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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.
Yahweh requires Man to enter heaven based on the law – that is, he must acknowledge his belief in Yahweh by faith and through repentance (changing his mind about himself and his condition) and confession of Yahshua 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
Yahweh is not under Law. While He has promised to make good on all His word, He also has some private caveats of His own.
Yahweh 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 Yahweh blesses.
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.
Yahweh 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 Yahweh to step in. The Jews realize that Yahweh saves some gentiles and refers to them as “righteous Gentiles” i.e. those whom Yahweh 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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh despite their birth status and they received all that Yahweh 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 Yahshua to open up the New Testament and His Church. Nevertheless, on the basis of mercy Yahweh 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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh to consider mercy and maybe Yahweh 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…
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.
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
8 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.
7 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
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 cavorting, 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.
Communism is based on “bait and switch”
The promise of communist leaders are the same as those of democracies everywhere – freedom of movement, choice and prosperity on your own effort. But the reality is always the same – control by a small group of masters whose first job is to take away the guns. Of course! That way dissidents cannot challenge the new masters. Eventually disillusionment of the entire population occurs and the society begins to deteriorate. The present (2020) state of Russia is a good example of how a society loses at all points after it has embraced a false promise.
Disillusionment in China began in 1989, and the on-going protest in Hong Kong is a continuation of Tienanmen Square’s protests that year. People are not stupid; decades of failure proves the point that communism is a failure and then there are decades working out of the very ditch they dug.
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 #China #Russia #HongKong
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 Bible.
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 Yahshua 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 Yahshua 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 Yahweh says by faith and then act upon that faith. Once we do, Yahweh 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. It takes time for you to be free as anyone who has tried to kick a habit will tell you.
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 Yahweh may mean to be an airline pilot, a translator for the United Nations, or a beautician in Hollywood. The call of Yahweh 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. Yahweh, 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. Yahweh 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 Yahweh wants.
Obedience is to the whole word of Yahweh, not just the passage we like. If you ever wondered what Yahweh’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.
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 Yahshua 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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh.
Recently I saw my Congressman in his office. I went there with one purpose. A week later I see that it was Yahweh’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. Yahweh 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.
Yahweh 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. Yahweh’s purpose for the planet is His running things, that is why it is called the Kingdom of God.
#fasleprophets #falseteachers #error #falseministers
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 Yahweh? My Bible tells me that there are hundreds of souls being saved and that Yahweh 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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh 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.
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 3:3 There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. 2 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.
3 Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born anew, it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.”
4 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?”
5 Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. 6 Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ 8 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 Yahshua 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 Yahweh. They are at home in their own skin. They see themselves as spiritual beings doing Yahweh’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 Yahweh supplies to them to teach and guide them into better living patterns. Kingdom people get their orders from the Holy Spirit not other humans.
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 Yahweh 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.
(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 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
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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…)
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
Americans are in tragic need of a de-stress. Eight long years part-time employment, income, jobs, high oil prices, ever-increasing food costs, failed plans and both national and international terror threats put us all on edge. Now that everyone is back at work, we are overworking to compensate for lost time.
The Bible has an app for that
It is called “keeping the Sabbath holy.” But how many of us take one day a week to flat line our lives? Not many. It is important enough to be in the 10 Commandments along with not committing adultery and theft. It’s a day of rest where the mind, body and spirit close the door on daily life and “does something else.”
It is not as legalists would have us believe a time to be sanctimonious and pretend to be holy. Being part-holy is work enough. Even the non-religious world is beginning to catch on to that.
High Schoolers reduced crime and stress with a Time Out
One high school in the USA has two breaks a day – 15 minutes each, morning and afternoon. Instead of depriving kids of instructional time, they learned that conflicts, fights, and tardiness all decreased and grades went up. If there is anyone in this world who is on edge it’s the teens. But can we do it? Will we do it? More importantly do we know why we must do it?
Trying to trap Jesus with a question
When Jesus was asked about this issue He said, “Sabbath-keeping is not God’s issue, but man’s.” From the original:
Mark 2:27 (ERV) Then Jesus said to the Pharisees, “The Sabbath day was made to help people. People were not made to be ruled by the Sabbath.
God has no need of a giant rest – man does so He created the Sabbath for man’s benefit. If it is such a valuable benefit why are we not doing it? And what will it take for us to restructure our lives to make things better?
Any day can be a sabbath
In the first place, it does not need to be Sunday. Many people work weekends, esp. ministers and they take Monday off which usually is the preferred day for golf anyway. Keeping the 7th day (or at least one out of 7) holy does not mean you are to spend your entire time in prayer. Legalistic believers might think that, but if you know any Jews, you know they celebrate after service with a giant meal and spend the time chatting, no work, no study, only the farm animals get milked and foddered, and if your ox fell in a ditch you are to get it out. (And if your car breaks down, yes, get it fixed.)
In other words, it is not a matter of what you do, but what you don’t do.
You don’t figure out your taxes, you don’t visit people you can’t stand, you don’t undertake a business venture or a 2nd job, or file paperwork for a new house, or hire an employee, or workout if you hate exercise. It is your day to be you and to let other people be themselves too. No extra stuff on the kids, no heated arguments over politics or which bill to pay this week.
An end to all activity is not the point
Babies need feeding and diapering, but other than that, take that long bath and let someone else play with them. My grandpa played cards with me on Sunday, and he never went to church. His mother took him 4 times a week and he calculated that he’d therefore been enough times to suffice for an entire life of Sundays, but I never saw him do evil to anyone, or cheat, or lie, or sneak off with another woman.
There are times when our time is not our own
Grandpa did work 364 days a year during World War 2 as Labor Relations Manager for a ship building corporation. War is different. You have to fight it no matter when it occurs. In North Texas 5,000 people attend one church on Saturday afternoon and then all day Sunday they eat together. The oldest member of one Sabbath-keeping family I know is 88 and she looks 65!
Health is a reward for a day off
The results of being obedient to God have all kinds of benefits. Most benefits are unseen. Instead of saddling yourself with yet another New Year’s resolution you will probably drop soon enough, why not take this idea on – one day a week for total rest. Select February as it has only 28 days and see if you don’t notice a change.
Do it as an Experiment
Select a period of time and decide on a day when you will totally chill. Do this for at least one month. Make notes about your ability to solve problems during that time. Usually people who live more productive lives will tell you they take more time being calm. Quakers, for example, who practice silence as a religious rite, are known everywhere as more prosperous financially. Keep notes on what you are doing; no one has a perfect memory. And when you are done tell someone else.
You can give yourself positive reinforcement even if no one else does. If you ever said I can’t take a day off, rethink that. If you are not getting what you need out of life, somehow you must make life work for you.
#keepsabbathwholly #stressmanagement #overeating #insomnia #religion #spirituality
Image means to reveal and likeness is to reflect
Here is how the difference works. A man comes across a pool of water in the road and he sees his likeness – it looks a little like him. But the water is actually dirty with rocks and silt, reflecting some of pure water but a whole lot more of what is fallen humanity.
This is a picture of fallen humanity. Fallen humans are easy to spot. We see them in prison photos and police mug shots. We may or may not see the image of God because there is so much dirt and silt.
What is difficult is seeing a fallen man, nicely dressed, educated and prosperous, and on the outside not looking fallen at all. We say ” Oh that person would never go to hell. He is so nice.” But we are not looking at the image of God in that person but only the likeness, vastly cleaned up.
All men have the spirit
All men have the spirit of God in them because He has created them in the image of God. We confuse the spruced-up, elegant man with the image of God, when really there are two natures there. Your life is about which one of these natures will eventually rule.
God’s purpose for us as redeemed people is to bear the image of Christ. We are to reveal what He is now in us in holiness.
I thought this especially valuable in helping to explain why missionaries can be so confused about foreigners. I met many wonderful people in China but they were un-redeemed. It would be easy to simply say they don’t need God because of the likeness of Christ in them, and ignore the whole package of salvation.
Our job is to bring forth the image