FIRST-TRUMP#top..........Sound the alarm in Zion..... ...........................

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. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar

 

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THOUGHTS & COMMENTS

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5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. (2Cor 10:)


SOMETHING ABOUT US


There's something about this tiny piece of clay that God wants. I've been wondering what it is for some time.

I know it's not this thing called a "body" He wants. The one I now have I can hardly get to do what I want it to myself. When I was young and vigorous I could imagine God wanting my body for some purpose. I was rather enjoying it myself. But in old age my body is just a burden held together with hope and pills. Not much good for anything other than this, the writing I am doing.

As a child I could see possibly wanting my body, but it was too weak and mostly incapable of doing anything worth while. And certainly as a newborn, when many people die, our bodies are hardly more than a hindrance as mine is now.

So, as I see it, there are just a few in-between years that God can use any of us. And with some people who are invalids from birth, there are not even those years. Of course, God can heal the body and make it whole, we know that. But if God was after the body itself, He had that in Adam and Eve from the beginning.

So it must be something other than the body God seeks. But what?

Perhaps it is the mind that God wants. But God created the mind; and the wisest person who ever lived was Solomon, and we know that the wisdom he had was what God had given him. So wisdom is not something God needs from any of us.

How about the heart, by this I mean dedication. There are a lot of dedicated people giving their life to others and for various causes. If it was dedication God wanted then He could just take those dedicated people, and with that He wouldn't have had to surrender Himself to the cross .

So I don't see dedication as something God is desiring from us.

Perhaps it is "Works," that is, doing things in the Name of God. If Works is what God wants than He certainly has many fine examples of Works in the Catholic church (not in the Protestant churches because for the most part "Works" is a very bad word). Works can also be found in most of the "Cults" as well as in many of the "Heathen" religions where Works, that is good Works brings about good Karma at the least, and a rebirth in a higher form at the most.

Besides, the Bible tells us that during the Millennium God will instill a heart with love, thereby the Works He desires in Man in spite of Man's nature.

What is it that God wants from us?

Today it came to me. And it as obvious as the big honker on my face. And it is something that we talk about often, but dismiss because of the doctrines of the church that, though they say it's what God wants; by their actions and their doctrines they profess it just isn't so.

What God wants is something Adam and Eve refused to give God, and was thereby kicked out of the presence of God.

The Israelites, when they gave God what He wanted they were greatly blessed, and when they denied God what He wanted from them, they were punished, then ultimately kicked out of His land.

This Nation of ours, when we gave God what He wanted we were highly blessed above all nations. And now that we no longer give God what He wants from us, He no longer showers the blessings upon us we once enjoyed, and we are now hardly a nation at all.

What is it God wants from us? It is that very same thing the churches of today say God will take us into Heaven without, just as long as we perform a couple rituals in the beginning.

What God wants is that which without we can neither stand in the presence of God, nor can we legitimately call ourselves "Christian."

God wants our Will.

God wants that part of us that with all our energy and all our heart cries out, not for satisfying our needs and our lusts, but for fulfilling His desires for us, and His purposes.

We are taught just the opposite, that God's will is to satisfy our desires and our purposes. This just is not so. This type of message will get the people into the churches, but it will get them far away from the presence of God and His Holy Spirit.

As long as Adam and Eve wished to be with the Lord, to walk with Him and commune with Him, they had all they could ever ask for. When they directed their will to the apple, that is satisfying their own lusts and not God's desires for them, they lost everything.

While the Jews willingly, with all their heart, followed the Lord, they were a mighty nation and all went well for them. When they turned from God and followed their own lusts, God turned His back on them.

Are you a "Christian"? Where is your will?


PREACHER and PASTORS


Today I was thinking about what a Preacher is and what a Pastor is. Are they the same? I kind of thought so, that is, without giving it much thought I considered them the same.

On some street corners in some towns you see someone handing out brochures and telling about Jesus. You see going down the road a car with stickers all over it telling about Jesus. Or, for that matter, you may be confronted by a Hindu in a turban telling you about their favorite god.

These are all preachers; they are proclaiming the Word, or at least a word.

According to the dictionary, a preacher is one who: "Advocates or urges people to a certain quality or practice or action." The people mentioned certainly are doing that. In one sense of the word a teacher or a policeman might well be considered a "Preacher."

But, are any of these "Pastors"?

And, just what is a Pastor?

Taking to our dictionary again we see: "A minister in charge of a church or congregation."

That's the definition, but is it the meaning we should accept? I'm thinking about what the Bible tells us a Pastor should be.

In the New Testament the word "Pastor" is only used once, and then just to say that God gives us Pastors along with teachers and such. That isn't much help. But often Paul gives instructions to Timothy and others as to how they are to take care of their flock. And the flock, of course, is the sheep that belong to our Lord.

I take that to mean a Pastor is to be a shepherd taking care of God's sheep in the same way He, Jesus would if He were here doing so Himself. As I see it then, a Pastor is to not only be a Preacher, that is a feeder of the sheep, but also a Minister caring for the needs of the sheep.

If I had one lamb, I would care for it very lovingly and carefully, attending to its every need. We do this with our house pets and our children, don't we? I know of people who spend more on their aged pet, taking them to the vet, buying them medicine and providing the best of food and comfort; while they, themselves suffer great need and hardship because all effort is spent on their pet or child.

And this is precisely what Jesus did for His flock, as did the Apostles as well. Paul had many churches, therefore many sheep all across the known world. Yet he took time to consider the needs of even the smallest and the lest worthy of his lambs, chasing after those who had gone astray and bringing them lovingly back into the fold.

Is this a Pastor? Is this what you think of when you think of a Pastor?

Tell me then, is your "Pastor" a Pastor? Or a Preacher?


In school, the teacher teaches, that is, he delivers his message to his hundreds of students a day, then he goes home. He (or she) is not a parent, nor an advisor, nor does the teacher (except on rare occasions) purport themself to be any of these. A teacher teaches. That's what a teacher is paid to do.

If a student needs advise, that student is sent to a counselor or some other person who's job it is to advise. That advisor does not teach. The student is sent to a teacher to be taught.

Of course I haven't told you anything you didn't already know.


But what you may not know, or not have realized is that very few Pastors are more than Preachers to their congregation. In fact, with some churches having a flock of thousands, it is very unlikely the sheep would recognize their "Pastor" on the street, and next to nil that the "Pastor" would have ever even seen any of the sheep of "his" flock.


In days gone bye, when there were but a handful of students who were with the same teacher for years, it was quite common for the teacher to not only be a teacher, but an advisor, a nurse, and even a friend to all her students. And in small churches, where almost the entire town attended the only church available, it was the same. A Pastor was a Pastor to everyone, caring for those sheep placed in his charge. And "Caring" is the key word here.

But, as I said, times have changed.

I live in a town where there is just over 7,000 people. Now, under Old Time circumstances this might well mean 7 churches to handle a thousand each, or 70 churches to hold a hundred each. 700 churches to hold ten.

In this town there are 25 churches, that including Mormon, Witness, Quaker, Bahai, and every other denomination you can think of (including three Baptist churches. That's a lot of churches for such a little town, is it not? But with 25 churches to handle 7,000 people that would mean (let me get out my calculator - we used to use slide rules, but I don't suppose they make those any more) - 280 people including tiny tots for each church. Not a bad size for a church, I would say.

But, at one of the churches, one of the largest churches and one of the most well-known of the churches that seated, by my count, 150 people, there were 25 in attendance scattered throughout the pews.

Another had about that same number, but that was in one service out of two each Sunday, but it only held 50 people max, so their count couldn't have been very high.

The largest church had less than a hundred people in attendance. Of course, I can't speak for all those churches I have yet to attend, but I suspect to see something similar to what I have seen. However, I expect that the "Cults" will make a better showing for themselves.

Does it sound like I am down on the churches because they are so small? Not at all. I just wonder where all those other of the 7,000 people are, and why?

Of course, size of church is not my concern here. It is quality, it is the conduct of the Pastor I am considering.

And I don't see it. Not in any of the churches I have attended. Even the small churches I got the feeling that the Pastor neither knew, nor cared to know any but a few of their congregation. The Pastor's job was to preach, not to Pastor. If you wanted to be Pastored, you did not go to the Pastor, you went to someone assigned the job of ministering to your specific need (Often this means someone who has offered their home for a "cell" group that has taken the place of Pastoring).


Many, many years ago I worked with youth, and there was one church who needed a Scoutmaster. Now, I did not belong to this church, nor had I any connection with it, nor did I ever consider ever attending this church (a quite large one, by the way). Somehow, I have no idea how, they heard of me and asked me if I would be their Scoutmaster for their troop. Here again, I had no connection with the Scouts, nor had I any intentions of being connected with them.

But I took the job.

On and off there would be someone who had (or was given) the "calling" to be the Scoutmaster of this troop. At that time I then became the assistant Scoutmaster, until that person lost their "calling" to become "called" elsewhere, then once again I became Scoutmaster. Until the next person had the "calling." After three times of this, and about four or five months, I resigned and followed my own calling. (Incidently, at this time I was not even a Christian, nor had I been for many years. But this issue never came up. Interesting?)

It is obvious by this example that no one with a "Calling" had any interest in the kids or the Scouts whatever, except your's truly. But experiences such as this one give me a pretty clear understanding as to how the minds of church Elders work.

They don't.

As I see it, the churches any more work like a machine, not an organism that is supposed to be alive and functioning.


Jesus called His Church a "Body" with hands and feet and eyes and ears with which to serve and care for other parts of His Body. He didn't give it gears and wheels and brakes and comfortable seats with which to carry the Pastor to the bank each week.

Am I describing your church? Is your church a living, loving body of Christ? Careful now, you might be one of the In crowd and will give me a resounding Yes! to that question. But take a look at the little, scrubby lambs on the outskirts of the congregation; are they being cared for as well?

If you can still say "Yes," then hang on to that Pastor, because you might never have one like him again.


I said earlier that the New Testament had little to nothing to say about Pastors. But, the Old Testament has a few things. Here they are, every verse where the word is used. Let's see what God has to say about Pastors, or if my view is a distorted one:


8The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. (Jer 2:)


14Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: 15And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. (Jer 3:)


19Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it. 20My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains. 21For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. (Jer 10:)


8Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it. 9Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour. 10Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. 11They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth it to heart. 12The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness: for the sword of the LORD shall devour from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh shall have peace. (Jer 12:)


After reading the above, consider these verses of Scripture:


17And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (Rev 19:)


1And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 3So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. (Rev 17:)


18Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? 19It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. (Luke 13:)


3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (2Thes 2:)


28Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:)


Back to Pastors. This next Scripture is a plea from a righteous Pastor. Certainly in his case, Godliness will not be tolerated by the Congregation:


13O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters. 14Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. 15Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now. 16As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee. 17Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil. 18Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction. (Jer 17:)


Jeremiah was not the only Pastor with problems. Hear what Elijah had to say:


9And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? 10And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. (1kings 19:)


46And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. 47Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. 49Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: 50That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. 52Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. 53And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things: 54Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him. (Luke 11:)


21And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. 22And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; 23And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. 24And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. (Rev 18:)


Consider: who was it that killed the Prophets and the Righteous Pastors? The World? Or the existing church of the day?


7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Mat 24:)


In the Scripture above we hear the 14th verse quoted often in regard to these last days. But take a close look at verses 11 to 13. How many times do you heard them mentioned? And when you should happen to hear them, have you ever heard them applied to the church that is doing the speaking? Or is it always "the other guy"?


1These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. (John 16:)


Back to Pastors:


21I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice. 22The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness. (Jer 22:)


1Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. 2Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. 3And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. (Jer 23:)


There are other interpretations for the word Pastor such as:


PASTOR -- H7462 ra^'?a^h raw-aw' A primitive root; to tend a flock, that is, pasture it; intransitively to graze (literally or figuratively); generally to rule; by extension to associate with (as a friend): - X break, companion, keep company with, devour, eat up, evil entreat, feed, use as a friend, make friendship with, herdman, keep [sheep] (-er), pastor, + shearing house, shepherd, wander, waste.


In the future I will do a more thorough study on this subject of the Ministry. But what I have presented thus far should keep you occupied with thought for a while.


LOOKING, MOVING AND GOING THE WRONG DIRECTION


I've noticed something about the way people read my material. It is similar, it seems to me, to the way people read the Bible. I could have said an Art book, or an Exercise book - people read all of them the same as they read what I write.

There are those people who stand and look, not necessarily seeing, just looking.


Then there are the people, most in fact, who read a bit, don't like it, and avoid it as much as possible. This is by far the largest group.

There are a few I see who look, and try to understand what I am talking about, but their old way of thinking bars them from understanding. Jesus' parable of the seed that falls to the wayside and the fowls (traditions to my way of thinking) snatches their understanding of the words from them. (I'm not equating my work to the Words of God. As I said, I could be talking about any subject). These people I have a particular appreciation for; especially if they ask questions or/and challenge what I've written. This opens up doors to their understanding, and at the same time stretches my ability to express them; and very often it brings about new or contrasting ideas on which to work.

Still others read what I have to say and run with it. Now, I haven't experienced this as yet, and I may never do so. It's just in the nature of us "folks" to do such a thing.

There are two ways a person can run; one direction is totally the wrong way. This is the direction most people run when they read the Bible. It's amazing how many directions go in the wrong direction. There must be, because there are thousands of denominations, each declaring that they are the right one and all others are wrong.

Then there are those who understand and go the right way (this doesn't involve my writing at all, there is no way attached to it; though there is a degree of understanding of the Word that might come from it). Those who understand what I have written realize there is just one single thing to understand. That one thing they must know in order to understand anything in the Bible, or what God has intended for Man, (that is for you and me).

To understand what God wants we must have received the Holy Spirit. And to receive the Holy Spirit we must be wide open to going the right way, that is, the direction God insists (not requests as the modern churches will tell you) we go. If we have this understanding, and are moving in that direction (not being a hearer only), then my writing has been understood.


HOUSE OF PLEASURE


The story of Pinocchio is rich with Biblical simile. Whether this was intentional or not, I don't know. But the coincidence is striking.

There is a segment in the story where Pinocchio, who is trying to learn what being human is all about, is persuaded from a course he was instructed to take in order to learn the right ways he should take, onto an island that caters to all the pleasures of this life. Here he (and all the others who were certainly not looking for the right ways) could do whatever he wanted. One would expect that this "innocent" woodenhead would not fall into the corrupt behaviors of those who were so indulging. One might expect him to be more like Oliver Twist, who participated in criminal behavior only because he was forced to do so, and escaped as soon as he was able. But not so with Pinocchio. He found himself reveling in the wicked ways of the World. We learn that inside this innocent creature there lies a heart of self-serving and lust.

But had it not been for the Island of Pleasure where one is allowed to be that which he truly is, he might have never known that such a heart dwells in him. Like the Prodigal Son, who when freedom was presented, he learned that he was a mess, desperately in need of help, and willing to serve even his own father to get it. Meanwhile the loyal son, having never had such an opportunity, stands off and judges others who have failed while never having been tested himself for such possible failure.

Pinocchio learned why he should stay away from temptation, because he is prone to be tempted. Like an ex-alcoholic has learned that bars are not a place in which he can partake, although others might.


Churches are our House of Pleasure. Churches offer their members the freedom to be whoever they choose to be while believing what they choose to do is perfectly alright with God. Of course there are some churches that are not as loose as others, but none have the in-your-face obedience to God that the Bible calls for.


If you were taken to Pleasure Island and could partake in any thing your heart desires without fear of retribution or even accusation, what would you choose to do? And would you stay there?

Well, you as a "Christian" have been given just such a privilege. You are set at liberty. Do with it as you will.


ABORTION ON DEMAND


"It's been sixteen years that we've put up with that disobedient and disrespectful child of ours. What do you think we should do with him?"

"I think it's about time we aborted him."


Sound ridiculous? Check these verses out:


18If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

22And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: 23His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (Deut 21:)


That was in the past. Of course I think we all know that the laws which were set up for Israel will be in force during the coming Millennium, don't we? In fact, can anyone say for sure that they are not in force today?


Here's another that is future:


1In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. 2And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. 3And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. (Zech 13:)


You, Christian, are you a Child of God?


ON GUARD!


In fencing this is a very common command. When this command is given all participants prepare themselves for battle.

Of course today there is no intention to actually harm your opponent. But this was not so in days gone by.

It was customary and expected to "defend one's honor." When one's honor had been impugned, by any slight infraction of protocol, it meant a challenge, often to the death.

Honor above all. Death was for the "Honorable." Cowards ran from death.

This was not only true in the Middle Ages with Knights and Musketeers, but in this country as well. We read about the "gunslingers" who's entire purpose in life was to get someone to "knock the chip off their shoulder" so they could challenge them to a dual.

Honor, Pride, Ego; they all say the same thing. They all say that the only important thing is ourselves and what comes our way. We may not carry swords or guns with which to defend our "honor," but we have our mouth that we often use as a weapon.

We may not choose to fight face-to-face as did our ancestors, but fight we do. Often this is done behind the backs of those we feel have offended us. Of course that does not speak well at all of the "Honor" we are supposedly defending; but that is what we do none the less.

Honor, "Ego" is the downfall of Mankind. It's "What's in it for me?" Adam and Eve had problems with just such a problem, and it was their undoing. And it has been the undoing of every one of us since.

Our prime ancestors were the first to fall into the temptation of yielding to their Ego. And they, like all who followed, tried to defend their Ego by blaming someone else for their failure.

It didn't work then, and it doesn't work now.

Yet, somehow, we think when all is said and done we will be able to stand before that very same God who did not accept Adam and Eves's defense, and get off scot free. "It was my pastor's fault," or "It was my parent's fault," or "Well, I might have done that, but I did these nice things too, and just look at him, I'm not as bad as that guy!"

Think any of those will work?

By the way, what are you going to say to the Judge?


WISDOM IN A BOTTLE


God is infinite. We all know that. And not only God Himself, but all aspects of Him are beyond our understanding.

But understand Him we must, or so we believe. So we whittle God down to size so He, like us, fits into little cubicles. There my be some people who know that God is not actually in the boxes he has built for Him. But there are a vast majority who believe He is the painting they have painted of Him.

God's Wisdom is just such an aspect of God that has been placed in a bottle and capped.

The churches have confined God to bottles they seal and label. Anyone who believes anything about God and what He has said that cannot be placed in their own little bottle has got to be in false doctrine in their opinion.

By placing God in a bottle this way, it allows the "Scholars" to know everything about God. And of course, if a person knows all about God, they become Like God, certainly in the respect that to learn about God, you must go to them.

There is just one little problem with this philosophy. It doesn't work. The Pharisees and the Scribes tried this very same thing, and Jesus cut them down for it. By having all the answers instead of having a lot of questions and no answers we bottle ourselves up and seal the bottle. Just look at what the Pharisees could have learned had they asked, and not told.

Wisdom in a bottle (doctrine) allows us to learn everything there is to know; and know nothing at all.


FIRE INSURANCE


I was reading an article in a magazine the other day. It was the result of a survey that had been taken to find out how people looked at religion and the afterlife. Quite interesting. As we would expect, the results were all over the board. There was one result I found particularly interesting since it supports something I have believed and taught as a truth for some time. (Isn't it interesting that I find information that supports my beliefs to be particularly interesting and insightful, while those that go contrary to what I believe I consider as dubious? Am I the only one who does this, do you think?)

The finding I found interesting had to do with why many (I think it was saying "most," but like a lot of such articles, there are parts that are rather passed over lightly and not made clear) people go to church is to play it safe. They don't believe in an afterlife, Heaven or hell, but just in case, they will make the sacrifice.

If this survey is accurate, at least in the respect I just mentioned, then there is a very good chance that over half those attending your church are not really "Believers." In fact, it means there's better than a 50/50 chance that you are not really a believer.

Are you?


WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?


As far as I can tell most people consider a Christian someone who has been baptized and attends a "Christian" church. Christian is a title. "Are you a Hindu?" "No, I'm a Christian."

Christians, it is supposed, are fine people. They are more concerned about others, morality, and doing the right thing than non Christians. Of course every one doesn't see Christians in that light. A vast majority of people, it seems, see Christians as bigoted, know-it-all, better-than-thou lowlifes. But, taking the better view, just what is a Christian?

I think most people would agree that the ultimate goal of a Christian is to live the Christian life as it is laid down in the Bible. Some would add that it is a higher goal to be just like Jesus in the same way the Apostles seemed to have been.

Although I think either of these goals are fine to hold and live up to; I don't think they are what a Christian is. I think they are in the direction of being a Christian, but they are man's way of trying to be a Christian, which simply cannot be done.

A Christian is not one who is trying, but rather someone who has let go trying to do any thing, and is allowing Jesus, by way of the Holy Spirit to do what He wants to do through the Christian.

A hard concept to grasp.


THE TRUTH


How does a person find the Truth of a matter? Of course we all want to be right, but don't we also want to be right on?

Not really, we just want to be seen as right. And one way to be seen as right is to have a lot of people believing as you do.

Birds of a feather, flock together. And so do birds of a Faith.


Finding the Truth. First decide what you want to believe. Of course what you want to believe revolves around what pleases you and suits you without having to make demands on you, that is, it allows you to remain who you are without making any changes. For instance: "Fat is Fabulous," or "Nerds are Nice," or "Rich is Righteous." Of course if you are skinny, or an athlete, or poor, you wouldn't choose or agree with these suggested beliefs.

Now that you have formed your beliefs, you search out "experts" who agree with your beliefs. Having lined up your experts, you form a club or association of other Nerds, Athletes, or whatever; and publicize your beliefs as "Facts" proven by those you have found to support your Belief system.

If you are lucky you may find an organization who already believes as you do and you can join them. Or if you are one who likes to be a leader, you can still form your own organization and invite them to join you.

Then, to really stop the mouths of anyone who might oppose your Belief, you search diligently through the Bible and find a few verses that seem to support your view (being careful to avoid the mass of verses that prove you wrong).

Now you not only have absolute proof that you are right, backed up by God Himself; but your new-found organization can be called a "church" and be tax exempt.

What a world we live in!


 

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