Roundup

alarm-clock.jpgYou get an extra second in your day today.  Don’t waste it!

New addition to the blogroll: Musings from a Theo-Geek.  Marie has a passion for the truth and the persecuted church, among other things.  Go check out this well written blog.  I’ll wait here.

Maybe evolution is real after all — at least in mainstream media reports about Sarah Palin.  It only took AP three tries to do a remotely unbiased piece on the birth of Sarah Palin’s grandson.

Tina Fey looks as much like Caroline Kennedy as she does Sarah Palin.  So you have to know that Fey will be skewering Kennedy just as much as she did Gov. Palin, ya know?

Redefining “Global Warming” to support an agenda — Here’s my definition: Global Warming is a tautological catalyst for an unprecedented, unlimited and permanent political power grab.  Regardless of the actual weather they’ll claim that their plans worked, so that is proof that they need to maintain control, or the plans didn’t work, so they need even more control.

If there was global warming, it is probably over and probably not man-made.

Turns out that I agree with Gene Robinson on a religious topic.  From a post by Ms. Green:

Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an Obama supporter, was upset about Obama’s choice of Rick Warren to lead the invocation at his inauguration.

Gene was quoted by the Times as saying, “we’re talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most-watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation. And the God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know.

That’s what we’ve been saying all along!  I’m glad we agree on this. 

I found Robinson’s comments ironic on multiple levels.  He spoke the truth for a change, even though he probably didn’t realize that. 

But consider how wounded liberal theologians get when you point out how they hold seriously different views from orthodox Christians.  Will they criticize Robinson for being so divisive? 

And don’t people like him think that all religions lead to God?  Why is he being so critical of “another” faith now?  Or is his claim that all religions except Rick Warren’s lead to God? 

I wonder if Robinson would have complained if a Muslim Imam or some other religion would have said the prayer?

They wouldn’t like the Sermon on the Mount if they understood it

bible.jpgLiberal theologians and even skeptics claim to revere the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), but that is just because they don’t really understand it.  If they read it properly they would hate it.

 

It portrays Jesus as being very intolerant.  He tells the Pharisees how they are doing everything wrong – worship, giving, praying, fasting, behaving, etc. 

 

He upholds every letter and pen stroke of the Old Testament, something they typically abandon first. 

 

He spoke of judgment.  He emphatically shows that there are false religions – the very thing that the liberal theologians teach the opposite of.  He warns strongly against false teachers – people like them!

 

It sets an impossibly high standard and demonstrates that we need a Savior to reach God.  He raises the bar or shows the real intent behind prohibitions against adultery, murder, etc. and sums up that section by saying, Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

 

The problem is that the liberal theologians view it as a checklist, just as they do with Matthew 22:37-40 (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind . . . Love your neighbor as yourself.”).  He didn’t mean for us to respond, “Thanks for the summary, I’ll get right on that!”  The proper response is to be convicted that we can never be good enough on our own.  You have to be pretty self-righteous not to realize what a joke it would be to claim you followed those passages well enough to merit God’s eternal favor.

 

When Jesus speaks of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, He is referring to God’s definition of righteousness, not the made up definitions of the theological Left (abortion rights, “same-sex marriage,” etc.).

 

Jesus says to give to the needy, but He doesn’t teach to take other people’s money at the point of a gun (i.e., taxes) to fund your pet projects.

 

He teaches not to judge hypocritically (Matthew 7:1-5), but the theological liberals only read the first verse and, ironically enough, use that to judge others for making any judgments.

 

He teaches of Heaven and Hell, which they often deny.

 

They completely miss the point of the wise and foolish builder passage at the end of chapter 7.  They have heard his words but don’t put them into practice.  They actively teach that other religions are valid paths to God.

 

And so much more!

 

I’ll close with some excellent comments from Bubba from this post about a false teacher:  

 

These are the most prominent questions that come to mind, in response to Chuck’s [Currie] assertion, “A Christian is a person who hears the Sermon on the Mount and says, ‘Amen.'”

 

1) In that sermon (Mt 5:3-4), Jesus Christ taught the mourning, spiritually poor are blessed, implying a crucial need for God’s grace. Does Chuck agree that God’s grace is absolutely necessary for us to inherit eternal life?

 

2) In that sermon (5:11), Jesus taught that we are blessed, not when we’re persecuted for any ol’ reason or even for the sake of broad categories of goodness and righteousness, but for HIS sake. Does Chuck agree that we must stand up, not only for Jesus’ teachings, but for Jesus Himself?

 

3) In that sermon (5:17-20), Jesus affirmed the authority of Scripture to the smallest penstroke. Does Chuck defer to Christ on the question of the Bible’s ultimate authority?

 

4) In that sermon (7:21-23), Jesus is quite clear that not everyone will enter heaven, even going so far as to say that not everyone who calls Him “Lord” will enter heaven. Does Chuck reject universalism in order to conform his beliefs to this teaching?

 

5) In that passage of this sermon, Jesus is also quite clear on the determining factor of one’s eternal destiny: whether Jesus knows you. Does Chuck agree that Jesus’ knowing you is absolutely crucial for salvation?

 

And, if the answer is “no” for any of the questions above — if Chuck [Currie] doesn’t say “Amen” to truly every implication of the Sermon, and what it says about its Speaker, about Scripture, and about judgment — do we have Chuck’s blessing in questioning whether he really is a Christian?

 

. . . I don’t find the Sermon on the Mount to be non-controversial. On the contrary, its rooted in very bold claims about Christ, His book, and His sheep.

 

I’m reminded of what Reagan said about Marx: “How do you tell a Communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”

 

I’m beginning to think that there’s a similar dynamic among theologically conservative Christians and those theological liberals who border on (and often cross into) apostasy.

 

The theological liberal claims to stand by the Sermon on the Mount, but it’s only the theological conservative who really grasps the sermon’s contents.

 

P.S. Here’s a good analysis of why the Sermon on the Mount was aimed at disciples and not just anyone.  Otherwise, verse 11 wouldn’t make much sense.  If you aren’t a follower of Christ then why would someone persecute you because of him?

 

Matthew 5:11

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

 

 

 

 

 

John 4

j4.jpgGreetings!  The Samaritans were half-breed Jews who came about during the time when Israel and Judah were exiled to Babylon.  The Jews hated them, and the feelings were mutual.  For Jesus to talk to a woman in public, let a lone a Samaritan woman, was almost scandalous. 

Jesus knows her heart and mind and gently gets to her real need.  She does what we all tend to do: Shifts the subject when things get uncomfortable. 

But what does she do when she discovers who He is?  She runs to tell people!  Did she know everything about Jesus?  No, but she knew enough to tell others what she was aware of.  We should do the same.

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

4     The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

We “must worship in spirit and in truth.”  Both are vital.  Sound theology is important.  We can’t just go on feelings.

The Disciples Rejoin Jesus

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Yes, Jesus really is the Savior of the world.  Forget all the movies with heroes who save the world from physical destruction.  Jesus is the real Savior.

Jesus Heals the Official’s Son

43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there.

46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

48 “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

50 Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.”

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.”

53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and all his household believed.

54 This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.

What a powerful miracle.  Jesus showed that He didn’t even have to be present to perform it.  He knew everything about the situation.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Matt Barber on today’s Baal worshipers

Matt Barber wrote a great piece on Today’s Baal Worshipers, showing how today’s “progressive / liberal Christianity” isn’t Christianity at all, just warmed over idol worship.

Selected parts:

Modern-day liberals – or “progressives” as they more discreetly prefer – labor under an awkward misconception; namely, that there is anything remotely “progressive” about the fundamental canons of their blind, secular-humanist faith. In fact, today’s liberalism is largely a sanitized retread of an antiquated mythology – one that significantly predates the only truly progressive movement: biblical Christianity.

The principal pillars of Baalism were child sacrifice, sexual immorality (both heterosexual and homosexual) and pantheism (reverence of creation over the Creator).

Ritualistic Baal worship, in sum, looked a little like this: Adults would gather around the altar of Baal. Infants would then be burned alive as a sacrificial offering to the deity. Amid horrific screams and the stench of charred human flesh, congregants – men and women alike – would engage in bisexual orgies. The ritual of convenience was intended to produce economic prosperity by prompting Baal to bring rain for the fertility of “mother earth.”

The natural consequences of such behavior – pregnancy and childbirth – and the associated financial burdens of “unplanned parenthood” were easily offset. One could either choose to engage in homosexual conduct or – with child sacrifice available on demand – could simply take part in another fertility ceremony to “terminate” the unwanted child.

Modern liberalism deviates little from its ancient predecessor. While its macabre rituals have been sanitized with flowery and euphemistic terms of art, its core tenets and practices remain eerily similar. The worship of “fertility” has been replaced with worship of “reproductive freedom” or “choice.” Child sacrifice via burnt offering has been updated, ever so slightly, to become child sacrifice by way of abortion. The ritualistic promotion, practice and celebration of both heterosexual and homosexual immorality and promiscuity have been carefully whitewashed – yet wholeheartedly embraced – by the cults of radical feminism, militant “gay rights” and “comprehensive sex education.” And, the pantheistic worship of “mother earth” has been substituted – in name only – for radical environmentalism.

This is merely liberalism all dolled up and gratuitously stamped “Christian.” It’s a way for left-wing ideologues to have their “religion” cake and eat it too. Under the guise of “social justice,” its adherents often support – or at least rationalize – the same pro-homosexual, pro-abortion and radical environmental policies pushed by the modern-day Baal worshiper.

Though the “Christian left” represent what is arguably a negligible minority within larger Christianity, the liberal media have, nonetheless, embraced their cause and seized upon their popularity among elites as evidence that the so-called “Christian right” (read: biblical Christianity) is losing influence – that Christianity is, somehow, “catching up with the times.”

Because emergent Christianity fails the authenticity test whenever subjected to even the most perfunctory biblical scrutiny, I suspect it will eventually go – for the most part – the way of the pet rock or the Macarena. But this does not absolve leaders within the evangelical community from a duty to call leaders of this counter-biblical revolution on their heresy. It’s not a matter of right versus left; it’s a matter of right versus wrong – of biblical versus non-biblical.

Go read it all.

Hat tip: Slice of Laodicea

John 3

j3.jpgGreetings!

This is where the phrase “born again” typically comes from.  Jesus is emphasizing that we are born spiritually dead and need to be born spiritually to have eternal life.

Verse 16 is one of the most famous in the Bible.  It is a simple and unique summary of the Gospel.  Yet even it clearly notes that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  “Whoever believes in him shall not perish” means that whoever does not believe in him will perish.  Of course, “belief” isn’t just intellectual acknowledgement that He exists, it is trusting in him and following him as Lord.   If people would just keep reading to verse 18 they would see this more clearly.

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

3     Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.  

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

John the Baptist’s Testimony About Jesus

22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

27 To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.

 John the Baptist was so humble.  If only we had his attutide every day, that we must become less and Jesus must become greater in importance to us and the world.

31 “The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

V. 36 states again that if you reject Jesus you will remain under God’s wrath.  How can so many church leaders miss this?  How can they preach that there are other paths to God? 

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Envirofascists

recyclingsymbolgreen.jpgEnvirofascists and the Men who Love Them

It has become increasingly clear that any scientist who dares to question the theory of man-made global warming risks being ostracized out of a job by the Enviro-gestapo. These tactics are nothing more than modern day lynchings or burnings at the stake.  

See the link for examples.

I would like to think this global warming hoax would turn around sooner rather than later, but sometimes when these movements take over they have momentum and $$ on their side to perpetuate the myths.

Remember, this is an unprecedented worldwide power grab with no exit strategy. They will not give this up without a fight, and they currently have the microphones, the money and the power. People will be afraid to speak the truth, and when they do the establishment will dismiss it with a wave of their hand.

I was just watching Ben Stein’s Expelled and the parallels are eerie.

Hopefully I’m just being pessimistic and that we caught this hoax early enough to stop it.

P.S. I’m not anti-reduce, reuse, recycle.  My car gets 35 MPG.  I’ve recycled newspapers and more since I was 9.  When the waste collectors used to charge for recycling we’d pay the monthly fee.  I hate to waste anything — food, energy, etc.   And so on. 

But I’m not fooled by the GW hysteria. 

Greetings to Pharyngula visitors

For those of you stopping by from Pharyngula, thanks for visiting.  Please feel free to look around.  Please note that initial comments are moderated, so they may not appear right away, and they won’t appear at all if they are off topic, insulting, etc.  Many of your questions and statements may have already addressed in poor arguments to make with theists.

Here’s a challenge to you for 2009: Spend as much time fighting Islam as you do Christianity.  The “raiding party” from Richard Dawkin’s site that visited here a year ago had to be made aware that the five sites they had targeting for their war on religion were all Christian.  Go figure.  It was almost as if they knew deep down that it was their real enemy.  Never mind that Christianity is shrinking in Europe and Islam is growing rapidly.  Oh, and that whole Islamic violence thingy.  Perhaps you are more consistent than them.  You guys do buy signs on buses mocking Ramadan also, don’t you?  And we both know that you don’t really think a “Christian theocracy” is more likely than Sharia law.

All kidding aside, please remember that eternity is a mighty long time.  Running around with your Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites might seem fulfilling now, but ultimately it will mean nothing — even if your worldview was true.  Remember, if your worldview is true then materialistic Darwinism is the source of all religion and my faith. 

Acts 17: 24-30 The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

Your worldview can’t rationally explain the Christian worldview, but the Christian worldview can explain yours.

Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Also feel free to peruse the apologetics links to the right.  They are all quite good.  We have lots of evidence on which to base our faith.  I prayed that God would open your eyes to the truth.

John 2

j2.jpgGreetings!

This includes the famous water-to-wine passage.  It was a lot of wine – probably 150 gallons or so.  Some people try to claim that it was just unfermented grape juice, but that is highly unlikely.  I’m not a drinker, and I despise most of the marketing around alcohol and the problems it causes, but the Bible does not prohibit any alcohol consumption.  It teaches that we shouldn’t get drunk, we should obey laws and we shouldn’t tempt others with our drinking.

Was Jesus rude to his mother in v. 4?  I doubt it.  I picture him saying that with a grin.

This is the first of eight miracles highlighted by John, showing Jesus’ control over nature, life, healing and more.  We have heard this story so many times that it is easy to lose the majesty of it.  Try to imagine being one of the disciples or servants who witnessed this miracle, and consider what they would have thought.

Jesus Changes Water to Wine

2     On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

Jesus Clears the Temple

12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”

17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18 Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

20 The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. 25 He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

The Gospel of John was not necessarily written chronologically.  This clearing of the temple may have come at the end of Jesus’ ministry as recorded in other Gospels, or He may have done it more than once.

Men had tried to control the Jewish religion and profit from the sacrificial system.  This is not what God had in mind.  Jesus had a righteous zeal and anger and it was demonstrated here.  He was not the “Jesus meek and mild” as He is often portrayed.  He was meek and mild in the good sense, but not in a wimpy way.

Jesus had authority over the temple because He is God.

John 1

j1.jpgGreetings!  This is one of my all-time favorite chapters. 

Read verse 14 before reading verse 1.  The “Word” is Jesus.  Verse 1 is a carefully written presentation of his deity – that is, Jesus is God, a member of the Trinity.  He created the world.  He was not created. 

The Jehovah’s Witness’ translation of the Bible falsely inserts “a” in front of God at the end of verse 1, so that it reads, “the Word was a God.”  But this is simply not there in the original.  It was added to change the Bible to match their theology.

John

The Word Became Flesh

1     In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Jesus brings life.  We are spiritually dead and He is the only way to salvation.  We are in the dark and do not understand it until He shines his light in our lives.

6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

The John referred to in v. 6 is John the Baptist, not John the disciple and author of this book.

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

This begins the theme of being born again spiritually (more on that in chapter 3).  He gives us this right; we don’t earn it.

Jesus was a Jew who came first to the Jews as the predicted Messiah, but they rejected him.

V. 12 notes that we become children of God.  Despite what people say, we are not all children of God. 

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We should all strive for the perfect balance of grace and truth that Jesus has.  He never lied and was bold in proclaiming the truth, yet He has limitless grace for those who repent and believe (i.e., trust and follow) him.

15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

John the Baptist Denies Being the Christ

19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.”

21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

He answered, “No.”

22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

24 Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Jesus the Lamb of God

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”

V. 29 is a clear declaration of Jesus; purpose: To be the sacrifice that would take away our sins!

Jesus’ First Disciples

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Andrew was humble and loving.  Once he met Jesus he wanted to bring others to him.  I pray that we have the same passion to point others to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

The text doesn’t fill in the details, but it seems that Nathanael might have had some sort of supernatural experience under the fig tree or he realized there was no way Jesus could have known he was there without being omniscient.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Christmas memories — “All I want for Christmas is . . .”

One of my favorite memories is when we took the girls to a nursing home on Christmas Eve about 10 years ago.  We passed out candy canes and some homemade Christmas cards they made.

Old folks just love kids and dogs.  While visiting with a couple ladies one of them said, “All I want for Christmas is a hug from a little girl.”

Since we made it a habit not to force our kids to hug complete strangers, we just stood there for a second.  Then the girls went over, unprompted, and gave the ladies big hugs.  Smiles all around.

If you’ve got kids (or even if you don’t), think about visiting nursing homes.  They get loads of visitors at Christmas, but not so much the rest of the year.  We go once a month with our therapy pet dogs (I’ll blog on that some other time). 

Feel free to share a favorite Christmas memory, or what you really want for Christmas.  Or just think about some favorites memories and enjoy the season!

This was a picture from roughly that time period when we were out looking at Christmas lights.

xmas

I don’t mail Christmas cards, so . . .

holy_spirit_sky.jpg

Merry Christ-mass and Happy Holy-days to all!

Consider yourself greeted.  Seriously.

(I do this instead of cards because of my fervent Green philosophy.  Or possibly because I’m too lazy.)

Many thanks to all the regular readers and commenters.  I really enjoy your contributions and the community we have here. 

May your hearts and minds be filled with the knowledge of Emmanuel — God with us! — this season.

Roundup

WordPress tip: I just noticed an option in the Settings / Discussion section that allows you to select “Comment author must have a previously approved comment.”  This should cut down on troll activity without having to moderate everyone.  One of my objectives for 2009 is to pull the trigger more quickly on time wasters.

UPDATE: This feature is especially helpful when banned commenters keep changing their IP or email addresses to try to get around being blocked —  which happened just today!  The system works.

Kirk Cameron interviews John MacArthur — great videos.  I wish that prosperity pimps and other false and wimpy teachers would listen, watch and learn from MacArthur.

If Evolutionists Were Smart — Sirius Knotts has a good summary of the many ways the materialistic Darwinists use many logical fallacies to defend their worldview.

I liked how he noted their arguments from outrage.  One guy who got banned from my blog would say ridiculous things like how ID was slowing down cancer cures, and how since Stalin opposed Darwinism and I oppose Darwinism then I am like Stalin. Fun stuff!

They’re using endorsements, pointing to religious leaders who compromised Creationism with evolutionism, saying, “Look, if your preacher thinks evolution is OK, it must be true.

Yep. I finally got around to seeing the movie Expelled!  One very interesting part showed how the Darwinists just use the theological liberals and have no respect for them.

Introduction to the Gospel of John

j.jpgGreetings!

The Gospel of John is one of the most famous books in the Bible.  You could do whole sermons on literally hundreds of individual verses.  It will be hard not to over-comment on this series!  Most people have heard of John 3:16 but there is so much more to it than that.   

I used to not care for this book very much.  But the more I’ve studied it the more I like it.  It has so much great content and is beautifully written.  It has a different style than the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) but no contradictions to them.

Some liberal scholars insist that this Gospel wasn’t written by John and was written 100 years after the resurrection, but the evidence does not support that view.  It was already being quoted by church leaders before that time. 

Nearly half of the book covers the week before the crucifixion and resurrection.

John weaves in accounts of 8 miracles that highlight different aspects of Jesus’ deity and ministry, starting with turning water to wine at the Cana wedding feast.   It includes the raising of Lazarus from the dead, many direct claims to Jesus being God, extended and heating confrontations of the Pharisees, and much more.

See The Gospel of John Movie for an overview of my favorite Bible movie.  It is a word-for-word presentation of this book.  It has excellent acting and production values.

Roundup

Very cool Christmas surprise for the children of a woman on an unexpected Christmas leave from a tour in Iraq

Rick Warren will give the invocation for Barrack Obama.  I’m not a huge Warren fan.  He makes some good points but takes verses out of context too much and has too much social gospel vs. too little real Gospel for my tastes. 

What is interesting is that not only are conservatives upset that Warren is doing this for the radically pro-abortion Obama, but lying false teachers don’t like Warren because he has the audacity to be pro-life and pro-traditional marriage.  What an awful, awful message for a Christian pastor to send, eh?  Apparently “mainstream Christianity” now means “doesn’t take the Bible seriously,” so you wouldn’t want a pastor who even hints at being a Bible believer.

More proof that academia has lost its mind — some of the worst academic abuses of 2008.  Here’s a sample:

1. The free speech “zone.” A student at Yuba College in California was sent an ultimatum by the school’s president: discontinue handing out gospel booklets or face disciplinary action and possibly expulsion. That’s right—gospel booklets. Ryan Dozier, the 20-year-old student, had the audacity to distribute Christian literature without a school permit, which restricts free speech to an hour each Tuesday and Thursday. Yuba College even directs students to where on campus they are allowed to exhibit free speech. In this case, it’s the school theater. Campus police threatened to arrest Ryan if he didn’t comply with the “free speech zone,” oblivious to the fact that students don’t need permission to exercise the First Amendment’s free speech and religious clauses.

2. Transgendered activists in, pro-life speakers out. Liberal administrators at the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic institution in Minnesota, censored the appearance of prominent pro-life speaker Star Parker because campus officials felt “uncomfortable” and “disturbed” by previous conservative speakers at the school. The University’s mission statement claims it values “the pursuit of truth,” “diversity,” and “meaningful dialogue.” Except, not really—or better yet, as long as the said “pursuit” doesn’t offend leftist predilections. Meanwhile, within the past year, the same school hosted Al Franken, the bombastic liberal comedian, and Debra Davis, a transgendered activist who believes God is a black lesbian. Realizing they had a public relations disaster on their hands, the head honchos at St. Thomas eventually reversed the ban on Star Parker.

6. You can’t pray here! The First Amendment, is it a bestowed right given from above and protected by our government or a meaningless, antiquated concept to be disposed of? If you’re the folks at the College of Alameda in California, you’d pick the latter. How else do you explain their threatening to expel a student who prayed on campus? It all started when a student, Kandy Kyriacou, visited her professor to give her a Christmas gift. But when Kandy saw that her teacher was ill, she offered to pray for her. The professor agreed. That’s when Derek Piazza, another professor, walked in and freaked out that a prayer—gasp, a prayer—was occurring on college premises. “You can’t be doing that in here,” Piazza purportedly barked. Kandy received a retroactive “intent to suspend” letter from the administration, claiming that she was guilty of “disruptive or insulting behavior” and “persistent abuse of” college employees. Further infractions would result in expulsion, the letter read.

Here’s a good video overview of the Kalaam Cosmological Argument (Whatever begins to exist has a cause and the universe began to exist.  Therefore, the universe had a cause.

It is interesting that the authors of the Bible knew all along that it was created out of nothing, even when many believed it had always existed.  Just a lucky guess, I suppose, sort of like how Genesis notes that there are as many stars as there are grains of sand, unlike the ancients who thought there were roughly 1,000 stars. 

People like Richard Dawkins like to attribute the accuracy of the Biblical account that the universe came into existence to the mere luck involved with a 50/50 chance, as if the authors flipped a coin and got it right.  But if you actually read the Bible you’ll note that the authors are confident throughout that they are speaking for God, and they do so unapologetically.

Proverbs 22

pr22.jpgGreetings!

22     A good name is more desirable than great riches;

to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

It is amazing and a bit scary how quickly you can lose a good name.  Even a lifetime of achievement and good works can be ruined with a careless decision. 

2 Rich and poor have this in common:

The Lord is the Maker of them all.

3 A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge,

but the simple keep going and suffer for it.

I am writing this just a few days after Hurricane Ike hit Texas, so this was timely! 

4 Humility and the fear of the Lord

bring wealth and honor and life.

5 In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares,

but he who guards his soul stays far from them.

In the New Testament Paul says that “bad company corrupts good character.”  I didn’t believe this as a kid but looking back I see how true it is.  But it can impact adults as well.  We need to take the message of the Gospel out into the world, but our core should be a solid group of authentic Christians who hold us accountable. 

6 Train a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old he will not turn from it.

That is a famous verse about parenting.  It typically seems to be interpreted as “teach your kids the right things, then they’ll go off and be wild, then they’ll return to God.”  I also heard an interesting interpretation that it was about looking at your child as an individual, with the emphasis on the “he” (i.e., Train a child in the way he should go . . .”

Regardless, it is clear that teaching God’s way is always the best way.

7 The rich rule over the poor,

and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Excessive debt has destroyed so many marriages and lives.  I highly encourage people to use ministries like Crown Financial or Dave Ramsey to learn good money management practices and get out of debt.  You can’t serve the Lord to your full potential if you are always stressed about debt and wasting money on interest payments.

8 He who sows wickedness reaps trouble,

and the rod of his fury will be destroyed.

9 A generous man will himself be blessed,

for he shares his food with the poor.

10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife;

quarrels and insults are ended.

11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious

will have the king for his friend.

12 The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,

but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful.

13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!”

or, “I will be murdered in the streets!”

14 The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit;

he who is under the Lord’s wrath will fall into it.

That is an interesting verse – it seems to say that the encounter with the adulteress is a punishment.

15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,

but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

Children are not born good.  They are cute, but selfish, prideful, covetous, etc.  They need to have bad habits driven from them. 

16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth

and he who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.

Sayings of the Wise

17 Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise;

apply your heart to what I teach,

18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart

and have all of them ready on your lips.

19 So that your trust may be in the Lord,

I teach you today, even you.

20 Have I not written thirty sayings for you,

sayings of counsel and knowledge,

21 teaching you true and reliable words,

so that you can give sound answers

to him who sent you?

22 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor

and do not crush the needy in court,

23 for the Lord will take up their case

and will plunder those who plunder them.

24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man,

do not associate with one easily angered,

25 or you may learn his ways

and get yourself ensnared.

26 Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge

or puts up security for debts;

27 if you lack the means to pay,

your very bed will be snatched from under you.

This is simple: Don’t co-sign loans for someone else unless you plan to pay the debt.  If the professional lenders think the person is a bad credit risk, who are you to disagree with them? 

28 Do not move an ancient boundary stone

set up by your forefathers.

29 Do you see a man skilled in his work?

He will serve before kings;

he will not serve before obscure men.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Obama’s pro-abortion extremism

baby1.jpgI highly recommend this article by Robert George, where he clearly and emphatically annihilates the myth that Obama will reduce or even try to reduce abortions. 

If more people would have understood these facts before the election things might have been different.  But just because he will be our President doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to convey the truth on this crucial topic.

George starts by showing that while some people might be charitably considered “pro-choice,” many are not pro-choice at all.  They are pro-abortion, and Obama fits that category — just as someone who claimed to be pro-legalized slavery could be fairly described as pro-slavery even if he didn’t own slaves himself.

Some samples:

Just for the sake of argument, though, let us assume that there could be a morally meaningful distinction between being “pro-abortion” and being “pro-choice.” Who would qualify for the latter description? Barack Obama certainly would not. For, unlike his running mate Joe Biden, Obama does not think that abortion is a purely private choice that public authority should refrain from getting involved in. Now, Senator Biden is hardly pro-life. He believes that the killing of the unborn should be legally permitted and relatively unencumbered. But unlike Obama, at least Biden has sometimes opposed using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion, thereby leaving Americans free to choose not to implicate themselves in it. If we stretch things to create a meaningful category called “pro-choice,” then Biden might be a plausible candidate for the label; at least on occasions when he respects your choice or mine not to facilitate deliberate feticide.

The same cannot be said for Barack Obama. For starters, he supports legislation that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest. The abortion industry laments that this longstanding federal law, according to the pro-abortion group NARAL, “forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their wishes instead.” In other words, a whole lot of people who are alive today would have been exterminated in uterowere it not for the Hyde Amendment. Obama has promised to reverse the situation so that abortions that the industry complains are not happening (because the federal government is not subsidizing them) would happen. That is why people who profit from abortion love Obama even more than they do his running mate.

But this barely scratches the surface of Obama’s extremism. He has promised that “the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (known as FOCA). This proposed legislation would create a federally guaranteed “fundamental right” to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, “a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined ‘health’ reasons.” In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs. The pro-abortion National Organization for Women has proclaimed with approval that FOCA would “sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.”

It gets worse. Obama, unlike even many “pro-choice” legislators, opposed the ban on partial-birth abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature and condemned the Supreme Court decision that upheld legislation banning this heinous practice. He has referred to a baby conceived inadvertently by a young woman as a “punishment” that she should not endure. He has stated that women’s equality requires access to abortion on demand. Appallingly, he wishes to strip federal funding from pro-life crisis pregnancy centers that provide alternatives to abortion for pregnant women in need. There is certainly nothing “pro-choice” about that.

But it gets even worse. Senator Obama, despite the urging of pro-life members of his own party, has not endorsed or offered support for the Pregnant Women Support Act, the signature bill of Democrats for Life, meant to reduce abortions by providing assistance for women facing crisis pregnancies. In fact, Obama has opposed key provisions of the Act, including providing coverage of unborn children in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), and informed consent for women about the effects of abortion and the gestational age of their child. This legislation would not make a single abortion illegal. It simply seeks to make it easier for pregnant women to make the choice not to abort their babies. Here is a concrete test of whether Obama is “pro-choice” rather than pro-abortion. He flunked. Even Senator Edward Kennedy voted to include coverage of unborn children in S-CHIP. But Barack Obama stood resolutely with the most stalwart abortion advocates in opposing it.

Please find time to read the whole thing and link to it.

Also see Barack Obama – pro-partial birth abortion, among other things.