Saturday, June 20, 2009

2 Week Break...

Hey guys,

You shant be hearing from me for the next two weeks I think. Next week I shall be preparing for Summer Madness in Cat's, getting my two talks ready...and well the week after that, I'll be in Cat's house, so I won't be able to prepare anything. I hope to prove myself wrong, cause we're getting close to the end of the series. Speaking of which, I'll soon need some ideas for topics I can talk on once I finish the current series.

Anyway, hopefully I'll see you guys before two weeks, but if not, have a great two weeks without me!


Fire Fall Down...

An Epic Expiation...

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin..."

-1 John 1 v 7

I'm going to go out on a limb here. In my opinion, English is the most beautiful language in the world. Without delving into a massive linguistical debate, I completely understand that it has to be used in the correct way. That said, when used properly, it can create realms beyond our thoughts.

I was thinking about this chapter, and how to introduce two key words that this chapter revolves around. I also happened to be up in Dublin quite a bit this week. And something occurred to me as I was thinking about the English language... there are so many words that are so intriguing, and yet not used in daily life. I'm sure if you were to ask me when I have an open dictionary in front of me, I'd be able to list off such words.

But there's one that I can tell you; defilement. You don't here "defilement" a lot in today's world. I also started to think why that might be, and while its not exactly pleasing to the ear, its certainly an interesting word.

Defile, the stem from which defilement comes from, is defined as "to make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debase..." That's a pretty good definition. Its used to reference something unclean, something that has been made dirty. Like I said, not the most pleasing of words to hear, but I think there's another reason why its an uncommon word... 'cause the world doesn't want us to hear it.

Think about it, in today's world, the media is focusing on trying to make you something you're not. That may include not using the correct words to describe us. I believe, and once again I think I'm going out on a limb, that defiled is a perfect adjective to describe us.

You may be thinking that's pretty harsh, but actually, it describes us perfectly. See, if I've learned one thing from reading the book this set of blogs is based on, is that a lot of what Jesus did on the cross revolves around one thing...


It may sound kinda odd. After all, I knew all along that "sin" was one of the main reasons why Jesus died on the cross...I just hadn't realised how many different aspects of sin He dealt with. This is the seventh in a 12 part series. I haven't looked ahead, but I won't be surprised if at least another 3 chapters deal with another aspect of sin.

The aspect here we're focusing on is how sin defiles us. We all know, or at least should know, that sin makes us dirty. It makes filthy in the sight of God. Its a scary thing, which is something I'm sure I'm going to repeat over the coming weeks.

According to Scripture, there are three types of defilement;

  1. Places can be defiled by sin; "Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin..." -Leviticus 18 v 25.
  2. Objects can be defiled by sin, the example given in the book being the marriage bed; "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral..." -Hebrews 13 v 4.
  3. People can be defiled by sin.
I want to take a paragraph to explain to you the two main types of sins. Just as we talked last week about how God's wrath can be active or passive, in a sense, so can sin. Sin in which we choose to do something against God's will is called a sin of commission. However, there is another type. Sin in which we choose to not do something that we ought to do, or that is according to our duty is a sin of omission.

Just thought I'd clear that up because its something that I've learned over my reading of this book. I never thought of sin like that, and neither had I thought of it for a long time as something that makes me unclean. I knew it did, but I hadn't thought of it like that for quite a while.

What's more is that this defilement of our souls and our bodies causes something to stir up inside us; shame. I originally thought shame was a majorly bad thing, but actually, looking at it, shame can actually be a really good thing. Shame exists when we sin, and so when we feel ashamed because we sin, its healthy. Someone who doesn't feel shame when the sin has a broken connection with God.

Again, this blog is beginning to sound depressing so I shall get to the point.

See, while we all know sin defiles us, Jesus died on the cross for our sin. In doing so, He clearly showed the doctrine of expiation. There's another word that isn't commonly seen in today's culture...cleanse. We see "clean" quite a bit, but not cleanse. Jesus, through his death on the cross, makes us clean, wipes away the filth and the stain left by sin, so that we can be seen to be pure in the eyes of our Father;

"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool..."

-Isaiah 1 v 18

Jesus' demonstration of His expiating work is shown through the second lamb on the Day of Atonement. After the first lamb is sacrifice as a sin offering, revealing God's propitiation work, the second lamb is led outside. Here, the High priest would confess the sins of the nation while placing his hands on the lamb. The lamb is then sent out to wander the desert, showing God's expiating work, through a scapegoat. In our case, Jesus is our scapegoat;

"...because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins..."

-Leviticus 16 v 30

"On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity..."

-Zechariah 13 v 1

In order for Jesus' expiating work to be made known in our lives, we need to confess our sin. More than that, we need to confess all of it, no matter how depressing, horrific or gross it may be, because Jesus forgives all sin. If we do this, we can avail of two accomplishments Jesus has secured;
  1. Our sins will be forgiven, not through our confession, but because of Jesus' work on the cross; "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world..." -1 John 2 v 1-2.
  2. He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

How can Jesus' expiating power work in our lives?


Let Him be the Nexus in our lives...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spoiler Tags...

Yes, as you may have noticed in my last post, I had spoiler tags. Up until now, there was no way to use spoiler tags in Blogger. Now thanks to a quick bit of copying and pasting, its as simple as pie.

Instead of actually telling you what to do, I'll give the link to where I actually got the bits of code from. When looking for the first two pieces, they should be within the last quarter of the layout html.

House MD...

"Everybody lies..."

-Gregory House

I've wanted to do this blog for quite some time. If I'm honest, my dog woke me up at 7 o'clock in the morning, so I was kinda left with the quandry of what to do, seen as once I awake, its extremly hard for me to go back to sleep. My laptop beckoned me, and as soon as you can say...well...just about anything, I was watching an episode of House.

House is pure genious. There is no show out there like it, and its is by far the best fictional medical show on modern TV. For me it surpasses Scrubs, because, whereas in Scrubs, a lot of the drama comes from either the medicine in the hospital, or the relationship and struggles outside, House seemlessly blends the two together. Its very hard to seperate between the two in House.

An example of this is the previous episode I've just watched. For those of you who don't enjoy spoilers, look away now.

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

What is most surprising about the fact is that I cried...quite a lot. And that's odd, because I had had a gander at Wikipedia to look at what was coming up in the later episodes. But it didn't matter, it still made me cry. It captures the RAW and real emotions of the charcaters so well, the I couldn't help but cry.

It truely is pure genious. And that's only one reason. The way they film each episode is brilliant. It seems which each episode, the director wants to give that episode its own flare. A really great episode which demonstrates this is "Locked In" in which we a based inside the head of an apparent brain dead man, who actually has locked-in syndrome. For the majority of the episode, due to the syndrome, the director lets us see the diagnosis from the man's view point, unable to speak or move, yet we can hear his thoughts. I would say that is one of the most clever devices I've seen.

Acting is top notch. The only actor I had even remotly heard of before watching the show was Hugh Laurie. Its fair to say though that each of the cast in the show gives a stellar performance each time around, whether it be the ever detailed and compassionate Robert Sean Leonard, to the clever thinking and antics of Kal Penn. All of these things contribute to the sucess of the show, and we haven't even gotten to the best part.

House himself.

I could write for hours on his cynisism, his wit, his humour, his pain, his intelligence, his ability to somehow come up with an impossible diagnosis each time and still get it right. The man is miserable, and I think that's why we connect to him, because at some stage in all of our lives, we all feel like House. And I think its the fact that instead of wanting to wallow in his own pity, he actually fights through it...OK, there is the small matter of his addiction to Vicodain, but you get the picture.

Like I said, I could rant on for hours, but I think the only way you'll appreciate the show is to actually spend time with it. Go and watch it. If you've never watched an episode, give it a go, not only will you appreciate the acting and film work, you'll be challenged by the morals displayed by the characters. Just look online, you're bound to stumble across somewhere to watch it. And remember...

"It's easy if you don't give a damn..."

-Gregory House

Sunday, June 14, 2009

All For Love...Shout Unto God...

Rather than try to find a song that captures the post below, I'll let one of my new favorite songs do the talking...

A Purposeful Propitation...

"In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins..."

-1 John 4 v 10

Dealing with life isn't always easy. Trust me, I know. Things happen which are out of control, sometimes good, sometimes bad. I think you're intelligent enough to flick back through my old posts to discover that my life hasn't been a cake walk. Rather, my life has been quite tough. That's not to signal me out, I know plenty of people who have experienced far worse things then I ever have, and hope not to experience.

I'm thinking that this post is going to be a hard one to write, because A) my brain has decided to not function properly due to tiredness, and B) what I'm going to talk on is something that we don't tend to talk about a lot...wrath...

More importantly, the wrath of God. See, I know a lot of people have this image of the father as being this grumpy old man who, whenever you do something bad, snaps His fingers and...BAAM! Lightning bolt in the face. And I know this because a lot of the time that's the image I have of Him. But He's not just angry, He is Love, as clearly shown through the most well-known Bible Verse of all time;

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life..."

-John 3 v 16

That's not to say that God isn't angry, or that it is wrong to be angry. Rather, if anger is shown in a way that reflects the righteous anger of God, it's justifiable. God's shows anger to sin and ungodliness, so if we are angry at the evil in the world, its perfectly acceptable in God's eyes. Loosing tempers though, that's a big no-no, as there is no justification.

But the thing about God's anger is, while we as humans are normally quick to anger, God's anger is aroused slowly (Ex 34 v 6-8), sometimes turned away (Deut 13 v 17), often delayed (Isa 48 v 9), and frequently held back (Psa 78 v 38).

So what have we learned so far? God is angry, but His anger is justifiable... Let's move on.

Because of God's hatred towards sin and evil, He can't simply stand back and do nothing. Like we've discovered, He gets angry, but we haven't talked about what He actually does. This is when the wrath of God comes into play.

Many people, myself included, see God's wrath as being active. You do something wrong, God instantly throws said lightning bolt in thine face, or something similar. But God's wrath not only is active, but is passive. Put simply, God may just one day decide to passive on your sinful bee-hind...and let you keep sinning. And that's scary;

"Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them..."

-Romans 1 v 24

That's scary, the fact that we could face the wrath of God by Him not doing anything. Even when God does nothing, He's still doing something far more powerful than we can ever imagine.

This is starting to sound like a really depressing blog, but in truth, its needed. A lot of church folk today simply don't want to talk about God's wrath, because it ain't something that we like to talk about. Its probably one of the biggest taboos in Christianity today, if not in the whole world. But its necessary in order to understand a key doctrine of our faith.

The Day of Atonement was one of the biggest days in the Jewish calendar. It represented the day when the people of Israel were forgiven of there sins. The part that we're most interested in today is the first part. Two spotless lambs, signifying sinless perfection, we chosen by the High Priest. One was taken and slaughtered it. He then took some of the blood, and sprinkled it on the mercy seat atop the Ark of the Covenant. The lamb was no longer a representative of sinless perfection, because it had become a sin offering...

Likewise, so did Jesus become our sin offering.

What we have here is the doctrine of propitiation. You may not have seen that word before. That's because in many translations of the Bible today, its translated into "sacrifice" or "atonement" and various other words which come close to its meaning, but are not the same.

To put simply, propitiation is something that appeases or conciliates an offended power. To put it even more simply, its the diversion of just wrath from a guilty party. Instead of us suffering at the hands of God's wrath, Jesus propitiates for us, and takes our rightful wrath upon Himself. God's wrath is taken from us, and placed on Jesus.

Romans 5 v 8 gives a beautiful description, saying that because of propitiation, we no longer need to view the Cross as the place where God's love was absent as His righteous wrath was poured out on Jesus, but that it is exactly where His love is shown through the propitiation of Jesus;

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us..."

-Romans 5 v 8

Its something that I've often thought about, but never in this way. I always thought that God decided to place Jesus instead of us against His wrath, and while to an extent this is true, Jesus freely takes our place out of love;

"...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed..."

-Romans 3 v 23-25

It is because of this that we need no longer hold any grudge, because at the Cross, justice and mercy kissed, and it is because of this that we can forgive those who have wronged us.

How we can avail of Jesus' propitiation for our sin?


Let Him Be The Nexus Of Our Lives...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Downfall Of A Legend...

This isn't a regular post of mine, but after what I've just saw, I am compelled to blog about the atrocities I have seen...

Now and forever, Metal Gear Solid has be ruined...

How has it been ruined? Simple, Konami have now decided to make, not only one game, but two...TWO! The story is finished! It ended with MGS4, and while as not as good as say MGS2 as regards story, the ending was the best I've seen in years. And now look what they've done. I knew it was coming, but I didn't realise it would be so bad...

MGS Rising is the new main release coming sometime within the next few years. You play Raiden...I'm sorry, despite his awesomeness in MGS4, it would be criminal to allow anyone to play him. He's a separate character in the series now. I can see why they made him the main protagonist in MGS2, to give us a new look at Solid Snake...But there in lies the biggest problem of all...without Snake, there really is no way MGS will be creditable. Big Boss works because of his lineage to Snake, but because of Snake's inevitable death (if you haven't played out the ending to MGS4, sorry, guess I've kind spoiled it) the series would be missing a vital part of its...well...its being. And in no way am I saying "Bring back Snake" because that wouldn't do him justice. He's earned his rest. And before I move on, Lorcan: I mean no offence to you or any other XBox 360 owner, but MGS Rising will come to you. It shouldn't. Konami is a sellout, MGS has always been a Playstation title, its part of its heritage, and they're only doing this to make more money...sorry, but if you do buy a copy of this for Xbox, I will personally make sure that it is destroyed before you've even had a chance to play it...

Things aren't all doom and gloom, because, despite my negative sounding above, the second title, called MGS Peace Walker has intrigued me. Get passed the ghey title, and it looks to be a solid game (no pun intended) along the same lines as Portable Ops. Big Boss, Costa Rica, Big Ass WMD's, what isn't there to like...well two things actually; 1) The Story. I'm not saying that I don't want to know why Big Boss did in the first Metal Gear games, but...I don't know, it just seems to me they're trying to make more money out of this dazzling franchise. 2)The platform. PSP. Again, Sony trying to boost sales by offering a title that none can refuse...

I'm not a happy bunny at all. The main reason why I'm not happy is that the MGS franchise should be given its well deserved rest. Kojima has managed to achieve something magnificent over the past 21 years, and I cannot help but be disgusted at the greed of the company. But more than that, Snake is dead, and without Snake, there cannot be a good MGS as I've already explained. Its time that the franchise be put away, not because its old and bland, but because it deserves the right to retain some of its dignity, and so does Snake. I'll buy the games, and I'll play them, but to me they won't be Metal Gear Solid, they'll be Metal Ghey Solid...

Rant Over...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Summer Time...

Hey guys!

It's finally summer! For 3 months, we're free, and for those doing their Leaving Cert they'll be free for a lot longer!

Just want to say that regular blogging will resume next Sunday. I'm currently in Wales at the moment so I can't do a huge one today. I've been busy with exams as well, so I couldn't really do one during them. I assure you though, next Sunday I will continue our 12 week series on "Death By Love."

Just a couple of prayer requests. I think it goes without saying that those doing the Leaving Cert could do with some prayers. They've already had one postponed paper, we just want the rest of the exams to go smoothly for them.

I've started to think about what I'm going to do when I finish school, and to be honest, my head is all over the place; I've got ideas for college courses, GAP years, time with the OM Mercy Ships, among many other things. Prayer for some guidance at this time would be brill.

Speaking of guidance, I could really do with some as regards relationships. I think everyone knows by now that I'm still waiting on a girlfriend (if you didn't know...surprise!). I'm just really confused with the whole thing at the moment, and prayers for some guidance would be fantastic.

I'm also going to be pretty busy this summer. Aside from working with my dad, studying for the summer quiz and blogging and what not, I have quite a bit to do for Summer Madness, I'm volunteering with OM, hopefully leading at 10-12's in Ovoca, going to visit some friends, RAW Summer, helping a youth centre in Kingscourt...all that and my average daily life... Prayer for strength and endurance to help me through this summer.

Cheers guys,

Talk to you soon!


PS-I hope my grammar is up to your standards Nicole!:P