Friday, July 31, 2015

On Sexual Temptation

Self explanatory:
Proverbs 6:24-29 (ESV)  "To preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life."

What Is Marriage?

What is marriage? It's the relationship which exists between a man and his wife, according to Meriam_Webster Dictionary. We know what a man is. They are born that way. However, what is a wife? The wife is no more than the woman he marries. Hence, this dictionary definition is weak.

Since marriage is an institution ordained by God we need to look at what God calls marriage!
Genesis 2:18 "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 22  And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 3:16b "...thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Genesis 4:24  "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived..." 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."
Within the previous passages lies the definition of what marriage is:
  1. Marriage is an institution of God (Gen 2:18)
  2. Companionship (Gen 2:18).
  3. Helper (Gen 2:18)
  4. The wife is for the man (Gen 2:22)
  5. The husband shall be loyal to the wife (Gen 2:24)
  6. Marriage is a union of two into one (Gen 2:24).
  7. The woman shall desire the husband (Gen 3:16)
  8. The husband shall be the head (Gen 3:16)
  9. They shall bear children together (Gen 3:20)
  10. They shall have sex (Gen 4:24)
  11. They shall multiply and make a family (Gen 4:24).
  12. And they can be intimate without shame.(Gen 4:25)
It may be implied within the above scripture, but the New Testament adds much to what marriage is all about. 
  1. The woman's body is not her own, but her husband's and his body is not his own, but his wife's (2 Cor 7)
  2. Marriage is to control sexual appetites (2 Cor 7)
  3. Marriage is a picture of the church's relationship to Jesus (Ephes 5)
  4. Husbands are to love their wives (Ephes 5).
  5. God favors marriage (Prov 18).
  6. The marriage bed should be exclusive of any others (Heb 13)
  7. Marriage is not to be undone by anyone (Matt 19).
  8. Marriage is for a lifetime (1 Cor 7).
  9. Divorce is an expression of violence (Mal 2).
  10. A man is to love his wife as himself (Ephes 5)
  11. Infidelity is the only valid reason for divorce (Matt 5) with the exception of unbelief of the spouse (next).
  12. An unbelieving spouse is cause for divorce as a last resort (1 Cor 7).
  13. The husband and wife are dependent on each other (2 Cor 11).
  14. Marriage is to be based on Godly love (1 Cor 13)
  15. Copulation with a prostitute is a mock of marriage (1 Cor 6)
  16. Monogamy was God's plan for marriage (Mark 10).
  17. Husbands and wives are to be of the same faith (1 Kings 11).
  18. Christ is the head of the man and the man the wife (2 Cor 11).
Wow! A marriage is so much in the eyes of God! As such it needs to be taken seriously and ended only according to scripture, if at all, because marriage is meant to be forever!

What then is marriage NOT:
  1. A ceremony nor ritual.
  2. A legal document.
  3. Having sex with a person.
  4. Just living together even if celibate.
  5. Based on lust.
  6. Any thing other than a man and a woman.
Marriage is an institution ordained of God between one man and one woman forever based on righteous love, unity, fidelity and cooperation. The document doesn't make the marriage nor does the ceremony. Adam and Eve had a plain marriage without ritual nor certification. It wasn't registered with the government, but registered with God as he commanded husband and wife to procreate to expand the race.

For some reason Jesus said to the woman at the well:
 John 4:18 "For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly."
It would appear that she likely had had five husbands and divorced because she was ashamed to speak of them. The man with who she lived was likely the husband of another wife. Hence, they weren't married, but cohabitating.  It is unknown what made the first five men her husbands, but not the latter one. It's likely that she had a residence with those men and surely had children by one or all of them. At any rate, Jesus defined her previous men as her former husbands, recognizing that they were in fact divorced.

Of course Jesus didn't favor divorce, but scripture shows that he recognized it because he defined it as adultery when one had a sexual relationship with another during marriage or even after the divorce.

When we look at the qualifications for bishop and deacons, on divorce, it's the same: "husband(s) of one wife".  Given the statement "let these also first be proved" and "of good behavior", those not faithful to one wife would not be "proved" and "of good behavior". However, those divorced and forgiven would be "proved" with time!
1 John 3:9 (ESV) "No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God."
 To "prove" a candidate for deacon, the church would examine him. His life would not be a life of sin, but one emulating Jesus Christ. Sure, the divorced person MAY HAVE sinned, but it may be a secondary one.
Matthew 5:32 (ESV) "But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."
Since the same would be the case for a woman, then any remarried man, even though innocent of infidelity, is guilty of adultery. As such any remarried candidate for whatever reason would be an adulterer. However, adultery is pardonable! Just as Paul was pardoned for being a murderer, a deacon candidate can be pardoned for adultery.

Note that the requirements for being  a deacon makes no  mention of prohibiting adulterers. That seems to be a pardonable sin, and divorce is a form of adultery:
Matthew 19:9 (ESV) "And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
A "husband of one wife" is present tense. As such, in the past, he may have been married before. If so, he is an adulterer, but the requirements are lenient enough to allow former adulterers to be deacons. They sinned when they committed adultery, just as a man sins when he divorces.

However, the church doesn't ask "Have you ever committed adultery?" I'm not sure they even ask "Are you in adultery? because adultery is a mental sin.
Matthew 5:28 (ESV) "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
 You may have a bishop or deacon who not only committed adultery, but are still adulterers because "How would you know if you don't ask?"

It is to be expected that for any behavior a candidate for deacon (or bishop) be proved. The proof is in forgiveness:
Revelation 2:22b (ESV)  "...and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works..."
Repentance is proof. God wipes the slate clean and if the church believes it's a sincere behavior modification, then that is the proof. Of course any person can have a secret sin, and those should be exposed through an interview process. The big difference is that divorce is easily identified. It's hard to keep second wives a secret. However, a candidate can conceal adultery with ease!

Because of a laxity in discerning differences between fornication, adultery and divorce; especially when no documentation was required, marriage in those times would be as hard to identify as would adultery. The proof required would be "What is the situation right now?" The candidate would answer "This is my wife and only wife. I was married before, but we separated (no legal document required again). However, I am forgiven and in a committed marriage with my wife."

On the issue of "the husband of one wife" I have to take scripture for what it says!  It doesn't base it on past history, but present conditions. Divorce, although a sin, is recognized by Jesus. If it had meant "Never divorced" it would say that. It doesn't!

Better wording would be "Are you in an exclusive committed  relationship in unity with each other and under the leadership of Jesus Christ?" Perhaps that's what it should have said because that is a summary of what marriage is?

On Blame

I really hate to go back to Adam and Eve for examples of disobedience in the Bible, but they are the epitome of the nature of sin. Not only did we inherit our propensity to sin from them, but they are the example of how temptation deceived and sin results! You can find and read the scripture for yourself. Any Christian should already know where to find it, but I'll give a hint: (Genesis 3, the Bible).

There were steps to original sin. Let's examine them:

  1. Adam and Eve had liberty. They could eat of all the trees in the Garden, including The Tree of Life, except...
  2. God made a command (Thou shalt not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil")
  3. God gave the penalty, short, direct and not so sweet (or you shall surely die)..
  4. Adam, having dominion over all, received the command.
  5. Adam told Eve of the command and the penalty.
  6. Eve got the command wrong somehow (either Adam told her wrong, she misunderstood, or she was merely too nonchalant with it).
  7. Adam and Eve could have stood under any tree. 
  8. They got near the tree with the serpent in it. Somehow they were drawn to that tree. That's where they exposed themselves to forces stronger than themselves!
  9. God was jealous because they stood under the tree from which they were not to eat rather than "his tree","the Tree of Life".
  10. The serpent used the situation to deceive. He denied the consequences of sin.
  11. Eve, taking the lead in the family, spoke with the serpent. That was Adam's job to lead, not hers!
  12. Eve added to the command "... or touch it". 
  13. The serpent tempted her "You will not surely die!"
  14. She ate and sure enough, she didn't die (God meant spiritually die).
  15. Eve believed she was more wise than God.
  16. Eve tempted Adam.
  17. Adam ate.
  18. They felt guilt.
  19. They covered "their flesh".
  20. God judged them.
  21. Their defense was blame. Eve blamed the serpent; Adam blamed Eve.
  22. So by grace God covered their flesh with the skins of animals. They were by grace covered by shed blood without which there is no salvation.
  23. God punished them. They suffered the consequences of their sin.
  24. One thing they didn't do! They didn't go on blaming each other!
I won't go into the consequences, but they were pretty stiff. They deserved death, God allowed them to have eternal life, but they would still die  a mortal death. You see, if it was not for grace, hell would have been their destination; the second death! 

Now why bring this up. We all know it well, don't we? I want to talk about the "blame" part of the process of sinning.

"Blame" from a spiritual standpoint is "leading astray". It's an excuse for doing wrong. It is an attempt to transfer guilt from one person to another or to circumstances. All men, when something goes wrong, even when it's benign, seek to preserve their own pride by placing blame.

Blame then is a defense mechanism to protect our god. Since "the flesh" is the god of all mankind, then blaming others for ones own sin, is an action to preserve the one a person loves most; their "Self". 

The mind works wonders to protect their puny god. It's grandeur must be preserved or it feels badly! When the "Self" does something wrong, pride seeks to protect its ego.
Genesis 3:22 "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil..."
Adam and Eve didn't really becomes gods as a result of eating of the tree; they only  used their acquisitions to build their idols. They placed themselves on a pedestal and became false gods. With pleasure, knowledge and the potential for being wealthy, they had tools from which to sculpt their idols. Their "flesh" at one time made in the likeness of Jesus who was to come, was contaminated by "reason"! With their new tools they could take what they know and use it to obtain pleasure, power and wealth. With the new concept of "reason" mankind could now "rationalize"!
According to Meriam-Webster Dictionary "rationalize" is  "to think about or describe something (such as bad behavior) in a way that explains it and makes it seem proper, more attractive, etc."
"Blaming" is a technique in rationalizing bad behavior. Now Adam and Eve could protect their new idol, the flesh, by explaining their rebellion away; what people erroneously call "justifying" wrong. Anytime people make an excuse for doing wrong to make it seem a plausible thing to do, they are rationalizing by creating an imbalance in the scales of justice!

How did Adam and Eve use their new skills? They blamed! Eve blamed the serpent.. The serpent merely tempted her. He, as symbolic of Satan, and doesn't have the power to make Eve sin. He can only tempt and manipulate Eve. (See the Book of Job for how he does things).

Adam blamed Eve. Eve did not make Adam eat of the fruit. She merely demonstrated to Adam that God can be ignored. There seemed to be no consequences for sin, but she failed to look at the long term consequence; eternal death. Like Satan, Eve couldn't make Adam sin. She could only tempt.

Who was truly to blame?  Eve was responsible for her sin and Adam his own sin. Sin is a personal choice each and every time. God never makes choices for us and neither does Satan. In order to be held accountable for wrong, we each are personally in charge of what we do! (The devil never makes us do it, God doesn't nor do others!)

Jump ahead to now. "The flesh" is mostly represented by promiscuity. It was the same with Adam and Eve. There was a reason that their instruments of satisfaction was covered by them and then by God. God covered what mostly leads people astray; pleasure. "The flesh" was covered because it became a shame. Rather than to use merely for procreation, Adam and Eve were able to use it for joy as well. Human nature is to pleasure their god, since the "original sin" and it's most often pleasured by some type of sexual activity, notwithstanding that power, gluttony, wealth and the like are pleasures as well.

We don't have any evidence that Adam and Eve were tempted and did sexual sins, but we know that we carry the same defect in character handed down by them. Hence, it is plausible to assume that Adam and Eve also were disposed toward sexual gratification of some type which would cause them guilt. Mankind still has temptation toward sexual sin. They are tempted toward theft, hate, blasphemy, etc because their "Self" is "the other god besides Him", and that god must be appeased by pleasure.

When we pleasure our "Self" (our god) then we rebel against the One True God. Unless we're psychopathic (reprobate) some degree of guilt is experienced. That's the Holy Spirit's method of calling us to repent. We have the freedom to ignore the guilt or change. Most people ignore it, even to the extent of making their "Self" sick because of disobedience.

When the Holy Spirit inflicts guilt on us, as God did to Adam and Eve, then we too begin to blame! "Blame" it seems, is always a step in the process of sin. Men always start the process by blaming others! It's human nature since Adam. Then the Holy Spirit steps in to dispute that rationalization. "Don't blame anyone else!" he says. "You are the one who sinned!"

When two people sin in any way, both initially blame the other! It seems that their part in the sin is miniscule while the others is paramount (in their own eyes). Just like Adam, sinners rationalize "He encouraged me! I would not have sinned if he had not tempted me." Or if it's a circumstance "I would not have got drunk if I had not been with others in the bar!" That was one of the reasons Adam and Eve sinned. They should not have been under that tree talking to the serpent in the first place. If they had listened to God, the serpent would have just crawled away!
James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
In short, people are never to put themselves in a position to allow the temptation to tempt.  That's being beyond reproach, but if we go there, we are just like Adam and Eve. The sin would never have been consummated if they hadn't been where they shouldn't be!

God checks our sinful acts through the use of guilt. It's a "check valve" by grace where we are held accountable by God and that gives us a chance to feel sorrow. Without sorrow one will never come to repentance.

When Adam was caught he blamed Eve. Nowadays it's the same. Eve may even blame Adam. However, blame is rationalizing ones sin. We each are still accountable for our own thoughts and actions.

If a person #1 feels guilt, repents and wipes the slate clean, so to speak, it's another sin to put blame on person #2.  It's because of personal responsibility. Somehow person #1 encouraged (tempted) person #2 to stand under the wrong tree. Person #1 very well have provoked person #2 to sin just as Eve provoked Adam. It was a sorry thing when Adam blamed Eve for what he didn't have to do! God would have been much more lenient if the conversation had been without blame:

God: Who sinned here?
Eve: I did! I should not have been there, I should not have listened to a liar and I should never have questioned your authority and power. I should have submitted to Adam's leadership! God, I take full responsibility.
God: How about you, Adam?
Adam: I should have been more forceful in telling Eve your command. It's my fault she was confused! I should have been the spiritual leader, not Eve. I shirked my responsibilities. I should not have followed the pattern of another in sinning. That's just an excuse. I am at fault because I knew what you said and did it anyway. I'm guilty and without excuse. Eve didn't cause me to sin... I did it myself!

God had the grace to provide a plan for them to live eternally. He wiped their slates clean and they started over. If they had been more honest about their personal responsibility, God's justice would have been even more graceful (We could still all be immortal in this life if Adam and Eve had been less blaming)!

As we can see, in spite of their blame, God had grace to forgive them their humanity! However, what if after they were caught and sentenced, they continued to blame each other? That would be a continuation of the original sin. After people express sorrow and repent, yet if they go on "blaming", they continue in sin. Adam and Eve were equally guilty and each other accusing the other of the greater sin, is blame, and the one who still blames is still sinning!

My point: Sin is an individual personal choice and placing blame on the co-sinner as the greater sinner, is a sin itself.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cause and Effect: On Modesty

A young man recently admitted in bible study that men have a problem with lust. He further said that any man who denies it, is a liar. That statement may be denied by the men and offend the women, but it's human nature and what "original sin" is all about: pleasure, beauty and desire.

When I was in my twenties I asked my own father "When does this struggle with the flesh end?" He said "When you die!" A righteous man who would never even hug another woman said this! Dad was right and men know it. Never blame the person for their humanity, but blame Satan for luring people who have no propensity to be lured. Satan knows that, just as always, men and women respond to temptation. He makes the effort to make both genders tempting to the other.

Some claim that they shouldn't, by  their own behavior, be judged for another's.

Let me explain. I've heard some Christian women say "I dress the way I want to dress. If the man has a problem with that, it's his problem, not mine!" Is that a right attitude?

Think about it here. I'll leave some blank space so that you think, not just react:

Proverbs 11:22 (ESV)  "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman without discretion."
Without discretion! What is that? It's the quality of being careful so that others are not affected. Women who flaunt their beauty aren't being careful! They don't care how others respond to their vanity.

Things happen by cause and effect. If a person sins, it's because they're tempted!  The best way a person can avoid sin, is to avoid temptation.
James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
Before I continue in condemnation of those who tempt, let me point out that being exposed to temptation is no excuse for sin. It's a catalyst, but with submission to God, people just don't have to sin! Each time people sin, it's a choice which is made. Some are weaker than others.
 Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
If a Christian doesn't want to be tempted, then don't go around temptresses! If a show of flesh is a weakness, the best thing to do is to stay away from the beach and like places. Because a woman flaunts is not an excuse for responding to the flaunt. Because one person provokes the behavior doesn't make the response appropriate. Normally, two people are involved in personal interactions.
 1 Timothy 2:9 (ESV) "Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works." 
1 Peter 3:3- (ESV) "Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."
Modesty is the keyword in the first passage. Meriam-Webster Dictionary says this about modesty:
"The quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities; the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention."
Too many women dress to appeal to the opposite sex. Even wives do so because they are in competition with those beauties who are immodest. Clothes designers design clothes to expose skin and reveal provocative figures. Women buy this stuff and wear it. Christian women even wear provocative apparel to church! I've seen more skin at times in church than I have at the beach. When women bend over few cover their bosom with their arm as they bend! Even bras are designed to expose just about everything. In defense of women, it's hard for them to find stylish clothes without exposing their wares, but not impossible!

Dresses are so short that short shorts may as well be worn. Women are aware of the response men have for immodesty, but yet they are still immodest.  However, that's only half the story! Immodest women put themselves on display. They relish attention and their confidence encourages flattery. Rather than meekness their actions become a stage show for attention.
1 John 2:16 (ESV) "For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world."
"The desires of the flesh" are two-fold: pride and desire. Most often the women have the pride (dress, vanity, control, etc.) and men the desire; they respond!  Both the cause and effect are sinful. To be honest, men need help! We need a sanctuary where we can focus on God. Church is a place for sanctuary. With that said, women, especially in church, should exhibit modesty to help men who have weak flesh. Most men do! It's not that there for any intent to fornicate, but dwelling too long in the supermarket!
Matthew 5:28 (ESV) "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
Who are those who tempt? Self explanatory:
Proverbs 6:24-29 (ESV)  "To preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life." 
Men don't want to commit adultery! However, when they linger too long around the tomatoes and plums, they admire the tomatoes and plums too long. Long enough that they may even salivate in anticipation. They never eat of the fruit, but they slurp the tomatoes! That too is wrong. Men who slurp tomatoes are as sinful as the woman who puts the tomatoes on display. The display is the cause; the slurping is the effect.

Men need help! While women are half the fault, they are not all the fault. However, if they're modest in their actions and dress, it will help weak men. It's not to say that there will be no lust with modesty, but there will certainly be less; keeping in mind that modesty is in action and dress.

You may not like it but God is a sexist by worldly standards. He doesn't care. He created men and women different! God has standards for women which women don't like. Hence, women do what they want to do; just like Eve did. Rather than eating of the fruit, immodest women display the fruit, and men do the eating. Just like Adam they take the fruit from the hands of the women!

Women are endowed by their creator with certain features. As with anything those attributes can be used for good or bad.  God's intent is that women be modest and submissive. Their confidence must be exhibited for their husbands, not for strangers and friends! With all this said, now go back and fill in the blank space with what God wills.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Bill O'Reilly often refers to "urchins".  Meriam-Webster Dictionary defines this as "a usually poor and dirty child who annoys people or causes minor trouble".  O'Reilly uses it tongue-in-cheek when he refers to precocious children. Adults are to take these small urchins and transform them into responsible, mature and happy adults. The process of doing this is molding, called "modeling" in psychological terms.

It is the obligation of responsible adults to find an acceptable mold, work their little budding clay pots and let them cure in that mold until a permanent structure is formed, and the painted pot never breaks! Scripture tells of this process:
Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
There is a problem today. Those adults, even parents, who construct the mold, do it after their own pattern; the pattern of their world or their denomination! If the pattern was not so full of flaws that would be a great start, but unfortunately those who mold are replicating flawed copies, and that's a big problem!

First off, let's look at the intent of this proverb.  It was surely written so that children of righteous parents grow up to be righteous adults. The assumption with this proverb is that the mold has itself been patterned after God!  This saying is good if one looks at the modifier "in the way he should go". When God inspires words of wisdom it's obvious that the pattern is to be "truth". Parents sometimes intentionally and unwittingly pass down falsehoods because that's the same pattern from which they were molded.

Let's take a familiar tale: A modern housewife always cuts off the shank of her roast before putting it in the pan. When asked why, she said "Because my mom always did!" When the mother was asked the same question she relayed the same answer. "Her mom always did!" Upon further investigation it appears that her mother initiated that ritual because her roasting pan was too small. Those to whom she modeled did the same thing in spite of having ample roasting pans! The pattern for this activity was doing what was necessary, but she unwittingly passed along a ritual which her seed did without question!

This is the same modeling which people do in all aspects of life! People vote for a certain party most often because their antecedents always have. People believe certain doctrines because that's the way they were brought up. In essence people are shallow. They are mini-models in that they are what they were brought up to be!  That's desirable if the pattern is of excellent quality, but a flawed pattern creates a flawed mold which in turn causes the product to be flawed. Flawed children are caused because the pattern or mold  was flawed.

In Christianity the pattern is always perfect. The pattern is to be Christ:
1 John 2:6 "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
If we desire to have a good pattern for modeling our children we turn to perfection. Jesus was a perfect pattern and that's the one we are to use to make the model for our children. Don't worry, because we're prone to error, the model will still have some imperfections, but that's what makes us human. That's what makes the distinction between the pattern and the product. Error is introduced in each phase of the process!

Christian parents take the pattern of Christ; a perfect pattern, and make a model for teaching children "in the way he should go". In the process contamination gets in the material of which the mold is made. A good pattern is put on paper and from that a mold is made. The model-maker must interpret the pattern and make the mold. Even if the pattern is understood perfectly, our own lack of skill introduces a mold which may be acceptable, but still flawed. All parents not only misunderstand the pattern, but also introduce flaws because of their own lack of understanding!

Hence, the product is in fact patterned after that perfect model, Christ, but is as a final product, is full of errors. If the model-maker is really unskilled the product is corrupt and not worthy of existence. Even those "right" products still have flaws. Then the pattern-maker steps in! He says "If you have faith in me and trust me, I can make this product the way I intended it to be!"
 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."
It's grace from the pattern-maker when he sees the mistakes made all along by everyone. The process is flawed because it has error introduced at all steps. If the product is covered by the "finish" of the pattern-maker it is protected from further contamination. However, although the finish is sufficient the bearer must have faith that the finish is durable. He trusts the finish!

That "finish" is the blood of Jesus and the product, us, must trust that finish! However, the finish is there because the product (us) knows about it! That's crucial and what is meant by "train up a child in the way he should go". Many people never get that new finish because their model wasn't formed after the pattern; Christ!

This process of building an acceptable product is what Christianity is all about. As products, Christians cut off the old product having a flawed model, and let Jesus correct it. Thereafter the product is "right" and as such lives according to the pattern. They become as righteous as they can because the finish only preserves something imperfect. The product can never be perfect because only the original (Jesus) was built to perfect specifications! However, the new creation does the best it can with the limitations the pattern-maker imposed on his creation!

Let's take a quick look at denominations or more specifically "doctrine". Denominations are formed over differences in doctrine! Part of the imperfection still existing in new creations is that we still have elements inside which struggle with "train up a child" because of the unskilled molders. One of the inherent flaws is that we do what the molders intended: to "train up a child". However, when the molders "train up the child" the training manual, the pattern, is not fully understood. It's just like that process of cutting off that butt end of the roast. People "train up" how they were trained up! Christians don't train up wrong on purpose just like grandma didn't cut off the roast to deceive. That's the way she dealt with the issue, then it became ingrained in those who followed. Her descendants have larger roasting pans. They needed to look closely what they were trained to do!

My premise is that the doctrines of Christians are most strongly modeled by adults who were dominant in their lives. It may be a parent, grandparent, teacher, preacher or even a mature friend. I am what I am because of my righteous father! My own dad was sincere in all his beliefs, but in some, he was sincerely wrong! Why? Because the person or group who molded him had inherent flaws. They weren't destructive flaws, but they contaminated the product. and had certain doctrines to which he clinged! As his son and product, I have inherent flaws as well, but not the same ones.

I have had the blessing of moving through several denominations all my life. Each denomination had some very good doctrine, but there were always troublesome dogma which caused me to move on. However, each time I was taught things which helped me later on!

Pride became less of an issue with time. When people challenged my doctrine I eventually didn't take it as an attack on my models, primarily my Dad. It wasn't an attack on the doctrines of my denomination because denomination had become of less importance to me. In effect by learning different doctrine and testing them with scripture, much of my error, at least the way I understand scripture, was cleared up.

Oftentimes I wondered why God desired me to experiment with denominations and even non-denominations. I'm sure it was so that I could seek truth in the confusion of differing doctrines. What I believe now is according to the pattern. I tested varying doctrines, disregarded the errors introduced by my models and went back to the pattern-maker and asked him to inspire me! I attend a certain church, not because that's my heritage handed down from my models, but the denomination fits best, although imperfectly, what the pattern-maker intended.

I believe those who were brought up after a pattern are blessed! However, I believe those who were brought up with dogmatic teaching are flawed because their pattern is flawed and they always go to the pattern-maker with a bias from their model! Dogma, according to Meriam-Webster is  "a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted".

Dogmatic people are much like those who still cut the roast and just accept it as necessary and right. They condemn others who fail to cut off the roast because that's obviously the right thing to do! "Why can't other people see that?" they think!  This is an attitude of dogmatic people.  Fundamentalists are most always dogmatic. I am too because I am fundamental in dogma. However, I recognize, and put my pride aside, that I CAN BE wrong! Many fundamentalists will never look away from their dogma long enough to listen intently to the pattern-maker!

There is a way to test whether a person is dogmatic or not. Ask questions of yourself?

  • Do I cling to what I've always believed as ultimate truth?
  • Have I an unchangeable doctrine before I listen to the evidence of others?
  • Are my doctrine and beliefs still the same as when I was a babe in Christ?
  • Do I get angry when others disagree with my doctrine?
  • Do I show a good model for causing change or does my attitude hinder an otherwise convincing argument?
  • Are my arguments consistent or do they change when necessary to support my points?
  • Do I listen to others with finding truth, or is my doctrine more important?
  • There are many others, but this is a start!
As a fundamentalist I value the King James Bible. It's not the original 1611 version because it had errors and has been revised many times! However, the KJV is the authorized bible and was translated from the textus receptus, the Great Bible, the Bishop's Bible, the Geneva Bible, Wycliffe's Bible and the Latin Vulgate. It was translated by a panel of 40 scholars all of the Church of England. Although it was subject to Anglican bias, the actual translation was extremely true to intent as evidenced by it's reliability and durability over time. People who espouse the KJV have confidence in it's being the most true translation, and other than archaic words, I believe that as well!

Fundamentalist insist on using the KJV because of it's rigidity in staying true to the original intent. It's age testifies to its passing the test of confidence. However, when the KJV doesn't support the dogma of fundamentalists, they revert to the original Greek and Hebrew! They use Strong's definitions. By this practice dogmatists are saying in effect "Joe Blow (the fundamentalist) understands the original Greek and Hebrew better than did the 40 scholars! That's pride! Those that imply this are taking Strong's definitions over the 40 KJV scholars. We need to be consistent: Is the KJV reliable or not!

Dogmatic people will play the game "Twister" so that the Bible fits their dogma! They are more concerned with pride in what they have always believed over truth! Yes, we are all somewhat dogmatic and that's caused by pride. I allow that I just may have wrong doctrines at times and that others just may be right. I take the attitude, unless it's crucial to salvation, that we'll know the truth in heaven; or by that time it won't matter and be so obvious that we'll feel stupid! That's what it means to be meek.

Bill O"Reilly call the "twisting of truth" by dogmatic people "spin". He says "The spin stops here!" Rather than spinning scripture to fit doctrine, maybe we should just consider our doctrine. Let's create a "No Spin Zone"! Does it pass the test of scripture? Does it pass without adding things and conditions to it? Does it pass without reading between the lines? Does it pass ALL scripture all the time?

I write notes in the margins of my bibles. Sometimes when I'm studying scripture, I read my old notes; some from when I was a "babe in Christ". I laugh at my heresy. I thought I knew it all at that time because my molder made me what I was. Sometimes I just didn't understand my molders. Other molders misled me. I have abandoned much of my dogmatism because I was so wrong at times before. Yes, I can and am wrong at times! However, my desire is to understand what my pattern-maker intended, not what my denomination teaches!

To avoid being too liberal, we must always test doctrine to scripture and endeavor to disregard what we've always been taught! That's the downside of "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." People ignore the modifier "in the way he should go" and rewrite it as "in the way we've always went"!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

On Forgiving Yourself

I was in a bible study and one young lady, a devout Christian said this: "God doesn't forgive you until you first forgive yourself!" I was astounded! "What is your scripture reference for this?" I asked. She responded, "I've just always heard that!" We hear many things which are doctrinal, psychological, fable, legend, and outright lies. Knowing that there are things which we can do to find truth, refer to the following:
1 Thessalonians 5:21 "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
We are to test everything before we accept or reject it. I tested her allegation, and found it lacking. If it's there, I found no reference that what you "do" effects your forgiveness with the exception of having guilt, being sorry and repenting; which, incidentally, are all by the grace of God. Unlike the animals, man has a soul. Guilt, sorrow and confession to ease the conscience are all human attributes given to us by God which demarcate our humanity. When God designed people, he did so such that we would respond to his call; the call of the Holy Spirit!
John 16:7b "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment..."
The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, "blames" the sinner of sin! It's that blame which calls a person to repentance. If people aren't reproved, they go on and on and on with sin. Those who are reproved and never respond are called "reprobate". God's faculties, which he gave to those deep in sin, are out of balance. The Spirit is the catalyst for forgiveness and grace is the actual forgiveness!

Some will argue that blame, sorrow, guilt, and repentance are not necessary because they're works. I submit they are God-given attributes which we have for one main purpose: to have the hope of salvation. Although those actions are within each of us, they are not our doing because they are God's gift to mankind! Without this system of interaction with our Creator, all mankind would be forever lost!

With that said, let's look at how people are "saved":
Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God..."
It's by grace! Whose grace? God's. It's saved through your faith. Where does the work of having faith? You do! However, scripture says it too is a gift of God! Then are you saved "of yourselves". No!
Ephesians 2:9 "Not of works, lest any man should boast."
If one refers to my past writings (this blog), I propose that "the other God before (or besides) me" is each person's identity, called "the self". (Two Trees - Two Gods - Two Books, 3 parts June 2015). Crediting our own "self" for salvation by boasting is magnifying our idol, our "Self"!

Hence, there are merely four possibilities regarding salvation: 1) God, 2) Yourself, 3) it takes both or 4) no way to be saved.

I'm a proponent of eternal life. I believe that there is a hope for an eternal life. Those without that hope condemn themselves. They are, well... hopeless! Therefore, we either are saved because we did something or because of God's grace. Ephesians 2:8 says "not of yourselves: it is the gift of God". (2 and 3 are eliminated as candidates for saving us).

This notion hurts a person's "other god"; the one who he caters to and worships everyday! Excuse me self-righteous people, you had no part in saving yourself! Therefore, you  never ever have to forgive yourself before God does, nor at all!! God doesn't want you to bow down to yourself. He wants all your attention and he'll give you all the grace which you'll ever need! Forgiving yourself is heresy because by endeavoring to do so, you are "worshiping others gods besides me", meaning God!

"The Self" is called "the flesh". Your self is called "yourself". No one is not to credit "yourself" with what God did for free!
Romans 8:8 "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
Simply put, "in the flesh" are those who pleasure and have pride in their own humanity. Evolution credits chance for your existence. You just happened, and because you did, you are your own god. The God of truth says that you are his creation, and as such you are no God!
 Romans 1:25  "Who (those in the flesh) changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Actually, this passage validates that the "creature" (us) is the other god of whom God is jealous.  Ironically though, men seek salvation to save their flesh. They seek the Almighty God to save their weak mortal god. Jesus came to experience what we experience, and by his grace he forgives that we seek him to save our little god. It's not the little god who has any part of saving, but the great Almighty God. To believe that we are saved because of things we did is still worshiping the flesh! God cuts off the flesh and topples our idol just as the pagan idol Dagon was toppled in the presence of God!

Baptism is symbolic of the toppling of "The Self". The old creation goes under the water and a new creation arises! By salvation and ultimate baptism, the flesh is cut-off. Circumcision in The Old Testament was a picture of Christian Baptism. Rather than a little flesh being cut off; all the flesh, with Christ, is cut off!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The One Sin Not Forgotten

Let's test doctrine: Some denominations insist that deacons (as well as bishops) have never been divorced. Is that scriptural?
1 Timothy 3:8 (KJV) "Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus."
Or, literally:
1 Timothy 3:8 (YLT) Ministrants -- in like manner grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not given to filthy lucre, 9 having the secret of the faith in a pure conscience, 10 and let these also first be proved, then let them minister, being unblameable. 11 Women -- in like manner grave, not false accusers, vigilant, faithful in all things. 12 Ministrants -- let them be of one wife husbands; the children leading well, and their own houses, 13 for those who did minister well a good step to themselves do acquire, and much boldness in faith that [is] in Christ Jesus."
What is a deacon? It's nothing more than a person, either laity or clerical who is ordained to serve God by ministering to others. The primary duty is to share the message of the gospels. Hence, a deacon, although not am official priest, is a spiritual one!  Then who are they? It's servants who have matured enough to be appointed by the church from among the elect, as described herein:
1 Peter 2:2 (KJV)  "Wherefore (the elect or Christians from Chapter 1) laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ... 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light..."
In short, according to this passage, all Christians are to serve (sacrifice) and as such are of the holy and royal priesthood. Royalty in this context would mean that Christians are to be priests of the kingdom of God! Then those characteristics which make up righteous Christians are enumerated:  "laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word,"

All Christians, then, are priests whose job it is to serve, minister and present the gospel message. However, being qualified to serve as representatives of the kingdom of God. there are additional qualifications for the formal church, with those enumerated in 1 Timithy 3:8-13. (We'll examine those shortly).

Deacons are assistants to the bishop who has much the same qualifications. They too are to "be the husband of one wife" (1 Timothy 3:2). Therefore the "assistant bishops" (i.e., the deacons) have the same marital qualifications as do the bishops!

Let's first look at the qualifications of deacons:

  1. Must be serious (grave).
  2. Must be truthful (not doubletongued).
  3. Must be sober (not drinkers of much wine).
  4. Not given to filthy talk.
  5. Have faith.
  6. Have no confessed guilt (pure conscience).
  7. Are to be tested and found innocent (blameless).
  8. Have a godly wife (with many of the same attributes)
  9. They are to have one wife.
  10. They are to have obedient children and a stable home.
These are ten specific things to be a deacon. All are present tense! No one is worse or better than the other! However, there is one past tense criteria which is required to be a deacon, according to many denominations. They say "a divorced man cannot be a deacon".

"Divorced" is past tense. Scripture recognizes divorce, calls it a sin, but does not call it the "unpardonable sin". Of course it would be better for men who have never sinned to be deacons, but all have sinned (Romans 3:23).  The list of ten doesn't use past sins against candidates for deacon. If so, it would say "a person who has never lied", a person who has always been serious, a person who has never been drunk, a person who has never said anything filthy, a person who has always been faithful, etc". Past sins, according to Paul's letter to Timothy are never to be considered when selecting deacons!

If Paul had included past sins as criterion for consideration, then Paul would have excluded himself. Paul was a murderer, yet he held a higher office; an apostle! No, there is not to be one past sin included in a list of ten present tense criterion. That is not what it says and that would be disingenuous of Paul, and is at odds with the words of God (more on that in a moment).

Digest this thus far, and now consider forgiveness.
Isaiah 43:25 " I, even I, am he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins."
God (with us) said that. They are the words of the Son of God because he was The Word of God! Emmanuel forgets and blots out each sin as men repent of them. Why is it that God forgot Paul's murderous ways, but fails to forget men's unfortunate previous marriage. It seems that although God forgets, men still remember this one sin! Divorce, according to this doctrine, is the only sin that God never blots out! Also, since God says he "won't remember our sins". Clerics within the church say "God forgot, but we didn't!" and then hold sins of youthfulness against devoted Christians.

 Now let's look at those who have committed fornication and/or adultery! Those two sins are not on the list of ten and neither is murder by the way! I would assume that those sins, if repented of by the candidate for deacon, are not held against them!  In other words forgiven adulterers, fornicators and murderers can be deacons, but forgiven divorced men cannot be!

There is a reason this criteria is included:  "Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife...". It's because polygamy was common in the Roman Empire, especially within the Hebrew and Helenistic peoples. Having more than one wife includes those with whom a person cohabitates if one remembers the woman at the well, who incidentally was forgiven because she believed in Jesus!
John 4:16 "Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly."

Jesus didn't say "Thou hast five husbands." He used past tense: "Thou hast had five husbands." Jesus didn't recognize, by using present tense, that the woman presently, at that time, having five husbands. They were past and were no longer husbands! And furthermore, the man she was currently living with was not her husband. She was fornicating, and that sin is not even on the list of ten!

Jesus recognized divorce in this case. The woman HAD five husbands, now she has none! In 1 Timothy "the deacons be the husbands of one wife". If she had been a man, the woman at the well could have been a deacon because she believed in Jesus and the assumption is that she was born-again! (All her husbands were part of her past).

Then there are the Nicolaitanes!
Revelation 2:15 "So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate."
Nicolas is believed to be one who was of the seventy. Some believe the seventy were disciples and others believe they were apostles. I submit that they were disciples on a mission to minister to "every city". They were being assistants to the apostles (bishops) and as such were deacons. Nicolas was one who held the doctrine of Balaam. Nicolas brought sexual sins into the church as doctrine! In his doctrine men could have multiple wives and sexual partners. This doctrine disqualified Nicolas from serving, and I believe Nicolaitans were the practitioners of the doctrine that brought about "only husbands of one wife could be deacons". To allow more than one wife was the doctrine God hates!

The doctrine of "divorced men can't be deacon" is a regulation of men and is not scriptural!  It implies that divorce is the unforgettable sin severe enough that faithful men can't serve God in an official capacity although they are of the Royal Priesthood!

Are once-married  men more "good" than divorced men! No, they just have one less sin which God graciously erased from his memory! The intent is to keep immorality out of the ministry. That's a noble thing, but has nothing to do with sins already covered by the blood:
Romans 3:25 "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God..."
It would appear that when we are born-again, our past sins are forgiven! Likewise, as we sin, we repent as we sin when we're convicted and are sorry. To imply that men can't be sorry and repent of divorce is heresy because all past sins are pardonable!   I stand humbled that God forgave me of a grave sin, but I also believe that he chose to forget my divorce since I asked forgiveness! With that said, I believe God wants me to serve him. That's what deacons do!

This is a defense of those who're called to be deacons, but are ineligible due to the rules of men. I'm not called to be a deacon, so I have nothing to gain by a rule change. However, there are many humbled and faithful, but divorced men, who cannot serve that would be the church's gain!

An Old Tarnished Nickel

I'm retired now. I have a fairly good income from all my years with "Generous Mothers". I either run or ride my expensive bicycle each day. If I want something I buy it, but I never seem to want much. You see after years of "not having", "having" isn't an essential. In fact my joy isn't based on what I have, but on hope!

I always had hope!   I thought about that this morning. After I'd did my bi-daily 5k run, I was cooling down by a 3k walk. Near the school on the highway I spied a shiny object. Shiny things always attract me. They steal my attention!

I bent down and picked up a shiny new nickel. It was then that my mind finished the race which my body had already started. That nickel brought back memories! As I carried the nickel in my hand all the way home, I reminisced on years gone by.

As a child my family was poor. We had plenty of garden vegetables to eat, but we worked hard to raise the garden and for mom to cold-pack them. Whereas today kids scurry to open a piece of candy, we were excited when the pickled beets made it to the table.

We lived in rural Hazelwood, Indiana. Once a month we either went to Hazelwood Grocery or The Handy Corner in rural Stilesville, Indiana. Both of these stores had no more than a few essentials, but the one thing that I remember most is the Coca-Cola Chest where a nickel was put in the slot, and after moving the seven-ounce bottle through a maze, the bottle of ice cold Coca-Cola could be extracted.  But for me, it was the Mason's Root Beer which I craved. I don't know for sure if it was the taste of that delicious root beer or the brown bottle! It being the coldest drink in town (and the only one) added to the desirability.

I thrilled at that Mason Root Beer once a month and always looked forward to grocery shopping.

Still we were quite poor because of seven kids, but we never knew that we were poor until much later. We moved to the big city of Coatesville, Indiana, population then and now, about 600. We lived on the outskirts of town and it was a half mile to the caution light in the center of town and another half miles to my grade school. Nearly everyone in town walked to school at that time, regardless of age.

I remember on a hot summer day my sister Judy said "I'll buy you a Pepsi" (Root beer was then only a memory) if you run to town and get them. She gave me a dime, I ran there, put a bottle in each pocket and then ran toward home. About half-way back one bottle flew out of my pocket and broke on the sidewalk. When I got home, nearly in tears, I still had some hope! I told Judy "I broke yours!" She said "No, you broke yours!". My hope diminished and I nearly cried as Judy drank her Pepsi.

Some neighbors down the street had a 24-bottle case of seven-ounce cokes in their garage. I told mom that the Biehls were rich. She said, "How do you know that?" I replied, "Because they have a whole case of cokes!" That was beyond belief to a child who only got one each month!

The days of summer were long and hot for barefoot boys in cutoffs (before they were in vogue) and no shirt. In the hot of the day I wished I had relief. Warm well water just wouldn't cut it. I had to have "pop"; what Hoosiers called soda, although most often, any soft drink was called "Coke".

I thought this thought: "Maybe if I walk toward town I'll find a nickel on the way!"  That is "positive thinking", but to think that way, requires hope! Poor kids had nothing much worth having, but hope!

Digressing a bit, I recently wondered where my closet was in that packed home. It occurred to me that I did  not have a closet and didn't need one because I didn't have extra clothes to put in the closet. You see, if you don't have things, other things are not needed! I never dreamed that I'd have a closet, let alone clothes to put in the closet. Happiness was just being. Having wasn't even a hope except for a few obtainable things!

A bottle of pop was attainable!  If I hoped hard enough I might find that nickel before I got to the Cities Service. If not then maybe by the time I got to the Standard, and at worst when I got to the furthest gas station; the Marathon by the mill. Poor people have hope. Those bound to drudgery have hope. Hope is what allows the down-trodden to exist!

I was raised in a solid Christian home. We praised God for what we had and prayed for what we needed. God supplied the essentials. God supplied that monthly bottle of Mason's Root Beer! Praying for the blessings of God is hope. If our faith is strong enough then our hope will certainly be met! Even as a child the thing for which I hoped the most was what mattered the most! I didn't know that I was poor in life, but I didn't want to be poor in spirit. While things were bad here, and I remember constant toothaches, in heaven, Mom told me, all will be better! That was my hope! I lived looking toward the rewards only to be found in death!
Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
My hope was simple: no more toothaches, no more sickness, no more hunger and no more sorrow. In heaven the burdens of this world would be gone. Mom told me so! She's sing "This world is not my home. I'm just a passing through!" That meant things to me!  My hope was not in life, but in death.

I walked slowly toward town. My eyes glanced right and left searching for a nickel which I just knew was there. I had no doubt one was, but I just didn't want to overlook it. I was careful and believed that one would be found. Was it to be the first half mile before the Cities Service or the last mile near the Marathon? I just had faith that it would be the first half mile so I wouldn't be discouraged!

I saw it. A tarnished old nickel. My hope had become reality. Now I didn't wish I had a coke, but knew that I was going to get one and I looked forward to it!  Because that hope came true many hopes thereafter did too! I had faith, not only in finding that nickel, but hope in security and happiness in this life, and eternal hope in life after death.

I found a shiny nickel today! It reminded me of that tarnished nickel sixty years ago. It's ironic that a child in poverty found a tarnished nickel, but a grown man who had been blessed by God throughout life, found a shiny nickel. I dared not pass it up, not having enough value to stoop over, but I thought: "It won't buy a coke, but it'll buy memories of that hope!" I carried that nickel home which has little intrinsic value, but still is filled with hope!

Since I found that tarnished nickel, my hope has been met many times!  I hoped that I could have a family. I hoped that I could support that family better than I had it, I hoped that I could get an education. I hoped that I could have a church family. I hoped that I would be healthy. I hoped that I would have a long life, and I hoped for and still hope for eternal life! God granted me all my desires in life. Why would he not grant me my hope in death?
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."
In my childhood my closet was not only empty. It wasn't there! Now I have a closet full of clothes and among them are protective armor. My favorite is my helmet! I have the "helmet, the hope of salvation."  That shiny new nickel this morning reminded me of the many times I had hope and God fulfilled my hope! The tarnished old nickel was one of the first signs of hope that I remember!

It's a great gift that God brings to our minds fond memories even when we were heavy laden. It's ironic that a nickel which is worth so little today has so much value in kindling memories. I was joyous in my poverty and I'm ecstatic in my hope for tomorrow.  That's God's grace! That's what makes life worth the living!

Sunday, July 26, 2015


My wife and I went to a Mennonite wedding. At the reception everyone was seated together happily rejoicing the great event. However, we noticed that the eldest son sat alone near the front at a card table. That seemed strange! When I queried a friend I was told that the son had left the church. I asked "Is he no longer a Mennonite?" and they replied that he no longer practiced Christianity! This practice is called "shunning"! Why is it done?

The ultimate concern to Christians is that those they love be Christians and practice Christianity. As I do, they too believe in "conditional security". That doctrine is that "free will" continues after the born-again experience and that Christians are free forever to apostatize; not living for God. Even before people cease to worship God, their spiritual principles get so eroded that they put more importance on self-indulgence than righteousness. They know what's right, believe it's an objective of all Christians to be righteous, but yet postpone righteousness until another day. Only those living sinful lifestyles know their own spiritual condition, but many of those have the hope of salvation although they aren't a new creation!
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."
The age old doctrinal question is this: "Because a man still lives a sinful lifestyle, is he not truly born-again?" Only God knows that and he will do the judging. However, we can still have an opinion and indeed we must exercise that opinion:
1 Corinthians 5:11 (ESV) "But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one."
Of course "judging" runs the gambit from "innocent" to "guilty". We are not to condemn the person, which is harsh judgment, but we must have a middle position. We can witness guilty behavior, but not inner spirituality. If we still see the old creature in our Christian brother (or sister), scripture tells us "not even to eat with such a one"! That is "shunning" and that's what our Mennonite friends did. In psychological circles it's called "toughlove".

The assumption is that the "brother" still desires association with family members, friends and other Christians. The Holy Spirit uses friendship to draw others to Christ. Loving others is the best we can do to fulfill the Great Commission. Churches are filled when Christians truly love others!

Why shun? It's to reinforce positive behavior. By withholding companionship and communion with those the brother loves, it is intended to get them to change toward more positive behaviors. It's hard to detect the positive reinforcement with shunning, but when positive outcomes are exhibited, friends commune more with the brother. Shunning is an approach which steers failing brothers back toward God and is great act of love!

Shunning is difficult because it hurts the shunned emotionally. Psychologists are at odds whether shunning works, but who cares what they think? God tells Christians who love those close to them to show love by shunning! Shunning is much like punishment because the adage "This will hurt me more than you!" may be the outcome. However, Christians cannot tolerate sin in the Christian community nor in the family. Unchristian behavior is dysfunctional. Stress caused by those in sinful lifestyles can provide extreme imbalances in both families and the church!

There is another reason for shunning those brothers who live a sinful lifestyle. Satan uses them to get to you! I mentioned an "imbalance". That applies to your own relationship to Christ! Adam was told not to eat of the fruit or he would die. He watched Eve eat and she didn't die, so Adam ate of the fruit. It appeared to Adam that God was either wrong or a weak Father. Either way, Adam was enticed by the serpent and copied his wife. Eve had a negative influence on Adam and he was sinful because he let Eve model sinful behavior to him and then copied it!

We shun brothers (ans sisters) who live how they want to live because if we're not careful, we may soon be eating of the same fruit which they eat, to wit: "sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler"!

Shunning is God's way of putting a hedge around his true followers to keep Satan at a distance. That's some of the armor in God's arsenal to fight evil, and Christians must put on that durable protection. This is war and you are a pawn in the battle. You stand on the front lines and don't even know you're in the battle even thought that brother (or sister) of yours is maimed, maybe even in mortal danger!
Ephesians 6:12 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Christians are to have spiritual discernment. I can sense evil approaching and endeavor to avoid it. However, those powers are stronger than I am, and I must follow God's instructions to stand firm in the face of the enemy. God tells me to stay away from negative influences and if I want to survive, I must do so!  Failing brothers are riddled with temptations offered by the evil one. Those brothers criticize what's good and build-up their own lifestyles. Because they have fallen, their desire is that you fall with them!

You must be reminded that such villainous actions are not conscientiously administered. Our brothers are tricked by deceit just as Eve was when the serpent said "you surely won't die"! after God said she would!  She listened to the wrong voice and died spiritually. If Christians listen to the wrong voice and participate with those who do sinful things, we are in danger of spiritual death as well!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

On Being Libertarian

I write often of the evils of socialism. It is on the whole "Godless" because not only do Marxists openly denigrate religion, but requires the people to place their faith in the government. On the other hand libertarians refute Marx, propagate any religion and puts their faith in self-indulgence. The God of socialism is the government. The god of libertarians are the "self" which each person has. Marxism is focused on the good of the masses, whereas libertarians focus on the pleasure of individuals.

There is a continuum from libertarianism to Marxism. It's scale ranges from anarchy on one side to a virtual prison on the other. Not all of libertarianism is bad and not all Marxism is evil. Somewhere between anarchy and total control lies a spectrum of sanity. Most people go insane and consequently the government of insane peoples rule insanely. Those who favor Marxism are insane! Any person who would place themselves in bondage to a government have no confidence in themselves and no faith in God! Those who run wild in the streets are mobs who have no confidence in the One True God and no faith in government.

I've written extensively of socialism and communism, both degrees of Marxism. (

This immediate commentary is on the ideology of libertarianism. Like socialism and it's desire to do good for the masses, libertarians desire to do what's good for the individuals. Socialism destroys those who it seeks to help and libertarianism destroys the structure where people can help. Both are destructive although much different!

The word "liberty" is sacrosanct to Americans!  What is "liberty"?
"The state or condition of people who are able to act and speak freely or : the power to do or choose what you want to." (Meriam-Webster Dictionary). 
Liberty sounds as if it's the ultimate satisfaction! It raises the question why anyone would even dream of opposing liberty. For some, the socialists, liberty seems unfair because they view human nature as selfish. Indeed pure libertarianism is selfish! What's strange though is that both Marxism and Libertarianism have elements of Darwinism. Both propagate the notion of "survival of the fittest"! Libertarians want individual power and Marxists desire that the weak be weeded out to make a strong government. Of course the weak, in the eyes of the Marxists, are those who rely on God to allow them to cope in life. They have disdain for God because faith in God robs people of faith in government!

The United States is based on liberty. That's good because liberty was tempered by regulation to protect the people. Democracy is a form of libertarianism because the strong rule the weaker. Our founders wisely tempered democracy by making the nation a republic. We have representation in government through the electoral college and the senate chamber which makes small states have some sort of equalizing power with the large states. Liberty is good when its rational. However, there is much irrationality to modern libertarianism!

What does God say about liberty? First off, Adam and Eve sought liberty. Their desire was to stand away from regulation and do what they pleased. The entire concept of "original sin", the disobedience of Adam and Eve, is individual liberty without regulation from God. Sure, they wanted God's provision and protection, but they still wanted the freedom do do what their own will desired. Human nature is for pleasure, the accumulation of wealth and knowledge. That's what our forebears desired. That's what they got! However, there are consequences to individual freedom. Free people are subject to their own mistakes!

God was patient with the early libertarians. Yes, the Hebrew people did most of the year whatever they wanted, then the priests made a yearly sin sacrifice to appease God. These early libertarians actually "paid" God for their liberty. They were free to do what they wanted as long as they redeemed themselves by a poor animal on a fire!

The Jewish people, save for those who listened to God, continued to be libertarians throughout the centuries. All of a sudden these free peoples were enslaved by the Egyptians. Before, when they were free people, they were unwittingly slaves to sin, because sin is bondage! The master is the devil. Then all of a sudden they became captors of a vile nation. They were regulated in most aspects of their lives. However, they were still free to sin, and sin they did! When in Egypt they did what the Egyptians did and when God saved them from Egypt (obtaining their liberty), most sill preferred the bondage of Egypt where their reward was sin!

Many years went by and the Hebrew people strayed away from God. They thumbed their nose at regulation. They still play-acted allegiance to God, but all the while, they failed to obey God's commands. These people didn't make good Marxists because they hated regulation, but didn't make good libertarians because in their "freedom" they were still slaves to sin! They were fooled by the fooler. They couldn't see the bars of their prison, but they were still prisoners. Their liberty was a facade faked by the deceiver!

There came a time when anarchy came into existence. Anarchy is the extreme condition resulting from unabridged liberty! Again let us turn to those who know:
Anarchy is "a situation of confusion and wild behavior in which the people in a country, group, organization, etc., are not controlled by rules or laws." (Meriam-Webster Dictionary)
In Canaanland here is that same condition:
Judges 17:6 "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
Most all the Hebrew people were libertarians! There was no law, at least laws they obeyed!  They ignored the decrees of God and his just punishment for disobedience. Sin reigned! They were free, but free to do what the powers in hell wanted them to do! Again, mankind was back in the original state. Thinking that they, being enlightened, were free, they were in bondage to sin! They were Egyptian slaves again in a new land with the same ultimate master! They no longer built structures of brick for their masters, but obeyed every whim of the Prince of the Air!

Liberty is the ultimate in doing what was right in the individuals' own eyes. What were some of those things? Anything which pleased them: idol worship, same-sex relationships, fornication and adultery, theft, murder, strife, filthy deeds and speech, and all the sins of hate prohibited by God! In truth, they had the liberty to self-destruct and they did sometime later! There are consequences to anarchy! The weak are destroyed and the powerful self-destruct, all because there are consequences to liberty!

At this moment most libertarians think of themselves as independent minded conservatives. There are many aspects of conservatism to libertarian ideology, but thre are degrees of anarchy as well! The liberty to self-destruct is still a tenet of libertarians. Most believe whatever people do in their own home is their own business and who cares what's good for society, let alone what God wills?

Drug use and condoning the pursuit of happiness by escaping reality is a result of too much liberty. They fail to see the cost to society in favor of the pleasure of the individual. There are consequences of a Prozac nation and that is mediocrity, high health costs and early death. Other citizens are endangered by the selfish freedom of others.

Although many libertarians claim to cling to God and gun, those who know that "faith" turn their heads to same-sex marriage, abortion, drunkenness, promiscuity and all the sins of Egypt that are alive and well in the western world! Libertarianism is "creeping" just as is socialism. It's not a sudden surprising change, but these extremists on both sides allow time for citizens to become acclimated. Who does the acclimating? The deceiver; Satan!

There is a war going on. It's a spiritual war and on one side are the socialists destroying through control and libertarians destroying through unbridled freedom. Each without due respect for God embrace hedonism. The war is being won by invisible forces and time will take it's toll! Test libertarianism with scripture. Just like socialism, both fail the test!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Filthy Talk

Filthy talk, first off, is not using God's name in vain. It is not mentioned in any of The Ten Commandments. Hence, filthy talk must be okay for the Christian to speak! Right?

Before we get into what the Bible says, let's first contemplate filthy language.

Sometimes "filthy" words are benign nouns or adjectives. As my children pointed out early on "ass" is in the Bible as is "piss'. Both are mere descriptions of physical things. Why then is it off-color to call people "asses" and refer to posteriors in such a fashion? Why is it off-color to talk about "pissing"! It's all in the context of things!

"Context" is basically using words to clarify surrounding thoughts. We use words to aid others in understanding what we are trying to say. For instance, let's look at "ass". In context it aids in clarifying the animal on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem. Since the people were expecting a general, king or great leader, it was expected that any riding which Jesus would do, would be on a majestic white horse. The Jews missed the point and Jesus made the point for them! He rode a lowly ass into town.
Zechariah 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."
Jews paid little head to their prophet's vision. They had read this, knew this and should have expected it to be, but they didn't believe it! Why? Because they had little faith and their own idea of royalty was totally different than what God's is.

It is appropriate to say Jesus rode into Jerusalem "on an ass".  It's the same as saying "on a donkey".  In fact "ass" is nearly obsolete now as a term for "donkey" Why? Because of it's use as slang. Today, a better meaning is "an obstinate or stupid person" or "one's buttocks".

It's not wrong to call a "donkey" an "ass", but because of the negative impact words can have, calling a person "an ass" means that they are either stubborn, foolish or stupid (or like their own buttocks)! It is acceptable if they are to call people "stubborn". That is an acceptable use of the word "ass". However, calling anyone "stupid" isn't the righteous thing to call anybody. It's as if one is saying "you fool"!
Matthew 5:22c "...whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
Why is that so? Because God commands us to "love our neighbors" meaning our fellow earth-dwellers, that's why!  By calling people stupid, fool or asses, we minimize their value and they are of great value in the eyes of the Lord!

But some refer to their own posterior as "ass"! Is that okay?  It would appear that "buttocks" are referred to as "asses' because people sit on both. That's not complicated. However, calling people an "ass" is much like calling them a "rear end", butt or other derogatory term for stupidity.

There are technical terms for body parts and some of those technical terms have been shortened. As long as one uses such words as they are have traditionally been defined, it would be appropriate.  Referring to the rear end as buttocks, glutes, posterior, behind, etc. is proper grammar. Referring to people using the same words is inappropriate and offensive. Hence, even benign words can be made cancerous by using them out of context!

Because society has accepted the redefinition of words doesn't make them less filthy. For instance, "ass" according to modern dictionaries, are also the buttocks. However, "ass" is still off-color because people have made them so by misappropriating what they mean! They have used words out of context so long that now they are acceptable terms (for the world) in their new context!
Romans 12:2 "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
We are not to do as the world does! When in Rome we are not to do as the Romans do? We're not to leave our secrets in Las Vegas. We are to be a peculiar people in that we're set apart form the world!
1 Peter 2:9 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light..."
Can you hear it now? "You ass! You're an idiot." This comes from the mouth of those who claim to be Christians and are "Royal Priests". Is love shown by using such words? Would a genuine priest of Jesus Christ call fellow human beings who they are to love "stupid asses"? You can answer that because it should be intuitively obvious!

 Filthy language is the second-hand smoke of all vocabularies. What I mean by that is when you exhale such exclamations there are bystanders who not only don't want to hear it, but it also hinders there worship!

We are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. However, others, and often our own mouths, have contaminated that sacrifice!  When I worked in an office deluged with filthy talk, I would go to church to praise and pray to my Creator and second-hand filth would waft through my brain! Before I could pray or praise, I had to first ask God to remove the filth from my mind! How could I pray for Mrs. Jones' cancer to be cured if my mind was on the licentiousness? My exhuming the foul from demonic graves while uttering epithets was the filthy lucre which prevented Mrs. Jones from being exorcised of her malignancy.

The use of filthy language on the part of a Christian can be a stumbling block for others and even cause others to question our devotion to God who asks for our obedience.
Colossians 3:8 "But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth."
Wait a MINUTE! This is not one of THE Ten Commandments, is it?  They are as good as the commandments because we're not showing any love for God nor our neighbor when we use filthy communication! It's trash talk and God doesn't want to hear himself nor his people trashed!

My last habitual use of any filthy lucre (1 Timothy 3:3 calls it that) was when I was in my early twenties. I called a bad driver a "S.O.B." and I didn't use an acronym! My young son was with me and he gave me such a disappointed look that I was whipped by God. Not only did my hateful tone scare him, but a phrase with which he was unfamiliar upset him. I vowed to quit using filthy language right then and there! Guess what? It's been easy because they Lord convicted me that it's wrong!

I examined myself:

  • Do I want to disappoint God?
  • Do I want to teach my  son garbage?
  • Do I want to lose my children's respect?
  • Do I want a lousy offensive vocabulary?
  • Do I want to hurt others or even offend them?
  • Do I want to be righteous and be able to talk to God and have him listen?
All these questions are "no", but he last one! God listens to those who come to him meekly, sincerely and with love. Using S.O.B. didn't really encourage God to commune with me, unless I was asking him to forgive me!

There is one big question which remained to be answered: "If I can't even tame my mouth, where is my heart?"

Ephesians 4:29 "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
We're not to use any "corrupt communication" because it lacks grace and does not build up! As such, it tears down and tramples the hearers under foot! In other words, if I can't tame my tongue, it being the mouthpiece of my heart, how can I love God and others? It was obvious to me that I was spending no time encouraging others because I was too busy hating them! We have an obligation to God: We're to love him and other people. If we don't then we deserve what we'll get: hell fire!

There are many types of filthy talk. Some of it may be sexual, excremental, condemning, disrespectful, hateful, prideful and belligerent among many other types. However you misuse our language to denigrate, it is wrong, wrong, wrong! Not only that, it is ignorant, ignorant, ignorant because people who use such terms must have a very limited vocabulary, not to mention a total disrespect for those who don't want to hear it!

Practice helps! It's best not even to use slang as a substitute because more important than the word, is the thought behind it! Saying "Aw, crap!" isn't filthy in itself,  but it's an insult to John Crapper's name (inventor of the commode) and it is also off-color. Just let you "yes's" be "yes's" and your "no's" "no"! Face it "Aw, crap!" doesn't convey positive pictures in the mind, edify others nor encourage.

Develop words which display true feelings without the negativity and offensiveness, not only to others, but to God. When I'm excited I don't use "OMG" nor it's full meaning. I just say "Wow!" or if I'm surprised "Yipes, stripes!" The same message of surprise or excitement is achieved using less negative phrases. With practice, it's easy and all of a sudden, you'll have a vocabulary!

Never think in terms of what the preacher might think, what your mother might think nor what I may think. Think in terms of what God demands! What is offensive to him and how he would have you speak!

Can you imagine Jesus saying "Aw, crap!"? You know that he wouldn't because that's filthy lucre! Guess what? We're to be like him!  It's not easy at times, but we get credit for trying to please him. It may be something small in heaven or maybe a special crown, but we will be rewarded if we obey!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Friends are Forever

 What is a friend?
John 15:13 (ESV) "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
Proverbs 17:17 (ESV) "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
A "friend" is a person with great enough love to lay down his life for one who is his friend. A friend is one who loves at all times. Friendship is then unconditional. Even when friends do things distasteful or wrong, according to God, a true friend still loves them! There is a great correlation between "love" and "friendship". Without love friendship isn't truly there. Associations without love are mere acquaintances. Love is the key:
1 Corinthians 13:4 (ESV) "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. 5 It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends."
 This passage could just as well say "Friendship never ends"! If a friendship is over, then the friendship was never there! That's by definition.

When a loving marriage ends by divorce or death, the friendship which was there ends for one or both. Divorce for some is much as death. There is a hole there which can never be filled. That's because the friendship never really ends.  I had one person who I counseled regarding divorce, when I asked "What would divorce be like for you? She replied "It would be like death!" That feeling is not because of erotic feelings, but friendship.  Romance is easily dispelled, but friendship endures. Many feel sorry when divorce occurs although romance is long gone. Couples can love each other as friends, but despise each other romantically!

A broken friendship is much the same way! A dead friendship is much as death. One or both still have love for the other, but conflict overcomes love until the friendship seems dead. We forget that as true friends "love bears all things" and don't work to love the irritable or wrongdoing person. Rather than working on our own love, people dwell in their own disenchantment with the friend. Since God commands us to love in the Book of John several places, I continue to stress: "Love is not an emotion, but an obligation which requires work!"

If there is another with whom we have animosity there's something that needs to be done:
Matthew 5:23 (ESV)   "So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
At first glance one would think "If I have something against my brother I need to go make it right before I praise God." However, this passage is much more profound than that! Even if our brother has something against us, we have an obligation to make it right before we praise God! When there is animosity between two people who are commanded to love each other, God turns off his communion until that's made right!

Have you ever wanted to go to the altar and pray to God and still have ill feelings toward someone? We all have! That needs to be made right before we ask God to honor our prayer.

We all have enemies with whom we need to right wrongs, but worse yet, many of us have friends with whom we've had conflict! How in the world can one pray at the altar and harbor ill feelings against a friend of whom all things we are to endure; one whom we are always to love? Friends heal animosities. If one friend hurts another, it's the OBLIGATION for even the "innocent" friend to step forward and make things right!

I enclosed innocent within quotes because any of us can be blinded to our own wrongs. Satan does that! Therefore, God tells even the "innocent" party to make amends. That way pride is put in its place and love can do it's work.

Right now you can think "Are there things I need to make right with a friend?" The answer will surely be "Yes, I certainly have wronged one whom I'm supposed to love!" That's honesty.

I had three people who despised me. I don't know why they did, but the Lord inspired me to make things right. I sent to most difficult person a sympathy card when her mother died. I was the only co-worker to do so. She became not only a good friend, but an ally!

After that success in obeying God, I went to another person with whom I had animosity. I apologized for anything that I may have done to him. He shook hands with me and gave me a great compliment. He became my friend! I felt so good that I did the same to others. Love does conquer all!

I've went to other friends and tried to make things right and failed. That's a dismal feeling. It makes me wonder, "Is the friendship mutual?" If the perception is that it's not, that's a deathlike feeling!  Friendship is a two way work! When only one person is the friend, it is much as riding a bicycle with only one peddle. One tries to peddle for two and eventually fatigue sets in our maybe a wreck.

Some have so many "friends" that some other people aren't needed as friends. Discarded people may make the best friends! Several people who I first avoided became my best friends because their unfriendliness was caused by lack of love from other people. Most people require love from others! Love returned brings life to those dead in friendships!

True friends, as is love, is forever!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What is Truth

The greatest philosophical question of all time: What is truth?

If one wants a philosophical definition of "truth" prepare to spend hours and hours reading theories, facts and hypotheses. However, there must be a simple definition of truth since wise people discern truth without knowing what philosophers say!

Some are simplistic in their thinking, making idiotic statements such as "The sky is blue." To many that's a fact and as a fact, to them it must be true! However, the sky has all the colors of the rainbow which appears mostly in daytime as blue and white. At night, it appears, due to the lack of illumination, as black. What's more, the blue we see in the daytime, is merely the predominant color remaining after other colors are filtered out by the atmosphere.

Another truth often quoted is 2 + 2 = 4. Does it really? It does in the decimal system, but not in others. In the binary numbering system this is written as: 10 + 10 = 100. You see "truth" is dependent on the frame of reference! 2 + 2 = 4 needs a reference to be truth!

Here are two statements from the Bible:
2 Peter 3:8 "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
Psalm 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
The first, reduced to mathematics, is 1000 years = 1 day. But we've shown that a frame of reference is required for truth. The "reference point" is "with the Lord". Hence, this statement may not mean 1000 years = 1 day!

Then, the second, says 1000 years = yesterday. Since yesterday means "times past" from the Hebrew. 1000 years = infinity because time always was! This mathematical definition is complemented by "as a watch in the night". Of course a watch was likely a sun dial, time was without definition in the night. Therefore, from Psalms time is without meaning! Again, the frame of reference is "God's time frame".

It is apparent that in God's time frame, of course preceding the sun, time is meaningless! 1000 years x (not equal to) 1 day. It means that God is not constrained by time and when we think in billions of years, God merely laughs. He did that in a "wink" of time! Some say that the God created the heavens and the earth along with dividing the light from the darkness in one day; the first day. I submit that God did that in an instant the first day as defined after the light was divided from the darkness.

Why was God able to do that? Let's test Herrin's Theory here:
Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.”
In one word God created the heavens. With one breath God created all the stars. It would appear to me that with the word space was made for the stars and with his breath the stars were sprinkled into the space. It was all done in God's time frame, not one day!

Let's look at science. A black hole is of such mass that even light is a slave to its effects. Any matter of any size which passes nearby gets sucked in and disappears into darkness since light can't escape from its gravity. Suppose then that any mass, even one of us, which passed on the tangent of the gravitational field of a black hole would be propelled in an instant from one place in the cosmos to another. That's called a "worm hole"! It defies time. The "wormhole theory" verifies God's omnipotence. Time is inconsequential under the influence of great forces. Scientists call this force "gravity". God is not a force, but God is greater than the gravity which he created. As gravity makes a mockery of time. God erupts in  almighty laughter at time's insignificance!

Then the truth regarding time is that time is not an accurate scale to measure existence. Man looks at time from what we can measure. The measurement error is beyond silly.  The truth's veracity is based on whose  reference is used.

The most often used definition of truth, and there are many, is "the correspondence theory": "what is believed or said corresponds to the way things actually are".

There is only one way to know "the way things actually are". It's to speak with the One who's been there and done that. Anything else is a measurement (with the great possibility of measurement errors) of the effects of the One who's been there and done that. Do we believe the actual (who is measured) or the measurement? I go with "the actual" since the correspondence theory is defined as "the way things actually are"!
Revelation 22:13 "I am (God) Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."
The definition of truth depends on what is believed matching actuality. The only known "truth" is that God was at the beginning of everything and will be there at the end, if there is to be an ending! Something was there in the beginning! Only the object of this passage tells who. Because there are no alternatives, then we must accept this as truth. As such anyone having an hypothesis that something other than God started it all, must be able to prove it. By definition an hypothesis cannot be proved. It can only fail to be disproved. Hence, no one will ever be able to prove that there is no God. Then, what else explains the creation and the insignificance of time? God was there and God did it.

Since he is beyond time, God just "IS" and as such he needs no name, being merely "I AM"! That's as if God is saying "Why do I need a name because I'm so powerful that I have always been?" God saying merely "I AM" reinforces my contention that to God time is of no consequence.

What then is truth in terms of time? From God's reference, God's beginning is the beginning of time and since God always was, time always was. Hence, time had no beginning. It always was! How does one break infinity into increments so as to become a metric? Infinity divided by anything is infinity. Therefore, any time increment developed by men to explain those billions of years just don't mean anything! When they say "billions of years" that increment is without meaning because it's man's feeble attempt to explain an undefinable increment. God laughs!

It should be obvious by now that wise men accept the Almighty's Word over the powerful:
Psalm 119:30 "I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me."
Truth is what God says since only he is omniscient. This is having "unlimited knowledge" or as the word suggests "smarter than a scientist"!

For truth to be whatever God says, then not only must God be omniscient, but omnipotent as well. That's the "Almightness" characteristic God has because he has "unlimited power". You see, for his word to be truth, God must be truthful! He not only knows it all, but because he's Almighty, he did it all! In summary, his claim is supernatural, and is explained to the natural world by:
Psalm 119:160 "Thy (God''s) word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever."
Therefore, truth is whatever God says. It is unchangeable. It can't be one thing today and another tomorrow!  God's truth is relative to him only. Time doesn't matter because truth is absolute. There is a source for his truth. His word being truth means the Bible is truth in that it's the Word of God! God said it. It's truth!

Some claim that science is smarter than God. I'm not sure that science is even "smarter than a fifth-grader" because most children accept that God did it all. Education spends all its time trying to convince the malleable that they are omni-gnostics; that they have "unlimited knowledge". They are merely making a lame attempt at explaining their misconceptions of what God actually did! God's word is actual. What we see matches what's real. Hence, everyone, unless they have a proven alternative, should just look around and see God in everything:
Romans 1:19 "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"
What's your excuse? Whose truth do you believe? Self-examination reveals the error of the mind and the corruption of the soul.