Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Deja Vu all Over Again: Been there done that!

There was a movie awhile back called Groundhogs Day. It starred Bill Murray. He was in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Murray played the part of a reporter sent to that small town to report on that insignificant event. My point: Each day the character of Murray, woke up only to repeat the same events day after day. Regardless of what he tried, nothing changed!

That's the way of life. It seems that after one escapes from a bad situation another equally bad arises. No matter how hard one tries, it seems that fate just cannot be overcome!  Some are destined to relive bad experience after bad experience. Is there no breaking the cycle? Are humans mere pawns in the devious hands of fate?

Galatians 6:7 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Consequences are results of actions; specifically behaviors. As an example, I'll use my own life experiences (so as not to offend others).  I made bad choices when I was really young. Those bad choices led to unhappiness in life. I reaped what I sowed. Furthermore, I made additional bad choices as life went on because sin breeds more sin. Sin compounds itself. Each of those sins created more dysfunctionality in my spiritual life and more consequences to suffer; reaping more of what I'd sewn. Each successive cycle was Deja Vu all over again (tongue-in-cheek) or "Been there done that!"

The sins committed were not of a heathen. I was "saved" since I had confessed belief and had faith in Jesus. I messed up anyhow although I tried not to sin. When we "obey" God we must follow what he says to a tee! He doesn't take it lightly when we do it our own way.

Numbers 20:7 " And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. 9 And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. 12 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them."
In the example above note that God told Moses "speak ye unto the rock" to get the much needed water. What did Moses do? "He smote the rock twice." Moses still got the water. That's God's grace! However, he suffered consequences; his people weren't allowed to go to their destination, Canaanland. This is a perfect example of the consequences of disobedience! The Jews did it often and with regularity. They suffered the consequences of their disobedience and they keep on keeping on! Deja Vu and "Been there done that!" People just can't seem to learn from their mistakes!
I'm no different. What was making me unhappy years ago still makes me unhappy! What "ticked me off" then "ticks me off" now. It's a cycle. Just because I committed my life to Christ doesn't make everything right. At my age I still suffer the consequences of my sins committed years ago! Just as God forgave David for his grievous sins, David suffered dire consequences! Salvation is salve for the soul. It's hardly the sweet herb for worldly woes! Just because Joel Osteen says positive things doesn't remove negative consequences of our actions.
How can one break the endless cycle of Groundhogs Day?  Sincere prayer, for self and others, and in praise of God.  Will that fix everything? Likely not! However, it can make the petty things of life insignificant and bring joy to the soul!  Prayer changes things:
Matthew 6:6 " But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
The Lord's Prayer tells us how to pray. It gives us a map of what to say and who to honor. Matthew 6:6 tells us where to pray and that what we pray for will be rewarded. (Of course The Lord's Prayer tells us it must be in God's will).  The Pharisees prayed on the streets for all to see. We're to pray in secret. That's a mark of sincerity!
Here's my typical insincere ineffective prayer: "God thank you for all you do for us. Thank you for the food and shelter we enjoy. Thank you for our health. I praise your Holy Name. Amen." Although the words are "real good" the sincerity is lacking. My cycle of repeated sins and consequences may be related to a insincere prayer life. The most effective any prayer I ever said was accompanied by fasting!
1 Corinthians 7:5 "Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency."
Even in marriage, we're supposed to take time off to pray. We're told to "give ourselves in prayer and fasting". To cast out powerful demons, Jesus tells us that it takes prayer and fasting. The fasting lessens that self-pleasure and makes prayer more sincere. It's not perfunctory, but meaningful!
I wish I could live my life over again. I would live it differently. No more youthful indiscretions, no more adulthood mistakes and a sincere dependence on God. Fortunately, it's never too late to stop the Deja Vu all over again!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Tree of Life

I presented this to our church last evening.  Although I have heard many sermons on the "Tree of Knowledge", the "Tree of Life" was always passed over (maybe this is what THE Passover was all about, sarcasm intended).  Following are my thoughts:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” and “the Word was made flesh” from John Chapter 1. That's Jesus! Where was he in the beginning? He was right there in the Garden of Eden! Remembering that Jesus is God, but is a different personality, it follows that since God can't be seen by man, that when he did appear, he revealed himself to man as a man. It was Jesus who walked in the garden in the cool of the day right there with Adam and Eve! Jesus also wrestled with Jacob, protected Shadrack, Meshack and Ebednego in the fiery furnace and maybe was Melchizedek who Abraham met in awe.
Genesis 2:9 "And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil."
There were two specific trees among the many trees! It may be that the trees of "life" and "knowledge" were metaphors for "ways" since in (Genesis 3:24) The Churubim guarded it “to keep THE WAY of the tree of life." If so, then the trees would be the "way of righteousness" or the "way of disobedience"
Another possibility are that the trees were actual special trees within the garden and represented symbolically "way of righteousness" and the "way of disobedience". With Holy Scripture it is always best to accept the literal thought unless it's clearly a metaphor. Either way, the trees resulted in two choices: to live righteously or to rebel against the creator! Adam and Eve chose the latter. It would seem that "pleasure" was too tempting for them and had more attraction than contentment in life and communion with God!
Genesis 3:6 "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."
They perceived through deceit that the "Tree of Knowledge" offered more!  It was good for food, it was alluring in that it was pleasant looking and it would make one wise! What did the tree offer which was not taken? Life! Why take of it? That's only one aspect and they were alive already! There was little to gain. Pleasure now... worry about life later!
Adam and Eve never partook of the "Tree of Life". If they had, scripture would have said so! People can't eat of both trees! Rebellion and righteousness are not in harmony!  Let's now imagine what the trees may have resembled.
The "Tree of Knowledge" was pleasant to see. It was likely majestic in stature, symmetrical in all views, the spread was proportional to the rise, the leaves were dark green and the blossoms were aromatic and aesthetically pleasing. On the other hand "The Tree of Life" was never mentioned to be "pleasant". It was likely of a different character. That tree was probably plain with skimpy foiliage. It did bear fruit, but the fruit wasn't pleasant to look at. Rather than the fruit being luscious it was good for sustenance only. I'll say it was more like manna than passion fruit. The "Tree of Life" was likely much as the other trees of the forest. It seemed to have little to offer.
I mentioned earlier that the "Tree of Life" was referred to as "the way of the Tree of Life"  (Genesis 3:24). "The way" implies a walk or behavior. If one eats from the "Tree of Life" it means that one accepts God's immortality and live by faith in him. If one eats of the "Tree of Knowledge" one accepts the temporal things offered in this world and death results. That's exactly what happened! Mankind accepted a short life-span and death of the soul in return for temporal pleasure. Silly, huh? Mankind still does that!
We know from John 4:16 that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life”.
Right now each of us have to make the same choice as Adam and Eve. Do we accept eternal life and righteous by faith in "The Way" or do we deny Jesus and desire the pleasures offered by this world, of which the devil is prince" Most people are as Adam and Eve. They go with the serpent, the devil!

Salvation for mankind was made by Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. The “Tree of Life” not only represents the WAY, but the cross as well:

Acts 5:30 "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree."
That "tree" was the cross of wood. It wasn't pleasing to the eye, it didn't promise wisdom and it wasn't meant to satisfy our physical well-being by nourishment. That tree was meant for one thing. It was the tree to which "THE Tree of Life" was nailed, persecuted and died in our place. That tree was plain and ordinary just as was Jesus, the "Tree of Life" who died there. Jesus was a plain man of an ordinary family. He was "son of Joseph", the carpenter and plied that trade himself. As with most that Tree was just another man. He had to be. He had to be just like the rest of us trees so that he could feel our pain!
Jesus felt our pain so that we don't have too! That's why he took on our form. He was persecuted, ridiculed, tortured and killed (all for us). Scientists say that his face was likely disfigured beyond recognition with the severe beatings he took as well as the lacerations from the crown of thorns. Jesus was the only fruit on that tree where he was crucified.  That plain fruit wasn't "pleasant" to the eye as was the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil". In his agony, Jesus was grotesque, an unpleasant fruit! The Tree doesn't offer pleasure... it offers life!
The cross was probably a tree which was stripped of all its foiliage. It likely was never of the fruit-bearing species, but the fruit it bore, although only sweet manna, was the fruit of eternal life. The only fruit borne by that tree was the Savior, Jesus, who was with God in the garden before he ever became a tree as we are. The cross was plain and rugged. It was also a symbol of the "Tree of Life" which was in the Garden!
That tree on cavalry provided the way! That tree stood again in a paradise, a land of milk and honey, called Canaan land. Yes, Canaan land, was a picture of Paradise! That's where the cross stood on Calvary mountain. One thing stood out with the cross, although plain and rugged, it stood majestically, pointing toward Paradise above where eternal life exists. That's a "Tree of Life" in all respects; actually pointing from a hill for all to see the Way to eternal life! The Cross was the symbol, Jesus was "The Tree"!
Jesus "The Tree of Life” is still in Paradise.  Paradise was in the garden, Paradise was Canaanland, but the enduring Paradise is Heaven. It's the place of mansions, streets of gold, health and eternal life! How do I know that Jesus was that tree in the Garden? That he was that Tree on Calvary? And is that Tree in heaven?

Revelation 2:7 tells about it: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."
That's Jesus! Although mankind still eats of the "Tree of Knowledge" those who follow "the Way" of Christ by overcoming the devil's temptation in pleasure, will finally get to "eat of the tree of life"!  What's more that ordinary tree now stands in majesty in a Paradise called heaven! That tree was guarded in Eden by angels (Genesis 3:24) and is still guarded an worshiped by all the angels in heaven!

Yes, just as our ancestors made a choice in  the Garden of Eden, we still must make our own choice: Will we be disobedient and seek wisdom, nourishment and pleasure or will we eat the Fruit of "The Tree of Life" and walk in the "Way of the Tree of Life"? My choice, your choice! Don't make the same mistake made by Adam and Eve! We don't know for sure where they are now, but God would no longer let them eat of the "Tree of Life" after that made their decision to eat of the other tree Genesis 3:23).  Be sure in your decision. You can't eat of both trees and if you reject the "Tree of Life" you may never get another chance!
We forget the “Tree of Life” so often! That “tree” is symbolic of Jesus and the eternal life he provides. That “Tree of Life” will stand in New Jerusalem! I wrote this poem in memory of that “Tree of Life” which is no longer standing unrecognized in a lonely paradise called Eden, is no longer on a tree of a paradise called Canaan, but is THE “Tree of Life”, the King, sitting right now in Paradise at the right hand of God!

The Tree of Life
There's a riddle for you to solve.
A mystery even a conundrum.
Each of you I shall involve.
Thoughts of each may yield the sum!
The mind of God is a mystery.
His thoughts are not for us to know.
The Scripture is more than history.
For each and all it puzzles so!
What is the “tree of life” unconsumed?
The cherished tree guarded by Cherubim?
The tree never sawed nor never hewn.
The tree of life created by God Elohim.
Where be that tree of life today?
Does it yet live and is it in Eden?
A former place with no death nor decay.
Paradise before man became the heathen.
God had a plan for his creation.
The “tree of life” was the way.
The tree that was God's oblation.
Eating thereof mankind may!
Adam chose wrongly the tree by deceit.
Dying spiritually by knowledge forbidden.
Once in peace, but and now in defeat...
Once innocent... now in shame hidden.
Where do we look for further clue?
Where can mention of a tree be found?
What mystery word did God imbue?
What knowledge is scripturally sound?
The place we look is a testament of grace.
An inspired story about the promised Christ.
The apostle's acts the disciples face.
Where man for salvation is enticed!
Luke spoke of “Jesus hanged on a tree”.
That tree is “the Way” to life.
Jesus hanging in place of me.
Dying for ALL in agony and strife.
His agony was on the cross of wood.
He felt the sting of death profound.
Hurting for us... as WE ALL should.
Freeing us all as Satan was bound!
Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life”.
The “way of the tree of life” was in the garden.
That tree was spurned by Adam and wife.
Their seed must now receive a pardon!
In the beginning the Word was with God.
That Word is represented by a meager tree.
Symbolically a tree rooted in the sod...
but grace and truth for you and me!
You see the “tree” is still in Paradise.
That tree of life is an eternal light.
The “tree of life”... a living sacrifice.
Dying for us that live we might!
Jesus is the Way... the tree of life!
God had “the way” from the beginning.
His grace was abundant, yes it was rife.
His grace forgiving mankind's sinning!
All along the puzzle was clear.
God reveals to man his mind.
Jesus the Savior that we hold dear...
The love of God so meek and kind!
Jesus stood firm in the Garden at Ur.
The tree a symbol of Jesus the Christ.
A symbol of life and truth both pure.
Together God, the son and Spirit tryst!
Isn't God great and full of grace?
God knew in advance we couldn't obey.
The Word a light to finish the race.
A gift his children can never repay!
Thank you Jesus for being the Tree of Life.
Thank you Jesus for being the Way!
Thank you Jesus for being there.
Thank you for being always.
Thank you for being here!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Are women being used as a weapon of destruction?

Women's equality seems fair and in many things it is! No one can argue against equal pay for equal work or commonwealth law in marriage. It's just fair! However, there are differences between men and women! Thank you, God.
Men and women obviously have different sexual essentials. Each are designed to complement each other in having children. That's what multiplying is all about:
Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it..."
Some don't like it, but God created both men and women! He did it differently. Man was created from the elements while woman was created from the flesh (side) of man. Even in the beginning the differences were great. Both genders were to subdue the earth. Men were to till the soil, raise the meat and be great hunters. Women were to tend to the family, her husband and offspring. Both men and women were meant to procreate. Sex was to be for childbearing (not the titillation of the first date).
Differences in the genders is old as time itself yet aberrations have always occurred. However, the norm is biological, hormonal and emotional differences between the two.  Some people just can't accept that not only are men and women different, but God planned it that way! Here is a short summary of God's intent for the sexes:
1 Corinthians 11:3 "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.
9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
11  Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

Let's elaborate on the points made by Paul as inspired by God and reinforced by scripture:
1) From verse 3; Christ is in charge of man. We are to be servants to him. In this sense "we" are men. It's our responsibility, men, like it or not, to represent the household in spiritual affairs.
2) From verse 3; Man is the head of the woman. Let's not look at "head" as "the boss". It's not intended that man Lord it over women, but that each complement the other. However, one or the other must be head of the household (to work). That's the man's responsibility. Although many contemporary men fail to be the head; they're not operating as intended. The family system is broken! Especially, men are to be the spiritual leaders of the household. That's reinforced by "...let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church" (1 Corinthians 15:35). It may seem unfair, but the idea is for men and women to be in unity, not have petty arguments in the church!
3) Why? From verse 8; Because the woman was created from man, not the other way around. It's not bad for a woman to be secondary to man in some matters since God honored women by giving them roles as important: childbearing and rearing, managing the household, clothing all, and being a source of positive support for the entire family. Indeed, the woman is the nervous system of the family unit and are to be commended for that!
4) From verse 9; The woman was created for man! It was Adam who had no companion. Eve was created to help Adam and to keep him company. As a result both genders serve a godly role, have pleasure in it and represent man's relationship to God. Marriage is ordained of God and is a picture of Christ's relationship (the bridegroom) to the church (his bride). Just as Eve was created to be the companion to Adam, Christians are to be companions to Christ. By representing the role of the "bride" women honor God! Their companionship to man is tremendous spiritually.
5) From verse 11; Women and men are meant to be together!  God's plan was unity. Genesis 2:24 "... a man...shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." God's plan was unity between men and women. They're a team! They are to think alike. Each are to do what is best for the other (in God's will) and are a basis of mutual support. Men and women aren't to be antagonists, but to represent philio love in an eros love relationship while worshiping God with agape love!
6) From verse 12; Men and women are dependent on the other! Woman (Eve) was created from Man (Adam), but thereafter men comes from women! What a plan! What a team! One is necessary for the other and without the other neither can exist!

God's plan for men and women is called "marriage". In all aspects can only a man and a woman fulfill God's design and intent! Any deviation of this plan is at odds with God's omniscience and wisdom. Same-sex marriages are rebellion to be blunt. God will be more than blunt when his time comes!

So what? Why is it important that men be men and women be women, yet both be equal in the eyes of God? It's to honor God and for mankind to further its existence; to multiply as God commanded. If the relationship between men and women denigrates with time, God's plan is repulsed and society falls into decadence. Decadent societies self-destruct!

Two examples of failing societies were the Rappites in New Harmony, Indiana and Shakers in Pennsylvania and Kentucky among other places. Once thriving commercially successful communities, both destroyed themselves. Both practiced celibacy. No marriage nor intercourse was permitted between the sexes. That's not God's plan. By failure to multiply as God commanded they self-destructed by disobedience. They tried to succeed by "being good" rather than by loving obedience as faithful stewards!

Disrupting God's plan serves the purpose of those trying to gain power and control. Totalitarian governments know that by Christians clinging to God, they have a hedge around them. Before control can occur that hedge must be mowed down. There are two primary methods of removing God's hedge, leaving Christians vulnerable to the propagators of revolution: 1) Destroy the institution of marriage and 2) destroy the family unit! The National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) did just that as did the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Communist Party). Both of those ideologies stem from Marxism. Karl Marx was not THE Anti-Christ, but he was most certainly AN Anti-Christ!

Marxism recognizes that for socialism to be successful the old system (capitalism) must be replaced then destroyed:

"The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions." That, my friends, is the destruction of the American Dream and Christianity. Freedom in either must be replaced by government control. Not by willing people, but duped "kool-aid" drinkers, and by force and the threat of death!

Here are some statements relative to the family and the sexes from Marx and his Marxist brother, Frederick Engles, from various sources:

Karl Marx: “Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex, the ugly ones included.” 

These specific quotations are from Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution by Hal Draper:

Marx evidently thought the connection required little empirical data, for he had no hesitation in drawing the drastic conclusion that, with the abolition of private property, it follows that ‘the abolition of the family is self-evident’.

Not paradoxically, discussion of the revolution in Man begins with woman.

IEngels, Principles of Communism, in ME: The Communist Manifesto [et al.] (Modern Reader Paperbacks, 1968), 80.t" [communist society] will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage, the dependence, rooted in private property, of the woman on the man and of the children on the parents."

E: Orig. Fam., in ME:SW 2:224. "Thus, monogamy does not by any means make its appearance in history as the reconciliation of man and woman, still less as the highest form of such a reconciliation. On the contrary, it appears as the subjection of one sex by the other, as the proclamation of a conflict between the sexes entirely unknown hitherto in prehistoric times."

E: Orig. Fam., in ME:SW 2:240. "What will most definitely disappear from monogamy, however, is all the characteristics stamped on it in consequence of its having arisen out of property relationships. These are, first, the dominance of the man, and secondly, the indissolubility of marriage. The predominance of the man in marriage is simply a consequence of his economic predominance and will vanish with it automatically. The indissolubility of marriage is partly the result of the economic conditions under which monogamy arose, and partly a tradition from the time when the connection between these economic conditions and monogamy was not yet correctly understood and was exaggerated by religion. Today it has been breached a thousand-fold. If only marriages that are based on love are moral, then also only those are moral in which love continues. The duration of the urge of individual sex love differs very much according to the individual, particularly among men; and a definite cessation of affection, or its displacement by a new passionate love, makes separation a blessing for both parties as well as for society. People will only be spared the experience of wading through the useless mire of divorce proceedings"

For ex., see letter, Engels to Ida Pauli, February 14, 1877, in ME:W 34:253."...we have already mentioned that legal equality is a necessary, but not sufficient, precondition for the full emancipation of women. "

There is much much more. To destroy capitalism, marriage and the family must be the first to go along with the ownership of private property! This is not me speaking. It is the truth of Marxism! Marx believed that people were religious (Christians) only because they couldn't face life and death without being inebriated by a mythological "God".  Religion, in his eyes, was destructive to progress, the progressive destruction of what we hold dear!

Feminism! What a one word oxymoron. How can those gender benders be feminine! Feminism is the struggle to secure economic and political agency for women, ( i.e, equality). That sounds noble and fair doesn't it? However, in practice it is at odds with God's plan for the sexes by creating animosity between the sexes. Rather than each working together, the sexes are pitted as enemies! Politically, women vote against their own household for policies benefiting themselves only. Women in this movement try to dictate religious affiliation to their husbands and even expect to be equal partners in leading the church, all in opposition to God's will!

Admitting that life has been unfair to women as it has been to many people, that said, feminists take radical extreme measures in seeking financial equality. (God's plan is for the man to be the provider). Most feminists seek androgyny in all matters, support abortion (murder of their own offspring) and same-sex marriage. A large component of women's rights is sexual freedom. Led by Margaret Sanger years ago, feminists won the right to be as "slutty" as they perceived men to be!  (Sanger had an open marriage and wanted all women to have the right to promiscuity. She was also a pioneer in birth control and Planned Parenthood, the tax funded abortion mill).  All this spits in the face of God and creates a war between the sexes. The heirs of Marx have been successful in destroying marriage (look at statistics) and as a result, families!

Apostate Churches have got on the equality bandwagon because of its politically correctness and "loving" progressive pastors: You don't love people by teaching them it's okay to sin and go to hell! (Learn more about the role of Apostate Churches by reading what Revelation says about the Laodocian Church.).

This brings me to the Apocalypse; the end of time. Society will grow to depend on the government. The leader will do great things.  There will be wars and he will bring peace. That leader will become so loved that he proclaims himself God. He is THE Anti-Christ, but people will love and accept him. He alone brings hope and security. In order to get food, shelter and medical care, each person will be required to take a mark; the "mark of the beast" whose number is 666 and that number will be on the hand or forehead. All the needs of the person will be supplied... by the government!

Some people, Christians by name, will be discerning. They will refuse the mark and refuse to accept and worship their government leader. Force will be used and if Christians still refuse to be "remolded" they will be decapitated!

What I'm describing is Marxism. You believe that socialism is not really Marxism? If you think that way you haven't read the Communist Manifesto! Marx said it could have as easily been called the Socialist Manifesto! Socialism is stage one of their twisted idea of "Utopia". Communism is stage two. The antecedent from stage one before moving to stage two is the degree of force; it moves from government jailing and taxing dissidents to the government killing those dissidents.

Why do I hate Marxism so? The first 3-1/2 years of the tribulation period can be seen to be "socialism" and the last 3-1/2 years as "communism". Destroying our society by creating war between men and women leads to destroyed families and it's almost finished. (Any person can check the numbers and see that marriage and the family are already nearly destroyed and anti-Christian goals are nearly met).  All we wait upon is the return of Christ. It's that time when Christ gives up on mankind and comes to take those home who have trusted in him.

I can't end without making a political statement. Based on his policies Obama IS NOT THE ANTI-CHRIST, but is AN ANTI-CHRIST. If you can't face that accusation, examine the facts and scripture yourself, then turn to God, he will see that you don't "drink the Kool-Aid" of the devil and his errand runners.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Eve must a been a blond!

We can deduce much of what Paradise was like from descriptions in Genesis. However, little was said about Eve, but my conclusion was that "Eve must a been a blond"!  We all know from modern jokes that blonds are considered to be dumb and naive; easily fooled too!
Although I do credit Eve with vast intelligence, I do see her as naive and easily fooled. You see, Eve didn't get out in social circles much, there being none. It was "learn as you go" and hopefully Eve asked Adam many questions. They both had the opportunity to learn from God as he walked in the garden in the cool of the day.
"Madison" is a young girl who happens to be blond. It's so easy to confuse Madison because of four things: 1) her youth, 2) her lack of experience, 3) her level of education, and 4) her limited interaction with others. Madison was so gullible that if I told her that blood turned green when one ate apples, she would believe it!
Eve was gullible. Eve was naive. Eve had limited learning and Eve a little social experience. "Eve musta been a blond"!
First off, God didn't tell Eve about the garden. She got that from Adam. Here's where God told Adam the rules:
Genesis 2:16 "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
This is truly the first time the First Commandment was commanded! Paraphrased this says "Don't seek to be God yourself". This fits in well with the First Commandment "Thou shall have no other Gods before me." (Exodus 20:3). Perhaps the First Commandment implied that man's biggest sin was placing himself before God! In all things God is to come first. The commandment was given to Adam and Adam alone. Eve had yet to be created as we can see from the next verse:
18 "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him (Eve)."
Chronologically, the First Commandment was given to Adam, then Eve was created! Adam must have given the law to Eve because the man is religious leader of the home. That's his role. He's to provide and lead.
Genesis 3:2 "And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."
Here's where Eve reveals what only her hair dresser knows for sure: She's a blond! God didn't say "neither shall ye touch it". He said only "thou shalt not eat of it"!  She was a little confused I think!  Furthermore, God said if you do eat "thou shalt surely die". Eve said "lest ye die". God's concrete statement was death. Eve said (paraphrased) "maybe I'll die". The pleasure is worth the chance! Her blond inattentiveness let her hear what was not said. It was her way out. She won't die for sure, but might die. She'll take her chances! Her confusion made her beguilement easier for the old serpent.
You might say "Adam sinned too!" He sure did, but he wasn't tricked. He did it with eyes wide open. He sought to please his wife and join her in the pleasure of partaking. Incidentally, that's why Paul recommends that for a Christian man it's best not to marry. He seeks to please his wife and in doing so fails to optimize his worship of God. (i.e., his allegiances are split).
1 Timothy 2:13 " For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."
It appears that the actions of Adam and Eve were on two levels. Adam sinned by failure to obey God, but Eve listened to Satan. Adam limited himself to pleasing his mate. "Blond Eve" got it all wrong. She was deceived!
Paul wasn't just speaking to hear himself talk. He pretty much said the same thing again:

2 Corinthians 11:3 "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."

It was "Blond Eve" who was beguiled! Satan was subtle. He used his cleverness to deceive.

Did Adam sin, for 1 Timothy 2:13 makes it appear that Adam did not, but Eve did? Paul wrote:

Romans 5:19 "For as by one man's (Adam's) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous."

Adam sinned too. Adam made a plain choice. Eve's sin was that she failed to listen to Adam and to  "get it right"!  Part of Eve's penalty for being deceived is that she's not to be the religious leader. That's very well spelled out in Paul's writings. Womankind still pays the penalty for Eve's "blondness". Women are not to be heads of Christian men. (We are thankful though that where men shirk their duties of teaching scripture, many devoted women have stepped in to raise their children in the way of the Lord).

God held man and woman accountable. Both paid the consequences of sin. Both suffered a mortal death although they were born immortal. They both died spiritually as well. Their legacy is that we too will die both mortally and spiritually. Adam, it is believed , was redeemed by God, as was Eve, but they still suffered the consequences.

The answer to our own immortality is in Romans 5:19 above... Salvation is by another man. Jesus!

Eve the blond? Scriptural? Of course not!  I was just kidding about Eve being blond. That was just to encourage you to read!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Wealth of Rich Dead Men Never Dies

We've all heard "You can't take it with you!" as people justify unnecessary spending. It now seems that although you can't take it with you, dead men can still earn money! It was reported today that one person who is long dead earned more money than the highest earning living entertainer: Michael Jackson earned more than Madonna last year. I believe it was around $168,000,000. Not bad for a dead person who, when alive, was only half so!  Too bad it doesn't do him any good where he's at.

There's a story of a rich man who carried a knapsack as he entered the gate to heaven. St. Peter, who I guess, guards one of the pearly gates,  according to superstition, looked into the knapsack and asked "What are you going to do with a bag full of pavement?"  Don't get it? The following describes heaven:

Revelation 21:21 "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city (New Jerusalem) was pure gold, as it were transparent glass."

For Michael Jackson, that $168,000,000 is about as worthless as pavement! Michael must enter the same gate that everyone enters. Money is insufficient payment and prestige means nothing!

There was an Italian man named Cornelius who God used for his purposes because he was devout.
Acts 10:34 "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."

Italians were gentiles. They were "unclean" to the Jews who could not even associate with them! Those shunned by man were accepted by God!  Cornelius was a wealthy man, but that's not why he was righteous:

Acts 10:2 "A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway."

Let's look at why Cornelius was acceptable to the Lord: He was devout. As you can see that "devout" describes a person who is "devoted". Cornelius was a dedicated Christian. He didn't play games with sin and he didn't play "religion". He was a sincere Christian!

Cornelius "feared God". That sounds negative! Why should we fear God? He's a loving God is he not? We fear God by having reverence for him. He IS an "awesome God"!   We should also hold God in awe! (By the way, "awesome" doesn't mean "remarkable"as used in slang... It means to "revere, admire and fear!") Yes, God is to be revered, admired and feared! God has power over our eternal destiny! If we're not assured of our salvation that IS reason to fear.

Cornelius "prayed to God alway(s)". That means Cornelius magnified God, sought God's will, and listened to God in all things! Cornelius had a working and loving relationship with God; and by the way... "he gave much alms to the people". He was generous and charitable with his wealth! That's love in action. He did it of his own volition, not because someone made him do it! That's true charity.

Now, let's go back to Michael Jackson and wealth. Jesus met a young rich man. He was sincere and dedicated as was Cornelius. There was one major difference. Cornelius with generous in giving to others of his wealth. As you can see below, the young man wasn't so generous:

Matthew 19:16 "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven."

The young rich man could have had eternal riches! The "love of money is the root of all evil" as we've all heard from scripture. That is more than a saying! Temporal wealth was valued more than eternal riches by the young man.  His heart just wasn't right. His priorities were wrong. He kept the "letter of the law" yet failed to keep the "spirit of the law"! What was that? "Loving God and loving others!" The young man was more concerned with "numero uno". He was self-centered although he was dedicated to what's right. His was a religion of works.

You can see that it is possible for a rich man to go to heaven (verse 22). It's just harder! Why is it more difficult? It would appear that many of the wealthy focus on material gain. They collect money as a hobby. Their desire is to see it grow.  Michael Jackson's wealth continues to grow even though he's long gone. It hardly got him into heaven (and probably didn't)!  His priorities were wrong. His heart was wrong!

I can hear many now. "I don't put much faith in wealth!" You may be correct in your thinking, but wrong in your heart. I would bet that most value things money can buy and the pleasures in life bought with money, or fake money; namely charge cards. The evidence is in our spending and our debts! Look in your home and what do you see? You see things important to you. That's okay as long as it's all not top priority! How much time do you spend on the things of the Lord? How much do you give to help others? How many souls have you led to Christ? I know that I come up short; do you?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

To be or not to be: A Christian or a Pharisee?

Being righteous is being without guilt or sin. The unsaved are not righteous although they may be "good" defined as "following God's laws".
Philippians 3:8 (Paul speaking) "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:"
Jesus makes us "righteous". It's not that we haven't sinned, but that we have sinned and it's forgiven!  If a person attempts to be "saved" by following the law they are "self-righteous". Jesus shouted at those who sought salvation by works! He called the Pharisees "vipers" (Matthew 22:33) and implied that they are hell-bound. To be called "self-righteous" is the most denigrating words a person can be called. A person can never be saved by works. Self-righteousness is damning!
Care must be taken in judging a person's spiritual condition. As Christians we all know this most quoted verse:
Matthew 7:1 "Judge not, that ye be not judged."
This means to not judge harshly. Judging has various meanings, the most severe meaning "condemn". We're condemning others when we harshly judge and if we do that, Jesus will judge us someday by the same scale. Luke reinforces the dictionary definition of "judge":
Luke 6:37
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned:
Telling a person that they need the Lord is loving and kind. It takes a judgment to lead to that conclusion. This is the "opinion" definition of "judge". However, when one is terse, unloving and blaming when rebuking, they are in fact "condemning". Therefore, a Christian must be careful in condemning anyone; Christian or not!
Before we are saved, being "righteous" is faux Christianity and the person is a fraud!  Fraudulent Christians are hypocrites. They are Pharistical in belief! However, a Christian's feeble attempt at being "righteous" is not only our duty in honor of Jesus, but is a privilege! That's how we show God our love! As you can see from Ephesians, we once were walking outside the light of Christ. We were in darkness! Our salvation provides the Spirit of God within us. The Comforter within us helps us to be righteous. It's from God, not from our self,
Ephesians 5:8 "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord."
Righteousness is to bear fruit. We are to live without sinning, not by our own effort, but with the aid of the Spirit.
Philippians 1:11 "That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. 12  Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Jesus' sacrifice removed the "guilt" part of "righteousness". That leaves us responsible for being as sin free as we can be as mere humans. Righteousness is being Christlike:
1 Peter 4:1 "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."
What is the will of God? It's that we not sin! Will we ever be sin free? No! Then, should we make no attempt to be righteous?  Romans 6:11 tells us to be dead to sin! Sin is not a given. It's a choice. Each time we're tempted we make a decision to either consummate the sin or to annihilate it. Hopefully, most of the time we'll resist the temptation to sin, but being human, we will continue to submit to temptation on other occasions. Paul tells of of the his desire to be sinless, but that he sinned in spite of that desire. That's because Paul's not Jesus as we're not!
The Christian, therefore, is called to make every effort to be righteous, even knowing failure is inevitable. This is where God gives an "A" for effort!  It's possible that we'll get a better "crown" (blessings) in heaven for our efforts because some scripture points that way. When we fail to be sin free, by God's grace, unlike our fellow brothers, we're not condemned. We are failing to live up to God's plan for his disciples, and are not living as God planned that we should live, being a "new man" after being "reborn".
What are Christians to do in the face of sin?
1 Timothy 6:11 "But thou, O man of God, flee these things (sins); and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."
Christians should never argue about the desirability of sinning. That's a given. (It is undesirable!) We should help each other through love and support!  We each have our own doctrines. Some place more emphasis on being holy than do others. Whether one can apostatize by living a life of sin (rejection of Christ) is conjecture (because we understand the same scripture differently) just as the opposing position. However, just because we don't have to live under the threat of hell-fire doesn't mean that we are not to live righteously!  Righteous living is a gift of God and our own response to his gift. Communion with God is bi-directional and we are to live to please Him! That's our part in our "walk in faith"!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I'm Okay. You're Okay?

"I'm OK, You're OK" is a self-help book on "Transitional Analysis". It's one of the four life positions: 1) I'm not OK, you're OK, 2) I'm not OK, you're not OK, 3) I'm OK, you're not OK and 4) I'm OK, you're OK. The entire theory is based on the idea that those in authority should not use evaluative words to describe: lazy, stupid, childish, naughty, should do, shouldn't do, etc. The book is a guide for raising children.

OK?  In the context of the author "OK" means that the person is healthy and acceptable and that their life is in good order. "Not OK" would mean that a person is dysfunctional. They're not operating to the optimum in their environment.

Suppose a person is lazy! Should we not let the person know that laziness is unsatisfactory? According to the psychologists, no one should not. That's judgmental!

From a Christian's perspective, let's look at this one judgmental statement.

Proverbs 10:4 (NIV) "Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth."

Hebrews 6:12 (NIV) "We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."

Proverbs refers to industriousness. Hebrews refers to those of little faith. Neither are okay.  We all know that lazy people are rarely successful and that few souls are saved by lazy people.

Let's look at another judgmental word: "Liar". "You little liar, you!" the mother said to the child. Psychologists would tell you that this is judgmental. If a child lies, it's being untruthful! Rebuking lies is not judgmental, it's what scripture tells us to do! However, the shallow Christians who languish in their sin of preference is always ready to say "Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7 ). However, that's not "the rest of the story"!

John 7:24 "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."

The definition of "judge" spans the spectrum from "having an opinion" to "condemnation". We are never to condemn because that same condemnation can be used against our self!  John 7:24 is in line with the intent of scripture "to admonish, correct and rebuke"!  We cannot even chance telling a person about Jesus unless we have the opinion that they are unsaved. Having that opinion IS judging! You see, the warning on judging others is that we be loving in our motives, not destructive. We're not to judge harshly because if we do, Jesus may use the same harsh (unfair) judgment against us!

Now, let's get back to "I'm OK, you're OK". Is that truth? If we are not in a meaningful relationship and in balance with our environment we're not OK!  What makes us "out of balance? Sin is the correct answer! Sin is doing what's wrong. Sin not only is irreverent to God, but harms the family and society as well.

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

ALL includes children. Children lie, trick, manipulate and probably much more. They are guilty, but because of their immaturity, are held unaccountable until they understand. That doesn't mean that they're not sinners. It means only that God is gracious and patient! Hence, we've all sinned, none are OKAY and even children are NOT OKAY!  By allowing children to believe that they're okay is short-circuiting salvation.

Mark 6:12 "And they went out, and preached that men should repent."

Now isn't that just swell. The apostles judged that people were sinners and in need of repentance! The apostles said "I'm not OK, you're not OK"!  It's okay to tell people truth; the truth they already know in their heart. By failing to teach children that they do wrong is squelching their conscious. How can one feel guilty for sinning (which is required for repentance) when "I'm OK, you're OK"?

Now is the time for confession "I  wasn't OK and you may not be OK either". This is a fifth choice! Before I was saved, I certainly was not OK! I was out of God's will, I made my family more dysfunctional, I was untrue to friendships and I broke civil laws. Before salvation one must come to the realization "I'm NOT OK"! Now, "I'm still NOT OK, but I'm forgiven"!  Yes, I am spiritually OK when I ask Jesus to forgive my NOT OK's!  You need to try that if you haven't, but come to realize that as a Christian you're still a sinner; an unfinished work!

The entire concept of self-esteem is not of the Lord! It's a man-made humanistic idea. Credit is due to humanists because they take the credit for developing it! Credit goes where credit is due. Scripture tells us to have a servantile attitude and to be meek. James goes further:

James 4:6 "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."

First off, James wasn't a "transitional analyst"! He called people "sinners" and referred to them as "double-minded". He judged them and although it sounds harsh, the judgment was an opinion, not a condemnation, although he was warning them about being condemned by Jesus.

Humility as in "being humble" is meekness. Although meekness is seeing oneself in the proper perspective, someday God tells us "the meek shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5)! How should we see ourselves? As servants as we "submit ourselves".

As for the self-esteem part, I see the entire concept of "feeling good about yourself" as "Christ-esteem. You should never feel good about yourself (I'm NOT OKAY) unless you are a servant to Christ. In fact we are to humble ourselves and let the Lord lift us up (Verse 10 above)! That's Christ-esteem!

Assuming that you aren't humble, how would you know? It may be that someone needs to tell you! By telling (teaching) one is being evaluative, even judgmental. That's at odds with "I'm OK, you're OK".  "Humbling oneself" means change; change for the positive. To make the change we all must see ourselves as "Not OK".  We all need to change! We must be disgusted with "the me" inside me. That "me" is sin! It's the original sin that resides in all mankind. We are all prone to sin often because of that trait inherited from Adam. No one is immune.  Saying "I like being me!' without the changes commanded by Jesus, is "self-worship". You are worshiping "I"!  That's idolatry and is at the heart of rebellion!

Change now. Put the self aside! Realize that "You're not OK"! You're just like me "I'm not OK". However, Jesus is fine with not being OK if we're a changed person and are dealing with the places where "I'm OK" through sorrow and repentance. Moan and groan (repent because you're NOT OK) and let the Lord lift you up! The sixth position is "I'm OK because Jesus saved me!"

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Take the Test: Self-examination and Reflection

Self examination is something we need to do! How well do you know yourself and are you honest with that knowledge? Everyone must take time to reflect on their own life. Too many are just cruising along in high gear speeding along with the crowd.
Jesus knocks at your door. You and you alone are responsible for how serious you take God, his plan for you and your relationship with God. Since God has a "plan" which concerns you, are you responsive to that plan. Most know God's plan, but don't place it of any importance in their daily lives. Hence, most people drift along from day to day. They plan little for tomorrow, let alone for eternity! 
Think about it! What is the most important aspect of life? Yourself? Your spouse? Your children? Job? Education? Retirement? Recreation? Pleasure? Your church? Your friends?
Face it. The most important thing which you should worry about is your eternal destiny!  If you give your destiny little thought, you're foolish indeed. While you're thinking about where you're going to spend eternity, think also about where you deserve to spend it. I bet that what you want for your eternal destiny is at odds with what you deserve!
Introspection is good for the soul! Think about what your mind dwells upon, how you feel about things, and what you sense is important. Do you think about the things of God? Do you feel guilt and want to do something about it? Is God's will important to you and is God a serious part of your life? If you're as most are, you're in the rat-race!  A few minutes a week are devoted to God and then your mind wonders to worldly things. Be honest! You often even fail to pay attention in church and the sermon is just a blur. It's for others because you don't think deeply enough to apply it to your own life. That's because most of us do little self-examination.
Now is the time for that self-examination. Do your best to care and to pay ample time reflecting on yourself as you answer the following questions which apply to you:
1) Do you know what "doctrine" is?
2) What is "sound doctrine"?
3) Do you tell others your of your own belief in sound doctrine?
If a senior citizen (answer 4-8):
4) Are you sober (aware and discerning)?
5) Are you serious with the things of life?
6) Is your faith well-established?
7) Do you love others enough to give of yourself and your prosperity?
8) Are you patient with others?
If you're a female senior citizen (answer 9-18):
9) Is your behavior righteous?
10) Are you fair to others?
11) Do you abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages?
12) Do you take the time to teach the younger women to be sober (aware and discerning)?
13) Do you advise the younger women to love their husbands?
14) Do you teach the younger women to care for and love their children?
15) Do you teach younger women to be discreet (not forward) in behavior?
16) Do you teach younger women to manage their home well?
17) Do you teach younger women to be obedient to their husbands?
18) Do you teach the younger women to honor God?
12-18) Do you, senior lady, practice these things yourself?
If you're a young man (answer 19-25):
19) Are you sober minded (aware and discerning)?
20)  Are you serious with the things of life?
21) Is your speech truthful?
22) Do you live such that others have no grounds to criticize you?
23)  Do you encourage those under your care to work well for their employers?
24) Do you teach those under your care to be prompt in their affairs?
25) Do you teach those under your care under you to be faithful to God's will?
23-25) Do you young man practice these things yourself?
For all (answer 26-40):
26) Are you aware that God's grace provides salvation for everyone? Are you saved?
27) Are you aware that God's will is that we should be godly as he was? Are you Godly?
28)  Are you aware that you should not lust after things, people or prestige? Do you avoid lust?
29)  Are you aware that you are to live soberly (without mind-altering drugs) and to stay aware? Are you?
30) Are you aware that you are called to live righteously (as Jesus would live)? Do you?
31) Are you aware that you are to live according to God's will and not your own? Do you?
32) Do you look forward to the coming of Christ?
33) Do you believe that Jesus paid for your sins so that you won't have to? Have you accepted that payment?
34)  Do you believe that by giving his own life that he died in your place?
35) Are you purified (deemed pure although you're guilty) by Jesus shedding his own blood?
36)  Have you set yourself apart from the desires and behaviors of the world?
37) Are you an enthused hard worker in spreading the good news about Jesus?
38) Are you aware that you are a priest of God with authority to teach and correct?
39) Do you live a life free of behaviors which provoke others?
40) Did you really think about each question sincerely and examined yourself critically?
Here's where the test questions originated (This is how you're to be holy):
Titus 2:1 "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

3The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;

10  Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Salvation changes the way you think!

Are you saved? Many have little idea what salvation truly is! Many people born into a Christian family consider themselves Christian. Not so! Because your parents were righteous means nothing to God as for your own salvation. It does increase the chances that you'll make your own decision, but without your own remorse, repentance, acceptance and faith; you're just a lost person from a Christian family. "I believe in Jesus!" you say. Congratulations! Even the demons do.

Others say that they believe. While that's a good start, "belief" is merely a starting point. Without further ado, you're on equal par with the demons!  What more is required? Faith for sure. Scripture has the best definition of faith than any dictionary:

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
Faith is "confidence". Our belief in God is unshakable. Not only that, but our belief in the things of God are without question! Are you a "Christian" who accepts the notion that our universe evolved? If so, you have little confidence in what God did:
Hebrews 11:3 "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."
One command, one instant in time, created the universe!  You don't believe this? Where is your faith? God made everything from nothing! You doubt this? Where is your faith? 
What do "we hope for"? We "hope" that Jesus is on the throne in heaven. We can't see that, but in our heart we have the assurance that Jesus sits right there, resurrected, and on the right hand of God!  You don't believe that? Where is your faith?
Just what is the difference between belief and faith? Let's say that you've fallen over a cliff and are clinging on for dear life. You remember having a rope in your car and you know that your friend is safely at the top of the cliff. That's tangible. That's real. You believe it! Faith is having the confidence that your friend hasn't strolled off somewhere and that he will find the rope, tie it to an anchor and sling it to you. You assure yourself that you have the fortitude and strength to grab the rope and climb to safety. Knowing about the rope and friend is "belief". Having confidence that the rope is long enough, your friend is wise and that you are strong is all "faith"!
Likewise, accepting history that Jesus was a real person and that he died on a cross is reality. More abstract is that Jesus is God, that his blood and death was the ultimate sacrifice for you and that he still lives. "Belief" is the former and "faith" is the latter. Yes, Jesus is real, but he is also our salvation. "Belief" is that the person of Jesus is true. "Faith" is knowing that he died because you cannot make propitiation for your own sins! You know that Jesus is sufficient and the only way to salvation! Believing now and having faith you're saved!
Romans 10:9 (NIV) If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Belief and faith are the keys to salvation! What do you do with that belief and faith? "Declare with your mouth!" There are no "secret Christians"! If you're saved, you'll tell everybody about it. If you don't declare it you must be ashamed!
1 Peter 4:16 "However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name."
A believing Christian with faith shall praise Jesus without embarrassment. Covert Christianity is a deceitful position of false assurance. The assurance of your faith is your works! "Working" is going about your world telling others who you love that Jesus is the Way! "That's not me!" You say. "I'm shy. I'm an introvert. I'm afraid to speak in public!" Just as Moses was given words to lead the Jews to freedom from Egypt, God will give you the words to speak to your friends! God will change you!  You're afraid to speak? Then write. That's what I do! Although, I'm not afraid to speak, there must be a forum. People will read what I write although they may not desire to listen to my words.
There was once a girl who intended to marry. However, she and her husband-to-be differed on many ideas and life events. With prayer and in spite of  their differences, they married anyhow. That took courage or maybe a little stupidity, but God can change things!  One had faith that the word of God would change the other. Gradually, by hearing God's truth one changed; or was it both that changed? Worlds in collision" with faith in God became "unity in marriage". The twain became one in thought! God changes things!
2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
Mankind is an "old creature". As we're brought into this world we're all prone to sin because of our nature; and we do just that! A young child will lie to keep out of trouble. They're not taught that, but do that because of original sin. They look innocent, but even at that age are "old creatures" being subjects of the Prince of this world.
Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;".
That includes children. No, the children aren't damned, but if they live to adulthood (accountability) then they must CHANGE! What is "change". They become "a new creature"! That's done by salvation.
As a Christian, ones sins are forgiven and the slate wiped clean. A new person starts over with a new heart. A new life ensues. What is that "new life"? Living as Christ would have you live! A Christian puts away the life of sin and becomes sanctified. Sanctification is when the Christian is set apart from the world. A Christian is no longer a subject of the devil, but a disciple of Christ! With that change, a Christian's life will change. That change is evidence of your Christianity and assurance of your salvation! If you are "saved" but your life remains unchanged, quite possibly you're not truly a "new creature". You may be the same old creature subject to living the life of pleasure, the devil's treat.
This dissertation is a plea for those who think that they're saved to examine reality. Does your life reflect the spiritual condition you claim? One of Satan's tools is to convince those without discernment that they are safely held in God's hands and that the sins they're still enjoying are acceptable for salvation. While God still forgives us as we sin, don't test him. Don't think "Lord forgive me for what I'm about to do!". That's not how it works. Submission is the key. Assurance is the promise!