Friday, February 28, 2014

Essential for salvation: "Sorrow" often lacking

Let's get serious: pleasure is enjoyable! That's why it's called "pleasure"; unrestricted freedom to choose what one desires.  What do you desire? That's pleasure!

1 Timothy 5:6 "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth."

There seems to be a cause and effect here: living for pleasure is a zombie-like existence! In this age zombies are in vogue. Most people love movies and television shows about the walking dead, but that's for their entertainment. They get pleasure from the surreal. 

However, zombies are fiction (except for a few case in the Bible):

Matthew 27:51 (KJV) "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."

Yes, with God all things are possible, but 1 Timothy 5:6 refers not to a physical condition, but a spiritual one! Those who never repent and accept Christ as savior will die spiritually:

Romans 8:12 "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

Those who live for pleasure are spiritual zombies. I see them every day! Most people are spiritual zombies. Most people live for pleasure. Those zombies walk the path most taken:

Matthew 7:13 "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction..."

Therefore, those who live for pleasure are as zombies walking through a wide gate; that gate is eternal or spiritual death! We are all mortal and will die, but we have a choice with spiritual death. We can live for pleasure and die, or live righteously and have eternal life. Our ability to make a "choice" is God's grace and that grace is qualified by one condition: a walk of faith in Jesus Christ and belief in his propitiatory death on the cross.

Those who accept eternal spiritual life through Christ must cease to live for pleasure. They are to endeavor to be as sin-free as possible. Pleasure is in reality the satisfaction of the senses: taste, smell, hear, touch and see. Some add a sixth sense. Christians would add "conscience" as one. However, all the proven senses involve pleasure! It is pleasure to taste a fine wine or eat some Epicurean delight; to enjoy the aroma of a fine flower; to delight in the sound of the rain on a tin roof; to comprehend the caress of the flesh or to see the beauty of the green hills or the sight of a pleasing smile. However, good that can be sensed, all those senses are capable of evil. It's how we use those senses and what is our priorities. Admiring the beauty of the human body isn't sinful; it's the lust that erupts that is!

"Abuse of pleasure" is the problem. God gave us pleasure. He created our senses to enjoy what he has created. All our senses serve purposes. Senses are for learning, safety, acquiring wisdom, avoiding obstacles, guiding forth and pure enjoyment; among many others! God did a great job in giving us the ability to have pleasure. What's the problem then? It's living for pleasure!  A person can't live for God and live for pleasure because by doing that the person has created an idol. Pleasure is the god or goddess of "Self".  Having other gods before Him is sinful!

You say "I still worship God!" Take a close look at The First Commandment:

Exodus 20:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." 

"Before me" means "besides me"! The Jews never had a problem worshiping God. Their problem was having other gods besides the One True God! Those gods were whatever pleasured them.

 The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. Man commits idolatry whenever he honours and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods, or demons (for example satanism), powerpleasurerace,ancestorsthe state, money etc." There are many Bible passages supporting this definition and most Protestant's concur: living for pleasure is a personal idol!

Now back to the feeling of "sorrow". To be forgiven there needs to be a reason to seek it! We must have sinned. Basically, all sin is summed up by one word "pleasure". Original sin was to be "as gods". That's pride! Pride is a pleasure. It's not one that we outwardly sense, but that's where the sixth sense comes in: conscience. Our conscience can either guide us or mislead us. The conscious is the source of man's free will. It processes thoughts by evaluating the desirability of allowing the body to act on that thought or reject it.  Beauty turns into lust by the conscience allowing the body to act on the thought. 

Here's what's happening: Swimsuit model is spotted on the beach. The eye sees the image of beauty and passes it to the brain. So far so good! The girl so far is part of the scenery. She's an object within ones vision. The brain stores the image(s). The conscience retrieves the image and says "What shall I do with this information?" The conscience looks at the minimum of two obvious choices: 1) Enjoy her beauty and proceed with no further ado, or 2) think lascivious thoughts about her. The former is benign and normal. The latter causes the body to react physically as well as for the mind to get feedback: "It's okay to dwell on her as a sexual object".

Without God we humans tend to move directly to wrong choices. People dwell on the sexual component of vision. When we do we have pleasure. Natural man's goal in life is to provide pleasure to self! We do this well. Choice number 1 is elected when a Christian is "checked" by the Holy Spirit. He's our comforter! We don't have to reject submission to pleasure totally by ourselves. The Holy Spirit aids us if we cooperate by self-control.

Controlling the "self" is putting that idol in it's place!

1 Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

Seeing the swimsuit model in a bikini is not a sin. She is a temptation placed there by Satan to cause you to sin. He knows that "Pleasure" was your god and that pleasure is to appease self. As a Christian, you have put away the "Self" as an idol and to deny self is to avoid the temptation to pleasure oneself!

The conscience of the sinner is seldomly seared, but sometimes God's Spirit calls. Jesus knocks at the door where the idol "Self" resides. Self cant deny Christ entry or ask Him to come in! We only get so many chances. Pleasure stands at the door and holds his hand over the self such that self is blinded by what the world has to offer. When a person is dragged down and tired of the false pleasure offered by the world, the Spirit is willing. He calls! The conscience becomes convinced that there is more to life than pleasure and seeks inner piece. The other senses relent to the sense of conscience and our eyes are finally opened to truth and our ears now hear what God says!

With the realization that we have been living for pleasure (self), and that God promises so much more with eternal life (mercy), we are put in our place. We realize that we have wronged the One who loves us most! We feel sorrow for our sin! That's a crucial step to salvation for without sorrow why should we be forgiven? I think now of my own life:

My Dad was a godly hard working man who did his best to provide for our family of seven. He always struggled and seldom had more than a few dollars in his wallet at a time. He loved us so! Dad always placed the children and his wife over his own desires. Before he ate, he made sure his children were fed. We were clothed before he was. He was a perfect model of a father!

On a few occasions I sneaked into his bedroom while he was sleeping after he had worked long hours on second shift. I would secretly, in the darkened bedroom, find his trousers and take money from his wallet. I did this even though Dad saved his change for me without asking. That's grace!  

When I was older I thought about my theft. It's likely that Dad had only the money I took! As a result Dad likely had to do without lunch the next shift at work. He probably worked hungry. He surely was questioning why one of his children would betray him!  As I thought about my disrespect for the father who loved me, I felt sorrow. I hurt inside for what I'd done! That's my sense of conscience listening to the call of God's Spirit. I repented of my sin! What was my sin? I fed my god. I gave pleasure to "Self".  God's Spirit ministered to me and I sought forgiveness! 

Question: Without the sorrow I felt would I seek forgiveness. Emphatically "No"!  Sorrow is a pre-requisite for seeking forgiveness and without sorrow forgiveness is only a farce!

2 Corinthians 7:9 "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."

Many aren't truly saved because they didn't repent. Feeling no remorse, they went straight from belief to acceptance. They weren't saved because they weren't forgiven. Since they had no sorrow, their repentance is in vain and forgiveness eluded them! Why are there so many Christians living for pleasure? They were deceived in their desire to be rewarded by eternal life. Satan's goal is not that you should abandon God, but that you cling to other gods besides Him. That undermines God and Satan, knowing he will lose the battle, contents himself in denigrating God. While some profess Christ with their tongue they continue to worship "Self" by succumbing to and living for pleasure!

Who needs to examine themselves? Me, you and all! Are you lustful? Are you a liar? Are you a thief? Are you a drunkard? A partier? Vain? Gossiper? Slanderer? Unloving? Homosexual? Fornicator? If you're a Christian and hang onto these "pleasures", then self-examination is in order! Are you still worshiping an idol? Is "Self" being lavished? Or does God rightfully take precedence over self? Repentance may be in order, but sorrow must precede repentance!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dilly Dally

"Dilly-dally": A new dance? A video game? Soap operas? Continuous football games? What is "dilly dally"?  Will we go to hell for dilly-dallying? Are dilly-dalliers breaking civil law? Does your spouse care if you dilly-dally or is it a team activity? Dilly-dallying is a serious question for mankind! Are you a dilly-dallier?  What does the Bible say about dilly-dallying?

Hezekiah 3:21 (LHV) "Foolish are those who waste time, wander aimlessly or those who fail to make decisions."

Astute bible scholars will tell you that there is no such passage in the bible!  It's true that the Book of Hezekiah does not exist, but does the thought?

Dilly-dallying in fact are those who waste time, are aimless and indecisive. Let's look at real scripture:

Proverbs 24:30-34 (ESV)
30 I passed by the field of a sluggard,
    by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
31 and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
    the ground was covered with nettles,
    and its stone wall was broken down.
32 Then I saw and considered it;
    I looked and received instruction.
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

A sluggard is one who dilly-dallies! A sluggard is a layabout do-nothing underachiever! Solomon says he's a "man lacking sense". Poverty is a consequence of dilly-dallying!

Matthew 10:38 (ESV) "And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."

"Take his cross" is an action as is "follow me". We're to be people who energetically endeavor to do as Jesus would have us do! That's" taking up his cross". Bearing the cross is not the concept of carrying a burden or heavy load. The cross is a symbol of pain and death. Taking up the cross is a firm commitment. It's a willingness to die for the belief in Christ. We all say that we will, but will we? Many have. They are martyrs! All the apostles, save John, were martyred for taking up the cross of Jesus. Did they dilly-dally? No, they were willing workers, committed and dedicated followers of Christ. They left all they had and went with Jesus!

Right now people throughout the world are being imprisoned, tortured and killed for taking up the cross of Jesus. They are not dilly-dalliers. Right now more people than ever are suffering for carrying the cross of Jesus, yet right here in the good ole' USA, people dilly-dally. We can bear the cross with little opposition, yet the cross is too cumbersome. We are sluggards. Not only do those who are wondering aimlessly failing to accept Jesus, but they immerse themselves in pleasure so that they don't think about the inevitable! 

"Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes".—Benjamin Franklin in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789.

Ben was wrong. Judgment is certain. Eternity is certain. God is certain.  Why do we not entertain the idea that death is inevitable and there are two choices: eternal punishment or eternal life. Those who dilly-dally about eternity are just like those who drowned as the Titanic went down believing themselves to be safe and secure. This earth is a type of Titanic! People are partying, dancing, eating and drinking without a thought of sinking, but those who don't dilly-dally recognize the signs of the times. We don't know when planet earth will sink, but it's slowly submerging. It's sinking so slowly that few detect the danger. If we party enough we don't have to think about the inevitable. We can dilly-dally our way to eternal destruction! Here's the choices God gives:

Matthew 25:46 (ESV) "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Some want to believe in the Paradise of Heaven, but shun the idea of Hell. Regardless of what you believe hell to be, it is eternal punishment! Of course it's called a "lake of fire". The rich man begged for a drop of water to ease his thirst. That doesn't sound rewarding to me, but those who dilly-dallying have by default, selected eternal punishment and the lake of fire.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

There's those two choices again. perish or everlasting life. Since this verse parallels Matthew 10:38 then "taking up the cross" is identical to accepting that "God...gave his only begotten son"!  "Choices" implies aiming, not wondering aimlessly. We are to aim our hearts toward taking up the cross of Jesus, not half the cross, but the whole cross. We accept that Jesus died for us so that we don;t have to die! Just as Simon did, we must also take up that cross:

Matthew 27:32 "And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

Simon was forced to take up the cross. I'm not sure he got any points with Jesus, but he was afraid of a penalty from the Roman soldiers. I bet he didn't dilly-dally. He stepped right up and took the cross. He had choices too! He could have got lashes or even death, or he could do what was right. He chose life! 

We too have the same choice Simon had. However, our choice is even more profound. Whereas he would be punished by death in the flesh, our punishment would be living tormented flesh, but eternal spiritual death! Simon made a wise choice! What's yours? Don't dilly-dally yourself into hell. No warm-up, improvement or change is required. As the song says "Just as I am"! Those to whom God forgives the most will love him the most! Preparation for salvation isn't a requirement. Preparation is procrastination. Hell is full of dilly dalliers. Heaven has none!

Monday, February 24, 2014

On Discouragement

Discouragement is the lack of confidence, the lack of hope and lowness in spirit.

I get discouraged and so do you! Sometimes discouragement is appropriate and sometimes it's not. I'm discouraged at the condition of the world. It's a sick place destined for self-destruction. However, that discouragement is also my hope!

My "hope" is that the promise of God will be fulfilled. I have hope because I have confidence in what God says. For awhile I'll be low in spirit, but looking at the finish line, when it gets closer, I'll have joy. Right now the second advent of Christ seems afar, but, as he says "Behold, I come quickly!" (Revelation 22:7). Yet I may not live to see Jesus come back! In the meantime, I sometimes put my hope aside and dwell in self-absorption.

I desire things to go my way. They often don't. I prefer that people would interact with me the way I desire interaction. It would be great if no one thought ill of me, but they do. I prefer to never argue yet I somehow get lured into arguments. I have standards for my family which they may disagree with, even oppose. I'm imperfect and make mistakes. Some who I wish to love me don't! You get the idea... I want the world to revolve around me, yet it doesn't. I get discouraged because things don't always go my way. I get distraught when I'm not loved. I get stressed when someone minimizes me by being short-tempered in communicating with me. I get upset with myself when I let others discourage me!

Did you notice the focus in the above paragraph? It's on "me" and "I", my favorite idols. Your idols are your "I" and your "me". You have idols too. "Need theory" says that your hunger and thirst must be satisfied, you have a need for friendship, you have need of love and acknowledgement and you have needs for confidence in yourself.  Our lives are devoted to satisfying those needs and then having pleasure on top of that! 

If our needs are not being met and we have little pleasure in life, we get discouraged. With all the effort focused on "I" and "Me" there is little time to focus on Jesus and what he did for us. Our quest for satisfaction in life is the road most taken and the path to destruction. We will fail! We will be disappointed with our lives and become discouraged. Our spirits become low. Joy is not there and our confidence is shaken. Discouragement will kill because it causes anxiety!  We're uneasy about our life, our health, our love and our eternal destiny. Here's the solution to the destination:

1 Peter 5:7 (ESV) "Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."

Jesus is there for us. The things of this world are insignificant and will soon be history. We may be poor, we may have ill health, we may have loved ones die, we may have the ones we love spurn us; but all the while Jesus "cares for you" and that's what counts! He is our hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Yes, we get discouraged. Things may not go well here, but God has plans for each of us. His plan is our future which he gives to us and with a future there is hope! With hope comes peace and as thanks for the promise, we have joy. Joy obliterates discouragement!

The KJV says it best and is the most familiar:

Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

"Heavy laden" are those discouraged. It's a burden to exist. Our trials and tribulations are hard labors and toil will wear us out. If we come to Jesus he says "I will give you rest"! 

How do you come unto Jesus? You believe in Him and have faith that he will do what he promises. He will provide peace and relieve our load. He will make life worth the living!

With that said, will you be loved, consoled, and in agreement with others. Likely not, but it does improve things. If you focus on the Lord yourself, it makes you more lovable at the same time! Will you still have to worry about bills and meeting your needs. Yes. That's  life. That's the penalty we pay because of our forebears. However, God does provide for those who turn to him and  he will ease your burden.

Will the Lord improve your family? He sure can, but to do that we each must take the focus off "self" and put the spotlight on Christ and others. The command is to love God and others. There is no command to love ourselves although God through mercy does allow us to love ourselves enough to care! "Apathetic Christian" is an oxymoron. It cannot be!

I wish I could force others to love me. I wish those who loved me would be in greater unity. I wish those who love me loved me more. I cherish harmony and peace with those who are close to me. It may happen and it may not, but my hope is not in others; it's in Christ. Someday that peace I desire will be there! It's there, not only for me, but for anyone who truly turns to God!

James 4:9 "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Evil Comes in Pretty Packages

Who's the most popular woman on earth? If you answered Oprah Winfrey, you guessed it right. I have seldom watched her, but have read excerpts from her books and mostly just pay attention. I'm using her as an example because of her influence with housewives who watch her with eager eyes. With her power she helped George Soros bury Hillary Clinton's 2008 political ambitions and is co-responsible for Barack Hussein Obama's emergence as our president. She's a powerful lady!

Matthew 7:15  “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Firstly, before I lynch Oprah, let me explain "New Age".  The Columbia Enclyclopedia says "Adherents of the New Age movement believe that a spiritual era is dawning in which individuals and society will be transformed. The movement encompasses a wide range of ideas, including personal spiritual growth and self-realization, holistic medicine (including the use of crystals for healing), reincarnation, astrology, and the mystical energies said to be induced by pyramids."

The "New Age" is the "Age of Aquariu"s identified from astrology. Earth passing into this new astrological age brings in a new religion or spirituality. The new religion is a composite of eastern pagan religions, Yoga, holistic health, Druidism, spiritualism, Swedenborgism, theosophy, gnosticism, humanism, the human potential movement and heretical Judaism and Christianity. The new religion has their own "New Age Christ". He's just as one of the many other world religious personages such as Buddha. Confuscious, Zoroaster, Mohammed and the many gods of pantheism.

We are presently in the Age of Aquarius and the "New World Religion" is here! It's the religion of about everybody, excepting evangelical Christians. What's ironic is that the "New Age" is the same "Old Age" religion. Eastern religions such as those who teach Karma and "good" works have been around since the days of the biblical Nimrod. Nearly all pagan religions: Assyrian, Babylonian, Iranian, Vesta, Hinduism, and all the Greek, Egyptian and Roman gods and goddesses all originated with Nimrod.

Genesis 10:8 "And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth."

Nimrod is responsible for building all the major cities in the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires. He is credited by Flavius Josephus (History of the Jews)and in the Hebrew Talmud as the builder of the Tower of Babylon which was for astrological and pagan worship. Numerous pagan gods and goddesses were deified by him and as empires moved west, the gods of Babylon were given new names and became the well-knowm Greek and Latin gods and goddesses. Some have tentatively traced the Druidic religion back to Nimrod as well. The "New Age Movement" is the restoration of this "Old Age" pagan hierarchy of gods and goddesses.

New Agers consult "ascended masters" and channel the dead for wisdom and prophecy. Many New Agers claim that the advent of the New Age Christ came with the Age of Aquarius and has been here since the 1990s.  (These spiritual beings often impersonate well-know personalities).

Now back to Oprah. Any alert discerning person is aware of the self-awareness and positive affirmation principles Oprah propagates. It sounds beautiful! It's a positive outlook on life. She may even throw in Christ's name on occasion. However, few know that Oprah is a New Ager! Don't take my word for it. Snopes ( has verified her New Age teaching material (Marianne Williamson's for one), and her own books bloviate conspicuously on New Age thought.

Oprah teaches evil with beautiful words. No, it doesn't appear to be evil. That's why it's called "false prophets", in this case Oprah, is included in the statement  "a wolf in sheep's clothing". Just a little Jesus is mixed with the New Age religion to make it palatable. That's why YOU, Christian women, have been so gullible!

The entire world will someday be in harmony in religious thought. Peace and social justice will reign. All the judgmentmentalness of  God and his Son Jesus, will be removed from religious worship. Everyone will do what is pleasing to their own eyes, just as in the times before God instituted judges to the people. Likewise in previous times man had the same problem:

Numbers 15:39 "that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring..."

In short, the "New Age Religion" is anything else,  but biblical Christianity, with a "little Jesus" thrown in to deceive!  That's why we must be discerning:

Luke 12:56 "Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time? 57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?"

The time now is the Age of Aquarius. The New Age Religion is here! However, you Christians can't judge what's right!  I advise for you to not listen to Oprah and her ilk, because those who listen are subject to deception. However, if you do listen test her words against God's! The words of Oprah are not in congruence with God's Word and is against God! Anyone who is not for God is against him and is an antichrist!

Luke 11:23 "He that is not with me is against me..."

I know your thoughts: "I can listen to her because she's interesting and I won't be misled!" Isn't that what you were thinking? There's a war going on and you are the pawn. You're weak against those that are powerful. While you guard yourself with little thoughts of God, Oprah and the New Agers have "ascended masters" to advise and they are there to mislead as well!

Ephesians 6:12 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

Oprah sits on a high throne. She is honored even more than Obama. He's there because of her influence! We don't war against Oprah, but against those forces of darkness, those principalities who are using her to provide the glide path for Christians and the gullible to enter the New Age! Against the forces of darkness you're in danger. Just as Eve was deceived by smooth talk and deception, you may suffer the same fate! How do you avoid danger?

James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

If you don't want to be a drunkard, don't drink. If you don't want to be a murderer control your anger. If you don't want to be beguiled, flee from it! There is no reason in the world that a Christian should listen to Oprah! She's a charlatan. She advises without credentials. She remolds through positive suggestion. Her techniques are nefarious and her qualifications non-existent! Her degree from Tennessee State is in speech and the performing arts! How would that be credentials for psychological, spiritual and living advise. It's the blind leading the blind!

But yes, she does persuade! What's behind her? How does she lead so easily? In my opinion it is by the forces of darkness.

New Agers have an almost trance-like effect on leaders. Theodore Roosevelt listened to the advise of ascended masters. Nancy Reagan followed her horoscope. The henchmen of Adolph Hitler followed the teaching of theosophist Helena Blatvatsky, a prominant New Ager.  (Oprah is much as a modern Madam Blatvatsky!) The Third Reich, the Nazi Government, attempted to usher in the New World Order. It's time had not come! Now it has. We are in the Age of Aquarius. Buyer beware. Don't mistake evil for beauty!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

On Trust

What is commonly meant by trust is "reliance upon a person or thing". A jest has it that "trust me" in the business world means "buyer beware"!  Of course today "reliance" is the context of trust being discussed. Beware-ness will be saved for another day!

A friend is someone we know, like and trust. It goes without saying that a friend is someone we have known for some period of time because trust isn't something that comes quickly. Trust is time dependent. When plotted against time trust is always positive and it's almost a necessity that trust increases in time.

 In college the fraternity pledge class had what was called "FUPA's" It took several accomplishments to gain credibility as a "brother", but one screw up erased ten accomplishments. When a person received a FUPA his brother potential was in question until more accomplishments were logged. Usually, when an employee deals with the boss the same rules apply, it's just not a written standard! The accumulation of accomplishments and the absence of FUPA's create trust and the pledge or employee are more likely to become a fraternity brother or promoted (in the case of the latter example).

A person is usually not advanced until someone trusts that they have the integrity or performance to be elevated.  A trusted person is well thought of. If a person fails once even, then the person's reputation is at stake. Someone who never fails you as a friend is the most trusted! However, since we're all human, a friend may fail us. Then we are called to forgive that person. It depends on the depth of the breech of trust on how easy it is to forgive, but even with forgiveness the trust has already been jeopardized.

How many friends do you really completely trust? About the best I can come up with is that I can somewhat trust four or five friends. That's pretty good considering some friends are often late, sometimes forget, may offer weak support or may even do something wrong against me!  There is one friend which I have who is always there, never forgets unless it's forgetting the bad I do, supports me with a firm foundation, and isn't even capable of doing wrong. My one true unfailing friend is best described by the song "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"! Corny? Maybe, but true!

  1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
  2. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful,
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness;
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  3. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there.
  4. Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
    Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
    May we ever, Lord, be bringing
    All to Thee in earnest prayer.
    Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
    There will be no need for prayer—
    Rapture, praise, and endless worship
    Will be our sweet portion there.
Let's take a look at the "trust" in these lyrics.

1. We can count on him to help bear our burdens.
2. He offers peace.
3. He encourages us.
4. Jesus is faithful.
5. He shares our sorrows.
6. He helps us in our weakness.
7. He's our refuge.
8. He comforts us.
9. He protects us.
10. He suffers for us.
11. He provides hope.
12. He is our joy.

The song recounts only a few ways that we can trust Jesus! Trust (reliability) implies truth, integrity, soundness, invariability and safety! He's our only friend which we can count on to be these things.

1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV) "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost."

It's more than the "saying" that is trustworthy. It can be trusted because it points toward truth. That truth is "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!"  Why else would he come? There is no other reason. Paul said "of whom I am the foremost". That can be said of all of us! My friend whom I trust is Jesus.

What do you trust? Most people put their trust in science, knowledge, self, others, their firearm and even used car salesmen. You can pretty well say that "Honest Dave's Pawn" can be trusted. Honesty and integrity isn't gained by slogans, but by righteous action. If the activity of Jesus is examined, he never lied, he never sinned and he never failed in anything. What's more he loves everyone and wants what's best for all. The only full trust I have is in Jesus. He never fails. He provides true hope. Faith in him is the source of joy!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Power of Positive Thinking: Liberal theological spin!

There are two types of positive thinking: 1) Looking at things from a positive frame of reference and 2) optimism. The latter is actually "positive psychology". The first implies that negative things which happened can be given positive outlooks or positive aspects, while the latter, optimism, is an attitude that things are in an optimum state (i.e, that whatever happens is best). Normally, positive thinking is propagated by self-help gurus as a method of changing outcomes. Good things happen when we have a positive attitude. Studies, they show, tend to reveal that those with a positive attitude are more healthy/

Norma Vincent Peale wrote the pop-psychology "Christian" book called The Power of Positive Thinking. In this book the author attempts to harmonize liberal theology, affluence and psychoanalysis. Many people are gullible and gobbled this gobbledygook as if it was manna fom heaven. The "Christian" magazine Guideposts is the poison left over which still occupies coffee tables today. Since it's so positive in outlook, most Christians fail to see its damaging potential to orthodox Christian teachings! People are always searching for something new which will provide new or additional hope, but whatever comes forth is often in opposition to scripture:

Revelation 22:18 "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book..."

Peale was very "loose" with his understanding of scripture. That's a characteristic of liberal theology.  "Liberal Theology" is a by-product of The Enlightenment; the period in history where individualism and reason replaced orthodox beliefs. It's modernism. With that said "liberal theology" is an umbrella term for those who reject biblical mysticism, the divine inspiration of scripture and the inerrency of scripture.  Human thought and reason is paramount to revealed truth from the creator. Many proponents of liberal theology have a happy blend of science, philosophy and Christianity, with Christianity having the short end of the stick. When these ideologies have conflicts liberal theologians tend to prioritize science, philosophy, then Christianity. This is indeed "another gospel".

Christ had no sooner died than liberal theology began to creep into Christianity (The Enlightenment incorporated many aspects of philosophy and gnosticism, not with secret knowledge, but with human knowledge and reason).  Paul wrote this about those who were unorthodox:

2 Corinthians 11:3 (NIV) "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5 I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”

We are to be warey of super-gospels. Guess what? You are to be warey of what I write. You are to be discerning:

1 Corinthians 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

When I write something and it doesn't seem right (compared to scripture) don't accept it! My intent is to keep all commentary scriptural, but I am subject to bias and false thinking just as everyone else. What I wrote years ago astounds me now! Why? With spiritual growth, study and insight  I'm more mature in my thinking and with the intense study of history, I see the mistakes of heresy and the dire consequences of propagating untruth.

Reason can be the enemy of  Christianity, but reasonable people consider the possibility of the supernatural.  "I don't believe in ghosts and spooks myself!" you say. Although ghosts and spooks are supernatural, so is God. That's the mystical part of scripture which "reason" rejects. The mystery of God is anathema to liberal theology. For them it doesn't make sense!

According to The New Heritage Dictionary "reason" is "the capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought; intelligence." Using reason, the liberal theolgian places his view above God's. Does that sound familar? Here's the consequence of "reason":

Genesis 3:5 "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."

Adam and Eve were punished for desiring to know the things that God knew. By knowing "good and evil" they could therefore reason for themselves, whereas before they were accepting. Knowing that God is a righteous God, what they knew before their disobedience was "good". Consequently, after their sin "bad" was introduced into their mind. Now, everytime they think, there is a choice made between what is righteous and unrighteous. "Reason" is confounded by the deceit of Satan, hence left to their own reason, man is prone to sin!

Since, "Reason" (the choice between good and evil-libert to make a choice) was chosen over God, then Adam and Eve had "other Gods before me" as The First Commandment warned. "Reason" is "other Gods". If one thinks that I'm stretching the truth for expediency, consider France's post-revolutionary First French Republic which adopted Culte de la Raison  (Cult of Reason) as their national religion and the object of worship was the "God of Reason".  This cult rejected the existence of a deity. It was founded on anti-Christian principles of The Enlightenment and was a rejection of orthodox Christianity.  Many aspects of the Cult of Reason lives on in Liberterianism. In fact democracy is a product of The Enlightenment and itself leads to self-worship and survival of the fittest, heretical and evolutionary concepts, respectively. Complete liberty to do whatever each individual pleased was the Cult of Reason. That's pure liberterianism: individual truth and the pleasure principle.

I touched on the "mystery of God". We're not to be as gods and know all that God knows.

1 Corinthians 2:7 "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory..."

Reason is against God. We aren't to know all about God: why he is, what was, what he looks like, what is spirit and the like. The mystery of God defies reason because it's beyond our human capacity!  Back to "The Power of Positive Thinking". God is not a genie!  He is not directed  by what we think. That in itself is irrational for those who claim to be rational. If a "Christian" really believes in God it's silly to think that he can control God by thinking positive thoughts!

God is power, but mankind cannot direct that power. That would make man "as gods" in violation of The First Commandment!  By faith we can move mountains! Is that in contradiction with "positive thinking? Faith is not to be confused with cognition. We have faith because our mind tells us that if we believe that Jesus died for us and that as a consequence we have the hope of salvation; eternal life. Yes, belief is based on cognition, but the power is not in the mind. It's in the power of the blood! The power of God:

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

Believing that we can go to heaven by believing in the power of the blood is irrational. Reason rejects this. However, that is one of the mysteries of God! His plan was to save mankind in this manner. Why did an invisible God do it that way? Short of heaven, we'll never know and heaven itself is irrational to the liberal theologian, but not nearly as irrational as hell!

The liberal theologian most often rejects the concept of hell. "God is a good God and he wouldn't send anybody to everlasting punishment!" That's liberal theology. That's "positive thinking". Because we think that hell doesn't exist doesn't make it so!  "Positive thinking" is more of a mystery than is Christianity! Why would an all powerful God change things because a rebellious person calls him a liar!  That thought is much as the Islamic believe in a "genie" who is an invisible spirit inhabiting   the earth to influence mankind by appearing in human or animal form! I repeat: By believing that positive thinking changes outcomes is akin the belief in the Islamic genie!

Should we have negative thoughts? Why waste your time unless you're not a Christian? If you're an unbeliever it makes sense to worry about your eternal destiny. You might burn for hell and you need to think about that!  If you have unsaved children you need to pray for them because they're going to hell if they don't accept Jesus. If a Christian sins, it's expedient to ask for forgiveness because you've wronged God (a negative thought).  "Postitive thinking" in this case would be "I've sinned, but God is graceful. I can sin and still go to heaven." We're expected to repent. If we don't we jeopardize our communion with God. It may be that our prayers and worship cease to be effective, but with a life of sin, we may apostasize. Positive thinking can damn! We need pragmatic thought. Pragmaticism is an honest look at truth and dealing with it! It's being realistic.

Christianity is based on the irrational mysticism of God. That's called faith!

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Does faith sound "reasonable". From a scientific or philosophical standpoint, it's not! That's why it's called faith! From the standpoint of those who know Christ it's a different viewpoint:
Romans 12:1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
The "reasonable service" of a Christian is to dedicate ourselves as a living sacrifice unto an invisible God! That flies in the face of secular "reason" and is at odds with "The Cult of Reason"; liberal theology, to which "positive thinking" belongs!




Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine from God: A picture of human love

Love is an emotion? The best of the different definitions applies to those couples who are "in love": "A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance." (American Heritage Dictionary). Obviously, it is affection for another. "Affection" is an emotion. There we go; just as was expected: Love is an emotion!

What would you say if I said that love is a duty? It's something you're obligated to do!  Look at the following:

Ephesians 5:24 "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it..."

God didn't "recommend" that we love our wives. He didn't give us different choices: tolerate her, appease her, be a friend to her, kind of like her and so forth. It was a command to "love your wives". We are to do it. Since we have to DO, love is more than a feeling. It's more than an emotion.

Of course wives are to love their husbands as well and show their love by means of the passage which preceding this one:

Ephesians 5:24 "Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."

Marriage is a "picture" of our relationship with Christ. Just as Christians are to love and respect God, man and woman are to love and respect each other. Wives show their love to their husbands by "subjecting" themselves just as Christians "subject"  themselves to Christ! It's clear that God doesn't expect a woman to be a servant or slave to the husband to show her love, so it's necessity to examine how Christians are to "subject" themselves to Christ.

Being "subject" is submitting to. Look at this:

Ephesians 5:21 (ESV) "Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."

We are to be thoughtful and have charity for others. Instead of focusing on our self-interests, we prioritize the interests of others. In the case of Christ, we put him first. In the case of the wife,  she puts the interests of her husband at least on equal par with her own, if not before her own! We are REQUIRED to do that! Why? "Out of reverence for Christ!" Just as Christ was a servant to mankind, we are to serve others. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you..." The Golden Rule!

Peter says a little more about a wife's submission:

1 Peter 3:1 ( ESV) "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives..."

Wives must honor and love their husbands. By doing that even an ungodly husband can be won over. A person is convinced to love by being shown love. Those who are loved have joy in loving. Husbands, if you want your wives to love you, show them love. Wives, is you want love from your spouse, love him! Demonstrative affection wins over!

We are to love our mate as the Lord loves us. How are we to love the Lord?

Mark 12:30 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

This is the bride's kind of love for the bridegroom. That's the church's love for Jesus! "Heart" is emotion. "Soul" is with full communion between your spirit and God's. "Mind" is how a person meditates on the emotion. The "mind" fulfills the duty of loving a person! "Strength" is power. It's produced by work. It's obvious that loving God is more than emotion. It requires work and we have a duty to do that by using our minds to guide us in that direction. The mind is the link between body and soul. Emotion is a product of our humanity and love is a result of our mind guiding our body and becoming one in spirit. Love of God is becoming his soul-mate.

Likewise, our love for each other, especially are betrothed, is more than the dictionary definition of emotionally being attracted. Loving each other is a duty! It is work. Just as we become soul-mates with God by using our minds to guide our emotion, we must also do that with each other! We are to be in unity. That's a duty!

Genesis 2:24 "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

Let's first look at what God didn't command: He didn't say" They shall live together in animosity with one another." God didn't say that, but that's how couples live! Why? Because they don't strive for love and unity. When the erotic spark is gone couples abandon philio love. That's the love that dear friends have for each other. That's unity. With an erosion of unity eroticism is not lost. It's only immersed in selfishness. The mate has quit being submissive to the needs of the other!

Self-interests hurt love: He said something that hurt me. He smells. He's a know-it-all. He's old. He's heavy et al. An encouraged mate can be more charitable, can bathe, can be sorry, will exercise and eat right,  and can at least live as if he's not old. There is a cause and effect in love. If one mate is sharp-tongued to the other, love is diminished. If the mate, on the other hand, is encouraging (submissive), the encouraged mate has a better attitude and is more loving.

The mental aspect of love is "attitude". That's a state of mind. Man has cognition. Man can control what and how he or she thinks. Rather than denigrating the mate in the mind, elevate the mate. Look at the qualities, not the flaws, for those without sins (flaws) themselves should cast the first stone. We work to put up with each others flaws. By putting effort into love, it's strengthened! Who desires for your love to diminish? One person! Have you guessed? Satan.

Satan's desire is to destroy unity, harmony and love in a marriage. He does that because of God's desire for us; that we become as one and love each other. Satan thrills when a married couple gradually drifts apart and the love flame is extinguished. A smoldering marriage needs rekindled. God provides what's needed for a loving relationship. His spirit guides our mind toward love, and if we're committed, then love abounds!

"Committed". Like I said earlier, love is more than an emotion. It's work. Couples must be committed to love by enduring Satan's roadblocks. That's hard work! In jumping Satan's hurdles, we stumble. Sometimes we falter when faced with the height of the hurdle. With God, all things are possible! A loving God is the author of love and if we humble ourselves and call on Him, he's there!

The notorious line in Love Story, the movie, was "Love is never having to say you're sorry!" That trivializes love. "Love is the work of keeping that spark alive." If it takes being sorry, then sorry it is! If it takes a mindset change, then a change of mind it is. If it takes an attitude change, then change the attitude. Those are the work of commitment. We love another by effort!

"Love at first sight" is more like "lust at first sight". We grow toward love and love means stoking the fire. As for me, I had lust for my future mate and took the advise  of Paul:

1 Corinthians 7:9 "But if they cannot contain (lust), let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn."

I married so that my lust would be satiated. My lust (eros) is still there, but it's accompanied by true love (philio). God through his love for us (agape) has made my love turn from purely eros to love from the heart!  Each day that goes by I love my wife more, and when the time comes that eros ceases to be important God will grow my love from the heart and Satan will be defeated. That's the work of love!

Without fulfilling the duty of love, we lose. When Satan throws up that final roadblock and one mate or another, or both; give up, Satan is there. He will tempt! Satan lays down another carpet. He convinces that the "grass is greener" in the other heifer's pasture. Love is a "need" It's as basic as the need for food and water. Satan knows that and  if love is not fulfilled by one, all he has to do is to provide another. Satan has then sorrowed God, has condemned you and destroyed the sanctity of marriage through triangulation.

Dedicated love is the reward we get for commitment. What feels better than when our mate loves us dearly? Only knowing that God loves us more, for one is the picture of another. Joy and happiness reside in love! Misery and depression is the product of love unrequited.



Thursday, February 13, 2014

What was the transfiguration all about?

Who was this man, Jesus? He claimed to be God.
John 10:30 "I and my Father are one."
Jesus said that after the lost ones accused him of being a devil. He answered their question: No, Jesus is not the devil. He is God!
Those who had seen Jesus didn't know who they were seeing and hearing. To the eye the people were seeing a man. This man claimed to be God! However, the skeptics didn't see God, they saw a mere man. Those who claimed him a devil thought they were seeing something supernatural, but something evil. How wrong they were:
John 1:18 (ESV) "No one has ever seen God; the only God,  who is at the Father's side,  he has made him known."

The Old Testament Patriarchs didn't see or speak with God the Father.  God himself said:

Exodus 33:20 (KJV) " And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live."

Moses, inspired by God,  wrote that! If you'll remember Moses had to turn his face from God:

Exodus 3:2 "And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed." 6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

"Fire" throughout the Bible represents God: As an example;  Hebrews 12:29 ESV "For our God is a consuming fire."

Here we have God appearing as a burning bush. A bush which burns, but is never consumed! This is a great representation of God. He is the beginning and the end. He always was and always will be! However, is there a contradiction here? Remembering that there is One God with three persons (manifestations or personalities), who did Moses see? He sees Jesus! Jesus is referred to as "the angel of the Lord"; not only here, but when Joshua wrestled with "the angel of God" afterwards saying:

Genesis 32:30b "...I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."

There is one explanation. When man sees God, it's Jesus who's seen! If he had seen God the Father he would have died, but he lived! Until we get to heaven viewing the glory of God is forbidden. There we shall see him face to face. Here's what John saw in his vision of God the Father:

Revelation 1:13 "And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters."
God in his glory has eyes "as a flame of fire"! The Son of man is likened into him. That Son of man is Jesus and he appeared to Moses as a burning bush, a flame of fire.
Then we have Jesus transfigured. Just what is "transfiguration"? Jesus is exalted. He's shown in his glory! His appearance is transformed. He's manifested for a brief time as he appeared to the patriarchs so many times before:

Mark 9:1 "And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. 2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them." 7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves."

Matthew 17: 2 "And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light."

Luke 9:32 "But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him."

Jesus appeared to the apostles as he had appeared to Moses and to Elijah. However, whereas before, Jesus was spirit, now he was flesh. He was the Son of Man. When Jesus was transfigured God the Father's spirit entered the body of the Son of Man and he was fully God and man! He appeared again as he had been seen before!

That's what the transfiguration was about! It reconciled the "angel of God" with Jesus. They were the same since Jesus has always been. He appeared as a cloud, as fire, as an man-like angel, as a man in the oven with Shadrack and his brothers, and finally as Jesus, God incarnate called Immanuel (God with us)! At the transfiguration The Old Testament Patriarchs joined The New Testament apostles where they saw God give his glory to Jesus on that high mountain! God's the same always. There were three persons (better called personalities or manifestations) at day 1 as there will be at day infinity. That's a mystery of God. How can he be three in one? He IS because he said "I AM WHO I AM".

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Income Redistribution and the Poor

There is much to say about "income redistribution". Karl Marx conveyed that message in this manner:

"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."

My paraphrase of that statement is "Steal from the worker, and give to those lazy."

Robin Hood made socialism famous by robbing the rich to give to the poor. We all felt good when Robin stole and "redistributed the income"!  Poverty is an emotional issue. Socialism sees poverty as the fault of capitalism, industrial automation, the family unit, men, land owners and even the church! However, modern history has shown that poverty is the product of those with little motivation: work ethic if you prefer, and government tampering, also called socialism. Yes, the United States is on the road to socialism moving at tremendous speeds and decaying at the same rate. Specifically, American socialism has caused our current economic situation.

Case in point: The "Bush" recession started long before Bush was ever president. Cause to effect does not happen overnight. It lags. It takes time for changes to improve or disintegrate. The "Bush" recession was caused by socialist initiatives, mainly Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. "Fannie" is the "Federal National Mortgage Association" created as part of the "New Deal" of Progressive Democrat Franklin Roosevelt.

The federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) stepped up home ownership for low and middle income people by various government regulations, making it easy for those unqualified to become qualified for a mortgage.

"Freddie Mac" is Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), and was created in 1970 and buys mortgages on the secondary market, pools them, and sells them as a mortgage-backed security to investors on the open market (Wikipedia). In 2008 Freddie and Fannie were put under goverment regulation by  Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) director James B. Lockhart III. This was the greatest government intervention into private enterprise ever.

Progressives are to blame for both Fannie and Freddie. Roosevelt was responsible for one and Richard Nixon the other! Under George W. Bush, his "compassionate conservatism" aided and abetted by Democrats caused the drastic Lockhart change. Then they put the wolves in the hen house: Democrats Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd was responsible for the oversight of those newly regulated initiatives. Under their guardianship havoc peaked. People everywhere were "under water"! They had homes whose value was less than what they owed. Many lost their homes and with all those vacant homes on the market, home starts reached an all-time low!

Thus, the "Bush" recession was a socialist recession. Progressives from both political parties "caused" the recession, but the ghost of Karl Marx and socialism is the "root cause". Socialism caused our capitalistic economy to fail all the while the progressives were blaming capitalism. Yes, ungodly socialism is a main contributor to poverty. The poor who're looking for socialism to give them a "hand up" are getting a "butt kick down"!

"This is supposed to be a Christian blog!" you say.  It is! Firstly, Marxism is atheistic. It sees religion has an obstruction to progress. In fact socialism as exists since Marx's time, although in western countries, it temporarily tolerates Christianity, has a goal to annihilate religion, specifically Christianity! Hence, socialism is the enemy of Christianity and works against God! With that said, no Christian, knowledgeable anyhow, should embrace socialism.

Jesus believed in helping the poor. That's encouraged many times. But helping is charity; not law! Jesus was pragmatic:

Matthew 26:11 "The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me."

Jesus knew that there would always be poverty. Being God and omnipotent (all-powerful), he could have redistributed the income right there. He could have practiced what the progressives call "social justice" He could have said "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."  He didn't say that. Marx did! Jesus said "The poor you will always have with you." Jesus never intended to create utopia here on earth. We had that in the Garden of Eden. It was Paradise!

Why do we have poverty anyhow? It's Adam's fault! He listened to Eve who was deceived and sinned:

Genesis 3:17" To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you;  through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for youand you will eat the plants of the field.19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are  and to dust you will return.”

Adam's (and our) punishment was difficulty in making a living. That's poverty! Mankind is poor because our antecedents were deceived. The punishment is from God. Poverty is of God! Why would Jesus eliminate poverty when He (as God) instituted poverty? Satan caused poverty, but a just God provided the penalty for rebellion.

Marx was wrong about Christianity. He saw religion as a vast contributor to poverty, but Christianity isn't the cause; Satan is! For those who are born again, poverty will be eliminated. We will be resurrected in a perfect body and live in a perfect place... a utopia called heaven!

John 14:2 "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."

God doesn't need nor desire "income redistribution". He allows poverty as an inducement to the hope of salvation. We'll never eliminate poverty here on earth. Jesus knew that and that's what he knew must exist!  My hope is that I'll be rich for eternity. I don't mind enduring poverty temporarily for eternal riches!

Revelation 21:4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
Poverty and it's sadness and depression will be a thing of the past! What Adam caused, Jesus corrects. It is his own time; not ours! He has no intention of allowing this world to be a place where everyone has. If the world was not brutal, why would we want to go to heaven?
It's not money that causes the problem. It's the "love of money"! (1 Timothy 6:10). Socialism has shown it's devout love for money... others money! "Thalt shalt not steal" and "Thou shalt not covet." are the sins of choice of socialism. Furthermore, socialists fail to depend on God, but seek comfort from the government, in violation of The First Commandment!
"Income redistribution" is the key element of socialism. It's legal theft! Equality of wealth is the the "hope" of the poor. Their priority should lie in "the hope of salvation"!