Category Archives: Theology

Throwback Thursday #17

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From my Tumblr in December of 2010.

James 2:14-26

“14What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

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Throwback Thursday #14

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From a Facebook conversation I had in 2012.

Why Jesus Wasn’t a Socialist

I disagree with the statement that Jesus was a socialist. I think most Christians share the same view as I do on this, which answers your questions. Most Christians don’t believe that Jesus was a socialist, which is why there aren’t many Christians that are socialists. I see why people try to make this claim, though. There are many places in the Bible that Jesus (and apostles) told Christians to give their possessions.

In Matthew 19 (starting at verse 16), Jesus tells a rich man that if he sells all his possessions and gives to the poor, then he will have treasure in Heaven, and tells the man to follow Him. But the man was “sorrowful,” because he didn’t want to have to sacrifice all of his things to follow Jesus. Jesus didn’t tell the rich man to sell all this things and give to the poor because He was a socialist, Jesus told this man these things because He knew this man’s heart. He knew that He wasn’t good because only God is good (vs17). There were many people that claimed that they would follow Jesus wherever He would go, but when He asked them to follow Him, they couldn’t because they were too attached to worldly things (Matt. 8:18). One of the main reasons Christ tells his followers to give their possessions is because they are attached to these worldly things that pass away and not to Him who is eternal (and who gave them their possessions in the first place). In Matthew 19, Jesus continues by explaining to His disciples that it is difficult for a rich man to enter Heaven (vs23-24). This is because many rich people are materialistic and hold their treasures on earth, instead of in Heaven. In Matthew 16:24-26, Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” and Matthew 6:19-24, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, you whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” He wants people to be able to give their possessions away so that they will serve HIM and not material things.

Matthew 7:12, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” I don’t know about you, but if I was in need, I would want there to be someone who would help me out, whether with clothing, or money, or a place to stay. Therefore, I should also be willing to help others who are in need.

God showed us grace by sending His perfect, pure son to die in our place, so that we could be counted clean and spend eternity with Him. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 8, that we should excel in grace also (vs. 7), to show others that our love for them is genuine (vs. 8). James 2 tells us that faith without works is dead, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith without works is dead.” If we are willing to receive the grace that God gave us, but are not willing to also give grace to others, are we really saved? I think James would say no.

Jesus wasn’t a socialist. He wanted the INDIVIDUAL to make the choice himself to give willingly to those in need. He did not want the government to determine who gives what. Jesus is interested in the individual. Jesus did not come to be a governmental leader (as many people at that time thought and wanted Him to be). He came for the individual. Christians should not try to make others (non-Christians) live the way they live. Yes, Christians are called to give to the needy, and to not be materialistic, or attached to our possessions, but we cannot and should not try to make others give to the needy if they do not share our beliefs. Socialism is nation-wide and forces everyone to share everything. Yes, the 1st century church had everything in common (Acts 2:44), but they were not forcing others to live this way also. Instead, they were sharing the love of Christ and the Gospel message, and in response to people accepting the message, they began living this way.

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Throwback Thursday #10

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From my journal in January of 2012 (and posted on my Tumblr).

Journal Entry – Jan 24, 2012

On Sunday, Todd [the pastor of the church I go to] talked about striving in prayer. He gave us a good outline of how we can be successful in our attempt at striving in prayer. I am reminded that prayer takes time; it is a sacrifice of time. He used the example: when you go out to lunch and spend time with someone, have a conversation with them, it doesn’t just last one second and then it’s over. It takes time. I need to set aside time every day to really spend in prayer. So often I become very general while praying, “God, please be with this family.” Todd reminded us that if the people in this family are believers, then I am asking God to do something He has already promised to do. Specificity is so important. If we are so general in our prayers, it will be difficult for us to see how God answers them. We should know what we are asking God and think, “How am I going to know when He has answered this prayer?” Fasting. This is something I have heard a lot about but never really studied. I have fasted from material things, but never from food. I think I may do this soon, though, so that I can seriously devote time to pray for [a friend of mine] to know Christ. I want to study it a bit more first, though. Another thing my pastor mentioned is that while persisting in prayer, we must be willing to pray the same thing over and over and over and over again for a long time until God answers us; “…by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). And also asking people to praywith you, not just for you but to strive in prayer with you. He mentioned that there is a risk in that, in asking someone to pray with you. At times, it may come to be that the person who is praying with you may come to you and say, “I’ve been praying about this, and I really think that God is telling you no.” Having someone pray with you can be a hard thing, but at times they can help you see His answers to your prayers. But also, they can be a comfort as they help to carry these burdens. They can be an encouragement to you as you continue to strive together in prayer.

Unfortunately, so often I go to God for this and that, and all of these things are selfish. Even, at times, in my praying for the salvation of a friend. Maybe at times when I pray, I am so tired. Maybe at times I just want them to know Him because I’ve been carrying this burden, and my emotions are so constantly being poured into this, that I am tired of praying and thinking on these things that my motive for praying for their salvation has turned in to one of selfishness.

“Sometimes prayer is a struggle because God is literally beating the selfishness out of you.” –Todd Pylant

I need to pray that God would take the selfishness out of me so that I never pray in selfishness. Sometimes it just gets really really hard to pray the same things over and over again. I want to, and I know I need to. And I care so much for the people I pray for, especially the people who I am praying for to come to Christ, but it gets hard. I think it is so hard at times because of the care and desire for salvation for someone. It is hard to know that just like last night, and the night before, and the many many nights before those, I still need to be patient and wait. I know that it is His desire for these people to be saved, and to have a relationship with them, so I should let that be an encouragement to me as I continue to pray for them. I need to remember that He is sovereign and that His timing is perfect.

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Throwback Thursday #9

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From my Myspace in 2009 (and then posted again on my Tumblr in December of 2011).

This goes out to all the so-called Christians out there:

A post I wrote in 2009:

mmk, well, i was going to take bits and pieces from these verses, but i couldn’t take any out. all of it together is just so incredibly important to our daily lives. and it’s been in my heart a lot lately. i know it’s a lot. but i would like to encourage you to read it all. if not on here, in your Bible, it’s Ephesians 4:17 – 5:20. I’ve bolded and italicized the verses that i underlined in my Bible.

4:17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26”In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

5:1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.

8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
”Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

I often wonder
if more people knew of this passage,
if those people read and understood it,
would it take effect in their lives?
or would people go on living as the Gentiles?

sometimes i want to shout this entire passage
to a huge group of people, “Christians”.
hoping lives would be changed.
lives and lifestyles.

would we look at our lives,
at ourselves, examining our hearts?
or would we look at others?
or would we ignore the commands?

“Be imitators of Christ”
not “try your best to be…”
be imitators…”

i wonder if we’d step back
remembering the stupid dirty jokes
we talk about with our groups of friends.
or would we assume it didn’t apply to us?
since we’re “Christians” anyway.

i wonder if we’d remember
all that rude stuff we said the other day
about the girl we don’t like.
or would we assume it didn’t apply to us?
since we’re “Christians” anyway.

James in chapter 2 says that
faith without works is dead
“You believe there is one God. Good!
Even the demons believe that – and shudder”

is your faith dead?
or are you an imitator of Christ?

Jan 2, 2009

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Throwback Thursday #8

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From my Tumblr, posted in November of 2011.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about God…

Just… Him; of who He is.

I’m so thankful. I just can’t think that much, it seems like. My thoughts of Him are not even close to His hugeness, His greatness. I wish I could think that high… That big. I wish I could just think about all of Him, about all of who He is. I would probably pass out, though. If I didn’t die, anyway. And then I think, we’re not supposed to be able to think about His whole being. He’s so huge, so great. What would that mean for Him if we could think about all of Him? What would that mean for us? We would be able to totally know and understand Him… We’d be able to figure Him out. We’d know too much. We need Him. If we could know and understand God, we wouldn’t need Him anymore. What good would He be to us? Would we still need a Savior?

I’m reminded of the quote that some people say, “God won’t make you go through things you can’t handle.” I don’t think that is true. It seems to me that people get that quote confused with the verse: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). This does not mean that God does not let people go through things that they cannot handle. If people could handle everything they went through, would we need a God who saves? Would we need a God who provides, who comforts, who heals? I’m so thankful that God is BIGGER than us. He is bigger than our problems and our pain. I don’t know where I’d be if my God wasn’t bigger than my issues. I’d be drowning in my sinfulness, I know that for sure.

Thank you, Jesus for being so huge.

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