Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Tempter and the Tempted

Proverbs 7:21 "With much seductive speech she (the forbidden woman) persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. so now  15 I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you."
There is seldom a sermon on sexual provocation. Why? We are all potential victims of that sin! Because of fidelity commitments and marital jealousy, it's something we keep hidden in the closet, but inside that closet the heat will someday self combust unless we see the danger therein and prevent the fire before it ignites.

In this technological age it's just too easy to run across temptation without even seeking it. The web is full of  tantalizing pictures and videos because it sells. On top of that bored people seek excitement. Because the world is the realm of the Prince of the Air, it's he who contaminates the spiritual environment. 

For instance, I always thought that Christina Ricci was an unusual, but not beautiful woman. A pop-up (the devil's tool) presented me with an unsolicited picture of merely her face an shoulders. I thought "I like her. I'm going to look at her other photos." Obviously I was bored. When I clicked on the link, there were no pictures of Christina Ricci at all. It was a semi-pornographic site. No, it wasn't the full Monty, but there was stuff there meant to entice, obviously they were after money at some point! I actually got angry that I was fooled and retreated to safety.

Don't give me any credit. I wanted to stay and look, but I had been studying my Bible. If I had not, I would have lingered. That's what Satan expects and counts on! Women, don't be hurt. I'm no different than any man ever and you are no different than any woman ever! I hate that I can fall to temptation, but until I'm made perfect in a glorified body, I am going to be tempted. That's what Paul meant with "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!"

Some theologians speculate that the original sin was about sexual temptation with it's beauty. That proceeds from guilt of the sinners who immediately covered their genitals. In the Bible's lexicon the sexual organs represent "the flesh" and even in patriarchal times "the flesh" was cut-off by circumcision. God knows our sexual weaknesses and made a covenant with Abraham for circumcision as a signature for the deal.  By circumcision the Jew was made "a new person" just as we are when we're "born-again". The Jews were given a new chance and it was sealed with circumcision. Salvation provides a new beginning and it is sealed with baptism! Both are a commitment to be a living sacrifice and to cut off the flesh, the former the foreskin, but the latter the heart of flesh!

Lust is original sin! That's what both Adam and Eve did. They perceived that they had been short-changed by God and sought what they desired; the fruit of the tree. What God was jealous of is that his fruit was standing nearby and Adam and Eve lusted after what they didn't have! They had "The Tree of Life" with it's twelve fruits of the spirit, but they desired forbidden fruit. That's symbolic of the man or woman who has beautiful fruit already in marriage, but lust after what they don't have! I believe this was the sexual nature of original sin: LUST, whether it be for things sexual, prestigious, or knowledge.

Satan will always provide a stimulus because he knows man's weakness. For most people romance is a stimulus. Even happily married committed people react to stimuli. Being genetic descendants of Adam and Eve we are born that way! Marriage partners, don't get upset. It's not your fault that you can be tempted, but it is your fault if you relent to temptation because that's what sinning is all about.

A man can love his wife and be tempted by another. A woman can love her husband and suffer the same affliction. Don't be angry with your loved one.  That's the nature of the beast. Not that people are beasts, but that we are born with a beastly nature. Without spiritual restraints men are no more than a bull in the field and the women the willing heifer, not wanting to give birth, but driven by instinct to do what comes natural. Although procreation and even carnal knowledge is of God, Satan usurps it's use to pull us toward sin!

I repeat, Satan will always provide the stimulus, even to and especially to righteous men and women. That's because his desire is to minimize Jesus, already knowing that Jesus cannot be destroyed. He can't be, but we can be. That's why Jesus was only tempted four times. It was to  no avail, but we are continually tempted because we can fail and Satan knows that!

In this age everything is sold with sexual advertising. Yes, those pretty blonde girls who sell Hardy's on television are meant to tantalize. I told Terri that I doubt that one would find them at Hardy's when one goes there to buy hamburgers, but people go anyway. Advertisers know that sex sales because it does. They don't believe it's of Satan, but still deceive as Satan deceives.

Wherever men and women go there will be beautiful people. Many beautiful people are narcissists. They want attention. Their provocative dress and even their demeanor is to get attention. If she doesn't capture you with her appearance they add flattery (Proverbs 7:21 above). They strut their stuff, display their wares and flutter their eyelashes:

Proverbs 6:25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,  and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes..."
I must admit that an attraction, meant to attract, are the beautiful news persons, especially the FOX Women. It is certainly more entertaining watching most of them rather than Barbara Walters. Advertisers and network executives know this and that is why their resume's have "appearance" between the lines. 

Christian can do wrong by lusting without even acting upon it!

Matthew 5:28 "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
Going back to Adam and Eve, they sinned before they committed the sin. They should have, out of love and respect, be standing under "The Tree of Life", but instead they stood under the tree with it's forbidden fruit. They lusted after what they wanted. They placed self before God. Satan knows our vulnerability and he will always have forbidden fruit and from Proverbs 7:5 which speaks of "the forbidden woman". That's the woman that you're commanded not to have, the same as "the forbidden fruit" of the tree!

The "forbidden woman" is the adulteress. Not that she has already been carnal, but that is her desire. Satan plants her there and she becomes a tool of Satan. Any woman is vulnerable to be tools in the tool shed. Any man can be the tool of Satan. Don't be prideful and think that you're immune. Look at some of the clothing which are worn. Look at how we interact with others. Christians may not ever mean to be promiscuous, but even the lust associated with it is sinful. We all need to be careful in our interactions with others because Satan uses his tools in the shed as stimuli to do his work! We must wear God's full armor because Satan knows the chinks and where they are! For many people that is lust whether it be sexual, prestigious or any other aspect.

To be honest over the years I've seen as many boobs of careless women and many who wear short or provocative dress as I've seen on television.  It is not intentional, I'm sure, on their part, but they become tools in Satan's tool shed. Women are called on to be modest in dress and behavior!  Men are  as well. We all are at fault!

There are areas where we all must be careful (I must look at this from a man's perspective because that's my experience):
  • Non-verbal speech: our actions transmit information. Admiration can be cast such that the admired can perceive it without having to exchange a word. Proverbs 6:25 points this out for even the sashaying of the eyelashes speak loud, but silent words.
  • Touch: A prolonged handshake or a full body hug speaks audibly in signals. We all must watch the messages which we transmit and be aware of the effects of this type of touch.
  • Visual: This is obvious. Dress so as to not arouse. If you want to look sexy, chances are that you will succeed with some men.  Zealous makeup can provoke arousal.
  • Speech: Flattery comes to mind first. People love compliments and will respond to them.
  • Responses: Over-indulgence to compliments. Narcissistic people love compliments and may respond with affection to obtain more.
  • Appearance: Over-attention to dress and adornment is meant to draw attention and it will. There is more attraction for a classy and sophisticated person than there is for a person who has been around the race-track so to speak.
  • Lowered inhibitions: Drugs and alcohol are meant to lower God's check on us. By being less than sober people they will venture out further than they normally would.
  • Social interaction: Dancing and partying together can lead to more. It's just how things are!
  • Positive Reinforcement: Any behavior can encourage more attention. That's just the same as Pavlov's dog. We have the same animal instinct. When those bells ring, people salivate. Thereafter, even when the bell doesn't even ring people still salivate!
That's enough to get the point across. Even beauty is from God, but Satan uses all of our assets as tools in his tool box. He just bends the tools a little so they can be misused, then fixes people with defective fixes. People think I'm OK, you're OK, but neither are. We're broken and Satan smiles at his handiwork, and we did it for him!

Blame is the in the process at some point when things go wrong. We all can and must accept some of the blame. Eve blamed the serpent. Adam blamed the woman! It was both of them who were at fault!

Never give up! God can easily defeat the old serpentine backyard mechanic with his worn out tools, but we must wave the sword to make him flee!

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Elect

The "elect"are those chosen by God. Of course the desire is "that all shall be saved":

John 10:9 "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. "
Acts 2:21 "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
So"election" has a prerequisite: To win one must enter the contest so to speak! To enter the contest, because it is a contest, the door is open to all, but anyone who desires to be in the contest must enter into it. There is a password to enter the contest: The Lord's name! That is Jesus!

At this point you surely are skeptical. "There is no contest!" you remark. So you think not? The minute you enter the door where Jesus stands the contest commences. Jesus makes you "safe" (SHALL BE SAFE actually), but Satan steps up his attacks. He tempts and puts up obstacles. He devastates the righteous person to tear him down (read the Book of Job). Let the contest begin!

How does a Christian win the prize. Yes, there is a prize in this contest:
1 Corinthians 9:24 "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain."
Paul is generous here. It is all that "run the race" according to him, but most won't even stand by the starting gate (the door). They are those who are deceived: "Why run the race for there really is no prize!" Satan has them before they enter the door. They lose by default! Satan has most people and it's before the race even begins. In order to win the prize all are eligible. but he goes on to say "So run, that ye may obtain!" To finish the race each must run. That starts when the door is opened. We're all elected, but we all won't win the prize. Being "born again" is easy. You actually DO only one thing: have faith (in Jesus; that he is who he is and did what he did).  That's the entry door and the race is on!

The race is gruesome. While you run Satan shoots fiery darts at you. These are temptations and roadblocks. They are things such as persecution, doubt, secular wisdom and the like. Those hurdles in the race are high and we often stumble. Those who keep tripping over the hurdles will never make it to the prize. Those who get up and let the Holy Spirit lift them up and over them make it to the prize! You see, they don't need to run on their own. The word will be their weapon and faith their shield!

Those most likely to win the prize are protected by God's whole armor. Those who fail to put on that armor run on their own and lose sight of the prize and give up. They concede, "The prize is not worth the run," and those whose faith is spent never obtain the prize. That prize is not now. It's later for the runner SHALL be saved! Belief is entering the door to the race. Faith is a constant to win the prize. It's work to keep the faith strong because Satan robs your faith if you're not careful!
Matthew 24:13 "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
"Shall be" is when the race is over. That's when you get the prize! Those who endure the race all get a prize. The "endurance" part is keeping the faith! In spite of the "thorns in his side" (Satan's barbs) Paul "kept the faith":
 2 Timothy 4:7  "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith..."
The race being run is likened by Paul this time to "a fight" because while one is running the race there is a battle going on! The fight is with principalities, powers and rulers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12).  Yes, even those running the race fight the fight! Runners are the elect!  They are those who of their own volition are elected by God to run by entering the door of salvation.

Even the elect can be fooled! They can lose the battle if they don't run on solid ground!
Mark 13:22 (ESV)  "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect."
The casual reader would look at this passage and say "Well, it's not possible to lead astray the elect!" It certainly is possible. It doesn't say that it is IMPOSSIBLE. The possibility is that even the elect can be lead astray. If you're a Christian, you are the "elect" and you can be led astray! If that was not  possible Satan's task would be futile. When that open door is entered, it's by choice. God does not force an entry. That free choice doesn't end when one enters the door. It's always there in the race. "Reason" is one of the obstacles and doubt is a weapon of the war!

There are those who always there endeavoring to deceive you. The M.O. is to get you to  stand under the Tree of Knowledge over the Tree of Life. The former is the knowledge of the world and the latter is the word of God. Those trees are "schools of thoughts", one is philosophy, the other spiritual. The deception comes in to getting the elect to chose the secular over the spiritual. Once we, for example, are deceived by the theory of evolution, the first act God claimed is deemed a lie. Thereafter, the deceived person comes to doubt anything God says or does. Even Jesus' Resurrection may come into doubt!

In vogue now is even the deity of God. Many deceived people accept the lie that all gods are the same; that all are God. You believe the lie. You lose the race and never shall get the prize. You, the elect, have been descived into trading eternal life (the prize) for a lie!

Yes, even the "elect" need to tread softly while running the race. You are being barraged by continual lies. Step carefully because the quicksand is there. Don't slip into the sinking sand!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tools of His Trade

You are being used! Pride keeps you from seeing it because people are blinded by their pride. Pride must be protected at all costs! What is pride? It's the "spit and polish" of yourself which you adore and appease. It's you who is truly worshipped by you! Think not? Just let someone attempt to tarnish what you think of yourself and see how you respond.

You're weak. You cannot protect your idol by yourself. Undetected by you, Satan is right there insuring that your idol remains untoppled. He is the protector of your pride because pride is what keeps your idol afloat. Because your strongest desire is to keep your idol intact, you unwittingly allow Satan to use you. As such you are one of the many tools in Satan's toolbox. He uses you as a weapon of mass destruction to harm others. Even Christians can be tools because they are deceived. You may believe and trust in God, but beneath your detection you turn the pages for the author of evil!

Who are those tools? They are certainly those who have not been born again, but they too are disobedient children of God who don't appreciate their adoption. They are heirs of God, but yet children of the devil. The Holy Ghost offers ever Christian protection, but the Christian must dress in God's whole armor. Instead, Christians who do not carry his sword (the word) and fail to raise his shield (faith) are open targets for Satan's barbs. Weak and uncommitted Christians may do the devil's dirty deeds. That's why there is dissension in the church. That's why Christians are arrogant rather than meek, that's why Christians strut about in faux friendliness such that they're noticed and that's why Christians hate others; even other Christians.

Many Christians are tools of the devil even though they may claim friendship with those they destroy! Consider Judas. He was not only a disciple of Jesus, but an apostle. Jesus called and anointed him. He was a friend to Jesus, but when Judas needed "spit and shine" because his idol needed appeasement, he betrayed Jesus! However, rather than Judas' idol remaining prestigious, even in his own eyes did he see the weakness of himself, and with desperation, destroyed his own idol! Yes, Jesus went down with him, but Jesus was Resurrected! Judas shall never be!

You see, Judas was a tool of Satan. Satan's job is to minimize Jesus because he knows that Jesus cannot be destroyed. Satan's M.O. is to turn the unsaved and the Christian away from Jesus. Weak Christians are mere tools to do that just as Eve set the bad example for Adam in the first sin. Yes, innocent Eve was a tool in Satan's toolbox because she was deceived. If Eve can be, you can be as well. Many of you are!

You are the prideful Christian. You are the unloving Christian. You are the dishonest Christian, you are the divisive Christian, your are the gossiping Christians, you are the Christian who must remain upright when you deserve toppling. You are the Christian who never made the living sacrifice. You are the Christian who changed outwardly, but harbor an unforgiving heart!

You sit in your pew week after week and think "Preacher, THEY needed to hear that," while you are the one to whom it applies! You are the Christian who was to become a new person, but you neglected the transforming change because you failed to sacrifice yourself!

"But," you say "I am a Christian!" Remember that God's command was for you to "not have other Gods before (besides) him". Then you keep your own god. Even Christians break "The First Commandment" by idolizing their own presence! What is it that you need to do? You need to change and if you haven't, you're no more than a tool of the devil doing his dirty work with what appears to be clean hands. You are many!

Repent and renew your spiritual birth. Be meek and you will in your meekness be raised to a high place in God's eyes. Be meek with true love and obedience and God's kingdom will grow instead of many temples of God be in destruction.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Capital Punishment

Capital punishment is punishment for capital offenses, consisting of espionage, treason and most often MURDER! Punishment for any of these can be death!

Because I'm conservative and realize that the threat of death is a deterrent to capital crimes I have always been in favor of capital punishment. It is a deterrent, but we must think more deeply than that! Yesterday I was enlightened. It was while I was merely sitting waiting for God's inspiration that it came to me!

Capital punishment is "just" punishment. People DESERVE what they dish out. That's only fair. Scripture says ( three different places incidentally):
Exodus 21:23  "And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, 24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."
It is justice to pay life for life. I don't know about espionage and treason, but since they can cause death, that too seems fair to me, and apparently to God.

This specific incidence for justice is in regard to the abortion of an unborn child:
Exodus 21:22 "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine."
Then it goes on to say "life for life". Abortionists DESERVE death because the most innocent child is an unborn one. They entirely depend on the parents for protection from "mischief", meaning sin. The specific sin of abortion is murder. It is a capital offense deserving capital punishment!

Until yesterday I would be the first to volunteer to pull the switch on an abortion monster. That is righteous anger and the culprits do deserve scorn! It's almost inhuman to snuff out the life of an innocent child and arguments against their life is futile in the face of science and God. 

Of course there are those who believe in abortion and infanticide given the cleaned-up clinical name of "partial birth abortion", which incidentally Obama favored when he was state senator in Illinois.

Murderers are those who not only "pull the trigger" so to speak, but create the environment for murder. I doubt if Hitler ever murdered anyone himself. He had others do it for him. With that said Hitler was the most notorious killer of all time!  One should wonder about those who create the climate for murder. For instance millions of otherwise "good" people turned their heads knowing that Jews were being massacred under The Third Reich, but they stood by with plugged ears and fogged glasses to give themselves and air of innocence.  Their tolerance of those who murdered made them accomplices to murder. They killed without lifting a hand while the stood idly by in apathy!

The fate of children are my concern. People say that since I'm not a woman, what they do with their own body is of no business of mine! That's the attitude of those in socialist Germany at that time. They weren't Jews, so they made the killing of them none of their business. People who rationalize life away so easily are murderers and DESERVE just punishment.  I would convict them of  some degree of murder if there was ever a jury. Yesterday I would have done so. Today, I would have second thoughts because God gave me second thoughts!

Consider what Jesus said about revenge:
Matthew 5:38 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."
We are to treat others as we desire to be treated. That's "The Golden Rule" and it's God's place to be vengeful, not ours. Justice of course is "an eye for an eye", etc., but we're not the ones to do it. Of course God ordained government to institute laws for the protection of mankind, but we still need to be careful!

My change of heart considered two of the most devoted people to God who ever existed! They were both bad guys, murderers, even doing espionage and treasonous acts! I'm referring to King David, "the man after God's own heart" and the Apostle Paul who gave God his own heart!

Without quoting the scripture, David, for the lust of married Bathsheba, had her husband Uriah sent to the front lines in battle where he was soon killed! David didn't pull the bow string nor toss the spear, but he murdered Uriah by laying the groundwork for his death!

The Apostle Paul had a personal vendetta against Christians for what he perceived as violating Mosaic Law. As such he sought them out, rounded them up, had them killed and surely did some trigger-pulling himself. Regardless, Christians were murdered and Paul was a murderer!

David and Paul DESERVED to die for their crimes. David convicted himself because Nathan the Prophet presented him a case which he failed to recognize as himself. Paul called himself "a chief sinner" because his sin of murder was so grievous.  God took these two murderers and convicted them both. Unto David God's Spirit indicted hmi with guilt. Unto Paul Jesus himself confronted him and made him see by making him blind!

By law these two characters would be executed in some fashion because that is justice. Instead God by grace allowed them to live and and made them into new persons! Jesus does that and since God and Jesus are one, God did that with David as well!

God doesn't want people to die who are far from him. Murdererers are far removed from God's will. Why? "Because God so loved the world!" and because he loves all of us he doesn't want any of us to have eternal death. Jesus said that (John 3:16).

What if David had been executed for his crime? There would be no Jesus because David is the ancestor of Jesus! There would have been no Jewish Kingdom nor a Temple for God because David built the kingdom and his son built the temple! Because David loved God so much for his grace the Holy Spirit came upon him and he became God's royal spokesmen. Billions of people have heard about Jesus because of David!

With Paul, Jesus came to him in person and convicted him of his sins. Rather than having Paul tried and executed, a just punishment, Paul became the most prolific of all the apostles. Through Paul's wrtitings when he became a new person, billions of people have been saved ard are still being saved! God used crooked sticks to save the souls of people because he loves them so!

Don't get me wrong. David and Paul DESERVED death. A life for a life was "The Law". God's grace protected them from true justice because they became new persons! David became THE man of God and Paul became THE apostle of Jesus who was inspired the most.

Now let us consider other evil people. Pick any. Let's pick someone sane though because many insane people have murdered. How about Saddam Hussein. He was certainly an evil man, a murderer and a tyrant, but I don't believe he was insane. He enjoyed power and wanted to keep it. He was an intelligent man and motivated. He was convicted and shot because he murdered. Like Paul and David, he didn't pull the trigger that I am aware of, but he caused many triggers to be pulled and many innocent people died because of his power.

When he was caught hiding under the floor as he was captured, he was a pitiful man. His power was stripped and he was vulnerable to punishment. In his depravity he was a prime candidate to learn about Jesus! But, at that time, I could have been in the firing squad because Hussein DESERVED death... and that's what he got. I believe this was God's justice, but what if God had had other plans for Hussein. Perhaps some Christian could convince him that he needed salvation. With his intelligence and motivation  Iraq could have been a changed world from what it is today!

Perhaps God did not plan that for Hussein, but what if he had and we didn't know it! Hussein could have made a difference. Now it appears he is serving another ruler in hell. By executing Hussein he had no further opportunity to be convinced. Justice, which he deserved, killed him once, but by doing so, killed him twice. It appears that Hussein likely never repented and now he never will. He is dying forever and will never be born again. That's a stiff penalty which God's grace can prevent... and he says salvation is for all!

Let's examine any murderer: By condemning them to  death we liklely are condemning them to a second death... and everlasting neverending death. My change of heart is because of grace. Since God gave me millions of chances, my heart is to put them away and let the Holy Ghost do some discusiing with them. Many have been made a new creation in prison because God had grace on them and they answered his knock. Justice can be incarceration and I favor erring toward charity if we are to err!

The guilty will meet justice whether we hand it out or not. If God's will is that they face eternal punishment they will. Of course his plan is that all shall come to him and as such he will continue to call until either one accepts or rejects. God's grace relies on his desire that people will seek him. Most won't, but his will is that they get a chance. God knows that eternity is a long time and God would have loved it if even Hitler had come to him!

God still speaks to stubborn people. I am one! Even in my previous belief, I could never actually shoot the murderer unless it was for the protection of my family or myself. I had no problem with others meeting out justice for me, but I shouldn't expect others to do what I won't do!

My change of heart is not a change of mind! My flesh still seeks revenge, but my spirit has more grace than that!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Loving Thy Neighbour

Mark 12:30 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
Some say "believe in God as you understand him"! Scripture implies that you must love God. One can't get by with "love as you understand it"! Why? Because apparently people fail to understand love! I won't go into a long dissertation on the types of love for many have done that before me, but for your enlightenment, the word "love" in the English language doesn't suffice. It needs further delineation.

"Love"in English, can be broken down into four types in the Greek: storge, philia, eros and agape types of love.  Of course we can love a person with all four types or maybe only one. Sometimes people have no love. The lack of love is called "hate".

I used to say "I hate John!" for instance when I was a child. Mom would always respond "No, you don't hate him. You just don't like him!"  Mom was using the agape type of the word and she was right!  Agape boils down to a moral type of love and for those whose morality comes from God, it's a righteous love demonstrated by God. When people say "It's Godly love." that's too simple. God loves us with profound love and we "shalt agapao the Lord thy God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength" to paraphrase Mark 12:30. However, God's ability to love dwarfs our own!

This agapao (moral love) we are to have is defined right there: We are to love God entirely and without reservation. We are to love him in a sense that we would never hurt him in any manner! That includes emotional hurt, but then, we do that many times each day by sinning against him!

John explains God's feelings for his creation quite well in John 3:16: "for God so agapao the world!" How much did God love us? "That he gave his only Son, " in our place! Why? So that we shall not perish!

That's the specific type of agapao we are to have when loving God! Our desire is that God exist forever and as "I AM" he always IS! Our desire is for him to remain the eternal God.

Then in Mark 12:31  We are to agapao our neighbor as ourself", applying it in first person. With all our being our heart's desire must be (not optional) that we want everyone to have eternal life. We must never want any person, regardless of their sin, to perish for eternity! That's why "Thou shalt not kill," is so important! By killing a person we may unwittingly send that person to eternal death. By murdering the one we are to agapao, we kill him mortally and also with the second death; spiritually!

I often ask "Are we to love even Hitler because his sins are many and great?" I have no right to condemn Hitler because my sins too are many and great!

Abortionists are to be included in our agapao. God commands it.  That is certainly true. We should never want any person, even Hitler, to die neither mortal nor spiritual deaths because the first may lead to the latter. The Christian must agapao people like Hitler enough to want them to have eternal life. God wanted Hitler to live forever! I must too! That is agapao!

Agapao does not imply anything else!  We are to love them enough to go out in the world and preach to them! With Hitler, Dietrich Bonnhoeffer preached to him because he didn't want Hitler to perish, but directly because Hitler was sending men and women to a mortal death and for many a spiritual death! Hitler was killing the same people twice with one swoop!

Agapao does not mean the following:

  • Brotherly love (philia). We aren't to treat others as brothers unless they are.
  • Sexual love (eros). Scripture makes it clear that we not love others, neither male nor female, in a sexual sense if they are not brothers and sisters in Christ and then it's to be done in marriage only!
  • Love as family (storge). God and his children (those born again) are family. We of course have our immediate family who we storge, but the focus we are to have with them is agapao. Even though children are family we can hate their M.O. but we still must love part of them: their soul!
  • Tolerate. When we fail to admonish and rebuke sinful people we are delivering them over to Satan who plans their second death. Tolerating without correcting is NOT loving. When one has agapao for another, it's hard, but they still can rebuke the other.
  • Respect another. That means have deep admiration for another. That is not agapao! The only thing we can ADMIRE about evil people is that they are worth saving, but again, that's NOT respecting them. That's agapao! Respect implies that people have charactristics which command respect. God doesn't respect them because of their characteristics. Peter acknowledged that. "I perceive that God is not a respecter of persons". God doesn't expect us to respect anyone's personhood!
  • Agree  with. We are to agapao people who are 100% wrong. That's how God loves us, but he expects us to come to agreement with him. What we believe must be in accord with God's word. That is agapao. By disagreeing with a person's false perceptions is not hatred. It's agapao for God!
  • There are many other type of things which agapao is NOT. We must love their soul, but their flesh belongs to Satan unless it has been reborn and become part of the family of God.
Some people believe that all sins are equal in God's eyes. He doesn't say that. The punishment for unconfessed sin is the same. The punishement is the same for one as for many sins. But people, even those who equate sin, have a disconnect in their thinking. If stealing is as bad as killing then it would imply that abortion is the same as killing millions of Jews. I believe that all sins are not equal and have written on that before. However, I believe that murder of unborn infants is the same as the murder of adult Jews. God does not have any "buts" in "Thou shalt not kill!" As such, I have no repect for Hitler and no repect for the abortionist. I DO NOT have any admiration for them at all. Their deeds cancel out any admiration!

On the other hand I agapao abortionists and even Hitler! It is God's desire that they all be saved, and that's my desire. If Hitler confessed his sins in the fleeting moments of his life, I don't respect him, but I would be pleased if he turned to God and had eternal life! He certainly doesn't deserve it, but God's grace is sufficient to cover Hitler as he did the Hitler-type, the apostle Paul!

Friday, July 22, 2016


"Sorrow" is suffering distress for whatever reason. It's easy to have sorrow for the death of a loved one! When I think of my poor deceased parents I have sorrow, but the only "sorry" which I have is that I ever disobeyed them and failed to appreciate and spend enough time with them. I did have the utmost respect and love for my parents!

"Sorry" is feeling distress as well. It usually involves sympathy for another. In the case of the death of the loved one, the sorrow is felt because the loved one will be missed. If one truly examines the heart, the sorrow felt is for oneself. It's when one realizes that this person will never be seen in this world again. It's a feeling of lonesomeness which sets in, but the distress is what one feels is for oneself!

Sorrow is manifested by feeling bad even to the extent that a person can't eat and joy is illusive. When I alienate another person I feel sorry for the loss. I am sorry that I alienated that person, but my sorrow is self-centered. I miss that person's friendship. Again, the sorrow is all about me and how I feel!
2 Corinthians 7:10 ( ESV) "For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death."
Let us first look at "worldly grief". This is what Lot's wife had. She looked back on her world as it was destroyed before her eyes. It immediately caused he death because God turned her into a pillar of salt! Jesus implied that Lot's wife was grieving over what was (Luke 17:31-33). Of course "the life" Lot's wife was trying to save was not her mortality, but her lifestyle. Grieving the loss of worldly things brings death because things are higher priority than God!

For instance a roadblock to anyone's salvation is "change". People reject salvation because they must quit doing what they are doing and living how they want to live. This road blocked me from Jesus for quite some time. I kept "looking back" just as Lot's wife did! What I saw when I turned around was pleasure. By looking back rather than being sorry that I was a citizen of Gomorrah, I longed to remain a citizen there while at the same time professing citizenship in the kingdom of God. Unlike this world, God does not allow citizenship in two kingdoms because we can only have one King!

Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
"Mammon" are "the things of the world". They destroyed Lot's wife and they destroy most people. Lot's wife was about to be made safe as she fled from the burning city. It is apparent that she had not a heart-felt righteousness because she grieved in remembrance of her loss; the life she had known and the rejection of the changes at hand. Lot's wife could not be saved because she had no sorrow for her part in this sinful city! She wanted to follow God, but the attraction for the world was too great for her. She was moving toward safety, but her heart wasn't in it. She had been mastered by her heart's desires. Satan won her heart and she felt no sorrow for longing for his kingdom.

Now for point 2 of  2 Corinthians 2:10 above. "godly grief produces a repentance". Of course the KJV translates "sorrow" in lieu of grief as the ESV does. They are interchangeable in this context because when one is sorry, one does grieve!

Given that one must repent to be saved:
In Acts 2:38 Peter admonished, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Repentance has a pre-requisite: one must be sorry for the sins which they have committed! The problem with Lot's wife was that she was not sorry. She still longed for what had been. Her heart was in the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah. She died while on the road to salvation!

Let's look at the road to salvation:
  1.  One comes to realize that death is sure.
  2. Because people want to live forever, most seek a way to do that.
  3. Jesus offers the only way to salvation.
  4. To win the gift of salvation they must trust Jesus that he can do what he claims and is who he says he is.
  5. Trusting Jesus is a willingness to follow and obey Jesus.
  6. A decision is made. I can follow Jesus or I can look back at what I have and keep it.
  7. With that decision relying on the grace of Jesus requires that one feel sorrow for grieving Jesus.
  8. With sorrow, comes repentance. One must repent to be saved, but "I'm sorry, Jesus!" must come first.
  9. Jesus forgives the one with a contrite heart and that person is born again.
  10. Those forgiven become a "new person" and new people have changed from old people. Allegiance to the world has been replaced by allegiance to Jesus.
It's this allegiance that Lot's wife had toward the world which destroyed her. As she was being saved she was foiled by memories of pleasure inflicted by Satan's darts as she fled. He tried to pull her back into a burning fire, but Jesus, because of his grace did allow her to escape torment by turning her into salt.  We only hope that she had enough faith to escape eternal torment!

What kept Lot's wife from salvation was a lack of sorrow. She didn't repent because her heart wasn't contrite. She had been accustomed to sinning with freedom with little or no guilt. Guilt is what the Holy Ghost uses to make us feel sorry and that sorrow leads to repentance. The Holy Ghost is Jesus knocking on your door with his Spirit here in earth. That knock must be answered with shame and grief for how a person has disrespected the One who died for him or her.

I "came forward" many times in my youth to seek salvation. I was on the road to safety when Satan shot those memory darts at me. Rather than being sorry, I relished in the pleasure of those memories and looked back with fondness. It's only after I submitted those memories to the Holy Ghost to handle for me did I cry in sorrow and repented. To be honest I still have fond memories of the pleasures of sin and often still sin, but although my flesh is weak my heart is still with Jesus. I will never look back to be mastered by Satan again. I repent as I sin because I feel sorry for disappointing my savior!

Not only are we to feel sorry for sinning against God, but against our neighbors as well! If we fail to show remorse for wronging others, it's sure that we won't feel sorry for wronging Jesus. Sorrow works hand in hand. We can't turn sorry on and off. When we wrong others it's rejection of Jesus' command "to love others as our self". The reason we can't say "I'm sorry!" to others with sincerity is because we look back at our own self. We love "the self" more than others and are in disobedience to God. We fail to grieve for our own sorry state of affairs.

I know some who have wronged me, but failed to say "I'm sorry!" That's not in the vocabulary for some, because it's not in their heart. I grieve when I wrong people. I grieve because I'm sorry that I have hurt them. I can't repent of my wrongdoing unless I am truly sorry! I'm not alone in this. Each and every person must pray that the Holy Ghost will make them feel guilt enough to be sorry for their deeds! When I was able to cry for my wrongdoing is when I knew that I was sorry. I was finally able to grieve because I hurt others and disappointed Jesus.

Right now I have people who should be sorry for their attitudes and behaviors toward me. I have some as well. I pray that Jesus will show me where I need to be sorry. He does that, you know?

With those points made, I felt badly at work because some people hated me to the extent that they avoided me. I came to those people and asked forgiveness if I had wronged them. They accepted because they knew I grieved for the loss of their friendship. With restitution I was relieved of my guilt and we became of one accord. One of these people became my closest ally and friend!

Love is NOT never having to say that you are sorry. Love is being sorry and repenting of it! It's love to be able to say that you're truly sorry. Don't listen to the words of the world. Let God guide you! Unless you can be sorry about wronging another, you'll never be sorry that you wronged Jesus.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Devil is a Demagogue

Is this accurate?
John 8:31 "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
The Jews were in bondage, not to slave masters, but to lies, and as such they were bound to Satan. Why? Because they believed a lie! Their religious leaders and their government said "Do all these things and you shall be rewarded with eternity in heaven." The deception here is that by DOING they would deserve reward. The truth is that by FAITH they shall be saved by GRACE!

 The Jewish leaders weren't necessarily evil people. They taught and demanded what they considered to be the right thing. They were sincere people, but sincerely wrong people because they had been misled. The patriarchs of old taught truth, but the devil twisted it. There was some truth in what they taught, but the essentials were falsehoods. Satan always uses the concept of goodness to slip in evil. This is demagoguery!

Leaders who have an agenda get adherence by false promises which are based on emotion rather than reason. To reason effectively one considers truth. Emotion is based on perceptions. Demagogues manipulate the emotions of the people to create a reality which is false.

For instance Hitler, to further his agenda, promised the Germans prosperity, but to gain adherents, he convinced most of the people that the Jews were the cause of the economic depression. He incited hate to divide the people and the people believed because he used innocent Jews as a scapegoat.

The National Socialist Workers Party (NAZI's) even had a "Propaganda Minister", Joseph Geobbels. His words were :

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”  
In other words Goebbels got the press to get others to accept the killing of innocent people! Sure, the people denied it happened until  the holocaust was exposed after the war when the Allies required the nice German people to witness first hand in the death chambers that which they had so easily turned a blind eye. They failed to see truth because effective demagogues gave them good things! Those blinded people were rewarded with pride and prosperity while the Jews were rewarded with persecution and death. Those free things the German socialists provided were costly. Prosperity came on the backs of dying people, yet the majority of the people were happy! Demagogues had deceived them in accepting the impossible: people killing people for "good"!

Note that the socialists were the demagogues, the people the gullible, but the tool was the press! The media, usually consisting of "enlightened" progressive thinkers are the screw drivers which screw the masses. It's their opportunity to create a false Utopia which they help design! Not because they are evil, but they are sincerely wrong. They are easily deceived because most of them are godless and their hearts inclined toward evil. How can one fend off the devil when they fail to carry the sword? Few people in the media believe the sword (the Word of God) and leave themselves open to the fiery darts of Satan. It's demagogues who ignite the fiery darts!

America is not immune because the citizens of these states believe the lie. God's Word is fornicated by religious leaders and false promises are made by politicians. Both have their demagogues. False teachers in churches teach that sin is of no consequence and that congregants are free to do what's right in their own eyes.

Churches allow homosexuals to preach and teach even though God destroyed whole cities, even the earth with water, because of their rebellious lifestyle. Some churches have abortion rights groups where sacred life stokes the fires of Molech... and it's the church which propagates these things! They are in league with the devil. They are a result of demagogues! They intend to do good, but they rely on their emotions! God's justice seems so wrong to them so they too do what's right in their own eyes!

Our government is based on solid, reasonable, fair and  moral principles. God had a hand in the laws of the land because those who loved and feared God instituted fair laws. Since then politicians have rent the Constitution until it's in pieces because of sincere concern, but sincerely wrong concerns!

Just like the National Socialists some in politics have their demagogues. It's to play on the emotions of the people. Logic and reason is set aside when sweet carrots are offered to the voters, but in return they are contaminated with the stench of rotten diseases. The victims of the demagogues are paid to be emotional. "These are good carrots and are healthy for you!" while they destroy the fabric of greedy people who are beguiled. Saul Alinsky,  Hillary Clinton's mentor, called these people "useful idiots" because they are fooled so easily!

In order for demagogues to deceive they must have many people who are easily deceived. Those are "the useful idiots"! They are the ones demonstrating naked in Cleveland to defy Donald Trump. They are the ones Black Lives Matter organization can use to foment discontent. Just as with National Socialism the American socialists conquer by dividing. They have turned this nation into a nation of haters by pitting women against men, the poor against the wealthy who feed them, the secular against the Christian, blacks against the whites, and now the perverse against the normal! Those engaged in this battle on the side of emotion are the same "useful idiots" socialism needs to divide and conquer!

Demagogues of course infest  both of the main political parties. However, the Democrat Party, who call themselves "Democratic", purvey a constant barrage of emotionally targeted lies to get useful idiots to react and they are bribed with free things., mostly false promises which usually destroy the most people. Useful idiots do things like vote for politicians who favor abortion when it's their own race or sex which is most often the victims of the scalpel. They use words such as "safe abortion"! How can that be? Dying "safely" is an oxymoron, but useful idiots believe a lie because progressives have manipulated their emotions!

Phrases such as "Women have a right to do what they want with their own bodies," appeal to the emotional "freedom of choice", but the outcome is killing the body of another person! It's not their own bodies which die, but an innocent child's! Useful idiots believe these lies because demagogues feed on their emotions to the extent that reason is seldom used!

You, useful idiot, are victims too! It's you who suffer in the background while smiling all the time. After you are used and your stupidity is no longer needed, then demagogues just find a different source of useful idiots! Note that in the beginning Nazi demagogues used homosexuals to gain power and control. On "The Night of the Long Knives" homosexual generals and their lovers were murdered in their beds. These useful idiots were no longer needed. Today demagogues divide us using our sexual preferences as the way to our emotions. You folks are being used as useful idiots by demagogues!

"The truth WILL set you free!" Jesus said that. If you rely on the Son, the Son shall make you free and you will indeed be free! Right now even Christians are being deceived. They listen to the media criticism of Trump and those who have divided the Republican Party with their demagoguery. Sure, Trump has his faults as does the Republican Party, but both are icing compared to the Democrats arsenic. Even you Christians are becoming their useful idiots because you listen to Democrats and the media feed on your emotions twenty-four hours each day. Just remember, once your vote is in, useful idiots are no longer needed! Let the truth set you free indeed!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Critical Demeanor

A "demeanor" is how a person appears to another. "Critical", in this context, is criticism or disapproval.  Some have a "critical demeanor", and respond with undue negativity. Their M.O. is negativity. What is it that most people desire to do when continually encountering a person with a critical demeanor? The answer is avoidance! To subject oneself to undue criticism is stress-causing and unnecessary. Only a fool likes to be continually demeaned!

Let's look at the person whose demeanor is critical. They are not happy campers! Who or what is it that they dislike? Others and life itself! Some people respond with criticism because they just don't like life. Their existence depends on others unhappiness. Why are people that way? Because they lack love. It's obvious that joy and love are interdependent. One can't be joyous unless they love and they don't love because there is no joy in their hearts.

How are Christians to operate?

Ephesians 4:29  (ESV) "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. "
So according to inspired Paul, Christians are to build each other up!  That seems contrary to the disposition of the person with a critical demeanor! Why? Because it is! Oh, what are critical people to do? Build each other up! That's not done with criticism. Building up is done by encouraging words:
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ( ESV) "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up..."
The last part I omitted: "just as you are doing", because most people aren't doing that nowadays!

How can we encourage? Firstly, by not saying discouraging things, not by rolling of the eyes, not by showing an attitude! Before one can encourage, one must first abandon automatic discouragement! That is your nature! You must change. Fortunately, if one calls on Jesus, change is possible, but people are critical because they may not have Jesus in their hearts. They fail to do the foremost command. They have not loving hearts! Love is hard to do, but it is an obligation because Jesus commands it!

The second thing to do to encourage is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!" That's "The Golden Rule"! Do you want others to have a critical spirit with you? Surely not! Even those with a critical spirit don't want to be around others that way! They can't truly stand themselves, so why would they want to contend with others?

With that said, we should treat others well! That's fairness, with meekness, with love and all in accord with God's goodness. That's how you want to be treated. Why not treat others that way?

Thirdly, don't pick at another person. We all are slaves to our own faults. I bet yours are as bad as others! Most people who pick at me, I could destroy with words if that was my demeanor. Mine is to get along and be in accord! Constant criticism is a defense mechanism. It defends a person's inadequacies. Some use this tactic against those who are a threat. It may be education, performance, wisdom, ability or even appearance related. It's jealousy, aka envy.

My former father-in-law had a critical demeanor. There was never a reason to argue or even pay attention to his constant false knowledge and criticism because he was cast in stone. I learned to humor him. I totally ignored his arrogance and negativity because I had to. He was always around!  Of course, another course would be to avoid him, but then we would be avoiding most people. I learned the serenity prayer:

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference." (Reinhardt Niebuhr).

I cannot change others. They must change themselves. My role is to have the courage to change the things I can change. In this case, I can't change others, but I can adjust my attitude to ignore their murmurings. Knowing that I'm helpless to change others who don't want to change is wisdom. I know that I can't change for them. All that I can do is pray and ask God to give them a loving heart. Their place is to respond to God. Unless they do, they'll never be happy.

Isn't it sad that people go through life with the motivation of making others miserable? What a goal! Jesus can fix that!

How Many Sins Does it Take?

Of course if your belief is in eternal security, this (the title) is a meaningless question. That's okay with me because that's your belief, but not mine. I believe the instant that you become a Christian Satan doubles up on his attack. Of course he works hard when the Holy Spirit calls, but when you submit to Christ the old buzzard tries to steal you away while you're yet a babe. A parallel to how Satan is allowed to work on righteous people is in the Book of Job.

Now, back to the question" How many sins does it take before a person has abandoned God and fell back into the welcoming arms of the devil? One? Two? Multiple? Continual? A lifestyle of sin? Just how many can Jesus bear?

It's not dependent on Jesus. He died for all sins of all people. It's dependent on you! Jesus accepts those of little faith.  The following passage was when Peter attempted to do what Jesus did; walk on water:

Matthew 14:30 "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 32 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased."

Peter walked in faith, then faltered and began to fall. Jesus, because of his grace, caught Peter, chastised him and then ceased the wind and calmed the waters. Jesus provided safety to Peter and never allowed him to fall. Why? Because Peter didn't abandon God! He still had a little faith and it was Jesus who measured it! "Doubt" is the reciprocal of "faith". By Peter having a little faith, he had much doubt even though he followed Jesus, he still doubted that he was truly God in the flesh! Many Christians are of little faith and have much doubt. Jesus still catches us before we fall!

Peter knew Jesus and was with him every day! We have never seen Jesus. We do sense his presence and love.

Peter was known as "the doubter", but I believe that the title more so belonged to Peter. Here is what Jesus said about Thomas' doubt:
John 20:29 "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
When Jesus spoke to Thomas he spoke to us in this generation because we have never seen him yet believe!  Then it would appear that seeing intensifies belief. All of us believe without the intensifying act of seeing. 

Now let's get back to Peter. He denied Jesus, not once, but thrice. He even denied Jesus with words although he knew Jesus with all of his senses. Jesus continued to catch Peter because he still had a little faith and even after Jesus saved him from drowning with a miracle! Peter denied his Savior!

This man of little faith in the end died for Jesus!  Jesus told Peter how he was to die!

John 21:18 "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me."

Peter died in Rome by crucifixion on a cross in imitation of the one in whom he believed! In this passage Jesus alluded to that type of death "when you're old you will die with outstretched hands" (paraphrased), indicating his death by crucifixion. So as to not disrespect his Lord, Peter asked that he be crucified upside down to which the Romans obliged.

This man of little faith had the faith to live and die a martyr for Jesus although he had much doubt at one time! Even when Jesus wasn't there in body to catch him his Ghost was! However, the Holy Ghost need not catch him because his continual and never-ceasing, but little faith, had held him up until his mission was accomplished; to tell the world about Jesus!

Jesus died for all our sins and everyone's who ever lived. However, when we submit to him, it's our PAST sins which are forgiven:
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..."
When we're saved God "forgets" all our past sins.(Isaiah 43:25). (People don't!). Our slate is wiped clean and we start out again as a new person. How one can tell if he the enlightenment was real is if there was a change. The new person is expected to do God's will and foremost in his will is "to obey my commands" (Jesus'). What does he command? That we love him and others! The Ten Commandments are the metrics for loving God and others. When we violate what is written on stone, then we are failing to love God and others. A lifestyle of missing those marks is apostasy. It's living completely out of the will of God without feeling guilt in doing so. As long as one feels guilt the Holy Ghost, the Ghost of Jesus, is still catching them because that's why he is here, to Comfort (help) us live righteously!

At some point those with little faith, if they're not protected by God's whole armor, may deplete that faith by which they were made safe and had the hope of salvation!

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God..."
"Saved: here is Greek saos (safe). By grace we are made "safe", having the HOPE of salvation. What is the catch word which makes one safe? Faith? As long as we have a little faith, even though we may doubt, Jesus catches us and doesn't allow us to fall and self-destruct in turbulent waters.

Faith is trusting in Jesus because we know what he did for us (grace) and that we SHALL be saved as long as we have faith. In other words, "faith" is critical to salvation. One sin is not a demonstration that one fails to have faith Two isn't! Many aren't? It's when we fail to see the need for repentance (because past sins only were forgiven) and quit allowing Jesus (through his Ghost) to catch us. Faith is turning to Jesus when we're drowning and realizing that he WILL catch us. When we quit turning to Jesus at all is when we are in apostasy and Jesus is no longer in our thoughts, without doubt not our Lord!

Jesus knew Peter's heart. He knew that Peter still had a little faith. On the other hand he knows our hearts. He knows when he has no part in our lives. Jesus doesn't catch those who fail to have even a little faith. Why should he? He catches us because of our faith! Peter was made safe by Jesus. He didn't die and was saved from death as was Lazarus, His salvation came when he took that last breath on his upside down cross. Until then his faith made him safe until his death when his faith saved him!  (Being saved is when one dies, bit is saved from "dying again" in a second death. It has nothing to do with being saved from mortal death)! He lived in faith of his Lord Jesus Christ and made a living sacrifice!

If Peter had left Jesus when he denied him thrice, the Ghost of Jesus would not have been there to catch him, but his little faith increased with Jesus' Resurrection and Peter's little faith turned into much faith... faith enough to die rather than to deny! Only Judas' little faith turned into no faith. Jesus didn't catch him although he once had faith enough to follow Jesus.

Never dabble in thinking "one more sin won't matter", for sin begets sin and by the time one is aware the devil has deceived! As sin compounds itself Jesus is no longer Lord. The devil is. Satan smiles as the believer's faith erodes and all the demons in hell rejoice that you have fallen into their sea. Jesus' arms were there to catch you, but unlike Peter, you failed to reach out to the one who could make you safe!

Monday, July 18, 2016


The rich young lawyer, who by the way, followed the Law asked of Jesus "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? (Mark 10:17).

From a legal standpoint an inheritance is clear. From the Jewish viewpoint it's even clearer!

"Inherit" has numerous definitions. The first one which comes to mind is an the legal definition regarding an estate. When a person dies, traditionally in some fashion, the wealth of the deceased is divided among the heirs. Heirs are usually considered family members, but they can be anyone who has legal rights to an estate. The estate doesn't have to be divided equally. Indeed, especially in the Jewish culture the eldest was the primary heir. The legitimate first born son gets the estate, debts and all. This passing along an inheritance is called "primogeniture" because it's to the benefit of the first born. Usually, the other heirs became dependent on the eldest son and the secondary line drifted into poverty over the generations.

From the rich lawyer's standpoint because he knows law, he thought of an inheritance in the legal sense. Because of his wealth it is likely that he had wealthy parents. My GUESS is that he inherited an estate and likely it was by primogeniture. When speaking with Jesus, he did show lawyerly respect with "Master". That is to be commended. He has learned not to bite hands which feed him!

Under primogeniture the eldest is accustomed to being given things. He likely got free stuff all his life because he surely was the eldest. Knowing the Law, he probably knew that there was no way he could send himself to heaven. He may have looked at heaven as "something I deserve" because he did "good" things commanded of him by God. He was surely an obedient son to his benefactor father, and since it worked for him with his father, he tried to be good for his benefactor Father in heaven. He worked hard because he was given much!

He had several problems. Of course he deceived himself into believing that doing "good" things made him deserve eternal reward. Also, he expected his share in heaven for his works. Because he got an inheritance here, he expected one from there!

The rich lawyer failed to inherit heaven because he failed to please the Benefactor. It wasn't obedience that God wanted from him, but LOVE, for faith without works is dead, according to the Book of James. The rich man failed to inherit anything from the Father because his love was for money. Mammon (wealth) had become his love and he was to die in love with his money because he failed to give it to the poor as suggested by Jesus. You see he obeyed all the other commandments, but failed on just one. He as well have failed on them all! (James 2:10).

The rich lawyer looked at the inheritance as his due, just as primogeniture. He lost his part in the estate in God's kingdom. His room in the mansion which the Father had prepared for him went to another.

Another definition of "inherit" is genetic. Because of the person' s parents they automatically get their biological traits. Most people in the western world today have an inherited type of Christianity. They declare their faith because their parents were Christians.

The inclination to sin is an inherited trait. However, accepting Jesus is not! Christian parents may increase the likelihood that a person comes to Christ, but it is still a personal decision given the free choice not to reject or accept the free gift of salvation.

Being born is not saving. Being "born-again" is. The first birth is by water. The second birth is by the blood! Only by accepting Jesus' sacrifice for one's own sins is effectual for the new birth.
1 John 2:2 "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
The lawyer had always accepted things free, but he rejected the most free thing he was ever offered. He rejected the gift of salvation and turned it down because his god was his wealth! That's never enough payment for eternal damnation. It doesn't seem fair, for he obeyed, but Christ wanted him, not his actions! His heart was with the world, not with Jesus. Jesus had not yet shed that sacrificial blood, but the rich lawyer rejected Jesus and lost his "spiritual inheritance".

A "spiritual inheritance" is what scripture teaches!  Jesus said:
Matthew 19:29 "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."
Wills have preconceived conditions. If the eldest son was is in rebellion to the will of the father, then the second son became the "eldest", the older one losing his birthright. An example of this is Esaw the son of Abram. Isaac, the second son got his birthright for a pittance.

The precondition which the rich man had was the same as everyone! They must be willing to give up everything for Jesus Christ to inherit eternal life. Jesus knew the rich man's heart! He knew that wouldn't happen. In effect to inherit eternal life one must sacrifice this life. They present themselves as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). You see the rich lawyer was the epitome of wealth. He wasn't willing to trade the rich young man for a poor young man because his love was wealth (and prestige which comes with it). His god was in effect him, and his god expected to be pleasured!

We all are candidates to be heirs of God. His share for us is not by primogeniture, but by our willingness to cut off the flesh. The rich man's "flesh" was his idol of wealth. He didn't want to sacrifice that flesh and hence was not willing to make a living sacrifice for his soul. We do have to do things to inherit eternal life. We must have a willingness to change. It's not the act of giving paper money or coins which rewards, but the degree of love of Jesus and our fellow man to be willing to do it!

Part of being "born again" is change. Jesus expects change from an old person to a new one when we are born of the blood. New creations have a new personality. Their soul which once contained sin is cleansed and is the cup for a new spirit; the Holy Spirit! That new person doesn't need sin for happiness; that person has the hope of eternal life. What wealth we have is a great trade to live forever in prosperity. Any other of our  idols which we are willing to sacrifice is as good a trade!

Note that it wasn't his wealth that doomed the rich lawyer. It was it's importance to him!
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
That's what the rich man did! It was his love of wealth which did him in regardless of his obedience to other commands!  In effect, he did serve God, but he had another love:
Matthew 6:24 "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
God realized that although men believed in him, they still had a perceived "need" to serve another god BESIDES him because God seems to be insufficient. Our problem is not atheism per se, but syncretism, the serving of "other gods in addition to God"! The rich lawyers other god was wealth!

God doesn't make individual deals. It's the same deal for anyone, wealth aside! If the rich man had been willing to give up what he had it would have been credited to him as faith, just like it was for Abraham!
Hebrews 11:8 "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went."
It was Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his "only son" as a living sacrifice which was credited to him as faith. God recalled the command at the last moment and Abraham prospered. I believe that even if the rich man had obeyed as Abraham did,  God would have still prospered him. Maybe not extreme wealth, but meeting all his needs. Also he would have had the bonus eternal life!

You are your own god besides God. Your flesh demands appeasement. What type of idol worship does it take to pleasure your god? If anything, it's not worth losing your inheritance from your adoptive Father. When we are born again, God adopts us as his own and we are heirs to his kingdom. It's a spiritual inheritance, and it's not by primogeniture!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Temptations of Christ: Part 2

There were three temptations or better said "three tests of faith":
  • God as the provider. Jesus hungered. Satan tempted him with food (bread from rocks; Luke 4:3)
  • Meekness and humility vs. Power and glory (earthly kingdoms; Luke 4:6)
  • Faith in God. (God's safety; Luke 4:9)
We must remember that Holy Scripture (The New Testament name for the Old Testament) is all about Jesus! The creation story, the birth of mankind and the sin of Adam and Eve were all about Jesus. Sometimes one must pray and say "how, Oh, Lord", but truth will manifest itself to those who truly seek truth.

Adam was allowed to fall. God didn't make him fail and neither did Satan. Because Adam was created with cognition, emotion and free will he was allowed to use them all! Machines have cognition, but emotion and will are discreet to living beings (so far). God KNEW in advance that Satan would tempt Adam and that he would fail because God knew all about "the flesh" when he created Adam!

When you think of "the flesh", don't just think of the skin. Our flesh is much more than an epidermal layer. "The flesh" refers to the mode of the world's effects and affects upon us and includes all the sensory perceptions, the things of the mind and the things of the heart. "The flesh" is the contaminates in the soul where righteousness should be! "The flesh" because it's so easily pleased is symbolic of human desires.

If we look at Jesus' temptations, he was offered "things of the flesh": satisfaction, power and prestige and independence from God! Jesus is tempted just as Adam was! Because he felt the same fleshly desires as Adam, Jesus understood first hand why Adam failed. Because he experienced temptation is why he is so graceful! He understands us because, as they say, "He's been there...", but we stop there! He "has not done that!"

That's what makes Jesus different than us. "He's been there, but not done that!" He could have, but he didn't because he relied on the word of his Father in heaven. It was his sword to fight off the barbs of Satan as they were shot at him, but Jesus demonstrated the power in the Word of God!

There is a profound relationship between Adam and Jesus!
1 Corinthians 15:44 "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (live-giving) spirit." (parenthesis mine).
Adam was made a living being with a soul, but Jesus, the last Adam, gave him life! We know that Adam was made in "our image" (Genesis 1:26). We should ask ourselves "Who is 'our'?" and the answer should be: "The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost!"  It's important that you understand that Adam was made with flesh in the image of Jesus, not that Jesus had yet procured the flesh, but God had a plan for mankind, and he knew how Jesus would be when born!

Adam was step one! He was with life, but he died spiritually. Jesus was born to give Adam life. Because Adam is our fleshly father, Jesus is our spiritual father, so to speak!

Let's compare the first Adam's temptations to those of the second Adam (Jesus).
  • Tree was good for food (Genesis 3:6)
  • Tree pleasant to the eyes. (Genesis 3:6)
  • Tree food for wisdom.  (Genesis 3:6)
Jesus was tempted with bread. Adam was tempted because the tree offered food.

Jesus was offered the kingdoms of the world. Satan showed him it's beauty. Adam was tempted with a beautiful tree with it's hanging fruit!

Jesus was tempted with independence. Satan denied that God would protect him. In effect Satan was saying "You don't need God when you can only depend on yourself!" That's reasoning. Adam got that same rationale from Satan. "You will become as God. You can depend on yourself!" In both cases Satan, with the first Adam and with the Second Adam, belittled God to endeavor to get both to go it alone, or in effect to worship him!

In both cases Satan was asserting that if Adam or Jesus submitted to him, "Ye shall not surely die" (Genesis 3:6). Satan was a liar from the beginning and that was lie number one! He was still telling the same lie when Jesus came. Jesus knew it was a lie because the same lie is what separated his ancestor, Adam, from God. Adam number two was not going to allow that to happen again, because he understood truth: "God is love and God is the giver of life." As God himself, the second Adam is that life-giver and he is The Word whose Voice communed with Adam in the Garden, then had the grace to provide the sacrifice (blood and death of an animal) to cover Adam's sins; the same thing The Word did for us!

These are not coincidences! Satan tempts the same then as now. "There is nothing new under the son!" according to Solomon. Jesus, the second Adam, was tempted just like the first Adam. Adam #1 failed! Adam # 2 did NOT! That's why we can have faith in the Spirit,  but not in the flesh, remembering that Jesus is the giver of life and we are merely life!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Temptations of Christ: Part 1

Luke 4:1 "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness..."
In this verse the Greek word pleres is transliterated "full". Strong's definition is "replete or covered over".  This is in better agreement with this verse:
Matthew 3:16 "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him..."

In this passage "lighting" is from erchomai meaning "come" and "upon" is from epi meaning "superimposed".

In Mark 18:10 The Spirit descended "upon" (epi; superimposed). Finally, John 1:32:

John 1:32 "And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."
'Abode" here is meno (stayed).  With John's baptism which was of water, it was not the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It would appear that the Holy Spirit was present and part of the baptism, but with Jesus, the Holy Spirit came and remained "on" (epi) him. Therefore at his baptism, Jesus was not "filled" (pletho; embued) with the Holy Ghost as in Acts 2:4,  but the Holy Spirit was "superimposed" upon Jesus.

When did Jesus get "embued" with the Holy Spirit. I believe it was when God came down at the transfiguration and Jesus was changed! (Matthew 17:2). Up until then, Jesus had the Holy Spirit "on" him. That day Jesus was fully God endowed completely with the Spirit of God!

This commentary is needed for the subject at hand: the temptations of Christ.  I believe that Jesus faced Satan, not as God, but as righteous man. Sure, at this time he is the Son of God, has God's Holy Spirit "on" him, but he was a man who faced the devil with his temptation. If this had occurred after the transfiguration, it would have been fully God who refrained from sinning! I believe a necessary condition for the temptations of Christ to be meaningful is that Jesus had a "hedge" about him (read Job), but he was at liberty to choose sin over righteousness. We know that God CANNOT sin, but Jesus, at that time, because he is a man, could have!

I have written before that Christians are "embued" with the Holy Ghost. I believe there is a difference between Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost. God's Holy Spirit is the essence of God. The Holy Ghost is Spirit of someone who has died; in this case Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost is the essence which was given to Jesus after he died on the cross Before that he was mortal as well, was somewhat constrained by the confinements of this world, etc., but after his death walls could not contain him as was demonstrated at his Resurrection and when he entered the locked room with the eleven shortly thereafter. 

The Holy Spirit emanates from God. The Holy Ghost is the essence of God who experienced what Jesus experienced. When Jesus died he was resurrected a different person. He could not be touched and no one did, not even Peter, until he ascended to be with God. Once Jesus united with God his Ghost descended. It was Jesus! His Ghost is still with us! Just as The Angel of God was always with the patriarchs, the Ghost of Jesus remains with us! Both are our Comforters. The Holy Ghost is wherein God's power lies. We can face the devil much easier with the Holy Ghost than we can without. Jesus faced the devil protected by God, but without the full power of God!

Tomorrow we shall continue with the "Temptations of Christ."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Innocence of Children or Total Depravity

Totality is profound! Whenever I took a college in test I was a poor test-taker for that reason. Many questions used words such as "always", "never", "completely" and such which threw me off. I could always think of an exception which persuaded me to answer wrongly. Like those words, "total" is profound! That's why I question the Calvinistic point #1: total depravity. Essentially, (see, I allow some leeway with "essentially"), this notion propagates this:
"The doctrine of total depravity (or total inability) says that all men, as a consequence of the Fall, are born morally corrupt, enslaved to sin, at enmity with God, and unable to please Him or even of themselves to turn to Christ for salvation." (travis
It's true that Adam and Eve are the blame for "original sin". However, it implies that all men are born in sin; that even the newborn infant is a sinner. That notion condemns all infants, even children, to hell because all of them are sinners, and all those with unforgiven sin are damned!  I submit that "original sin" (inherited sin through Adam's genes) is a PROPENSITY toward sin. We are INCLINED toward sin even at birth!  It's obvious that from the womb a baby has not yet sinned, but it is shortly forthcoming.

Luke 22:40 says that people "enter into temptation" and birth is certainly not the route for temptation to enter. People can "flee from immorality" (2 Corinthians 6:18). Infants can't do much "fleeing" because they 1) can't yet discern what's immoral nor 2) run to flee from danger!

Sin can't be until temptation comes.
James 1:14 "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
There is a process for sinning: 1) temptation, 2) lust for the object of temptation, and then 3) actual sin. Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent. The fruit was the temptation. The fruit created lust for it, but they didn't sin until they acted. If they had continually lusted after the fruit they would have sinned in the heart, but they obviously sinned when they intended to  disobey.

When newborn infants lust (desire) nourishment, that's instinct and is a natural response because they have a biological need. Being hungry and signaling the parent is not rebellion. It's communication. No newborn infant has yet sinned!  I have a point: Sin is a learned behavior. It is not biological. Merely "being born is not a sin". Infants gradually learn to get their pleasure by dishonest means. The parents inadvertently "cause" that as they "condition" the child by "positive enforcement" to sin. If a baby is nourished before he has to cry, then crying is not needed. When the baby cries the parent gives him what he wants. After awhile a child cries for play things. The parent encourages crying (selfishness) by rewarding with the object for which he cried?

That's the "birth of sin" in the babies life. It's natural for both the parent and the child. It is said that we all are born in sin because that's our nature. We all are going to sin! That's a given because we all are subject to the desires of the flesh.

Back to "total depravity": We learn depravity because we learn sin. We CAN DO "good" things, but "DOING GOOD" is merely a roadblock to being born-again. Because we DO GOOD THINGS there appears to be little sin for which good people can repent. Only God is "good", according to Jesus. That doesn't mean that sinners can't do good things. It just means that God does not count doing good things as the way to salvation!

Babies are very loving. That's a "good" thing, but a person isn't said to be "good" because he does a good thing. "Good" in God's Lexicon is HIM Only. We all fall short of "total goodness", but God. (Jesus is God).  Any time the mark of "goodness" is missed that's sin. If a baby says "NO!" in rebellion to the parent's authority, that is not total depravity. It means that the baby sinned, but is still mostly love and amelioration!  Therefore, I contend that we are not born into "total depravity", but with the lack of "total goodness".

Babies are not enslaved to sin. As the infant is tempted as life progresses the baby is deceived by operant conditioning by "the world" to sin. Sin is a response to temptation. They gradually put on the yokes of bondage as their sins compound. True even one sin is condemning, but there are till "good things" in the hearts of children, but as far as salvation is concerned "good" doesn't count for redemption. Only by the blood of Jesus is even one sin cleansed! Infants are spied out by the Prince of the World as his slaves and he does enslave them when the child falls to temptation and sins. It's just inevitable because it's in their genes. It's part of the makeup of every human being.

Did you just have a newborn baby? He or she is going to sin! That's a curse. Has he or she sinned yet? Probably not! Watch for your baby's first sin and write it down. That's the birth of him or her into the devil's kingdom. For the rest of the child's life God with his grace will anti-tempt the child from sin by tugging at his or her heart. There is only one thing anyone MUST DO in life to avoid eternal death: respond to the spiritual pull of God!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

In Defense of Common Sense

Only God is good! Jesus said that. He was God. Jesus is Good!

With that said, our "goodness" is as filthy rags. Any government's "goodness" are the dirtiest rags. Americans love democracy even though it's a pathway to abuse. To temper that our founders created a republic. Rather than directly voting to abuse others, we elect people to abuse others for us. Our representatives call it "good", but mankind is inclined toward evil.

What "good" is instituted is usually payment for patronage. It's not love and concern leaders feel, but to continue the power which they have. Usually as they give "free things" from one pocket they get it out of the other because nothing is free. Because people get free things for a high cost they are grateful for the breadcrumbs!

This is a land of numerous modern-day Lazarus's; not that people are raised from the dead, but that they even beg at the gate for those crumbs from the rich. Lazarus had little choice! He was full of sores with some type of disease. Americans are healthy and have a choice, but yet they wait on the rich man to provide a few crumbs. Since charity is out of vogue because of taxation, then the government becomes the "rich man". Unmotivated men and women await a few crumbs and then in gratitude, vote for the representative who promises more crumbs. People in general gradually starve themselves to death and thank our leaders for making it a slow death! They fail to use common sense!

Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet called Common Sense. He advocated independence from a tyrannical government because of lack of proper representation and high and unfair taxation. Those colonial Lazarus's raised up from the dead and used "common sense". Killing people for independence is not Christlike, but sometimes Christian people must use common sense. If we are to survive sometimes we must use crooked sticks to defend ourselves!

Martin Luther King was a "crooked stick". He was an immoral man by all accounts. My point is not to defame MLK, but to demonstrate that God uses crooked sticks for "good".
"Ecclesiastes 7:13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?"
Politicians are not "good", however there is "good' in some. We cannot depend on the person to provide. It's God who does the providing! We cannot depend on government to protect us. It's God who does the protecting. The government doesn't love us, but God does! Any office holder is imperfect. Some are sincere and caring, but misled! Rather than looking to God for prosperity and protection, they turn to the government.

Now to quote Abraham Lincoln's speechwriters " testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure", we are being tested how long we can endure! Common sense tells us that patriotic Americans want to endure. Therefore those with common sense will vote for those who will have America persevere the longest. With that said, America as we know it has been destroyed the last seven and one-half years. It's endurance has peaked and now we are a weak people. We are no longer a great nation.

With Jimmy Carter we were immasculated. Ronald Reagan's slogan was "Make America Great Again". Reagan was God's "crooked stick" and we prospered until Democrats Barney Frank and Chris Dodd destroyed the economy. People failed to use common sense. They put the party in power who weakened our nation. With that we received in turn moral decay. Now every conceivable perversion has become the norm and Christianity the enemy. Political police repress freedom of speech continually. Americans seem to enjoy suppression. It's the bread crumbs they desire and get! Unfortunately they get the rotted fruit with the crumbs! We are a spiritually polluted nation. Democrats care little about this type of pollution and dump more trash daily.

Now we must make a decision. Some Christians are in a delimma: Shall it be Hillary or shall it be Trump? Neither are righteous candidates. Both have done much evil, but it's not a balanced situation. One is much more evil and her Democrat Party Platform is slightly less evil than she.

On the other hand, Trump does not meet rigid Christian standards. His life has been one of hedonistic living. He claims to have changed and certainly supports Christianity and Christian ideas. He is the lesser of two evils. Like King Saul, Trump will be an imperfect ruler. God ordained imperfect Saul and Saul built the foundation of a grest nation. Trump's slogan is the same as Reagan's "Make America Great Again". Common sense is that if a crooked stick from Hollywood could be used to make America great again, that a crooked stick from the financial world can do the same! It won't be their doing, but God can use crooked sticks for his purpose. My hope is that Trump is God's "crooked stick".

It's common sense for Christians to prevent harm to self and nation. Having pure standards is noble, but not common sense. To stand idle and let Hllary Clinton further destroy this nation and enrich the Clintons is just not "common sense". Pray that Trump is that crooked stick. It has worked for us before!