Friday, October 24, 2008

# 264: Trickery

Just about everywhere we turn, the general public has been, and is still being, deceived. We are so used to it that we accept it without grumbling. Since I don’t travel in other countries, I can only speak of how Americans are tricked. It is big business and even small business, along with many religions that have been pulling the wool over our eyes.

Prime examples: They make the size of many products smaller by a few ounces or a few inches and still charge the same price; cigarettes are wrongly sold as “light” and “low-tar”; we are pawns to the oil industry; the big corporations charge whatever they please to make more billions for their stockholders; additives may make food taste great, but are not good for us; medicine that may alleviate the discomfort but has detrimental side effects; most commercials lie or exaggerate concerning their products; many things that are sold to consumers are things that we don’t really need, but their ads make us believe we need them; many operations are not necessary and could be cured by natural means, yet they tell us we must be operated on. It seems like everywhere we go, there is someone trying to trick us out of our hard-earned money. Why is it so easy for us to be tricked? Why do many of us believe we are right, while we think others are wrong, including this author?

Retailers get us into their stores with cheap, undesirable products, with the hope of selling us the expensive, top-of-the-line products. These gimmicks have been going on since retail stores had their beginning. And we, for the most part, still fall for their tricks.

I believe one of the most pervasive ruses is commercials on TV. I realize there are some of us who are not so smart and fall for their deceptive advertising, but sellers must think we are all stupid, and that may be true to some degree.

I truly believe the most deceptive of all the tricks played on us is by run-of-the-mill religions. The one thing that is blatantly misleading, which they have been playing on us since the fourteenth century, is to make us believe that going to church every Sunday, paying our tithe, singing a Christian song or two, going to Sunday school, and being good all week are the only duties of disciples of Christ. This gathering together on Sunday stems from the verse in Hebrews 10:25. "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing." Of all the commands in the New Testament, this one, by all means, may be the easiest to obey.

The only thing is, keeping that command does not negate the keeping of hundreds of other commands that are also to be obeyed. Many of them, which go against our sinful human nature, are not mentioned by the majority of denominations. And that is where this Biblical blog comes to the rescue.

Let me start by stating that when obedience to Biblical commands is unknowingly ignored or knowingly and blatantly disobeyed, the result will nullify faith in Christ Jesus and even God’s grace. Without obedience, anything and everything that is done or believed in for the cause of Christ is done in vain. Although this is a hard statement, it makes as much Godly sense as “one and one are two.” And that is the trick that is being pulled over all who don’t know what is taught in the New Testament. Most, if not all, who are aware of what is openly taught in God’s Word, and at the same time discount what the clergy so adamantly preach, will vividly see the trickery. Hebrews 5:9. ". . . he [Jesus Christ] became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him."

And the reason for this trickery, as I have said dozens of times in this blog, is to keep a tight reign on the souls and pocketbooks of naive/gullible people.

The main reason is that, even with this knowledge of how deadly disobedience is to Christ’s teaching, it is most likely that to obey the holy commands that rub against our easy Christian lifestyle will not be adopted. I am talking about the commands that seem absolutely absurd, like those that teach to love our neighbor as ourselves, which means we would actually sell our possessions and give to the poor. There are many, many verses that teach this divine principle. Luke 12:33-34: "Sell your possessions and give to the poor [Why?]. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 16:15. "What is highly valued among men [money] is detestable in God’s sight." Luke 18:22. "Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Even with all these Scriptures and many more, there is a seemingly legitimate, churchy alibi (make-little-of) for every one of these verses. For instance, in this last verse, they (the clergy) say that Christ was talking specifically to the rich young ruler, and didn’t mean all of us, and so on.

With eyes wide open, churchgoing people are being tricked, tricked and tricked at every turn with sweet words of acceptance. Not every person who claims to be a Christian (disciple of Jesus Christ) will be able to be obedient to these hard-nosed Biblical teachings. The reason is because Christ-like ones do not have their own interests at heart but also interests of the spiritual and physical welfare of others. 1st Corinthians 13:5 (The apostle Paul describing what real Godly love is): ". . . love, it is not self- seeking." That principle will separate genuine Christians from the fakes. Again, I am saying this: Loving others at one’s personal expense will not be an easy thing to live by; in fact, it may be the most difficult challenge anyone will ever be confronted with. Are you and I ready to live in that fashion? I can hear loud cries of "Leave us alone; we don’t want to hear all this stupid stuff. We are going to let it go in one ear and out the other, and stay in the same pleasant churches we’ve belonged to for years.”

What I am wondering is how many of the above- mentioned people, who claim to be Christians and regularly go to church, are being tricked into silently calling God’s love stupid as it is presented in Scripture; I mean those who do not possess the Spirit of the living God. Without that powerful Spirit, it would be stupid and impossible for anyone to attempt to live as God’s Spirit inspires and commands. Here is a verse that says it all: Romans 8:9. "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." I think the way the hierarchy and other church leaders get around that verse is to somehow persuade the laity that they have the Holy Spirit, even with no convincing evidence of faith, love and obedience. That is a crime that will not go unpunished and will bring the severest punishment possible.

This is how anyone can know for certain that they actually are possessed by God’s Holy Spirit, other than just saying they have the Spirit: when their main focus in life is in Jesus Christ and all that He stands for, which means their thoughts and actions are being guided by the Holy Spirit. If this criterion seems too tough, it is never to late to pray to God that He will give you the desire and power to receive the Holy Spirit. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free of all the trickery that has engulfed many sincere people.

In conclusion, it is a crying shame that trickery and lies, with their enticing powers, are wining over the truth of the Gospel. To fight that prevalent deception, this Biblical blog has been fighting tooth-and-nail to win as many bloggers as possible to the truth of the Word of God, and with nothing more than words from the Christian Bible.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

# 263: They Say “Impossible”

For logical, rational, educated human beings to actually believe there is a spirit realm, to a degree where it would change their life, is nonsensical. You see, logic will deny there is such a thing as life after death, or that there even is a heaven. The physical world says, "We are and have only what we see and no more." And I can understand that point of view.

When you get most, if not all of the sciences in the world who deny that God created—if there is a God—the universe out of nothing physical, and deny that humans are a special creation of His, this is too much for any rational person to believe.

It seems that the more education and intelligence a person has, the more difficult, if not impossible, it is to believe in a realm that is invisible. Why is that? I believe that human intelligence is a deterrent to believing in invisible things; their logic says “impossible.”

That is the reason why Jesus chose uneducated, ordinary men as His disciples. Matthew 11:25. "I praise you, Father Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." Does that mean that it would be impossible for educated and intelligent people to believe? No, but they would have a more difficult time believing. The only thing is, when they do believe, their faith may be a bit superficial. What I mean is that they may harbor a little bit of doubt because of their logical thinking which does not leave them just because they decide to believe in Jesus, thus making their devotion a little less than acceptable.

Does that mean that the intellect of Christians is just a little bit above the level of morons? Absolutely not! It means we don’t have to be whiz kids to become Christians. The secret is that we must believe as little children do. Matthew 18:3. "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Also Luke 18:17. "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." When children are told some new facts, it is easy for them to believe because they trust the one who is teaching them. What is being said here means that as simple as it is for a child to believe—click on post # 232: "The Faith of a Little Child"—it is extremely difficult for adults to believe in spiritual matters to the point where all doubt is removed. And doubt is a formidable deterrent to Godliness that will allow compromise to enter one’s life.

I wish I could give you a formula in which we could believe as little children. I am not sure there is one. The only thing Jesus didn’t mention is that little children can be naive, which would make them not the best candidates to believe, since there are many beautiful, silver-tongued spiritual deceivers in the world vying for the attention of naive, foolish and gullible people.

Then there is Matthew 10:16, which teaches that we must ". . . be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Therefore, here is the formula: become like little children, don’t be naive and gullible as fools; and be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. That formula seems to be contradictory. What else is new?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.

Don’t let anyone tell you that it is an easy thing to believe in God without doubt, and to have all the above qualities. It, most likely, is one of the most difficult things a person can be asked to do. The possible answer, as mentioned in post # 232, is to have a desperate, life-or-death need to find a life better than what one has at the present. That type of need is not found to any great degree in America. And even those who have a great need may not be aware of the rescue plan that is offered by Almighty God.

Now we have a large class of intellectuals, such as the biologists, cosmologists, physicists, astronomers, geologists and other scientists that shout: “impossible.” They say the Bible is wrong and is nothing more than but a bunch of stories, myths and old wives’ tales. They believe the way they do because they can prove with an abundant amount of empirical evidence from various sources that the earth and the universe are billions of years older; they, most likely, are correct. Where they err is in believing that the universe was a random happening via the Big Bang, and that it and humans have no specific purpose for their existence; and if there is a God, he had nothing to do with the creation of the universe.

The Old Testament teaches that the earth is about 6,000 years old. That seemed like an apparent known truth until science proved otherwise. Therefore, it is now a known error, even though that belief is unswervingly held by millions of people who call themselves Christians; these people have to be pitied for their credulity. To get more info. that may help explain the truth of the matter, please, for your sake, click on post # 143 or # 109, "Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design." Also, you can click on post # 200, "Science Removes Doubt."

If any more was to be said, it would only be a repeat of what is taught in the above-mentioned posts.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

# 262: Disease, Sickness, Demons and Evil Spirits

Few of us can get through life without having to put up with some type of ailment/s. That is part of life. My question is, why? Is there anything we can do about it? I checked the New Testament to see what insight, if any, it may have to offer; this is what I found:

Luke 13:10-12 and 16. "On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God . . . Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?" In this healing, Satan was responsible for this woman’s misery.

2nd Corinthians 12:7-9. "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’" Click on post # 255 to see what “Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh” was. Satan can cause heartaches to even to the holiest of holy.

The term “possess an evil spirit” is mentioned many, many times in the New Testament. Most of the time, it mentioned people who were possessed by evil spirits. One such example of being possessed by an evil spirit was mentioned in Matthew 8:28-32. "When he arrived at the other side of the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. ‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ they shouted. ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’ Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, ‘If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.’ He said to them, ‘Go!’ So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water."

There is a similar account in Luke 8:26-33 which most likely is the same account; although some of the details are different, the finality is identical: the pigs being drowned in the water. It may be that violent people are possessed by evil spirits, and that they know their end will be painful.

In the four gospels, there are a dozen or so verses where either Jesus or His disciples drove out evil spirits from those who were possessed with them.

Now the question comes up: Does the New Testament indicate that sickness and disease somehow were associated with some form of satanic powers? The New Testament seems to indicate that assumption. Even though there are people who believe that Satan does not really exist, they have to admit there is an evil force in this world. Where does this evil force get its power? There are evil beings (Satan and all his cohorts) who are the source of most, if not all, unpleasant situations.

Mark 1:39. "So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons." Since Jesus was more powerful than the demons, he was able cleanse those who had them. Then the question comes up: Where do the evil spirits go? Answer: In other people whose desires are conducive to evil.

Matthew 5:37. ". . . anything beyond this comes from the devil." Much of what we are not aware of comes from the devil.

Luke 4:33. "In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit." This verse says demons and evil spirits are one and the same.

Matthew 9:2. "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’" There are several indications that physical illness is the result of a person’s sin.

Matthew 10:1. "He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to cure and heal every kind of disease and sickness." Jesus Christ had and still has the power to give authority to heal other humans (His disciples and apostles).

Matthew 9:33. "And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been dumb spoke." Demons are responsible for the misery of many sick and diseased people.

Matthew 12:34. "You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good?" People who don’t belong to or obey Jesus are classified as vipers.

Matthew 12:43-45. "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first." Evidently, evil spirits are not complete unless they possess the bodies and souls of humans. Could anyone imagine having more than one evil spirit?

Matthew 13:19. "When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart." It is imperative that we gain understanding of the complete Will of God on this earth. If we don’t, we can be tricked into allowing all our Christian efforts to be snatched by the evil one.

Matthew 17:18. "Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment." Jesus, along with those He chooses, had and still has the power to overpower demons.

Mark 2:5. "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’" This verse is similar to the one in Matthew 9:2.

Mark 3:11. "Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him [Jesus] and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’" Verses like this one indicate that evil spirits have the ability to see what humans cannot. That means just because a person can see the future or things that normal people can’t, it doesn’t mean they are of God as they may profess.

Mark 5:2-15: "When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was able to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones . . . For Jesus was saying to him, ‘Come out of this man, you evil spirit . . .’ A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.’ He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned . . . When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who was possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind." This tells me that when evil spirits are driven out of humans, they would rather live in animals than be inactive in only spirit form. These verses are telling the same story as in Matthew 8:28.

Exodus 34:7. "Yet he [God] does not leave the guilty unpunished: he punishes the children and their children for the sins of their fathers to the third and fourth generation."

Exodus 20:5. ". . . for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me . . ." These two verses in Exodus seem completely unfair. Yet, through genetics, mutations or environment, the saying is true; like father like son.

Mark 6:7. "Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits." Evil spirits have no power over those who have been given authority over them.

Mark 8:33. Jesus Talking to Peter: "‘Out of my sight, Satan!’ he said, ‘you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’" Those who have their mind on the things of people can be classified as workers of Satan. If that is true, we live in a world full of satanic people, dressed in angels’ garb.

Mark 9:20. "When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth." Those with evil spirits know those who possess the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Luke 4:33-35. "In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, ‘Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the holy one of God!’ ‘Be quiet!’ Jesus said sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him." Anyone with the Spirit of Jesus will be feared by Satan’s evil spirits.

Luke 13:11. "And a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God." Isn’t that wonderful? It is a shame we don’t see those types of healings in our modern times. This verse is identical to the one previously mentioned.

Luke 13:32. "He replied, ‘Go tell that fox . . .’ Here Jesus is saying that some people are likened to foxes.

John 9:1. "As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’" Again, it is true that the sins either of the parent or ourselves are responsible for many of our ailments.

John 5:9 & 14. “At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” “Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’” Quite often we are responsible for our own ailments because of our unnatural lifestyles. Of course, their desires are secretly inspired by the devil.

Acts 19:16. "The man who had the evil spirit jumped on them [the seven sons of Sceva] and overpowered them. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding." Evil spirits give tremendous strength to some humans.

1st Timothy 4:1. "The Spirit clearly says that in the latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." This verse is more true in our modern church than all the others verses put together. But spirits/demons do it in a sly way to make it look like it is genuine Christianity.

This tells me that in our sophisticated culture, where “seeing is believing,” there are many evil forces that dictate and control much of what is going on in this world. Where do you and I stand?

If a person doesn’t desire to believe in evil spirits and the devil, no problem; then you have to believe that all humans have a sinful human nature: That nature is the realm through which selfishness and evil work. You see, all wild animals are concerned with only one thing: survival of their kind. If you want to believe it or not, those wild things are where our self-centered, evil nature comes from. And that is where evil spirits get their power. Think about it. Leave me a comment. This subject is wide open.

In conclusion, a positive note: Even though Satan, most likely, is responsible for much, if not all, sickness and diseases, our Lord God capitalizes on that evil when it comes on His chosen people by giving them the longing to leave this ungodly world as soon as possible, along with becoming more fervent in their devotion to Jesus Christ. They can’t wait for this life to be over. This author is one of them.