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Civil Disobedience and the Word of God

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There are people who, for whatever reason, like to try and put the screws to the followers of Christ. “Judge not!“, or, more recently, “Mind your own business!” and then they proceed to make it our business and then get mad when we decide following our faith is more important then condoning their sin.

Many, many laws have been passed recently. Most of them probably wouldn’t pass Constitutional muster – aside from the very liberal (and wrong) rulings SCOTUS has put out recently on the issue – if people actually understood what our Founding Fathers actually attempted to do (and they could if they’d intelligently read the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Papers). Unfortunately, like in ancient Rome, such attention to detail is inconvenient when you are trying to pave the way for unbridled hedonism. When your goal is to clear a path for unbridled amounts of self- and instant-gratification regardless of the consequences, such details and truths are highly and excessively inconvenient. Older, more conservative thinking is labeled as out-dated, and when that doesn’t work, it becomes labeled as hate.

Except, of course, when it comes to trying to put the screws to Christians. Of course non-believers will never understand, not fully. They have not an understanding of the book they try to throw back in our face, and unfortunately not many Christians have enough knowledge, wisdom, or love to be able to correct those who try to use our own faith to control us in such deceptive manners. Unfortunately, I’ve had my own issues, not from unbelievers but from a Brother, no less, dealing with issues of obeying the government and how exactly that applies to us. Unfortunately I didn’t handle the situation very well. I pray, though, that this little devotional, shared by a Sister I know on Facebook.

It is, however, a bit lacking. Not in understanding of the issue, the author is obviously a mature individual and has studied this out quite a bit, but because I feel he leaves out some critical pieces of Scripture from his teaching. Following in the blockquote is the devotional intact, without commentary from myself, followed by my own addition to it. My prayer is for my fellow Brothers and Sisters to come to a deeper understanding of this issue. You cannot help but grow from truth, and this is nothing but the truth.

Civil Disobedience

Acts 4:1–22 “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (vv. 19–20).

Christian ethicists have long debated whether or not it is ever legitimate for believers to defy the state. This is understandable since there are many passages, such as Romans 13:1–7, that seem to encourage submission to the ruling authorities no matter what. Paul, however, was not reflecting any sort of naiveté when he instructed us to submit to the earthly authorities. After all, as one who was often imprisoned for preaching the Gospel, he well knew that the state could very easily become an instrument of evil. His commands to obey the state, as with all of the biblical injunctions to submit to the government, carry with them the assumption that our rulers are, broadly speaking, fulfilling the task that God has given them to preserve life and protect the right to private property.

Yet when the state forbids us to do something the Lord commands or commands us to do something He forbids, believers must not submit to the decrees of the authorities. Christians are never given the license to sin, nor are they permitted to abandon the dictates of God in order to obey the orders of other human beings. Christ alone has ultimate authority, as the apostles demonstrate in today’s passage. Given the chance to preserve their freedom and safety at the cost of preaching Jesus to sinners, Peter and John choose to obey the Great Commission (Acts 4:19–20; see Matt. 28:18–20). Make no mistake, they are engaging in an act of civil disobedience, but they are doing so in order to be faithful to the Lord. Such circumstances alone can justify such actions.

The principle that we may disobey the state if it forbids what God commands or commands what He forbids is easy to learn, but difficult to apply. The state will sometimes engage in unfair practices that we must follow because we cannot make the case that such practices violate Scripture. For example, the so-called “progressive” taxation that exists presently in the United States may be unjust, but we have no right to refuse to pay taxes (Rom. 13:7).

Our default position as Christians is to bend over backward to be model citizens. But when the demands of God’s kingdom directly contradict the demands of the kingdom of men, the mandates of our heavenly citizenship must win.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Because of our fallen nature, it would be easy to twist the principle for Christian civil disobedience enumerated in today’s study into an excuse to avoid the Bible’s call that we submit to the government. Indeed, our fallen nature makes us prone to find any loophole we can in God’s law in order to render something less than true obedience. Beware of this tendency in your heart, but also remember that your allegiance belongs ultimately to Christ, not to the state.

For further study:
Exodus 1:8–22

The Bible in a year:
Ecclesiastes 10–12

For the weekend:
Song 1–6

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

I think for further study one need look no further then Daniel chapters 1 through 7. It is a classic case study in defying the authority of men in order to be in submission to the Lord. In Daniel, three clear cases are presented.

Three Case Studies for Believers to Disobey Government

  1. With the introduction of Daniel we see the very first act of civil disobedience: Daniel and the three Hebrew children purpose within their hearts not to defile themselves by eating food offered to idols (Daniel 1:8). Because of this, and because of their faithfulness in the Lord, an alternative is provided (eating nothing but vegetables) for the entire period of their training at the king’s court. They even propose a test run in which they agree to eat the idol-offered food if they suffer in health or looks because of their choice. Because we can read ahead, we know the outcome is assured and those 4 become the king’s top students and the best looking of the men selected. (vv. 15-21)
  2. Later on, in Daniel 3, the king creates an image of gold and Daniel and his friends are put into an awkward position, again (4-12):

    Submit to the king of Babylon or submit to the Lord. This time it is an act of worship whenever music sounds. The jealous court officers want to get Daniel’s buddies to dance/worship to a golden idol (not sure where Daniel is during this, but one would assume he didn’t obey, either). Once again they disobey, and the king calls them on it (vv 13-15). Now, they are facing what some may see as a lose-lose situation: Worship the golden idol and sin, or don’t sin and be thrown into a furnace of fire. They tactfully tell the king that they cannot and will not sin against the Lord, whether or not He keeps them safe from repercussions (vv 16-18). Into the furnace they go, only to dance with the pre-incarnate Christ in full view of all present. Not only did they not receive any harm from the immense fire (one so hot several of the king’s loyal men died in the process of putting the three Hebrew children in the furnace) they also did not smell like smoke or have a single hair singed (vv 19-27).

  3. One final time, this time in chapter 6, Daniel’s counterparts were out to get him. They saw how blessed he was, and they attributed it rightly to his obedience to the Lord. They also saw the favor he curried with the king and it must of stuck in their craw something awful (vv 1-5). This time they had what they thought was an iron-clad, fool-proof way to get rid of Daniel and once and for all get the recognition they thought they should have.

    They got the king to declare a law, according to the custom of the Mede’s and the Persians, with no loopholes. The law was an onerous one, too (vv 6-9):

    For 30 days one could only worship the king, if they worshiped or petitioned anyone – or any God – else than Darius (king of the Chaldeans at the time), they were to be put to death by being throwin into the lion’s den, no loopholes. They knew Daniel would violate the law,they just had to catch him. Since Daniel made no effort to conceal himself or his worship of the Lord, this was fairly easy. Daniel, of course, offered no resistance. He knew he had broken the law but he also knew not doing so would have brought him into sin and soiled his relationship with the Lord. He was willing to die for his faith (v 10).

    Once again, the Lord protected him and this time the king – who had enough of the other’s scheming, had them thrown to the lions (whom, according to scripture, ate very well that day). There is no doubt in my mind – according to the account of Daniel – that the king became a believer that day (a tertiary thing in this discussion, but worth mentioning) (vv. 11-28).

Disobedience to those in authority over us comes in a very, very narrow line. As the devotional mentions above, do not twist Scripture and the laws of man to find reasons not to obey the laws of man. Government and those in authority over us are there as the Lord’s ministers for justice. Do good – as Daniel and his three Hebrew friends did – and you have nothing to worry about. Remember, though, when man’s laws try to get you to sin against the Lord, your allegiance should be to Him.

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.

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.

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.

Faith: Where Have I Put Mine?

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A Question That Needs to Be Asked

Where does my faith lie?

All too often we begin down a path, sure that is where God is leading us but how often do we stop to evaluate the choices we make? As I sit here at the hospital waiting to be admitted for the last round of my first cycle of post-operative chemotherapy, I am left asking myself: How far will I go down this road and where does my faith lie? Is it with God Almighty, the Great Physician, or is it with man? If its the latter, it is sorely misplaced. If it is the former, I still need to seek Him out in prayer so as to be sure I’m still operating within His guidelines and will – not just for these treatments but every other area of my life.

Questioning the State of My Heart

Why, after coming through almost 7 months of chemotherapy, doctors visits, and major surgery am I questioning my faith now? As I said earlier, I’m finishing up my first cycle of post-operative therapy. I think now is a great time to really look at where my faith lies. I know that prior to this point, I was indeed following God’s will. Successful treatment and surgery and lots of time spent in prayer and His Word confirms this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

These post-operative treatments aren’t about healing, though. They are preventative in nature and – I’m beginning to feel – a way to make the oncologist feel better that I won’t relapse. Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I are very happy with my doctors and we feel the care has been stellar but has my faith shifted away from God and onto the doctors? 1 John 4:4 says “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” While John is speaking of antiChrist’s and false doctrines, I believe the same can be applied to my situation: If I am healed, do I need maintenance treatments and have faith in God or do I give into a false-sense of security and follow my own will in the matter?

That is where I stand right now, am I following my own will or am I still walking in God’s? If the former, I am in sin and need to repent. If the latter, I continue as I am right now. Either way, now is the time for sober self-assessment, all the while giving all honor, glory, and praise to God.

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