Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A Great Delusion


In the year 2020, we've watched practicing physicians lose their jobs (at worst) or be censored (at best) for discussing and reporting on their success in treating COVID-19 with innovative treatments.  In my opinion, the virus anti-remedy rhetoric was the cusp, the fringe of the arriving great delusion;
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
For the time {has} come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they {have accumulated} for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Soon, the 2020 election will occur.  Regardless of who wins, there is likely to be turmoil.  The cheaters will be attacked, or the racists will be cleansed.  In either case, it will look much the same.  

Soon thereafter, the persecution will begin, when sound biblical doctrine will be outlawed, or in the least, punished.  Pastors will be censored from preaching about sin, the kind that so easily offends many people.

With those things in mind...

I would encourage you to re-think the words of Jesus.  In Matthew 24, where He outlines the end of the age, He is not talking about a secret rapture - "the coming of the Son of Man" - He is explaining an aspect of the great delusion.  That being, everyone one is marching forward with their lives, doing their own things, not perceiving the signs of the time in which they are living:

For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

While I would love to believe that the pre-tribulation rapture adherents are correct, I can find no indication that the rapture - secret or not - is ever referred to as "the end:"
But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved

It is time to find your courage.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Healing Old Wounds


Big Knife Outline Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures 

Do you remember that time when you were hurt, very badly?  Does it continue to haunt and hurt today when you recall it from memory?

Can your spouse easily recount the times you've hurt them, with excruciating detail?

If you can answer in the affirmative to these questions (and honestly, who among us can't) then you or your spouse most likely have emotional wounds.

We all carry emotional baggage or what I'm labeling as emotional wounds. 

We have blindly accepted that emotional hurts make us who we are, or that there's no real cure for them other than time, or perhaps we all just need to learn how to bear our burdens or let go of the past.

We have a Healer

 We have a healer, and His name is Jesus.  The process I've outlined below is essentially a conversation with God.  It consists of the following major points:
  • Identification of an emotional wound;
  • If necessary, confession of sin surrounding that wound;
  • Confessing that you want the wound removed 
    • This is a particularly important point.  You cannot be double-minded in this regard.
    • You either desired to be healed of a thing, or you want the pain it brings.  It's your choice.
  • Asking for the wound to be removed and healed.
  • Accepting the healing.
  • Identification of new emotional wounds
    • God created our psyche to wrap wounds in protective layers, like an onion.  You'll find that after one emotional wound is healed, another may replace it.
    • You'll know you're finished when you're at peace with the incident that caused the wound.

The Emotional Healing Process

Speak these things aloud.

Recall that whenever Jesus performed healing, He spoke aloud against the infirmity.  When God created the universe, He spoke it into existence.  I don't know how speaking these things allow helps, but it does.
Have faith in God.  Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him (Mark 11:22-23)
  1. Identify a painful emotion associated with a particular event.
    •  If the emotion is sinful, ask God to forgive you and receive His forgiveness.  It is good to remind yourself of forgiveness principles, such as 1 John 1:9
    • Say that you believe His blood has taken away the penalty and consequences of your sin.
    •  If it is not sinful, go to the next step.
  2. Tell Jesus you want the emotion removed from your soul. 
  3. Ask Jesus to heal the wound in your soul caused by the emotion.  
  4. Tell Jesus you receive His healing. 
    • If the emotion is there because you may have believed a lie about that situation, ask Jesus to show you the truth about the situation.
  5. An optional step is to ask Jesus to give you something positive to replace the negative emotion that He is removing. 
    • If you ask Him to take away sadness, you might ask Him to give you joy. 
    • If you ask Him to take away anger, you might ask Him to give you peace.
  6. Rest for a moment, ask for His presence to come and rest in Him.
  7. Recall the situation that caused the painful emotion.
    • If there is a new negative emotion, begin again at Step 1.

Example

When I was very young, I was molested/assaulted by an older man.  After my memory of the event resurfaced, my emotional healing process progressed something like this:
  • Jesus, I feel anger towards that person.  I don't want to feel this anger anymore.  Please take this anger from me, and heal the wound in my soul; I receive your healing.  Please give me peace in place of this anger.
Once I was done with this process, I paused for a moment and then recalled the event.  I observed that I then felt a different emotion and went through the process again.  After several iterations (I don't remember how many, or the emotions other than anger), I was completely healed of assault against me.  It's now like a distant memory to me, as if it were something written about me, not something that happened to me.

History 

I should also mention that before I learned this emotional healing process, I had thoroughly used Neil Anderson's Victory Over Darkness and Bondage Breaker.  My opinion is that his books will help you immensely, but they don't always result in helping you heal the resulting wounds.

Thereafter, I developed a process not as involved as above, which worked seeming well enough.  I then found Praying Medic's work Emotional Healing in Three Easy Steps and have continued to use
it ever since.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Fueling the Weapons of Darkness



If you hate President Trump, if you hate the Democrats or the Republicans, you are part of the problem.  


If you are afraid of the SARS-Cov-2 virus and you are not relying upon God to save you, your family, and others - then you are part of the problem.




Sunday, January 26, 2020

Covenants Fulfilled: To Believe or Not to Believe

“The Osteen version of the prosperity gospel traces its roots back to the 19th-century spiritual movement known as New Thought or Higher Thought. As the Encyclopedia Britannica explains, New Thought advocates believed in the “immanence of God, the divine nature of man, the immediate availability of God’s power to man, the spiritual character of the universe, and the fact that sin, human disorders, and human disease are basically matters of incorrect thinking. Moreover, according to New Thought, man can live in oneness with God in love, truth, peace, health, and plenty.””

In actuality, the truth is somewhere in the middle. When Jesus said His purpose was to fulfill the law, He wasn't making reference to His perfection in keeping all of the laws (although He did).

He was referring to the Covenants of God - things that God does not break. The "New Covenant" is not so much as much "new" as it is a fresh, new thing being done in the context of existing covenants.

In other words, the fulfillment Jesus spoke of is better understood in the view of a husband and wife daily fulfilling their marriage covenant. That covenant is not broken until one of them dies, or there is a divorce, but outside of those two events, the marriage covenant is continually fulfilled and refreshed anew every day.

The entirety of Jesus's life, death, and resurrection are a fulfillment of all the Covenants the Lord has made with us because God keeps His word, He doesn't change His mind, and He doesn't break His promises or covenants: which means, they're still in effect.

So when you read Deuteronomy 28, remember that the blessings described are a Covenant still in effect today, fulfilled by Jesus. Your job is to understand how to position yourself within those blessings.

This not the prosperity gospel nor is is a form of the prosperity gospel, but it is a truth that many Christians refuse to position themselves within, opting rather for a form of legalism that includes paying for their sins through sickness and strife, continual condemnation of self and others, and self-flagellation - to name a few.

Deuteronomy 28
“Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God: 
- “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the [c]country.
- “Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.
- “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
- “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
- “The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you. The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you. The Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

God Said Yes!!

I asked God to take away my addictions. God said Yes. Repent and turn away from your hurtful choices and lean upon Me, and trust that I will do it.

I asked God to heal my wife's migraines. God said Yes. Pray for her, bless her, and trust in my nature and the work of my Son, and I will remove them through you.

I asked God to grant me patience. God said Yes. Learn of Me and My ways, choose to grow in My nature, for I am Love and love is patient.

I asked God to give me happiness. God said Yes. Sadness and pain rob you of happiness; learn from me forgiveness, ask Me for healing, and take my yoke upon you and you will be freed from pain. You will find peace and happiness in Me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow. God said Yes. I am the vine and you are the branch; you are already pruned because of the Word I have spoken into your heart. Abide in Me, and I will abide in you.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life, and God said Yes. I am a good father who provides gifts so that you may enjoy life and share wealth and happiness with others; I have provided every good thing given and every perfect gift you have ever received.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Judging the Sins of Others

If you're like me, you've seen and experienced your share of Christians judging the sins of others.  It's a spiritual badge a lot of us Christians wear.

From prostitution to abortion, violence, and molestation, Christians are among the first heap coals of condemnation upon the sinners' head.  Some of them will even go as far as to say that if you're depressed, God is punishing you.

If Christian literally means follower of Christ, then it is utterly appropriate to ask the question, What Would Jesus Do? 

Perhaps we should look at the scriptures. If we find that God has a different opinion and response to sin that what Christians are best known for, then perhaps we've been misled by our churches who have taught us these things. Maybe then, we should make a change.

Inward vs. Outward

In 2 Cor 5:12 (and elsewhere), we are reminded that it is the inner qualities that matter, not the outward appearances: 
that you will be able to answer those who boast about a person’s appearance rather than his inner qualities (2 Cor 5:12, 1 Sam 16:7, Prov 24:12, Matt 23:25)
This assertion is followed with a view and understanding of Messiah, who at one time, was judged solely upon outward appearances:
So from now on, we do not look at anyone from a worldly viewpoint.  Even if we once regarded the Messiah from a worldly viewpoint, we do so no longer. (2 Cor 5:16)
And finally, Paul wraps up the entire discourse (thus far in 2 Corinthians, ch. 5), with this idea:
And it is all from God, who through the Messiah has reconciled us to himself and has given us the work of that reconciliation,  which is that God in the Messiah was reconciling mankind to himself, not counting their sins against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (CJB)
The point then is this: if the work God performed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah is so complete and wonderfully done - so much so that even God does not count their sins against them - then who are we to condemn or even lightly judge anyone for their sins?  

Judging and condemning others for their sins is not our ministry.

Our ministry from God is a message of reconciliation.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

What is your Meta-Narrative?

\ ˈme-tə - ner-ə-tiv' \ - Concerning or providing information about members of its own category.

All of us have a pre-disposed narrative or understanding about a given topic that we routinely bring to a discussion or investigation. In the practice of Science, this is regularly called the "observer-expectancy effect," or "observer bias."[1]
In research, experimenter bias occurs when experimenter expectancies regarding study results bias the research outcome.[2] Examples of experimenter bias include conscious or unconscious influences on subject behavior including creation of demand characteristics that influence subjects, and altered or selective recording of experimental results themselves.[3]

Being cultured in cessationism, I learned to bring the cessationist meta-narrative of my understanding of the world around me to my interpretation of the Biblical texts.

How Cessationism Works

The Cessationist observes the world and finds little or no evidence of the miraculous.  Eventually, they settle on their theory: the supernatural does not exist today as it did during the life of Jesus.

Then they develop other theories that only the Apostles performed miracles, or perhaps they permit that only the first century Christians performed miracles.  Then they need to explain why the miraculous was limited to Jesus and those select few.  So, they invent a thing called authentication: Jesus and the elite few performed the miraculous to authenticate the Messenger  (Jesus) and the message (the gospel, or the new covenant)

In other words, they specifically assert that Jesus performed miracles for the primary purpose of authenticating Himself and His ministry, and allowed others to do the same to authenticate the gospel message.

Problems to eliminate

Once you've established your meta-narrative, and applied it to your understanding of a given subject, you may have difficulties to eradicate.   

For the King James Only folks, this can be a difficult challenge, which results in a lot of explaining on their behalf.  Their first problem is Mark 16:14-18: 
"These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
They solve this by casting doubt on the scripture itself, asserting that it was likely added in a later century.[4]   The astute thinker will see that this causes a problem with their Biblical inerrancy clause, casting doubt upon their beloved KJV and its veracity.  So the argument shifts from the efficacy of the translation itself to the autographs from which the KJV is derived, those being spuriously referred to as the "Textus Receptus."[5] 

And the point is ...

We all bring preconceived ideas to our table.  However, those ideas may be incompatible with other ideas which then spawn the creation of new doctrines that are generally held in dissonance with higher, or more fundamental truths.

The Effects of a Meta-Narrative

Any good Baptist will assert "the Bible as the sole authority for faith and practice."  They will also assert that their job is to "discover the truth of scripture, not decide the truth of scripture," and that "if the Word of God is our only authority for faith and practice, then the state cannot become a spiritual authority over the affairs of the church or the spiritual lives of individual Christians." (The Faithful Baptist Witness, pg 12, 2011 ed.)

In the light of such doctrine, we're forced to ask, "why does the Baptist Church service ("the affairs of the church") not look like the Biblical example" found in the New Testament?
What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification ...  (1 Cor. 14:26-33)
If the Bible is their standard for Christian Practice, then why is this prescriptive practice not being followed?  The answer is simple: they've applied a Meta-Narrative.  In effect, they've discarded those things which do not fit their preconceived notions, their formulaic narratives of how church services are to be conducted.

Being Baptists, they cannot allow "a psalm ... a revelation ... a tongue ... an interpretation" to be given by just anyone since revelation is dead and they're all about controlling the message from the pulpit - and besides, the message lives with the pastor's interpretation of the Bible, not the congregation's.  Hence, since their doctrine of cessationism does allow for the "pastor and teacher" (but not many participants in the assembly), then there must be but one person who is performing the pastoring and the teaching in any given church service.

The New Revelation

What we then have is the doctrine of sola scriptura providing for the Authority of the Pastor/Teacher, Husband, and Government entities to provide revelation through oversight and guidance, but direct, personal revelation by no other means (The Faithful Baptist Witness, pg 15ff, 2011 ed.)  Thus, their doctrine allows for the obfuscation of scripture, and it's authority for your life today.  We learn then, that  Mark 16, and 1 Corinthians 14, are not to be taken as literally acceptable for Chrisitan practice today, but only as information pertaining to a by-gone era.  

Why?  Because of Meta-Narrative (aka, "because they said so.")

Summary

I've trodden down this path to highlight our propensity to observe the many facts of this world and to consequently, make the Bible conform to those facts.

That behavior is directly opposite of what Jesus did, and how He instructed us to behave (Mt. 17:20).  

When Jesus approached death or destruction, He reversed it.  When Jesus saw disease, He eliminated it.  In other words, when Jesus encountered the facts of this world, He communed with the Father and asked, "what are you doing in this situation" (Jn. 5:19, 12:49)?  Jesus then acted upon what His Father said, confronting the facts facing Him and commanding that they be conformed to the revelation of God the Father.

Our job is to function as Kings and Priests of the King of Kings; to affect change in the natural; to affect change in the Spiritual; to conform the unfortunate facts of this world to the life-giving nature of His word.

We are not to castrate His word by conforming it to the death, theft, and destruction of the enemy.