Friday, April 20, 2012

How Much Are You Worth?

What is it that makes Christians (and others) believe that they have no right to think themselves worthy of GOD’s love and forgiveness and Christ’s sacrifice?

I’ve been wondering about that for some time now. I taught a Sunday School class in which the literature provided by the Sunday School Board of our religion said that we, humans, are unworthy of the price paid for our forgiveness and of GOD’s love. Poppycock.

How is the price – the worth – of something decided? While teaching that Sunday School class, I approached the subject in the following way. I had on a pair of clip-on earrings. I took one off of my ear and held it out as I went from student to student and asked them who would give me a hundred dollars for the one earring. None would. I lowered my price as I asked again. It took a price of twenty-five cents before anyone would say that they might pay that price for the one earring. Thus the price for the single earring was – at that time – twenty-five cents. Whatever someone is willing to pay is what the price is. The value (worth) of the earring was twenty-five cents.

The worthiness of humans, the value of you and I in GOD’s eyes, was decided when the price of our salvation was decided prior to our creation. GOD and His Son decided long before the earth was made that the price for our sin would be the sacrifice of Christ. How do I know that?

When GOD created the earth, Jesus Christ was there, helping Him create the earth (John 1:1-4) and “all that therein is” (Psalm 146:6). According to Ephesians 1:4-6, before the earth was even created, GOD and His Son had decided to give us grace through salvation in Christ (KJV):

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

According to the Bible (GOD’s Word), it was GOD who set the price for us. He decided that our price – our worth – was Christ’s blood and death. People who say that we are unworthy are not just wrong, they are ill-informed or ignoring (or ignorant of) the Bible.

For us to be unworthy would be for GOD to have decided – before the creation of the earth or at any time afterward -- that the price of our salvation was to be something less than Christ’s sacrifice; or that there would be no price high enough or that He was willing to pay so that we could be saved. If that had happened, then we could have counted ourselves unworthy of Christ’s death on the cross. That didn’t happen. The Bible, GOD’s inerrant Word, says that GOD decided the price prior to creating the earth, and that Christ decided to go to the cross (John 19:11) to pay that price for us. So both GOD and Son decided the price -- our worth -- and carried through with the actions that would be necessary for our salvation: to prove our worthiness. It was their choice.

Considering the pre-planning that GOD and Son did and the fact that they willingly carried through with their plan, that seems to prove to me that we are worthy. At least, GOD’s actions say so.

Remember, GOD could have interfered with the crucifixion of Christ. GOD could have spoken a word and the people who had Christ in custody would have gone to sleep, died, been killed by hellfire and brimstone as were those in Sodom and Gomorrah. Christ could have escaped as He admits “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” Twelve legions of angels (a legion is three- to six-thousand) can accomplish a lot, don’t you think? Couldn’t thirty-six-thousand angels get Christ away from those wishing His death? Couldn’t they at least protect Him long enough for Him to make His escape?

Our worth, then, is based upon the decisions of GOD and Christ and it was they who both chose to do what it took to ensure that Jesus Christ went to the cross in our stead and paid the price for our sins. It was GOD the Father and GOD the Son who chose to pay for you and I, the sinful, messed up, inconstant, lazy, weak humans who can’t seem to get it right for more than a few months at a time. Christ -- who lived a sinless life and did nothing to deserve to die, and not those of us who truly deserved it -- died for our sins.

He "who knew no sin” CHOSE since before creation to go to the cross and bear our sins. The only one on earth who never sinned died for our sins. The “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) CHOSE to go to the cross and be scourged and mocked and to die for us. GOD and Jesus Christ decided long before that day what our worth was.

Next time you are in church, Sunday School, a social gathering, with family and friends and you hear someone say anything about us – or themselves – being “unworthy” set them straight. You’ll be doing them a great service because in realizing their worth in Christ Jesus people also realize that GOD put that value on them. What better way to realize who you are, how much you really are worth, than to know that it was determined by the Lord God Almighty before time began?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Veganism's Political Cause: Part Deux -- God’s Instruction to Eat, Eat, Eat Meat!

As a follow-up to Monday’s posting, Veganism’s Political Cause, I present “Part Deux: God’s Instruction to Eat, Eat, Eat Meat”. Think big, juicy steak…

Some folks think that meat eating didn’t start in the story of the Bible until after the great flood of Noah’s time. In that reference, GOD told Noah and his sons (Genesis 9:2-3),

“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”

I, however (as usual), beg to differ. Of course!

Just after the Garden of Eden was vacated and Adam “knew” his wife and she conceived Cain and Abel, Abel grew up and became a shepherd. Now, I have a problem with the idea of Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel keeping sheep that they can’t do anything with except being responsible for. Death had already entered the world with Eve’s sin, so I think that the sheep had to have served a purpose. Back then they weren’t really into “conspicuous consumption”. They had only the things they needed and they didn’t think that it was a good thing to keep things that did nothing but take. If you have a flock of sheep that aren’t meant for anything but for the sheep to eat, for you to herd and consume your time, effort and doctoring, then why would the family have them?

My idea is that they had sheep for a reason. That reason was to eat them. They had a resource, not just a burden that they herded to this field and that field and then another field. They had food on the hoof. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that they were NOT eating meat at the time. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that GOD forbid it. It says that prior to sin, the people and the animals all ate veggies. After the “Big No No”, not only was there punishment for the sin, but soon thereafter, you see the first offering to GOD (Genesis 4:4):

“And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:”

If the lamb had not been killed, how could the fat be gotten for the Lord? Hmm? If the lamb is killed, according to the Book of Exodus, the Passover was a lamb, that the Lord instructed killed and eaten (Exodus 12:6-11):

“and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

“And they shall take of the blood and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the house, wherein they shall eat it.

“And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

“Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

“And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.”

So we see that they were instructed to eat the rest of the offering. As with most offerings, at least parts of the offering – dove, heifer, lamb, ram, whatever – is eaten by man. Not all offerings were eaten: the consecration offering was totally dedicated to GOD. Other than that, at least part of the offerings were eaten by man.

Stay with me now, GOD says to eat parts of the offering animals in Exodus, and Jesus is GOD and they are one (John 1:1-4), and, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Then when GOD says to eat part of the offering during the Passover, and again during the sanctification of the Hebrews who came out of Egypt, is that any indication that GOD intended at least the priests to eat part of the animal offerings all the time, as He commanded in Exodus 29:27-28?

Does that mean that back in Genesis 4:4 when Abel was bringing the “firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof” that they were offering one of the types of offerings defined in Leviticus? Was it a sin, meat, burnt, peace, or trespass offering in which they would be following the laws of Leviticus, in which it says that the priests get a bit of the offering. Was Adam the family priest: especially considering he used to walk and talk in the Garden with GOD Himself?

So we see that GOD commanded Adam to do animal offerings (or why would he be killing a lamb if he wasn’t supposed to?), and GOD commanded the Israelites to do animal offerings. Thousands of animals in the Old Testament were made into offerings to GOD. That means that thousands of animals were at least partially eaten by man throughout the Old Testament. Remember, they were the stand-in for the ultimate stand-in: Jesus Christ. Blood had to be shed and trees, veggies, roots don’t bleed! Therefore, it had to be an animal that died and the offering had to be made of something with blood. It couldn’t be a non-animal – fruit, veggie, stone, wood – it had to have blood running through veins.

“But, wait! That was Old Testament!” you say. Okay. Let’s look at the New Testament standards.

In the New Testament we see that Jesus ate meat in Matthew 9:10, 26:7, Mark 2:15, 14:3, 16:4 and Luke 24:30. If it’s good enough for Christ, who is part GOD, then why should we not eat meat? Remember, also, that when the offerings were made, GOD "ate" parts of the offerings via fire.

We also see that the regular people ate meat in many verses and that Christ used giving people meat to the hungry and that He thought it a good thing: “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:” (Matthew 25:35). If eating meat was so bad, why did Christ use it as an example of doing something good, something praiseworthy, as something that GOD rewards? For we see in Matthew 25:32-34 that GOD rewarded those who did such a thing:

“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

“And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left,

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”

Next is the part about being hungry and given meat. That’s praiseworthy in GOD’s eyes. Throughout the New Testament the eating of animals is an acceptable thing.

You can get a Concordance and look up for yourselves how often the eating of meat is mentioned in the New Testament. Before you scream and shout that “meat” is not always actually animal flesh, it sometimes stands for other foods in the New Testament. I understand that, but that does not destroy the fact that at times – quite often – it DOES mean animal flesh and that it meant that they killed an animal and actually ate it as vegans and vegetarians do not.

What kinds of animal flesh did they eat? We see in the Old Testament that they ate lamb, ram, bullocks, heifers, goats, dove, etc., the animals that met the cleanliness criteria. In the New Testament, they ate those and after the Lamb that Washes Away All Sin was offered for OUR sin, the rules changed.

In Acts 10:9-22, we see the story of the “Great Sheet” that Peter saw. In the story, Peter was on the rooftop praying and was very hungry. Instead of going and getting a snack, he stayed and prayed and fell into a trance. In the trance:

“he saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to earth:

“Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts and creeping things, and fowls of the air.”

These things were the things that did not meet the criteria of cleanliness that was set in the Old Testament. GOD said to Peter, “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.” Unheard of so far in the Jewish world, Peter of course said, “Not so, Lord: for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” But God was persistent (as He still is today) and said it a little stronger (Acts 10:15):

“What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.”

According to verse sixteen, this was done three times, GOD felt so strongly about it. When someone says “No way!” to you three times and you are GOD, what do you do? His motives were correct: doing the right thing via obeying the dietary laws. But GOD did not punish Peter, He let Peter absorb, analyze and consider the incident and come to his own conclusion. Peter, it states in verse 17, “doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean”.

Some say that this vision is strictly about men. Well, I happen to half-disagree.

When this was done, the death of Christ made all things clean; even what we eat. Remember, Christ already taught His disciples that, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” His death paid the price for all things to be clean (the vision taught us this) and it is not what we eat that makes us unhealthy or healthy. (Where in the Bible does it say that food makes us healthy? Anyone?)

Here’s the “half-disagree” portion: Yes, it can also talk about the men who came to visit Peter shortly after the vision. There were three men and three times the message was given. Maybe it also applies to them. However, I think that the food part of it was just as important. After all, the dietary laws protected the Jewish people against certain diseases and parasites. So for GOD to lower a sheet of “unclean” animals and to tell Peter to “take and eat” was an outrageous thing for GOD to do! For a Jewish person to even consider eating lobster – a scavenger – was considering sinning. That wasn’t something a disciple of the Lord wanted to do. So it must have been a big shock to Peter for GOD to instruct him to eat pig, lobster, ostrich, etc. But GOD did tell him and told him three times so I think He was serious about it, and I think it applied to both animals and man! Remember, it’s not what “goeth into the mouth” that defiles someone. It doesn’t matter what you eat according to Christ. It’s what you do and say.

There is one thing that I want to add here. If you are a Christian, should you be a vegetarian? Yes, you may be a vegetarian because it’s not “what goeth into the mouth” that defiles us. Do I see it as disobedience to GOD’s word to be a vegetarian/vegan? Yep. I do. He commanded us throughout the Bible – both Old and New Testament – to eat meat. From Genesis 9:2-3 to Acts 10 GOD commanded us to eat meat and Christ, who is GOD, and GOD Himself, set the example and ate meat. So being a vegetarian/vegan as a Christian is, IMHO, being disobedient, n'est-ce pas?

The sharing of an animal’s meat is a rewarded thing. So why would it be considered by those who believe the Bible to be the Word of GOD as a bad thing? Vegetarians think they’ll be healthier than those who eat meat. This is their opinion, but would GOD command us to do something that is bad for us? Consider that “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: has he said, and shall he not do it? or has he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) If GOD is going to “make it good” because He has commanded us to “take and eat” then why on earth would anyone want to disobey GOD and be a vegetarian?

Obedience gets us blessed. Disobedience gets us not blessed (to be nice about it). It is your choice, though. Which do you choose?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Veganism's Political Cause

I listened to part of the amy tiddlywinks show last Saturday. She and her guests were talking about how politics affects what our doctors tell us and how what we eat – they’re vegan or vegetarians – will heal us and prevent cancer, etc.

I started thinking about what they were saying and I started thinking about alternative motives for progressives to push veganism. I came up with a few possibilities. I am not saying that these ideas are actually what they talk about when it’s just them. I am not saying that somewhere in their past the founding fathers of Marxism/Communism/Socialism (which is what progressivism actually is) actually thought this, wrote any of this, talked about this. I am saying, “What if?” No harm in asking the question, right? As they say, “There is no stupid question.” Right?

For instance, they could be for animal rights. Animals are as important and as good, intelligent, or worthwhile as people. Do I agree with those feelings/beliefs? Nope. Do I think that it’s a good idea to think of future dinners as equals? No. That creates a feeling of cannibalism. That chicken that’s going to be my dinner in two months is NOT my equal in any way, shape, or form. Can a chicken write, talk, drive? Nope. Nope. And nope. Can that chicken do simpler things: zip a zipper, fill a glass, tie a shoe? Again: triple nope. Is a chicken capable of even smiling? Nope. Beaks don’t bend. Okay, so that’s a little cheat, but you get the idea. My chicken dinner is not my equal.

Does it have the same capabilities in other areas: does it have the ability to feel pain? Yes, but not the same way we do. Our brains are much more developed than theirs. They may feel pain but their receptors are not as high as ours. In fact, did you know that a chicken once lived for months without its head. Yep. Check it out. Could you do that? If not, then your body/brain connection is much more necessary than a chicken’s. So that makes you more developed than a chicken. You are superior to a chicken.

Lobsters, crabs, invertebrates can feel, think, do even less than a chicken. So we’ll not cover them.

How about beef – cows? Are they capable of doing more than a chicken? Yes. They are more developed than a chicken. Since they have more capabilities than a chicken, we have to ask if they can do something more than a chicken. So, can a cow drive, type a legible sentence, wash a sink full of dishes to food handler’s standards? Nope. Nope. Again, nope. It’s the same answers as a chicken’s. Does that mean that cows don’t feel? No. Does it mean that they should be treated as equals to humans? No. They cannot perform the higher functions. You’ll never see a cow do surgery, will you? You’ll never see a cow teach college, do calculus, or operate heavy machinery.

Does that mean we should torture our food prior to eating it? No. But it also doesn’t mean that they are our equals or that we should give them the same rights we have. After all, they won’t realize that they don’t have them: they are incapable of doing so. It’s like painting a wall blue instead of pink because you perceive it to be a male wall instead of a female wall. Does the wall realize or care which color it is painted? If not, then don’t worry about giving it a coat of whatever color paint you so desire. Same with a cow: it doesn’t realize whether or not it has rights so don’t worry about giving it rights. If it can’t exercise them without us doing so for it, then why bother? Your purse can’t get up and go somewhere you are without your help, so why give it legs?

So the animal rights angle is a possibility, although why they want to give animals rights is another question.

Another possibility is that food is a delineator. Ever see a poor man eat Kobe beef without a rich man buying it for him (a la us paying for obamination’s Kobe beef dinners)? Without anyone eating lobster, Chicken Kiev, Kobe beef, lamb, veal, etc., there can be no delineation between the rich and the poor. It’s all about equality, right? But equality is a two way street: the animals get equality and the people feel more equal. No one can afford any food that is better than the “little guy”. It’s all about “everyone eats rice”.

When it comes to veganism, what could the possibilities be for wanting others to be so, too, besides animal rights?

How about the possibility of taking GOD out of the public picture as a possible motivation? That’s a possibility. Tiddlywinks talked about how food can heal you and talked about the largest study in the history of the world done in China and the food they ate and how food made people get well. You take away the need for GOD to heal you and replace it with food and then you don’t need GOD do you? Take the issue of praying to GOD for healing away and you’ll see the food replace GOD. Isn’t that what it’s all about: food is the healer, thus food replaces the Great Physician? Don’t pray, eat. You’ll be fine! Food will take care of you. Eat kale, don’t pray. (It can be their mantra: “Eat kale, don’t pray! Eat kale, don’t pray!” placards of green…)

Or maybe it’s the idea that it gives Wrongies more power over the rest of us? Take away our food choices via animal rights and who gets to control whom? Yeah. Power is what they want and with animal rights and forced vegetarianism they get it. Is that a possible motivation for pushing vegetarianism? Control is the name of their game. Do you want them to control you?

How about another possibility? Maybe they’re just delusional? Maybe they think that they’re going to replace GOD in their lives with food and that it will do for them what GOD will do if they just turn their lives over to Him and be His child? Maybe that’s their delusion. Maybe that’s the way they choose to deal with the GOD shaped hole in their hearts? Maybe they choose tofu over Creator? If that be the case, that’s their problem and their delusion but it doesn’t mean that they need to get the rest of us into their delusion.

So we have three possibilities about what tiddlywinks and the other progressive Wrongies were talking about. All of them can be applied and used side by side, or they are all stand alone possibilities as well. Whichever way you look at it, there’s another motivation for pushing veganism/vegetarianism. Mark my words. There’s another reason for pushing vegetarianism/veganism. It’s not because they care about you. It’s not that they want you to be healthy. They certainly don’t want me to be healthy! They don’t want George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney to be healthy (especially not Dick Cheney!). Why would they want that? So it’s not about everyone being healthy.

When it comes to what your physicians won’t tell you – especially about the food you eat and the results it supposedly brings about in your body – do as tiddlywinks encouraged you to do. Think about the politics of it all. Think about what the truth is and how they do things. Think about their history and where the whole vegan movement came from. Think about their past and their previous motivations. Then ask yourself these questions: What is their political motivation for trying to spread vegetarianism? And, do they really want me healthy? Then you’ll have the answer as to why they’re spreading veganism.