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

page 35


1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,

giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (1Tim 4:)



THE SCORPION & THE FROG


One upon a time, a scorpion decided that he wanted change in his life. So he set out on a journey: through the forests and hills to see what he could see. He climbed over rocks and under vines and through this and around that until he reached a river.

The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to consider his situation. He could see no way across the bustling stream. So he ventured upriver and explored down river, all the while considering that he just might have to turn back return to his old abode.

Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He called to the frog and requested help in getting across the stream.

"Hellooo Mr. Frog!" called the scorpion across the water, "Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?"

"Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you across the river, you wont sting me?" asked the frog in a logical tone. "After all, Mr. Scorpion, that is the manner of your species, is it not?

"Because," the scorpion replied, "If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!"

Now this appeared to be a sensible consideration to the frog. But he thought to ask: "What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and reach the shore!"

"This is true," agreed the scorpion, "But then I wouldn't be able to get to the other side of the river!"

"Alright then, but how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and then kill me?" inquired the frog.

"Ahh...," crooned the scorpion, "Because you see, once you've taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair of me to reward such kindness with death, now would it?!"

After a bit of deliberation, the frog agreed to carry the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the far bank where stood the scorpion and settled himself near a rock whereunto he may pick up his passenger. The scorpion then crawled onto the frog's back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog's soft hide. His passenger securely on his back, the frog then slid into the river. The muddy water of the rain-soaked wadi swirled around the unique couple, whilst the frog remained near the surface of the river in order to assure that the scorpion would not drown. The frog kicked his way mightily through the near half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the resisting current.

Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion removing his stinger from the frog's back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.

"You fool!" croaked the frog, "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do such a thing as you have?"

The scorpion shrugged, and danced a little jig on the drowning frog's back.

"I could not help myself" replied the scorpion. "It is my nature to sting."

Then the two sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.


10When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. 11Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: 12Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; (Deut 8:)


6And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. 7And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. (Ezek 2:)


19Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:)


1And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.. . . . 10And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. (Rev 9:)


It is our nature to be rebellious. In times of need we will do anything, say anything in order to obtain what we think we want or need. Then, when the pressure is off, we revert back to our old self and forget what we have promised, even when that promise has been directed toward our own best interest.

Moses, who stood in the stead of God Himself was not immune to this self-destructive nature. When presented the unique opportunity to "be as God" and to lead his people out of slavery, he tried every way he could to get out of his obligation, even to the point of angering God.

Abraham, that "Man of faith," when confronted with possible difficulty, instructed his wife, Sarah, to say she was his sister rather than his wife, placing her in a most difficult position with the kings and the people of the land.

King David, that "Man after God's own heart" fell to the worst of sins when the pressure of Saul's pursuit was no longer a problem.

Solomon, the "Wisest man on earth" lived the life of a fool, unable to follow his own advise.


39And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. (Luke 11:)


5And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. (Gen 6:)


It is our nature to be wicked (malicious, grievous). It is our nature to do the wrong thing when the right thing is obvious and in our best interest: just watch any two-year-old.


16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.(Gen 2:)


6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Gen 3:)


We are at war. It is not a war with others that we are engaged in, but a war with ourself, our own nature. A large part, if not the greatest part, of our purpose here on earth is to overcome our self, our own self-destructive, anti-God mentality. None, as shown above in the lives of our greatest heros of the Bible, have been able to overcome the lusts of the flesh.

Except One.


And that One, Jesus, has said that we also are to do as He has done. This seems an impossible task, yet it is one that He has made it clear we are to attempt with all of our being.


33These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:)


21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:)


Even as Jesus overcame. We know for certain what that entails. He is not speaking about attending Sunday School once a week and saying your prayers at bedtime.


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:)


14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (Heb 12:)


According to Solomon, the hardest thing a person can do is rule their own body.


32He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (Prov 16:)


James expresses it this way:


7For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:)


And Paul says:


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. 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: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1Cor 9:)


[Imagine Paul saying such a thing! Hasn't he ever heard of the doctrine of Eternal Security?]


42And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? 43Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 44Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. (Luke 12:)


We are to be wise stewards of that which God has given us. Of course there are many who think this means taking care of our "stuff." I think God meant something bigger:


19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1Cor 6:)


16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1Cor 3:)


Jesus told us that if we overcome this world (our flesh, our desires and ego) that we will reap the same rewards that He has been given. But if we sign on, and fail!


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:)


14For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. . . . . . 20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord . . . . . ..29For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 25:)


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:)


47Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 13:)


It strikes me odd (a poor choice of words) that people can dedicate a great deal of their time and effort in their search for a good car, or a house, or a pair of running shoes; but when it comes to something as important as their eternal life, they slough it off as a given, turning their "belief" system over to whoever happens to be at hand claiming to have answers. And yet, we believe that just such a "belief" will save us from the pit of hell and be rewarded with eternal glory and rulership over all God possesses.

Isn't it about time, in your opinion, that your future destiny be given a little more consideration?


7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:)


DOCTRINE WILL NOT SAVE YOU


"What do you mean, doctrine won't save you? Just take a look at these Scriptures:"


16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2Tim 3:)


"And what about this?"


9He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. (2John:)


Well, I say, those verses are pretty strong evidence, wouldn't you say? But let's look at the rest of those butchered verses as well as a few more, shall we?


11How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Mat 16:)


16Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (John 7:)


13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Eph 4:)


3As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. 5Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. (1Tim 1:)


1Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. (1Tim 6:)


13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2Tim 3:)


1I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2Tim 4:)


7For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2John:)


Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Mat 15:)


22Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. (Col 2:)


1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (1Tim 4:)


9Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. (Heb 13:)


TRENDY


It has always been part of human nature to follow the trends. Trends tend to prevent a person from having to think. And thinking, don't you know, consumes a lot of time and energy that could be better applied elsewhere, like watching TV so one can know what the trend is that one should follow.

Following the trends is not as easy a task as one might suppose. What was in fashion one day might well be out of fashion and ridiculed the next. Should one be caught wearing stripes when polka dots have taken over the fashion scene, and one has not watched the news the night before, one might easily be laughed at and scorned, maybe even expelled from one's society.

Trendy is not for the weak of heart. Dedication and a keen observation of the trends are but two of the requirements one must possess to be considered trendy. But there are others: for instance, a healthy wallet is a must, either that or a high-end credit card.

Without trends the media would have nothing to talk about or display; wall street would fold; and nations such as China and Taiwan would go broke and not have the money to lend us in order that we may buy their products that keep us in fashion.

Imagine sending a ten year old off to school with a chartreuse laptop when everyone knows vermillion is now the trendy color. Why the child would be laughed off the playground. Such behavior on a parent's part is paramount to child abuse.


Trendy is not a new thing. Trendy has been around since the beginning of man. Have you noticed how little effort was needed for Eve to convince Adam to partake of the forbidden fruit once she had set the trend to do so? Or had you noticed that both Adam and Eve chose the same leaf with which to conceal themself, when anyone could have told them that the leaf of the banana or elephant-ear plant would have served as better covering?

No, trendy is not new, it is just much more expensive, and changes much more rapidly.


At one time trendy, a modern word for conformity, was more easily defined and far more widespread than it is today. Rather than there being many trends within a nation or a culture, there was only one. For instance, have you ever noticed how many centuries the Romans wore Togas and the inhabitants of the Middle East wore tunics? What was trendy in those days could easily be passed down from generation to generation rather than from day to day.


In Israel, when the Israelites were in power, there was only one religion to be seen. Anyone of a differing religion or a slightly different point of view within that religion was either ousted or put to death.

This is true of other cultures as well. When the king of Babylon (for instance) decided that a certain god must be worshiped in a certain way, and sometimes that god to be worshiped was the king himself, then all who disagreed with his edict were destroyed. We have Daniel and the three Hebrew children as examples of what happens to those who disapprove.

Rome is another nation that was inclined to have the entire world conform to its will - or else.


Then came the power of the Catholic church. Rather than the kings possessing the power, it was now the Pope and the church that wielded the rod of trendy authority. Buck the pope, and off with your head. And the king himself was not immune to the authority of the church.

But in the days of old, following the trend of the day (or year, or decade, or century: they remained essentially the same) was not difficult. There were no objectors, none that were alive at least.

You never heard the question asked: "What denomination do you belong to?" There existed only one.


As time went on, there grew a matter of differing opinions concerning such things as the authority of the Pope, so, with much turmoil, a split evolved in the church. It was now essentially the same church, only there were now two denominations: the East and the West Catholic church. But if you lived in the East, you belonged to the East church of the Catholic religion. Again, no problem with following the trends.


There's a strange twist in human nature that seems to twist a bit more in some people than it does in others. When there is no particular pressure to make a decision, this twist does not show itself in these individuals. When the entire world is one way, all follow. This principal has been applied from the time of Noah, through the Middle ages, and culminating in Nazi Germany.

But in this modern age, the Industrial-Commercial Age, trends have set people apart as Wall Street competes with itself to draw all the people to the megla-many different concurrent fashions.

In the beginning of this trend-setting period (soon after Korea), there arose an openly rebellious group called the Hippies. Hippies, you see, were absolutely against following the trends of the day. And while Hippies rebelled against the commercial and the industrial age, they formed a society of their own that was not a society because there were no trends within this society. And the way one could tell that another was a nonconformist was by looking at them - they all dressed and acted the same, even to driving the same kind of car (which, by the way, the Germans love this about the society of non-societal Hippies.)


The Korean war gave impetuous to the Hippie movement, as it did the rebellion in the colleges.

Prior to this there was another rebellion that surfaced, arising from the breach in the Catholic church: the Protestant movement.

Force creates resistance. The more a person who has that twist of human nature that resists conformity, the stronger the rebellion it produces. The Catholic church pushed hard on the Protestants, so hard in fact that it created a gigantic movement away from itself, actually causing the very church it had tried to prevent.

This can be seen in the Christian movement as well. The harder the Jews pushed the Christian, the more Christians they killed and persecuted, the stronger Christianity became, and the more widespread it grew.

A plant that is beaten as it dies reproduces itself over a more distant area, and does so more rapidly than one allowed to fall to the ground and become buried at its roots.


In the beginning of the Christian church, a certain Pharisee gave the Council of the Jewish leaders some good advice, advise they agreed to, but never followed. Had they followed the advice of Gamaliel (the instructor of Paul the Apostle), perhaps the Christian church might not have grown as it has. Here is what he said:


33When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them [the Apostles]. 34Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; 35And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. 36For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. 37After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. 38And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: 39But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. 40And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. (Acts 5:)


During the last hundred years or so we have witnessed this same occurrence many times. A small group would splinter off of the existing church (usually a Protestant church of some nature) with sparks a-flying. Much resistance (including death and persecution) was applied to these splinter groups causing them to grow rapidly and extend farther into the groups that tried to squelch them.

We think of the Christian church as being right because it has grown so large and through so much resistance. This is not true. It has grown because of persecution.

Persecution is like the process a farmer uses to grow his crops. In order to have a large and healthy crop the next year, he burns the residue of his current crop. This is true of nature in general. We think of a forest fire as a terrible freak of nature. This is not so. A forest fire is God's way of clearing the old growth and the fallen dead trees so that new growth can come forth, providing light to the new growth. Those trees that are strong are not burnt except for their dead branches. They remain to stimulate and provide the new growth which will produce a young and healthy forest. It is not nature's fault that we are so foolish as to build our mansion in the forest, no more than is it nature's fault that we build our mansions on the edge of a precipice overlooking a roaring sea or on the side of an active volcano.

In the days of strong persecution of the Christians, Martyrdom was a thing to seek after, it was the "trend" of the day. It has been reported that one officer who's job it was to control the Christians, even to killing them, once said of the many Christians who taunted him in effort to be martyred: "If these Christians are so anxious to die, why don't they go jump off a cliff?"

This attitude is not only seen in the Christian culture, but in the world of other religions and groups as well. We see it ranging from the college students who taunt the police knowing they will be arrested or killed, all the way to the Muslim groups and other such who make human bombs of themselves. In those cultures, just as it was in the Shinto religion of the Japanese Kamakazi, death for a cause was considered the thing to seek, and was the "trend" of the day.

Considering that rebellion, resistance, fashion and religious belief of all natures are the cause of martyrdom and self-sacrifice, it can be seen, or at least supposed, that martyrdom in itself is not evidence that a person is obeying the will of God. There will be a vast number of souls standing before the Throne of Judgement holding the Martyrdom banner who will find themselves rejected and cast out. Jesus said the following to illustrate His point: and this to Christians:


21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Mat 7:)


At this point in time there is no real pressure on anyone to be any certain way, or to do any certain thing. Mild pressure causes pressure to conform, but not to resist. Because of this, those churches who apply the least pressure, and those who apply the most pressure flourish, while those in between diminish. This can be seen in the growth of both the Cults and the Modern churches. This can also be seen in the moving of the old, established denominations toward the Modern way of thinking, and the dying away of the mother churches.

There is a day coming, however, when all the middle zone of Christianity and fashion will pass away and a strong power will dictate what will and will not be in "fashion," and what (and who) will be cast into pit of persecution. In that day we will once again see who has the rebellious twist of human nature, and who will lightly follow the trend of the day.


THE MEDIA

Today I saw a headline article in the newspaper telling about the new problem that has become widespread. Hundreds of 911 calls targeting random families, perhaps a 100 miles away, claiming need of immediate help, or reporting a supposed drug deal, or some other such claim causing a SWAT team to barge into the innocent family's house.

This causes me to think of the problem this world is having with credit card fraud, and of the school shootings of not long ago. We read of these (originally isolated incidents), and by reading them we receive detailed information on how to perform these deeds. Then somewhere in the middle of the article we read a statement telling how the police and the courts just can't cope with the perpetrators, or catch them or punish them when they are caught.

And at the end of the article we read: "We can only hope this problem doesn't become widespread."

And widespread it does become.


I wonder how in the world this happens, and where the perpetrators of these dastardly deeds get such ideas!


CENSORSHIP


One big accusation the Protestant churches make against the Catholic church is the idea of censoring what the proponents of Catholicism is allowed to read. This has been a historical occurrence since the beginning of the formation of the Protestant movement.

Meanwhile those same Protestant churches, as they condemn and demean the act of censorship, dish out a strictly defined list of what should and should not be read, believed, and considered appropriate literature.

"I don't read anything my pastor doesn't approve" I hear people say, proudly.


It sure is a good thing we now live in a age when our reading material isn't censored.


1Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Mat 7:)


GENEALOGY OF THE CHURCH


It has been said that the first man (Adam) was born without the aid of a woman: and the second Man (Jesus) was born without the aid of a man.

This is true. Along with this are many other miracles culminating in the development of the Church.


Eve, the first of the fleshly women, was born from the side of the first man "as he slept."

The Church (the Spiritual Israel) was born from the side of Jesus as He "slept." (The Bible often refers to death as sleep.)


Through the line of Jesus there were several elderly and barren women who could not have produced children without the aid of a miracle.

There were women who could never have been included in such a line if Man had his way, such as the wife of a murdered man, prostitutes, and a Moabitis.

There were youngest sons chosen over the elder for the inheritance, a definite violation of Hebrew law.


Jesus was born of a virgin. Jesus is the One who the line of Abraham is channeled through, refining the line as it had been refined through those previously mentioned. Just as Essau, who was the oldest, and the one who was legally in line for the inheritance was rejected by God; so the Jews were set aside and rejected giving place for the Righteous one, Jesus.

Jesus left no physical seed. All those who are children of Jesus, continuing the line of Abraham, must be born of the Spirit, "the Water and the Blood."


1Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

6This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. (1John 5:)


[Are there any doctors or midwives out there? What issues forth at childbirth?]


3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit . . . . . 13And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:)


6Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (Rom 9:)


7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (Mat 3:)


33But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. (John 19:)


42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (1Cor 15:)


FASHION


Have you ever watched a talent show on TV where kids of all ages compete for a spot on some show or the like? You see some very talented youngsters, all amazing in their skill; but there is one that just bowls you over with his or her abilities. You know for sure who will be the winner because in comparison there is none more capable than the one you have selected. And all who might be in the room with you are in agreement.

Then the winner is chosen.

The one you selected has not even been considered in contention.

The chanced are you have many names for the judges of the show, none repeatable here, and you are positive the show has to be rigged.


But there are several judges on the show. The likelihood of a rigging is pretty slim. So if not a fixing of the show, then what is the cause of such a display of ignorance?


It's a fixing of the mind.


We do not function by propriety, we operate according to what is expected of us. To go against the stream of fashion is to be left in the tidepools of society.

Judging of these shows called "Talent" is not done according to talent, but rather how well what is being performed fits into the fashion of the day. While one singer might be far better than the other, that person's choice of song, or the clothing they decide to wear, is not what is sung by, or worn by the trend-setters of the media. Quality is not looked for or appreciated, it's the ability to conform to fashion.


During the 1920's fashion for the Miss America's were what we would consider overweight today. Yet every contender for the beauty contests looked and weighed the same. Today's winners would have been considered scarecrows and unhealthy during my mother's youth.

When looking through the art books depicting women of the middle ages we see yet another view of women's beauty. The lovely lasses of that age would cause the beauties of the twenties to appear as twigs blown by the wind.


In the area of masculine beauty we have very much the same thing, but in reverse. It was not long ago that the statuesque man had a handsome face, small waist and broad shoulders. Proportions and appearance was judged and sought for. Body builders made every effort to strive for those proportions that were pleasing to the eye, while size and strength were seen as side effects of the weight lifter and the bull moose. Although such proportions were difficult to attain, especially for the average man with large or small skeletal frame, it was none the less what was needed to be considered for the crown.

Probably without dispute the man with the greatest build of his day was Steve Reeves. If you are not familiar with Reeves, watch just about any movie of the '60's depicting Hercules, Sampson or any other muscle man and the likelihood is that it will be Steve Reeves playing the part.

Reeves did not try for size. He looked for proportion. He developed his body so that it fit certain proportions. His neck, upper arms and his calves he kept the same measure. He did not work his obliques (side muscles) because it took away from his tapered form. Appearance was his purpose, and because he accomplished his goal so well, it was the trend of the day to imitate him as best one could.

I suspect even to this day Steve Reeves is considered the greatest, even in the Gold's Gyms of the world where hopeful body builders prepare for their cattle call.

But there is not a man among them who, if able to acquire such a build would do so, if their eye is upon the crown.

Today the fashion is size. Physical appeal has no more to do with the winner's circle than does the skill of that youngster competing in a talent show. Should, somehow, Steve Reeves reappear on the stage to compete for the Mr. America crown he would be laughed right off the stage, seen as a twig amongst bull elephants.


Propriety is lost. The world functions on what is seen as right and proper, not what conscience or good sense dictates. We see this not only in the beauty of the physique, but in music, in art, in dress: and yes, in the church.


God does not judge according to fashion. When sin is fashionable, God destroys those who follow the fashion. He has done this time and again, and I suspect it will not be long and we will witness it happening again.

The time has come for our fashion to be judged.


BOTTOM LINE


23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:)

HOW TO BE A GUITAR GOD


"How to Be a Guitar God:

Fancy yourself a fretboard wizard? To rise to the ranks of guitar master--that is, an exceptionally talented and charismatic guitarist, you must pay your dues. It isn't just about learning how to play guitar; it's about eating, breathing, and sleeping guitar. Read on to follow the lead of widely respected, guitar playing legends like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads--maybe you've got it in you, maybe you don't, but there's only one way to find out.

"MultitaskPractice until your fingers bleed. -- Okay, maybe bleeding fingers aren't the smartest way to go but you get the idea. Eddie Van Halen used to walk around his house with the guitar strapped on and unplugged, practicing incessantly; he'd sit on his bed for hours on end with a guitar while other people went to parties. Are you ready and willing to do the same? Get your priorities straight and learn to multitask. It's all about dedication and discipline."


The above is a quote copied off the web. Of course not everyone wants to be a "Guitar God." But whatever your field of interest, what has been said in this blurb stands true. You have to live and breathe what you love. And the more you expect of yourself, the more you have to apply yourself. And not just apply yourself to your max, but even farther because there is someone right on your tail waiting for you to slack off or falter.


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. 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: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1Cor 9:)


Why do we think God is going to let us get away with any less?


 

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