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There are occasions in our work world when we must do things that are in violation of our own principles. There are employees who are expected to be in drunken parties with others. I’ve heard of people who feel an obligation to give to charities they think are corrupt. Some bosses expect employees to engage in practices that are morally objectionable. As the modern saying goes, there is an APP for that.
God knows the difference between what you must do in your job that violates your conscience and what your own conscience is telling you.
There is an example in the Old Testament.
Naaman the Syrian (that is, he was not a Jew) had a miracle healing from the Jewish God. At the prompting of his maid he was encouraged to seek out Elisha the Prophet for a cure for his leprosy, a disease so disfiguring that it also made him a pariah in his community. This healing restored him to his position and his job. However, he also knew he must take part in idol worship in the course of his duties as General of the Army.
He appealed to Elisha the Prophet for mercy, which was granted. Here is the passage.
I Kings 5:17 Naaman said, “If not, please let your servant at least be given two mules’ load of earth; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering nor will he sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord. 18 In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon your servant in this matter.” 19 He said to him, “Go in peace.”
Naaman was required to accompany his boss into a idol temple for worship and wanted to be sure God knew he wasn’t taking part in his heart. God knows when you have tough, conflicting calls and He has mercy on that. However, no one should expect to stay in a job that continually challenges one’s faith. There are other jobs.
I once worked for a woman involved in the occult. I got out as fast as I could. She had hired some witches for her business and I worked with them on separate shifts in Eldercare. One woman levitated the bed in the spare bedroom on one old man.
Another witch prompted an old man she was serving, another Eldercare assignment, to contact his dead wife. That was too much for me. There were also some Christian nurses who were disturbed over his reaction. We all noticed he was agitated after she was on duty. I quit without comment.
I worked for a woman in a job that had much potential but in her office she conducted worship services for a quasi-Christian cult; it preached that there is no sin. I quit there after a few months. A year later the office building in which she worked caught on fire – but only her office burned. A friend of mine had an office across the hall and all he suffered was a little smoke damage. God is more than capable of judging people when they are out of line.
Two things we learn from this lesson. God does know your heart and two, be careful whom you hire to take care of an older adult. It was a shock to me to find witches actively trying to influence seniors in eldercare.
My non-scientific estimate of the percentage of people who have no idea what a missionary does? Maybe 95%, +or- 3%. Missionaries are change agents, and we know that human beings are resistant to change. If we tell them that up front, we’d never get a single convert, so we begin with the culture.
Liturgical Religion is not a mission goal
Most religions are liturgical; even those churches which are informal have a standard practice in public meetings. The gathering together of like-minded people forms the whole basis of society – all societies – around location (geographical), religions- most of the original societies relied on a powerful god-person, or a soldier-leader who ruled by force, or most frequently by families, almost always language families.
This is not high-sociology, just an observation. It is the link that Islam has with itself all over the world, a world mission to rule through Sharia law and a ruling class tolerating no other.
Christianity, based on Judaism follows much the same path, except that the God is not Allah but a person who identified Himself as “I Am.” Originally God set standards for his people – a set of rules and a common master, God Himself. But the manner in which this religion is lived is based largely on local culture. The Eskimos (Inuits) gather around a fire, Catholics gather in formal grand churches, some African groups gather at the river with no formal structures in sight. Today there are large churches which meet only on the internet.
Culture is the Contest for Understanding
Within the context of culture missionaries examine the situation and pray for guidance on how God may be understood and known. In China, for example, all the assumptions about western religion are false such as the notion that Christianity is for white people – an Anglo-God so to speak, based largely on English-speaking standards since most of the missionaries to China came from that part of the world.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is originally identified with the Semitic Peoples of the Middle East. Jesus, because he died for the whole world, does not and has not limited himself to one cultural standard. You find Menorah and 7 branch candlesticks (they are not identical) in Messianic churches, but only occasionally in other buildings. Some churches have dancing, and music – others not. Some have communion every Sunday, many only as the minister feels moved to do so, others once a month. That is because Jesus wants us recognize His world-wide persona.
2 Corinthians 5:16 (CJB) So from now on, we do not look at anyone from a worldly viewpoint. Even if we once regarded the Messiah from a worldly viewpoint, we do so no longer.
Learning out about God starts with a small group
Knowing Jesus Christ only through one’s individual congregation is referred to in scripture as knowing Jesus “after the flesh” a term from the King James version. But later on, it is a sign of spiritual maturity to leave behind the notion of denominational practices that are limited to local churches. When this does not happen churches become repositories for the children of the original members who may or may not be believers, having never been presented the same powerful gospel their fathers and mothers heard. These churches waste away. Today 30% of Christians do not go to church, disinterested and unchallenged, depending unfortunately on TV which may not move them forward.
Missionaries must first understand the people they are reaching
The missionary is first a Watchman on the Wall – see Ezekiel. This person or persons spy out the land for a shred of concern for eternal things. Occasionally there is a zealot (like Paul) who is already motivated and one needs to get him moving in a better direction. There may be desperately dissatisfied and unhappy people who do not appreciate what is happening around them. They can make good converts too.
The least available are those who are self-satisfied or content with the status quo. Ronald Reagan defined the status quo as “the mess we are in,” sand many people are too inert to change.
Reality is the ultimate goal of religious training
The church is ultimately about reality – or looking at life through God’s eyes, using the Bible and the testimony of believers. It will always meet head-on culture and use it for its advantage to introduce Jesus as a person. You know girls who grow up thinking marriage will solve all their problems. Men may think, if i can only find a girl. God has a mate for you, and He’ll do a better job of finding one for you.
Jesus is not a movement, an idea, a system or a benevolent dictator; he is a person separate from the cultural assumptions which cloud people’s minds. Since repentance is about “changing one’s mind” the missionary must start there. Of course there is opposition.
For those who believe that unbelief is a valid position I can only say you cannot prove a negative. It is futile. If you must hold on to your position you must do it by faith – that is you must say “I have faith that God does not exist.” This is the same group that says a falling tree does not make noise in the forest simply because no one hears it. That defines the humanist’s position on reality. No human need be present in order to verify or negate what is happening.
The universe has both absolutes and truths
However, what is real is real regardless of who knows, sees, hears, or understands. In fact, the whole notion of immutable standards needs resuscitation so people can deal with the real world; all else is illusion. Reality cannot be defined by what you think; that is the best definition of neurosis: ” my notion of what reality is, makes it real.” These people are not dangerous (usually) just dysfunctional.***
We do not need to push the demonic on people for them to get a whiff of evil; we must show them that evil does not go away simply because we wish it would. God allows evil to remain as part of our training. An athlete repeats over and over certain moves until, when he is under extreme pressure from a contender, he makes exactly the right moves to win.
After the missionary has done his job, he moves on and leaves the congregation to a pastor or a group of leaders. There are new fields to plow.
*** I had a friend years ago who was neurotic. She had three marriages but she honestly believed that all previous marriages did not exist and that her third husband was the true father of the two sets of children from her previous two marriages. You can call this nuts if you wish, but it is a good example of neurotic behavior.
The year was 1944. Americans were exhausted. The losses and the victories of wars on two sides of the planet were stretching us thin. That winter was the coldest in European history, and the hardest for the Allies. We lived in Haddonfield, New Jersey.
I had never seen any road so grand. The White Horse Pike was three lanes wide made of broken, whitish concrete with grass growing liberally in all cracks and between lanes. Vehicles were with our troops in Europe or the Far East and common folk either walked, took a bus or rode a train everywhere. We were lucky. Grandpa had some extra gas coupons and during the war we rarely ever drove a car. Americans just could not afford cars while a war was raging and we saw only a few cars on this road.
Grandpa, being a farm boy at heart, was there to pronounce doom on a turkey for dinner. Turkeys were a North Eastern staple based on pilgrim tradition. No steroid-stuffed mass-produced fowl like today. And Grandma made creamed white onions, sweet potatoes with brown sugar and pecans, dressing with celery and giblets, creamed fresh corn, stewed cranberries from nearby New Jersey bogs, plus pumpkin and mincemeat pies.
The rest of the year we had Spam and grated carrot salad, and once a week maybe a baked chicken. I got the leg. This meal was a real change of diet.
In our small town there were no working age men and very few young women. My parents were off doing war work, my mother taking the train home for an occasional weekend. Those were dark times.
But we were thankful. We could see the end of the war. God had spared us bombs on our homeland. We were a praying people and we knew God had made this possible. The first sign of sin, says Romans, is lack of gratitude. We are missing a lot of that today.
Romans 1:21 although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Now 75 years later we are digging out of another war – a war against the Constitution, against people of faith, against prosperity, against morality, against anything God ever said. This time we cannot be sure we will win. Most everyone has enough to eat, people have cars, TVs and rights, and sometimes free healthcare. But they lost the greatest things because their nest was so full of toys. They lost the ability to be thankful.
Thanksgiving weekend is not “turkey day,” or football game day, or get out at 3 a.m. to shop at the big box store day; it’s the day we notice that God made all this possible to hard workers, sincere pray-ers and moral believers. And to those who thank him.
Only two nations celebrate a day of giving God Thanks – Canada and the US. And if you’ll notice the statistics, these are two of the most prosperous nations on earth. I doubt if this is a coincidence.
No it can’t be. God hears real prayers from His people and when He does He responds with blessings.
This year, notice that each generation has its wars, its tests, its victories and failures. They come in different packages but they are all for our instruction. Let us be thankful.
|Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because the |
flow that has passed will never pass again.
Franklin Graham was speaking at the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville , Florida , when he said America will not come back. He wrote:“The American dream ended on November 6th, 2012. The second term of Barack Obama has been the final nail in the coffin for the legacy of the white Christian males who discovered, explored, pioneered, settled and developed the greatest republic in the history of mankind.A coalition of blacks, Latinos, feminists, gays, government workers, union members, environmental extremists, the media, Hollywood , uninformed young people, the “forever needy,” the chronically unemployed, illegal aliens and other “fellow travelers” have ended Norman Rockwell’s America .
You will never again out-vote these people. It will take individual acts of defiance and massive displays of civil disobedience to get back the rights we have allowed them to take away. It will take zealots, not moderates and shy, not reach-across-the-aisle RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) to right this ship and restore our beloved country to its former status.
People like me are completely politically irrelevant, and I will probably never again be able to legally comment on or concern myself with the aforementioned coalition which has surrendered our culture, our heritage and our traditions without a shot being fired.
The Cocker spaniel is off the front porch, the pit bull is in the back yard, the American Constitution has been replaced with Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” and the likes of Chicago shyster David Axelrod along with international socialist George Soros have been pulling the strings on their beige puppet and have brought us Act 2 of the New World Order.The curtain will come down but the damage has been done, the story has been told.
Those who come after us will once again have to risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to bring back the Republic that this generation has timidly frittered away due to white guilt and political correctness..” IN GOD WE TRUST
We say it, we sing it, but it is not what the New Testament said. Luke 2:14 King James Version (KJV) 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
But that is not what the Greek says. It is one of the few places where the King James scholars got it wrong. King Jame was disgusted with the controversy surrounding the word of God. Translations, opinions and options were everywhere. His charge to these scholars was to be as loyal to the original language as possible. Up until that time most people, primarily Roman Catholics were reading the Jerome Bible, translated from the Latin.
Here is the correct translation:
Luke 2:14 “In the highest heaven, glory to God! And on earth, peace among people of good will!”
Evil men get no blessings from God. For that group He says, “Peace, there is no peace for the wicked.” Isaiah 57:21
One of the facts of life is that before human beings die they all have a chance to be on the side of right or wrong. And those who seek peace will find it.
Answer: The same thing that brings everyone down – believing a lie. For leaders it is believing a lie about oneself.
He believed the Aryan (white) race to be superior and based his war plan on that assumption. Seeing all-white England, he fully expected the Aryan message to eventually cause the Brits to bend to his superior will. He even call his book Mein Kampf, German for My Will, or my struggle or fight. Looking back you must wonder how an entire nation could subscribe to the fight of a single person, but they became caught up in someone else’s war and it brought the whole nation down.
Hitler was so convinced that when the Germans had chance to defeat Britain they waffled, and the little boats were able to save the British troops crossing the English Channel at night at the Battle of Dunkirk. He believed this enough to tell his military men to be cautious. Germany could have wiped out England very quickly otherwise. Hitler believed his own theories.
The American Civil War:
Cautious tolerance for slavery was recognized in the US Constitution from the early years of the colonies but tolerated is all it was. Most men realized that slavery had to go; they just didn’t know how to pull it off. Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence when he was 25, changed the original words “life, liberty, and property” to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” because he feared that human beings, slaves, would be considered property in perpetuity and the Constitution was intended to be a document for the ages. He was right as it turned out.
States Rights was the Known Grievance
The war that ensued 100 years later brought the South to the table because they believed in “states rights.” The Constitution had been originally signed by all the states with that understanding – the states rule over federal law. The Constitution for the Confederate States included the provision that slaves would as usual be treated as a 3/4 ths of a person. This violated some laws in other states. So the issue of the Cuvilk w=War was not actualloy states rights but slavery. If the Southern states had given slaves the right to be a whole person, and free, the Civil War would not have any moral standing. So the flaw in the war ultimately was the issue of slavery.
While God does recognize states rights, He does not recognize “states wrongs.” It is a violation of divine law to consider any human being less than 100% human. God’s law always trumps man’s laws, in the end, even if we are not cognizant of it at the time.
The Emancipation Proclamation energized the North
The civil war ground on year and wretched year until in 1963 the Emancipation Proclamation document became law, and the slaves were freed. The war then suddenly gained some steam and was won a year and a few months later.
Yankees, that is the Northerners were lukewarm about fighting the war over simple property laws, but when it became a matter of human life, they were more interested in winning. Also some much better Northern generals were given the leadership. The lie the South believed was that their states rights were more important than human rights.
This is one of the most important concepts in the Bible that is almost universally misunderstood because human beings believe life ends when they die, but the Bible says that death is not at the end of life on the planet, but when you enter it as a baby. Life is, in fact. the beginning of the First Death. Hang with me here; this is not easy.
King James had a problem.
The Christians in England were arguing about the correct version of the Bible. Kings don’t like controversy especially about topics where they are not especially informed. He gathered a group of scholars together and using the best Greek, Hebrew and Latin texts translated the King James version still in use today (1604-1611). It is called “authorized” because he authorized its translation.
Is it filled with errors? Not really.
His charge to them was to be as faithful as possible to the texts they had, and not to deviate. This they did. Consequently today there are very few glaring mis-translations of God’s word; in fact, many modern translations have improved the use of language through philological sources.
But one place has been mis-translated by modern versions.
Here is the accurate King James:
Romans 7:24 (KJV) | 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Here is the inaccurate New King James Version
Romans 7:24 (NKJV) | 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Let’s look at the Greek original.
ΠΡΟΣ ΡΩΜΑΙΟΥΣ 7:24 SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT)
24 ταλαίπωρος ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπος· τίς με ῥύσεται ἐκ
τοῦ σώματος τοῦ θανάτου τούτου;
All five of the most popular Greek versions of the New Testament agree on how this is phrased, including the version I used in seminary the Nestle Text.
Here is the structure of the sentence.
τοῦ: this is the genitive case, both masculine and neuter meaning “of, or belonging to.
σώματος: this neuter word means body, that is a flesh body. It is not to be confused with another word for body, corps, which we use today when we say the Marine Corps, a body of men committed to the same military goals. Or perhaps the word corporation which is a body of workers hired for mutual benefit.
θανάτου: is the masculine word for death
τούτου: this neuter or masculine demonstrative pronoun means “this”
This passage might mean either this body or this death. But why tamper with the original?
The fact that the word “this” appears at the end of the sentence should erase all doubts as to whether it modifies death or body. It is, at that position, a long way from any reference to the body. Position in Greek is important.
Furthermore, in Greek tradition, the flesh was regarded as evil in and of itself. Hebrew teaching does not endorse this; the Hebrews believed the body was good, inasmuch as God had called everything He made good.
Paul was more Hebrew than Greek and he would not have endorsed anything evil in his physical body.
That leaves us with the clear indication that we must investigate what “this death” is. Clearly it does not refer to being dead at the end of one’s life, or specifically Paul’s life. He is asking for deliverance here and now from not his body but “this death.”
Why would so many modern translations jimmy with this text? Apparently because they believe death is an event. It is not.
Death is a place.
When we understand this we can then move on. No one actually dies if they mean a total absence of self. The soul of every man (woman and child) lives on. Where that place of eternal living is, is called either heaven or hell, and that destination depends on the choices one makes in life. You, yes you, were created before the foundation of the earth.
Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love
Some commentators think this means some are appointed to damnation and others to life. If that is so, and it is not, then the purpose of Christ’s sacrifice is belittled. If men do not have free will, then the whole exercise is pointless.
God had a plan and a place in mind for you, individually. You were born into this place where death reigns.
Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
If you don’t believe me, look around. Eating a single meal involves something that previously died, be it animal or vegetable. Every human dies eventually. Even the planet is scheduled to die along with the entire universe. (See http://wp.me/p1otAF-lH for an explanation of time and eternity.)
If we recognize that this planet is the place of the First Death then we can comprehend what The Second Death might be.
Revelation 20:14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 2:11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
Revelation 20:14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
So how plain is this?
The Second Death is indeed a place, a lake of fire. A fire that never goes out. And the First Death is right here, right now, the life we all live together on this planet.
What is also clear is that while the body of the First Death has no permanence, ashes to ashes – dust to dust, another “body” must exist in the Second Death. This is the body that feels fire but never burns up. It is an “eternal” body just as those with “eternal” life have a spiritual body which is not destroyed.
While there are dozens of Biblical reasons for your prayers hitting the ceiling and apparently going no where, there are a few at the top of the list.
Do you have standing with God?
This is a legal term. If you take a case to court, the judges will first determine if you have the right to bring a suit. They call this “standing,” meaning that you have a right to state your cause in court based upon your stake in the outcome.
Here is an example. Years ago I told my husband that I didn’t want third child. We had two girls and my first child was such a handful I did not see how I could possibly take on another. My husband, without telling me, prayed for a son and a year later here comes a baby boy.
My husband had standing before God to ask for a son. First, we were legally married. Second, the husband is the head of the home and can ask for anything that will enhance the home and our combined lives. Because God regards us as one flesh, the husbands’ prayers for his wife are actually stronger than anyone else’s.
I could pay you have a son, and there would be no harm in that, but I have no standing before God because we are not related in any way. However, if you ask me to pray that you have a son, that gives me standing before God to interceded for you. Better still, if you are a woman you ask God yourself. But you could only make that request if you are legally married because God honors those laws of man which do not conflict with His laws.
No “standing” for something antithetical to God’s word
I am not permitted to pray that you have an abortion, because the murder of babies, either inside or outside of the womb is strictly forbidden for every human being regardless of background, religion, or national identify. God promised to destroy the entire nation of the Canaanites, the worshipers of Molech the abortion god, 3,500 years ago and He still means business today. God has a long memory.
Doctors have greater standing to pray for patients. Some believers will only seek out medical personnel who pray for their patients. A legally elected leader of a nation who prays for his people publicly or privately has great benefit. Collections of the prayers of American presidents can be found in books. But other elected leaders also have standing to pray for their citizens. God has honored elected officials calls for days of fasting and prayers for the nation when we were under great threat of harm.
Whose prayers are heard?
Psalm 102:17 God will turn to the prayer of the impoverished; he won’t despise their prayers. Economic stress is one of the chief ways God gets your attention. It is good to know He is listening.
God asks us to pray about evil activity. Psalm 141:5 Instead, let the righteous discipline me; let the faithful correct me! Let my head never reject that kind of fine oil, because my prayers are always against the deeds of the wicked.
Notice that we are not to pray for the destruction of the person; God will handle that in due time. We ask that the deeds of the wicked be judged. Next time you see a pedophile being sentenced to prison you can say the deeds have been judged. Jesus warned his disciples about praying down judgment on individuals. The deeds, not the individuals, are to be judged.
Luke 9: 51 As the time approached when Jesus was to be taken up into heaven, he determined to go to Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers on ahead of him. Along the way, they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival, 53 but the Samaritan villagers refused to welcome him because he was determined to go to Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to consume them?” 55 But Jesus turned and spoke sternly to them, 56 and they went on to another village. Calling down fire refers to judgment prayers.
Whose prayers are ignored?
The wicked have no standing. Psalm 141:5 Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.
Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. This scripture points out that no donation to the church or other work of God can compensate for your sin. Repentance and forgiveness alone wipes the slate clean.
The Lord’s prayer brings this principle out. You ask for forgiveness first before asking for any blessing either on yourself or others. In Matthew 6 we find the prayer:
9 “Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day [e]our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from [f]evil. [g][For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]
Then Jesus adds this postscript, emphasizing that forgiveness puts us in right standing before God and verifies our prayers.
Proverbs 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.
Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. This scripture emphasizes that you must already know of a sin that you have committed or are now committing. David prayed, “Cleanse me of secret faults.”
We really do not know the truth about ourselves. But God is gracious and lets us know little by little. You will find that the most mature Christians are those who have a good sense of their own lack, while at the same time having the greatest faith in what God can do. And that is the final secret for prayers – faith in what God can do.
To some ethnic groups the idea of reverence and submission to one’s elders is basic to society. In China elders even have the right to demand a child marry, and often to whomever they chose. Parents also expect the new couple to take care of the son’s father and mother in their old age, but not the mother’s family. This has led to the abortion of girls. To counter this the Chinese communist bureaucracy allows those couples who have a girl initially to conceive a boy for a second child to guarantee them a pension.
Other societies are equally demanding; Hispanic groups still exert some influence on family choice. I saw many a foreign-born mother taking over where she did not have God’s lawful authority. God’s command to Adam and Eve was the man is to leave father and mother and cleave to the wife to create a new home. (Genesis 2:24) The parents’ authority is over. Having parents select a mate all seems so old-fashioned to Americans who have actually taken personal choice to wild extremes, and the number of divorces should reflect that quickly.
Chinese anchor babies
This accounts for some immigrants to the USA immigrating to allow personal choices quite outside of employment or political freedom. Many Chinese mothers live in San Francisco hotels to have a baby in America to permit the child to claim American citizenship.
The ancient Hebrew Bible, known the world over as God’s word to mankind, gave 10 commandments. The fifth of these was to “honor one’s father and mother.”
One Commandment has a promise
But God doesn’t leave it there. He says there is a promise attached saying “In order that your days (not the parent’s days) may be long in the land I have given you.” Hebrews, like most tribes of people, prefer to stay in their own land rather than be relegated to a nation that may not appreciate them. Notice that your parents are not guaranteed a long life – you are. Notice that a long life is not guaranteed in a foreign land, only Israel. No wonder thousands have returned to that homeland since 1948.
Honor is not love
That leaves us to examine the tricky word “honor.” To Americans it tends to mean respect, even deference, maybe also obedience. And on this word many fail to take heed. Bad parents abound, living in addictions, violence, crime, giving out unreasonable punishment, and unable to control their emotions or tempers. And you will hear children from these homes tell you that honor when defined as respect or even love is something they cannot provide.
But the word honor is not respect, not deference, not love or like, and if it involves drinking or drugs, not obedience either. At this point we need to understand why God chose the word “honor.”
Honor’s old-time meaning referred to money or care. We hear it occasionally in the word “honorarium” to indicate a fee paid to a distinguished speaker, or to the person who wins a major award such as the Nobel Prize.
Honor means financial support. The children are to care for their parents in their old age. This promise also generates long life for them as well. It does not mean the sexually abused child must love; perhaps that might come from the in working of the Holy Spirit. But the child can take care, or see that others take care of an aged parent.
Children have an obligation to accept people as they are, and that includes parents. But this is not an acceptance or rejection for performance. The parents’ performance is not the issue. The issue is God’s blessing for you.
If your parent has failed in life, you do not need to approve. If that parent tried to kill you or make life a terror for you, lied about you or threw you out into the cold to make your own way, you are not expected to have warm feelings about them. You are only expected to see that they are not wards of the State.
Perhaps God in His mercy can help you actually love them, but that is not honor, it is not in the law, and it is not expected. That kind of acceptance is part of your growth, not theirs.
#honor #honour #10commendments #finances
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.
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.
The United States has a long arm of influence on the world and that makes it exceptional. Many other nations influenced world history -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 II 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 came to know Americans, first as soldiers and then as just people. And they wanted to copy that kind of life and the American 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 a time 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 make 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 we are not. 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 personal 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.
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.
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
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.
“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.”
“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.)”
Akeldama is a hilly area with rough terrain, as can be observed in the following modern photo:
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.
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) 7 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.
President Obama insisted on calling the terrorists ISIL instead of ISIS because of his contempt for Israel, our treaty partner.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.