Thursday, February 26, 2009

10 Commandments: #6

Exodus 20:13
"You shall not murder.

This commandment goes beyond what most people take it to mean. It doesn't mean to simply not kill people. There is a requirement of protection. Psalms 82:3-4 tells us to protect the weak, needy, fatherless, and oppressed from the wicked. Proverbs 24:11-12 Tells us that in standing by and doing nothing to protect those that need protection, we are essentially helping their oppressors. So we are no better than the murderers themselves. But then of course there is the more obvious part of the commandment. The part about not killing. In order to understand this, we really need to understand why we are told not to kill. Genesis 9:6 reminds us that man is made by God, in God's image. That is the only reason we need for not killing. So when commanded to not murder, not only are we not to be murderers ourselves, but we are supposed to do our utmost to stand up against murderers. To protect those weaker than ourselves. Because they are beautiful creations of God, made in God's image.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Restoring a Biblical Legacy.

Last fall my mom told all of us that she would like us to enter an essay contest for home-schoolers. Now, I was not terrible excited about this idea. While I may enjoy writing essays, I'm not wonderful at it. So I knew that I didn't stand a chance against all the home-schooled high schoolers in my state. But since it wasn't exactly up for discussion I obviously did write it. Unfortunately, I tend to be a terrible procrastinator, so I didn't actually write the first draft until last Monday. And it had to be post marked today if it was to qualify. So it's definitely not my best work ever. The essay was supposed to answer the question, 'How do you restore a Biblical legacy while living in a secular world?' So I hope it did a decent job of that. I wont find out until March 15 or some time around there. But I decided to post the essay I wrote here.

L. E. G. A. C. Y

How far we as a nation have fallen! By allowing worldly influences to seep into our lives, we Christians have lost sight of what walking with God truly means.Leaving behind the truths of God's word, we seek after all that worldly men have to offer. The Christian legacy on which our nation was founded is in disrepair and must be reconstructed. To repair a legacy, a plan must be contrived and pursued. The necessary steps in restoring a Biblical legacy can be demonstrated by the acronym LEGACY. The renewal of a Biblical legacy requires Looking at and Evaluating God's Word, so as to Grow in faith and learn to Apply this faith to our lives so that we may Coach our children and teach them to Yearn for God.

The L and E of the acronym LEGACY go hand-in-hand. It is impossible to look in-depth at the Bible without also evaluating its words. The psalmist speaks of hiding God's words in his heart in order to eliminate the sin in his life. He indicates that looking isn't enough. It is necessary to memorize scripture so that it can be brought to mind and pondered later. In thoughtfully going back over the words of the Bible, there will doubtless be a measure of evaluation and meditation on them.

The increased time spent studying the Bible is sure to cause a corresponding increase in the understanding of the true meaning of its words. In turn, we also gain a better understanding of God. This will lead to a closer relationship with Him and a greater dependency on Him in every area of our lives. Our faith in and our dependency on Him are really the same thing. That which we put our faith in, we depend on. So as we look at the Bible and evaluate it, our faith will grow.

Once we have a stronger relationship with God and a greater dependency on Him, it is important to apply it in our lives. It is easy to have head knowledge without the actions that should follow. Once we better understand who God is, and we see how the different parts of the Bible fit together, we can't leave it there. This understanding must lead to action. We must live out the Biblical principles in our day-to-day lives. This is what James was saying when he spoke of the relationship between faith and good deeds. While good deeds can in no way save us, they are a sign of our faith to believer and unbeliever alike. James tells us of the importance of bearing fruit in our lives. While trying to rebuild a legacy founded on the Bible, the importance of this fruit is crystal clear. For if our actions do not show others our faith, the reality of this faith will be difficult if not impossible to pass on.

A Biblical legacy is not like that of money or property. It is not a simple matter of writing a will and leaving possessions to a specific person. This legacy is immaterial. No matter how strong the faith of a parent is, it will not automatically be passed to the children. It must be cultivated from the time the children are young. Proverbs 22:6 speaks of this kind of coaching of young children. The phrase, "in the way he should go," leads to Jeremiah 6:16 where Israel was commanded to ask for the ancient paths, the good way, and walk in it. God's promise of rest accompanies obedience to this command. Hence we must instruct our children to yearn for the ways of God so their souls will be at rest, rather than having the turmoil of a soul that is fighting God.

This process of Looking, Evaluating, Growing, Applying, and Coaching to Yearn, does not happen overnight. It is a lifetime task that each Christian must dedicate himself to accomplish. The secular world we live in too easily ensnares the young. So we must do the work necessary in our own lives so that we will have something worth passing on, but then do the work necessary to impress our children with that which has previously impressed us. This will draw us away from the influences that have seeped into our lives, and bring back into focus that which is important. Herein lies the true meaning of walking with God: having Him be the head of our lives.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Day!

Today, as I'm sure you're well aware, is Valentines Day. I've been thinking a lot about this holiday as it approached. Valentines day is basically a holiday of love. But what does that mean? In order to have a holiday devoted to love we really have to understand what love is. So I did some experimenting. I went on yahoo-answers and asked for a definition of love. Here a sampling of the answers I received:

Answer 1. Loving someone means seeking the interest of the other person. Treat him/her as you would want to be treated.

Answer 2.
You can ask 100 different people this question, and get 105 different answers...

Love means something different for everyone...

Just be careful of any answers that are purely emotion. If love is only an emotion, then the moment you're mad at someone you no longer love them and that's simply not possible.

Answer 3. Love is God and God is Love....

oh u mean in the human aspect...

well when u take a breath, u can smell them..when u eat..u can taste them..when u think ur thoughts are of them..u see your life as u know it being consumed by them...when u open your eyes u see them..when u look at your hands u see theirs on your or vice versa...when u hear a voice or a wonderful medley u hear them..

Answer 4. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.

Sexual passion.
Sexual intercourse.
A love affair.
An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.

if you like someone soo much that you wanna hav him forever then that means your in love..(other cases also there)

Answer 5. Love is priority.

Answer 6. you'll know that feeling of love when you're with someone and it's totally different than anyone else you have been with.

love can't really be defined. it's just a feeling that no one can describe until you're in it. love is special. it's something different to loving your friends and family. loving a boyfriend/girlfriend will come over a period of time. not instantly. don't expect to be in love by 2 weeks of a relationship. love will come to you when you're ready.
i think that if you look for love it won't come to you.

there are different forms of love.
it's a different feeling from anything else.

Answer 7. When you really care about someone. your willing to do anything for that person not matter what. be there

Answer 8. you just know, theres no way to explain or define it, it just happens

It's sad to me that the majority of the answers either basically said, "Love is selfish." or "Love just happens and it can't be defined because it's just emotional warm fuzzies." I mean, I really didn't expect any better. In fact, I was surprised by the few I got that were different. Number 1 and 2 for example were shockers for me. I really didn't expect to see anyone talk about looking to the interests of others or not leaving it to emotions. Those two really don't fit the cultural norm that I thought I would see. And it's sad that I would expect so little, but such is the world we live in.

Okay, so the point of doing that? Well, I was just trying to make a point which will be more evident after examining the Biblical definition of Love. There are tons of verses that talk about Love, but I've been told my posts are always way too long so I'm only going to look at a few. The first being an obvious one to anyone that is at all familiar with the Bible.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

With this alone, we could come up with a pretty sufficient definition of Love. But there are a few more that we have to look at as well.

1 John 3:16, 18, 4:7-12

Okay, now we really have what we need to define Love. First, we see what love is not. Then what it is.

Love is not envious, boastful, proud, rude, self-seeking, or easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs, it does not delight in evil, and it never fails. It is not just words, but actions done in truth. It is patient and kind, always trusting, hoping, persevering, and protecting. It rejoices with the truth. Love sacrifices all, even to laying down one's life for a brother.

So now that a proper definition has been established, how can this be applied to the holiday? Well, not by buying candy and roses, that's for sure. It's something more than that. And I'm not really sure yet. This is a very recent way my thoughts have been going. I generally don't think that much about love but because of a couple conversations with a friend I've thought about it more in the last week or so. But yeah, I really don't know how to change the way of looking at this holiday. Just that I think the way Christians celebrate it should differ from the world's way. Any input/ideas/thoughts on the idea would be appreciated. And maybe I'm nuts. Maybe there is nothing wrong with the way the world goes about celebrating 'Love'. I'd love feedback, even if it is just to tell me I'm off my rocker.

Monday, February 9, 2009

10 Commandments: #5

Exodus 20:12
12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

This commandment speaks about the way a household should be. It shows us that in a family, there are levels of authority. We see this in other places as well. Ephesians 5:22 for example speaks of the submission of wives to their husbands. This is something that is learned by girls when they are young. As they learn to honor and submit to their father, they are practicing they way they will treat their husband. Along with honor, children are also commanded to be obedient in Ephesians 6:1. Much like the honoring of a father is practice for unmarried girls for how they will later respect their husbands, the honor of parents is practice for how all children will one day respect the governmental authorities. Romans 13:1 tells us to submit to governing authorities and as a child learns to submit to his/her parents, it is important to note that in the same way, they will respect every other authority in their life. If they cannot honor they parents, they wont honor their employers. So while it is definitely not easy to submit, honor, obey, and respect your parents, it is so important. It is a learning process on so many different levels. And you will be so much happier throughout all of life if you learn to give them the honor they deserve.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

10 Commandments: #4

Exodus 20:8-11
"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Here we are required to rest every seven days. One thing I'm not sure about is whether the day matters. What I mean by this is, when we Christians have our day of rest on Sunday, I don't know if it's right, or wrong. God rested on the last day of the week, so it only makes sense that the Sabbath was intended to be on Saturday. This is something I've talked about a little with a friend and I really just don't know. Perhaps it's wrong for us to have our day of rest on Sunday. But whenever I think about this, Mark 2:27 always pops into my head. Because of this verse, I feel that the day we choose to take our rest is not as important as making sure we do take a day to rest.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

10 Commandments: #3

Exodus 20:7
"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

In the commandment, we are required to ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name. We are forbidden to misuse His name in any way. The verse makes it clear that there are consequences for those that disobey. They will be found guilty. Often today, we use this verse in reference to not using any of God's names as cuss words. But I think it goes beyond that. It is not about NOT doing something. It is about doing something. We are to treasure His name as holy. Revering it above all other names. So while we are not to use His name as a form of profanity, that is just the beginning. The real key is, don't use His name separate from His person. If you remember the person to whom the name belongs, it will be much harder to misuse it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

10 Commandments: #2

Exodus 20:4-6
"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

In this commandment, we are required to do just one thing. Trust! I can better explain this after discussing what is forbidden. We are forbidden to make images in the form of anything in creation. This is not just talking about making idols of created things and worshiping them. It is also talking about depicting God by something created. Depicting God by any form is forbidden. This is why I said that this commandment requires nothing but trust. We humans often find ourselves wanting to put some image behind that which we worship. It helps us feel that it is real. When we cannot see our God, it is easy to question His existence. This commandment does not allow for us to rely on our eyes. It requires us to trust with our hearts that which we have not seen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

10 Commandments: #1

In school, I'm studying the Reformation. As part of this study, I've been looking at The Shorter Catechism. Right now I'm studying the section covering the ten commandments and since I honestly can't think of anything else to blog about, I decided to write my thoughts on each of the commandments.
The thing about the commandments is that they tell us what is required as well as what is forbidden. So I'm going to try to incorporate that into my posts.

Exodus 20:3 - "You shall have no other gods before me.

The requirement: Deuteronomy 26:17, 1 Chronicles 28:9, Matthew 4:10

We are required to serve God with wholehearted devotion. This means walking in His ways, keeping his decrees, commands, and laws, and obeying him in everything.

The forbidden: Romans 1:21, 1:25

We are forbidden to allow our hearts to because foolish or let our thinking become futile causing us to neither glorified Him as God nor give thanks to Him. We are not to exchange the truth of God for a lie, serving the created things rather than their Creator.

There is a reason for not putting our trust in any other God but the One True God. Hebrews 4:13 tells us that God sees everything. That means nothing can happen to us without His knowledge. So why would we even want to put our trust in something else that can offer us less? Deuteronomy 32:16 also gives us a good reason for worshiping God alone. He is a Jealous God and the worship of idols angers Him. He is THE all powerful God, angering Him is NOT a good plan.