Life Choices Parents & Family Discuss With Children

 1. You can dib-dab your money away or save it for the big things in life.
2. Hang out with snakes, expect to get bit. (1 Cor 15.22; 2 Cor 6.14-17).
3. Drink upstream from the herd. There are not many wise nor wholesome people out there. Don’t follow the worldly crowd. Ask God for wholesome, godly friends! Be a step ahead.
4. The godly person who compromises his/her high standards to be accepted by the world is desperate and weak. They need to be an indoor cat until they build up more strength, power and self control. Decide if you are going to allow others to use you, jerk you around for their purposes! Be strong.
5. List your NON-NEGOTIABLE values. Real friends will support and encourage your wholesome values!!
6. Loneliness, lust, depression or fear of rejection can lead to temptation, self-destructive behavior, heartache.
7. There is an eternal difference between external religiosity and a personal relationship with Jesus. (Matt 7.21-23).
8. Flesh loves fleshly activities not spiritual activities, not church. Until a sinner is saved, he will not understand most Bible truth. He probably will not appreciate what a warm, Bible teaching, born again preaching, church has to offer. (1 Cor 2.14). Ask Jesus to help you here.
9. Advertising gets results. Dress communicates our values. Flesh wants flesh. Wholesome people want wholesome. Sin brings pain, heartache. Ask God to give you one or two clean, Christian friends.
10. Make much of Jesus and He will make much of you. Jesus will mean everything to you or nothing.
11. God hides many blessings behind obedience. “Once we leave God’s plan, there is no easy, painless plan B or C.” – Cindi Mundy
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SUFFERING, EVIL AND WORLD VIEWS

SERIOUS TALK ABOUT  EVIL AND SUFFERING:   Every world view must address the issues of evil and suffering. What your world view is? If it is Hinduism, they believe in “karma.” People  get just what they deserve. Bad deeds bring bad karma. Islam believes that whatever happens is  “the will  of God.”  And naturalistic atheism has no moral law. It is amoral.  “For evil to exist, good must also exist to measure evil by. For good to exist there must be a moral law. And a moral law requires a  Moral Law Giver.” – after rzim.org. So the atheist cannot have it both ways. He is inconsistent to speak of  evil when amoral  atheism denies an objective  moral law exists.  How does morality arise from amoral matter? Or amoral gases? Or amoral slime? Or amoral non-life? Or amoral fish, apes? The Judeo-Christian world view is the only one where addressing evil is reasonable. – after Stealing From God, rzim. A classic book that has helped many is THE PROBLEM  OF PAIN by C.S. Lewis. Lewis  was a soldier in the WWI trench warfare. His view of suffering is broader than just an ivory tower.

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Can Materialism Do Moral Reasoning?

Can materialists, atheists do moral reasoning as they claim? Former atheist and the late, Cambridge English Lit Professor, C.S. Lewis saw the flaw in their reasoning. It helped prompt his leaving atheism. In his book Mere Christianity he sees the blind spot as follows:

“The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other. But the standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a Real Right, independent of what people think.” (13)

Ravi Zacharias puts it similarly: To have evil, you must good to measure evil by. And to have good, you need a Moral Law. And to have a Moral Law you must have a Law Giver.

So how can atheists seem so sure that they are able to know right from wrong? All people are created in the image of God. This package includes a conscience. Materialists borrow from God, from the metaphysical. The conscience is a wonderful grace of God. He gives it, not dirt, rocks, starlight or atmospheric gases.

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Suffering, Human Responsibility & God

Suffering in the world is a very serious question. It deserves deep consideration---more than these brief FB comments. My thoughts as a Christian of many years.
  1. God in His eternal wisdom has not chosen to answer every question about suffering for us. Why? Why do wise parents not explain everything to their five year old son? Why do generals or corporate presidents not reveal all they know to employees or outsiders? Humility and respect for different roles is assumed.
  2. Suffering has purpose. SERIOUS searchers can find some TEN different reasons and causes for suffering and evil in the Bible. Are there more drive-by mockers throwing rocks than those desiring lasting truth where ever that leads?
  3. Sin was SO serious in a holy God’s eyes that He allowed His only Son to die a horrendous, painful death on the Cross. God is not distant from suffering. Jesus CARED enough to suffer for you! (Rom 5.6-9).
  4. Job suffered much yet it deepened his respect for God. And God ultimately blessed Job with TWICE what he lost materially. Trust Him.
  5. “Since he did not even spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?” (Rom 8.32).
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Why I’m Not An Evolutionist

Is it "in the beginning God" . . . or . . . Evolution's out of nothing came everything and everybody? . . . Darwinism imagines how life forms developed over  time. This is quite differ ent from explaining how matter began. For example, the Big Bang theory presupposes the existence of matter for it to work. Who created that pre-existing matter? Without pre-existing matter the Big Bang has no ingredients to work with. 
Matter cannot be both cause and effect. Ford cars do not create themselves. They require something else to make them. Evolution is a fable agreed upon. It would rob me of my heavenly Father and all His blessings, my soul's eternal home, my forgiveness for sin, peace and joy, abundant life now, Christian fellowship and my wonderful,  personal relationship with Jesus. I dare not succumb to sophistic intellectualism's charms. I will not swap God's riches for man's fads and fairy tales. Dead leaves must fall. I've  escaped magic's grip. Find truth, super sleuth.

 
If one rejects the Judeo-Christian world view it becomes far more difficult to explain life around us. For example. atheistic evolution has no viable answer for origin. A belief system that can only posit that 'out of nothing, comes everything and everybody' is unproven by science. It takes much faith to believe that theory. It cannot be shown to be true.
Further, as the naturalist is bound to a time, space and material world he has no logical access to the non-material world. His chosen realm consists of time, space and matter ( dirt, rocks, mud) .  This raw nature world is what I call a dead dirt world. Where is the rock quarry where physics equations were discovered? How do math formulas arise from mud? How does consciousness arise from unconsciousness? Show us how logic arose from dirt? "What can one bound in a material world understand of a non-material world?"- Christopher White. The naturalist must smuggle these non-material elements in from outside his material world. --Stealing From God.
Science is one slice of reality's pie but it cannot answer all questions including: (1) Why are you here? (2) Why evil and injustice matter in a Darwinian, "survival of the fittest" world? (3) Does your life have  meaning beyond fleeting pleasures? Lions don't think about these things? (4) What happens when you die? Do spiritually minded people think about these  issues?
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Jane Austen novels

“Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility” just two of Jane Austin’s popular novels  are popular “because of her eloquent portrayal of how politeness [kindness, gentleness] is tied to deeper morality. . . . In Austen, manners for bad people are only skin deep; for good people, they are  expressions of inner values. . . Civility is a hallmark of Austen’s novels. . . In fact, morals and manners, depth and surface, are inseparable in any healthy society. . . . In Austen, good manners are also a conduit for learning about another person in a careful and deliberate way . .” –Paula Marantz Cohen, dean and English professor, Drexel University.  
Austen would seem to be wonderfully close to how the Bible  and Christians view this. These are core values of genuine Christian living. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other . . (Eph 4.32) . .”but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control . . ” (Gal 5.22-23). (boldness marking is mine).
This is an important way God wants His values to permeate the culture.

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Questions for Bible skeptics, outsiders

  1. Do you believe that outsiders to an academic field know more about it than insiders? Name some academic fields where outsiders know more than the insiders who have studied it (medicine, chemical engineering, nuclear physics)?
  2. What was the purpose of the gospel of John? According to its author, John, why was it written? (Jn 20.30-31).
  3. Which NT book devotes eight chapters to explaining in detail (1) why man is not righteous before God; and (2) how does man become righteous before God?
  4. What is a main theme and key verse for the book of Galatians?
  5. To have a balanced view of the Bible, list the conservative biblical books or other resources you have read?
  6. Assuming that all church goers are not going to heaven, hypocrites included, explain the difference between being a real believer and having external religiosity. (Rom 10.9-10,13).
  7. List six distinctives unique to Jesus Christ that no other religion has.
  8. If you have rejected the Judeo-Christian world view, name the view which has a more cohesive solution to the issues of origin, meaning, morality and destiny. Is it pantheism, Islam or atheism?

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Cream VS Tulip Systematic Theologies And Others

I do not devote much time at all to debating the various systematic theologies. See the rationale for this in the questions asked below. But occasionally I am approached with a question. I try to deal with it briefly and return to more fruitful issues.

I have close friends that belong to reformed churches. It never crosses my mind to discuss it! In seminary I had both biblical theology and reformed professors.  CT is considered an acceptable segment of the evangelical family. Extreme forms of CT, including Hypercalvinism, can be more controversial.

CREAM is an acrostic for my views though I hold no glassy-eyed devotion to debating them nor foist them upon others.

QUESTIONS/ISSUES  FOR CALVINISM, HYPERCALVINISM :

  1. How has Calvinist theology (CT)  impacted your zeal to fulfill the Great Commission and winning the lost  ( Matt 28.18-20; Mk 16.15; Act 1.8)?
  2. Apparently not a few reformed CT churches have backed away from full scale evangelism and even usage of Bible terms including ‘saved,’ ‘born again.’ For some this CT slant on  election seems to preclude the need to reach those who not elect. Is this biblical?
  3. It is reported that none of the Puritan writers adopted CT. (see apuritansmind.com)
  4. There is a mystery interwoven in  God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. Is it wise to go beyond what the Bible tells us? CT seeks to resolve this heavenly mystery by eliminating man’s responsibility. Is this wise or biblical?
  5. Paul opted to major on majors not minors: “For I was determined to know nothing among you except Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Cor 2.2).
  6. ‘In [salvation] essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, in all things charity.” – old saint.
  7.  God is using men I disagree with. -Warren Wiersbe’s Bible commentary
  8. Is the zealous Christian wiser to devote his time to the harvest field or cleaning out his neighbor’s theological fence rows?

CREAM

Complete  Atonement – Christ died sufficiently for all people, but  effectively only for the elect – Jn 1.12

Ruined Nature – Man’s condition is lost, separated from God  -Jer 17.9; Rom 3.23

Eternal Security – assurance of salvation for those trusting Christ’s payment alone for their sin debt – 1 Jn 2.25

Abundant Grace – God provides sufficient grace for “whosoever will’ receive Jesus Christ as his Savior – Rom 10.13; John 1.14-17; Rev 22.17; Eph 2.8-9

Moral Accountability – despite his sinful nature,  moral responsibility has not been waived. Choices matter.  He is eternally created in the image of God. His God-given conscience has the  potential to respond to the wooing, the drawing of the  Holy Spirit’s conviction -Lu 13.3; Romans 10.13.

CALVINISM: TULIP
TTotal depravity – Every facet of every person everywhere has been marred by sin.
UUnconditional election – God chooses those to be saved based solely on His will.
LLimited atonement – Christ died only for those who are elect.
IIrresistible grace – The elect cannot resist God’s call to salvation.
PPerseverance of the saints – The elect cannot lose their salvation.

ARMINIANISM: DAISY*
DDiminished depravity – Humanity is depraved, but God uses prevenient grace to restore man’s ability to respond to Him.
AAbrogated election – God bases His election on His foreknowledge of those who freely choose Him.
IImpersonal atonement – Christ died for everyone, making salvation possible for everyone.
SSedentary grace – God calls everyone to salvation, but many freely reject it.
YYieldable justification – The saved can fall from grace and lose their salvation.
*The DAISY acronym is much harder to pin down as there are several different versions (I’ll discuss another when analyzing Arminianism). Also, many Arminians do not like the acrostic. Several versions of DAISY have been pushed by Calvinists as caricatures of Arminian theology. Many Calvinists seem to also enjoy making the lame joke that the Arminian flower is a daisy because they pull the petals off saying, “God loves me. He loves me not.”

MOLINISM: ROSES*
RRadical depravity – Every aspect of humanity is depraved, but we are not always as bad as we could be.
OOvercoming grace – God’s grace is persistent in the life of the believer, but it can be resisted.
SSovereign election – God desires the salvation of all, but our salvation is based on His choice not ours.
EEternal life – God grants believers eternal security in their salvation.
SSingular redemption – Christ died sufficiently for all people, but efficiently only for the saved.
*Timothy George, a Calvinist Baptist, uses the same acrostic as Kenneth Keathley, a Molinist. The differences lie in  way the terms are defined. I will focus on the Molinist understanding as we will discuss the various forms and moderations of Calvinism with the TULIP.

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Questions For Pantheism

Hinduism claims that god is pantheistic . . . everything is god . . .   in all things . . . . but not a personal god one can form a relationship with. Ever tried to form a meaningful relationship with a galaxy, cloud, rock or glass of water?

This pantheistic world view if taken seriously, should be able to answer a few basic questions:

  1. Karma is one’s good and bad deeds being recorded to determine if one must be reincarnated to pay off his bad karma. Question: if god is impersonal who is keeping track of all human beings good and bad karma? Where is the accounting office?
  2. Karma seems cruel not to tell people how and where they have come up short. Why keep an account but not tell the person so he can learn from it?
  3. Reincarnation involves coming back as some animal life to pay off prior bad karma. Question: if one returns as a bumble bee how does it pay off bad karma? Is it ‘told’  to collect double the normal flower nectar or what?
  4. Being so vague, how do I know that this concept  is not just another of the Hindu myths?
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Are these Bible based wedding vows?

 

I ________ take you,________ , to be my God-ordained husband.  I will have you and hold you from this day forward, until death do us part.  I will continue to choose you each day, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, in tragedy or in triumph.  I will love you and cherish you, and I will honor and respect you as the head of our home under Christ.  I will joyfully submit to you, and faithfully remain by your side all the days of my life.  All this I pledge by God’s grace and for His glory.

I _______, take you, _____

To be my God-given wife

To have and to hold

From this day forward, for the rest of my life, with all of my life

For better and for worse

For richer and for poorer

In sickness and in health

To love you unconditionally

To nourish and cherish you

To humbly serve you like Christ does for the church

To lead and shepherd you in God’s will for our lives

Til death do us part

By God’s grace and for His glory, I will!

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