Thursday, January 22, 2009

# 269: Morals

The New Testament (NT) is a book which dictates the distinction between right and wrong, and between good and bad conduct. Humans have created codes of ethics that are mainly for the welfare of the general population. But since humans are flawed, many times, those moral codes are also flawed.

Depending on the country where underprivileged people are born, many, especially in third-world countries, the situation is completely unfair that they should live in poverty, pain, hunger, sickness, despair and all kinds of abuse. Children, unfortunately, are often the target of such abuse. I, personally, have an a great empathy for all children who are mistreated. No one deserves that type of treatment. In fact, the pain of that empathy is so strong that at times I can hardly stand it. What type of moral standards do these miserable people live under? I often asked the Holy Spirit, why did a God of love make such a cruel and unfair world? I have not received an answer as of yet; hopefully I will get an answer and relay it on this blog.

When people are born with a gold spoon in their mouths, they expects to be treated with respect. That also is true for those who have climbed to the top of the ladder of success, along with the rest of the wealthy. Then, there are those who are born with a great brain, or excellent memory; they without saying a word, look down on those who are not as fortunate, and silently treat them accordingly.

Then, there are those who live in poverty, possibly through no fault of their own--I was born in that type of situation--and even those who are lazy or those who have made the wrong choices in life. These people are just as human as everyone else, but most often are treated unfairly.

We all know that to many, human birth is an unfair event. One person is born beautiful, another is born ugly; one person is tall in stature, another is very short; one person is born with a healthy body, while another has to live with some form of deformity. This list of the unfair nesses in life is almost endless.

Do the less fortunate deserve to be treated with the same respect as those who have been born with everything going-their-way? The answer is a resounding yes. Nevertheless, there is something about our human nature that doesn’t allow the majority of us to act that way.

The moral standards humans makeup and live by, most often, are not in accordance with the standards that are taught in the NT. One of the most, if not the most, obvious of all moral standards that is contrary to NT teachings is how the general public in America has readily acknowledged, mostly by their silence, sexual immorality as acceptable. For example, young girls become pregnant without being married. In Bible days, they would have been stoned to death. On that same line, now it is normal for school and college-age boys and girls to think it is the ‘in thing’ to have sexual intercourse with as many boys and girls as possible. The thing that bothers me is that not many parents and/or organizations, (and I mean those who have clout) and not many churches are verbally saying or doing nothing to ban and condemn that type of conduct.

According to God’s standards, this type of action signifies that something is dramatically wrong in America. What is it? I am certain there are many factors that bought it on. I would say much of it stems from the proverbial adage ‘We become like those we gaze at’.

Television was introduced in America in the 1940s; that was the first time we could watch and be entertained in the privacy of our homes. That was when we got in the habit of wanting to be entertained just about everyday instead of once a week or so at the movie theater. This constant watching the boob tube started to affect us, without us knowing it, much more than we ever expected.

In those early days, most programming on TV was fairly decent. But in the last 10 or 20 years, it got downright nasty, especially with the onset of the gay rights movement. From thereon in, TV networks gave the viewing public just what they always wanted. If they want trash, that is what they get. TV always was and still is, now even more so, a money making business and not much more. Truth be told: the reason people who desire to watch and engage in obscene trash is because that is what they are morally made up of. That is a harsh but Godly judgment.

Then came the home videos, and finally DVDs. Frankly, much of our present immorality stems from this visual stimulation. And yes, silently and insidiously our new immoral code came into existence. Again, monkey see = monkey do.

Where was the Christian community as all this was happening? Mostly by their silence and their participation they did nothing to stem what was going on. What happened to the Biblical morals that are clearly displayed in the NT for ever Christian to read and adhere to? They were swept under the rug. You see, it is unpopular and difficult for so-called Christians to go against the flow.

What follows is exclusively for everyone who believes they are Christians. Don’t forget this: if anyone doesn’t pass this upcoming Biblical test, and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, don’t you dare call yourselves Christians. Remember, heathens will be better off on judgment day than hypocrites (superficial Christians) who claim to be genuine Christians. An explanation will be presented in an upcoming section.

Here is the reason why: all who claim Christ as their Lord and Savior and live worldly lives--worldliness is damning in God’s sight--make it difficult if not impossible for others who desire to be real Christians, because the conduct of the hypocrites coincides with how atheists live. Who are they (new comers to Christianity) to emulate? To put it clearly: atheists, etc. are not stopping most from accepting Christ as their Savior. But hypocrites are hindering many would-be Christians from knowing what real Christianity is. Therefore these fakes are doing great harm to the cause of Christ, while atheists do not negatively affect Christ’s work to any great degree.

Here is the answer to an unanswered question: are hypocrites aware that they are hypocrites? I am certain most are not. The truthful answer is that when people calls themselves Christians but knowingly don’t obey what is commanded in the NT, he/she is a hypocrite. Hopefully this post will be a wake-up call.

I have mentioned dozens and dozens of times in this blog how everyone can know for certain that they are genuine Christians. I will repeat myself. Even though most orthodox churches claim that they are Bible believing institutions, that is a flat lie. They do preach much of what the New Testament teaches, but there are hundreds of verses/commands they never touch. The reason they are selective as to what they preach is that if they weren’t, their membership would slide to zilch. In this case, the saying is true ‘Half truth is worse than no truth at all.’

They are the commands that are not pleasant to hear or to abide by. Christ did His part by saving us; our part is to continually do good works. Ephesians 2:10. "For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." In other words, we are to obey all of what is taught in the NT. The good works, deeds and fruit--which are one and the same--don’t save us, but are the ONLY solid, divine evidence that we believe in Christ, and love God and our fellow human beings as He requires. That is it.

Here is the truth: when we make Jesus Christ our savior through faith, we also have to accept Him as our Lord (boss/owner) as I mention quite often. What I am saying is that we sign a moral agreement, as it were, on tablets of our hearts, to go by the rules set out that make this religion unique among all other religions. Once that agreement is broken/not adhered to, the complete contract is null and void. That means it is extremely imperative to understand that studying and accepting the eternal agreement that gives life at its best is not an option; it is mandatory. Just a reminder: the NT is the only authority as to what Christianity was meant to be. All else is man’s conniving, feel-good interruption.

Most certainly, if anyone was to honestly realize their error, and repent of their nonconformity to the contract, which is the NT, forgiveness will always be waiting. But at the same time, God knows if someone is sincere about their repentance or if they are just making holy noise. We all know that God through Jesus Christ is merciful, compassionate, etc. to sinners, and that is wonderful. But at the same time He is no fool. God knows what is in everyone’s heart. We may fool ourselves, but we can’t fool God.

This is Godly advice that will put anyone on the straight and narrow and, if they are not there already. Get your Bible (buy a modern translation if you don’t have one), and read or listen to large portions with CDs of the NT every day. Whenever commands, teachings or rules come along, highlight them in a certain color; those you did not know about, make them another color; those that you obeyed, make them still another color; those that seem impossible to adhere to, make a different color and so on. Many will be surprised at how many hundreds of such commands come up that we never heard mentioned from the pulpit, or we never knew existed.

Reading and listening to large portions of the NT every day will make us constantly aware of what is expected of us in order to please God. Along with that, we will be more conscious of Godly matters as we go about our normal daily affairs. Remember, we need all the help we can get with so many ungodly activities going on in the world at the present.

Although some commands may please us and many others seem revolting, when they are all put together as a unit, the result will be a life that is unbeatable by the standards of this world; actually it will be the impetus of Jesus Christ coming back to earth to continue the work He started 2000 years ago through our frail bodies. That is what genuine Christianity is meant to be.

This will not be an easy or pleasant task. Did you know that no where in the NT does it teach that being a disciple of Jesus Christ/Christian would be easy? To the contrary, it is guaranteed that to live as the NT dictated will be the most disciplined and challenging task which requires the changing of one’s life. Change never comes easy. No one wants to hear this kind of talk. They call it negative. That is a lie. It is the truth. The truth may sound negative to those who don’t believe.

Just remember, before anyone decides to be a partaker in Christ’s moral agreement, read that contract, the NT carefully; there’s no fine print; it is all in large print. Whatever you do, don’t believe what anyone says is in there, even if a loved-one or a knowledgeable person like a clergyman/woman is trying to convince you otherwise. They may mean well, but at the same time it could be your doorway to hell.

I don’t believe anyone can give you better advice than what is being given in this post. And if you decide this advice is too demanding or not necessary, for the sake of others, do one thing: don’t call yourself a Christian. You may be better off at the end by being honest with yourself, and thus not having the blood of others on your hands. Luke 12:47-48. "The servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows." This verse seems to indicate that there may be various degrees of eternal punishment. Since hypocrites do more damage for the cause of Christ than anyone else, they may get the most severe punishment.

In ending, Godly morals are the kind that will make all things well. Make certain your morals do not follow what this world teaches. For certain, they will lead many to a very bad place.

Although this post is not difficult to understand, it might be wise to occasionally come back to read it again and again. It is that crucial to everyone’s salvation.

Friday, January 02, 2009

# 268 :The Secret Power of Divine Love

The Christian religion is based on love. Not romantic or sensual love, but like the love a mother and father have for their children, and the need babies have for their mothers. Why is it that divine love (Godly love) cannot be achieved between man/woman and his/her neighbors? Why can’t we live in a way that will end all conflicts? We have the intelligence to go to the moon and back; we know how to send words and pictures for many millions of miles with the speed of light, and many, many more totally amazing feats of humanity’s ingenuity.

Repeating, what is it that stops that love from forming in us which would end all animosity? Let us see if we can find the answer. This could be the hardest question I have ever asked. Truthfully, I don’t know if have the complete answer. I am hoping God’s Spirit will help as this post progresses.

I am aware it is our human nature that literally forces us to care for self and family. It is our most dominating instinct. And that is understandable. But why does that instinct keep us from loving and caring for the needy? What is it? Could it be insecurity with the thought that possibly there may not be enough of whatever to go around on a rainy day? Or is it a hidden feeling of emptiness that insecurity produces, telling us we may not be as important or as valuable as the next person/s?

Or do we keep from loving others because our human nature silently keeps telling us ‘Don’t forget, survival of the fittest.’ That may be the reason we desire to be as well-off as the rest or even a little better. I think all the above reasons may apply, but this last one may do more harm in keeping us from caring for others, as agape (Godly love) dictates.

Something to think about: our self-centered nature and free will did not come about by God’s creation of humanity in just one 24-hour day. It came about by God-guided, behind-the-scene process of development, which took millions of years, if not longer--many may call it evolution through the process of random selection. Anyone with even a partial brain can see all the evidence that science, archaeology, anthropology, geology, etc. have been discovering for the last hundred years or so. Also think about this: our DNA is about ninety-seven or ninety-eight percent, if not more, identical to the chimpanzee, along with having almost identical body parts. Is that just a coincidence?

All primates have an animal nature. That is what makes them animals. As their development continued, they became more sophisticated through God-guided natural selection, and not random selection as Darwin’s evolution dictates. The only thing that didn’t/couldn’t change was their animal nature. With them the main desire was/is to survive, one way or another. And that meant a continual striving to beat out all predators and competitors.

Before reading any further, click onto post # 143: "Creation, Evolution and Intelligent design." It is an extremely lengthy and informative paper that will tell what may be the best solution in understanding how we got here and why. That post will help you understand this post, and where I am coming from.

Since the majority of "Bible-believing" Christians believe God created Adam in an instant/one 24-hour day; that belief has alienated many thinking and educated people from becoming Christians. They cannot believe in any religion that violates solid science and good-old-common-sense, that has been proven over and over again with undisputable evidence.

Interestingly enough, one thing many Christians don‘t understand is that time, as we know it, does not exist in God’s eternity. 2nd Peter 3:8. "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day." That means that God was in no hurry to make the earth and all that goes with it, in just six earth days. Repeating, several billion years and one 24-hour day are the same in a timeless existence. It is almost impossible for humans to understand or experience timelessness with words only; it must be experienced, which we, as yet, have not mastered.

It is apparent that humans are no more than hybrid, sophisticated, intelligent, sometimes well-mannered animals with a self-centered nature. That sinful human nature which we inherited stops us from loving others as we should. Jude 10. ". . . , like unreasoning animals--these are the very things that destroy them." Most animals and a large percentage of humans are unreasoning when it comes to the welfare of others. That, along with our desire to survive and thrive, does not allow us to live with others in a loving, peaceable and charitable way.

Again, as one can readily understand, it would be almost impossible for us to have selfless love for the needy because of our inherent animal nature. The apostle Paul used the term ‘sinful nature’ about 24 times to describe our human nature.

The main reason it is extremely difficult to love as the New Testament requires is because the majority of us humans are stuck on ourselves--though we don’t like to hear that kind of talk. And yet, there is an exceedingly unique way in which we can free ourselves, or better yet, be freed from the dominance our selfish nature has over our lives.

Here is the deal: God devised a plan before the beginning of time to free us from ourselves, and live in a way which will please Him, since He more than anyone else knows very well the constraining situation we all are in.

God will freely make available to us His divine love via his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the powerhouse that gives us the ability to activate the needed love to live in a way that pleases God. Acts 1:8. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you." Romans 8:9. "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."

How He does this is to count as holy and righteous those who believe that His Son Jesus Christ will save us from our sinful past and bring us to heaven. Put another way: God converts our faith into holiness. To mentally believe and accept that part where Christ becomes our Savior is apiece of cake. But also, we must count/make Jesus the Lord of our lives, which means we are under His thumb; He becomes our new owner. 1st Corinthians 6:19. "You are not your own; you were bought at a price." As is apparent, the contradictory part many of us engage in as followers of Christ is when we call Him Lord, which He is and don’t obey what He commands. That is when the sparks will fly that may eventually burn into eternity. 1st John 3:24. "Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them."

Actually, there are dozens of Bible verses that teach the exact same principle of absolute necessity for obedience to all that is commanded in the New Testament. Notwithstanding, there is a threatening condition if/when a person does not obey--and who likes to be threatened? Acts 5:32. ". . . , and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." That means no obedience, no Holy Spirit, no Holy Spirit, no Salvation." Ouch! I don’t like to bring up verses that threaten, but most conventional churches are lenient with those types of verses. That is the reason for this blog.

By the way, let it be known, that the only way we become aware of those commands is when we make it a habit of reading large portions of the New Testament every day. There are hundreds of commands which teach us what we must do and not do. It is a deceptive attitude to think, since I am honest, good person, I go to church, I don’t steal and I obey the 10 commandments, I will go to heaven; therefore, I don’t need to read the Bible everyday to know what sin is. I can say assuredly and with God’s approval, those we believe that way may not qualify for eternity. Christianity is that complex and not child’s play. If one rejects all else in this post, please, for your sake, take this paragraph seriously.

1st Peter 1:4. ". . . , so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." With our new divine nature and love that God has imparted on us, through our faith, the result will be that God expects us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Mark 12:28-30. "The most important one, answered Jesus, is this: . . . Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: love your neighbor as yourself." There is no commandment greater than this." The only possible way we can even start to display our love for Him in this extreme way is to make every effort to obey all that He commanded. Only words of love for God are worthless, again, unless they are followed by the actions of obedience to their new Lord.

Now comes the final challenge that adheres everything together in a coherent way: loving our neighbors as ourselves. That is an extremely high price to pay, even though grace with its responsibilities is freely given to us through our faith. You see, it is God’s grace working through us that enables you and me to love our needy neighbors. When everything is in place as is aforementioned, but this last and most difficult part does not materialize, all else is nothing but a facade of holy words, and is worthless to God. This message should be posted on every billboard in the world.

With our newly acquired divine nature and love, one of the reasons God desires us to believe and love Him, and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, above and beyond eternal life, is so that we can live in loving harmony with each other. It is our divine love that will give us the desire and ability to love Him as He desires, coupled with love for all humankind.

With only human love, it would be almost impossible for us to believe that it is feasible to consider others equal, if not better than ourselves. Philippians 2:3. "Do nothing out of vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself". Romans 12:10. "Honor one another above yourself."

Repeating, the only reason this world is in the Godless shape it is in all stems from lack of Godly love in the lives of those who just say they believe in God, including atheists and all religions that do not espouse active love for God and neighbor.

One of the most joyful benefits about living with Godly love while on this earth, as the password to real life is we will be experiencing a prelude of heavenly glory. Yes, as we all know, Godly love put into action by all the people in the world would be the answer to all our worldly problems and conflicts. It is a crying shame that it will never happen.

Remember this: the remedy in overcoming our human nature is exclusively for those who not only believe, but also live as is dictated in the Holy Book. The result of the above-mentioned remedy is spending eternity with God, where divine love is not only prevalent but the only way of life. Amen.

In closing, the open secret goes this way: have faith in Jesus Christ, love Him and His Father as He requires, love the unlovable and the helpless, and finally, make sure to use the glue that binds everything together, which is obedience. Amen.