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Chapter 12B. Christian Living- Part 3
The following miscellaneous topics are in the general category of Christian living:
As in the days of Noah:
After reviewing Matthew 24, Genesis 6, and 2 Peter 2, I propose that one sign that we are near to Jesus’ return is a sense of being in a parallel dimension to what the world would call “normal.” I think Noah felt that way when he was building the ark. I think Lot felt that way when he was “vexed” in his spirit. There is an interesting scene in the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Space aliens had implanted a desire in the main character to meet them at a certain place. This desire supplanted all other of his desires. At one point he was in his kitchen looking out the window at people mowing, taking out the trash, etc.. He no longer felt a part of that world. Noah couldn’t have felt a part of his world after God implanted a vision of the ark within him. And I wonder if that is how we are to feel as the Day of the Son of man draws closer. I sometimes feel that way when I am channel surfing and see people excited over game shows and reality shows and whatever. Maybe it’s just that I’m 73 but I sure feel it’s a world mostly devoid of desire to know God and what He is doing in the Earth. Just as in the days of Noah. Question: Do you desire to be on a game show more than you desire to know God? I think from the context of this article you understand what I am asking.
Hardness of heart...again:
I continue to be convicted by the Holy Spirit about my hardness of heart. God expects us to deal with EVERY negative thought and emotion that results in hardness. If we experience hardness towards someone because they do or say something we feel is Biblically wrong, we should pray against demonic deception that is controlling them. We never pray against the person unless directed by God. And then we pray that they respond to God. If the hardness is due to something within us, such as prejudice, we immediately acknowledge it and deny it any right to be there. And we realize that often there is a demonic spirit enhancing the hardness and we seek rhema words for how to address it. We are in a spiritual battle against demons and our flesh. We must get the hardness out. Else how can we love instead of hate?
Concerning "celebrity" Christians:
I judge "celebrity" Christians (speakers, pastors, etc. with large audiences) by how well they treat the hired help once they're home.
Free will, revisited:
I would like to revisit something I touched upon in Chapter 4. Why do bad things happen if God is good? One writer writing about a friend of his who was born without eyes mockingly wrote “Thank you, Jesus.” Another wrote how she became an agnostic after her friend died in a motorcycle accident. The answer is free will. When Adam and Eve sinned they put themselves out from God’s protection. They didn’t realize this, of course, but that is what happened. God had to honor that decision for them to remain human and not robots (see Chapter 4). I suspect it pains God continually to see people blaming Him for the bad things that happen. This is a hard thing to comprehend, but God is not the cause. What is even harder to comprehend is why God supernaturally intervenes in some cases and not others. But that is one of those areas better left up to God. He doesn’t have to explain everything. But always remember that He is good. One day we shall see that it was good how He handled all the situations that look bad now.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus:
I just read a very well thought out list of things America needs in order to be a better nation: affordable health care, affordable education, gun control, social equality, etc. I agreed with much of the writer’s conclusions. But he left off Jesus. The world is offended by even the name of Jesus. Without Jesus, and I mean Jesus being the main point around which all the other points on the list must revolve around, none of the points are worth striving for. In fact, they would be dangerous to achieve, because a “perfect” world apart from Jesus would be a world in which people would be lulled into Hell. The church needs to remember to hold up Jesus first in whatever type of outreaches they are doing. And if you aren’t offending some along the way then you aren’t presenting Him correctly.
The origin of good:
Every good, decent and unselfish thing we ever did did not originate with us. It originated with God who created us with that capability. That's part of what the Bible meant when it said we were created in the image of God. God then left it up to our will as to how we used that capability, and whether or not we acknowledged Him as its source.
On social injustice:
"No one going as a soldier entangles himself with the affairs of life..." (2 Timothy 2:4)
It's okay to be involved with social justice but don't get entangled. It's okay to be involved with helping the poor, the helpless and the hopeless, but don't get entangled. "Entangled" gets your eyes off Jesus. "Entangled" gets your focus off pointing others to the true and only hope: Jesus. "Entangled" robs you of peace. "Entangled" agitates your mind and then your spirit. Being involved does not. There are many other things that can "entangle" us but I wanted to emphasize the social justice ones because I feel the devil is using this issue to further his agenda, not God's. We must have discerning of spirits in America now more than ever.
Additional comments: Since writing the previous sentences, I believe they are the answer to what we, as Christians, are to do about racism, racism against African-Americans specifically. I believe the white American church has not done enough to know what it is like to be an African-American. It’s time we addressed this. I don’t think it’s enough to just say “follow Jesus.” Jesus was moved to action regardless of a person’s standing, as shown by the Samaritan woman and the syrophoenician woman and the parable of the good Samaritan. So, bottom line: we must get involved but not entangled. Each person must go to God and ask how they personally are to do this. I believe we will have to give an answer for it in Heaven. At the least I think we must care about the plight of others and listen with an open mind and heart. (See Chapter 11.)
Life is not a game:
I am constantly amazed at how people can mourn the passing of someone and then continue living as though it will not happen to them or they don’t care if it happens to them. Life is not a game. When you cash in your chips at the end of your life God will not be smiling. It will be judgment time and the only “Get out of Hell free” card is Jesus. I don’t like writing this way but there are times I feel like standing on a street corner and shouting “Wake up!”
Where did God come from?
The Bible says God always was and always will be, and that there are no other Gods than He. In other words, God didn’t come from anywhere. He was always everywhere. Until a being greater comes along and changes the game so that the truths of the Bible no longer work, I’ll keep believing He is who He says He is. (In Chapter 2 I explain why I believe the Bible is true.)
History of Mankind 101:
All of mankind’s history is merely God aligning events that ushered in the birth of Jesus and is now aligning to usher in the return of Jesus. It’s not that hard to understand when seen from God’s perspective, which is the only one that counts. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Musings based on God’s nature:
1. God said you could look at His creation (the cosmos, which includes Earth) and know He exists. So science will never create matter or life in a lab.
2. God set man’s life-span. So science will never significantly be able to extend how long we live.
3. God scattered man at the Tower of Babel. So God will not allow man to join together to create a “perfect” world on their own. It would be an abomination.
4. You can quote all the studies to the contrary that you want, but a child raised in a home with only one parent, or “parents” of the same sex, will be missing things that God intended to be in their life. I base this on the fact that anything that deviates from God’s original design will not accomplish fully what God intended. But God will give wisdom to any home that is looking to Him for help.
On meekness and humility:
I believe meekness and humility are conditions of the will, not the heart. So we exhibit meekness and humility when we relinquish our will. We are always to relinquish our will to God. But we never relinquish our will to another person or cause, unless directed by God. Your will is, in many ways, who you are. That’s why you let God be in charge of your will. Meekness and humility don’t mean being a doormat for everyone to walk over. You are actually never stronger than when you are meek and humble before God. You then have the strength to let God “show Himself strong in your weakness,“ as Paul put it.
The traditional view of original sin is that man is born sinful because of Adam’s sin. I’m seeing articles claiming that isn’t true. They say we don’t bear the sins of our fathers (i.e., Adam) and a newborn baby obviously hasn’t yet sinned, so the baby is, at that point, sinless. But it’s a moot point. Whether we are born with sin because of Adam or born sinless into a world system that 100% causes sin, again because of Adam, I can’t see how one is better than the other. Jesus is still the only solution.
Sin's greatest power:
The greatest example of the power of sin is not a serial killer but rather those who feel their life without Jesus is a success. The most vile, sinful act you can commit is to reject Jesus with your dying breath.
Made in God's image:
One of the results of man's being "created in the image of God," as the Bible says, is that each person has God-given giftings and abilities that God wants us to discover and use for His glory, i.e., give Him the credit. It's a part of everyone's spiritual DNA, whether they realize it or not. America, because of it's Christian heritage, is a place where many, though not all, have a chance at utilizing their creativity and enjoying the results and benefits thereof. That's why immigrants come and social injustice protests happen. These aren't evil. They are expressions of being made in God's image. As Christians, let's discern this spiritual truth. The situations America is facing are spiritual at their core. They require spiritually discerned answers.
To the unknown God:
“…for passing through and beholding your shrines, I found also an altar on which was inscribed, To the unknown God.” (portion of Acts 17:23)
Every non-Christian, whether they realize it or not, worships an unknown God. Even those who claim there is no God find something: nature, the skies, science, a person, a cause. (I recently watched a documentary on America’s national parks. It was disturbing to hear naturalists and conservationists talking about nature in ways I reserve for God. Perhaps they were Christians. I hope so.) God started revealing Himself with Abraham, ending with Jesus, through whom we can now know God. He is no longer unknown.
The true nature of sin:
For a while now, America has been legalizing sin. This is equivalent to injecting cancer cells into your body. Sin is not like having a cold. It’s like having cancer. It will eat away at the life of an individual, and, collectively, a nation if left unchecked. The cure isn’t being nice and loving and accepting. The only cure is the blood of Jesus. God does not punish individuals or a nation. On the cross Jesus took the punishment due us. God doesn’t punish, but sin sure does.
Operating in your gifting:
How can you know if you are operating in your gifting? Here are two ways off the top of my head:
1. Time flies. You will look at your watch and can’t believe how much time has elapsed.
2. You look back on what you have accomplished and can’t believe you accomplished it. If you had to do it again you don’t know if you could. Then you realize it wasn’t you. It had to be God via the Holy Spirit.
Conformed to His image:
The False Church: Sincerely serving the God that resembles you. If you are seeking a God who has the same values as you, you will be trying to conform Him into your image.
“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
The True Church: Sincerely serving the God that you are trying to resemble. If you are truly seeking the true God, you will be trying to be conformed to the image of His Son.
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29
Answering an enigma:
You may have heard the question posed whether God can create a rock even He couldn't lift. Sounds logical to us, but not to an omnipotent God. The only limits God has are the ones He imposes upon Himself. So He could limit Himself to not be able to lift it, then (yawn) limit Himself to be able to lift it regardless of size. With God it's not either/or but both/and. I love God, who has all the answers. Thank you Jesus for giving us access to our Father God through the cross.
Four steps to anything:
You don’t just take a Biblical principle and run with it, unless you are running to God. Any principle has to be evaluated in the light of other principles and in the light of God’s nature. For example, the devil told Jesus to throw Himself off the high place and the angels would protect Him. This is a principle, that we can trust God to supernaturally protect us. But Jesus quoted another verse that said we are not to tempt God. Plus Jesus knew God’s nature: God doesn’t let you be in charge of when and where He supernaturally intervenes. Principles are in the Bible to show us what God can do. Rhema words and knowing God’s nature allow us to operate in them. The problem I see is that there are people who are trying to “throw themselves off high places” by turning the principle into four steps and if you do those steps then God has to do His part. The other problem I see is people never “throwing themselves off high places” because they don’t think there is ever a time to do so. Lord, let us seek your face so we will know when we have either of these problems, and then may we allow the Spirit to instruct and embolden us accordingly.
We are Adam:
I think I now know why Adam's sin spread to all of us. It seemed so unfair. After all, I never ate the forbidden fruit. Again it ties to free will. When Adam sinned, Satan took over dominion of earth. God had no legal basis to stop it short of destroying it and starting over, which He almost did at least once. So everyone born after Adam was easy prey for Satan. Even so, God could only supernaturally redeem our dead spirit because if He supernaturally redeemed our mind (flesh), it would overwrite our free will, which God is just not going to do.
When confronted with Jesus, one has the exact same choice as Adam had in the Garden: God's way or your way. Life or death. We are Adam.
What is Christian fundamentalism?
Non-Christians and some Christians confuse Christian fundamentalism with Christian extremism. True fundamentalists assign equal weight to every Bible verse. Extremists assign more weight to some verses than others. Fundamentalists arrive at conclusions after measuring against all the verses. The process actually has similarities to the scientific method. That still leaves plenty of gray areas. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. Fundamentalism good, extremism bad.
"Pride goes before a fall" is never truer than in the spiritual realm. Pride caused Satan to fall. Pride essentially caused Adam and Eve to fall. Pride really is the most insidious sin. Every belief system except Christianity allows you to keep your pride. But no one can truly believe they are a sinner and need Jesus, and keep their pride. Jesus is the litmus test for pride. That's why He is the only way to God.
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