Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

Comfort in this life

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

recliner It is indeed comforting to believe that all roads lead to salvation, whether it be Islam, Christianity, etc, etc, or just plain human spirituality. I once believed this myself.  I’ve received a couple of comments on Can you be both Muslim and Christian? that make me want to repeat this point.

Many churches have risen that welcome all types of spirituality as equal. I’m sure in those churches there are throngs of genuinely wonderful people;  some are Christians, some are followers of Christ, some are something else and some make no claims of faith at all.  I would hazard a guess that most do not understand that Christ describes himself as the only way to salvation.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

(John 3:16-18)

To claim you are a Christian is to claim you are a follower of Christ.  So as a Christian, no matter how comforting it is to believe that all good people are on the path to salvation, if we accept Christ’s word as truth, then we know that that good behavior alone won’t get you to heaven.  Even the best of us are not good enough on our own.

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12) 

As I said earlier, I once believed that all roads led to salvation, but a further deeper study of world religions helped me to find my way.  Belief in all faiths may somehow bring comfort to some while in this life; belief in Christ alone is the way to bring comfort in the next.  

Moral Compass

Friday, October 24th, 2008

As a Christian I turn to the word of God as a reliable moral compass. As a human I tend, too often, to put that compass in my pocket and chart my own course. I fallaciously believe that reliance on my God given intelligence alone, will keep me moving in the right direction. The reality is that when I find that I must backtrack from a dead end course or worse yet, completely lost; it is because I have kept that compass of God’s word in my pocket too long. But, God’s word is reliable and always sufficient for my needs; so I know that no matter how lost I am, I can pull that compass out; and off I go, back on the right course.

bamatoonImagine the lives of people who choose never to use God’s moral compass. I don’t envy the danger and suffering that will befall them. And what of those who reject God and attempt life by their own moral code; those who create their moral compass? I can’t think of anything created by man that is perfect, nor even perfectly reliable. What kind of dangerous situations will an imperfect compass lead us into? And if the imperfect compass got us there in the first place, how will the same imperfect compass get us back on the right course? Won’t we be destined to follow one bad course after another, from one bad situation to another?

And what of those who follow leaders who navigate this world without the aid of God’s moral compass? Will we end up stuck not being able to proceed ahead, or to the left, or to the right, and not favoring back tracking to our last bad situation? What kind of no where to turn moral mess will we find ourselves in? Bad I’m sure.

Senator Obama claims to be a Christian, but I question his use of God’s moral compass. This article is from Newsmax, which I freely admit is conservative, but facts are facts and the quotes by this man who claims to be the hope of our nation are pretty damning.

Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion presidential candidate ever.

He is so pro-abortion he refused as an Illinois state senator to support legislation to protect babies who survived late-term abortions because he did not want to concede — as he explained in a cold-blooded speech on the Illinois Senate floor — that these babies, fully outside their mothers’ wombs, with their hearts beating and lungs heaving, were in fact “persons.”

“Number one,” said Obama, explaining his reluctance to protect born infants, “whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the Equal Protection Clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a — a child, a 9-month old — child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it — it would essentially bar abortions, because the Equal Protection Clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an anti-abortion statute.”

obama-baby I think he needs to dig around in his back pack, because he’s obviously grabbed the wrong compass. No where in God’s word do I find instructions to legalize mothers, nor any one else to kill children. So whose compass is Mr. Obama following?

I’m not sure of how I’ll react the first time I see someone with their child in an Obama onesie. I have a new found understanding of what it really means to be an Obama baby ’08.

In another situation he claims explicitly to be following God’s moral compass on the issue of same sex unions/gay marriage.

“I don’t think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state,” said Obama. “If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans.”

It is clear that we are instructed not to judge others and to accept all sinners just as we are sinners; but it is also abundantly clear that a marriage is a man and a woman. So has Mr. Obama grabbed the wrong compass again or is he misreading God’s directions? I suspect the answer is worse than either of those two choices. In fact it doesn’t get much worse than using God’s word to deceive others and further your own secular agenda.

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
(Romans 1:25-27 NIV)

I hardly think of that passage in Romans as obscure. Yes, unpopular amongst those who push to normalize this abnormal trait, but hardly obscure.

How are we to be guided by Mr. Obama’s “moral” compass? Do we allow unwanted children to be killed? And if they cling to life in spite of our attempts, do we deny helping them and simply let them die? What if the child is genetically disposed toward homosexuality? Will they be afforded a different set of rules and perhaps allowed to live? Are you ready to follow a national leader who readily uses his imperfect compass? Lot’s of questions.

In fact God’s word, our moral compass, makes short work of this mess.

  • Homosexual or heterosexual; we are all sinners one and the same, so everyone should be treated by the same set of rules and with the same decency and respect.
  • Make no attempts to purposely harm a child and every attempt to save them.

Remember that God’s word is reliable and always sufficient for our needs; so I know that no matter how lost we are, we can pull His compass out and it will lead us on the true course.

Originally posted March 9, 2008

I-1000 Death with Dignity? Not quite

Monday, July 28th, 2008

samson3 There are very few cases of suicide that I would consider dignified. And yes, even though it is intended only for those who are terminally ill, and even though the Oregon law that I-1000 is modeled after lists the cause of death in these cases as the offending disease; taking your own life with or without assistance is suicide.

We are mortal, so from the moment we are conceived, we are journeying towards eventual death and any purposeful actions we take to end our lives early is categorically suicide.

However, there can be dignity in suicide, but it won’t be found in a self serving suicide, rather real death with dignity comes from self sacrifice and putting the needs of others ahead of your own.

Christ is obviously one example, but Samson is someone who also comes to mind when I think of suicide as death with dignity.

“O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it

Judges 16:28-30 NIV

Samson was willing to sacrifice his own life, but even so deferred to God for approval. He took his own life, yet still died with dignity, a dignity that came from doing God’s will right up to his last breath.

We Christians especially, have no right to pursue suicide, nor will we find dignity in doing our will with God’s body.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
(1Co 6:19)

Yes, as explained by Paul, our bodies do belong to God and not us. Furthermore, in accepting Christ we committed to using these bodies for His will on earth even when it is not convenient and sometimes even through prolonged suffering and tribulation. I suspect that reneging on this agreement by taking one’s own life, puts a person’s salvation on shaky ground.

And did I say suffering and tribulation? Yes, I did. That is what we should expect. It is what was dished for Christ during his stint in our world and as always, we should look to his example to guide us in our actions.

And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
(Mar 14:32-36)

Christ was suffering to the point of death, even asking God to be relieved of this life and yet in spite of this unprecedented suffering, He still acknowledged that it is the Father’s will, not His, that was important. Christ continued to suffer until his death.

But that was Christ, what about us regular Christians here on this earth. Take a look at Paul and his suffering in a Roman jail. In his letter to the Philippians, we read about how he was torn between suicide and continuing to preach Christ’s message as long as possible.

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,
Philippians 1:20-25NIV

Paul made a dignified choice to suffer until death; he lived and preached many years beyond the time he wrote this letter. He suffered until his martyr’s death and he never put his needs ahead of Christ’s by way of suicide.

God can take us out with but a thought. The fact that we are still here, means that God wants us to still be here. As Paul and Jesus did, we need to respect God’s will and put His will a head of ours. And regardless of personal and family suffering, we need to remember that a dignified death is one in which we fight for God’s purpose with every last ounce of life that He gave to us. That is a good race; that is dignity.

Engaging in Politics Without Losing Your Soul

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Happy EasterOften, being a Christian comes into conflict with blogging; especially blogging in the political realm. My aim, as always, is to be a Christian first, and everything else second, third, fourth… Part of the nature of being human is that this isn’t always easy to live a Christian life. It takes constant effort. Truth be told, the Corinthians passage, in the upper right of this blog, is not for readers, it is for me. I must constantly remind myself to be on my guard, stand firm in my faith, be a man of courage, be strong and do everything in love.

From time to time I get asked how I come up with things to write about. Well let me expose another truth; there is no shortage of ideas. I have stacks of notes and dozens of drafts of post that will never be. Because, perhaps the biggest struggle in being a Christian blogger is determining what not to write. I could increase traffic with sensationalism and gossip. But for what purpose; to feed my pride?

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
(Mark 8:36 KJV)

That one scripture weighs heavy on the mind of this blogger. It is the one that makes me question my motivation for writing any particular post. It is what helps me to determine what not to write. So, imagine my delight when I opened an email from Andrew Jackson of SmartChristian.com and found his teaching newsletter, also based on Mark 8:36, and also about this exact struggle. Andrew Jackson also posted this on RedBlueChristian.com and after contacting him last night, he has allowed me to also post it here. Based on scripture, I believe his guidelines would serve all Christians, not just bloggers.

HOW TO ENGAGE IN POLITICS WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SOUL

by Andrew Jackson.

I titled this post based on Jesus’ statement found in Mark 8:36, What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” The reason that I chose this convicting passage is because over the years I have watched many Christians who became zealously active in partisan politics actually “lose their souls.”

That is, they lost their unique public witness as a Christian; they began to act contrary to the character of Christ and the fruit of the Holy Spirit; and they became agents of division within the church itself.

Below I offer 10 biblical guidelines on how Christians can engage in politics without “losing their souls.”

  1. Christians must never allow ourselves to equate the biblical Kingdom of God with any human political party or nation (John 18:36; Isaiah 9:7; Matthew 6:33, Philippians 3:20, Revelation 11:15). As Christians we must be diligent in maintaining and perserving the distinctiveness between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world. We must never fuse the two. The great “utopian illusion” that easily enters our politics is that peace, harmony, and prosperity for all can be brought about in the world through human political means.
  2. Christians must never allow ourselves to elevate a specific politician to a messianic or savior status (1 Peter 3:15). In our entertainment and celebrity culture, it is becoming more common for people to infuse politicians with almost a messianic or savior status. In other words, people begin to believe a politician’s extraordinary promises and that they actually can single-handedly produce almost supernatural social results. As Christians, we have one Lord, and we must resist all attempts to exalt any human politician to unrealistic heights.
  3. Christians must not just vote, but more importantly, we must pray for our government and the leaders of all political parties (Matthew 5:44, 1 Timothy 2:1-2). In our polarized political society, many Christians are tempted to bless the politician or political party they support, and curse the other one they don’t. How unbiblical! The Bible is clear, we are to pray for all political and government leaders, even our political enemies.
  4. Christians must always remember that our ultimate security is in Christ and in the unshakeable kingdom of God, no matter what presidential candidate or party wins (Hebrews 12:26-29). One of the dangers that many Christians seem to often fall into is that we begin to elevate the outcome of presidential elections to an apocalyptic status. In other words, if our presidential candidate or party does not win, we begin to see it as the end of the world. This is what I call the “Y2K complex.” When we allow ourselves to understand politics in apocalyptic terms, we at the same time express an unbelief in the sovereignty and Lordship of God over his creation and human history. Yes, elections have real consequences for people, but in the larger scheme of history, don’t worry, no matter who becomes our president, God is in contril and will take care of things.
  5. Christians must never allow ourselves to bring the divisiveness and polarization of political parties into the church, the family of God (Romans 16:17, 1 Corinthians 1:11-12). We cannot allow partisan politics to divide the body of Christ. Invidual Christians have freedom of conscience before God and the Bible, and as a result, we must accept the fact that there will be diversity of political opinions in the church. We must never allow diverse political perspectives cause conflict and divisions in the church.
  6. Christians must never allow ourselves to demonize or dehumaize another person – no matter what politician it is – because every single human has been created in the image of God (Colossians 3:8, Matthew 7:1, James 4:12). Christians must not engage in demeaning and judging other people, no matter whether we agree with them politically or not.
  7. Christians must never engage in angry confrontational arguments, instead of being open to learn through civil debate and dialogue (James 1:20, Philippians 2:14-16, 2 Timothy 2:14). When we interact with other people with hard-core dogmatic positions, we demonstrate an ugly pride that demeans the character of Christ. As Christians we must humble ourselves, understand that as humans we are limited in our understanding, and that we all can learn more about the very complex issues that face our nation. Christians must always engage in politics through a path of reason and civility.
  8. Christians must never allow ourselves to become so intertwined so closely with one political party that we forfeit our independent identity as followers of Christ. When we do, we lose the prophetic voice to speak and clarify biblical truth to all politicians and political parties (1 Timothy 3:15, Ephesians 4:15, Romans 3:4).
  9. Christians must never allow ourselves to engage in partisan politics by supporting divisiveness between races, between male and female, between rich and poor, and between the young and old (Matthew 5:9, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Electoral politics is all about dividing society into specific voting blocks. And as a result, politics usually divides our society, instead of uniting it. Christians must always function as peacemakers and reconcilers in the public square, and resist every temptation to join the political tactics of dividing people for political gain.
  10. Christians must not allow ourselves to fall into the trap of simply cursing the darkness through negativity, instead of constructively engaging our world as perserving salt and illuminating light (Matthew 5:13-16). The cultural and missional mandate of kingdom Christians requires us to stop cursing the darkness and start lighting more candles that reflects God’s truth, compassion, and love.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Koshyk