Tag Archives: church

Short Reflections On The Nature Of God

What is the nature of God?
What is the nature of God?

It can be said that it is easier to accurately define and completely understand the concept of infinite that to even begin to comprehend God. Something I have wondered about for quite some time is how did God decide what the 10 Commandments were to consist of? Did He arbitrarily decide that these 10 rules were the ones He’d support? Are they so practical because He said so? If so, even despite their correctness and practicality in practice, their necessesity in all productive human interaction, they’re still arbitrary, and it would seem that God is cheaper than He really is. But God is not arbitrary. Just as He gives purpose to everything and everyone, He Himself embodies purpose. For us it is His will that guides our purpose, for Him, there is no higher being to guide His purpose. He is self-contained, unneeding. Instead it is His nature that defines His purpose. God is truthful, therefore we ought not lie. God does not covet (though, arguably He has nothing to covet, all things belong to Him, and anything existing apart from Him is against His nature), therefore we ought not covet. The 10 Commandments are Gods best portrait of Himself in the form of His basic will for us. God’s attributes are to be our goals.

Nothing true can contradict the nature of God. This is the most powerful argument we have against falsehood in the church and among believers. If it is against the nature of God, it is not true. And the admonition that we dwell on whatever things are true takes on a whole new meaning.

God is jealous. He can bear no equals, whether percieved or actual. God does not accept any sin in any form, no matter the reason. Men can only see the outside, the physical manifestations, the actions. But God knows the hearts of all mankind, He judges intentions. This is both a relief and a burden. There are actions that are misunderstood and maligned, causing pain and suffering to the actors, but which stem faithfully from correct intentions. There are actions hailed as heroic, but which stem from motives unpure, capricious at best and malicious at worst. God is the Just Judge and He will determine the reward or punishment.

Voltaire said: “It took 12 men to start Christianity, and one will destroy it.” He was referring to himself. God replies: “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off, but the Word of the Lord endures forever. (1 Peter 1:24-25 NASB)” And Voltaire died, and Christianity continues.

Why is the battle so fiercely arrayed against the Christian standing firm in their convictions, faith, and belief? Because we have the Word, Christ in us, and “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12-13)”

Our Story, From Matthew’s Eyes

She was smart, beautiful and funny, and most of all, she loved God.

February 11, 2007: Sunday morning I walked into Sunday School with the other Young Adults at Brainard Avenue Baptist Church. It was my second week back after being gone just over two years in California.

I had met the church and felt at home and accepted and appreciated back in 2003, and with that knew that I was to relocate at least for a while to Chicago after spending a few more years at home. After spending just over 2 years back in California, I returned to Chicago at the end of January 2007 and thanks to the generosity of friends church family in the area I was putting down roots.

Little did I know where those roots would grow and how my life was to change. Soon.

Back to that Sunday, February 11th. In my visits back to Chicago while living in California, I’d met some new members of the Sunday School class, students at Moody Bible Institute who were able to drive out to the suburbs for Sunday services at Brainard. It was good to see these people again in addition to the regulars and long-timers.

The Moody students had brought friends this Sunday. One young lady, in her first semester at Moody, had been searching for a church she could feel at home at while attending school, had taken advantage of her friend’s extra car seats, and was visiting the church for the first time.

The quiet, beautiful girl did not return for a few weeks.

When she did visit Brainard again, I made a point of talking with her for a few minutes. Making her feel welcome, I told myself.

It began as a friendship, nothing special. But I quickly moved beyond an average interest in her.

This was a Godly woman, beautiful, caring, very loving. All that attracted me very intensely. I had to get to know her better.

And so I did. Grace visited family in Washington for spring break. I missed her those weeks she did not come to Brainard.

I had offered to drive students to church from Moody when they needed extra seats, and one beautiful spring day they took me up on the offer. Three students needed a ride and so I went out early Sunday morning to pick them up. Due to the beautiful weather, the two others decided they were going to ride a motorcycle out to church that day, leaving Grace to ride with me by herself. She was not exactly comfortable with this situation at the outset, being alone in a car with some guy she hardly knew. But it was that or miss church, and I’d already driven out, so to not make a scene, she got in the car.

We began talking and found we had similar standards and backgrounds, and we both liked country music.

That afternoon several of us spent the afternoon at my apartment eating lunch, playing games, listening to music, relaxing. Grace and I continued to talk and get to know each other. I drove her back to school too, and said goodbye.

Over that spring the associate pastor and his wife invited several college students over for extended times of fun and fellowship, watching movies and entertaining their young boys. Grace was able to take some time off studying to attend one of these, so I volunteered to pick her up from school and bring her out to the suburbs so she could spend time with us.

The other Moody students had come out earlier in the day and so again I was able to spend time just with Grace, getting to know her better.

We also spent a Saturday helping some other students move to an apartment off campus. While there were others around, I sought out Grace and helped her and asked her to help me in specific tasks. I was twitterpated. And I believe she knew I was possibly interested in more than friendship.

Our friendship continued to grow and as the semester drew to a close I was trying to decide if I should ask her if we could move into a potentially romantic relationship or talk to her dad first. Various things led me to decide to speak with her dad first, but as I drove her and a mutual friend to the airport that morning in early May I bit my tongue.

Our parting was awkward as our relationship was possibly changing and yet neither of us had mentioned it to each other. We parted with an awkward side hug and I drove to work while she winged her way home to Dallas.

Earlier in the semester she had given me her cell phone number but had informed me her phone was broken and so I had not called her. As she left for the summer, she left a few boxes of things which would not fit in the summer storage at Moody which I was to take to the associate pastor’s house for storage. The boxes had her home address.

I spent the weekend visiting friends in Louisville, Kentucky and trying to work up the courage to call her or her dad. I still wasn’t very sure of her interest in me and I feared rejection. So I decided to try and talk with her one more time, just to gauge her possible interest.

Leaving Louisville late Sunday afternoon for the long drive back to Chicago, I called her. I’d used the address on her boxes to look up her home phone number in the phone book online. And now the phone was ringing.

Her mother answered.

“Can I speak with Grace, please? This is Matthew, a friend from Chicago.”

The phone call and the trip went quickly, all 4 hours of both. And I had my answer. We still had not talked specifically of our relationship, but I knew that if it was that easy for both of us to spend 4 hours talking and with similarities between us in standards and beliefs, I knew I wanted to pursue this lady.

The next day I called her dad. I spoke to him on Tuesday and asked if I could begin courting his daughter.

Over the next few weeks he asked me questions regarding my views and opinions on various matters and eventually told me he and his wife would allow me to court Grace.

I was planning a trip down to Missouri by then to see her for a weekend. She was working at Child Evangelism Fellowship’s headquarters outside St. Louis.

June 15th, 2007: The Friday before I drove down to see her, when we were having what by then was a regular evening phone call, I told her I’d been talking to her parents about courting her (she knew that already) and I asked her if she was willing to court me.

She said yes.

Over the summer she traveled to New York to work with children in the projects and other parts of the city, returning to Missouri and then Dallas in August, where I spent a week meeting her family and friends and having fun together.

We flew back to Chicago together: her to begin classes and me to get back to work.

Through the semester and now these months together I grew to appreciate more and more her strength, her tenacious love, her sense of direction and purpose, and her Godliness. Not to mention her beauty and her spirit, her consistency and organization. I knew rather quickly that she was definitely the one I wanted to marry.

Apparently she knew too.

After a winter trip to California meeting my family and friends and receiving further counsel from my parents, I began seriously considering marriage to this wonderful woman God had brought into my life.

After an intense period of counsel, thought, and prayer we were still unsure when the best time would be for our wedding to occur and our marriage to commence: Whether to marry this year or after she graduates in 2010.

Grace and I decided to have a period of time where we were to not contact each other but to spend that time seeking the Lord’s will and answers in our lives.

Ending Valentine’s Day, 2008, these 7 days were painful but rich, and we both, individually, felt God leading us to marry this year.

In the church parking lot, on February 25, 2008, 1 year and 2 weeks after we’d first met in the Sunday School classroom not too far away, I got down on one knee and asked Grace if she would marry me, be my wife and the mother of our children.

She said yes!

American Texan and I will be married August 2nd, 2008, in Dallas TX.

See our website at MattLovesGrace.com

To Some, They’re Truth

The words of Jeremiah Wright, the wrong words he’s spoken and made a central part of his message for the 20 years Barak Hussein Obama has considered him a spiritual leader, to some, they are truth.

Mr. Wright, for I do not consider him to be worthy of reverence or title beyond that of a normal man, is not the only person to preach those words either.

They are a variant of the philosophy and world view known as Liberation Theology, specifically, Black Liberation Theology.

From GotQuestions.org:

Simply put, Liberation Theology is an attempt to interpret Scripture through the plight of the poor. It is largely a humanistic doctrine. It started in South America in the turbulent 1950’s when Marxism was making great gains among the poor because of its emphasis on the redistribution of wealth, allowing poor peasants to share in the wealth of the colonial elite and thus upgrade their economic status in life. As a theology, it has very strong Roman Catholic roots.

Liberation Theology was bolstered in 1968 at the Second Latin American Bishops Conference which met in Medellin, Colombia. The idea was to study the Bible and to fight for social justice in Christian (Catholic) communities. Since the only governmental model for the redistribution of the wealth in a South American country was a Marxist model (gained in the turbulent 1950’s), the redistribution of wealth to raise the economic standards of the poor in South America took on a definite Marxist flavor. Since those who had money were very reluctant to part with it in any wealth redistribution model, the use of a populist (read poor) revolt was encouraged by those who worked most closely with the poor. As a result, the Liberation Theology model was mired in Marxist dogma and revolutionary causes…

…Liberation Theology has moved from the poor peasants in South America to the poor blacks in America. We now have Black Liberation Theology being preached in the black community. It is the same Marxist, revolutionary, humanistic philosophy found in South American Liberation Theology and has no more claim for a scriptural basis than the South American model has.

The race problem in America is real, that is undeniably true. But I do not think it is true in the way many assume it to be.

First, slavery was an inexcusable evil and a dark time for America. Today, many of us can trace roots back to those who participated, freely or under coercion, in slavery in America.

But at the same time, many of us can’t. And a significant majority have ancestors from the both the ideological North and South in their blood, as well as those who had no part at all. There has been significant immigration by all races to America after the conclusion of the Civil War and the active work of slavery.

The continuing and very real race issue was summed up by a new friend of Ed Kaitz’s. Ed had been spending time with the Vietnamese immigrants who’d settled in the Bayous of Louisiana, and while flying home he met a an American Black who’d been studying psychology and working as a prison psychologist in Missouri.

Ed tells it like this:

His answer, only a few words, not only floored me but became sort of a razor that has allowed me ever since to slice through all of the rhetoric regarding race relations that Democrats shovel our way during election season:

“We’re owed and they aren’t.”

In short, he concluded, “they’re hungry and we think we’re owed.  It’s crushing us, and as long as we think we’re owed we’re going nowhere.”

“They” are the Vietnamese Ed had spent time with, “we” are the gentleman’s own race, his fellow American Blacks.

Ed concludes his commentary on Obama’s inability to recognize the powerful forces of good in his life and the state of racism in America with this call to recognize real sources of ability and equality, accomplishment and future:

We now know that Barack Obama really has no interest in the “audacity of hope.”  With his race speech, Obama became a peddler of angst, resentment and despair.  Too bad he doesn’t direct that angst at the liberal establishment that has sold black people a bill of goods since the 1960s.  What Obama seems angry about is America itself and what it stands for; the same America that has provided fabulous opportunities for what my black friend called “hungry” minorities.  Strong families, self-reliance, and a spirit of entrepreneurship should be held up as ideals for all races to emulate.

Read Obama’s Anger at American Thinker.

Doug Ross, at Opinion Journal, quotes Nicholas Stix in Mens News Daily regarding Barak Hussein Obama’s run against Alan Keyes. Regarding Barak’s religion Nicholas has this to say:

…Obama’s closest religious advisers — Fr. Pfleger, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, and Illinois State Sen. James Meeks, who moonlights as the pastor of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church – may have quotes from Scripture always handy, but are theologically closer to Karl Marx and black nationalism, than to Christianity… The transcendent-non-transcendent motto the Rev. Wright has given Trinity is, “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.”

Yes, we need a Marxist president. Exactly what the country needs.

More information on Black Liberation ideology.

LA Times speaks with moral relativism and class warfare.

Roger Simon writes, in homage to Andrew Goodman “Barak, I didn’t do it for this

And what about the New Black Panthers?

Huckabee: Our Hope From Hope?

Responding to the article “Huck-a-bust Not Just Romney’s Drumming“, Ryan Scott asks why not Huckabee:

I mean seriously who would want a christian, honest,genuine man to run this country wouldn’t we be a wreck? Plus you provide no proof, but general fallacies that don’t prove anything. I am a christian, and maybe you should rethink your christian stance!!!
May God speak to your heart.
Actual brother in christ,
Ryan Scott

A fair and entirely justified question.

Essentially, in light of the current political landscape: It was one thing, for me, to support Romney. Now, we’re faced with McCain or Huckabee. Given that significant change, why not support Huckabee now?

My response:

I would love an honest genuine Christian man to step up and run this country. That would be amazing.

“You shall know them by their fruits”

Huckabee has history. He’s been around as a public person for a long time. This is a good thing.

We know he is consistent and principled, that he’s been pretty much the same his entire political life.

The problem is, his philosophy of government is incorrect, both by God’s law and America’s Constitution.

God has clearly set up various spheres of responsibility and influence for his various authority structures: State, Church, Family, Individual, etc…

Huckabee does not understand this or has pragmatic reasons, in his own mind, to ignore them.

As such, a government under Huckabee would grow and take and spend more of yours and my money.

Government is rarely, if ever, the answer to societal ills. Government is unwieldy and prone to corruption and deception.

Unscrupulous people are drawn to government because of this.

Huckabee intends well, but his stated intention is wrong and the result will be even worse.

That’s why I do not support Huckabee for president.