We Need to Pray for People Like This….

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/08/17/nypd-seeks-pack-of-thugs-who-beat-rob-fordham-heights-man-of-his-bible/

The link above is to a story of a senseless crime. Of course, we are all de-sensitized to this type of crime in America. It happens every day – an innocent older man, beaten by 3 thugs for his cash, cellphone, and his bible.

What?

Yes I said that right. They stole his Bible.

We should pray today that these youths actually open that Bible and read it.

Maybe, just maybe, that Bible will be put to good use.

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Praying for Norway

“The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.    “
–Eziekel 18:20

What prompted a Norwegian     man to kill 93 people?  What caused him to believe that the right course of action was to place a bomb in Oslo, then go to a youth camp and slaughter children?  What kind of world do we live in that contains animals like these?  It is really hard to understand.

I don’t know the reason.

We are now seeing plenty of experts in the headlines with possible answers.  Maybe it was caused by politicians and leaders sparking hatred amongst extremists.  Maybe it was because he had a difficult childhood.  Maybe it was a particular traumatic event that led him to commit this horrible act.  Maybe he is clinically insane and was off his medication.  I suppose there could be many reasons.

Maybe – he is just evil.

I think sometimes we try to make sense out our fallen world.  We try to find the magic pill or cure that will prevent mad men from committing crimes. If we just medicate them correctly, or if we just fix the issues in society that led them astray.  Why is it that we just can’t come to grips with the fact that there is such a thing as evil in this world?  Why can’t we just understand that there are people in this world that don’t want to be good people?

Don’t get me wrong.  I completely agree that medication and finding resolutions to societal issues that cause crime are worthy endeavors, especially since I know that through God – all is possible.  But evil people have existed since this world began.  As much as we try, they will always be among us.  Since the day Adam fell in the garden of Eden, evil has existed, and until our Messiah returns, life in this fallen world will be a struggle.  Some will unfortunately choose evil rather than good.  Some will fall.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
–Matthew 6:13

I truly believe that the farther we stray from God, the easier it is for us to be tempted, and the closer we come to evil.  It can happen to any of us. While most of us would never commit a crime as a result, we are all susceptible to it.  We are all imperfect, and such can be tempted to act in a way that does not honor God.

So how should we react to this horrible act?

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
–Romans 12:21

The Bible will always hold the key.  I believe it is very clear how we should react.  We can overcome evil only with good.  We cannot do it through revenge, since that right belongs to God.  It is not through anger, as that will simply tempt us to stray from God.  It is only through our adherence to the Bible, and God’s word that we can overcome such a horrific crime. Hey, I know it isn’t easy, but Jesus never told us that following Him would be easy.

Today, we pray for Norway.

We pray for the children and all who lost their lives.

We pray for those that have survived and are finding a way to make sense of the senseless.

We pray for ourselves, that we continue to follow our Savior, and that evil is overcome in the arms of Jesus.

Revelation, by Third Day

My life,
Has led me down the road that’s so uncertain
And now I am left alone and I am broken,
Trying to find my way,
Trying to find the faith that’s gone
This time,
I know that you are holding all the answers
I’m tired of losing hope and taking chances,
On roads that never seem,
To be the ones that bring me home

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I’ve been trying to find my way,
I haven’t got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I’ve got nothing without You
I’ve got nothing without You

My life,
Has led me down this path that’s ever winding
Through every twist and turn I’m always finding,
That I am lost again (I am lost again)
Tell me when this road will ever end

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I’ve been trying to find my way,
I haven’t got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I’ve got nothing without You
I’ve got nothing without…

I don’t know where I can turn
Tell me when will I learn
Won’t You show me where I need to go
Oh oh
Let me follow Your lead,
I know that it’s the only way that I can get back home

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I’ve been trying to find my way,
I haven’t got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I’ve got nothing without You
I’ve got nothing without You

Oh, give me a revelation…

I’ve got nothing without You
I’ve got nothing without You

What is a Christian Marriage Anyway?

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
–Ephesians 5:22-33

Today I would like to tackle an area of the Bible that many don’t like to talk about.  The reason it  is avoided is not valid. In the passage above, we have Paul writing to the Ephesian church, and discussing how husbands and wives should treat each other. Unfortunately, because of a distortion of the meaning of this passage, many even within the church tend to pretend that this passage does not exist.  Yet we will see that if we study it in the correct context, that it is truly a beautiful passage, and does not in any way demean women, but rather, lifts them up.

The main concern for many in our society is the first two verses.  Suggesting that women submit to their husbands is something that some find objectionable.  Further, the second verse – that the husband is to be the head of the wife – ranks right up there for some as one of the most difficult parts of the Bible.  But is it really?  Is it really wrong to say that the husband should be the head of the household?  Is it wrong to say that wives should submit to their husbands?

Before we get to those verses, I will take this passage in reverse order.  Let’s look at the last one first.

“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

Notice that this verse joins two statements with the word “and”.  First, it says that husbands should love their wives as they love themselves, then goes on to say that wives should reverence – or respect – her husband.  The word “and” means that both points are equally important, and both are demanded of us as husbands and wives.  I don’t know too many people that would have issue with this verse.  Understand, that the Bible is telling us that a husband’s love for his wife should be no different than the love he has for himself.  That is a pretty bold statement, don’t you think?  He is telling us that as husbands, we should be willing to do for our wives anything that we are willing to do for ourselves.  In turn, women should have great respect for their husband. So far so good?

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”

This is the bulk of the passage.  Notice that this entire section deals not with the wife but the husband.  I will draw your attention first to the part that states husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church, giving himself for it.  Let’s explore that a minute here.  Do we all remember what Christ did for us?  You remember that whole dying on the cross thing that saved us from our sins, granting us eternal life if we just believe and trust in Him?  Yup, that is what He is expecting of husbands in their behavior towards their wives.  Quite a responsibility here isn’t it?  The rest of the passage explains how husbands should present their wives as unblemished, holy.  As husbands, we are to be willing to lay down our lives for our wives, loving them as we love ourselves.  Then the final verse says it all.  We are to leave our father and mother and be joined to our wives, and we shall become one flesh.  What a great responsibility husbands have, that we are to be Christ-like in our dealings with our “other half”, the other part of our flesh.  Do you believe this is worthy of respect?

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Now we come to the verses that some have an issue with.  Wives are to “submit” to their husbands.  Husbands are to be the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church.  What does this really mean anyway?  Well, let’s take the relationship between Christ and the church.  Do we as the body of Christ have a problem submitting to Christ?  Of course not.  Why?  Well, the answer is obvious.  He is the Messiah.  He is our Savior. He is God in the form of the son.  We submit to Him, not because we are forced,  but we do so willingly.  We rejoice and sing about our submission to our Savior.  Obviously, it is in our best interests to do so.

So, with respect to wives submitting to their husband, why is there such objection to it?  We have already read how husbands should treat the wives, correct?  We know that a husband is to be Christ-like, willing to die for his wife, striving to treat his wife as holy, keeping her unblemished.  He is to love her as himself.  With this great responsibility that has been place on husbands by God to love and protect their wives, is it so difficult to believe that their wives should submit to this?  In reality, is not submission to a good, Christian husband who treats his wife the same way that Christ treats the church not one of the most beautiful things a woman could do?  Is it not a reflection of her submission to Christ? Is not in her best interests to submit to the one who will love and protect her in the same manner that Christ does for her?

Let me be clear.  I am not for one moment suggesting that wives are to submit to their husbands as some take that verse – out of context.  I have heard and read many compare this verse to some form of slavery.  Nor am I suggesting that wives need to do everything their husbands tell them, even if their husbands are abusive or not acting in the best interests of the family.  What I am suggesting is submission of a wife to her husband – in the context of the entire passage – is one of the most beautiful and holy things we could ever witness.  A husband who loves his wife so much he is willing to die for her like Christ did for us, and a woman who respects her husband so much she will walk hand in hand with him through any trial or tribulation is something to be cherished, not shunned.

In a world where the family unit seems to be in constant danger of collapsing, I submit to you that if more people would study and follow this passage of the Bible, we would be in much better shape as a society.  It is a proven fact that how we are treated as babies have an enormous affect on the rest of our lives.  How great it would be for every baby in this world to be loved and nurtured by parents that are following the passage above?  A husband that loves his wife like himself, and a woman that respects her husband and submits to him like she submits to Christ.  Would it solve every issue?

Probably not.

But it would be a great start.

My Faith…

I am a Christian.  What does that mean?

Well, that means I believe in God, a Christian God.  The only God.  That means I believe in the trinity.  I believe in God in the form of the father, the son, and the holy spirit.  I believe what is written in the Bible, and I believe that the Bible was inspired by God himself.

Today we have so many flavors of Christianity.  The Bible has been interpreted in so many ways, and frankly, some take so much liberty with what is written that Christianity warps into something other than what I believe to be Christianity.  So here is what I believe.

God created heaven and earth, and everything on earth.

Christ is God, in the form of man, that God sent down to earth to save us from our sin.  He lived among us, lived a sinless life, died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, rose again in three days and now sits in heaven.  God’s love for us is so great, he gives us a way out of our sinful lives.  The way out is through his son Jesus Christ.  If we believe in him, and we follow his two commandments, we will be saved.  His two commandments:

  1. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
  2. And you must love your neighbour as yourself.

I constantly try to keep those two commandments.  Yet because I am a fallen creature in a fallen world, I can never achieve perfection.  God knows this and loves me regardless of my shortcomings.  If I believe and I repent from my sins, I am saved.

Christianity is not a religion.  Religion is how man explains God.  Christianity is how God reveals himself to man.

I believe it is important in this world of constant media and technology for us to recognize the difference between scripture and religious doctrine.  Man is not perfect and that goes for the church, which is run by men.  I go to church every Sunday, and I have a wonderful group of Pastors.  But they are men, and as men suffer from the same imperfections as I.  So I constantly try to keep my eyes, ears, and heart upward towards God.

That is my faith.