Sunday, October 22, 2017


Youth and Parents

My own soft spot is my children. I have great love for my own! Most of my prayers are for my children, of course after praying for my own sins. My worst sin is one of omission: I never spent enough time teaching, mentoring, and loving my children. I know that was sinful because I to this day feel guilty about it. Perhaps the most neglect in raising my children was by not being an example. My priorities, although I loved my children dearly, was more about me. My work, career, and education came first. Although it was my responsibility to do these things to provide for my family, the best sustenance would have been providing spiritual meat and bread.

My children may not like it but they are a composite of their mother and me. I see traits of each parent in all of my children. Without being overly so, I am proud of all my "children", for they will always be that to me. We each have negative traits - my children, their mother and me not excluded! Proud parents turn their heads to the negative, and focus on what is good. We do that because our children are truly "mini-me's" and "mini-hers". By focusing on the negatives of our children, parents effectually condemn themselves.

Children are precious: "they are precious in His sight", as the song goes, and they are precious in mine! One of my treats is seeing my grandchildren and the little tykes at church. When I see the smiles of Kaitlyn, Mila, and Meredith; it revives my spirit. It is innocence which I see as they have not yet learned to hate!

We are all born with a human nature. Divine design intent was disrupted with original sin - when Adam and Eve first ignored the will of God and placed their own desires above God's. All have sinned and disappointed God. (Romans 3:23). All includes children. It is better said that they have the propensity to sin and are inclined to do so, even from the womb:
Psalm 51:5 Behold, I (David) was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
My contention is  that since Adam and Eve were designed to multiply, that because God covered their nakedness, they focused on the pleasure of procreation rather than the reproduction of little "mini-thems". God wanted them to do some mathematics, not pleasure themselves! As such, it seems, according to David, that he was a product of lustful desire. As such, since Adam's day, all children are born in an environment of sin. With that condition, what will all children do? Proceed to sin!

The first sin is likely a demanding attitude. At birth the world is "child-centric" rather than heliocentric. They demand to be nourished and pacified. Little gods are created as parents rush to meet their every whim. That's okay because fathers are to provide, and mothers to nourish. That is their responsibility. However, oftentimes we can't even let our babies cry! Doctors advise parents that crying is good for the lungs. Crying is okay because its the baby's way of speaking. As they learn language, they still tend to speak in baby-talk - crying. My own granddaughter said, "Papa, I cry a lot." She knows how to get things by manipulation, and the parent runs to meet every desire. "Papa" doesn't, and seldom did.

Grownups who fail to mature have childish attitudes. They aren't anal but banal, doing what they always did even as children. They are boorish in their immaturity. This childish and demanding attitude comes from over-attention. Parents, your children are not gods; quit treating them as such!

Children cry because they are demanding. They want pacified. As little gods they desire appeasement. Adults who have never matured have the same demanding attitude. Everything seems to be about them. Those tiny gods have grown up to be demanding bigger gods, not adult gods, but large immature gods. The worst thing a parent can do is to cater to their child's every whim. Kids need to hear "no"! It's good for development. Disappointment prepares children to be mature adults. Being without as a child makes having things in later life more appreciated. Rather than being "given", the child learns working. One youth replied when I told him he needed to work, "I'm just a kid!".  Without learning the concept of hard work, children will always be kids, even as adults.

Children learn in short time the trait of lying. They manipulate to get what they want, and cover their own messes by lying. That is not taught, but is an inherent trait. Good lying is learned by listening to others, and by practice. If children are allowed to lie without rebuke, they grow up to be the best of liars. Manipulation is a deceitful way of lying. The serpent manipulated Eve. It was effective. Children learn to manipulate to get what they want. Poor parents know early they are being manipulated but they just can't stand the crying, whining, and begging. It's just easier to cave than to be a good parent. After all, that's what their parents did and they turned out "good". Thinking like that is prideful because those parents cannot see their own manipulative behavior, and their own banality!

Kids aren't little devils. They can be good. Maybe their ability to be good is genetic too since we are part Adams and Eves but still are in the image of God. Our own "goodness" doesn't impress God but it does help caring parents to raise their children, My own daughter once said, "Grandpa told me that you never did wrong." Of course I did! However, I seldom wronged my parents. Why should I? I always loved them! In fact, by example I obeyed God because my parents loved me so:
Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Because I loved my parents God's promise has been fulfilled - I have lived a long and fruitful life. I credit that to my parents. Because they were so loving, I loved them back. They were mature and caring because they had never been little gods themselves, growing up in poverty. Poverty is a great motivator for success, I often write.

Even when children sin, it is the natural thing to do. They do not God's will but are innocent of disobedience. "They know not what they do!" Jesus would say. Just as the Jews had Jesus crucified out of ignorance, children sin because they don't know better. Until children are taught God's will, they are innocence. However, as they mature God calls them to repentance, and they must seek out righteousness. Jesus recognized the innocence of little children:
Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Jesus attracted the children because of his aura of love. Some wanted to keep them away, but Jesus did not want them hindered from coming to him. Why? Because in the kingdom of God, adults will be as the children again, and regain their innocence. In effect, the little children are good examples for Christians. If you notice how children love one another, that's the way Christians must be.

If left to their own, children will learn evil. Lying leads to even more grand lying. Stealing a cookie can lead to grand theft auto. You get the idea. Parents are to be responsible for their children's morality:

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
This is where I failed my children. Rather than me do the training, I gave that task to the preachers! Scripture doesn't say "Let the preacher train up". The missing word is "parents". I took them to  church every time the doors were open but I failed to train by example and teaching. My sin was neglecting the soul of my children. In spite of that, they grew into somewhat mature adults. (We all have faults). Now their spiritual relationships are between them and God. I trust that they believe and do according to the will of God but more importantly realize that they are not little gods, and only Jesus saves.

Parents often make it hard to obey. My own father was permissive. As long as we behaved, we were allowed freedom. Since I worked from six-years old in the tomato fields, Dad and Mom had great confidence in me. Rather than getting in trouble, I worked hard to have things. Hard work discourages misbehavior and produces motivation. My freedom came early because as a child, I was mature. My family has even teased me about always being an adult. (That doesn't mean that I did not sin, but sinned less than I would have).
Dad wasn't demanding. He set the example by being a good parent. Not one time did Dad nor Mom ever provoke me. Even my education was because Dad was my encourager. Better yet, Dad read the Bible to us younger children every night that he was home even though it used up his and our leisure time. He brought us up in the way of the Lord. I failed where Dad didn't. Therefore, encourage rather than provoke:

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Overly harsh rules are provocation. Belittling children is provocation. We are to nurture them, not discourage. But also, we are to teach them the will of God. Parents aren't to be meanies in chaos but level-headed teachers, and the best teaching is by example. What is the best teaching? To love!

Few modern parents spank. I don't mean beat the child. As the friend encouraged, I spanked my daughter gently at seventeen years old. It was meant to provide some type of punishment for misbehavior. It worked. She seldom showed another attitude except for one major crisis which we resolved by tough-love-type means. She has since always made me proud. Discipline is hard. I actually cried when I was alone because I did what I had to do as a parent.

At one time, all my children declared their hate for me as teenagers. Why? Because genetically, their will is doing what is right in their own eyes. Unfortunately, their will as teenagers is not discerning. Parents must protect children from themselves while at the same time letting them suffer the consequences of their own mistakes. Mistakes are great training for success!
Proverbs 23:13Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Parents who truly love their children will punish them, not in anger or revenge, but with empathy and love. That is tough love.
Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
What is it that Christian parents desire from their children: that they make it to heaven so they can be together forever.  That is storche love and comes from agape love. As God so loves us, Christian parents are to so love our children. That love is that none, especially our children, should perish! (John 3:16).

Children have a responsibility to develop maturely and spiritually as well:
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
God's will is that we obey Him as a means of showing our love. Children have their own will, but their parents have a will for their children. In addition their will must coincide with God's will. Children are to obey their parents to instill in themselves to do God's will. Being obedient is pleasing to the Lord. It is understood, that obedience is in accord with God's will.

I look back on my success as a child and a parent. However, my sin is that I could have done better. I was neither a "good" child nor a "great" parent. My mediocrity in either role disappointed God. Now it is I who feels the consequences because only I am in neglect. I didn't do my parent's will too well, and neither was I the best parent. However, all three of my children forgot the tough love which they hated, and all three have thanked me for bringing them up right. I should have been better!

Better is spending more time with my kids; not entertaining them but teaching and loving.

This commentary is so that those who read - children and parents, be  better youths than I, and certainly better parents. God takes both seriously. We are not to do what is convenient but what pleases God. That takes work and love.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Day of the Lord

Our lives are all geared for one specific day; our destiny in the end! What will God do with us on His day? Everything I do and decide in my entire life will converge in one day. Eighty or so years will be reviewed and our fate determined on that very day. It is the day of reward for some and punishment for others. Prophecy indicates that few will be judged favorably. Our desire is to be one of them, and live eternally. One decision we make determines one decision God will make. Let us look at God's day:

The day of the Lord is apparently a different day according to different people. Neglecting the Hebrew interpretation that day has different meanings:
  • The return of Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:2) (The rapture of Christians)
  • The Earth cleansed by fire). (2 Peter 3:10) (The destruction of the creation)
  • The judgment day (1 Corinthians 1:4) (Great White Throne Judgment)
Of these, the most palatable according to scripture is the latter. It will be a great and terrible day. However, it would appear in God's timing that both the latter two events are described as one, and both culminates in the end.
Joel 2:11 And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.
The return of Jesus is a great and terrible day but there is no destruction at that time for most theologians set Jesus's return to gather the saints in the air, as before the tribulation period. That is so the Christians will not suffer the persecutions. (Those saints beheaded in the tribulation are believed to be 144,000 Jews who turn to Christ after the miracle of the general resurrection. That is understood because of the division of the twelve tribes of Israel, but is not scripture but commentary, and that differs among people. Let us just call them Christians for that is who they will be!)

The great part of that day is for the Christians - both the living and the dead, who will be resurrected. The terrible part of that day is that most people will not be taken up, and will face the terrible end-of-time government. (You communists and Muslims may like it, at least until the end comes!) However, the cosmos and earth will remain intact. The rapture of Christians is not the day of the Lord.

Judgment day is when all the dead are judged:
Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Everyone will be judged - the righteous and the unrighteous who have died. This implies that after the earth is wiped clean of sin, all will be judged.  I fall back on Noah for the following thought: In the days of Noah, the earth was destroyed by water. That was when sin was washed clean by water and sinners died, leaving only eight people living because of God's grace, and the faith of Noah. This was the last time the earth was to be destroyed by water. In apostolic times it was water which testified to salvation.
Genesis 9:13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth... 15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
The rainbow is a sign of hope, that all men will be given an individual choice as to their destiny. God decided on these eight, not all righteous, as we soon found out. Because they were of Noah's household, they were saved. On the other hand, judgment day is individual judgment. Noah will stand before God on that day, his sons, daughters-in-law, and all those who missed the boat. Along with them, you and I will stand before God - the righteous and the unrighteous. Judgment has two possible outcomes: (1) redemption and (2) damnation. Christ has already paid the price, so true Christians will be redeemed.

That same bow points to the earth from the sky. Perhaps it points toward the final destruction of the celestial bodies and the earth, and toward a renewed earth cleansed from sin forever. That is the ultimate hope!

It is assumed that when the earth is destroyed all mortal life is with it, just as in the days of Noah - save Noah and company. In order to judge all the dead, all must be dead. Therefore, judgment day would be after the destruction of the cosmos and earth. Immediately thereafter, New Jerusalem - heaven, comes down to this new earth. It would appear that the earth is cleansed by fire in readiness for New Jerusalem - the foundation of peace coming home, so to speak, replacing Old Jerusalem which never ever saw peace!

The Great and Terrible day of the Lord is, as I see it, the time when the earth is wiped clean of life and all the dead are judged - sort of a combined event whether it is the same day or not. (Note: The seven seals are prophecy and we don't know their timing. The seals which describe the destruction of the sun, moon, and earth must be near the end.)

The key point here is to be part of that great day. That's our choice. God doesn't make it a great day unless we choose His Son as Savior. For those who chose wrongly or didn't choose, it will be a terrible day regardless when it is!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Marx and Technology

There is nothing about Marxism that is American. Marx had disdain for religion - specifically Christianity, because the people owed allegiance to the church, not the government. He looked at the church, or Christ if you prefer, as interfering with his great experiment.

Few know that Marx despised automation and technology as well. Remember, automation is the synchronization of machines to humans. Films such as Metropolis, a silent classic, showed men walking in mechanical motion in unison with machines. Why would Marx be against machinery? Because it took the work which belonged to men, and gave it to machines. Marx worried about automation replacing labor, thus the life-blood of the proletariat (worker) would gradually be bled dry.

Ironically, labor is the device of God because of disobedience:
Genesis 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Mankind's new vocation was agrarian. The land was to feed mankind, and it was to take hard work to feed families. Pretty much until the "industrial revolution",  mankind were farmers and the other occupations supported the farmer. With another irony, Adam had the original vocation of "dressing and keeping the garden". Without thorns, thistles, or drought in the garden, that would have been an easy task. Thus, not prostitution, but farming is the world's oldest profession if one discounts Eve fornicating with the serpent in a spiritual sense!

Early on, mankind invented tools to make the toil less - first with stone and later with copper, bronze and steel. In theory, Marx would have even been against tools because they save time, and short-changed labor!

The "Industrial Revolution" started in England in 1760 and grew until around 1840. The automation turned fiber into clothing, a chore done mostly with simple tools and by hand until that time. Marx saw two dangers with the prosperity: (1) labor was less required since automation was doing most of the work, and (2) the classes were kept in their traditional places - the workers working and the elite gaining from the workers. He never considered that with the new prosperity, everybody was better off! Thus, not only religion but capitalism became the enemy. Marx could not tolerate that some were living off the sweat of the brow of others - the bourgeoisie off the proletariat.

The bourgeoisie were the middle class and nobility. Progressives claim gain for the middle class but they are those Marxists always hated.  The left is never ever for the middle class. It was the hatred for their capitalism and Christianity that created leftist principles!

Marx repeated the phrase of other communists: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs". The goal of Marxism is to cease giving to the middle class, and give it to the workers, remembering at that time, that was meant to mean "the working poor" because the trades were part of the bourgeoisie. Of course, it is generous to help the poor with better pay and conditions, but communism is more legalized theft; he was playing Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham had not yet made theft legal, and never would!

Now, back to automation. Look at this communist outlook on automation:
In effect, as long as the capitalism mode of production remains, the introduction of new machinery, technology and/or full automation will only sow the seeds of resentment, alienation and universal nihilism increasingly deeper into the consciousness of the working population because “capital [is]…an alienated social power which has gain an autonomous position [over the working population via machinery] and [now] confronts society as a thing and as a power”, which subjugates everything to its insatiable logic and its mechanical processes. ("A Structural-Anarchism Critique of Automation In Relation of Artificially Fabricated Price, Value and Wage"; by Michel Luc Bellemare / July 12th, 2017).
Marxism is anti-automation, which is essentially stupidity because machines reduce "the sweat of the brow". As often with isms, communism does look forward to the day when workers become watchers and robots do all the work. Logic implies that to get to that point, technology is a necessity.

There was a fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil which was gained by eating the forbidden fruit! It was because God knew the plan, knew mankind would fail him, and offered some degree of hope in addition to the spiritual hope he provided by grace. That hope is wisdom.
Genesis 3:6 ...the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise...
The wisdom tree, although forbidden, was still God's. Although mankind was to work hard for sustenance, God provided a way to work smarter!

When our work is God's will, it is God who provides the wisdom. Note that before the fall of man, God did all the hard work, but after the fall, mankind worked hard for God, but in his grace he provided the wisdom:
Exodus 36:1 Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the Lord had commanded. 
In building the sanctuary for God, God gave the Hebrews the wisdom and understanding. It is to be noted that as a whole God's people have been the most wise, and knowledgeable! They are not hated without reason. Pharaoh said it well:
Exodus 1:10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them (the Jews); lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. 
Pharaoh feared the Jews because he knew their seed would grow powerful. Ever since Pharaoh, all nations have hated and feared the Jews. Marxism is no exception! Because of them being bourgeoisie, Marx made them the enemy of communism. Although Marx was by heritage Jewish and of a bourgeois family himself, he essentially turned on his own. The worst happenings in history seem to be by Jews gone bad! Much like Hitler, Marx seemed to despise his own Jewishness. Even in England at that time, the bourgeois Jews were hated because of their capitalism.

Jews are God's people. He seemed to have endowed the Hebrew people with exceptionalism. Although he hated this group, even Hitler realized the truth with this quotation: “Today,” wrote Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, “[the Jew] passes as ‘smart’ and this in a certain sense he has been at all times.” I'm hard pressed to find intelligence quotients for the Jewish people because people fear it is bad science that one group is more intelligent than the next, although other groups are widely published.

I've never met a Jew who was not smarter than me! In my meekness, I recognize that I am not of the superior race, and care little about eugenics. In my life, it has no place other than to realize my own place.

In England, Germany, and elsewhere, the Jewish people were the most innovative. Even today more Nobel prizes are won by Jews than other races. (The American; "The 2011 Nobel Prize and the Debate over Jewish IQ";  Lazar Berman;

Thursday, October 19, 2017

What Goes Through the Mind

Making a cake is a process. The first thing that happens is that a desire for cake comes about. Television commercials know the weakness of sugar-lovers. They continually show the beautiful cake with a piece cut to show its inner beauty. Looking at the cake image will sometimes make the viewer's mouth water. They know that we are no more than Pavlov's dog, even less, because we salivate without even getting the reward.

Desire is then the first step in making a cake. The consumer must want that cake.  The tempting commercial is merely the cause for the desire; desire is the effect, or more accurately - the affect. When one is tempted to bake a cake to satisfy the desire, there is a thought process involved: Is the taste of the cake worth the effort? Is the pleasure in eating the cake worth the calorie intake. Will it turn out as good as it looks? You get the idea. Then when one concludes that making the cake is worth it all, then the person bakes the cake.

Producers know what people like. They provide recipes to make the eating experience pleasurable. If the recipe is followed to a tee, likely the cake will turn out excellent but after eating one piece, one questions: Was this pleasure worth the effort. Was this fattening cake worth the calories? Am I truly satisfied that the cake is as good as it looks? Oftentimes the cake does not meet all these expectations, and the person is dismayed: The cake wasn't worth the effort or it wasn't as tasty as it looked. Regret sets in. I have oftentimes given my neighbors the balance of  the cake because it wasn't as good as I thought it would be!

I want to focus on the thought process which provoked cake-baking. Basically, people talk themselves into doing things. They convince themselves that the effort is worth the pleasure. When pleasure comes up short, then they become sorry they fell to temptation. Sometimes they realize that they don't even like cake but they were tempted anyhow. If the cake falls flat, they are truly sorry. If the cake is scrumptious, the next time they see a commercial, they'll want cake!

Sin is not cake, but temptation to sin is much like temptation to the taste buds. In both cases, the desired outcome is to pleasure oneself: maybe the taste buds, but with sin - the flesh.

Man's flesh is the sensor for pleasure. It is much more than the dermal layers. It's the senses, and what the mind does with what is sensed. Because men do what they will, they are gods to themselves. The flesh is their idol, and pleasures are how their idol is appeased. When the flesh is pleasured, it's the self which enjoys it.

The flesh is our enemy! It is what made us destined to die. In fact, the body is the only part of us which will die in a real sense. The mind and soul may die eternally but never be quite dead. On the other hand, the mind and soul may live eternally, and when we die the first death, eventually we will have a new living body.

The flesh - our idol, ironically, is what murders it's own god! Jesus came to keep the flesh from killing us: even sacrificing itself to kill the soul! The promise of salvation, is that the flesh may die once, but through Jesus, it will never die again.

We are the gods. The flesh is our idol, and pleasure is our poison. Because we desire what will kill us, pleasuring the flesh is sinful, and leads to death.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What is our pleasure? We pleasure in killing ourselves. Our gods are suicidal, and that is foolish!
Psalm 69:5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee. 
You see, even smart people sin. They may be knowledgeable but they are spiritually stupid, and most sinners know that! Aaron called the Hebrews foolish sinners for dancing to the golden calf. David admitted to the foolishness of his sins. When people sin, they are all foolish. Indeed, since we all have sinned, we are all foolish, repentance is a brilliant idea, but comes after God is already dismayed!

Christians know that sin is foolishness. Most non-Christians don't care. They love their own god, and are apathetic to the will of God. Yet Christians still sin. What are we thinking? Why does God care that we sin?

Our "cake" may be any number of things but always it is pleasure. First off, there is righteous pleasure from God. The beauty of nature is pleasurable, and looking upon it's beauty is not wrong. However, if the naturist values it over God, then what God created is abused. Hence, unrighteous pleasure is placing pleasurable things above God. Some naturists worship the creation, and not the Creator. That is sin. Therefore, when I speak of pleasure, it is meant unrighteous pleasure.

Genesis 3:6 describes the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: "the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise." Hence, it had three temptations: tastiness, delightfulness, and wisdom. (By the way, the Epicureans Paul spoke to in Athens ate heartily of this tree.) God had already provided plenty of food (all the other trees), and even exceptional food (The Tree of Life). Adam and Eve rejected common and spiritual food for Epicurean food.

The pleasure the tree offered were things like power, lasciviousness, wealth, and the like. Wisdom was human knowledge prevailing over spiritual truth. Temptation is toward all these things. In fact, if one looks at the three temptation of Christ, they are included here.

God told his children, "don't eat of this tree or you will surely die." They ate and did die. God didn't say their mortal life would end immediately; He meant that they would eventually face physical death. However, sin leads to more than mortality but to spiritual death - what I called dying forever. Therefore, whenever the "cake" - whatever it may be, tempts us, we may be choosing death over life! What gain does the sinner have?
Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
We've all seen movies or read books where people trade their souls to Satan for personal gain. Any profit is temporal whereas abstention is eternal. It's an unequal trade. Whatever the profit, or outcome, the loss is greater. Dying forever is not pleasure. Scripture calls it torment.

With that assurance of a penalty, people still sin. Every time that we are tempted, we make a decision. That is our free will, given to us by God to make us somewhat better than robots would be!

In order to sin, mankind must convince the will. What goes on in the mind that convinces it that the forthcoming pleasure, profit, or wisdom is worth death?
  • What if there is no God; I will miss out on this pleasure.
  • I don't care what God thinks. I want this!
  • Even if I sin, this sins not too bad. If God is good he'll overlook it.
  • I may get punished by God but not too severely.
  • I'll ask for forgiveness later.
  • Before I die, I'll change.
  • I'll just put God out of my mind and enjoy the moment.
There may be other thought processes. All these thoughts are falling for deception. Let's get one thing clear - Satan is not speaking to you; it is self-talk. You seek to do what is right in your own eyes, caring little for what Satan nor God says or thinks! You are thinking that way because of genetics which theologians call "original sin". In other words, we think these thoughts because we are the seed of Adam. Because Adam sinned, all have sinned with the one exception of Jesus!
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned...
I'm sorry men - Adam gets the blame. I have wrote on why elsewhere.  With our thought processes, we all think like Adam thought. Perhaps he used one of these excuses for sin. We know one: Eve didn't die, so I won't either. Little did Adam know that at that moment Eve gave up immortality, both physical and spiritual. The spiritual immortality was regained later by the grace of God.

All these thought processes take merely an instant, and then when the decision is made to sin, our minds contemplate its pleasure. The contemplation of sin is another deception. In fact, contemplation is as wrong as the consummation of sin -  we sin within our hearts! (Matthew 5:28).

Most often, we never ever get to the actual sin but dwell on what we have not done. That is lust, and it too is sinful. It seems that people, even Christians, just can't get around sin. We do get credit for trying, unlike most other life-tasks! In fact, it is the willingness to not sin which is righteousness. In effect, it's not the sin which is damning but the desire to sin!

Most trade off this strong desire for eternal death, repetitively using these same lame excuses. Let's take the above bullets one at a time:
  • If we question whether there is really a God. we deny God. That is blasphemy and is the unpardonable sin.
  • If we don't care what God thinks, we place ourselves over God. We become the other god of whom God is jealous. If we don't care what God thinks, we don't care what is punishment is? The gain in our own minds, is worth the loss. Sinners care little that they disappoint God. It's not the sin of which he cares, but the unwillingness to honor Him. If we're to honor our parents, we are to honor majestically our Father in heaven!
  • God never overlooks sin! All sins need to be repented of. Will we go to hell if we don't repent? If we're Christians, the only sin that does that is apostasy - blasphemy. However, true Christians should not want to disappoint God. If sin continues without repentance, it soon turns out that the master may be Satan, and not God. In that case, the sinner becomes reprobate - damned because the sinner doesn't think about God's will.
  • Thinking the punishment will not be severe trivializes God's commands. All sin is severe to God, and even one sin is enough to damn us unless we're born-again. Any sin disappoints God, and sinning is irreverence. It implies that God is not serious about sin. Of course, as Christians we have liberty to sin, but if we are Christians that liberty is dampened by love for God.
  • Asking for forgiveness later is silliness. One cannot be forgiven unless there is sorrow for wronging God. We all do that foolish thing. It's a sleight of hand inbred in us by Satan. We must repent when we are convicted by God, and if he convicts prior to the sin, sinning is ignoring God. It's akin to sneaking around your parents' rules, thinking that forgiveness is easier to get than permission!
  • Before I die, I'll change. With sin, our hearts become calloused. God calls us to repentance. If we reject Him often enough, he shakes the symbolic dust off His feet, and leaves us on our own. We must come to God when He calls. God's timing is not our timing. Who says that our hearts will be contrite on the death bed? That is presumptuous. 
  • Putting God out of mind is intentionally servitude to one's own will. If God is relegated to a backseat in our life, He may not be there when we need him. It's as if declaring: there is no God if he is never welcomed into our world.
Sin is serious business. We all do it, even Christians. When we accept the propitiation of Jesus's blood, all our past sins are forgiven (Romans 3:25). However, avoidance of temptation comes first as we enter not unto it. (Matthew 2:41). That was Eve's mistake. She stood under the wrong tree. We are not to go there! We must repent of all present and future sins.
However, if we sin, there is forgiveness for the asking. God is gracious, but it must be asked for with sincerity and contrition. Going one step further, we are not to continue in sin:
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
If we continue in sin - failing to walk with Jesus, we are not on the narrow way. Only God knows His leniency, and it's not our place to test God. How many sins can I commit and get away with it? Don't go there. It's unsafe! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

One Covenant

We were always taught that there were two covenants with God: one of works and the other of grace. Paul revealed a little secret: Holy Scripture was always about grace! Furthermore, this grace was always through Jesus Christ, and grace was always for everyone.

The Jews rejected Jesus Christ when he was crucified. Paul dusted his feet from them, and began to preach to the Gentiles. The noun Gentile is used in practice as anyone who is not a Jew. By definition it includes barbarians or pagans. The Jewish people were God's chosen to bless. He did so with prosperity, and the Savior who came to the world by Abraham's seed. Ironically, Abraham is father of both Jews and Gentiles. One group obeyed God's Law, at their whim of course, and the other had no law.

Throughout history, the Jewish people fornicated with other gods. God knew they wouldn't abandon Him, and become pagans, and they didn't. The Jews took other gods besides God. Adopting other religions into one is called syncretism.  Most of the kings of Israel and Judah, not only attempted to serve God but Baal as well. God became jealous of His people. Finally, with the diaspora, they learned their lesson: they finally served JHVH alone, but served Him in a pagan manner - in obedience but without love.

In fact, this "lesson learned", to have no other gods before Him, became a barrier. The Hebrew people saw Jesus as another god, and steered clear of Him, and still do.

Let me give an example. Pagans appeased their god Molech by burning their infants in his belly. The Canaanite word for Molech means my king, and refers to the various gods of the pagan nations. Essentially, Molech is pictured as a standing bovine creature with an furnace in his belly. It appears to honor the same golden calf which the Hebrew people danced around after the Exodus. The Jews always seem to return to Egypt - sin, so to speak, for their rival God. Molech required obedience.

Appeasing Molech did not include love. However, the Hebrews were faithfully obedient. They were as pagan as the pagans, and with infant sacrifice as barbaric as Planned Parenthood!  It seems obedience was ingrained into them, and they always failed to get past their works, and be loving. God never wanted His people to obey out of fear. It was love He wanted and expected!

With Adam, God made one rule: Essentially, He said, "If you love Me, obey this one command - do not eat of the other tree!" Mankind could not even obey one command, showing a lack of love for God. The Hebrew people still continue their feeble attempts at obedience, but fail to love God in a way that He expects. God calls this loving Him with our all!

We were created to love God. That is our purpose. The creation was never about obedience because God could have made automatons to do His work. He created us in His image with His three substances: mind, body, and spirit. That is how he desires our love:

Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." (Matthew 22:37).

The soul is the container for God's Holy Spirit, the mind what we think about God and is the source of our free will, and the heart is our humanity which is signified by our flesh or bodies. In other words, we are to love God with our all! He expects that! It is our reasonable sacrifice to present to Him our all. (Romans 12:1). How do we make the sacrifice? We show our love of God by obedience (John 14:15). The difference between mere obedience because of commands, and obedience because we desire it, is the emotion of love. It's actually love which is our reasonable service. The state of the mind is what counts. It is our purpose. Are we willing to obey God out of love or is it only out of fear? Willingness is the difference, Are we giving our free will to sin over to God to crucify?

There is no difference in the old covenant (the Old Testament), and the new covenant (the New Testament). Both were based on the grace of God, Him providing the sacrifice for all for all time.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
It was Jesus all the time! It was He who walked in the cool of the evening in the Garden, and His Voice which spoke to Adam and Eve. It was pre-incarnate Jesus who shed innocent blood which covered their shame. John Chapter 1 testifies to this.  Holy Scripture was always about Jesus. Where was He? Always there with His creature - saving them.

The biggest difference between the old and new covenants is this: the patriarchs of old looked forward to Jesus being the redemption for their sins, and in the new covenant the disciples looked backward on Jesus's sacrifice. The believers in both eras depended on the same grace - the shedding of blood by Jesus! In the old covenant, Jesus shed the blood of animals, and in the new, His own blood! Both were by grace. Hence, salvation was never by works but by grace.

Paul spoke often of this mystery:
Romans 16: 24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. 25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: 27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever.
Jesus Christ was the mystery of God. He was kept secret since the world began, and Paul revealed Him, as John did also. Jesus who was once Mind and Spirit was made manifest in the flesh. Hence, Jesus became just like us, or more correctly, because of God's foreknowledge, we were made in the image of Jesus!

Since Jesus was with mankind in the beginning, what was he doing? He was saving by grace. Adam, being convicted, tried to cover his own sin, but Emmanuel stepped in and shed innocent blood for him. He was saved by grace, and that he did not deserve!

When Abraham obeyed God by his willingness to sacrifice his only son to God, his obedience was counted as faith!  (Hebrews 11:8). Scripture tells us to have the faith of Abraham. The new covenant ties into the old. Rather than present our only heir as a dying sacrifice, we present ourselves a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1).  Abraham's reasonable service was to sacrifice his only (remaining) son. Ours is to sacrifice our will for God's will.

Mankind received free will by the grace of God. We are capable of exercising that liberty with which we are created. As such, we are free to sin! However, if indeed, we are new creatures, being born-again, the desires of the creatures are different. The old one loved sin, the new one loves obedience.

Just as Abraham obeyed and was credited with faith, our own works validate our faith.
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
The assurance of salvation is if our will is in unison with God's will. It should be if we sacrificed it as was our reasonable service. Part of the mystery of God, is that it is our will that he wants, and has always wanted. By submitting this non-tangible faculty to God, we get off scott-free with all the sins which we ever committed. Our will to sin is turned over to God, and His Holy Spirit helps us with the sacrifice!

In summary, salvation was always by Jesus, for everyone, and was always by grace. There is but one covenant, and there has never been another. The mystery of God solved.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Called to Preach

I've always heard preachers say, When I was called to preach... That seems to make them special, and is the ticket to a public forum. All the apostles were called to preach. Paul's very purpose in existing was to preach the gospel. Just as John was born to present the Christ, Paul was born to tell the world about Jesus. He said:
1 Corinthians 9:15 ...for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. 16 ...woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
Here we have three points: (1) preaching is glorifying God,  (2) Paul was compelled to preach, and (3)  the preaching must be the gospel - to the glory of Jesus for He Is God.

Each of us are born with a purpose. (Proverbs 16:14). Jeremiah was much like Paul. He was ordained for a purpose:
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
What purpose did Jeremiah serve? He warned the Jewish people of impending doom unless they returned to God. He preached, they heard, and they failed to listen. When Paul preached the Jews rejected him too, but he turned to the Gentiles. Paul's purpose in life was to teach salvation to the Gentiles. I am a Christian because of Paul's preaching about Jesus. Paul's purpose was to spread the gospel, and hence, mega-millions have turned to Christ because of Paul's preaching.

Paul was called to preach. He knew his calling: he was struck blind. He was made blind so that he could see! In his blindness, truth was revealed to him. Paul changed. He turned from zealot counter to Jesus to zealot for Christ's sake. In order to teach others, Paul changed. He was Saul but in Jesus, he became Paul. It was much more than a change in name but his entire attitude.

God called all the apostles, event the traitor Judas. He had a purpose too, but it wasn't to preach. It was to be materialistic to the extent that he betrayed Jesus for thirty-pieces of silver. That may seem terrible of him, but how many people today still betray Jesus for gain? The answer is obvious. Most people are wannabe Christians but fame and fortune is too powerful. They are traitors, but their lives are still purpose-driven.

Back now to called to preach.  All Christians are called to preach! Why?
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light...
As peculiar people we are to be different. Peculiarity means change.  Just as Saul became Paul, we are to become righteous. Anyone who is of the holy nation, meaning the Church and part of Christ, are called to be royal priests, obviously to the King!

What is the vocation of priests?
Genesis 2:15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
It may be hard to detect, but Adam's purpose was to "dress and keep" the garden of God. How is that done? In the midst of the garden stood the Tree of Life. This Tree represents Jesus the Messiah. Adam, the first priest was to dress and keep that Tree. Let me add, it was to love and cherish it. He was created in the image of God, with mind, body and soul. How was he to love that tree?
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
It seems that God had a purpose for Adam - the same purpose he had for Saul!

Not only was Adam to tend to the Tree in the midst of the garden, but to tend to the whole garden. The whole garden were the other trees.  Does that sound familiar?
Matthew 22:39 Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Adam was to love the other trees just as he loved himself. Of course the other trees were symbolically other people.

Hence, Adam was the first priest. He had two duties: love God with his entire existence, and to love others as much as himself. These are the two requirements for a Christian, and simultaneously, the two requirements to be a priest! Imagine being a priest without loving God or others. Imagine even being a Christian, and not loving?

Adam was not only a priest, but a royal priest. As God walked through the garden, Adam served him. Of course he sinned, but his sins were covered by the skin of the first animal which died for mankind. By grace Adam became the first Christian because he was saved by the blood which God provided. A priest must be a Christian. Christians change - dying as the old Adam and reborn as the new Adam. (Creature if you prefer that word.)

All the biblical patriarchs were called to preach. All the apostles and deacons were called to preach. More importantly, all Christians, as royal priests and new creatures, are called to preach. We are to dress and keep God and the people.

In the garden God created the trees. The Tree in the midst of the garden provided the seed. Since Jesus is the Tree of Life, which still stands by the way on the River of God, we the people are his seed; not born of his flesh but of his Spirit! God wants a large family. He wants more trees grown. As God's gardeners, God wills that we plant many, many trees. That's our job as his royal priests! We are all called to preach, and as such the Great Commission is for everyone - all us as preachers:
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:..
Go out there to the other trees; dress and keep them. Tend to God's garden. Grow the seed! Jesus ordained the apostles to do this, but as royal priests, we are as well!

Ordination is God arranging in an orderly manner.  The Great Commission arranges that we're to go and teach all peoples, and what is it that those so ordained are to do: baptize and teach. That is the orderly manner, but teaching is to be of God - "to observe all things which Christ commanded".  Not just so-called preachers are to do that, but all who follow Christ.

Matthew 22:14 says that many will be called but few will be chosen. That's not because it's not our job, but because most will not accept their job assignment, remembering what all our vocations are: to dress and keep God's garden. God's desire is not that their be few, but many. All of us disciples must pick up our crosses and follow him. (Matthew 16:24). What does bearing the cross entail?  "Ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." (1 Peter 2:9).

Moses was called by God. He was ordained to speak for Him.
Exodus 4:10 And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11  And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.
God left out the part about Moses needing to go to seminary or bible college, let alone being ordained by Aaron the Priest. God does the ordaining. Men only pretend to! Right now, being part of the royal priesthood, God has ordained you to preach because you are his disciple. You don't need a denomination to sponsor or a preacher to ordain you since God already has! They may not want to share their pulpit for various reasons, but anywhere and everywhere is the pulpit. Those who would censure God's word would censor truth. Perhaps it's part jealousy and partly to prevent schizmaticism but the pulpit belongs to all who are his disciples. I suppose that the denomination is the church arranging in an orderly manner, rather than God doing so.

 Let me take this moment to recommend Pastor Gary Mitchell's Enter the Kingdom eBook on Amazon. 

Enter the Kingdom