Friday, January 27, 2006

# 125: The Secret of How Christ Lived as He Did

This post is lengthy, and may be difficult for some to understand or believe if they are not or do not desire to live a Christ-like life. It will sound like Greek to them. Therefore, I recommend it be skipped for the present time, and readers should scroll down to others posts that may make more sense and be of greater interest.

It concerns Jesus Christ’s motives and ability behind living a perfect life, something which remains a point of contention among many Christians. In His body, Jesus Christ was as human as you and me. The one way in which He differed from the rest of us was His inner being, or spirit. He also had a very intimate relationship with His Father. How did He acquire this closeness with God? This was the Father’s doing. God the Father was able to speak with His Christ as He spoke to none other, because He knew Christ’s destiny—of course, God knows everyone’s destiny. How the Father spoke to Jesus is not known, but my guess is that the method differed little from the manner in which He speaks to us—if we only will listen. The amazing aspect of this relationship from a mortal’s frame of reference—particularly that of a modern mortal—is that Jesus believed God unconditionally and did exactly as He said without reservation. How did Jesus acquire the ability to believe? The Father gave it to Him.

Of course, under normal circumstances, having the ability to do something is by no means a guarantee that one will actually do it. So, why did Christ believe? Because along with that belief, God gave Christ His spirit (His actual life). Since God gave Christ His life, at that time Jesus was actually God in the flesh, the literal embodiment of God. How did Jesus know this? Because He believed God. God the Father gave Jesus something He had never given to anyone else, because Jesus was very special; He had belief that was not muddied with doubt. Jesus was devoid of pleasing emotions that are derived from the world; Jesus lived this way by faith, because He was experiencing eternal pleasures that were much more enriching, to say the least.

What did this belief produce in Jesus? Jesus knew He was very special. He knew He was loved by the Father like no one was ever loved before, and He felt that way. Jesus was needed and He felt that way. Jesus was wanted; He knew it and felt that way. Jesus had a very special job to do and He knew it. The Father could not do without Jesus; He knew it. The Father said to Jesus, “You are my Son.” Jesus knew it through belief in His Father, and He lived accordingly. The faith Jesus had in His Father produced many powerful emotions, and these allowed Him to live as He did. The emotions I am talking about are not like the emotions we routinely experience. In the case of Jesus, they were the result of faith in God.

With every individual belief, an emotion is produced. The emotion is not the thing of value in and of itself, but it is valuable as the fuel that produces action. To clarify: Jesus knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was important, loved, needed, valuable, irreplaceable, the Son of God, and that He had eternal life. He knew that He was the most unique individual that had ever lived. This is how the Father felt about Jesus, and Jesus’ unfailing belief in these facts drove Him in His purpose.

Now we know how and why Jesus lived as He did; with that kind of faith, He couldn't have lived any differently. All that He did in His life confirmed to the Father that Jesus believed Him. With knowledge of how and why Jesus lived to please his Father, we have more than a clue as to how we also must live a life that pleases Him, and why we should. We are told in almost every page in the Bible, in literally every sermon we hear, in every Christian book we read, what is expected of us as Christians. Yet not many tell us why it is absolutely necessary, or how we can accomplish it.

Let God tell a mystery so simple that even a small child can understand it, which at the same time is one of the most profound and complex concepts in the Christian life. Since Jesus did not make this concept known openly, but only alluded to it in His teachings, I am reluctant to speak of it at this time because those who are not born of God may seek to twist it into something dirty—as in distilling it down to mere words. It is because I know for sure that many will take it and live accordingly; it is for the glory of God that I write it down.

So here goes: The motives which compelled Jesus to live as He did must also be our motives. How is that possible? If, and only if, we truly desire to believe as Jesus did, God the Father will give us that same faith by giving us the spirit that Jesus had—the spirit is the part of us that dictates to our mind what to do and why. Is this not wonderful? If and when we ask, however, we must ask not only with our mouths, but with our hearts and our lives, because God will replace our worldly life with Christ’s holy life. If we ask and do not receive, it is because we don't know what we are asking for. It was not easy for Jesus to live as He did. He did not live an ordinary life as seen from one on the outside. When one of us modern twenty-first century humans truly lives a Christ-like life, it is deemed the most radical lifestyle displayed in any realm, Christian or otherwise.

Let’s continue in our quest to understand the dynamics of Christ-like belief. The first element is that everyone always and only lives up to what they believe about themselves. Jesus knew He was the Son of God through belief in what His Father said about Him; therefore, to oversimplify a bit, He lived as He believed a Son of God should live. We as children of God and brothers of Christ will live as children of God are supposed to live; that is, if we truly have faith. Can anyone begin to understand the power that is produced by that fact alone? God's relationship with Jesus was as if no one else of importance existed in the world. Though God loves us all—but in different ways—our relationship with the Father must be as though we are the only one God has to do the monumental job He has assigned to us. This must be believed, not just mouthed. As I mentioned in posts # 82, 83, and 84, the dynamic revelation that every Christian has a personal God—the idea that you are so important to Him that no one else exists in the world aside from Him and you—is quite viable. He loves you to such a degree that words cannot even come close to describing the emotions that can be produced from that love if you are willing to share in it. You are the only one who can show the world His love by your life and your words. He needs you more than life itself. When a person truly believes this, which will only be possible by desiring to empty self of all worldly desires/things that seem to bring meaning to life, then God can give you power that can turn the world upside down. That is how we are enabled to do and be what we were meant to do and be as Christians. Can anyone imagine the impact if we had a million or so, even several thousand, or a mere 300 people that all possessed that voracious drive, that passionate intensity to live life in this Christ-like fashion?

Very few will deny that God loves us all, and that is true. Another truth: When we know for sure that someone loves us, it always has an effect on how we live. Let me give you a small illustration of the effects of love. Think back in your life to when you were a youth, to your first case of puppy love. Can you remember the feelings you had? You just couldn't wait to be together with your love. For the first time, someone actually loved you, and in a different way than your mom or dad. That love made you feel as if you were continually walking on cloud nine. For the first time, you felt really important and valuable. Someone of the opposite gender actually thought you were desirable and attractive. You get the picture? That love was erotic, however, and perhaps lasted only a short time, but what a great experience and memory.

Can we compare the love God has for us with that puppy love? Do I even need to ask? There isn't a comparison. God's love makes that love look like absolutely nothing. Nevertheless, even that love affected our life in a dramatic way. How we believe will always affect how we live and feel. Does God's love for us affect us in a similar way? If your honest answer is no, I must then ask: Why not? If His love for us is many times more realistic and intense than that baby love of ours, doesn’t it stand to reason that we should be affected many times more? Of course it does.

Why, then, do we so often fail to act accordingly? The only answer I can come up with is this: Though God loves us more than we could ever imagine, the majority of us don't believe it to the extent that it affects our lives in a dramatic way. When someone loves you but you are not aware of it—though many may know of that love—it is called secret love. Why don't we know about God's love for us? No doubt there are many reasons, one being the effects, pleasures and sorrows the material world has on us that make God seem unreal and unimportant, since we’ve been conditioned to believe only in that which we can see. Many thus accept the concept of God in the abstract, but don’t believe that He has any great concern for us, let alone love. Consequently, the effect of our so-called belief is minimal.

How can we put the physical world into its proper place, to the point where we believe that God loves us to that degree? This ability to believe in Him is given only to those whom God has chosen. Well, that doesn't seem quite fair, does it? Does that mean that not everyone has an equal chance for eternal life? Well, there are two ways to identify God's chosen: from God's vantage point, which is always correct, and man's, which can be seriously flawed. Here is God's perspective: When He chooses someone for eternal life, it is because He knows in advance who will believe. Those are the only ones He chooses. Sounds like cheating, but God only responds to a person’s action through their free will before the fact. Can you imagine creating a world and not knowing for sure how it would turn out? I wouldn't want that type of God to be my Lord.

Let’s put it in simpler language. If Christians truly desire to believe with their whole lives in God and His great love for us, then His life and love are ours for the having. When a person merely says he/she believes in God, without adherence to New Testament commands, his/her belief is compromised and will never materialize to the point that his/her life will be affected in response to God's love. Remember, true belief always affects the whole being; therefore, claims of belief must include the whole being or they are only words. As an adolescent, that love of yours affected your whole life. You were totally different inwardly. Now we know the type of belief we need—one that only God can give—in order to have the same motive that Jesus had for living a life pleasing to God. What are we going to do about it? Let me ask a stupid question: How much is your life worth to you? Are you willing to give up all the joys and rewards of humanity? This is where the rubber meets the road. The majority would answer, “No.” We think we have too much to lose, when we really cannot comprehend the value of what we will gain. When we live life as we see fit, even in the name of Christ, our “Christian life” will be devoid of the power to live with the same motive Christ had. Isn't that the kind of Christianity we see around us in the world today? A lot of holy words, blase Christian works, a lot of compromise, and no power, all amounting to no Christ.

Now, some may say, “But Jesus wasn't tainted with sin as we all are, so it was easier for Him to believe than it is for us.” That may be true to some extent, but the advantage we have over Christ to live a life that is pleasing to the Father is threefold. How? First, we are living, or supposed to be living, the resurrected life, which He was not given at that time. This means that we have it made, so to speak. We can't lose. Second, He showed us how to do it. He needed to be the sinless trailblazer as God's perfect example for us. Does that sound easy? Third, He gives us His Spirit; that Holy Spirit contains all He experienced as a mere man while on earth. We can tap into Christ’s thirty-three years of humanity as He experienced it and apply it as if it happened to us, but it won't come easy or cheap. This seems unbelievable, and yet readily available. What I mean: In most of Jesus’ teachings He spoke in absolutes, either black or white, without gray areas. The reason for this is that He was relaying to us the intensity of His relationship with His Father. He knew that the same relationship would be ours in time. In His teaching, He was only giving us a sneak preview of our lives—our intimate connection with God—the lives we could have through God’s grace. Where is grace? Grace is everywhere. He worked for it and we receive it, although not one of us deserves it. Once we receive it, then we can live it. I can almost see someone who doesn't belong to God trying to make heads or tails of what I’m saying. Forget it. It is all in a secret code, and the key to breaking that code is His life. But don't give up hope. God will give you His life-changing Son if you really and truly are aware of a desperate need for Him.

You are the one—yes, you are the one; God wants you, more than words can ever make known, to have the same motive Jesus had to do the great works of the Father. All things are possible to one who has faith. “Greater things than these, you will do.” These promises are not just pie-in-the-sky dreams. Now, can you see how Jesus’ life can virtually be duplicated in you?

I may get lot of flak from some for using the word “duplicate.” Other than dying for the sins of the world, can we name one thing about Jesus’ life that He wouldn’t allow or desire you and me to reproduce? He is our perfect and complete example. The power to live as Christ lived comes from having the same state of affairs that existed between Jesus and his Father. God will give us that faith. Then we can accomplish His desires for us; by God's grace, we will do it with His power. We are not talking just words here; we are talking eternal life in the here and now.

This type of “Jesus connection” to the Father will not come by wishful prayer. Fervent, breathtaking prayer with true spiritual desire will make God materialize, giving us powerful belief, real love, and faith, resulting in dynamic Christ-like results. To make light of this all-important truth and to treat it with little account will leave us impotent. Don't forget the fact that is so often forgotten: Satan and all his cohorts—and there are billions—are making every effort to destroy the works of Christ in every individual who makes any serious attempt to live like Jesus. Yes, there is a spiritual battle going on at all times, and if we do not make a continual effort to defeat the enemy, he will undermine God's first line of defense, our Christ-like faith. And guess what? Satan will accomplish his purpose through our spiritual lethargy, usually because we have left him a toe-hold in our lives. With our faith undermined, we cannot stand.

To sum up: The relationship our Lord Jesus Christ had with His Father is available to us. This is for real; it’s not just another Christian cliché or method of proving to the world that we have a personal relationship with God. This kinship has to be so real that we can touch it, see it, smell it, and live it. Jesus had the Father’s life, and we have Jesus’ life. As Jesus was loved with a very special love, we now can be loved with that same love. If and when we believe this, the greatest and most difficult truth to apply, Jesus Christ will walk this Earth again in the lives of His people, with power. Amen. So, it is not only what Jesus did but how He did it that is of paramount importance to us.

God did his part in giving us Jesus. Jesus did His part in giving us His life. Now it is our part to make every effort to live His life. If we don’t, we foolish mortals had better start shaking in our boots, because this principle is displayed by Godly logic. Once qualified by grace, the ones who win this Christian contest are the ones who put forth the most effort, all else being equal. This isn’t doing good works for salvation; this is works because of our God-given salvation. Grace must come first; then, and only then, works will materialize. No works, no life. There are more bad guys than good guys, so the contest is not equal. We can't rely on our Coach being more powerful—though He is—if we don't play by the rules as dictated in God’s book. Jesus made every effort and won. Pray to God that by the love of Christ, we too will make every effort and also win.

Now, possibly for the first time, atheists and skeptics can see why organized Christianity is a miserable excuse for living a Christ-like life. I am sure this authentic version of Christianity makes more logic to unbelievers than that of any play-acting “Christian.” It may be necessary to read this several times for the full impact to be understood.

#124: A Comment and Reply Worthy of Publishing wrote:


Dear Sir: Thank you for your interesting comments. As far as I can gather, the point you are Biblically attempting to make is that the dead are not physically raised; do you mean the bones and other remains that lay in the grave? I am not certain what I believe, although I can’t speak for others. Let me throw a few verses at you—not to change your beliefs, but so you can mentally/spiritually chew on them for a while and tell us what they imply/mean. I will start with Matthew 27:52-53, “The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many holy people.” John 5:28. "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when ALL who are in the graves will hear his voice will come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” [emphasis added]. Another exception is in the account of Lazarus’ death, in John 11th chapter. After four days in the grave, do you think Lazarus’ body would start to give off a foul odor, as in verse 39?

To tell you the truth, however the dead are raised, from the grave or another place, or by some other means, it isn’t worth my/your time to make an issue out of it. Nevertheless, as you well know, there are many verses that say the dead will rise. Where or how or when is insignificant.

As to your last comment: Will we be on a solid earth or in the sky? Again, who cares? Those of us who are the Lords will be with Him wherever He is, or wherever He desires.

Thanks for your interest in this spiritual blog. Keep checking on me and others. God bless you in the midst of these terrible times. Some of us are so used to what is happening around us that it may seem the norm/status quo. But it isn't. Things are getting really bad and quickly. That should be a clue to all that the end may not be far away. My suggestion is to read the New Testament and comply with what is commanded, regardless of how absurd it may sound.

Monday, January 23, 2006

#123: Response to Jay's Two Comments

Jay, I am sure your comments may be of great interest to many readers; therefore, instead of responding to your comments in the comment section/window, I am making a separate post. This is your first comment concerning hellfire, which was published in post # 122. If new readers have not read posts # 121 and # 122 yet, scroll down a bit to read the post first.

Al. I think the point you made about separation from God in hell is true, and that will be some of the torment there. As far as not remembering and being a place of emptiness where there is nothing to reminder them of God, I don’t think this is scriptural. The story in Luke 16:22 tells us something different. This man was aware of his error and he was aware how good they had it on Gods side. Some may say this is just another parable, and you can’t take that literally. I don’t think so. There is no other parable where a name is used. This makes me think it is not a parable. If I am wrong please let me know. If I can think of any more scripture to prove this I will post later.. Al can you get a counter on this page so we can see how many hits you are getting. Thanks Jay This is my response: There are over two dozen Bible verses telling of the resurrection of the dead and the judgment on the last day. There is a popular belief, held by many, which says that as soon as a person dies, they go either to heaven or hell. This belief is false, according to Scripture. The portion of scripture you quoted, Luke 16:19-31, is nothing but an illustration to the rich Jews of the time, and is also a warning to us confirming that wealth does not promise a good afterlife; most likely, the opposite. That belief that God would condemn the rich was totally new to the Jewish community. They believed that anyone who was wealthy was being blessed by God, just as God blessed Abraham and King Solomon.

What I alluded to is that Lazarus and the rich man dressed in purple could not have gone to heaven and hell, because the resurrection had not yet taken place. There are a multitude of Scriptures that tell when a person dies, he/she goes to sleep, waiting for resurrection on Judgment Day. Let me give you just a very few verses. But if you desire the complete list, I have it waiting for you.

A unique verse in the Old Testament is found in 1st Samuel 28:11-15. This is the account of when King Saul asked the witch of Endor to bring up the holy prophet Samuel from the dead. “Then the woman asked, ‘Whom shall I bring up for you?’ . . . ‘What do you see?’ ‘I see a spirit coming up out of the ground.’ ‘What does he look like?’ ‘An old man wearing a robe is coming up,’ she said. . . . Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?’” Jay, my question to you is, Why wasn’t Samuel in heaven, where Lazarus is supposed to be, or in hell where the unbelievers supposedly are?

Now I will go to the New Testament where the evidence is much weightier. An event most of us are familiar with was when Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, was raised from the dead by Jesus. The complete story takes place in John 11th chapter. Verse 11: “‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him up.’ His disciples replied, ‘Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.’ Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.” Verse 23: “Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’”

Matthew 12:36: “But I tell you that men will have [future tense] to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”

Peter 2:9: “. . . to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment . . .”

1st Corinthians 15:51: “We shall not all sleep, but we will all be changed–in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable.”

Jay, this is your second comment concerning post #121: A God for Skeptics:

Oh Al Where is your child like faith? This statement “is the realm where my God evolved. Yes, God evolved,” (where’s the scripture) Has this approach worked in any conversions for you? I would like to know. When you put the word evolved with God. To me this means He was something less then before and became something better and improved. The word says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. . For me it is just as easy to believe He was always the same God just as He will always be God. Our minds may not be able to compute this or at least mine doesn't, so that is when our faith kicks in and we can except it. I’ll be praying for you Al.. Jay Jay, I think you missed the point; I hope other readers didn’t miss it also. This blog was meant exclusively for skeptics. Every mature Christian, including myself, believes that our God is eternal; that goes without question. Unbelievers don’t believe in eternity. To them, it is no more than a fairytale. But to talk to them in spiritual baby talk, referring to the evolution of God, is more palatable to them. My granddaughter, who is only 22 months old, talks baby talk. If I were to attempt to explain the laws of physics to her, she would completely reject it. Do you see what I mean? What I said in that paragraph concerning God evolving is not what I believe, although I wrote what I believe in the rest of that post. In fact, God’s eternity is one of the most inspiring topics I immensely enjoy meditating on.

I can tell you for a fact that when you discuss spirituality with a skeptic/atheist, relative, friend or even a stranger and use that approach (spiritual baby talk), the person may not get converted on the spot—if at all—but it will stop him/her dead on his/her tracks and get him/her thinking, because you’re sure to have the last word. Remember, those types of people think we Christians are all weak and dependent fools who need a make-believe crutch to make it through life. Most often, they have a greater intelligence than some Christians. That sometimes gets in the way of their believing in anything spiritual. Read this post again in that context and then see how it sounds.

Additionally, it would profit you and make you more successful in your witnessing if you are intimately familiar with the Bible by having a thousand or so New Testament verses not so much memorized, but paraphrased on the tip of your tongue. It seems like every time we encounter a skeptic, we will learn more of their tactics of trying to trip us up. That method of spreading the gospel is a continual learning experience. We may/should have child-like faith, but at the same time, be as wise as snakes. And if we have pure motives, and not just an attempt to put notches on our belt, Jesus Christ can and will give us wisdom—which won’t come easy or quick—beyond what any atheist can counter. Thanks for your prayers–I hope you didn’t say it sarcastically. We all need to pray for each other. And I hope and pray for your continuous success in knowing exactly what our Lord will have for you to do for Him.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

#122: Is Hellfire For Real?

This has been the most controversial question of the ages. Some New Testament verses say hell consists of darkness, while others tell of fire. Let’s attempt to apply Biblical logic and common sense to this question and see what we come up with. What is the most severe and longest-lasting pain that can be inflicted on human skin? Anything that is burning hot: like a lit cigarette, open flames, strong acid, a red-hot poker, etc. You know what I mean. The reason the New Testament used eternal fire to describe excruciating pain was because there isn’t anything much worse. Therefore, would you agree that fire is a perfect example for severe pain?

Some might ask, “How can a God of love be so mean?” He really has no choice. For those who didn’t live as commanded, God could not bring them into His presence because they would just continue to be disobedient. Another thing to remember: Everyone in God’s kingdom and elsewhere will have a free will. Could He put the unbelievers in another location, where they can’t share His company? Yes, that is exactly what He will do.

We must remember this fact: The only reason for God’s creation of the complete universe was so that only its benevolent and holy inhabitants could be with Him for eternity. In other words, everything that exists is a creation of God. Therefore, when anyone does not desire to live and do things God’s way, He can’t force them to be holy due to their free will. By their actions, they are saying, “I don’t want anything to do with God.” So, God will put them where everything that has to do with Him is removed. What is left? Absolutely nothing. That means that the damned will be sent to a place of emptiness where there is nothing to remind them of God. God just gave them exactly what they desired on earth, but much more. Now try to picture a realm that has no physical substance–since anything physical would be a part of God’s creation. There is no sunlight, no solid ground, nothing—not even fire, since it is a result of God's making—just dark space for all eternity. I don't personally believe that God deliberately desires such severe punishment for anyone for all eternity since he is a God of love. Nevertheless, God is only taking Himself and all His creation (nature) away from them, and giving them what they desired while on earth: nothing to do with Him. We must remember that darkness is the only non-substance where God and His creation are not present. Now that could be as bad, if not worse, than fire: nothing to remind them of God. Repeating, God gave them exactly what they asked for, displayed by the way they lived here on earth. They enjoyed God's life-sustaining nature while rejecting Him. In short, their lives on earth openly said, repeating, “We don’t want anything to do with you, God.” The darkness of hell is as essential as the light of heaven.

Many of the future residents of hell say they are saved or born again, that they have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, or that they believe the gospel message, but they don’t live accordingly. It doesn’t mean a hoot or a holler what one believes; what matters is if one lived and believed as God commanded through His Son Jesus Christ. Am I preaching a gospel of works? Absolutely not. I believe a gospel of salvation: saved by grace through faith, and then confirmation of that faith by a life lived in accordance with what is commanded in the New Testament; in short, works. One doesn’t work for salvation; one does good works because one is saved already. No works can only mean no salvation. Listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-10. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to DO GOOD WORKS, [obedience] which God prepared in advance for US TO DO.” [emphasis added]. This could be a stern caveat with high stakes—your life—for anyone who is not actively living for God.

In essence, this post is being/has been written to display in good old-fashioned holy logic what the above paragraph is saying.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

# 121: A God For Skeptics

This post is directed toward anyone who is skeptical concerning the existence of God. This can also include atheists and Christians who sometimes have doubts about certain aspects of God. Much of what is written herein will be a bit speculative; nevertheless, it will be presented with human logic.

A question I am occasionally asked when visiting with nonbelievers is this: “Where did your God come from?” Years ago, I became aware that just mouthing the phrase “He is eternal” does not suffice. The word “eternal” is not in the vocabulary of nonbelievers. And therefore, they discounted the remainder of the Gospel message on that premise. This is the hypothesis I have been successfully using since then: I would ask, “Do you believe in Darwinian evolution?” The answer most often was/is, “Yes.” Since that is the case, let me tell you exactly where my God came from. The realm where my God evolved was a timeless dimension of supernatural reality which many humans may not be aware of. Yes, God evolved, if you will. One cannot say how long this process took, since time and space do not exist in God’s abode. When God fully evolved to completion, He/She/It–God has no gender, preferring to be referred to as a father figure because of His stern discipline for disobedience, whereas the feminine gender is generally not as harsh; therefore I will refer to God in the masculine—He realized He had unlimited power. He could do and be whatever He desired. He chose to be the God of love. In reality, God actually had little choice because love is the only attribute that fully satisfies. Without love at the center of God’s life, His life would not be complete. That also goes for physical life.

In this invisible timeless reality, He created invisible peers like Himself, with each entity having a free will. But there was only one problem: Some of His creation did not live as He desired. They had self-centered ambitions. They disrupted the perfect environment where only selfless love and goodness were meant to dominate. God could not remove their free will or they would be nothing but puppets, and no one would want puppets in an eternal love affair. Free will was absolutely essential for any of His creations, be it spiritual or physical. I am not certain how/if He resolved this situation, but he needed something better.

As God looked into the future, He saw that the only way to go was to create an endless physical existence (the universe) controlled by time (the changing of physical matter from one substance into another) and the laws of physics which He set into motion. As we humans measure with earth’s time, the universe is most likely about 13 billion years old, but in God’s dimension, which is void of time and space, there are no outer limits to the size of His/our universe.

The end result of creating His ever-evolving universe was the establishment of an infinite number of planets/worlds which collectively could sustain a limitless number of physical beings. Therefore, on only these congenial worlds, God would form systems of evolution that He personally would guide to completion, although He would always be working behind the scenes. That evolutionary process of life started when He created the first forms of life out of single-celled organisms made from elements of each particular planet, thus giving life to the inanimate (creating the animate out of the inanimate)–something we humans have not been able to accomplish. That evolutionary development continued until certain forms of life acquired sophisticated intelligence. Now the tricky part: to somehow teach–without intimidation or coercion–His intelligent creation, to live according to and believe in the existence of a supernatural Supreme Being.

Why? Because God was the absolute epitome of love and all that it entailed, to say the least. That boundless love, in order to manifest itself, needed to be shared with life that could reciprocate that same love. God’s love is so consuming that it could not be contained. It had to be shared. That was the sole purpose for the entire creation of the physical universe: to share His loving nature with all physical beings who choose to believe in what God commands is true and live in accordance with all those commands. Only those individuals will belong to His universal love society. In short, we must choose through belief and obedience in order to be in God's company.

Simply stated, in human terms, compare it to a cook who discovers a recipe that contains all the essential ingredients necessary for life, is easy and quick to make, tastes great and is not expensive. This recipe is absolutely too awesome and too valuable for anyone to keep to oneself. That person, most certainly, would desire to share it with the world—I think many women can identify with this illustration. That is the only reason for God’s creation. The essence of what He was/is was too wonderful to contain. And besides, love cannot exist when one remains in solitude.

Now to get down to earth: Since this is the only planet we, at this time, are aware of which contains intelligent life, let me aim my directives to it. As I have mentioned more than several times in this blog, there has to be a reason for the existence of the universe and for our planet. Inanimate matter (the universe) and even physical life could not have created itself just from some random force/s without rhyme or reason. The universe and life itself are too well organized, including planet earth. Anything in life that spontaneously occurs without a designer is not organized, and most often has no constructive purpose. The universe and intelligent life have a multi-complex designer: Almighty Jehovah God. It just can’t be any other way and still make logical sense. With all that has been said, along with all the down-to-earth logic that is presented herein, it would seem extremely foolish for any intelligent skeptic or doubter not to believe and live as required by the flawless law of God’s love. When doubts arise concerning the existence of God, because of life's many challenges and disappointments, this paragraph is, without a doubt, excellent evidence that there must be a God.

Comments concerning this off-the-wall post would be appreciated. I would also love skeptics to poke holes in this theory. Nevertheless, if genuine Christians don’t agree with all the above, that is okay. I would understand, and wouldn’t put up an argument. Remember, I am presenting this section to somehow get “nonbelievers” to give our great God some serious thought, if nothing else. If anyone desires more information on this timely subject, click on Table of Contents #109: Creation, Evolution and Intelligent Design.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

# 120: Need More Entertainment?

If the vast majority of people in the world have one desire in common, it is that they like to be entertained in a variety of different ways. I ask this question: Why? I am certain there is a multitude of answers. But is there one ingrained, underlying reason? I will explore that question in this section.

Could it be that intelligent beings were originally meant to live in a utopian environment with such carefree surroundings that there would be no need for physical or mental exertion, no cares, worries, heartaches, pain, etc.? Isn’t that the reason we love to go on our escape-type vacations? Could that be the type of permanent lifestyle we are all subconsciously seeking? Our intellect says, “Yes, that is what we desire, and we won’t rest contently until we somehow take hold of it.”

Well, life on earth is far from being free of responsibilities and the consequences of bad luck or flawed living. Therefore, whenever we get a chance, we attempt to escape into a world of “forget-your-troubles-come-on-get-happy.” And that is understandable. No one wants or needs all the pressures this world puts on us. We truly have a need to get into a make-believe world where we can just be bystanders and let our imagination and fantasies go where they will. That is one of the reasons for our love of entertainment.

There is at least one problem: our need/desire for entertainment, which actually is an escape from our humdrum reality, is extremely addicting. Some will say, “So what?” In the last fifty years or so, all the electronic advances—especially the invention of the transistor, which made vacuum tubes obsolete—have given way to a plethora of make-believe entertainment. Others will say, “The better for us.” Not necessarily so. Here is one of the negative results of make-believe entertainment: Much of what we see, hear, or learn is forgotten, but when all that stuff somehow retreats into our subconscious, it becomes a permanent, though hidden, fixture. Then, the SCARY TRUTH is that the subconscious cannot differentiate between what actually happened in one’s life and the make-believe. It vicariously takes the make-believe and converts it to or accepts it as one’s reality. It, for some reason, makes the bystanders (us) into the participants (those we are watching). The result is that many times we make decisions, often lifelong decisions, according to what our subconscious adamantly and sometimes foolishly dictates.

A famous songwriter once arrogantly boasted, “Let me control a person’s music and I will control his/her life.” Another ancient adage that has been accepted as truth is, “We become like those we gaze at.” And still, “Monkey see, monkey do.” What I am attempting to put forth is that we are unaware that our lives are insidiously being controlled and shaped, to a large extent, by our entertainment. Also, and just as harmful, we are shaped to some degree by our peers, who are controlled by their entertainment. That is a one-two punch. We can vividly see this in the lives of the young. But it is also slyly taking place in all of us. Don’t think advertisers and those who desire to subvert moral values, for selfish reasons, are not aware of how vulnerable we humans are by the workings of our somewhat parasitic subconscious. We couldn’t exist without our subconscious—IT IS WHAT WE ARE—but wish it wouldn’t take the pretend drama to heart.

If the above is true, and it is, what are we to do? We are addicted whether we admit it or not. We all know how difficult addictions are to break, especially those we enjoy so much. Here is one reason why: Our entertainment gives us what we believe we need. It takes no effort to engage in, it excites us, pampers us, inspires us, lulls or tranquilizes us, makes us laugh, it may even anger us, etc. Actually, much of our entertainment has the ability to arouse every possible human emotion–good or bad. Is it correct for me to say that our most influential and persuasive lifelong teacher may be our entertainment? Could I also say that we look forward to/live for the entertainment portions of our lives, more so than most other activities? Attempt to imagine how your lives would be if suddenly all entertainment was removed from your lives. If anyone does not value their entertainment, please send me a comment.

Since this is a Christian blog, the question remains: How must a person that claims to be a genuine Christian respond to the aforementioned negative information? Just shrug it off as just a bunch of stupid theories from a radical with nothing on his mind but to upset peaceable people? Although that statement is false, it is true that the lives of many Christians may need a little bit of shaking up because of how they may be living. Of course, your church pastor knows better than to become a killjoy by telling anyone the potential harm entertainment can have in lives that are supposedly dedicated to doing the work of Jesus Christ.

The most important piece of advice, which can be given to anyone who values their relationship with God, is this: There is an inward gnawing in us for something that cannot be pacified by entertainment, though we may be unaware of it. Entertainment and other things of value in life cannot gratify that inner part of us which only God’s presence can occupy and truly satisfy. Without some of us knowing it, we were inherently created as living vehicles for only God to occupy. But when God is not inwardly present to give us the peace, tranquility, contentment, and especially the completeness which we inherently desire, we go to the ends of the earth in an attempt to find a substitute. Additionally, there are many other worldly things we do to relieve that gnawing, but all is in vain. If any Christian doesn’t believe the harm entertainment will do, no problem. This is all I ask: Meditate on this subject for a while, and bring it up with your Christian friends and family. When one contemplates why we enjoy being entertained, it will become an obvious fact that what has been written in this post is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

No, Christians don’t need more entertainment; we need much less. For anyone who adores Jesus Christ, it is a crying shame to waste precious time on entertainment when we could be engaged in activities which enrich our lives and the lives of others with constructive activities which glorify God, such as actively making Christ our life.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

# 119: The Mystery of God's Love Revealed

If one is just starting out in their examination of Christianity, or is just curious, it might be best to avoid this blog for the time being. It is relatively long and complex, and therefore may not be understood. In fact, I hesitated to publish it since it can only start to be understood by those who are already familiar, if even in a minute way, with the mysterious ways of God. Most posts in this blog are more down-to-earth/more easily understood by most people. Again, I suggest reading a few of them first.

Very little, if anything, can be known about Jesus Christ beyond words until one actually experiences, if even in a small way, the nature of God through His beloved Son, our Lord and Savior. None of us deserve or are worthy to share in God’s Holy Nature. Because of His gift of loving grace that comes to us through Jesus Christ, however, He counts us worthy and begins to satisfy our need and desire for Him. God allows us to share in something we could never otherwise acquire or receive apart from grace, no matter how holy, pure and loving we might be. God has been and still is waiting patiently, as it were, to display Himself to any and all who so desire. God has been hampered in giving Himself to desirous individuals, in that He can't be known or experienced so long as one’s desire is commingled with the desire to continue living in a worldly fashion where all the joys, aspirations, responsibilities, ambitions, and sorrows of one’s life are on the front burner as to what dominates their life.

For God to ask anyone to abandon one’s own desires in exchange for the standards and desires of another (Christ) may seem like an unreasonable thing to ask. However, as long as we continually desire to live for the good of self, as we have been taught from childhood, God cannot allow us to share in His love nature. This agapé (Divine) love that is given to us never desires self-gratification, but only wants to give of self. What we must first change, or better yet, allow Him to change, is the desire. This is accomplished by God through His Holy Spirit, by bestowing Christ’s Spirit upon us. To take the name Christ's Spirit out of the abstract, what we are talking about is the motivating power that drove Jesus Christ and gave Him the desire to be and accomplish all that He did. That motivating power is nothing less than the life of His Father. With it, we too can become and accomplish what He did. Once we allow God to do that for us, then life will start to change according to our new desire. No doubt we may still have some desire to live for self, but the key question is which desire will be dominant. The prevalent desire will eventually drive the lesser desire out of our lives—the sooner the better for all concerned—until only one is in control. Since these two desires are totally contrary to one another, it becomes impossible to continue harboring these two viable dictators in one’s life. They are like black and white, the promotion of self-life and the destruction of self-life. There is no neutral zone, grey area or lukewarm lifestyle. Lukewarm attitudes, if not changed, will result in certain spiritual death. Revelation 3:16: "So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." But what happened to grace, you may ask? Without grace, of course, we are left in the grips of the spiritual forces of the evil one. The dominating desire will, in every case, be the most evident as we grow in Christ. This is where grace continually takes up the slack.

Though I write this next statement in the usual way, it cannot be emphasized strongly enough: Our Loving Father is patient, merciful, and more tolerant than the human mind can possibly fathom—He has to be in order to put up with seemingly worthless stones like myself. Nevertheless, if we willfully and continually take advantage of that life—giving grace in whatever ways we can conjure up with our conniving minds—all that grace offers us will disappear in a flash, usually without our knowledge. What may be left is religion, morals, goodness, charity, human love, rules and regulations, if even that. Grace is not an excuse to legitimize our spiritual laziness and our diabolically inspired stupidity.

Who is living in the body of this author that he speaks as audaciously as he does? Without a shadow of a doubt it is the Holy Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. I will qualify this boast in humility with my next statement. My security, all I have in Christ, is wholly based on my trusting Him to inspire me and, if necessary, to manipulate circumstances and even my very conduct. If it is His will, He will do just that. He will remain in me and protect me from myself—a very sneaky and bossy enemy. Were it left up to me alone to be faithful to the end, I surely would fall, never to rise again. He is great, and even as He works in me, I am nothing, nothing, nothing! All He does in my life is to the detriment of self-glorification. To His glory. He has me write words that most people don't want to hear—on occasion not even me—because not many of us want our spiritual security, be what it may, shaken. That is what needs doing; however, only for those who desire to love and be loved by God, those who thus far have been deceived by false Christianity. The life of Christ is working in me to the extent that I simply don’t count anymore. The only thing that matters is that one day, all who take on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and even those who don't yet know Him, will live such lives whereby our Lord can say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

How can we mortals speak of God's love? In reality, we can't, especially with human words. Talk is cheap, and religious talk is the cheapest of all. What we must do is use our lives as vehicles, expressed with deeds of unselfish love to any and all. Even this we can't do until God Himself, through His Holy Spirit, empowers us with His love, and God will not do this until we sacrifice our self-interest. It is an easy thing to write and talk about His love, but is meaningless and even harmful without God's life behind and amidst those words of love. Words of love, spoken or written by anyone without God's life, have little or no power to change or enrich lives.

“Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.” Luke 6:44. Once we possess God's love and His Holy Spirit, seemingly strange things will start to take place, things that don't seem normal to the ego compartment of our soul. (1) God will start to reveal some of His secrets to us, as they are hidden to all who don't really believe. (2) We won't recognize ourselves, as we will be a new creation. (3) Our concern will not be merely for our well-being, but more so for those around us. (4) For the first time, we will realize that God is in complete control of our lives, working through our free will, which is mysteriously becoming His Will. (5) We will become aware of the enormity of the job ahead of us: displaying Jesus Christ to all who don't know Him and those who think they know Him—this latter group is often the most difficult. (6) The joy and peace that we possess inwardly will have nothing to do with what we are and what we have outwardly. (7) We may actually feel invincible in a euphoric, benevolent way. (8) We won’t be able to devote enough time to prayer, to knowing God, and to tending to those in need. (9) Our job, our attitude, and all things of importance to us yesterday will grow strangely obscure with respect to their importance. (10) There will be absolutely nothing we won't do to advance the cause of making Christ known in truth. (11) Nearly everyone, except God's people, will think we have gone off our rocker. (12) It will not seem important what people in general think about us, as we will know that we are important to God, and that is all that matters. (13) As we grow in grace and in the love of God, we will start to realize how little we really know about God's love, and even more, how little we are experiencing His great love. Yet, that little will be visible in our life. When we are looked upon, God's love and life will shine through to others. (14) The clearer we see the beauty of who Christ is, the more we will see the rottenness of all we have previously attempted to do and be. (15) We will be able to distinguish the difference between our human love and God's love.

Love for others—even friends and family—arises from the human need to be loved and respected in return, to feel complete, to be looked on as important, and to belong so that we can recognize ourselves as good and important. On the other hand, God's love in us has little or no concern as to how we will make out when we love others. Another way we will distinguish our human love from God's love: Our love may stop when our need to feel valuable is satisfied, whereas the displaying of Godly love continues. This is because it does not arise from self-need, but out of a need to share our most valuable possession. The more we share, the more valuable it becomes. Therefore, it just lasts and lasts, building upon itself even into eternity.

As I write these words, it becomes evident that the major deficiency in our lives is the lack of God's love flowing out to our fellow man/woman. Most likely, one of the main reasons for this is that we do not make room for God's love to enter our soul. Why? Because self-love or self-interest is still in control of our actions, emotions, motives, and desires. This must not continue. Almost all of the commands Jesus Christ addresses to His people, directly and indirectly, aim at getting self-desire/love, THE ROOT OF ALL SIN, off of the throne. God has devised a way for this to take place; as with everything else in the Christian’s life, it is through faith, the belief process. We must believe—this is probably one of the most difficult Christian truths to believe, understand and put into practice that the “old man” (sinful nature)—the King James Bible uses the word "flesh"—has participated in Christ's death on His cross. With that death of the old man/woman, a new man in the likeness of Christ has risen. The biggest challenge of this blog has been trying to describe the reality and importance of this spiritually poignant event. Remember, time does not exist in God's way of doing things. There is no past and no future with God. They are both the present with God. What has not happened yet—the future, as we see it—is the present with God. And what happened 2,000 years ago to Christ is also in God's present. Even as I write this, and you read this, the walls of Jericho are falling, the Red Sea is parting, Jesus is excoriating the Pharisees, Daniel is walking unscathed from the lion den, Peter is brandishing his sword against the Roman soldiers led by Judas, Eve is biting into the apple, and Christ is saying, “It is finished.” I know that this concept is difficult, if not impossible, to conceptualize for us mortals who are governed by time, but it is critically imperative for us to live in that same timelessness of God, through faith, concerning our death and resurrection. Either our complete lives have already been lived and we are with Our Lord Jesus Christ, already enjoying each others’ company, or we are somewhere else entirely. When we see ourselves in this manner, it is much easier—though still very difficult—to live the resurrected life of love. We died with Christ so we can live and love with Christ's resurrected body. Praise you, Lord Jesus! Please, pray that God will give us the grace that will allow us to believe and live this truth unconditionally. It's the first step in giving God control of our life. Just to write this down or to say we truly believe this spiritual truth will do no good. This timeless concept may be extremely difficult for most to understand, let alone experience; I did the best I could to explain it.

We must always remember that our ego or selfish nature does not benefit from our loving others with God's love. Love, in fact, killed Jesus. Who benefits? The God who lives in us benefits, because His nature is to love, love, and love, even if the cost is our physical body. Why does God want to love to that extreme degree as He resides in us? Answer: to satisfy the love needs of others. Most—possibly including many of those with strong faith—are not truly aware of the need for God's love. Moreover, we are not aware that God’s love will make us what God intends: clones-of-Christ-in-the-making. Yes, God's love, and only God's love, can and will do the impossible. The more we allow this totally supernatural love to permeate our lives, the more power will flow from us, thus allowing Christ to live again. How? That is what this blog is all about. Read on.

As human beings, we cannot know for certain who is truly saved and who is not. God loves us all, whether saved or lost, but the love He has for the unsaved has no eternal value. It may have value for the unsaved in the way of enjoying His desire for them to be saved. At this time, He wishes them no harm and wants the best for them in every way. Nevertheless, that love will ultimately be voided if the unbeliever does not eventually accept His gift of life. The love God has for His own will not only bring them into eternity with Him but make them what was originally intended for ALL humankind. But when we are not aware of this great love or do not capitalize on it, we are not only cheating ourselves, but cheating God and others He wishes to reach through us. When we allow God to shower us continually with His love, then by His power we will make every effort to walk the narrow path of His life. This does not mean He loves us more, just that He enjoys us more!

The Christian scenario goes this way: belief that is active and genuine; death of self; obedience to God; trust in God. And then, finally, if all else is in order, we can enjoy and share His love with the world, not so much with empty religious words, but with a holy and pure life of love. That is a Christian. Any less and we become suspect.

As we experience this agape love, we will live a life of self-sacrifice. Though sacrifice is never pleasant, we will at the same time have such a joy that we will feel as though we are actually in heaven with God. This is not a contradiction. God's love in us shall build up Christ’s Church, His body, for outreach rather than for our personal well-being. The emotions that are produced by the presence of this super, powerful love keep us in paradise under all circumstances because we are not victims of circumstance. Remember, we are hopefully eternal beings; those of us He has chosen are already with Him. Circumstances, as we understand them, are God giving us, at the right time, exactly what we need. That doesn't mean that we will like it when the bumps and bruises of Christianity sting. I think I am starting to know what Jesus meant when He said, "The kingdom of God is within you."

“Consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:4. When we allow God to put these words of love into action in our lives, this is conclusive proof that it is not human love empowering our Christian life. Christianity that operates on our human love—as good as it may seem—is not Christianity. The word “yourselves,” as Paul uses in this verse, includes family: the most precious people in one's self-driven life. Jesus says in Luke 14:26 that the love we feel for the most valuable things in our lives, usually family, self and job, we must consider as hate in comparison to the agape love we have for others in need. This action of considering others better than self is one, if not the only, distinguishing mark of the existence of God's love in our lives. Now, you might be saying, "I must care for my family first. How can I serve God if I abandon my family?" God doesn’t want anyone to abandon their family, but they must come third. The right order is: Love God first, others second, self and family third. This principle of love must be carried out in all walks of our Christian life in order for it to qualify as God's love and not human love. Human love—even if given in the name of Christ–will always care for self and family before all else—because that is the law: survival of the fittest.

I am sure that many will say, "This type of teaching is unheard of. Who could or would even want to live this way?” Well, I’ll ask you this: When self and family come first, are we any different than the rest of the world? How much different are we than the lioness caring for her cubs when we care for ourselves and our kids before all others? The truth of the matter is that the most unnatural thing for a human being to do is love others with selfless, Godly love. When one tries to live the Christian life with human love, it is like calling night the same as day. It's like NASA trying to launch a sophisticated rocket on ordinary kerosene. Impossible! No matter how it is described, human love will always fall short of demonstrating agape love.

As powerful as God's love is, it is powerless to operate in the midst of human self-love. When mingled with human love, it has no power to perform. Human love must be destroyed before Divine love can start to take over. This God-type love is the necessary ingredient that dominates a Christian life; it breaks my heart to say that it may be the most common missing element in all Christianity. It is at the core of the old Christian cliché “we must die to self.” If this post is true, and it is, who really would want to be a true Bible-based Christian? I understand that this post may easily be the most difficult to accept and put into practice. That is the reason I hesitated to use it in this blog; nevertheless, I was compelled for everyone’s sake to use it.

Well, God's Word says, only a few are chosen. Are you and I among those chosen few? We can give our life on the stake, give all our possessions to the poor, be a missionary in deepest Africa, and go to church every Sunday, but if we have not His love, it will count for nothing.

Friday, January 06, 2006

# 118: The Need For Childlike Faith

What is so special about the faith of little children? They believe, without the least bit of doubt, whatever their mothers and fathers tell them. Could we also believe our heavenly father without the least bit of doubt? Yes. Do we? No. Why? That is the question I will attempt to answer. “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17. “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3. Those verses and more are extremely descriptive concerning the quality of the Christian faith/belief. The one ingredient that renders the lives of SINCERE Christians as powerless is when faith is mingled with doubt. Doubt not only makes faith powerless, but completely destroys spiritual life, usually without the individual’s awareness. This type of mingled faith, which exists throughout organized Christianity, has become the status quo. How did we get in such sad shape? Most likely from two sources: the pressure the world puts on us to conform/trappings of society, and the mediocrity that has been preached in America, since who knows when, from behind 300,000 Christian pulpits.

Several other required attributes are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The way this is done is to obey God's commands. The apostle John says in 1st John 5:3, "This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome ..." How many of us Christians are actively striving for that type of love? I mean above and beyond what we declare with our mouths. And almost as poignant, although much more trying/annoying, is to love your neighbors as yourselves. Jesus said, “Do this and you will live.” Luke 10:27-28. Well, excuse me, Jesus; where is grace? Two questions: Do you doubt it is necessary to obey the above commands? Who has enough childlike faith to actually obey these two commands? Answer: It is the grace that God gives to authentic Christians which enables them to love in that manner. To adhere to the above two commands is, most likely, the most unnatural lifestyle/commands for potential Christians to desire. BUT, if we have childlike faith, we will ignore our natural tendencies and live as commanded.

Several other qualities essential for all Christians are found in Matthew 10:16. “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” The word “wise” is used instead of “shrewd” in several other Bibles, and the word “harmless” is used in place of “innocent.” They essentially say the same thing. How wise and innocent are we in our Christian conduct to the degree that we actively obey, without reservation, the above commands?

Here is the answer: Christ is the only way to obedience. In essence, He said, I obeyed my Father with child-like faith, and the only way anyone can obey is by following my instructions to the letter, with their lives. In short, He is our only and perfect example. “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1st John 2:6. No ifs, ands, or buts. Let us never forget, the New Testament is the road map to obedience. If we don’t follow the COMPLETE map with child-like faith, we will never get to our eternal destiny.

The above four paragraphs are the heart and soul of the Christian life, and in essence the remainder of Bible is trivial, although always solidly resting on the above. And still, I could easily understand why people conform to worldly standards; and I can also understand why the clergy preaches a diluted message. Some preachers may do so inadvertently, while others purposely dilute their messages of any teaching that would make the laity feel uncomfortable. The reason is that they want them and their 10% back next week. This website is dedicated to making these undeniable standards and shortcomings known. In short, organized religion has, in large part, become a worldly, financial business instead of an institution that should be known as always having necessary spiritual substance. ‘“The apostles said to the lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ He replied, ‘If you have the 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.’” There are a number of verses that invoke the supernatural which have been deemed out of charter as part of the realm of ordinary Christians. I am not sure that is where the problem starts, but diluting or ignoring such verses has had catastrophic consequences. All machinery, etc. can only function correctly when all parts are working in a synchronized manner. Remove just one vital part and it can’t work as required. That is called irreducible complexity. That principle also applies to any complex biological, spiritual, etc. entities. This reduction is just one reason for the doubt that exists in Christianity as a whole.

This is what complicates the problem: To compensate for a weak faith as a result of doubt in what God through Jesus Christ said in the New Testament, some believe that many Biblical principles do not apply to our modern times, thus attempting to make much of the New Testament fit into America’s ungodly culture. This is what I mean: Since we have made great advances in medicine with all the sophisticated technology and associated sciences, some deceivers and others that have been deceived believe that God does not have a need to perform miracles through His chosen, as in Jesus’ time. It has been said that the following verse is not necessary or applicable in today’s life; that is a blatant lie. Listen to what Jesus said: “. . . 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. [emphasis added]. I emphatically say that if the above verse (and others like it) can’t be trusted as applying to modern Christians, then the complete New Testament cannot be trusted.

There are at least two reasons why Jesus Christ performed many miracles: because of His uncompromising compassion and empathy for hurting humanity, and to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He was sent from God Almighty as the promised Messiah. That is the exact reason authentic miracles are needed in the present time: to prove that Christians are what they claim to be. Of course, there will be fraudulent Christians also doing miracles. We can tell which ones are really of God by comparing their lives to all that the Bible requires of His people. In second Thessalonians 2:9-12, the apostle Paul makes this deceit very clear. “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. For that reason God sent them a powerful delusion so they will believe the lie.” Additionally, Jesus emphatically warned in Matthew 24:24-25: “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.” Repeating, therefore we must not equate all great miracles with God, but first check the life/lives of the one/ones performing the miracles. Therefore, those who make little or nothing of some Bible verses, by doubting they really mean what they say, will lead many to perish. Christianity is not for the faint-hearted.

With that said, we have to admit that the reason much of the New Testament is not materializing in the modern Christian church is because of our doubt as to what God can do through ordinary Christians like ourselves. Knowing these facts of Scripture, the question remains: How can we, who are aware of our inadequacies, remove doubt from our lives? It is easier said than done: For people who have been involved in organized religion most/all their lives, it would be next to impossible. If church-going Christians, who make going to church the biggest event of the week, were required to obey and live by all the verses they have neglected, it would mean a complete life change. Who is able, and who even desires to do that? They are between a rock and a hard place. Most likely, they will not be able to acquire that childlike faith. I feel heartbroken to realize that the above statements are true, and the devil—whom I hate with a passion—has the upper hand in many of our lives. In summary, it could be a devastating situation many church people are in.

It would be much easier for an outsider to believe and live as the Bible directs, without many preconceived ideas as to what the Christian life really consists of, than for a good church-going person. Since contemplating the aforementioned message, it strikes me that one of the evil one’s main tools to get “Christians” to worship him is a little word by the name of “doubt.”

Monday, January 02, 2006

# 117: Abortion: Solution?

Is there any spiritual guidance from the Bible on this hot-button issue? Sadly to say, without making vague assumptions from only two verses, the Bible is silent. “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For A TIME WILL COME when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts the never nursed.’" Luke 23:29. [emphasis added]. The question remains, has that time finally arrived? Is it a blessing at this time not to bear children since there is so much trouble and ungodliness in the world? No comment.

Another Bible verse is Jeremiah 20:17. “For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave.” The holy prophet Jeremiah was mistreated to such a great degree by the Jews that he wished he had been killed in the womb. Does that justify abortion? I don’t think so. And still I am sure there may be some in the world who wish, at times, that they had been aborted. Does that make abortion legal in the sight of God? No.

When Roe versus Wade came into existence in 1973, neither Congress, the President, nor the general voting public had a say as to that decision. The Supreme Court exclusively handed down that decision to make it law. If the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade, the outcome will be the absence of legal abortions except, hopefully, under extreme conditions such as German measles in the first months of pregnancy, when a mother's life or physical health is in danger, or when the child is likely to be born gravely deformed or mentally retarded. Also, I believe it should include cases of provable rape and incest.

Nevertheless, pro-life will in no way stop abortions in this country. What it will bring into existence is an era of illegal abortions. Additionally, it will be a crime for the abortionists and also for women who have abortions. They both will be classified as criminals—America will then have a new breed of law-breakers. Making it illegal will cause much harm by driving it into the “back alleys”—as it was called when abortion was illegal—without much, if any, expertise or any type of supervision to ensure the utmost sanitation. If pro-life is enacted, for certain, many more unwanted and unloved babies resulting in unhappy babies will be born, and at the same time a few women will die or have lifetime complications from illegal or self-imposed abortions.

Prohibition of abortion-on-demand will most likely result in conditions possibly being worse than it was before Roe v. Wade because of all the present-day sexual promiscuity, especially among the college and school kids. Here is another condition that wasn’t around pre-1973 that will make abortion much easier to obtain: the internet. Actually, greedy Americans with criminal minds could set up Websites overseas or even Canada, or any country where abortion is legal. They, most likely, will offer self-help abortion kits with instructions and equipment whereas a female, with a little help from a friend, can perform her own abortion. Here is what an ad may look like:


Then the package will, possibly, be shipped from a secret location with a false return address from the United States, making it more difficult for the law to catch up with them.

And then, just as bad as that, “professionals” (and some not so professional) will have a heyday on the internet by somehow soliciting their services in ways similar to the way child porn is done.

A good example of prohibition’s failures is when a law was enacted in 1920 which prohibited the consumption of all intoxicating substances in the United States; that law was in effect until 1933. Did it work as planned? A big NO! In fact, there was just as much illegal making, smuggling and drinking of alcohol (bootlegging) as there was before the law was enacted.

“The adoption of nationwide prohibition was followed almost at once by widespread violations of the federal laws. Illicit distilling increased to great proportions, and the phrase “home-brew” became very common. Many deaths were reported from drinking denatured alcohol. Flavoring extracts and medicinal preparations were used widely for beverage purposes, often with harmful or fatal effects (Funk & Wagnall's Encyclopedia). The same type of rejection/non-adherence of the law may result if/when pro-life is legalized. Of course, the public will never know exactly how many abortions are performed illegally, because of the secrecy, but we will hear of the ill and deadly effects. The only way we can approximate the count is by the annual birth rate. The higher the birth count, the more successful the anti-abortion law. If the birth count remains about the same as the last few years, the pro-life endeavor was a flop.

How does God feel about this abortion issue? I would leave Him out of the equation, even though I believe the destroying of the embryo or fetus is killing in His sight. I believe God could remain ambiguous in this matter; for this reason, the more people on earth, the more evil he has to contend with. Additionally, unloved, unwanted, and unhappy children/adults are the best candidates for evil behavior. Am I attempting to say God approves of abortion? Absolutely not; it is just something for everyone to think about.

Repeating, let me end with this thought: If abortion were prohibited—and there is a good chance it will be with John Roberts as Chief Justice and Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination almost a certainty—and a woman really wants an abortion, apart from the internet, there will ALWAYS be those who are ready to fulfill the desires of the public—demand and supply—be it an unethical doctor, nurse, or inexperienced person who wants to make a fast buck.

In summary, just because the Supreme Court legislated immorality in 1973 doesn't mean it can legislate morality effectively in 2006. As ungodly as abortion is, I personally predict there will NEVER be an amiable solution to abortion, regardless of whether we end up with pro-choice or pro-life.