Friday, February 28, 2014

Hierarchy of Priorities During "Interesting Times"

For a while I have been looking ahead imagining the troubles to come, now upon us, realizing that when the proverbial mess hits the fan many things that have been occupying peoples' attention and care . . . will evaporate in a sudden storm of fear and anxiety.  It is one thing to talk and "prepare" for what we can see is coming--quite another how it will actually be when it arrives.  Most of the tough talk and bold declarations . . . will fly out the window . . . and in the panic, saving one's own head will jump to the fore . . . and most will sadly realize they are in reality cowards and not up for a fight, and suddenly eager to lay low, keep that head down and hope no one notices.

The "watchmen" have been saying all along "first and foremost get your 'spiritual house' in order" . . . but what does that really mean?  A vague, general assent to that advice without actual work and dedication to truly understanding and doing it . . . will not cut it when the chips are down (and tanks are in the streets.)

Which is why I have not so much (for that same while) . . . been commenting on, analyzing, reporting etc., all the accelerating developments (of the coup and deliberate "transformation" (deterioration) of family, church, culture, country etc.)  What WILL be genuinely helpful in such times is having a REAL, close relationship with God and having a solid, increasingly correct knowledge of His Person, His ways, His character . . . graciously given to us to apprehend and internalize through His Word, through His Personal message to us.  This is why doctrine, theology matters. 

No, "correct doctrine" does not save--JESUS saves--but the better and closer we are to knowing Him, His plan, His record of interaction in this world with His people (and all others as well) the greater the hedge around us which works as protection and defense (even offense) amidst the storms and battles.  We are expected to grow and blossom in our knowledge and relationship of/with the Lord.

For instance, if we are confused about the preeminent purpose and meaning in all this, then we are subject to charlatans, false teachers, false prophets, let alone "state authorities" and the to-ing and fro-ing of powerful seductive factions roundabout.  We can be easily led astray, misguided, controlled . . . in the midst of panic, anxiety, fear. . . . The tough talk vanishes while self-justification, compromise, and even complicity with the evil of the day is suddenly leading you around (NOT the Master Who SHOULD be the master of your heart.)

There are indeed levels of meaning and purpose, but keeping the priorities straight is essential to navigating the challenges we are facing and those bound to get worse. 

For instance, while lawlessness and the reign of wicked men and women ensues and oppresses, one important purpose will be . . . to protect and defend one's family, loved ones. . . .

Other purposes and meanings . . . might be to "stand for freedom" . . . to "defend the Constitution" . . . to preserve and promote Christian or "family" values . . . to "save the planet", be "good stewards" and so on.

But putting any of these at the top of the purpose and meaning list . . . leaves an opening for the enemy to enter and lead astray!

Whereas, if you put at the top of the list what SHOULD be there--what is commanded in fact to be there, then the rest of the list will order itself accordingly and your eyes and ears will be clear to see and hear the ways you should go, what you should (righteously) do in any given challenging situation.

And that supreme purpose . . . is . . . that . . . all of this (including the present mess) IS FOR THE GLORY OF GOD!

Do not let that be a vague, empty catchphrase or cliché.  Instead, make it a top order of business, of prayer, of study and thought . . . what does this mean: "For the glory of God"?  How is God being glorified in what is going on?  Most naturally feel that things are "out of control" . . . the enemy is winning . . . God is on His heels TRYING to regain control of the world run amok.

But here too is why comprehending and acceding to His ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY is such an important matter.  Is God in control?  Yes!  Is He being glorified by all that is going on, no matter how dire it appears at present?  YES! 

Then, if and when the tyranny and oppression and persecution increase and  come knocking at your door (literally) . . . and you are required to make certain decisions on how you will act or react . . . you will want to first jump to the question, "How will God be best glorified in my decision?"  NOT, "what is best for the country, my neighborhood, my family, me, etc."  No, if the point in all this, (which the Word states it is) is for the revelation of God's glory . . . then THAT should be our guiding light while we obey the 1st and greatest commandment: "You shall have no other gods before Me."

An example of just one way God is glorified in "all this" is in showing, via a very elaborate, material, obvious way . . . to one and all . . . what the world looks like when God is NOT the only God that is before us, but where we worship thousands of idols.  Look at the mess this place has become with God "out of the way" . . . and look at how He will finally come to judge and restore things to their intended perfection, with Himself as sovereign King and Ruler, making clear the glory of His mercy AND justice!

And there are many other ways He is seen to be glorified by what is happening in the world and by how He works through His servants (the meek) . . . still conquering . . . even in the face of every cruel and devious weapon, technology, control, magic, "secret combination" thrown at them (the elect).

THIS . . . is how we get our "spiritual house in order" and an example of priorities of purpose and meaning during . . . what the Chinese call "interesting times."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Misc. notes

By the way, my son Jackson's band Westward The Tide did very well in the band competition up in Park City.  They were approached afterwards by many of judges and local music writers saying they were the best of the night.  I expect they (Jack's band) will by signed by a major label before too long, and I think they will go "big time".  I have mixed feelings on that, knowing first hand the forces, temptations, and general milieu of the high end music business, but here is where having a strong, absolute trust in God's sovereignty saves the day.  I don't believe anything happens by "accident" or "luck" or outside of God's will, so, regardless of the possible dangers and sketchy sideroads that will likely ensue, I fully trust that God in charge . . . and the Savior will not lose any that the Father has given Him.

Re Shawn . . . he had a great show last night, post "Inquisition 2014" . . . as he had a special guest Robert M. Bowman Jr., a well known and accomplished theologian . . . who very methodically, gently, clearly and with obvious expertise and knowledge . . . explained the history and orthodox understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity.  What has become abundantly obvious to me is that Shawn simply just does not know very much.  It appears that he has read a couple of fringe authors that support his own reasoned and emotional opinion, and then doesn't look any further.  His arguments are the same that street level atheists, uneducated Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals, various other cults etc. use, which have long been ably dealt with and demolished by a host of Christian scholars and apologists for years.  But he seems to have not even looked at these and is just now hearing them for the first time.  I won't go into these arguments as they have been quite well stated once again even in places like the Youtube comments sections of the now posted "Inquisition 2014" and at other blogs found at sites such as Courageous Christians United.   The deception involved still concerns me as this is not a sign of spiritual fruit and again makes me wonder just what spirit is involved and guiding Shawn; by deception I mean things like the fact that he has held these unorthodox (some say heretical) beliefs and doctrines for years, while portraying something else and only just recently "came out of the closet" . . . combined with his ongoing tendency to assert that what we all heard him say and mean is not really what he said and meant.  But I will definitely give him credit for having Mr. Bowman on the show, who plainly and directly contradicted Shawn's position, and Shawn behaved for the most part, though smirks and condescension still persist "he (Bowman) is a theeeologian" (as if being a "theologian" is something suspect, ie., derived alone from the "teachings of men.") 
Anyway, it was an excellent program last night, very informative for anyone who wants a better understanding of the Trinity and the history involved with such a designation. 

And a quick note on the Ukraine.  This is a very interesting and telling moment for me.  If my analysis of world geo-politics has been correct it should show in this situation.  Especially as it relates to my position on Russia and the international communist movement.  I believe it could show who is really running the show, or who will be in the end:  the elite banskter NWO mostly European and American guys . . . or the (currently hiding) Soviet Bloc.  I know they are in cahoots, but I've always thought that Russia and China would reassert at some point with traditional military tactics and geographical takeover.  If Russia comes forcefully back into the Ukraine in a Tiananmen Square kind of fashion . . . well, this is what I expect.  Let the dissidents rile, flush out and expose themselves, then come in a wipe them out, hunt them down, crushing the opposition.  The velvet comes off the glove and the iron fist smashes. . . . Either way it goes, it should be telling, however. . . . .

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Staying Focused in the Meanwhile

Meanwhile . . . I can't repeat this enough . . . and probably won't.  Sometimes, very briefly, I imagine what it would be like to be experiencing this world, at this time, with all the degradation, profanation, blatant in you face deception, perversion, corruption, treason, violence . . . without Jesus as your all-in-all.  For instance, those who love America . . . the traditional values, family values, government of law (not men), constitutional republic, liberty, freedom, individualism within community--all the truly remarkable things about this country, how it was founded, the sacrifices, the heroism to establish and maintain it against empire . . . and then watching it being systematically dismantled, twisted, its history replaced, the active targeted destruction of the family, Christian culture . . . . . .

If your heart and allegiance was in America . . . then you are feeling despondent right about now.  You feel as though ruthless, filthy thugs have invaded your cherished home, raped your daughters, beat your sons, smeared excrement on the walls and furniture and family photos, laughing like demons . . . while you are tied up helpless forced to watch from the corner.

[Oh, first let me interject that, yes, I know America was not the perfect country ever and has had it's share bad acts, but it really was, compared to the rest of the similarly fallen, wretched world, a land of freedom and opportunity and law, for the most part and imbued with foundational Christian values and worldview....The Communist infiltrators have long been skewing its history and founding to appear rotten from the start and many, sadly now just believe the Marxist propaganda.]

Anyway, the only way to rise above the deliberate deterioration of culture, society . . . is to keep constant remembrance that (if it is truly the case) you are citizen of a different "country".  You are subject to a different King and belong even to a different world than this one that is falling apart.  Do not internalize what is going on in the external world, feeling personally its corruption as if the same is happening to you.  You are protected, above and beyond all of this.  Keep your eyes, your ears, your mind and heart focused on the only reality that has staying power.  This world is dust, crumbling, meant for the fires of dissolution.  Do not identify with it.  Instead, identify only with Jesus.  Focus on Him.  Delve into His teachings and revelations.  Don't get obsessed or fixated on the fall of civilization.  You belong to an eternal civilization which WILL triumph . . . and not really that far away is it's coming present reality.

If ever you find yourself being upset by what is happening (which is bound to get worse) make it a habit to look to the cross, to what the Savior did to save your soul from that damnation the wicked are bound for, and the perfect, holy, lovely future that is now your rightful inheritance. 

Through all of this unfolding, stay focused on the Lord.  Stay close to God in prayer, through the day, every day, thankful, becoming a vessel for His light and love, which rains on the just and the unjust.

Stay focused on the Lord and get in His Word--do not let THE most important thing slip away while being disturbed by the dying distractions of the evil ones.  Where is your heart and mind?  Taken away by silly, pointless, corrupt distractions?  Or intent and intense in the living, one true God?

Monday, February 24, 2014

"Inquisition 2014" continued thoughts

Having sincerely prayed and thought over the matter I am still so far convinced that this is important to be addressed.  There is real kind of danger involved, I am increasingly certain.

None of the pastors I've heard, and none of the few fellow believers I've talked minimally with about it . . . have ever shown contempt, glee, unfairness etc., in their concerns.  I've only seen and heard genuine love and caring, sensitivity, caution and respect.  (Oh, yes there are the knuckleheads as always who shoot from the hip via social media, but that snarky din is ubiquitous regarding any and all issues that enter that forum.)  I am talking about the local believers, pastors who know Shawn and all acknowledge the productive side of his ministry that has focused on the false teachings of Mormonism. 

Among the fruits of the spirit are peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness . . . gentleness and self-control.  When Shawn says that his anger, contemptuous rhetoric and rudeness (which are increasing hallmarks of his approach) are "just the way he is" one begins to wonder what spirit is really guiding him.  I'm sorry, but we are REQUIRED to be discerning and discriminating as believers and whether we like (or even love) a person personally or not we are not in the way of defending PEOPLE or a PERSONALITY!  We are in the Way to declare and defend the TRUTH--to "contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints!"

One thing (among many) which struck me watching "Inquisition 2012" was that it was very clear that Shawn is upset about the HE has been treated.  He was adamant and stubbornly there to defend HIMSELF, HIS ideas, HIS manner, HIS teaching.  He is offended and angry at what he takes as sleights and slanders against HIMSELF and HIS ministry.  THAT is where the violent reaction comes from.  The pastors and all (sincere) others I've heard, on the other hand, are adamant and stubborn to defend The WORD.   If they are upset, it is not for how THEY have been treated but how the BODY and BIBLICAL TRUTH has been treated.

Mormons will often say, "Why do you Christians bother with us?  Why do you care what we believe?"  And the answer (which I've heard Shawn himself use) is that the LDS claim to be Christian--indeed the only true Christian church in the world.  If they did not claim to speak for Jesus and "true" Christianity, then . . . right, Christian's would not bother so much.

Well, for the same reason, I don't see how everyone is suppose to just shut up now, stop answering Shawn's assertions, accusations and attacks, while he continues claiming to be "giving God a chance to make sense" under the banner of "Biblical Christianity."

And no, my blog is not going to become the McCraney Watch blog. . . . There are plenty of other things I want to get to (including what's going on in Eastern Europe, where I believe Russia will be coming in with force and retaking, btw) . . . but because I have been close to the situation, and because I care for Shawn, his family, and the continuing members of his congregation, and for the defense of the faith . . . I am led to contribute to the analysis and record.  The things I refer to here were all done in public, even broadcasted, so none of this should be considered privileged or private information "exposed."

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My first concern started when Shawn taught on the proposition "once saved always saved." This was almost 2 years ago at C.A.M.P.U.S.  He basically said that while it's true that nothing and no one can separate you (the believer) from the love of God . . . you can separate yourself.  Immediately, I thought (and wrote such notes in my Bible) well, that means there are works involved.  If you can do something (ie., even if it's just choosing) to nullify your salvation, then God's saving power is not complete but dependent on what you do or don't do.  Shawn went on to say something to the effect that you had to maintain a certain kind of "faith and love", what he still asserts are really the only 2 commandments left from the New Testament.  You have to "love" in the right way . . . or . . . you can lose your salvation.

After that meeting (which was public and recorded) I told my wife, "this is no different than saying you must go to the temple diligently . . . to maintain worthiness for salvation, as the Mormons say."  It is still a "work", albeit subtle.

This is what I said to him when I first called his show and which prompted him to call me an idiot and hang up on me.  But going back . . . even though I disagreed with what he was suggesting (since I believe Jesus is perfect Savior, Who saves ALL He calls and for whom He died; and that you can NOT lose your salvation once you are truly born again) I kept attending his "para" church.  All in all, he was still giving excellent sermons, exegeting verse by verse, and I'm not one who has to have my pastor agree 100% with my understanding in order to attend.  Even now, we go to a church with a pastor who has a fairly typical "Arminian" viewpoint, but who loves and serves Jesus, teaches general orthodox Biblical Christianity--a place where the Spirit is palpable.

When Shawn got to Romans 9 and taught the likewise typically Arminian interpretation that Paul was talking about nations being elect (not individuals)--while I again disagreed, still overall I was being fed by the rest of his Biblical exegesis and we still seemed simpatico as far as the major doctrines were concerned, though I recall and believe that a subtle, different spirit began infiltrating the meetings.  Previously, I felt the Holy Spirit with us in those meetings--me and my family were often quite moved . . . when Shawn taught straight from the Word . . . but a subtle unease and disconnectedness started accruing.  Nevertheless, we kept on.

That initial sense of something not being quite right then culminated when Shawn sort of shocked us with announcing that he was taking a month off.  We understood his explanation that he needed a break but it was jarring and disappointing in a strange way besides that.  [That was the now famous break he took when he attended a bunch of local churches and came back to his t.v. show announcing how disgusted he was and that he was changing course to go after "American Evangelical Christianity".  Very quickly he was booted off TV20 (our local Christian cable channel) and then moved CAMPUS to the new location, "The Factory".  We continued to attend.  But there seemed to be a growing lack of that sense of attending Spirit and Shawn's exegeting was increasingly unfocused and disjointed, as if he was in the midst of internal struggles that were obscuring plain, Biblical exposition.  I want to make clear that we were (and still are) very fond of the people we met at CAMPUS, including Shawn's wife and daughters.  We have always been (and still are) big fans of Mallory's music talent, which I think is exceptional, and the creativity of them all which is obvious in the production of the t.v. show, CAMPUS facilities design etc.

I knew immediately, however at one meeting, that things were about to go in a stark and obvious departure when Shawn at one meeting asked us to consider "what if God is not omniscient, omnipotent?"  He was bringing this in as part of a general thought experiment while explaining how predestination was all based in foreknowledge, and I heard the first hints of the proposition that Hell is not eternal.

Now, to me, this was a very serious moment.  It seemed not much different than if a pastor, while preaching, suddenly asked us to consider, "what if God is not ALL good?  What if God makes mistakes?  Maybe God doesn't know everything and has to watch and learn Himself, as creation develops. . . ."  These are questions for secular philosophy students to ponder over late night coffee, pizza and cigarettes . . . in between discussions of class struggle and institutional racism.  It hardly seems appropriate to be questioning God's very character and nature . . . in church, where the sheep are there to worship and be fed on the Word.   It was quite disturbing, and afterwards I told my wife, "he is going to start teaching that Hell is not eternal."

Which he did within the next couple of weeks.  He was vague at first, but finally in one meeting just came out with it, whereupon several members in the audience began speaking out and there was a minor ruckus in the room as the full weight of where he was going became clear.  I just recall getting a very heavy, dark, claustrophobic sensation--an almost physical pain in the stomach, hearing what he was saying, and when it was over, I couldn't get out of that room fast enough.  That was the last time we attended, mid-summer of 2013.

Fast forward . . . to "Inquisition 2014".  So much went on there, was said, that honestly, I think I could write a small book on it, breaking apart all the incongruities, ironies, hypocrisy, and downright chilling aspects.  But one point straightaway I want to clarify, tied to the brief little history above, is that framing the "confrontation" as an "inquisition" . . . "over Shawn's use of the term 'Trinity'" is alarming and dishonest from the get go.  The pastors who made up "the panel of accusers" were all blindsided by the way the night was presented and set up.  It was sophomoric and . . . well, I don't like saying it, but DISHONEST to portray that everyone's problem was just that--Shawn's mere use of a certain "term."

Actually, there have become a train of issues culminating in the "confrontation" which caused concerned local pastors to attempt an intervention and calling of Shawn to repent.  None of which had anything specifically to do with Shawn's refusing to use the word "Trinity" to describe God.

Shawn's assault on the "doctrine's of the Trinity" (that the doctrine of the Trinity is "garbage") was but the most recent in a growing litany of criticisms and teachings contrary to orthodox, classical Biblical Christianity.  Putting aside the assertion that you can lose your salvation, which many believers continue to debate in good faith . . . there was the suggestion that God is not omniscient, omnipotent . . .there was the teaching that Hell is not eternal . . . universalism . . . that there is a purgatory of sorts . . . that people can still be saved outside the name of Jesus . . . the blanket accusations against local pastors being only in it for the money, for vacations, for ego . . . that fighting politically ie., against abortion is stupid and un-Christian . . . that there is no bodily resurrection . . . that the Second Coming already happened . . . that Reformed theology (that "back to the Bible" restatement which in essence WAS/IS the basis of the Protestant Reformation) is "heinous" . . . his insistence that "amplified instruments" should not be part of church worship (while he plays music through amplified speakers featuring electric guitars) . . . that baptism by water is only for baptism into a specific church . . . his declaration that the blending of the "best of Mormonism" with the "best of Christianity" can create a new "baby" called "Truth" (I thought JESUS is the Truth!).

No, the contention and controversy is not simply about Shawn using the term "Trinity" . . . but a growing body of teachings, behavior, spirit, doctrines and statements of which "the Trinity is garbage" is but the latest.

Shawn rages against the "teachings of men" as if he alone were not a man and that he is not offering teachings himself . . . as if there is some transmission of truth . . . that circumvents the vessels of "men" to which he alone somehow has access, which all the saints, preachers, scholars, elders, missionaries, theologians etc., have gotten wrong for the last (roughly) 1900 years.

In fact, everything we know about the truth, about God's revelation and Word, has come through "MEN"!  Jesus is God, but he was also a MAN.  The prophets, apostles, disciples . . . were all "men"!  Besides Jesus, the transmission of Spiritual truth has come through fallible, finite . . . "men".

There are yet a few specifics I want to cover further which happened during the "Inquisition" . . . I believe worthy of note . . . I intend to get to shortly.    

Friday, February 21, 2014

"Inquisition 2014"

Yeah, that was the provocative ("well poisoning", btrw) title of the big confrontation (complete with graphics of flames) last night between Shawn, 3 Christian pastors and the audience.  And wow . . . it was . . . well, intense.  No one was tortured, burned at the stake, beaten, (though Shawn said he felt like punching the pastors out and half-threatened they were lucky he was a "Christian") . . . .

I loved seeing the passion, however, regarding matters of scripture, doctrine--the fact that so many people care deeply to get things right.  No lukewarmness here, which I believe is pleasing to the Lord.  People argue and get heated over sports teams, politics and who should have won the Oscar; thank God there are still people who are just as passionate about . . . really what is the only and most important issue of the day, of any day:  Who is God?  What is His nature, character . . . what did he really say, etc.?

Now, Shawn wants everyone to just shut up and stop criticizing him; stop writing blog and posting on Facebook and making videos . . . about his public teachings, and while I'm at work today . . . I will ponder that request/demand.  Straight away, if he were not a public figure, a pastor who (usually quite vitriolically) expounds his own critiques of others and their positions on his "t.v." show . . . and this was all a private matter between brethren . . . then I understand discretion and the worries of this all being but gossip and slander.  But this is quite different for a number of reasons, and, in fact, other believers and pastors (defenders of the faith) are, I dare say, expected, perhaps even commanded . . . to address the situation publicly . . . whether they feel like it or not and regardless of Shawn's bullying, back-handed threats and, (all too often) frightening anger and simmering, sneering malevolence towards them.

But I will pray and ponder myself whether I can determine the responsibility or benefit of weighing in further.  Plenty of others now are and I see most everyone outside of Shawn's camp share basically the same observations and points of contention--not because of any collusion, conspiracy, but from coming from the same Biblical, "orthodox" understanding. . . .

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Shawn, Westward Tides, and Super-Amazing Stuff!

Haha wow... do I feel old . . . and . . . conservative . . . and insular . . . and quite niched into my ultra-Christian Jesus Freak little (well, actually big as infinity, but...) world. . . .

I took a quick glance at a few facebook sites . . . via my wife's "friends" list . . . just to see what goes on on Facebook, since I don't do it . . . and . . . well . . . wow.  My first thought was I can't believe anybody still comes here to my little monochromatic blog where I pretty much just talk, talk, talk about God--Jesus specifically--and various intricate, difficult theological issues . . . heh . . . .

The excitement!  The lights and bells and whistles!  So much action going on there in there in the Facebook world... so many "friends" . . . chiming in, comparing and contrasting . . . and so fast!  It appears that, despite what I experience as a rather mundane, difficult, laborious, repetitive, unremarkable day-to-day work, family and survival . . . is not what's actually going on "out there".

I mean, it looks like a party every night!  And super, awesome, amazing fulfillment from breakfast through lunch to dinner . . . every day!  Everybody's a rock star, a model, a celebrity in one or another category!  I can see how the addiction gets a foot in.  You certainly don't want to let too much time slip by before your next super-amazing-fantastical post!  Plus, you gotta check and see what the others are doing, who is doing something possibly more fabulous or at least something you can get in on . . . and the constant stroking, like, like, like, yeah!  No, really, I can see how it would be swift and easy to get carried away in that and for sure, you wouldn't want to spend time reading . . . READING and thinking too deeply about anything for too long, especially dull, over-serious, dour topics like hell, the Trinity, election, free-will, false doctrine etc.

Truly, I'm (pleasantly) surprised and touched that with so much exciting super-duper stuff going on in everybody's lives that anyone bothers to swing by my beat, ol' cyber shack . . . to care, let alone ponder or delve intellectually/spiritually in what I keep cranking out. . . . Heh. . . .

But . . . oddly . . . many of you still do, and since I've always written whether anyone was seeing it or not . . . I will carry on . . . fwiw. . . .

When I was young I looked at the whole thing . . . this life . . . and analyzed the situation.  I've got plenty of deficiencies, but I had talent, natural abilities, intelligence, fair enough looks etc., that I could see that if I really wanted to make a go of it, I could "achieve" something, probably even get rich and famous . . . or whatever . . . but I couldn't resist looking at the end of the whole thing and realizing that it wall ultimately meaningless . . . unless there was a God, an afterlife, a Truth to be found and followed . . . and a way out, past death.  I took to heart the warning, "what does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his soul?"

So, I'm going for the long haul.  Patiently abiding the madness and the nonsense and the fluff and . . . well . . . ego cultivating.  It is all worthless, meaningless, pointless . . . frankly stupid . . . the exertions and so-called "successes" of this life . . . unless it leads to something beyond this brief flash-in-the-pan.

All that to-ing and fro-ing . . . is fine in and of itself.  But it is dust in the wind, as Kansas sang, unless you are living for God, not the impermanent self.  And I thank God He didn't let me drift away into that dreamland--which is a lie, an illusion, though the whole world call us mad and old-fashioned and fanatical . . . extremists. . . . The whole lot can go mad if that's what they want.  I'm sticking with Jesus.
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In other news, whew boy, Shawn McCraney put on a show last night!  At one point I blurted, "When is Andy Kaufman going to pop out?"  Performance art, I would call it, and in that respect, I continue to insist that Shawn is tops as an entertainer!

He started his show . . . by not talking.  He stared into the camera . . . sipped at his mug occasionally, absent-mindedly leafed through his Bible now and again . . . stared and squinted more into the camera . . . looked down . . . looked up . . . and . . . didn't say a word . . . for the full hour of the program.  A notice ran intermittently across the screen to the effect of  "no part of this program can used without written consent" etc., . . . and while they did put up the call-in number . . . and people did call (mostly supporters saying, "go Shawn, we are with you" . . . he never responded and maintained his stony silence through the whole episode.

Lol.

The implied message seemed to be, "If I can't spout heretical doctrines and call you Christians idiots and yell at you and attack your pastors and churches and your doctrinal beliefs . . . without you guys giving me blowback . . . then "waaaa!  I'm not gonna saying anything!"

Truly, it came off diva-like, overly precious and flat-out childish, which one pastor who called in did manage to express. . . . And the ol' talk radio call-in prankster in me had a hard time not calling in and saying, "Goo . . . . Goo . . . goo-goo . . . gaa-gaa . . . do you need your diaper changed?"  But the better part of my new Christian restraint held me back. . . .

Tomorrow night at the C.A.M.P.U.S. Factory (wonder if Andy Warhol will be there?) where he holds his services, there is going to be a bit "Confront Shawn Night" where the public has been invited to attend and also call in (it will be streamed live) to address all the hullaballoo that has eventuated since Shawn "came out of the closet" doctrinally. 

Tonight, unless something has changed, Jason Wallace a local (Reformed) pastor of an Orthodox Presbyterian Church is suppose to continue (doctrinally) addressing the situation, though I think the fact that he did so last week on his show is a big part of what motivated Shawn to do his silent treatment shtick last night with all the dire warnings "no one can use any part of this program" since Jason did play some clips from Shawn's greatest hits. . . .

Anyway, for anyone interested in this local (though burgeoning) theological drama, Jason's site is http://www.ancientpaths.tv/
and eventually his episodes get posted.

Shawn's big shingdig tomorrow will be streamed here at 7pm Mountain Standard Time
http://hotm.tv/live/



And I must admit I do like Shawn and his bunch's artistic flourishes ....
Christian performance art . . . . . . that's what it's lookin' more and more like, which . . . well, is certainly better than the bulk of sheer garbage on cable and the networks.....
------------------------------
In homestyle news ... piecin' it together . . . I got my car back on the road..... a new water pump and engine fan . . .

Jackson's band made it into the showcase gig . . . so thanks to those of you who voted.  They will be going up against several other bands live .... the winner gets to play the Twilight concert series downtown this summer ... (I think...) ....
And his band got a great write up in our local culture and entertainment paper The City Weekly....


 That's Jack with the hat 3rd from the left to right ......lookin' all bowie... heh....
--------------------------------------

Take care ..... God bless . . . and thanks :) for slummin' around here on my little ol' Paul Harvey of a site ...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Into The Ditch

It can easily be said that the greatest of sins is the misrepresenting of God.  This is why false teachings, false doctrines, false portrayals of God and His character are such serious matters.  This was where the whole creation went off the rails involving the first big lie, "Did God really say . . . ?"

The creature then goes autonomous, independent, disobeying in responding "Hmmm, maybe not.  I think it will be okay if I adjust things a little bit. . . . "   The first big and continuing complaints against God are that He is too strict, too dogmatic, too exclusive, too severe; questioning His sovereign freedom and right to do just exactly what is in His good pleasure and will to do.

The unforgivable sin, likewise is blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  Again, this is when the creature who would be autonomous attributes to God, to the Spirit the work of the devil.  The Pharisees said Jesus' miracles and power came from Satan.  This misrepresenting of the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is considered so heinous, that of all the horrible sins there are, this one is worst of all, unforgivable.

It looks like to me that all of the other deviations, perversions, corruptions of Biblical teaching begin when one first has a wrong understanding of God; when one goes autonomous in one's own ideas and imaginations of what God is really like.  The plain, and often hard depictions and declarations of scripture are second guessed and the deceived begins creating an image of God in their own mind which more reflects one's own opinion of how God ought to be.  "Surely He does not send people to eternal damnation, I myself wouldn't do that!"

It is one thing to wrestle in one's own mind about God, trying to understand Him, studying and sweating over His Word and the profound, serious implications, discussing and wrangling with fellow seekers, or alone.  Indeed He tells us to reason and be thoughtful, prayerful, questioning, scrutinizing, weighing, and coming to satisfaction within our minds and hearts, not blindly accepting . . . studiously, carefully, respectfully approaching the Subject.

However, it is another thing to be a leader, a teacher with followers and congregants, in a place of authority, claiming to serve and teach only "Biblical truth" . . . then going on to misrepresent God--blaspheme, essentially, the Holy Spirit but acting as if it shouldn't be a big deal and anyone upset or critical is just being ridiculous.

In most such cases there is a woeful lack of comprehension of the true majesty, holiness, sovereignty, awe-full-ness of God; but instead a very small, almost casual, buddy-buddy concept of Him, not realizing or appreciating . . . the lowliness of oneself compared to the High-ness of Himself.  There is a lack of that holy fear and dread of His power and Creative and Kingly prerogative, which respect/"fear"/awe leads to true wisdom.  Instead, there is the casual autonomy of Eve, no such fear and obedience, and this quickly leads to a mountain of error and corruption, and the blind leading the blind into the ditch. . . .

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Other Religion

The other religion arrives like this; here is the "message" you will receive:  You are special.  Not special in and for the eyes of God, but special in the world.  You have been chosen . . . for a special purpose, to unite all people and further the ancient cause of spiritually evolving consciousness, to bring to the people the realization of their innate divinity.  There will be a magnetic pull towards certain ideas . . . such as . . . there are spiritual elders in other, higher dimensions guiding humanity and you have been selected, contacted by them for your special role.  There will be a sense that what you have for the world, what your are bringing is very important and there will be a constant drive to gather in an ever increasing coterie of followers, devotees to your special abilities and message. 

An overarching idea will be there that the world is on the cusp of a major, mass spiritual breakthrough and you are key in bringing it about.  You are at the forefront, novel, cutting edge and quantity (above quality) of those who resonate with your mission will become most important.  You will begin to believe yourself that you have some miraculous powers, and while they start with rare and mostly beneficent occurrence . . . over time they are most often assumed to be used in punishing enemies and naysayers (against your special mission.)  You will revel in and promote the idea that those who cross you, who claim you are a charlatan, will suffer, either from your own secret abilities or from the unseen powerful entities who protect you and support your cause.  

Nevertheless, though behind closed doors you are anything but at peace and full of compassion, the message will always be about how important love is--brotherly love, fraternal love, equality, social justice, making the world a better place.  Also, a growing resentment will fester against hierarchies (except for the hierarchy that develops fascistic-like in your order) . . . against traditions, councils--any authority which challenges your special mission and new message.  Charges of "legalisms" and "rules of men" will constantly be leveled by you and your followers against any who challenge as you and yours maintain that you all are above such things.  Your proscriptions and prescriptions, rules and such are of a different kind--uniquely inspired and only misunderstood by those of a lessor order, the "un-evolved", remnants of stuffy, spiritually dead patriarchies from the unenlightened past. 

If you happened to have started out with the Bible, the Bible will become less and less your foundational source and guide while other philosophies and spiritual teachings gain ascendancy in your mind and heart.  If the Bible is used, it will be reinterpreted with new meanings, hitherto undiscovered until you came along with your special calling and leading edge insights.  Formality of any kind, except the new kind that you are beginning to cultivate, will be hated, attacked, distrusted and shunned. 

This scenario . . . has played out . . . millions of times in millions of individuals . . . . since the Garden when the serpent first beguiled Eve, seducing her to distrust God and consider Him cruel and unfair.  Under many guises, within all cultures, throughout history . . . this other religion . . . is basically the same.  It is the devil's religion and demons have been propagating it continuously whenever and wherever they find an open, willing devotee once again to take up the cause (which is nothing other than the cause of rebellion against the one, true God.)

Beware . . . the other religion . . . and its siren call of "special calling."  It is true, as it has been written, there are only "two paths you can go by" . . . but it is typical of the Liar that he also had it follow in the same verse that "in the long run there's still time to change the road you're on."

Yes, for every soul saved, there is a rebirth and a change of roads from the one leading to death . . . to the other leading to life.  But in "the long run" . . . ultimately, there is not "time to change the road you're on."  No, that is a lie meant to destroy the procrastinator. 

There will be a day of judgment  There are not millions of lives, of chances to get it right until you finally do.  The import and meaning of this one life cannot be overemphasized as the stakes are real and they are high.

Which religion are you?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Getting Your "Spiritual House In Order"

 
You may have already seen this video, but if not I think it is helpful
in realizing the degree to which the "takeover" is in effect.
It's everything I expected and warned about for the last 26 years. 
It is what my "T-Ray: Regional Director for NWO" satirical bits for talk radio
were about '1990-92.  People laughed, mocked, thought I was being "paranoid."
I know others received the same treatment, nothing new there; its always been the case
that a small, highly organized, idealistic, amoral cabal is able to take down the sleepy, pleasure-seeking leviathan (where the leviathan is made up of mostly disinterested, self-centered, materialistic
un-critically thinking and unimaginative individuals.)  And likewise, only a few alert, usually Spirit-led observers stand on the walls shouting warnings, and these few are mostly picked off by the very ones they are trying to warn. . . .
 
I don't spend a lot of time addressing this situation, as I've already pretty much covered it and described in fair detail what is expected and indeed, what is now unfolding and in the "final phase."
There are those who say "be prepared, get prepared, especially get your 'spiritual house in order'" and that is what I am most interested in, FOR REAL, not just as cliché or tag line, which is why I seem to be addressing issues and matters that on the surface do not appear that much related to the political, social developments.  For what I see to often is that those who say, "first and foremost get your spiritual house in order' . . . in fact don't REALLY spend much time and effort doing that, but just say it as an addendum, while continuing to focus on material, temporal preparations above all.
 
What does that actually mean to "get your spiritual house in order"?  I believe I know and have the key to that, although, if you are still tethered to worldly thinking and using your worldly heart, it just sounds like cliché's and empty verbiage.  But for those with "eyes to see and ears to hear", they recognize the living water, the bread of life . . . and the immense, impregnable defensive power of the Lord's teachings on these matters; for these are not new matters, but old as the Garden itself, where it all started, and the answers, the methods of "survival" have not changed.  We don't need novel means to deal properly, as a disciple, with the Enemy and his ghoulish minions.  We only run into trouble when we are not truly submitted to the King, but retain idols in our hearts before Him.  THIS is the key to having your "spiritual house in order."  Truthfully, sincerely rooting out the other gods of our hearts is where its at.  Until that is done, the Enemy will always have an access door to come in and ransack and lead away. . . .
 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Shawn Goes "Zeitgeist"

Ok, well, a lot's going on with this situation so I want to address a bit more the latest developments.  As I've mentioned there are those here in our area that check in to what I'm writing on this and so far there haven't been too many people addressing it publicly besides me . . . but now the dam is starting to break, as I was hoping/expecting it eventually would. . . . It is an important issue with broader implications and I think a great object lesson unfolding in real time.

Shawn McCraney. . . .

First I want to make a point I'm finding increasingly interesting in the whole thing.  When we first went to Shawn's "para Church"--"C.A.M.P.U.S."--I (and my family) was very impressed with Shawn's preaching.  He was teaching sound Biblical exegesis.  It was obvious he prepared diligently and in depth the sermons he was delivering.  Ironically, it was Shawn's exposition on grace that really clarified some things for me.  My "Reformed" understanding of the Bible actually solidified while listening to Shawn teach on works versus grace; I say "ironic" because he turns out to be one of the more vitriolic anti-Calvinists around, attacking Reformed doctrine as he does, now along with attacking virtually all what are considered the foundational, "major", "orthodox" doctrines of Biblical Christianity. . . .

Anyway, what is sharply intriguing to me is to see how . . . while someone who actually disagrees with, or at least misunderstands (it turns out)  what he is teaching, the underlying truth of the Biblical teaching itself is so powerful and transformative . . . that it (The Word) still saves, so-to-speak.  Meaning to say . . . that even though Shawn didn't really believe the things he was preaching (ie., we are saved by grace alone, hell IS eternal etc.) I was still edified and learned and advanced in my understanding (despite Shawn) through simply hearing the truth being taught/spoken. 

It is also somewhat ominous.  Why?  Because it shows how it can happen that a teacher/pastor/"prophet"-whatever draws people in . . . in the beginning with apparently sound doctrine, whereby even "the elect" might be fooled . . . and then start shifting, twisting, changing the sound doctrine into radical, antithetical heresies.  We were the first ones out the door as soon as it was clear (when Shawn started to reveal himself, his REAL beliefs and ideas) but there are others that have stayed . . . at first, I guess just ignoring that changes in teaching, and maybe still shrugging it off because they like Shawn as a person . . . but others I know are going along, being convinced that he is on to something.  A lot of his "congregation" are ex-Mormons who don't really know much about the Bible and so, don't really realize the significance of the departures from the Faith that he is making.  Sadly, I know also there are some that DO know and secretly disagree, but, for various reasons continue to look the other way or think it is not a big deal. . . .
 
On his last show, he talked about the back and forth he and James White are having, that White challenged him to a debate . . . and (I can't believe it) Shawn agreed to debate sometime in the summer.  I hope that actually happens. . . . So far Shawn has only been willing to attack and criticize and claim to want discussion, debate . . . while then shutting down or shunning when someone comes along to engage. 
 
He also is now in a kerfuffle with a local (Reformed) pastor Jason Wallace who has a show on the same station Shawn got kicked off of.  Jason spent his whole show last night generally addressing Shawn's "coming out of the closet" (as Shawn put it) and is going to do more next week more specifically on the Biblical, textual responses to Shawn's latest assault on the Trinity.  (Shawn did basically go where I thought he would, which was to say that God just "manifests" Himself in different ways... one God ie., manifesting as .. wind... fire.... Jesus ... etc., which, interestingly is similar to what I was taught God was like when I was a Hindu.)  Shawn also used typical Jehovah's Witness and Mormon type arguments against the Trinity . . . along with quoting mostly atheist "scholars" to put up a "Zeitgeist" movie (lame) case that the idea of the Christian Trinity really comes from Pagan sources . . . a notion that has long been demolished by many accomplished Christian (and even non-Christian) scholars.....)
 
Darn, gotta run.... but may address a bit more on this ... God Bless

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pilot-Waves

So . . . in grossly simplistic and rough terms . . . as I understand it, Quantum theory has been suggesting (the proponents thereof ) that photons exhibit characteristics of both a wave AND a particle . . . which can't be in "normal" physics, hence all the talk of "spookiness at a distance" and the running idea that reality as we know it kind of falls apart at the quantum level, where logic appears to fail (where "A" can be "A" AND not "A" at the same time, ie.)  And that, ie., photons and other such quantum "things" thus are not material, not "real" in the traditional understanding of "real."

But Antony Valentini (theoretical physicist at Clemson U.) and some other scientists are publishing findings that . . . "wavefunction" is . . . indeed "real" . . . DOES follow similar laws of physics as everything else.  His theory of the "pilot-wave" (first brought by Louis de Broglie in 1927 suggests that the particle is inseparable from the wave or that we may just be looking at one thing . . . the pilotwave . . . NOT either particle or wave.  His ideas and research is shaking up the whole quantum scientific field.  So it may simply not be the case that something can both be itself AND other than itself at the same time. . . .

In all this, I find it amusing that the whole thrust of the research is to try and figure out why Big Bang theory keeps falling apart according to the Godless models, so they are constantly casting about for saving devices (such as "dark matter" . . . "dark energy" and related quantum theories.)  While I think Valantini is on to something with the "pilot-wave" theory . . . he is still not going to be able to rescue the Big Bang from its asserted Godless beginnings, however. . . .


Monday, February 10, 2014

McCranky Update (Wily Coyote Above the Gorge)

I am as leery as any about the "doctrines of men" interfering and trying to hijack the truth.  I am also sympatico with Shawn's tendency to buck tradition and reject Spiritless legalisms and dead formalism.  But methinks the fellow has rambled down a bridge-too-far and is swiftly to be floating in mid-air, unmoored from the Rock, legs spinning like Wily Coyote . . . about to plummet to the floor of the desert gorge.  Let me explain. . . .

Back on January 18th I wrote:  "I am expecting one of the next areas that Shawn will rock the boat will be in the subject of the Trinity . . . I suspect He is a modalist now, and/or something akin to "oneness Pentecostalism" . . . though he hasn't yet said as much. "

Well, yep, nailed it.  He announced on his last show that he was going to now take apart the "garbage" orthodox teaching of the Trinity.  He gave a brief, sympathetic review of poor little Joseph Smith being confused by the doctrine of the Trinity and how this lead Joe to come up with an alternative (the resulting Mormon polytheistic teaching that the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are three distinct beings, gods) but now Shawn is going to set the record straight.  He mockingly read the Athanasian Creed saying it was basically incomprehensible nonsense and that God is simply just "one" . . . which, as I suspected is roughly what "oneness Pentecostalism" preaches.  I also suspect that he will assert something to the effect that, like in ancient Greek theater . . . God (the actor) just puts on different "masks" to  portray/express Himself ie., as "the Son" . . . but that the idea of three distinct "persons" comprising one supreme Being is a man-made idea. 

He also seemed to be alluding to another "dumb" Christian belief he intends to demolish, on another note, which is BODILY resurrection.  I think he said something to the effect that it will be a "spiritual" resurrection, and I suppose he will get into that when he starts setting us all straight on eschatology.

And . . . what I continue to see and have been warning about . . . is that this is just how cults get started.  McCraneyism.  I expect he will eventually put out a new book with all of these combined "new" understandings of scripture by which he can accrue a devoted following to the whole of these McCraney-led teachings (ie., Hell is not eternal, no bodily resurrection, no Trinity, you can't use amplified instruments in worship service, Christians shouldn't be politically involved . . . and, if I were to guess further developments . . . gay marriage is ok, you can be "saved" even if not "Christian", the Second Coming will not be literal but spiritual. . . .)

The previous week he also did something that, quite frankly, made me feel a bit nauseous, physically ill.  He drew on a chalkboard . . . putting on one side Mormonism and on the other "Christianity".  Then he suggested you could take the best things from Mormonism (ie., how they do church) and the best things (according to him) about "Christianity" . . . put them together . . . and then he drew a resulting baby at the bottom--the result of combining the two . . . suggesting that here was where you could find what real Biblical Christianity would look like.  He named the baby "Truth."Blech. 

If you reject orthodox, Biblical Christianity, I think you could do that with anything.  Why not take the best of "Satanism" (reliance of self, no excuse making, survival of the fittest ie.,) and combine it with "Christianity"?  Or take the best of Hinduism, Buddhism, New Age, Islam . . . and on and on.

Is this not the height of syncretism?  [Syncretism is the combining of different, often seemingly contradictory beliefs, while melding practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths. wiki]

Back when I was a seeker, coursing through all the various (mostly Eastern) philosophies and religions, this was pretty much the bottom line of all of them.  Ie., there is "truth" in all the paths, they all lead to the same place, man-made doctrines corrupt them all to varying degrees and so, the seeker must glean the most "truth" from everywhere . . . and eventually, through ongoing spiritual evolution, every soul reaches "god consciousness".  Notably, this is also a basic teaching in Mormonism, though they claim to have the final repository of "revealed truth."

Shawn also has been pulling what I will call the "Mathew 23 card".  It is something quite commonly used by certain teachers, preachers, "prophets" etc. when they get called out on their attitude and methodology.  More and more Shawn is being confronted (in calls to the show, on Facebook etc.) over his tendency to respond to challenging questions and disagreement by getting visibly angry, calling people "idiots", hanging up on them, mocking, swearing, attacking and so on.  The typical defense  is "Hey, Jesus called people 'vipers', 'whitewashed tombs'!"

But when you consistently say, "I may be wrong, please call and contest me, I like disagreement, lets hash these things out" . . . then respond by yelling at people (fellow believers) and calling them "idiots" and mock them . . . the hypocrisy becomes glaring. 

For one thing, Shawn is not Jesus.  Jesus did not ALWAYS respond in the harsh way He did in Matthew 23--it was a specific time and place and purpose, addressing the Pharisees.  Jesus also KNOWS the motives, thoughts, hearts of men and is in THE position of authority to identify them.  Jesus was not arguing over disparate doctrinal issues--debating among friends, seekers and believers.  He was confronting religious leaders who had rejected the truth, blasphemed the Holy Spirit and set themselves directly and with antagonism against the work and actual presence of God!

Instead, what I see is usually the case, those who justify their vitriolic words and behavior towards fellow believers are simply trying to justify their lack of self discipline, immaturity, and mis-directed anger issues.  Yes, agreed there IS a time to confront and speak harshly . . . but it is probably not EVERY TIME someone challenges you on your admittedly radical departures from orthodoxy and especially after you invite discussion . . . while the biggest precept of your "new" corrective "Biblical" teachings is that "God is love."

Unintentionally, Shawn's underlying position is revealed in the new catchphrase for his ministry and upcoming cable t.v. network:  "Giving God a chance to make sense."

Seriously?  Shawn is (at last) "giving God a CHANCE to make sense"?  As if God hasn't been able to get His message through so far? . . . not until McCraney came along to combine (the more heretical elements of) Mormonism, Catholicism, Modalism with various other novelties included?

Does ANYONE give God anything that He couldn't or didn't do Himself?  Puhleeeeez!  Is this not what Joseph Smith tried to do?  Smith hated Calvinism and the Creeds and a host of other orthodox Christian teachings and decided he could come up with something better, supposedly "restoring" the lost Gospel?  Is this not what every new cult and charismatic cult leader is all about?  FINALLY "revealing" the "whole" truth . . . for the first time . . . because . . . for all these years . . . everybody else got it wrong?  Even though the Word states that the gates of Hell would NEVER prevail against God's revelation, "the faith which was delivered once for all to the saints" . . . (Jude 3).

 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Adendum to last post......

An important part of that last expose I neglected to mention . . . which I find fascinating and proper:

I wrote of making certain decisions, against, for instance "selling out". . . . Also how normal and natural it is to recognize and assume that the choices made which put me--let's say in a difficult or challenging situation now--I blame nobody else for.  It does not occur to me to not feel and accept responsibility for where my life has gone, its result from my choices in the past.  There is a mystery in this that I am not sure we may ever be able to comprehend, nor maybe are we even suppose to.  This strikes me as one of the hidden things of God--how it is that He is sovereign over all and decrees His perfect will from the beginning such that nothing happens outside of it AND YET I am responsible for my corrupt decisions made under the sin nature I inherited from the Fall.

From what seems to be a purely intellectual viewpoint I can argue that I shouldn't be held responsible for my sin if all is according to God's will, and this is where it appears many atheists, agnostics, and certain libertarian free-will Christians make their arguments from, shouting out the "unfairness" and even illogic of it all, but I find . . . in my existential experience . . . somehow I know and feel that indeed, I am responsible at the same time.  This is where I find that lurking, seeming paradox of "oneness and difference" within the "free will/sovereign God" conundrum. . . .

But back to the original point I started here to make which I neglected to mention. .  . .

While I take it as perfectly appropriate and accept it as the way it is, which also conforms to the teaching of scripture--that we are responsible for our decisions within God's sovereignty . . . I also do not take ANY credit for the "good" (counter-to-self) choices I made in the past . . . which have preserved me to God's path and kept me from "destruction."

For example, when I was offered the opportunity to "follow my dreams"--to pursue and fulfill the intense, longing desire I'd been cherishing for years (basically to be a successful artist, as a "rock star", heh) but instead acted on a prior commitment made to God (and myself) that I would never let my "dream" preempt ie., my family (wife and children) or my quest for "righteousness" (salvation), I fully accept that I did not make that hard decision EXCEPT THAT GOD MADE ME ABLE TO DO SO.  In other words, ANY difficult, counter-to-selfishness, "good" choices I've ever made I TAKE NO CREDIT FOR.  It was ONLY because God gave me the grace, the strength, the insight etc., to do so.  Left to my fallen self, every time I would have chosen the wrong, the bad, the unGodly. . . .

So, on the one hand, I feel totally responsible for the "bad", "sinful", selfish etc., decisions I've made in my life . . . and fully accredit GOD for any that have been "good", "Godly", selfless etc.

Many people have it backwards.  They credit themselves for the impressive, laudable, "good" decisions they have made, including the talents, "good" fortune" ability etc., they possess, while blaming God and others for any and every thing that has "gone wrong". . . .

God teaches us, however, that there is NOTHING good in sinful, fallen, unregenerate man.  He is DEAD in his sins ("dead" meaning . . . DEAD!)  He also teaches that it is impossible to please God without faith.  AND He tells us that faith is a gift--it is provided by God.

Thus, any "good" work of faith which I do . . . which pleases God . . . I can take NO credit for.  It's all Him, His grace.

This whole situation--our responsibility for our sin . . . within God's ultimate sovereignty and His being the sole source for any good . . . is to me one of the greatest of mysteries, one I'm fascinated by, although I'm not sure (nor care too much) that I will ever understand it, here OR There. . . .

[ok...gotta dash and go praise Jesus with other believers, so no time to proofread......hopefully no bad typos but will check it later so that everything written makes as much sense as possible :)  God bless.

 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Suggested Disciplic Responses . . .

Argh, my work car is dead.  A while back when I got new breaks for it the mechanic mentioned, "oh by the way you've got a crack in your engine block."  Which means either I have to figure out getting a new car or put in a used engine to keep it going long enough until it's paid off.  It's got a lot of miles though so . . . the other question is whether it's worth it to try and keep it going.  It could continue to just be one thing after another going out. . . .

It's been overheating lately, but so long as I've been able to keep dumping antifreeze into it, I've been able to keep going but . . . but now no longer.  It starts overheating immediately.  In this great communist economy this is all a problem as we are pretty much subsistence level--as fast as I make it, the money goes straight out, so, of course there's no savings to tackle any big issues that come up.  And if I can't get to work, then NO money comes in . . . so, yeah, it's quite the fun dilemma.

Now, the potential irony is not lost on me that this occurs as I've been preaching God's sovereignty and how one should be always thankful, whether good things or trouble come.  How is it God's will that my car breaks down and I have no money to fix it or to get a new one, yet I really can't miss more than a day or two of work before other problems start accruing . . . ?  One response would be to beat my chest saying "woe is me, why can't I ever catch a break!  This is not fair!  The wicked prosper on all sides, it seems, while I, honest, hard working family man struggle!"

I could then start thinking about how a big part of being in this situation resulted from the insidious insinuation of certain "family" into our business where we were defrauded (robbed basically) of all our a "security/retirement"; or in being blacklisted by the "system" because I'm a conservative (pertaining to my legal career) and similarly shut out of the music industry because I wouldn't conform (sell my soul in effect) to their agenda and continued to proclaim my allegiance to God above all (above material success) . . . and a whole host of other perceived and actual persecutions. . . .

But to be consistent, and walk the talk I make, here's what I actually do. . . .

Well, first off, I don't blame anybody.  Despite the breaks (or lack thereof) . . . I genuinely feel and know that I am responsible for where I am at.  Indeed, here is a paradox that is mysterious--which I don't fully understand--yet experience and go with.  Although I can see that others have had influence and effect on my life (ie., parental divorces and virtual abandonment of me) and the options and opportunities I currently have . . . it never occurs to me that anyone other than myself is responsible or to "blame" for where I'm at at the moment.  Whatever the case, I have made decisions, choices that have put me right here right now where I have a broken car, no quick money or means to solve the dilemma, yet must get working on how to figure out some solution.  And not only that, although in my flesh, to a small degree I feel some disappointment and regret, it is not very much, and overarching I must say I wouldn't change a thing.  I COULD have kow-towed in law school, played the game and "fit" myself into the system. . . . I COULD have said yes to the British record deal that probably would have made me a star (but lost my family in the process) . . . but I didn't.  And I wouldn't do it any differently today.  So why regret, complain, call life "unfair"?  I take full responsibility . . . AND I believe God is sovereign (hence the mysterious paradox.)

I read in scripture and thus believe absolutely that God IS sovereign over all, and all things work together for good to those who love God. . . . Now, regarding my car . . . I can imagine this:  What if my car HAD been working fine yesterday . . . and I started on the commute to work . . . and because of where I was at a certain specific time, I got sideswiped by a big semi-truck and knocked into the concrete abutment?  Or maybe by being in the lane ahead of someone, it later caused them to be in a bad place at a bad time?  Who knows what terrible accident I may have avoided by NOT driving to work yesterday?  GOD has the full range of knowledge and power . . . to arrange things the best way possible which follows His will!  And we have no idea what He preserved us from when we complain that such and such didn't go the way WE wanted it to. . . .

Who knows but that if I had gone to work yesterday . . . I may talked to a clerk at the paint store . . . for 15 minutes . . . which 15 minutes would have altered THEIR day and continuation through time and space . . . in just such a way . . . causing a whole series of different effects . . . so that . . . in April that person was in a place where they backed out of their garage . . . and didn't see the toddler behind the car, ran over and killed them?  Or, that same person ends up NOT meeting the born again Christian at the supermarket one day two years from now which leads to their coming to salvation?

You see, we are so myopic . . . so self-centered and limited in our knowledge and awareness that we miss the thousands--no, millions, trillions, GAZILLIONS--of tiny little acts, decisions, happenings, events etc. that God is constantly orchestrating, holding, sustaining, guiding, allowing, which are ALL--every single one of them--fitting into a mind-boggling, nearly infinite complex of patterned action . . . which . . . in the ALL IN ALL . . . is working PERFECTLY to achieve HIS sovereign will and design! 

Of course I have to get my car dilemma figured out.  Yes, it is a big inconvenience and problem for present circumstances . . . but . . . WHATEVER . . . who would dare presume to question God in this or any other major or minor happening, just looking at the superficial instance of it . . . not taking into account the galaxy, the universe of causes and effects He is decreeing and controlling which all are related in the minutest of ways, all fitting together for HIS purposes, Whose purposes are supreme, above all and for which everything is created?

Now, another thing I always quickly do when a personal problematic matter affects me . . . is thank God it is not worse.  I have made it a habit--and it is a powerful and always successful habit--to instantly consider what others in the world are at this moment suffering.  My problem is minuscule to that of the Christian girl right now being raped and beaten in some radical Islamic jail.  There are Christians and non-Christians by the millions suffering immensely under the current regime of devil-inspired God hating humanism the world over, and for whatever divine reason, God at the moment is not having ME to have to go through THAT!  I am grateful at once . . . and reminded to consider and say a prayer for the hurt and suffering of all people groaning under the Fall!  At the same time, I curse not God for it, as I know that He has a purpose (perhaps beyond my appreciation and comprehension) in everything, difficult and disturbing as it is to the "natural" eye. . . . I also know that those whom He does put through such persecution . . . are gaining magnificent rewards (crowns) of glory in the eternal world to come, which will dwarf even the worst this man-centered world has to offer!

These are just a few of the techniques and thoughts I regularly find myself using in dealing with challenging situations . . . which continue to prove powerful, edifying and I believe, in line with a solid Biblical and "disciplic" response. . . . fwiw (for what its worth:)





Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Steady Disciple

Someone close to me just got some disappointing news.  It was a hopeful expectation long pursued . . . which didn't pan out.  Didn't pan out just yet we all agree, but will eventually.  Nevertheless, bottom line, no way around that it was a result not wanted and . . . well . . . disappointing.

Here is where the real tests are.  It is easy to claim humility and submission to God's will when things are going along swimmingly, doors are opening, and it seems you just can't lose.  It is easy to slip into a mindset that you are in God's favor, have your act together and, of course you getting the things you desire and pray for!  It is easy to say, See God is sovereign!  God is great, God is good, look at all He is doing for me.

Then the disappointment comes--perhaps its a shocker, a hurtful surprise. . . . Wait, what?  I thought . . . I thought God had me . . . the formula has been working . . . praise God, do this and that to please Him, throw in some real serious moments here and there thoughtfully, seemingly "in the Spirit" . . . and voila~! . . . He rewards!

So what about those who love God, serve Him and other humbly . . . yet nothing seems to go their way?  In fact, doors shut, health crashes, nothing goes smoothly, no luck if you didn't at least have bad luck . . . on and on . . . tragedy strikes on top . . . and they get falsely accused over something, lied on, abandoned and persecuted. . . . Wait, what?  What kind of God is this?  I thought He loved me . . . would take care of me . . . provide . . . protect . . . bless with abundance . . . ?

Here is the mark of true believers, serious disciples . . . vs. those who really just want what's on God table, NOT WHATEVER God puts in their life good, bad or lukewarm. . . .

The one truly submitted says "Thy will be done, thank you Lord Who knows and provides JUST EXACTLY what is ultimately best for me" . . . while the other resents, blames, accuses, gripes and starts to develop a real burning hatred for God's sovereignty and divine free will.

"If God is 'love' . . . why does he allow this to happen to me?   If God is good why does He allow or even cause so much suffering, pain and misery to exist?  I REJECT that God.  I will not worship such a God (who does not conform to MY ideas of justness, morality, goodness, love etc."

THERE is scathing cry--the accusations of the unbeliever.  You can hear countless atheists, "agnostics", universalists, humanists every day shout this in their bitter anger. 

Apostle Paul under divine inspiration answers (paraphrasing):  "Really?  How dare you question God?  Who are YOU, mere creature, fallen, corrupt, finite, blind, deaf, cold-hearted, self-centered, NOT all-knowing, NOT omnipotent, NOT omnipresent . . . childish, vain 'oh man' . . . to question God?!" 

The one who has heard the Master's voice, who has seen and heard in the Spirit . . . trusts God ESPECIALLY in the personally disappointing times, whatever temporary troubles and set-backs arrive, KNOWING . . . IN FAITH . . . BELIEVING FOR REAL . . . that God in control, knows exactly what is best and is always . . . and only . . . bringing those things into one's life which are going to exemplify His glory."

The despiser of His Kingship sneers, "His glory?  It's all about HIS glory?  That sounds egomaniacal, pathological doesn't it?  What about ME?  Why does God need to have all the glory?  What kind of God is this?  Even if you prove Him to me . . . I will NOT EVER worship or bow down to such a God!"

And it is sadly, but gloriously true.  The hater of God does not and WILL not serve, love, worship, submit--refuses to acknowledge the supreme wisdom and will of God above all.  And so, such a person goes precisely where they want to be.  Away from God's presence to live in the stench and horror of their own craven idol, self.

The disciple of Jesus thanks God in all things, continually giving Him praise, regardless of personal disappointments and temporary suffering.  He or she knows that ALL OF IT is for the glory of God, and this is their prime motivation--their first love--to live and die for the glory of God. 

And such will live with Him forever in that glory, praise God!

[The person mentioned at the beginning of this, btw, praise God, knew right away the proper way to handle the news, submitted to God's authority and trusts His timing and ways in all things, thus passing the "test", I dare say]

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Big Debate

The big debate... OUR superbowl heh... I love it... how all the nerdy Christians are so excited about the debate tonight between Ken Ham and Bill Nye the Knucklehead Arrogant Science Guy....  I think here ...looks now like 7pm eastern?.....

Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham at the Creation Museum

 

I wonder if the shnyester will bring up Galileo to try and show how the Bible got some things wrong? ..... Here is where I wish Ken was as consistent with scripture regarding geocentrism as he is about young earth and no evolution . . . but oh well . . . we pioneers will take those arrows for a while 'til its obvious to all.  Ken has taken his share of arrows and overall I like his approach and respect his work and service to Truth......

 

woo hoo this should be fun.....

 

 

 

 

You As Witness In This Space & Time

"Any prayer that is not accepted by the one for whom
you intercede returns to you with great blessings."  Richard Wurmbrand
 
Our prayer lives must become robust, constant, interceding, alive, considering the present state of things. . . .
 
I dare say the Spirit is strongly impressing upon me the reality of coming persecution to those who've never really known it.  It is a great honor to be considered worthy to suffer for Christ, never forget.  He Himself said the rewards are great to be expected in Heaven.  One of the immediate rewards is how He invests the persecuted with Christlike portions of His Spirit, which is the greatest joy of all.
 
In Heaven there are angels who are so enrapt with the glory of God that they do nothing else but sing His praises.  People who have never tasted of this glory cannot imagine such a thing.  Praising God for eternity?  This sounds . . . frankly . . . boring to those who See not, Hear not and but live in their natural sate of enmity, hatred toward their Creator. . . .
 
But if you have had even a sliver of this abundant fount of joy and glory and light and love, you know a bit of what is in store, and the regenerated heart cries out in eager anticipation.  Nothing is better. . . .
 
I think at this time we are called to stand as witnesses and watchmen for what is swiftly upon us--we who have been so far protected by God's grace from much of the horror and suffering that has been, and is yet continually visited upon the Church.  We are one Body.  Wurmbrand said that when the soles of his feat were beaten his tongue cried.  Why?  Why does the tongue cry when the feet are hurt?  Because it is one body. . . . Our brothers and sisters are now being hurt and we must be the tongue for them, for we are to bear one another's pain along with our victories.  The unity of Believers is something that is sorely lacking in the disconnected, enervated, perverse, slothful, self-centered, decadent West.  Because of our indifference, and oftentimes casual complicity in the persecution of Believers and stifling of Truth, judgment is upon us.
 
Yet, even in this we are to be grateful, for all that God does is good and for edification and purification of His children whom He created for His glory.  What a gift!  What a startling development!  What a wonder that He created a people to be witnesses to His being and character and fundamental reality!  And to share in that glory!   Whatever we suffer that He deems wise and fortuitous for our growth and position in His Kingdom is virtually nothing compared to the reward, for He is merciful, generous, all-knowing and perfect to complete the task of our own individual perfections in Him!
 
In His all-powerful knowledge and will He created and chose you for this very time . . . to be in your place . . . to be in relationship with Him . . . to be a witness before the world for Him . . . to be His physical eyes and ears and hands and feet and heart and mind on the ground . . . at this literal moment . . . within the very real flow of time and space . . . on this unique and special planet . . . the center of Creation, where He Himself chose to come down from above to be like us . . . to show us the Way . . . . . . . . .
 
There is no fantasy, no story, no drama to compare to this holy drama unfolding before and around us . . . today.  Do not let the haters of God, of His creation, of His kingship . . . diminish the grave glory and importance of what this life is actually all about.  Do not let them belittle in your mind your own worth and place in creation nor the value and purpose of this one special world--a world designed by God Himself where He chose to reveal Himself, as a man, as one of us, stooping to our minute level, showing His grace and mercy and love, to suffer for our sins, and to lead us back into the fold, back into the cradling arms of His infinite love, holiness, glory . . . where we will be one with the great I AM!
 

Brother Thomas ©2015

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