Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Obscenity Of Christmas

Christmas was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since Christians generally celebrated the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth. Later a feast was established in memory of the event of Christ's birth in the fourth century AD. In the fifth century the Western Church ordered the feast to be celebrated forever on the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun and at the close of the Saturnalia, a festival of light leading to the winter solstice with an abundance of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth. No certain knowledge of the day of Christ's birth existed and so it became a matter of convenience in an attempt to draw Pagans into the church. It was 300 years after Christ before the Roman church kept Christmas, and not until the fifth century that it was mandated to be kept throughout the empire as an official festival honoring Christ. 

The specific month and date of Jesus birth has always been a point of conjecture however theologians suggest that Jesus was born in the Spring, based on the biblical narrative that shepherds were watching over their flocks in the fields on the night of Jesus' birth something they would have done from Spring until early Fall, however not during the winter months. Many have mistakenly believed He was born around the beginning of winter, December 25th. It was custom among Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts around Passover in early spring, and bring them home at the commencement of the first rains which began around October. During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. The sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer. And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October and the rains had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact. Luke explains that when Christ was born, (Luke 2:8)“there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Note that they were “abiding” in the field. This never happened in December. Both (Ezra 10:9-13) and the (Song of Solomon 2:11) show that winter was the rainy season and shepherds could not stay on cold, open fields at night. 

Can Christ truly be honored at Christmas? 

The most common justification that one will hear regarding Christmas is that people have replaced old pagan customs and intents by asserting that they are now “focusing on Christ.” The problem is that God plainly commands against it and keeping Christmas as it is today is in a sense actually dishonoring to Christ. Christ said, (Matthew 15:9) “In vain they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Christmas is not a command of God it is a tradition of men. (Mark 7:9) He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.” Every year, throughout the world, on December 25th, hundreds of millions do just that! On these very grounds, the nativity in December should be given up as it has morphed into a worldly Pagan ritual of obscene materialistic proportions where the fictitious person of Santa Clause has completely usurped the notion that it is a celebration of the birth of Christ.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen

Often times we wonder if perhaps a person in his zeal for the Lord becomes a pastor, a preacher or a priest when it appears obvious that this individual may have acted presumptuously as they do not seem at all gifted to meet the requirements and needs of that calling. For instance one would think that an effective teacher or preacher would have the capacity to hold crowds spellbound through great and articulate oratory skills, however this is not always congruent with God’s prerequisites.

(1 Corinthians 1: 26 - 27) For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.

When reading the story of Jonah one must wonder what God saw in this man that He would expect him to go to Nineveh and call them to repentance. Nineveh was the famous capital of ancient Assyria. Previous cities like Asshur and Calah were ancient capitals of Assyria, but Nineveh became most famous in the seventh century BC. When King Sennacherib (705-681 BC) made Nineveh his capital, the empire expanded and became prosperous. The Assyrian empire became extremely great and powerful with Nineveh as its center, all the way until its final destruction by the Chaldeans and the Medes. Nineveh was located east of the Tigris River in a very fertile plain, the ancient ruins are located just opposite of the present day city of Mosul. Nineveh was over 60 miles wide with a population of 120,000 at the time of Jonah.

(Jonah 1: 1 - 4) Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
(Jonah 1: 10 - 12)  Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous. And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”

It’s hard to understand how anyone could be so willfully contrary that they would shirk the call and defy the will of the Creator of the universe like that! So as the story goes on Jonah is thrown overboard and swallowed by a large fish prepared by God for this event. And after three days inside the belly of this enormous fish, Jonah cried out to God knowing he was dying and the fish expelled him out close to dry land.

(Jonah 3: 1 - 10)   Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

One could only imagine how frightening Jonah must have appeared having been exposed to the digestive juices in the belly of the fish for three days, and although he obviously wasn’t a great orator or gifted preacher he simply proclaimed, “Yet forty days and Ninevah shall be overthrown” he obviously had everyone’s attention as they must have been fearful at the sight of him so they responded favorably and repented. It’s difficult to  comprehend Jonah’s attitude having been used so mightily by God, but then no one suffered the experience that Jonah had endured and perhaps he felt that his own life’s plans and aspirations had been ruined. However given the tumultuous and uncertain times in which we live anyone would be honored to be used by God to turn the course of this world around, a calling any of us would take seriously. If ever you feel called by God to do His will, don’t shirk and run away, accept the call and say “Lord thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”

(Jonah 4: 1 - 3)  But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”

Monday, December 7, 2015

Hiding In Plain Sight

Consider how the leaders of nations seem to continually ignore the repetitive nature of history including the lessons learned in former wars and insist that there is “something new happening” when scripture coupled with historical reality refutes that idea completely.

(Ecclesiastes 1: 9 -11)  “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after.

Having spent two and a half years of my youth in the paratroops engaged in a war in SE Asia I came away realizing how members of an insidiously devilish insurgency can hide in plain sight posing as upright members of the societal infrastructure and how they can and will ultimately defeat the modern armies of nations. Truly there is nothing new under the sun, and while politicians ponder, politicize and pontificate, and generals take stock of their superior resources, the rats have already slithered under the door and are gnawing away at the constraints. Fiendish plots are being laid in the neighborhoods by seemingly nice and innocuous people who intend to wipe all Jews and Christians from the face of the earth.  We have seen this manifest recently in Southern California, this insurgency is in the early stages but there will be much more to come, so keep in mind that the authorities in whom we trust are always reactive rather than proactive. This is a warning to those who will listen, take heed of all that goes on, remaining vigilant and aware of those around you keeping in mind that the Lord is present with you always. Do not succumb to the lying heart of political correctness, being “nice” will not deliver from the wrath of those who destroy. Shun the desire to act aggressively but instead make provisions for the defense and safety of loved ones while laying your trust completely in the Lord. May God keep you safe and may we stand fearlessly in the face of the coming adversity!

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Unmitigated Arrogance Of Man

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Here in Genesis the very first chapter of the bible is an account of how God created the heaven’s and the earth and everything in it along with His loving provision for mankind. Scientists have twisted themselves into pretzels trying to disprove through the logic of man, that which was breathed into existence by the word of God which all believers take on faith alone. This week we are witness to the world’s leaders meeting at a climate change summit in Paris, France. In their own great wisdom they have bought into the wisdom of men over the word of God. The unmitigated arrogance is astounding beyond words, as seemingly intelligent men play the fool for all the world to see. Because somehow these men believe that the future of the earth is in their hands and that they can somehow control a normal cyclic event of nature, when they have no control over their own lives and are unable to even control their own destiny.

By the sixth chapter of Genesis we get a better idea of who is into ultimate control and what happens when God’s creation gets out of control.
(Genesis 6: 1 - 4) Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. 

This is an account of what happened when certain spirits fell to earth and copulated with the inhabitants and is also evidenced by Greek and Norse mythology. (This is speculation but makes sense historically in literature.)

(Genesis 6: 5 - 7) Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 

Following that we have the great flood and the biblical story of Noah, a man whom God considered righteous and sought to spare. There are also secular allusions to a great flood carved in stone tablets dating circa 2600 - 2100 BC by the ancient Sumerians who populated Mesopotamia. 

The bottom line of this message is that God is in total control and that mankind is willfully stupid, wasting his life’s energy on useless pursuits that will bear no fruit. This is clearly addressed in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth.

(1Corinthians 1: 20 - 21) Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

These Are The Times That Try Men's Souls

How often we hear people say “History repeats itself!” As we survey our world we can be assured that those famous words spoken by Thomas Paine on December 23, 1776 are as true today as it was back then. “These are the times that try men’s souls.” We are faced in all quarters with continuous evil and tumult, many are fearful with what is coming upon our world, the tranquility of our lives has become a thing of the past, those we once looked to for answers have failed us and have become weak, dithering caricatures feigning leadership, empty feckless suits, devoid of any moral strength in times of need.

Micah the prophet was the first to prophesy the downfall of Jerusalem around 737 - 696 BC. Something we should not take lightly because history does in fact repeat itself. Reading from Micah it is clearly evident that conditions in his times are just as relevant today.

(Micah 7: 2 - 6) “The godly man has perished from the earth, and there is none upright among men; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts his brother with a net. Their hands are upon what is evil, to do it diligently; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge. The day of their watchmen, of their punishment, has come; now their confusion is at hand.
Put no trust in a neighbor, have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.”

Entering into the traditional winter holiday season these signs become all the more evident, police respond to increased domestic violence calls, the true nature of the human condition surfaces fueled by alcohol and drugs, indicating a universal sickness within the human soul. Surety of a secure future is fading as confidence in market plans and schemes are no longer trustworthy. Many who have striven for success see their efforts eaten by those who contribute nothing thus increasing division and strife. Then comes ISIS, a harbinger of final times. 
(Revelation 6:8)  And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given power over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

These are depressing times and in fact we may be entering into yet another real world wide depression of even greater magnitude than that of the 1930’s. 
In spite of all that, those who know Jesus as savior and Lord can repeat the words of Franklin D Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” As we all place our ultimate trust in the Lord as Micah did.

(Micah 7: 7) “But as for me, I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Christian Response To Satan

As a follow-up to the previous commentary entitled "The Satanic Religion" and as we grieve for the loss of so many in the recent Paris attacks by the demon inspired radical Islamists of ISIS, I felt constrained to share the comments of a grieving Parisian husband, one who clearly knows the one true God and how to deny victory to the son's of Satan.

Antoine Leiris, a Parisian whose wife was killed in the Paris terrorist attacks on Friday, wrote a powerful response to the perpetrators three days after the tragedy. His wife, 35-year-old hair and makeup artist Helene Muyal-Leiris, was killed in the Bataclan concert hall on Friday. Muyal-Leiris leaves behind her husband and one 17-month-old son, Melvil.

"You will not have my hatred! Friday night, you took an exceptional life, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred. I don't know who you are and I don't want to know, you are dead souls. If this god, for whom you kill blindly, made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife would have been one more wound in his heart.
So, no, I will not grant you the gift of my hatred. You're asking for it, but responding to hatred with anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You lost!

I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when I fell hopelessly in love with her years ago. Of course I am devastated by this pain, I give you this little victory, but the pain will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will find ourselves again in God's paradise of eternal love to which you have no access. We are just two now, my son and me, but we are stronger than all the armies in the world. I don't have any more time to devote to you, I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17-months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free. Because you will not have his hatred either."

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Satanic Religion

The original followers of God were Jews who are the children of God’s promise through Abraham and his son Isaac. Following the death and resurrection of Jesus many became known as Christians and the church flourished, spreading rapidly throughout the entire Roman Empire and eventually the whole world.

Now Satan having been confounded by Christ’s victory over him through his death and resurrection had lost his legal entitlement to this world that he had gained through the deception of Adam and Eve and the usurpation of their entitlement as first rulers of the earth. True to form Satan never rests. In 622 AD a new religion was formed by the apostle of a false Moon god called Allah by Mohammad, a distant relative of Ishmael the bastard son of Abraham and Sarah’s Egyptian slave woman Hagar. Unlike Abraham and Sarah’s son, Ishmael and his offspring were not to share in the promise that God had made to Isaac and his heirs. Therein lies the following tools that Satan used to create a false religion. Envy being the very foundation for the hatred of Jews and Christians begetting malevolence and murder as a directive from the Quran for the disposal of infidels. Islamics deny the one true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and have instead embraced the demon god of darkness, the moon god Allah. They deny the divinity of Jesus Christ and most importantly they deny the fact that the Crucifixion and Resurrection ever happened, which clearly points to the spirit behind this evil religion who is Satan himself. 

(1 John 4: 2 -3) This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

(Matthew 7:13) Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” 

(1Peter 5: 8 - 9) Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

The recent attacks in Paris are not the work of a loving God or his followers, but is the obvious work of a demonically controlled group of Islamic State murderers who follow an evil belief system intent on taking the world back for Allah (Satan), and to eradicate all Christians and Jews from the face of the earth. I don’t soft pedal the truth and will never acquiesce to political correctness and religious tolerance for the likes of these evil ones. My heart goes out to those who have been duped into following them, they have a choice, perhaps some may see the light and step away.

Jesus said, (Luke 6: 45) “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil;"

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Can Dead Spirits Come Back To Life?

(Genesis 1: 26 - 27) Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 

It’s important to realize that the conversation that God was having wasn’t between him and his angels, but was between His own three personalities, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is a tripartite being who made man in his own tripartite image with a physical body, a soul (personality) and a spirit, three distinct parts of a whole being. 

Immediately following the temptation and fall of man in the Garden of Eden we see evidence that God Himself had been having fellowship with His human creations and that there was a mutual relationship until something came between them.

(Genesis 3: 8 - 11)  “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”’

(Genesis 3: 21)  “Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” 

This was the first blood sacrifice in which God made a covering for man, it was a picture of a much greater sacrifice that God would later make as a covering for all of mankind which would awaken the spirit of God within all who acknowledge and receive God’s own Son, the sacrifice made in behalf of all mankind. 
(Vs. 22 - 23) “Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’ therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.”

This is the point at which the Lord removed them from fellowship and the spirit which God had put within them went to sleep. In a spiritual sense they became two dimensional beings, dead to the things of God and spiritually unaware. 

The world we live in is predominately populated by two-dimensional beings defined by having a body and soul (personality) but lacking spiritual substance, a dead spirit. These are they that continually reject the promptings and call of the Holy Spirit. Two dimensional men and women are tied up only in the pursuit of mundane activities, knowing the names and scores of sports teams and heroes or all of the facts about the pathetic lives of Hollywood icons, but having no desire for the eternally substantive knowledge of God and they continually deny His existence.
On the other hand three-dimensional beings are those having a body, soul and depth of spirit which had come to life the moment they asked Jesus into their lives. These are they that now acknowledge the presence of Christ in their daily lives as if walking with Him again in the garden. Those lives are filled with a sense of meaningfulness and joy, a sense of future well beyond the current state of our existence. When considering the seasons and how all of nature speaks to the heart about the wonders of the Creator and how even the air we breathe comes from the will of God, how can we not acknowledge him in all our ways? 

(Daniel 12:2) And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.

No one needs to remain a two dimensional spiritually dead being, we all are given the choice to either receive or reject the gospel, the choice is ours alone and no one else’s. We cannot blame others for our own failure to say yes to Jesus. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Weighed In The Balance And Found Wanting

This is the story of a man who defiled the things of God and embarrassed himself before thousands. However on close analysis we begin to realize that by his defiling behavior, he actually defiled himself before the Creator and lost everything as a result. This man was the polar opposite of Job who was tested by Satan with the approval of God. He lost everything but in his darkest moments he refused to curse or dishonor God who in turn returned to him all that he had lost and more as a reward for his faithfulness. Job is the man we would want to emulate.

(Daniel 5:1 - 6) King Belshaz′zar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in front of the thousand. Belshaz′zar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver which Nebuchadnez′zar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden and silver vessels which had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Immediately the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand; and the king saw the hand as it wrote. Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together.

(Daniel 5: 13 - 28) Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, “You are that Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah. I have heard of you that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation; but they could not show the interpretation of the matter. But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple, and have a chain of gold about your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Then Daniel answered before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; nevertheless I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnez′zar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty; and because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him; whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive; whom he would he raised up, and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him; he was driven from among men, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild asses; he was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of men, and sets over it whom he will. And you his son, Belshaz′zar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven; and the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored. “Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: mene, mene, tekel, and parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Those with understanding know that the heart of each believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God and yet how often do we lose self control during times of testing and defile ourselves using the Lord’s name in vain. These are the times that we like Nebuchadnez′zar have become like wild beasts and have become like one of the wild asses and then are ashamed later knowing full well that once again we are experiencing the fallout of an evil and defiling habit. This is our Deja Vu moment of testing, I use the term Deja Vu because once again Satan has gone before God and asked to test us, but unlike Job we sometimes fail miserably and have entered into the company of the likes of Belshazar as we are measured in the balance and are found wanting. This needn’t be a continual repeat experience of ongoing failure and spiritual face plants. The answer is found in once again in coming to God with a contrite heart acknowledging our own weakness and requesting His grace to defeat this shortfall in our personality that we may wipe it away permanently and no longer be afflicted by it. 
I have had a short fuse for certain kinds of nonsense and have suffered those explosive moments in the past, no one is immune to it! 

So first of all we need to identify the triggers and willfully make ourselves aware of them each time they become apparent. Second we have to put on the armor of God. It is most helpful to memorize the following scripture verses and to bring them quickly to mind when temptation arises.
(Ephesians 6: 10 - 12) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
(2 Corinthians 10: 3 - 5) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. When we begin to recognize that a test is eminent, then it’s time to turn the corner on it by recalling these verses and consider the example set by the Lord himself as He defeated the temptation of Satan.

(Matthew 4:3 - 4)  Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Daniel's Prophecies and ISIS

The leadership of United Nations member states including the United States seems to be so abysmally out of touch with the realities concerning ISIS. Perhaps this phenomena is the result of a seemingly world wide unilateral disconnect from biblical truths by the majority of current world leaders. God gives insight to the simple who seek His face! (James 1:5) If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 

Quoting a letter from David Brickner, Executive Director of Jews for Jesus: 
“I’m writing to you from Jerusalem, where I’m meeting with Christian leaders, theologians and strategists regarding the future of gospel witness here in Israel. I’m also visiting with my parents, both in their 80s now, who have lived in this troubled city since 1989. Toward the northern border with Syria, you can hear the firing of heavy weaponry. This current battle against Israel is set in the context of ISIS’s evil intent. As you may know, ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a murderous jihadist radical Islamic movement whose ultimate goal is the destruction of the people of Israel and the conquering of the land of Israel. The ISIS movement seems much like a very similar time about 2,100 years ago when Israel faced the threat of a different form of radical fundamentalist ideology from Syria under a wicked ruler named Antiochus Epiphanies. There are eerie similarities between the attacks on Israel then and now.”

The entire book of Daniel describes the prophecies that came to him through a series of dreams. Most but not all have been fulfilled in their exact order. In scripture, there is often an initial event which is a type of a similar and even greater event that will happen in latter times, this is true of Daniel's prophecy concerning Antiochus IV, a Syrian king who ruled Palestine from 175-165 B.C. He assumed the title "Theos Epiphanes" which meant god manifest and gives some idea of his tyrannical pride. (Daniel 11:21 - 35) describes the rule of Antiochus, who gained his throne "through flatteries.” The apocryphal books of 1 and 2 Maccabees describe the rule of Antiochus and the Jewish resistance to his brutality against Israel. Antiochus slaughtered thousands of Jews and attempted to obliterate the Jewish religion. History records him as desecrating the Temple by sacrificing a pig, the most unclean of animals, on the altar and forcing the priests to eat its flesh. He then set up in the Temple an idol of Zeus, the pagan deity he believed himself to be. 

When Jesus' words were recorded by Matthew, the reign of Antiochus had long since ended, and yet Jesus clearly speaks in a way that shows the abomination of desolation was to occur sometime in the future. So while the reign of Antiochus clearly fulfilled part of the prophecies contained in Daniel, there is evidently a future aspect to it as well. 
(Daniel 9:27) He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.
(Daniel12:11)  From the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that desolates is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred ninety days.
Antiochus’s reign was not characterized with a covenant with Israel that was broken in three and a half years, nor a complete desolation that occurred which gives further evidence of a future much greater fulfillment of Daniel's prophecies.

Jesus said: (Matthew 24: 15 - 21) “So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel, then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; the one on the housetop must not go down to take what is in the house; the one in the field must not turn back to get a coat. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. For at that time there will be great suffering” such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.
Note: The holy place isn't necessarily the temple, the holy place is Jerusalem.

(Matthew 24: 29 - 31) Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

To the Jewish people: (Daniel 12: 1 -3) “At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Murder Same As Killing?

For several centuries in the King James version of the bible the sixth commandment had been written:
(Exodus 20:13) Thou shalt not kill. (Deuteronomy 5:17) Thou shalt not kill.

The mistranslation of this particular commandment from the original Hebrew text by the English monarchy raises a question when reading the highlighted verse here in Matthew 5. 
(Matthew 5:21 - 22) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

In the New King James version it is written as it was properly translated from the original Hebrew and Greek texts:
(Exodus 20:13) “You shall not murder. (Deuteronomy 5:17)  ‘You shall not murder.

The true intent of the commandment becomes evident in the highlighted verse below which is true to the original text.
(Matthew 5:21-22)  “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

Whether the mistranslation was intentional or not no one will ever know, but one must understand that having translated it as such renders the original intention of the verse using the word murder to kill as something less specific and more broadly ambiguous. When it is abundantly clear that the penchant for murder comes from a malevolent heart, whereas a need to kill most often arises out of a need for self preservation or the defense of others. When God gave Moses the Commandments on Sinai, it was for the uplifting guidance of each individual within the Hebrew society and for those to come. The sixth commandment was plainly referencing how Cain had become insanely jealous of his brother Able who had received God’s approval for his sacrifice while his own had been rejected. It is couched in the verse, “That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” His jealousy turned to anger, then malevolence whereupon he rose up in a rage and murdered his brother. All of God’s commandments deal with the condition of the heart and makes it clear whether or not one’s mind and heart is in sync with God’s will. We know that all have fallen short of perfection when we measure ourselves against those ten laws.

There are times and places where killing is justifiable and has actually been approved by God. David who was loved by God received His approval as he slew thousands to protect Israel from it’s enemies. Wars are waged to protect the weak from the overbearing forces of their enemies. If and when a man is called upon to protect his home and family or his neighbor with deadly force from another whose intention is to afflict harm or death, then it is clearly justifiable. Failure to act and to allow anyone to carry out evil intentions is every much an outright act of culpability and a sin against God.

I sought to clarify this as it doesn’t take much in terms of common sense to understand the true meaning in God’s word and how He would have us act in the dangerous times ahead. But then, there are those who continue to rail against God and fabricate their own rules and brand of righteousness which is an affront to God and we need not concern ourselves with them as they are woefully wrong and willfully lost.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

There Is No God?

We live in a time of great progress in science and technology and it often seems as if this intelligence is innate as mankind morphed from living in caves, clothed in animal skins and using stone axes. There comes with such progress a sense of self sufficiency whereby we sometimes feel as if we have pulled ourselves up by our own bootstraps and are beholden to no one! The Bible has often been compared to a book of manufacturer’s instructions which is an excellent description, because anyone who takes the time for daily reading of the scriptures has much to gain!

(Psalm 111:10) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who practice it. His praise endures for ever!”

So if there is a God then why fear? Don’t we usually hear that God is love?
The Apostle Paul has the answer to this question in his letter to the Romans.
(Romans 1: 16 - 30) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.”

(Proverbs 1:7) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Having been a child once and later the father of two boys I can relate to the fear of the Father that is spoken of as it has everything to do with discipline for those foolish enough to despise parental instruction and make unwise choices, because there are consequences that come for failure to obey.

When someone claims to be an Atheist or to believe in some other deities we are left to assume that they approve of the beliefs and lifestyles on some level of those described by Paul in his letter to the Church at Rome. The reason is that those beliefs require no boundaries where adults are free to carry on like children with no supervision. Some make up their own brand of righteousness which is referred to as self-righteousness because it does not come from the love of God. Many  unbelievers seem like good people, obeying the laws of the land which are based for the most part on the original commandments that God gave to Moses. My question is that if there is no God then why bother? The answer is couched in social correctness for the sake of receiving the approval of others and is little more than an outward show of self righteousness! They having opted to become children of a different father following after him in their own manner thus attempting to make themselves lord and master of their own destiny as did Lucifer. The following verses describe what happened to an angel of light that became known as Satan.
(Isaiah 14:12 - 15) “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.”
Jesus clearly alludes to this, Luke 10:18) “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” And again later;
(Matthew 8: 28 - 29) And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”

This needn’t be the lot of non-believers, because though God’s expectations for us and His judgments are just, in His loving kindness He has provided a way for all the be excused and experience eternal life in His presence through his Son Jesus Christ who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6) So consider the following, would you allow your only son to be tortured and put to death as penalty for the wrongdoings of others?

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10) For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.

(Colossians 2:13-14) And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

(Titus 2:11-14) “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

(Proverbs 9: 9 - 10) Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

Who then knowing this will then make the decision to fear God’s judgment and become wise, accepting Christ as their personal pardon for sin and life’s failures? Ask God to forgive your unbelief and for the grace to be able to believe and trust in him.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Polemic Christianity Syndrome

One of the most despicable practices that has unintentionally surfaced in organized Christianity is the propensity for a certain kind of complacency to seep into the lives of many believers which becomes what I’ll call “The us and them syndrome.” It’s a rather polemic attitude that evolves over time when new believers eventually become firmly ensconced as members in a local congregation. Eventually they become steeped in friendships formed in their group along with all the trivial customs and trite cliches that come with church life. With that there is a desire to hang out with like minded people and to shun those who don’t share the same beliefs. This is not just typical of Christians but is universally typical of all human beings everywhere. However what is most insidious about it is when they begin to think of “us the saved and them the sinners.” 
Forgetting their own roots and how they themselves had previously run from those “bible thumpers” and avoided churches as unbelievers wallowing in self-righteous delusions and ignorance. 
True Christian believers are excited about Jesus and are quick to share their beliefs with unbelievers whenever the opportunity arises, they rightly see themselves as sinners who have been saved by the love of Christ. 

Nominal Christians, that is those who are Christian in name only, prefer to keep their beliefs to themselves and associate only with their own kind, most often see themselves not as sinners but as those in diametric opposition to sinners, a class of persons they prefer to avoid. These are the ones that commonly shun their long time friends when they hear that they have been stricken with cancer or some other debilitating and deadly disease. In the following verses we can clearly see what Jesus considers an abominable attitude that these types hold.

(Mark 2:15- 17)  And as he sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
(Luke 11:23) Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

Sadly there are many who are scatterers, if not by outright commission, then by omission which is equally egregious. What about those people in our society who are simply just different, street people who are homeless, prostitutes, homosexuals or transsexuals and others who for various reasons may ascribe to some confusingly different life style? Are they any more a sinner than those who are Christian? Human beings tend to judge others by assigning varying degrees of grey to blackness in how they view the differences and failings of other’s lives when in reality in God’s mind any sin is deadly and the only release we have from condemnation is through acknowledging it and leaning on Christ as God’s answer to the problem. Jesus called this out, consider now that the scribes and Pharisees of his day were the same as the nominal Christians of today as you read the following.

(Matthew 23:15) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”  And again in (vs 25 - 28)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.”
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

People go to great lengths to fit into the societal dictates for men and women, sadly those who don’t fit are shunned, but times are changing with the advent of the information age, the Internet and the twenty-four news cycle. That which was formerly not commonplace now is and those who claim to be true believers see it as an opportunity to reach out and welcome those who appear different and sinners in need of Christ just like themselves. Those who refuse to change will no doubt remain scatterers alienating many from the joys of knowing the love of Christ.

(Matthew 7: 1 - 5) “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (vs 21 - 23) “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Wayward

 (Luke 15: 11 - 16) Jesus said: “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ He divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, there he squandered his property in loose living, when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine, he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate because no one gave him anything.”

How many parents and friends have shed tears while questioning themselves about what had gone wrong when one of their children or friends have run off to places unknown and have intentionally estranged themselves from everyone who loves and cares for them? How many siblings have wondered and worried about their brother or sister, missing and perhaps sick or dead in some God forsaken situation or evil place?
What about a strong willed individual refusing to listen to common sense or parental admonitions who opts to follow after peer group miscreants with drugs, alcohol and licentious sexual activity and purposefully walks away from home and family to follow after wrong headed and useless pursuits? How often have we heard this story and even experienced it with a family member or a friend? 

Oftentimes we wonder if that person is going to wind up living in desperate conditions or perhaps dead through some act of violence or dying of a disease in a hapless situation. These are questions that so often go unanswered, but the bible has the answers for those that diligently seek them. There is hope, when we earnestly pray for those who seem lost. First it is important to understand what is written in (Ephesians 6: 12) For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” So often it seems that we are engaged in a battle for the mind of a wayward, stubborn individual who might benefit from a trip behind the woodshed to bring them back to their senses. However scripture says, it’s not a flesh and blood struggle, but a spiritual battle wherein a dark force is corrupting their thought processes. The previous verse, is a directive for us in how to begin to deal with the problem. (Ephesians 6:11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” So how do we do this? First of all we have to relinquish control of that person completely and turn them over to God. Sometimes it’s difficult as we battle with our own desire to maintain control over a situation that we don’t really control at all. It requires a heartfelt conversation (prayer) with the Lord acknowledging that what we have been doing is actually a sin (meaning failure, falling short or missing the perfect mark) We inadvertently do this by trying to handle things by our own wit and flesh things out, things that are all decidedly well beyond our own understanding. When we confess our shortcomings to God and ask Him each day to intercede in the life of our estranged one, the dynamic will begin to change and we will start to understand the power behind the following verses. 
(2 Corinthians 10: 3 - 5) “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” The meaning of this becomes abundantly clear, we are dealing with entities that we cannot see who have been exerting their influence on those that we care for and whose power can only be broken by the higher power of God. Finally keep in mind the following: (James 5:16) Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.” As believers in God and in His Christ we need to first own up to our own shortcomings and where we have failed and then begin to take a stand on behalf of our lost friend or loved one through fervent prayer, requesting God’s intercession in their life. The first sign of a change will become evident as God brings the bottom up for them until reality begins to smack them in the face much like what happened in the story of the prodigal son, then we will begin to see some changes taking place. Don’t forget to thank God daily giving joy for their deliverance as the rest of the story unfolds.

(Luke 15: 17 - 24)  “But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.”