Why Should I?

In the wake of all the sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, issues centered around Hollywood elites and others, more than a few people are expressing their opinions, rebuking men in general, and moralizing about it.  Listening to them one might get the impression that they have fortified the moral high ground, having wisdom that transcends that of us mere mortals.  From thence they are happy to tell us what is right and wrong in all of it.

Many of them are atheists, agnostics, anti-Christ, anti-Christian, anti-religion-in-general types who exhibit no reluctance to lecture us on morally acceptable behavior either personally or in society.  Often smugly assertive and arrogant, they castigate anyone and everyone who does not adhere to what their heart tells them.  Like actors in a play, they listen eagerly for the applause of those who agree with them, their sycophantic audiences, as if the favor of their glib inner circle somehow makes them indisputably correct in their assumptions.

To them I ask:  What makes you think you have a right to dictate to me or anyone else what is morally acceptable behavior or not, aside from borrowing from God?  Why should anyone listen to you as you opine about morals, codes of ethics, and social conduct?  On what basis, other than your own opinion, do you legislate morality for the rest of us?

Can you answer me that?

Will you play the “majority rules” card?  “Might makes right”?  If so, you may not enjoy the actual practice of it unless you would have felt comfortable under the dictatorships of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein, or, currently, that of Kim Jong-un.  They ruled or rule with iron fists, having the military power to bend the masses to their will by bloody means if necessary.  Thus, if you subscribe to “might makes right” then you are not at liberty to complain nor object when it’s your own head, or a loved one’s, on the headsman’s block.

Do we vote on morals as a group?  Let democracy prevail; let the masses decide!  There is little difference between that and the dictatorship.  On one hand you have an individual’s might and on the other you have the “herd’s” might.  And who knows which way the herd will be headed at any given time?

Until you can provide me with an authority higher than yours, mine, or the mob’s, I don’t have to pay any attention to you.  Your opinion is no better than mine and mine is no better than yours.

However, I DO have a moral authority higher than my own and it is not my opinion.  I believe in the God of the Bible and in the deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ as revealed and claimed in the New Testament.  Granted, it’s your right to reject, dislike, disagree with, impugn, mock, and blaspheme Him and it but it is NOT a rejection of me and my religion but of God.  I will grieve over the horrific fate of your precious soul, and it is that indeed, but you will not be harming me by any of it.

And because the moral standard to which I subscribe is not my own, unlike yours, I will be happy to oblige when you tell me not to force it upon you, as you are so keen to do to me.

So, if you are anti-God, anti-Christ, against “organized religion” and deigning to pontificate about morality, you might as well vacate the bully pulpit.  You have no authority to legislate anything, much less morals, just as I have none.

Furthermore, you are no real atheist nor agnostic worth the title, for why would they care about morals?  If there is no God to answer to, then there is no standard of authority to guide us and rein in our appetites.  The sky is the limit.  It’s just a “dog eat dog world” after all and may the biggest, meanest, toughest, smartest, dog win.

I beg you to leave moralizing to believers in the Word of God.  At least we are not, or should not be, preaching our own version of it but His.  And He can, and will, back His up one Day, some day.

“Then the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, “Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king.  Therefore please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement.

And Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, whatever my God says, that I will speak.”

2 Chronicles 18:12-13

 

 

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Honor and Respect

I must admit I felt my blood boil when I saw American football players kneeling while our national anthem was being played in Britain, but stood while “God Save the Queen” was played.  I could not imagine anyone having such a complete lack of respect not only for the nation of their birth, the freest in all the earth, where people climb fences and dig tunnels just to get in, but also for the blood of all those brave men and women who gave them any right to protest at all in a nation where they could do so without being arrested and jailed.  I was even more appalled by the anemic arguments put forth to justify it.  Even if there is any bias on the part of law enforcement against “people of color,” not ALL of law enforcement is guilty, so to protest the nation as a whole that way is condemning all of us.  The flag and national anthem represent the American IDEAL.  No one ever said America or Americans are perfect, but what we strive for, the best in human freedoms, is, and THAT is worthy of our collective respect.

There are good ways to protest injustice.  Wear a black armband.  March in peaceful protest. Vote. Better yet, do something about it.  What are we doing individually to correct human inequity besides the usual belly-aching and violence?  What have we given up, time and money, to feed, shelter, and clothe the poor of the inner cities if that is the main source of the problem?  People are paid millions of dollars to play a sport or star in movies.  How much of their income and their time is spent, percent-wise, on charity?  If you look closely, you’ll find it isn’t much.  Maybe that is what is driving this – rich man’s guilt.  How is their “taking a knee” going to remedy anything in real time and space?  It won’t, but man does it make for a great photo op to get the praise of your pals.

And if it was to show Trump who is the boss, well, it sure did – he played them like a fiddle, getting them to kneel like knee-jerk, reactionary, hive-minded robots in the process, forcing them to reveal their true colors to their fellow, and now thoroughly enraged, voters and fans.  Yes, the president singly handedly brought the NFL to its knees with this one.  Some people just can’t help themselves when it comes to President Trump.  He pipes and they dance.  (sigh)

Having said all that, bear with me please.  There is another issue in this vein that I must talk about, something that I say, without apology, distresses me even more.

There was a time in America long ago when a solid majority of people of all races, ethnicity, gender, etc., actually got up and went to church on Sunday.  They reverently called it the “Lord’s Day” and rightly so (Rev. 1:10).  They went to church to worship God to pay homage to Him together.  Many who claimed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior took Communion in honor of Him and HIS sacrifice.  They sang God’s praises loud and joyfully, listened patiently to His Word as it was preached and taught.  They accepted any and all rebukes from it stoically, many repenting of sins and shortcomings intending to do better, and encouraged one another in the process.  Then they went home recharged, rejuvenated, and renewed in mind and spirit to face the upcoming week.

Before God, whatever happened to that brand of respect and honor?!  As great as the sacrifice made by our soldiers is, and it is very great indeed, Jesus’ is even greater.  He died not only for His own countrymen but for the whole world (John 3:16).  He died not only for people who love Him and sing His praises, but for those who hate and despise Him too (Romans 5:8).  No greater Hero or Champion among human beings ever existed and yet look at us.  When was the last time you went to church?  Easter?  Christmas?  How often do you go?  Do you even go at all?  Statistics reveal church attendance is declining[1].  Are you among those who have quit going?

Having said that, are you more upset and distraught about people dishonoring our nation’s flag than over the pervasive dishonoring of Christ on HIS day?  Am I?

 Oh, you’re mad at me now?

Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

I confess to my shame that any “blood boiling” I have felt at THAT lack of respect by people has diminished over the years.  Yet my heart still grieves to see so many people disrespecting and dishonoring God by staying home on Sunday to sleep late, mow the lawn, hit the lake, or get to the store to make sure they have enough beer for the tail gate party that afternoon.  If you are wondering where in the Bible does it say I HAVE to go to assemble for church, then I rest my case.  (However, you just might want to check out Hebrews 10:23-32, esp. verse 25).

When we as a people come to disrespect and dishonor God and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ long enough, it will become easier to disrespect and dishonor every other good thing including our nation’s flag and the sacrifice thousands of good people made for it.  That is the root of the problem.  The flag/anthem issue will not be corrected without correcting the Jesus/Heart issue.

Render honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7).  Don’t disrespect our flag/anthem because you believe our nation is driven by a national racist police force (as realistic statistics prove otherwise[2]).  But above all, don’t disrespect God because you love football, or anything else, more than Him and stay home on Sundays.

[1] https://www.barna.com/research/state-church-2016/

[2] http://www.dailywire.com/news/7264/5-statistics-you-need-know-about-cops-killing-aaron-bandler#

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Salvation and Location

The phrase “Location is everything” is valid, especially in business.  Yes, there are places where the food, merchandise, atmosphere, etc. is so wonderful and spectacular that people will travel many miles out of the way to partake.  Barring that, however, if you put a restaurant or other facility in an out of the way place, unlikely or remote location, too far from the beaten track, overly difficult to find egress, it often goes under.  Placement in a suitably easily accessible, parking friendly, relatively safe, highly visible and prominent spot is essential to a service establishment’s success or maintenance of it.

The same is true of the religion of Jesus Christ.  Salvation is a matter of location.

The phrases “in Christ,” “in Christ Jesus,” “into Christ” occur a total of 384 times in the New Testament of the New King James version.  Clearly it is an important matter to the inspired writers but why have many scholars given it so little regard?

Most likely it is because they do not grasp its significance.  Salvation to them is a matter of “accepting Jesus” in some manner, usually via prayer, into the heart.  They move Jesus from where He is into themselves instead of moving themselves into Him as Scripture teaches.  Oh yes, they will cite Jesus knocking on the door asking admittance into the alien sinner’s heart, but in so doing they miss the entire context of it.  Jesus, in Revelation, was requesting readmission into the hearts of those saints in dead or dying churches in Asia Minor (Rev. 3:14-21).  He was not asking admission into the hearts of alien sinners.  That makes a vast difference in understanding the verse and accurately defining its usage.  Furthermore, Jesus as the “door” in the parable of the shepherd indicates the sheep enter the fold of safety through Him and into Him (John 10:7-9).  Thus they have the thing backwards for alien sinners; they must to get “into Christ” before He can get into them.

Never in Scripture is it stated or intimated that one is to “believe into Christ” but that is what many teach.  So to them there is no sense of urgency or need to seek an understanding of what it really means to be “in Christ.”  They had rather pose the question, “Are you saved” than ask “Are you in Christ Jesus?”  The entire phrase and its meaning are quite foreign; they would never be found asking it.

To be “in Christ Jesus” is to be saved, plain and simple.  One cannot be saved and not be “in Christ.”  Yet to be “in Christ” is to be a baptized (immersed in water) penitent (Acts 2:38), confessing (Acts 8:36-37), believer in the divinity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24).

“But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.  For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized INTO CHRIST have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:25-26).

According to the testimony of the Holy Spirit of God to get “in Christ” or “into Christ” is to have been baptized (immersed in water) having fulfilled the aforementioned commandments of Christ or His Apostles.  Someone quite confidently told me something to the effect that:  “There is nothing physical you do to be saved.”  I wish I had replied, “Who says so?  Not Jesus, His Apostles, nor the Holy Spirit for certain!”  If a physical act be mistaken for something other than faith, it is not my fault.  Rather, it is a faulty understanding of what faith itself is – trusting obedience to the will of God – whatever that involves and entails.

Now that you know what is meant by the expression, I end this article by asking you, “Are you in Christ Jesus?”  Unless you have been baptized into Christ, you cannot be.

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Because I Can

I have wondered why Satan decided to be so hostile, so relentlessly anti-God.  It does not make sense for any rational being to look Almighty God in the face and decide to shake a fist at it.  In fact, it is just plain stupid.  There will be no parties in Hell, only “weeping and gnashing of teeth”[1] for all eternity.  Why subject oneself to that?  After all, our destiny is our own choosing.[2]

Some time back, a very dear friend of mine told me about a horrific incident that happened to him.  I do not remember all the details; it was a long story, but the gist of it was that he had a friend who partnered with him in a business enterprise.  One day he got a report that the store he co-owned had been ransacked, looted, but not entirely.  He figured they would be back to finish the job, and they did come back, but he was waiting.  He confronted them and called the police.  The police came but mistook him for the perpetrator – as they had authorization to collect the items they claimed.  He finally found who had put them up to it and learned it was his partner, a long time friend.  When he asked him why he did it, he simply replied:  “Because I can.”

There are some beings who are purely evil.  They love to hurt people, to inflict pain and torment.  Oh, when it comes their turn, they cry “foul” and fall apart like the cowards they are, but, till then, it is all just fun and games.  They have been given power to do what they like and they like hurting people.  They don’t worry about threats or consequences, they live for the thrill of the moment.  They reject God and His Word because they can.  They hate others and inflict pain upon them because they can.  They despise Jesus and His sacrifice of love because they can.  They refuse Heaven and honor and choose Hell and shame because they can.  God has given them the power of a god and the god they choose to be is Satanic.

God has given us a marvelous gift – the gift of choice on how to use the incredible functions of our human bodies and minds in whatever way we will.  He has asked us to use restraint, to use them for what He has fashioned them – as instruments for His use and glorification, to be useful servants while we inhabit His world.[3]  Yet in the end He lets us choose.  Only a few, relatively speaking, will choose wisely, to heed and obey His voice.  Most will choose foolishly, selfishly doing whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want, to whomever they want.  Like their mentor, Satan, they will do so because they can…at least while they can.

Just because we can do a thing does not mean we should.  God has given us great power and freedom to make decisions and choices on how to order our lives.  With His guidance, we must learn to make the right ones, not just the ones we can.

[1]  Matthew 8:12; 24:51

[2] John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9

[3] Micah 6:8; John 8:29

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Honor the King

For eight long, tedious, tiresome years many of us who profess Christ as Lord languished under the supervision of a president, his cabinet, and administration who, in several vital topics dear to us, made decisions and imposed laws contrary to Holy Writ.[1]  While these years crawled by none of us rioted, set fire to his effigies, disrupted Town Hall meetings, engaged in treasonous murder threats via social media, paraded ourselves like tantrum throwing infants, nor cast spells against him even though any sort of criticism we leveled against his immoral, ungodly, policies was met with cries of racism.  Most of us, besides being decent, law-abiding, order-loving, people by nature, contained ourselves because Christ commanded we “render to Caesar”[2] what is his, and because it is a plain violation of the Holy Spirit’s will revealed to the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.
6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.
7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”

This is a text that is all the more relevant due to the fact that the ruling authority in the Roman world at that time was Nero.  No man or woman was a more vile, cruel, brutal, murdering despot than he.  Certainly none of our presidents can remotely compare.  Hence if Nero’s reign was God authorized, being what he was, and God through Paul commanded we give honor to rulers, then it is is all the more potent in view of who is now serving as our president considering the vehemence of the attacks leveled against him.

What we are daily witnessing and enduring as news from many politicians and media outlets is the most malicious, vicious and concerted effort I have ever seen in my life to delegitimize, denigrate, and destroy the highest public official in our land.  It is  no doubt due to the vengeful, spiteful, nature of people who lost a sure-fire election win which God did not permit to happen.

No one should not be surprised since many of the worst offenders have no respect for God, His authority or His laws whatsoever.   Many of them do not believe in Him anyway.   So they characteristically lie, cheat, steal, slander, gossip, character assassinate, foment strife and stoke the fires of hate all under the guise of “peaceful protesting,” “news,” “standing up for their constituents,” “community organizing” and the like.  Backed and funded by rich, powerful, men, often foreign yet equally godless, they relentlessly continue in their “perpetual hatred”[3] while hypocritically accusing him and those who support him of it.

God’s attitude against this nonsense is clear – if one rebels against government they rebel against the Ordaining Power and Supreme Authority – God (Yahweh) who placed him in power.  Mark it down, judgment, both temporal and eternal, will fall upon them, sooner or later.

While I am confident nothing will remotely deter most of these “sons of perdition” from their willing rendezvous with Gehenna’s flames, I am nevertheless compelled to try and warn them of the consequences if they persist.  It may be that some will wake up, repent, before their time runs out.  Christian, if you are on board with this kind of misbehavior, this goes double for you.

No public official is without flaws and sinless, but none should have to experience what he has at their hands.  Therefore, I am praying for this president, his family and staff that God will guide and protect them; that the evil directed against them will rebound upon the heads of the perpetrators if they will not repent.  I am praying that through him, this administration, and the cooperation of most of our citizens, we will help God will restore this nation to some semblance of lawfulness, decency, and righteousness.  This may be our one, final, hope.

[1] http://2012.presidential-candidates.org/Obama/Abortion.php

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2012/05/10/obama-supports-same-sex-marriage

[2]  Matthew 22:21

[3] Ezekiel 35:1-15

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Loving Those Who Hate God (Redoux)

I stopped watching any portion of the Academy Awards many years ago.  The idea of spending any time observing self-absorbed “entertainers” congratulating themselves for pretending to be other people, wearing clothes that may only be worn once, the price of which could be more than a years’ salary in some countries, only serves to revolt me.

I find it hard to imagine how anyone could be so blind as to think that what they do, acting, should automatically confer upon them an on-high privilege to tell anyone else how they should live, while, in their view, the Word of God and Christians like me, do not.  If that’s the case, then their moral “high ground” must be as high as a pothole.

When are Christians going to learn that most of these glittering, flesh-worshipping, plastic icons loathe us and all we stand for?  Despite their wealth, gold and silver, their radiating pride from every pore (most of which they deliberately leave far too visible), we continue to provide them the means (dollars and attention) that enables them to keep pursuing their godless lives, humanist ideological propaganda and demon-inspired agendas?

They are gladly, happily, blisteringly beaming to be anti-Christ, disavowing His reign and principles while advocating the total opposite, if not in word then by calculating action.

A few books of the New Testament:  2 Peter, Jude, 1 John, deal directly with such people and label them all reprobates.  Why then give them any attention and funding?  Are we that starved, that desperate, for entertainment?

Brethren, it is way past time we cut loose these abject moral vagabonds and let them go their own way.  Praying for them is fine, but do not continue to support their evil works.  For they do not at all regard nor esteem either our Lord Jesus Christ or His way, not to mention the likes of us.

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Popularity

“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26)

“For do I now persuade men, or God?  Or do I seek to please men?  For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10)

Considering the Scriptures listed above, anyone wanting to pander to the crowd, seeking public (and private) acclaim and accolade, avoid criticism and hate, “get along” with everyone, etc., need not concern themselves with being or becoming a Christian.

Christians are supposed to suffer (Romans 8:16, 17; 1 Peter 2:21).  We are the Body of Christ which remains, for the time being, here on earth.  As His physical body was abused, scorned, despised, hated and ultimately killed, so we must “follow His steps” and carry our “cross.”  Striving to be popular with people might evade some of it, but it comes with a price.

Popularity is transient; it never lasts long.  Jesus entered Jerusalem having crowds shouting praises to God.  He exited the world a week later, bleeding to death slowly on a cross after they had clamored for Him to be pinned on it.  In fact, they demanded it.

People are fickle.  I heard an old preacher say, “Those who ask you out to dinner when you get there (at a new work or ministry), will have you for dinner before you leave.”  Experience has often proved that the case if you are true to the Word of God and will not compromise truth for anyone.

Labeling sin is not hate.  Calling out misdeeds, injustices, wrongdoing, evil, false doctrine and the like is part of our job as it was His job.  So while we must and should loudly proclaim the Good News of God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness, we must also echo Christ’s warnings against sin and its deadly effects on us all.  If we become unpopular because we do, and it is not because we relish it, then so be it.

The only accolades we should ever seek are those which God might grant us.  “Have you considered my servant Job?” God asked Satan.  What an astounding compliment!  What a lovely tribute from the Almighty to His lowly, humble, soon to be pain-stricken, suffering servant who proclaimed himself nothing more than “dust and ashes.”  What greater popularity could there be for anyone?  What price would you or I pay to hear God say such a thing of us?  More importantly, could He actually say it of us in the face of the devil?

We have two choices.  We can forego the popularity of our friends, loved ones, humanity in general, to pursue a life being popular with God and the eternal reward it brings, or we can sacrifice that for being popular with people.  The former will bring us God’s praise and glory; the latter, an ephemeral, vapid, temporary boost to our ego that will find a fitting, final, repose in the grave.

One thing is certain:  we must choose one or the other; we cannot do both at the same time.

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