This Lady is NOT a Socialist!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Fruit of the Spirit - The Essence of Christian Character and the Key to It's Restoration
The apostle Paul hints that God made provision to restore penitent sinners from the internal ravages of sin. His task was to make known "the mystery hidden for ages and generations," particularly a certain aspect of "this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:26,27). Since Christ indwells the believer (Gal. 2:20) by means of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-18,23; Rom. 8:9,10), provision for an indwelling Christ probably refers to the transforming and restoring operations of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers (see John 3:6-8; Rom. 8:14-16).
If this assessment of the Colossian passage is correct, the plan laid by God was designed to meet the two great needs of fallen humanity:
(1) death, the penalty for sin, would be canceled by the atoning and penal substitution death of Christ;
(2) the power of sin in the human heart would be displaced by the indwelling Christ through the operation of the Holy Spirit.
[this is a very different approach from the State having responsibility for improving man – see last blog entry - Tiger]
The starting point for change is repentance.
When Jesus said that only someone who had not sinned should throw the first stone, the leaders slipped quietly away, from oldest to youngest. Evidently the older men were more aware of their sins than the younger. Age and experience often temper youthful self-righteousness. But whatever your age, take an honest look at your life. Recognize your sinful nature, and look for ways to help others rather than hurt them.
[the State, doing everything for the individual, hurts them – see last blog entry – Tiger]
Jesus didn't condemn the woman accused of adultery (John 8:1-11) ,but neither did he ignore or condone her sin. He told her to leave her life of sin. Jesus stands ready to forgive any sin in your life, but confession and repentance mean a change of heart. With God's help we can accept Christ's forgiveness and stop our wrongdoing.
[the State accepts the wrongdoing – see last blog entry – Tiger]
Christ is the model for perfect character. (Matt. 5:43-48)
How can we be perfect?
(1) In character. In this life we cannot be flawless, but we can aspire to be as much like Christ as possible.
(2) In holiness. Like the Pharisees, we are to separate ourselves from the world's sinful values. But unlike the Pharisees, we are to be devoted to God's desires, rather than our own, and carry his love and mercy into the world.
(3) In maturity. We can't achieve Christ like character and holy living all at once, but we must grow toward maturity and wholeness. Just as we expect different behavior from a baby, a child, a teenager, and an adult, so God expects different behavior from us, depending on our stage of spiritual development.
(4) In love. We can seek to love others as completely as God loves us.
[this cannot be forced by the State – Tiger]
We can be "perfect" if our behavior is appropriate for our maturity level perfect, yet with much room to grow. Our tendency to sin must never deter us from striving to be more like Christ. Christ calls all of his disciples to excel, to rise above mediocrity, and to mature in every area, becoming like him. Those who strive to become perfect will one day be perfect, even as Christ is perfect (l John 3:2-3).
A desirable character is molded by God's standards, not just human ones. (1Sam.16:1-3.)
[and certainly not by the State – Tiger]
Saul was tall and handsome; he was an impressive-looking man. Samuel may have been trying to find someone who looked like Saul to be Israel's next king, but God warned him against judging by appearance alone. When people judge by outward appearance, they may overlook quality individuals who lack the particular physical qualities society currently admires. Appearance doesn't reveal what people are really like or their true value.
Fortunately, God judges by faith and character, not appearances. And because only God can see on the inside, only he can accurately judge people. Most people spend hours each week maintaining their outward appearance; they should do even more to develop their inner character. While everyone can see your face, only you and God know what your heart really looks like. What steps are you taking to improve your heart's attitude?
How is character developed? Character is developed through challenges. God tested Abraham (Gen. 22), not to trip him and watch him fall, but to deepen his capacity to obey God and thus develop his character. Just as fire refines ore to extract precious metals, God refines us through difficult circumstances. When we are tested, we can complain, or we can try to see how God is stretching us to develop our character.
[the State attempts to remove struggle – thereby harming us – Tiger]
Character is developed through suffering. For first-century Christians, suffering was the rule rather than the exception. Paul tells us (Rom. 5:1-11) that in the future what we will become, but until then we must overcome. This means we will experience difficulties that help us grow.
We rejoice in suffering, not because we like pain or deny its tragedy, but because we know God is using life's difficulties and Satan's attacks to build our character. The problems that we run into will develop our perseverance - which in turn will strengthen our character, deepen our trust in God, and give us greater confidence about the future. You probably find your patience tested in some way every day. Thank God for those opportunities to grow, and deal with them in his strength (see also James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7).
Character is developed by temptation. Jesus left the crowds and went into the desert (Mark 1:1-13) where he was tempted by Satan. Temptation is bad for us only when we give in. We should not hate or resent times of inner testing, because through them God can strengthen our character and teach us valuable lessons. When you face Satan and must deal with his temptations and the turmoil he brings, remembering Jesus. He used God’s Word against Satan and won. You can do the same.
[WE NEED GOD – NOT THE STATE!]
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Many people helped with this blog. First my loving wife, the Tigress; secondly, excerpts from Pastor Steve Wohlberg, and thirdly, excerpts from Pastor Bill Keller.
As the USA argues about whether to join the rest of the industrial world by introducing Socialized Healthcare, it seems appropriate to visit the concept that Jesus and the Bible somehow supports such notions.
It is also very appropriate to group and classify certain modes of thinking to delineate the true church from the false. As always, I will use biblical text to clarify the characteristics of the “thinking”. See if you agree, or not!
Also, hopefully you will identify these “characteristics” within yourself and therefore establish what you really believe or don’t believe! BTW, I understand that I’m doing some generalization here, but bear with me, please.
See if you recognize the two groups.
First, Group One:
- Group One believes that all of us on this planet should “come together as one” so we may live in peace and harmony – that man’s governments exist to promote and enforce this.
- Group One believes that all of our basic needs should be taken care of throughout our lives. These needs include, but are not limited to: healthcare, education, sustenance, clothing, shelter, emotional needs, and physical needs – that man’s government exists to provide this.
- Group One believes that in order to attain a cohesive society defined by world peace we must be tolerant of those of us who are “different” or “unique” when compared to the norm. In fact, the “norm” is a floating target which changes as society changes. This tolerance may extend to child molesters, sexual deviants, rapists, murderers, abortionists, adulterers, and criminals of all stripes. These “protected classes” are to receive social justice; that is, their “rights” are to be defended by man’s government. All who disagree are to be punished.
It is edifying here to give the definition of tolerance:
1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.
2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own.
3. interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one's own; a liberal, un-dogmatic viewpoint.
To summarize; Group One believes, in general, that the care and feeding of the populations are to be handled by man’s governmental agencies, that it is a Christian activity to do so, and that people who disagree with this are to be punished.
That’s enough for Group One. I think you’ve got the picture.
Now, Group Two:
- Group Two believes that all of us on this planet should “come together as one” so we may live in peace and harmony as well – but, they also believe this can only be obtained through living a Godly life. Group 2 believes man’s government cannot succeed at this or enforce it.
- Group Two believes that all of our basic needs should be taken care of throughout our lives; such as healthcare, education, sustenance, clothing, shelter, emotional needs, and physical needs – but that he should do this for himself; that man’s government exists to eradicate the roadblocks that get in the way of man’s effort in this regard.
- Group Two believes that in order to attain a cohesive society defined by world peace we must have laws that help control those of us who are “different” or “unique” when compared to the norm. The “norm” is not a floating target which changes as society changes. The “norm” is God’s Law and God’s Word. Group 2 believes that man is not capable of attaining this peaceful coexistence just on our own. Group Two believes that child molesters, sexual deviants, rapists, murderers, abortionists, adulterers, and criminals of all stripes are not protected classes. Group Two does not believe these folks should be hunted down and destroyed, but should be tried and prosecuted justly and fairly only when an infraction occurs! All who disagree with this concept should be allowed to have their say.
Although I generalized greatly, it’s quite easy to see the differences between the groups. Group One uses man’s governmental authority to pursue what they see as laudable, societal goals – without the interference of God.
Group Two uses man’s governmental authority to pursue what they see as personal, individual goals – under the guidance of God.
Now, place the following people into one of the two groups:
The "religious left" is made up of people who identify themselves as Christians and hold strong religious beliefs as well as sharing left-wing political ideals. Obviously, this group has risen up in opposition to those who have been tagged the "religious right" or the "Christian right." The "Christian right" is that group of Bible-believing Christians who are politically active and seek to elect to office those candidates who hold to Biblical values on the key spiritual issues of our day that are also political issues.
These would be issues like abortion and life related matters, gay marriage, family issues, the proliferation of the pornography industry, and the drive to remove God from the public square.
Those in the "religious left" actually take an anti-Biblical position on these issues and are also heavily involved in the ecumenical movement, environmental issues, opposing war for any
reason, world hunger, and social issues like welfare, and education, and....HEALTHCARE!
There is nothing wrong with pursing these noble social issues, All Believers should be more involved on those fronts. The problem with this group is their anti-Biblical position on the key spiritual issues of our day and their involvement in these ecumenical movements that require you to set aside the Absolute Truths of the Bible.
- How can you say you are a person of faith, yet vote to support the legalized slaughter of over 4,000 innocent babies every day?
- How can you say you are a person of faith, yet vote to redefine God's Holy Institution of Marriage?
- How can you say you are a person of faith, yet support special rights for people who have chosen to engage in perverted sex acts God calls an abomination, including their ability to adopt children into their deviant lifestyle?
I guess the real question becomes, what is their faith really in? It is inconsistent to say you are person of faith yet continually take a stand in complete opposition to God's Word. Jesus said that if you love Me, you will obey Me. That means His Word.
Of course, those in the "religious left" have been born out of the liberal "churches" of our day who make a mockery of Christ as they operate in open rebellion to the Truth of the Bible while
claiming to be followers of Christ.
They support the legalized slaughter of babies, redefining marriage to include men with men and women with women, perverting the family by bringing children into homes with homosexual parents, and embrace ecumenical fellowships with all of the cults and false religions of the world.
They deny the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, have rejected God's Word for the Absolute Truth it represents, and have bought into the lie of the world that there are "many roads that lead to God."
These are the people who make up the "religious left!" These characteristics are also part and parcel to Socialist governments. These governments take God’s offering and lay it on the altar of Baal.
Now, what does the Bible say?:
The Garden of Eden – Genesis, Chapters 1 – 3
Go and read this wonderful text. It becomes quite obvious what God intended. Yes! We are supposed to have world peace and enjoyment of a wonderful existence! Man and Woman are to be mates, in total love with one another, and completely devoted to each other. It is all about Adam and Eve – not Adam and Steve. Yet, after sin entered the world, Jesus later said this;
Mat. 10:34 "Do not think I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword."
In other words, we must divide ourselves from the world. The way of the world is not the way!
Social Justice? - Yes! The Bible does teach social justice, but not as the Socialist paints it! Jesus said;
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. ...
Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
There are many, many verses that teach social justice in the Bible and they all teach that it has everything to do with the person-to-person relationship.
The Bible does not teach that Caesar and Baal are to be the recipients of what you have, so it may be re-distributed to the poor and needy. You, the individual are to be the channel by which it comes! Or, through you to the House of God, and then to the needy.
“We have been raised with subtle socialism. Our brains have been programmed with buzz words like “tolerance” and “diversity” and it has gotten to point that even when the glaring inequities of wealth redistribution are right in front of our faces many still fail to see them.
I saw this first hand when I went undercover at my school asking my classmates at George Mason University to sign a phony petition authorizing the school's administration to redistribute grade point averages (GPA). Using arguments similar to those liberals use to justify socialist entitlement programs, I explained to them that “there are students at this school who are in danger of not graduating due to low grades, and it's not necessarily their fault. Many of them come from low income families and have to work their way through school and don't have time to study because of their jobs.”
Ninety percent of the students I spoke with thought this was the most ridiculous thing they had ever heard. They refused to sign the petition because they believed it to be completely unfair. But when I turned the topic over to income redistribution their attitudes completely changed.
“That's totally different,” they argued. “Those millionaires don't need that money; they won't miss it.”
The “me, me, me” generation only cares about unfairness when it directly effects them, as it would with GPA redistribution. They are easily persuaded by the Left with gooey words like “hope” and “change” because they aren't directly affected by these tax-raising policies—yet. “
I’ll end this diatribe with an illustrative story. The story’s been around for quite awhile – it’s time to revisit it.
A Lesson from the Butterfly:
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day, a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as though it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further. So, the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If we were allowed to go through life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly.
I asked for strength…
I was given difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom…
I was given problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity…
I was given a brain and
brawn to work.
I asked for courage…
I was given danger to overcome.
I asked for love…
I was given troubled
people to help.
I asked for favors…
I was given opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted…
I received everything I needed.
Capitalism does not promote greed. As the Bible says, “the love of money” is the sin. The truth is, we humans all sin. All of us can do a much better job at being the individual conduits of real, biblical social justice.
But the man-made institutions of Socialism and it’s evil brother, Marxism, does nothing but murder, it does nothing but kill innovation, and does nothing but kill the biblical sharing of wealth. Both institutions generate cities like Sodom and Gomorrah. Both institutions create a conduit through Caesar and Baal. Both institutions are the handiwork of Satan.