Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Completed!

I finally formatted and finished my notes on the topic above called "Buddha, Chicken Soup & Christianity" It deals with comparing a popular Buddhist quote with scripture and I think it is pretty rigorous. Hopefully it is appreciated someday.

The quote is "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, We make our world."

Merry Christmas!~

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Buddha and Christianity...What concord have we?

BlogPost-BuddhaChickenChristian "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, We make our world."

Recently I ran across this phrase on a Christian sister's Facebook page (without quotes or attributions, as if this was something acceptable to her and in accordance with what she believed).
It is a quote attributed to Buddha.

I was immediately alarmed because of how contradictory this idea was to the Bible (I did not recognize it as a Buddhist quote until she told me), and I questioned her about it. I assumed she believed it.
She was offended (and rightfully so, I was presumptuous). And, perhaps, in being defensive, she proceeded to defend the position that it is OK to explore other faiths and traditions ("spiritual texts") other than the Bible.
She said people should be encouraged to do so.
She thought this phrase was something worth contemplating.
She said "In the end, the truth stands, and I always come back to my faith in Christ."
That was all very alarming thing to hear. She admits that these "explorations" take her away from Christ. And, she believes (in accordance with the spirit of the quote from Buddha) that she can just come back to her faith in Christ. She doesn't at all seem worried that her faith in Christ might not be what she thinks it is if she can wander away at will...But we are prone to wander right (Isaiah 53:6)?  Or have we been transformed? Renewed? Regenerated? If we have faith, are we still wandering (James 1:22-25)?
WHO comes back?
WHO is doing the work here?
Do we go running back to Christ?
Or does the Shepherd go through limitless depths and over great mountains to bring back that one lost sheep (Matt. 18:12-13)? 
The attitude that we can just go off exploring and come back whenever is dangerous and it should set off all kinds of alarms.

In my zeal to "turn a (sister) from the error of (her) ways" and so "save (her) soul from death" (James 5:20) I merely succeeded in offending her more.
Maybe she was too sensitive and prideful, maybe she was shocked...
But it is more likely that I just do not have the soft loving touch, maybe I could have shown how "wise and understanding" I was with "deeds in the gentleness of wisdom" (James 3:13).
That is certainly something I pray for (James 3:17-18; 1:5).

But if what I told her does turn her about, and does save her from error, I guess the sacrifice of that friendship was worth it (Luke 14:26).
Relationships are destined to be strained or broken because of what it means to follow Christ - it is part of the cost (Luke 14:27-28).

It does not mean we are right to treat people harshly, or to judge presumptuously, or make assertions about the motives of their heart.
We are not to judge motives, but we are to judge and distinguish works and teachings.
We need to identify sin, and we are commanded to war against false teachings, lies and dangerous doctrines, and any speculations that set themselves up against the knowledge of God. We take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor 10:3-5). We should be no less zealous when dealing with ourselves, than when dealing with our brothers and sisters. We MUST be sure to fulfill the royal law according to scripture, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself" and that means we cannot be showing partiality to ourselves or people we like and respect, like our preachers, much less our enemies (James 2:1; 2:4; 2:8-9).

But we must take pains, in love, to so phrase our rebuke or correction so that it does attack (or "curse") the person, because they are made in the image of God (James 3:9), but the sword of truth should be aimed at false teaching or understanding.
Some people are so much in bed with their philosophy that to attack the false teaching means they will take it personally. This is hard.
But there is absolutely no love in letting a brother or sister persist in their sin, and so, not try to save their soul from death.
Indeed, it would be pure hatred to indulge them in that, or to ignore that. This experience will surely help me grow.

But she is not the only person who may have been deceived, or contemplating ideas that are represented by the Buddhist saying.

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, We make our world."

Many in the Church are deceived by this kind of thinking. It is the root of the "Health and Wealth" gospel, the "Prosperity" gospel, those who believe in "Positive Confession," Word of Faith healers.
Their error is known by a legion of names, but it's root is one in the same. The same root of every false religion and ideology. The prideful arrogance of man. And because we all have that sin nature in common, it is possible that it can be appealing to anyone in one or more of it's myriad forms. When it comes "in sheep's clothing" it can be hard to identify (Matt. 7:15).

That is why I went through great effort to show how great a chasm exists between this lie and the Scriptures. In the Tab above titled "Buddha, Chicken Soup & Christianity" I will copy this as an intro, and attempt to show that based on what I ended up writing on my own Facebook wall, I will attempt to show how great a difference there is between this lie which appeals to the natural man, and the truth of the Word of God.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"How to Memorize"

I just reFormatted a STEP/TOPX file into HTML and will soon finish compiling the ePub for this really neat book called "How to Memorize" by Dr. William Evans (see tab above).
***UPDATE 29NOV2012***
I uploaded the compiled ePub here:  HowToMemorize(withPics)  and  HowToMemorize(noPics)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Promises or Pinciples?

I updated my "Scripture Bank on Jesus and Scripture" with this thing I learned this morning from reading Matthew 4:

Christ corrects Satan's bad use of Scripture in Matthew 4 -- Satan attempts to use Psalm 91 as a promise that Christ can apply to himself, thereby presuming that God will send angels to catch Jesus and protect Him from harm. 
Jesus responds with a reference to Deuteronomy 6:16 about not testing the Lord (or putting God on trial) in the same way that the Israelites did in the wilderness.
Deuteronomy 6:16 itself refers to the testing of God described in Exodus 17 (which was not the first time that they doubted that God was with them, or that God would care for them and not leave them to perish in the wilderness - He had already brought them out of Egypt with many signs and wonders, had already fed them manna, had already made the bitter water sweet...).
So Christ, in His use of Scripture - in responding to Satan's misuse of Scripture, shows us a way that we are to understand some of the things in the Old Testament and how they apply to us. 
Psalm 91 is not a "promise" that we can "claim" -- it is a principle that we need to trust in God to deliver us - God is our salvation. 
We are not to presume that God will do it by sending angels to miraculously carry us away from danger. We trust God.
Note that after Satan leaves, God sends angels to minister to the needs of Christ.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Conversion....Thoughts


Objection: But we hope in Jesus Christ, we put our whole trust in God, and therefore do not doubt that we shall be saved.

Answer: This is not hope in Christ, but hope against Christ. To hope to see the kingdom of God without being born again, to hope to find eternal life in the broad way, is to hope Christ will prove a false prophet. David's plea is, 'I hope in thy word' (Psalm 119:81). But this hope is against God's Word. Show me a word of Christ for your hope that He will save you in your ignorance or profane neglect of His service, and I will never try to shake your confidence.
God rejects this hope with abhorrence. Those condemned by the prophet went on in their sins; yet, says the prophet, 'will they lean upon the Lord' (Micah 3:11). God will not endure to be made a prop to men in their sins. The Lord rejected those presumptuous sinners that went on still in their trespasses and yet would stay themselves on Israel's God, as a man would shake off the briers that cleave to his garment.
If your hope is worth anything, it will purify you from your sins (1 John 3:3), but cursed is that hope which cherishes men in their sins.

From "A Sure Guide to Heaven" by Joseph Alleine

See a tab above for more on that book.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Westboro Baptist group

I dont like to call them a "Church".
I saw this article recently: http://fortbragg.patch.com/articles/photos-saturday-s-westboro-church-protest-foiled-thanks-to-community-support#photo-11716384

Another unsuccessful attempt of the Westboro group to protest a military funeral as part of their "God-Hates-Fags" campaign.
I responded with this:


"The Westboro group believes that when American soldiers die it is God's judgement against our country -- the consequence of tolerating and accepting homosexuality as a nation. They are confusing a specific judgement of God with the natural consequences of sin in the world, in the heart of mankind, which has a more obvious connection with death in war.
They have also elevated the sin of homosexuality to a place it does not deserve and give it a special emphasis that the Scriptures do not give it.
It does not matter which sin(s) you choose in an unrepentant lifestyle, it is all a rebellion against God;
The righteousness and holiness of God means we deserve to be crushed for our sins, each and every time we commit them (why should God wait until we die?).
Because God is also love, He planned from the beginning of time to reconcile his absolute righteousness with his absolute Love. He is the one who also justifies us, by sacrificing himself for our sins which accomplished two things: the sins of those who have faith in Jesus are paid for, and we can now have the righteousness of Christ given to us so that we may glorify God and enjoy him forever.
God has spoken, he does not change and his word can not be broken."

and this as a reference:
[Romans 3:21-27]
"But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. "

Does anyone have any experience with WBC? Are they just misunderstood" And why are they so preoccupied with Homosexuals?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Who are we fighting?

Here is an email I got, and the response I had to it:

This is a screenshot of the email that was sent to me:

My Response:

[By the way, I only did a cursory internet search for this "Brigitte Gabriel" and "Act for America" organization, I know nothing about them. So I am really only addressing how this particular email portrays this particular subject and my thoughts about that. I am not commenting on her or her organization.]

These sources present another side of the story:

If he was teaching that the US policy should be that we nuke entire Muslim cities and that the Geneva Conventions do not apply in this "War on Islam" - then it is understandable that he would be punished and rebuked. If that is what he was teaching, he was advocating war crimes.

Out of 1.4 billion Muslims, what percent are complicit in the violent extremist organizations? Probably a fraction of 1%.
From a Biblical perspective - Genesis 18 & 19 : God wanted to "nuke" Sodom and Gomorrah - but would have held back destruction of the entire city for the sake of just 10 righteous men. Indeed, there was only one, and God saw fit to save him and his family from destruction.

I do believe that adherents of the Muslim religion are very susceptible to this particular delusion offered by the radical jihadists, the violent anti-American extremists. They do not have the Truth, so it is not surprising. But what about those of us who do have the Truth of the Gospel? Because many professing Christians do not study the Truth as we should, we are still susceptible to all kinds of delusions; to being tossed about by the sea and carried along with every wind of doctrine. I think it is important to note that there are plenty of self-professed Christians who are deluded in much the same way - and from an outsider perspective, non-Christians are likely to view abortion clinic bombers and the Westborough Baptist Church antics as part-and-parcel of Christianity. There are plenty of organizations who profess to be Christian, but advocate the violent overthrow of the US government.

What does it mean to be saved?
Who are the sheep currently in other flocks, but belonging in the sheepfold of our Good Shepherd?
We do not know, we cannot tell - until they hear His voice (the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation) and come.

"I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. "
[John 10:14-16]

What does it mean to be saved?
I think it is easiest to understand it in light of the total depravity of mankind.
The Bible is quite clear about the root cause of violence in the world, about where evil comes from -- it is the heart of man.
It is in our nature: we exalt ourselves, we worship ourselves, we put ourselves above God. This is the root of all sin.
The Bible is clear about the consequences of sin: it separates us from a righteous God-- we deserve the wrath of our God who is Just. This is commonly known as eternal damnation.
So we are saved FROM God.
But God said we are the crown of His creation, made in the image of God, and He loves us. We are made to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
So we are saved FOR God.
God planned from the beginning of time to Justify us, God provides the way for us to be with Him, an atonement in the death of his son Jesus Christ. Not only are our sins forgiven, but we are given the righteousness of Christ so that we may stand before God without blemish.
So we are saved BY God. (So that no man can boast).
The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

This reminds me of some of my favorite scriptures:

"But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. "
[Romans 3:21-28]

and

"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. "
[Ephesians 2:1-10]

I only bring all that up because we often get distracted by certain world events that are really just pots and kettles calling each other black.
Instead, we should look past the smoke and behind the curtain at the scriptures which reveal the truth of our situation here on earth.

I am going to count this as a devotion time :-) Thanks for sending the email that spurred my thinking.

I will conclude with one final thought: Make no mistake about it - there is a battle raging, there is a war -- but it is a fruitless (for evil), one sided battle.
Christ has already defeated Satan. One thing many people overlook when they describe the "Great Commission" from Matthew 28:19-20 -- they fail to understand what Christ said starting in verse 18 "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."
Paul described weapons of our warfare as not being of the flesh - not material things that destroy material things. Not Christians who kill Muslims. Our weapons are found in Scripture and are called the Truth - and the Truth is wielded against the fortresses of deception, delusion and false ideologies - and those fortresses will be destroyed by the Truth. We find fortresses of lies within America as well as the Middle East, in the churches and the mosques.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, "
[2 Corinthians 10:3-5]

What do you think?