Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Principles for Dating #2

Hello my children,

The second principle is "The Confirmation Principle."

Holland argues that it is important to submit your dating relationship to the God-ordained authorities in your life as well as the providentially placed people in your lives, like friends.

If you look at the relationship that Samson wanted to have with the Philistine woman in Judges 14:1-5, you see that not only was his interest in her based purely on physical attraction, but he also broke principle 1 in that he did not care about her character or even her religious beliefs. Even further, he didn't care about the input of his parents. He rejected their advice and "one thing led to another" and his wife betrayed him, 30 men died, multiple crops were destroyed by fire, and his wife and father-in-law were burned to death (Judges 15).

There is a God-ordained and designed level of care, instruction, and protection that God has woven into your lives. The first thread is your parents. Before you are an adult they are in authority over you and have responsibility to guide, teach, and protect you. But even once you are an adult they are to be honored and recognized as a valuable resource and can still serve as guides, teachers, and protection if you will let them.

It is good to have your parents involved from the beginnings of a relationship (or even before one starts). It would be good to involve them in considering who to pursue for a relationship and how.

Regardless of how exactly this works out, it should be the heart of a child to get their parent's thoughts, listen to their concerns, and honor their admonitions.

Parents are given for many good reasons that should be considered:

Exodus 20:12 12 ¶ "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

Leviticus 19:3 3 'Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father

Ephesians 6:1-3 Ephesians 6:1 ¶ Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

Proverbs 6:20-23 My son, observe the commandment of your father, And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life.

Proverbs 10:1 A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.

If God gave you parents He expects them to have very important input into this vital decision. It is true that not all parents are wise in these matters, but as in everything, check their advice and wisdom against God's word.

Grace and peace,

Dad

Monday, June 13, 2011

Principles for Dating: #1

I am in the process of writing letters to my children about things they should think about regarding dating. I am posting them here in case they can benefit others.

Hi loveys,

This is the second installment of the dating series. We are going over Rick Holland's ten principles from the book _5 Paths to the Love of Your Life_.

The first principle is: The Character Principle.

The basic idea is that it is more important to _be_ the right person than to _find_ the right person. In other words, you should really concentrate on being conformed to the image of Christ. If you are seeking Christ you will desire a person who also seeks the Lord and wants to do His will.

Titus 2:2-8 gives a good list of character qualities for us to measure ourselves against.

sober-minded
dignified
self-controlled
sound in faith, love & steadfastness
reverent in behavior
not slanderers
not slaves to wine
teaching what is good
loving
pure
hard worker
submissive to authorities
a model of good works
having integrity
sound in speech
people have noting evil to say about you.

Other passages add other qualities:
humility (Phil 2:3-11)
holiness (1 Pet 1:14-16)
godly love (1 Cor 13:4-8)
selflessness (James 3:14)
the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-25)
Christlikeness (Eph 4:13)

It would be good to go through this list and see what areas you need to grow in. It is most important that you look upon your heart, because that is where God looks (1 Sam 16:7).

Titus 2 and 2 Timothy 2 indicate that it is helpful to have a mentoring relationship where someone encourages you and holds you accountable in these areas. Perhaps it would be good for you to ask your discipler to go through the list and talk about these things with you.

Finally, in addition to being the right kind of a person, in trying to find the right kind of person, these are the characteristics you should look for in others as well.

King Lemuel said it well: "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." (Prov 31:30)

Again, let me know what you think. If you have questions or want to discuss something, feel free to respond to this message or send me a private one.

I love you all,

Dad

Friday, February 11, 2011

Defending the Faith

I recently received this note from a non-christian friend. I thought I'd share my response in case it helps someone else in thinking through these things. Pray for his salvation.

Friend's comments: I was gonna ask you about this show I watched the other night. God vs Satan. We all know that god cast Lucifer out of heaven for basically trying to throw a coup. At this time Lucifer was a cherub, and he had managed to get one third of gods angels to back him. I have no idea who created gods cherubs, that's another mystery to me, but he cast out Lucifer and in turn made him king of the underworld. I think that was a big mistake for someone who knows all and sees all. He turned an ordinary cherub, into a king. Some call it a balance. Kind of like the ying and yang.
If we look at society today, it's easy to see that the devil is winning this game. Now don't get me wrong, I don't believe in any of that crap. But if I was a god. I believe I would have sacrificed Lucifer instead of waiting so long than to creep into a womans house when her man wasn't home and raping her like a common criminal.
I'm a big fan of the History channel where they are continously blowing gods out of the skies and this idea had occured to me. That god in the old testament makes a lot of mistakes, just in the first book of Genisis.
And another thing occured to me in our last discussion about evolution. I have to go with the walk of man as a good example of that. At least that is solid proof. And why could Jesus perform all the magic tricks like walking on water, raising the dead, healing the sick, and feeding the multitudes but he couldn't do a thing with those nails. But cried to his so-called daddy and his daddy turned his back on him. Lucifer came out smelling like a rose.

My Comments:
In exploring things like this it is important to separate what the Bible actually says from things that it is purported to say by those who build straw men arguments against it. It is true that the Bible teaches that there must have been a rebellion in the angelic world (2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6). It is also possible that Isa 14:12-15 is a reference to the fall of Satan, although that is debated.

The cherub designation comes in if Ezekiel 28 is a reference to Satan (That is debated as well since this is in the context of referring to judgment upon earthly kings). But let's say that Satan is a cherub. It is important to note that cherub in the Bible is not some fat baby angel like in art works, but was a class of angels.

You say that you do not know who created God's cherubs. Well, that Bible says, Exodus 20:11 11 "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them."

So, it appears that God created the angels as well.

You also mention the name Lucifer, which only appears in the KJV of Isaiah 14:12, which should probably be translated as "shining one."

But, regardless of all of that, the Bible does not say that God made Satan the king of the underworld.

Understanding how to answer that depends though on what you mean by "underworld." If by that you mean hell, then the Bible does not teach that Satan is in charge of hell. Rather hell is the place designed for his eternal punishment (Rev 20:10).

If however by underworld you mean the earth where people live, then God also did not make Him the king of the earth. Now, you may be arguing that God's act of casting Satan out of heaven made him a default ruler of sorts. If that is what you mean then i would agree, but that is only because the hearts of unbelievers follow him. It is true that he exercises a dominion over the hearts of those who do not believe in Christ. He serves as their so-called "god" as he blinds their eyes and holds them captive to do his will (Acts 26:18; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:1-2; 2 Tim 2:26).

However, it is not really like the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang. In the Bible God and Satan are not equal opposing forces. God is the sovereign creator who rules all of creation and Satan is a created but fallen being and a defeated foe (Hebrews 2:14-15) on a short leash allowed certain freedom to do his evil, but really only ends up furthering God's plan. He is able to be resisted by Christians (James 4:7; 1 Pet 5:8-9) will be crushed under their feet (Rom 16:20), and will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:10).

As for looking at society and thinking that the devil is winning the game, once again this is not a biblical perspective. The Bible does not teach that God is trying to win some game. Rather, the Bible teaches that God is accomplishing the salvation of His people. And I can testify as one of them that he is doing really well. It never teaches that the world will get better, rather the expectation is that things will get worse. A rule of righteousness, peace, and love will only occur when Christ returns as King and destroys His enemies.

Now as to your idea that it would have been better to sacrifice Satan, well, once again, according to the Bible that would not have accomplished anything other than killing Satan. Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, was sacrificed in fulfillment of the OT prophecies and sacrificial types in order to as a human perfectly fulfill God's law in order to be a blameless sacrifice, and as God he was able to bear an eternity of the wrath of God toward the sins of all of His people in the short time upon the cross. Thus, he perfectly satisfied God's justice so that those who believe in Him as their savior may have the forgiveness of all of their sins.

As far as Jesus on the cross. The fact is that he could have called 12 legions of angels to defend him (Matthew 26:53-54) or could have come down himself if he had wanted to, but why would he? He lived his whole life for this purpose, to die for the sins of His people. The Bible teaches over and over that he laid down His life willingly. Then, he was resurrected so that those who believe receive the benefits of his death and are joined to Him in His resurrection as well to live a new life which will go on for eternity. As for his crying out "My God, My God Why have you forsaken me?" That is a quote from the OT in Psalm 22 and signals that Christ was fulfilling prophecy. It is true that he was abandoned to suffer the cross in the place of sinners so that he could bear the wrath of God, but this was not a weak or pitiful thing, it was rather a path to victory over death, sin, and Satan.

As for your contention that the incarnation was an act of rape, again you have it wrong on several counts. First, just for facts sake Mary was not yet married, so her "man" wouldn't be home with her. She was probably still living at home. Second, God did not rape her. He did not have a body, and did not have intercourse with her. He performed a miracle by causing her to conceive. After this miracle she is still called a virgin. So the biblical picture is not of rape. Third, perhaps you do not like the fact that He caused this to happen at all and feel that it was forced upon her. Well, if you read the account Mary is a very willing participant and in fact rejoices over her privilege to have this happen (Luke 1:26-2:7). So, your straw man argument doesn't hold up.

As for the statement that "Lucifer came out smelling like a rose." Its absurd (whatever it means?). Rather, I think he will smell more like burnt toast.

Two final comments: 1) As to your contention that God made mistakes, there is no evidence of that in the Bible. If you read the whole thing it consistently reveals that God is perfect and His whole plan can be seen in context. It is only when one tries to stand in judgment upon the Bible by their own skewed perspective and does not take it as it is intended by God that it could be construed as God making mistakes.

2) I have no idea what you mean by "the walk of man" as "solid proof" of evolution. Do you mean the fact that man walks upright? If so, wouldn't that better be evidence of a great designer?

Well, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak the truth about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and hopefull clarify some things. I pray that your eyes will be opened to see your sin and your need of the glorious savior and His work on the cross.

Grace and peace,

Brian