Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Video News and Election Talk

Some good news on a work in progress . . . . . Isaac got the video we took the other night down at the street evangelist "4 Corners" area (my term) uploaded and it looks fairly decent.  I was worried that there was no audio or that it would be too bad to hear, but it sounds fairly decent.  Some good footage for a first time foray :)  Especially the Apache interview.  That fellow (who has Parkinsons disease and was also there accepting handouts) gave us an beautiful Apache prayer from memory... It was a cool, touching moment, and, as I told him at the time, it sounded quite "Christian" whether he knew it or not ......

Anyway... still trying to figure out the ins and outs of Youtube... how to upload original video properly... and there is a tad little bit of editing that needs to happen ... but asap I will get the footage up . . . and hopefully it is just the beginning of an ongoing new media angle to my (dare I say "ministry") ..... God bless

And now, a word from the brethren in the Netherlands.... a few poignant and well written/conceived verbages......
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From the Canons of Dort (1618-1619)

Article 12: The Assurance of Election

Assurance of their eternal and unchangeable election to salvation is given to the chosen in due time, though by various stages and in differing measure. Such assurance comes not by inquisitive searching into the hidden and deep things of God, but by noticing within themselves, with spiritual joy and holy delight, the unmistakable fruits of election pointed out in God’s Word—such as a true faith in Christ, a childlike fear of God, a godly sorrow for their sins, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and so on.

Article 13: The Fruit of This Assurance

In their awareness and assurance of this election, God’s children daily find greater cause to humble themselves before God, to adore the fathomless depth of God’s mercies, to cleanse themselves, and to give fervent love in return to the One who first so greatly loved them. This is far from saying that this teaching concerning election, and reflection upon it, make God’s children lax in observing his commandments or carnally self-assured. By God’s just judgment this does usually happen to those who casually take for granted the grace of election or engage in idle and brazen talk about it but are unwilling to walk in the ways of the chosen.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"All We Need is Love"....(and Sound Doctrine....)

 [NOTE: if nothing else, please see the important video at the bottom of this writing]
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"In a word or two, Jesus said that we are to Know Him, as a Bride knows the Bridegroom. In this level of intimacy with Jesus, all other decrees, denominations, segregations, and separations of man are only of this world and an act of deception and distraction from our real purpose - To Know Him, Yeshua, that gave His life to save us from the sin we were born into. 
Thank you for your continued searching and posting and educating of those out there that are willing to listen. We only need to be still and Know God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit!
Love and God Bless,
~ antbrother"
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First off, I generally agree with everything you wrote, A-bro.......and I understand and honor where your heart is coming from in the matter.......

In practicing my apologetics, then (for fun) I would like to expound on some observations.......(as I have been surfing "logical argument" as of late :).......

So . . . it's written above that "all other decrees, denominations, segregations, and separations of man are only of this world and an act of deception and distraction from our real purpose - To Know Him"

. . . I note that what you've written IS a creed (or "decree) itself.  So . . . are all "decrees" "only of this world" ....EXCEPT the one you just wrote?

Indeed it was one of my initial points made when I said, in effect, that the person who says, "doctrine divides, doctrine doesn't matter, you only need Jesus" . . . that that person is themselves making a doctrinal statement.  That itself is a doctrine, a "creed" of sorts . . . but the people who assert such things are often strikingly unable to see their hypocrisy in the matter.  As in, they want to disparage or dismiss everyone else's "creeds", "decrees" . . . but their own they assume is somehow transcendent, above and beyond such things. . . .

It's not a direct parallel topically, but it reminds (in its mode) . . . of those atheists and liberals who scream at the Christian, demanding "tolerance" (calling the Christian "judgmental", "intolerant" etc.) where the atheist or liberal themselves is showing (hypocritically) their own intolerance and jugdmentalism against the Christian's viewpoint and beliefs. 

It's quite stunning and a tad amusing (though it's getting old) when you see it, actually . . . where the post-modern, "all you need is love" unbeliever is shaking with anger and vitriol, yelling at the Christian to be "loving" and "accepting" and demanding we all "co-exist" . . . and "respect everyone's truth" . . . lol . . . EXCEPT the Bible believing Christian's. . . . That's the one "truth" it seems, that the world has no place for.  Everybody else is cool . . . but not those "Jesus freaks"! 

(Kinda suspicious . . . actually . . . heh. . . . )

Myself, I appreciate and find great insight and clarification in some of the creeds and statements of faith.  True, they are not the Word of God--not God-breathed scripture, but they can be very helpful in clarifying and codifying basic first principles and fundamental doctrines.  Just like your statement.  It is not scripture, but it points to the truths found in scripture.

Now, when you say our "purpose" is to "know Him" . . . I immediately think of all the different kinds of people who themselves claim to know Him.  There are lots of "new agers" who say they know Him . . . but their "Him" is often an impersonal "force" . . . or Jesus is just another "ascended master"--one of many "avatars" who have come to earth to show us that "we are all gods". . . .

Do they "know Him"?

Or, the Mormons who say Jesus is just another of this world's god's children, just like us, our brother, brother of Lucifer, among endless other gods filling out the universe ruling worlds and procreating "spirit children."  Do they "know Him"?

Muslims claim to know Jesus.  They say he was just one of a line of prophets, NOT the Son of God, who didn't die and resurrect. . . . Do they "know Him"?  They claim to. . . .

So what's the difference between those who have found the REAL Jesus, versus those who haven't?  I dare say it was what we are told about Him--Who He is . . . which is inextricably tied up with what He did.  And HOW do you get to "know Him"?  Where are the clues found?  Does it matter HOW you find Him?  (Nevermind for a moment, that scripture actually teaches that HE FINDS US)....

But do you "know Him" by . . . looking at a painting of Him?  Does that do it?  Does just reading the Bible, reading the history of Him do it, ie., knowing ABOUT Him?  Does watching Oprah or listening to Deepak Chopra help you "know Him?"  And not only that, but it must be an "intimate" knowledge/relationship, right?

Are their steps to take, specific things to be done to attain that "level of intimacy with Jesus?"  Prayer . . . getting in the Word . . . and it is said it is not enough just to believe (the devils believe) but to genuinely repent and put your trust, your life . . . in God's hands, recognizing Jesus as Lord.

What are these things?  What is "doctrine"?  It "is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions."  Is it not taught . . . that if we have the wrong set of beliefs/body of teachings . . . then we don't have the truth?  Can you know Him if, for instance, you believe (as your doctrine teaches) that He is really a transcendental being reclining on the Serpent King Sheshanaga while over the Ocean of Milk with his consort Lakshmi (as would be Vishnu)?

Or, why do Christians preach to Mormons while Mormons contend that they believe in and know Jesus, yet the Christian says "no, you have the wrong Jesus and you will go to Hell!"

Doctrine matters . . . and divides . . . as it should . . . lies, false teachings, blasphemies etc. from the Truth . . . . and divides those who love lies, false teachings and blasphemy . . . from those who love truth, correct teachings and worship.

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."  --Matt. 10:34-35

Now, I realize that many are saved without knowing much if any doctrine (which creeds, statements, decrees merely attempt to restate, codify).  Although, so far, I think all of those truly Born Again whom I have met soon hunger to learn more and before long DO start knowing the doctrine behind their salvation.

Also, there are other kinds of people, more intellectually minded than experiential . . . who come to faith THROUGH study, analysis, evidences.

But while I agree generally speaking that "all other decrees, denominations, segregations, and separations of man are only of this world" I think it is reckless exaggeration to charge that they are ALL also acts "of deception and distraction from our real purpose - To Know Him."

For one thing, our "real purpose" according to scripture . . . is to GLORIFY God.  He made us for Himself.  It is a subtle difference of perspective but I wouldn't put the purpose of "knowing" Him above "glorifying" Him although it seems to follow that we must know Him to glorify Him. . . . I'm just sticking to scripture here. . . .  

And have you read the creeds (which I'm assuming you mean by "decrees") such that you find them so worldly and offensive?   Some of them are not only extremely beautiful . . . but profoundly full of Biblical truth and wisdom.  For instance, the "Apostle's Creed" which was written to refute various of the blasphemous heresies creeping into the church and contains much foundational truth: 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
      Amen.

 

Or, how about this section from The Council of Orange:

Concerning Christian courage. The courage of the Gentiles is produced by simple greed, but the courage of Christians by the love of God which "has been poured into our hearts" not by freedom of will from our own side but "through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (Rom. 5:5).

When I look at all the different denominations--those who adhere to basic doctrinal principles, though differing on certain minor issues--I do not see attempts to deceive and distract.  I see flawed, fallen men who have, under various degrees of inspiration, attempted to organize, fellowship, codify . . . Christian beliefs as they were able according to the times and other limitations they suffered under.

Certainly there ARE evil men, sons of the devil . . . who have and continue to . . . deliberately mislead and corrupt, but as there have been wheat and tares, goats and sheep side by side . . . through the ages . . . much good has been done by sincere (albeit fallen but saved) believers, teachers, preachers, church leaders, scholars, missionaries etc., who have devised sects, groups, creeds, statements . . . in their spirit-led attempts to share and promote the Gospel and make disciples (as charged.)

Now, your last bit of advice, that we "only need to be still and Know God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit!" . . . I must say, reminds me of the teachings I use to study and follow when I was a Hindu and also practicing Zen and Yoga.  One of my favorite books at that time was by the 1st century B.C. Hindu sage Patanjali called "How To Know God."  It was basically a study in how to . . . still the mind . . . and know God through inner peace and freedom from ego.

And when I practiced "being still" . . . I indeed had mystical, metaphysical experiences--even experiences of what I took to be "the divine" . . . God . . . (who I was fine with calling "Jesus" or "Krishna" or "Allah" at the time, His name not being that important, but my "EXPERIENCE" and FEELING of him . . . most important of all!

And without the Bible--without knowing certain specific doctrines taught in the Bible--I assumed I had found and knew God.

And this is the danger of basing truth on simply subjective experience--which is often the result if all you think you need to do is "only . . . be still and Know God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit."  It happens quite frequently . . . when in meditation, for instance, that spiritual beings (even appearing as "angels of light") come to you and portray themselves as "Jesus" or "The Holy Spirit."  They can make you feel "spiritual"--give you expanded, cosmic thoughts and sensations, which are easily mistaken for "communion with God."

I'm not suggesting you are advocating this, but just pointing out that perhaps there is more to it than "only" being "still and know(ing) God . . . " 

As in . . . those doctrines--Biblical warnings, directions, details--which divide . . . error from truth.

[okay . . . okay . . . I can now hear my sweet ol' Mormon grandmother Thelma's voice telling me, like she use to do, with her hands clutched to the sides of her shaking head, "Oh Tommy, why do you have to think so much about all that stuff--it boggles the mind . . . just go to church!" . . . so I'll leave it alone at that . . . . my thoughts on the matter........fwiw :)]
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***SEE VIDEO BELOW....ALERT!!!.......STUNNING INTELLIGENCE DISPLAY****

Sooo one more thing . .

Speaking of Mormons . . . how about this . . . . . Let me share with you a video I found recently of a typical Christian street preacher (Jim Deferio) . . . trying to witness to some Mormons . . . back in Palmyra, New York near some L.D.S. historical sites . . . and . . . well . . . it is frightening . . . the brilliance I'm afraid . . . of the three Mormon men there as they responded to Jim and the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. . . .

This video shows how intellectually hungry and sharp the typical Joseph Smith apologist is, which . . . is ominous for us Christians.  I mean, we had better up our game to contend with their thoughtful, artful, piercing logic and arguments defending their faith . . . . . . And just so you know, the example of these 3 fellows here is not unusual.  Many young Mormon men exhibit similar aptitude and fervor debating the Bible vs. Book of Mormon controversy........

Please, take a look:





Saturday, July 27, 2013

No Mush, no fuzz...

 "In a word or two, Jesus said that we are to Know Him, as a Bride knows the Bridegroom. In this level of intimacy with Jesus, all other decrees, denominations, segregations, and separations of man are only of this world and an act of deception and distraction from our real purpose - To Know Him, Yeshua, that gave His life to save us from the sin we were born into. 
Thank you for your continued searching and posting and educating of those out there that are willing to listen. We only need to be still and Know God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit!
Love and God Bless,
~ antbrother"

--------------------------------
First off, thanks for checking in my "formica friend" :) ..... You are a talented fellow, a "survivor"/overcomer and just a good ol' familiar voice--nice to hear from ya again!
And thanks for your comment here which inspires me to clarify more......

I see a bit of a challenge in your statement and dig being able to address it.  People are so afraid to debate or contend these days, which I find silly and immature; myself, I love to flesh out ideas and possibly competing notions, doctrines etc. and find it all invigorating, purifying, mind sharpening.
There is just such an abundance of mush-headed, fuzzy thinking wrapped around emotionalism and base sentiment . . . devoid of clear, discriminating logic......

Whereas, we are told to be discriminating, judging, discerning . . . studious in the Word . . . to be ready and able to "give and account for the hope that lies within us" . . . . . . .

But alas, I'll have to continue this asap... am late gettin' to a job today.... so . . . to be continued...

Also, hoping to get up some video we took last night where we went downtown, to the streets where some of the local street preachers/"tracters" we know hang out... and got some great footage, especially an interaction I had with an Apache fellow there.....

back in a flash! God bless  

Friday, July 26, 2013

An "angel of light"

  "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!"  Gal. 1:8
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  What do Mormons and Muslims have in common? Similarities of Muhammad and Joseph Smith:
- Visited by an angel.
- Given visions.
- Told that no true religion existed on the earth.
- Was sent to restore the long lost faith as the one true religion.
- A book produced from their teachings claimed to be "inspired by God."
- Each claimed to be illiterate or uneducated and used this as proof the book was inspired.
- Each claimed the Bible was lost, altered, corrupted and unreliable.
- Each claimed his new holy book was the most correct and perfect book on earth.
- Each claimed to be a final prophet of God.
- Each claimed he was persecuted because of his pure faith.
- Was a pol
ygamist who had many wives. - Immediately after his death a fight broke out from among the "faithful converts" as to who would succeed him.
- Both religions have those who follow the "original doctrine" of the founding leaders and like these founding leaders,
have been
violent, polygamists, and have revelations justifying their evil actions.
- Each has progressive revelation. ("New" revelation always replaces older revelation that became inconvenient to the prophet.)
The list above was compiled by one of my radio guests today, Eric Barger. The list below was compiled by my other guest on today's program, former Mormon, Ed Decker:
 
Both belief systems teach that they have the only true and complete religion on face of the earth.
Both reject Christianity as corrupted. 
Both taught the plurality of wives, both on earth and in here-after.
Both teach that the Bible is corrupt and mistranslated.
Both revealed God's true scripture.
Both reject original sin and the doctrine of the trinity.
Both teach a salvation by good works.
Both use a lay clergy.
Both founded by a holy uneducated prophet.
Both founding prophets had angelic visitations that they were to restore Adamic religion.
Both prophets' words were above scripture or earlier prophets.
Both teach a theocratic form of government.
Both teach a here-after with graded rewards for works.
Both claim to be the world's fastest growing religion.

Glenn Beck, a Mormon, was able to get Christians to lock arms with Muslims in a spiritual endeavor that was looking to "one god". 
 September 11, 1857, Mormons slaughter 120 men, women, and children in the name of "God" and then years later the Mormons worked to build a Mormon memorial on the ground of the Mountain Meadow Massacre against the wishes of family members of the slain. On September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists murdered American citizens in the name of God and now seek to build a memorial to their religion in the form of a Mosque only a stone throw from where the Twin Towers once stood.
- See more at: http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-times/article.php?articleid=6474#sthash.6LcbbCjm.dpuf

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Youtubing


Well . . . as I've been checking out a lot Christian apologetics on youtube for the past half year I'm thinking I want to enter the fray there. . . . Yesterday was a holiday here in "Zion" which I spent mostly with our cat at the animal hospital (11 year old Radha, our sweet little pet had a serious problem and we're hoping she pulls through) . . . and trying to figure out how to get my youtube channel going... I put a few of my existing videos up there and plan on adding a lot more... apologetics stuff and some music videos I made back in the day which few have seen including a couple of live performances . . . and some other unusual things.....

So, I guess check it out ... and I hope to get better at it as I figure it all out--the technicalities and such..... God bless you ...today and forever! :)


http://www.youtube.com/user/brotherthomas1

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Doctrine Divides . . . thank God!

Often these days, in this post-modern, politically correct, anything goes mish-mash culture . . . you will hear even a so-called "Christian" chidingly assert "doctrine divides" . . . if you contend for certain Biblical teachings--the "hard" ones.

And I am inclined to reply, "yes, doctrine divides. . . . It divides the goats from the sheep; the lambs from the wolves in lambs clothing."  Nevermind the contradiction in someone who argues that "doctrine divides; we need unity" . . . as their assertion that we "shouldn't argue about doctrine" IS a type of doctrine itself.

Above all, I understand that it is repentance and being born again into a real, trusting relationship with the Lord that is what counts . . . and that there are plenty of scholars and experts and dogmatics who know scripture backwards and forwards . . . who are nevertheless not really saved . . . but I find that what separates Biblical Christianity from all the other "isms", philosophies, cults, beliefs etc., IS, in fact . . . doctrine.

Is it really just as simple as saying, "I believe in Jesus, so I am saved"? . . . or does it matter if you believe in the correct Jesus?  Mormons have a different Jesus, for instance.  And a whole set of doctrines that differ radically from Biblical Christianity . . . yet they consider themselves "Christian".

Same with Jehovah's Witnesses . . . the Moonies . . . Roman Catholics . . . 7th Day Adventists. . . . 

They all claim to believe in and follow Jesus; but what differentiates them from the born again, BIBLE believing Christian?  Doctrine.  Correct, TRUE doctrine.

Doctrine does divide . . . and it should, I say!  In each of the above examples . . . what you have, and what you always have when you start getting a cult . . . is that some charismatic leader and then his/her subsequent institution . . . adds, subtracts or contorts what the Word of God says.  And I dare say. . . that in every case . . . what is happening is that the cult leader or institution . . . teaches something that ELEVATES the human in comparison to God.  The fallen, carnal nature is constantly seeking for ways to justify, magnify, elevate itself in relation to the Creator.

More than ever, I am realizing just how incredibly magnificent, huge, ominous, awesome, terrible, holy, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent . . . GOD is!  AND how small, pathetic, wicked, devious, conniving, guilty, wretched we are . . . in comparison.  I think we have such a limited, myopic, self-centered view of Reality, of God . . . compared to His incomprehensible, astounding reality . . . that the closest we ever get to even approaching it . . . is when we fall flat on our faces, wanting to hide, ashamed, terrified, groveling, all bold claims and yapping violently shut in the mere effulgent edges of His holy light. . . .

In fact, I am becoming convinced that we are nothing . . . but witnesses . . . to all He is and does.  I think our notions of having "free will" and "autonomy" . . . are desperately childish, foolishly vain, wickedly imaginative.  Yes, we live . . . move . . . and have being . . . BUT only "IN HIM we live, move and have our being!"  -Acts 17:28

Why is this so hard to accept?  Why do people fight it, desperately wanting to assert some separate authenticity--some contending will apart from God?  Why do we feel entitled, owed, resentful, rebellious, assertive?

Because our hearts are "desperately wicked."  And "NO ONE does good--no not one"!

I am more convinced than ever . . . as a matter of doctrine . . . that we have nothing, do nothing, are nothing, will be nothing APART from . . . and EXCEPT FOR . . . the complete and utter grace of God!  He owes us nothing.  All is a gift. . . .

So, I say, doctrine matters . . . and the Truth sets you free. . . . I am glad to be "set apart" . . . made holy . . . in the Truth . . . divided OUT of the kingdom of lies and blasphemies, praise God!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bewaring Unequal Yokage.......

A standard and apparently favorite technique the Adversary employs to trip up the disciple is to enter from behind . . . bringing unequal yokage. . . .

It's like this:  The disciple is moving along, walking relatively safe ground . . . things are stable, steady and the process of sanctification seems to be progressing nicely . . . the (spiritual) fruits are sprouting and growing along the pilgrim's trail . . . when, while looking ahead, like a thief . . . the Enemy slips in from the back or suddenly from the side . . . and takes the disciple unawares..........

Or, it is like a house, where the disciple is making a stand, attending a garden of (spiritual) fruits/produce . . . tinkering there on this or that project . . . when, suddenly, sneakily, the Enemy creeps in the back door . . . in order to take the homeowner hostage and begin ruling the roost........

An insidious and effective strategy he uses (the Enemy) is to bind the disciple into some sort of "unequal yokage" . . . attaching to the Believer an entity or thing . . . which is a stealth parasite through which to drain, confuse, distract and especially misdirect the spiritual pilgrim.........

It may be via a hot new business deal . . . or a hobby . . . or a project . . . where others (unbelievers) are involved . . . and the ensuing partnership between all . . . ends up NOT saving the others/unbelievers . . . but instead . . . pulls the disciple off and away from his or her Jesus-bound track . . . into forays of subtle sins, compromise, hypocrisy, duplicity . . . doublemindedness. . . . Demons are there and have a channel to use, via the parasitic host (person, hobby, business venture, ie.,) and begin to sabatoge and derail the disciplic Christward pilgrim........

Oftentimes, it comes in the form of person--a new friend or usually a new boyfriend or girlfriend.

Believers are warned against being "yoked" with unbelievers.  This doesn't mean the disciple can't associate or mingle or have (some kind of) relationship with (what the Bible frankly calls the "children of the devil") . . . for we are to be "in the world" while not of it . . . and Jesus came for sinners, Himself mingling with them. . . .  But it is a dangerous thing when we think we can dabble in close, intimate relationships with unbelievers--partnering with them, being "yoked together"--pridefully assuming we are plenty strong in our faith to play with such fires...........

Which is why, as a Believer, you must always be on guard, alert, sober . . . even expectant . . . that the Evil One will constantly be approaching, trying to break in or abduct you from your Godly course.  He knows how susceptible we are to the comfort, distraction, entertainment etc., provided by other creatures.  We are continuously being challenged as to whether we choose creature over Creator, created over Creator.  For God, we do not see or touch or hear with our brute senses, while the creature and created we can and do . . . see, touch, hear.  Our flesh is weak and egos needy and the Adversary is wily as to each of our particular weaknesses and entry points, whereby he can get a latch--get a grip, a hook into us . . . and begin to drain us of our spiritual life, while at the same infusing sinfulness and evil..........

As a soldier in the ranks of the Elect, you are called to be constantly on guard and savvy, self-denying.....to avoid the pitfalls and misdirections intended by the ever-hovering Enemy who delights in tripping you up and thwarting (were is possible) your pilgrimage to perfection (in Christ).

A major part of the sanctifying work indeed IS . . . in developing the foresight, wisdom, self control and determination . . . to NOT get sidetracked by his (the Adversary's) efforts to disrupt your progress.........

So . . . be alert, be aware . . . evil never sleeps, and neither should the disciple of Master Jesus.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sacred Slave State

There is that longing . . . to be loved . . . totally . . . all of you. . . . That longing for a father who protects, sustains, supports all that is in your best interests.......As a child you do not always (if ever) know what is best for you......Left to your own understanding you would choose all the wrongs things; so we need someone who is all knowing, strong, patient . . . who knows all the way down the line where we are to end up so that what we were created for is completed, successful, fulfilled. . . .

As a child, however, you sometimes think your father is too harsh, uncaring, "does not understand" . . . . . and it seems as though he doesn't answer your prayers often enough.  Rarely even, if you are honest.  You ask for this . . . and that . . . . . . hope for such . . . and such . . . . . and many times it is as if there is dead silence on the other end.  "Are you listening?  Do you really care?" 

Grumbling, you are not so foolish as to turn against him, but you skulk along thinking maybe it is because you haven't behaved well enough to deserve . . . this and that, such and such . . . . . . . .

But God IS caring... infinitely so!  Loving all the way!  He knows EXACTLY what you need and when you need it.  And He answers EVERY prayer.  Yes, He does!  The trick for you is to learn how to see His answers.  He is not silent; you are deaf.  Rather than keep casting about for maybe lessor things you want answered in hopes that maybe those will be allowed .... BETTER is to be still . . . and watchful . . . reverent . . . . . listening carefully . . . . . to learn how to discern His answers in what you perceive as silence or inaction.  For He answers every time.  If He is restraining something from you . . . THAT is an answer . . . and should be welcomed graciously, no grudges.  Rather than learn mind tricks and occultic techniques to "actualize" . . . "materialize" . . . wants and needs . . . as the pagans do . . . far better is it . . . to learn how to see and feel and know . . . INTIMATELY . . . His constant presence in, around, through, about you . . . . . . . . We need to learn humble, patient, grateful, heartfelt, appreciativeness . . . for all that He is doing . . . every moment . . . intimately, personally, specifically . . . to and with us . . . every moment . . . of every (seemingly) tedious day.

THAT is where the  answer is . . . . and it is ALWAYS there.  It is just a matter of calming down, submitting . . . to our divine "slave" state..... Learning that we are truly servants, "slaves" . . . is the beginning of cosmic, divine, infinite, fantastic TRUE freedom!

We do have that caretaker, protector, father we so long for ...... !  Of course, you know this.... I am just reminding myself and anyone else listening .... to be mindful, heartful, now.... in the moment... aware of His constant presence and concern.... for it is there... HE is there, here, now ..... giving us exactly, perfectly, lovingly . . . just what is best for us .. now and forever.... YAY! :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Your Name In The Book

And never forget--think of it everyday, often. . . . "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—" Eph. 1:4,5

If you are His--and you know who you are--your name was written in the Book of Life BEFORE the foundation of the world.  (see Rev. 13:8)

And no power formed, nobody, no way no how . . . can separate you from the love of God, your Father.  Those given to the Son by the Father, the Son will save--each and every one and NONE will be lost!

And all the inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast EXCEPT for those whose names are written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb.

So, take heart always . . . for God chose you before the world was made, wrote you into the Lambs Book of Life . . . and you will be preserved, redeemed and glorified!  And know that those whom God is with cannot . . . CAN NOT be taken, lost, destroyed subverted . . . . . . . . 

This is the greatest news anyone can know and celebrate . . . every day, any day, all days, today, tomorrow, forever!  Praise God!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Some Solace In These Times

Is it possible to both love and hate something?  I think so.  Consider many relationships, how they are described as a "love/hate relationship."

God both loves and hates.  Love is preeminent . . . like how light is superior to dark; dark being the absence of light.  Light makes darkness flee when it is brought into a room, while darkness is impotent when put up against light.

It would appear love comes first, then hate.  And that hate serves love in the end.  For instance, if you love someone or something very much, you hate what would harm him/her/it.  God loves righteousness and thus hates its enemy iniquity.

I find I can love my enemies--pray for them--while at the same time abhorring that they serve iniquity, work perversion and destruction, hating God.

I tremble at the severity of God's wrath--what He does to punish the wicked.  I pains me to think of the eternal torment that will be meted out to those who rejected the Son of God.  At the same time I am eager to see . . . finally . . . the evil doers get their just due. 

With disgust I watch how the haters of God and God's children seek to sow chaos, discord, violence, perversion in the world, in our culture--the demagogues stirring up strife and division between the people for their own selfish, power-hungry ends.  While I can genuinely pray "forgive them Father, they know not what they do" . . . I look forward to that day when God's vengeance is wrought on those who persecuted the saints and rejected the Messiah. 

Did you know that: "The godly will rejoice when they see injustice avenged. They will wash their feet in the blood of the wicked." --Psalm 58:10

Regarding the final fall of Babylon--the powers and principalities of antichrist and all her minions, the heavens cheer:   "Rejoice over her fate, O heaven and people of God and apostles and prophets! For at last God has judged her for your sakes."  --Rev. 18:20

"When the saints in glory shall see the wrath of God executed on ungodly men, it will be no occasion of grief to them, but of rejoicing.
It is not only the sight of God's wrath executed on those wicked men who are of the antichristian church, which will be occasion of rejoicing to the saints in glory; but also the sight of the destruction of all God's enemies: whether they have been the followers of antichrist or not, that alters not the case, if they have been the enemies of God, and of Jesus Christ. All wicked men will at last be destroyed together, as being united in the same cause and interest, as being all of Satan's army. They will all stand together at the day of judgment, as being all of the same company." J. Edwards
 
Though I will not cease trying to reach the lost . . . being commanded to preach the Gospel, make disciples, love and forgive, and become approved to "give an account for the hope that lies within" . . . . . . I also take solace, as I look around and see raging of the heathen and the abject deceit, perversity, violence and rebellion they sow in our society . . . knowing that God will avenge His people . . . and God's people will cheer His righteous, perfect judgment as death and rebellion are consigned to the fires of Hell.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Everywhere At Once

Here's a quick and rough response I sent to "J" ... who is still studying, pondering, looking into etc... The Way.... fwiw... :)
God bless...
 
--------------------------
Hey J,
sorry for the delayed response...just the usual quotidian (heh just learned that word.. means "daily routine...recurring same ol' same ol')....
 
Re your cool "download" experience...and God's omnipresence.... a few thoughts... For one thing I think that the Holy Spirit is making contact with you.. He is the Person in the tripartite (3 part) Deity Who we generally refer to as the one who communicates, confirms, convicts etc. TRUTH....He indwells us and is the One Who we usually assign as the One giving us inspiration, knowledge, direction etc. especially related to things like the character of God, His creation, conscience ......
(though always keeping in mind He is altogether One God.... one being... )
 
When you get born again, He indwells you in a way unlike before when you were typically "dead in your sin."  During the ongoing process of "sanctification" He is the One that starts changing our old predilections towards sin... whereas before we swam in it, breathed it, exhaled it, ate it, loved it even, were driven to it .... His presence in and through us starts making us loathe iniquity and begin craving holiness, righteousness.  Yeah, we still sin, but not like before where we weren't even aware of it and didn't care much if we did ....
 
Now when we sin, it grieves us.. we fight it... we are not drawn to it like before... and when we do we quickly repent and want to get back to the walk of righteousness, growing in grace and leaving the old self behind.  Over time, you find that you have actually changed, in fact, so that, you no longer react with ie., anger, disgust, hate, lust, jealousy, covetousness, as you did in knee-jerk fashion before... but you are startled that you now have more patience, compassion, a giving heart, self deprecation etc. in certain situations that just pops up and is a new part of you... It's amazing and fantastic...  I'm ever amused at so many people I've seen and met who are into things like "positive thinking" or "yoga" or "meditation", "visualization" etc., to "become better people" ... and how they are often the meanest, most snarky, cold, self-centered, negative people I come across... All that stuff doesn't change jack... except change you into a subtly more prideful self righteous hypocrite.... God... Jesus... the Holy Spirit.... Who is One God.... actually truly really DOES change your character.... 
 
Now, once I had a dream... In the dream I was high on a craggy eerie mountain top in the thunderous clouds and silvery refracted light.... I was wondering how it was that Jesus/God could really hear everyone's prayers... all at the same time... and pay unique, individual attention to each person... Yeah, I could accept it on faith ie., that "He's God, He can do anything" ... but my mind was yet unsatisfied wanting to understand the logistics of such a thing.. if possible....  It was an unusual dream in sensation, feeling, awareness ... (Btw, I honestly believe Jesus came to me and answered me that time.....)
 
  He appeared and I immediately felt His dignity, power, intensity.. and love... He knew me.   It was a personal encounter.  Anyway... He chuckled ... lovingly at my query .... and answered that ... being everywhere, attending to everyone individually--to each person's specific needs and concerns... was no problem.  He pointed out to me ... that while we are sort of trapped in time...stuck in a certain ie., space and time ... HE was eternal, beyond time.  "And so," as He said with a fatherly, knowing smile, "I have 'all the time in the world!'" ..... Meaning ... He has ETERNITY...so to speak... FOREVER.... to spend on each and every part, person, thing etc. in His creation.... He is not constrained by "time."  He has forever.... So it is no problem at all .... to attend to each and every person intimately, specifically and personally..... He has forever for each one of us!... AND forever... for us as a group, in segments, ones and twos... whatever..... He does and will.... be ... able to have a personal relationship with every single one of us, from beginning ... to ... forever.... as He transcends time and is no way bound as we are, especially in this current fallen set up ....
 
This also relates to how He is Omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent... He is able to be everywhere, always, from the smallest "zone" to the largest .... As Acts 17:28 describes:  "for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.'"
 
You may have some lingering blasphemous concepts lurking in your mind leftover from some of the horrible Mormon trash teachings about God limiting Him to just being "an exalted man" .... who has a body... had sex with his daughter Mary ....can only be in one place at a time .. blech! :( ... etc. .......
Whereas the God of the Bible, the only true and living God the Father .... is SPIRIT..... doesn't have a body.. which the Bible clearly states.....
(Oy, don't get me started, heh.... on the small, pathetic, limited, tiny, weak, base, vulgar version of God that con-man sexual predator  Joseph Smith made up ....!)
 
Anyway... gotta get to work... but wanted to quick respond to your letter, God bless:)~!
 
(ps... still working on some music ideas... it is progressing believe it not...:)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

God Forbid!

What happens when a wolf . . . or a bear--sometimes even a horse or an elephant--but lets say a lion lives in the wild on the outskirts of a village kills and eats a person; acquires a taste and predilection for preying on humans and continues to hunt and attack more?

For one thing, in general, we say that the predator is acting according to its nature.  But it has gone too far, and usually even after one killing of a person, a posse is put together to track and put down the savage beast. . . .

Are we morally outraged at the creature's character?  Do we take time to capture and reform it?  No.  There is no inclination to do that but instead everyone is eager to quick as possible find the killer and execute it so it can do no more harm.  It is a wild animal acting according to its inherent nature, that's all, and must be dealt with in order to protect the people.

And we know that it inherited its killer instinct and predilection as a result of The Fall--the aftermath of the original rebellion against God.

How much greater is such an atrocity when the savage beast is a creature made in the image of God?  It is one thing for an animal to act out in ways that violate and offend the original design of its Creator . . . but consider how vastly more egregious it is for Man--given the privilege and honor of bearing the image of God--to take that "image" meant as a living temple for the divine Holy Spirit, and pervert and despoil it, using it as a temple for whoring, blasphemy, murder, deceit, thieving, and outright rebellion against the One Who so graciously provided it!

This story of the marauding, man-eating lion threatening the village is much like the story of the present creation. 

The world is the village, and "in the wild, on the outskirts" is the "principalities . . . powers . . . the rulers of the darkness . . . spiritual wickedness in high places."  God has deputized a posse (the angels) and sent His Son to capture and "put down" the "roaring lion" so that villagers can finally live in perfect peace.

Now, I notice that most people are not overly alarmed or concerned that all the day long and for centuries, wild animals have been attacking, killing and eating each other . . . by the millions and billions . . . according to their (fallen) natures.  It bothers atheists and many pagans, but for the most part I don't hear "believers" complaining that God created such a world, where so much violence, suffering and death has occurred.  "Believers" tend to have a bigger picture view of things and can understand that, while it is often difficult to watch, overall God has a Plan that will redeem all of creation and even the suffering and inequities of fallen, temporal life, will serve His ultimate will and purpose. 

All day long . . . animals strive and fight and kill and die . . . and we are not too concerned that they apparently had their moment under the sun with no purpose of heaven meant for them. . . .

Yet, for some, they cannot imagine that God also created a swath of people for similar ends.  Why shouldn't He have?

"Well, because people are different!  We are made in the image of God!"

But I would say, indeed!  How much more egregious is it that creatures made in the image of God should go about striving, fighting, killing and contravening God's original design!  A greater punishment awaits those who bear the holy marking of Deity who desecrate, profane and would subvert God's commands! 

And I've mentioned this observation before, but use it again because I find it powerfully convicting and backed up by scripture:  Whether I personally, sentimentally like it or not, I see a Creator Who obviously has no problem creating millions and billions of creatures whose general experience, design and purpose . . . was to live, strive, fight and die . . . within the dark, sinful effects of The Fall.
Even if for no other reason, I could see at least one clear purpose for this being to exemplify what happens (to creation/creatures) when they rebel, reject and attempt to defy God's commands.  What an example!  An example that perhaps the Children of God could not have grasped or appreciated any other way. . . .

So, given that, whether I personally, emotionally like it or not, I see also a Creator who made even a portion of "image bearers" to likewise have but the design and purpose . . . to live, strive fight and die . . . and be consigned to eternal prison, as an eternal testament to the seriousness of such a crime.

"But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption . . . "  2 Peter 2:12

As time goes on, and the holy, sovereign character of God becomes ever more present and clear in my sight . . . I am likewise ever more astonished that anyone even thinks to question and imagine to disagree with God's infinite, perfect, righteous wisdom and decrees. . . .

Yet, many continue to complain and vehemently disagree, suggesting that if such were true, it would --notice, according to their personal sentiment--be "atrocious" . . . "unjust".

But with Paul, I say, "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid!"

Friday, July 12, 2013

Emotion's Slippery Slope

There is a pastor (well, there are a lot, but I'm referencing one here) who sometimes blurts out something about the "pernicious doctrine of Calvinism").  Like atheists, he cannot imagine a God Who would create "vessels of wrath fitted for destruction" (Rom. 9:22) along with those "vessels fitted for mercy" (Rom. 9:23)

In any case, what is obvious to me, is that many people imagine themselves autonomous, free and in a neutral state so as to be able to choose utterly independently between good and evil, heaven or hell.  Their great objection, as I see it, is in finally accepting that God is God.  THEY want to be in the equation.  Yes, God is God, they think, but "I have the independence, power and ability to resist Him."  God says He "wishes none should perish" but we humans are capable of defeating His wishes, thinks the human-free-will proponent.

Never mind that this is a wrong interpretation of 2 Peter 3:9 which actually is about God wanting none of His ELECT to perish (and so, which they don't, because Jesus says, "All the Father gives me will come to me" John 6:37) . . . but in the end you have either a concept of reality where God is absolute Lord OR where the creature is ultimately lord, able to frustrate the King's decrees.

The creature-centered mind is driven by personal emotion.  Hurt, frightened, outraged . . . it says, "MY God would not send people to an eternal hell of torment and damnation!  He is all-loving!"

Which is true.  The self-centered, creature-exalting heart does NOT have a god that would send people to hell.

But the God of the BIBLE would and does.  And since He is perfect, holy, just and righteous, and love . . . then it is perfect, holy, just and righteous and loving that He does so.  And not only that, but "broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat."  Matt. 7:13

The emotional "free-will" thinker walks a slippery slope.  It is not long until their personal horror at the idea of hell--which is clearly taught in the Bible, by Jesus Himself--begins to spin new interpretations and twistings to come up with an alternative notion that . . . "well, maybe yes there is a hell . . . but it doesn't really last forever.  Everybody gets saved in the end."

This is the "universalist" heresy and is the bailiwick of sentimentalist free-willers whose emotions simply can't tolerate the God of the Bible, as He depicts Himself.  Surely, He doesn't really mean that "He is angry with the wicked every day . . . and . . . prepared for him the instruments of death" . . . ?  [Kind of like how the serpent beguiling Eve whispered, "did God really say _______?"]

Soon, like Rob Bell, the autonomous "free thinker" is also declaring that God does not really condemn homosexuality and same-sex marriage.  "It's not fair" . . . "it's not 'loving'" . . . .

And then, once the libertarian has begun to question this and those plain (although scary and difficult) passages of the Word . . . it is just a skip and a jump to start questioning more:  "Was the world really created in just 6 days?  Science says_______" . . . . Did Jesus really walk on water, or was that just a metaphor?" . . . . Or, as Bill O'Reilly--new self-proclaimed expert on biblical Christianity says, "The Bible is all just allegory."

Hmmmm . . . . .

How about . . . why not let God be God . . . and just accept what He says, whether it is pleasing to our own emotional proclivities or not?  Why not just submit to what He says and accept that He is Lord of every thing and every one? 

The way of personal emotional reaction . . . is the broad and easy way to blasphemy and heresy and destruction. . . .

Does it matter whether this or that version of the Word is taught?  Should we care whether a pastor or teacher is changing, reinterpretating, twisting the plain teachings of "God's whole counsel?"

Well, according to Paul, YES, who said, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!"

Sadly, it is true.  Many . . . simply cannot believe in a God who would make some vessels for wrath and some for mercy, and that, in every case, it ALL redounds to His glory.

So, they create another god, in their own image--how THEY imagine God should be--and THAT is what they teach and ultimately worship.  A false idol.

And unless they repent, they will be going to that hell they "simply cannot believe in."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The New Earth....

Our new earth, which we inherit. . . .

So far, from my studies . . . this is what I expect:

First and foremost the love of God will be in and through us, perfectly.  We will adore Him every moment no matter what we are doing.  Gone will be the fallen self-centered drives and ambition, wants and needs.  Left will be only the desire to please Him, worship and it will be joyful.

The world will be exquisitely, awesomely beautiful.  What Adam failed to do, we will do.  We take dominion over the earth, over the creatures, over the resources.  And all the wonderful creatures will likewise be in a state of glory, peace, unity. . . .

Music, poetry, writing, performing, building . . . will go on.  There will be get togethers, "family" feasts . . . outings to explore His creation both on planet and off.  Who knows what wondrous new creatures and creations He will provide through the endless ages that we will interact with and be able to study.  Fantastic structures, buildings, domiciles we will inhabit, with no fear of thieves or vandals.

All the longings of the heart, which He provides, will be able to be pursued and satisfied, without devious competition, but with a playful sporting joy, as each lovingly tries to outdo another in creating works that express His glory, His eternal character. . . .

Sacred science, with no violence in it, but borne of holy curiosity will be unleashed and endlessly drawn . . . inventions, technology, experiments providing unceasing fascination and pleasure in what He provides. . . .

Love will abound.  Peace, joy, humor, beauty, power, grace, one to another and with the angels and other heavenly creatures He sets with and before us. . . .

And these are just the things we can somewhat imagine.  Then there will be MORE!..... things which "neither eye nor ear" can imagine, so fantastic, so magnificent, beyond our present comprehension--those things He has prepared . . . to bless and enliven and bestow upon His children!  What will those things be?  Well, we are able to presently imagine quite a bit that would be stupendous, mind-blowing . . . and it will be BEYOND that!

As we continue to race the race . . . consider just how much we have to look forward to!  What a good, merciful, incredible, amazing God we have!  We--who deserve none of it--will revel in His vast, unending glory!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Creature Or Creator?

I ran into an acquaintance the other day whose family knows some of the big muckety-mucks in the Mormon hierarchy.  Well, in this case they know someone who is part of the caretaking of the casinos "the church" owns in Vegas . . . [yeah, the LDS church has long been involved with the mob and such owning and running casinos there--you see, it doesn't matter where the money comes from, so long as a healthy 10% tithe is the result for the "building up of the kingdom."

Anyway, they told me that their friend related how they have developed a special, psychotropic olfactory-based "gas" or scent they pump into the casinos to create a slight atmosphere of euphoria.  In essence, they "drug" the air . . . so that the patrons feel good and want to stay, stay un-anxious while losing money, and continue to fork it over into the slots and gaming tables as long as possible.

But that is not the whole of it. . . . This person said they also use this airborne euphoric tranquilizer in the big 1.4 million sq.ft. Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake.  The Center hold over 21,000 church members who dutifully arrive two times a year for "conference"--the "gathering of the saints" . . . along with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and all the General Authorities and "the Prophet". . . .

Of course, it is hearsay, but comes from a reliable source . . . and do I doubt it?  No.  Which partly explains the giddy, blank and blissed-out expressions I've seen on the faces of those exiting the giant auditorium . . . aside from the humanist pap served verbally there.

But that is certainly not the most dangerous and insidious lure of "the church."  The biggest attraction "the church" has . . . is what we call "handouts and hookups."  Because it is a works-based religious system . . . and it is generally taught and believed that God blesses His members with material gain and social status . . . the wealth of "the church" is very expertly utilized to buy it's devoted members off.  Things will "go well" with you if you join "the church" and obey all the church's commands, callings and overall expectations.  They will help you with housing, food and especially connections for employment and insider-info investment opportunities. 

Add to this the highly organized and ubiquitous social and community activities and fellowship, and "the church" is a very attractive and seductive lure . . . to the carnal heart.  Material security?  Hook-ups?  Endless social engagements/activities?  Political, social and ecclesiastical status?  "For sure!" says the worldly-minded who lives the "pride of life" and "lust of the flesh."

Not only that, but there is the promise that you will get to be with your family forever AND be a god of your own planet to boot!  (Not to mention, if you are a man, endless sex with multiple goddess-wives, worshipped by your spirit children forever and ever!)

The whole thing is designed to appeal to the exaltation of the self and all its carnal desires--pride, power, sex, autonomy, greed. . . . And what happens is that . . . someone joins "the church"--starts getting "handouts and hookups" and thinks that this sudden material and social boon is a "sign that the church is true" and of God's favor!

Which is why, so many stay in "the church" . . . even though they don't really believe Joseph Smith was a prophet, nor the Book of Mormon the "most correct book on the face of the earth."

Because on the other hand, if you do go "apostate" and leave "the church" . . . your connections, your friends, your family, likely your job and every other membership accoutrement . . . is swiftly taken away--you are shunned and considered a "son of perdition", dangerous to the flock, and so, sent packing.

How much easier to just go along with the program, maintain all the worldly benefits and keep your suspicions and doubt to your self?  Which is what many of them do.

Problem is, of course . . . that Jesus says anyone who loves the world--including their family and social status and material securities . . . MORE than Him . . . is not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus did not say . . . that if you follow Him, you will get a good job hookup, inside investment tips, multitudinous adoring friends and family, material security and comfort.  No, in fact, He said it is more likely that the world will hate and persecute you.  Some, if not a lot, of your friends and family will turn on you, shun you, betray you.

The bottom line question, in this respect, is always, who and what do you love more?  Creatures and creature comforts? . . . or Creator?  Are you willing to sacrifice everything for the Lord . . . or only so far as your own personal wealth, prestige and security are not touched?

Many are called--they hear the call . . . but few . . . FEW . . . are actually chosen. 

"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

and,

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Unveiling Grace

Wow... creepy...and annoying....., I was just finishing up a post about Lynn Wilder ex-BYU professor scholar and her sons of the Christian band Adam's Road (former Mormon missionaries turned born again Christian) and the whole thing just zapped and disappeared!  Now I gotta head of for church... But real quick, I wanted to help promote her new book about their family's experience waking up to the serious lies of Mormonism and their newfound Biblical faith .....

She is a very well spoken, intelligent and charismatic woman who does very well describing the spiritual and psychological issues involved in being caught up in that false religious cult . . . and then being Saved! ....

http://www.whatloveisthis.tv/episodes/2011/ep409.htm

http://mormoninfo.org/testimonies/lynn-wilder

http://zondervan.com/9780310331131

http://www.adamsroadband.com/

As the reality of the false nature of Mormonism set in, Lynn became paralyzed with fear. "I felt sick," she says. She didn't believe that all the differences between what the Bible said and Mormonism taught could be explained away by the unsubstantiated but firmly held Mormon rationalization of an incorrect Bible translation. Lynn's spiritual world was falling apart and she didn't know what to do.

It wasn't long before Lynn understood that her new faith would be very costly. By March, she knew she would have to leave BYU. Her first inkling came when she realized her love and support for her students gave them a false impression. The students thought their positive experiences with Lynn in prayer and faith-centered conversation were an outgrowth of Mormonism, not of Lynn's relationship with Christ. She knew God was not pleased with this, and neither was she.

Michael and Lynn lost their home in Utah with its beautiful and inspiring mountain view. They lost their friends, at work and at church, as they followed Christ's leading to Florida.  They lost their financial stability, as Lynn left a secure tenured teaching position for a one-year visiting position. And they lost the respect they had earned and enjoyed in their work and social environments. Lynn was no longer a worthy Mormon employed by the "one true church"; she and Mike were apostates, whispered about in hallways, feared and pitied at the same time.

At first Lynn was devastated by the hostility and malice directed toward them by some members of the LDS Church. Rumors and accusations spread like wildfire across the Internet. But Lynn came to realize and accept the truth she found in the Bible: Rejection is part of a Christ-centered life.

Looking back to December 2006, when Lynn exchanged her Mormon temple garments for a Christian cross, it is, in a way, an illustration of her entire faith journey. For Mormons, the garments represent hope, safety, and a future. To cast them aside is to abandon all eternal blessings and the hope of eternal life. Lynn shed this false hope and replaced it with a cross, a symbol of God's merciful and sufficient provision for total and complete reconciliation with Him. The cross represents God's amazing love and His sure promise of an eternity with Him. Lynn gave up spiritual death for Christ's gift of abundant Life. The Truth--God's Truth--has set Lynn Wilder free.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Facadebook-like Status and Update

Our deaf son Skylar was invited to one of his old deaf friend's apartment for a 4th of July get together.  This little bunch of hearing impaired friends go back to elementary school days; they all stay in touch and meet every once and a while to catch up. 

Similarly, Al's 10 year high school reunion happened a couple of weeks ago; he graduated from a Catholic high school, considered one of the top in the country.  Two of our boys we sent to Catholic school, the other two (Isaac and Sky) went to a fundamentalist Baptist school.  A couple of times we tried them at the public schools during their early years, but I was usually fairly quick in the Principals' office complaining about the garbage and propaganda being "taught" . . . and pulling them out--so my wife and I (sacrificed new clothes and vacations etc. and) found the best pertinent private schools we could and, according to each child's individual needs and abilities, we went with that.  We also home schooled a few times when necessary.  [The public schools were and even more are an unmitigated disaster and threat to children.  And even the Catholic school was starting to go "wonky" and beginning to teach stupid stuff like "creative math" . . . "whole language" . . . graphic sex-ed and environmentalist agitprop. . . .]

Anyway, that's not the issue I'm commenting on here, but rather I wanted to just note how our boys' friends have fared through the years since high school as well as our own and perhaps why. . . .

Sky came home from the 4th of July deafy party a bit saddened and disturbed.  More than half, I dare say, of his childhood friends have gone gay.  Almost all the girls are now lesbians, he said.  All but himself are into alchohol and pot.  He doesn't touch the stuff and never has.  He said also they it was if they were all in a trance of sorts.  He would try to talk to one of them he hadn't seen in a while and it was as if they didn't know him and they were distracted and apathetic.  Few of them had jobs.  Sky easily has the best job of them all as he has not bounced around, but stuck with his employer going on 7-8 years--at Costco.  They all have stayed pretty much in the same mindset of just being "partiers", looking for the next "good time", posting on Facebook--a few have illegitimate kids and have been in trouble with "the law."  They all seem to just bounce from thing to thing, aimlessly, living for today, with no transcendental meaning or purpose. . . .

Overall . . . it was striking to him, as he related it sadly to us . . . how lost they all are; and, we noted, how "together" he is by comparison.  And it reiterated to him how, even though his life is fairly monotonous and lonely (because so many of his age group are similarly confused, lost and drifting so he doesn't want to hang out with them and just mostly works, works out and spends time with us) . . . the stable, sober life he leads is far preferable to the flaky, flighty, Godless, pointless, pleasure-seeking life that the others are caught up in--enslaved to. . . .

Alexander, at his reunion experienced similar disappointment.  For one thing, out of a class of around 250, only 8 people showed up!  We figured because of Facebook, Twitter and such . . . that everybody already knows what everybody else is doing, so there is no need to meet in person anymore to catch up.  But Al was disappointed, as were the other 7 nonetheless, because still, there ought to be, they felt, a modicum of interest and respect enough for each other--you would think--to meet in person, face to face. . . .

He found that anyhow, of those that did show up . . . not much had changed.  Oh, yeah, they had gone here and there, tried different jobs--a few had stable, good jobs now . . . but he too was a trifle sad and discouraged that no one there, besides himself, had really changed all that much.  It was startling too, he said, how little they knew or cared about what was going on in the country and the world.  For instance, they had never heard of the "tea party."  They had no idea what the current regime is doing to our country nor the seriousness of the social issues and values that are so rapidly deteriorating.  Just clueless . . . and so focused on their own little bubble of self-serving reality . . . that it could be the verge of WWIII (which it probably is) . . . and a shrug and look of indifference would be the response. . . .

We have also bumped into a few of Jackson and Isaac's (our two youngest boys) old friends.  Jack and Ike did go to a public high school, which was fairly decent, and full of mostly affluent Mormon kids.  They were easily the most dysfunctional bunch of families and children we have observed along the way.  Many divorces, kids on drugs and drinking, stealing . . . although most still managed to show up to "church" on Sunday and quite a few went on "missions."

When our boys brought their friends around from that school . . . we were always on good terms with them--and we were careful not to say what we thought about Mormonism, out of respect for their parents, even though we could see that that was the source of their rabid dysfunction, for the most part.  Of course, some of their parents showed no such respect for us and early on started "fellowshipping" Jackson, to try and turn him to "the church."  We didn't know how much they had been working on him until it was too late, and, as you know, he surprised us one day with "I'm getting baptized in the Mormon church."

Occasionally, we run into J and I's old friends from that town and school . . . and they are as lost and confused and adrift as Al and Sky's old friends appear to be.  Now, I'm not saying 100% all of them, of course, but in general ... the majority . . . are just scraping by . . . with little to no hope or purpose in life.  Several of them have parents that have been divorced and married 1-3 times just since high school, with all kinds of chaotic new "blended family" situations.  [The Mormons seem to be faring the worst at keeping their marriages and families together.]  Their kids also, when they do get into drugs and drink, seem to be the most extreme--delving into heroin, pills, pot and even dealing.  More than a couple have been to jail repeatedly and/or juvenile correction. . . . Not one of our boys have had trouble in those areas, praise God--the times are so rough right now. . . .

The biggest difference I see in the way we raised our children compared to these others . . . is simply that we REALLY . . . ACTUALLY . . . believe in God.  Jesus.  Obviously, just going to "church", whether Roman Catholic of L.D.S.  has not instilled in the others any real, authentic love and reverence for God.  Staying focused on the other worldly purpose and meaning attendant this life . . . has given our boys the resultant self control and respect . . . to keep them from floundering and following the crowd that is going nowhere. . . . Paradoxically, as we have always emphasized the spiritual over the material aims in this life, our boys are doing just fine materially, as much as can be expected in this collapsing Marxist economy, while those who have been drawn to the "get rich quick" menatality or trudging goal-lessly through the communist propaganda university system . . . are mostly stuck still at square one, with the only excitement or hope . . . being the next party or club scenario. 

Jesus . . . in our lives, and the power and direction and protection of the Holy Spirit--FOR REAL--has made all the difference; and I give Him all the credit. 

Meanwhile, the fruits of Humanism, post-modernism, new agey self-centered feel goodism, homosexualism, fame and sex and party-time obsession. . . is proving tragic and disastrous. . . .

Anyway, since I don't do FaƧadebook or Twitter, I'm using this little spot to share for a moment our family update and status.  Alexander is climbing the ranks into leadership of his wild-land fire fighting crew with an eye towards eventually getting on at a department; Sky is continuing and excelling in the meat department at Costco, body building on the side--hard worker like Al . . . Isaac is becoming a decent online Christian/reformed apologist, heh . . . and along the way I'm teaching him some things about the painting trade . . . and Jackson is working on an album with his band, Westward the Tide, who are creating some buzz in the industry and I who I wouldn't doubt may hit the "big time" as a lot of new bands have broken out of this area . . . like Imagine Dragons, Royal Bliss, and Joshua James (who is producing them). . . . Myself, I am still hoping to do something in "Christian music"-record and EP or album . . . and perhaps perform eventually . . . and continue to write . . . as far as time and resources allow, if it be His will . . . . . . And my wife and I and Isaac, and Al all are each ongoingly witnessing to those friends and family and occasional strangers, telling of the Gospel, working on roughly 6-7 folks at the moment who are showing interest and who we would love to see saved.

God bless and onward!...  my fellow soldiers! :)



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Religious Feelings

Tomorrow is the devil's day, but today is God's. Satan does not care how spiritual your intentions are, or how holy your resolutions, if only they are determined to be done tomorrow.

We should no more tolerate false doctrine that we would tolerate sin.

Inability to distinguish doctrine is spreading far and wide, and so long as the preacher is "clever" and "earnest," hundreds seem to think it must be all right, and call you dreadfully "narrow and uncharitable" if you hint that he is unsound!

I am convinced that the first step towards attaining a higher standard of holiness is to realize more fully the amazing sinfulness of sin.

Nothing I am sure has such a tendency to quench the fire of religion as the possession of money.

Let us watch against pride in every shape - pride of intellect, pride of wealth, pride in our own goodness, pride in our own deserts. Nothing is so likely to keep a man out of heaven, and prevent him seeing Christ, as pride. So long as we think we are something, we shall never be saved.

I declare I know of no state of soul more dangerous than to imagine we are born again and sanctified by the Holy Ghost, because we have picked up a few religious feelings.

J.C. Ryle

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Knowing What's HIS!

Everything is His.  EVERYTHING.  A subtle mistake that many make--and it's done in secret, so that YOU are probably not even conscious of it--is holding back on a few things that you think yourself in charge of . . . or that you own.  The ego, the "I", surveys around itself at those things in proximity, especially the people, places and things that it is attached to . . . emotionally . . . and identifies with them.  The boundaries of the "I" extend out from the simple body to include family, friends, property, ideas even . . . and the "I" thinks, "these are all mine."

When those people, things or ideas are threatened or when they move away from "I" there is anxiety, and a fight to try and hold them.  "That is MY property, MY person, MY doing!" the ego says.

Or, the "I" wants to take credit for things.  "'I' am the one who thought of that.  That was MY idea!"

Or, you/"I" build up some kind of notable legacy.  Prestige follows.  Plaudits, awards . . . you/"I" has "built a reputation".  When it is marginalized, impugned, tarnished by others, you/"I" is offended and either lashes out or plans some devious retribution. . . .

And all of that is smoke.  Tinkling bells and ashes, soon blown to nothing amidst the winds of time and space.  Grass which withers by days' end and left only to be gathered and burned. . . .

One of the most powerful and sacredly devastating truths to finally realize and fully imbibe . . . is to know that YOU/"I" have nothing . . . to call your own.  You can take credit for none of it.  Everything and everyone . . . belongs to God.  Not your children, not your friends, not your business, not your learning, not your possessions, not your talents . . . can YOU take credit for, not a shred!

And not only that, but even your ideas, intentions, ability or faith . . . is not yours to claim.  NONE are able to boast, even in the slightest.  It ALL comes from God.  Everything is a gift--a grace--from God.

The vast majority of the pain and suffering and angst or depression you may feel . . . derives from imagining in your self . . . that you own certain people, places, things and ideas.  Although many a believer confesses that everything belongs to God, still, in the hidden places of the heart, are strongholds, where the believer is holding on and yet fighting a turf battle.  The ego clings to this or that, and when this or that is harmed, threatened or taken, the ego is hurt and self defensive--anger, bitterness and feelings of vengeance trail in the wake and brings dark clouds of gloom, depression, anxiety. . . .

Oh what a glorious day it is . . . when you finally let go--when you at last surrender ALL to God.  This is HIS world, HIS plans, HIS people, HIS creatures, HIS work, HIS decrees, HIS beginnings and ends!  Including any and all of those things in you which have any merit.  You can take credit for none of it.

Oh, but how the fallen, darkened self cringes and chaffs at such a notion.  Them there is "fightin' words!" 

But, truly how ridiculous is it that we ever thought we had something to do with any of this?  We are born with certain traits, genetics, predilections, talents, abilities, looks, charm . . . or lack thereof . . . and ALL OF IT is organized and bestowed by the Creator, from the beginning.  We, are at most, witnesses.

His work is done in us . . . and we get to witness and attest to His glory--His amazing grace; and that's it.

And that is more than enough!  Are you kidding?  We get to live . . . as sentient creatures, made in the image of God, designed to be a pure reflection of His character, as revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ--Yashuah Ha-Mashiach and experience as witness the glory of His Self-existent, eternal Being?!!!

AND we get to turn over all of our perceived problems, issues, dreams, schemes, trouble and woe to a perfect, victorious, absolutely sovereign King, Master, Friend, Father and Savior?!!!

Compared to the weight of the world and the burden of self-centered delusions of autonomy . . . HIS YOKE IS LIGHT!  It is a joy!  It is the great gift we are given, to know ourselves as witnesses and praisers of His eternal glory--made for just that purpose!

Everything and everyone is His, to do with as He righteously decrees.  Realizing and surrendering to this fact . . . is one of the greatest weapons against darkness . . . the disciple finds . . . one day . . . slung into his belt.  But, note, it is not a matter of making it the case . . . that all belongs to God--BUT in realizing and finally acknowledging, then proclaiming . . . that it does.

It's not that . . . one day, you stand in some bold moment and "give everything to God". . . .

What happens . . . is that one day . . . you finally See . . . that He has it all already, and what a fool you've been to think otherwise. . . .

God bless you and praise God!:)

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Fires of Hell

First we heard the reports of the greatest loss of firefighters since 911 . . . 19 dead . . . in the new raging fire in Arizona . . . and waited to hear which elite crew it was.  Our son Al is out there somewhere--we know not where at this point-but learned that it was a "Hot Shot" crew local from Arizona . . . and were of course relieved for our own case, but saddened for such a loss regarding others..  The best of the best--those guys who put themselves on the front lines to protect and serve their fellow men and women. . . . This life, literally a "vapor" sometimes.  The preciousness and gravity of it all is never far from my thoughts and prayers as I never want to become callous to the suffering that goes on in this fallen world, thanks to evil "humanism" which started it all. . . . I know God is good and one blessed day, all tears shall be done and rejoicing will carry forth that the rebellion is put down at last, forever.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/01/19-firefighters-killed-battling-arizona-blaze/

Brother Thomas ©2015

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