Friday, June 30, 2017

Know that you know ad infinim

To believe is "to have a firm or wholehearted religious conviction or persuasion :  to regard the existence of God as a fact," (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

Some believe that the earth is flat but that doesn't make it so! Belief is extraneous to fact, but fact should be easier to believe than fiction because there is tangible evidence. Being persuaded is not evidence of truth.

In order to become a Christian there is a pre-condition:
Mark 16:16 "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Let us ignore the "baptized" condition for this moment, and focus in on the "believes" pre-condition. Using Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, this verse can be paraphrased as:
Whoever is persuaded will be saved, and those who are not persuaded will be condemned.
As such, a Christian is convinced - being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:21). (This commentary will not venture into what salvation is, or the time it happens. That is for another day, and I have discussed that earlier. It is clear that "will be" implies a future event - either shortly or a longer time, but never in the past. One cannot be saved before they believe.)

Therefore, fully persuaded is accepting something as truth that was not accepted before. This brings me to the subject at hand - Joyce Meyers has made famous the cliché. We are to keep our yes, yes and our no, no. (Matthew 5:37). Are you saved? The right answer is "yes" or "no". Better yet, since salvation's timing is different for different doctrines, a better question is: "Are you born-again?" If one claims to be a Christian and knows not what born-again means, then perhaps the second birth needs revisited, and it becomes obvious that one does not know, let alone know that he knows that he knows!

The underlying thought behind believe, then, is truth. Christians believe it to be truth, and to be efficacious, truth it must be to be saved. That truth is that Jesus is who he says he is (God), that he did what he would say he would do (die), and it was for the reason of redemption (dying in our place), for our resurrection to be possible (immortality). Although I dislike the cliché, I certainly believe all those things. Furthermore, it's imperative to understand that I can not facilitate my new birth, and that only Jesus can - only Jesus saves. All our efforts are in futility.
Mark 19:21 "But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23  “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
The boy who had a spirit from birth was healed. It took a miracle to endeavor to fully convince the believing father. There was within his mind a dichotomy: belief couple with doubt. He saw Jesus, he knew Jesus, he believed in him but he fell just a little short of pure belief? Why? I am persuaded it was because he was mere man. We all came pre-conditioned to doubt truth. Ever since the serpent said, "Thou shalt not surely die," doubt has always been on the minds of all mankind. Salvation is overcoming enough doubt to accept Jesus and his teachings. Even a little faith is saving because Jesus admonished believers who had just a little faith.

The apostles were afraid of the storm. Jesus pointed out their dichotomy:
Matthew 14:31 "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Those who had faith - believed, but also had doubt. These were all apostles, yet whole churches of people claim to know that I know that I know. This claim is in effect saying, "I have more faith than the apostles who walked with Jesus!" I don't buy that, but I don't have to. Does Jesus accept that statement as true. My opinion is that we delude ourselves. It's prideful to think that we are invulnerable to doubt. Each time that we sin is the expression of doubt: "Do I really love God?" because he calls on his people to demonstrate love by obedience to Him.

The faith of God is pure. There is no doubt. The temptations of Christ are evidence of God's faith in Himself. There was no doubt at all in Jesus' mind that he could overcome temptation. Can you say that? If not, then it would appear that none of us have perfect faith. Anything less is less faith and more doubt. One can not know that he knows that he knows and have any doubt. My opinion is that all Christians have some degree of doubt. That is okay because we are mere men, but to think that we are without any doubt elevates ourselves to the stature of God!

Christians can believe the lie:

Matthew 24:23 "At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it."
Jesus warned firm believers to not be fooled. Why would Satan attempt to fool Christians if we were beyond fooling? Being fooled is believing untruths. Since we are capable of believing untruths, doubt can be instilled within our minds. One of the doubts is knowing our own lack of love.

We all know that we don't love Jesus enough because we sin even after we're born again. Some who are of the Calvinist doctrine, fail to believe in apostasy - that faith can be replaced by total doubt. That's actually why Satan tempts Christians. Only God knows when our little faith turns into no faith, but  that is scriptural and does occur. Few of us have great faith or all our prayers would be answered. We could even moves mountains (Mark 11:23). There remains much doubt. How can we claim that we know that we know that we know when so much doubt is there?

Our belief is instilled by Holy Scripture, what is canon and what is not, the translation of it, and if we're convinced of the truth of it all. One of the people I heard indicate that she knows that she knows had just used the Lord's name in vain. That's a show of not loving God enough to obey him. That act of vanity should instill some doubt in her because she doesn't have perfect love.

Paul refers to "the hope of salvation" (1 Thessalonians 5:8). That means that because something which we anticipate is beneficial we want it to be true. That want is based on belief. We want heaven to be real but it is based on the unseen. Satan constantly tells us that what we believe is not real. That is doubt, and we don't fully know, but accept what we cannot see. To prove that you know that you know that you know, would you walk on water in a storm? Peter did, but Peter doubted although Jesus was physically right there with him. Are people who are that certain of their faith just as faithful as Jesus who did walk on water without falling?

Belief isn't certainty. It's accepting what as said as factual. Some who know that they know also believe that it took great time, even millions of years, for the creation. They doubt God, then say they believe he can create a heaven for them to live eternally! They show doubt by their unbelief!

What I believe is not profound truth. I don't have perfect belief. What I write is my own revelation from God. I base it on scripture as I understand it. You may have a different understanding which means one of us is wrong. I don't like to be wrong, but the truth is that I often am! In this case, my personal conviction is that I won't say that I know that I know that I know that I'm saved because I realize that my belief is based on what I cannot see which influences my understanding.

I humble myself that I am no apostle nor even a prophet. I can say that "I believe", which implies that I am convinced. Am I convinced enough that I would sacrifice my only son as Abraham was called to do? I'm unsure because Abraham had great faith. I know that I have more doubt than Abraham because he was willing to do what most Christians could not do!

Let's quit responding to clichés unless we examine ourselves thoroughly. If I am so convinced of my belief, where is my action? If we have less doubt than the apostles, why are we not out saving the world as the Great Commission dictates? It's because we need more proof from our unbelief. Since Jesus isn't physically here any longer to demonstrate those miracles, we must only trust that he did. If we don't trust Jesus that much, why can't the evil spirits which inhabit our children be prayed out? We don't have enough faith in Jesus to pray and fast! Our acts negate our claim!

I won't answer, "I know that I know that I know" because of these things. You may disagree and that's okay. That's my own thinking, valid or not. I will say this, "I am born again!" Are you?


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Filthy Talk

Filthy talk is the pollution from a mind on fire. It's the foul aroma of the incense of decaying thoughts. Gehenna was the dump in Jerusalem where the garbage was burned. The aroma of that filth was putrid.  Filthy talk is the second-hand smoke of those whose minds process garbage! Gehenna still is symbolic of hell - disregarding the heresies taught by Universalists and Witnesses. The filthy minds are the minds of the sons of perdition, and likewise the daughters.

2 Thessalonians 17:12 refers to the coming of "the son of perdition". Perdition means "utter destruction", and is a obvious synonym for hell. The son of perdition would be Satan himself, but since he is the father of sinners, the unrighteous are sons of perdition -  or if you prefer, children of hell!

Filthy talk is an outward manifestation of an inner condition. Before the inner corruption can be corrected, the outer expression of it must be reigned in! Sure, filthy talk is a remnant of the flesh, but it's a metric which makes one wonder if the changed person actually exists. Being born-again is the sacrifice the former self to god, and transforming into a new you - cleansed and acceptable to God. The newborn person is to be the most robust and healthy of the flock, and if we present a dirty sheep to God as we purport to sacrifice ourselves, He's insulted by the inferior sacrifice. In effect, those born-again whose sacrifice is minimal are symbolic Cain's, and they are driven far away from the Garden.
Colossians 3:8 "But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth."
Filthy communication is the smoke of Gehenna. It's aroma poisons the atmosphere of love where Christians are to abide. Rather than abiding in the kingdom of God, those with filthy talk are much more like the garbage trucks which bring their odor to otherwise clean communities!

The easy commands are those which are require outward obedience. It's actually easy to have clean communication compared to loving one's enemies! If we're not clean on the outside, how could we possibly be on the inside?

Communication is brought to you by the tongue, among other members.
Romans 3:12 "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:"
If it was just the tongue the offense would not be as great, but the master of the tongue is the mind! It only obeys what the heart tells it. When filth is spoken, it is a choice -  the mind chooses to speak evil rather than goodness. Since God is good and Satan is evil, filthy talk is at the command of Satan's angels -  it's doing thy will, not God's will, because filthy talkers are sons of perdition.

We all have filthy thoughts which cross or minds. Don't even deny it. The media and the world places those thoughts there. However, it is by our own volition that we turn thoughts into words or even actions. Our tongues are obedient servants -  they do exactly what the mind wills them to do!

Asps are vipers whose venom is poisonous. They are the snake-god of Egypt which always represent sin in scripture.  Think of the tongue as that viper which has the power to kill! Unfortunately, a filthy tongue only maims others but can be deadly to those whose venom is filth!

With the same tongue men both curse and praise God. Filthy lucre are the words Paul used to describe an unclean tongue. Lucre means distasteful, and it is not only filth which comes from speaking, but irreverence! 

In a church I visited this week, I saw hands held high and words of praise. The tongue did good right then, but preceding the praise was an exclamation of God's name in vain by one. Sure, it was thoughtless, but that's what vanity is! Those who casually disrespect God without aforethought aren't thinking of God. Remember your tongue as you praise God. Does it need washed before it offers praises? Praise is the offering of sacrifice - it's ourselves. That sacrifice must be holy and acceptable to the Lord. Christians who sin must have their sheep washed before it's presented to God. God does the washing with repentance, but we must present the sheep to God.

God helped me with my own tongue. He can help with yours as well. I depend on him to continually circumcise my heart but my tongue as been offered to his divine blade. If our hearts are pure, so will be our mouths!

I confess that I need divine help with off-color stories at time - even innuendo, and they are the same as off-color words, even though filthy words are not used in those stories. Sin is forgiven it forgiveness is sought. We must be willing to seek change. I am willing to do that -  my spirit is, but my flesh is weak. Rather than depend on the self (our flesh), it is on God who has the power to change. I must use the same metric on myself as I do others. That I am willing to do!



Monday, June 26, 2017

Paganism, Theism, Deism, Selfism, Philosophy, Psychology, Agnosticsm, and Atheism

If you are a Christian, then you are a theist, but that's nothing remarkable. Any person who believes in a god or gods is a theist. Some even worship Satan. They too are theists! Theism comes from the Greek word theos, meaning "god".  In Christianity, any theists who believe in other gods are pagans. Paganism came from the Latin word paganus which was used to describe the pantheon of Roman gods. If one was judged by the number of gods, then the Romans and East Indian pantheists would be judged supreme. However, many of the people of the world are monotheists,  believing in one god.

Because one believes in one god does not make that one god the same god. The word "god" is just that. In different languages there are different words for god -  Allah is one of the many.

JHVH, the Hebrew description of The One True God (I AM THAT I AM), references the one God without a name. He just IS. In the flesh, JHVH is called Emmanuel and Jesus. After Jesus was spotted walking on water by the apostles he said:
Matthew 14:27 Young's Literal Translation (YLT) "... and immediately Jesus spake to them, saying, `Be of good courage, I am [he], be not afraid.'"
Jesus self identifies as I AM as can be attested to in this literal translation of what Jesus said. Be clear -  Christianity, although it refers to the Holy Trinity, is monotheistic! The Holy Trinity are the three aspects of JHVH, and all aspects are God. The word "three persons" is misapplied. God, except in his existence as Jesus Christ, is not a person -  He is God!

In order to be a true Christian theist, one must worship JHVH as Holy Scripture presents Him. If  a theist misrepresents the God of Holy Scripture, that person is not a Christian because God is more than a word - he is truth. God identifies himself quite well in scripture, and to misidentify Him creates another god more suitable to the liking of the theist.

What separates Christians from the rest of the pack is doctrine. Christians are theists who actually believe in and live by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Most people in the western world claim to be Christians. Claiming Jesus as savior is a mockery unless one actually does God's will because Jesus is God! What is His will? That his creation be like Him since we were made in His image. What does that mean? God is love; we too are to love, both God and our fellow man. Therefore, a theist is anyone who believes in the existence of God. Almost everybody is a theist - it's just a difference in the identity of God.

Muslims believe in Jesus as well. In the Q'uran, he is transliterated Isa. However, their use of the word "Jesus" is not based on Holy Scripture. Mohammad added to scripture with his own writings. His Jesus never died on the cross and was a mere prophet. Muslims are theists and use Judeo-Christian names, but their Allah and Isa are what biblical Christians would call "anti-christs". The character of their god and prophet is much different than what Christian theists believe.  Those who make them the same, are Unitarian and Universalists in theology, and are thus anti-Christians.

Deism came from the Latin word deus which means "god". As one can see, both theism and deism are beliefs in god. Just as there are differences in theism, deism is much different than theism although they share the same thought. In fact, deism is theism because they too believe in god. Unlike theism though, which allows for pantheistic beliefs, deism is monotheistic - there was one creator god, and then he removed himself from nature. Hence, in deism, there is no personal God which deals with individuals, leaving mankind to fend for themselves.

The appearance is that deists who live their daily lives without God are atheists because their dependence is on mankind themselves. Likely, a better word for deists is "selfists" because those are people who belong to a group which effectually self-worships. Their theism is that their own morality is the salvation of mankind. The difference is that deists acknowledge a Power which they often refer to as Providence, but is not the JHVH of Holy Scripture. Many of our founding fathers in the United States were deists, and believed in Providence, but not JHVH. Since their manner was reason, their dependence was on their own self. Although they acknowledged a higher power, they were not truly theists because in daily living and practice there is no God.

Deism is the unknown god that Paul talks about in scripture. That religion is philosophy - the love of wisdom. Whose wisdom? Mankind's! Philosophers are effectually selfists. Modern day psychology is the application of philosophy to improve the mental state of men. It's origin comes from philosophy and mostly eastern paganism. The focus is on self-improvement - balancing out characteristics within which is the yin and yang of balancing forces. Many Christians buy into the philosophy and depend on psychology ( the study of the soul) rather than God's healing power. In essence, they too are selfists.

Atheism is without belief in god(s) of any type. They are the more honest of those outside Judeo-Christianity. They admit their unbelief. Many agnostics are atheists because they have yet to be convinced that there is a god or gods. They stand ready to be theists, but it is an impossibility that they can ever be without a change in belief. Why? Because theism is not scientific; it is by faith. In fact, science too requires even more faith because of the lack of the ability to scientifically prove or disprove the existence of god(s). Agnosticism means skepticism, but they are biased toward unbelief. Therefore, since they depend on reason, they are more atheists than deists because in their viewpoint, there was not a creator.

In boils down that all isms are selfists because they all depend on their own wisdom. Ever since Adam used wrong judgment, the other gods (theists) are always themselves. Even when others are Buddhists, Muslims or any other religion, they are selfists because they are believing what is right in their own eyes, contrary to the truth associated with JHVH.




Sunday, June 25, 2017

Reason

Reason is another faculty of the mind. Reason is the taking in of information, thinking about it until it is understood, and then forming a judgment. The process of doing those things in logic, and logic requires that the process of making judgments is based on valid information - or truth.

Let's take a look always at mankind's frame of reference; the judgment call used when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit.

The judgment was: Shall I eat or shall I not eat? of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Since a judgment call was made this first time in recorded history, it would seem that our subjects already had in place the faculty of reason. they surely did because they were made in the image of God who is a reasonable and just God.

Part of the judgment process is possible outcomes. There were two: (1) Thou shalt die or (2) Thou shalt not surely die. These two possible outcomes were provided by (1) God, and (2) the serpent; respectively. A decision had to be made, judgment was necessary, and the process was called reasoning.

In this case part of the information was wrong. Logic requires valid information, and the consideration of it. For instance, if we were eating ice cream we know for sure if we don't eat it soon, it will melt. So to eat it ASAP or later is a judgment call based on valid information. If we're told that it won't melt, we must either believe that or not. If the decision is to wait awhile before we eat it, the logic is based on a falsehood, and a poor decision results.

Looking at our subjects, God told them that they would die. Was that truth or a lie? Obviously, neither died. In fact Adam saw that Eve didn't die, so he followed suit and ate of the fruit. In effect, the question of validity was: Is God lying about dying or not? Both believed the serpent rather than God because they both ate of the fruit. Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed Eve!

In order to use logic, reasoning must use valid information. They effectually called their Creator a liar, and believed the wily serpent. No wonder God was angry with them! God is truth! If you fail to believe that, look it up. We must always believe the Word of God, or we are mere neo-Adamic. Many Christians deny that God is truth. As example, God lied about the creation. Evolutionary Christians (my coinage) believe the serpent and not God. The serpent represents the world and is whoever deceives.

God meant, that they would lose their immortality. Adam and Eve failed to understand! When they were created, the design intent was to live forever! What God meant when he said, "You shall surely die,: is that rather than never feeling the sting of death, sometimes in the future they would die. Because they didn't reason with that information, they soon would suffer death. They both thought that immediately after they ate of the fruit, that they would die. Immediacy is another trick in Satan's repertoire. Pleasure is often provided immediately and most people seek immediate gratification. On the other hand, contentment and happiness are hopes which come about with time. The former is temporal and the latter eternal. Even if they had known that death was to come in 900 years, Adam and Eve would still have eaten because like us, they wanted immediate gratification. Something that distant in time was speculative, but what they had now was certain!

God gave truthful information. However, Satan parsed that truth with a little spin of his own. He knew that Adam and Eve didn't have full comprehension. They failed to realize by not understanding the death fully - that it is time dependent. God created time for mankind, and Satan used time to fool his victims.

Let me deviate a little bit. We too must be careful with the time element. Time deceives us. Just as God meant you shalt die someday when he said "thou shalt surely die", the same holds true for life. When he said ye shalt be saved, we take that as immediately, but it's sometimes in the future. Of course it may be tomorrow, but it may be in eighty years. Arminians believe that the day of salvation is at the time of death, which makes sense, because we are saved from damnation which commences at the time of death. Just as Paul uses the term the hope of salvation,  Adam and Eve had the hope of eternal life - immortality, until it was spoiled by disobedience. We must be careful of the serpent's toying with our understanding as well! Looking at salvation in immediate terms can lead to a sinful lifestyle because people are misled into believing that faith is of short duration. When God said by faith you are saved, he meant enduring faith because non-enduring faith is an oxymoron! The hope of salvation is made safe until the time of death.

Back to the faculty of reason now. God provided utmost truth. The serpent distorted truth. However, using logic, they came to the wrong conclusion - at least Adam did, when he saw that Eve didn't die. They both thought about what they were seeing and hearing. Thinking is part of reasoning. They both saw the tree -  it was real, the fruit was appealing, and the tree was beautiful. The serpent told them it was good for food and would make them wise. They took this information at face value. Dispensationalists call this the age of innocence. Thus far, they had never heard a lie, and didn't have understanding. Satan used their lack of understanding to deceive them.

It may be that the tree was good for food and would make them wise, but we still don't know those things. Sure, the fruit tasted good because Eve recommended it. That doesn't mean it was good for food! Even delectable candy can be poisonous. Eat too much of it and see what I mean! We can see that the fruit certainly didn't make them wise because immediately they tried to cover their own sin, and mankind has been trying to do the same ever since! You see, the deception and "wisdom" was forever.  Satan uses truth and deception together to deceive.

So far, Adam and Eve used reasoning. We see that there was much that they failed to understand. They accepted falsehoods as truth - that is illogical. Then each formed a judgment. Adam's, seeing that Eve didn't die when she ate, he ate! He believed the serpent over God. He made a bad judgment call. At least he used data, although it was misunderstood - Eve didn't die! On the other hand, Eve's logic was even less! She just believed the serpent without any evidence of any kind! No wonder Adam was to have dominion but even he didn't deserve his grant.

The western world went from the age of faith to the age of reason. The former is theism and the later deism - the first is Latin for belief in God, and the latter Greek for the same. You see, Deism is based on reason, and the serpent still uses partial truth to deceive. Thomas Paine accelerated Deism by his pamphlet The Age of Reason. He deceived the western world and even many of our founders!

Thomas Paine also poisoned the French people when they obtained independence. Their god turned out not to be God, but the God of Reason, who/what later became their official god. It was state-sponsored atheism. There are three isms pertaining to the divine - theism, deism, and atheism. Theism is the truthful God, Deism uses partial truth; they have a god but a false one, and atheism claims no god. At least atheism is an honest belief! Deism proclaims God then makes Him powerless and impersonal. At least the French were honest - in their cult of reason, they made their god Reason!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Will

Humans are obscure creatures unlike any other. We are made very much in the image of God, but we are so far from the magnificence of God. We think we are nearly so but are sadly mistaken.

One of our obscurities is that we have the same faculty that God has but ours is used so much differently. The will is the faculty of human mind which, when given a decision, deliberately selects the one which is the strongest desired. Reason and understanding are other activities of the mind as well, and the three are sort of a psychological trinity.

God has His will also. That's why mankind was endowed with one -  in God's image! In the beginning, God's will was Adam's will, and mankind was in innocence. Adam was in harmony with God.  Adam was willing to tend God's Garden out of love, respect, and appreciation. Adam was truly free because he had never been confronted with tough decisions. Alas, God must test him! Satan's purpose is "tough tester" but with God it's not a scale but pass or fail! Man's will is the instrument which is used to test.

For will to work, the mind must process the input. In theology, there are two kinds of inputs: the will of God and the will of Satan. Divine influence is the former, and temptation is the latter. The will of God is good, and the will of Satan is evil. Good brings happiness and forgoes stress. Evil brings illicit pleasure and brings on stress - unless the person is acclimated to sin, and that is called reprobation.

Mankind was given a will so that we were more than automatons. God could have made us in the image of a robot. He could have made us to obey every command without question. Why did he not do so? Our will is the method of showing love or disdain for God. Robots cannot love - they can only obey. This difference is part of the mystery of God. He never ever was satisfied with obedience; He just wanted his creation's love.

Obedience is done out of obligation. People obey out of fear of punishment. Love is voluntary. Obedience and love both result from exercising the will. God doesn't want us to fear Him in the sense of being imprisoned by His rules. His desire is that we revere Him for his goodness. We all deserve punishment because of our disobedience, but God's grace is that He is merciful, and loves even the disobedient.

God does have one expectation: Because we are His children it is our love that is expected!  Mankind exists because God wanted companionship, and to receive rebellion is pathetic on mankind's part. We are the monsters who turned on our creator. Rather than being appreciative for our very existence, we are frustrated, and even resentful, that there are rules of divine civility to follow!

Rules are made as tests of love. God's only command in the beginning was to never eat of the forbidden tree. In essence, God gave mankind only one decision to make: show me love by obedience to this one command. Man could not oven keep one command! Later on when he was given ten, breaking the one was as breaking them all because all God's commands are metrics of love.

Each time there is temptation, the person must make a decision. Man understands the options, and reasons with himself. Shall I or shall I not? The will is when the decision is made. In theology, the output to temptation is to either sin or not to sin. Sin is always willingly, but it is not always actively. Willful sins are done on purpose with aforethought. Sins of omission are done due to willful negligence. God calls us to love him, but because we neglect Him, we are sinful. There are even accidental sin - those we do because we're clumsy with God's rules. (e.g.; because of negligence, not carrying the ark of the covenant as it was supposed to be carried).

As such, God expects us to use our will. Since there are no constraints put on our decisions, human will is free-will. God respects our humanity so much that he allows us to make our own choices. Our eternal destiny is the utmost choice that we shall ever make.

God created time for this very purpose! Everyone has an entire lifetime to choose mortality or immortality. Actually, life never ends for anyone -  the material dies but the spiritual lives on. The atmosphere of eternal death is isolation, hate, decay, and pain, while the atmosphere of eternal life is communion, love, preservation, and comfort! Our destinies are our choices. God gave us free will to choose either foolishly or wisely. Only a fool would choose suffering, but that's what most people choose!

Those who are strong-willed resist making a decision. That's why God by grace allows a lifetime! The notion is that the decision is put off, but actually the procrastination in itself is a decision. Most assume that time will always be there to decide later. God knows the hearts, thus the will, of everyone. Because of foreknowledge he knows whether our hearts are tender enough to be circumcised. With some, God will cut the life short because He knows that they will never be willing to submit.

Others use their free-will to choose eternal death because they just don't believe God. Although, as children of God, mankind was created in His image, when men freely choose to do the will of Satan, they became children of the devil. Our divine parent is who we belong to, and those who choose the will of Satan, choose him, and have no rights because they are not legitimate heirs of God. Satan uses deception to confuse the will of every individual. Discernment is when people use their will with eyes wide open - in truth.  Satan speaks some truth but adds to it lies which lead to destruction. He knows how easy it is to confuse the mind, allowing mankind to do unreasonable things because they fail to understand.

God did this in the Garden. I don't know about Eve, but Adam made a conscious choice. (Eve may have just misunderstood Adam's instruction because the rule was given to Adam). Adam looked at the tree with its fruit, understood God's command, reasoned about the choice between life and death, and willingly ate thereof. Hence, Adam was credited with the first sin.

Adam stood by and watched Eve pleasure in what she ate. Since Eve didn't die as God said she would, Adam reasoned (rationalized) and ate as well. In effect, Adam considered God a liar. His mind was confused by entering into the place of temptation. God meant eternal death, but Adam only considered physical death, not realizing that God's intent was for them both to live forever. At that instant, Adam and Eve went from immortal to mortal, and ever since, mankind has tried to regain eternal life. The problem lies in the method. Some trust science and humanity while others trust God.

Because men are unwilling to trust God for eternal life, their trust is in mankind, especially themselves. Some do their own will without regard to God's will, caring not that they shall go to hell, or letting Satan convince them: thou shall not surely die. Those who use their will to do their own thing, trust that the few good things will save them in the end because God is good. If they do some "good", then a good God will save them, although they are unwilling to obey or even to love.

Scripture calls on those who are born-again to make themselves a living sacrifice. The new birth is when people are willing to trust and accept God. That is called faith. God gives faith as a gift but people must accept it. That's a decision which must be made. The person must be willing to be born-again. The old person dies, and the sinner willingly puts that old self on the cross with Jesus. They quit hating, and begin loving. They quit rebelling and begin to obey - not because they must but because the old rebellious self was supposed to have died!

Most believe, many accept Jesus, but few die to the flesh because they are unwilling to make that sacrifice. The hope of salvation is more than belief - it is trusting. Belief is knowing that God can save, and that we can't. Therefore, most accept Jesus, but few are willing to put their old self away. Like Lot's wife, they look back at the pleasure and die, because of their unwillingness to avoid temptation. That's why Paul admitted, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." We want to obey but our human nature isn't willing! There is power in the Word, and absorption in it can strengthen the flesh. It can become more willing when Christians truly submit to God.

Submission to God is defeating Satan. Two masters are traded for one, and ironically, God, although the Master, allows Christians liberty. We can choose to sin if we desire, but the circumcised heart is a willing heart!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Top Philosophical Questions for the Christian

My list of the top twenty questions about life in a spiritual context:

  1. Who is God?  Do you know and understand God? Do you know God? How? What is it God wants from you? What is God's substance? Who is God's competition?
  2. What is the natural? What is the supernatural? 
  3. What is love? What is hatred? Does everyone love? Hate? At what point does hate condemn one?
  4. Does heaven exist? Does hell exist? What is heaven? What is hell? Who made them? Why?
  5. Who am I? What is your substance? Why do you exist? Do you know what you are?  Do you know who you are? What is will. What is free will? Why do we have our own will? What is your own character flaw? What is the flesh?
  6. What is pleasure? Is pleasure from God? Are pleasure and happiness the same? What is pleasure for? How is pleasure abused?
  7. Are all things of God? Is Satan of God? What is the purpose of Satan?
  8. What is goodness? What is evil? Are their shades of gray between good and evil?
  9. What is life? What is death? What is my purpose in life? Are you achieving your purpose? 
  10. Do I deserve anything? From what source do things derive?
  11. What is work? Can everything be achieved by hard work?
  12. Is nothing something? How did nothingness come about? What is the difference between nothing and something? What is something? Why do things exist?
  13. What is time? Who created time? When? What is its purpose? What does time have todo with us? What is eternity? How can the time it takes for light to travel exceed time? How much of eternity has life existed? How much of your own life?
  14. What is the most important thing in one's life?. What is it that mankind wants to most achieve?
  15. What is it that can keep us from our goal? What is it that can obtain our goal?
  16. What is truth? What are lies? What is faith? From where does faith come? What can man do with faith?
  17. Why do we need Jesus? Is needing Jesus more about God or about us? How do we get Jesus?
  18. Who is the Holy Spirit? What are the characteristics of the Holy Spirit? Do ghosts exist? Who is the Holy Ghost? Is eternity occupied by ghosts? The natural? Supra-natural?
  19. What does "born-again" mean? Is it something done, thought, or realized? Are you born again?
  20. What happens with the first birth? How can one be born again? What happens to the person at the second-birth?  
As you cans see, the twenty questions are expanded. There are actually many more than twenty. The extra complementary questions are thought starters. One reason that people don't understand is that they don't ask themselves questions. Do you understand existence? Do you understand God? Do you understand time and its limitations? Do you understand you? Do you understand your choices? Do you understand the consequences of wrong choices? Ask yourselves the questions above and reflect on them. Hint: Use scripture to learn about them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Garden of Eden: Jerusalem?

Scientists are searching for the Garden of Eden all over Mesopotamia and lower Iraq. My contention is that they are looking for a place that is no longer there for two reasons: (1) The face of the earth has changed, and (2) the Garden of Eden no longer exists. I address the former in my blog (http://kentuckyherrin.blogspot.com/2016/10/eden-pangea.html).  Of course there are numerous maps showing the pre-continental divide - Pangea, because geographers have drawn different maps. I have seen none which fit all three conditions for the Garden: (1) eastward in Eden, (2) four rivers, and (3) one great body of water as the headwater of the four rivers.

First off, I believe that Eden exists in a different form. Eden is how the earth existed before continental drift. It only remains to locate the Garden. It may be that the Garden no longer exists. Just as New Jerusalem will come down from heaven after the end of days, it may be that the Garden went up to heaven at the beginning of days. I base this on my proposition that Jerusalem is the location of the Garden of Eden.

Before the fall of mankind, the earth was without sin. Consequently, it was at peace with itself. Not only was the Garden in Eden paradise but so was all of Eden. After mankind sinned, the world changed to allow Adam and Eve to face the consequences of sin, but the Garden never changed. In fact, after the fall, man was only isolated from it!
Genesis 3:23 "Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."
To till the ground was where Adam was to earn his keep by the sweat of his brow - one of the penalties God placed on Adam. As such, Eden was divided into two places: (1) beyond the way of the tree of life, and (2) the place to keep the way of the tree of life. The former was Eden and the latter the Garden of Eden specifically. Keep in mind that the tree of life is Jesus, and that he still stands today. Where is the tree of life at this moment? Let is find Him in scripture:
Revelation 2:7 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."
Just as the tree of life stood in the center of the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:9) which was a paradise, it still stands in the midst of Paradise. The Garden was in the beginning paradise, and it still is! Paradise is a word which describes the realm of God. This passage could just as well have said "Garden of God" because it fits the description. The Garden, after the fall of mankind, was the only place without sin. Heaven or Paradise is still the only place without sin!

The reason the Garden can't be found in this world because is that it is no longer of this world. I propose that it was taken up to a supra-natural abode, and is no longer extant on earth. The only way to find heaven is to die and return "home" by grace.
Revelation 22:14 "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
This passage is important. The place of the Tree of Life is in "the city". What city do you suppose the Tree now stands? Perhaps the City of God, which is New Jerusalem! To obtain entry in the city is the same credential as leaving the city. Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden because they failed to do God's one and only command. They, and the rest of us, can gain entry into the Garden by obeying God. Love is the ticket to the New Jerusalem -  the only command that we ever had!

In order to enter the Garden of Eden was by one gate which was guarded by cherubim. It was guarded to keep those who don't love out since the Garden was the place of love. There were no back entrances. There was only that one guarded gate. Likewise, Heaven can only be entered by one gate:
Matthew 7:14 "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Life began in the Garden. Mankind was, in the beginning, immortal there. The Garden was the only place where eternal life ever was, and New Jerusalem is the only place where eternal life shall ever be! Few find peace because it is no longer here. Peace can only be found in Heaven - or Paradise, the City of God!

Peace is a key word: peace is the atmosphere of love found in only two places: (1) the Garden of Eden, and (2) New Jerusalem - the City of God!  Both places have an atmosphere of love because each are one and the same!

Eden, which was originally all peaceful, means "delightful place". (etymonline.com/index.php?term=Eden). Eden - Pangea (aka the land mass of the world), was in the beginning a "delightful place". The most delightful was in the Garden where the Word dwelt - right there in the middle of the other trees. I believe that the Tree of Life is real and spiritual at the same time. The Word always had form, and his form was symbolically described as a tree. (More on that in http://kentuckyherrin.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-tree-of-life.html?m=0).

I believe that the entire Tree Is symbolic of God and consists of (1) what can be seen - Jesus, (2) what cannot be seen  supporting the Tree - the root or God, and (3) what nourishes the Tree -  the water below, i.e. the Holy Spirit). Paramount to my contention is that the Tree of Life is representative of the Godhead, it stood in the midst of the Garden, and still stands in the City of God! Where it stood has always been a most delightful place, and the center of delightfulness was the Garden.

If the Garden is now Heaven, where was it in the beginning? I suggest Jerusalem, which means "foundation of peace" (Wikipedia). Foundation implies in the beginning. Jerusalem was founded on peace, but ironically, it has never in its written history been peaceful! It was in the beginning, but all that changed with sin. The place of the city was founded on love because I believe it was the place of paradise. It's now only the foundation because the Garden is no longer there. Just like Jesus did four-thousand years later, the Tree ascended with the Garden. The whole kit and caboodle because it is the place where God lives. Since God cannot live in sin, paradise must have ascended. Is that too great a feat for Almighty God? I think not!

When Jesus ascended (Acts 1), the Holy Ghost descended (Acts 2). "Ghost" is used for the first time there for the Greek word pneuma because that it was a particular spirit - pneuma mans "spirit". The Holy Ghost is the specific Spirit of Jesus, called the Holy Ghost. (See my video on this subject https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOzZfN_nLps and my blog http://kentuckyherrin.blogspot.com/2016/02/afraid-of-ghosts.html).

As the Garden ascended, Jerusalem descended. God built it on the foundation of the Garden. Someday, the City of God will be where Jerusalem is now. Until then, we will have to be satisfied with the ghost of the Garden -  Jerusalem.
Revelation 3:12 "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."
 Ironically, New Jerusalem will come back to its foundation in Eden - where the Garden once was! Coming back with the City of God will be the Tree of Life. He will stand where he once stood -  back home in the Garden! Some believe that the entryway to heaven is in Jerusalem. People go there to die so as to be the first to go to heaven when the time comes. I propose that this gateway to heaven is guarded by cherubim and it's the access point that the Garden took as it ascended, and the gate the City of God will return to it's foundation!

There were four rivers in the Garden flowing forth from one large river which was the headwaters of the four:
Psalm 65:9  "Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it."
Where is that river now?
Revelation 22:1 "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
In Paradise is where the river of God presently resides. It was once in the Garden, but now it's in Heaven - right there in New Jerusalem! It flow flows forth from God as it did in the Garden, and the Tree of Life still stands next to it still yielding the fruits of love; those which heal or bring peace.

Jerusalem is cursed! It has been since it was founded. Revelation 22:3 says that "there will be no more curse", just as in the Garden - the way it was before the curse.

Geologists are continually looking for four rivers. I propose that there were not four rivers! The rivers were a representation of something else!  These four "rivers" may have been four angels, referred to as "beasts".
Revelation 4:6 "And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come."
From the description, these angels' duties were to praise God. I believe that they were seraphim which we know existed in Eden. Their descriptions fit the descriptions of seraphim. These beasts worship God in heaven. It seems logical that seraphim praised God in the Garden as well. Perhaps these rivers were these four beasts which represent a lion, a calf, a man, and an eagle.

Eagles represent in scripture beasts which clean up decay filth for God. Fatted calves represent sacrifice to God. "Lion" is one of the titles of God and represents his power. That leaves man. He is the heir of God. He's God's favored. Thus, perhaps these four rivers were four seraphim. Like the rivers which cannot be found, these four angels are only in the City of God!

Pishon means "to scatter" and may represent mankind wo scattered after the days of Noah. Gihon means "to burst forth". Hidekkel means "to prick" or "to separate". Euphrates means "good to cross over". (All from the Online Etymology Dictionary).  Words mean things in scripture. How and if these represent the four beasts is conjecture, but it is fair to ponder.

Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek, the King of Salem. This king is alleged by many to be the Word (Jesus) in human form. Who was king of the Garden? God Himself, the same King as in Paradise. This "Melchizedek" was both king of Salem (Jerusalem), and ruled in the Kingdom of God, or the New Jerusalem.

And by the way, according to my book The Skull of Adam, Golgotha (Calvary) is "the place of Adam's skull". What more likely a place for Adam's skull to be than in the Garden of Eden? Adam came home to be buried. Death allowed him back through the guarded gate because God made him righteous.

In summary, I don't believe the Garden of Eden nor its rivers will ever be found because they are no longer extant. I believe that Jerusalem is built on the very foundation of the world, and that it is where the Garden once was! Ironically, Jesus sweated as if blood in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. Gethsemane means "olive press". Olive itself represents "the best".  The water from Jesus represents the fruit of the olive tree which was pressed out. The olive tree is a prime candidate for the tree of life, representing both the fruit and the body of Christ. That olive grove was in Jerusalem just as it was in the Garden!

Farfetched? Yes! Possible? Yes! Probable? It seems so. It makes sense to me from scripture. You decide for yourself.









Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Evolutionary Christianity

I'm not even going to attempt to prove how the universe was formed. It is unprovable! Whatever belief that you have must to be accepted by faith. Scientific evidence is meaningless when viewed through the lenses of an Almighty God. Just as God claimed to make a mature Adam, He made a mature earth. A powerful God is not limited by the minimal things mankind has learned about the mystery of existence.

The origin of the universe is the most profound thought that can possibly exist. It's asking: "Who is God?" Eternity is unfathomable because life itself is just a blip on the eternal clock! Let's say formation just happened. That implies that the improbable took place. In other words Chance, which has no existence, created it all. The Almighty God is not Chance, and if there is an Almighty God, He is the One and Only!

Physical evidence does point toward evolution. However, supra-natural evidence points toward the creation. For evolution to occur, there had to be a starting point for it to evolve. Everyone should agree that in the beginning there was nothing - not even space because if matter can be contained, the container has existence. Even if Higgs Boson was the beginning, were did the space for it's flowing forth originate? Rational people would admit, "I don't know!" because, face it, not even scientists have a vague idea. We accept their theories prima facie. However, they are not gods and are subject to error. Their theories are all mere conjecture.

God claims that Holy Scripture is His Word. In scripture God's Word says this:
Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
That's a profound claim! Did God say that, or did people? In order to accept this claim, one must accept scripture as holy.  Those who wrote the word claim that it is:
2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God..."
The inspiration of God is the English transliteration of the Greek word theopneustos which means divinely breathed. Scripture is specifically the Old Testament because it was all that was extant when that was written. The apostle Paul wrote that about other writers of old, not about himself. He accepted Holy Scripture as truth even though he persecuted Christians before he was divinely convinced. Paul was so sure that God breathed the Word that he was persecuted for Christ's name sake - dying by crucifixion. He was convinced without any doubt! Why? God spoke to him directly!

My argument is circular reasoning: God's Word is truth because He says it is, and it must be because He is God. However, it's not merely God's claim, but the claim of those who walked with Him, talked with Him, and died because they trusted Him. Him is God Himself -  Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, evolutionists are those who trust the words of fallible and biased men. Part of their theories are to have a legacy. If what they claim is accepted, their name is magnified and will go down in history. Those who dispute God are those other gods which we are commanded to not worship, but even Christians worship them by what they accept. Evolutionary Christianity is an oxymoron believed ironically by morons. Scripture refers to them as fools!
Romans 1:22 "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools..."
Those who are not Christians by definition believe the lie. Therefore, unless they are enlightened by divine truth,  they will stay fools. Why fools? They jeopardize eternal life because they insist on hanging onto their fantasy. They are willing to die forever rather than admit that they could be wrong. They cannot possibly prove they are right, but they gamble with their souls. Chance created their universe, and Chance causes them to continue the gamble with eternity, the other end of the beginning.

My concern is with those evolutionary Christians -  the ones who claim Jesus Christ as Savior -  the One who can create a paradise for eternal life, but is too weak to create this world! One of the most important passages in the Bible is this:

Romans 1:17 "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."
The short explanation of this is: Faith is obvious. It is looking at the Creation and trusting that God is who he said He is - the Creator. Unseen faith is validated by the seen!

In short, to even be a Christian requires a belief in the Almighty Creator God. Evolutionary Christians cannot exist based on God's own words!

Now to address those foolish enough to be evolutionary Christians: you need to change what you believe. You're not born-again because you're not truly enlightened! You are like those children of God in the wilderness who placed their faith in the golden calf. Your golden calf is named Chance, and you bow to him. God is pretty much fire insurance in case you find that evolution is wrong and that Chance is powerless! You need to be genuinely saved -  from yourself and your false beliefs! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Friendship

Friends are forever. That's implied with friendship because love is enduring. It can't be turned on and off like a light on a switch. Former friend has no meaning. A true friend enters into a binding everlasting relationship. To do less is not friendship, but usury. As long as things go your way, then that relationship is beneficial. When things don't go as you would like, then the other person is abandoned.

Personally, I don't even claim to have former friends. Once people are my friend, they are always my friend. Love of others means that they can't be unloved. Often, the best friends are siblings, yet sometimes they abandon their friendship. Who gets in the middle? You guessed it - Satan! However, let's not over-empower the prince of the air. He only pollutes the atmosphere. We must inhale the pollution even as God gives us freshness to breath. That freshness is an atmosphere of love. Of course, I'm not speaking of the physical but the spiritual.

Look at the characteristics of friendships:
  1. Mutual love.
  2. Faithfulness
  3. Camaraderie.
  4. Mutual pleasure.
  5. Togetherness.
  6. Respect.
  7. Trust.
  8. Common interests.
  9. Grace.
  10. Forgiveness.
There are probably many more but these are all important. Agreement is not a trait of friendship. Friends can disagree amicably. In fact, the ability to love unconditionally is a key characteristic of friendship. Let's say that George does wrong. His friend Henry chastises him, not in a mean spirit, but out of concern. Henry may be George's best friend because friends want the best for friends.

The biggest conflict in friendship is he wronged me. We must remember that the self is our other god, and how dare anyone insult my god! For various reasons, friends sometimes do hurt each other. Friends are two discreet entities whose boundaries overlap. Since no one is exactly the same as the next, world's collide! Twins get along so well because their worlds are much alike. 

The collisions occur because of human nature. We are  born with the desire to nourish and protect the self. That's how we protect our little gods! When a friend infringes upon that self-worship, unless God has instilled a sense of understanding and forgiveness, world's collide. That's what Satan wants because he sows hate. Anytime a friendship is disrupted, there is only one winner - Satan. He smiles.

Right now if there are hard feelings against a friend, or even an acquaintance, you are doing your own will. Don't give Satan too much credit because it's you who chooses not to have unconditional love. You become an automaton doing what is right in your own eyes as you often do without regard to what God wants!

I'm sure some friend has indeed hurt you. It's easy to collide with other gods. Scripture tells us exactly the right recourse - love that other little god as you love your own god. God knows your fidelity to yourself, and he commands fidelity to others. He established the Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Nobody wants to be hated, so we must never hate! No one wants to be the focus of gossip, so we should never gossip. No one wants to be ostracized, but yet even Christians do that. I have even had people in church who refuse to look my way! No wonder sinners stay out of church. That's where people often hate. Sinners can be hated outside!

People go to church because they believe in God or are have a spiritual hole which needs filled. People pick a particular church because they seek friendship. In order for that to happen, newcomers must be included. Inclusion is more than a "hello" and a smile. It's being allowed into the community of friendship. Most churches have independent groups of friends whose relationship to other groups is mere acquaintance. Others are not allowed into the groups. Those little groups are cliques, and can be made up of family members or friends. They can destroy the church!

If people come up missing in church, it's often for two reasons: (1) Worlds collided with other(s), or (2) they have not been included. Lack of inclusion is the greatest reason but many leave with hard feelings. People get offended easily and don't get over it. We sing, "We Have a Friend  in Jesus" as we don't befriend others. It takes friendship with others to even be a friend with Jesus. His command is to love others if you love me. How people can go to church week after week and despise others is beyond me, even beyond God! They miss the whole point of Christianity if they fail to love.

What is it that Christians can do? They can quit being offended at the slightest transgression of another, even a huge transgression. The best way to overcome hurt is to forgive. Jesus even loves the transgressor, and so must we, but Christians often place the sins of others greater than their own sins. Satan smiles.

Friends trust each other. Something may sound preposterous but a true friend gives the benefit of the doubt. To assume dishonesty is not friendship. I like the expression accredited to Groucho Marx: "Are you going to believe me or your own lying eyes?" Our eyes do lie to us. We see what we want to see. Court testimony reveals that people have tunnel vision. We have the sub-conscious ability to focus narrowly, thus missing the wide scope of things. Trusting a person before discarding is a great trait; it's what you would want for yourself!

Jesus forgives, forgets, and continues to love. His friendship is not based on congruence, but is unconditional; we are to have the same type of love. To be a true friend of Jesus means befriending the unfriendly, and having mercy on the unmerciful. Friendship can never be based on goodness because then we all fail!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Narratives

My brother and I sometimes missed curfews, were guilty of wrongdoing, or just felt guilty because we were. We knew that when Mom or Dad confronted us, we had better get our stories straight! Indeed, even when a crime is committed one technique the police use is separate interviews with the suspects to get their account of events. Usually, they confess when confronted with the fact that their stories don't match up. When confronted, they usually, and very quickly, develop anther narrative. Given that they have more than one narrative implies guilt.

Narratives are not always lies but are well-pieced together stories to make sure all aspects are covered. Even the innocent don't want to trip up, so they spend and inordinate amount of time ensuring that their story is straight. Liars have to spend even more time to get their stories convincing, and in harmony with the story of another.

This is the era of narratives. There are people in public life whose job is creating narratives, and rehearsing them before they are publicized. Usually the stories are not wholly true, but cleaned up versions of what really happened. The most notable recent narrative was the blame of a film for the Benghazi killings. In that case, there was coincidentally a film, but it was not the cause of the killings. The producer of that amateur video which few had even seen was blamed and arrested quickly for another violation.

In the first few days, the narrative was repeated so many times that it seemed to be rehearsed. The general public, the media, and even the government all heard that same story. The existence of the film was not a lie, it's ability to incite violence was not a lie, but the big lie was it was not what incited the violence. Because confidants told the real story in confidence, the narrative fell apart. Hillary apparently told Chelsea another true version, and it caught up with her. Also, research showed no cause and effect between the film and the violence. It was a palpable narrative. Many believed it. Some doubted but with repetition it almost became truth.

In fact, some person of notoriety said, "I heard a new version of the truth and I did all I can to further it!"  Truth is finite. There is one version, and that is the facts. False versions are derived from either misapplied facts or falsehoods. The world is so full of false narratives right now that the truth is somewhere deep down, maybe buried forever. Fake news has finally been exposed. Sometimes it merely exaggerates the story, tells it out of context, is biased, or is spun. Children are quick to spin stories, and the press and politicians are indeed as the little children! (I don't think that's what Jesus had in mind though when he encouraged that).

My own awakening to false narratives was regarding the Civil War. I grew up in Indiana and was taught the winner's version because the victor does write history. However, over the years, I read first-hand accounts which reduced the biasness of the story. In other words, I read the loser's history and compared the two, and discovered what I had been taught as fact was merely a false narrative. Of course much of it was true, but much wasn't. As time went by, the victor's version of truth became ultimate truth, and now most people are in harmony with that narrative. I don't care who won the war or who freed the slaves. I only care that the war has ended, and the slaves have been freed. What I do expect, though, is the truth about how it came about. Truth is hard to sieve from all the falsehoods, especially when those deceptions created heroes who don't deserve the accolades.

Soon Alexander Hamilton will be replaced by a law-breaker on the twenty-dollar bill. That bothers me because the underground railroad did not respect the law, yet the lawbreaker will be on currency. We have listened to the narrative that breaking laws with which we disagree is noble, but Jesus never ever encouraged disrespect for authority. I suppose that it's time to have a woman and a minority on currency as a show of respect, but we need to be careful who it is. One that helped the criminal John Brown, who was hanged for his lawbreaking, doesn't seem to be a good choice. Perhaps George Washington Carver would be a better choice for more general acceptance. The narrative circumvents that choice.

The ultimate narrative is the story that we have prepared for God! We know our nature, but on a daily basis, we create a cleaner narrative. Narratives of sinners, even Christian sinners because we do still sin, is concocted with excuses. In each of our minds our two very different people: (1) one that is willing but fails miserable, and the other that (2) just wills to fail. I say that because every time that we sin, it's a choice until we peak out - that's when we sin as a lifestyle and without ever being convicted of our sins. When people reach that point they approach reprobation.
Romans 1:20 "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse..."
They who are without excuse are sinners. Even those who have never heard the truth, look at the creation, and must seek truth! The narrative right now, and it is accepted as fact, that the universe evolved. This passage points to the creation as truth which men must seek, but then even enlightened men accept the lie of evolution. That's the scientific narrative, which even fails scientific tests, but that's the story that all the world tells. In effect, they imply that Christians have a liar God, and those Christians who accept the narrative agree as they say, "Yes, we do!" That's because the world has accepted a false narrative!

My narrative that I practice often is: "I'm not so bad. Even Paul had a thorn in the flesh, and sometimes lose to temptation." Do you suppose God will buy into that narrative? He will think: "Poor excuse, Larry - you chose to sin." The only valid narrative that I have is: "God have mercy on me, a weak sinner who failed you!" There is no other narrative that He will honor because any good that I did is as filthy rags to Him. All He wanted was my love and obedience which I never gave Him His due.

True narratives are honesty to oneself, others, and God. We all wish that the narrative Me was in harmony with the real Me, but most often, that's not the case. I sometimes say, "If people could read my mind they would scream!" because at times my mind thinks hateful and awful things. Our assignment is to control our thoughts, and make our life more than a false narrative. 



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Surprise!

All will be judged: even the righteous will stand before the throne of God on that day the "great and terrible day of the Lord." (Joel 2:31). For a few who walked the narrow path, it will be a great day! For those who took the wide path, SURPRISE! - it will be a terrible day.
Revelation 20:12 "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
Most people misstate scripture, endeavoring to paraphrase it by, don't judge me!  SURPRISE! - you will be judged. People who judge you now, may be the ones who save you from terrible judgment. You see, thou shalt not judge must be in context. Later on we find that judgment means condemnation:
Luke 6:37 "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned..."
Therefore our judgment must not be harsh. It is not to criticize but reprove, correct and rebuke -  the very purpose of Holy Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16). On His throne, God will judge mercifully. Christians are to judge others with the same mercy. It is in the spirit of love that they judge. The purpose is to convict one of sin, not to say, "you are worse than me".
Enoch 61:9 "And trouble shall seize them, when they shall behold this Son of woman sitting upon the throne of his glory. 10. Then shall the kings, the princes, and all who possess the earth, glorify him who has dominion over all things, him who was concealed; for from the beginning the Son of man existed in secret, whom the Most High preserved in the presence of his power, and revealed to the elect."
The Book of Enoch was at one time canon. It was accepted as the inspired word of God but because Jesus was too prominent in its teachings, the Hebrews de-canonized it.  Look how accurately Enoch portrayed Jesus Christ sitting on His throne at the Great White Throne Judgment. You see, it's Jesus who will judge because Jesus Is God. Him sitting on the right hand of God is not a physical presence but a spiritual one. When one looks at the throne, it is Jesus he shall see because Jesus is God. Now he is visible, but throughout Hebrew scripture he was concealed! SURPRISE! In the Burning Bush Moses spiritually saw Jesus!

Not all Jews could see Jesus but the patriarchs could - they were the elect mentioned in the passages from Enoch above. Enoch, who knew Adam personally, knew Jesus perfectly. Like Paul after him, he saw Jesus - one before his birth, and one after he died! Scripture is so accurate because throughout, it was Jesus who was and Is the Word!

Returning to the presence of God on his throne, He is God in three aspects, referred to as the Holy Trinity. When looking at the presence of God it is looking at Jesus transfigured:
Matthew 17:1 "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 5 ... a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 5 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid."
 Moses stood before God at the Burning Bush -  The Word spoke to him, the Spirit appeared to him as fire, but yet he could not behold the face of God because He was yet to be revealed! At the transfiguration, Moses looked upon what be could not back on Mt. Sinai. Moses saw God face to face, He saw Jesus as God changed Him from the Son of Man to the Son of God! Symbolically, so did Saul later on as he went from Saul to Paul. To be like Jesus means spiritual change. We too must be transfigured. If we are not; SURPRISE,  on Judgement Day it will be revealed!

You see, God is not three physical presences. He Is always there and the same. In the Burning Bush, Moses, one of the elect, saw Jesus. Enoch did before Moses did. God was not alone at the Creation nor in the Garden. Jesus walked in the Garden and spoke the Word in His own Voice. Jesus was there with Shadrack, Meshack, and Ebednego quenching the flames in the fiery oven. Jesus was there directing Abraham on how to sacrifice Isaac. Jesus was there receiving the tithe from Abraham, Jesus was there saving Adam and Eve by covering their shame! Jesus even wrestled with Jacob as The Angel of God! The Jews couldn't see Him but the elect saw Him plainly! SURPRISE- God reveals Himself to the righteous, not the unrighteous!

SURPRISE - but someday you too will see Jesus! The song's lyrics are "I'll be there!" Don't be surprised. You will be there on that great and terrible day. Your hope is that your name is in the Book of Life. If you are regenerated in the image of Jesus, no surprise -  your name will be there. If you have not been transformed - SURPRISE, you will see Jesus  but not on your terms but His!

SURPRISE! No one is exempt - even the kings and rulers shall kneel before the throne, some begging for mercy, and some bowed humbly to the King!

There is no need to be surprised. The secret has been revealed. When you stand before Jesus, sinners may withhold their gaze from the Father, but Christians will see Jesus. It's not God who changes, but how those who look with faith see Grace who is called Emmanuel - God with us, as Jesus always Is!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Expiration Dates & Shelf Life

My wife likes to check all the food in our refrigerator for expiration dates. Likewise, she goes through my medicine cabinet looking for expired prescriptions. That's because everything material as a shelf life. It doesn't disappear with that date, it just expires.

My daughter's pug, not dog, you understand, died this morning.  Roscoe had an expiration date. Pugs have an expiration date of 12-15 years. Roscoe lived seventeen years. Although the lifespan of pug-kind averages fifteen years, Roscoe beat the odds. All along, I warned my daughter to acclimate herself to the idea that Roscoe's days were numbered. She expected his death each day but when he died, she shed many tears for her beloved Roscoe.

I love animals, not as much as her, but I still understand her pain. Roscoe now feels no pain, but Heather does. She hurts because of the good memories she is having right now, and that new memories will never be. With time, she will still miss him but the memories will be more pleasant than the ones of his ill health. Roscoe's shelf life was exceeded, but Heather loved him until his expiration date.

Manufacturers put an exact date on products, not because they will suddenly expire, but because they need to protect themselves from blame if the products go bad. They build in a safety factor just in case a particular product is outside the norm, and goes bad sooner than most. They use historical evidence to determine that date, and oftentimes the product is still good long after the label says it is expired! Roscoe was the same. He provided joy well beyond his expected shelf life. Now he has expired, and went to wherever doggies, oops - puggies, go.

Mankind has an expiration date. God assigned mankind's expiration date as 120 years (Gen. 6:3). That doesn't mean that all men will live 120 years but only that men can be expected to live that long. Just as pug's ages are numbered at 15 years, and Roscoe lived a little longer, he could not expect to live longer than that. Likewise, a few men early on, including Noah, lived longer than 120 years, but throughout time, that was the limit of man's days. Moses lived to be exactly 120 years, setting the stage for the rest of mankind. Therefore, in the days of Noah each of our expirations were numbered:
Job 14:5 (ESV) Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass, 6 look away from him and leave him alone, that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day."
Daniel 11:27 (ESV) "... the end is yet to be at the time appointed."
I am sixty-eight. My expected shelf-life is around 120 years if I live a righteous life. There are things we can do to prolong life. One is mentioned:  “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you." (Exod. 20:12). It's obvious from the list, that peace can be achieved if we all follow all the commandments. Life can be prolonged by living according to God's will - sobriety and temperance in eating high up on the life style.

Although, I can live to be 120 years old, statistics point toward an expiration date of 76.5 years for white males in America. That means that I have slightly over eight years that I can expect to live because I shall die before my divinely appointed expiration date. Roscoe exceeded his expiration. I shall not. I really don't even care to! My life is fleeting, and it will speed really fast as my number of days approaches.
Psalm 39:4 (ESV) “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"
I began to die at my own birth. When I was born it was when God could use me. I was born because my parents were faithful. Their righteousness ensured my life. I am alive because of God's grace, and I will live a life until my purpose has been fulfilled. I believe as long as I do my job assignment (The Great Commission - to tell the world about Christ), God will have a use for me. If I cease my job assignment, and live for me, my purpose is no longer necessary. My life is dependent on how much I do the will of God. Then, when my shelf-live is exceeded, I will expire.  My time will have come:
Ecclesiastes 3:2 (ESV) "A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;"
I do things to live longer. I enjoy life even though eternal life will be so much better. The dread of passing over when the sting of death arrives is more fearsome than eternity. I don't deserve eternal life. My Book in God's hands testify to that, but my name is still in the Book of Life. My dread of death is on those who will hopefully miss me, and I may never get to see some of them. My thoughts right now are more on the destination of my loved ones, than on death itself. I love my children more than me so I worry more about them.

In writing this I have reflected on the fleeting moments until my shelf life ends. I will be long gone before I get to my expiration date. Any time after today, I live by grace because God still has a use for me. That is by grace that I live this finite life, and by grace I will live infinitively.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Self-love

Every pop-psychology program on the market seems to think that mankind has a problem with not loving himself! All people need to do is love themselves and the world will be a better place, according to this scenario. The love of self is manifested in self-esteem. Self-esteem is simply self-worth. Effectually, it is believing positive things about oneself. The question arises: "Do human beings have worth?" We each think that we do because God made this command:
Matthew 22:39 "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
God knows that each person loves himself. Therefore, the standard of loving others is to love them in the same manner and degree. Some would argue that the person with low self-esteem doesn't love himself. This proposal is at odds with truth:
 Ephesians 5:29 "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:"
Unless God is naïve, then, why do some commit suicide? God is always right! That is a basic trait of Holy Scripture. He is not right sometimes, and wrong sometimes. It says "No man ever hated his own flesh". That means in all time every person who ever was always loved himself. In fact, scripture points toward mankind's basic problem: everyone loves themselves too much. Some love the self and not God, and others love themselves and God, but in all cases people always love themselves!

Those who commit suicide do so, not because they hate themselves, but because they love themselves so much that they can't stand hurting. The easiest way out of desperation is to end one's life. Desperation is when one can't stand pain or suffering anymore. They seek escape. Suicide saves the one they love from feeling pain. I believe it is the ultimate act of self-love. It even puts the love of self over the love of family and friends since those living are the ones who suffer the most. Consequently, those who murder the self show more self-love than love of others.

When people love themselves, their desire is to do what's right in their own eyes. This is found time after time in Holy Scripture. In essence, man so loves himself that he does what he wants rather than God's will. God says: Do not murder, but man says, I will if I hurt badly enough. God did not allow that escape clause because his desire is that none should perish (John 3:16). Of course, this applies to eternal life but those who murder may not get that eternal life - only God knows His own bounds of love. The bizarre John 3:16 seems to be:  I so loved me, I don't want to perish, that although God gave his only begotten son, whosoever loves himself should not perish but have eternal life. If you think that is bizarre, why is it that you sought salvation? To save your own wretched skin from eternal death because you love yourself so much! God, however, overlooked that because you said that you are willing to put yourself aside and turn to Jesus.

Original sin is a case of self-love without regard to God's will. Adam and Eve were given a command, and the pair loved themselves over God; they did their own will, and not God's. Original sin is paramount self-love, and each time we sin, we do so to the satisfaction of the self.

God knows how much people love their own self. He knew that on that day in paradise when two people jeopardized immortality by loving themselves. Since, that is God's reference point as a jealous God: man must love God more than self, or he becomes his own god. Likewise, the same applies to loving others. People must never Lord it over others.
1 Peter 5:3 (NIV) "...not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock."
Christians are to appraise their value fairly. No one is better than the other, and as such, we are to not Lord it over others. Because we love ourselves so much, most people have a tendency to put themselves first. That is not to be!

Perhaps one fails often. The person usually responds with, "I feel like I failed." No! It is not a feeling... people do fail!  Failing is good for people. It creates meekness because only God is perfect. Meekness is sort of the opposite of self-esteem. Scripture never even implies that we should think highly of ourselves.
Romans 12:3 (NIV) "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."
 Most people do think too highly of themselves. Scripture says to judge oneself with sobriety. That is being realistic of the value of oneself. I propose, as I often do, that without God our value is in the range of a bag of fertilizer - about $10.00. With God we are priceless! Not that we have more self-worth but that we are valuable enough in God's eyes to obtain unmerited favor. The meek are those who do merit favor! Indeed, those who appraise their value using God's metric shall inherit the earth (Psalm 2:8). The focus in this passage is on God at the expense of the self.

Indeed, obtaining salvation is submitting the god of self to God for his mercy.
Romans 12:1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
That sacrifice of the self is change. The old creature loves himself, the new creature loves God. We put ourselves on the cross and crucify the old self with Jesus.
 Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Paul said that about himself as Saul died, and Paul arose from the self. Paul was the new creature. Saul was crucified with Christ. He traded the love of Saul for the love of Christ, and the new creation was Paul who had Christ inside, where love of Saul once was!

What I still see, even in church, are a group of people who are in love with themselves. Many have not traded self-love for love of Christ. With some it's obvious; they dress fit to kill, not the old self, but fend off the new! I see others who think church is all about them. I fight that, and so do you. People seem to demand that everything be done their way, just as Burger King caters to their whims. I see people who sin greatly but fail to look at their own self with Light. They have nothing to fear but their own self - the one there loving their George more than others - another loving their Harriett more than others. The others loving their me before their they, let alone before their Jesus!

What is the cure for self-love. To die in Christ just as Paul did. We must each spiritually murder our own flesh to save the soul. It's a dirty task but we must do it. Not alone, but with Jesus there on the cross, taking away the sting of spiritual death! Here's how to murder the self:
James 4:7  "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
With that mindset, your name changes. It is no longer Me but HimSelf-esteem is put on the cross alongside Jesus, and the malefactor who was you looks at Jesus a different way - with Christ-esteem!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Social Justice

Social justice is how well individuals are treated by society. The measurement of social justice is equality of incomes, and is to be remedied by redistribution of the wealth. It's when all individuals get what is proposed as their due from society. Social justice implies that there is a right to prosperity without regard to a person's contribution. Although social justice is a pact between society and individuals, those who propagate the notion believe in the good of society. Hence, social justice is not truly for the individual but for societal good. Social justice is a smoke and mirrors initiative to propagate Marxism, and the end result is the serfdom of the individual to the leaders of the masses.

Pope Francis has fallen under the spell of Karl Marx. Although some would deny it, the Pope espouses liberation theology - using the church to liberate the economically oppressed from their oppression. It has much in common with atheist Marxism, but uses the church to do what the government does. As such, liberation theology depends on the government to do what Christians should do as charitable. It takes God out of goodness and makes the government the author of good. Liberation theology binds the church closely to the state. Marx smiles!

Positive Christianity doesn't like the notion but God is the author of poverty. Because his creatures failed to obey, He introduced consequences to disobedience.
Genesis 3:16 "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
Therein is a cause and effect: Adam caused poverty by disobedience, and the effect was God introduced poverty into what had been His perfect world. Mankind went from being nourished by God to self-nourishment. Adam, the individual, was assigned hard work. He wasn't due anything but had to do his part if he wanted sustenance. Adam would say, "I have a right to good things," as he probably did looking at the forbidden tree, but God thought, you have a right to nothing; it is by grace that I provide.

Throughout scripture hard work is expected and honored:
2 Thessalonians 3:10 (ESV) "For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living."
The command in the early church was this: No work - No eat. The individual was to supply his own needs by hard work. Others were not commanded to work for the sluggard. God's will is social independence, not social justice! Nowhere in scripture does God or his emissaries depend on the Kings or Caesars to provide for the people.

Social eruption to drive change is evil. Those riots in the streets and wars for social justice are the will of Satan, and are not of God:
1 Thessalonians 4:11 (ESV) "And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one."
God supports capitalism. That is divine justice -  you deserve only what you work for! People are not due anything. We are not gods. Only God deserves things, and that is love and obedience. When mankind has anything, it is by grace that we have it. Even our ability to work and sweat was because God had grace with Adam. We are able to work by the same grace!

The Church does not exist to wipe out poverty. God didn't come to save men from the penalty of work, but from eternal death. You see, there were two punishments for Adam - he lost eternal life and he even had to work hard for temporal life. He regained eternal life by grace, and by grace he was allowed to live and work for his keep.

Poverty is of God and He could end it anytime without our feeble help. Poverty enables us to show love by charity - giving freely of our own volition out of love. Government can never command charity, but God supports that notion as a way to demonstrate love. Jesus delivered mankind from the commands of obedience, not to enslave us again to the government. Caesar never dictated charity; he was too smart for that. He was the instrument of taxation, and it wasn't for the good of society; it was for the good of Caesar. Little has changed since then!

Poverty is the existence which allows charity. Rather than charity, taxation steals from the charitable pot. Rather than please God, Christians steal from charity to pay Caesar. That's legalized theft, and because Robin Hood used his theft for "good", doesn't make him good. He disobeyed God to do what was right in his own eyes just as people always have. (Deut. 12:8). Likewise, the Pope does what is right in his own eyes, and so did Marx. Ironically, both wanted us to do what was right in their eyes!

Jesus was charitable and good. Is there any question about that? Jesus could have ended poverty with a wave of  His hand. He didn't do that because he came to save people from their sins, not to save them from his penalty - poverty!
Matthew 26:11 "For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me."
Jesus chose to keep the penalty of poverty because that wasn't his concern. He died for our sins, not for the consequences of Adam's sin.  He threw Adam and Eve out of Utopia for a reason, and that wasn't for Marx or the Pope to create a Utopia of their own. All God had to do was to allow his children back in the Garden to tend God and escape poverty, but he put them in the garden, fields, and factories to tend for themselves. They lost their charity from God which they were never ever due, and now they call prosperity a right!

Out of grace, God made a deal with His people. It's called the Abrahamic Covenant. Essentially, it says this: obey me and prosper. disobey me and you won't! Some say that this covenant is unconditional but it is far from it! The Jews were expected to love God, and when they loved other gods, they were destroyed! (The part about Jesus coming was unconditional and undeserved!)

How can we prosper? The Abrahamic Covenant was forever! We can prosper if we love, honor, and obey God. We can't depend on the government, but we can depend on God! Divine justice is the way to prosperity. It levels the playing field. Social justice just adds mud holes which impede people from doing God's will.