Tag Archives: the bible

Day 4: This is Home

 

     Cana was our first stop which is where Jesus turned water into wine. It was awesome to hear one of the pastors talk about the symbols of wine and water in Jewish thought. Water being related to physical cleansing and wine related to spiritual. Afterwards, we traveled to Nazareth which features little archeology but a beautiful church commemorating the angel coming to Mary. It is crazy how small Nazareth was at the time of Jesus only having about 200 people living in it. It was awesome though when we sat in the 1st century synagogue that they reconstructed and hear Isaiah 61 read.

     Next on the list was Megiddo which was interesting because most of the finding there were related to King Ahab, and it shows a very different side of him. It shows his intelligent building and bright defense strategies.

     Also, I do have to say that my impression of the Israelis has changed a lot on this trip. They really just want peace. It seems we American Christians are the ones who are continually shouting, “Don’t give back any land!” and such.

     We ended the day driving to Israel, but as was custom in Jesus’ time, we stopped outside the city and entered on foot. Once we saw the Temple Mount, we said three blessings to God as we ate a small cracker and a small cup of grape juice. Our tour guide then explained that after these next few days in Jerusalem, we will not leave the same because the city will change us in a way that cannot be explained in terms. It begins to feel like a sort of home. As we entered the city, we were coming to our spiritual home. I can already tell I am not going to be the same after this trip. I think everyone feels the same way.

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The World’s Last Night

This whole prediction made by Harold Coming on the end of the world has made nationwide news especially  as the day came and left like every other day. End times prophecies is a very touchy subject in both Christian and nonChristian circles. Many Christians fall into one of two issues man times which both cause problems. Some become obsessed with prophecy as they attempt to decipher every little detail while others end up neglecting prophecies all together.

I have never found another holy book which emphasized the end times as much as Christian Scriptures. We, as Christians, cannot deny its importance in our faith. An entire book of Scripture deals with it for goodness sake. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 says, “Don not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”  In this way we fall into the rut with people who say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” This can cause many problems such as blinding people from the reality of certain Scriptures and drain the emphasis out of the urgency for evangelism.

The other end of the spectrum is equally as dangerous. Many people spend days and years arguing over views on how to interpret prophecies. Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:23, “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” In this way we turn away nonChristians who see how pointless and stupid it is to argue how many fingers the Antichrist will have. In this over occupation on prophecies, we also lose the point of the prophecies all together. The point of it all is to bring hope and judgment. They are all about Christ returning and therefore how are we going to live. “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,” 2 Peter 3:11. Jesus will return and we will be judged, and not just nonChristians but Christians as well. I do not mean judgment of salvation, but Scripture does say our deeds will be examined. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 says, “each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” Therefore even we Christians need to have a healthy fear of judgment day.

The prophecies also are meant to bring hope to Christians. Revelation was originally written to persecuted Christians to give them hope that one day judgment would come and their persecution. Yet it does not only give hope to persecuted Christians but all Christians. Romans 8:23 explains, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. ” I myself wait eagerly for the day when Christ will come back and release me from this body and sinful desires. It could happen at any moment and I say the sooner, the better.

So let us look forward to the day when Christ will return with eagerness and caution. It could come any second for the Lord isn’t slow to fulfill His promises.


Paradise Lost – Serving God Willingly or Unwillingly

Currently, I am reading Paradise Lost which is an amazing book and I great recommend it to anyone and everyone. It is a hard book to get through but a great accomplishment when you do so.  While I do not believe John Milton was a Christian because he denied the doctrine of the Trinity (this is not judgment on his character but on his doctrine which should be judged), I still am learning a lot about the nature of evil and human depravity. Through the beginning of the book you are taken on the journey of Satan’s fall to Hell and attempt to get revenge on God, and in it you find sympathy for Satan. This may sound crazy but you understand when you read the book for yourself. The crazy thing is that afterwards I realized “WOW! I just found sympathy for the devil! How depraved can I be!” It shows you the reality of human wickedness. How far from God must we be in order to find sympathy and identification with Satan. This was Milton’s point. God knew how evil humanity would become yet still He decided to create us and die for us! How great of a love is this! Nothing can match it or find equality with it!

The other interesting thing I found was through David Platt’s sermon on Angels and Demons which I have been listening to at the same time as reading Milton. He showed that as Satan has attempted to become equal with God, he has instead become the very opposite of Him. The only way to become like God is to become humble and therefore submit to Him. Desire for equality with Him only leads to becoming the very opposite of His essence. Isn’t it crazy how God works in this way! His sovereignty is also amazing because Milton points out that even in rebellion are doing God “mightier service as His thralls.” No one can escape His ultimate will. You will either work according to His plan in rebellion against Him or in service to Him. I do not necessarily mean that God predestined people to rebel. We all have the free will do choose between serving God willingly or in rebellion. No matter what you do though you cannot leave God’s control.


Religion and Science?

Is there any real conflict between science and religion?


Born This Way?

Honestly, I think the debate over whether people are born gay or develop a homosexual orientation has very little relevance or weight on whether or not it is possible to change or on whether you can live openly gay as a Christian. Yet it has become such a major issue that I felt I needed to address it here. First of all, what do scholars believe develops homosexual attractions in a person?

The American Psychology Association itself has stated,

“There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”*

While I disagree with the APA on many things and many actions of theirs, I think I agree with almost all of their statement here. I question what the last statement means when it says, “most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.” If they mean that people do not experience a choice in the original development of their attractions then I agree. An orientation is much more than simply the attractions though. It is an identity and is therefore a choice even if it is strongly influence by those around the person. We all choose our identity.

It is very unlikely that attractions are developed solely through genetics or experience. There have been many cases of identical twins who turn out to have different sexual attractions. Yet there are also many cases of siblings who go through the same experiences and environment yet end up with different attractions as well. Therefore, most likely it is a mix of many factors. My own theory after much study is that there are genetics that make individuals more likely to have same-sex attractions, yet a majority of it is developmental and social.

I probably have a lot of Christians shocked that I said there is probably a genetic factor. What does it matter? There is this idea in our society that if it is natural then it is good. Most of that comes from the Renaissance which began glorifying things of natures. This is good in some ways but nature is not perfect especially in humans. Actually, it makes a lot of sense from the Christian perspective for there to be a genetic factor to homosexuality. Romans 5:12 says that we are naturally evil because of Adam. Genetics are flawed and many issues can have genetic causes such as alcoholism. Yet biology and genetics can be shaped.

“But why would God put it in your genetics if it is sinful?” Well first of all, God does not only control genetics but he also controls environment and development. Yet we do not hold him accountable for those things. Romans 5:12-17 shows us though that it is not God’s fault for our sinful nature but Adam’s.

We also need to spend less time pointing figures and more time taking responsibility for what has been given to you. A millionaire may end up spending all his money and therefore leave his children broke after dying at an early age, but the children are going to get no where while they complain about being given a rough hand. Instead they need to decide what they will do with the hand they were dealt. I do understand that we need to figure out where we have been to figure out where we are going to go, but after a while you need to just head forward. Fight the good fight and finish the race.

So to answer Lady Gage, I was born a sinner but I have been born again as a follower of Christ. I may still deal with my sinful nature, but I am being sanctified and looked forward to when I no longer struggle with any sin after I die.


Was Jesus Tempted With Homosexuality?

The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way yet did not sin and therefore he can relate to us in our struggles. But the question is, does that mean Jesus was tempted with homosexuality? John Piper gave an awesome answer here that I wanted to share with you guys.


Illogical Arguments Against God

It seems a prevalent response of atheists against the existence of God is that “evolution has taken away our need for God.” The sad thing is that many Christians continue discussing almost believing this idea. It is illogical. Many in Western society have come to think that the theory of evolution and the debate over the existence of God are connected. In reality, these two things do not deal with each other in anyway. Evolution is not a theory on how the world began but on how it developed. It does not answer the question of how the world came into existence. I do want to state that I do not personally believe in the theory of evolution because it has some gaps and logic problems. Yet, it is very possible that God could have created the process of evolution. Nothing is impossible with Him. He very often does things that we would not predict.

My main problem I am trying to explain here is that it seems the main arguments against God’s existence actually have little to do with the subject. The Big Bang Theory has been thought to be contrary to God’s existence, but in reality, whether or not it is absolutely accurate, it shows that this world had a beginning. No offense to the modern atheists but the ancient atheists held a much more logical stance than what is held now. What I mean is that a majority of atheists in the past believed that this world had no beginning. Instead it had been eternally in existence. This took out the need for a Creator and beginning. When an atheist today claims that the universe had a beginning but still claims no God, he brings logical problems into play. Not everything in existence has a cause, but everything that has a beginning certainly has a cause. Therefore something had to cause this world to begin existing and it must have come from outside.

To my Christian brothers and sisters, we need to be careful not to fight a theory or idea so fast because it is new. We do not need to embrace it or accept it in anyway, but we must rationally look at its evidence and effects upon the truths we already hold. Also remember what Paul told Timothy in his second letter, “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”*