Live Without Fear

“Imagine your life wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, and doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, absent the dread of failure, rejection, and calamity. Can you imagine a life with no fear?” Thus begins the most recent work from nationally acclaimed writer Max Lucado, entitled “Fearless”. In this midsized 218 page book, Max details exactly how we can indeed be free from fear. In “Fearless”, Max dedicates thirteen chapters to different common fears that plague everyone in the human race. Fear of not mattering. Fear of Disappointing God. Fear of Life’s FInal Moments. Each common fear is pointed out, counterattacked, and disposed of. The Bible tells us again and again not to fear…and God has reasons why. Near the end of the book, Max gives a quote from one of his close friends: “Everything will work out in the end. If it’s not working out, it’s not the end.”
Fearless is a book that everyone should own a copy of. Whether your fears are open and obvious, hidden, or dormant and waiting to appear, this book will cater to all audiences, as it shows us how to live a life free from fear.

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Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 Uncategorized 43 Comments

A Look at Laid-Back Worship

The topic was brought up recently about “laid back” worship. Here’s a small portion with an example of what this looks like:
“He first said that there are two things he loves mainly, the first being the way they worship, since that is basically what their service in centered around. He said also that young people, teens, love to come there because they can come as they are, jeans, t-shirts, anything! He said people show up in Mohawks, tattoos, people scream, people kneel on the floor, people just sit with their heads down and hands folded, people raise their arms, and everyone is ok with it!”

So…this topic of the “come as you are” church is rather interesting. I happen to disagree.

We are certainly called to worship wherever we are at, and worship does not have to be done in an edifice that is specifically ordained for that sort of thing. It can be done at work, at home, etc.

HOWEVER, I disagree on the meaning of “come as you are”, as referenced in a church setting. I do not think that means we should all show up to church in holey jeans and muscle shirts, etc. God wants us to bring
our HEARTS to him as they are…no barriers. We are to come to Him as we are…with all
of our gunk and filth exposed to Him, asking for His forgiveness and mercy. While we can
definitely worship God in our day to day lives, church is special for several reasons. First of all, it’s special because it’s a day set aside as a day of rest and worship…and it’s also a day when the rest of the world specifically sees us. If we come dressed like work, it sends a negative message about Christianity. One of the reasons that we (men) remove hats when praying, wear “sunday clothes”, and close our eyes when praying, is to show a deep respect for the God we are worshipping. We are NOT equals with God! We are His creation, and we owe him respect and Worship. By our show of this, we show the world we are different.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried witnessing to people, and I have them say “One of the reasons I don’t like Christianity is because of all the hypocrites…nobody’s really any different.”

I personally have heard this a LOT, and it’s very true. One of the reasons is because we are revering God less and less, with such doctrines as “God is my buddy”, “He’s my right hand man”, and “God is my copilot”. None of these are true statements. He is our Savior, Lord, and Master. He is Ruler over all, not “OUR right hand man”, or the theologically incorrect statement that he is our “copilot”.

Doctrines such as these lose the reverence that we feel for God, consequently allowing us to believe we can wear what we want, say what we want, look like we want, etc. in church. However, we are told to be “in the world but not of it”, MANY times in the Bible. Often, this means staying away from the latest fashions, which may be immodest, or downright unchristian looking.

Paul Washer has an excellent series of sermons discussing this…and he makes a good point. We begin to be so caught up in the latest fashions that we look, talk, and think just like the world, except for the fact that we call ourselves Christians. This isn’t true Christianity. People should be able to KNOW we are Christians!

So while part of the reason that people are turned off from Christianity is because of hypocritical lifestyles, I believe the other part of the hypocricy comes from a dereverence of our Lord and Savior. I believe a large part of this is how we act in church as well.

Church has become more of a place for comfort rather than conviction! We’re told that we can “come as we are” physically, so we don’t have to make any effort. The sermons are almost always the “feel good” type, taking special care not to offend anyone. They usually involve the “promises” of the Bible, but neglect the “warnings”, just in case it might offend someone, or there might be an unbeliever attending who might be “turned off” by the warnings.

So, all of this to say, I disagree completely with the idea that we should be able to wear what we want and talk like we want etc. in church…it is a means of glorifying God and showing our respect for him. Do I think it is a sin? I don’t know. I haven’t come to a solid conclusion on that yet. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 Uncategorized 180 Comments

Sickness and Health, pt. 2

As I was writing the post below, I realized I’d have to go a little farther with it. Not only do I need to talk about
physical health, but also spiritual health…which is far more important.

When the Fall occurred, man lost his perfection, and became marred and imperfect. Man began to sin…and this is where this post merges with the previous. Man’s previous “normal” for behavior was always good…because man was innocent and didn’t know right from wrong…there was no wrong except eating the fruit of the tree. After sin, the default suddenly changed to sin.
Genesis 6:12, “God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. ”

Horrible things were happening…murders, licentiousness, worship of other dieties, all because sin had become the norm. After the flood, God instituted sacrifice as a sort of forward-looking type of Jesus Christ. Finally, God sent His son, Jesus to die for our sins. This allowed us to have a way to reverse our default! When we accept him genuinely, our default changes to wanting to serve him. However, our flesh still wars against our spirit, because “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” However, with God’s help, we can keep on the right side, and please him, because by ourselves, “our righteousness is as filthy rags”, but with Him, “He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”. May we all learn to seek Him as we should.

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Thursday, January 29th, 2009 Uncategorized 26 Comments

Some thoughts

Hey guys…as promised, here’s my long post! :D I’ve been working on this for a little while, with quite a bit of research. Here’s an exposition of the main passages brought up on both sides. I’ll present the scriptural exposition, facts, etc, and then give my conclusion at the end.

The main questions to be addressed are: are women in the military OK? Women in teaching positions at a church? Women in management? What’s the woman vs. man hierarchy? Women and self defense/fighting alongside spouses?

Unless otherwise noted, all passages were taken from the New King James version. I’ll put a little context before or after the verse if needed, and then italicize and bold the relevant text. All the Greek definitions I give will be verbatim how the Strongs concordance records them.

Titus 2:4-5: “That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
This passage is Timothy giving instructions on how women are to behave. Let’s look at the Greek definition of “homemakers”. These are all of the definitions given in the greek:
“Caring for the house, working at home
a) the (watch or) keeper of the house
b) keeping at home and taking care of household affairs
c) a domestic”

OK…interesting. Women who are mothers are clearly told to stay at home…”keeping at home”, “domestic”, etc. They are also told to be “obedient to their own husbands”…which definitely throws the feminist movement out the window. However, notice that it says “OWN”, and not “A”. This passage does not necessarily mean that a woman is to be obedient to ANY man who comes along.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35:
34 ¶ Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
35 And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church

I’ll let the Bible expositor Barnes do my talking for me on this one.
“Verse 34. Let your women keep silence, etc. This rule is positive: explicit and universal. There is no ambiguity in the expressions; and there can be no difference of opinion, one would suppose, in regard to their meaning. The sense evidently is, that in all those things which he had specified, the women were to keep silence; they were to take no part. He had discoursed of speaking foreign languages, and of prophecy; and the evident sense is, that in regard to all these they were to keep silence, or were not to engage in them. These pertained solely to the male portion of the congregation. These things constituted the business of the public teaching; and in this the female part of the congregation were to be silent. “They were not to teach the people, nor were they to interrupt those who were speaking.”–Rosenmuller. It is probable that, on pretence of being inspired, the women had assumed the office of public teachers. In #1Co 11 Paul had argued against their doing this in a certain manner–without their veils, (#1Co 11:5;) and he had shown that, on that account, and in that manner, it was improper for them to assume the office of public teachers, and to conduct the devotions of the church. The force of the argument in #1Co 11 is, that what he there states would be a sufficient reason against the practice, even if there were no other. It was contrary to all decency and propriety that they should appear in that manner in public. He here argues against the practice ON EVERY GROUND; forbids it altogether; and shows that on every consideration it was to be regarded as improper for them even so much as to ask a question in time of public service. There is, therefore, no inconsistency between the argument in #1Co 11 and the statement here; and the force of the whole is, that on every consideration it was improper, and to be expressly prohibited, for women to conduct the devotions of the church. It does not refer to those only who claimed to be inspired, but to all; it does not refer merely to acts of public preaching, but to all acts of speaking, or even asking questions, when the church is assembled for public worship. No rule in the New Testament is more positive than this; and however plausible may be the reasons which may be urged for disregarding it, and for suffering women to take part in conducting public worship, yet the authority of the apostle Paul is positive, and his meaning cannot be mistaken.”
“For it is a shame” (verse 35). It is disreputable and shameful; it is a breach of propriety. Their station in life demands modesty, humility, and they should be free from the ostentation of appearing so much in public as to take part in the public services of teaching and praying. It does not become their rank in life; it is not fulfilling the object which God evidently intended them to fill. He has appointed men to rule; to hold offices; to instruct and govern the church; and it is improper that women should assume that office upon themselves. This evidently and obviously refers to the church assembled for public worship, in the ordinary and regular acts of devotion. There the assembly is made up of males and females, of old and young, and there it is improper for them to take part in conducting the exercises. But this cannot be interpreted as meaning that it is improper for females to speak or to pray in meetings of their own sex, assembled for prayer or for benevolence; nor that it is improper for a female to speak or to pray in a Sabbath-school. Neither of these come under the apostle’s idea of a church. And in such meetings, no rule of propriety or of the Scriptures is violated in their speaking for the edification of each other, or in leading in social prayer. It may be added here, that on this subject the Jews were very strenuous, and their laws were very strict. The Rabbi’s taught that a woman should know nothing but the use of the distaff; and they were specially prohibited from asking questions in the synagogue, or even from reading. The same rule is still observed by the Jews in the synagogues.

Proverbs 31:10-28:
10 ¶ Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her

This passage talks extensively about the “virtuous woman”. Interesting things to note would be that in every verse mentioned, she is shown taking care of her household. She prepares the food (vs. 15), is mentioned as a seamstress (vs. 19, 22, 24), volunteering and helping the poor and needy (vs. 20), etc. So even though she is mentioned as “working”, it’s ONLY in the context of the home/land. She is shown as keeping the house in order, and also being productive by sewing clothes, and selling them at the market.

Judges 4:4-14:
4 ¶ Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
5 And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
6 Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the LORD God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun;
7 ‘and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand’?”
8 And Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!”
9 So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.
10 ¶ And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; he went up with ten thousand men under his command, and Deborah went up with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites and pitched his tent near the terebinth tree at Zaanaim, which is beside Kedesh.
12 And they reported to Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor.
13 So Sisera gathered together all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth Hagoyim to the River Kishon.
14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the LORD has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the LORD gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.

Not too much to say on this…this is not a good argument for women in battle. Nowhere in this passage is Deborah mentioned as fighting…for several reasons, not the least of which was that it was not appropriate for women to fight in battles. Secondly, Deborah is never mentioned as going down with Barak in verse 14. John Gill, the Bible expositor, says:
“and Deborah went up with him”. [With Barak] and his ten thousand footmen, to the top of Mount Tabor, to encourage him and them with her presence, and give her best advice when to descend and engage the enemy.”
Prophets and prophetesses did not engage in battle in the Bible…they were simply advisors to the kings, etc. It’s also good to note that although there were relatively few prophetesses in the Bible, women teaching and preaching is FORBIDDEN in the N.T. (as shown above in previous reference). Also, when Deborah says “the Lord will sell Sicera into the hands of a woman”, that is implying that that was not normal, or right. Men were supposed to go to battle. However, Jael did no wrong in killing the evil king…it was something done for Israel. Sicera came to HER tent…she wasn’t actively out trying to find him and kill him. He was in her house, and she killed him where he slept. This is NOT engaging in battle…one might even call it self defense.

Esther (whole book):
This is another argument that does not work so well. Esther was first of all, placed in the position of “leadership” against her will…by a random choice of the King. She was FORCED to go to the palace because of the decree, and had no choice in the matter. Secondly, she did not really have much authority, as is plainly evident by the fact that she could not pass laws, etc (otherwise she would have passed a law to keep the Jewish people safe, after Haman’s decree). Third, she demonstrated the proper submission to her husband by deferring to him on these matters. Fourthly, she was placed in her position BY GOD to save her people…but she did not fight. It’s ludicrous to try and draw the conclusion that women should be allowed to fight in battle, simply because Esther “saved her people”. She was right in God’s will…she wasn’t usurping authority, she deferred to her husband, who albeit was pagan, and was just “there”.

Genesis 3:16-19:
16 ¶ To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”
17 ¶ Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

Here, right at the beginning of the Bible, gender differences are CLEARLY identified. God is VERY specific about gender roles. God says to the woman that the man is the head…”he shall rule over you”.
That’s pretty clear. That word (in the greek) means:
1) to rule, have dominion, reign
1a) (Qal) to rule, have dominion
1b) (Hiphil)
1b1) to cause to rule
1b2) to exercise dominion

Those definitions (which are all of them) are also very clear.
Now let’s look at the man…God says “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life” Man must work to get food…this is also reinforced, where it says “In the sweat of YOUR face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground“. God is talking to the MAN, not the woman. He’s telling the MAN that when he works, he will have to work hard, because the ground will be covered with weeds.

So anway…this is good enough for now on the Bible verses. Let me go ahead and come to my conclusions:

Women in Battle:
The Bible nowhere says that women actually engaged in battle. Deborah, Jael, and the woman who cast the millstone down from the ramparts, were not engaging in battle. Self defense is one thing…battle is another. Men are ALWAYS the ones described as going out to battle.
However…even if you feel this to be unconvincing (I certainly don’t), then consider this. God created MALE and FEMALE. Females were created FEMENINE. However, when a woman goes to the military/law enforcement/etc, most of their feminine identity is removed. Hair needs to be close-cropped, women must wear men’s clothing, Gender roles start disintegrating, as women talk, act, dress, etc, like men. This is true…I’ve seen it happen. Women are much more emotional than men are…and when a woman goes into a field like war or law enforcement, they are taught to destroy their emotions. This creates a hard, emotionless, often careless heart. This is DEFINITELY not a characteristic of a feminine woman, which is also supposed to include loving maternal instincts.

Another problem comes when women go into such fields…the possibility of being raped becomes MUCH higher…especially in the military. In a male-testosterone dominated field, a woman is opening herself to FAR more than she should. The danger then comes not only from the outside, but also from the inside.

Women in teaching positions at a church:
I believe this has been clearly shown to be unbiblical, from the passages I referenced above.

Women in management:
I see nothing in the Bible to prevent an UNMARRIED woman from having a job/means of income, or being in management over men, until she gets married. Women are told not to be in authority over their HUSBANDS, but not other men. However the scriptures make it clear that married women should be keepers of the home, but as Proverbs shows, that does not preclude women from having some sort of job they do while at home, such as making things to sell at a market, or growing veggies to sell, etc. However a married woman’s MAIN goal should be to take care of the house/children (see Proverbs 31) while the man does the grunt work at work.

Woman vs. man hierarchy:
The Bible makes it clear that the husband is the head of the family, including the wife. The structure is Husband 51%, wife 49% in decision making, but equality-wise they are equal. The wife is NOT inferior to the husband. God knew that in order to avoid conflict, there should be a leader in the home…and he chose man. That is both a blessing and a curse…us men get to call the final shot, but we are also responsible to God for our decisions, whether good or bad. The wife has NO responsibility before God as to the path the home goes in. She is allowed to advise her husband (who should listen carefully to the wife, because often the wife is right), but if the husband picks the wrong way, the wife is still rewarded for honoring her husband.

Women and self defense/fighting alongside spouses:
This issue was brought up as well, in one of the past discussions. I agree with what several people have said, when they say that there’s no problem with this. A woman is a help meet for a man…and if the man is in jeapordy of losing his life, or being severely injured, yes, the wife should help! It is indeed the “mama bear” instinct in a woman, to keep her children from harm as well. I see nothing at all in scripture to forbid this happening, other than the one passage that describes two men fighting, and a woman grabbing ahold of…ahem…sensitive parts on the offending party…in which case, that is wrong. That’s the only passage I see.

Anway…those are my thoughts!
Kuddos to you if you made it all the way through (WITHOUT skipping!!!).

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Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 Uncategorized 47 Comments

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?

Okay…so this is a thought I had while reading Karis’s post on “shine like stars”. If you want to read it, go here: http://www.elyonscircle.com/blogs/SapphiraAdi
That way, you’ll see my context.

Lets face it…there are people in this world who are less than beautiful. Some are downright ugly. (I know there’s usually nothing they can do about it, but listen to my point). What happens physically to them when they become a Christian? Nothing. Nothing at all changes (externally speaking). Internally, there is a heart change. Before they accepted Christ as Lord, their soul was like a dirty mirror…tainted by sin, and grimy. Some mirrors were so dirty they were completely black. When Jesus came into their life, (and I’m talking about TRUE conversions, not these “I’m a Christian because I go to church” or the people who become “Christians”, but don’t live the life they should) he wiped all of the grime off their hearts (which is sometimes painful, if it’s been baked on there!), and polished the mirror of their soul until it was sparkling clean again. Now, as they look at God, and follow Him, the mirror of their soul is pointing at him, and He is reflected for all to see! Jesus is the most beautiful thing in the whole Universe! What does that say about that person, when they suddenly reflect Him, and not the grime? THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL! And I’m not just talking internally…but there is also some sort of change externally. They may still be “ugly”, but you don’t notice it any more! What you see is a beautiful picture of Christ, when you look at them. You know from their face, their demeanor, etc, that SOMETHING has changed…and they are now beautiful. Now I’m not saying this can’t happen to pretty people too, but it’s most noticeable in those who know that they have no physical beauty, and throw themselves into the loving arms of Christ Jesus. With Jesus’ beauty shining through them, they are now beautiful.

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Thursday, September 25th, 2008 Uncategorized No Comments