Barministries09’s Blog

Only Truth Spoken Here!

30 Life Lessons

Hello bloggers and blog readers!!  It has once again been a very long time since I have written anything (at least here on my blog) and I decided to give you a taste of things to come.

First of all, I turned 30 years old just a few months ago in March!!  Yikes!  When I was a kid I actually thought I’d never make it to 30…but here I am!  And I am thanking the Lord for it every step of the way.

One month before my 30th birthday, I posted up on my social networking site one life lesson I’d learned over the past year everyday until it was actually my birthday.  I then made these life lessons into a list of “30 Life Lessons”.  Shortly after I began to really think about turning this basic list into a book and expanding upon each of the 30 life lessons I’d briefly notated.  That is what I am currently in the process of doing.  I have completed 19/30 chapters and hope to finish this book before the summer of 2012 is over.  Publishing it will not be easy as I will most likely have to self-publish and pay a good deal of money up front, but I am trusting in the Lord.

This book is full of truth, Scripture, humor, gut wrenching confessions, and everything in between.  I’m hoping that my book will be a source of comfort, encouragement, and conviction for everyone who will end up reading it.  The book is conversationally written, so as you read it, my prayer is that you feel like I’m right there in the room with you having a conversation.

I will keep you posted here on my blog as to the current happenings of my book.  I am so thankful for 30 years of life….God has most definitely been so good to me!

Only Truth Spoken Here,

Rachel

June 26, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

It’s always the right time…

Hello blogging world, those who blog and those who read the blogs and everything in between.  It has been a long time since I’ve blogged.  I began thinking that maybe too much time has gone by, and perhaps no one would really care to read something I write.  But then a thought came to mind: it’s always the right time.  It’s never too late. 

Things have been different.  I think everyone is feeling that.  The economy is down and many people have lost their jobs to cut backs and downsizes…never makes it easier to deal with though.  How do we deal with these difficulties in our lives?  It’s sometimes much easier to say, “just have faith, trust in the Lord”, than it is to add life and breath to those words and live them out.  So where does that leave us?  It’s not easy being at the bottom of the pit, in despair, looking up and hoping and praying that someone or something will drop down a life line and lift you out. 

But…it’s Christmas.  Christmas brings hope because it reminds us of the birth of Hope Himself.  The Creator became a part of His own creation, the Master Artist stepped into His own painting…  A King now a baby.  A majestic and powerful God now in flesh with a beating heart and circulating blood and air filled lungs and vibrating vocal cords allowing His post birth cries to fill the night sky in Bethlehem.  And can we still hear His cries?  His cry for us to come to Him just as we are, His cry for us to love one another and stop injustice, His cry for us to abhor our sin and love that which is righteous….can we still hear that cry?  Or has it faded in the background of our troubles.  Have our own laboring cries drowned out that meek and mild cry of the Almighty…now in flesh…breathing our air…?  Oh that we would stop and listen.  Hear the cry of that baby born to save the world from its sin.  Stop for just a minute and picture it: a 14 year old girl, unmarried, engaged to a 30+ year old man-a carpenter by trade, not madly in love, but an arranged marriage (as was the custom)…in a stable, a stall, a place where animals feed, holding the little Messiah…the infant Christ…the birth of Redemption.  Right there.  In her arms.  Crying.  Shivering. Savior.  O what a Savior.

Hear His cry…remember Him this Christmas.  Not all the stuff and presents and food….no, enough of all that!  Remember Jesus.  His birth, life, death and resurrection.

Blessings,

Rachel

December 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where Do I Begin?

Hello all you fellow bloggers and blog readers out there!  It has been far too long since I have written a blog.  So conducive to my blog title, I do not know where to begin.  Many things have happened, both good and not so good.  I think I will start with the good.

As of last week, I finally found a job, praise the Lord!  After 15 months of unemployment (and by that I mean very part time work) I have finally landed myself a job.  It will begin with part time hours, but should increase to full time hours shortly after.  I will begin working this job on Sunday, August 30th.  I am so thankful that my prayers have finally been answered.  So if you are struggling and are losing your faith in the Lord; just remember that He is in control and He still knows what is best, and He will come through for you in His timing.  My timing would have been 15 months ago, but God had different plans.  This past year or so I’ve been able to rest and re-evaluate a lot of things in my life and I may not have been able to do that if I was working full time hours.  God is also teaching me to trust Him.  So many Christians claim to trust in God, but when things go wrong, it’s like they completely lose their faith and trust in Him.  Trust me, over these past 15 months I’ve had my moments of disbelief and doubt.  But every time I did I would pray Thomas’ statement that He made to the risen Christ: “I believe, help me in my unbelief.”  Maybe you should pray that too.

Now for the not so good news: I have been increasingly concerned with the state of our country and our government.  I have been doing a bit of research and have discovered some things that are quite disturbing to me.  I am slowly but surely starting to believe that our country is no longer a democratic republic, but some sort of socialist, neo marxist, communist, society.  This is not the America that I know and love.  Something is changing, and I truly believe that I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

Van Jones and Mark Lloyd.  Van Jones is the Green Jobs Special Advisor to President Obama, and Mark Lloyd is the newly appointed Diversity Officer of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).  I am an avid listener (and watcher) of the Glenn Beck program because I believe that he is genuine and does his homework and research.  Much of what I have learned about these special advisors has derived from his research, however, I’ve also done some research of my own.  Mr. Beck played several times on his show something that Obama had said during his campaign, and I am paraphrasing of course: “If you want to know who I am and what I believe, look at the people that I surround myself with.”  So that is what I have been doing; taking a closer look at some of his “advisors”, which could justifiably be termed as “czars”, in order to figure out what Mr. Obama truly believes.

Van Jones: Green Jobs Advisor.  Who is Mr. Jones?  According to some articles I have read, Mr. Jones was a political radical.  He founded the group STORM (Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement), as well as the Ella Baker Foundation.  Both of these groups propogated, studied, and implemented Marxist and Communist belief systems.  Jones is a Communist: he has said that openly.  The article I read mentioned that Jones had renounced his Communism and radical socialist beliefs.  Ok, maybe he did.  But where is the evidence of that?  From some recent news clips I watched, his beliefs are still just as radical and “revolutionary”.  He calls himself a “community organizer within the Federal family”.  What?  This means that Mr. Jones, among many other “czars” in Washington D.C., are reorganizing and transforming our republic into something else, and I dare say that this something else is a communist nation.

Mark Lloyd: Diversity Officer of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).  Who is this guy?  Why does the FCC need a diversity officer?  What are his goals as the diversity officer of the FCC?  Well, very plainly, he intends to remove privately owned media groups (radio and talkshows, etc) such as Fox News.  If your radio station or news station is not publically owned, then he proposes that the FCC tax you dollar for dollar of  your operating budget.  That means, he is going to tax these privately owned media groups 100% of their income.  Who could afford to stay in business after that?  Additionally, Lloyd wants reporters and people to be hired by these various media groups based on skin color instead of qualifications and the content of their character.  I think that Martin Luther King, Jr. would turn over in his grave!  Mr. King was all about equality among the various nationalities and dreamed of a day when all men (black, white, yellow, brown) would be able to have a career and excel based on their character and hard work; not their skin color.  This is not what Mr. Lloyd has in mind.  If these privately owned media groups do not hire African Americans, etc., then they will be fined (in addition to the 100% tax) for that.  As a result, it will put these types of companies out of business, and it also infringes upon our first ammendment rights to free speech.  I believe that a day is soon approaching in which I will no longer be able to write a blog like this.  This saddens me. 

If you disagree with my political views, you have every right to do so and to tell me how I’m wrong.  I have every right to disagree and tell you that you’re wrong.  This is the beauty of a free country.  But this is no longer the same America I grew up in, and these changes were not implemented just by Obama; they began with Bush’s administration as well.  This isn’t a Republican vs. Democrat thing; this is an American vs. huge government trying to take away our freedoms, issue.  When will we see that?

Rham Emanuel: White House Chief of Staff to President Obama.  Who is he?  He is brother to Ezekiel Emanuel who is a scientist that supports government controlled birth control.  Ezekiel was on a committee that  sought out ways to put birth control agents into our drinking water, just to name one of his radical beliefs.  Both Rham and Ezekiel Emanuel support single-payer government run health care.  This plan that they support places more value on the lives of individuals between the ages of 15-50.  If you are a very young child, or if you are getting up in years, this government run health care plan that Rham Emanuel supports is not very helpful to you.

Are you getting the idea here?  I truly believe that our government officials and all these “czars” of Washington, D.C., are waiting for some major crisis to happen (which I don’t know what could be worse than 11 trillion dollars of a stimulus package which tax payers will have to eventually pay off some how) so that they can implement their plan of total government control.  The majority of President Obama’s advisors are radical revolutionaries that support Communist and Socialist/Marxist beliefs.  If you do your research on various communist nations, you will find that the vast majority of the “dictators”, if you will, rose to power when their respective countries had some sort of massive economic or political crisis.  Is that where we are headed?  I do not know for sure, but I most definitely have not ruled it out.

I had a long talk with a friend a while back and this friend said that they wanted to hear the news presented in an unbiased way.  This friend was not a fan of Fox news because they felt that Fox news presented the information from a very conservative standpoint.  This friend also did not like MSNBC or other similar news stations because they were totally biased on the more liberal side of things.  As I thought about this, I wondered where we could find this unbiased, balanced news reporting,  We have to admit that our mainstream news media reporters and what not, are not telling us the truth and they are no longer interested in reporting the facts.  Fox news may be conservatively biased, but at least they are presenting their viewers and listeners with the truth, even if it is tilted in a conservative fashion, and I have to give them credit for that.

This will be my last politically charged blog for a while, unless of course something even crazier happens, and I will go back to focusing on theology, philosophy and religion.  But I just had to get this off my chest.  I just had to tell the truth.  Will you hold to the truth?  Will you embrace the truth even if it goes against your political party’s views?  Come on, America.  If you don’t like what your country is doing right now, make some noise!  Let your representatives know about it…I certainly have.  But I can’t do it alone.  Take a stand.  Speak the truth. 

Only truth spoken here,

Rachel

August 27, 2009 Posted by | Truth vs. fiction... | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Energy Bill, Obama, and The Government Elite

For those of you who have been reading my blog (and thank you for doing so), you will notice that although I talk about theologically controversial subjects, and issues like Creation vs. Evolution, etc., I have not yet written a politically charged blog.  Well, some recent occurrences within our U.S. government have caused me some great unrest, and I am compelled to speak out; to speak the truth; that is what I do.  So I apologize in advance to Obama supporters, you will not enjoy this blog.  But I ask all of you, Obama supporters or not, to please read this, think about it, and start exercising some common sense.

In the title of this blog, I started with “the new energy bill”, and I will get to that topic as this blog unfolds, but there are a few things about Mr. Obama and his administration that I would like to address.  Is that okay?  I still retain my right to free speech, correct?  The way this government is headed, I wasn’t sure, so needed to double check.

First of all, I am so sick of ABC, CBS, MSNBC, not reporting the truth.  Or let me rephrase; they focus on other issues that have very little significance as compared to other MAJOR decisions taking place in our ever-increasing socialist government.  I will, however, make a big plug for FOX news…thank you guys for reporting the truth and then letting “we the people” interpret that news however we see fit.  And thank you, Mr. Glenn Beck, for speaking out and telling the truth; we need more people like you to stand up for what is right.

Inspector General Walpin.  “Who?”, most of you are probably thinking, which would once again confirm my distaste with the left-winged only news stations…ah, I digress.  Inspector Walpin was fired by Obama a few weeks ago.  Any individual with the slightest hint of intellect would immediately ask him/herself: “why?”  From what I have read and researched, Walpin (at the prompting of Americorp) began an investigation on Sacramento mayor (and long-time friend of Barak Obama) for his misuse of tax payer dollars.  Apparently, Kevin Johnson (mayor of Sacramento) was using stimulus money for personal purchases having nothing to do with his “business”, and Mr. Walpin and his staff uncovered the truth.  So what happens?  A few weeks ago, Mr. Walpin receives a call from the White House giving him ONE HOUR to either resign or be fired.  One hour, folks.  By law, (which Obama helped to pass when he was a senator, by the way) the President is required to give a 30-day notice AND a specific reason when letting go of a government official.  Mr. Walpin was given none of those.  Understandably,  Walpin refused to resign, and then the next day he was offically told that he was fired.  The White House released a statement about a week later that Mr. Walpin was incompetent, disoriented and confused.  Basically, they’re saying he’s senial.  I watched Glenn Beck interview this man about three times on his show, and believe you me Mr. Walpin is not in the least bit senile.  He’s probably more intellectually stable and sound than the vast majority of our government representatives!  Does any of this story sound a bit shady to you?  Did your eyebrow raise in bewilderment as you read through it…?  Mine sure did.  Since Obama’s induction as President of the U.S., he has been weeding out any and everyone who might oppose him.  He fires anyone who might stand up for truth and speak out against the corruption.  Mr. Walpin was just doing his job which he was asked to do, and now the White House has dishonored and disrespected him by calling him, basically, a senile old man.  I am just mortified.

Additionally, Obama is proposing another future stimulus package!?!?!  As if the last one didn’t put us into even more debt as a nation, let’s just go ahead and make the hole deeper!  Does this sound right to you?  I know in my present financial situation because of our economy’s current state, I have had to make adjustments.  My money (what little I have!)  has to be organized and managed correctly.  Now, this same principal should be applied to our government.  If we are in a huge amount of debt, if our economy is in a major recession and/or depression as it is right now, shouldn’t we cut back on the spending??  Hmm…just a “common sense” thought there.  One example of this (which I just found out, by the way) is that Obama approved a 3.45 million dollar project to build tunnels for the turtles in the great state of Florida (where I am a resident).  Tunnels for turtles so they can safely cross the road.  Call me crazy, but when our unemployment rate is rapidly increasing and people all across this great country are losing their homes, cars, and livelihoods…and we’re spending almost $3.5 million to build turtle tunnels…?  Something is terribly wrong with this picture.

And last but not least…this new energy bill.  Oh, where do I begin?  This bill is about 1200 pages in length.  It was given to the house members ONE day before they were scheduled to vote on it.  Umm…how can someone read and truly understand/comprehend a 1200 page document in only one day? Unless they’re all speed readers like the guy that Obama hired to speed read some of the bills before he passed them into law, I doubt they got through it.  At the voting, a Republican member asked for a copy of the bill, and he was told that there weren’t any copies available!  WHAT?!?!  How do you not bring a copy of the bill to the voting meeting?  So what is this energy bill anyway?  Glad you asked!  In short, it is masked as an environmentally friendly bill which would appeal to most Americans, I think…oh but it is far from just that.  This bill seeks to control the green house gas emissions, and increase the average American’s energy bill by about $1300 per year.  In other words, if this bill is passed in the Senate, your electric bill will probably increase by about $100 per month!  Is that okay with you?  Can you afford that?  Can our already struggling economy afford to make such a decision?  Does Obama and the Czars of Washington, D.C. really have your best interest at heart?  No, folks.  They are money and power hungry and are only out to better themselves; they care nothing for you and your problems. I looked at a voting poll on msnbc.com just a bit ago, and according to their website, over 81% of American voters think that this energy bill should not be passed because it will only further hurt our economy.   Hmm…81%…and you think that Obama and his administration is really representing the majority?

 Might I just point out that Mr. Al Gore makes about $200,000 per global warming scare tactic speech, and that he has fairly large investments in some of the energy companies (GE is one) and when/if this bill passes in the Senate, he (along with a few others on Obama’s forefront of energy bill supporters like Pelosi for example) will cash in big time!  What?  You mean they’re in this for the money?  They just want to get richer and raise our taxes to help them do that?  YES!!!!  HELLO!!!!  Wake up, America!  Our government is corrupt.  I have absolutely no faith in them at all.  I put my faith in Christ; He is my Savior, not Obama and his current administration.

So what do we do about this?  Is there anything we can do?  Yes, there absolutely is.  You may be like me and not have the resources to launch a big campaign against this entrusion on our freedoms, but we can let our voices be heard.  If you live in Florida, and you think that this energy bill is going to hurt our economy even more while fattening the wallets of the government elite, then call 202-224-5274 to leave a message, or speak with someone in the office of Bill Nelson, democrat Senator of Florida, and call 202-224-3041 to do the same with Mel Martinez, republican Senator of Florida.  When I called, their voice mailboxes were full, but I google searched their names, and there are websites where you can go and send an email to their respective offices.  So whether you call or write to them, let your voice be heard!  Evil increases when good people sit by and do nothing about it.  This government is expanding and increasing its power over us as citizens, but they must remember that we have the ultimate say; we have the ultimate authority; we the people.

Only truth spoken here,

Rachel

June 27, 2009 Posted by | Truth vs. fiction... | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Huge Theological Controversy…but should it be?

Accessory or Absolute Necessity?  The ongoing theological controversy in the U.S.

Primary Text:

Romans 6:

“What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The book of Romans was written by the apostle Paul (1:1) around 57 AD, and most biblical scholars believe that this letter was written during Paul’s third missionary journey, specifically that he wrote this letter in Corinth. The recipients of Paul’s letter were the Believers in Rome, predominantly Gentiles (1:13). Paul did not found this particular church, which explains why he introduces himself and expresses his desire to visit with them (1:13-15).

The book of Romans centers around three major themes:

1). God’s faithfulness, specifically his covenant faithfulness. His faithfulness to his promise to Abraham is revealed in salvation on the basis of faith. Both Jews and Gentiles find righteousness before God through faith in Jesus (3:21-26).

2). Righteousness. Neither Jews nor Gentiles are able to achieve a right relationship (righteousness) with God solely based on merit, i.e., good works, etc. But the good news of the Gospel is that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God gives his own righteousness to all who believe in Christ (3:21—5:21). Through Believers’ union with Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit enables Christians to live righteous lives here and now (6:1—8:39).

3). Reconciliation. Paul had a deep concern for racial reconciliation and cross-cultural sensitivity. His advice on resolving internal conflicts in the church (14:1—15:6) displays Christ’s attitude as the example for our own (15:1-6). Paul reiterated Jesus’ teaching that love of neighbor fulfills the law’s intent (13:8-10).

Looking at the above passage (Romans 6), the focus of this particular section would be the concept of righteousness, i.e., a right standing before God. In the Jewish mindset, righteousness was achieved through their inheritance as descendants of Abraham, as well as their righteous deeds. This is precisely why many Jewish Believers had difficulty understanding and accepting that Gentiles (people not of Jewish descent) could also receive salvation. Paul’s primary mission was to the Gentiles, and he adamantly believed that salvation was not based upon race, culture, or works, but that salvation was offered through Christ’s death and resurrection, and that we are justified by our belief and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Frequently throughout Romans 6 Paul utilizes the analogy of slavery: either being a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. Paul confirms that his audience (church in Rome) is no longer slaves to sin; but have been regenerated through Christ and is now slaves to righteousness. Although Paul confirms that the Believers in Rome are no longer slaves to sin; he still admonishes them to not offer their bodies as instruments of wickedness, and to not let sin reign in their bodies (6:11-14). This leads us to understand that perhaps some of the Gentile Believers that Paul was writing to thought that because they believed in Christ and were living under grace that they could continue to embrace a sinful and ungodly life style which parroted their surrounding culture (sounds an awful lot like American Christianity, does it not?).

Paul utilized a literary technique in which it appeared that he was having a conversation with an imaginary opponent. For example, when Paul stated: “What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” (6:1) or “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (6:15). Paul anticipates the questions and/or potential arguments for living a sinful life as a Believer, in other words, some might argue that because we live under grace, and have “prayed the prayer” and are saved that we can live however we want, and that is totally fine. Jesus’ message of belief accompanied with repentance (turning from sin), reflected also here in Paul’s writing, would refute this heretical belief. Grace does not give a license to sin.

Now this brings me to the focus of this study: is Christ an accessory or is he the absolute necessity? Here in our American culture, the Gospel is presented (and sadly believed by a good majority of so-called Believers) falsely. What I mean by this is that a large sum of church leaders and/or other preachers present Jesus as if he is an accessory to our lives. Many would proclaim that we have so much in our lives: family, jobs, homes, etc., but the one thing we lack is Jesus. This leads to the belief that Jesus is simply an additional component of our lives, in the same way that someone who has a nice stereo system and nice CD player desires to upgrade and/or complete the set by getting an iPod. Jesus is presented as an accessory and not what he truly is: the absolute necessity. He is not a part of our lives; He is not something extra to have in our already good lives…not at all. He is the all in all; He is everything. Our lives are worthless without him; we have no hope apart from him; he is not one option, he is the only option.

With this understanding in mind, for those that Christ is not merely an addition, but EVERYTHING in their lives…sin becomes detestable. Does that mean that true followers of Christ never sin? Absolutely not! However, true followers of Christ will be disgusted by their sin, and have an increasing desire to repent (turn) from their sins and walk in the holiness and righteousness of Christ. If Jesus is merely an accessory to you…dare I say that you are not truly his follower; you do not belong to him. You have to not only recognize your total depravity, but make Jesus LORD of your life. To call someone Lord is to proclaim them as master. Therefore, if Christ is our master that means we must live in obedience to Him. Jesus is not okay with our sinful behaviors…He desires for us to walk in freedom from sin and by doing so live out the true Gospel of Christ.

On a personal note: I have known many people that claim to be Christians, yet I see them going to bars and drinking, going to clubs and dancing, gossiping, lying, cheating, slandering others, back biting, etc. Does this mean that they are not Believers? Not necessarily, but there is one determining factor: if said individuals do not see the error of their ways, and have absolutely no conviction and/or no desire to change their sinful lives…according to Scripture, he/she does not belong to Christ. All that belong to Christ have been regenerated and filled with the Holy Spirit…when a true Believer sins, he/she experiences God’s discipline and conviction which leads him/her to confess and repent (turn) from his/her sinful behaviors. This is what Paul was talking about in Romans 6…those who have been crucified, buried, (and eventually resurrected) with Christ are no longer slaves to sin and thus their lives will no longer emulate perpetual sin and evil desires. This is the truth of the Gospel…Christ came to save us…to save us from our sin so that we might have a right standing (righteousness) before God…if Christ came to deliver us from our sin, then why in the world would he allow us to continue to live in it? He doesn’t! He is patient with us as we learn from him, yes, but those truly regenerated by Christ’s blood now have new desires…desires for holiness and righteousness instead of sin. That seed is planted and it will grow.

So I ask you: is Christ merely an accessory in your life such as an iPod or article of clothing, or is he everything to you…? Is he your only hope, your all in all, your justification and righteousness? Do you detest your sin? Do you experience God’s conviction and discipline when you stray? Scripture exhorts us to examine ourselves to see if we be in the faith…we all (myself most definitely included) need to take a look at our lives…what we desire, how we’ve been living, how we treat people, etc., and determine if we are indeed true followers of Christ. If he is simply your accessory, you do not belong to him. Make him your absolute necessity today!

Only truth spoken here,
-Rachel-

June 20, 2009 Posted by | 1 | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Expelled”

I recently watched the documentary, “Expelled”.  If you have not watched this movie yet, I highly recommend that you do.  Ben Stein, well known for his TV show, Visine drop commercials, and also his acting role on “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, is investigating some recent developments within the science community.  An editor of a science journal at the Smythsonian was basically laid off from his job because he allowed an article to be published which briefly mentioned “intelligent design”.  Apparently, as Stein researched and interviewed other scientists, and science professors further, he discovered that this was in fact a common occurrence.  All scientists or science professors that even mentioned intelligent design, or attempted to entertain its theories in various scientific studies and experiments were immediately reprimanded, and in most cases, fired from their jobs.

Now, you might be wondering what significance this has.  Perhaps you are one of those Christians that does not see the importance of truly understanding your faith and understanding the various oppositions to your faith.  If that is you, may I just urge you, to please, please reconsider your position.  Just because you are a Christian does not mean that you have kissed your brains good bye!  Continue to read, watch educational programs, study, and explore the enemies of Christianity.  Try to understand why people think the way they do, and then determine what answer you are prepared to give them; in and out of season.

According to Stein’s documentary, the science community at large supports only Darwin’s theory of Evolution, and any scientist that even considers intelligent design is automatically labeled as a fundamentalist Christian and/or a right-winged Republican.  Now, being a right-winged Republican or a fundamentalist Christian (which I am) is not necessarily a bad thing.  However, placing those labels on someone just because they entertain the concept of intelligent design is absolutely ludicrous!  Intelligent design, and Creationism are not one in the same.  The theory of intelligent design, simply states that because of the complexity of the cell (DNA, RNA, the nucleus, etc.) there probably had to be a “designer” because the initial information that passed through the first cells had to come from somewhere…it is way too detailed to have just appeared on its own.  Someone who believes in intelligent design doesn’t necessarily believe in God. 

One thing that I found very interesting in Stein’s documentary was his interview with Richard Dawkins, a prominent atheist and evolutionist who travels around promoting Darwinism and bashing religion.  He is pretty much a supreme God-hater; especially the Judeo-Christian God, because I rarely hear Dawkins bashing Ala or any of the millions of gods that Hindus worship, etc.  In this interview, Stein tells Dawkins about how some scientists say that intelligent design more readily explains the complexity of the cells, and where the original DNA information came from than simply the process of Evolution.  Stein then asked Dawkins if he (Dawkins) thought this might be possible.  Dawkins, and I am paraphrasing here of course, said something to the effect of: “Well, intelligent design is possible.  Perhaps there was some sort of highly evolved intelligent life form in the universe that came to our planet and gave us the information”.  In other words, Dawkins is saying that it could have been alien life form(s) that created us.  As Stein pointed out, “Dawkins is not against intelligent design, just certain designers, like God.”  What I find incredibly ironic and actually had to laugh about it as I watched this movie, is that Dawkins is criticizing people of religious faith for believing in something as unprovable and ludicrous as “God”; yet Dawkins is entertaining the possibility of aliens?!?!?!?!  Do you see the irony here?

Additionally, Stein investigated Darwin’s impact (specifically his theories about natural selection and so forth) on the development of Nazism and World War II, and the Holocaust.  Hitler was heavily, almost word for word, influenced by Darwin’s theories.  Hitler’s whole purpose was to keep the German “race” pure by killing off black people, Jews, Christians (those who opposed Hitler or housed Jews in hiding), and people with handicaps.  The physically and mentally handicapped were viewed as less than human beings; it was the basic devaluing of human life which directly derives from Darwin’s theories.  If we are all a product of natural selection, and only the strong survive, then those that are weak or different from us are obviously inferior and in order to speed up the process and major tenants of Evolution, Hitler began killing people off.  Now, atheists have argued that there has been a lot of killing in the name of “God”, such as the Crusades.  Just because the Crusades happened does not make it right.  I am saddened by the fact that so many people claiming to be Believers thought it was necessary to go around killing everyone who did not; that was incredibly and tragically wrong and I can admit that.  But can Evolutionists admit that Darwin’s theories played a major part in the atrocities of World War II…?   Usually they cannot and will not.

Stein’s whole premise for this documentary was to make it clear that the science community is having their academic and in some cases religious freedoms taken away when they entertain intelligent design.  Stein stated many times that the United States was founded upon freedom; religious freedom, academic freedom, freedom of speech, etc.  When the science community not only prohibits scientists from utilizing intelligent design theories in their work, but out right attacks them for doing so, they are going against the basic freedoms that we have as American citizens.  And I would agree with that.

People of God: it is time for us to not be “clueless” about these issues.  We need to be aware of these topics and controversies and have a reason for our faith.

Only truth spoken here,

Rachel

June 7, 2009 Posted by | Truth vs. fiction... | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pentecost…

So what is all the hype about Pentecost?  What does it mean?  Why does everyone wear red to church on Pentecost?

Ok, let me address the simplest question: why does everyone wear red to church on Pentecost?  Everyone wears red on Pentecost (50 days after resurrection of Christ) because red represents fire, power, passion, etc., and that is what came upon the Believers in the upper room on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

Now, most Believers are very well familiar with the day of Pentecost as it is outlined in Acts chapter 2.  However, Pentecost finds its roots in the Old Testament.  Specifically in the book of Exodus; it was known as the “Feast of Weeks”, a celebration that lasted for quite a while.  I talked about it in one of my previous blogs about the Passover Meal, and the Passover lamb, etc.  The day of Pentecost fell within the time span of the Feast of Weeks.  The celebration of Pentecost occurred exactly 50 days after the Passover.  Fast forwarding to Acts 2, the day of Pentecost (when the Holy Spirit fell upon all the Believers in the upper room in Jerusalem) happened exactly 50 days after the death, burrial, and resurrection of Christ, and as I talked about before, Jesus was and is our Passover Lamb.

Prior to the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was definitely present in the Old Testament, but He only empowered certain individuals who had specific tasks given to them by God; mainly the leaders and prophets in the OT.  But something exciting happened in Acts 2!!  The Holy Spirit now indwells and comes upon ALL those who would put their faith in Christ and repent.  Man, woman, child, etc., are all filled with the Holy Spirit when they call upon the name of Jesus.

Now, onto a more controversial subject: speaking in tongues.  Man, I have opened a can of giant, mutant-sized worms!  This has been debated for years within our various Christian denominations.  Acts 2 tells us that those in the upper room began speaking in tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.  So what does this mean?  What was happening?  First things first, the feast of Pentecost was 1 out of 3 times every year that God-fearing Jews would travel to Jerusalem.  So on this particular day (Pentecost) there were Jews from various nations gathered in Jerusalem.  Consequently, they did not all speak the same language.  When the Holy Spirit came upon the Believers in the upper room, a violent wind shook the room, and something like tongues of fire rested on their heads.  As a result of this amazing experience, they were given the ability to speak in tongues.  This means that they were able, without having been taught, to speak in another language (all through the Holy Spirit’s empowerment).  Now, I have heard it said (and I believe that this is possible) that a sort of “double miracle” occurred at that moment.  Not only were these Galileans (known for not being the most educated and intelligent of their day) speaking in the languages of the various people groups gathered in Jerusalem, BUT the people heard them speaking the wonders of God in their own languages.  Now, if all of these people in the upper room are all speaking in tongues, all speaking different languages, how is it that the people in Jerusalem heard all of those voices in their own specific language?  That is the second miracle; the people there were given the ability to understand the Believers from the upper room in their own language.  It was truly amazing!

Now, the Holy Spirit not only gave the Believers the ability to speak in another language without learning it, but He also empowered them to witness and preach!  If you read Acts 2, you will see that when some of the people accuse the Galileans in the upper room of being drunk, Peter stands up and says, “Hey!  We’re not drunk!  It’s way too early, it’s only 9am!”  And then he proceeds to preach one of the most convicting and powerful sermons recorded in the whole of Scripture.  If you rewind a little bit to the Gospels, Peter was the disciple that was quite frequently putting his foot in his mouth.  Often he would not understand Jesus’ teaching, he said things too hastily.  Pretty much the only thing Peter did right was to confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God, which Jesus told Peter that only God had revealed that to Him.  Other than that, Peter was just your average, rough neck, Galilean fisherman.  But once the Holy Spirit came upon him in power and boldness; he was able to bring forth an awesome Word from God and as a result of his sermon, and the demonstration of the Spirit’s power, approximately 3,000 people believed, repented, and were baptized that day…the day of Pentecost.

So what does this mean for us as Believers today?  Well, I believe that Acts 2 and the story of Pentecost demonstrates the inclusivity of the Gospel of Christ; it was meant for all people, in all nations, who speak all different languages, so that’s the first important aspect.

Secondly, I don’t believe that we should get all caught up on whether or not speaking in tongues still occurs in the Church today.  I don’t believe this was ever meant to be the focus of this biblical text.  The focus was and should be on the power of the Holy Spirit, and how all those who call upon the name of Christ are saved and filled with that same Holy Spirit.  Whether or not tongues still occur is debatable, and for the most part inconsequential for us today.

Thirdly, the story of Pentecost from Acts 2 should get us fired up about sharing the truth of the Gospel with everyone; our classmates, co-workers, neighbors, cashiers at the super market, waitresses/waiters at the restaurant, dog walker, etc., etc., you get the picture!  If you believe in Christ, you have bee filled with His Holy Spirit, and you have been given that same boldness that Peter had to preach the Word!

Lastly, the day of Pentecost provides for us the birth of the New Testament Church.  Notice how it was not birthed through programs or strategies, but it was birthed through the power of the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power.  And might I remind you that the Holy Spirit’s power fell when the Believers were gathered together in agreement, and in prayer.  If you want to be used by God, then you’d better get on your knees and pray for Him to fill you and give you the strength you need to carry out the task He’s given.  Powerful things happen when God’s people pray!

So, as you reflect upon the day of Pentecost today, remember that Church ministry is only effective when the Holy Spirit has empowered it.  If your focus is programs and strategies, instead of prayer and seeking the Holy Spirit’s power, then the focus is misdirected and your ministry will ultimately suffer because of it.  Also, please remember that if you have put your faith in Christ and repented of your sins; you belong to Him and you have been filled with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit gives you strength, gifts, and boldness for sharing your faith…so start living like it!

Only truth spoken here,

Rachel

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Truth vs. fiction... | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fed Ex and the Church

I read a sign a week or so ago, and this sign was hanging outside of a Fed Ex/Kinkos business here in Orlando, FL.  The sign read in big, bold letters: “The height and quality of your message will determine the quality and quantity of your customers.”  I slowed down as I was driving past this sign, I read the words twice as I drove by it.  I found myself repeating these words in my head, and even out loud a few times.  It just stuck there in my mind like a yellow post it note; I couldn’t forget about it.

Then it dawned on me; this Fed Ex/Kinkos advertisement hanging proudly outside the entry way to the world of packages, faxes, and copies displayed more than mere black lettering on a white back drop, it represented a philosophy; if you desire profits for your business, and if you want the right clientele (people with money and excellent reputation), then your presentation or “message” must be at or exceed the level of those that you seek as customers.  In other words, presentation is everything if you want the right kind of people.

Now, this “philosophy” works well in the post modern, secular, capitalistic, business-minded world that we live in, because it’s all about making a buck.  But does this philosophy hold water where the Church is concerned?  Let me rephrase: should this philosophy be applied to Church ministry, church planting, etc?

Let’s think about it biblically: who did Jesus call as His twelve disciples, meaning, what were their occupations?  We know from the testimony of Scripture (specifically as it is outlined in the Synoptic Gospels, and John’s Gospel) that the majority of the twelve disciples were fishermen.  Being a fisherman was an incredibly low-paying, thankless job.  These were not Israel’s elite, money-making career professionals.  They were not well-educated or well-spoken.  They were rough necks.  But Jesus called them and they turned the world upside down with the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Similarly, who did Jesus reach out to during His three-year earthly ministry?  Well, from my recollection and years of studying the New Testament, the followers of Christ during His ministry, and those He reached out to included the following: tax collectors (which were basically outcasts in that society because they would frequently rip people off), prostitutes (a big “no-no” to hang out with them in Jewish culture/norms), lepers (again, touching a leper in Jewish mindset made a person “unclean”, and when Jesus healed a leperous man, He reached out and touched him), sinners, drunkards, poor people, sick people, women, children, etc.  All of these individuals were not the elite, they were not “quality” people, they were not your upper level clientele, but Christ went to them; He chose them; He loved them; He saved them; and these lower level societal outcasts changed the world.

Business formulas and philosophies have no place in church ministry.  The way Christ did things were seemingly “backwards”.  Here He was the King of all Creation, and He was born to an unmarried, teenage girl, and born in a barn and slept in a food trough.  Does that sound like quality/elite clientele to you?  Christ came to seek and save that which was lost; He came to restore and heal the sick sinners, not the healthy (or those that think they are healthy)…this was, in the minds of many people in Christ’s day, totally opposite of what He should have been doing.  He should have been going out and seeking the powerful, strong, rich, militarily-minded people so He could build an army and overthrow Rome’s power.

Now let’s fast forward a bit to the early church in the book of Acts.  Christ was crucified, but resurrected and then ascended into heaven.  Acts 2 outlines the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem (as Jesus had told them to do).  So what happened?  The people in Jerusalem that were there to celebrate the feast of Pentecost, heard the people in the upper room speaking the wonders of God in their own languages (which the Holy Spirit gave them the ability to do and gave these out of towners the ability to understand).  Then Peter (the fisherman disciple who quite frequently had his foot implanted in his mouth) stands up in front of these people and preaches probably one of the most awesome sermons recorded in Scripture.  Peter, through the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit, proclaims the truth of the Gospel, the truth of who Christ was and is, and as a result, what happens?  Three thousand people put their faith in Christ, repent of their sins, and are water baptized.  It also tells us that these early church members dedicated themselves to the study of Scripture, and Christian fellowship.  As a result of all the above information, Scripture tells us that their number (their membership) increased on a daily basis.

Did they have some sort of special marketing strategy?  Did they think of all sorts of ways to be relevant and culturally sensitive, and seeker-friendly?  Absolutely not.  What did they do?  They preached the truth; and of equal importance, they lived out the same truth that they proclaimed.  They were not concerned about the quality of their presentation, the entertainment value, if you will.  They were concerned about the Truth, and reaching out to all people with that same truth; the exact same thing that Christ had done in His earthly ministry.

So what has happened?  Why has the Church’s (at least here in the States) focus turned to numbers for numbers’ sake (instead of for the sake of building God’s Kingdom), and profits (gearing our “message” to the right clientele).  I mean, heaven forbid that drug dealers, prostitutes, drunkards, and the like walk through the doors of our church buildings seeking truth, seeking salvation…we would probably shun them because they do not fit our aforementioned criteria.  A really good friend of mine said something powerful last night, he said: “The Church in America does not operate and do things in the power of God…we do things in the flesh.”  Is this not the truth?  Instead of meeting people’s needs and preaching the truth of the Gospel, instead of going to them, we simply advertise and entertain, and expect them to come to us.  Christ went to the sinners, and as a result, they followed Him, they came to Him.  Not because He was politically correct or entertaining, but because He ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit and He spoke the truth.  Oh that the Church would get back to these basics and stop allowing our culture to influence how we do ministry!  We actually might see a mighty move of the Holy Spirit and true revival, true repentance, true belief in Christ, flood our communities and cities like never before!

So…what are we seeking?  Upper level, elite, clientele to add to our church membership logs (for our own glory)…?  Or are we seeking those that society has marginalized, the untouchables, the unlovables…are we preaching the truth to those that are “sick”?  Last time I checked, it was the lower than entry level, poor, abused, sick, clientele that Christ came to save.

Only truth spoken here,

Rachel

May 25, 2009 Posted by | 1 | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Great Aunt Ida Ain’t Comin’ Over for Dinner!

I just read an article from National Geographic’s website concerning the discovery of the supposed “missing link”; a fossil of a lemur-like creature which the leading scientist in this venture (Jorn Hurum) named “Ida” after his own daughter.   So this proves Evolution!  Creation-believing, evangelical Christians must run and hide; the evidence is in!  “Ida” proves that human beings once had primate-like ancestors.  Or does it…?

Before we tuck our tails between our legs and give into the theory of Darwinian Evolution: let’s look at the facts, shall we?  Firstly, “Ida” was discovered around 1983 in Germany and has just now made its way to the U.S.  Amazingly, as soon as it was “discovered” here in the U.S., our media pushed and pushed for a cover story to be released which some how termed “Ida” as humanity’s “missing link”.  I am wondering if this might have had anything to do with all the hype.

Secondly, scientists claim that “Ida” is approximately 47 million years old, but yet her entire fossil (all the bones, etc) were found completely intact, and they even found bits of food in her digestive tract, as well as fur, etc.  The scientists are amazed at how well she had been preserved, because there really isn’t a good explanation as to how a 47 million year old deceased corpse could remain so well preserved (which the age of the fossil is not 100 percent verifiable, by the way)!

Thirdly, and related to the second point, “Ida’s” preservation is believed by some to be the result of a catastrophic flood…interesting!  The Bible outlines that catastrophic flood in Genesis chapters 6-8. The Bible teaches that Noah (a descendant of Adam) and his family were the only righteous people left on the earth; the earth had become increasingly evil and violent.  God determined that He would bring a flood upon the earth, and destroy all human and animal life (aside from Noah and his family, and the animals that God spared by having Noah take them on the ark).  God’s Word states that two of every kind of animal (which would include lemurs and/or some type of primate) was brought into the ark so that God could preserve both human and animal life.  A great flood came and covered the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.  This flood came rather suddenly and would explain the many fossils that have been recovered over the years in which the animals look like they passed away instantaneously (looking like they were still in motion, etc.).  This flood, however, did not occur 47 million years ago.  It happened probably around 5,000 B.C., according to Biblical record.

Fourthly, how exactly does the discovery of a lemur fossil automatically prove that there is an ancestral connection between humanity and lemurs?  The scientists say that “Ida” had opposable thumbs, demonstrating her link to humans.  However, all primates have opposable thumbs, so what makes this fossil any different from any other primate-like fossil found in years past?  The truth is, nothing sets this fossil apart.  The fossil does not even remotely resemble human-like features, but yet scientists are claiming she is “linked” to us.

For those of us that are Bible-believing, God-fearing, Creationists, this discovery should not cause us any unrest or fear.  The discovery of “Ida” the lemur (believe to be the great great great great Aunt of humans in the evolutionary tree) proves absolutely nothing except that a lemur/primate died.  The truth be told, that is all that a fossil proves: something died.  The Bible is still true, God’s Word is still accurate, and Evolution is still historical scientific fiction since it is neither observable or testable.  So, I say that Great Aunt Ida is of no relation to me…she ain’t coming over for dinner at my house.

Only truth spoken here,

Rachel

May 24, 2009 Posted by | Truth vs. fiction... | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The second time around…

Today I was a substitute teacher at Walker Middle School, the school that I attended during my 6th grade year of junior high.  In all honesty, I had not even been back to this school since the end of my 6th grade year…that would be about 16 years ago!

As I drove to the school early this morning, I thought about what I remembered of this particular school.  I thought, “Well, I remember that it was a big school, large campus, a lot of walking…”  As I pulled into the school’s parking lot…I had to do a “double take”.  Was this the same school I went to for one year?  It was so SMALL!  Everything was compact…the various areas of the school from the office to the cafeteria to the portables…it was incredibly short walking distance!  It’s amazing how small something can seem years down the road…the second time around…

This got me to thinking about life.  Isn’t life the same way?  The first time you go through a difficulty, a “trial”, if you will, doesn’t it seem like the most horrible thing you’ve ever been through?  But you face, you get through it.  And then perhaps several years go by and you face a similar situation…now you’re prepared.  You’ve grown, you’ve learned from the previous similar situation, and now the problem doesn’t seem so big.  It’s really just a little junior high campus that takes about two minutes to walk across.

The apostle Paul noted that our present trials and tribulations are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us in heaven…these trials are considered “light and momentary afflictions”.  In light of eternity…they do not matter.  When I was in junior high…the smallest little issues were probably the biggest moments of “drama” for the vast majority of my female friends.  But as I walked on that campus as a substitute teacher at 27 years of age, I had to laugh at all the little things I used to think were big deals.  This is life…this is the way it is…

So if you’re going through something the second time around…count your blessings…God knows you can handle it…you’ve gone through it before…use the wisdom and experience you gleaned in the past, and apply it to your present situation.  And remember in everything to give God the glory and the praise.  It’s just a little middle school campus…so don’t be frightened anymore…you’re a grown up now…so walk with boldness.

Blessings in Christ,

Rachel

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Truth vs. fiction... | , , , , , | Leave a comment