Posts tagged ‘law’

September 18, 2012

Miraculas Faith

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62533788@N02/7846245072/

When was the last time you saw a miracle? For Christians, we talk about miracles all the time and do get a chance to see them. For the most part we see people healed who have no explanation, situations that seem hopeless, all of a sudden become blessings, or that relationship that was over is now mended. In our church we have seen babies born who were said would not be and a foot that was scheduled to be amputated due to diabetes suddenly turn pink and healthy, and we have seen our share of just totally unexplainable stuff that we give God credit for. But those things seem to, over time, fade in the level of excitement and we all but forget about them until someone like me brings them up as a reminder.
God is all-powerful and does do those type of miracles and more. But that is not what He wants us to focus on. From the beginning of time God has shown His miracle-working power and it has never held the people’s attention much longer than it took for the next problem to come up. But God did not and does not stop doing the impossible, only because He loves us and, I think there is part of it that goes without saying, if you could do those type things, you just would. What God wants us to focus on is His words. What God says should be as good to those who believe in Him as the miracles we give Him credit for. But trusting in God’s word is tough for us because some of what He says goes against our egos and our own desire to be rebellious.
One of the greatest miracles I have ever had happen to me was in my finances. We had begun to trust God’s word and what it says about giving, particularly tithing or giving 10% of our income. It wasn’t long after that time that we experienced a severe reduction in income. The first thought was to cut back on giving and pay our bills, but we remembered God’s instructions to believers about giving from the first of what we made and we decide to act in faith. If we did what God says do, then He has to honor what He says. Without going into a long story of details, let me just say that our finances were blessed. A miracle, I believe so, but most importantly, it was done because of faith in God’s word and His faithfulness to keep His word. I can tell you several other stories of how faithfulness on our behalf was honored by God acting like God and doing what we could not explain. Some may say that these are not true miracles but rather coincidences and I will only say that God is in control of those too.
My point is this. God has no obligation to do miracles as a reward for our good behavior nor does He have to do them to prove that He exists. God wants a relationship with people and miracles don’t make relationships stronger, trust does. God cannot be proven into existence. He has and always will exist. His miracles in the past did not bring people flocking to Him, His faithfulness did. And that relationship based on faith or trust is what opens the way for Him to do those mind-blowing things that we can’t explain. But if God never did another miracle, would you still trust Him? I would.
I would because I find nothing that He has ever said to be proven wrong. I find plenty that I don’t understand, but nothing wrong. I would because whenever God has said something and I acted on it, the results were exactly what His word says they would be. My marriage is stronger because I follow His guidelines for marriage. My friendships are stronger because I follow His guidelines for friendships. My children all turned out fine (Yes, I know that is open for debate if you know them), because we tried to raise them on God’s guidelines. My church is growing like crazy because we did away with all the bylaws and man’s laws and just started to following the Bible.
The biggest reason for my faith in God’s word is because week after week I see people who are hurting and messed up and just plain weird, decide to trust God for salvation and forgiveness and they in turn bring their friends who eventually have the same experience and so on. I know where I came from. I was not good enough for God to love me, I was so messed up that I was certain that there was no way He could love me, but He did anyway. He forgave me, accepted me, and was patient as I learned to trust Him through the years.
Truly the most miraculous thing about God is faith. If you haven’t seen a miracle, take a step of faith and trust God to forgive you. If you have seen a miracle, don’t forget about it, but look at how often the little things He promises never fail you and build on those. What God does for us is miraculous, but it is all an act of miraculous faith.

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May 8, 2012

Marriage Debate

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lel4nd/6168801346/

I don’t usually blog about stuff that is controversial or things that people can possibly disagree with me on, but today I am going to. In my neighbor state of North Carolina they are voting on an amendment to the state constitution that will make marriage between a man and a woman the only legal and recognized form of marriage. It has been very interesting to listen to the talk about this issue. Some people get all freaked out about it and the arguments are often to the point of being ridiculous and even funny. My favorite is the one that says, God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. How silly is that? We all know that Steve was not created until after Jesus walked on water.
I figure that sometime between now and the end of the week I will get asked what my opinion is about this, so I am jumping ahead of the game and putting out my blog before I am even asked.
My opinion is just that, an opinion. I am not the final authority, although I should be. Things would just be so much easier if everyone agreed with me. My opinion is not really an opinion but rather a question. What has been the definition of marriage for as long as there have been marriages? Merrian-Webster Dictionary has given this definition for as long as it has been in print: the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. There is a 2nd definition that includes same-sex marriage, but it was added within the last 30 years or so. There was a time when no one would ever think of marriage any other way. For thousands of years that is what marriage was. If two people lived together, as lovers, that did not mean they were married. In some states there was a provision under the law called common law marriage, so that people who shared an estate for many years had certain rights, but it was not an official marriage to those people. Why do we need to change the definition? Perhaps there should be another descriptive word for same-sex couples who legally or ceremonially join as a couple.
If we change the definition of marriage because someone doesn’t like what it means, where do you draw the line? The definition of a word that is as old as marriage should not offend people. It was never meant to. I don’t like the word bald meaning no hair, so I think I want it to mean I have hair. Change the definition and I am still bald.
The real argument is not about a definition, but about civil rights afforded to two people who live together. Why not just change that law instead of the definition of the institution of marriage? I could care less if that happens. But we all know that it goes deeper than that. Marriage is something that most people relate to a religious argument. The only religion that I have personal knowledge of and its teaching about marriage is Christianity and from what I understand, it too describes marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Many of the laws in most civilized countries have a religious foundation, including murder and stealing. But many laws have no religious bearing what so ever. Traffic laws for instance have nothing to do with a religious teaching at all. They are made by man for man (and women).
My point is this. If people of the same-sex want to be legally equal in the benefits and rights given to a couple of opposite sex, then make a law to give those rights. Don’t change the meaning of marriage. It has meant one thing for far longer than this modern argument has been going on. Our country has a system in place to help those who are overlooked, by-passed, or even purposefully mistreated. Legislators can amend constitutions and correct injustice, but it doesn’t have to be done by changing a definition. We did not change the definition of slavery to free those who were wronged, we changed the law. A slave is still someone who is owned and controlled by another human.
So that is my blog on the controversial subject being voted on in my neighboring state. Remember that I said that it would be better if everyone agreed with me. Don’t make things difficult, just agree. And by agree, I mean, think like me, act like me, be like me. Later I may try to come up with a word that we can use for same-sex unions that I like. Until then, I will only use marriage to describe a man and a woman, legally able to file taxes as married people. Don’t be hatin’; its my blog.

March 27, 2012

Justice or Self-Righteous?

by pastortimfowler

gun

Why is there not an uproar about the New Black Panthers putting a bounty out for the guy in Florida who shot the teen? I know that this is a horrible incident and that many were hurt by it, but what gives these people the right to put a bounty on the head of someone who has not even been charged with breaking a law? In America, we are innocent until proven guilty and in this case the man has not even been accused by law enforcement of breaking a law.
I am not a lawyer and I am not an expert on the particular law that this man is not accused of breaking. I am a legal concealed weapons carrier and in my state there is a similar law on the books that says we can stand our ground and defend ourselves if we feel threatened. It does seem to be a bit strange that we can shoot another person because of a feeling, but that is how the law is written. But by taking the course and legally obtaining and carrying a weapon, I do not automatically support and agree with the law. However, I am covered under that law, regardless of how I feel or others feel. This is not my fault nor is it the fault of the shooter in Florida. So why is he the target of such hatred? Where is the outrage not over those who publicly threaten an innocent man with harm, just because they disagree with a law?
It would be nice if there was not a race issue to be talked about, but only the discussion of whether or not the law was broken and if there is a disagreement with the law, then taking the proper steps to have the law changed. That is how a civil society should operate. But when we have groups making threats of taking the law into their own hands, we bring hatred into the picture and civility is left by the wayside. Sadly the race issue threatens to blow things into an all out race war. This bothers me.
Every elected official should be stepping into the public’s eye to stress the legal and civil ways to handle such issues. They should condemn any group who threaten to step outside the boundaries of the law and not back down until the public outcry is for true justice, not vigilante efforts to under mind the law. The media should condemn and expose anyone who tries to subvert the legal system. Clergy should take to the pulpits to remind the church of its obligation to follow the laws of the land and it appointed officials. Every law-abiding citizen should be on guard against groups who put themselves above the law and we should not stand for any of those who are supposed to speak out for the laws of the land if they neglect to do so.
My heart breaks for this young man who was killed. There is never a good way to lose a loved one. But I also feel bad for the man who shot him. Not because I agree with what he did. I was not there and I only have the reports from the media to form my opinions. But his life is ruined without the help of a group like the New Black Panthers getting involved. And I also believe that if this man acted wrongly, he will be exposed for it. There is a process for such things to work themselves out and I believe that for the most part it is a good and just system.
It is easy to understand the anger that can be stirred when an event like this takes place. But anger is not a means to destroy, but a means to make things right. God’s design for anger is to fix the injustice and restore things to it proper bearings. Human anger is often distorted and dangerous, but that is why we have laws and a system of justice. Ultimately I believe that no matter the fault of this situation, God will keep track and make it right. He is the Righteous Judge and no sin will go unpunished. But in some cases, only God knows the true injustice and in that case we must trust Him to make things right.
I pray for the families involved. I pray for peace and I pray for the truth to come out. But I also pray that those who try to take the law into their own hands would be exposed for the menace to society that they are. They are not seeking justice. They are claiming to be self-righteous and only God can do that.

October 24, 2011

Was It A Tree?

by pastortimfowler

Quite often I will get questions about things that people read in the Bible that catch their eye, or perk their curiosity, and in some cases, even cause doubt. These are always great teaching opportunities and I always welcome these questions. Here is one I received the other day; When speaking of the crucifixion, I have heard songs that mention a tree, and others a cross and even the Bible uses these two terms. Why?
There are a couple of places that come to mind where the Bible uses the term tree for the crucifixion. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)
22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:
23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
Galatians 3:13 (KJV)
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
In both of these the word tree is translated from the Hebrew word in Deuteronomy, and the Greek word in Galatians, from a word that means timber, wood, or plank. That definition makes it pretty easy to clear up any confusions, seeing how the cross was definitely made of wood. Some modern translations use the word pole in place of tree. I think the confusion comes from what we know as a cross and a pole. Let me try to enlighten you.
There is some debate among biblical scholars about methods of crucifixion because of these words. Some think that people were hung on a single pole, with their hands directly overhead. There are some recorded instances of this method being used, but not so much in the area and time that Jesus was crucified in. But my opinion is that the traditional cross, with two pieces was used.
The crosses were stored unassembled. Just piles of wood or timber. Everyone knew they were there for the making of crosses, but until needed they were just poles or trees. No one in those times had any confusion about what was meant when a tree was mentioned in context with crucifixion. Much like today if I were talking about baseball and the batter put some wood on the ball, we would not think that he had a pine tree in his hand, but rather a baseball bat, even if the bat was aluminum.
Either way the crucifixion was a cruel and humiliating way to put someone to death. It was where our sins were put to death by our Savior Jesus Christ. He hung on the tree so that we didn’t have to. Have took our curse, and gave us forgiveness and eternal life. He was not left on the tree, He was put in a borrowed tomb and rose from the grave three days later. The tree or cross was only a way of displaying to the world that sin had been nailed to cross, left there when Christ’s body was taken away. I know you don’t see the sin when you see the cross, but that is because the blood of Jesus covered the sin of humanity.
And one last thing, the verse in Deuteronomy 21:23, that is listed above, is another reason that I say that believers should be buried and not cremated. It is part of the law and we were never told to stop obeying the law. God ahead, blast back at me if you want too.