Archives for category: Christian

handcuffs

Our culture has bought a lie. That lie is that a sexual relationship is the greatest experience of our lives.  If you don’t have a sexual relationship you don’t have a life.  This lie has been around ever since the Renaissance as human society broke away from the inhibiting rules of the Medieval Church and its domination and before the Church’s dominance,  when sexuality was central to the worship of ancient gods and goddesses. This lie has grown more and more powerful and prevalent with the advent of the modern sexual revolution.  This lie is so strong that traditional heterosexual relationships are giving way to a whole rainbow of other kinds sexual relationships.

The truth is that the one relationship we were created for-the greatest experience of our lives is a relationship with God.

What is sad is that in pursuit of sexual relationships many people are committing sexual acts that inhibit a relationship with God.

This lie is not only among people that don’t really pursue a relationship with God, but sadly it is prevalent among those who call themselves Christians.  They believe that their purpose in life is to find that perfect Christian mate and then they can live their life.

As this lie has grown and it has gone further and further from the true purpose of sex for procreation and family stability, to gratification of pleasure and coupling at any cost, the shades of perversion have grown.

With the popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey” the sexual deviation of Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, and Masochism is being mainstreamed as a “normal” sexual behavior.  Those who wish to be in a sexual relationship are now buying  that these behaviors need to be a part of the repertoire of any sexual relationship.

If we continue to believe this lie we will never find peace, and joy in our lives and we will never have the assurance of eternal life with God when this life is through.  It is not too late to seek the truth and build a life on the one foundation that will not fail.

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 8:32

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Advertisements

And-you-will-know-the-truth-and-the-truth-will-make-you-free

Who Is The Real Enemy In The Battle Of The Sexes?

There is a lot of talk about the War on Women   and the War on Men.    The aggression of women because of feminism is creating a   Sexodus   among men that is causing them to retreat from committed relationships with women.  This can be attributed to the sexual revolution and the move away from Judeo Christian values that have traditionally been the basis for the family unit.

Apparently free love is not so free.  Our society is broken and loneliness is increasing with the speed of technological advancements.  The real war is the war on humanity and the enemy is sin.

Those who don’t espouse to traditional Christian values often use the stringent and, what they view as archaic, lifestyle requirements that are purveyed by the Bible as reason to flee religious involvement.  Those who do embrace these values in the Christian community believe that God knows best and that the life of faith is not about reason and logic but about obedience. Christians believe that the list of do’s and don’ts is a recipe for living a life based on God’s best for their lives.

Their faith is based on a loving relationship with a Benevolent Savior who wants to protect His followers from the penalty of sin in their lives.

The horrifying consequences in our disintegrating society are proof that sin costs.  The price of sin is now an inability to enjoy the beautiful gift of sexuality and the companionship that God created to be enjoyed between a man and woman. More and more people are living isolated lives.  Communion and companionship are declining.

I have addressed the rise in  single person households, but with the latest research that has been released, it is apparent that the damage to our society and individuals is more devastating than I had even imagined.  It grieves me and I am certain that it grieves our Heavenly Father that there are so many caught in the trap of a “free” society and the consequences of the freedom.

For those of you unaware of what Biblical sexuality is about, let me enlighten you.

  1.  Sex was created between a man and a woman: Matthew 10: 6 But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. 7 ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, 8 and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, 9 let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
  2. Sex creates a   powerful bond   – a bond that is designed to sustain a lifetime relationship and secure the family unit for healthy procreation. This bond happens with anyone you have sex with.  There is no such thing as casual sex.
  3.  I Corinthians 6: 15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16 And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” 17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
  4. Sex outside of God’s design is damaging to your body.  If you question this look at the dangerous diseases that promiscuity causes. I Corinthians 6:18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.
  5. Christ was a great liberator for women and men. Galatians 3:28  There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Our “free” society has enslaved us.  It tells us that there is no happiness apart from sex. This “freedom” has left us more lonely, more unhappy and less “free” as we search for sexual gratification in any form.

It’s not just video games and casual sex that young men are retreating into. They are also immersing themselves in fetishes that to their grandparents’ generation would resemble grounds for incarceration, and which drive them further away from the formerly fairer sex. Consider, for example, the example of furry culture and anthropomorphic animal sex fetishism, both of which are experiencing explosive growth, fuelled by the internet.

Jack Rivlin’s student newspaper The Tab, which we encountered in part one, has noticed the trend spreading on UK campuses. (It’s already rife throughout the US.) Other alternative sexual behaviours, including homosexuality and transgenderism, are more prevalent on campus now too.

“It’s eminently plausible that there are a greater number of people who identify as homosexual, bisexual or other sexualities who are happy to be labelled as such these days,” agrees Cambridge Union president Tim Squirrell, from whom we heard in part one, speaking about the students he sees passing through his Union. “I think we’re becoming more open and accepting of people who live different kinds of lifestyles and have different kinds of identities.” The Sexodus Part 2

The one true relationship that we were all created for-men and women-is a relationship with God.  This is the relationship that will bring us the most joy.  It is the one relationship that will strengthen all our human relationships.

John 15:9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

There is only one way to true freedom:

34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

scarlett

I am a terrible romantic. Maybe that is one of the reasons that I have been single many more years than attached.  The fictional love stories just can’t seem to materialize in any of my real life relationships.

One of my favorite romances is Gone With The Wind. Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler’s timeless love story has always captivated me.  Their turbulent relationship ends with Rhett’s famous line (in the movie version). When Scarlett asks him (as he finally leaves her after years of alienating his affection), “What shall I do?  Where shall I go?” He responds, “Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.”

As he walks out the door and into the foggy night, Scarlett throws herself on the stairs and sobs.  As she sobs, she thinks of the only other man that she really loved-her father. She remembers her father’s words,” There is one thing you love more than me Katie Scarlett-Tara.” (Tara- the family plantation.)

“Yes,” Scarlett answers the memory, ”Tara, I’ll go home to Tara”. And with that- Tara is her reason to face another day.

Every woman needs a Tara in her life-something that gives her purpose and meaning, and the rock upon which she builds her life. Men need one too, but usually they do. Men tend to find their identity in their work, where as women find it in their relationships.

Relationships are so tenuous, even those that weather the years have plenty of low spots which could feasibly send your identity into an abyss. That is why women need a Tara.

It is far too big a burden for any relationship to be the source of a person’s identity. This no doubt, is one of the reasons that relationships have a hard time sticking.

I discovered my Tara recently. I was bemoaning my singleness and generally feeling sorry for myself, when I got a kudo on one of my writing pieces.  It immediately altered my attitude as quickly as the dog in “Up”s attitude changes over “Squirrel”.  All semblance of unhappiness evaporated in the bliss of my Tara.

My Tara has its roots in the one relationship that I will allow to define me-that with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He is the One True Rock that is the greatest foundation for my life. All my endeavors (including my writing) are expressions of my service to Him.  I am like Don
Quixote with my pen (ie laptop) as my sword-battling evil, injustice and oppression to insure liberty and justice for all.

Find your Tara -your raison d’etre- and when you find it you will be home and anything else is just a plus.

                                          westboro Baptist church

The Westboro Baptist Church is in the news again.  This time their hate mongering is actually being used for good.  In their threat to picket the funeral of Robin Williams, they made another comedian really mad. The comedian parlayed his anger into a fundraising effort for St. Judes’s hospital and raised nearly $100,000 for the charity. Initially, he had offered to send the WBC to protest a real threat to Christianity-the group  ISIS .  When the State department discouraged this effort, he decided to host a crowd funding instead for the hospital.

I am amazed that the Westboro Baptist Church gets the funding it does to travel around the U. S. with their message of hate and repentance.  As a Christian, they have always been a source of embarrassment to me.  Embarrassment is too mild a term. They are revolting to me.  I am reluctant to even call them my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Yesterday I read one of the verses that WBC and other churches who preach the gospel of hate use as fuel for their fire.  As I read it, it made me question the salvation of these groups.

Galatians 5:19-21New Living Translation (NLT)

 

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that about half of the sins listed apply to WBC.

Maybe they don’t know Jesus the way that they say that they do.

Maybe they are some of the false prophets that Jesus warned about.

Matthew 7:15-23New International Version (NIV)

 

True and False Prophets

 

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

The Apostle Paul goes on to describe the fruits of the Holy Spirit of a true follower of Jesus Christ after delineating the fruits of sin.

Galatians 5:22-26New International Version (NIV)

 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

The result of living a life void of the fruits of the Spirit is an eternity separated from God.

Matt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Maybe WBC will take their own advice and repent and become true followers of the one true God and live a life full of the fruits of the Spirit.  Then, maybe, they will truly be able to lead others to know Him as well.

two-new-maleficent-posters-released

 

 

One of my favorite fairy tales just had a liberal Hollywood redo.  I suspected as much as I saw the previews for the film.

I have always loved Disney because its stories were great analogies of true good and evil that exist in our world.  As the lines get blurred (yes, I’m talking to you Robin Thicke) in our society, so are the new remakes of these stories.

Morality is no longer black and white but “50 Shades of Grey” and with it good and evil.

There is confusion over who really is to blame for the murderous group Isis , or the immigration crisis  , and good Christians are maligned over standing up for Christian Values  in our “One Nation Under God”.

And so in the remake of the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty called Maleficent, we find out that the wicked fairy Maleficent is not really so evil and her evil was justified by a traumatic assault that she received at the hand of the man she loved.  She is not only less evil than her depiction in the original story, she actually has become the heroine in the retelling. (Spoiler alert) It is her love that brings Princess Aurora back to life.

Why does this make me sick?  It makes me sick because true evil makes me sick. Sin makes me sick.  The Bible says –

James 1:15New Living Translation (NLT)

15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

Sin and evil destroy.

You don’t have to look very far to see the results of declining morals in America today. One in ten  Americans are taking anti-depressants, and the suicide rate has increased 30% from 1999 to 2010 with more Americans now dying from suicide than auto accidents.

If we gloss over sin and evil in this world and white-wash it away we will be destroyed by it.

The Bible warns us that-  I Cor. 11:14 Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Don’t be fooled by the false light of evil.

John 1:8-10New Living Translation (NLT)

8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

Let us seek the true Light-and find peace in a world of chaos.

7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

fargo

I watched the season finale of Fargo last night.  I saw nearly all of the episodes.  Once again I find myself compelled to analyze a piece of popular culture.  I realize that “Game of Thrones” is the TV show that dominated television with its season finale on Sunday.  The themes in Game of Thrones, however, are more than I can stomach. When it comes to popular culture, I do draw the line at a certain point.

Fargo the TV show, like Fargo the 1996 Coen Brother’s movie, juxtaposes the innocent, nearly simpleminded residents of North Dakota with the bumbling criminals and their associations with true evildoers.

The mood and cinematography of the show is similar to that of the movie. It is dark and brooding, set against the pure winter white of the Dakotan landscape. The violence is unforgiving, and another strange dichotomy, set against the simple bucolic life of the North Dakotan town folk.  The graphic nature of the show’s violence further confirms my premise in my blog (Is Violence The New Porn?).  In the finale we got the privilege of watching Billy Bob Thornton’s character Lorne Malvo set his own broken leg with a large enough wound that we see the bone.

Lorne Malvo comes to his demise at the hand of Gus one of the innocent, good characters in the story. Lorne Malvo is bad- “muey mal” as they say in Spanish.  He embodies the guiltless, sociopath.

What struck me was that the truly good characters were untouched by their exposure to the evil in the story.

Writer Noah Hawley tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies. “And I think what people like is this romantic idea that you go off and you face evil and you come back and your reward is to lead a simple life. And you don’t have to go on this dark journey where you’re some demon-hunter who is haunted.”

It reminded me of many admonitions to Christians in the Bible about being “in the world and not of it” and being “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16. These describe how evil can be all around you, and yet, leave your soul, your character, and your essence untouched.

This wasn’t true of all of the characters.  Lester, the bumbling criminal turns from causing a second degree homicide to a first degree murderer from his first wife’s death to that of his second wife’s.

What is the difference between these characters that some would be unscathed, while others would be enticed and destroyed by evil?  In Fargo, and I think in reality, it is your support system-your friends, family and those who spend the most time with you.  Gus and Molly have each other and the wise, goodness of their mentor-Molly’s father Lou.

Lou describes evil to Malvo- somehow sensing it.

I saw something that year I ain’t ever seen, before or since.

I’d call it animal. Except animals only kill for food.

This was… Sioux Falls. Ever been?

The Bible concurs with this:

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Eccl.4:9-10

Lester on the other hand, a loner, is drawn like a magnet to Malvo.  He is the only person in the story that has a true relationship with him.  The Bible has something to say regarding this as well.

1 Corinthians 15:33

Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”

And so, Lester’s corruption leads ultimately to his death.

In the end, we see Molly and Gus watching ” Deal or No Deal” on TV with Gus’s daughter Greta, as they await the birth of their new child.  Although Gus has murdered Malvo, he is untouched by the act, and redeemed by the fact that it was done to protect his family.

It was an interesting journey into the darkness of evil.  I- for one- will be haunted by it and remember its lessons.

Wonder what season 2’s journey will be?

cslewis115352…if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36

It is a story as old as the one of the rich, young ruler in the Bible.  When he asked Jesus “What must I do to be saved?”

21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Matthew 19:21,22

So many in the world today are like the seeds in the parable of the sower.

4.Matthew 13:22

The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.

They are lured by the trappings of this life-money, success, lust, power, greed-like shiny toys that a child will not lay down.  When presented with the gospel of Christ and the promise of eternal life they cannot give up the pleasures of this world.

It reminds me of the story of how indigenous people catch monkeys in the Amazon.  They place a piece of candy inside a coconut.  When the monkey makes a fist around the candy to take it, its hand is too big to come back out of the coconut.  For the price of a piece of candy the monkey loses his freedom and ultimately his life.

But obedience to Christ has reward in this life as well.  Nothing in this life compares to peace with God through Christ and the adventure of a life following Him.  In my book Confessions of a Christian Twi-hard, I share about some of the adventures and rewards that I have experienced in my life.  The saga continues as God continues to bless my life of obedience and service to Him.

CS Lewis describes it well:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

There is a promise in the Bible

6.Psalm 37:4

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Who other than the One that created you would know the true desires of your heart?  When I look at the rewards of obedience, I am amazed at how God has met needs and fulfilled dreams beyond what I could ever imagine.

I dare you to prove me wrong.  Surrender to Him and give him your life and tell me that you do not find more joy than the piece of candy in the coconut that enslaves you.

Image

Sometimes it is overwhelming to think about all the evil in the world.  We read about kidnappings and murder and political tyranny and hunger and war and disease.  It seems like evil is winning.  But there is a force stronger than evil in the world-Love.

For love is as strong as death,

its jealousy as enduring as the grave.

Love flashes like fire,

the brightest kind of flame.

7

Many waters cannot quench love,

nor can rivers drown it. Song of Solomon 8:6,7

Love wins the battle over evil every day.

It is the love between children and their parents at a little league game on a blustery evening on the Bay, as the parents bundle up to stay warm to cheer on their heroes, and the heroes in baseball caps fearlessly slide into base for the love of their fans.

It is the love of a grandson who makes sure that his Grama gets an outing away from the nursing home to enjoy a meal in a nice restaurant, or at a family gathering at his home.

It is the love of a daughter who gave up her freedom and independence to live with her aging mother.

It is the love of a mother to give up her sleep and her own comfort (free of animal excrement and barking) to take care of her daughter’s dogs while her daughter travels.

It is the love of a young couple, whose romance spanned continents and language barriers, and brought together 150 people from two different countries, to celebrate their love on a remote, beautiful ranch in the San Diego countryside.

Yes there is trouble in the world, but I am more overcome by the love in the world.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

Love will win the battle over evil in the world.

Revelation 22:12-13

New Living Translation (NLT)

12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Let love win in your life everyday.

Image

                                          

I watched the moon turn to blood last night. It started out as a bright white full moon. A few hours later I saw a mist of clouds surround it that looked like a face. Later as the eclipse began I saw the earth shadow the moon and turn it to grey and then slowly as the hours passed to soft rose and then blood red.

As a student of the Bible, I knew about prophesies surrounding the blood moon. Seeing it was a spiritual experience. I understand the science behind it. Even the secular scientists agree that it is a rare occurrence. But one must at least acknowledge the likelihood that this rare phenomenon coincides with a Jewish Holy Day is significant. Add to that the fact that this rare astronomical event will be occurring three more times in the next two years and each one coinciding with another Jewish Holy Day. What are the odds that this would happen? One statistic put it at once in 273,000 years.

Last night’s blood moon occurred on Passover. This holiday commemorates the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt. The Biblical account is that in the last plague on the Egyptians, the angel of death would kill the first born of every family. The angel of death would “Passover” any home whose door was covered with the blood of a lamb.

As a Christian, I understand that this was a foretelling of the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ,who would redeem from death all who would have faith in Him.

There was no mention of the historical and Biblical significance of the blood moon in the news. God is sending a sign, yet the uninformed do not receive the sign and do not understand it.

2 Peter 3:3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

This is certainly true of today’s world.

When I saw the sign of the blood moon, it made me weep. I wept because for me, it was a sign that in a world that has forgotten God, He has not forgotten us. In a world that is full of chaos there is a God of order. There is a God who rules.

9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Will you heed the sign?

Come Lord Jesus.

Image

A year ago I suffered losses. The large beautiful tree in my front yard was removed because its roots had taken over the lawn and were beginning to break up the sidewalk and potentially become a hazard to the house. I also experienced the end of certain relationships.

I shared in my blog, at that time about how the removal of the tree improved the rest of the plants in the yard by allowing more sunlight to reach them goo.gl/db7i4h -Reflections on Loss . I shared in another blog about how the heartbreaks created a softer heart to serve and love God and others http://goo.gl/oSq2TN-Love Ruins Everything.

In the course of the past year something amazing has happened. One of the rose bushes in the front yard has more than tripled in size. The rose bush has been in the yard for about five years. In previous years it had grown very slowly and produced maybe 4 or 5 blooms each Spring. With the large tree gone allowing the sun to shine on the bush, it has flourished. This year there are already about 20 blooms so far and the season has just begun. The blooms have a deeper blush pink color and are large and luscious.

As I marvel at this beautiful plant, I realize it is also an illustration of my life in the past year.

I was forced out of the comfort of my relationships. These relationships were distracting me from my purpose and hindering my personal development. With their removal, I was able to bask in the Light of the World, my Lord and Savior. Strengthened by His Power, I grew beyond the comfort of my previous bounds and experienced new adventures, new relationships and new opportunities to glorify Him through the gifts and talents He has given me.

And I hope, my heart, like the rose bush, grew more than three times its size like the heart of the Grinch in Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

This is the life of faith-a life of living dangerously for Christ.