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

.........

. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar

 

PRINTABLE VERSION


THOUGHTS & COMMENTS

page 34


27And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:)



COMMITTED


12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Eph 1:)


BELIEVED, TRUST G4100 pisteuo¯ pist-yoo'-o From G4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one's spiritual well being to Christ): - believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.


10He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? (Luke 16:)


11According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. (1Tim 1:)


1What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. (Rom 3:)


When I was in the Army I did everything that was expected or asked (commanded) of me. I had no choice. If I were given a choice I doubt I would have been willing to join the "gang" in a full-field forced march of 20 miles or spend 12 hours at a time peeling potatoes. Nor do I suspect I would have volunteered to stand in a room full of tear gas with my mask off. Or scrub the latrine (rest room) with my own personal toothbrush. I did all these things, but I was not committed to the Army.


There were some, however, who were committed to the Army. These men were aggressive in their pursuit to fulfill the will of the Commander who was placed over them. They were anxious to be obedient to the Army which they served, and this with vigor. And, of course, these dedicated ones are the men who were advanced both in rank (authority) and given the greater advantages. They were also the ones who were to see the forefront of battle.


To someone looking on I was just as much of a soldier as were the committed ones. I dressed like them, I walked like them, and for the most part, I worked like them. The difference wasn't in our appearances, but in our heart and in our talk.


The committed soldier had the heart of a soldier. He lived for the Army. When he was at leisure, the chances are you would find him pouring over an Army manual of some kind, practicing his weapons drill, or polishing his brass buttons and his spit-shined shoes.

When you spoke to a committed soldier your conversation would be about the Army or some aspect of the Army. If you wished to speak of things other than the Army, you did not speak to the committed soldier because he would constantly bring the conversation back to the Army. For a non-committed soldier a conversation with a committed soldier was boring and even irritating.


When I first joined the Army I was gung ho (enthusiastic, ready to make the Army my life's career). But after a time I discovered that the Army was not all I had expected it to be. I found that there were rules to follow that I didn't agree with, there were people placed over me that I didn't like or agree with. And the more I decided that the Army wasn't the life for me, the more things I directed my attention to that I didn't like, and the more resentful and rebellious I became.

In other words, I became less and less of a committed soldier.


Although I was no longer a committed soldier, merely a man dressed in Army regalia waiting for his rewards (monthly pay check and final discharge), I still looked and acted the part of the soldier. It was difficult to tell that I had changed, because the change was on the inside, in the heart and the mind, not in my appearances or in my behavior.

Where the difference could be seen is in that you would no longer find me pouring over Army manuals or field stripping my M1 on my off times. You no longer found me spit-shining my slush boots or ironing a military crease in my fatigues. I was "out with the boys" at the bar and talking the small talk instead of learning the ways of war.


We are told to be soldiers:


1Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. 6The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. (2Tim 2:)


We are to pay close attention to our uniform:


10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Eph 6:)


We are told to not waste our time diddling but to get into the heat of battle:


11But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1Tim 6:)


We are told to run the race we have started and to not slack off:


1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. (Heb 12:)


Paul tells us that only the winners will survive:


24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate ["Self-control, especially concerning diet and sexual matters"] in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection ["Buffet, weary, hit under the eye, discipline"]: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway ["Disqualified, rejected, reprobate"]. (1Cor 9: See Titus 1:13-16; Rom 1:28)


That only one wears the crown:


24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (1Cor 9:)


Only one will win the prize. And we know Who that One is. And short of Jesus, we know the chances of beating out the Apostles and the Martyrs of old is very slim. So why bother to run at all? Is there any way we, the everyday grunt soldier might conceivably be a part of the winner's circle?


14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (Eph 2:)


16Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (2Cor 5:)


21If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. (Eph 4:)


27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular ["Allotment, portion"]. (1Cor 12:)


Part of being a soldier, a "member in particular" is the conditioning of the body, mind and spirit of the soldier. In the Army this conditioning period is called Basic Training. During this training the soldier is brought under subjection, both to himself, and to his commander. Jesus, after baptism, spent forty days in the wilderness where He was tested. After He had passed His test, He was then ready for the ministry, His "tour of duty."

The Apostles believed they were ready for battle. Jesus had to show them that they were not, which they proved by running from the battle when Jesus was arrested.

Paul was sent into the desert of Arabia for his testing and training before he was ready to serve the purpose given to him.

An untried soldier is worse than no soldier at all when it comes to warfare. Each soldier must taste of the Valley of Achor (Trouble) before he or she is ready for the ministry.


10He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? (Luke 16:)


10Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Rev 2:)


1Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 13He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:)


25And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:)


When a young man or woman joins the Army and stands on the dock waiting to be taken off to the war, he or she kisses her family and other loved ones goodbye, knowing there is a possibility of never seeing them again. When a Jew becomes a Christian they are considered an outcast, as one dead, no more a part of the family. This is what it meant for the Christians during the time of Jesus. We today (in the USA) merely choose Christianity out of a list of possible options, and we can change our mind at any time, picking another of the many options. When the Bible was written, and still so in many other countries, choosing to be a Christian meant choosing death over life.


Not all who join the Army are dedicated soldiers. In a war thousands, perhaps even millions of soldiers lose their life.

Some of those had counted the cost before they entered the service, most did not. Some entered the Army during peace time believing all would be fun and roses: then war overtook them and the game plan changed. The fun ended and the battle began. Regardless of their expectations, they were just as much in the heat of the battle as those who had counted the cost of becoming a soldier.

Some enter the Army with the intent of enjoying themselves and making a profit. As has been seen (usually in movies), there are a few who have pulled this off to one degree or another, yet rarely do these entrepreneurs win the crown.


I entered the Army expecting to be entertained. That was a juvenile attitude, but I believe it is not an uncommon one by any means.

Reality hit me hard, and it disillusioned me. But reality did not change my situation, nor did it change my obligation. I still had to perform that which I had signed up for. Only my rewards were lost, as was my joy.


It was no different when I signed up for the Army of the Lord. I thought it would be fun and games. I thought it would be a free ride with everything coming my way, and I would have to do little to receive the crown of glory. That is what I was told, and that is what I expected.


When a soldier who has not counted the cost has reality thrust upon them, having discovered the deceptive words of his or her Recruiting Officer, he has essentially four options which he may follow. The first option is by far the one most followed.


Most soldiers resign themselves to their fate and do what they are commanded to do and no more. Then, if he finds he is able to avoid even the minimum without getting in too much trouble, he does just that. We might think of these who slide through their tour of duty as "Drifters." They may very well have to suffer the same fate as those in the next category, but they will fall short of any reward that they might have coming, or that they expected. This category was the one in which I fit. When I was released all I carried with me was a duffle bag full of clothes I could no longer wear, a despairing view of the future, and a hostile heart.

The second attitude one might take on is that of enthusiasm. Seeing the benefits of service and the potential rewards available to the dedicated, these soldiers attack their station in life with a vigor. They learn all they can about the job that has been given them, and they follow instructions to the letter, even to asking for more when they have completed that given them. Of course those who are trying to do as little as possible and still get by have many derogatory names for these dedicated people in their effort to shame them into defaulting to the mundane way of life. But these hearty souls look to the higher powers rather than listen to the abuse of their fellow workmates. These soldiers move ahead with less resistance than the first group, and they win all the rewards available to a good and dedicated soldier.


The last group of individuals who recognize that the life of a soldier is not what they wanted it to be fall into various sub categories. The result of each of these categories of soldiers is the same, but the intent of the heart is not. First there is the slothful and the rebellious who refuses to do even the minimum needed to slide through their Army experience. These are on the usual looking for the best and the easiest way to feather their nest, and at anyone's expense who happens to be in their vicinity. These are usually avoided by all other soldiers unless they believe they can get something from this freelance entrepreneur.

The second of these sub categories is that of the fearful. Their fear might range from becoming a target for the enemy should they be in battle, all the way to fearing having someone disapprove of something they have done or said. This is a very difficult attitude to have in any station of life, but especially so for a soldier.

There are two choices for the fearful and the slothful soldier. One choice is to try and remain in one's comfort zone, whatever that might be, without getting caught (a choice made all too often). The second choice is to shuck it all, turn tail and run. The end for those who make such a choice are either to be given a dishonorable discharge from the service, or they may very well be considered a deserter, which in some cases might lead to a death sentence. In either case, their choice will follow them the rest of their life.


If you are wearing the name tag of Christian, you are in the Army of God. What kind of soldier are you? And what, I wonder, do you expect your rewards to be?


DENUDING THE GOSPELS


It has not been long ago that when a person referred to themself as a Christian you knew certain things about them. You knew they belonged to some sort of church, whether they attended it or not. You knew they had water bestowed upon them, either by sprinkling or emersion. You knew they believed in the Bible as the Word of God, or at least they confessed such a belief. You knew these things to be a fact whether it was true or not. It was an assumption that went along with the name "Christian."

There were other assumptions as well that could be made. One of those assumptions is that the Christian believed in miracles. We would know this because they said they believed the Bible, and the Bible tells us of many miracles. Besides, how can a person believe in a God that can create this world and us, and not believe He can do simple things like everyday miracles? (I ask this question as if there were an obvious answer, but by the looks of things....)

Another assumption a person might have made regarding the Christian is that he or she believed in the Christ of the Bible. I mean, doesn't Christian mean a follower of Christ? A believer in Christ? And isn't it "belief" that saves us?


If I were to tell you that I was a Native American, and then tell you that I don't believe Native Americans are Native Americans but instead are some other race of people who just call themselves Native Americans; or I told you that Native Americans never really existed, therefore did not actually have a part in this country's history: what would you think of me? I would be saying I believe in something that, in my own opinion, never existed. Then how can I be that which never was?

Let's say I was to tell you I believe I am a Native American (falsely) in order to receive the fishing rights given to Native Americans or to draw on the financial privileges given those with Native American blood. What would you say of my belief system?


We are saved by faith. And what is faith? Is it not belief? And if belief, then what degree of faith is "Saving Faith?"

If I say I have faith in you, and yet I don't believe you are who you say you are, or that you don't have the ability to do what you say you will do, have done, or are capable of doing, than what am I saying about my faith? Would you count my faith as worthy of reward?


The World has infiltrated further and further into the churches. This should not be surprising because for centuries the church has been moving further and further into the World. Movement that is rapid is quickly noticed and checked. A mole that grows twice its size in a week draws quick attention. A mole that enlarges to four times its size in months might well go unnoticed.

It has taken the church centuries to reach the point that the World could join it and not draw undue notice or criticism. A mere hundred years ago such an action would have stirred up flames of disapproval. Consider what happened when Wycliffe and Martin Luther did not agree with the church of their day. Or the Quakers. Or the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses's. They began in flames, and now are among the largest of denominations, yet now draw little attention in comparison to their beginnings.

The far extreme of the Modern churches believe less of the Bible than does the World. Many participants in these churches also worship Buddha, Surya, Brahma, and a host of other gods, placing Jesus on the same level with them, and yet they still refer to themselves as "Christian."

Jesus (Christ) ranges from God Supreme, to a good teacher, to nonexistent, and these all by so-called "Christians."


When I was young I would hear of people trying to tear down the Bible, not by denying the Bible because it was considered foolish in those days to say one doesn't believe the Bible, but rather they minimized the Bible. It was not very likely that a person would come right out and say they don't believe Jesus was the Messiah, or even that He wasn't God incarnate. No, what they would do is pick around the edges of the Bible; such things as the validity of places mentioned in the Bible, and the miracles of the Bible they would attack. They would say such things as: "If you add up the days and years people lived according to the Bible, it doesn't add up to 6,000 years." Or they might say: "The genealogies of the Gospels aren't the same, so that means the Bible isn't completely reliable."

But the favorite of all the naysayers of the day was to deny the possibility of the miracles. In their opinion it was ok for God to create man, and to make this world, but miracles were beyond belief.

One of the favorite miracles to demean was that of Moses crossing the Red Sea. They came up with ideas like it was a huge wind that stopped the waters and allowed those millions of people to cross to the other side. Now, for me, I've stood in wind before. It would blow me over, but seemed to have little effect on the creek beside me.

Another favorite way to attack this miracle was: it wasn't the Red Sea the Israelites crossed, but the Reed Sea they crossed, which was only 4 feet deep. Nice, but then 4 feet of water would hardly drown a dog, yet it drowned the entire army of the Egyptians?

The story of the Hebrew children coming out of Egypt is filled with miracles. Plenty to keep the scoffers busy for a long time.


Today we no longer need the World to demean the validity of the Bible, we only have to enter a church who flies the banner of Christian to hear it nullified. But, be forewarned: don't take your Bible with you to church, people will think you're weird or something worse. Besides, you know how heavy and cumbersome those things are. Take a comic book if you need something to read while the sermon (or whatever they do) is being given.


Now, I'm not concerned with the World who has entered the churches; nor am I concerned with the churches that have thrown the Bible out the window. These are moles on the surface that are spreading rapidly. Anyone who can't see that cancer just isn't looking nor do they care. They just like the Christian name tag.

I should expect the traditional churches that claim to be true Christians to now be clinging tighter to the skirt of our Lord the further the tail end of the church grows toward the pit of adjudication.

But it isn't.

Miracles are what God has used to prove that He is God. He utilized miracles as evidence that it was He who was leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, and that they were not just wandering the wilderness on their own. Miracles is what God provided Moses to prove to the Pharaoh that God had sent him. Miracles is how God made it clear that it was He who conquered Jericho and the land of the Canaanites. Miracles is what God used to establish His genealogical line to Jesus, the greatest of His miracles, using barren women, elderly women, and even a virgin so that we may know for sure it was the hand of God, and not of man.

And Jesus made it clear that the miracles He and the Apostles performed were for the purpose of proving that His message was not His own, but that of God.


Yet, we continue to undermine the miracles of the Bible. Unless a miracle is so blatant that it can't be denied without being called a lie, the pulpits of the churches try and find a way to explain it away. And because they look to human understanding of the works of God, they become blind to the true workings of God, and the Truths in His Word. If we can't believe for the little things, how can we believe for the big ones?


Jesus put it this way:


10Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? (John 3:)


If the man standing behind the pulpit does not believe in the minor miracles, how can he believe in the larger miracles. And if miracles are the evidence God uses to prove Himself to us, then how can we listen to one who does not believe in those many infallible proofs?

Miracles are God's opening line to us; they are the preface to His book. If we reject or downplay the open door to our understanding of who God is, how can we expect to learn what He has to tell us?


Below are but a few Scriptures telling us why God has provided us with miracles:


2And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: 4Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. 5And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. 6Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God. (Deut 29:)


10He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? (Luke 16:)


23If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 24And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. 25For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. (Mark 4:)


22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Mat 13:)


22If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. 23He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. (John 15:)


37But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: 38That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? 39Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 41These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. (John 12:)


20And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: 21But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. 22Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; 23Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: (Num 14:)


ROADBLOCKS


It is almost inevitable that when we are in a hurry to get somewhere we run into a roadblock of some nature. It may be street construction, or an accident, or a tree across the road. It may be a flat tire or a dead battery. But one thing or another is going to stand in the way of our reaching our intended destination.

In the life of a hurried man, all intersections display a red signal light.

Life just seems to work against the man or the woman who is in a hurry.

We have several options when we come to a roadblock, that is a roadblock not controlled by an officer of the law or some other such person. We can remain where we are until the roadblock is lifted. We can try to find a way around the roadblock. We can charge through the roadblock and hope we don't get trapped, fall over a cliff, or get caught for doing a no-no. Or, we can turn around and try for another path by which to reach our intended destination.


Theology has a way of running into roadblocks. One of those roadblocks is called simplicity. People believe God wrote the Bible so everyone can understand it. Therefore, when a set of Scripture presents itself, a simple solution is searched for. If none is found to our liking, one is made up.

Another roadblock is complexity. Some people just love to complicate things. If they can see things in a complicated way it gives them the feeling they are more intelligent than they really are, therefore they can see what others can not see, even to seeing that which doesn't exist.

Then there are those who have formed a set of opinions in their mind and search the Bible to support those opinions. God has established His book in such a way that many roads appear to head in the same (the right) direction. Then, far along that road, a roadblock appears. If a person with a handful of doctrine (opinions) sets out to examine his or her road map, the Bible, they discover a vast array of roadblocks on their doctrinal road. Unwilling or unable to find a way around the roadblock without surrendering their opinion and acknowledging another, they barge through the roadblock.

Some theological investigators crash the roadblock with complicated denials of the validity of the roadblock. They say the roadblock was placed there by some prankster, or it was an error that had never been caught, or it was a note that somehow became Scripture: and therefore it should not be considered in the Scriptural equation, that is, the road map.

Then there are the Mark Furhman (O.J. Simpson trial) investigators who, if evidence isn't evident to prove what they know to be true, they create the evidence and present it with all the display of confidence they can muster.

Others are not so bold as to deny what is standing before them, so they paint the roadblock with pretty pictures in order to either hide the roadblock, or to provide entertainment with the roadblock in order that no one questions or accepts its presence or its significance.


On occasion someone will be found who desires to consider the roadblocks as signposts indicating there exists yet another way to the destination they seek. Instead of minimizing the roadblock, they incorporate the roadblock into the master plan to see what comes from the entire picture rather than the bits and pieces found elsewhere.

People who do not follow established (or should I say one of the many differing established) opinions are considered heretic and obviously deluded. Being thus seen, no credence is given to his or her findings, allowing those who have decorated, denied or in some other way dealt with their roadblocks to proceed unencumbered.


READING STUDIES


There are various ways in which to read what I write in these studies. These methods are no different than one might read any study or article, especially when the writing concerns the Bible. In fact these ways are exactly the same as the differing ways in which people read the Bible.

One such way is to read with a critical eye, assuming that everything said is wrong, and the all-knowing eye of the reader is going to find all the fallacies and errors in the piece in order to either laugh at the writer's ignorance, or to expose him or her as a heretic.

Another way a person might read is in effort too find material with which to support their own view, ignoring anything to the contrary, and perhaps even twist or misquote what the writer has said in order to validate their own belief.

The last way, which I suspect is by far the method least utilized, is to read with an eye toward learning. This might be learning for the purpose of adding to that they suppose they already know, or to help clarify some areas of uncertainty in their bed of knowledge, or even to discover that what they already know might in fact be false or faulted.


In order to read anything with the last method in mind one must be able to set aside what they already know, considering everything as mere speculation. Even should such knowledge come from one's own experience, or from the mouth of the wisest person on earth.

An example of wisdom that is failed, not because it is untrue, but because it is unlived, is that of Solomon. When Solomon was young he wrote many insightful proverbs which we use to this day as examples of how to live our life. But when Solomon was old, he had discovered that he, although possessing the words of wisdom, did not possess the ability to put that wisdom into practice. Fortunately we have his words expressing this lack.

At the end of his life, after making just about every mistake that can be made, and those errors he had not committed, had been committed by his father, David, another wise and courageous man, Solomon had this to tell us:

"All is vanity."


UNEQUALLY YOKED


We of the Church (capitol C) are instructed by Paul not to be yoked together with unbelievers. Naturally people of the churches (small c) have taken that to means we are not to be yoked together with those not of our denomination.

But, that's not what Paul said.

What Paul said was that believers were not to yoked with unbelievers.


If I were to have one mule and one goat, and I needed to pull a wagon using what animals I had available, would these make a good team? No?

Well, now I have an old milk cow and a pig, would they make a good team? No? Well, why not?

The idea of a team is that both (or all when there are more) should be of the same power. Being of the same strength is indeed an important consideration when making up a team, whether it be a team to pull a wagon, a team to play a game, a team to fight in a war, or a team for the purpose of marriage.

But strength is just one aspect to consider when making up a team.


In sports there is a process called "seeding." Seeding is the selecting of players to compete with one another who are more equally matched. For instance, in the martial arts it would not be considered proper, nor would it serve any purpose to match a tender yellow belt against a tenth degree black belt. This would help neither participant, nor would it be enjoyable to any spectators unless they are the type who enjoys a lynching or slaughterhouses.

As teams of equally matched participants are divided into sets of superior players, the loser (considered the weaker or less proficient) is eliminated from the contest, and the winner is pitted against the winner of the other sets of participants. This process continues until the best of each round is determined. If it is an individualized sport like boxing or tennis, the "last man standing" is crowned the winner. If it is a team effort such as football or baseball, then it's the entire team that takes to the winner's circle.


Consider a team of football players. We tend to think of the team as a unit, of all the players as being of like abilities. This, of course, is just not so. Within each team there are those with more skill than the others, and there are those with less skill.

Skill in playing the game is only one area in which there are variations. There also exists such attributes to be considered as team effort, drive, consideration of the other players, dedication, the ability to follow orders, and so on. There is also a vast array of sizes and strengths to be reckoned with. The likelihood of a lineman being of the same size and strength as the fullback is unlikely. One needs speed and accuracy, and the other must have strength and thrust. Yet both must possess the highest degree of skill in their area if the team is to be successful.


Using a team of football players as an example, let us consider the cart that I the farmer, must have pulled. I now have two teams from which to select my "team" that I am going to yoke to my cart. Which do you suppose would make the best team:

The lineman and the fullback from the winning team.

The fullback and the halfback of the winning team.

or:

Two linemen from the losing team?


I now have two linemen from the winning team. One of these linemen is more skilled and larger than the other, and has a better blocking average than the other. But he also has an attitude of superiority, has a drinking problem which causes him to miss practices, and is not inclined to follow orders as he should.

The other lineman does not have as good of a record as the other, but he is eager to learn, is dependable, and follows orders well.

I have to let one go. Which do you suppose I will keep, and which will I let go?


Churches are composed of teams much like these. However, except for a few of the participants in each church, members of the teams are not required to do any more than show up at meetings, and maybe pay their dues. The variation between the least of the members of a church and the most dedicated is extreme. In fact that extreme might be better compared to a dedicated player on the team, and a sleepy-eyed spectator in the bleachers.

If I were to follow Paul's admonition to not be unequally yoked, which do you suppose would be the best, and which the poorest combination of yoke-mates:

The strongest in faith and dedication of one denomination and the weakest of that same denomination;

Two of the weakest of the same denomination;

or:

The strongest of two different denominations?


Of course according to the denominations, it would be any match within their own denomination.


It is an unfortunate (a dastardly poor choice of words) that all the denominations see themselves as isolated segments of the body of Christ, with the weakest "could care less" member having more understanding of the Word and having more assurance of being saved than the most dedicated and faithful of any other denomination.

The fact is that, in spite of the egoist attitude of the denominations, all, I repeat for emphasis, all members of the Body of Christ are to be looking in one direction and to have one sole purpose: and that is to look to the Lord for guidance, and to serve Him, not the church.


We are told to beware of wolves and tares in the church. Tares are those who look like the true believer, but have no Spirit of the Lord in them. A vast majority of the church members are tares, unbeknownst even to themselves because there is no effort in the churches (except perhaps those considered as cults) to drive their members to anything beyond the pew and the coffee table. Should a football team have such an attitude, or any other organization, it would fall flat on its face very quickly.


The Church (capitol C) is not a denomination, but an attitude of the heart, a dedication to the One we are to serve. To be equally yoked we must be associated with others who are moving in the same direction, with the same drive, and the same mind as others on the team. Paul puts it like this:


5Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 15:)


And Peter agrees:


8Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (1Pet 3:)


When and if (which is doubtful) the denominations ever cease from judging the Word according to their own belief system, and begin looking to the One who the Church was designed to serve, then an understanding of God's meaning will be seen, and the church will be of use for more than an ineffectual PTA meeting. But the only effort I see toward this end is in the World's effort to homogenize the church into its way of thinking rather into God's way of thinking. And the World is having more and more effect toward this end as each day goes by.

If the church bodies do not begin to cling ever closer to the skirt-hem of the Lord, it won't be long until the church as any semblance of relating to God will cease to exist. Which, in many ways considering the state of most churches today, might not be such a big loss after all.


11O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. 12Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. 13Now for a recompense in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. 14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2Cor 6:)


DISH PANS


A little while ago I decided to scrub up the rubber mat that sits in the sink to protect it. I've had this mat for a few years, and when I wash the dishes, I kind of clean the mat as well, mostly in effort to rid it of any germs that might accumulate.

But this time I spent a great deal of effort with the intent of getting the mat clean as new. I used bleach, I used scouring powder, I used boiling water, and I scrubbed as hard as I could with a stiff bristle brush.

Although the mat doesn't look too bad, and it certainly looks clean, it is far from what it was when it was new.

I was thinking as I scrubbed this mat how much easier it would have been, and how much cleaner it would be, if I had only begun keeping the mat clean from the time it was new, allowing nothing to accumulate on it, or to stain it.


Isn't this true of our lives as well? At our conversion (those who were truly repentant and therefore converted) we were given a new beginning. From that new beginning we are expected to maintain what we have, and to grow even farther into the grace we were given (John 3:6; 1John 2:29; 3:9; 2Cor 5:17).

I for one did so. But there are areas in my life that have a strong pull on me, and over time, the pull (when not checked and condemned) tends to pull me back into my old self.

After a time who I am becoming, and how far away I have grown from the cross, becomes so clear to me that I either have to do something about it, or end up "back in my own vomit." (2Peter 2:17-22)

Trying to clean what has been allowed to crust up and putrefy is not easy. In fact, to get back to my original condition, my baby state of "born again," is probably impossible. In any case, I find that no matter how hard I scrub, I can't get all the contaminants off, and what is removed has left an ugly stain.

If I were to continue scrubbing the mat on a daily basis, perhaps it will return to a closer semblance of what it was originally (Heb 6:4; Luke 18:27; Ezek 33:12-20).

I should apply this same attitude toward my life, don't you think?


WHY DENOMINATIONS


Why is it that people group together under a specific banner, all having the same set of opinions, the same attitudes and wearing the same name tag? Have you ever wondered this yourself?

Why do you belong to a certain denomination, hold to the same opinions and have the same attitudes as everyone else in the denomination you belong to?

Why? Because no one trusts their own ability to understand the ways of God, or the Bible; so they turn their thinking and their decision-making over to someone else who claims to have the answers.


Have you ever heard of Jim Jones?


 

To CONTENTS

To NEWLY ADDED PAGE



© Info

*To WELCOME PAGE

TO BIBLE CONTENTS

To SITE MAP

 

To .info HOME PAGE


Contact me by e-mail


top of page

www.FIRST-TRUMP.info

www.Tumbleweed.name __ Morality Stories - Bible Studies - Ethics__www.First-Trump.info