Thursday, April 30, 2015

Facebook Friendly

I wrote yesterday of some of the silliness of Facebook (FB), but it's not all bad! Just as a poker is a fine tool for keeping fires lighted, it's an evil weapon for homicidal maniacs, FB can be used to keep fires lighted or to stoke fires. Yesterday I stoked fires with my criticism of FB, but if it was all bad I would never use it! Today let's look at what FB can do to make your life more pleasant:

  • Some of us are far removed from our children and grandchildren. Without FB we would miss out on even more of our loved ones lives. Before FB I hardly knew what my gandchildren were doing. Now I can rejoice as they have joy and empathize in their sorrow. 
  • FB is a sorrow sensor. When people write things on their "wall" it's often a call for attention. Some people require too much attention, but others long for more. Just think of shut-ins who don't have anyone. FB can give them an avenue to be a part of the world. Furthermore, people don't have to be shut-ins to be lonely. People can be surrounded by others yet be alone. Face it; beautiful and popular people have always been in vogue, yet everyone isn't beautiful and popular. FB let's lonely people be a part of others lives!
  • I use FB to share what I care about. That varies from day to day. It may be about my family one day, friends the next and politics and religion the next. FB is a great forum for sharing when there are few other places to do so. I write many letters-to-the-editor and most are published. However, there's not space for them to print all that goes on in my mind, but FB seems to have ample room for all to share as often as they like.
  • FB is a forum for everybody! Even those who write poorly can publish what they have to say. Some of the best posts are from those with poor spelling and limited vocabulary because love can shine out of darkness! FB can "level the playing field" between classes of people.
  • Joy can be shared wit FB! Sharing good things is contagious. For generous people they delight in others accomplishments and blessings. 
  • Various opinions are shared on FB. Who else would print without censorship the ramblings of this right wing Christian fundamentalist? FB provides a forum for all. When they do make a decision to delete controversial postings, it's easy for all to object and many do. We have a voice in the matter!
  • The printing press made the Bible available to anyone who could read or listen. Christianity's wrong teachings were exposed when people could read what the Bible really said without the need for the priest. Television and radio added greatly to the number of people who hear the gospel. Now with internet and FB the whole world seems to have heard what Jesus did for mankind!
  • In the same light, even those without theological training are as free to write biblical doctrine as are the most studied. Therefore, light from scripture may be undimmed by those who have nothing more than love to share. Doctrine can be made simple by more simple people. FB is their forum.
  • Positive and clever things make people think. Many people encourage others daily by saying and quoting wise teachings and positive attitudes. I'm often blessed by these reminders of what is often taken for granted.
  • Everybody who are "friends" on FB are not real friends, but FB provides the opportunity for relationships to grow and to renew old relationships.
  • FB allows us to explore the world without actually going there. I have FB "friends" from various states and some foreign countries. 
  • I can talk with people from my hometown who otherwise would be long forgotten. I talk with mom's and dad's cousins and share their electronic love. 
  • When we say things verbally, we can't unsay them, but with FB we can let off steam then when we regain our sanity, we can delete or edit what was written. It's sort of like the Congressional Record. It ends up what we wished we'd said rather than what we did say.
  • We can link others to the internet world through FB. We can share our interests with those who care to look without infringing on those who don't want to go where we've been.
  • Lastly, but there is much more, we can share ourselves through pictures, videos or words.
I use FB to spread the gospel message to the world. I write it on google, but link it to FB. FB has limited space for doctrinal rantings, but it can link to google where I can rant as long as I please and people can either go there or not. It's good to have that freedom to read or not to read because spoken communication requires people to either hear or flee. With FB written speech can be ignored and the reader can go on to read what they want to read.

There is a lot of religious stuff on FB. It may be just my caliber of friends who write on my wall, but FB is a sanctuary for me because I can block and hide what offends me. Likewise, if my politics and Christianity offends others they can hide or block what I say. 

You may think of other things, but these are a few which cross my mind. 

We all like to ridicule FB junkies, but perhaps many of us are one in secret! It may not be good, but we all have our reasons. Some people would not even have a life if it wasn't for electronic friendships!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Facebook Flaws

"Get a life!" I often said, but then find myself on Facebook (FB). It's not that FB is all bad, but it can replace human interaction with conversations tempered by isolation. What I mean is that FB is not a real world. What people say is shielded in disguise or by pretense. Let's look at how FB is misused:

  • People can say to "the wall" things which are boring to people! I like genealogy. Few people do. Therefore, I can put a big story in front of their face about my endless ancestry prefaced by some clever curtain to shield it's contents. Before the reader notices, and surprise; he is learning about my dead ancestors! It takes a clever person to have an opening which will draw readers to the mundane.
  • Advertisers are the most clever. They can market a cheap pair of designer sunglasses which are mere copies by a headline "80% Off on ____ Sunglasses for One Day Only" and thousands and thousands of people will order fake sunglasses. I fell for that one myself! The Chinese are quire clever!
  • The media markets people in that same manner. There will be a headline "See Fantastic Women in Swimsuits". Men fall for that one all the time, but the discerning person knows that 1) the wife may not think that's a good idea, 2) God agrees with her and 3) you'll have to read at least two advertisements before one ugly non-sexy bikini is even seen. The media uses prurient desire to peddle everything!
  • "Drama Queens" rule the wall! People rant and rave about everything because at home they have no one who cares about what they're saying. Readers on their "wall" probably don't care either, but out of courtesy "like" accusations, anger, gossip and unfair criticism. Drama Queens use FB to slam people vicariously. Many times the target of the slam are mildly disguised. Anyone can figure out that "the alleged man of the house" is Roscoe, her husband!
  • Profanity and sexual innuendo is gathered from sites all over the web and added to people's walls so they can enjoy slime as well. Oftentimes, the reader is entertained when suddenly the "F-bomb" explodes. The wall is used by people's who mind's are one-tracked. It also seems that FB is a wall where OMG is the most expressive vocabulary people have!
  • Narcissistic people add what they presume to be flattering photos of themselves. Sometimes it's in skin tight jeans even though mushrooms are growing, and sometimes its their skimpy Florida swimsuit which has less cotton in them than a gloomy beach in Antarctica.
  • Others use the wall to brag! It may not be obvious, but posting those beach pictures in the tropics is saying "You losers! Look where we are!" At other times people show photos of their ugly babies or the beer bellies of their disgusting husbands. Is there no shame? Yes, there are pretty babies and men with six packs on the wall, but that just makes us less fortunate even more covetous! "It's not my fault I covet, it's because others have more than I do!", I say sarcastically.
  • People who hate Obama love to slam him on the wall. I really enjoy plastering a man in the virtual wall that I can't on a real wall. FB is great for letting off steam! Even pollsters watch my rantings to advise politicians. It seems that with FB the curtain is up and people share their true feelings unencumbered by tricky biased questions. An example of this technique is when I add to the wall  somethings as this "Hillary says to take corruption out of politics. I guess she intends to drop out of the race!" Hillary won't drop out, but I feel better about it because everyone now knows how I feel about Hillary. FB is great for fantasy impeaching those with whom you disagree. It's sort of like "road rage", only it's "Wall Rage"!
  • FB wall is great for proselytizing.  For those of you who went to inner city public schools, this means "converting others to your viewpoint". Americans won't convert. Their minds are made up! A person who believes the world is flat won't believe otherwise even if they're given a ride in space. "The earth must be flat because my parents believe it!" , or worse yet, "My parents believed the earth is round, so I believe it's flat!" People are so embedded in their non-reality that real things would shock them! Alan Colmes, for instance on FOXNEWS would support progressivism even if Obama himself was robbing him with a gun! Alan would say "It's my fault for being a white American" or some such nonsense. My main interest in FB is to proselytize!
  • I want others to believe as I do! I write on the wall to get people to change their viewpoint or to spread a message. I'm honest about that, but I'm sure most people who disagree with me skip over what I say and read something which agrees with their own viewpoint. The fear of being wrong scares people. They live complacently and happy in "the lie"! Why should they change their views just because it's truth?
  • FB is for people who don't have a life! Fake friends are added by the dozens! In real life if you have two good friends that's great. On FB you have 400 friends, but you still sit home alone reading FB! How ironic! Some people when they are with real friends, still consort with their electronic friends on FB! Fictional friends are caring by "liking" on FB.  "Look people with only fifteen friends! I have 500, but yet I'm alone sitting here reading the wall!" FB breeds loneliness! Rather than reading about acquaintances who call themselves friends, be friends with real flesh and blood people!
  • FB is for cowards! It's not called "writing on the wall" for nothing. People can say on the wall what they're afraid to say in person! It's online graffiti and some of it is true art! They also can hide behind the wall, so to speak. Oh, yes, their name may be on it, but the object of the gossip isn't! The name of those assailed are usually easily deciphered and when it's not easy, multiple are slandered, not knowing the one who is the true target. 
  • I use the wall, in all honesty, to reach those who find it hard to listen in person without presuming or responding before the argument is heard. It doesn't work well because people are defensive! The advise offered on the wall gives people much time to get angry and respond with such!
  • Time spent reading trivial things and talking to false friends can be better used doing good things. 
  • Last, but not least are the games and villages! I often get invited to "farms" and "games" by others who waste time. I won't even farm in real life and people are so occupied with games that substantial things like "society being destroyed", which is really happening, are hidden in binomial mazes where electronic people kill each other. If enough is killed then gamers can go to the next stage of killing. (And we wonder why people are shot!). Games are the soma of unthinking people who shield themselves from truth!
Now, before the reader gets angry with me, I'm on FB too. Sometimes when I'm bored I escape to fantasyland where I can mingle in the lives of others, be part of their  dysfunctional families, imagine that these people are my friends and I can rant and rave over every thought which crosses my mind. It's a habit tough to break and yesterday I was successful! One day down. Will I be strong enough for another?

Now what did I do in my extra time? I read my Bible and reflected on my  own relationship with God and the important things in life.  I was alone most of the day. I had no real friends with which to commune and no fictional friends to critique and encourage on FB.  I looked at who my true friends are and wonder "Where are they?" because true friends are there!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hurting Inside

Pain from stressful situations are real! I don't know why, but when things go awry, God allows people to feel hurt inside. Our brains just won't quit pounding home the point: "This is unpleasant! When will it end?" The more we think on stressful things the more the body feels the stress!

Stress is manifested in anxiety. The thinking on the discomfort is rumination. That's when our minds just won't quit! We either live the experience all over again or wish things were different time and time again. With each rumination in the exponential series we feel the physical effects more pronounced.  We may think on death or feel that what we're going through is as bad as death! Untreated anxiety can lead to depression and depressed people may become nihilistic. There may be thoughts that death is less hurtful than the stress of the moment.

We've all been stressed to the point of anxiety. I'm blessed! Most of the time my stress is normal. Stress, in moderate amounts, may be motivational or moderate undesired behaviors or thoughts. God uses stress to change unwanted behaviors. The threat of stress even keeps people from sinning!

Just look at what the Bible says about stress (and there is much more) [all ESV]:
Philippians 4:6  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
John 14:27  "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
Psalm 55:22  "Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved."
Romans 8:31 "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"
Psalm 118:5-6  "Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
It seems that the "cure" for distress is a change in focus. Rather than on "I", it's on the Lord. We are by nature troubled people, and God is the answer to trouble.  If things don't go "my way" or "your way" perhaps we should do things "God's way"! Troubled hearts and little peace means that we either fail to appreciate what God has done for us, or that we're still putting other "gods" before him. In effect we feel bad because things are perceived as going against us, or because we make bad decisions. It may be also that we feel bad if we intentionally sin. A troubled heart is one way that God calls us to repentance!

Of course we can take a pill to feel better! This is "The Prozac Nation" after all. When we hurt there is a pill for everything. Others self-medicate and take illicit drugs. Either way, medicated people fail to depend on God and with too much medication, people aren't sober enough to consider what God has to offer.

"I feel bad!" is the mantra that creates dependency on "feel good" drugs, which will eventually turn "feeling good" into malaise, then to emotional pain. The pain we feel emotionally from stress is most often of a spiritual nature. There's an empty feeling inside which needs to be filled with something! Unfortunately, people fill emptiness with drugs, cults, false religions, the self and sometimes with anger. The emptiness will be filled with something, and God intends it to be with the Holy Spirit!

Nothing is too tough for God. He is generous if we have faith in him. He will protect us from the evil one from whom much distress originates. Iniquity is the devil's gift to mankind and distress are its consequences. Only God can deliver us from what hurts inside!

I Wish I'd Said That

There was a woman with whom I worked who went from "wholesome" to "pitiful" over a period of years. It was a gradual disintegration because sometimes Satan's plans, although well laid, must develop and grow. Few people change overnight from "respectable" to "despicable", but Satan realizes that for some, it takes time!

This particular lady had a marriage and I believe four children. At work she was wooed by the worst of the worst. The object of her attention was a suave handsome drug user. Gradually, oh so gradually, he used his charm to disrupt her marriage, then her children and finally her! I saw it happening and did nothing. Neither did I say anything! It wasn't my business to "judge" was it?

Many times. Yes, many times! God silently spoke to me. He said "Talk to her about Jesus!" I kept putting it off. However, as a Christian, my primary "job assignment" is to tell others about Jesus and his salvation. With this young lady "I wish I'd said that!" I wish it really hard at times, but "wishing" that the past was changed just cannot make it be!

Why can't I say anything to her right now? Is it because I would be "judging" her behavior which is a biblical "no no", according to some? In order to proceed with a pep talk on Jesus one must "judge" that the recipient needs the pep talk! In that case "judge" fits the definition "has an opinion of". Never are we to judge by condemnation. That is harsh judgement, and if we're not careful, that's the metric by which we shall be judged.

However, it wasn't "the fear of judging" that I never said what "I wish I had said"! It was timidity! It's difficult to tell a friend or relative "apparently you aren't a Christian"! Think how hard it is to say that to a stranger! "Someday!" I thought "I'll talk to her about her soul!" It too is possible that the person was a Christian, but had slid far away from her first belief. That happens! One conversation, in that case, could bring sanity back to living. Those conversations need to happen. We should never put off what we know that we should do! That's imperative.

One morning at work I heard what I didn't want to hear! This young lady had been murdered by her druggy boyfriend. He ran over her in anger three times with his vehicle. She was dead. Was she a Christian? I shall never know in this life. One thing I did know: I never told her about Jesus. "I wish I'd said that!" Now I can't. It's too late. This young lady could be in hell because I was timid and procrastinated. I failed my "job assignment". I failed to tell her about Jesus.

If she was a Christian who had back-slid, I "lucked out"! However, if she is in hell because of my timidity, it is my fault. Not all my fault, you understand, but I am one of the many people who is at fault. Many Christians stood silently by while this woman became more and more destructive in her sinful life. Most Christians, as I am too, are timid and procrastinating. This is one of the "sins of omission". Yes, we can sin by "failing to do things", not just by "doing wrong things":
James 4:17 "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
I write feverishly each day. There are things I could be doing, but I write. For me my timidity is overcome by writing. I don't have to face the skeptical. I can speak to people without fear of pointing the finger at them.

Sometimes Satan says "Stop!" and I am tempted to quit my writing. However, if I do, truth may not reach some who need it. Also, knowing more because I study, makes me more forceful when speaking face-to-face. Writing is a growth process. With study writing increases knowledge and teaches better how to say things to those who are defensive.

I write everyday because "I wish I'd said that!" Now I am saying it! I can't bring back that young lady, but perhaps another will consider what I say and respond.

Paul and the apostles spoke bravely, but they also wrote inspired truth. Their writings have caused many to seek salvation! Paul never had to say "I wish I'd said that!" because he DID say that! He told the world about Jesus and died for that cause. Now we're afraid, but he was brave! Our audience was not near as hostile as his.

Monday, April 27, 2015

On Free Will

"Free will" is man's ability to make choices without being impeded by physical constraints. We may "will" that we stuff a basketball into the goal, but physical limitations prohibit us from making that decision, unless we either are tall enough or strong enough to jump that high. In the physical world there are many things which can impede free will. However, in the spiritual world, not even God impedes us!

Of course the "goal" in Christianity is much more than a basketball hoop!  Do you know the "goal" of being a Christian? Is your goal to avoid hell? Is it to live a righteous life? Is it joy? Is it peace? Just what is your goal? This is the goal every Christian should have:
Philippians 3:14  (KJV) "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
This passage may be a little hard to understand so for clarity let's look at another version:
 Philippians 3:14 (NIV) "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Here we know that "the goal" is "to win the prize" and like the basketball goal; it's "toward heaven", but it's not in our own abilities, but through Jesus Christ. But what is "the prize"?
 2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"
The prize is "keeping the faith". And what does "faith" get you?
 Ephesians 2:8a "For by grace are ye saved through faith..."
Now we're getting closer! "To win the prize" is our goal. That prize is "faith" and the "faith" we have is  what we must maintain to be saved!  This leads to the question: "Saved from what? We are saved from eternal damnation!
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is (eternal) death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Wouldn't you know it?   The "goal" of the Christian is "to avoid eternal death" by having eternal life! Hence, the "free will" we have is to choose our "goal" without coercion even from God!  Actually, wise men choose eternal life, but by default, if they don't, the justice they get is eternal death. Hence, "free will" is important and a wise decision is imperative to each of our "eternal well-beings". My choice is "eternal life"! It would seem that all sane men (and women) would choose to live forever if given the conditions of eternal life: that being eternal well-being and joy!

The unwise either make the wrong decision or fail to make a decision. He is free to do that too! God presents his plan. Man can either accept it, reject it or fail to consider it! The ultimate in stupidity is failing to consider eternity! The next most stupid decision, and even smart people do this, is to reject eternal life! The reason God doesn't force the positive decision on anyone, is because he created mankind in his own image! We are God's friends and friends don't force people to be friends! Why mankind is even here is to befriend God. Our job description is "to tend the garden" and in the midst of that garden is Jesus! We were made to tend to Jesus!

That leads to the second part of the "goal". The "goal" (salvation) is won by running the race, so to speak. We maintain our faith from the time it's incubated until we die! There is a reward for lifelong faith;  God gives us a gift! We forfeit our just deserves (eternal death) and are awarded our goal: eternal life! All our life we have the "hope of salvation" and in the end we "shall be saved"! Our free will, if we believe and trust in Jesus, does us well. The goal is achieved!

Let's look for a few moments on what man would be without free will! Look around you. What comes to mind? Computers are intelligent and can even make decisions. However, when they do anything, it's because we force them to do it by programming or by learning algorithms.  In effect without "free will" man would be no more than this computer; an automaton. God doesn't want us to love him because we're programmed that way. He wants love of our own volition!

There is a cause and effect scenario in Christianity. The cause is our "goal". We've just learned that our "free will" is to save our own hide from eternal damnation. We now know that the only way to do that is through Jesus because his word tells us that (John 14:6;  "Jesus is the Way").  The "effect" is a result of the "cause". Because we had the "free will" endowed to us by God, we choose eternal life. God grants the Christian eternal life at their physical death. Because we have the "hope of salvation" at the end, the effect is that we love Jesus because he is the one who propitiated his own blood to save us in the end! "Loving Jesus" is not the goal of our "free will", but as a result of the reward we get that for free!

Let's take an example. Mr. Wealthy tells us if we are patient he will give us $1,000,000 when we become of age. We have faith that Mr. Wealthy is trustworthy and has the ability to do that. We don't have to work for Mr. Wealthy, just persevere with him in patience because he is known to be a man of his word. We don't love Mr. Wealthy until he gives us hope in a future!. We do honor and respect him before that because he's a powerful kind-hearted man!

When we get of age, Mr. Wealthy, true to his word, gives us the reward. His only motive was that he loved us and wanted our love in return. However, he never made "love" a criteria for the award. He was willing to reward us whether we loved him or not. He did want to communicate and talk with us occasionally, and that's understandable. He also wanted our respect for who he was, but none of those things were conditions for his gift. He merely wanted us to trust him.

Then we finally get the $1,000,000! Oh, joyful day! What is our emotional response? Our hope is fulfilled. We didn't love Mr. Wealthy in vain. We love  and praise Mr. Wealthy now! He merits our love because he can be trusted. We knew that he would follow through with his gift! Yes, we love the gift too,but we love Mr. Wealthy as well because he was prepared to give of himself!

Mr. Wealthy and his gift is analogous to God to demonstrate that we love God, not because he makes us, but because he is gracious and loving himself. It just takes faith for each of us to discover our relationships!

Mr. Wealthy didn't force us to take his money. He gave us a choice in the matter. We could have said "I don't want anything you have. Leave me alone!" and Mr. Wealthy would have honored that! Our ability to decide is our "free will" and that too is a gift from God! We were made that way.

Many people don't want to love Mr. Wealthy. They only want the prize. Most people don't want to love God. They only want heaven!


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Remembering No More

Try as I might, I can't forget! I think back on my life. It started with lying, then cursing. At times I disrespected my Mom. I wished that my Dad was dead when I failed to get the freedom I desired. I shop-lifted, I stole money from friends, I desired what belonged to others, I fornicated, I became intoxicated a couple of times. I can think of few sins that I failed to do! Did I murder? Yep! I did so in my heart! Did I break a commandment? There are none that I didn't break! I'd like to forget all this, but in remembering how sordid I have been makes me appreciate mercy even more.
Philippians 3:13 "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before..."
2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
So while I remember these sins and know that I deserve death for them, and that Jesus redeemed me by is own death, I should put the past behind me. In effect it's not what I have done, because they are forgiven, but what I will do! Jesus has already died for ALL MY SINS, even the sins I have yet to do, but I have only repented for my past sins. Those are behind me now!
Hebrews 8:12 "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."
Since I repented for what I have done, God has chosen to forget what's behind and for those sins of which I have repented. God can "forget", not because he has a weak memory, but because he is all powerful and what he wills can be done! If I could forget I would not be ashamed. Likewise, if I could forget, I would feel no blame! It's imperative that I remember one thing: Christ died for ME! I must remember that it is I that should have died.

What in the world was Paul speaking of? He was a mass murderer and the objects of his iniquity were Christians! I bet Paul would have loved to have forgotten that, but he was no worse than I am with the exception he actually carried out what I only dreamed of doing. Because Paul's fine was paid for by Jesus, he was no longer a criminal. He had a new start! "All things have become new"! to him, but for all Christians as well. As such we are to "forget the things we left behind"!

Are we to be as God? Since God has the power to forget do we?  It's a matter of perspective!
Genesis 19:15  "And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.
17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.24 Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;
25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
26 But his (Lot's) wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
Why not look back? If a person looks back with remorse it's one thing, but if one mentally and emotionally relives sinful pleasures it's another! Lot's wife was saved from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, both of which were pleasure palaces and dens of iniquity. Lot's wife didn't look back with shame, but with a fond memory of what would be no more! Because of that she died that day, but she died the second death as well. That pillar of salt is all that remained of what was once life!

In the movie Oh Brother, Where Art Thou this conversation ensued:

"Pete: Well I'll be a sonof______. Delmar's been saved.
Delmar O'Donnell: Well that's it, boys. I've been redeemed. The preacher's done warshed away all my sins and transgressions. It's the straight and narrow from here on out, and heaven everlasting's my reward.
Ulysses Everett McGill: Delmar, what are you talking about? We've got bigger fish to fry.
Delmar O'Donnell: The preacher says all my sins is warshed away, including that Piggly Wiggly I knocked over in Yazoo.
Ulysses Everett McGill: I thought you said you was innocent of those charges?
Delmar O'Donnell: Well I was lyin'. And the preacher says that that sin's been warshed away too. Neither God nor man's got nothin' on me now. C'mon in boys, the water is fine."
Later on  this exchange took place after an altercation:
"My name is George Nelson, get me?!
She didn't mean nothin' by it, George.
George Nelson! Not Babyface!
You remember! And you tell your friends!
I'm George Nelson.
Born to raise hell.
Well, that was some fun, now, wasn't it, George?
Yeah.
And Delmar says "Almost makes me wish I hadn'ta been saved."
Delmar looked back! Not in sorrow, but with fond memories. In effect Delmar deserved, if he had been a real person, to die as did Lot's wife. Furthermore, since the preacher did the "saving" the salvation was a farce.

Delmar and Mrs. Lot looked back and shouldn't have. Since both were allegedly "saved" they should have been "new persons'. They should have "forgotten the things that were behind", but they didn't do that! Since the efficacy of their salvation is in question, guess what? God didn't forget either!

Sometimes people, even sincere Christians, look back on when they were the "old person" and reminisce. They are stirred by pleasurable memories. Satan is enticing them to return to the fold, and if they don't watch out, that's what will happen.  As Delmar said  "Almost makes me wish I hadn'ta been saved." If angels rejoice when one soul is saved, just think of the party Satan has when the ransomed one is stolen!

And now we'll look at Forrest Gump!
[when the bullies from school were chasing him]
Jenny Curran: "Run, Forrest! Run!"
Jenny Curran: [hearing that Forrest is going to Vietnam] "Listen, you promise me something, OK? Just if you're ever in trouble, don't be brave. You just run, OK? Just run away."

Forrest was told to run from bullies. Jenny told Forrest to run from the enemy in Viet-Nam. Neither are we to look back. We must run from the past since we can't seem to forget it: However, we can't run fast enough to get away from the bully Satan. We submit to God and let Satan do the running!

James 4: 7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
And while Satan is fleeing you, still don't look back! "Run, Forrest, Run!"

Friday, April 24, 2015

Left Versus Right

Psalm 48:9 "We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
10 According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

According to the world I am a "right wing Christian fundamentalist". Many say that people as myself are "fanatics". Let me set this straight. Because I'm a "fanatic" I AM a "right wing Christian fundamentalist" because that's what "right" is!

First off "fanatic" is the long form from which the word "fan" comes. Admittedly I am a "fan of Christ". I am his groupie because I worship and adore him. In days gone by being a fanatic for Christ was being a zealot. I have a strong attachment to Christ and want others to have the same. It's not because I'm proud, but it's because I have joy and hope and want others to have it too! Furthermore, because I don't want anyone (call me intolerant) to go to hell, I want to share what I have with everybody! (Tolerance is not caring if others go to hell and not doing anything about it!)

A "fundamentalist" is one who believes that The Bible is inspired truth and endeavors to follow what The Bible says in all aspects. Therefore, so far I am certainly a "fanatic fundamentalist", for what's the sense in worshiping God if you don't believe what he says is true. My stance is that either I believe in God for what he really is and gain eternal life, or totally reject what he says and live for pleasure! If I was to selectively believe the word of God, then all my obedience would be in vain. Not only would I miss out on God, but wouldn't even have the fun offered by the world! Being a non-fundamental Christian is a lose/lose situation.

Now let's examine "right wing".

"Right wing politics" is a position which blends "natural law" into the government of nations. With such adherence to natural law, tradition is normally preserved.  Although Natural Law is based on what appears in nature and the use of reason to sort it all out, Augustine of Hippo incorporated the laws of nature into Christianity. Although not a direct equality, natural law and God's Law are considered as equivalents by many.

American revolutionaries used natural law extensively in formulating a new government for the "good of society at large".  Therein lies John Locke's "consent of the governed" with an attempt to be fair to all. Therefore, democracy is a fair way to rule, but because of the populous society, republicanism is the best way to legislate and govern. Republicanism adds more "fairness" to democracy because it offers more to those in the minority.

For Christians "Natural Law" IS God's Law. As such Christians value the freedom offered by a democratically elected government, but need the protection offered republicanism.  For us the laws of the nation should be a reflection of a righteous, fair, peaceful and loving nation. Christians value a "moral society" governed by "moral laws". What better morality to encompass than Christianity? None! And that is what the founding fathers, in their good judgement, based our U. S. Constitution upon!

Over time the supporters of a righteous government and the U.S. Constitution have become to be known as "right wing". However, the U.S. is not the originator of right wing politics. It came from the French Revolution.

Liberal deputies at the time of the French Revolution sat on the left side of the Estates General which was established in 1789. The "left" was made up of The Third Estate which was the masses or the "common man". Many of these folks were skilled workers, shop keepers and farmers.

The right side of the legislative assembly therein sat The Second Estate, the nobility, former supporters of the monarchy. Both groups sought a republic, but with different powers. The "left" had a liberal agenda moving away from tradition, and the right wanted to maintain certain aspects of tradition. The French left are close to the early socialists and the "right" desired to protect the best of what was. They battled heartily and the "right" and "left" still do!

Many on the "right" sought to protect tradition. That tradition included the church. Hence, the "right" was seen as protectors of the church, hence were protectors of Christianity. Today in the United States, right-wing politicians still provide a degree of protection for traditional views and Christianity. While right-wingers in society don't believe that the state should govern the church, we believe that laws should reflect Christian morality.

The Democrat Party (sic) today are "the left" and Republicans are "the right". If one examines the party platform of each, Christianity is fairly well written out of the Democratic Party Platform, but is retained in the Republican Party Platform. Because of the importance of what the secular world terms "social issues" but the right call "moral issues", people vote their conscious, or in my thinking, many ignore their conscience.

The "left" today supports regulation (loss of freedom), same-sex marriage, feminism, income redistribution, abortion and many immoral issues which are anathema to right-wing fundamentalist Christians. Because of the support of the progressive (left wing) church, many of us right-wing fundamentalist Christians don't even consider "social justice" churches to be Godly. They are neither hot nor cold, as God described the Church at Laodicea, and as such will be spewed out of his mouth at the end of days.

Isn't it ironic that "right-wing" politically meshes best with who sits at the right side of God? Because of the First Estate, the church, Christianity comes first in the eyes of the right. Why? We believe we're right! God made a deal with Abraham (The Abrahamic Covenant), wherein God says "Obey and prosper, or disobey and perish!" The Christian right believes that! If we obey God he will take care of us economically. The left believes that the government will take care of us and God has nothing to do with it!  To the left "charity" are government "entitlement" programs and to the right, charity is shown be voluntary generosity, freedom, and industry (capitalism).

The right believes that with less regulation and more freedom society will create more wealth to share. They believe that regulation stifles growth and that entitlements enslave. From where did such ideas originate? From The Bible!

The "right" is not all bad! The best person ever sits on the side of "right". He's who us right-wing fundamentalist Christians place our trust! Why, because truth is right and Jesus sits on the right side of the Prime Minister of the Universe! Let's just look at some passages about the "right" side of God:
Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he (Jesus) was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.Luke 22:69 Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.
Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Is it a coincidence that Jesus sits on the right side of God? He supports truth and justice. His kingdom is based on "righteousness". Christianity is the focal point of the kingdom of God!  It should be ours, but "the right" who supports that is diminishing. Society is becoming more left wing as demons dictate our laws and powers in high places govern. As God's influence on what's right diminishes, the left grows. The left will become larger and larger until the world implodes. The "right" is the protector of the faith. The "left" is on the side of the destroyer.

Many "good" people are on the left. They mean well! However, they have been deceived!

Many Christians  vote "the left". In America, this is for the Democrat Party. They vote for the very ideology and people who strive to destroy what Christians should hold dear! Discernment and prayer is the answer!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Your Name Here: Lovest Thou me?

"Do you love me, Larry?" Try it with your name! "Do you love me, [your name here]?" I'm referring to Jesus. He asks the questions. We not only are to answer, but to "do"! Do what? "Feed my lambs and sheep"!

Getting saved is easy. No "work" is required! Salvation is a gift which we don't deserve. The gift has a name: It's "Mercy". Mercy has a twin. He's "Grace"! We normally think of Mercy and Grace as female names, but they are actually adjectives which describe God!

After we're born again is when the work begins. Work is required not to earn salvation nor even keep it! However, loving Jesus IS hard work because our human nature which makes it hard! We're much like Lot's wife. We keep looking back. She turned into a pillar of salt! That salt is all washed away now and has lost its saltiness. If we look back on what we're missing, we won't be turned to salt, but as salt already, we'll be without savor!
Matthew 5:13 "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?"
How are we "salt"? We are the people, as called by God, to season the whole earth. We're to give the world a taste of what Jesus has to offer; salvation to be exact. If our salt loses it's saltiness, who's left to season the world?

We can tell the entire world about Jesus, but if we don't love him, what's the use? Why would anyone want to love a Savior that even Christians fail to love? The answer is obvious. We must teach or "salt" by example. Our Christian walk should be "salty" enough to season quite a few other people!

Those who have read much of my commentary may remember that I contend that "Love is more than an emotion. It's a work!" and the reason I say that is because God himself made "keeping his commandments" a demonstration of our love for him! (John 14:15).

Now look at  the conversation which Jesus had with Simon (Peter) before he died:
John 21:15 "So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."
Three times Jesus asked Simon, "Do you love me?" Three times Simon said "yes!". Once Jesus responded "Feed my lambs." and twice "Feed my sheep"!

What Jesus was saying to Simon is "Show your saltiness! You say that you love me, show it!" How was it that Simon should show his love? "Feed my sheep!"

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. People are his "sheep"! Yes, some are lambs and some are full-grown. How is it that Simon should feed "the sheep"? He is to tell them about Jesus! However, it's more than telling. He is to love the sheep all the way to the manger! The best way to lead a sheep to safety, nourishment and shelter is to lead them in a loving way.. By this "work" of loving and leading, Simon was to do what Jesus asked "Feed my sheep"!

Now let's get back to you (and me). "George, do you love Jesus?" "Mary, do you love Jesus?" "Susie, do you love Jesus?' If you do then "feed His sheep". Take that block of salt which is you and season not "Watter's World", but "George's World", "Mary's World" and "Susie's World"!   Sheep lick salt. Give a little of your salt to others. Don't pass along salt which has lost it's savor, but get the good stuff out and "feed His sheep"!

How many sheep have you fed? Some have fed few and few have fed none. How many people have you led to Christ? How many people have you told about Jesus?

It takes me from one to two hours to write my "Daily Thought" including the study for it. Sometimes it's work which I don't want to do. However, this is my "salt" and is the seasoning with which I feed Jesus' sheep. I write because I want others, no, "everybody" to have the hope of salvation. I may not like their behaviors, but I cherish their soul!

I can't say how many sheep that I have fed. On a one to one level I've fed few sheep; at least not sheep who ate what I was feeding!  Some sheep are stubborn. I can take the salt block to them, but they just won't lick it. However, Jesus expects me to do that "work" to demonstrate my love for him!

If Christians are honest, we must admit that we answered the call to salvation to save our own wretched skin from eternal damnation.Now that we have that "hope" it's time to love the One who offered it! We're to love one another and God! We are to "feed" (care for) his sheep so that the wolf won't get them. The kind of salt we're to be is poison to the wolf. He won't lick it, but many of the sheep will!

There's more to loving God than telling them about Jesus. We are to be walking examples (having savor) of who Jesus is! We're to be Christlike. Saved sheep should be as innocent as lambs. How could we represent Jesus when we act like wolves?
Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
 "Christians" who fail to act like gentle sheep are inwardly ravenous wolves. This is not only for teachers, but anyone who's supposed to be "the salt". We can't be evil inside and expect others to be impressed by the "goodness" we fail to show. Let me use an example:

Wayne, a person I had just met, had invited me to church. Wayne always held onto a person's shoulder for some reason I guess to hold their attention. While he was inviting me to church he grabbed another man by the shoulder and told him a filthy joke. There he was, spreading salt which had lost its savor. To be good shepherds and show the Master who owns the sheep love and respect, we must be obedient servants. I started to say "act like we're good", but too many of us have the "acting" part down just do good!

"Larry, George, Mary, and Susie... 'Feed my sheep!'"  Add your name to the list now. "Your name, 'If you love me, Feed my sheep.'"

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Saved Or Safed?

All  my life I've had people ask "Are you saved?" Being Armenian that troubled me! Based on my understanding I can "fall away" from my Christian walk. That term refers to apostasy. However, it seemed odd that I could be "saved" then relinquish my "salvation". That lacks continuity! Calvinists ask with a laugh "Larry, did you get saved again?"

Any sane person knows that salvation from anything is a one time event. If a red car hits me at 60 mph and a gust of wind miraculously blows me clear, I am "saved" from death. A similar event may happen again, but that red car and the gust of wind will never happen again. Being "saved" from a second death is a one time event. That's God's sentencing time. He will say "Well done, good and faithful servant!" or he might say "I can't find your name in The Book of Life. Away with you!"

Let's look first at what "saved" means. We must be saved from something! What is that which the "born again" person is saved from?
Mark 16:16 "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his bloodwe shall be saved from wrath  through him." 
 James 5:20  "Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."
It's clear that "salvation" is to keep a sinner from damnation, and that it's to save our souls from death. This refers to "the second death" where the soul is damned to hell for eternity!

I was "born again" so that I could be "saved" from what I deserve; eternity in hell according to God's justice. Therefore I am be "saved" from damnation and the second death. For Calvinists who believe in eternal security, when Jesus comes into their life, that's the moment of salvation. My contention is that being born again "safed" me. I am "safe"as long as I have faith which is essential to being a Christian. A person who merely believes without having the faith is no better than the demons, according to scripture, if belief is as far as it goes!

Faith is trust over time. How much time must we have faith? Until we die! Therefore, salvation is at the time we're saved from the second death. Before that we wear the armored protection of Jesus and use the sword of truth to keep us "safe". In effect God puts a hedge around us to offer some degree of protection from the devil.

Everybody now says "I'm saved!" if they have been "born-again". That is the time in our lives when we turn our lives over to Jesus and accept his shed blood on our behalf! (How to be born again is a subject for another day. This "Thought" is on "Saved" vs. "Safed"). However, I could find no instance other than Paul one time, who referred to salvation in the past tense:
1 Corinthians 1:18  "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
Paul is a special case. He was physically "born again" without his participation! Jesus came to him and adopted him because Paul was the one needed to spread the message! Paul knew his destiny for sure because he had no choice in the matter as far as we can tell from scripture. Sure, he could have refused as Jonah did, but Paul was convinced so solidly that he was a firm in his faith as Job!

Paul. actually conversing with Jesus,  had full assurance that he would abide and that he would finish the race. He said that many times because he knew that his ministry was necessary and that apostasy was out of the question! As Paul had no choice in being born again, he had no free will to abandon God! (Yes, this is Calvinistic thought, but as I said, Paul was a special case and God can't be boxed in by Calvin nor Arminius!). Paul applied his own assurance to others of the faith, not as something that has happened, but will happen!

On the other hand, Paul spoke often of salvation in the future tense. We'll look at several of those passages later.

It's may not be possible to try to "time" salvation. We know that we will be "saved" from second death, but it would be foolish to start the plan as it happens. We need to plan for that day now:
2 Corinthians 6:2  "(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)"
We don't wait on death bells to toll to believe; Paul says to start the "race" right now as he likened salvation. Some people plan for their funeral in advance, but die sometimes in the future. Paul is telling people, you will die, have a plan now!

Jesus, one time and one time only Jesus used "saved" in the past tense:
Luke 7:50 "And he said to the woman (who anointed his feet), Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. " 
Jesus has foreknowledge! Jesus knows the outcome of all our lives. He knows that this meek woman who served him so well will in fact, endure to the end! His recognition of her faith and salvation was prophecy. He was going to make it happen and he knew when and where: at her death!

There are many cases where salvation is spoken of in a tense neutral sense. Below are two examples:
! Corinthians 15:15 "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved..."
Ephesians 2:8  "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"
"Ye are saved" and "are ye saved can apply past, present or future.

Then we have at the crucifixion those who referred to "others" as being "saved" in the past tense:
Mark 15:31 "Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save."
However, this was done as they mocked Jesus and is not theological doctrine!

At the time of his crucifixion is when Jesus "saved" us. Not just the believer when it happened, but all had believed on him and all that would. Jesus' death is when the act of love occurred which made salvation available:
 2 Timothy 1:9 "Who (The Lord) hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:" Note: referring to his work already being accomplished
It was God who showed mercy on us and since he died in the past, salvation was made available to all in the past. It has already happened and it only needed to happen once. As Jesus
 mercy "saved" us, that salvation was done at his death, but the promise was to be fulfilled later.
 Titus 3:4 "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour..."
It may be that as today Paul used "saved" as past tense out of convenience. It's easier to say "I'm saved!" than to say "I have the hope of being saved from  the second death!"  Men have a way of speaking in shorthand because it was obvious to them what was the meaning. We all do that! However, the specific time we're "saved" is in scripture! This specific time is most often referred to in the future tense.  Five examples follow:
John 10:9a "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved...." 
Acts 2:21 "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
 Acts 15:11 "But we  believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we (the Apostles and Elders) shall be saved, even as they."
 Romans 10:9  "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
Romans 10:13  "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
 "Shall be" is the most often used context referring to salvation. When "whomever" believes they "shall be saved". It's sometime after the time they first believe. In honesty that could be immediately after they believe or anytime thereafter. All we know from "shall be" is that it isn't referring to the past nor right now! We must look at when salvation "shall be""
 Matthew 10:22 "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 
We see here that there is a time interval from "belief" to being "saved". It's a period of faith and is culminated by having faith "to the end" by endurance. After we believe, as with Job, Satan goes on the attack. He deceives you all the time trying to diminish your endurance in your faith until doubt is placed in your mind. It's hard work fighting Satan, God knows that you can't do it on your own, so he offers a degree of "safety" so that you don't have to handle more than you can bear. More on that shortly.

Once we believe we have some faith. Because we wish to avoid God's wrath, we have faith in his word that we shall avoid eternity in hell. From the time we first believe until we die our faith is based on "hope". We look forward to God's promise of salvation and believe him. God offers to the faithful "hope". Because God offers the only hope there is, we are thus "saved" by hope and that "hope" is in a future event.
 Romans 8:24a " For we are saved by hope..."
Anytime we have hope in salvation the day we're to be saved becomes nearer:
Romans 13:11b "... that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."
 The starting point for "hope" is "when we first believed"! With each moment we're not yet "saved" but it's nearer than it was the first day!
1 Thessalonians 5:8 "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."
I'm born again as you are if you believe and have trust in Jesus. Therefore, because of our belief in Jesus we have "the hope of salvation". We can't see it or experience it now because "things hoped for" are invisible. We, because of faith, have "hope" that not only can we be saved, but will be when we die!
Scripture is very specific as to when we go from "the hope of salvation" to the very day that we're saved. We "are kept" in a state of being "safe" because we have faith until salvation is revealed to us in the end:
1 Peter 1:4 "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who (the incorruptible) are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
Then at the end "Voila!" our "hope" is fulfilled. We have endured to the end and now we're saved! On what day will that be?
1 Corinthians 5:5  "To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (Judgement Day)
We are saved on the judgment day! Some believe that only the unrighteous will be judged and all will be found guilty and sentenced. The way I see it that "judgment" has two outcomes. We're either found guilty or innocent. My contention is that the righteous will be judged and since their name is in The Book of Life, they will be found innocent and get their reward. That's the day they get "saved".

Before the judgment day they are still "safe". They have visa's in the kingdom of God until that time. They are protected citizens of that kingdom and are protected in "Abraham's bosom", so to speak. They share the "Faith of Abraham" which is great faith and because of their faith, they remain "safe" until later!

The John spoke of his vision of the time when salvation actually comes:
 Revelation 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."
It's when Satan who is the destroyer is himself destroyed. With the devil put away we can no longer be tempted and deceived. All sin is gone forever and we now enjoy salvation (when that day comes)!

An analogous situation is this: We are lost at sea in shark infested waters. We see a ship on the horizon and say "I'm saved!" However, the sharks are still there, but there is hope that you can endure until you're pulled aboard! Because of your faith, you avoid the sharks and fear not. Just as you're hoisted out of the water, you still feel safe, but you're not yet! When our feet are planted on the deck, that's the time you're saved. Until then your "safe" because you have some degree of protection with the weapons on the ship, but your not yet "saved" until you're free from harm!

The best example of that "safe" condition is from The Book of Job.
Job 1:8 "And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
9 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.
God knew that by faith Job would be "safe" from the wiles of Satan even as Satan attacked him harshly. However, Job was made "safe" by God in that Satan couldn't destroy him! However, if one reads the entire book, Job could have abandoned God. However, Job endured all the trials of Satan because of his faith. At the end of the book, Job is "saved" from the trials of Satan who moved on, but until that day, Job was "safed"!

Of course I'm pragmatic. Calvinists cannot accept that "salvation" is at the day of the Lord or all five points go down the drain. On the other hand, Arminians must believe that "salvation" is at the end and Christians live in the "hope of salvation" and are "safe". To believe that we are already "saved" implies that we are eternally secure. I contend that Arminian doctrine requires that those born again will be saved at the judgment day and I see that in scripture!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Labor and Heavy Laden: Is Socialism the Answer?

"Utopia" is a society where life is all smiles: People are all healthy, well-fed, without worry, work little, have much, enjoy pleasure, are free to do anything or nothing, and it is where peace reigns in all aspects of life. All "isms" promise some degree of Utopia. Since Utopia sounds the same as Paradise, those "isms" which promise "paradise on earth" are secular humanists religions. They offer the promise of the kingdom of God... only without God!

The most prominent and dominant "ism" is "Marxism",  which is the blueprint for most other "isms". Karl Marx himself equates "socialism" and "communism" because he realized man's nature. Man will never voluntarily follow ideas which are destructive to him, take his wealth and destroy his freedom Indeed the only discerning difference between socialism and communism is the amount of force being used to coerce the populace until they fall into line!

It takes force to change people, but once force has accomplished its dirty work there will always be divergent people who thwart the system. Force will always be necessary in a socialistic system and with the threat of force in everyday life, Utopia can never be a workable, livable global way of life! An example of this is the second in the Divergent trilogy, Insurgence. Control is a major tactic to enforce Utopian life. By separating society into classes based on inherent character traits, was a means of control and is the heart of socialism. Insurgent didn't have "Christians" as a group, but in true socialism,  Judeo-Christian peoples are the main victims of Marxism! Lets see what Karl Marx himself says about religion, meaning specifically Christians and Jews, which are the two religions which impede socialism: (underlines mine):
"Man makes religion, religion does not make man."
"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness."
"The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.
Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand."
"Just as man is governed, in religion, by the products of his own brain, so, in capitalist production, he is governed by the products of his own hand."
"Contempt for theory, art, history, and for man as an end in himself, which is contained in an abstract form in the Jewish religion."
 "Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. ... This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. "
It is readily seen that to Marx, religion is a product of man invented so that the world can cope. He is right in the idea that religion (Judeo-Christianity) created capitalism because the Bible is where God encourages hard work, motivation, self-sufficiency, growth and strong institutions! His criticisms of Christianity are many of the positive teachings of a just God! He is correct with one contention: Religion, at least Christianity, stands in the way of socialism and his controlling society is impossible until "divergent" people,  as are Christians, are remolded or terminated!

Marx's doctrine parallels the Global New World Order dictator god of the Apocalypse which you can read about in the Book of Revelation. I strongly believe that the first 3-1/2 years of the tribulation period is "democratic socialism" followed by "communism" in the last 3-1/2 years where Christians are beheaded (insurgence) if they are "divergent".

Why do people look toward government for comfort? They are part of deception. Marx's ideology is obviously a ploy of the devil to undermine God! In fact I believe that Karl Marx was part of the war on Christianity as stated in the following:
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."
 Those "principalities" are demonic influences who work on the rulers of the world to destroy our hope. Part of the process is the same as Marxist tenants: the dissolution of the family, feminism, gender role reversal, hedonism, social justice by confiscation of property and wealth, and the utter control and/or elimination of the things of God! All the teachings of Marxism are against God, but cloaked in the positive words of "income redistribution", "social justice", "free care", "what you deserve", "fairness" and other left wing demagogic incantations!  The chants of socialism are rants of demons.

Socialism promises a society where most work little, all enjoy the same pleasures, all wrongs are righted, care is for free, and people voluntarily give up what they have for the "good of masses". However, since socialism merely steals the whole pie from capitalism, and they admit that, the pie doesn't get bigger;  it's just shared by more people. Socialism stunts growth and the pie never gets bigger, and as the pie is eaten, society starves even more. Consequently, socialism will eventually kill itself because of it's own mistaken beliefs! The seats of socialism, where it has been tried, has failed, but the western world, including America are falling for the smooth promises of dark demons!

With that said, the first victims of socialism are Christian ordained institutions and teachings. These are what leftists call "social issues"! They teach that "It's the economy, stupid!" in opposition to God who wrote (paraphrased) "It's obedience, wise ones!" (Abrahamic Covenant).

Socialism is a faulty way to improve the conditions of mankind. However, poverty and heavy labor are a consequence of original sin. Marx is right about that! But it wasn't God who caused hard work and poverty, man brought it on himself. That was the penalty of Adam and Eve for original sin:
Genesis 3:16 "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
It should be obvious here that God is not responsible for toil, but it is man (and woman)! Furthermore, it's obvious why Marx created "the war on women"! It's to divide so that we can be conquered and because gender role assignments were assigned by God!

Jesus, if it had been God's will, could have ended poverty forever and ended toil here on earth, but he said:
Matthew 26:11 "For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always."
If Jesus had been a socialist, and Christ didn't teach that, he could have "leveled the playing field" right then. His will was and is that we don't look to the "here and now" for comfort, but that is to be our "hope: when we meet God!
Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Those well taken care of in a Utopian society would have little hope in what Paradise would offer! Labor and sorrow is what motivates one to seek God, just as it is what drives the proletariat to seek socialism! It's then a matter of which can offer the best hope!

Marx was right on one point: Christianity is my opiate! I can face tomorrow because of what God promises. He says "I will give you rest." and that rest is from the consequences of sin: labor, heavy burden, strife, poverty, disease, and even death! Marxism's "opiate" is the Christians "hope"!

This "rest" of which Jesus spoke is eternal comfort in REAL Paradise, the Christian Utopia! It's the only Utopia which is possible. Heaven or Paradise is the Utopia where we shall be:

This "rest home" in Utopia which God will provide is spoken of by Jesus:
John 14:2 "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
Jesus can and will prepare a "Utopia" for those who have "the hope of salvation". Marx can't do that. Socialists can't do that! Communists can't either! "Ism" are antithetical to God. Only he can provide Paradise!

We've heard "Bush lied!", "Obama lied!" Well, the biggest liar is Karl Marx! He was given the lie by Satan himself and Obama only believes "the lie"! Marx was the biblical "serpent", but Obama is the "Eve"! Guess what? If you allow socialism to tempt, you're "Adam". Our punishment is what we deserve by turning to the "Other Tree" instead of the "opiate" (hopeful)  fruits of the "The Tree of Life", Jesus!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Power of Virtue: Or is it a virus?

What is virtue?  It's "miraculous power" according to Strong's!  It's more than the dictionary definition because although it is "moral excellence"  it flows. Therefore, just as light or motion results from the flow of current, something flows as well when the energy of "virtue" is released. Current flows and energy is the result when it is applied to a device. What flows when virtue is applied to something? I believe it is God's Spirit which flows and that is called the flow of virtue.

For something to flow it must have a source. From where does "virtue" come? Remembering that "moral excellence" is "good" then the "virtue" which flows is 'Good". I capitalize it here because "only God is Good"! (Matthew 9:17). Therefore, since only God is good, virtue flows from God. The source of virtue is God and God being magnificent has an abundance of Spirit: Since Jesus is God then we can see:
Luke 4:1a "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost..."
Jesus has an endless supply of the Holy Spirit. I hate to use "supply" in this context because the Holy Spirit is not a "thing", but a person. 2 Timothy 2:7 says that the Holy Spirit is power given by God.  Since the Holy Spirit is God then like God it is a personal entity, i,e, a personality of God. I don't use the word "person" because "personality" fits better to avoid the confusion of multiple Gods, for He is One.

Hence, the Holy Spirit is the power of God and its flow is called "virtue". Although God is much more than a scientific principle, the concept of current flowing to work in a system and expending energy is analogous to virtue. The current is the Holy Spirit, its flow is virtue and it's the power of God which is harnessed, so to speak.

The Spirit offers liberty. Hence, virtue frees a person from what restrains it. Inevitably it's evil which strangles people and virtue flowing provides the power to sever the bonds of evil. Freedom and liberty pertaining to the Holy Spirit follows:
2 Corinthians 3:17 "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (freedom)."
The day has come when the power of God is available to everyone. Virtue, the flow of the Holy Spirit"  will and has flowed out and offered freedom to all flesh. Men are free because of God's grace. This virtue flows freely from those who have faith. Because a person has faith their "battery" is charged with an abundance of current, symbolically of course. The bountiful endless supply of God's Holy Spirit flows as virtue to the person with faith. The soul of a Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit and therein resides.  It's that virtue which flows from Jesus to those connected to him by faith. The following passage describes the virtue which flows from Jesus to all flesh who makes that connection:
Acts 2:17a "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh..."
Then I mentioned that the Christian's battery will be charged. That battery being the soul which receives the Holy Spirit by virtue from being in touch with Jesus:
Matthew 5:6 "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled (satisfied)."
There are miracles which occurred because some made that contact with Jesus by faith:
Mark 5:29 "And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him..."
Here we have a woman with a hemorrhaging disease who touched Jesus. Contact was made so "current" would flow. Jesus got the signal. The woman who touched him had faith in him, He rhetorically asked her name, but he knew! Faith signaled God through his mediator Jesus that this woman was "power worthy". Because Jesus knew her faith and had an abundance of Spirit, virtue flowed from Jesus to the woman. Her battery was charged, so to speak, with the Holy Spirit and that Spirit powered her system. The power was expended on freedom. This woman was freed from spiritual bondage and slavery to a chronic disease. Jesus' virtue (goodness) flowed out and made her "good" in that Jesus paid the medical bill for what he was about to do! Somehow when the woman touched Jesus she realized that grace is free and virtue then flowed freely.

Likewise, before that the whole multitude felt the same flow of virtue. Jesus supply of Holy Spirit was endless, sharing it with all made contact by faith with him!
Luke 6:18 "And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all."
Since all Christians have virtue which flowed from Jesus to us when we touched him through faith, then we as Christians have virtue which can flow to others as well. Because "goodness' came from God, and virtue flowed from Jesus to us, we have some of that Holy Spirit flowing from us as virtue:
2 Peter 1:4 "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness..."
The power of God flows through Jesus and because we touch Jesus with faith, we have virtue which can flow from us to others with the same faith in Jesus,. In other words, we as part of the Royal Priesthood, are given God's power and virtue can flow from us to others who, if they touch Jesus through us, receive the Holy Spirit.

In essence Christianity is spreading liberty from enslavement to Satan by the flow of virtue from one Christian to another. Our responsibility is to let virtue flow from us. That's "The Great Commission"! Virtue flows across the world and others have the flow of virtue from Jesus to us to them!

Ironically, virtue is a contagious good and Holy Spirit spread by faith. Get that disease because "goodness" saves if it flows from Jesus!

Life, death, hibernation, cryogenics and resurrection.

By the process of lowering and controlling body temperatures animals hibernate for an extended amount of time. Recently, experiments have been done to allow human beings to "hibernate" for a short duration from hours to even days. The intent is to develop a process for space travel.

Many things we have today are a direct result of the innovation from space travel. Long before billions of people took endless numbers of digital photographs, the process was developed for space travel. When the first digital pictures came back from the moon, I thought "Those aren't true photographs. It's a reconstruction of what the lens sees!" Guess what, that's a near true view of what really exists! Today people ogle over photographs of women in bikinis and men's six packs, but they're really seeing a clever construction of ones and zeros. That becomes more obvious when digital pictures "break-up" with a poor signal. What was once pleasant all of a sudden becomes mathematics. Pictures are images digitized. What's beautiful is made beautiful by algorithms.

Therefore, don't be surprised that someday people will hibernate for extended periods of time and join the bears and snakes in a deep sleep where even the brain slows to near non-function! Not only that, but just like digital photography, it may become the "norm"! Millionaires believe in it. Some have used cryogenics to preserve themselves for life in posterity. That's many steps beyond hibernation, but may lead to replication of the person by DNA. It won't be the individual, but the individual's clone will live on. It's mankind's attempt to live forever!

People who are narcissistic enough to believe that they should be special cases, defeating death, seem to be the very ones who miss the way that death can be defeated!
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..."
Let's compare "resurrection" with "suspended animation" which encompasses cryogenics and goes beyond hibernation. Those whose life functions are suspended for a time, upon being reanimated will still die at some later time. Those who are "resurrected" will arise after having DIED and will LIVE forever. People who hibernate don't die. They are adding mere moments to their short life span. People who are cryogenically preserved are dead! They too shall arise, but there will be two options: resurrection with eternal life or resurrection with eternal "death". The outcome of their destiny depends on what they believe in this life!

We know from scripture that the one who has been raised from the dead and is still alive, has the same characteristics and personality as he had in this life! That man is Jesus. In the tomb his body was dead for portions of three days. He lay there lifeless just as we will someday. Now Jesus has arisen from this physical state and physically enjoys life again. Of course even though his body was dead, his soul yet lived! For all humans who are "born again" when death is trumped they will never be all the way dead because their soul will hibernate in heaven. All physical functions of life will cease, but yet they will be alive spiritually!

For a short period of time, until Jesus comes that is, the "person" will hibernate in heaven, but the body will rest in the grave, even deteriorate, but as with all God's miracles, what he returns from dust will be restored from dust. He did that for Adam and he shall do it for us! The soul will not be in hibernation as we understand it, because the soul will still stir! (Read the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man). It may be more like "preserved" in the grave as with cryogenics, until a process comes along which will bring life back to the dead! For the Christian, that is the resurrection of the body and the cure comes with the "hope of salvation". Those who are "born again" spiritually, are soon to be "born again" physically!

Therefore, those who are frozen awaiting a "cure" or hibernating to extend their time on this earth, the "process" of doing that is the same for everybody: rich or poor, infant or elderly, healthy or infirm, Jew of Gentile, or anybody for that matter. It's making a decision to live on after the grave:
 John 3:6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
Our first birth is a physical birth. We are all born of the flesh and we are flesh. However, there is an empty cup within us, called the "soul". It will be filled with something: an evil spirit or the Holy Spirit of God. When we are "born again" by belief in Christ and trusting in him, that cup will be filled by God! His Holy Spirit will enter into us and when that happens we will be "born of the Spirit". That is our rebirth and we are "born again"!

Therefore, being "born again" is a Spiritual change. The reward for being "born again of the Spirit" is at the "General Resurrection", we will be "born again" of the flesh, when our Spirit reunites with our bodies! That body will be the one we always had. It will go from mortal flesh to immortality. We will live again!

With that said, what scientists are to attempting to do in the laboratory, has been done for real. Jesus has been made mortal and he is of the same flesh as when he was here on earth. Because Jesus made it possible and showed that it can happen, we have the "hope of salvation" that someday we too shall have immortal bodies!

There is a process for having immortality. It's faith in Jesus. We must believe that Jesus arose from the dead before we will be able to! All we have to do is make a decision: believe in and accept Jesus and his sacrifice of himself for us, and that he arose and still lives! That's God's gift to us: eternal life which all men seek, but few find!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Just Living Together!

There is a new norm. Marriage is dying and it is already four feet in the grave! Throughout time people couldn't wait to "jump into marriage", but now, it's to jump in bed. "Just Living Together" is a rationalization. It makes jumping in bed together sort of acceptable to most people.

Most people just NEED someone. Those are the ones who panic when they don't have someone to claim. It doesn't have to be love. I may be for attention only. The victims of this malady called "serial dating" are those who go from one paramour to the next. Oftentimes, there is only a short time interval between partners.

Unfortunately, many people pay for serial dating with serial payment. The pay is the body! For a dinner and a movie, if one belongs to the "Serial Dating Club" after a few dates, then one is due a sexual reward. It operates the same as movie reward clubs! If you watch three movies, you get a free popcorn. With the Serial Dating Club, three dates and a movie means someone just may get "popped"! It has become an obligation, so it seems. After all, the man must be serious! He shows me all this attention! Buyer beware!

Couples who date can get close and have strong feelings for each other. There is hot blood flowing through the veins as the flesh anticipates satisfaction. People lusting for each other have an electric feeling which is the response of the body to desire. Before long a fire rages within! Lust becomes a craving. It's insatiable. That craving must be satisfied! People burn with lust. What shall they do?
1 Corinthians 7:9 "But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn."
Paul dealt with the same problem in people that people have today. It's advice for everyone, not just Christians. It's the fair thing to do as well!  Those who are burning with lust are encouraged to get married. They may choose not to, but there are consequences. "Burn" has a double meaning. People burn with lust, but as a result of illegitimate lust, their  souls may burn as well!

"Let them marry"! What in the world is this old-fashioned idea?

Marriage is an institution ordained by God and here are several reasons for marriage:

  • For companionship. (Genesis 2:20)
  • To help and encourage each other (Genesis 2:20)
  • To obey or please God (Genesis 2:24)
  • For living as a team. (Genesis 2:24)
  • To multiply or bear children  (Genesis 1:22)
  • For sexual enjoyment (1 Corinthians 7:2). [Sexual enjoyment is to keep the unit intact to avoid triangulation, aka adultery.]
  • As an example of purity (Matthew 5:31-32)
  • A commitment for an enduring relationship. (Matthew 19:6)
  • As "picture" of our relationship to God (Isaiah 62:5)

There may be many more reasons, but you get the idea. Marriage means something! It isn't a man-made institution. It is of God! The decay of the institution of marriage is a disgrace. There is no reverence for God nor a desire to please him. "Just living together" is for self-pleasure and defies God who created mankind for His pleasure.

Let's compare! What does "just living together" provide?

  • Sex
  • Companionship
  • Common quarters
  • Economy
  • Perception of being wanted
  • Convenience
  • Pleasure
  • Children oftentimes
  • Assistance

And what does "just living together"  NOT provide:

  • Commitment
  • Honor
  • Love
  • Trust
  • Obedience
  • Respect
  • Unity
  • Encouragement
  • Exclusive relationships
  • An example to others
  • A structured and secure home for children
  • Obedience to God

Of course the most negative aspect of "just living together" is the disrespect to Christ who is the "bridegroom" to the "bride". With the lack of  faith to marry where is the faith to be married to Jesus. In other words, if we can't commit to a bride (for us men), how could we commit to Christ? That's why marriage and fidelity is so important to God. It's symbolic of us (the church) and Christ!

Of course "just living together" shows absolutely no love for God! Any person who claims to be a Christian realizes that what they do in that arrangement is sin! Couples may rationalize their situation, but God doesn't buy into flimsy excuses!

There is another "love" which is abridged. Two people who "just live together" claim they love each other, but it's not love at all! When a man says to a woman "Let's just move in together!" he's saying in effect "I don't love you enough to commit to marriage!" Men that do that our cowards. They are afraid of themselves. They are afraid they can't "hack it". They are right! Men who lack the fortitude to make a woman he claims to love, his wife, is a jerk! He's not marriage material and a woman should flee from this man! He's a danger to the life of the naive woman who buys such flattery.

We're called to follow God and make the devil flee.  In this case the woman must flee the relationship before it's consummated. This fellow represents the dark forces of principalities! Living with the forces of darkness whether in marriage or outside, would be a constant battle!

There's another type of burning as well! Women burn to fulfill their biological instinct to multiply which is what the womb is for, after all! Women burn to be a unit with a man she can call her own and together nourish their mathematical reproductions. Women need the RIGHT man for satisfaction in life and men need the RIGHT woman. A woman who will be deceived by the false promise of "just living together" may not be the RIGHT woman!

This medicine is tough to write and I'm sure it's tough to swallow. Many couples started out living together, and if they still are together, welcome to the world of miracles. Many of us have friends or family members who "just live together". Because the people we love do things, does not make things right and honorable. Sin isn't defined by who are the strangers. It's us all!

I'm the imperfect messenger here. I could write page after page of my own disobedience. However, anything and everything can be forgiven! God has the RIGHT man or RIGHT woman out there for you. It must be his will and done in his way and in his time. Help him, if you will, through obedience because God needs an incentive to serve us! That RIGHT man or woman may be boring, not the most attractive, have a few body flaws, will certainly have bodily functions, but love conquers all!







Friday, April 17, 2015

A Short Essay on Christianity OR "Christianity for Dummies"

What's Christianity all about?

  • We all deserve punishment.
  • We all will be punished unless we find a way out.
  • Those who find a way out will be rewarded.
  • The reward is a gift. It is found by the meek.
  • The reward is eternal as is the punishment..
  • Those who reject the gift will be punished eternally.
  • Those who accept the gift will be rewarded eternally.
  • Because proud people reject the gift does not invalidate the giver.
  • Well-intentioned people cannot get the gift by doing "good".
  • Wicked people can get the gift by feeling sorrow.
  • Neither the "wicked" nor the "good" deserve a reward.
  • Only the submissive get rewarded.
  • The rebel and the apathetic get the punishment.
  • The effort to be rewarded is mere belief.
  • The belief must be trusting and enduring. 
  • Even that effort is a gift which we must use.
  • The belief must be that blood cleanses the soul.
  • It must be that only God's blood can cleanse.
  • That God was made flesh so that he could bleed for us.
  • The belief must be on specifically Jesus' shed blood.
  • That God himself payed our fine. He suffered and died in our place.
  • That God suffered for us spiritually by losing his Son.
  • That God himself went to the grave, but ascended from death and lives forever.
  • And that Jesus is the example that the reward is valid. Because he lives we can too!
  • And that God does expect something from those whom he rewards.
  • That God wants our love and that we are to demonstrate that love of God by obedience.
  • That how we are to obey is loving others.

The End! (For Most)
The Beginning (For a few)