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What the New Testament says about Women in Ministry ?

Recently there was a small dust-up between John MacArthur, California pastor and Beth Moore, a famous Bible teacher. It revived an age old complaint about women in authority in the church based on a passage which has been for centuries completely misinterpreted.

Thirty years ago there was an awful fuss about women serving in the Church in some official capacity as though they should be limited to the Cs – cooking, choir and children.

The advantage of having years of looking back is that one can see patterns and I see no difference between then and now. Many men do little to move the Kingdom forward and the presence of some women ministers is of meager value as well. Then there are women doing mighty works for God and some men too. In other words, the leadership of the church of God wherever it exists takes on the coloring of its membership. If the congregation is OK with theological basics, fine. If they want something more, they will get that.

The chief argument against women is Paul’s famous requirement that women not speak.

1 Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.

But he adds something that makes this statement sheer sarcasm. He says, “as says the law.”

There is no mention in the Law of God forbidding women in ministry

Check it out folks; the law of God says nothing of the kind. The command comes from Jewish legal writings known as Mishnah and Gemara which have no bearing on Christian belief or practice, any more than their food laws do. The Law Of God is simply the 1st five books of Moses – Period. The rest is prophets, history, Psalms and worship material and common sense writings. All are God’s word; none is to be thrown out. But neither is anything to be thrown in.

Lesbian women are not to preach and teach, but neither are gay men! The Bible is clear on that. Sin must be dealt with before anyone takes leadership over God’s people.

Paul more than any other writer says nothing under the Jewish legal system has any effect on people under grace – that is we, Christians. He is throwing old Jewish law back at the readers to tell them what path they are on. Paul wrote an entire book, Galatians, scolding them for living under Jewish rules.

So here is what we find. There are many believers who are very comfortable living under the old law. Whole denominations live under the law, as Christians, with little freedom to move forward for the Kingdom. Please remember. That is their choice and Free Will is always the program of God. He will not countermand your desire to live wherever you faith system is comfortable.

My friend Wanda, a missionary to Belize, did all the preaching, teaching and counseling and her husband did all the cooking, an arrangement which brought hundreds into the Kingdom and the natives were happy. You know that kind of arrangement would not fly in many parts of the USA.

There are penalties for living in less than God wants but that is between you and Him. God is used to this law-business.

Numbers 14:4 So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”

When the going gets tough trying to obey God, there is always a group headed back into trouble, sin and death. When we stay fixed in our theology or position, how can we move on? And many individuals, denominations and congregations do not.

Denominational life has its focus on buildings, money, jockeying for position, and satisfaction in what they have. Opening up the ministry to women forces them to change, to widen their tents, and look at the world the way God does. God still speaks to His people within the confines they have set up for Him. He uses everyone and everything if He can. And if He can’t, then He finds other people to do the work.

The decision is not what others want, but what God wants for you. Choosing God’s will for your life leads to an overwhelming confidence. Confidence comes from two root words – con meaning with and fideo, a Latin word meaning faith. If you are with God in His will your confidence will empower you and frighten others. But not to worry, let God handle that.

Beth is right about one thing in particular. God calls individuals to the work He has for them as individuals. It is not the job of human beings to decide or control that. All of us answer to God for the level and sincerity of our obedience. And that includes me as well.

#BethMoore #JohnMacArthur #womenteach

How did communism become a religion?

Godfather, Saul Alinsky

Saul David Alinsky (January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) was an American community organizer and writer. He is generally considered to be the founder of modern community organizing, a process of replacing representative democracy with a communist dictatorship.

His book Rules for Radicals. contain ways to create a state of total control:

There are 8 levels of control that must be obtained before you are able to create a social state. The first is the most important.

Communists control 8 areas of living

1) Healthcare – Control healthcare and you control the people

2) Poverty – Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.

3) Debt – Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.

4) Gun Control – Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.

5) Welfare – Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income)

6) Education – Take control of what people read and listen to – take control of what children learn in school.

7) Religion – Remove the belief in the God from the Government and schools.

8) Class Warfare – Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.

How communism is a religion?

This community organizer seeks to remove from individuals all those areas of decision-making and life skills which are, for the Christians, the responsibility and blessings of God Himself.

  • how we teach our young,
  • how we relate in peace and harmony with others,
  • how we live together with others under a government,
  • how we spend out money and how we make our money,
  • how we select and pay doctors and medical care
  • to whom do we owe honor and allegiance
  • how we solve problems

Every aspect of life becomes the communists’ goal, and this is what they have now in Venezuela, North Korea, China (although the system is cracking and coming down), Yemen, North Sudan, some parts of Europe, and the Scandinavian states which embrace socialism, or Communism-Lite.

Control systems calcify

American schools and politics are increasingly infected with all of the above goals of the control freaks. But who benefits? Not the people, only the control freaks at the top of the pile.

Fear dominates people in power too long

Why do these nations fail? The fatal flaw is lack of dynamism, that is the ability to change. Systems of control become increasingly rigid and dominated by fewer and fewer leaders who fear loss of their power and add layer upon layer of regulation. The populace is stifled and eventually it comes crashing down, whether in North Korea or California.

To study government, look at what is missing

While the control systems are colorful, varied and diverse, the religions which support them are not complex. Religion boils down to who is in control – is it God or man? And that explains why communism is a religion.

In 1969, Hillary Rodham wrote a 92-page senior thesis for Wellesley College about community organizer Saul Alinsky

God’s Ace in the Hole

For my foreign readers, an “ace in the hole” is a hidden advantage or resource kept in reserve until needed. The word comes from the game of poker where the Ace of Spades is the highest valued card in the deck.  acespadesin hole

God requires Man to enter heaven based on the law – that is, he must acknowledge his belief in God by faith and through repentance (changing his mind about himself and his condition) and confession of Jesus as Lord he now has access to what evangelists call saved.  But as you might suspect, there are many who seem to slip into heaven by some back door.

God is Himself not under a Law

God is not under Law.  While He has promised to make good on all His word, He also has some private caveats of His own.

God keeps as His prerogative the choice of whom He will bless. The most well-known of these are the Beatitudes in Matthew which list the many ways God blesses.

Jesus  said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, (this refers to those who know they need spiritual infilling)
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, (the meek means those people who do not exert their will on God)
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
This is God’s ace in the hole.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

God also has special blessings for orphans and widows.

Special blessings  allow God to by pass His laws

In actual fact many of these blessings, plus others throughout the Bible allow God to step in. The Jews realize that God saves some gentiles and refers to them as “righteous Gentiles” i.e. those whom God has approved but who have lived outside His formal law.

A person who ministers mercy to others is one  special category. A passage where this applies can be found in Acts 10 where Cornelius, a man who honored the Jewish God but who was not biologically a Jew, was visited by Peter who brought the baptism in the Holy Spirit to Cornelius and his entire household.

The Baptism is the New Testament sign of being under the covenant of Grace. That is, they were taken into the family of God despite their birth status and they received all that God had for them based on this man’s righteous acts.

BUT, what if Cornelius and his household had lived 100 years previously?

There would be no Peter to take the message, and no crucifixion of Jesus to open up the New Testament and His Church.  Nevertheless, on the basis of mercy God would have accepted Cornelius and his house.  This is why I, as a missionary, did not tell people their relatives were in hell.  I don’t know the mind of God on the subject, and the living, not the dead, are my responsibility in any event.

Why ministers say, “May God have mercy on his soul.”

At the end of many a funeral service the minister intones, “May God have mercy on his soul.”  This is the minister’s way of pulling up this ace.  If this person has not been living right, and the minister may even be a stranger to the dearly departed, he asks God to consider mercy and maybe God will.

But, if you are not walking right, don’t count on it.

Exodus 33:19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

So it all boils down to His will.

See also this post. If God sends no one to hell…

#salvation #blessings

Before You Buy that Thanksgiving Turkey

<ga.js>This happened when I was living in China.  I was in the mood to cook something at home.  I’d tried some local  mutton and no amount of cooking could turn what I had purchased into anything easier to eat than my American shoes.  Into the trash it went.halal-meat

Then I headed to a little meat shop around the corner, quite unaware that it was Muslim owned.  Little did I know that Muslims are not allowed to sell meat to “infidels” which, according to their religious system, I definitely am. After I saw him in his get up, I was glad to know why I was rejected and I left relieved.

It is against the New Testament rules to eat meat dedicated to a foreign god, in this case Allah.  The vast majority of Christians pay no attention to what they buy for meals, believing that the Department of Agriculture has things nailed down in terms of inspection.

However, we have never had to worry about our food being offered as a sacrifice to Allah until now.  Alas, the Butterball people have been allowing an Islamic priest to say prayers over our favorite turkeys when they are slaughtered, a clear violation of this passage.

This passage from Corinthians  is long but if we as Christians join in with idol worship, we can ruin our public testimony, even though we have no belief that our behavior  is wrong.  Let Paul explain it.  The Message version is very clear.

1 Corinthians 8:3-13 

1-3 The question keeps coming up regarding meat that has been offered up to an idol: Should you attend meals where such meat is served, or not? We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions—but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all.

4-6 Some people say, quite rightly, that idols have no actual existence, that there’s nothing to them, that there is no God other than our one God, that no matter how many of these so-called gods are named and worshiped they still don’t add up to anything but a tall story. They say—again, quite rightly—that there is only one God the Father, that everything comes from him, and that he wants us to live for him. Also, they say that there is only one Master—Jesus the Messiah—and that everything is for his sake, including us. Yes. It’s true.

In strict logic, then, nothing happened to the meat when it was offered up to an idol. It’s just like any other meat. I know that, and you know that. But knowing isn’t everything. If it becomes everything, some people end up as know-it-alls who treat others as know-nothings. Real knowledge isn’t that insensitive.

We need to be sensitive to the fact that we’re not all at the same level of understanding in this. Some of you have spent your entire lives eating “idol meat,” and are sure that there’s something bad in the meat that then becomes something bad inside of you. An imagination and conscience shaped under those conditions isn’t going to change overnight.

8-9 But fortunately God doesn’t grade us on our diet. We’re neither commended when we clean our plate nor reprimanded when we just can’t stomach it. But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track.

10 For instance, say you flaunt your freedom by going to a banquet thrown in honor of idols, where the main course is meat sacrificed to idols. Isn’t there great danger if someone still struggling over this issue, someone who looks up to you as knowledgeable and mature, sees you go into that banquet? The danger is that he will become terribly confused—maybe even to the point of getting mixed up himself in what his conscience tells him is wrong.

Studying other religions

In addition, there is the issue to studying other religions.  We are told not to do it.  The same principles apply here too.  Someone who is not able to be discretionary about what he puts in his mind may become confused.  People with little spiritual foundation can easily get off track with occult information that they are not ready to absorb.  You are free to read those books but why would you if there is nothing there but religious junk food?

11-13 Christ gave up his life for that person. Wouldn’t you at least be willing to give up going to dinner for him—because, as you say, it doesn’t really make any difference? But it does make a difference if you hurt your friend terribly, risking his eternal ruin! When you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ. A free meal here and there isn’t worth it at the cost of even one of these “weak ones.” So, never go to these idol-tainted meals if there’s any chance it will trip up one of your brothers or sisters.”

What you are free to do and what you should be doing publicly are two different things. And you can apply this to some concerts and  musical events, plays and other creative venues that glorify evil in some measure.

Now back to turkeys. To me personally this is no big deal because I don’t like turkey and I never buy it for myself. But my children do.

But Paul does show how our public behavior can be a stumbling block.  Muslims need to know that Christianity does not accept any Muslim doctrine, and since many of them will be moving to the USA our public stance is going to be much more important.

If you think this is nutty, you can read more online about it at How do you like your Butterball turkey?

#Allah #Muslimfoodlaws #Butterball

The Five Worldviews

Political philosophy is based on assumptions about the nature of man. I mean here “Man” as generic not as gender/male.

The Western Worldview

Western governments assumed that man is an imperfect being and that he arrives on the planet flawed, and will live out his life doing both good and evil according to his education, genes, and environment. Judeo-Christian theology follows this assumption and Western governments worked on this premise ever since.

Kings, that is power brokers, took over because that is what power does, but after England (and Europe) went through centuries of wretched leaders and their cavortings, the Americans said no more, and devised a government based on this same assumption that man was not only flawed but that he required a government that recognized the flaws in all men and balanced out their lust and ambitions in planning governance, hence the US Constitution.

The Eastern Worldview

Eastern Man believes that humans are born into a system with a set position in the social order. Up until the Communist revolution in China, baby girls were not given names unless they were born into the aristocracy. Common folk named their girls Sister 1, Sister 2, etc. Communist egalitarianism stopped that. Women were now equal. (Aristocratic girls always were equal.) And everyone was part of a social class where they were stuck forever.

Chairman Mao didn’t do a lot of good but that change was smart. He also required a common language instead of the mishmash of dialects, a change which helped China to enter the wider world. Communism in China broke up the rigidity of this social order.

The Communist Worldview

The third political philosophy and view of man was given voice by Karl Marx who regarded everyone as having no spiritual dimension, but only an economic motive for being alive and staying alive. Philosophically this was founded on the Darwinian doctrine of original creation by evolution, a doctrine which is dying a death with the extensive advances in science. Evolution has only been verified as being inside creation not outside of it after 150 years plus.

But at the time it supported the idea that humans had no life after death and were only interested in the comforts of the flesh. And Europe, always being in a state of flux, sopped it up as well as many other nations where rigid leadership kept them in poverty and want. Communism eliminates at least philosophically any moral code which sounds like fun for a while, but eventually anarchy takes over and the dissolution of a society.

So communism was temporarily successful in many areas but because it failed to recognize the spiritual natural of man, has continued to decay as a choice. The visible collapse of communism in Hong Kong, China is a good example. It does not work for the modern world.

The Islamic Worldview

The Middle Eastern nations believe in the evil nature of man but Islam, which has its roots in Judaism, adds to that the doctrine that Islam will take over the entire world. You can see that this theology is not going to work for the balance of the planet. Most nations will fight off any takeover if they have the firepower.

Worldviews in Isolation

Some isolated societies were not touched by these assumptions. The Quechua Indians thought everyone was evil and going to eat them. Groups like this can’t last. They become destroyed by their own fear. Eskimo tribes lived isolated lives in great harmony, but these exceptions were always small.

There are your choices. You’ll notice it is all based on a belief about the nature of man. As long as these worldviews are in conflict we cannot and will not have international peace and harmony. Nations and individuals act and react based on what they believe in their heart of hearts.

The Bible says simply, “The heart of man is evil above all things and desperately wicked.” And this situation is the cause of wars and conflict from the lowest to the highest level of society.

The lesson we can learn from this is to identify our assumptions because the future of our own lives and that of our fellows will be determined by the one we choose.

#worldviews #Islam #communism #democracy #politicalphilosophy

How to Understand the Bible

One scripture does not make a theology

The number one is not a sum; it’s a lone number. Twelve is also a number.  Neither number is a sum.

But 1 and 1 = 2, and 10 and 2 = 12, hence a sum. Simple huh?

Here’s the key. The Bible itself says that the “sum of thy worth is truth.” This is found in the most accurate translation of the Bible, the New American Standard.

Psalm 119:160
The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

In order for you to get a sum you will need two separate scriptures, and preferably three. When you have two or more scriptures working together you have a theology.

For example, the Bible says that Jesus came to save the whole world, which indeed He did. But that is not a sum. If you believe that alone you might walk away thinking Jesus saves everyone on planet earth.

You also need to know that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. That is called a conditional phrase. It adds a condition which man must meet before he is saved. So the sum of that is that everyone on the planet can be saved if he/she believes and you now have a tenet of theology. It’s a start. Put many tenets together and you get a creed.

Conditions apply to understanding

In fact virtually everything in the Bible has a condition attached to it. And that condition is faith. We must accept what God says by faith and then act upon that faith. Once we do, God confirms His word to us.

John 7:17 If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.

Believe first then see the results

Here is an example of conditional scriptures. “If you continue in my word you are my disciples indeed and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

I can’t tell you how many people tell me – you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

Notice they substituted “set” for “make.”  “Set” indicates an event; “make” denotes a process.

Do not substitute your own word

But never mind. The real problem is they forgot the conditional part -IF.

Now you can start reading the whole Bible and not just parts, the parts you like. Watch the exact words exactly. Don’t patch in your own ideas and before long you’ll know what you are talking about.

Here is an example of taking one passage and ignoring another passage on the same point.  The Amish have separated themselves deliberately from the rest of the world. They refuse to use many modern conveniences; their dress and modes of transportation are different from the Americans, that they refer to as “English.”

Here is the passage they site:

Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

This part of the verse the Amish obey. but the rest of the verse is:

so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

And this last half of the verse they ignore.  Obeying God may mean to be an airline pilot, a translator for the United Nations, or a beautician in Hollywood.  The call of God and obedience take precedence over any calls to making personal and corporate holiness more worthy than obedience.

Here is where many of us stumble. Not just the Amish. It is very easy to make things and rules more important than the inner man. God, after all, looks on the heart not on the outside. A heart can be pure, while on the outside a person works for a garbage collection agency. God does not want us focusing on externals. We will do that anyway!

Holiness is the missing element in the majority of Christian living where anything goes. That is not the heart God wants.

Obedience is to the whole word of God, not just the passage we like. If you ever wondered what God’s will is, there it is.

#mandarin #chinese #allemand #espagnol #cantonese #francais

PS “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is not in the Bible and neither is “God helps those who help themselves.” I’ll bet some mother thought that one up.

When Jesus advised “Mind Your Own Business”

The Message is a Bible translation known for its street language.  It is not a paraphrase partly because Eugene Peterson is such an accomplished scholar.

Here is where Jesus called out Peter for questioning Jesus about His relationship to another person.

John 21:20-21 Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved [called John] following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?”

22-23 Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You—follow me.” That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?”

This scripture is a clear call for us to spend less time on what God is doing with and to other leaders. My blog has been going on now for nine years and one of the major concerns of my readers has been “false prophets and false teachers in the church.” You’ll notice that I never identified anyone by name. That is not what God wants.

God wants us to know His word so well that we can spot fraud ourselves.

He does not want us to make lists of false teachers and their teaching. The FBI trains agents in how to spot counterfeit bills, not by showing them the phonies, but by only handling the right stuff. When they pick up a bad bill instantly their fingers recognize the fraud by the texture and feel of the paper itself.

Studying false religions is a waste of time

The Word makes a point of saying do not study the religion of unbelievers. Furthermore one is not even to speak the name of false gods, and considering the prevalence of the word Allah on TV shows this today would be nearly impossible!

Exodus 23:13 “And in all that I have said to you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth.

Old Testament rules of morality apply to all

We are to honor the laws of the Old Testament while always remembering that keeping them is not a work to guarantee our salvation. We are only saved by faith in the Messiah. But the good advice of the Old Testament still applies to our daily affairs. Salvation is a process of always being open to the correction and leading of God.

A few weeks ago I saw my Congressman in his office. I went there with one purpose. A week later I see that it was God’s mission not mine and something quite different from my goals was on His Agenda. More and more I see myself being moved around the board to get stuff done while I am blissfully ignorant. (Maybe he thinks I’d mess it up if I knew more. I’ve been known to do that.)

Who can you expose

It is acceptable to identify someone who has wronged you personally; that is part of your testimony, and if he or she has not made things right or asked for forgiveness you are free to criticize openly.

Here is the Biblical example for that principle from Paul the Apostle:

2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works.

However, the fact that you can do so that does mean you should do it. God is the one who is supposed to be governing your life, not the rules however clear they may be. Jesus saved His most acidic criticism for those people in the faith, the synagogue, and the church.

For those outside the faith He had nothing but love and acceptance. Perhaps He found that those with a little learning became dangerous things?

In doing some 10 hours of research recently I was annoyed and surprised to see how many educated people spend untold internet pages on lambasting someone else. Besides being unscriptural, it is also damnable to them.

The Old Testament warns not to criticize a servant to his master.

Proverbs 30:10 Do not malign a servant to his master, Lest he curse you, and you be found guilty.

God is watching people who take shots at others. And in more cases than I care to mention, the critics did not know their arguments against another were simply not true.

One man on TV recently made an error, but he seemed to be such a nice person I wrote him a letter and quoted the Bible passage he had messed up. I didn’t call him a false prophet which others might.  Examine yourself thoroughly before you venture into the sea of negativism; you do not know where God has led someone else and why.

God hates legalistic critics

These are the ones who shine a light on the faults of other ministers.  This is wrong as it puts men in charge of other people, and even an historical nincompoop knows that men cannot manage other humans very well. God’s purpose for the planet is His running things, that is why it is called the Kingdom of God.

#fasleprophets #falseteachers #error #falseministers

God’s Harvest

Acts 2:47 And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

It’s Autumn Festival Time in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Like a chorus girl Nature puts on her loudest clothes, as though warning us that she will be back someday. The locals sell crafts they made all summer, apple pies, and jellies and the mushrooms a retired guy collects from the woods. It’s the in gathering.

God promises His own Harvest

But what about the harvest of God? My Bible tells me that there are hundreds of souls being saved and that God is doing this daily, even though I do not see them or know where they are. Where are they?

I have a disabled friend who shops in the cheapest markets – his income doesn’t cover much in the way of food. He offers to pray for others. He does this everywhere he goes. Even his chiropractor gives him free time because he prays for all his patients when he is there.

The fact that we do not see it doesn’t mean God isn’t doing it, and that His people are not active. According to statistics, people are becoming more religious. https://www.theepochtimes.com/americans-and-the-world-are-becoming-more-not-less-religious_3003424.html

And persecution is on the rise too. https://www.theepochtimes.com/religious-persecution-a-global-crisis-needing-urgent-action-us-ambassador-says_3004405.html

Individuals become change agents

But where the interest in God is high, there also is the opportunity for you personally to act. A simple invitation is all you need – not a full blown sales pitch. You will be surprised at your results, sometimes months or even years later.

#evangelism

The Difference between Being Born Again & Being Saved

This is the single sentence indicating what is required to be saved, that is to find that you are accepted into that group of human beings who will have a place in heaven. It does not indicate anything more than that although you find ministers add a great deal to it.

It has two conditional elements. Nothing God does with man is without conditions except one – that all men are NOT saved just by being born into this fallen world. That is the condition in which we find ourselves. People who do not like this condition must be born some place else, a situation we have not as yet identified.

Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and <if> in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

For the observer in this situation there is a separate condition which helps you recognize the validity of the salvation, because, after all, people can say anything easily, even glibly, and not be sincere. For that we have this verse:

1 John 4:2 This is how you know if a spirit comes from God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come as a human is from God.

A person should be able to say this: “I believe that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh.” I have tested this verse and it works. The person I asked to repeat this was not able to repeat it no matter how hard she tried. No matter, in fact, how hard I tried to get her to say it. She could not, indicating to me that she was not saved.

We have no right to tell people they are saved if they are not.

And we also have no right to tell people they are born again when they are not. For this to happen something quite different must occur.

John 3:There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.

Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.”

Nicodemus asked, “How is it possible for an adult to be born? It’s impossible to enter the mother’s womb for a second time and be born, isn’t it?”

Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

The Kingdom is visualized in the spiritual eye

The result of bring born again is the ability to “see the kingdom.” Clearly this means to see with a spiritual eye. There is no external physical evidence of the kingdom of God. We must believe this by faith. And as we develop our spiritual senses, we come into more and more kingdom knowledge. Many people never see the kingdom. Of course they will after they die because the heavenly kingdom is indeed where Jesus is King.

But the Kingdom we talk about here on earth is internal. This passage describes heaven, but it also describes a place on this earth where people live in a risen state, because they have found that God is the same here as he is there, and they walk in newness of life. Galatians 3:

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

I know many black people who are simply not aware of being black. They are just children of God. They are at home in their own skin. They see themselves as spiritual beings doing God’s work and living out the plans God gave them. That is what it means to be a Kingdom person.

Non-kingdom people do not recognize Kingdom people. Non-kingdom people have qualifications – they look at a person as female, or of a different culture, or uneducated, or gifted, comparing themselves to others. Here is an example of what happens when a Kingdom woman and a Saved man have a confrontation.

Beth Meyer was scolded by John MacArthur who said she should not teach. John is a church person. Church members live under the rules of the natural world with employees, buildings, mortgages, leadership committees, and sometimes stratified liturgies. Those who work together in the natural world require rules.

Kingdom people do not. Kingdom people may have communion on Tuesday night in an Italian restaurant and it makes no difference. Kingdom people are not locked into the natural trappings of religion.

John MacArthur is part of the Church, that group of leaders who take the saved human beings which God supplies to them to teach and guide them into better living patterns. Kingdom people get their orders from the Holy Spirit not other humans.

https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/john-macarthur-says-beth-moore-should-go-home.html

You can easily see how this confusion can lead to misunderstandings. A woman may marry a man who says he is a born again Christian but after a few years he starts running around with other women. She tearfully wants to know what happened.

“He said he was a Christian,” she moans, and indeed he was saved, just not born again, because the born again person is faithful to the moral law. And that is only one test of many.

How does this mix-up happen? The main reason is that we are all sloppy thinkers. The Bible is well-written and God had 4,000 years to clear up any typos or other problems in it. But we slide over verses, adding information and assumptions to them that are simply not there.

When we want to know truth we must go back to the book.

The Difference between Being Born Again & Being Saved

Unemployed Angels Hanging around the Holy Staffing Agency

Angels unemployment agency
Angels at an unemployment agency

Here is how prayer works. You are a member of the Family of God.  This helps, because if not God wants you to go through forgiveness and repentance as it says in the Bible.  But His family comes first of course. When Jesus hears your prayer He can get into see the Father on your behalf. The book of Hebrews tells us that we should be bold.  (Hebrews 4:16)

Angels need something to do

Jesus presents your request to His Father and then the Father sends some angels on their way to do the job, in addition of course to their daily routine of being your guardian.  Your prayer sets an agenda for angels.

Those unemployed angels hanging around an employment agency waiting for prayers, thumbing through magazines, sitting bored and underutilized, snacking and talking with each other, or looking out the window.

There are no small prayers

There are billions of angels so there is a good sized staff to meet men’s needs.  But what happens is we are lazy.  We think, “Oh, I won’t bother God with this.  It is such a small thing, I know He must work on bigger things, like world peace.” So you try to solve the problem on your own and things get a little worse.

Then you redouble your efforts, call a prayer line, or a group of friends. Hummm. Not much is happening.

First off, you are wrong.  God is interested in the smallest detail.  You are not bothering Him.  Sometimes a problem tackled in the early stages does not escalate into something much worse.

Second, your prayer life will impact the rest of your life. Those who learn to seek God for all needs will soon find that He is involved in making everything in your life better.  Third, as you grow in God you will get smarter about your prayers.

Be Specific

General stuff is not a good prayer; be focused.  We can pray “God, please protect our police force here in town.”  Ok, that will work, but how much better to say, “Lord, I want you to protect Captain Jim and Patrolman Wally and make them effective in their work with kids in the barrios.”  That tells God you are interested in the people in those areas, and identifies the men (and women) on the police force doing a specific job.

Fourth, you will eventually learn to pray the Bible.  If God said it in His word He has a special interest in it.   If He made a promise, remind Him.  My favorite prayer is that he expose all evil publicly.  That has been my chief prayer throughout this political mess, mostly because I saw that there was so much covered up.  And it has happened over and over this year, even more than I had expected.

Prayer to expose evil

Here is the reference. 1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

We all have money needs. Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

But be specific.  Right now I need 2 cartridges for my printer, $35.  You know others in financial want as well.

And remember to thank Him ahead of time. 1 Thessalonians 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Start with gratitude

You are not to thank God for all things – a lot of life is trouble.  But you must learn that He will use all things for your benefit.  Gratitude is one of the virtues in the short supply in our society. But for the very, very poor, gratitude is the focus of their lives.

Read the Bible looking for prayers you know God will answer, especially Proverbs.  But whatever you pray, give the angels something to do.

The Difference between Prayer and Intercession

#intercession #prayer #angelsonassignment

God says “I’m behind your rotten weather.”

Amos 4:6-11

(6) “Also I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities.
And lack of bread in all your places;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the LORD.
(7) “I also withheld rain from you,
When there were still three months to the harvest.
I made it rain on one city,
I withheld rain from another city.
One part was rained upon,
And where it did not rain the part withered.

(8) So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water,
But they were not satisfied;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the LORD.

It’s pretty clear. God is trying to get our attention. Ebola, ISIS, 80 inches of snow in Boston (and more coming) and throughout the Northeast, Northern California drowning and Southern California burning up, crops, parched, gangs and violence in the cities (Missouri), Lyme disease (Texas) burning heat wave (Oklahoma), beheadings for Brits and many others, missionaries killed, new diseases attacking children primarily, antibiotics that no longer work, flu vaccines that only help 1/3rd etc. etc.

(9) “I blasted you with blight and mildew.
When your gardens increased,
Your vineyards,
Your fig trees,
And your olive trees,
The locust devoured them;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the LORD.
(10) “I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt;
Your young men I killed with a sword,
Along with your captive horses;
I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the LORD.

The mass shootings are a plague. Drug addiction is a plague. The embarrassing failure of the American press is a plague. Corruption in government is a plague. Mysterious diseases like autism and Alzheimer are a plague.

(11) “I overthrew some of you,
As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
And you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the LORD.

The Congressional Democrats conducting witch hunts, hoaxes, and constant impeachment talk is a plague.

God wants our attention. Does He have it yet?

#climatechange #SodomandGomorrah #fakenews #corruption #plagues #drought #mildew #beheadings #addiction #autism #Alzheimer #war

Buddhist Prays to Whom?

Simmie and her husband are immigrants from Indonesia.  She escaped from China and is an implacable foe of Communism.  Together they run a successful beauty shop known for high quality work.  They both wear the brown prayer beads that identify Buddhists; both are very happy and fulfilled in their lives.  They remember President Ronald Reagan’s defeat of the Soviets and are conservative voters.buddah-173621__180

I like my appointments early so when Simmie shows up I am already there. She takes about 5 minutes  before work to stand in front of the little plastic Buddha in a corner of the shop.  She gives a daily offering, which is often fruit, and says some prayers standing there silently. (Buddhists in China eat the fruit for lunch.) Orientals are a quiet sort anyway.  Then she begins her work day.

I marvel at this sight.  Here is a plastic Buddha manufactured by presses in the Pacific Rim (even by those new copy machines filled with liquid plastic)  and painted with fake gold.  Sometimes these Buddhas are ceramic and covered in real gold.   But no matter.  I wonder, “Whatever good will that do? This is just plastic; he can’t talk back.“

Most people, even some Buddhists, don’t know that Buddha did not claim to be God, only that he had the wisdom of God.  And in fact, many people are wise. 

This is a god who cannot answer.

My God can talk back. I want my God to tell me, “That is a stupid idea,” or – “You are on the right track.”  I left Texas because God said, ”Start packing.” I could not be happier with the results of the move.  Buddha can’t tell me that. 

In China I asked one teacher, a  Buddhist, “What is God’s name?”  She answered, “Shang Di.”  That is the Chinese word for the creator God.  Then I asked, “Do you know His first name?”  She did not.

I said, “His first name is Jesus.”  Last October someone told me she accepted Jesus as Messiah, finally after 10 years.  These things take time.

What do we do with the Simmies in our midst?  We need to tell them that our god can talk back.  Not through a priest, or even a prophet, but directly.  I love hearing testimonies of people who have Jesus show up – sur-prise, sur-prise.  He will do it.  When Christians pray.

#prayer #Buddhism

How did Jesus Die for Everyman

The scripture is clear.  Jesus paid the price for every man’s sin by the blood shed at his death.   But because of the limitations of life, He could not actually give his life literally for every person.  If that were so He would need to be born, mature and then die for billions upon billions of people, the exact number we do not know.  We do know that the number of souls God created in heaven prior to our birth is huge.  So literal birth-death is physically impossible.

How then could Jesus die for each Man and still die for mankind as a whole?

Salvation by Negotiation

It was done by negotiation.  Consider that you have a large piece of acreage for sale.  No one else is bidding on it.  Satan already has his claws into the property and will not give it up; in fact he has sole custody thanks to egregious mistakes by Adam.  (And lest we congratulate ourselves remember that we would have been just as rebellious as the First Pair.) The human race is both physically and spiritually doomed.

Since Jesus could not be born billions of times, He would have to negotiate the price.  From the foundation of the world Elohim (God in Hebrew) counseled together to select “the agreed upon price.”  The price was high.  The sacrifice would need to be absolutely sinless, the very opposite of the condition of Man, and he would need to be born just as anyone else and go through life reacting to evil in perfect, sinless obedience.  The Old Testament law regarding sacrifices is not a bore if you notice how the priests followed the very process by which a sacrifice was selected.  Jesus fit perfectly.

You can’t hide sin in man

Can you image what a hard test this is? Look at your tot in a high chair, crying “MINE!” at the top of his lungs.  Rebellion is deep in the heart of man, no matter the size.  He is not a bad child; he is merely human.  (Proverbs 22:15) It comes with the territory.

Sin only Through the Father’s Line

The perfect plan required that the savior be born sinless without the taint of human error.  Mary, Jesus’ mother, did not have to be sinless because the  Sin is transferred through the father’s line….. You know, like father, like son. (Genesis 3:17)

The only way a sinless child can be brought forth is if the Father is God Himself, guaranteeing that the DNA of this child is unique in all the universe.  Then the blood also would be sinless.  Satan can’t fake that – ever, which is why the Kingdom of Evil fell apart in despair after realizing it had engineered the salvation of man and its own demise as well. (1 Cor 2:8)

The devil had a giant surprise

From The Message, modern translation: God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. 

So that is why Jesus can say at the very end, “It is finished.”  The word in Greek is tetelestai, meaning Paid in Full. You too were included in this number.

Are you automatically saved? No.  Nothing that God does for man is automatic. You, the individual, must respond to God at every level of grace. Your life changes when you have a heart change and accept His free gift of eternal life. Today is the day of salvation.

#religion #spirituality #tetelestai #itisfinished

When Politicians (Mis)quote the Bible

President Barak Obama misquoted the Bible.   He said, “I think the good book says don’t throw stones in glass houses.”

He added, “or make sure we’re looking at the log in our eye before we are pointing out the mote in other folks eyes.”

The proverb he meant to quote is “people who live in glass houses should not throw stones” a warning against hypocrisy, a big word for being a phony.  As usual when politicians quote a book about which they know little or nothing they do indeed look like phonies.

The word glass appears only twice in the Old Testament but it refers to mirrors, a common household item made of polished brass and used in the wash basins of the Tabernacle where the worshiper was required to examine his own sin in  a mirrored basin of water, to recognize his sin as preparation for God’s cleansing.  They were also popular as ladies mirrors as well.

I checked an English version of the Koran, which Obama actually does know, and there are a few references to glass, but that book was written much later in world history.

Cal Thomas, a long-time Christian whose word on such matters can be trusted, has a short column on Bill Clinton, Al Gore and others bringing Bible quotations into politics because they perceived that Republicans have a leg up on the topic. Thomas knows his Bible in any event.

Click on this article for more info.  Cal Thomas on some politicians’ Bible references

Obama has simply misapplied the verse.  Hypocrisy has nothing to do with immigration policy. It is either a matter of Law or not.  There are only a few times when I think we can “separate church and state” and this is one!

President Obama would be better off remembering the modern version of this proverb. “People who live in glass houses (e.g. the White House) shouldn’t get stoned.”

#religion #spirituality

https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-shadow-agenda-behind-modern-politics_3077011.html

https://wouldyouconsider.net/2015/02/24/assumptions-lies-false-expectations-stereotypes-about-god/?preview_id=1653&preview_nonce=4ec84ec005&preview=true&_thumbnail_id=2135

Good Decision Making

The key is simple: make your decision ahead if time.

Sounds impossible. How can I know how to decide before I know what is asked? Life is full of opportunities for bad decisions. You can be sure that the devil will send to you the wrong woman or the wrong man to marry. Make up your mind ahead of time that you are not going to be fooled. A potential spouse must meet some standards. Put it down on paper. Remember love can be ginned up quite falsely (called lust) or whatever. The person who thinks through a major decision will end up with a better outcome.thinker-1602201__180

Make up your mind that you won’t compromise with evil before the opportunity comes to you. I was offered a pile of money and endorsements when I ran for the Legislature. I sad “no.” I was nice about it. The offer was generous. This group expected me to follow their corrupt, immoral doctrines when I was in the Legislature. I said no ahead of time. I did not win the election but I was nobody’s “yes” woman either. The only lobby you have to answer to is the God Lobby; God is more than competent to tell you how to vote.

If you know ahead of time what you believe and why decisions are easier (more…)

God’s Blessings for the First Born

I feel sorry for Tench.  He is 15 years old, uncommonly handsome and filled with fears.  His grandmother came to me, asking what could I tell him to give him a better outlook on life.  His father was an abusive drug addict who his mother dumped when he was small.  Then she married a very wealthy man who treated him like dirt, favoring only his own children. The new father was cold and strict.  Of course Tench was in trouble with his parents, the school and the Law.  This is for Tench, and it is for you too.

Life is Hard for the Firstborn

If you are the firstborn in your family, this word is for you too.  God has something special for you.  The 1st born is holy unto the Lord, special, consecrated to God.  He or she will have a special call and God’s concern.

Look for what He wants you to do in life.

Some of these passages mention males, but others include females. Most parents notice that their eldest child is different.

 Exodus 13:2 “Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.”

Exodus 13:12 that you shall set apart to the LORD all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the LORD’s.

Exodus 34:19 “All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstborn among your livestock, whether ox or sheep.

 Numbers 8:16 For they are wholly given to Me from among the children of Israel; I have taken them for Myself instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the children of Israel.

 Numbers 18:15 “Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh, which they bring to the LORD, whether man or beast, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.

Luke 2:23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD”)

Being “Holy” means special, both good and bad

YOU?? HOLY?? Now there’s a new thought. But Holy means only that God considers you special.  He has a plan for every person’s life.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope) but this is different.

Frequently the oldest child comes under more attack ad are often leaders in business and their communities.

He will be waiting to hear from you.  Are you going to look for Him, expecting to hear from Him.  There is your challenge.

#religion #spirituality #birthorder

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