Category Archives: Applied Christianity

The Holy Bible sets the standard for successful living and the clear cut ways in which all the rules are violated and giving us daily lessons in what to do, and not to do.

God Speaks Through Events

A preacher in Texas says people want prophecy. Prophecy is God talking to us through events. Well – it is all around us.

For example, July 2019, all lights out in New York City. Billboards in Times Square, Broadway dark, folks trapped in subways & elevators, no air conditioning. The message? New Yorkers are spiritually without light. Shine some truth on your lives.

And it’s not just New York City that’s experienced unexpected blackouts recently. Cities and towns from coast to coast have gone dark. Within just 45 days in the summer of 2019, millions of Americans were impacted by blackouts.

June 8… more than 20,000 people in Northern California had their power shut off by the state’s largest utility as a “fire safety precaution.”

June 9… 350,000 people lost power in Dallas, TX after severe thunderstorms rolled through the region.

Storms, hurricanes and floods

July 19-20… more than 277,000 people saw their power disrupted throughout Wisconsin from thunderstorms, tornadoes and floods.

High winds

July 19… 600,000 to 800,000 people lost power in Michigan as the result of storms and high winds. Some were without power for 6 days. Flint, Michigan also had contaminated water for a long time and many became ill. Water stands for the word of God, as well as Jesus, who is the word made flesh. Flint residents might start reading the Bible for some fresh water.

July 22-26… over 300,000 people had their homes go dark in New Jersey due to powerful storms.

July 27… nearly 40,000 people lost power in Washington, D.C. The cause is still being investigated. Of course these things are caused naturally but they have spiritual meaning Here is what God is saying:

Your power source is wrong, the grid has been neglected. I, God am your power source, and the consequence is you’all are living in the dark.

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

Another prophecy which means God is talking to us is through events. In San Franciscans they walk through feces encrusted streets. People, you live in a toilet bowl. Is this what you really want? This prophetic process is very simple.

The Old Testament is filled with references to God manipulating the weather as a lesson in disobedience. He includes the non-Jewish nations as well. Here is a sample from The Message written in street language.

Nahum 1:2-6 The Message (MSG)

2-6 God is serious business.
    He won’t be trifled with.
He avenges his foes.
    He stands up against his enemies, fierce and raging.
But God doesn’t lose his temper.
    He’s powerful, but it’s a patient power.
Still, no one gets by with anything.
    Sooner or later, everyone pays.
Tornadoes and hurricanes
    are the wake of his passage,
Storm clouds are the dust
    he shakes off his feet.
He yells at the sea: It dries up.
    All the rivers run dry.
The Bashan and Carmel mountains shrivel,
    the Lebanon orchards shrivel.
Mountains quake in their roots,
    hills dissolve into mud flats.
Earth shakes in fear of God.
    The whole world’s in a panic.
Who can face such towering anger?
    Who can stand up to this fierce rage?
His anger spills out like a river of lava,
    his fury shatters boulders.

Some preachers say the Old Testament is of little use, but God says, “My word abides forever.” (Isaiah 40:8) Not to be taken lightly.

#climatechange #prophecyinweather #blackouts #hurricanes #Godspeaks

Let’s Start Rethinking about Political Campaigns

Years ago God gave me a task – show people how to rethink, in my case, about the Bible, its contents and especially the nature and goals of God himself. I’ve done that now ten years. Today, 9/2019, I am reaching over 30,000 people a month, always rethinking in every question especially in secular ones where there is just as much confusion as in theological.

People do not know how to think

Here is an example. Recently we voted in a nationally recognized, wildly expensive campaign for Congress, the 9th Congressional District of North Carolina. The campaign was carried out in public, on television, mostly ads and news stories that were often very biased, no matter who was speaking. Social media was awash with it as well since it was a special election and few others running at least locally.

Bad law comes out of emotion

The campaign was designed to prevent the voter from thinking, or to replace his thoughts with emotions upon which no decisions are usually very good – and certainly not in politics. There are already too many laws based on temporary emotions which can change over night.

The Democrat was a typical Republican candidate – a successful entrepreneur, a business owner/employer, clean cut family man with a pretty blonde wife and two kids, a military veteran who supports lower taxes, and who managed never to call his opponent names which is sign of a honorable politician. But he lost.

Why? Here is the problem to rethink. While he was the better candidate which his campaign demonstrated, he was not running for the office of campaigner; he was running for a seat in Congress. The voters did not want a Democrat representing them, no matter how clean cut or conservative in nature. The national party at the present time does not reflect the mind of the voters in this jurisdiction. Sometime in the future, that may change. But just not today.

The voters got it right

The voters knew this and acted accordingly. But the campaign process ignores this need. The voters got it right in spite of the advertising and blather all around the campaign, not to mention the multi-millions in funds which came from across the land, all intent on electing a Campaigner not a Congressman.

We choose representatives not candidates

There is something very wrong with a political system that presents candidates when what we want is representatives. The man who won will reflect the mind of the voter when he goes to Washington DC, no matter how flawed he might be personally. He was not young and vigorous; he did have a pretty wife but who cares about the wife anyway. We are not voting for her. And she is not representing us. This man’s policies, and that of the people he will join with in Washington, not his personality or all the beautiful color photographs mean anything as he assumes his post.

What we vote for must be based on reality

What the voter needs is the assurance that the person holding the office will be able to reflect the will of the people, not the platform of a party or a group of lobbyists somewhere, in this case, 500 miles away. How can we change the campaign process to make it radically less expensive and more in tune with what voters needs to know? Will this man or woman do in the office they hold what I expect of them and what they have promised? This is going to be a hard issue to solve.

Church campaigns have the same flaws

And as a theologian I can also say that church membership presentations are also often off point. Who God is and what he does as Jesus Christ in the world today is the core of Christianity but you would not necessarily know this from church services or their advertisements or television programs. Thankfully there are many varieties of them reaching diverse people. This is healthy.

We choose our religion based on personal needs

Individuals attach themselves to religious systems based on private needs. Some want family, friends and social acceptance; others seek inner peace and assurance. Others are concerned with the world and its dysfunctions and they view the church in its mission. My daughter-in-law wants a choir, with robes. I agree with her but so many of the modern churches do not have this anymore. Singles need church dinners and fellowship events. People in wheel chairs need to see no curbs or stairs; parents want good child care with honest teaching about the gospel and no Easter Rabbit theology where God is missing altogether.

The truth is offensive

Churches may meet all of these needs but still have no honest gospel to present, filled with compromise in order “not to offend anyone.” The gospel is offensive. Jesus said, Matthew 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Is Jesus picking a fight? Sounds like it.

But no, He is saying that we are happy when we are with people where we feel comfortable but the truth of God is ultimately in what God said in His word about our condition and his solutions. Confusing Church with Faith can lead us into a position of comfort that is not realistic. Real faith will cause us to be separated from some people, systems and places.

God is pro-active about us. We need to be proactive about Him. We need to be as careful about our vote for religion as we are for our representatives.

Daily Life in Heaven

Heaven is not sitting on clouds playing the harp – bor-ing. No, heaven has been misrepresented by foes of God especially regarding His blessings for you. Some of the hidden blessings are learning things that straighten out key questions you have had all your life.

Heaven makes temporary loss into permanent gain

Johnny Cash’s brother died of a tragic accident and the memory of that, and the loss made an important difference in Cash’s life and the way he presented his music. In heaven he is reunited with his brother. God changes temporary loss into permanent gain.

Heaven explains the past

My father-in-law was murdered – or did he commit suicide? We have our suspicions about who did it and why. We never learned the truth. But now my husband has been united with the whole story. He will also know that what kind of punishment is in process for the man who we think shot him.

We do not believe the Bible supports the idea that suicide leads automatically to hell. My father-in-law was a believer but he made some mistakes. Like who doesn’t?

Surprises at every turn

That person who was imprisoned for being an ax murderer? There he is in heaven. That President you voted for twice? You haven’t seen a hair of the man yet. Even then, because there are so many new things in heaven, you will hardly notice they are missing.

God will fill in the blanks

And there are thousands of other pieces of information that make one’s life understandable. You’ll learn why someone had five miscarriages or what happened to mysteries unsolved on earth. You’ll get a chance to review the original history of the planet, who were the first families living on earth and where, what events like the flood, or even the final fiery end of time are going to be like.

And of course famous people. You may have access to them, their writings, their lives. I have always thought that Martin Luther was wrongly blamed for Antisemitism. There were no rules governing copyrights or intercultural property then. His enemies could have easily used his name on a publication and no one would know.

God wants you to look forward to heaven

If you go to heaven you get the answers you need and want. Hell has no blessings, no friends, no information, and more importantly, no relief. Worse yet, it is an important decision which many people take very casually.

#heavenisnotboring #God #Jesus #hell

Media Censorship is Narcissism

The Censors seem to think hate speech which they so rigorously cull has some legal validity. It does not.

Much of social media, Facebook, Quora, the news media, Big City newspapers, Google, Amazon, TV giants etc. censor what God has said and what religious people repeat in public calling it “hate speech.” China has gone after its own thinking dissidents- the Falun Gong and the Muslims in the far west areas – with so-far largely unreported torture, death and extensive imprisonment. https://www.theepochtimes.com/china-putting-minority-muslims-in-concentration-camps-us-says_2908698.html

Hate speech is not a legal concept

What they call hateful content is simply what someone does not like or agree with it; this reduces public discourse to emotion rather than thought. Laws in every country are based on actions not words, nor that most annoying of words, “feelings.” If someone does not like the idea that homosexuality is a personal choice, so be it. It is not an action and it should be placed in the category of an emotional response. Emotions are personal.

There is no such thing as a hate crime

Emotions have no force if they stand alone. But when jealousy, greed, anger, hate, or revenge take a virulent form and become an action, then it has the force of law, but the law is what is punished, not the emotion. It is quite possible to spend an entire life time being envious and not steal a thing!

Emotions not acted upon are simply that. And for social media to treat them as actions is a sign of their inability to think something through, or they’re living in their own, private opinions. Censorship is proof that someone is allowing his emotions to rule him. By extension media/corporate censorship and public disapproval is an extension of juvenile thinking patterns into the adult world. This explains why many adults are returning to childlike joys. https://www.theepochtimes.com/why-adult-recess-is-becoming-a-trend_3054765.html

On a grand scale, China is a nation of 1.3 billion censored people where the national police use face recognition software to identify Christians who attend church or anti-communist protests. From that information they can jail them or perhaps get them fired from their jobs.

Law is not the issue; their censorship is based in an emotion – in this case they fear that the public will rise up against the Communist system and select a better government. Communists have every good reason to believe this. Communists are not popular, they make five times as much money as non-communist workers and they answer to no one, or fancy as such.

The Falun Gong can completely change China

A major force for change is the spiritual group the Falun Gong which is challenging the mind control of the Communist system. It is a method of living spiritually based on Buddhist principles. The reason the Communist bosses fear it so much is that it has its origin in the Han People.

Communism as political narcissism

Christianity has always been called a white man’s religion so it was easy to be rejected by the entire community. But not so Falun Gong, which is native born. This religious group and the Hong Kong Protesters are the best omen that we will see the Communist system crack. The rest of the world will reap great benefits if China is freed to become one of the good nations.

Narcissism places the emotional self in charge

Rule by fear is at the core of dictatorship and an emotion that becomes legal in the hands of those with illegitimate power; no one is happy over that. Likewise, social media has placed their fear of being wrong over as well as their overwhelming notion that they are right over against the public’s opinion and commitments to something other than their own self-absorbed philosophy.

It’s juvenile; that’s what children do – they place their own welfare over everyone else. And of course it angers them so they lash out; consider the words incensed and censor and censorious in the same breath!

The moral law is not based on “feelings”

Narcissism applies to pedophiles, drunks, prostitutes and others who violate moral laws, since laws are based in actions not emotions. In the same vein there is no such thing as a hate crime because hate is an emotion not an action. To say that someone is guilty of a hate crime is an oxymoron.

Laws are about actions

Murder is an action; attempted murder and assault are actions; jealousy is an emotion but killing your rival is called murder. You do not even need to hate him or her. The criminal may hate something as well, but it cannot be measured. Greed, avarice, lust, anger, malice, evil, gossip and other sins of the personality cannot be measured so neither can they be quantified into law. Actions can be measured and the law recognizes these differences. The judge who is pronouncing sentence calls these extenuating circumstances. The judge doesn’t care.

Children live in an emotional world

And that is why we do not give children the keys to the car or the right to vote. Laws, not emotions, rule nations and determine how society is structured and managed. And touchy, personal responses are just that. Social media by censoring opinion demeans itself, and reduces itself to the level of children who live in an emotion-dominated world. It takes an adult to see the world in the impersonal terms of law, the place where problems are solved.

Emotion-driven children who live at the level of personal opinion cannot solve problems. And eventually the issue of so much media/corporate censorship will need the attention of the Supreme Court.

#China #emotions #fearofbeingwrong #controlfreaks #FalunGong

Daily Life in Hell

You’ve heard all about the lake of fire, noise, smells, pain and the intolerable heat but truth be told God makes hell specific to the sinner. God knows our heart and He knows what we have done in this life, so the punishment fits the crime.

God makes hell specific to the sinner

I think of a small farmer in the mountains of North Carolina who starves one of his horses. The others seem to do all right. He also has a grudge against a mule. The laws of the nation and state are inadequate here and even though the local Pound Manager knows and wants to charge this man, he has no legal opportunity.

We have no knowledge of his motives but God knows how to reward this man for his evil heart.

A personally designed hell

Here is what he can look forward to in hell. First there will be no nice grassy farmland, or cool mountain breezes; picture a noisy, feces encrusted city street, barking wolves and trash everywhere. But most of all God will see to it that this man is hungry, not just for a day or two, or even as long as this poor horse must suffer but for eternity. Hunger also requires water, but there is no water in hell.

There is no water in heaven

I know this because water is a symbol of Jesus Christ and the word of God. Jesus is the King of Hell so He may show up on occasion but He is not there to dip his finger in a dish of water for this farmer. And if this fellow perchance, also has a smoking and drinking habit he will be forever wanting a bottle of liquor and some cigarettes while he is there again for a time so long you and I cannot imagine it.

The cutesy notion that we get to party with our buddies, dance to country tunes with our favorite fallen fiddlers is a prettied up picture the devil tells his students. You might think the devil is in charge of hell; not so. God is in charge of everything, always has been.

After we die our choices are over

The bald fact is that after we die we lose all choice. The choice we make is here, on earth. Heaven is not a static place. The Bible says there are goings on there we cannot even imagine, although I try. I’d like to walk on the bottom of the sea for example, and maybe take a spin on the rings of Saturn. I want to talk to some Biblical scholars and ask questions about things I have not yet understood. I may or may not get any of those options.

God is under no obligation to allow me access to those things if my obedience to Him in this life has been less than He knew I was capable of. After all God has a plan for every life; your job is to find out what it is. And abusing animals or people, or money, or power, or addictions is not on the agenda.

Make your choices now

Oh yes, heaven will be heaven of course, so much better than we can imagine, but our freedom and our rewards will be limited by our obedience in this life. Just as the animal abusing farmer has no choice about his punishment, neither do we choose our rewards,

The best advice any preacher ever gave is this – Trust and obey for there’s no other way.

Why has Evangelism in the Pacific been so Slow?

It started in the Philippines

American Christians got lucky in the Philippines. After the USA took over the Philippines as a result of the Spanish-American war, the Filipinos hated the American managers. Most Americans do not like being imperialists; they’d rather be at home on their ranches or reveling in big cities lights and drama than off in some backwater, no matter how fresh the bananas and coconuts or cheap the labor.

But World War 2 changed that entirely. The Japanese were vicious tyrants so when the Americans drove them out of the islands, the Filipinos rejoiced and became pro-America. In fact many families were allowed to emigrate to the USA based on their service to the war effort. All this made the evangelization of the islands easier. The Roman Catholics were the original western European religious workers but they were so woven into state politics, the common man was not happy with Catholicism.

It continued in South Korea

Again, as a result of the Korean War, Christianity became entrenched in that nation and now the Koreans are the strongest Christian group in the Pacific Rim. But they are not friends with China and most of the other nations, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos and Vietnam areas despite strong trading partnerships.

Why Christianity faces its main foe

So for the rest of the Pacific Rim there is a problem. The Christian faith requires repentance. Repentance is not merely regret, remorse, or even feeling sorry about what you did. We all have regrets but in most cases we want the regrets to go away, and keep the lifestyle that imprinted them on our personalities. Full repentance means never committing those sins again not just confessing them as past events.

True repentance acknowledges God as creator of the universe and that you, the human being, need to recognize that you are separated from God because of your attitude and behavior. That kind of attitude does not mean you must expose a life of depravity and sin, only that you see yourself in relationship to the divine as needing a change of personhood. Some evangelists call this The Exchanged Life. Jesus died that you might life and become more like him.

Losing face

In stark contrast is the mind of the oriental who believes the greatest shame and personal angst is to “lose face.” Those of us in Western nations do not have a sense of what this entails.

As an example of losing face, there was the 2008 report of a Muslim taxi driver in Texas murdering his two teenagers because, apparently, they dated some American boys. https://jonathanturley.org/2008/01/05/texas-officials-investigate-whether-fathers-shooting-of-two-daughters-was-a-muslim-honor-killing/

It appears that the Islamic community protected this man and he has never been brought to justice. To American ears the idea that anyone would think he had the right to kill anyone, much less his own children because they brought shame on his name is unthinkable, even insane.

The male public image

But to Oriental minds, especially males, anything that makes them look bad in front of their peers is called losing face, no matter how true the accusation may be, no matter how minor the accusation or irrelevant.

Christianity, as well as the American Declaration of Independence, says we believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. First in the series is life. No one had the right to take another’s life; it’s a longstanding tenet of Western common law.

So now translate this to China or Japan. The very idea that someone would confess their inadequacies, much less real violations of the civil or moral law, is madness.

Here is what is required

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

A list of possible sins

Galatians 5:19-24 The Message (MSG)

19-21 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community.

Looking at this list you’d suppose it can’t happen in China and yet today there are 100,000,000 dedicated Chinese who have done this. They are separate, silent, and hidden, but they have taken this chance with God.

And God can use them. He managed to turn the world around with only 11 disciples and one savior. He can do it again.

#China #evangelism #honorkilling #Islam

Eternal Security vs. Eternal Insecurity

Hebrews 13:5 I will never leave you or forsake you.

Jesus said this. We can be sure He meant it, but that does not mean we may not end up in hell. In fact some individuals who have been to hell and back (it doesn’t happen often) tell us Jesus is there and people do indeed talk to Him. They are angry and rebellious, as you might suspect, but Jesus has not forsaken them – they have of Him.

John 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Another promise. There are thousands of promises in the Bible and this is just as solid as any other, but there are people who jump OUT of his hand. The promise of salvation is not what God does, but depends on what you do. Your salvation depends on the unqualified acceptance of your sin and His redemption.

By the way, this is a lifetime experience. I was saved 50+ years ago and my level of understanding, experience, and dedication bears little resemblance to what it was so long ago. I have grown. God does not judge us on our level of sophistication in spiritual things. But only our attitude.

1 Samuel 16:7 – God looks on the heart.

We are saved by faith; but we are not necessarily damned by faithlessness.  One of Jesus’ contemporary’s asked him to “increase my faith.” That would be a good prayer for us all.

Churches (denominations and pastors) don’t decide who is in hell and who is not

The third point is this: NO church or denomination can tell you unqualifiedly that you are either going to hell or heaven. In order to do this they would need to travel to the afterlife and take a census, then return with their findings. There are some pretty scruffy characters who made it to heaven and some clean and washed up-standing citizens who are no where near heaven. These things, that is our destiny, are not decided by men.

No one should be insecure either

While a denomination cannot guarantee you “eternal security” neither should anyone fret and worry about “eternal insecurity.” God’s intention of the Bible is to set us free, not to keep us in bondage to an unknown future.

A woman named Kat Kerr has books and tapes about her frequent visits to heaven. She has pictures and tales about a happy and strange land of options, fun, travel, and excitement. On one of her tapes she records that a 18th century pirate repented and is now conducting pirate ship treasure hunts for our departed relatives if that is their pleasure.

Heaven gets a bad rap

This points out that what we are good at in life is what we can have in heaven. It also means that if you live like the devil, don’t be shocked if you end up dying like and with him too. Life is a preparation time for an eternity – the choice is yours. There is no dead-dull harp-playing on clouds and other nonsense. Heaven has goals and opportunities just as  life does; simply put, the distractions of sin are removed. That is why it is called heaven.

Don’t ask anyone to guarantee that you are heaven bound

One of my students told me recently – your students want you to guarantee them that they will go to heaven. I said, “Sadly I can’t do that.” The promise and assurance of salvation cannot and will not come through men or their doctrines. It is the warm assurance of our heavenly father who, through Bible study and prayer, gives us that. And it is a totally individual and personal experience.

If you are looking for eternal security, try reading John 10. I can do no better than the Lord in this matter. May you find His peace.

#heaven #hell #oncesavedalwayssaved

Why Denying the Faith is Not a Problem

This has been in the news recently and it is a healthy sign. https://www.charismanews.com/culture/54193-christian-rapper-renounces-his-faith-in-jesus-as-great-falling-away-continues

God did warn us about this. The Bible says the time will come when people will be divided into believers and unbelievers.

And not just individuals

The Democratic Party in America to widespread astonishment decided to separate itself from God. https://stream.org/democratic-party-resolution-against-christianity/?fbclid=IwAR3Co7nemJAqCPUB2br4XEX_pDM5X8wx8TrVF_8G7qDUfWg19oaYgE5gmoA

The fact that people are openly denying the faith is a sign that we are in the End Times when God will harvest the crop of his believers and separate them from the unbelievers. This is the relevant passage from Matthew 13 (Phillips translation, because he is so clear.)

Jesus again explains a parable to his disciples

36 Later, he left the crowds and went indoors, where his disciples came and said, “Please explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

37-39 “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,” replied Jesus. “The field is the whole world. The good seed? That is the sons of the kingdom, while the weeds are the sons of the evil one. The blackguard who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of this world. The reapers are angels.

40-43 “Just as weeds are gathered up and burned in the fire so will it happen at the end of this world. The Son of Man will send out his angels and they will uproot from the kingdom everything that is spoiling it, and all those who live in defiance of its laws, and will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be tears and bitter regret. Then the good will shine out like the sun in their Father’s kingdom.

Public Separation is the sign that we are nearing the end

Too many hangers-on in religion and politics have compromised the faith and sowed division in the churches with unbelievers and suspicious doctrines. It is possible to find any church anywhere espousing stuff the Bible either calls flawed or outright condemns. The sexual revolution is just one of these creeping lies about which believers seem blissfully ignorant.

The Bible warns many, many times about the dangers if marrying “foreign wives.” This is not about human marriage but a symbol of syncretism, http://syn·cre·tism /ˈsiNGkrəˌtizəm/ noun 1. the amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought: bastardization of the faith. This is not about doctrine. There is a wide gap between doctrine and faith and they should not be confused.

Defining Faith

On the positive side, faith is the whole of one’s personality resting on someone or something. It is the core of belief. People enter a church building with all kind of faith systems operating in their personalities. Faith in the government, or their parents, a school teacher or the policemen, or faith in a single doctrine, such as ‘communism is the best form of government.’ The doctrine does not need to be true to have many faithful followers.

What happens to individuals as they mature is they slough off faith that is thin or finds itself betrayed, and new forms of faith develop.

Faith in error

That can lead to all kinds of error. Street gangs find faith in each other, in their guns, their wars, and their territories. People can develop overwhelming faith in their mate or their job, until one of them fails or falls through entirely. That is why people who lose a job, or have a death in the family, or divorce, or the public exposure of a trusted public leader can bring people to despair. Faith challenged can be a personal crisis.

Faith is no flash in the pan

True faith is not in externals but in the work and person of Jesus Christ, as both God in the flesh and as our individual link to heaven and the afterlife as well as the promise of a life of joy and peace on earth. That is our goal as believers, faith as a process in our lives over the course of a lifetime.

Stumbling on Doctrine

Paul said I preach Christ and Him crucified.

I am always wary when people focus on doctrine rather than the person and work of Christ. Doctrines are supposed to clarify what we teach and believe not obfuscate it. If you look up Christianity on the Internet you are soon ankle deep in a miasma of doctrinal positions – amillennialism, pre-post-mid tribulation, etc. When I saw this chart on the internet I was relieved that I had already been through seminary and did not need to repeat it.

This is not readable which is fine with me

Leave this for the scholars because the meat and potatoes of Christian life is in applying what we know about God to daily life and continuing in our study of His Word, not necessarily man’s word. Each of us has a Call and a life Plan, written out in heaven and waiting for our application and focus. Thankfully, more and more pastors are preaching this.

Ministry has moved into the wider world

Gone are the days – one could hope – when the spiritually minded young man was told by well meaning church members, you should be a minister. The ministry is now out in the world – the entire world – in offices, banks, insurance agencies, manufacturing warehouses, construction sites, beauty parlors, shoe stores and IT centers. God got tired of being confined to buildings which were inhabited once or twice a week.

We walk by faith not justification of our faith.

We do not need to have all the answers to various questions and doctrines which the unbeliever throws at us, although it would be nice if we knew them. And some do. When the scripture says you should be able to give an answer for your faith, you can simply point to an incident in your life when God broke through the natural world and made His presence real to you.

Your testimony is your power point

For me it was the divine healing of my feet. All four arches were flat as a pancake and painful. I wore leather arches in all my shoes. At a Christian retreat I asked God to fix my feet. But I did make one condition for myself;

I promised not to question or examine the issue again.

If I was to have real faith I needed not to obsess over the answer but just wait and then one day find that my feet no longer demanded inserts. I did this because I had seen so many people disappointed about their healing.

“Well God didn’t heal me. I guess He never does.”

The Bible says that someone who thinks this way never gets anything from God; they’ve slammed that door shut with their un-faith. That sort of thing. That washes away every scrap of faith you have as a new believer which makes no sense. If you are going to have faith in God you need to allow Him to do things on His schedule.

Don’t give God deadlines

About six months later I noticed that the leather inserts were not comfortable. My feet were totally healed. Many decades have gone by and I have had many things go wrong in my body but I can honestly say my feet have never given me another bad day. Once God does something He does not un-do it.

No one is saved by doctrine

But we were talking about doctrine. For some reason males especially think they must have a doctrine to back up their beliefs. That sounds sexist but not so. People approach the issues of life and death differently. I wonder if the male mind is not overly concerned with making stuff logical. But that isn’t our goal anyway. Women are more likely to accept what God has done and be thankful and not overthink things. if people question you about your faith – and poopoo it, you have your testimony to fall back on.

Remember this. No one with an experience is at the mercy of a someone with theory.

The purpose of doctrine is to explain what has happened to you in the context of the rest of the believers and reflect what is taught in the Bible.

And conversely false doctrines are there to cheat you out of a full Christian life experience. You will not pray for God to do something if you’ve been told He won’t do it. I prefer to think God listens to everything I say and that frees me to ask whatever I will. That does not mean He always answers, and certainly not right away. But the option is there.

Use the autumn season to make a new mission statement for your life

This is Labor Day weekend. it is a good time to take stock of your life and make a plan for this coming year. Change is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Get yourself back into reading the bible, not just the parts you like, such as the Psalms or the Gospels. It is the whole Bible that belongs to us.

There’s an old gospel song – Every Promise in the Book Is Mine. But only if you know the promise is there.

What They Don’t Tell You about Christian Persecution

Worldwide 10,000 Believers every year are tortured and die at the hands of Christian-haters so even if it is not an issue where you live now, it may well be in the future. Persecution comes in many forms, loss of jobs or status within a company, loss of friends, marriage breakups, attacks against children or relatives, dirty tricks, and the obvious, physical torture and death.

What they don’t tell you is that do not even need to be a very good Christian to be on the devil’s hit list. Here is the scripture hiding in plain sight.

Deciding on a Holy Life

2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

You will notice on careful examination you do not necessarily need to be Godly, only to, by an act of your will, seek that kind if life. Your first scuffle with the flesh around you will be the sinners in your group of friends and relatives who think you are going too far. The first level of holiness is sexual purity and sure to raise the ire of those who want to ignore the basics.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

Sex is the first test

Fornication means any kind of sexual behavior outside of a legal marriage, one man , one woman. You can see how millions are not going to buy this. Sexual deviance is the quickest and surest way to live outside of the Kingdom of God, which means away from his blessings. Too many people will beg God for revelation, help, healing and influence while all the time carrying on something with someone they know is wrong.

Teaching a short Bible study a few years back to some middle aged women, they were literally shocked when I said that the first step in salvation is not having sex with anyone with whom you are not legally married. The teachings in many Protestant churches now is so slack that they were ignorant of this basic rule.

Prayers that go nowhere

God has said clearly, Proverbs 28:9 God doesn’t listen to the prayers of those who flout the law.

Examine Yourself

How often have you heard that scripture? That is one reason the Bible tells us to examine ourselves before we start praying. How often has God not listened to your prayers and then you realized you had disobeyed something He told you and you had forgotten about it. People who tell me, “God didn’t answer my prayer” is frequent, but blaming God is not the answer. Rejecting some known sin in your life is the quickest path to answered prayers.

Meek is not Weak

Numbers 12:3 Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.

Bible words do not mean the same thing today as when they were used in King James’ time; ‘meek’ means not asserting oneself, in this case towards God.

Arrogance is taking upon yourself authority you do not have

There are people today, and American Individualism makes this all this common, who bark orders at God and then show disappointment when He doesn’t hove to. I’ve heard men in church say that when they get to heaven they’ll sit Paul down and want some answers to some questions.

My guess is that eternity will be half over before they get into see him, if then. Demanding your way is the first step to isolation from God and His purposes.

Meek, in contrast, is presenting yourself to God and saying, as Mary did, “do to me according to your will,” a complete submission of your will to God’s We say this is the Lord’s prayer and then forget what we said. “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done.”

Well yes, and that is the goal of the believer; the will of God on earth would be when the kingdom shows up in real time. Moses was the right person to demonstrate this attitude. Moses had exerted his self-will to the point of killing someone who disagreed with him. That sounds like media and newspapers trying to kill President Trump with words doesn’t it.

Trouble is a call to seek God

Sudden illness, legal troubles, an accident, a job loss, even a hurricane interrupts our lives and the shifting sand we’ve been walking on is exposed. That is the time to take hat in hand and seek God. Moses learned to do it without suffering a loss first. Good advice for anyone in the modern world.

Dream Interpretation & Symbolism -water, diamonds, stars, wood

If You have a dream about….. Some people are so stressed out and busy during the day God can only speak to them at night when they are asleep. Not all dreams are from God of course. But the important ones, the ones you remember in detail, usually have a message. It is the privilege of kings (that could be you) to search out a matter. So here are some guide lines

Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

Wood

Wood stands for people but not necessarily Christian people or those of faith. Wood is eventually burned up so it symbolizes works. events, things and people who are here today, gone tomorrow.

Jeremiah 5:14 Wherefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

Metals

In the kingdom of dreams metals are at the top of the list, like stars, and creatures with blood at the lowest level. Let’s say you have a dream about a man with a great pile of wood. (A friend of mine did exactly that.) The man had many works in his life; he was wealthy and well known, but those wood piles would eventually go up in smoke. If he had a pile of diamonds, not so.

Diamonds

Diamonds are the hardest material found on the planet (that we know of) and worth a great deal of money. So too in the Kingdom. A diamond is a hard item created under great pressure. The following passages speak of diamonds from the king James version.

Job 28:12-19 “But where, oh where, will they find Wisdom? Where does Insight hide? Mortals don’t have a clue, haven’t the slightest idea where to look. Earth’s depths say, ‘It’s not here’; ocean deeps echo, ‘Never heard of it.’ It can’t be bought with the finest gold; no amount of silver can get it. Even famous Ophir gold can’t buy it, not even diamonds and sapphires. Neither gold nor emeralds are comparable; extravagant jewelry can’t touch it. Pearl necklaces and ruby bracelets—why bother? None of this is even a down payment on Wisdom! Pile gold and African diamonds as high as you will, they can’t hold a candle to Wisdom.

Psalm 19:10  God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds. You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries.

Hymn to a Good Wife ] A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long. She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing. She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day. She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden. First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day. She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking. She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor. She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear. She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks. Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers. She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops. Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile. When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly. She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive. Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: “Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!” Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!

The time is coming when the Master will strip them of their fancy baubles—the dangling earrings, anklets and bracelets, combs and mirrors and silk scarves, diamond brooches and pearl necklaces, the rings on their fingers and the rings on their toes, the latest fashions in hats, exotic perfumes and aphrodisiacs, gowns and capes, all the world’s finest in fabrics and design.

The Heart Is Hopelessly Dark and Deceitful ] “Judah’s sin is engraved with a steel chisel, A steel chisel with a diamond point— engraved on their granite hearts, engraved on the stone corners of their altars. The evidence against them is plain to see: sex-and-religion altars and sacred sex shrines Anywhere there’s a grove of trees, anywhere there’s an available hill.

As I watched the four creatures, I saw something that looked like a wheel on the ground beside each of the four-faced creatures. This is what the wheels looked like: They were identical wheels, sparkling like diamonds in the sun. It looked like they were wheels within wheels, like a gyroscope.

And then I saw four wheels beside the cherubim, one beside each cherub. The wheels radiating were sparkling like diamonds in the sun. All four wheels looked alike, each like a wheel within a wheel. When they moved, they went in any of the four directions but in a perfectly straight line. Where the cherubim went, the wheels went straight ahead. The cherubim were full of eyes in their backs, hands, and wings. The wheels likewise were full of eyes. I heard the wheels called “wheels within wheels.”

“‘I came by again and saw you, saw that you were ready for love and a lover. I took care of you, dressed you and protected you. I promised you my love and entered the covenant of marriage with you. I, God, the Master, gave my word. You became mine. I gave you a good bath, washing off all that old blood, and anointed you with aromatic oils. I dressed you in a colorful gown and put leather sandals on your feet. I gave you linen blouses and a fashionable wardrobe of expensive clothing. I adorned you with jewelry: I placed bracelets on your wrists, fitted you out with a necklace, emerald rings, sapphire earrings, and a diamond tiara. You were provided with everything precious and beautiful: with exquisite clothes and elegant food, garnished with honey and oil. You were absolutely stunning. You were a queen! You became world-famous, a legendary beauty brought to perfection by my adornments. Decree of God, the Master.

Emeralds and Pearls and Gold

The Bible often speaks of “precious stones.” People who have suffered and survived are diamond like. They are valuable friends now and can take anything. So diamond-like friends really are your best friends! Precious stones are found by those who sift through a lot of dirt. You’ll find valuable people that way too. Emerald is the color of heaven (think of Wizard of Oz) and pearls mean suffering. Gold means Godliness and of course great value.

Matthew 7:6 warns against casting your pearls before swine. The interpretation of that is that if you have suffered you do not share this with people who have no understanding or appreciation of what you have gone through.

Stars

Stars symbolize angels with great power. At one time stars were worshiped, but that is idolatry and strictly forbidden.

Revelation 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.

That includes the Zodiac and all astrology. Astrology is trying to find God’s will without going thru Him. Not good! And more importantly, not true either.

Water

Water symbolizes the Word of God. You can go a long time without food, but not without water. God started the creation of the universe brooding over the water. Water has been equated with Jesus Himself. Surely, if Jesus is called the word of God, and water is called the word, then Jesus is the water-word of God.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word

Water in Feng Shui, the oriental practice of good design,  symbolizes wealth and prosperity. Houses on rivers and lakes sell for higher prices. Japanese decorators add little waterfalls to rooms for detail. Water is very soothing. If that is in your dream, it is a good sign, unless of course, in your dream you find it contaminated, in which case I must assume you have swallowed something pretty awful which could poison your mind.

Water can be flowing, meaning it is the most pure, it can be still, meaning it is ready to drink, or it could be muddy, contaminated by others or stuck in some pond backwater covered with slime. There are lots of possibilities for water in your dreams.

Write down your dreams and then check against the Bible. Better God’s word which is always true than who-knows-what from who-knows-whom – Check it out!

Coming Fall 2020 Dream Interpretation & Biblical Symbolism

The Subtle World of Christian Legalism

The Charismatic Movement of the 1970s and 1980s, while bringing in true praise and worship, became hopelessly bogged down in a shadowy world of legalism that paraded as obedience to God. It was actually a bondage to men and their Biblical opinions.

The Holy Spirit is the leader of the Church

The purpose of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the freeing of believers to know Jesus better and live a life more in keeping with His Kingdom. But all movements trying to move themselves forward may fall into error. The first of these was the Shepherding Movement which promoted human leadership way beyond reason. After all,  denominations have monkeyed with organizational change and structure only to end up where they are now – losing membership and closing churches, occasionally by bankruptcy.

Over emphasis on the top guy in charge

The book of Revelation warns against the sin of the Nicolaitans, that of elevating leadership above the individual believer. The New Testament Church circa years 100-300 C.E. had everyone at fundamentally one level, with only those with an anointing, training or official duties standing out. They are not intended to be super stars, or, as it has turned out, media stars. That ilk has not entirely gone away, but the effectiveness of their churches may be waning too.

Another problem was the general misapplication of God’s hopes and promises to the level of Law. Three of these are especially onerous. The Bible states clearly that God hates divorce, but it became so much of a law that even a divorce that God Himself would sanction could not be legalized because the partners feared the wrath of the church community. What God has joined together is scriptural. This means that men may enter into a legal divorce and God not recognize it because He did not sanction it.

But the reverse is also true. God has not required a continuation of some marriages that people hold together at any cost and against His will. One partner might go to his or her pastor and be told to submit to the husband, or to the husband, go back and love your wife, when God had no intention of keeping this marriage together.  Children who were being abused stayed when they clearly needed to go to the police; women sometimes submitted to smarmy sexual activities as an act of submission, such as group sex, all heinous in God’s sight. Allowing the continuation of evil is never in God’s best interests. If someone will not submit to God, He will free one or more of the family members.

Euthanasia- you can expect this to be an issue

An acquaintance of mine had the unfortunate experience of tending to prolonged life of some family members, causing family friction, exhaustion of body and resources, and making the final years of life a strain rather than allowing an old person to die in peace. Church “legalism” – to keep some one alive at all costs, may not be the smartest move, esp. if it is all done with machinery. This is the devil’s way to deplete the last peace from the family. The Old Testament patriarchs folded up their robes, took to their beds, and after some careful words of encouragement died without rancor.

Pro-life does not mean pro-turmoil. Neither does it mean a case for euthanasia which seems to be more a refusal to see the end of life from God’s viewpoint.

Obeying rules allows us to feel virtuous without being so

Virtually every false religion is strapped with rules. This is a sure sign something is wrong. A former congregation (Messianic) of mine asked me back, but in the meantime all the women were wearing head scarves. I said no, I did not want to think I was in church with Muslims. I don’t think until that point they ever considered how legalistic that looked. Muslims make the women cover themselves as a sign not of true submission but of control, and Sharia Law is the most controlling of them all. I worked and lived in China where communism controls life, and they are freer there than followers of Islam.

The tithe does not count if you are angry about it

Another area of Christian legalism is the tithe. Yes, God would like 10% but many poor cannot do that. The scripture says to provide for God from “your increase.” There are some poor folks who do not have a living wage and no increase either. Of course they can give time and energy to someone in need, and compassion counts too. One person I asked to pray for me said that she thought my prayers were not being answered because I was not paying a full 10%.  I happen to know her income is nearly twice mine; she buys meat, I cannot. She takes hot showers while in the summer I cannot afford to heat my water. She placed upon me a legal requirement without knowing my circumstances.

Critics about money may be envious

Another time I learned from a close friend that she had won $2200 at a casino. She and her husband do provide a full 10% to God and they are not gamblers, even occasional ones, but for their 25th wedding anniversary they went to the local casino. The winnings were sufficient to open a little art shop-studio downtown in a nice location, a life long dream. My legalistic friend was horrified – “Oh God would never use gambling money to provide a blessing?”

And why not? Does it not say the wealth of the wicked will flow to the righteous? Proverbs 13:22 Jacob made a wad out of cheatin’ Laban.

It is far too easy for believers to duck under the law rather than actually take a prayer request seriously. We should in all cases know the mind of Christ, not just for ourselves but also when asked to counsel others.

Who are the Watchmen on the Walls?

The watchman for the city stands at attention on the city’s walls and looks into the distance to warn of impending attack from the enemy. He/she also can see the sins of the city.  The walls are salvation and the gates symbolize praise.  When Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem, his first duty was to repair the broken down walls.  The salvation message is the first thing to be restored.  Then the gates are praise; they are repaired next.

Wherever you are, take up your post and come against the devil and his friends.  Bind them, cast them out, expose their lies, in Jesus’ name.  God wants this country back as the harvest is great.   There are great, earth-shaking events on the horizon.  I can see them from my post. Blessings to you all.

Cheap Grace, Sloppy Agape, Greasy Grace

Is it my imagination or does it appear that millions of Christians think this life of a believer is some easy road? If I hear “once saved always saved” one more time I will _____.

Furthermore the way Grace is tossed around you’d think God didn’t judge sin or think it was much of a big deal. Not so.

Men’s hearts are dark and their deeds reveal what is in their hearts. All will be exposed, judged and cleansed.  One way or the other.

God will expose all evil everywhere

Agape (pronounced ah-gah-pay) is the Greek word for sacrificial love. Greek, being the most exacting of languages, has several words for love. Phileo means love between people. We recognize Philadelphia as the city of brotherly love. There is eros for sexual love, and storge which is family love, and there are many parts of the world where only family love exists. Sloppy agape has come to mean for the Christian church that since Jesus paid it all, we can sit back on His laurels and be-bop our way to the final whoppy-goodbye. Others call it greasy or cheap grace.

Grace is God’s word for blessings no human has now or ever will deserve. Grace then is undeserved benefits. But you’d jolly well think many are only too happy to let Jesus pay it all and then live no-account lives on the interest payments.

Sitting in church  produces no Christians

I can barely count the numbers of “believers” – using the term loosely – who think they become Christians by sitting in church. I challenge you. Sit in the garage for three months and see if you can turn into a Ford F150.

Jesus (and the Bible) reassures the new believers that they are not going to slip back into hell. But people – if you’ve been around for some years, you should not need constant reassurance about your salvation. You are not a baby anymore – or should not be. Babies are lovable and cute but they produce little more than smiles, and feces. Parents are only too happy to take them off the bottle and enroll them  into kindergarten.

The test of salvation is continuing maturity

The test of salvation is growing up. Is there anything more heartbreaking than seeing a bus load of adults who have some severe retardation? Or disability? No, because we know that the best that life has for them is not available. God will save and bless them but it is not the perfect thing for man.

Same for the believers. Time to show up, grow up and man up.

Divorce has a Spiritual Cause

Occasionally there is some public breast-beating by ministers ruing the statistics that non-believers and believers divorce at about the same rate. There is a deceptively easy reason for this. But in any event marriage is such a complex relationship that in talking about it we always leave out something important. Here, alone, e are talking about divorcea and how it is a final breakdown.

Marriage as flesh

First, the scriptures say the “two shall become one flesh.” While this union is not a simple co-habitation in the eyes of God, it may actually not be much more than this. It is, after all, just the flesh.

In the beginning the flesh is usually enough to keep the pair together. They marry with pretty much the same goals – a family, a house in the burbs, a decent job, and a few kids. Sometimes their common goals are a life as missionaries or even as members of the armed forces. Those common goals keep them together for a long time.

If the goal is sex alone, by either couple, the union is doomed from the start because the Bible says, the flesh profits nothing.  It has no permanence, so the value of marriage must be in the other extended relationship it brings to the couple, and their world and the world to come.  Marriage does have eternal value.

Man, in contrast to animals, in three parts

Man is made up of three parts – body, soul and spirit. The bodies come together but clearly not the spirits, and consequently not the souls. In most families mother and father are opposites – she is creative, he is a math whiz; or he is the farmer and she can’t grow chives in the window sill; or she is an engineer and he is a psychologist. This helps the kids have a better view of the world than two alike-people.

But no one can have, nor should they have, a union of souls. God saves souls and each one is distinct in His eyes.

Then there is the Spirit. This is where the rubber meets the road. After the children are schooled, married and gone, this marriage faces a new stress – what is the common goal – retirement, travel, self-indulgence, golf, amusements, games? Do they have a common life of set goals. One prominent marriage counselor says every pair should have a regular discussion about the family “mission-statement.”

At this point, the union breaks down.

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Agreement is gone!

While Amos spoke these words to indicate how the Christian should pattern his life with God, the rule applies everywhere. The marriage cannot last if the direction of their lives is not parallel. Parallel goals means agreement. Non-parallel goals means that even a small degree of difference will, over time, send them off in different, and conflicting directions.

It may be be evident as the paths begin to part, but that is the time for re-examination. Look to God for the answer. Men most often will blame the wife, marry #2 and live to regret it because they fail to look at their own faults.

The second marriage for men is almost always a disaster.

The wife may hit the bottle or have an affair. Again – an answer in the flesh does not work. The new rule in America of hole digging is – when you are at the bottom, stop digging.

Saving the marriage means being totally honest

Go back to where your paths diverged and be cruelly honest with yourself first and then each other. Divorce is not necessary, and it is a horror for even the most agreeable couple. It does not need to happen.