Saturday, April 29, 2006

# 143: Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design

This post is a repeat of #109. Even though I have already written on this subject three times in this blog, I am inspired to post #109 again, since intelligent design has been on the news concerning what should be taught in several school districts in different states. Another reason I am writing on this subject is to inform bloggers of what I believe is a scientific, ground-breaking analysis on the cohesion of biology, evolution, and the Bible. This new theory will likely surprise some. Although many have preconceived beliefs on this subject, this blog may shatter a few of them. You are the ones to decide on the most plausible answer. Send in your comments.

Biology is the science that deals with the origin, history, physical characteristics, life processes, habits, etc. of living organisms such as plants, animals, and viruses. It is an exact science that has been around for over one hundred years. This biological science cannot be intimidated by the dependency upon religious dogma or even the mere mention of God, and I understand that. However, in the unique case of attempting to explain how the first living organism somehow made itself out of non-living matter, biology has not been able to scrape up scientific evidence or even a logical theory as to how it came into existence. I will talk more on this failure of biology as we get into further paragraphs.

In order to understand creation, we must first remember that the Old Testament was written over three thousand years ago, when knowledge of how the universe worked (science) and information of living organisms (biology) was nonexistent. When Moses wrote the book of Genesis (the first book in the Old Testament), he wrote it according to his knowledge at the time and also, most likely, according to information received from God. Did Moses or anyone else at that time know anything about how the stars are either other solar systems in our Milky Way galaxy or planets in our solar system? What about the infinite size of the universe, evolution, intelligent design, biology, or even our own solar system, or hundreds of other sciences that we now take for granted which help us understand ourselves and the world around us? NO. Could God have revealed all of the above to Moses? He could have, but it would have made no sense and only confused the poor man. Does that make the Bible wrong? No. It is our place to update at least that section to conform with today’s knowledge, without taking away any substance as to belief in God, morals, love of God and other Biblical absolutes. I don’t mean to actually delete those early chapters, but for informed Christians to realize the writer's limited knowledge and improvise creation's time frame as being much longer than six 24-hour earth days.

God created the universe and man/woman through natural processes (God-guided evolution) which we now study. Since God lives in timelessness (eternity) where time does not exist, He was/is in no hurry to get things done in just six 24-hour days. This is by no means heresy. Just remember that God designed and created all things, and man came along and investigated through science what was created. In some complex areas of life, inquiring people realized that there must be a supernatural creator. And when someone comes along and attempts, in a seminal way, to make creation and science one coherent subject, God is pleased, as all intelligent and seeking Christians and scientists should be.

Here is what I am doing at this time: I am giving you a cutting-edge disclosure. I am mostly referring to the first four chapters of Genesis. In order for the creation of the universe and mankind to make much sense, the first chapter of Genesis (which talks about the six-day creation period) must be expanded into about four and a half, to thirteen billion earth years. Here is another question: Did God create Adam in a single 24-hour day, or was he the product of God-guided evolution? The answer seems clear. God mentioned Adam as the first in a line of a people who would represent Him. The only thing is that the evidence seems to indicate that God still created Adam through the natural process of evolution, which took much more than 24 hours. Here is vivid evidence that Adam was not the only person on earth when God introduced him in Genesis: Genesis 4:13-17. “But Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is more than I can bear . . . I will be a restless wanderer on the earth and whoever finds me will kill me.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.’ Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him . . . .” Verse 17 states, “Cain lay with his wife . . .” I ask this question: Who were these other people, and where did they come from? These facts alone lead me to believe that there were other humans on earth who got there through the evolution process at the time when Adam was first mentioned. Therefore, Christians can still believe the creation story and also continue believing the Bible. I do, and it makes all the sense in the world to smooth (make more understandable) some of the conflicting material. For those who don’t believe the aforementioned, please give me a more logical reason as to where those other humans came from.

Since religion hasn’t done anything about the above paradox, we end up with the controversy of what to teach in our schools, along with misunderstandings in other areas of life and religion. This change may be difficult, if not impossible, for some who believe the complete Bible to be the inerrant, infallible Word of God. If that is true, there could not be one error or contradiction in the Bible. But there are dozens upon dozens of contradictions, like the one above, especially in the four Gospels. If anyone wants to know what some of those dubious verses are, let me know and I will make a list of them. And yet, with all of those mistakes, the Bible is by all means the best source of information in existence that relays to humanity why God exists and what God and life are all about. And I truly believe that this holy book was inspired by God; He had it written by fallible men in such a way that men/women could understand with the limited knowledge they had at that time.

Intelligent design is backing up the knowledge that information cannot be the result of natural selection, random variations, or simple chemicals arranging and rearranging themselves until information is formed. The information I am referring to is the double-helix DNA strand, a large molecule consisting of just four chemicals: As, adenine; Ts, thymine; Cs, cytosine;– and Gs, Guanine. The encoding of these chemicals in the proper sequence is all the data necessary for the reproduction and maintenance of all living organisms. That DNA strand is the most densely packed, elaborately detailed information assembly in the known universe. Since there is no known natural system that can produce information, intelligent design comes to the rescue and says, “Since biology can’t explain how that information was formed or where that information came from, the only other plausible alternative is that a metaphysical force, energy, mind, being, or benevolent intelligence must be responsible.” Then, of course, biology steps in and says, “Metaphysics (the boogieman) is not science.” Agreed. Neither is biology’s ignorance of that answer. Since neither has a scientific answer, both are on level ground. Therefore, the winner is the one who has the most plausible answer, and is therefore the closest to possibly having the correct answer.

Biology and evolution argue that intelligent design is attempting to sneak God into the biology class and school room through the back door. That must never be allowed. I personally believe that the proponents of intelligent design mainly desire that students and scientists should be allowed to examine all the possibilities for the answer/s to unanswered question/s. Then, once out of the class room, students and scientists can assess and discuss between themselves what the metaphysical implications—whether God or religion—are to intelligent design.

In 1859, Charles Darwin published his book “The Origin of Species” and therefore got the credit for showing the world what evolution consisted of. As a spiritual man, I believe it was God who designed and created the evolution process and Darwin who explained it, to a large degree. His explanation of natural selection is still to this day a creditable source of biological information. However, one thing he does not mention is how the first living cell created itself out of non-living matter. In Darwin’s time, until the middle of the 20th century, it was believed that the cell was nothing more than a glob of protoplasm. In the last 50 years, our knowledge of the cell exploded. We now know that each cell is a little factory beaming with life. Each cell is basically made up of proteins, and each protein is consists of hundreds of amino acids.

In 1969, Dean Kenyon (an evolutionary biologist) and Gary Steinman published a book titled “Biological Destination” on the theory of chemical evolution. It was widely accepted by the scientific community as gospel truth for some time. They believed that amino acids had the ability to form themselves into the necessary specific sequence to form each desired protein. We must note there are only 20 amino acids that make up about 30,000 different proteins. A few years after the publication of that book, as biologists and others continued to study the structure of proteins and the properties of amino acids, it became evident that in themselves, amino acids did not have the ability to form proteins. In fact, in the early 1980s, Dean Kenyon rejected the theory of chemical evolution which he wrote so adamantly about 20 years earlier.

I wanted to mention that natural selection does work well once an organism already exists, but natural selection cannot be applied before an organism has formed, and an organism cannot form without genetic information from DNA. Natural selection keeps/saves the smallest functional advantages and rejects those that have no advantage. Repeating, the DNA molecule must have come about through a process other than Darwin’s natural selection.

More extremely-convincing evidence for intelligent design comes from a single-cell organism that maneuvers in its surrounding fluid by the use of a whip-like tail that can rotate at 100 rpm. Examining the mechanism that drives these tails, biologists have found a miniaturized outboard motor, called a bacterial flagellin, which has all the parts needed to function. It is made up of 40 different protein parts. Now the question arises: How could this motor have arisen from a population of bacteria without tails, through the process of natural selection? How could it build itself a little bit at a time until it was ready to function? We must remember that natural selection only preserves parts that have a functional advantage. Therefore, these parts would have been eliminated before the motor was completed. And just like a mechanical outboard motor, if parts are missing, it won’t work. That is called irreducible complexity. This motor could not have worked until all its parts were in place. Repeating, natural selection works great once an organism already exists, but it would be useless in forming an organism with a flagellin. The only way that motor could have been formed was if there was genetic information detailing exactly how to build it. Again, there is no natural system that can produce information.

This next paragraph will reveal an embarrassing riddle that cosmologists and physicists have not been able to explain. I will attempt to approach this extremely controversial topic with logic and common sense, since empirical evidence is not available. Seeking to have a more complete picture in the creation of the universe, I will also give my version of why the universe was created. This subject must be read with an open mind. The laws of physics dictate that we humans cannot create physical matter out of thin air. That is as basic as the ABCs. Yet cosmologists and astronomers want us to believe that an extremely small object exploded and was the genesis of the Big Bang Theory. The only logical question is this: Where did this extremely densely-packed minute object come from? It could not have made itself. Then some will say that it was the result of some sort of energy and other unknown forces that caused it to form. I ask, where did those forces come from, and what made them form? The experts have not been able to answer this basic question. That is hole # 1; as the renown physicist Stephen W. Hawkins frankly admitted, “At this point, the laws of physics break down,” and made no further comments as to the answer. If the universe was the result of a gigantic explosion, it was most likely an intelligent metaphysical force (which I call God) that created that bit of physical matter out of thin air, so to speak. That makes more logical sense than a random unknown force or energy.

Since most important things in life have a reason for their existence, the question remains: What was the reason the universe was created? Answer: All things that have life must reproduce in order to continue in a meaningful way. This intelligent metaphysical force (or mind—the word “mind” implies that it has life)—through that life is invisible through our physical eyes. To keep it simple, the potential physical worlds/planets that would come into existence through this creation (, which has taken billions of earth years to create and is still incomplete, since I believe the universe is infinite) would be a perfect medium for intelligent physical beings to evolve. Eventually those who, through their belief and obedience, adhered to the control of this benevolent intelligence, could join its [His] company for eternity.

Putting all the aforementioned thoughts together into one unit, the sum total could be that biology/evolution, creation, and intelligent design could/should easily become one coherent harmonious subject. The nice part of this arrangement is that the atheist can now be an informed atheist; the Christian can now be an enlightened Christian; and those in between can at least be informed and do whatever they desire with their new seminal knowledge. And the best thing about it is that they can all live in harmony in the same classroom. Of course, Christians should never attempt to push their holy ways on others in the classroom, and the atheists must not belittle the Christians for believing and living as they do. I call that a happy ending to a controversy that has been going on for at least 80 years. Am I being naive in proposing this simple solution to a complex situation? Let me hear your opinion.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

#142: Conspiracy of Silence

This blog is a repeat of # 127 with a few small changes; it is that important.

Jesus Christ is going to take off His gloves, roll up His sleeves, and spare no punches as He exposes the irreparable and deadly damage organized religion per se has done to Him and His cause. This is audaciously said because He himself will make His case by using only verses from His New Testament. Even though most of what is written is a repeat of what already has been said elsewhere in “Religion’s Crime Against God,” it contains much more bold and descriptive language.

The Christian clergy are the main culprits; they forbid these upcoming verses by remaining silent on their behalf; that is a conspiracy. But that does not excuse the laity who naively believe what is preached or not preached from their pulpit. The laymen/women believe they have fulfilled their weekly duty as Christians simply by their obedience to the command in Hebrews 10:25: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing. . . .”

I am certain that if a majority of those church-going hypocrites were to become sincere about their devotion to God, they would spend time learning what the New Testament actually teaches/commands and not take the word of the money- and number-hungry “professionals.” They can’t teach what is written in Scripture with or without any kind of passionate intensity; if they did, many who go to church only for the joyride would quickly leave. Christ will vividly display over 60 verses that require everyone who claims to be a Christian to make a maximum effort to obey these commands without leaning on modern-day alibis.

First of all, we must always remember that Christianity consists of two distinct parts. The first all-important part, God’s doing, is passive in that Christians simply must believe (with child-like faith) what was accomplished for them by God through Jesus Christ. If that passive belief which gives Salvation is GENUINE, it will lead to the second major part, man’s/woman’s duty, which is an active obedience to what the New Testament commands, including ALL of the seemingly secluded, hard-edged verses. Again, our part of Christianity is not an option but an obligation. Repeating, obedience to these verses gives no one Salvation; this obedience must be a RESULT which authenticates genuine Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. When this section is read, it will unequivocally demonstrate who are and who are not real Christians. Of course, many can/will easily deny the charges the New Testaments makes and just go on living as they have been taught since who-knows-when, by you-know-who.

Caution: The following section may be extremely disturbing to those who feel they are Bible-believing Christians, but at the same time, they may not be familiar with what the New Testament teaches. The reason being, many of the upcoming hard-edged verses, never before seen by some, are the ones church leaders don’t want anyone to know about. It will be difficult for some to believe they really come from the New Testament. Therefore, since these verses are forbidden (hidden by silence), reader's discretion is advised. All verses are taken from the New International Version of the New Testament.

1st Corinthians 15:58. “. . . Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord. . . .”

Luke 13:24. “Make EVERY EFFORT to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” [emphasis added].

2nd Peter 3:14. “. . . make every effort to be found SPOTLESS, blameless and at peace with him.” [emphasis added].

Romans 14:19. “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.”

1st John 3:9. “No one who is born of God will continue to sin.”

Philippians 2:5. “Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus.”

Luke 12:33. “Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

1st John 2:6. “Whoever claims to live in him MUST walk as Jesus did.” [emphasis added].

Luke 16:15. “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”

Luke 1:53. “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”

John 16:33. “In this world you will have trouble.”

James 2:5. “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him?”

1st John 3:6. “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

Luke 10:27. “He answered, ‘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.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.’” [emphasis added]. Prerequisite—We must love God with our all in order to have eternal life. How does one know if he/she truly loves God? The answer is below.

1st John 5:3. “This is love for God; to obey his commands.”

1st Corinthians 16:22. “If anyone does not love the Lord [displayed by obedience to all He commands] a curse be on him.” [emphasis added].

2nd Corinthians 13:5. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith: test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless of course, you fail the test?” No cheating.

Matthew 19:16. “Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’ . . . 21: Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. THEN COME, FOLLOW ME.’” [emphasis added]–There is a prerequisite before anyone can follow Christ."

Luke 12:33. “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Luke 17:6. “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.’”

Philippians 2:3. “Consider others better than yourselves.”

John 3:36. "Whoever rejects the son [as displayed by disobedience and the way one lives] will not see life, for God’s WRATH remains on him,” [emphasis added]. As we can see, God has good reasons to get angry. This is a sobering verse, which means: All who don't believe or do believe in God but reject Jesus Christ have a price over their heads: God's wrath.

Matthew 10:34. “I did not come to bring peace but a sword . . .” 36: “a man’s enemies will be members of his own household.”

Ephesians 5:1. “Be imitators of God. . . .”

Galatians 5:14. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Luke 14:33. “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Is this a farcical command?

1st Corinthians 10:24. “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

1st John2:6. “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

1st Corinthians 11:1 (the apostle Paul is speaking). “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” There are several more verses that in essence say the exact same thing.

Matthew 5:24. “Be perfect.”

Matthew 19:23. “. . . I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

1st Corinthians 15:2. “By this gospel you are saved, IF you HOLD FIRMLY to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” [emphasis added]. Where is eternal security (once saved, always saved)?

Luke 6:20. “Blessed are you who are poor. . . .” 24: “But woe to you who are rich.” Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition. The meaning of rich: 1) having more than enough of material possessions. There are many other verses in the New Testament where Christ NEVER has a good word to say about the rich, but always bad-mouths them. If you don’t believe that Christ never has a good word for the rich or wealthy, prove me wrong with the New Testament. I welcome your challenge.

2nd Corinthians 13:11. “Aim for perfection.”

Luke 9:23. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself.”

Colossians 3:2. “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

1st Thessalonians 5:17. “. . . pray continually . . .” Is this possible?

James 4:4. “. . . Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

1st Peter 1:4. “Be holy, because I am Holy.”

Luke 11:23. “He who is not with me is against me . . .”

Luke 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.”

Matthew 10:37. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; . . .”

1st Peter 2:21. “. . . Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps,”

Mark 13:13. “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

2nd Timothy 3:12. “In fact, EVERYONE who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” [emphasis added]. Does that mean even in America, where we have freedom of religion?

1st Corinthians 15:19. “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” What should Christians be doing that would make people pity them? Definitely not what they are doing in this modern culture. Do you personally know any Christians that you pity?

Luke 6:26. “Woe when all men speak well of you.”

Matthew 17:20. “. . . if you have 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.”

Luke 19:27 (Christ speaking). “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.” Well, excuse me. I thought you loved everyone—am I being factitious?

Luke 12:49-51. “I have come to bring fire on earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! . . . Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”

2nd Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” [a superhuman spiritual being].

Luke 18:8, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” The answer is clear; since we don't see any mountains being moved or other such things being done by so-called Christians, the answer is no. Most likely, Christ will not find much, if any, faith on earth. Oh, but you may say, “I am saved, born again, and filled with the Spirit.” You think so? Does this post prove your holiness?

Luke 12:19. “And, I will 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. . . .’”

Matthew 7:19. “Every tree (“Christian”) that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Not by what they say. [emphasis added].

Matthew 5:11. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you.”

Matthew 10:23. “When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.” Is that the reason the USA is the most powerful “christian” nation in the world? Either we are wrong or the Bible is wrong.

Mark 4:19. “but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”

Obedience: The remaining verses will be for those who downplay the importance of obedience.

2nd John 1:6. “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands.”

Acts 5:32. “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God will give to those who obey him.”

Romans 15:18. “. . . leading the gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done–. . .”

Romans 16:26. “. . . by the commands of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him.”

Hebrews 5:9. “. . .he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

1st Peter 4:17. “. . . what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

1st John 2:3. “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.”

1st John 3:24. “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them.”

Revelation 14:12. “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.”

The New Testament tells a sobering story of what real Christianity was meant to be. How could what is now called “christianity” get so far from the what the Bible teaches? Answer: unholy men who desire prestige, power and financial gain.

Only those who are or desire to be genuine, Bible-believing Christians will make EVERY EFFORT to adhere to these Scriptures. If the New Testament doesn’t tell what Christianity consists of, what does? Remember, all humans are flawed; therefore, what we teach is flawed, including this author. Stick with the Holy Scripture and you will never go wrong. Since this is not a complete list, and there are many more similar verses, I could go on and on.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

# 141: Predestination Demystified

When someone takes the first small steps toward understanding predestination, even that small amount of knowledge makes it much easier to believe, trust and obey God. That is why I have undertaken this much-misunderstood topic. The idea that the physical universe—with its unfathomable intricacies and vastness—and the spiritual world–which we know even less about—already existed in God’s mind before He created them according to our laws of physics, is not an unheard-of concept. I truly believe that it couldn’t have been any other way, that God knew and still knows the entire future. You and I are included in that future right along with our free will. God also plays His part in that future as He intermingles with us through Christ.

The word “predestination” seems to imply that we have no part in this process—if it could be called a process—but this is not the case. God’s chosen are just that. He chose us because of his prior knowledge that we would believe and obey. There is one qualification, though: Since God claims to be a God of love, then in order for love to exist, our free choice to love and be loved by God must have played a part in Him choosing our destiny. The New Testament attests to this fact, if you hold it as the authority of truth. In Ephesians 1:4, Paul says, “For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will . . .”

To think that God created us to love Him—to the point which He dictates what our free will must be—takes away the precious joy and sanctity of choice. For love to be such as we humans know it, that love cannot be forced. Before time began and when we only existed in God's mind, repeating, God chose only those who would believe Him and predestined them to be His. One point that I believe might provide some controversy is that God himself plays a very important part in all of life, continually inspiring (lovingly coaxing) His people to think and act as He desires. That sounds great to me. Some of those who are not His by their choice, He manipulates or forces His will on them, above and beyond their free will, to accomplish His purpose, and He does this without their knowledge. The Bible tells us that He can and does do this. Case in point: The Lord continually hardened Pharaoh's heart so that His greatness might be made known to all the nations, and they would fear Him and His people because of His mighty power (Exodus, Chapters 8-11, paraphrased). In just about every book of the Old Testament, one can see how the Lord manipulates people and circumstances so that what He said would come to pass. While He can manipulate people’s actions, however, He does not manipulate their thinking (changing their nature or thoughts to where they might love Him). If He did, that love would be worthless.

This concept of predestination puts awe and confidence in my continuing quest to believe, love, trust and obey God. To believe this way puts God in control of my complete life, above and beyond my free will. I love it. Therefore, I can unequivocally say that our lives have already been lived in the mind of God, and to Him, we are only living like an instant replay. All we have to do is be sensitive to His inspiration and desire to respond accordingly. His inspiration is never—I say never—contrary to His Word, the Bible. It is most reassuring to trust and obey when we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is in control. This is one reason the Apostle Paul said, “We will be content in all circumstances.” Even if we occasionally do something very stupid or totally out of character for a good Christian, fear not; God will use that stupidity or reckless action, somehow, to our good and for His glory. But, as I have indicated, we must never use this as an excuse or rationalization to sin in any manner. To validate this concept, read Romans 8:28. This just might be everyone’s favorite verse. Let me say ahead of time: This verse is not for those who merely call themselves Christians, but for only those who have been called according to His purpose. How does one know for certain he/she is called according to His purpose? Check your life of faith. Is it expressing selfless love? How can anyone have Christ’s Spirit and not live according to his dictation? There’s your answer. True belief in this concept gives a person such confidence in living the Christian life that every day is an exciting adventure in God's eternal plan. All we have to do is ask, “What's next, Lord?”

The sad part is that when we are doing our own little thing, if even in God's name, He is powerless to inspire us to accomplish His purpose. If push comes to shove, He can manipulate us to do His will, but He is limited, so to speak, as to the degree of manipulation (arm-bending) He can do, according to His own law of love. When we continually refuse to comply with His will, He is powerless to force us to believe and love Him. In such cases He must, though unwillingly, let us go our own way; again, into the arms of our secret love: Satan. When I use the word “our” pertaining to God’s chosen, I mean we must always remember that we too are not immune from the inclination to go our own way, though we know at this time we belong to God and believe we will never leave Him. It is possible to stray from God unknowingly, slowly slipping away by unbelief and disobedience, ultimately going to the grave believing we belong to God. Though God is almighty, He is constrained by love. He cannot stop us from doing so, but if we do, it’s our tough luck. God cannot force us into His kingdom of love when we do not desire to love. That is why continuing unbelief in Christ is such an affront to God.

Satan the devil, the greatest of all magicians, that beautiful deceiving monster, has his people roaming this planet today just as he is referred to as roaming about before Job was tested. Knowing beforehand that Satan’s people would not choose His life, God has predestined them to be with that culprit for eternity. Many of them truly believe they are Christians, blithely unaware of their eternal destiny. Likewise, God has many of His people in the world at this time who are not aware of their salvation, whom He has predestined to be with Him. God will, of course, hopefully with the help of this blog, lead these people of His to those of us who are living according to His complete will. As He makes them known to us, we must show and tell them the complete will and word of God. We must make sure that they are not sucked into the spiritual vacuum of mere “christianity” as it exists today: Lots of words, a big show, and no life. We must also make them aware, through God's grace, that the real Christian life is all-demanding, but extremely wonderful because Jesus Christ, our boss, is extremely wonderful.

Then there are those of God’s people who are practicing religion for what they believe it has to offer, but who do not know what God expects of them. These will be more difficult to reach because they believe they are already saved. There is something different about these people than many of the lost, because deep down in their hearts they know something is missing in organized religion—and consequently in their lives—but have no idea what it is or what to do about it. When we show and tell the lost world about who Jesus Christ really is, we are reassured that we will reach, without exception, everyone that God has chosen to cross our path.

This is no excuse for us to goof off. We cannot adopt the attitude that regardless of what we do or don't do, God will have His way. Rather than an excuse, it is in fact the reason to make our maximum effort for the cause of Christ. When we give our all, we don't have to worry about a certain loved one or close friend who won't respond to God's call. We do and say what Christ would do and say in the same situation, and leave the rest up to God. Jesus Christ cannot be forced onto someone who has not been predestined to be a Christian just because they are a friend or relative. There always is logic behind God’s power to have His way, though many times we fail to understand it. He is not a magician. We must be sure our lives are the best example to all, being one in purpose with Christ. So, ask yourself: “Do I desire to be the best Christian in the world? Is my realistic and active desire such that Jesus Christ is clearly visible in my everyday life?” In seeking proof that one’s belief is acceptable in God's sight, the kind of lifestyle which demonstrates belief, love, and obedience is sure evidence.

On the other hand, we and our message will be rejected by all who have not been predestined to belong to God. To these we will still preach Christ, but mostly with our lives. We can't give up on them, since we don't know who His chosen are. At the same time, we must not waste our time throwing our pearls before people who give indications that they are swine. Some will accept and some will not; God will direct us in these circumstances. Believe it.

You who are reading these few lines today may be the ones whom God can use to get His message to all who will hear, but that message must be complete, right down to the letter. We must not leave out the disagreeable, hard-edged parts of discipleship as displayed in post # 127—namely, death of self-interest. One good definition I can come up with to explain the death of the old self is this: We must abandon all the things and attitudes that produce security, comfort and pride, etc., which most often are silent. These attributes will feed the ego (desires of our human nature) and it is the ego that must be destroyed. Ego—regardless of the amount—is perceived as one of the most valuable possessions around; most people hate to part with it, even if they could.

We also must not propagate greasy or easy grace, which in reality is no grace at all. Grace forgives our past life of separation from God, but it is also grace which enables us to live and believe as God desires. When we desire to change our motives for living, God will inspire us to do that, even though it, most likely, was God who gave us the desire in the first place. Then the door will be open for his Holy Spirit to enter and do His work. But as I said before, God's predestination process will not and cannot violate the free will of our hearts. Our hearts dictate to God what we really desire, despite what we say with our words.

Bottom line, simply put: Since God knows beforehand which people are going to believe and obey Him according to their free will, in God’s sight, their destiny is a done deal. They are the only ones God will choose to be with Him for eternity. Predestination is that simple.

Monday, April 17, 2006

# 140: Stunning Short Notes and One-Liners

What follows are a few short themes for contemplation, meditation, and prayer. Many are something of an encapsulation of issues already covered in this blog. Others were more briefly touched upon, while some are new concepts. Study them; live them; they are great jumping-off points in one’s Christian walk.

In the Christian life, the main, if not the only, way to put prosperity and wealth in its proper place is to actually start experiencing the holy life of Jesus Christ.

Having Christ-like belief leaves little room for ego.

Only a big person who knows how important he/she really is can be truly humble without fear of losing any of his/her greatness.

Don't tell me about Christ; show me Christ.

To love people as Christ would is to tell and give them what they need and not what they think they need or want. In most cases, this kind of love will be blatantly rejected and called judgmental.

Do you know on exactly what day Christ will return to Earth, not in the sense that one can mark it on the calendar? Read on. We know that Jesus Christ will return at the end of time to square things up with mankind. If, at a given time, there was the remotest possibility that several more people would believe Him and be saved if He waited a few more days, would He wait? Certainly! He would wait and He will wait until the world is so evil that there is absolutely no chance of even one more person repenting and believing in Him. That is the day He will return. I think we are getting close to that day, don't you?

I want to ask you a two-part question. Don’t tell anyone your answer, but you must give yourself an honest answer, right from your heart. Don’t lie and tell yourself something that will make you feel good. If you do, you will only be cheating yourself. If your answer makes you feel bad, it might be closer to the truth. Here are the questions: 1) What is/are the most valuable thing/things in your life? 2) What is the greatest desire or aspiration in your life? By giving yourself honest answers you have revealed who your god is, your source of worship, and the name of your true religion.

The name of my religion for years has been “self-interest”—staying young and healthy—in the name of good and God. What a rude awakening I got when I found out. Now, my God is Jesus Christ. My life now displays Him as my source of worship.

When Christians are certain of their future, they can borrow from that future to meet present-day needs. In other words, since many live in the past, why can’t they live in the glorious future? Our belief in what the future will be is converted into reality by our faith.

How do you think Jesus Christ felt, being the Son of God? How do you think we should feel, by faith, having been given the same status as Jesus, which is being clones-of-Christ-in-the-making? Of course, we should feel the same way He did. When we do, oh what power we will have to believe and love as He did. Then we can rightly say, “Look out world; here we come.”

One of the biggest crimes against God that one of His own can commit is to waste time on things that do not spiritually enrich our lives—good, innocent, and important as they may seem and more.

We are not made Christ-like as a means in itself, but for God to bless others through us.

When we say we are Christians but our lives do not display Christ, what evidence remains to substantiate our claim?

It is immoral not to help those who truly have needs and actually cannot help themselves. Conversely, it is immoral to enable those whose needs are fraudulent.

When we suffer for the cause of Christ, He actually shares our pain with us.

To know the truth of Jesus Christ is great, but that truth must be put into practice to be of any value. To know this truth, which makes one feel knowledgeable and important of sorts, without having a desire or ability to live it, is much more deadly than not knowing any truth at all. In other words, the deception of having knowledge of the truth and thinking it is of value, without applying it, is a greater deception than being deceived by ignorance of that truth. Are any of us guilty of this?

When someone loves you in truth, their love is like a magnet; it can either attract or repel, hurt or bless. You choose.

Any religious worship is false if it doesn't bring us closer to God so that the world can see Christ more clearly through our lives.

Our personal defeats are a great instructor in that they can bring us to Christ and His victorious life.

When we purposely do not do all the good we can in our Christian life, will grace take up the slack? I don’t think so. Grace enables us to apply our maximum effort.

What and where a person is at present is not as important to God as the future. He looks at the true desires of one’s heart.

When we love someone, they are our business. Since they are our business, THEIR NEEDS ARE OUR DEBTS. Pour our lives into theirs. Love makes unity.

Grace does not release us from the responsibility to give our all; in fact, when we start to understand the value of grace, we realize that grace empowers us to give our all.

Satan has the ability to mimic, through his people, all that God does through His people. This is a solemn warning to examine the motives behind any life.

A face is worth a thousand words: As Abe Lincoln said years ago, “By the time a man is forty, he is responsible for what his face looks like.”

Debt is the worst kind of hidden poverty, since one usually doesn’t recognize it as poverty. If that is the case, this country is in sad shape with its $8 trillion debt and counting. It will be our downfall.

God hates it when we replace Him with religious rituals and formalities.

We all need attention. When our attention comes to us from God through faith, we don't need attention from men/women.

Although a clear conscience does not justify us in God's sight, we need a clear conscience as to our lifestyle to make sure we are not working for the enemy without knowing it.

What is of greatest value in one's life will take over and control that life.

A person can experience the future in the present when one is sure of what the future will be.

When we are living in God's will, everything that happens to us is according to God's will because He is in control. Praise The Lord.

No one is able to know Jesus Christ or even have a desire to do so as long as any self-interest (ego) dominates that life.

The closer one gets to being like Jesus Christ, the more one will be misunderstood by the religious. It’s a very reliable barometer.

The face with a smile that is genuine will continue to smile even after it is slapped.

I read good into all that God allows to happen to me.

The sin that doesn't seem like sin to us, especially the kind we theologically rationalize, will get us if we don't recognize it as the sin it is.

To have God's love is to treat everyone equally, regardless of how we feel about them.

A person’s teaching must spring from one's Christian life that is lived in belief of and obedience to God, and not merely from religious books written by others; otherwise, words get passed on and then become the criteria for Christianity. Repeating, teaching must be based on Christian truth, and truth must be experienced to have any value in God’s sight.

The seal or mark of the presence of God's Spirit in a person is the holiness and love in one's life that springs from belief.

God never fails us; it is we who fail when we don't continue to believe and obey with our lives.

If there is no controlling, dominating purpose and direction in a person’s life, then there is no real reason for life, just existence.

Miracles are not for the comfort of the church, but to display the greatness and power of God in His people and all for His glory.

If obedience to His commands is LOVE for God, then disobedience to His commands is HATE for God. Amen.

The relationship we will have with Christ in eternity can be ours now through faith. In fact, we must experience it now, if even in a small way, to live as He requires.

When God gives someone more than he needs, though it may seem deserved since it came by his/her effort, it is to be used for others in need or to promote the gospel, and not for one’s pleasure or security.

An unbeliever grows older until final death. A believer grows newer day by day as he/she grows into the likeness of Christ, and culminates with true life at the end of spiritual growth in this temporal life.

“I don't want to go to that church; they are a bunch of nuts. They actually love their neighbor as themselves.” Is this said of your church?

The big difference between true Christianity and all of the other religions is that the others may center on the desire to live a selfless life through self-improvement, whereas Christianity’s primary goal is to know and love God and care for others.

Only by doing what one believes does one become what one believes.

Every Christian needs to believe the Father as Jesus did and then demonstrate Him to the world with the power of Jesus.

When someone does not give in to any of the body’s desires, excluding the essentials for existence, then one can be assured that they are living in Christ.

All doubt comes from the Devil. Everyone who doubts what God says is doing the Devil’s work. God says, “Love others.” Satan says, “Love and care for self.”

The truth doesn’t get much more hard-edged than the aforementioned. God bless all who take it to heart.

Friday, April 14, 2006

#139: Is Life Fair or Cruel?

Although the answer to the above question is complex and possibly ambiguous depending on one’s station in life, I will attempt to make some sense out of it and even give it a spiritual connotation. The dictionary defines “fair” as “according to the rules.” Are there any indications that life is fair or that life should be lived in a fair way? The answer to that question is in an upcoming section.

This subject makes me angry when I see or hear of human injustices and other inequalities. For example, is it fair for people to be born in a third-world country where there is hunger, starvation, drought, and lack of basic necessities, along with little or no education? No. For millions of misfortunate people born in that situation, the answer is that life for them is not fair no matter how one looks at it.

The question now arises whether it is fair for people in a developed country like the USA to have more than they need. What right do some of us have with an abundance of just about everything? That is an incriminating question. Could we live in a free country like America where everything above a certain amount earned would go to those without? Would the wealthy go for it? I doubt it. Would anyone go for it? Possibly just a few. The reason being: a silent cliché most of us live by is this: “I love me; who do you love?” Therefore, since there are no required rules to enforce the above mandate, that rationale will never fly.

We have come to the conclusion that life is not fair, at least in terms of the inequality of resources. Is life fair or cruel in other aspects of life? As an example, many people are born with great memories, to the point where they can breeze through school and college, while others are born with brains that have a difficult time remembering anything of academic value. They struggle through school, and many times drop out in the last few years. One group may end up making big bucks the rest of their lives, while the others may have to work their buns off just to get by. Is it fair? Absolutely not.

There is a plus when it comes to those who do physical work at a much lower-paying wage than those who receive a college education. Although I believe humans are spiritual beings with physical bodies and not vice versa, the body needs a healthy program of moderate to heavy exercise. The uneducated most likely get their needed exercise on the job. Therefore, from a physical standpoint, their type of work is fair to them, while those who work at sedentary jobs are denied that benefit and pay for it with weight gain and other degenerative diseases and sicknesses, especially in old age. Remember this: When God created us through His evolution process–not Darwin’s–humans were meant to be physical and not sedentary. As technology in the world increases, sedentary employment also increases. That is one of the enigmatic curses of our modern culture. It is not fair to sacrifice health for a higher-paying job. Also, it is not fair to sacrifice a higher-paying job for health. You can’t have your Kay and Edith too. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. The only winner, it seems, is one who has a high-paying job doing physical work.

Many times, the cruelest and most unfair aspect of life is genetics. Is it fair that some people are born beautiful/handsome, tall, gifted, intelligent, and with other desirable traits, while others are born homely, dull, short, and mentally hindered, along with other undesirable handicaps? No, it doesn’t seem fair, but there may be a spiritual twist to having these unfair traits, which will be mentioned later. When some are born blind, crippled, poor, lame, etc., is it fair? It doesn’t seem that way. Although the following has nothing to do with genetics, when some are maimed by accidents, injured in war, or are victims of just bad luck, is it fair?

In countries like America that are technologically developed, is it fair that some are born with a gold spoon in their mouths while others are born in extreme poverty? One group doesn’t have to do a lick of physical work all their lives, while the others have to scrimp and scrape around for the basic necessities, if even that. The more we look at life in its various forms, the more we see that life is extremely cruel and unfair. Why is that? Some would say, “That’s life.” That seems like the only answer.

What about billions of people who were/are raised in religions which have little or nothing to do with an undivided love for God and a selfless love for their fellow man/woman in need, which includes their enemies? When that type of love is not the central theme in any religion, that religion is false, and a pleasant afterlife is not in store for them. Is that fair of God to allow such a gigantic, unfair situation? As we humans see it, many can’t even start to answer that question.

No doubt there are other ways in which life is unjust, although I believe I covered the most extreme ones. Now the question comes up, How does God feel about all these unjust situations? The only possible answer could be this: When mining for diamonds, how many tons of inert byproducts (stones, etc.) must be discarded just to find several small diamonds? Is it worth all that effort? Certainly. The same is true about humanity. In order to get just a few people who live and believe as God demands–not suggests—billions upon billions will have to be discarded. That may not seem fair in human eyes, but it is the only way in God’s sight.

If God were to interfere in worldly affairs to alleviate that injustice–not that He can’t–He would most likely have to tamper with our free will by coercion. Then, that would create a completely new relationship between God and humans. Then the new saying would come into existence: “God MADE me do it.” He could never do that and still be a God of love. You can’t force someone to love you. Remember, the only ones God desires to be with Him are those who value a relationship with Him of more value than physical life itself.

Let’s examine what the New Testament says about the unfair situation of life. Matthew 11:28. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Did you notice that Jesus did not say, “Come to me, all you who live a comfortable life or are wealthy”? To that group, this life was more than fair. In this life, it is unfair and cruel to those who are weary and burdened. But, the weary and burdened who believe and live as God commands are the prime candidates Jesus desires to reward with eternal life, for how unfair life was to them in this world.

Also in Luke Chapter 14 is a great illustration of how the unfair lives some had to endure will be reversed. A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. He told his servant to tell those who had been invited to come, for everything was now ready. They all made excuses and did not come. The master got angry and ordered his servant to go into the streets and alleys to bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. When that was done, there still was room so he sent his servant to the roads and country lanes where low-class people lived and worked, and made them come in so that his house may be full.

That banquet illustrates the great joy there will be for those who have been accepted to the spiritual feast at the end of time. Again, those whose lives seemed unfair may ended up the winners. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone who is weary and burdened will go to heaven. The only thing is, they have a better chance of being aware of a need for something better than this life. That is the main reason that not one New Testament verse includes the elite, the wealthy, or the comfortable as candidates for eternal life. They enjoyed their more-than-fair lives on earth, while looking down on all those whom life treated unfairly. Luke 16:25. “. . . Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.” Luke 12:21. “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” This verse is the punch line of a man who produced a good crop and built bigger barns to store his crops, and then died. To do right by God, he should have shared his abundance with the less fortunate.

In conclusion, 1) to those who have it made (an easy life)—either agnostics or counterfeit Christians who were not obedient to the Gospel message—life is more than fair in this life but will be cruel in hell; 2) for those who never had a chance to hear about the saving power of Jesus Christ in third-world countries, life is unfair in this life and unfair in the hereafter; 3) for poor, run-of-the-mill, unbelieving panhandlers, etc. that don’t take advantage of all that God offers, life is not fair in this life and even crueler in hell; 4) and still, for genuine Christians, life is unfair in this life, but glorious in the life to come. Therefore, is life fair? Yes and no.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

# 138: Three Short Subjects

God is made rich when we worship Him with our holy and pure lives. If our worship does not make God more real to us and enrich the lives of others, we are practicing a false form of Christianity. To worship God in spirit means that we seek to know Him and become like Him in order to reveal Him to others without the need for empty formalities and stupidity. To worship Jesus Christ in spirit means that we desire everyone, including ourselves, to be like Him in every way. That desire comes neither from our mouths nor in our spare time, but rather from one's whole life. God will accept no worship that is not heading in that direction. To worship God in truth means to worship Him without pretense of any sort, such as an outward show of religion with perfunctory rituals or morality without Godliness. To worship in truth is to take all the fakery out of one's life. To worship in truth means to be set free from the bondage of self-promotion. It means to have a clear vision of the absolute need to see what we look like in the eyes of God, with all of our faults and assets. Blessed are those who are aware of their spiritual poverty, for that is true wealth. The closer we become to being like Christ in our daily living, the further we see ourselves from that goal. That is not a contradiction. The purer and holier we become, the clearer we are able to truly see the unmatched beauty of Christ. That allows us to see the ugly condition of ourselves. The closer one becomes like Christ, the uglier one sees himself/herself. This is a divine secret that few in organized Christianity have experienced. This is the vision that is needed to eliminate pride in the lives of all who God blesses to do mighty works for Him.

As the saying goes, “The more one learns, the more one is aware of how much one doesn’t know, and how far one has yet to go.” All true humility springs from seeing oneself in comparison to Christ and not to others. Truth, though it may be in front of one's nose, will always be elusive no matter how hard and constantly one seeks until one finds the One who is the absolute truth (Jesus Christ). Truth as we humans know it through our belief process is the furthest from God’s absolute truth. Absolute truth must be experienced—if even in a small degree—to be known. The only way to know that truth is to allow Jesus Christ to live His life through our bodies, with no ifs, ands, or buts. That is what the true Christian life (the extension of Christ’s life) is all about. We may catch rare glimpses of Him, but we will find Him only when He becomes the very core of our life. We cannot find Him with words or wishes but only with a heart and mind that stays on Him. This is one of the deepest truths that can be known of Him. As God gathers those who desire to worship Him in this fashion, there is absolutely nothing He won't spare in blessing them with the fullness of Himself, so that others can also worship Him.

A Standard of Comparison

A good standard of comparison in attempts to measure God's love for you can be made with this analogy: A vote was taken worldwide to see who the most important person in the world was. All six-plus billion or so people unanimously voted for you. When you saw the result of that vote, how did you feel about yourself? What type of life will you now start to live? Will you go on as usual with little change? No! You will quickly realize you now have the most awesome obligation in the world. It will take maximum effort (and then some) to live up to your new status, but you will do it. God loves you for the very same reason because of your new status of perfection, with only one exception: His love for you is even greater than all that human love put together. He voted you the most important person in the world.

God is able to deal with you on a one-on-one basis. He does this in a very unique and logical way. He is able to divide Himself in His completeness, as it were, between all His children. Each Christian has his own personal God. Now God (The Holy Spirit) has your undivided attention. You now have all His love. Being loved any less would not totally satisfy. By this love, God demonstrates that you are the most important person in the world. Love always makes a person not only important but also complete. When you know for certain that you are totally loved in this fashion, for the first time you will not seek after the importance the material world and human love (attention) offer. As you experience all of this love, you will start to love others selflessly, without need of love in return or fear of losing any of that love.

Who Really Needs Him?

This affluent, materialistic culture of the last century has not been in the least bit conducive for anyone to be made aware of their need for God. Man/woman has acquired God on his/her own through the physical world. No doubt man is still the problem, as having more than one needs materially quenches the need for God. Jesus confirms this in Matthew 11:28 when He says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.” He does not say, “Come to me, all you who are well-fed and comfortable.” So, a prerequisite to becoming aware of a need for Him is quite often the result of some unpleasant situation of want.

Modern technology has made God obsolete. Who really needs Him? We have our religion, comfort, televisions, computers, and Internet; and at the rate we are advancing in gene science, we will be able to create intelligent life from scratch in a few years. Then we will have a god who we can actually see, and he or she will fit our real need (greed). Or will we have become synthetic gods ourselves? As the saying goes, “Seeing is believing.” With these facts in front of us, demonstrating to religious people the true nature of God is not very effective because they don't want a God that is so demanding and strict. Their present god—whose religion is self and materialism—meets their needs. Their god’s name is Fool.

Then there are the intellectual atheists. They say they have no god. They say that the universe and man/woman came about on their own, without help from any god. They do have a god, however, whether they believe it or not. He is the same god that play-acting Christians worship. His/her name is Satan.

The crux of this short statement: As a few of us make a maximum effort to reproduce the life of Jesus Christ before our pagan Cchristian neighbors and to the intellectual elite of this world, we must never get discouraged but keep on plugging away. God knows what He is doing through our persistence. This post is one such effort. He will permanently put these writings in the hearts and minds of humble and needy people so that He can be made known as He desires while exposing religion’s crime against God.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

# 137: Something To Remember

Exodus 20:8, Commandment # 4: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” Check your calendar to confirm which day is the seventh day; is it Saturday or Sunday? If your calendar is like mine, Sunday is the first day of the week and Saturday is the seventh. Could it rightfully be said that if any day is special and belongs to the Lord our God, it is Saturday, the Sabbath day for the Israelites, the only day that our Lord blessed and made holy? The answer is an unequivocal yes.

What this post will question is this: Why, then, is Sunday observed as the day Christians worship since it is the first day of the week? It is called by some Christian groups “The Lord’s Day” and by others “The Sabbath day.” Did God change His mind and make Sunday His day? If so, let’s examine the New Testament to see where and how the change was made; or did God delete the fourth commandment from the ten, leaving only nine?

The “first day of the week” is mentioned two times in the complete New Testament, first in Acts 20:7: “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.” This gathering was in a house church. This verse can be interpreted in two ways. The first is that the believers made a special effort to meet on this Sunday because they met every Sunday to break bread. If this is true, it says nowhere else in Scripture that the first day of the week is the day DESIGNATED to meet, worship and break bread. Or was it a day that men/women of God set aside as the day of worship? Most likely, since Paul intended to leave the next day, Sunday was the last chance to visit and say goodbye to his dear friends in Troas.

The second way this verse can be interpreted makes more sense and leaves less room for assumption. Let us presume for a moment that they could have come together the next day instead to break bread. Would that then make Monday another potential day of worship for Christians? (I am being facetious, of course.) As memorialized in 1 Corinthians 11:20-34, the breaking of bread was a special time for the believers to get together to eat a common meal, worship, and praise God while sharing their lives at each others’ homes. I am sure that the believers came together whenever they had a need for it. It might have been on Sunday, Monday, or any other day of the week.

As Paul left the Jewish faith, he was no longer under the regulation of man-made traditions. Man-made rules are a worthless means of pleasing God, and no one—not even Paul—had the right to designate Sunday as a day of worship. Even if believers met regularly on Sunday, there is no compelling precedent or designation in New Testament Scripture for that day being special or made holy unto the Lord.

Some believe Sunday is the Lord’s Day because Jesus Christ our Lord rose from the dead on Sunday. Does it really matter what day of the week He rose from the dead? The important fact is that He rose from the dead to free us from man-made rules and from sin.

Here is another interesting anecdote: Paul was continually hounded and persecuted by the Jews because of his staunch opposition to outward circumcision as a sign of being justified before God. Strange as it may seem, in all of his letters, along with the book of Acts, never once was he accused of breaking the Sabbath or teaching the Jews that once people become Christians, they don't have to observe the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath. Imagine how much more ammunition the Jews would have had against Paul if that hadwere indeed been the case. In fact, in Acts 16:13, Paul speaks of going on the Sabbath to a place of prayer. It doesn't say that the people at these places were believers; the place for Jews to pray was at the synagogue. Therefore, there is a very good chance that they were believers in the Lord Jesus Christ or that they were people who might have been interested in learning about Christ, as was Lydia.

The second time the first day of the week was mentioned was in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2: “Now about the collection for God's people [Christians Jews who lived in Jerusalem]: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should SET ASIDE a sum of money in keeping with his income, SAVING IT UP, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” [EMPHASIS ADDED]. This verse does not state or infer that they got together on the first day of the week; in fact, it implies the exact opposite: “set aside . . . saving it up” is not done amongst a gathering, but at home.

Here is a fact that we must remember from Paul's two letters to the believers in Corinth: Most of the believers were of gentile origin and possibly a few were Jews. In the Gentile world, people did not have a regular day of rest as did the Jews. They may have worked seven days a week—when work was plentiful—and gotten paid on the seventh day. Since that is the case, the first day of the week would be a good time to arrange one’s budget. Paul indicates the next thing of importance: Giving should be done regularly; he states “every week” and that all must give if they are working when he says “in keeping with his income.” This fact of regular giving is of greater importance than the saving on the first day of the week. Therefore, it merely outlines something they were supposed to do once one’s pay was in his/her hands, and that was on the first day of the week. I am certain this directive was not aimed at the Christian Jews since they most likely didn’t work on Saturday since it was their Holy Sabbath day of rest. And it may be that Paul didn’t force gentiles to abstain from working on Saturday as he seems to have described in the next paragraph.

Even though Romans Chapter 14 is mainly talking about how they should regard certain foods, and refers to them as disputable matters, he does mention in the fifth verse of Chapter 14 these instructions: “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He, who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord.” These few verses are a bit dubious since they are smack-dab in the middle of a complete chapter concerning food; Paul is not that kind of writer. His writings are better organized than that. With that said, the thing which is certain to displease God, to say the least, is not so much Sunday worship—God would love to have His people worship together every day if it was possible—but when His Holy Sabbath day of rest is abandoned and replaced by man for another one (Sunday) and is then CALLED His Holy Sabbath day of rest, or the Lord’s Day.

In the Jewish nation, the Sabbath was regarded as a special day unto the Lord, the Lord's Day. In the New Testament, the phrase “the Lord’s Day” is mentioned once. The apostle John, a Christian Jew, says, “On the Lord's day I was in the Spirit. . . .” (Revelation 1:10). Since John was a Jew, I am sure that this refers to the seventh-day Sabbath. To think otherwise would be to do a lot of assuming. To early Christians, this Scripture probably became the go-ahead sign to worship on the first day of the week (Sunday) and call it “The Lord’s Day.”

Suppose we concede that the early Christians did come together as a tradition on Sunday, the first day of the week. This might be because they wanted to separate themselves from the Jews and their tradition of the keeping of the Sabbath (the Jews’ very special, visible trademark of separation from the Gentile world). One thing I am sure of is that the observance of Sunday did not come as a mandate to gentile believers or Jews as the other rules and regulations that Paul gave them. If it had, that fact would have become very evident somewhere in Scripture. I believe that keeping Sunday as the day of worship crept into the early church slowly, and as time went on, it was eventually taken as a standard Christian practice. Once established, Sunday was not referred to as “the Lord’s Day” until Constantine started the pagan Christian Church. Who of the laity would have known better? They had no available Bibles to show them otherwise. All well-guarded, written manuscripts were in the possession of corrupt church leaders. This is the reason other ungodly traditions came into existence and stayed there, even to this day.

Nevertheless, here are two scriptural texts that say the Sabbath will still be in existence after Christ’s death and therefore is still here to this day. In Matthew 24:2, Jesus is talking about the end times and/or the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.: “Pray that your flight will not take place in the winter or on the Sabbath.” Also, in Matthew 12:8, Jesus says, “For the son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Is he still Lord of the Sabbath? I suppose that some revisionists might say, “No, he changed his mind.”

Although the majority of Christians worship on Sunday (a manmade, religious tradition since who-knows-when) and to them it is the Lord’s Day/Sabbath, there was, and still is, according to the Bible, only one day that the Lord God blessed and made holy: That is the seventh-day Sabbath.

I don’t believe there is a spiritual death sentence hanging over Sunday worshipers for violating the fourth commandment—although I may be wrong—but they may be missing out on many of God’s vital blessings, and along with that, they may get involved in other spiritually negative complications. Also, just because someone does keep the Sabbath day holy, it does not automatically give a person a free ticket to the pearly gates.

Bottom line: Even though the Sabbath was made for man/woman (refraining from all types of work–except for an emergency), the Sabbath is a special, lazy day, set aside by the Lord for His people to show honor and reverence to their creator. How do you personally show honor and reverence to the Lord on Sunday other than “worshiping” in a church building for an hour or so? Do not underestimate the power of the enemy (Satan, the great deceiver) who works through our sinful human nature.