Settling Matters with God

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Settling Matters with God

James R. Aist

When the times are tough and you don’t know why,

So you cry out to God “Please, help me to see”,

Is the silence you get just a heavenly sigh,

Or, is He saying “Dear child, trust fully in me”?

Often we are slammed with trials and tribulations in this life. When that happens, we may be tempted to ask God, “Why did you allow this?” But, when we really know God well enough, all He really needs to say is, “Trust Me, my child.” We must walk in this fallen world by faith, trusting God our heavenly Father to know what’s best for us and that He will do it. To do this, we need to settle some core issues with God “once and for all”, so that we are no longer double-minded, easily tossed to and fro like a leaf in the wind whenever confronted by the trials and tribulations that are inevitable in this life (John 16:33).

Now, what do I mean by “settling matters?” A wise friend of mine once said, “When you find the truth, stop looking for it!” So, when you have searched out and discovered the truth about these matters, it’s time to stop searching for the truth and move on. Just believe the word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13) and make peace with it. Don’t keep asking over and over again the same questions you have already found the answers to. Consider these things to be settled between you and God.

What, then, are some of the most important matters that we, as born-again Christians, must settle with God in order to ride out the storms of life without losing our peace and our joy as God’s chosen people? Here is a short list that I have come up with:

The Bible is God’s word. I can trust the Bible to be the authentic word of God to me. It is God-breathed (or inspired) by God Himself (2 Timothy 3:16), not a fanciful invention of mere mortals (2 Peter 1:16). In the Bible, God says what He means and means what He says. This is where I should look first and foremost for answers to the important questions about truth, morality, myself, my future and God (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12).

God is sovereign. He is the creator of the universe (Colossians 1:16), and He rules and reigns over everything (Exodus 15:18). With God, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).

Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus claimed to be the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16), and God the Father identified Him as “…my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (2 Peter 1:17). Jesus is the only way to God the Father (John 14:6), and no one comes to Jesus unless the Father draw him (John 6:44). Jesus is the Messiah, the promised savior of the world (1 John 4:14). As a born-again Christian, I know that I have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

God loves me. I am created in the likeness and image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) to be in personal relationship and loving fellowship with Him (1 John 1:3). My true destiny (i.e., the reason God created me in the first place) is to honor, praise and worship God and to obey Him in all things. He hears and answers my prayers (Psalm 143:1). I am so important to God that He sent His only begotten Son (Jesus) to die for my sins, making peace with me forever (John 3:16). He loves me with a steadfast, everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

God is on my side. Through His gift of faith in Jesus Christ, God has made peace with me (Romans 5:1); I am no longer subject to the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). Jesus calls me “friend” (John 15:15) and “brother/sister” (Mark 3:35), and I am His co-heir (Romans 8:17)! God actually takes pleasure in making me prosper (Psalm 35:27).

God is faithful. God does not change (Malachi 3:6), and He is not a liar (Numbers 23:19). He will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). What He has promised me He will do (Isaiah 46:11b; Hebrews 6:13-15).

God owns me. Since I am a born-again Christian, God owns me (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). His claim on my life is His right, and my life is His to do with as He pleases. I am no longer living for myself, but for Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:15). I am God’s servant. I have made peace with these realities.

God will reward me. He has promised me that, as one of His chosen ones, my eternal destiny is an everlasting life in heaven with Him (John 3:16), a rightful inheritance that is full of glory, full of peace that passes all understanding and full of joy unspeakable (Ephesians 1:18). And, He has given me His Holy Spirit as a guarantee that He will, in fact, fulfill this, the greatest of His promises (2 Corinthians 1:22). The value of this glorious future reward far outweighs any trial or tribulation that God allows me to suffer in this life (Romans 8:18).

So, here is the conclusion of it all. When you have settled these matters in your mind and in your spirit, once and for all trusting God no matter what happens, then, when the storms of life assail you, your “anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:13-20), — i.e., your trust in God — will hold, and, in your spirit, you will be able to live in peace and joy even as you are being buffeted in your soul/mind and body by the storms. Let me illustrate this point with an analogy. Picture a sailing ship anchored close to shore. When a storm arises, the wind will come with a fury and try to break the chain and set the ship loose from its anchor, driving it to a place where it shouldn’t go. You are that ship. Your faith is the chain that keeps the ship connected to the anchor. Your soul/mind naturally does its best to resist and withstand the storm, but it is the anchor that enables you to stay put until the storm passes. Your trust in God is the anchor, and it enables your spirit to remain stationary, calm and at peace while the storm rages. You no longer have a need to ask “Why did this storm come?” You can simply trust that God has a good reason for allowing it, because you have already settled these matters with Him; you know Him.

(To read more of my articles on biblical topics, click HERE)

Cultures without Homosexuality: They Do Exist!

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Cultures without Homosexuality: They Do Exist!

James R. Aist

(Note: the numbers in parentheses refer to specific references listed at the end of the article)

Introduction

Homosexual activists often claim that homosexuality is universal among the cultures of the world. They do this to convince the heterosexual majority that homosexuality is normal, that it has a biological (genetic) basis and that it is immutable (unchangeable). To the extent that they can convince the heterosexual majority that this claim is true, they can garner support for the “gay agenda.” But is this claim really true? Do all of the cultures of the world really have homosexuality, and is homosexuality always a stable cultural characteristic? Let’s have a look at the evidence.

The Evidence

There are several kinds of cultural evidence indicating that homosexuality is not genetically determined, but is, instead, strongly influenced by post-natal events and factors. Much of this evidence was reviewed by Whitehead and Whitehead (1), and I will first mention some of the highlights of their review before moving on to other evidence. If causation of homosexuality were to be genetically determined, then it would appear in about the same percentage in all cultures, but this is clearly not the case. The prevalence of homosexuality has varied considerably in different cultures. For example, Ford and Beach (23) found that in the 79 cultures they surveyed, homosexuality was rare or absent in 29 and lesbianism was found in only 17. Homosexuality is also historically and exceptionally rare among Orthodox Jews. And among the genetically related tribes of the New Guinea Highlands, homosexuality was mandatory among one tribe, practiced by 2-3% of a second tribe and completely unheard of in a third tribe. A significant number of cultures appear not to have practiced homosexuality at all. Moreover, if causation of homosexuality were to be genetically determined, then its occurrence in any given culture would be stable over very long periods of time (e.g., 1,000 years or more), but in some cultures, homosexuality disappeared within several generations. Anthropologists attribute many such sudden changes in the occurrence of homosexuality to Christian influences, which represent a set of post-natal, non-biological, cultural factors.

Two original scientific studies merit particular mention in this regard. Broude and Greene (2), anthropologists from Harvard University, used the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample of 186 societies representing different and independent culture clusters within major areas of the world. This data base is considered to be the best representative sample of world cultures (3). They found that 12% of these cultures had “No concept of homosexuality.” Moreover, in 59% of these cultures, homosexuality was “Absent or rare.” A necessary conclusion from these results is that homosexuality does not exist in a great many of the cultures of the world. More recently, Hewlett and Hewlett (3), anthropologists from Washington State University, interviewed 35 members of an Aka forager band and 21 members of a Ngandu farmer village of the Central African Republic. The Aka had no concept of homosexuality, and it was absent from their culture. The Ngandu were familiar with the concept of homosexuality from visits by some village members to the capital city, but they had no word for it in their language. And homosexuality was absent in and around their village. In both of these cultures, sex was considered to be of paramount importance for the purpose of procreation and was highly valued primarily for that purpose alone. Furthermore, from a review of the relevant literature, these authors concluded that the Euro-American human sexuality literature, including some college textbooks, gives the false impression that homosexuality is a human universality. Whereas, in fact, the Euro-American patterns of homosexuality are quite unusual by cross-cultural standards; homosexuality is more common in this demographic than it is elsewhere in the world. By contrast, sexual practices of the Aka and Ngandu are not unusual by the same cross-cultural standards.

Conclusions

Homosexuality does not conform to any genetically prescribed model, but it does appear to have an overwhelmingly cultural component, ebbing and flowing with changes in cultural values, such as the introduction of Christianity, and with different cultural expectations (1). Several cultures do not even have a concept of homosexuality, and a great many have little or no homosexuality at all. Therefore, the claims by homosexual activists that homosexuality is universal among the cultures of the world and is immutable are patently and demonstrably false.

(For more articles on HOMOSEXUALITY, click HERE)

References Cited:

1. Whitehead, N. and B. Whitehead. 2012. Chapter 6. What do different cultures tell us about homosexuality? (click HERE)

2. Broude, G. and S. Greene. 1976. Cross-Cultural Codes on Twenty Sexual Attitudes and Practices. Ethnology 15:409-430.

3. Hewlett, B. and B. Hewlett. 2010. Sex and Searching For Children Among Aka Foragers and Ngandu Farmers of Central Africa. African Study Monographs 31:107-125. (click HERE)

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

Jesus H. ChristWill the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

by James R. Aist

One day God, seated on his throne in heaven, was looking quite troubled, so his Son, Jesus, who was seated at his right hand, asked him, “What’s wrong, Father?” God replied, “Son, there are so many different ideas among humans about who you are. How can we get it across to everyone who you really are?” Jesus thought for a moment and then said, “Do you remember that popular old TV show “To Tell the Truth”? You know, the one where they assembled a panel of people who all claimed they were a particular person, but they are all impostors except for the real person, who is also on the panel. Then they each gave their own short, verbal account of the real person, after which the MC said “Will the real person please stand up?” “Oh yeah”, said God, “I loved that show, except for the part where most of the panel lied about their true identity.” Jesus said “Great. So let’s arrange for a one-time retro production of that TV show and ask “Will the real Jesus please stand up?” “That way everyone will find out who the real me is.” Well, God liked the idea, so he said “Let there be a retro To Tell the Truth TV show”, and there was.

When the day came for the show to air, the panel was assembled, but God, in his infinite wisdom, decided to have Jesus seated in the studio audience rather than with the panel. He was sure that no one would recognize him there and blow his cover, since so few people seem to recognize the real Jesus any more. Moreover, God had hand-picked the Holy Spirit to be the MC, for the same reason. The Holy Spirit, grudgingly, introduced the entire panel as representing the world-famous Savior of the World, Jesus Christ, and each panel member presented a short, verbal account which they felt summed up what Jesus was all about, hoping that the audience would believe them. Here is a transcript of what followed:

Imposter # 1 – “I am, truly, the savior of the world, and I do mean all of the world, or at least those who profess to believe in some kind of “god”; it really doesn’t matter which one. Everyone who tries to live a good life, whether or not they have heard of me, whether they believe in me or not, whatever religion they belong to — as long as they try to live by whatever light they have — they will be in heaven with me after they die. My only mistake was telling everyone that no one comes to the Father except through me. Fact is, there are many paths to God, not just through me. The Good News of Jesus Christ is inclusive, not exclusive, as others would have you believe. Why would I set the bar so high that only a few could qualify? My purpose in coming into the world was only to provide everyone a perfect example of godly living, so that they could save themselves by trying to live like I did. I don’t know where they got the idea that I died for their sins; only a fool would do such a thing. Moreover, I think you will find that it is much easier to be liked by others if you ascribe to my way of thinking, and so you will feel better about yourself. The fact that millions, perhaps billions, of people from all over the world have seen my light and are following my plan is proof that I am, indeed, Jesus Christ, the savior of the world.”

Imposter # 2 – “It was I who went about doing good, healing the sick, raising the dead and restoring sight to the blind. This is how I proved how much I love everyone and that I am God’s only begotten Son. And because of my great love and compassion for all of mankind, you will never hear me offend anyone by speaking harshly to them, calling them names, calling out their sins, or – heaven forbid – resorting to violence of any kind just because they are trying to make a living in the temple of God by tipping the scales a bit. But I digress. I came into the world to make everyone feel good about themselves the way they are, not to encourage and enable them to change. What a cruel guilt trip that would be! Nevertheless, it is my hope that no one will perish, but that all will, instead, come to repentance.  However, you and I both know that most people are not willing to repent, even though many of them say that they believe in me. I don’t know where they got the idea that not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father. That’s harsh! After all, my love does cover a multitude of sins, doesn’t it? And isn’t it true that the only work that God requires is that you believe in the One whom he sent (that would be me, of course)? Therefore, I have dismissed the requirement for repentance and have established dispensations for anyone who is unwilling to repent and turn away from their sins because, for whatever reason, they simply refuse to change. It’s amazing how many have chosen to take me up on this offer and are expecting to go to heaven without repenting! My salvation is now available to virtually everyone, no matter how they are living. Now that’s what I call a real savior, don’t you agree?”

Imposter # 3 – “Well, you don’t really believe that a loving God would condemn anyone to hell, do you? Where’s the love in that? Isn’t it true that God actually IS love? I don’t know where you got the idea that you have to become the righteousness of God in Christ in order to “qualify” for heaven. If we are all made in God’s image, doesn’t it follow, logically, that he would want us all to enjoy our eternity in heaven with him? So, I am here to save you from the lifetime of anxiety and terror that comes from believing that God would ever harm someone, such as yourself, who represents the very pinnacle of his creative work. Believe me, you need a savior alright, but not one who will save you from your sins. God knew that sin would come into the world when he created mankind, and yet he went ahead with it? So, if anyone is at fault here, it’s God, right? The only way God can resolve this dilemma fairly is to let everyone into heaven. So, you see, I have come to save you from all that unnecessary mental anguish and dread of future damnation that others speak about. Isn’t that the kind of “savior” you would really rather have, one who doesn’t think he has to scare the hell out of you just so you won’t go there when you die? I think you’ll agree that my “salvation” is the easiest, most care-free and most pleasant way to live, in order to spend your eternity with God when you die. After all, can my millions and millions of faithful followers possibly be wrong?”

By this time, the Holy Spirit had heard enough, and since all three panelists had spoken, he declared an end to the process by saying “Now it is time to find out which one of these three men is the real Jesus. So, will the real Jesus please stand up?” After a lengthy pause, during which none of the panelists stood to his feet, everyone was puzzled, because they expected one of the panelists, the real Jesus, to stand up. Then the Holy Spirit again said “Will the real Jesus please stand up?” After a brief pause, a man near the middle of the audience rose slowly to his feet and began to speak with great power and authority, so that those who heard him were in awe:

“Why do you mock and slander me like this, after all I’ve done for you? You pick and choose my attributes, actions, words and accomplishments recorded in the Bible to fit the image of a Jesus who is no more than a figment of your imagination. You have been warned about following after “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4), and still you insult and offend me by creating a counterfeit Jesus to suit your abominable heresies and lifestyles. I am the real Jesus, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 21:6). Before Abraham was born, I am (John 8:58). I am the Word of God (John 1:14); his Word is truth (John 17:17). Because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), I came into the world that the world through me might be saved (John 3:16-17). I am the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). I am the one who died for your sins so that you don’t have to pay the penalty for them (Hebrews 9:15). I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to destruction (Proverbs 14:12). God does not will that any man should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). I came preaching “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). I am the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5). Unless a man repent, he will perish (Luke 13:1-5). Do not fear men, who can harm your body, but fear the One who can throw both body and soul into hell (Luke 12:5). I am the judge of all mankind (Acts 10:42). Those who believe in me and obey my commands will be made the righteousness of God in Christ and will inherit eternal life with God in heaven, but those who do not will be thrown into the lake of fire with the devil, which is the second death (Revelation 20:14-15), where there will be eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50). God is love (1 John 4:8), and he is also righteous and just (Psalm 50:6). He will reward the righteous and punish the unjust (Matthew 25:32-46). No one can resist the will of God (Romans 9:19), and there will be no excuse for the unbeliever (Romans 1:20). Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand (Matthew 4:17).

At that, those in both the studio audience and the TV audience to whom God had given eyes to see and ears to hear, recognized and believed in the real Jesus, fell to their knees, repented of their sins and were saved. Most of them, however, put their faith and their eternal destiny in the hands of one or the other of the impostors, thus sealing their ultimate fate with the devil and his angels in the lake of fire. All went to bed that night confident that they had made the right choice.

Now Jesus returned to his seat at the right hand of God his Father in heaven, and, turning to his Father, asked “Well, what do you think, Father? Did it work?” “It worked perfectly, Son,” said his Father. “Everyone will reap what he has sown (Galatians 6:7), and we did everything we could to reach out to them all (Romans 5:8). It breaks my heart to see so many headed in the wrong direction, but my offer was open to everyone who would believe (John 6:40). At least now they know that “the real Jesus” is everything that my Word says you are, and said, and did; not just the “feel good” things that they wanted to believe about you to justify their sinful ways.” “So then”, Jesus asked, “Do you feel better now?” His Father paused for a moment and then replied, “Yes, and no.”

After Words

Unless you believe in both the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah, you don’t believe in the real Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, because the real Jesus is both the Lamb and the Lion. If that’s you, then you are believing in “another Jesus”, which the Bible warns us against (2 Corinthians 11:4). Moreover, if that’s you, then you are believing “another gospel”, against which the Bible also warns us (2 Corinthians 11:4). You need to believe in the real Jesus, because He is the Jesus who died for your sins (the Lamb) and will come again to judge the living and the dead (the Lion)!

(For more articles on BIBLICAL TEACHINGS, click HERE)