Wednesday, July 26, 2006

# 160: Survival of the Fittest

There may be more truth to this survival technique than most of us realized—I will make this post short and to the point. One thing is for sure: Survival of the fittest is wise but cruel to the disabled and handicapped, physically and/or mentally. Before modern medicine and skilled surgery came on the scene, survival was left to nature (the strong/smart survived).

As a result, this medical technology now allows many to survive that were, by nature, not meant to survive. That’s okay, but it makes the human race more vulnerable to many other insidious maladies. These effects may not be all that apparent at this time, but when we work against nature, usually in the long run, we will be the loser. God’s natural selection is extremely intelligent.

But there already is an apparent downside. The result of our innovative medical techniques and medicines keeps us living longer, with less pain, etc. That is the reason 75% of all healthcare costs are eaten up by seniors. If it wasn’t for that medical intervention, the vast majority of these seniors would have died by nature’s survival laws, and therefore, would have been spared old-age miseries (a decrepit lifestyle).

Then the question comes up: Why is there so much sickness and degenerative diseases, mostly in the aged? Though there may be many reasons, the main one is that we have disobeyed God’s laws that keep people healthy until death. What is it? The desire for an easy lifestyle. 1) Eating too much of the wrong type of foods, most of which are processed, which includes most restaurant foods; 2) not enough physical exercise, sweating, or energizing sunshine; 3) the overwhelming desire for sedentary, high-paying employment; 4) a stress-related lifestyle, which may be one of the biggest culprits; 5) filling one’s mind with negative junk: TV and movies, etc.; 6) and lastly, with no controlling and dominating purpose in life, just going with the flow. These easy- does-it lifestyles take little effort or willpower to live by, which is why they have been so popular. We love to take the course of least resistance.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few individuals who, for the most part, didn’t/don’t take the easy way of living: Somehow, they were aware of the detrimental effects of violating survival’s natural laws. These people may possibly experience the best years of their lives in their golden years (not having to work just for the sake of making a living).

As briefly mentioned above, survival of the fittest—a short-term survival until physical death—is a law designed by God which has a specific purpose: so that we can hopefully have a chance to experience God’s long-term survival. The majority of us don’t think of God’s Salvation from sin as survival of the holy. Most don’t desire to die physically, although we all will. Those who don’t believe in long-term survival most likely never had/have a second thought of the coming onslaught.

If there is an Eternal God—and there is—and if He has a great purpose—and He does—the purpose of putting human life on this planet is for one exclusive reason: so that a few of us can share His company for all eternity. That’s it. What would life be for us who believe and live the gospel message if we never had that hope? Just ask an atheist or agnostic or someone who claims to believe but doesn’t live as directed. They say, “Just live for today, for there is no tomorrow.” When all things are considered, they are the reason this poisoned and heartless planet is in the shape it is in, especially in the Arab world.

In the next few paragraphs, I will sound like a broken record, though I feel it is necessary. Once a person believes he/she has started on the road to spiritual survival, then the emphasis must be on sharing this incredible good news (the gospel) with as many people as possible. In fact, if a person isn’t making every effort to share God’s love life in every way possible, that is creditable evidence that the person may have never possessed God’s life to start out with. If it is really being experienced, it will not/cannot be taken lightly. This God-life is that influential.

The gigantic chasm between survival of the fittest’s physical edition and spiritual survival is this: Basically, physical survival silently says, “ Hooray for me and company, and boo for all others.” Another way they put it: “I love me; who do you love?” With a few exceptions, the me-first lifestyle is seen wherever one turns, even in the Christian community, in this asphalt jungle we all live in.

Those who are experiencing long-term survival never think that way. It is literally impossible for one who possesses God’s love life to be stingy with it. In fact, the more generous one is in sharing the Gospel, the more blessed she/he will be with the goodness, love and power of God. In effect, every person (who calls him/herself a Christian) is offered the PRIVILEGE–not so much an obligation, though it is, of being a representative of Jesus Christ, to show and tell what He is like. Could there be a better or more fulfilling life? Absolutely not. That truly is living the high life.

In conclusion, survival of the physical, which is necessary, has self-interest in mind, while the basic motive for survival of the spirit has the interest of others in mind. And the motivating power behind that selfless love for others comes to life when God’s love is activated by you and me. Simply put, we show and tell others how to experience being loved by God, and how to reciprocate that love back to God so that others can also pass it on. That is continual long-term survival. Amen !

Monday, July 24, 2006

# 159: “What the World Needs Now Is . . ."

About 30 years ago, a singer named Jackie de Shannon sang a song that hit the target as to what our greatest need is: “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love.” The next line goes like this “not just for some but for everyone.” I can remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard that song for the first time. It had that much of an impact on my thinking then.

I said to myself, “She is right; that is what I need.” I was happily married at the time and my wife was expecting a child. Therefore, I was experiencing marital love. But I felt that this song was talking about a different type of love; something I knew little or nothing about. That might have been the first time that I felt unloved, beyond human love.

In this blog, I am going to attempt to describe this love that is beyond what humans can generate. I must be very careful not to just put words on paper, but to somehow describe or bring to life this love. I am not certain I can do just that. Nevertheless, I am going to combine how the Bible portrays this Godly love along with my personal experience.

It all started in heaven, even before God started His creation process. That is when the need for love was born. Within Himself, God knew what would satisfy Him more than all else. God decided to create living beings (spiritual and physical) that He could love in a way that would satisfy completely, both the objects of His love and the fulfillment for Himself.

But it was not that easy. In order for love to be of any value, God had to create His love beings with the same characteristics He possessed (made in His image). Said another way: His creation had to have the same potential He had. That meant God had to give all His creation, both spiritual and physical beings, a free will. That is where the challenge started and has not yet ended. Free will left the door wide open for disobedience (sin) to come to life.

In the spiritual realm, this love that God would give, when it was gladly received, is all that was needed to sustain and give life complete fulfillment. WOW. Yet there were some who, because of their free will, not only wanted God’s love but also wanted God’s Almighty power, and felt a sly form of disobedience was the route. These were the angels that were classified as evil ones. Click on # 154, “The Devil Made Me Do It,” to find out more about these disobedient angels.

Now, let’s get down to earth. Since God’s physical beings were also created in His image, they had the intrinsic desire to love and be loved. But to somehow get these earthlings to be made aware of God Himself, of His great love and His desire to be loved in return, was another more trying matter.

In His attempts to communicate with His physical creation, there could be no intimidation or coercion. Otherwise, love would become tainted. Therefore, a barrier had to exist between Himself and His physical creatures. He made it so He could not be seen by His creation (He remained invisible).

Then, God chose the belief process as a means of invisible communication. He would speak to certain humans by putting certain thoughts of His existence into their thought process. Those that believed and responded were the ones to whom He was able to describe and demonstrate His love.

One problem: God lived in a realm of perfection, while His creation lived in a world of survival of the fittest (sin). How God would solve this disobedience issue would take some bending of the heavenly rules. He does this by counting or converting belief into righteousness. These few humans may still occasionally live in a way that is displeasing to Him; but the main thing is they believe that God exists and loves them; therefore, communication and love can be reciprocated.

Enough small talk; now let’s get to the big picture. The love God has for us and the love we have for Him, most often is just a word we use to mimic what the Bible says. The Bible is full of how much God loves us and that we must also reciprocate that love by loving Him with all our faculties.

The love God has for us is extremely difficult to describe unless it is actually experienced. Most of us know how it feels when someone loves us. It may be romantic love, a friendship-type love, or a love parents have for their children. Repeating, we can identify with the emotions produced when we know for certain (believe) we are being loved.

If you know for certain that God loves you, in what ways will this love impact your life? If there is no known effect, that love may be just a word that sounds great to use. But can we experience God’s love in a way that makes us actually feel comforted, secure, needed, responsive, etc., to that love? Absolutely!

Factually, when one does truly experience this Godly love, all other loves we have experienced in our lives will seem like–I hate to use this word, but it is the only way to attempt to describe God’s love–hate. It is that powerful. One may have to put weights on his or her shoes to keep from floating away. Of course, that is only a hyperbole. What I am trying to get across is that the results cannot be hidden.

That doesn’t mean that God hates you if you are not experiencing His love. It means you are only cheating yourself of the greatest joy in the universe. Although God’s love is free, there will be a great price tag, although it is not monetary. What is the price? “‘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.’” Luke 10:27. That is a tall order, to say the least.

By living the above verse, one is reciprocating (returning) His love. Yes, to love and be loved in return by God has a high price. That obedience to His commands is what continually fuels that indescribable love of God.

That is the active God-type love (agape) that is needed in the Christian community. It is a crying shame, as Nat King Cole sang years ago. “They say that love’s a word, a word we’ve only heard, but can’t begin to know the meaning of . . .” Even though he was talking about romantic love, the meaning is still the same.

Why don’t some of you, if not all of you, who are reading this “out of this world” post make loving and receiving God’s love your holy grail for life? I personally guarantee that if you don’t hold back, you will never regret it. You will actually be sitting on top of the world of love. That is what genuine Christianity is all about. If you are a Christian and are short on love, stop cheating yourself; God’s love is there for the asking. You’ll know it, but only when you’re experiencing it.

This conclusion is the frosting on the cake. We as humans all desire to be/feel successful in our life’s ventures, whatever they may be. It is a shame that many acquaint and measure success by accomplishments and achievements, especially with financial security. And I can understand that popular concept, since we live in a dog-eat-dog world.

But there exists a much higher quality of success which is more stable in this uncertain world. That success comes from above. When a person is 1) loved; 2) needed; 3) wanted; and 4) feels valuable in the sight of God, that is the epitome of success. That type of success will affect every part of one’s life. It is impossible for anyone or anything in this world to match those four much-needed qualities. With those assets in one’s heart, mind, and pocket, what else can be desired? Nothing except modest shelter and a small amount of food and clothing. Those qualities give not only success but wealth (heavenly treasures) beyond human comprehension. Experiencing God’s love is that powerful and wonderful. “What the world needs now is love, sweet love, not just for some but for everyone.”

Sunday, July 23, 2006

# 158: One Purpose

While on earth, Jesus Christ had—and still has—one purpose for those who decide to follow His ways. What He taught, how He lived, and what He believed is the only example He left for those God chose before time began.

That sounds like a demanding agenda for anyone who at the same time must attend to all the cares and necessities this busy world has made us bondage to. That is the reason we must not get involved in worldly matters that require a great deal of our time. Time is of the essence in serving our Lord. There is no second chance when it comes to time. When a day or hour has passed, that time can never be recaptured; it is gone forever. Time is precious. We must use it wisely.

That is the main reason Jesus gave this parable in Mark 4:18. “. . . hear the word, but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” There are similar verses in Matthew and Luke. Let me elaborate on this verse.

First: Before we get involved in anything, we must ask ourselves this question: Will there be worries and additional stress as a result of this venture? If so, we must avoid it, regardless of how rewarding it may seem. It is difficult to dwell on Godly matters, let alone live as required, with unnecessary stress and worries in our lives. They are sly thieves of our precious time that belongs to God.

Next: The desire for wealth is natural, but wealth can ensnare us in a trap that will dilute our desires to do the work of Christ. Jesus used the word “choke.” When a person is being choked, spiritual death is pending. Wealth, though it feels so nice to have, will deceive us without our even knowing it. That deceit will make us feel secure. And the more financial security we have in this world, the less we will be aware of or have the desire for the needed security that God alone gives. God demands us to rely on Him for whatever life will bring. Of course, that is no excuse for laziness. I, personally, along with many New Testament scriptures, am aware of the damage wealth can do, and therefore, we strongly downplay the desire for excess money. Click on post # 116: “What Money Can and Cannot Buy.” I know this topic is extremely controversial; nevertheless, I am continually inspired to write about it.

The last part of that above verse is a catchall: “And the desire for other things.” Americans are notorious for wanting and having things. Things, regardless of their size or value, require and demand responsibility. They own us as much as we own them. We somehow secretly believe that things (stuff) will make us happy and give us a feeling of fulfillment. What a lie.

The end result of this verse: Our lives are so full of worldly cares and joys that we have no time or desire for following Jesus. Result: Guess what? Oops; bye-bye, Jesus. That is, if He ever was number one in the first place.

Is it fair to say that the biggest problem in the Christian world today is that we don’t take our Christianity seriously? In other words, do we realize what we are getting into when we say we are Christians? We are to follow the example of Jesus Christ in all we say or do, regardless of our station in life.

How would Jesus be doing it if He were in your position or mine? Most likely, He would never have gotten Himself into our situations in the first place. Nevertheless, now that He is there, how is He going to get us out of the mess we are in? It is possible, but it won’t be easy, cheap or without pain. That is exactly what most of us need.

Let’s make it more understandable. Although we all have different gifts, we all have one purpose in our Christian life: that is to continually make Jesus Christ our role model in all we say or do (what His purpose was must be ours). If this teaching sounds new to some, let me give just a few New Testament Scriptures to verify the sole objective in our Christian lives.

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

1st John 2:6. “Whoever claims to live in him must WALK as Jesus did.” To put it in colloquial terms, we must not only ‘Talk the talk,’ but we must also ‘walk the walk.’ Talking is easy and pleasant, but walking takes effort; that is where most of us are delinquent.

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

1st Corinthians 11:1. “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ,” the Apostle Paul exhorts us.

Philippians 3:17. “Join with others in following my example . . .” The Apostle Paul’s words again.

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

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

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

Did Christ make His point clear through my pen? Can anyone look at how “christians” are living today and see any resemblance of what they were meant to be, according to Scripture? Who is responsible for this? I don’t know exactly what you would call it. It certainly is not Bible- based Christianity. I would call it religious, feel-good playacting, at best. Yes, the ones responsible are mainly the clergy. That does not get the gullible laity off the hook. I could understand that most would like to have life easy; that goes along with the god they choose to worship. Therefore, church leaders give them exactly what they desire. Then, with a smiley face, they silently say, “Take life easy, eat, drink and be merry, enjoy life. But don’t forget to give us some money and your continued membership. Then, live as you please; it will be no skin off our backs. Just remember, God loves you.”

In ending, some might be asking, “What is it that we must be doing to be living like Jesus did?” The answer is simple: EVERY Christian must have one overwhelming PURPOSE in their lives, regardless of what their position in life is, married or single, 12 kids or none, young or old, rich or poor, healthy or sick, busy or relaxed, in good weather or bad, stressed or calm, intelligent or uneducated, etc.

If, by some chance, that is not the desire in your life, then according to the aforementioned verses in the New Testament Scripture, you are not a genuine Bible-believing Christian, and your Christianity is in vain. If that is your case, live it up in this world while you still have a chance. But just don’t continue to disgrace the beautiful name of Jesus Christ any more than it already is by calling yourself a Christian. These are hard words, but they needed saying.

Don’t be hostile to me in your thoughts; I am not saying this on my own—I am just quoting Scripture. For that reason, everyone must be absolutely certain they are worshiping Jesus Christ in a manner that is acceptable to Him. Why? Believing as God requires must be the very most important part of our lives. It involves eternity, not just fleeting moments. That is the sole purpose I was inspired by Almighty God to publish this post.

Some might ask, “What’s in it for me?” The joy of knowing that of all the thousands that visit this blog, possibly one person, hopefully thousands, will spend eternity with God because of something written herein. Just the thought sends shivers up and down my spine.

Click on the April 06 archives, blog # 141, “Predestination Demystified” if you want to know why God chooses who He does and why.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

#157: Christianity, a Unique Religion

There are many religions in this world; some are good, some are bad, and most are mediocre. Evidently, all religions fulfill the needs of those who adhere to their particular form of worship. Then there are atheism and agnosticism, which are forms of dedication in which what is best for them is the absence of a domineering supreme god. They are their own gods. I ask this question: Who is better off, the unbelievers, or those who worship false gods, or a god that says, “You’re okay; you’re going to heaven; eat, drink and be merry”? I don’t have the answer to that question, but I guess they are all in the same boat.

There is one religion, when practiced according to its instruction book, that is superior to all others; that is the Christian way of life. Of course, many claim to be Christians but are deceiving themselves if they don’t adhere to what their God teaches via their road map (the New Testament) to an eternal destination.

When a religion (genuine Christianity) is believed and practiced in a way that is an unequivocal carbon copy of God’s eternal laws, it becomes a uniquely mysterious religion. The most misunderstood part is that God takes a person’s word when they simply say they believe what Jesus Christ did by His life, death and resurrection, and by His free gift of grace, saves all believers from eternal death. In other words, they didn’t have to do a thing to be saved other than to believe God.

That sounds great. In other words, there is nothing a person can do to earn God’s favor other than to believe. God’s gift of life is made up of such grandeur that it would be impossible for anyone to come close to earning it. That is why it has to be given as a gift through God’s grace.

But there is an all-important second part which follows that tells God which ones who said they believed—truly believed—and which ones didn’t. This second part is not an option but mandatory; it requires obedience–which is another form of belief—to all that God commands in His instruction book. We didn’t have to do anything to be saved other than believe; but, and a big BUT, to CONFIRM our belief, obedience is the instrument God requires. Our obedience doesn’t save us, though it is absolutely necessary. That is a unique quality when it comes to religions, per se.

This is where many who say they believe they are Christians are misled in thinking there is nothing they can do to be saved, other than believe in the work of Christ. Therefore, there is nothing they can do to lose it. Through this heresy, Christianity received a dirty name because of people who say they belong to God but live like hell.

The unique part of this religion is that we get a free passport to heaven, while most, if not all, other religions must work their buns off, their complete life, to get their god’s approval. Therefore, it could be said that genuine Christianity puts the ‘cart before the horse.’

This ‘cart before the horse’ approach is only one unique feature. There is another quality even more difficult to grasp. That is the principle of ‘love for enemy.’ To my knowledge, there is no other major religion which incorporates this command that is not only DIFFICULT to understand, but more so to PRACTICE.

This love of enemy violates nature's most basic law: ‘survival of the fittest.’ And yet, there is a very specific reason for this command, which makes Christianity a religion of love. Without agape love (God-type love) in a religion, it fails the all-important test. Is their God a God of love?

The God of the New Testament is a God of love (Jesus Christ). He loves all His enemies by desiring the best for them. And the best is to believe and live as Almighty Jehovah God commands. Even though He loves those who don’t believe Him, that love will do them no good as to gaining eternal life. Nevertheless, He will love them to the end. God want us to be like Him and love our enemies as He loves them.

That is the principle behind Jesus Christ's teaching of why we must love our enemies. Matthew 5:43. “You heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. . . . If you love those who love you, what reward will you receive? . . . And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not the pagans do that? Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Let me now present other verses that corroborate this all-important section of Scripture.

Romans 12:14. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

Matthew 10:23. “When you are persecuted in one place flee to another.”

Luke 6:27-29. “But I tell you who hear me: ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other.’” There is one similar to this one in Matthew, Chapter 5.

Romans 12:17-19. “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. . . . Do not take revenge . . .”

Romans 12:20-12. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give his something to drink. . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Can anyone dispute that this teaching is an intricate part of Jesus’ teaching for anyone who claims to be a follower of His (disciple)? Still, this is not practiced by many who call themselves Christians. It just can’t be that way. We all know it is extremely difficult to adhere to this command. Yet, it is a must. This is one of the principles that separates genuine Christians from the imposters, and from other religions.

Before one reads the remainder of this post, click on post # 151, “Theocracy, Aristocracy or Democracy.” That post gives a vivid description of what happens when the head of state, who claims to be an Evangelical Christian, does not believe in ‘love of enemy.’

According to Jesus Christ’s teaching of love of enemy, all wars are immoral, even though some may be justified, regardless of the reason or the consequences. I personally hate the Iraq war and all the pain it is bringing to so many. George Bush is personally responsible for all that is happening in Iraq, including every death, which now has escalated into a civil war between brothers and sisters that were friends before the war.

But, what I hate more yet is that a person who claims to be a Christian (Bush) started it all. I wouldn’t have minded the war so much if it had been brought on by the American government, if it didn’t implicate Jesus Christ as the one who inspired us to go to war.

Even though Bush claims he gets his inspiration from a higher source (Jesus Christ), I truly believe his inspiration is from the devil himself. Click on post # 154: “The Devil Made Me Do It.”

In this section, I am going to mingle current events with “Religion’s Crime Against God” and love for one’s enemy. Why is what's happening between Israel and Lebanon and between Israel and the Gaza Strip an unfair conflict? The news media doesn’t mention one fact: who is responsible for all the lopsided chaos in the Middle East.

It all started on May 14, 1948, with the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. At that time, Israel desired to be recognized as a state. There are many privileges when a territory becomes a state in the world community. A vote for that cause came up in the United Nations. I am not certain if it was a unanimous vote of the National Security Council or all the members of the United Nations. Nevertheless, the United States cast the deciding vote in favor of the resolution to make Israel a state.

The disturbing part of Truman’s vote was that he didn’t take the advice of the Secretary of State, George C. Marshall, who was adamantly against making Israel a state because of the many potential problems it might cause. Marshall was also the U.S. Five-Star General in command of the European campaign during World War 2, and the main architect of the Marshall Plan (European and Japanese Recovery Program)–a brilliant man, to say the least. In fact, Truman secretly gave his vote without asking the advice of any other top State Department officials.

Then, what happened after that was what made the situation volatile. With all the Jewish influence in America and Congress, the U. S. started to give Israel financial and military support, which hasn’t ended to this day. Click on post # 38: “How, When, and Why the Islamic Extremists’ Situation Began.”

Our government not only gave Israel billions each year, but all the advanced military weaponry and technology. The Arabs got nothing, not even the sweat from our brow. The reason we gave Israel all this crucial help was so they could defend themselves from all the Arab nations that surround them.

Whether Palestine belonged to the Jews because God gave it to them 3,000 years ago, or whether it belongs to the Palestinians who have lived in that region since, I think, the 15th century, is not relevant. The good old U.S.A. made the imbalance that is causing all the carnage and hate in all of the Arab countries at this time.

George Bush supports and defends Israel’s extremely aggressive action in their conflict with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinians. I thought Bush was an Evangelical Christian that believed the New Testament. That is what irks me. Christians like Bush are no better than Muslim extremists that believe in killing their enemies.

I am not saying that this group is right and that one is wrong, but that the Arab and Jewish conflict has been going on for 3,000 years. No money, diplomacy or any other commodities can soothe ingrained hatred that has been going on for that long. And besides, what right does America have to get involved in the personal affairs of other countries?

You can see why most Arabs hate all Americans. They think all Christians are warmongers because we support and furnish the Nation of Israel with the mighty military power they now have.

This last paragraph is by no means a prophecy or anything like it. It just looks at the world situation and makes a speculative analysis. We have North Korea who has some sort of nuclear devices; Iran with their attempt to get into the nuclear elite; Syria that is a hater of Israel and a supporter of Lebanon; Lebanon in the clutches of Hezbollah, also haters of Israel; of course, Israel, a nuclear power, who hates all Arabs, although some won’t admit it; then we have the U.S.A. that will stick with Israel no matter what; we must not forget Iraq, where hatred is boiling over by many against America; what about Russia? Though they won’t admit it openly, they silently favor Arab nations, mostly for financial reasons; I won’t ever mention China or India and other European nations that have nuclear wares; then, the wild card is Pakistan, an Arab country that has technology which can deliver nuclear missiles. The reason they are the wild card is because, though their government and army are run by a pro-American, the vast majority of Pakistanis are anti-America and anti-Israel. If, by some chance, the Islamic radicals were to overthrow that government, guess what? Israel, including much of the region, would become glass. Those events could signify what may be waiting just around the corner: Armageddon, and the beginning of the end as we know the world.

If it doesn’t happen that way, it will only be time before something else will fuel the animosity between the Jews, Arabs, and Americans, something that diplomacy can never quench. And it all is happening because of lack of love for one’s enemy. In fact, lack of love for one’s enemy is the major reason for all the conflict in the world. Love for one’s enemy is one of the most important and unique of all God’s commands as displayed in the New Testament. Has the Christian world completely missed the mark?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

# 156: Primary Objective

There are several verses in the New Testament which require some down-to-earth explaining. I believe these verses are attempting to display the seriousness of the Christian life. Taking Christianity seriously (living as the New Testament commands) is where many modern Christians may be delinquent. Of all the demands Scripture places on anyone who desires to follow Jesus (His disciples), these verses are the most challenging.

These verses dispel any notions some may have that living the Christian life is a cakewalk. 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.” Before I go any further, let me bring up another verse that will shed light on this seemingly impossible request. 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;” This verse explains a bit more what Jesus was saying by using the word “hate.” On that note, let me excavate just a little more.

Jesus does not desire anyone to literally hate their loved ones or love them any less. But, that great love most have for their immediate family is considered as a form of hate. WOW! Let the light of the truth shine. To put it another way, the love Christ’s followers must have for Him and His cause will be ever greater than any love they have ever experienced before. The love Jesus is referring to is a novel, literally unheard-of type of love; that powerful God-type love was not only unheard of then; it, most likely, is still looked on as a pie-in-the-sky impossibility. For humans to display that agape (God-type) love, they must be firmly connected with the source of that superhuman love: Jesus Christ.

The above verses coincide with more powerful and descriptive verses that are mentioned in the three synoptic gospels: Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30 and 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.’” The organized church, in order to downplay such a harsh prerequisite to Salvation, has made this verse and others for effect into a hyperbole (not to be taken literally).

The question comes up: How will one’s family respond to being second as to importance, especially if some family members are not genuine, dedicated Christians? Again, I will let Scripture give that answer. Matthew 10:34-36. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”

To put it in the vernacular: The sparks will fly. It is easy for me to put that principle on paper, but to actually experience discord in the family is the pits. But it may happen. One’s love for God and Christ will be tested. Nowhere in Scripture does it say, not one verse, that it will be easy to live as the New Testament teaches. It may, at times, be heart- breaking.

Another question now: How and when does one display that whole- hearted love for God and Christ, a love that is greater than all other loves, even love for family or self? Let me give a sort of hypothetical example: A devout Christian family, after paying all the bills for the month, has just enough money left over to buy a turkey and all the dressings for a Thanksgiving dinner. As the mother was about to buy everything needed for the dinner, they just got the news that a family with several children—that they didn’t even know—was in desperate need. They had absolutely nothing to eat in their home except oatmeal, and Thanksgiving was the next day.

They have two choices: They can say, “They will get over it; they won’t die. Life is cruel sometimes.” Or, “Jesus is in control of this situation.” Or they can send them the money they have saved for their special dinner so that the other poor family can have a nice holiday meal; and they can eat oatmeal for Thanksgiving. No doubt, the caring family will eventually get over the memory of the destitute Thanksgiving they experienced, but their joyful gift will never, never be forgotten by God. That is a perfect example of loving Christ more than self and one’s family. I could give another dozen examples of various situations of Christian love, but I am sure that everyone who desires to love Christ and His cause with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength (loving Christ more than family) gets the message.

The main principle Jesus is putting forth by these verses is that the Christian life is not a piece of cake. It won’t be a lifelong party. It is serious business that may bring pain and sorrow. I am sure some might be thinking: “Can’t I be a good Christian and avoid those types of situations?” If one’s primary objective in their Christian life is to be obedient to all that Christ commands without a bunch of supercilious excuses, that type of life will follow, no matter what one does or where one goes, because Jesus Christ will always be in their midst.

What is your primary objective in life? If you answer that question honestly, you will know exactly where you stand with Christ.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

# 155: The Real Jew

This post will be extremely short and to the point. There is an erroneous belief in some Christian circles that I will challenge with nothing more than New Testament (NT) Scriptures. The belief is that Jews living in Israel are God's chosen people, even though the vast majority don’t believe in Jesus Christ as their Messiah.

That is the reason some “christians,” especially Evangelicals, have been donating money, through their churches, for the Jewish cause, whatever it may be (I don’t know). Please correct me if I am wrong. From what I understand, only those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are God’s chosen people.

Since I published this post several days ago on July 8th, I found the answer to the above “I don’t know.” The answer lies in Genesis 12:3. This is the Lord speaking to Abraham: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.” Evidently, some Evangelical Churches, and others, believe that by blessing Abraham’s offspring (natural-born Jews living in Israel), they are being obedient to Old Testament Scripture by supporting Israeli Jews in their original homeland—as if they haven’t received enough money from the American government, to the tune of billions of $ each year since 1948. The only thing is, Abraham’s offspring are the Jews who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, along with all genuine Christians. The evidence is in the following verses.

Let's examine several NT verses that corroborate the aforementioned. Romans 9:6-8. “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise [Christians] who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.”

Galatians 3:16. “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say ‘and to his seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ.”

Romans 2:28-29. “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit and not by the written code [the old Jewish Law]. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.”

Just one more verse that has a strong implication as to what was happening in the Church at Philadelphia is Revelation 3:9. "I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.”

According to the above descriptions, genuine Christians can rightfully be called real Jews, and Jews that stick to the old Jewish Law handed down by Moses are only Jews by natural birth. These naturally born Jews have no inheritance given by God through Jesus Christ. Of course, if any natural Jews believe and live as Christ requires, they can again become part of the family of God. Romans 11:23. “And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.”

Please send me any comments to contradict the above message, but only if it is according to the New Testament and not the Old Testament. This is a blog, so feel free to make this a two-way conversation.

In ending, I want to mention that this false belief is held by millions of American Evangelical Christians. Could I be wrong?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

# 154: "The Devil Made Me Do It"

That has been the alibi of little boys and girls for centuries, when asked to explain why they did some naughty thing that mom and/or dad disapproved of. The funny thing is that, most likely, it is the truth.

This topic of why we do what we do, and who is behind our actions, is not a favorite subject of mine; that is the reason I continually hesitated to write about it. It is not a topic that will bring joy to the hearts of most, including myself. And yet, here goes.

It all started in the timeless heavenly realm, even before there was a physical universe that is governed by time and space. God created spiritual beings in His likeness, in an attempt to further the love and goodness that was locked up inside of Him. These beings are called angels. Of course, because of the desire of some to be like their creator, it was necessary to give all of them a free will to do as they see fit, even though God knew in advance that a large percentage of these spiritual creatures would live in defiance of what He desires. Nevertheless, He just couldn’t do it any other way. Anyone without a free will is no more than a robot. Who wants to be in the company of robots for eternity?

Well, those rebellious angels were continually encouraged to disobey God through the prompting of their chief (Lucifer). Check Isaiah 14:12-17; in the New International version, Lucifer is called “O morning star.” The King James and others give the devil the name “Lucifer.” Now, why God didn’t just decimate all these troublemakers is a mystery. Although, it could be that if He did, it would be a coercive and intimidating action toward the remainder of His holy angels—pure love can never display the slightest bit of force. To be more descriptive: The obedient angels would think twice before disobeying God, after He did away with the disobedient ones, for fear of getting the same treatment.

Even with the myriads upon myriads upon myriads of angels in the heavenly realm, both good and evil—Ephesians 6:12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [only], but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the HEAVENLY realm.” God still had the potential to create a different type of life since God’s ability to love and be loved cannot be contained by numbers or type of beings; His family will continue to grow for all eternity in its various forms. If God was to create a new breed of living beings that had the ability to live in a different realm (what we call the physical/material world), first He would have to create a physical universe to house this new potential family of His. And that is exactly what He did. And just how God created the physical is, at this time, beyond our understanding, other than He spoke the evolution process into existence starting from scratch, meaning the evolution of the physical universe and the evolution of physical life.

The Bible records the word “Satan,” meaning “accuser,” 34 times in the New Testament (NT) and 19 times in the Old Testament (OT). The world “devil” is not mentioned in the OT, but is mentioned 36 times in the NT. The phrase “evil one” (the devil) is mentioned 10 times in the NT, but is not mentioned in the OT. The phrase “evil desires/s” is mentioned about 6 times in the NT. All these verses must not be taken lightly; the devil is someone to be reckoned with. He is not a soft touch; he means business.

These are just some of the attributes of Satan the devil: a crafty trickster in the art of distracting and disguising, the father of lies, a cunning murderer, and all for one reason: to be the inventor and perfecter of deceit.

Many people don’t believe Satan the devil is an actual spiritual being, but just a symbol of evil. Let’s see what the Bible says concerning that: Job 1:6. “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.’” In 1st Peter, verse 5:8, the apostle adds this somber warning: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to DEVOUR. Resist him, stand firm in faith. . . .” Although I will say this: Everything and anything that is evil, including all evil desires, especially “survival of the fittest” (a seemingly necessary attribute), is inspired by him and his cohorts.

Some will think, “With about seven billion people on earth today, how can he potentially inspire such a large number?” Easy. Have you ever heard of “thought sharing”? If you get a chance, click on post # 69, “The Power of Thoughts.” There is no doubt that the devil gives special attention to certain people that are hard nuts to crack (to deceive). He gives this group of people special and individual attention. Otherwise the “thought sharing” principle works very well on the rest. Once a thought is generated by Satan, or whoever, it is available to everyone on this earth and beyond who is in tune with that particular thought. Something like the World Wide Web.

Just a quick rundown on “thought sharing”: Everyone has a specific wavelength, as it were; the only thoughts they receive are those that are identical to their wavelength. Also, the thoughts they give out are generally similar to those they are in tune with. Here is the scary thing: Once a thought is generated, either from human or spiritual entities, it will be around for eternity, for whomever to receive; hopefully God will eventually delete the self-centered ones. Where/how our spiritual antenna is tuned to will determine which ones we receive and give out.

This “thought sharing” principle was discovered in the first part of the 19th century. It was investigated by the U.S. Patent Office. Patents for the same inventions were being submitted within days of each other; their origins were sometimes continents apart. This was happening too often to be just a coincidence. This makes the old adage, “There are no secrets in this world” true. The Patent Office finally came to the conclusion that it wasn’t just a bunch of coincidences, but that thoughts can be transmitted from one person to another, thousands of mile apart; I also say that it can be done instantly.

Thoughts can be and are generated by a benevolent God, along with those that belong to Him; they also are generated by the evil one and those working for him. When someone says, "I was inspired to do this or that; good, bad, or otherwise,” they actually received a thought from someone else, or on rare occasions generated an original thought. This explains a lot about why many things are happening in the world today. To put it bluntly, we are controlled by the type of thoughts our antennas are tuned to. Some people attempt to forget or get certain thoughts out of their heads, but thoughts have some sort of glue so as to stick to our thinking process. Most of us know this all too well.

Here is what determines the type of thoughts we receive and give out: The DESIRES we have will do the trick. If we are generous, we will receive and emit thoughts concerning that category. If we are self-centered, we will be able to receive and give out like thoughts. The nasty thing is this: Some people secretly live deceptive lives: acting like angels outwardly while attempting to cancel their devious motives (their incoming and outgoing thoughts); that is scary. How do we know who to trust? Now we know why we and others sometimes do the things we do.

Getting back to the one responsible for the majority, if not all, of the trouble in the world (Satan the devil) . . . If a person gets nothing else out of this unique post, let it be this: the 3 D’s. The devil is a Deceiver, and loves to Distract, and Disguise. He has it down to a fine art. What I mean is this: Those who are overtly evil—and there are many of those in the world—he doesn’t bother much with them. He knows he has them in his corner. The ones that are his treasured possessions are those who are evil but conceal their evil or selfish and greedy ways by giving them benevolent names, such as “normal,” “decent,” “loving,” “Godly,” “sacred,” “blessed,” “equal rights,” “freedom,” “religion,” “Jesus,” “humanitarian,” “alternative lifestyles,” “freedom of expression,” “porn is a form of art,” along with many other benevolent and Godly names, which could be endless.

Here is where “Religion’s Crime Against God” comes to the rescue. I will tell you a secret: the devil’s holy grail is to make it so not a single person on earth will be with God in eternity. He has failed in that quest so far, but continually is using new strategies to keep any more from God’s eternal bliss. There are only two categories of people on earth: the very few that are obedient to God through faith in Christ (our part) and those that are not. This is where religions in general, including the organized Christian religion per se, have failed miserably.

How is that possible? There are about a billion people who claim to be Christians and a good share of those attend their churches weekly. One big problem: Satan has infiltrated the Christian church through men and women who have a voracious desire for prestige, power, respect, wealth, security and an easy life, and all in the name of love for God and Jesus Christ.

Some may be saying, “althinker, you must be wrong.” If you believe I am wrong, prove to me and to other bloggers by quoting your version of New Testament verses that contradict the above. There are hundreds of verses that give more than ample warnings of the wrong and correct way to God.

What does the clergy do with these hard-edged New Testament verses (those that are unnatural to our human nature) that tell us our part of Salvation, which is obedience to all God commands, with no ifs, ands, or buts? As demanding as it may seem, once Jesus saves us completely because of our belief in what He did on the cross, our obedience to his commands only CONFIRMS our belief in what God did for us through Jesus Christ. Click on # 127, “Silently Forbidden New Testament Verses.” In most cases, church leaders give these tough-to-live-by verses a benign interpretation of one type or another, so as to delete their importance.

If anyone completely follows what the New Testament unequivocally dictates, without taking the easy way out, Christianity won’t look anything like what it is being hailed as today’s, as I have said previously, feel-good, nice-and-easy-does-it, anything-goes, material prosperity Christianity. 1st Peter 4:18. "And, if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinners?" The ONLY WAY to outwit the devil is to stick to and live exactly how/what Jesus Christ teaches. This blog may also help. Get onto His wavelength. It may not be audible; most likely His instruction will come loud and clear through thoughts. Then, what He will be able to tell you will blow your mind.

If you get any instructions that are contrary to the New Testament, it most likely is that great liar, deceiver and impersonator, Satan the devil. He loves to play the part of Jesus Christ. In fact, that is his favorite hobby. He knows all the ins and outs of how to impersonate our blessed Savior. We can easily verify that fact by all the disciples he has in the organized church. Satan very seldom tells religious people to commit overt sins, like to steal, kill, etc. What he may say is that God wants them to enjoy life, eat, drink, and be merry, by doing what comes naturally, along with things that feel good and bring pleasure. He says, “Remember, God knows no one is perfect, so fear not; God’s grace will cover it all.” He has millions of different gimmicks, and each one fits a certain desire/lifestyle. Mind you, this angel is brilliant; don’t underestimate his persuasive power. No human is a match for his cunning deceptions, unless Christ is one’s only mentor and role model.

To God, this is the most distressing part of all: Not one in a million people, unbelievers along with those who call themselves Christians, would ever believe their lives and thoughts are being or have been influenced by Satan the devil. This problem is that serious.

Living the way Jesus Christ commands won’t be easy; it will most likely cost us most of what we now value. Again, don’t count on your church leaders to guide you to the COMPLETE gospel message; they have devious and ulterior motives: $ $ $, # # #.

In ending, I truly believe that the vast majority of the clergy are not aware of Satan's ability to influence/control the thought life of prominent religious leaders. You would never catch any of them saying or even thinking “The devil made me do it.”

NOTE: Since I published this post on July 5th, about 9 days ago, I realized several activities in my life that were relaxing and pleasurable, but had nothing to do with glorifying God–these were not sinful things, but nothing less than the Devil's distractions from keeping my mind on Godly matters. Guess what? I substituted them for activities that better my life in ways that God receives glory. Thank you, Lord Jesus!