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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It's Not Victim Shaming

The world is not a safe place, especially for girls and women.

There are situations women can put themselves into which are more dangerous.
Certain flirtatious behaviors & immodest clothing do encourage lust, although men also can target modest women who don't flirt.
It's a very complex issue involving sinful hearts (and looking at porn adds fuel to the fire as well as all of the other immodest women fanning the flames).

Still, women should not entice men, just as men should behave as gentlemen.
Saying that mentioning modesty is victim shaming as some people angrily accuse people of is not fully grasping that this isn't a broad brushing of victims at all.
There is sound wisdom in practicing modest dress and behavior.
There is such a thing as being dressed in harlot's clothing (Proverbs 7:10) which does send a message.
This doesn't excuse men who attack at all, but especially Christian women should be willing to be discreet if they make a claim to godliness.
What you wear and how you act speaks of your character, and how a man acts and treats women speaks of theirs.
If we don't want to be mistaken for women of loose morals, then why should any of us dress to entice men to lust?

Going to places where drinking & touching are quite common puts you more in danger of date rape or a stranger following you.
I remember a young college-aged woman many years ago who went to a country western dancing place and complained about a man who was trying to make advances.
Yes, social dancing is an encouragement to men who are looking for women to make advances to.
Ladies, you can't expect men to have pure minds, and even guys you think you know aren't immune to sinful desires.

Girls also need to be warned about being out alone or in isolated situations.
Women should also keep the doors to their homes locked (and their windows locked as well).
While a guy might do certain terrible behaviors in public, rape is often a stealth thing (done privately).
I realize there are some gang type behaviors.
Let others know where you are if you go out, and be careful about empty rooms when you are out socially.

Ladies, don't go into hotel rooms or men's apartments alone.
That is dangerous and very unwise.
Be sure to firmly say no to someone who pressures you to be intimate & make your limits known.  Stay sober.   A lot of rapes happen when people aren't.

Again, there are women who have people snatch them off the street or wherever or break into their homes.
We can't stop all evil, and this is not meant at as perfect safety standard.

One person commented online that someone broke into their home.
The percentage of that happening is less, but it does happen and is a very frightening reality.
Not every woman is going to be prepared with a gun.
The following was my response to a poor lady (without the name of the individual).

I'm sorry that someone broke into your home!  We can only do our best to lock up & protect ourselves, but I realize that evil people still exist and can do awful things. 🙁
A large percentage of rapes are not by strangers, but I'm very sorry that someone did something horrific to you.
Sometimes it may seem that evil men are triumphing, but there is a day of recompense for the wicked.  I'm not minimizing rape. God is a just God and angry at the wicked, and eternal punishment in Hell does exist.
The Gospel IS good news...not that a person won't ever suffer on earth, but that we can be forgiven of all sin and be made right with God and know His love and spend eternity where there will be joy forever and there will never be another rapist ever and all tears will be wiped from our eyes.
Turn to Him.

People need transformed hearts....both victims and perpetrators.
Both need the Gospel.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What Does Your Social Media Interaction Say About Your Christianity?

Social media.
Many of us spend quite a bit of time on social media sites, and we leave a footprint on the internet of what interests us.
What does what you share say about your Christianity?
It seems that our social media output often reflects our hearts.
A couple of years ago I wrote about this - Your Social Media Footprint & Persecution.
While some may deceptively pretend they are something they are not, many who post and interact let their true personality and interests slip through eventually.

Recently I heard a pastor talking about how some people who attend church do not demonstrate by actions and words that they are truly Christians at all.
They need to consider whether they really are.
I have noticed this is true even online. 

Would people online see that you are a Christian by what you post? 
Hobbies, social activities, and other interests are not all bad, but what about your spiritual life?
There are some people who I know went to church in the past, but I can't tell by their social media that they have any particular interest in spiritual things.
How do I know that they are really Christians after all? 
I wouldn't want them to fake it, but I am concerned for these people.
How do I address them?

Social media shouldn't be to be showy by simply trying to look spiritual like self-righteous people (Ecclesiastes 7:16; Luke 18:11-12; Luke 20:48-47).
That is an easy trap to fall into as well.

None of us are perfectly going to get it right, but here are some thoughts and questions for you.
If we always sound super spiritual online, people may question sincerity (not that a person can't genuinely be close to the Lord).
If you only condemn immorality & other religions without giving the Gospel, that may be a sign of self-righteousness rather than caring about souls.
If you say you love everybody yet you don't warn of God's judgment against sin, what does that say?
If you call people Christians that have another "gospel", can I know that you even understand the Gospel yourself?
If you rarely or never talk about God & what you are learning from His Word, shouldn't you examine if you know Him at all?

Those who get closest to me on social media see my failings, and I see some of my own sinfulness privately even more than they do. 
I'm sure others notice some issues that I do not see in myself.
I hope that they don't hold things against me and pray for me.
Ecclesiastes 7:20-22 & 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 are verses that I should think about more closely myself.
Christians need to encourage each other and be patient and forgiving.

I see the inconsistencies of my online friends just like they see mine, but that also means that I see when they have a genuine desire to grow & to see others grow spiritually. 
I see that they want to honor God despite imperfections.
There are beloved brothers and sisters in Christ online that I have reason to believe are genuine believers without even having met all of them in person.

I ask you this question, are you one of them? 
You may claim to be a Christian, but do you ever talk about Christ inside and outside of a church?
Does your life demonstrate a living faith or no faith at all?
I hope that you will think about it.
Spiritual conversations don't make you a Christian, but if you are a Christian there should be some evidence.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Allegations In The News • Spare Me The Graphic Details

Recently in the news, there have been all sorts of accusations against many people about physical misconduct.
Some are true, and some likely are not.
Some of the reporting seems to be rather salacious and is hardly helpful to those who do not want to put evil into their minds. 
We try to turn off the sound or change to something else when details get graphic in our house.

The news should not be a court where people try people publicly for everything that they are accused of.
Even those that are true do not need a play by play account of what happened broadcasted to the general public.
Yes, deeds of darkness will be exposed by the light of Christ (Ephesians 5:11-15), but that doesn't mean that Christians need to be putting every detail of what is garbage into our minds (even when someone actually has admitted to sin).

Even if we aren't guilty of certain sins, we all have sinned in our hearts.
Thanks to God for forgiveness & spiritual growth even in believers.
The battle against whatever sin tries to steal your affection from God may continue for the rest of your life, and as the desire to be closer to God grows stronger the more you desire to avoid sin & to love Him more.
You may have victory, but you still need to be watchful. 
Christians and Old Testament believers weren't above being tempted or sinning in different ways. 
Remember Abraham (with Hagar), David, Sampson, & Peter (denying God & being influence by Judaizers), etc.
Lust is as bad as adultery and coveting is a sin, so are you perfectly innocent outside of God's forgiveness and imputed righteousness?
The guy who spoke at the church (where I go) this past Sunday mentioned how we tend to judge hypocritically.
God judges righteously.
That doesn't mean that we don't point out that sin is sin.

As another Pastor also rightly taught last Sunday, judgment is an intrinsic thing taught in Scripture.
The government is to judge, Christians should have discernment, and churches need to have discipline. 
Doctrinal error & sin do need to be exposed and confronted.
Of course, we also know that God will judge. 

Part of Christian life is practicing discernment.  You're not intended to be a gullible person who believes everything you're told or to accept every immorality that crosses your path.

People often say, "Judge not" to avoid accountability.
Central behind the Matthew passage is that you will be judged.
(These came from my Twitter notes.)

We should be proclaiming the truth about God & the Gospel which shows evil as being evil, so that people will see their need for Christ. 
Their sin may be shown to be sinful to them. 
If God saves them, His righteousness will be imputed to them, and they will be lights in the world.
Our purpose isn't spreading gossip & slander or graphic speech and photos so as to cause others to sin.
We should know that evil exists and there are some things that actually should be made known for good purposes (rather than things that incite more sin), but we shouldn't dwell on things which should not be mentioned.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:8 NASB

Here is how believers are to behave themselves in conduct:

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.  
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
I Peter 2:11-12 NASB

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;
Ephesians 5:3 NASB

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
Ephesian 5:11-13 NASB

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
Colossians 3:5 NASB

Some helpful hints for Christians.
Memorize verses that apply to your sin and about resisting sin.
Avoid situations that tempt you when possible.
Spend more time on things that encourage you spiritually (the Bible foremost, then doctrinally sound books, messages & blogs, and other spiritual enterprises).
Seek to serve the Lord instead of feeding fleshly desires.
Try to find a Biblical church that encourages you.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Crossing The Line

He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. 
He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan.
2 Kings 18:4 NASB

Hezekiah was a king of Judah.  He did right in the sight of the Lord (2 Kings 18:3,) and he trusted in the Lord (2 Kings 18:5).

Was the bronze serpent a sinful thing? 

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live."
Numbers 21:8 NASB

So, if the Lord told Moses to make it, it could not have been sinful.
Yet, apparently, it was turned into an object of worship.  
That was sinful.
Many people take what was meant for good and turn it into sinful veneration and worship of objects or statues of people (or the people themselves), etc.
A crucifix with an imaginary image of Jesus easily is made into an object of worshiping the image rather than the Jesus of the Bible.
That is the way that the hearts of sinful mankind can work.
Yet, the serpent being lifted up by Moses was symbolic of something which was for the good of those who trust the Lord.

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
John 3:14-15  NASB

The line between what is good & what is sinful is easily crossed.
We who are Christians need to be careful not to cross that line.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Not By Empty Faith • Christian Assurance • The Steady Anchor

The following are a couple of messages that are relevant to my previous post.
I heard them both the same day, and they complement each other (though given at different churches).

Not by Works Nor by Empty Faith - Don Green (11/5/2017)
This addresses the issue of self-deception as well as the verse in James that many Roman Catholics like to bring up in discussions about justification.

The Christian's Assurance of Salvation - John MacArthur (11/5/2017)
This one was encouraging to me. How do you know you are saved?  MacArthur gives some Biblical answers to the question.

Song For The Day

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Can We Keep Ourselves Saved?

Note: I'm a female blogger.

Do you think you can keep yourself saved?
If salvation depends at all upon us to keep it, we are lost.
The new birth is from above rather than of us (John 3).
So, the answer to the opening question is that we can't keep ourselves saved.
It is God who is faithful to complete what He has begun (Philippians 1:6). 

Those who turn away from the truth do not have a true living faith (James demonstrates the kind of faith that is genuine).
So, the verses that talk about those who have the knowledge of the truth and disobey or are enslaved to sin again are about those who may go to church & think they are saved, and yet their faith is not genuine. 
They may hear the truth and yet be lying about their claim to know God (1 John 2:4).
Then there are those who are genuine believers who sin, but who repent as believers.
That is where a believer confesses to God, but it is not to be justified all over again.
Other verses that demonstrate God keeps His own saved are 1 Peter 1:4-5; John 10:27-29; Romans 8:35 & 8:38-39.

Nobody can be justified by works or good deeds in order to be made right before God or obtain Heaven.
Old Testament believers were not saved by the works of the Law. 
They were saved by faith (Romans 3; Hebrews 11, Galatians 3) 
Justification has always been by a living real genuine faith (1 John 2:4), but even that faith is a gift of God. Acts 11:17-18...God grants the repentance that leads to life (also you can see Ephesians 2:8-10 & Titus 3:5-7).

So, in review:
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we could never keep ourselves saved by our deeds. 
Deeds are the fruit ...not the root. We cannot even obey God in repentance without God.
The spiritually dead have no spiritual eyes to see and ears to hear. 
Genuine repentance transforms, and that is a change of heart that a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2;13).

with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
2 Tim. 2:25 NASB
(I notice that it talks about God granting repentance!)

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
2 Corinthians 7:10 NASB
(Simple regret and worldly sorrow is not the true repentance that is from God.)

Between hearing messages and not reading Why We're Protestant by Nate Pickowicz (I'm in chapter 4),  I've been having scriptural teaching reinforced a lot.  This isn't a new belief!