Monday, December 29, 2008

Super Subs?

In the sports world, super subs are a good thing: they keep the team rolling at full speed while the primary starters are out. But this is a different kind of super sub: the super hero.

On the surface, super heroes seem harmless, posing as childhood fantasy and childlike fun. But as I continued to watch super heroes and their shows, I became bothered by the increasing likeness of the characters to Jesus Christ. Oh, sure, Jesus is better than any super hero, but, to this world, super heroes are more appealing than Jesus. Jesus gave us the answer why in John 7:7:

"The world cannot hate you," He told His earthly brothers, "but Me it hates, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil."

You see, a super hero will rescue a single mother from her boyfriend, but won't tell her that the reason for her dilemma is that she was committing adultery. Nor will he tell that she needs to repent of the white lies she tells in order to receive a pardon from God. A human hero will give his life so that others may receive his organs, but he will also commit fornication with the woman before giving her his heart, and he will give this defiled woman to a man whom he says is a good person and deserves his eyes.

You see, we can identify with this kind of hero, because he isn't God and won't demand perfection from us: he just does enough good for other people that his own sins may be atoned for--sins such as fornication, selfishness, and lust. A man can assuage his conscience for his dreadful error in taking his eyes off the road long enough to kill his wife and many others by killing himself and donating his organs to "good people"--including the woman he slept with.

Of course, those of you who know the movie I'm primarily referring to (Seven Pounds) may object that I'm being too cynical. After all, didn't Jesus say, "Greater love hath no man than this, than that a man lay down his life for his friends"? Yes, He did. But the act of defiling the woman for whom he supposedly gave his life undercuts any love he professed to have for her. Furthermore, his reason for doing so was not for her, but for him. It was his own way of paying for his sins, especially the sin that cost him his wife. Noble? Hardly. Redeeming? Not so. Selfish? Absolutely. And a terrible substitute for the One who gave up His throne in Heaven to become like the rebels who hate the God who gives them every breath they take and not only to suffer at their hands but to atone for their sins so that He could bring them into His kingdom to bless them forever.

"The world cannot hate [them], but Me it hates, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." Like fornication.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Simple Man

"Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware." --Proverbs 19:25

My life as a Christian started rather simply: I knew that my sins kept getting me into trouble, and that I couldn't stop sinning, and that Jesus could help me. So I called upon Him, and He has delivered me from the penalty and power of my sins. (I am eagerly looking forward to the day when He delivers me from the presence of sin.)

My life as a Christian has continued in simple fashion: if it doesn't agree with the Bible, it's wrong. Now, atheists like to tell me that that is a stupid position to take, but I have lived my life this far and never been led astray by Scripture. In fact, everytime that I have believed something other than what Scripture said, I have found that thing to be false and myself to have erred, in the practical things of life. So, why not believe it for everything? Simple enough.

Sin is also a pretty simple issue: if God says don't do it, you will pay dire consequences if you do. Drug abuse and fornication are two sins that have plain-to-see (unless you're an atheist) serious consequences, consequences that frightened me into praying never to fall prey to those sins. By the grace of God, I never have. Drug abuse just isn't appealing to me, and God has simply never let me commit fornication (and I am so glad!)

Rebuke is rather simple, as well: If I know that someone put poison in your cup and I don't tell you before you drink from it, then I am just as guilty of murder as the person who actually put the poison in the cup. So, if I let you go down the road of sin and I don't tell you about the consequences, then I am just as bad as the devil who is trying to destroy you.

This last point is misunderstood by many of my Christian friends. They believe that I am judging them when I point out their flaws. I believe that I am warning them about the trap that Satan has laid for them. Perspective is everything. And I dearly hope that I can communicate this just a little better to my dear friends.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Worship

I remember one of my friends telling me how he struggled with the lust of the eyes. My answer? "You need to stop hanging out with women who dress immodestly. You can't resist temptation by stepping right into it."

For the most part, I've been doing that. But then there are times when I am caught by surprise at the attire worn at the gatherings of Christians. Those are the times that I just want to hide or scream. Rarely can I do either.

Jesus said, "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; because it is far better for you to enter into life half-blind than to enter into Hell with good vision. And if your right hand causes you to sin, then cut it off and throw it away; because it is far better for you to enter into life maimed than to enter into Hell whole. And if your right foot causes you to sin, cut it off; because it is far better for you to enter into life lame than to enter into Hell whole."

Now obviously, all of this is hyperbole. None of the prophets were ever instructed by God to literally dismember themselves in order to deal with sin in their own lives or to dismember other people in order to deal with sin in their lives. But Jesus does have a point: anything that is causing you to sin needs to go. For me, that will have to include some friends I dearly love. I cannot continually resist the temptation, as has been adequately proven by history, so I just need to not be where it is.

Before everyone starts making unfounded and uncalled for and bigoted unnecessary jokes about Islamic oppression, I want to make something really clear: there is no way on earth that anyone--male or female--in their right mind could possibly believe that short shorts are modest. Or cleavage- and/or midriff-showing tops. That is the sort of thing I am complaining about. Give me a break.

How can a man focus on the Lord when he is surrounded by all this flesh? Close his eyes? I'll try that next time one of those women is trying to have a conversation with me. I'll let you know how it goes.

Or I'll just stay away from them and leave them to wonder what happened.

Or, even harder, I'll confront them about their attire and beg them to wear real clothes. Yeah, that will go over well.

How on earth can Christian women wear this stuff and sing praise songs to the Lord?

"Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘ These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" (Matthew 15:7-9)

Because we have adopted a different standard of modesty than is revealed to us in Scripture.

Wait a minute--did Jesus say that those who say they follow Him but actually listen to others are hypocrites?

That is scary. I think I should warn them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Do Actors in Hollywood Like Getting Rich?

If so, will these actors take a million dollar bill? Watch and see!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Just a thought

I keep hearing people say that they only witness when God gives them "those divine appointments." Well, I got to thinking about that, and came up with this:

If you want a divine appointment, you might need to clear your agenda.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Never Put Confidence in the "Sinner's Prayer"

From Jews for Jesus:

"Shlomy, a staff missionary who is doing campaign follow-up, met with Shlomo, who had prayed with Tzachi to receive the Lord on the phone a few days ago. Unfortunately, Shlomo explained that he’s not really a believer, but that he had prayed with Tzachi in order to please him. He then added that he’d like to begin reading the New Testament. Our follow-up team will continue to meet with him."

In all honesty, nothing in the communication says that we should not count on the Sinner's Prayer to measure a "decision" for Christ, but I thought that the incident should be noted. People pray with us for all kinds of reasons. God alone knows the hearts, and God alone is the Lord of the harvest. Please do pray for Shlomo and the many like him who only pray to please men.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hell for Christians

Just out of curiosity, how many Christians are willing to go to Hell? None? Well, I hope to change your minds by the end of this post.

How many Christians actually want others to go to Hell (like Hitler, Pol Pot, Richard Dawkins, Steven Spielberg, Bill and Hillary Clinton, etc.)? Many of you? Well, I hope to change your minds by the end of this post.

And how many Christians think that Hell is a good thing? Well, a few of you. But I hope to change the rest of your minds by the end of this post.

I'm sure by now you think that I am a heretic. But, please, bear with me, and I will show you from the Bible why I am saying these things. In reverse order.

First off, why is Hell a good thing? Let's think about Hell for a minute: Weeping and gnashing of teeth in a place of outer darkness, where the worm doesn't die, and the fire isn't quenched, and the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever. Hmm...not a fun place to be <---understatement of all time.

So how can anyone in his right mind consider Hell to be a good thing??? That's a question atheists ask Christians all the time. What does the Bible say about that?

Well, Jesus plainly declared, in Matthew 25:41, that Hell was created for "the Devil and his angels": it was not meant for humans, but humans will go there, too, if they side with the devil against God. Hell is proof that God is Just and Holy. Being moral agents, created in the image of God Himself, we would be outraged if a pedophile murderer was given a light sentence or even let go altogether. How much more angry should a Just and Holy God be with this man when he stands before Him to answer for his evil deeds?

So why is Hell good? Hell is proof that God is just. That means that criminal activity, though it may go unpunished for a variety of reasons here on earth, will not go altogether unpunished.

Secondly, why should a Christian desire that not even the worst of criminals (or mere political enemies) face the wrath of God, even if it is a good thing for sin to be punished?

I think the scariest verse in the Bible is Matthew 12:36. Therein, Jesus says, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Every idle word.

Do you know what an idle word is? It's a word that comes out of your mouth that you don't even think twice about. I remember when I was in my car with my younger brother and I opened a compartment and was quite surprised at the contents thereof. My brother looked at me in astonishment. "What?" I asked him. "You just cursed," he said. "You said (blank)!" "I did?" I never did hear the word come out of my mouth. How many times have I done that?

If God exacted of me every idle word that I have spoken, I don't think I would be in too much better a place than Hitler, to be perfectly honest. Yes, I know Hitler specifically targeted the Jews for his hatred, but he was a mere murderer of 31 million people. Jesus said, in Matthew 5:21-22, that, if you call someone worthless or a moron/fool/idiot/dummy/etc., you will get the same punishment as a murderer on Judgment Day. Scary? Yes. And if I love my neighbor (which is anyone with whom I have the least bit of contact), then there is no way on earth I wish on them the wrath from which I fled to the Savior fifteen years ago.

Which brings me to my final point: why should any Christians wish that they themselves could go to Hell? Well, for the same reason the Apostle Paul did:

"I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:..." (Romans 9:1-3)

So great was Paul's love for his earthly kin, that he had the heart of Jesus, being willing to be accursed from God so that his brethren, the Israelites, might obtain eternal life. How great is your love for your people? For your neighbors? For your coworkers? For your friends? What are you willing to endure that they might receive Christ?

Pray about it, will you?