Category Archives: Bible Lessons

Little Bible lessons under 500 words. You or your group can look up the passages, discuss the scripture and develop your own questions.

God’s Enemies are Our Enemies

And we thought when communism lost in Eastern Europe it was silenced. Maybe not.

I discovered this excellent newspaper which compensates fir the fact that our TV and standard newspapers have failed to report truth.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/chapter-6-articles-of-faith-how-the-devil-has-man-revolt-against-god_2562880.html

Psalm 68:21 Yes, God will shatter the heads of his enemies— the very skulls of those who walk in guilt.

Psalm 138: 19 If only, God, you would kill the wicked!
    If only murderers would get away from me—
20     the people who talk about you, but only for wicked schemes;
        the people who are your enemies,
        who use your name as if it were of no significance.[e]
21 Don’t I hate everyone who hates you?
    Don’t I despise those who attack you?
22 Yes, I hate them—through and through!
    They’ve become my enemies too.

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Why America is Exceptional

The United States has a long arm of influence on the world and that makes it exceptional. Many other nations influenced world history of the world, Russia, China, Great Britain, but those changes were largely external and involved government and trade. America has fostered internal changes, the way business and industry work, the way people live and interact. These are the changes we rarely see.

Americans are publically accused and blamed

Americans are blamed and hated because of their involvement with so many nations, accused of imperialism and narcissism and whatever ill is presently sticking in the craw of a foreigner. But what happened with America is that after World War 2 it found itself is the position of being a world leader. It was not so prior to that war. Yes, everyone wanted to visit here, but they had no day to day involvement with Americans.

Americans interacted internationally

England stopped slavery before the Americans did. But the Americans changed the whole world when it comes to slavery. Britain was able to end slavery because of the zealous voice of Wilberforce a wealthy man who sat in Parliament. But this did not change the rest of the world.

But because of a world war, and the ensuing war in Korea, people around the world got to know Americans, first as soldiers and then as just people. And they wanted to copy that kind of life and way of looking at the world. The word America comes from a Latin word meaning “friend” and most people found Americans to be friends, non-judgmental, resilient, happy and open to new ideas. And they wanted to be like that.

Americans act differently

Then they noticed that Americans did things differently. Women were educated; this was uncommon in many places across the world. Even today 23% of the world is illiterate. Women cut their hair, wore pants and short skirts, rode motorcycles, bought cars, and even single women bought houses. The changing status of women has had world wide influence.

Americans had a service for people who were sick, or in an emergency where you needed to go to a hospital or a victim in an auto accident. A big van filled with emergency equipment drove to where you were to help. When I lived in the Philippines during the 1990s Filipinos were astonished at the TV program Rescue 911. You could just call and people would help you. That was when 12 million Filipinos were living on the street with no help for anything. No wonder they all wanted to come to America!

American generosity extends even to animals

Americans for the most part treat their animals well, and those that abuse them are held in contempt. In much of the world an animal hospital is unheard of. They either eat animals, abuse them or ignore them.

The same with children. Americans have programs across the globe eliminating sex traffickers and sex slaves. Yes, some American entrepreneurs are making big money off this but even more are fighting this kind of abuse of children, of both sexes.

Americans have music, and choices

There are hundreds of types of local music across the world but in America you find every single one and more. America is the birthplace of jazz, and every conceivable variety of music can be heard online, at concerts, in churches, in elevators! In foreign countries you find only a few choices. Foreigners have picked up on this with flash mobs, videos, and YouTube posts of every kind of music. Come one, come all.

Americans exported their values in law and order

In Hong Kong this month protesters are waving American flags. Some think we are behind the unrest there but no. That flag is just an indication that Hong Kong young people want an American type democracy. They recognize that Americans who study in Hong Kong are happy; they have personal goals, they speak about their government freely, and they worship freely. It is a disease they catch- this disease of liberty. And the Chinese kids are smart. Their parents insist upon it, so it is born of real thought and focus.

That is why we can say America is exceptional. Everybody across the globe may do it one way; we are the exception.



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

Guest Teaching – the Death of Judas

MAY 17, 2019 BY CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST

Did Judas Hang Himself or Did He Fall?

The Bible is a textbook so its information is not either/or but both/and. Everything fits together though scattered about.

According to the New Testament, after Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, leading to Jesus’ crucifixion, he felt remorse so he killed himself. We have two accounts of this action, which were written by (or attributed to) Matthew and Luke. Skeptics often point to the two accounts of Judas’ death to claim the New Testament contains conflicting information, yet instead the two accounts are easily reconcilable and provide us with an undesigned coincidence. Accordingly, this article reconciles the passages and offers responses to skeptics’ likely opposition.

Matthew 27:3-8

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day.”

Acts 1:16-19

“Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.”

(With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)”

Reconciliation

Akeldama is a hilly area with rough terrain, as can be observed in the following modern photo:

Akeldama

Notice that the account by Matthew says he hung himself, while the account by Luke says he fell to the ground. The reconciliation is that he hung himself before falling to the ground. It is likely that Judas hung himself from a tree and after his body began to decompose, either the tree limb broke or someone cut the branch from which he was hanging down to remove his body, causing Judas to fall to the ground. Since his body had likely decomposed, his body would have burst open as described by Luke.

Opposition 1: He fell headlong

Skeptics will note that Judas fell “headlong,” which is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as either (1) falling with “great speed or without thinking;” (2) head-first or (3) very quick or quickly without considering what you are doing. Given Judas’ condition at the time of the fall, the options are reduced to either or both a quick fall or one which was head-first.

Judas could have hung himself in several ways. He could have: (1) drop hanged himself, which he could have done by securing a rope to his neck from a branch and dropping from (or jumping off) for a quicker and less painful and death; (2) suspended himself from a branch, which he could have done by hanging the noose from the tree, wrapping it around his neck, and kicking away whatever he used to elevate himself; or (3) hung upside down, which is known as inverted hanging. Inverted hanging may be the most painful because the death would be prolonged. Judas could have fastened the rope to his feet and suspended himself from a branch. The weight of his lower body organs would eventually crush his heart and collapse his lungs, leading to death.

Given the hilly terrain of Akeldama, Judas may have fallen or landed headlong using any of the three options. Strong’s Greek translation of the verse that says “fell headlong” in the NIV comes is “prenes [headlong] genomenos [having fallen],” which suggests he either fell headlong, landed headlong, or fell and landed headlong. The Greek translation could be interpreted several ways. In other words, this so-called contradiction can easily be reconciled in multiple ways.

In fact, the two passages give us a much more vivid picture of Judas’ suicide. Only taken together do we come to understand that Judas hung himself and eventually fell, with his body bursting open, likely due to its decomposition. Without Matthew, we would not have learned of the fate of the 30 pieces of silver and what it meant when Luke indicated in Acts that Judas “bought the field.” Without Acts, we would not have learned of Judas’ final moments following his death. This is an example of an undesigned coincidence.

Opposition 2: Matthew says the Pharisees bought the field, while Luke says Judas bought the field.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Zechariah (11:12-13) prophesied as follows:

“I told them, ‘If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.’ So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.

And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.”

This account parallels the accounts from Matthew, where the Pharisees used the 30 pieces of silver to purchase a potter’s field, and Acts, where Judas symbolically “bought” the field. In both cases, the money Judas had “earned” by betraying Jesus funded the Field of Blood where he committed suicide. In other words, we again have reconciled the passages, resulting in no provable contradictions.

Thank you for your time.

How we Know Jesus was Cremated

Recall that Jesus left not a hair or a bone fragment in that cave. The religious leaders would have used that as proof he was not risen. Even today the religious leaders of Israel cannot adequately answer the question of habeas corpus – “you may have the body.”

Habeas Corpus – Jesus’ body never found

Don’t you just love the way God takes care of the details?

There are two passages from the Bible that explain the total absence of Jesus’ body as a fulfillment of the law as well as a deterrent to critics.

First, the sacrifice of the Passover was to be totally consumed.

Leviticus 7:17 But the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burnt with fire.

And Jesus was resurrected on the third day. In most cases the priest saw to it that the blood sacrifice was totally consumed, but when Jesus was in the tomb there was no priest present. God, however, still had that chance to show Jesus’ sacrifice was accepted by the father so God did it Himself, as in this passage:

God consumes the sacrifice Himself

2 Chronicles 7:1 King James Version (KJV) Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices.

Jesus as a single once-for-all sacrifice

The book of Hebrews reminds us that there is no additional sacrifice for sins. Jesus literally paid it all, that one time, never-to-be-repeated complete sacrifice for every sin of history now, in the past and in the future, if we as individuals will accept it. Ah, but that is the question.

So when the disciples, and the women looked into the tomb, they found the grave clothes and no Jesus, no corpse, no nothing, not a hair. God accepted the sacrifice.

Don’t say ISIL, say ISIS

President Obama insisted on calling the terrorists ISIL instead of ISIS because of his contempt for Israel, our treaty partner.

Why? We are at war with ISIS and other Islamic States. ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

ISIL includes Israel

But, ISIL means the ISIS area as well as the Levant region which includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and part of southern Turkey.

We are not at war with Israel – ever. It is the fatherland of the Christian faith and the only democracy in the Middle East. And we should be cautious about Turkey which is our sometime-friend.

Wikipedia has more on this subject.

ISIS is an Egyptian goddess

Lastly, ISIS is an Egyptian goddess, and we certainly don’t have any love of false religion, even the kind that doesn’t kill off its enemies.

How the CEO was deceived by top management

We don’t often think of the Bible as a book for modern business management but here is a situation that could be Wall Street last week and worthy pf close reading and analysis.

BIBLE STUDY AGENDA
1. Read aloud preface
2. Students read the passage (see end of this lesson for the scripture) pp3-4
3. Discussion – see Question/Answers section
4. Read aloud the author’s commentary and ask for input.
5. Ask students if they plan to act on anything they have learned today, giving details if they feel free to do so.

PREFACE
Dictators have an abysmal record of failure – Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Edi Amin, Mao ZeDong – Putin and Al-assad please note. The problem is not that they are incompetent but that their totalitarian position prevents valid input from knowledgeable associates in their regimes. A leader who can murder you and your family at a whim’s notice creates a body of yes-men- sycophants willing to compromise truth for survival. Darius the King of Persia was such a man, but he was good hearted and divided the rule of his kingdom among a group of trusted people. Then apparently he neglected to keep these people under review? Was he too trusting? Or simply happy to be spared the nitty gritty of daily decisions?

How can a group of employees conspire against that? They have no handle except pride.

Daniel was made the top manager because clearly had access to “the Holy God.” In other words, he was a whole lot smarter than all the rest of them. Envy may well be the chief motivation in politics so to dethrone Daniel they played on Darius’ ego.

First they urged him to sign a truly stupid law. This was his decree:

For the next thirty days no one is to pray to any god or mortal except you, O king. Anyone who disobeys will be thrown into the lions’ den.

Even on the surface this is a silliness; a 30 day period of worship had no relevance to this vast kingdom. As politicians say today, This is not a pocketbook issue.

King Darius fell for it. It appealed to his ego and he ignored any possible fall out. He knew better than to accept worship in any event.

QUESTIONS/ANSWERS
1. Did you have a situation where you have been manipulated by employees into a wrong decision?
2. Is there anyone you should have moved out and failed to do so?
3. Do you think you are too trusting?
4. Do you have a group of people that you are accountable to? Preferably people not in your company or team?

AUTHOR’S COMMENTARY
1. Focus on the task at hand. Your decrees (today we call them decisions) need to advance the agenda of the company, its products and its employees and have little or nothing to do with personalities. Years ago I heard that the ball team Magic Johnson played with was instructed by the owner to refer to him as the King. How idiotic can you be. Basketball is played by teams and without that team sense a star is a dud. Asking team members to do that was the equivalent of sowing seeds of discord. (Proverbs 6:19)
2. Multiple, divided leadership is the model for success. The New Testament church was run by 5 leaders who were expected to agree (unanimity) on all issues. You say that is impossible? Not when the Holy Spirit is making the final decisions. Ministers fail, some very publicly, and churches go bankrupt because the Biblical model is not honored – perhaps not even known. God’s work must be done God’s way. When the goal is something other than advancing the Kingdom that group, church or minister will surely fade away. I can’t tell you how many ministries I’ve seen go down. Pride leaders some to believe they are above the law; one minister friend of mine had no trouble lying because he thought the ministry would flourish if he did so. His $100 thousand dollar investment in China went down the tube. God does not give permission to any leader to disobey the moral law and retain his position.
3. When the leader discovers his error he does not hide it but acts to repair the damage. Darius repented, fasted and prayed all night. Then in the morning after he saw Daniel safe and sound he went after the men who entrapped both him and Daniel. Cover-up never works; if man doesn’t catch you, God will.
4. Note that the King did not give these conspirators a pass. Too often leaders will tolerate employees in their company who have some other great talent. But people are creatures of habit; if an employee will connive once, he’ll do it again. Firing is painful but it must be done. These days it may mean a lawsuit but tolerating a problem does not solve it.
5. In modern times few individuals are total dictators and must make allowances for personalities and politics. In my past I worked for a woman who was extremely insecure in her job; she had been placed at the top of a large company at 35. It was an easy task for evil tongues to encourage her to fire or push out at least 4 top people, a genius bookkeeper, a volunteer coordinator, a very popular person and me as well. The company did suffer all the while not realizing she had become a victim simply because she knew the liar better and unwisely trusted her.
6. Finally, God is able to judge the conspirators,

Below is the entire passage from the Bible (The Message)

Daniel in the Lions’ Den See what you learn in your reading.

6 1-3 Darius reorganized his kingdom. He appointed one hundred twenty governors to administer all the parts of his realm. Over them were three vice-regents, one of whom was Daniel. The governors reported to the vice-regents, who made sure that everything was in order for the king. But Daniel, brimming with spirit and intelligence, so completely outclassed the other vice-regents and governors that the king decided to put him in charge of the whole kingdom.

4-5 The vice-regents and governors got together to find some old scandal or skeleton in Daniel’s life that they could use against him, but they couldn’t dig up anything. He was totally exemplary and trustworthy. They could find no evidence of negligence or misconduct. So they finally gave up and said, “We’re never going to find anything against this Daniel unless we can cook up something religious.”

6-7 The vice-regents and governors conspired together and then went to the king and said, “King Darius, live forever! We’ve convened your vice-regents, governors, and all your leading officials, and have agreed that the king should issue the following decree:

For the next thirty days no one is to pray to any god or mortal except you, O king. Anyone who disobeys will be thrown into the lions’ den.
8 “Issue this decree, O king, and make it unconditional, as if written in stone like all the laws of the Medes and the Persians.”

9 King Darius signed the decree.
10 When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.

11-12 The conspirators came and found him praying, asking God for help. They went straight to the king and reminded him of the royal decree that he had signed. “Did you not,” they said, “sign a decree forbidding anyone to pray to any god or man except you for the next thirty days? And anyone caught doing it would be thrown into the lions’ den?”
“Absolutely,” said the king. “Written in stone, like all the laws of the Medes and Persians.”

13 Then they said, “Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles, ignores you, O king, and defies your decree. Three times a day he prays.”
14 At this, the king was very upset and tried his best to get Daniel out of the fix he’d put him in. He worked at it the whole day long.
15 But then the conspirators were back: “Remember, O king, it’s the law of the Medes and Persians that the king’s decree can never be changed.”

16 The king caved in and ordered Daniel brought and thrown into the lions’ den. But he said to Daniel, “Your God, to whom you are so loyal, is going to get you out of this.”
17 A stone slab was placed over the opening of the den. The king sealed the cover with his signet ring and the signet rings of all his nobles, fixing Daniel’s fate.
18 The king then went back to his palace. He refused supper. He couldn’t sleep. He spent the night fasting.

19-20 At daybreak the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. As he approached the den, he called out anxiously, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?”
21-22 “O king, live forever!” said Daniel. “My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I’ve been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I’ve done nothing to harm you.”

23 When the king heard these words, he was happy. He ordered Daniel taken up out of the den. When he was hauled up, there wasn’t a scratch on him. He had trusted his God.
24 Then the king commanded that the conspirators who had informed on Daniel be thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. Before they hit the floor, the lions had them in their jaws, tearing them to pieces.

25-27 King Darius published this proclamation to every race, color, and creed on earth:
Peace to you! Abundant peace!
I decree that Daniel’s God shall be worshiped and feared in all parts of my kingdom.
He is the living God, world without end. His kingdom never falls.
His rule continues eternally.
He is a savior and rescuer.
He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth.
He saved Daniel from the power of the lions.
28 From then on, Daniel was treated well during the reign of Darius, and also in the following reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Albert Einstein

“I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.”

Try Interpreting this Dream

Years ago I worked on an extensive Christian ministry project with two men. Let’s call them Joe and Bill. Bill had lied about me, not once but twice, and he lied about me to Joe as well. No one wants to work with people who behave this way so I eliminated all contact with them. This dream occurred several years later. Here is the dream. See if you get the same interpretation.

I found Joe down an embankment, flat on his back on a roadbed unable to move. (He is about 6’2” and 210 pounds.) So I ran off to find Bill so we could help our old friend. I found Bill in a grubby motel with a young prostitute with really dirty blond hair. He was smirking when I busted in the room.


I was so shocked I woke up.

End of dream.

Then I called a friend who did dream interpretations and here is what she said. See if it matches your interpretation.

She said, “Joe is on the road to everlasting life but he has fallen and can’t get up.” His walk with God is stalled.

She said Bill has taken up with “false religion” which is identified in scripture as the Whore of Babylon, a prostitute, meaning someone using religion for personal gain.

This interpretation I believe is right. (She never did know what the dirty hair was about.) And given my position I am in no way able to help them out. That was some years gone by now, and I feel confident about my part in this.

Will they be released from their situation? I hope so but not by me. They need to get their priorities straight with God first. This is a picture of what happens when you do not judge what you hear; Joe had fallen – he believed a lie so he suffered although not as much as Bill. You are responsible both for what you believe and for what you say.

The Meaning of “Elohim” – The Plural God

The first appearance of this word is in Genesis 1 which makes it important to us. It refers to “gods” plural, El meaning god, and the Hebrew plural is “im.” The Jews identify these gods as a combination of their One God and angels.

Three ways to know God not three gods

Christians believe Elohim refers to the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, the three faces we know as an all-powerful consuming deity.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

The Elohim cannot include angels because (1) angels have no power of creativity. Their job is simply to obey (good angels) or bad (demons etc.). Angels are called “ministering spirits” and ministering is a matter of obeying God.

Hebrews 1:14
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Angels do not need to be saved in the human sense.

(2) We are made in the image of God but not in the image of angels. Angels have no physical body. They do have a spiritual body. Men are made “lower than the angels” which refers to our human body on earth. Angels have abilities as spiritual beings we do not have here. We will have greater mobility in heaven of course, where the human body is not a limitation.

(3) God “breathed” into man and made him a living soul. This does not happen to angels. That breathing-in process is what carries the image of God. Angels do not have that image.

Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Animals have souls, not spirits

Animals have souls, that is they have will, intellect and emotion, but not a spirit from God. Angels also appear to have souls since they can appear to man, and speak and have specific duties. Michael, for example is involved in war and Gabriel is a message bearer, but again, like animals, no breath of God. Man alone has his own spirit, that repository where the Holy Spirit can come in a create a born-again being, our important goal in this life.

To sum up, angels do not have the all-essential attribute of God, a God-infused spirit, and man is not made in angels’ images either.

What does it mean to repent?

The first leg on a journey back to God is forgiveness. Repentance is the second leg and best understood by what it is not.

What Repentance is not

It is not remorse, regret, lament, apology, feeling bad about, wishing it had never happened, depression, despair, sorrow, shame or guilt. Those are all valid emotions which ordinary people feel when they have done wrong, or at least when they think they have done wrong. But emotions are not actions.

Jesus never once asked anyone how they felt; but many times he asked them “What do you think?” Thinking governs actions. To repent is to act.

Jesus never asked how someone felt

Remorse is feeling so very bad about something that it destroys you. Judas betrayed Jesus and was engulfed by remorse so thoroughly he killed himself. That is not repentance.

Matthew 27:2-4 3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.Could Judas have repented and been restored to Jesus? Yes, but he did not.

Shame and guilt can trigger repentance

Shame and guilt engulfed Peter after he had denied he knew Jesus. He didn’t kill himself or anyone else, but he skulked back into the shadows until Jesus openly and publicly asked Peter to undo in his heart what he had done previously in front of others. Jesus asked him three times if he loved Him since Peter had denied him three times. From The Message

15 After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love (αγαπας) me more than these?” The word love here refers to the pure love of God.

“Yes, Master, you know I love (φιλω) you.” The word for love here refers to the love between persons, brothers, friends.

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love (αγαπας) me?”

“Yes, Master, you know I love (φιλω) you.”

Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”

17-19 Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love (φιλω) me?”

Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”

Peter knew what it meant to really repent. He believed he loved Jesus with God’s love, and could after the betrayal only confess to (φιλω) the love of mankind. But he did make as many confessions of love as he had of betrayal. In the Bible is pays to note patterns of behavior.

The English really cannot know these different words for love, essential to correct interpretation. Peter was required by the circumstances to agree and also recognize that his love was not as devoted and as unconditional as he had originally believed. Peter found out the truth about himself in this scenario. Peter was not only restored, he became one of the most aggressive of apostles.

Sorrow, lament, depression

Sorrow was what Mary felt when she saw her son die. Lament was what the women did at Golgotha. (Matt 27:55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: 56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees children. ) Depression is a long term response to anger turned inward. The cure for depression is not repentance but praise. Isaiah 61:3.

Repentance means change your mind

Enough of what it is not. Repentance defined is, using a translation of the Greek word metnoia, (meta=change, nous=mind), solely to change your mind. This takes an act of the will. It does not mean that you really need to know very much. The simplest person can change his/her mind.

I once worked for a gifted attorney; in fact she had never lost a case. Even though she attended church and Sunday school every week, (and her husband was a preacher’s kid), she told me that she hoped she would do enough good in her life to be accepted in heaven. Clearly she had not one clue what true salvation was all about. She needed a mental change. What will happen to bring her to this? I have no idea but clearly weekly preaching has not done it for her. Will she have a sudden realization of her lost-ness?

As one who worked with prisoners for years I saw people in jail who did not see their condition until they had a realization of the love of God. One murderer said he broke down in sobs when he realized that he had killed someone that God loved.

Bringing people to repentance

The Bible says there are two ways to get people saved: one is kind and gentle words of love, and the other is pure-T scaring them into the Kingdom.

Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

God uses all methods to bring man to Himself.

God is Sovereign – sort-of

Sovereign means in total control. This mantra is frequently quoted. “We can only ask God. We are powerless. He is sovereign.”

This can be a giant cop-out. God was sovereign when He created the world (Genesis 1). He turned a huge area of authority over to Adam (man) to control, that is the world and its systems. Adam even had control over the animal kingdom.

Gen 1:26 – dominion means control in this passage.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

God delegated much power to Man

But in Genesis 3 Adam voluntarily turned over the world and its systems to Satan. (I won’t quote the whole thing.) And Satan is still the boss over the world. The whole world, says the Bible, lies in the wicked one.

1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

God did retain authority over the earth. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, (i.e. what the earth produces.) The book of Amos reminds us He is in control of the weather. And He still controls individuals.

Psalm 24:1
The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

God’s rule is only delegated to those who are under His direct authority through obedience- the nation of Israel and Christians. God has restored to believers all the authority over the enemy at any one point – raising the dead, casting out devils, healing the sick – the whole shebang.

Luke 9 And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.

Naysayers are powerless

Some preachers say that was for former times. Why? Perhaps because they do not have that power? Why should their powerlessness restrain ours? Those who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit AND who are obedient to the Word have access to everything God granted in the former generations. To say otherwise is to have

2 Timothy 3:5 a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

For those outside His will and His word – the world and all its terrors of flesh and devil prevail. God is not in control of China or North Korea. He could blast ‘em both off the face of the earth. He still has the power to correct evil, and especially over nations. But the North Korean people “elected” their leader, such as it was, as have so many nations in dire circumstances today.

The power for those who believe

God has given believers (those who believe His word) the authority and subsequent power over all, if they take it and use it. It’s like a check in the bank. If you don’t cash the check, you don’t have the money. Simple. If you do not use the power of god, you might have it but it is of no consequence.

If we say God is Sovereign in order to avoid our responsibility for obedience then shame on us. Jesus said on the cross, It is finished. He means, He has done all the work. Now we pick up the challenge, to complete His work as He has directed.

We can have power over nations

Syria and its nasty genocidal leaders are our responsibility, first in prayer, and then possibly in the natural. Since I don’t work for the President of the USA (and you can forget wimpy NATO or United Nations from ever doing anything)) I can only pray believing God will bring to swift judgment nations which terrorize, exploit and murder their citizens in the streets which is what is happening today across the world.

Simply saying God is sovereign is no cure, and certainly no excuse for obeying the will of God. Period.

The Virgin Birth – It’s all about DNA

God made a decision to give Man free will which He refuses to violate.

How can God bail man out of the mess he is in?

If He chooses armies, the armies will get the credit and be the object of deserved worship. If He chooses angels, the devil can crow that they are evil angels and he then claims the credit. Since God is the only one who can pull this off He must come up with a foolproof way to assure there will be no fraudulent methods of an alternative salvation.

Blood sacrifice is universal choice

The answer is blood. In the 20th century we learn that all blood is personal; each man’s DNA is specific to him/her. From the earliest of times a blood sacrifice for even the most primitive societies has been the offering for the absolution of sins. But how can we be certain that this blood of Jesus is unique?

This is the focus of the divine birth of Jesus. The Bible states that the sin passes from father to the children; the mother and her sin is not a factor. So the issue of whether Mary is a sinner is of no consequence.

Sin passes from father to the children

Exodus 34:7
Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Therefore, the father of the baby who will save the world must to be sinless; no man can qualify for this job, so God becomes the father. If Jesus did not have a sinless father then Jesus would also be required to die for His own sins.

Mary not considered sinless

The Bible says the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and the divine sperm entered her egg. Some religious groups teach that Mary was also sinless as Jesus but clearly this theory is not necessary for salvation, nor is it Biblical.

The sinless Jesus from the sinless father was born 9 months later.
Satan and anyone he chooses to save the world can’t do it because no one he selects is sinless. The result is the One and Only Jesus as the One and Only Savior of the world.

The DNA is the issue and God solved it.

Consequently when ministers say we are saved by the blood of Jesus, they are pointing to the single thing in the universe which can effect salvation and nothing else.

A Visit to a Church under a Curse

My daughter agreed to take me to the Church of the Incarnation, a musical feast of a Capella singing in a High Episcopal Church replete with lavish stained glass windows, clearly valued at millions of dollars, incense, huge candles and all the trappings of a church that only recently cast off the Roman label. I’ve seen a few great cathedrals of Europe, Chartres, Paris, and others. And that is what I wanted to hear again after a youth spent listening to Episcopal services. This is what the Wesley family saw in church in 18th century England.

A liturgy of the past.

But I was not prepared for what I saw in the light of 50 years of progress as the church of Jesus Christ has moved on, not just decades, but a century forward in thinking and practice.

Over half the congregation was male; also the choir, which was as good as you will ever hear, was half male. The acoustics were perfect. The soprano who sang the Magnificat must have been a professional. Only one other church in the area, the Messianic community at Sar Shaloam, can say that half their congregation is male. But the difference is that this church had many homosexuals while the Messianic men were straight.

Blessed assurance can be false.

All men (and women) have a desperate, internalized need to feel saved. It applies to all cultures and is one of the main functions of religions, false ones as well as true, rotten political systems as well as blessed ones, to provide this assurance to the citizens.

In China, for example, in brazen contrast to the West, the Communist State simply mandates that even though there is required atheism, everyone goes to heaven. I have yet to figure out how this works. If you do not believe in God, how can you believe in heaven….or hell.

The convenience in believing in a special heaven just for you.

No one explains this, but I did read where Mao Zedong, the butcher of China, remarked to an aide that they would all die and be with Karl Marx in the next life. The heaven for genocidal maniacs would rightly be called hell, and yes, I think we can believe Marx is there in some discomfort, and yes, Mao can expect to be there since he engineered the death of 30 million, a lot more than Hitler and we know where Hitler is.

Every false religion tells their adherents that it alone is the way to heaven. And after 45 years as a peregrine missionary, I can declare that all men (women, and children) do believe in God even though education and culture might try to wipe it out. Truth will overcome in the end. But when we pull the religious scales off we see that it is faith, not religion, that saves us.

Religion has no power to save

So I ask myself: How can all these homosexual men sit through this service, which was Biblical and accurate to the nth degree and leave the sanctuary assuming they will be in heaven with the Lord someday. It makes no sense. There is no room for evil or its practices in heaven; God demands holiness in His people. And no one is saved by liturgy.

The limits of the Incarnation

The answer is the limits of the Incarnation, which is God’s decision to enter human history by becoming man, as Christ with us, savior, redeemer of the whole world, our sacrifice for sin. All this is true, and it is the message of three hours on the cross so many centuries ago.

The elegant program of worship towards this God-man did not touch these men because everything was Jesus, and Him only. He alone was the focus of the service, the church, the congregation, the singing and the truth. But it is not the whole truth.

The other three hours Jesus spent on the cross was for the redemption of the created world, not just humankind but also the culture, the planet, its resources, the animal kingdom, and nations. The blood of the cross fell on the ground.

Jesus’ sacrifice becomes complete through us.

Even though Jesus’ sacrifice for sin was complete in all aspects that salvation must still be worked out to completion in history of which you and I are a part. If this were not so, God would have ended future births and taken us all to heaven in one great act immediately following His death. No, He did not want the re-creation of the world to progress without Us.

The second half of the Crucifixion is what we, his people, are and do in this world. For this we need, no, we require submitted and obedient lives. “Christ in you the hope of glory.” The crucifixion is not complete until Jesus completely conquers this world and everything in it; that is what we anticipate. We are part of that redemption as his Body here on earth, and it is not a body of evil or perversion.

The Acts of the Believers

The 1st four gospels are about the incarnation, but the balance of the New Testament concerns the acts of the apostles and the management and productivity of the believers for centuries to come. I am today just as much a creator of the universal salvation message in what I do for the Kingdom as the original apostles and worshipers in the caves of Rome.

The church defined

The church service I enjoyed on Mother’s Day was only about Jesus; the modern world is about us and our mission to a fallen world. And God gives no ministries to the openly sinful, the rebellious, or the disobedient. The church is not a building, a program or a bureaucracy; it is the people of God living progressively more holy lives and changing the world around them through those lives. Salvation to be real demands a response.

If you get a map of the world, you will be astonished to see that in 2,000 years Christianity has taken over most of the globe, at least in principal if not in actual practice. The world still lies in the evil one, for all our effort, although things are changing. But we are doing what Jesus asked us to do. When Jesus said “It is finished,” He meant, “I’ve done my part now you can do yours.”

My daughter said later that as she left the ladies room she noticed not one person in the choir was smiling.

I asked her, “if you knew in your inner man, that you were going to hell, not because God mandated it (because God sends no man to hell) but because of your own decision, would you be smiling?”

https://wouldyouconsider.net/2014/07/11/the-subtle-world-of-christian-legalism/

#Hitler #MaoZeDong #Marx #sexualdeviants #church defined #falsereligion

Guest Editorial by Dennis Michael “God’s Word and America Today”

I found two verses in the Bible that I want to share with you that I believe pertain to today:

Job 9:24: When a land falls into the hands of the wicked, he (God) blindfolds its judges.

Psalm 12:14…the wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race.

You probably remember the chant that rang out at the Democratic convention last year: “No God! No God!” It sent an icy chill down my spine. Of course not all Democrats feel that way – probably most don’t. You may be a Democrat yourself. The “No God!” chant may not have represented the rank-and-file of the party; nevertheless, it was Democratic leadership speaking.

Does that mean the Republican Party is God’s party of choice, like I’ve heard some day? I think the answer is found in Joshua 5:13-15:

Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and aa man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied,” but as commander of the Lord’s army of the Lord, I have now come.” Then Joshua fell face down and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

I could never understand why the commander of the Lord’s army – whom most biblical scholars believe was the pre-incarnate Jesus – claimed neutrality when the Jews were God’s chosen people. Then I discovered

Psalm 138:2:…You have magnified Your word above Your Name (Amplified Bible).

Amazing! The Lord places His word even above His name! It used to be said that a man’s name is only as good as his word. It looks like God agrees.

The commander of the Lord’s army didn’t come to defend Israel because He favored it – the Bible is clear that God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). He came because of the everlasting covenant – the word – God made with Abraham in Genesis 17:7, promising to make him a father of many nations, giving Abraham and his descendants the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession, declaring, “I will be their God.”

So does God favor Democrats over Republicans? He favors His word.

America has been blessed more than any nation, not because we were more righteous than the rest of the world, but because our Constitution was framed according to the principles of God’s word. Above that, the Bible was honored, even if in name only, by most Americans. And because God places His word above his name, what we see happening to our country today is because God and His word have been pushed aside – masquerading as political correctness and civil/constitutional rights.

God owns the universe! And there is no distinction between church and state in His mind. The “No God! No God!’ chant at the Democratic Convention, the present scandals and lies, or at best twisting the truth are spiritual problems, not political issues.

I’ve asked myself if America’s seemingly decline aligns with end-time prophecy, why not sit back and watch it happen? Didn’t God send prophets to speak out against Israel’s sin, even though judgment against it as a nation was inevitable? As Christians, should we remain silent and not speak out against issues such as political corruption and legislation that violates God’s word, even thought the outcome may be inevitable for America?

  • Fast and Furious
  • Changing the talking points about Benghazi
  • Violating the Freedom of the Press (James Rosen)
  • IRS and The Tea Party (Including Billy Graham)
  • NSA snooping on Americans
  • Re-defining marriage
  • Forbidding soldiers to talk about their faith
  • Making abortion a health concern for women and never mentioning the children aborted
  • the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) train wreck.

How can these go unnoticed?

Time and again, the many wrongs of George Bush are brought up when the Obama administration is criticized as an excuse for Obama’s failures. For sure there was a carry over from the Bush years – but that doesn’t change or excuse the present problems. Are we Christians and Americans first? Or Republicans and Democrats first? It’s time to put party affiliation and even race, as some say is the reason why Obama is criticized, aside and look at the facts -NOW!

A friend of mine once told me that evil always overplays its hand.

Psalm 5:10 says, Declare them guilty (the arrogant and liars),