Saturday, March 29, 2014

Challenge Accepted (Part 3)


"...If you'll remember from Genesis 22, God tested Abraham's faith by commanding him to take his baby son Isaac and bring him up to the top of the mountain to sacrifice him to the Lord. Abraham agreed and was about to do it when the Lord stopped him just in time and said that he had passed the test and proven himself to be faithful. Now, here's the question and challenge to all you fundamentalists.
IF you lived in the time of Abraham, and God had asked you to take your newborn child up to the mountain, and slay him with a knife or something, would you have done that? ...
Answer YES or NO!  Do not deviate or change the subject, just answer YES or NO, that's all I want to hear."
Please check out my last two posts (Part 1) and (Part 2) for the context of this challenge.  First off let's get some facts straight.  According to Genesis chapter 21, Isaac has been born and weaned which means Isaac was definitely more than a baby.  At the end of the chapter it states, "And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days." (Genesis 21:34)  I could be wrong but I am pretty sure Sarah and Isaac were with him.  This would mean that Isaac has grown a bit.  According to chapter 22, Isaac went with his father Abraham.  One of them carried wood, so that implies that he was not carried as a newborn.  There are several mentions of Isaac as a lad which would indicate that he was a young boy possible a teenager.  As they walk on their long at least three day journey, Isaac starts to think about the sacrifice and questions his father in verse 7, "And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" This stands to reason that Isaac is definitely not a newborn baby.  He is of an age where he can think and reason.  Another thing to make note of was Abraham never doubted God's promise. Yes, the request sounds outrageous.  But for a guy who just up and left his hometown not even knowing where he was going except for the fact God said go, this was just another mountain to climb, literally.  Abraham's faith is seen in verse 5, "And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you."  Abraham knew God would provide a way, whether or not he would actually kill his son or not.  God made a promise to Abraham, and Abraham knew God would never break it and that it would be fulfilled through Isaac.
So with all of that being said, and I imagine myself in the time of and situation of Abraham, my answer is YES.  There would be no other choice because my relationship with God is strong, I look back and realize God hasn't failed me yet nor broken any promises.  I am sure there would be questions at first, but the peace of God would override the fear of killing my child.  God's plan is the best plan.
This statement "So if you answer YES that you would slay your own child in cold blood, then you would appear to be the most indecent person in human society.  What kind of a person would want to make himself appear that way?" only takes into account people.  God gave up His Son, Jesus Christ to be crucified on a rugged cross in order to pay the payment for the world's sins, the atrocities of innocent babies lives included.  God the Father killed His Son, Jesus so that we could live eternally with Him if we choose to do so.  Does that make Him indecent or gracious?  I serve a loving, merciful, and just God. I have enjoyed this challenge, and I hold to my answers.  I will always defend my faith at every opportunity.
 For the Glory of God,

Challenge Accepted (Part 2)


QUESTION 2: (An Unbeatable Challenge)
"Christians Visualize this: Suppose you lived in the Old Testament era, and God commanded you to capture a city and then afterward he commands you to take the babies and dash them against the walls or rocks.  Now try to visualize yourself going into one of the captured cities' homes and doing one of the following:  1) From a warm crib, you pick up a LIVING BREATHING flesh and blood baby who is smiling :):):) at you, and then taking it and with all your strength throwing it against the wall as hard as you can!!!!!!  Or, 2) imagine taking the warm LIVING BREATHING flesh and blood smiling :):):) baby and carrying it outside to the edge of a cliff with rocks below, and then purposely DROPPING the warm blooded baby right off of it!!!!!!"
In the context of the first question found on my previous post, Challenge Accepted (Part 1), Babylon was the subject of God's wrath for the most part.  Israel was mentioned as another recipient of such descriptive judgment.  According to the history books, Babylon was captured by Persia, another non-believing, pagan empire.  Israel faced God's judgment, so God's judgement would most likely come from another pagan country well-rooted in a lifestyle of sin.  
With all of this information, I visualize myself as an Israelite in this time period.  I see Israelites in captivity to Babylon.  I see evil being commited among the Israelites.  IF God did indeed ask of me, to take the land in warfare including the women and children specifically by dashing them against the stones, then that would be what I would do.  Joshua  and the Israelites (that listened) anihilated the  residents of the Promised Land with God as commander.  In warfare today, children are used as death traps to play on the emotions of the troops.  There are accounts of children strapped with bombs and commands given to run them over because of the possible threat they could be. Running over an child may not be easy, but you must listen to your commander for the sake of the safety of many.
God is sovereign, and knows everything.  His judgements pour forth with that foreknowledge.  There is much in the Old Testament that doesn't make complete sense about His righteousness and His wrath, but it happened. We must take that in faith that because of God's righteousness and hatred against sin.
Now lets bring this to current events.  Would God command around 53 million "legalized" murders of innocent babies in the United States by way of vacuuming out their brains and bodies while still in their mother's womb?  No, but it happened and is still happening today.  God will not condone the atrocity of abortion.  It is the sin of murder for sake of convenience, and God's wrath will reign down at the appointed time.
Therefore, I believe God's plan is bigger than we can ever imagine.  It is not always pretty, but ulimately God's righteousness, love, and grace prevail. The violence of the verses discussed was God's judgement poured out for sin.  The violence today is for both teachable moments and judgment.  God is holding back until the time is right to unleash His complete and justified fury upon the world for His appointed time.  So in the meantime, I must be a watchman and sound the warning for any and all people that don't know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord.  I must give them the opportunity to choose Christ's death as payment for their sin or warn them that they will pay the price for sin themselves through separation from God and eventual spiritual death in Hell and the Lake of Fire.  These verses and today's sacrifices of millions of innocent lives to the god of convenience have activated an empathy and rekindled a flame of passion and love for unborn children that are never given the chance to speak for themselves.  I hope and pray this will drive me to action in some form or fashion to assist in saving the lives of these innocent children.  It is time to do something.
For the Glory of God,


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Challenge Accepted (Part 1)

I was perusing the great world wide web in search of something that would challenge Christians, help them grow, move from their comfort zone, and perhaps suffer for Christ's sake a bit.  In so doing, I ran across an article entitled "An Unbeatable Challenge to Christians".   The purpose of this article was to back Christians into a corner and get them to pretty much deny their faith in God.  The weapon was the Bible, of course. The book that all Christians should be familiar with and "know" cover to cover.  I do admit, there were verses brought up in this challenge that I was not familiar with and nearly did a double take at the brevity of meaning stated.  But that in no way shook my faith, it only caused me to research further to discover meaning and context for these verses and how they were being used in this "unbeatable" challenge.

Question 1~Do you AGREE with your God that the innocent babies and infants living in the cities that God wants to punish should be dashed against rocks and walls and floors so that they die instantly?
First off, if this question was asked to a random 'average' Christian with no context or frame of reference, then yes, most Christians would DISAGREE that God would want babies to be "dashed against rocks" or murdered in such violence.
But because the author gave several examples from God's Word, I now know the context by which the author has misinterpreted to fit his own ideology about God or His non-existence (pretty much a trap tactic).
Psalm 137:9-This Psalm refers to the Israelites' captivity in Babylon.  The Israelites were praying they would not forget Jerusalem.  This verse in particular refers to the destruction of Babylon.  Babylon was an instrument of God's wrath against the Israelites and ultimately would get destroyed.  God gives everyone and every city the choice to follow Him.  Babylon was not doing this and his judgement would pour forth. The verse says, "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."  This simply says in the context of the chapter that "he", a fellow Israelite would be pleased or happy IF the Babylonian little ones or babies were "dashed against the stones."  The inferred meaning could be that young Babylonians would grow up to be big Babylonians who would continue to conquer more of the known world.  The vulgarity of the statement clearly expresses the dislike of the Babylonians.
Hosea 13:16-This chapter states the sin of the Israelites, specifically Ephraim.  Idolatry and molten images were some of their trangressions.  God states His previous deliverance from Egypt and then prophesies the wrath to come for their sinful behavior.  God gave them opportunity after opportunity to repent and turn back to Him.  They failed, so they had to suffer the consequences.  In this particular instance, the consequences were severe.  Their children would be dashed against the rocks, and women with child would suffer the loss of their child and possibly their own life.
Isaiah 13:15-16, 18-This chapter is a prophecy-a foretelling of God-about His judgement on Babylon.  Babylon was a wicked city that did not follow after the God of the Israelites.  This is a very descriptive account of what was to come for the Babylonians.  God gives everyone the opportunity to choose Him or not.  Babylon chose not to follow God, so the consequences for not doing so were severe including dashing children to pieces.

AGREE or DISAGREE?
NEITHER-The question is flawed because it asks my opinion about something God already has done or had a part in doing that would be repulsive to most people with any amount of feeling. The past is the past, God did it, and I stand by Him.  His ways are not my ways.  I do believe in a righteous, just, and loving God.  Sin deserves major consequences (Romans 6:23).  God can't stand sin.  Sin is paid for by death.  It can be through the blood of Christ Jesus or the impending wrath of God for those who don't choose Him which ultimately ends in physical and spiritual death separated from God.

Part 2, Visualize yourself "dashing children against the rocks" will follow shortly.

For the Glory of God,




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tangled

Have you ever been in a place where your heart was tangled up inside of itself with no way of controlling a situation and its outcome.  You feel helpless.  You want to do something.  Help in whatever way possible, but circumstances prevent it.  What can you do?  Where can you go?  What can you do?  This was made real for me this past weekend.  A dear friend of mine went through an extensive surgery.  I wanted to help.  That is my nature to help.  I went to the hospital and met a family member I didn't know and we chatted about my friend and life in general.  It was an interesting time.  I handed him a card to give to my friend, and that was all the help I could give.
I wanted to do so much more. But in my limited access to the family and my friend, I turned to the only thing that I could do.  I prayed.  I prayed often.  I don't think I prayed near enough or with as much passion as I could have, but I prayed nonetheless.  As the situation progressed, my prayers began to change.  I prayed that God would get the glory and that His will would be done.  I don't think I have ever valued prayer-communication with God-as much as I do now.
Prayer is an intimate conversation with the Creator of the this world and us.  He is our Father, Savior, and friend if we have trusted and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ who paid our debt for sin with His life.  He is our Beloved, the Lover of our soul, He is "The One" that everyone seeks, but only some find.  Prayer is our connection to Him.  He listens to the longings of our hearts.  He answers them with a perfect answer in His timing.  We may not always like the answer, but God's thoughts are higher than ours and His ways are not our ways.
This weekend was a huge reminder that I can take everything to the Lord in prayer.  When I feel helpless, alone, or even joyful and happy, I can take whatever burden or news to God in prayer.  I know I don't pray often enough, and I want to pray more and for others and not just myself.  Remember that in all things, you can pray.  God is just a prayer away, and he wants to hear what you have to say.

To God be the Glory,


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Heartblown!

Within a day or two of my previous post, God expanded my understanding even more on the matter of transformation for the believer.  God showed me that the soul is made up of three parts as well; our mind, will, and emotions.  Our mind produces thoughts, our will produces choices, and our emotions produce feelings.  Our mind has been deceived by this sin-ridden world, our will has become rebellious, and our emotions become controlling.  At salvation, our spirit becomes alive and the Holy Spirit indwells us.  We become new.  Our thoughts, choices, and feelings want to change.  The Holy Spirit desires to work through our soul to bring fruit to the body.  The spirit and fruit of the body is God's part.  Our part is to renew our minds and surrender our will and emotions.  We have to make those changes and allow God to rewire our thinking to please Him and glorify Him.  WOW!  What an incredible concept.  It is amazing how everything works together for a purpose.  I am thankful for the love He has shown us just so we can know Him.  I am so excited learn more, and ready for God to reveal what I need to change next.  It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

 For the Glory of God,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"Be ye transformed..."

Have you ever had a light bulb moment where something finally clicked and made sense for the very first time?
I have.  This particular moment occurred during a message at church over Ephesians 2:1-3.  This passage speaks of how a Christian is made alive in the spirit when he accepts Christ as his Savior.  My wheels get to turning as man is described as body, soul, and spirit.  Pictures start flooding my mind and I start writing down what I see.  The end result looks similar to the diagram above for a non-Christian.  A non-Christian's body and soul are alive while the spirit is not, yet the spirit still has needs that need to be met.  Those needs are filled by the body or the soul.  When a non-Christian becomes a Christian, the spirit is "quickened" or made alive, and can now its needed can be properly fulfilled (see diagram below).  The problem is that because the spirit's needs were improperly fulfilled, the improper patterns and beliefs are set in place.  It will take a lot of trust, and effort to reprogram or "renew" the mind to reset the patterns originally created.  Salvation is an immediate and free gift, but renewal of the mind is a constant process.  God gave us His Son as payment for our sins, but the consequences of our sin are ours to bear.  We must seek to know God each day, and ask God to reveal the "stinkin' thinkin'" that we learned before Christ in order to be transformed.  Transformation speaks of change.  Change is never easy, but it is inevitable.  God also promises to be with us through every up and down that we face.   Let's hold on tight and trust the process of God's transforming grace (Romans 12:1-2).

      For the Glory of God,



Saturday, March 8, 2014

Never Say Never...Again

I never in a million years thought I would be a "product pusher" for any of the trendy health or beauty products out there.  Guess what? I'm still not.  I am an Herbalife Distributor (soon to be Supervisor/World Team Member...dream big, right?).  I help others achieve their health (or wealth) dreams turning their goals into accomplishments.  Herbalife gets results, builds relationships, and rewires your thinking.
I have been hanging around my Herbalife Crew since December at FREE Fit Camps, who says no to FREE, right?  I was skeptical at first, not too sure about everything.  I tried my first shake, Cinnamon Roll, and tea, and was in love with the taste and energy I recieved.  The Fit Camps are awesome because I can't afford a gym.  After hanging out at Fit Camps, I started making friends even though I am not good at it.  In January, I joined and COMPLETED the Fit Challenge (6am, bright and early), and lost inches and got results on my mile and sit-ups.
Products aside, I gained a bunch of new friends, a positive environment to accomplish goals, a growth mindset, and positive energy.  Everyone wants to help each other.  I am excited and looking forward to getting my own results and sharing my story with everyone I know and don't know.  I am official now, and I am ready to rock my two week Spring Break and beyond.
The thing I love most about Herbalife is their emphasis on "Personal Development".  As a teacher, I have heard of "Professional Development" (which is usually followed by a groan of obligation).  "Personal Development" was a new concept to me about listening to successful people helping others become successful.  The awesome part is that most of what they say applies to life across the board and not just in business. You can learn the easy way or the hard way. Work smarter not harder.
As a Christian, "Personal Development" and "Discipleship" are nearly interchangeable.  The sad fact of the matter is that Herbalife invests more time into developing and training leaders than most churches do in training Christians to go out and reach others for Christ.
One of my goals is to use this "Personal Development" concept as a motivator to get others excited and motivated to bring the Good News of Christ to the world.  I want to reach the world for Jesus, and if Herbalife can be my tool, so be it.

Why? 
For the Glory of God,