Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Finding Fault In All But Yourself

Wherever I go I run into people who are more concerned that I "be perfect" than that they be rational. So many people are dysfunctional! I've had people, even Christians, who are always ready to criticize and accuse. Not that I'm without error, but that others don't look at their own reflection because they are blinded by the light of self-indulgence. I use the pronoun "I", but we all have had a taste of those whose own feces is the sweetest aroma!

It's conceivable and even expected that there will be people who don't care for another's personality. Everyone has a makeup which makes them a unique person. That uniqueness can be exemplary or it can be repulsive, or it can lie anywhere in between. Few are exemplary, but many have personalities which are less than pleasurable and certainly undesirable! Why do people choose to have a personality which others are prone to dislike? Maybe it's not their personality, but their spiritual disposition!

Before we look at the latter, let me speak of a person whose nickname is "Grumpy"!  We think of the seven dwarfs when we see that name and Grumpy was, well, always Grumpy! Grumpy took pride in his nickname and made every effort to live up to it! There was one problem: Grumpy claims Christianity!

Being a disciple of Christ is not only a state of spiritual being, but is a lifestyle as well! At least it should be if one claims to follow the most loving being ever to exist! I've taken several personality tests. The intent is to dig deep within to find the method of operation within. After considering the origins of the test to operationalize personality types, I have since refused to take another personality test! Why? In psychology there are multiple types, none even related to what we really are! There are truly two types of personalities and a continuum between them. We all lie between "righteous" and "unrighteous". Although none, besides God, are "good", let me use shorthand and refer to these two boundaries as "good" and "bad".

As already related there are none who are purely "good". That's much as gold. There is always impurity in gold and I've never even heard of 100% purity. Some foreign substances always remain because of the environment and processing contaminants.

Since no one is totally "good" are there those who are totally "bad"? Believe it or not, that is a theological question. It's the first point of the Calvinist concept called "total depravity". Those who are totally depraved have no innate "goodness" to accept "good" on their own. What "good" they receive is because of God's grace. This leads to the fourth point of Calvinism called "irresistible grace". When God elects a person to become a born-again Christian, the totally depraved person play no part in his own salvation. The future Christian is born evil,and is so evil, that free will plays no part in accepting or rejecting Christ.

We are all born with a sinful nature. We are all prone "(born) to be bad", and since we fall to temptation and do "bad" called "sin", are we totally evil? The Calvinist proposition is that we're so evil we can't even choose "good", remembering that "goodness" is defined as God's standards. It's clear that although we're all depraved, it's not "bad" in totality. God-given free-will is a gift, but it's that remnant of "goodness" God let humans retain to make a decision to follow him! (Thank you God for that characteristic which enable man to be human!)

Now I have defined a continuum between "good" and "bad" with everybody falling between. God is the boundary of "goodness" and that would leave Satan as the boundary of "badness".
John 8:44 "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He(the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
Satan (the devil) is described by John as the epitome of evil! That's "total depravity". They get the concept of "total depravity" from the first part of this: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." The insinuation is that since the devil is totally depraved and that you are a son or daughter of the devil, you too are totally depraved.  This thought itself negates God's grace, the focal point of Calvinism. By God's grace, since the days of Abraham, man has had the opportunity to choose grace! We can choose to love God or we can choose to rebel! Abraham chose God, not because he couldn't resist God's grace, but because he recognized truth. He listened to God, God convinced him and he believed! His belief was so strong that he had faith enough to willingly sacrifice his own son to favor God! (Note that Adam had free will too, but it was directed toward sin, not grace).

Abraham had some depravity! He passed off his wife as his sister and lied about it. However, he was receptive to the spirit enough that he discerned truth and believed. Scripture tells us Christians to be as Abraham:
Romans 4:16 "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all..."
Before Abraham we were all sons of Satan. Since Abraham "paid the price" by vicariously sacrificing his son, because of "it is of faith, that it might be by grace". In his heart, Abraham did offer his own son, just as God actually did. By that act of faith, Abraham made available the grace that God always had. God already had the grace to forgive weak men who tried by obeying the law, but with Abraham it became possible to be saved with wickedness residing in men's hearts. God acknowledged that Abram did "good" on his own. He made a decision to obey God in opposition to what Adam did. Man had learned the lesson! Although Abraham did "good" he was not totally good. Because he did "good" he was not totally depraved!

Abraham's disposition lies on that continuum. It wasn't totally "good" because he's not God and it's not totally "bad" (total depravity) because he chose to honor God. His was the "human scale" that is possible for man! On that "good/bad" continuum lies "the faith of Abraham"!

On the other end of the scale is having some, but little faith:
Matthew 8:26 "And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?"
The continuum (including non-Christians) goes from those damned to those who have the faith of Abram. Those damned may still do "good" things (humanists), but they are done for wrong reasons. They are done out of men doing "good" works, in effect trying to deserve God's reward. They are not totally depraved because they are capable of some"good", but God's rewards are not by works, it's by grace. Our hearts must be toward pleasing God. If it's not that's "bad" because we allow ourselves to be deceived by Satan and worship at another altar! Because we fail God on one point we fail him on all because by his justice we fail to love the One who made us! That's a cardinal sin!

On that continnum, then, we have for Christians, boundaries between "little faith" and "faith of Abraham". Those with a critical spirit (disposition) are closer to those "of little faith" than they are to "the faith of Abraham". We are to desire to be not only as faithful as Abraham, but Christlike:
1 John 2:6 "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he (Christ) walked."
Although "the faith of Abraham" is what's reasonable for men, the ultimate goal is to live as Christ lived. It's not possible to attain that goal, but by focusing on Christ, maybe we will get close to Abraham!

"Disposition" is the tendency of individuals to behave and act in certain ways. When we're born our pre-disposition is to do wrong. That's "original sin" and we inherit that from Adam. I find no reference to Adam ever feeling remorse nor repenting! He made excuses. He blamed Eve. Because Adam wasn't made right, we all are born wrong! We're all "bad" at birth.

With salvation, being born again, we are to bury that "old person", the one born in sin and "bad", and arise a "new person", with that pre-disposition to do "bad" changed. With regeneration our disposition is to be toward doing "good", being Christlike! Why then are some Christians pre-disposed to being "bad"?  Maybe it's because they never truly repented, but maybe too it's because they are still deceived by the devil as Adam was! In fact once a person is a child of God, Satan steps up the attacks! Our "free will" is still there. It's not dispensed with because we're saved. We still choose sin every time we do wrong. We don't have to, but it's our choice each time because Christians fail to seek righteousness.

What we see with critical people are those who are not born-again or are born-again and have "little faith". Because they have so little faith they doubt as they're tempted by pleasure and checked by the Holy Spirit. They are so busy considering sin that they fail to choose righteousness! A critical person, even a Christian, needs more God! If we're filled with the Holy Spirit, we no longer will have the critical spirit.

Being critical of others is a way to elevate oneself. It's pleasuring the "God of Self" at the expense of hurting others. Sure, the born-again person has received the Spirit much as the Holy Spirit "remained ON Jesus" for a time, but was that faith enough to be FILLED with the Spirit? It's the difference between being a temporary residence of the Spirit and a temple of the Holy Spirit. Those with a critical spirit have a poor disposition. They are still inclined toward evil because of such little faith. With the "faith of Abraham" they allow that Spirit to come in and they become God's temple! Their disposition changes and they assume a Christian or "good" personality! "Grumpy" is drowned in the water of baptism and "Happy" arises from the water. ("Happy! Happy! Happy!" as Phil Robertson would say!)

The "Happy Christian" no longer has a critical spirit and is no longer self-absorbed. The narcissistic person becomes one who "loves others as he loves himself" and as he exercises the "goodness" by the grace of God, then he is loving God by being obedient; strong in the faith, if you prefer!

Lesson: Be a happy Christian. Critique yourself, but allow the Holy Spirit to check the shortcomings of others, not you! Lose that nasty disposition! It's not "good". Be patient and kind. When the Holy Spirit resides in you, the fruits of the spirit are handed out freely! That nasty personality is lost and people love those who show love to them! It's my hope that the readers reflect on their own personality! Are you self-centered or do you truly show charity to others. Are you judgmental, comparing others to your own standard, or do you apply a tighter standard to others than you do yourself?

Most Christians I know are still "Grumpy". Take a lesson from the dwarfs and be "Happy"! By having a persona exemplified by the Holy Spirit, you will have friends and be loved. That's okay to want others to love you, but others cannot be coerced into love. Love received is because love is remitted!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Greatest Commandment was said by Christ to Moses!

 This lawyer knew the law! I always believed that Jesus was the first to state The Greatest Commandment and the "one like unto it": Love God and love others. However, these have always been the Greatest Commandment and its corollary! A corollary is "something that naturally follows" (Meriam-Webster Dictionary).
Luke 10:25 "And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."
It is questioned by Jesus to the lawyer? "What is written in the law?"  The lawyer's answer was one idea, but two laws: The commandment is "thou shalt love the Lord thy God" and the corollary (something that naturally follows) is "love thy neighbor". Hence, it's one law because if a person loves God then it's natural that the person must love others. Why? That's what God wants! His Ten Commandments are the statement to love God (Commandment 1-3) and "something naturally follows"; loving others (Commandment 4-10).

What amazed me about Jesus' answer to the lawyer, is that The Greatest Commandment always was! It was hidden, so to speak, in two different places in The Old Testament, but the lawyer put the two together! That was no accident! Jesus was making a point, but he had the lawyer made it for him!

I didn't recognize Old Testament commands acknowledging The Greatest Commandment! Did you? The lawyer was referring to these tow verses:
Deuteronomy 6:5 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." (Commandment 1-3)
Leviticus 19:18  "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." (Commandment 4-7).
 Jesus made a profound statement:
Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
Jesus never ever contradicted The Law! There is nothing wrong with the law. What was and is still wrong is that people attempt to obey The Law, but it is done without love!  Although "love" was always The Law, love was confounded by following the letter of it. There is a difference in attitude:
Romans 3:31 (ESV) "Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law."
Grace doesn't mean that we Christians don't have to OBEY the law, but that because of love blossoming from grace, the Christian DESIRES to keep The Law. As good citizens in the kingdom of God we pledge our allegiance to our glorious King. That allegiance is our love and we show our allegiance and love by keeping God's Commandments!
John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
This is in agreement with Christ's statement that he came "to fulfil" The Law. Although God always loved us; always did and always will, he did something which was extreme! He died for us so that we are without excuse. That's The Law of Grace. That's the fulfilling of The Law. By not "overthrowing" that law, we are still to follow it, but with a new heart. It's a thankful and loving heart!

I have shown where there is but one law. That "law" is the Law of Love. It's not two laws, but one because if we love God it follows that we love others. That's reinforced by John 15:15. By following God's commandments is how we demonstrate our love of God. Those commandments boil down to one: Love God and demonstrate it by loving others; even your enemies!
Matthew 5:43 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you..."
"Loving enemies" is the hard part! It's sometimes hard to love those who love you, but we are commanded to love even those who despise us. I come up short and so do you, but that's where we need to pray for ourselves. Not loving others is pride. World's collide and we all endeavor to protect our own little world. What are we to do? Cut our enemies a little slack! Use the "fruits of the spirit": We are to have charity for them among others. We are to use The Golden Rule:
Luke 6:31 "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."
That's being empathetic with them. Not tolerating their sin, but understanding that we too are sinners, just as they are. We may be saved, but that's "God's gift of grace" and we need to be thankful for his grace, not proud in it. As a consequence of our having received grace, the Christian's loving desire for "the enemy" is that they share what we have received! That's how we are to "love our enemies"! We endeavor to see that they have eternal life. That's not done by ridiculing nor cursing, but loving them!

"God's Law of Love" (aka The Greatest Commandment) has always been one law and always will be! When God said "don't eat of that other tree", he was merely stating The First Commandment in different words:
Exodus 20:3  "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
"How is that The Greatest Commandment?" you may ask. God was commanding that his children love only him! No, it doesn't mean that we don't love others, but that we have only one God and we are to love him!  Adam's sin was not in eating of the fruit, but standing there in the presence of the serpent instead of with God eating the fruit of his tree "The Tree of Life". Adam failed to love God and put Satan before God.

"Loving God" has always been the one and only commandment and all others are how we are to love God! When we break one of any of  The Ten Commandments it's as if we've broken them all, but what's worse, by not obeying those commandments we're not loving God. By breaking even one commandment a person short changes "loving God"!

Some would totally ignore works. "Works" are things we do, not to earn salvation, which we can't, but to demonstrate our love. We can't work our way unto salvation by doing "good", but works are the assurance that a person indeed is a Christian. "Faith without works is dead!", according to James. By not showing "works" (obeying the commandments) we are at odds with John 14:15 where we're told to "keep my commandments" to show that we love him!

The theology in opposition to "works" is called Calvinism. Ignoring remorse, repentance, belief, and faith; Calvinists contend that to be saved all a person has to do is "to be"  Under what I consider to be "positive Christianity", to be a Christian, all we have to have is life. But the "negative Christianity" associated with that is that "to be damned" all we have to do is "to be". God chooses us and we play no part in it! Calvinism is deterministic and to most fatalistic! My theology (Christ's really) offers hope. Calvinism only offers the hope that the person is lucky enough to win the "divine lottery" which was held before the world was even created!
Mark 5:17a says "Think not that I am come to destroy the law..."
Jesus didn't come to rid the world of God's Law, but to bring love into fruition! Calvinism destroys God's Law.  Oh, we are to still love God, but Calvinism removed the tools to show our love for God. Obeying the Commandments, in their theology, is a weight to which Christians should not be burdened. For me and for God, simply doing what he wills is not a burden. It's how we love him!

Never take God's Laws lightly. He wrote them on stone so that we know what we are to do to please him. If we don't do these things we have "blame" because that's what the laws are for; so that we are without excuse! The key is "Without excuse for failing to do what"? We are without excuse for failing to demonstrate our love of God! Admittedly, if we obey the law rather than loving God, and by implication others, we are not truly loving God, but in effect making an idol of ourselves. Obeying commandments without loving God is disobeying by breaking the First Commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

The unsaved person who try to be "good" can't because only God is good! That person has placed himself "before God". Whereas, God commands that we love him, the "do-gooder" becomes the High Priest and assumes a role not ordained for him. Just as King Saul assumed an improper religious role, so does the "do-gooder". The focus (aka worship) is on the Self, not on God!

Become a servant to God first. Love Jesus and then obey the Commandments. You don't have any obligation to clean up your act first... come as you are. Those who are forgiven the most will love him the most:
Luke 7:47 "Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

World Tinted Glasses

We are a product of our times. What we are is because of when we are and where we be. For that I am very thankful. Some see that as fate, but there is a divine plan. I'm a piece in the hands of the most knowledgeable and fair player who ever was or ever will be! I'm not an accident nor a mere pawn in an elaborate game. I'm an important piece and without this one piece in the divine scheme all else is changed!

To elaborate on how important one person is, look at this example. Thomas Edison put electricity into practical use, but most important is his invention of the incandescent light. He did this well over one-hundred years ago and we're still using exactly what he invented with some slight improvements I might add! Most of all that I've ever learned has been under the light of Edison's idea. I never had to read by the flickering light of the fire, but Edison made it easy. His lamp burns uniformly and cleanly. It's ideal for seeing in the dark!

But what if even one of Edison's antecedents wasn't there? In 30 generations there are multi-millions of  possible ancestors if there were no intermarriages. In ten generations Edison had 1,024 ancestors providing they were all discreet. If any one of these 1024 had died without issue our their child aborted, Thomas Edison would not have been nor would the incandescent light have been invented at that time! Looking back 30 generations when Edison had millions of ancestors (endless genealogies) if any one of them had been plucked from the divine plan, then the plan would have failed and we could still be in the dark!

Applying the same logic to Jesus, if one of his maternal ancestors had been non-entities, then Mary the righteous virgin would not have been there to bear the Messiah, and if that were true, then Jesus would still be Messiah rather than Savior! Jesus was in the plan too! Without Edison there is not light, but without Jesus there would be no Light! It's possible that we would still be spiritually in darkness.
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) "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."
Does God wait for us to be before he plans for us? In his divine plan, as all good plans are, your destiny was planned before you even were:
 Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you..." referring to Jeremiah who is no different than us!
We are all part of God's divine plan. I see life through "lenses of hope". I recognize that I'm planned, not necessarily by my parents, but part of the divine plan. I'm here where I am now because that's where God wants me to be!  Each keystroke is a product of what God allows. He knew that I would write of his glory and he knew that thousands of years ago!  I'm writing this because it's part of God's divine plan. When what I write reaches each person it has a cause and effect. It can either produce "good" results or "bad".

 The other day my writing produced a bad result. My intent was for a person to think on their spiritual condition and seek him. Instead of compliance I received, not only rejection, but anger!  That's not what I wanted, but since God is the author of all that we do, he "allowed" undesired consequences. We can ask why God allows "bad' things, but he does. It's because he made us with our own will. Even when the person was angered, God allowed the anger!

It may be that a seed was planted in a field of anger and this anger will continually remind the person and get saved someday. Or it could be that the person has rejected God for the last time and is now reprobate. It's not for me to decide, but whichever it is, it's part of God's plan. Yes, we are all predestined to be children of God, but that reflects only on God's desire that we all choose him over the world.

This is an example of my view through the "lenses of hope"! It's a view where God is in charge of his Kingdom and although I'm a subject of the king, he still rules! On the other hand some wear "world tinted glasses".  People who wear those glasses may not even read scripture. In all their self-wisdom they conclude what's "good" on what they want to be "good". Generally speaking, for them, everything is good as long as they have pleasure and no one immediately dies as a result! Everyone does what is right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6). Those people aren't playing with a full deck because they haven't read the Scripture, they've only perceived it to be what they want it to be:
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
Clarifying a little for those "wisdom challenged" this means that if you do what's perceived as right in your "world tinted lenses",  your're an idiot! Just because a person can't conceive of being wrong, doesn't make that person right! That's pride and foolish... "foolish pride".

People can see the world with 20/20 vision, but cannot see truth. What's the cure for "blinded by the world"? It's "hope tinted glasses". What's the Rx for "blindness of the world"? The lenses for those "glasses of hope" is Holy Scripture. As you read more and more your vision of the world becomes more distorted, but the view of truth is seen clearly! The world is not as you see it, but is as God planned it. With those new glasses a true view of the world is clearly seen! It's not one of happiness and pleasure, but is a place for learning the will of God! It's not your home, but prepares every person for an eternal home! One may refuse "hope tinted glasses" and be content with those "world tinted". What they see is eternal prosperity, but those glass distort truth.

"World tinted glasses" lie. Eternity isn't heaven or even the grave. For those who use those glasses the true view is damnation and agony. With "hope tinted glasses" we can see Paradise! We see ourselves there in joy and awe that we are finally standing there before our creator! Choose your glasses wisely! Be selective which Rx you're using. Some will cheat you outright because their proprietor means to defraud the maker of the lenses. Read the prescription before you pick the wrong glasses!

Friday, September 26, 2014

On Backsliding

A person can "backslide", but if the slide slips all the way to from the time you were "saved" until now, there's a high probability that your salvation was ineffectual to start with! I'll use an example. I found the church records of my Uncle Fred where he was "saved" in 1905. When I pointed that out to him he gave the the date of his true salvation. He admitted that the first time that he was "saved" it wasn't for him, but to satisfy others. Now, that's an honest man!

Some churches view salvation differently, but from a scriptural standpoint it's when you commit your life to Christ! Of course in order to make the commitment there are certain things entailed" 1) Admit one's sins, 2) feel sorrow for sinning, 3) believing in Jesus, 4) accepting Jesus' sacrifice of himself on the cross in your place, 5) repenting to Jesus of your past sins, 6) a public testimony of your salvation entailing baptism and 7) living as much like Christ as can be done. Shortcuts to salvation are ineffectual! That all flies in the face of of scripture and is called "Calvinism".

Sure, God's grace is why we're saved and are free, but we still participate in being saved. It's not just a day when we realize that we have been elected and we can't even resist it! It's a day when we, encouraged by the Holy Spirit "do" things such as exercising our god-given free will!

"Backsliding" is when a Christian isn't living as Jesus would have him live. If asked the backslider will say "I believe in Jesus, but have trouble living a Christian life!" Most backsliders appear to be the epitome of unsaved sinners. Perhaps some, if not most, are! Calvinists believe in "preservation of the saints". That means "once saved always saved" and allows nothing for free will. Saved people are predetermined by God before they're ever born, cannot accept or refuse salvation, do nothing toward responding to God, and frankly, they don't even have to live a Christian life! Neither can they freely choose to remain a Christian. They are forced to go to heaven!

Many Baptist churches teach "once saved always saved". That's a ticket to go ahead and sin and still be a Christian. It shows little faith and no responsibility to live Christlike. At most it's "fire insurance" to keep one out of hell, but realistically it's fire insurance issued by a fraudulent insurer. The person believes they're insured until the day the "house burns" and find out that their claim is denied!
Matthew 7:23 "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (sin)."
Yes, backsliding exists,  but it's not of long duration. It's not a lifelong endeavor! What I mean is that many people who're "saved" never ever live righteously and sin flagrantly. The "old person" was never drowned with baptism and the "new person" was never raised up. Those people go through the motions, but there is never a heartfelt guilt nor sorrow, let alone repentance. All that is left is a wet sinner. Most people who are called "backsliders" are lost to eternity!
1 John 3:9 "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."
There are three ways to look at this in all honesty: 1) A Christian's sin is never counted against him, 2) Christians never sin at all, or 3) Christians endeavor to live a holy life and because they seek righteousness, God is gracious enough to overlook occasional sins. I believe it's the latter. His grace is sufficient to cover intentional sin, but it's a race we're running! We are to persevere until the end.

A second type of "backsliding" are those who once believed, but no longer do. They were sincere in their born-again experience, but their faith was robbed by the encroachment of Satan. God puts a hedge around them, but for some reason God allows Satan to pester Christians. That resistance to temptation is how that Christians show that we love him and it's called "works". If we love him, we keep his commandments!

Some Christians fall to temptation. It starts out with little sins and continues until one lives a life as if God's will is important. Their quest for pleasure snuffs out their belief in God. Sometimes it's a false doctrine which deceives them. Whatever, the reason they leave God, that's apostasy and for that there is no cure. Those people become reprobate:
2 Corinthians 13:5 "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
This is how that you know if you're still a Christian or ever were one. You examine yourself! Do you still pray sincerely, still love God and others, still testify to others and fulfill "The Great Commission"?  Is your life more on pleasure than on God. Do you question scripture? Do you ignore scripture? Do you feel hatred for those who talk about Christ around you? There are many other tests; just examine yourself.

If you confess belief, but have no works, some say that you have "back-slidden". Be careful to test whether you were ever born again. There are many who will roast for eternity because they fail to examine themselves in a truthful manner. Also, if one has back-slidden should they not eventually return to Christ? Most don't or so it seems!

"Giving up on God" (apostasy) is extremely dangerous! Here's what is said about those who once believed, but now don't:
Hebrews 6:4-6 (ESV) "For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt."
In short, if you were a Christian, but backslid until your death, there is nothing more to cover you because to do so would be re-crucifying Christ! That can't be done because he died to save us once and for all! Backsliding unto death IS apostasy!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

So your daddy was a preacher, but your father is the devil?

None are immune from the spell of demonic poison! Some say that "their daddy was a preacher"! All that means is either 1) He taught you right and you refused to listen, or 2) He taught you wrong and you learned wrong. None are saved because their daddy was a preacher nor if they're from a hundred generations of preachers. God isn't impressed with genealogies!

Woe unto the child who was brought up with Godly parents, but rejected their teachings. To respect parents is a command, not an option. They, if Christians themselves, teach the tools which battle the devil.  Many of those who were taught right hate God. Why? Because God through the Holy Spirit doesn't let them pleasure themselves. There are "wrongs" which we're forbidden to do and evil people reject God because they favor evil!

It seems that those who reject the Godly teachings of their parents are most likely to be reprobate!
Romans 1:28 "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient..."
In short God gives up on those who fail to listen, or worse yet; listen, but fail to obey! Reprobate means that the rebellious person is foreordained to eternal damnation. Why is that so? They worship their father, the devil:
John 8:44 "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do."
Those who do what's right in their own eyes have for a father, the devil. Their daddy may have been a preacher, but their father is still the devil! How should other Christians respond to a reprobate person?
 Luke 9:5 "And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them."
We are to make reprobate people non-persons. They're damned and beyond salvation. Why let them drag us into the same fiery pit? A discerning Christian knows that we're battling forces of evil:
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."
 Why fight such powerful forces? You can't win on your own and most of us have such little faith that to battle with wickedness in high places is self-damning. You just can't do it alone! We would like to think that the person who we love has "good" in them, but if "good" was there, God would not ask us to shake their very dust from off our feet!

People have always been beguiled by what appears "good" or "pleasurable". Even Samson lost his strength from God and became ineffectual because he succumbed to what appeared to be good. Time and again God's people failed him, because they were deceived by the devil himself. Yes, those who are against Christ are antichrists!

As Christians we're called to be "sanctified". That means we're to be set apart from the world. We're not to run with the wrong crowd, especially when the wrong crowd doesn't bend to scripture. By working with those with calloused hearts our hearts can become calloused.  John 8:44 above goes on to say "the lusts of your father ye will do."  Those whose father is the devil do devil's deeds. The prime example of devil's deeds is to pull others away from Christ. A tactic is to destroy what God holds dear: relationships, children, families, marriages, churches and the authority we are charged to follow.

Devil's workers attack you best where he can destroy the most! Nothing is sacrosanct!

Be on guard:
1 Corinthians 16:13 "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."

Sometimes it takes evil awhile to rear its ugly head, but when it does it can destroy! "Watch ye!"

Drinking the Kool-Aid

Those in cults "drink the Kool-Aid" so to speak. This terminology came from "the Reverend" Jim Jones and his Ghana cult several years back. They were dedicated more to Jones and his whacky misrepresentation of scripture than they were to God! At his direction many chose death over investigation by the authorities. People lined up to drink poison laced Kool-Aid (R).

Was the "drinking of the Kool-Aid" based on obedience to God or deceit from the devil? Life is sacrosanct in God's eyes and we're commanded to never kill! Suicide results from a lack of joy in life and God is the joy-giver. He doesn't intend for any of his children to destroy what he has made:
Mark 10:9 "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
Jesus responded with this  statement when he was asked about marriage. However, he never qualified this as applicable to marriage only. He said "what... God hath joined together".  The statement applies to any act ordained by God as holy. Life itself is holy and even our very life should never be destroyed!  "Asunder" means that "whatever should never be divided, torn apart or destroyed". Life itself must never be destroyed. That's a command.

Therefore, those who "drank the Kool-Aid" for Jim Jones weren't drinking it for God. They were deceived, as man always get deceived by the evil one! God is pure and holy. He expects us all to be willing to die for him, but he never expects, nor can allow, us to sin in his name. By following God "we're not drinking the Kool-Aid" in an evil sense, but we are to follow him:
Matthew 10:38 "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me."
This entire statement, and I'm not minimizing nor denigrating Jesus, could be said "My blood is righteous. Drink my blood." Oops! He said that at the "Last Supper"! Of course he meant to symbolically drink his blood, but he was commanding those at the supper to follow him!  They were to "drink the first century Kool-Aid" so to speak.

We are to "drink the Kool-Aid" of Jesus. We are to follow him without question because he is the Way and only way to salvation.
John 3:3 "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
How is one born-again since he can never re-enter the womb?
 Romans 5:9 "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
For those who value being saved from punishment, we are made right because we accept the blood sacrifice of Jesus! We must partake of his blood symbolically and thus "drink the Kool-Aid of Jesus". We believe in, accept and do what Jesus tells us to do. In order to be saved we must "partake of his word" (i.e., "drink the Kool-Aid of Jesus").

Warning! Others serve Kool-Aid too. They put it in an attractive package and encourage you to savor it's delight. Those that serve bitter Kool-Aid are emissaries of the devil. They will have you seek pleasure and ignore the will of God. Those Kool-Aid dispensers rebel against God's decrees and think you're silly because you are set apart from the world. God has prepared a place for those who preach false doctrine.They will be thrown in a fiery pit with Satan and his angels!

When one undercuts you relationship with God, they are serving the Kool-Aid of the devil! Don't listen to them because if you are damned with you, friendship doesn't exist in hell! You will hate each other there!
Hebrews 10:26 "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

Every idol word which we utter, we will be held accountable for saying it. When some mislead others or encourage them to sin, they will be judged. Jesus will do the judging. That seems out of character, but Jesus is the voice of God! Although he loves us and gives every chance for us to accept him, if we don't, he points toward our eternal destiny with a holy gesture; as he cries inside, I might add!

It's those who teach against living holy who serve "the devils' Kool-Aid". Never drink his purple poison!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Girl of Cheese

Little baby still in the womb.
No longer there cared to loom.
A chance she took as a preamie...
thinking of cheese so really creamy.

Born so tiny and having no cheese.
Cheese she sought for her to please.
She loves cheese on anything...
Cheese is the song she loves to sing!

Now she's four and plenty tall.
She loves to play and have a ball!
But now when she has to sneeze...
Watch out!
When she sprays it may be cheese!

Little Emma is cheddar now.
Never eating meat nor fowl.
So often eaten a cheese she became.
A girl of cheese is her fame!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dry Bones Raised Represent the Living Dead: The Resurrection

I was asked about my take on the "bones" in Ezekiel's prophecy. My thoughts follow:

Scenario: The Hebrew people had been one nation under King David. They were the strongest at that time as they had ever been. David's kingdom had stretched from the  sea to the Euphrates and from Arabia to Turkey. It was the entirety of "The Promised Land" because of the Abrahamic Covenant. After David, the kingdom was split into Israel, the northern kingdom and Judah the lower. 

The kingdom of Assyria defeated Israel and carried them off into captivity. Ten tribes of Israel were lost to history in the dispersion. In effect Israel died and the bones of that kingdom were scattered. Later the southern kingdom of Judah was threatened by the Babylonians and as Jeremiah prophesied, the Hebrews there were captured and taken to Babylon. Few remained in "The Promised Land". Their bones were scattered in a distant land. For practical purposes the kingdom of David died in those days! Ezekiel wrote the following prophecy during the destruction of Jerusalem and the southern kingdom by the Babylonians:
Ezekiel 37 "The hand of the Lord was upon me Ezekiel), and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3 And he (God) said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. 4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord. 15 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, 16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions: 17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. 18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? 19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. 20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. 21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. 23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. 24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
Hence, we have the Ten Lost Tribes.  Most of those tribes lost to posterity were of the line of Joseph and were of the northern Kingdom. Scripture tells us that they assimilated into the society of their captors and took foreign gods. In effect the lost tribes intermarried and became gentiles!  For all practical purposes "gentiles" are non-Jewish people who were pagans. Hence, those tribes died at that time and until this day have never been found! (Mormons for instance claim that they are of those tribes, but that's not factual nor probable).

Some believe that this prophecy was two-fold: about the reunification of the Hebrew people after the return to Zion (Jerusalem) by Cyrus the Great, a Persian king in 538 B.C. However, the ten lost tribes stayed lost. Their bones were never restored to life!

Another thought, in post "Matthew Henry times", was the founding of Israel under one leader in 1948. Again, Jews dispersed from all over the world returned to Zion and the nation was restored to life. It's probably likely that some of the Jews who returned were from lost tribes, but we don't know that or if so, whom.  I really don't believe that the prophecy was about the reformation of the nationof Israel. King David has no part in either of the two scenarios.

Where does it all fit? I believe that Ezekiel saw a vision of the kingdom of God restored by a King of the line of David. This King is Jesus! This vision is about the reconciliation of both tribes of Jews: the lost tribes representing the gentile nation and the Hebrews themselves. Jesus the King is king of all! The bones of all twelve tribes will be reassembled and those bones will live and breath! The two sticks (two nations), the Jews and gentiles will become one under the returning King, Jesus.
Matthew 28:18 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
Revelation 17:14 "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful..."
 And as for Jesus being of the line of David:
Luke 2:4 "And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)"
Matthew 1:1 "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."
The King on the order of David will have great power! He will have the power to bring life to dead bones:
 John 11:25 "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"
 Jesus demonstrated his power over death! As he died and yet lives, here he promises those who follow the King will live though they were dead! That's our hope! Our flesh will die and our bones scattered, even becoming dust, but at the resurrection our bones will come together, our sinews reattach, our flesh be restored and we shall live again. The our souls shall be united with our bodies and the winds will reunite our soul with our spirit! This is what grace is all about!
John 6:40 "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."

Ezekiel apparently had a vision of "the last day" and the "general resurrection" where EVERYONE who believes in the King will be raised up! Everyone includes the two sticks becoming one. Jew and gentile are united under the kingship of Jesus Christ of the line of David!

Bones arise from the dust and life is restored to them. Daniel too had this vision:
Daniel 12:2 "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."
Like Ezekiel, he saw life come out of the dust. Life that had once lived yet died a mortal death. Daniel saw the resurrection too. There is a caveat! According to Ezekiel "they will be my (God's) people". Those who reject God are not his people! Their punishment, according to Daniel is "shame and everlasting contempt"! All the bones of the dead will be alive, and the soul's of all restored. However, some will have eternal life and others will return to the "spiritual grave". Hell awaits the bones of those who refuse to submit to the King!"

Bones support us all! We take them for granted, but they are the foundation on which the flesh is hung. Admit it or not, everyone cares about the flesh! Some live for pleasure and the flesh is the medium for that. Others live in faith and care about where their flesh resides for eternity. It's all a matter of priorities! Do we substitute carnal desires in exchange for eternal life or do we value pleasure here over eternal solace? The Christian places his hope in eternal joy. Those in rebellion cherish what the devil uses to deceive: carnal pleasure.

Don't take your bones for granted. Care that they shall walk and live again! Care that they support the flesh and carry the lungs which breath and the soul wherein the Spirit may dwell. However, the wise will care about the eternal home of those restored bones! Show that you care: have faith in that long ago prophecy. Have faith in a king likened unto David. Have faith in Jesus!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Acting Like We're Christians

Friends of mine went to a tent revival. It turned out to be our brothers, the Pentecostals. At the end of the sermon they had an altar call, and when my friends never responded, the preacher asked "Are you Christians?" When my friends responded in the affirmative, the preacher said "Then why don't you act like it!"

On another occasion I had lunch with a preacher friend of mine. After about an hour he remarked "We've been here about thirty minutes and you haven't said anything holy!" I was astounded! I don't speak "holy speak" to impress anyone, but if I have something righteous to say, I have no qualms about testifying about my Savior!

Last night the preacher said in his sermon that we should "act like we're Christians". I agree with him!  Why do I agree with some who say "act" and others I don't? It's like Bill Clinton said "It's what the definition of 'is' , 'is'!" For me it's what the definition of "act" is. My preacher was using the noun "act" meaning that we are to "do something"! In "Biblespeak" those acts are "works". The preacher is right in saying that:
James 2:18 "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"
Works are a demonstration of our faith! We are to do "acts" which are a fruit of the Holy Spirit which resides within us. Those acts are fruits of the Spirit and are:
Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance:" Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)" (There are twelve, but a few are in contention).

How are we to "act"? With one or more of these fruits!  If we don't demonstrate these fruits we probably don't love God. "Acting" by demonstrating these fruits correlates to how we relate to God:
John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
What are God's commandments? Love him as yourself and love others!  How does a person demonstrate love? They "act" (do something) which demonstrate love. It's an act not of yourself, but Christ reflected in you. Those "acts" are those enumerated fruits. Is it okay to "act"? Luke wrote a book about "acting". It's called The Acts of the Apostles. It's a journal of the apostles of Jesus "acting" like they're Christians. It is to be noted, though, that they were not "acting"; they were sincerely inspired by the Holy Ghost!

The other definition of "act" is "to perform" or "to put on a play posing as a character". It's what we see in entertainment. It's an art for those who do it well are artists!

In the Bible the best "actors" were the Pharisees!  However, they had "works", but they were for show only! They had works without faith for they generally rejected Jesus as Savior.

There is another kind of person in the Bible. Those people are ones who have faith, but it's not "active":
James 2:20 "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"
Many claim Jesus in their heart as their Savior, but there are no fruits of the  Spirit.  They live a dead kind of Christianity and they rarely "act" in any context! Neither do they do good works or even play the part. Their existence as a Christian is dull! They claim it, but don't "act" it. They have a "dead faith". It's not clear whether they even have "fire insurance" (saved from hell) or not! It would appear that faith and works are partners. One without the other is "acting". Faith without works is desiring to go to heaven, but on the person's own terms! They want the grace offered by Jesus' death, but want to pleasure with Satan's workers.

How then do we now that we're truly saved? We quit "acting", but "act" as if we love God and others:
Hebrews 10:22 "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
Those who are "true", but not "acting" are demonstrating their own faith!

Having a "true heart" means to quit the "acting". We're not to perform for those watching, but have a sincere desire to serve God. We're to exemplify Jesus Christ in our "acts". We're not even to deceive ourselves with our own "goodness", but seek forgiveness for our bad "acts".  These are "acts" of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and are how to know that one is truly saved! Christians are assured that they're real Christians, not posers; not performers in the sense of play acting.

Sometimes Christians "act" righteously and sometimes they "act" rashly. Acting for "show" is being hypocritical. I'll give an example. I most often don't pray aloud. I focus and pray with my mind. However, when I'm with a group who all pray aloud, I do so too, although it's not how I pray. When I do that I am "acting"; putting on a performance for those around me!  Sometimes, when I'm having trouble focusing on prayer when by myself, I do pray out loud. It's between God and me only and it's sincere audible prayer. That's praying with a "true heart". For me my prayers will be silent when in a group unless I am having trouble focusing on the Lord.

Christians have a Christian vocabulary. They say things aloud so that others can hear. That vocabulary must be in harmony with the heart or it too is performing. Actions always speak louder than words! Don't tell the world how holy you are, but let the world see how holy you live!

As for me, I wish I was as holy in my life as was Paul! I'm not. I fall far short, but am not going to play-act that I am "holier than thou". I have a simple faith with many weaknesses. I always seek prayer from others for spiritual strength. I am attacked often by the forces of darkness who try to make me marginalize or even abandon Jesus. Sometimes, just as Peter did, I fail Jesus. In short sometimes I fail Jesus and sometimes I please him, but I try to be genuine with him. When I "act" like a Christian, I don't want it to be a good performance, but a real relationship!

Quit acting, but act. Seek the fruits of the Spirit and do it with a true heart. A good performance is not a ticket to Paradise, but loving acts please God.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Justification is not Innocence but Redemption

"Justification" is often defined as "just as if you've never sinned." Is that true?

My contention is that it does not fit the definition, but is an easy slogan. "Justification" is much more than that and it's not even that!

It is an act, process or state of being justified by God and justification means "vindication". This is from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Therefore, what is "vindication"?  It's when a person is not blamed for the offense(s) and is found not-guilty. (ibid), not because the person is innocent, but because of a "technicality". The judge has seen remorse, sorrow and repentance and another became security for you.

According to Strong's concordance "justify" in the context of righteousness means "to regard as innocent" and "free". It's being "right".  (text: justified from Romans 3:28 "a man is justified by faith"). "Regard" is the keyword. It doesn't mean that there was no offense, but that the offense is somehow covered. How so?

A born-again person is redeemed.
Galatians 3:13a "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:"
Let's take a look at "redemption". The sinner is guilty as charged. Here's the charge:
 Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Since we all have sinned, either we have to pay the price or someone does. That's just like civil law. If there is a crime someone pays. God's justice is no different. "Paying that price" is redemption. Jesus bought our freedom by paying with his own blood. His blood was the ransom price. It was the currency of our salvation which the bondsman used to pay security to the Court.

 By Jesus paying the price we are "justified". We are no longer blamed for our past sins. They are forgiven!  Since the sinner is vindicated we're no longer blamed, but because we're no longer blamed does not mean that "it's as if we never sinned". Justification is as if we have indeed sinned, but we're redeemed by Jesus.

We're told that God blots out our sins and forgets them:
Isaiah 43:25 "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."
God chooses to put our past behind him. He has the power to remember and to forget! He chooses to blot our sins (covered by his blood) from his memory. He will never hold forgiven sins against us, but we're never to forget what the blood of Jesus did for us:
1 Corinthians 11:25 "After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."
When we sup with the Lord, we are to remember what he did for us and what! He took our own guilt upon himself and redeemed us with the blood, symbolized in remembrance by the "cup". God is able to forget our sins, but we're not! "It is as if we sinned, but were forgiven and redeemed!".  "Justification" is forgetting on God's part, but not ours! We are to remember why we are forgiven! It is as if it happened and we're never to forget it!

Everyone will be judged at the "Great White Throne Judgment":
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Since God "forgets" forgiven sin, then those "justified" are judged "righteous" although they are sinners. They still did the sin, but it's not brought up in God's court. The evidence which will damn the accused is suppressed and any witnesses who saw the past sins are recused.  However, at the judgment when the judge says "well done good and faithful servant" (Matthew 35:21), he has obviously "forgotten" the life of a sinner, but you have not and should not. When those words are spoken it's a time for rejoicing for your salvation because you remember what you deserve! In your sin, God made you righteous. You are then justified by grace.

Never, ever forget! It's not "just as if you've never sinned". It's "as if you have been made righteous"!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Politics: Dr. Tim Hulsey on Not Wasting a Crisis

Antoine Smith was a handsome, brown-eyed nine-year-old ready to start the third
grade. A picture shows him in a striped polo shirt with a wry smile on his face.
In that face, we might have seen an aspiring doctor, a financial expert, a great
singer, a decorated soldier, or a future President.

Antoine was an African-American child who tragically found himself between two
street gangs. Allegedly, one of four African-American gang members fired a .380
cal pistol at him, striking his chest four times. He was pronounced dead at
Comer Children's Hospital.

His funeral at the Evening Star Baptist Church "was filled to capacity with
mourners remembering the short life of the boy who sang here with the church

The vibrant young man, Antoine Smith, third-grader-to-be, in that picture was
replaced by an inanimate "little boy in that casket dressed in white." I cannot
begin to imagine the pain and emptiness in the family and friends.

"The family and community want peace and justice," said a news report, as
certainly as Michael Brown's family (Ferguson, MO).

The Smith family had strong local support in their grief. The Brown family had
that plus the oration of Obama, a personal visit from Eric Holder, and three
White House officials at Michael's funeral.

Obama doesn't opine on the child, Antoine Smith. No administration officials
were seen at visitation; no private visits occurred with the family.

Why ignore Antoine or the other hundreds of violent deaths in Chicago this year
and not Michael Brown's. Do those lives have less value and potential than

Obama saw no political potential in the death of Antoine Smith, whereas Brown's
death had the potential to be a political crisis, not to be wasted by Obama.
This is racism.

The State of the Nation: Truthful

The president has a "State of the Union" speech, nearly every year. When the "state" is in turmoil that particular ritual is often overlooked. Presidents seem to only have a desire to report on good things! When Jimmy Carter had his fireside chats, rather than spirits uplifted and confidence restored, malaise followed. It's not good to report truth unless a solution is offered; one that offers hope!

I'm not famous and few know of me, but in the absence of a religious leader who will do it, let me do a "State of the Nation" speech.
Psalm 102:8 "All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse."
I believe that's now the "State of the Nation"! Let's look at the depth of these few words.

"Taunting" is when one party says insulting things to another to excite anger. Here's a recent strong example of taunting:
“I say to America that the Islamic Caliphate has been established,” Abu Mosa, a spokesman for the terror group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), told VICE Media in a video interview posted online Thursday. “Don’t be cowards and attack us with drones. Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq.” “We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House,” he added. (The Daily Caller, Jamie Weinstein 1:43 AM 08/08/2014)

Just look at the number of taunts in this one statement!
  • The caliphate has been established!
  • Don't be cowards and use drones.
  • Send your soldiers (the ones we humiliated in Iraq)
  • We will humiliate them everywhere.
  • We will raise the flag of Allah over the White House. 
The taunt "the caliphate has been established" refers to an Islamic empire which the world ridiculed Glen Beck for predicting. What politicians and the media laughed at now exists! Abu Mosa is taunting America with their new found existence and power! Just as bullies intimidate even the stronger, ISIS is bullying America. It's the "Little Guy Syndrome"! Small people put fear into the hearts of the stronger by intimidation. ISIS is striking fear into the hearts of the world by being bullies.They decapitate people and the world hides in fear! Instead of calling them who they are: Muslims, we refer to them as "a peaceful religion" so they won't bully us further.

The first "State of the Nation" is: America lives in fear!

Abu Mosa calls us cowards! How can a nation be a coward? We do not do what's right because we fear the repercussion of our actions. There's "fear" again. It reigns supreme right now. The nation fears to the extreme that we don't put "boots on the ground" because politicians want to get elected. Left wing extremists believe that if we don't fight the bad guys, the bad guys will leave us alone!

The second "State of the Nation" is that those who rule us are cowards. Although they aren't the one's bearing arms, they don't want to upset the enemy! They have more empathy for those beheading than they do for those beheaded.

The fear of fighting for what's right is what makes the nation a "coward". Many in our country have the "bullied syndrome". Our nation fears protecting itself because it believes the fear factor will increase. Nations calling this "paying tribute" to a master nation, but it's a policy of appeasement.

The third "State of the Nations" is appeasement. That's a bad foreign policy, but that's ours!

America is humiliated. Each time a captive American (or Brit) is beheaded, that humiliates. They did it and laughed. We sheepishly accept it and hope it doesn't happen again. Our defense policy is a side-bar of Obama's campaign slogan of "Hope and Change". We "hope" things will "change" without making it happen.

The fourth "State of the Nation" is that we're living with humiliation.

As a correlation of the fourth, the fifth "Sate of the Nation" is a spineless defense policy. It's merely a "hope" that other nations will leave us along!

Abu Mosa said that their flag will fly over the White House. I'm not so sure that it doesn't already. It appears that the president raised an invisible flag of Islam when he took office. He may not be Islamic, but his allegiance seems to be with that "peaceful religion" (sic). 
"Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as'one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.' " (New York Times article from March 6, 2007, by columnist Nicholas Kristof).
"We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world. " (April 6 address to the Turkish Parliament).
I could quote many more, but the picture being painted is that the Islam which Obama sees is a fiction. He doesn't see Islam as the threat to the world which it has always been! Maybe that invisible flag isn't one of allegiance, but one of pacification. It's a flag of false perceptions, allowing the stench of Islam to stain the very fabric of our nation. That flag may already fly!

The sixth "State of the Nation" is that our leaders have portrayed Islam for what it's not. The nation has been told lies and  our leader's hearts lie more with Islam than with Christianity.

"Rail against me". That's verbal abuse! People verbally abuse, or curse God! Today Christianity is the object of scorn and persecution. It stands in the way of pleasure, power and even wealth. Christianity is seen as "interference" against liberty; not in the sense of freedom, but chaos!
Judges 21:25: "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
There are two sets of laws: civil and God's. Without a king and without a King, people can do as they please; whatever is right in their own eyes. Hence, the next "States of the Nation" are complementary:

The seventh "State of the Nation" is that the nation has abandoned God. That it has already done, but those of us who "cling to religion" for our inner peace keep it alive in many. Along, with that is:

The eighth "State of the Nation" is that all things righteous are ridiculed.  The flip-side of that statement is that truth has been made relative. Truth interferes with pleasure, power and wealth; and hence, cannot be! Our nation even has who is called "a liar in chief"! His job is to twist truth for those in power so that the gullible believe a lie!
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (ESV) "The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

The New World Leader, the anti-christ will not just suddenly come onto the scene. His way will be prepared for him by many antichrists. Those false Christs exist in entertainment, government, and religion. Their purpose is to gently slide the populace into accepting the lie! For instance almost no one from the 1950s believed that marriage between same-sex partners would ever come to fruition. With acclimation, although it's not fact, people have accepted "they're born that way" without any truth to it and without blinking an eye! Repeat a lie long enough and it becomes truth!

This is a nation, nay world, of people who refuse to love the truth! Why? It gets in the way of personal freedom; people doing what's right in their own eyes. It's rebellion and the ultimate libertarianism! A nation without laws is chaos. A nation without God worships Chaos (In mythology Chaos ruled the air, or inner atmosphere.She was the goddess of fate). Hence, this nation will not have God to lean on, but fate only. Whatever happens, happens!

The ninth "State of the Nation" is the God of America is fate. Our founders said that this nation was created by divine inspiration. We have now evolved to the belief that everything is merely a chance happening and that God, who was once believed to be omnipotent, is helpless indeed and that "chance "created the universe and "chance" keeps it going!

Since the new God is "Fate" then all aspects of JHWH needs to be removed, especially his existence as Jesus Christ. People say that God doesn't exist,  but hate him for who he is! (The premise of the movie, God is Not Dead). Since prayer was removed from public life in 1964 all aspects of sin has risen sharply upward: murder, theft, rape, divorce, abortion, unwed sex, broken homes and many more.

The tenth "State of the Nation" is that a once proud America is on the wane and those who lead are the authors of destruction!

This should be sub-titled "Those in Power Want to Remain in Power". There are few statesmen running our government. But there are a few! If one desires to know who those statesmen are it's only necessary to look at who the most politicians hate and who the media ostracizes! The followers of "The Prince of the Air" (the devil) will never follow a righteous one, but one prone to evil. Yes, those elected by the powers of darkness will speak good things, even throw God's name around, but in the end, they have little use for righteousness!

America will join the other nations of the world in succumbing to the Anti-christ! We are not exempt. In fact, because of our position as a "world power" (sic), we may actually lead the rest of the nations to destruction. Our own leader has an ideology much as described in apocalyptic scripture which describes antichrists; not that the President is the Antichrist, for he's not, but is one of the many antichrists paving the way. Anyone who is not for Christ is an antichrist!
Polycarp wrote in the Letter to the Philippians, "Everyone who does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is an antichrist."
I will add to that! Anyone who doesn't worship and obey Jesus Christ who came in the flesh is an antichrist because that person is not "loving God"!

This, my friends, is the "State of the Nation". It's as dour as was Jimmy Carter was in his sweater and rocking chair, but truth is truth. Joel Osteen would focus on the positive and God's promises. However, for a time there will be little positive to behold and "promises" include punishments. What is the positive promise?
2 Thessalonians 2:1 (ESV) (The Man of Lawlessness) "Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Revelation 19:20 (ESV) "And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur."
Stand fast! Be on the winning side.  But in the mean time don't go down with the "State of the Nation"!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Building Up

When my family was active in group counseling because of my son's drug use, there was a great rule: "Never speak about another unless they are in your presence." There were no stipulations. We were encouraged to not even compliment another person unless that person was present to hear it.

Stupid rule? No! The reasoning behind it is as follows: Love is not shown by denigrating others. "Well!", you say "I was going to brag on that person!" If we compliment another they should hear it! Furthermore, for those of you who know the "telephone demonstration" and oft repeated statement is slightly distorted until the original statement is unrecognizable. As an example, if we tell one person that "Suzanne" is beautiful especially her profile, it may end up that Linda is unattractive in the front view. A compliment can easily become an insult with repetition! Regardless, we are to encourage one another:
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV) "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."
Those who "build-up" are more well-liked than those who "tear down". Think about yourself. Do you like the person better who is positive or another who is a negative talker? The answer should be obvious. Few people think highly of the gossiper and/ or back-biter:
 Proverbs 20:19 (ESV) "Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler."
A word from wisdom: If you talk bad about another person you yourself are a babbler! Don't be a babbler! Don't carry gossip! It may be slanderous. A righteous person works hard to build up a good reputation. One unfair or malicious word can destroy what has taken years to build. Speaking ill of others is wrong because what is said about another may be entirely false; and even if it's true, what is there to gain by destroying another person when they're down?
Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

The rule is no "corrupt talk". Never change what's true to something unflattering or untruthful. At my age people are always reminding me how old I am. For those people: I have a birth certificate and a mirror. Pointing out my age is non-value added information and reminding me of that is not meant to build me up! Along with age foes teasing about senility. When an older person makes a mistake, it's contributed to age. When a young person makes a mistake, it's merely a learning experience! For all those who believe mistakes are because of age, guess what? We all have always made mistakes and with taunting from others, even more will be made! Why? Rather than be conscious of what we're doing we become conscious of ridicule and take our mind off "doing".

Moving on, our talk is to be good for "building up". We are to encourage others with our remarks. Hidden insults must never be included within encouragement. No one builds up by saying that "You look good for your age!" as an example. If we are truly encouraging it should be "You look good!" However, encouragement is not to give a person a false perception of themselves. Over-bragging leads to pride. That's why "building up" is tempered by the phrase "as fits the occasion". Paul bragged on his fellow workers for all they had done for the Lord. That's encouragement and fits the occasion. Esteem building compliments are dishonest. We are not all at the same level of performance and it's silly to play games that we are. However, we all have different skills and interests which are valuable!

For instance, I've always found mathematics and writing to be easy. Those are my forte. My former brother-in-law could barely read and wrote very poorly. However, John was a superb cabinet maker, craftsman and folk artist; all of which I'm poor! Rather than tearing him down by speaking of his ignorance where I'm good, I speak of him highly for being good at other things! That speech "fits the occasion" and is truthful.

Another person I know can read at a elementary level, but has made a fortune with his work ethic and investments! I point that out to "fit the occasion". I am speaking truth and he deserves recognition for his effort!

Of course our "building up" is not to build-up pride because we're all to be meek. We're to have an honest perception of "self". Building up others in their quest for the wisdom of God and spreading the "Good News" is always appropriate! My preacher does a great job at that; much better than what I do. He deserves to be encouraged. However, he's imperfect, but what good would come of me pointing out his imperfections. It would tear him down and demoralize his ministry. We're to encourage our preacher.

Because I was "down" the other day I considered a cessation in writing  My Daily Thought. About the time I was most demoralized I received a message from a stranger who encouraged me to keep writing. He must have sensed my dilemma! God does that you know. With his encouragement, I continue to write. Rather than look at I only reach about 50-150 people each day, I can look at it realistically. On a weekly basis I estimate my "internet congregation" to be in excess of 200. That's better than most "real preachers"! That's encouraging and this stranger encouraged me! What if he'd said Why waste your time with about 100 readers a day?" That would have discouraged me and led me to quit.  He "built me up", not "tore me down".
1 Peter 4:10-11 (ESV) "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Words mean things:Tongues are the Messenger

There is much said in the Bible about the tongue! It gets the blame for much evil and the credit for speaking good. The tongue is little more than soft tissue in the mouth which animals use for various things, including speaking. The tongue is the strongest muscle in the body and is classified as a "voluntary muscle". Those which are voluntary work without thought. Whether your think it or not, the heart beats and the liver processes. They do their job without you telling them to do so!

On the other hand the tongue takes instructions from a person's cognition. It seems that it is involuntary because it does things automatically, but unlike the heart which you cannot "will" to stop its movement, everyone can stop the tongue whether eating, drinking or speaking. People say "I spoke without thinking!" That implies that their tongue had the cognition and the ability to move on its own! That's not the case. We are taught to control the tongue:
Psalm 34:13 (ESV) Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
At times the Bible speaks metaphorically:
Psalm 52:2 (ESV) Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.
This metaphor seems to say that the tongue has the cognition. It does not! It's an instrument of the mind: "like a sharp razor". When we speak evil, the tongue isn't to blame. However, the tongue can make sounds which destroy and are hurtful.  "Words" are the product of the tongue (with help from the mind, diaphragm, trachea, epiglottis, lips and even the teeth). None of those muscles are moved without direction from the mind!

Rather than blaming the tongue for speaking evil or crediting it for good, just substitute "speech" wherever "tongue" is written. Speech is an audible expression of opinions, ideas, etc. when it's expressed using language. What we have is that the mind forms opinions and ideas, it's made audible by speech and the tongue is the largest contributor to the audible sounds heard. Actually, a person without a tongue can still speak, but it's muffled and distorted. Therefore, using "speak" and "speech" for tongue includes the tongue, emotion and the mind!
James 3:6 (ESV) And the tongue (speech) is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue(speech)  is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
In the previous passage the tongue "or member" is blamed for stained speech. This is just common vernacular. Even those in times of old knew that the tongue was only the messenger of the mind!
James 3:8 (ESV) "...but no human being can tame the tongue (speech). It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Taming the tongue is done through thought. "Thought" includes the cognition it takes to feed ideas and opinions to the tongue. It really takes all the members of the body (muscles) working in unison to produce speech. The mind does a good job of having them operate in unison and harmony, but a poor job in what comes out!
Romans 7:23 (ESV) "But I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members."
It's obvious here that "members" are the controllable parts of the body. Our physical heart and lungs don't wage war, but those which pleasure. The sexual organs provide pleasure as do hands, feet, eyes, the nose and many others. We enjoy our senses of touch, sight, taste, smell and sound. They send back signals to the mind. Oftentimes those signals are out of the will of God; even evil signals. That's what Paul's talking about. Our minds respond to the members which he often calls "the flesh":
Galatians 5:19-(ESV) "Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
It appears that most of the "works of the flesh" are sensual and of the members, but also there are fleshly desires. Those are of the mind which result in pleasing the members through the senses. However, all go back to the master controller. The members' roles are to please the mind!

People use their speech to intimidate. Speech is a weapon:
Psalm 64:2 (ESV) Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
    from the throng of evildoers,
3 who whet their tongues (speech) like swords,
    who aim bitter words (speech) like arrows,
4 shooting from ambush at the blameless,
    shooting at him suddenly and without fear.
People basically take aim when the mind and the tongue delivers the damage. It's not the tongue which truly destroys, but wicked thinking!

We're called on to control that voluntary muscle since our mind can turn it on and off. Speech is controlled by closing the mouth and holding the tongue. Quit blaming innocent members! The fault lies within the "heart". From a biblical standpoint the "heart" is a relationship between emotions (and spirit) and thinking. Our mind and our spirit communicate and that communication is "the heart". In order to control speech, our hearts must be in accord with God's will. Satan gives the heart incentive to do evil, but God being "good" is stronger than Satan, but we must desire to do his will. How do we control our speech?
James 1:26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.
Implied here is that the tongue is the messenger of "the heart". By "deceived" it implies that the heart is of the mind. It's in the mind that we're deceived, but the soul works in conjunction with the mind. An empty soul has no part in controlling the heart. Satan fills that emptiness with evil! However, a soul filled with God's Spirit has power over the mind and the heart does right. Our emotions are Godly. If our emotions are Godly, the tongue is tamed! A bridle is girded about it and that bridle is "the heart".

Wisdom is a gift of God which helps to control the heart. If one is grounded in the Word and is responsive to the Holy Spirit, the heart is healed and speech is temperate! Speech doesn't have to corrupt. It can heal:
Proverbs 12:18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 15:4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
The "tree of life" is holy living; living Christlike as can be seen in the previous passage. If the tongue (speech) is wicked, it "breaks the spirit". Actually, it doesn't say whose spirit is broken, but it can both the speaker and the hearer. Those sensitive to the Holy Spirit cannot be pleased with perverse speech. Guilt is the result of using the tongue as a sword! However, hurt even more is the hearer for they are the target at which the speaker takes aim.

People say things to hurt others. If the Holy Spirit is not heeded, Satan implants the idea in the heart and the tongue follows orders! Perverse things are spoken. Some things are with malice aforethought. People intend to hurt with "words". "Words" are the sounds which transmit the ideas in speaking. Words mean things and perverse meanings "breaks the spirit" of others; the ones we're told to love!

At other times it's our sub-conscious in action. Satan uses that faculty without the person being aware. It's because all men have a perverse nature and the heart can only be tempered by God's Spirit. People use "jokes" to hurt. Those jokes are a reflection of the condition of the heart which psychology calls "Freudian Slips". The mind works with such speed to protect the ego (protection and esteem of the self) that it conceals emotions and thoughts with disguises. Jokes can be, but aren't necessarily, a mechanism to belittle others in an attempt to elevate ourselves!

Words mean things! Some things build up; other things can cut deep into another's soul! Harmful words can break the spirit of another. What words are those?: denigrating physical attributes, belittling others thinking or mental capacity, ridiculing age or health, manipulating their emotions and withholding friendship and love. Cutting words transmit antipathy; and expresses that the hearer is unloved or marginalized!

How do we bridle the tongue? It's by empathy which is given to us by God. "Empathy" allows us to replace our own feelings with the feelings of others. If what you're going to say would hurt you, don't say it because it will hurt the other!  Here's biblical empathy:
Luke 6:31(ESV) "And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them."
Few of us like for others to hurt us. Then don't hurt others! That's how we're to show our love for them!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

America Dancing Naked in the Face of God's Law

Our nation was founded on God's Law. Although some of our founders were much like Aaron and had a blundering type of devotion to God, nevertheless, God used those imperfect people to establish the second-best government man ever had! "Second best?" "Yes". The best was the government of Hebrew judges with Levitical priests under the divine inspiration of God. Their laws were God's Laws and their judgments were the equal scales of justice. God provided grace to the Hebrew people if only they obeyed his commands!

We're the seed of Abraham and the Abrahamic Covenant was one of grace. Just as the Hebrews, all we have to do to prosper is to follow the One True God. Nothing has changed and the covenant was never canceled. True, it has been supplemented with the grace of Jesus, but it all goes back to:
John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
That's the Abrahamic Covenant all over again. Let's take a look at that deal God made with his people:
Genesis 15:18 "In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land..." (then he described the bounds of Canaanland which he gave to the Hebrews).
Then later God expounded upon the covenant:
Genesis 17:1b “I am God Almighty;
Walk before Me, and be blameless.
2 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you,
And I will multiply you exceedingly.”

Here's the deal: "Love me and obey me and your nation will prosper!" John 14:15 says much the same. Love me and it's implied that the individual will be blessed by eternal life. That's the ultimate in prosperity! A community of people who love God is a righteous nation. If "we the people" love and honor God, not only will our nation prosper, but the individuals making up the nation will have eternal prosperity!

How do we love God? How do we uphold our end of the covenant? We "love God and keep his commandments", or as he told Abraham "Walk before me, and be blameless". Is that saying the same thing?
Philippians 2:15 (ESV) "...that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world..."
 We are to be sanctified or set apart from the world by being righteous, blameless and innocent! And if we do that, we shine! Not only will we shine as individuals, but our nation will shine! America at one time shined before the nations of the world. Our glimmer has dimmed!

Ronald Reagan knew that America shined:

June 1952 -- From a commencement address at Williams Woods College, one of the oldest surviving speeches of Reagan's
"I, in my own mind, have always thought of America as a place in the divine scheme of things that was set aside as a promised land. It was set here and the price of admission was very simple: the means of selection was very simple as to how this land should be populated. Any place in the world and any person from those places; any person with the courage, with the desire to tear up their roots, to strive for freedom, to attempt and dare to live in a strange and foreign place, to travel halfway across the world was welcome here."
July 17, 1980 -- from his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention
"[The Democrats] say that the United States has had its days in the sun, that our nation has passed its zenith.… My fellow citizens, I utterly reject that view."
But we now have the Democrats in charge. That "shine" has passed it's zenith. We no longer honor God, nor does our nation revere him and worse yet, the entire nation is disobedient! Even Christians have put on the cape of darkness, accepting the tenets of the world. What are some of these? Look at the Hebrew people when Moses came down from the mountain with the standards God written on stone for all to see; the same law on which our own nations was founded: God's Law or as it's called "Natural Law".

The Hebrew people had an idol, they were dancing naked, they were lascivious and God's laws were all broken as symbolized by Moses throwing down the Ten Commandments and breaking the tablets! Every law was worthless to those who do not obey!  As a result of their disobedience, they were plagued:
Exodus 32:35 "And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made."
Two things are of note in this one passage: Because of their idolatry God plagued the people and secondly, the revolt against God was made by Aaron, a priest and mouthpiece of God!

That's the same way it is today. People have idols and some have many. Most of America's idols are those of pleasure: pills, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, crack, and meth; all for relieving the mind from God, while they do things that the Hebrews did: nakedness, lasciviousness, wicked entertainment, fornication, homosexuality and although it wasn't mentioned, a by-product of a wickedness: abortion. As long as people do the things politicians call "social issues" we as a nation will never prosper. That's God's deal with us!

And what the world does today, the church is right behind! In many cases the decay of American society is a direct response to the church! In my early years most churches were the epitome of godliness. Now they have become dens of iniquity and oftentimes disobedience is taught right from the pulpit. Just yesterday a letter-to-the editor in the Bowling Green Daily News was from a United Church of Christ woman preacher defending homosexuality and transgenderism.

What's wrong with that picture? By "uniting" Christians compromise core beliefs. When some unite with a more liberal sect, the entire batch is spoiled. Secondly, women are not to be preachers. Man's job is to have dominion in God's affairs. By women assuming the role of men, that's sin! When one sin is winked at, then others come easy! Homosexuality is against the design of God and is disgusting to him, yet this church and this woman welcome it into the church.

The church is ruining the nation. Why would a Christian condemn our nations laws when their preacher is leading the rebellion? Christian, is your notion of what's right influenced by science, philosophy, psychology , society or liberal churches? I bet if you look closely enough that you are following the deception of Satan while ignoring the will of God!  If so, you're dancing naked (as did the Hebrews) in the presence of God's Laws! They were dancing naked with Aaron directing; as the man of God, Moses, returned from the mountain where he's been standing on holy ground!

America is part of the Abrahamic Covenant:
Genesis 17:4 "“As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations."
America is part of the covenant! We are children of Abraham and this nation is part of the promise that God made to Abraham thousands of years ago just as Reagan said! What was righteous all those millenniums ago is in danger of being damned now. God gave a plague to the Hebrews who danced naked in the face of God's Laws; now Americans are dancing naked for all the world to see! Nakedness represents a loss of innocence and we're no longer an innocent nation. We have gone the way of the world; Rome first then all of Europe! Asia was lost long ago.

America was the beacon of right standing in a world of countries dancing naked. Now our clothes are removed just as the others, and we too are dancing naked in front of God, and we no longer even care! Unlike Adam and Eve who were embarrassed of their nakedness, America takes pride in being naked in the world.

Along with disobedience comes a plague. Just as the Hebrews were plagued, so are we. What plagues have we? AIDS, war, drug abuse, abortion, prostitution, child slavery, pornography, broken homes, divorce, fornication, theft, rioting, a destitute government; all of these are plagues. Most of these are minimized as "social issues" by the elite!

There is one cure for the plague. That's isolation! God isolated the Hebrews for 40 years to clear the system of the contaminated. Perhaps our plague is to be cured by forty years of depression? After all, those who come to God come to him when in need! Perhaps someday soon our needs will be obvious enough that we seek redemption.