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Sunday, March 21, 2010

(34) Abraham's Lie

Have you ever wondered why Abraham was considered righteous?

  • 1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied.
  • 2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."
  • 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.
  • 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
  • 5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."

Abraham was called by God to sacrifice his only true son, Isaac. Abraham went through the whole ordeal but it seems as though he lied to his servants. He told his servants to stay while they go worship and then they will come back! Now if he was to sacrifice Isaac, he knew only he himself would come back. Did Abraham lie? And he was still considered righteous. Well, he didn't lie.

Abraham knew Isaac would live. Before all of this happened Abraham was promised that his descendants would be as numerous as the grains of sand. When Abraham took Isaac up the mountain he knew that somehow Isaac would be coming back down with him. So when he said "we" will return, he meant it. However, he probably also expected that Isaac would have to be actually sacrificed, in the literal sense. So why would he think both would be coming back? Isaac would be resurrected! To Abraham, Isaac was already dead. He knew that he would have to truly give a sacrifice, not just an offering. Sometimes true worship means just more than your offering (money, feelings, times or any aspect of life). Abraham knew that true worship meant giving all you have. Isaac meant the world to him. It was all Abraham had. True Ishma'el was there but Ishma'el was not born out of faith. He was born of the flesh. He was born out of desire. He was not the promise God had for Abraham. The true son of Abraham was Isaac. The true sacrificed had to come by or through him.

And because he acted out of faith God provided a way out. Such as in our lives. Sometimes we see an easy way out. We see the things born out of the flesh as what can satisfy us and so we take that route. But God calls us to a place. He calls us to His route. If we stay faithful and follow His route and not our own, God will provide all we need. Since Abraham stayed faithful and was willing to sacrifice Isaac, God gave him the lamb caught in the brush. God called Abraham to a place. He didn't tell Abraham to sacrifice there at home. That would not have been a sacrifice. Staying home is our comfort zone and we would tend to remain to comfortable and not put our full focus on what God calls us to do. Therefore we may not even follow through with our sacrifice or worship. Abraham had to follow the directions of God to prove his faithfulness. The mountain that God told Abraham to go to was Mount Moriah, the highest peak in the area. This just happened to be the same mountain Christ was crucified on.

In all ways Abraham trusted in God. This is what made Abraham righteous. His trust. His faith. Hebrews tell us, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." This is why the promises he was given were granted. Faithfulness gets you the promises of God.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

(33) Eros (PG-13)

Eros: sexual love (Greek).
There are three kinds of love:
  1. Eros, a love that is based on what you are, what you are looking for, how things make you feel. It's where we get the term "erotic" from. It is a love based on conditions. Well, looks aren't everything.
  2. Philos, a love that says I love you for who you are, it's how we connect, a brotherly love. It's where we get therm Philadelphia-city of brotherly love. It is a loved based on relations.
  3. Agape, a love that is unconditional, I love you just because I do. Like a dog who is always happy when the owner comes.
Now if you base your love on eros, you will always be hurt because eros usually fades with time. If you base love on philos then it will never be complete. If you base it on agape then you will lose all aspects of physical pleasure. The person you should fall in love with is the one you have all three loves for. But is all kinds of love appropriate? What about eros when it comes to homosexual feelings? Here are the results from last months' poll: What is your view on homosexual activity?
  • 0% said it is worse than all other sexual sins.
  • 80% said it is wrong 100%.
  • 7% said God created love, so it's okay.
  • 7% said there is nothing wrong with it at all.
  • 3% said they have no idea.
  • 34% said there are other ways to look at it.
The correct answer is it is 100% wrong AND there is another way of looking at it. It is no worse than any other sexual sin. God created love, but He created it to be done in a certain way. There are acts of physical love you can do. No matter what science has said that they have proven about genes causing us to be homosexual or heterosexual, it still all comes down to your actions. You can choose to follow your thoughts and desires or not to. It is not like your body forces you into your life style. You choose to do one or the other. If you have thoughts to kill someone does that make it okay? If you have genes to be an alcoholic does that make it okay? Thoughts and genes do not give you the permission to be anything. So with that in mind let's define some things and look into it.
  1. Monogamous Heterosexuality-act of one man, one woman being in a relationship that only involves each other
  2. Polygamous Heterosexuality- act of one man, one woman but with multiple partners
  3. Acts of Homosexuality- act of same gender performing sexual acts with each other
  4. Bestiality- act of using animals as partners
  5. Self-gratification- act of performing sexual acts upon yourself
  6. Abstinence- act of not having any sexual relations or actions with anything or anyone
But only two of these are looked upon by God as acceptable and these are the first and last one mentioned. All but these two have consequences.  If only these two were done then there would be no problems in terms of physical relationships.  Keep in mind sexual activity also needs real love not just infatuation.  Look at some scripture to understand these things. Before you go on here are some small shortcuts: if it is mentioned in the Bible only once, it is still important, if it is only mentioned in the Old Testament, it is still important, if Jesus mentioned it, it is still important but may have stricter guidelines since humans can't follow directions.
Why can't all acts of eros be okay if God created the act? First Corinthians explains all of this even in more detail, chapter 6:
  • 12 "Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything.
  • 13 "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
  • 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
  • 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!
  • 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."
  • 17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
  • 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
  • 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
  • 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
Monogamous relations are the basis of all relations. To be faithful to your partner is important about building trust, honor, respect and deeper feelings for a person. If this faithfulness is broken then so is the relationship and will be hard to rebuild it. Lives can be destroyed and never mended. Polygamous relations only lead to insecurities, guilt, pride and in the end loneliness. Because once you have put yourself out there for many partners then the act of eros becomes less valuable. Genesis 2:21-23 explains this.
  • 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh.
  • 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
  • 23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, for she was taken out of man."
  • 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
For this reason a man will leave his mom and dad, or a woman will leave her mom and dad, and will be united together, hence the creation of marriage. Since the two were made for each other they shall spend time with each other. God did not make many women for Adam, nor did He make many men for Eve. He made one for each, and this is when the flesh becomes one. It also does not say that Adam was given a "playmate", "life-long" partners, or "civil unions". It says a man and a woman, only. The act of homosexuality is prohibited.
What about bestiality? First of all if you have to turn to animals for acts of this nature, you need help with your mentality, and apparently with your personality as well if humans can't talk to you enough to like you. But simply put two verses in the Bible say this is wrong; Exodus 22:19 and Leviticus 20:15.
  • Ex 22:19 "Anyone who has sex with an animal gets the death penalty.
  • Lev 20:15 "If a man has sex with an animal, he must be put to death and you must kill the animal.
What about self-gratification? If you are not hurting anyone else then why would it not be permissible? The verses of scripture in Corinthians as mentioned above helps explain that. But there is more to it. While Jesus was giving what we know today as the Sermon on the Mount he hit issues that deal with all lifestyles. And one in particular was lust. He starts out in this passage with adultery but he adds to the meaning. Matthew 5:27-30
  • 27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'
  • 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
  • 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
  • 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Most people think that this is talking about if you commit a wrongful action then cut off your hand so you won;t do it again. But what action is it talking about? Well if you put it into context then it is talking about self-gratification. You are looking at a woman lustfully in verse 29 and then your hand cause you to sin in verse 30.
What about abstinence? There is nothing wrong with this. But Paul says if you have fires burning within you then it is best to quench those fires, hence find someone to marry. God created sexual activity so if we find someone worth giving ourselves to then the act of marriage should happen, otherwise we need to abstain.
In summary all acts of sexuality are allowed by laws and nature but only two are allowed by laws of God. The rest, no matter what they are, is a sin.

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