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 37


16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Rev 3:)



I'M RIGHT!


I have no doubt but that you think I am referring to myself here. Although such a statement is true of me as well, it's not me I'm thinking of.

People think they're right. It's natural. What kind of person goes around thinking they're wrong all the time?

At the end of Judges we have this statement:


25In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:)


If you've read Judges, then you know that doing right in their own eyes was very, very wrong!


In the wilderness journey of the Israelites we have many examples of doing right in one's own eyes. Korah and his band of 250 is an example:


1Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: 2And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: 3And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? (Num 16:)


God, it appears, did not agree with Korah, and opened the earth and swallowed him, his followers, and their families. It's risky being associated with rebels.


Miriam, the sister of Moses and their brother Aaron had their little tiff with Moses as well:


1And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 2And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? (Num 12:)


Miriam was struck with leprosy as a reward for her doing what she thought was right.


Then again Aaron had his turn to make decisions, as a spokesman for God, while Moses was up in the mountain talking to God:


1And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 2And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 3And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 5And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; (Ex 32:)


Later, when Moses confronted Aaron on this dastardly act that caused the death of thousands, Aaron had this to say:


24And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf. (Num 32:)


That's not quite the picture we're given in the verses above, wouldn't you say?


Consider this: Miriam was not just Moses' sister, but a prophetess. This means that she spoke the words of God:


20And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. (Num 15:)


Aaron was the mouth for the one who stood in place of God:


12Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. 13And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 14And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. 15And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. 16And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. (Ex 4:)


Miriam was a spokesperson for God. Moses was as God to the people, and Aaron had the distinction of being the spokesman for Moses. Now, how much more authority could one ask for? Surely you and I could fully expect to follow the advice from such as these. Yet, as we have seen, the ones who followed these proclaimed leaders advise were destroyed by God Himself.


The High Priest, the Scribes and the Pharisees were the top of the line, the closest to God that existed in the days of Jesus. It was absolutely mandatory that you do as they told you to do. To do otherwise could very well mean being put out of the Temple, or even death.

Of course we know these upright and righteous leaders of the people made some horrible choices when it came to Jesus, but there was some credibility in what they said and what they did. The Torah did indeed speak against what Jesus was doing. At least we can see how they could have interpreted the Bible in such a way.

However:


9Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; 11Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. (John 12:)


Now, that to me is not quite kosher.


Jesus said:


1These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. (John 16:)


We try and do what is right as we see it. Usually, if we are really looking, we discover by looking back at out past decisions, that we have not done so well. What is even harder to do is to recognize that our decisions today are no better than they have been in our past. We still justify and defend what we don't want to look at.


We are human. We make human mistakes.

Our leaders, our preachers are human. They make human mistakes.

As we have seen above, the greatest of leaders, of God's spokesmen, have made some terrible mistakes, in their own lives and as they effected others around them. Even David, the man after God's own heart, and Solomon, the wisest man on earth made errors that would put some criminals to shame.



WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!


I see prayers, generic prayers, sent in email forwards and printed in books that read: "...And forgive me for everything I've ever done wrong."


Now me, I don't think that is what God had in mind when He says to ask for forgiveness and He will give it to us.


Let's try this principle with our kids:


"Mom, Dad, forgive me for everything I've ever done. Now will you take me to Disneyland?"

"What is it you've done that you want us to forgive you for?"

"I don't know. But just in case I did something, I want to be forgiven so you won't be mad at me."

"Well, how about when you spilled paint on the car?"

"Yeah, that's what I want forgiven for."

"How about when you sassed your mother and didn't come home when you were told to?"

"Yeah, those things too."

"What about the neighbor's window you broke that you never paid for?"

"Yeah, that too."

"Son, it appears to me that you don't even bother to pay any attention to what you do wrong. And if you don't even care enough to remember them, how can we expect you to try and correct them in the future?"


You and me, we are not looking for a trip to Disneyland, but for a much greater reward. How much more then will God expect of us for what we want to be forgiven for?


Something else I've noticed about these and almost all other email forwards I get are how they are followed up with this line:


"Pass this on and God will greatly bless you" or something to that effect.

Now, I ask you, isn't that a bit presumptuous? I for one don't find this concept in the Bible, and I would not want to have to face God and justify having told people such a thing as this. How can I assume that God will bless us for sending some picture or letter to others? Even if it's a Bible verse, or the entire Bible I'm sending, I am not given the right to add to it what God will or will not do.



BLESS GOD


We hear this all the time. From the beggar on the street right up to the highest of preachers (whoever that might be) these words roll off the tongue like a sliver of ice: "Bless God."


There's something inside of me that shudders when I hear people use this expression. Yet it seems to me as if this phrase is used in the Bible a time or two, and used by those who should know if it is appropriate or not.

I think I'll check up on this:


1Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (Psalm 103)


Here we have David very distinctly Blessing the Lord. And he blessed God not only once, but many times. And there are many others in the Old Testament who Blessed God.


3Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; (2Cor 3:)


8But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (James 3:)


Here we have Paul clearly blessing God, and we have James seemingly giving his confirmation to this gesture.


But then I read:


6But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 7And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. (Heb 7:)


Now I'm confused. Paul, in making a very important statement that his entire argument stands upon says that the better blesses the lesser. Yet we have David blessing God, and we even have Paul himself blessing God.

How can this be? Is there some way to explain this seeming contradiction?


Let's take a look at the original language. And this is going to be a bit of a challenge because in all instances where this phrase is given, the very same word has been used throughout:


BLESS (Hebrew) H1288 ba^rak baw-rak' A primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason): - X abundantly, X altogether, X at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse, X greatly, X indeed, kneel (down), praise, salute, X still, thank.


BLESS (Greek) G2127 eulogeo¯ yoo-log-eh'-o From a compound of G2095 and G3056; to speak well of, that is, (religiously) to bless (thank or invoke a benediction upon, prosper): - bless, praise.


It appears that the Hebrew leaves a lot of leeway as to what "blessing" means. It can either be a curse, or a greeting, or a blessing as we know it.

The Greek is not so ambiguous: However there is still room in the Greek within which to move around and get one's self lost.


I think it all boils down to: What do you mean when you say "Bless God"?



VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS


A vision came to me this morning. No, it wasn't an angel standing at my bedside; nor was it a spectacle depicting the end of the world. It was rather a clearer understanding of how I see the church today.


In my vision I saw a church building not unlike one might find in any town or village. At the portal of this church there was a porch having steps to the door of the church.

At the top of the steps, standing on the porch before the door I saw two men, one dressed in a robe of the clergy, the other wearing the garments of a common laborer. The clergyman had brought the layman to the porch, thereby the door, and the layman was preparing to knock at the door of the church.

At this, the clergyman said: "That won't be necessary, my son. This is as far as you need to go. You have already reached the destination that God has desired of you."


There are thousands of supposed ministers of the Word encompassing the world, their intentions being to bring people to the door of the True Church of God. Some of these Missionaries, these Evangelists if you please, approach their prospective converts one person at a time. Other Evangelists have become famous for their great efforts to fill the porch of the churches, either through touring the world and speaking to great crowds of eager listeners, or by speaking to millions over the waves of the air or the web of confusion. But whatever might be the means and the number, the object is the same: bring in the bodies, and add to the tally of "souls won."


Nowhere else in life or in nature does such a rule as this apply. In no other aspect of life does mere attendance at the foot of the stairs warrant entitlement to full rewards offered to those who complete the course laid out for them.

Somehow the churches of today have acquired such a notion as this, and they fully expect God to honor that supposition even though it directly contradicts the dictates He has given to us.


I hope to, in some small way, reverse the trend established by the church of modern days. My intent, and my efforts are directed toward getting those who stand at the door to not only knock on the door, but to energetically traverse the church, gleaning from its interior all that is availed to them. My wish is that every convert lay prostrate before the Lord of Glory who has built the House of the Lord with His own blood, in submission and determined passion.

But the only way this can be accomplished is, by whatever means possible, removing the clergy that stands before the door of the Church with outstretched hands, blocking the door to those who wish to enter.


INSECURITY


There are some of us who believe that everyone is wrong but we ourselves. I say some of us because that is the camp in which I tend to dwell. Those of us who believe this have the attitude of the man who said: "I'm from Missouri, show me."

We live in a world of extremes, both in this world and in our lives. And just about everyone, in one form or another, to one degree or another, and in one area or another, has experienced extremes.

One such area where extremes exist is that of the courtroom. Trials are based on the principal of extremes, either guilty or innocent, even though there's often a strong possibility of some degree of either. It is the job of two men called "Lawyers" who have little knowledge of the issue at hand, and who often could care less for the person who must endure the consequences of the trial's outcome, who present their argument to a jury who resents being forced to serve, and before a judge who can often do no more than play eenie meenie minie moe between the two lawyers to decide which presented the best fairy tale to the court.

Although a courtroom is one of the most recognizable of the extreme areas, there are other arenas as well, and as the above, they ought not to be so. I use for an example our seat of government who we pay to work for our own good and betterment and not their own grandizement; and our world leaders who's argument over which end of the egg to open makes the difference between peaceful coexistence and blowing up of the world.


Closer to home we have our personal arenas where ego flares even in the most laid back of us. I am thinking here of the family circle.

Families are the units where each of us should be able to go and receive comfort, support and acceptance. Unfortunately, in all too many families, this is not true. In fact, it is more likely that "family life" for most of us would cause the courtroom scenario to appear as a love scene in a dime novel. The tension displayed by all family members of most homes might be seen as akin to that of patients in the waiting room of a heart specialist, all waiting to hear the results of their stress test.


Although extremes of opinion exist in almost all walks of life, and we accept and expect disagreement at almost every turn; there is one arena where disagreement is almost nonexistent. Oddly enough, those same people who strive for the mastery, and demand their view to be heard and accepted in every other aspect of their life, surrender their ego at the door of whatever church they happen to attend.

A lawyer who's job it is, and who's reputation and finances hinge upon his ability to thrust his adamant view above that of everyone else he encounters, sits quietly in a pew on Sunday and absorbs every word spoken from the pulpit without rebuttal.

A husband and father, who on his job and in his home sees it his responsibility to keep all his employees in line, and his family under subjection, sits beside the lawyer and nods agreement to what the preacher preaches.


In our workaday life surrendering our argumentative nature might effect our paycheck and our reputation. In our family life the allowing of our ego to rest might diminish our status as head of the house, or it might even allow for a bit of harmony amongst the members of the family.

But is this true of the one who rests his or her opinion on the one standing behind the pulpit on Sunday mornings?


In the home, the father who reigns as tyrant does so because he believes he is "right," and that it is right and proper for him to do so. The lawyer cares little for being proper or sincere, nor for right or wrong; his interest is in appearing right. Appearing right is what he is paid to do.


The preacher who is standing behind the pulpit has one primary job on Sunday morning, one for which he spends a great deal of time in preparation (presumably). His job is to tell of and explain what the particular church he preaches for believes the Bible is saying. The chances are he has spent a year or more in some seminary learning what that particular denomination he preaches for has to say about the Bible. And if he finds himself in doubt as to what the Bible says, he consults a teacher from that seminary, or he refers to a book published or approved by that seminary or the denomination for which he serves.

When the preacher is in doubt as to what the Bible says, it is important that he choose carefully which book he consults, because if he should consult one that gives a view contrary to that of the denomination he preaches for, he can find himself in hot water.

And with there being many thousands of denominations, therefore thousands of doctrines that do not agree with that of the preacher behind the pulpit, it can be seen as easy to read the wrong book and thereby fall into "wrong doctrine."


On Sunday morning the preacher preaches to the opinionated lawyer and family tyrant about a pit of fire and a Heavenly reward, both of which will last an eternity. The tyrant father nods at the layer, and receives a nod of agreement in return. The preacher tells of the many who will burn forever because they were not wise enough to have chosen to sit in the pews of the denomination to which all those in the pews belong.

The lawyer and the tyrant father hear the preacher as he tells them that it is belief that will allow them to be acceptable for Heaven, and the fact that those in the pews have been baptized into that denomination is proof positive that they are destined for eternal bliss.

To this the lawyer and the tyrant father exchange nods of agreement.


I have a question: Why is it that people who demand that their view be heard, that they be agreed with, who will spend great amounts of time and effort in acquiring even the smallest of victories over others: will completely surrender that attitude when they walk through the doors of whatever church they happen to wander into?



ATTACHED AT THE HIP


"If you attack one of us, you attack all of us!"


This is what's called: "Gang Mentality." Every member of a group is joined at the hip with all the others within their circle. Even though one member of that group may hate others in that same group, others outside the group durst say nothing against that hated member or suffer the wrath of all.

We find this same mentality in other areas besides that of gangs An example of this attitude can be found among brothers of a family. It can also be seen in the Armed Forces between branches of the same; like, let's say: the Army and the Navy in a bar scene.


This same attitude is carried into an area where it might be least expected, and that is the Church.

To attack one's denomination or one's church doctrine is to attack the members of that church themselves. Is this a Biblical principal? Let's see what Paul had to say on the subject of gang mentality:

10Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13Is Christ divided? (1Cor 12:)


Yep, there it is, no doubt about it. Paul distinctly said: "10Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."

You can't get any plainer than that. Everyone is to be of the same mind and to be perfectly joined together. In other words, that group you are a part of is like a ship; and in a ship, don't you know, everyone either makes it, or they don't make it. If someone amongst the crew of a ship is negligent in their duty, it could cause all aboard to fail, and thereby die aboard their ship.

Therefore, in a ship situation, it is important that every member make certain that every other member learn their job well, and that they do the job they have been given.

Every member is to be a strong member, and to support the other members of their chosen ship. That means the gang mentality should be a part of the denominational system, isn't that what Paul tells us?


"For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."


Didn't I just say that Paul said that we are to support those in the same denomination? Did I read that Scripture wrong? Now we have Paul condemning the idea of denominationalism. How can this be so? How can we support our denomination and at the same time condemn it as being a division of the body? Is there some way to reconcile this difference?


"Is Christ divided?"


Paul here asks an important question: Is Christ divided? We would have to give a resounding "Yes!" to this question. Christ is not only divided, but splintered into thousands of little fragments that has become ineffectual and benign in itself (the church) and in the World.

While the World is working to become stronger in its views toward Humanistic reform, the church argues one member (denomination) against another, fighting for the position of possessing the correct doctrine.

Have you ever noticed that when Christians talk, they are complacent at best in regards to the none-believers, allowing them their right to their own opinion: but when it's two people of differing denominations, it becomes not a matter of opinion, but that one or the other is going to go to hell for the opinion they hold?


Someone not in the gang system of the church can hold whatever opinion they choose. But once they join the "gang" war, they had best watch their back.


The church, because of its splintered nature, holds no power. And because it holds no power we find the attitudes of the World, of the none-believer creeping in and taking over leadership of the churches. We watch the towers of strength fall to the wayside of the World, helpless to even say a word.

Now, with the churches joining the ranks of Ecumenicalism, we see the final stages of the collapse of the church. Instead of tiny footholds, the World has made gigantic inroads into the church, causing the church to be little, and even no different than the World in its thinking, even to the giving up the belief that God exists.

Because of the gang mentality: the adamant defense of the weakest of the gang; the insistence on doctrinal superiority: there exists nothing more to the church than a tattered banner over the door that means nothing at all.


The church is, and has been a dysfunctional fleet of tiny boats flailing at one another, with their oars at one another's throat, instead of in the water driving to its destination. The church is a crew of self-serving mobsters arguing over turf and which color the life boats should be painted as the ship sinks.

Instead of arguing about differences of opinions that mean little or nothing at all, the churches should be working as an armada demonstrating to the World what Christ is all about. Instead, it is the tiny differences of opinion that all denominations concentrate on - and the Titanic sinks.


In the gang mentality there exists the attitude that none be left behind. Because of this, all progress is no faster nor progresses any further than the weakest and the most complacent member of the gang. We have observed this same attitude in our schools under the label: None Left Behind. None left behind means that none progress farther than the slowest.

What would happen if an Army had this attitude?


Yet, in the churches this attitude reigns supreme. Nothing is said to make the weakest and the most Worldly feel uncomfortable with their lackadaisy attitude.


There is a day coming when we will all be standing at the edge of a pit filled with fire and brimstone. I am wondering what people of the denominational system will think of their "gang mentality" attitude then. Will they desire to follow the weakest of them into the pit? Will they wish they had done as Paul said of himself, that is to "strive for the mastery?"

I also wonder if those standing before the Great White Throne might be wishing they had heard more Fire and Brimstone messages, that are so spoken against today, and that they had taken them to heart.



DOCTRINE HA HA!


"See this? It says right here in this verse that I'm right and your wrong. So there! I'm going to heaven and your going to to hell and burn forever, Ha! Ha!"

"Oh yeah! Well you just look at this verse. It proves I'm right and your wrongs! So you're the one going to hell and I'm the one going to heaven. So there! Ha! Ha!"


Is this what Jesus had in mind for His Church as He hung on that cross do you suppose?


Doctrine runs the gamut from those who believe that every jot and tittle of man's traditions as well as the Words of Scripture must be followed to the letter (as did the Pharisees); to those who believe that everyone is going to Heaven, the good and the bad, and that Jesus never really existed, or that He was just a good teacher and nothing more.

Arguments, considering this great range of thinking, is bound to occur when two Christians of different denominations converse (but strangely enough, those of the same denomination somehow become of the same mind. I wonder how that happens?).


All these, even the ones who believe Jesus never existed, all call themselves "Christian."

And among those who believe that Jesus was at least sent from God to instruct us, and who believe the Bible is true; these are splintered into groups of people with differing degrees of opinion as to whether a Christian should work their way to Heaven; no work should be done; perfection is required or at least must be sought after; and those who believe that nothing is needed because all are now saved, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseam.

What's the Truth? Who has the answer? What happens to those who hold the wrong answer? Can you be sure you are right considering the thousands of doctrines being taught?

Don't you think it's worth the time and the effort to look into this matter?



FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS


I don't know what it is about people, but it seems that the more you do for them, the more you care for them; the less they appreciate, and the less inhibited they feel around you.


All my life I have lived without friends. I counted this a curse. This past while I have been finding people coming to me with open arms wanting to embrace me with their friendship. In the beginning these people were so nice and so appreciative of every little thing I did for them. Then, when I opened up to them, and gave then access to the hurtful portions of my heart, they pulled out their knife and started whittling.

It would seem that a person would want to be the kindest to those they are closest to. Instead people tend to tippy-toe around those they don't know and do not care for; and those they should be the kindest to, they allow their worst idiosyncracies to issue forth on them.

Another thing I find is that while people who call themselves "friend" will do anything they want to do to you, things they would never even considering doing to others they don't even care about; that after they have performed their whittling, they fully expect the one they beat down to welcome them with open arms and received them as if it had never happened.

The first taste of this I recall enduring was a young fellow I knew in the Army. When he was sobber he would call me his friend. Then, when he was drunk, he wanted to fight me.

I have observed this same phenomena quite often ever since.


Over two years ago I cried out to the Lord: "What is it about me? Why is it I can't have any friends?"

Now I cry out: "Take this curse from me, Lord. Please, no more friends!"


I think a person is often better off with certain people counting them as an enemy than they are counting them as their "friend."


6And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. (Zech 13:)


13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:)


48Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? (Mat 26:) ......48But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? (Luke 22:)



FALLING SHORT


It has been my fortune in life to not quite make the goal I set for myself. I give that goal I strive for all the effort required, and I give it the diligence that it deserves (at least so it seems to me), but the goal nonetheless eludes me.

As a child I tried to be a good son and a good family member, at least I did so until I gave up in my frustrated effort.

In my scholastic endeavors I made it half way through my senior year, just a half unit (credit) from what was required to graduate (one required class) and I joined the Army, never receiving, to this day, a certificate. I attended Junior College, taking many subject, but again, falling short of receiving a certificate.

I studied fencing, and worked harder perhaps than most Olympic fencers: but again, I never won a match.

I set out to ride around the country on a bicycle, a two year trip that would have taken me from California to Alaska to Florida to Nova Scotia to British Columbia then back to California. I would have ridden 25,000 miles on this tour alone. Instead (partially due to a head-on collision with a car, and partially because of a lack of funds) I never got off the Western portion of the US, even though I put in six years and almost double the miles I would have traveled had I completed my set goal.

Relationship wise, I have been engaged to four different women, and I have had a number of other serious relationships: yet I have never married, although I am almost 70 years old.

I have taught myself to paint and to draw, to the degree that I had a rather successful art school. Yet I have never fully been able to support myself with such an endeavor, nor do I any longer paint or draw or teach.

I set out to be a great contributor to the good of mankind, and I had to a degree (at least in my own eyes and those in my association) managed to succeed to a limited degree. Then to my dismay I found myself in prison as a social misfit and outcast.


I could go on and on, but I think you get the message.


The Lord has seen fit, in His Grace and Mercy, to reveal to this "failure" His intent and His purpose for mankind. It surely has not been for my skills and my worthiness that He has chosen to do so. But for whatever His reason, I have been shown these things.

God has also provided for me a means by which to transmit His desires to the world. Through no ability of my own, I have again, to a limited degree, been able to supply a portion of what I have been shown and place it on the web.

I hope that somewhere there is someone who can use this information and move on into the perfection the Lord demands of those who wish to be with Him in Eternity.

That is my hope.

But for me, with my record, and with what I see of my own progress and my own human failures: as much as I desire to be one of those who makes it over the finish line: I just can't see it happening.

I suspect that, again, I will fall short.


22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Rom 3:)


1Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, (Heb 4:)


48But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48)


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:)


I know too much to claim ignorance. I have been blessed beyond my ability to perform.

But I'm not the only one.

How much do you claim to know? How much do you preach to others?

How sure of your position will you feel when you stand before that Great White Throne?



KILL THE MESSENGER


We hate to hear what we don't want to hear. We hate to have someone say that what we are doing is wrong, or that it isn't good enough. We hate it even more when we are told that we are inadequate in any field, that we are wrong, or that we aren't as good as someone else.

Throughout history God has sent messengers to tell us what we should do, what we must do. These messengers were sent for our own good. The message sent to us was one of pending doom on those who will not listen to and obey the message. The prophets of old instructed Israel what would happen if they did not turn from their wicked ways. Israel did not turn, and because they did not heed the warnings, they were dispersed and persecuted.

Nineveh, on the other hand, did listen to their messenger (Jonah) and was spared.

Jesus warned the Jews what would happen if they did not listen to Him. Because they didn't listen, Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Jews dispersed and persecuted.

God has graciously provided us with a Book of warnings and messages. This Book also contains the history of messengers and their massages.


34Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: (Mat 23:)


Messengers are sent for our good, to tell us that we are going the wrong way, and to indicate which direction we should be going. But rather than pay heed to the messenger and do as we are instructed, we destroy the messenger, and think by the silence that we are approved in our doings.


12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:)


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


There are few "messengers" in the churches any more. All have gone the way of Balaam and serve the one who wants to lead God's children astray and away from the Promised Land. But in spite of the diluting and the polluting of God's Word in the churches, there is still yet a messenger that God provides each of us at birth, (besides the Holy Spirit at our re-birth).


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:)


10For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. . . . . . Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 14Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. 15Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate (Titus 1:)



LOVE THE MESSENGER


I have found that on occasion someone I help, Spiritually, will find themself drawn to me emotionally. They apparently attribute what I provide for them (emotional and Spiritual support) to me, the messenger. I find that no amount of explaining can assuage them from their opinion.

This is a dangerous situation to be in. It is both dangerous to the one who feels this way toward a messenger, and it is dangerous for the one such feelings are directed toward.

Whatever I am able to do to help someone else, whether it be words of comfort, or prayer, or whatever, it does not come from me. It comes through me. I am incapable of helping anyone in this way. I have proven this many times. By my own efforts, I will muff it every time. But it is just such people, those who know their inabilities, that God uses for His purposes. However, such people, knowing their lack, can easily be influenced by praise and attention. But by receiving such attention, that one (the messenger) robs God of the praise and the glory that is only due Him.

It is at times like these that a messenger must be on guard that he or she gives all the glory to the One from which the blessings have come.

In this same way, the one who is the recipient of such a blessing, when giving (and attributing) any portion of that blessing to the messenger, robs God of His due regard.


A messenger is just a messenger, no more than that. He (or she) should not be rewarded for his deed, but neither should he be shot.



OUR PURPOSE IN LIFE


We are born with a nature that is contrary and rebellious to God. Rather than seek to please the One who created us, the One who redeemed us from bondage, the One to whom we owe everything we are, or that we possess: we seek to please ourself. All of our efforts and our attention is directed toward our own pleasure and our own comfort. We are so obsessed with pleasing ourselves that we expect and demand that the One we owe everything, to fulfill our desires as well. We tear pieces out of the Bible, the Words of God (who tells us to do otherwise), and point to them in our efforts to have God grant our wishes, like a genie in a bottle.

This is our nature. We were born with it, and it is there because God planted it in us. It was His intention that we have a rebellious and selfish nature.


Why?

Why would God intentionally give us that which He does not want us to have?


Mother is worried about little Johnny. Johnny likes to play with matches and he loves to explore. Every chance Johnny gets, he is headed out the door and into the busy street.

Mother knows that she can't watch Johnny every minute for the rest of his life: so what does Mother do?

Mother instructs Johnny on the danger of matches and of streets. Mother takes Johnny by the hand and teaches him how to cross the street in safety. Mother allows Johnny to feel the heat of the fire a match creates, and the danger of the fire the match causes.

Then mother turns her back to Johnny, and allows the boy to do what his nature inclines him to do. Will Johnny follow his nature and run out into the street? If so, all mother can do is hope for the best for her son, but realistically she must remain prepared to hear the news that Johnny has been hit by a car and is now no more.


God has given us a Book of Rules. He has provided for us thousands of years, and hundreds of examples that illustrate just what He wants and demands of us. He has even sent His Son to illustrate perfectly what He wants of us.

God wants and demands loving obedience (just as we would from our own child). To insure that He receives this, He has instilled in His creation a nature that is the opposite of what He wants in His final creation. Had God wanted simple servants, like robots, He would have created such. But that is not what He wants of His creation.

We are given freedom. We can choose to serve ourselves, and thereby die in the end: or we can die to ourselves, and desire only to serve God, and thereby live. We have that choice.

Our purpose is to make the decision to either feed our nature that God has given us; or we can deny ourselves, reject our given nature, and seek to serve God.


Adam and Eve chose to please themselves under the best of circumstances. Those who chose to please God did so at the expense of their own lusts, and in so doing lived in the worst of circumstances.


13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Mat 13:)


13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Heb 11:)


10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (Mat 5:)



GOD IN CONTROL?


We are told from the pulpit and in the many books printed about God and the Bible that God is in total control. We are told that God is all powerful, that God knows every move that every person will ever make. Nothing can take God by surprise.

Jesus said that "even the hairs of your head are numbered," and that a sparrow will not fall without the Father.

Now, I believe this. I believe that God is in total control. But I don't think there are many of the preachers who preach this who believe it to be so. Why? Because they preach more about God's lack of control than they do about God's control.

Examples of this are:

1: One third of the angels God created rebelled and were cast to the earth where they run amok to this day causing all kind of trouble for God and those who wish to follow Him.

2: Man, who has "free will" can decide for himself if he or she wants to follow God; and once they have made such a commitment, they lose their free will and must be taken into Heaven no matter how bad they become. They might have to go through some cleansing process like purgatory, or (as some teach) that if a Christian gets bad enough and refuses to do as he or she should that God will "take them home early." But in either case, free will is lost, both to man, and to God.

3: Man is turning this world into a sewer while God wants to make it beautiful. We in this country are given the "right" to vote for who we want to have rule over us, and what rules will apply. At election time there is a great drive to get Christians to vote so we can influence what way our nation will go. Is God in control? Or are we in control? If God is in control, why are the churches so busy trying to influence government? Do we believe what we preach? Or do we not?

4: Satan rebelled against God and took with him a third of the angels. Angels (which Satan is supposedly one of), we are told were not created with the free will man has. Then, if they have no free will, how did they all use free will to rebel?

5: Satan is at war with God. Satan, a created being is at war with an all powerful God who is in total control? And this created being is winning the war against God by "owning" most of the human creation on this earth? If God is in control and wants this world to be perfect (which is another such teaching: that God is perfect, and desires everything to be perfect just as He created it), then why doesn't He just wipe out Satan and all the demons and have it His way.


Doesn't anyone ever question these things? Am I one of the few who sees that this doesn't make sense? And if there is something doesn't make sense to me, I want to investigate it and not just blindly follow some self-proclaimed expert into the pits of hell.


We're all going to get what we deserve in the end. And if we don't care enough about God and the Truth than to believe the fairy tales we are told, than we can't complain when we find ourselves like the people who followed Jim Jones into Guiana.



HEARTBURN


Have you ever had heartburn? I get it all the time. In fact heartburn is one of my favorite feelings, and the one that tends to influence me the most. I hope you have heartburn just as bad as I do. And if you do have heartburn, don't consult a doctor or take pills for it, it is a gift from God.


30And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (Luke 24:)


26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:)


4And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. (Rev 4:)


12And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, . . . . 20The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. (Rev 1:)


7He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Mat 13:)


15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 5:)


4Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Rev 2:)


27The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. (Prov 20:)


1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually. 3Without the veil of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the LORD continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations. 4He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the LORD continually. (Lev 24:)


33Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. (John 5:)


1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalm 1:)


 

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