Feuerbach’s Projections…

FeuerbachLudwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) was a German philosopher and anthropologist known for his claim that God is just a projection of humanity.  Feuerbach was a religious person turned atheist who believed that humanity created God. God was just some sort of a projected fantasy of human minds.  His main ideas are spelled out in his book, The Essence of Christianity and he wrote this and his other works at an age when evolution was the rage.

Here are a couple of his ideas that I want to note since I have seen these bandied about on occasion:

  1. God is a projection.
  2. We evolve from polytheism to monotheism to no theism. Social progress would eventually do away with religion.

~ We can note that (2) is quite simply false. Religion is still here. Feuerbach however is dead.

~ How do we know that the idea that “God is a projection” is itself not a projection? And how do we know that atheism is not a projection?

Bandhgala – Manga

The following is an attempt to draw a guy dressed in an Indian bandhgala in the Manga style of Japan. Somehow I just have a very difficult time with this style.  I will attempt to color it and see if I get anywhere… I will likely have to redo the entire head…

anime_guy_bandhgala

Here is one that I found at the swordart wikia. Its of Kirito … This is what Manga really should look like… Anyway…

Kirito

 

 

Some common birds of India – Post by Dr. Conrad Mbewe

ConradMbeweDr. Conrad Mbewe is the pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia. I often listen to his sermons online and even have some downloaded onto my computer. He recently did a interesting post on India, titled:

Some common birds of India. @ A Letter from Kabwata
~ I had no idea that Dr. Mbewe was in India for a brief bit. Interesting. The post contains some great photographs. In addition, I like what he says here in his opening paragraph:

“I was still obedient to the Lord’s injunction that I should “look at the birds of the air” and be refreshed by them.”

~ Thats a thought. Really.

Getting Back to Faith the Size of a…

~ So suppose that you are going through a massive, massive trial – something very difficult and painful.

What if Jesus had said that you need massive faith in order to handle massive trials?
~ Speaking for myself, I would despair. It seems so often during trials, that I have difficulty scraping up any faith and now, I am being told that..

Anyway… Jesus not say that and Thank Him, because had He said that it, would have … let to an infinite regress. Huh???

What I mean is that, had Jesus said that, then there would have been something incoherent, something odd about what He said.

Why? Because now, where before you have one massive trial, now you have two. That is, in addition to the first massive trial, now you have another massive trial, which is the need to have gigantic faith and the thought of this makes you groan.

So in order to have massive faith, you need to have massive faith beforehand. And in order to have massive faith beforehand, you need to have massive faith beforehand beforehand… and soon…

Again – thank God Jesus said, you need mustard seed sized faith. The size was not really important. What was important is the presence of faith. Just having it.  The only benefit that giant faith gets you is a greater assurance… a psychological benefit.

Those who trust in the Lord
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved,
but abides forever.”
~ Psm 125:1

 

Faith the Size of a Double-Coconut…

Seychelles_COCO_DE_MER

What if Jesus – instead of saying:

“If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (Luke 17:6).

Had instead said…

“If you had faith like the seed of a Lodoicea Maldivica aka the Coco de Mer, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (Luke 17:6).

The Lodoicea Maldivica aka the sea coconut, coco de mer, or double coconut is a tree that grows in the Seychelles Islands.  It grows a massive fruit, ~ 40-50 cm in length, which contains a seed, that has the honor being the worlds largest seed (see above).

India’s only double coconut tree artificially pollinated @ The Hindu

~ Yes. So what if Jesus had said something like that instead? What would you have done? I think I would faint.

I would faint, because that itself would be a trial.  A trial for which I did not have the requisite faith, because the requirement for faith was too large. Too difficult.  So I would faint.

~ Something buzzing here… Ok. Take a breath… a thought

-> In order to get through a difficulty, I need to have faith in God.

What could an example of this difficulty be?

It could be a sickness, financial struggles, a car accident… and so on. And – it could also be the need to have faith. Huh? So how does the above sentence get re-worked.

-> In order to get through the difficulty of not having faith, I need to have faith in God.

Or

-> In order to get through the difficult of having little faith, I need to have faith in God. ~ Well maybe not quite this last one.

A thought ~~~~> Thank God Jesus said that you only need a little faith in order to get things done. Not much. Quality was more important than quantity. Both small faith and big faith result in getting the job done. The only difference between the two is that large faith comes with some psychological benefits. You don’t freak out as much.

God’s Permissive Will

~ Sin are suffering are a part of God’s permissive will. It is something that God allows to happen.  The crucifixion is a prime example. He allowed this to happen. The permissive will can be a result of sin or not. Christ was not where He was on account of sin.

On His Blindness by John Milton

~ The following poem(Sonnet 16) by John Milton(1608-1674) was written when he was blind. For me a key question is found, dead-center in the middle. It is one in which I have been in a discussion with, with a friend of mine.
 JM
  And the question in question?
~~~>  “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
.
On His Blindness
by John Milton
~~~~~~~
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

καὶ μὴ ἐξ ἡμῶν:

~ So the more I read and re-read 2 Corinthians, the more I think that something along the lines of human weakness and human insufficiency giving rise to God’s strength and sufficiency is a major theme of the book.

καὶ μὴ ἐξ ἡμῶν:  means “and not from us” 

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Cor. 4:7

~ So what is of you and what is not of you?

“And who is sufficient for these things?” ~ 2 Cor. 2:17

5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,  ~ 2 Cor. 3:5

Weakness ~ Distinctions…

1. Imposed: in some sense or some way… from within, from without, involving circumstance or inability
~ “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.” ~ John 9:1

And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?” ~ Exodus 5:14

2. Self-Imposed: Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. ~Mk 14:34

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No. . . .”  John 12:27.  Yet ~ “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? …~ Matthew 26:53

3. Sinful-Weakness: “He[Judas] did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” ~ John 12:6

The forms of weakness described in (1) and (2) are good if the foundation for them is God’s strength.

 “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Much human strength and especially those which are much admired can actually be categorized in (3) believe it or not.

” … apart from Me you can do nothing.” ~ John 15:5

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. ~ 2 Cor. 2:5

~ One last one…

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted,but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

 

Oswald Chambers Quote relating to Weakness

~ I heard the following in a Kent Hughes sermon and had to look it up.

“God can achieve his purpose either through the absence of human power and resources, or abandonment of reliance on them. All through history God has chosen and used nobodies, because their unusual dependence on him made possible the unique display of his power and grace. He chose and use somebodies only when they renounced dependence on their natural abilities and resources.” ~Oswald Chambers

OswaldChambers

I found the quote online at the DASH/HOUSE post God Chooses And Uses Nobodies

~ Interesting finding it there because that blog happens to be my most recent discovery and I have been reading there a lot lately. Cool!

Weakness and Strength

4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing,

~~~~~>Weakness

But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

~~~~~>Strength

6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break;…

~ Luke 5

When Strength And Weakness Become One

Abraham sends his servant, to find a wife for his son Isaac.  The servant journeys out to the city of Nahor, in Mesopotamia and stops at a well when he has reached the outskirts of the city.

Isaac’s servant tying the bracelet on Rebecca’s arm by Benjamin West (1738-1820)

Genesis 24v11-15:

11 And he made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time when women go out to draw water. 12 And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this[b] I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.”

15 Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah,

Let us now flash-forward to a another scene which also takes place at a well. This one concerns Jacob, right after he has stolen Esau’s birthright and has had to run from him because Esau was contemplating taking Jacob’s life. Lets flash-forward to Genesis 29

Then Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the east. As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, …

Jacob said to them, … “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” They said, “We know him.” He said to them, “Is it well with him?” They said, “It is well; and see, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep!” He said, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered together. Water the sheep and go, pasture them.” But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

jacobrachel
Jacob and Rachel by William Dyce(1806-1864)

While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud.

~ Theres a lot of drama in the latter scene, but I won’t get into all of that. What I want to point out is that the Jacob scene contrasts markedly from the scene with Abraham’s servant.

The first instinct of Abraham’s servant is to pray. He prays and behold! Rebekah shows up. The first instinct of Jacob however is to put on a macho show. Rachel shows up and he flexes his muscles and rolls away the stone. Then within an instant he is surely in her arms weeping. High drama.

What I want to point out that one person – the servant – operates on the basis of weakness. Another operates on the basis of strength – fleshy, human strength.

~ The weakness of the servant is however really strength. It is really an acknowledgement that the servant – of his own self cannot do anything. However as he prays and waits upon God, God’s strength comes to the fore.

Cutting to the chase… What I am trying to say:

~ There is (1) strength and there is (2) weakness, both of which which differ, one from the other and then finally there is also (3) a strength which is the very same as weakness itself and vice versa.  This (3) weakness/strength is different from the strength and weakness of (1) and (2). SW

In the Jacob well scene we see a display of this natural, fleshy, human strength.

In well scene of Abraham’s servant, we see a display of a weakness that really is strength.

And while I have not illustrated (2) weakness, it is found all over the Bible and life. Solomon seems to have had a weakness in the area of materialism.  David in his weakness lusted after Bathsheba.  In everyday life, some people find it difficult not to gamble. That is a form of sinful weakness. This is not the form of weakness that is really God’s strength.

9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~ 2 Cor. 12:9-10

 

The Long Hard Wait

~ Slowed down on my blogging due to intensity at the workplace.  But this one comes right out of my work thoughts so…

~ I used to work in the IT field for many years before I made a switch and then went to seminary. During and subsequent to seminary, I felt no pronounced call to ministry and so I headed back to IT.  However working here, I confess to being restless. I can’t just code and code and code away forever.

Coding is there but its not my thing.  Its bread I suppose so I do it. However I feel like there has to be something else, beyond i = i+1;. What I don’t know. Just don’t. Yet … all that said its interesting to consider the long hard wait that some folks in the Bible experienced.

~ Abraham was told that he would have a son. It would be years… YEARS before Isaac arrives on the scene.

~ Joseph has dreams that he would one day be some kind of ruler and that his family would even bow before him. Little did he realize that he would even do years in a dungeon before he literally would see the light of day.

~ David is anointed as a youth by Samuel and told that he would be king. Yet it would take years before any of this would happen. In fact ~8-10 of those years would be spent in the wilderness on the run from Saul.

~ Moses seems to have had a sense of destiny, while growing up in Egypt. This was that God was raising him up to free his people.

24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian.25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not.” ~ Acts 7:23-25

~ Yet, little did he realize that all this would begin when he was 80 years old!

~ Naomi while in Moab, struggled to wait and basically lost all hope… I mean over the course of 10 years, her sons and husband died. And what do you do next if you are Naomi? I honestly empathize with her.  I mean we have a 10 year stretch where only the ugly was happening. Yet at the end of it all, little did she realize that her answer, her Godsend – Ruth – was right by her side all along.

Moses by Ivan Meštrović (1952)

~ So it seems like… sometimes when God makes you wait for something… He really makes you wait! It is not always easy waiting and I groan at times but… it helps to look at the above and see that its not just me.

Church Growth ~ Note

The following is a brief excerpt from a book I often reference:

“Little wonder that the church historically has usually grown the fastest and evangelism has proved the most effective, in small, informal fellowships. These may be fledgling “church plants,” or small groups withing larger more established congregations.14 Even the exceptions to this trend, as with mass response to large crusades, tend not to bear lasting fruit unless newly converted individuals are linked up with local congregations for ongoing nurture and discipleship.15″

His sources are:
14. Gibbs, Eddie. I Believe in Church Growth. (Pasadena, CA: Fuller Seminary Press, 2000), 234-274
15. Catherwood, Christopher. Five Evangelical Leaders. (Wheaton: Harold Shaw, 1985), 201-202

Blomb

~ One thought is that this must be based on data from the Church in the West. So is it applicable to the Church in the East?

~ Another thought is that if its “small groups withing larger more established congregations” then you could probably say that both large and small informal fellowships are good for growth.

Monergism & Synergism ~ Notes…

(1)
In his book, Grace Unknown, R.C. Sproul states in print, some theological matters that I have heard him say many times on his radio program, Renewing Your Mind. This has to do with the matter of monergism and synergism.

Regarding monergism, this is what Sproul says it is:

“Monergism is something that operates by itself or works alone as the sole active party. Monergism is the opposite of synergism. … Synergism is a cooperative venture, a working together of two or more parties. When the term monergism is linked with the word regeneration, the phrase describes an action by which God the Holy Spirit works on a human being without this person’s assistance or cooperation. … Monergistic regeneration is exclusively a divine act. Man does not have the creative power that God has”
~ pg. 183-4

Regarding synergism, this is what Sproul says:

“As part of the process of our sanctification, perseverance is a synergistic work. This means that it is a cooperative effort between God and us. We persevere as He preserves.”

~ pg. 212
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(2)
Jerry Bridges also says something similar.

In his book The Bookends of the Christian Life, we find written the following:

“… Paul summed up the concept of qualified synergism with a sweeping, dramatic statement: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).”
~ Pg.88

“So while the Holy Spirit is working in us synergistically to enable us to accomplish our growth agenda, He’s at the same time working monergistically to change us according to His agenda.”
~ Pg. 91

In another book of his, which he co-authored with Bob Bevington, The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness, Bridges states:

“Definitive sanctification is monergistic, i.e. God acts independently of man to cause the sinner to see the glory of Christ in the Gospel. … When the Bible uses the word sanctification, it is frequently referring to progressive sanctification, which is gradual transformation of the believer in his or her day-to-day experience. Progressive sanctification is synergistic; the believer works in cooperation with God in dependence on His providing the enabling power to change.”
~ Pg. 216

(3) Bruce Demarest in his book, The Cross and Salvation says something similar.

It should be clear that regeneration differs from conversion in several important respects. (1) Conversion involves a synergism of divine and human working, whereas regeneration is strictly a monergistic operation.”

He also some other things that are quite interesting… but I do not want to digress.

(4) J.I. Packer on the very same issue.

“Regeneration was a momentary monergistic act of quickening the spiritually dead. As such, it was God’s work alone. Sanctification, however, is in one sense synergistic – it is an ongoing cooperative process in which regenerate persons, alive to God and freed from sin’s dominion (Rom. 6:11, 14-18), are required to exert themselves in sustained obedience. God’s method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-reliant passivity), but God-dependent effort (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 3:10-14; Heb. 12:14). Knowing that without Christ’s enabling we can do nothing, morally speaking, as we should, and that he is ready to strengthen us for all that we have to do (Phil. 4:13), we “stay put” (remain, abide) in Christ, asking for his help constantly – and we receive it (Col. 1:11; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 1:7; 2:1).”

I think that Packer’s explanation might have the key to help me understand what has not been making sense.

J.C. Ryle on Happiness

~ John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) was a bishop in the Anglican Church. He lived a pretty secular life until shortly after graduating from Oxford University, when he came to a knowledge of Christ Jesus. You can read a short biography of him here by John Piper

What lies below is an excerpt from a sermon by Ryle, titled Happiness that he preached back in 1878. I put the clip in because there is a streak of humor in it. It is on what I would call Faux Happiness – something that is everywhere. (It is exhibited by what I describe as existential incontinence. That is to say that human beings leak – existentially. With their mouths they say “Happy. Happy,” and yet with their lives they say unhappy, unhappy.)

 “Oh, no! Worldly merriment is not real happiness! There is a certain pleasure about it, I do not deny. There is an animal excitement about it, I make no question. There is a temporary elevation of spirits about it, I freely concede. But do not call it by the sacred name of ‘happiness’. The most beautiful cut flowers stuck into the ground, do not make a garden. When glass is called diamond, and tinsel is called gold — then, and not until then, those people who can laugh and revel will deserve to be called happy people.

Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, at a time when all Spain was laughing at his humorous work, was overwhelmed with a deep cloud of melancholy.

Don Quixote ~ Sketch by Pablo Picasso
Don Quixote ~ Sketch by Pablo Picasso

Moliere, the first of French comic writers, carried into his domestic circle a sadness which the greatest worldly prosperity could never dispel.

Samuel Foote, the noted wit of the last century, died of a broken heart.

Theodore Hooke, the facetious novel writer, who could set everybody laughing, says of himself in his diary, “I am suffering under a constant depression of spirits, which no one who sees me in society dreams of.”

A woebegone stranger consulted a physician about his health. The physician advised him to keep up his spirits by going to hear the great comic actor of the day: ‘You should go and hear Matthews. He would make you well.’ ‘Alas, sir,’ was the reply, ‘I am Matthews himself!’

Three Enemies of the Church

My friend told me earlier today that there are three enemies of the Church:

  1. Poverty
  2. Prosperity
  3. Persecution

and that the worst of these is Prosperity. Nothing kills the Church like Prosperity. Surely the Western Church is a signal example of this. This is not to knock being wealthy but to knock against the misuse of wealth.

I tend to agree although I will say that Poverty is probably a frenemy, i.e. both an enemy and a friend.

God and Chintziness ~ Thought in Passing…

Now here is a consideration. Suppose you are an unforgiving person.  You just have a habit of bearing grudges, holding on to deep resentments, not forgetting grievances, and being a generally unforgiving person towards anyone who offends you in the slightest manner.  Why? Because thats the kind of person you are.

~ Now suppose it is Judgment Day and you are being judged by God and you know its not going to go well, so you ask for forgiveness. Suppose God says to you,

“No. For one thing, the time for that is now past (2 Cor. 6:2). You were given ample time, but now not anymore. And for another thing – quite frankly in not forgiving, I am merely exercising your own standards towards you.

Hetty Green (1834-1916) World famous miser
Hetty Green (1834-1916) World famous miser

Now here is a consideration. Suppose you are a habitually stingy miser. You will not share any of your things, let alone help anyone out with your priceless treasures when they are going through difficult times. You hoard everything. You scrimp and save. And even if you are totally able to help someone out when they face hardships, you hold back. Why? Because thats the kind of person that you are. Now…

Now suppose you asked God for something… some blessing…

~ What if God said to you “No. I wont bless you with anything. I am going to withhold. Why? I am just simply exercising your own standards towards you.

What if God were like this? What if God treated us like we treated others? Ouch

“…with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ~Matthew 7:2b

Surrounded By Sufficiency…

~ I need to be constantly reminded that we work against a background of sufficiency. We are surrounded by a sufficiency of sufficiencies.  Consider that…

God is sufficient.

His Word is sufficient (Psm. 19).

His grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9).

His guidance is sufficient.  (Is. 58:11, 46:4)

His past work on the Cross is sufficient (Heb. 9:26).

His future grace is sufficient (1 Pet. 1:13).

His future works are sufficient (Eph. 2:10)

His providential means are sufficient (Hos. 2:21-22) or if not then He Himself will be our sufficiency (1 Pet. 5:10).

~~~ Yet we may feel insufficient and the truth is that that is quite alright. In fact you can feel sufficient for all the wrong reasons and insufficient for all the right reasons.  Depend on Him.

Linkage: Going Deep with God by Having Him Carry Our Loads

Charles Hodge on the Atonement…

What more does any AntiAugustinian scheme provide?

The advocates of such schemes say, that the design of the work of Christ was to render the salvation of all men possible. All they can mean by this is, that if any man (elect or non-elect) believes, he shall, on the ground of what Christ has done, be certainly saved.

But Augustinians say the same thing.

Their doctrine provides for this universal offer of salvation, as well as any other scheme. It teaches that God in effecting the salvation of his own people, did whatever was necessary for the salvation of all men, and therefore to all the offer may be, and in fact is made in the gospel.

If a ship containing the wife and children of a man standing on the shore is wrecked, he may seize a boat and hasten to their rescue. His motive is love to his family; his purpose is to save them. But the boat which he has provided may be large enough to receive the whole of the ship’s company. Would there be any inconsistency in his offering them the opportunity to escape? Or, would this offer prove that he had no special love to his own family and no special design to secure their safety.

And if any or all of those to whom the offer was made, should refuse to accept it, some from one reason, some from another; some because they did not duly appreciate their danger; some because they thought they could save themselves; and some from enmity to the man from whom the offer came, their guilt and folly would be just as great as though the man had no special regard to his own family, and no special purpose to effect their deliverance.

Or, if a man’s family were with others held in captivity, and from love to them and with the purpose of their redemption, a ransom should be offered sufficient for the delivery of the whole body of captives, it is plain that the offer of deliverance might be extended to all on the ground of that ransom, although specially intended only for a part of their number.

Or, a man may make a feast for his own friends, and the provision be so abundant that he may throw open his doors to all who are willing to come. This is precisely what God, according to the Augustinian doctrine, has actually done. Out of special love to his people, and with the design of securing their salvation, He has sent his Son to do what justices the offer of salvation to all who choose to accept of it.

Christ, therefore, did not die equally for all men. He laid down his life for his sheep; He gave Himself for his Church. But in perfect consistency with all this, He did all that was necessary, so far as a satisfaction to justice is concerned, all that is required for the salvation of all men. So that all Augustinians can join with the Synod of Dort in saying, ‘No man perishes for want of an atonement.’

Stylized Portrait of Serena Williams

SerenaWilliamsStylized_RGBRao

The above is a stylized portrait of the tennis player, Serena Williams – Wimbledon Tennis Champion, 2015.  The idea had been in my mind for some time now… I finally drew it. It is vector art and I used Xara to do this.

*Note: Pls keep in mind that this is stylized so… I am not striving for accuracy.

SW

 

When You Indulge in Pornography, You Participate in Sex Slavery ~ Naselli Article

~ The following is a blog post with a link to an article written by Dr. Andy Naselli that I think is very important.  It is something that we really need to be aware of. He says at his post that there are three questions that he is trying to answer:

  1. What is sex slavery?
  2. How does pornography fuel sex slavery?
  3. How should men feel about pornography?

WHEN YOU INDULGE IN PORNOGRAPHY, YOU PARTICIPATE IN SEX SLAVERY ~ Blog Post

WHEN YOU INDULGE IN PORNOGRAPHY, YOU PARTICIPATE IN SEX SLAVERY ~ Article in PDF form.

 

1 Corinthians 1:1-9 – Various Notes

Corint

The church of Corinth consisted of
– Romans
– Greeks and
– Jews

And the Roman city of Corinth was a major economic center that also was very religious. It consisted of a polytheistic culture which included many temples for various gods (Hermes, Poseidon, Isis, Apollo, etc.)  over and including a major temple of Venus situated atop a hill.

~ Athletics & sports was in the air there as a nearby city, Isthmia hosted the Isthmian Games every 2-3 years.

Paul came to Corinth on his 3rd missionary journey and planted the Church there. He then ministered there for 18 months.

Cor

After having moved on from Corinth, and at a later time, Paul received news from members of the Corinthian church about problems there. These had to do with 1) gross immorality and 2) factions. Paul also received a letter from them requesting his guidance on 3) various matters such as marriage, divorce, eating food sacrificed to idols, spiritual gifts, collections for the poor and so on.

Further problems also were present – people questioning where Paul was an authentic apostle, Communion observance abuses, questions about the resurrection.

Walk Through 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 …

1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

~ Given that Paul’s credentials as an apostle were challenged, here Paul is stating that he in fact an apostle by God’s will.  Acts 1 lays out the qualifications for what constituted an apostle. An apostle had to have
1) been an witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
2) been appointed by Jesus Christ and
3) finally he had to be able to authenticate his status as an apostle by way of miraculous signs.

So given these criteria, do you think was Paul an apostle?

Sosthenes might have been the ruler of the synagogue (in Corinth) mentioned in Acts 18:17. Given what the Sosthenes of Acts 18:17 went through.

Sosthenes (2nd from the left)

“Then the crowd there turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul; and Gallio showed no concern whatever.”

It would not at all be surprising if he later on joined the church.

~ Sosthenes is also likely Paul’s scribe for this letter. That is to say that, Paul dictated and Sosthenes wrote.

2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

~ Note the use of the term “call” here. In verse 1 God called Paul not just to be a saint, but also to be an apostle. In verse 2, we see that all those who are believers – they are also called to be saints. So there is a general call to be a saint and there is also a specific call to be an apostle. The latter is not applicable to everyone.

~ Saints: Everyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is regarded by the Bible as being a saint. You do not have to be an Church Father like St. Athanasius or some super individual like Mother Theresa who as per the canonization of the RC Church apparently became a saint. You are a Saint by virtue of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you.

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

{Research something here and update later.}

4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—

~ All speech and all knowledge would have referred to:
1) Prophesying aka forth-telling aka giving a sermon aka teaching … even when the Church critiques culture
2) Prophesying aka foretelling aka predicting
3) Speaking in Tongues – glossolalia aka ecstatic speech
4) Speaking in Tongues – speaking in other languages like Aramaic or French
5) Speaking with eloquence and persuasively anywhere and everywhere.
6) Sharing the Good News with others
7) Good social skills
8) A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. ~ Proverbs 25:11
9) …

6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

~ No Christian is without a gift. Every Christian has some kind of God given to him or her by God. This could be stewardship, encouragement, financial wisdom, counseling skills, preaching skills, being good at Art or Engineering, exhortation and so on. As regards the matter of tongues or Prophesying (type (2) above), its controversial as to whether they are still around today.

8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

~ The Bible teaches that once one accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then it is forever. If you have genuinely converted then God bears the primary burden of seeing to it that you make it to Heaven without falling away. He will sustain you to the end and He cannot fail.

Cor3

Exercise: I just covered 9 verses. In these 9 verses, how many times does Paul reference Jesus Christ?

Abraham …

I was sifting through some old lecture notes and liked this so I am blogging this.

“Everyones gotta do an Abraham once in a while.” ~ Graham Cole

~~~ Other notes from GC:

Missio Dei: To secure God’s people in God’s place, under God’s rule, living God’s way in God’s holy and loving presence.

Covenant: A relationship founded on promise.

God’s Speech-Acts…

~ The following is an interesting excerpt from an article by Timothy Keller at the Christianity Today website, titled, Preaching That Unleashes the Bible’s Power: Why expository sermons should make up your church’s main diet.

“It is important to know not only in general that the Bible is true but also that in the Bible God’s words are identical to his actions. When he says, “Let there be light,” there is light (Genesis 1:3). When God renames someone, it automatically remakes him (Genesis 17:5). The Bible does not say that God speaks and then proceeds to act, that he names and then proceeds to shape—but that God’s speaking and acting are the same thing. His word is his action, his divine power.”

Tim Keller – photo from the Center For Gospel Culture.

In the Meantime … Questions

– Jesus was asked 183 questions.
– Jesus asked 307 questions.
– and Jesus answered … ???

… Guess?

Follow Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Jesus answered 3 questions.

Aside: Some notes on types of questions…
1. Perfunctory questions: Will the snow ever end?
2. Personal questions: The perfs eventually lead to the pers.
3. Personal-Spiritual: Obvious… when it gets deep

Traffic Jam Therapy . . .

What follows below is an excerpt from a blogpost by Dr. David Murray. In the excerpt, I post 6 six questions that he poses to help you get out of a … a funk – shall we say? I find the first question itself to be a show stopper for me when I start to get into negative thinking.  A good and needed show stopper.

The Happy Christian by David Murray

I actually picked up on his questions not from his blog, but from a book of his that I am currently reading – The Happy Christian. I so liked the things that he says in the book, that I googled the first question with his name and came upon his blog-post.

Anyway here is the excerpt:

Traffic Jam Therapy
Let me return now to a simpler and less serious example in order to break this down further in a way that we can all relate to (well, the men at least).

Next time you’re sitting in a traffic jam and you start steaming and screaming, try to understand where these feelings and actions are coming from by asking yourself these questions.

Step 1. What are the facts? The facts are that I am in a two-mile back-up and the radio tells me it will take one hour to clear due to a breakdown in the fast lane several  miles ahead.

Step 2. What am I thinking about these facts? I’m thinking about the idiot who broke down in the fast lane. I’m thinking about all that I could have done with this hour.

Step 3. What am I feeling? I’m angry at the guy who broke down, I’m frustrated about the lost time, and I’m worried about what my friends will think about me for being late.

Step 4. Can I change the facts? No, there is no way out of the traffic jam.

Step 5. Can I change my thoughts about the facts? Yes, I can believe that this is God’s plan for this hour of my life. I can be grateful for time to stop and think and pray in the midst of a busy day. I can practice my breathing relaxation techniques. I can listen to a sermon on the radio. I can pray for my friends.

Step 6. What am I feeling now? Slowly I feel peace, tranquility, calm, and trust in God coursing through my heart and body.

We are what we think
In each of these examples, I’ve asked six questions in two groups of three. The first three – about facts, thoughts, feelings – help us identify our thoughts and recognize how they are impacting our emotions and behavior. The second three – also about facts, thoughts, feelings – help us challenge our thoughts, change them, and so change our feelings and actions. In summary:

  • How did I get into this mood? Facts, thoughts, feelings.
  • How do I get out of this mood? Facts, thoughts, feelings.

The Psalmist follows these stepDr. David Murrays when he found himself depressed and worried (e.g. Ps. 42, 73, 77).

These six steps are also at the core of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and help explain why it is so effective as part of a package of holistic care for suffering people.

Six Steps to Better Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions ~ @ Head, Heart & Hand

Writer’s Block… sort of… Artist’s Unblock…

~ Been in a strange sort of rut… The thoughts about what I want to blog about come to me when I am really busy in life with all sorts of things. So I cannot write. However when I get some time and sit down to write… at that point the thoughts don’t quite land. What has been coming out is a scramble of confetti. Oh well…

On the flip side, things are a wee bit better on the Art end. Here is my latest experiment:

SalwarKameez_CheongsamMixRGBRao
Salwar Kameex & Cheongsam mix

~ The above is a fusion of the Chinese cheongsam and the Indian salwar kameez.  I am sure its been done in real life a thousand times. The idea came to me almost randomly as I was sketching around.

~~ I used Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 10 to make the line art and then used Manga Studio 5 to color it and add some other touches.