Archive for the ‘Theology & Philosophy (not pondscum… I hope)’ Category

This post serves solely as a reminder for you and for me. Consider the things you need to get done and the time you have to do it. Don’t waste time, as it will affect your own desires and abilities to get things done. If you’re anything like me, you love to procrastinate and justify that procrastination as a normal thing and that you’ll get done what you need to get done eventually. However, getting things done right away is self-fulfilling and eliminates the danger of finding out that any given task will take much longer than you expected.

I urge you to consider the things that you have to get done for the day and get working on them. Free time is much more satisfying without the underlying pressure of neglected responsibilities. Granted, sometimes we do need a break when we’re trying to get something done. I am all for that, but I do warn against letting that get out of hand. While taking a break is distinctly different from procrastinating, it is easy to blur that line and take a much longer break than needed; to pass off our procrastination as “taking a break”. Don’t fall into that trap.

If you’re one of those people like me who are bad at time management, do something about it. Don’t use the excuse that that’s simply how you are. Getting things done is worth it. You will thank yourself later.

Rach on!

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Apparently there are a lot of people who believe that homosexuality is something that you are born with, not something you develop. Many Christians lash out against people who support this because of fear in losing ground in the battle against homosexuality. Not only that, but I’ve also heard of a lot of homosexual Christians who use this an excuse to remain as they are.

If it is true that homosexuality is genetic (and I’m not asserting either position here), what does that mean for Christians? Absolutely nothing.

God doesn’t call us to be who we are born to be, He calls us to be who He wants us to be.

Forgive my bluntness, but like most guys, I was born with an animalistic desire to have sex. Since I was “born that way”, does that mean I should live my life pursuing those lustful desires? Obviously not.

The Bible is pretty clear about many things… Here are a couple that are relevant to what I’m saying.

  1. We as humans are sinful by nature and should abandon that sinful nature in pursuit of God. (Gal 5:17, Rom 3:2324)
  2. Homosexuality is wrong. (Rom 1:26-27)

It doesn’t matter if you were born with it or not, it’s still sinful.

Rach on!

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“Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

– Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

As many times as I’ve heard and read this verse, I never really thought much about it until very recently when it occurred to me that this is a command. Be still; stop everything you are doing and meditate on God.  It’s very simple, and I think it’s a great way to spend time with God when you’re having a hard time reading your Bible and you can’t think of what to pray. Don’t get me wrong; by no means should it replace reading/studying scripture and prayer, but it’s still a very wise spiritual discipline that often gets overlooked.

I encourage you and challenge to spend time away from things without words or actions to get in the way or distract. Be still and know that God is God. I also give you every right to nag me and ask me if I’ve been doing it myself. The greatest preachers are always the ones who listen to their own words.

Rach on!

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In light of the recent news of Osama bin Laden’s death, I was a little perturbed at some of the related Facebook posts from some friends and fellow Christians whom I greatly respect.

I’ve been thinking about this all day… Should Christians be rejoicing at the death of one who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of others?

I, for one, am quite decided that we should not. I believe the only cause to rejoice in a departure from this world is in a case where it’s someone who has finished their journey here on Earth, only to move on to a better place. I don’t think it’s right in any way to celebrate in an event where a soul has been lost.

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,

– Proverbs 24:17, ESV

Is this a victory for our country? Perhaps, but we must also consider that this is also a victory for Satan who has gained another soul.

Even politically, I don’t think it’s quite time to celebrate. While Al Qaeda may have lost their leader, who’s to say another one won’t rise up?  I’m no politician, nor an expert on terrorism, but I am a follower of Christ, and I will definitely be praying for all that is going on in the world right now.

In Christ,

Jay

Edit: Here are some more related verses to check out: 2 Corinthians 5:16, Proverbs 17:5, Ezekiel 18:23, 2 Peter 3:9.

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Today happened to be a quite wonderful day for me. It’s consisted of playing lots of piano, working on composing my fugue, listening to jazz, reading my Bible, and drinking tea. Feeling quite relaxed, this was a good way to start off my week… Especially after such an exciting and tiring weekend.

As I was finishing up my devotions for today I began to contemplate something I read a few days ago that’s stuck with me since.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:12-14 (ESV)

As individuals who know ourselves pretty well, we’re responsible for our own spiritual growth. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know whether you’ve been growing much lately or not. You can’t blame your pastor if you haven’t been growing… It’s your own choice whether or not you actually listen to what he’s saying. You’re responsible.

This brings up the question… When it comes to your spiritual life, what are you feeding yourself?

You shouldn’t be feeding yourself nothing but milk when you need solid food to grow. I really love this analogy haha… It explains things so well (thank you Mr. Hebrewswriterguy!).

I’m not going to tell you how to solve the problem if you have it. I think it’s up for you to decide whether or not you’re ready for more solid food, or whether you should stick with what you have now. Just make sure you’re being challenged and that you’re growing.

Okay... Maybe this is a little over the top. But only a little!

As for me, I’ve got some evaluating to do for myself.  :)

Rach on!

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My take on what exactly wisdom is has been challenged recently. I have always seen wisdom as doing what’s right, being smart in finances, having the ability to give good advice, etc, etc.

Lately in my devotions, I’ve been reading through the book of Job. A few days ago I was in chapter 28 which happens to be all about wisdom!

Now at this point you may be thinking something along the lines of, “Wow! What a coincidence! He read Job 28 just a few days before he decided to write about wisdom!”

I can assure you this is no coincidence. I’m actually writing about wisdom because of what I read in Job 28. Now that we have that cleared up and out of the way, I may finally go on. Please try to stay with me this time.

The first 27 verses of the chapter are about how you can’t find wisdom in the earth and its elements. You can’t find it in the deepest mine, nor the highest tree. It can’t be found in gold or jewels, it cannot be bought, it cannot be priced. This is all stuff I’ve known for quite a while. I mean, it’s quite obvious looking at some of the richer people in the world that wisdom can’t be found in gold, etc. But it was verse 28, the last verse of the chapter (yes, chapter 28 of Job has 28 verses. Now that’s wild!), that really caught my eye.

“And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” (English Standard Version)

So the ‘turning away from evil’ that I always saw as wisdom is actually just understanding (which, don’t get me wrong, is a really good thing to have as well). Real wisdom is fear of the Lord.

This might not seem like a huge change from what I believed to be true before, but really it is. Really. If you think about it, this understanding it talks about in the verse is something that can be achieved by non-believers. A non-believer can refrain from many of the things we call evil, and appear wise, but what this verse is saying is that true wisdom is something that can only be achieved in fearing the Most High.

Wisdom as I previously viewed it was complicated. In order to gain wisdom, you need to have experience under your belt. You have to do this, this, this, this, and this. While these things do come from it, wisdom in its simplest form is fear of God. For myself, that puts it into a much clearer focus; I will pursue God.

“Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.” – William Wordsworth

Rach on!

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As I live life, read Facebook posts, read the perspective section of the newspaper, and simply hear people talk, I hear quite a lot about how we as Americans need to be tolerant of everyone and everything they believe and/or do. This troubled me as I thought about what the Christian perspective on tolerance should be. I feel like a lot of Christians don’t have a problem with that viewpoint. I mean, we are supposed to love everyone, right? Jesus even commands us in John 13:34-35 to love one another.

Yes and no. Think of it this way; say I go up to an atheist and tell him, “We may have different beliefs, for example, I believe in God and you don’t, but you know what? That’s totally okay because everyone’s entitled to his own opinion.”

Could that lead the atheist to Christ? Not on your life. I find that a lot of times when we try to share the gospel with a non-Christian we try to keep ourselves from saying anything that might offend them and drive them away. This can be a good thing sometimes, but often we let it go way to far. The Truth can be hard to handle a lot of times, but that can’t give us an excuse to water it down. We’ve been preaching an incomplete gospel where we preach Christ’s love, yet leave out so many crucial details. Yes, Christ loves us more than we can imagine and he gave up his life for you and I, but you’re kind of leaving out the part where I’m a terrible sinner and I need to be saved. In order for someone to be saved, they first have to understand that they need to be saved. Why would I ever want to be saved if I didn’t need to be? It’s like putting on a raincoat on a sunny day; there’s no point. You have to get them to realize that they’re sinful and need to be saved first, then you tell them how they can be saved.

My point here is this: stop being worried about offending them, and start being worried that they will die and go to hell.

Please know that I am in no way supporting the ‘hellfire and brimstone’ approach to evangelism. This isn’t about scaring them into a relationship with Jesus Christ, it’s about getting them to realize first of all that they need to be saved and then telling them the best news ever told.

The ‘love one another’ command in John 13 that I mentioned earlier? Think of it as more of a tough love in a way. Are you loving them if you let them go along believing a lie? Are you loving them if you let them die without telling them the Truth?

Rach on!

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