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  • Jesus is Freedom…

    In my last post, I talked about truth and the importance of standing for it.  I hope we all see the value in standing for what we believe in.  Everyone stands for something, and everyone has truth standards, even if they don’t think you can know truth.  Probably the most absurd thing I have heard anyone say in regard to this is…

    “There is no such thing as absolute truth.”

    …because they never follow it up with…

    “Well, except for what I just said.”

    The statement “There is no such thing as absolute truth” is itself an absolute truth claim – a claim, by the way, which is self contradictory.  But that is the world in which we live – people don’t care about being consistent.  Being consistent takes work and guess what else…yup…consistency.  And in this day and age, people seem to care more about what others think is true than what is actually true.  You need look no further than Indiana’s plight right now to see that.

    Proverbs 12:15 ESV (15) The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

    It seems that we’d rather believe we are right than actually be right.  I suppose it’s because in order to be right, there must be truthotherwise, it’s all opinion.  And we do so love opinion…

    But contrary to popular belief, that knife cuts both ways.  If someone says to you …

    You can’t tell me what’s right – what’s right for you might not be right for me”

    … all you need to reply with is something like …

    Well, according to you, I certainly can.  You just told me what I can and can’t do, what’s right and wrong.  So, why can’t I tell you what’s right and wrong?  Did you really mean to say ‘I can tell you what to do because I’m right and you are wrong?'”

    … because what that person did was give you a moral truth claim:  “you can’t” followed by what you can’t do: “tell me what’s right“.  The unstated reason: “because I don’t agree with you.”  Chances are very good that, if this person was talking with an ally, they would be more than happy to give all sorts of moral imperatives.  They are proving what they scream to deny – that there is a truth out there somewhere – and in fact, that they are closer to it than you.

    But they’ll never admit that.  That would be arrogant.  And God forbid anybody speak as if they really believe what they are saying!

    But that’s really beating around the issue.  Moral relativism (at it’s core is an illogical fear of calling anything right or wrong) is a symptom of a deeper, much more serious problem, denial.  Not just denying that we can know truth, but the denial of truth altogether.  A couple thousand years ago, there was a very important discussion about truth.  It went like this…

    John 18:33-37 ESV (33) So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” (34) Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” (35) Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” (36) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (37) Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

    … and Pilate responded to this assertion with a question…

    John 18:33-37 ESV (38) Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

    And given what we know about Pilate, there is a good chance that his words conveyed this sentiment: “Whatever.  As if there is such a thing as truth.

    But what riled Pilate so much?  What was Pilate responding to?  Listen to the words of Jesus:  “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.”

    According to Jesus, there is such a thing as truth!  Imagine that.  And it’s not simply that there is such a thing, it’s that you can know this truth because Jesus testifies to it!

    Now, it gets really serious, far more serious than your belief that 1+1=2.  It’s serious because Jesus believes and teaches that there is such a thing as truth, and He came to testify to that truth.  So, if you want to know truth about Jesus, where should you go?

    Joel Osteen?  Oprah Winfrey?  Hollywood?

    Sadly, that’s where a great number of people go, and they come out with all sorts of crazy, wrong ideas about Jesus.  Ideas like:

    • Jesus was simply a good teacher
    • Jesus never really existed
    • Jesus is love, and Jesus wins, so Love Wins!  Hell isn’t forever!
    • Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers born from a father god and mother goddess
    • Jesus is merely a god, not the God
    • Jesus existed, but he didn’t really die
    • Jesus existed, and died, but didn’t resurrect
    • Jesus existed, died, and resurrected spiritually, not physically
    • Jesus wants you to live Your Best Life Now
    • and on … and on … and on

    But, if you really cared about truth, I mean really cared, you’d go to the source of truth, wouldn’t you?  But, that would require you to not only accept truth as a concept, it also requires you to accept truth as a person.

    Jesus, the way, the truth, the life.

    And if Jesus is actually the Truththen what Isaiah said is actually true…

    Isaiah 45:19 ESV (19) I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.

    God’s truth is not spoken in secret.  God speaks the truth.  God declares what is right.  And since Jesus is God, He speaks the truth and declares what is right.

    So, what does that mean for you?  It means that if Jesus calls something true, right, or good, it is absolutely true, right or good no matter what you believe about that something.  It also means that if Jesus calls something false, wrong, or evil, it is absolutely false, wrong, or evil no matter what you believe about that something.

    And here is probably the biggest and most controversial thing I’ll say all post:  this also means that Jesus is the Lord of the entire universe, even of your life, even of your circumstances, whether you believe it or not.

    But why did Jesus come to testify to the truth?

    John 8:31–32 (ESV) (31) So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, (32) and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    Are you ready to believe that?  Will you submit to your Lord and abide in him and be set free by knowing Him…the Truth?

    John 8:33–35 (ESV) (33) They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” (34) Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. (35) The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.

    Or will you continue to rationalize why you don’t believe what He says and remain a slave forever?

  • Jesus is Truth…

    I’ve been thinking about something a lot lately – a little thing called truth.  And if that was the only thing I was thinking about, that would be enough.  But my thoughts have not been on only truth, but also on our willingness to stand up for it.  All of us believe in things, and all of us are willing to stand up for those things to some degree.

    For example, do you believe that 1+1=2? (No, it’s not a trick question).

    I hope so!  But suppose you were in a math class (or had kids/friends/relatives in math class) where the teacher believed and taught that 1+1=0.  But take it further, what if this teacher didn’t just believe this without proof, what if he actually had a proof, and it went like this:

    Suppose we have two numbers, a and b, both of which are equal to 1.  We write that like this:

    \(\text{1) Let } a=b=1\)

    One thing we know is that if two numbers are equal, we can square both of them, and their squares are equal.  So, in our example, squaring both sides gives us:

    \(\text{2) }a^2=b^2\)

    If we subtract the same number from two numbers that are the same, the result is the same.  Therefore, we can subtract \(b^2\) from both sides and get:

    \(\begin{align}\text{3) }(a^2-b^2)&=(b^2-b^2)\\(a^2-b^2)&=0\end{align}\)

    Now, this requires a bit more than “basic math”, but equations in this form are called “the difference of two squares” and can be written like:

    \(\text{5) }(a-b)*(a+b)=0\)

    Now, if we have two numbers that are equal, we can divide them both by the same value and the result will be equal.  For example, if 10=10, we can divide both sides by 2 and get 5=5, right?  Doing this gives us:

    \(\begin{align}\text{6) }\frac{(a-b)*(a+b)}{(a-b)}=\frac{0}{(a-b)}\end{align}\)

    The left side reduces to (a+b) since the (a-b)’s cancel out.  The right side is still 0 because 0 divided by anything equals 0:

    \(\begin{align}\text{7) }\frac{(a-b)}{(a-b)}*(a+b)&=0\\1*(a+b)&=0\end{align}\)

      So we are left with:

    \(\text{8) }(a+b)=0\)

    If we substitute our original values, we arrive at:

    \(\text{9) }(1+1)=0\)

    There you have it!  We have just proved that 1+1=0!

    So, now do you believe that 1+1=0?  I still hope not!  You know that 1+1=2, not 0…so where’s the problem?  The proof looks reasonable, doesn’t it?

    But this isn’t about math, it’s about truth.  And more than truth, it’s about our desire to defend it.

    My guess is that if your child/friend/relative/self had this math teacher, you’d be pretty upset.  In fact, you might even complain to the board to get him suspended or fired or transferred.  You’d stand for this truth, right?

    Time for the hard question, and no, it’s not “where’s the error in the proof” (hint – it’s in step 6)…it’s this:

    Does the truth claim “Jesus is God” hold your loyalty as much as the truth claim “1+1=2”?

    If you are a Christian, you must say yes.

    And here’s the “hard part” – saying “yes” means something.  It means that anyone who says “No he’s not” is just as wrong as someone who says “1+1=0”, even if they have some sort of proof.  It means that saying “Jesus may be God for you, but not for me” is just as absurd as saying “1+1 may equal 2 for you, but not for me.”

    Christian, do you truly believe that Jesus is the one and only Son of God?  Do you believe that we are all sinners in need of a savior?  Do you believe that sin is wrong and not only separates us from God for a time, but if left unatoned for, will separate us from God for eternity?  Do you believe that God’s word is true?  Always?

    If you believe these things are true, then you are obligated to defend them as if they actually are true, just as you would defend the truth that 1+1=2!  Do you?

    Or, by your words and actions, do you show that you really don’t believe those things are actually true, but only true for you?

    During this week leading up to the celebration of the ultimate display of Truth the world has ever seen, would you reflect on how you view this truth…

    1 Corinthians 15:3–5 (ESV) (3) For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, (4) that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (5) and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

    … or this truth …

    John 8:21–24 (ESV) (21) So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” (22) So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” (23) He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. (24) I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

    … or this one …

    John 14:6–7 (ESV) (6) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (7) If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

    The Truth.

    Jesus is the Truth.

    Will you submit to the truth of scripture?  The truth of Jesus’ words?  Or will you be quiet when the world around you assaults Him and His truth?

    Will you curl up in defeat and give in to the world who says:

    “Jesus may be your truth, but don’t you dare say he is THE truth!”

    or will you boldly proclaim, to all who would oppose you:

    “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  You will never see heaven except through Him!”

  • Because choice…

    WARNING – I almost got physically sick reading this, the URL may be enough for you.

    Woman Who Cut 7-Month-Old Baby Out of Mother’s Womb May Not Face Murder Charge

    It boils down to this summary quote:

    The issue of whether or not murder charges are appropriate involving a case involving the death of a fetus or late-term pregnancy is always a difficult issue,” Garnett said. “Under Colorado law, there’s no way murder charges can be brought if it is not established that the fetus lived as a child outside the body of the mother for some period of time. I don’t know the answer yet as to whether that could be established – what our facts are here. One of the issues that we will need to evaluate in connection with that is the medical information from the autopsy.

    After reading that, I have pop quiz for all of you – don’t worry, it’s only 1 question.  And it’s really easy.  Really.

    If I attack a pregnant woman, cut open her belly, and forcibly remove her 7 month old baby from her womb, and the baby dies, is it murder? (Choose only one answer)

    1. Yes.
    2. Yes.  Absolutely.
    3. Yes.  Absolutely.  Without question.
    4. Yes.  Absolutely.  Without question.  Why are you even asking?
    5. All of the above.
    6. Well, it’s a difficult issue.  There’s a nuance here that you are missing.  Did the baby meet the minimum time rule?  She’s not really worth protecting unless she has lived outside the womb for at least a certain number of seconds (or minutes, or hours, or days, weeks, months, years – basically whatever arbitrary time you want to draw in the sand to be convinced that it is no longer OK to kill a child.)  Besides, a woman who does this is obviously mentally unstable.  Should unstable people be charged with murder?  Then there’s the whole issue of…

    There is no doubt or disagreement, a 7 month old baby is a human.  Heck, a 1 month old baby is a human.  Even a 1 second old fertilized “mass of cells” is human – it will never become a horse, tree, monkey, bird, virus, etc.  It can even be sexed based on chromosomes, and classified as human based on the DNA.

    Science proves it. Reason demands it. Religion testifies to it. So why the difficulty?

    Answer: It’s “difficult” because we no longer determine human worth based simply on being human.  And we are selfish and depraved.  Mostly because we are depraved.

    It’s really not difficult at all.  But, because we are morally depraved, at some point along the way, we decided to determine human worth based on externals, or worse, what can she do for me?  We actually say things like this:

    • Did she breathe outside the womb? (as if you can look at a dead human baby and say “breath or she’s not human!”)
    • How long did she live outside the womb?  (as if a 1 second old human is less human than a 10 year old human)
    • Is she wanted? (as if being unwanted = being unworthy)
    • Can I afford her? (as if not having enough money is reason to kill those who depend on you)
    • What will this do to my career? (as if your prestige is more important than your child’s life)
    • Does she have a birth defect? (as if someone with Down syndrome is so horrific she must be destroyed)
    • But I really wanted a boy! (as if girls are less valuable than boys)
    • What? She’s black? My husband can’t find out about that! (as if black people are less valuable than whites, as if shame warrants the death of the child who resulted from your infidelity)

    And speaking of shame, shame on us.

    Apparently, it is only wrong if the child was wanted.  Or the right color.  Or healthy.  Or financially viable.  Or the right sex.  And even then, we try to protect our right to kill her over her right to live.

    Shame on us.

    If a thief broke into my house to steal one of my children, and killed her in the process, he’d certainly face murder charges.  But if a thief cuts my wife open to steal our child and kills her (the child) in the process, it’s what…aggravated assault?

    Shame on us.

    But in the final analysis – it’s even worse.  No matter the situation, the conversation has been framed absolutely wrongly.  It’s not about humanity anymore – because there is no doubt there – it’s about desire – because then we can justify it.

    Socially, in all cases, it’s only wrong until the mother no longer wants her child.  As soon as the mother no longer wants the child, it’s completely legal to find a place to have the baby killed.  At least as long as she’s still in the womb.  Now.  But not for long.

    If you don’t believe me, read this and this.  I won’t tell you how you should be feeling after you read those.  On second thought, yes I will – you should be repulsed!  You should be horrified!  You should be screaming inside right now at the sheer evil of that worldview!  Yes, I said evil.

    But you must see it’s devilish consistency.

    In a land where late term abortions are legal and “abortion on demand, for any reason, no questions asked” is the defining mantra of “women’s reproductive rights”, we shouldn’t be surprised at all by this story. Apparently, it’s just some form of armed robbery after all.

    Colorado Rep. Janak Joshi supported the 2013 bill and hoped the committee would approve it.  He said, “…Colorado law has a glaring loophole that fails to protect unborn children who are harmed or killed during the commission of a crime. In the past, pro-abortion legislators have tried to dismiss this type of bill as unnecessary. Even though this bill is not about abortion, the radical pro-abortion lobby is pulling out all the stops to defeat this bill. In fact, Planned Parenthood has publicly admitted that they refuse to give even an inch when it comes to protecting pre-born babies.”

    We are more concerned with protecting the killing of our children for any reason over protecting the lives of our children for any reason.

    If that’s not evil, I have no idea what is…well, I guess there’s this:

    Leviticus 18:21 You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.

    One wonders – if an unborn baby is not actually a human worth protecting, why don’t abortionists just birth them and throw them into a fire pit while they are still alive like people used to do with older children?  But I suppose that’s too evil.  What about birthing them and then shooting them in the head with a .45?  Too gruesome?  If an unborn baby isn’t human, then abortion should be a non-issue, and there should be no attempt to make it rare.

    But an unborn baby is human.  Provably.  Without a doubt.

    So, I ask you, where is her advocate?  Will you be outraged for her?  Will you mourn for her?  Will you weep for our society, a society who claims to want to make killing children “rare”, but who fights relentlessly for the right to kill children for any reason, without consent, without disclosure, and without limits?

    Finally, would you have ever imagined that these words would one day come from the lips of any rational person:

    “If you think forcibly removing a 7 month old baby from a pregnant woman’s womb resulting in the baby’s death is wrong, don’t do it. But don’t you DARE say it’s wrong for everybody.”

    Well they are.  And I’ve heard them before.

    “If you think abortion is wrong, don’t have one. But don’t you DARE say it’s wrong for everybody.”

    How much longer until someone thinks you aren’t viable?  How much longer until you are considered expendable?  Your life already doesn’t matter – we’ve proved that – you are just a clump of cells anyway – a tad older perhaps than the clump of cells in a womb, but a clump of cells nonetheless.

    You had better be sure society needs you.

    Because when you are no longer desired, you should probably be killed.

    Because “choice”.

  • True thanks…

    I just read an article about atheistic alternatives to prayers for Thanksgiving.  Now, I’m all for being thankful, and I am not at all saying that Thanksgiving should only be observed by Christians, but it’s roots are completely, totally, 100% theistic.  George Washington, in instituting the holiday, christened it thus:

    Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

    Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

    And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

    Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

    Go. Washingtion

    But even though Thanksgiving is rooted in theism, that doesn’t mean atheists can’t be thankful.  In fact, most people are thankful, and far be it for me to disparage anyone from being thankful.

    Continue reading  Post ID 252

  • Freedom in Christ…

    I heard a sermon today that was really good – the passage was Galatians 5 and the topic was about freedom in Christ.  The pastor spent a good amount of time defining freedom and how we as a society have completely gotten the definition wrong.

    Society wants to define freedom as “being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want.”

    But that’s not freedom, that’s slavery.  He used the analogy of the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” and said that when we think that freedom is being able to do whatever, whenever, we are basically saying “true freedom is freedom to sin and have no repercussion”.  But that kind of “freedom” results in further bondage to sin so it’s not really freedom, it’s slavery!

    He then paraphrased John Piper who said

    “You are fully free when you have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will leave you no regrets forever.” (http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/you-will-know-the-truth-and-the-truth-will-set-you-free)

    and defined freedom as :  “the desire to do what you should do.”

    That leads to two pretty interesting results:

    1)  The desire to do the wrong thing – this is bondage to sin, and if unforgiven, will lead to eternal damnation.

    2)  Doing the right thing but not desiring it – this is bondage to legalism or religion in that thinking that just by doing it, you will be OK, regardless of your motivation.  If this is your heart, you are either being led astray like the Christians in Galatia, you are not a mature Christian and need to grow, or you are not really a Christian.

    But when we truly desire to do the right thing, and actually do it, with the fervor and attitude of one who understands that “for freedom Christ has set s free” (Galatians 5:1), then, and only then, are we truly free.

    Are you truly free?  What are you doing with your freedom?