law:

Here’s a link for listening

What can wash away my sin?

While reading in the book of Exodus, turn back a few chapters to the plagues of Egypt and see what happens to Pharoah and the Egyptians.

I read this quote on Wikipedia:

“The Plagues of Egypt are believed to be historical by many Jews and Christians. They are also briefly mentioned in the Quran (7,133–136).

This story was also made into an epic movie called the Ten Commandments with Charleton Heston and Yul Brenner. Also, there is a Disney version called Prince of Egypt. There’s a lot in this story that is very interesting as it relates to God’s relationship with man, the people of Israel and a foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf and how to be saved. Consider the 10th plague. It’s referred to as the Passover. (Passover is still celebrated as a holiday today)

Here is what it says in Wikipedia:

Death of the firstborn (מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת): Ex. 11:1–12:36

Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt by Charles Sprague Pearce (1877), Smithsonian American Art Museum.

This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.’
— Exodus 11:4–6

“Before this final plague, God commanded Moses to inform all the Israelites to mark lamb‘s blood on the doorposts on every door in which case the LORD will pass over them and not “suffer the destroyer to come into your houses and smite you” (chapter 12, v. 23), thus sparing all the Israelite first-borns. This was the hardest blow upon Egypt and the plague that finally convinced Pharaoh to submit, and let the Israelites go.”

For those in Christ, His blood is marked over His people, and they stand before God, saved by Jesus. He takes their place, He takes away their sins, He loves them and covers them. This offer is to all who will receive it. Praise and thanks to God! What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  However, in the new testament, it says that this news is an offensive message of death to those who harden their heart to Him.  Seek God while he may be found. Call to Him while He is near.

For all have sinned and the wages of sin is death

Has the world heard this message? It’s an important message, but there is a second part “..but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” This is the gospel at it’s starting point. Several of my brothers and sisters feel the first part of the message is being shouted from the mountain tops, but the second part isn’t being conveyed to the world. These are the ‘story’ Christians and they are grieving over the avalanche of ‘naked truth’. The gift of God must be conveyed together with the wages of sin. They belong together. To my more sympathetic brothers and sisters, I would say we are the body, with different gifts among us. Perhaps we have forgotten how we fit together.

John 15

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15No longer do I call you servants,a for the servantb does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

The Hatred of the World

18“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin,c but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

26“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”

Modifying My Annual Media Break


My habit has been to break from the media every spring. I started this several years ago when I was an active participant in an online forum of homeschool moms. I found that winter often became an intense time of debate over difficult issues and spring was the perfect time to break and stop participating in the frustrating conversations in which I often found myself. Looking back now, the intensity usually started right before election season and continued through with heated discussions about Christmas and then lent and then Passover and Easter and the Lord’s supper and the protestant reformation and the Lord’s Day or not. I would often promise myself that I wouldn’t go back to that forum and I could hold out for several months or even a year, but then I ended up back there. The last two years, I’ve been on Facebook and that has changed my habits. I haven’t visited that online forum since Facebook, but last year, when I started my media fast, I failed. I found reasons to read posts, so I promised myself I would just read and not reply. Then I replied once and told myself I would just read and OCCASSIONALLY reply, but not post a status. But then I would read a particularly pointed verse in scripture that I felt needed to be shared immediately and so I would post it and tell myself that I could post, but only post scripture…and then I would check back to see if anyone replied, and if so, I would reply and start a conversation and all this interaction on Facebook would keep me seeing the posts and links that were news related and I remained distracted and didn’t feel that I had taken any break whatsoever.

So, I’m not sure what to do this year. April 1st is tomorrow. I use Facebook as a communication tool like the phone or e-mail. Every day, every hour, every moment will have to be a question of what is neccessary and what isn’t.

No news today
No more FB today

I won’t abandon my blog just yet as it is helping me focus today, but what is my focus? My focus is to spend the time I am not using up on games and reading news and chatting with friends to pray and draw near to the Lord.

Father in heaven, I draw near to you in prayer this morning. It’s Thursday and on this day, my prayers are directed at the church….not the church building and the people who go there, but to your church, your body, your bride. Lord, I pray for your church in this time of distraction and scattered thoughts. Draw us to you and help us narrow our focus to seeking first your kingdom and your righteousness. I pray now for some special requests. Holy Spirit intercede for the needs of our music minister and his wife and son. Their son is very ill and they are far away from home. I also pray for family that will be traveling this weekend. Father, carry them safely to their destination. I pray for my husband’s health this weekend. Give me wisdom as I take care of his needs and I pray for help in speedily taking care of problems that could turn into a hospital visit if they aren’t helped soon. I pray also for my daughter and her pain when walking. Direct us that we won’t be running from one doctor to another, with no relief. Teach me more to pray without ceasing, to pray in all things and give thanks in all things. Following you Lord, I have been looking at my feet walking the path and lagging far behind, when I should be looking you in the eye.