Hello Anyone who may read this,
I used to write here a lot, there's quite a few archived posts, but there won't be any more. Thank you to everyone who showed me their support and for those who took the time to comment or share a post.
I've got a new Blog all bright and shiny and I hope post there regularly and get back in the saddle. Please come take a look here:
Ex-Positional - Out of the Word and Into Life
First post will be up tomorrow 8/23/2016 so, hopefully, I'll see you there.
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Tis the season, or so they say. Just about everyone spreads the sentiment of peace and joy and brotherhood during these last few months of the year. Everyone seems to agree that this is a good thing but the atheist or the skeptic will be quick to argue that faith is not required to spread peace and love to others and that Christmas can be just as meaningful without Christ. Many Christians flounder for a response to this and tend to mumble something about commercialism or the "true" meaning of the holiday but what if I told you that both sides may be missing the point?
We read the beautiful story of the nativity in Luke one and two, and we can almost hear the chorus of angels say "Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" But do we really get understand this? The meaning of the nativity and of this proclamation -like the cross itself- is tied to our past. In order to understand the right side of the Bible we need to know the left side; the Old Testament.
In the beginning God created. Now without getting into a creation argument (which is not the focus of this writing) we can see that God made man -specifically Adam and Eve. According to the book of Genesis mankind was, in those early days, perfect. We were were without sin or the knowledge of it and enjoyed a perfect communion with God. Simply put: we were truly good and there was nothing keeping us from or restraining our relationship with God.
Everything changed at the fall. Adam was given very little instruction, but chiefly he was told not to eat the fruit of a certain tree.
“Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
This command was translated to Eve after her creation and things seemed to go as normal for a time. However, Eve chose to disobey God when temptation came to her and Adam -instead of correcting her- followed suit. In that moment their eyes were opened to evil and they “fell” from their perfect state and passed that sin nature on to their descendants, us.
This sin nature has plagued humanity ever since, it is a wedge between the creation and the Creator and makes us creatures of wrath rather than sons of glory. We're the spiritual cockroaches of the universe. The important point to remember here is that while we once enjoyed close companioship with God we are now estranged and more than that we are His enemies.
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened....being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 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.”
(Romans 1:20-21, 29-32)
So the world and all the people in it are naturally at odds with the God who created them. This brings us back to Luke and the angel's proclamation, “ Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” People tend to throw this verse around while pushing for unity in mankind and the brotherhood of humanity but the angels, I think, had a very different meaning in mind.
You see, they weren't here to spout empty blessings or hollow promises. They weren't here to warm hearts and calm minds. They had come to proclaim the birth of the King! Man was estranged and at enmity with God, doomed to a just punishment and eternal separation from their creator. The flames of Hell lie in front of us and we are powerless to alter our path, but God has made a way.
The story of Christmas is the story of salvation, of God come to earth in the form of man that a way to Heaven may opened to us! Jesus, that little baby in the manger, was more than the offspring of Mary. He was and is God in flesh, Deity in humanity, the infinite within the the finite. He was the same man who would grow up to face death on the Cross that we might receive life in eternity. His sacrifice paid the price for our crimes and allows God to forgive us, putting our sins on Jesus' account.
The angels didn't come to make the shepherds feel good as they cowered in that field. They didn't come to proclaim peace throughout the nations. The angels were a delegation from the King to His people in rebellion, they were messengers of His intentions of peace towards us. The goodwill toward men is His goodwill! Though we are haters of God and though we have rejected Him at every opportunity He has goodwill and peace intended for us! He extends the olive branch and offers us a way of reconciliation.
Now through Jesus Christ we can look foreword not to the unending flames of Hell but to the peace and rapture of Heaven.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”
We need not fear tomorrow and we need to war against our maker. We who were the enemies of God have been shown peace and forgiveness. Remember this Christmas that the birth of Jesus is only understood when viewed in the light of the our past and that baby's future. God came to man when man would flee from God, He has built a bridge over the chasm we had built.
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Hello again! I do apologize for essentially abandoning my blog for so long. Life is life and I don't really have time to update this regularly at the moment. I do want to start posting on here again but I can't promise any sort of schedule. For now though I do have a new post which will be separate from this announcement. Thanks for reading.
Friday, April 3, 2015
Let's talk about sin a bit shall we? Sin is an evil thing, a destructive corrosive thing that devours and distorts everything it touches. From our perspective there are bad sins and worse sins and minor sins and slight sins and more, but to God there is just 'sin.' Now one thing we as Christians are getting accused of more and more as of late is picking and choosing which sins we condemn -specifically in others. I have to say I've seen this but really I think this idea stems from our own poor work at explaining reality as the Bible describes it.
Take homosexuality for example. Just about everybody knows (or should) that Christianity is not fond to say the least but do they know why? Do they understand that God is the rightful ruler of all things and that He has made the world in a certain way. The world may be contaminated but that doesn't change the standard, any deviation from His order is wrong. We create more problems than we fix by always harping on this subject because it creates a skewed perspective both for those outside the faith and for ourselves. How many times have you heard someone ask about the other old testament laws and why we don't uphold those? People see us not living what we preach and it creates a wall of misunderstanding that keeps them away from the truth.
People need to know that homosexuality is not particularly sinful. By that I mean that it is no more or less sinful than stealing or lying or any other misdeed. Personally I don't find it hard to believe that someone could be born that way, we are corrupted by sin after all however, the Bible tells us that it takes a will to make sin. Choice is a key component. You cannot have inherently evil objects because it is always a consciousness that defines evil, a willful choice. People get outraged at us partially because we fail to explain that it is not the feeling of a desire that is the sin, it is the embracing and acting on that desire. When we point out the sin without explaining this people naturally feel as if we are telling them that they -as an individual person- are inherently evil. Of course people actually are evil but you get my point. The understanding that you are guilty of a crime is different than being told that the feelings you have no control over and that seem to be a natural part of you are evil. Again, they are and it is the same for all of us not just homosexuals but the understanding of that comes with a greater knowledge of God and the plight of man.
We need people to know that we don't think that homosexuals in particular are going to Hell. Everyone is, because we are all deserving of it. Homosexuality is just another sin, another example of man's fallen state. We need to focus less on pet sins and specific infractions and more on the overall condition of humanity. God will punish all sin and evil, not just the ones that are publicly obvious. God hates evil, it is an affront to His purity and righteousness and because He is also just, He must punish and deal with that evil. But God is also love and He loves us despite our sin.
Because God is just, He must punish evil but since He loves us He made a way of escape. Jesus came down to earth, the Son of God took on the form and nature of man and lived here as we do but without sin. His life and identity made Him the perfect and only sacrifice worthy to pay for our debt. Ultimately it comes down to who bears the burden of your sin, you or Jesus? You can pay for your own sin but it will take an eternity of suffering and punishment, or you can lay your burden at the cross and Jesus can bear it for you. Your individual sins do not set you apart for your evil, they simply mark you as human. We are all sinners, whether in much or in a little, and we are all in need of a savior.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Not much of a post today I'm afraid.
I'm a young writer and by that I mean that I am neither particularly advanced in age nor am I extensively experienced as a crafter of sentences and paragraphs. I'm still trying to find my voice, my particular take on things. Right now I'm really trying to fall in love again with creating. Lately I've remember how much I drew when I was younger and yet I hardly ever draw now. I used to write poems all the time and when I was in elementary school I would write these odd stories for class and at home. Now that I'm an adult though, I can't help but feel the press of responsibility on my shoulders and I just don't feel the love anymore.
I've lost that inexorable force that compels me to pick up my pencil and just doodle. I have so many ideas in my head for stories and books and such but sitting down to write them scares me more than excites me more often than not. I need to reevaluate my perspective and I need to remember the point of it all. I love writing this blog, I do, but there needs to be more within me that writes for me.
When I started the blog up again I tried to post five days a week and that was killing me. Now that I'm posting three times a week I feel that I am capable of producing that much content but the schedule is effecting the quality of the blog itself. I plan on dropping down to twice a week for now and perhaps when my job situation becomes more stable and I have more time I'll post more often.
Really I'm just concerned about putting out good posts rather than simply getting a post out. Beyond that I need to readjust my own mind find a bit more of me as a writer. I feel like, if I don't do this, I'll kill this for me. To that end I'll be taking a week off to do some other writing and more importantly thinking and working towards a better system and better perspective. I'll be finishing off this week so I'll have a new post on Friday. Thank you all for your readership and understanding.
See you on the other side.
Monday, March 30, 2015
Has it ever bothered you that you didn't have a choice? Have you ever not liked the choices laid out before you? I'm sure you have, just as I have, just as we all have. Life presents us with choice that we frequently would rather exchange for others but that we have no real control over. We believe that Humans have free will but we often stumble along the road and crash headlong into situations where we really have no choice at all. Personally, I take this as evidence that the question of free will is actually quite more complicated or at least different than we have come to believe.
The question is an old one: does man have free will? This is an important philosophical question. From our perspective, if man lacks free will than his choices are not really his own and thus the blame of any negative consequences resulting from those actions should not be placed upon man. Essentially we want to reserve the right of free will for everyone but we desperately want to be free of the implications, at least the negative ones. This is why determinism is so tempting. If we can ferret out a way for man to be essentially programmed than none of his actions can be blamed up on the man himself, only on his nature.
From what I see man, in point of fact, does not have free will. Many secular scientists would agree with me on that but not for the same reasons. It is becoming a popular belief that since man is nothing more than a “meat machine” by humanist standards, since there is no supernatural, since there is only what we can see-hear-taste and touch, then there is no other option than for man to be nothing more than an elaborately programmed robot of flesh. Evolution leaves no room for the transcendent and so man must be firmly rooted in random chance and chemical reactions, there is no room for sentience. Biblicaly speaking though, there is transcendence, there is the supernatural, there is more than what we see. As far as I can see man does not have free will -however- he does have free choice.
These two concepts are similar to be sure but there is start difference. To have free will is to have the power of decision over both action and result, cause and consequence. To have free choice is to be free, without push or pressure, to choose from a set of available options. In the garden God did not set Adam and Eve down on the grass to roam free and wild. In the perfection that was initial creation God gave perfect people rules. Now why would He give rules and laws to perfect people? Really that is a complex question that would take a long time to answer but for the purpose of this post it was in part to facilitate man's need for free choice. In that time God gave man one simple choice, obey or disobey. Don't eat the fruit! That was man's first and only necessary and conscious choice that had any significance. That choice is what ultimately doomed us all.
You see Adam and Eve new the rules, they new what God said but they had the power to choose against that prescription. Because of that choice they came to know evil and their innocence was lost. God had no choice but to punish them because it is in His nature to oppose sin. We see here the plain difference between free will and free choice. They were free to choose to disobey but they had no say in the consequences that would follow.
We find ourselves in a similar situation now. All of creation, all of our reality comes down ultimately to one simple choice: obey or disobey, repent or be punished. God has given us a way out of sin in the sacrifice of His Son. We must choose now to follow God or remain in rebellion. The choice is ours but we must then deal with result. We have freedom to choose but it is God's will that matters in the end.
"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
Friday, March 27, 2015
I want to be more than obedient, God
I want to do more than get by
I want to desire to honor You Lord
I want not to walk but to fly.
It isn't enough to just serve You
It isn't enough to repent
It isn't enough to just do what I'm told
I need to do more than relent.
Though it's faith that I need more than anything
Though it isn't my works that redeem
Though eternity's not mine to earn from You
A desire to serve should seen.
I want to be more than obedient
I want to love You more and more
I want to give all that I have to You
That's what I was created for.