Saturday, September 30, 2017

Defense Mechanisms

Many times I have spoken of "worlds colliding". Of course, the world, according to scripture, is all the people on earth: God so loved the world... (John 3:16). On this earth are billions of smaller worlds, always in collision. The ruler of the greater world is God. Mankind, on the other hand, are masters of our own domain. God's goal is to get all the little worlds to love each other. That is quite a task because each of those billions of worlds have their own gods. Those gods are us!

Each of us, being our own gods on our little world, endeavor to be gods of the greater world. There is One True God, but our heart's desire is for each of us to be master of it all. I'm not referring to each person having a desire to be God, or even ruler of this world, but our behavior is more "me-centric" than geocentric. We all look on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and yearn for it to be ours! It is not, but we ate of it just as if it was ours.

We never think about this, but eating of the forbidden tree was trespassing. It was not our tree to even stand under, but when our forebears ate of the fruit, they stole from God because the fruit thereon was His, not ours. There was actually a "No Trespassing" sign in that God warned against stealing from His tree; the penalty was death. By taking God's fruit from His Tree, mankind was trespassing against God. If you wondered about the Lord's Prayer, as a youngster I was taught this: And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us... (Anglican Book of Common Prayer; ABCP).

Almost all versions of Matthew 6 use the word "debts" and "debtors" for paraptoma in the Greek. The literal translation from Strong's Dictionary is "side-slip", meaning lapse. Paraptoma is only a debt in the sense that we owe God fidelity. We never borrowed from Him, nor Him from us! Side-slip is more of a trespass as the ABCP suggests. People go whence it is not theirs to go! Adam and Eve entered into temptation, and Jesus taught that we should not: lead us not into temptation. God tested the will of Adam and Eve by offering things not belonging to them: of that tree thou shalt not eat. Eve entered into temptation - the test was on when she stood under the Tree. God didn't lead her there; her own inquisitiveness did. The serpent wasn't even to blame; the two people were!

The serpent was a test tool. The test was God's. It was a test of Who is God! Since, Adam and Eve did what was right in their own eyes, thus ignoring God, they became as gods, of course in their own eyes.

Because temptation existed from the time of original sin, our prayer to God is basically: Please God - don't test me because I might fail. It's okay to know that you're not God because only God would not fail. I have written before that the temptations of Adam and the Temptations of Christ were basically the same. Man failed, God did not. Hence, we are not gods, and God is happy when we come to realize that. Why? Because each of us act as if we are gods of this world, because we see ourselves as gods of our own. We have become as gods!

Essentially, when world's collide, we trespass either on God or other people.  Eve went over there to steal some fruit. "Over there" was on property not hers. She entered into temptation on her own, although God set the test before her. We each have this done all the time. For instance, going to a beach where we know that people won't be wearing much of any kind of fig leaves, is entering into temptation. However, the sin is not done until lust comes about. Entering said beach was not sinful, but callous. Eve was warned about the purpose of the tree - to test, and the penalty - death but she trespassed where she should not have been anyhow. She actually made the test harder by entering into temptation. A good prayer is: God, don't allow me to go where I need not be. He never will. That's our choice!

That is an example of our little world colliding with God's greater world. The greater world has a Law - God's will. Our smaller world as another law: our will, which when in collision with God's will, is sinful. Our law is the law of sin, and sin we shall do.

On top of that, mankind must deal with eminent collision with other lesser worlds. I call this worlds colliding - when our will conflicts with the will of another. We must not trespass on their world either: forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. This trespassing is failure to love others. If we truly love others, we would not trespass against them - by dishonoring, by stealing, by envy, by lying, by adultery, nor by murdering. Those trespasses are hatred, and hatred is as murder in God's eyes. (1 John 3:15).

Now for world's colliding: We are masters of our own domain. Our domain is the boundary which includes us and our personal space - how close we can stand to another person and not be intrusive. When we enter another's personal space, it must be by invitation only. Entering another's personal space without permission is trespassing. The Trees in the Garden represents people, and each tree stands in its own shade. The shade cast by each tree is that tree's personal space. Little us said of all the other trees except: of those you shall freely eat. However, with people, the invitation to eat must be forthcoming before coming so close as to touch the fruits.

Each of us have that system - us in the center of the space, and the space around us. We are gods of our selves and we want no others gods to trespass against us. Why? Because we are gods in our own domain! It's that simple. When we trespass on another's space, we infringe on what is theirs. This infringement is world's colliding because they will sooner or later. (Just try standing in line behind a person and moving with them, closer with each step. Soon they will begin to get angry, and may even insult you. Why? It is their space. You are trespassing. I've done that by accident. Don't try that alone!)

When Adam and Eve were convicted, and felt guilty, Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed Eve. As god of their own domain, neither wanted to be wrong. The natural thing they did, and people still do, is the shift the blame. That is always mankind's defense mechanism. When we are accused for trespassing, mark my words, it is always the other who moved too close, not the you. They are always those to blame!

Because, we all sin, it is more likely that the other person allowed the first person to enter into his or her territory. We are invited into the space around, as we enter into temptation. Not screaming, "No! No!" when another enters personal space can be interpreted as tacit permission. Then when the wrong is done, the trespasser seemingly has permission to be there. Literally, they are not trespassing, coming there by invitation. Unlike God who was clear - don't eat of that tree, people show their fruits, invite others in, and then nail up the "No Trespassing" sign.

Of course, the fruit can be any type of pleasure. It may be too close a friend, lasciviousness, materialism, power, or whatever. When that personal space is violated, the owner gets out their shotgun and shoots at the guy already in there. The other guy is always to blame even though the owner leaves the gates wide open!

What is left then? Blame! We defend our personal space just as children do. "Johnny hit me," one says, never mentioning that sis hit Johnny first, or at least provoked him! We are children in defense of ourselves. Like Adam and Eve, like innocent children, we never see the blame lying with ourselves. To appear to be innocent, another has to look guilty. To pay for our own sin, another must be penalized. That's the same old story! Even for the Jews to appear innocent, they picked one to pay for the crime. Jesus stepped forward and did that, although He was innocent!

Try something sometimes: admit that you're not perfect. Don't generalize - that's cheap grace. Be specific: "Sally, I am sorry I offended you. I was clearly in the wrong. I should not have went there. Please forgive me!" See if that attitude helps or not because in those words, I do not hear the collision of our worlds!

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Worst of the Bad Hair Days

The helicopters were everywhere. I could hear sirens a distance off and the yelping of dogs. I felt like the proverbial treed raccoon. My gig was up with no place to run.  Each step I took, I walked with terror. It was not my day, not my year, and certainly not the life. There were shouts of kafir in their strange tongue which I had been forced to learn. I must admit, by their standards I am an infidel but delight in being privileged enough to be call that. Jesus had blessed those who will be persecuted for his name's sake.

It had started innocently enough. Good old tolerant America. Nothing was too evil to be called good. Rather than truth, it was empathy we were taught. Nothing negative was allowed to be spoken. That was the law. No one was to be put down because that was considered hatred. Hatred was so commonplace that the police no longer had to look for it, but even children were taught to tell the authorities any and every malicious word which was spoken. It was my neighbor who caught me. At one time, he was a Christian. The pressure was too great. As he aged, Dan could no longer stand the hardships of being a Christian. Isa allowed hatred toward Christians. After all everything was their fault.  Isa considered himself Caesar. Like Caesar, he was tolerant - except of course, for those Christians who taught that Jesus was the only way, the only truth, and the sole way to eternal life.

Christians were known to exclude everyone not of their faith. How intolerant of them! They must be destroyed. Isa came back for vengeance.  He is the true prophet of God. Any word which he spoke was "good", and his will must be done. He desired that everyone worship him. His mark was 666.

In he early days I was taught the Quran in school. It was for intellectual purposes only. We were taught to chant "Islam is a peaceful religion. Mohammad is praiseworthy.  Isa is his khadim." Just as "Heil Hitler" was yelled in a previous era, now it was Allahu Akbar. The study of Islam started out innocently enough, but some Christians feared the type of "peace" arising from its tenets.

Peace was contingent. It was Do as I say, which was the contingency. As long as we said good things, things were peaceful. My own experience came when my own father finally came to his senses. Dad had bought into the idea that Allah is God, and God is great. Dad was always the first to say Allahu Akbar. Remember this expression well, for someday you must remember it for your very life!

Dad voted socialist. There were many socialist parties for which to vote. They were the American Socialists, the Progressive Party USA,  the Democrat Party, and even the Soros Global Party. Sharia Law allowed that any of those could be voted for because they all offered "good". On the other hand, the parties of old barely received any votes because to do so would tag the voter as a subversive. Although the first to eliminate the need for voter identification, it came about that all these Marxist parties required not only voter I.D., but to be registered as "Tolerants".

Sharia Law required a personality test. That test for subversion was accompanied by a polygraph. The local koury, as part of his priestly responsibilities, administered the test. No one who was tagged "intolerant' was allowed to vote. This was to assure that hateful candidates were never elected.

The most important question was right under the voter's name at the end of the test sheet: Do you accept 666 as truthful and the identity of God? The Quran's number was 666. Even to vote, one had to declare Islam as truth. To deny 666 was to deny God because all the words therein were of Allah.

Those who enforced Sharia Law were becoming impatient. Those enforcers were Jihadists because, indeed it was a war on two fronts: (1) Against those who sought to destroy Islam, or (2) those who were having a spiritual war inside. Each person had to have jihad at the spiritual level, and come to believe that Allah is the One True God.

That belief was ultimate hqyq - "truth". Islam had propagated early on that Allah and God are the same. That brought infidels half-way into the light. After that first stage of jihad, the second came easy - there is no God but Allah! la ilaha illa'llah (there is no god but Allah), and Muhammadun rasul Allah (Muhammad is the messenger of God).

Since Allah is "God" in the Arabic,  it was easy for Christians to accept that Allah is another name for God. Little did people realize that Allah and Jehovah are entirely different; the god of hate, and the God of love, respectively.

Dad took the Briggs-Hussein personality test but he would not sign. As he was casually about to affix his signature to 666, Dad's long repressed memories of scripture were suddenly revealed. His mind's voice told him that to accept 666 is to deny God, for that was the mark of the beast. Dad must and did reject the Quran, and by doing so rejected Allah.

Dad went peacefully to the reconciliation chambers. There he met Isa face-to-face. Isa explained to him that he was Jesus, and that Jesus by any other name is still Jesus. Isa said to Dad, "I am Jesus. You must believe in me or perish!" He reminded Dad who he was:

I never died on the cross. I ascended to heaven without ever dying. I left Mohammad behind to witness for me. Your Bible speaks of me as well, but Christians are confused about who I Am.
My descent was in the midst of wars fought by al-Mahdi ("the rightly guided one"), known in Islamic eschatology as the redeemer of Islam, against al-Masīh ad-Dajjāl (the Antichrist "false messiah") and his followers. I descended at the point of a white arcade, east of Damascus, dressed in yellow robes—my head anointed. I said a prayer behind al-Mahdi then joined him in his war against the Dajjal. I am considered to be a Muslim, and  abide by the Islamic teachings. Eventually, I will slay the Antichrist, and then everyone who is one of the People of the Book (ahl al-kitāb, referring to Jews and Christians) will believe in me. Thus, there will be one community, that of Islam. (From Wikipedia; "Jesus in Islam- Second Coming"; paraphrased).
Dad recognized the irony of the Islamic Jesus. Called Isa, in the Christian book of Revelation, Isa is the Anti-Christ, taking the name of Jesus but not his righteousness! Dad told his koury that their book was the book of Satan containing the Law of Sin.  For that, Dad wore a stitched insignia on his garment - with one simple word - INTOLERANT. No longer could he buy or sell, or have medical treatment because the global government was the giver of those things. The world-wide caliphate would only provide for its citizens - those who follow Mohammad.

To appear as "good", the Ayatollah would grant a temporary reprieve. Those of the book - Christians and Jews, could still live even though they don't convert, but their taxes would be increased to 50% of their income. That reprieve was grace. Paying taxes to Allah was the ultimate reward to God. The propaganda - dieaya in Arabic was that the reprieve was by Allah's grace.  Dad refused to accept the grace of Allah, coming to realize that Allah was not God at all. As Isa spoke to Dad, it came to him that Isa is no Jesus at all - he is the Anti-Jesus.

You see, Islam is the flip-side of Christianity. They seem to be much alike, but their world is a bizarre world. Evil is good and good is evil. Justice is injustice. Hatred is love. War is peace and death for sexual reward is heaven. I suddenly realized that Allah is Lucifer who still claims the royal title. I came to realize that Jesus saves, and Isa destroys! I saw God's light peeking through Islamic lies. Few will ever see that light but I did!  Ignorance is bliss, and many will live in a stupor. Jihad is waged by inducement to drugs. Islam knows the west will be defeated by insobriety. Our pleasure is their gain.

Dad ran. They caught up with him in the forests. I was taken to Dad. He took the penalty with his chin held high, and his arms raised in praise. I regret that I have one life to give for my Jesus, he misquoted Nathan Hale on purpose. I was allowed to watch. They did this by strapping me to a tree with my eyelids held open with a special device. I saw, as Dad laid his head on the block of wood, and the knife of Islam - the shamshir, separated flesh from flesh and bones from bones. I recalled this very thing from scripture. I should have thought of it before; back when Islam at least seemed to be  a peaceful religion!
Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
As Dad was baptized in his own blood, I heard him cry out: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" His head laid there on the ground. Strangely, there was a smile on his lips. Although dead, he was finally truly alive -  his new life was beginning to last forever, but he will reign with Christ for one-thousand years. The Ayatollah saw it all on Al Jazeera (the Island) television. Rather than being elated, the Ayatollah was upset. He saw the smile on Dad's face, and was threatened by its peace there. Someday, Dad would face the Ayatollah face-to-face at the mother of all wars, and the Ayatollah seem to know that! 

That was to be my own reconciliation. It was expected that my mind would be changed as I looked on the death of my father. Rather than subdue me, my belief strengthened. With my increased faith because prophecy was in the making, I became brave. It wasn't a war between Christians and Islam, but between God and His angels, and rulers and principalities of darkness. I had read the book cover to cover. I learned Satan's tactics. He twists truth so as to deceive even the elect, but I would never again accept deception. Islam had exposed itself for what it is!

Three times my koury asked, Do you love me, Larry? I honestly replied three times" Yes, I do! I had ceased looking at my persecutors with hatred, but lost sinners in need of salvation. I cried right there - not for me, but because they know not what they do! Here are eight-billion people who are going to Hell, and Christians do not have the courage to tell them that! Thinking that I had changed, my koury let me go. I had changed much. The truth had set me free. Only by the blood of Jesus could I ever make it to heaven, and that day, I bought the ticket!

Church had died out over the years. It was just too dogmatic and negative. I had ceased going when it became clear - Islam allowed it for entertainment purposes. We were in no way harmful to them because the tolerance movement had tamed the concept of divine justice. Islam saw no threat to them, and the church cringed at the idea of even suggesting that Islam was anything other than peaceful. Now I knew the truth. Tolerance was deceptive. The deceptive were the most intolerant. Hating Christ and Christians, was as always, acceptable.  My own faith grew with the persecution of us Nazarenes (Arabic term for Christians).

I started writing a Christian blog. The readers were my church. They read and I wrote, knowing that we all would pay the penalty. I had been baptized in water after my ritualistic sprinkling. I would some day be baptized in my own blood! I hated the thought of the sting of death, but eternal life was to be my reward. For me, there would never be 72 virgins because where I was going, they all would be my sisters. I imagined the ugliness of those 72 as they were still virgins, there had to be a reason. Even more so, logic tells me that beautiful virgins would not want an old man! I supposed those hijabs are there to cover their ugliness. 

I use their language because someday their language will be our language. It is important to understand the real meaning of words. Isa may be Jesus' name, for instance, but Isa is not Jesus's person. He is the opposite! Even Allahu Akbar is deceptive because Allah is not God, and he is certainly not great. Like Lucifer he merely desires that!

My blog was tolerated for several months. After realizing that I had not been converted by threats of death nor taxation, they decided to send me directly to Hell. As an infidel, in their terminology, that was to be my destiny, and in their blindness, they did not realize that their Hell is our Heaven. I should thank them for their ignorance. Islam is the only religion which gains converts as the preacher holds a sword to the throat of the convert! If you are Islamic today, it's likely that an ancestor of yours were converted with that crescent moon at their throat! Ignorance is not caring, or even considering how that religion has grown.

Their plan was to get me to run. They enjoyed the chase, and after all, only the guilty person would flee. Why would an innocent person seek to escape justice? I didn't run out of fear, but to spread the gospel. That is my job assignment, assigned to me by Jehovah. Allah's was to keep me from that.

I ran into the woods, knowing that I would never come out. I died that night, but now write from my room. It's a beautiful mansion, and only truth can be written there because I am in the kingdom of God. They are all virgins there but it's not eros they want, but agape.  They desire is to love me as God loves them!

Here is my account of my own death:

Them (at a distance): Allahu Akbar!  (They spotted me. I am to be there sacrifice).

Me: Here I am. I offer my life for God who gave His life for me!

Koury 1: We came to set you free - to teach you the truth.

Me: I am free already. The truth has already done that.

Koury 2: We came to teach you new truths.

Me: There are no new truths. Truth has always been.

Koury 1: Then you came to die!

Me: That I have but in death I shall live.

Koury 2: You will die forever, and as your skin burns away, you will grow new skin so as to furnish the flames of Hell. 

Me: My flesh will be indestructible. It will be like Jesus's.

Koury 3 pipes in: Jesus never died. He still lives in our Mosque.

Me: He lives within my heart.

Koury 1: Then we shall circumcise your heart. It's the reason in you head, so your head must go!

With a smile, I thought of death. Just as the pain of childbirth is of short duration before life is given, I will bear my own rebirth with joy. I look forward to my new creature being even more like Jesus.

I laid may head on the block to prepare that I be circumcised. I would never dishonor God by asking for crucifixion. Beheading was good enough for a servant.

Me: As I laid there prepared for death, I screamed out, "My God, my God. Why has thou forsaken me?" Then I recalled the rest of Psalm 22.
20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. 22 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. 23 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
God never forsook Jesus! He will never forsake me!

I closed my eyes. I said to myself, "Jesus is Great!" They spat upon me but I was honored. They all cried out Allahu Akbar, as my head rolled off the block. I was baptized as I became soaked in my own life blood. As my mind lived a short time, I saw my own death. I wasn't even anxious because in a moment I would be delivered safe and sound from the evil one, not to be bothered by him ever again!

I should have combed my hair as I noticed it's disarray, now rolling down the hill with speed. My worst hair day will go down in the Book of Life, as the best day ever. Suddenly, all was well. My body went to the grave for a short time, my head went on rolling, but my soul was gently swept up to Heaven. It is from there that I write of "The Worst of the Bad Hair Days" ever. Now all is good, and what started out as a bad day has turned into eternal life!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

On Liberty

Just as there are the various laws of science, there are divine laws which are just as forceful and binding. There are several types of laws: (1) civil, (2) common, (3) religious, and (4) scientific. If scientific laws are regarded as divine law, then there are three types. For instance Newton's Second Law of Motion boils down to either natural or divine.

"Natural law" is based on the idea of fairness passed down by virtue of human nature, or divine will. Christians believe that natural and religious laws are the same. In fact, in all societies, civil law is based on religious law. There have been no great societies without religion, therefore, civil law, natural law, and religious law take on the same look because their geneses are the same. Unknowingly, even in evil empires, the law comes from religious institutions. For instance, National Socialism is derived from mythology, Christianity, and theosophy. Throw in a pinch of brutality and hatred, stir vigorously for a few years, and presto - Nazism was born. Nazism is based on religious laws, albeit the Christian part is leaving out the Christ.

"Scientific law" is always named as a law, it's field, and it's discoverer. Being a law, those laws cannot be attributed to the scientist. Those wise persons merely made an observation, tested it, and wrote it down. Let's look at the Newton's Second Law of Motion. Being a law, it is a system of rules which regulate behavior. Scientific laws always apply given the same conditions. Of course, the Big Bang Theory, was developed from the laws of physics but because the system behaved in a non-scientific way, the laws of physics were discarded for that belief, and only for that time. Ignoring the laws of physics - God's law of how things work, is excused by proclaiming a discontinuity - laws always apply except for this one time. Not realizing it, scientist legitimatized miracles. They subscribe the creation to a miracle, then fail to mention Who caused the miracle - the suspension of scientific law.

In scripture are various laws. Some are called out by name, and others are proclaimed. For instance, God used His law of relativity to create everything. Later on, Einstein put the pieces together, and credit him with giving credit where it was due. Although, not religious, Einstein said it all started with God. That does not make him a religious person, but one who recognized truth. Indeed, God took energy and turned it into mass, doing it in a his own time. E=mc2 describes God's miracle, for indeed the creation was His first recorded miracle!

Note that the mass which God created came from a vast quantity of energy expended over an extremely short time. This "theory of relativity" is more so "God's Law of Creation". It takes care of the problem of time because for God, time is meaningless. It appears that God merely willed it, and nothing was turned into everything. His own energy created it, since it had to come from somewhere.

Another of God's Laws is unwritten: God gave of himself for us. That explains his energy loss to create. Jesus spoke of this phenomenon:
Luke 8:46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.
That "virtue" is dunamis in the Greek - miraculous power. Imagine that if Jesus felt healing power being lost from his person, how much greater would have the creating power lost to create the universe and everything in it. Therefore, God gave himself for us - God's First Law of Creation. Essentially, everything must come from something or somebody. Life and its support mechanisms emanated from God Himself. I call this the First Law of God, an act of grace. He so loved the world because he created it. The creation is the source of love because God gave part of himself for us. To deny His creational abilities, is to reject God's love.

Then there are other laws: (1) The Law of God (of Christ), (2) the Law of Sin (and Death), (3) the Law of Faith,  (4) the Law of Liberty, (5) the Law of Righteousness, (6) the Law of the Spirit and Life, and added to those the many (7) Laws of Moses.

The Laws of God are ten-fold.  His commandments were forever:
Psalm 111:7 The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. 8 They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
This song refers to the tablets of stone - "the works of his hands". They are "for ever and ever". Why did God write them on stone? Because they are His eternal Laws. Consequently, God's Laws are immutable. That's why they are laws! Unlike, the dumbfounded scientists who came up with a "discontinuity", God's Law have no such silliness - they stand forever.

Other Laws were for the times. After writing the Ten Commandments on stone, God proclaimed many "judgments". (Exodus 21).  God knew what would soon come up, and before people sued for decisions, God decided for them.

The first five books of the Hebrew Bible are referred to as the Pentateuch - and are the Law of Moses. Most of those "laws" are amplified in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, and are more "the sayings of Moses".  The Law of God ( the Ten Commandments) is included in Mosaic Law but Moses sayings are really not laws, but regulations. Jesus did not come to do away with the Law but fulfill it.
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Jesus reinforces the eternal nature of the Law. He wasn't speaking of Mosaic Law, but God's Law - the Ten Commandments, which commands are made up of loving God (1-4) and loving others (5-10). Indeed, Jesus is love, and he fulfills that commandment. His commands are the "how to" - The Greatest Commandment (love God) and the one like unto it (love others).
Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The Word in the flesh -  Jesus, fulfilled the Law with one Word - love! Righteousness was no longer about doing things but feeling things - love replaced obedience, yet obedience went from the work of duty to the joy of love. It went from a burden to an honor. We went from slaves to freedom in that we became free to either obey or not to obey, but never the freedom not to love!

We have been liberated from the Law of Moses, but not from the Law of God. The Law of Liberty is this:
James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
The attitude of people change. Rather than "have to" the perfect law of liberty is "get to". These are things relative to the regulations of Moses. I no longer am prohibited from piercings and tattoos - my bondage to the regulations are done away with. However, as a changed person, I know longer want to. My desire has changed.

We no longer are hung up on eating meats sacrificed to idols, but the Jews are. We don't partake of the meat, not because we must obey, but so that we aren't a stumbling-block to the Jews. Essentially, that is loving others because we don't want them to fail because of our own beliefs.

As for alcoholic drinks, I am free to drink all that I want short of drunkenness. However, I don't drink, not because it will damn me, but because I have lost the desire! Face it - alcoholic beverages are not Jesus Juice but the devil's brew. I spit in Satan's eye as I declare that I have no need for his drink. He delights in those who abstain because of obligation, but cringes when one loves to abstain.

It's not what enters the mouth but the importance of what we put into it. It's not how we mutilate our skin but the degree we self-indulge - doing what is right in our own eyes. These laws are still God's will but not if they enslave us. I find that it is not cumbersome to do the will of God. I don't do them so that I don't encumber myself!

The devil never makes us do anything! He gets way too much credit for a weak angel. He just created the Law of Sin and Death, and sat back and watched as mankind does his will without much instigation. The devil doesn't even tempt us. It's the things we pleasure which does. Satan just makes pleasure low-hanging and beautiful fruit. He's not even in the tree when we eat of the fruit. He sits comfortably on the sidelines as we do what we want to do! That is the Law of Sin: We do what we want to do, not what God wills that we do. It's not even Satan's Law of Sin because he didn't invent it. God did. That Law is a test for mankind. It separates people into two groups: those who love God and those who don't. Not following the Law of Sin is how we demonstrate to God that we love him, but we must choose freely.

It's great to know that I can leave here and not have to sacrifice animals for my sins. I can be forgiven by merely being sorry. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all our sins, and now since I'm no longer in bondage, I'm set free to sin if that is what I want. As a new creature, thank God, my wants have changed. The Holy Spirit did that when he entered me. He doesn't feel comfortable co-habituating with sin, so he removed sin from my life.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Seeing the Light

Light is electromagnetic radiation. It is the waves of photons as they oscillate from a light source. In our solar system, the sun is the main source of all light. Light, being made up of photons, has no mass, and hence are able to travel at the fastest speed- the speed of light in a vacuum. Since space is the closest thing to a perfect vacuum, light travels the fastest through space.

Visible light can be seen. Ironically, most light cannot be seen because waves of high frequency and short wavelength remains unseen. Most of what is "out there" is unseen because God limited our vision to certain frequencies and wavelengths! Light exists even in darkness but we can't see it because our vision is not discerning enough.

Light consists of radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays. [ Maxwell, J. Clerk (1 January 1865). "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 155: 459–512. doi:10.1098/rstl.1865.0008].

Think about the chaos in life if with the human eyes, we could "see" the unseen!

Maxwell identified some of the "dark" light that we can see. With those known, just think of the possibilities of the things unseen, but as yet defined. We know there is much out there of which we know little, and is outside the realm of proof. As such, what we cannot see with our own eyes and with the aid of instrumentation is no less real! I would say that "dark" light - that beyond the realm of our ability to see it, is real. Perhaps that unseen natural light is what we call the supernatural!

The supernatural are all those things which can't be explained by the laws of nature. Before radio waves were discovered, they were still there, but what is now known was once supernatural. I propose that there is much "out there" of which mankind knows little. Perhaps those invisible light waves set the stage for the creation. Visible light is known to be required for life as we know it. Perhaps supernatural life requires supernatural light! It seems likely that there is a spectrum of light in the universe which gives supernatural life to supernatural beings! Perhaps that light is Shekinah - the presence of God!

God is Light.
1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
Since darkness is the absence of light, and all light cannot be seen, then it is reasonable to say that God is all spectrums of light, the seen and the unseen. The Creator God - the Father, cannot be seen, and as such He is supernatural in essence. God is real but He can't be proved because only one metric has been found to identify him. Those who have been cleansed from sin, can discern God's cleansing presence. God's presence, although it cannot be measured, is "glory". We know since God is the presence of light, that glory is being in the presence of "dark" light - that wavelength and frequency which we cannot see but know is there!

There is a special mirror to detect unseen light. When we look at Jesus we see God!
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
At the Creation, Jesus was there. He was the invisible mirror which mankind used to "see" God. Jesus was "seen" because of the Word. Light was revealed to the patriarchs, and that Light was the Voice - the Word, of Jesus! The patriarchs "saw" God. They "knew" Jesus before God was born incarnate. It was truth which revealed God in the flesh. God promised a Savior, and years later, Jesus was born. Just because we had eyes to see Him but saw Him not, doesn't mean that He wasn't there. It is plain that David, Isaiah, and many others saw Jesus on the cross covered in blood - long before He was ever born!

I have that same picture in my mind. Light shined onto me to allow me to see Jesus dying in my place. Isaiah's came before the fact, and mine afterward, but we both saw Jesus. When we receive the image of Jesus dying for us, we are enlightened. It is recognizing that God died in my place! That enlightenment is being born-again. Once we are enlightened, then we can plainly see the truth because it is no longer obscured in the darkness of unseen light. That light was always there, but with special lenses, so to speak, Christians come to see Him there!
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Born-again is the receiving of spiritual "glasses". It enables the sinner to see into eternity - the kingdom of God where life is supernatural. Those born-again can see God's Glory even through the clouds of earth where darkness obscures supernatural truth.

Jesus acknowledged those special lenses:
John 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?  
Heavenly things are divine Light. Jesus came to tell of earthly things but because of his presence, mankind believed in heavenly things. Indeed, the world is not our home - we're just passing through. With the knowledge of God, we can see the Garden in Eden again, although I believe it exists in another realm. Only those born-again can see into that realm with spiritual glasses. Those glasses are free but few take them. Satan shatters the lenses before they are ever worn!
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is seeing life through Jesus lenses. When we look at Jesus, we see God. Jesus said that! (John 14:9).  Mankind could never look on God face-to-face because we were not equipped with the faculties to do so. When Jesus was born, finally, finally man could look at God face to face. He was always there, but He was filtered from our sight. As such, the Old Testament is just truth obscured by a shadow:
Colossians 2:17 Which (things of the law) are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Every work and ritual of Holy Scripture was a shadow of Jesus Christ. Jesus was lurking in the shadows all the time, just waiting for the right time to be revealed to mankind. Before the Gentiles could "see" it was necessary for the Jews to show their blindness! Just think on that: Jews denied Jesus even though they had always had that special light, but the Gentiles even saw Jesus in the dimness of paganism. Jews were blinded by the law. They failed to see by the filter which God provided - love! Love of God and love of others.

Reviewing faith again for a moment, it is the evidence of things not seen!  Faith is being able to see things of short frequencies and long wavelengths which are beyond the naked eye. It doesn't mean that the spiritual world is not real but strong belief is required for them to be seen. I see into the kingdom of God. I want that because that's where eternal life lies. Faith isn't something induced, but a gift all wrapped up in the blood-stained robe. When I look at the cross, it is Jesus I see even though he is not on it. Because I can't see him there with my eyes, doesn't mean that I do not have faith that he hung upon that tree. That vision of Him there in my place is the correct frequency and wavelength I need to be born-again. I have the eyes of babes in this old body because I look at the world differently than I did before. This new creation sees Jesus in everything!
2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The kingdom of God is eternal. We readily see what shall go away but what will always be is beyond human vision if not for divine assistance. When we look toward God and see Jesus, that is grace. He was there all the time but just beyond the abilities of our faculties to see. God often accused the Jews of having eyes to see, but not seeing. They still can't see the Tree of Life for the forest around Him. They keep looking for the things of mankind to save them, but salvation can be had by merely standing under the Tree of Jesus. He was there all the time, and still is. The Jewish people just failed to see Him, and still fail!

Look at what all goes on beyond our limited vision. Look at what is there, but can't be proved because scientists fail to wear those divine spectacles. We still have miracles, but are blind to them. We still have Jesus, although the world hides Him out.  Jesus looks down from above right now, and his "Ghost" is still with us, but because we can't see that with our naked eyes, we fail to believe!

There is a mystery of God - the mystery of Christ. Unseen by the ancient world, Judaism was all about Jesus. Because God so loved the world, the mystery of Christ was that salvation was and is for all mankind. There is not Judaism and Christianity - there is one faith. Judaism is Christianity but they just fail to open their eyes and see Him!

Someday their eyes will be opened. It will be too late for most but never too late for some. If the Jews squint real hard and focus on truth, they too will see Jesus. He is waiting patiently for them to see. He even gave them Jesus to let them see in their blindness, as Paul did. Paul saw Jesus's face after Jesus was glorified. He looked on God and came alive. He now lives forever because he looked at Truth squarely in the face, but it took blindness to enable him to see the unseen!

How ironic, that Paul's special filter was blindness. He no longer saw what he once did, but did see the One he denied. Jesus was there all the time. He waited thousands of years to reveal Himself to Paul, but once Paul saw Jesus, he saw everything more clearly.

Paul was blinded. What, perhaps went through his mind?
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...
Paul knew about all the things from the creation because he was a Pharisee. When he was blinded, all that he had seen before became more clear. Holy Scripture was all about Jesus, and Paul, when he quit seeing the visible things, saw the invisible. In his blindness he finally saw Jesus!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Rule of Law

We must have laws! Even when the two people on earth were entirely innocent, the law was needed. Laws prevent lawbreaking. The first law was: Don't eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the first consequence of violating the law was: or you will die. Mankind could not even keep the one law, let alone many! Effectually, that first law was: Love God because obedience to that one law is how our forebears demonstrated reverence and gratitude to their Creator. They failed Him, and since, mankind has most always failed God.

The government of God is His supremacy. Obeying His will is the Law of God. Whoever fails to obey the Law of God are in obedience to the Law of Sin. Lack of obedience to God is obedience to the evil one
Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. 2 For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
All laws are of God, not because he ordains laws but because he allows them. Even the most tyrannical dictatorships exist because God allows them. Self-rule is mankind's punishment for rejecting God's rule. By self-rule, laws of men, are meant. Rule by individual dictates is sinful. God acknowledges the rebellion in self-rule:
Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
As such, mankind was in anarchy and the result was chaos. Because of the lawless, laws are needed! Laws were made because we are sinful humans. We need laws to regulate behavior.
1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient.
If everyone is allowed to do what is right in their own eyes, the powerful and wicked would always rule. You see, those without a moral compass do it their way. Even the most atrocious vengeance is okay with wicked people. Righteous people are kind and considerate. Christians cannot kill to get their way, and cruel and unusual punishment is unkind. Christians are limited in how we can protest because of obedience to the Law of God. Even when there is no king, Christians must obey the King. When there is a king, the king is there because God allows it!

Augustus Caesar was a cruel "king"- actually emperor. Jesus didn't come to replace the laws of Caesar. He even said to give unto Caesar those things which are his. Like it or not, the implication by Jesus is that we obey the laws of men -  even wicked men like Caesar.

Hitler was like Caesar. He even patterned himself after the Caesars! Hitler intended to rebuild the Roman Empire, even the Holy Roman Empire, but "holy" as they defined holy.  Under this new Caesar, the laws of men were horrendous. Abortion and euthanasia were tools to control the undesirables. The law of Hitler was survival of the fittest, the law of which was presented by Charles Darwin in the book, On the Origin of the Species.

Today Darwin is praised as insightful. He merely pointed out how wicked men can be, even copying the instinctual patterns of the beasts of the fields. Survival of the fittest is the powerful doing what is right in their own eyes. Darwin taught Marx that, Hitler that, and Stalin that! When the strongest are allowed to rule with impunity, tyranny results. When teachers teach this evil law, it is the Law of Sin they teach. Satan smiles because Darwin's laws are part of the Law of Sin.

Mankind, then, needs the law.
Romans 7:7 ... if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin.
The Law was necessary so that mankind would be without excuse. To know what is sinful, the Law was needed. The Law was not for God to judge us, but that we can judge ourselves. We needed the law to protect us from ourselves because sin is destructive. When we stand before God on judgment day, our silence will testify to our guiltiness - unless Jesus blood covers our guilt.

So without the Law, we would be condemned. Laws are necessary so that we can be saved. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin by using the metrics in the Law. To repent, we need to express guilt, because sorrow leads to repentance. Ultimately, even bad laws are better than no laws because with bad laws some kill us, but with no law, we are in danger from everybody.

Some laws take precedence over others. Ultimately, we must obey the Law of God before the laws of men! Divine Law supersedes civil law. I'm sure Dietrich Bonnhoeffer studied this verse seriously before he joined the plot to assassinate Hitler: 
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
The Law of God is summarized by two decrees: (1) love God, and (2) love others. Actually, there is one "Greatest Commandment" and the other - like unto it, is a corollary. To demonstrate to God our divine love, we must love his creation. Love of God and others is inseparable! Hence, the Law of God is to follow our divine compass - the will of God. It is God's will that we love others. To meet that end, we must protect others because we protect those we love.

Because Bonnhoeffer so loved the world, as God did,  he wanted to save those he could. Millions of Jews, Christians, and undesirables had been killed. When people die, unless they have a chance to repent, their very souls are murdered. Bonnhoeffer didn't want to kill Hitler; he wanted to save people. Risking his own life to safe others was an act of love. It turned out that Bonnhoeffer died to save those he loved, and didn't even know them. His act was Christlike. He didn't do what Jesus would do, but what Jesus did do! The Law of God superseded the law of Hitler whose laws were based on the Law of Sin.

Dr. Martin King suffered jail for the love of others. His was civil disobedience. Now he has his own holiday in respect for him because he sacrificed his life for the love of others. To blacks, he was sort of a Bonnhoeffer, even though most weren't being killed for their faith but for their desire of freedom.  Much of what King said is quoted often as remarkable.

On the other hand, Judge Roy Moore turned to civil disobedience, and is ostracized. Moore believed that divine law supersedes the laws of men. I do as well! Moore did what was right in God's eyes, caring little of what men thought. Rather than being critical of a man of this caliber, we must hold the Judge up as exemplary. Seldom does a man come along who loves God and others to this extent!

Moore is criticized for not doing what is right in the eyes of the world. However, evil people are what's wrong with the world. Moore sought to honor God rather than the hedonists who live for doing what is right in their own eyes. Someday, the few Christians that remain, will have to make a decision: Shall I obey Caesar or shall I obey God?
Revelation 20:4 ...I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Every Christian will be required to make a decision: Will it be the beast or will it be God that we follow? The easy and popular thing to do will be to take the mark of the beast, but it must be the cross which is burned in our hearts! It is imperative then, and until then, that we ought to obey God rather than men!  Even now, if we follow men, and not God, we are paving our own highway to Hell. We must always side with God. If we're not for Him, we're against Him (Matt 12:30).

We must always follow the rule of law. It is sometimes the laws of men which we must follow, but when harm can be done, the rule of law is God's Law. We must always do God's will when it conflicts with the laws of men. The Law of God is truly the Law of Love since if we do the loving thing, that is God's will.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Half the Gospel?

We see Pentecostal churches many places which identify themselves as  full-gospel churches. The implication is that others are not, and they offer something else which orthodoxy does not. Let's take a look at the full gospel:
Romans 15:29 And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
Romans 15:19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 
These two places are the only scriptural references to the full-gospel.  In both places, Paul was speaking specifically to a Roman audience. Pentecostals take their full-gospel from Romans 15:19. For them, what is the full gospel?
The term Full Gospel is often used as a synonym for Pentecostalism and Charismatic Christianity, evangelicalism movements originating in the 19th century. They saw their teachings on baptism with the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, and divine healing as a return to the doctrines and power of the Apostolic Age. Because of this many early Pentecostals and Charismatics call their movement the Apostolic Faith or the Full Gospel. (Wikipedia; "Full gospel").
Essentially "full gospel" means that Pentecostals have something that non-Pentecostals do  not have - Baptism with the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, and divine healing. Because their faith is the same as the apostles - Paul in this case, the full-gospel, to them, is the Apostolic Faith. Orthodoxy is that there were signs and miracles in the apostolic age but they were for the growth of the new Church.

The Jews required signs. That is their nature.
1 Corinthians 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 
Jews and Greeks were skeptical. Jews needed miracles to believe, and Greeks needed the evidence coming from logic. If Paul preached the full-gospel, then he preached both signs and logic. We do find Paul using logic to convince the Stoics and Epicureans in Acts 17.

Skeptics are by definition doubters. The Jews needed signs because they were doubters, and the Greeks needed logic because they too doubted. Without doubt, signs and logic are not needed! Pentecostals place much emphasis on signs but logic is of no significance to them.  However, the Greeks required logic just as profoundly as the Jews required miracles. As such, the full-gospel would include teaching by the use of the tool of logic. Indeed when Paul argued with the Athenians, he used only logic!

Many traditional Christian denominations believe in divine healing. It has nothing to do with the power of the preacher, though, since healing is of God. When Paul laid on hands, it was faith in God which healed. Paul's hand motions are not what healed but the working of the Holy Spirit.

Pentecostals focus mostly on one gift rather than them all. We cannot deny that in apostolic times diverse people heard the message in their own language. The phrase unknown tongue is not in the original Greek. It is assumed from context, and even at that, it is as likely a poor assumption as a good one since we are to add nothing to scripture. The text reads glossa - or tongue. implying a language. Indeed, the addition of unknown when it is not there, has caused much dissension among Christians. (Personally, I believe that the original language was encrypted at the tower of Babel, and decrypted at Pentecost. The "miracle" that made that understanding possible is accord, whereas at Babel they were in discord with God).

The full gospel, then, amounts to speaking in a language that all could understand. That would be the language of angels (1 Cor 13:1). Doubters needed the gift of tongues, but just as Paul's new birth was unlike any other, because tongues existed in the early church doesn't mean that they were forever. Indeed, if they are of the Holy Spirit, then people need not be taught to speak in tongues! Many full gospel churches do that very thing. It would seem that modern era tongues are the language of men, not of angels.

There is one gospel - that is the full gospel. Anything else is not the whole truth revealed to mankind. Let's look at the one gospel:
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
There is no part gospel or half gospel. The truth us the full gospel, and if churches are teaching Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; it is the full gospel they preach!
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
"These signs shall follow them that believe."  Then there is a list of signs. They followed belief, not anything subsequent to belief! There is not a second work of grace but the same grace for all. That grace is one faith, and there is one-baptism - that of the Holy Spirit. Christians aren't partially baptized, then finished off, they get what they are getting when they are born-again!

Speaking in tongues ceased early in the second century, not to be revived until the 1905 period. Even with that, the speech is an unknown tongue, even though the unknown part is not scriptural. If the gift of speaking in tongues is of the Holy Spirit, and it is, then it must be done as the people are of one accord as they were in Acts 2. Certainly, in these times, Christians are not in one accord especially over speaking unknown words.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

God Not Kidding About Love!

Romans 15:17 Therefore, receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
God is not kidding about loving others. That is the corollary to loving God. If one doesn't love others, he or she doesn't love God! I know... what does that verse have to do with loving? With love is how we are to receive one another because that's how Christ received us. Jesus was serious about his reception of us. He served himself to mankind. The sacrifice was himself. That was hard to do! Jesus asked that God pass His cup to another but accepted it for himself.. He was in agony because what was coming was serious business.

Receiving one another is also serious business. Human's were born to serve!
Genesis 31:15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
Adam was to tend to God foremost because The Tree of Life was in the midst of the Garden. He was even to tend to the Tree of Knowledge, the Tree that deceived and made mankind an enemy. Likewise, representing mankind, Adam was to tend to all the surrounding trees - symbolically us. Adam was born to serve. He was to receive others, so that others could be served!
 1 Peter 4:10 (NKJV) As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever.
The King James Version uses "serve".  We don't think about it but all Christians are born to minister! Ministers are those who do God's will - serve Him. We are to provide a glorious reception for God and others. Serving one another is an example of love. For God so loved the world, is not just a catch-phrase; we must love it too! Of course, that is not the earth, but those who inhabit the world. That's everybody without exception!

We make excuses of all types:
  • That person wronged me. No doubt he or she did! That does not, however, exclude the enemy as an object of our love! Furthermore, you have wronged others. By using this lame excuse, you condemn yourself: Matthew 7:1  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. Remember David? He thought that he was judging someone else but it was himself that he was judging, and he did so harshly.
  • That person is different than me. That may certainly be true. Perhaps, though, it is you who are different! Knowing how spoiled Americans are with our wealth, South Americans, Africans, and Asians are different. However, it appears that they are more appreciative than what you and I are! We tend to look on the poor and down-trodden as lesser people. Proverbs 14:21 He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. We are to receive the poor even as the rich: James 2:1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.
  • Those people are less than I am. Most people of one group feel that way about another group. Indeed, division has been an issue since mankind was separated. Even Abraham Lincoln had this to say about negroes: There is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior. Lincoln perceived that people are different. However, he realized that on a spiritual level, God is not a respecter of persons! We are spiritually equal as we were all made in the image of God. It is to be noted that God is not a man of color, but an invisible divinity. He did appear to mankind as one of his chosen race. It's ironic that Jews have always been hated by everybody, even Christians, but Christ, although divine, was Jewish too! The "joke" is on the haters. We are to serve each other without regard to race, but that is not a ticket to abuse the service!
  • Those people are different than me. To be honest, I saw others as peculiar most of my life. However, it is I who am peculiar: Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. If Christians are not a peculiar people, we are not zealous in our service to others! We must be different than the world, but not hatefully different. Jesus said to his murderers, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." Those peculiar people who stood by and watched the crucifixion should have known full-well because Jesus told them so in advance.
  • Their culture is different.  I have always had a problem with diverse cultures. Why? Because they are different than mine. Being different doesn't make lesser. We can serve others who are different, but that neither elevates nor denigrates those who are culturally different. As a child living in poverty, my culture was much different than the affluent around me. However, my culture was not sinful but some are! I don't like black culture because that's not me. It's not the people I don't like but the rap music, dress, jive, crime, and so forth. Guess what? Many of them don't like that culture either! It is okay to be different, but not different with hatred. If others don't like my culture, I understand that. There is no rule that we have the same background, but only to love one another without regard to culture - or lack of it. The Jewish people shunned the Gentiles because they were ceremonially unclean. That was more prideful than righteous to be honest. Jesus ate with unclean sinners but never sinned. We can mix with those whose culture is different and still love them.
  • Their religion is different or they are pagans. Just look at the Roman Gentiles. They were pantheists - having many gods, including Caesar. However, "God so loved the world", that he gave them the same opportunity to be his disciple as He did the Jews. Because we were dirtier, meant we had more to forgive, and with greater forgiveness, Gentiles loved him more than did the Jews. We must never give up on those of other faiths, but perform our job assignment - The Great Commission: Matthew:28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations... Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. That says to receive one another.  We receive by serving, and our job is to minister to all peoples. We are to tell the pagans about Jesus and his love!
  • They are too sinful to be saved. That is our perception, and is because we don't have great faith ourselves! Jesus didn't come to save the righteous but the sinners. (Luke 5:32). Those forgiven the most sin, tend to love Jesus the most! (Luke 7:47). No one is too great a sinner to be saved! Paul was the "chief sinner", and he was blinded so that he could see. I tend to think that some of my loved ones are too far removed from God to change, but Jesus will receive those and I must too. Perhaps if my faith was greater, Jesus would honor my prayers more for those people.
  • (Put in your own excuses here). We each have our own excuses for not receiving others, but multiple excuses do not make one valid reason. Jesus can drive out demons. What could be worse? Us - who are too obstinate to stare the demons in the eye and call on Jesus!
I speak as if I don't have prejudices and dislike. I never lie to myself. Why waste my time with self-deception when God sees what's in my heart. Everyone - even progressives, are prejudiced, but prejudice is not necessarily hateful. We can disagree with other's choices and still love them. The danger is prejudice so extreme that we hate the very soul of people. Without regard to which excuse we use to not receive others, doesn't legitimize hatred. I  can honestly say that my desire is that all should go to heaven because like God, I too, so love the world! We all must do that. There are no loop-holes!

Never, however, confuse yourself with the difference between loving and agreement. We are to love those who disagree with us, but that doesn't mean that we have to be in agreement! With how many of us humans did Jesus agree? Not many, because we are all sinners, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23). As such, we don't deserve reprieve but because of God's divine love for us, it is offered anyway! We must receive others as Jesus receives us - and we are without excuse.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Philosophies: Stoic and Epicurean

Philosophy is the love of wisdom. Wisdom is of God just as everything is! However, all good can be misused. King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived:
1 Kings 4:29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.
 Note that the wisdom of Solomon came from God in tandem with understanding. Understanding is the conclusion of the thought processes coming from knowledge. Knowledge is the input to the mind, thought is  examining the input from different angles. That is essentially reasoning - making sense of the input using logic - the studying of the various arguments to arrive at conclusions.

Let us look at an example. The idea is put into terms of a hypothesis to test for validity.

hypothesis: Existence came about by chance. That is the argument being made by evolutionists. Null-hypotheses are the negative of the argument:

null-hypothesis: Existence was not by chance. The null is what is evaluated. It is either true of false. Hypotheses can never be proved; only null-hypotheses can be tested as either true of false. That means that the argument - chance, is thought to be responsible for the activity but only the negative of that can be tested. That is the acceptable scientific way of reasoning.

This process can only demonstrate that when tested, the null-hypothesis did not happen. The argument today by most scientists is that the null-hypotheses of existence was not by chance failed. In other words, intelligent design failed, hence existence was created by chance. Since the concept of an invisible, all-knowing, ever-existing God created is thrown out because scientists cannot test His existence. In other words, science credits chance for causing existence only because they can't measure God!

That example takes knowledge, the knowledgeable minds use logic -- testing the hypothesis and make a conclusion. Since nothing can be proved, only the null-disproved, then the conclusion reached is not proof but theory. There are two theories and only two for the universe; it was either created or happened by chance. Either one requires great faith, hence one is the religion of atheism and the other theism.  You may now understand, at least on this one argument, how and why philosophy is loved. It attempts to explain what cannot be proved. Hence, the mind is free to wonder! We call that reasoning, and scripture implies that reasoning came about by eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Good is crediting God for what He said He did, and evil is testing God by claiming that the first thing He did was lied about His own identity! Therefore, using logic, God is good, and existence without God is evil. It's ironic that  crediting "chance" for what God did, is unreasonable - faulty reasoning, yet people - even Christians, have been deceived!

Without God, mankind can depend only on themselves. Thus, man has become his own god, and atheists are pantheists because there are billions of gods -  most of the people.
 Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
What is to deny about oneself? That we are not gods, and certainly we are not God! Those who fail to accept creation, deny God, and then they are truly their own gods.

This brings me to Stoicism. Paul spoke against it and it's opposite, Epicureanism. Those "isms" were written about for a purpose. They were to show a difference between the gods of self and God Almighty, the God who was unknown to them.
Acts 17:18 ...certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? ... 23  as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 “God, who made the world and everything in it
Paul had seen all the statues and temples around the Areopagus, and reasoned that their gods were made by mankind. Essentially, the god of both the Stoics and Epicureans were the Unknown God which I have identified as the God of Chance.. In today's world, his or her formal name is the god of Reason because that is how philosophy derived their god!

Paul reasoned himself. Reason is a trait given to mankind by God. Paul used it for true "good" and the philosophers for a perception of "good". Neither Stoicism nor Epicureanism is about God but the gods and goddesses of Reason - namely themselves, because they loved their own wisdom in that they were philosophers.

Both essentially depended on their own minds and hands for creating "good". God was not even considered! Stoics worked hard to do good things, even setting themselves apart to reach what Maslow later called self-actualization. Most religions are Stoics in that they work for "good". Of course, God considers "good" without Him as filthy rags. (Isaiah 54"6).  Stoics deny themselves just as God says to do, but turn around, and it's still all about the self and what it can do! What they really do is nothing more than oppose the Epicureans whose doctrine is to live for pleasure. Ironically, these opposing doctrines converge on being all about the self!

Positive Christianity is Epicureanism. Those are the name-it-and-claim-it churches. Even some evangelical churches are Epicurean - the service has become for their pleasure rather than to magnify the Lord. Sure, they declare it's for God but God knows men's hearts. He sees people walk away from small churches without the entertainment toward the larger ones whose services are mostly entertainment and positive messages. No one wants to hear about their sins, hell, and punishment; that's not entertaining! They merely want to sing a little louder, and let the world go on without rebuking or even teaching!

On the other end are churches like the Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and even old time Amish who forget grace to a large degree, and endeavor to work their way to heaven. Also, mainstream denominations who preach a social gospel or liberation theology - the concern for the liberation of the oppressed. Jesus came to free us from sin, not from Caesar. Thus, Jesus's doctrine was not focused on government policy or even diminishing poverty! It was to provide eternal contentment for anyone who would trust in him.

I have said many times before, with His Almightiness Jesus could have been king of the Jews and wiped out poverty with a mere thought. Instead, He was King of the Kingdom of God, and provided spiritual bread.

In summary, those two philosophies, although opposite, are to make do with their own selves. The statues in Athens were not for those non-existent gods but to placate the people who were their own gods. One group sought good works for contentment, and the other pleasure. Both missed the mark, and modern churches do as well!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Know Yourself

The ultimate philosophical question: Why am I here? Another way of asking that is: What is my purpose in life? Rick Warren wrote a well-read back awhile back called The Purpose Driven Life. I am not going to repeat what Brother Warren wrote, but focus on if we are accomplishing our purpose. In order to do that, we must know ourselves! Who am I? is a pertinent question in order to serve your purpose.

It doesn't matter who we think we are; it is of no importance. Mom, when I was a child, as she angered, often asked, "Who do you think you are?" I found that amusing at the time but now maybe Mom had a point! Am I who I think I am, or am I some thing else? In order to evaluate my existence, I must know myself.

Who am I? Who are you? It depends on whether we are honest with ourselves as to whether we know ourselves.  We must analyze our will, our thoughts, our genetics, and our behaviors with truth! We are a composite of many factors. We need to look at those and answer questions truthfully.

I am a Christian. As such, I am expected to behave as such.  I started to write act as such but acting has no place in Christianity. Jesus called the Pharisees - very good actors, "vipers". Christian posers are snakes. We all find ourselves sometimes posing as Christians although Christ is far from our thoughts, and even further from our lifestyles. Pleasure usually takes precedent over trust for a reason: pleasure is more fun than obedience. We must question our motives - do we Christians obey to cancel out pleasure, or is it because we love what God did for us? Before we know ourselves, we must first know God because the Law of Sin - authored by Satan, is knowing the Devil's will better than God's - the Law of God.

The Law of Sin is essentially hatred.  Adam and Eve didn't sin because they hated God but because they hated the Law of God. It seems that mankind still portends to love God but not the Law of God. We do what is right in our own eyes. That summarizes the Law of Sin because we fail to do the Law of God - love Him and love others. Disregarding both God and others, mankind tends to love themselves, and essentially are "the other gods besides God."

Therefore, knowing yourself is foremost; you are your own god. You may not have known that before but now you do! Your unknown god is now known - he is you. However, in Acts 17, Paul proclaimed the Unknown God - that is not you! Like Mom used to say, "Who do you think you are? You may think that you're a Christian but you may in actuality be an unknown god. Being born-again is realizing who you really are, and that your god is powerless.  It's not re-entering anyone's womb but entering your own mind. The new birth is when you see the light/Light - you are your own god but powerless to save yourself from eternal dying! As such, your thoughts must be changed. You must quit thinking that you can save yourself, and start facing reality - the real you is powerless and damned without trusting the Known God!

You think you know yourself? Have you truly been born-again? Before reading this commentary, many of you never knew what being born-again means? After all, Nicodemus knew scripture, and even talked to Jesus Himself,  but he had no idea what being born-again meant! (John 3:4). 

If you've read my commentary, and I admit it - I'm Arminian in doctrine, not because of Jacobus Arminius, but because of Holy Scripture. People say "I'm saved!" with jubilation, when they should be saying, "I'm born again!" They haven't suffered the crowning moment when their spiritual gestation ends with seeing the Light. Realizing that they are powerless, but the shed blood of Jesus is not, and is that Light. The new birth is when the person is enlightened with the Light of Jesus! (John 3:21).

Rather than depending on God's self-sacrifice for us, we still at most endeavor to save ourselves by believing. Believing is a good and essential thing, but trust and change are paramount. Do you really know yourself? The answer to your self-evaluation: "Am I a Christian?" goes much further than belief. For that you may be only as smart as a demon! (James 2:19).

In all honesty, when you sin, do you try to balance it out by a certain number of days of not sinning? I do that; you do too! We are the Stoics in philosophy of which Paul spoke in Acts 17. (More on the Stoics and Epicureans tomorrow.) Your god is an unknown god, and you really don't know the Known God! He wants your love, not your act(ions)! Seeking salvation by good works is as filthy rags to God. (Isaiah 64:6). If you truly know yourself, you know that you try to work for your salvation!

It is righteous to do good works. No one denies that, but you must know yourself! Why do you do good? Is it because you want to cancel out sins, or is it because you love God? The verse which supports the latter is John 14:21. Enthusiastic obedience is a show of love to Jesus who died in our place! The key word is enthusiastic. Like the cheerful giver of tithes and offerings (2 Corinthians 9:7), we must be cheerful givers of our obedience in general. Cheerful obedience is true love of God! Is that your attitude? If it is, you may be born-again. If you fail to obey or do so for divine credit, you must evaluate your divine safety! 

It seems that there are things we must do in order to be saved! It's still by grace that we can even do, but indeed we must "work out our salvation" (Philippians 2:12). That is the focal point of this commentary - know yourself. You need to understand why you believe and do certain things, and then start doing what you know that you should do!

Self-examination is asking yourself, "Have I really changed?" To live for eternity, we all must answer that truthfully. Jesus is "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6), and we must seek Him in truth! Go for it! That requires honest introspection. Your eternity depends on examining your new person you're supposed to be, and comparing him or her to your old person (2 Corinthians 5:7).

You cannot be perfect but you must pursue Christian perfection! That is not doing your will but God's will! I try not to judge harshly but I can't close my eyes to what I see. I see in myself at times a poser. I act like I'm a Christian but my mind is still in the dark. Darkness is transformed when we walk toward the light. By studying God's Word, and using it, is how we stop the acting and live instead in honesty. If I am an actor at times, there are surely others who act all the time! 

It's easy to stop outward sins. Those are behaviors. However, if Christians cannot clean-up what others can see, have they cleaned up the inside which only God can see? Those who love Jesus, will circumcise their hearts - giving up the inner flesh. Those are the things of the mind.

"Do you love me Peter?" Jesus asked that three times. The answer to that is "Obey my commands!" Ask yourself the same question: "Do you love Him, me?" That is the question which you must answer. Do you know yourself? Peter denied Jesus three times, and when the cock crowed twice, as Jesus predicted, Peter denied him thrice. You deny Christ continually if you act a Christian but live for yourselves. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Know Whom You Worship

Christianity is a monotheistic religion. That means that there is one God. Pantheists have many Gods. Examples are Hindi gods and the gods of the Roman Empire. One religion has no gods. That is Buddhism. It is obvious that religions have different gods, and Unitarian-Universalism is just as fantasy religion, actually one of self-worship. Theirs is an Unknown God, the one of philosophy.
Acts 17:33 ... as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you...
Like the Athenians, many people still worship an Unknown God! They fail to know whom they worship. They many even claim Christ, but fail to know the true identity of Christ. More on that shortly.

Paul taught the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers. He challenged them to know their Unknown God. He proclaimed the one whom they "worship without knowing." To you, I proclaim your Unknown God. Bear with me as I do!

Judeo-Christians as well as Islam and many cults are monotheistic. They have one God. Since all three are "people of the book", as we are called in Islam, we all claim to worship the One True God:
Ephesians 4:5 ... one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
However, since God has three identities we must make sure we worship God intact with all three of them! This passage is Christian doctrine.
James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!  
 Therefore, belief in God is not enough. We must believe He is who He says He is, and can do what He says He can do, and then we must be like Him.  The first two are easy but the last is more difficult. We can never be as He is, but we can be like Him:
1 Peter 2:21 "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps..."
We are not to be as gods, but like God. Therefore, we must know who God Is before we can be like Him.  As I showed before, God is One, but then I speak of Jesus whom we worship. Since Jesus ascended, we now, if we are Christians, depend on the Holy Ghost. Are we confused or what?

Christians speak as if we're pantheists, having multiple gods. I hear people say, "I love God and Jesus!" Sometimes they add as if forgetting, "and the Holy Ghost!" That makes them very religious because they mention three Gods. They just know not whom they worship. Theirs is an Unknown God, with them believing they have three!

Theologians refer to the nature of God.  To believe in God is to believe that He is not of nature. God is supernatural!
Colossians 1:14 ... (Jesus) in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
This is where the supernatural comes to be the natural. Jesus is the image of the invisible God.  Jesus is referred to as God Incarnate - God in the flesh. There is no need to say, "Jesus and God". Either One will suffice.
John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
According to Jesus, when we look toward Jesus who can be seen, we see the Father! Why is that? Because Jesus is Emmanuel - God with us! In other words, God allowed Himself to taste death, but to do so, He had to have the same flesh that we have. To appreciate God's crucifixion and self-sacrifice, we must realize what He went through for us. For us to empathize with Him, and Him to us, flesh was necessary. To be a Christian, we must accept God's sacrifice of Himself in our place. To do that, we must know that it was Our God who died for each one of us!

Furthermore, any of the patriarchs who met God were with Jesus -  before he became incarnate:
John 5:37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 
When those in the Old Testament heard God or saw Him, it was the spiritual Jesus (the Word) whom they saw because Jesus Is God!

Who, then, is the Holy Ghost?
Matthew 10:20... for it is not you (the apostles) who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
Now it is necessary to distinguish the difference between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost. First off, only the King James Version (KJV) renders pneuma "Holy Ghost".   The other versions use "Holy Spirit" in all instances. David was filled with the same Holy Spirit as were those on Pentecost, but there was a difference! The translators of the KJV used "Ghost" in context of the time. The others did not! We need not say, "Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit" - either will suffice.

Jesus died, then after a while he ascended. Immediately the KJV says, the Holy Ghost descended. I believe that the translators used pneuma in context here, and that he was the "Ghost of Jesus" who returned. After, all we claim to have Jesus in our hearts!
Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith...
For Jesus to live in our hearts, he lives because he Comforts us with his Holy Ghost! Hence, since His death, the Spirit of God experienced death on the cross with Jesus, and experience something new. Before, the Holy Spirit emanated from God, but after Jesus's death, the Holy Spirit was indeed the Ghost of Jesus! That is not to say that the Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost are different, but that with time, the Holy Spirit took on a new significance. I believe that the translators used "Ghost" as a means to amplify that God is still with us!

For whatever reason, Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit are the same, and one need not say "or", or be confused!

We have now examined the One True God and his three separate identities. The usage of "three persons of the Trinity" is not accurate! There is one person in the Trinity, and He is Jesus, and hence, God - supernatural before, is now One Person who Is Jesus! God, called the Godhead, which I find impersonal, is still One. He doesn't have three personalities either. He has one because only one identity of Him is a person to have personality. The best description for God in His three forms are "substances" - called homostasis in the Greek - equilibrium between different elements in the whole. God is Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit - all equal -  all God, because all are identities of the same God.

If we look at Jesus - God in the flesh, some remove the equilibrium and separate God into elements: rather than being fully God, and fully Man, heresy is to identify Jesus as half God and half man. That heresy is "Nestorianism". It split the church in its early days, but still lives on when preachers fail to distinguish correctly between the nature and the supra-nature of  Jesus. He is fully man and fully God. Hence, scripture refers to him as the Son of Man (through Mary), and the Son of God (by the Holy Spirit). It is essential to believe that Jesus is God in human form, and not a hybrid made up of God and man!

Today, people still fall for Nestorianism. They say, "God and Jesus". That is totally incorrect since Jesus is one identity of God.

When Jesus said "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father", he acknowledges that the Father (God) and He (God) are the One and the same! With Jesus now unseen, His Holy Ghost is "God With Us", just as Jesus was.

Jesus sits on the throne right now at the right hand of God. Guess what? The Holy Ghost is there too, and in the world as well! That's possible because God is omnipresent. He's not limited to the boundaries of mankind. Satan can only be one place at a time but God exists where he wills, and as many places as he desires. That's why He is God!

Imagine, if you will, standing in front of God right now. He is not three separate Gods which sit on the throne. If you look toward the throne and think of the Creator, He is the Father you see. If you look toward God for the Savior, He is Jesus you see! If you look for the Comforter, He is the Holy Spirit you see. All these homostases of God are all God, and they sit all on the throne. All are One!

What does it take to see God face-to-face, when we will finally understand Him?
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
You must believe that God died on the cross that day for each of us, that he was raised from the dead, and it Is Him who sits on the throne of God since Jesus Is God! ( I capitalize "is" because that is God's identity - I Am That I Am, JHVH - pronounced Jehovah!)