Sunday, August 31, 2014

On Irrational Thinking

First off, to be a Christian does not require rational thinking. Only sorrow and the calling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus doesn't knock on your door if you're rational. He just knocks... period! Or is that true?
"Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Oops! Maybe I spoke to soon. It's possible that the Holy Spirit uses rational thinking in calling! Rational thinking would be for a person to consider this knock, listen to the words of it, and open the door; then comfort will be had. Although salvation is a gift of God we must have the sense to accept what he has freely given. Our God-given sense is rational thinking!

Rational thinking is "reason". Although that ability to use knowledge was part of the deception of mankind, it was the Devil's misuse of reason which makes it bad. God is still the origin of all things, but sin; it's the misuse of what God has given which can damn the person! Using reasoning, some choose pleasure and wealth. Using reason, others open that door; the one to salvation. The problem with "reason" without it being tempered by the Holy Spirit, is that Satan can come in and deceive! That's where discernment comes in!

For instance, let's say an event happens. It could be toward good or bad, but let's say in this case something bad happens to a person. Let's say that person "A" doesn't trust person "B". Person A takes limited information and makes many wrong assumptions. As a result of believing what didn't happen, person A becomes worried or even depressed. Person A creates a whole new milieu. They start thinking like Walter Mitty. Although person A is fed by the physical world, person A's brain is fed by the imagination. In their mind's eye a situation is created. It becomes real to them! However, it's a lie because their mind deceived them!

I can't say anyone ever deceives themselves or not. Speaking for myself, when I worry, it seems as if it's me who has the faulty thinking, but then again,  I know that a Christian battles with principalities. Whatever is good, whatever is holy; it is evil's desire to defeat it! Yes, it's war; spiritual warfare. The devil wants us to dwell on divisive thoughts and we become a pawn in his ventures. We are to act soberly in our thoughts:
Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
In short we're to think on things which build up and encourage and think on things which please God. We're not to think false things or even imaginary things. That's irrational thinking! It's not using good reasoning nor judgement! And guess what?  It's not only sinful, but unfair to others! Reputations are ruined by those who're irrational thinkers! They can even ruin themselves!

When I was in Babe Ruth League my coach insulted me. I thought "I'll show him... I'll just quit!" I  did quit the sport I loved and was truly sorry. I had to sit by and watch others do what I wanted to do.   By "punishing" my coach, he hadn't even noticed, but I paid the consequences. What was I thinking? It was irrational thought and I'm still suffering the consequences! Not only did I not play Babe Ruth League, but I set a pattern for irrational thoughts and behaviors which it took some time and God to overcome. I no longer think irrational thoughts, but some relish the little worlds they have created in their on minds.

Inside irrational minds dwell false perceptions, accusations, stress, depression, envy and hate. Those are not righteous minds, but spiritually sick ones. Those Christians who fail to be real in their thought patterns are babes in Christ. Unfortunately, that's not a compliment!
Acts 17:11b (ESV) "...they (the Jews) received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so"
Rational thinking requires that thoughts are true and agree with reality. Acts is referring to scripture, but it applies to life in general. To believe what's true we all must check to see if it agrees with what's true.  If person A  chooses to hold animosity against person B because of false perceptions it's unfair to person B! Not only that, but person A is being sinful by judging another by a different standard than they want to be judged, and judging harshly and with condemnation on top of that!
Luke 6:37 "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:"
Being fair is not only healthy thinking, but loving others. Thinking accusatory thoughts is the ultimate in unfairness. My favorite saying may be my own" "Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see!? The first is gossip and the second are scotomas because many have selective vision.

The ultimate in irrational thinking is taking advice form irrational, even evil, people!   It should be clear that a Christian never ever take advice from a non-Christian in regard to moral or spiritual issues. What's more, Christians are not to even associate with Christians living in sin, let alone taking their advice:
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 idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."
Irrational people take advice from sinning Christians. Irrational people read the advice of Ann Landers. Irrational people want to hear and read what they want to feed their own irrational thoughts. Those who pleasure in self-serving thoughts eventually become alone because fair people like to be treated with fairness.

The cure to the sickness of irrational thinking is practicing right thinking. That is to be fair to others as you would have them be fair to you!  Are you already an habitual thinker in irrationality? It's time to change!  Pray that your thoughts will be righteous and that you show kindness and compassion toward others.
Galatians 5:22  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Rather than be hateful, stressed, at war, unfair, mean-spirited, unrighteous, accusatory, strong-willed and out of control, we are to have the fruits above!  Peace and love is so much more what God wants than being unfair and mean-spirited!  What's more, the meek shall inherit the kingdom of heaven, but those who judge others by an unfair standard will themselves be damned by the same measuring stick that they have used.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Being Sorry

Words mean things! Words are a product of the tongue and the tongue is the sword of the mind. Since the brain can't directly attack another, it enlists the tongue. The tongue is manipulated by the mind to make utterances called "words". The tongue gets the blame, but is it really the tongue? Oh, yes; the mouth is in collusion with the tongue. They are partners in crime! Or are they just a scapegoat?
Psalm 34:13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
This one verse summarizes my point! "You" is the understood subject. You are to keep your tongue from evil and your lips too! "You" is the individual. Who's in charge of the individual? Your mind? Your mind sends out signals to the other members of the body based on what's called "the heart?. It's not really the "heart" which has emotions of hate, love and apathy, but the heart detects those emotions. It beats faster and harder depending on what the mind tells it to do, but the mind just responds to emotion. I suppose that "the heart" is our feelings manifested in the reaction of the heart. Those emotions are part of our soul.

 A soul filled with the Holy Spirit is revealed with a kind disposition. A soul filled with evil is hateful and subsequently anxious, stressed and excitable. A kind disposition is manifested in a docile heart which has little stress. Kind hearts are gentle and those who are kind usually live longer.
Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
My tongue has been critical. I have used it as a weapon. For that I need forgiveness. To all to whom my tongue has been a weapon, I apologize. The tongue does reflect what's in my heart although I sometimes deny that.

I guess we're all alike in the heart anyway:
Romans 3:12 "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:"
There goes the twins of tongue and lips again! However, sometimes the brain and soul are not in harmony. That's called "putting ones foot in the mouth". I do things without thinking and only God knows if that's a reflection of my emotions. I can only add that I do say things without validating the wisdom of saying. Also, my heart still has some evil remnants. Unrighteous anger and blame are two of those. I still say wrong things and hurt people. If that happens the Holy Spirit checks me and I make a change. Sometimes the Holy Spirit uses others to check my tongue. I've hurt others when another has to reprove me. If only I could rewind hurtful situations! But I can't. Forgiveness is all that I can seek.

Forgiveness can't happen without "being sorry". Saying "I'm sorry!" is a feeble attempt to smooth, but BEING SORRY is true remorse.

"Love is not having to say you're sorry." Love is "being sorry" for hurting those you love. This is true for others and for God. Wronging another even without intent is wrong and sinning against God without intent is still sin. God, I'm sorry for being the worm that I am.! Other people, forgive me when I'm a worm.

I only wish that I could go back and make everything okay gain, but I can't. I wish the tongue had a stronger words to express than "I'm sorry."

Politics: Dr. Tim Hulsey on "Misunderstanders of Islam"

Since 2/26/93, the US has been in a state of jihad according to Islamic extremists. They have repeatedly attacked or attempted to attack the property and citizens of our country both within our borders and abroad.

We acknowledged this with a “War on Terror,” which Obama has naively and unilaterally declared over. He misunderstands the situation to our peril.

People who see the reality of this are said by Obama to be “misunderstanders of Islam.” According to their definition, the jihadists must also be “misunderstanders of Islam.”

Yasir Qadhi, an imam in Memphis, TN, and “Dean of Academic Affairs at the Al-Maghrib… has an M.A. in the Islamic Creed and a B.A. in Islamic Sciences from Islamic University of Medina, as well as a master’s and a doctorate in Islamic Studies from Yale,” revealed that perhaps, by Obama’s definition, he is a “misunderstander”, as well.

In a sermon (available on video), he said that, “The life and property of a mushrik [one who worships others besides Allah] holds no value in the state of jihad….which means if they don’t say la illaha illa Allah [There is no god but Allah], their lives and property are halal,” i.e., worthless and available to all Muslims.

He says that “Jihad is a means to establish tawhid [belief only in Allah] on the land.” Interestingly, this sounds like the goal of the Islamic State (IS) to establish a caliphate (“a sovereign state of the Muslim faithful”) which encompasses the entire world (“the land”).

“I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that la illaha illa Allah.”  Not to persuade or proselytize, but “to fight the people.”

That makes me wonder who is misunderstanding whom.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Political: Dr. Tim Hulsey on U.S. the other Mexico

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto travelled through California declaring
America to be "the other Mexico." He and Obama feel that all citizens of Mexico
should be able to freely emigrate to all fifty states and the territories.

I'm not sure the Mexican people feel entitled to come to the US, but a recent
Pew Research poll found that 60% of Mexicans would choose to live in the US.
That would be 60% of 121 million people. That 70 million people would increase
the US population by 22%.

That has Obama licking his chops! He knows that would be 70 million new Democrat
voters, since he would immediately mandate billions of dollars worth of benefits
for them in return for their votes. He has certainly been successful buying
votes with benefits in both his presidential elections.

It would be interesting to see that Pew study done in every country in the
world. You might find a higher percentage in many country than that seen in

Obama and his fellow traveler billionaire socialist George Soros believe in
worldwide open borders. That would also please groups like the Islamic State
(IS) who want to fulfill the Qur'anic mandate to establish a worldwide
Caliphate. People like Soros won't suffer. They will buy their own safety, and
leave us to the dogs.

The world is made up of sovereign nations. "Sovereign" implies possessing
supreme political power. That power cannot be held by a country with open
borders. The citizens cannot be defended with uncontrolled borders. Countries
with enemies cannot prevent infiltration without border control. A stable
society cannot be created without secure borders.

Obama, Nieto, Soros, and IS want open borders. I can't think of a better reason
to demand our government do its Constitutional duty and control the borders! Do
your job!

Pass This Cup from Me: Jesus

Usage of the term "cup" in scripture has many meanings and theologians comments are various about the meaning of the "cup". Of course it has a literal meaning. It's to contain liquid which is to be consumed. As such, especially in Mosaic Law, it's to be clean! However, God uses common items which we can all understand to represent hidden meanings. As an example if it is said "He shot back as a bullet." , some may say that a gun was fired at someone. However, from context, it's clear that it refers to a "fast temper". The use of the term "cup" as similar inferences. Let's see what!

What did Jesus mean when he said this:
Matthew 26:38 "Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
God was to make a sacrifice of his only son. Salvation must be by blood:
 Hebrews 9:22  "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."
Of course when one is saved their sins are forgiven, but there must be a sacrifice for forgiveness. It was by blood under The Law and still is under the Dispensation of Grace.  The sacrifice was made once and for all by Jesus. Blood saves! If one recounts the story of the Passover the Tenth Plague was death of the firstborn son. Jesus, likewise, was the first born. At the Passover the Hebrew firstborn was saved from death by the shadow of death by the sprinkling of blood on the door posts. The Passover was a picture of the salvation offered by God. The firstborn son is Jesus. The sprinkling of the blood represented the saving blood of Jesus and the doorposts represented the Cross. It's no coincidence that the crucifixion was on Preparation day for Passover.

On Preparation day all the utensils for use in the Passover Sedar were cleaned as were the Hebrews themselves. The primary utensils for the Passover ceremony were the "cup" and the "charger". The cup was for holding the wine and the charger (or platter) was for holding the "matzo" which was a thin dry unleavened bread. The platter may have held other things, but the matzo was the main ingredient and at the Last Supper only the bread was eaten.

Wine represents the blood of Jesus. The cup is what held the wine. Therefore, it appears that "the cup" to which Jesus referred was his body. But you may say that the "bread" was a representation of the body. That's true, but the cup was the entire container consisting of mind, body and spirit. Rather than Jesus dying only bodily, he died spiritually for us as well. By taking all our sins upon himself, it was necessary that he face total death! If you're remember Jesus cried out on the Cross:
Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Jesus wasn't concerned with his physical death, but for a time, God took away his Spirit. Jesus died in totality for us all for all our sins. Jesus died in mind, body and Spirit and that was the "cup" of which he was speaking. His agony was being excommunicated by his own Father for a spell.  He did that for us!

He was for a time forsaken on the Cross. His words were "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? which were the first verse of the Twenty-Second Psalm which follows:
Psalm 22 1 "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
 2 O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.
10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.
11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
19 But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.
25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations.
29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.
30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
To get the full meaning of this we can look more at Hebrew worship.
2 Kings 2:11 "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."
2 Kings 2:15 "And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him."
Kings 2: 2:20 "And he said, Bring me a new cruse (cup), and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. 21 And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land."
In preparation for the Passover the Hebrew people celebrate the taking away of Elijah. The Hebrews use "Elijah's Cup" in the "Passover Seder" which is always on the first night of Passover.  The cruse (or cup) used by Elisha when he assumed the role which Elijah had held, carried the salt with which he "healed these waters" and "there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land".

So it would appear that for Elisha the cup represented the assumption of Elijah to heaven where he still resides because he never died! There was power in that cup. In this instance it carried the salt which defeated death. Compare this to the "cup" Jesus relinquished which defeated death for all time. It's no coincidence that Elijah's cup was used for the Passover and the crucifixion of Jesus was held at the Passover.
Matthew 20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with:
"My cup" here is the propitiation of Jesus' own body for our sins. It was the entire Jesus which was sacrificed: mind, body and Spirit. He died a real death, just as we would if we were crucified. Jesus didn't wait until the judgment day to be resurrected! It was with immediacy. His body laid in the tomb for a portion of three different days, but his spirit was alive immediately, just as ours will be when we face death!

Jesus was "the cup". His "being" contained the flesh, his mind and his Spirit. Pharisees were a little different. They had not drank of the cup of Jesus, hence their cup contained only mind and flesh. The soul was spiritually empty. It's easy to see that the "cup" of the Pharisees was the body, which they ceremonially cleaned. But what is the platter? The platter held the bread which represents the body of Christ. It also held the head of John the Baptist. The platter was for showing what was holy. The Pharisees showed their holiness by their deeds. They prayed for all to see and were first in the synagogue. Perhaps their platter held their own showbread. It was their obtuse worship; a worship of the head only, not the heart!
Matthew 23:25 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also."
The Pharisees were told to clean the inside of the cup and platter first. They did this by taking the cup of Jesus; believing in him! Once the inside of their cup (body) and platter (mind) was clean, then they would be clean on the outside too. Their soul filled with the contents of the cup of Jesus would clean the cup and platter too! In a sense their soul was empty, but by drinking of the cup represented by Jesus, their soul would be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 26:26 "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
 Yes, Jesus body was the bread. In fact it was the "bread of life"! The cup containing wine was held symbolically his blood. Likewise, the body is the container for the blood. To overcome this difference, early church fathers sopped the wine from the cup using the bread. After doing that the wine was transferred to the bread and the bread became the cup so to speak. Hence, the bread did represent the body and so did the cup.

What's the point? It's difficult to understand the deep meaning of "the cup of Jesus". My contention is that the "cup" represents the entire entity of Jesus, not just his flesh. When he was crucified God took "the cup" from him with all it's contents! Jesus died for us with his mind, body and Spirit. He gave up his personhood and relinquished his Spirit so that we wouldn't have to ourselves. It was a terrible moment for him! He took on all the sins of mankind and his soul was emptied of spirit as his mind and body died. As Adam died spiritually so did Jesus!
Romans 5:11 "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"

That's a spiritual death that all men received and also as we can all attest, we all must suffer physical death as well. However, by Jesus making the blood atonement for us by sacrificing "his cup", he too suffered a physical and spiritual death; but both were short lived! He's alive today! By drinking of his cup we're a new person. Our own cup is filled with his spirit (we become a temple for it) and death is defeated. The Christian becomes somewhat like Jesus who is eternal. Our cup will never pass because his did!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Marital Love: How should it be?

What is love? As a teen I was told that "love is an itch in your heart that you can't get to to scratch".

The marriage institution is in jeopardy. Few are choosing marriage, but a non-committed relationship. That worries me! What's more some shy away from marriage because so many marriages fail. The divorce rate for "Christians" is as bad as for pagans.  Something is wrong! People seem to be wiser than is God. God's will just doesn't seem important. I have a burden that men aren't fulfilling their obligation to love those enough, who they confess to love, to consummate that love in marriage. I see a correlation between insincere love in the suitor and insincere love in the marriage partner. What is love supposed to be?

Have you ever had that "itch". This time I'm not speaking of loving the Lord or loving others, but a different type of love; loving your help-mate; the one you selected to become "one" with you! This is an erotic love, but should be much more than that. A man is told to love his mate as himself:
Ephesians 5:33 (ESV) "However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
A man has more responsibility than a woman it seems in this verse. While a woman is only to respect her husband, according to this passage, a man must love his wife as himself! Think about that! How do you love yourself? If you're not a Christian you love yourself more than God. If you are a Christian you must always be on guard that  you love God more than yourself! Loving ourselves, then is almost making oneself as loved as God. That's the kind of love we're to have for our wives. Below we can see what love is.
1 Corinthians 13:4 (ESV) "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
Note that it mentions nothing of eroticism which is a responsibility to fulfill our command to multiply!
1 Corinthians 7:1 (ESV) "Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
So sex is an agreement between two individuals who are called to be one! Sex is ordained by God as long as it's within the marriage. Of course it's better to remain abstinent  and be entirely devoted to God, but God is pragmatic! He made us and knows our human emotions. In order to procreate we must have a desire. That's both an emotional and physical attraction to members of the opposite sex.   Our conjugal rights is the sexual aspect of erotic love, but sexual love is more than eroticism, it's focused on 1 Corinthians 13:4 above, but includes sex. Too often the marriage partners use eroticism as a weapon in the selfishness which sometimes creeps into the marriage relationship!

When love is in jeopardy, then eroticism is the first to suffer. Lack of a marriage bed often times, but not always, signals a problem with true love! Stress, age, and mind-set are major problems, but it's realistic to say that the marriage bed can also signal deeper problems; relationship problems. However, a perfect marriage bed does not mean that all is well in the relationship! Eroticism and love, when in harmony, are signs of a great marriage.

If we again look at 1 Corinthians 13:4, love has a few definitions spoken toward the positive: It is patient and kind,  it rejoices with truth, bears all things and believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things

In my words, a good marriage is one where it's based on truth (Godly) and is founded on spiritual fruits: patience, kindness, faith, hope and perseverance.Love is demonstrated to the marriage partner by a demonstration of these attributes. A man is commanded to love his wife in this manner.If a wife respects her husband her love will be of this kind too! Whereas a man is commanded to love his wife in this manner a woman is to do so because the man is her husband. It's just like our command to love God!  It's out of reverence and God's love for us! A woman must love her husband for the same reasons!

What is love "not". The negative-type aspects of marriage are: "love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing."

 Let's rephrase these in using the positive: Love is genuine and trusting, is humble and considerate, is generous and sharing and is happy and fair!  Does this sound like an "Ozzie and Harriet" marriage? It should be that way (except for the double beds anyway!).

Wives have a responsibility to love too! (Context is extremely important!):
Titus 2:4 (ESV)  "And so train the young women to love their husbands and children..."
It seems that to love our children it requires little effort. A better saying might be to "train young mothers how to nurture their children."  As for the husband, women are to teach young women how to love their husbands!  What's the best method of teaching? By demonstrating what's being taught. How would a mother teach her daughter how to love is she doesn't love herself? She can't! God desires that women actually love their husbands, not just fake it. Like "love of God" too many wives fake the love of their husbands. As with God, love is achieved by reflecting on his love and "goodness", a husband can be loved by focusing on his own love for you and his sacrifices made to show that love.
 Genesis 2:24 (ESV) "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
Marriage is serious business. It has become little more than serial dating. Because breaking up a dating relationship becomes so easy, so does breaking that marriage bond. Satan's desire is that marriage be a trivial institution for two reasons: 1) It's ordained by God, and 2) It is symbolic of the Christians relationship with Christ. Jesus is the bride. The church is the bridegroom. If we can't keep in unity with our mate how are we expected to remain in unity with Christ, who incidentally left no loop-holes to tear a marriage apart except infidelity!
Ephesians 5:25 (ESV) "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,"
Marriage is an institution of God and is intended to be for life!
Matthew 19:6 "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
What forces are trying to tear a marriage apart? Forces of evil! Others, for whatever reason, want your marriage to fail. They are merely mesmerized with nefarious messages from the netherworld. "Friends" will advise you to take the easy way; the wide path that others take. "Friends" will bad-mouth and gossip to make sure that you are as unhappy as they are! Never ever share marital problems with the non-Christian and be especially careful in picking a mature Christian mentor when discussing marital problems.

Envying the life of others is a tool of Satan. It's the old age "The grass is always greener on the other side!" It's not. That grass is withered! Not having as much fun as others are being single or in a more open marriage? That too is a trick of Satan. Fun marriages often aren't as fun as they look when the party-goers are alone and confronted only with one another. Satan uses temptation and artificiality to deceive!

I asked a Christian couple whom I counseled  (when in separate rooms) what divorce would be like for them. Both replied "It would be like death!" Later on they went ahead and did it anyhow! They picked death over marriage. That's not God's will. They have each went on their way and have an appearance of happiness, but guilt will always be with them!

God doesn't want you to take your love for granted. He doesn't want you to take your mate for granted. Sure there are enticements out there which tempt, but falling to temptation is called sin! I'm not speaking of infidelity necessarily, but just a failure to be a good mate; to love our other half as we should.  Life's not easy, but if we share our burdens with the Lord, his Holy Spirit will guide, direct and comfort us. Nothing is too hard for God!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Got gods? What's your pleasure?

We all know the scenario. We saw it on the show The Twilight Zone. For success in life the man signs a contract with the devil that when he dies, his soul is transferred to Satan. Few would consciously do such a thing, but sub-consciously it's done all the time! Those who sell their souls don't take the contract seriously. It is supposed that even if the Devil is rewarded in the deal that somehow God will step in and pay the fine.

This is wrong thinking! First off, the fine is already paid:
Romans 3:23  "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 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;"
 That's a mouthful! The main point is that Jesus has already paid that fine. The Devil's deal is already canceled for all have made the deal! The fine was paid with the currency of "blood" washing away our own sins; and voiding the deal we made with the devil.

So we have it. We all made a contract with the devil whether we did it without thinking or not. Some do it on purpose, but others are entrapped. Bob Dylan has been taped confessing that his fame was a deal with the devil. You did that too, but just fail to admit it! Whatever! Jesus has already bailed us out, so to speak, because he was security for our bond. There's one caveat. In order to be freed from the Devil's deal, a new deal must be made!  In order to cancel the Devil's contract a more binding contract must be made. This one is not to be made lightly, but with thoughtful consideration!

With the Devil there was a contract of two parts. For your success, pleasure, power or whatever; the Devil granted your heart's desire, but you, the party of the second part owe him big time. For his backing you, it's your soul which is required of you. Slavery for eternity is the price of success! Not only that, but the task masters are vicious thugs and the climate's unbearable. You will suffer as you thirst with not a chance to even wet your tongue. Is that a good deal? Not so, but most will sign that contract!

However, the contract we make with Jesus requires payment from only the party of the first part!  The ransom was made for free.You have been redeemed with security because you've been released on your own recognizance!
Romans 5:17 (ESV) "For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ."
God's deal doesn't enslave. It frees from slavery and those redeemed have freedom!  You didn't even have to love God to gain your freedom. He was gracious enough to pick you up when you were down. You are now free on your own recognizance! You didn't pay the price for freedom with your love, but because of God's grace in freeing you, your "recognizance" is that you now love him! Let's get real! We'll shift for a second from scripture to your own heart! Did you submit to Christ because you love him, or to save your own miserable skin? I wanted to be saved, but because Christ paid the price, I love him for it! It may be a matter of perspective, but if salvation was a gift, we certainly didn't pay for it. That would be a bribe and the "judge" cannot be swayed by petty offerings!

Have you yet admitted it? Did you accidentally sign a contract? I did. I sold my soul for pleasure. I've done things to please me that were wrong. I also included in the package a little pocket change. I have stolen from another! I deserve my sentence, but since it was already paid, I love the "man" who paid it! Thank you Lord for breaking the deal I made with the Devil!

Our pleasure is our God unless we love Jesus!  What's your pleasure? I have noticed that many many Christians pleasure in the entertainment offered by the world more than the joy promised by God. Millions sway at the temple of pleasure at rock music concerts. Others habitually watch trash T.V. Rather than relishing the word spoken by God most quote the uneducated rantings of popular entertainers. You're easy too! They just insert their message in the songs they sing, and you don't even care! They're words that denigrate the Savior, disrespect authorities and propagate evil! Look at the latest purveyor of trash, Beyonce'.  In her own words she's controlled by ascended masters in the form of Sasha Fierce, yet many still idolize her! What's your pleasure again? Who's your god? Oh, not Beyonce'. Perhaps one of those who claimed that "we're now greater than Christ!"

I've been accused of living in a "narrow little world". I wish I really did, but my world is still wider than I want. "Narrow Worlds" are entered by narrow gates:
Matthew 7:13  (ESV) “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."
I've found the gate. It was that new deal offered by Jesus! However, on my own recognizance I'm a changed man. I now love the One I once rejected. Oh, not outright! My rejection was lukewarm! I wanted to keep my fire insurance, but attend the burning at the same time. I was neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. That's as vomit to God. Most things I don't do anymore because I love him. Pleasure still drags on Christians because redemption doesn't make the criminal perfect, just free! We're expected to be good citizens in the Kingdom of God because we want to please the King. If the redeemed person has not changed, did he truly want deliverance from the Devil's deal or was he playing two hands? That's the fear of those who confess to be a new person, but living for the Devil just as did the old one!

Think about your own god. Is it wealth?Power? Pleasure? Gods are things placed "before" God. The First Commandment doesn't mean "in front of God", but "along with God" It seems that man has always wanted to serve two masters!
Matthew 6:24  "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (possessions)."
"Mammon" would be your pleasures. It's things which stand between you and God! Face it! Does a Christian feel good about being at a rock concert with flagrant sin? Does a Christian feel good sitting in a prurient movie with vile language? If so, are we showing our love for the redeemer? Are we living well in our own recognizance?

Don't forget: Pleasure comes in the form of marijuana, booze, pills and narcotics too! They are some of the strongest gods.

Got gods? I hope not! Got God? Check your love.

Kids of the Korn

Kids will be kids and pop about.
Kids of Korn are butterful too.
Korn Kids are born a sprout.
Colorful skins in orange and blue.

The eldest is Seedy Korn.
Watered and warmed in the sun!
With time... others are born,
Being a Korn Kid is oh such fun!

Second to come is Little Sprout.
She's fresh and simple as can be!
From the soil she wiggles about,
As a Korn Kid she's quite a dandy!

The next to arrive is little Shoot.
You'll see her if you look really hard!
Step carefully with your boot
Don't sit on her when you get tired!

Korn Shoot grows up oh so fast!
Time nicknames her "Little Stalk".
She's still a Kid of the Korn,
but she's now learning to talk!

Korn can't talk... you say!
It must be quiet and warm.
Outside at the end of the day
hear the speech of that newborn!

Baby Stalk talks... you see.
Listen, her talk you can hear.
Stalk crackles loudly with glee!
As knee-high she grows so near.

On the 4th of July she crackles.
Her height grows really tall.
Sounding like hen's crackles...
She's the greenest Korn I ever saw!

As Stalk grows a sister she gets.
Little sis is named Korn Tassle.
She has golden hair a little bit;
Combing that hair is such a hassle!

Pop Korn is so very proud!
A new kettle of Kids is near.
A kettle to crackle loud...
with his popping children dear.

Mama Maize is ready to burst!
Ready to reveal an ear.
This family will be her first!
But she has nothing really to fear.

Here comes young Korn Kob.
There's no baby  Kernals yet.
The little guy is ready to sob,
but Mama Maize said... do not fret!

Then all of a sudden seen in a row...
were many Kernals all so very little.
Soon to be happy in a bowl...
after being for a time in the kettle.

The Kernals will need a name.
So many then perhaps a number.
Resorting to numbers is so lame!
That's for sure a real real bummer.

Perhaps they are named by the row.
And then added a letter for each.
Mama Maize with kids in tow...
looking for their Pop to beseech!

Another Kid is growing out.
This one's got hair like milk.
What's this new Kid all about?
Is she Korn or merely Silk!

Ah, but Silk needs a family.
Maybe she can be a Kid of Korn.
"Not one of us!" said some lamely.
We wish you were never ever born!

But Silk became a Kid of the Korn.
She was needed to feed Little Kob.
Her smooth hair was soon to be shorn.
Little Silk is now gone, we sadly sob!

Pop Korn was anxiously awaiting.
He waited well with Mama Maize.
Married to Mama and not just dating.
Waiting for Korn Kids in a daze!

Mama's Daddy was Kernal Korn.
He was old and very very stern.
Medals his shoulders did adorn.
Listen to him and you will learn!

The Kernal wanted Kids so many.
Each one would carry his name.
Mama assured him Korn aplenty.
She was a fertile Korn-fed dame!

The Korn Kids were all growing fast.
Some of them had skins so soft.
When at harvest the hardest will last.
Harder than ever the hardiest scoff!

One big Kid was Korn Shuck.
He held the family together intact.
His duty was hard; such bad luck!
He held them together, together in fact!.

Tassle smelled of the best perfume!
The others were all so blah you see.
But let's get on, we'll resume.
Good Korn Genes is the key!

Genes from whence the Kernal came.
They're the hybrid which made them strong..
Popped by Kernal Korn and his Korn Dame!
Making Korn as they sang the old Korn song!

The Korn family had strong roots.
They had their feet in the ground!
Many bare little feet and no boots.
No boots anywhere can be found!

The Korn song is so sweet!
It tells of Korn and his birth.
Korn long grown in the heat.
Soon to be roasted on the hearth!

Mama Maize was named by our foe.
Those red men who fertilized with fish.
Red men using Korn for their dough.
Who used the Korn as their main dish!

Some Korn has gone bad.
All Korn never makes it good!
Bad Korn is truly so sad.
Korn Blight always in a mood!

Blight went bad as disease came by.
Hardy Korn was covered by Shuck.
Korn Blight we so sadly sigh!
Bad Korn is such  terrible luck!

Korn Kernals all born without name.
They were finally fully mature!
Out of the Korn Shuck here they came...
Kernals of Korn with a great future!

They all heard the sound of the tractor.
The turning auger what made the sound!
Running and screaming not a factor...
without boots they were stuck to the ground!

Then came the combine and took them most...
Leaving behind the Roots and Stalk.
All but the Korn the rest became toast...
Gone forever... so is the talk!

Little Korn Kob shed the Kids...
Nothing was left, but his own shame.
His clothng of Kernals were finally rid...
the farmer was the one who was to blame!

But maybe there was a future yet!
Unnamed Kernals were weighed and dried.
A new birth for them, this I bet!
Ready to be roasted, boiled and fried!

Screaming upon hearing this news...
some were scared out of their wits!
There were cries and hisses and boo's,
they were so scared it gave them fits!

Oh, but the news was not so bad!
They were so sadly mistaken.
Each of the Korn Kids were so glad...
they were not to be foresaken!

A holiday was coming soon!
The celebration saved the day.
Gossip Korn was such a goon.
They were there for the holiday!

Kids would play and line them up.
Some would lie on a bingo card.
A few were licked by the pup...
Each were happy in that regard!

Korn Kids were blessed indeed!
Others ended up in dire straits.
Some were popcorn and in feed...
and some ended up in fish baits.

Korn Kids were stored in a box.
They were taken out each fall!
The grim reaper was outfoxed...
For the Korn Kids stood really tall!

(Do not reprint without permission. The concept of the Korn Kids is the property of the writer),

Politics: Dr. Tim Hulsey on Smuggling Latino Children

A recent TV crime show documented eleven individuals from Central America who were found dead from hyperthermia and dehydration in a railroad tank car in Iowa. They paid thousands of dollars to be brought into the US illegally by Mexican smugglers who left them trapped for days. 

This is only one example of the thousands who have died or been abducted trying to enter this country illegally, resulting from our federal governments refusal to secure our southern border. The enticement of our porous border makes them risk dangers they don't expect. 

Many of these travelers are children who are even more vulnerable to danger. 

They're lied to by the smugglers from the beginning of their perilous journey to the end. They're extorted at multiple stops along the way. Sometimes they arrive alive. Some times they don't. 

If this is not a reason for our government to do their Constitutional duty to 
control who comes and goes from this country, I can't think of one. This country has been complicit in the tragedy that happens to all those who cross our borders outside legal channels. 

What we need is for our leaders to stop thinking about recruiting voters and to realize there are humanitarian reasons to have controlled borders. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Politics: Dr. Tim Hulsey on Rand Paul's Guatamalan Care

Judy Freeman Schwank, a nurse, attorney, and wife of Dr. Bill Schwank, has been arranging medical missions to Guatemala for over 30 years. Her first trip was in 1976 after the earthquake which devastated the country.

Tens of thousands of children from all over the world have received care in their home country or in the US due to Judy’s efforts. Her motto was, “One child at a time.” That’s how you deliver quality medical care anywhere.

We were accompanied many times by news crews, journalists, and photojournalists.

One of the physicians who helped us with children brought back to Kentucky was Dr. Rand Paul. He graciously examined and treated any patient we presented him. This was long before he thought of pursuing political office.

Senator Paul has participated in free ophthalmologic care through the Surgery on Sundays program run by Dr. Andrew Moore in Lexington, KY, since being elected to office and generally without any press coverage.

It’s not too surprising that, on a recent trip to Guatemala with Judy Schwank and Dr. John Downing, now Senator Paul had a paparazzi following of five different news crews wanting to cover it.

Surprisingly, Judy, a Democrat, has received criticism from some of her Democrat friends, because of her association with Dr. Paul and this trip.

How dare anyone who hasn’t been on the front lines of providing care in foreign countries say a word. I’ve personally seen Judy Schwank risk her life to check on one of “her” kids.

Senator Paul, Ms. Schwank, and Dr. Downing went to a Guatemala that is much more dangerous than when I went. Communist insurgency in Guatemala has now given way to drug violence.

Unless you’re prepared to face the dangers they did, I suggest you withhold comment!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Mystery and Low Hanging Fruit

Let's solve a mystery. Everyone loves a good one! Here's my impersonation of Sherlock Holmes. The clues all fit and the findings agree with scripture. Surely, I'm on the right track.

Firstly, let's address those people who have yet to make a decision. Yes, a decision is required! We're not forced to become a Christian nor are we born to be one. Just as Adam and Eve made a choice to select what was forbidden over what was freely available, we too select the life we want to live. There are two choices: 1) Love God or 2) Reject God. Can you imagine how God felt when his creation rejected him! Knowing that his man and woman would reject him was known beforehand, but they still made the choice. God has foreknowledge.
Romans 11:2 "God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew."
"Foreknowledge" is knowing that something will be before it is. It's part of God's omniscience. He knows what everyone will do with their choice before they make the choice. If we look at Job, God removed the hedge of protection from around him. Job could still choose to abandon God as Satan tempted him, but he didn't and God knew he wouldn't. God told the devil that he wouldn't interfere and he didn't, knowing in advance that Job would remain righteous! It was Job's choice. God didn't force him to choose righteousness, he just knew in advance the outcome of the events. Satan was unable to corrupt Job, Job was righteous and God knew that he would be!

I won't discuss this instant "free will" vs. "predestination", but God's foreknowledge does not mean that he predestined Adam and Eve or Job for that matter. He knew the choices they would make: 1) Adam and Eve made a wrong choice and 2) Job the right choice. God certainly didn't desire by predestination that all men should die spiritually (original sin), nor does he by random selection choose in advance who will be a Christian and who will not be. He has predestined all mankind to become Christians, leaving to them the ability to accept what he predestines or rejecting it at their peril.

Before we proceed to the "low hanging fruit", let's continue for awhile to look at what everyone's two choices are.

I believe that scripture is the inspired word of God. Within scripture are different examples of teaching. It can be literal, concealed in poetry, in parables, allegorical, metaphorical or prophesy. The word can apply to the "here and now" at the time it was written, it can apply to future events or both. Most of the entire Old Testament, although much of it is literal, also applies to the future. The actual events in the Old Testament are also a "picture" of Jesus or a foreshadowing of the Covenant of Grace. With that said, I believe the story of the Creation is real and true, and the trees literally there, but that the "test" of the free will of Adam and Eve was allegorical. . The meaning of this "choice" seems obvious, but there is a deep and hidden choice there! Eating of the wrong tree is symbolic of a greater wrong!

The "tree of life" has not been destroyed. It still stands in Paradise and is with God:
Revelation 2:7 ""He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
Furthermore, Revelation 22:2 indicates that Jesus is the "Tree of Life" still standing right there in Paradise!
Revelation 22:1  (ESV) "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever."

Hence, allegorically the "Tree of Life" represents Jesus. He wasn't an actual tree, but the tree is symbolic of Him. The "Word" was with God in the beginning, so He had to be someplace. Jesus, the Word made flesh was right there in the middle of the Garden of Eden. He yielded twelve kinds of fruit, not one, and his leaves were for healing! What's more the "Tree of Life" was physical as well as spiritual. He walked in the Garden:
Genesis 3:8a "And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day..."
The "Word" is the "voice of the Lord God"! He was walking in the garden. And the Word made one "command". DO NOT EAT of "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil"! In essence, God was saying "Love me and me only!". All the commands of God boil down to one command "Love God"! By eating of the other tree, Adam and Eve failed to love God. They rebelled in opposition to God's authority and his one and only command. That's the same command Jesus made after he put on flesh!
Matthew 22:36 "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
You say "But there was another commandment." Study it closely:
Matthew 22:39 " 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Yes, there is another commandment, but "the second is like unto it (the Greatest Commandment). This means that the other commandment is just like the first! It's a corollary if the Greatest Commandment! You show your love for God by loving others. Scripture tells us that even if our brother has something against us, God will not accept our offering:
Matthew 5:23 "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."
This shows that loving others is the way we demonstrate our love for God.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
My point is made. There is one commandment and there has always been! The Greatest Commandment equals the Ten Commandments equals the Love of God equals "Don't eat of that other tree"! Back in the Garden it was Jesus (before he was incarnated) saying "Adam and Eve... Love Me and Me Only! Love me " with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." He just used different words. He said:
Genesis 2:16 "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17a But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it..."
Adam and Eve were COMMANDED "thou shalt not eat". There is only one Commandment of God. It's to love God! Hence, God was saying "Show me that you love me!"  As Jesus is the Word and "the voice" of God, Jesus spoke to Adam and he spoke to his disciples! Jesus said the same Command in two different ways. And then he appeared as the "burning bush" which was never consumed, that "Voice" gave the same Commandment again. It was more detailed, but it was one Commandment and with a corollary. The first three were how to directly to love God and the latter seven was how a Christian shows that love! They are how you love others.

Now that it's clear that it was Jesus in the Garden, he walked there and he was represented by the Tree of Life, then it follows that we should look at what fruit that tree bore! The "Tree of Life" bore twelve fruits. These may be  hope,  love, faith, grace (gentleness), mercy (temperance), truth, and even found joy, dependence (meekness), self-control (long-suffering), protection (peace), righteousness (goodness), and modesty. (Eternal life is the reward! Catholics have a slightly different list.) Three of the gifts are from 1 Corinthians 13:13: hope, faith and charity (love).  The other fruits can also be found in scripture. Some are:
Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Ezekiel knew the mystery! He spoke of it:
 Ezekiel 47:12 "Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing."
Ezekiel was speaking of the "Tree of Life" of which John spoke in his Revelation.  Ezekiel knew by inspiration that the Tree of Life was Jesus and he knew that the Tree stood in Paradise!

If we look at the graphic of the tree of life, there is low-hanging fruit and some hanging almost out of reach, but still obtainable! Adam was born immortal. By eating of the wrong tree, making a bad choice, he became mortal. With his disobedience, lack of love for God, came death:
Genesis 2:17b "for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
By deduction if eating of the"Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" results in death, if Adam and Eve had eaten of the "Tree of Life" they would have lived forever!  The "Tree of Life" is allegorical for eternal life! Who is the offering for eternal life?
 John 3:15 "That whosoever believeth in him (Jesus) should not perish, but have eternal life."
Salvation saves from something! What does being "born again" save us from? Eternal death! With belief in the Tree of Life we obtain eternal life! That's sums up the mystery of God!
Colossians 1:26 "Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"
The Jews in general didn't know that all they did was all about Jesus. They knew the covenants and that they were God's people, but it took the gentiles to accept Jesus to reveal the mystery. That mystery is that Jesus was there from the beginning and was the way to salvation for all mankind. That everyone could have the healing fruit of the Tree of Life and that tree is Jesus! Mystery solved! Jesus was here all the time and few beyond the patriarchs knew that. They couldn't "see the Tree for the forest." Jesus was there, but he was hidden by the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil"! We don't know what other allegorical trees were there, but there were many. Jesus became a mystery because he was camouflaged! The crucifixion rent into the curtain in the synagogue and the  mystery was finally revealed.

The man who died on the Cross was "the Word". He was finally revealed to all mankind. Ironically, God chose his own death for it was him that died on that Cross:
Acts 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
The "Tree of Life" was hanged on a tree; the Cross of Calvary. God knew how he would die! He knew it back in the Garden. It was his plan from the beginning because of his foreknowledge. He knew that his creation would choose death over life; pleasure over devotion and reason over innocence!

On both trees are low-hanging fruit! Let's look at the tree of life first. Which fruits are low-hanging? Remember the choices: hope,  love, faith, gentleness, temperance, truth, joy, meekness, long-suffering, peace, goodness, and modesty.

For me "hope" is the lowest hanging! Because I believe I have hope. The entire salvation experience is based on hope.
Romans 8:24 (ESV) "For in this hope (adoption) we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?" 
"Adoption" is to become a child of God. We are "born again", not to man, but to God. By believing we are an adopted son and like a child without a father, our hope to be adopted is what saves us. We can't see it, but it's there, for if we could see hope it would be reality, not something which we strongly desire! There is more low-hanging fruit. How about faith? If we believe we have faith and it takes faith to be saved:
Ephesians 2:8a "For by grace are ye saved through faith;"
This low-hanging fruit is a "must" to have! You are required to take of this lowest-hanging fruit before your hope is fulfilled. You hope to be adopted, but to become a member of the community of God, you must have faith. You must first believe to have faith. Faith is a confident belief in God. It's not a casual acknowledgement, but a living his truth. Hence, we walk in faith, not just "believe" at a cross-section in time. Faith is a practicing belief. Yes, belief is required to have faith, but faith is the practice of believing without doubt!

Is love low-hanging fruit? This is a special type of love. It's hard to define, but it's more than the love of a fellow being and it's even different. It's a deep and sincere appreciation for God because he sacrificed himself for you. It should be low-hanging fruit, but is it? Most of us seek salvation to save our own wretched skin. God realizes that and knows the humanity of us. I submit that "love" should be low-hanging fruit, but yet it's so high on the tree that God made it a command:
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
You see that love is so hard to reach that it has to be commanded! However, we know how to love God. It's to do what he says. Since love is a fruit, it's not a work though!  If we read scripture and pray we will develop and loving relationship with God and our love will grow! You see, loving him, is a fruit of the spirit. Just as in a romance, one who truly loves grows more in love with time. With time two individuals become one! With communion with God our love grows for him. The more we "do" for him, the more we realize that we love him.
1 John 4:12b "...If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
It would appear that the "corollary" to the Greatest Commandment is also the assurance of our salvation. If we don't love others, we don't love God. If we love others we have an assurance that God dwells in us! Since, loving others is proof that we love God and a Christian's biggest shortcoming is loving others, then loving God is the highest-hanging fruit! Face it; we get saved because we love ourselves! However,we grow away from loving self to loving God as we commune with him. We're like babies at the start!
1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
Babies are interested in themselves. They want to be loved and cuddled and spoiled. They want protection and security. With time they grow to focus on the caretaker rather than themselves. They go from being a parasite looking for a host to loving the host! That's the same with new Christians and God. We grow to love him as he nurtures us!

There are several more fruits. Look at each one and ask, "Are they low-hanging" or "are they really high up?"  Some of us stand taller than others. We take the fruits as God hands them out. However, we must desire the fruit in order for it to be picked. The Holy Spirit helps us in this orchard. He draws us nearer and nearer to God and as we get nearer the more fruits we want to pick!

How about the other tree? Of course my belief is that this tree has many fruits, but are of three varieties: wealth, pleasure and reason. The name itself means that man seeks knowledge. Then later we are told that they wanted to be "as God". That's reason. They know the difference between good and bad and are no longer innocent. Reason causes them to be deceived. Some worship Reason as a God! It's agnosticism or what Paul called "The Unknown God" when he spoke to the Greeks; Agnostos Theos.

When I say that the variety of fruit is "wealth" I'm taking that from Adam and Eve. They saw that the tree "was good for food". God already supplied good food for them, but they were Epicureans; they wanted food for rich tastes. Hence, I believe they sought a wealthy lifestyle. This is reinforced by
1 Timothy 6:10 "For the love of money is the root of all evil..."
Then we're told that the tree was pleasurable. Pleasure is self-worship. We adore ourselves and want to please ourselves.
Ephesians 5:29 "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it..."
Self-esteem isn't lacking in man; lack of Christ-esteem is what's missing. If we moan and groan in our failing, the Lord will lift us up! That's Christ-esteem. Now it is clear that the three varieties of fruit are in fact wealth, pleasure and reason.

There is no unreachable fruit on that tree, but it's still a tree from which we all pick! What are specific fruits of the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil":
Mark 7:21 "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
Here are thirteen fruits of that awful tree! They can be categorized by variety. For example, "thefts" is of the variety of a "desire for wealth", "fornications" are the variety of "pleasure" and "deceit" is of the variety of "reason". We certainly don't want to pick any low-hanging fruit here, but we can avoid those fruits. Some fruits are easier to avoid than others. If I quit the easy things to quit, that's avoiding the low-hanging fruit!

It's easy not to steal, not to murder, and not to blaspheme. Those easy fruits to avoid are a first step in loving God! As we mature we grow in spiritual stature, then we can tackle the high-hanging fruit (to avoid). Way up there is "pride"! It's at the top of the tree and is the hardest to hand over to God. Pride was Adam's sin. He wanted to be like God. We're like Adam and that will be the last fruit we put in God's basket! Let's go with that! Rather than picking the low-hanging fruit for our own consumption, let's go ahead and pick it, but put it into God's basket. He will handle our fruit from this evil tree himself!
1 John 1:9 (ESV) "If we confess our sins, he(God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
As we pick the fruit off the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" we put it into God's basket. Picking the fruit is "repentance"! Rather than pleasuring in what we pick, we turn it over to God and he forgives us our pleasure! By picking of this tree which doesn't belong to the Christian, we're trespassing. God will forgive our trespasses!

Some of the fruit on this tree is really rotten!
Proverbs 6:16 "These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."
Those sins most disgusting to the Lord are: 1) pride, 2) gossip, 3) murder, 4) a wicked heart, 5) trouble-making, 6) lies  and 7) slandering.

Since the Lord finds these seven things disgusting, if we love him, we won't do them! These are high-hanging fruit to put in God's basket for many of us, but they can be reached! The ladder is the Holy Spirit. He helps us with those high-hanging rotten fruits!

However, there is a large list of abominations to the Lord: homosexuality, idol worship, worshiping false Gods, disobedience to God, incest, unrighteousness, selfish giving, doing as the pagans do, cross-dressing, defiling God's house, and many more. God finds them all disgusting! Some are low-hanging fruit and easy to put into God's basket, but others are harder to take from our hand and put into his!

If we keep some of this rotten fruit for ourselves and secretly consume it, we anger our Lord. He expects us to give over all the fruit we've handled and put on his shoulders. After all he did that on the cross. He took on all the rotten fruits from this rotten tree forever:
1 Peter 2:24 "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
Look at this! God took all the fruit from the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" and bare it on the "Tree of Life"! The Tree of Life had the stripes where he was demeaned and finally died, but because he was the "root" the tree lives again!

Look at the Tree of Life graphic. Below the tree with its twelve fruits is a "root". That is allegorical for God!
Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
Jesus is the "root" of the Tree of Life. and he's God! The "root" is God! And Jesus IS the Tree of Life. Likewise, he's speaks of  "Living Water":
 John 4:10 "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."
John 7:37 "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
The graphic of the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" has for it's root "the love of money" which is "the root of all evil" (1 Tim 6:10). Death lies below that tree, symbolized by the raging fires of hell. It's not that some don't love God, they just love money (or sin more). Men may believe in God, but fail because they value wealth, pleasure or reason more. An example of this is the rich young man who wanted to follow Jesus, but was told that he must leave his wealth behind. Although he had a desire to follow Jesus because he believed in him, his first love was money! If we look at Judas, he was chosen to be an apostle. He followed Jesus, but it turns out that he wanted the thirty pieces of silver more! His love of money was in fact the root of all evil! God doesn't stand for us to have two masters! We're either for him or against him.

The graphic of the Tree is a representation of the three personalities of God. Jesus is the Tree of Life. He is of the "root" which is God and the Living Water provided by God is the Holy Spirit. The "system" consisting of the water, root and tree is the Trinity and is the Godhead. That Godhead still exists in Paradise just as it did in Eden!

Let's go to Revelation again:

Revelation 22:2 "In the midst of the street of it (Paradise), and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."

Here we again show the Trinity. God is at the center of the "street" in heaven and thereby is a "river" which is the Holy Spirit and beside the street (God) and the river (Spirit) there was the "Tree of Life" (Jesus).

This is the mystery of God! It's no longer a mystery. The "Unknown God" is now known if you have read about him in scripture and believe in him.
 Acts 17:23 "For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

On Justice

Justice is blind! Do you want to hear another joke? It should be, but let's take a look at justice.

From the American Heritage Dictionary:
"The upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law." 
What then is "just"?
 "Rendering or disposed to render to each one his due; equitable; fair; impartial..."
Justice is "fair treatment".  It's impartial judgment. We see in our mind's eye the scale of justice. Lady Justice is blindfolded and the scales are level. That's what it should be! That's how U.S. Law is supposed to be. Our laws are based on "Natural Law".

The Oxford Companion to the U.S. Supreme Court says:
"Natural Law is a philosophic doctrine holding that there is a certain order in nature that provides norms for human conduct."
"Natural Law" in the United States is based on "God's Laws". The source goes on to say:
"This doctrine received its most renowned form in St. Thomas Aquinas's “Treatise on Law,” a part of his Summa Theologiae. For Aquinas, natural law was humanity's “participation” in the comprehensive eternal law."
Righteousness is God's Laws! It's right living. It's obedience to God's will. It's love!
Proverbs 20:23 "Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord, and false scales are not good."
I'm biased! I admit it. At the news of George Zimmerman killing the youngster Travon Martin, my bias kicked in. "This big bully playing cop killed a youngster!" However, with time, I looked at the facts objectively and saw that the entire situation had been distorted by those who have their own bias.

With Michael Brown's death, I had the Martin killing in mind. I thought "Here we go again!" The people and the media have put a biased slant on the facts. I immediately sided with Officer Darren Wilson. I admit it. My scales were out-of-balance, but so are the scales of all those who're marching in protest and speaking words of idiocy on every news channel! It doesn't matter what a person's bias is, we should all be astounded at the bias of those interviewed on news programs. Gov. Nixon seems to have been the "biggest idiot" of them all because he had legal training and sixteen years experience! He should be an embarrassment to all fair-minded people. However, if I was there, I would display some degree of my bias as well!

It's unfair to all if one assumes judgment before judgment is administered! The large percentage of the blacks interviewed have a strong bias! Their bias is strictly emotional with little critical thinking based on facts. Some blacks have taken a fair stance. They should be commended because they have set ethnocentrism aside and seek justice. This is not to say that they don't want the guilty punished, but they want even the guilty, if they are, to have a fair chance.

Much of the bias comes from preachers, reverends and other spiritual leaders. Their positions are purely emotional. That's their job to be emotional, but it should be righteous. It must be from scripture, otherwise the spokesman has a credibility problem. "Unequal weights are an abomination to to the Lord." They've read this and they know all the other supporting scripture. God states with authority that bias in administering justice is disgusting! Who are the "Reverend" Al Sharpton and like-minded to put aside "Natural Law" and assume the authority of God? Who made them judge? Who made them God?
Leviticus 19:15 “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor."
If I was to be a juror, being obedient, I would make every attempt to put my bias aside! That's what I would have to do for the sake of justice. My desire would be to show the same fairness to another which God has the grace to judge me fairly.
Luke 6:36 (ESV) "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
It's pretty clear! We are to be merciful, to not harshly judge, and use the same measure for another which we would want used if we were in the same position. "Reverend" Al Sharpton doesn't do that! He shows no sense of fairness and I believe him to be narcissistic and himself a racist!

He should put his cards on the table. He should admit his bias. I will; will he? My bias's are:
  • God's word comes first
  • Everything we do must be done to God's Law.
  • We must all show love and mercy.
  • We're to love even those who we consider our enemies.
These are all "good" or righteous bias's. They're not mine. They are what I believe, not because that's my nature, but because I desire to please God!

Here are some of my negative bias's:
  • Blacks have a stronger bond to support each other because of their history. They ignore disobedience in members of their race because life has been perceived as unfair.
  • I believe that black culture breeds drug usage, crime and hate. Rather than working through love, many use violence to achieve acceptance. Many ignore the non-violent teachings of Martin King.
  • Motivation in black inner city families is low. I believe that to be due to the lack of a full family structure consisting of mother and father. I don't believe that has anything to do with mistreatment by other races, but are personal choices, albeit wrong choices.
  • Rabble-rousers such as Al Sharpton have a history of stirring up racial animosity. His is a message of hate. There are many like him in the civil rights movement.
  • That drugs are the main driver of illegal activity and there are many reasons for drug usage; most of them are for self-gratification. (Get rid of drugs and crime goes down. Get rid of drugs and we need fewer cops!)
  • That Jesus is not "real" in the inner city. Yes, people claim him, but few follow him. There is probably no research on that, but that's my perception. That's my bias!
Although, it pleases me when things take the course toward my own bias, I must ignore what I want and think of what the will of God is! God's clear. He wants justice. He wants fairness. It wasn't fair that Jesus died for me because he was innocent. Jesus was a scapegoat, but we don't need a cop to be a scapegoat for the unruly!

I've witnessed police brutality. I saw a cop beat my own son and stand on him for only asking his name! Police brutality exists, but because it exists is no reason to assume that every white kid killed by a cop deserved it, but every black kid killed by a white cop doesn't! That's irrational. That's stupid emotional thinking. If there is any true evidence that this policeman is guilty of brutality, justice (and God) insists that he be punished! However, the system has already shown a bias and any act of "justice" is now a lynching! Darren Wilson cannot get fair treatment now. It will be next to impossible. He may be indicted just because so many wish it. He may be convicted just because he was doing his job.

To be fair it would be wise for the grand jury to say: "There can be no trial because the system is already biased toward guilt!" It's too late for a fair trial, with an idiot governor ranting and the injustice within the Department of Justice which have shown themselves to be above the law in other cases. 

What can we do? Rioting like a lynch mob is not the way to justice.Blacks have been lynched because of this same mentality. When will they learn? We can pray for justice; not for prosecution, because praying for prosecution is disgusting to God! We can pray also for Michael's family and friends in their pain. Yes, even those of us whose children rebel; we are still to love them. We can pray that the likes of Al Sharpton not stir up hate. We can pray that he behave as if he's "saved" if he truly is! We can pray for fairness. Prayer changes things!

Politics: Dr. Tim Hulsey on Not being able to undo the done

"Word on the street is that..." Valerie Jarrett finally gave in to Obama's 
campaign organization prior to the 2012 election. It was pushing hard to include 
former President Bill Clinton as a speaker at the Democrat Nominating 
Convention. She reminded her "boss," however, that, after the election, he would 
be the president and could renege on anything he promised Clinton for his 

She was likely just reminding him, again, since she probably told Senator Obama 
in 2008, "You can promise the voters anything, but, after your election, you'll 
be the president and can renege on anything you promise them." He certainly 
listened to that advice. 

Before the Obamacare bill was passed, she told him to tell the American People 
whatever they want to hear. After passage, it would be "the law of the land" and 
will be hard to repeal. Whatever it turns out to be, you, as the president, can 
mold it in your own image, the Constitution notwithstanding. 

After the Benghazi tragedy, her encouragement would have been to make up a story 
and stick to it as long as possible, Americans have a short memory. The 
state-controlled media will help us. 

Show some outrage over the IRS scandal, then go silent. At some point you can 
say, "There's not a smidgen of corruption at the IRS," then clam up, again. 

Even though it violates two laws, exchange those five important terrorists for 
Bowe Bergdahl so quickly no one will be able to stop you. What can they do, once 
it's done? 

Send a memo to all federal agencies instructing them to run all Freedom of 
Information Act requests by our staff, so that we can slow walk them at our 
discretion. What FOIA laws? 

"You're the president, and they're not! Do anything you want!" 

Soberly Singing My Praises

Oh, as I wake my heart must sing
at messages which the angels bring!
It sings of joy and hope abundant
in harmony with the resounding trumpet.

Some lack the joy I have found
because to evil they're still bound!
Being not sober around they mope
preferring drugs to eternal hope.

Salvation is my calming soma,
taking from life all the drama.
I wonder not what life is about,
and to the heavens I shall shout!

Glory to God for his grace,
dying for me in my place!
Salvation was by his blood
as Noah was saved from the flood.

Why live life in a dream?
not living life fully it does seem.
Reality will soon step in
when each of us join all men.

We'll all face God to explain
why we deserve no more pain.
That in heaven we deserve.
How dare us have the nerve!

Yes, judged shall be us all.
But if in sin we have the gall...
to say we deserve eternal life
while sin in us was always rife.

Praise God he has the grace
to meet me face to face!
"Well done!" he shall say...
on that last judgment day.

Believing made all the difference.
I held Jesus in holy reverence!
One decision saved my soul.
Eternal life was my final goal!

Thank you for knocking at my door.
No need to knock there any more.
I submit to you and accept your grace...
when you take me from this place!

In heaven a room is prepared.
No other mansion can be compared!
In view of my room is the Tree of Life
and finally for me... no more strife!