Friday, June 26, 2009

What the Bible Says About Homosexuality

Homosexuality Many people assumed the teachings against homosexuality is now a thing of the past, and the reason why it was considered unacceptable was only because of cultural misconception arising from conservative practices and the lack of knowledge concerning biological genes. Today, some institutes and human rights movements have even advocated the need to assert a person's right to homosexuality, and this has brought about much pain to various parties involved in regulating the right and wrong of same gender relationship.

In this article, we shall take a look at what the Bible says about homosexuality in the context of the New Testament. The apostle Paul in the epistle to the Romans, wrote:

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:26-32 NAS)

This passage may be summarized into two key points. The first point states that relationship of the same gender is wrong, and the second states whoever teaches otherwise and gives hearty approval of homosexuality is deserving of death.It is clear that anyone who calls evil good and good evil shall be worthy of punishment (Romans 1:32; Isaiah 5:20). It is also clear the Word of God does not agree with the practices of effeminacy and homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

If you feel you have a passion for someone of your own gender, and you are confused with your passions, wondering why you have such inclinations, or whether it is genetically natural to have same sex intimacy, or if you simply just want to know what is right or wrong with same gender relationship, you can begin by reading some of the information provided in the following links:

May God bless you in your search for answers.

Dear Lord, forgive us for failing to understand our own passions and inclinations. Help us, by Your Holy Spirit, overcome the wrong and the unnatural. Lead us in Your ways Lord, according to Your Word, and keep us strong as we walk this path on earth.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Our Sustenance in Times of Need

for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. (Ruth 1:20b-21a NAS)

Financial Crsis When the Lehman Brothers, one of oldest names on Wall Street, filed for bankruptcy protection on September 15, 2008, the entire financial industry was gripped with fear as to what might happen next, reported The New York Times. Within the same week, Merrill Lynch, under mounting pressure to avert deepening financial crisis, had reached a deal to sell itself to Bank of America for about $50 billion. While Lehman and Merrill were still hanging in the balance, insurance giant American International Group, staggered by losses stemming from the credit crisis, sought a $40 billion lifeline from the Federal Reserve. All these series of events culminated led to a worldwide economic crisis, and many institutions, corporations and individuals till this day are still struggling to contain its rippling effects.

As consumers, workers, entrepreneurs or investors, we are in one way or another affected by this financial crisis. With prices of consumer goods continuing to rise, businesses and corporations changing hands or closing down, individuals losing jobs or business opportunities, and bad debts on the increase resulting from investment losses or delay in financial repayments for mortgages, loans and credit lines, few today can remain nonchalant to what is happening in the financial world.

Like Job in the Old Testament, some of us may have once been rich or blessed with sufficient money to live comfortable lives. The financial crisis or some other events, however, may have left us with little to live on. Unlike Job who was able to bless God even in such situations (Job 1:21), we may have reacted like Naomi to say the Almighty has dealt with us very bitterly, for we were full when we went out, but the LORD has brought us back empty (Ruth 1:20b-21a).

Some years ago, I was faced with a similar situation that almost left me in poverty. I was out of a job, and it took me five years before I found another. During those years of waiting and looking for alternative work, I took on various freelance assignments. These occasional assignments however were unable to provide sufficiently for my small family, so I had to dig into my savings. Throughout the five years, I sought the Lord for sustenance, and He had never failed to provide for me and my family. Whenever there was a necessity requiring payment, the Lord would grant me a job assignment which would provide sufficiently for that time of need. Nearing the end of my savings, I was granted a full time job by the Lord to work in a multinational computer corporation as a technical writer, fulfilling my desire to write, yet without sacrificing my past experience as a technical support engineer in the information technology industry. Today, although I can no longer afford to spend on personal or family indulgence like before because of the shortfall in monetary returns, my family and I are living each day happily and sufficiently by the grace of God.

As believers, we should never live our lives as if there is no hope for tomorrow even when faced with surmounting crises in our lives. We should not be worried about our future as to what we shall eat or what we shall wear, for our heavenly Father knows our needs (Matthew 6:25-34). We should instead learn to recognize the many blessings God has already given us. Just as Naomi was blessed with the restoration of life and sustenance at old age through the birth of a grandchild and redeemer following the line of King David (Ruth 4:14-16), we can trust God to take care of our sustenance in times of need and be assured in our hearts He will surely provide for us and our families.

Forgive us Lord for feeling bitter over our loss of riches and for failing to completely trust in You in times of need. Help us Lord not to be overwhelmed by the crises we face in this world, but instead open our eyes Lord to see and recognize Your sovereignty in all situations. Move our hearts Lord that we may not be found ungrateful and lacking in thankfulness for the blessings You have given us. Lead us O Lord every step of our ways as we live each day with complete trust in You.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tasting Bitter Before Sweet

Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad a heart may be happy. (Ecclesiastes 7:3 NAS)

Bitter Sweet When I was in my early 20s, several crises happened in my life at the same time that left me devastated. A loved one in my family was in critical condition, an affectionate relationship was broken, a discord in the church which led to friendship separations—these and more happened within a short span of time from each other, and came suddenly without any warning. It was like the entire world has turned against me and I was left all alone with no one to turn to for help or share my pain and agony. In that state of despair and desperation, I strayed and walked away from God, but not for long, because I soon realized I could never live a meaningful life without God.

All of us have experienced difficult times in our lives and may continue to experience some now or in the future. It is during such times we should stand firm and not stray away from God, for it is only then we can truly understand the meaning of God is our strength, our guide, and our reliance. Unless we taste the bitter and experience being down and out, the moments of despair and the feeling of being all alone in the world, we seldom look to God and rely on Him. Once we have experienced all these, however, we will be able to appreciate His sweet and perfect peace with complete confidence in the fullness of His sufficiency.

The author of the Book of Ecclesiastes rightly said sorrow is better than laughter, for only when we have tasted the bitter and experienced deep sadness can we truly comprehend the sweetness of true happiness (Ecclesiastes 7:3). Life as we know it in the real world is not all a bed of roses without the thorns; it is frequently mingled with bitter and sweet as long as we are here on earth. Jesus, in illustrating how believers should live their lives said:

Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12 NAS)

As Christians, there will be times when we will be called to stand for the truth, but there will also be times when we may prefer to hear the sweet rather than the truth, because the truth is often bitter and accompanied by consequences we do not wish to bear. If we see a friend or a colleague being falsely accused for something he did not do by someone trying to cover up for his mistake, will we leave our friend or colleague to stand accused and let the accuser go scot free, or will we defend the righteous? What if by speaking the truth, we risk finding trouble for ourselves or losing our jobs? Will we still dare to stand up for the truth in representing what is right, or will we stand accused of letting down our faith?

If we are willing to taste the bitter, and stand for the truth in facing insults, false accusations and persecutions because of Jesus, we can rejoice and be glad because the Lord has promised us our reward in heaven will be great (Matthew 5:11-12), and we will with certainty get to taste of its sweetness.

Teach us therefore dear Lord to live our lives worthy of Your calling, to stand up for the truth even if it means to risk inconveniences and possible persecutions. Help us be willing Lord to taste that which is bitter for Your name's sake, that we may experience the sweetness of true happiness. Strengthen us Lord and be our guide to see us through difficult times. Lead us in Your ways Lord so that we may not stray away from You, for we know O God it is during such difficult times that we need You the most, because in You alone can we live meaningful lives.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Lost Without the Light

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." (John 8:12 NAS)

Blackout In February 2008, a wide-ranging blackout swept across Florida which affected nearly one million households and businesses, knocking out traffic signals and trapping scores of people in elevators, reported The New York Times. Within a two-hour period, Miami-Dade fire officials received reports of about 40 car accidents; more than triple the daily average. At least eight power plants and 15 major transmission lines were knocked out. Among the affected power plants was the Turkey Point nuclear complex in southern Miami-Dade County, where two reactors shut themselves down within seconds of the initial failure when automatic devices sensed a voltage drop on the incoming power lines, a spokeswoman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington told the press. According to Florida Power & Light, 700,000 to 800,000 of its 4.4 million customers were without electricity at the peak of the blackout.

“It was pitch black and nobody knew what was going on,” said Mr Ulises Orozco who was in a 50-story office building in Miami when the power went out. “It was hot and humid within the stairwell, but most people chose to evacuate the building anyway because there were all these conspiracy theorists talking about terrorism.”Imagine how much havoc darkness can create for us all when we are without light. Jesus understands what it means for the world to live in darkness when He said to His disciples "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him" (John 11:9-10 NAS).

"For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light" (John 12:35-36a NAS).

As believers in the Lord, we are all called to become sons of Light. Jesus is the Light of the world, and as His followers, we should not walk in darkness, but have the Light of life (John 8:12). We are to work the works of Him who sent us, as long as it is day, for night is coming when none of us will be able to do the work of God (John 9:4). What our Lord tells us in darkness or in privacy, therefore, we must speak in the light (Matthew 10:27). If we fail to do our part to speak in the light, then all who are still living in darkness will surely perish without any hope of survival when they are thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:13-14).

Our first step in becoming sons of Light therefore is to stay clear from darkness and walk in His light. This means we must first begin by coming clean before God in all areas of our unholy lives, in confession and repentance, to take steps to build a closer relationship with God, to pray, study, and walk in His Word. Once we have laid hold of our lives to live victorious in Christ, we must then decisively take steps to stamp out the darkness in our lives, the bad habits and unhealthy practices, before we can illuminate the world.

Dear Lord, open our eyes and minds to see and remember the havoc darkness can create in our lives and in the lives of those who are yet unsaved. Help us Lord to depart completely from darkness to walk in the Light. Stir in our hearts Lord to understand the consequences the lost will have to bear if we fail to reach out to them. Shine through us O God that the world may receive the Light of the world and be set free from darkness.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wordle for Frequently Used Words ~ June 2, 2009

The image above shows the frequently used words at this blog. The larger the size of the word is displayed, the greater the number of times the word has been used.