Monday, October 31, 2005

#104: I Am Outraged

This post is written in response to the TV special on NBC that aired Friday evening, Oct. 28, 2005, titled “In God They Trust.” The narrator was Tom Brokaw from NBC. The majority of the program was an interview with Pastor Ted Haggard, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Although I thought I knew most of what evangelicals preached, I was shocked enough into writing this short segment. I could not believe President Bush would call Haggard—as he does on a regular basis—several hours after this program was broadcasted. And what would they be talking about? Since evangelicals have a strong involvement with politics, would Bush give some advice to Haggard, or vice versa? Repeating, it blows my mind that they can have such a comfy-cozy relationship. If Haggard is giving Bush advice as to whom he should appoint to the Supreme Court or how he should respond to the gay marriage issue, abortion, prayer in school, displaying the Ten Commandments on government property, the pledge of allegiance, and other sensitive issues, we have a “behind-the-back” evangelical theocracy without even knowing it. Now I know why Bush tried to put Harriet Miers on the High Court: she is an Evangelical. This close relationship with evangelicals explains some of the screwy stuff Bush has done in the last five years. I still can’t believe this is still happening in America.

When Brokaw asked Haggard why sin isn’t mentioned in his sermons, he was audacious enough to say, “People don’t want to hear about that. And besides, Jesus Christ took care of the sin issue.” That didn’t shock me to hear that; evidently they are not aware of the satanic power in sin. What startled me was how he said it so nonchalantly. By not mentioning the deadly harm of sin, he is silently teaching that it is acceptable to sin whenever and for whatever reason because after they are done enjoying the pleasure of sinning, all they have to do is to ask Jesus to forgive them and everything will we okay. Please read what the Book of 1st John says about sin.

Another word church-going people, especially evangelicals, don’t want to hear from the pulpit is the word “obedience.” I didn’t hear that word mentioned once in the whole broadcast. I could go on and on as to what is missing in the Evangelical message, but I won’t take up any more of your precious time. Obedience (or lack thereof) is one of the main issues I bring up over and over again in this blog. In short, leave obedience out of the Gospel message and what’s left is secular “Christianity,” which is no Christianity at all. The adage which is as old as the hills is still true: “If you tell people what they want to hear, they will knock down your doors to get in.” If one doesn’t personally know God to some degree, or what genuine Christianity consists of/is meant to accomplish, this form of “Christianity” is extremely enticing, especially if one doesn’t know better. They probably are thinking, “This is just what I am looking for.” Now we know why the mega-churches are so popular. Haggard has a membership of eleven-thousand in his “New Life Church” in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Something else I learned watching this show was that there are now 70 million evangelicals—and growing—in America. It is no wonder Bush won the election. It pains me greatly to see or hear the beautiful name of Jesus Christ misrepresented. That is the main reason I write my heart out: to expose the counterfeits. And besides that, it also hurts me more than one can imagine to see such a large number of honest, loving, intelligent people being deceived.

Every Evangelical who voted for Bush is responsible, in part, for the stupid, no-end-in-sight war in Iraq, which does not even have a possibility of a good end. What did taxpayers get out of it so far? Over 2,000 dead soldiers, countless wounded and their grieving families. Death of a loved one is one of the most hurtful emotions that one can continually experience, and believe it or not, I grieve in tears with them. If Bush could grieve half as much as I do, he would stop this war in a minute—and stop spending the 200 billion dollars or so we didn’t have for fighting this war; Bush just added to our national debt by borrowing it from China. Shame, shame on all you evangelicals. Where is your love and compassion? You should consider changing your ways before it’s too late.

Here are just a few words on current news events, especially the deceptive information Americans and Congress received from the White House in support of starting the Iraq war. In an attempt to get more information for a reason to start the war in Iraq, a senior White House official sent Ambassador Joseph Wilson (Valerie Plame’s husband) to Niger to investigate the truth about Iraq attempting to buy uranium yellowcake. After Wilson found out that information was false, he released the story to a national newspaper. In essence, the story said that Bush lied in order to make a stronger case for the Iraq war by stating in his State of the Union address that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium yellowcake. That was more than enough to ruffle Cheney’s dander; remember that Cheney, an intelligent man, was the strongest proponent and one of the main architects for the war in Iraq. Cheney then, most likely, told Lewis “Scooter” Libby to somehow discredit Wilson. Libby did this by revealing to Robert Novak, columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, that Wilson’s wife was a covert agent working for the CIA in Europe and other strategic countries as an expert on weapons of mass destruction. Only Cheney could stoop low enough to engineer this betrayal. The total damage done by this White House treachery has not yet been fully assessed by the CIA. As I see it, Cheney is a lying scoundrel; Libby is just the fall guy. This is not the end of this episode, but just the beginning. Let’s see how these evangelical politicians get out of this one. Now, let me get back to the evangelical TV special.

To make matters worse, in a ploy to suck in young people, they have one full hour of live “Christian” hard-rock “music” every Sunday. If that is not being bed partners with the world, what is? It is not the religious words in this music that are detrimental, but the sexually-oriented beat. That beat arouses sensual emotions, especially in our youth, who are attempting to somehow figure out what life is all about. Those stirred-up emotions can, and do, lead to trouble. Some of the youngsters/kids, most likely, are led to think something like this: “Sin? Ha-ha. We can do it, and then just ask Jesus for forgiveness, and everything will be okay”—that is, if she doesn’t get pregnant.

What the conservative, Christian, evangelical politicians are attempting to do through Bush and other conservative political leaders is to impose, through legislation, their evangelical morals on other religions, the secular, and the non-churchy Christian population. They must not be aware that Biblical morals are meant only for true Christians who have devoted their lives to furthering the cause of Jesus Christ. This type of twisted, half-baked theocracy they are attempting to form is a serious threat to our American democracy. A democracy can only be as good as the people who run it. And a church can only be as holy/Godly as the men/women who preach from the pulpit.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

# 103: Living in the Midst of the Doomsday Age

It doesn’t take a prophet or one with a crystal ball to look at the world situation and vividly see the writing on the wall: There are more disasters just waiting to happen, along with those that have happened in the last 65 years, for any thinking person to ask, “What’s going on, anyhow?” The question is often being asked, “What do you think about the end of the world (Armageddon/Great Tribulation)?” My answer, most often, has been vague and ambiguous. I now am going to be more specific. First of all, I don’t believe God is going to be directly involved with what is going to happen, though He has been—and will be—working behind the scenes, pulling the strings, so to speak. For example, a clearer example of the term “behind the scenes” was when God hardened the heart of Pharaoh by not letting the Israelites leave Egypt until after the Passover disaster. The reason I used the term “doomsday age” is because the destruction of mankind will most likely take as little as 20 to as many as 50 years from now (that is only my guess) for God to accomplish, through natural and manmade events.

The Book of Revelation, chapters six to twenty, is almost exclusively devoted to telling what will happen in this final tumultuous period of time. There is only one gigantic problem: It is mostly symbolic. One hundred Bible scholars can study Revelation and come up with one hundred different versions of what the Apostle John wrote—if that was who really wrote it. Then, the Apostle Peter, in 2nd Peter, third chapter, describes the end times of the world as being destroyed by fire. Along with that, the books of Matthew and Luke tell of the end time through the words of Jesus. Jesus combines the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the end time as if it is one story. Therefore, one must do a lot of separating as to which is which, to make any sense of what is being said. Since every writer seems to tell a different story, let me tell mine. The answer is clear: God’s rancor toward humanity per se finally gets to a boiling point, where He prophetically declares, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” Hebrews 10:30. Deuteronomy 32:35.

Some might be thinking, “If He is a God who claims to be all-loving, then why would He want to destroy billions of people that are created in His image?” Good question. Here is the unequivocal answer: Of the almost seven billion people on this planet, including all the world's religions, how many are living and believing as God requires? How about the millions of Hindus who worship gods their hands have made? No. What about the Arabs of Islam with their god Allah, who teaches them to destroy nonbelievers? No. How about the Buddhists with their self-imposed restrictions as to the truth? No. What about the greedy and capitalistic Jews who practice Judaism but have rejected the Son of God as their Messiah (the anointed One of Jehovah God)? No. What about the almost one billion, mostly hypocritical Christians who aren’t even close to resembling or following their leader, Jesus Christ? No. And how about the many atheists who believe that whatever seems profitable for them is the right way? No. How many does that leave? Less than we all can imagine.

Although we all were created with the potential to become like God, everyone in the world, with the exception of a few, missed the mark. Is that a good enough reason to do away with the whole bunch, excluding His own? If you were God, what would you do—continue to have grief and sorrow over a hopeless gang of misfits, who just might have been? Or would you start all over again with a clean slate in some other location (planet)? Good question, ha?

Let’s first categorically name what has already taken place and then what will most likely happen in the future. It might have all started in Europe during World War II, when millions of Jews, Russians and the worthless were murdered. Then things got worse in 1948 when President Harry S. Truman got us in the middle of a conflict that has been going on between the Jews and the Arabs for over 3,000 years. He ordered our ambassador to the United Nations Security Council to vote in favor of giving Israel statehood so that it could become a member of the United Nations and have other privileges—against the wishes of George Marshall, Secretary of State. Who could have ever guessed that just five “yes” votes could have escalated into September 11, 2001, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the never-ending war in Iraq, and the hatred Arabs have for Americans for supporting the nation of Israel militarily and financially for the last 57 Years?

Another event was the destruction of the World Trade Center. Although it killed about 3,000 innocent people, which is a large number, it is a small figure in comparison with natural disasters. Then there was the war in Afghanistan (the heroin capitol of the world) that killed many, with the turmoil still going on. Of course, one of the biggest ongoing disasters is the national deficit of the United States; at last count, if I am not mistaken (correct me if I am), it is about 8 trillion dollars and still climbing with no end in sight. As I see it, that is the biggest danger looming over our country. As it keeps getting larger, a time will come when it, along with other events I will mention in further paragraphs, may bring America into financial ruin. Of course, the world will be forced to play “Follow the leader” as it did in 1929.

There was also the start of the needless war with Iraq. At last count, it has already cost us $200 billion and counting; over 2,000 precious American soldiers (as of 10-26-05) have lost their lives, not to mention how many thousands of Arabs have been killed, along with the lingering pain and suffering of all the wounded on both sides and the continued heartbreak of their families. Then came the hurricanes of 2004, which didn’t kill many but left an enormous amount of damage, much of which has not yet been made right. Then there was the tsunami in the Indian Ocean which killed over one hundred thousand. Talking about the damage water can do, look at the water damage in New Orleans, and the destruction the 20-foot-high water surge did in Mississippi and Alabama, and then look at what is happening in the Northeast with their floods. This much destruction in such a short period of time is unprecedented. Then came Katrina, the most costly disaster in our history. Next came Rita, to make matters much worse. And just last week came Wilma; she didn’t kill many, but was the costliest hurricane this year in terms of property damage.

Here are a few events (not in chronological order) that will come to pass: One thing that surprises me is something no one has told us yet, although I may not be the first. As global warming continues—and there isn’t much we can do to stop it—our atmosphere and bodies of water will get warmer. As that happens, many natural disasters may occur from the changing climate; that translates into many millions of lives lost. As the South Atlantic, not to mention the South Pacific, warms up another degree or two, along with the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes will become more frequent and much more powerful. Along with that, the oceans will rise by a foot or more, resulting from the melting of the glaciers in the north. Then, to compound that, insurance companies may refuse to insure property in the Gulf Coast and Florida; they are out to make money and not lose it. The end result: In the next five or ten years, the State of Florida and the Gulf Coastal regions may be forced to permanently leave and relocate to other parts of our country. The federal government may feel obligated to pay some of the cost. We are talking about millions upon millions of high-life and low-life people settling in other states. That strain on our government may help to bring about our financial collapse.

One of the saddest of all catastrophes is the earthquake in northern Pakistan, where almost one hundred thousand have died and possibly many more will die if more help doesn’t get there soon, before winter sets in. Talking about earthquakes, what about the big one on the West Coast? That has been long overdue. Many thousands of buildings in that whole region are not earthquake-resistant. That may spell thousands of casualties. That quake is not a possibility but a certainty.

Here is something we don’t talk about because it is truly scary: When (not if) our enemies infiltrate our borders–most likely through the Mexican U.S. border at Christmas time or some other holiday, with nuclear devices (dirty or clean, if there is such a thing as a clean device), that will not only kill untold millions, but change the name of the game from terrorist to “turmoilist.” Some, with their heads stuck in the sand, will forcefully say, “That will never happen.” With the hatred from the many Islamic terrorists toward us (and they are growing in number since the Iraq war), it is inevitable. Of course, that will happen, as I mentioned above, when we least expect it, or at our weakest moment. Remember that this hatred for Americans started festering in 1948. That hatred has grown into a rancor that most, if not all, Americans cannot identify with.

Do we think much of the horrific circumstances that are happening in Africa? Thousands upon thousands have already been murdered and millions are starving to death. That is one of the worst crimes that can happen to humanity. To me, it is actually hard to believe that it is really happening. We all are guilty, of sorts, by the food we waste in America, by overeating, and throwing away leftovers; if somehow that waste could be weighed and gathered, there would be more than enough to feed all the starving in the world. What are complacent Americans doing about that? Just getting fatter.

Here comes the biggest killer of all: a deadly virus that can spread like the rhinovirus. It could mutate like the now-talked-about bird flu, or become a super strain from some other source. Again, experts are talking about it—not if, but when. We don’t understand enough about viruses to be able to control them. We think we could create a vaccine to immunize Americans, but we are only fooling ourselves. Experts don’t know for certain if Tamiflu (a new medicine) will kill the bird flu or other related viruses. If we can’t make one to stop or cure the most common cold virus or the AIDS virus, what would make anyone think they can create one that can prevent or cure a deadly strain? Viruses are so ultramicroscopic—probably one thousand times smaller than bacteria. We don’t even know what they are made of. Listen to how my college dictionary describes a virus: “. . . viruses are considered as being EITHER living organisms OR inert chemicals.” Sure, what else is new? Experts say that the bird flu pandemic can kill as many as 1.5 million people worldwide (that is, if they can find a way to contain it). To be more realistic, it could kill in the billions. That can be called real terrorism.

What’s funny about it is that atheists, who don’t believe in God, can easily believe most of the above without a mention of God. The only thing is that to many, it will seem as if it was/is just another one of the rhythms of our ever-changing planet. They, most likely believe that if terrible events do happen, survivors will have to adjust to the changing environment and make the best of it. They are wrong.

Here is what the New Testament predicts will come about in the last days, through the pen of the Apostle Luke (you be the judge of just how close that prediction is to what is now happening and inevitably will happen): Luke 21:7. “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” Luke 21:9. “When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” Luke 21:10: Then He said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” Luke 21:16: “You will be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me.” Luke 21:25: “On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.”

What can we do? Or is it too late and/or difficult to change our ways? All that read this doomsday chapter can’t say, “I didn’t know it would really happen; I just thought it was phony-baloney, religious scare tactics.”

Monday, October 24, 2005

# 102: Conscious State at Death?

By saying, "When we die, we will go directly to heaven in a conscious state to be with Christ in spirit while our body goes to sleep in the grave," does away with many, many Bible texts that say there will be a judgment for all people, the Lost and the Saved. I believe that when we die, we who belong to Christ will be with Him in spirit but in an unconscious (sleeping) state until we receive new spiritual bodies at the Judgment. There is not one piece of Scripture in the New Testament to back up the widespread belief that we will be in a conscious state at death; there are, however, dozens of verses that say we will sleep at the death of this physical body. It is neither outrageous nor stupid to say we will be with Christ in a sleeping state waiting for the Judgment. Read 1 Samuel 28:15.


By our faith in Christ, we were given entry into the Kingdom of God. This is a great honor and a deep responsibility. Our complete loyalty and allegiance belongs to Christ and his Kingdom. When we willfully promote any other cause, no matter how good and honorable it may be, through actions or finances which do not line up with or directly promote the cause and purpose of Christ, we will be charged with high treason. Now, you might say of this: Where is God's love? Well, this Kingdom work is serious business. God gives us mercy and grace, but that doesn't make His love foolish. God's love is tough. You’re either working for God's Kingdom or you’re working for the other guy’s kingdom. The devil always puts a nice face on his work.


When someone is loved dearly with selfless agape love and it doesn't produce good feelings, that love is of little or no value in changing that life. So what’s the problem? For whatever reason, the love isn't real to that person. Either he/she doesn't believe he is really loved, or he doesn't believe the one who says, "I love you." No matter how one looks at it, when agape love is given and received, lives will be changed in every case. For love to have value, it must be real in one's mind and one must be aware of a need for that love.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

# 101: Guilty or Innocent? John 8:3-11

This portion of Scripture is not found in the earliest and most reliable manuscripts. I believe this section is included in modern bibles because of the depth of truth found in these verses, and the fact that it demonstrates how only Jesus could have known how to react in this “between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place” situation. It was either an addition that man/woman inserted into later manuscripts or a section that was deleted from earlier ones. If it was deleted, the probable reason for the deletion by the early writers or translators was this: Some likely took the passage to mean that Jesus was indirectly saying that in this coming age of grace, it is now permissible to commit adultery because He can and will forgive all sins (see conditions for forgiveness below). If you are not familiar with this portion of Scripture, read it in an up-to-date translation before continuing.

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’” No one moved. It doesn't say what He wrote. Here is what I believe he wrote: Adultery is a sin; if found guilty, that person must be stoned according to the law. The accusers saw what Jesus had written and were elated. “Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.” This is what he most likely added: He drew a picture of a scale. On one end he wrote the word “adultery.” On the other end of the scale he wrote the words “greed,” “self-indulgence,” and “hypocrisy.” Those three words, when put on God's microscopic, see-all scale, far outweighed adultery as to its seriousness, which meant that Jesus was silently accusing them of sins more grievous than the woman’s. “At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left with the woman still standing there.” If they stayed there and started stoning the woman, they realized they were breaking Roman law, and also they would have to put up a defense for the sins they were being accused of. That is why they departed in silence.

This fact did not make the adulteress any less guilty of her sin, but according to the Law of Moses, even Jesus could not condemn her without the accusers being present. There was no evidence that she had repented and no indication that Jesus forgave her. In this situation, the only good and right thing for Jesus to do is to say to this adulteress, "Go now and leave your life of sin." As nasty and offensive as adultery is, greed, self-indulgence and hypocrisy are much worse in God's sight. Read Matthew 23:25-33 about God’s most vicious enemies.

The preceding was another example where the Pharisees thought they could trap Jesus into breaking either Roman law or the Law of Moses. (1) If He did nothing, He would lose His authority as the Son of God. (2) If He let the woman go free while her accusers were present, He would violate the Law of Moses. (3) If, by obeying the Law of Moses, out of necessity, Jesus had sanctioned the woman’s stoning, He would have violated Roman law, which prohibited executions apart from those administered by Roman courts. Repeating, the religious leaders thought for sure that they finally had Jesus cornered; no matter what decision He made, He would have broken either Roman law or the Law of Moses. Then the Pharisees would have had just cause to have Jesus crucified. In fact, since the Jews were under Roman law regarding punishment for serious crimes committed, that fact negated Jewish law for punishment, which was stoning.

The above facts are evident in the subsequent trial of Jesus. The Jews knew they had no right to stone Jesus under Jewish law, so they went to Pilate the Roman governor to have Jesus crucified according Roman law.

The following are conditions for forgiveness of sin(s) by Jesus: First and foremost, one has to be a genuine Christian; second, one must turn one’s life away from all sins (true repentance); and third, one must realize the seriousness of sin. Sin in one’s life—even sins of omission (ignoring what one knows is good and necessary)—is the best indicator to God and the world that one is not a true Christian other than in name. Any type of sin must never be taken lightly. However, in this modern culture, we have cleverly disguised the word “sin” by giving it new names: “human weakness,” “entertainment,” “just having fun,” etc.

The truth revealed in the opening lines of the eighth chapter of John is there so we could take heed in our modern society, which is focused upon capitalist greed. Of course, we changed the word “greed” to “prosperity” or “self-indulgence”; we call it “having our needs met.” Most important of all is hypocrisy; we call it “smart living” but it is the worst of all sins. What sin is the organized church pointing its finger at these days? It is adultery or the unspoken sin of hypocrisy?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

# 100: Short Subjects With Teeth

The more a person’s wealth consists of spiritual substance, the less that person will desire things of material value. At the same time, he/she will be more content and satisfied with what little he/she has; vice versa, the less one has in spiritual worth, the more one will desire or place value on material things.

A Christian with little or no money can do more for God with a small amount of active faith than with all the money in the world and only words of faith.

God says: When you have Me, you have everything.

Trust in God comes from knowing Him. When one knows God, one believes Him; when one believes Him, trust is the outcome.

Love is to have an active desire to take another’s pain, sorrow, needs, and anxiety and make them one’s own. Love is to be motivated to give the best of whatever one has when the need arises. Love is not so much what may seem good for himself/herself, but what is best for the next person.

Morals by themselves are of no eternal value unless they are a result of God's life and love in a person. They are a tool whereby one has the right equipment to give others the love and attention they so desperately need. If God’s life is not present, they are merely a control mechanism. Whose mechanism might that be?

Someone may work his/her buns off seeking a million dollars to find security and happiness. Another seeks God and all that He has to offer are security and contentment. Who has the biggest load? Who is better off? Who has lasting contentment?

Belief makes invisible things visible. The physical world is dumb. It cannot act on its own. It has no power to resist the spirit world. The spirit world of God which we should possess has control over the physical. Although there isn’t much, if any, evidence of that power, should we still believe that principle?

In order for God to give us what we need to please Him, He must take from us much of what the world considers good and necessary, because His power is released in weakness. Therefore, by taking away, He is preparing us to receive the best, which is Himself.

All truly great people are connected to a source of limitless love. Only through being loved the way we were meant to be loved can we have the proper picture of ourselves. The fact is that God's love for us makes us precious.

It is an easy thing to do what one believes. But when one just says he/she believes, it is actually impossible to respond to that belief, which is only unbelief. True belief always comes from the heart and not only the mouth.

Christ exposed the evil hearts of men and therefore was hated. As Christ does that same work though our lives, we will also be hated. Real love is tough and not wishy-washy. This Christ-type love is not welcomed by many. In fact, most will call it judgment.

Many "Christian" people try desperately to better themselves by buying nice and valuable things, education, etc. The only real way to help oneself is to have God start from scratch and give us His life.

Besides performing the necessary functions of life, anything else we do that does not bring us and others closer to Christ is not of God. When the majority of the things we do don’t make Christ more real in our lives, that can be an indication that our lives may not be of God.

It is not generally that a person does not want to change what one believes in order to get closer to God; it is his/her lifestyle they may find hard to change. To simply change what one believes is of little value if the life does not follow.

When the purpose and will of Jesus Christ become the controlling purpose of His chosen, then God can and will use them to the greatest degree possible.

We see God's vantage point of humanity without Jesus in the flesh as He was displayed in the Old Testament. God's vantage point of humanity as He lived in the flesh of Jesus is displayed in the New Testament. That means that God experienced humanity through the flesh of Jesus Christ.

When a person is aware of his death at a certain time, he can dispose of his material goods since he won't need them where he is going. After a person dies to the flesh (our human nature) that is when Jesus says, “Now you can sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

To love people in need is like putting money in God's eternal bank. The more people we love in this world, the richer we become in belief. To seek people to love is to desire true riches. To wait for an opportunity to come our way is as stupid as rejecting food when starving.

Love does not always make people feel good. Quite often, love will make some feel bad when telling them they have spiritual cancer and that it must be removed. Love is giving people the truth, regardless of how it makes them feel.

One time, a non-Christian acquaintance asked me a question out of the blue: “Who is the most important person in your life?” I hesitated and then answered, “the person in greatest need.” I immediately wondered what Christ’s answer would have been. What is your answer?

It is not what one does or doesn’t do in life that is important, but rather the long-term effects one’s actions will have on others. We are all role models for others to emulate. What do others emulate about us?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

# 99: Who Am I, Anyway?

After much experimentation and searching, a persistent person—after half a lifetime of effort—finally came up with a recipe that has all the nutrients necessary to sustain life. It is quick, easy, and inexpensive to make, low in fat and calories, and best of all, it is absolutely delicious, even after eating it day after day; it never gets monotonous or boring. This person has at least three choices: keep the recipe to himself/herself, apply for a patent, or give it away to whomever at no charge. He/she knows it will be a blockbuster winner unless it is kept a secret. To his/her disappointment, a patent could not be applied for, because it is a homemade meal. Now there are only two choices: keep it a secret or make it public. What would you do? Remember, this is the best recipe in the known world. Unfortunately, the above story is false; no such meal exists, and most likely never will.

Now, let’s change that meal to a lifestyle. After many years of searching, a person discovers an extremely superb way of living. It has everything necessary to live without the nagging addiction of desire for material goodies. It is not expensive; it does not ask for more than what is necessary; and best of all, it feels like one is continually living in Shangri-la. Still more than that, it provides a contentment that human words cannot describe. That is the type of lifestyle all humans were meant for. Now the question comes up: Should this person keep his/her way of living a secret, or attempt to tell the world?

The above scenario is what I am now experiencing, to a degree. As the Apostle Paul said, “Having nothing [of earthly value] and yet possessing all things [of real value].” And then, some will still ask, “Why do you spend your time and money on writing and talking about this unpopular, esoteric stuff that is foreign to our ears and eyes?” Answer: When a person is living in this type of grandeur, of actually allowing Jesus Christ to live His life through yours/mine, it is impossible to keep it to oneself. One of the reasons for sharing that life: It is another source of much of that joyful, Utopian-type elation. And I can guarantee you that if one is not experiencing this life, even to a small degree, it will sound like a make-believe fairytale. Then there are those who will ask, “Who are you, anyway?” I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness of excess and waste. That voice candidly tells the words of God that haven’t been tainted by the distortions of organized religion. If I sound high and mighty, believe me, I am not. Repeating, even a pack of wild horses couldn’t stop me from making this Christ-like life known to all who hunger and thirst for spiritual substance. But, as this blog testifies, it won’t be easy or cheap.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

# 98: Grace, Faith, and Obedience

Ephesians 2:8-10: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God–(9) not by works, so that no man can boast. (10) For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do GOOD WORKS, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” [emphasis added]. I am that certain every Christian knows these famous verses, for they are the foundation of our faith. And yet, there are some who take verse 8 and 9 in a verbatim fashion but fail to apply verse 10 to the equations. Ignoring verse 10 does a massive amount of damage, to say the least, to the understanding of the message Apostle Paul is attempting to get across to his readers. This is the distorted outcome: We think that since we are saved by grace, no way remains for us to better our standing with God. But there is: obedience. “. . . to do good works which God has prepared for us to DO.” In other words, “faith” is a word with many implications. Here is one of them: “Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.” Romans 1:5. Let me delete all but the important sections of this verse and therefore condense what it says: “. . . we received GRACE . . . to the obedience that comes from FAITH.”

If no obedience comes from that grace-given faith—as to what is required by the New Testament—then that in itself would say there is no faith, and grace is nullified. To rephrase that statement: grace, obedience and faith cannot be separated. Delete any one of those three components and salvation is nullified, and the effect in one’s life will be zero. Yes, grace that comes through faith, and obedience that comes from faith are extremely important aspects to understand and the most basic principles to apply to our everyday lives. In fact, there are just about as many New Testament Bible verses that mention the words “obedience,” “obedient,” “obey,” or “obeying” as there are verses that mention grace and faith.

Isn’t it funny how organized churches may preach on faith and grace, etc., but the emphasis on obedience to all that the New Testament requires is not mentioned very often, if at all? Why is that? That is my mission: to expose the Christian religion’s fallacies that are sending multitudes to you-know-where. As I have said many times in this blog, the reason is that humans in general don’t desire to be challenged with difficult—if not seemingly impossible—requirements to live by. We would rather be told that the Christian walk is like going down primrose path. Therefore, churches who skillfully preach and teach this easy theology to naive parishioners end up becoming extremely popular, and sometimes turn into mega-churches. That is the main reason this blog will never win a popularity contest. That is okay. My primary privilege, joy and duty to whomever is to explain why certain hard-to-live-by New Testament verses must be included in our understanding of what the Christian life consists of, and leave the rest up to God.

Friday, October 14, 2005

# 97: Faith and the Supernatural

If you happened to find this blog by chance and you desire to be the very best Christian you can possibly be, today is the day you finally hit the jackpot—spiritual jackpot, that is. Again, if you don’t desire to be the very best you can be, today may be a time of soul-searching. As you read more of this blog, one thing you will notice is that there are many verses taken from the New Testament that emphasize the requirement of many seemingly impractical, difficult, unnatural, and virtually impossible demands, as quoted in post # 92: “Deleted Verses From the Book of Luke” and posts # 2 and # 31: “Hard-Edged Bible Verses.”

All the commands, requirements, admonishments, directives, imperatives, etc. in the New Testament have one purpose: to guide those who actively desire to be the very best Christians they can be, by God’s free grace, to enter into the realm of perfection (the mature stage of Christianity). In the book of Matthew, this realm of perfection is called The Kingdom of Heaven, and in the books of Luke and Mark, it is called The Kingdom of God. Not that we are perfect as we enter into this pure and holy realm, but because of our faith in God, by His grace, we are given/credited the status of Jesus Christ along with His perfection. And with Christ’s status, we will/must grow into that perfection, more and more each day. Let me attempt to be more descriptive as to what this perfection consists of. God is love; more rightly, selfless love. For about three years, Jesus Christ shows us what that love consists of. The Bible is the vehicle God chose to demonstrate to us, step by step, what it will take to acquire/be given this perfect, selfless love. It is the loftiest goal possible in anyone’s life, to say the least. Initially, because of God’s grace, it didn’t cost us anything when we first accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; but as soon as we get into the obedience part of faith, which is a must, it won’t come easy or cheap. It will require our all in every way. And then, by some chance, if we decide that it is too difficult or unnecessary to be obedient to all which the Scripture requires, salvation is invalid without obedience; without knowing it, we are kicked out and grace is withdrawn. Because of our initial response, we may still believe we are in the good grace of God, by the prompting of the clergy; but that is where the majority of us are fooling ourselves—let’s hope we are not in their number.

Have you been a Christian for some time, yet you are not aware of what the Gospel message is attempting to make you into? Here is the answer: Repeating, the Gospel message is attempting to form you into a person who has the love of God in you—not just in words, but in the actual possession, to a greater degree every day, of Christ-like, selfless love. Do you say, “I have been born again, have received the Holy Spirit, go to church, etc.; what else is there for me to do?” Those rituals are just the first baby steps in the Christian life. You can’t just stay there; you MUST grow. Anything that doesn’t grow is either dead or about to die. Or, if by some chance, your life has been heading in a different direction—caution—you may be just barely alive, if even that.

That may be the reason all those active Bible verses that need a response in post # 92 seem so absurd. But even if a few of them are discarded or ignored, it will be impossible to receive/acquire Christ-like selfless love. And without that love, a person is a nothing in God’s sight. Could that be the reason why the modern Christian church is in a lifeless condition? I am not only attempting to expose the Christian churches’ emptiness but also to display the way to God’s agape love and power. I really shouldn’t have to tell any genuine born-again Christian the correct way, because it is right in front of anyone who reads, or should be reading, the New Testament. But to understand the depth of what one reads in a book that was written about 2,000 years ago is an imperative issue. That is my main purpose for writing “Religion's Crime Against God.”

Therefore, the mark of a genuine Christian is not how much he/she knows about Christ or how many thousands go to your mega-church, or how much wealth God has “blessed” you with, etc. But does he/she live in accordance with all of those extremely vital, hard-edged Bible verses which, when activated/obeyed, will display the power and Christ-like faith which selfless love is able to produce? And with this activation, the most difficult-to-obey Bible verse will start to come to life: “pray continually.” 1st Thessalonians 5:17. The reason this verse seems impossible to obey for most is because our lives and minds are constantly cluttered with worldly matters. Get rid of the worldly stuff and then God will have a fighting chance to keep our minds on spiritual matters. One could say the New Testament is a book intent on cleanup, attempting to clean our lives of worldly matters, thus making room for Godly desires. As three Gospels unanimously point out: “. . . but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Mark 4:19, Luke 8:14, Matthew 13:30. No fruit, no life.

The reason organized Christianity doesn’t go this route is because the message the Bible and I advocate is extremely unpopular. The church, with its congenial message, counts success and holiness in large memberships and financial riches to build even bigger churches and keep the clergy dressed in silk and satire–oops, I meant satin. The larger and richer a church, the more certain it is preaching “straight from the Bible.” Ssssure! A pleasing, make-believe, incomplete or holy-bull type gospel.

Selfless love is not just caring for family, catering to one’s wealthy friends, giving to one’s church, being a pillar in the community, being a member of the board, being an officer of your church, or being just a good and honest guy/gal. God-type love goes far beyond all that perfunctory stuff. In fact, the love of Christ is so rare that one can’t find it where it is expected to be located: in religious establishments. Well then, where is it? You tell me, and I will go to the ends of the earth to be in its company–“However, when the son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8.

Another prerequisite to living in this realm of perfection, which displays itself by Christ-like love, is that we must abandon any personal ambitions, however good and necessary they may seem, that don’t further the cause of Christ. This abandonment, along with adhering to ALL Biblical requirements, produces the faith and power that Jesus Christ had/has. With that spiritual equipment, one is able to venture into a realm that very few are able to be a part of. That is the realm of the supernatural. Without powerful Christ-like faith, it will never happen; but it shouldn’t be that way. Listen to these next verses: “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you.’” Luke 17:5-6. “. . . or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has FAITH IN ME will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:11-12. “. . . ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have the faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “move from here to there” and it will move. NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU.’” [emphasis added]. Matthew 19-20. In essence, this is what Jesus is saying: It is only normal and natural for His disciples [hopefully us] to be performing miracles. Actually, it will be God doing them through us, as we make every effort to become the very best Christians possible. What right does any church have to dogmatically dictate that these aforementioned verses are not relevant in this modern culture? If we can’t believe these verses, should we believe the rest of scripture? Or, are many other verses out of date also? They are there for a very specific reason; cut them out of our message, as has been done, and the heart of the Gospel has been severed.

The main reason we are not seeing the type of holy miracles that Jesus was talking about is because today’s modern “Christians” do not feel it is necessary to believe and love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, as it is described and required in the new Testament and to which I often refer. Another aspect of obedience to God’s hard-core commands is that He reads our motives more than our actions when we aim to fulfill His prophecy. Remember, it is in our power to perform these miracles, which is what He expects of us. Again, it should not be an oddity, but the norm. That is one of religion’s worst crimes against God. But then, in order for anyone in their right mind to believe and obey this radical—though Biblical—message, it must be accompanied by the supernatural in order to substantiate its validity. And at this time, but only at this time, since we also have so little faith, it is not yet possible. But just wait and see what God is about to do. As I mentioned in a previous post, would any of the Jews 2,000 years ago have believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God if he hadn’t validated His claims with spectacular miracles? Repeating, we must also authenticate our hard-edged Biblical words before anyone will believe us.

I am not talking about what one sees on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, done by Pentecostal and Charismatic churches and performed by fakes like B.H. These people are money-grabbing showmen/women. Anyone who truly knows and UNDERSTANDS Holy Scripture will see through their fake performances. In fact, it has been documented twice on a national TV news magazine: after follow-ups of those who were supposedly cured of their maladies, none that were interviewed were actually healed. The crying shame is that those who are naive in spiritual matters keep piling their hard-earned money into the clergy’s ever-present treasure chests, so they can keep being tricked and loving every minute of it while they are forever singing “Be like Jesus is my song.” That is another of religion’s deceptive crimes against God.

I end this section with a sobering question. This, by all means, is the most poignant, heart- piercing question that should be asked of all individuals who profess being genuine born-again Christians. What are some of the important and good things we don’t do, but ought to do, or what money do we not spend, but could spend, to advance the cause of Jesus Christ? This question should be pondered until eternity.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

# 96: The House Church

In the New Testament, at least ten verses tell of first-century Christians getting together and having meetings in each others’ homes, in public places, outdoors, and even at river banks. I believe these places are a truly great example for us as to what our places of worship should be in the 21st century. Relevant Bible verses: Acts 2:2—Acts 15:40—Romans 16:5—1st Corinthians 16:19—Colossians 4:15—Acts 2:46—Acts 5:12—Acts 20:8—1st Corinthians 16:19—Philemon 1:2.

Of course, some will say that house churches were necessary then because their numbers were small, because they weren’t organized yet, or because of other reasons that might or might not have been true. Then others will say, “Oh, we do that. We have our mid-week Bible studies, prayer meetings and other home-type gatherings.” That may be well and good for some. But what I am talking about is those who either don’t have a church because of discontent with the Christian religion per se, or those who have realized all the shortcomings in their church after reading and understanding what this post is making vividly clear. Your house church may start with just two individuals. But the most important aspect of house churches is that there must be agreement about why they don’t desire to be members of an established church and what their spiritual goals are. A house church may not be so easy to start out, and there may be disagreements on vital matters. Then there may be some that will be as wishy-washy as established churches, and desire to compromise imperative standards just to keep its numbers high. Nevertheless, among all the house churches that spring up, there will be some that follow the Bible to the letter; those house churches will find this blog invaluable.

It may be nice to go to an established church building where everyone will sit in comfort with no surprises; everything will be structured. But in that controlled environment, one of the most important aspects of Christianity is lost: spontaneity. Since going to a church building at least once a week is the most important Christian event in the lives of many, the drawback is that rituals like listening to a song, taking a collection, listening to a sermon, saying a prayer or two, and doing other structured trivial events are not what Christianity is all about. Without their knowledge, these churchgoers go in empty and come out just as empty, without any additional spiritual substance. Then one wonders why modern Christianity is an empty religion. It might be noted, as far as we can surmise, that the first church building per se, was built in the third century under the auspices of that scoundrel Constantine.

Now let’s get to the multitudes of benefits to the house church: No paid clergy. No collections unless there is a personal need. Hopefully, no formalities. Get-togethers can be any day or night of the week. Feel free to be oneself. No necessity for a weekly sermon. Anyone can talk about whatever, whenever. No need for protocol or an agenda. Sing in unison or solo, or no songs at all. Have a snack, if desired, letting the kids be kids without interrupting. Getting together is about sharing our lives with each other; that is a vital form of loving each other (in general, women are better at this than men). This is exactly what we need. This sharing of our lives allows us to know each other in intimate ways, like one big family. Actually, there are more advantages to the house church than we can realize; we will become aware of them once they become an important part of our lives. Again, I stress that there must be a consensus of what genuine Christianity consists of and what it doesn’t. As God wills these churches to expand, they must remain small; the maximum should be a dozen people. When they get larger, they can split into smaller groups—much larger than that and there would be problems in two areas: insufficient room and loss of intimacy. The nice part of dividing is that it can be arranged so that no one loses track of each other; people can go to different get-togethers, thus keeping in touch with friends. Did I make myself clear?

Another important aspect in these meetings is that they must not simply turn into social gatherings, although the social part is important. For those leaving churches because of what is not being addressed, it will be a time of much change in their lives. Change is never easy, especially when adjusting one’s life to live in accordance with the New Testament. God does not require a change in one’s belief system only, but a life change that is in accordance with that new belief.

In future posts, I hope to write more on the house church.

The House Church Connection

Click on "comments" below to leave an email address, general location (city and state), and a few words about yourself that you desire others to know (for example: explaining what you are about and what is of importance to you). In this way, it will be easier to get in touch with others of like kind, or to join or start a House Church of your own.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

# 95: We Are Responsible

One of the reasons there are so many unbelievers in the world is because most of us who profess Christ as Lord and Savior have not made the Gospel relevant in our daily living. The gospel does not influence others to any great degree because they don't see it in all areas of our lives. The influence of our gospel cannot be restricted to only certain areas, such as church attendance, good morals, or only speaking with our Christian friends on spiritual matters. Every moment presents a new opportunity to bring our relationship with Christ, in a realistic way, to every unique situation. For the most part, we don't do this. Even when we do, because of our moral imperatives, we usually fail to give Christ glory in a verbal fashion, fearing we will be looked upon as religious nuts. The truth of the gospel must affect all of our values and associations, including how we run our households and businesses; most of all, we must demonstrate in every specific circumstance who is behind our actions and why. Our God-given conscience must constantly assess our every action as to how it affects our community and those in our immediate presence. Why? Because the one we represent is Jesus Christ. In general, we have set a very poor example for the world to follow. Living in this fashion without giving the glory to God just makes us nice guys/gals who are considerate of others.

Atheists and skeptics know better than to believe in a religious message that has made us, because of our hypocrisy, the laughingstock of the world. The truth of the matter is that our lives don't match our words of profession. We are apathetic and indifferent to the needs of anyone who doesn't believe exactly as we do, especially when they don't believe at all.

I know that those who are involved with organized Christianity are not all fakes; nevertheless, I would rather see agnostics stay where they are rather than get involved in the fakery section of organized Christianity. How can I make such a statement? Because a new convert may not know what Christ really has to offer. Taking the validity of organized worship on blind faith, they may settle for much less, which makes it no Christianity at all. As one who continually shares his faith with anyone and everyone, I can say that it is much easier to witness someone who knows little or nothing about the truth of the Christian faith, than those who already think they have salvation through their part-time, couch-potato Christianity. The reason is that God can't give them something they think they already have. This fact alone tells me that not many registered church-going Christians will be able to experience the reality of the Good News to the point where it is the controlling factor in their lives.

That is the reason why I often think that this simple, unsophisticated blog has mostly been written in vain. I would love more than anything for all people who believe in Christ to behave in such a way that Jesus is clearly visible in everything they say and do. At the same time, I cringe at the thought of anyone in their right mind getting involved in any way with bogus Christianity. To the world in general, these two forms of worship (the real and the fake) are synonymous, yet they might as well be separated by infinity. What a paradox! This is the reason I wax redundantly, repeating over and over the many truths that are the foundation for living up to what God desires for us. Through grace, He allows us to resemble Jesus Christ. We could have His status as sons/daughters of God. What an unspeakable privilege: God’s desire to share His Life and Holiness with unworthy humans. Therefore, let us continually be aware of this phenomenal privilege and live up to nothing less than what we can be in God's eyes! Give me one legitimate reason why we can't actively believe that fact alone! If we do claim to believe it, let’s prove it by our lives. Dang it, I am mad! To those of us who truly believe that fact, let’s stop living as phony saints!

Yes, we all are guilty for the shape the world is in, yet it is not too late for us to do something about it. All the world wants to see is the living Christ in you and me; not a Gospel of empty words and excuses for our frailties, or a parade of our morals, rituals, traditions and formalities. These things per se, are of no value in making Christ known. The whole world is hurting for reality and it doesn’t even know where to begin to look!

I continually see the empty and hurting faces of people every day. It nearly kills me when words and answers are not enough. They have heard so many religious words, mine included, that they are totally meaningless to them. Where can they go to find meaning in their lives? Look around and you will see the results of their vain searches. Christ hurts for all who will not have the opportunity to believe Him because of their complacency and hypocrisy. I hurt more than words can express. That is truly sharing in the suffering of Christ. Also, I share the pain of the lost. I was one of those empty seekers much of my life: I would grab whatever I could. Maybe this will make me feel complete. Let’s do this, let’s go here or there, let’s buy this thing or that; then everything will be okay. Without knowing it, every person has an intrinsic, though dormant, craving to be what they were meant to be: clones-of-Christ-in-the-making. It’s sad to say that most will not have that hunger satisfied until, and only until, we get our act straight. God is waiting with open arms for the spiritually hungry to be enlightened by us. He needs us more than life itself. He can't do it without us. What more can God say? God’s love for the lost and His desire for them to have His life are virtually killing Jesus Christ all over again. His life counts for nothing without us. God will receive glory only when He sees the RESULTS of His Son in our lives; nothing less will do.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

# 94: Do We Know Who We Are?

What is the purpose for which we were born? This blog contains as much new information concerning what Christianity does and doesn't mean as an Air Force C-130 transport plane contains cargo. You'll be standing in the gallery of tears in shocked silence as Jesus Christ explains firsthand what He is about. Live this information or be prepared to die. Don't leave life without Him! Relying on the clergy to tell you the truth about Christ is like flying in an airplane with a pilot who only read the flying manual but never actually flew. While most Christian authors have their names in neon lights for having written about or preached on Christ for decades, I am a “nothing” showing you what Jesus is really like. God needs our complete body, mind, soul and spirit in order for us to function as Jesus Christ. Out of necessity, God had to create living beings in order to find some who desire to share all His goodness. It would have been impossible for Him to keep it to Himself and find any meaning to His own existence. The same is true of us. This is what is meant by “created in His image.” Heaven is a place where you will be so busy that you won't have any time for yourself. Everyone else will be caring for all of your needs as you care for others: total oneness. Life has no good end to it, no matter how one looks at it, unless one attaches him/herself through belief to the One who has no end. Christianity is not a religion that concerns itself with our well-being, but one that is concerned with the spiritual welfare of others. Organized Christianity is, however, infatuated with self. When we know for certain that we are a "god in the flesh" (child of God), not only in our minds but in our heart of hearts, then we will start living like Christ. The physical world, as necessary as it may be, is a thief attempting to get a firm grip on those whose lives are temporally devoted to Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

#93: Seeing is Believing

Skeptics often say, “Show me your God and then I will believe that He or She exists.” You can say to them: “You can’t show me electricity, gravity, magnet fields, radio and T.V. waves, yet you still believe they exist.” Even though they are all invisible, we know they exist because they all produce a result or an action. One of the ways one knows there is invisible electricity flowing through a wire is by touching the bare wire and receiving a shock, or plugging an appliance into the end of the wire and watching it work. Evidence of gravity is displayed by the fact that we do not float off into space. We would be foolish to believe in the North and South Poles if the needle of our compass did not point to North or South. The wireless radio would be useless if invisible waves did not travel sometimes thousands of miles from the transmitting station to the radio.

God, who displays Himself through selfless love, is made visible through Jesus Christ. Therefore, His love life is evident in those who call themselves Christians. No love, no God. Love is invisible, but when it exists, it always has a visible effect. When there is no effect, one can rightly say there is no God. When skeptics say there is no evidence of an invisible God, most often they may be correct. They have a right to say, “God does not exist” since they can’t see much (if any) visible evidence of a loving God in the lives of those who call themselves “His children.”

Apart from God displaying Himself through His special creation (humanity), he is visible in nature and in the existence of the universe, but more so in the creation of all forms of life. If God did not create life, where and how did it come about? Well, there are many theories brought forth by skeptics on the genesis of life, but they are wrong (as I have mentioned several times in this blog) because none have been able to create life or explain in detail how it came about. Another great evidence of the existence of God is man’s/woman’s inability to create matter out of nothing.

Why is there a genuine need—though many are not aware of that need—to believe in the existence of God? Answer: We are the reason He is! His love is made manifest through mankind. All else in the material world is no more than circumstantial evidence for the existence of God. God gets no pleasure out of large rocks and huge balls of gas (celestial bodies). He can’t love them and they cannot love Him in return. God could not be a God of love without us. Who would He love, and who would love Him in return? Again, we are the reason He is, and He is the reason we are! Let me elaborate. The very nature of love dictates reciprocation. God cannot help but love His creation, but that love is of little value to Him/us when a whole-life response to that love is not received. Could God exist without our love? Yes and no. If God had no one to reciprocate his love—but that is not the case—He would, so to speak, cease to exist. Eternal love is the kind that is totally content with the love of one, namely Jesus Christ, as He is with the love of an infinite number. But at the same time, if God did not need our love, we would not be precious to Him. He needs our love for one main reason, and that is that He could not share His love with us without a loving response. In other words, God’s only need is to share His love with all who will believe Him and thus become like Him. He needs us to share his love, though that need is not life-threatening to Him. It would be a sin and a waste on God’s part if somehow He did not continually make every attempt to propagate His love life in every possible way. Repeating, He is the reason we are and we are the reason He is.

To deny the existence of God is to deny the sanctity and value of human life. If there was no God, why would our lives be more valuable than the cow which we may bite into for supper? Who made us more valuable than that cow? Our intelligence, our ability to reason? No. The only thing that makes human life of greater importance than the animal kingdom is our propensity to believe God and display an active love for Him by loving people as He does. Take that potential away—that is what atheists do unknowingly—and what is left is nothing more than intelligent and conniving animals, most of whom secretly believe they and their families are the most important animals in the world, and live accordingly.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

# 92: Deleted Verses From the Book of Luke

It is a crime against self when a person eats unhealthy but tasty foods and passes on those that are full of nutrition but not that appetizing. It is also a high crime against God and Jesus Christ when people who call themselves Christians adhere to Bible verses that take little or no effort to implement, and ignore those that are hard-edged (those that would interfere with the easy, modern lifestyle.) Although this blog does point out many benefits when the Christian life is lived according to Scripture, its main emphasis is to openly display those Bible verses that have purposely been deleted from the message organized religion preaches. This infraction is extremely damaging because it nullifies all the good—to put it lightly—the gospel is meant to accomplish. I know better than most how unpopular and unpleasant this truthful Gospel message is to those that have become complacent (just going to a church building on Sunday, if that; and being good, whatever that implies).

With that said, at this time I am going to bring out those seemingly “hidden verses” from only one Gospel: the Book of Luke. Mind you, they are only a small portion of such verses. If anyone is serious about their faith/devotion to God through Jesus Christ, these verses can no longer be dismissed. The only problem is that to accept them as a paramount part (our part) of God’s plan of Salvation, it requires a radical lifestyle change, and most are not willing or able to be transform from their comfortable “Christianity”. Comfort can be, and most often is, an enemy to the Gospel of Christ.

The worst-case scenario is to accept these hard-edged verses intellectually as necessary and important, though highly impractical to live by in a worldly sense, and then not desire/attempt to implement them into one’s life. It would be better if one never knew anything about their presence in the Bible.

I will start with chapter one in the book of Luke and end in chapter twenty-one. I will give you my spiritual understanding after each verse.

Luke 1:50. “His mercy extends to those who fear him.” Our God is a loving God; why should we have cause to fear Him? That is the general attitude in the modern church. Fear is a negative word, and therefore we have deleted it from our spiritual vocabulary. Without fear of God’s retribution, there is little, if any, incentive to walk the line—God’s line—unless it is easy and we feel like it. As Christians, many believe we can take or leave whatever, if you will.

1:51. “. . . he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.” We in America are the proudest people in the world—mostly proud of our affluence, wealth, and country. In this powerful and rich country which we are so proud of, we have no real need for God except as a semblance of goodness and godliness. We silently say, God, please don’t call on me; I will call you if and when I need you.

1:52. “. . . but he sent the rich away empty.” In the complete New Testament, God says not a single good word about being wealthy. The only way wealth is accepted as a good thing in the Christian life is if a new, rich convert has an active desire to spend his wealth on promoting the cause of Christ, and at the same time, gives up his/her easy life of comfort. If that rich lifestyle wasn’t given up, others would also desire to be rich and still be Christians. Then the Christian motto would be “Who can be the richest and give that much more money to the church?” In no time, wealth would be the holy grail of all Christians. Isn’t that the motto in America today, if not the whole world? In fact, there are more Bible verses that bad-mouth wealth rather than murder, adultery, theft and many other serious offenses. Having extra is a no-no in true Christianity. You might be saying that there is no logic in not saving for a rainy day or other seemingly necessary future expenses. I will agree; living God’s way makes no sense to the unregenerate mind. He turns most values upside-down. How far from the mark (Christ’s mark) is organized religion? The Apostle Luke brings this subject up again and again in his Gospel. I will only touch on them as they come up.

2:14. “. . . and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” That is a lot different than the King James Version, which says “. . . and on earth peace, good will toward men.” The latter includes all people, even extremely evil people. I don’t think so.

6:20. “Blessed are you who are poor.” I won’t comment on this one since I wrote a long post on this subject several weeks ago.

6:24. “But woe to you who are rich.” My understanding has already been given above.

6:46. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” We call on the Lord when we are in trouble, but do we do what He commands in the New Testament? You answer this one.

8:14. “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” How many of us have good intentions when we first accept Christ as our Lord and Savior? But as we soon find out, it is difficult if not impossible to break away from the good things this world offers. How many of us are/have been in that position, and don’t mature into fruit-bearing Christians? Fruit bearers are the only type of genuine Christians.

10:25-27. Jesus was asked, “. . . what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “. . . ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “. . . Do this and you will live.” This verse dogmatically states that there is a prerequisite for eternal life. Loving God in an active way with all the aforementioned attributes is an arduous and daunting thing to live by.

12:19-20. “And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’” No comment—this verse speaks for itself.

12:51. “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” Looks like Jesus is a family breaker, as you read on through verse 53.

13:24. “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and not be able to.” The only ones who will be trying to enter through the narrow door, but will not able to, are those who believe they are Christians but have not lived according to God’s commands. The narrow door signifies that only a small number of people will be accepted; therefore, only a small door is needed to enter through into the hereafter.

14:11. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Here is a quality: true humility, which is missing in the whole of Christianity.

14:26. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.” This verse needs some down-to-earth explanation. Not to take away from this critical verse, but the word “hate” in this context means to love less. In other words, as much as we love our family members, we must love Christ even more, and make Him more important—which will not be easy to do—or we will not be eligible to be his disciple. The work of Jesus Christ must be number one in all we do.

14:33. “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Christ is referring to God-inspired poverty. In other words, how can you be eating a big meal while your neighbor and his family have nothing to put on his/her table? True Christianity advocates equality. A Christian can’t have more than his/her immediate needs as long as there is another in need. The principle behind this verse advocates sound Christian doctrine, which is taken lightly by counterfeit Christians.

16:13. “You cannot serve both God and Money.” This one has been an easy one for the wealthy to circumvent. They say you can’t out-give God; the more you give to your church, the wealthier God makes you. They often quote 2nd Corinthians 9:7: “. . . for God loves a cheerful giver.” The first big error is that the more one gives to their church, the more they can propagate their misguided religion of comfort and wealth, meant for all who love God. The only way these rich people can ever get right with God is to seek out and find all the Bible verses that their churches don't tell them about. If they believe and live by them, then they won’t be wealthy for very long. The undeniable fact is this: It will most likely never happen. That is the damage wealth does to most people. That is like trying to take all the ice cream, candy and sweets away from a little child that was used to having sweets all his/her life. Wealth is more addicting than any other habit we can acquire, including drugs, sex, and to a degree, food. Actually, wealth is more desirable than just about anything else. Now we can see why it is important for the organized church to include the wealthy in their roster. It isn’t that the wealthy can’t break the habit of living a wealthy lifestyle; it is that they enjoy it so much that they don’t want to. So they just keep piling their 10 %–or whatever—into the church coffer and hope for the best. The main reason wealth is so damaging to Christianity is this: If an equal situation existed where a decision had to be made between wealth or God, the winner would most often, if not always, be wealth. Wealth or the desire for wealth is God's biggest competitor when it comes to receiving devotion. Rich “Christian” people don’t openly say or think they are devoted to their wealth, but they are, or they wouldn’t be wealthy for much longer. Now it is clear why wealth and God cannot coexist. “You cannot serve both God and money.” That is the reason for the next Bible verse.

16:14. “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Is money highly valued? Even health and happiness can’t compete with wealth. Undoubtedly, wealth is highly valued by most, if not all, people, and that is the reason it is detestable to God.

18:22. “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” This is another stipulation before one can become a follower of Jesus Christ.

19:27. “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me.” This is Jesus using a parable of what will happen to those who don’t desire to have Jesus Christ dominate over how they believe and live.

21:17. “All men will hate you because of me.” At least a dozen verses in the New Testament say how genuine Christians will be hated. The main reason for this hate is because they (the hated ones) will be exposing the evil (sins of omission) of men and women that claim to belong to Christ.

This post will be extremely difficult for most to take as Bible truth. But I can truly and honestly say that the benefits of believing and living accordingly to the above verses will outweigh the seeming sacrifices that will be required to put them into practice. Amen.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

# 91: Truth or Deception

Pontius Pilate asked, “What is truth?” in John 18:38. To searching minds and hearts, this has been the question of the ages. There are several truths. One has a wide audience: man's/woman’s perception of truth, which is extremely diverse and which we see all around us. And there is eternal absolute truth, a truth which cannot be established but only experienced as one seeks it with one's whole life. This latter truth of which I am speaking pertains to this question: What is the best way of living?

Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the truth.” Let's stop right here. That is the answer, but what does it mean to be “the truth”? Most certainly, truth does not merely consist of words, a theory, or a belief, as it does a life. Everything Jesus did, said, or thought was according to this eternal truth. I don't like to use the word “eternal” too much because it is quite incomprehensible to us foolish mortals who are governed by time in this high-speed “I want it now” world; still, we must differentiate between man’s truths, which change with time and cultural perspective, and Christ's truth, which cannot change any more than God can change. If we could live our lives according to this eternal truth, we would be perfect; however, one foul thought, one kind deed undone, one unloving word, and the end result is partial truth, or better yet, deception.

How does this apply to us in our practical daily living? Jesus Christ lived this truthful life and is therefore our only perfect example in living according to Divine truth. As we deviate from that truth, however little, we will be living in evil-inspired, self-induced seduction. If this is true, then the whole world is under the power of this satanic deceit, which includes, to a small degree, reborn Christians. The closer we come to living like Jesus, the less we will be susceptible to self-deceit. True Christians are living with much truth and hopefully little deceit, while the unregenerate world is living with much deceit and little or no truth. To speak in generalities for everyone, I don’t believe that anyone wants to unknowingly live in deceit. Many, by choice, live a deceitful life in which they deceive everyone around them; this they are pleased to do and believe it is the best for them. But to actually be deceived by life itself, I do not believe anyone truly desires this.

Jesus lived this totally truthful deceit-free life by listening only to His Father's voice and obeying His every word without reservation. He did this because He believed His Father like a little child would, never doubting a word no matter how bizarre it might have seemed on the surface. In order for us to eliminate deceit from our lives, we must somehow understand how Jesus lived the truth and desired to believe and obey His every word to the letter. There is no other way we can even start to live a Christ-like life. As we start to live as Jesus Christ desires, our gullibility will be revealed to us, thus giving God the chance to destroy it.

As I said in several previous posts, one of the most seemingly outlandish truths of Christ’s success, and a sure path to our success in living the truth, is guarding our every thought, action and deed to the extent that they promote only the cause of Christ. Other things of importance will interfere to some degree, but at the same time we must realize that when we desire to have more than we need, it is the result of pleasing deceit. This is a hard teaching, but nevertheless, as openly displayed in the New Testament, it is an absolute. Living in this truth is what sets us free. It will free us from our incarceration of living in deceit and gull. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. They answered him . . . and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” John 8:32-33.

In order to live this life of truth, we must not only tap into the life of Jesus, but much more importantly, we must enter into His motive: living up to the Father’s expectation. Christ showed us the only way to life. He is the way. He is the truth. And He is the life: the mystery of God. As we put this secret formula into practice by entering into his holy life, we will display His truth because we will be living clones of Jesus Christ! Amen.

Let’s seek a bit more spiritual depth as we continue this topic. To most of us, to be called “gullible” is an insult to our human dignity and intellect. Webster defines “gullible” as being easily deceived. I believe the root of most, if not all, gull comes from some kind of self-centered human desire.

To be more specific: If a person desired a million dollars and someone came along and offered a way to acquire that million, such a person might be duped into some scam, depending on the force of his/her desire. When desire is stronger than logic, gull is born. Since human logic and common sense are relative, one person’s logic might seem like stupidity to another, and vice-versa. It can easily be said that all humans are gullible to one degree or another. Gullibility can be found in all classes of people, from the educated and talented to the uneducated and ignorant. The only difference is that their gull is present in different areas of their lives. I believe that most people would adamantly deny that they are gullible, but if they knew they were gullible and in which areas of their lives deceit existed, they wouldn't be gullible anymore. After knowing this, if they still clung to their perverted desires, they would knowingly be deceiving themselves.

The most gullible are the young and the restless; I mean the religious. They are being amused by the world, straight to the pits of Hell, and loving every minute of it. The young are naive and inexperienced in matters of lifetherefore can easily be seduced. Most of the mature religious crowd has been deceived into believing in a God that loves and accepts anyone who thinks they are O.K. because they belong to a certain religious group, regardless of what type of life they may be living. The sad thing about this is that when they are controlled by this type of belief, their whole life may be a deception. That is the epitome of gull. I don't know who is worse off: one who believes and participates in a pleasing but false form of Christianity; an atheist; or one who believes in the existence of God but does nothing about it. It could be that they all have one foot on a banana peel and the other foot in hell.

Nothing irritates me more than knowing I have been/am being deceived. That may be the main reason why I live my life in a very cautious and inquisitive manner, not leaving one stone unturned. I say cautious because I know the world is full of beautiful, deceptive and very well-camouflaged land mines, just waiting to disable me bit by bit until I am totally out of commission. On the other hand, I never harbor inordinate fear of leaping into unknown territory, because I know whose company I am in: Jesus Christ's. I live in an inquisitive manner because I know God cannot reveal anything to us about Himself if we don't continually inquire about Him. I know all too well who the prince of gull is; the Spirit of Christ continually points out most of his tricks to me. The evil one desires to keep us in a gullible state by distracting us from the truth: the life of Jesus Christ. When we desire to live the truth by making Christ our paradigm, we become examples; as Christ gave his life for us, we will willingly give of ourselves to others if and when necessary. By our lives of either truth or deceit, we will lead others to Christ or to hell. This is an awesome responsibility. God doesn't give us new lives by making us like Him just as a means in itself, but to draw others to Him. Yes, if we truly love our fellow man, we must desire to be a shining and perfect example to the whole world by and through our truthful lives. We are showing off either Christ or self. How many people have you and I led to hell by our lives of deceit or to heaven with our lives of truth? Living the way we are expected to is serious business, not merely for our salvation but for the eternal destiny of all in our company. Do we truly know what Christ expects of us? This post has been a concerted effort on His part to do just that.