Monday, August 25, 2008

Four Mistakes Evangelists Make - Aug 25

If we have the greatest book ever written about the greatest man who ever lived why are we going backwards? A Christian who is eternally saved ought to bringing souls to Christ left, right and center. Yet strangely this is not occuring. Here are four mistakes that Christians make when giving their testimony to the world.

An Incomplete Faith

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
(Colossians 2:8)

Saved thought they might be, many a saint hasn't read God's word with care. Worse, they mix in their own unBiblical interpretations! A daily dose of God's word is the only cure. How can we argue for a book when we ourselves have an incomplete understanding? Granted, few of us have the money and time needed to attend a theological seminary. Yet so often we miss out on God's best because we bow to the world's foolish philosophies and human traditions.

Unfamiliarity With Demonic Spirits and Doctrines

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
(1 John 2:15-16,18)

In order to bring a person to Christ, we must first realize that we are soldiers in a spiritual war. Through this demonic deceptions people are kept in spiritual bondage. Think of it as a 'double learning curve'. The false must be disproven first before we can even touch on the truth. Many well-meaning Christians skip the first obstacle to learning and go straight to the second learning curve as would a Sunday School teacher instructing young children. Any 'cold turkey' approach to evangalizing adults fails if we do not take this into account. Adults come with baggage that children lack. Unlearning old habits is never an easy task. Patience and prayer are crucial to a fruitful adult ministry.

Pray For Adversity - And Mean It!

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.
(1 Corinthians 3:11-13)

Nothing wrong with praying for God's blessings and protection. Yet God is passionate about our personal growth. Praying for adversity serves two purposes. One, it purifies the believer. Would you rather have gold, silver and costly stones or wood, hay and stubble? The answer is obvious. The struggle that adversity produces causes complete dependence on God rather than relying on our own guile. Two, adversity is useful in undermining a false faith. We don't need better behaved Muslims. We need more Christians! We're not being cruel when we ask Him to send adversity to an unbeliever. Rather, it is an exercise in 'tough love'. Trusting in God's perfect ways and timing is always best.

The Failure to Anticipate An Emotional Knee-Jerk Response

"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 24:9-13)

Fear leads to anger and anger leads to hate. Once that happens, persecution to the point of death is not that uncommon. Don't get me wrong. Emotions are a vital part of the human condition. Without love and compassion it is doubtful the human race would ever survive! Yet our emotions more often then not tend to screw us up. We react 'according to the flesh' as it were, relying on human experience and a sensual understanding. We feel as if we are under attack and the need to lash out in order to defend ourselves. It is precisely this emotional response that Satan is counting on. Marketing and political campaigns have been built on less. Raw emotional manipulation designed for you to 'buy' whatever corrupt product or message being sold. Thus we end up seeing things as we would want them to be, rather than what they truly are. It is only when we clear our minds and rid ourselves of fear and anxiety do we see the larger picture at hand. A Christian ought to exude and export joy wherever they go. Only then do we become the salt and light that God commands us to be.

Johnny Cash

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Repentance, Renewal, Renaissance - Aug 24

Change We Can Believe In? The Great Godless Utopian Lie

Barack Obama has captured many an imagination with his rhetoric. However, I doubt very much that any change of significance will happen under an Obama presidency. I will be cheering for John McCain come November but I do so with reservations. A McCain presidency isn't going to reverse or stop the downward trend that America faces. I'm fully prepared give Obama the benefit of the doubt. Either he truly believes in his own schmaltzy sloganeering or he's being horribly cynical. I'll go with the former rather than the latter for now and in so doing withhold my judgement.

Everything Starts With Repentance

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
(Matthew 5:4)

This Bible verse is recognized as one of the beatitudes at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. Alas, many fail in grasping its proper context. Jesus isn't talking someone having a pity party. No, what He's talking about are those who come to faith and begin the process of mourning over their lost time spent apart from God.

There seems to be two kinds of repentance in this world: a worldly repentance and a holy repentance. A worldly repentance is sorry for getting caught. No change in behaviour is sought, apologies are issued merely for the sake of appearance. A holy repentance however is based on true remorse and a desire to reconcile to those who have been wronged. Recompense usually follows quickly and in full. Does it not seem to you that worldly repentance is pretty much the order of the day? Read this prayer from the prophet Daniel:

"Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."
(Daniel 9:17-19)

Notice the sentence in bold. We do not make requests to God based on our righteousness or a sense of entitlement. We ask Him out of His grace and mercy. That's it. If we are to brag of anything, we are to brag of God's mercy and the love that He has for us.

Renewal Always Follows After Repentance

God provides for those who repent. Time after time His faithfulness has been on display to those who trust Him. God honors those who bring peace. If God is faithful, what have we to fear? God's promise is a sure one:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14)

No Repentance Means No Renaissance

Without it we are sunk and wicked men prevail. It doesn't matter which party you pledge allegiance to. There will be no change we can believe in so long as we persist in our selfish ways. We don't need more religion or better politicians. What we need is for us to fall on our face and beg God for forgiveness. Daniel never asked God to shorten the sentence imposed upon an unbelieving people. He asked God to remember the promise of renewal after the seventy years of desolation were complete. If only we could pray like Daniel prayed! Surely then we could have a real hope for the future. Just like the baptized believer above, we need God's favor if we wish to take back that which was taken or cynically given away for expediency purposes. Can we do it? Yes we can!

Johnny Cash

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Most Interesting Man in the World - Aug 18

What's good for the goose is good for the gander as they say. This is a continuation of my earlier post of the most beautiful woman.

Bond. James Bond. Aside from Clive Owen, what actor wouldn't want to be the famed British super-spy? Of course, this post isn't about the Bond franchise or Daniel Craig. It's about you men out there who want women to swoon over them. Or at least get a date. We guys want to be 007. Most of us end up like Don Adams from Get Smart instead.

First the Preliminaries ......

Get a job. Burn all your disco clothes. Learn to drive a car - preferably your own. Buy yourself a spiffy shirt and look sharp. Polish your shoes. Shower using soap. Freshen your breath. Cut your fingernails for the first date and your toenails for the second. Be polite. Open doors for her. If she has class she'll take it as a compliment. If not, forget about her. Clutching and grabbing may be appropriate in some sports but not on a date.

Five Key Points to Consider

One: Learn to Appreciate Women

Believe it or not, many gay men do a better job of this then their hetero counterparts! Be someone who genuinely appreciates women for what they are. Women want to be treated as a lady, not like one of your poker buddies. Many men think that constantly lusting after every pretty thing is appreciation. It isn't! It tends to be more like leering and regarding them as you would a piece of meat. Such crude behaviour should be put away. Loving women requires spiritual maturity, an ingredient most men sadly lack.

Two: Get Rid of Your Anger and Submit to God

I see this more often then I care to admit. Men who love their women but harbor bitterness and resentment towards them. Whether it comes from early childhood or a string of broken relationships, unresolved anger will almost always come home to roost. Sure, frustration will set in from time to time. However, VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS UNACCEPTABLE IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. If you have anger in your heart, don't deal with it by yourself. Give your weakness to God and He will give you strength. A man with an angry spirit has no space in his heart for the Holy Spirit. A good man is always a godly man.

Three: Don't Be A Wuss! - The Glory of Meekness

Guys, women have radar when it comes to this. A weak and indecisive male is one that women will steer clear of. Understand that meekness isn't weakness! It's strength under control. Women aren't neccessarily looking for the proverbial 'Big Man on Campus' alpha male. What they're looking for is a man of principles who's willing to take a moral stand. A guy without a brain, heart or spine is someone that's going to be lonely for a long time.

Four: Avoid Mean-Spiritedness and Overt Cynicism

A lack of empathy towards your fellow man is a huge turnoff for most women. Empathy is not defined as being 'nice' to others when they're nice to you. That's easy! Empathy is showing grace and forgiveness to somene even though it's undeserved. By all means, a man should be a doormat to no-one (see above). However, a woman will not tolerate a man with a sadistic streak. For she knows full well that that cruelty will one day be visited on her. Not cool.

Five: Money, Money, Money!

Turns out you do have to have some to get by. Not all women are looking for someone who's filthy rich. What they're looking for is a man who is a good steward of their money, whether it be a little or a lot. A splurger reveals someone who is insecure and lacks discipline. In other words, they appear weak (Point #3). A miserly penny-pincher is someone hiding a mean streak (Point #4). Women want a guy with a generous spirit yet can still live within a budget. Where the heart of a man truly lies is where his money will go.

Johnny Cash

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Most Beautiful Woman in the World - Aug 13

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

(Proverbs 31:10-12)

This post is not about Shania Twain. Mind you, it does give me a good excuse to post one of her pictures. A woman with long flowing hair while wearing a long dress is the picture of femininity.

I May Be Going Out On A Bit of a Limb Here

So what's a guy like me offering you ladies advice? Please delay your judgement and give me a chance. My true purpose of this post is to make YOU the most beautiful woman in the world. Unless you happen to be male in which case pay careful attention!

First the Bad News

May as well get this out of the way before we can proceed. The simple fact is that both the fashion and cosmetics industry are billion dollar businesses and that isn't going to change anytime soon. Now you still have to take care of yourself. So don't throw away all your toiletries just yet. Showering/Bathing on a regular basis is also strongly recommended. Physical beauty matters to men but that alone is not enough. So presentation is still important but it's not absolutely critical to feminine beauty! There's gotta be some substance there too!

Before we get to our main point, let's look at .......


One: Personality Matters

Now is it just me, or do most feminists scare off men? You know the ones I'm talking about. Women with a huge chip on their shoulder whilst carrying an ideological axe to grind (against men) and a permanent rain cloud over their heads. Strangely enough, that intimidates us. You don't necessarily have to perky or happy all the time. Just don't be continually gloomy or melancholy. Put away those chips, axes and rain clouds and us men will endear you. We like women who exude positive energy and are a pleasure to be around. That 'Me Against the World' attitude is one that all men will find distinctly unattractive.

Two: Conformity Leads to Emasculation

This is a big one that many women stumble upon. Ladies, a simple basic doctrine needs to be taught here. Men are men and will remain so indefinitely. While we appreciate your efforts to expand our horizons and have us get in touch with our emotions, please don't treat us like we're one of your girlfriends. We're not. Attempting to conform your special guy into some fantasy role that strictly pleases you will cause nothing but pain and anguish. Love should set you free, not imprison you. You wouldn't like it if we told you how to dress, talk and act. Be kind and extend the same courtesy to us.

Three: Don't Be Like Us. There's Plenty Enough Testosterone Out There Without You Adding to it.

Here's a shocker: Men like the fact that women are fundamentally different from us. Please don't be like us in order to please us. Let the man be the man and the woman be the woman. It's really not that hard a concept. Guard against excesses and things will flow a lot more naturally. It's balance, not a rigid equality that makes a healthy relationship grow.

What Makes a Woman Irresistable to Men?
A Study in Contrasts: Camilla vs. Diana

At first glance, it seems strange that when Charles and Di were having their marital problems that Charles would seek solace in Camilla's arms. Clearly Diana was the far more attractive of the two. Why then Camilla? I'll tell you why: Camilla appreciated Charles' masculine traits far better than Diana ever did. And that's the key. The woman whom men will chase after is one that appreciates and admires masculinity for what it is, rather than what she would want it to be. The irresistable woman genuinely enjoys men for who they are and withholds harsh judgement. The man that doesn't stray is one whose woman takes an interest while still giving him his space. Smother him and he'll leave. Ignore him and he'll stray. The irresistable woman makes her man feel important. My final advice? Be our greatest fans and we'll be more than happy to reciprocate.

All hail Shania, the Canadian Country Queen!

Johnny Cash

Monday, August 11, 2008

Georgia and the Russian Bear - Aug 11

Hard to ignore what's going on in the southern periphery of Russia. Decided to post these nifty maps from Stratfor. The most recent are at the top. Is this a precursor to further Russian military action in its 'Near Abroad'? Is Ukraine next? The real issue here is what will the Russian strategy be after Georgia. No doubt those on Russia's borders are swallowing hard. Read Ezekiel 38-39 for reference. In the meantime, pray for peace and an end to hostilities in the region.

Johnny Cash

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Second Greatest Lie Ever Told - Aug 10

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:10)

To Be Moral is to Struggle

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
(Matthew 11:28-30)

Do you want to know why the amoral people of this world do not struggle with their conscience day in and day out? The answer is simple: They don't struggle with their conscience because they don't have a conscience to struggle with! Do you think the likes of Paul Bernardo and Clifford Olsen, Canada's two most notorious criminals, struggled with their conscience while they were on their rampage? NO! So what then is the world's second big lie? In secular terms, it is this erroneous idea that all struggle is a burden and therefore should be avoided. In Christian terms, the idea is that now that you have your sins forgiven and you've secured your eternity with Him, all your troubles and struggles shall cease.

Take Heart. You Belong to an Elite Company of Individuals

It should not surprise you to hear that most moral men throughout history struggled mightily with their consciences. My problem with the public at large is that they don't struggle enough! Many are lost in their own tiny bubble with their tiny little god whilst living in a tiny world. The rest are egomaniacs who think the world revolves around them. To become a moral person is to burst this tiny bubble that we live in and to break free from our self-centered ways.

Success and the Old-Fashioned QB Controversy

If you're a head coach of a football team, would you rather have two good starting quarterbacks or just one? The answer is obvious. The head coach that has only one starter knows that if his guy goes down to injury, his team's chances evaporate. The coach with an injured starter ready to come back and a capable back-up has a wonderful problem to solve. In other words, success brings with it it's own set of problems. The 'problem' of depth is one every coach would love to have. When you come to Christ, you get to discover the real you. Ego gives way to your true humanity. You become more patient, more forgiving, more compassionate and more discerning. Do not expect this newfound 'burden' that you've been gifted with will make your life easier. On the contrary, this depth of range of emotion will enable you to change lives. We become free to testify of God's immense love for us.

The Analogy of the Shivering Man

When I was in the CF, I remember doing some very basic First Aid. Along with learning about wounds and burns, we also learned about the dangers of heat exhaustion and hypothermia. I don't remember it all of course, but what I do remember wrt extreme cold (particularly if one is wet) is that there are different stages of hypothermia. The last stage before death is when the afflicted individual stops shivering. The point being is that shivering is good. The person who has stopped shivering is in immediate peril. Know then there are two kinds of people who don't struggle: The dead (and dying) and the quitters.

To be a Foreigner in a Foreign Land

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
(1 John 4:4-6)

Put simply, this world reviles Godly instruction. To have a Biblical worldview is to be a freakshow in an unbelieving world. There's nothing more this world would love to do then to turn every Christian and every church into an insignificant speed bump on their way to a godless socialist utopia. Liberty and democracy are not absolute certainties. Anybody that tries to tell you different is a fool. Take heart and be encouraged. We are overcomers! Hallelujah!

Johnny Cash

Monday, August 04, 2008

Ramblings of an Incoherent Nature - Aug 4

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Corinthians 1:20)

A learned bastard stands higher than an ignorant high priest. — Midrash

Thought that was a great quote! As only a few are given the title of high priest, the rest of us have to make do with our lot. As promised, I'm posting just prior to the close of the long weekend. Did some lawn mowing and some much needed weeding and it was hard work! Mind you I did get out of bed sometime after noon.

Wanted to point something out about my last post. Patting oneself on the back every six months or so is not an ego trip nor is it completely unreasonable. Hope you got that.

I don't know about you, but there's something about this month which makes people crazy. Not making any bold predictions mind you, just a quaint observation that above normal strangeness tends to happen around this time of year.

The Beijing Olympics start this Friday (8/08/08) and I for one am most curious what will happen before, during and after the Olympics finally wrap up. This was the Olympics that Toronto should've had but was shafted in a corrupted vote. Think about it! Instead of the Beijing Olympics, we could've had the Beige Olympics! Beige naturally being Canada's favorite color. Too late now!

I previously wrote in 'The Great American Divide' that America as we know it is being torn apart by ideologues and fanatics. We cannot let this paranoia get the better of us. It the loonies gain control then God help us. I fear greatly that we are headed that way. Whether it be renewed racial politics in the run-up to the presidential elections or both foreign and domestic policy decisions that need to be made, a clear head minus the distractions is sorely needed.

Here's the key thing to remember in all this: If you want to be the last sane individual living in an insane world you can expect to get a lot of unwanted attention. As for me, I shall throw my lot in with the learned bastards over the ignorant high priests any day.

Johnny Cash

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sowing Eternal Seeds - Aug 2

It is with great fanfare that the X-Def is now two and a half years old! The actual date is on the 12th but I've decided to comment on my efforts right now.

Mastering the Blazingly Obvious

This post represents the 31st consecutive month that I've posted. I think often of those bloggers who created a blog only to leave it hanging when they realize how much effort is required of them to maintain it. Some of my posts have up to three to four hours of research behind it before I even type a single letter! Add to that another hour of (rather poor) typing, hyperlinking the URLs and editing the damn thing and you all of a sudden a big chunk of your waking (and non-working) day is taken up by a single post. How many then can boast of a blog of this size? Not too many by my reckoning.

This of course comes with a caveat. As I do not have a family of my own (too complicated to explain here) and aside from my full-time employment, there aren't many in my life making demands on my time. Compare that to Faith Girl who has her day jammed packed with family and church events and you'll see why there aren't that many posts from her.

I Shall Never Suffer For Lack of Material

So when exactly do you call it quits? It certainly will not be lack of material that will cause this blog's demise. Even if I have no idea what to write, there will always be current events and God's eternal Word. In a way, the Bible is always current, even when we're not aware of it. It is relevant now and will remain relevant ten and twenty years from now. Given the pace of events, the Bible will become more relevant, not less.

So barring an untimely death on my part, the only thing to trip me up is either boredom or the idea that my testimony is finished. When I finally left the CF in February 2005, I did so with that idea in mind. I had gone as far as I could and felt no reason to continue. It was touching that so many people wanted me to stay, but I knew in my heart that it was time to pack it in.

I want to be crystal clear in that I fully intend to reach my third anniversary in February of 2009 (and beyond). Which brings me to the title of this post.

The Real MO of the X-Def

My motivation has and always will to sow eternal seeds. In this life you have a choice. You can either sow earthly seed or heavenly seed. If you sow seed in the earthly realm, then that's exactly what you'll get. If you sow seed in the heavenly realm then don't expect earthly dividends! It is a very rare sight to see someone rich in both the world and in God. Generally speaking though, you're either in it for the money and power of this world or for the glory and riches that only Jesus can offer. One must either serve Mammon or God.

If A Tree Falls in the Forest ....

And nobody hears it, does it still make a sound? Let me put this Zen riddle into a Christian perspective. If you tell the truth according to God's word and nobody pays attention, are you a failure or a success? Again, that depends on the criteria. If we judge a prophet of God by the standards of this world, then yes, he (or she) is a failure. But if we judge that same prophet by an eternal standard, a royal success becomes their inheritance. Which then is greater, the temporal or the eternal? Clearly the eternal is greater. Just as infinity is greater than any finite number we could ever imagine, sowing eternal seeds for the life to come shall surpass all of our worldly efforts.

Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. I'll probably have another post for you this long hot August weekend. See you then.

Johnny Cash