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Decoration Day

It’s Memorial Day weekend.  This weekend we celebrate those who have passed away who served in the military.

It began as a day called Decoration Day.  Decoration Day is still observed in the South, though it may be elsewhere as well.  In the area I live in, it is simply called Decoration and graves are decorated regardless of military affiliation.

Decoration Day can be somewhat of a family reunion as family members gather in the cemeteries that hold generations of family members gone by.  I have jokingly said that it wouldn’t surprise me to see a host of tailgaters at certain cemeteries.

I’ll be honest and say that while I understand why families practice this ritual, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  I know it’s tradition and it’s a way for some to hold on to the memories of those who went before them.  However, it is with some bemusement that I see people put flowers on dead people’s graves when they rarely, if ever, gave them flowers while alive.

What saddens me in this entire process is that many of the people putting flowers on the graves are as dead as those lying in the graves.  Too many of those who are bringing flowers do not know Christ.  I don’t know any of the people well enough to tell you who they might be.  I’m just playing the percentages.

Basically, though, the cemeteries at Decoration Day remind me of what Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 23.  He said that the tombs were beautiful on the outside, whitewashed, but full of dead bones on the inside.

Decoration Day is a nice sentiment.  It is important to many people.  However, when it comes down to it, if someone isn’t following Christ, their lives are just like those cemeteries.  Beautiful to see, but full of dead bones.

That is what any of our lives are like if we don’t repent and come to know Christ.

I plea with you today.  If you don’t know Christ, if He hasn’t renewed your heart, if He hasn’t make you a new creature, if He hasn’t made you alive, repent and come to know Christ today.

  1. May 25, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    I think if God does exist and is loving he gave us our reasoning and our doubts for a reason. That he would want all of us too do the best we can too make the world a better place, whether that involves our faith, our love, or our compassion. That as long as we were following the Golden Rule, showing compassion for the creatures he had put on the Earth, and not abide evil that he would not punish those who made a honest mistake, (that being the origin of his creation) with an unfulfilled life or condemn them. I cannot imagine a loving God would reward many who abide evil yet worship him and punish those who would willingly risk themselves to stop it and do not worship him.

    You may consider the above blog post a warning in good faith as is your right. but it just raises too many contradictions for me to agree with your conclusions.

    • May 25, 2014 at 7:57 pm

      I’m curious. If you don’t believe as I do, why do you read these posts? What are you searching for? What’s missing from your life?

      • May 25, 2014 at 8:10 pm

        The only thing I’m searching for is my own ways to make the world better. I’m fine actually. I was under the impression you were searching to reach a new audience by posting your thoughts online and I was attempting to show you why others like myself might not agree with it.

      • May 25, 2014 at 8:56 pm

        Just trying to understand your motivation. So, as I understand what you’re saying, you don’t believe in God. The God you don’t believe in, that I do, created they universe and everything in it. He created humans to live in a relationship with them. He told them they could eat of everything but one tree, else they would die. They disobeyed and the death He spoke of was a spiritual death that each human thereafter was born into.
        From that point, God began moving to rectify this problem by invading Earth as the person of Jesus Christ, who came not to condemn the world because it was already condemned. Jesus then died so that we originally screwed up could be fixed. So God provided the means for humans who rebelled against Him to avoid the punishment of disobedience.
        So, this is what you don’t believe, which is something I believe by faith. When I see the world and the universe, I can ‘t believe that it just happened. And what I see in the Bible is the most loving God possible because He gave a rebel like me an escape clause by doing the work necessary for me to earn His own favor.

  2. May 25, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Why do you think I believe “it just happened?” I don’t recall saying I was an Atheist on the blog, just that Christian faith was not true and I did not believe preying worked as you do.

    Now that I have that out of the way I ask, even if I had believed The Bible was true why would a loving God condemn you with no feeling in your heart for disbelief if it was an honest disbelief and not anger at him and as long as you did much good in the world? It seems rather out of line to let someone be “alive” spiritually and enrich their world if they believe in God but also refuse to help the downtrodden or the meek, and in fact attack them. While many who don’t believe do the good works The Bible claimed all Christians should be compelled to do and yet they are condemned. Or if you believe that those that stand for it are not the true Christians why do you believe your interpretation of The Bible is true?

    Your answer illustrated the ways God gave people to fix the world, it did not justify the way the choices God makes.

    Also please do not be passive aggressive in your response. If you imply something is missing from my life it makes it sound like you believe something must be wrong with me if I choose to willingly expose myself to different points of view.

    • May 25, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      Actually I don’t think I referred to you as an atheist. I was merely clarifying that what I believe is not what you believe. What do you believe?

  3. May 25, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    I’m an agnostic who believes that it is a little “convenient” that Christianity lends itself very easily to the Status Quo and people controlling others, you’ll see a lot of religions do that throughout history and I don’t believe this case is different. Don’t misunderstand I am fine with others believing it and in fact have met many very nice Christians. I just believe they follow rules they have no good reason to follow and that many of their brethren are doing wrong by attempting to follow a myth made to control people. We have many good reasons to give people rules, but because it upsets an authority who may or may not exist and who many claim to hear conflicting things from is not a good reason.

    If God of The Bible appears why did he stop appearing to people in the last few centuries and why won’t he elaborate on his rules if humans have questions for him? Are his children important enough to know all the details of why he chooses to say make lying with a man when you are man or envying others lot in life a sin? If he is omnipotent he could save all people or tell everyone how to make the world better. Yes I know “He works in mysterious ways” but I believe that is a cop out.

    • May 26, 2014 at 6:29 am

      Great. Now we have that out of the way.

      I hate rules. I’m not a good rule follower. When I a speed limit, I want to exceed it. Not by much, just a little. If I see a wet paint sign or a keep off the grass sign, well, I want to touch and get on the grass. The great thing about Christianity is that it’s not really a rules based religion. I actually hate that word, but I’ll use it for simplicity’s sake. I think that we, meaning people in general, want rules to go by. We want a list. We want to know what we have to do to be in the good. This creates much of the legalistic, works based variations of our faith. I have a friend who grew up in a legalistic church where playing cards was so frowned upon that they even called card tables, game tables.

      But back to it being a relationship, based on what I read, there is no way I can earn God’s favor. Instead, I am saved by faith through grace. So, why do we have something called the Law in the Bible? Actually, you don’t have this until the nation of Israel is created. You might know this already, but I’m just trying to explain. You don’t see many, if any, rules to live by until then. Starting in Exodus 20, you have God giving Moses the Law on Mount Sinai. There are all sorts of laws in there. Laws on how society should be handled, ceremonial law, dietary law, religious law. Everything for how God wants Israel to conduct itself. Why? Because He wants Israel to be different from the other nations so that He would be glorified and because this is the nation He will send His Son into.

      So what relevance does the Law have to me, a Gentile, a few thousand years later. Paul helps me out there in Galatians. If the Law is God’s perfect life in written form, when I bump into it, I find that I can’t meet it. There is no way that I can keep every one of those laws. And because of Jesus I don’t have to. Jesus kept it for me. Paul writes that the Law is a tutor. It teaches me that I can’t meet God’s standard. So, He met that standard for me so that I don’t have to. That’s how much He loved me. He just wants me to live in a relationship with Him, to believe Him, to have faith in Him for this. To use an Old Testament example that Paul uses as well, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. In other words, Abraham and I couldn’t couldn’t do it on our own, so we believed God and He credits our account, wipes our slate clean, forgives us of our sins.

      Now, regarding being controlled, we just don’t have a bunch of rules that I have to follow in my church to be controlled by. There’s no list of anything I have to go by. I don’t have to be in church so many times per week or month. There’s no way I have to dress. Now, for example, if I was driving down the road with a woman other than my wife, stopped at the red light and kissed her, and some folks from my church saw that, they would approach me to ask me what was going on. I had better have a good explanation, which I can’t really think of unless the kiss was a peck on the cheek and it was my sister. But otherwise, we aren’t rules based. We’re relationship based.

      As far as why God stopped appearing to people, here’s what I believe the Bible teaches. He created man, Adam and Eve, to have a relationship with. That perfect relationship was broken through sin. Man did the breaking of the relationship. God began speaking to certain people, the Bible calls them prophets. Enoch was one. Noah was one. Abraham. Moses. All the way up until about 400 years before Christ. Then there was 400 years of silence. Then another prophet came on the scene, we call him John the Baptist. He prepared the way for Christ. Then Christ appears. God in the flesh. The God-Man. He died on the cross, but before He died, He said that He was going away, but that another Helper would be sent to us (john 14:16). This is the Holy Spirit. When Jesus says that this is another Helper, what is literally being said is that another one like Him would be sent to us. Paul goes on to explain, again in Galatians, that God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. That is Galatians 4:6 specifically.

      So, we don’t feel like God has to continue to appear to us. We have the Holy Spirit. We have the Bible. We read it and God communicates, for lack of a better phrase, with us. We pray and God communicates to us. We are important enough to Him for Him to become human and die for us and to send His Holy Spirit to be with us constantly.

      Now, why does He make lying with another man a sin. When God created man, he created them male and female. He also defined marriage as man leaving his parents and joining his wife. Why? Biologically speaking, He created them this way to create more humans. So, as I read through the Bible, He created us and gave us sex for two reasons: to procreate and to enjoy, because, let’s face it, sex is enjoyable. As I continue to read the Bible, any sex outside of marriage is sin. This means if I’m a teenager having premarital sex or married and having sex with someone other than my wife. Or lying with another man. It isn’t sex within marriage as God defined it.

      Why is envy a sin? Or, to use a Biblical word, covetousness? I mean, after all, if my neighbor has a donkey and I need a donkey, can’t I want one too? Coveting, or envying, creates a spirit within us that destroys us. It affects my relationship with my neighbor. Because I’m envious that he had a donkey and I don’t, I don’t like him as much. I might harm the donkey so that he doesn’t have it any longer. Envy and covetousness have no good end. When the way we live is to love God and our neighbor, then there can’t be a place for it.

      Here’s the thing, though. Envying or lying with another man or committing adultery in some other form are just symptoms of the bigger issue. Those are sins. The bigger issue is the sin nature. Because of the Fall, when Adam and Eve originally sinned, the sin nature overtakes all of us. My sin nature may manifest in me being a liar or a glutton or anger. Those aren’t the main problem. The main problem is that I need to come into a relationship with Jesus Christ. When Christ becomes my Savior and my treasure, then I don’t want your donkey, because I have something better. I don’t want to lie, because I have Jesus, who is the Truth. I don’t want to lie with a man, woman or anyone other than my wife because our relationship is a physical picture of the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church.

      And I don’t particularly like “He works in mysterious ways” either. In Romans it says that He will have mercy on who He will have mercy. And I think that if you and I will put our faith in Christ and live in a relationship with Him, then the world will be better.

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