Month: September 2016

The withered branch


I am about to have some Bible verses below that I wish you the reader to look at and think upon. They are words spoken by John the Baptist to the Israelites not long before Jesus started His ministry:
Luke 3:7 – When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 9 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
Now you are asking: “Why is this important to me? This about the Jews just before Christ came amongst them. “
Let me put it to you this way: “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are Christians.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create Christians from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
This is reinforced in John 15
1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
We are now in a period where many say they are “Christian.” However, they live in, of and for the world. They seek after worldly rewards, sporting events instead of time with God, money, large homes, fancy cars, expensive clothing, and jewelry. All this is of the world, yet this is their true desire. They show no real desire to serve God. To help others. All that matters is themselves and their wants and desires.
They bear no fruit for God. They are a dead branch upon the vine that is Jesus Christ. They were once saved, yet are now dead and withered.
Their destination is made clear and obvious:
“Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
“Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.”
So where is it you stand within the eyes of the Lord?

Confessions of a screwed up middle aged man: learned something new


As I stated previously I have begun studying more deeply into the history of the Bible itself. Something I would encourage all to pursue.
Many things I was already aware of, but in the last few days as I was looking into the history of the gospel of Luke I found something new.
The Doctor Luke, a friend and companion of Paul, and a gentile, wrote both the gospel and the book of Acts as two books that are separate, but are in essence meant to be read together. Some Bible even go so far as to right the title of the books as “Luke-Acts.”
They act in concert one to the other and were meant to be an aid to someone that was seeking more insight into Jesus and ministry of the apostles that followed.
Extremely fascinating.

The Judas dilemma


When we look to the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ we see humanity coming face to face with God.
We see their willingness. We see their desire to shine above the rest. We see their bickering and arguing at times as well. Simply we see a true reflection of man, while on the other hand in Jesus we see the God who has become man and see he is different.
However, that is not the main point of this article.
The main point is we can also say even though they were flawed and did not at first act correctly. For the most part their hearts were in the right place, for they had been called by name, by Christ Himself.
Now in this light we can in essence say they were “saved.” Even though Christ had not yet died for their sins. How they acted after in another story for another day.
What we are going to deal with is the fact they were called by Christ to be taught by the Son of God Himself. Before it was over they came to know and understand that yes He was the Messiah. Yet, one still clung to the world, still desired the riches and notoriety of this temporal existence.
This one even though knowing Christ was the Son of God chose the world instead. That was Judas.
He saw the miracles, and may have even performed some himself, yet he could not understand or grasp the reality he himself was experiencing.
Was he overwhelmed? I do not know.
Was he beyond caring for the truth before him? Again the answer of that is beyond my knowing or understanding.
Even though he was seeing, even though he was doing. Still he could not comprehend the reality of God. The power of God. The understanding that we were created by God. That all he saw, that all he did was only due to being part of the overall plan of God’s tapestry, woven throughout the known universe, which itself is just now being seen as that very thing, a woven tapestry.
Many today are like Judas and in many cases aren’t even aware of their own rejection of the Christ. Thus the dilemma. They do not see God nor His Son as who they truly are. They worship the world yet say they are His children. Showing nothing but contempt towards He they said they would surrender their life to. They seek out their own thirty silver in the form of fancy houses, cars, and then turn and spend their blood money on unnecessaries, instead of giving to those in need. They bury their wealth hording it and refusing to release it.
They are the new Judas’s and in most cases even if they realized the truth as the original Judas did wouldn’t even do has he did, kill himself. For even though they had seen Christ’s grace and glory the world is more what they now lust after and desire for it satisfies them and their own selfish desires and lust. Unaware that the Day of Judgment will come and they will be standing before Christ as they say:
“Lord, Lord.”
And He will say,
“I never knew you.”

Confessions of a screwed up middle aged man: “Dear younger me.”


As I listened this morning to this Mercy Me song I started thinking, for at time in my past I have contemplated desiring to do that very thing.
Then I really thought, and I really reflected upon my fifty plus years of live within this temporal plain of existence, and I came to a startling conclusion.
For the most part, I wouldn’t want to talk to my younger self.
“Why?” you question.
Would I have given myself some finical advice? If I had, would I have ended up where I am now? No, most likely not. Then I would not be happy where I now am for no telling what riches would have done to me.
Would I have given myself romantic advice? For the most part I again would say no. Even though I am now into my third marriage, and might I add, my final one. For without going through the two previous marriages I would not have the children that are now within my life, nor would I even be living where I now live, and had the opportunity to have met my current spouse.
The real question comes down to my spirituality then. That is the toughest of all to answer. Would I have been equipped to serve God and His Son if I did not go through all I have gone through? There was a very long pause here just for your information.
Again I have to say no, I would not say a thing. Have I been though some rough patches? Yes, most definitely yes. However, I honestly feel I had to experience these minefields to be able to make people understand that what is within the Bible is real. That every word when taken in context and applied to ones live as well as the very acceptance of Jesus Christ as my Savior is something that is real and required to achieve spiritual growth and understanding of what God has mapped out for us in our lives.
So, I can say this without doubt or question.
I would never wish to talk to my younger self, for the road he took brought me here, to now, to this place, to God.

“Religion and morality are indispensable supports”


These are the words of the first President of this United States of America, George Washington.
He was also one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
He and all those that were members of the Constitutional Congress knew of the importance of God in their lives as well as their desire to keep Him in their nation.
This is reflected by the fact that the first amendment to the Constitution dealt with religion, and was even the first topic of the first article.
This is what it says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Just so we understand this. When Mr. Washington was writing his farewell address he stated the words in the title of this article. What he was referring to what needed support was politics.
Now you must also understand that England, due to Henry the VIII had made it that the head of the Church of England was the ruler of that country, Henry himself, when he made the law. At the time of the Revolutionary War it was King George. This is a religion made by a government. This is want Mr. Washington and the rest did not wish to see happen ever again. There is not separation of state and religion. There is only the rule that the government cannot made a religion, or for that matter the removal of any religion from politics. This is witnessed and supported by the fact that the president felt religion and morality were supports and indispensable.
If they are “indispensable” then they should never be removed. Yet that is exactly what has been done and as a result this nation is in turmoil and distress. All because humans wish to remove and replace God.
Those that use the government to interfere with the free practice of religion not only within the government and schools and universities are in fact in violation of the constitution. For they are in fact infringing upon God and those that wish to follow Him.
So what is it to be?
Return God to His rightful place within this nation, or continue down a road that will lead to nothing but tragedy for the entire nation.

“Scripture alone”


This was the battle cry so to speak by those within the Reformation.
Two major factor caused this to happen.
The first was the Muslim conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
Many in the west had for the most part only known of the Latin version of the Bible that was presented and taught by the Catholic Church.
Now due to the fall of this city many scholars and their Greek versions of the Bible came to be seen and known in the west.
Since Greek was the original language of the letters, for the most part, that form the New Testament questions were raised and monks and priests started to learn Greek and Hebrew and a new world was opened unto them.
The second was the printing press, which enabled the spread of not only the Greek by later common language copies of the Bible to be printed and spread to not only the rich but to the commoner.
Why this battle cry was so important is that they found that the doctrines that had risen from Catholicism were inaccurate or even non-existent within the true translation of the Bible.
They knew and came to understand that every person must learn the Bible. In addition that no human can be trusted to pass on the knowledge of the Bible accurately by themselves.
What many do not understand or know is due to the Roman Empire, a large majority of its citizens were literate. When Rome fell literacy diminished as well as other things that would become known as the Dark Ages.
During this time those with power and riches sought more of the same and so many, even those within the Catholic Church did not correctly teach the Bible. Some of which resulted in the Crusades for example.
Due to the Reformation the need and understanding to learn firsthand the Word of God become something that all must do. And so many even though it resulted in their deaths pursued this very ideal.
So to honor those that died so that you can just go down to a store and pick up a copy of the Bible or even just look online and read it there. You owe it to them to learn what was worth dying for.
The truth within the Word of God.

Confessions of a screwed up middle aged man: It just amazes me.


I have been expanding my knowledge and insight in the history of the Bible, and I am just amazed how people for the last two or three hundred years have been seeking to dismiss or diminish the Word of God.
What is even more interesting is that sometimes their own systems of denial actually ends up allowing the confirmation of the very thing they are seeking to destroy.
Case in point: that it is mythological.
A key factor in myths per these folks own words is that a myth will arise after a history has been around for one hundred and fifty years. A prime example of this is the Iliad by Homer. It is his telling of the actual siege of Troy, but he writes about it four hundred years after the fact. Within it we end up with for example Achilles who cannot be harmed save for one spot upon his heel. This is a true mythological story, mainly due to that fact that none were alive from the siege to challenge his view or embellishment of the event like the heel issue.
Here is where things start to fall apart for those that insist Jesus and His resurrection is a myth as well.
The most important fact is the twenty seven documents that later were brought together to form the New Testament were written as early, if not even earlier, as fifteen years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and they were just the writing down of the well-established oral traditions of the Jewish people in the first place.
This means not only were those that followed Jesus, but also those that killed and persecuted Jesus were still alive and could affirm or counter the letters, and the oral tradition, respectively.
Those that would affirm did and those that could challenge the letters, or teachings, could not.
So per the methodology of those that insist the Bible is a myth are shown to being living in myths of their own creation, called denial, since the major pursuit to deny the facts within the Bible began nearly nineteen hundred years after the fact.
As to the resurrection itself, the Creed, which was an oral tradition is said to be first written down within eight years of the resurrection. In other words around 38 to 41 A.D. It states that five hundred saw the risen Christ at one time and many were still alive to be directly questioned of this account and people were encouraged to do just that, question them.
So there is no way the Bible is a myth. The events are real, that facts are real, Jesus is real and alive.
Additionally, you would think that after two thousand years the arguments to deny that there is only one God would have changed, but it hasn’t. The excuses and opinions to not accept Him as their Creator have not altered at all yet they think they have discovered something new and different, yet it isn’t.

What if?


Hey all you readers out there that say there is no such thing as God, that Jesus never lived.
Let’s play a game of:
“WHAT IF?”
So here it goes.
What if there is a God?
What if that committing sins will cause you not to be welcome before God?
Now let’s say, what if God sent His only Son down into this temporal plain of existence to die for all the sin that all will ever commit?
What if three days after his death upon a cross he rose from the dead?
What if the Son of God is still alive today?
What if you decide it ask God to be your Savior?
What if you are accepted but decide you would rather live in sin rather than forsake it on the chance that your body would be transformed into a higher live form?
What if you do forsake your sins and strive daily to come to a better understanding of the Bible, and God as well as His Son?
What if one day a shout can be heard throughout the entire world and you along with a few others upon the earth vanish form the surface and find yourself ascended into a perfect body that will last billions of years?
What if you still lived life in this new body?
What if you ate and drank, talked and laughed?
What if you look one day into a pit of fire and see many that you once knew writhing in pain and agony, barely recognizable due to their burnt shin and worms covering them?
What if one day you found yourself millions of light years away from this small blue planet on the edge of the Milky Way which is on a branch of Laniakea?
What if you were helping others to learn about God?
What if God looked at you one day and said “Well done my child?”

79 percent


This has to be the saddest poll number I have ever read.
Why?
Because this was the number of people that were polled that stated that the clergy should not endorse a candidate or even mention politics in pulpit.
This is sad due to a statement made by George Washington in his farewell address as well as the first amendment.
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The pillars of a good government or at least a good politician is religion and morality.
I will go one step further in this. What Christ says to look for in a servant leader:
Matthew 20:25 – But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Why don’t people in the clergy endorse or mention politics? Because the government has muzzled them due to the Johnson amendment.
This amendment goes against the constitution and thus against our freedom and right to worship or for that matter not to worship God as we see fit.
When you get a chance I challenge you to watch “Drums along the Mohawk” with Henry Fonda. In this movie you will see the pastor not only deliver a message but also be political and advertise.
This is the way it should be but cannot due to the Johnson amendment. This must be removed and once again allow Christianity to thrive, especially in the political arena. Where it is most desperately needed for the survival of not only this nation but the souls of its people.

G_d


It amazes me how people are so insulted by the fact that they will have to type out the word “God” that they force themselves to instead type out “G_d.”
It is okay to say “God.” It is okay to type out “God.” That is, unless your intent is to demean and diminish He that created this entire universe.
Maybe that is it. The only way they see God is as blasphemy, so to them not fully spelling it will in some way spare them. Too bad it doesn’t work like that.
If all someone has is hate and disbelief in the Creator that is their choice. The Bible makes it clear that many will chose the world and this short temporal life over their Creator and billions upon billions of year of exploration and wonder, well in addition to service to God.
But to fear fully typing out “God?”
I do not fear God’s wrath.
I fear sinning against Him.
I fear disappointing Him and myself.
God is our creator, our true Father.
Yes our bodies were conceived by the mating of two other humans, but the Bible makes it clear that our souls, our very being comes from God Himself.
It is how we choose to respond to this.
God states that He loves us all, but we must choose to come to Him in humility. Not in pride, not with an ego. Not thinking that we are the masters.
The ultimate goal of humanity is to enter into service for God. Going where He commands. Do what He commands. It is just a better and more glorious job. All to honor and glorify Him. For it is He that created everything and everyone and He deserves to be honored and worshipped.