October 2007 - Posts
If you google God, you will get 562 million results-making it one of the most poplar subjects in the webiverse. But you don't need to read every result to realize that when you have that many returns you have an equal amount of confusion.
But wait a minute...there's only one God-right? And He has made Himself known-right? So why all the confusion?
In a word...pride. I've done so much thinking about this that my thinker hurts-and what it basically comes down to is the core and foundation of all that is wrong:
The way I see it, you can accept God for who He is according to what He has said about Himself in His word, or you can reject it and make God into your own image...you know, one that serves your purposes and lets you be as religious as you think is necessary. I think that's why God said this:
"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
This is one of the clearest answers on record to the question of "who is God and what is He like?"-and interestingly enough, it takes on the issue of pride. Notice some of the things He is saying-
"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches."
In other words: pride is a bad thing, and if you get caught up in boasting and bragging, you'll forget the most important things in life: God is God and you are not. Think about how stupid it is for people to brag about anything they did. They wouldn't even be breathing if it weren't for God-so how could anyone take the credit for anything? Have you also noticed what all warped views of God have in common? They all leave room for pride and boasting.
"...but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD."
God says "I am knowable" - as in - "I want to have a relationship with you." It starts with realizing He is the Lord, which basically includes all the necessary things that go along with being God: all-powerful, all-knowing, no beginning, no end, perfect in everything, and Creator of the universe. Oh yeah, and also the One who gives you air to breathe.
God also lets you in on part of His character here, because He "exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth." Here's the way another version of the Bible puts it:
"I act in loyal love. I do what's right and set things right and fair."
The basic nature of God is like a two sided coin. On one side is ultimate love-defined as seeking the highest good for the object being loved. And what's the object? Us! God seeks our highest good in everything He does-only pride keeps people from seeing that (as in-I don't need God's love.)
The other side is God's righteousness- defined as acting in the most just and fair way possible. God has no choice but to act righteously- only pride keeps people from seeing that (as in- I know more about fairness than God does).
So maybe I can save you a little google time. Who is God? Well, He's God-Creator and Ruler of the Universe. What is He like? Well, He's a perfect combination of perfect love and perfect righteousness...
Now that's something to brag about!
What does this mean for the supernatural scene and Halloween? Time to celebrate! That's right - let all the scary TV themes and costumes involving the supernatural be a visual reminder that they are just that: fiction and fake masks - and that's a reason to par-teh!
The only power Satan has over you is what you voluntarily give him in the first place. He'll try to convince you that he can defeat you with guilt and deception...but that's the time you remember the victory parade that happened over 2000 years ago when the Captain of our salvation marched the enemy though the spiritual streets of the universe and put on public display a victory notice for all who trust in Him for eternal life.
The 'trick' to all this is not facing Satan in your own strength, and calling on Jesus to bring victory in your life.
The 'treat' is that when you do, you'll experience a life of walking in the light that no amount of darkness can ever overcome.
So this Halloween, forget about 'boo!'...because of Christ, we can say - 'boo-ya!"
So, in a re-cap, at the Cross, Jesus completely defeated the forces of evil for all time, therefore Christians can celebrate the fact that Satan and his demons have no power over us.
The key here is to keep in mind an often overlooked but absolutely critical passage of Scripture that give us the 'lenses' to see the spiritual world in 20/20 focus and respond accordingly. See if you agree:
God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. (Colossians 2:13b-15)
What does this verse have to do with the spiritual world? In a word...everything! Paul is telling us that when Jesus died on the Cross, what looked like absolute defeat by Satan and his army over Christ was actually a total and complete victory over him! First of all, it 'canceled the record of charges against us' - in other words, it erased the guilty charges for all our sin and rebellion against Him, so Satan can't bring guilt and shame your way anymore. Second - and this is the really amazing part -through the Cross, Jesus 'disarmed' Satan and his demons, and even 'shamed' them publically.
The picture behind 'shamed them publically' is that of the Roman army as they marched back through the city streets in a parade of triumph. Behind the General of the Army came the defeated kings, captains and people who were openly displayed for all to see as completely conquered.
So in this verse, Paul paints a picture of Jesus as the conquering General in the middle of a cosmic triumph, and in the victory parade are Satan and all his demons, who are beaten forever, for every one to see. Paul wants us to understand that even though Satan and his demons still exist, because of Jesus they are a crushed and routed enemy.
Flip on your TV - and most nights you'll be able to tune in to shows that deal with the 'other side' of things. Whether you're pushing up daisies, looking at the Supernatural, or following the Reaper...there's no lack of choices when it comes to things ghostly, ghastly, and grisly.
Quick note on 'Reaper'...the basic plot is that the main character Sam is in eternal servitude to the devil because his parents promised the soul of their firstborn to Satan in exchange for the Dad's life.
Then there's the big event at the end of October where candy makers and costume companies are making bank hand over fist, while trick or treaters and Halloween gatherings are found on every street in America.
So what's with all the attraction to the 'dark side'? It seems more and more that our culture is mesmerized by the seamy side of the spiritual world. Good entertainment? For many, yes. Dangerous? Potentially...because there's no getting around the fact that there is a spiritual world which overlays ours, and there are things that do much more than go 'bump' in the night. In fact, there are battles raging within a few feet of you that would make the telekinetic entertainment shows look more like Teletubbies.
So what would make supernatural themed shows and celebrations dangerous? Well, aside from the clearly obvious things like participating in séances or replacing Mario Party with a Ouija board, there is another issue to consider for those who belong to Christ. This issue is simply one of perception. There are many believers who give way too much credit to the power of the dark side, and when they do, they usually find themselves under its influence.
And that is dangerous.
70 Preteens + A handful of adults + A lock-in @ The Sevierville Recreational Center = A lot of needed prayer. Thank you. I certainly would appreciate it.
When was the last time you litteraly wept over your own personal sin?
After a lot of prayer and consideration, I have decided NOT to get a tattoo. Me getting a tattoo would offend someone, somewhere, and I don't want to cause my brother to stumble. Although it would be permanent reminder to me and a testimony to others of God's redemption of mankind, I hope my life displays that a whole lot more than a tattoo. Yes, it would be cool, but as BJ once told me...."A tattoo is a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling." Although I don't thnik I would ever regret getting scripture on my arm or shoulder, I'm sure there are days when I wish it wasn't there. Thanks guys. Two reasons....not based on anything but me....not to get a tattoo.
1.) There is nothing I need that a tattoo can give me. Jesus is all I need.
2.) Getting a tattoo is to close to a line(the world) that I don't want to cross or get near, so I'll stay away.
Thanks again guys for your input.
So, does it come down to the whole issue of the old law of the Old Testimant not applying to us anymore? It would seem like someone would say that just so they can justify getting a tattoo. I don't want to be one of those people, because guess what? The old law still applies. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus says to us "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets." Here, Christ explicitly tells us that laws we need to follow are those that deal with the love of God and the love of our neighbour. Therefore, He is telling us to continue to practice the moral code (the Ten Commandments), but do so because you are motivated by love and spirit rather than fear of punishment, which is what people were motivated by before Christ came to die for your sins, He also takes those commandments and gives us a new understanding, based on his New Law of love and faith. He shows that it is not enough to follow the letter of the Law, there is also an underlying Spirit: Again I still am not sure, it's a struggle, am I trying to justify or am I wanting a permanent reminder to me and unbelievers of the love of Jesus? Arrrgggggghhhh.
I have found certain imagery in the Bible. Check this out. Although there are no scriptural references in which we are told to "get tattooed" (and we wouldn't expect any), there are a number of verses in which the writers, whom we believe were inspired by the Holy Spirit, speak about permanent markings and outward physical signs of devotion. In a very real way, religious tattoos are like those permanent outward signs.
"And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth." -Exodus 13:9
"It shall be as a mark on your hand or frontlets between your eyes; for by a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt."
A full reading of these verses shows that God is speaking figuratively about a celebration of the day the Jewish people were saved and brought out of Egypt. For the Jews, this celebration will be their unique mark. Later, around the time of Christ, the Jews began to take these verses literally, tying small leather boxes (phylacteries) on their arms and foreheads and placing passages of Scripture in the boxes.
"This one will say, 'I am the LORD's,' another will call himself by the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, 'The Lord's,' and surname himself by the name of Israel."
"Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me."
Here Isaiah is speaking God's word to the more conscious minorities of Israel who, during their exile, are worried about becoming lost amidst the pagans of Babylon. Through Isaiah, God reminds His people that he will never forget them because He loves them, and as proof that He will never abandon them, He tells the Jews that He has graven [carved into...written permanently] on his hands a reminder to save them.
"And the LORD said to him, 'Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it'."
The mark in this verse refers to the letter T or the Hebrew letter Tau, which appears as the shape of a cross, and which was painted in lamb's blood on the door posts to save the "remnant" of Israel when God wiped out all the first born of Egypt during the last plague. In this instance, the mark will be placed upon believers who are saddened by the sins committed in Jerusalem.
"Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear on my body the brand marks of Jesus."
Here, St. Paul is likely discussing the beatings and punishments he endured for the sake of the Gospel of Christ (see 2 Cor. 11:24-28). This is a pointed jab at those who believe they are justified by other marks, that is, circumcision. Undeniable, though, is the tattoo imagery. Brand marks are what Roman slave owners tattooed on their chattel to display ownership.
"Then I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, 'Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.'"
"On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords."
This last verse from Revelation is part of John's prophecy about the destruction of the Roman Empire and the heretofore-invincible Roman armies. The verse shows Christ as the "Master of the Universe" whose name, which is the Word of God (and, in essence, everything), is more than just a title on a royal garment. Instead, it is something that belongs to Jesus alone and is intrinsically linked to He who is Lord of all...through a unique marking on his body.
So....what do you do, remember that these verses are not tattoo proof verses. They only show that permanent markings and outward signs of devotion, similar to our religious tattoos, are not foreign to God or His people.
Okay, okay, I feel like I've sparked something with the whole Tattoo issue, so I've decided to do my homework, research, and decide myself weather or not to get one. Steeple, I would like your input, weather you have a tat or not. Okay here we go, here's what I've found so far. It seems every Christian anti-tattoo argument is based primarily on one thing...a single verse from Leviticus: "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD." Lev. 19:28 Does this verse really condemn all tattoos? Does it, I don't know? Doesn't sound like it. Leviticus 19:26-31 deals with pagan practices and God's prohibitions against adopting those practices. In verse 28, God is warning the Jewish people about a pagan practice at funerals, where pagans would mutilate/mark themselves to appease their false gods. The pagans hoped that by cutting themselves and marking images/symbols of idols on their bodies, that they would obtain favour in the afterlife from their false gods, both for themselves and for those who just died. As no one with a Christian tattoo is trying to pacify a pagan deity, is it safe to say this verse is not relevant to us?
....is where life becomes real. A place where we know that we matter to God. It's where we realize that we were created to live our lives to the fullest; in the presence of the God who loves us more than we could ever imagine!
Okay, I was going somewhere with the Halo 3 thing, but got one of those big brain farts. I can't remember where I was going with it....I'm sorry, brain overload lately with me and my crazy life and schedule. Did I mention that there is no such thing as part time ministry. If someone finds it, let me know. I'd like to work there....no, I'm just kidding, Jesus is awesome and I love Him soooo much. He is so good to me and blesses me beyond measure.
The Halo 3 thing was going in a direction with the Armor of God, but I lost my train of thought. My bad. Anyway, put on the whole armor of God everyday to fight the spiritual Halo 3 going on inside your self. There. Sorry.
Those of you who have seen bjnotbk's new/old banner know that from the picture that he has some sweet artwork. Yes, tattoo's, I have been wanting one lately. Nothing big, maybe just a Bible verse. Probably Matt. 16:26, I must admit that one of my vices is watching LA ink on The Learning Channel. Last night they showed an episode with a youth pastor getting a tattoo on his arm of Saul's conversion....it was awesome! The most beautiful tat I had ever seen. I know I shouldn't, cuz their kind of permanent....but I want one so bad.
Watch this awesome video that brought me to tears today, I will finish my Halo 3 series next week, sorry about the delay.
Have a God-blessed weekend! Love you guys!
Somewhere in the midst of sipping my Mountain Dew Game Fuel with a Halo 3 advertisement on it and while watching a commerical about it and seeing the logo at Burger King on my wrapper I got one of those questions stuck in my head, questions that make you go hmmmmmm. I understand it's the mother of all console games with great features, but I think it's deeper, kind of like a "save the planet kind of feeling that runs inside of us all.
Of course, Halo 3 is just a game. We really don't have an invading alien force on our planet with the goal of eliminating the human race.....do we? Well, maybe not in a physical sense. But trust me, there is a Halo 3 battle going on in the spiritual world that is just as real as the 4 hour checkout line at Wal-Mart when you bought the game. But don't take my word for it, take God's word for it. In Luke 10:18 Jesus tell us, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." He's refering to the time when Satan was kicked out of heaven like a bolt of lightning, and this began our war on humanity. Eph. 6:12 also tells us who we are really fighting against. It's not physical enemies, but against enemies of the unseen world. It talks about mighty powers in a dark world. The Bible also says that when Satan was discharged from his duties that he took a mighty army of fallen angels with him. He delcared war on God and his grace and love, as well as Humans, especially those who serve God.
Make no mistake, there are dark forces of the spiritual world that have marked YOU for destruction, and no amount of quick moves, strategy, or teamwork will win this fight. God has given us all a very powerful weapon though.....and we'll look at it tomorrow.
What gets 10 MILLION dollars of advertising and keeps 10,000 stores open all night? You guessed it, Halo 3. Unless your a teen icon in rehab or have been vacationing on another planet I'm sure you've noticed the mania that is Halo 3. It has hit our planet like a flood. Burger King, Mountain Dew, 7-11, even NASCAR driver David Stremme's # 40 racing car has an advertisement on it.
The world has Halo fever....and the only cure is not more cowbell, but console time baby!
Master Chief John 117 is back, bruised and battered. But ready to give humanity hope that the Covenant can be defeated and survival is possible. By the way, in John 1:17 in the Bible is a reference to Jesus Christ....coincidence? I don't think so!
I've noticed that something about Halo 3 throws even the most mature folks back into the childhood days of toy soldiers and backyard war games. Only this game isn't about little plastic guys and running in a field. We're talking about jaw dropping graphics, with 50,000 audio clips, a 60 piece orchestra and a 24 voice choir all nestled sweetly in 5.1 digital surround sound.
What makes this series so popular? Why do an average of 300,000 I've-got-way-to-much-free-time people log online every DAY to play this game? More tomorrow.