Sunday, June 30, 2013

Anger: It's all in you!

ANGER! We have all had it, felt it, shared it, deserved it and sometimes even got sick over it!

Anger is an emotion. It's sort of like the inverse of charity, “love” if you will. We're suppose to love others as we do ourselves. Jesus told us that. However, of all the sins charity is the hardest to overcome! If you are by nature a person with a calm disposition then you are indeed blessed!

What is anger? We believe it to be our righteous indignation in response to the stupidity, hate, behavior or actions of another, but our anger lies within us, not within others. Their anger lies within them.

Those of us (everyone) who have been angry know it's not a good feeling. It has symptoms just as a disease would. It's a disease of the spirit that is manifested in the flesh. We know when we're angry because we feel it. It can start slowly then like a volcano erupt or it can come on us at other times as a flash of lightening. Either way we stew in our emotions and “relive” the event, oftentimes recounting over and over how we could have ruled supreme over our perceived adversary.

Anger is when we're enraged at the perceived or actual provocation of another. (It can be real or imaginary provocation). While the definition points toward others as the source of our anger, we can also get angry at ourselves. For instance, if we do something stupid or rash, we know we're in error and get “mad” at ourselves for making the mistake or reacting the way we did. People who are really good at anger, even when the fault lies within themselves, perceive it to be the fault of others and then blame the other person for their own self-induced anger.

Anger has several outcomes: disappointment (displeasure), worry, rudeness, condemnation, screaming, cursing, acts of violence, and even sickness. On the other hand a person may be in self-control and merely brush it off or even laugh at the event which “ticked” them off. The latter people may be angels unawares because anger is not only a human emotion, but is also a curse as well.

Disappointment is not a sin. Although we not to worry and place confidence in Jesus, worry is still real, but it is self-centered.

Jesus posed a good question! Luke 12:25 (NIV) “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”

Likewise, he tells us not to worry: Matthew 6:34 (NIV) “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Although the Bible nowhere says that worry in itself is sinful, worry can take our eyes off Jesus and even make us depressed.

Depression has two modes. It can either be “clinical depression: where our brain fails to transmit signals properly through the brain's synapses or it may be “emotional depression”. There are valid reasons where we may be depressed such as a death in the family, but most often depression is just common natural sadness. It's the latter we can control rationally and spiritually, but clinical depression requires medical treatment. By controlling anger we have taken the first step at controlling depression.

Rudeness, condemnation, screaming, cursing, and acts of violence are sinful outcomes or anger. We are to have self-control. Lack of self-control is among the major sins:

2 Timothy 3:2 (NIV) “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—“. Note that lack of self-control is mentioned as an equal sin to being “unholy”! Yes, you are unholy if you lack self-control!

On the other hand Paul speaks of self-control from a positive direction: Galatians 5:23 “gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” The antidote for anger is self-control. God doesn't leave us by ourselves to practice self-control though. It's sort of a misnomer or for a Christian, an oxymoron. What I mean that is we have a Comforter to help us through life. That Comforter is the Holy Spirit and if we're sanctified God's Spirit is always there to help us.

John 14:26 (KJV) “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

When you're angry, when you're depressed or when you're tempted the Holy Spirit will bring God's Word to your memory and in God's Word is hope, charity, gentleness, self-control, etc. We don't have to depend on ourselves, we can lean on Jesus!

Lastly, let us discuss “sickness”. Sickness is not a sin, but sin can make us sick! Who wants to be sick? The answer is obvious, so why do we get so angry at times that we stew in our anger to the point of nausea or depression? Here we go again! Depression. It has dire physical symptoms just like anger. Depression is more than feeling sad. It entails loss of pleasure or thoughts of death.

Psychopaths take pleasure in anger. They don't have the same emotional responses to events that normal people do. They may take joy in being angry or even have feelings of euphoria when angry. Some may just be totally void of feelings at all. My question: To those who continue in anger, why do you want to be as a psychopath?

Anger is stressful to people other than psychopaths and has the same symptoms as stress, even to the extent at having a heart attack. The amygdala, the part of the brain that deals with emotion, is going crazy. Extreme anger can feel like a volcano erupting inside and acid dumping into the stomach. You become nauseous. The “stress” associated with anger is immediate and comes before the depression one may feel, which lingers on and on if we let it. Continued stress can cause early death and then one has a right to be depressed.

Anger can be righteous. God's anger is always justifiable and righteous. When people have righteous anger it's called indignation. We get aroused by some injustice. (You can all see my indignation at the treatment of Paula Deen)!

Rage is acting out on anger. Rage is acting out furiously. It may involve either physical or mental violence to another or even exposing oneself to danger. Many times people hurt themselves when angry at others!

Wrath is when force is used and is done in vengeance. Wrath is an outcome of the rage we feel. If we continue in sin we will suffer the righteous wrath of God.

Ire is the opposite of cheerful and happy. Our anger is when ireful is gloom and doom. That's not a Christian way to present yourself to what God as done for you!

Resentment is when we're aggrieved. We inflict unpleasantness on ourselves. We dwell in our predicament and keep reliving the scenario. Resentment is inclined toward the depression we may feel. Resentment can lead to planned revenge. Most often a person plans the revenge, but doesn't act out on it. Many times resentment's revenge is de-friending someone (Not Facebook De-friend, but real life). Scripture tells us to befriend! We are to love one another.

If you'll notice the repetitive use of “ourselves” in the preceding text, you'll find that anger is self-centered. I AM the person who gets angry. I AM the one who feel stressed. I AM the one who gets sick. I AM the one who may die young. I AM the one who is not in self-control. I AM the one who is sinning. Each of us have the same problem Adam had. We're proud and self-centered. We want to be as powerful and knowledgeable as God. We won't consider that, let lone admit it, but that's how God sees us!

Although self-control is the way to prevent unrighteous anger, that type of control is a gift of God. Only by seeking and finding God can we truly control ourselves and our anger!

Luke 11:10 “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Knock and the door will be opened. Jesus answers!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Astrology-Don't bet your life on it!

Some wake up in the morning and plan their day based on the position of the stars. Presidential decisions have been made which effect us all just because someone close to the leader was enthralled with the mystery of the stars!  Astrology is a system of belief, as old as history itself, whereby there is an alleged relationship between the celestial bodies and events in the lives of mankind. Many people take it seriously and have since time immemorial, and no amount of science nor Scripture will change their minds. Others dabble in astrology for entertainment purposes, but fail to understand that "false religions" are an abomination to God, whether it be for serious or recreational purposes.

What does Scripture say about astrology?

When Isaiah was warning Babylon concerning its utter destruction he said  Isaiah 47:13 "Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. "

There's nothing in the stars that will help Babylon. There is nothing there that will help anyone! Why? Astrology is not a science... it's a religion... a false religion. Whereby Christians use the sacred Scripture as our Bible, astrologers use the horoscope!

Astrology has been disproven many times, not only by God, but by scientific methods. There is no known correlation between astrology and human events. Test studies time and again have shown the same results... it's not science!  How did astrology originate? Pagan religions worshiped the sun and the moon. Astrology is an off-shoot of early pagan worship.!

If you remember, the Babylonians built a tower to reach the heavens. Genesis 11: 4 "And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth."

The tower was destroyed and God confounded the language of the people. Why for each point?

Archelogists have found more towers called zigurats. These towers were like obelisks only instead of a constant taper they had steps where the next level was of smaller perimeter than the preceding level.  These obelisks were towers to worship the stars. They were for the pagan gods of astrology!  Each of the layers represented the color and a "sun sign" the birth periods corresponding to the constellations. (Pisces, Aquarius, etc.). On the top level of the tower were the signs of the constellations.  Hence, there is strong evidence that the Tower of Babylon was for the same intent and purpose and that God confounded the languages, not because they built a skyscraper, but because the tower was for the worship of the stars (astrology).

Scripture validates the argument and tells of the consequences of astrology and that the nations were confounded because of pagan astrological worship:

Deut 4:19 "And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.".

God created the constellations, stars and moon to gorify Himself. He is the creator of all! When we look into the stars we should think of His glory and power and worship Him. We are to worship the creator, not the creation! Neither should we look at the heavens and say "What's in it for me?'. That's the problem of mankind: "What pleasure am I going to receive?" from whatever the object of adulation is at the moment. Astrology is self-centered. It's to edify yourself, not God!

I won't say much about horoscopes other than with time, if they ever were accurate, they aren't now. It's idiocy to believe that somone took samples of people's lives and correlated them to the constellations and did it accurately and precise.

Take astrology out of your life and put God in. With God there is hope, but the stars will be destroyed. When the new heaven and the new earth come, the things of old will be made anew.

Revelation 6:13 "And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind."

Revelation 21:1 "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."

The objects of worship will no longer be!  Mankind will no longer look to the cosmos for answers, but to God who rules over all:

Isaiah 66:1 "Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool..."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Bible and Booze

I write this with pain for people I care about … for friends and relatives I love! There are those Christians who will defend the drinking of alcohol vehemently as if their life depended on it. There are others who stretch the truth about the use of wine in the Bible. (It was used, but there were ramifications). I have attempted to be objective about alcohol, but I'm admittedly biased against it and feel good about that position! If you're a Christian it IS WISE to abstain. The most important biblical reason for abstinence is that you may cause others to stumble. As a stumbling-block to the unsaved your are guilty of a serious violation of God's law.

Romans (NIV) 14:13 “ Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”

In a “alcohol context” this means is for you to quit telling others that the drinking of alcohol is a sin, but to demonstrate your passion by not drinking yourself. Even one drink can cause others to rationalize their own use! “He's a Christian and drinks booze … why can't I?” His or her next step might be addiction or even death!

We have to admit, there are numerous references to the use of alcohol in the Bible, so it was used by a great number of people. It's use, however, does not make it holy! Like multiple marriages which God frowned upon, he tolerated it because of man's disobedience to God. God tolerates alcohol although he clearly teaches against it's use. Jesus came to save mankind, not to make man temperate! Man's desire to do God's will is what temperance should be about.

I know of a few types of alcoholic beverages mentioned in the Bible: vinegar (chomets) which was made from fermented fruits, beer (strong drink), wine, new wine (Asis), mixed wine (mezeg) and strong wine. These are Hebrew-named drinks and they have corresponding Greek names in New Testament times. Following is an example of “wine” and “strong drink” rendered “beer” in the NIV, but it was not even close to today's beer: (It applied to any drink with high alcohol content and we know that beer is one of the lowest in alcohol).

1 Samuel (NIV) 1:12 “As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine (Hebrew 'Yayin' meaning 'to effervesce').” 15 'Not so, my lord,' Hannah replied, 'I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer (Hebrew 'Shekar' strong drink, intoxicating drink, fermented or intoxicating liquor ;strong drink in the KJV); I was pouring out my soul to the LORD.”

Two kinds of beverage mentioned here are the cause of drunkenness: wine and strong drink. Hannah would have been a stumbling block to others had she been drunk, but instead, she was filled with the spirit in prayer. The use of alcohol is biblically unwise as we can see:

Proverbs 20:1 “ Wine (Yayin) is a mocker and beer (Shekar) a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”

You can be led into sin by the use of intoxicating beverages. I would ask those of you who have a glass of after dinner wine with your family really limit yourself to that amount. If you do you have self-control. Anecdotally, I see that people are fooling themselves. They drink for emotional comfort and recreation and overdo it often ...clearly out of God's will. Furthermore, social drinking today is normally in an environment where Christians should not be. Alcohol lowers your defenses and releases your inhibitions. That's why heavy drinkers drink it; to loosen them up. Are you doing Christian activities while you're all mellowed out? I doubt it. Your behavior should be weighed against God's word.

Proverbs 31:4 “It is not for kings, Lemuel— it is not for kings to drink wine (Yayin), not for rulers to crave beer (Shekar), lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. 6 Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish! 7 Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.”

You can see here that God allows strong drink for those who are dying, stressed or depressed. It should be used for medical reasons and has been for the ages. However, be warned that using alcohol to make you feel good will lead to dependence (alcoholism) and chronic diseases such as sclerosis. All medicines likely have side-effects. It's a trade-off.

Due to religious law on cleanliness the Hebrews drank water, wine, strong drink and vinegar. They very carefully strained there drinks through sieves (not fine filters) to remove anything that would make the drink unclean including “dregs” and any insects who linger around.

Matthew 23:24 (NIV)24 “You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

In worshiping God in communion (Mass) we use unleavened bread. “Unleavened” means to be made without yeast. Yeast is impure and Jesus should be remembered with pure products. However, Jesus drank of the wine and told us to do also in remembrance of him. This example should demonstrate that wine refers to a beverage which was made without yeast in order that the communion be pure. Hence, wine in this case was either grape juice or spontaneous wine, one where yeast was not added to the process, but incidental to storing of the wine. Since the lack of yeast is paramount in the bread I would think that would be so for the wine as well. Hence, I believe it was grape-juice and I won't take communion with modern wine.

From “Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary”, “Strong drink (Hebrew shekar') is an intoxicating liquor distilled from corn, honey, or dates.” You can see in this description that strong drink would include mead, whiskey, wine and brandy. Strong drink is prohibited theologically (sinful). Do those of you who “drink a little wine also imbibe in strong drink?” There should be no argument here. You may justify a glass of wine, but booze is clearly sinful.

The alcohol content of some beverages of the Bible are: fruit juice less than .1%, cider 2% - 8.5%; beer 2%-12% (most often 4% - 6%); Champagne 8% - 14 %, low alcohol wines (rieslings) 6% - 9&, table wine 9% - 16% (most often 12.5%-14.5%); fortified wine 15.5% - 20% .

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia”: wine - “Though known by the ancients, wine was not drunk in its matured form until the development of the bottle and cork in the late 17th century.” This means that the daily use wine of biblical days was non-alcoholic or spontaneous wine, akin to you drinking grape juice when it's been stored too long or vinegar.

There are four categories of wines: table wines (red, white and rose wines), sparkling wines (Champagne and bubbly wines), fortified wines (table wines with brandy and the like added) and aromatic wines (contains fruits, plants and flowers).

From “Gale's How Products Are Made”: How is wine made? “Though the wines of old were coarse and hard and had to be mixed with water...” The coarseness of the wine was determined by the amount of solid residue in the wine plus the by-products of fermentation such as mold and yeast.

Modern wines are filtered, have no by-products and hence, no need to be diluted. However, the wine which the apostles drank was diluted. If it was spontaneous wine the content would be as low as 6%. It was then diluted to make it palatable and to make it serve more people. The alcohol content could have been in the vicinity of 1-1/2% to 2% and unless you drank excessively, you'd never feel it after acclimation to the beverage.

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia”: wine “Though known by the ancients, wine was not drunk in its matured form until the development of the bottle and cork in the late 17th century...” “Prior to the 19th century little was known about the process of fermentation or the causes of spoilage. The Greeks stored wine in earthenware amphorae, and the Romans somewhat extended the life of their wines with improved oaken cooperage, but both civilizations probably drank almost all of their wines within a year of vintage and disguised spoilage by adding such flavourers as honey, herbs, cheese, and salt water.”

Wine would spoil and the taste would be artificially enhanced to avoid waste. Water spoils more quickly and must be stored due to it being scarce in vast regions of the arid Middle East. As in overcrowded areas today, beer is drank for its safety, not necessarily because of its alcohol content, wine was drank in biblical times for safety's sake. Clean water would be preferred because the wine had dregs in it and would have a bad taste.

"Wine is little used now in the East, from the fact that Mohammedans are not allowed to taste it, and very few of other creeds touch it. When it is drunk, water is generally mixed with it, and this was the custom in the days of Christ also. The people indeed are everywhere very sober in hot climates; a drunken person, in fact, is never seen", (Geikie's Life of Christ). You can see that heavy alcohol consumption in arid regions is not the norm. Alcohol evaporates quickly and would not quench the thirst. Since many wines are sweet the same problem exists because of the sugar.

In modern times yeast is added to the juice to augment fermentation. In ancient days fermentation depended on the yeast being naturally absorbed from the air in the skin of the grape (spontaneous fermentation). Whereas modern wines are fermented and aged from one up to ten years, in earlier times they were likely consumed before the fermentation process was complete, and indeed was actually grape juice or cider which had some degree of natural fermentation (spoiled) due to the time it was kept and the container in which it was kept. “New Wine: called “Asis” is wine consumed the same year it is fermented. It normally has a pretty high alcohol content.

Sparkling wines, such as Champagne, contain suspended carbon dioxide. Champagne is a wine made from grapes in that region of Northeastern France and made from only three types of grapes: pinot and meunier, and chardonnay. Champagne is bubbly because of it's fermented a second time which yields carbon dioxide and effervescence. Although Champagne was yet invented and was not indigenous to the area, a middle eastern equivalent to the product would result from accidental double fermentation, hence “shekar' (strong drink).

Luke (KJV) 5:37 “And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

New wine is that which is consumed the first season. It is higher in alcohol content because the alcohol content is reduced in time. If we examine why no one would put new wine in old bottles, the new wine has already been fermented and by putting it into an old bottle already contaminated with yeast and sugar, the new wine would re-ferment and the bottles or other containers would explode. Hence, an effervescent wine similar to Champagne would result. If you look at the history of Champagne-making the biggest problem was that most of the bottles would explode with an increase in pressure due to a build-up of carbon dioxide. Winery's experimented with what worked best and there was created in the 1600s standards for Champagne processing, bottling and capping such that the beverage would not explode. So, yes, it was foolish to put new wine in old bottles. (However, don't miss the spiritual message in this analogy).

If you're concerned about your health, and we all should be, then you might be interested in what excessive alcohol will do to your body.

“Columbia Encyclopedia: ethanol” - “Ethanol is used extensively as a solvent in the manufacture of varnishes and perfumes; as a preservative for biological specimens; in the preparation of essences and flavorings; in many medicines and drugs; as a disinfectant and in tinctures (e.g., tincture of iodine); and as a fuel and gasoline additive (see gasohol)... Medically, ethanol is a soporific, i.e., sleep-producing; although it is less toxic than the other alcohols, death usually occurs if the concentration of ethanol in the bloodstream exceeds about 5%. Behavioral changes, impairment of vision, or unconsciousness occur at lower concentrations.”

“What!” you say. “I'm running varnish solvent and automobile fuel through my brain!” Yes, you are! Why would any sane individual want to do that? Alcohol in the bloodstream will dry out your lungs and liver and shorten life when used in excess. One relative of mine drank only beer. He died at 56 years old and when the autopsy was done, his lungs were almost brittle and his liver was hardened! He always claimed that “Beer won't hurt you.”, but it surely did. It killed him!

Can you say without a shadow of a doubt that you're not an alcoholic? If you're drinking early and hard, then you may be an alcoholic. If you're drinking beer like water, you may be an alcoholic. If you're claiming to be drinking a few and are drinking many, you are an alcoholic. I saw a wino who was an alcoholic and he'd puke it up and drink more. Yes, you can be a wine alcoholic. Alcoholism is NOT a disease. SIN is the disease of mankind. Alcoholism is a sin. A disease may be incurable, but sin has already been cured, defeated in fact. Jesus did it by dying for you on the cross. Don't let the world tell you that you have a disease. Behaviors can be changed.

Now, I must admit, Paul told us to drink a little wine for our health.

1 Timothy (NIV) 5:23 “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.”

Yes, the common drink was WATER, not WINE! Water wasn't clean and free of bad bacteria as it is today with our skimmers, chlorination and filtration. Wine on the other hand, as with any juice, has a positive result on our digestive track. It cleanses it. However, in this regard, grape juice or prune juice will also do the trick. Paul recommended wine (diluted and horrible-tasting at that time) be used as a medicine. With medicine you take a controlled amount when needed. Too much medicine will exacerbate the problem, having side effects. Is YOUR drinking for medicinal purposes or is it for recreation and to drown your problems. If it's not for your health, then why do it?

I'll never be an alcoholic! Why? God removed the desire for spirits when I was 21 years old and I never looked back. You have to imbibe to be an alcoholic. Thank you Lord for removing this desire from me. If the reader doesn't have the elation I feel, then your certainly missing something. It doesn't take booze to have a good time.

In summary:

  1. Wine was consumed in Biblical times. God apparently turned his head to it just as he did divorce, concubines and multiple marriages. He pointed out its folly and used examples (eg. Noah and his sons, etc.)
  2. Wine was not the primary drink. Water was. Wine was not drunk extensively in the Middle East ever because of its inability to quench the thirst in that climate.
  3. Wine was not fermented using a process on purpose … it was a result of the natural combination of ingredients that are in fruit juices whether you want them to be or not.
  4. Any strong drink is harmful and sinful.
  5. The alcohol content was lower than mature wines of today.
  6. The wine was diluted with water because of it's bad taste due to dregs.
  7. Wine was to be used for medicinal reasons with controlled use. (I Timothy)
  8. God's word and prescribed medicine should be used for stress and depression. Self-treatment with alcohol will lead to addiction.
  9. The use of wine for recreation is foolish and sinful. (Proverbs)
  10. You are pumping motor fuel and paint solvent through your body. Alcohol is a poison!
  11. Excessive consumption can lead to addiction and severe health issues, even death!
  12. The activities of imbibers are most often worldly and accompanied by sinful activities.
  13. The potential for addiction is akin to playing “Russian Roulette” with your life.
  14. You become a stumbling-block to the sinner by doing as the world does.
  15. Your priorities if you're defending alcohol is away from God and on your own immediate gratification.
  16. Those who love you worry about your sobriety and it's associated negative lifestyle.
  17. Alcohol uninhibits. You'll do things you shouldn't do. Maybe things a Christian shouldn't do.
  18. How can you sincerely commune with God if you're mind is blurred? You're supposed to be the temple of the holy spirit. You're flooding that temple with alcohol.
  19. And lastly, I believe alcoholic wine consumption is improper for Communion (Mass) because of it's residual yeast content, which is biblically “unclean” just as leavened bread would be.

You can live without it, but you might die with it! You have a clear choice. If you do abuse alcohol you need to confer with God. If you do drink the one after-dinner glass of wine, you just need to examine that pragmatically and where it can lead. Are you in God's will?

A Strange Commandment! What about the animals?

Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. (Exod 23:19, Exod 34:26, Deut 14:21).

Apparently, at the end of the harvests, pagans boiled young goats in their own mother's milk and sprinkled it on the ground in a magical tradition to increase the following year's harvest. Some of the Jews apparently did the same even after giving God thanks for a bountiful harvest!

Three times in Scripture, it is written that we are not to seethe (boil) a kid (young goat) in his own mother's milk. Writing something thrice indicates something extremely important!

First off, we are not to perform activities which the pagans do!  This is written in the Old Testament and referred to again in the New Testamament.

1 Corinthians 10:20  "No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons."

In copying the pagans Christians are "participants with demons" (devils).  That ought to scare you into thninking rationally. Most Christians would never willingly participate with the devil, but because of his wile, Christians do just that unwittingly. Superstition is evil!

If you put your faith in silly things or false religious practices your faith does not lie in God. Let's think of some of those: lucky charms, communication with the dead, astrology (horoscopes), fortune-tellers, Yoga, positive affirmations, accupuncture, wholistic "medicine", visions of Christ and/or Mary, ad nauseum. You get the idea... if it's not scriptural don't do it!  I'll talk about false religious practices later on, but right now let's look at another reason not to seethe a kid in it's mother's milk.

God values respect!  The Bible says little about respecting animals although we're not to be a respector of persons. Although both are God's creation, whereas man has pride, dumb animals do not. Man was to have authority over the animals and as caretakers of God's creation, we are to care for the animals he gave us as well. It is prudent to keep in mind, though, that after man sinned we were given skins for covering and flesh for food. We are to remember our spiritual death through the death of animals.

Only one verse directly addresses how we're to treat animals. Proverbs 12:10 " A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."

We're not to take the life of  animals unncessarily! That's respect for what God as provided. I use respect in this sense as being appreciative and holding in high regard the animals. We ought to! They were provided to man for companionship, to help us in our work, for sacrifice to God and for food. They serve utilitarian and divine purposes.

Now back to boiling a young goat in its own mother's milk.  A child and its mother have been one. There is a special bond between a mother and her offspring. Humans are told to honor their mother for this reason. You are to do that just because she carried and delievered you. She is owed respect just because of who she is!  Likewise, there exits in most animals that same maternal bond.  By taking the milk which she uses to nourish her own, boiling it and scalding the remains of her own "child" that is the ultimate disregard of that maternal bond. By performing this act, man has utter disrespect for the mother and her offspring. Even an animal deserves more respect!

Disrespect of the animal couped with the superstitious pagan disrespect of God doubles the damage. Hence, in God's eyes, this command is a serious offense. I call it the eleventh commandment!  Although man doesn't deserve respect because we're sinful, like it or not, animals do not sin. They have no soul and no responsibility to do other than what God designed them to do.  That will not always be true though!

When Isaiah prophesied the coming of the Messiah and his reign he said this:

Isaiah 11:5 "Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins. 

6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.

7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

Yes, when Jesus reigns again on the earth the animal kingdom will return to their domicile state as they were at the creation... just as it was when Adam named them and lived with them in harmony! Jesus will not only bring peace to humanity, but the whole world will live in peaceful coexistence. Every treaty in history or time to come has failed or will fail to bring peace, but with one word Jesus will bring peace to the world... not just to humanity, but to all things!

Yes, we should respect the animals. They are a gift to us and commune with us. Until Jesus comes we're allowed to use them for food and clothing, but we're not to abuse them for entertainment or out of neglect. Respect God... respect the animals... respect life!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Beyond Help?

Reprobate means to be abandoned by God to eternal damnation. God has given up on the reprobate.

What happens before God abandons a person? Their heart becomes calloused and is hardly receptive to the call of the Spirit:

Matthew 13:15 (NIV) 15 "For this people’s heart has become callousedthey hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them."
Many people reject the tug of the Holy Spirit because they're not yet through with pleasure. (Hint: If you're never saved you're never through with temporal pleasure).  People who think like this actually try to plan salvation: "I will submit to God when I'm old and am through with having fun."   "Planned Salvation" doesn't work. You can't decide that "someday I'll submit" because that day never comes. Salvation is not of your doing, but God's. You must come to Him when he's ready to receive you, not when  it's convenient for you! When your mind becomes ready your heart may not!
 Jesus summons you constantly. He knocks at your heart's door!  If you fail to answer your chance of submission lessens each day. Just as a hand gets calloused from using that epidermal layer, your heart gets hardened by using your strong will. After your heart is calloused it becomes exponentially harder for you to soften and submit. The preceding verse (Matt 13:15) says that those with calloused hearts "hardly hear", but they still can if they try!  If they were to begin listening and understanding Jesus says "I will heal them."  Jesus is the cure for a calloused heart, but you must give that heart in faith to the  "good doctor"! However, you can't give it after it's calloused. (It must still be a healthy heart). You must give it to prevent it from being calloused. Callousness is your warning signal. Don't approach that danger!
If a person resists the call of the Spirit often enough the callousness becomes petrification. Their heart resides spiritually dead within their body. They are zombie-like in that they are spiritually dead, but physically alive. They are "reprobate". God has abandoned them due to their own unbelief! The penalty for unbelief is eternal damnation!
Where does the Bible say that and to whom is it speaking?
Romans 1:27-29 (KJV)  27" And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;..."
The Bible is speaking of those who sin against their own bodies. Paul speaks of homosexuality. It couldn't be more clear! Those involved in a homosexual lifestyle are abandoned by God to eternal damnation. It would appear that the norm is that those who live that lifestyle are already reprobate, but since we have a gracious God, let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Again, let's not put God in a box because he's free to do what he will do and prayer does change things!
Leviticus 18:22 (KJV) "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Men shall not lay down (sexually) with another man or a woman with another woman. That is abomination! Abomination means disgusting. A person who is a homosexual, says Scripture, is disgusting to God!  What do these people need to do? Repent, obey and accept (Jesus, not homosexuality).  God is gracious! If one is sincere and has contrition, God can be convinced to change his mind!
If one still does not understand how detestable that practice is they only need to read the hell fire and damnation inflicted on the homosexuals of Sodom and Gemmorah!  Why is God so against homosexuality?
First off, God is holy and without sin. God expects his creation to be the same! That applies to any sin. Why so much emphasis on homosexuality?  Jesus is the bridegroom and the church is the bride. Jesus uses the holy rite of marriage as a metaphor for himself and his relationship to us, the church. Since God ordained marriage between a male and a female (Genesis) then persons are disobedient and disrespectful of what God planned for man and woman... marriage! By having sexual knowledge with a member of the same sex, not only are homosexuals spitting in the face of  marriage as a divine institution, they are also spitting in the face of Christ and his relationship to the church. By such disobedience the homosexual is so engrossed in pleasure that God's will is totally ignored. and God is not respected Hence, they (the homosexuals) become an abomination!
We have a problem here!  Many people have a friend or relative whom they love who is a homosexual. They don't want to abandon that loved one, so they not only condone aberrant behavior, but by doing so are encouraging it!  By being tolerant they are damning the very one they are protecting. The best thing that a Christian person can do is to tell their loved one about the saving grace of Jesus and pray that God might undo their reprobate heart! He can do that.
 God is all about obedience to Him, not tolerance of sin.
I'm sorry that I have to be so direct. This is not meant to hurt, but to encourage. God loves the sinner even in his sin and if someone reprobate submits to Jesus, not only will all the angels in heaven sing, but that person will love Jesus more because He has forgiven more of them!

Monday, June 24, 2013

How to identify adult Narcissists?

Narcissism is a word used to identify behaviors which display an unhealthy degree of "self-love".  Scripture says that "No man hateth himself" so it is evident that "all men love themselves" to some degree. It is that "self-love" which Adam displayed in the Garden of Eden, placing himself over God.  That love of self was manifested as pride and we're all still plagued with that disease of the flesh.

We're all called to be meek!  1 Timothy 6:10 " For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 12 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness

 "Meekness" is a healthy modest view of oneself.  God expects a Christian to be meek for Jesus said "The meek shall inherit the earth." Yes, by not wanting power, prestige and riches you'll be rewarded! That's sounds paradoxial, but God rewards with different values than we seek! Paul tells us of God's mystical values:

2 Corinthinans 4:18  "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

What are some of the things "unseen' since we're already familiar with the physical world?  How about joy? Peace? Health? Love? Grace? Charity? Hope?  I will take any of these over a new watch, a  classy shirt, an Epicurean meal or a fancy home! Hence, even the casusal reader can see that the thnigs of this world aren't important because we will have them for only awhile. Temporal... lasting only for a short time. Usually material things. They're things which are not durable. Eternal life in heaven (the unseen) is our hope!

There's a story about a mizer who hoarded wealth and when he attempted to enter through the gate to heaven he was asked "What's in the sack?" The mizer replied "gold"!  He was then asked by the angel "Why in the world are you bringing pavement with you?" The mizer would have known that if he'd read John's Revelation 21:21 "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." What's important here is of no value where we are to go!

When I was young I wanted a career, a new car, great food, a nice home, a family, prestige, power and recreation!  I was fairly balanced, being a Christian, because I never lusted after any of these things. God did bless me with most and for that I am grateful.  Although I credit my prosperity and career to God, many of these things are no longer all that important to me. Of course a family means alot to me, someday soon I realize that I'll leave them behind as well. They too are temporal.

Wanting success is not sinful. God teaches us to toil for what we have. Work is honorable! Many people want to bypass what took me and my generation years to accumulate and have it all RIGHT NOW!  Those people are narcissistic. They are lovers of self!

If you'll remember from yesterday's topic on "Narcissism" I identified "wrong parenting" which creates narcissists. Today I'll list narcissistic behaviors of adults, those people stuck in juvenility, even infancy:

1) Many have to have brand name clothing.
2) Some have to have an outfit for each day, never wearing the same one twice.
3) They buy new homes at young ages just to keep up with others, not because they can afford them.
4) Priorities are on new cars, often expensive which they have to finance.
5) They buy before they save for what they want.
6) Credit cards are maxed out and they often pay credit card payments with another card.
7) All forms of entertainment are "needs". Many will buy a CD before food.
8) Among the poor tattoos, cigarettes and beer comes before bills are paid or even food.
9) They eat only  "what they like" and if they don't get it, they show an attitude.
10) They expect family and company to be like a cafeteria so they always have what they want.
11) They expect presents and even "order' their own birthday and Christmas presents.
12) When receiving presents they show attitudes and ungraciousness when they don't get what they wanted.
13) Holidays are all about them or their kids.
14) They seldom give sacrificially since their money is more dear to them than your money is to you.
15) They seldom if ever say "I'm sorry" for their princely attitudes and negativity.
16) They're seldom wrong (in their own eyes), and their opinion is the valid one without regard to the others' education or wisdom... or the facts.
17) They defraud others by defaulting on bills, but don't see this as stealing.
18)  They "use" other people for their own purposes and discard them when they're no longer needed.
19) Conversations are all about themselves. They seldom ask about your interests, what you  like or what you've been doing. They'll often "one-up you" in conversations.
20) They have few friends because too many have already been used or abused by them..

You can probably add hundreds of other characteristics of adult narcissism, but you get the point: "It's all about ME!" believes the narcissist! Narcissists "erred from the faith". Narcissists have "pierced themselves through with many sorrows". They deserve their isolation from others and God.

What's the cure for narcissism and how can narcissists be a "New Man" without this bagage? The cure is Jesus!  You already believe in Jesus? Then follow his example... be Christlike! Jesus had none of these characteristics, but manyof you continue to hang on to yours. 

I told you what used to be important to me. What is now important is my family, my health, my church, my friends and hope in Jesus. All my desires fall under one category "my hope in Jesus"! I want God in my family, my health is a gift from God, my church is to worship Jesus and my best friends share my Christian faith. What more could I ask? Only that others would join me in my Christian faith because I have hope for them as well.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

On Narcissism: All Parents Need to Read

Do you know anyone who thinks of himself (or herself) as beyond special?  These people appear to love themselves beyond normality. Their idol is themself.  Some people are so extreme that they are child-like in their own self-interests.  We can all think of someone who is narcissistic, most often very young people, but more so each day, even adults. Oh, yes. I just described "narcissism".

Narcissus was a young man in Greek mythology who saw his own reflection in water and fell in love with himself. His love of self was so immense that he was turned into a beautiful flower; a flower we know as Narcissus.  "Self love" is the malady affecting Narcissus... and some people.

2 Timothy 3:2 "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,"
"Lovers of their own selves" is categorized along with other sins where man places himself over God. Covetous is having a strong desire for what others have. Lust!  Boasters are people who brag on who they are, what they have or their own accomplishments. Blasphemers belittle God while elevating themselves. Pride is the curse of Adam. A prideful person values self over God.  Those who are disobedient to their parents place their wisdom and knowledge over their parents. Unthankful people believe they "deserve" material items or attention. People who are lovers of self are just plain unholy!
There are reasons why people are narcissistic. It should come as no surprise, but people with "narcissism" are born that way and should be accepted. If you don't you're intorant! Of course I'm jesting. The narcissist, as is everyone, is born a sinner. Paul says  "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" (Romans 3:10).  Although we're born in sin it is supplemented by environmental factors. What do you suppose contributes to the sin of "self-love"" It starts in childhood by overindulgent parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends:
1) Undue compliments.
2) Unearned rewards.
3) Excessive entertainment.
4) No assignment of responsibilities.
5) Overgiving of gifts.
6) Buying love with excessiveness.
7) Not allowing children to suffer the consequences of their actions.
8) Not teaching children to say "I'm sorry" and mentoring them to mean it.
9) Failure to teach a child to respect authority.
10) Allowing children to mimic negative influences.
11) Parents not modeling positive behaviors.
12) Too much emphasis on the importance of acheiving at sports, etc.
13) Being overly braggadocias of them.
14) "Babying" children who are beyond infancy.
15) Allowing tantrums.
16) Allowing disrespect or disobedience.
17) Not teaching manners or acceptable age-appropriate behaviors.
18) Failure to punish or inappropriate punishment
19) Failure to pray and show submission to God.
20) Failure to teach children expectations (The Bible is the Instruction Manual).
20) Overemphasis on "being a friend" instead of being a parent.
Failure to do one, two or maybe three of these may not result in your child being a narcissist, but certainly can, and a pattern of failure in many of these will certainly mold your child into being a selfish, inconsiderate person.  Not only will your child grow up to be an adult people try to avoid, but one who really needs to be more Christlike!
What's strange is that the narcissist seldom recognize that they are in a love relationship with self, and if they do see that, they are zealous in their power over other people. They are tyrannical and love being a tyrant. Furthermore, parents and relatives who are grooming little Hitler's think of themselves as providing proper love!  Adults are blinded to the fact that they're molding little minds to be self-indulgent and materialistic... "Little Hitler's" if you will!  (Well, maybe not Hitler's, but certainly "Little Dictators"!).
As an example of proper parenting, I propose that rather than giving a child toys, give him access to tools and materials to make their own! Yes, this requires your supervision, but the child needs your instruction and proper attention.  My own children always worked with Dad, even as toddlers, on cars. As adults they are all self-sufficient! (I can also write books on what I did wrong, but know better now. We learn from mistakes and I'm trying to help you prevent mistakes).
Rather than giving a child a game console, give that child a age-appropriate history or adventure book. I read "Robinson Crusoe" five times before I was out of middle school. "Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer" took me down the Mississippi River several times in elementary school. Reading the biographies of all the presidents, many scientists and sports figures helped mold my future. Growing up primarily without television, radio and movies wasn't negative, but allowed me to have time to read and contemplate life and God. 
I'm not trying to be self-indulgent myself, but basically what I'm saying is that poverty is a great motivator for achievement. Poverty is a character builder, and what character I have was modeled by a Christian dad and mom and they get the credit for any achievement I have, but can't be blamed for my shortcomings. Dad read Scripture about every night.  He did his part, and even in my own disobedience, the words of God pierced my hard heart and doused my pride.
Scripture tells us that our needs will be provided if we're faithful!  Yes, we'll have tribulation, but not more than we can stand. On the other hand, material wealth is a blessing, but was never given to Christians who weren't industrious. Gamblers seldom succeed because they live for pleasure... to pleasure themselves; a perfect example of narcissism.
What can narcissists do? What must narcissists do? They need to change just as any other sinner. The only effectual change is salvation! It's easy and it's free! Narcissists should by nature like that!
If you're already a Christian, but recognize some of these characteristics in yourself, repentance and self-control is the antidote. "With God all things are possible" and perhaps he can convert you into a humble, respectful and Christlike person with priorities in line with Scripture.

Saved from all sin vs. Saved from Past SIns

Some preachers rationalize "sinful Christians" by saying that Jesus died for ALL our sins... past, present and future! 

I had a Christian friend who told a dirty joke. I told him that Christians were to be Christlike. His response was "Jesus died for that sin 2000 years ago!" Did He?

1 John 1:7  "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."

The answer is emphatically "Yes!". Jesus did die for ALL our sins... even future ones!  Now, that's grace! Albeit, it is "grace", it is NOT a ticket to sin!

Romans 3:25  "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;"

"Faith in his blood" (your salvation) is for all PAST SINS. Salvation means that you have repented:

Jesus himself said Luke 13:3  "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.".

Therefore, repentance is a condition of salvation. You have to be sorry! It's not that you only believe in Jesus, you must feel contrition for having wronged him by being a sinner (follower of Satan).

Right now; although Jesus died for sins you did long ago; yesterday, today, tomorrow and in times to come;  you must not only endeavor to not sin, but if you do, you must continually ask for forgiveness when you do sin.

Confusing? Not really. We all continue to sin because we're of the seed of Adam. Even after we become Christians we still wrong our Father.  God not only expects us to quit sinning, but desires us to ask for forgiveness when we do!  Will we go to hell if we don't? That's contentious. Many disagree. However, Christians don't put God in a box. Some believe that we can go on sinning and get a lesser "crown" in heaven. Others believe that a life of "living in the flesh" (living for pleasure) will eventually lead to apostasy, the rejection of Jesus and a trip to hell.

Regardless, both groups of people do believe in self-control and repenting of  ones sins as they occur.!  If we fail to practice Christlikeness as a result of salvation, we fail to understand the concept of "justification". Justification is payment for our sins by the shedding of Christ's blood done by grace although we deserve death, and cannot save ourselves. Although that's not the dictionary definition, that's how it works!  By sinning after we're saved, we're minimizing Christ's death and that's disrespectful to his sacrifice. "Justification", by the way is not "just as if we'd never sinned", but that "we sinned and Jesus' blood made the payment because we were sinners".

An analogy might be: Joe steals $1,000,000 dollars from his employer, Joshua's Company  and frivously spends it on pleasurable activities. Joe gets caught by Joshua. Joshua loves Joe enough that in spite of the stealing, Joshua not only forgives Joe, but says "I will pay this back myself! I don't want you to go to jail. I want you to start over with a new life. This is your chance!"  Joe feels really badly about treating Joshua badly by stealing so Joe makes a heartfelt apology and a promise to live a new life beyond  reproach.

However, Joe is weak. He's stolen a long time and is tempted often because items are readily available. His friend, Stan, encourages him to forget Joshua and just take what he wants!  Joe relents and steals "just a $100 bill" from Joshua. Joshua knows this, but he loves Joe enough that he wants to give him every chance in the world to succeed!  Joe starts stealing more and more. After awhile Joe forgets the love and forgiveness of Joshua and goes right back to major theft. Joe not only disrespects what Joshua did for him, but now trivializes what Joshua did for him.

Likewise, a Christian who lives in the flesh, trivializes Jesus' love and sacrifice of himself!  Does that Christian deserve eternal life? No!  Has he condemned himself? Some say "yes", some say "no". However, I wouldn't gamble my eternal hope on an interpretation of Scripture which has proponents on both sides. I would change my life!  We'll find out which doctrine was correct when we get to heaven, but until then, all that matters is that we love and honor Jesus and what he did for us.

Folks who argue over contestable doctrine have too much pride. They are today's Pharisees. Although I believe in living a sanctified life and that we can apostasize, I must realize that I have pride in my belief. Likewise, others who oppose this thought must examine the pride which they have in their own hearts regarding their interpretation.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Doubt: Walking with Jesus or Sinking with Peter

You'll hear Baptist preachers say "Do you know you're saved without a shadow of a doubt?"   How can you answer that question without understanding doubt and its source?

Doubt is disbelief. Doubt is not trusting. A doubter in the immediate context is a person whose belief is not firm enough in Christ to trust Him. Is Jesus who he says he is? Does Jesus live today? Will I really have eternal life?

When Peter was walking on the water with Jesus his faith wavered and he began to sink. Matthew 14:31 "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

"Doubt" is "wavering faith". Peter didn't abandon Jesus, he just questioned Jesus' power and identity. He knew Jesus, he believed in Jesus and he accepted Jesus, but something in his heart said "I value my life more than taking a chance on this man Jesus!"  Doubt is then the inverse of faith. If Peter had the unwavering faith he would have continued his walk on the water rather than sinking in fear. Note that he had the faith to step out, but not enough faith to continue his walk.

Walking on water really happened! There were witnesses to it and it was written about.  Why do you doubt this event? Why do you doubt Jesus?

Now let's go back to Peter. He had faith. He also had doubt. Did he go from saved to unsaved? No! He was still a Christian when he was having doubt. You see, man is always weighing everything: There is pleasure (or safety which is self-gratification) in what I'm doing (or not doing). Is it worth it to lose the opportunity for pleasure (or safety) to follow Jesus? Conversely, if I follow Jesus I miss out on worldly pleasures. Is it worth it? (Even if I believe in Jesus?)

We all waver in our faith as we walk in Christ. We may be on the peak if we're walking on the water with Jesus, but in the swirl of doubt if we feel life sucking is down to the depths. Most of the time we waver only enough that prayer and scripture throws us a life-jacket, but at other times we grab an anchor. We cling to the material things of life which sink us while abandoning the life-preserver of Scripture. Yes, "Hope Floats!"

My contention is that the statement "Are you saved beyound a shadow of a doubt?" puts a Christian in a precarious position: Does he lie and say "yes" or does he just confess and say "No, Jesus, at times I do doubt!"  An addenda to this confession is "Lord,  remove my doubt."  If you doubt at times you're still a Christian, but if you live in constant doubt, self-examination and the sinner's prayer is the answer! Peter did doubt at this time. Something flashed in his mind and he questioned his faith in Jesus. He began to sink, but he didn't drown. His faith kept him afloat! Jesus' salvation is excellent on the mountaintop and in the whirlpool!

Who is the author of doubt? Satan. That's his job. That's his chosen profession! His entire existence is to undermine Jesus. His tools are lies, distortions, half-truths, deceit, temptation and tricky Christianity. Of all those "tricks" in Christianity are the hardest to discern!

Satan deceives even the elect (the saved) by putting just enough of "God" and "Jesus" into his tool that the Christian (as well as sinners) believe the activity is "good". Liberal churches are dens of iniquity. They're tools of Satan and damn those who attend and believe the tricks of Satan. What are some of the tricks?

1) Scripture is not divinely inspired.
2) Jesus was just a just good teacher.
3) Sin is abstract. Good and evil is not absolute. Truth has shades of gray.
4) A good God can't let sinners go to hell.
5) If you're good, God will take you to heaven.
6) You don't have to live a Christian life. You'll be saved in your apostasy.
7) Tolerance of sin is the graceful thing to do.
8) You shouldn't talk to others about sin because you shouldn't judge.
9) God provides wealth and health to those who believe.
10) Science is fact and Scripture only belief.
11) God must do things according to the box we put Him in.
12) Satan and Hell don't exist.
13)All life, the gift of God, is not precious. It must be terminated at times for the welfare of the others.
14) Sexual deviancies are not behaviors. There are those are born that way.
15) We can participate in worship of other gods because all gods are really the same God.

The list goes on and on. If you're going to a church which teaches and/or allows a "type of Christianity" and not the full-fledged thing, then you're drowning. By calling only on Jesus of Scripture will you be lifted from the miry waters and glide across the temptuous seas. Let the real Jesus, the Truth, be your pilot. Don't listen to the muntineers who care not whether you sink or swim!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Separation of Church and State

The U.S. Constitution First Ammendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...."

"Religion" is the belief, value or practice of the values of a religious leader. Why was this ammendment so important since Christianity, Universalism, Deism and Atheism were the predominant "religions" in America when the Constitution was written? (Of all these Athesim is the only thought which does not fit the definition of a religion.)  The correct answer is that European governments either were or had been under the offical Papal Religion, Catholicism. Even the Kings and Emperors were held accountable to the Pope! In England Anglicism was the state religion. Our founders learned from denominational influences and the intoleration of how different people view Christ.

In America we had official colonial religions. Six colonies had the Church of England (Episcopalian) Denomination as the state religion: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Florida and Virginia. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire had state religions of the Congregational Denomination. Members of Baptists, Quakers, Methodists and other denominations were ostracized, jailed and driven from their homes by intolerant state governments. All of these are denominations, all part of the Christian religion. None were pagan religions!

My proposition is that the First Ammendment was in response to State CHRISTIAN Churches and our founders never dreamed that we would seriously entertain the notion of American Moslems, American Swedenborgians, American Buddhists, etc. The intent was surely to NOT have a Christian Denomination as a State Religion.  Our founders never considered atheism as a "religion" and by definition it's not. However, by removing all religion from all government entities means that the nation as established ATHEISM as THE state religion.

My second point is in the statement  "or prohiniting the free exercise thereof".  Part two of the First Ammendment actually allows Americans to worship freely (or not) anywhere!  Government officials must have the opportunity to worship God in all their dealings, just as our founding fathers who wrote the First Ammendment did.  I won't quote all the religious references for they are legion, but any scholar can find them all through the writings of the patriots.

"But" you say "what if someone from another religion is offended by the worship of Christ?"  The Consitution nowhere guarantees a right "not to be offended"! If it did, I'm offended by so much the government does that the government would be paralyzed if people as myself are treated with the tolerance that the loudmouths in the ACLU and atheists are given!  Natural Law is the Judeo/Christian belief in America. Most of our laws are based on Natural Law. Hence, we are a Judeao/Christian nation whether one likes it or not.

The goal of many from the progressive spectrum is to make take Natural Law and thus Judeo/Christianity out of the laws of the nation. Whereas Chrisitanity is based on freedom, secularism is based on anarchy, Marxism, pleasure and humanism.  Secular Humanism IS atheism and it is fast becoming the National Religion under the current repressive regime.

"But" you say "in a democracy we should have the freedom from religion!".  First off, "democracy" is not a Christian concept. It has been "good" in the past for Christianity, but it is at the root more "secular humanist" in nature.  The U.S. is a REPUBLIC. It was made so to protect the rights of the minority. Whereas, atheists at one time were the minority (and were protected) now Christians need that same protection (as a minority) that we once gave to the atheists!

The "wall of separation of Church and State" does not exist in the Constitution (as you can read yourself in the First Ammendment provided above). Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to appease the Baptists in a letter to the Danberry Baptists (a minority) who feared persecution from the Congregational state denominational church. He took this statement from the wrtings of Roger Williams who pioneered the Baptist denomination in the colony of Rhode Island back in 1644. In other words even if the "wall" was there it was to protect Christianity, not to hinder it!

What government/religion combination does the Bible endorse? Certainly not kingships! Certainly not dictatorships, and certainly not democracy. The ordained government of the Jews (our only reference) was a nation devoted to the One True God, following God's Laws (Natural Law) with Judges administering justice and deciding punishment.  That system worked until the Jews wanted to be as the pagans and have kings!

Will their be a "wall between church and state" in the goverment of the Apocolypse (end of time)? No! There will be a state religion and that religion will be anti-Christian (anything allowed but Christianity) and it's leader will be the dictator who Scripture refers to as the anti-Christ.  We'll never be able to prevent that religion from being established because it's prophesied, but we must delay it!  To delay anti-Christianity we must maintain Christianity in not only our private lives, but our public as well! God tells us to follow him in ALL things, not to exclude government!

What can we do as Christians? Don't fall for the lie of "separation of Church and State"!  Wherever and whenever you can, worship publically and fulfill the Great Commission... convert others to Christ! As the church grew under Paul's and the persecution of the Nazarenes, so also it can grow today under persecution!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Penalty for Abortion: What God says!

First off, Scripture refers to the unborn person (her fruit) as "child", not zygote, not embryo, not fetus, and not fetal tissue. Zygote, embryo and fetus are stages of human development, not different species of animal. (Exod 21:22)

Exod 21:22 "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, 24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
You can also see from Scripture that the husband has "say" regarding the existence of the wife's and husbands baby. (Exod 21:22). Feminists today strive themselves. They strive that a father-to-be has no say in the reproduction of a baby. The father is merely a sperm (one of the two gametes required for fertilization) donor. Likewise, feminists encourage a woman's independence from the male and government entitlements encourage single-parent households by funding women's gestations when they're single, but not when they're married!  Feminism is not only anti-male, but anti-Christian as well. I submit that feminists, Planned Parenthood and the Democrat Party are all groups which "strive" against motherhood and are guilty of murder!

Even for an accidental abortion, one which is caused by struggling, the husband has the authority to dictate the punishment and the judge to see that it's administered. (Exod 21:22).  We think of "pay" as money, but payment may be by incarceration, which is (in America) is 20-years to life with a possibility of parole after 15 years (in most states).  Hence, the Scriptural equivalent for accidentally causing the death of an unborn child would be a prison sentence of long duration!

What if there was "mischief" involved in the baby's death?  "Criminal Mischief" is wantonly destroying; life in this case.  "Wantonly" is total disregard for the life in question!  You can see that the mother in this special case was a victim as well as the child. When women are tricked, lied to or encouraged by deceit and misinformation, they are likewise victims.  In the case of an abortions the mother and child are usually both victims because society has evolved to a state where the reality of abortion is hidden in ignorance or misinformation!

If any "mischief" is invloved in the death of the unborn child Exodus 21:23 says that the person may be liable to pay by death ("life for life"). Hence, a medical doctor or abortion clinic personnel are liable for the same damage that they inflicted upon the child. Verses 24 and 25 even go into detail which describes modern-day techniques for aborting (murdering babies): burning (saline medical abortions) and surgical abortions. God even knew how so-called doctors would butcher the babies to extract them from the womb!

If babies are life (And they are) and it's murder to take a life (and it is), then abortion is murder!  We can call a thorn by any other name, but the thorn is still a thorn! Likewise we can call murder "abortion"  and baby "fetal tissue", but that's just part of the lie!

Churches which condone, even encourage, abortion are rampant!  Those churches are out of God's will and are part of the "Great Whore" religion "Babylon".  Political Parties and Politicians who favor abortion are as the man who causes the strife. They deserve prison at least. That includes our New Age Marxist President!  The feminists groups sponsoring lasciviousness and abortion will get coals heaped on their heads by God at the judgement. In the meantime those organizations should be shamed for what they are: anti-male, anti-woman, anti-self-control and anti-Christian. Instead of receiving funding of U.S. Tax Dollars, they deserve a minimum of illegalization and the leaders imprisoned.

Not a very pleasant scenario which I present? God is the author!  When choosing right and wrong, good and evil, etc. I choose to side with God! (If you're not for him you're against him). You take your chances with Satan. I'm sure he'll have mercy mercy on you! (Like only 2500degrees instead of 17,000 degrees in hell).

Why don't Christians have the heart to feel remorse at the mass killings and disposal of babies? As the Christians when the crying and screaming Jews were hauled to the death camps "They just sing a little louder!" When are Christians going to take a stand? When are they even going to care?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Christian Principles

Principles are standards of behavior. In this case standards of behavior for a Christian.  We have liberty as a Christian to break dietary and ritual laws which were standards or principles for Jews in the Old Testament.  Likewise, we don't (us men anyhow) need to be circumcised to testify to our position as a child of God.

Gal 5:5 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law."
Christ has made us free from the yoke of bondage of "The Law".  If you remember, the Law was simple!  It was summarized by the Ten Commandments and if you think about it, the Ten Commandments includes all sin. Basically, we learn from Jesus' lips, that if we love God as ourselves and love others, we have kept the law. You see it's the heart that matters, not the letter of the Law. We're to have "circumcised hearts"!
Rom 2:28 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
With circumcision a portion of the foreskin is removed. That small piece of tissue dies.  That is meaningless to the Christian!  With the "circumcision of the heart" the entire "Old Man" (former self) dies and is regenerated as a "New Man" (a Christian with eternal life). 
There are some things that Christians just don't have to do. As an example consider the following:
Leviticus 19:28 "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord." In the ESV "marks" is rendered "tattoos". Yes, you have the "freedom" to do dumb and vain things!
Am I saying that if you imprint yourself with ink or get studs nailed to your skin, that you're going to hell? Not at all! This is our Christian "liberty" no longer being bound by the Law.
1 Cor 10:23 "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not."
Yes, you can "lawfully" get studs and tattoos! However, is that expedient? Expedience is to do something in your own self-interest rather than principle. You're doing it because you have that vanity in your heart; the same vanity Jezebel had, the same vanity Adam had... to place oneself before God. No, tattoos are not "expedient". A Christian with principle will not get tattoos nor piercings (nor behave in any pagan way).  Why? "All these things edify not."
Edify. What and who? Edification is showing Christian improvement... being Christlike. You are to change (the New Man) once you're a Christian. Change entails self-control to pattern yourself after Christ.
Galatians 5:22-25 (ESV) 22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit."
In the preceding verses are how you become a New Man (or Woman). As a Christian, change is the key word to be assured that you're saved! Have you changed? Do you have Christian principles? Do you do things for edification or are you still vain with an uncircumcized heart?
What should be important to you, instead of using your body as a canvas or as a board to which jewelry is nailed, is that you are to be loving, be joyful, have peace of heart, be patient, show kindness, be good, be faithful to Christ, be gentle and have self-control puttin the pleasure for self-aside. When you're being faithful to Christ, that means pleasing Jesus. Are you pleasing Jesus with tattoos, piercings, inappropriate entertainment, bad behavior, inebriation, anger, tyrany of the heart (anger for not getting your own way), Yoga or other un-Christlike atttitudes and behaviors?  You know the answer and what you need to do! CHANGE!  You and I need CHANGE daily because we never arrive at perfection.