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On the Origin of Evil In Creation October 12, 2015

Posted by regan222 in Philosophy, Religion.
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This is mainly for me but if it helps someone then I am blessed.  If you disagree, that’s OK also.

On the Nature and Origin of Evil in Creation

The origin of evil has been a stumbling stone almost since the appearance of Mankind on the planet. It is difficult for us to rationalize the existence of a perfect creator God with the existence of imperfection in the universe. Great intellects like Augustine and Einstein wrestled with the question of the origin of evil and many Christians today are plagued by the same quandary. How can a good God, a perfect God, allow evil to be? Did He create it? Where exactly did “evil” come from?

Einstein was a follower of the Jewish faith. As such, he was shaped by his culture just as we all are. He could easily rationalize a creator God because he understood that cause always precedes effect in our universe. The idea that the universe sprang into being from nothing for no reason was as ludicrous to Einstein as it should be to us. However, shaped as he was by his Jewish culture, there was within him a need for rational and logical rules. This can also be seen in Einstein’s abhorrence of the Quantum Mechanics theory. He could not rationalize the existence of evil outside or apart from the creator and yet he could not indict God with the willful creation of Evil.

The answer to the question lies in defining evil. We tend to anthropomorphize evil into a personality. We equate evil with Satan. We give it personality, or at least, existence. The key to the quandary is found here. None of these things are true. Evil is not a quantity, a quality, a substance, or an object within creation. Evil is simply the absence of God. Anything, apart from God, is less than God, and thus, imperfect. We assume that evil is a created thing, when, in fact, it is the absence of something; God.

We can draw a parallel between the appearance of evil in the universe and the appearance of the universe itself. In Genesis we read that

 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

(Genesis 1: 3 – 4)

God created light but he did not have to create darkness. It exists as the absence of light. God perceived the light based on the way it interacted with darkness and in this same way we know that light exists. It was created. Darkness, on the other hand, cannot be created. It is a state apart from light. It does not exist as an entity. Light always banishes darkness because darkness is simply light’s absence.

In this same way, evil is the absence of God. Imperfection is the absence of perfection. God is defined by his nature, just as everything is. He is, of all things in the universe, the only example of perfection. He is a singularity in three aspects. The concept that there is one God only is fundamental to existence.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

(1 Timothy 2:5)

As a singularity, God was alone in eternity past. He chose, for His own reasons, to share his existence with others (e.g. angels, people, animals, etc.). According to God’s inherent nature, he had three choices.

  1. Not to create at all and continue as a singularity.
  2. Create exact copies of himself, indistinguishable from Himself, and thus, perfect.
  3. Create beings that were not Him, and thus, were, by definition, imperfect.

There are no other options. Perfection is impossible apart from God. Anything created that is not God would be less than God, even if created BY Him, and so, imperfect. Had God chosen to create perfect beings of His own nature, or in other words, to duplicate Himself, it would have violated the nature of God as an eternal singularity, without origin. God’s nature demands that He be eternal. To create others like Himself would seriously rearrange reality and the space/time continuum. God’s only choice then would be to create beings outside of and different from, Himself, who, because they were not of God’s nature, had within them the capacity for imperfection. In this way, “evil” can be considered to exist as the absence of God in creation. Even when created perfectly, the capacity for imperfection exists within the creation because we are not God. Given the existence of the capacity for imperfection within created beings, coupled with the proliferation of creation, it was a matter of time and statistics.

The follow-on question then, is, how can a benevolent God allow evil to continue? The short answer is that He has no choice. We have established that imperfection is a potential inherent in everything that is not God. If God were to sovereignly banish evil He would have to get rid of everything but Himself and become alone again in non-creation. The only option for creation to continue is to allow imperfection to continue. Thus, evil, as the presence of anything “not God”, persists. God, never being without foreknowledge was aware of this condition of creation, and accounted for its resolution within His blueprint. He was aware from the beginning that simply creating would not be enough. He would have to deal with the potential for imperfection. The plan of salvation is as much a part of the plan of creation as “Let there be Light.”

Even Satan is a convert to evil, for he was not always so.

12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

(Ezekiel 28:12 – 16)

Here Ezekiel is commanded to lament for the King of Tyrus but most scholars view this as a description of Lucifer prior to his fall. Lucifer was in Eden. He was, perhaps, second only to God in glory and beauty. He was the covering cherub. He was perfect until he was not. As a created being, not being God, Lucifer had that potential for imperfection. God did not appoint him to the position of evil but God knew of the possibility and chose to account for it in His plan. Had God chosen to destroy Lucifer instead of banish him, then, as eternity progressed, another and another of the created beings would have fallen until, once again, God would have found Himself in isolation. Anything not God is doomed by definition to imperfection. God did not immediately destroy the fallen but instead chose to use him to strengthen and perfect the other parts of creation.

God allows Lucifer/Satan to continue but not indefinitely. At some point, the imperfect will be removed from creation and only the perfect will remain. That is why it was so important that Christ be identified with us as human. As he is like us, we have the potential to become like him, and thus, like God. If we are made of the same substance or type as God, then we can share in God’s perfection. We have now, in the spirit, the same relationship that Christ had with the Father. When we are changed, we will have it in physical reality as well. All that is not God will be removed and only that sealed portion of us that is essentially the indwelling of God will remain. The miracle of salvation is the transformation of created being from “not God” to “God like”. We will see Him as he is because we will be as He is. God will no longer be a singularity but the foremost of a perfect congregation.

And so the final question is this: Where do YOU fit in? As a created being, and not being God, you have that capacity for imperfection. Each day of our lives, we are presented with our own “Garden of Eden” confrontation, both collectively and individually, and each day we fail. Our nature demands it. We are flawed. We cannot exist in God’s presence because we are not as He is. Our only hope is the physical, spiritual, and existential conversion of “not God” into that which is “of the same substance as God”. As imperfect beings we are unable to attain perfection.

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

 (Galatians 2: 16)

We require no less than God Himself, in the aspect of His son, the motive force of creation, to continue that creative process in us. Because the task is so herculean, only God could accomplish it. His nature must be satisfied and yet we cannot. In His infinite brilliance, God created a plan whereby we could exist in Him by existing in us. Thus Christ because one of us for all eternity, that we might become one with Him. The vehicle of this transformation is faith. We can simply choose to identify with Christ and allow him to continue the creation story within us, or we can choose to remain as we are; imperfect and lost.

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Ye Must Be Born Again April 25, 2015

Posted by regan222 in Philosophy, Religion.
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Salvation by Grace

Sunday, April 19, 2015

11:35 AM

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

It has been said that the Preacher’s job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  If you didn’t come tonight to hear about everlasting life through the grace of Jesus Christ then you are exactly who I came to speak with.  I hope by the end of the evening you will be able to take comfort in what I say rather than be made uncomfortable by it.

We will be studying tonight in the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.  The letter to the church of Ephesus was, along with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, one of the epistles that Paul wrote while a captive.  Most scholars believe it was during his time in Rome, although some argue that it was during his captivity in Caesarea.  What matters is that in this letter the Apostle Paul, under the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit, pens one of the most doctrinally powerful statements in the entire Bible.  He outlines the path whereby men may be saved from the curse of sin they are living under.

First and most importantly, the Grace of Jesus is Exclusive.  There is not alternative salvation plan.  God doesn’t offer door #2.  The Bible tells us that there is only one name with the power to open the gates of Heaven for you.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Jesus himself was very specific in describing the pathway to salvation.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the waythe truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Greek text here has the same absoluteness that God used when He told Joseph to address Pharaoh.  The “I am” of the bible is a very emphatic way of speaking about one’ self.  It is like saying I and only I am.  In this we find what is commonly referred to as the offence of the cross.  This is the aspect of salvation message that the carnal world despises.  Salvation is open to all but it is exclusive in the method.  There is only one way.  Fortunately for us, it’s an easy way.

The Grace of Jesus Christ is not only Exclusive, but finding that grace is Easy.  Sometimes I think that is why it is often rejected.  The prophet told Naaman to wash in the river of Jordan and he would be healed.  Naaman got angry.  He was expecting Herculean tasks and thunder from heaven.

2 Kings 5: 13  And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?

We want it to be hard.  We want the glory of the struggle but the glory belongs to God.  The struggle ended on Calvary.  We just have to accept the gift.  Maybe it offends our pride in our sinful nature.  Surely it can’t be that easy after all that we have done, and yet, the grace of Jesus is just that Easy and just that Effective.

The grace of Jesus, the sacrifice of his blood, is the only thing that will wash away the stain of Adam’s fall.

Joke about Don Knotts in the movie (“And they used Bon Ami!!”)

It is completely effective  and effectively complete.  When Jesus cried out “It is Finished” on the cross, he was not talking about his earthly life or his ministry.  He was declaring the work of salvation to be complete for all time.  It is done.  Nothing more needs to be added.  When the regeneration of a lost soul is begun, it is complete within that same instant.  The sins of the lost man are taken so far away that not even God can remember them.

Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be propitious to their unrighteousnesses, and their sins I shall by no means remember anymore.”

He will BY NO MEANS remember our sin or hold it against us.

So, the grace of Jesus is Exclusive; it’s Easy, and it’s Effective, and finally, the need for that Grace is Emphatic.

The Bible is very specific about who needs the grace of Jesus.  Ye MUST be born again.

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

All men are born into Adam’s race and all men suffer Adam’s disgrace.

Ye Must be born again.

All men have sinned and all need a savior.  There is only one who is qualified but Praise God His salvation is enough for all.  And Praise God His salvation is free.  Free for the asking.  One thief on a cross mocked and scoffed and died in his sin but the other was justified; set free from a life of wickedness and sin, just.by.asking.

And now it’s your turn.  Remember what I said earlier about afflicting the comfortable.  This is it.  The gospel demands a response.  There is no middle ground.  Jesus told his disciples that whoever wasn’t for him was against him.

Matthew 12:20 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

If you have never cried out, like the thief on the cross, for mercy, then, when you stand before God, as all men must.  You will not receive it.

Revelations 20:11

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

This is what awaits those who would deny the Grace of Jesus.  For those who accept it, like the Thief on the cross, they will spend eternity with the one who died that they might live.

Luke 23:43

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Won’t you join us?

The Purpose of Jesus Christ March 13, 2014

Posted by regan222 in Religion.
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Easter-HeLives-smallThe second in a series of sermons on the Person and Purpose of Jesus Christ.  This sermon was delivered at the Central Baptist Church at Legacy Point in Whitesboro, TX.\

Click Here to Listen

Our author lists three points for this section of the manuscript; the death, the resurrection, and the ascension of Christ.  While these are the seminal events in the life of Jesus, they are just singular points in the ongoing work of Christ; a work that continues today

John 6:38 – For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

We don’t know as much as we would like about the work of Christ prior to his coming to Earth.  As we learned last week, the Father is the architect and Jesus, as the pre-incarnate Word, was the executive or creative force.  The Father spoke and the Word brought creation into existence.  While supremely important to us, surely this was not all that Jesus ever did.

In hermeneutics there is  a thing called the “Full Mention Principle”.  God gives us full details on events or subjects that are vital to our understanding and does not go into detail on things that do not bear so much importance to us.  The Bible gives us little detail about the pre-incarnate or pre-human era in the life of Christ,  The only reference I could find is in…

Luke 10:18 – And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven

Being given so little information about the pre-incarnate Son, we must assume that those events are not the most important elements of Jesus’ work and may safely confine our musings to the events we are privy to.  In any case, it is understandable that our author would limit his scope.  There is just too much material, even in our limited exposure to His life, to truly cover the works of Jesus Christ.

John 21:25 – And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

The Death of Jesus Christ

It is odd to start a story at what seems like the end.  The disciples are crushed and scattered.  Christ is captive of the Roman empire.  Satan appears to be winning.  Looks are, in this case, completely deceiving.  Christ is on the verge of His ultimate victory and our great hope.  The death of Christ was about to accomplish its purpose.

Isaiah 53:5 – But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

He died in our place.  What makes Christianity unique among the religions of the Earth is the doctrine of atonement.  All men recognize the great universal truth.  There ain’t no free ride.  Buddhists practice good works in order to escape the wheel of Karma – a continual cycle of birth and death and rebirth until one’s life is good enough to merit their ascension to oneness with the Buddha.   The fundamental idea behind Islam is to appease Allah by the performance of a rigorous daily routine and so achieve paradise by one’s work.  The Hindu are focused on the four paths or yogas to reach enlightenment.  Christianity is unique in all the religions of Earth as a system of beliefs based solely on the work of another.  Christ did the work and we are allowed to benefit from it.

The death of Christ is tightly tied to the his life.  Without that perfect life, his death would have done us no good.  Jesus Christ lived a perfect and sinless life and did not deserve his fate.  He went willingly to it, however, in exchange for you and I, who did deserve it.

Sin is, apparently, a communicable disease.  It passes from one generation to the next.  It infects every descendent of Adam’s line.  We are all equally guilty under the law of God and deserve death for our sins.  The punishment for sin is always death.  The law has no room for mercy, and yet, God’s purpose for us is to exist in His presence.  .

This is the choice we face.  In order to live forever and be able to exist in God’s presence, someone had to pay the price for our sins.  The scales must balance.  We can either choose to pay that price ourselves or we must accept the sacrifice and the atonement of Jesus by faith.  Merely believing that he was is not enough.  We must purpose in our hearts to depend on his sacrifice as our only hope.  This is the nature of faith.

Romans 10:9 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

It is important to realize that the death of Christ was real in every respect.  He allowed himself to suffer the pain and anguish of his mortality and ultimately allowed himself to succumb to his injuries.  He allowed his soul and spirit to leave his body and follow the path of all men who die.  The flesh died, and no doubt, began the process of decay.  The soul and spirit traveled to hell where, no doubt,  Satan assumed that he would be able to gloat that Jesus had been unable to set up his kingdom.  Satan assumed that with Christ’s death, the kingdom of God was defeated.  Silly Satan.  The Bible tells us that Christ triumphed over hell and death and the grave and led the righteous souls held there to the presence of God the Father.

Colossians 2:15 – And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

I wonder sometimes, if the Devil, who is NOT all knowing, but whom is reputed to be very smart, was surprised at what happened next.  It must be assumed that he thought Christ’s triumph would come in some more direct fashion like setting up a political kingdom and overthrowing the Romans.  I cannot imagine him allowing the cross to take place if he knew what would happen next.

The Resurrection of Christ

Without the resurrection, the death of Christ is meaningless.  It has no power.  If he did not return then he was nothing but an insane and deluded man and there is not hope for humanity but to strive and eternally fail at perfection.

The Bible is careful to list many evidences of the return of Christ.  Once again we follow the hermeneutic principles.  A thing that is most often mentioned and most fully described will be a thing of importance.  The most majestic and powerful of all the verses of the Bible deals with the return of Christ and his triumph over the grave.

John 20:15 – 16 –  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

John 21:1 – After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.

Matthew 28: 1 – 10 – In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

And they departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

1 Corinthians 15:5 – After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

Why is the resurrection important?  In order to pay our debt, Christ must die for our sins.  As we are now identified with Christ in his death, we, in sinful flesh, will die.  We may only rise if he does.  His triumph over death is our triumph.  The resurrection establishes Christ as God just as his death established him as man.  Now we must establish his resurrection in the eyes of humanity in order to make our witness efforts legitimate.

 

The Ascension of Christ into Heaven

 

The final act in the eternal drama is Christ’s triumphant return to the Father.  The question raised most often is “Why did Christ return to heaven at all?  Why not set up his kingdom?”  In short, because the father wanted more for us than just an Earthly existence.  He wanted fellowship with us for all time.  That can only happen in His presence.  This is what Satan missed.  God never intended for this world to be our permanent home.  He always had in mind that we should be in His presence.

As Christ, now a human forever, can stand in the presence of the Father, we, in Christ by his death for our sins, are also allowed access to the Father.

Christ’s return to the Father signified the end of his earthly works until his return as king.  But it by no means marks the end of his work.  Christ’s efforts on our part continue until his final return.

What is he doing now?  The Bible tells of two tasks that he has set for himself:

He is gone to prepare for our arrival:

John 14:2 – In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

He stands before the Father as a mediator to plead humanity’s case:

1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

He has a place prepared for each of us.  All we have to do is accept it.

 

Opposites Attract; – Well, Yeah but not always. September 27, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Books, General Ranting, Religion.
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Picture if you will…You’re at the lake, floating on an inflatable raft in the cool azure blue. A light breeze tickles your wet skin as you look up to the spotless blue perfection above. As you look down you notice a tiny invader in your serenity. A small insect purposefully striding across the surface of the water toward you. How can this be? Has the insect messiah come to deliver his people to the promised land? I’m gonna say “pro’lly not”.

gerris02The picture to the left is a common Water Strider.  This little miracle operates by Physics and Chemistry rather than by supernatural support, however, they all come from the same source and were created by the same designer so it really doesn’t matter.  What’s important is how the chemistry works in the natural and how the analogy can apply to the supernatural.

Notice in the picture that the insect’s legs do NOT displace any water at all.  If you look closely at the tips of the legs in contact with the surface of the water you will see that the water surface appears to distort where the legs touch, almost as if the insect were walking on a thin film of plastic wrap.  A boat, floating on the water, would sit lower and actually displace a portion of the water.  That is, after all, the definition of floating.

An object floats only if it is buoyant in the substance in which it rests.  Buoyancy is defined as…
“the upward force on a body immersed or partly immersed in a fluid” (http://www.askdefine.com)

The object is supported by the amount of water it displaces because the water produces an upward force as the object sinks in.  If the mass of the object is less than the mass of the volume of water displaced, the object will float.  All of this is not relevant, however, because the object in question, the insect, does NOT float.

Just as on that long ago Sea of Galilee, this little insect is actually walking ON and not floating IN the water.  His mass is very small and the long legs spread the weight out over a large enough surface area that he is able to walk on the surface of the water just as on solid ground.  He does not sink in or displace any water.  He does not depend on buoyancy.  He does depend, however, on the unique chemistry and physics of the water molecule.

Water is composed of one Oxygen atom in a covalent bond with two Hydrogen atoms.  The Hydrogen atoms are composed of a single proton and a single electron.  A covalent bond is one in which the atoms SHARE the electrons.  As you may know,  electrons orbit the nuclei of atoms. The outer set of electrons, called the valence electrons, are used by the atom to bond with other atoms to form molecules.  A covalent bond occurs when the outer electrons orbiting a nucleus begin to spend time orbiting the nucleus of another nearby atom.  When that occurs, a new compound is formed and the chemical properties of the original molecules are changed.  In our case, two gasses bind together to form a liquid with some pretty amazing properties.

The Oxygen atom has many more electrons orbiting its nucleus than do the Hydrogen atoms.  The two electrons from the Hydrogen atoms begin to orbit, sharing time between the Hydrogen atoms and the Oxygen atom.  At any given time there are more electrons around the Oxygen end of the molecule than there are at the Hydrogen end.  This gives the Oxygen end a tendency towards a negative charge.  This results in the Hydrogen end (composed of basically two protons) a tendency towards a positive charge.  When a molecule has a partial positive charge at one end and a partial negative charge at the other, we say that the molecule is “polar”.  It has poles like a magnet.  This condition is the source of all of water’s peculiar properties and it is what gives our little friend the ability to duplicate what only one man has ever accomplished.  (Well actually two managed it but only one was really successful.  The other…well lets just say that he walked further on water than either you or I are ever likely to.)

The arrangement of water as a polar molecule has exactly the effect that you would suspect.  The positive and negative areas are attracted to the corresponding negative and positive regions of the water molecules surrounding it.  Water molecules act like tiny magnets.  This albeit weak, attraction between polar molecules is called Hydrogen Bonding.  It does some very strange things to water.  One of the most unusual is the property of cohesion.  Water molecules tend to stick to each other.

If you have ever waxed a car and then driven into a rain storm you have seen water “bead up” on the hood.  Water forms droplets of considerable size because the molecules are attracted to and hold onto each other with surprising tenacity.  An excellent way to see this for yourself is the following experiment…

You will need a penny, an eyedropper, a bottle of water, and a bottle of some organic solvent (acetone – nail polish remover, or alcohol (90% isopropyl, not that cheap Wal-Mart mix) will work.  Start with the water and see how many drops you can drop on the penny before the puddle you are creating breaks and runs off.  Now try the same with the NON-POLAR solvent.  Having done this experiment many times over with my students from year to year I can verify that it is possible to drop over 100 drops of water onto the surface of a penny before it runs off.  With alcohol you might get 30 or 40 and with acetone, even less.  The non-polar liquids lack cohesion.  The molecules are neutral and not attracted to each other.  In short, those liquids have no SURFACE TENSION.  If you waxed a car and then ran off into an alcohol shower you would find that the liquid would not form beads.  Also the miraculous little creature above would sink helplessly beneath the waves of a lake of acetone, never to rise again.  The liquid would not support him, not because he was too heavy but because he did not have a surface of molecules holding on to each other, to support him.  The boiling point of water, its ability to gather and hold heat, the fact that liquid water is more dense than frozen water, as well as this little guy’s ability to stand on the surface supported only by surface tension; all these unusual behaviors are properties of water’s unique chemical and physical makeup.

“Why”, you ask, “do we REALLY need a lesson in the chemistry of water?”  Perhaps not, but we MIGHT be able to draw some insight from an analogy on the way water behaves.  It is said that opposites attract and indeed, the positive and negative parts of each water molecule do attract each other, but the result is that every water molecule, and each is identical to the others, is attracted to its neighbor.  They have the same nature and so they are attracted to each other; not what you might expect.  As Christians, we have indwelling each of us, the same nature.

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16)

The nature of Jesus Christ is in each and every Christian.  Something in all Christians resonates at the same frequency and THIS force or effect is what pulls us together in His service.

“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,” (Acts 2:46)

Like the early disciples, we, if we allow Christ to indwell us fully, are held together by His nature.  Because of this attraction we can be more than the sum of our parts.  Just as water boils at a much higher temperature than it should, the Christian can show incredible patience through the most trying of times.  As a thin stream of water will bend away from an oppositely charged object, so the committed Christian can overcome a temptation or obstacle that he or she would, in their own strength, be destroyed by.

Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here. Sometimes, opposites repel and similar things attract.  However, in order to experience this power you must partake of the nature of the source.  Allow Christ free rein in your life and you will find an incredible source of strength.  You might even walk on water.

 

 

What Every Christian Ought to Know about Understanding the Bible April 3, 2013

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The following slides are the sermon notes that accompany my sermon of March 31, 2013. You can follow along in the slides as you listen to the sermon. Just click the link to hear my presentation of a portion of Dr. Adrian Roger’s book “What Every Christian ought to Know.” I was allowed to present the chapter entitled What every Christian ought to Know about reading the Bible. Just click the link below to listen to the sermon as you move through the slides.
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When you click the link it will open in a new tab or page. Minimize the new tab and reopen this tab to follow along in the slides.

Forgive as You Would Be Forgiven: A Lofty Goal February 23, 2013

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Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray. The prayer template that he gave them, although often called “The Lord’s Prayer” was only his by way of authorship. He in no way ever prayed this prayer nor was it meant for him. Also, the model prayer was never meant to be a rote repetition as some have made it. Jesus said, in essence, pray LIKE this or “after this wise” and not “repeat this prayer word for word”. The Lord’s Prayer is meant to be a model and an example.
One of the most important aspects of the Christian life that the prayer models is forgiveness. The model prayer not only stresses forgiveness for the Christian but forgiveness BY the Christian and that is a much harder subject. Hopefully a short scripture study will let us see exactly what God expects from us as far as forgiveness is concerned. Let’s start with the ultimate authority on Christian doctrine, Christ himself, and see what he expects.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

The meaning seems pretty clear. Forgiveness for the Christian’s sins may only be attained if we are also forgiving. We know this is meant for Christians because no lost person can pray this prayer. They are not His children and can not say “Our Father”. Verses 14 and 15 are very direct. If you wish to be forgiven then you must forgive.

How much must we be willing to forgive? Just as verse 12 tells us, we are forgiven as we forgive. Peter tried to put a label on it when he asked how often we should forgive…

 

Matthew 18
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

 

There is no minimum daily requirement for our forgiveness. We must forgive even as God forgives. Now think about that for a moment. God forgives the Christian anything and everything. He would forgive those who nailed his only son to the cross had they asked for it. He would forgive Hitler for the Holocaust. His mercy knows no limits. He knows the sins of every Christian, both past and future, and they are all covered under the blood of Christ. Now ask yourself again, what am I expected to forgive against me and my family? The answer is “EVERYTHING”. No transgression, no matter how large, should be held against someone who honestly comes to you asking forgiveness.

 

Luke 17

3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

 

What was the response to this doctrine? The apostles threw in the towel. They knew it was impossible without help from above. Most of the Christian life is impossible to live without Christ but this one aspect is doubly so. We CAN NOT forgive as we are expected to without the power of Christ in our hearts. The story has been told of a pastor whose son was killed by a drunk driver going to that man’s hospital bed to witness to him in the hopes that he might be saved. THAT is the kind of forgiveness that is expected of us. It goes against every fiber of human nature. Without Christ it would be impossible and yet we can do all things through him. Join me in prayer for that kind of heart that forgives without ceasing.

Stop Dragging that Dead Guy Around February 17, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Books, General Ranting, Religion.
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Too often we as Christians find ourselves tied to the old man (or woman) we once were.  To be in Christ is to be a new creature and to be dead to our past.  This lesson was presented in Sunday School at the Central Baptist Church on February 17, 2013.

 

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Every Christian should know…The Bible is the Word of God January 13, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Religion, Science and Technology.
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The following presentation was used in the Sunday evening service at the Central Baptist Church in Whitesboro, TX.  We are currently studying Adrian Rogers’ work “What Every Christian Ought To Know” and I was slated to present the first chapter.  I am not anti-apologetics but I think people put too much emphasis on trying to prove things that can only be spiritually perceived.

Let a Man Examine Himself August 10, 2012

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Watch the video and then watch the sermon

But Let a Man Examine Himself

1 Corinthians 11:27-29

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

Taken in context, these verses encourage anyone partaking of the Lord’s Supper to examine their own hearts and make sure they are approaching the Lord with the right motives before they sit down at His table.  It may be inferred that self examination is profitable at any time.  I made the majority of that video a reflection in a mirror for a reason.  We need to pause and reflect upon our own reflections for a moment and take stock of our growth and progress.  Hopefully what you have just watched will offer up some things to look at as you examine yourself.

I. Examine your Methods.

Right away we should be aware that God is not so nearly interested in what we do as He is in why we do it.  Each of us has been given talents and gifts to make us uniquely suited for the role God would have us play in the world.

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

We have no right to glory or boast in our abilities because God is the source of the talents and abilities we have received.  God, in His wisdom, knew that the church would need many different kinds of workers, just as the body needs many different kinds of organs.  Some He called to preach or to teach or to give, or to encourage, but we all have in common the source of our abilities and what we are to use them for.  Of ourselves, we are nothing.  If you are a great singer, a powerful speaker, a wise businessman, beware of pride.  What exactly did you get outside of God who sovereignly gives and takes away?  Look at the person who has nothing and think for a moment, there but for the grace of God go I.

As this is the case, we are held responsible for very little.  In the work of salvation, Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.  We only accept or decline.  As a witness we are called upon to spread the gospel.  We are not held accountable for its results.  I don’t hold James responsible for carrying out the trash or washing the car yet.  There is very little that we are held responsible for because we are capable of very little.  God does, however, expect at least two things from us.  We must be faithful in our service if we want to serve and we must do our best.  If we have the faith of a mustard seed we can do much, but we must have that faith.

  Numbers 19:2
This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:
  Numbers 28:3
And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.

  Numbers 28:9
And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof:
  Numbers 28:11
And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot;
  Numbers 29:17
And on the second day ye shall offer twelve young bullocks, two rams, fourteen lambs of the first year without spot:
  Numbers 29:26
And on the fifth day nine bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year without spot:

When we do give something to God, be it sacrifice or service, He only wants our best efforts.   We need to examine ourselves and see if we are truly giving our best.

II. Examine your motives

To a Christian, motives are the most important factor in their actions.  The unsaved man’s motivation comes from worldly things.  They are focused on self and what pleases self.  Even their good deeds are motivated by selfish motives.  They give to causes and charity because it makes them feel good.  All actions from the lost man are motivated by self and the world.

The early Southern Baptists held that “The scriptural doctrine of depravity is not that every man is a bad as he possibly can be, for there may be indefinite progression in guilt:–nor that one man is necessarily as wicked as another,–for there may be as many shades of depravity as there are sinners in the universe. But it teaches us that man, by nature, is destitute of all holy principles and desires; that there is nothing in his character which is pleasing in the sight of God; that being alienated in his heart from God, corrupt in the very fountain of action, in the temper and spirit of his mind, all the actions that he performs, even those which are in themselves excellent and lovely, are still the service of an alien and a rebel, and consequently an abomination in the sight of heaven.”  The lost man, even in the act of caring for his child or providing for his family, is in the service of “an alien and a rebel” and is “consequently an abomination in the sight of heaven.”

The Christian, on the other hand, is commanded to put self last on the priority list.  We are motivated by God’s will.  He asks and we act in disregard for self or worldly gain or anything else that would motivate a worldly person.  History is filled with examples of Christians who would prefer to live in poverty or die in pain rather than act out of God’s will.

Matthew 6: 1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

The lost soul does good to receive a reward.  They operate under the law.  When the Pharisee prays on the street corner and in the market place he gets his reward from the people who are impressed when they see him.  The Christian is commanded to do alms, or to give, in secret.  No one should know.  We are not motivated by worldly recognition.  We only seek God’s well done.  We need to examine ourselves and see if we are acting out of love for God or for ourselves.

III. Examine your Future

You’d think we should examine the past first rather than the future, but as you will see, the past determines the future.  For the saved church member, we stand at a critical junction.  Like Gideon’s army at the river

Judges 7:4 And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.

Look around for a moment.  There are seats empty that were once filled.  The people who sat there have, for one reason or another, fallen by the way.  We have a place being prepared for us just as the Israelites of the Old Testament but not everyone who set out with us on this journey will arrive.  In order to have a future we must be faithful in the present.  They wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until none of that original generation of adults was left alive because of their lack of faith.  The group future was preserved just as God promised but a lot of individual futures fell by the side of the road getting there.

Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

The church has been described as a vine.  I am not so familiar with grapes but I have an acute awareness of blackberry vines.  The best way to get more fruit from the vine is to cut away the dead wood during the winter.  The time for pruning is when the vine is not actively producing fruit.  The wise gardener knows this and when he sees the vine with no fruit he cuts away the dead wood.  In the spring, the remaining wood produces more fruit.  No vine ever died from careful pruning and in fact, they produce more fruit for the gardener.  We need to examine our future.  Don’t be part of the pruned.  Hold fast and remain faithful and receive the reward.

IV. Examine Your Past

Contrary to what you might think, the past is more important than the future in this case.  The past writes the future.  If you believe and receive the gospel in the past, then in the future, your reward is assured.  If you have no past relationship with Jesus Christ, you have no future.  You cannot sneak into heaven.  Some people have the mistaken idea that if they hang around the church long enough, attend enough services, give enough, even get baptized or become a member of the church, then they will somehow establish a relationship with Jesus by proxy or by just being around long enough.  You need to examine your past right now and see if there is a moment in time when you definitively responded to the call of the gospel and accepted Jesus Christ as savior.  Somewhere at sometime in your life you said yes to the Lord and your life was changed.  This is the only way in to heaven.

The past is past.  It’s gone.  The wonderful thing about the present is that you have a chance to change the future.  Today is your opportunity.  It’s the only chance you are absolutely guaranteed.  The future is very uncertain.  You might not have one outside of this door.  Don’t take that chance.  Examine your past and write your future here in the present and for all time.  Accept the Lord Jesus in faith.  Choose to believe the gospel that he died for you and rose again and you will rise as well.

I’m Not Lost, This is the Scenic Route August 2, 2012

Posted by regan222 in General Ranting, Religion.
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To all my loyal readers, sorry I have not posted in a couple of weeks.  Between trying to finish up a movie and get ready for school to start back up, not to mention trying to cut wood with my cousin in 110 degree heat, I have been remiss in my duties as a writer and minister.  To you who are interested, I heartily apologize.  I WOULD apologise like they do in Europe but the word press spell checker insists that it is misspelled.

To make matters worse, my family has been on vacation at the family reunion, which I did not attend, and that has me completely out of sorts.  Enough excuses, I promise to turn out some Pulitzer Prize winning material just as soon as I can copy some from a Pulitzer Prize winning author.  Meanwhile, God Bless and Keep You and Make His Face to Shine Upon You.  For those of you who were put off by my reference to the Deity, please see my entry under “Live Forever, Ask Me How” tab immediately.  You can thank me later after we have both passed away.