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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.


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About bluebetta

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  1. bluebetta

    Does prison solve anything?

    If the court system really did treat everyone equally, and had sentences that fit crimes rather than mandatory sentencing, it might work. However, if you have ever seen the reality of court in action, you will quickly see that there is a gross discrepancy in the way the poor are treated. Wealthy people with their own paid lawyers go first, are treated with more respect, and are given serious time by the court and their attorneys. They almost always get a good break. The poor people who get a public defender, who are often uneducated about their rights, are literally scared into pleading guilty to save the defender any work. Often they do not understand their rights, are afraid, and cowed into pleading guilty to things they never did in order to take some deal because the defender does not have any time to build a proper case for them. The poor end up looking like a mass of chickens on a conveyer belt just helplessly going to slaughter. The way court runs once the 'real' lawyers leave and the poor are then shuffled forth is sickening and disheartening. If you see it in action, you will know without a doubt that 'justice' is not applied equally at all. Until all people have a truly equal chance in court, I am afraid some of those people filling the prisons will just be poor people that were thrown under the bus by overworked public defenders. I agree that anyone that has done anything violent, like rape or attacking people, are unsafe to be allowed to terrorize society. I also don't see how throwing some scared poor kid with some drugs in his pocket in there for a longer sentence than a rapist is going to solve much. The system as it is, is a mess. But it starts with the way the law is enforced and with our imbalanced judicial system. The problem begins there, not in the prison.
  2. bluebetta

    Politically Incorrect Jesus

    I am trying to wrap my head around Matthew 15 where Jesus told the woman it isn't right to throw the children's bread to "dogs" . 25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 But Jesus replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27“Yes, Lord,” she said, “even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”… So that is blowing my mind. Surely Jesus isn't racist is he? Is he suggesting that this woman just isn't the kind of person he would help? I was reading this while looking up information about how Jesus would treat the needy people who approached him. The thread about panhandlers got me thinking, literally, "What would Jesus do?" I was reading how Jesus treated the myriad of characters who approached him for help. I was looking for any evidence that Jesus turned anyone away. What did Jesus mean by this? Why did he say it? It seems the woman won Jesus with her faith. I guess maybe Jesus was politically incorrect on some occasions. What do you think he meant by calling this woman a dog? What other things did Jesus say that would be considered politically incorrect by today's standards? I know these are really random thoughts. I wasn't sure where to post it, so thought I'd mention it here where the thread that brought all this thinking about was posted.
  3. Hi William! I never heard of regulative principles and normative principles! I will check out OPC as you suggest. Thank you very much. Wow you sure know a lot of stuff William. St. Worm I got a message from you but do not know how to reply, but thank you very very much for your help also. Yes, I think I am more concerned with learning than having a rock concert, so I will just find something more focused on studies and such. As to the tenants of armenianism and calvinism, etc, I am nowhere near that advanced yet! So I have no idea. Thanks again to everyone who is so helpful on this site. This forum is truly a wonderful resource full of very knowledgeable and helpful posters.
  4. The statements of faith a lot of churches print on their websites, if they bother to do so, sound similar and a lot like the Nicene creed. They sound similar in their statements but seem so different once I walk in. Some seem modern, flashy, with lots of youth programs, electric guitars and coffee bars. But, they also seem shallow, and full of spoiled yuppies who just want to talk about golf and brag about their children's accomplishments. Others seem old fashioned but almost devoid of life. The congregation seems to consist of 3 grumpy elderly folk who do not want you to sit next to them.I don't seem to fit anywhere in particular. I don't have young children. I am not in college. I am not a soccer mom. I am not a senior. I am not married. I am trying to look way beyond free coffee and electric guitars, and learn the bible. I would like some way of asking other people how they live out their beliefs in their daily lives. I am wondering if a home church would be a better option for me, but do not know of any yet. Maybe I should keep looking.
  5. 1 John 4 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. ::: Are we testing the spirits, or the prophets? It sure seems a lot easier to test a prophet than a spirit. Is the spirit we are supposed to test speaking through the prophet? A lot of people sure seemed to be possessed by demons in the bible. Jesus and the disciples cast them out in many passages. Do demons still possess people to falsely prophecy? Is that the spirits we are testing? I thought when people prophesy falsely, are they just playing a con game? Do we not have to worry about this stuff anymore since we are in a different dispensation? I need a tutor. Yes I think one sentence in the bible just made me as 10 questions. People keep telling me it is easy to read and understand. I must be a special case. Can somebody tutor me?
  6. bluebetta

    Why was Satan allowed to approach God?

    God must have planned the whole thing and knew exactly what would happen. After all, he is an all knowing God. And really, when he said "consider my servant Job".... was that not a set up? Look some things in life are fairly predictable. If I stick my hand in an alligators mouth, I already know what is going to happen. I am wondering who was manipulating or tempting who in this game of wits. I never fully understood the book of Job though! I remember the first time I read it, I had read it in parts, believing Job's erroneous friends were spouting something that was biblical teaching. I would read a few paragraphs of Job's friends ruiminating, and think, "Well gett the bible says this, so it must be true but I don't get it." I had to sit down and read it in one sitting to understand Job's friends were very wrong, and were refuted and proven wrong. I was exhasperated at God's response for the reason for it all at the end. My first thought was, oh so you're a big God and made Leviathons and all this. That's an answer? Then I thought about it and read it again, and realized behind all that, God was telling us he is all powerful, all knowing, and knows better than us what is right and wrong, good and bad. He is the one who decides such things, not us. And we really can't know the bigger picture he does since we aren't all knowing all powerful beings. I guess I finally realized he was testifying to his own sovereignty, a concept I had not grasped yet. I finally realized it meant that we are idiots if we think we can tell him how to run the universe. I still don't understand it all though, and I have to read it again. I wonder how many times I will have to read that book before I completely understand it.
  7. bluebetta

    Louis Berkhof - Systematic Theology

    My mind was just blown. You mean I can download PDF files from a forum post? This is amazing. Oh my goodness! This isn't a little brochure this is a whole book! It has everything from the attributes and names of God to the end times and judgement, and everything in between. Just the section on the nature of the trinity alone has a wealth of information. Thank you for sharing this! What an amazing resource. I am so excited! I may convert this and send it to my kindle. It is over 800 pages and I want to curl up with it.
  8. bluebetta

    Anabaptist History Series

    Wow, thank you for sharing this Nahum. I am fascinated by this! I am very curious about the history of different denominations as well as what they believe. This is like having the opportunity to audit a study course for free or something. It will take a while to watch all the videos. I looked at the youtube link and it was posted by a page called sermon index, and I found a lot of other really interesting looking videos in their uploads section. There are so many things they have posted that grab my attention that I don't know where to start! So this piquing my curiosity kind of led me to a valuable resource I think I may glean a lot from. Thanks again.
  9. bluebetta

    Working On Sabbath?

    EUREKA WILLIAM! You are right! Now that I think about it, the Pharisees were often charging Jesus with breaking the very strict Sabbath laws and Jesus actually refuted and rebuked the pharisees. I am trying to remember what he said to them. Something about the Sabbath being made for man and not man for the Sabbath, and that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Let me see if I can look up what Jesus said about this. Hmmm. Mark 2 …27Then Jesus told them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28Therefore, theSon of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” ~Berean Study Bible Matthew 12 …11He replied, “If one of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? 12How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on theSabbath.” 13Then Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it was restored to full use, just like the other.… ~Berean Study Bible · Considering all of that, your Westminster Confession of Faith seems a very logical take on this matter. Thank you for sharing it William. I hadn't read it before.
  10. bluebetta

    1John 3:7-8 Don't be Deceived

    Thank you for the scriptures. In the past I believe perhaps I have been deceived. I wonder how to tell when I am being deceived. Does this mean we should examine someone's fruit before ingesting their teaching? How can I know if they are wicked in private? Actually now that I think about it, it seems to mean not to be deceived by believing we can live wickedly and get away with it. Is that a good summation? So now I am wondering, does this mean being greedy occasionally will instantly forfeit someone's inheritance, or is it just a symptom of not having the inheritance in the first place?
  11. bluebetta

    Working On Sabbath?

    When I read your question, several thoughts popped into my head. I have questions too. For instance, if we observe the Sabbath in the same way they did in the Old Testament, what would that really entail? Would we only be allowed to walk a 'Sabbath days journey", abstain from cooking, the whole deal, from Friday at sundown to Saturday sunset or something like that? Did they make any of our current traditions, from church potlucks to children's programs and puppet shows, a part of their Sabbath? So would we have to do away with all the 'work' we do for church? Or is church a separate form of worship, perhaps entailing work, that is actually best to do on Sunday because it isn't really the Sabbath? So if we are only going to observe the Sabbath in some newly interpreted way, how do we decide which things to throw out and which things to keep? I have none of the answers, these are just some questions that flooded my mind when I read your question. It seems if we are going to observe the Sabbath it would be important to do it right, after all.
  12. bluebetta

    Mixed Teaching and Confusion

    Thank you for the understanding, encouragement, and pointers. I am relieved to know my experience is not unique and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am looking at the wonderful resources you all pointed me to. I found a used study bible like William suggested, and have downloaded some Spurgeon sermons to my Kindle like Knotical suggested. William that song video you posted was amazing! I am very excited to have found such a friendly, supportive and helpful family of believers. I am so glad I discovered this wonderful forum. Your well thought out suggestions, help, and the kind responses are very very appreciated. I look forward to learning a lot while I am here.
  13. bluebetta

    Can you point me to timelines and other graphics?

    Thank you very much, William. You are a great help. I will order a study bible today.
  14. I am a very visual learner. I am having trouble understanding the timeline of events while I read the old testament. I was surprised, for example, that Ezekiel lived at the same time as Jeremiah. I am looking for graphics that can help me 'see' the order of events in chronological order, since I can't seem to get a mental picture of the order of events from just reading the text. Would anyone be able to point me to a site with timelines, graphs, maps, and other visual aids to supplement my reading? I appreciate your time and help very much.
  15. bluebetta

    Mixed Teaching and Confusion

    I have ingested a lot of teaching that does not mesh at all and has caused some confusion for me. I confess I have been a little too willing and open to listening to televangelists and youtube ranters, radio jaw-jockeys and opinionated pulpit-pounders. I have heard many things that do not mesh and do not fit. I got swayed by hyper, emotional charismatics that felt like every goosebump or case of a gas was a direct message from God. I have been prophesied over and taught things like illness, debt, and troubles are from lack of faith. Some people in my own family believe that telling God how to run the universe will put everything back on track. I have had some scriptures pounded into my brain with repetition while others were never mentioned. I became so confused and upset because the more I tried to learn the bible, the more things didn't add up. It was like each scripture was a beautiful puzzle piece and I could admire its shape, intricacies, and colors, but I still can't see how they fit into the big picture. I have tried sweeping all the puzzle pieces off the table and reading the bible on my own, which I wish I had done from the beginning. However it seems hard to read without these mistaken notions, and things I thought I knew so well, tripping me up. Some of these scriptures I actually hear Kenneth Copeland's voice in my mind when I read them. "... pressed down and shaken together!" I approach you with all sincerity in my frustration. Do you have any advice for someone in my position? I can't be the only one who occasionally sees discrepancies between things I've been told and the things I am reading with my own eyes.

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