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Theology That Matters
9 minutes | Dec 22, 2017
Christmas is an amazing time of year, it reminds of us how much God loves us, that He took on human flesh in order to save us. He came as a baby and lived a perfect life to give us hope and joy. In this podcast I take a few short minutes to remind us of what our real focus should be for us and family on Christmas day.
13 minutes | Dec 16, 2017
Advent - The Season of Preparation
I know that Advent season is in full swing but I wanted to give a few insights into why Advent can be vital for our preparation for Christmas day and beyond. Advent just means arrival so it is a time to prepare for the arrival of Christ on Christmas with an eye toward his second Advent. Hope you enjoy.
13 minutes | Dec 1, 2017
This episode on Justice concludes the series on the 4 cardinal virtues. In this episode we talk about what is justice, it is much more than a judge in a court room. Justice is being fair, giving what is 'due' to others and this includes love and mercy to be completely just. Below is a close transcription of what is said during the podcast. Welcome back to “Theology that Matters.” We are continuing our series on the Virtues and focusing on what has traditionally been called the “Cardinal Virtues.” They are called cardinal, for it is from a Latin word that means the hinge… like on a door, so these virtues are a hinge on which all the other Christian virtues come out of and are necessary to truly follow Jesus has he asks us to. These Cardinal virtues allow us to really live out the three greatest virtues (which we will discuss after the Cardinal virtues) of faith, hope and love. In the last three episodes we have covered the virtues of prudence, temperance, and fortitude. I encourage you to listen to those if you have not already. These virtues all tie together, but prudence is the foundation, for it helps us know what is right and wrong and why. The virtues of temperance, fortitude and justice (which we will talk about today) is all living out prudence correctly. After we have these cardinal virtues we can strive for the three commonly called theological virtues, faith, hope and love. Justice is a very misunderstood term, for we take it mostly in the courtroom setting. We see justice tied to laws and then the punishment when those laws are broken. Justice is more than a matter of rules and laws. It seems to only have a negative context, but justice is much more than this, it is actual a very positive term and encourages us to act positively toward others and God. Let’s look quickly at how God is just and then see what that means for us. God is just toward his creation, but that does not mean that He gives us everything we deserve, if he did then our sins would be punished and there would be no hope of eternal life. See Justice or being just is tied into all of God’s attributes. If we just take justice by itself it would be only for punishment. But we don’t we take justice alongside of God’s mercy and love. Ps. 103:8 says this, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.” The Psalm goes on to say, “He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever, he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Look we all deserve separation from God for our sins, but God treats us fairly, according to his character of love and mercy. They are tied together. We see these two terms tied together in Micah 6:8, God has shown what is good, to act justly and to love mercy. We also see that God does not desire the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23), instead he is pleased when they turn from their evil ways. Because of that he loves us in a way that is meant to draw all to him and for their salvation. This does not mean that God does not punish temporarily or eternally. It means that his justice is not about getting back at us or to punish us every time we do a wrong or sin. His justice is given to us in the punishment way to draw our hearts to Him, to desire to drive us away from sin and rebellion and to a right relationship with Him. God disciples, punishes all out of a heart of mercy and love. He wants to heal us and gives us what he thinks is fair. His justice is driven by his compassion to bring healing for he knows that is what we need. His justice toward humans on earth is solely for our good. His eternal punishment for those who reject God until death is giving them what they deserve and what they desire, separation from Him forever. Now if we understand this we will see how we are to be just toward others and God. Justice is the moral virtue that gives one the proper due to God and to others. The Just man in Scripture has the traits of right thinking and upright in his conduct toward God and others. So Justice is giving, that is key, it is not punishment but it is giving one their proper due. Most importantly we are to give, render, to God what is his, our love, service, and gratitude. To live justly toward God is to give him all these things in the right way perfectly. We can ask what does God deserve? Our best, our love, our devotion, our heart, our minds and then acting upon that truth. What do we think about, what do we fill our minds with? Do we give God praise and honor for his miracles and awesome work in our lives? When we give God is proper due and honor that then translates into how we treat others. It thus giving others their proper due, in regard to how God does. God acts to bring us closer to him to get healing in our lives from him. This is to be our motive toward others. Do our actions toward others bring them into contact with our creator, our Savior? Others are made in the image of God and we are to see them this way. This carries with it the idea of not showing favoritism toward others. If someone is well off we don’t give them more preference than the poor. Justice means that we treat our spouse fairly, loving them for their sake our of self-sacrifice. Loving our children well, not exasperating them, but encouraging them in the instruction of the Lord. Treating our bosses well, even when they are not the best, treating our employees fairly. These concepts are all taken from Eph. 5 and 6. We look out for the widow, the poor, the needy, orphan, for that is what God says he does. In general then it desires the good for others that God wants them to have. To be just is love as God loves. To honor God with our all. In loving as God loves it means calling sin, sin for we know that is what is good for others. It is not a false way of making people feel God with God, but showing them who God is, what he requires, why he requires that all to be saved must believe in Jesus. It is loving others, and not desiring the death of the wicked for that would mean a soul that is eternally separated from God. Justice calls us to love others and pray for all, even those who we think treat us unfairly, it means praying for the worst of the worst and not desiring them to die apart from Christ. Justice is giving others the love that God gives us. God’s love, includes, discipline, but only with the motive of healing and drawing people to salvation in Jesus. What does the Lord require of you, to act justly and to love mercy and walk humbly with your God, Micah 6:8.
15 minutes | Nov 14, 2017
Fortitude (courage) is the virtue that helps us stand for what is right and do it, even when we have fears. Fears don't make us uncourageous, the courageous person knows what they fear but strives to overcome then for God by the power of God. Read below if you would like a detailed breakdown of what I shared in the Podcast. Welcome back to “Theology that Matters.” We are continuing our series on the Virtues and focusing on what has traditionally been called the “Cardinal Virtues.” They are called cardinal, for it is from a Latin word that means the hinge… like on a door, so these virtues are a hinge on which all the other Christian virtues come out of and are necessary to truly follow Jesus has he asks us to. These Cardinal virtues allow us to really live out the three greatest virtues (which we will discuss after the Cardinal virtues) of faith, hope and love. We have already covered two virtues, Prudence and Temperance. Without Prudence none of the other virtues are possible, for one needs to know what is right and wrong and why. In a sense prudence (wisdom, knowledge) gives us the foundation for knowing how to be just, temperate, and to have courage, to knowing what is true love, what to have faith and hope in. Last time we talked on Temperance which is the idea of not letting your passions control you, but to control your passions in a way that will honor God. Temperance is not merely just abstaining from things it is using our passions, our God given desires in the right way, in a middle ground per se, not too much and not too little, but just right. Now today we are going to talk about the virtue of fortitude (which is it long time name), a different word could be courage. Temperance and fortitude are both virtues of self-control, we will see the right thing and then do the action. They are different in that temperance is more concerned with our desires and passions and keep them under control and fortitude is about making choices to stand up for what is right and when we do we receive or are a part of God’s happiness. When one has fortitude or courage one will do the right thing even in the midst of hardships or should I say in spite of hardships. A truly courageous person must be willing to lay down their life for the greatest good, which is to give honor and glory of God. One is thus to be willing to make sacrifices, even great ones, in order to live out our Christian faith. Now before we get a little farther we have to see the bad extremes that the virtue of fortitude is helping us avoid. One extreme is being foolish or brash. This is where one lacks proper awareness or concern for danger. This is where one would charge foolishly into dangers that could have been avoided. For example instead of charging across a minefield you walk around and get to the other side. This person has no fear, which we think sounds great, but in reality having no fear means one is not going to have a good understanding or right and wrong or what is the greatest good, as we will see later. In a way a brash man is looking for risks or danger, but this is not being brave or courageous but being stupid or fool-hearted. In a Christian sense it would be one who is looking to start an argument about Christianity or religion or politics to just pick a fight without caring for the outcome. In a sense to win an argument but not a soul. The other extreme is cowardice. It is one who in a sense is paralyzed by fear. A person abandons the greater good because they are afraid of sustaining a loss. It is close to self-preservation and cripples the person for standing for the greater good as they fear the loss of a lesser good. Most of us I think would struggle with cowardice in one form or other. Fortitude helps overcome fear or acting rightly in the face of fear while restraining the overly brash or bold person who has no fear. I know that it sounds weird, but to be courageous you have to have a healthy fear, you can’t truly be courageous without fear. We think the daredevil or the person who always takes risks without fear should be the person to strive after. But it leads to stupid choices that harm for one does not care for their life or others. Let me try to explain now why fear is vital to being courageous. Fear is good, fear means that you love something and don’t want to lose. Now we could love the wrong things, but most of what we love or desire is not bad it is just that it needs to be put in the proper perspective. Courage means being able to overcome this fear in order to pursue a greater good. So a good question to ask ourselves is what do we fear? Or fear the most of losing? Is it money, my life, my house? Is it something that I desire to achieve in this life, something that I am willing to pursue? A good retirement, starting my own company? Being entertained, being successful at work? Getting married having a family? Or is it your relationship with God? Whatever is the thing you value most or love the most is the thing that you are willing to sacrifice other things for? What do you value the most, be honest. As Christians we are to value God the most. So losing things for God can be scary or give us a sense of fear because we don’t know what that would look like for us. We need to see God as the greatest gain and then place all our other priorities under that, that is courage… giving up something in order to honor and follow God more closely. When we pursue a lesser good, something less than God, we are giving up a great thing for a smaller thing. It would like giving up a $100 for $1, it sounds stupid to do, but that is what we sometimes do in life. Jesus himself said that it is no profit to man to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul. If we “fear the Lord” all of our priorities get put in the right order, for we are fearing the loss of the most important thing: God. It is courageous to put God first and then let our priorities fall into order, but that might mean some big changes. When God is our ultimate good that we are striving after it makes us courageous as we will fight for the good and be read to act for we know that God is more important than anything else. It means sticking in the hard situations and doing what is right. It is persevering in the good, even when it is hard. If we have a sin that constantly is bothering us and we struggle with it is consistently turning to God for his help and forgiveness. It is loving those in our lives who might be difficult to love for that is what God does. It could be loving our spouse when times are difficult. Lastly I think that in our culture being courageous is standing up for the truths of God. Not being brash and fool-hearted when we talk to people about religion / Christianity, but to stand for truth because we want to see others changed by the Gospel. It is standing up for God’s view of the family or marriage or life. Not backing down because we are afraid to lose a lesser good but to stand for the greatest good. It could cost you some temporal things but you will be gaining, keeping the greatest thing Christ. When we fear losing Christ, we will be brave to live for Christ and His goodness. We will stick through the hardships and treat others out of love. That is courageous, being brave. Here are a few verses that can encourage us to be brave, to be courageous, to have the virtue of fortitude: Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. [1COR 16:13] Rather, after we had suffered and been insolently treated, as you know, in Philippi, we drew courage through our God to speak to you the gospel of God with much struggle. [1THES 2:1-2] Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage. [PS 23:4]
14 minutes | Nov 7, 2017
Temperance is one of the four Christian Cardinal virtues. It is the virtue of being able to keep our passions and desires under control instead of them controlling us. It is much more than just abstaining from something like food or alcohol but is using our passions and God given desires in the correct way. Below is a close to transcript of what is covered in the podcast: Welcome back to “Theology that Matters.” We are continuing our series on the Virtues and focusing on what has traditionally been called the “Cardinal Virtues.” They are called cardinal, for that is from a Latin word that means the hinge… like on a door, so these virtues are a hinge on which all the other Christian virtues come out of and are necessary to truly follow Jesus has he asks us to. These Cardinal virtues allow us to really live out the three great virtues (which we will discuss after the Cardinal virtues) of faith, hope and love. Last time we talked about Prudence (wisdom) and why it is so important. Without prudence, which is the knowledge of what is right and wrong, there is no other way to act properly. One can’t act right if one does not know what is right and wrong. Temperance, Courage (fortitude) and Justice are impossible without Prudence. So prudence gives you the knowledge that urges us to act and act we must for the good by being temperate, courageous and just. These virtues help us then to commune in the divine love and be with God. Thus they are important to understand, seek and try to live out in our lives by the grace of God. If we want to be like Jesus and follow him, these Christian virtues are vital for us. As we talk about Temperance today I want to give a quick definition of what it is Not and what it is and then get into some more detail about how we can be temperate and some ways that we commonly are intemperate. Temperance is not simply abstaining from something as most understand it. This common belief has made it too narrow a term and so people use it mostly about controlling alcohol or food, such as don’t drink too much or at all and don’t over eat and hurt your belly. That is way too limiting. Temperance is about much more than that. C.S. Lewis says, “Temperance is going the right length and no further.” It is using all pleasures in the right moderation, for the right reason and in the right way. Temperance is mostly concerned with the pleasures of the body, viz. food, drink, sex, leisure time, work, family and using them wisely, not just avoiding pleasure. Temperance is concerned with the control of pleasures instead of them controlling or ruling over your life. We can do this when we have a healthy appreciation for the goods of life that God has created us for.. It is more than just self-control, but divine control of our lives, of our pleasures, habits and actions, in which the Spirit brings the body under subjection to God and for God by God’s power. The opposite of temperance is intemperance, which is letting pleasures, desires rule us where they control us. Being intemperate is having an abnormal intensity of things that distract us from the good or God. In this way one’s pleasures are too much, to strong or too much out of control and then distract us from the Good. Control of our passions comes from God but also is tied to Prudence. One can’t be under the proper control if one does not know why or what we need to be controlled for and from. Prudence gives us the wisdom to know right and wrong and what we should avoid, do and what is the proper moderation. Temperance is living out this wisdom. So by being a temperate person one avoids ruin. Intemperance leads us to indulging too much in pleasure or avoiding it all together because we don’t see the proper place God has made in our lives for pleasure. Let me give you an example of being intemperate and then why this negative consequence can be applied to all intemperate actions. Then I will give a few other ways we tend to act intemperate. Gluttony is probably the easiest thing to understand for us. When we eat too much, it is gluttony and so much that our stomachs hurt or we no longer have a pleasant feeling for food. After eating too much your belly hurts and you no longer want food and food even seems horrible. Under use is called anorexia and is the avoidance of food, because one sees food as bad or will make them fat. Over indulgence in a pleasure, like food, the pleasure is gone and even looked down upon. This is the same idea for all intemperate actions, once we do it and over indulge the pleasure is gone and we are left feeling shallow or empty spiritually. Here are a few other examples of intemperate things. It could be sexually, not using sex for the right reasons. In our culture this normally occurs by sex before marriage, but sexually there are other intemperate things such as lust, porn, using sex with my spouse for my personal gratification without caring about them and their feelings. Another way we can be intemperate is with our emotions. This is seen with anger. Again remember that temperance is the right balance of our desires not a complete negation of our desires. For it is fitting to be angry in certain situations, like horrible atrocities in our world. For right type of anger can help correct evil because we see an injustice. But we can let anger lash out at others, seek revenge, shame others, gossip about others. This is what we tend to do in our anger, but that is not constructive and is harmful. Use righteous anger to move one toward justice, but one needs to be careful not to go to the extreme. In this case one extreme is revenge and it causes more hurt, the other extreme is not be moved to action when great evils occur to pretend they don’t exist. Temperance helps guide us down the middle path. In our culture a big area that we need God’s help in is with our leisure time and activities. Do we spend our free time by taking in entertainment? And what type of entertainment? Do we spend too much time on our cell phones? The temperate person will use their leisure, free time, as a way to recharge, relax and reconnect with God. Do we use our leisure time as a way to kill time, to waste precious times that we could have used to acquire a virtue or gain happiness on God’s terms? Sometimes our leisure time can deplete us and make us less capable of pursuing true happiness because it is not focus with the right motives. Temperance also helps us have a correct self-image, the correct one is humility. Paul says in Romans 12:3, For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you Think of yourself in accordance with the faith God has distributed to you. So one negative side is thinking too highly, that is pride, where you think you are better than others. The other is thinking too lowly of yourself where it paralyzes one from doing anything because don’t think we are good or worth anything. The moderate view is that we are made in God’s image, thus worth a lot, enough for Jesus to die for us, but that we are also sinners and in desperate daily need of God’s power. This is called humility by being in the middle. In this state we are aware that all the gifts and qualities that I have are on loan from God and that we are to use them for his good. This way we are not prideful, thinking we are better than others, and are not fearful and thus don’t do anything. Temperance is acting and living out the middle way, humility. Alright, so that is a few examples of temperance and now let me wrap this up. Temperance is not letting our passions and pleasures control us, we are in control of them and thus can act rightly in all situations. Temperance helps us desire and act upon the things that are good while avoiding the evil actions. Being temperate is meant to draw us to God, to His ways, to His happiness he wants to give us. We live out our pleasures in correct moderation, from food, sex, to our emotions, to our leisure time to even the correct view of ourselves. Ask God for his help as Luke 11:9-10 says, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” So ask, seek and knock on God’s door that he will give you the power and grace to live out these virtues.
14 minutes | Oct 20, 2017
Prudence (wisdom) is the foundation to all other virtues that God desires for us. Prudence is making the correct decision about right and wrong in our daily circumstances. If one does not have prudence, one can't be courageous, or just or temperate or have faith and hope.
0 minutes | Sep 30, 2017
In the Tradition of the Church there are seven main virtues that are fundamental to helping us be the people God wants us to be. In this episode we take an overview of virtue in general and see why being virtuous is vital in our Christian faith. In following episodes we will discuss specific virtues. Here is a rough transcript of what was said during the podcast: Welcome back to Theology that Matters and thank you for listening. In the past few episodes I have spent some time discussing varies topics such as “Original Sin” What is sin, are all sins equal and the sin of sloth. Through these episodes we have seen that we have a problem, a sin problem. It harms us and we as humans need to know this problem so that it will make us want to draw closer to God so He can fix it in us. Over the next few episodes I want to focus on a more ‘positive’ side, what we should be aiming for and running toward so that sin will not control us. If we want sin to not control us we need to replace those bad, negative habits with something much greater. These great habits are commonly called virtues. Godly virtues are actions that help us live the life that God wants for us, the life that God created us for. In this episode I want to share what virtues are, why they are important and give an overview a few of the virtues that I will be discussing in the next few episodes. We have to remember that God has created us for a certain end. To know him, to glorify him, to be with him forever. Sin messed this up and there are actions, virtues, that God desires for us are to help us clearly see what He created us for and the goodness of it. We are to desire godly virtues inside of us because they replace our bad habits of sin, which should make it worth it for us to gain them. Actions can take us either closer to God or farther away. True joy or happiness or our true purpose is found in the knowledge, contemplation of the ultimate Good and acting in accordance with it (virtues). This good, as Christian Theologians have defined it is God. (Making Gay Ok, pg. 21). So living out the virtues will help us be a part of the good God created us for. A virtue is not a one-time action, but a way of life. Like a novice tennis player who might make a great shot every once and a while is not considered a pro, so it is with virtues. To attain a virtue it must be making great shots most of the time and this takes practice. Virtues take time and effort to acquire, just like anything else good. One does not become a good artist or tennis player or parent without effort and one cannot have virtues without effort being infused with the grace of God. Virtues are actions that are for the perfection of our soul and drive us to see the good of God and the good He desires for us, so virtues are vital for us. Virtues are vital, but to be truly virtuous one must be excited to have them, to have joy in them. Because virtues are expressing that want to be part of ‘heaven’ here on earth and in the future. So living out these virtues and truly desiring them show that we truly desire the goodness and perfection that will be a part of the New Heaven and New Earth as found in Rev. 21-22. In the history of the church there have been seven virtues that are viewed as the core to the Christian faith. Four of them are called cardinal virtues (prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice) and the remaining three are called theological virtues, which are the most important ones (faith, hope and love, 1 Corinthians 13:13). One needs the cardinal virtues in order to obtain the theological virtues. The theological virtues are higher and better, but they need the foundation of the four cardinal virtues. If one does not have justice, one cannot have charity for one will not know how to use charity wisely or know how justice must interact with charity. (Practical Theology, 107) For the rest of this episode I want to do a quick overview of the 4 cardinal virtues: They are called cardinal because it comes from the Latin word, ‘cardo’ which means hinge. All other types of virtues come from or hinge upon these virtues. Cardinal virtues are ones that are more readily agreed upon by people in most civilizations. The theological virtues are those by rule that only Christians now about or understand their proper function. The theological virtues are gifts from God and lead one more directly to God. Cardinal virtues are also gifts but are more basic human virtues. A Jewish author 50 years before Jesus was born said this, “Moderation and prudence, justice and fortitude, nothing in life is more useful than these.” This sentiment summed up much of the OT and was grasped by the early church in its actions and teachings. Prudence: Is the idea of knowing right and wrong in specific situations. Means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it (Mere Christianity, pg. 77). This is the principle virtue (Practical Theology, 107), if one does not have prudence one can’t know how to practically carry out justice or courage or love. Temperance (moderation): Is for all pleasures and is not meant of abstaining from a thing (unless sinful in itself) but it is to use the thing or pleasure to its right purpose and no further. This can include golf, or devoting all ones thoughts toward their work. One can be too overboard in these areas as one who drinks too much alcohol (Mere Christianity pg. 78-79). Too much exercise or too little, too much food or too little can destroy ones health. There are extremes that are too be avoided (which one knows by having prudence) that having temperance allows you to avoid: One can divulge in every pleasure or suppress every pleasure, both are bad extremes. (Ethics, 94). It general it is not letting your passions control you, but being in control of my passions. It is saying no to the extremes. Justice: This is more than just justice in a court system, but includes all fairness. Such as honesty, truthfulness, keeping promises. It is looking for the good / fairness in how we treat others and wanting good for others. Fortitude (courage): It has two sides, one that will face danger and one that sticks with it under pain. One can back down from any situation and be called a coward or one can march up to anything without fear and be foolish and harm themselves (Ethics, 94). Fortitude helps us face the fear of death or pain and strive through for the good that God wants to teach us. Virtues must be something that we take pleasure in or we will not actively seek them (Ethics, pg. 79). One cannot be virtuous if one does not enjoy the virtue. We are to strive for these virtues even if it is hard to obtain or even if it is popular with a current culture. For as Christians we are called Saints, and we are to one in name but in action and the virtues is God’s way of doing making us Saints in our daily lives. Virtues begin in the mind and will and then move into actions. It will be gradual, but remember that every good choice makes the next one easier and even more delightful. The four cardinal virtues we will be discussing the next few episodes: Here is a quick summary of them by Peter Kreef: “Prudence does not mean merely safety first’ but knowing the right thing to do in concrete situations. “Justice does not mean merely punish’ but doing the right thing, giving everyone what is due. “Temperance does not mean merely eating too much and not getting drunk, or having fewer or weaker desires, but mastering rather than being mastered by Your desires. “fortitude does not mean merely willpower but the inner strength to love something good so much that you will endure the lesser evil of pain for its sake.” (Practical Theology, 107) In conclusion, we should strive and seek after these virtues in our lives as they perfect our soul and make us saintly, holy. God wants to give us the ability to practice these virtues for he knows they are good for us. Ask him for them, seek, and find, knock and the door will be opened. Practice them. Parents live them out and then teach your kids why they are more important then any material thing in the world. Parents teach your kids the virtues and what they are and how they can start to live them out. This will make them virtues people, these people are also know as Saints. Thanks for listening in to “Theology that Matters” I pray that this episode will benefit you in becoming more of a Saint of God.
14 minutes | Sep 15, 2017
What are the greatest sins?
Pride and Envy are two sins that are the worst, they are purely spiritual. These are the two sins of Satan and his demons. These sins are things that we struggle with as Christians and we need to know why the are so harmful and God's ways to combat them in our lives.
14 minutes | Sep 3, 2017
Good and Evil
We all believe that there are good and evil actions that humans make. In this podcast we will look at how one can determine if an action is good or evil by understanding the action itself, the situation and motive of the action.
13 minutes | Aug 2, 2017
What is Sin?
Many people think that God gives rules to kill our fun and joy or so that He can control. This is a misunderstanding of the purpose of the commands that God gives in the Bible. They are there to point us to what the Bible calls 'sin', which is missing the mark of our created vocation and purpose. We are made in God's Image and He wants us to live up to our full potential and so to understand what sin is and why God gave us His commands will help us see how we can live out our vocation as humans.
41 minutes | Jul 13, 2017
Why is God Father?
Understanding why God is Father will help us see why the Biblical view of marriage, one man and one woman, makes so much sense. Its implications also show us so much more and teach us what we all really long for, the Divine Marriage of the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7).
10 minutes | Jul 13, 2017
All Sins Equal
12 minutes | Jul 13, 2017
Sloth Sloths are animals that are well known for not doing much. Their name literally means, ‘slow feet’, which makes perfect sense because they are the world’s slowest animal. They live in trees most of their life and don’t move around much, and only leave their tree to go to the bathroom (defecate) once a week. This is the same idea that the Bible uses when it calls sloth a sin. It is a sin that has been around for a long time, The Bible puts it this way, “Through slothfulness the roof deteriorates, and a house leaks because of idleness.,” (Ecc. 10:18) “As the door turns upon his hinges, so does the slothful upon his bed,” (Pro. 26:14) And lastly “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven wise men,” (Pro. 26:16). Sloth is a sin of omission, of not doing something or willing to exert oneself and avoids moving toward the good that God has ordered us. A few examples that Peter Kreeft gives are: “not jumping into a pool to save a baby from drowning. Not getting out of our warm, comfortable bed on a cold morning to go to Church, Or not inquiring of God what He wants you to do. Or not inquiring whether or not God even exists.” Sloth is a greater problem in our more advanced, complex, culture than in Bible times. Sloth reigns in our world even as we are over programmed and scheduled, which has reduced our leisure and free-time which is necessary to seek the ways of God. This seems like a paradox, as being busy, having a full schedule and doing things seems the opposite of being full of sloth. Sloth, especially in Biblical language, is more than just being a lazy person who doesn’t physically work. (It can be a lazy person who does not get out of bed to work, but slothfulness goes deeper than that). F.P. Harton says, “For a person can be very active externally and at the same time extremely slothful in spirit.” (The Elements of the Spiritual Life). There are four areas (maybe more) of in which one can be slothful: 1) Bodily sloth, which is obvious… not working or getting up to do physical work that needs to get done. Not working or holding a job to provide for your family just because you don’t want to. 2) There is intellectual sloth where people do not take the time to think. Where opinions are more popular that fact. In our culture we see it that most people’s opinions are based on hearsay or popular opinion… especially about Christianity. a. This form of sloth is produced from our cultures emphasis and the need to be entertained… through social media, youtube, movies etc. b. Our culture does not think or reason as much… for a culture is only as deep and intelligent about real problems from where it gets its information c. If we are fine with 30 sec sound bites then that is how deep we are 3) Moral sloth is the idea that one does not face moral decisions but desires to take the path of least resistance. This is true of our relativistic culture which does not want any moral decisions and blurs the lines of all ethical choices. a. For Christians it is avoiding the moral choices that God has set up and standing for God’s truth. They excuse themselves from taking Christian ethics a part of life and something to stand firm upon b. They are willing to give into the cultures view of sexuality… standing with the culture on its view of homosexuality, marriage, divorce, sex, pornography and more instead of seeing God’s purpose for the family c. Sex has become a substitute for God… as one lacks God’s joy they seek to fill it and our culture is trying to do so through sex d. We don’t want to stand for truth and potentially cause waves… but that is moral sloth e. Under this area a slothful person will never face a final, moral, issue if they can help it, because it is too uncomfortable for them 4) The last, and worst is spiritual. It is one becomes lazy to the ways of God and is deeper than just not taking a moral stand for God. This takes the spiritual life and sets it adrift and doesn’t care where it lands or what becomes of it. The soul is restless because it is not pursuing its creator and leaves it empty a. This makes one bored, and never is there a culture that has been more bored… they lose interest in the most important things and focus on temporal things. This is why one can be busy with work, with hobbies, with friends and still have the worst type of sloth in their lives b. It is rejecting the presence of God in their life and refusing the joy of love that God wants to give to each of us… this leaves us feeling empty and unhappy i. One of the greatest forms of filling this emptiness is lust. Lust is the favorite sin of our culture. Our culture though does not even think it is a sin anymore and often calls it a virtue. Just look at ads, magazines, the porn industry. You can’t watch a movie or TV show without sexual innuendoes, lustful comments or even directly degrading sexual statements. Lust though destroys, it destroys families, relationships, our society and it destroys the soul, like an addiction. Its main source, sloth, for as one is bored they fill it, not with what is good but with what is easy and very accessible. Its cure is real passion and joy, the joy and passion that God created us for… to KNOW HIM!!! Saints are not addicted to lust as they know that there is something more exciting, something that is worthy more… God Himself, the Great I AM. Saints know God and thus don’t lust after things of this world. c. Being slothful in this sense opens one up to many negative aspects spiritually. When one is empty spiritually because they are not following or pursuing or even inquiring whether God exists, they start to hate the things of God, such as His truth, goodness, beauty and holiness. When one is empty they must fill it with something, but whatever it is filled with is not going to satisfy. It could be porn, drugs, work, home projects… d. Spiritual sloth is avoiding the virtues that God wants for us, such as justice, temperance, courage and wisdom. Absence of these in ones life is the dislike and loathing of the divine good God wants for us… which sounds a lot like Hell. e. Our culture does not want the virtues of God or His way of life. They are content with living a life that does not demand much from them, but this leaves them empty and makes them fight against the things of God, the concepts found in the Bible. Jesus said it this way, “The Light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light.” Slothfulness or idleness is the enemy of the soul and we must do what we can to avoid it. Seek God and his ways. We need spiritual, mental and physical work so the soul does not become soft and slothful and drift away. Pray that God motivates you so you don’t give into our cultures view of morality, that you would seek His virtues and desire to be Spiritual strong instead of weak.
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