Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Marriage ~ What is between a man and a woman?

What is between a married man and a woman is  spirituality. This is achieved by the two becoming one ~ Matthew 19:4 and Ephesians 5:31 "for the two shall become as one" In this way, through fleshly intercourse, they overcome the world, overcoming the flesh as they devour it through intimate contact; thus, arriving a greater entity which is not of the flesh but of the spirit. I say this as a Christian social psychologist. Many married couples who have experienced extra marital affairs often remark that it was either 'just' sex or it was a need to have sex for spiritual re-connection that the spouse was not giving. Such affairs are ungodly activities. And, this is why the Bible says, do not deny your spouse the experience of consummation, do not deny yourself this as a married man/woman. It is in this way, that a married couple, as one, overcomes the flesh and grows spiritually.

We can better understand consuming the flesh  as overcoming it through spiritual engagement. Therefore, when we reflect on marriage as a consummation of flesh as in overcoming the flesh toward spiritual being, we realize that it was meant to be sacred. We can imagine that this is how Jesus viewed marriage. He said "In the beginning the Creator made them male and female; and said, "for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh." Matthew 19: 4-6 And, also we can better understand when he told us to prepare for the marriage banquet.  Jesus talked about marriage at the resurrection. He said, "At the Resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." Matthew 22:30 This suggests to us that the flesh is overcome through marriage in this world so that our spiritual bodies can exist eternally in heaven with the Creator.  We are thus asked through marriage to prepare for that day, prepare by overcoming the flesh here and now so that it will be totally consumed allowing for our spiritual bodies to resurrected.

When people go from partner to partner, they are not engaged in the deeper activity of overcoming the flesh but indulging in it. There is a difference. 

*Read Ephesians 5 and 1 COR 7 to further understand marriage between a man and a woman ~ a spiritual oneness.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Choice Has Always Been Ours!

Richards Dawkins is an English ethologist (ethology is the scientific and objective study of animal behavior, usually with a focus on behavior under natural conditions) and an evolutionary biologist. Dawkins came to prominence with his 1976 book ~ The Selfish Gene which popularized the gene-centered view of evolution and introduced the term ‘meme’ which is that an idea, behavior, or style spreads from person to person within a culture. Dawkins is an atheist, and is well known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design. He has argued against the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the complexity of living organisms.

I want to comment to that. Interesting is that Dawkins was brought up Christian and held the view of intelligent design until later in life when he chose the Darwinist explanation.  What is fun for me as a sociologist and a Christian is that Dawkins himself fell into his own meme.

In the news today, Richard Dawkins said that parents should not force religion down their children's throat... more or less. I agree and no one should do that to anyone. Jesus did not. People went to Jesus as they saw what He was about ~ forgiveness. Jesus asks us to forgive and to be salt and light, no one has to be coerced into following that. They will make the choice to do that if they want it and seek it. Jesus respects people's choice. Children will pick up on that. In fact, children pick up on everything their parents do and don't do.

The main point I want to stress today as both a social scientist and Christian is that what you believe to be real is a matter of choice. This in fact applies to all of your social reality. As a Christian that applies as well. Throughout the Old and New Testament ~ Choice has always been ours.  

Whether we are talking about children or adults, people with or without education, all people come to the truth when they are ready. They see it when they are ready. Read Acts 17:24, God put people in their places and His hope is that they reach out to Him. Not in their time, but in His time and He is patient. Thank God!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Christians labeled as 'old fashioned' ~ Really?

Christians are not old fashioned. They are sinners (corrupt programs) who choose to be born again by accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. That means re- born not of the flesh but of the Spirit and thus Saved. They will rein in the New Jerusalem with Christ. 

The best way to imagine this is to consider a person as a computer program that has been corrupted by a virus. Only those 'persons' codes in the program that accept the 'patch' (fix for the corruption - Jesus Christ) can be and will be saved by the Creator of the program.

Those that accept the patch 'fix for corruption' will be brought into the new program - the new creation because the corruption that was in them has been covered by 'the Blood of the Lamb' the patch, the God given upgrade which gives them access to the Kingdom of Heaven. There is no way 'access' to the Kingdom of the Father other than through Jesus Christ.  John 14:6.

This is not old fashioned thinking. This requires a new mind! A new social imagination. If you don't have the desire to make the choice for this, you will not have it nor be saved. This is because God the Creator of Heaven and Earth gave us free will. That means we have the choice to be saved. In this way, by our own choice, we will be able to access the Kingdom of Heaven. 

"Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life: I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save..." Psalm 146

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Who is the UnGodly Christian ~ Living as Children of Light

The ungodly Christian tries to act like a good Christian. They are busy Christians, they are working to be Christians showing themselves doing the 'right thing' and letting you know it. They are speaking or rather preaching about righteousness for all through better government and the law ~ man's works. They preach and live in this false hope of  'good works' which they think will achieve that end.

They are the ones who will face the Lord and will not be recognized. They will be surprised and say to Lord, "I did this and that and I said that in your name to those people. I worked and I was good; in fact, I think I was almost perfect shouldn't I get my just eternal reward".  Matthew 7: 21-23

The point is this... Christians are sinners! This is what Christianity is about. God wants us to recognize that we are sinners and that because of Him we can recognize our sin and ask Him to help us as we struggle with sin and in this way show Him that we need Him.

Jesus died for our sins. The Lord wants us to renounce ungodliness and worldly pursuits, because this is a fallen world and there is no way to 'work out' salvation. There is only one way we can overcome our sin ~ our sinful nature, the condition of this world and that is by the blood of the Lamb.  We are called to have faith in that,... accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Accepting Jesus is the first step toward becoming a godly Christian. What is difficult for 'modern' Christians is living like children of light. We need not run around and do work to be godly, children of light. But, what we must do is to be imitators of God; which means, not speaking unwholesome talk = not speaking evil of others 'judging' them and yet not affirming their sin. Remember... For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light... Ephesians 4

"Wake up of sleep, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you."  ~ Ephesians 5:14

Sin is living in me ~ Message from Paul to the Romans

Romans 7: 15-25 "Sin is living in me...I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no the evil I do not want to do, this I keep on doing. Now, If I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it; but. it is sin living in me that does it. So, I find this law at work; when I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law a work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man/woman I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God it is through Jesus Christ our Lord! 

Being a sinner is a problem of the condition of this world. Being a aware of that is what makes the difference that Paul was trying to convey in his message to the Romans. We recognize our sin 'sinful nature' and we speak our struggle with it, publicly dissing it and demonstrating our struggle to others as Paul was doing; not looking for public affirmation of it and for the legal 'human' right to continue engaging in it.

How to overcome sin? Praise the Lord that Jesus Christ has rescued us from this body of death.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hannah's Story ~ Respecting God's Hierarchy

Hannah prayed in her heart and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. 1 Samuel 12 The Lord remembered Hannah's prayer and she conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel "saying, because I asked the Lord for him." 1 Samuel 19:20

After Samuel was weaned, Hannah took the boy with her, young as he was;...she brought him to Eli and she said to him, as surely as you live, my lord I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So, now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord."  Samuel 24-28

Who has your child's heart? The Lord should and Hannah knew this. Also important in respect to Hannah's story is how she prays publicly; quietly.  This respects God's social hierarchy.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Who has your heart?

Does your heart and do your children/grandchildren's heart belong to an idol of your own making... think about that? We as parents/grandparents think that popular culture is what we belong to, if you think that then you are mistaken. All too often and even with 'good' intentions, we embrace the world and we show our children/grandchildren that what is good is of this world. Open your eyes, look at modern man who seeks his/her positive focus in money, fashion, sports, Hollywood/Music entertainment, News sensations and in acquiring possessions. If that is your agenda, then get out and get with Jesus Christ ~ give Him your Heart today!

The Bible does not bend to culture. Turn off the world and listen for the voice of your Savior ~ He is after your Heart!

 Isaiah 41:10 ~ Do not fear I am with you. Psalm 23 ~ Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Where are the Miracles?

So many ask today if God were as great as you say, then where are the miracles? Why are people fighting and struggling for life? Firstly, remember that we exist in a fallen world, don't doubt that. Praise the Lord  God that He sent His Son to Save us. Because of this, we don't have to be afraid anymore. We can expect our prayers to be answered and we can expect miracles.

The problem may be that people don't expect them because they can't imagine them. Speaking to you as a sociologist, social interaction between people in a place determines what they consider normal behavior. If your group has lost its spirituality, then how could miracles happen? Maybe they could or would but if you as a member of a group don't imagine their possibility as normal social life which includes the 'social' spiritual life, then they will not be.

Prayers and miracles are for God to answer and He does. The time of His answering may or may not be 'our' time. If it were, then ultimately we would be in control, wouldn't we.

If we as individuals and as a member of a group expected answered prayers and miracles  as the 'norm', then God's timing would be normal too.

Though we walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me... psalm 23

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Illness is Spiritual Warfare

We think that our bodies are just organic blobs that are constantly endangered by external influences. While that is partly true, as in constantly in danger of attack that result in disease not all of our illnesses stem from external attacks such as pollutants, bad diet, lack of exercise. Not too many of us think that illness can be a spiritual attack from within. Once we allow our spirit to come under attack, we can develop disease... as in dis -ease with ourself. Everyday, we must give ourselves over to spiritual healing so that the supernatural can dwell in us. "For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. It is written: "I believed; therefore, I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe; and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." 2 COR 11-16

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How did the World Begin?

For atheists, this is an easy answer. There was a big bang and everything just fell into the right place and oops, here we are. Sad isn't it that their idea of the creation of life is so limited to chance.

What is absolutely true for everyone (atheist and believer) is that life begins in the same way. In a matrix ~ your mother's womb. While there, she was already communicating to you social reality, a 'higher' dimension unknown to you yet from which she exists in... communicating to you a reality that you cannot see.

She can say that she knew you before you were born. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you..." Jeremiah 1:5.  Every mother around the world talks to their baby, sings and tells everyone to expect its coming 'you'.

If mother knew/knows you before you were/are born, how can she explain that to you or anyone? "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. he was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men." John 1:1-5

For the atheist, can she just respond, I felt something move and then a human was born from my body, a higher form of animal.  It has relevance as a by product of sexual activity which can be and used to be an advantage. Today, many people think we don't need such a burden as it is no longer an advantage.

I have not done the research, but maybe I can imagine it. Ask any expectant mother, when her child stirs if she does not know him/her as a person. Ask if she honestly thinks that her child is by product which may or may not be useful to society; perhaps,a mistake, a problem for greater society. Ask any expectant mother if she hates her body as she feels it change, feels life growing in her and if she thinks 'thanks to the big bang, I am able to produce an organic being that will or will not make a significant contribution to greater society.

It seems the concern should be or maybe it is on the minds of many atheists minds ~ the amount of risk involved. They are likely concerned whether or not a child born of any woman could amount to something great... or at least be a contribution to society or not? Rather they maybe thinking that the risk of another burdensome individual is too great.

Should a mother think like that?  Maybe... if she would if she were an atheist, a non believer in God the Creator of heaven and earth and of all things seen and unseen.

We could imagine that in the future, anyone may be able to choose the kind of child she/he can have in a controlled economy/society. We could imagine that controlled conception would be preferred as there would likely be a greater chance that a genetically modified child would make a greater contribution to society or at least have a place in society if there is a vacancy.

In that futuristic world, will the question ~ How did the world begin, even matter?

Speak out Godly Women, Speak up for the Creator of heaven and Earth!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Psalm 31:23-24

"Love the Lord, all you godly ones! For the Lord protects those who are loyal to Him, but He harshly punishes the arrogant. So, be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Last Days ~ Every Man will Be Right in His/Her Own Eyes

2 Timothy 3 "There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God."

Are we experiencing last days? What we can observe is that every man/woman is demanding that they are right in his/her own eyes. In today's popular culture even among Christians there is a mixing words so that they sound more politically correct. They think they have good intentions in doing so. I hear people declare "I am alright and you are alright cause I was born this way and you were born that way". We cannot all be alright.We cannot all have our own perception of 'right'. If you think that then you have fallen into lawlessness. This is when everyone thinks that they are right unto themselves.

This is what the Bible calls the times of lawlessness which is a main characteristic of last days - end times. One can hear all to often "I can believe this and you can believe" and everything will be OK, cause everybody is OK; we just need to be tolerant as in permissible. If that is our reality, then there is no truth anymore because everything is permissible. In the Bible we can read "everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial" 1COR 10:23. If everything is not beneficial for us, then obviously everything should not be permissible as in not tolerated. Jesus did not tolerate 'permit' sinful behavior. He stopped the mob from stoning the woman and then He told her to go and 'sin' no more ~ John 8:11.

We as Christians, we must be mindful that we live in a fallen world, we were born into it; we are thus contaminated which makes us all sinners right from the beginning of life. But, God so loved the world He sent His only Son. God sent His own Son Jesus Christ to save us all from sin as we are all sinners; even those who think that they don't do anything wrong, in God's eyes they do... because He is perfect.  Praise the Lord that through our faith we can be saved. As I have said a number of times, this knowledge of salvation does not make us free from sin nor does it make us want to sin. It makes us aware that we are sinners. This awareness is our daily struggle (our cross to bear) and everyday we must turn to the Lord confessing our sin.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Salt and Light ~ Being Non Invasive

If we go into a group to convert them, for example- Muslims or Hindus, then in order to convert we should do as Paul suggests in 1 COR 9:20, live like them; but as a sociologist, I can tell you we cannot become like them in any true sense because we have come with the intention to change them, we carry this information with us. So, all of our action could be interpreted as false. In order that we live like them, we would have to suffer like them which means live like them every day and in every way; while, at the same time exhibiting little by little our Christian faith which is that the Lord God Jesus Christ is our Savior.   

This takes a great deal of experience in terms of humility and recognizing moments of opportunity. It is incredibly difficult as we ‘all people’ carry with us our own culturally embedded data and that is in us and cannot be easily camouflaged. 

So, is it possible to be like others and convert them at the same time? I don’t think so if we go into a group to convert, we face being corrupted and we face bringing false hope to those we try to convert. I gave my explanation above. That is why in my educated opinion, many missionaries were unsuccessful or killed when attempting to convert groups.  We can only live our life in the way we know, by example of what we believe and practice. When we face troubles, or fear or even when we face death, what we can do is to show how we deal with it and hope then that it makes an impact on others and changes them. It must be non invasive.

How to do that? Well, Paul said we should convert for the sake of the gospel 1 COR 9:23. We should run the race alongside men, running it our way but with/among others, showing that you intend to win and by doing so this demonstrates your strategy in getting you to the finish line 1 COR 9: 24-27. It means to live among all people and pray that they will take notice of how you run the race so that as in ACTS 17:24 they will reach out to God the Creator of heaven and earth our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tolerance is not Affirmation of Sin

Today, at the prayer breakfast we heard this statement... "There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. And in today's world when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to combat such intolerance. But God compels us to try". ~ Pres. Barack Obama  

While, I could agree, I would have to add to that that we as Christians must be mindful that this is a corrupt world, a sinful world. Christians in this world are not perfect and cannot be; but yes, God compels us to try. With this realization, we must not give up striving to live a godly life and show others the way. This does not mean we affirm sinful behavior. No, we do not affirm it nor encourage it nor say that it is OK. Yes, we can and should tolerate people as all people are sinful. We too who struggle with sin in recognizing our sin must at the same time be salt and light for others; letting them know that sin cannot not tolerated. Yet, there is hope and salvation for those that change their life from pursuing sin to pursuing a godly life.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What does it mean to be Salt and Light?

Acts 17: 24-27, we read that The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands, and does not live in temples built by hands. And, He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us."

I have always contemplated the role of the missionary as being more often than not, invasive. I was again brought to consider this while listening to Moody radio this morning's Founder's Week Program. Speakers were talking about missionaries and their being martyred. Yes, absolutely, we have to be Salt and Light for those who seek to know Him, who seek to reach out to Him. Yet, we as Christians should not be invasive. What does that mean?

We should not be going around wearing our faith as a badge of honor and trying to (working as 'Martha -  being busy' *Luke 10:38) to convert everyone around us... point being, rest in the Lord as that is learning to be salt and light. Don't get me wrong, I am sure that not that all missionaries work like this. Missionaries are servants called to do God's work. However, I think in their exuberance, they become like Martha. Perhaps, that is just my personal observation based on seeing and reading situations whereat missionaries have given their lives in places that still today seemingly remain untouched by the Word of God.

I say that, speaking as a sociologist, because I know the depth of cultural data that individuals carry with them as it identities them with a group in a place. This is foundational for a human being, a social creation. Which is why I think that missionaries especially Americans overlook this. We/they must be conscious of cultural data and its meaning for those who partake in it in a place. We must be mindful as Americans that we do not have the rich contextual meaning of place in our cultural data bank. Place for us can be any place.

I believe Jesus knows this (Acts 17:24) and He knows those that need to be and want to be witnessed to; thus, He will bring them to us. Remember, Jesus did not go about seeking/working people to listen to Him. Jesus was not about working the audience in order to bring them around to His way of being. He put Himself into positions that people could come to Him, that is the difference. When He sent out the twelve, He asked the disciples to put themselves in the positions so that people would come to them. If people did not embrace them, then Jesus advised them to shake the dust from their sandals and move on.  Matthew 10: 14  ~  That is being Salt and Light.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Psalm of David

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

I just want to say that if you have any fear or face trials and or troubles, say this psalm every night and morning and then smile ~