Posts Tagged With: Bible

Do Unto Others

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. We are all familiar with that. But do you know the original, negative, version? Don’t do anything to others you wouldn’t want others to do to you.

Do you not want to be discriminated against? Don’t discriminate. Do you want to be allowed to purchase a cake for your wedding? Don’t discriminate against others who want the same thing. Do you want that pizza? Then let others have their slice as well.

What’s that you say? That violates your beliefs? You don’t want to sell to gays because Jesus would never have sold to gays? You wouldn’t want to eat with a prostitute because Jesus would never… Wait. What? He did eat with prostitutes? So, why aren’t you willing?

But Jesus would never have sold to gays, you say? Well, did you know that, in ancient times, a “beloved servant” was often his masters’ male lover? That means that Jesus may have healed the Roman Centurion’s gay lover. What was that he said about it? This is a bad man? Nope. He said “When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”  Luke 7:9 KJV

How could Jesus say good things about a man who may have been gay and yet Christians feel they are following his example by denying them service. Jesus didn’t deny service. Jesus healed. Jesus loved. Should we not do the same?

Do unto others. If you are hungry and in need, do you not want someone to help you? Do you tell yourself you are lazy and deserve what you have? Do you vilify yourself if you lose that job and end up on the street? Would you like others to? Then don’t do it to others.

God is love. He wants us to be like him. That means we should love. Jesus hung around with prostitutes and tax collectors. Yet, we stay as far away as we can. Are we the Pharisees of today? It sure sounds like it.

Remember, Jesus said “Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Matthew 7:1-3 King James Version (KJV)

It makes me cry when I see all the hate being spewed in Jesus’ name. Jesus was not hate. Jesus was love. I can’t believe he is happy with how he is being portrayed by some Christians.

The next time you are about to discriminate against someone because of their beliefs ask yourself if you would have them discriminate against you. How would you feel?

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Loving the Sinner

“How can we love the sinner, but hate the sin?”

“God does.”

That answer did not explain anything. The woman asking the question needed practical advice. The phrase “God does” did not tell her how God does. More importantly, it did not tell her how she could. She needed a road map.

Christianity is often thought of as faith alone. Yet, faith alone cannot tell us how to love someone the world considers unlovable. It is not enough to know we need to love the sinner. We need to know how.

Prayer is not only a valuable asset in our quest for the ability to love others. It is a necessity. We need to realize we cannot do this on our own. The only way we can possibly manage to love the unlovable is to allow God to love them through us. We need to become God’s vessel.

One of the hardest things to do is accept that the sinner is not the sin. Sin is a choice. Sin does not have feelings, cannot make a choice, and has no chance of salvation. The sinner can do all this.

We will never be able to love the sinner but hate the sin until this distinction is clear in our minds. This is not easy to do. The sin and sinner become so intertwined in our minds that we may not be able to see the sinner apart from the sin. The distinction is still there. We just have to find it.

One such time occurred for me when I was in college. Milton (not his real name) decided I should be his. I had other ideas.

Like so many people today, Milton did not know how to take “no” for an answer. He thought if he hung around long enough, I would give in. He would make such a pest of himself that I would have to say “yes”.

Milton justified his actions by claiming that women went to college “to get their M.R.S. degree.” He also made such statements as “God has no use for women” and “a woman’s place is in the kitchen and the bedroom.” In his mind, women were on this earth for the sole purpose of pleasing men. We should not have opinions of our own. Only men are allowed opinions.

This was an example of misstating what the Bible truly says. Women were put on this earth as a “helper”[1] for men, not as their slave. Each has his or her own special purpose. This attitude does not glorify God.

It could be easy to be deceived by someone like this. They know all the right things to say. They know just what to quote (or misquote) in the Bible. But if we continue to go to God in prayer, we will not be deceived. We will know God has a purpose for us, because we will know God. Of course, we will not completely know God. We cannot hope to do that while on earth, but we can know Him as well as anyone else. It doesn’t matter whether we are male or female.

Anyway, at first all Milton did was make those incessant phone calls. If you did not answer, he would let the phone keep ringing until you did. If you hung up, he would call right back. He would talk for hours at a time. God bless whoever invented call blocking. I wish it had been available then.

Things slowly escalated. Milton got hold of my class schedule, and would be waiting to walk with me whenever I got out of class. He would sometimes walk with his face inches in front of mine, staring. If I turned, he turned. The only way not to see his face was to close my eyes. I was not about to do that. There was no telling what Milton would do.

One thing to remember is that when something like this happens we need to pray, but we need to act as well. We need to be responsible for our own well-being. God wants to help us, but He does not expect us to roll over and play dead. Prayer is only a part of the whole. It is never the whole.

At some point, Milton started waiting in the lobby for me to come down in the mornings. I got around that one by using the stairs. They did not come out in the lobby. I would walk up and down them. I got to be in good shape. I lived on the seventh floor.

I would sometimes duck into the restroom just to get away from him. I went to the restroom a lot during this time. When I came out Milton would be leaning against the wall, waiting. I began to wonder if this guy ever went to his own classes. One of my friends knew I was trying to avoid him, and a couple of times she diverted his attention long enough for me to slip away.

I walked into the Baptist Student Union one day, and the secretary congratulated me. I had no idea what she was talking about, so I asked her. She told me Milton had told her we were secretly married. I told her it must be a secret. I didn’t even know about it. Then I told her to consider us secretly divorced.

I was talking to one of my male friends later, and found out why I could not get any dates. Milton had warned them off. He told them I belonged to him, and to keep their hands off. None of them was willing to take someone else’s girlfriend, so I couldn’t get any dates.

The only way I managed to maintain my sanity during this time was to take it to God daily. I had to keep turning the situation over to Him and trust He would take care of me. During the entire time I was being stalked, Milton never tried anything. I believe it was because God wouldn’t let him.

As hard as the situation was, it would have been a lot harder if I had not had the Lord to turn to. People without Him have to rely on the law and others for help. At the time this happened, there were no anti-stalking laws. Victims were often told the stalker wasn’t dangerous, just a nuisance. Without God, I would have been totally alone.

One thing this also shows is that just because someone claims to be a Christian doesn’t mean they can be trusted. We are not to listen to what everyone else tells us God says. We need to talk to Him ourselves. We also need to study His word to make sure what we think we are hearing is from God, and not something Satan is trying to pass off as the being from Him. The Bible tells us Satan will try to deceive even those who belong to God if that were possible.[2] In order to make sure it is not, we have to have a relationship with God, so that we can recognize His voice.

The emotional trauma of being stalked for about two years kept me from being able to separate the sinner from the sin. Every time I thought of Milton, I remembered the sin. Every time someone refused to take “no” for an answer, I thought of Milton. They were so intertwined in my mind, that I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to separate them.

For nearly fifteen years I wasn’t. The memory interfered with every other relationship I had. It affected every part of my life. I knew I had never forgiven Milton. I couldn’t. I didn’t know how.

I had been praying to God during this time, but I had never asked Him to help me forgive Milton. In some ways, I thought what had happened was my fault. I hadn’t handled the situation properly. Maybe I deserved it. Milton wasn’t sorry for what he had done, so why should I forgive him?

Forgiveness isn’t for those who sin against us. It is for us. If we do not forgive, we allow whatever it is to control us, in some ways. Yet, forgiveness isn’t a choice. It is a commandment. We are to ask God to forgive us as we forgive others.[3] They don’t have to deserve it. We didn’t, and yet God has forgiven us. (If we have answered His call and become Christians.)

Forgiveness isn’t something we can do on our own. We have to ask God for His help. We do this through prayer. Sometimes our prayers feel hollow, but we have to continue praying. God will point out why, in His time. Often the question is, “But are you really willing to forgive, or just going through the motions?” Sometimes, we don’t want to let go of what is holding us back. We just tell God we do because it is expected of us. We are not sincere.

When something has hurt us deeply, we cannot expect to get rid of those feelings overnight. Even though we forgive, the pain is still there. We may still be afraid. That is not always bad. It teaches us to take care. Yet, that fear cannot rule our lives. We have to ask God to help us with that as well. There may be a feeling of guilt. We may not want to forgive ourselves. We have to give ourselves over to Him, a layer at a time. We have to spend time with Him in prayer.

 

[1] Genesis 2:20

[2] Matthew 24:24

[3] Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4

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The Rapture

The first time I heard of “rapture practice” I was in college. Someone would jump up and down, while calling out “rapture practice”. I thought it was fun and wondered why I had never heard of this “rapture practice” before.

Apparently, it was a new idea. Some soul had read through the book of Revelations and decided the Bible said Christians weren’t supposed to go through it. Wrong! Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we will be raptured before the tribulation. In fact, the only places I could find the equivalent of the rapture said that Jesus came immediately after the tribulation.

20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:

22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

Mark 13:20-27 KJV

There are those who say that Christians are missing in the Book of Revelations. They aren’t. If they were, why would tribulation writers like Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins find the need to have some new ones show up after the original Christians were raptured?

Why would people think that God is going to rapture us pre-tribulation when the Bible never says that?  Some people claim that God wouldn’t let us suffer through the tribulation because he loves us too much. Whoa! Where did that come from? Certainly not the Bible. If God doesn’t let us suffer because he loves us, why did he allow Jesus to suffer? Certainly he loved him.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Every few years, someone comes up with a new date for the end of the world. Even some non-Christians might be fooled from time to time. One good example is the alleged Mayan end-of-the-world prophecy. It is past December 21, 2012, so this “prophecy” obviously didn’t come true.

No, there will be no pre-tribulation rapture. The Bible is clear about that.

The entire answer to the question “when shall these things be” can be found in Mathew 24:3-31. I won’t quote the entire selection here. You can read it yourself. There is, however, one part everyone needs to be familiar with.

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Matthew 24:11-12 KJV

I have written about love before. I won’t go into it again here. Suffice it to say, love is prevalent in the Bible.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16 KJV

By all means, be prepared for when the world ends, but don’t expect to be raptured before it does.

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What is a Family?

FamilyWhen I was growing up, it was said that an average family was a husband, wife, 2.5 kids, and a dog. My response? I would like to see that .5 of a kid. Many Christians still have that view of a family today.

Times have changed and we have to change our worldview to keep up with them. No longer does the average family include a husband and wife. According to the Business Insider, 72% of adults were married in 1960, compared to only 51% today. According to eHow, in 2000, the average family size was 2.59. The number of one parent households is increasing. No longer is the mother and father household considered the “norm”.

If we condemn single parents for being single, we lose our ability to witness to them. We have to accept them for who they are before we can hope to have them listen to our witness. Condemning them only assures they will never listen.

We have all seen Westboro Baptist Church in the news, boycotting everything and everyone because they believe God hates them, but are we really any better? Do we secretly believe the same thing, but are gutless enough to not say it? Are we hypocrites? Should we even believe this way?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV

“And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31 KJV

If God loves the world, who are we to preach his hatred for the world? If we do that, we make him out to be a liar, and we know he is not a liar. If we are to act like Christians, we have to love everyone too. That includes those we think are living a sinful life.

Why do I say “think”? Because Jesus said, in Matthew 7:1-3,

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” ASV

We are not perfect, so we have no right to judge.

The Pharisees judged everyone. Do you want to be a Pharisee? No? Then don’t judge. The Pharisees preached a strict adherence to the law as the way to salvation. Do you want to be a Pharisee? No? Then don’t preach the Deuteronomical law as the key to salvation. Jesus is the key to salvation.

Gasp. Why do you say that? What is the law there for, then?

“(for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, through which we draw nigh unto God.” Hebrews 7:19 ASV

“But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’” John 8:7 ASV

Those who, for whatever reason, don’t fit into our perception of what makes a family, may still be a family. Yes, there are times when people live together without a commitment, but those who do have that commitment are still a family. Even homosexuals who live together with a commitment should be considered “family”.

Heresy! The Bible says homosexuality is sin.

We are not talking sin here, but family. Family does not have to be related by blood to be family. If that were the case, husbands and wives would not be families. Adopted children would not be family. We don’t believe these things, so why do we believe homosexuals cannot be family? We don’t have to approve of a couple’s lifestyle in order to consider them a family. Again, if you condemn them for what they have done, you will never be able to witness to them. Only those who don’t judge them will be able to witness to them.

Does that mean they will quit being a homosexual once they become Christians?

Quit judging people. That is God’s job, not yours. If they are homosexual, it is between them and God. Your job is to love them. Quit hating people because you think they are sinful.

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