Friday, 10 November 2017

In remembrance

Last month the Atlanta City Baptist Rescue Mission lost a great man. Mr John Odom. Though he had two degrees and could have taught at any college or university in the country, he chose to stay and teach in a homeless shelter and dedicate 10 years of his life to it.
  Had it not been for his toughness as a disciplinarian, I would have likely not made it through the program. He commanded and demanded respect. Those who did not give that to him, would get reminded exactly who was in control and it wasn't them. Or me. Oh yes I had to be reminded a few times, even though I generally didnt dare put a foot wrong. Yes he was tough, yes he gave me a hard time but I needed that. I am grateful for the time he spent at the Mission and the time he spent with me. He'll be missed but he is definitely in a better place. With his Savior. We'll meet again up there

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Mind of Satan

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and ran across a horrific article. It seems a British woman stamped her toddler to death. I was all prepared to mentally rip her to shreds, call her filth, suggest she be crucified and more. All of the sudden clear as a bell I seemed to hear one word. Hater. Of course there was no actual voice. It was the Holy Spirit. Now i'm not saying I was wrong to be appalled at such sickening and revolting behavior. Righteous anger was certainly called for. So what was I being told? Quite simply as someone who can be sarcastic and even hateful and insulting I was no better. The moment I start thinking a person is less than a precious creation of God, I start on the road the thinking like satan. The first hater in the universe
  So what of the picture I have? It's simple. Satan is an expert at lying, twisting the truth and lulling us into a false sense of security. While I may be justified in being angry at a wicked woman, that does not give me license to extend that to someone who does something silly and wonder what their mental malfunction is. Not if it means I also degrade them in my mind though it's perfectly normal to recognize the silly things people do. We frequently have to in order to stay safe.
  God is love. Hate is not a part of Him unless it is sin. Even then He loves the sinner and is not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance. So that's the latest stomp the Holy Spirit gave me - at work of all things  

Friday, 20 October 2017

The modesty debate - a personal perspective

This post will be in two parts. First what I believe. Second why. This is not your regular post. This is my personal experience.

The distinction between genders is assumed in most Christian circles. It is accepted that both male and female are biologically different, think differently, and have different God given roles. However these are being eroded rapidly. While the world thinks they can change genders and identify as whatever they want to (including a cat), we've sanitized this. 
  Lets start with a definition. Let’s take a look at what it meant.
Websters 1828 definition of MODESTY

, n. [L. modestia.] That lowly temper which accompanies a moderate estimate of one's own worth and importance. This temper when natural, springs in some measure from timidity, and in young and inexperienced persons, is allied to bashfulness and diffidence. In persons who have seen the world, and lost their natural timidity, modesty springs no less from principle than from feeling, and is manifested by retiring, unobtrusive manners, assuming less to itself than others are willing to yield, and conceding to others all due honor and respect, or even more than they expect or require.
2. Modesty, as an act or series of acts, consists in humble, unobtrusive deportment, as opposed to extreme boldness, forwardness, arrogance, presumption, audacity or impudence. Thus we say, the petitioner urged his claims with modesty; the speaker addressed the audience with modesty.
3. Moderation; decency.
4. In females, modesty has the like character as in males; but the word is used also as synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners. In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle. Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor.

As there are clearly defined differences in the roles of ladies and gentlemen as well as biological differences and even differences in the way the genders think, it is clear God intended them to be quite distinct. Two different genders, two different roles and two different styles of clothing. To remove the barrier is akin to saying we know better than God! Since at least medieval times in western culture women have always worn skirts. The custom of women wearing pants was inaugurated and promoted by liberal-minded people, particularly feminist agitators, intent on discarding Christian traditions and altering people's understanding of Christian values. The skirt-pants issue had become established within Western civilizations, including Christian culture, as one of the main differences between men's and women's clothing. Nowadays, if women are "dressing to kill" these days, there is no doubt that they have succeeded in killing the morals of men by wearing provocative styles, particularly midriff-baring tops and how-low-can-you-go jeans. Some ladies appear to have been melted down and poured into their garments. Why would any lady who has any dignity wear a garment that brings attention to her form and not the God who created her? Why would any lady wear a garment that draws attention to the most intimate parts of her body that no male should even be thinking about? Dogs don't care and wander about with their backsides splayed out for all to see and that's where they sniff. Modern day ladies wander about the same way with guys heads turning all the time. What's the difference? Ladies often say they wear pants because they are more comfortable or convenient for getting in and out of cars, warmer in winter etc., and shorts because the weather is hot.  However, with a little of the ingenuity and resourcefulness for which ladies are famed, a judicious combination of articles of apparel can be chosen from among the contents of a woman's wardrobe to enable her to wear skirts for many occasions - windy days and sub-zero temperatures, cycling, hiking, and riding side-saddle, for instance - all without the need to wear pants. There are some sporting activities which cannot be done in a skirt and so must be out of bounds for women. Sacrificing convenience and freedom is not easily done, but if a more restricted lifestyle for the sake of modesty and propriety is the path of greater holiness, it is also potentially one of greater sacrifice and will bring its rewards in increased graces. Remember, you are in the world to represent your King.
  I'm not leaving guys out. Not by a long shot. Why may I ask do guys think they can wear skinny jeans, showing off what they have, body build, then parade around strutting their stuff? If you think females are not visual to some degree, you'd be very wrong. Woman can lust just as easily as a male. I'm sure there are many things guys do that we don't think about but cause problems. Because of that, we need to be educated as well. 

Now why do I believe all this? Well as a guy, I have to admit to struggling with lust many times. Furthermore, I would cause an internet filter to scream with some of the sites I used to frequent. Where did this start? Temptation. Satan and my own sinful nature. Of course there is never any excuse for visiting adult sites. It's always sin and always avoidable. But there is something else that has a huge impact. wearing clothing that hugs the body and when one wears a garment, unsuitable for their gender or wears something that reveals too much it causes me all kinds of issues. Not to mention basically all other males within eyesight. I'm supposed to think of a lady as a fearfully and wonderfully made creation of God and i'm given eye candy to look at? That's totally not beneficial.
  Let me close with this. Whether you're male or female, respect your bodies. Don't give the opposite gender cause to struggle. Don't give them more than they have the right to see

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Justice and Mercy vs Fairness

  • Justice is based on the universal, unchangeable principles of God's Word
  • Fairness is based on the variable customs of society and the changing will of man

  • Justice establishes guilt when God's standards are violated
  • Fairness tries to remove guilt by lowering standards

  • Justice and mercy are based upon a personal responsibility to a holy God and will produce revival in a nation
  • Fairness is based upon personal rights and will produce rebellion

  • Justice and mercy are based on eternal values. 
  • Fairness is based on protecting temporary values
  • Justice is the expression of God's wisdom for our nation and it's application will lead to prosperity 
  • Fairness is the expression of human reasoning for a nation and will lead to financial ruin
  • Justice is impartial and it's objective is non-emotional
  • Fairness is partial, subjective and is based on arbitrary emotional considerations

The notes above were taken from my notes at the Atlanta City Baptist Rescue Mission sometime in late May. The teacher has requested that neither his name nor his picture be placed online. 

What can I learn from this? The idea of my rights are anti-God, prideful and as that was the sin that brought Satan down, it is quite accurate to say the idea of demanding rights is having the prideful mind of Satan. To use fairness with regards to myself is to rely on human reasoning above that of God. It's actually impossible to be fair if they are based on variable customs and changing will as fairness requires people to be treated equally. Which isnt going to happen if peoples opinions always change. Therefore the only thing that is fair is justice

Monday, 2 October 2017

How precious is the Bible to me?

The following news article popped up on my Facebook feed.

At first I wanted to preach. Some great post asking if we would do this. But wait.
Would I? I don't even read the Bible as much as I should and I wanted to preach to others? Would I take machine gun fire so severe my body would be unrecognizable and mutilated? How much would I suffer for Christ as He suffered for me. I don't know but unless I tighten up and get a grip, probably not much considering I barely even know how to love Him.

Monday, 18 September 2017

If Ye Love one Another

Affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love. This is the definition Blue Letter Bible gives the highest form of love in the Bible. It has also been called selfless or sacrificial love and John 15:13 proves this to be correct. Love is an action and Jesus made His statement then backed it up by dying for the world.

I was struck by how often the the phrase 'If ye love one other' is mentioned while going through the Gospel of John

John 13:34 (KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love oneanother
John 15:12 (KJV) This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
John 15:17 (KJV) These things I command you, that ye love one another.
John 13:35 (KJV) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

There are more but I focused on this last verse for a moment. If evidence for being disciples or Christians is that I love people and I fail to do that, then I can be judged as potentially not being a Christian. Scripture interprets Scripture and I know I can indeed be judged because 1 John 4:7 (KJV) says Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. Many times in my life, I have given people just cause and the right to judge me. 
 There are two commandments that were violated. 

  • The greatest commandment. Failure to love God
  • Failure to love my neighbor
Also committed were two abominations. Literally a disgusting thing.

  • Pride
  • Sowing discord among the bretheren
How did I do that? I thought I was something special. In the name of being a leader (which I had no right to be since I did not know how to follow) I took and demanded control. Everywhere. I told myself I was not in the world to be liked and that God was a God of order, therefore peoples opinions didnt matter. When I arrived at the Antanta City Baptist Rescue Mission, I advertised myself as a cross between two TV show characters. House and Gordon Ramsey. Despite the fact I was penniless in a homeless shelter and one of the staff at the Mission was a 70 year old no-nonsense Vietnam war vet who had two theological degrees and was the strictest member of staff. I should have gotten put out several times. He turned out to be the most influential person there. One of his quotes was 'Who are we to  deny God the relationship He desires to have with us by sinning'. Now that's tough. That's a stomp and a half 
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 

It's true. I am just a sinner saved by grace. I've left a trail of destruction in my life and hurt people. For that I am sorry. And one day I hope to not only tell people individually but show them I mean it. Love is not some cute cuddly thing. It's action. Action i'm sometimes not sure of but one thing I do know. The Holy Spirit will show me through His word.


Saturday, 16 September 2017