“Gay marriage”- more than a change in word meanings. An opinion by Rod Bent.

In New Zealand the issue of same sex marriages has been discussed with a view to changing the law to recognise two people of the same sex as being ‘married’.  In this article my friend Rod Bent discusses the redefinition of the word ‘marriage’ in the light of this and shares his conclusions.  Words do change their meanings over time.  In some cases this is a neutral and understandable phenomenon, at other times the motive may be something we should reflect on and consider carefully -particularly when it affects issues we may feel have deep moral significance for ourselves, our society and our nation.  Thank you Rod, for sharing this helpful article.

Rod’s article…

History tends to be re-interpreted or re-written by succeeding generations. Often this happens though bias, and sometimes by ignorance of past events. Occasionally it is re-written in the light of new discoveries of archaeology or the like. The worst kind of re-interpretation is when political leaders deliberately set out to twist history to suit their agenda. Notable examples in the past are Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It seems to me that in New Zealand we are witnessing a re-interpretation of several words that have been used for centuries in interpersonal relationships. The two words I want to focus on in this essay are “gay” and “marriage”.

In my 1981 World Book dictionary the word “gay” has seven meanings. They are;

  1. Happy and full of fun (the only meaning I knew as a child).
  2. Bright coloured, showy.
  3. Richly or showily dressed.
  4. Fond of pleasure, lively.
  5. Dissipated, immoral.
  6. Impertinent, fresh (slang)
  7. Of, or having to do with homosexual or lesbian.

I can safely say that the only meaning understood and allowed today is the seventh definition. Surely it is a word whose innocent meaning has been stolen. I wonder why?

In the same dictionary the word “marriage” has six definitions. They are;

  1. The act or fact of living together as husband and wife.
  2. The condition of being a husband or wife.
  3. The ceremony of being married, a wedding.
  4. Figurative, a close union, e.g. the marriage or music and drama in opera.
  5. The king and queen of the same suit in some card games.
  6. The merger of two business firms.

Clearly in interpersonal relationships the first three definitions apply. In a mere thirty years since this dictionary was published a new definition is being pushed in NZ to be accepted, namely marriage as being between two same sex adults as well as between a husband and wife…

To continue reading Rod’s thought provoking article click here… “Gay marriage”- more than a change in word meanings.

Thirteen Bad Arguments for Same-Sex Marriage | Christianity Today

While this article is written from an American perspective, the arguments hold true across the board…
Thirteen Bad Arguments for Same-Sex Marriage | Christianity Today.
Note: Copyright restrictions do not allow posting this article on another web site, however, posting the link and redirecting is of course permitted.

Before I Formed You in the Womb… (Before I Formed You in the Womb) by Ron DiCianni | Christian Art – Christian Framed Prints | Tapestry Productions

Click this link to see an enlarged pic

Before I Formed You in the Womb… (Before I Formed You in the Womb) by Ron DiCianni | Christian Art – Christian Framed Prints | Tapestry Productions.

Which Jesus? Ensure you follow the Jesus of the Bible…

This helpful video arrived in my morning post from Living Waters.  In a simple and clear manner we are shown the sharp contrast between the Jesus of the Bible and those ‘other’ Jesus’ that people often refer to.  Make no mistake about it, there are many different Jesus people say they believe in and know about.  If you sincerely believe that the Jesus you know about is the one the Bible talks about, you need to urgently view this clip and check it out.  Then go back to the Bible, the Word of God and consider exactly which Jesus you feel you know about.  There is only one Jesus Christ, Yeshua Ha Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah, the Saviour.  To be sure of eternal life you need to know this Jesus, the Jesus who said of Himself,

“Truly I say to you, The man whose ears are open to my word and who has faith in him who sent me, has eternal life; he will not be judged, but has come from death into life.”  John 5:24 BBE (Bible in Basic English)

Please note the simple clarity of these words of Jesus Christ.  If you listen to what He says, have faith in the Father who sent Him, three things are promised: eternal life, you will not be judged, you have already moved from death to life -the moment you believe.  There’s nothing ambiguous about that.  It’s clear and simple and straightforward.  Think about it.

Opening your ears to His Word and placing your faith in the Father implies a turning away from your own opinions, your own ways and your own values and accepting His as the guiding rule for your life from now on.  Because Jesus and the Father are ‘one’, (John 14: 8-11, 17:11) He, Jesus also said,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”  John 3: 16-18 NIV

There it is, exactly the same promise as Jesus made in John 5.  Ensure the Jesus you know about is the one the Bible speaks about.  He is the only one who offers eternal life and forgiveness of sin.  Failure to acknowledge this Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible will cost you your soul and mean eternal separation from God forever and ever in a place where there is no joy, no peace, no light, no friendship, no companions, just utter and complete desolation and hopelessness.  Eternal separation from God forever and ever is the most awful thing to contemplate.  The instinct for survival will normally compel you and I to endeavor to save ourselves in disaster.  We all feel traumatised at the loss of loved ones and others when disaster strikes, whatever the cause.   Why is this?  Simply because we don’t want to die -we ‘fear’ death.  We will cling to life as long as possible.  Doctors are held accountable if they carelessly allow someone in their care to die unnecessarily.  Yet, we often have little concern about the awful prospect of passing from this life into a lost eternity.  There is something terribly inconsistent in this.  Be concerned.  You have the assurance of a gentleman who never lied, cannot lie and will not lie, Jesus Christ, the Jesus of the Bible.  Faith in Him will ensure eternal life.  He could not be clearer.  If you value life, turn from sin and trust the Saviour, the Jesus of the Bible.  Make no mistake about it, we have all sinned and that is why Jesus Christ warns, “whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son“.

Notice, there is nothing here about any church, organisation, other person apart from the Jesus of the Bible and the Father who sent Him.  If you are trusting in anything or anyone else than the Jesus of the Bible you desperately need to turn away from them or that and turn to the one and only Saviour who can give assurance of THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD, eternal life.

Now I encourage you to watch this video from Living Waters, http://www.livingwaters.com and check out the Jesus you know about and see if it is the Jesus of the Bible…

Read the Bible – It Contains Important Stuff We Need to Know…

The Most Important Thing in the World is to know that you have eternal life.  This plan of salvation is revealed and proclaimed in the Bible.  God has so ensured it’s availability to every generation and to all peoples that it is possible for anyone in any language and in any part of the world to find this wonderful book and discover this plan of salvation.  It’s not complicated.  It can be read just as it’s written from any translation and sufficiently understood so that by simply accepting it and believing it as God’s promise, this wonderful free gift of salvation and eternal life can be received by anyone anywhere at any time.

In Luke 16 when Jesus told the story of Dives[1], the rich man at whose steps a beggar named Lazarus begged daily for food, we have an interesting statement regarding the importance of reading and being aware of the message of the Bible.  Jesus tells us how Abraham responded to Dives request that someone be sent to warn his family lest they also find themselves in the place of torment in which he found himself.  Abraham’s response was this,

‘“They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them”.’  Luke 16:29.

This is at once very solemn and very liberating because first it places a responsibility upon each of us to be aware of what the Bible has to say about things, particularly about eternal life and salvation.  Second, it tells us that the place to go to find out about these most important things is the Bible, the Word of God.  Thirdly, it clearly gives divine endorsement to the writings of Moses and the prophets and that within them are clear teachings about God’s plan of salvation and how to be sure of eternal life.  On many other occasions the Lord Jesus gave witness to the authority of the writings of the Pentateuch and the prophets and nearly all the books of the Bible contained in what we refer to as the Old Testament.  His own words may also be added that list.  He clearly stated,

‘”Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.’  John 5:24 NKJ

Those to whom He spoke were very familiar with the writings of Moses and the prophets because they were pretty much all Israelites.  However, they read them without realizing that they pointed to Him and that He was the fulfillment of all that they spoke about.  He stated that very clearly a little after the passage mentioned above,

‘You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.’ John 5:39 NKJ

It is not that the scriptures don’t contain the knowledge of eternal life, they do, but they failed to realise that they pointed to Him and that eternal life is found only in Him.

John put it this way, ‘In Him [Jesus] was life, and the life was the light of men.’ John 1:4 NKJ

Jesus explained it in these wonderful words,

‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’  John 3:15-18 NKJ

The implication is clear, we need to be reading and meditating in and upon all of those writings which contain the message of salvation and eternal life that God has made so wonderfully available to every human being alive on the planet.  That is, all 66 books to be found in that collection of writings we call the Bible[2].

Can we understand this message from God?  Yes, most certainly.  It is written to be understood by all people, everywhere, regardless of language or ethnicity.  It is my conviction that God in His great grace and providence has so caused His Word to come down to us and each generation of men and women on Planet Earth, that it may be read and understood, in all essential respects, by anyone with a normal ability to read, and/or listen and comprehend.  Does it become complicated?  Yes, sadly, often.  Usually this happens when we, human beings, get our hands on it and start to add extra bits and pieces to fit our own particular agendas.  Nevertheless, by simply reading the Bible, the Word of God, it is possible to know all that is necessary to be sure of eternal life and to enjoy deep, personal and abiding fellowship with the author of the book, God Himself.

Read it, think about it, ponder it, ask the Lord to make what you read clear to you and put its lessons and teachings into practice in your daily life.  By all means read what others have said and written, however, never accept what others say about the Bible, including this writer, go back to it and read and ponder it for yourself.  Only believe and accept what you see clearly written in the Bible.  If it is not clear, and requires a complicated explanation by another human being, it is likely not important.  What is important is what is clear and easy to understand. This you may ‘bet your life on’.  The most important thing in the world is to know that you have eternal life.  This, the consistent message of all 66 books in the Bible, the Bible is very clear about.  It’s easy to understand and can be grasped by young children and aged adults.  The simple and the highly intelligent can all understand exactly how to be sure of eternal life.  This is the most important thing in the world.  Nothing else gets close. Don’t live another moment without reading the words and sayings of Jesus and believing them with all your heart, mind and soul.  You can trust Him.  His words are true and utterly reliable.  They have stood the test of time.

His hearers said of Him,

“No man ever spoke like this man” John 7:46.

Simon Peter said,

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’ John 6:68

He got it right.  There is no one else to go to.  He alone, has the words of eternal life.

To read more visit www.jbc.gen.nz/important/biblehelps.htm

[1] The name Dives does not appear in the text.  It is often used as the name of the rich man in the parable because in the Latin Vulgate translation the word for ‘rich man’ is ‘dives’.  The parable has had many interpretations over the centuries; however it is probably fair to say that the broad thrust of most Christian understanding tends towards a literal reading and accepting of the story just as it is read in Luke, the only gospel in which it appears.  A good summary, well referenced, of the various approaches may be read on Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_man_and_Lazarus.

[2] The word Bible comes from the Greek word for the papyrus plant the Egyptians used to make paper.  From this came the adoption of the plural Greek word biblia meaning scrolls or ‘little books’ and  by the end of the 2nd Century Greek Christians had begun using this word for the writings they believed to be inspired. From this came the English word, Bible.  It is often translated in the Bible as ‘book’ from ‘biblos’ as in Matthew 1:1 and Luke 3:4, Mark 12:26, etc.  See also, http://concordances.org/greek/976.htm, and also the interesting article at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byblos.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Good with math? Check this…

Are you good with numbers?  Even if you’re not, this is worth checking out.  But, be sure to watch it right through to the end.  It’s worth it.

Discover more about this kind of life.  To spend your days living with any other focus or direction is the ultimate tragedy.  Life is short.  It is over in the blink of an eye.  The smart thing is to ensure eternal life now.  Don’t waste a moment -it may be your last.  If you were topling on the edge of an abyss and I failed to reach out and try to stop you from falling how callous and uncaring I would be.  Yet, if you don’t have the complete assurance of eternal life you are living your life on the edge of death and eternal separation from God for ever and ever.  You at least owe it to yourself to seriously check out the offer of eternal life that has been made available to you personally.  Look on the list of posts on the left hand side and click the second link from the top under ‘Most Important Pages’ titled, ‘Every 18 Minutes and 2 Seconds One New Zealander Dies!‘ or click the link itself right here.  You owe it to yourself.

Sure of Eternal Life? Unsure of Heaven or Hell -are they Real? Check this…

The most important thing in the world is to know that YOU have eternal life.  If you are unsure -check this video.  If you are a believer, this clip from Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameon will help.  For those who are unsure of eternal life -life is short, you don’t know what a day may bring forth, it could be shorter than you think so it makes good sense to ensure you have the assurance of eternal life.  For the believer, the most important thing you can do is share this assurance with all those with whom you come in contact.  This video will help.

Is your ‘Will’ in order?

‘You were redeemed, ‘… with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot…’  1 Peter 1: 19

This post is an extract from, ‘The Life of Faith‘ by John Carlisle and may be read in full at my ‘Most Imporant Thing in the World’ parent site under, ‘Advancing in Life Articles‘ and scrolling down until you see the title of the article.  Alternatively, by clicking the title the entire article will download and disply on your desktop in PDF ready to read. 

 The Lord Jesus shed His precious blood for us on at least seven occasions from the scripture record.  This occasion, in the garden is the first of those.  It is humbling to realise that it was linked to a struggle in the area of the will.  ‘Not my will but thine be done’.  Luke 22: 42.  We know that He always did those things that pleased the Father.  John 8: 29.  We also know that He laid down his life freely and without coercion of any sort.  John 10: 18.  Therefore we can know that this was a struggle made on our behalf.  Just as He ‘was made sin for us who knew no sin’, so He endured the conflict of will between our will and the Father’s will ‘for us’.  Because He endured that conflict, we can appropriate by faith His victory and walk in the Father’s will ourselves without conflict.  I feel we can see a pattern in this order of events.  if He had not endured this agony at the very start of His sufferings on our behalf, the way would not have been made clear for us to make that initial response of faith and trust that results in turning away from ‘our own way’, or our own self-will.  This is clearly seen in Isaiah’s wonderful prophecy concerning the suffering Saviour, ‘All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.’  Isaiah 53: 6.  (Emphasis mine).  This self-will Isaiah plainly calls iniquity.  Iniquity in Isaiah 53: 6 is the Hebrew word avon and is more accurately rendered ‘perversity’.[1]    The Oxford Dictionary gives us this definition, ‘a deliberate desire to behave in an unreasonable or unacceptable way; contrariness’.[2]  What a remarkable insight into the self-will of our old, sinful nature.   The ‘deliberate’ quality reveals the clear direction of the will.  We choose to behave in a manner that is both unreasonable and unacceptable to God.  We have, as Isaiah states so clearly, ‘turned …to our own way’.  It’s our way and not His way.  So, to be redeemed the Lord Jesus had to be ‘made self-willed’ on our behalf.  No wonder the struggle involved Him sweating ‘great drops of blood’.  The agony was beyond comprehension.   ‘He who knew no sin was made [self-willed] for us’.  When we contemplate this we are treading on holy ground.  No wonder C.T. STudd[3], that great missionary to Africa and a former English Test Cricketer was compelled to make his famous statement explaining why he gave up his inheritance and abandoned wealth and prestige for the dark continent, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice that I can make can be too great for me to make for Him’. 

 There, in Gethsemane, the Lord Jesus shed his precious blood so that you and I could be freed from the tyranny of self-will by grace and be saved through faith ‘and that not of ourselves: it is the gift of God’.  Ephesians 2: 8. 

[1] Robert Young’s Analytical Concordance of the Bible, Eighth Edition, United Society for Christian Literature, Lutterworth Press, London, 1939, page 516.

[2] OxfordDictionaries online, URL: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/perversity, Accessed 26 November 2011. 

[3] Stephen Ross, Wholesome Words, Wordwide Missions page Missionary Biographies, Charles Thomas (CT) Studd, URL: http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/biostudd.html, Accessed: 26 November 2011. 

True Bible Based Christianity is Not a System, an Institution or an Organisation…

Christianity may at times be systematic, at times institutionalised and also very organised, yet true Bible based Christianity is, at heart, none of the above.  It is, at its heart, a relationship with a person, Jesus Christ.  We can be even more specific, in fact we have to be because of the simple fact that His name is used by others and they do not refer to the Jesus Christ who was born in Bethlehem, spent a short time in Egypt and grew up in Nazareth and lived and preached in the land of Israel, was crucified, rose from the dead was seen by over 500 people at just one time and finally ascended to that place exterior to the created universe that the Bible refers to as the Heaven of God’s throne.  There, this Jesus Christ that true Christians worship, sat down at the right hand of the Father in the place of supreme power and authority where He reigns over absolutely everything.   He Himself put it this way, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3 ESV (English Standard Version).  Every Bible believing follower of this Lord Jesus Christ lives in daily fellowship with Him and with the Father.  A fellowship that is facilited and helped and made real by the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit.  He knows and has experienced what the Bible calls, justification.  This means the believer has received the gift, unearned by his or her own efforts, a full and free pardon for every selfish, evil and unrighteous act they have ever committed.  These evil acts are called ‘sin’ in the Bible.  Sin means simply, the breaking of God’s laws.  God’s laws are His standard of good and right behaviour.  A believer acknowledges that Gods standards are much higher than his own.  Believers know that however good he or she may try to be, their best efforts will always be like a dull grey when seen beside His pure and spotless white.  Therefore, they have placed their absolute trust and confidence in His offer to exchange their best efforts for His perfect righteousness.  This simple act of faith, without the need to try to earn His approval by working hard at being good is what has made them true Christians.  They have experienced Ephesians 2: 8-9, ‘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.’  KJV (Emphasis mine).   From that point on they live with one thought in mind, to please Him.  ‘…so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.’ Colossians 1:10  ESV.  They are not earning their salvation, they are proving it in daily life by the way they live, exactly as that last verse says, they seek to ‘walk in a manner worthy of the Lord’, and to please Him to the very best of their ability knowing that to do that they need His help every minute of every day.  That means that they live for Him in the same way they came to know Him, by faith.  They know that the only thing that will please God is sincere faith and trust in Him and in His help and provision.  It never has one tiny little thing to do with how well they may or may not do.  That’s why the ultimate reward of the believer is summed up by the Lord Himself in these words, ”Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’  Matthew 25:23 ESV.  Note that the reward is for ‘good’ and ‘faithful’ service.  Not how much, or how great.  Note also, the ‘goodness’ of the faithfulness is based on the fact that it is faithfulness that is the important thing.  We could say the believer is good because he’s faithful and he’s faithful because he’s good.  The one flows from the other.  Where does the goodness come from?  Answer, from the Lord.  It is always His goodness and His merit.  It’s never ours in any way shape or form.  That’s why it is ‘by grace through faith’.  That’s why the believer cannot help but rejoice in the Lord all the time. 

Now I’d like to add a wonderful meditation from a brother in Christ, Kirk Cameron whose devotionals always bless me and this one I felt to take the liberty of quoting. 

“Christianity has not only a circumference, it has a center. It has not only a system, but a person. It has not only a redemption, but a Redeemer. What a difference between casting ourselves on a system, however beautiful, and on a tender, loving, compassionate Saviour! What a difference between a system of divine principles, and a throbbing bosom on which we may lean, and feel every burden lightened, every pressure relieved, every sorrow softened! This is what man needs. This is what he will need above everything, when the hour of sorrow, or the hour of death, draws near. Oh, what are systems then, however beautiful, in comparison with the calm consciousness that the arm of Omnipotent Love is thrown around us! They are all but as the small dust of the balance–the foam, the dust, the shadow, the air!”
~ F. Whitfield

When I come to die, don’t give me systems, doctrines, leaky promises, or lucky rabbits’ feet. Give me Jesus and nothing else. He is all I need.
~ Kirk

Thank you, Kirk.  That’s just great.

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