CategoryTopical

Nazarene or Nazarite?

Ever seen the theatrical depictions of Jesus Christ with long hair? This is based on an assumption that the author wishes to look at today. This assumption is that Jesus was a Nazarite. The author would contend that Jesus was not a Nazarite, but a Nazarene, and there are differences between the two.

First, note that in the Bible, Jesus was never called a Nazarite. He was however called Nazarene once, and Jesus of Nazareth several times.

Matthew 2:23 – And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

Matthew 26:71 – And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
Mark 1:24 – Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

From this, the definition of a Nazarene could be, “someone raised in Nazareth”. Take a look at some of the verses describing a Nazarite:

Numbers 6:1-2 – And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord:

From this, a Nazarite was an Israelite that vowed to set himself or herself apart for God. Jesus was never recorded to take this vow, and thus assuming that He was a Nazarite and never cut His hair, is not entirely Biblical.

This post is merely to clear up a possible faulty association between the two terms. In the author’s opinion, the length of Jesus’  hair can not be known entirely for sure, but it should not be assumed based on the place where He grew up.

Fashioned Out of Dust (Part 2)

In the last post, the author discussed the purpose of people in this world. The purpose is to serve the Creator because God loves us, so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross, and to take the world’s punishment for sin on himself. But what has Satan done to make the mindset of serving God hard for people to grasp?

Satan, since the beginning of time, has used what is in the world to keep or turn people away from God. Starting in Genesis 3, Satan tempted Eve with the tree that God told Adam and Eve not to eat of.

Genesis 3:1-6 – Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

As one goes further along in the Bible, Satan uses worldly pleasures to tempt God’s followers. Time would fail the author to describe each occasion. Now, if you look at today’s time frame, Satan is still using worldly pleasures to tempt God’s followers. Take a look at a few examples.

Through some genre’s of music, such as heavy metal or rap, the general theme is excessive anger and violence. Anger has no place in the heart of a person, with a few exceptions. However, people are not to take actions based on their anger, that belongs to God.

Romans 12:19 – Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Through dress for both men and women, the Bible makes direct principles regarding to covering up a person’s nakedness. While the principle was for the priests in Israel, the principle that a person with less clothes on is more, well, naked,is still there.

Exodus 28:42 – And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:

But what has Satan done with this? He has influenced the world to dress in such a way that shows a person’s nakedness. By making the norm of the world become a standard that people are judged by, Satan makes Christians want to follow after the world. Christians need to resist this temptation and focus on serving God, knowing that the mindset of the world is not right with God, and that Satan is using the world to steer Christians away from God.

 

Fashioned Out of Dust (Part 1)

Ever had a table that dust collected on and was pretty visible? Unless the dust is just left there, it gets brushed off the table. Why? Dust, just sitting around by itself, is useless. Dust needs some kind of help to become useful in some way. Whose help the reader may ask? God’s help.

Genesis 2:7 – And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Man is fashioned out of useless dust. But God, in His power, used the useless dust to create something as complex as the human body. This creation could be seen as God’s invention; there were no humans before God created them.

So, taking this to today’s timeframe, a person comes into the world. That person must make a choice to accept the free gift of God’s salvation or to deny it. God cannot force a person to accept or deny the gift; it is up to the person’s free will. If the person chooses to deny the gift, they have chosen not to serve God with their life at that point in time.

If the person chooses to accept the free gift of salvation, they have one of three choices. They can choose to completely serve and obey God with their lives, to partially serve and obey God with their lives, or to not serve and obey God with their lives. Note this next sentence please.

Partially serving God is completely serving self.

Matthew 6:24 – No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

The author cannot force the reader down one path or another, but he can give some thoughts on the matter. May the author make the conclusion that because dust without God’s direction was useless, that humans (formed out of dust) without God’s direction are useless as well. People without God’s direction can refer to those who are not saved as well as those that are saved but not serving God completely.

Why are people without God useless? God created humans so that He could have people with a free will that He could love and have them love Him back. Christian’s love for God is shown through serving and obeying God. Therefore, if any person decides to not serve God on any given day, they are useless on earth.

There is no other purpose for human life than to serve and obey God. This may be a hard truth to grasp, but the sooner it is lived, the more fruitful your life will be for God. In the next post on Saturday, the author will discuss Satan’s method that makes this truth so hard to grasp.

Cherish What You Have!

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Anxious to leave the house? Waiting for a chance to be independent from your parents? Perhaps you should take a step back and think.

How much do you unconsciously rely on your parents you wish to be rid of?

How much will change because you are no longer with your parents?

How much more will you have to do because you are no longer with your parents?

How much do you really want to be rid of of your parents?

 

The author, over the last year, has come to the realization that adulthood is just around the corner. The author will start his first job in January 2018, start college in August 2018, and (Lord-willing) will graduate in 2022. 2022 seems like a far off number compared to 2017, but in reality, it is five years away.

The author says that to say this. Cherish the times you have with your family; even if their favorite activities seem boring to you. The author is preaching to himself as well as to the readers; he is not exempt. The author’s father brought this to the forefront of the author’s mind recently, but it is a message that teens today need to hear.

Thanksgiving Day Post: Are You Thankful?

We have come to the one day of the year that we specifically choose to be thankful for what we have. While this is great that we do this, the author would like to challenge the readers in a different area. Why can’t we specifically choose to be thankful everyday? Perhaps through thanking God for His provisions each day will make your Christian life a bit more meaningful. But how can we be thankful everyday? Glad you asked.

What are two things that you do everyday almost without realizing that they are provisions from God?

You eat. Now, maybe you don’t always eat breakfast, but at some point in the day you have to eat. While technically your parents/guardians provided you with that food, but Who gave them the ability to do so? God did. Can you not thank God for that, with just a simple prayer to recognize His provision?

You also wake up. Maybe that seems simple, but Who created the natural process for you to wake up after sleep? Who gave you the ability to live another day? Who provided you with the breath you are taking right now as you read this post? Can you not thank God for your life?

Just a simple post today, but the author hopes it encourages you to be thankful for what you have, regardless of your position in life. Have a thankful Thanksgiving everyone!

Just Because the Bible Doesn’t Say No

An interestingly illogical argument has been used in Christian circles to justify certain activities. Rather than using principles from Scripture to determine one’s standards for living, people have decided that if the Bible does not say, thou shalt not do (fill in the blank), then that activity is up to a person’s conscience. Without sugar-coating it, this has become an excuse for a person to sin and still feel right with God. This is what the author would like to discuss today.

A prime example of this fallible argument is justification of listening to worldly music. The Bible does not say, thou shalt not listen to worldly music. The author can and will agree with that statement. However, there are principles in Scripture that contradict messages that worldly music brings.

For example, the Bible discusses in detail about Christians needing to humble themselves (James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:5-6, Proverbs 16:18, Matthew 23:12, there are more). How many worldly songs today lift up the greatness of the human race? The songs of today focus on the beauty of a woman, the selfishness of a man, or spread messages of hate and anger. They don’t come close to humbling themselves, do they?

Since this is the case, even though the Bible does not say thou shalt not listen to worldly music, there are principles that can be used to determine whether or not music is right or wrong. But these principles seem to be ignored, allowing people to feel good about listening to worldly music even though it is sin. This is not the only principle that can be used either to show worldly music as sinful, for sake of time to read the post the author will not expand further today.

Another example of this argument is what clothing should be worn today. The Bible doesn’t say what the length of a woman’s skirt should be, if men should or shouldn’t wear their shirts while mowing the lawn, or if the clothing for swimming is or isn’t inappropriate for the other gender to see. The Bible does however go into detail about men and women being modest in their dress, as well as making the principle that seeing the opposite gender with less clothes on is an intimate activity and should be reserved for a husband and a wife.

While the exact level of modesty is not described, the principle is that the more skin you show, the less modest you are, and this is seen by the horrifyingly revealing outfits that Hollywood actresses or female singers wear. And really, with Christians redefining what modesty is, it is again an excuse to sin without feeling bad about it. They sear their own conscience by believing it is alright to do, and thus they go about their day without care.

In closing, to contradict the argument of “the Bible doesn’t say no”, the author would put forth the argument, “the Bible doesn’t say yes.” If the only condition for determining a standard is whether or not the Bible says no, the opposite argument should then be used as well. The Bible doesn’t say yes or no to listening to worldly music. Instead the Bible gives principles that should be used to determine standards, and Christians today need to get back to using those principles.

The Authority of God

What authority do you think you have, as a teenager?

Perhaps sometimes you watch over a younger child, but outside of that, there is a very limited amount of authority that you possess.

What authority do you not obey?

Let’s go over a few verses.

Romans 13:1 – Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

This verse shows very plainly that ALL AUTHORITY is placed in position by God. This means Donald Trump, Kim Jung Un, and Vladimir Putin were placed in authority by God. Want to know what else it means? Your parents were placed in authority by God. The same is true for teachers, pastors, youth leaders, and ALL AUTHORITY that is over you.

If God walked up to you, and said, “Johnny, do (fill in the blank) now,” would you do it  without complaining?

Think about your answer for a second, then read on.

If Mom or Dad walked up to you, and said, “Johnny, do (fill in the blank) now,” would you do it without complaining?

Romans 13:2 – Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

What is your choice? Resisting authority or respected it?

Do you respect the authority of God?

 

 

What the Bible Says About NFL Protests

No doubt you have heard of the NFL protests. By any chance, did you check the Bible to see what God said about the NFL protests?

Alright, yes, the author knows there is not a specific chapter and verse of the Bible saying: Thou shalt not protest the United States of America in any way shape or form. One may be wondering why the author is writing on a political issue, as opposed to a spiritual one. What the author would like to accomplish in this post is to connect the dots using Scripture, to show that protesting government, barring certain cases, is as much of a spiritual issue as homosexuality, drinking, lying, or stealing. The author would also like to show to any Christian that rebellion to any authority, be it parents, teachers, a boss,  a government, and ultimately God himself is sin and against the Bible. And the Bible does actually specifically say not to protest government, as follows.

Romans 13:1 – Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.” Take the phrase “be subject,” what does that actually mean? The verb subject in the Oxford Dictionary has two meanings, the second of which somewhat fits this use of the word here. The definition states that to subject is to “bring (a person or country) under one’s control or jurisdiction,…” If people are told by God to be subject to some one, they are to place themselves under the control and jurisdiction of that government. There is no alternative but what leads to sin.

For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Whether or not you agree with a person in power, their authority was given by God. To disobey them, again barring certain cases, would be to disobey God. Let the author also say, that to protest against the government placed over you, is protesting against God. Therefore, the NFL players who protest the national anthem of this country, that God has placed all Americans in, protest the authority not only of the United States, but the authority of God. This has become a political issue.

The author would briefly like to touch on a phrase he has used twice in the post so far, “barring certain cases.” As human nature is flawed, and God gave mankind free will, there will be times when authority asks you to do something against the Bible. It is in that case, and that case only, that one does not have to obey the authority (Acts 5:29). While you should not obey commands contrary to Scripture, you should be respectful when explaining your reasons why.

Romans 13:2 – Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

My Help Cometh from the Lord

Where does your help come from? When times get tough, to whom do you turn? While parents and friends often can console in struggles, one must remember that our help, as Christians, cometh from the Lord. The Lord has several characteristics identified by the David in the book of Psalms. The author will discuss these characteristics from Psalm 121.

Psalm 121:1-2 –

If one was to read this over briefly, an important statement would probably be missed and just glanced over. Take a look at the phrase, “which made heaven and the earth.” David is stating that the Lord, who spoke everything into existence, is on our side. How powerful is that statement, just by itself?

Psalm 121:3-4 –

Again a situation where reading over it fast causes issues, take a look at the phrase, “he that keepeth thee will not slumber.” David repeats in the next verse, “shall neither slumber nor sleep.” In other words, God is not going to go to sleep on you while you are praying to him, or any other time. He will always be there. There is no family member or friend that you can always be in contact with, but you can talk to God anytime. Again very powerful to know that He is our help.

Psalm 121:6-8 –

David states hear that “FILL VERSE IN HERE.” What is the principle behind this? God is not going to leave us to the wiles of the Devil during the day, and He also will not leave us to the temptations of the world at night. We are never going to be alone, so we can always turn to God for help, and He will always be there.

So what can we take from this Psalm? God, who made heaven and earth, is always listening to us, and always right beside us. Can this be said of anyone else? What more could a Christian ask for in a friend? Take time to thank God for His friendship today; don’t overlook this precious gift.

Who Are Your Leaders?

Who are your leaders? These people guide your mindset whether you consciously choose to allow them to or not. They can change your decisions on numerous issues, like what you eat and wear for example. However, the biggest change that your chosen leaders can have on your life is your religious views. While some leaders claim the name of Christ, they live their lives entirely different from the truths in the Word of God. The influence that these kinds of leaders can have on your life must be examined and determined as to be good or bad, and Paul in Galatians 1:6-11 gives a strict guideline that your leader must follow to be spiritually in line with God.

Galatians 1:6-10 – I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of ChristBut though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursedAs we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Paul starts out discussing that the congregations of the churches at Galatia have chosen the wrong spiritual leaders. He states that these leaders have perverted the gospel of Christ through their incorrect teachings. To hopefully set the churches straight, Paul sets a guideline by which Christians should judge whom they follow.

If your leaders do not preach what the Bible says, do not follow them.

This guideline should be an obvious one for any Christian, but Paul had to repeat it in his day, and perhaps it needs to be repeated even more in ours. Many Christians are going with what makes them feel good, rather than what honors God.

Take contemporary Christian music for an example. Some Christian teenagers will pack into concerts for this music, but would not be caught dead singing an old time hymn. The reason behind this is that teenagers feel “comfortable” being a Christian in an environment that is just like the world, but when it comes to being different, they avoid it because they hate being laughed at by the world. However, Paul asks a pointed question that makes the believers think about whom they follow.

Galatians 1:11 – For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

If you, as a Christian teenager, are either pleasing men, or being pleased by the works of men, you are not living as a servant of Christ. Look at it from this angle. The true gospel does not coddle you and make you happy about living for God. The true gospel teaches you through the conviction of the Holy Spirit so that you need to live differently from the world.

What hero of the faith in the Bible had an easy life? David ran for his life from Saul, Daniel was thrown into the den of lions for praying to God, Paul himself was beaten, stoned, and eventually killed. Why did they stay the course?  Because they were convicted to be different from the world and live primarily as servants of God.   They all realized an important truth. . .

The tribulations and trials that are experienced on earth are a part of a life in service to Christ.  Living to simply please yourself in this life is contrary to God’s plan for your life.

This is not to say that we cannot experience joy or happiness. But, when choosing between what is right and wrong for our lives, we must always begin with our service to God as the deciding factor of choices we make.

The question that you need to ask yourself is, have you realized this truth? Are you willing to abandon the wrong leaders, to be a servant of God?

 

 

 

 

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