The suffering of Jesus

Before his arrest Jesus prayed that if it were possible he might avoid being crucified.

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 

And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:39-46)

He wanted to avoid the crucifixion but he submitted to God’s will and as you know it was God’s will for him to be crucified.  Read the rest of this entry

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Why Christians oppose same sex marriage

Whenever someone opposes same sex marriage he is accused of hating gays and his opinions are often called hate speech.  Proponents of same sex marriage have attacked those who oppose it and have caused some to lose their jobs and have their businesses ruined.  Some people do hate gays but Christians who oppose same sex marriage do so because we care about gays and want to protect them the harm that they will experience.

To see why this is so we need to look at what the Bible says about marriage.  The first marriage was between the first man and the first woman. Read the rest of this entry

Christian counseling

If you have a problem and need a professional counselor you probably won’t have much trouble finding one unless you want a counselor who believes the Bible and uses that as the basis for his work. Most counselors base their work on secular beliefs.  One organization that does offer Biblical counseling is Restoration Counseling Ministries.  Here is their website: Restoration Counseling Ministries.

The Restoration Counseling center was founded in January 2016 by Dr. David Johnny Nixon and Joshua Agan. Both have served as church planting pastors and still serve actively in ministry today. The counseling center is designed to be a help to pastors by lightening their load and offering specialized help as they strive to shepherd the flock God gave them.

Based out of South Georgia, Restoration Counseling serves as the official counseling provider for multiple Georgia municipalities, several private organizations, and most importantly, we help pastors and churches across the country.

They offer both local and long distance counseling.  Here are the services they offer:   Getting Started

If you don’t need professional counseling you might be interested in their blog or their bookstore.

I met Joshua Agan several years ago on an internet forum and I have read one book that Dr. Nixon has written so I am confident that they both know the Bible well and will use it as the basis for any counseling they offer.

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Local flood and local fire?

Genesis 6-9 tells the story of Noah.  Mankind had grown so evil that God decided to send a flood to destroy them.  Noah and his family were the only righteous people left in the world so God told him to build an ark to save his family and to take into the ark one pair of each kind of animal to save them from extinction.

Some Christians believe the flood was not really world wide but confined to the local area where Noah lived.  If you are one of them I would be interested in hearing your opinion about something Peter wrote.

Scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 

For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:3-7)

He said that in the past the world was deluged with water and perished and that in the future the heavens and earth that now exist will be destroyed with fire.  If only part of the earth perished in the flood does that mean that the fire that will come in the future will only burn up part of the earth?

Saving social security

The social security system in the United States will soon face a financial crisis.  Retirees are living longer than they have in the past.  At one time there were 41 workers paying into the system for each retiree receiving benefits; there are now about 3 workers for each retiree.

One contributing factor to this trend is the legalization of abortion in the United States.  Since the Roe vs. Wade decision almost 60 million babies have been aborted. If they had been allowed to live many of them would now be working and paying into the social security system.  Ending abortion might not be enough to solve the system’s problems but it would certainly help.

Even if abortion were ended it would be almost 20 years before the effects would be felt.  But there is another way we can find more workers to support social security.  That is to encourage immigration and open our borders to refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands.  We should encourage these people to settle in the United States, find jobs, and begin paying social security.

There are a lot of public discussion of abortion and immigration but I don’t recall anyone discussing the affects of these topics on social security.  I have also heard a lot of discussion the the social security crisis but I don’t recall anyone suggesting changing the laws on abortion and immigration as possible solutions.  If our leaders realized how these subjects are interconnected they might find it easier to solve the problems connected with them.

Any American who cares about the welfare of our retirees should oppose abortion and support increased immigration but Christians have other reasons to do this.  I have made two posts in this blog about those reasons.

Molech

Immigration and evangelism

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Them Before Us

God established marriage as a lifelong union between a man and a woman.  One purpose was to ensure that every child would be brought up and trained by his biological parents.

Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.  (Malachi 2:15)

Sometimes this plan is disrupted by the death of one or both of the parents.  This is unfortunate but it isn’t anyone’s fault.  But sometimes the plan is disrupted because of the actions of one or both of the parents.  Parents get divorced or conceive children without getting married.  Children may end up being raised by a gay couple; they have two mothers or two fathers, rather than having a mother and a father as God intended.  These situations usually come about because people care more about their rights than they do about the welfare of their children.  There is an organization called Them Before Us that seeks to remind us of our responsibilities to our children both by stories of how children are affected and by scientific studies that show that God’s plan is best.

Them Before Us Read the rest of this entry

Amateur shipbuilders

Some of you may have heard this statement: “The ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic was built by professionals.”  Of course the ark saved the human race and many kinds of animals from extinction while the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank during its maiden voyage.  The meaning of the saying is that those who obey God can accomplish more good than well trained professionals who rely on their own wisdom.

While I agree with the intent of this statement I wonder just how true it is.  Was the ark built by amateurs?  We are told nothing about how Noah made his living before building the ark.  It is possible that he and his sons were professional shipbuilders.  If this is so, then the ark and the Titanic were both built by professionals. Read the rest of this entry

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Leprosy

Leviticus 13 and 14 give God’s commands concerning leprosy.  Leviticus 13:1-44 tells how it was diagnosed.  A priest examined the skin of the person suspected of having leprosy and declared him clean or unclean on the basis of that examination.  The next two verses describe how a person declared unclean was to live.

The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, “Unclean, unclean.” He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp. (Leviticus 13:45,46)

He was isolated and forbidden to have contact with those without leprosy.

Today the term “leprosy” is given to a disease called Hansen’s disease.  A comparison of Hansen’s disease and biblical leprosy shows that they are not the same.  Here is how the National Institute of Health describes Hansen’s disease.

Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) is a rare bacterial infection that affects the skin, nerves and mucous membranes. After exposure, it may take anywhere from 2 to 10 years to develop features of the condition. Once present, common signs and symptoms include skin lesions; muscle weakness or paralysis; eye problems that may lead to blindness; nosebleeds; severe pain; and/or numbness in the hands, feet, arms and legs.

Hansen’s disease

Read the rest of this entry

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Transgenders and same sex marriage

The Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman and that in God’s eyes a same sex “marriage” is not a marriage at all.  This is simple and is something that anyone can easily understand.  At least it would be simple if it weren’t for the current transgender movement.  A transgender person is one who perceives himself to be of the opposite to his biological sex.  Some transgenders go far as to have sex change surgery which makes them appear to be of the opposite sex.  When one of these people decides to marry the question of what is a same sex marriage becomes unclear.

Suppose a man and a woman decide to marry.  If one of them was born as a member of the opposite sex and had a sex change operation is their marriage legitimate or is it a same sex union?

Suppose two members of the same sex want to marry but one of them was born as a member of the opposite sex.  Is their marriage a same sex marriage or do they have a right to get married according to God’s laws?

Each cell in the human body contains 23 pairs of chromosomes.  One pair determines the sex of the individual.  Each chromosome is either an x or a y chromosome.  A person with two x chromosomes is female, while one with an x and a y is male.  Sex change operations have no effect on a person’s chromosomes.  If a same sex couple marries and one of them is transgender, they are technically of different genders, so the marriage is permissible, but the cisgender member of the marriage is engaging in sexual activity with a person who is outwardly of the same gender, so he is violating the prohibition against sexual involvement between members of the same sex.

The transgender movement has raised a lot of questions about sex and marriage that we didn’t need to think about in the past.  I don’t know the answers to these questions but I believe Christians should be aware of them so we can find answers and be prepared when we encounter these situations in real life.

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Is human activity responsible for climate change?

It is generally accepted that the earth’s climate is changing and that the greenhouse gases produced by the use of fossil fuels are responsible for much of this change.  In 2015 a group of nations signed an agreement known as the Paris Accord in which they agreed to take steps to ease climate change.  Earlier this year President Trump was criticized when the withdrew the United States from this agreement.

President Trump’s action was not as irresponsible as most people seem to think.  There are many scientists who think that human actions aren’t responsible for climate change.  You can read the arguments for both sides of this issue here:  Is Human Activity Primarily Responsible for Global Climate Change?

Both sides are based on the opinions of scientists who have studied the data extensively.  For those who believe the Bible there is a third option.  The Bible teaches that humans do affect the climate but not by burning fossil fuels. Read the rest of this entry

The Wise Men at the manger

Every year around Christmas we see nativity scenes.  The details of the scenes differ but all of them show the baby Jesus in a manger with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the Wise Men either standing or kneeling around him.  These scenes serve a useful purpose by reminding everyone that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa Claus.  Unfortunately every nativity scene I have ever seen promotes an error.  They show the Wise Men being present at the birth of Jesus.  In fact they were nowhere near Bethlehem then and didn’t arrive until much later.

Here is Matthew’s description of the birth of Jesus.

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25)

He doesn’t give any details about the birth except to tell us that Mary was still a virgin.

Luke 2:1-20 gives a more detailed description of Jesus’s birth.  Joseph and Mary were forced to go to Bethlehem because of a decree by Caesar and Jesus was born there and placed in a manger.  An angel revealed to a group of shepherds that the Messiah had been born and they came to see him. Read the rest of this entry

Did Jesus claim to be God?

There is disagreement as to whether Jesus was God.  Some who deny his deity say that he never claimed to be God.  The fact is Jesus said several times in the gospels that he was God.

If you begin reading the gospels, beginning with Matthew, you will come to a section known as the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7.  He stated three times in this sermon that he was God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

He equated being persecuted for the sake of righteousness with being persecuted for his sake.  Only God, the source of all righteousness, could make such a claim. Read the rest of this entry

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Life at Conception Act

Congress could end abortion without overturning Roe vs.Wade simply by passing a law stating that life begins at conception.  The authority to do this is contained within the decision itself.

Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion by using the Constitution instead of amending it.

A simple majority vote in both houses of Congress is all that is needed to pass a Life at Conception Act as opposed to the two-thirds required to add a Constitutional amendment.

When the Supreme Court handed down its now-infamous Roe v. Wade decision, it did so based on a new, previously undefined “right of privacy” which it “discovered” in so-called “emanations” of “penumbrae” of the Constitution.

Of course, as constitutional law it was a disaster. But never once did the Supreme Court declare abortion itself to be a Constitutional right.

Instead the Supreme Court said:

“We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins . . . the judiciary at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.”

Then the High Court made a key admission:

“If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case [i.e. “Roe” who sought the abortion], of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”

That’s exactly what a Life at Conception Act would do.

http://prolifealliance.com/end_roeVwade.html

When Barack Obama was president it would have done no good to pass such an act because it would almost certainly have been vetoed.  Now we have a president who is pro life and would probably sign it.  The passage of this act would be a pro life victory. Read the rest of this entry

Apologize for what you believe

Some people get offended when Christians tell them what the Bible says about something and they sometimes they demand that we apologize.  When someone responds in this way we should apologize.

Before you get mad at me and accuse me of selling out to the opposition I think you should look at what the word “apology” means.  Here are two definitions from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

  1. an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret a public apology 

  2.  something that is said or written to defend something that other people criticize :The book is an apology for capitalism.

When people demand that Christians apologize they generally have the first definition in mind.  We should never apologize for the truth in this way.  If we do this we are denying Jesus. Read the rest of this entry

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