Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Carnal Woman

When arguing and fighting about whether women should be submissive to their husbands or not, many women appeal to the fact that God gifted them with many natural leadership abilities.

He also gifted some people with strong sexual drives, as well.

So, in conclusion:
You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals
So let''s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel
Do it again now
You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals
So let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel

Seriously, God DID give us natural gifts and talents. That's obvious. Its all over scripture. Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 13 - 14, Romans 12...I'm certain there are more.

Every single one of those passages, however, requires us to use our gifts within the boundaries of the Holy Spirit. What does that mean? It means, use your holy gifts within the context of scripture.

God gave some of us very strong sexual desires. And he created sex to be a good thing. However, he put boundaries on us that were for our own good AND the well-being of others. "Thou Shalt Not commit adultery." He had good reason for it. Some of us know what those good reasons are because we've indulged in it and have experienced first hand what those consequences are. Some indulge in it and have yet to experience any bad effects. That doesn't make it right, does it?

God gave many women the natural ability to lead. But he placed boundaries on that leadership within the Bible. Exercising those skills with in the context of scripture blesses God, others, and yourself. Exercising them outside of scripture hurts more people than you might know, even if it doesn't hurt yourself.

When claiming that God created you in some way, always remember that you are a fallen creature. You are not without sin. Your natural desires, talents, and skills must be harnessed to God's will, not allowed to reign freely. Yes, he gave you skills, talents, and desires that he wants you to use and have fulfilled. But he wants you to submit those to his will and keep them under his hand.

All this born out of my devotion this morning. I read the New Living Translation Bible and I'm in Genesis 3. It translates Eve's curse as "Your desire will be to control your husband, but he will rule over you."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

St. Valentine's Day

Normally, the closer it gets to February, the more pronounced my singleness gets. Luckily, as a single woman who hasn't quite learned to take care of herself properly, I don't frequent shopping stores often enough to catch the Valentine's Day vibe.

However, I have this odd, intense little feeling that it is getting closer. And for once, rather than hate the most detested holiday of the year, I find myself hopeful. Why on earth would I greet such a holiday with Hope when the entire holiday is about Erotic Love? Easy...that's not what its about at all...

I can't find any REAL research on this, so all this is according to Church Lore. Someday I may actually attempt to verify it :)

Around 496 AD, Emperor Claudius was complaining about how his soldiers needed a specific amount of time off to spend with their families. To get rid of that need, he instituted a ban on marriage for all soldiers. A priest in Rome refused to stop marrying and performed wedding ceremonies in secret. This priest was Valentine. He was caught and executed for it.

In a day and age where marriage is treated so flippantly among Christians and non-Christians alike, and articles such as this one are not so uncommon, I think that for once, celebrating St. Valentine's Day will be a good thing.

Monday, January 14, 2008

All Those Roads

**This may prove to be a very blasphemous post, it may cause you to think differently, or to think deeper into it. Either way, if you start reading it, I strongly encourage you to finish reading.**

All roads lead to heaven

This is a popular quote used primarily to justify one's own beliefs in the face of a God who says there is only one way to him. Jesus states quite clearly, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me." (John 14:6)

But what if all those roads really do eventually lead to God? But each person is stuck somewhere on that path trying to get there. They think they've reached the end, but really they've only found a mirage - an illusion of home. What if all those roads - all those other religions - point directly towards Jesus Christ? And then, through him, you find your way to heaven.

Let me explain. First, some scripture.
But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
~Romans 1:18-20

By this, we know that God has revealed himself to all people. From our knowledge of scripture, we know that satan is the master deceiver and distorts all truth to lead people astray. I would argue that every world religion has a basic truth found in it, but is heavily distorted and prevents the believer from moving forward. They think they have found the answer and remain in that one place believing it is the end.

Judaism has often been considered a hub of many different religions. Kind of like America, it is very multi-cultural, "borrowing" heavily from world religions that it has come into contact with. From this, Christianity was birthed. It has largely remained consistent since its birth, but the fact is, its roots are in Judaism. Studying world religions will simply verify this fact (it really can not be denied).

There are people who use this fact as a means to prove Christianity as wrong. But what if it simply verifies it? What if all those religions had found a certain truth and their contact with the hebrews was meant as a way for God to reveal something new about him to them? I know this sounds really mystic, but bear with me.

The Egyptians are the first culture that historians have really discovered that believed strongly in life after death. The Hebrews spent several hundred years with these people and still maintained their own monotheistic religion. However, historians think that this is where the concept of life after death originally came from.

Zoroastrianism could possibly become one of my new favorite religions to study because it introduced a concept that no religion had yet come up with. They believed that there would be a world savior. They also believed heavily in an apocalyptic event that would end the world. Zoroastrianism was very popular in the Babylonian and Persian empires. The first apocalyptic writings in the Bible were from Daniel - who was a captive in the Babylonian empire.

These are the two religions that I know of that greatly influenced Judaic thought, but now I want to look at other ancient religious beliefs from cultures no where near the Hebrews. A lot of these coincide with eachother, but I want to focus on the central themes of them.

North American Indians
Truth: Believed strongly in intelligent creation.
Distortion: Creation is too big for one god to do it all, so there must be one main spirit and many demi spirits, each responsible for a different aspect of creation.

South American Natives
Truth: Believed strongly that God required sacrifice to be appeased.
Distortion: The sacrifice could be any human's blood.

Indian Dharmic Religions
Truth: Perfection is necessary to be with God/at peace.
Distortion: Humans can reach perfection. If not in one life, then they are granted multiple lives to continue working towards that perfection.

So, in conclusion, each road contains a truth that points to one supreme God and his son Jesus Christ who was big enough to create the entire universe and loved us enough to give his son as a perfect sacrifice so that none other was required. Through him, all our sins are forgiven and we are covered by his perfect blood so that we may be at peace with God for eternity.

I think it is very important to note that this is not a concession that all people go to heaven no matter what they believe. It is saying that each faith or religion does actually have something right...just not completely right. Stopping there and buying into the distortions doesn't give you a spot in heaven just cuz you got it partially right. THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN IS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST and that is a truth that I am not trying to debunk. I believe it 100%. I just don't think everyone else is 100% wrong or that Christianity hasn't discovered some truth from them.