Death and the End of Free Will.

You have friends – I have friends who honestly believe that because they are of the  generation of flower children and embrace love, joy and peace that they are headed off to heaven when they die.  I puzzled about this because I noticed that no matter how cogent my arguments, how based in solid Biblical theology and the experience of the ages, they didn’t budge an inch.

I agnozied about how to approach one such psychology graduate of Berkeley in the 60s, and then it hit me.  This man believes, he really believes that after dies he wil have free cohice.gate-of-hell  He can coose his own heaven, he can choose to play rock music with his buddies in a comfy place surrounded by always blooming hydrangeas,  rose bushes without thorns and cooling stream – a dream straight out of the Sierra Club brochure.

But – there’s always a but.  The whole purpose of free will in this life is to prepare for the next.  Free will is not needed in heaven because the essential decision was previously made.  Of course we expect God will alow us to choose what to enjoy in heaven.  I want to hit the books and talk to the authors from the ante-Nicene era.  Hey – to each his own.  You may want to talk to your ancestors from Europe, or Peru.  You may choose to spend time with the animals or learn what happened to the lost colony at Jamestown.

But if you are in hell, choice is gone.  On the contrary, God has many versions of hell from fiery flames to total isolation and blackness, without sound, without access to a single human voice.  Your choice?  No more.

No I’ve not spent any time on the other side but there are dozens of people who have gone and come back both to heaven and hell.  Their stories are in books and online.

Make your choices here and live.  God says always. “I put before you life and death. Choose life.”

Isn’t that neat.  He gives you the question and then the right answer.

Understanding Laziness

Several years ago a driver took me to a medical appointment deep into Dallas so we had a chance to chat.  I always ask men how they like their job, knowing they’ll always respond,  This fellow in his early 50s said he liked it now but he had spent years in half-hearted jobs where he never really finished anything.

I piped up.  “You know I read somewhere about this.  Were you criticized and abused early on like when you were 12?”

“Yes,” he answered quite surprised at my response. “I remember nothing but as a kid.”

“Here is what I learned,” I said. “People who  are blamed for bad workmanship or inadequacies don’t want to finish a project so they don’t have to face the verbal abuse. I had that problem myself.”

Of course there are really lazy people too, those who don’t like the job they are doing, or perhaps have no aptitude for it. But if we kill motivation in people they won’t want to do well.  That is why bad managers and bosses must pay higher wages to their employees. I wonder how much of the striking and negotiation for wage hikes is nothing more than hating the job?

The Bible has something to say about laziness, here called sloth,

As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.

An Open Apology To Dolly Parton 

Rawe-struck

Dear Dolly,

10040291_300x300I’ll be honest. I used to think you were a bimbo. I used to think you flaunted your big boobs, teased hair, tiny waist, and your syrupy-sweet southern accent just to sell yourself and your brand as a country singer. Granted, I was raised in the Midwest and lived as an adult for many years in the Northeast. I didn’t get you, much less the South.

For example, I’d heard about your origins as a poor girl from the hills of East Tennessee, and when I learned you’d created a theme park in your native Sevier County I rolled my eyes. “Really, a theme park?” I thought. “As if rollercoasters will really help the people of rural Appalachia. Why not create something truly useful to give back to your community, like a library.”

Oh.

You have created a library, actually, and possibly in a bigger and more…

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Can You Handle Rejection?

One of the ways we know the Bible is being misinterpreted is when the theologians (and others) blame God for what is going on, or in the case of poor Cain and Abel, insist that one is saved by “good works” or simply, saved by works, period. cainandabel753812_960_720 St. Paul spent a good deal of time on this topic, even going so far as to say that those who return to a works-salvation are placing themselves under a curse. (Galatians 3:10-13)

The story of these two brothers comes early in Genesis because the rest of history will be about wars between brothers, and then non-brothers and on and on.  God expects from all of us a portion of our “increase” that is the Biblical word, to honor Him as the generous God making all of life possible and profitable.  Abel brought a present from his flock, but Cain was a farmer and brought some grain. (Genesis 4:1-16)

The redactors have us believe that it was all because God expected a blood sacrifice not a loaf of bread.  But that does not match the holy book.  God has instructed us to bring of our first fruits.  Apparently Cain has no animal stock.  and as a farmer and brought the best of that. There is no record that God condemned the offering from the field. In fact later on we read of a bread offering under the Law.

And he was rejected.  No, God is not pulling a fast one here.  He has not indicated that some form of gift is preferable to another.  I would remind those of you reading this now that you may be an artist, or a housewife, or a parent, or an office worker.  What you bring to the Lord’s table is the best job that you can do for your employer and for yourself  Can you say to God – this is the very best that I can do?  I sometimes wonder about people whose only gift to the church is some old clothes for the poor.  Gee thanks.

The Bible says the poor need money not clothing,  But that is for another day.

Genesis is full of tests.  First Adam and Eve get sidetracked.  Now these two brothers have a test.  Will Abel gloat over his brother and say, “Nah Nah” God accepted my gift and not yours?  Will Cain realize that his reaction to being rejected is on trial here?

I’ve had many successes in life but I learned lots more from my failures.  I’ve been severely rejected a dozen times, all very painful and sometimes very costly.  I’ve been lied about and slandered.  One man even traveled to the West Coast to assure someone that I was a liar because the donor had $38000 for him.  God remembers this by the way.  He will repay.

But back to Cain.  Here is his chance to examine what happened.  He muses, “Did I do something wrong, or did I just not check thoroughly on what God wanted?  Is this a test of my believing God?”

Look around you.  Is not a lot of politics “murdering” another – their reputation, their home, their finances – in order to win public applause and recognition? Dan Rather allowed bitterness lead him into revenge which backfired and he was forced to retire.

The Bible says Cain failed this test.  Instead of realizing this was his test, he believed it was a competition with Abel.  No,  God does not set up competitions between his people.  We compete against ourselves. Paul speaks of going for a prize, but not against another person, but against his own call from God.  Cain looked at his situation in envy and bitterness.  The Bible says we are not to allow a root of bitterness, revenge and blame to arise among us.  (Hebrews 12:15) But this happened and he murdered his brother.

He failed the Reaction Test. His lesson can be ours.  We look at the Bible and think all our tests are what we do or fail to do – our actions.  But God wants our reactions to be holy as well. What is yours?

How the Election of 2016 Reflected Theology

The campaign of 2016 is still continuing with protests( financed by George Soros and others) and a cranky media refusing to say they didn’t know what was happening.  Meanwhile the newly elected President is doing what he promised to do.trutherrorgraphic

Here is a diagram to classify to worldviews.  Do you recognize where you are?

Hate Didn’t Elect Donald Trump; People Did

A kind hearted look at reality.

Tori's Thought Bubble

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Over the summer, my little sister had a soccer tournament at Bloomsburg University, located in central Pennsylvania. The drive there took about three hours and many of the towns we drove through shocked me. The conditions of these towns were terrible. Houses were falling apart. Bars and restaurants were boarded up. Scrap metal was thrown across front lawns. White, plastic lawn chairs were out on the drooping front porches. There were no malls. No outlets. Most of these small towns did not have a Walmart, only a dollar store and a few run down thrift stores. In almost every town, there was an abandoned factory.

My father, who was driving the car, turned to me and pointed out a Trump sign stuck in a front yard, surrounded by weeds and dead grass. “This is Trump country, Tori,” He said. “These people are desperate, trapped for life in these small towns…

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Apostasy

We know this is true because large numbers of people are leaving the apostate churches and either not attending a church at all or joining newer ones who preach the whole counsel. If you build it – the corrected church – they wil lcome.

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Hebrews 5:11-14 (NASB) 

Apostasy: [Middle English apostasie, from Old French, from Late Latin apostasia, defection, from Late Greek apostasi, from Greek apostasis, revolt, from aphistanai, aposta-, to revolt : apo-, apo- + histanai, to stand, place; see st- in Indo-European roots.]

Noun pl -sies abandonment of one’s religious faith, political party, or cause [Greek apostasis desertion] from:Collins Essential English Dictionary 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers…

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Judge Jeanine: ‘This Wasn’t an Election, It Was a Revolution’

Bad political thinking leads to bad theological thinking as well. America- we need to clean up our minds.

Reformed Musings

No matter how you voted in 2016, you have to see this video. Judge Jeanine Pirro captures the heart of the election, or revolution as she calls it. She gets it, and even called Trump’s victory months ago:

“They told you you didn’t matter, that if you supported him you were probably uneducated, small-minded and irrelevant, you were beneath them,” Judge Jeanine said.

“Even though we felt forgotten, alone and beaten down, we all came home, because this wasn’t an election, it was a revolution.”

And after watching Judge Jeanine, if you still think she’s wrong, go listen to the ultra-liberal Michael Moore talk about the election. He also said months ago that Trump would win. Here’s how he answers the liars who say the election was about race:

Filmmaker Michael Moore pushed back today against the notion that Americans who voted for Donald Trump did so based…

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A Different Type Of God

CHristians need to understand that the God we worship is the same one in this article.

Finding Ourselves In Biblical Narratives

When we were slaves in Egypt, the Pharaoh was not just the country’s king. Pharaoh was a god.  

That pagan god was afraid that we Hebrews were becoming too numerous. So he called in the Hebrew midwives Shifrah and Puah and told them: when you help the Hebrew women give birth, if you see that the child is a boy, kill it. If it is a girl, let her live.

But the midwives ignored the instruction of that god-Pharaoh. They listened instead to the voice of the one true God, a different type of God, and kept the boys alive.

The pagan god-Pharaoh then ordered his soldiers to throw every Hebrew baby boy into the Nile. But Yocheved was loyal to a different type of God and would not give up her baby.

With a fervent prayer she set her precious child in a basket and floated him…

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Who Voted for Trump & Why You Need not be Surprised

For millions of Americans the vote last night was not a surprise.  Here is a list of Trump’s supporters.donald-trump-1332922__180

Some people are shocked, I say shocked, that anyone would vote for Trump. Here is a list of the people voting for Trump

All the friends and family of the Benghazi victims murdered by terrorists who had openly planned this, who were left unprotected, deliberately by handy troops, and then lied to about a video causing this, when this was the anniversary of 9/11and anticipated.

All the troops who had immediate and easy access to save the Benghazi group.

All the Chaplains in the armed services who were forbidden to pray in Jesus name and many other restrictions from the White House on their faith and their freedom of religion.

All the American who know of all these unconstitutional moves against private citizens required to violate their faith or face censure of even loss of a job.

All the groups, esp. Catholic hospitals required to support abortions and sex change operations or lose their opportunity to keep the hospital open, their staff and the many thousands who rely on these hospitals., esp. in Latino neighborhoods.

All the businesses who had to close because they could not meet one of the 23,000+ regulations of the EPA.

All the faithful democrat coal miners told the Democratic Party planned to end use of coal in this country.

All the workers put out of a job by their manufacturing company going to Taiwan or Mexico.

All the 20-somethings living in mommy and daddy’s basement doing video games for 7 years.

All the investors in General Motors who lost the value of their stock in order to save corporate buddies of a group of Congressmen.

All the women and their families who were seduced by Bill Clinton and then lied about by his wife, and the Media.

All the timbermen in the Northwest who lost their jobs because wood was not being sold to American companies but going to companies on the Pacific Rim.

All the people who can’t sleep over an additional 7 trillion in debt.

All the people who can’t afford a used car because of Cash for Clunkers program.

All the Hispanic workers who were hurt or even murdered by the selling of arms to Mexican Drug Lords.

All the workers who lost their jobs after the Solyndra and other boondoggle companies met their expected early death.

All victims of illegal-caused crime in Sanctuary Cities.

All the victims and residents of the border who know that deportation means that illegals will be put out in the street on the American side and told to go home on their own steam. Yeah right!

All the property owners on the border who must clean up the mess, crime and dead bodies of animals and people by those who use their land as passageway.

All the residents of border towns who must deal with the unground tunnels disgorging drugs and coyotes bringing in anything illegal they can, terrorists, ammo, bombs, sex trafficking etc. without any known supervision or legal control by the federal authorities.

All the young people trying to survive on 2 ½ part time jobs with no benefits to speak of, no future, no way to buy a house, have a baby, buy a car or finish their education.

All those Republicans who were told their Congress would support an end to Obamacare.

All the black Democrats who thought they’d have a job, maybe even a home with a black president.

All those Hispanics who lost their jobs to Dream teenagers who work off the books, who see the illegals crowd their underfunded schools, fill the hospitals with new cases and new diseases, and hike up the crime rate in the city barrios while legal family petitioners go to the back of the line.

All the Space astronauts who had their prized projects turned over to foreigners.

All the people burdened under grinding tax loads and the specter of 18,000 new IRS brown shirts to collect them.

94 million either out of work or grossly under-working while the poohbahs lie about 5% unemployment.  That 94 million needs to show up at the Employment Security Offices.

All the veterans.

All the Bernie Sanders people who thought if they played fair they’d have a shot at their candidate getting past the Good Ole Boys of the Democrat Party.  Surprise!

All the people who have recently switched their party affiliation from Republican or Democrat to “No Party or Independent.”  In many areas a clear 1/3rd.

All the people working on the Keystone Pipeline.

All the people spending 5, 10, 25% more on groceries and utilities because former head of the U.S. Fed, Alan Greenspan, put it simply: “Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth.”

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