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Powerless Pastors- Guest Speaker

Some of the most daring and up-front pastors are now black.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/theres-epidemic-of-powerless-worship-leaders-pastor-william-mcdowell-says.html

Sounds like voodoo to me. https://www.christianpost.com/news/tithe-paying-christians-are-protected-from-coronavirus-by-psalm-91-pastor-brian-tamaki-claims.html

The Bitter Root

Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

This word “bitter root” appears only once in the Bible but it covers a huge territory of disaffected, unhappy and dangerous believers.  You do not find bitterness in the young.  They may be stupid, untaught, rash or deceived but not bitter.  It takes some time in life for that to appear and there are always causes. But one thing is clear.

Bitterness: A challenge to self-will

Children who do not get their own way are quickly disciplined by conscientious parents. If not they turn into arrogant “enfants terribles.” Adults whose self-will is challenged have a choice – either knuckle under to the will of God or deteriorate spiritually into a state of rebellion against life and those who cross their will. They can’t get back at God but they can make humans suffer.

Christians have about one year of a honeymoon with Jesus, or it may, as in my case go on for seven full years. But then come the tests. How will you react. God does not tempt us to do evil, but He does test.

The test is not for His benefit; He knows what you are made of, but you don’t. You need to find out what you are made of. Do you really take seriously the rules of holiness? Will you fold like a cheap lawn chair the minute you must make a moral decision?

Back when I was 22 or so, we needed furniture. I married a Southern gentleman but I did not know that Southern men thought all Yankee women were morally loose. So when I went out furniture shopping I didn’t realize the store owner expected me to test the bedroom furniture with him, personally. I was not even a little amused. I told him a quick goodbye, I told my husband and vowed never to buy furniture from that lecherous old man. My mother had a similar experience when she was in her 60s so these rumors die hard.

That is a valid test. God wanted me to know I was faithful when it would have been easy to get away with it. But what about the man who does not pass the test. His wife walks out on him, he is caught in some double dealing or worse yet, he is caught in a trap being scammed by others. He can say, God, you promised me a good wife – it is YOUR FAULT that she left. Or the businessman who is unwittingly drawn into a bad deal. He tells God, It is YOUR FAULT that I was deceived.

And in comes the “bitter root.”

And that is how you recognize it. These bitter people, more men than women but women too, all blame God for what happened to them. It may be huge losses on the stock market, it may be a house foreclosure, an unfaithful business partner or wife, a rape. And the man or woman says to God, “The Bible says, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ Where were you when I was raped. It is your fault God.”

It is your fault God

This past week I spent four days dealing with a group of people who have spent the last two decades on revenge against people they disagree with. This entire group is a profile in bitterness. One man killed his son – it was an accident, everyone knew that and the town forgave him, prayed for him, yearned for him to be free. But in his heart he has not forgiven himself and he hasn’t forgiven God. He seeks revenge against anyone, particularly those who appear to have authority. Like God, people who have authority are self-confident and are publicly righteous. They are confident in themselves. They make a good substitute for God as a victim of slander or whatever. He takes many people to court because he inherited some money. He does not know the forgiveness of God for himself, so he cannot offer it to anyone else.

Another fellow lost his job and his wife at the same time. He found this bitter group and joined. Another man did not finish high school and he is jealous and angry at educated people. This group is heavily involved with politics. People who can’t get their way first join churches where they try to take over. After a while they leave because the members can’t put up with them. Then they head for politics. This past week they had invented a complex scam against a candidate, a woman of course, and it was after a good bit of investigation, finally exposed. With money and time on your hands you can cause a lot of trouble. Which explains the last part of the verse.

Defilement

A political campaign was defiled. But more importantly the people who planned, executed and funded this scam were themselves defiled. God condemns liars. In Revelation we are told that the lake of fire is the final destination “for all liars.” Not just a few – but all.

Genesis 12:3 says those who curse God’s people will be cursed. All four women and the two men these the Bitter Root Company accused and even filed court charges against, are active Christians, not just one day a week Christians, but proactive. But you do not need to be a perfect person to have God defend you against accusation. You only need to be one of the “family.” And families stick together. If you have been charged or wronged by someone and you are a member of God’s family, you have a scripture to use to ask for redress of grievances.

God also says He hates the “accuser of the brethern.” That would include a large number of national television outlets, newspapers and magazines, Recently the McClatchy media group of newspapers went belly-up. I immediately thought, well, may God is dealing with the public media who profit by lying. The United States Supreme Court doesn’t slap their hands anymore so maybe they will change in the future. Slander and libel are not just a problem, they are sins and need to be treated that way.

It all started in the garden. When Adam was caught with his hand on the fruit, he said, Genesis 3:12

12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

So the first words spoken after sin is revealed are these – blame first the woman and then blame God.

I rest my case.

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If you enjoy our articles here, please join the discussion by subscribing, and following us on Twitter @ImmaculateAssum and at Immaculate Assumptions on Facebook. Additional background material on the author and her writings can be found at AMAZON where you may purchase her e-book, Immaculate Assumptions: All You Heard about the Bible that Isn’t True.

#slander #libel #politicaltricks #bitterness #unforgiveness #judgmentofGod

Elohim – The First Name of God

Elohim is a combination of two words – El, which means “high up,” and “im” which is a plural. For example, “dag” is Hebrew for fish, and “dagim” means fishes. Christians recognize this as a reference to the Trinity, or Jesus, Holy Spirit and Creator God. But in fact we must recognize the creator God as a multifaceted intelligence.

The first reference to elohim is:

Genesis 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

Genesis is Hebrew for “Book of Beginnings.”

For our minds it is hard to conceptualize a God so huge that he is completely outside of a multi-billion-light-year-mile-space-time universe. But that is where the Eternal God is and what He began so long ago.

The Bible says that all men know this God in their “hearts.” It comes with being human. But it is hard to imagine a God like this, so Jesus said,

John 14:9 CEV Jesus replied: Philip, I have been with you for a long time. Don’t you know who I am? If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. How can you ask me to show you the Father?

It is many thousands of years from Moses writing down the creation story to Jesus and now to our day, but it is a continuous revelation of truth, precept upon precept, line upon line. We study the life of Jesus simply because studying God the Creator is so very hard.

Etymology of God’s Name

In China the name for creator God is “ShangDi.” I asked little children when I was there, what is God’s name? And that is what they told me without hesitation. So you see, atheism is not born into anyone.

The term is two words, Shang means “high above.” Shanghai is a city “above the waters.” “Di” for leader or ruler. Isn’t it interesting that in the three most popular languages on earth, Spanish, English and Chinese, the name of God includes the sound “di” – dios, (Spanish) dieu (French), divinity (English).

We have no record of the language they spoke before the tower of Babel when God came down and scrambled the languages, but we can guess that the word “DI” was there for the Most High God. I was once told the Hindus have 30 million gods so I do not include them in onomastics.

And that is the first thing God wants us to know – that He organized, created and revealed the universe to us and will continue to do so until the end of time when He wraps up history and goes on to a whole new program.

Cosmology and a creator God

So when we see the word Elohim we are to remember that the universe did not originate from sea water or tiny amoebae but because someone wanted a place to share with His People, plain and simple.

If you enjoy our articles here, please join the discussion by subscribing, and following us on Twitter @ImmaculateAssum and at Immaculate Assumptions on Facebook. Additional background material on the author and her writings can be found at AMAZON where you may purchase her e-book, Immaculate Assumptions: All You Heard about the Bible that Isn’t True.

#cosmology #namesofGod

When you Pray? and to Whom?

buddah-173621__180

Simmie and her husband are immigrants from Indonesia.  She escaped from China and is an implacable foe of Communism.  Together they run a successful beauty shop known for high quality work.  They both wear the brown prayer beads that identify Buddhists; both are very happy and fulfilled in their lives.  They remember President Ronald Reagan’s defeat of the Soviets and are conservative voters.

I like my appointments early so when Simmie shows up I am already there. She takes about 5 minutes  before work to stand in front of the little plastic Buddha in a corner of the shop.  She gives a daily offering, which is often fruit, and says some prayers standing there silently. (Buddhists in China eat the fruit for lunch.) Orientals are a quiet sort anyway.  Then she begins her work day.

I marvel at this sight.  Here is a plastic Buddha manufactured by presses in the Pacific Rim (even by those new copy machines filled with liquid plastic)  and painted with fake gold.  Sometimes these Buddhas are ceramic and covered in real gold.   But no matter.  I wonder, “Whatever good will that do? This is just plastic; he can’t talk back.“

Most people, even some Buddhists, don’t know that Buddha did not claim to be God, only that he had the wisdom of God.  And in fact, many people are wise. 

This is a god who cannot answer

My God can talk back. I want my God to tell me, “That is a stupid idea,” or – “You are on the right track.”  I left Texas because God said, ”Start packing.” I could not be happier with the results of the move.  Buddha can’t tell me that. 

In China I asked one teacher, a  Buddhist, “What is God’s name?”  She answered, “Shang Di.”  That is the Chinese word for the creator God.  Then I asked, “Do you know His first name?”  She did not.

I said, “His first name is Jesus.”  In October 2018 someone told me she accepted Jesus as Messiah, finally after 10 years.  These things take time.

What do we do with the Simmies in our midst?  We need to tell them that our god can talk back.  Not through a priest, or even a prophet, but directly.  I love hearing testimonies of people who have Jesus show up – sur-prise, sur-prise.  He will do it.  When Christians pray.

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If you enjoy our articles here, please join the discussion by subscribing, and following us on Twitter @ImmaculateAssum and at Immaculate Assumptions on Facebook. Additional background material on the author and her writings can be found at AMAZON where you may purchase her e-book, Immaculate Assumptions: All You Heard about the Bible that Isn’t True.

#prayer #Buddhism

DO NOT miss this film

LIFE ON THE ISLAND OF JESUS

– Premiering February 16, 2020 on ABC-affiliated stations. The true story of missionary pastor, Scott Campbell, whose ambitious dreams for ministry success crash into a disinterested spiritual culture, driving him into clinical depression and to the brink of suicide. The film explores how God uses great difficulties over time to transform followers of Jesus into new creations.

Its viewing will end sometime in April of this year. It was a life changer for me.

If you enjoy our articles here, please join the discussion by subscribing, and following us on Twitter @ImmaculateAssum and at Immaculate Assumptions on Facebook. Additional background material on the author and her writings can be found at AMAZON where you may purchase her e-book, Immaculate Assumptions: All You Heard about the Bible that Isn’t True.

Worship Defined – Not What You Think

To watch major TV religious programs one would think that Praise and Worship were all about singing, dancing, and praising God with musical instruments and much jumping around.praise-worship  And while God applauds that, it is not the whole story.   The English word worship means simply to show what something or someone is worth; the more attention you pay to something the more valuable it is to you, and that is a sign of your worship.  That could apply to almost anything.

But worship of God has, according to the Greek  word used in the Bible,  a  quite different meaning.

 The word is eusebeia.  It’s unusual because it comes from a word meaning  “to step back from.”  And the prefix eu is a term of praise.  So the worshipful person steps back from God. And you thought (at least I thought) worship would be stepping forward.

On the contrary, to step back from God indicates a fear of the Lord or a recognition of His total power and authority.  But asebeia is the opposite, one who does not fear the Lord, does not step back from the authority and reverence of His presence, or consider His word and His requirements of much value.  Asebeia is translated trough the New Testament in many ways but it always indicates ungodliness, or behavior which shows that obedience to God’s will means very little.

Clearly this is not singing and praise.  Worship then is how you act, either in accordance with God’s word, or in violation of it.  It can also mean irreligion in general, but considering the things we pay close attention to in life –  idolatries – that may definition not apply these days.  Clearly worship does not refer to going to church, especially if your actions outside of church show no fear of the Lord.

Since we have tied worship to fear of the Lord here are two scriptures worthy of memorizing.

Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the deceitful mouth, do I hate.
 
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
 
This short lesson comes from 27 pages on the internet, so if you want to read the whole thing, click here. A complete exegesis of the word “worship”
 

But now for the kicker.  Worship, if defined by the amount of attention you pay to something could apply to hobbies, work (workaholics), attention to clothing and body image, sports and recreation, acquisition of things, and the list goes on.  Since the very first commandment is “You (singular) shall have no other gods before me” then anything that consumes our worship (time) that is not God is idolatry.  You could almost say that this one commandment is quite enough to recognize our separation from the truth.

Modern Americans have so much free time and extra money; it is not hard to see what consumes us.

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If you enjoy our articles here, please join the discussion by subscribing, and following us on Twitter @ImmaculateAssum and at Immaculate Assumptions on Facebook. Additional background material on the author and her writings can be found at AMAZON where you may purchase her e-book, Immaculate Assumptions: All You Heard about the Bible that Isn’t True.

#worth-ship #worthourtime

The Return of Yehshua Jesus

The best explanation I have yet to hear of the return of Jesus Yehshua Christ. Author Asher Intrater brings the sons of Ishmael, Jacob and the gentile Christians, that is the faith children of Father Abraham, together to rule and reign with the Messiah. It makes perfect sense to me that Yahweh (God) would not bring His son back without the entire complement of believers.

Locate this anywhere e-books are sold.

#Jew #Muslim #Christian #2ndComing #sonsofAbraham #MessianicJews

The Worst Sin of All is …

Presumption? I would not have picked that myself.

Psalm 19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

It all begins with self will.

Satan gets his big come down in Isaiah 14:11 ff. This is the key passage where Jews believe for the restoration of their national homeland. The Message is a modern translation and too priceless not to quote in full.

This is where your pomp and fine music led you, Babylon,
    to your underworld private chambers,
A king-size mattress of maggots for repose
    and a quilt of crawling worms for warmth.

12 What a comedown this, O Babylon!
    Daystar! Son of Dawn!
Flat on your face in the underworld mud,
    you, famous for flattening nations!

13-14 You said to yourself,
    “I’ll climb to heaven.
I’ll set my throne
    over the stars of God.
I’ll run the assembly of angels
    that meets on sacred Mount Zaphon.
I’ll climb to the top of the clouds.
    I’ll take over as King of the Universe!”

15-17 But you didn’t make it, did you?
    Instead of climbing up, you came down—
Down with the underground dead,
    down to the abyss of the Pit.
People will stare and muse:
    “Can this be the one
Who terrorized earth and its kingdoms,
    turned earth to a moonscape,
Wasted its cities,
    shut up his prisoners to a living death?”

18-20 Other kings get a decent burial,
    honored with eulogies and placed in a tomb.
But you’re dumped in a ditch unburied,
    like a stray dog or cat,
Covered with rotting bodies,
    murdered and indigent corpses.
Your dead body desecrated, mutilated—
    no state funeral for you!
You’ve left your land in ruins,
    left a legacy of massacre.
The progeny of your evil life
    will never be named. Oblivion!

21 Get a place ready to slaughter the sons of the wicked
    and wipe out their father’s line.
Unthinkable that they should own a square foot of land
    or desecrate the face of the world with their cities!

22-23 “I will confront them”—Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies—“and strip Babylon of name and survivors, children and grandchildren.” God’s Decree. “I’ll make it a worthless swamp and give it as a prize to the hedgehog. And then I’ll bulldoze it out of existence.” Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

The sin of Adam and Eve was their self-will. 

The fruit business was just part of the test.  Why does God test us? Simple.  He knows what we are made of, but we do not. 

The test is to let us know where we stand and what is in our heart. 
When we finally see our need, our lack and the solution, repentance follows.  

Years ago I stayed with a 99 year old woman who had no diseases but she needed care.  She had plenty of money, no children, and lived in a paid for house but her heart was consumed with evil. She thought I was stealing her clothing – size 5; I was a size 18.  But when evil fills the heart facts do not matter. 

She complained about everyone and everything. Apparently she had never been tested. It occurred to me that God really did not want to send her to hell so here she was, waiting for death, in a world of conflict, rejection and misery all brought on by her own empty life. 

It reminded me of the funeral director who said there was only one woman whose corpse on which he could not manage to create a smile. She too lived to a very old age, and her caregiver said she never saw in her life the slightest kindness or love. 

Behind this road to hell is the presumption that God is supposed to make your life easy, fun, rich, and successful.  It is not. Whatever brief time we have on earth is to prepare for the eternal life we all have – no matter where that will be.  It is our decision. Our will.

Repentance means “Change Your Mind”

Repentance is not hanging your head in shame and skulking around under guilt and fear. But real repentance is proactive and healthy. 

Repentance is internal

Jesus never said, “How do you feel.” Emotions are reactive, they occur after something happens. You fall down the stairs and start to cry. The crying follows the fall – the crying does not precede it.

Our emotions lie to us

People who live in their emotions are usually unsuccessful. They identify as victims. Their focus is in the past and everything that either went right or wrong for them.

If they are on the top of the world, they live in a cloud of glory and happiness. If something goes wrong and they are rejected, they lash out. Most of what parents do to correct and rear children is in this area – preventing the emotional life from taking over.

Thinking precedes decisions

Meanwhile, Jesus said often, “What do you think?” The thought is father of the deed. Education is a life long exercise in thinking about what you are doing and why. One whole book of the New Testament, Philippians, is about managing your thinking. When your mind wanders, grab it by the throat and drag it back into reality.

In primitive societies people thought demons sat in the tops of trees and threw sticks at them to make them stumble. We think that is absurd now, but in reality the smallest child starts out in this world not knowing who or why things happen to them. And without guidance, they would grow up with the same notions of malicious invisible beings acting out of vengeance.

The process of thinking which leads to repentance

The Bible gives us the steps. “With the heart man believes unto righteousness and confession is made unto salvation.”

At some point an individual needs to recognize that he/she is not righteous, and that the Person involved in changing him is God Himself. This process of deep dissatisfaction with oneself is important, and it must not lead to emotional reactions of being God’s victim, or hopelessness, or abject failure. These emotions take the person away from the reality of the solution. The tendency of a human being is to be completely self-focused. And many people fall into this pit.

Corrie Ten Boom said this, “I look inside and I ‘m depressed. I look outside and I’m distressed. I look at Him and I am blessed.” Repentance is taking your focus off the problem and back onto God and His solution.

The process of individual salvation can take a very long time – years of alcoholism, drug addiction, wandering from job to job, fighting, jail, failed marriages – all because the focus of the person’s mind was on the natural world, or the self, and not the spiritual solution.

At that point, it is the heart which accepts the truth, believing that righteousness will come from God. What follows is a public confession which leads to salvation as the verse above shows. No one is saved by joining a church, anymore than you can be saved by joining the Kiwanis Club. Your new connection to God comes in the spiritual, unseen world.

God’s tool for reformation is the Bible; many people will tell you they were saved by reading it, even a small portion. And that is why so many dictatorial governments reject the Bible because it does result in changed lives. The Bible was ejected out of American schools and today shootings, violence, rape, broken families and all kinds of social ills are visible in schools that we had almost none of 60 years ago.

Reformed, repentant people can then reform their culture, society, politics, and the media. We can hope.

Check this out. Real Repentance

#emotions #thinking #socialchange

When your faith conflicts with your employment

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.eldercare

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.

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If you enjoy our articles here, please join the discussion by subscribing, and following us on Twitter @ImmaculateAssum and at Immaculate Assumptions on Facebook. Additional background material on the author and her writings can be found at AMAZON where you may purchase her e-book, Immaculate Assumptions: All You Heard about the Bible that Isn’t True.

What Missionaries Do – The Call of God

LISTEN TO “HERE I AM LORD”🎵

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 Yahweh is not Allah but a person who identified Himself as “I Am.”  Originally Yahweh set standards for his people – a set of rules and  a common master, Yahweh 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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is originally identified with the Semitic Peoples of the Middle East.  Yahshua, 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 Yahshua 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 Yahweh starts with a small group

Knowing Yahshua Christ only through one’s individual congregation is referred to in scripture as knowing Yahshua “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 Yahweh’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 Yahshua 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. Yahweh has a mate for you, and He’ll do a better job of finding one for you.  

Yahshua 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 Yahweh 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.   Yahweh 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.

The opposite of reality is neurosis 

Neurosis, from the standpoint of a theologian, is the imposition of a false narrative on the truth. Frequently this is where the unbeliever begins – with an assumption that must be removed and replaced, a missionary’s job.

*** 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. 

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Peace on Earth to Whom?

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 James 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, read the Jerome Bible, translated from the Latin, and since most people were illiterate, it was read to them..

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 Yahweh. 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.

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#realpeace

What Brings Leaders Down

Answer: The same thing that brings everyone down – believing a lie. For leaders it is believing a lie about oneself. The Big Lie.

Hitler:

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 entitled 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 that brought the whole nation down.

Hitler was so convinced of Aryan superiority that when the Germans had a 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. Hitler 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.

Jefferson altered the Declaration of Independence

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 3/4ths of a person. This violated some laws in other states. So the issue of the Civil War was not actually 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 Yahweh 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. Yahweh’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 after 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 big lie the South believed was that their states rights were more important than human rights.

We have a new lie worldwide – that socialism is the best answer to our political problems. A thorough review of history will disabuse people of that notion, but history is not well taught these days.

Belief in socialism is the hidden iceberg that can take the ship of state down with it, as it has already done. The Titanic architects said it was indestructible. The mighty ship didn’t not complete one entire journey.

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Death is a Place – “The Body of This Death”

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 Our portion: 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.

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Why Your Prayers May Not Be Answered

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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh regards us as one flesh, the husbands’ prayers for his wife are actually stronger than anyone else’s.

I could pray you have a son, and there would be no harm in that, but I have no standing before Yahweh 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 Yahweh to intercede for you. Better still, if you are a woman you ask Yahweh yourself. But you could only make that request if you are legally married because Yahweh 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. Yahweh 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. Yahweh 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. Yahweh 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 Yahweh gets your attention. It is good to know He is listening.

Yahweh 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; Yahweh 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. Yahshua 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. 5When 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:

“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 Yahshua adds this postscript, emphasizing that forgiveness puts us in right standing before Yahweh and verifies our prayers.

1For if you forgive [h]others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive [i]others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh can do. And that is the final secret for prayers – faith in what Yahweh can do.

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