Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Illustration ~~~ Beginnings

There's more to follow. My Sunday school teacher and her daughter (a pastor's wife in another city) have written a series of stories as a mother/daughter bonding. The characters are Angel, Cherub and God and Cherub is usually having to learn a lesson about what a wonderful, loving, always right, never cruel in any way God we have. I'm working to talk Teacher into publishing these stories and I'm working to update my skills at drawing because I would love to illustrate these (I know you shouldn't assume, but I'm going to assume Teachers' other stories are as wonderful as the one I heard). SO! With her permission, I'll start by putting the story *I* first heard on here. The drawing is a no brainer, it's mine own, so I can post it. This one is "Safe In God's Hands." You'll have to forgive the rough nature of it, but that's precisely what it is, a rough. I'm brushing off (and hopefully sharpening) skills I haven't used in awhile. I've also never used art markers before, so this was something of an experiment. As my skills improve, so will the quality, I promise.
p.s. I'm afraid I may not have made things too clear, and I'm sorry. This illustration is where God is preparing a baby to be born into his new family. I have a bit more work to do because the character, Cherub, thinks this baby isn't ready to go, yet, because "he's not finished, God!" Cherub has a few things to learn about God in this story ;)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Apologist Explains...

Y’know, people today try to use Jesus as an excuse not to act against sin. Don’t speak out against what we know Scripture teaches us about how God hates sin. Jesus was AAAAALL about love, you know! He would never condemn showing love for one another. Why, Jesus even advocated loving one another!

Well, okay, I’ll give you this much. While He was on the Earth, Jesus did not condemn others. John 3:17 tells us “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” Later in John, when the adulterous woman was dragged before Jesus by the scheming Pharisees, Jesus did not condemn her. Short version; the Pharisees wanted to be able to call Jesus out over either not following the law of Moses which stated those caught in adultery should be stoned (which means they would accuse Him of not adhering to the Law if He forgave her of her sin) or for not being compassionate enough to forgive her if He did follow the Law of Moses and order her stoned.

Guess they forgot there was a third choice. Jesus pretty much ignores their pious posturing and, stooping down, begins to write in the sands. The Bible doesn’t say what He wrote but He only paused to speak when they kept pestering Him about what to do with the woman. ( John 8:7b) “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Then He bent down and went back to writing. It was about then they began to pay attention to His writings and, whatever it was, it shut them up in a hurry. In fact, starting with the oldest down to the youngest, they began to leave. I’d really love to know what Jesus wrote. Some scholars think He might have been writing out the name and sin of each man. He could do that, you know. He is God.

When Jesus stood back up, only the startled, frightened woman remained of those that had dragged her in and Jesus asked (John 8:10b) “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?” And when she said “No man, Lord.” Then Jesus does the one thing only He can do. He forgave her, then gave her an admonishment; “Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.” THERE, my friends, is the love of Jesus the World is looking for, but doesn’t understand. Like a loving parent, He forgives her of her sin because, at that time, He was not there to condemn anybody. He’d come to “seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) But that didn’t mean He ignored sin. He still called people on it, as with this adulterous woman. He flat out told her “go and sin no more.”

Now we’ve got this actor, Ian McKellen, who is openly homosexual, admitting he’s defacing Bibles by ripping out the pages in Leviticus where God condemns homosexuality. Really. And, does he actually believe that this will change Gods’ mind about how He views homosexuality? “Oh, dear. Ian McKellen is openly homosexual and is highly offended by what I’ve written in My Word. I shall have to give a new revelation to someone because (gasp) a truly loving God would just never condemn sin!”

(Oh, no, that wasn’t sarcasm AT ALL!)

If Mr. McKellen wants to be consistent, he needs to remember that Romans chapter one in the New Testament also condemns homosexuality. It starts in Romans 1:22 and goes pretty much to the end of the chapter. Still, even if Mr. McKellan were to start defacing the New Testament as well, it would not change the truth of God. He hates sin (and, like it or not, admit it or not, homosexuality is a sin)!

Here’s another truth. God did not call us to be cruel or hateful to those who live in sin. He called us to teach the love He has for us in giving His only begotten Son to die for our sins. To teach that Jesus loved us so much, He willingly obeyed His Father, even to dying on the cross (as shameful a death as there was at that time). Yes, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit hate sin. But, the job the Father gave us was not to get into someone’s face and scream at them about their sin. I mean, I would surely want to get to know someone who’s screaming at me, red faced and spit flying, about something I’d done whether I believed it was wrong or not. I just SO enjoy being told how wrong I am, that I’m worthless and that God hates me for what I’m doing so just die, why don’t I, and get it over with?!

Uh huh. That’s surely going to change my mind about how I live.

Aaaaaand that brings me to a group that’s gotten under the skin of a lot of people. Sadly, they give both Christians and, more specifically, Baptists a very bad name. Because of these people, we are an anathema to the unsaved world. They have no desire to get to know the God of people such as they and, by extension, we serve. Who’d want to believe in any kind of being that promoted hate, which is exactly what these people do. I refuse to mention their name since they garner much too much media attention as it is, but they protest EVERYONE and EVERYTHING as being hated by God. God (according to them) hates the Jews. He hates the homosexuals. He hates Catholics. He hates all Baptists (but them). He hates hates hates hates hates…..

Which is the exact, extreme opposite end of the spectrum as those who want to use the “Jesus is Love” excuse for their sins.

Let me be very clear on this. God hates one thing. God. Hates. SIN.

He does not hate the sinner or He would never have sent Jesus to die for our sins. And, we have to be careful of our “holier than thou” attitudes. Our, “I’m not as bad a sinner as ol’ Jane Smith!” Got a news flash for ya’, in the eyes of God, yes you aaaaaaarrrrre! God even compares the sin of gossip as being equal with the sin of murder. And, yes, talking about someone with a “Did you hear what I heard about….” or a falsely sympathetic “Oh, poor John Doe. Did you hear what I heard about what he did!” is gossip. I’m here to tell you, if you can’t say what you’re saying about someone TO someone, it’s gossip, plain and simple, and gossip is as evil as murder. And we’re every one of us guilty of it, even when we don’t think we are.

So, back to our two extremes; the “God Hates You (but not me because I am SO on His good side)” and the “God is love and we have a special understanding so I can do what I want” people …. Uhm…. No. To both of you. Right now, we are living under mercy, not judgment because Gods' judgment is coming at the End of Time (and, no, I don’t think that’s going to be two years from now; I just think the Mayans couldn’t count any higher… plus, hey, most of us thought 2010 was going to be flying cars, space travel and evil computers named “Hal”!)

Extremist number first: we who study God’s Word, both on our own and under God’s Anointed (aka, Preachers, Missionaries, Evangelists), know that the “God Hates Everyone But Me”-ers are wolves in sheeps’ clothing. As I recently pointed out to someone, I don’t think we can ignore them because the unsaved doesn’t distinguish between the so-called “good” Christians and the “bad” ones. We’re all the same to them. Most don’t even know what a Christian really is or that the word actually means “little Christ” (it was a derogatory term when it was first used, by the way... "Well, aren't you just a little Christ!"). We can’t ignore them, but we can’t really “do” anything about them, except pray for God’s intercession; otherwise, it becomes a case of Shakespeare’s “Me thinks [they] doth protest too much!”

Extremist number second: it doesn’t matter if you tear a Bible apart. God’s Word will not change, no matter what those who believe we need “newer, more modern translations” to understand it (and I won’t get on that soap box tonight!) say and/or publish. Eventually, though, someone will come up with a non-offensive, politically correct, gender and “religion” neuter version that will appeal to the masses because it doesn’t point out sin or explain how to live a moral life (according to God’s laws and mercy) or even use the word sin in any context.

It will be three pages long…. Including a page and a half for the Foreword.