I'm sure tattoos are a pagan/heathen practice. Christians simply should NOT get them. As Christine has said, due to their permanence, we can't judge Christians who have tattoos that came before salvation however.
We are not to learn (copy) the ways of the heathen! Why do modern "Christians" want to do this all the time?
"How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods." Deuteronomy 12:30b-31a
DanUSA- I've never thought much about the saying, "God bless America" before. But you make a good point - asking GOD to do so under the circumstances is rather presumptuous at best and downright wicked at worst!
From Scripture we do know that NOT drinking can be considered a faithful and good thing. See Jeremiah 35, considering the Rechabites who didn't drink. I still know drinking is not a sin, but there are also valid reasons not to.
Here's an interesting one concerning priests. 7 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. 8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
I don't drink, and never have! I don't think it's a sin to do so, but have decided not to. It seems, in Australia at least, that everything revolves around alcohol. It certainly should not be that important to a believer, so abstaining from it has some type of witness to others. It shows that alcohol isn't required for a good time our any other type of fulfillment. In another society, perhaps this wouldn't be as much of an issue!?
One thing I don't like when talking to some other Christians is how they treat drinking as some sort of "naughty" thing. What are they really meaning by their language?!
Carl mentioned that Jesus learned obedience and was perfected (from Hebrews 5). This doesn't mean that He was coming from a "near-sinful" state or from a point where He was making a lot of "mistakes". It means that He was being tested and perfected with temptations just as we are. This "perfected" Him to become our true kinsman redeemer! Tim Conway has some sermons discussing this in his Hebrews series that really highlight this truth!
Big issue - and it's not going to go away in the west! I personally think that the homosexual way is basically a curse on a society that denies GOD (Romans 1&2). Encouraging these people to come into the church is no answer. The church is for GOD's people, is it not!? However, we Christians would do well to change our attitude. A gay person is in need of the Messiah just as I was/am!! The lifestyle is a hideous sin - but the people are simply in need of a repentant heart. May GOD give grace to people everywhere to repent and accept all He has for them!
I'm not American, but a glimpse is probably all we need by the look of it! The article sort of sounds ok, but it's totally missing anything about GOD Himself. Nothing about a trust in the Messiah who gives life eternal and changes us into His likeness!
kjg: I think I would use "a sword" in self defence (for me or my family). However, if it was some government service, I may well go willingly. Many Christians face these things in China, North Korea, etc. We don't have much idea, do we (yet)!?
I admit, Jessica, that I'm coming from a home church perspective, so don't think there needs to be some special "women's ministry" in place. In terms of us men not falling into temptation, I totally agree! However, even Godly men have struggled with this issue right from Genesis. We are all being sanctified!
Jessica, you wondered how pastors are going to help women who come into churches with sexual sins that need dealing with. Well, can I ask: do they need to, and should they?
I think it would be unwise for them to "minister" to these women. Surely there would be some Godly women who could guide these other women! We've been reading of men falling after trying to deal with some of these issues by themselves. It's dangerous and foolish from my perspective. There is an enemy trying to catch anyone like this unawares.
Consider also Peter and others in the book of Acts. They didn't appear to fight the establishment at all, but continued to preach, knowing that persecution was a likely result. No thought of "the sword" is given (in Scripture) during this entire section - EXCEPT with Paul!
Paul didn't use "the sword", but he did legally fight his issue by going to the "high court" in Rome. However, we need to note his reason for doing this was ordained by GOD, and for the reason of getting the gospel spread wider.