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Moral Standing: Who Has It?

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As is typical, I have left a comment on something and have had people try to pull the rug out from under me because the Truth is – as usual – unpopular. The debate raging this time, and in which I have decided to withdraw from given the hostile response I have (once again) received, is over that hot-button issue: abortion. I’m not sure if you will be able to see the thread, it would help if you had a Facebook account, but in case you don’t have one, I will post a cut-tag and post the screen-shots of the discussion (with identifying information obscured aside from what is helpful in following the conversation).

On to the subject itself. It seems there are many misconceptions about when life begins, much less about abortion itself. I’ll focus solely on medical/scientific views on life for now. We’ll explore the Biblical view of life here shortly.
Myths About Abortion:

  1. Doctor’s do not know when life begins.
    Well, that’s not exactly true. According to this CNN article, the point at which life begins (fertilization) is not debated but a law to protect the life of the newly formed human being. I won’t get into that particular debate, but I do support personhood initiatives. Another article, found here, seeks to explore the issue as well, with the first argument coming from doctors and scientists (doctors and biologists). The conclusion is foregone and should not be subject to debate. It would seem neither come to any conclusions, but in fact they do. The CNN article ends on the quote: After fertilization, “it’s a complete human being in the process of development. It deserves protection of the law.” Certainly the author of the article could have gone further and – given CNN’s liberal bias – sought a quote from a pro-choice advocate. In not doing so, I feel the conclusion that Dr. Harrison came to – devoid of any rebuttal by the other debate participant on the subject – is the correct one, scientifically life begins at fertilization.
  2. We’re not human until we’re born
    This one is just as silly as the first one and is rebutted with the same articles. For the embryo to develop inside a human female, it must be human. Just as dogs cannot give birth to anything but dogs (and I hate using such a turpid comparison, but its the only one some people will understand), humans cannot give birth to anything but humans, and if a human female is giving birth to a human, it had to be human from the start. This is a self-proving statement folks. Basic Biology 101 will confirm this, regardless of any personally held beliefs.
  3. Abortion is not murder because abortion is not illegal.
    This is really a fallacious argument. Regardless of its legal status, the fact remains – as shown above – that abortion requires at least two people (the consent of the mother and the act of the doctor or clinician) to end another person’s life. It’s legality aside, if anyone else but the mother and her doctor killed that baby, it would be murder and the person responsible would be charged with such. This happens quite often. My question is this: Why is it illegal for someone to come up and punch a pregnant woman in her belly resulting in the termination of her pregnancy, but it’s quite all right for her and her doctor to not only make arrangements to do so but to carry them out as well? Why is it a baby in the one sense and not a baby in the second sense? The thought process alone is debilitatingly outrageous. It is the clearest example of a double-standard, one which needs to end. Either make it legal for someone to come up and punch pregnant women in the belly (resulting in the termination of the pregnancy) or make abortion illegal. We cannot have it both ways.

Myths debunked, unfortunately these same, tired arguments keep getting tossed back in the face of anyone who dares to question them, with no evidence for the opposite viewpoints aside from strongly held beliefs. Why do people, then, continue to support abortion, say it’s not murder, and that the developing baby isn’t human or a baby or even a child? Scripture gives us the answer to this question.

Isaiah 44:24
Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Isaiah 49:5
And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Psalm 127:3
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Psalm 139:13-16
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

God seems pretty clear on the subject. Life begins in the womb, and spiritual life before then (how else could He know us before then aside from having foreknowledge of us).

This debate isn’t about so-called reproductive rights. If it were, people would be telling you that you can’t have sex. This is about the legal murder of over 50 million children since Roe v. Wade, the deaths of every woman whom has ever died from having an abortion (from before Roe v. Wade and after), and the moral turpitude that goes along with such disgusting upholding of the ‘legal’ killing of children. Often you hear the cry, especially when liberals want gun-control or some other right taken away from otherwise law-abiding citizens, but in this issue the cry is no-where to be found, instead you hear their true battle cry: “What about me?”

They like to claim Christians are somehow selfish because we seek to hold ourselves and our nation to a higher, absolute moral standard. That somehow we’re all hypocrites because of the actions of others. We’re told in abortion every case is really different but that same standard is lost when they look at us. Yes, there are Christians-in-name-only who are hypocritical, hateful, self-serving slime. There are Christians-in-name-only who have no love for their fellow man and only seek to hate others and be as loud as they can with it. There are Christians-in-name-only who are only interested in draining your wallet while enlarging theirs. Scripture even foretells of this (boy, I like how God seems to get it right each and every time He says something is going to happen in a certain way, not even Nostradamus gets it 100% of the time, fancy that) being the case, especially in the end times. People call us bigots, judgemental, condemning, and every other sort of vile name when sin is pointed out. Sure we aren’t perfect, but those of us who really are Christians also have a measure of discernment over what is going on. We can see sin for what it is and we don’t point it out in condemnation or judgement, God has already said those who reject Him have judged and condemned themselves, but in an effort to get you to see that your house is on fire. That what you are doing or have done or continue to do has set you on a path to destruction. You may not believe us, which is fine. I for one know when I’m barking up the wrong tree. It’s why I ended my discussion on Facebook. The people who chimed in for abortion have already decided to stop listening to God. They’ve made up their minds, hardened their hearts (perhaps irrevocably), and are now committed to whatever cause that fancies them. If you won’t listen, then at least stop being a hypocrite yourself and quit trying to force your moral turpitude on those of us who desire to live our lives to a higher, absolute standard.

Joshua 24:15
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

What follows after the cut is, in order, the screen-shot’s from the discussion on Facebook that prompted this post.

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Do You Really Think That?

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Sometimes I really wonder – especially when people complain about how hard their elders preach – if people really think being a Christian is all fun, games, and love? Sure, love is a part of it, but not the conditional love you may be used to receiving or giving. You know, the “I’ll love you forever, but only if you met my arbitrary conditions.” The high rate of divorce in this country (and elsewhere) just shows how imperfect that love is (and we won’t even discuss the sky-rocketing domestic violence numbers in Massachusetts with homosexual partnerships). The love Christ and God speaks of can only flow from Him, an unconditional love that wants all to turn away from that which He has decreed as a crime (or, in common parlance, sin) against Him and His creation. Lust isn’t love. Sex isn’t love. Hate isn’t love. Pride isn’t love. Greed isn’t love. Slothfulness isn’t love.

And you think your preacher telling you the truth is hard? Try being that preacher. That man of God who stands unwaveringly for God and His Word alone. Try being unpopular. Hated. Despised. Ridiculed. Ignored. Think you have a tough job? Try telling the truth sometime before a group of people you know and love. Try it again from the street corner.

People who tell the truth in this world have the uncanny ability to be labelled as whack-jobs, nutters, hate-mongers, and every vile name imaginable. Why? Because they not only stand for something, they stand for the one thing which shines a light on the very things people today want to engage in. Every vile sin, every time you’ve hated someone, every time you’ve lusted after someone, every time you’ve lied (little white lies count here, too) to someone. Having such a spot-light shone on one’s self isn’t pleasant. It isn’t easy. As a matter of fact it’s entirely unbearable, yet people continue to reject the one who took upon Himself the punishment for all of those sins, thinking that if they can just get deeper in the shadows they’ll be okay.

Do you really think it’s easy proclaiming truth when you’re hated for it? Persecuted for it? Killed for it? Do you think Bible-preaching, God-fearing men and women enjoy being tortured for the truth? It certainly doesn’t win us popularity contests, doesn’t help us get work to support our families, doesn’t win us any friends (and believe me, we do cherish those we have, so much so we continue to preach the truth).

Why do we do it? Consider this:

When you see your neighbour doing something, say building a fire pit, and you know it’s too close to the house to be safe, do you just go across the street and tell him that all he has to do is love his home-builder and all will be fine? Do you not realize that just because he loves his home-builder doesn’t mean that when he lights a fire in that fire pit not only will he lose his home, and possessions, and possibly family in the process? I imagine though you are, however, the sort of neighbour who will tell his neighbour he needs to stop what he is doing and reconsider his actions, that if he continues down that path he will lose everything. As men and women of God, proclaimers of the Truth – not the Joel Osteen or T. D. Jakes or Rick Warren (boy, I have a lot of names I could name here) watered down false gospel – but the actual truth of the Bible. You cannot live in sin and still call yourself Christian. Period. How do I know? Scripture says so.

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Do you think Jesus Himself enjoyed the persecution? The ridicule? The torture? The false condemnation? The agony of the painful death he endured? No, but He preached the Truth anyway. Even if He could reach one soul, that he or she might be saved for God’s glory, it was worth it. Every stone they wanted to throw, every vile word and accusation against Him, the temptations of Satan himself, the agony, the pain, the humiliation. Every last bit of it was worth it if only one person was reached. If God could only reach and save one person from burning down their own house.

Next time you think some preacher or man or woman of God is being too hard, or too judgemental, look at Scripture. You’ve already been judged and condemned by your own words and actions. If someone says to you, “Look out! You’re heading on a path to destruction! Stop! For the love of God, please stop,” don’t look at them and hate them for pointing it out. As disciples of Christ we are tasked with proclaiming truth, and yes we need to be doing it with a supernatural, unconditional love that only God can provide. Those who think they are doing Christ’s work but spew nothing but vitriolic hate will have no part in Heaven. God has already said that, too.

I promise you one thing and one thing only: If I am up in front of my church, or sitting behind my computer screen, or driving down the road, I am doing my best to show the love of Christ. That means though that often what I have to say will be hard to hear, and even harder to understand. I do it because I love God so much that I cannot do anything else. I cannot sit by while people burn their homes down. I just love you all too much to sit by and do nothing.

The Comforter Has Come

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I would like to start off by sharing with you a sermon by Elder David Scullins.

Unfortunately someone had to respond to the video. Generally such responses are not an issue but this individual not only made some wild, unscriptural claims, but in the process denies God’s very Word on the matter, twisting Scripture to their own interpretation and holding themselves up on a rather high pedestal. The claim being made is that the Holy Spirit is not an aspect of God, His Spirit in-dwelling us as we embrace the fullness of the salvation His Son paid for, but that The Comforter is an actual person and that the respondent is indeed The Comforter spoke of in Scripture.

Unfortunately YouTube won’t let me even get part of the way into dealing with this, as they limit responses to some arbitrary length of characters, so I intend to list the Scriptures here. I will not be linking to the YouTube respondent as I have no desire to spread such blasphemous teachings.

First and foremost in Brother Scullin’s sermon is John 14:26:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

This is a huge statement. Christ has just told His disciples that God will be sending the Holy Spirit in Christ’s name to teach them all they need, causing them to remember all Christ taught, and in so doing bringing to them the full revelation of what it all meant. We can see this happened by the teachings of Peter, Paul, Luke, Jesus’ half-brother James and the unknown author of Hebrews. We know when it happened (the day of Pentecost). We know how it happened. We know the result of it happening.

How then can someone be claiming to be that Comforter today, over 2,000 years after the fact? I’m not really certain aside from them being under the influence of the enemy and 6 years of twisting Scripture to their own purpose (the individual made the claim they spent 6 years studying Scripture to be able to back up their claim).

I guess at this point, you are wondering, if one person can claim it, what Scriptures might they have used?

To be honest, I’m not sure. All references in Scripture to the Holy Spirit, or God’s Spirit, all refer to it indwelling people and it not being a person. Here are those Scriptures, in order that I have found them.

Psalm 51:10-12
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

“Do not take your Holy Spirit from me,” the Psalmist writes. To beg God not to take His Holy Spirit from him, the Holy Spirit had to be with him, indwelling him and teaching him all things God wanted him to know. Crying out to God, asking for Him to create a clean hear and renew a steadfast spirit within him. Oh what a joy it must have been for the Psalmist, knowing God dwelt within him, and what a saddening event it must have been for him to cry out to God asking for this in the first place.

Isaiah 63:9-12
In all their affliction He was afflicted,
And the Angel of His Presence saved them;
In His love and in His pity He redeemed them;
And He bore them and carried them
All the days of old.
But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit;
So He turned Himself against them as an enemy,
And He fought against them.

Then he remembered the days of old,
Moses and his people, saying:
“Where is He who brought them up out of the sea
With the shepherd of His flock?
Where is He who put His Holy Spirit within them,
Who led them by the right hand of Moses,
With His glorious arm,
Dividing the water before them
To make for Himself an everlasting name,

Again we see talk of His Holy Spirit, and again we see mention of it indwelling within people.

Daniel 4:7-9
Then the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in, and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation. But at last Daniel came before me (his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told the dream before him, saying: “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.

Daniel 4:18
“This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”

Daniel 5:11
There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers.

To unequivocally declare that the Spirit of the Living God does not indwell us is a complete and utter denial of Scripture. All throughout Scripture we find people in whom the Spirit of God dwelt. Let’s continue with some more examples.

Mark 13:11
But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

The only way for the Holy Spirit to speak for them is if it was indwelling them, giving them divine inspiration with which to answer instead of them relying on their human minds. They were to process all things through the Spirit, not the flesh.

Luke 1:41
And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:67
Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

Luke 2:25
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

Luke 4:1
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

Luke 11:13
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Luke 12:11-12
“Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Not only will the Spirit indwell us, but it will teach us (remember John 14:26?).

John 20:21-23
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Acts 1:1-8
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:16
“Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus;

Acts 2:4
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And so on. The Comforter has come, and all who shall believe in Him who sent Him shall be indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God. Let no one deceive you of these things which through Holy Scripture we are taught.

Praise be to God.

Why I Love Kate Walsh

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According to some people (especially in the pro-life movement and Kristen Walker, author of this article, you can find the original article here), Kate Walsh deserves to be vilified, hated, have foul names heaped upon her, and generally disregarded as a human being. A few short months ago I might have supported such a view and maybe even heaped a few names on her myself. Fortunately God got a hold of me and said, “What are you doing? Didn’t you understand what I said in Psalm 1 when I said you aren’t to stand in the way of sin?” I didn’t, and as I prayed over not only that Psalm, but every word of God that has been shown to me, I began to have an inkling of what it means. I don’t have a full understanding, but here are some of the things I’ve come to understand.

  1. Standing in the way of sin means to prevent others, presumably by force, from committing them.
    • As individuals we are not to stand in the way of anyone doing as they wish. God will deal with us all in our due time and we can only stand or fall for our own actions. Kate Walsh is no exception. With the world (those who reject God) already condemned, we have no right to call her – or others – vile names, insult her, or try to be condemning. Calling sin sin is not condemnation but truth. Telling everyone she is going to hell – though while true as long as she remains unrepentant and unsaved – is not only condemning, but more than likely to distance her even more from God because of the actions of those who claim to be His disciples. She isn’t our enemy anyways. Ephesians 6:12 makes clear who our enemy is: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Pray for Kate Walsh, show her love and mercy so that she may know God as we know Him.
  2. We cannot stop people from sinning, no matter how well intentioned our laws are.
    • No matter how much love and good intentions we put into laws, it won’t stop crimes from being committed. Look at the failed War on (some) drugs. It has done nothing to help anyone. It is only making criminals out everyone instead of treating them. It’s not stopped murders, rapes, incest, or anything else we have laws against. Look at drunk driving in any country. Despite laws, and even cultures that embrace responsible drinking, people still act irresponsibly. They still break laws and commit sins. No amount of laws passed will stop that.
  3. Even if she were our enemy, we should be showing her love.
    • Matthew 5:42-48 states “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect., and from Romans 12:17-21 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. it seems quite clear to me that the best way to “stick it” to the pro-choice crowd, if you want to think of it that way, is to show love and compassion, preach the word of God, and pray for them. Let’s quit with the vitriol and hate.
  4. I posted a while back on judging and condemning, rebuking improper use of Scripture. Perhaps I need to revisit that topic.
    • There certainly seems to be some who have not heeded Christ’s teaching on this. I know I certainly still need practice. The condensed, Reader’s Digest ™, version is this: By hating we are committing murder in God’s eyes. If we hate Kate Walsh, and in God’s eyes are just as guilty of murder, how can that not be a plank in our own eye which we don’t notice? Quit hating her. Definitely boycott her show, we are supposed to abhor what is evil, but don’t hate her. As an unbeliever she’s already condemned. Don’t put yourself in danger of hellfire just to soothe your outrage. Pray for her, love on her, preach to her. If she receives it, then it is to her gain and God’s glory.
  5. Repentance is available to all.
    • How quickly we forget that we were once like her. Unrepentant, God-hating, ugly little people. If David Berkowtiz (infamous Son of Sam killer) can repent, surely Kate Walsh isn’t so far gone that her heart has been totally hardened. Pray for Kate to repent and pray for the leaders of government and Planned Parenthood to turn away from this grievous crime against man and God.

That is why I love Kate Walsh. Not because I have any power to do so, not because I support abortion, but because God loved me while I was still a sinner, and offered His Son as payment for my sins. It seems to me that some of us have forgotten that.

Folly of the Godless

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Opening Thoughts

If I was a betting man, I would lay a lot of money on the table betting on how many people will call this post judgmental or condemning and consider quoting the first few verses of Matthew 7 at me (chiefly the first one, and maybe verse 2 if they are feeling particularly plucky). It would be almost foolish to bet against me, though. Since I am not a betting man, though, you can put your anti-gambling rhetoric back into the closet.

Some of you might recognize this title being the same as Psalm 53. That just happens to be the Psalm I wish to bring up, amongst some others. Chiefly this post only really aims to reflect some nascent thoughts I have on this – as well as the others taken together – and not really much else. Still, there is the matter of the above proposed bet (it really is tempting to make it, though).

The Milk

I am calling this section “The Milk” for a particular reason. Not that this topic is a basic one, as I don’t believe it to be, but that my thoughts on it are basic. Soft, easy to digest, and generally tasty straight from the source (we don’t use homogenized/pasteurized (man’s doctrine) Milk in this House).

Without further ado…

Psalm 53 – This psalm really brings to light not our sin-nature (to claim such a nature is to claim God made us imperfect, I will address that later) but our free-will rejection of God. Because of this, as a whole, we are guilty of rebellion against not just our Creator, but our Lord and Savior. The promise in this, though, is that He awaits for us with open arms to return to Him.

Psalm 52 – Those who boast in evil will be destroyed as the righteous look on, those who trust in God will be spared. Those looking to take the “Cafeteria Christian” car on the train to heaven should beware.

Psalm 50 – God is the righteous judge who will judge everyone (whether or not you believe in Him). True Believers will not be rebuked for keeping His word (not out of legalism or some mystical idea, but true devotion to it for the sake of pleasing God). The wicked, however, will be rebuked.

Psalm 51, Matthew 12:31-32, and Luke 13:1-5 – God desires repentance. He wants us to approach Him with a ‘broken and contrite heart’; those who reject God do not repent because they refuse to believe they are wrong.

Genesis 1:26-31 and Genesis 3:1-7 – Not only were we created as perfect beings, we were giving free will, making us free moral agents, able to accept or reject God. There is no such thing as a ‘sin-nature’ because such a nature goes against His word. God does not create junk or imperfect beings. The angels too were created as such, and this is how one can choose to deceive himself and 1/3 of the heavenly host into rebelling against God. Why then, is sin so prevalent in the world? Because Adam and Eve brought it in with their own rebellion against God. With sin all around us, and sin being easier to keep than righteousness, is it any wonder our world is in such a state?

2 Timothy 3:1-9 – These are the traits of the ungodly. People who claim to believe in God but live as if He doesn’t exist.

Psalm 36 – God accepts no wickedness. There is hope, though, as He is merciful. Repent and ye shall be saved.

John 14:15-17 – The world does not receive God or His Helper (the Holy Spirit) because they reject Him, and such rejection blinds them to His presence, love, and most importantly, mercy.

Closing Remarks

I might have more later on.

Biblical Churches Start With A Biblical Structure

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I’m sure I’m going to create a lot of controversy over this, but I’m going to forge ahead because I think it’s time I started to try and address this more cohesively.

First and foremost, there is no question as to the intended gender restrictions God put in place. No where in Scripture is there ever talked about a female elder. Yes, there was one female prophet, but only because there was no man who would step up and say “Yes, I’ll be Your mouthpiece, Lord.” The men of her time should have been deeply shamed. As men, God entrusted us with physical strength, decisiveness, and other leadership traits. As men, we have been entrusted with the defense (spiritual and physical) of not only our households but our churches and nations. Men today should be ashamed when their church, community, and country are in need of such Godly leadership and women have to step up to fill in the gap. Today our heads have been so polluted by the liberal garbage the popular culture spits out were willing to accept it as normal to have women in the non-traditional roles they are in today. The most damning are those in so-called pastoral roles in churches who thought it more important to satisfy man than it was to satisfy God by allowing women to assume the role of pastor/elder in their respective churches. Where are the manly-men of God? How can any congregation claim to be biblical, with true men of God in them, and have a woman being their undersheperd? I don’t mean to say God won’t speak through women. Look at the New Testament. There were definitely women in active, ministerial roles (Priscilla with her husband, Pheobe, and possibly more not mentioned). They were not, however, ordained elders or deacons. The new Testament, in several spots, clearly defines the role of elder and deacon as roles for men.

The qualifications for elder are outlined clearly in Paul’s first letter to Timothy.
1 Timothy 3:1-7:

  1. Verse 2
    • Blameless
    • Husband of one wife
    • temperate
    • sober-minded
    • of good behavior
    • hospitable
    • able to teach
  2. Verse 3
    • not given to wine
    • not violent
    • not greedy for money
    • gentle
    • not quarrelsome
    • not covetous
  3. Verse 4
    • Rules his own house well
    • His children in submission with all reverence
  4. Verse 6
    • not a novice
  5. Verse 7
    • Must have a good testimony amongst non-believers

The male pronoun is used by God through Paul very purposefully. Today’s compromise by those who call themselves churches is unbelievable and should be unconscionable to those who Believe. I have no qualms in telling such groups they are wrong and are operating outside of God’s standards. It is both part of my duty as a fellow believer to show my Brother or Sister where they are wrong and to continue to love them regardless. As much as so-called “enlightened” man would like to say it is okay, it just doesn’t line up with God’s word and His standard is the only one to live by – especially those calling themselves disciples of Christ. Also, further evidence of male-leadership is established in the Old Testament and the establishment of the Levitical order. From Aaron on down all the priests were to be male. Not once does it talk of a female priestess.

That isn’t all, though. In the case of deacons (which were instituted early on in the church, see Acts 6 for more details, though I will touch on the chapter briefly in a moment) Paul continues writing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the following.
1 Timothy 3:8-13

  1. Verse 8
    • reverent
    • not double-tongued
    • not given to much wine
    • not greedy for money
  2. Verse 9
    • holding to the faith with a pure conscious
  3. Verse 10
    • Tested
    • found blameless
  4. Verse 11, which also gives qualifications for a deacon’s wife
    • reverent wife
    • not slanderers
    • temperate
    • faithful in all things
  5. Verse 12
    • the husband of one wife
    • rule their children and houses well

Now the issue here isn’t gender, it is clear that seven men were chosen and anointed by God. The issue I wish to discuss is both the plurality (in other words, more than one) and also the deacon’s assigned role. As Acts 6 starts out, we see a Church in which the disciples of Christ are growing in number, and as they do, real and specific needs come to the attention of the elders (namely the 12 apostles, those chosen by Christ Himself). That is, the resources of the church were not being handled with any sort of fairness. Not surprising given the combination of people and money. God already foresaw this and through the Holy Spirit, the elders directed the people in what was to be done. The choosing of 7 men whom would be prayed over and anointed. There was no panicked rush, but a calm directing. The job of the deacons then is now as it was then: meeting the physical needs of fellow believers using the resources of the church. They didn’t sit on a board and direct the affairs of the elders (the Holy Spirit, God, and Jesus did that just well without man’s influence), and it certainly wasn’t their job to hire a new elder when one retired/died/etc.

Please don’t take this to mean women shouldn’t be involved in ministry. The book of Acts does refer to Pheobe as a deaconess, but there is no indication she was an anointed deacon. The word deacon has several meanings in the New Testament, the basic meaning though is “servant” and this is clearly how Pheobe is being referred to. Certainly there would be more than one verse talking of Pheobe if God had anointed a woman to serve as He had anointed Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas. There is also the case of Priscilla and her husband who are described as a husband and wife working in ministry with one another. As I’ve discussed in an earlier blog post, there is no doubt that Priscilla’s husband was the head of their household.

In essence, the basic structure of the Church is thus:
God/Jesus/Holy Spirit as it’s head.
Male elders as the mouthpiece of God.
Male deacons as the hands and feet of Christ.
Congregation as the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 5:22-34 is also a picture of the structure of the Church and not just the household.

Such a structure isn’t optional, and your grandfather’s church not doing it that way is not an excuse for you to not being willing to conform yourself to His will. Your grandfather will answer his maker for his own self, and you for your own self. Don’t let the false traditions of man keep you from having the commandments of God not only written on your heart but lived out in your life.

It isn’t legalism to keep God’s standards if you do so out of a desire to please Him. It is legalism if you’re only keeping His commandments to say you are keeping them.

Good Work, Godly Work

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Good Work

There seems to be some (erroneous) belief that you cannot run a godly business today. That somehow, the laws and morals of this world make it absolutely impossible to honor God with our talents and skills (both of which He has provided). Or that, in running a Godly business, you have to somehow force your beliefs on someone else if they work for you.

I stand before God and declare to all of you that such is completely false. Not only can you honor God, you can hire non-believers and never once force your beliefs on them, though of course it is a great chance to minister to them in how you run your business and deal with not just them but others as well. Your actions will go so much further than any words you could share with them.

I have recently started moving forward with two businesses of my own. Not because I have any great business acumen but because this is where I felt God leading me before my cancer, and he burden He has lain on my heart hasn’t changed since. God told me to go, His word said He has already provided all I need for ministry, so I just needed to go.

Since God said it, and His word doesn’t return void, I have taken hold of it and gone forth. I haven’t regretted a minute of it, even though sometimes I wish I wasn’t self-employed, the good work I have been doing (and the awesome customers I’ve been getting) has reinforced my belief God truly is leading me to ministry through my skills and talents. He’s provided, and I know as long as I remain faithful, He will continue to provide what I need, when I need it.

Godly Business

How does run a Godly business, then? Well, the first place God took me in Scriptures was the Psalms. You wouldn’t believe how how much in Psalms applies to doing business. Psalm 1 really sets the foundation, not just for personal interactions, but business ones as well. God makes no distinction between the two, you see. No where in Scripture does God say “And this only applies to your personal lives” or “And this only applies to doing business.” He does, however, outline how women are to conduct themselves in business (Proverbs 31:10-31). It is no different to the men, who are indeed held to a much, much higher standard as they are Christ’s representatives in the household (Ephesians 5:22-33).

There are tons more Scripture the Lord revealed to me (some I was already aware of) to show me just how serious He is:
Psalms 1: God knows not just our hearts and intentions, but our actions. Not only does this apply to how we deal with unbelievers (we preach to and teach them as we are led by the Spirit) but how we conduct ourselves in all situations. As True Believers, one cannot separate their faith from any other aspect of their life. Doing so says that you believe God has no business there. Its simply untrue, given how everything we have comes from God to begin with. Government, money, relationships, sexuality. It all comes from Him and it all comes with caveats that He has placed on a people unable to restrain themselves in any type of sin. I try to live this in how I deal with customers and potential customers. My delight is in the LORD, no matter what may become of a bid (that isn’t to say I’m not hurt when I lose one, but it is just one of those things that goes with the territory).

Psalms 15: This is a hard one to live by. In a day and age when it’s possible (and to a degree accepted as part of doing business) to lie, cheat, and steal your way to the top, standing by one’s word – no matter the cost – becomes the hardest thing in the world to do. With no support – aside from Godly mentors and – most importantly – God Himself – from others, one can find themselves quickly standing alone when standing by their word could have negative consequences. Who are we without being able to stand by our word? Christ Himself taught that our “yes should be yes and our no should be no” (paraphrased from Christ’s words in Matthew 5:33-37, and repeated again by James (the brother of Christ) in James 5:12). Don’t swear oaths, but be true to your word. I will confess I haven’t been as perfect in this as I could have been, but there is no time like the present to change that.

Psalm 34:8-10: In seeking the LORD, we are assured that we shall not lack any good thing. If our only focus is mammon, however, what do we gain? Every True Believer should be embracing this daily. Seek the LORD in fearful reverence. Seek out His Will and trust fully only in Him. We certainly lose nothing by doing so and – according to this very Scripture – we stand to gain all that He sees as being good for us. There is no “name-it and claim-it” doctrine in Holy Scripture, and this passage certainly doesn’t promote that. What it does, though, is remind us to keep our focus on God. His blessings are all meant to point to spiritual truths, not physical well-being. Those who follow Christ 110% are His Spiritual Israel. His chosen people, and He will not let them fall. This is something we all need to work on, myself included, as evidenced by not only our own moral struggles but by the moral decay of society as a whole. Turn to the LORD, trust in Him, seek out the LORD, and He will keep you.

Psalm 37:5-8: I’m still working on this or more to the point, I’m still working on letting God deal with this. His shoulders can carry it much better than I can. God presents us many opportunities for work, ministry, trade, and social interactions. This really echoes what was said in Psalm 34:8-10 (and also Psalms 1 and 15). Commit your ways to the LORD, trust in Him, rest in the LORD, be patient for Him to move, do not be angry or wrathful, and don’t fret/worry (this rebuke on worrying is also repeated by Christ in Matthew 6:25-34). Let God tend to our daily lives. He can manage them better than we ever could (just look at all the problems we have to see the truth in this). Let God tend to our business dealings. Let God tend to all that we need, that way we can tend to what God wants us to focus on doing.

Psalm 37:27-31: This Psalm goes on, in these later verses, to remind us to depart from evil, to do what is good in His eyes, it tells of His love of true justice, how our own mouths and tongues should proclaim us as both righteous and just without us having to use those labels on ourselves, how God’s laws are on our hearts, and our steps not being idle (e.g. they are always filled with Godly purpose). It is only by showing that we are truly His – without rabbinical legalism or pagan mysticism – that we allow God to work through us. Otherwise we’re just doing it to show off for others.

Psalm 103:1-5: This is our very real reminder of what we are supposed to be doing. Bless the LORD with all your being, forgetting not His benefits as he is our Forgiver, our Healer, our Deliverer, our Redeemer, our Comforter, our Provider, our Life-giver. If all that we are – body, soul, and spirit – were to truly bless His holy name there is nothing we should want for (again, this passage does not promote the false doctrine of the prosperity gospel).

Psalm 112: The Psalms are rife with praise for what God provides when we keep Him as our 100% focus and this passage is no different. Its hard to read this and not want to serve the LORD. Blessings and wealth? Prosperity for keeping his commandments? Sign me up! Seriously, though, the underlying sentiment here is that these things are reserved for those who keep His ways, not out of a sense of legalism or a sense of reciprocation, but out of a pure joy for serving the LORD. Praise be to GOD for being so liberal with His blessings, but let us also be liberal with what He has given us in the way of money, time, and talents. Let us rejoice in serving our Sovereign God and being united under Heaven as its citizens. Let us truly be His ambassadors and stop playing these silly games. You thought God moved when Christ was on earth? Jesus Himself said to His disciples that those who fully take hold of what He has to offer and preaches it honestly and earnestly will do greater things than Christ Himself showed us. Forget walking on water or raising the dead. We should be walking on air and going anywhere we please in our work for the LORD. There should be no border closed to us, no ears to far to hear us, no language barrier to separate us. Boy, that’s the kind of mission work I’d love to be doing (and can be doing if I too could fully take hold of all these things)! There is nothing stopping those who are called by His name except our own unbelief.

Psalm 127:1: For those starting a business, these words need to ring true if God is to be truly part of it. He has to call you to the purpose, to each and every task, for Him to be part of it. There is no “Well we’ll start it and invite Him to join us, He always comes when He’s invited.” What a bunch of garbage! God isn’t some friendly neighbor, He’s the Creator of the Universe! He’s the Father of all life. He is the righteous, just, vengeful, wrathful, and perfect judge! You don’t just “invite Him on over.” Either He ordained you do the work or He didn’t. It’s that simple. Jerusalem’s walls didn’t get rebuilt because Nehemiah said, “It pains me to see the walls torn down and the city in disarray, let’s go build it and hope God blesses us.” NO! Nehemiah anguished over the sorry state of God’s people and His Holy City and said, “God, what do you want to do?!” More importantly, Nehemiah then went and did what God told him to do when He finally spoke. The same with the temple. Man didn’t say, “Let’s rebuild His temple and then invite Him along to work with us.” What happened is that a Godly man was burdened to see it rebuilt, and an unGodly man was touched by God to make sure it happened! God moved and man responded. Not the other way around. This is the cornerstone for starting my own business. God said, “Go and do it.” He never told me it would be easy (just as He never said such to Nehemiah and the others). He never told me I wouldn’t hit low spots or win every bid I put in. He told me to go to work, start a business, and minister to His children as He provides for it to be done. God is the center of my businesses because He is the reason I am in business. Without Him, I might as well go back to work for someone else.

Proverbs 16:3,8: This really goes along with all the rest of Scripture. My work needs to be committed to the LORD. Not to mammon, or Obama, or whomever else one might think they need to dedicate their work, play, or whatever. “Commit our works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established.” I cannot think of a single passage that better gives interpretation to the rest of Scripture then this one. Verse 8 also is a reminder of the value of being righteous (which includes holiness and justness) over what one could gain otherwise. I’d rather be poor in physical things then be unrighteous in God’s eyes. It’s a no-brainer for me, and should be as well for others who consider themselves True Believers.

1 Corinthians 10:31: The world really has a problem with this one. Romans 1 really summarizes up the why, but that shouldn’t stop any True Believer from joyfully giving God glory in everything we do. Compromise is trying to strangle the church, it always has. If it weren’t for the remnant who holds out and onto God’s words and promises, it probably would have a long time ago. Don’t go and do something for your glory, or the glory of some fleeting cause. Go and do it for God’s glory because it is what he called you to do!

Colossians 3:17,23-25: This isn’t the final word in running a Godly business, but this sums it up pretty good. I won’t expound on it as I’ll just repeat myself even more than I already have.

Final Words

I leave you with these words, then, in the hopes you will find blessing in them, and that they truly are not my own words but those of God.

As believers we are constantly enticed, sneered at, persecuted, and reviled for our choice to follow the One, True, and Living God. If only we stand on His promises, enter into His watch-tower, and faithfully discharge the duties given to us then we can fully take hold of all that He wants to give us, show us, and teach us. I encourage you to test my words against Scripture and prayerfully seek the truth of them for yourselves. I put myself in a position of risk for daring to teach God’s word, whether or not I’m “ordained” (as men reckon such things), all teachers of His word are held to higher standards and those willfully being deceitful are in a heap-more trouble then anyone who openly declares hate for God has to worry about. I prayerfully submit to you that these are true teachings, and if I am mistaken may God correct me in a manner He deems appropriate.

Take care and God bless.

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