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Solving Problems That Don’t Exist

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Politicians, for all that can be said about them, are not infallible. In the last 20 years (and probably further back) I have noticed something about them, at least in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. Depending on what you support, a politician is either an infallible, godlike being whom must be obeyed for the greater good, or they are vile dogs who don’t know a thing and only got there because of money (which is funny, because any particular faction is as likely to be as well funded as the other, from similar sources). What if I told you, neither side is correct? In the U.S. we have a defacto two-party system (something a bit of research will flesh out as being antithetical to the Founding Father’s intent) not because there are only two choices – talk about your fallacies in action – but because the public allows themselves to become polarized to one of a small subset of charismatic figures belonging to one of two polarizing forces (though if the truth be told, they are pretty much the same now with no appreciable difference in final goals, only in the journey to get there). Very few people, statistically speaking, actually find themselves not buying into the whole charade. However, within that group all too many of them act in similarly outlandish, polarizing behaviors and thus no one takes them seriously.

All too often, those in power are looked upon as if they hold some sort of special power, experience, or wisdom to which the rest of us non-professional politicians (aka mortals) do not have and can never hope to attain, except in rare circumstances. The sad reality of the situation is that most of the politicians at the state and federal level are only there for one thing, more money. Whether in their pocket or in their district (you know, so they can be re elected, not because what they do actually provides any tangible good to the public at large). They are also looked upon as being beholden to their constituents instead of legal documents they are supposed to be upholding. In the case of state representatives that may not hold quite as true as it does for the federal level ones (though states do have constitutions which are supposed to be only second to the U.S. Constitution, they are more easily amended and designed outright to be more malleable in terms of what a state rep is supposed to do for the electorate).

We have gotten far away from holding representatives to the objective, high moral and ethical standards of not only personal behavior but political behavior. Instead we focus on how much tax money is sent back to us in the way of unconstitutional (and therefore nugatory) laws instead of actually fixing the problems government has. What about societal problems? Not the realm of government, for the most part. I am against allowing men in women’s bathrooms, and vice versa, I am against same-sex marriage (but find myself against government involvement in any marriage though that has its pitfalls as well), but I am more against government legislating these behaviors. G-d Almighty has spoken on the issue or marriage and His creation. He has set down his moral codes for us to follow. He has also given us a free-will choice in the whole matter. He has laid down his expectations from us on things ranging from judgment, charity, and faithfulness. He has given us guidance on truth, fiction, reality, sin, and holiness. We have been taught right-from-wrong, and indeed in His word it is shown we know it from the get go. And He also taught on government. From the time Israel demanded a king and G-d – in his infinite mercy, grace, and wisdom – after having tried to dissuade them on the issue relented (against His perfect judgment) and anointed Saul. Sure He wasn’t the first king, but the problems with government back then are the same now (corruption, cronyism, etc.). No, there is indeed nothing new under the sun.

What problems we have in the U.S. – getting back to the topic at hand – stem from both a lack of true accountability and from the whole “I need to make sure I get my piece of the pie, too” mentality that ignores – seemingly willfully – that if our piece of the pie hadn’t been taken in the first place we wouldn’t need it back. This country would be a lot better off if we had the political ethics of our Founding Fathers and a more godly morality.

The government that governs best is that which governs least.

We are so far from that mentality that it will be extremely painful to return there, yet return there we must. Societal ills cannot be legislated away. Prostitution is often touted as the world’s oldest profession, but I daresay being a politician is even older. After all, laws against prostitution (outside of the Biblical prohibitions) probably hit the books long before it was actually an issue. After all, the only thing government is really good at is fixing problems that don’t exist.

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Christ Died for ISIS, Too

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John 3:16 King James Version (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Let’s start off with a familiar quote from Scripture. YHWH doesn’t want anyone to perish without knowing Him. No one, even the repugnant members of Isis, or Hamas, or Hezbollah, or Westboro Baptist Church members. As repugnant as they are today, they are His creation whom He wants to have a relationship with. He wants all of His favorite children (that is, all of humanity) to return to Him in willing obedience. It is a choice we all have to make, and no one can make it for us.

Christ Himself put it better than I ever could:

Mark 2:16-17 King James Version (KJV)
16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

It was for those people who need Him the most, who are so mired in their sin they do not have the strength to climb out of the well of their own sin. None of us have that strength, no matter how much we think we might.

While I abhor Isis, Hezbollah, and Hamas and would more than love – in my flesh – to see them blown off the map, let us remember it’s for people like these – people just like what we used to be – that He died. Not just the yuppie in their subdivisions, or the slick CEO in his ivory tower, or the redneck in the woods. He died for everyone’s sins, past, present, and future from the time He was crucified. He died to make a way for members of Isis, Westboro, Hamas, Hezbollah, you, myself, everyone. There is no one’s sins He didn’t take upon Himself when the full wrath of YHWH was poured out upon Him during the 3 days He spent in Hell. In 3 of our days, He took on the just, rightful punishment of you and I and everyone. He did so out of love. A love we do not deserve because like those four groups I keep mentioning, we spit in His eye and say, “No. I will do things my way, in my own strength, regardless of the consequences.” And so we wind up instead reaping the wages of sin instead of enjoying eternity with our Father.

Remember this next time you’re in church and you are praising YHWH for your salvation. Yes, Him saving us is praiseworthy and should be celebrated, but don’t forget, He came for all of humanities sins. Not just Anglo-Saxons, Europeans, Asians, Africans, or any one group of people. He died for ALL of the WORLD’s sins. Salvation is available to all, not just a select few.

Test and Examine

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As an electrician, I find that to know what is wrong, I need to test various parts of the electrical system. Even then the problem isn’t always obvious. You have to test and examine, test and examine. Of course none of that testing and examination is worth any while if there wasn’t any standard to test and examine against. As an electrician I have the National Electrical Code to use as my standard, along with Underwriters Laboratories listings for whatever item I am looking at.

Such testing and examination isn’t limited to electrical work. It happens in all sorts of professions. Vehicle repair, home repair, even clerking at a store. We do it all the time. When we see a problem, we test and examine against whatever standard is used for the problem at hand. Yet how many Christians really, honestly, test and examine not only their own lives against Scripture – our standard for righteousness in the eyes of God – but the words of others who claim to be prophets, apostles, teachers, pastors, elders, or what have you? How many people just take at face value whatever the most popular among us claims is truth, with no regard for whether or not it holds up against Scripture.

Why would we test and examine the physical, temporary things around us yet never once question teachings that could send you to hell? Is the eternal disposition of your soul not more important then what’s wrong with your vehicle or some missing money? We are commanded to study to show ourselves ‘approved unto God’, yet how many of us don’t take the time to study and rely on the ‘profane and vain babblings’ of others (regardless of the reason)?

2 Timothy 2:15-16 (KJV)
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness

I’ll be honest, I’m as guilty as the next person. I have not been studying like I should be, and it is to my own shame, and the only one who can change that is me, just as you’re the only person who can study Scripture and open yourself to the groaning of the Spirit of God.

John 14:26 (KJV)
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 15:26-27 (KJV)
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

God is the only reliable being to whom we can go to for truth, especially spiritual revelation on the meaning of Scripture. Without that revelation, it is all foolishness. Test and examine, study, and God will reveal. There can be no understanding otherwise.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 (KJV)
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

I Am Exhausted

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alex-nagy-haircut

Alex Nagy, 16 January 2014

I imagine there comes a point in all of our lives, especially when you are walking with the LORD, that we reach a point of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual exhaustion. It’s a point I never thought I’d reach, honestly. I never thought I’d be at a point where I felt as if God wasn’t there for me. Wasn’t leading me. Wasn’t guiding me. Wasn’t talking to me. Yet we are told it is in those times He’s the closest to us, not just leading us, not just guiding us, but actually carrying us through these valleys. These times of trial and tribulation. What are we to do then? It definitely reminds me that it’s not I who is supposed to be doing anything aside from being obedient.

Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

What is there left, then?

James 1:2-6 (KJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

This is part of God’s plan, I’m sure, to finish the work in me which was begun. He will complete it.

Romans 9:28 (KJV)
28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

My only task in this is to be patient, which is not something I’m good at. I’m horrible at sitting around. I want to do something. I want to serve. I want to proclaim the gospel. It seems though, that right now, that’s not what He has in mind. I ask for your prayers, brothers and sisters. I need His guidance, His direction, His provision. I feel lost and alone, and my wife is in this with me. She’s in the same place I am. We are both struggling and need the reality of His presence in our lives.

Getting in Trouble

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It seems I cannot go more than a few days without someone telling me I’m ‘casting stones’ or being ‘condemning’ or ‘judgmental.’ It also seems that more and more ‘Christians’, for whatever reason, are becoming more and more accepting of sin. “It’s not my problem.” “It’s between them and God.” They would be right, however, this does not mean it’s okay for us to condone it. It does not mean it is okay for us to take active part in sin or the celebration thereof. Today Brother David Scullins preached on faith, and how the modern church has departed from the faith. I cannot help but agree with him as I see it all around me.

What has brought on this post, though, is another discussion centering around the case of a New Mexico photo-journalist who refused her services to a female homosexual couple. Why? Because, the photo-journalist in question said to do so would go against her religious convictions. No big deal, right? Private business deciding not to engage with two private citizens. It’s not like she’s the only photographer in New Mexico (I would hope not, otherwise she’s going to be very, very busy). Unfortunately the couple decided their rights were infringed upon (despite the photo-journalist not being an agent of the government and her services not being so wholly uniques as to not be offered by someone else) and filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission (say what?). Long story short, the photo-journalist and her husband, both Christians unwilling to be a part of this couple’s ‘special day’ (a commitment ceremony not recognized as legal in NM to begin with), have lost their case in the court system all the way up to the 10th Circuit Federal Appeals court (their lawyer has prepared an appeal to the SCOTUS). I’m not sure why any court even considered the case. This isn’t an issue in employment discrimination, the couple didn’t ask for a job. There are definitely photographers in New Mexico aside from this one woman.

For some reason, though, by following godly conviction and not having anything to do with what God considers an abomination, others – including some ‘Christians’ – feel as if the woman is being condemning or judgmental and the same of myself in defense of this seemingly godly decision. They feel that the woman should be forced to take the photos, regardless of her own personal beliefs. They feel that, somehow, because it’s the way the world is today, we shouldn’t concern ourselves with it.

Fortunately that is not the example set for us by Christ. That is not the example set for us in any of Scripture. God did not call us to be a passive people. He told us to go out, live our lives for Him and proclaim His gospel. Not some powerless, watered-down imitation of His word. He has told us what is sin, if His word is true than proclaiming it as such has nothing to do with us being condemning or judgmental. It is godly fact and nothing less. In Matthew 28:18-20 we have been given the greatest calling of all: That once we receive the power of the Holy Spirit, once we are truly born-again, we are to go out to all the world to proclaim the gospel, baptizing people in the name of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. All of the New Testament after the gospels is our example from those first disciples and apostles on how to do that. Paul didn’t send a wishy-washy letter to Rome that was all rainbows and unicorns. He reminded them of what God had already made known. He spoke to them of sin, he spoke to them of righteousness, of holiness, of setting oneself aside from the cares and the morals of this world – which are still a twisted, ugly, imitation of reality – and to cling to Christ whom was already proclaimed to them. In Paul’s letter to Ephesus, he spoke as clearly as he has ever spoken on the issue:

Ephesians 5:1-10
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

Emphasis and bolding added by me.

Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light[.]” How much clearer is it than that. Do not partake in their sins with them. Sure, the photojournalist wasn’t asked to engage in sexual acts with the couple, but how is not helping them celebrate that which God Himself has called an abomination not partaking in the ceremony? She was being asked to be part of the ceremony in some way. The last judge to rule on the issue actually had the nerve to tell her that, as part of her so-called civic duty, she had to compromise on her deeply held faith in the words of Christ Jesus. She had to deny the life which was given to her so that some couple might have a few pictures. She is still holding strong the faith of Christ, though, and I pray for her sake she is not forced to go against them.

Elane Huguenin – the photojournalist in question – is in many ways reminiscent of a guy I have come to love. Whose example to me of unshakable faith even in the eyes of certain death is such a reality to me that I too can take a hold of the reality that – regardless of what the government says – I will honor God first. Not out of some idea of legalism, but because He is my God and I love Him more than my own life. Of course I’m speaking of Daniel – and his three friends – who in the first 7 chapters of the book of Daniel show how we as Christians – living in the very heart of Babylon – can stand for God. How we can take a hold of the promise – which they didn’t even know the full measure of it – that as long as we keep God’s requirements in our hearts and serve Him willingly out of love that He will take care of us. I do not know what Elane’s Daniel moment will look-like, but I’m certain she feels like she’s being raked over those hot coals or getting ready to be locked into that lion’s den. Elane’s battle, too, is a battle for all of us, and a sign of coming persecution. We can now officially say that Christ is persecuted in America, and the only thing that will change is Holy Spirit-led revival. Leonard Ravenhill wrote a book (which I own and love, it’s a great insight) called Why Revival Tarries. The simple answer is because no one is listening to the Holy Spirit and praying in anguish over it, and in the face of over-whelming liberalism, of hell-inspired doctrine in the churches, and a willingness of so-called ‘Christians’ to bend over and reject the faith they are called to, to reject the Messiah they claim to love, in the name of toleration. Christ did not tolerate sin. Paul did not tolerate sin. James did not tolerate sin. God does not tolerate sin, nor should we. Our churches should calling this spade what it is, it should be instructing us in how to properly seek after God instead of seeking after the world.

In Psalm 1:1-6 the psalmist writes:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

If this homosexual wants to have their ceremony, so be it. Let them choose a different photographer, though. Elane isn’t standing in the way of this couple having their ungodly ceremony. Just as the pro-life sidewalk counselors cannot stop a woman from getting an abortion if she wants it, we cannot stop people from sinning, but by all that is holy, we should not be willing to take any part in such unrighteousness. Paul is clear in Galatians 2:15-21.

We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

If it is no longer we who live, but Christ in us, then so to is His righteousness imputed upon us. Does it instantly make us perfect? No, but we should have such a conviction of it in our own lives that when it happens it grieves our very soul such that we no longer have any desire to partake in it. There is such a clarity of thought and reality in the Scriptures, I am taken-aback by those who claim to be Christians but who would reject the very claims of Christ Himself. In John 8:1-11, we find a woman caught in the act of adultery, whom by under the laws of Moses she should be stoned. So many people only come away with an understanding of all of us being sinners and non-perfect. You are right, the crowd that would have condemned her were not perfect, so they left after challenged by God Himself. Yet we almost always forget Christ’s command to the woman: Go and sin no more. Not, “Go and try not to do that again.” Not, “Go and try not to sin anymore, but don’t worry because my grace will cover you.” No, He plainly and clearly told her, “Go and sin no more.” Christ had forgiven her, and by example we should forgive others when we have been wronged, and had cleansed her of her sin and told her not to sin again. He didn’t even tell her, “Go and do not commit adultery,” but left it broad enough to cover all sin. For a long time I’ve struggled with the idea of sinless perfection. I certainly know in our own, human power it’s impossible. It’s utterly unattainable. I get that, because I can look back at Israel of the Old Testament (and modern times, too) and see that no matter how much they tried to do it on their own, they couldn’t. They failed each and every time. Yet when God move and the remnant responded, who what a movement it was!

In 1 John 5, as in the rest of 1 John, he speaks of our one, overriding goal: Being like Christ.

I’m just going to leave you with the rest of the Scriptures I had prepared for this post, without any further explanation. I pray that the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to you. I pray I have provided you with enough direction to get you started.

Galatians 3:1-4
Psalm 5,15
Jude 1:3-4
Ephesians 5:25-27
Romans 12
2 Corinthians 5:9-11,14-21;6:11-18
Matthew 3:11-12;7:13-14
Mark 16:15-20

Judge Not Lest…The Heathen Ridicule You

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I have addressed this subject before, but only in passing. I fail to see, though, why a professing Christian should need any lesson on this if they have properly sought after God on the matter and not man. For the unbeliever, it is somewhat excusable that you do not understand this (or really any other) part of Scripture. Spiritual matters are spiritually discerned and, being spiritually dead, it is no wonder these matters remain a point of contention and misrepresentation amongst your own circles. The same cannot be said of the Believer who is supposed to be reborn, transformed, and redeemed. You are supposed to be awakened to these things and have a thirst for a Godly and proper understanding of any of Scripture. No, all will not be revealed at once, and like me you’ll have to engage in regular prayer and study to be found worthy of the reality-making revelation that comes only from the Holy Spirit. I will try to make things easier for all, though. My own explanation though, will be sorely lacking – and certainly shall not constitute a fuller revelation – and should not be solely relied upon for spiritual truths. As with everything, consult Scripture and consult God and test what I have to say against The Authority in all matters.

The Scripture most used when Christians – when they call sin sin – is Matthew 7:1. The entire rest of that chapter is happily ignored because for too long that one verse has been enough to silence many, many Believers as they seek to witness to others and provide them with a warning that the path they are going down is destructive. It is of no surprise, given that the truth always hurts, but in the end the truth is all their is to set men free. It was Christ Himself who said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32, KJV) The surrounding Scripture is Christ teaching a very important lesson, one that many like to ignore because for the last 50 years or so they’ve gathered to themselves preachers with slick tongues and easy-believism. The important truth: You cannot live a life IN and as a servant OF sin and call yourself a disciple of Christ Jesus. You cannot be in rebellion to God and call yourself moral, or just, or good. You cannot just hand-wave away your accountability to Almighty God just because you were saved by His grace (unmerited favor). Don’t believe me? That’s fine, this is hard to digest and even harder to /live/. How, then, can I claim such things? I can claim them because Jesus Christ Himself said them:

John 8:30-38, KJV:
As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

He also, in the preceding verses, spoke that those who abide in the Son (and who are set free) live without sin, but that those who continue in sin abide in their father (a reference to Lucifer, the father of sin since it was in his pride that he rebelled against God and convinced a third of the heavenly host to rebel with him, and in their rebellion be cast out from the presence of God). Christ Himself also asserts that in the following verses:

John 8:39-41a, KJV
They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father.

A logical fallacy, you say? I mean, it obviously is an ‘either-or’ statement (either you are with me, or you are not) but is it really a fallacy? There are only two positions you can take in regards to God. You are either His willing bondslave, or you are not. In the former you are adopted into His family and your life /will/ be transformed, or you continue to be regarded as the rebel you are. You choose to either continue in what you know is sin, or you do not. A claim to some alternative means of redemption is doctirinally false (and as such is a false teaching). A claim of any sort of redemption that allows you to continue in sin unabated is heretical to Scripture and borders on blasphemy.

I know I have seemingly wandered far away from Matthew 7:1 and it’s twisted use by the heathen and even false converts, but there is a reason. I need to set the ground for why it’s use by the heaten and false converts is twisted and inaccurate. Please, if you have read this far, continue along with me.

In John 8, Jesus continues to make the case that those He was speaking to then (and by way of Scripture to us today) could not call themselves sons of God if they continue to live in what the Almighty called sin, and He called a lot of things sin. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:22-32, KJV) “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21) That is just some of the teaching in the New Testament as to what is sin.

Of course, the argument goes, if those are still sin why aren’t Christians stoning those who are guilty of the law? Well, that really isn’t our calling. It wasn’t meant to be the calling of the Jews either but they also needed to be taught that there is punishment for breaking God’s law. Since in the Old Covenant God dealt with Israel physically (as a foreshadowing of spiritual things) so to the punishments had to be physical (foreshadowing the eternal problem of sin). The short answer is, we do not stone unbelievers because even if they do not receive a physical punishment, they are already found guilty and condemned to an eternity in Hell. No passing Go, no collecting a reward in Heaven, no eternity with the Father. You see, in addition to being a loving Father, He is also the Just Judge. As a sinner guilty of rebellion, if you do not accept the salvation of Christ Jesus He cannot and will not stand in as your propiation, and His holiness will not be imputed upon you. You will have to suffer the price of your sin instead of letting Christ do it since He has already paid the price on the Cross. That punishment alone is so serious, so permanent, that no stoning, drowning, hanging or crucifixtion could ever compare to it, and once you die, it really is too late. All of the Old Testament is a PHYSICAL foreshadowing of who God is in spirit. Unfortunately Israel as a nation never really got it in a way that was permanently imprinted into the collective consciousness. This does not, of course, take away from Israel’s place as God’s Chosen, nor does it take away their inheritance from Him, that though is another post for another season.

We are taught that the fulfillment of the law is in love, and one cannot say that they love God if they live in sin, and they cannot say that they love their neighbor if they do not warn them of the danger they are in. If you are not a True Believer, you are very much in danger of hellfire. That is neither condemnation nor judgment on my part. It is a warning given in love. If I did not love you, I would not tell you of the very real and eternal peril you are in.

Romans 13:8-14, KJV
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Galatians 5:13-18,KJV
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”

1 John 3:11-15, KJV
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”

1 John 4:7-17, KJV
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”

I think, though, that the one of the greatest chapters in the Gospels is John 14, which I shall not copy paste as it is short enough that I shall not miss you if you go and read it if you need to refresh yourselves before continuing, which speaks volumes about God’s (and therefore Christ’s) love for us, and the love which we are to show one another. I do so love one promise that seems to be ignored, though, and that is found in verse 12: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” We are given the full power and authority of Christ Jesus. Not some. Not just a part. All. Of. It. We are called to preach the full Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not the easy parts. Not the soft parts. All. Of. It. That includes preaching the repentance of sins. To do that, though, one must call sin, sin. This brings us back to Matthew 7 (and not just the first, easy to twist, verse). You see, in order to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to do so with His authority, with His power, we need to know not only what it is, but have allowed God to excise it from our lives for it is only then we are mimputed His righteousness, and that is what Matthew 7:1-5 boils down to: righteous versus unrighteous judgment. The mote (or plank, or whatever) being spoke of in verses 3-5 is sin in our own lives. We cannot (and have no right to) call out sin in the lives of others if we have first not dealt with our own and by our honest and true conversion into a bondslave of Christ the issue should have been dealt with, clearing up our own eyes so that we may honestly and in love preach to others. Let verse 6 be a warning, though: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” What exactly is Christ saying? Well, if Scripture is holy, we should not cast it before the dogs or swine (those heathens whom have hardened their hearts totally in regards to God and His full and complete word). In other words, if someone has demonstrated they are not willing to listen, quit preaching to them lest they tear you limb from limb. Pray for them, love them, but move on. They have chosen their path and have condemned themselves. Our judgment is not in condmenation, for it cannot be. The Just, Holy, Pure, Loving, Wrathful, Envious, Perfect Judge has already declared them rebells, and they go to a hell of their own making.

Paul Washer said it best, I think, in response to those who exlaim, “Judge not lest ye be judged”: Twist not scripture lest ye be like Satan. Those who do not listen to the word of God, and whom seek to twist it in a vain attempt at justifying their sinful lives, are condemned by their own mouths and hands. Those whom have hardened their hearts to the truth will not listen to anyone, no matter how loudly or lovingly you proclaim Truth to them. God’s answer is simple: Leave them be. Stand not in their way. We have a duty to expose sin, to preach repentence, and do so all in love. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

May God’s peace be with you all.

A Voice Crying In the Wilderness

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John 1:23

He said: “I am

‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord,”

as the prophet Isaiah said.”

Take a look around you and ask yourself, “Is the way of the LORD made straight?” I think a resounding answer, even in many of our own lives, would be “No, it isn’t.” Murder. Thievery. Homosexuality. Divorce. Adultery. Pornography. Witchcraft. Idolatry. Greed. Sloth. Gluttony. Drunkenness. Lewdness. Pride.

People claim to have a morality, but they base it on the changing views of society. They base it on whatever culture seems acceptable. They seem to think that morality is some man-made thing, and therefore it changes with the times. They never question the illogical premise behind that. They never ask, “Well, if it is man-made, how did it come about in the first place?” You see, to have a sense of morality, a knowing of wrong from right, you need someone to tell you wrong from right, and you need someone to hold you to that standard, otherwise anything is justifiable. As long as it’s culturally acceptable.

We talk of sin and righteousness as if these concepts are somehow man-made. I’ll grant you they are man abused. Tyrants of all sorts have justified all sorts of things by twisting these concepts to their own gain. Men like Hitler. Mao. Lenin. Stalin. Kings. Queens. Dictators. Generals. Preachers. Teachers. Parents. Politicians. Lawyers.

“Make straight the way of the Lord,”

Yet known of them dare bring up any evidence of where they get their standing from. If they did we’d all see these impostors for what they were. Liars. Cheats. Swindlers. False teachers. John the Baptist face a similar crowd of people back in Israel over 2,000 years ago. The priests and Levites of his day were so full of themselves. Puffed up with knowledge and lacking in understanding. He stood before them then and told them plainly what his mission was. He quoted Scripture they should have known. If they had had any relationship with God they would have understood.

People like to try and say that the culture back then is nothing like it is today, that such things like homosexuality were unheard of. Yet back in Exodus, we have God specifically telling people to quit in that very behavior. We try to hold ourselves up as different. New. What our society is like now is nothing like back then. What rubbish. The only thing different today from back then is that we can spread ideas faster than ever before. The ideas, though, have remained the same. The behavior. The wickedness men and women choose to engage in. The thought processes. Do you think that there weren’t atheists back then? People who didn’t believe in any god, much less the One True God? Back then they were just called what they were: rebels and heathens. Do you think Plato’s contemporaries were any different than our contemporaries? NAMBLA is made up of people who would love to go back to the grotesqueness of Greek society, with all its societal acceptances. Do you think Hitler is unique in his attempts to eradicate the Jews? Do you think Stalin is unique in his oppression of his citizens? Do you think Mao was unique in his application of communism? Do you think Marx was the first to propose such ideas? Dawkins isn’t the first (nor will be the last) to puff up man above God. Nietzsche wasn’t the first to put forth the idea of “the death of God” or “life-affirmation”.

Fundamentally the only difference between us and John the Baptist’s contemporaries is technology and time. Fundamentally, the ills we face today are no different then they were 100, 200, 400, 800, or even 2,000 years go. You could go back to Adam and Even and see the same problems repeating themselves. Murder. Thievery. Homosexuality. Divorce. Adultery. Pornography. Witchcraft. Idolatry. Greed. Sloth. Gluttony. Drunkenness. Lewdness. Pride. Most churches today aren’t fundamentally different from the Pharisees and Rabbis and priests and Levites, either. Constantly focused physical blessing. Land. Money. Power. Popularity. They were more concerned with looking good to as many people as possible instead of looking good to Him from whom all goodness flows. They care nothing of sacrifice. They care nothing of love. They care nothing of humility. Today we still haven’t made straight the way of the Lord. We continue to look to ourselves, to society, to people, for things such as affirmation, esteem, provision, and even our health. Sure, man can temporarily provide those things for us, but it is all fleeting. It is all vanity.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?
One generation passes away, and another generation comes;
But the earth abides forever.
The sun also rises, and the sun goes down,
And hastens to the place where it arose.
The wind goes toward the south,
And turns around to the north;
The wind whirls about continually,
And comes again on its circuit.
All the rivers run into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full;
To the place from which the rivers come,
There they return again.
All things are full of labor;
Man cannot express it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor the ear filled with hearing.

That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which it may be said,
“See, this is new”?
It has already been in ancient times before us.
There is no remembrance of former things,
Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come
By those who will come after.

We pretend many things. We pretend to understand the weather, the climate, the origin of ourselves and all life on earth. We pretend to understand the cycles that seem to dominate this planet. We ask “Why?” when the very earth seems to open up and swallow us up. Destroying our cities, destroying lives, destroying hope. We run in terror when the very sky seems to want to destroy us, sucking us up with violent force, destroying all in its path – that is, except for the seemingly chosen things it doesn’t even touch. We board up homes, build up levees and dikes, and pray when the heavens open up and rain down in such force as make the seas swell and the rains fall. We fly planes above them, trying to study what makes them tick. We pretend to understand how they are formed and why they choose the paths they choose. We shudder in terror as the lightening flashes and the thunder rolls, both terrified and in awe at the raw power on display.

No, nothing has changed. Ideas travel faster, and we seem to have a handle on recording our knowledge instead of passing it down orally, but nothing truly fundamental has changed about humans. We still choose the easy ways. We still seek the path of least resistance as if we are on some sort of lightening bolt of sin and, because it is easier to just go with the flow, we have drafted up all sorts of idiotic theories as to why God doesn’t really exist, as to how morality is reached by consensus and not something absolute and unchanging, or – within the church world – how we are all fundamentally created sinners (in contradiction to the text you are supposed to be teaching) and that it’s okay. Grace will see you through. No, God’s unmerited favor will not see you through. However, your choices and actions will send you straight to hell.

“Make straight the way of the Lord,”

We talk of purpose driven lives, of crazy love, and of blessings of all sorts, yet no one talks about repentance. No one talks of truly being like Christ. No one talks about how we were made in perfection and are condemned to hell because the choices we make do not line up with the way we are supposed to be living our lives. No one talks about rejecting the things of this world because no one wants to accept the things of God. No one wants to talk about sacrifice. Hardship. Trials. Tribulations. No one wants to talk about these things because they are not popular. Do you think Peter’s wife was comfortable with him walking away from his day job? Do you think the fathers of the first 12 were proud of their sons for following Christ? I imagine not. Our own fathers today don’t teach their children to reject the world, they don’t teach their children that to follow Christ means to sacrifice everything including your family. We have fathers who don’t even want their own children and take their girlfriends and wives to abortion clinics to murder the unborn, all in the name of choice and consequence-free sin. These men are worse than those who abandon their children, I think. At least those children were given a chance at life, to make something better of themselves, to have a chance at becoming Sons and Daughters of God Almighty.

Choice. Do you not think induced abortions weren’t common? Do you think a clothes-hanger had to be invented first before someone decided they had a right to try and kill their own child? Do you think disgusting parents who degrade their children for making mistakes are only a modern phenomenon? We are taught in Scripture to not bring our children to wrath.

Ephesians 6:1-4

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Yet we belittle them. We antagonize them. We berate them. Instead of showing love we show condemnation. Instead of teaching repentance we teach only discipline. Instead of modeling God we model Lucifer. It’s no wonder modern abortions are so popular. It’s no wonder we have a modern culture of death. It’s no wonder there is no real reform in the penal code. We only seek to punish. We only seek to hate.

Yes, fornication is sin and it should not be acceptable, but what is done is done. Rejoice instead of the life before you. Stand up and make straight the way of the Lord. Teach the next generation better. Model Christ better. This is not a letting off the hook for the sin, there will be an accounting for that, but God is the final arbitar. Call sin sin, but do so with a loving heart, a tender hand, and show them exactly what it means to be Christian. What it means to make straight the way of the Lord.

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