THOUGHTS & COMMENTS
It's interesting (a poor word to express the import of this subject) that 2,000 years ago the traditions were piled so high on the people that they could not be followed. In fact, according to Jesus, those who were respected as the best followers of the traditions were actually hypocrites, putting on an act.
Today we no longer have such a problem (at least not in the traditional churches). Traditions of the traditional churches now are a long way from being unworkable. Churches are making sure everyone can make it into Heaven by having no rules.
In 2,000 years the church has gone from Christians giving up even their lives for the name of Christ - to being expected to give up nothing to achieve the same results (with degrees of the same from Doctrine to Doctrine).
That's what we hear from the pulpit.
I wonder what Jesus will have to say on the subject (and to those Preachers) on His Day of Judgment?
We see the "sweet and innocent" child, who appeals to the heart-strings of the public and the media; fall into corruption and lawlessness.
And many times these children have come from (apparently) strong Christian upbringing, and their stardom was based on Christian activities such as singing or acting.
Often times we learn, after their fall from grace, that they were involved with such bad behavior long before its discovery.
Of course it's easy to see how such a thing can happen in Hollywood. After all, it's not called Sin City for nothing. It's a tragedy for the persons involved, and a disillusionment for those of us who have been watching their growth with hope and confidence for their future.
To a small degree, though much farther reaching, it's like a mother who does everything she can to make sure her son or daughter stays on the "straight and narrow," and then discovers late in the child's life that she, the mother, had been lied to and that her child had been deep in sin for years.
The child had been playing the hypocrite.
The teen years are hard; not only for those growing up in Hollywood, but for all of us. It's a period of time when all the world, from the best to the worst, is tugging on us to go their way, and the teenager, who is struggling with the complexities of his or her own growth and hormones, must decide who they are.
Caught between many worlds, but especially between the world of the church, and the world of the "world." Between right and wrong; between heaven and hell.
Those born "in the world" do not have as much of a struggle in this regard. They only know the world's view, and unlike most of us old timers, they are dissuaded from church by the media, the government, the libraries and the schools.
Choice for them is easy. Resisting the world to follow their heart would be a greater struggle for them, but the end result would very likely mean a greater Salvation.
Let me explain.
And then you are right back where you started.
Because of this many (I think "most") people say "why bother?" and stay right there in the middle.
And, of course, there is another advantage to staying in the middle. It is easy to convince others that you are going in their direction, or at least intending to go their way.
It's easy to be the people pleaser in the middle. Another word might be - hypocrite.
That is the advantage of making no move at all.
The advantage of making a move, any move, is that you are moving. And moving causes you to feel better about yourself, it gets things done that staying in the middle can never do, and it enables you to make a better decision as to which direction you should ultimately go.
If you find you have made the right choice, that is very good.
If you find the choice you have made was the wrong one, all the better.
Making the wrong first choice enables you to know something that making the right choice from the beginning cannot teach you. It lets you know for sure that you are now on the right path, and more importantly, why you do not want to take the other path.
Consider the Prodigal Son. He knows why he doesn't want to wander off. The loyal son does not know, and is always in danger of doing that which he thinks he would never do.
Most people who make a decision to move from the middle only take a step or two in whichever direction they choose. They play it safe in case they want to turn back, or so they don't look too Fanatical to others in their acquaintance.
They do not make a commitment.
They keep one foot on the base.
They secure their bridges back to the middle instead of burning them.
In other words; they have no faith.
They want to appear "Normal," whatever that entails to the particular group they belongs to. Normal to one group will appear as Bazaar or Crazy to another.
Going to any extreme can have its dangers. For instance, if that extreme includes tattoos, splitting the tongue or establishing a reputation or police record; then changing one's mind and going the opposite direction carries with it signs of having been elsewhere.
But even with tell-tale signs, being an extremist has its advantages. Those who are extremists have broken the "Moderation Barrier." They have risked showing themselves to the world and being judged for what they believe rather than playing the hypocrite in the "safe" zone.
A child's swing goes almost as far one direction as it does the other. Without making an effort to get it going in one direction, it will not go the other; while the more effort exerted to get it going one direction can get you farther the other.
I am not advocating swinging back and forth in your decision making. But I am stressing the need for exertion and risk-taking.
Christians are the same way. Almost everyone wants to hide away in their church. In fact many go to huge churches where they can be totally unknown even by those who sit next to them every week.
They stay close to the middle of the teeter-totter.
It is very likely these people are so close to the middle that their work partners, family and friends do not even know they go to church. And if they are ever confronted with the fact, they can easily deny it.
Then there are others who swing far into the church. They may be Deacons, or Teachers, or Evangelists, or have a list of degrees behind their name and are called Pastor or Theologian.
These are in the limelight and everyone knows right where they stand.
What we see is not always what we get. Some of the best known, and the most boisterous of the "believers" do not even believe the Bible. They are not Christians for Christ's sake; They are a Christian for reputation or filthy lucre's sake.
These are very often the ones held in highest regard and that people listen to.
Jesus called them "hypocrites."
On the other hand we have people who have swung hard the wrong way, then swung just as hard to the right. They very often show signs of their wrong path, which they wear as a badge; not a badge of honor, but as a scar to which they show Doubting Thomas.
These are Christians with strong Testimonies, and are not afraid to stand firm on the front line in the battle our Lord is waging against the World and the devil.
Front Line Christian Warriors ready and willing to die for the Cause.
Pastors Teachers and Evangelists leading the charge and instructing the Troops.
Christian Troopers standing firm and wearing their armor proudly while holding their Banners of Faith high for all to see.
Theologians and commentators talking big from behind the cover of books and the shield of a microphone, well behind the rear line, or spreading barbed wire of doubt throughout the Army and potential enlistees.
Middle-of-the-roaders who retreat to safe zones when they hear of possible danger.
Where do you stand in this lineup?
If you were the Commander and Chief who sacrificed His life for this Army, and you had to judge who was to be rewarded, and who was to suffer loss for their Decision and their Obedience - what would be your Judgment?
It is the same when you buy a manufactured or development house. In fact, just about anything you buy they let you try it out first.
But it is not what you are buying that you are trying out or being shown. It is a demonstrator. The demonstrator is almost exactly like what you will end up with, but it is not the one that is for sale.
In fact, the demonstrator has very likely had more effort put into the building of it than the product you will receive in order to show you what is possible to own, not necessarily what you will end up with.
It is unlikely that the demonstrator will fit your personality. You might want the color changed, more rooms, simpler bathrooms, larger closets or flashier hubcaps (not on the house, of course). And though you might like to own the finest model offered, you might not have the resources needed to obtain it.
Businesses will often call in a demonstrator to show their employees how to perform a certain task or use a particular item.
Art classes use demonstrators to show the proper way in which to produce a special technique or effect.
When you are considering an item at a store and you are not sure just how to use it, the clerk might say to you: "here, let me demonstrate."
Demonstrators are very important. Without a demonstration the product, or subject that we have been taught, will very likely never be used because we just don't understand how to do it, or what to do with it.
And we expect to make a mess of it.
Jesus is our Demonstrator (you knew I was going to say that, didn't you?) Without the example Jesus left us there is no way we would be able to live the life God expects of us.
The Pharisees are a good example of this. Because of what the Pharisees did to Jesus, and because of what Jesus said to (and about) them, we assume they were wicked people.
This is not a true picture. Actually the Pharisees were the cream of the crop as far as the Religious go. Their entire life was dedicated to serving God, and instructing others how to obey God's Commandments. Jesus even said to His followers that they should do what the Pharisees tell them to do, because they had the Word of God, but don't do what the Pharisees do.
And what is it the Pharisees did that Jesus condemned? Did they break the Laws of God? No, the problem wasn't with breaking the Laws of God; it was adding to the Law until the Law was not seen or keepable any more. As Jesus put it, they strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel.
The other big thing the Pharisees did that Jesus derided them for was to make a big show of their religiosity. They put on a miserable face to let everyone know how much they were suffering for God. They made sure everyone knew how generous they were with their tithing and their alms giving.
In other words; they were very, very proud of their humility.
The Pharisees were the best Man can be, left on his own, to fulfill God's desires for us. And it falls far short of acceptable.
The Jews once had an example of what God expected of them. And though the Jews heard and reverenced his words, they missed seeing his example. In fact, even while he provided the example (and everyone knew beyond doubt that God was with him) the people rebelled against him and wanted to kill him.
Moses, though trained for the job in Egypt, and though he was by far the best qualified for the job, and though he was so close to God as to be called a "Friend of God" by God Himself; tried his best to avoid the job of prominence he was given.
Along with being the finest example of manhood the world has ever seen, short of Jesus, he was humble.
The Pharisees tried to put on a show of being great examples of manhood; and they were very proud of their show of humility.
Adam can not do what God wants him to do. Adam himself proved that in the garden, and the sons of Adam have all failed just as miserably (with maybe a handful of exceptions like Enoch, Abraham and Moses). Man directs everything to himself, as if he was the center of the universe. God wants everything directed toward Himself, which man just cannot do.
So God Himself came to earth to Demonstrate what He wants us to do and to be. He spent 33 years here taking on a lowly form, then dying the worst of deaths to show that what He expected is possible by the poorest and the most miserable of the sons of Adam.
Jesus performed many miracles as evidence of who He was, and to show His concern for the woes of mankind.
Through Jesus we have a perfect example, a Demonstrator if you please, of what we are to do in order to fulfill God's demands of us.
"But Jesus is God!" you might well say. "How can God expect me to compete with God? I can't do all those miracles and stuff like that. It doesn't seem fair."
And that's right, it wouldn't be fair, if that were all there is to the picture.
In steps the Pharisees.
The Pharisees are with us today. Pharisees do not see themselves as Pharisees any more than did the Pharisees of Jesus' time. That is, they did not see themselves in the light that Jesus presented them in.
Pharisees work on the human plane. Pharisees are the Godly people working on the Adamic plane either because they know of no other way, or because they believe their disciples are capable of no higher aspirations.
Many of these Pharisees are in what we call cults. With these Pharisees Jesus has been brought down to the level of man rather than God so that He can be reached and His example be attainable by Adam. In other words, instead of man being created in the image of God; God is made in the image of Man. (Which is one big reason that God said to make no graven images, even of Himself. There are many people worshiping images of Jesus and thinking God respects this.)
Outside of the church, there are a great many others who have created God in man's image, such as the Humanists and the Hindu.
Catholicism has raised the bar a bit in that man is believed to be able to attain the level of Saints, that is, men of exemplary character. Catholics are Works-oriented, as were the Jews (In fact, the entire Catholic hierarchy and form is almost identical to the Jews' of the Old Testament. I doubt they would like to hear this, but can they deny it?) Closeness to God is determined by how well you perform, and how dedicated you are toward the rituals established.
Catholicism and many of the cults are set up so that anyone can see just how Righteous they themselves are, and how righteous their neighbor is.
Like the Pharisees.
Since then, and particularly lately, Protestants have been rebelling against Protestants until they now incorporate every conceivable Doctrine. You find them arguing about the value of, or the devilry of: tongues, music, prayer, miracles, church buildings and sizes, clothing - even homosexuality and other such sins that should or should not be allowable in the church and clergy. (I would have thought the problems the Catholic church is experiencing, if not the Bible itself, would have settled that question.)
Do you want to be works oriented? There is a church for you.
Do you want to just tack the name "Christian" on to your résumé so you have something to fill in the line that asks for your religion, and at the same time gives you full assurance that you will make it to Heaven? There's a church for you.
If you are unsure of your religion, that is, you know you're not Catholic, and you know you're not Buddhist, and you don't like being called a cultist - then you are a Protestant.
A Protestant Pharisee works on the Adamic level. Like the Catholics, you know just where you stand while you struggle for top billing. Like a race, you can look around you and see how many are in front of you that you have to pass, and how many are behind you that you can sneer at.
The Pharisee will tell you (and I am sure they have no idea they are doing this) "Jesus is the demonstrator. Walk in His footsteps and do just what He did, and you will know you are on the right track."
Imitation of Christ. A carbon copy of our Lord. The Image of Jesus.
High ideals, are they not?
If someone was to say to me "I want to be just like you," would I be flattered? I suppose so. I would assume that whatever they see in me is desirable, and that would be nice to know. But I would also consider them very uninformed of who I am and what my life is all about, because my life is unlivable for anyone but me.
Adam says; "I want to be just like Jesus."
Adam can't be just like Jesus. Adam can look like Jesus. He can act like Jesus. He can walk like Jesus. He can dress like Jesus. Adam can even preach like Jesus.
Jesus had 12 dedicated and determined men following Him for three and a half years. I have no doubt but that they did every thing they could to be just like Jesus.
I would imagine that when a disciple came into a town the people thought they were seeing Jesus Himself because they imitated Him so perfectly.
The twelve (and later 70) were sent out two by two to preach the Word. They were so much like Jesus that they even cast out demons and healed the sick (things we can not do no matter how hard we try to be like Jesus).
What did these men lack? Perhaps it was Faith. After all, Jesus often spoke about the importance of Faith. In fact, Jesus said (and I think few would dispute) that without Faith a person is not a Christian, and therefor not saved.
Jesus said that with just a tiny bit of Faith (a mustard seed) a person can move mountains. Well, the Sons of Thunder wanted to bring fire down on a town that rejected them like Elijah did. Apparently they had enough faith to believe they could do that. They had enough faith to heal the sick and cast out demons. Peter had enough faith to walk on water, at least for a little while.
Yet Jesus derided them for having no Faith.
If these men did not have enough faith to satisfy Jesus, therefore not enough to get them into Heaven- how can we??
I think something is missing.
And that missing part is something that Adam can never have, no matter how hard he tries. Yet we are told, confidently, that we have what it takes just by being called a "Christian."
We are told to have Jesus in our heart wherever we go. That if we do this, He will grant us all our wishes. And the best we hear is that if we have Jesus in our heart, and follow Jesus, that we are fulfilling all of God's commandments, therefore we are Sons of God (the Church).
Does that sound about right to you? Is this pretty close to the picture you have of Christianity?
Good! We know where we stand. Now, I'll sit back and watch while you move Mount Shasta to Nevada.
We mortals have a way of wanting to do things our own way. We think we know it all. At least we know more than the experts.
After we botch a job, we then read the instructions to see what we should have done.
After we destroy our liver, we go to the doctor to find out what went wrong. "Did you read the instructions on the medicine bottle? It's only two sentences long."
If the instructions don't fit what we want to do; we alter the instructions to fit our desire. With felt pens and erasers so prevalent, it's easy to scratch out the parts that don't fit our Doctrine.
And if it won't erase, we just reinterpret it or ignore it and call it a "mystery".
Faith gives us a relationship with God. This is demonstrated by Moses, Abraham, David, Elijah, Noah and Enoch. They did that which was impractical at least, and impossible at the most.
How did they do what they did? Did Moses just muster up the Faith to perform his miracles and have the Shekinah Glory of God lead them? Did Elijah just pray hard in order to raise the woman's son from the dead and keep refilling the vessels of oil?
It was not them, or by their might that they were able to accomplish what they did. It was the Holy Spirit that did the work through them.
Jesus' Disciples were able to perform that which they did through the working of the Holy Spirit. The faith they had was not in their ability to perform the miracles; rather it was Faith in God's ability to fulfill them.
We cannot muster up Faith. Nor can we do anything by the Holy Spirit.
And neither could the Disciples. It was through Jesus' Name that they were able to perform miracles by the Holy Spirit. And it was by following the lead of the Holy Spirit that they were able to accomplish what they did; not by expecting the Holy Spirit to do their bidding.
Things changed after Jesus died and was Resurrected.
Those Disciples suddenly went from being cowardly, selfish and doubting; to being courageous, confident, unselfish and....like Jesus!
What happened? Perhaps it was the Resurrection of Jesus that made the difference.
If that were the case, then why weren't the Disciples going around healing the sick and preaching the Word as soon as they knew that Jesus was risen? Why did they go back to fishing instead of preaching?
There was a sudden change in these men, and it was not while Jesus was here walking with them. In fact it was ten days after Jesus left them.
It was at Pentecost.
Jesus did just what He said He would do - He sent the Holy Spirit to infill, enable and guide them.
We think that Jesus lived in the realm of Faith. We think He was able to perform the miracles He did by having a lot of Faith.
We are to live in the realm of Faith, just as the Apostles did. But Jesus did not live in the realm of Faith.
Jesus lived in the Realm of Dominion.
We must live in Faith. We must believe that Jesus will do what He said He will do, and that if we live as He told us to, He will perform that which He said He would. Our Faith must be in Jesus; not in ourself or any person or thing.
Jesus had Dominion. He told the fish to swim into a net, and the fish swam into the net. He told the roaring storm to be still, and the storm immediately stopped. Water was no barrier to Him, He just walked over it.
Jesus did not have to have the Faith to move mountains - He created mountains.
"Take Jesus with you." How often have you heard that? Some people follow that idiom so closely that they have Jesus hanging around their neck (or at least a cross or a fish) and/or a plastic statue of Jesus on their dashboard.
Jesus does not want us to take Him with us! In fact, that is probably near the end of the list of the things He wants us to do. Jesus said He wants to cleanse our heart so He can reside in us - not as a guest, but as our Lord! Our Ruler!!
Jesus wants to guide us to where He wants us to go; where He needs us most. He does not want to be there handy in case we need Him.
It's been said; "If Jesus isn't Lord of all; He isn't Lord at all."
"To be like Jesus." What does that mean? I think I have pretty well shown that we cannot be like Jesus just by trying to be like Jesus, or by doing what Jesus did - even if we could perform all the miracles He performed. (At least I hope someone has read this far, and has researched for themself to either prove or disprove what I have said.)
What is there about Jesus that we, as sons of Adam do not have?
What is there that the Apostles did not have, then suddenly did have that made them more like Jesus?
It was the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit led them and guided them, and He instructed them in the way of the Lord.
The Apostles no longer did what they wanted to do; and they no longer sought after their own selfish desires. The Apostles kept their mind on the Lord, in the Heavenlies, as did Jesus who was ever listening and watching His Father.
The Apostles were no longer selfish citizens of this earth, but obedient, loyal soldiers of Heaven.
As we are instructed to be.
To be like Jesus we must receive, and be led by the Holy Ghost! Not merely have Him along side us trying to get us to let Him clean out our heart so He can indwell us and lead us.
"Let us make Man in our own image, and let them have Dominion."
The Holy Spirit is a huge step in making us in the Image of God. Here on earth (as far as I can tell) that is who Jesus was - God in the form of the Holy Spirit indwelling a Mortal body. And by dying for us, Jesus afforded the seed of the Holy Spirit to indwell us as well - if we allow a fertile heart.
If we had the full Power and Potential of the Holy Spirit, what else would we need to be in the Image of God? It is not a pipe dream to imagine such a thing because that is what God created us for and intends for us from the beginning.
For one thing we know that we have to shed this mortal body and be given an incorruptible one. But that will be accomplished when Jesus returns, it is nothing we can do on our own.
Jesus will also give us a robe of pure white (Righteousness). This robe is only given to Overcomers (which I consider to be a powerful and awesome word - unobtainable on our own) and will not be our own Righteousness (which is as filthy rags), but His own! What a gift!
There is one other thing that God intends for Man to have, that Jesus had even here on earth, but we do not see as yet. He wants us to have Dominion.
29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Gen 1:)
To NEWLY ADDED PAGE
*To WELCOME PAGE
TO BIBLE CONTENTS
To SITE MAP
To .info HOME PAGE
Contact me by e-mail
top of page
www.Tumbleweed.name __ Morality Stories - Bible Studies - Ethics__www.First-Trump.info