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Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 11:53 PM
Is it reasonable to say that life just happened or that life was created? One may believe one thing, and another something else. Still, consider the complexities of atoms coming together into molecules and molecules coming together to form different organs, different organs coming together with different functions to make life happen.
What is expected from life; or what is its purpose? For those who do not believe we were created, then there needs to be any reason. For those who believe we were created, then it would follow that there must be a reason. Could the reason be that our Creator created us just for His amusement? That would be a lot of complex work for simple amusement. For those who believe the Bible, then we were created for a life of good works which our Creator prepared for us. What works? Would our Creator wish us to be good (functional and creative); or would He wish us to be bad (dysfunctional and destructive)? Being creative doesn’t mean that we could ‘create’ in the same sense or the same scope as He. But if you consider ‘creative’ as ‘building up’ as opposed to ‘tearing down’, then should we build up one another?
The Bible teaches that our Creator (YHWH) is love and His law is love. Would He go to such meticulous care to create us if His motive were anything contrary to love? So would He not expect us to live with that love for Him and for one another? If we were created for a life of good works, then would not love impel us to do good towards one another. If being creative means to ‘build up’, then wouldn’t love impel us to ‘build one another up’?
Even so, do we not all have a tendency to find that love for one another difficult? Do we not tend to want others to be ‘what we want them to be’ as opposed to being who they feel themselves to be? If someone feels worthless, would we ‘build them up’ or make them feel loved if we asserted ourselves to be better than them? To put it another way, if you felt you were not as good as someone else, would it encourage you to think that someone else acts as though he is better than you are? Yet, at least to a certain extent, do we not all seem to want to assert our own worth rather than building up the worth of others? At the same time, are there some who want to put on a show of their own worth because they are proud and arrogant; and also there are others who want to put on a show of their own worth because they feel they are viewed as worthless, and they want to ‘show’ others that those others are wrong? So who could see into our hidden motives better than the One Who created us?
There are some that we can seem to naturally and easily love, and some who seem to make it difficult to love, and some who make it seem impossible to love. Do we suppose that sometimes there may be things inside a person that seems difficult to love that make him seem so difficult? If a person seems to be pessimistic, is it possible that person had so often been torn down rather than built up, so that he only sees it the way he sees it? Is it possible that a person has been so mistreated that he thinks treating others harshly is the natural way it is supposed to be? Even one who treats others harshly may realize that this isn’t right, but if it is all he’s seen or experienced, perhaps he doesn’t know how properly to treat others.
So understanding love and learning how to love may at times seem a daunting challenge. I’m a firm believer that humans have such a natural inclination to be lovers of themselves rather than lovers of others that we could not truly begin to understand love without coming to know our Creator, and His love. Yet it is our own natural inclinations that seem to keep us from coming to know Him. That is why I believe that He sent Jesus to teach us how we have strayed from the way that He intended into our own ways, and to offer Himself as a sacrifice to teach us that we must be willing to sacrifice ourselves for others to demonstrate the love that He wants us to have. In learning His love for us, we can learn to show others that love in sacrificing ourselves for others. Then people could learn more about love from one another.
Though in a world where we so naturally tend to love ourselves, then I’m a firm believer that study of the Bible can teach us His pure and perfect love, our lack of that pure and perfect love, and how through Jesus we can learn that pure and perfect love. A lot of religions may have a lot of people that talk about ‘love’, but I believe that the Bible is the only true teaching from our Creator that teaches us His will for us in creating us, and shows how far we have strayed from that will, and the only way to reconcile ourselves to His will. I believe that the only reconciliation that mankind has to his Creator is through the blood of Jesus as is taught in the Bible. Jesus, as our Creator come to us, has said that the only way to that reconciliation was through Him. Many religions may have a lot of pretty words and teachings, but only Jesus can bring us to our Creator’s will.
Sunday, February 9, 2014, 2:09 PM
Without Jesus, people have no choice between this world and Heaven, because we have no hope of Heaven without Him. Because of Jesus, those who believe in Him have that hope in His promise that He is preparing a place for us apart from this world. This world is full of hardships, heartaches, and suffering. Jesus told us to choose either this world or Him and believe in His promise of the place He is preparing. Jesus gave us the option either to enjoy our rewards in this world or to store them up in the place that He is going to prepare. We do not deserve a place that Jesus is going to prepare for us. We cannot work our way into the place Jesus is preparing for us. We cannot buy our way there. It is only by believing in Jesus, believing Who He is and what He taught, and in that belief, accepting and trusting that in our hearts can we truly find the Way to our eternal home with Him. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Satan is the ruler of this world. He has the power to give rewards to those who serve him. So if you see someone who is successful, do you suppose that person’s ‘god’ has rewarded him? So Satan can reward many who follow false ‘gods’, because he is at war with our true Creator- YHWH.
Jesus said that Satan is a liar, and the father of lies. He has the power to deceive people by showing them things that will make them think they are serving God, but they do not see the whole truth. It may be in dreams, visions, signs, wonders, or coincidences that seem to work just so. People can read the Bible, go to church, and do all sorts of services and think they are serving God, but truly they may not be. God looks into people inner motives. If people think they are good enough, or can start living good enough to go home with Jesus, then they are deceived. If people think they are working hard to earn a way into Jesus’ home, then they are deceived. If people think they can work some sort of magic, or cast some kind of spell to bring them to Heaven, they are deceived, because magic is a forbidden art. If people think they can pay enough money to the church or to good causes, they cannot find their way home. Satan has many people deceived into thinking they can find their own way to Heaven. Only through accepting Jesus into your life can you find your way to His place prepared for you. So people can read the Bible and go to church, and give money and do all sorts of good works, but if they are doing that because they think they are ‘showing’ God or people what a good person they are, or if they think they are earning their way to Heaven, then it is all empty. Jesus reasserted God’s divine law of “LOVE”. If you truly believe in Jesus, then His law will be in your heart. Then you should pray, study the Bible, give and do for others for the true motive of that love.
Jesus taught that teachers have a higher accountability for themselves before God. It is because by ‘teaching’ one is implying that one has the knowledge and/or authority to do so. (This is one reason I am often fearful in my posting- it is because I know I am so far from perfect, and in that imperfection, it is fearful to think that a ‘mistake’ on my part may lead to a wrong ‘teaching’ to someone else.) Yet there are many ‘false’ teachers out there. The Jewish leaders when Jesus walked among them taught the Scriptures, but they were false, because the Scriptures taught about their Messiah, and the Jewish leaders didn’t recognize Him when He was there. So many people can take many teachings from the Bible or from many books from other religions and find ‘beautiful words’. But simply teaching ‘beautiful words’ does not necessarily mean teaching all of the truth.
Still people love to listen to ‘beautiful words’. Reminds me of Ezekiel 33: 31- 33- the people would come and listen and show much love with their mouths, but their hearts would go out after their own desires. The New Testament teaches that people will have ‘itchy’ ears that will go out looking for someone who teaches what they wish to hear. So when people are willing to pay people to tell them what they wish to hear, then they will teach what people want to hear, and leave out the part the people don’t want to hear. Jesus said, “Woe to those who are rich, because they have their rewards.” This goes with His teaching that people should decide if they are looking for their rewards in this life, or in the next.
Jesus taught that we are to choose His realm instead of this one. Yet when people are so excited about getting rewarded in this life, then they are choosing this world, above His kingdom. Jesus taught that we were to take up our cross. Jesus taught that if this world loved Him, then they would love us. We know that this world crucified Jesus, so how do we expect this world to treat us? The New Testament clearly teaches that we are to endure trials, hardships, and tribulations. That is because Satan is the ruler of this world, and Satan is the enemy of God’s children. Satan doesn’t want people to hear the truth, but Satan likes it when people with itchy ears will pay teachers to tell them what they want to hear. This is why many can get filthy rich teaching the Bible- they pick out the words that people want to hear, but they don’t teach the whole truth and leave out the words people don’t want to hear. So they teach people, “See all these blessings that God has given me? Much money, fine homes, great cars, fine clothes, and the best dinners? Sure I’m going to enjoy them.” Remember, even Satan can make his servants rich with the riches of this world. But they forget that Jesus said not to treasure your rewards in this world. (KJV says to ‘store up your treasures’ but accurate ‘language’ translation and the use of euphemisms makes well the meaning ‘treasure your rewards’.)
Teachers are held to a higher standard, and will be accountable to a higher judgment. But remember, those with itchy ears are also accountable for deciding whether they accept these ‘perspectives’ or if they are sincerely searching for the truth. People may not always agree on every detail of the truth, but there are clear differences between sincerely searching for the truth, and simply accepting ‘perspectives’ that satisfy the itchy ears of those who want to hear what they want to hear. So for people who ‘like’ the idea of relishing their blessings in this life would do well to remember the one in Hell who lifted up his eyes to Abraham, and Abraham responded that he had received his rewards in his earthly life. Do you search for the sincere truth?
Saturday, February 8, 2014, 6:25 PM
Deuteronomy 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. 4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.
5 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. 6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. (KJV)
Verse two says that the Lord would prove thee to know what was in thine heart. The Lord already knows what is in man’s heart, but man does not always realize the hidden motives in his heart. This proving of God’s children is to demonstrate to them so that they may know what is in man’s heart. The Lord took meticulous care of the Israelites while they were in the wilderness; their clothes didn’t wear out, their feet withstood the wandering, and they were provided food and water. Yet they continuously complained that they always wanted more. Isn’t that always the cry of man, “More, more”?
The book of Hebrews refers to this chapter in reminding people that whom the Lord loves He chastens. Keeping God’s law means remembering that we are to always live in love of God first and show this love by loving our neighbors. Man’s heart often is selfish and greedy (lover of self) and this leads to conflicts with others. That strongly interferes with God’s law. It also results in neglect of the needy. We should fear God’s chastening, because as the book of Hebrews reminds us, this chastening is not pleasant while it lasts, but is intended to correct us and teach us how to live better with one another.
Deuteronomy 15:7 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: 8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.
10 Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. 11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. (KJV)
To say to care for one’s brother doesn’t mean only ‘family’ brother, but one’s neighbor. To see who one’s neighbor might be, a Jewish leader once asked Jesus about this. Jesus then told him the story of The Good Samaritan. Now at that time, the Samaritans were considered enemies to the Jews, but Jesus showed that this Samaritan was the good neighbor. Neighbor includes even an enemy neighbor. God’s law of love dictates that we are to supply for the needy to the best of our ability. Jesus noted this verse when He was anointed with costly perfume before His crucifixion in saying that the poor would be with us always.
Deuteronomy 17:14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; 15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. (KJV)
God had told His people that He (YHWH) was to be their King, and they were not to seek another. Yet God already knew that the time would come that they would, and already knew that the line of kingship would be from the tribe of Judah, and that David and Jesus, our Messiah, would come from that line. Now when Solomon was born to David by Bathsheba (another intriguing story), he (Solomon) was also called Jedidiah (which means ‘loved of the Lord). Solomon was told that he would be the richest and wisest king ever. One of the first things Solomon did was marry a daughter of Pharaoh from Egypt and set up horse trading with Egypt and took many wives and concubines (strictly against these rules specified here).
Deuteronomy 31:26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. 27 For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death? 28 Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. 29 For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. (KJV)
The LORD (YHWH) knows mankind’s inclination to wickedness. This is why He sent His Only Begotten Son, Who was foreordained from the foundation of the world to rescue mankind from the sins of this earthly, fleshly body for all those who believed in Him. Do you truly believe?
Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 9:56 PM
The book of Daniel is an amazing book. Daniel was among the first of the people of the land of Judah who were carried into captivity in Babylon. He rose to recognition and power in the Babylonian empire by showing the king what was to happen in the future. He told the king about a dream that told of the coming of future kingdoms and more. The stories of the first six chapters are taught to children in Sunday School to teach the power of God. The last six chapters are studied by scholars, especially those studying eschatology (the study of the events of the last days of life in this world as we know it). Historians studying the last six chapters easily identify how Daniel understood from the writings of Jeremiah how Israel would be in captivity for seventy years. But in visions Daniel detailed future events explaining details about kings and even the daughter of a king (Cleopatra) would be shifting control back and forth across the land of Israel. He also told of a future ruler (history shows to be Antiochus Epiphanies) would desecrate the Jewish temple and despoil the worship there. He also told of the time that the Messiah would come. (Can’t remember for sure but it was something like so many years from the Jewish restoration (483 and 490 years come to mind- I believe it was the 483 years and the last 7 years making the 490 were for the last seven years studied in eschatology).) Aside from those last seven years studied of the end times, a few passages describe events that were to be recognized in those days. This is just one short passage.
Daniel 8:23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. 24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. 25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. 26 And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days. (KJV)
The transgressors are those who refuse to come to our Creator. We are all sinners, but those who are saved are covered by the blood of Jesus. Still, even those who are saved will be judged for the works done in this fleshly body, though they are saved from the great wrath of eternal separation from their Creator, and have homes with their Creator forever. Looking at this world today, the time of the transgressors seem to be at (or at least very near) being come to the full. This king of fierce countenance certainly represents the Anti-Christ king who will be against the holy people (holy means ‘set-apart’ and refers to the Jews as being set-apart from the time of the promise to Abraham). Though he claims to be bringing peace into a world of chaos, this Anti-Christ king will destroy many might and set-apart people.
When I was much younger, I enjoyed studying the end times (it was something of a fad then). Now I don’t study it so much, but recognize that many things happening today do point to those last days being very near (perhaps imminent). For how many times I’ve read Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation (which are the main studies in eschatology) and the commentaries and other books “explaining” the end times, many things seem to agree. There are some details on which scholars do not agree; though each explanation has many points that would make it seem plausible. Even so, I try to avoid discussing the subject. This seems to be best left to the scholars. I mostly leave the details to God, and try to focus on knowing Him and learning more of His law of love. Though the overall scheme of the end is a good subject for all to look into, but I wouldn’t be too concerned with the details (unless you’re a scholar), because the important thing to me is to see the accumulating signs that the end is near, and the need for spreading the truth of the gospel to all mankind.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 6:00 PM
A lot of people love to go to churches or other inspirational services and talk about how moving the experience was, but the services don’t seem to have much impact on their lives.
Ezekiel 33:30 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD. 31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. 32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. 33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them. (KJV)
A lot of people may like to go to seminars, retreats, churches, etc. to learn more about how to live better, more effectively, or whatever. They go and listen and talk about how moving the experience was, but somehow nothing really changes in everyday life. God’s law is love and when Jesus is in your life, there should be a difference seen. Love between people makes all life better. Yet in the passage above, the Jews went to Ezekiel (Jeremiah and other ‘prophets’, many of whom were ‘false prophets’) to listen to the beautiful messages, but with their words, they talked much about LOVE (which is God’s foundation law) but in their everyday lives, they went around business as usual, living according to their own hearts.
Ezekiel 34:2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. 4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. (KJV)
God’s people are referred to as sheep, and the shepherds are those who lead them, teach them, and prophesy God’s Word to them. Yet for the most part, those who were supposed to be shepherding them were just taking advantage of their own positions to get rich from them. That’s probably one reason there were so many false prophets- there seems to be a lot of ‘profits’ in ‘false prophets’. A true shepherd can be expected to make a decent living, but few people really want to hear the TRUTH. So true shepherds have a struggle having followers. The real money is in telling people with itching ears what they want to hear. So the best thing is to take a little truth, and add to it a lot of what people like to hear.
Jesus told His true followers that they couldn’t expect to be really appreciated by this world (paraphrased). This world is ruled by Satan, and Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Since most people don’t really want to hear the truth, then Satan’s followers can get rich telling people what they want to hear. Something to think about next time you hear of a preacher with an expensive, luxury car, expensive suit, and seems to have all he wants at his fingertips.