January 3, 2015

My brother and I were talking about how some large, mainstream churches don’t have crosses anywhere in the church.  Both of us seem to have a problem with this.  The reason they provide is because they want people to be comfortable and not offended by anything in the church.  The service itself seems more like entertainment than worship service.  I’m not saying the pastor of these churches don’t love the Lord, but the Cross is supposed to be controversial, and confrontational.

The reason people are offended by the cross is they are confronted by a choice.  Everyone who sees and hears the message of the cross understand that they have to make a decision.  They have to decide if the work done on the cross is what the bible claims it is.  They understand, consciously or unconsciously, that they are accountable for their lives and will be judged accordingly.  They are confronted with their sin, as I am every time I see the cross, and don’t like what they see, and they don’t want to be judged.  That’s why the cross is offensive.  It’s what it means, what happened for all of mankind throughout history, and what judgment they will face.

The cross is meant to be offensive and confrontational because it convicts me of my fallen nature, and how unworthy and undeserving I am to receive the grace, mercy and love God has bestowed upon me.  I have to confess I am worthy to be judged on my own merit and cannot measure up to God’s standards.  As it has been said, the cross bridges the gap between God and myself, and only the cross of Jesus can make that possible.

January 2, 2015

Something occurred to me today.  I have been reading and hearing a lot of people talk about the lack of personal responsibility.  The study of Nehemiah talked about me taking responsibility for my sin, and accepting the consequences of my sins.  It got me to thinking how did we get to this type of attitude?  It started with the invention of the Theory of Evolution, continued with the humanistic movement, and established by the institution of the Nanny/entitlement state policies of FDR.

Scientists like Stephen Gould and Dr. Freud latched onto evolution because they were desperate to believe there was no God, and thus we humans were not accountable to how we lived our lives.  They believed this theory released them from any responsibility of the way they lived.  They believed they were free, and turned evolution from a theory, to a philosophy, then to a religion.  There is no scientific data to support evolution, just misinterpretations and misrepresentations, and invented sub-theories to explain the unexplainable.  Instead of freeing them, they became trapped and sounded like intellectual morons.

This lead to a humanistic view of man, that man is basically good in their very nature.  I believe that this humanistic view then lead to the policies of a nanny government.  They seemed to believe that since man is basically good, then the government of men should take of everyone.  Over the last 80 years this has turned the people of the US into a mindset of irresponsibility and entitlement (never mind that the government is setting a poor example by using the policy of deficit spending).  People irresponsibly took on home loans, credit card debt and auto loans they couldn’t afford, and they expect all of us to pay for their mistakes.

God holds me responsible for my sins.  He provided a way for us to have that debt paid.  It is my responsibility to express our gratitude by not only giving Him worship, praise and the glory He deserves, but also living my life as a responsible person of the Kingdom.  I should be setting an example for the unbeliever by living with self-control in all aspects of my life, not just on Sundays.  This is an area I need to focus on and turn into a lifestyle

Hollywood’s Morality

I am not sure how more television and movies I can watch anymore.  It is becoming increasingly difficult.  I actually enjoy a lot of the shows I watch because I think they are well written and acted.  But the issue is the side stories that bother me.  And it is in these side stories where the real moral teachings of Hollywood are expressed because it is more subtle and less in your face.  The reason is because since it is not part of the main plotline we dismiss it, but it is often the main plotline of the writers.

I was watching a crime/drama show and I have been watching it for several seasons.  I like it but I can’t watch it anymore because one of the side stories is about a young adult male who realizes he is gay.  Everyone accepts it with a shrug of the shoulders and turns back to their deskwork.  Now the storyline has become ongoing in the background, about how this young man is trying to start up relationships, etc., like he would with a female.  Hollywood is telling me that homosexuality is a normal choice like being heterosexual and we should all just accept it.

But I can’t.  Because it goes against what the bible teaches.  Male and female, that they should cleave together and become one flesh and be fruitful and multiply.  Two men or two women cannot become fruitful and multiply without outside help.  If you accept evolution as a reality, it realized that species could not continue without a male and female in each species.  I just cannot accept it as being normal.

I understand that all sinners will not enter into God’s eternal rest, thieves, idol worshipers, adulterers, fornicators, gossips, liars, people who are envious, jealous, schemers of harm, and homosexuals.  But Hollywood is teaching me that only those who steal and kill are bad, all the rest are acceptable.  So I must choose if I want to watch their stuff anymore, and I don’t think I can.

January 1, 2015

New Year’s day, the day when we put our best lies, I mean our best intentions to improve one self in the coming year.  Of course, I will share my list with anyone who reads this.

  1. I will scratch the inside of my nose less often.  This will be difficult since I work in an environment with a lot of paper dust, which creates a lot of boogers, but I will give my best effort.
  2. I will be more cordial and friendly.  It’s not that I am a jerk, I just don’t go out of my way to make small talk.  I am not always comfortable with it but I also just simply am not in the mood for it.  I need to be more approachable.
  3. I need to content with what I receive and possess and content with what I don’t receive and possess.  This is another hard one.  I was raised in an environment which taught me to be envious, jealous and bitter about people who experience more success than I do.  I need to accept what my Lord gives and be genuinely happy for others’ success.
  4. I will rely on Jesus to enable and empower me to live more like Him, and endeavor to be more like Christ.  Simply put, Romans 12: 1-2.
  5. I will love my wife, children and extended family and church family more than I love myself.  Another difficult one.  I am a really selfish person.  Surrendering and submitting to Christ is one thing, but to others is something else entirely harder.

Ok, I came up with five.  I am sure there are more but I need to take baby steps.

December 31, 2014

The book of Hebrews intimidates me.  It reminds me of how much I don’t know and understand about the Old Testament.  Hebrews exposes my lack of knowledge and understanding of the gospel message in the Old Testament.  It shows me how little I know about the arrangement of the Temple and what the significance was of the layout.  It shows me the deeper meaning of the laws in the book of Leviticus.  It exposes my ignorance of a book I claim to love.

I think too much of the time I read the OT as a book on individual stories.  I don’t take the time to understand how they are really one story telling the nation of Israel, and all of mankind, that a Savior is coming.  I know that it is there but I don’t take the time to truly  understand it.  The apostles preached the gospel from the OT.  The NT is a record of their preaching of the gospel from the only source they had available, the OT.

One example, but it doesn’t refer to the gospel, is in the book of Daniel.  Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a statue made of different metals, starting with head made of gold down to the feet mixed with iron and clay.  Daniel explains the dream and Nebuchadnezzar understands his kingdom is the head of gold.  Chapter 3 is the chapter of the giant golden statue.  I always treated them as two different stories and never made a connection.  Then I read a commentary that the statue was a replica of the one in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and it was built by him for his pride and arrogance.  A light went off and I did not understand why I didn’t see it before.

That is just one example of many that I did not spend enough time meditating about.  I would like a better understanding of how the OT points to the gospel of the NT.

Discipline

Dear Jesus,

I have been listening to the bible while I drive to and from work, which you probably already know.  Recently I had listened to the Book of Daniel.  I am humbled.  But even more I am sorely disappointed in myself.  But I also wonder how many other people like me are in the church.  Daniel fasted for 21 days.  21 days.  I have a difficult time fasting for 24 hours.

I feel I have a lack of discipline in my life.  I can’t pray for more than ten minutes and my mind starts to wander.  I hear people talk about spending all night, gripping the horns of the altar, praying for something, anything.  Have I found anything worth a night of sleeplessness because I had to pray?  Do I think my Heavenly Father is worthy of my time?

Sometimes I wonder if I am worthy to be called your fellow heir.  I don’t communicate with you as often I should.  And when I does not seem as important to me.  I hear people talk about finding your own way to talk to God, but I feel like it is a cop out.  I lack discipline, and I pray I could have the discipline of Daniel.  It takes absolute reverence and humility before you in order to be that way.  How long until I can achieve it?

Help me, please,

Mike