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And Justice For All

We write this article with more of a sorrowful heart as we have seen the trend in Christianity to kill its wounded or to act unjustly as they handle spiritual matters. Too often a Christian or church wants to be seen as spiritual and doing what God says but in the end, they look as they are. Following the secular world and their thinking.

We are going to use the following story as an example only

https://www.christianpost.com/news/highpoint-church-cancels-parenting-conference-how-to-keep-children-safe-andy-savage-217835/

And to be honest, we are not caring whether or not the pastor and church in the article are truly Christian or not. Their theological beliefs are not the issue here. Their actions are as they represent what so many in the Christian world do. The secular world  thinks that past sins are unforgivable and must be penalized in the harshest ways. This is not right and it is even wrong when churches do it.

Then, of course, we are not going to be saying that it is okay to purposefully commit sin and then seek forgivness later. That is not the intent of this post either. Sins must be dealt with properly. The issue is that these sins should not be held over the heads of believers, including pastors, missionaries and other church leaders for all time.

When sins have been dealt with correctly 20 years, 10 years, 5 years and so on in the past, there is no room for them to be held over the believer’s head today. No one is looking spiritual by being unjust and punishing past sins. Churches should remember that to expect perfection from imperfect people is unrealistic. Pastors, missionaries, church leaders are not perfect and to demand perfection from them is not godly, spiritual or even biblical. It is something Jesus did not demand either.

We look to Peter’s denial of Christ as our biblical example here. Peter committed a grievous sin not once but 3 times in one night. Yet Jesus did not count that as enough to bar Peter from his future ministry. In fact, Peter went on to be one of the most powerful leaders the church has known. Jesus did not use the removal of employment as a punishment. The grief and sorrow that Peter felt was real and punishment enough.

We could make the excuse that Peter was not filled with the Holy Spirit at the time but that won’t work. Later in the book of Acts, we read how a Spirit-filled Peter sinned again and Paul took Peter to task about it. Again, the removal of employment was not on the table as a proper punishment. Nor was the removal of spiritual influence.

Jesus used both incidents as a way to make Peter into the leader he was supposed to be. Then there is Paul. His past sins were not used to bar him from providing more teaching to God’s people or from making him a powerful missionary. They were used by God to develop Paul into being that wonderful instrument that he was.

Oh, we know that there are many in the church who will do this for the accepted believer. The ones that are liked, etc.,  but we also know that far too many churches withhold this redemptive process from those believers who for some reason or other do not meet human ideals. These unaccepted people are robbed from developing into the men and women God wants them to be by their fellow believers.

Now again, we are not advocating that church people go out and sin so that sin may be used to develop them. That is misguided thinking. Nor are we advocating that forgiveness replaces discipline and punishment. Both are needed for the redemptive process. Jesus used both on Peter and Paul. But he also employed wisdom, understanding, foresight and many other Christian attributes human believers are to employ.

Discernment, free from bias, has to be part of the process here. That attribute needs to double-check the repentance of the fallen and see that their sorrow etc., is real and life changing. But it is a spiritual, godly discernment not a personal human one that does this.

We do not advocate the removal of employment as a first choice in combating past or even present sins. There are situations that may call for it and that is understandable. But to kill our wounded is not biblical nor of Christ. We need to heal the wounds first, and help use them to develop men and women into true godly people. Focusing on the sin only is too narrow of a picture. We need to see these problems from God’s perspective and see the whole picture.

But again, that is not an excuse for the Church to withhold proper redemptive processes from those who make sinful mistakes.We need compassion, wisdom, and God’s input to make sure we do not lose members of God’s kingdom no matter where their membership lies. From the lowest member to the highest member, all need the just and proper handling of their sins so that they can develop into strong followers of God.

Our actions may not please the unchurched world but that is okay. We are not to please them anyway. We do what God wants, please God and he will reward us for obedience. The world cannot reward us, so ignore their thinking and opt for God’s. Do church discipline correctly for all people not just a few. Remember, the secular world seeks vengeance, revenge and a way to hurt the offender. God wants to redeem the offender not lose him or her to evil.

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God Did Do Something

In the wake of yet another school shooting, people are questioning God and the government. They ask, why didn’t God do something. These people question the Christian faith and in their minds, they see both God and Christianity as weak. What they do not see is that God did do something. Let’s make a little list here. Out of 3,000 students and teachers, he saved 2,983 approx.; the shooter was captured alive and arrested; God raised up hero teachers to save more students; and he wrote a book.

In that book he told everyone how to live. We do not find murder as one of  those instructions. In fact, God warns us about committing murder and said that the murderer would be held responsible for their deeds.The problem is that in this world everyone has free choice. They get to decide which path they will follow. If they choose to reject God’s instructions then the results vary including school shootings.

What we as believers cannot do is force Christian beliefs on those who do not choose to follow Gods way. We have to do the hard part. We need to bring justice to events like this; we need to remove the emotional aspect from any part of the legal process; we need to see that the shooter is treated fairly without hatred or bias; we need to be the voice of reason and make sure innocent people do not lose their rights; and we must make sure that no believer or other person sins in response to this event.

God has done something. He has trained and nurtured his followers to respond correctly in these tragic events so that the hurting world can see that God cares about them. What is sad is that many believers will choose to not do that. They will choose to side with those who are deceived, blind and lost and advocate for injustice, the violation  of people’s rights, as well as let emotion and other sinful attitudes influence the aftermath. This is not right and Christians should know better.

God’s instructions are not invalid when children are the victim of a crime. God has done something, he has given us the right way to proceed when crime takes place. There are no exempt clauses for the nature of the crime, the age of the criminal or victim and emotion plays no role in the matter. We do not see Jesus or the disciples using emotion to influence their judgment.

So to answer the critics of God and Chrisianity. Neither are weak, it is just that too many people choose to follow the wrong path, the wrong instructions and leave God out of the process, both in protecting people and in the aftermath.

But that is not all here. We mentioned that people question the government and wonder why they refuse to put in place strict gun control laws or some other law to prevent these tragedies. There are several reasons why this does not take place. First, all people’s rights must be respected not just the victims. Second, no matter what law is put in place, it will not solve the crime problem. Third, federal laws also depend upon lower governments to enforce them. If a State makes a law in contrast to what the federal gvernment has rendered illegal, there is little the federal government can do.

There are other reasons as well. The fact that the federal government is made up of fallible humans is another valid reason. God has put government and law enforcement in place to help protect his creation. Yet when those people lose their way and start following evil, do not expect much help from either. They have freedom of choice as well and they love darkness more than light also.

Now let’s take a look at those who did not do something.

First, the Democrats. Their presidential champion, Obama, could not stop school shootings in his 8 years of power. Plus, this party advocates the continual violation of federal law and refuse to uphold those laws. How can they be a credible or legitimate answer to this problem? They pick and choose which laws they will abide by and they incite others to break the law as well. Christians know this all to well.

Second, celebrities. There has been a chorus of demands coming up from the ranks of Hollywood actors and actresses. They demand gun control laws and other useless acts to protect children. The problem is their star power did not stop this school shooting and never have. Not one person has come forward in the history of school shootings and said that a particular actor or actress influenced them to do what is right.

https://www.christianpost.com/voice/the-devastating-truth-about-school-shootings-in-america.html

It is not his best article but he documents the history of school shootings. How can most Hollywood stars make demands about protecting chidren, when their multiple marriages put children at risk. They cannot hold a marriage together let alone now how to protect people from murder. Hollywood’s violent, non-religious movies and television shows fuel school shootings, not help to avoid them.

Third, local governments. Their removal of God, their persecution of Christians and their faith, their lack of morality and support for sin does not give them an advantage in stopping school shootings. It is the pot calling the kettle black. Their own corruption blinds them to any real solutions.

Fourth, parents. Not every parent but what parents teach their children plays a role here and if those parents teach their children how to do wrong, they have not done anything to stop school violence. They also do not have any legitimate voice in the solution either. Others are too overcome with emotion to be of any real help.

Fifth, the media. Once an objective, legitimate profession. It is a mere shell of itself as it descends into tabloid reporting. They do more to incite, confuse and muddy an issue than anything else. Their influence certainly has not done anything to stop school shootings. Their glorifying of the events and the shooter may have influenced other students to do similar deeds.

We can point fingers at a number of minor issues but that would not be a valid way to end this article. We need to go back to  the beginning and see that God has done something and it is up to everyone to choose to follow God. That is if they want to see crime go down, school shootings subside and evil put in its place. But too many people think they know better than God and continue to ignore what God has done and seek their own way.

We need to get God’s standards put back into a prominent place in society and by God’s standards we mean God’s not some human’s idea or interpretation of those standards. If we want God to do something, then we must do something as well. That is to return to God and his ways.

The choice is up to the people. God has done his part.

 

Valentine’s Day

As you know, we are not big on ‘special days’ of the year and even though it is our birthday, Valentine’s day is no exception. We do not like the hype, the expense, or the forced romantic attitude that comes with this day. It is the secular world that puts people in these awkward positions not God. It is the secular world that leaves people out of these special occasions.

For the believer, we do not restrict our love to only our romantic partners nor do we restrict it to one day of the year. There is an old song that goes- they will know us by our love- yet today it is highly doubtful that we will find believers who know what true love is or can define it correctly.  They all have their own ideas about what is love and expect to be treated after their ideas.

Some even place their own ideas about love on Christ. When they look at the verse, love another as I have loved you, they define the word love according to their own faulty human idea. We do not think many people could handle loving everyone, every day as Christ loved us because Christ’s love goes deeper than any human idea or feeling.

We already now that to do that we would need Christ’s help. But to give you an idea of what godly love is and how deep it goes, here is a short list defining Christ’s love for us.

  1. he accepted us as we are, faults included
  2. he taught us the truth, not interpretation
  3. he taught us how to overcome our faults
  4. he prayed for us (read his prayers in the NT and see how he prayed for us)
  5. he did not accept sin, but told us to repent
  6. he did not change God’s message just to get followers or butts in the seats
  7. he taught us how to pray and live
  8. he lived 1 Cor. 13
  9. he sacrificed for us
  10. he was just and fair, everyone received the same treatment
  11. he met everyone’s needs, even the unbelievers
  12. he gave us free choice
  13. he brought salvation
  14. he didn’t violate God’s rules
  15. he died for us

Yes people say that they love one another, even believers, but do they truly love as Christ loved. Christ did not restrict his love to normal people only nor to couples or familys only, single people, those suffering from the corruption of the world and others were all included in that love. There is no special day in the Christian faith because Christ loved us the same way every day and there was no exclusion or conditions set.

We may think we know what love is, but until we start examining how Christ loved us, we do not know how far short we fall. There was only one man item that was ever excluded from Christ’s love- Sin. Christ never accepted or allowed sin to be part of HIS kingdom. BUT that identification went along God’s defining sin not a human definition of it. Sin is not defined by people’s personal identification for that is only a subjective opinion and not God’s declaration.

For example, parents deciding not to have a computer in the house, is not child abuse (and we know of someone who thinks that way). Sin is how God defines it, justice is how God defines it, love is how God defines it. Understanding these definitions and others like them is up to us. We go to God to learn, not the world who wants special days of the year set aside to honor only a few people lucky enough to find another human to love or love them

Even in love, God uses people. He does not want us to abdicate our duties and throw it back on him. He wants us to obey and show the true love of God to all. The unbeliever will not know God or true love unless God’s human followers put it into practice and be the light unto the world they are supposed to be.

 

A Part of God’s Creation

We want to share an article with you today. The story is too long to quote here so please click on the link to read it.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2017/12/23/lifestyle/yokohama-mary-looking-back-life-one-citys-mysterious-figures/#.WoD5XucRXcc

Yokohama Mary’: Looking back at the life of one of the city’s most mysterious figures

Are there spiritual implications to this non-religious story– of course there are. But for the most part we will let you allow God to lead you to them. You might get a new perspective on the individuals who comprise the homeless population One of those implications we hope you achieve is discernment. While every person needs our help at some time, there are those who do not want to be helped in the traditional way or by traditional motives.

By traditional motives we mean those self back slapping attitudes that come when people think they are contributing to the solution. Not every homeless person is lazy, not every homeless individual is a criminal, and not every homeless person wants help. There are a variety of reasons why people end up on the street and some are there due to circumstances beyond their control. Some do not want to leave the streets as they have mastered the jungle and have earned respect from their homeless peers.

Then there are those who are like the woman in the article. They look to maintain their dignity in a harsh environment. We hope you will read the article and get something out of what is said. It is not a Christian piece but God can still teach his followers important lessons through secular work. The reason for this is partially because the religious media does not cover these stories or if they do, the motivation behind the coverage is not always pure.

Helping people doesn’t always come through an evangelistic message or witnessing. Sometimes to win people to Christ, you must work through the physical and bring the right aid to their lives.

But that is all we are going to say at this time.

 

Have you ever thought to ask

Why are computer games, video games, movies and television so popular?

We may have touched on this topic in another post but we do not remember. My wife says I have Alzheimer’s but I say I am just too busy working to remember everything. Anyways, the answer to the question is quite simple, especially for computer and video games.

The main reason these entertainment options are so popular is not because they are fun or they give people something to do or have a date night. Rather, these activities exclude the rules and standards of God. They replace God’s standards of right and wrong, good and evil, morality and immorality with a human version.

Think about it. The most popular games are not about turning the other cheek, doing good to your neighbor or even loving your neighbor. Which is interestng is that latter verse is so often quoted by those in the real world who want to be loved by Christians without being required to give up their sin. Yet, the message of that verse is left out in those entertainment options

Those popular electronic games are aboout the law of the jungle- kill or be killed.Which in itself is quite interesting. The atheist and other unbelievers want peace in this world, a lower crime rate, more love to be exhibited and so on. Yet, when push comes to shove, they invent games that kill characters for no real reason. To win, you have to kill everyone else.

What a lonely world one is left with.

You notice that most movies, television shows, video games, etc., are not about the things that the unbeliever or atheists desire most. They are about crime, hatred, intolerance, (even toward the believer), loveless sex, revenge and much more.They do not make movies or t.v. shows that depict any virtue at all. If there is, it is a human version and not God’s.

This is sad because so many people are influenced by their exposure to this fragile, fallible, erroneous thinking. They do not know any better. (Even some Christians are influenced by this exposure and fail to overcome the world in this matter). This is what makes this issue so interesting.

The atheist and other unbelievers want peace, love, kindness, tolerance and much more. The problem for them is that they reject where it is to be found.They do not want to humble themselves and be servants of God. There is an old saying that goes, “better to be a ruler in hell, than a servant in heaven” and we can see that attitude in the behavior of those who make those entertainment options

The atheist and unbeliever want to be in charge, not only of their own destinies, but life, definitions of standards, and much more. They do not want to bow their knee and accept that God and his definitions, etc., are superior to them. So the atheist and other unbelievers reject the very source that brings them what they desire. They end up making entertainment options, for the most part, that contradict their personal desires (except for making money).

Should we blame, judge and condemn the atheist and the unbeliever for their hypocritical actions? No, for we know that they are merely deceived people in the hands of evil. Whether the atheist & other unbelievers accept this fact or not is not the issue. It is the reality. This means that instead of preaching first and praying later, the believer should be praying first, so they can get God’s guidance on how to meet the issues they are facing with the unbelieving world.

Spiritual work requires pure spiritual actions. We say pure because too many believers think they hear from God and implement their own or the world’s ideas instead.

Instead of joining the world in participating in those entertainment options, we should be doing what God wants and start praying more and ministering more effectively. Be ye in the world not of it.

 

Another Archaeological Discovery

https://www.christianpost.com/news/pool-found-ancient-christian-site-ethiopian-eunuch-baptized-book-of-acts-archaeology-216213/

Archaeologists in Israel have made another discovery connected to stories in the Bible, as they found a large 1,500-year-old pool at an ancient Christian site near Jerusalem where the Ethiopian eunuch, as mentioned in the Book of Acts, might have been baptized.

Sorry but the Byzantine period was long after the apostolic age. There is no connection here. The passage of scripture that is refered to does NOT indicate that the meeting took place near Jerusalem. That city is mentioned but only as an identification marker, not as the identity of the location where the baptism took place.

We believe that some early Christian commentators identified Ein Hanniya as the site where the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized, as described in Acts 8:26–40,” Jerusalem District Archaeologist Dr. Yuval Baruch was quoted as saying. “The baptism of the eunuch by St. Philip was one of the key events in the spread of Christianity. Therefore, identifying the place where it occurred occupied scholars for many generations and became a common motif in Christian art.”

People seem to have the wrong idea about Christianity. The faith is not about identifying and revering ancient sites. While we can identify them, we are not to revere them. But if we identify them, let’s be honest and make sure it is the site BEFORE publically saying anything.

The site will open to the public in the coming months, the report said.

Siggghhhh…. Christianity is also not about establishing tourist traps and making a lot of money.

Christianity is about following and obeying God. If you are not sure how to do that,start here.

http://dakotascba.com/Knowing-God%27s-Will.php

There are two posts about God’s will on that page.  You have to scroll down to the second one.

If you are not a believer, then you need to start at John 3:16.

 

In One Accord

We have been reading in the first 11 chapters of Genesis and we came across these words:

The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them {NASB}

As we were thinking about these words, we were reminded of different passages in  Acts. Some of them read :

These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers 1 :14 NASB

Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 2:46 NASB

The first selection is just prior to the filling of the Holy Spirit. The second selection was just after Peter’s sermon which garnered thousands of converts. But what is interesting aboouot the second passage are the following words:

praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

As we thought about these passages, we felt it was the Lord who brought to our attention the question– what if the modern church acted with one mind and were in one accord? Atheists claim that there are over 40,000 protestant denominations all claiming to have the truth. They are correct. There are a lot of denominations and they all cannot hold the truth.

BUT what if they did? Think of what the church could accomplish if were united under Jesus? God added 3,000 people to his church in one day, then he kept adding to the church daily because the people were of one mind. How many would be added today if we could get all protestant churches under the truth and get rid of the division among us.

The early church did not follow after interpretation; they did not use the phrase- that is your interpretation; they did not alter the biblical text; they did not argue over how a word was translated and on it went. What they did was study the truth that the disciples taught. Here is what Acts 2 has to say:

42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

They had found the truth, they were set free from sin and they continued in the truth and stayed free of sin.There is only 1 truth. We know this because there is only 1 Savior, 1 God, 1 body of Christ.  There can only be one truth. God does not change nor does he have multiple ways to get to him. There is only one truth and the modern church needs to get back to it and devote themselves to that and prayer.

How do we get to the truth? We do as Jesus said- follow the Spirit of Truth. This spirit does not lead one group of people to one ‘truth’ and another to a different ‘truth’. He leads everyone who will follow him to the same truth.

To make an impact for God today, the church needs to unite under the truth. But for that to happen, some people will have to admit that they are wrong and correct their thinking and ways. This does not mean we point fingers at others, but we examine ourselves and ask God where we have strayed and to lead us back to the single truth so the modern church can be of one mind and accomplish great things for God.

What it takes to be of one mind? Honesty. The church needs to be honest with itself, and give up all the false teaching, the deception and false doctrine that has crept in over the centuries. The church has to stop following the secular world and adopt real discernment. We can use cars, modern technology, etc. if we want, that is not what we are talking about. What we are talking about are those ideas, etc., that lead people away from the truth and have them toss away their faith.

Another item that is needed is for the church to be unafraid. Fear leads people to do sinful acts and we must not let that influence lead the church to lose its unity. Also, the members of the church cannot be afraid to change.

Again there must be some caution , because everyone who claims to have the truth will not have it. Jesus’ instruction was that we would KNOW the truth… Jesus is telling us that the truth will be evident and we will be able to tell the difference. One obvious clue is that if the proclamation is leading people to go against the Bible, then it is not truth. God does not lie and he did not lie in the Bible.

God did not follow secular culture when he wrote the Biblical books and secular culture does not alter what God has said in the Bible. Secular culture is deceived, blind and in need of a Savior. God is none of those nor in need of help from the lost. Becoming of one mind is going to take some work. We will probably lose some people but that is okay. Jesus lost disciples when he spoke of hard things. We must weed out the bad, (or let God weed them out), so the church can be holy and productive.

Becoming of one mind is not going to be easy as evil likes to work through immature and new Christians or through loved ones to hinder what God wants done. But with constant prayer we can protect the church and ourselves. Evil also works through those who reject the truth and we see that every day as women are given permission to occupy positions of church leadership they have been divinely banned from occupyng. And by the acceptance of homosexual and transgender sinful behavior. These are but two examples. A third would also be the sexual harassment of women or the mistreatment of some men by their wives and others.

For the world to see God, the church has to be holy and act as God wants.

To be of one mind means following Jesus as he taught. We do not make excuses but find the truth, adopt it and implement it in our lives.

One final word, we are not pointing fingers nor think every church member or denomination is acting wrong. That is not even close to what we are thinking. We are not perfect ourselves.We just knew that we had to write this in hopes that the church will start to unify better and work to meeting God’s desire that all men be saved. Then when we win more souls, we teach them the truth so that God has a strong spiritual adult army to continue his work.

 
 
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