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Archive for the month “May, 2012”

What the Bible has to say about: Marriage

This essay is actually going to be primarily about who we should marry. The Bible never says anything about this, except for two basic principles. One: make sure that this is God’s will for your life. Marriage means that you hope to spend your life with someone. Second, which goes along with the first, you should not marry an unbeliever. 1 Corinthians 7 deals with marriage issues, and gives commands that help us decide our partner. Some of the commands include not marrying someone outside the faith, not divorcing your spouse, and if you find yourself in a situation where you have lost your spouse, do not marry again, unless it is to that person.

in 1 Corinthians 7, Paul states what he thinks is the best reason for marriage. He says that people should be married if they can not withstand the temptation to immorality of a…..private nature.

First, let’s look at the reasons for abstaining from marriage with a non-Christian. The biggest reason is about principles. You should be marrying somebody who you can accept as they are, but we can’t do that with unbelievers, as we can’t accept the fact that the person we love enough to marry is going to be eternally separated from us and God.  Another reason is that the family is supposed to be one unit. No unit that is truly one can pull in different directions and be anything like it is supposed to be. Take a government, for example. Ours is sufficiently split to render it incapable of ever reaching a completely correct decision, when the government is supposed to be the final authority on everything. The same goes for the family.

God intended the family to be a stronghold of stability, even when the world is in turmoil. In times of war, this seems to work surprisingly well. Well, not so surprisingly when you consider who made it. However, it is in times of peace, when we have been lulled to sleep, that Satan comes and infiltrates the heart. He seeks to divide the family, because he has already divided everything else. The church, the government, the world; everything is divided against itself. If he can make the family the same way, then the closest tie with each other, that of hearth and home, will be snapped.

Divorce is a big one today. I’m sure that at one time or another we’ve all heard the statistics on divorce. Nearly half of today’s marriages end in divorce. And Christian marriages are almost as bad! Obviously, something has been missed by the Church. I think it is quite simple. Today’s popular pastors often preach a feel-good sermon to their congregations, one that everyone can be happy about. Therefore, in order to keep the members of a divorced household (and their large offering check) in the church, they conveniently forget the Bible’s words on divorce, and emphasize the assurance of heaven to all believers. Depending on the preacher, to all unbelievers as well. If only people would look to see what God’s word says.

If you married a non-Christian, divorce is never the answer. However, if your spouse chases that option until it becomes a reality, Paul has a quick, easy answer. Don’t marry again, except to that person. And usually, that will mean that you don’t marry again. Paul’s letter to the Christians in Corinth emphasized that point. He believed that it was best for a Christian to remain unmarried, but if you felt strongly enough about somebody, then stay with them. Don’t divorce, and then immediately go traipsing off to your next spouse.

This was one of my essays where whatever fire may be in me made its way to my fingers on the keyboard, so if I offended you, I apologize. On that note, I bid you good day. At least until my schoolwork throws another essay at me!

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What the Bible has to say about: Life

Does the Bible talk about what I should do in life, like jobs and education? While the quick answer is “Duh!” the Bible never directly addresses those specific issues. Some would stop there and say that since the Bible doesn’t talk about them, anything goes. That is not the case. Instead, I think that the Bible has a lot to say about such matters. We just have to look at the principles behind it. As always, feel free to comment on this post. It would be a big help.

When we speak about jobs, we must consider several things. First, we must see if the job contradicts the Bible. Jobs that have to do with prostitution, occultism, and others like them are obviously out of the question. But is that all? There are also those that could be worse. An atheistic speaker is at least as bad as the others, as they would lead them away from God, and therefore, indirectly to those people. Also, we should consider whether or not the job depends on others being led astray. A bartender’s job depends on this. To make the most money, he needs to get people drunk, and preferably to be an alcoholic.

If a job requires you to consistently work on a Sunday, then there a couple of questions I have to ask. Number one is whether or not you get a break at any time during the week. The reason for a day of rest is that God knew we could not be the loving people we should be and work seven days a week. So long as we have a day of rest and fellowship with other believers, I think that it would be alright. The second question has already been answered. This question is whether or not you can have fellowship with other Christians. If both are a yes, then I can’t think of why you can’t work there.

Some people would want to ask whether or not the Bible even says to work. The answer is yes. Even before the Fall, God commanded Adam to take care of the garden. Living off of other people is not what the Bible says to do. If we love other people, we would not, and do not, enjoy living at their expense. And since we are called to love everybody, then we must not be an unnecessary burden. Now, if you can not work, then you have to depend on others. However, the stories I have heard about people who can not work lead me to believe that it is not a very fun life.

As far as education goes, the main question is what we are seeking it for. If you want a diploma in order to impress people, then you should think again. If you want it to get a good job so you could make a lot of money, then you still are missing the mark. But if you are doing it in order to bring glory to God by learning what you need to do what you are called to, then you are doing just fine. One of the principles that is in nearly every sentence of the Bible is to do everything for the glory of God. Jesus said to pray in secret, not for attention but to talk to God.

I hope that I have shown you what our motives should be in those instances. I also hope that you see that the Bible addresses these issues, as it does everything. Lastly, I hope that I have shown that we must always follow the Bible. Good-bye!

Can we throw rocks at unbelievers, or do we save that for the Pharisees?

This essay deals with Deuteronomy 12. The question is whether or not we should kill unbelievers, in light of this passage. This passage is where God tells the Israelites to wipe out the pagan nations when they enter Israel. The main danger here is to make sure that we put everything in a Biblical context. This means that we can not take one passage without taking the rest of the Bible with it. Please comment on this and tell me how you think I did. I’m going to tell you right now that I do not believe that we are to kill unbelievers, just because they are unbelievers.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were about to enter what was arguably one of the most depraved nations on the face of the planet at that time. God knew that if they did not kill all the inhabitants, they would be sucked into the same depravity. They did kill most of the inhabitants, but not all. All you have to do is look at the Bible’s account of their history to see that those few were all it took to lead to the annihilation of Israel.

The years until Christ’s arrival were dark ones for Israel. However, they did their best to follow God’s law. Every time they came out of exile, their joy would lead to more disciplined following of the Law. The problem was that the next generation, who did not have that joy, would follow the law with the same discipline, but with no heart. This led to the Pharisees, who made their own rules, and placed them above God’s word. “He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?’ For God commanded, saying, “Honor your father and your mother”;  and, “He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.”But you say, “Whoever says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God’ — then he need not honor his father or mother.” Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. (Matthew 15:3-6, NKJV) More rules meant more punishment, and that was something Jesus condemned.

We hear the law in Deuteronomy, and wonder at the seeming change of heart God had when Jesus said that the death penalty should only be inflicted by those who are without sin. The answer I am about to give may be grossly, horribly wrong, but it is all I can come up with. When God spoke in Deuteronomy, He was trying to emphasize the fact that the penalty for sin, which is being legally wrong in God’s eyes, is death. When Jesus told the Pharisees that only the sinless should kill the sinners, he was showing that only God truly has that authority. In light of this context, I think that it is safe to say that we are not to kill unbelievers.

Loyalty

I have a couple of questions to address in writing this post, and here they are. Where should our loyalty be? Should we act vengefully in the name of loyalty? These questions seem to have obvious answers, so my main problem will be to get these into enough words to qualify as an essay. I will be putting these forth with Christian answers, so they look like no-brainers. However, my opinion may change when I am looking for the answer. Please comment and tell me what you think about this essay.

When I speak of loyalty, I mean whose commands you follow, and who you place above others. The technical definition is “The state, quality, or fact of being loyal; fidelity; allegiance.” For those people who dislike using the word in the definition, here is the definition of loyal. “Constant and faithful in any relation or obligation implying trust, confidence, etc.” Now that I have the definitions out of the way, let’s look at where our loyalties should lie.

Our loyalty should be to God first, our country second (usually), and then comes family. This may sound horrible, but looking at it from my point of view, if I had to choose between saving my family and saving my country, the country has more lost people than my family. There should be no questions as to who should be number one on our list.  Our God’s commands come before any other orders or requests from anybody. He is the One who created, and He is the one that the Bible declares to be King of Kings.

The government is the next in line for our loyalty. The nation is represented by the government, and is where God has placed us for whatever work we are here for. Christ stated that we are to give Caesar what is his, and give God his due. This means that, so long as it does not break God’s commands, the government determines the laws. The (increasingly numerous) times that it doesn’t follow God’s commands, we should do as God says.

The family is God’s way of providing some stability to a nation. Therefore, we should view it in its place. We should obey the Creator of it first, and the reason it was created second. Putting the family first is like making a car more important than both the designer of the car and the place we are going. It is blatantly against the laws of God, and is contrary to common sense (and is a very humorous idea). To use a more Biblical example, this would be like the Pharisees and their following the law before they followed their God.

The answer to the question of whether or not we should act in revenge because of our loyalties is a just as clear as where our loyalties should be. Jesus said to love your enemies as yourself, and that you should pray for those who persecute you. This does not mean that you should pray for your enemy to have a heart attack and die. It means that you should treat them with love and respect. There is no reason, except anger, for attacking someone else in revenge. And doing something out of anger, on the spur of the moment, always leads us down the wrong path.

God speaks very clearly about the idea of revenge. “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord”, and it should stay that way. If we follow the God of the Bible, the first of our loyalties, then we will not take what is His.

An exergesia. (Gesundheit!)

Alright, alright, first things first. I will answer the obvious question of “What!?!” An exergesia is another ancient Greek writing exercise, in which the writer repeats the same idea over and over again, using different words and styles. See! You learned something new today. This way of writing sounds like a class in redundancy to me, but since this is my schoolwork, I’ll do my best. This exergesia (that’s fun to say!) is going to be on Romans 1:18-23. Please comment on this essay, as this is the first time I am going to have to try to be redundant, while still writing well.

First, in order to get things going, I am going to quote the passage, word for word. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:18-23 ESV). I told you word for word, and I meant word for word.

In just a wee bit smaller space, I’m going to reiterate Paul’s words. The main point in this passage is that sinful men suppress God’s truth, so God releases them to do as they wish in the cold, dark, sinful nightmare known as Earth. The sinfulness and foolishness of man know no bounds, unless God suppresses them. Man is going to do as he wishes, lest he be “unhappy” for a single second. He does this knowing somewhere, deep down inside, that he is going to get the full measure of his punishment. As C.S.Lewis said in his book The Screwtape Letters, a man may know that he still has one last chance, even on the brink of hell, yet still will turn from God, because some petty resentment or miniscule pleasure seems more important at the time.

Another way of looking at it would be to apply it to the nations of the world. At one time or another, each nation has suppressed the truth, whether by direct persecution of the believers, or by indirect attacks on the belief. You can probably come up with plenty of examples for the first. The second deals with the middle of Paul’s passage. The scientists, in studying nature, have ample proof for the existence of God. In fact, God’s style of creation has prompted the scientists specializing in biology to consider evolution a dead theory. Lee Strobel’s Case For Faith deals with that aspect of science. To look at the last part of the passage from Romans, it can deal with today’s wise men, also known as gurus, fortune tellers, witches, and many other names that bring up ideas of the occult and dark magic, at least for me.

To sum it up, it looks like I have successfully completed my exergesia. Thanks for listening to my course in redundancy.

Healing the Church

Healing divisions is urgent in any scenario, but especially in the Church. The Church is to be the single, unified body of Christ, not a bunch of muscle and bone, bickering over the color of the carpet. I’m not positive, but I could believe it if someone told me this scenario has led to a church splitting in two. Since human nature will not allow us to completely rule out divisions, the next best thing is to learn to heal these divisions. The same thing applies to family, friends and society. Please comment back on this. Also, I apologize in advance for any unnecessary ranting that shows up.

First, I am going to define some terminology. When I say the Church, with a capital “C”, that means the body of Christ as a whole. I am going to do my best to mean the body of Christ, understanding of course that may not include all I personally consider the saved. When I use a lowercase “c”, that means an individual community church, or a denomination. When I say division or split, that means a disagreement large enough to make some of the members of the church (or Church) angry enough to leave. It might only be one, but that person will mean the difference between joy and judgement in heaven.

When dealing with this, we need to remember Paul’s analogy in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. There, he compares the Church to the body, showing us that we need unity throughout. To apply this to the subject, let’s look at how the human body works together. First, when one part of the body is hurt, the entire body feels it and does what it can to rectify the situation. In the same way, the body of Christ hurts when one part has something wrong with it, and tries to help the erring member out of their problem, whatever it is. We should also remember that each of the members of the body has its place, and cannot function correctly anywhere else. The same applies to the Church.

Unity is necessary for several reasons, and here are the two that I think are the most important. First, division in a body leads to death. Looking at the body of Christ as the kingdom of God, it is much easier to find examples in our world. The most obvious split in a nation is the War of Northern Aggression, also known as the Civil War. The bloodshed and horror in that war were magnified by the fact that it was brother against brother. This is much like the Church.

Looking at the divisions that often happen in families, between friends, and in society, it seems that if the churches could get its act together, many of them would be solved, if for no other reason than that all those professing Christians would be shaping up. I do not mean this to be accusatory to those that are doing their best to do as God wants, but as for the “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, they can take it however they want. The reason I say this is because not everyone who says they are a Christian is a Christian.

Looking back on this post, I see that it has done one of two things. Either it has shown the need for healing in the Church, or it has ranted about subjects related to that. I’m not sure which. I hope that it is the former, or that it has at least done a little of both. Please tell me which.

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