Monday, November 27, 2006

# 177: Exploring God's Secrets

What do we as humans know about God? Not much more than what the Christian Bible tells us via His holy prophets and Saints. Nevertheless, when we take past Biblical events and combine them with our knowledge of the present, there can be great spiritual growth from how much more we can learn, experience and become more familiar with God and His creation than was known 2 to 5 thousand years ago.

The five times the word “universe” was mentioned in the New Testament, its writers were referring only to the area around the earth (as far as the eye could see). What they couldn’t see of the physical universe didn’t exist to them. They believed the stars—instead of being gigantic suns of other solar systems—were small, shiny objects that would fall to earth during the great tribulation. Revelation 6:13. “And the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs.” The Bible writers of 2,000 years ago could never in their wildest dreams ever fathom the latest scientific figures as to the size of the universe (I say infinite); astronomers tell us about 12 to 14 thousand light years plus, in diameter, if there is a diameter. Either way, the enormity of the universe silently tells us more about God and His creation and how complex He is.

Bible writers believed the earth was flat and square: Revelation 7:1. “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth. . . .” The sun revolved around the earth, and the earth was the center of interest of all God’s creation. I am certain if somehow God could have taught His ancient writers of the enormity and complexity of our universe—approximately 50 billion galaxies—He would have done so. Can you imagine God attempting to describe to them what a light year consisted of, the speed of light, the size of other galaxies, etc.?

Now that we know so much more about how the universe and our own solar system function, it is our holy endeavor to update our knowledge of God Himself. First and foremost, the potential is enormous (I actually think it is a certainty) for other planets similar to earth in our Milky Way galaxy and other galaxies to exist that already had (past tense), have (present tense), or will have (future tense) hospitable and congenial environments for life to thrive.

Our universal laws of physics explicitly dictate that physical matter cannot create itself out of nothing. So it is only logical that a supernatural being (God) created the universe–which took no time at all, since time does not exist in God’s spiritual realm. If God created the universe, which many deep thinkers, Christians and even a few atheists, believe, then there must have been a very specific purpose. Answer: to create physical environments that could sustain intelligent life—something like life on planet earth, but hopefully much holier—that could believe and live as God requires.

All that is required for other planets to produce life, besides large lumps of soil, rocks, etc., is water (H2O), air (chiefly nitrogen and oxygen, etc.), the right distance from their particular sun, and of course, GOD. Whammo! Life can/will make its presence. I am implying God-guided evolution, which Darwin explained to a small degree and was given credit for, while leaving God out of the equation.

Then, 180 degrees to the opposite of God-directed evolution is a large group of Christians who are a disgrace to the unequivocal logic the Christian faith presents; they have their heads stuck in the sand, still believing the universe is only 6,000 years old and that earth is the only planet that supports intelligent life. I could assure these naive Christians that the odds are more than 50 billion to one, and many times more, that they are wrong. Why would such an enormous (infinite) almighty God create a colossal universe and then put all His eggs in one small basket: earth, as if it were the only place where He can scrounge up a few faithful believers to be with Him for all eternity? These are the people that give ample ammunition to atheists like Richard Dawkins, and therefore, also make deep-thinking genuine Christians look like idiots. In other words, contrary to the opinions of hardened atheists and foolish Christians, there are areas where God and science can peacefully coexist.

Then these atheistic intellectuals believe the whole universe is just a bunch of chemicals that came from nowhere (the Big Bang), and then on their own, as time passed, came to form all the intricacies required to sustain the billions of galaxies, and better yet, for no specific purpose—just for the hell of it. There is no logic to their argument. A more logical probability is that God created the physical universe, while scientists with their fancy hypotheses attempt to study and manipulate it to their thinking, all the while ignoring the existence of a Creator.

I ask these unbelievers just two “simple” questions: Where did that physical stuff, energy, force or whatever it was that started the Big Bang come from? Along with that, of the six or more constants that exist in the universe, specifically referring to the gravitational constant, if it were off by one part in a hundred million millions, then the expansion of the universe after the Big Bang would not have occurred in the fashion that was necessary for life to occur. It is exceedingly improbable that it could have happened by chance. If they can’t answer those questions, then the logic to all else concerning “God is an illusion” and the origin of Big Bang is absolute foolishness. The one thing these nonbelievers don’t realize is that without God and the love He propagates, all activity on earth would have no specific purpose except for what atheistic human minds can conjure up: hurray for me, boo for the other guy.

Of course, if they were to concede to a theory that a supernatural intelligence created that initial stuff, and fine-tuned the universe so that life could exist, then a few of us could halfway agree with them. As they know, it is poor science for them to combine a metaphysical force in the formation of the Big Bang theory, as to the start of the universe. For that reason, they can never include God in the Big Poop [oops] theory.

This next paragraph is an excerpt taken from Post # 143:. “Creation, Evolution and Intelligent Design.” This post is extremely interesting and worth reading.

“That is what I am doing at this time: 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 of mankind to make any sense whatsoever, those four chapters—actually, only the first chapter—of Genesis, which talk about the six-day creation period, must be expanded into about four and a half, to thirteen billion earth years. Then 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 people who would represent Him. Only thing is, Biblical evidence seems to indicate that God still created Adam through the natural process of evolution that 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 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: “Cain lay with his wife . . .” I ask this poignant question: Who were these other people, and where did they come from? These Biblical verses alone should make us believe there were other humans on earth who got there through God’s—not Darwin’s—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; 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.

Continuing where left off: Though nonbelievers will never admit it, a large part of their denial of God is that they don’t want or need to be under the thumb of (subjected to) an almighty God that requires a life of holiness, belief and obedience to His Law of selfless love (altruism). In short, the above sentence can easily sum up the whole of genuine Christianity. Worse yet, many atheists/agnostics believe God is a fabrication of a needy humanity: those who can’t stand up on their own but need an invisible crutch to get them through the night (a lifetime). These atheists are self-sufficient, and don’t need antique rules and regulations as to what they can and cannot do, or how to live.

In fact, in the last few years, a large company of prominent atheists have written many books that were/are in the top bestseller list; they are increasing insistently to discredit the existence of any type of supernatural God. In order for Christians not to get sucked into their way of thinking (human logic), we must, more than ever, get as close to God as humanly possible by fervent prayer and strict obedience to all He teaches.

In general, the following are the attitudes of many scientific intellectuals: They have most likely had schooling for 20 years or more to get where they are now. Their studies, most likely, do not include a supernatural (God). Then, if they had to conform to what God requires, they would have to abandon much of what they have learned in their higher education. That sounds foolhardy to them. So they rationalize through evolutionary science that the reason for human existence is just by chance (make the best of an “I want it my way” situation).

In most religious circles, it is common knowledge that God is considered to be eternal. “Eternal” and “eternity” are words that are foreign to humans regarding their true meaning since we have never experienced either one. Since eternity and infinity are synonymous, the universe could just as well be infinite as not. Only thing, the human mind cannot start to comprehend anything that is infinite. That may be the reason why many reject the thought of the universe as being infinite and attempt to put limits on it as to its size, although I have talked to atheists who for some reason feel the universe may be infinite. If it is infinite, which I strongly believe, then any place in the universe is the center of the universe. Wow—for a universe that is infinite, there is no need for millions of universes as some will have us to believe, since one infinite universe is larger—if size could be put on infinity—than 300 million gigantic universes that have size.

Many Christians often wonder how God can be at all places at the same time (omnipresent). I would amend that: God is at all places where intelligent life exists for this reason: He set the laws of physics in place before there was a physical world, and those laws cannot be violated by anything physical that is inanimate. Said another way, there is no need for God to watch the inanimate universe while it continues to evolve, as the laws of physics—which are a law unto themselves—play their steadfast role in continuing to form and reform while creating new worlds.

Wherever God is, He is the exact same concerning His law of Love, etc.; there is not one iota of difference in Him. Where God is different than humans is that He has total unity within Himself as He multi-tasks an infinite number of assignments, if you will, in an infinite number of planets and individuals. To put it another way, He responds to everyone and every situation personally and individually through His Holy Spirit. This is difficult for us humans to comprehend. It is having an infinite number of identical Gods in One God.

For example, while God is dealing with affairs on earth, He is in touch with every person at the same time that belongs to Him through His Holy Spirit. And when necessary, He silently responds, as He remains behind the scenes, to all that come to Him with love and faith. And many times His response is not what we humans desire, although it is what is best for the particular situation. To make it more clear, each Christian has his/her personal God (the Holy Spirit). That sounds great. Click on posts # 82, 83, 84: "Your Own Personal God."

Some of the Christian clergy postulate that our heart, spirit and soul, and even the Holy Spirit—to those to whom these qualities are given—are independent from our brain. That is an error. Those spiritual parts of us function through and in conjunction with the workings of the human brain. That means the brain is a semi-spiritual organ. Of course, neuroscience completely rejects that thought. They have enough to be concerned with without applying the spiritual to the equation.

Still, I am not certain if brain imaging has been performed to corroborate the brain as being a semi-spiritual organ. Yet, in years to come, one’s connection to God may be confirmed or denied by brain imaging. And even if that is not possible, here is another reason for the brain being a semi-spiritual organ: Are thoughts physical? No. They are invisible/spiritual. Are emotions physical? Absolutely not. And yet they are generated in the brain. Then if it is offensive to call the brain a semi-spiritual organ, it is unequivocally a physical organ that produces invisible/spiritual substance (our thinking process) that can have physical and spiritual results.

Since we are on the topic of thoughts, think about this: Thoughts are permanent. I can hear the laughter. Okay, then; try to destroy one. I didn’t say “forget,” I said “destroy.” So we must be careful what we are thinking about because thoughts may last until the end of time. Here is the dangerous part of thoughts: Anyone in the same wavelength as the sender can receive their thoughts regardless of where they are on earth. Thoughts are spiritual; for that reason, they are powerful. I wrote extensively on thought-sharing, but I forgot which post it is in. Sorry.

Back to the topic at hand: God’s secrets. You see, God’s hands are tied, so to speak, when it comes to violating our free will. But no problem:, Since He knows the end result, He has the ability to work around our free will and still have favorable results. The advantage God has in being secure in all He does is that He is omniscient (knowing all things). To God, every event is like watching an instant replay or rerun. There will be no unexpected events. It sounds like divine cheating, although it is Godly love and power in action. Godly love is always certain of the results and will always win in the end. That is an excellent reason for all of us to make absolutely certain we are on the winning team. When we are involved in a life of selfless Godly love and obedience, which comes as a result of faith/belief in Jesus Christ, we can know with certainty that God is behind all the good we do and all the evil we don’t do. Philippians 2:13. “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

1st John 4:8. “. . . God is love.” Although it is not apparent at this time on this planet, love—that is, God’s love—is the most powerful force in the entire universe, bar none. What does that tell us? It tells us that we live in a universe that was created because of love, for love, and by love. How does our planet fit into that category? As things have been going on for the last several thousand years, especially the last fifty years or so, it doesn’t sound like planet earth fits into the Godly love description.

Is that the way God feels? Yes, and He is making the best of a bad situation by gathering the few He has and going on His way to places where there are better pickings. Are we on God’s side?

Some might be asking, “What does it mean to be on God’s side?” Answer: Anything and everything that conflicts with wholehearted love for God and selfless love for others in need is ungodly.

Concerning caring/helping the needy, we must decide who to help and who not to help; we must be extremely discreet and make sure that we don’t throw our pearls (hard-earned bucks and effort) before swine, the lazy drunkards, those who would use our love gifts for unhealthy purposes like smoking, drugs, sex and anything that is physically or mentally destructive and not up-building.

In summation, in this modern complex culture we live in, there are many secrets God through His Holy Spirit wants to reveal to us. The only way God can do that is for us to be fine-tuned to His desires and motives. That is easy to say but difficult to do. For many, it requires a drastic lifestyle change. Think about it: Wouldn’t most of us love to learn about other’s secrets, especially those in high positions? Who is in a higher position than Almighty God?

Friday, November 17, 2006

#176: Joy and Contentment

The joy of the Lord is one of many earthly rewards Christians will experience as a result of being content (a satisfied spirit) with their love connection with God as their lives continue in holiness, love, obedience, etc. This Godly joy is not an effect of circumstances as happiness is, but an enduring, euphoric attitude/feeling that rises above all unpleasant circumstances. Said another way, as happiness comes and goes according to what happens in life, Godly joy rises above whatever nasty stuff the world throws at us, and remains intact.

Could joy and contentment be concocted just by thinking joyful thoughts? No. That would be a form of happiness. As soon as something unpleasant happens, those thoughts of joy and contentment would fly out the window. Christian joy is a continual, multi-purpose result of knowing with certainty Christ’s acceptance of you, His unfailing love for you, and of looking forward to being in the presence of Jesus Christ, along with adherence to, belief in, and obedience to the truth as displayed in the Christian Bible.

Let’s explore a few other aspects of the Christian life that produce contentment and joy. How often do we meditate on the thought that, through our personal faith, we are actual PARTNERS with the creator and designer of the universe, and none less intricate, He is the designer of human life, which He is created in His image?

Above and beyond all the above, we as humans desire to be loved, wanted—and if it is not sacrilegious, I would also say needed; the love God Has for us does exactly that, and it is mainly love that truly satisfies our spirit person, even though human love does fulfill a needed purpose. If that thought doesn’t send one flying, so to speak, I don’t know what will. Only one condition: We must keep our Spiritual Lover on the tip of our mind as much as possible; as said in 1st Thessalonians 5:17, “pray continually” in order to enjoy the contented outcome.

As humans, we are elated when we touch, talk to, or even see someone famous. That will be a great moment we may never forget. Compare that with seeing, talking to, and touching Jesus Christ through faith. That is not a hyperbole, but an actuality. Christian faith/belief is that potent.

There are many New Testament verses that tell of how Christians will be mistreated and persecuted, and how we will/should respond. Here is just one: Luke 6:22-23. “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.”

Joy that is real and comes from God is one of the necessary attitudes/ingredients to get us through tough times. And obedience gives us the ability to live up to many of the difficult and seemingly ridiculous, hard-edged New Testament verses that many believe are not meant for Americans, especially in our modern culture. Enjoying or desiring “the worldly good life”’ is by all means our most ubiquitous and revered lifestyle. It may be, but not for genuine Christians. “The good life,” pertaining to having life easy along with material prosperity, is full of many seemingly pleasant, though unexpected, pitfalls.

Any Christians that are not continually experiencing the joy of the Lord in all circumstances must examine where the cracks are in their Christian lives, a difficult job to do. This blog can help. Joy is there for the taking. It has already been allocated and paid for by the life and death of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. It would be next to impossible to live as required without joy. Start believing and living in a way that generates contentment and joy; it is contagious.

Let God reveal a mystery, which should not be a mystery to those who are in tune with the Holiness of God and Jesus Christ. Genesis 1:26. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness . . . ”’ It is common knowledge that God and Company are spiritual beings and not physical. Since that is the undeniable truth, God did not have a physical likeness to pass onto humans; therefore, with certainty, He created us in His spiritual image. That means that fundamentally, all humans are spiritual beings (potential gods) with physical bodies, and not physical beings with a spirit. Our spirit is all-important, and maintaining its health must be our primary objective.

Here are two extremely interesting New Testament verses to collaborate the aforementioned: John 10:34. “Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, “I have said you are gods”?’ The man, Jesus Christ, is the end result and our only role model of God’s creation of all humans. Also, it was Jesus Christ who said in John 14:9, “Anyone who has seen me [God with a human body] has seen the Father.” [Emphasis added]. They are the most audacious words Jesus ever spoke in the entire New Testament.

With that said, all humans were born with an emptiness of spirit. In fact, the majority of humans may not believe they have a spirit, let alone be a spiritual being. Then, at an early age, we/they attempt to fill that empty spirit (trying to find fulfillment, contentment and satisfaction) with worldly things and self-centered attitudes.

Our God is a joyful God since He knows the very end results of what will be in the future. That means joy is—or better yet, should be—one of many intricate parts of all spiritual beings. Then our desire to be content becomes one of the major attitudes needed to start to fill that spiritual emptiness.

The problem arises because many of us are separated from God—though we may still call ourselves Christians—because of our ignorance/disbelief, and therefore, God is unable to inform us of what’s what. That is the reason we continually are attempting, without knowing it, to satisfy that need for spiritual/Godly joy with material things, relationships, and other worldly accomplishments. It just won’t work. It is like a trying to put a square block in a round hole. Before you read any further, please read the last four paragraphs again and maybe again. What they reveal is that important. In fact, those four paragraphs most likely contain the most poignant revelation thus far published. The above truth is what is missing in most religions, including the Christian religion, and the reason for the mess we humans have made from day one of a potentially joyful, loving, and peaceful world. That also is the reason wars and all other forms of malice are contrary to the kingdom of God.

Here is another potential problem: When people, especially Christians, have many worldly circumstances and happenings to be happy about—like a good family, a wonderful wife/husband and close relatives, a good job, obedient children, living the “American dream,” great health, an excellent reputation, etc.—then the need for heavenly joy may not be apparent. In turn, they may mistake worldly happiness—which could be classified as joy since some may be long-term—as if it comes from God. That is disastrous. Therefore, the spiritual is what should rule who we are and what we do, and not success, which more often than not goes to our head, resulting from our physical niceties. Nevertheless, a few of the above-mentioned family conditions could be acceptable as long as the love, joy, and contentment are received from God, and as long as believing and living as Christ requires is not usurped by family and company.

And yet there is room for serendipitous happenings in Christianity. The only thing is that when this unexpected luck comes our way, we could thank God for it. And then we must be cautious because it might be no more than the great joker (Satan) attempting to distract us from our dedication to Godly affairs. In these circumstances we must be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. The main thing is, we must recognize it as worldly happiness that we are most likely experiencing—not Christian joy. These circumstances may sometimes be tough calls; without patting ourselves on the back, we need, in order to recognize which is which.

In the Apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians, Chapter 4, Verse 12, he expresses his thanks for the help he received from his followers in that city. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content [joyful] in every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. . . .” Please don’t take that word “plenty” as living in wealth. “Plenty” most likely means not being in want of the bare necessities. The reason I say that is because this letter to the Philippians was known as the second of four prison epistles, written in a Roman prison during Paul’s first imprisonment. Their gift to Paul made him feel as if he was living with plenty. The main punch line in this paragraph is that even in “want” we can be joyful since our joy does not come from pleasant and congenial circumstances or surroundings.

In conclusion, see 1st Timothy 6:6. “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Genuine Christians are the ones experiencing the love, joy and contentment we receive while remaining active in the mission that the Son of Man left for us to accomplish. For that reason, it can honestly be shouted from the roof tops (letting the world know) that we are the most fortunate and blessed people on the face of this earth. What in heaven’s name is of greater value than that?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

175: The Dark Side of Money

When it comes to religious matters, tell people what they WANT to hear and there will be a seemingly endless line willing to break the church door down, if need be, to get front row seats so that they won’t miss a word of what will be preached. Tell people what they NEED to hear and understand, and the likely result is that the pews will be near-empty. This post will be the type that NEEDS to be heard and understood. Takers will be few. Just remember this: God weighs His (quality), while Satan rejects no one, since he is interested in large numbers (quantity). Actually, it would be more complete to say that all the devil’s cohorts are rejects.

Do you know of any churches on earth today that do like Satan does, rejecting no one? I know of many. Reason: It is in vogue to be tolerant of other religions, regardless of what they teach or believe. The word “tolerate” is a kissing cousin to “condone”; by our silence we condone the ungodly. What is needed in its stead is to expose instead of tolerate. You say, “We can’t do that; who are we to judge another’s beliefs?” Who said so? Actually, everyone whose life is lived in obedience to the New Testament of the Christian Bible (taking plank out of one’s own eye first) has a holy obligation to publicly bring to the surface the heresies or sins of other churches.

That was what Jesus and Paul did, and that duty was passed onto His disciples (us). Remember that whatever else anyone tells you, that book is the only reliable spiritual touchstone in existence. It tells us, plain and simple, what is right and what is in error. And for those verses which are hard to understand, this post can help. No excuses.

Everyone in the world, regardless of their religion—even skeptics, atheists, and agnostics—needs to know what the Bible, especially the New Testament (N.T.), teaches. But along with that teaching, they should also know there are many extremely important N.T. verses that seem absurd and nonsensical. These unique verses are difficult to understand as to their true meaning, except for what the PAID clergy has taught for years; many times the cleric’s interpretation of such verses is watered-down, or worse yet, completely ignored so as not to offend the laity and loose members.

What is needed is an unbiased understanding by some spiritual organization that is not paid to preach, though still has a thorough knowledge of Scripture. For those who cannot tolerate compromise, this post comes to the rescue as a unique resource.

The verses which are most contentious and difficult for many to accept/obey, or to understand as to their function and how they apply to the lives of genuine Christians, are: money, wealth, riches, material prosperity and possessions of monitory value, etc. I will mostly use the word “money,” which will apply to these various terms. Those who ignore these verses will, most certainly, inflict a deadly breach on their relationship with Jesus Christ. In other words, these scriptures have an extremely crucial purpose for their presence in the N.T.

This message is not for people who, by the way they live, are silently rejecting Jesus Christ as the only source for their existence. For those without Christ, the desire for money (wealth, riches) is an absolute necessity. For them, their rewards in life are material and worldly.

How God views money in the N.T. is by all means a concept which is extremely unnatural to our human nature (survival of the fittest). There are many ways money can/will damage or destroy a person’s relationship with God through Christ. This section will bring them to the surface.

Of all the powers that exist on this earth, money is God’s most formidable competitor. It is Satan’s secret trump card. Whenever money is involved as to its place in the Christian life, the devil, most likely, has his way 99 times out of 100.

Some may ask, “How can money be more powerful than God?” Actually, it isn’t. But the great trickster has the cunning power to make money, monetary and material possessions seem indispensable, and because of our survival instincts, he doesn’t have to say a word—“Money is the most desired commodity in existence”—then tricks us to use it in ways that trump God’s purpose and all He stands for.

There are over two dozen verses that will be displayed at the end of this post, telling the harm/danger money can have when in the hands of Christians. Nevertheless, there aren’t many that will agree with them, but they still must admit, as it will be described in detail, that money has the potential to make God second in one’s life. The only thing is, God can’t function as required in one’s life when He is in second place–if even that. Remember that all-important verse “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” That doesn’t leave much, if any, room for love of worldly attitudes, things, etc. other than love for one’s neighbor (anyone) who is in need.

Actually, money, per se, by itself is not the culprit; it is the power money has to buy or do whatever. How can that offend God? Answer: The primary reason is that when there is no limit as to how much money one can possess and still be a Christian, having money and the nice things, attitudes and feelings it can give becomes a distinguishing mark to others, as if it has God’s favor and approval. Let’s put it another way: Then, instead of seeking holiness, obedience, humility, love, etc., wealth becomes a sign that God is blessing that person. That is exactly what has happened in the Christian world today. Having extra money and all that it can procure has become the Christian paradigm. Repeating, then, genuine Godly attributes would have been slowly but surely snuffed out–if there ever were any in the first place—as being of primary importance.

There are many essential ingredients in the Godly lifestyle: One of the most crucial is Christian humility. This type of humility is different than all other forms of being humble. It is not a false humility, just acting humble as a paid actor, or acting humble to get another’s favor. It is not the humility of an uneducated or partially handicapped person who gives -in to the wishes of whomever; it is actually being humble in a way that considers/esteems others over self.

That trait is badly missing in America. We are proud people, where humility has no part. And guess what makes us proud? Our wealth, strength, and superior technology. That is one reason why having more than needed is a destroyer of humility. Said another way: What reason or need do most Americans have to be humble when they have all they need and then some? Money makes people feel–actually believe—that they are better than many others who are not as well-off as them. Listen to this verse in Philippians 2:3. “Do nothing out of selfish ambitions or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself.” To the word “better” I would add the words “more important.” Consider others more important than self.

It would be next to impossible to live as is required by God and not have Christian humility. The reason is because we are here to serve others. Matthew 23:11-12. “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Then, for the next 23 verses, Jesus rips on the rich Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, because they truly believed God was blessing them with wealth for their adherence to the law. Jesus dispelled that notion. Therefore, in a direct way, all other Godly attitudes depend on genuine, God-given humility.

Here are just a few attitudes that spring from having more than necessary: Everyone desires to be successful in life, and when one is successful, they believe they have done just about everything perfect to acquire that success. This feeling of perfection that money gives is where much of the damage originates. I don’t know if any of you remember that country-western song popular 30 some years ago; it goes something like this: “ Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way . . . I get better-looking each day.” That says that being perfect/successful in one’s own eyes is a destroyer of humility. And wealth gives its benefactors a much higher esteem than anyone deserves.

I believe a person can be greedy without knowing it. The reason is that their wanting more wealth is camouflaged by their use of many different euphemisms; ask them why, and they will give an assorted number of excuses. Money, and what it can do, has greed as a tagalong—which is almost impossible to shake off.

Money makes people feel secure in more ways than one. And who doesn’t want to feel secure in such an uncertain world? Then what happens is that worldly security lessens the need for the security that God gives. Result: mediocrity.

Pride is one of the most desired attitudes that money easily gives to those who have more than enough. That pride may be openly displayed, or attempts can be made to keep it a secret and remain silent. Proverbs 16:18. “Pride goes before destruction . . .” In fact, there are many verses in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, warning of the danger of that wonderful feeling when pride sets into a life.

Contentment that worldly wealth gives is a sure thief; it robs us of the NEED and desire for contentment that come from belonging to Jesus Christ. 1Timothy 6:6. “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Another thing that happens when people have extra money is this: Aside from saving some, they spend it on things they WANT but don’t really need; then with time, those “wants” get transformed into “needs.” To put it more bluntly, extra money gives many the incentive to buy unneeded items. The N.T. tells me that no Christian has the right to have more than they need while a multitude of Christians, etc. don’t have the bare necessities. This truth will never fly in the majority of Christianity.

Then there are those who are super-wealthy and still claim to be Christians. They continue to receive all kinds of accolades from the Christian community for all the work they are doing for Christ. They, with their great wealth, have the means to support the spreading of the gospel in countries all over the world. That giving is above and beyond what large amounts they give to their local churches as a form of tithe (10 % of earnings).

That seems all well and good. But is it? The harm they are doing, without even trying, is making the N.T. a joke. They are setting an example–contrary to Scripture—for all other Christians who don’t know better to have a desire to become rich like them, so they too can give large amounts in the name of Christ wherever it is needed. Then, they also can receive all kinds of praise and standing ovations for all the work Jesus Christ is doing through them. As I have already mentioned in paragraph 9, what happens is that becoming rich automatically takes priority over the many Godly qualities that are absolutely necessary.

Then, everyone will be aiming for wealth as a Christian attribute. Isn’t that where the majority of organized churches are at this time? Therefore, having money or the desire for it could be the slyest trick the devil uses. The truly disheartening aspect of this scheme is that these rich people actually believe God will continue to bless them financially since they feel they are special in God's sight.

The only way for those with extra money to conform with Scripture is to be generous and willing to share to the point where they sell their palatial mansion, their luxury vehicles and all other signs of wealth, to the point where people would talk, saying, “With all their wealth, they should live as wealthy people do, and not as if they are paupers.” That is the kind of example the rich should set for all others that desire to be rich for Christ’s sake. I say, “Sure; that will be the day.” It just won’t happen. Living a wealthy and flamboyant lifestyle is the main perk, as it were. Without the privilege of sitting on top of the world with their wealth, who would want to become wealthy?

Here are several N.T. verses that will substantiate the above.

1st Timothy 6:17-18. “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command those to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and be generous and willing to share.”

2 Corinthians 9:11. “You will be MADE RICH IN EVERY WAY so that you can be generous on every occasion . . .” [emphasis added]. There are many other ways of being rich besides material wealth.

Webster defines generous as: 1) “of noble birth [I like that. Jesus is nobility]; 3) giving or sharing liberally and willingly.” Generosity is the key for all people who claim to be Christians. Repeating, along with that, the rich must not live in a way that glorifies wealth, because it is the poor that are blessed.

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 those who love him?”

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

Matthew 11:28. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Did you notice Jesus did not call those who are rich, prosperous, and are living the “good life”? This tells me that Jesus Christ is for those who truly have needs in their lives which this world cannot suffice. Are you one of them? I am.

Money per se is not the culprit, but as I have already mentioned, it is the power money has to have and do whatever one pleases. Of all the ungodly attitudes money creates, the most destructive is the example it leaves for other would-be/existing Christians. Therefore, if a Christian wasn’t rich but lives as a wealthy person, that person would be just as guilty as the one with money. This is done is with good credit. On credit, a person can have a gigantic mortgage on a splendid home in a rich neighborhood, new vehicles on low-interest payments, credit cards taken to the max, and other commodities that display wealth. Of course, this type of non-wealth doesn’t give the security that real money gives, but it does give the people many of the other attributes of just having these things that give an appearance of wealth. Most likely there are more of these credit-rich Christians than the actual wealthy ones. Try to convince them of the harm they are doing to the cause of Christ.

As you read the following two dozen verses, keep in mind that God's perspective is TOTALLY opposite from what our human nature dictates. At least now some will be able to understand why the N.T. denounces and condemns wealth and prosperity. Should we obey our sinful human nature, or obey what God dictates in the N.T.? For Christians who are truly serious about their relationship with Jesus Christ and believe what the N.T. teaches, this has to be a poignant topic. For others, this subject will, most likely, soon be forgotten.

Click on the Table of Contents. There are two other posts: #153: “The Anatomy of Wealth” and #116: “What Money Can and Cannot Buy.” These are a bit redundant, especially with similar N.T. verses, but there will be many insightful truths that this section did not mention.

As you read the following N.T. verses, let God’s Spirit guide everyone as to the course which is correct for them.

1st Timothy 6:17-18. “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good and be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”

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.” [emphasis added].

1st Timothy 6:6-10. “But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

Luke 16:15. “What is highly valued among men [money] is detestable in God’s sight.” [emphasis added].

Mark 10:21-23. “. . . ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.’”

James 5:3. “Your silver and gold are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.”

Matthew 19:21-24 is similar to the verse above. “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.’ [There are prerequisites before following Jesus]. When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’” Jesus, in essence, is saying that it is impossible for prosperous, rich, or wealthy men/women to be Christians.

Hebrews 13:5. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.”

James 5:1 “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.”

Luke 16:13. “ You cannot serve both God and money.”

Luke 16:14. “The Pharisees [the guys that Jesus loved to bad-mouth], who LOVED MONEY, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.” [emphasis added]. Will some readers also sneer at Jesus and me for being so hard-edged? I think so.

Luke 6:24. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your reward.”

James 1:10. “In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.”

Luke 12:15. “‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’”

Luke 12:16-21. “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said to himself, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 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. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Matthew 6:19-21. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

2nd Timothy 3:1-5. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, LOVERS OF MONEY, boastful, proud, . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” [emphasis added].

1st Timothy 3:3. “. . . not a lover of money.”

Luke 14:33. “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Some may be thinking, “Does this leader of His stupid religion think we are jerks? What we have worked hard for all our lives, he wants us to give it to some poor bas . . . .? No thanks, I’ll stay where I am and enjoy listening to a pleasing and relaxing Gospel.”

Luke 16:19-25. “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. . . . The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, . . .[Abraham speaking to the rich man in hell] ‘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.’”

1st Peter 5:2 “. . . not greedy for money, but eager to serve;”

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 . . . ”

1st John 3:17. “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

This is not a complete list of verses that do not speak nicely of the wealthy; there are many more.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

# 174: Partial Repeat of # 104: I Am Outraged

Post # 104 was published about a year ago concerning Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and his connection to the Bush White House. I am republishing it again verbatim, followed by an extremely shocking news brief I gathered today.

Monday, October 31, 2005

# 104: I Am Outraged

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


This story broke Wednesday, November 1, 2006, concerning accusations against Ted Haggard, the pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Boulder, Colorado.

Ted Haggard, who was president of the National Association of Evangelicals–30 million strong—resigned yesterday while a church panel investigates the allegations that he paid for sex. Haggard told a reporter he bought illegal drugs (meth) from a male prostitute, but denied a sexual relationship with this man, then claimed he didn’t even know the fellow, which was a lie.

Haggard says he is an aggressive opponent of gay marriage. He is one of the leading conservative Christian leaders who has frequent meetings with George Bush and other White House staffers.

Rev. Haggard also gave up leadership of New Life Church, which has 14,000 members, pending the investigation.

Haggard told a Denver TV reporter late Wednesday: “I've never had a gay relationship with anybody, and I'm steady with my wife, I'm faithful to my wife.” Sure.

In an interview yesterday (Friday, 11-3-06) with a Denver TV station, Haggard again denied having sex with any man, let alone a 49-year-old accuser named Mike Jones.

Haggard said he bought meth only once and threw it away before ever using it. “I never kept it very long because it's wrong,” Haggard told the TV station. “I was tempted. I bought it. But I never used it.” However, an acting senior pastor acknowledged that some of the accusations were true.

Jones, who originally went public with his accusations because of Haggard's outspoken opposition to a Colorado referendum issue to ban gay marriage, denied selling meth to Haggard. Jones said Haggard bought meth from one of his acquaintances—covering his own butt—but used it many times before they engaged in sex.

Jones said he decided on his own to go public after he saw Haggard on TV as he was being interviewed on the History Channel. He never knew that Ted Haggard was “Art.” Jones only knew him as “Art” and he always paid cash ($200 every month for the past three years), and that they last had sex in August. Jones laughed when “Art” insisted he only got massages. “If that's what he wants to call it, that's up to him.”

Jones claimed to have a handwritten envelope from “Art” in which Haggard allegedly sent him $200 in payment for sex. In addition, Jones claimed to have voice mail messages from Haggard with excerpts late Thursday that referred to meth.

“Hi, Mike; this is Art,” one call began, according to the station. “Hey, I was just calling to see if we could get any more. Either a $100 or $200 supply.” A second phone call a few hours later went like this: “Hi, Mike; this is Art. I am here in Denver and sorry that I missed you. But as I said, if you want to go ahead and get the stuff, then that would be great. And I'll get it sometime next week or the week after or whenever.” At first, Haggard denied knowing Jones and later acknowledged calling Jones to discuss buying meth.

Jones’ explanation for his reason to go public: “I owe it to the gay community that has to put up with the hypocrisy from the religious right.”

Jones willingly volunteered to have a polygraph test to prove he was telling the truth. Evidently, when taking the test, he was under great stress, which made the polygraph test show inaccurate results. Jones was puzzled by the results. The administrator of the test, John Kresnik, suggested Jones be retested next week, after he had a chance to rest.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The evening of November 4, 2006: Last- minute news: I just heard on the TV that Ted Haggard was found guilty by the four-member church panel of immoral conduct and associated charges.

You decide what type of Gospel Haggard has been preaching every week to 14,000 evangelicals. He is a perfect example of a wolf in sheep's clothes.

A November 7, 2006 update: As most of you know by now, Ted Haggard admitted, in writing, to the charges against him, that he was a liar and deceiver, and asked for forgiveness from his church members, etc.

The troubling question I ask is this: When a person lies and deceives in one area of his/her life, do they do the same in other areas of life? There is no absolute answer to that question; therefore, let us leave it unanswered. But still, the question lingers in my mind; did he lie and deceive from his pulpit?

Most of you who are familiar with this blog know how I believe about the main message that is preached by evangelicals like Haggard. They tell their listeners what they desire to hear and not what they need to hear. That is the main, if not the only, reason for their popularity.

Since Haggard is one of the most prominent and powerful ministers of the evangelical movement in America, what he has done is leveled a damaging blow to all who call themselves evangelicals, like myself. This is as if Michael the Archangel was found guilty of the same offense. Would we still believe God?

It is good to know that people like him are caught with their pants down, as it were, and it confirms what I have been saying for years. But the sinister part is that atheists are jumping for joy, and will spread the message and confirm their belief that we are all phonies. That hurts.