Audio Teaching: The Christian Hope: Part Four

Click for Parts One, Two, Three here.

I hope you’ll take time to listen to these audio teachings, if not here, then perhaps you’ll consider downloading them and taking them with you?

anchor

What the Bible really says about Death, Judgment, Rewards, Heaven, and the Future Life on a Restored Earth. God originally planned for mankind to live on earth, and His plan, though postponed by sin, will not be thwarted – it will come to pass in the future when a new earth is created. The Christian’s Hope shows from Scripture that each Christian will be rewarded in the coming world in direct proportion to the quality of how he lives for God in this world.

Click the arrow to listen to the Hope of Israel.

A Biblical Look at “Hope”

In order to properly understand the Christian’s hope, it is important to examine the exact meaning of the word “hope.” “Hope” means “a desire for, or an expectation of, good, especially when there is some confidence of fulfillment.” It is used that way both in common English and in the Bible. However, the Bible often uses the word “hope” in another way—to refer to the special expectation of good that God has in store for each Christian in the future. This includes the “Rapture,” receiving a new, glorified body, and living forever in Paradise. Today, the ordinary use of “hope” allows for the possibility that what is hoped for will not come to pass. However, when the Bible uses the word “hope” to refer to things that God has promised, the meaning of “hope” shifts from that which has a reasonable chance of coming to pass to that which will absolutely come to pass. To be a useful anchor, hope must hold fast.

anchor2

Breaking Tradition

We didn’t buy fireworks this year. I don’t know, we just weren’t into it this year. In years past, we bought fireworks at a place where Kevin’s parents knew the owners and we would get a really good deal. The owners would pack us a bag full of goodies (because let’s face it, fireworks look the same and you really don’t know what they are going to do, but the fireworks stand owners know and are a great resource if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck. [pun intended]), and we would split the cost with Kevin’s parents.

We’ve gotten some REALLY good fireworks with that arrangement for the past several years.

We would then have a cookout at Kevin’s folks’ house then shoot off our awesome fireworks. Me, Kevin’s mom and dad would sit on their pergola and Kevin, Blake and Brandon would run their butts off and light the fireworks.

Then, when it was over, we would all go out with bags and pick up the aftermath.

Fun times.

We did this for two reasons: Kevin’s parents live outside of the city limits thereby giving us a venue to blow our money [pun intended] and it gave us a chance to spend the holiday with Kevin’s parents. Because for whatever reason, Kevin’s sisters have never included Kevin’s parents in their 4th of July festivities.

However, we broke tradition this year. Money is tight and having us over for a cookout is a lot of work for Kevin’s parents, who are getting up there in age. Everyone agreed with this plan except Blake – he was disappointed. I think 4th of July is his favorite holiday. He loves blowing things up.

(That desire has always sort of bothered me, to be honest).

This year, Kevin’s parents came over to Roy’s house (i.e. the rental house) and we, (i.e. Kevin) cooked hamburgers and curly hotdogs. Kevin, Roy and Blake swam and Kevin’s mom and I sat on the edge of the pool and chit-chatted. Kevin’s dad napped.

When it got dark, we drove over to the nursing school parking lot and mooched off the spectacular fireworks show at the country club.

I imagine that will be our 4th of July plans for many more years to come. Cheap and easy.

And now it’s way past my bedtime and my eyes are drooping. I have a lot of chores and studying to do tomorrow before the boys come over to swim and then have nachos with us.

Happy birthday, America. You’re not the same awesome country you were twenty years ago, but we still love you and haven’t given up on you. You’ll be great again someday …

God Bless What’s Left of America

We have our American Flag hanging outside our house and I can’t help but wonder, will someone report us? Will someone in our neighborhood be offended that we proudly display our American Flag?

To which I reply: Tough shit. good-morning-merica

I’m so SICK of people being offended by everything nowadays.

Get over it.

People are offended because some whack-job worshiped a confederate flag and was high on anti-psychotic drugs and shot a bunch of people in a church (notice I said PEOPLE – we’re all PEOPLE, color is irrelevant), and now the confederate flag offends people so we’re going to go completely berserk and obliterate every last trace of the confederate flag from the face of the Earth.

Idiots. The confederate flag didn’t MAKE that nut-job shoot those people, it was simply a trigger for his crazy delusions. What if his trigger had been a black cat? Would we suddenly want to eradicate black cats from existence? If you need to be “offended” by someone, be “offended” by the act and the person who committed the act, not an inanimate object.

Geez louise people …

You have the right to dislike the confederate flag – I’m not crazy about that flag, either. I think it represents a sad, mixed-up time in our history. I have never understood people who buy that flag and then proudly display it. Why? Do they wish they could go back to those times? Well too bad, it’s not happening. We learned our lesson the first time. Right?

Right??

But I’m not offended if they choose to fly it. It’s their right to do so. And it does serve to remind of us of the mistakes we made during that time period. This isn’t about me and my feelings, it’s about other people’s CHOICE to make bad decisions.

People need to grow a backbone and stop being such emotional cry babies.

The only thing I think of when I see that flag is slavery. And how that’s bad. And I’m truly perplexed that we thought, at one time in our history, that having one set of human beings serve another set of human beings was somehow acceptable. And then I roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders. I wonder more about the people behind these “offenses” than about anything else. People are idiots. What are you going to do?

Anyway, back to the American flag and our country.

I can’t get into this 4th of July. What, exactly, are we celebrating? Our freedoms? Our freedom to do what, exactly? Abide by the rules? Live under a supreme dictator or a group of tenured lawyers who have been given the right to make our decisions for us?

Freedom to “ignore its own laws and tear its Constitution to pieces?”

Freedom “to dismantle the institution of marriage in favor of legitimizing sexual perversion?”

What, exactly, are we celebrating nowadays? Our freedoms are slowly being taken away with each passing law and government decree.

If so, what’s so great about being great? Where is the optimism in that miserable greatness? Where is the hope for the future if moral bankruptcy, selfishness, confusion, stupidity, deviancy and failure are “great”?

This is why I’m surprised liberals are still out burning American flags. What are they upset about? This country has been reshaped in their image. They won the culture, the government, academia, the media, even the churches. This is their America. They own it. Yet they aren’t satisfied because liberalism, like its father Satan, is intent only on destruction and consumption. It will never be satiated.

You might say most of the examples I provided have to do with America’s people, not America herself. But the distinction is irrelevant because a democracy is only as great as its people. Meanwhile, our government is corrupt and feckless, and our political leaders are cowardly and self-serving. Yes, the Constitution is great, but it’s still just a set of laws. If laws are ignored, they might as well not exist. The Bill of Rights can’t make us great if we don’t follow it, just like your running shoes can’t make you fit if you don’t put them on and go for a jog.

So in what way is America great at the moment? Are we a moral beacon for the world now? Where is the rest of the world supposed to locate that shining light of moral clarity? Is it somewhere buried under the dead children and the perversion and the porn and the divorce and the drugs and the disease and the dependency and the Nanny State socialism? What about leadership in government, or education, or the home? Is American culture great in these respect

No, America Is Not a Great Nation. Not anymore.

I dare you to read Matt Walsh’s entire article. Read it completely through and tell me you don’t disagree. This country is slowly being flushed down the crapper. With every flush, we compromise another belief and/or ideal. Like a stone sculptor, decency is being chipped away, slowly, oh so slowly, and then suddenly, we see the finished product and wonder, what happened? How did we get here? What happened?

Like sleep walkers, we are suddenly shaken awake.

We got here by being outraged over the confederate flag. We got here by being distracted by Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. We got here by not paying attention to what our educational system is doing to our children. We got here by being too busy playing with the newest and coolest electronic gadgets. We got here by putting all of our energies and time into being offended by the stupidest, most insignificant things.

It’s like people don’t WANT to really know what’s going on. It’s like people purposefully look the other direction in order NOT to see and/or deal with the bigger issues. Because talking about big changes is too uncomfortable, it’s too hard. And now we’ve reached a point of no return – can you IMAGINE trying to cut benefits to people who now solely rely on the nanny state to take care of them? Can you IMAGINE overhauling an education system so that we get back to teaching children and not indoctrinating children?

We’ve dug our grave, it’s time to lie in it.

Why should we celebrate the mess we created?

I think Matt summarizes this hopelessness best:

Here’s what I do know, and here’s the hopeful part: Our priority has to be our families and our souls. The fate of the country or the globe has not been put entirely, or even mostly, in our individual hands. But we have profound jurisdiction over the fate of our families, the spiritual state of our children, whether our households serve the Lord, and whether we serve the Lord. That’s our hope for the future. Right there.

We can find greatness if we strive for holiness. We have to. We are entering an age where only the great Christians will spiritually survive. It’s a scary time, but if we heed the call to holiness, we can find immense joy. That’s what I want for my children, though I fear for them quite a bit these days. I can’t imagine what this country will look like in 30 or 40 years. Maybe things will have turned around, but honestly I really doubt it. So all I can do is hold them close, try to be a better father to them and a better husband to my wife, and equip them as best I can for what comes next.

I believe strongly that real persecution awaits us down the road. I think my children will face hostility and opposition and maybe even violence on a level I haven’t yet seen. We are heading into very challenging times, but if we keep our families together and our hearts with God, we’ll be OK. No matter what happens, we’ll be OK. And, by extension, if we pour ourselves into our families and into our faith, we might be able to rescue this culture and this country from the clutches of progressive annihilation. It won’t happen quickly, and I don’t know if it will happen at all, but I know there’s a chance. America is not lost completely. Not yet.

So find strength in the Lord. Love your spouse and your children like Christ loves the Church. Be a leader in your home. Be willing to sacrifice everything for your family. Be unwilling to sacrifice your soul for anything. Confront the reality of our current state and accept that you will be asked to endure a lot of pain and persecution. Pray. Remember what America was. Remember who God is. Remember who you are and why you’re here and that you were put here in this time for a reason.

God bless what’s left of America.

And may God have mercy on your soul.

Amen.

Supreme Court, or Supreme Law of the Land?

So I was sitting in the pit at work, answering phones, like I always do when I’m not in clinic with my doctor, when my gay co-worker burst into the room, shaking, laughing and smiling.

“The Supreme Court just ruled same-sex marriage legal! Now I can get married whenever and wherever I want to!”

I blinked, absorbed what he was saying and then forced a smile in a silent form of congratulations. Thinking to myself, The Supreme Court did what??

That’s how I found out that same-sex marriage is now legal in every state.

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for the past 48 hours. How I wanted to write it. What I wanted to write about this subject. And it’s a toughie. It truly is. Let me see if I can first break my thoughts down and secondly try and make it as fair to all parties that I can.

Yes. I work with a gay man. He is the sweetest and most likable person I’ve ever known. I’ve liked him from the very moment I met him. And we get along famously. In fact, his sense of humor reminds me so much of my brother that I sort of SEE and TREAT him like a little brother. Yes. I’ve told him that before.

So I’ve had to be very careful in how I approach this subject at work because it would kill me to hurt this guy’s feelings. I truly like and care about him and I’m a lot of things, but I’m never intentionally cruel to someone – I have too much respect for the people in my life, or the people I like, to go out of my way to be deliberately nasty to them.

But I don’t agree with the gay lifestyle.

WAIT. DON’T GO. Hear me out, please.

I don’t believe God intended men to be with men. Or women to be with women. And no matter how we sugar coat it, or think of different ways to redefine it, marriage is between a man and a woman. Period. I’ve never understood why the gay community insisted on redefining that word. That word belongs to the heterosexual, get your own damn word. Call it a civil union, or a gay union, or whatever else you want to define two gay people becoming legally/contractually obligated to each other, but marriage is OURS.

Or it was until the Supreme Court stuck their high and mighty noses into it.

So, no. I don’t agree with the gay lifestyle. I don’t think it’s natural or beautiful or any other label you want to attach to it. I don’t believe you’re born a homosexual. I believe it’s a conscious/subconscious choice that is influenced by outside factors. I think people are born with a homosexual tendency, like a person is born with alcoholic/drug addiction tendencies and those people have to work that much harder to resist the temptation, but no, I don’t think there’s a special “gene” that makes a person gay.

This is what I believe. Disagree if you must. But here’s the thing – I really don’t care if someone *chooses to live that sort of lifestyle.

No really.

I. Don’t. Care.

It’s really none of my business how a person lives his/her life. I figure the gay community will be judged at some point and that at some point they will have to look God in the eye and explain their behavior.

I say, “good luck with that.” *SALUTE*

God granted humans the gift of free will – if one chooses to live by the rules that God has set forth in His Word, then that person will be rewarded when Christ comes back to get us. If one chooses NOT to live by the rules that God has set forth, then that person will not be rewarded. But it doesn’t really matter how a Christian lives his/her life, God loves us no matter what choices we make. If a person has accepted Jesus Christ into his/her heart and confessed with his/her mouth that Christ is Lord and was raised from the dead, then that person is a child of God. And just like our flesh and blood children sometimes disappoint us and/or don’t live their lives like we would like them to, they are still our children and we still love them.

The same principle applies to God’s children.

So a gay man may be a Christian and God will still love that man, but he will be disappointed and like a naughty child, that man will not be rewarded for his choices.

For with the gift of free will comes consequences of that free will.

If I choose to hold up a liquor store and steal all of their money, that was my choice. Granted, it was a poor choice, but mine, nonetheless. And the consequences of that choice is jail time.

I won’t pretend to know what God’s consequences will be for not choosing to live by His rules, but I’m sure there WILL be consequences. How can there not?

So honestly, who cares what my opinion is? Who cares if I disagree with a gay person’s decision and/or lifestyle. It’s ultimately none of my business how that person lives his/her life as it’s none of that person’s business how I live my life. WHO CARES WHAT ANYONE DOES BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

I think my biggest beef with this whole legalizing a gay union (because I REFUSE to call it marriage – marriage belongs to HETEROSEXUALS), is that the Supreme Court turned my voice, my vote, null and void. They spoke FOR the people. They completely ignored the constitution, the states’ rights and basically said, “Fuck you” to everyone and made our decision for us.

They put on their emperor’s crowns and simply made a decision for everyone.

And the scariest part? This is just the beginning. The ice has been broken. Because now that they’ve done it this once, it will that much easier to do again. And again. And again. And before long? We will become a nation of robots that are TOLD what to do, how to live and how to think. And if we dare color outside the lines, WE WILL BE PUNISHED.

And the end begins …

I don’t want to scare anyone, or sound like some crazed religious person, but now would be a good time to start thinking about the afterlife. Because it’s all downhill from here and Christ WILL come back – are you ready? And I know what you’re thinking, “you’re crazy. Whatever.” What if my beliefs are right?

What if?

And let’s not be naive and think this decision, this turning stone, stops here. Guess what’s next?

Pedophiles want same rights as homosexuals

Using the same tactics used by “gay” rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals.

Critics of the homosexual lifestyle have long claimed that once it became acceptable to identify homosexuality as simply an “alternative lifestyle” or sexual orientation, logically nothing would be off limits.

“Gay” advocates have taken offense at such a position insisting this would never happen. However, psychiatrists are now beginning to advocate redefining pedophilia in the same way homosexuality was redefined several years ago.

Van Gijseghem, psychologist and retired professor of the University of Montreal, told members of Parliament, “Pedophiles are not simply people who commit a small offense from time-to-time but rather are grappling with what is equivalent to a sexual orientation just like another individual may be grappling with heterosexuality or even homosexuality.”

He went on to say, “True pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation. You cannot change this person’s sexual orientation. He may, however, remain abstinent.”

When asked if he should be comparing pedophiles to homosexuals, Van Gijseghem replied, “If, for instance, you were living in a society where heterosexuality is proscribed or prohibited and you were told that you had to get therapy to change your sexual orientation, you would probably say that that is slightly crazy. In other words, you would not accept that at all. I use this analogy to say that, yes indeed, pedophiles do not change their sexual orientation.”

The ripple effect begins.

And before you pooh-pooh this “ridiculious notion” away, consider this:

This article from the Greeley Gazette was originally published in 2011. But now, there’s actually a constitutional argument that can be made in its favor.

And did anyone think gay unions would be legal in every state 30 years ago?

And if you’re interested in what Christianity has to say about homosexuality, please watch the following videos: Teaching: Christian’s View on Homosexuality – Parts One / Two, Three / Four, Five / Six.

The slippery slope just got a whole lot slippier.

Audio Teaching: The Christian Hope: Part Three

Click for Parts One and Two here.

I hope you’ll take time to listen to these audio teachings, if not here, then perhaps you’ll consider downloading them and taking them with you?

anchor

What the Bible really says about Death, Judgment, Rewards, Heaven, and the Future Life on a Restored Earth. God originally planned for mankind to live on earth, and His plan, though postponed by sin, will not be thwarted – it will come to pass in the future when a new earth is created. The Christian’s Hope shows from Scripture that each Christian will be rewarded in the coming world in direct proportion to the quality of how he lives for God in this world.

Click the arrow to listen to the Hope of Israel.

A Biblical Look at “Hope”

In order to properly understand the Christian’s hope, it is important to examine the exact meaning of the word “hope.” “Hope” means “a desire for, or an expectation of, good, especially when there is some confidence of fulfillment.” It is used that way both in common English and in the Bible. However, the Bible often uses the word “hope” in another way—to refer to the special expectation of good that God has in store for each Christian in the future. This includes the “Rapture,” receiving a new, glorified body, and living forever in Paradise. Today, the ordinary use of “hope” allows for the possibility that what is hoped for will not come to pass. However, when the Bible uses the word “hope” to refer to things that God has promised, the meaning of “hope” shifts from that which has a reasonable chance of coming to pass to that which will absolutely come to pass. To be a useful anchor, hope must hold fast.

anchor2

The Statendam

So. Alaska.

We went in 2013. I’m behind – deal.

If you’ve never been on a cruise, well first of all, you NEED TO GO ON A CRUISE. It’s awesome. It’s our preferred vacation for sooo many reasons. I’ll have to write a blog post sometime: “tips from a veteran cruiser.”

Anyway. Whenever you go on a cruise, you have to do a safety drill. It’s mandatory. You HAVE to participate. If you do not, they will hunt you down and MAKE you participate. Everyone hates to do it, but it is nice to know what to do and where to go in case of an emergency. This picture is me at our lifeboat station. Only, we went to the wrong lifeboat station and we were the last ones to get in line and it was embarrassing because they don’t dismiss you until everyone has gotten into line and been checked off the list.

We got a lot of dirty looks from fellow cruisers that cruise.

Kevin and I still laugh about our stupidity to this day.

We sailed on Holland America’s Statendam. It was an older boat with even older people. I think we were the youngest on that cruise.

One of the first things we do whenever we go on a cruise is put our luggage away in our rooms (once they’re ready – a lot of times, they are loading up the boat and cleaning your rooms whenever you first go on board so you end up hauling your carry-on luggage everywhere with you until your room is ready. Annoying, but it is what it is), and then explore the boat. We like to walk from bow to … whatever the back of the boat is called (you’d think I would know that by now). This gives us a chance to get our bearings though we usually end up getting lost or turned around every single day. We usually get the hang of the boat by the end of the cruise.

One thing I consistently forget to do is take pictures of the inside of the boat. We’ve been on some TACKY boats, but the Statendam wasn’t that bad, really.

This was the library. We spend a lot of time in the library on the boats. Mainly because that’s where you can hop onto a computer and access the internet, which, I might add, is ASTRONOMICALLY expensive. But we have to access it because Kevin needs to be able to check into work and make sure Blake has things under control.

Which, I might add, he does a pretty fantastic job of keeping things running. We did have a bit of a scare though on this cruise. Kevin couldn’t reach Blake online and his phone was getting spotty service so he couldn’t call him. Kevin saw that our brother-in-law was on Facebook, messaged him and asked him if he could call Blake and make sure he was okay. Blake was supposed to have delivered some paychecks to a client and the client contacted Kevin and said that Blake hadn’t made it in yet. That didn’t exactly sound like Blake so we began to worry. Our worry was compounded whenever we couldn’t reach him. Our brother-in-law connected with Blake, asked him to sign on and everything was fine – he had overslept. He got a little bit of a butt chewing for that one but it all ended on a positive note.

(And in case I haven’t mentioned it before – Blake is Kevin’s bookkeeper at his office).

The food is always pretty good on cruises.

In fact, that’s always one of our favorite parts. You can always get something to eat and you don’t have to even think about where your next meal is coming from. That’s always a pain whenever we go on vacation.

Come to think of it, I hate thinking about food, period. It’s a good thing Kevin likes to cook or I would have starved my family a long time ago.