Posts Tagged ‘ Religion ’

Message series: Malachi 1:6-14

[This is a little late. We did some remodeling and cleaning, and I forgot to upload on Saturday night! We have more storage area in our garage and a green bathroom, now, though! And this explains why I look tired in this video. I had worked hard all day!]

It is about time for a short message series.

Over the next couple of months, I will upload short messages based on the book of Malachi. It will probably be eight total and based on the section divisions in the English Standard Version of the Bible.

No special titles. Just taking a quick look at what was said.

So read along with me, and let us study what Malachi said to his people about 2,400 years ago.

Malachi 1:6-14

Remember that Malachi literally means “my messenger”, so he is God’s messenger, as all the Prophets were.

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor?

God is our heavenly Father, and today we see evidence that He is not given the honor that is due. But Paul reminded us what the times before Christ’s return would be like in 2 Timothy 3:1-5:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

This certainly describes much of our world today, even within the Church. But especially seeing as, as a world, we barely acknowledge our heavenly Father, let alone give much honor to our earthly parents. We are too busy seeking our own pleasure and thinking we are right about everything.

But back to Malachi:

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.

God was talking to the priests of ancient Israel. But we see polluted offerings today.

We see it in the Prosperity gospel or the so-called New Apostolic Reformation with all of these new apostles and prophets and such who say we should be living our best life now and be healthy, wealthy, and happy. If you are not healthy and wealthy and happy, you have weak faith. It is your own fault for not trusting God enough.

It is these people making claims that “thus saith the Lord” when He has not spoken.

Like what?

Like these preachers and prophets who said the C-19 pandemic (at the time of this message) was going to end by Passover. Here I am two weeks after Passover having seen that it not only is not over but hit its worst days AFTER Passover (in the US, at least, which is what most of these people were talking about).

It is people trying to declare the weather act a certain way, such as Kenneth Copeland declaring a heatwave to kill the virus … and a cold snap hitting the very next day. Nationwide.

These are people claiming to be speaking for God, when they make false prophecies and have no actual power. This is blasphemy and taking the Lord’s Name in vain.

It can also be seen in a too-close, buddying up with politics.

It is saying “Our party is the Christian party” or “the Republican party is the party of Christianity.” It is saying that God is not only okay with such-and-such a thing but endorses it, such as saying abortion and gay marriage are godly acts.

I just stepped on the toes of Republicans and Democrats, but they are far from alone in this.

When we let our politics influence our faith, instead of the other way around, we put forth an offering polluted by the world. [Our religion should influence our politics, though!]

Back to Malachi:

And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. 10 Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. 11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. 12 But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. 13 But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. 14 Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.

Costi Hinn – Benny Hinn’s nephew – worked for his uncle’s ministry. However, he “shut the doors” by walking away from that ministry. Today, he is a pastor – in the Reformed tradition – and speaks out against his uncle’s ministry and other Prosperity Gospel, the NAR, and other hyper-charismatic ministries.

Both in ancient Israel and today, we have horrible sacrifices and offerings.

Today we see churches offering Mountain Dew and Doritos or beer and chips as “communion” so that their congregants can partake of the elements no matter what they have around. Or they change who the communion is done toward while using skittles and iced tea.

Churches say “gay marriage” is okay, when the Bible forbids it.

Churches say “No matter what you believe or how you live, why don’t you lead this bible study or lead this ministry … or become ordained and lead a church.” No repentance nor confirmation of beliefs.

God was not happy with sacrifices and offerings when Israelites offered lame and sick sacrifices.

God is not happy when we offer teachings and leaders that are contrary to His Word.

But there is good news! (And you probably know where this is going …)

God offered the ultimate sacrifice in our place when He offered His own Son, Jesus Christ for the atonement of our sins.

Jesus was the perfect, unblemished sacrifice.

He endured violence, but it was to redeem our violent nature by being beaten and killed on our behalf. He suffered death at our own hands to redeem our actions and make us holy as He is holy by washing us in His blood.

Our sacrifices and offerings have never been good enough. So He offered Himself.

And all we have to do is believe that and let the Holy Spirit change us to be more like the Son.

And this is the good news that will spread His fame throughout the nations, a pure offering of praise made by His redeemed, as we make His Name known.

And one day, Jesus is returning to renew the world. And all who live on this planet will worship Him.

Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

Next week, we get into chapter 2!

VerseD: John 3:36

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
John 3:36, ESV

The hard truth is that full belief in Jesus means obedience to Jesus. It is not strictly about rules but knowing how He has said to love Him.

Religion Madness

It is time to look at that super-non-controversial word “religion”!

Some claim religion is for unthinking idiots or contrary to a relationship with God.

Some Christians claim “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.”

Atheists and other irreligious folks claim that religion is an opioid for the masses (Marx) or for those who don’t like to think.

Are these claims true?

Many scholars agree that our word for religion comes from the Latin:

religare: to bind, to connect

And therefore …
religio: obligation, bond, reverence

We therefore can understand religion as binding oneself to a set of obligations. Is this helpful?

Both Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionaries have several definitions (look them up!), but I will focus on just a few:

Merriam-Webster uses:

  • commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
  • a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
  • a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

With some definitions of religious being:

  • relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality
  • FERVENT or ZEALOUS

Oxford defines religion with:

  • A particular system of faith and worship.
  • A pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.

Personally, I would also clarify with a religion being:

  • A set of guidelines and beliefs that order life
  • or a shared collection of beliefs and practices.

This all should quell the religious fervor with which Christians deny that Christianity is a religion. We still set boundaries for any relationship which we faithfully follow, so this particular relationship is a religion. (But I get their meaning, so I will not harp too much on them for it … unless it gets in the way of or directly refutes firm doctrine.)

Conversely, this all implies that even atheism is a religion. Why?

The argument some atheists offer, that it is a lack of belief, is, frankly, stupid. It is a belief. It is incredibly difficult to prove scientifically that something supernatural (Beyond the natural) exists, so a lack of evidence in something beyond our understanding of space-time can only lead to one believing something … without evidence.

And before anyone argues atheism is not a blind faith, how did the universe or life on Earth begin? No experiment or evidence has yet to reveal these from a naturalistic origin. To claim we know how either of these began (apart from God) is being intellectually dishonest and anti-science. You must believe on faith that we may someday find these answers, even with little to no evidence supporting any of the myriad of claims for each beginning.

How is atheism (and along with it evolution and the climate change movement) not a religious belief, especially with the cultish celebrity-worship, demand for strict adherence to the teachings, and excommunication of people who disagree (or raise challenging questions, even from a sincere perspective)?

No matter the religion, Christian Scripture tells us what our religion should look like:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 1:27

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

Matthew 23: Basically, Jesus tells us that hypocrisy is setting rules and demands on others while not holding yourself to them. Do not make it more difficult for people to follow, make yourself look good, and take care of your own needs, yet neglect mercy, justice, and true faithfulness without really changing yourself.

Religion is not relationship denying nor for unthinking idiots.

Wise people have religion, for it sets the boundaries to live by to protect relationships and truth. To remove those rules and guidelines is to allow for any “truth”, and this leads to cultish behavior and/or anarchy. Just look at the state of the Western Church and pop-atheism and the global climate change scare.

Madness.

Give Me Five: What Is Faith?

I did not do the silly high five at the end of this video! Am I a horrible person? (Theologically speaking, technically yes … apart from Christ …)

But it is addressing that tantalizing question: What is faith?

Give Me 5: What Is Faith?

Many people do not really understand faith.

In a recent book, “A Manual for Creating Atheists”, philosopher Peter Boghossian defined faith as belief without evidence, pretending to know things you don’t really know.

But is this right?

In a word: no.

How does the Bible explain faith?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1, ESV

Another way of explaining faith is putting your beliefs into action. If you believe something to be true, prove it! Prove you are faithful to those beliefs by acting on them.

The most used example of what faith is is a chair. You can say you believe a chair will hold you up, but faith is proving it by sitting on the chair. Typically, you are acting on evidence. (In this case, you have been told chairs are for sitting on, and you may have seen other people sit in chairs.)

As Christians, we do not have a blind faith. The Bible is our evidence for God and Jesus.

The Bible has several prophecies about the coming Messiah who would take away our sins, and Jesus claimed He was the fulfillment of those prophecies. He made many claims to His deity, as well, and He said that He would prove it all by dying and rising again.

The Apostles and early disciples did not just write about things they heard. They claimed to have heard these things and seen the crucified and risen Jesus with their own eyes.

And the Bible is the most reliable ancient set of documents we have from antiquity, by far. Few experts contest this. (Maybe the actual events, but not that at least the New Testament is reliably from people from the First Century.)

Who lives with and uses faith?

Everyone.

It is not only Christians and the overtly religious. My evidence for this?

How about evolutionary theory: How is it claimed life began? Several chemicals somehow combined in the right amounts at the right time to create the building blocks for RNA and DNA, creating the first living cells.

How do we know it happened this way?

We don’t. No one was there to see it, and no one as recreated it in the lab to test this hypothesis. People simply believe it is true.

This is more like blind faith than Christianity!

As said before, everyone lives by some form of faith in someone or something throughout their days and lives. Faith is putting beliefs into action.

What do you think? Am I way too far off the mark? (I think most others are.)

How about we talk about, either in the comments (on this blog post or on the YouTube channel) or through the e-mail: Together@asimplemanofgod.com, or even at the Facebook page: a simple man of God.

Shooting at God?

Another shooting happened this week.

This time, it was in Sutherland Springs, TX, at the First Baptist Church.

Let us remember all of those affected and pray for peace, forgiveness, and strength to move forward.

It looks like it may have been a “domestic dispute” between the shooter and his in-laws.

It also appears he was a preacher of Atheism and the downfall of Christianity.

Regardless, and before I knew these tidbits, I could not help but think:

Is this the post-Christian America we have been promised for years?

Here are some of the reasons I ask:

  • The usual call for stricter controls on guns and people began immediately.
  • Groups like Antifa (Anti-Fascists) are calling for stricter laws across the board.
  • There have been calls for how this is Christians’ fault, anyway, and to see how obviously their prayers were not being answered so how could there be any god.

First, Atheist and other non-religious groups have been calling for all forms of religion to be abolished and for “true human freedom” to reign, but without solid examples of how one must live. Now people wonder why our society seems to be going down the toilet. We removed moral absolutes, and they wonder why we act more like animals. It seems that without the Christian God to help teach us how to be self-controlled (Galatians 5:22-23), we rely on outward control. (i.e. More and stricter laws.)

This leads to the second point. We see groups claiming to be anti-fascist that promote known fascist governments. We see the call for the breakdown of walls between cultures with new walls to be up (such as wanting to celebrate what is great about other cultures but not letting those outside of those cultures dress up as them for Halloween). Because we cannot trust people to self-regulate (control their emotions), society must help by saying what others are allowed to think and do.

Finally, Christians and our God get mocked and blamed when this kind of violence erupts. Am I complaining about this as other prominent Christian leaders have been doing, perhaps calling for more protection for our religious beliefs\?

Actually, no.

This is what I expect to happen. Especially if we truly are a “post-Christian nation” … and if I believe the Bible.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”
John 15:18-25

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

As we see society move farther away from God, I expect to see more people shooting at God — through shooting and otherwise attacking His people, the Church.

These things are crazy, stupid, and sad, but in a fallen world that lashes out at the very idea of God I expect it.

This should push us to pray all the more for peace, repentance, and the swift return of our Lord.

a simple (re-)Intro

Hello, world! … again …

Things are gonna be changing around here! Watch the video for a full explanation.

The highlights?

  1. The website will be going through changes.
    1. For starters, the “.wordpress” has been removed, so that the site is now https://asimplemanofgod.com
    2. The site might also have some visual changes. Including … VIDEO
  2. There is now a way to e-mail us! Whether for questions, comments, or a way to get in touch for any other reason.
    together@asimplemanofgod.com
  3. I have invited some other men to come alongside me in producing content
    1. Blog posts – collaboratively or individually
    2. Videos – we are on YouTube!
  4. The focus will always be helping people see how simple theology can be:
    1. What does the Bible mean?
    2. How can we apply the Bible and theology to our lives?
    3. Apologetics – how can we defend the faith?
    4. What theology is in our music?

It may be a bit shaky at first – all of the changes, getting content posted consistently – but here is to a new start … on the weekend of the Day of Atonement! (A post coming just a little later on this!)

Blessings,

Daniel

The Greatest Deception of the 21st Century

In short: BOOM!

Longer version:

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
2 Corinthians 11:1-4, ESV

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
Galatians 1:8

Daniel

Myths and Endless Genealogies?

Discover the everlasting wisdom of God through some of the thoughts at Proverbial Thought!

If you have followed my blog for a while, or read up recently, you probably know that I fall under the category of “Young-Earth Creationist”. I have plenty of scientific, philosophical, and biblical reasons for holding this view.

Today I want to focus for a brief moment on something that is more of a theological food for thought.

Science, Myth, or Something Else?

The funny thing about Evolution, specifically Darwinian evolution, is that we are generally taught as fact that the Universe is about 14 billion years old, the earth is about 4 billions years old, life on earth has existed and been evolving for about 2 billion years, we evolved from an ape-like creature which evolved from something else that evolved from something else that evolved all the way back to the first single-celled organism.

Yet, we have no definitive proof of any of this. There is a lot of evidence for a lot of things, but since a lot of it has not been and currently can not be directly observed (i.e. how the Universe came to be, the origin of life, one animal kind becoming another animal kind) it all comes down to worldview and faith.

On all sides.

The thing Christians have is a book (or, technically, a collection of books) with the claim that God inspired the very words (a debate for another time) in which He claims to have not only seen how all things happened but caused them to happen and in which He made claims about the future, most of which have come true and the rest are yet to happen.

Instead, we find many churches and Christians listening to atheistic scientific theories full endless cosmological and biological connections with little or no need for a Creator.

It might sound like a call to blind faith, but I encourage you to study the evidence and the arguments. Then look again at this question:

Who do you trust: men who were not there and have to keep changing their theories, or a God who claims to have been their and caused it all and does not change?

. . . so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
1 Timothy 1:3b-7

Back from the Dead: Happy Singles Awareness Day!

I wanted to write a detailed post on love and the amazingness of God, but I found it necessary to revisit some basic information on the holiday this week: St. Valentine’s Day. Therefore, I am reposting my first post for this day, in which I explain a tiny bit of the origin of the holiday.

Happy Singles Awareness Day!

For the record, I love being married.

Also, sorry for not posting last week. I was trudging through the battle of Chest Cold 2011 … and am really still in combat.

Because of today, I think it is time to do a short marathon on love and couples … and singles. I mean, this day is not all about chocolates and candies and heart-shaped balloons and pizzas!Heart PizzaSt. Valentine

We should start in the right place: HISTORY!

Saint Valentine

According to Catholic.org, here is a brief history of the namesake of this holiday:

Valentine was a priest in Rome during the third century, specifically during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. This was during the time Christianity was illegal, and helping Christians was also illegal. In about 269, Valentine was arrested, ordered beaten with clubs and beheaded. His crime? Helping Christians.

Specifically, Valentine helped Christian couples get married. There is a legend that while awaiting death he healed his jailer’s blind daughter and then wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine”. He is considered “the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses.”

Now we can see where all of this love stuff came from, but what about all the fluff?

According to the ever-popular Wikipedia, it was during the early 1800′s that cards and hearts began being sent to people. It was just before 1850 that Brits and Americans were both creating, selling, buying, and sending Valentine’s gifts. It was really this holiday that began the mass commercialization of our holidays (hopefully they keep their mitts off of my Halloween!). Today, it is estimated that around a billion valentines are handed out every year, and teachers receive the most! (At least our children know who is in charge!) Over 15 million e-valentines were sent out last year.

So, we must ask ourselves: What happened?

This is a holiday honoring a man who encouraged biblical love and marriages, but today it is all about showing all kinds of love, like, lust, and even hatred. I could go into all of the rants and tirades about not teaching children properly and how we have had too many preachers who became gutless and/or lazy in presenting the gospel in a clear way. But does that really help anything? We should not be too surprised that we as people continue to rebel against God. Read the Old Testament. Israel helped prove that … as, so I think, our children. I know I did growing up (right, mom?).

When I hear a Christian say “I hate Valentine’s Day”, I get, quite frankly, angry. First of all, it shows people do not care about history at all, and this helps solidify the belief of many of us that ignorance runs rampant. Secondly, if we are commanded to love and are expected to grow in the love of God, then the only thing we should hate is hatred and sin (not the sinner. And yes, it is possible).

We should not, however, expect anything different from non-Christians. Especially if “God is love” and they are any of the people who do not want anything to do with religion (especially God), it only makes sense that they would hate Valentine’s Day.

We need to remember, this is a day to remember a man. At the same time this is a day to remember love between people who are going to be married or are married, being youthful, and – most importantly – loving God. That is the way it should be, but obviously it has become more about spending oodles of money on frivolous things.

Reblog: The Church of No People – I Don’t Have a Relationship, I Have Rules

Matt Appling is at it again over at his blog The Church of No People. I spent the better part of a year living by the rule “I don’t have a religion, I have a relationship!” To see roughly (probably even exactly) where I stand today, you can read my post from last year here, or head on over to Matt’s site and read his words:

I Don’t Have a Relationship, I Have Rules

Christians like to say that we have “relationship.”relationship

Not rules.

Not religion.

While “rules” or “religion” have connotations of stuffy, outdated, legalistic, overbearing control, relationship seems to open and inviting, doesn’t it? While the former might carry the image of an angry nun with a ruler, ready to rap your knuckles, the latter looks like Jesus holding his arms out for a big bear hug.

If there’s one phrase modern Christianity has embraced, it’s that one.  We have moved past religion, and now we have relationship.

And I wonder how much damage that phrase has caused to the relationship we have with God.

Continue reading over at Matt’s Church of No People …