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Religion is Not Faith

The Epoch Times tells us Americans are going to church less but are more religious. https://www.theepochtimes.com/americans-and-the-world-are-becoming-more-not-less-religious_3003424.html

Public identification of a faith

The article points to attending religious services and the fact that now four out of five people identify with one of the world’s great faiths. But religion is not faith. Religion is a process of addressing religious concepts. When you tell your mother you are brushing your teeth each day “religiously” she knows you mean that you are faithful to do what she required when you were seven years old. And hopefully you also have faith that with consistent brushing you will forestall any dental emergency or surgery.

But that the faith that is presented by any one religious system may or may not be inside your inner most being, and something for which you are willing to die should that be required. Faith is measured by its being tested, not by its being followed in some kind of public acknowledgement.

Faith is inside; religious is outside

And that is what it should be after all. Faith is the substance (which no one really sees) of something already hoped for, and that hope as well is not visible to outside viewers.

Abraham is the father of the faithful. He is not the father of the Faith. God fathered the faith, The faithful are those who are full inside with faith and have proven themselves faithful over the fullness of time. Faith is not a one time thing.

Religions change. Faith does not.

Faith is always tested. Religions have tests too, but since they are run by men, that is human beings in authority, they change with the season. Faith does not change because it is based on the word of gd and He said, “I am the lord. I change not.” People who change Christian doctrine to suit themselves need to re-read that sentence. You can change the word of God at your peril.

Secular adaptations of the faith are failing

The article also notes that the secularization of some churches who lose members in the process. Or perhaps they attract new members who want their sins endorsed. No matter. The Bible says in the last days there will be a division and people will take sides. We see that everywhere across the planet.

The Difference between Being Born Again & Being Saved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Kingdom is visualized in the spiritual eye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Difference between Being Born Again & Being Saved

Confusing “Good” People and “Saved”

<ga.js>Why it is easy to think good people are saved. The key understanding is the difference between the image and the likeness.

Image means to reveal and likeness is to reflect

Here is how the difference works. A man comes across a pool of water in the road and he sees his likeness – it looks a little like him. But the water is actually dirty with rocks and silt, reflecting some of pure water but a whole lot more of what is fallen humanity.

This is a picture of fallen humanity. Fallen humans are easy to spot. We see them in prison photos and police mug shots. We may or may not see the image of God because there is so much dirt and silt.

What is difficult is seeing a fallen man, nicely dressed, educated and prosperous, and on the outside not looking fallen at all. We say ” Oh that person would never go to hell. He is so nice.” But we are not looking at the image of God in that person but only the likeness, vastly cleaned up.

All men have the spirit

All men have the spirit of God in them because He has created them in the image of God. We confuse the spruced-up, elegant man with the image of God, when really there are two natures there. Your life is about which one of these natures will eventually rule.

God’s purpose for us as redeemed people is to bear the image of Christ. We are to reveal what He is now in us in holiness.

I thought this especially valuable in helping to explain why missionaries can be so confused about foreigners. I met many wonderful people in China but they were un-redeemed. It would be easy to simply say they don’t need God because of the likeness of Christ in them, and ignore the whole package of salvation.

Our job is to bring forth the image

#religion #spirituality

Eternal Security vs. Eternal Insecurity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one should be insecure either

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

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

Heaven gets a bad rap

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

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

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

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

#heaven #hell #oncesavedalwayssaved

Absolutes vs. Anarchy

The late Corrie Ten Boom writes of her watchmaker-father who traveled regularly to Amsterdam to record the official timepiece of Holland and then return home to reset, correctly, all the clocks in his shop. On one such trip he inquired of the clock managers in Amsterdam how they verified the time. They said they always set their clocks by checking a little known watchmaker named Ten Boom who lived in a little town in the south. Naturally Mr. Ten Boom discontinued his trips to Amsterdam since he was setting their clocks.

How do you establish what is true

But what should they do? They could contact the Greenwich, England office which sets a standard for time by reference to a number of atomic clock organizations. That should do it. But let us speculate that a sunspot caused that electronic clock to lose a quarter of a second; then all three clocks would be wrong. All the official clocks in the world would be wrong as well.

Circular reasoning

I am going somewhere with this so stick with me. This is called circular reasoning because each individual is using another to set the standard. If we want truth, we must go outside ourselves to find it – to an eternal reference point untainted by error. But where is that?

Truth is outside

I have a Buddhist-Thai friend who pays no attention to her religion. She has no interest in Christianity or any other religion, simply saying that she will be in heaven because she knows she will be in heaven. Her family is Thai and she is Thai and that’s all she needs to know. But her reasoning about life (and I might add death) is circular. She allows others who may or may not know anything outside of themselves set her beliefs. Because Thai people have told her she is going to heaven that seems to be all she knows or cares to know. But of what value is that?

Absolute truth exists

Like the circular verification of the watchmakers there is no absolute reference point outside themselves. Truth is just what someone thinks and that can easily be wrong. The Chinese believe that the sheer numbers of people who believe something makes it true. Now try that with a group of people.  Let’s say a small town of all black people believes, as a unit, that they are all female. How can we do that? It is anti-science.  Think of Galileo here.  Do we jail people for agreeing with science? How can anyone say they are a different gender when science, i.e. DNA, tells the story for all the billions of souls on the planet.

Transgender is antiscience

Enter God. He is outside of everything. He knows. He alone can tell you if the watch of your life is set wrong, who you are and where you are going. There is no one as miserable as a person who allows other people to dictate who they are. This is called determinism which never allows you to change or grow.

Secular theorists bristle over the Judeo-Christian absolutes of a God and His Word. After all if there are absolutes and a God who made them then Man might just face a day of accountability.

Personal anarchy

Without those absolutes, individuals have a free rein of personal anarchy. The opposite of absolutes is the folly of allowing human kind to determine truth while knowing intrinsically that humans are flawed. To say that reality is not reality is the true definition of neuroses.

I worked in a juvenile prison and the most common thing I heard was, “That kid has a record.” Of course he did. They all did.

So I told the students, I don’t care what your record is. I want you to learn what is true about the good and potential in you, and how your life can be ruled. If you don’t rule yourself, the State will do it for you and that is a life of misery. Believing that your opinion is reality makes as much sense as planning a dental appointment for the year 2013.  It won’t happen; it can’t happen. Some of them heard me.

There are young people today who have this notion that they are another gender. This is not necessary. God knows who and what you are, so consult Him.

This is true for everyone. God can and will tell you who you are, where you are going and what you can do with your life. You may find someone who can help you along this line, but if not you are allowing people who don’t know the truth set the time of your life. And it may be wrong.

My own standard is the Holy Bible. I include all secular information which verifies God’s. It is my rock of belief. I am never disappointed.

The Difference between a Christian Life and an Obedient Life

We’re getting down to the wire here in the USA. We find a host of malcontents and anarchists on one side – a very vocal group, and on the other, an increasingly disgruntled class who want their country back. That means a return to civility in the public square, a modicum of morality and at least a little patriotism combined with a sense of community values and goals. This is what the Greatest Generation fought and died for.

This malaise happened while the great mass of American Baby Boomers were living the American dream and the standard Christian life. What went wrong?

The late Senator Jesse Helms (R. NC), not known for sweet speech, said this about the compromise eating away at our nation.

Compromise, hell! That’s what has happened to us all down the line — and that’s the very cause of our woes. If freedom is right and tyranny is wrong, why should those who believe in freedom treat it as if it were a roll of bologna to be bartered a slice at a time?

https://www.azquotes.com/author/6533-Jesse_Helms

Helms’ slices were the loss of international bargaining power, the increase in entitlement spending, indulgences in wars and unwise treaties, and rising debt all of which impacts the family unit as a symptom of creeping socialism. Losing your nation one slice at a time can be applied to morality, the dumbing down of public education, the acid of inflation, loss of trust in our institutions, sports events and processes, even educational testing. Everything is on the skids.

There was a time of public formality when husband and wife addressed each other as Mister and Misses. Today small children come out with f-bombs at WalMart, in parking lots and on TV. Apparently there is no grandmother available to spank them, and spanking is also out of style.

The Christian Life plays by the rules

All this happened while Americans were living the Christian Life. But at the same time divorces increased, plus alcoholism, drug usage, reduced church attendance and even some Christian churches going rogue, dumping the Bible and personal moral behavior in order to match the personal lives of their parishioners. School demands deteriorated.

They raised their children to be good citizens, to finish their homework, to eat good nutrition, to attend a church, to learn the rules of an egalitarian society, to pay their taxes, to take vacations and live a balanced life. Parents were trying to keep the rules but they kept slipping out of their grasp. Living the Christian life by the book was not enough.

Obedience to God means getting your hands dirty

God’s command to us is to be change agents in a fallen world and when they did promote change they were seduced by compromise. Many who did run were gifted and well meaning, but they were lured by political forces into accommodating to others “to get things done.” It became a political stepping stone for ambitious people and the bologna was sliced a little thinner. For all the reforms they brought in, standards and consequently results deteriorated.

“Token” women, blacks and Hispanics, and more recently transgender and whatever, found themselves where they did not belong or where they could not be effective because the way we did business in every corner of life was politicized.

In contrast there is the obedient life.

The Obedient Life, in contrast, requires sacrifice such as Martin Luther King Jr., or Gandhi, or the brave little black kids who faced cat calls and possible physical violence entering a white school or college. Not all brave soldiers made the evening news; countless kids were fearful, and after the schools were segregated, all children also faced danger daily because so many people were resistant. Black and white parents were cautious and worried. The obedient life is not always open to public review; many suffered in silence.

The real Christian life costs you something. We look around for people to serve on committees or run for office or head important reform groups and we can’t find them. They’ll say “I’ll get the Kavanaugh treatment,” perhaps the most embarrassing drama to be seen on recent TV, which should be reviewed during every political season to expose the opportunists in Congress who showed their true stripes. (Bret Kavanaugh was publicly slandered without a shred of evidence from is critics, a major violation of his rights as a citizen.)https://www.theepochtimes.com/grassley-kavanaugh-probe-by-fbi-found-no-hint-of-misconduct_2678807.html

The word “to bork” is in the English language after Robert Bork’s reputation was dragged through the public mud, in spite of the fact that he had stellar qualifications. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Bork_Supreme_Court_nomination

The Supreme Court is now the papacy of the secular humanism religion trading indulgences for votes from aggrieved groups.

How can we ask people to endanger themselves and their families especially when the basic tenants of jurisprudence were trashed in a torrent of accusations without a shred of evidence? Who would stand for office given that scenario? And yet that is just what Jesus would ask us to do.

Well we can, in Jesus’ Name we can. There is a sign on NC route 74 going west to Murphy through the mountains. It says this.

God said, “I sent someone to discover the cure for cancer but you aborted him.”

I wonder if God also has a sign that says, “I had candidates for office who would turn this country around but they refused to run. I had singers, and poets, and writers, who were willing to face public shame and humiliation to fight for the right but you would not support them, give them a job, or join with the crowd to
condemn them from some ill-defined sin.

And then there were those who said, “I’d rather not expose myself to that kind of public abuse.”

So God said, “How do you think Mary liked being thought a fallen woman when she had a baby out of wedlock, according to the gossipy women of her town? Don’t you think that hurt? That went on for years and then when Jesus died, they said, she deserved to lose her first born son for having that baby without a real father. She was an embarrassment to the Jewish faith and to Nazareth. And what about Joseph? Some men say, I’m not going to raise some other man’s baby.  But he did not.  He obeyed.  It cost him something”

This is where we are now in 2019 America.  Where are the obedient people to pick up the mantle of reform.


Confusing Reality with Symbols

In a wonderfully sarcastic piece from Facebook, black politician and military veteran Allen West writes of how foolish the celebration over the removal of the Confederate flag from South Carolina, confederateflagas though it had the least ability to effect the massive changes American needs in race relations and the ills of the minority communities, so I copy it here.

Alan West writes:

“Yippee, the Confederate battle flag has now been removed from the grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol. And, just like that, it solves the problem of black-on-black crime and killings. Now we’ll see the out-of-wedlock birthrate in the black community drop from 75%. There will be better educational opportunities and schools in South Carolina’s black communities and all across America.

The black unemployment rate will drop —especially the almost 40% black teenage unemployment rate. We’ll now see an economic entrepreneurial boon in the inner cities because the Confederate battle flag’s been lowered. And there’ll be no more gangs of blacks beating on whites — as we saw in Ohio recently.

Yep, the liberal progressive media shouted “squirrel” and an entire nation went a running. All the yelling and shouting by the crowds was evidence of those who lack grace, respect and dignity. Former South Carolina Gamecocks football coach Lou Holtz remarked that when you get to the end zone, you should act like you’ve been there before. So what does the lowering of the Confederate battle flag have to do with the killing of little seven-year-old Amari Brown in Chicago — anyone know when his funeral is?”

We are already good at substituting for reality

Of course we don’t know where his funeral is because we have enjoyed a life of substitutions.  The Church, that great community change agent, allows Bible study to substitute for personal holiness, attendance at services to substitute for obeying God’s personal commands to us, and fellowship with believers as a substitute for fellowship with the Lord himself.

We barely pay attention anymore to the masses of lawbreakers released early from prison to commit fresh crimes.  79,000 illegal felons have been re-released into the population instead of being deported.  We have voted and instructed the Congress to act in one way and it looks the other way. Our President seems barely to notice the country or its wishes; he’s as determined to get a deal with Iran as Iran is determined to wipe America, The Great Satan, off the face of the earth.

And what has to be supreme nonsense, after 67% of the voters in over 30 states added to their Constitutions the verification that marriage was only between one man and one woman,(see Amendments by states ) the Supreme Court decides though lacking judicial authority to do so, because it did not originate marriage, that a union between two persons of the same sex is marriage in spite of the clear fact that they have no ability to procreate or continue the human race.

Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire[a]
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
    and throw off their shackles.”

The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
    the Lord scoffs at them.

We can join God in His humor but we should be joining Him in changing a culture that thinks because someone said something, that makes it true.  Or that taking down a flag has any effect on the major issues of our time.  The Supreme Court changed marriage not one whit; they only brought themselves into condemnation.  What they did can be undone by the Church ready to leave the womb of mother-church and join the fight for the sanity of our nation and its people.  Every time the Church has done this, she has won. It is long overdue.

#mandarin #chinese #allemand #espagnol #cantonese #francais #Vietnamese #gaymarriage #SupremeCourt

#romanticism #rulebyemotions

The Importance of Shall vs. Will in Scripture

American grammar has taken a hit in recent years and so the fine point of the difference between using I shall and I will has lost its punch. But in the Bible the difference is especially important because when God says He shall He means quite something difference from He will.

Will as a Verb

Will, as a verb, has two distinct meanings, often muddied together. Will can be a future event and a decision, opinion or plan such as, “I will walk more for health reasons.” Shall, however, means a decision or event is set in stone.

Example: The meeting will be at 8 p.m. Clearly the meeting has no mind of its own and cannot will something to happen. Will, is this case, is an intention or a scheduling item referring only to the future.

Will as a Noun

The will of man is another, and a more important use of the word. When someone says I have written my will, they mean that after they are dead others should follow through on their wishes. As anyone can testify, more often than not the will of the living prevails, and the inheritance may be entirely lost or stolen. Your will lasts only as long as you do. There is the will of the devil too. God speaks to this when the evil one gets uppity in Isaiah:

13 You thought to yourself, ‘I will scale the heavens,
I will raise my throne above God’s stars.
I will sit on the Mount of Assembly
far away in the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will be like the most High.

God’s shall is forever

God’s response to Satan is “You SHALL be brought down to the pit.” When God says shall, the issue is settled. It is going to happen. Man’s will and the devil’s will are temporary; God’s shall is forever.

Pay attention to this word shall in your Bible and see what God has to tell you.

We’ve included this in Cornerstone Content because the Bible is about words; even Jesus is referred to the “word of God” meaning what God had to tell us was alive through Him.

#UnderstandTheBible

The Difference between Sins & Iniquity

Sins are never called mysterious. If someone lies, steals, fornicates, or physically assaults someone it requires only an explanation. But iniquity is mysterious because of the long tendrils of corruption and change it brings about to not just individuals, but families and even societies. If a drunk plows into a school bus killing five children he is sentenced by the court for manslaughter. That is sin and the law defines sins; the law does not define or punish iniquity. Iniquity is God’s word for what happens next, the ripples on the water after a sin is thrown in history.

Iniquity Defined

https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/2%20Thessalonians%202:7

  • Sins, violations of the laws of God, whether we know them or not.
  • Sin, the innate propensity of man to commit sins.
  • Iniquity, the damage done resulting from others’ sins.

Iniquities are the collateral damage done by sinners to the innocents. In addition to five dead children there are five broken families – the parents, grandparents teachers, classmates, siblings and neighbors – all affected in some way by these deaths, lives that will never be the same. Good may come out of it or evil; many couples who suffer the loss of a child also later divorce. The judge may decide to come down harder on drunk drivers. The drunk’s family experiences changes as well as he is no longer a proper breadwinner or his jail time forces the family on welfare. The judge may be overindulgent and allow him back on the road to cause another crime with the long trail of damaged lives once again. Taxes increase to cover increases in criminal prosecutions.

All Sin has Consequences

It will have an effect of some kind for generations and because those effects are not easily recognized they can be called the mysteries of iniquity. There are few visible signs of iniquities in our world. We have evidence of the good that individuals do. Consider the family of Billy Graham with millions worldwide being blessed and his family following him in productive ministry. God blesses us for the good we do, but those hidden iniquities are still on his books, still making a difference in unseen ways.

Consequences may not show up for a generation

Iniquity is the personal result of a long line of self-indulged sins because sin is not static in one’s life. Sin is like formaldehyde which is used to preserve tissue and cadavers, that is human bodies, from decay. So the sin repeatedly over time locks in the evil in the person making it harder for him (her) to change. Decades of excusing oneself and justifying the behavior hardens the heart and reduces the desire for repentance.

Genes show up in families. The Bach musicians are famous; there are 3 and 4 generations of men in jail, and their girls too, like red hair showing up consistently in the Irish and straight black hair in the Chinese. Like father, like son. Families of doctors or teachers. So we should not be surprised if those same sins pop up in the families of those who are careless about their moral lives. You can rightfully call it a reason but not an excuse.

You cannot call it a real gene however.Attempts to locate a “gay gene have failed. Those family failures are iniquity in action.

Humans do not see their own evil nature

For some reason human beings are not able to see the extent of their behavior, their sins. I sat silently as an old woman “apologized” to her adult daughter for being “too hard” on her as a child. Those words are in quotes because it was hardly an apology and what she did was criminal, drunken beatings and an attempt to kill her. I was a counselor for 7 years and only realized later that so much of what I was hearing was superficial, like this confession, a half-hearted attempt at “getting right with God” but merely inching towards God when hoping God accepts one’s peccadilloes as a gross violation of eternal moral standards for which one must eventually answer to God. Could this woman not see the extent of her sin, or was it so hard, she could not bear it?

Ultimately all change is internal.

Counselors that don’t realize that truth must be internalized will be forever disappointed at their results. The ability of people to justify their sins is incalculable. An old man in Florida was charged with raping an 11-year old, then murdering her and burying her body in the back yard. His excuse? “She wanted me to rape her.” Where does this kind of mental poison come from? Even women who abort their children do not say, “The baby wanted me to kill him? or her? “

Sin is like a gene

Before we are too quick to congratulate ourselves on having not done this look at American society today where all kinds of evil behavior are glossed over, especially sexual adventures called “love” including child sexual trafficking, pornography and other hidden evils. Marches in city streets applaud the murder of babies in the womb calling it a health issue for women. Nonsense.

Child bearing has 10,000 years of success and is not a disease or a health issue, and even a child knows that. And then there is a wild protest when the public refuses to pay for the abortion. Not a word on why someone else should be asked to pay for you to kill your child. Silence about these sins and iniquities is also iniquity.

Headlines like these are all too common.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/idaho-lawmakers-seek-to-make-abortion-murder-within-the-state_2786538.html

The severity of the iniquity is determined by the level of the authority of the Doer. King David ordered a census in direct violation of the will of God. As a result many people died.

2 Samuel 24:10 

10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.

David was in charge of his kingdom and his underlings both in the government and society suffered loss. God gave David a choice of various punishments. David said these prescient words: “Let me not fall into the hands of man.” David knew that men would be harder on him than God.

In contrast when a small child steals an apple negative results are limited because his authority levels are so low involving only one child and one grocer. A “talking to” and a light spanking to remind the child of his sins is about all that is needed.

Sins>iniquity>deception>delusion>death

Sins lead to iniquity which leads to deception which leads to delusion. Only a deluded society would see anything legal about this, if we accept the basis of western law, that is the common law and the Holy Bible. If we accept lawlessness including a public and private anarchy, then this kind of behavior and thinking makes sense. But it also spells the death of a society. So when people say “I want to save my country” this is what they are talking about, the advancing iniquity of a society morally off the rails. That describes today.

Different Kinds of Knowing

Most languages differentiate between simply acquaintance, intuitive feelings  and real knowledge.  But most Bibles do not offer an explanation of which verb “to know” is under in any passage which means the translator must do the work.

Different Verbs for Know

Here is an example of why the King James can be confusing:

Acts 19:15  the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

There are two different words for ‘know’ here, so let’s translate this again:

Acts 19:15 Jesus I know, and Paul I’ve heard about, but who are you?

In English we say I am getting to know you, or the first level of interpersonal relationship. We could also say that the first few years of schooling are getting to know words and numbers. We memorize at this level but there is no foundation of understanding; information is impersonal, understanding is personal.

Ginosko vs. Ouida

Greek, the language of the New Testament, has two words for knowing – ginóskó: to come to know, recognize, perceive and ouida, a word reflecting the knowledge of personal experience.

Ginosko is a root common in English seen in words such as knowledge or agnostic.  It means perception or understanding; it goes deep into the personality.  Believers respond occasionally to the question, How do you know you are saved and they reply, “I know that I know that I know.” For the non-believer it isn’t much of an answer but for other believers, we all understand.

Ouida according to artists is an acronym for Observe, Imagine, Discover and Apply by looking at the natural world and creating something new based on your appreciation.  Writers would not use this word for knowing God; they use gnosis instead.

Here are some Bible verses that use the word ginosko:

Genesis 2:9   And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Notice that God did not give man knowledge if physics and French literature, just good and evil.  On this foundation mankind was to make good decisions enforcing good and resisting evil. Clearly this did not happen.

The Sexual “Know”

Luke 1:34   Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

Here is a common use of the word ‘know’ in King James English, the sexual “knowledge” of two persons required to be exclusive to them. You do not hear it much these days but Bible readers need to understand this usage.

The Book of First John has 31 references to the word know. It profiles all the things believers should know, and how you, the reader can discern the difference between truth and lies.

1 John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

In this case the truth that is missing is Jesus who is the way, truth and life.  (John 14:16) The passage is telling us that the person is not born again.

Jesus “Not Knowing You” is Important

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Holy Spirit Baptism

Finally there is spiritual knowledge imparted in the Holy Spirit Baptism:

I Corinthians 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

This kind of knowledge comes straight from the spirit of Christ to your spirit and then to your brain. Many people confuse the baptism of the Holy Spirit with knowledge that is obtained through study or from another person. But Holy Spirit directed information is especially helpful to you because it empowers you to apprehend situations and truths when others do not.

How often have you heard someone say, “I get bad vibes about that guy” and later it is discovered that he had hidden problems.  That kind of intuition is given by the spirit.  Very often small children have this feeling as well.

If you want an instructive Bible study, find a concordance and look up every use of the word know and tie them all back to the original Greek.  It will be an eye opener.

The Difference between Ethics and Morals

Ethics exist in every organized society as an agreed-upon system of behavioral norms and attitudes by which members live in as much harmony as possible.  These rules apply first to public behavior but also hopefully to private as well. Ethics governs interpersonal relationships, business deals, political life and social life. It is temporal and voluntary.

Aristotle

Aristotle wrote his famous Nicomachean Ethics in 340 B.C.E which was widely accepted as the norm except that even he focused on the individual application more than the corporate. Perhaps he knew that controlling other people was pretty much a lost cause.

Morals are the same thing, but they are dictated by a single God through the Bible, hence their origin in the Judeo Christian traditions. Greeks, and other nations at that time, had a pantheon of gods, many of whom were reprobates and not worth emulating. Jews alone at that time were monotheists.

God alone is the one who expects accountability from those who violate moral codes since they come from Him. They are temporal, spiritual and eternal in their consequences.  Morals demand a higher standard because God not man is the final arbiter. Ethics may vary from one society to another. Morality does not because God has one set of books, not two or more.

In practice this how it works. Socrates got a bad reputation in Athens for speaking out against evil and mismanagement. Political leaders felt the brunt of his criticism and based on their ethical principle, “the peace of the community,” told Socrates to commit suicide because he was, in effect,  disturbing the peace. Socrates agreed with Athenian Ethics and drank the poison.

This would not have happened in a moral society. Here truth is superior to “an uncomfortable community” and life is precious, preferable to death. God’s laws not man’s comfort is the standard.

When a society veers away from a God-imposed criteria it loses its footing which leads to confusion. When abortion was legalized in mid-20th century America it marked a steady decline in public behavior so now we hear cursing by even the smallest children to a media unrepentant about slander and managed news. Today there is virtually no part of public life left uncontaminated by a loss of morals and spiritual anarchy.

In our fascination with the Greeks superior intellectual attainment and ability to recognize and applaud the human aspect of mankind they still crashed and have never regained that level of culture. Ethics works – it works wherever it is tried, but it cannot retain ascendancy when founded on humanistic principles. When man tries to govern himself, he fails.

In contrast is Israel which having been disciplined by a rightfully angry God, returned in 1948 to its homeland after many generations with its moral laws in tact.

Will America do likewise?

Regret, Remorse, Repent – Not the Same Thing

These three terms begin with the prefix “re” which tells us that what we are talking about happened in the past. “Re” goes back – remember, things of the past; regret, what has happened; restore, what was once in good condition, revisit, and so on.  In fact you could invent your own word by adding re. “Re” calls up our past, our history.

The prefix re

Animals do not have a history; they keep no records of their ancestry.  They remember bad behavior, locations, and events with people but the notion that their baby cat is a child ends when the cat is adult. He or she just becomes another adult cat.

Memory reaches to God

Memory for human beings helps them to make contact with God. If we were not able to contemplate the past we would not also be able to consider our future. Animals avoid danger because they have a will to live, as do we all.  The tiny baby facing a knife in the womb fights back! But humans know that death is permanent and that the life thereafter is up for grabs. Animals don’t know this and they don’t need to.

There are levels of dealing with the past. To regret may be a simple oversight.  I regret not closing that window; the rain has ruined those books on the window sill. If regret is allowed to eat away at your personality, it can become an obsession.

A woman with a unicornuate womb wrote to me in a deep depression. This malformation means she may not be able to have a baby.  And if this depression increases she is at risk of suicide. So regret can lead to serious problems if you do not work on controlling your mind, and seeking a plan to meet your life head-on.

Remorse involves deeds, in fact sins, you have committed which eat away in guilt.  Sometimes remorse leads to suicide as well, if you let what you did, or what someone else did to you to take over your personality. Many people can run to God for help but in fact it is only remorse.  They are sorry they did something but more often, more sorry they were caught or unable to have their own will in their situation.

Mind control is your responsibility

Only repentance leads to God. The word repent means literally “to change your mind; “meta” Greek for change, and “nous” Greek for “mind.”  You need to think differently about your situation. For atheists it could encourage them not to cut God out of their lives. All of us face death.  There is no escape.  Even the man that Jesus raised from the dead, Lazarus, eventually died a second time.

And what happens after death is determined by what happens in life. No one faces death without realizing that s/he has made some very bad mistakes, both deliberate and accidental. And all cultures believe in life after death.

Ministers may even be fooled into thinking the new believer has truly repented when he’s only become sick with remorse. There is a test for that; it’s called the “fruits of repentance.”  A changed attitude will lead to changed behavior.

Fruits of Repentance

Fruits are things that show up after a growing season.  Berries take only one season to bear fruit; apples require at least three years before the first crop.  The wise minister waits to see those fruits before he accepts the new life of the believer.

We often hear of Christians who “lose their salvation.” More often than not their commitment was weak and they had not really turned their life over to God. We must always be quick to forgive but expect the Christian life to grow slowly.

Many of these posts are responses to questions, so I invite them here. Immaculateassumptions@gmail.com.
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How do you work out your salvation? Sins(s) vs. Sin

“Philippians 2:12 work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Evangelicals make a big deal out of saying you can’t be saved by good works –BUT salvation from sins is only the 1st stop in a walk of a lifetime. In fact, too many people think they are through after accepting Christ. Not so. There is much work to do to change the inner personality which leans always towards sin.

The Old Testament illustration of this is the brass laver in the tabernacle. After you slaughter your spotless lamb, i.e. Jesus, you walk up to the brass wash basin (laver) filled with water, i.e. the Word Of God, you look at your self and see – whoopps – I have inner flaws.

At this point you are not supposed to be looking at the goodness or sins of other people. 1 Corinthians 11: 28 –examine yourselves. 2 Corinthians 10:12 warns –not to compare yourself with someone else. God has a picture of the real you.

The real you is visible in the water of the word, that is the Bible. Look there. Ephesians 5:26 Jesus wants to …sanctify and cleanse … with the washing of water by the word.

The main difference between the brass altar and the brass laver is the difference between “sins” and “sin.” Sin(s) are taken care of on the cross, the altar. Sin – singular- is a process of gradual change as we look into the word of God because it involves not conscious wrong acts, but a pattern of our inner personality, i.e. a propensity to sin which does not go away with salvation.

Many Christians fail to see this difference and “get saved” time after time, living lives of frustration. Without being negative and ending up n depression, ask God what is wrong with you.  (The world will tell you anything and everything is wrong with you.) He knows best and can give you the cure as well.

The Difference between Prayer and Intercession

You didn’t know there was a difference? Well neither did I. But in a single sentence, prayer is what you do and intercession is what God tells you to pray.

Prayer is automatic

Prayer is natural, that is, when you are in a tight spot, you pray automatically. You don’t really need to think about it.

One reporter said said when people are in a car accident, the first thing they say is “Oh God no.” Vladimir Putin, affirmed atheist and Communist boss said when he entered the Oval Office during George W. Bush’s Presidency, “Oh my God.” I thought Putin didn’t have a god! We can’t stop that kind of prayer.

Intercession is deliberate

In contrast, intercession is what God wants done. This past week I could not get to sleep thinking about a friend. The Bible calls this a “burden.” It is something on your mind and you don’t have a clue what it is all about. I asked someone, do you ever think God is sitting on your chest? That is the way I felt.

Burdens are spiritual pressure

I knew nothing about this person that might be wrong. I called the next day, and nothing seemed wrong, but then again, nothing seemed right either.

The scripture says this:”If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does and seeks to provide us a prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.” Romans 8:27

An old friend of mine, Jackie, was driving along one day and she began to cry. She pulled over to the side of the road because she could not see through her tears, and started praying for a mutual friend named David. That went on for about a half hour. Then she dried her tears and drove off.

Later she learned David was standing on the roof of a building ready to commit suicide that afternoon. David told her later that as he stood on the edge of the roof he felt a giant hand hold him back and he stepped down. That is intercession.

The Holy Spirit Groans

The same word, groan, appears once more in the New Testament. John 11:33 “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” This verse appears right before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The Greek word can also be translated as “sigh” which is what you would do if God sat on your chest.

The notion of a spiritual burden also appears in 2 Corinthians 5:4, referring to our physical bodies and wanting to be released to heaven. These earthly bodies make us groan and sigh,. We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will, as it were, be swallowed up by everlasting life.

The Greek word for groan is bareo, meaning pressure. You feel pressured to pray for someone which is intercession. We can rejoice that God has given us this blessing to pray for others, when we have no notion they need it.

Many of these posts are responses to questions, so I invite them here. Immaculateassumptions@gmail.com.

We have translation services #Chinese #French #Spanish #German #Mandarin #Vietnamese

#spiritualburden #pressurefromGod #suicideprevented #HolySpirit

https://wouldyouconsider.net/2018/02/05/the-difference-between-ethics-and-morals/

If you want to be a Change Agent, let me recommend this group which seeks to turn around fatherless boys. https://cfdreamcenter.org/about

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Covet, Envy, Jealous, Greed, Anger, Hate

These four words describing attitudes are all found in the Bible. But today their usage can be quite different.  In fact the word “jealous” in scripture is not always sin – God is described as a jealous God so we need to know what He is upset about and why. Humans can sin as well if they believe something is their right, and it is not.  And jealousy is a sin when it involves competition.

Covet means to desire something.  It can be a simple toy for a child, or wanting a college degree. And God can give you a desire for something. Psalm 37:4 says if you delight yourself in the ways of God He can give you some Godly desires.

That explains why some people want to serve poor mission areas to deal with egregious social problems.  It is unexplained behavior as far as others are concerned, coming straight from God Himself.

But then there is just the “I wants” which can deteriorate into acquisitiveness. How often a child wants a toy and then after a few minutes pays it no more attention. And that becomes greed which is the continuing desire for anything and everything way beyond your own ability to manage or your personal need.

Greed is never satisfied which  is how the Bible describes hell – Proverbs 27:20  Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied. That is why the restaurant’s menu has pictures of luscious desserts. 

When we describe hell as being a place of torment we need to include never being satisfied as a condition.  And that would depend on what the person wanted so very badly in life – sex, money, power, food, companionship? Picture hell as an eternity without it.

Envy is the worst of these sins.  James 3:16  “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” That identifies four unhappy conditions – envy, strife, confusion and evil work all at the same time.  Envy comes in at tops because it desires what others have.  

This is the covert world of the adulterer.  It is not enough to want someone else’s spouse – you want THAT one.  Of course after you have it you throw it away and go on the next person, property of another. That is why adulterous marriages so often break down. The glue that held it together was not love but some other sin and sin eventually collapses under its own weight.

There is also righteous anger and hate.  We are to be angry and sin not.  That means to be angry at what God is angry about, not our own personal animus.  We can hate what he hates as well.  I have a list in the back of my mind of what he hates – child abuse, sex trafficking, lying, fear, anything that shows He is not first in your heart and life.

Exodus 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

God considers the souls he creates His personal property and does not treat lightly those who abuse their power over human beings.

And that brings us to jealousy.  God can be jealous because jealousy means that someone wants something you properly own.  God is jealous over His people simply because they are His People.  We don’t think about this when we pray but we should.  If someone that we know was once a Christian and has now strayed, you can ask God to go get His property back.

Your child may be neck-deep in drugs, but he/she is not your property – but still God’s. Pray to God and ask Him to return His property to Himself.

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

The Difference between Critical Thinking and Criticism

Consider these conversations:

Two women are playing bridge. They have known each other about 2 months.

Maxine: You need to lose some weight.

Carol: (says nothing)

A month later:

Maxine: You really should lose some weight so you won’t have trouble breathing.

Carol: What makes you think you have the standing to make a comment about my weight?

Maxine: (Taken aback- says nothing)

There are 14 other people in the room and now they are all listening.

Carol: Standing is a legal term. When parties go to court the judge needs to know if they have a right to be involved in the case and the law it concerns. For example, a private citizen cannot go to court about a Home School law unless he is a home schooling parent.

You brought a charge against me about my weight without having any legal reason to do so, and on top of that you have no relevant facts in the case. I ignored your previous comments because your opinion is of no value. The judge throws out any persons who do not have standing, and I threw out what you said because you have no standing. In other words, your opinion is of no value to me.

Maxine: But I know you will breathe better if you lose weight.

Carol: That is not knowledge; that is an opinion based on an assumption.  You do not have the facts in the case. I have seen my doctor 3 times in the past 7 months and not once did he mention my weight. Bless his heart.

If you are a dietitian or medical professional you have standing, otherwise none. Is your emotional assumption more valuable to me than his professional life of medical experience? Hardly.

Maxine: But I know that overweight people have trouble breathing.

Carol: That is true, but you don’t know that I almost died at 9 years of age of pneumonia.  I was so thin the neighbor asked my mother who that child was with her. I never could begin school in September on the first day because I couldn’t breathe – my lungs were badly damaged. I never mentioned this because you are not my friend; you are a sometime bridge player. I might have asked you about bridge; you have standing on that issue.  You have no standing to criticize my health or my physical body.

I do have people in my life that I consult. One couple here in town is so important to me that no matter what they ask I respond! They asked me to run for office and I was elected.  I really had no interest in the office but because I trust their judgment, which they have proven to me, I complied. I have no history with you.

You based your comments solely on your assumptions which were wrong. In addition, comments about someone’s physical body are considered rude.

That is the difference between critical thinking and emotional opinion.  Critical thinking is based on standing acquired by information and understanding; ad hominum remarks are nothing but criticism based on assumption and personal bias.

Unfortunately most of America is now indulging in the latter and public discourse has become rotten and unhinged.

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