Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Company We Keep

This will be a short one. Christians are given clear direction on the company they are to keep:
1 Corinthians 5:11 "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."
Of course this applies to everybody, not just men. Yes, Jesus ate with sinners, but he is God. Even the devil failed to sway him because he was pure and holy. Can you withstand that?

Why are we to beware of whom we associate? I don't like psychology, but they are partly correct on this one!
"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."  (Jim Rohn)
I will take this further! Not only do the five people with whom you spend the most time have the most influence on you, but the the composite of person, amount of time and the ability to influence are the key elements in who you are and  how you behave. Most married people spend the most time with their spouse. However, if there is little respect or love for the spouse, that person will not be the one to make the influence. You will find another person to influence you the most. In fact the spouse may not even factor into the top five!

Influence, as does love and relationships, triangulates. Those who fail to have fidelity to those who should influence them most, seek out another to provide that influence. Oftentimes, the new apex in the triangulation is someone loved or admired. Face it... long married couples aren't as interesting and exciting as they were before the onset of finances, disagreements or same-home incarceration.  The person who influences the most is the one most enjoyed, the one with the strongest personality, the one you spend the most time with and sometimes the one who has the most wealth or prestige.  They are the ones who provide the pleasure and relate to your personality.

Now, let's leave psychology and look at theology. That's what I buy into because God is reliable and trustworthy! He wants what best for you and warns what is not. His warning (1 Cor 5:11) is basically "If a person who claims to be a Christian lives in sin, that's the person to avoid"! Paul, on behalf of Christ, gave us a list of great sinners: those who have sex outside their own marriage, covets what you have (perhaps your own life), has things which are favored over God, one who gives bad advice meant to sow dissension, one who drinks too much, or someone who gains favor using the wiles of the devil!

Why a "brother"? That means a fellow Christian, and that's important because of the trust that you may have because that's part of the deception! "The advice must be good because he's a Christian." or "I trust her because she's a Christian". Likewise, if we are with a pagan, the same applies anyway. If they fail to listen to the gospel, we are to shake the dust from our feet and leave them!

Why does God want a Christian to avoid associations with sinning Christians? It's because Satan uses other people to influence you. The devil's  "M.O." is deceit, and the best person who can deceive you is the one who can influence you the most. God doesn't buy into psychology; but he created the psyche!  He knows the influence others can have upon you and he was plain with his instructions. He knows that when a Christian hangs with the wrong crowd, that crowd is empowered by demons to change you! When you listen to those whose true father is the devil, you may gradually become the follower of him too without being the wiser!
1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV) "Do not be deceived: “'Bad company ruins good morals.'"
 Proverbs 14:7 (ESV) "Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge."
 Psalm 119:115 (ESV) "Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God."
1 John 3:18 (ESV) "Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth"
First, it is said "Bad people influences you." and that's whether you acknowledge it or not! Then "We're not to listen to the words of sinners because their counsel is not the will of God". And "Evil doers influence you to disobey God's commandments". And lastly, "Do not enjoy the conversation of those who speak not God's truth"!

God's will is righteousness. True Christian friends will never counsel you to do unrighteous things. We are to flee from them that do! God's will is that we all avoid sin: pride, anger, infidelity, lies, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, divorce, and even hanging out with those who appear to be sheep, but are wolves in sheep's clothing! Some of those wolves are jealous of your relationships and want you to be as sorry as they are. Your failure becomes rationalization for their own sick lives!

How does one avoid bad influences. They discern who is bad by how they live and then flee from them! Your very soul is at stake, not to mention what you have already. It's never shameful to run away when that from which you run is evil!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Count Your Blessings

People just assume they will always have what they now possess. Like many, I came from poverty and have a good living. I thank God for that, but also pledge never to take what God has blessed me with for granted. Many people have climbed the ladder of the affluent and live good lives. Many of those have reaped rewards because of the hard work, motivation and generosity of others. However, a few of those seldom show respect for the wage earner and provider. Children often take what they have for granted, and unfortunately, so do some adults whose thoughts remain childish.

I see many times when women and men who are prosperous "Housewives of Generous County"  (or house-husbands) and their attitudes.  They are what they are because of others. Oftentimes they just take for granted what they have, not realizing Americans just cannot assume prosperity will always be! God has the grace to provide and the jurisprudence to take away! When people fail to be thankful to God, and to the family provider, he may do  a little test. Is this person truly appreciative for what they have? Ungrateful people may run an obstacle course for awhile to put their priorities in line!

The refrain of Count Your Blessings goes like this:
"Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done."
Have you counted your blessings today? Last week? Ever?

Some of my blessings are:

  • My health
  • Income
  • Home
  • Clothing
  • Nourishment
  • Church 
  • Friends
  • Siblings
  • Children
  • My wife
  • Happiness (content)
  • God 
  • Hope
These are major categories in no particular order, but within each of these blessings are sub-categories in the thousands. My main blessing is God, and he is the author of all my other blessings! I refuse to take any of these blessings for granted because they may be "gone with the wind", in the words of Margaret Mitchell.

Job 1:21 "And said, Naked came I (Job) out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

This expression is often applied to us as "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away"! We were born without and will die the same way. What we have in between are all gifts of God. All our possessions whether physical, spiritual or mental are gifts from God. If you don't like what you have, be still; God can inflict malady on your mind such that your likes are of no consequence. If you don't enjoy your family, be still; God can take away one of them. If you don't enjoy your family budget; be still. God can take his money he has given to you and give it to others! You don't appreciate your spouse, be still; God can take that person away!

I show love to the Lord because he is the divine entrepreneur who provides it all! Yes, we are God's investment. He provides for us so that he can gain! There are merely two reasons God invests in each of our lives: respect and love! If he sees that he's made a poor investment, there is little ROI, then he ceases to provide. 

Philippians 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
God supplies. He gives to us from his riches! He's speaking of more than material things, because his gift is through Jesus. As Job found out, there is a correlation between God's grace and our devotion to him. Job credited God with all that he had and understood that God is just in taking it away. God didn't take way to punish Job, but as a test of faith. Job passed the test and regained most of what he had. Somethings, such as loss of children and the wife, can  never be regained, but God was faithful.

Job provided well for his family. He was industrious and became quite wealthy. In his tests, some abandoned him, the man who was their provider. Job was symbolic of God: as friends and family went, God remained there. With God, as people fail to love and respect him, God remains faithful. However, God should never be taken for granted. What he provides can be taken away. What Job once had was taken away and if he can do that to test faithful Job, just think what he can do to the unfaithful!

"What shall I do?" I ask myself. "What shall I do?" ask yourself! "Count your blessings" is the answer. Love and respect God. Love and respect your provider. Love and respect those who love you. "Count your many blessings; name them one by one"! Then respond with charity and love for those blessings. Love others as God loves you!

Monday, December 29, 2014


It's blatant sometimes because our nature is rebellious. What do people do when they don't want to submit to authority? They curse or belittle those in authority. We see that right now with policemen. For those who violate the law or are defending those who do, cops "deserve to die". That's the ultimate degree of selfishness on the part of vain people who seek only self-interests. Men are by nature vain!
Romans 8:20 "For the creature (the creation) was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him (Satan) who hath subjected the same..." (I leave out the "in hope" because whether it needs a comma or not makes a huge difference in meaning!)
Vanity, vanity! What is vanity?  In this context "vanity" is "something without value". It's an empty thought or activity.  The display of vanity is called "in vain". Vanity is closely associated with pride and the vain reject authority because they are inherently narcissistic. It's "their way or the highway", so to speak, or they care so little for authority they remain apathetic to the will of those in charge.

Let me, for instance, consider God's name. His name is actually the tetragrammaton, JHVH, transliterated "Yahweh" in English. WYWH is merely Latin for "to exist". Hebrews respect God's name so much that he is always referred to as Adonai, or Lord. When using God's proper name, they use "______" because his name is so reverent! Respecting the Lord's name is utmost in respect and using his name flippantly or insincerely is a grievous sin, yet people, even Christians, use God's name irreverently continually!

Forgive me Lord, for the improper respect due this divine name, but people say "Oh, My God" as an exclamation even for trivialities. God's name has become little more than an exclamation point in a scream of excitement. Some folks have such a limited vocabulary all they can do is stand there and screech out God's name time after time. Using God's name shows, not only irreverence, but severe ignorance and the lack of knowledge of  words in the English dictionary. Stupidity isn't a reason for this disrespect, but is an excuse!

When I confront people about respecting God's name, their rationale is "I don't mean anything by it!". That, by definition is "vanity" and the apathetic person has just used the Lord's name in "vain" , and failed to show God love and the respect that he is due.

Just like the Jews who have trouble with laws and regulations, loop-holes are explored. Some reason that if they say "Oh, My Gosh" or "OMG", then there is no disrespect and no commandments have been broken. Slang use of God's name is a thinly veiled attempt to circumvent what God asks us to do: respect his Holy Name! He makes his DEMAND very clear:
Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
A rationale is that Christians are no longer bound by The Law, of which this command is God's Law. That's exactly right. We no longer obey commands because we "have to", but because we "want to"! Those having a desire to please God, obey God. That's how we show our love for him! No, a person won't go to hell for using God's name in vain, but that person remains "guilty" of sin. Sin separates mankind from communion with God. How can the same person pray and magnify he Lord while at the same time displaying emotions of apathy and disrespect?

Vain acts and behaviors lead to more vanity. At some time, if we continue, Christians fail to take God seriously and fail to show love for him. Just as a woman who lacks love in a marriage and yearns for something different, an act of infidelity in heart, the person who fails to show love for God, may become an infidel!
Jeremiah 2:5 "Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?"
That's a crucial point. In effect those who fail to love God are harlots in thought! As divorce is apostasy in marriage, vanity is apostasy to God!
1 Corinthians 6:15 "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid."
As Christians we are brides of the bridegroom. Christ is the bridegroom. If we live for vanity, pursuing pleasure, we commit adultery against our Groom. The "membership in Christ" is broken and the one become two again. The Christian relationship of unity in Christ is broken and the Christian in apostasy has essentially divorced Christ. Marriage is a picture of our relationship with Christ, and as we must respect, love and adore our mate, we must also respect, love and adore Christ!

When we speak God's name in vain, we're not showing him any more respect than if we fail to prioritize our mate in marriage.  Respect and love is work! By not putting forth the effort, our claim to be in a relationship is in vain! The emotion of love is lust. The work of love is LOVE. In God it's agape, in a friendship it's philio, in lust it's eros. However, in a marriage our love is agape, philio and eros! Of the three eroticism is the least of the three!

Let me present an example. I saw it on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Ray always calls Debra pet names. She hears them all, but fails to listen. Ray, in a test, said something to her similar to "filthy slut". She stopped dead in her tracks! It registered. Ray was showing an utter lack of respect for his wife! Anger on Debra's part ensued. They were no longer in communion. Debra didn't like those words because it showed that Ray had no respect for his wife. That's the same as God's command. By using his name in empty conversation God's wrath is kindled! The relationship is hurt and the relationship is in jeopardy unless someone (like Ray), says "I'm sorry!" and means it!

What if Ray had merely substituted "FS" in the conversation and Debra knew the meaning of the acronym. Would she not have the same right to be angry? Surely!

For a Christian to demonstrate love for God, we obey God's will. His will is that we only use his name to magnify him and even if we're truly not worshiping him, we need to be cautious not to be flagrant in it's usage. I don't care what words you say except for one thing: "Does it denigrate my Creator?' That's why I care. I have pledged to never take the Lord's name lightly. With practice it's not hard to do that. If we aren't doing the simple things, can we be doing the difficult? I find it easy to obey this command, but the one about loving others is much harder. I'm working on that one myself!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Playing with the Cards We're Dealt

Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address said, after thousands were wantonly, and even unnecessarily killed
"...and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." 
What is equality? Does it mean that we're all born with the same flaws and attributes? Are men only equal in a spiritual sense? Or possibly does it mean that we have the same opportunity? "Equality" does mean "being equal"! Most think of "social equality", meaning that we all are deserved of the same rights. Lincoln could not have meant that because women couldn't vote at that time, few men had property, people had different degrees of security, etc. What "equality" was it to which Lincoln referred?

Any person knows that we're all born different. Some people are runts and some are bulls. Some are intelligent and some are slow-witted and of little intelligence. Others are beautiful and some are uglier than sin. Some have attributes of perfection and some are deformed. Some are allowed to live full-term and others die in the womb. To the eye men are not created equal.

What inherent characteristic must it be then that men are "created equal". Lincoln surely was referring to someone's standards! My own eye, as does yours, sees inequality between people. Whose frame of reference does "created equal" mean? It has to refer to the Creator and only the Creator. Lincoln even spelled it out!

Without the Creator there is no equality! Did you ever consider that? God is what makes us all equal! That's of what Lincoln was speaking.
Romans 2:11  "For there is no respect of persons with God."
We have an impartial God! What we look like, how intelligent we are, nor what color we are, has any bearing in the eyes of God. The mentally deficient are the same as the most intelligent in God's eyes! There was a pattern and a mold for each of us. None of us were created entirely unique.
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."
It's easy to see that man and woman were "created equal". However, it wasn't social equality because Adam was to hold dominion over everything. Hence, it's spiritual equality in which we were created, and a wise Creator wasn't much for women's rights! Therefore, social inequality IS the intent of God.

I've always contended that God knew the form he was to take on when he became incarnate. He had in mind a body, mind and soul of Jesus who was to become incarnate. With that said, Jesus wasn't created in our image, but man in his! That's important. Jesus came to us to be one of us. Even Jesus was "created equal" to us, we being just like him except in love and obedience!

People ask why God allows babies to be born with deformities, retardation and inherited diseases. The answer is simple. We are reaping what Adam sewed. He and Eve were disobedient and each had curses put on them. Everyone would have been born perfect and disease free if our progenitors had been happy with what they had! Now we pay the price. Life isn't easy on some, but "the meek shall inherit the earth" said Jesus. (Matthew 5:5). Meek people are imperfect people in human eyes. We think of unattractive, obedient, or introverted people as "meek". Those folks were created in the image of Jesus! Because they are like Jesus gives them a "thumbs up" in the eyes of the Creator. Some people are just born with a meek disposition. Even in Creation there are some differences, but the differences are on our value to God!
Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Jesus loves everybody because all have equal value. The Creator is the frame of reference as Lincoln well observed! The point made is that "without God there is NO equality"! It's all a facade because we are all different in all other respects! Our inequality is obvious to us while our equality is hidden to those outside Christ.  Feminists lie to themselves. They are different and deny what they see in the mirror and ignore what Meyers-Briggs Tests reveal! Men and women were created the same to God, but with very different attributes. Even the names of the genders reveal differences and our bodies were wisely designed with opposite tools  to procreate and multiply! Those who try to fit a large square into a smaller square are denying their very existence.

I wrote an Ode to Johnny Sanders yesterday. Johnny was born unequal in speech, appearance, health, maybe intelligence, and wealth. However, Johnny was born more than equal in meekness, character, genuineness, and the ability to love. His birth differences were attributes! He used what was lacking to be more pronounced in what God had given him. He was a short man, but stood tall! While most people saw Johnny as pitiful, he was already a pillar in the kingdom of God! His meekness allowed him to truly "inherit the earth". Whereas, others saw inequality in stature and excellence, God saw and excellent man.  I enjoyed the presence of this fine person who was rejected by most, and God made me appreciate him for the blessings he modeled to  me!

Johnny played well with the deck of cards he was dealt. He had few aces and kings, but God blessed him with trumps and wild cards! Johnny made the best from the least. While he had little to brag about, and meek men don't, he used what he had as motivation. He worked harder with incapacity than most people do with ample capacity. Johnny was never wealthy, but he made his own way. Never did he totally depend on others, as many people would, but worked hard to the best of his ability. Johnny played a fine game of life!

Others are dealt many aces, kings, queens and even an abundance of wild cards. They have the ability to trump even the most powerful player. However, many who play with a good hand use the powerful cards unwisely! For instance, brilliant people with the capacity for greatness, choose to dull their minds with alcohol, marijuana and even hard drugs. They play a poor hand. With the hand they were dealt, life would be easy, but they prefer flying with turkeys rather than soaring with the eagles. It kills me to see people who smoke, drink, use drugs and get piercings and tattoos, ask for change to pay their rent! If living was of value to them, they would earn a living, rather than making bold statements on their lack of need of others. By being rebellious against society, they join a legion of rebels and become the norm. The new "normal people" consists of those who claim to be alternate.

I play cards often myself. I have the same chance of success if I use my wiles, given the same number of cards, but certainly cards of unequal value. Sometimes, I'm not motivated and merely lay down the cards I dealt. I stand little chance of winning. Even with good cards, without a strategy, others more motivated will defeat me!

At other times I wince at the cards which I was dealt! However, I don't give up. If I play them wisely, make temporary sacrifices in favor of long term gain, and play smarter than my opponent, I can still win.

Life is the same way! We can either play the cards we were dealt or merely cast them aside and depend on our partner. Many look toward others to win for them. Those players become losers and if they play the cards of life in the same manner, they are guaranteed a losers life. Oftentimes, players enjoy the chat over the game. They play merely for pleasure and winning has little sparkle. Those who behave by putting pleasure over strategy become happy losers. They are just fine with letting others be the "Little Red Hen" who works hard to provide for those who don't!

Equality in life, then, is non-existent. Neither does equality mean "equal outcomes". God merely makes us equal in opportunity for eternal life, but even most people don't play the Creator's cards with any enthusiasm. Lackadaisical Christians seems to be an oxymoron because love takes effort. Loving is working! People just won't work out their salvation and jeopardize hope for eternity.
Philippians 2:12 "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

Yes, we all have to do something to get God's gift. We receive what is offered and believing is what it takes to accept! Most people don't even play those cards right! They figure they'll play for the fun of it, and at the last hand make a strong comeback! By then it may be too late. Your opponent may have the "joker" who foils your attempt!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ode to Johnny Sanders

Johnny Sanders I remember well.
His life is one we should all admire.
A man who's story I'm obliged to tell.
He sings now in the angel's choir.

Johnny is dead and long gone.
But I still remember this pillar!
His majesty to all so brightly shown.
This poor man who was the salve seller!

Johnny Sanders was struck by disease.
His tiny legs were crippled under.
Recreation in this town was to tease.
Taunts and jeers tore him asunder!

Johnny's only ride was a rickety chair.
It was powered by his own sinew hands.
Life for him was a fate unfair.
But now his tune is played by angel bands!

Coatesville was his home and pride.
Johnny loved because that's what he did.
Never married there was never a bride.
And neither did Johnny have ever a kid.

Poor Johnny was always unkempt.
His beard was haggard and gray.
His only belt was a rope of hemp.
Never able to run, jump or play!

Salve so black is what he sold.
He earned a living although crippled.
His livelihood were the stories he told.
Always sober he not once tippled!

Johnny's life was imaginary you see.
He couldn't do, but he could dream.
Johnny was as genuine as could be!
His stories all fantasy so real they seem.

His life was in Oz with the Wizard.
He read all Baum's wondrous works.
Yes, Johnny was really bizarre!
In hope is where a great man lurks.

I think of Johnny because he was hope.
He never gossiped nor did he complain..
His whole life was at the end of the rope,
this pitiful little man with legs so lame.

Johnny is in heaven right now.
His legs are muscular and strong.
He stands before God and is able to bow.
He sings to the heavens a beautiful song!

Johnny Sanders' praise is finally due.
This man in poverty suffered through life.
He has a room in a mansion with a view.
And now Johnny Sanders has no strife!

He laughs because of God's little joke.
It seems the earth belongs to the meek.
Delivered from this life in heaven he awoke.
For Johnny Sanders life is no longer bleak!

Picture if you will this man so deformed.
His legs all twisted and not of any use.
Johnny is a now a beauty who God adorned.
And only to God now does Johnny amuse!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Proper Debate

Many discussions end up in dissension. Much of it is pride in opinion. Everyone has an opinion, but some opinions are spineless, being based on perception rather than fact. It seems the least literate and poorly read person has the strongest, and most prideful, opinions. I believe they compensate with anger for their own insecurities. Opinions must be based on something other than emotion! Opinion must be reinforced by fact and truth to be legitimate. Otherwise, as they say, "It's as worthless as teats on a boar!" to put it crudely.

Two different opinions, without proper debate, ends with both parties losing. One may be right and the other wrong, but when anger results Satan is the only winner. People make light of invisible nefarious influences, but those principalities sew dissension wherever pride resides! What I'm talking about is evil using strife to break the bonds of love:
2 Timothy 2:23 (ESV) "Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. 25 God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth..."
Discussions can be foolish and argued in ignorance! Most are. Consider this discussion:
Christian man: I believe that baptist preachers are of an unbroken line from John the Baptist.
Me: Why do you believe that?
Him: The Book Trail of Blood documents it!
Me: I've read it and checked it's accuracy. Being non-catholic is not being baptist! The book is wrong and not factual.
Him: I believe it by faith! (emotional)
Me: Then you believe a lie by faith.
Him: That's my choice!
The man had a perception based on a book which book had a motive. For some reason the authors thought it significant that baptists have always been.

I had my opinion, based on research of the "facts", presented in the book. I studied each so-called baptist group and found that many of the groups were not baptist, but were merely against Catholicism. He was emotional. I really didn't care, but just wanted to share what I had studied. He was emotional and defensive. I was merely dumbfounded by his response. I wasn't attacking him, but was just telling him what I had found. He got angry. We were both losers. He was angry with me and I had made him angry! Satan smiled.

Proper debate, to be in obedience to 2 Timothy 2:24-25 above, must be with a certain attitude. If that attitude is not there, Satan smiles.

  • Proper debate is not a quarrel, but a discussion of opinions and the facts supporting them.
  • Debates must be non-controversial in nature. We must approach debates with the thought in mind that the other is entitled to their opinion. The debate is not to destroy them, but to convince them. Emotion is non-convincing!
  • Debates are to be done with kindness. Being mean spirited is not convincing. It's a bullying tactic and bullies don't win debates. They merely provoke the opponent.
  • Debates are a teaching moment. It's a chance to share with another the truth, or at least the facts.
  • Debaters sometimes get "testy".  The person good in debate "patiently endures" as the other person freaks out. The calm person projects an image of confidence, wisdom and trust. The testy person projects negativity and defensiveness.
  • Debaters are to be gentle when they correct the opponent. Gentleness turns away anger. The person with whom there is a difference of opinion is not an enemy, but an opportunity! An opponent chastised is an enemy. An opponent convinced and shown kindness is an ally!
  • The goal of a good debate is for " leading to a knowledge of the truth". That's all we can do. We can't choose for them or force an opinion through coercion, but allow the Holy Spirit to free the opponent by truth.
  • Truth leads to repentance. Those who have been wrong and see the light, now have a golden opportunity to make things right with both God and others!
This approach for debating is taken from the passages above. It's God's approach for civility in how we interact with each other. A loving Christian must be a gentle Christian. Anger doesn't change others... love does! For Christians who desire others to grow from "babes in Christ" to mature Christians, takes admonishment, reproof and correction. This is the proper technique for sewing the seeds of change!

Some people do just the opposite. Some poor debate skills are:
  1. Debating without portfolio. "Portfolio" is having an education established over time, based on training and experience. Some argue points for which they have no base from which to argue. These are the ones who become oversensitive and angry it seems.
  2. Having opinions, but no facts on which to base them. These are the folks who are taught by the entertainment world. It's what people without experience perceive. They are deceived by the emissaries of Satan.
  3. Depend on emotion rather than persuasion; and get defensive when others confront them with facts that differ than their false perceptions.
  4. Poor debaters depend on their anger to end debates they are losing. 
  5. Poor debaters keep changing the debate points. If the argument starts out "Is the sky blue?, before one knows it the argument becomes "Is the sky made up of clouds?" As points are lost in the debate, the poor debater just swiftly changes the debate to fit his or her perceptions.
  6. The poor debater restates things which you did not say. They try to put words in your mouth which was never said by you. That's an attempt to force the other person to take obviously wrong positions so that a new argument will ensue.
  7. Poor debaters are so caught up in their fiction that they can never admit that they're wrong. They get angry because the other person is right and they know it.
  8. Poor debaters most often end the debate angrily still insisting they are right, although inside they know they're wrong.
  9. Poor debaters do not respect the position, authority nor facts presented by the other.
  10. Poor debaters have a false perception of their importance and knowledge.
  11. Poor debaters have a mean streak. They create strife because of their emotion.
  12. Poor debaters don't really debate. They care not for truth, but endeavor to reinforce what they already believe! They defend the fiction in which they live!

It's So Hard to Love Because of Hate

Louis Farrakhan from the Daily Caller said:
  “As long as they [whites] kill us [blacks] and go to Wendy’s and have a burger and go to sleep, they’ll keep killing us. But when we die and they die, then soon we’re going to sit at a table and talk about it! We’re tired! We want some of this earth or we’ll tear this g__d___n country up!” (Brackets belong to Jennifer Burke, blanks are mine).
This is hate speech!
"Hate speech is any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group "(Wikipedia)
Why does it continue? Is it illegal? The court [SCOTUS] ruled in Brandenburg v. Ohio that; "The constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force, or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."  (Wikipedia). When Farrakhan said "we'll tear this g__d___n country up!", that is illegal hate speech and it incites hatred and rioting! Lives have been lost because of such inflammatory remarks.

Farrakhan belongs in jail! Although Al Sharpton does too, Al stops short of calling for violent revolution. However, the same vitriol is in the attitudes and speeches of both. What's more dangerous is that although Farrakhan is an emissary of the devil,  Sharpton is of the devil and Obama!

People blame the nation's history on the plight of the blacks. I won't go into minute detail other than mentioning that slaves were captured by other black tribes in Africa and sold into slavery. The first ownership of slaves within colonial America was by a free black man. However, any person would be a fool to deny that white people did wrong in utilizing slavery to grow the nation! It's a moral wrong and is not sanctioned by God. Only the fair treatment of slaves was taught by our apostles! However, Jesus came not to free mankind from each other, but to redeem everyone from sin. "Everyone" includes all races. Liberty is to be had by our freedom in Christ, and nominally blacks have done well in obedience to Christ.
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Who are the meek? They are servants. Servitude is an honor! Jesus said:
 Mark 10:44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
It would appear that there is a bonus for those who're lowly in life. We are to serve as Jesus served. He was an example of sacrifice and was the ultimate slave for mankind's sake. By being satisfied with our positions in life, we gain some type of crown in heaven! Those enslaved in the world will be "chiefest" in heaven, according to Jesus. Maybe in heaven I shall be the servant of the lowly doorman who opened and closed the door for me at the fancy hotel in Miami. Who knows? However, Jesus was meek and lowly and  those yoked with him "shall find rest" as can seen by the following:
 Matthew 11:29 "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
 The meek "shall inherit the earth"! What a promise. This doesn't mean that prosperity and success will be for them here and now because as Jesus said "For you always have the poor with you"! (Matthew 26:11a). The meek shall be inhabitants of the kingdom of God here on earth! Some believe that God's kingdom is paradise. However, for the born-again Christian, they owe allegiance to a new king. They leave the domain of the "Prince of the Air" and enter a new kingdom where God rules. In the kingdom of God is joy, peace, love and harmony! (Those who love God have visas and are future citizens of paradise!)

The answer to hate is love, but it's hard to love because of all the hate! Satan uses hate in his attempt to castigate the kingdom of God. Hate is the devil's tool to thwart love. When Farrakhan and Sharpton spew their hate-filled words it comes from principalities. They may be tools of the devil, but yet are unaware of their servitude to the prince of darkness. Whereas, Jesus is the mouthpiece of God, fools are spokesmen for the devil.

I'm not suggesting that no wrongs were done to former slaves and some men still do evil unto them because of their race. Hate isn't peculiar to white on black, but Satan enslaves all men with some type of hatred. That's why it's so important to love, even our enemies! Love isn't shown by tolerating, but by telling them about the hope available in Christ! Likely, blacks will never be as accepted as whites. Lincoln said (Fourth Debate with Douglas):
 " I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. "
Unfortunately, Lincoln's prediction has been accurate. It's not God's will, but Satan's that this should be. The devil uses racial hatred in his battle against God and men fall into the trap. It's not only the white race, but Satan who uses the history of slavery to create hate in the hearts of folks as Farrakhan and Sharpton. Hate in the name of God is still demonic hate! That's Satan's will that those who profess God and hate, minimize Christ and Christianity.

What's ironic, and I'm a Republican, is that radical Republicans during Reconstruction, created "police states" and policies which inflamed white hatred of blacks to this day. The policies imposed on a defeated nation were cruel and inhumane, not to mention unjust, and hatred still lingers today because of unenlightened penalties of that era. Some say that if Lincoln had lived, his demeanor was of a fairer nature than the resentful Secretary of War Stanton, who fueled the race hatred we yet have!

It's so hard to love because of hate! The devil delights in hate and offers it to humanity to deceive our souls. It's pride and self-aggrandizement which motivates people and Satan uses that to inflame hatred! He instills in people "I'm better than them!' and "I deserve more than they!". I'm not suggesting that people be satisfied with their station in life, but be grateful here that unlimited opportunity is available. It may be that some of all races must overcome hatred, but that's "The Law of Hate" legislated by Prince Satan.

A tactic of socialism in assuming control is racial conflict. They are succeeding in creating two classes of people based on hate. Socialism is the ideology of Satan espoused by his idiot, Karl Marx. Even leaders today inseminate hatred into all aspects of life, not by knowledge, but by deceit, because they are unwitting soldiers of  Satan.

God's answer to hate is to love! Although God is the one who is the author of love, those who hate, blame him for the hate that exists. Satan has really confused those not discerning! The God of love is accused of being the author of hate!

Hatred is because mankind doesn't know God!
1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
By God's own word hate is not of those who know him. Farrakhan and Sharpton cannot be of God because they incite hatred. It's hard for them to love because of hate within their hearts!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Entangling Alliances

Why are there continuous war and world wars? It's because of "entangling alliances". In George Washington's Farewell Address to the nation he said " "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world." and Thomas Jefferson who said in his Inaugural Address "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none." Where do you suppose President's Washington and Jefferson got this "crazy" idea which confounds the modern notion of the United Nations? Aren't we to have peace on earth? How can that be without country's allying themselves against global bullies? Let's take a look?

Messrs. Washington and Jefferson got this "crazy" idea of avoiding entangling alliances from The Bible; from Holy Scripture. While God encouraged commerce between nations and fairness to friends and enemies alike, God always taught that trust must be in him and not the power of consolidation. Many times in battle the Hebrew people were limited by God in the size of their army, and returned home victors!

There is much scripture, but here is one:
Isaiah 31:1 "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!"
A great example of entangling alliances are from The Book of Isaiah Chapters 36 and 37 where the King of Assyria tries to bully King Hezekiah of Judah into an alliance. Rather than stoop to such tirades Hezekiah put his faith in the Lord.
Isaiah 36:18 "Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, 19 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. 20 Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord, even thou only."
Hezekiah did not go to Egypt for help against the Assyrians neither did he ally Judah with Assyria. He put his trust in the Lord!  There are two reasons alliances are discouraged: 1) Lack of trust in God Almighty and 2) expose righteous nations to the influences of pagan nations. Here we see that God warns against joining Judah with paganism in Assyria. Likewise, God warned the Hebrew people not to marry foreign wives and even they were commanded to divorce them because of pagan influences. With alliances comes intermarriage with pagan people and the worship of foreign gods!

Continental Europe and Great Britain always had entangling alliances. Throughout time when one nation warred with another, many others by  alliances, joined in. They were obligated to defend their contractual obligations with friendly nations against the power of others, and if a powerful nation waged war, it's allies were obligated to fight with them. Most often only neutral nations such as Belgium remained war-free!

Both great World Wars were because of entanglements. In World War I petty alliances caused the world to be engulfed in war. It started with insignificant events. Although Kaiser Wilhelm had political intrigues, the war was set off when an independent acting  Serbian, by accident, had a chance to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife. Serbia relented and offered terms of peace which were remarkable in piety, but the Kaiser saw the opportunity to gain land and power. War started, and with nearly every country in Europe pledged to one side or the other, World War I started. Later on the United States and remote nations were drawn into the conflict until the entire world was at war.

World War II wasn't much different! Just replace the name Kaiser Wilhelm with Adolph Hitler. Much of the alliances remained the same and later, nations joined the fray for humanitarian and alliance reasons.

In modern times the United Nations is an alliance of nations. All nations entangle themselves to avoid war, but war ensues anyway! Sometimes the war is fought by political means, but eventually negotiation gives way to bullying and those in alliances become part of the problem. NATO always drags European nations into wars that they may otherwise be able to avoid. The same goes for eastern alliances.

As of 2012 the Doomsday Clock, how near we are to the end of the world, is set at five minutes until midnight. It's a dangerous world in which we live and if one nation goes to war, most nations can be obligated to join in!

Alliances are not of God. Indeed God foresaw the day when kings would turn their backs on him and become engaged in entangling alliances. With those come mass immigration and the poisoning of our Christian nation with the paganism's from the east. Although it's a great opportunity to proselytize the heathen, progressives have propagated the notion that the Great Commission is intolerant and America follows the progressives in the same way German Christians were in lock step with Hitler!

What is it that we should do as a nation? Avoid entangling alliances, reduce the influx of those from pagan nations and let God run our country!
2 Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
The world will end in war! The Battle of Armageddon will be the mother of all wars and blood will flow as deep as the horse reigns. Entangling alliances will pit most nations against Israel. However, the forces of God win that war!  Christ will defeat the forces of the antichrist! It's not the alliance which wins, but the power of God! We need to quit depending on false peace negotiations and return to God! Hezekiah depended on God and so must we.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Loop Holes

People scour legal contracts which they have naively made the mistake of signing, looking for ways to break what they'd pledged to do. They are looking for legal "loop holes" to negate the legalese and to circumvent the agreement to which they have ascribed, thus obligating oneself. Loop holes are legal, but unethical. The parties have both agreed to conditions under good faith, but one person or the other looks for technicalities to abridge the contract.

Christians who contemplate divorce are looking for that loop hole. None exists. However, one spouse can drive the other to do deeds which cause a breech in the contract. As a result both marriage partners are morally wrong, although technically, the person who violates the agreement is at cause as well. The spouse who causes the breech is guilty as the person in violation from a moral standpoint. That person has used the system to mollify their moral conscience. They were lucky enough to find a loop hole, but that still fails to make a wrong right.

In the War Between the States the south was the first to fire a shot in battle, but they were manipulated through devious channels. The north found a loop hole around responsibility, but because a loop hole was found doesn't diminish their guilt!

Oftentimes, people buy things and sign a contract when money is exchanged for the item. Buyer's remorse may set in and the buyer look for technicalities so that the contract can be nullified. It's often easy to find some condition neglected to be mentioned by the seller (because we're not perfect), thus providing a loop hole to void the agreement. Legally, the buyer is in the clear, but ethically that person is a cheat and a liar!

W. C. Fields, while on his deathbed, was found reading his Bible. When a visitor came upon him the visitor commented "I thought you were an atheist!" to which Fields replied "I am, but in case I'm wrong I'm looking for a loop hole!" (paraphrased). God has one well-defined law to escape hell, the penalty for evil. That one law of "love" and is characterized by "faith". Fields was seeking a route to escape the hell he didn't believe in and the judgment of one he thought did not exist! It's impossible to find a loop hole around love. God's contract is air tight so skeptics need to quit looking!

Loop holes remind me of the Pharisees. They were a religious group, philosophers, a political group and keepers of Mosaic Law. They charged themselves to insure that others kept the whole content of  Mosaic Law, but looked for ways to escape the intent of The Law itself.
Matthew 23:1 (ESV) "Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger."
These "vipers", as Jesus called them, avoid doing themselves what they burdened others with. One method used by people like this are "loop holes". One group of Jews in Palm Beach, Florida sought permission to string a wire around the perimeter of the city so that from a religious view point, this wire became the walls of their home. Their intent, from what I understand, was to allow themselves more levity on Sabbaths because more work can be done within the home than without. They sought a loop hole to circumvent what they believed in! (It would have been much better if they just believed in Jesus and get Christian liberty, but they chose the sneaky way!).

What's your loop hole which you seek? For most people it is to remain in sin and reap the rewards of heaven! Although we're to become new persons with salvation, it's the desire of most to keep a clone of oneself in the closet to do the pleasurable deeds, then put the clone back in the closet for Sunday's and the preacher's benefit. I call this "Sweet Girl" and her "Evil Twin Sister". They believe that they are smarter than W.C. Fields. Whereas, Fields admitted what he sought, "Evil Twin Sister" fails to find the loop hole so makes a secret pact with the devil to "have the cake and eat it too!" That's a method the devil uses to deceive people into violating their contract with Jesus!
Romans 2:16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
What we thought is a loop hole appears not to be! One cannot void a contract by violating the terms in secret. That's not a legitimate loop hole, but many believe it to be. I'm referring to secret sins. It's those things, even in the mind, we think and do which we conceal from others because we know it's wrong! We all do that to some degree, but if our intent is to be faithful to the contract, then God forgives the breeches if we have sorrow and repent of our seeking the loop hole. God understands our weaknesses because God incarnate felt the same temptations which we feel. He is a graceful and forgiving God, but he still feels loved if we make all efforts to keep the contract. So keep on loving!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

On Marriage

I think back today on marriage. Why? It's our anniversary! I started to say "my anniversary", but that cannot be. Unlike a birthday, the anniversary of marriage is a party of two parts. It must be "our anniversary" or else why celebrate it?

Before my marriage, I knew that two new worlds often collide. Each of us brought into the marriage common things, but things which collide as well. The hope is that the overlap of the worlds is large enough that when the world's collide the collision is manageable. The ability of managing marital collisions is what love is all about. To soften the impact of marital collisions airbags of commitment soften the blow.

Yes, marriage is a commitment! I made the standard marriage vowels, but in addition, added more obligation to myself. Marriage has one loop-hole and that is infidelity. Sometimes I play an awful tune, but that disharmony has never happened. I take my marriage seriously because I wrote serious vowels. The vowels were to parties of three parts: me, my wife and God. When the first two parties tangle, God untangles. However, the parties of the first and second part must always remember that marriage isn't about two people, but three!
Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they (the married couple) are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
"They" are the parties of the first and second part in the marriage contract and God is the third party. He has commanded "let not man put asunder". Most often it's a fourth party which drives a marriage asunder (divide). God doesn't break the contract. Only the first two parties can and the devil's adversaries who delight in the destruction of what God joined together. Let no man divide a marriage. Let no woman divide a marriage! Why? It's an holy institution!
Matthew 25:1 "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom."
The Church is the bride represented by the ten virgins (churches) who  is being married to the bridegroom who is Jesus! Some were faithful. Some were not. There was infidelity in the marriage. Because some brides of Christ were unfaithful to him is why it's so important for the brides that do, to remain faithful to him. Half of the marriages of the churches to Christ were put asunder!

Because marriage is symbolic of Christian's relationship to Jesus is why the sanctity of marriage is important to God! He left no loop-hole, but the one taken by five of the brides: infidelity. Why would God expect his bride to remain committed to him if the bride is never committed to the husband!

"It's all about love!", you say! Jesus's relationship with his bride the Church, was about love. Half his brides failed to love him. That was infidelity. Because of the marriage vowels, the brides were commanded to love Jesus, but they failed to. That's infidelity! In a marriage failure of the parties to love each other is unfaithfulness. It matters not that a fourth party has triangulated because the opportunity for that is forthcoming with "asunderness" (sic).

My devotion is sometimes week and my love at times putrid, but commitment is always strong. That's when God cushions the impact of daily collisions. It's not me that holds the bonds of marriage. It's him. As I forget at times to remain strong, he pulls the bridal rein a little tighter. He shields my collision from explosion and implosion. He is my comforter and the source of my love. It's from him as to why I love the bridegroom and from him why I love the bride.

Think on these things!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Santa Can Die a Lovely Death

On the housetop I heard a noise.
"What could it be?" I had the thought.
Maybe it's Santa with so many toys.
Toys for me which no one bought!

Not a chimney is on this house!
I thought aloud "How shall he enter?"
Santa being quiet so's not to rouse.
Working outside in this cold winter!

Santa just gets and gives things free.
From where they come no one knows!
He brings those toys to you and me.
The gifts he brings no one grows!

Santa's toys just suddenly happen.
They're not there then there they be!
He brings them while we're just nappin'.
From who knows where to you and me!

People get free stuff in their stockings..
After a time that's what they expect.
Always the free stuff they are knocking.
Stuff from people they show no respect!

That's why this nation's in much trouble!
People expecting things to them in hand.
The free stuff  costs some double.
Nothing comes free in this dear land!

America's not Santa as the silly think.
The fruits within will end some day,
Things won't always be so rosy and pink.
We can't hold the wolves at bay!

Prosperity can be when we obey!
If American can set Santa aside.
It's God mankind can never repay.
It's for us that his Son died!

What have we that is free?
What can all good men do?
What one thing is the key?
What have most, but done by few?

Desire is quenched by just one thing.
It's giving others the gift of love.
Love is of what the angels sing.
The song of love is to God above!

Give a little love to all!
Quit expecting things for you.
Obeying God - just stand tall!
Give to others what God gives you!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Litmus Tests

"Litmus tests" are often strips of paper with certain chemicals which change colors when exposed to the media to be tested. Water test strips, for instance, test the acidity or alkalinity of water, it's hardness, it's free chlorine or bromine, and the degrees of these constituents. The term is often applied to belief systems and principles as well.

Many people think of themselves as Christians. According to Pew Research 78.4% of the people in the United States are reported to be Christians. Where are they all? If we examine the characteristics of Christians, much Christian living is lacking in America! Perhaps people have different ideas on what "Christianity" means.

Christianity is not a genetic trait. No one is a Christian because their family is. Because a person's progeny is full of Christian preachers has no bearing on an individual's spiritual status, other than that they may have the advantage of being taught about Christ and have Christian behavior modeled. Despite a person's mentors and modeling, Christianity is a personal thing! If "salvation", "born-again" and "repentance" mean little to a person's Christianity, perhaps the "Christian" should reconsider. It's better to be "saved" and err than to err in thinking one is saved!

There are things to consider when testing a person's own spiritual well-being. Let me define a Christian: It's a disciple of Christ! It's a person who follows Christ and mimics him. For a person to "follow" it's obvious that their must be faith in whom they follow:

  • Believe in the person that he is who he says he is.
  • Trust what the person says is true all the time.
  • Apply the person's teachings to one's own life.
  • Feel remorse for not measuring up to the standards taught.
  • Submit to the leadership of the person.
  • Repent for not meeting the standard.
  • Ask for forgiveness from the one you follow.
  • Accept the forgiveness given.
  • Pledge to change previous beliefs and practices which led to repentance.
  • Make a commitment to rely upon the person from here on out.
If you're to be a "groupie" of anyone, these are steps to become accepted as one of the group. To be a Christian, these are steps to becoming "born-again", "saved" and a disciple!

Some people work "magic". Rock musicians merely have to strum the strings of electric excitement and women, especially, swoon at their feet. However, such magic seldom happens to rational people and for the irrational, when real life sets in, the groupie is left languishing in loneliness. Their joy is short-lived because "steps" were not taken and a false picture was mentally projected.

"Grace" is a keyword in Christianity. It's God having mercy on even the worst of us. In fact the worst of the worst love him most because he forgives them the most. (More on love shortly). Grace is a gift of God; a gift that we don't deserve. Our evil nature and it's penalty are paid for by God. Christ "redeems" people. He pays the price that we should pay! Because it's grace, we can't work to receive the freely given gift. Those who are believers in "irresistible grace" believe in the magic which turns a sinner into a saint merely by his or her existence. There is nothing they are "to do" and "doing" things, according to them, opposes grace!

The "steps" above is in fact "doing". All are things which go on in the mind and soul, and are exchanges between the empty person's heart desiring to be filled, and an omniscient God ready to fill empty souls. None are actions and each are prayers, which are merely conversations with God! He tells us that we need to change and are doomed if we fail to follow him. We listen, feel guilt, learn, believe, accept, repent, etc. Our hands do nothing. Our feet don't walk. Going up front to pray isn't salvation... it's who wins the battle for your soul which makes a person "born-again". The war you fight when you desire to submit is real and whether a person is "saved" or not depends on who wins the "spirit and flesh" battle you fight in prayer as you attempt to join God's army!

Salvation isn't magic! It's a battle. It took weeks of prayer for me to submit. God was ready the first instant and before I even approached him, but it was me that had to make a decision to turn "me" over to "him". My sacrifice was me! It's always a battle between "Self" and God, or the Flesh and Spirit! Some teach that there is a magic moment when a person reaches out to God. That magic moment is only a start of a spiritual battle!

The steps above are litmus tests so a person can know whether they have become a Christian. These steps are not assurance that a person is "saved", however. The assurance of salvation is that a person's faith (all the above steps) is put into action or "works". Rather than doing the devil's deeds a new person, born-again, shows a desire to please the Lord by doing his will! Our "doing" God's will is our litmus test to check our own spiritual condition. If we have went through the process of salvation, but yet do not the things God commands, then we certainly do not love God!

God saves us because he loves us, even in our sins. However, God expects something in return. He expects us to love him back for sparing us from eternal damnation. Doing his will is the only way mankind has to show love to an invisible God. "Doing" God's will is a litmus test for us to know that we're saved!

Some introduce other litmus tests. The non-essential litmus tests make it difficult to have faith and sometimes undermine God. Here are some of them, although the list is not comprehensive:

Did you go forward to the church altar?
Did you cry?
After salvation do you feel love?
Did you testify?
Did you get baptized?
Did you speak in unknown tongues?
Did you feel differently?
Did you quit sinning afterwards?
Do you belong to the "right" church?
Do you attend church?
Have you quit bad habits?
Are all things now okay with you?
Have all your doubts been dismissed?
Were you immersed at baptism?
Where you baptized properly?

These are all "litmus tests" applied to you by others who readily judge your spiritual condition. Such judgments impede faith! Because Jesus saves, yes, a person feels the emotion of love! However, loving God is not a prerequisite for salvation. It's how a saved person thanks God!

Those who are born-again (becomes a new person in Christ) eventually are led to crying, going forward, testifying, being baptized, joining a church, etc., but all those are a result of salvation. Some are "babes in Christ" and as they mature they do more of these things. If they see no change, then they have a right to question the authenticity of their experience, but failure to do any of these things is not a test of salvation!

"Sacraments" are things you physically "do" to obtain salvation. Some of these implied sacraments are speaking in tongues, baptism, and attending the right church and sometimes some say that the preacher must be in the direct succession of Peter or John the Baptist! These are litmus tests and have no bearing on salvation. The fact that people get baptized and some people join your church, has little do do with the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice!

Some preachers ask "Do you right now believe without a shadow of a doubt if you die that you're going to heaven?" is a Baptist "litmus test". Oftentimes Christians do have doubts, but that does not diminish their salvation. It can be dangerous if it lingers in impeding the faith we have and making us "feel" lost, but with prayer, scripture and repentance our communion with God goes on! It's only when our doubt endures that we are in danger of apostasy or it never happened at all!

Never let litmus tests hamper your salvation. Never let another apply what that person has experienced and rob you of what you have experienced. You and only you know if you're right with God and he will let you know if you listen! That's half of communicating with God. We're to listen and then respond! Don't get robbed of your salvation by litmus tests other than what happened in your heart when you and God put the devil in his place!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Big Word for Today; Expediency

Big word is "expedient". It's used in the King James Version in the verses below, among other places. "Expedient"  means "achieving a particular end with an opportunity for self-interest."
1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
1 Corinthians 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.
"Christian liberty" is  freedom from the bondage of sin and the work of trying on your own. Everyone who is saved and formerly bound by sin is set free. Jesus paid the price for all our sins. He redeemed us, or one way to look at it, we were bound in slavery, but he bought our freedom! The payment was made in blood and by his death. He did that for us because our own blood is not payment enough. Our blood belongs to God anyhow, so there is no way to give God what already belongs to him!
Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
There are two types of slavery: to sin and to The Law . Actually scripture speaks more harshly of dotting the i's and crossing the t's in keeping the Mosaic Law, which is the commandments and all the regulations associated with them. The problem with slavery to sin is that it separates the person from God. The problem with keepers of The Law is that they are striving to please God without loving God or anyone else for that matter!

With salvation we are totally free of Mosaic Law. Dietary rules, ceremonial cleansing, ritual worship, animal sacrifices and the like are no longer required! In fact to do those things in trade for righteousness is viperous!  We're no better than snakes! Obeying commands BECAUSE we love God is what God desires. Don't get "Christian Liberty" confused. We are free to ignore laws, but because we're saved, we should never want to disobey any command! Rather than being metrics for punishment they are standards for love!

So obeying The Law isn't necessary for Paul (nor us), but it is "expedient", or, i.e., can be beneficial! The most expediency for obedience is as a demonstration of our love of God, but we get the bonus because we get some type of "crown" for our obedience!

Likewise, some things just don't "edify" or other words, don't enhance the mind or build character for the self, nor improve our standing with God. As subjects of the King, we are to "tend the royal garden". We are to make the kingdom of God a beautiful place. It's holy ground and we are to sew seeds of salvation and grow majestic disciples of Christ!

Some things which are not lawful, but we do anyhow, causes guilt on our part and disappoints God  Edifying God is lifting him up! We can't lift him up by putting him down!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Peace on Earth

"Peace on earth, good will to men" is from the carol  I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. "Longfellow got it wrong" I thought, until I finished singing his song: "There is no peace on earth,  For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men."!

 Wesley got it right too! "Hark! the herald angels sing 'Glory to the newborn King Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!' " from Hark, The Herald Angels Sing. Jesus came to reconcile every individual to him. That's individual peace.

We get so accustomed to rattling off cliches that fictions becomes truth. Not really truth, but people accept it as such!

We've shortened the thought! It has become "Peace on earth, good will to men"! That's not true. Jesus actually said the total opposite:
Matthew 10:32 "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."
Jesus came with  a sword and with that sword a battle is to be fought here on earth! Jesus wields a mighty sword and with it, people will turn on one another! There shall be dissension in households and there will be war against principalities. What is the sword Christ wielded?
Epehsians 6:17 "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God..."
The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. It's scripture which we use to receive truth, comfort and strength from the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God who remained on earth to guide and direct us. His guidance and direction are the words of Jesus, left here for posterity. Christians can only wield the sword if they read scripture and by having the sword, they excel the enemy who has nothing! Jesus went on to explain about the war he was to bring:
Matthew 10:37 "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."
The first four warnings are negative on context. People who love  others before God are not worthy of him! That includes father, mother, son and daughter. If we allow others to influence or diminish any faith we might have, even though they are loved ones, then we aren't worthy of God! Our love is displaced. Love of God comes first and many, even in our home, will disparage Christ! We must defend our faith against even those we love and are not to relinquish our faith under pressure from anyone!

Another negatively connotated  warning is that those who fail to "take up the cross" are not worthy of Jesus. Taking up the Cross is having a strong belief and trust in Jesus, called faith. Those with little faith battle against God. They put the things of the world before God, just as they put family members before God! Not only do men battle against God, but they put family before God. That's warfare!

Lastly, on the negative side, is our own life! Those people who put themselves first, battle with God. However, this negative warning is followed by a positive reward "he that loseth his life for my name sake shall find it". Under persecution for being a disciple of Christ, if we hold firm, then we shall be rewarded for our battle. In this case those dying in Jesus' name place Jesus over them self!

The next are not truly warnings, but instructions. We are to receive Jesus, the prophets, righteous men, and have charity, "he in no wise lose his reward". The obstacle to all these charges are the two "S's": Self and Satan. Choosing "good" and charitable acts are war! Satan tries to deceive the Self into not listening to Jesus, the prophets, righteous men and certainly charitable acts to demonstrate love. We always have that deceiving voice saying "You're pitiful! Don't do that!", whereas the Spirit comforts and instructs us. That's the war between us and principalities being waged all the time!

The sword of the Spirit is the offensive weapon of the full armor of God. The shield, breast plate, etc. are defensive. We're not to just stand there and be struck by the forces of evil, but are to strike out against evil with the sword provided by the Spirit. If we learn, understand and live scripture, our righteousness becomes the paramount weapon against evil!

Yes, there is a war going on! It's spiritual warfare and that's because Jesus came. It was war Jesus brought to earth. It was waged in heaven, but now it's here! There will be no "peace on earth" until Jesus comes back to reign. However, in the interim, Jesus did come to bring peace to our hearts!
John 16:33 "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Jesus came to provide islands of peace in a sea of turmoil. While mankind fights God and each other, good cheer resides in the hearts of those who trust in Jesus. We have peace in our hearts because Jesus said "I have overcome the world",  and he did just that!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Evil Lurks Well Hidden

What is evil?

Meriam-Webster Dictionary defines evil as simply "morally bad"! That raises two questions: 1) Whose morals and 2) What is bad! It would appear that bad and evil are the same thing. Therefore, the definition doesn't define!  I prefer to consult a omniscient person and I only know one! "God, what is evil?"
2 Chronicles 12:14 "And he (King Rehoboam) did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord."
The bad king did evil by doing two things: He failed to submit to God and he failed to seek the Lord. Evil then consists of proud hearts and failing to do what's God's will.  God has obliged man by giving us all a standard to live by. God wills two things: Love God and Love others! Hence, evil is failure to love... period! The "heart" part is where love should lurk, but evil does often in its place.

God wrote down the "Ten Evil Things Not to Do". They are The Ten Commandments! We are to love God by 1) Placing God above all else, 2) having no idols, 3) honoring God and his name and 4) keeping the Lord's Day holy. Doing evil to God is failure to keep the first four commandments.

We are to love others by: 5) honoring our parents, 6) having sanctity for life, 7) having sex within the bounds of Holy Marriage, 8) being honest, 9) being truthful and 10) being satisfied with what's ours. Doing evil to others is failure to keep the last six commandments. Since, we do the last six to show our love for God (John 14:15), all ten are truly loving God.

What is evil? It's failure to love God and that turns back again to my earlier premise: "evil is failure to love God" period!

When was evil born?

Evil was always there for mankind. It existed in the heavens long before Adam and Eve were ever created! The devil, called the angel Lucifer, was the first evil-doer:
Isaiah 14:12 "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High."
Lucifer, the angel, was the first to do evil, then other angels followed!
Jude 1:6 "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
"The first estate" is their heavenly home! It's the kingdom of God.. Under the English monarchy at the time of King James, there were three estates: the clergy, the nobility and the commoners; the first, second and third, respectively. The clergy were emissaries or messengers of God, as were the angels which means "messengers".  Hence, the angels fell out of the graces of the King (God) because they owed allegiance to a "Pretender to the throne". Lucifer was that "pretender" to God's throne just as many of the kings of the middle ages had heirs who would be king.

Who is the author of evil?

Satan who is the angel Lucifer is the author of evil. He did evil first and set the example for mankind.  He desired to be King in God's place because he was proud:
Ezekiel 28:17  "Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee."
It's easy to see that Lucifer became an evil-doer because of pride, but too, he corrupted wisdom. He was a liar! Jesus had this to say about Satan:
John  8:44 "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
Satan killed angels who followed him as he did all men since who fail to repent. We all died spiritually by this murderer yet most people still follow him. Why? He's a liar and people believe him! The first evils were pride, murder and lying and Satan did them first!

Why is it important that evil be done?

Evil is necessary for Lucifer because he is a "pretender" to God's throne. His desire is to take God's place. He does evil as rebellion against God. Pretenders have their own armies and fight the legions of kings. Lucifer's angels are his army and he fights God and the angels of light. There is a war going on in heaven and humans are collateral damage. It's a numbers thing. Just as pretenders gained power by killing the most Englishmen, Lucifer gains power by murdering men who were created innocent!

Sometimes in the dark ages, pretenders became kings. At other times the king held onto his power! Our God is "Almighty God" and Satan's fate is the Lake of Fire where he and his angels shall be destroyed. Furthermore, those pawns of his, the collateral damage, will suffer the same fate!

What does evil look like?

Here's a description of what the appearance of evil is:

We can can only see one side of the moon. The far side is forever hidden! There is a dark side never seen by the naked eye!

Evil is like the moon:

On the face of it, Evil has beauty. If it revealed its ugly side, people would never choose to do it. Evil often has a sweet smile, suave ways and beauty to perfection! Only with the best technology can the backside of the moon ever be revealed. Likewise, only with the best discernment can the dark side of evil be seen!
The moon smiles at us from afar, but we are well-acquainted with it! Evil, just like the moon, may be someone or something we know very well. It may be someone who we love or with whom we work. Sometimes Evil is even near in church, sitting quietly beyond suspicion. The best of friends may even be parasites on which Evil steals a ride. We must be careful for Evil lurks around us all the time, but is as clandestine as that dark side of the moon!

Beware of Beowulf's Grendel. Don't get mooned... Grendel will get you if you don't watch out!

In short evil is disguised by beauty and other qualities. Just as the beautiful angel Lucifer did evil, evil has always assumed a pretty face. What is an evil deed? Perhaps pedophilia? Who are the "nicest" people to children? The ones who gives them candy and attention. It's the child molester! Evil works its wicked ways by assuming good characteristics. God's children should beware of Satan the pedophile!

Why do people do evil?

People do evil pretty much for three reasons: 1)  pleasure, 2) power and 3) wealth. Secondary reasons are related to these. Pride can be of pleasure, power or wealth. Reason is for power. Knowledge is for power and wealth. You get the drift. Evil is pretty much described by these three components of sin and those were all offered by "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil".

What are the consequences of evil?

Let's be brief! Here is the penalty for engaging in evil:
Romans 6:23  "For the wages of sin is death..."
Not only will we die a natural death as a result of evil, but also spiritual death! Before Adam sinned he was immortal. After he did evil he died! His death was physical and spiritual, and like him, we too shall die two deaths... unless we're saved from the second death:
 Revelation 20:14 "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
Those spiritually dead and those awaiting in the wings of hell will suffer the second death. That is the consequence of worshiping the pretender... being his pawn!
Revelation 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Revelation 3:5 "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
Those that overcome are those who refuse to be the pretender's pawns. They owe allegiance to King Jesus and not this cheap imitation "Price of the Air"! A name is added to The Book of Life when one pledges allegiance to the King!  This person puts on the "full armor of God" and becomes a spiritual warrior for the true King. He's there when the Pretender suffers total defeat and is cast into an eternal hell!

What are the methods of evil?

Evil paints a pretty picture for those gullible. Just as he described the "Tree" in the garden as "was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise (Genesis 3:6). The serpent described the tree as Epicurean, pleasant and able to produce reason. That translates into what I said before: evil is represented by wealth, pleasure and power!

The one who portends to love you most may be the one who leads you most astray. Satan uses evil people, puts demons in their empty souls and those pawns are the serpents which beguile you! It may even be a loved one or a close friend! Beware of Black Knights dressed in garments of white. Beware of Jezebels masquerading as angels of light! "Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing" (from Matthew 7:15).

Who is evil?
Hebrews 3:12 "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God."
First off, Christians are prone to evil. Satan wars against them first because they stand on The King's front line. They are wearing armor, but the evil Prince looks for a chink in it and attacks there. Once entry is made, unless the armor is sturdy, the entire attire is shredded and the naked soldiers of God mutiny!

Some will be fooled! That's a leaders trick. As George Rogers Clark said as he led the rag-tag army at Vincennes, "The water is getting more shallow! as he led into deeper water! Likewise, General Satan deceives as well. Remember, he's "the father of lies":
Isaiah 5:20 "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
In this "progressive" age this is called "spin"! Truth is twisted and falsehoods made truth. It's sort of the Orwellian concept of "doublespeak", a fictional language which disguises, reverses and distorts meanings of words.  God warned Isaiah of doublespeak and Isaiah warned us. Orwell warned us again!

What can we do?

Only God is good, but we can endeavor to copy God. We strive to be righteous and that is the absence of evil.
3 John 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
It seems that there are two empires: a righteous one and an evil empire! God gave us the ability to choose sides. We don't have to do evil, but yet most do! It's not that we know we're following the Pretender to the Throne, but because he tells us that wealth, pleasure and power is with him... and people believe him! If you think that's silly, Hitler did the same thing and 93% of Germans voted for him in his last election!

Are we protected from evil? 

Those warriors of God fighting in God's army have protection. God puts a hedge around us and gives us his armor and he watches out for his obedient children:
1 Peter 3:12 "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil."

You see the good King is our Protector. Just as kings were "Protectors of the Faith" in times of old, God is "The Protector of the Faithful" in all times, being the same King yesterday, today and tomorrow!

Monday, December 15, 2014

How to Grow a Dead Church

"Do as I say, not as I do!" is an old refrain pointing toward the hypocrisy of the speaker. Many people fail to see their own shortcomings and then point toward the actions and behaviors of others. We do that, and I sometimes do, because subconsciously we recognize our own faults. It's easy to teach against lying if a liar is speaking. Liars normally understand the mechanism quite well and is actually issuing a subliminal warning to themselves.

I've heard preachers do the same! They warn congregations to be inclusive and friendly, but they fail to do so themselves. It's offensive to listen to reproof from those who need reproof! Some teach against cliques, not recognizing their own! Church growth can be achieved by being genuinely welcoming and maintaining friendliness. Many churches are welcoming to the newcomer, but within a few weeks, the visitors find themselves estranged! Friendships should be enduring, sincere and inclusive.

When I taught Sunday School, I watched for church visitors. I immediately invited the adults to my Sunday School Class and told them where each child should go. If they failed to come, I was persistent! My goal was to put out a wide and friendly welcome mat.

It's crucial to be friendly AT CHURCH, but friendships must exist OUTSIDE the doors! If a family attended a second time, the entire family were guests of my family for lunch after church. Our ministry was treating newcomers to a fine dinner. It was beyond our tithe, but worth it for friends have intrinsic value beyond dollars! Furthermore, friendship continues in the same light. Being friendly and being friends never ends!

Studies show that "friendliness" is the primary metric for church attendance. Most churches fail. Some people are just ignorant of social grace, others are reserved, others introverted and most others just thoughtless or apathetic. It takes work and motivation to include others. Inclusion is not only those of the same economic class or social interests, but including those in your circle who aren't popular or not blessed by affluence.

Part of inclusion is sitting in different places at church. The pew doesn't belong to you and others have a right to it! People should endeavor to sit in a different location each week. That's a first step. The next step is "get to know them"! Don't tell me what to do... show me how to do it!

Many churches have organized greeting. A minute or two is taken where people are directed to greet others and shake hands. That's good, but not sufficient. That's necessary because most people don't do it on their own! Many nice people wait to be friendly and are friendly when told to be, but that's not genuine. If people came in the door and greeted others before the service, friendliness will have been achieved.

I've been to churches where people seek a good seat up front. Those are growing churches. Getting there early to get a back seat shows some type of inhibition. Before I was right with the Lord it was my secure hiding place from the call of the Holy Spirit. It took the eyes of the preacher off me because others were closer. Also, I didn't have to participate back in my safe seat. Guess what? No one makes a person participate even if they sit up front! Up front are the really safe seats because the preacher targets those who never participate in the service. Most of those sit outback! The pews need to be on an horizontal escalator. Once everyone is safely seated in back, then the preacher pushes a button and everyone is transported to the front!

People who are able to minister need to be welcomed by finding them a place to minister! Church leaders have an obligation to find newcomer's gifts and use it for the work of the Lord! Leaders shouldn't wait for volunteers because newcomers wait to be needed. With no encouragement newcomers think "I'm not needed here!". What's worse is when a newcomer continually volunteers, but no use is ever found for them.

Teachers and leaders should never be in permanent positions. Neither should they be nominated by a committee. Nominations should be open to the congregation. Rotation needs to happen so new people can be active. Also, new thoughts are taught with different people teaching.

Deacons must know how to be deacons and called to minister! Their job is to minister to the congregation. They are to be super-friends and counselors. They need to know how to pray to God and how to pray for sinners. They must know how to lead a person to salvation. People don't need deacons to take are of the budget, etc. They need super friends who are wise, discerning, selfless and dedicated to God. Deacons should never be for those seeking prestige or just fill a vacancy! Deacons should be in charge of visitation and making it happen! Deacons should be the welcoming committee at church!

When people go to a church for the first time, if they show one iota of interest, they expect a visit from the pastor and/or a deacon! After they attend the second time, most people would like a visit from a mere congregant. Better yet, the newcomer would like an invitation to lunch or to a home... not merely "come back to church".

At one church that I attended I was the visitation leader. I had as many as 30 people who came to the church on Thursday night. I would have ready a list of visitors, shut-ins and those sick. I also had maps ready so that the callers could easily find their assigned family. People were visiting the church every week. Visitation was working! However, after one or two Sundays, visitors found out our little secret: we were not a friendly and sincere church!  When the leadership failed to encourage friendliness and actually defended those who were hostile, I moved on! Even I didn't want to attend an unfriendly church!

Most churches have fellowship dinners. Those are to so people can get to know others and include visitors. Examine what happens: People sit with their family and friends and visitors are left to themselves! Friendly people can be thoughtless people. Look for others who are isolated and include them in your circle! Your new friends will become your friend's friends and with that done, that's a church family!

With friendliness achieved within the church, for growth to occur it must be done in the community. Churches don't grow by merely inviting others to church. Before a family is invited, friendships must first be established! Seek out those unchurched in your neighborhood, befriend them, become real friends, then invite them to church. Your true friendship sets the example and they will desire to be part of your extended family.

John Maxwell taught church growth in my church for three months. We grew from 32 to 340 in a year. Our method was what I outlined above. However, when people felt their mission had been accomplished, attendance reversed. Friendship is not a program! Friendship is a relationship. People see the difference!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Shallow Hal - Shallow Gal on Marijuana

Shallow Hal was a recent movie. It was about a man who looked only on what's obvious. He was hung up on outward beauty, but ignored what's inside. One day he saw inner beauty and fell in love with it! Thereafter, the outer beauty became insignificant to the extent that the inner beauty shined through, exceeding what met the eye.  Women are that way too! It's not a gender specific malady. We also have Shallow Gals!

People only see the obvious. They turn their thinkers off and fail to examine the entire package. Humans, for the most part, are not holistic thinkers! People, every day, partake of poisons to the body because they taste good or feel good. Pleasure outweighs health!

If we look at example, there is a certain toe fungus medication with horrendous side-effects. Many people, to have beautiful toenails, endanger their health, even their life! The dangers significantly outweigh the benefits.

In nutrition shops all over the world are herbs and mixtures which purport to provide all types of benefits from sexual prowess to longevity in years. They guarantee perfect skin and vibrant health. Most of the benefits are imaginary or minimal. Many are dangerous, yet people endanger themselves for the hope of improvement. People are shallow thinkers!

Years ago, although I never ever bought one, I looked at Playboy magazines. My thinking was shallow! I received pleasure in looking at naked bodies, but never looked beyond that. As I matured as a Christian I considered the word of the Lord. It does not say anywhere "Do not look at girlie magazines", but if anyone considers texts on lust, respect, etc. discriminating thinkers will realize that wasting time looking at bawdy pictures takes time from worshiping the Lord, and can become an idol itself!

 I considered this all one day after I had a child and thought "Those girls are somebody's daughters!" I quickly realized how awful it would be if it was my own daughter grown men were gaping! Furthermore, the hedonistic articles between the "spreads" are another gospel. They teach things which are an abomination to the Lord! Christians endanger their very soul gradually as they absorb Satan's gospel of pleasure!

At one time I was Shallow Hal with entertainment. I used to skip Sunday evening worship to watch Cher. With her provocative dress, I'm not even aware of listening to her music! I put Cher over God! I was shallow! Now before I buy any music album or watch a movie, I consider the whole. "Will this entertain? Will it offend God with filth, homosexuality, sex, or disrespect?" I also ask "Do I want my hard earned money to go to this actor, musician or writer who is at odds with what I cherish whether it be politics or religion?" (I will not support atheists or liberal Democrats if I am aware! I just can't ignore their antipathy to things I hold dear!).

I'm no longer Shallow Hal! I am discerning and principled. I'm not going to dishonor God for my own pleasure if I can help it. I look beyond the outward at the mechanism inside. Those people have an agenda, I'm on that agenda, but I won't go willingly to the "gas chambers" so to speak. I'm going to put up a fight for truth, right and righteousness. My money is not going to aid and abet them!

People have their priorities wrong. Much of it is directed toward wealth or the pleasure which riches can buy:
1 Timothy 6:10 "For the love of money is the root of all evil"
Entertainers and entertainment are driven by money. People who have money are respected, loved, and even idolized. Those people live extravagant lifestyles at your expense! I say "yours" because I make an attempt for it not to be my money which allows them to disparage me!

My introduction to Shallow Hal (i.e., shallow thinkers) is a prologue to comprehensive thinking on the current rage to legalize marijuana and minimize it's effects. Shallow thinkers want to legalize it. It's enjoyable to the user and is a good tax source. That is the outward beauty of Mary Jane, but I guarantee that ugly Hilda lies just beneath the surface! Shallow Hal failed to look at the inner woman. Shallow Gal fails to look beyond the beauty of Mary Jane!

Since this is a Christian blog, let's get scripture out of the way. Most users will ignore what God says because Mary Jane has already beguiled the user! Heavy users of marijuana are beyond help until they are sober. No one ever accused heavy users of marijuana to be discerning, so why would we expect them to discern? Heavy users are by definition shallow people, but read the scripture anyway; to appease me if nothing else!


We are all to remain sober. Soberness is temperance and thoughtfulness. It would seem that most people use "MJ" to be mellow. Indeed that is the use of recreational marijuana. Mellow people are not thoughtful and their behavior is fogged by the somatic influence of THC. Here's what scripture says about sobriety:
1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour..."
This verse answers why men should remain sober and alert. It's because there is a war going on between "principalities" , evil spirits and you! Those with clouded minds allow the devil to come in and fill the empty place in the minds and souls of the person. Users don't stand a chance. The devil will devour them! No one wants to be eaten by evil lions, but that's what's beyond the pleasure of MJ! The devil can steal the soul of the user right from under them. Even the casual user is intrigued to use more MJ or other stuff! Sin compounds itself gradually because Satan is patient!

Users are apathetic. That's another characteristic of marijuana. People, as they mellow, just don't care. They fail to consider or have impaired judgment due to the mental fog! Of course they care about the "Self", but that's the extent of it until even pleasure exceeds the preservation of the self. Heavy users also allow themselves to be exposed to danger in the pursuit of pleasure. Scripture tells us to beware and apathy is, well; pathetic!


Apathetic people just don't care. They have few strong thoughts or even emotions! Being "mellow" on MJ is being apathetic. That's what users choose to be! They are in effect shielding themselves from real life! In the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was this conversation:
"Six years later it was being produced commercially. The perfect drug."
"Euphoric, narcotic, pleasantly hallucinant."
"Glum, Marx, glum." The clap on the shoulder made him start, look up. It was that brute Henry Foster. "What you need is a gramme of soma."
"All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects."
Controlled people in a future dictatorship were apathetic to their own slavery because they were manipulated by the drug "soma". Marijuana is that "soma" and people want you apathetic for reasons. Mellow people care little about religion, politics, freedom nor tomorrow! Soma induced people have succumbed to the roaring lion!
Ephesians 5:16 (ESV) "Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Romans 12:11 (ESV) "Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord."
Heavy MJ users are burn-outs. They make little attempt to manage time and they are slothful! Casual users show degrees of apathy whether they know it or not. Fooled by the pleasure, they fail to see that they are listless, have poorer judgment and are more self-centered. With time the casual user may graduate! People who open themselves freely to the influence of foreign substances exercise poor judgment! After all, if you don't want to shoot yourself, don't play Russian Roulette!


Yes, we are to stay alert!
1 Peter 1:13 (ESV) "Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Matthew 24:42 (ESV) "Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming."
How can you consider your well-being if you're judgment and thought processes are dimmed? The spiritual reason for remaining sober is to keep ourselves sensitive to the calling of the Holy Spirit. When he calls us to salvation, we must care enough to respond! As with Huxley's soma, MJ does negatively influence Christianity because there is no such thing as a non-caring Christian! To be a Christian one must feel sorrow, repent, believe and accept Jesus. Apathetic people feel little remorse, let alone faith!


God tells us many places "Don't do things the pagans do!", but yet that's what people do! It's called rebellion and shows utter disrespect for what the Lord wants for us!
1 Corinthians 10:20-21 (ESV) "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. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons."
MJ, as are all illicit drugs, are tools if demons. Whereas, pagans care little for God and use drugs and so forth in rebellion to him, Christians copy pagans with little aforethought, let alone remorse! Is a listless, inhaling, roach-holding and belligerent druggie doing what Jesus would do? Only a fool would think so! MJ is drinking "the cup of demons" and by inhaling that "drink" people open themselves to that roaring lion. It is common knowledge that MJ is a gateway drug! It opens the lions cage, so to speak, if not petting the lion himself!


Now for discerning reasons. We must think deeply and coherently. Our thinking must be contiguous! Here is some deep thought recommendations for Shallow Hals and Shallow Gals:

Medical marijuana: It does nothing that prescribed THC will not do and contains many unknown side effects. Medical marijuana is merely putting the foot in the lions mouth. It opens the door for recreational use and sales show that in California, most people seem to have glaucoma! Surely not!

THC alone, without the tars and various untested chemicals of marijuana, can cause heart attacks and cognitive effects described in Wikipedia:
"THC intoxication is well established to impair cognitive functioning on an acute basis, including effects on the ability to plan, organize, solve problems, make decisions, and control impulses. The extent of this impact may be greater in novice users, and paradoxically, those habituated to high level ingestion may have reduced cognition during withdrawal."
Simply put, users don't think right! They become irrational, unorganized, indecisive and impulsive; and that's without all the other inherent dangers!

THC increases psychosis two-fold and  even at an earlier age. No sane person desires to be psychotic, but that's what THC does!

Atherosclerosis is increased due to THC. This affects the functioning of the heart and brain!  Furthermore, THC can have adverse reactions with other medicines. Using THC is as silly as a vain person using toe-nail fungus medicines as mentioned earlier! The risks vastly outweigh any perceived benefits! It would seem that medicinal marijuana is recreation for the sick who want to get sicker!

Now let's move on to marijuana. Even pure MJ, according to A History of Cannibus can produce "unwanted side-effects (which) can sometimes include a decrease in short-term memory, dry mouth, impaired motor skills, reddening of the eyes, and feelings of paranoia or anxiety. Who wants to be absent minded, paranoid and overly anxious, not to mention the red eyes and dry mouth?

There are over 400 chemicals in the cannabis plant, and some 61 of them are peculiar to that species. Since cannabis is low in nitrogen few have been isolated and have unknown effects;  THC being the main one synthesized. What these chemicals are capable of doing to the body is unclear, but the user clearly ingests a smorgasbord of potentially dangerous drugs! On top of that, there is 18 more times tar in marijuana than in cigarettes!

A technique used by MJ pimps is to add other ingredients to joints for two reasons: 1) increase potency or 2) take low grade MJ and add by-products to increase the volume. PCP is the booster many use for increased potency and trash weeds increase volumes. Clearly, black market marijuana is laced with harmful chemicals and the user is the guinea pig!

All people who use MJ in the United States are currently law-breakers whether it's legal in their state or not. It's a federal offense! In order to bring MJ to the people criminals peddle their wares. People get killed so that users can get high! If you are a user, you're an accomplice in crime and likely murder!

Have you never thought of these things before, Shallow Hal and Shallow Gal? Think on these things now!

Let's look at things at a deeper level shallow thinkers.

Cigarettes are being banned because of their health dangers, medical treatment costs and second-hand smoke. Marijuana is certainly even more harmful to the health, will drive the cost of medical insurance sky high and second-hand marijuana smoke is worse than the smell of tobacco for most of us!

Kids use cigarettes because adults model for them. The same goes for marijuana. Kids will use MJ to be more adult-like. That's just common sense! There is no way in the world to ensure kids are MJ free. It can't be done for cigarettes because of so much ease in getting them, and it won't work for MJ.

I mentioned earlier that a reason I don't look at Playboy is because it's someone's daughter. The kid who chooses to smoke dope may be your own child or grandchild. Many people turn their heads to "other kids", but it may be your child who becomes a MJ burnout! I've been there. The entire family becomes dysfunctional and rational conversation is non-existent!

Even if MJ is legal, employers will never stand for employees to work when high. This means that potheads will eventually be weeded (ironically so) from the workforce. MJ users are a danger on the job to other people and themselves. Insurance companies will surely reject workmen's compensation claims for employees injured when using.

Then we look at careers! MJ users just don't cut the mustard when in competition with motivated people. As a manager I found it easy to spot their methods. MJ users will never be as successful as their straight counterparts unless they are in a vocation MJ friendly!

Very important is the increased medical costs for those using MJ. I've spoken of the increased chance of various diseases associated with MJ use. Someone pays for that! Under Obamacare, that's likely you! Why should you pay for others to abuse themselves?

The most dangerous outcome of MJ use is damage to others. I won't speak of pre-natal damage to the growing baby, but road accidents are of high concern. People who use MJ just are not as alert as those sober! That's why they use it; to become more mellow!

I could go on and on. In general it's stupid to use marijuana. However, the stupidity of it goes unnoticed by Shallow Hals and Shallow Gals. In fact irrational users convince themselves, relying on magazines and entertainers to teach them the "truth' when such sources have nothing to gain by truth!

Legalized marijuana is a "stupid tax" on shallow personalities. Users pay the government because they fail to consider all the issues. Unmotivated people are just not deep thinkers!

The government, when it's legalized, are the winners! It gets more of your money to waste and you become less prone to worry about freedom issues. Marijuana is the "soma" which dictatorships use to control. In effect users relent their freedom to get high. They pleasure in their slavery!

People who smoke "good" dope just can't afford it! Where do they turn? Theft! My home was broken into so juveniles could use my cameras and jewelry to buy drugs and get high. I know who did it. It was the neighborhood potheads. Any thoughtful person must know that theft costs are high and most of theft is drug related, including MJ!

Consider rape, assault and many other crimes. They are done by people who for the most part want to get high. They are either marijuana users or harder drugs, but even marijuana is a gateway drug to more potent chemicals!

Think on these things. Inhale deeply and breath the fresh air of truth buried deeply below the mainstream thoughts. Quit copying musicians and entertainers. Be an individual. People who think for themselves, don't follow the leader when the leader is insane.

Now exhale. If you are in a space without marijuana and THC isn't embedded in your brain, you may be able to consider these things. Unfortunately, users don't think straight and you may have to wait until some street peddler takes all your money before the THC clears enough to be rational. If you can abstain for about a month, think on these things!