Posts

Showing posts from 2015

Climatheology

Climate change is the new religion of choice for the enlightened in our society today. Having jettisoned God they need something to fill the void and have begun to worship earth and wood again. Doomsday scenarios and bullying of "deniers" is the modus operandi of these religious zealots. There is no room for reasoned discussion, just name calling and saying, "I can't hear you," with their fingers in their ears. This is the new reality of the Western world.
There is no question that we should try to limit the impact we have on our environment. Pollution is not good for our health and well being. However, we should not act like this is the end of the world and make this the most important political issue of our time, although we should look for ways to do things more efficiently. Most of the hype is the result of the religious fanaticism of those who claim to have no religion.

The first thing that should concern us regarding climate change is the name change itse…

Generational Change

Each generation likes to think that they are making progress relative to the generation that came before them. This is true of course in many areas, such as, technology and medicine, but not in all areas. There is one area that never really changes and that is human relationships. The on going moral revolution would dispute this assertion with its self-proclaimed progress in same-sex relationships, infanticide, and gender confusion, but that is only because they forget history. These things have been going on for thousands of years, but they have never stood the test of time.

The only reason why these changes may appear to work in the short-term is because of the foundation it sits on. The Western world owes its success to the Christian worldview, but now that it has abandoned that worldview it is entering a brave new world. The moral revolution has given very little thought to the history of the Western world and the foundations they are standing on.

In general, we develop beliefs in…

Practical Advice for my Daughter - Part1

Being cool is overrated. Growing up and throughout adulthood you will be faced with peer pressure. That doesn't mean that it will seem like a negative thing, in fact, you may enjoy it. Peer pressure is something that is never going away, so it is better to deal with it as soon as possible. 
Many people start drinking, smoking, doing drugs, and having sex because of peer pressure. The excitement of these activities will eventually grow dull and their wake will be left a trail of destruction and missed opportunities. 
Drinking is given way too much hype. When most of your conversations are about how much you drank and what happened when you drank, you can be sure you are wasting your life.  Many nights and many mornings are wasted because of drinking and it is really not that fun. Going for a hike, playing a sport, reading a book, talking to friends, getting a good night sleep are all more fun than drinking. There is a reason that most people look back at their childhood with fondn…

Having all the Facts

Whenever we make decisions we typically seek advice from someone who is considered more of an expert in the area of interest. Most of the time we follow this advice, but sometimes we do not. Why is it that we think we can make a better decision than someone who is an expert? Shouldn't we just follow the advice of whoever has the most knowledge?
It is likely that there are experts, of relatively the same expertise, who agree and disagree with you. How then do you determine who is actually the expert? Do we need an expert to determine the expert? This is clearly nonsense and not helpful in making decisions. If there are no experts that agree with your position then that would provide some guidance, but that is rarely the case.
Intuitively, it seems that the more knowledge two people have regarding a particular area, the more they should agree with each other, but that is not always the case. In fact, with regards to the biggest questions in life, it is rarely the case. The reason li…

Unknown or Unknown

What is the purpose of trials and pain in our life? C.S Lewis summarized the answer to this well when he wrote: God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. Trials seem to have a binary effect: It makes some people stronger in their faith in Jesus. It makes other people turn away from faith in Jesus. Our initial reaction to those who turn away is to think that if only they had not experience that trial, they would have never turned away. We somehow think that the trial blinded them to the truth, when in reality it is the other way around. It opened their eyes to truth.

If the trial had never come they never would have been tested on what they thought they believed, and perhaps would have gone on happily thinking they had faith when in reality they never did. Instead of trials pushing people away from faith, they are actually pulling them to it by showing them that they still need to put their faith…

The Sexual Revolution and Marriage

Rape on college and university campuses has been a concern for many years. Several methods have been tried in order to make sure that all sexual encounters are consensual.  Recently, the no-means-no has given way to the yes-means-yes method of determining consent.  However, this seems to have caused more confusion than less as this article in the New York Times shows.
Since California is the first state to mandate sexual education on affirmative consent, this article focuses on one of these classes for tenth graders. The wisdom of the people leading these classes is on full display in the following paragraph.
Ms. Zaloom suggested making clear plans with friends ahead of time, like making pacts to leave parties together. And she urged them to have conversations with potential sexual partners “before you get swept up in the moment.” Ms. Zaloom is actually on to something, even if she doesn't realize it. It almost makes me wonder if the sexual revolution will go full circle. Everybod…

Do not go to Egypt!

Unfortunately, many people walk away from Jesus, the Word of God, to follow their own desires. The excuses may vary but the reason is always the same, they want to be in slavery to sin. The cares of this world are too great and not wanting to miss out on this life they sell their soul. Growing up in an environment where the promises of God are experienced (a.k.a A Christian home) does not guarantee that you are a Christian, every single person needs to receive salvation on their own. This means that many people will go through periods of doubt and disillusionment, but in the end will need to decide for themselves. It is difficult to know what to say to these people during this time, but the book of Jeremiah provides some good insight.
Jeremiah is a book written during the time of exile to Babylon. The northern kingdom of Israel had already been exiled by the Assyrians and now Judah was being exiled by the Chaldeans. Fearing the worst and feeling the imminent wrath of the Chaldeans the…

The Road from Life to Death

The road from life to death is well worn and hard to get off. It starts off with towering mountains, serene lakes, and green pastures because of the memories of life, but ends in nothing, not even a desert. Many of my friends have taken this path.

Without God there is no meaning to life because death is the ultimate winner. It is well known that this universe will most likely end in heat death as all the free thermodynamic energy is used up. Saving the planet is pointless because in the end it can't be saved. Relationships are only of value for the time that we are alive and for what we can get out of it. If nobody can defeat death and death is our ultimate judge, than what value is there? Death does not care if somebody is a murderer or a philanthropist.  Death does not care if the environment is saved. Death does not care if there is discrimination. Is there any point to life?
Life is pointless without Jesus Christ because only He has defeated death. 
Death is swallowed up in vi…

I am a Christian, but nobody told me I wasn't

Image
The video that went viral this week, "I'm Christian, But I'm Not," released by BuzzFeed highlighted an important topic for Christians to acknowledge.


The people in this video are clearly not Christian despite their claims otherwise. How do we know this? Because what they are saying clearly contradicts what is the in the Bible. This is where the controversy starts.

Christianity has become more about "love" than about Jesus Christ. However, it is impossible to have Christianity without Christ. It is also impossible to have Christianity without obeying Christ.
And by this we know that we came to know him, if we keep His commandments. Whoever says, "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in Him (1 John 2:3-5). The people in this video don't seem to have any concern for obeying Christ, but that is…

Hezekiah's Test

Some people from a well known Christian organization asked me for some money and it really annoyed me. At first I could not put my finger on it, but then I realized why it got under my skin. The people asking me to support them were living the same lifestyle as me, maybe even better. That is when I realized I was hypocrite. I was mad at them for spending "my" money wastefully and not using it for the gospel work effectively. The problem is that it is not "my" money, it is God's money.
This did not make me want to support them, but it made me realize that I was going to be held accountable for the way I was spending God's money in at least the same way as I was expecting them to spend it. "My" money may come from a secular company, but it is God who provides it. It is never a good thing when if you were your own judge you would be found guilty.
Recently, I was reading about Hezekiah and realized what I think God is trying to tell me. Hezekiah pros…

Stop Abortion

Image
It is estimated that 11 million people died during the holocaust, but that is nothing compared to the number of babies that are killed because of abortion. This is one of the greatest evils of the modern era and must be stopped. Everybody needs to speak up or the blood will be on their hands. In the same way that we expected the German citizens to stand up for the innocent, we must also stand up for the innocent. There is no excuse.
Planned Parenthood (PP) has been the news lately because of their sale of baby parts after they have been aborted. Eight investigative videos exposing the deeds of PP have been released to date, and there are more to come. The cultural elite and their religion of secularism are doing nothing to stop this evil and are trying to regress us back to an age of barbarism.
The Planned Parenthood videos can be found here. Below is one of the videos that can be found at the previous link. Although these videos do not apply directly to Canada, there are still things…

Giving Birth

Giving birth is a harrowing experience! This experience started for us when we were called into the hospital on Sunday morning to be induced at 38 weeks. Unfortunately, we had expected to be induced on Monday, so we arrived at the hospital already tired from a restless sleep the night before.

We needed to be induced due to the probability of pre-eclampsia given that my wife is a Type I diabetic. The only thing I knew about pre-eclampsia was from the show Downton Abbey where Sybil died from eclampsia. I have to admit that this played on my mind as my wife's blood pressure kept going up during labour and we eventually had to start pushing earlier. I kept thinking, "Am I going to lose my wife and raise this child on my own?" It is a good thing they were not checking my blood pressure or they might have been treating me for pre-eclampsia as well.

Being induced took a lot longer than I expected. When we first arrived at the hospital the resident told us that it could take 3-4…

Scarlet Grace Allan

Image
On July 27 at 19:41 Scarlet Grace Allan was born. Her name is a reminder of how the scarlet blood of Christ redeems us from our scarlet sins and brings us into the riches of God's grace.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7). Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become as wool (Is. 1:18). Our desire for Scarlet is not that she will be well educated, popular, thoughtful, or athletic, but that she will know the riches of His Grace; living not for herself, but for the glory of God. We know that we cannot force it on her, but that we will need to be a light revealing the good news that she can know God and Jesus Christ. It is scary to think our greatest desire for her is outside of our control.

The Truth on Trial - Part 1

We live in a society of lies, where the only "truth" that seems to matter is our own perception. But, perception does not change reality. The ultimate truth is that God exists, and what He says is true. There is nobody in the world who believes God does not exist.
For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honour Him as God or give thanks to Him (Rom. 1:21). However, there are many people who pretend that He does not exist. They are not bold or honest enough to admit that the reason they don't want to obey God is because they want to fulfill their own desires, which is why they must suppress the truth.

Unfortunately, their desires cannot change the truth and make it real. The reality is that everyone will be put on trial by the Truth.
And He who was seated on the throne s…

#JesusWins

Christians have been known for their message of "love," but lately they are starting to be known for their message of "hate and intolerance".  The Christian message is indeed about love, but it also about judgment. The two cannot be separated. 
In our culture of micro-aggressions very few people are able to handle differences of opinions. Every perceived slight is taken seriously without ever giving the benefit of the doubt or assuming the best about another person's intentions or actions. Unfortunately, this leads to an intolerant society of hate. Differences are required for love to operate. People who think the same don't have to practice love because everything is exactly like they want it.
Christians are in a very a difficult position in our culture, where love is letting people do what they want even if it harms them, because love requires us to be a voice of warning when we know there is danger to the people we love. Perhaps the best way to explain t…

Dividing Line

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right! Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel (Is. 5:20-24).  Yesterday, the supreme court of the United States of America struck down the definition of marriage for all 50 states of being between a man and a woman. This has brought to the forefront a dividing line between Christians and non-Christians. Anybody who claims the name of Christ cannot support the decision of court, if they do…

Observations of Human Beings

Trying to understand humans has been a lifetime hobby of mine and I don't think I will ever quite understand. Not only do I not understand other people, but I also don't understand myself. Here are some observations of other people and myself. Expecting forgiveness: Forgiveness can never be expected. The whole point of forgiveness is admitting that you are wrong and putting yourself at the mercy of the other person. If the other person doesn't forgive you, you are not entitled to get mad at them. This essentially just doubles the original problem that required forgiveness.Feeling judged: Most people who feel judged are actually the ones judging. People who just "know" what other people are thinking only betray their own thinking.  Of course people are judging that something is wrong when the person themselves knows they are wrong. Very few people feel judged when they have a clear conscience.Taking offence: Being offended is a professional occupation for some but…

Strange Stories in the Bible: Strike Me, Please!

The Bible is very interesting because the lessons are not always explicit. There are strange stories that leave you baffled as to what was the right thing to do in the story. However, these mysteries often have important messages that we urgently need to understand.

------------------------------
And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his fellow at the command of the LORD, "Strike me, please." But the man refused to strike him. Then he said to him, "Because you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as you have gone from me, a lion shall strike you down. Then he found another man and said, "Strike me, please." and the man struck him - struck him and wounded him. So the prophet departed and waited for the king by the way." (1 Kings 20:35-38) This story jumps out because of its seemingly disproportionate punishment with regards to not doing something that doesn't seem right, but there is more to this story. Israel and Syri…

Don't Judge Me

Justice Sheilagh O'Connell, a Halton judge, ruled that a child should be able to discover their own gender. In her ruling she stated,
If the mother is forcing S. to be a stereotypical girl against his wishes, then this no doubt will cause him emotional harm. If the father is forcing S. to be a stereotypical boy against his wishes, then this no doubt will cause him emotional harm. Justice Sheilagh O'Connell did not specify why the child would suffer emotional harm, but it would be interesting to find out. There cannot be any grounding of this argument other than the judges own opinion. Biologically S. is a boy. Statistics show that pretending to be the opposite gender results in 41% of those people attempting suicide. It is hard to imagine what could be more emotionally damaging than that.

There are a lot of child wishes that we should not accommodate. Children in Ontario are not allowed to drive until they are 16, drink until they are 19, or be considered an adult until they ar…

Bruce Gender

There has been a lot written about Bruce Jenner and his name change to Caitlyn. Matt Walsh wrote an insightful article that is well worth reading. Doug Wilson also made some astute comments about the problems in our society.

Bruce Jenner will never be female, because he does not have the chromosomes to be female. He can pretend to be female and make himself look female, but he will never truly be female. It is a biological fact.  There are serious consequences for denying this biological fact. A study that came out three years ago found that 41% of people who pretend to be the opposite sex attempt suicide. Even accounting for discrimination the numbers are still considerably higher than the general population, which makes it a very serious choice to make.

The fact that our current society is so supportive of Bruce is indeed alarming; There seems to be no concern for his well being, which seems to be our malaise in general. Everybody just cares about making more money and getting what …

Lessons from Cycling

Image
About 4 years ago I started cycling, and since then I have logged over 10, 000 km. Cycling is a unique sport in many ways and my appreciation for it has grown as I have learned more about it. It is also very applicable to the Christian life.

The best cyclists in the world have elite aerobic capacity. Aerobic capacity is the ability to use oxygen while performing exercise, which some estimate to be up to 80% genetic. There is no training in the world that will make you an elite cyclist unless you have been gifted with phenomenal aerobic capacity which is roughly 50% higher than the average person. Every Christian should be thankful because everything we have is a gift from God. We may be running the race, but we need to remember that it is God that gives us the ability to run.
Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17). Cycling's secret is that there is no secret, it is …

Eternal Peril

"Is Bob a Christian?" "He confessed the Lord when he was young, but he doesn't live like it now." "Do you think he is saved?" "It says, if you call on the name of the Lord you will be saved (Rom. 10:13)."
The misunderstanding of the doctrine of eternal security is lulling people into eternal peril. It is without question that those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved from the wrath of God, and not even the devil will be able to snatch them out of His hand (John 10:28), but they actually have to call on the name of the Lord and follow Him. It is damnable that some people who call themselves Christians have emptied the name of Jesus of its meaning.
The name of Jesus is not a magical word in the English language or any other language. Incantations with Jesus name in it do not make someone a Christian regardless of how much we hope that it is true. A friend recently recounted a humorous story about when they were younger. They used to…

Bullying Bakers

Image
The response to the Christian bakers who refused to make a cake for a "same-sex wedding" is truly horrifying. Forcing someone against their will to violate their conscience should be scary for everyone who wants to live in a free society. Freedom requires that people tolerate views that are different from theirs without trying to bully them into making them their own. Everybody needs to read Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell to see if that is the world they want to live in, because that is where we are headed. Bullies don't stop once they get their way on one thing they stop once they get their own way on everything.


Ontario Sex Ed Curriculum

The Ontario government is rolling out a new sex-ed curriculum which is creating a stir. Recently, I went to an information session about the new curriculum to try and understand what the controversy was all about. I came away from the session more concerned about the church than the curriculum.

Sex education in a society that is sex crazy will never be appropriate. The normalization of deviant behaviour is well underway in our society whether we agree with it or not. There are many sources of sex education which are worse than this curriculum, such as, a next door neighbour, an older sibling, or a friend. Most kids will get their sex education from people who are not teachers well before it comes around in the curriculum.

There are many arguments against the curriculum which I think are valid and should be put forward, but we need to be sure that we are not straining a gnat to swallow a camel. Defeating this curriculum will not save children from the dangers in our society. Quite fran…

The Art of Disagreement

Over the years I have been in many verbal disagreements with other people and have realized that most of these conversations are inefficient and a waste of time. In order to make these conversations more useful I try to keep the following things in mind:
What is the person actually trying to say? Typically, people are so concentrated on getting their point across that they don't take the time to understand what the other person is saying, which usually leads to two people talking past each other on totally different subjects. It is important to start of with a good understanding of what the person is trying to say before offering a different perspective. Otherwise, you many not be able to address their specific problems or miss that you are actually in the wrong. Also, it is a lot easier to change before stating your own opinion.
Don't expect immediate change! People rarely change their opinion on the spot even if they are wrong, so don't expect them to. It takes time for s…

Lessons Learned Young that Last for a Lifetime: Friends

There are certain events in our lives that teach us a lesson that last for a life time. One of those such lessons occurred when I was around 11 or 12 years old. It was a Sunday afternoon and some of my "cool" friends said that they would pick me up around 9:00 o'clock the next day to go water skiing. They had a boat and were rich and everybody seemed to want to be friends with them.

On most days at that age I would have biked up the dirt road to my friends house, waited for them to be allowed to play, and then played baseball or some other sport for the rest of the day. Those summer days were some of the best I remember. However, my friends up the road were not as "cool" as my friends with the boat, and so I waited to hangout with them instead.

That Monday I woke up and I waited. I sat on the boathouse as it turned 9 o'clock, 10 o'clock, and finally noon, but nobody showed up. After lunch, I biked up that dirt road and there were my friends playing like…

Secularist and their Religion of Popularity and their Virtue of Pride

There has been a lot in the news lately about being "on the right side of history." This is an admirable goal, but in our current context it seems little more than the cry of a bully. History is a great teacher because it gives us perspective over time. The things that have stood the test of time are more important and more likely true than those things that have not.

There is only one sure way to be on the right side of history and that is to follow the norms that history has already taught us. Participating in the LGBT movement is not a guarantee of being on the right side of history, in fact, it is quite the opposite since marriage has historically been defined as being between a man and a woman. We don't and can't determine history.

It is really not about being on the right side of history, it is about being popular. All of the "cool" kids are telling everybody to get on board or be left behind. Most people want to be popular and so blindly follow along…

Making it through Life's Storms

When evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." Then they were glad to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going (John 6:16-21). This event is immediately following the feeding of the five thousand, which should have connected the dots between Jesus and how God sustained Israel with manna in the desert. But, they merely thought that Jesus was a prophet (John 6:14), instead of being divine.

When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water they were afraid, perhaps because they did not recognize Him or because they thought He was coming in judgment. But, as soon as He spoke, "It i…

God's Greatness in the Coachella Valley

Image
Overlooking the Coachella Valley from the San Jacinto Mountains is a breathtaking view. Recently, I was sitting on an outcrop over 10,000 ft above the valley floor and it reminded me of the greatness of God. It seemed that no matter how long I sat there I could not get enough of the view. My mind could not take it all in. All I was left with was wanting more. This view is just one of the views that God created and it teaches us that He is greater than our minds can comprehend.
For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made (Rom. 1:20).

Discrimination in Indiana

The reaction to Indiana's signing of their Religious Freedom and Restoration Act set a new record in the frenzied secular religious fervour of intolerance. Popularity is the religion of the masses which leads to intolerance. The same people who discriminated against the LGBT community in the past are now the people who are discriminating against those who they perceive as discriminating against LGBT community now. The people have not changed, but their religious tenets have, which change with the spirit of the times.
What is discrimination? Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of someone. However, prejudices are not limited to sexual preference. In fact, it seems that most prejudices are related to religion these days. It is hard to argue that the LGBT community is being discriminated against when major companies will boycott a state for signing a bill that could lead to possible "discrimination" of them. On the other hand, Christians are being put out of business…

Where is the fear of God?

There is not enough fear in the church these days. The stereotypical emphasis on the message of love has left us without fear and we have forgotten about God's holiness. The lack of knowledge in the church about God is a symptom of this disease. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov. 1:7). This lack of fear seems to manifest itself in two different ways: There are those who think they know God when they barely read/understand the Bible. There are others who have spent so much time reading the Bible that they start to think their thoughts are God's thoughts.

The Bible is our best source of knowledge about God, anybody who thinks they can know God without reading the Bible is being foolish. It is amazing how people who don't read the Bible talk with such authority about God. If the Bible is not our source of knowledge about God then we are left to our own opinions, and all opinions are equally valid.

Studying the Bible…

Hosea: Forgetting God

If a sea had parted and you walked over on dry land, a pillar of cloud led you during the day and a pillar of fire by night, food rained down from heaven, and a city was captured simply by walking around it, how could you follow after other gods? But, this is exactly what Israel did.

Israel turned away from God because they started to believe that it was them who provided for themselves, and they forgot about all of the mighty acts of God. This pride also deceived them into thinking that they were without sin. When they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me (Hosea 13:6). "Ah, but I am rich; I have found wealth for myself; in all my labours they cannot find in me iniquity or sin (Hos. 12:8)."  It is easy to look down on Israel or other people in the church and claim they have forgotten about God, but what about me? Do I ever ask for forgiveness? Do I ever repent of sin in my life? Of course, we all know we are …

Strange Stories in the Bible: Listening to the voice of God

The Bible is very interesting because the lessons are not always explicit. There are strange stories that leave you baffled as to what was the right thing to do in the story. However, these mysteries often have important messages that we urgently need to understand.

------------------------------

The story of the man of God from Judah and Jeroboam is one of these stories (1 Kings 13). Jeroboam was the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel that was torn away from Rehoboam because of the sin of his father, Solomon. Jeroboam had lead the people into idolatry by making golden calves and creating his own system of worship. While Jeroboam was making an offering at his altar a man of God came from Judah and prophesied against him.
O altar, altar, thus says the LORD: "Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who make offerings on you, and human bones shall be burned on you." Jeroboam, unhap…

Hosea: Financial Security

I find myself in a constant struggle looking for security in this world. Mostly it is a struggle over financial security and thinking that if I only I had more money there would be nothing to worry about. This leads me to ask the question: Do I plan my life based on money or do I plan my life based on God's desire for my life?

This is not a new struggle for humanity, it has been going on for millennia. Ephraim (a.k.a Israel) also looked for security in the world. Instead of looking to God for their direction and protection they tried to make alliances with the countries around them.
Ephraim is like a dove, silly and without sense, calling to Egypt, going to Assyria (Hos. 7:11). Egypt was the country that held them captive before God saved them and brought them into the promised land that they were at this time living in. God's righteous and long suffering judgment would fall on them and they would go again into captivity in Assyria.
Now he will remember their iniquity and puni…

Hosea: Are you murdering on the way to Shechem?

As robbers lie in wait for a man, so the priests band together; they murder on the way to Shechem (Hos. 6:9). Shechem was no ordinary city, it was a city of refuge (Josh. 20:7). There were six of these cities in the promised land and their purpose was to protect people if they accidentally killed someone.
Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, that the manslayer who strikes any person without intent or unknowingly may flee there. They shall be a refuge from the avenger of blood (Josh. 20:2-3). The cities of refuge provided protection and a fair trial. If the manslayer did  not have intent they were protected in the city until the death of the high priest, at which time they were set free and could return to their home.

Jesus is our city of refuge and high priest. When we had yet to receive the gospel we were in essence unintentional participants in the death of Jesus, since our sin resulted in the need for His sacrifice.
"Father, forgive them, for t…

The Apocalypse

Image
The rise of ISIS seems far away, but our understanding of them is even greater. Graeme Wood writing for The Atlantic does a good job of explaining their motivation. It is a must read. One of the interesting things that he brings forward is that part of the growth of ISIS is motivated by a desire for the apocalypse.
For certain true believers—the kind who long for epic good-versus-evil battles—visions of apocalyptic bloodbaths fulfill a deep psychological need. Of the Islamic State supporters I met, Musa Cerantonio, the Australian, expressed the deepest interest in the apocalypse and how the remaining days of the Islamic State—and the world—might look. Parts of that prediction are original to him, and do not yet have the status of doctrine. But other parts are based on mainstream Sunni sources and appear all over the Islamic State’s propaganda. These include the belief that there will be only 12 legitimate caliphs, and Baghdadi is the eighth; that the armies of Rome will mass to meet t…

Hosea: One Nation under God Indivisible

King David was a man after God's own heart and his rule united Israel. He reigned in Hebron (over Judah) for 7.5 years and then reigned 33 years in Israel (over Israel) (1 Kings 2:11).  The united kingdom of Israel, a foreshadow of things to come, did not last long because of the idolatry of David's son Solomon and the kingdom was divided in two. Solomon's son Rehoboam was given two tribesto rule, and Jeroboam was given ten tribes to rule. But, what purpose did God have in dividing the kingdom?
It seems to me that the purpose of the divided kingdom is to provide a picture of God's redeeming plan for Jews and Gentiles in terms of His kingdom. The ten northern tribes were ruled by Jeroboam, the son of a slave women (1 Kings 11:26), which is similar to the story of Ishmael who was also the son of a slave women (Gal. 4:22). Both of these situations are illustrations of those who are strangers to the covenants of promise: People who have not been shown mercy and are not God…

The Valley of Achor

There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope (Hos. 2:15).  The story of Israel gives us a picture of the Christian life. It starts of in Egypt, they are tested and sanctified in the Wilderness, and they attain to the promise in Canaan. Similarly, we start off in slavery to sin and are sanctified through the wilderness trials of this life, but at the same time we are already in Christ (Eph. 2:6), the fulfillment of the promise. Our purpose is for our position in Christ to be come our reality. However, there are times when we fail in the Valley of Achor.

Israel fought their first battle against Jericho in the promised land and won, but they lost miserably in their second battle with Ai. Joshua cried out to God concerned that they had come all this way only to be destroyed, but God said, "Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned." Achan had taken some of the devoted things (Josh. 7:10-12) and hid them in his tent. This brou…