In Deed and In Truth

thoughts from a Christian

Easter? Resurrection.

As a Christian, I for one, cannot refer to this holiday as the “Easter” holiday.  Here is an excerpt from the sermon last year during this holiday:

Let’s discuss the term: Easter.  It has now been associated with Christ’s resurrection for as long as we can remember.  Unfortunately, the Scriptures nor any Biblical scholars ever agree that the term Easter should be associated with Christ’s resurrection.  The term “easter” stems from ancient polytheistic religions.  It is a pagan term dating back to the flood, the original beginning of the Babylonian empire.  “Easter” is the name of the Teutonic goddess of Spring or fertility, which was then associated Semiramis, the wife of the first ruler of Babylon.

As far as the bunny goes, rabbits have always been known as the sexual symbol of fertility.  Additionally, the easter bunny is associated with the mother goddess of Spring.  The easter egg, draws from it’s ancient traditions that the egg is a sacred symbol from where the Spring goddess of fertility, Semiramis hatched.

Isn’t it interesting that the act of Jesus Christ that destroyed death has now been obscured by the term easter, Ishtar, bunnies, and eggs, all of which come from pagan traditions that mock the story of Christ?  Isn’t it even more interesting that we’ve accepted it and never questioned it, not even church leaders today?  This is the reason why we try to change the thinking and call this day, Resurrection Sunday.

This day should be about Christ.  And too often, the word association of easter contains words of bunnies, pastels, and eggs, hunting and painting.  Today, we try to remind ourselves and teach ourselves new things regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The devil is the great deceiver and the father of lies. (John 8:44)  He’s taken this crucial moment of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice and has created a misconception that has not only infiltrated the general society but the Christian church itself!  Does anyone really think that it’s a coincidence that the automatic response to this day is that of pastels, bunnies, and egg hunts?  Do we really assume that during Christmas the character of Santa Claus just miraculously and coincidentally appeared for the convenience of little children everywhere?  Remember the line from C.S. Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters that the greatest victory that Satan has achieved is making the world believe he doesn’t exist. (paraphrase).  For us to assume that on the day of Christ’s birth and the day of His resurrection, these other fables have manifested itself by sheer coincidence would be buying into that very statement.

Even a subtle title change of acknowledging that this is the day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection to the pagan goddess of Spring is a victory, not for the Christian, but for the deceiver.  It’s even more sad that proclaimed Christian leaders all around the world still will not hesitate to call this holiday Easter, not because of their understanding of the term, but because of the name association that falls behind it.

“I’ve always known it to be Easter.”

Yeah.  And I’ve always known Christ to have risen from the grave, not because of deceit, but because of truth.

(Picture taken from http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_b1riZLz_O3c/SeHd1WtxGlI/AAAAAAAABBM/sjttyRPnbpk/s400/easter.jpg)

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April 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Social Change

So many groups today strive to change the world, hoping to affect and influence their respective societies by inundating them with information and proactive propaganda, activities and events, rallies to publicly display their support or opposition against their personal axiological beliefs.  This is their aim.  This is their purpose.  And this is their prerogative.

Eventually, the responsibility and burden of social change also falls upon the church.  Various denominations focus ministries and money toward social change for the betterment of society.  (The definition of “betterment” is thoroughly subjective, according to the one arguing for it).  People are always striving to change societal perceptions, values, and priorities.  They reach out to the law makers, the judges, the politicians, the church leaders, the business minded and wealthy, with hopes of stirring change in these highly influential people that will one day cause a chain reaction, bringing attention to the evils (or good) that plague mankind.

Here’s where the change needs to be made.  If one truly wants to make a change in the world, in society, in a school, in their church, one must understand that education is an agent for social change.  The problem is that we’re focusing our attention on educating the wrong demographic.

In order to change the world, change society, or change our church, it’s not so much about educating those who are in positions of leadership, authority, and influence.  It’s about educating those who will be.

It’s about educating our youth.

And it’s not just about educating our youth, but providing our youth with a Christian education, understanding that the Bible must be the integration point for their entire knowledge.  Christian education is to provide a protected atmosphere for the young where this transmission can take place and where Christian values may be imparted to the young in their formative years through formal curriculum and through more informal aspects of the educational contexts such as peer group or extra-curricular activities.[1]

These are the minds that must be introduced to sound, conservative Biblical principles, principles that they will base their epistemology upon, principles that will guide and direct their lives.  It is these principles that will produce a strong hold against the things of this world that will inevitably corrupt a young mind bound for positions of authority.  If we can protect the values of our youth, they will endure society, firm in their Biblical and Christological conviction, and will carry that same conviction into the authoritative roles that they will one day occupy.

It’s not about trying to change the mind of our leaders today.  It’s about developing the minds of the leaders of tomorrow.

If you want to change society, take your focus off the rallies, the flyers, letters to the politicians, the stand-ins, the protests, the t-shirts, the websites, and the blogs.  Instead, make the 20 year investment by teaching Biblical principles to our children today, from the moment they can determine their axiological beliefs.  And when they are old, when they become our future politicians, future business entrepreneurs, future presidents, and future church leaders, we can trust the Lord that they will not depart from it.

(Picture taken from http://cheritasmith.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/I-want-change.jpg)


[1] Philosophical Foundations of Christian Education, The Social Function of Christian Education pg. 79

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lust of the Flesh

Since there’s been an added interest in the topic of sex and carnal desires, I figured it was high time to write another blog post about that which people can relate to and that which some cannot seem to get enough.  Here is the first of the three descriptions of the “things of this world.”

LUST OF THE FLESH

It is important that each and everyone of us takes a look at our own personal daily lives and determine what takes precedence in our lives.  What do we keep in front of our eyes?  What do we focus our minds on?  What are our hearts filled with?  Is it with the things of God or the things of this world?

Once we determine what takes priority in our lives we must make a decision.  Do we stay the course or do we change direction?  If we’ve remained obedient to the things of God then we are on the right track.  But if we’ve come to the revelation that our lives are filled more with the things of this world, what must we do then?  It is then that we must turn away from the things that are destructive and turn back to God.  The question we then ask ourselves is, “what are we turning away from?”

I. The Lust of the Flesh

1 John 2:16- “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.”

I was once enlightened to an important and critical fact.  We in this world must learn to transform our love for sin into our love for God.  We must learn to love sin less and love God more.  We must exchange our love for sin for the love of God.  This is of course very difficult for many of us.  We find gratification with sin.  We find fulfillment.  We feel as if we are whole by committing the sins that we commit.  When we try and exchange our sin for God, that fulfillment may not be as tangible.  We try to stay satisfied with God, but it’s difficult because God isn’t as visible or tangible as the sin we’ve been holding to.

Then eventually we feel empty.  We need to be filled.  God is absent.  We don’t feel him.  But we sure do know the feeling we get when we commit a sin.  We remember how good it felt.  We remember how it satisfied our longings.  We could not wait for God to fill the void in our hearts.  It’s much more easily satisfied by sin.

But we remember what Christ told the Samaritan woman at the well.  He who drinks of the water of this well will thirst again but he who drinks of the water that I give him will never thirst.  We may satisfy our cravings temporarily by committing the sins that we know make us feel good, but it is a short term gratification.  We must turn away from these things and turn to God.

We are fortunate enough that the apostle John introduced us to the things that we should be wary of.  In the introduction, we asked ourselves, what are the things that we are supposed to turn from?  Sin, sure.  But more specifically John gives us three weapons the enemy uses that we must look out for.

The first is the lust of the flesh.  The Greek word for “lust” is epithumia.  It speaks of “a desire, a craving, a longing, a desire for what is forbidden.”[1] This desire is for the flesh.  The Greek word for “”flesh” is sarx.  It “denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God.”[2] In simpler terms, when talking of the lust of the flesh, it talks of the humanly desires.  “The lust of the flesh is, subjectively, the humour and appetite of indulging fleshly pleasures; and objectively, all those things that excite and inflame the pleasures of the flesh.”[3]

This is the nature of man.  Fleshly, carnal obsession and desires constitute the makeup of mankind.  As sin permeates throughout our entire being, we are characterized by the desire to fulfill the desires of our flesh.  It is our wanting, our longing, to indulge in pleasures of the earthly kind.  Do we not find ourselves desiring to indulge in the appetites of that which ultimately corrupts our character, our integrity, our morality and thwarts any progress of our relationship with God?

Sensual and impure desires overtake that which we know is correct and moral.  This world allows these desires to be accessible, attainable, and acceptable.  They are lusts that are freely given.  They are desires sought after by the majority of this world that if one desires not to pursue, they are of the minority, are looked down upon, spat upon, and called intolerant.

And yet, they are still desires that we justify.  We crave it.  We desire it.  We need it.  I’m suffering and it brings me temporary gratification.  The flesh is good at the moment my lust is being satisfied.  I only consider what is immediately in front of me.  And what is in front of me is lust.  Lust for violence, for gore, for sex, for men, for women, for alcohol, for drugs, for hate, for wrath, for envy, for jealousy, and uncleanness.  For everything discussed in Galatians 5:19.  There are nearly twice as many works of the flesh than there are works of the Spirit.  We must be wary of what takes precedence in our lives.

We discussed earlier that we must decide to not fill our hearts with the things of this world, but rather to turn away from those things and fill our hearts with the things of God.  This is necessary because we remind ourselves that to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually mind is life and peace.

We must consider our own lives and decide if the lust of the flesh supersedes our love for God.  Are we overridden with sensual impure thoughts?  Worse yet, are we overridden with sensual impure actions?  Do we seek immediate gratification even at the expense of our soul?

With each temptation we succumb to we make a bold statement that we would rather live for the lust of our flesh than for the glory of God.  We’ve heard so many times to repent and to turn away but never the specific answer of what to turn away from.  With conviction we know that which we must steer clear of.  The lust of the flesh keeps us far away from God.

(Picture taken from http://pics.livejournal.com/ric14u/pic/0002h9qk/s320x240)


[1] Blueletterbible.com

[2] Ibid

[3] Matthew Henry’s Commentary

March 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments