Saturday, May 30, 2015

Naked and Afraid (Continued - Part 2)

There is an extraction point just over the swamp for those Naked and Afraid. It's the "hope of salvation".
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."
The contestants have a map and a destination. They know how they are to get their reward. With diligence and perseverance a vehicle will be at a certain point to take them home. Although 21 days are up and the end of the journey is near, they are safe, but not saved.  They have the "hope of making it" to their extraction point, but many obstacles still remain before they are saved from everything out to outdo them!

Before they can be extracted they must travel through much terrain to get there. The forces of nature have put up roadblocks: sharp stones, extreme temperatures, foul weather, snakes and alligators, rats and insects and hateful talk between the two contestants.

In life it may not be 21 days, but our days are numbered. We too have the map, Holy Scripture, we know our extraction point and that it will take us home, but so far only some have only the "hope of salvation". We must finish the obstacle course; a race against time with evil darts thrown all the time to confuse and confound.
Hebrews 12:1b "...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us..."
This "race before us" is making it to our extraction point while darts are thrown all the way to the finish. Every step is a weight; a sin that can defeat us! Since we're spiritually naked it becomes necessary to clothe ourselves with what is there. As we travel naked we depend on God to supply. What is it that we need? The whole armor of God!
Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
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.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints..."
These pieces of armor aren't seen to the eye. They are provided by God for free for the asking to enable believers to make it to the extraction point with a hope of safe delivery home. The wearer of this armor is still naked, but no longer afraid!  Fear is manageable because "trust" is in that third person who is always there with the pair!

In case of emergencies, the pair in Naked and Afraid, can call on the director to provide in an emergency in case of life-threatening calamity.   Christians can call on God! He's the ultimate Director and he's got the wardrobe for the drama. What do people do when in danger. Most pray! If we pray sincerely prayers are answered if it's God's will. What is God's will for us all?
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
The jungle we've been dropped in without any clothes, substance nor shelter is this life! We remain here for a given spell. Only God knows. For some it is 21 days, but because of their innocence, they are flown right to the extraction point where they are taken to safety. Those who die in their minority are taken to heaven. For the rest of us, we are given a PSR  (Primitive Survival Rating).  God calls it faith! However, it is not of ourselves, but a gift of God. We can't brag about our own PSR, but we can brag that God empowers us with a PSR which is sufficient for the believer to make it for whatever duration; even 120 years and thereafter!

Our PSR, or faith, is measured by three factors: believe, trust and reverence.  The scale goes all the way from doubt (no faith) to God's faith (that no human being can approach). There are those participants "without faith", with "little faith"," faith as small as a mustard seed",  "with great faith", "faith to move mountains" all the way to the "faith of Abraham" who was the ultimate survivalist to whom we're all compared. My own PSR is "strong belief", "much trust" and "entire reverence". However, because I fail to show much love, my faith, although strong, is not demonstrated.  God would give me a PSR of  6.1. However, even us with a low PSR, with the whole armor of God, can make it to the end! (Romans 6:18 above).

Let's move on to he last day; the day we are to be extracted! In this journey all will be extracted. We all make it to the extraction point. In the television show, extraction always means "safety", but someday, someone will die, even though safely extracted. For our journey, everyone dies at the extraction point for that's what extraction is!
Hebrews 9:27  "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"
Some believe that Christians will never be judged! Many think that only those who's names are not in The Book of Life will be there on Judgement Day.  However, we shall all be judged! Those whose names are written in that book shall be judged "innocent" of all charges because the Judge blotted out the evidence. While "naked and afraid" we dressed ourselves with God's armor. The fiery darts thrown by the antagonist were deflected and we sometimes were injured, but we made it!

Most will be judged for what they didn't do! Because they had no or a low PSR, the fiery darts stung badly and they tried to make the journey unassisted. They depended on their own abilities and leaned on their equally weak partner. They never found shoes and walked on barbs their entire stay. They never sought armor and daily were stung with the sun's rays. A cancer developed and they slowly withered away and never called on The Director, even as they were dying! The duration of their life they existed Naked and Afraid!

So even after all participants make it to the extraction point, they're still naked! However, once The Director determines where their home is, they shall be taken there! If "home" is heaven, God will cloth them and give them a room in a mansion, so to speak. That is their reward for making it "naked and afraid", but not alone! Their PSR is evaluated on Judgment Day and these few will be  evaluated with high marks! They ran the race and made it. They persevered until the end because they were clothed in God's armor!

However, there are those who are Naked and Afraid, but remain so, especially on Judgement Day! Yesterday in Part 1, Genesis Chapter 3 painted a picture of Judgement Day. Adam and Eve stood before God and God found them guilty as charged, but had mercy on them even though they made many mistakes in their short journey. I believe that because of God's grace, that Adam and Eve, fully clothed, now live in a room with a fantastic view, overlooking the River of God and that Tree of Life they ignored in the Garden! I believe that after they tasted the darts of Satan, they started wearing whole spiritual armor along with those non-protective fig leaves. Those leaves were merely symbolic of God's  armor because some of that exposed flesh was covered.

A little faith was shown by small fig leaves. They felt sorry for what they had done and answered God's call in the Garden. However, because of God being just, Adam and Eve deserved some consequences. Their journey to the extraction point was made harsh to test them and because it was harsh all the rest of us have the same tests to make it to the extraction point. However, even with a little faith, we can endure to journey for the allotted time, but with great faith, we, after extraction, are rewarded with different rewards, called crowns!
1 Corinthians 9:25  "And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible."
All strive to the extraction point. Some do it for self-aggrandizement. They have bragging rights when they get out.  They live for the flesh. The world is their reward and their flesh is their God. When they die all they leave is a legacy soon forgotten. Those who are extracted with a high PSR get different "crowns" for their faith. The first crown is eternal life and they get better from there. Perhaps one may be singing in the choir in the presence of God. We don't know, but with a high PSR we'll soon have some valuable crown!

At one time I had fear of the extraction point. I feared traveling the journey because something horrible would be there when I'm extracted!  Many people I knew looked forward to extraction, but I still feared. It's not the journey and the fiery darts that I am to escape on the way to extraction, but where would I be after I'm extracted?  In a sense I repeated what everyone before me had lived. I returned to the Garden of Eden, stood there in the tropical paradise, knew that I ate of the wrong fruit and that I had a fatal disease. I was clothed, yet I felt Naked and Afraid!

I was naked because my corruptness was revealed to God who I finally realized saw my nakedness all along!
Romans 2:16 "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."
I've Got a Secret was another television program. However, none of us have secrets. Whatever we do is exposed to the Almighty! He even sees what lies within our hearts!
Matthew 5:28  "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
Our fantasies are revealed to God because he knows that we desire to act on what we think! It may be for the sexual, for power, for prestige, for love or for wealth. He sees the adultery with the god with whom we fornicate! People may have not done the sin, but they want to do what they imagine. For example, "Love of money is the root of all evil"  represents all that we place before God.

When we stand wherever it is we stand, or sit or recline, we are posed naked before God. There is no clothing to cover our love for the flesh; our fig leaves have even withered.  We're totally naked and transparent to God!

One problem we have with our clothing, even if we're righteous, is that there may be a chink in the whole armor of God. We need to be careful for our eyes are the most vulnerable to the fiery darts of Satan. We can be defeated with our eyes for they report pleasure and beauty to the mind. It's with the eyes that vipers on our journey spit, even from a distance, knowing that without clear vision we can be defeated. As we head toward the extraction point, we need to watch out for those spitting vipers because we may be extracted before we have a chance to put that face shield down lying open on the helmet!

Belief is the first step in having a PSR. There comes a time when we realize that life is hard and we tend to give in to the hardness of it. We become aware that there are penalties for lackadaisical survivor techniques and careless living. When we are isolated in contemplation,  it soon occurs to us that we're evil-doers. We feel guilt because the Holy Spirit is trying to aid us in our survival. At that point we're exposed. We stand there naked, and become afraid! "I don't want to be extracted to only go to hell!" we realize. We're like Adam and Eve who stood exposed to God long before us. Because of the knowledge they gained, they knew right from wrong, and felt guilt because of their sin. That guilt was God's grace felt because only the reprobate fail to fear guilt.

When we believe, God's Spirit bestows guilt upon our conscience. That's a tool God gives us to survive the journey and have a positive outcome after extraction.  There are two ways guilt can be used. It can be ignored and discarded and fail to be useful to survive our journey; or the guilt can cause us to seek change in our survival techniques. Guilt reorders the importance of things for us to not only make it to the extraction point, but to be safely delivered after we're extracted!

Let me be clear! Before we can repent, it's necessary to feel sorrow. Guilt leads to sorrow and sorrow to repentance. To be saved it's necessary that we do something for our own well-being. We are to demonstrate our PSR  with survival skills! We must do critical things such as  accepting Jesus. He insures that after we are extracted, we go to a better place. We're saved from dying again ;of living in a worse hell than this journey can ever be!

We have two choices and only one can be chosen: Our vision can be on heaven or we can be delusional and fail to believe that a reward awaits after extraction; or to deny that some die again even after being extracted. The extraction point is death and the second death is the new insertion point. It's foolish to gamble on the outcome of our first extraction only to find ourselves inserted in a worse desert or infested jungle.

I've covered the first Naked and Afraid with Adam and Eve. This concludes a second Naked and Afraid where we face fear all alone, and tomorrow I'll cover the last Naked and Afraid where our partner is gone and we fend for ourselves standing there after extraction, where some will still be Naked and Afraid!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Naked and Afraid

On the History Channel  is a program called Naked and Afraid. One man and one woman return to the elements; without any food, water, fire, nor shelter.  They leave their inhibitions behind and face nature Naked and Afraid.  It's not a program to tantalize, but at times is painful to watch as they face hunger, snakes, wild animals, thirst, disease, calamity and even death. What's more, in order to succeed for 21 days they have the opportunity to work as a team, but often turn on each other as tensions arise. They are truly exposed in all their nakedness for what they are, because, not only is the skin exposed, but also their beliefs, emotions and actions!

As a disclaimer, before the reader rushes to see two people stark naked, what you do see is an ugly sight: bug bites, dirt, bruises and cuts have damaged what people see as beauty. After a few days in the elements, hygiene is gone and two people, at first attractive, soon look Neandrathral. Furthermore, what would interest the voyeur is blurred out.

"What does Naked and Afraid have to do with us?"  you ask.

We are all born naked; even the Puritans were. At one time there was no shame in that:
Genesis 2:25 "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."
Our forebears ran around unclothed in a paradise just as the Crene Acore Indians still do. There was no sin in doing so because they were born in innocence and had yet to sin. Two grown people, man and woman, were as little children. What was seen was mere beauty, not lascivious. Then sin did it's dirty work! They were deceived and disobeyed God. Thereafter, things changed!
 Genesis 3:7 "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons 9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked?"
Adam and Eve's innocence was no longer there! Because they disobeyed God they had knowledge after eating of "the tree".  Before they sinned it never occurred to them that they were naked.  After they disobeyed God, without being told, they were aware of their nakedness more than anything and immediately covered their privates to hide themselves from God! With knowledge comes consequences. Whereas their bodies were once pure, now their own skins would defile them. Not only that, but the flesh is a constant reminder that they, rather than bow only to God, now bowed to another god before Him. They had become subjects to Satan and now, rather than flesh being the artwork of God, it was an instrument to defile!

Before Adam and Eve stood there facing God and listening to him. After they disobeyed him they stood there exposed, yes even Naked and Afraid! The Bible speaks often of what they flesh can do to a person:
Galatians 5:16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like
: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Before the "fall of mankind", called "original sin" Adam and Eve stood there in the Garden in full communion with God. They stood there "Naked, but Unafraid"! They had no reason to be afraid, for they not only never even knew what sin was, but had never sinned! Afterwards, they were naked, but were afraid! They were scared of God because they had disobeyed him!

We often think of "fruits of the Spirit" for those who're Christians, but now man is born with "fruits of knowledge". Because of disobedience we are now all prone to sin for scripture says:
Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God..."
Since we're all sinners, we are worshipers of "the flesh" which are revealed to us by God as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and so forth. Sin is "of the flesh" because Satan wants us to worship our favorite idol; our "Self". That's why they are "sins of the flesh", because as mere flesh, man's lifelong wish is to satisfy their selfish god; to please their own Self! It was Adam and Eve's flesh which exposed their sin! The flesh has become an idol, being material, just as those of gold, stone and wood would someday be a substitute!

Adam and Eve knew God in their innocence and were not ashamed. Later, they feared God because their communion with him had changed. Before they talked and walked with God without fear, but after they ignored and defied him, they stood there alone Naked and Afraid!  However, because they had at one time been pure, and we have never been, they were fearsome of God because they cared that they had betrayed him. Because contemporary people have never been pure, we stand in front of our Creator "naked, but not afraid". We have no shame. We can commit sins of the flesh and never fear unless we are called by God to seek him out!

God called in the Garden to Adam:
Genesis 3:8 "And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. 9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."

Their "flesh" manifested their sin. They realized that they had betrayed God and worshiped another god alongside him. Their god, in shame to the One True God, hid behind fig leaves to face an awesome God whose presence must never be confronted with sin. God had grace from day one. He gave mankind the gift of life which we never deserved, but now God did something for the first time! He showed mercy on two standing there Naked and Afraid!  He judged them, but did so fairly! They deserved death, but God meted out justice. They were both penalized for their misbehavior, but God offered hope to them!

The hope for Adam and Eve was God in the flesh, walking there in the Garden, communing with them, speaking with the two disobedient children and calling them to come to him "Adam... Where art thou?" That's the same Voice that we hear when we're called! Yes, we too ARE called!

Just as Jesus, and it was Jesus before he was incarnated, called out to Adam, he calls each of us!
John 6:44 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."
God's Spirit must call out to anyone who is to have hope in salvation. It's the Voice of God, who is Jesus, who is mentioned in Genesis 3:8!  Adam and Eve suffered mortality, but also died spiritually. There was one way to be redeemed. They must answer the Voice when they are called by God. When God calls, Jesus comes, but it's you who are to go "a knockin'"  to that call:
Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:"
We knock and God answers! What does he answer with? Mercy! Although we're dead in the flesh, standing there Naked and Afraid, God offers hope to allay that fear! Our flesh is symbolic of the hand-made idols, just standing there waiting to be toppled. Our flesh is as much an idol as is Dagon who fell face down in the presence of God!

God said "I will raise him up at the last day"! God's Voice, Jesus, called out to Adam and he answered I heard you God and I am afraid!" That same Voice calls to each of us! "Where are you Larry?" "God, I'm standing here in the flesh Naked and Afraid!"

"Don't be afraid, Adam, nor you Larry!" God says. I know that you are ashamed because you answered me. I heard you knocking at my door seeking me, and you found me. I was right here all the time. You were never alone!" With hope all fear is gone! I wasn't alone, Naked and Afraid, nor were Adam and Eve! The Word was right there in the Garden with Adam all along and Adam heard his voice and answered. The Word, God in the flesh, is with me now and I no longer have to fear for God is with us. He's Emmanuel!

It's strange that our god is our own flesh, but the cure for what ails is is God Incarnate. God's flesh is what redeemed us from our false God, "The Flesh". It took Jesus' body pierced and his blood being spilled to atone for our own self worshiping our our body and lifeblood. The disease that lives within our bodies can only be atoned by the cure which lies within the body of Jesus. It's the blood of Jesus which offers hope! His death for our flesh is why we may have eternal life!

Yes, I still fear death, but I'm no longer alone! There is an "extraction point"! Just as the men and women in Naked and Afraid, know that in 21 days, if they persevere, hope will save them from the deserts and the jungles; from the serpents and behemoths, we too, if we persevere, have that same hope that we'll be there at God's "extraction point" and flown safely home!

Were Adam and Eve redeemed? Scripture never says, but I believe they were. They answered when Jesus called! Jesus' grace and mercy was there for them as it is for us. I believe that because of their shame and remorse that Jesus offered them the same hope that we have. I believe that part of the promise, is that it increases our hope if we know that Adam and Eve, the progenitors of sin, now reside again in Paradise! I can't wait to ask Eve why! They may again be naked, but they are no longer afraid!

Tomorrow I will write more on Naked and Afraid. For a few of us, we're no longer afraid because we have hope, but most will stand there before God, alone and Naked and Afraid!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Society Expects Christians to Change

Mainly, on two issues, society expects Christians to change, not out of principle, but out of convenience: homosexuality and abortion. I hear this time and time again, even from conservative Republicans. However, it's an agenda set by sincere people, but sincerely wrong people!
Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
God has immutability! This verse says that! God is not capable of change because his word is good for all the ages,  nor is he susceptible to those seeking change. We are to be Godlike in our faith. We are not to change truth for love, power, money, popularity, acceptance or convenience. God's truths, unlike Bill Clinton's, are not poll  dependent.

On the subject of abortion, Barbara Walters asked President George H.W. Bush why he was so firm in his stance on abortion. He replied that if 98% of the people were in favor of it, because it's wrong, he would still be against it! What's right is not subject to popular thought nor what's in vogue!

Tackling abortion first, intelligent people should offer no argument. The fetus is one stage of life. It's not vegetable, tissue, nor is it inert. It is life! This is scientific fact and nobody, but ignoramuses would even pretend that it's not! When does life begin? It's at conception! The argument isn't "what is life?", but "when is life important?" To the tender-hearted, empathetic, compassionate, righteous and fair, all life is important!

Why do sane people favor ending life before birth? It's a matter of convenience! It's inconvenient to have to use birth control, it's inconvenient to worry about being pregnant, it's inconvenient when women desire to look good in a bikini, it's inconvenient that the baby is unwanted by it's parents, it's inconvenient that living babies cost money to raise, it's inconvenient that babies take time to nurture, it's inconvenient that babies interfere with careers, it's inconvenient that new homes and cars are delayed because of baby expenses. Unwanted pregnancies are just a matter of being inconvenient!

"But", you say, "what about rape?" Surprise!  Babies produced by rape have been known to be as happy as babies born on purpose! It's inconvenient for the families, but adoption is the answer, not killing an innocent being!

"What about the health of the mother? You ask. It has always been the doctor's prerogative to try to save both the mother and the baby, but discerning doctors have always endeavored to save the most viable!  That's pragmatic, fair and just. That is not anything new!

God said "You are not to kill!" There are no conditions there! It is obvious that it means "You are not to kill anyone!" What about the unborn?
Exodus 21:22 (ESV) “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23  But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life..."
If anyone intentionally takes the life of the unborn, it is expected that the one who takes it pay with their own life!  Anybody who takes the life of the unborn is a murderer. Anyone who allows for abortion is an accomplice! Think on it when you vote: If you vote for a politician who favors abortion you are an accomplice to murder because you conspire with the accomplice to take lives!

"That's a little harsh!" you think. The voters who put Hitler in power are responsible for the death of Jews because Hitler didn't conceal his antipathy of the Hebrew people. Those who turned their heads to the gas chambers were ushered in after the war so they could see with their own eyes what they condoned. It was just a matter of convenience. It wasn't convenient that Jews had faith, power, prestige and success!

You can deny all you want, but denial doesn't change reality! Abortion is murder and those who empower those  that favor abortion are accomplices!

On the subject of same-sex marriage, society says that truly loving people is allowing them to love who they choose. While that is the fair thing to do in the world's eyes, fairness is not synonymous with obedience. It's fair to love all people. It's stupidity to condone what they do! Because we love someone does not mean that we should validate their behavior. As an example, because my son steals doesn't make theft acceptable... even if it is for a good (sic) cause!

Again, God's word is immutable! He destroyed two large cities because their inhabitants were homosexuals. The end-of-times has many signs and one of them is homosexuality: Just as in the days of Noah, at the end it shall be the same! How was it in times of old?
Romans 1:26 "... (ESV) God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done."
Homosexuality, from an unbiased scientific perspective is unnatural. Animals have genitals to propagate the species, not mainly for sexual pleasure. The pleasure from mating is a magnet for species to have the desire to mate. Just as Adam and  Eve were told to multiply, in order to populate the earth, animals were created to multiply as well. I know that here I have mixed science and theology, but God is the origin of what scientists study. They may not admit it, but who else did what they see? "Chance" is a god which doesn't exist!

When Christians are confronted with what the world believes and what God says, we are always to accept what the one we revere says is true! To others truth is relative and God's statements are reconstructed as lies. God is without bias. Mankind is filled with bias because we're deceived. Men have different "tools" so that they can become one! If you're a Christian and believe that same-sex marriage is okay, then you serve a different master, God is clear that  he created men and women to perform with each other, but Satan's desire is that they do things for pleasure in rebellion to God! If you are misled on this issue, even innocently, then forgiveness is the only action which can restore your communion with God!

For those who are practicing homosexuals, they, according to scripture, have a debased mind!  The KJV uses "reprobate" as the most proper word rather than "debased". It is eternal damnation because practitioners of homosexuality are seldom inclined to acknowledge the truth of God and instead continue their debased unnatural behavior!

How can Christians best love people? How can we show love to friends and relatives who are homosexual? It's to save them from hell!  Rather than condoning debased behavior, regardless of what it is, we are to teach and rebuke sinful behaviors. That's not me saying that. It's God's word:
2 Timothy 4:2  "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine."
A couple in our former church invited their daughter and her "friend" to come one Sunday and they did. God knew that they needed to hear something and they did hear! The preacher was led, by divine coincidence (sic) to preach against abortion and fornication. Afterwards the Christian parents came forward and chastised the preacher for being so insensitive as to preach against these two sins because their daughter was shacking up with this man and had undergone an abortion. They were angry! Rather than being glad that the preacher preached truth which may change sinful lives, their desire was that their daughter be placated.  "Your sin is okay. God is loving. To be a Christian there's no need to change!" All these enablers are lies of the devil and the Christian parents had been deceived by Satan.

To demonstrate love for those in error, we tell them of their error, but point out that sin can be forgiven if one feels sorrow, repents, believes in Jesus Christ and changes! Change isn't by oneself, but is the self assisted by God's Holy Spirit. With God all things are possible, but when left alone, we are inclined to fail! Rebuking sin and telling of the grace of Jesus is the ultimate display of love! Condoning sin is damning the loved one! Are you showing Godly love are merely practicing the false love taught by the deceiver?

Same-sex marriage and abortion is where pundits claim that Christians need to change. Hillary Clinton has said out loud and in public that "...deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed." in support of abortion, but applicable to the Democrat agenda. Even though their leader says this, many Christians still cling to the Democrat Party and their candidates. It's as if some Christians are masochistic in their thinking because they vote for candidates who seek to destroy them!

God's word, said for the third time, is immutable. It does not and cannot change with the times! It wasn't that God was ignorant of genetics and behaviors, but because he hates sin, that sinful behaviors are called out! God knows that people aren't "Born This Way" as Lady Gaga sings, but are born with a nature to sin. Homosexuality is a behavior chosen by those who have the free will to rebel against God. Unfortunately, it's a behavior that's one of the most difficult to change, but "with God, all things are possible!"  What Gaga says is foolishness. What society says and accepts is what the Prince of this world tells them to accept.

Being "born this way" flies in the face of reality. We've all seen clips of Girls Gone Wild engaging ins same-sex romance. This is because they are inebriated, high, free from social constraint in the party environment and are pursuing more profound fun. It has nothing to do with being "born this way" other than we're all born with a tendency to sin! Most of these girls, hopefully, will feel shame tomorrow and seek forgiveness for their sin. Others will think "That was exciting!" and seek out more liaisons. They are making choices, not automating from genetics!

Christians will refuse to change if they are indeed not born of the Spirit. Those who take hedonism into the church are propagating behaviors which God hates. He even says so:
Revelation 2:15 "So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate."
What is the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes? It's adultery, promiscuity, homosexuality, fornication, and all the things of pleasure and the pimps who bring such things into the church. It is the things done by Balaam, and taught by Nicolas. It's bringing the things of Rome into the church of Christ!

God hates that doctrine, but that's what Hillary desires and what liberal churches accept and teach! It's those churches of the Laodicean age:
Revelation 3:14  "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."
Who are these churches? I can name denominations, but you know who they are! They are the churches which fail to preach against sin and even allow blatant sinners into fellowship without even having to repent of their sins. It's the ones which accept homosexuality, abortion and all types on Balaam-like behaviors to go on in the church. It's the churches where its members support the likes of Hillary Clinton in political elections. It's churches where Christians, if they are, fail to apply scripture in their daily lives. God help us! God change us!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Should Christians and Muslims Unite?

It's a noble thought when two peoples unite to understand each other better as most people believe. However, rather than looking at things through the world's eye, it must be done through scripture.
"The Christ Episcopal group and a group from the Islamic Center have visited the other's place of worship and talked about their respective religions, which helped 'put a human face on things,' Tivol said.
"The dialogue, the atmosphere was so positive," he said. 'We didn't avoid any subject. The more people can learn about each other, the better our society is going to be.'" (Bowling Green Daily News: Islamic Center Celebrates; Laurel Wilson, May 22, 2015)
Is it desirable that the meeting of the two religions "put a human face on things"?  No, it must be done in the context of right and wrong for both religions. Let's first examine Islam:
 Quran (4:89) - "They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks."
It would appear that Muslims cannot, according to the Prophet Mohammed, befriend those who are not Muslims! Yet they say that they do!

Furthermore, the command for Judeo-Christians is clear here:
Exodus 20: 3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
The word "before" means "alongside" God. The acknowledgement of more than one God is syncretism and is why the Jews were defeated and dispersed in patriarchal times. That will happen again if we allow that to happen! Why? That's clarified in Christian texts:

James 3:11 "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12b ...can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh."
The pretext for coexistence is that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. That they call him "Allah" and Christians call him  "Jehovah". It's true that Allah and Jehovah are the same in their respective transliterations to English, but God is not identified by his name, but his character. Accepting the premise that we all worship the same God is universalism and is heresy!

JHVH (Jehovah) is in our faith, the "One True God". From him springs forth a "fountain" which represents Jesus Christ.
Zechariah 13:1 "In that day there shall be a fountain (Jesus) opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." (parenthesis mine)
Jesus is the way and only way to salvation according to this verse:
 John 14:6  "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
God sent forth the fountain (Jesus). He is the "sweet water" and the "fresh". All others are "bitter" and "salt water"! They can't come from the same fountain. To accept that it can is the cardinal sin of Judaism. It's syncretism, worshiping other gods alongside Jesus!

Christianity does not condone acceptance of other religions. Neither does Islam. Why then are both the Muslims and Episcopalian churches endeavoring to foster understanding between the two. If one believes in the writings of Mohammad or Christian Holy Scripture, they cannot come to terms!  My belief is that it will be the Muslims who behead the Christians in the Apocalypse:
Revelation 20:4b "...and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
Since Islam is the only contemporary religion which beheads for being to them an infidel, it would appear to me that it will be the Muslims who behead millennial Christians!  I would suggest that we should never coddle those who may behead us! I already understand who they are because I have read history and the Quran!

Monday, May 25, 2015

We're All God's Children! Or Are We?

When I mentioned that homosexuals acts should not be condoned a friend said "We're all God's children!" Is that true? God is the Creator and as such this is what he did:
Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
Since we were created by God it would appear that we are sons of God!
 Genesis 61a  "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose."
Theologians have always interpreted this to mean that "fallen angels" which God also created, married the daughters of men. Because God created angels who rebelled against him, that they were in fact his "sons" and God their "Father".  Because they rebelled against the One whose offspring they were, forfeited their relationship.

Likewise, when God created Adam and Eve, that made him their Father. However, just as the angels had done before them, they were estranged from God and God emancipated them. Children who show signs of industriousness and independence can legally be emancipated from their guardian and have all the legal privileges as do adults. However, rebellious children who believe they are capable of doing for themselves can be emancipated by the courts in spite of the objection of the legal guardian. Adam and Eve, just as the fallen angels, were at one time "children of God", but because of their desire to do "what was right in their own eyes"  God, in his justice, emancipated them.

However, with emancipation comes responsibility and consequences. After they "died to God" it was necessary for these prodigal children to provide for themselves. While they could toil and work the soil to live a physical life, they were soon to die because they were emancipated from God's protection! As such they were destined, along with the fallen angels, to eternal damnation. Because of their emancipation they didn't have God to save them and don't have the power to save themselves. That is the consequence of emancipation!

We're all familiar with emancipation of the slaves here in the United States. They lived a sparse existence, worked hard, but were cared for from cradle to grave. It may not have been a fair existence, but some, with hard work had liberty. At the conclusion of the "War Between the States", all slaves were emancipated with the 14th Amendment. They were now on their own and free. However, there are consequences to freedom. Many found themselves without care and like the Israelites in Pharoah's time, some wanted to give up their freedom for care under slavery. They voluntarily returned to their old masters as servants!

When Adam and Eve were emancipated from God they became slaves to Pharoah, symbolic of the devil.  Because we are Adam's seed, we too are emancipated from God, but obedient to the devil.
Romans 5:12  "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"
This passage has several meanings. 1) We are now mortal, 2) we may die a second death (eternal death of our soul) and that we are born "emancipated". We are free to choose our own life. When we are old enough to make conscious  decisions  we can choose who our father is to be: Is it God or is it Satan? By default our father is Satan, but if we answer the knock of Jesus, then we offer our self as a living sacrifice to God. Because we  are willing to sacrifice our all to God, God is willing to become our Father. Then we have certain rights. We restore out relationship that Adam once had!

The parable of "The Prodigal Son" is this "restoration":
Luke 15:31 "And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found."
In this parable the younger son wasted all that his father had given him in a far away place. The father had thus emancipated his son and the son, with his new found freedom, squandered his inheritance. A famine came and he was in dire need!  He was no longer his father's son. He was his own and had the freedom to do as he wished. That he did with "riotous" living. With that type of rebellion he became a foster son to another!
John 8:44a "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do."
That "riotous" living" was pleasing to the devil. He was delighted that his son did his will and not his father's nor his Father's! When one is emancipated from God and has the freedom to do "what is right in his own eyes", then he is eligible for foster care. Satan, or the devil, stands patiently by waiting to adopt whoever is emancipated from God!  By not doing the will of the Father, then we are no longer his son!

In the parable of the prodigal son, the youngest son was emancipated from the father, but when he returned he "was alive again" and "was lost, and is found". As such the son was restored to his intended position. He became a child of his father. This was symbolic of the "lost son" who is emancipated and the devil took  him in;  but because of sorrow, repentance and acceptance, God restores him as his child! This is called "adoption"!
Romans 8:15 "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
"Abba" is a loving term for Father. It's like "Daddy" or "Papa" is today. It's bestowed upon those who are dear!  We cry out to the one we love and he's there for us!

When emancipated, we think we're free, but only our masters change. When one guardian grants freedom, the other enslaves. Therefore, emancipation is slavery!  We trade a good master for a cruel master. Prodigal sons who taste freedom and squander what God has given, are blessed when God takes them back! For us all Adam emancipated us, but with one thing, God adopts us:
Galatians 3:26 "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
It is by faith that we become children of God. We drop our devotion to our foster parent, the devil and believe in and trust Jesus Christ!
Romans 5: 17 "For if by one man's offence (Adam's) death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."
This passage amplifies what God offered all along. God emancipated Adam, not because he was dutiful, but because he failed to honor his Father. As such, death reigned by Adam and although Adam tasted freedom, he enslaved himself and mankind to the devil. We are born children in bondage. Out father is the devil and we're not "all God's children"! In fact since we're all born of Adam's blood the devil is the father of us all. When we were born, although we're God's offspring, the devil took us under his care. We are his until we are "born-again"! This "new birth" is when the adoption process is complete and we become new persons with a new parent, Jesus Christ!
 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."
Being "born-again" is when we reject our foster father the devil and accept our true Father through Jesus Christ. This is the "adoption" process and it's a matter of faith. Trusting Jesus is ongoing. It's not something that we do for a spell, but it's a lifetime commitment to be a good son to God. As adopted sons, we go back to how it was before our emancipation. We wanted our freedom so that we could sin. Adam did that for us! When we're born-again we realize that we only believed our self to be free, but with freedom comes a price; it's personal responsibility without the safety offered by our guardian, God! Because we lack the protection of God, we are slaves because with freedom we get tricked by the deceiver. He tells us "Go ahead. Taste that freedom! Live for pleasure! Live for gain! To hell with everybody else!" Because we believe the lie, free men become slaves!

However, with faith comes advantages! We are under the protection of a divine guardian. We can call on him to guide us as in this prayer:
Luke 11:2 "And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth."
This prayer is for those "born-again". It's for the sons and daughters adopted by God because none of us are born into God's son-ship... "no not one" for "all have sinned"!  We are born children of the devil and are given the choice: "Do I want that new Dad or not?" God stands there patiently waiting and calling. "Come home!" "Come home prodigal son!" When we do come home he gives us the fanciest of robes and a life of luxury. Actually, prodigal sons become royalty... of the "royal priesthood"!

If a person is not one of "God's Children" therein lies trouble!
John 9:31 "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth."
People who pray even all day; unless preceded by sorrow, repentance, belief and trust, are not even heard when they pray! Why because they are of their father the devil. If that same person has been born-again and adopted, God hears the prayers! The only prayer God listens to before adoption is one of repentance!
Mark 2:17  "When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Who are the sinners? Everybody! Who does Jesus call? Everybody! What is everybody to do? Repent!  Saying and meaning "I'm sorry, Father, for my riotousness!' is how the adoption process begins. It can be a short process or quick. It depends on whether the sinner listens to the lies of his foster father or not. When God calls his son back home, Satan fights to keep him astray!

Some submit to servant-hood in Christ very quickly while others relish in the memory of the delights of Egypt. If we listen to God, obey and not look back, salvation is readily given. With salvation comes liberty from bondage and the bound son becomes free, but his choice as that of prodigal son is to become a servant to his Father!

Are homosexuals included in "We're all God's Children"? No one is if they are still living for their father the devil. They are still fostered out and adoption can't happen without repentance. Those "born-again" commence new lives because they become changed people. The prodigal son didn't come back to his father with baggage from riotous living. He came back humble, empty handed  and sorrowful.

Anyone can become "God's child", but with adoption comes changed lives. If the life has not changed, then someone forged the adoption papers! It could be that your pastor disobeyed the Magistrate and inked in his own name. We are not "All God's Children" and if you want to be, there is a way, but it's not your way; it's God's Way... Jesus Christ!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Short and Sweet for the Children

It's not complicated. We are to be as little children. That doesn't mean that we are selfish little brats, but that we believe God just because he says so!

What does he say to do? Believe in him and trust him. That's faith and it's his gift to his children. We can take the gift or leave it. Like spoiled children, most say "That's not the gift I wanted!", but hopeful children say "There is more to that gift than meets the eye! I hope for more!".  They are right because selfish children demand it now, while hopeful children wait for the good part, believing that it is soon to come!

My prayer is that I can put away my misconceptions that adults carry with us, long enough to trust that what God gives is soon to come about. It will be a happy day indeed when what I wanted all along is given to me at last. What is the gift that even children desire, but yet are unaware? We want to be supermen and invulnerable. We desire that kryptonite be forever sunk in a deep lake of fire and Lex Luthar be cast down with it.

We want that we should pass through solid walls and travel quickly in time. We want to live where evil is trumped by good. It's where our home will be protected by super heroes and the mightiest one sits upon his throne. It's where we're a man of steel and sickness cannot harm us. It's where we are happy that justice is now for all. It's knowing that today never ends, and tomorrow never comes. It's where life will be forever, because in grace justice has won!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How Far We've Traveled!

Astronaut John Glenn said in a newspaper interview this week that there is no conflict between Christianity and evolution. How far we've traveled eh, Mr. Glenn. He's been in orbit and back, and that's a long way, but not nearly as far as the gulf between Christianity and evolution! An even further travel is where Christianity is today and where it was:

1Corinthinans 1:10 "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."

In the time of Paul there were three competing heresies with Christianity for the most part: Gnosticism, Simonism and the Nicolatains.  Let's take a look at these three in a few short words.

Gnosticism was the major threat. Those who believed that "secret knowledge" was required to be saved, proposed a different God and a different Jesus. The Creator God was materialistic and evil, which stemmed from the philosophy of  Plato. When Paul spoke in the Aeropagus this exchange took place:
Acts 17:18 "Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. 19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? 20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean."

It is said outright, and it appears that not only philosophy was peeking it's head through, but that some degree of gnosticism was already spreading. Jesus was the talk of the day and the key word here is "resurrection" in contrast to "an unknown God" which Paul accused them of worshiping!

Why is "resurrection" so important in contrast to gnosticism? It's because they believed that material was bad, the Creator God was bad because of the material world he created and that a being made of matter could not have died for the sins of mankind because, as a material human being, Jesus would have to be "bad". They believed that instead of a physical Jesus dying on the cross, it was a mere phantasm or illusion. Paul's teachings were to them "strange things".

Gnosticism was and still is, with their illusory Christ, undermining the truth of Jesus and who he was! Since the belief was centered around Jesus, it was palatable to even many Christians. This competitive religion was temporarily minimized through strong church teachings early on, but with the discovery of the Gnostic Gospels, it's again alive, well and thriving. The popular movie The Di Vinci Code recently revived gnostic thinking.

The second most prevalent teaching contemporary with Paul was Simonism. He was the magician who believed, but misunderstood:
Acts 8:9  "But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God."
Before he believed Simon was already regarded as a great one and a disciple of God because of his sorcery which was used to bewitch the people. Jesus had followers because of his miracles. Simon was just like Pharoah's magicians. He did things which misled the people and he was in essence, a false Christ!

Simon believed and was baptized. Like most people today who claim Christianity, Simon did one of two things: 1) He either had an insincere belief and baptism, or else he went quickly into apostasy! If the former, then Simonism is "an insincere born-again experience" because even the demons believe. If the latter, it exemplifies that the devil still can attack and draw Christians away from the faith.

Later on early church writings tell of Simon traveling just as did Paul, but disputing the word of God, whereas Paul was teaching it. I truly believe that Paul's "thorn in the side" was Simon!

2 Corinthians 12:7-10: "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

(For more on this see my blog Paul's Thorn in the Flesh )

Regardless, Simonism was in direct conflict with Christianity and many people followed and believed in Simon, even as a disciple of Jesus Christ!

The last conflicting belief, of which I will comment, is the Nicolaitanes:.
Revelation 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
These were folks who believed the lies of the disciple Nicolas.  He brought the sins of Balaam into the early church. Simply put; fornication, adultery, deviate sex, orgies and their pimps were overlooked and allowed to be practiced freely among early Christians, victims of Roman morals. The Roman proverb,  "When in Rome do as the Romans do!" would be their mantra. As gnosticism has regained a foothold in the modern church the practice of the Nocolaitanes is again prominent in the modern church. God hates that doctrine!

Paul wanted them to all come back to the doctrine of Christ! "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" to be joined together without division. We are to put away conflicting and sinful doctrines!

Within the modern church the main heresy is "science". It started with The Enlightenment, and honestly speaking, the church had been too harsh on truth. However, that was the period when science began to take precedence over church doctrine! When that era came, many fallacies were corrected. The earth is round, the earth does revolve around the son, and many more truths became manifest when the curtain was lowered in the church.

However, over time, science has been taken to the extreme. The ruminations of dreaming scientists have been written into texts as truths and what is God's Law has been removed for no other than it contradicts popular thought. Scientists who disagree with popular scientific theory are censored and even ostracized. Science leaves little room for disagreement, and it's sad to say that scientists are more cohesive than are Christians, in their opposing belief system! Satan smiles as he organizes his grand army of his republic!  Science today is the same as the Inquisition was for the church in the dark ages!

This brings me back to John Glenn. This man is a Presbyterian and should know better. Beginning with the Reformation until recently that denomination was a bastion of Christian truth (albeit they're Calvinistic), but now today we see them quickly "biting the dust" of truth and spinning new doctrines. Evolution has two theories: within species and between species.

We accept the truth that plants and animals do change over time. We know that animals which live in dark places gradually acclimate to the use of different senses. Their color may even change due to lack of sunlight. However, with all these changes a transformed fish is still a fish!

On the other hand, evolutionists propose that one species changes into another. This is the faith that all life evolved from primordial soup, becoming amoeba, then multi-celled, on to birds, monkeys and us! I know it's hard to accept, based on what some people resemble, but mankind did not evolve from monkeys! It takes a leap of faith to believe that even though some monkeys appear to be smarter than the scientists who claim them as ancestors, monkeys are not our antecedents! However, the evidence is not that. It's anecdotal. Science cannot "prove" anything about our origins. They can only maintain it. It's a faith and a very powerful belief system at that. Even John Glenn believes himself to have monkey DNA!!!!

"We've come a long way, baby!" is more than a slogan. We've came along way since Paul preached against these divisions. God clearly states:
Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
Why is this so hard to understand? Why do even Christians deny this claim. God said that he created it all, but clever Christians, such as John Glenn, have the audacity to call God a liar!  "How Far We've Traveled". If this was contended just a few years ago, Mr. Glenn would have been dismissed from fellowship. Nowadays even the preachers in these once faithful congregations teach humanistic "crap" (No offense to you intended, John Crapper)!
Matthew 12:30a  "He that is not with me is against me..."
John Glenn seems to be "against" God since he insinuates that God is a liar. Those against God are antichrists. There are many. My esteem for John Glenn lessened considerably when it became known that he is a Democrat, a party who stands for this "crap" (again, Mr. Crapper. I apologize).  Now he declares that his faith is in science; that although God says he is the Creator, Mr. Glenn credits "Chance", his new God with whom Christians cannot join together because "Chance" is not only irrational, but an "Unknown God". Yes, Mr. Glenn, "How Far We've Traveled"!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

With Eyes Wide Open

Picture this: I was in my mid-thirties driving from Indianapolis to Detroit on Monday as I did about every week. I seldom listen to radio, preferring the music of my own thoughts. Cognition plays a sweet melody if accompanied by discernment. I was playing the song "Why?" in my mind as it all became clear! "Why" wasn't really a song, but an "Ah Ha!" moment.  The "Mystery of Christ" was revealed to me!
Romans 16:24 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:"
My "Ah Ha!" was the revelation of this mystery. The scriptures of the prophets (aka, The Old Testament prophecy) is all about Jesus!  The "Mystery of Christ" revealed to me is that it was all about Jesus since the world began, but not only that; but it was to be "made known to all nations", not just the Jews!
Ephesians 3:9 "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:"
In patriarchal times some knew Jesus. Most didn't. Jesus was hidden under the cloak of God, but he was there at day one. John Chapter 1 tells us that Jesus was there in the beginning. Mankind failed to know Jesus. However, some believed as did Abraham. He knew the mystery because The Word told him in person all about it.
Romans 4:16  "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all..."
This verse says much! "The faith of Abraham" is the standard of faith for every Christian. He was the man whose faith was so strong that he obeyed God without question, not because it was commanded, but because he knew that Jesus was Savior... BEFORE Jesus was ever born. He knew that because when "God" spoke with him, it was Emmanuel speaking! My "Ah Ha!" moment was when I understood that Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his own and only (sic) son on a pile of wood was a picture of God sacrificing his first born and only son on the cross of wood. Abraham knew that Jesus was the way to salvation and he accepted the propitiation that Jesus was to make for him before it was ever made, and long before Jesus was ever born.

The "faith of Abraham" is "faith in Jesus Christ"!  While I was joyous that "with eyes wide open" the mystery was revealed to me, I was angry that it was never preached to me! I had never had the "Mystery of Christ" taught to me before and I was upset that those called by God to preach had never had the mystery revealed to them!

Furthermore, there is so much more to the mystery!  Salvation was not only for the Jews, but for "all the seed" (of Abraham). That's all of us! Likewise, salvation was never by The Law, but was always by faith! That faith was believing in and trusting in Jesus Christ. Abraham was saved by faith in Jesus, just as we are, but it was faith in that which someday would be rather than what has been done! Believing in a promise required more faith than believing in an event. That's Abraham's faith and he, from a justice standpoint, deserves eternal life for his faith more than anyone!

Part of the "Mystery of Christ" is that salvation was never by works! It has always been by grace. The dispensation was always one of grace. The Law was so that the faithful would have a way of measuring their love of Jesus! We know that Jesus didn't come to replace The Law, but to fulfill it! He was the Way to salvation and his fulfilling The Law was grace to supplement obedience in love.

With that said, and a close examination of John Chapter 1, we find that faith in Jesus and his sacrifice to save all of us was God's plan on day one! It was Emmanuel who was "The Voice" who walked in the garden in the cool of the evening. It was Emmanuel who was in the burning bush, it was Emmanuel who was "The Angel of God" wrestling with Jacob in the wilderness, and it was Jesus who was in the fire with Shadrack and his brothers, saving them from death by heat seven times hotter than fire! The "Mystery of Christ" is that salvation was always through faith in Jesus and that his grace is sufficient to cover all the sins of all the nations! "Emmanuel" was called "Jesus"!

Christianity is not a sect of Judaism. Christianity preceded Judaism and Judaism is a sect of Christianity. It's a religion that over time failed to see that the Messiah was the Way and Only Way to salvation! While I now see "With Eyes Wide Open" Jews everywhere have closed their eyes to truth. I now know that from the first day Jesus life and death were the way to salvation, Jews "With Eyes Wide Shut" are still waiting on him! After the rapture 144,000 Jews will have their eyes opened and have to face tribulation. Now is the time to face Jesus "With Eyes Wide Open"!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


 I majored in "Family Counseling" because I believed that I could help people with emotional problems with some mysterious knowledge that only a trained psychologist would have. That's right: I believed that counselors had secret knowledge which would solve my problems and in turn I could help other people lived functional lives!

However... and there are always many "howevers", there is no secret knowledge nor magical exercise which anyone has which can fix life for any person! I use the term "fix" because those who seek counsel have a broken something, be it spirit, pride, finance, relationship, family, sexual activity, or many other possibilities. Most often, broken emotions which need fixing are systemic. If one area of life is broken, most often most facets need fixed! For me the system which needed fixing was the family. My family was dysfunctional primarily to one member being drug dependent. Because one member was broken the entire system required fixing.

When a person counsels there are four possibilities: 1) self, 2) others, 3) evil spirits or 4) God. Respectively, these four are:
SELF: Psalm 5:10  "Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels..."
 OTHERS: Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly
EVIL SPIRITS:  Chronicles 10:13  "So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; 14 And enquired not of the Lord: therefore he slew him...."
 GOD: Psalm 33:11a "The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever..."
When people do self counsel they do what they want to do!
Proverbs 21:2  "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes..."
This is the easy way! If it feels good, do it! Where could a person possibly go wrong? The answer to that is "consequences".  There are always multiple paths in life and most people take the wide path. It's the one with the least restriction, at least perceived as such! When people want something the propensity is to steal. It takes resistance to not steal. Taking that of which the person has not labored is the easy path.

If one wants sex, the easy path is to look for those as willing to give as you are to receive. That path is wide and has always been. People of both sexes have a propensity to pleasure with another. Ask enough random people and soon a willing partner will be found. The hard path is to develop a righteous relationship and then engage in Holy Matrimony. Nowadays, that's the path least taken because it's too hard. The easy way is to tell oneself "It's alright! Go ahead and consummate without the commitment!" Furthermore, any unrighteous act is the easy path which most people take, but there are consequences!

Any sin compounds the ease in which the next sin is precipitated!
1 Corinthians 5:6b "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?"
Leaven represents sin. When a person sins "just a little" the whole is leavened. The person then lives in iniquity. When one yields to temptation there is a problem with the lump being leavened throughout:
 James 1:14 "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
Therefore, sin is the result of counseling oneself! Sin is the easy route and the path of least resistance. In mathematical terms: Sin = Interest x Resistance.  Therefore, for Sin to remain constant, when interest increases, then resistance decreases! Another way of saying that is with Sin as Interest (temptation) increases our Resistance to Sin decreases! It's the V=IR (voltage = current x resistance) equation for our potential to sin! Self-counseling is unwise! That's why we are to develop relationships with mature Christian mentors!

Sometimes we counsel with others! There are two types of counseling when a second party is involved. It's righteous counseling and secular counseling. For the most part when others counsel it's from a secular standpoint. I have even heard Christians when married couples are in conflict, who recommend divorce. Although the Christian is the counselor, the counsel may not always be wise nor righteous!

Many turn to Ann Landers, Dr. Phil or even Laura Schlesinger. Wise counsel is not the hallmark of any of the three or any of the others. Dr. Dobson offers the best media counseling and even he has some secular propensities, for instance, self-esteem!

Ann Landers is "the ungodly" as Psalms warns against! Most often Ann Landers will advise against scripture. The path she counsels is the path most taken. It's the unrighteous path. In her view same-sex marriage is normal, shacking up is acceptable, fornication is practice for marriage, abortion is a mere solution to an unwanted person and on and on! People who seek the advice of Ann Landers may not be sick before, but certainly may be after doing what she says. This type of counseling is more entertainment than a science!

Evil spirits come from some counselors. They are called in Psalms "familiar spirits" because although angels of the dark, they disguise themselves as loved people who are trusted. Many people go to mediums and psychics for advice. Others perform or delay daily activities based on their horoscopes. Others use Ouija boards to speak with those relatives now gone.  Scripture warns against any counseling with familiar spirits:
Leviticus 19:31 "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God."
Taking advice from the netherworld is not only stupid and irreverent to God, but it's dangerous. Who comes to you with a gentle voice and pleasant smile is likely an evil impostor of your deceased loved one! He or she will give you what sounds like wisdom from ascended masters, but it's a message from the devil which will eventually damn you.

The only other option for counseling is God. What he wills for you is to be found in scripture. No other process, method or model is needed. God is sufficient. This type of advice is called "Nouthetic Counseling" and means that one teaches from Holy Scripture what to do in life. It's not scripture and psychology (called Christian Counseling), but counseling solely from God's word. There are those even in the Christian community who disregard biblical counseling as incomplete because they see the need for secular aspects. I believe a mix between psychology and nouthetic counseling as being syncretism because there is another god before God involved in that a mix of counseling which places the secular over the Christian, or at least a side-by-side in an heretical mix!

I'm not saying that all psychology is heresy, because much of it is commonsense. However, I believe you'll find that the commonsense aspects are biblical as well and such practice should come from scripture, not from Freud, Jung, Skinner, or the hundreds of other non-Christian psychologists with their own ideas to what makes God's creation tick! If we want to know what makes the creation tick, we should ask the Creator what causes the ticking... and the mis-ticking!

When we're born there is an instruction book. It not only tells how and why humans were made, but what our purpose in life is to be. It tells how we can go wrong and how to fix it. It's author is the Inventor and Builder. The Doctor is his Son who has the same vein of knowledge that the Father has. The Good Doctor confers with the Builder for us and he fixes what goes wrong with what he built. This instruction book has information not only on how to fix us, but how to avoid going bad or breaking. The reader of this book, if he believes, will live a long and happy life! To avoid premature failure and extinction the wise reader of this book will take care to honor the Builder and his Son.

The reader of this manual will cleanse himself with the miraculous fluid offered by the Son. Although the cleaner is red, it cleans white as snow and once cleaned, a new lease on life is the result. Those who read and trust the instruction manual can provide many years of service. That's the readers major responsibility. He loves his work, his cohorts and his Builder. He cares for all three as he would himself and by doing so, he gets the benefit back.

Those who fail to use this manual, are doomed. It may be that they rust-out because they don't follow the wise instructions it takes to insure a long life-cycle and an eternal endurance. Those who counsel on their own, by others who mislead, or malevolent forces do so at their own peril. Be warned! Take precaution! Follow the manual!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Revisiting the Past

The Washington Post reported today in an article by Sarah Kaplan that scientists manipulated proteins in chickens to create it's alleged forerunner, a chickensaurus, which they believe to be a dinosaur from which chickens evolved. This dinosaur, rather than having a beak, had a snout of bone and pretty much looked, from the artist's concept, as a deformed chicken. It looked that way because that's what it was! Jack Horner, a paleontologist, said "Technically, you are going to have s messed-up chicken. It's not a dinosaur. It's never going to be a dinosaur. It's just going to be a really awful monstrosity."

The dream of scientists everywhere has always been to create what "was" to validate their claim for how it all started. So far, and forever it will be, there will be no return to dinosaurs because, except for their descendants. they are gone! This experiment was not the first!

Auroch cows existed in earlier times and were nearly as big as elephants. They stood over 6.5 feet at the shoulder and weighed about 2200 pounds. They were ferocious beasts and Augustus Caesar admired them for their brute strength. The Nazis wanted these beasts for hunting and Herman Goering set out to recreate these ancient animals. As a result really big cows still exist in eastern Germany forests, but they are not  Auroch cows. They are deformed domestic cows. Reverting back to the past has proved to be impossible!

Jurassic Park was a movie where dinosaurs were recreated using DNA from ancient, according to them, bones. That scenario makes for a good movie, but scientists have finally admitted: DNA has a half-life of only 521 years meaning that ancient bone fragments would contain only dead DNA.

The Nazi experimentation with Auroch cows only scratched the surface of their experimentation. It was their desire to design a superior human race on the model of the Aryan people, an ancient "noble" race which is the meaning of the Sanskrit word for "Aryan".  It was the desire of devoted Nazis to recreate a superior race from modern peoples by reverting back to what they believed they once were. To improve the future, they were revisiting the past!

Aryans were legend. It may be that there were peoples from the Indus River Valley who were great warriors, but there is no evidence of a super race of people. Not only did Nazi's want to revert back to what was past, but even to what likely never existed!

I'm not a proponent of syncretism, the marriage of different religions. In this case it's where Christians accept archaeology as compatible with scripture, and when there are discrepancies "science" wins out. I don't believe that fossils are billions of years old. I contend that if God is powerful enough to create a universe, he's powerful enough to create a mature earth!

God didn't create a fertilized egg and watch it grow into Adam. He created a mature Adam. God is not limited to what we understand and scientific principles are his rules to break. Furthermore God isn't constrained by time! His creation can be done in an instant, but appear to be over eons of time. That's why he's God and science can neither prove nor disprove him! Therefore, it takes as much faith to NOT believe in God as it does to believe in him!

The entire study of genetics and archaeology is to create a new truth; one that denies the power of God and hands it to a pretender called "Chance". God is personal. Chance is mathematics. For me and my household, we'll place our hope in a personal God. Chance offers no hope!

By revisiting the past and denying it's truth, science endeavors to change the future!  Let me give an example.  Simcha Jacobovici , a Canadian film-maker found the Talpiot Tomb and claimed it was the tomb of Jesus and that Jesus' ossuary with his remains were still entombed there alongside his family. Scripture teaches that the tomb of Jesus was found empty and that Jesus ascended into heaven after he was resurrected. If Jesus still lies in the Talpiot Tomb, then scripture is all a lie. Simcha, being Jewish, has a bias. He BELIEVES that Christ is in the tomb because his version of Christ has yet to be born in his belief system!  By revisiting the past Simcha is endeavoring to undermine Jesus!

If Jesus, whose name was as common as "Joe" is today, indeed lies in that tomb, then the hope of all Christians is gone. Christianity, rather than offering the greatest reward, would be no more than long dead mythologies. That's what non-Christians want so that they won't be wrong! That's pride at work. Disproving the existence of a divine Jesus is the Holy Grail of heresy! The evidence is to be found by revisiting the past.

What science tries to do by DNA, archaeology and atomic experiment; is what the Babylonians did by looking toward the skies! They were scattered and their language confused by desiring to know what God knows. They looked to the sky in attempt to be as gods.

By looking at the sky they were revisiting the past. Since light takes time to travel, the "proof" that God is fiction must lie in the past and that knowledge is to be revealed by looking at light from long ago! By looking into the skies the future is not revealed, but the past is revisited. They hope to find that life did exist out there in the cosmos some time ago and that if they can convince people that it did, then God is disproved. If God was to be "disproved" and scientific experiment can't do that by definition, then prideful mankind would be the master of his own destiny! That's exactly what man has desired all along because with mastering his own destiny comes freedom to pleasure without the constraint of fear of punishment!

It's freedom man seeks by revisiting the past. However, it's the same "freedom" that the Hebrew people enjoyed under Pharaoh. They could have all the pleasures offered by the Egyptians to a race that were slaves.  The Jews were acclimated to servitude because they were taken care of by their masters. They didn't really want independence because along with independence comes possible failure and anxiety. People still give up their freedom so that they don't have to face the future with it's unknowns. It's just so much easier for everyone to cope when they just revisit the past in an attempt to dispel the future!


Yesterday I wrote on "commitment". There was a lackluster response to be truthful! Why? Because few of us have commitment. Today I write on "committed". Not in the context of which you're thinking, but an act of mercy for our insanity!

Albert Einstein once said, or he could have said it many times, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Thank you, Al! I could not have said it better, but someone else did which we'll see shortly! Most of us should be committed for our insanity.

Terri and I pass by Hopkinsville Hospital (a sanitorium) on occasion. As we do I never neglect to point out her future home! (Smile). That's not politically correct because dementia, retardation and the like is certainly not funny, but as humans we deal with what's possible by being outrageous. Tomorrow that could be my domain, but by the grace of God, I pray that it won't be! I want to punch my ticket to heaven in my right mind because when I get there, regardless of my insanity here, I will be sane, even wise, there.

While progressives won't like my commentary on insanity because it isn't empathetic by any means, insanity is a common malfunction of mankind.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit."
Perhaps Einstein wasn't the first to define insanity!  "Vexation" is extreme annoyance or worry. The results of continual vexation can be that a person becomes "sick" to the extent of having mental abnormality. Worry can drive a person crazy. Insanity is an existence in a world of fiction reinforced by false perceptions of what's real. Those who ruminate on the vanities of life cultivate the rows leading toward the harvest of insane thoughts. "There is no thing new under the sun!" said the wise man, yet we do old things over and over again with the same results: failure. We fail once, then time and time again. That's insane!

However, you and I claim success, but one of us is wrong. Which of us is the insane one? We each say "It's not me... it must be you!" because insane people fail to recognize their own insanity! Let me pose  a question as an "insanity check". "Did you do something in the past which failed you miserably, yet you did it again... and again?" If you answer that question in the affirmative perhaps you're either a masochist or you're insane, being little difference between the two in the end. I have lived in that crazy world. I know of what I speak!

Let's look at this scenario: You believe in Jesus and that you can't "save" yourself. You even believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Furthermore, you know that in order to be saved, you must commit your life to Jesus. However, "commit" is a strong word, which the reader, if he had read yesterday's blog, would be aware.  The devil attacks most heartily the ones who are the most committed, so the Christians who have little commitment are "easy pickin's"  Those with little commitment are crazy and just as the insane person is "committed" to a mental institution, the spiritually insane commits themselves to eternal death if we're not careful!

People get "safed" once! When we become "born-again" our life starts anew. However, as we commit ourselves to Jesus, Satan tests that commitment. (I often refer to the story of Job as how that test works). God makes us "safe" from death, but he still allows the devil to lurk around us, wreaking havoc and tempting. Satan doesn't do that for the fun of it. He has a purpose. Satan's M.O. is promoting our apostasy.

God has much grace! Although a new person all still sin. Because he experienced humanity himself, God empathizes. He knows how hard it is and provides a process for us to be renewed. Christians repent! Not just at the altar on occasion, but continual repentance because sinning is continuous. It's when we're above God, our hearts have hardened to the checking of the Holy Spirit, that we may become reprobate, if we're not careful! That's a dangerous position because we can only be born-again one time... not again and again!
Hebrews 6:4 "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
Being "born-again" AGAIN isn't possible for to allow that would crucify Jesus and shame him. When we're born-again it's a one time event and if we become reprobate, we are in apostasy! Christians who know and have experienced the rebirth experience, yet turn their backs entirely away form God, are insane. When Christians sin time and time again we open our lives to insanity. Rather than being committed to Jesus we commit our minds to a life of insanity. Think about it! It takes an insane person to risk their eternal destiny for a little earthly pleasure, yet we all do that. We all have degrees of spiritual insanity and need to be committed to a protection program (symbolic: Hopkinsville)!

Others can't commit us to "cure" our insanity. We must be sane enough to commit ourselves. There is an institution where we are kept from harm, where Satan is held at bay and where peace resides for our safety. That place is in the kingdom of God! That's where we do God's will:
Matthew 6:10 "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
Our Hopkinsville, where those spiritually insane, is God's Kingdom! There is where we do things right here and now as they are done in heaven! Think on those things and be delivered from insanity. Sinning over and over again, or as Einstein implies, is failing time and time again. We're insane for doing that! We don't HAVE to sin. Sin is a CHOICE! When we sin we do irrational acts which with repetition can lead to that spiritual insanity! We will always do irrational things as all men do, but God's will is that we don't be irrational to the degree of what's insane; being reprobate!

Saturday, May 16, 2015


I missed work one day which was terribly uncommon, not having missed even one day in a ten-years period. My boss asked "Were you sick yesterday, Larry?" I answered back "No, I felt really good! I come to work when I'm sick!" (sarcistically). Many, many days I came to work when I was sick. When people take off there is a hole. Allowing for "holes" in the workforce is extremely costly and my part in making GM a success was being there every day whether I felt well or not. In fact, feeling sick was often diminished by having to think and being active. If I had stayed home I would have been miserable in my isolation, but at work I had little time to think about how sick I felt!

I have been blessed! I'm not referring to severe maladies which I never had. I'm referring to common illnesses. True, I could have passed along whatever I had, but I took care to make no contact with others and to sneeze into my handkerchief, etc. Toothaches, back aches, and headaches were just endured, not being a danger to others. I did this because I was "committed". I was dedicated, not to GM, but my work ethic. "Dedication" is when a person does all their capable of for any length of time to make things happen or keep them happening.

In my personal life, I was always committed. I am nobility, so to speak, because people say "You can Count-on Herrin!" Yes, I'm Count Herrin and I am noble to "causes"; especially to God and friends; all of which we are to love!

As with work, when people ask me to do things with them "You can Count-on Herrin!" because I will do what I said I would do just as the saying goes "Come hell or high water!" When I commit to doing something I'm there to do it! There are loop-holes and some people by nature seek them out!

W. C. Fields, on his deathbed was seen reading his Bible. When asked "I thought you were an atheist and don't believe in hell?" he replied "Yes I am, but I'm looking for loop-holes!" Looking for loop-holes is a method of all mankind to remain non-committal. With my oldest son, he was a born lawyer. Any instruction which he was given, he could circumvent it by "legal technicalities". He was a master at finding loop-holes! With him we had to be precise and specific when we gave instruction because we knew that if there was a loop-hole, he would find it! We became a family of lawyers, we parents trying to be definitive and he, trying to outwit us.

Some of my workers did this. When I asked two of my porters at work why they didn't wash the windows as instructed, one responded "We did!" I replied, it's obvious that you didn't for they're dirty and smeared." His response was "Well, you didn't say how well to wash them!" This conversation is real! I'm not making it up.

We had a boat for awhile. Many of our friends learned to water ski and tube towed behind my boat. We always planned ahead and asked people in advance "Do you want to boat with us Saturday?" Without exception they said "We'd love to!" Terri and I would volunteer always to supply the boat, pay for the gasolene and prepare drinks and a picnic basket. Inevitably those people who "would love to" call an hour in advance and canceled out. We were left holding the basket. Most often we would do it alone because our friends were non-committal. Yes, they "committed" but failed to understand that part of "commitment" is following through!

On A Seinfeld  episode Jerry made a reservation for a rental car. No car was available. Jerry said "But I made a reservation!" The clerk said "I know what a reservation is, but we don't have a car." Jerry responded "You know what a reservation is, but you just don't know how to keep a reservation!" or a conversation to that effect. Reservations are just as commitments: part of commitments are following through with the commitment!

Christians are as bad at commitment as the next person. Many Christians use "little white lies" in contrast to "big black lies" when failing to honor commitments. It seems that mankind "thinks" they have found a loop-hole: "It's okay to lie as an excuse as long as nobody gets hurt." Let's look for the exceptions to The Ten Commandments; there's got to be a loop-hole there because Christians use it all the time! Here's is what God commands:
Exodius 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."

Let's look for loop-holes here! Throughout the ages people say about this "Thou shalt not lie". It's finite and direct. The loop holes are "It's not ENTIRELY false." and "He's NOT my neighbor". Loop-holes are unlimited here. God thought this command was pretty clear, but man endeavors to diminish God via technicalities.

Part of finding loop-holes are multiple excuses. My policy is when I decline to do something I merely say "No, I won't be doing that!" There are no excuses. None are needed because from my past reputation people know that I have a "real" excuse. It may be that I just don't want to, but that is a reason, not an excuse! Sometimes I do say "I don't think so for I don't like to do that!". That's honest and a reason, but it's also a VALID reason.

I've had people list multiple excuses: "I'm going to be too tired that day.", "I think I have something else I need to be doing that day.", "My back is somewhat sore.", I need to fix that light in the closet." et al.  Many times people aren't convinced that one excuse is good enough so they name many excuses. However, none of the excuses are reasons, but I guess that they believe that multiple excuses equals one good reason!

What's worse "loop-hole looking" and "excuses" aren't limited to work and friends. They are clear signs that commitment just isn't there!
Matthew 22:37 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
This is a command! However, those who have weak commitment look for loop-holes! Jesus didn't COMMAND this, he merely SAID it.  If Jesus wasn't serious about this being a requirement, why would he have merely said it?  The legal definition of the archaic word "shalt" (now shortened to shall) is the person (him) is "commanded to do" something. When God speaks what he says are commands! Loop-hole number one shot down!

Loop-hole #2. "Love" is gray. It means different things to different people! Well, God gave us a pretty clear definition of what love is:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV) "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."
How are we commanded to love the Lord (and other people to be certain)? Be patient, kind, without envy or pride, nor arrogance nor rudeness, nor selfish nor irritable nor resentful.  We are to do what's right, be truthful, etc. It continues with love as commitment, strong believe, having hope in what is and above all, "love never ends"!  What's so unclear about loving? Practice these things and love will become clear as crystal. It is the things a loving person does when loving. Loop-hole #2 closed!

Then there are those abstract thoughts of all the "heart, mind and soul". Let me clear that up for you! That's with your ALL! Loop-hole number 3 closed!

To show our commitment to God there is one thing we are to do: We are to love the Lord! However, that's one things most people have trouble doing!
John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
This is one of my most oft quoted verses. Mankind has one way of showing Jesus love (and Jesus is God). That is to "keep his commandments". However, that's what men don't do!  That command to love Jesus is a command in itself, but people use Christian "liberty" to do as they please. It's true that we don't have to sin, but that we should want to NOT sin to show God our love! People aren't committed enough to loving God to do what he commands!

It's ironic that we have the liberty to "not love God", but if we "fail to love him" we break The Greatest Commandment "To love God!".  It seems that "loving God" is not optional, but a command, and to obey his commands is how we show love for him. How are we to obey those commands?  To love! See 1 Cor 13:4-7 above.
Psalm 37:5 (ESV) "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act."
Look there it is! Psalms tells us to make a "commitment"!  To whom? "The Lord!" What type of commitment? "To trust in him!" Why? Because God will do what he says he will do. You can DEPEND ON GOD because God always does what he says he will do! How about you?