Nakedness

Reading Genesis chapter 3 I am struck by the fact that Adam and Eve, upon eating the fruit, had their eyes opened and they realized that they were naked before God. We tend to focus on the meaning of the word naked the way we use it to mean “without clothing” when in fact I believe what the Bible is trying to convey is not just that they were without clothing but that they had something to be ashamed of and had no way of hiding it.

The nakedness of Adam and Eve was not the problem. Their lack of clothing was not an issue before they sinned. Why not? Because they had nothing to hide. When we say that you are naked we mean that you cannot hide what it is that you want to hide. When we are referring to clothing, you obviously want to hide the parts of your body that nobody else is supposed to see. But, the nakedness that Adam and Eve experienced before they sinned had nothing to do with their lack of clothing because it wasn’t a problem. The fact that they were naked was perfectly acceptable to them because they had nothing to hide nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to repent of.

Perhaps one of the problems in our society today stems from the fact that we do not realize how truly naked we are without the covering of the blood of Christ as we stand before God who sees all and knows all. We think we can hide things from Him. We think nobody knows what we do behind closed doors. But the Bible says in Hebrews 4:13
“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”

No matter how much you think you have hidden from God, you can be sure that you have hidden absolutely nothing from him. The idea that God doesn’t know or doesn’t understand the sins you have committed could not be more wrong. One day your sins will be laid bare before Him and you will have to acknowledge that He has known all along that you do not deserve Paradise but rather an eternity in hell. How much better to recognize that fact and be forgiven for those sins while there is still time?

When a person trusts in Christ as Savior, the Bible makes reference of receiving a cloak. When we get to heaven we will receive new robes. Adam and Eve received robes made of skins from a dead animal. The reason why those of us in heaven are given robes is to signify the fact that the only reason we are there is that Jesus has taken away our shame. He has taken away our reason for wanting to hide something. Since we will be wearing the robes of the righteousness of Christ, we have nothing to hide from God. We have already been forgiven for every sin we have ever committed as followers of Jesus Christ.

So the question is not, “Are you naked?” because we all are naked before God. The question is, “Has your nakedness, your shame at your sin, been covered by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ?”

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NFL Protests

I’m going to tell you some things about myself. Like many Americans I enjoy the game of football. Like most Americans, I hate racism. I applaud justice and freedom.  I dislike bullying and thuggery.  God commands me to love all people, whether they are nice, rude, fun, irritating, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight, old, young, fat, thin, sane or mentally ill.  And I try my best, with His help, to love them all. I love Colin Kaepernick. I want the very best for him.  I love the 1,696 NFL players who are currently on the 32 teams, along with their coaches, staff, and owners.  I love Donald Trump.  I love Hillary Clinton.

But love doesn’t mean that justice should not happen. God loves all of us, but to those who reject His love He will also reject, and they will feel the wrath of His justice for eternity.  I would love it if all men (meaning “human beings alive on earth) would get saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, but the Bible says that the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.

Love also doesn’t mean “being nice” all the time.  If my best friend is contemplating having an affair with a woman from work, even though the “nice” thing to do is to support what makes him feel good, I should warn him away from this, because it will destroy his relationship with his wife and his children, scarring him for the rest of his life.  If my sister becomes addicted to heroin, I should do the not-nice thing and hold an intervention, telling her what she doesn’t want to hear in order to save her life.

And so sometimes the loving thing is to point out when someone is wrong. When Colin Kaepernick took a knee last year, it bothered me.  It did not bother me that he was pointing out that racism exists.  It does.  It also wasn’t because he was pointing out that sometimes the police shoot and kill people they shouldn’t.  They do.   It bothered me because, like so many people in this country, I believe this country to be the greatest country ever (so far).  I think the founding fathers looked back through history and tried their best to ensure that it would be very difficult to destroy the freedom that they established here.  That’s why we have a justice system.  That’s why we have laws.  Our laws are supposed to protect our citizens from people doing things they aren’t supposed to do.

Sometimes we have to make changes to the law because we realize we’ve been doing something wrong.  Such was the case with our country’s treatment of people who didn’t have white skin.  We are getting better in this area. If you think we aren’t, then compare the treatment of black people and Asian people in 1800 compared to the 1890’s.  Now compare their treatment to the 1960’s. Now compare their treatment to now.  It’s obviously getting better.  Yes, there are still people out there who believe that white people are somehow better than black people, but there are also black people who believe they are somehow better than white people.  There are people who still believe the earth is flat.  All these things are flat-out wrong.

So we’ve established that racism still exists in America.  It’s wrong, but it’s there. The question is, what do we do about it?  Is racial discrimination illegal?  Yes it is.  Can you force someone to stop being a racist?  No, you cannot.

So what’s the issue here?  It’s priorities.   Who comes first in your life?  Is it your family?  Is it God?  For me, God is my number one priority, followed by my family, then my country, my job, and then everything else in varied order (including my spectator sports).  If I am trying to determine if an action is right or wrong, my first question is simply, “What does God say about it?”  If my wife asks me to do something that goes against what God has said, my first allegiance is to God, so I should refuse her.  If my country tells me that I should do something that goes against my family (like China’s mandatory abortion policy did), I should refuse, no matter the consequences.  Sometimes these lines blur a little, but there’s a clear order.

And so we come to the NFL.  I personally believe that people should have the right to peaceably demonstrate.  I am 100% in agreement with the kneelers there.  I am also in agreement with them that racism is bad and should be fought at every turn.  I agree that police brutality exists (though probably not to the extent the kneelers believe it does).   However, I also agree with those who believe that the flag of the United States is a symbol of freedom.  It’s also a symbol of those who have fought, sacrificed, and died for that freedom.  That flag is draped over the coffin of every service member who dies. That flag is then presented to the family of the service member in appreciation for their service.  And so, to me, when the Star Spangled Banner is being played or sung, I stand out of respect for my country, the armed services, and the sacrifice of those who have died protecting the flag and the freedom it stands for. I place my hand on my heart to show that I love my country.

There are those who say, “The kneelers aren’t disrespecting the flag, they’re protesting the injustice in this country.”  To this I say, “malarkey.”  If you dance on someone’s grave as a protest against whatever, you aren’t just protesting, you’re disrespecting them and their family.  This is similar to that, in my mind.

My allegiance to my country is more important to me than my allegiance to the Colts, the Chiefs, or any team in the NFL.  I did not stop watching NFL games last year because it was just a few players here and there, and the NFL was mostly ignoring it.  But when the NFL makes a statement that they support those who kneel and those who hoist the Black Power (which is a violent racist group) fist, my support ends.  When the owners and coaches say they support the protests, and even participate themselves, my support ends.  The NFL has effectively drawn a line in the sand and said (in my mind and in the minds of many who agree with me), “The NFL disrespects America.”

Since my allegiance to America is greater than my allegiance to watching a sport, I no longer watch the NFL.  I have friends and relatives on both sides of this debate.  Quite frankly I’m tired of arguing about it.  If you ask me, the protesters haven’t done a thing to advance their supposed cause. All they have done is given America something else to argue about.  Has the kneeling changed the minds of any racists out there? I doubt it. But it has changed the minds of people like me who love our country, our soldiers and sailors, and the flag that represents them.

I will close with an analogy.  Let’s say you have a friend. He’s funny, smart, and you enjoy spending time with him.  Now let’s say he starts making jokes about your wife,  your mom, and being mean to other people  you love.  At what point do you say, “We can’t hang out anymore”?

For me, it was this past weekend.

 

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Castile Verdict

Just read an article on CNN about the Philando Castile verdict. For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Castile was shot and killed by a police officer in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota called Falcon Heights.

It is not the purpose of this post for me to tell you whether or not I think the shooting was justified or if mr. Castile was murdered. I have not heard all the evidence and it is not my place to say one way or the other.

Today the police officer was returned a verdict by the jury of his peers and was found not guilty.

The point of this post is to address the comments made by someone in the CNN article regarding the jury. This article states:

The jury was composed of eight men and four women, including one black man and one black woman. The jury heard two weeks of testimony and spent about 27 hours deliberating.  “I don’t think this was a fair jury at all, made up of more than half middle-aged white people,” she said.

The “she” in the article is a woman named Theresa St Aroro. I could find no other information about this woman other than the obvious fact that she is a racist.

“Whoa! Wait a minute,” you say. “How do you know she’s a racist?”  Because she said, ” I don’t think this was a fair jury at all, made up of more than half middle-aged white people.”

This statement tells us two things:

1. She believes that white people won’t return a fair verdict. This is racist.

2. She thinks there should have been more minorities on the jury. This implies that if there had been more minorities on the jury then he would have received Justice whereas with mostly white people he could not. This point is closely related to the first but it’s important to be clear that her thinking is that somehow this police officer should have been tried by a jury that most closely resembles Mr Castile’s skin color.

This is ludicrous. Looking at the city of Saint Paul, MN demographically, it is 66.7% white, 13.5% black, 12.4% Asian, 8.9% Latino, and the rest is a mix of Pacific Islander, Native American, etc.  Given that the jury is comprised of 12 people, each juror should represent 8.3% of the population of the city. According to these numbers, to most closely represent the racial demographic of St.Paul, eight of the jurors should be white, 1.5 should be black 1.5 should be Asian and one should be Hispanic. Given the fact that the article does not list the racial demographics of the trial other than to say that over half of them were white and two of them were black, it sounds like they did a good job and getting an accurate representation.

Actually, the shooting happened in Falcon Heights, which is only 8% black, so it could be said that the number of black people on the jury was twice what it should have been.

It could be said, but not by me because I’m not a racist who thinks that one skin color of the juror will be fair and just while another will be unjust solely based on the color of their skin.

Probably lots of people feel the way this woman feels. That’s probably why CNN included her comments in the article. And that’s why I think we still have a problem in this country with racism.

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Prayer

The Bible is clear that God wants us to talk to Him.  We are to thank Him for what He has done, praise Him for who He is, ask Him for assistance, and confess our sins to Him.

But how exactly are we supposed to talk to God?  Some people feel that they can’t talk to Him because they don’t know how.  Some people fear praying in public because they don’t know how to pray.  This seems strange since the Lord Jesus gave us a template to follow in Matthew 6:

  1. We are to pray to God the Father
  2. We are to glorify God and worship Him
  3. We are to pray that His will would be done.
  4. We are to ask Him for the things we need
  5. We are to ask Him to forgive us for our sins
  6. We are to ask Him to help us lead a victorious Christian life.
  7. We are to recognize His sovereignty.

I’ve also noticed lately that many Christians seem to be mixing up the Trinity while praying.  I have been taught that when we pray, we are supposed to pray TO God the Father, in the name of God the Son, through the power of God the Holy Spirit.  Jesus Christ never prays to Himself or to the Holy Spirit, but only to God the Father.  Here are all the times people prayed in the New Testament where different members of the Trinity are mentioned: |

1. Acts 4:24-30 In this passage the apostles are talking TO God ABOUT Jesus and the Holy Spirit, so it’s obvious they’re talking to the Father.
2. Stephen prays “Lord Jesus receive my spirit!” in Acts 7:59
3. Romans 1:8 Paul prays “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all…” Paul is speaking of two separate persons here.
4. Ephesians 5:20 says “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;” That seems pretty clear that we are being directed to pray TO the Father in the name of Christ.
5. Colossians 1:3 says “We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,” Again, praying to the Father.
6. Revelation 5:9 the saints in heaven pray directly to Christ in song.

There are two instances where people pray to God the Son and both are when the Son of God is physically visible to the person praying. So we must ask: is it wrong to pray to Christ? Not necessarily, but it is not usual to do so.  The problem with praying to Christ instead of God the Father is that we confuse who we are talking to sometimes.

Many times I have heard well-meaning, doctrinally sound believers pray, “Father, we thank you for dying on the cross for our sins.” Do these people believe in patripassianism (Sabellianism/modalism) which teaches that God the Father died on the cross? No. How could the Father die on the cross when He was separated from Jesus for those three hours while Christ took the sins of the world on himself?   Another thing I’ve heard is someone praying and they switch back and forth such as “Thank you Father for sending your Son to die on the cross for us and we look forward to your return in the clouds.”   The most innocuous of these is when someone prays to the Father, and then ends the prayer with “In Your Name, Amen” (instead of “In the name of Christ/Jesus/the Son/etc”).  While I don’t believe it’s sinful to pray this way, I do believe it can confuse new Christians and allow for doctrinal error to creep in.

Now, do I say this to be critical of my fellow Christians? No.  I firmly believe that God can and does translate and interpret these prayers correctly. Perhaps this is one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit when He prays for us as in Romans 8:26-27.  I believe God hears and adjusts those prayers for accuracy. God knows what you mean.  But does that mean we shouldn’t care that we are praying incorrectly? No. I think it’s important that we as believers not have a cavalier attitude about how we are talking to the God of the universe, the Creator of all things, the Redeemer of our souls.  I think we should follow His example and not thank the Father for being born in Bethlehem, because He wasn’t. God the Father has never been born.

We should think about the words we’re using when we pray.  We should think about who we are praying to and about as we pray, and not simply be talking out loud using words when we aren’t thinking about their meaning.  Next time you pray, determine to talk to God the Father in the name of the Son in the power of the Spirit.

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Hell

I got to thinking about Hell last night.  The image of Hell that we have is people suffering in flames surrounded by demons tormenting them.  As my last post covered, this is not completely true because Hell was actually created FOR the demons/fallen angels to be tormented (Matthew 25:41).  Satan and his demons will be suffering right next to all the humans who rejected Christ while alive.  But the main thing that people think of when they think of hell is probably some variation of “hot”, “flames”, “burning” or some such.

People don’t talk about the psychological punishment in hell.

Let me ask you a question: Do you have any regrets? Any words you said you wish you hadn’t? Anything you’ve done that you wish you could have done differently (or not at all)?  I think we both know the answer to those questions, because none of us are perfect.

You see, that’s one of the great parts of being a believer in Christ:  we are forgiven.  We don’t live with regret.  I believe that when a Christian dies he or she is taken into the presence of Christ immediately (2 Cor 5:8).  And after the Great White Throne Judgment Christ will “wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain” (Rev 21:4). So believers will not live with regret on the new earth.

But the unsaved?  I think that will actually be the worst part of Hell.  I saw an episode of the British show “Black Mirror” (I don’t recommend the series because it’s got some inappropriate stuff in it) but the episode “White Christmas” had a man being tormented inside a scenario reminding him of his greatest regret over and over, and at the end of the episode, the technology existed to speed up his clock so every hour of real time would literally feel like a thousand years to him. The last words of the episode were “Leave him there until tomorrow” (or something like that).  So this man would be tormented by the knowledge of what he had done for 24,000 years before they came back the next day.   Add in unbearable pain from flames and another billion years of time and you will have only scratched the surface of how bad hell is.

Little wonder that I don’t wish anybody to “go to hell” and that I try to warn people both in real life and on the internet of the danger they are in if they don’t trust Christ.

The acronym YOLO (“You Only Live Once”) is used to refer to the belief that you only get one life and you should pack as much enjoyment into it as you can, because this is the only chance you get to have fun.   I prefer to think of it with Hebrews 9:27 in mind:

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,

Those who say “Only God can judge me” seem to forget that one day He will.

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Matt Walsh and Satan

I’m currently reading a book by popular conservative Catholic blogger Matt Walsh called The Unholy Trinity: Blocking the Left’s Assault on Life, Marriage, and Gender. I’m currently in chapter 3.  In chapter one he sets up the premise of the book.  In chapter two he reveals the reason so many liberals defend abortion, and destroys their arguments, revealing abortion to be the horror that it is.   I highly recommend this book and would encourage you to pick it up.

However, Mr Walsh makes three glaring errors in the opening paragraphs of his book. First of all, he claims that Lucifer lived in heaven “before time itself.” Satan is a linear being, which means he was created to live inside of time. There is only one being that is outside of time, and that is God. The best statement against this view (expressed again in chapter two) is Genesis 1:31 which states that after God created everything (including Man) that “everything was very good.”  If Satan had already rebelled, then not everything would have been good.

Secondly, Matt claims that Satan “and those who followed him were cast out of Paradise, down into the hideous depths of Hell.”  This is the extrabiblical idea that Hell is a very hot place where demons torment the ungodly and Satan is ruling over everything down there. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Satan was cast out of his position in heaven, but as Job states, he can still go there sometimes.  Also, Revelation 12:9 says that he was cast down to earth, NOT hell.

Thirdly, Matt claims that in hell Satan reigns “over his pitiful kingdom of darkness” in hell. This is a common misconception because nowhere in the Bible does it say that Satan is somehow “in charge” of Hell. Satan is the “prince of the power of the air” and “the god of this world.” I Peter 5:8 says Satan is walking amongst living humans. In Job 1 AND 2 Satan states that he has been walking around on the earth. In all likelihood Satan has never even been to Hell and will not go there until the end of the Tribulation period as foretold in in Revelation 20.

I think this is an important point.  Satan does not rule over Hell.  The idea that he does gives him an authority that he does not have. Matthew 25:41 is clear that Hell was created to punish Satan and his demons, not for humans (though it will be used for this).  Hell is a place of unimaginable torment and the only people that go there are those who reject Christ.  They will be tormented for eternity not by demons, but by God’s wrath.  In reality, the demons (including Satan) will be tormented right next to the humans. Satan is dangerous, yes, but if you trust in Christ, you need not fear him.

In conclusion, if you have questions about the logical flaws in modern liberalism, Matt Walsh is a good source for information.  If you have questions about angelology (the study of angels, including Satan), look elsewhere.

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Shipt comes to Indianapolis

I shop at Meijer.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a store which resembles a Super Wal Mart. This month they announced that they are partnering with another company called Shipt, to offer a service where the user can order groceries from home, and in as little as an hour one of the company’s shoppers will go to Meijer, collect all the items the user ordered, and deliver them to the user’s home.

Evidently the cost is $99 a year (or $14 a month for those who are bad at math), and as long as your grocery orders are always over $35, delivery is free (if you don’t tip).  However, there is also the fact (not on their home page, but buried in their FAQ) that the price of each item you order is about 12.5% more than what you would pay in the store.

 
Their website says “Shipt prices will vary slightly from in-store prices to help cover the costs of picking, packing and processing. Our members can expect to pay about $5 more using Shipt than they would on a $35 order purchased in the store themselves. For example, a loaf of Wonderbread costs $2.29 in the store and $2.59 to have it delivered to your door using Shipt. Our members are happy to pay the extra $.30 for the convenience and time saved!”
 
So in short, you can now pay $99 a year to get your groceries delivered directly to your house. But you will pay 12.5% more for the privilege. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you normally have a food budget of $500 per month.  That means you pay $6000 annually for groceries. With the delivery and higher cost of each item added in, that same amount of groceries will now cost you just over $70 more per month, or about $850 more per year with a new cost of $6850 annually.

Is it worth $70 per month for you to avoid going to the grocery store?  Not for me personally, but I can understand how many would like this service.  The good news about that is that if there are many who join the service, it will create a bunch of jobs for people willing to go grocery shopping for someone else’s food.  According to the reports from the website from people who currently work for them in other markets, their shoppers make between $15 and $25 per hour (plus tips), and after several trips, they just know where everything is in the store so they get more efficient each day.  The other incentive to work for the company is that the pay is comparable to being an Uber driver, but without the weirdness of having total strangers ride in your car.  It might be a good part-time job to bring in added income. 

Will I use their company?  Probably not.  Will I work for their company at some point?  Possibly.
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