Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cut Out the Bad

Temptations are different for everyone. This is one of the reason a fundamentalistic legalism doesn't work. One thing may be sinful for one person and not for another person. When we put people into a box, such as Never Ever watch movies, we aren't able to understand how one person can be perfectly okay with watching movies, yet another person can't. Temptations are those things that grab us and lead us towards sin. Maybe watching movies is a temptation that leads you towards being lazy, or lustful, or wanting to escape reality, etc. But for the other guy, it's a good thing that helps him relax and enjoy God's earth more.

The point is, find what's bad in your life. Find where the temptations lie, and to the best of the ability cut them out.

Now that you have all this extra time, go fill that time with good things. Good books, memorization, godly fellowship, prayer, etc.

What you feed will grow. What you starve will die.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tattoos: Turning Towards Paganism

I was browsing the news, of which most of it wasn't news worthy. :-/ But an interesting statistic popped up, more women have tattoos than men. There's a bunch of different polls, but of those tattooed, 59% of them are women. 23% - 19%. I was wondering why this was. Why do more women have tattoos than guys? At one point in time, tattoos were worn by sailors, military, bikers, and before that pagan tribes. 

So why this change? 

I went browsing through a bunch of the pro-women tattoo blogs to see what their methodology was. And words that kept popping up were, "empowered" "identification""self-presentation" "fulfilling expression of self" "Make sure You love it""Because friends do it"

I think the reason more women have tattoos than men is two fold. Number one, 68% see tattoos as beautiful, i.e. hearts/angels/etc. But the biggest reason being the fact they do it with a friend, 40%. Those stats add up.

Generally women aren't the ones getting tattoos of skulls, death, grim reaper, etc. tattooed all over them. It's fuzzy bunnies, some seashore where they grew up, a flower, etc. Of course everyone who gets a tattoo has a different reason for the thing. But that's beside the point.

The real question I have to ask is, are tattoos a legitimate form of memorial, or self-presentation, or religious affiliation, or art? I like to run and exercise, so I did a marathon. Many people seem to get a tattoo put on their bodies identifying that fact. I didn't. I may have a sticker for my laptop, or a bumper sticker for my car. The question is, why? Ultimately, with tattoos the question is, who do you identify with? Is it you? Is it your grandpa? Is it an idea? Is it the Lord? 

Tattoos are not Biblical. Tattoos have their roots in paganism. The culture of tattooing actually came from the pagans. Sailors would bring back Polynesians and other heavily tattooed people to the Western countries, and that's how tattooing really got its start. At that time, Christianity was not based on Scriptural thought. People didn't really give a rip about what God had to say. They were in the time of the "Enlightenment." It was part of the love of the "Noble Savage" The thought that these people were unadulterated by modern life. Such a perverted ideology..

Is there anything about tattoos that are redemptive? The Bible does actually spend one verse talking about tattoos, Lev. 19:28 (which "surprisingly", in the specific context is talking about the Israelites being commanded in the differentiating of themselves from the pagans - refer back to previous paragraph) "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD." Pretty cut and dry. Two statements. One, do not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead. Two, nor prints any marks upon you. And then, "I am the Lord." Matthew Henry's commentary on this chapter/verse is insightful. He also spends some time on the moral vs ceremonial aspects of the law, and how it is treated in this chapter.

In some ways, I see Christian tattoos similar to the offering that Cain and Abel both gave to God. Abel brought what God desired. Cain did not. What sacrifice does God desire? 

And I'll finish this with my strongest argument, would you put a bumper sticker on a Bugatti? Didn't think so.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

AHHHH! Busy...

Hey Guys,

Yep, it's a letter. That's how bad this has gotten. No blogging going down here... :-/ This will have to be fast, because I have to get up in about 6 hours. Gym.. Zzzzz. But here's a couple things God has been teaching me.

When you're young, working 12-14 hours a day 6 days a week is not bad. In fact, in order for you to get to the point that you're able to work 8 hours a day and make a decent living, you have to do this. At my current level of skills, in order for me to get done what someone else, who has been in the field for 10 years, gets done, I have to work 30% longer and harder. In other words, find a field where a great opportunity is there for you, then go work 10-12 hours a day for 3 years. Ta-da, you're good to go.

I am terrible at communication. Even though I've always thought I'm good at it. But, if you are terrible at communicating, go do it. It's great fun. :-D

Also, love God, love others. Hate the world, flesh, and devil. Don't dwell on the evil in your life, dwell on the good He is working into you.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Falling. Falling. Falling.

God is good. God works all things out for good. I have begun to tell myself this more and more often as I've grown older this past year. It seems that in some ways, I'm always crying out to God for help. And when I'm not crying out to Him, I'm falling on my face. It seems that whenever I'm not dealing with the sin of pride, I'm dealing with lust, and when I'm not dealing with lust, it's laziness, when it's not laziness, it's worry, etc. But then I wake up and look back at a year ago. And I see growth. I see that God has given me relief in areas of sin in my life. I'm spending more time with God. I'm studying His Word more. I'm falling into sin less often. I'm depending on myself less and my faith is growing. But that sin is still there. And that's why we need the Lord. We are not perfect. But Christ is. We can look to Him as the propitiation for our sin. What we need is faith. A faith that He will deliver us. A faith that He is enough. We aren't. God is good.

One really encouraging passage I read recently, in regards to temptation, is this quick snippet from Thomas Watson's book "All Things for Good"

"Question. But sometimes Satan foils a child of God. How does this work for good?
Answer. I grant that, through the suspension of divine grace, and the fury of a temptation, a saint may be overcome; yet this foiling by a temptation shall be overruled for good. By this foil God makes way for the augmentation of grace. Peter was tempted to self-confidence, he presumed upon his own strength; and when he would needs stand alone, Christ let him fall. But this wrought for his good, it cost him many a tear. ‘He went out, and wept bitterly’ (Matthew 26:75). And now he grows more modest. He durst not say he loved Christ more than the other apostles. ‘Lovest thou me more than these?’ (John 21:15). He durst not say so, his fall broke the neck of his pride. The foiling by a temptation causes more circumspection and watchfulness in a child of God. Though Satan did before decoy him into sin, yet for the future he will be the more cautious. He will have a care of coming within the lion’s chain any more. He is more shy and fearful of the occasions of sin. He never goes out without his spiritual armour, and he girds on his armour by prayer. He knows he walks on slippery ground, therefore he looks wisely to his steps. He keeps close sentinel in his soul, and when he spies the devil coming, he stands to his arms, and displays the skill of faith (Ephesians 6:16). This is all the hurt the devil does. When he foils a saint by temptation, he cures him of his careless neglect; he makes him watch and pray more. When wild beasts get over the hedge and hurt the corn, a man will make his fence the stronger: so, when the devil gets over the hedge by a temptation, a Christian will be sure to mend his fence; he will become more fearful of sin, and careful of duty. Thus the being worsted by temptation works for good.
Objection. But if being foiled works for good, this may make Christians careless whether they are overcome by temptations or no.
Answer. There is a great deal of difference between falling into a temptation, and running into a temptation. The falling into a temptation shall work for good, not the running into it. He that falls into a river is capable of help and pity, but he that desperately turns into it is guilty of his own death. It is madness running into a lion’s den. He that runs himself into a temptation is like Saul, who fell upon his own sword.
From all that has been said, see how God disappoints the old serpent, making his temptations turn to the good of His people. Surely if the devil knew how much benefit accrues to the saints by temptation, he would forbear to tempt. Luther once said, ‘There are three things make a Christian - prayer, meditation, and temptation.’ The apostle Paul, in his voyage to Rome, met with a contrary wind (Acts 27:4). So the wind of temptation is a contrary wind to that of the Spirit; but God makes use of this cross-wind, to blow the saints to heaven."


Sunday, June 2, 2013

In God

In a sense, the majority of people want peace. People long to be at white beaches, peaceful valleys, and cozy cottages. They want to have amazing relationships. They want to laugh and talk with friends and family. But we aren't going to have peace unless we go to God. Unless our identity is in God, we are going to be fretful, proud, and have no peace. No relationship however amazing it is will be without rocks and storms. There won't be a home where things don't rot and break. There won't be a beach where sharp rocks and booming storms won't come. All relationships will end at some point, because death will come to every one of us someday. 

But there is hope. There is perfect peace and that is in God. A promise of glory and perfect redemption. All my junk can be taken from me and I can be living in a gulag prison camp, but God will sustain. God promises that "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." I have fallen many times to temptation. Too many times to number. And in some ways, it's easy to get discouraged. It's easy to give up. It's easy to become the man who gave into temptation and gave the flesh what it wants. But that will never bring us peace. There will never be peace when we are taking our sin and putting it first.

Let us put our faith in God. Run towards the cross.