You Can’t Deny It

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Throughout their lives, many people deny various truths.  They do this because they are uncomfortable with or threatened by the truth.  In the end, it helps no one to deny the truth.

A truth that people have denied throughout the ages is that there is a fundamental problem with them and the world around them, the problem of sin.  Even if they acknowledge this truth, they deny that sin has consequences, or even if they accept this truth, they deny the way to be freed from the consequences of sin.  In short, people deny the gospel.

Men deny the gospel because of their hardened hearts, they do not want to have to admit that they have to rely on a savior, Jesus Christ, for salvation.  This is why, people over the ages have denied that Jesus is truly God.  If Jesus is truly God, then men must acknowledge that they are sinful and that they need the salvation of Jesus.  People just say that Jesus was a good man.  One should automatically know that this statement is false if one knows anything about Jesus or what he said.

Jesus claimed to be God, so he could not simply be a good man.  He was either lying, and was therefore a bad person, not God but believed he was, thus insane, or he was telling the truth.  This is the simple argument put forward by philosopher and apologist C.S. Lewis.

Was Jesus a liar?  Besides claiming that he was God, all of Jesus’ statements have been recognized as truth.  Furthermore, Jesus was a humble and truly good person.  Liars are not humble people, nor are they known for doing good deeds.  What did Jesus have to gain by claiming to be God?  In fact, he made a lot of enemies and was eventually crucified because of this claim.  A wise man would have recognized the consequences of such a claim.

Was Jesus crazy?  Afterall, he claimed to be divine!  Surely that is an insane statement.  However, Jesus showed himself to be wise in his discussions with the Pharisees and Saducees.  He was able to answer every one of their challenges.  Jesus also performed astounding miracles, miracles that would have to come from God when put with such truthful teaching.  Therefore, it does not make sense that Jesus was a lunatic.

In conclusion, one can see that Jesus fit one of three categories, he was either a liar, insane, or God.  As shown above, Jesus was neither a liar nor insane.  Therefore, Jesus must have been and still is God.

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” -John 8:58

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What is Man?

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Throughout the ages, humankind has asked the question, “What is man’s role in the universe?”  Overtime, four different answers have presented themselves.  What a person chooses to believe depends on his worldview.

Basically the four views are:

1) Man is subject to fate and the will of the universe.

2) Man controls the universe.

3) Nothing is certain and man is only subject to chance.

4) Man is created by God with a purpose.

A person who believes that man is subject to fate might try to figure out his destiny and influence the way he wants to, always battling the universe for control.  This view has influenced many movies and novels where the heroes try to live their lives in such a way as to avoid their destiny and it’s consequences.

A person who believes that man controls the universe would believe that he has the duty and empowerment to make certain decisions.  This person would be very driven and aspire to do great things.  However, this person would also be very proud.  This view must have dominated much of the Western world in the late 19th – mid 20th century.  Men like Friedrich Neitzsche believed that man would eventually become superhuman and could control all his actions and the world around him.

If someone believed the third position, that man is subject to chance, this person could be very apathetic.  After all, if one’s actions do not really do anything to influence his life, and only chance affects his life, why would one be moved to do anything?  A person could go from poor to rich or rich to poor with the snap of his fingers.  The philosophy of that person would be to “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die.”  This view has dominated the West today, for many people, especially of the millennial generation, waste much of their time enjoying themselves.

The final view states that God is in control and that every man has a purpose.  In this view, men do make choices which affect their lives, but ultimately, God knows what is in store for them.  In some ways, this is similar to the view that fate controls everything, but fate is unpredictable, and God is unchanging.  The Bible outlines God’s plan for the world as a whole.  It says that all things work together for the good of those who love God.  Even though that does not mean that everything will always be easy, in the end, those who place their hope in God will receive a reward.  This is probably the most hopeful of all four views.

These views are all different, and have different ramifications.  For example, one’s view of authority is influenced by one’s view of the place of man.  If one believes that man is in control, then man is the ultimate authority.  If everything is controlled by chance, there really is no authority.  If everything is controlled by fate, then fate is the ultimate authority.  If God directs the lives of men, then he is the ultimate authority.

So which is the right view?  Does God control the world, does man?  Is everything subject to fate?  These are important questions that each person must answer at some point in his life.

The Tragedy of Feminism

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A relatively recent movement in American history has been that of the feminists.  While there have been some good things that have happened as a result of this movement, many things that have happened because of this movement are tragic.

Because of the early feminist movement, women gained the right to vote and the right to a higher education.  Clothes have become more comfortable, with pants becoming the norm.  In modern day, women from the Middle East have started to come out from oppression and find a voice, though facing much persecution.  Furthermore, feminists have attacked human trafficking, which is a wonderful thing.

However, the feminist movement has brought tragedy with it.  Through fighting for equality, feminists have decided that they should be equal to men in all ways.  Same role, same ability, same lifestyle.  As a result of this philosophy, the family has suffered.  Men and women no longer take the roles of husband and wife, but as mere business partners.

Feminists have lost sight of who women were created to be, in fact, they are trying to make women take on the roles of man.  That doesn’t mean that they want women to look or talk exactly like men, but they do want women to have the same role as men.  In reality, they are saying that the best woman is a man.  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of being a feminist?

God created women to be beautiful life givers, and helpers.  Women are equal to men, not in their roles, but in their purpose.  Yes, men were created to be leaders, but that does not mean that they should oppress women.

One particular thing that feminists pressure women to do is to go have a life outside of the home.  Women have to go to college, get a high paying job, and not be hampered by children.  If women stay at home and make their house beautiful and take care of children, they are demeaning themselves and their potential.  This is vastly different from what the Bible says.

Proverbs 31 outlines what makes a woman beautiful, inside and out.  This woman is multi-talented within her home, and is a help to her husband, not just a house-keeper.  She obviously not a slave, but enjoys her job as a wife and mother.

The feminist movement is tragic because it pushes the idea that women are not good as they are, that they need to do things that God has not created them to do.

A Letter to My Friends

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To my good friends,  best friends, and everyone who makes me laugh.

Good friends are the people you can get irritated at and tease and still love.  Good friends are the people you can laugh with at nothing.  You may talk about nothing special, or talk about really deep things.  You just enjoy being around each other.

You can be totally mad at your good friends…until they make you laugh.  You cry with some of them (some of them are too tough) you hug some of them (others find that too weird), but you love all of them.  You would not trade them for anyone else.

All my good friends, we have one thing in common.  We all love Jesus.  He, as well as our friendship, is what binds us together.  He is the glue that holds our broken puzzle pieces together.

This is not the best post I’ve written, nor the most eloquent, but it’s from the heart.  My good friends, you are the ones who encourage me when I’m feeling down, humble me when I’m just too proud, and hang around me even when I’m annoying.  Thank you, I cannot imagine life without you.

My Definition of Love

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Before reading this post, I’d encourage you to watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPtOm9UXfnU

Dictionary.com defines love as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.”  This is the emotional side of love, what we typically think of.  My definition of love is giving up your life for someone else.

My definition of love, in its truest sense, is a person.  A perfect person, who watched the people whom he had created destroy themselves.  He wanted to save them, so he became human.  He became human though he was God.  He suffered all kinds of affliction.  Though he never committed any sin, he was condemned to die.  Condemned to die on a cross.  There, on the cross, Jesus faced the worse torture a man has ever known.  He felt pain, rejection, and the weight of the guilt of every person ever born.  Crying, “It is finished,” he died.

The love story does not end there.  After lying in the grave, dead, seemingly defeated, for three days, Jesus did something amazing.  By the power of God, Jesus came back to life.  He came fully alive.  In fact, he was more alive than he had been before he died.  He conquered the grave for us!  That is amazing love.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Nature and Grace

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Philosophy sounds boring, but is a very deep profession.  The truth is, everyone is a philosopher to some degree.  Have you ever thought about why you think?  Have you ever considered how you think?  This is called epistemology.  Many philosophers have taken up this study.  They study whether or not there is a supernatural realm and whether or not we can find it.

 Thomas Aquinas described the world as having two realms, the concrete and abstract, the upper story and lower story.  Contained in the upper story is all things unseen, love, grace, God, heaven.  Within the lower story are things like man, earth, and nature.  The upper story is the supernatural and illogical, and the lower story the rational and material.  Basically, man can fully understand the lower story but is unable to comprehend the upper story.  Thus, it is easy to see how man would either obsess completely over the supernatural, or focus only on the material.

There are different views people interpret the material and supernatural realms through, and these views were introduced by philosophers such as Herodotus, Parmenides, Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle.

Herodotus thought that nature was constantly changing, and thus almost impossible to understand.  The truth of nature in his view was not objective, but changed constantly.

Parmenides, on the other hand, believed that nature was fixed, but that our senses could not get truth from nature.  Instead, man must rely on reason to discover truth.

Socrates was another case altogether, for he completely dissected the process of thought until he arrived at the conclusion that he really knew nothing.  His method involved questioning of oneself and one’s beliefs.

Then comes Plato, who was a student of Socrates.  He believed that the world had a layer which could be perceived by the senses, and a layer that could only be perceived by reason, a world of universals.

Aristotle was one of the first to believe that the world of universals is one that man can know.  By studying nature, particulars, one can find truth, universals.

Finally, Aquinas organized the universals and particulars into the upper and lower stories of the world.  He divided the lower story into cognitive and empirical thought.  Cognitive thought is that which man has always had, intuition.  The knowledge of sin, instincts, and law is cognitive thought.  Empirical thought is that which is taught through education and experience, such as how to read and write.

The upper story could not be found through empirical or cognitive thought but through revelation, revelation by God.  This reveals to man the things of heaven, the things which “the angels wish to look into.”

During the Platonic period, man was focused completely upon the things of the upper story, or the things of grace.  Man and nature were almost completely disregarded as unimportant, while God and grace were the only things reflected beautifully in architecture and art.  This all changed during the Renaissance, when nature was incorporated into art and architecture.  Eventually, nature was held above grace, impacting theology and philosophy.  Philosophy was no longer based on revelation, but became based on the thought of man.

The Reformation finally brought the balance of nature and grace that the world had been wanting.  The beauty of nature was still incorporated, but grace was the overlying theme.

That is my overview on the history of epistemology and the “upper story” and “lower story.”  I hope you learned something new!

Truth?

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For thousands of years, philosophers have been trying to discern what truth is.  In the 20th century, science and logic were the foundation for truth for Western Europe and the United States, before that, truth was taken from the Bible.   In modern day 21st century America, there is a claim that truth is relative.  In this post, I would like to explore what life would be like under each type of truth and the consequences of it.

If truth is relative according to post-modern thought, then truth comes from the mind of man.  This is a frightening concept.  Each person would have his or her own set of morals, and two things which are contradictory would both be true.  For example, Billy says that it is wrong to murder because it hurts someone else.   Bobby believes that one’s actions are not necessarily wrong if they hurt someone else.  These men have two different philosophies and beliefs about truth.  Bobby does not think actions matter at all, because he believes that there is no divine person who judges him because of his actions.  Billy believes murder is wrong because he believes that it is wrong to hurt another human being and he believes that he will be judged for his actions by a divine person.  Imagine the chaos if every person in the world had completely different views about what truth is.  No one would get along, and there would be complete anarchy or complete tyranny.  Furthermore, how could a deity exist in a world where man invents truth?  One man could invent a deity for himself, and another would believe that no deities exist.  Who would be right?  This type of world could not exist for long, for man would eventually destroy himself.

If truth is completely based on science and logic according to modern thought, then truth comes from what man can observe.  There would only be a deity if a deity revealed himself to man and morals would be based on what is found in the natural world.  The origins of the universe would be determined (in a perfect world) by what humankind would observe for himself.  All spiritual things would be denied, for the spiritual world cannot physically be observed.  Man would be the ruler of the universe.  Most likely, mankind would get progressively better until man became superhuman.  At the end of time would be a perfect Utopia, where all living people would flourish.  Furthermore, nothing would happen to man after death, he would just rot in the ground.  The problem with this thought is that man would have the ultimate authority, and man would determine what truth is.  This would evolve into post-modernism, where all truth is relative.

Finally, if truth is determined by a deity, such as in the Bible, then truth goes beyond man.  The universe would have been created by this god or gods.  The god(s) would determine morals based upon his/their character(s).  The end of the world and the fate of humankind would also depend on the god(s).  This is different depending on the religion.  According to the Christian religion, God is a good, loving, and just God.  He has set the rules of what is wrong and what is right, and the punishment for doing wrong.  Because no human could ever attain God’s perfect standard, God came to earth in the form of a man and endured the punishment of mankind so that those who trusted in his sacrifice would not have to suffer.  According to Islam, a Muslim must work to get to heaven, and follow the seven pillars of morality.  In Judaism, because God is perfect, the Jews must follow the law and make atonement to God when they break the law, some Jews believe that the Messiah has already come, Jesus, other believe that God has not yet sent a savior.  Those are just three of the many religions, and the description of each is very simplified.

Personally, I believe that YWH, Jehovah, created the universe by the power of his word.  Because man is imperfect and could never be “good” enough to earn eternal life in heaven, God sent his only begotten son, Jesus to save mankind.  To see my full explanation of the gospel, go to my post, What Every Young Woman Needs To Know.  I also believe that someday this earth will be destroyed and God will create a new, perfect Earth, like He says in the Bible.  As to whether or not man has free will to choose God, I believe that in the hardness of the human heart, we would not freely choose God, so he has to send his Spirit to open our eyes and accept His gift of salvation.

I hope this post wasn’t too long!

Emma

Time to Talk About Us

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Many Christian girls who write blogs like to list husband requirements or encourage the Christian men they see around them. They say things like, “We need more men like you who devote their whole lives to God,” or “I’m glad there are young men like you for girls like us.” The question is, who is “us?”  Are we the girls whose lives are completely devoted to God?  Are we the ones who just really want to marry godly young men?  What kind of attributes do we have?

In order for “us” to find the young men we are looking for, we have to be godly young women.  We must go above and beyond cultural standards.  We should be asking God to constantly refine us until we reflect Christ and no other.  This process is not going to be easy, in fact, it’s going to be very hard.  To push against the culture takes courage.  To submit to God’s will takes humility.  To get through this life takes perseverance.

Through the teaching I have received in young life, the lessons that I have learned, and the knowledge I have acquired, I hope to encourage young women like me.  Girls who want to love Christ, stand out, and impact others.  I definitely do not have all the answers, only God has those, but I have read the Bible and have many godly women in my life.

In the next weeks, I hope to cover topics which concern Biblical womanhood.  These topics would include attitude, modesty, and character, as well as any other issues which concern young women.

Emma 

Frozen

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After a long Christmas break, I have decided to finally write a new blog post!

Over break, my family went to see the new Disney movie, Frozen.  While it would not make my list of top three Disney movies, I really enjoyed it.  With the fantastic songs and cute characters, what I loved most about Frozen was its theme of unconditional love.

The two girls, Anna and Elsa, are sisters and best friends who grow up without a care in the world.  Elsa, who has inherited an ancient power, is able to create snow and ice.  The girls use this power in their play, until an accident happens and Elsa is forced to conceal her power.

In an effort to conceal Elsa’s gift, the king and queen send away most of the servants and keep Elsa in her room.  Anna is confused about why her sister is shut up in her room.  The movie shows the sadness and loneliness Anna feels growing up without her sister.  Although Anna is lonely and feels ignored by Elsa, she does not grow bitter.  Elsa, on the other hand, feels like no one will accept her, and isolates herself in her fear.  She hurts herself and the one closest to her, Anna, because of her fear.  In the end, love wins the day when Anna sacrifices herself for Anna.

Frozen clearly shows the Biblical theme of true love throughout the movie, exhibited by characters like Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff.  In one scene, Olaf explains to Anna that true love is putting someone else’s needs above yourself.

Furthermore, this movie shows the dangers of being desperate to fall in love, like Anna.  While a girl may be infatuated with a boy, or vice versa, that does not mean that they feel “true love.”  It takes more than a conversation or a romantic moment to truly fall in love.

In conclusion, I would say Frozen is a great family movie.  The songs, humor, and characters are all very good, especially the whimsical snowman, Olaf. 

1 John 3:16

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”

Sparks

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The title of this post is a play on the title of the new movie, “Catching Fire,” which is based on the book by Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire.  It is the second in the Hunger Games trilogy, and is probably my favorite part of the series.  Needless to say, I was very impressed by the movie; in fact, I loved it.  Yes, I am a crier when it comes to books and movies.  I cried through Catching Fire.  If a movie or book makes me cry, it gets a pretty high rating from me.

What I love about the second part of the Hunger Games trilogy is that it reveals more of the story of Katniss and Panem.  The first book sets the story up, introduces the characters, and gives the reader the mood.  The second book shows the evil of President Snow and gives readers a glimpse of a rebellion.  It also reveals the true horror of the Hunger Games, as the reader becomes attached to more of the tributes in the games.  Furthermore, the action sequences in Catching Fire are better than those in Hunger Games.

Also, I personally did not like Katniss in the first book.  While reading the second book, I realized that I would probably think the way Katniss did if I were in her position.  I realized how hard it would be to trust those around you, no matter how friendly they may seem.  Katniss also shows more true affection for Peeta in the second book, which was very well portrayed in the movie.  I loved Peeta in the Catching Fire movie, whereas I leaned toward Gale in the book.

While not the most uplifting book, I would recommend the Hunger Games trilogy to highschool students, and not only because it has a good story.  It shows what a society without God is like.  The people are completely controlled by the government, and many live in poverty while those in the Capitol indulge themselves in all manner of worldly pleasures.  The readers of the Hunger Games will be  repulsed by the power-hungry,  bloodthirsty, self-centered characters, while sympathizing with those who are loving and self-sacrificing.  Contrary to what many who have not read the books might think, the Hunger Games does not promote violence.

That’s all I have to say about this great book and its screenplay.  I hope you enjoy Catching Fire as much I did.