Monday, December 11, 2017

TRAILER FOR MY NEW BOOK:


Unbelief - Doubt - Faith

Some people just do not believe. As Jesus said about those who crucified him, "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). They did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, and people today still disbelieve. Although Jesus was real, witnesses - both disciples and secular, testified to his Existence. However, some refuse to accept fact, while others just don't believe that God came in the flesh, and suffered death in our places.

Of course, Christians have faith. God too knows Himself, That is "the faith of God" (Romans 3:3). It seems that the greatest faith a human can have is "the faith of Abraham" (Romans 4:16) because he was willing to sacrifice his only remaining son, just as God did His. Abraham had great faith. However, it only takes "a little faith" to be a Christian (Matthew 6:30).

Even the apostles had little faith in Jesus until He died. If they had believed Jesus would die for mankind, as He implied and then stated, the apostles and other disciples would have been born-again. They had not the faith of Abraham, and hence, were not at that time truly Christians. They didn't really know Jesus; they merely followed Him. We saw with Peter that he didn't trust Jesus because he denied him three times. It seems that the apostles were unbelievers until they finally saw the Light after the darkened skies of Calvary. Then even Peter came on board! Thomas was the last unbeliever. He is noted for doubting.

"Remission of sins" is only by the blood of another shed in propitiation for the believer (Hebrews 9:22). The believers before the time of Jesus shed the blood of innocent animals as a substitution for the Messiah's. The sincere worshipers knew to whom they were sacrificing! The Word told them. As such, Abraham was as much saved by the blood of Jesus as was Paul. In fact, Abraham had more faith than Paul because Paul met the resurrected Savior. It took less faith for him.

The earliest disciples were just that - followers. A few realized Jesus's purpose. Those on whom he worked miracles had faith in Him as God. Somehow, God inclined them to accept Jesus as Savior even before Jesus redeemed them. Those lame, blind, dead in Lazarus' case, demon-filled, and having other issues knew that Jesus could heal.  Their "faith made them whole" (Luke 17:9 and several other places). During His life, the apostles had yet to be made whole. They were not unbelievers but doubters. They failed to realize Jesus's power, and that there indeed was power in the blood!

If we look at thief No. 2 on the cross, and let's do that:
Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors (wrong-doer; Thief #1) which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other (wrong-doer; Thief #2) answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I said unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Both thieves saw the blood. Thief #1 saw and rejected the lifeblood flowing from Jesus. Although he couldn't save himself, Jesus could. He didn't trust Him to do that. He was an unbeliever. On the other hand, Thief #2 saw the blood of Jesus, trusted Jesus, and insisted on Jesus's innocence. His trust was faith. Because he knew that Jesus could save him, Jesus did. A few hours later, after Jesus died, Thief #1 was in Hell, but Thief #2 was with Jesus in Paradise.

We know where Jesus's body was that day. It was in the tomb, but where was Jesus? That day He was with Thief #2 welcoming him a mansion in God's House (John 14:2), and Comforting him! Thief #2 had great faith that day! His faith "made him whole".

The two examples here are Thief #1 - the unbeliever, and Thief #2 - the one with faith.

Where were the doubters? Only the Book of John mentions "disciples" being at the crucifixion. I would hope that included the apostles! Maybe they weren't there. We know that Peter was afraid. Whatever the case, Jesus's death made Thief #2 a Christian. Catholics identified the first man "saved" by the blood of Jesus - Dismas (Latin) or Demas (Coptic). We should remember him not for what he was, but who he became - the first saint. In my doctrine, he was the first person saved by the actual propitiation of Jesus's blood!

In between the unbelievers and the faithful were the doubters. They knew Jesus, followed Him, but never trusted what He said. Those who crucified Jesus "knew not what they do". It seems that since Jesus died for everyone, the apostles and other disciples were included as guilty. Neither did they know what they did! They had yet to believe in a trusting manner.

Some of the women: the three Mary's and Salome, specifically, and many other women, were at the crucfixion. It seems the men disciples had a weak stomach and were few because the women were mentioned specifically. Likewise, the first to venture to the tomb were women.  The doubters stayed in their locked room in fear of the same death but the women ventured out.

Doubting is sinful. It is Satan and his dark angels who cast doubt on us. Doubt comes from deception. The way Satan deceives is through sin. An increase in sin raises more doubt. The apostles who had little faith in Jesus were sinful because they were doubters. Jesus pointed out their doubt:
Luke 24:38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  
They weren't born-again because they followed Jesus, but were when their faith increased. That was when Jesus miraculously appeared in the locked room (John 20:19). Belief in the resurrection is essential doctrine. Even the apostles didn't truly believe in Jesus as God until he returned to life and appeared to them. Paul preached often on the importance of the resurrection. If any follower does not believe that Jesus arose and still lives, then he or she is a doubter.

Modern people accept the propitiation of Jesus but do they really trust Him? When people sin, they either fail to believe there is a penalty for sin, or have some doubt about Jesus and their own resurrection. Indeed, sinning is a sign that the believer has doubts.
John 20:17 "...Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
Jesus said that to Thomas even after the miracle of the resurrection. Thomas doubted but then believed. If Jesus had remained in the tomb, the apostles would have all stayed doubters. Because some don't accept that, they are doubters - to the extent that they disbelieve! Eternal life is only for those who actually trust that there is a resurrection. Otherwise, belief is not trust and is in vain. Denying the resurrection is taking Jesus's Name in vain because only by the Name of Jesus can one be saved (Acts 4:12).

Did you ever think of that?
Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. 
God incarnate was called Jesus (Matthew 1:25).  God Is without Name but was called Jesus. It boils down to taking the Lord's Name in vain is denying the divinity of Jesus! Doubting Jesus is severe violation of the Third Commandment. We must believe, and not doubt. That's what Dismas did first - he did not doubt!







Sunday, December 10, 2017

Not Having to Obey the Law

We are all sinners (Romans 3:23).  With that said, is "sin" black and white, or are there shades of grey? Of course, much of our lives are mundane but even in our daily lives we are to praise and honor God. Because we're working six days does not relieve us of the responsibility of honoring God. Honoring God gets no days off. If we fail to honor God, that is sinful - one of omission. In fact, I dare say that even the most dedicated Christians have more problems with sins of omission than commission! Both are willful, but sins of omission are negligence while those of commission are intentional. Both types of sins are for the purposes of the sinner.

There are also accidental sins. One coming to mind is the accidental abortion of an unborn child when another person is struggling with the woman. (Exodus 21:22-25). Why is accidental harm sinful? Because another sin led to it. On this occasion strife between the two. If we remain vigilant (1 Peter 5:8) we are less prone to sin. In fact, if we stay away from temptation, we are more safe! (Matthew 26:41).

Essentially, sin is missing God's mark. God is more lenient with accidental sins. However, the willful sins are our biggest problem. Another type of sin is seldom mentioned - how we are because of human nature. We are born, because of original sin, with a propensity to do evil. In other words, sin comes naturally. We must work to not sin.

The metrics of sin are enumerated with the Ten Commandments. Some are things we are to do, others are things we are not to do, and others are because of our nature. Look at how not to sin. Obey the Ten Commandments. These are Gods Laws written on stone and are eternal. On the other hand, Mosaic Laws were written by Moses, and come with minute regulations. As Christians, we are not bound by Mosaic Law but we are by God's Law. For instance in Mosaic Law, Jews could not eat meat sacrificed to idols. For us Christians, we can. We were delivered from bondage, no longer having to cross every "t" and dot every "i".

Why have the Law? It is so mankind is without an excuse. We can never rationalize: I never knew that was wrong. The Law is so that we can be convicted of sin, to know when we're sinning. Without conviction, there would be no guilt, and repentance would not be forthcoming.

As such, the Law taught us how to be remorseful. Knowing that we are sinners means knowing the Law. The Law teaches us that we are indeed sinners. The Law prepares our hearts for conviction, remorse, and for repentance. That is our part in being born-again, and leads to the conclusion: We can't save ourselves but Jesus can! The Law leads to the second-birth. That's why Jesus said he came to "fulfill the Law", not to do away with it (Matthew 5:17). As a result of being born-again, with that enlightenment, Jesus justifies your sentence. Justification is paying the price on your behalf. He paid the price for dying for you. It is not just as you never sinned as simpletons define it, but because you DID sin and it is paid for! The following verse explains that well:
Galatians 3:24 Therefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Knowing that Jesus can and did pay for our sins is faith. That includes knowing that He will judge you innocent because your sins are remitted.

The second-birth - being born again, creates a new person. The sinner moves from the status of slave to freeman as that happens. Before being born-again, the old person was bound by both sin and the Law, having to try to justify himself. The Pharisees were the best at self-justification. That is called self-righteousness, and is obedience to the Law without the love of God and others. Jesus pointed out their condition:
John 8:34  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 
Why are people servants of sin? They sin willingly for pleasure or negligently for their own purposes. As such, sin enslaves, and our method of payment is wrong. People attempt to pay for their own salvation, which nothing in the world can buy. It is a free gift from God. In their attempt to pay for their own violations of God's Law, they become slaves to sin and to the Law. Because they can't serve two masters, Satan becomes their master (Luke 16:13).

With rebirth, we are no longer under the Law because it can enslave us. Satan uses God's Law to hold us in bondage. He says, "If you only do these things, you'll be alright." He lies. You indeed will die!

Grace is getting a freebie. Jesus, because he loves you and desires that none should perish, died in your place (John 3:16). He did that willfully because sinners sin willfully. He carried our crosses along with His to Calvary where he bore our sin, having none Himself. That feat allowed us to go from bondage to liberty:
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 
Once a person is born-again, he is a free man; sin or the Law no longer having dominion over him. You see, being dependent on the Law to save oneself is the ultimate sin. Salvation depends on realizing that!

After the rebirth, you are no longer bound by the Law. By the way, you never were. You were just deceived into believing that! Salvation was always by grace, and was always by the shedding of the blood of another. (Look up your own scripture.)

Sin no longer condemns us, save one:  blasphemy - denying God (Matthew 12:31).  Although, we are no longer bound by the Law, it is not expedient - serving our purpose:
1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
What is that expediency? To show love for God. (John 14:15).  If we love God, we are to keep His commandments. That's expedient because love of God is a pre-requisite to salvation. That sounds like circular reasoning but is not. The new birth is taking the old person who feels he must obey to the new person who is willing to obey. Willingness is the key word. No longer our will but God's. (Matthew 26:39). Thus, being born-again is sacrificing one's own will for God's will (Romans 12:1).

With that change of heart, the flesh, being circumcised from it (Jeremiah 4:4), the old person is transformed to the new. Although at liberty to sin or to obey the Law, the one with a new heart joyfully obeys the Law because he loves God out of gratitude for justification.
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
We show our love for God by loving others (neighbors). We have he liberty to hate, but the new creature's heart is circumcised. We can hate if we want, but no longer have the desire to hate. Hatred is still measured by the Ten Commandments, or should I say love.

God doesn't leave nor forsake you when you sin. He does still convict the sinner with the Law. Each time we sin, we are to repent. Failure to repent allows Satan to bond us with even more sin. Since we can't serve two masters, then we accept God as our only Master. You see, we have liberty, but we must use it well. That's like my own permissive father: We were at liberty to do what we pleased because our pleasure was obeying him. We didn't obey Dad out of fear but love and respect. That's the same for our heavenly Father.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Effeminate


1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
I include here a list of "no no's". We often speak of fornicators and adulterers but lumped alongside them are the "effeminate". For men, that is thinking, dressing, and behaving more like a woman. It is gender confusion. A woman's sin would be similar only opposite.
In this scripture the Greek word malakos is used. Strong's Dictionary defines that as "sodomy". Essentially, men don't have the equipment for sexual intercourse, so they improvise, using what was intended for defecation as a means of enjoyment. Women have their own equally disturbing methods. Before the P.C. Police made new rules, sodomites were called "queer" - worthless or unnatural. Sodomy is an unnatural act. Historically, biologically, socially, and physiologically sodomy has always been queer. Add to that spiritually because God created man and woman to serve each other and multiply. Obviously, the effeminate serve mostly their own gender.
In addition to a distortion of sexual practice is sexual identity. The effeminate and butch (for the masculine females), being of the opposite gender in appearance and behavior, is wrong as well.
Deuteronomy 22:5 “A woman shall not wear a man's garment, nor shall a man put on a woman's cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.
"Abomination" means disgusting. Men should dress as men and women as women. How much clearer can scripture be? Here is a typical example of gender-bending dress.

Louis XIV of France (from Getty Museum painting)


Louis set the style, not only for Europe but Russia as well. Let me admit, he was far from being a homosexual. Indeed he had many children by wives and mistresses. He, however, was vain. Saint Simon said this about him:
"There was nothing he liked so much as flattery, or, to put it more plainly, adulation; the coarser and clumsier it was, the more he relished it."
He dressed for flattery. He is was the male peacock! Although he was active in the church, his sins were grievous. Even though he wasn't homosexual, his dress was as ostentatious as the women of his day. The nobility dressed accordingly. He set the styles but to be in style, even if it is androgynous, is still wrong.
The modern gender-bending look is the modern-day Louis XIV. It is coming into vogue. Even if society accepts that look, God does not. 
There are differences between men and women. We were created that way on purpose. In fact, our DNA is our identity. Male and female are stamped from conception with specific genetic identities. Furthermore, our chromosomes are different: XX pairs for female, and XY for males. Chromosomes contain all the DNA we will ever have, and is the genetic material of our existence. We are biologically different in our image. 
Likewise, the skeletal system is different. The pelvis for women is designed for child-birth. It is wider and more rounded. Females are meant for conception and childbirth. That is their divine responsibility. God made male and female to multiply. Males can't do that. Only women can! (No, there has never been a male, even modified, who became pregnant and birthed a child.) For gender bending attempts, it is out of God's divine will, and unnatural. Males who do that are effeminate!
Neither do men and women have the same hormones. Their gender sets their hormonal needs. Sure, hormonal levels can be adjusted, but that is artificial and never-ending. The sex of a person cannot be modified regardless of the efforts of science. If that ever occurs, then the end is near because then men will have become "as gods" on their own mind.
The extreme of effeminacy is transgenderism in men. They endeavor to become girls because they think like girls. No one can prove why but my guess is as good as the next: they are confused because of their childhood development. Transgenders are born male or female. They aren't satisfied with their genetic identity, and as such denigrate the purpose God had for them.
We should feel sorry for them for their confusion. We should not, however, make transgenderism acceptable. That tolerance will create more confused children. We have seen the increase in homosexuality in modern times. It is a learned behavior. They are not born that way! Lady Gaga is as wrong about that as she is everything else. Neither are people born transsexual. 
Sexual abnormalities are unnatural. God has the power to cleanse people of their sin. His antidote is love. The entire bible is all about hating sin but loving the sinner!
"God so love the world" includes confused people. "Whosoever" means the effeminate too. However, it is not on their terms. Look at all of the passage:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

"Believeth" is from the Greek word pistiew - to have faith or trust in Jesus. If any sinner without regard to sin, trusts Jesus, they can be made a new creature:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
That "new creature" is back to Designer's Intent. To return to the image of God! 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Offerings

The way we are to show love is by offerings. We must know to Whom and why offerings are made. Face it, God doesn't want your money, your harvest, your ram, or your bull! His desire is to have your love. No offering given in resentment nor pride is an acceptable offering. There are several different types of offerings, each for their own reason. Today, I focus on two: the heave offering and the wave offering. Why? It is clear to whom they are offered!

The heave offering was for the Levites - those without an inheritance or land.
Numbers 18:24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.
Thus the tithe of the Christian goes to our mediator with God - the priests. I won't go into the portions and rituals for the heave offering because there is something more important of which to write!
 Leviticus 8:26 And out of the basket of unleavened bread, that was before the Lord, he took one unleavened cake, and a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer, and put them on the fat, and upon the right shoulder: 27 And he put all upon Aaron's hands, and upon his sons' hands, and waved them for a wave offering before the Lord. 28 And Moses took them from off their hands, and burnt them on the altar upon the burnt offering: they were consecrations for a sweet savour: it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord.
Leviticus 23:9 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
It appears the wave offering was in gratitude to God for his goodness. The people were to bring the good stuff - the firstfruits, thus thanking God for his blessings.

Then there was a manner for making the offerings to the Lord:
Exodus 29:27 And thou shalt sanctify the breast of the wave offering, and the shoulder of the heave offering, which is waved, and which is heaved up.
The wave offering came from the breast - with outstretched hands. The heave offering came from the should - with arms lifted up.  Thus, the two taken together as they were, what do we have with the motions? The Cross on which Jesus died! (A picture of Jesus on the Cross). These two offerings were for Jesus; the heave offering as mediator to God and a timid servant to all, and the wave offering in gratitude to his Godhood.

Notice that Jesus had no inheritance. It was the meek who will inherit the earth. As a priest on the order of Melchizedek - King of Salem, Jesus is both Priest and King. As King of the Jews, not by accident, he was also Priest and King of Jerusalem, and thus inherited Melchizedek's altar and throne. Some believe that Melchizedek was an appearance of Jesus in human form since he was without lineage and was eternal (Hebrews 7:1-4). Study the rest of that chapter. It speaks of the Aaronic and Levitical priesthoods, as well as the priesthood of Melchizedek which Jesus is!
Hebrews 7:27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Whereas the priesthood offered up many sacrifices to the Lord, somehow they all pointed toward Jesus. It just so happened that the wave and heave offerings  pointed directly to the Cross! They offered regularly but Jesus offered one time for all time. Before, many animals died but with Jesus One life was given - the Perfect Offering - God Himself in our place!

Thus the two offerings taken together are to honor the Servant and King. The Wave to the King and heave to the Servant. Never forget, Holy Scripture is all about Jesus. Everything they did was in praise of the Word - pre-incarnate Jesus. Jesus in Spirit was there and smelled the sweet aroma of honor and gratitude! Moses knew of Whom he served... do you?



Thursday, December 7, 2017

Attitude: I don't Care!

In the Old Testament, God gave instructions for carrying the Ark of the Covenant.
1 Chronicles 15:14  So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. 15 And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the Lord.
In various passages the Ark was the presence of the Lord. Seventy were killed for even looking at it. It was to be covered with several layers of cloth at all times. It was to be viewed only by the chief priest to sacrifice, and only in the Holy of Holies. Before even getting within yards of its presence, the Israelites had to ceremonially wash. Only the Levites could carry the Ark, and it had to be by its poles (above verse). Scripture is clear: God is Holy and His presence was sacred. The poles were to prevent the hands of dirty people from touching God's throne - which the Ark was.

The Ark always traveled with the Israelites. At night it was put into the inner sanctum of the tabernacle - the tent of God. The instructions were clear: bare the Ark upon the shoulders of the bearer. What people fail to realize is that when God says something, he means it! His commands are our responsibility. He put Adam in Paradise to "dress and keep the Garden" (Gen 2:15). Since the Garden needed no work, it is to be understood that God meant to worship and obey Him! That is the job assignment of all mankind.

As David and his entourage traveled, they came to Nacon, the oxen stumbled over the threshing floor, Uzzah touched the Ark, and then God struck him dead because Uzzah made an error:
2 Samuel 6:6 ...when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and cGod struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.
We think of sin as a willful transgression of God's Law.  A better definition, as can be seen from this scenario, is that sin is also being lax with God's will. God doesn't waste words. He gives directions for one reason: he wants them followed. Being reverent to God is worship. Following his directions is obedience, both of which are our job assignments. Uzzah was struck dead for what I perceive to be irreverence and disobedience. (Near the end, I revise this perception.*)

When we were gazing inside the tomb of George and Martha Washington at Mt. Vernon, instructions were given to remain quiet and reverent. Washington didn't ask that; only the guards did. We obeyed by remaining silent and reverent. It was not a hard thing to do! However, Uzzah couldn't even do that when God commanded it! What's worse, David - the man after God's own heart, the Levites - the priests of God, and the Israelites failed God as well. Uzzah was the example who God picked to demonstrate His sincerity. Why do I accuse all of the people there?

The poles were designed into the Ark with rings to carry the Ark. God was to be kept clear of the dirty world and it's people. Instead, David and the priests allowed the Ark to be put on a cart pulled behind the non-kosher (unclean) buttocks of beasts! David and the people were all guilty of uncleanness.

I always believed it was unfair of God  to kill Uzzah for a honest mistake. That's because my thoughts are not God's thoughts. It honors God when we make an attempt to understand Him. God's Words mean things, and He has a reason for saying them.

David was guilty too. He should have died with Uzzah. However, by grace David and the others were saved for one reason: Both were the "fathers" of Jesus Christ! If David had been smote, Jesus would not have never been born. If the Israelites had been destroyed right then, Jesus's birthplace would have ceased to exist. Both of these were in the Abrahamic Covenant. God made that  Covenant, and He meant what He said!

Hopefully, you get the point by now: God's Word is to be taken seriously and with reverence! It wasn't that Uzzah touched the Ark but that his heart was not in his job: to revere and obey God. (Again, more on that assumption later.*) "Safety" was always by grace; never by works! If Uzzah had been sensitive to God's will, he would have refused to be in the presence of the Ark when it was carried man's way, and not God's. The same with David and the others. Carrying the Ark according to their own device was wrong. Because they failed to understand the importance of sanctity and obedience, it was their fault.

Now, let us apply this lesson: Christians in these modern times are not reverent and obedient to God. Uzzah's sin was small: he touched the Ark unintentionally. However, his greater sin was that he didn't care enough for God's will to respect God. He was irreverent. (Again, this will be revised shortly*.)

Like, Uzzah, and even David, I am an unclean person. God allows me to approach Him only because of grace. However, until I circumcised my heart, God touched me and made me clean. Now because of God, I am clean enough that His Holy Spirit resides in my soul. I obeyed God by allowing him to clean me before I even attempt to bear the Cross. You see, the Ark - the place where God lived, is symbolic of the Cross - the place where God died. Uzzah symbolically dirtied the Cross by touching the Ark. Why? Because he was irreverent and disobedient.*

Contrary to Calvinism, obedience is extremely important. Jesus was on the Ark that day. They didn't see Jesus, but David knew he was there. David had the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 16:13). He was imbued by God. He had the Spirit of  Jesus residing within him but failed to revere and obey the coming Christ.

Now, I am going to change modes.* I stopped for a moment in my writing and considered this event in the context of what's this got to do with Jesus? We must all do that when reading the Old Testament because it is indeed all about Jesus!

Before, I said that I had felt sorry for Uzzah because it seemed that he was merely protecting God's Throne. It occurred to me just now that Uzzah was innocent. My sympathy for him was correct! His job was to walk with the ox cart. He was obedient! It was David's, the chief priests, and the priests job to "dress and keep" God. Uzzah was a mere servant! What I am saying is that an innocent man died for David and the Israelites. As such, Uzzah is a type of Jesus. We shouldn't feel sorry for him because he surely went to Paradise that day! His death covered the sins of David and the others. We know that because David so feared God after that, that he quit trying to carry God, and left the Ark with Obed the Edomite. He felt guilty because it was he who was responsible, and an innocent man died in his place!

That is sort of "picture" of the crucifixion of Jesus. He bore the sins of mankind although He was innocent. Jesus stumbled on his way to Calvary. Simon stepped forward and touched the Ark of Jesus - the Cross. Simon was innocent, but the Israelites and the Gentiles were guilty. I contend that Uzzah was a innocent as Simon!

Simon cared. I contend that Uzzah cared as well because he put his faith in action. He probably knew scripture being a Levite. He obeyed the best he could given his servitude. He wasn't responsible but David was. It was David who, although having the Spirit, failed to follow Him! David was lax again, as he had been with Uriah and Bathsheba.

We must always think about God's will. It's not that we commit the offense but our attitude is that I will do my own will, knowing full-well what the will of God is! That is demonstrating apathy to what God desires for his servants. I have heard people say, "That sin is minor. I won't go to Hell because of that one sin! That is true but one may die because of a non-caring attitude. We are to care what God's will is! That's "dressing" the Garden. Then doing God's will is "keeping" it!

Did you ever consider that the True Cross was the Throne of God at the Crucifixion?




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Insults

Romans 1:41says, "Do not quarrel over opinions."  Scripture is clear on insults:
Titus 3:2 Speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 
Disagreements will happen. They are to be resolved in a gentle manner. Disagreements usually happen over differences in opinions. Opinions are viewpoints which either may or may not be based on fact. Rash people often have baseless or selfish opinions. Thoughtful people use evidence to establish their opinions. Thus, the rash person's opinion is based more on emotion, and the thoughtful person's on reason.

I personally get emotional when one trivializes or insults God. He is precious to me, and I will defend Him with my life, if comes to that. Of course, I talk bravely right now, but hope I never cower in the face of persecution as St. Peter did. I use scripture on which to base my opinions. 
Romans 12:2 (ESV) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
I test my opinions using scripture to see if they hold up under scrutiny. My opinions are compared to divine wisdom, and sometimes I must change my viewpoint, but oftentimes not. Why? I have studied scripture for 56 years. I know God's word thoroughly. That doesn't make me a righteous person because the flesh is weak, but a willing recreated Christian who endeavors to do God's will.

As such, I am a "peculiar" person (1 Peter 2:9) in that I am not "conformed to this world". The world seldom agrees with my perspective on life. I wasn't always peculiar, but over time God has renewed my mind. At one time, I too had the attitude, what's in it for me? My spiritual gift has always been discernment. I don't like my gift sometimes because I don't enjoy obedience as most people do not. It's not entertaining to be a non-conformist, which Christians are called to be!

As such, I have a basis for my opinions. I have experienced life, and experienced God. I choose God! My goal was easier not to harmonize my will with God's will. That came with time.  I don't care what others think. My will is to please God. When I don't, I feel miserable. However, when I do, I don't blame others for ruining my disposition. I blame me!

Those who are "emotional" have baseless opinions. Those are worthless as teats on a boar to use the world's vernacular. People don't like to be around those with factually based opinions, but what they hate worse, is being around those with baseless opinions. With that, we should keep our opinions to ourselves - unless, of course, they are generalized so as to not offend, and supported by evidence. The evidence which I use is truth. That comes from the Word of God. Others prefer their baseless opinion over God's Word.

Let me give an instance. God detests tattoos (Lev 19:8), yet even Christians get tattoos. Of course that is not reprobation, but neither is it the will of God. Trivializing God's will is flaunting disobedience in His face. That is my opinion, but is based on God's Word. Most people tempt God by drawing worldly things on their skin anyway. Their opinion is selfish. They do what is right in their own eyes without regard to God's commands.

Their opinion in this case is merely, "It's okay for me to get a tattoo." It is a baseless opinion in the divine world of truth, but holds water in the world: Most people get tattoos, so it's okay. That's the world's standards, and not Gods. Baseless opinions are the rationalization to do and say things which are wrong in God's eyes. God accuses lawless ones of doing what's right in their own eyes (Jud 17:6).

Frankly, I don't care whether people get tattoos or not! They stain themselves, and it is none of my business. This commentary is not about tattoos; it's about insults - to God and others. Disobediences are insults to God, not to me.

On the other hand, personal insults offend me, and offend God. That's not part of the Christian love we are to demonstrate! Let me present how insults evolve:

We each live in our own worlds. That is us and our personal space. When people have different opinions one "world" bumps into the other and the "two world's" collide. The kind person will see that coming and avoid the collision. I dodge other worlds all the time for time has taught me the wisdom in doing that! It's okay, in MY world, for OTHER world's to have wrong opinions. However, I want them safe, so I write to the world (global community). In their own little world, they have the choice - to read my opinion or not to read. If they fear being convicted, they need to stay away from "Larry's world" because I write God's will. God offends most people, so to avoid offense, stay out of God's world, and mine!

I am convicted every time I read scripture. I would rather God convict me than to live the way of the world (global community) because the earth's world is made up of billions of individual worlds. Conviction comes when I am shown I'm wrong using God's standards. That is a spiritually healthy place to be. When convicted, it becomes emotional. There are four major emotional outcomes: contriteness, apathy, guilt, or anger.

I don't enjoy feeling guilty. Usually my choice is to change my opinion and actions to the satisfaction of God. That's how balanced people operate - with contriteness. Psychopaths do not care. They are apathetic to God's will. They become reprobate with time. The other response to conviction is anger. Many Christians leave the church when God's Word is out of harmony with their opinion. That is the ultimate insult to God. It's indicating to the messenger - the preacher - you are ruining MY day!

That attitude is selfish thinking. No day is YOUR day. They all belong to God! You merely are leeches using life that He provides - sucking the lifeblood out of God. Yet you think your world is divine. You are in for an unpleasant surprise when you learn discernment - your way is not the Way!

Sometimes I preface my commentary with: it will be offensive to some. I don't want those who get angry easily to be offended, so I provide that warning. My rating system is M (Mature audiences) because I don't want anyone to start shooting at my world with insults. Immature people are those who without valid arguments resort to insults or cursing.

The courteous thing to do is to be kind. A relative of mine had many and strong opinions. Few were fact-based. I learned never to argue with this irrational person because he was the supreme source of knowledge in his own eyes. I earned to smile and placate him so as to not collide our worlds. You see, that's what the gods of these individual worlds want - they want to be appeased! The truth angers small gods, so in my world I want peace. I let my relative be wrong. That didn't hurt me one bit, but was self-destructive on his part! His world was destroyed by his own actions! I took him without firing a shot or exploding his myth.

Christians are to avoid quarrelling. Although some live in their own world where they always have things their way, that is not the real world! In truth, we are all in this world together, and God's will is we all are to get along. We are to love and serve Him, not be self-serving and self-loving. The way we have of demonstrating our love for God is to revere His will, and loving his Creation. God created "the large selfish world" and our small selfish worlds. His will is that he wants us to collide with the world but not with the world of each other. We are not to conform to the world, but conform to God. If we all conform to God, our individual world's would  never collide.

How are we to avoid hurling insults at the worlds belonging to others? It's easy, if done God's way: "by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." 

Insults are angry people's futile attempt to explode the world of others. That's not nice!







Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Christmas Gifts

It's Christmas time. It's a time to celebrate. "To us a child was born...", "Peace on earth, good will toward men...", "Santa Claus is coming..." "Deck the halls with bows of holly...." "Fa la la!"

In this first paragraph, I twisted the notion of Christ's Day to Our Day. In effect, the birth of Jesus was God's gift to mankind but as always, it has become our day without Jesus. Christmas, for most people, is a pretense to self-indulge. Some even refer to "My Christmas". That is of the utmost disrespect: Who made you God?

Let's look at the Christmas Story from one of the gospels - the truth about Jesus: 
Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." 9 ...the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
Here we have an unknown number of "wise men" coming from the East to worship Jesus. They came bearing the three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They came "to worship Him", and had "great joy". They "fell down and worshipped Him". The child was with Mary, it was not Mary who they worshipped, but the baby Jesus! After that they presented their gifts to Jesus. This one baby got the material gifts; with that the entire human race received their Gift! Jesus was born "King of the Jews". He was theirs for the accepting. Jesus was God's gift to the Jews as promised centuries before with the Abrahamic Covenant. It's worth looking at some of the key verses in that story:
Genesis 17:1 ...I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. 18:1 And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground...  7 And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? ... 22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom...
(And then Abraham begged for the Lord to save Sodom - one of the two wicked cities. Those three "men" went toward Sodom; we find them next in that city:
Genesis 19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet..."
Somehow three "men" (Gen 18:2) appeared at the tent of Abraham. One of them was "Lord" (Yĕhovah). (Gen 18:1). By the time the "three men" got to Sodom, there were two, and rather than being referred to as men they were identified as angels (Gen 19:1).

It would appear that the Lord did not go to Lot's home in Sodom. It would not be fitting for men to lust after God Himself. 

How do you suppose that the story of Abraham would relate to the birth of Jesus? The answer is that the birth of the Savior fulfilled the Abrahamic Covenant - "all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?" (Gen 2:18).

This verse stands out in importance in that the promise was for "all nations". That was part of what Paul called the "mystery of God". That mystery was that salvation was always through Jesus, was always by grace, and was always for everyone. Christianity was never genetic but was for "whosoever" had the faith of Abraham - the standard of faith.

If you read Genesis 17 in its entirety you will find that the promise was through Isaac, although his grandson Jacob was "Israel". God planned well, and he was gracious to include even us Gentiles in His Plan! Thus, when Jesus was born that His birth was to save mankind:
John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Thus, the Abrahamic Covenant was for the circumcised to demonstrate their "faith of Abraham". The Jews had to be circumcised (works), whereas the Gentiles were to have the "circumcision of the heart". Either way, circumcision is a sign of the Covenant.

Where am I going with this? Abraham and Sarah were "pictures" of several things to come. In this case, ancient Abraham was a picture of God who would have a "Seed" who would come to save the world. Later on, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only remaining son, as a picture of the crucifixion of Christ. It was Isaac who was the be sacrificed, not Israel, indicating it was a sacrifice for all mankind.

Notice that "three men" who turned out to be three angels came to Abraham to announce the birth of Jacob, and consequently Jesus Christ Himself! "The Angel" was God himself, the Lord Yĕhovah.

Yehu - Jesus Himself -  is seen in the Lord's name. Abraham gave them gifts. (Re-read those chapters). Now look again at the birth of Jesus.

"Wise men" came from the East bearing gifts. We assume three because there were three gifts. I submit that there were "two wise men" and that those wise men were angels of the Lord. There was a third Wise Man, and He was there as well. The Angel of God was already there in the manger. Just as he stayed not with the angels of Abraham, the Lord, beat them to the punch. He arrived in Bethlehem before the two angels!

According to Isaiah, the wise men - Gentiles - were to come from Sheba (Isaiah 60:6). Sheba is modern-day Ethiopia.

In Sodom, Jesus judged. Yes, the Lord was pre-incarnate Jesus all the time (John 1)! At the virgin birth, Jesus was the Gift of grace. Grace is part of the "mystery of God", and the Mystery was revealed to mankind on that great day! Faith by works was transformed on that day into works by faith. The Abrahamic Covenant was transformed. The Light finally was shown to everyone, and that the Covenant was always by the blood of Jesus, not that of animals which man performed!

You can see, Christmas is not about you, but for you! It is not your Christmas but Jesus's Day! We should quit thinking about pleasure, receiving, and buying. It is Jesus who is the reason for the season. Your part is that your Gift was born that day, but most of you have never taken your Gift out of the box, let alone use Him by having faith in Jesus.

People say because of three wise men bearing three gifts, shows that we are to give. That is a noble thought but not the idea. Using sacred literature, if it is true; golden rods, frankincense, and myrrh were given to Adam and Eve to comfort them. They were stored in the Cave of Treasures somewhere in the East. (1 Adam and Eve). It appears that those treasures already and always belonged to God. Wise men were merely returning them to their rightful owner!
1 Bk of Adam & Eve 31:1 AFTER these things God said unto Adam, "Thou didst ask of Me something from the garden, to be comforted therewith, and I have given thee these three tokens as a consolation to thee; that thou trust in Me and in My covenant with thee. 2 "For I will come and save thee; and kings shall bring me when in the flesh, gold, incense and myrrh; gold as a token of My kingdom; incense as a token of My divinity; and myrrh as a token of My suffering and of My death.
These sacred writings came from guess where: Sheba - modern-day Ethiopia. Who would know better than the people where the gifts were stored, than Ethiopia itself? Those passages don't say "three kings" but merely "kings". One King was already planned to be there. The Abrahamic Covenant was a reminder of the Adamic Covenant. It was sealed with grace. God provided Comfort with the symbols of the Savior. The gifts God loaned to Adam was to be saved for posterity:
1 Bk of Adam and Eve 31:3 "But, O Adam, put these by thee in the cave; the gold that it may shed light over thee by night; the incense, that thou smell its sweet savour; and the myrrh, to comfort thee in thy sorrow."
The three treasures were to be stored until a day 5500 years later when the Adamic Covenant would be fulfilled. That was the time when Adam and Eve would have the One in whom they believed!  By their faith in a future event, our ancestors were saved at Jesus's death just as we are. He looked toward the Promise. We look back at the Promise.  What are the symbols of the three gifts: Light (the Kingdom), Incense (His Divinity), and Myrrh (Christ's suffering and death).

Iphones, toys, and earrings do a disservice to His Kingship, Divinity, and Suffering. Giving to one another is weak at most! Christmas Day is when we return to Jesus what belongs to him: servitude to the King, reverence for His Divinity, and respecting his suffering and death. We take what He gave us - our life, and make it  living sacrifice to Jesus (Rom 12:1).

We who claim to be Christians know what those gifts mean! Now, we know the whole story, if the writer had divine insight. I believe he either was a good prophet, if this was written in 300 BC, or a discerning Christian if written in 400 AD.

We do know one thing: the gifts of the wise men were for Jesus's Day, not ours. Perhaps Christians can be well advised to spend the day in service to the Lord.

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