Saturday, December 26, 2009

# 293: Exposing the Devil's Lies

John 8:44: “When he [the devil] lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” It is absolutely imperative that every serious disciple of Jesus Christ learns of all, if not most, of the shenanigans (trickery) that Satan the devil has up his sleeve. He knows what type of lies certain people will fall for. In fact, with the help of his demons and angels, he knows us as well as (if not better than) we know ourselves. That is scary to say the least. We all have weak spots in our lives; these are the areas where he is instrumental in having us do his will, often without us even having a clue about what he is up to.

Don’t ever forget this: He is an angel, though fallen, and angels have superhuman abilities and intellect. Just when we think we are doing so well in spiritual matters, this is when he can get the best of us. The only—ONLY—way we can avoid being caught up in his clutches is to take the New Testament (NT) literally, and obey everything it teaches, regardless of how unnatural it may sound on the surface. Every command is there for that very reason: to spoil the devil’s schemes.

Other than having faith in Jesus Christ and keeping God’s love in our hearts and lives, there is no better advice anyone can give you and me. Repeating, strict obedience to all of God’s Word is the only way to know we are making it almost impossible for Satan to get us under his power.

The fighting thing is that many of us are not aware of it when we are doing his dirty work because many of us are living in the status quo of organized Christianity as it is/has been presenting itself for years on end. One of the weakest areas in many (if not all) humans, among other things, is that we go for what feels good and is easy and comfortable.

Satan’s shrewdness is almost comparable to God’s knowledge of all things. That tells me that we are not fooling around with a benign pussycat when we desire to have things our way, regardless of what any 2,000-year-old book teaches. That is the reason the majority of the world’s population is unknowingly under the power of his seductive charm.

These are only a few of the attitudes the devil loves to instill in all people. He silently says: “You are very important; you must love and take care of yourself because no one else will. It doesn’t hurt to be selfish; you are only human. It is okay to step on others as long you are not too conspicuous. Your motto should be, ‘I love me; who do you love?’ The top of the mountain should be your ultimate goal; that is where life is at its best. Cheating is acceptable in this ‘dog-eat-dog world.’ Don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t let God scare you about hell; there is no such place. If you want to be respected in your community, go to church and outwardly be an outstanding person, but don’t believe for a minute all the foolish garbage they preach. Porn is just as natural as Adam and Eve: It relieves much of the pressures this world puts on you. Being unfaithful to your mate is okay as long as you do it discreetly. Your ultimate goal in life must be to become wealthier than the next person. You can’t beat wealth; it is supreme. It will do you much good to profess Christianity, but by all means, don’t get serious about Jesus Christ. He is a fairytale.”

This list could be unending. But in short, Satan wants your lifestyle to be emulated by as many people as possible so that you will become their idol. “Avoid outwardly evil attitudes/actions; you will only be labeled a bad person, and we don’t want that.”

“One of the most helpful things you can believe/do to help others believe the same is to tell yourself that hell and I (Satan) don’t really exist; it is only a tactic that was made up to scare people into doing good, and believing in God and Jesus Christ.”

Another of the devil’s attitudes is: “Just because men/women are pretending to belong to Christ and performing miracles, healings and the like, don’t be in a hurry to follow their teachings.” This is where it is important to know what the NT teaches so that you can’t be tricked. The reason I say that is because the devil has power with certain individuals to do things that defy logic. One such individual/organization is Benny Hinn Ministries. He has a following in the millions worldwide. I spotted him about 16 years ago on a so-called Christian network. The way he lives, and what he preached—and is still preaching—is not in accordance with the NT; he is a good fake.

The apostle Paul gives us such a warning in 2nd Thessalonians 2:9-11. I will quote it for those who don’t have a Bible. “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie. . .”

Here is another section of Scripture that will give teeth to the previous scriptures. 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15. “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. [If nothing can frighten every serious Christian into knowing what the NT teaches, verses like this should] It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”

It has been emphasized dozens of times in this blog that it is utterly imperative to be familiar with every aspect of the NT, and to know that verses such as those above do exist. The NT was written not for gullible people, but for those who don’t want to be tricked by the evil one. I could almost guarantee that everyone who says he/she is saved and does not intimately know the contents of the NT may be on a path to destruction, regardless of how religious and devoted they are.

In fact, it can be dogmatically said that behind anything done in an ungodly fashion, for selfish or hateful reasons, etc., the devil is instrumental in making it happen.

Some might ask, “Is it possible for someone to obey/practice the NT to the letter and still be a fake?” I would say no. But God reads the heart, and if the motives do not spring from love for God and our fellow man, then the answer is yes.

In conclusion: one thing is for sure—the devil knows his stuff. And for us to outwit him, we must know God’s stuff and not what many preachers teach. Believe it or not, the majority of the clergy are the devil’s most prized comrades. If we listen to them only while thinking we know what the NT teaches, we are doomed, all the while thanking God for His salvation, love and goodness.

I have been associated with several well-known preachers. Although not one of them would ever admit it, their main interest is your name on their roster and your 10%. The more you earn, the more you will tithe, and they can continue to live high on the hog with little effort. It is no wonder that many of Satan’s workers who wear the cloth, secretly and some even openly, promote wealth and prosperity, which is a no-no according to God’s word. As a matter of fact, this deception has been one of the evil one’s most gleeful lies/deceptions. To put it another way: He gets more joy in having supposedly holy people in his ranks than openly evil people.

Monday, December 14, 2009

# 292: What a Wonderful, Wonderful God We Have

Human words cannot even begin to describe the wonders of our Almighty God. The description of Him in the Christian Bible is as explicit as possible, but there is much more we would like to know about Him. Hopefully this post will reveal Him and His Son Jesus Christ in a clearer manner.

Let us examine His attributes. His love for humanity is His greatest attribute; from that love springs all his other qualities. His grace has been a subject of inquiries by many writers. The question I ask is this: How can such a complex and Almighty God lower Himself and communicate with imperfect humans?

I will be delving into an area that surpasses human knowledge. In Ephesians 3:18-19, the apostle Paul attempts to describe God’s/Christ’s love for humanity.

Even though the majority of humans will be/are destined to perish, God never desires/desired for any of them to be separated from Him. Yes, God even loved/loves all those fowl, ungodly people. But as His love dictates, without love as their main focus in life, His hands are tied, so to speak: It would be utterly impossible to allow them to enter a realm where Divine love is supreme. It is fair to say that His heart has been broken over the loss of billions of people who were created in His image.

Let us examine some of the attributes that make our God the type of wonderful God we truly need. The love He has for all humanity can never be fully expressed in human terms. Nevertheless, let us do the best we can with what He has thus far been able to reveal.

All His many holy qualities are the result of His love for humanity. Let us start with God being a just God. At the judgment, as we are being judged to determine whether we are qualified to enter heaven, every thought and action we have ever had/done will be brought out into the open. He will examine our environment/country, which was a big factor in how we lived: our mentality, to see if we understood the seriousness of living or not living, as He requires. He will also examine whether we had the opportunity to know what His laws were concerning people in countries where the name “Jesus” is not known; and He will look into things that helped us form our decisions and the people who influenced the decisions we made.

The most important thing He will examine is all our motives that made us tick. In fact, our motives are as important as our actions, if not more important. But in all things, He will always give us the benefit of the doubt, if a doubt does occur. As a skilled lawyer for the defense, God our Father will accentuate our good points and downplay the negative ones. As God, Jesus or his holy ones are judging us, the fairness that will be shown to us is beyond human comprehension. The reason for that fairness is that His mercy and compassion will always be applied in every decision even though they cannot purposely violate His holy standards.

Grace will be a big factor in the judgment. Grace, also called undeserved kindness, will cancel many wrongs we have done, though it cannot override a set pattern of arrogance. Throughout this judgment period, God truly wants us to make the grade and thus get to be with Him—a father always desires the very best for His children. None of the decisions made by the Judge will be biased.

The reason God is so wonderful is because He will is going to go to all lengths to get us to be with Him. Hell is an awful place, to say the least, and He will do everything in His power to keep us out of there. And still, the faith and love a person had in how he/she lived will be the factor that will determine the outcome. And in every case, that love stems from having faith in Jesus Christ. If that faith is real and lasting, love that springs from obedience to all Jesus commands will be the final result.

Of course, the genuineness of repentance will also be a big factor. We all have stumbled and done wrong. Therefore, all who make the grade must have had true repentance on their side—with hope and determination so that transgression will never occur again. And still, there is no rigid standard as to how many times a person can repent. But one good thing is that God knows the heart, and if leniency is required, it will be waiting for all who deserve it. That is the reason God is so wonderful. Since we know that, we must never take advantage of the wonder of God. God will do everything in His power to get us into heaven without breaking any of His holy rules. While we are here on this earth, we must also do everything in our power to do the same. During this time, Satan the devil will be there at the judgment making all forms of unfair accusations. Revelation 12:10. “. . . For the accuser of our brothers [Satan], who accuse them before our God day and night, had been hurled down.”

God, more than anyone else, knows how difficult it has been to live and do what is right in His eyes. And don’t think God won’t take that into consideration. It is not easy to go against the flow that this godless world is taking. And still, those who are devoted to what is right (genuine love for all) will somehow (with God’s help) walk the straight and narrow. Actually, our human love will be converted by the Holy Spirit into Divine love. 2nd Peter 2:4."Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."

I don’t often write on issues not mentioned in the NT, but I will bring up a subject that could be a result of God’s Divine love. There have been people who have never had the opportunity to know the name of Jesus in cultures/religions that were/are not Christian. Some of these people may have had a love that equals Christian love. By His mercy, God could retroactively, as it were, give these people a chance to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; it is not great love alone that gives salvation, but belief in the saving power of God through Jesus Christ from which that divine love springs.

One action God will not tolerate is purposely committing sins with this thought in mind: “I will sin and then just repent; I know that God will forgive me.” Of course, if it is only one occasion or two, no problem. But if it is a pattern that continues, this action will be held against anyone.

Two of the Lord’s pet peeves are laziness and mediocrity in spiritual matters. How He will respond to these is unsure, but if done over a lifetime, the judgment is almost certain. In fact, it may cancel all the good one has done. The reason I bring this up is because there are seven verses in the New Testament (NT) commanding us to make every effort in how we live our holy lives—if anyone desires the location of those verses, leave me a comment or e-mail me. These are serious verses that one may never hear from the pulpit. That is only one reason the Christian walk is not a cakewalk. If His mercy and compassion will negate this serious “neglect of duty,” it depends on the seriousness of one’s Christian history.

Laziness is a detrimental habit to have in worldly affairs, but especially in spiritual matters. Laziness is a human trait that, if not overcome, will overcome anyone addicted to it. God may be stern in these last two matters, but how His love, compassion and mercy will intercede will depend on many other circumstances. Again, it all depends on whether one’s good works were many, and where one’s heart was in this situation. Remember: Where the heart is, most often, the life will follow. There will be no mistakes made in any Divine judgments.

No two lives will be even close to each other. Therefore, the judgment process will be as lengthy and complex as anything can be. But rest assured that everyone can speak up and defend themselves. But the best part of the judgment, and I am repeating myself, is that everyone will be treated with the utmost fairness, regardless of Satan’s accusations. In fact, the ones being judged will agree with his own judgment, although she/he will not like the outcome if the frying pan is the verdict.

The best advice I can give to everyone who claims to be a Christian is to make sure you are doing your best in all spiritual matters, which will confirm your faith in Christ Jesus, as will obedience to all His commands. To help any serious Christian on the road to obedience, I recommend reading John chapters 14 and 15, then reading them again and again, and even memorizing them.

One of the most wonderful parts of the Christian life, which many never give a second thought to, is that all genuine Christians have God Almighty as a Father. Think of it this way: God the Father, through His Holy Spirit, means you personally belong to Him and He personally belongs to you. Can you imagine that God Almighty who built the universe belongs to you and me? All of God’s attention is now directed to you (plural) only, through His Holy Spirit, who now, with your permission, is in control. This last statement pertains to every person who is possessed by the Spirit and thus is a Christian. Romans 8:9. “And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” That is why everyone would call our heavenly Father a wonderful, wonderful God. To get more information on your personal God, click on Post # 82: “Your Own Personal God.”

In conclusion, as much as a human father loves his children, God loves His children immeasurably more, even if on occasion the children may inadvertently disappoint the Father. That is only one reason why we have such a wonderful, wonderful God, who desires only the best for His children. God is on your side and mine. Let us make certain that we are on His side!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

# 291: What Is Meant By the Word “World”?

In this post, I will bring out the truth concerning New Testament (NT) verses that are not very popular, and thus are not often—if ever—preached on. The reason is because not many understand or desire to hear about this intricate and seemingly troublesome part of Christianity. Many may be infuriated and hate this blog (and me) even more. That is okay—I am not out to win a popularity contest—but I want to tell the whole truth to as many people as possible.

The word “world” is mentioned in a derogative manner over 40 times in the NT. The word “world” does not mean the physical earth itself, but the ordinary and ungodly people who live in this world. The physical world without people inhabiting it is, in reality, a nice place (with the exception of a few natural disasters like earthquakes, etc.).

Following are some activities that are associated with the word “world” when it is mentioned in the NT. This list does not include many of our necessary obligations and daily chores such as jobs, must-do things around the home, morning care of self, and many other menial duties. It does include all sorts of entertainment/amusements that have nothing to do with the gospel message: watching/playing sports; attempting to keep up with the Joneses; after accepting Christ as Lord (Boss), still hanging out with the same old friends who say they are Christians but don’t adhere to Biblical principles; watching programs on television/DVDs that entice viewers to be participants in trash; watching educational and documentaries that have nothing to do with Christ (an exception could be watching the national news to know what is going on in the world, to avoid being called ignoramuses).

Another type of entertainment/amusement that has nothing to do with the gospel message is celebrating all the worldly, manmade holidays that ordinary people celebrate, such as the commercialized glorification of Santa Claus with hardly a mention of Jesus Christ, where most eat until it is coming out of their ears and go in debt over their heads buying presents (actually, no one knows what day or month Christ was crucified, or even the exact year); the commercialized glorification of “Easter Bunny Day”—it is a disgrace to eat so much when half of the world is starving and a large amount of money is spent on new clothing; “Turkey Day,” again when overeating is the norm, and we give thanks for many things we don’t really deserve, especially when many worldwide are without the bare necessities; New Year’s Day, when more liquor is consumed than at any other time of the year, drinking until they are pie-eyed. Their mantra is “Let’s live it up while we have a chance” and they drive home half-drunk. There are a dozen other manmade holidays that are celebrated, and these holidays have nothing to do with Jesus Christ; thus, they are a part of the world society.

Someone might ask, "Why can't Christians engage in these so-called forbidden activities, etc., which we have enjoyed all our lives?" The answer is short and not so sweet: When we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord (boss) and Savior, we became his property (e.g. we now belong to Him). 1st Corinthians 6:20. "You are not your own; you were bought at a price." Our time is now His time; His desires are our desires. How dare any Christian spend Christ's time on aforementioned ungodly activities, when we should be using it for constructive activities that further His cause?

Getting back to holidays. At this time, I personally don’t celebrate holidays; I don’t need them. Of course, when I was young and had small kids (and didn’t know better), I did celebrate many holidays, and that was the norm. I believe that most people are not aware that the main reason for holidays is the general public’s lack of satisfaction in their lives (they need a break from their work and the monotony/boredom of their lives). And I can understand; I was there once, until Christ took over my life.

When Jesus Christ is living in one’s life, things change. The overwhelming, unpretentious joy that is ever-present makes every day a holiday. This joy has to be experienced to be known.

When the word “world” is mentioned in the NT, it doesn’t mean only criminals or the overtly sinful; it means those who live by the social standards of the present time, and not by the standards of the NT. These social, friendly people might have high standards of ethics, prominent positions in the community or state, be well respected, and even belong to a church. But with these people, when Christ is not in their foreground, they are living by the standards set by man.

Once people become Christians, they are (supposedly) to be no part of this world.

The main activity that people of the world do is totally normal: taking care of “number one.” When they become Christians, that “survival of the fittest” mentality must change. At that time, the new motive for life must be to love others in need and to love God through obedience and faith in Jesus Christ.

The only problem is that many people who become Christians are not taught, in a practical manner, that all-important virtue of love by their church leaders. And to complicate things, they may not be familiar with the NT, which teaches love for God and neighbors, and de-emphasizes one’s care for self until it is at least equal with the love one has for their neighbors. That love for neighbor, by all means, is the most difficult part of living the Christian life.

Of all the many commands in the NT, loving your neighbor as yourself is the second most important commandment. If one disagrees with that commandment, it is better to forget Christianity and live like an unbelieving pagan (“Hurray for me, and boo for you”). That principle of self-love is what makes the people of world ungodly. That self-love is the main reason the people of the world were labeled “sinful” by Jesus Christ.

But remember one thing: The most unnatural virtue in existence (when it comes to actually putting it into practice) is to love one’s neighbor in need as if she/he were the one in need. It is an easy thing to just say, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But to put it into practice is seemingly the almost impossible part.

Here is a verse that needs some holy explaining: John 12:25. “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” The only way this verse can be implemented is to devalue one’s life until its value is the same as or lower than one’s needy neighbor. That may seem like an impossible task, but it really is not. Here is how it is done: When a person is actually experiencing God’s love for him/herself, that love makes a person feel VERY SPECIAL. Since she/he is so special in God’s sight, actually lowering one’s self-esteem is not a big deal. Paul teaches in Philippians 2:3 to “. . . consider others better than yourself.” We cannot ignore these extremely important commands (and others like it) and still call ourselves Christians.

There is one commandment which is even more difficult to obey, and even more unnatural. Luke 6:27. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Easily said, but when the occasion actually comes to love our enemies, that is a different story. This command must be obeyed. If we start to pick and choose which commands to obey, we join the crowd of worldly people who laugh at such absurd commands.

The only—ONLY—way we can be obedient to these hard-edged verses is to actually be empowered by the Holy Spirit. And then we might still grit our teeth.

Disobedience to many hard-edged commands has had the biggest impact on the downslide of Christianity in general. Actually, many church-going “Christians” don’t want to be reminded of those types of verses. That is one of the main reasons this blog is so unpopular to mainstream “Christians.” They just don’t want to live or hear about that type of nonsensical Christianity.

Disobedience to many of these types of verses is what makes the difference between God’s people and the people of the world. But of course, those who disobey these love commandments may still go to church on Sunday and really believe they are Christians headed for heaven. That is one of the main reasons Christianity has gone/is going in a downhill slide. And who is to blame? Mostly the clergy for not emphasizing the importance of obedience to ALL of the NT verses, regardless of how unnatural they may seem. Genuine Christianity is not natural; it is supernatural religion, empowered by the Holy Spirit of God.

Even though a genuine Christian and a fake one may look and talk alike, all one has to do is to examine their lives and activities; they are as different as a worldly demon and a heavenly angel. And yet many religions teach tolerance of all religions. Sure! These people of the world are in essence saying, “Let the demons and angels live and let live.”

The big shame is that worldly people are not aware of the satanic situation they are in. The most troubling part of it is this: Come hell or high water, you or I may not be able convince them of their pending, though deadly, situation. The world and its people pass away, but those who do the will of God will live forever. 1st John 2:17 (paraphrased). It is my personal duty to make sure everyone knows the complete will of God before boasting of his or her Christianity.

It is hard to believe that churchgoers may never learn through their church the WHOLE will of God as dictated in the NT. I have said this a dozen times in other posts, and will say it again: The main, if not the only, reason is because the whole will of God (including the tough verses that are not natural to our human nature) is not very pleasant. If churches did preach disagreeable verses and enforced them, their church buildings would be nearly empty in no time. What preacher wants to work elsewhere when he/she has it made where he/she is?

In closing, the world as described in this post is one of the biggest detriments to the whole of Christianity. And the clergy are the main culprits. Look at it this way: When any intricate part of a document (NT) is left out, or when an important part of any machine is left out, it just won’t work as designed. I pray that God will bless all who read this post and give it wholehearted credence.

Let me leave you with this reminder: 1st John 2:15. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Friday, November 20, 2009

# 290: Experience God’s Nature

Being loved is the most precious ingredient in the universe. We were created to love and be loved. Love is an invisible ingredient that will, at all times, display an action and possibly (hopefully) a response. Of course, the quality of love is important. Much of the physical love we see around us is tainted with self-centeredness: needing to be loved in return. And that is natural. But to love without desiring anything in return is precious (greatly desired) and scarce. This type of love has nothing to do with romance; it is selfless.

What gives this selfless love value is for someone to actually experience the love one is receiving. A person may know she/he is loved—that part is all well and good—but if it does not produce a delightful emotion and a reciprocating action, that love has lost most of its intended purpose.

Even though all peoples desire this type of selfless love, it may be the scarcest of all spiritual ingredients. Why is this? The reason, most likely, is because it cannot be made up. It has to be a genuine, intricate part of the one who is doing the loving.

The above paragraphs are describing love between humans. There is a divine love that is also available: a love for God, an active love for the needy, and of course God’s superior love for human individuals.

God loves all peoples, but has a special kin-type love for those who are His children through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. As His children, we know that God loves us. However, if we are not reciprocating God’s love (by not obeying His commands), there will be little to no beneficial effect in how we experience His love for us. In short, experiencing God’s love is a result of obedience. That is the way love works (e.g. “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”).

In the case where a Christian knows that God loves him/her, it’s all well and good; most likely, though, if that love does not produce some emotion-like reciprocating love, there will be no need or incentive for obedience. And remember, obedience ties the knot in God’s plan of Salvation that cannot be broken. No obedience, no Salvation. End of the subject.

We can learn more of how God’s love works by examining human love. When a male and female’s love first starts before marriage, they can actually feel their love. They are experiencing the love they have for each other, and everything is peaches and cream.

As time goes by, that first love they had for each other isn’t as noticeable as it was when their love first started. They may still love each other, but they are not experiencing love like before. And this can lead to marital problems. For love to be what it was meant to be, it must at all times be experienced. To put it another way, real love is more than just being/living together.

Now the question is asked, “Do we just believe that God loves us and leave it at that, or are we actually experiencing (through feelings and emotions) God’s love for us?” It is sad to say that not many are experiencing God’s miraculous love for them. And the lack of that experience has a devastating effect on how our Christian lives are lived. After all, experiencing God’s love is what makes the difference between those who only call themselves Christians and the active, obedient, genuine Christians.

How can we know for certainty, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are really being loved by God and not just making up this experience? There is a sure way: when we are living a holy life that stems from obedience and not just faith, coupled with active love for God and our needy neighbors. If we are not practicing the above-mentioned four virtues, we are only fooling ourselves.

One of the wondrous attributes about God is His love for every one of His children as if he/she were the only one He loves. He does this through His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is another one of God’s marvelous miracles. Though the Holy Spirit is one, He is a separate entity residing in each Christian, and He caters to each holy desire of the individual He was assigned to. Along with that, He teaches, guides and counsels all of God’s children in the way of holiness and love, according to the NT. John 16:13. “But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into ALL truth.” John 14:26. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things . . .”

One of the most stunning verses in the whole Bible is a New Testament (NT) verse that is often overlooked: Acts 1:8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth.” That Godly power turns us into a spiritual, superhuman race. Then and only then can we live in a manner that is fitting of children of God.

Here is the only thing: everyone who claims to possess the Spirit of God/Christ may not be a recipient. The only reason they may believe as they do is because of a verse in the book of Romans written by the apostle Paul. Romans 8:9. “And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Some marginal Christians must believe that receiving the Spirit is an automatic occurrence at conversion. I don’t think so. The NT is not explicit as to when or to whom it is given, but one thing is for sure: It is given to those who are obedient.

The Holy Spirit will not/cannot be inactive. If people receive the Spirit and then do little or nothing to further the cause of Christ, the Spirit—not willingly, but out of necessity—will leave those people. Is there such a thing as an inactive Christian? I would say no, but the NT does not have a definitive answer.

I will say this: In my life, if I am not praying, meditating, or thinking on spiritual matters, the Spirit that resides in me is mute. He cannot teach, guide or counsel us when our minds are on earthly things, even though many of those worldly chores cannot be neglected. In reality, the Spirit is given to us as the main thrust in our lives. One of the biggest enemies the Spirit has is our doubt in whether He can do what good and holy things we request.

The way we experience God’s love, power, and nature is through the Holy Spirit’s constant communication with our Heavenly Father. The Spirit does what He hears and makes it known to us. Therefore, we will be in constant touch with God Almighty through His Spirit. But that communication cannot continue while our minds are not on Godly matters. 1st Thessalonians 5:17. “Pray continually.” That is the main reason we must avoid as many worldly activities as possible. That is one of the main reasons God commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. When we love God to that degree, there won’t be much more time for other things. If that is our goal, we will, out of necessity and in obedience to the most demanding commandment, make every effort to keep our minds on things that glorify Jesus Christ.

That may seem like a high price to pay. But remember that if you and I have the Spirit of Christ, we are superhuman gods on earth. Don’t forget that this all has to do with continuing the work that Christ started 2,000 years ago, and continually experiencing the life of God and Christ.

We all were born as products of a physical world. That means that since birth, our minds have been on matters related to physical things. (And that is only natural.) But when we receive the Holy Spirit of God, things must change. In order for the Spirit to communicate with us, we must purposely put our minds on Godly/spiritual matters. He cannot and will not force His messages on us while our minds are engaged in physical thoughts, since He communicates with us through our thought process. At the same time, we must be certain that the messages we receive are in accordance with the NT. The reason I say that is because there is also a counterfeit spirit (the evil spirit) that pretends he is giving us godly information. Therefore, at all times, we must discern where the message is coming from. If not, we may be experiencing a false love, only to thwart the work of God.

Never forget this: Satan can enter our thought process when our minds are not on Godly matters. Of course, those thoughts will seem normal because they are concerning every day things. But he still wins, because he is keeping our minds off of heavenly things.

That means that if one is not intimately familiar with the NT and yet believes in getting messages from the Spirit, it is easy for that person to be tricked. There are several denominations that believe their members are in communication with God’s Spirit, but the teachings they receive are in conflict with the Word of God. The best way the devil can mimic the Holy Spirit is when people have their minds on worldly goodies. Therefore, we must be absolutely certain that there are no holes in our belief system, and we do that by intimately knowing our Bible and being obedient to it.

A few individual thoughts:

My goal/Holy grail is to know and experience all that God, through His Spirit, is able to reveal to imperfect humans, so that I can live it and relay it to other needy people.

The more we are loved and respected in this world, the less we need/desire the love God has waiting for us. Likewise, the more pain, sadness and hatred we experience on earth, the more we will be inclined to desire and seek a better place: heaven. Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Our natural desire for worldly comfort is one of the most formidable enemies of God, and one of the best allies of the god of this world (Satan). The less comfort, contentment and security we have in this ungodly world, the better chance we have of experiencing spiritual rest. Matthew 11:29. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.”

Wealthy people who think of themselves as prosperous became that way through some sort of greed. They cannot experience the power, motives and nature of Jesus Christ. This theme on the evil power of greed is made clear throughout the NT.

In conclusion, the most obvious reason we don’t see much of God’s power to perform mighty supernatural healings and miracles in today’s world is because we are not experiencing His nature and love.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

# 289: The Paranormal, Psychics and Halloween

This topic is mystifying, to say the least. And yet, we may learn something about ourselves that may help explain why certain things happen to others and us.

Our intrinsic nature is being silently but continually emitted outside of our bodies. The vast majority of humans cannot tap into those vibes unless they are psychics. (A psychical person is sensitive to forces beyond the physical world.) The Lord God through the Bible is adamantly opposed to all types of psychics. They have different titles: mediums, soothsayers, sorcerers/sorceresses, witches, spiritists, and a few more. All of these people have the spirits of demons, and therefore they are condemned by God.

Let me give just a few Bible verses to prove that they are driven by evil forces: Exodus 22:18. “Do not allow a sorceress to live.”

Leviticus 20:27. “A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them: their blood will be on their own heads.”

Deuteronomy 18:10-11. “Let no one be found among you . . . who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.”

Acts 13:6, 10. “There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus . . .” The apostle Paul said to him, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right!”

Acts 16:16. “‘. . . we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future.’ Paul said: ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!’ At that moment the spirit left her.” Some animals are good at sensing what types of vibes some people are giving off since they do not have verbal communication. They are this way for their own protection to stay clear of those who intend to do them harm.

To prove my point, let me tell you a story of what happened to me a few days ago: I “dog-sit” for my five-year-old granddaughter’s puppy, Cooper, several days a week while she is in school. He is only about nine months old. Every time he is with me, we go on a run, jog, sniff, walk and squirrel-chase around a public park and continue around several blocks. On Wednesday, the 21st of October, while on our trek, I saw an older lady walking around the park. I said to myself, “She looks like a witch.” No sooner did I think that thought than Cooper started to bark and lunge toward this lady. We meet dozens of people each day and Cooper never, ever barks at people or dogs. At this time, we must have been about 30 feet away from this lady. Although Cooper is a Yorkshire terrier and weighs about 9 pounds, he was pulling so hard that I could hardly constrain him with the leash. He barked until she was out of sight.

In the matter of a minute, another person came walking his dog. I said to him, “Did you see that lady that looked like a real live witch?” He said, “Yes, she is here walking quite frequently, and when my dog sees her, he goes berserk.” What was it about this lady that made these two dogs act out of the normal? Let me finish first. As we were on the other end of the park, as we were leaving the park area, Cooper saw only the back of this same lady and started barking again. This time we were a good 100 feet away from her.

We as adults know that there is no such thing as a witch like we see depicted at Halloween. So I ask myself, “What type of vibes was the witch-lady emitting?” I am guessing that she had an intense hatred for all dogs, and the dogs knew it; or, perhaps, she might have been a medium. End of story.

Now we will go again to the Old Testament of the Christian Bible: 1Samuel 28:6-15. Samuel was one of the greatest prophets of God in the Bible. This chapter is named “Saul and the Witch of Endor.” King Saul had been the king of Israel for a number of years but he lost favor with the Lord, and because of disobedience, the Lord did not respond to King Saul’s request of an answer to an immediate problem.

Starting with verse 6: “He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, ‘Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.’”

“‘There is one in Endor,’ they said.”

“So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. ‘Consult a spirit for me,’ he said, ‘and bring up for me the one I name.’”

“But the woman said to him, ‘Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?’”

“Saul swore to her by the Lord, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.’”

“Then the woman asked, ‘Whom shall I bring up for you?’”

“‘Bring up Samuel,’ he said.”

“When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, ‘Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!’”

“The king said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid. What do you see?’”

“The woman said, ‘ I see a spirit coming up out of the ground.’”

“‘What does he look like?’ he asked.”

“‘An old man wearing a robe is coming up,’ she said.”

“Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.”

“Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?’”

This section of Scripture tells me two things: there may be present-day mediums (witches) who still can do such things. And the second is this: even when the holiest of holy die, they don’t go straight to heaven but to the ground.

My curiosity got the best of me as to how these modern-day psychics work. Therefore, I went to the office of a well-advertised one in my hometown of Fort Collins, CO. As she answered the door, I gave her my name and told her that I have a spiritual blog and am in the process of writing an article (post) and would like to interview her. She said she was with a client, and that I must make an appointment. She gave me her card and I was on my way.

Let me tell you, she must have been about between 35 and 40 years old. I am an old man and have seen many faces, but this lady had such a demonic face that I was momentarily frightened, though I had no cause to be.

When I got home, I checked out her website. One of the first things I read was that her family goes back eight generations with natural psychic abilities. I wonder if it runs in the family of all psychics. She had a superbly excellent website, which was obviously done by professionals. She charges by the minute, and for an hour it would cost $120.00.

When I went to the testimonial section, I noticed something: all of the clients providing testimonials were from out of state and evidently contacted her by phone. This was new to me: that she could predict the future from hundreds of miles away, and over the phone. I finally put two and two together and figured anyone who came to her in person might be frightened by her demonic appearance. And most likely, most of her income is made over the phone. On her flier, she stated that her predictions were 98% accurate. We know that Satan knows some of the future and that he knows that his demise is pending. So it is no wonder that psychics in contact with Satan’s demons can almost accurately tell the limited future.

Halloween must have been created for children who love to go door-to-door collecting baskets full of goodies. I now realize that Halloween in reality is witches and goblins doing the work of the devil and his demons. It is, so to speak, Satan’s Christmas.

When I was visiting with my 5-year-old granddaughter and my daughter, I told them about the old witch in the park that Cooper barked at. My granddaughter quickly said, “There is not such a thing as witches.” I didn’t want to say anything that contradicted what my daughter had taught her, so I said nothing. After all, little kids would be frightened if they knew that witches do really exist. However, they don’t go flying around on a broom wearing a black dress, and they don’t have a big humped nose.

In conclusion: it is good advice to stay away from witches (psychics), especially if you are a Christian, because it is the work of demons and their boss.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

# 288: Examining Hell

The word “hell” is used quite often in informal and slang ways, but not very often in its true meaning. Hell originated in the New Testament writings; oddly enough, it was never once mentioned in the Old Testament. Hell is described in several different ways, but always as an undesired place in the afterlife.

I will quote the majority of biblical and associated verses on hell, and tell how many similar verses there are to see if we can come to a consensus as to what hell is/will be.

Matthew 5:22. “But anyone who says . . . will be in danger of the fire of hell.” No where in the New Testament or elsewhere does it tell if this fire, which is mentioned a number of times, is a physical fire that never burns out or a spiritual fire (hot like a physical one but spiritual in nature). I personally believe it will not be a physical fire.

There are four verses that mention hell will be a place of darkness. 2 Peter 2:17. “Blackest darkness will be reserved for them.” Can darkness and glowing fire be in the same location (hell)?

And in Matthew 8:12, it says, “But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Presumably hell. There are seven verses that mention how hell will be a place where there will be gnashing of teeth.

The book of Revelation gives a slightly different version of hell. Revelation 19:20. “The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” There are five more verses in Revelation that teach the same thing concerning what hell will be. Revelation 20:15. “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (The lake of fire is the second death.) Is your name and mine written in the book of life?

Now the question arises as to whether this second death means that they will not suffer eternal punishment in hell, but rather an actual spiritual death. Or is the second death a different place altogether? There are two verses in Matthew’s Gospel that mention eternal punishment. Matthew 25:46. “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

There is one denomination (and I am certain there are even more) that believes that those going to hell will actually die and not have to endure eternal suffering. This seems more humane, but it contradicts some Scriptures.

I will bring up an extremely controversial subject: The vast majority of Christians and even non-Christians believe that when a person dies, they will immediately go to either heaven or hell. According to the NT, that is a false belief. The reason this belief gained universal support all stems from only one section of Scripture: Luke 16:19-31. Jesus was telling the crowds a parable and modern religions in general took it as an actual present-day happening. Matthew 13:34. “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.” The point that Jesus was making is that just because a person was rich and esteemed by the common people, it did not mean that he or she was automatically going to heaven. And the next point he was making is that beggars and the poor were not going to hell because they were looked down on by the wealthy. Oh yes, this was the common belief of all the religious leaders who were rich and loved money. Jesus was about to dispel that belief with this parable.

Here are the reasons why: first, if you have a Bible, read Luke 16:19-31 to see the flaws in it, as if this section was the legal precedent that overrode all other Scriptures concerning this subject. I will try to be as brief as possible. Verse 22: “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, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.”

The question I pose is this: as Scripture teaches, everyone will be judged on the last day at the resurrection. So how did these two individuals bypass the resurrection and the Judgment? Acts 24:15. “ . . . that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” Also, John 11:24. “Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’” Besides these few Scriptures, nowhere in NT Scripture does it teach that it was the angel’s responsibility to carry the saved people to heaven to Abraham’s side, before they were even judged after their/the resurrection. There is also much more evidence to prove that this event could not have happened as modern religion believes. I believe I gave enough Biblical hard-core evidence that Jesus was telling the crowd a parable. This story is only one of religion’s stupid non-biblical beliefs.

If anyone can prove the NT and me wrong, please leave me a comment. If you are a church person, let your minister read this post, and see his/her reaction. I am certain he/she will have a ready-made excuse to prove that I am wrong. How can so many millions of people be tricked by an obvious hoax?

Getting back to what hell will be like, since the Scriptures give several various scenarios as to what hell will be, I must leave the question unanswered, other than it is an undesirable place that is waiting for all who don’t believe and obey the NT.

Let me leave you with this truth: according to Revelation 20:12-14, “The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books . . . and each person was judged according to what he had done.” This will happen on judgment day after the resurrection. Here is a worthy comment: what a person does in life will correspond to what they believe. If they believed they could get away with murder, as it were, and still go to heaven, what they did in life will correspond to that believed. Many “Christians” will say, “It is faith that saves us.” And that is true, as common sense teaches, that what we did in life, good or bad, will verify whether our saving faith was genuine.

Also, what truly bothers me is that many denominations believe that if a person gave their life to Jesus Christ and believes He is their Savior, what they have done or will do will not be held against them at the judgment. They teach that their good actions/deeds are only for rewards. What a mother/father of all lies. A very hot hell is waiting with an open mouth for these religious deceivers.

In conclusion, just because pastors are religious and are honored in the community, what they believe and teach may not be according to the NT. Your only protection against unbiblical beliefs is to study the NT without any preconceived beliefs. This blog may also be a big help.

The reason for the necessity of hell is this: When children continue to disobey their parents, what is needed is a good spanking. Of course, now that is considered as child abuse. Wrong! Proverbs 13:24. “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” The Bible is correct.

When people commit misdemeanors, the city or county jail is waiting for them. When they commit a serious crime, the penitentiary will be waiting for them. In Old Testament times, when people committed a crime such as adultery or working on the Sabbath, etc., they were stoned to death; that is to discourage others from doing the same. For that reason, the crime rate was always low.

America has more inmates per capita in jails than any other country. What does that tell us? It seems our deterrents are not sufficient.

Since our God is a God of love, all His people must obey the rules of love. Now, what is to be done with those who did not adhere to that rule? God’s deterrent had to be severe, actually the most severe of all punishment: a fiery hell for all eternity.

However, hell does not frighten those who don’t believe in our Almighty God, whose name is Jehovah. It will be a big hot surprise for all of them on judgment day.

As one can tell, hell is as necessary as love. What would Christianity be without the fear of hell? Actually, Satan got around that deterrent. But then, that is not the best motive for belief in God, though it will do. God would prefer the motive to believe in Him as their Lord (Boss) and Savior, because He is the epitome of love.

I don’t desire to be labeled a hell-fire Christian; nevertheless, it is of great importance that all people who call themselves Christians do everything in their power to somehow let it be known that hell is awaiting for millions, possibly including themselves if they remain silent. And that is what we have been doing: keeping silent since who knows when. That is the problem in Christianity as a whole. We are not spreading the message of hell, most likely because people will call us judgmental, etc. Talking about hell infers that we are talking about them, especially to friends, who will make us instant enemies. And everyone knows that we desire to be loved and accepted, and not hated. Nowhere in the entire Bible does it teach that we will win a popularity contest if we are good and obedient followers of Christ. In fact, Jesus Christ was killed because he told the religious leaders what they didn’t want to hear. Religious people may want to kill us. There are more than a few who want my neck.

Repeating, for our silence we may have to pay the ultimate price, because silence is pretty good evidence that we are dead “Christians.” If they are actually experiencing the goodness of Jesus Christ, it is literally impossible to keep it to themselves.

Evidently, it must be people who call themselves Christians who aren’t concerned if others who don’t know Christ are going to hell; as long as they think they are saved. Ouch!

I hope and pray that God will be merciful and compassionate to many silent Christians who are good, loving and God-fearing. And then, I hope that God will forgive me for writing the aforementioned sentence, because by our silence we are nonverbally denying Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

# 287: Why Death?

Death is an unpleasant topic most people don’t care to talk about, yet in the Christian life it is of importance. Death is something most people fear and would like to postpone as long as possible, and I can understand that. And yet, according to the New Testament (NT), death can be something to look forward to.

I will bring up Biblical verses that speak positively about death, of course meaning only for genuine Christians. Yes, death is the end of life as we know it. But according to the NT, after physical death, we will have what will seem like a momentary sleep until the judgment day, and then we will start to experience a glorious life that we could not imagine at this time. But for all atheists and “Christian” hypocrites, death is the dreaded end of all life.

Since this is true, why do the vast majority of Christians still fear death? I do understand that many have families to care for and have other earthly obligations, and that they are the only ones with certain responsibilities, which is why they do not want to leave this earth at the present time. And still, I believe that even with many worldly obligations, death should not be feared. Many times, those left behind are the ones affected the most by the loss of their loved one.

Did you know that in the complete animal kingdom, though they all engage in survival of the fittest, not one of them fears death or is concerned about it, because they know nothing about death or even the existence of death? Their intellect cannot comprehend it; they are great at living in the moment.

To my knowledge, humans are the only group of living beings who fear death and the fact that we will all eventually die. Actually, death is a foreign invader to our intellect. It is the most feared and unnatural enemy of all. In fact, even though we take it for granted that we will eventually all die, it makes no sense to die; it is stupid.

Physical death infers that we are dispensable, regardless of how important we think we are. But when we become genuine Christians, we become extremely valuable to God and therefore are indispensable, where death cannot violate our existence any more than it can destroy the eternal life of Jesus Christ.

Death is natural to the animal kingdom, and even though we are part of that kingdom, our intellect causes us to elevate ourselves above them. We also will die and accept it as natural. Therefore, it is the fear of death that must be destroyed. As President F. D. Roosevelt stated after the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”

Here is the answer to the mystery that has been hidden for ages regarding why no one really wants to die: not wanting to die strongly implies, without ever thinking it, that we all desire to live forever. That tells me that every human being on earth was made with the potential to live forever; all they need to do is live and believe as God through Christ commands, and it’s a done deal. That means that eternal life agrees with our innermost being (our intellect), and the devil (the personification of the death) is our enemy, who attempts to deny us eternal life.

That is why it is imperative that all Christians must, through Christ, destroy the fear of death. Death keeps us prisoner to this animalistic, carbon-based, me-first world.

That is why as Christians, our assurance of having eternal life and our knowledge and obedience to Gospel truths is the basis for destroying the fear of death.

Hebrews 2:14-15. “… so that by his death he (Jesus Christ) might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Death without faith in Christ is Satan exerting his satanic power.

1st Corinthians 15:54-55. “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin . . .”

1st John 3:14. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in [spiritual] death.”

The above verse is saying that when we have an active Divine love for others, which is evidence, that fear of death will no longer hold us captive. And those without that special Divine love will still have the fear of death as something that must be avoided at all costs.

2nd Timothy 1:10. “but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has DESTROYED DEATH and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” [emphasis added].

Romans 6:23. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Anyone whose sins have not been taken away by Christ will still have fear of death, and with good reason.

There is no doubt that I am not a run-of-the-mill Christian; still, let me tell you how my personal life is intertwined with death. Before I do, let me quote how the great apostle Paul is torn between life and death: Philippians 1:21-25. “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what should choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”

I also, at this time, wholeheartedly desire to depart from this senseless, demonic, greedy world to be with the one I love (Jesus Christ). And yet, it is better for the cause of Christ that I remain just a little longer because there are multitudes of people who call themselves Christians, but don’t know what is expected of them as the NT commands. I continually pray that by word of mouth or through this blog, Christ—through me—might snatch a few more from the fire so that they may be saved.

Jude, the brother or half-brother of Jesus, is believed to have written the short book of Jude. In Jude 22-23, he writes, “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them . . .”

It is everyone’s solemn duty as disciples of Christ to make a wholehearted effort to snatch as many as possible from the pending fire. Some may say, “That is not our job, but belongs to the ministers, etc.” That is a blatant lie. If anyone is in possession of something very valuable and special (eternal life), a team of wild horses couldn’t stop them from sharing it with every Tom, Dick and Mary, so that they can have it also. Not having a desire to share the gift of life implies that they may have nothing to share.

In conclusion, death will have a dramatic effect on everyone. To those who are God’s children, death should/will be a joyful experience; if they are not, they will have a fearful and dreadful ending to their lives.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

# 286: What is Wealth?

I have written on this topic several times and believe it is time to write on it again in a more forthright and comprehensive manner. The reason is because the New Testament (NT) is adamant about the spiritual condition of admired/emulated, wealthy “Christians.”

The truth concerning this subject is one of the most contested in the NT, especially by Americans. When our country was being founded, the freedom it gave its citizens was the ability to become wealthy. Fact: for that reason, everyone in America desires to live the “good life.” And that is understandable. The only problem is that wealth most often comes as a result of some sort of greed. According to the NT, greed and God do not mix because God demands that His people seek and practice holiness, sanctity, love, compassion and especially mercy.

There is a more underlying reason why God speaks negatively in the NT concerning wealth, which often makes people powerful and usually arrogant. Those who are rich or the “wannabe” rich have a common denominator: they prey or will prey on the people who need their services. Let me explain: there would be no rich people if it weren’t for the common working people.

When people, including some who claim to be Christians, get a higher education (PhD/doctorate, legal attorneys or other high degrees), they can charge an extremely high price for their services. In turn, the working, needy people have to pay whatever the going rate is so that these highly educated professionals can get even richer. In comparison to the income of the little guy and gal, what they charge is highway robbery, outright legal stealing. Ephesians 4:28: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work doing something useful with his hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” Then there are all the corporate merchants who sell all the products that we the consumers desire or need. They charge all that they can get from the consumer, so they can get even richer. In this sort of economy, which is worldwide, there is no desire for a sense of equality.

Who or what makes rich “Christians” better or more worthy of their wealth than needy working people? No doubt, according to the standards of this world, they have good reason to be proud of their success. But with that pride, most rich “Christians” are unwilling/unable to have compassion, love and mercy for the people who are in real need. That is strike number one against them.

Although these rich “Christians” want to go to heaven, they say/think “but not just yet.” They don’t have a real need to leave this world, because their lives are a continual, carefree party, so to speak. However, genuine Christians who are having a tough time (the poor) would love to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far. They are the only group of people that I am aware of who don’t fear physical death—which is not really death but just a passageway to go where there is no death. I, personally, am in this group.

If, by some chance, wealthy “Christians” could have real humility, compassion, love and mercy, it wouldn’t be long before they ran out of money and the good life. Especially now due to the loss of employment and homes during this recession, there are millions who are poor—of course, they probably do not possess Christ-like compassion for the needy. This is why it would be literally impossible for the rich to share their wealth with the poor—they would have no more reason to be proud of their dwindling wealth.

Let me mention that even though our God is a God of love, there are many things He hates that humans do/have. On the top of this list is pride. That could be the main reason God condemns wealth—it produces unwarranted pride. Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 11:2: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

If all wealthy people in America, Christian and secular, were to continually share their wealth with the poor—just enough for the poor to get by—there would be no poverty in our great country. Of course, that would not include sharing wealth with drug addicts and panhandlers addicted to alcohol. Don’t hold your breath: it will never happen.

Then some would say, “I know several very wealthy people who are good Christians and have great humility without a bit of pride or arrogance.” However, just because they don’t show their pride and arrogance openly, they still have good reason to be proud in their inmost thoughts. Luke 1:51: “. . . he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.” This is the only verse that speaks positively on the rich. 1st Timothy 6:18: “Command them [the rich] to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” This does not mean to only give 10% or more to one’s church. This type of generosity goes far beyond tithing to one’s church.

As one can tell, in God’s kingdom there is no room for pride because pride and humility are in conflict with each other. Humility, love, compassion and mercy are kissing cousins; they are a must to enter heaven.

Why do you think the Jews in general have never accepted Jesus Christ as their Messiah? I am certain that they have several reasons, but the main reason is the NT’s preaching against wealth. Most Jews are extremely wealthy; in fact, they own the vast majority of all American enterprises. Also, their wealth makes them the most influential people in America, if not the world.

Now tell me, what church or denomination would preach such a sermon concerning how God feels toward the rich? You guessed it, none. You see, the American way is not God’s way. Find me one American Christian that wouldn’t want to be rich if she/he had the chance. Show me one wealthy “Christian” who claims not to be proud and I will show you a liar. It is impossible to separate personal wealth from pride. You can’t have wealth without pride.

<>There are dozens of verses that speak negatively about the harm wealth can do in the Christian community, and we see it right here and now in America. Remember that it is the wealthy who give the most to the churches they belong to: 10% or more of all their earnings. So why would any preacher in his/her right mind want to lose their tithes and membership? It is that simple as to why the wealthy have dominated the giving in most mega-churches, and even smaller ones.

I have quoted many NT verses in previous posts that teach that the rich are not welcome in God’s kingdom. But for those who are reading this blog for the first time, I will quote them again.

But before I do, let me give some examples of the results of wealth. The richer the rich get, the less aware they are of their need for God, even if they openly praise the Lord for their success. I know several wealthy business people who do that. Regardless, God is still put on the back burner when it comes to Christian works and Christian generosity. The reason is that they are enjoying so many things in this world that ordinary people can never enjoy; they can have literally anything in this world that their greedy hearts desire.

This is what the apostle James teaches in chapter four, verse four: “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

Here is what the apostle John has to say about the world: 1st John 2:15: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” The question arises: why would anyone want to be rich if they couldn’t enjoy their wealth by doing and having all the things and more our world offers? Strike number two.

Every Christian is a role model for other Christians/Saints. Therefore, by their wealth, they are giving the go-ahead sign to all who respect them, and even those who don’t, to be rich “Christians” like them. There are over half a dozen verses that teach that our example for how we must live is Jesus Christ. 1st John: 2:6: “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” Let me give just two more: 1st Peter 2:21: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his footsteps.” The apostle Paul said in 1st Corinthians 11:1: “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”

Here is the most harmful part: most wealthy “Christians” are admired and respected by many. Can anyone see what the outcome would be when a person who is rich claims to be a good Christian? Wealth and influential power becomes the role model for others instead of holiness and sanctity. Strike number three.

Then, another thing: who do you think are the big shots that are in charge of some church duties, like deacons, etc.? They may also be in charge of making up a lot of activities that go on in their church. In effect, the wealthy silently dominate what is and is not preached in their church building. For example, would it be preached how wealth is not welcome in the Christian life? In those types of churches, their religion is a form of soothing entertainment. Strike number four.

Most—if not all—wealthy people are proud of what they possess and what they have accomplished in their life. Wealthy “Christians” are no different, though they may not verbalize just how important and proud they think they are.

Let me give just two NT verses on how crafty Satan the devil really is: 2nd Corinthians 11:14: “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as angel of light.” 2nd Corinthians 2:11: “. . . in order that Satan might not outwit us. We are not unaware of the schemes.”

As previously mentioned, Satan has in his clutches all rich “Christians” who disregard what the NT teaches. This blog reiterates the damage wealth does, not only for them but others who want to become rich “Christians” also. This satanic principle concerning the wonders of wealth for Christians is most likely one of Satan’s deepest and most tightly held secrets. Remember, having and desiring wealth is the American way, but not God’s way.

Let me repeat myself: of all the tricks that Satan plays on Christians, the easiest deception for him is to make his people disobey the verses that condemn being wealthy, and he somehow makes them believe that it is honorable for them to desire wealth; the more the better, so that they will have more money to do God’s work. SURE! The reason why it is a piece of cake for the devil is because desiring wealth is one of humanity’s strongest natural instincts.

Wealthy “Christians” should not--although they do--disobey NT commands concerning the deadly harm wealth creates. Hebrews 5:9: “and once made perfect, he [Christ] became the source of eternal salvation for all who OBEY him.” Without obedience to all that the NT commands, Christianity can, and in many cases has, become a phony sham.

Very few wealthy “Christians” will openly admit that they don’t love money, and I can understand that; what they do love is what money can do and buy for them. There are several reasons why they won’t mention their love for money. Here is one: 1st Timothy 6:9-10: “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.”

Here are many of the NT verses that clearly and unequivocally display and describe the deadly harm wealth does to the cause of Christ, to themselves and others:

2nd Timothy 3:1-2: “But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money . . .”

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?”

Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

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

Some claim a person can be well off and not be greedy, but that is an outright lie. They change the word “greed” by replacing it with the word “prosperity.”

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.”

Ephesians 5:3: “but among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because they are improper for God’s holy people.”

Colossians 3:5: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: . . . and greed, which is idolatry.”

1st Corinthians 5:11: “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy . . . with such a man do not even eat.”

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

These next several verses are in the three harmonious gospels. I will quote just one. Matthew 19:23-24: “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.’” These verses have been so watered down/diluted by many large churches and rich “Christians” that they don’t mean what they teach any more.

Luke 1:53: “. . . but has sent the rich away empty.”

Luke 6:24: “but woe to you who are rich.”

This next section tells about a beggar named Lazarus and a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. Luke 16:19-31 most likely was a parable and is the most extreme example of the harm that will come to wealthy “Christians.” If you have never read this section, it is quite informative. I will quote just two short verses, 22-23: “The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment . . .”

James 1:11: “In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.”

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

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.”

Repeating, now tell me what church or denomination would preach such a sermon concerning how God feels toward the rich? You guessed it: none. You see, the American way is not God’s way. Find me one American Christian that wouldn’t want to be rich if she/he had the chance.

Then there are those who attempt to Biblically defend their wealth by bringing up two rich disciples of Christ: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Granted, but how long do you think they could/would have kept their wealth with all the extremely poor disciples/saints in Jerusalem at that time? Acts 4:32: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.”

Some may ask, “Why are the poor (scum of the earth) and the poor in spirit so privileged to be prime candidates for the kingdom of heaven?”

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?”

Matthew 5:3:” Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Luke 6:20: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

The Christians who are poor in spirit are aware of how impoverished they really are spiritually, and how much more is ahead of them in order to continually please God: continuing the work that Jesus started.

The physically poor Christians can’t wait to leave this world that has been so unkind to them. Whether they were born on the wrong side of town or they made a few wrong choices, etc., they know where they are going is far better. From all indications, even though anyone can believe and become a Christian if they adhere to what is taught in the NT, the Bible, the Old and the New Testament openly favor the underdogs.

In conclusion, there is no way wealth of any sort can be justified in the Christian life, according to the NT and as presented in a condensed form in this post. Will a few of the rich respond to the truth concerning wealth? I doubt it. Will the mega-churches respond to the truth concerning wealth? Absolutely not. The wealthy are the lifeline for their church’s existence. One thing that will come out of this revelation in Post #286 is that when wealthy “Christians” read this post, they will not have a legitimate excuse for their wealth.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

# 285: The Religion of Love

There are hundreds, possibly even thousands of aspects to the Christian religion which are interconnected and stem from love: God’s love for us, our love for our neighbor, our love for God and Jesus Christ, His love for us, and our love for each other, etc. Love is what binds us together as a unit, which is called the Church.

When our Christian life is void of genuine love, it is a false form of Christianity. Of course, love has little or nothing to do with the necessary and essential chores in life--I don’t mean those kinds of things.

Genuine Christ-like love is never concerned with how we will make out as we give needed love, but will it make the loved one think that Christianity may be the right religion. In other words, the motive behind loving the unbeliever without expecting anything materially in return is a way of possibly expanding the Kingdom by one or more people. As one can tell, there is a method to our madness: gain.

Making the invisible God visible with our love is the job of every Christian. I can honestly say that so-called Christians in general get a failing grade in this essential endeavor. The reason may be our lack of divine love. To be effective, love must be genuine. When genuine Godly love is the motivator in what we do, it becomes an irresistible, visible force.

Many don’t realize that since God is Love, love and only love--not meaning self-love--must be the driving force that compels us to live and obey all that is commanded in the New Testament (NT).

The two most compelling verses in the complete Bible are the foundation of all else. Better yet, all that is done or not done must stem from these two verses: Matthew 22:36-40: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Luke and Mark also add ‘and with all your strength.’” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is similar: “Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Here is the funny thing about Christianity as we now have it: those two commandments are the most ignored and watered-down of all by most denominations. It seems that Christianity has been made into a religion of self-betterment, while occasionally still using the word “love.”

I personally have heard it said by preachers that those two commandments couldn’t be obeyed by anyone; it is impossible. Given that, it seems as though love has been deleted as the foundation of the religion of love.

Here is where the oxymoron lies: just because those commandments are higher than the clouds for us to reach, they are to be every Christian’s “holy grail”/unreachable goal. We are to continually strive by making every effort to reach that goal. The term “make every effort” is in at least half a dozen NT verses. That is one reason I have written many times that the Christian religion is the most challenging endeavor on this earth. There can be no slacking off.

Just remember this: genuine love is the most powerful and desired force in the whole universe, though many would desire riches, power and fame in its stead. And on the top of the list of the greatest forces is God’s love for us. Nevertheless, if we are not aware of His love for us, it will not do us much, if any, good. I understand that it will not be easy to actually experience His love. But once a person does, it will be like holding the world on a string. That love gives one the power, desire and motivation to live as we are commanded in the NT.

When it comes to the words “hate” and “love,” there seem to be several contradictions in the NT. I will attempt to clarify them so that there will be no confusion. To love as the NT commands will, at times, be very challenging. For example: it is not natural to love your enemies or those who hate you. Yet, we are commanded to love them and be good to them. The main reason we must act in such a kind way is to somehow get them to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

With that in mind, we must not waste our time on anyone who seems continually contrary to the gospel message. Therefore, we have to use wisdom and discretion in how we act with this verse in mind. Matthew 7:6: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”

When a person is loved by a human, that person wants to please the one who loves her/him by loving in return. The same is true with God; we want to please Him in every way.

The next several verses might seem to contradict each other, but it is not so. John 12:25: “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

Ephesians 5:29: “After all, no one hates his own body, but he feeds it and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.”

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.”

There seems to be something wrong with this verse, but Matthew says almost the same thing, giving a more moderate rendition.

Matthew 10:37-39: “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; anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Even with Matthew’s version, this could be one of the most difficult commands to obey. But what these verses are saying is not to love your family members any less than you now do, but to love Jesus Christ more strongly than you love your precious family members. In short, our love and devotion for Jesus Christ surpasses our love for any earthly person or thing. The question arises: why must we love, or better yet, how can we love Christ in this fashion?

This is the answer: because He is of greater importance than any other human. Successfully making this most challenging change may be the downfall of many. This will separate the sheep from the goats, because it is of vital importance. This may not happen overnight, but if God’s Holy Spirit is working unhindered in you and me, it will eventually come to fruition. I have to admit that this has been the hardest verse for me personally to obey.

This verse and others like it imply that Christianity is not just an add-on to one’s life, allowing one to avoid going to hell by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior—it is the most important endeavor possible, and it will eventually consume our lives.

It is also a test to see if our love for God and Christ are for real. If it isn’t, this verse will be avoided and blacked-out in the Bibles of many. This verse also validates the verse previously mentioned, the foundation of the complete NT: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Simply put, Christian love must be more than beautiful words and songs, but action. Love implies action; action concerning our love for Christ must supersede all other loves and desires. Love/Christianity is serious business.

Luke 12:51: “Do you think I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” [in the family].

This above verse says that because of our commitment to Christ, some family members will not go along with Christ’s radical commandments, and thus there will be some sort of strife. I have seen this happening in several families.

Luke 6:27-28, 31: “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 . . . Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

This above verse will also be contrary to the laws of nature into which we were born. We would normally avoid our enemies and hate them and wish they would go to hell. I have many enemies who hate me for my stance of exposing the fallacies in traditional Christianity. I am occasionally confronted by them: I am usually treated somewhat cordially, but I can tell that they would like to wring my neck by the look in their eyes. I truthfully feel sorry for them if they believe they are telling the whole truth, but I have mixed emotions about those who know that they are deliberately deceiving the laity.

In ending, I believe the thing that bothers me most is the clergy not emphasizing the seriousness of being a disciple of Christ. The reason may be that they want the congregation back next week, and if they make them feel guilty for not doing/obeying what the NT commands, they will never come back to that church.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

# 284: Dancing With the Devil

The basis for this post is to logically investigate the origin and reason for evil/sin and its leader, the devil.

How much do we know about the devil? Most likely not very much except that he is the force behind all sin. He is the evil force behind our self-centered, me-first animal nature, which the apostle Paul refers to over a dozen times as our sinful nature. We are all born with that “me-first” attitude.

While the Holy Spirit indwells God’s people, the spirit of Satan the devil indwells all people without God’s Spirit, of course without the knowledge of most people. Satan’s main purpose is to make certain that his people are concerned with survival of the fittest. In whatever they do, his continued inspiration is to make certain it will be for their physical benefit, even though they may not make it appear that way.

Satan knows that naturally, all humans are sophisticated, intelligent animals, and he does everything in his power to hide that fact from us. He wants us to believe we are good people, regardless of how selfish and egotistical we may be. Also, he continually attempts to make evil look acceptable and good. These are only a few of the devil’s tightly held secrets.

The question comes up as to why he is evil. Why can’t he be good? Because he was--and still is--the heart and soul of all wild animals. It would be impossible for him to change. That is where our animal nature comes from, but usually in a greatly modified way.

For wild animals, the devil is the good guy, because he inspires them to fight for their survival. Also, as he lives in humans, it is the same story: dog eat dog, but hopefully in a non-conspicuous way. When animals are tamed, Satan is in limbo, but is waiting for a chance to exert his will. Most likely, while in wild animals, the devil thinks like a rational human although he is an intelligent animal himself, always wanting the best for the animals he is possessing.

Now for the transition from animal to human: as I have written several times in this blog, we must use logic when reading the first few chapters of Genesis. As any sane person knows (and it has been proven over and over again with scientific empirical evidence), the universe was not built/created in six 24-hour days. Also, the earth is not 6 thousand years old, but took billions of earth years for God to build according to the laws of physics that he established. God created it according to what I call “God-Guided Evolution” and not according to Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Since time does not exist in the realm where God resided, it took no time at all for Him to create the universe and intelligent humans. When I say that time does not exist with God, that means there are no weeks, months, years, decades or centuries. We do not age when we are with God, as He does not age.

I am certain that if God tried to explain to Moses what we now know as fact about the creation process and the number of earth years for God to finish His work, it would have blown Moses’ mind. So now it is the place of all logical and rational Bible students/Christians to improvise the first chapter or two of Genesis so that atheists, etc. wouldn’t think all Christians belong in a funny farm.

This theological writing may sound strange coming from a man who is a dedicated and active follower of Jesus Christ. But remember, it is Spirit inspired human logic.

Now getting back to the devil and how he works…when the devil possesses humans, his action becomes evil because initially, most evil springs from self-concern, and many times at the cost of others.

The only way to be freed from the natural power the devil has over all he possesses is to become possessed by the Holy Spirit of God. The first thing God’s Spirit does in an individual is to inform that person to consider others as important and better than themselves. That is divine love. Well, this may be our first reaction: that is not very inviting news. What makes it more inviting is that the person will be empowered with God’s love. When Jesus Christ comes into the picture and is accepted as Lord and Savior and the gift of eternal Salvation is revealed, then and only then will it be more natural to love others as we love ourselves. Of course, things are in reverse in this paragraph. The acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior comes first, and if that commitment is for real, all the above-mentioned, etc. will follow.

One thing is evident: wherever sin resides, the inspiration of the devil is present. The devil, sin and self-centeredness are synonymous. That seems to indicate that every person who is not a Holy Spirit-inspired person (Christian) is being inspired by the devil, regardless of how good, kind and loving they may seem. The vast majority of the human population are not genuine born-again, Spirit-totting Christians. That is a frightful thing to think we live in such an ungodly world.

The question remains: are we dancing with the devil, or are we waltzing with the Spirit of God? There is no in between. It is easy to dance with the devil since he makes most of his ways according to what makes us feel good about ourselves.

While waltzing with the Spirit of Jesus Christ, many situations will be difficult for us to handle because it is not easy to go against our sinful human nature. And what does the apostle Paul teach in Romans 8:8? “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” Also 8:13-14: “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

This teaching implies that it will not be an easy thing, even occasionally, to live without obeying our sinful human nature. This is because it is natural to live according to what feels good, and quite often it may be good for our personal survival. I wish this teaching would be more prevalent in most Christian churches, but anyone can see why it isn’t; it is not a “make-you-feel-good” teaching.

There are times I wish we could live according to our sinful nature and still be good Christians, but that is not the case. Repeating, the reason is because that is where the devil gets his power. Once we go there, we will be dancing with the devil and to his tune.

And don’t forget this: since Satan is a spirit creature, he doesn’t occupy space, so his sinful desires are everywhere. As we can’t escape the eyes of the Lord, the same is true with Satan.

Just because some of us have been blessed and thus led by the Holy Spirit, the spirit of the devil is still waiting on the sidelines/peripherally as it were, waiting for a selfish or sinful thought or deed in our lives so that he can trip us up without our knowledge.

In conclusion, I truly believe that for whatever reason, people’s misconceptions (of thinking they are Christians and yet are dancing with the devil) explain why much of the Christian religion is in shambles. Anyone can easily tell if they are genuine Christians or not by how many worldly activities they enjoy engaging in. And the sure way one can tell if an activity is worldly is when it doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus Christ and/or holiness. The word “holy” means to be separate from the normal/secular. The devil doesn’t want you to believe this paragraph; it is another of his tightly held secrets.

It is no wonder that atheists ridicule Christians, the fakes along with the genuine, because most of them supposedly worship God but still love dancing with the devil.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

# 283: Can We Lose Our Salvation?

I was discussing spiritual matters with a friend of mine--a very intelligent man--and I was shocked when he mentioned, “A person cannot lose his/her Salvation.” I asked him if he was a Baptist. I found out that he goes to an independent church in California.

I asked him if that belief comes from the New Testament (NT). He could not give me any verses to substantiate that belief. Then he asked me to give him the verses that prove a person can lose his/her Salvation. I told him there are dozens of such verses in the NT. I thought this subject would be of interest to many who are Christians, including those who subscribe to the blog. So as I write to him, I am also writing to many bloggers.

To start with the basics in the Christian life: first we believe/have faith in Jesus Christ for what He has done for us, and we believe that what He teaches is truth. Then comes love for God the father, and love for His son Jesus Christ, and love for those in either spiritual of physical need. The next step, which is a stumbling block to many and is the most difficult to practice: obedience to all that He commands us to do or not to do.

In order to understand what the above paragraph’s teachings are, an accurate knowledge is needed of what is taught and not taught in the New Testament. It is utterly impossible to follow Christ’s teachings without that knowledge. That is where a vast majority of Christians fall short. They may think they know what the New Testament contains because of what many of those behind their pulpits have been teaching or not teaching for years.

I will now let the New Testament speak for itself, with only a few comments from the peanut gallery as to the erroneous belief that “Christians cannot lose their Salvation.” By the way, my friend did say that apostates are not included in the group he defined as unable to lose their Salvation. (By the way, the NT and I disagree.) An apostate is one who is guilty of apostasy. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the meaning of apostasy is an abandoning of what one has believed in, as a faith, cause or principles. That means Christian apostates once believed and were saved, and as they turned their back on what they once believed, their Salvation was lost, or forfeited.

This is one verse—and there may be others that I am not aware of--that allows some denominations to believe they cannot lose their salvation. Romans 8:38. “For I am convinced neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And still there is one condition not mentioned in the above verse, which is that we still have a free will, which cannot be taken from us. And when we use that will to continually do things that are not pleasing to the Holy Spirit that indwells us, that may be grounds for a separation. Let’s let the NT speak for itself.

John 14:21. “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.”

John 15:24. “He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.”

1st Corinthians 16:22. “If anyone does not love the Lord--a curse be on him. Come, O Lord!

John 15:4-5. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you . . . If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” All Christians have a choice to remain in Christ. Of course, without obedience to His commands, people will unknowingly sever their connection with Jesus Christ. It is absolutely imperative to know and obey all New Testament commands. No excuses!

John 15:10. “If you obey my commands you will remain in my love.”

John 15:14. “ You are my friends if you do what I command.”

John 15:16. “You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last.” When Jesus mentions the words “bear fruit,” He means to obey all His commands. Obedience to His commands and bearing fruit are synonymous.

Matthew 28:19. “ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations . . . and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Colossians 1:22-23. “. . . to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation--if you continue in your faith, established and firm . . . .” To continue in one’s faith means to continue to be obedient to New Testament commands. No one is going to heaven without obedience, and that is exactly what a majority of preachers don’t like to dwell on since it is not a favorite topic with most atheistic Christians. An atheist is not only one who doesn’t believe in God but also one who doesn’t obey God. They are both in the same boat.

1st Corinthians 15:2. “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” The only way we can hold firmly is to continue to obey the New Testament and not what the slick-talking preachers teach. They purposely ignore the difficult verses. They don’t what to lose anyone as members of their church because their preaching seems unreasonable to implement.

John 14:7-8: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, SHOWING YOURSELVES TO BE MY DISCIPLES.” [emphasis added] Therefore, the main--if not the only--evidence that we belong to Christ and that our salvation is secure is the bearing of much fruit.

Then, to know what kind of fruit we must bear, we have to turn to the NT to learn what is expected of every person who calls him/herself a Christian. That means we must read, study and memorize all that is expected of us. This blog will be a good companion to the NT.

Galatians 6:9. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Ephesians 2:2. “. . . the ruler of the kingdom of the air, [the devil] the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Some Christians in the past had honestly accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (salvation) and for whatever reason are now disobedient or disregarding Holy Scripture. This is clear evidence that the evil one is at work in their lives. No verses are more descriptive when we knowingly or unknowingly ignore Biblical commands.

Colossians 1:12. “. . . giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you/us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”

Colossians 2:18. “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize.” That prize is, as the above verse states, a share in the kingdom of light (heaven).

These two verses teach that it is God who qualifies us for salvation, and by our actions we can be disqualified. God can make us and/or break us, according to how we live. The way we live tells God if we have faith, love and obedience.

1st John 1:24: “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.”

1st John 3:24. “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them.” It is critical to know and obey the commands that promote love for God and neighbor. Those commands are found in the NT.

1st John 2:15-17. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the [silent] boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (emphasis added). These verses tell it all. We are so hooked on the things and pleasures of the world that it would be almost impossible for many of us to break clean of the enjoyment and entertainment our enticing world offers.

You see, when many people first accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and thus have Salvation, it is great. But when some learn of the restrictions Scripture places on worldly activities, they may think again and somehow innocently incorporate worldly activities into their Christian life. At that point, their Christianity is tainted with sin, and thus unknowingly, they have forfeited what they previously had: Salvation.

This large number of verses with a few more to come is getting a bit repetitive. This goes to show how important this topic is. But I must continue with just a few more.

John 8:31. “If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The only way we can hold on to Christ’s teachings is first to know what they are and then to obey them. And don’t think you can learn what they are by proxy through a preacher; you have to go straight to God and dig into His Word yourself. This may not sound very interesting, but this way you will be sure no one is pulling the wool over your eyes.

Listen to this one: 2nd Peter 1:10. “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election SURE. For if you do these things, you will never fail.” The things Peter is talking about start in verse five of this chapter. [Emphasis added].

Hebrews 6:11. “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.”

James 4:4. “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” If anyone chooses to be a friend of the world after their initial conversion, their salvation goes out the window. No one can be an enemy of God and still have His Salvation.

Do you desire what is detestable to God? This is a tough one. Luke 16:15. “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Jesus is talking about money, as that paragraph indicates. Ouch!

If you don’t think obedience is of great importance, listen to this one: Hebrews 5:9. “. . . he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

The word “overcome” is used several times in the book of Revelation and about a dozen times throughout the NT. “Overcome” in Biblical terms means to overcome all the cynical powers and persuasive schemes of the evil one, Satan the devil. To verify the meaning of “overcome”, check 1st John 2:13-14.

Revelation 2:7. “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

Revelation 2:11: “He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.”

Revelation 2:17: “To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.”

. Revelation 3:5. “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never erase his name from the book of life.” This verse implies that those whose names will be erased from the book of life are those who will lose their Salvation.

Revelation 3:12. “Him who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God.”

Revelation 3:21. “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne . . .”

There are at least three apostates mentioned who were disciples with the apostle Paul and then willfully left the faith. Let me bring them to your attention:

2nd Timothy 4:9. “Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has left me and has gone to Thessalonica.”

Colossians 4:14: “Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.”

2nd Timothy 1:15. “You know that everyone in the providence of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.”

There are a dozen or more verses that repeat many of the same truths, but enough is enough.

In conclusion, with all this Biblical evidence, even one who is not very smart can come to the conclusion that Salvation is conditional. But to make positive corrections in the lifestyles of many will be the difficult part. My unanswered question is how such a large number of churches could teach the opposite of all the above-mentioned verses, and get millions to believe this utter fabrication? I would guess because the Christian lifestyle the clergy have propagated for years is easy. It is not easy to live a life of selfless love, and that is what genuine Christianity is all about. Your comments will be appreciated. jc