How is God eternal?

The word “eternal” means without beginning or end. In reference to God, therefore, to be eternal is to exist as the one Being without beginning or end, uncreated and never able to die. As such, He serves as the power behind all created things (Genesis 1:1).

Many passages of Scripture affirm this biblical concept of God as eternal. For example, Psalm 90:2 notes, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.Deuteronomy 33:27 refers to the Lord as the “eternal God.Romans 1:20 speaks of God’s “eternal power.” Ephesians 3:11 speaks of God’s “eternal purpose.” First Timothy 6:16 notes God’s “power everlasting” or rule. Isaiah 9:6 refers to God as an “Everlasting Father.” Isaiah 26:4 calls Him an “everlasting strength

As part of the Triune God, Jesus Christ is also revealed as eternal in nature. He existed in the beginning with God (John 1:1). Jesus taught that He was the “I AM,” a reference to the Lord in Exodus 3:14 (John 8:58). Colossians 1:16 teaches, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

The Holy Spirit is also noted as eternal in Scripture. God’s Spirit was involved in the creation of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:3). Hebrews 9:14 refers to the Holy Spirit as God’s “eternal Spirit.”

Scripture also speaks frequently about both eternal life (John 3:16) and eternal destruction (Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9). There is an eternal dwelling for God’s people with the Lord, revealing the Bible’s clear teaching regarding eternity future (Luke 16:9; 2 Corinthians 5:1).

In Genesis 21:33, we are also told that one of God’s names is the Everlasting God: “And Abraham planted a grove in Beer–sheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.” Psalm 145:13 affirms that God’s kingdom is likewise everlasting: “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.”

It is clear that the One who created all things existed before all space, time, matter, and energy. Scripture also notes God has everlasting love for His people, has an eternal purpose, and an eternal destination that includes eternity in His presence for those who believe in Him.

What is the whole armour of God?

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The armour of God is described in Ephesians 6:10-18. In this passage we are told that our primary battles are of a spiritual nature and that we need spiritual armour to be able to stand firm in the midst of these battles. The armour includes the following pieces:

Loins girt about with truth: Truth is as a belt and the first item in our arsenal. A belt holds the other pieces of clothing and armour together. It secures the outfit and allows a soldier to move freely. Truth both secures us and gives us freedom (John 8:32). One of satan’s greatest offensive tactics is to deceive us; he is the “father of lies(John 8:44). With the belt of truth around our waists, we are prepared to defend against this. This truth also applies to the way we live our lives. When we live with honesty and integrity, the other pieces of our armour – what could be considered our spiritual selves – stay intact. A life of integrity is not easily torn asunder.

Breastplate of righteousness: The breastplate of righteousness covers our hearts and other vital organs. In a sense, the breastplate covers the most vulnerable areas of a warrior. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” The righteousness that guards a believer’s heart is the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Feet ready with the preparation of the gospel: Our feet are to be “…shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” (Ephesians 6:15). Because we know the good news of Christ and by that knowledge experience peace in Him (John 14:27), our feet are willing to move. In obedience to Christ, we will flee temptations (1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22) and walk into whatever He has called us to (Psalm 86:11; Isaiah 30:21; John 15:10).

Shield of faith: The shield of faith is used to “… be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (Ephesians 6:16). When satan attacks us, our faith in Christ lessens the blow. We are able to withstand the attack because we know whom we have believed (2 Timothy 1:12).

Helmet of salvation: A helmet protects the brain, basically our minds. It is because of salvation that our minds can be sound. We are assured of our eternities, and made righteous recipients of peace, practitioners of faith, and knowers of truth. Our minds are protected because of Jesus’ work on the cross; we have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:12-16). A helmet can also serve as a signifier. When the enemy looks at us, he sees that we belong to Christ. We carry with us the seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Sword of the Spirit: Which is the Word of God. This includes God’s written Word (the KJV Bible), God’s incarnate Word (Jesus as Logos), and God’s spoken Word (Holy Spirit within us). The sword is the one offensive weapon in the list. We are told, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). 2 Timothy 3:16 speaks of Scripture as being “…given by inspiration of God.” When God spoke, creation came into existence. As He breathed life into Man so He also breathed into His Word. There is power in the Word of God; this is why it is our best offense.

Praying: Prayer is an often forgotten part of the armour of God, but is essential to using the armour of God well. Prayer is the way we draw strength from God and rely on Him. In essence, it is what “activates” the armour. Apart from God, and reliance on Him through prayer, our efforts in spiritual battle are ultimately futile. 2 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “Pray without ceasing.

The full armour of God is a way to describe some of the blessings of God in the life of a Christian and the tools with which He has equipped us to stand firm against the evil one and have spiritual victory over the enemy.

WHO is (the) Holy Spirit?

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Many people misunderstand the identity of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is commonly thought of as an impersonal force. Some people think of it as a healing or protective power to which God gives a believer access. But what does the Bible say about the Holy Spirit? Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit is not just an impersonal power or a force, but a person – the third person of the Trinity, in fact. The Holy Spirit is God Himself.

(The) Holy Spirit appears synonymously with God in many places in the Bible, both in the New and Old Testaments. In Acts 5:3-4, Peter asks Ananias why he has lied to the Holy Spirit, and it is clear that lying to the Holy Spirit is the same as lying to God. He shares the characteristics of God, such as omniscience and omnipresence, as seen in Psalm 139:7-8, which says “Whither shall I go from thy spirit?
or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there:
if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
Again in 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, God’s attribute of omniscience is also present in (the) Holy Spirit: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit is a divine person, and He is intimately involved in our salvation, along with the Father and the Son, as shown in Romans 8:11 which says, “11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” The Holy Spirit has thoughts and knowledge (1 Corinthians 2:10), and He can feel sorrow and grief (Ephesians 4:30). (The) Holy Spirit can make intercession for believers (Romans 8:26-27). He also has a will and makes decisions (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

In Summary, Holy Spirit is God. He is the third person of the Trinity. Only as that divine person can Holy Spirit be to believers a Comforter and a Counselor, according to the promise of Jesus (John 14:16, 26; 15:26).

Perseverance

According to dictionary.com perseverance means continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.

Don’t quit! Keep going! We need to learn to persevere, because God wants us to. As we persevere we become closer to God. We persevere for a better life. The grace of God is a treasure. God is the treasure and all who ever need. Don’t leave it here. Spread God’s Word. The Grace of God is all we need.

TESTING OF FAITH (BEING TEMPTED) LEADS TO PERSEVERANCE
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” (James 1:2-4)

By being tested we gain perseverance. Perseverance gains maturity and completeness.

SUFFERING LEADS TO PERSEVERANCE
“[3]And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
[4]And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
[5]And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

Even suffering can lead to perseverance. Perseverance turns to character which turns to hope.

MORE VERSES ON PERSEVERANCE
“[11]Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11)

“[4]So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
[5]Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
[6]Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;” (2 Thessalonians 1:4-6)

“[5]And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
[6]And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
[7]And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
(2 Peter 1:5-7)

“[2]I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
[3]And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.” (Revelation 2:2-3)

“[9]I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” (Revelation 2:9)

PARABLES TO READ
Matthew 13:1-23 (The Parable of the Sower)
Matthew 13:24-30 (The Parable of Weeds)
Matthew 13:31-35 (The Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast)
Matthew 13:36-43 (The Parable of the Weeds Explained)
Matthew 13:44-46 (The Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl)
Matthew 13:47-52 (The Parable of the Net)
Matthew 13:53-58 (A Prophet Without Honour)

HOW TO PERSEVERE
Maintain contact with Christ (Christ alone is our security)
Maintain contact with other Christians
When we maintain contact with Christ we study the Word of God (KJV), We go to Him in prayer. We have a personal relationship with Christ. A lifelong commitment. We give our personal time all to Him.

When we maintain contact with other Christians we give each other encouragement. We share the Word with each other. We help each other live a Christlike life. We fellowship together.

When we maintain contact with both Christ and other Christians we build a Spiritual hunger. A hunger to want to know more and seek more.

Snails Kill Thousands

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

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When we consider deadly animals, we normally think about venomous snakes, ferocious sharks, crocodiles, or bears. You might be surprised to learn that the animals or organisms most deadly to humans don’t match our mental picture of dangerous creatures. The creature that kills the most humans per year (between 750,000-1,000,000) is the lowly mosquito. Because of the various diseases it spreads, such as malaria, mosquitoes are the animal kingdom’s leading human killers. Another creature that has proven to be extremely deadly is the harmless looking freshwater snail. Freshwater snails are host to dangerous parasites known as cercariae that cause an infection in humans known as schistosomiasis. Millions of people each year ingest this parasite through contaminated water,1 and about 10,000 die every year.2 While contamination from water is the most common cause of the infection, another way the parasite can spread is when a person consumes raw or undercooked snail meat.
The fact that many snails carry parasites that are harmful to humans turns out to be another piece of evidence that shows the King James Bible is the inspired Word of God in English. When we look at the food regulations written by Moses in approximately 1450 B.C., we find that the Israelites had specific laws about what they could and could not eat. One of those regulations dealt with animals found in water. The Law permitted the Israelites to eat any animal that had both fins and scales, but any creature without both fins and scales was “an abomination” to the Israelites. They were told not to eat them or touch their dead bodies (Leviticus 11:9-12). Land-living snails were also prohibited (Leviticus 11:41-42). Some people contend that the food laws had nothing to do with health regulations and were merely ceremonial, religious rituals. We have documented at length that such is not the case and that the food regulations were specifically designed to help the Israelites avoid many of the diseases that plagued the nations around them.3
When Moses led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, there were approximately 603,000 males ages 20 years old and above (Numbers 1:46). By adding to that the number of women of the same ages, along with those who were younger, we arrive at an estimated two million Israelites exiting Egypt. Due to their disobedience, they wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years. Many of the laws found in Exodus-Deuteronomy were sanitation, quarantine, hygiene, and disease regulation designed to keep the Israelites healthy and safe during their wilderness wandering and their future lives in Canaan. These regulations exhibited a scientific knowledge that was far beyond any nation’s ability at the time to have acquired through the natural course of human understanding. This characteristic is referred to as scientific foreknowledge and is an attribute of divine inspiration. In short, there is no possible way Moses could have known the science that lies behind the food, hygiene, and sanitation regulations in the books he penned.
Snails provide an excellent example of scientific foreknowledge. Both water-living snails and land-living snails are highly susceptible hosts to numerous parasites. In an article titled “Some Health Risks With Eating Giant African Land Snail”, entomologist Paul Skelley stated, “Most of the infections and deaths from snail-transmitted diseases apparently come from eating raw or undercooked snails or ingesting slime residue left on fresh fruits and vegetables.”4 Skelley went on to say, “In my opinion, eating wild snails should only be done in an ‘eat-snail-or-die’ survival situation” due to the high probability that most snails host dangerous parasites. The CDC put out a blog about snails and slugs carrying a parasite called the rat lungworm that can cause meningitis, blindness, and death in humans. The author said, “Humans become infected by ingesting raw or undercooked mollusks.”5
With two million Israelites moving around in the wilderness, it would have been extremely difficult to properly cook all the food they consumed. There were no meat thermometers that could be used to guarantee that snails, pork, or oysters were cooked to the necessary temperature to kill parasites. Since God provided manna every day for the Israelites to eat, they were not in any type of “eat-snail-or-die” situation. The consumption of meat and animals would have been for the purpose of providing variety to their diets and not at all necessary for survival. Therefore, the best approach to what should or should not be eaten would be to prohibit the consumption of any creatures that had a high probability of carrying parasites or diseases.
Moses could not have taken a microscope to meat samples to identify which animals carry tiny parasites or which animals (such as bats, see Leviticus 11:19)6 are remarkably prone to diseases such as rabies. We might expect that Moses could have guessed a few such instances correctly. But to have accurately listed numerous regulations that contain in them safety measures that were not understood by any nation until literally thousands of years after the books were written? That is superhuman. That is Divine! It is not surprising that Moses told the Israelites, “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” (Deuteronomy 4:5-6).

ENDNOTES
1 Christopher Stephens, “10 Creepy Snails that Will Ruin Your Day,” Listverse, http://listverse.com/2015/01/30/10-exceptional-creepy-or-dangerous-snails/.
2 “What Kind of Health Risks Do Snails Pose?” https://www.curejoy.com/content/diseases-caused-by-snails/.
3 Kyle Butt (2007), Behold! The Word of God, Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Behold%20the%20Word%20of%20God.pdf,  pp. 103-130.
4 Trina Sargalski (2013), “Health Risks With Eating Giant African Snails,” http://wlrn.org/post/some-health-risks-eating-giant-african-land-snail.
5 Alex de Silva (2009), “Snails, Slugs, and Semi-Slugs: A Parasitic Disease in Paradise,” Center for Disease Control, https://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2009/04/snails-slugs-and-semi-slugs-a-parasitic-disease-in-paradise/.
6  Butt, p. 124.

How to Grow Strong in Your Faith

In Romans 4, Paul tells us Abraham grew strong in faith and urges us to walk in Abraham’s footsteps. To believe like he believed. How do we do this?

In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told.  He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:18–21)

Look to God’s promise not your circumstances.

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations;” (18)

Abraham’s situation looked bleak. God promised him multitudes of descendants, but the only problem was he was well past child producing. “he considered not his own body now dead,…” He also considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. Not only was Abraham almost 100 years old, but Sarah his wife was very old, and she had never been able to have children her whole life. How are they going to have children? If Abraham had based his hope on his circumstances he would have given up. But In hope he believed against hope—God’s promise gave him hope in his hopeless situation. He put his hope in God’s promise, not his circumstances.

We may feel hopelessly unrighteous. We may feel like God could never forgive us for the sins we have committed, that he would never accept us. But we must not look at ourselves, just like Abraham didn’t look at himself, but like Abraham, we must believe God’s promise of grace. He counts me righteous in Christ!

Our teenager may seem hopelessly lost. Our finances may be out of control. We may lack direction for our lives. Our marriage might be frustrating or our church might be a mess. Look to Jesus Christ! Don’t look to yourself. Look to the promise of the gospel—everyone who believes in him shall be saved. Look to his promises to draw near to those who draw near to him. Promises to hear and answer our prayers.

Give glory to God

he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” (20–21)

Abraham strengthened his faith. Here’s how: “but was strong in faith, giving glory to God” Begin to give glory to God—start thanking and praising him for his every promise. Thank him for saving you and declaring you righteous in him. He has promised to be with us when we pass through the waters and walk through fire. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He has promised that nothing will be able to separate us from his love. He has promised to give us everything we truly need to glorify him. He has promised that we can do all things he requires through Christ who loves us. Praise him for these things!

We can look to our circumstances—it may not LOOK like God is being faithful. It may not FEEL like God is with us in these waters. It may FEEL like he has abandoned or forsaken us. We may not SENSE his love. But WE MUST NOT WAVER CONCERNING THE PROMISE OF GOD! Rather, we grow strong in our faith as we GIVE GLORY TO GOD, as we are fully convinced that God is able to do what he had promised.

In Psalm 43:5 the Psalmist says “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?
hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Keep thanking God, keep praising him in faith in the midst of your hard times. Say, “Jesus thank you that you are with me. Thank you have promised that your steadfast love never ceases. Praise you that your mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.”

Growing stronger in our faith is not complicated. Look to God’s promise and glorify him. So, what are you going to believe today—God’s word or your circumstances? God’s promises or your feelings? God’s bedrock pledge of faithfulness or your wavering emotions? Walk in the footsteps of Abraham and strengthen your faith.

Religion Vs Relationship With God

​In this article, I will be comparing the differences between religion vs relationship with God. As believers if we are not careful we can easily be involved in religion and be oblivious to it.

Religion can easily dominate your prayer life. Religion can easily dominate your daily walk with Christ. Religion cripples your relationship with God and it greatly hinders us.

However, believers can go overboard when we use “the religion excuse” to live in rebellion and worldliness.
We must be careful that we don’t harden our heart to rebuke and correction. There are many things that will be discussed in this article. I encourage you as you read this article to examine your life.

QUOTES
[A lot of people] think that Christianity is you doing all the righteous things you hate and avoiding all the wicked things you love in order to go to Heaven. No, that’s a lost man with religion. A Christian is a person whose heart has been changed; they have new affections.” ~ Paul Washer

Religion is the possibility of the removal of every ground of confidence except confidence in God alone.” – Karl Barth

Most men, indeed, play at religion as they play at games, religion itself being of all games the one most universally played.” – A. W. Tozer

Religion is a guy in church thinking about fishing. Relationship is a guy out fishing thinking about God.
RELIGION TEACHES YOU THAT YOU HAVE TO DO.

Christianity says that you can’t do. You have to trust in the One who has done it for you. Whether Catholicism, Islam, etc. Every other religion in the world teaches a works based salvation. Christianity is the only religion in the world where you are justified by grace through faith in Christ alone. Religion keeps you in chains, but Christ has set us free.
Romans 11:6, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Romans 4:4-5, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
IS CHRISTIANITY A RELIGION?

Many people like saying things like “Christianity is not a religion it’s a relationship“. This is true, but it’s not the entire truth. Christianity is a religion, but as believers we treat it as a relationship. The problem that I see in many Christian circles is that many people use the grace of God to indulge in sin. They say things like “relationship over religion” or “Jesus over religion”, but they forget things such as repentance and sanctification.

I hate the aspect of religion that says you have to do something to be right with God. I hate when someone tries to put legalistic rules upon believers. However, evidence of your faith in Christ is that your life will change. Evidence of your faith in Christ is that you will have new desires for Christ and His Word. I heard someone say, “Jesus hates religion.” This is not true.

Jesus hates hypocrisy, false religion, and He hates when people try to appear religious to show off. However, in John 14:23 Jesus says, “… If a man love me, he will keep my words:

As believers, we obey not to maintain salvation. We obey out of love and gratitude. When you have true religion, you don’t try to seem religious. You don’t try to act like something you’re not. You act as you are which is a new creation. Matthew Henry Commentary for James 1:26 says, “True religion teaches us to do everything as in the presence of God.

James 1:26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

James 1:27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
 
GOD WANTS US TO PURSUE HIM RELIGION KILLS INTIMACY

It’s a relationship that God desires! He doesn’t want you trying to be religious. He wants you to seek Him. Words mean nothing if the heart is not right. Are you involved in religion or are you involved in a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ? When you pray is your heart looking for Christ? What’s a relationship without intimacy? Is your prayer life boring? If it is, then that is strong evidence that you are involved in religion.
Leonard Ravenhill said, “There is no place on God’s earth more exciting than the church of the Living God when God is brooding there. And there is no place on God’s earth more boring when He isn’t.” When God is there our heart is filled with joy and excitement. The heart knows its maker. Religion or relationship! Which one describes your prayer life? Your prayer life dies when you become satisfied with religion. Stop going through the motions. You sit there in prayer and you say repetitive words and you know the heart is not right. You cheat yourself out the presence of God.
You say, “I spent an hour in prayer today. I did my duty.” No! Prayer is not a choir. It’s a joy. It’s a privilege to be in the presence of the Almighty God! We take prayer for granted when it’s something that we do out of obligation and not love. I am convinced that over 75% of believers do not actually pray. We have become content with throwing words around.

One great hymn writer said, “I often say my prayers. But do I ever pray? And do the wishes of my heart go with the words I say? I may as well kneel down and worship gods of stone, as offer to the living God a prayer of words alone. For words without the heart the Lord will never hear, nor will He to those lips attend whose prayers are not sincere. Lord teach me what I need, and teach me how to pray; Nor let me ask thy grace, not feeling what I say.
One way to examine the current condition of your heart is to pray for more of Him and wait on Him in prayer. Are you willing to wait for more of His presence? Do you cry out all night to know Him? Your mouth can say, Lord I want to know you but if you leave after 5 minutes, does that show a heart that truly wants to know Him?
You say the right words, but is your heart right? One thing I always say in prayer is “Lord I don’t want religion I want a relationship.” Sometimes my heart is so burdened and I say, “Lord I won’t make it through the night if I don’t have You.
Deuteronomy 4:29But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”
Psalm 130:6My soul waiteth for the Lordmore than they that watch for the morning:I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
RELIGION ROBS US OF THE LOVE OF GOD?

God wants you to understand His love. We often think that God wants us to do something for Him. No! He wants your relationship with Him to be characterized by love and not duty. Do you have a genuine love for the Lord? Are you missing out on God’s love? When we miss out on God’s love and substitute religion for a relationship, then we can end up being mean-spirited, grumpy, judgmental, prideful, and loveless.

I know of many Pharisees who say they know the love of God but they live as if they are in chains. Their life is filled with a false sense of condemnation and hate. Why live like that? Maybe you are a pastor and you fear the Lord, you obey Him, you do things for Him, you pray to Him, but do you genuinely love Him? We treat God like a loveless earthly father.
When your father is loveless or he never tells you about his love for you, then you feel as if you have to do more to gain his love. Does this sound like your relationship with God? Have your grown bitter over the years? The only reason we can love is because God loved us so much. Have you ever sat down and thought about that? The love that you use to love others and the love that you use to love Him is from His great love for you. We will never understand His great love for us.

I feel as if God just wants to tell us “shut up for just a moment and get to know My love for you. I love you.” It’s so hard to truly understand the love of God when we are searching for it in the wrong places. He loves you, not based on what you can do for Him, but because of who He is and what He has done for you in the finished work of Christ. Sometimes we have to just stop for a second, be still, and sit in His presence.
When you go to prayer from now on, ask the Holy Spirit to help you to understand His love. Pray for more of His presence. When we are in fellowship with God and our hearts are aligned with Him we will feel His love. Many preachers don’t know the love of God and have lost His presence because many have stopped spending time with Him. Examine yourself, renew your mind, and truly seek Christ daily.
Hosea 6:6For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Mark 12:33And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”


Romans 8:35-39Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Being Influenced Vs Being Called: Don’t Be Misled

Oftentimes we may think we know what God is calling us tjo do, whether it’s something major like starting a business or ministry, or something like writing a book or starting a YouTube channel.
We try doing these things wondering if we were purposely created to do them. But when we come up unfruitful, stagnate, and don’t even finish what we’re working on, we may ask ourselves “hmm, is this really something that God wants me to do in my life.”


The question we should really ask ourselve in this situation is “am I doing this because God called me to do it or am I doing it because I see everyone around me doing it?”. This is where being influenced by others can mislead us into doing something that God didn’t even anoint us for.

HERE’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “BEING INFLUENCED” AND “BEING CALLED
In the most general sense, being influenced means wanting to do something because you see someone else doing it and because it looks cool or trendy. People may influence us to work for a certain company or to write a book about something we want to put out to the world. But these moves may not necessarily be things that are in God’s will for us to do.
When we see so many other people of God making YouTube channels, writing books, or starting businesses, it can be easy for us to be influenced to do those same things because it seems like a trend. So many people want to follow trends and keep them consistent. But just because we’re influenced to do these kinds of things, it doesn’t mean that God wants you to do them.

Maybe what we really want is the feeling of accomplishment or self-importance. Or maybe you desire the popularity and financial prosperity that comes with it all.

But these are things that the flesh craves and it only craves things that displease God, ”For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16).

Being called is when God gives you a divine assignment to do His will on earth. This will include doing anything that builds His kingdom, brings others to salvation, glorifies Him, tells others about Him, and brings joy to others.

A calling will lie so heavily on your spirit that you just can’t seem to shake it. It practically scares you because you can’t stop thinking about it! (God is calling me to ministry, and it’s on my spirit every single day).

Whatever Holy Spirit is leading you to do—whether it’s music, writing, ministry, business, teaching, etc.—it will stay on your mind constantly, even if it’s something you don’t want to do! But to gain that desire to do His will, we must live our lives for Him.

Only God can give us such a desire, we can’t just find it within ourselves, ”For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

A calling may feel terrifying, yet exciting at the same time. You want so badly to flesh out this God-given vision, but it’s so big that you’re fearful of how the world will respond to it…and you.

This is how you know it’s from God. No one influenced you, no one told you to pursue it, but God gathered all the pieces together and held up the big picture right in front of your spiritual eyes. It’s like your calling is pulling you in constantly and your flesh just wants to resist it. Being influenced has a shallow affect while being called has an eternal effect.

They key to avoid earthly influence and finding your God-given calling is to stay led by Holy Spirit! Resist the flesh and live a life that is pleasing and glorifying to God every single day.

God uses those who are living a life led by Him. Why would He use you if you are a lukewarm or part time believer?

Seek God’s direction above all. Be careful not to be blindly led by others who are doing big things. Stay in your track lane and don’t look onto anyone else’s or else you’ll stumble and fall and not even win your race.

Be careful not to think, “hmm, everyone else seems to be starting a ministry or a blog. Maybe I should too?” Nooo! Don’t be led by the majority. We must do those things only if Holy Spirit leads us.

Sit at the feet of Jesus and ask Him what it is He wants you to do. Even if you’ve never seen anyone do it before! If God is leading you, you can trust that your obedience will only lead to peace and eternal rewards.

I want to leave you with this popular scripture: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

3 Ways We Grieve Holy Ghost

It is really important to better understand the person of Holy Ghost (notice I don’t say “the” Holy Ghost). Sometimes people think of the Holy Ghost as more of an “It” than a “Him”, hence me not putting “the” before Holy Ghost.
According to Scripture, the Holy Ghost is not only God, but He has a will, a personality, and can even be offended!

There is a sin that can be committed against Holy Ghost. Matthew 12:32, “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.“; in other words, ascribing any miracle, spoken in the name of Jesus, to the work of satan is blasphemy and a sin against Holy Ghost.

I want to focus on acts that can be committed by believers in grieving Holy Ghost.

One of the places in Scripture where we read about grieving Holy Ghost is in Ephesians 4:29-32. The apostle Paul writes:

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

To grieve means to make sad or sorrowful. It means to cause sorrow, pain, or distress.

But what makes Holy Ghost sad or sorrowful?

1. Foul and abusive language makes the Holy Spirit sad.

Verse 29 says not to use, “corrupt communication”. The word used here, σαπρός (sapros) speaks of something that has gone “rotten.” This includes obscene language, profanity, dirty stories, vulgarity, double entendres, etc.

When did it become “cool” for preachers to speak this way from a pulpit? Some people would say this is being “real” or “authentic”.

Guess what? You are not to speak this way—privately or publicly. How about being authentically godly instead?

2. Bitterness makes the Holy Spirit sad and sorrowful.

The definition of bitterness, πικρία (pikria) is “acridity (especially poison) literally or figuratively: – bitterness”.

Some people just like to be mad or angry. They live for conflict, arguing, and fighting. This, as with all sin, only gets worse if left unchecked and unrepented of.

The sad thing is that bitter people rarely want to keep it to themselves. Instead, they spread it around. The KJV Bible speaks of “…bitterness springing up … and thereby many be defiled;” (see Hebrews 12:15).

I have a better idea: forgive!

3. Fits of rage and uncontrolled anger make the Holy Spirit sad and sorrowful.

Wrathθυμός (thumos) speaks of a person who is easily angered and who raises his voice—shouting and screaming. “evil speakingβλασφημία (blasphēmia) is slandering others behind their backs. “Maliceκακία (kahkeeah) speaks of ill will and plotting evil against someone.

Look, all of us have been hurt in life, but we have a choice as to how we react. We can be like the moneylender Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, demanding our “pound of flesh”. We can say, “They did this to me; therefore I will have my vengeance!

We can also believe God when He says “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence;…

Instead of speaking evil of someone, we are to be, “…kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,…

We who are saved didn’t deserve forgiveness; yet God forgave and still forgives us when we sin. As Paul concludes Ephesians 4:32 by saying, “…even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Forgiven people should be forgiving people. Otherwise, we are grieving Holy Ghost.

The Tower of Babel – a continuation

Height of the tower

The Book of Genesis does not mention how tall the tower was. The phrase used to describe the tower, “its top in the sky” (v.4), was an idiom for impressive height; rather than implying arrogance this was simply a cliché for height.[41] The tower’s height is discussed in various extra-canonical sources.

The Book of Jubilees mentions the tower’s height as being 5,433 cubits and 2 palms, or 2,484 m (8,150 ft), about three times the height of Burj Khalifa, or roughly 1.6 miles high. The Third Apocalypse of Baruch mentions that the ‘tower of strife’ reached a height of 463 cubits, or 211.8 m (695 ft), taller than any structure built in human history until the construction of the Eiffel Tower in 1889, which is 324 m (1,063 ft) in height.

Gregory of Tours (I, 6) writing c. 594, quotes the earlier historian Orosius (c. 417) as saying the tower was “laid out foursquare on a very level plain. Its wall, made of baked brick cemented with pitch, is fifty cubits wide, two hundred high, and four hundred and seventy stades in circumference. A stade contains five agripennes. Twenty-five gates are situated on each side, which make in all one hundred. The doors of these gates, which are of wonderful size, are cast in bronze. The same historian Orosius tells many other tales of this city, and says: ‘Although such was the glory of its building still it was conquered and destroyed.'”

A typical medieval account is given by Giovanni Villani (1300): He relates that “it measured eighty miles round, and it was already 4,000 paces high, or 5.92 km (3.68 mi) and 1,000 paces thick, and each pace is three of our feet.”[42] The 14th-century traveler John Mandeville also included an account of the tower and reported that its height had been 64 furlongs, or 13 km (8 mi), according to the local inhabitants.

The 17th-century historian Verstegan provides yet another figure – quoting Isidore, he says that the tower was 5,164 paces high, or 7.6 km (4.7 mi), and quoting Josephus that the tower was wider than it was high, more like a mountain than a tower. He also quotes unnamed authors who say that the spiral path was so wide that it contained lodgings for workers and animals, and other authors who claim that the path was wide enough to have fields for growing grain for the animals used in the construction.

In his book, Structures or why things don’t fall down (Pelican 1978–1984), Professor J.E. Gordon considers the height of the Tower of Babel. He wrote, ‘brick and stone weigh about 120 lb per cubic foot (2,000 kg per cubic metre) and the crushing strength of these materials is generally rather better than 6,000 lbf per square inch or 40 megapascals.Elementary arithmetic shows that a tower with parallel walls could have been built to a height of 2.1 km (1.3 mi) before the bricks at the bottom were crushed. However, by making the walls taper towards the top they … could well have been built to a height where the men of Shinnar would run short of oxygen and had difficulty in breathing before the brick walls crushed beneath their own dead weight.”

Weight Loss Is Mentioned in the Bible

I am not talking about body weight, but spiritual weight. These weights and chains that weighs us down and entangles us in sin. Sin separates us from God.  We must go through a Weight Loss process to lose this spiritual weight that is weighting us down. We find this in Hebrews 12. This shedding of weight helps us run the race that is before us.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
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Just like in real life, when we lose body weight, it can help benefit us in so many ways. One for our health. Plus, it can help us to move faster. Just think they more weight we carry the slower we will go. The less weight we have the faster we can go. The same applies with us when we do the Work of God. When we carry a heavy load of sins, it will weigh us down. We won’t be able to properly do the work of God with all that weight. Actually that weight hinders us.

Weight is ὄγκος (ogkos), in Greek. The word means a mass (as bending or bulging by its load), heavy, i.e. burden (hindrance):—weight. The usage of this word ogkos is only used one time in the Bible. We know that Paul liked to use sporting type analogies in his epistles (letters). Running the Race and Fighting the Good Fight. (See my other blog)

I also want to state the only way to this weight loss is from Jesus Christ. We must Admit and Confess our sins. With the confession of our sins, we must repent or turn away from the sins that entangles us. We all have a sin that we are driven to. As Christians we should strive to sin less. We should also know when we sinned against God and seek forgiveness right away. Holy Spirit helps to convict us. Jesus Christ is the only one that can make us a new creation. He gives us new desires. He also gives us strength.

When we seek out forgiveness from Christ we shed weight. We know how that feels when we forgive someone or even confess something we did, almost seems like a weight was lifted off our shoulders. That is what happens when we confess and repent to Christ. We shed that weight. Give it to Christ because He cares for you. His yoke is easy. He will help carry the load too.

Amen.

God’s Smile

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Malachi 3:17, “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

Reading: Malachi 3

Do you ever feel God’s smile of approval? What prompts it? According to the Bible, some things please God immensely (Revelation 4:11). You can almost see God smiling and glorying over His work.

We find such an example in the OT, Malachi 3. God took note that in spite of a wholesale departure from His ways, there were some people who still feared Him and thought on His name. They were not just thinking of themselves in pious pride, but were taking pleasure in meditating on the goodness of God. 

These people were speaking to each other and encouraging each other in a time (like now) when there was much to be disturbed about. Words were stout against God (vs. 13). The popular opinion said it was vain to serve God; there was no personal benefit in it (vs. 14). The proud were called happy and the wicked were “set up,” suggesting that they were the ones who had the good life.

We face similar conditions in our day, but God always has His remnant, and He makes sure they find each other. They converse often because it is a delight to them. Their discussions focus on the Gospel, His provisions and their desire to continue to walk and have faith in God – obeying His precepts. 

The Lord hears all this; in fact, I believe He hearkens and smiles with pleasure. He claims these people for His own and adds them to His collection of jewels, the most precious of His possessions. He spares them from evil and harm as parents spare their children who put their trust in their parents. We also say that He saves them from sin and it’s ugly results and He adopts them into His Royal family, the real “Royal Family” (1 Peter 2:9). Don’t this make you want to smile with delight too?

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‘The smile of the Lord is a feast to the soul’

Atheism & Free Will

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Renowned atheist Carl Sagan began his immensely popular book Cosmos with these words: “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.1 What do today’s atheists mean when they use the term Cosmos? The modern “scientific” idea is that the Cosmos is completely, entirely, and altogether materialistic, composed of matter and energy, and contains nothing immaterial or “not-matter.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines “materialism” as, “The theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena.2 As it now stands, the ideas of the Cosmos or of “nature” have been redefined to include only physical matter and energy. Evolutionists Hewlett and Peters demand that “to be scientific in our era is to search for solely natural explanations.3 Physicist Paul Davies correctly stated, “The materialist believes that mental states and operation are nothing but physical states and operations.4 Evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin admitted that evolutionists “have a prior commitment, a commitment to naturalism…. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door.5
What are the logical implications of the idea that everything in the Universe consists solely of matter and energy? At first glance, the materialistic idea may not seem very profound or Earth shattering, but a deeper probe into the concept reveals that some of the most fundamental aspects of humanity are at stake. In this article, we focus on one feature of humanity that must be denied if materialism is accepted: human free will. You see, if matter and energy are all that “really” exists, then the notion must be rejected that there is a human will that directs the decision-making process. In short, if you, as a person, have ever made a single real decision; if you have ever freely chosen to do or not do anything, then atheism cannot be true. This is the case because your decision would be the result of something “more than” matter. It could not be explained by a naturalistic “cause and effect” chain of chemical events. If there is a “you” inside your body that freely chooses this or rejects that, then the materialist understanding of the Universe is false.

Modern leaders in the atheistic community admit as much. Sam Harris, recognized in skeptical circles as one of the four leading voices of modern atheism, penned a book titled Free Will. In that short volume, he wrote: “Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making…. We do not have the freedom we think we have.6 He further stated, “I cannot determine my wants…. My mental life is given to me by the cosmos.7 Again, “People feel (or presume) an authorship of their thoughts and actions that is illusory.”8 And, “What I will do next, and why, remains, at bottom, a mystery—one that is fully determined by the prior state of the universe and the laws of nature (including the contributions of chance).9 As he begins to summarize his views toward the end of the book, he says, “You will do whatever it is you do, and it is meaningless to assert that you could have done otherwise.10

Why does Harris demand that free will is non-existent? His commitment to materialism paints him into this corner, which is obvious from his statement: “In improving ourselves and society, we are working directly with the forces of nature, for there is nothing but nature itself to work with.11 On the second-to-last page he writes, “Am I free to change my mind? Of course not. It can only change me.12

There are striking ironies in the position that Harris and others take as they deny their own free will and their readers’ as well. First, why in the world would these men write books and articles in an attempt to persuade anyone to believe their “no free will” position if the reader cannot decide for himself to change his mind? What is the point of trying to convince a person who believes in free will, if that “belief” is nothing more than the consequence of the cause-and-effect, natural processes that are banging around in his brain? If the reader does not have the ability to choose his or her belief, what is the point of trying to “show” the superiority of the “no-free-will” position? According to Harris and crew, you believe what you believe because of the physics of the Cosmos working in your brain, and how in the world words on a page could change those physics would indeed be a mystery worth uncovering. The fact that modern atheists are writing books to convince people that there is no free will belies the undeniable fact that humans have free will.

Second, Harris’ concluding statement brings to light another glaring difficulty in the no-free-will position. He says, “Am I free to change my mind? Of course not. It can only change me.13 Wait just a minute. Who is the “I” or the “me” in the sentence? If there is no free will, and humans are simply the combined total of the physical processes at work in their brains, then there should be nothing more than the “mind” in Harris’ sentence. The fact that he can differentiate between “himself” and his “mind” shows that there is something more at work than determinism. A purely physical entity such as a rock or atom does not have the ability to think in terms of “I” or “me.” In truth, that Harris is conscious of an “I” or of a “self” contradicts his claim that free will does not exist.14
In addition, it seems humorous and superfluous for people such as Harris to write an “Acknowledgements” section in their books. Why thank people and acknowledge their contributions to your work if they could not have done otherwise? He writes, “I would like to thank my wife and editor, Annaka Harris, for her contributions to Free Will. As is always the case, her insights and recommendations greatly improved the book. I don’t know how she manages to raise our daughter, work on her own projects, and still have time to edit my books—but she does. I am extremely grateful to have her in my corner.15 That’s all well and good, but since she has no free will, she didn’t choose to help Sam. It was thrust upon her by the nature of the Cosmos. Why thank a person who stays with you and helps you due to no choice or decision of her own, but due to an unalterable course of cause-and-effect actions in her brain? Why not thank the computer that “typed the words so faithfully as I hit the key strokes,” or the oxygen that “so generously entered my lungs and allowed my cells to function,” or the light that “so gracefully bounced from the screen (or page) to my eye, allowing me to see”? That Harris thanks his wife and not his computer gets to the point that there is something very different about the two entities. You thank a person because that person helped you (but could have chosen to do otherwise).

On February 12, 1998, William Provine, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the distinguished Cornell University, took to the podium on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He was invited to deliver the keynote address at the second annual Darwin Day, a day dedicated to commemorating the life and teachings of Charles Darwin. In an abstract of that speech on the Darwin Day Web site, Dr. Provine’s introductory comments are recorded in the following words: “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.16


Provine’s ensuing message centered on his fifth statement regarding the lack of human free will.

Several years later, Provine continued to hold to this position. He appeared in the Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed in 2008. In his discussion about Darwinian evolution, he said, “It starts by giving up an active deity, then it gives up the hope that there is any life after death. When you give those two up, the rest of it follows fairly easily. You give up the hope that there is an imminent morality. And finally, there’s no human free will. If you believe in evolution, you can’t hope for there being any free will. There’s no hope whatsoever in there being any deep meaning in life. We live, we die, and we’re gone.17 
The late Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick concurred with Provine. He wrote in his book

The Astonishing Hypothesis: “‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.18 


In his million-copy international best-selling book The Selfish Gene, renowned atheistic writer and speaker Richard Dawkins explained the evolutionary ideas that force atheism to deny human free will. He asserted that humans are “survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve selfish molecules known as genes.19 Since Dawkins views humans as a compilation of physical genes fighting for survival, he must insist that these genes instinctively strive to live and pass on their information. That being the case, every human action must then be a product of the physical “gene” forces at work in the human body and brain. Human actions cannot be the result of some type of personality or free will according to this notion. In his attempt to flesh out his view more thoroughly and give answers to behaviors that have traditionally been attributed to human free will, he expounds on the selfish gene idea: “This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behaviour.20 When explaining the relationships that survival machines (humans) have with each other, he stoically quips:

To a survival machine, another survival machine (which is not its own child or another close relative) is part of its environment, like a rock or a river or a lump of food. It is something that gets in the way, or something that can be exploited. It differs from a rock or a river in one important respect; it is inclined to hit back. This is because it too is a machine that holds its immortal genes in trust for the future, and it too will stop at nothing to preserve them.21

Dawkins’ ultimate explanation for human behavior is that we do not choose the way we relate to each other, but are driven by our genes to use or exploit other humans to produce the greatest chance to pass on genetic information.

It is often the case that many atheists attempt to distance themselves from the views of Dawkins, Harris, and other free-will-deniers. They contend that, even though they are atheists, they still believe that humans have free will and choose their own behavior. They do this because they know, deep down in their heart of hearts, that they have chosen their behaviors in the past. The problem with their mode of operation, however, is that atheism necessarily implies that free will cannot exist. If humans actually make their own, personal decisions, then something must be at work that is more than nature—which is over and above the natural, physical movement of atoms. There must be a human mind, or soul, or spirit that is supernatural—that controls the movement of the physical body. A person can choose atheism, or he can accept human free will, but not both and still be logically consistent.
Atheist Dan Barker, prolific debater and author, feels the tension between atheism’s denial of free-will and the fact that humans know that they make personal choices. His solution is simply to redefine the term free will. In his debate with Peter Payne, Barker stated: “I happen to think that we have the illusion of freewill…. I’m a strict determinist. We are natural creatures. The material world is all there is. We actually don’t have what we would call libertarian freewill.”22 In his book, godless, Barker stated: “I am a determinist, which means that I don’t think complete libertarian free will exists. Since we don’t know the future…we have the illusion of free will, which to me is what ‘free will’ actually means.” Barker recognizes that humans certainly feel like they make decisions, but his atheism demands that they cannot do so. In order to hang on to his atheism, and allow for “free will,” he changes the definition of free will to “thinking that you are actually making a free will choice when you are not.23

Barker is not the only atheist that is forced to turn to this “illusion of free will” idea. Anthony Cashmore, biologist at the University of Pennsylvania, penned an article alleging that human free will does not exist. He wrote: “It is my belief that, as more attention is given to the mechanisms that govern human behavior, it will increasingly be seen that the concept of free will is an illusion.24 According to Cashmore, you are reading this article because your genes and your environment have forced you to. You are not responsible for your decision to read this article, and based on your alleged evolutionary history and your environment, you could not choose to be doing anything different than what you are doing now. You are literally a slave to your genes and your environment. As Cashmore wrote: “[A]n individual cannot be held responsible for either his genes or his environment. From this simple analysis, surely it follows that individuals cannot logically be held responsible for their behavior.25
One of the most damaging lines of reasoning against the illusion idea put forth by Barker and Cashmore is the way in which these men attempt to convince their readers of its truth. Cashmore used five-and-a-half pages to argue that our society should disregard the outdated concept that humans are responsible for their behavior. Barker has been in more than 80 moderated debates attempting to bring people over to his view. But if Cashmore and Barker are right, then there is no way we can disregard the concept of free will, due to the simple fact that we did not choose it in the first place. If humans are not responsible for their beliefs or behaviors, then the generally held concept of free will is nothing more than an evolutionary, environmental by-product. According to their line of thinking, if we believe in free will at the present, and act on that belief, we are not responsible for it. If they are right, why in the world would they attempt to urge the scientific community to change its mind about free will, if the community does not have the power to change its mind? Why spend time and effort arguing against free will, if your audience does not have the freedom to choose to accept or reject your reasoning anyway? The fatal flaw of the “no free will” argument is that it demands that the person making the argument has the free will to do so, and it tacitly assumes the parties evaluating the argument have the power to accept or reject it.

If humans are survival machines that cannot make any real choices, then all “persuasive” arguments would be worthless. Those who believe in God are programmed and forced by their genes to do so. Those who believe there is no God are equally products of their bodily physics. If humans don’t change their minds, but, as Harris claims, their minds change them, then why attempt to change believers’ minds, since they don’t really have “minds” and their brains are going to “believe” whatever their genes tell them anyway?

Atheists actually have to assume free will in order even to discuss the topic. It’s as if they are saying, “I want you to turn your eyes to look at me so that I can show you that you really can’t see anything.

Television personality Bill Nye the “Science Guy” found himself in a terrible quandary when asked about human free will. In a video on the subject titled, “Hey Bill Nye, Do Humans Have Free Will?” he stated: “But clearly, I know I have made decisions based on things that happened around me that I wouldn’t have made without being informed by history or what I noticed. I know I have. Now if that turns out not to be true, I’d be very surprised.26 Near the end of the video, however, he then backtracks and claims that our decisions really are the result of the quantum physics at work in our brains. Then he claims: “At some level there is randomness in what we think, because we are made of chemicals that have randomness.” Then he said, “I mean, I don’t mean to skirt your question.27 Actually, skirting the question was exactly what he was doing. He has to admit that he makes choices, but his atheistic naturalism forces him to back peddle and attribute those “choices” to chemistry and physics. His video is the epitome of atheism’s failure to deal with the fact of human free will.
In June of 2015, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne delivered a lecture at the Imagine No Religion convention in Vancouver, Canada. His speech was titled, “You Don’t Have Free Will.” It is one of the clearest examples of the new age atheistic position. Based on his atheistic beliefs, he argues for a purely deterministic world in which human free will is nothing more than physical processing at work, molecules moving to the beat of the laws of physics. Addressing his primarily atheistic audience, he says, “Now many of you don’t accept that. You don’t believe that you are robots made out of meat, which is what I’m going to try to convince you of today.” He takes this position, because if atheism is true, and there is nothing supernatural, then (as he says), “Our behavior is absolutely determined by the laws of physics.28

Coyne takes serious issue with his fellow atheists who claim to be naturalists and determinists, but who attempt to say that humans do have some kind of free will. He correctly shows that atheistic naturalism cannot permit any type of free will.
Those atheists who are trying to accommodate both ideas, according to Coyne, are simply playing “semantic tricks” trying to convince people “that we are still okay even though we are meat robots.29 Coyne went on to say, “As Anthony Cashmore said, ‘We have no more free will than a bowl of sugar.’” Coyne then added his own words, “We are bowls of sugar, just very complicated ones.” Coyne does an excellent job of proving that atheism demands that human free will cannot exist. What he fails to do, however, is prove that free will does not exist. He claims it. He asserts it. But he cannot prove his false assertion. The reason for that is simply because humans really do have free will.

At one point in his speech, he attempted to deal with the biggest problem that the “no-free-will” idea encounters. He tried to tackle the question of why he would try to persuade anyone to believe his view, since, according to his view, no one can choose any beliefs. His argument was that, just like kicking a dog teaches the dog to avoid harm, presenting the material he was presenting may “teach” a human to adopt his viewpoint, even though humans would just be reacting to his material, not choosing to believe it.

So, Coyne says, “Why did I get out of bed this morning? I thought, I hope to persuade people, and that was determined by the laws of physics.” He goes on to say, “Even our very desire to try to change people’s minds. The fact that I’m up here trying to do this is determined by my own, you know, physical constitution and environment. That is the infinite regress and the sort of annoying thing about determinism. It’s turtles all the way down.

Let’s analyze Coyne’s statement. Who is “annoyed” by this “infinite regress” of physics? Is it Coyne? Why, if he is just doing what his chemistry is forcing him to do, does he get “annoyed” at this? Who, exactly, is it that is getting annoyed at the situation? Is it Coyne’s physical, meat robot self? Obviously, the fact that he is “annoyed” speaks to there being something more to Coyne than molecules in motion.

NO MORAL RESPONSIBILITY

Consider the chain of implications. First, if there is no God, then this material world must be all there is. There can be nothing supernatural. Second, if the physical world is all that exists, then all entities that are made of matter must be driven solely by physical laws. Third, since there is nothing supernatural (according to this view), then there can be nothing more-than-matter inside of humans that can choose anything. Free will cannot exist in an atheistic world. But do not stop there. If humans cannot make decisions, then what is the necessary implication of that belief? What would that mean in regard to morality, crime, punishment, etc.? The necessary implication is that humans are not morally responsible for any of their behavior, any more than a rock, squirrel, or turtle is.

In Coyne’s speech, after making one of his points about most of his audience being determinists, he said, “Almost all of you here don’t believe in moral responsibility. Think about that.” He went on to say that because of his belief in determinism, “I don’t consider myself morally responsible, because I don’t have a choice.” Cashmore said the same when he stated, “From this simple analysis, surely it follows that individuals cannot logically be held responsible for their behavior.30 While the atheists who deny free will attempt to conjure up a world where no moral responsibility brings about a modern utopia, nothing could be further from the truth. The rapist blames his genes. The murderer blames his chemistry. The adulterer points the finger at his environment. The thief “cannot help himself.” The perjurer acted only in response to molecular motion in his brain. The school shooter followed his urge to kill as many students as possible. The suicide bomber could not have chosen otherwise. An environment saturated with such thinking would hardly be described as a utopia.

Along these lines, Coyne said, “Whether or not you are the kind of person who accepts other people’s notions of morality is something that you have no control over. And if you don’t, that’s something you don’t have any control over either.

Let that sink in….
If you think it is “morally” acceptable to fly a plane into a building in an attempt to kill as many people as possible, you could not think otherwise and you are not “morally” responsible for doing anything wrong. Truly, the denial of moral responsibility is one of the most fallacious and harmful implications of the false idea of atheism.
we are to be “scientific” about these matters, we must take what we know to be the case and find the explanation that best fits the facts. If we are honest, each of us knows that we have freely chosen attitudes and behaviors. We know that we could have chosen differently. And we often feel the guilt of having chosen wrong, or the triumphant feeling of having chosen right. In all honesty, you know that you could choose to quit reading this article right now, or you could continue. Your freedom is not an illusion, but is an actuality: a statement of the way things really are, not the way they only seem to be. Since that is the case, we must take the fact—our free will—and find an explanation that best fits the fact. Atheism cannot account for human free will. Atheists who are consistent with their belief are forced to admit this is a logical implication of it. Therefore, if humans have free will, and atheism implies that they do not, then atheism is false. On the other hand, the idea of a supernatural God endowing humans with a mind, consciousness, and soul fits perfectly with the fact of human free will. Thus, the person who is trying to “follow the evidence where it leads” must conclude that human free will proves a supernatural Creator exists.

WHY CHOOSE TO BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE NO CHOICE?

As I have studied atheistic books and writings and watched several videos, I’ve tried to put my finger on why atheists do not want to believe they choose. They all admit that humans think we are free to choose, but they insist that we are not really choosing anything. They maintain that there is really no “Sam Harris” upstairs, or Jerry Coyne “in there somewhere.” They insist that “Richard Dawkins” is just another name for the physical molecules that make up a certain body, and that there is no real soul or personality of a non-material nature “in there.” If there really is such a thing as free will (and there is), why would a group of people choose to deny it in spite of the evidence that proves it exists? Why don’t they want to be viewed as free moral agents who deserve praise for their morally correct actions and who deserve blame for their moral failures? An exhaustive list of possible reasons why this is the cause is impossible, but Coyne did give us one very telling idea.

Near the end of Coyne’s speech, he attempted to explain the benefits he sees in adopting the idea that free will does not exist (not to be tedious, but keep in mind that he does not really think you can adopt it; instead, you are forced to accept whatever your chemistry determines). He said that a benefit of denying free will is that you would have a “lack of regret for bad things that happen. It takes away a certain amount of guilt feelings from you. You don’t have to beat yourself up over, ‘I should have done this instead of that.’” There you have it. Humans, from the beginning of Creation, have looked for ways to plead “not guilty” in the face of their own sins. We have attempted to blame everyone else except ourselves for our moral failures. Humans have tried to blame God, their parents, their genes, their society, their spouses, their circumstances, and everything under the Sun for the selfish, sinful choices they have made. The next step with this approach is to say that, since we cannot choose our behavior, then “punishment is not justified for retribution (people get—or should get—what they deserve).31

Notice the reasoning. If I can say that I cannot help myself (I cannot choose differently), then I do not have to feel guilty for the things I do wrong. Furthermore, if I did not choose the immoral actions that I committed, then neither society (nor God) can punish me for doing immoral things. Truly, the Proverbs writer accurately stated many years ago, “Evil men understand not justice” (Proverbs 28:5). The atheistic position not only rejects the concept of free will, but then jettisons the concept of justice as well.
Yet how acutely aware we humans are when injustice has been done to us.

In regard to the current situation, Romans 1 reads almost like a prophecy,

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” (1:18-22, emp. added).

I was just a meat robot.” “My selfish genes drove me to….” “The physical properties in my brain forced me to act that way.” “I could not have chosen differently so I’m not morally responsible.” These and other empty excuses will not be accepted by the Maker on the Day of Judgment.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

ENDNOTES

1 Carl Sagan (1980), Cosmos (New York: Random House), p. 4.

2 American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.

3 Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters (2006), “Theology, Religion, and Intelligent Design,” in Not in Our Classrooms, ed. Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch (Boston, MA: Beacon Press), p. 75, emp. added.

4 Paul Davies (1983), God and the New Physics (New York: Simon & Schuster), p. 82.

5 Richard Lewontin (1997), “Billions and Billions of Demons,” in The New York Review of Books, 44[1]:31, January 9.

6 Sam Harris (2012), Free Will (New York: Free Press), p. 5, italics in orig.

7 Ibid., p. 19.

8 Ibid., p. 24.

9 Ibid., p. 40.

10 Ibid., p. 44.

11 Ibid., p. 63.

12 Ibid., p. 65, italics in orig.

13 Ibid., italics in orig.

14 For an extended discussion of consciousness and Creation, see Bert Thompson and Brad Harrub  (2004), “The Origin of Consciousness: Part 2,” Reason & Revelation, 24[2]:9-15, https://goo.gl/M9Drix.

15 Harris, p. 67.

16 William Provine (1998), “Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life,” http://eeb.bio.utk.edu/darwin/DarwinDayProvineAddress.htm, emp. added.

17 Ben Stein and Kevin Miller (2008), Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Premise Media), emp. added.

18 Francis Crick (1994), The Astonishing Hypothesis (London: Simon and Schuster), p. 3.

19 Richard Dawkins (2006), The Selfish Gene (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press), 30th Anniversary edition, p. xxi.

20 Ibid., p. 2.

21 Ibid., p. 66.

22 Dan Barker and Peter Payne (2005), “Does Ethics Require God?” http://www.ffrf.org/about/bybarker/ethics_debate.php.

23 Dan Barker (2008),godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press), p. 128.

24 Anthony Cashmore (2010), “The Lucretian Swerve: The Biological Basis of Human Behavior and the Criminal Justice System,” PNAS, 107:10, http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/02/04/0915161107.full.pdf+html.

25 Ibid.

26 Bill Nye (2016), Big Think, “Hey Bill Nye, Do Humans Have Free Will?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITdMa2bCaVc.

27 Ibid.

28 Jerry Coyne (2015), “You Don’t Have Free Will,” Imagine No Religion Convention, Vancouver, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca7i-D4ddaw.

29 Ibid. All other quotes from Coyne’s speech have the same bibliographic information unless otherwise noted.

30 Cashmore.

31 Coyne.

Suggested Resources

10 Hopes and Dreams from the Bible

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My parents taught me to never give up hope. My teachers inspired me to dream big. I still hold on to those ideals today, but when that job offer doesn’t come or the diagnosis from the doctor brings disappointment, I begin to ask myself this question. Am I hoping for the right things?

God knew we would face discouragement. He provided for those times by giving us verses like this. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13). The Word motivates us to keep moving forward when our situations seem hopeless.

But how do we know if we are hoping for the right things? How do we know if our big dreams are from God? Here are 10 hopes and dreams in the Bible. Let’s allow them to uplift us today and draw our attention back to the “God of hope.

1. Hope for God’s promise fulfilled, against all logic.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:” (Genesis 12:1-2).

God made an unbelievable promise to Abraham. Yet Abraham demonstrated hope in the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise. “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.” (Romans 4:18).

2. Hope to endure our suffering.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:” (Romans 5:3-4).

Paul lived a life full of tribulation. Because of that, he could speak these Holy Spirit inspired words with confidence. God teaches us through the apostle Paul how rejoicing in our suffering will lead to strengthening our hope.

3. A dream to build something great for God.

Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building:” (1 Chronicles 28:2).

David desired to give God his best. Although he had good intentions, God directed David to pass the responsibility of building the temple to his son, Solomon. The gospel message kindles a fire inside us to dream big for God. Just like God had a special plan for David and Solomon, He has one for each of us too.

4. Hope for a better future.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

This well-known verse in Jeremiah comes in the midst of a warning. The Lord speaks to the prophet with strong admonition for His children, but also reassures them of His ultimate desire. God loves us and wants us to obey His commands.

5. Hope to reach the Promised Land.

Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.” (Joshua 1:10-11).

After a 40-year trek, the Israelites prepared to enter the land God promised. He reassured Joshua with the words, “…Be strong and of a good courage; … the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (1:9). The path may seem confusing when we can’t see what’s ahead. But God will bring us to the place He promised, and He will be with us on the journey.
6. A dream for freedom.

But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: ” (Genesis 40:14).

Joseph knew one day the dream God gave him would become reality. But first, he needed to trust God with one minor detail – he needed to get out of prison. The chief cupbearer Joseph spoke to in this verse may have forgotten Joseph, but God hadn’t. In His timing, the Lord released Joseph from jail and established him in a place of honor.

7. Hope to finish God’s assignment.

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24).

We serve in the local church, work full-time jobs, and raise families. We give to missions, support ministries, and volunteer our time. Sometimes we get tired, but Paul’s perseverance provides just the example we need. The good news of my Savior brings me refreshment and renewed hope.

8. Hope for Christ’s return.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3).

The disciples didn’t want to hear that Jesus would be leaving them. The thought of living life without Jesus by their side? It seemed too much to bear. But Jesus reassured believers with these words that still comfort us today. He will come again.

9. Hope for eternal life.

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” (Titus 1:2).

In Paul’s greeting at the beginning of Titus, he reminds us of the ultimate promise we receive when we choose to accept Jesus Christ as Lord. We will one day live forever with Him. Jesus gave His life so we could have that hope.

10. Hope in God alone.

And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.” (Psalm 39:7).

David’s song shares the answer to our question. When hopelessness threatens to take over, God is the definition of hope. Keeping our hopes and dreams rooted in God alone gives us peace for each new day. Let’s place our hopes and dreams in God with this assurance, “For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.” (Psalm 71:5).

Since God Hates the Shedding of Innocent Blood, Can a Christian Vote for Hillary?

Posted Jul 27, 2016 by Michael L. Brown

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There are few sins God hates as much as shedding innocent blood, especially the blood of children. Seeing that Hillary Clinton is a radically pro-abortion candidate and seeing that the Democratic platform reinforces those radical views, can a Christian vote for Hillary in good conscience?
In Jeremiah 19, God explained why the people of Judah were about to go into exile: It was because they worshiped idols and, “Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, [Jerusalem] and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents;
They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind:” (Jer. 19:4-5).
Because of these heinous sins, Jerusalem was destroyed and the Temple of Yahweh burned to the ground, with tens of thousands going into exile.
Does God hate the shedding of innocent blood any less today, especially when it is the blood of children? Listen again to Jeremiah: “And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.” (Jer. 7:31).

What, exactly, did this entail? Listen to this description from the medieval Jewish commentator Rashi, who explained that the high places of Topheth refer to the god “Molech, which was [made] of copper, and they would heat it up from underneath it with its hands spread out and heated. And they would place the child on his hands, and he would be burnt and moan, and the priests would beat drums so that the father should not hear his son’s voice and take pity.What a horror!!!!
Now stop for a moment and look at these images of aborted babies (NOT RECOMMENDED FOR SENSITIVE READERS!!) and ask yourself how the Lord must feel about the shedding of this innocent blood – the blood of innocent babies in the womb.
Can you, as a follower of Jesus, cast your vote for a candidate who supports this bloodshed? Can you vote for Hillary Clinton, one of the best friends Planned Parenthood has ever had?
Just look at the stark contrast between the RNC and DNC platforms on abortion.
As reported by LifeNews.com, The proposed Democratic Party platform this year is more extreme than it has ever been, calling for taxpayer funding of abortion and a repeal of the Hyde Amendment. The Democratic Party platform already supports legalized abortion on demand for any reason up until birth.
“‘We will continue to oppose — and seek to overturn — federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment,’ it reads.
In complete contrast, the RNC platform on abortion begins with: “Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.

The platform supports “a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.” It opposes “using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage.
It calls for appointing judges who will uphold these values, reaffirms its opposition to partial birth abortion, and salutes “the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation.
Again, the difference between the two platforms could not be more extreme. It is literally the difference between death and life.
Let’s also remember that Hillary Clinton is hardly a pacifist who would avoid the shedding of blood in war (in contrast with allegedly war-mongering Republicans). And even so, there is a world of difference between going to war to defeat terrorism and killing a baby in the womb.
Some have argued that it doesn’t matter where a candidate stands on abortion since the laws never really change.
After all, we’re told, after 20 years of Reagan, Bush, and Bush, Roe v. Wade was still not overturned.
That’s true, but one reason is that we also had 16 years of Clinton and Obama. What would have happened if we had 36 years of presidents in the mold of Reagan? What if the progress made under a pro-life president wasn’t undone by a pro-abortion president? What if all presidential appointees to the Supreme Court were pro-life during the last 36 years? The answers are self-evident.
And let’s not minimize the progress that has been made in different states, including requiring women to view an ultrasound of their baby before aborting. Thank God for every life saved.
The bottom line is this: Can you look at pictures of aborted babies – such as baby Malachi (AGAIN NOT RECOMMENDED FOR SENSITIVE READERS!!
– and read verses about God’s hatred of killing children and then vote for a candidate who aggressively defends a woman’s “right” to this bloodshed, even into the ninth month?

It’s one thing to be uncertain about voting for Trump (or other candidates). It’s another thing to vote for a radical, pro-abortion candidate like Hillary Clinton.
I, for one, do not see how you can look Jesus in the eye, look abortion in the eye, and vote for Hillary.
Only God is your Judge, and you and I will give ultimate account to Him. But if you’re a regular “pro-choice” voter, I urge you to reconsider your ways! In the name of Jesus!

What Jesus Really Said about Poverty

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In Jesus, God came as a poor man, lived as a poor man, and died as a poor man. He is good news to the poor. As such, Jesus cared deeply about the impoverished.

Being What We Believe
What we do with our beliefs is as important to Jesus as what we believe. Jesus is about complete commitment to loving him and others. Jesus loves belief-filled actions, as his saying to a wealthy young man shows:
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” (Matthew 19:21; see 19:16–30). The man walks away sorrowful. Jesus then says his famous:
….Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23–24).
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Jesus’ disciples then ask, “….they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25–26). Jesus is not suggesting it is impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven, or be saved—He is saying it is only possible with God. For God to enter a person’s life they must be open to Him entering.
Many of us are just like the rich young man. Out of one side of our mouth we speak allegiance to Jesus, but out of the other side we’re speaking allegiance to the trappings of wealth. I know, because the rich young man asks the same questions I would ask. Look at the events that prompted Jesus to make his statement about the wealthy:
“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” (Matthew 19:16–21).

Jesus is possibly frustrated and perhaps even offended: “Why are you asking me about who is good?” The man is asking the wrong question. He doesn’t ask how he can follow Jesus, or what it means to be a disciple—or what good thing he can do for the world on behalf of a good God. He asks, “What must I do so that I will have eternal life?” If we’re honest with ourselves, isn’t that the question many of us are asking God today? Jesus is unsatisfied with that question.
Eternal life (salvation) is God’s great gift, but it’s meant to be a gift that prompts action. It is meant to give us purpose.
When I was confronted with the reality of the story of the rich young man, I again asked another question that he asks: “Which commandments?” Jesus cites to the man all the relational Ten Commandments, and in doing so, basically implies, “All of them.” The man tells Jesus he has observed these and then asks, “What do I lack?” It is this question that gets to the root of the issue. Jesus tells the man that he lacks self-sacrifice for others—he lacks giving to the extent that it is painful to him. He lacks an ability to put aside his wealth for the sake of the gospel. Wealth is meant to bless others—plain and simple (see Genesis 12:1–3 for an example). It is not for hording, and it will—if not given up, when God prompts you—keep you from fully experiencing the blessings of God.

What Jesus Really Said about Poverty

by John Barry

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In Jesus, God came as a poor man, lived as a poor man, and died as a poor man. He is good news to the poor. As such, Jesus cared deeply about the impoverished.

Being What We Believe
What we do with our beliefs is as important to Jesus as what we believe. Jesus is about complete commitment to loving him and others. Jesus loves belief-filled actions, as his saying to a wealthy young man shows:
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” (Matthew 19:21; see 19:16–30). The man walks away sorrowful. Jesus then says his famous:
….Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23–24).

Jesus’ disciples then ask, “….they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25–26). Jesus is not suggesting it is impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven, or be saved—He is saying it is only possible with God. For God to enter a person’s life they must be open to Him entering.
Many of us are just like the rich young man. Out of one side of our mouth we speak allegiance to Jesus, but out of the other side we’re speaking allegiance to the trappings of wealth. I know, because the rich young man asks the same questions I would ask. Look at the events that prompted Jesus to make his statement about the wealthy:
“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” (Matthew 19:16–21).

Jesus is possibly frustrated and perhaps even offended: “Why are you asking me about who is good?” The man is asking the wrong question. He doesn’t ask how he can follow Jesus, or what it means to be a disciple—or what good thing he can do for the world on behalf of a good God. He asks, “What must I do so that I will have eternal life?” If we’re honest with ourselves, isn’t that the question many of us are asking God today? Jesus is unsatisfied with that question.
Eternal life (salvation) is God’s great gift, but it’s meant to be a gift that prompts action. It is meant to give us purpose.
When I was confronted with the reality of the story of the rich young man, I again asked another question that he asks: “Which commandments?” Jesus cites to the man all the relational Ten Commandments, and in doing so, basically implies, “All of them.” The man tells Jesus he has observed these and then asks, “What do I lack?” It is this question that gets to the root of the issue. Jesus tells the man that he lacks self-sacrifice for others—he lacks giving to the extent that it is painful to him. He lacks an ability to put aside his wealth for the sake of the gospel. Wealth is meant to bless others—plain and simple (see Genesis 12:1–3 for an example). It is not for hording, and it will—if not given up, when God prompts you—keep you from fully experiencing the blessings of God.

3 Things NOT to Say When Someone is Suffering

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If we are affected by someone’s suffering, we will remember it, which is one of the great gifts that we give to each other.
A young man’s father died, and his local church, as we would expect, loved him well—invitations to dinner, a high priority on everyone’s prayer list, and warm e-mails, texts, and cards. After a week or two, the generous care began to taper off, also as we would expect. The few people who still asked the young man how he was doing stood out to him as unusually caring.
A year later, on the anniversary of the father’s death, a friend from the church called and left a message: “I remember that your father died on this day last year. I just wanted you to know that I was thinking about you and prayed for you. I prayed that there will be times today when the memories you have of him bless you.”
The young man was stunned. He was changed. He was comforted and encouraged, and he committed to keep others on his heart long term.
God’s premiere self-description is “The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,(Ex 34:6). This means that both our pain and our prayers affect him, and he has us on his heart. He takes our burden on himself and remembers us. As we imitate our Father, we want to feel the burdens of others too.
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)
So we call, e-mail, track down the suffering at church. We have them on our heart, and we want them to know it.
Say something. Do something. Remember. That is the basic idea.

WHAT NOT TO SAY

Yet the call to say something does not mean that everything we say is good and helpful. It’s important to know what not to say. Sometimes we may be tempted to respond to someone’s suffering with thoughtless platitudes. Here are three offenders:

1) Do not say: “It could be worse.”
Believe it or not, that is only the first half of a hideous comment, for example: “It could be worse—imagine if you broke both legs.”
We have some odd ways of cheering each other up.
The comment is accurate—everything could be worse. We suffer and then, along with the suffering, have a comforter who says it could be worse.
Such a comment is utterly thoughtless. God himself would never say or sanction it. God does not compare our present suffering to anyone else’s or to worst-case scenarios. Ever. If we hear friends do this in their own suffering, it does not give us the right to chime in. Instead, it might be a time to warn them.
Yes, your suffering might not seem as severe as _______, but God doesn’t compare your sufferings to others.
If we make such comparisons, we might be tempted not to speak of the suffering from our hearts to the Lord because we would consider it whining, which it certainly is not.
So even though things could be worse, that is never an appropriate thing to say to others or to let others say about their situation. God is not dismissive of our hardships, and neither should we be.
2) Do not say: “What is God teaching you through this?” Or, “God will work this together for good.
Those platitudes are biblical in that God does teach us in our suffering, and he is working all things together for good (Rom. 8:28). We agree with C. S. Lewis when he writes that pain is God’s megaphone to arouse a deaf world. But these kinds of comments have hurt so many people; let’s agree that we will never say them.
Consider a few of the possible problems with this and other poorly timed misuses of biblical passages:
Such responses circumvent compassion. Will you have compassion if someone is being “taught a lesson”? Not likely.
Such responses tend to be condescending, as in, “I wonder when you will finally get it.
Such responses suggest that suffering is a solvable riddle. God has something specific in mind, and we have to guess what it is. Welcome to a cosmic game of Twenty Questions, and we’d better get the right answer soon; otherwise, the suffering will continue.
Such responses suggest that we have done something to unleash the suffering.
Such responses undercut God’s call to all suffering people: “Trust me.”

In our attempts to help, we can over-interpret suffering. We search for clues to God’s ways, as if suffering were a scavenger hunt. Get to the end, with the right answers, and God will take away the pain. Meanwhile, the quest for answers is misguided from the start and will end badly. Suffering is not an intellectual matter that needs answers; it is highly personal: Can I trust him? Does he hear? Suffering is a relational matter, and it is a time to speak honestly to the Lord and remember that the fullest revelation he gives of himself is through Jesus Christ, the suffering servant. Only when we look to Jesus can we know that God’s love and our suffering can coexist.
3) Do not say: “If you need anything, please call me, anytime.
This heads in a better direction; it is not quite a platitude. However, this common and kind comment reveals that we do not really know the person. Sufferers usually don’t know what they want or need, and they won’t call you. The comment is the equivalent of, “I’ve said something nice, now see ya later.” It gives no real thought to the sufferer’s needs and circumstances, and the suffering person knows it.
Instead we could ask, “What can I do to help?
Or (better) we could consider what needs to be done and do it.
Wise friends buy more dog food, do the dishes, drop off a meal, cut the grass, babysit the kids, clean the house, give a ride to small group, drop off a note of encouragement and then another and another, help sort out medical bills, and so on.
Any such acts of love and service make life easier for the suffering person. And a meal is never just a meal; maid service is never merely a timesaver for those served. These acts say to the sufferer, “I remember you”; “I think about you often”; “You are not forgotten”; “You are on my heart”; “I love you.” The time we give to creative strategizing is the power behind such acts. It is unmistakable love that mimics the strategic planning of the triune God’s rescue mission. He planned and acted even before we knew our real needs.
The oddity of our clumsy and sometimes hurtful attempts to help is this: we have clear ideas from what has helped us in our suffering, but we do not adopt it when seeking to love others. We do not always speak to others in the way we would like to be spoken to.

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Taken from Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love, by Edward T. Welch. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org.

A God Like That

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

If a hundred atheists, agnostics, or unbelievers were asked why they do not believe in God, they might give a hundred different reasons. Certainly, no single reason has emerged as the quintessential answer for unbelief. The problem of evil, pain, and suffering would rank at the top of the list, as well as the claim that “religion” is unscientific.
There is, however, another primary reason that many people give for not believing in the God of the Bible. They say that they would believe in a god if he acted different than the one in the Bible, but they simply “cannot” believe in a god that would act like the one discussed in the “holy book.” An excellent example of this argument comes from an article written by Ronald Defenbaugh. In it, he chronicled his life, pointing out specific times when his unbelief was confirmed by a particular action or idea taught by a “religious” individual or institution. In a paragraph detailing his early years of raising a family, he stated:
One evening, a friend about the same age as us rode home with us from one of our children’s sporting events. This was the first time I realized I may have a real problem with believing. She was a good friend of my spouse’s, a member of our Church and very religious. I don’t remember how the subject came up but salvation was our subject of conversation. She stated that even though my father had been an honest, caring person who did nothing but good, he would not receive salvation. He could only go to Heaven if he accepted Christ as his Savior. I remember thinking that I wanted no part of a deity that sent my father to Hell under those circumstances. Why would a baby, or my father, or even me be sent to Hell just because we didn’t accept Christ as our Savior? What about the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists? Again, what about me? This started me thinking that I probably was without belief. Or at least I didn’t understand it. It didn’t fit my logic (2003).
While his reference to God sending a baby to hell is without any biblical support, his understanding of the teaching of the concept that the God of the Bible will send to hell all individuals who have reached the age of accountability (the level of mental maturity at which a person is capable of understanding the concept of his or her own sin) and who have not accepted Jesus Christ, is absolutely accurate (John 8:24). Understanding this precept very clearly, he stated that he “wanted no part of a deity” like that. It is almost as if he is implying that if the God of the Bible were a little different, or if He better “fit” Defenbaugh’s own ideas, then he might be willing to believe in such a God.
Let’s analyze this position. Those who “cannot” believe in a God like the one in the Bible, conveniently accept as true all the characteristics of God that make Him look like a heartless tyrant. For instance, they accept that the God of the Bible is a deity Who has ordered executions of “immoral” nations that do not worship Him. They also accept that the God of the Bible will confine certain individuals to eternal destruction due to the “wrong” decisions of those individuals. (The word wrong is in quotation marks because the actions the Bible labels as wrong and the actions accepted as wrong by many unbelievers often are quite different.) After flipping through the Bible and compiling a list of all the things that they think a true god should not do, they then declare that they cannot believe in a god that would do such things.
In doing this, they neglect to accept the other characteristics of the God of the Bible that would make acceptable His actions and decisions. For instance, 1 John 3:20 states that God “knoweth all things.” There is not an unbeliever alive who would claim to know everything. Could it be that the things known by the God of the Bible, which are unknown to the skeptic, might just be the very things that could sufficiently explain God’s actions? Isaiah 55:8-9 states: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” If the skeptic accepts from the Bible the ideas about God with which he disagrees, is he not equally obligated to accept the statements about God that explain the depth of God’s character? If the thoughts of God and the ways of God are far above all the ways of man, could it be that, in the great cosmic scheme of things, an all-knowing God might have some plans of which the skeptic is not fully informed?
To postulate a capricious God Who confines people to eternal destruction simply because those people do not “dot a few i’s” or “cross a few t’s” seems an easy straw man to destroy. Yet, when the “rest of the story” is told, the picture becomes much clearer. The fuller portrait of the God of the Bible is of a deity Who is all knowing (1 John 3:20) everlastingly righteous (Psalm 119:142), loving (John 3:16), compassionate and merciful (James 5:11), anxious for all men to be saved (2 Peter 3:9), and willing to give them numerous opportunities to do so (Acts 17:26-27).
The later portion of Defenbaugh’s article reveals the true essence of rejecting the God of the Bible. Defenbaugh commented that atheism “means no belief—no belief at all, godly, ungodly or otherwise. No Satan, Hell, Heaven, God, Jesus, Angel, Holy Ghost, no nothing. I am free of all constraints. The only person I have to answer to is Man—each man.” Once again, Defenbaugh hit the nail on the head when it came to his concept of the God of the Bible. God demands certain things from His human creation. But since Defenbaugh does not want to comply with those things, he has chosen instead to disbelieve, so that he can be “free of all constraints.” Yes, it truly is easy to answer “each man” since all human opinion carries equal weight. But “God is not a man(Numbers 23:19), and “…the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25). In reality, after the Bible’s entire picture of God is allowed to shine through, in all its glory, no other god could measure up to “a God like that.

REFERENCES
Defenbaugh, Ronald (2003), “Why I Couldn’t Deconvert,” [On-line], URL: http://www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=263

THE CHURCH OF LAODICEA: METHODIST CHURCH ELECTS THEIR FIRST OPENLY LESBIAN BISHOP

The United Methodist Church is deeply divided over LGBT rights. Church law says same-gender relationships are “incompatible with Christian teaching.” But several regional districts are openly defying the prohibition by appointing gay clergy and allowing same-sex weddings in churches. Some instances have led to trials under the church legal system.

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by Geoffrey Grider July 16, 2016

THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF THE METHODIST CHURCH HAS ELECTED AN OPENLY GAY BISHOP DESPITE THE DENOMINATION’S BAN ON SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS.
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.1 Timothy 2:12 (KJV)

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:Romans 1:26 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: How far will the wheels come off the bus in the end times? All the way off. Not only does the Bible not allow for female pastors, it also does not allow for gay “christians” either. So the stone-cold and spiritually dead Methodist church just got a little stonier and a little colder with their election of a lesbian bishop. You are looking at the church Jesus said in Revelation 3 would be the last church before the time of the Rapture.

The Rev. Karen Oliveto was elected late Friday night at a meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, of the church’s Western Jurisdiction. Oliveto is pastor of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco. She is the first openly gay bishop in the 12.7 million-member denomination.

The United Methodist Church is deeply divided over LGBT rights. Church law says same-gender relationships are “incompatible with Christian teaching.” But several regional districts are openly defying the prohibition by appointing gay clergy and allowing same-sex weddings in churches. Some instances have led to trials under the church legal system.

Oliveto’s election could draw complaints that will prompt a review under church law.

THE REV. KAREN OLIVETO, SENIOR PASTOR OF GLIDE MEMORIAL CHURCH IN SAN FRANCISCO, HAS BEEN ELECTED AS THE FIRST OPENLY LESBIAN UNITED METHODIST BISHOP BY DELEGATES AT THE WESTERN JURISDICTIONAL CONFERENCE.
Oliveto, 58, was elected July 15 at the jurisdiction’s quadrennial meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was elected on the 17th ballot with 88 votes after the Rev. Dottie Escobedo-Frank and the Rev. Walter “Skip” Strickland withdrew from the election. The Rev. Frank Wulf, another openly gay candidate, had withdrawn earlier.

“I THINK AT THIS MOMENT I HAVE A GLIMPSE OF THE REALM OF GOD. I WANT TO THANK THE CANDIDATES WHO I HAVE JOURNEYED WITH THESE PAST FEW DAYS, FOR THE GRACE WITH WHICH WE WALKED WITH EACH OTHER. AND KNOW I STAND BEFORE YOU BECAUSE OF THE WORK AND PRAYERS OF SO MANY, ESPECIALLY THOSE SAINTS WHO YEARNED TO LIVE FOR THIS DAY, WHO BLAZED A TRAIL WHERE THERE WAS NONE, WHO ARE NO LONGER WITH US, AND YET WHOSE SHOULDERS I STAND ON,” OLIVETO SAID AFTER HER ELECTION.

She especially thanked the delegates of the Western Jurisdiction “who dared to live into this Kairos moment. Today we took a step closer to embody beloved community and while we may be moving there, we are not there yet. We are moving on to perfection,” Oliveto said.

She said as along as people “walk by our churches and wonder” if they belong, because of race, sexuality orientation, ethnicity, social class or immigration status, then “we have work to do.”

“Are we able? Yes. Amen,” Oliveto said.

BISHOP MELVIN TALBERT, RETIRED FROM THE WESTERN JURISDICTION, SAID HE WASN’T SURE HE WOULD EVER LIVE TO SEE THE DAY WHEN THE CHURCH WOULD ELECT AN OPENLY GAY BISHOP.
This means our church — at least part of our church — has finally come to the realization that there is no longer any place for exclusion. We are all children of God regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or abilities. We would be blessed to invite all God’s people to their rightful place at the table.

In a statement issued following Oliveto’s election, Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, said, “This election raises significant concerns and questions of church polity and unity.”

Ough clarified that the Council of Bishops does not have constitutional authority to intervene in the election, but “is monitoring this situation very closely.
He acknowledged that some in the church will view this election as a violation of church law and a significant step toward a split, while others will consider it a milestone toward being a more inclusive church.

Our differences are real and cannot be glossed over, but they are also reconcilable,” Ough said. “We are confident God is with us, especially in uncharted times and places.

The Book of Discipline, the church’s lawbook, bans self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from ordination, but many gay clergy came out before General Conference 2016. Several annual conferences in 2016 passed resolutions not to conform with any church laws seen to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

On the heels of Oliveto’s election, members of the South Central Jurisdiction voted late on July 15 to ask the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision regarding same-sex church leaders.

THERE WAS SOME IMMEDIATE NEGATIVE REACTION TO OLIVETO’S ELECTION.
The Rev. Rob Renfroe, president of Good News, an evangelical United Methodist organization that upholds the church’s current stance on homosexuality issues, said the election and other actions by annual conference this summer ignored the Council of Bishops’ proposal for a commission to examine all church law dealing with human sexuality. Renfroe said that proposal called for a “pause for prayer to step back from attempts at legislative solutions and to intentionally seek God’s will for the future.

Instead, these conferences have moved ahead with legislative enactments pledging non-conformity with the Book of Discipline, culminating in the election of a practicing homosexual as bishop,” said Renfroe. “If the Western Jurisdiction wanted to push the church to the brink of schism, they could not have found a more certain way of doing so.

But the reaction at the Western Jurisdiction was a celebration.

WE JUST BLEW THE SOCKS OFF THE DENOMINATION,” SAID LYNN MAGNUSON, LAITY FROM THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST CONFERENCE.

Wesley Hingano said, “It is a beautiful day.” His father, the Rev. Sisofina Hingano, was also a candidate for bishop. When Hingano withdrew his name from the ballot, he said he was doing it so people like his son could walk through the doors to freedom in the church.

I want to see gay and lesbian people walk freely,” he said.

The social media messages in the last few days have been full of fear, said the Rev. Jeremy Smith, minister of Discipleship at First United Methodist Church, Portland, Oregon.

All I have heard today are messages full of hope. I have two girls under the age of 4 and I am excited they will grow up in (a) United Methodist Church that tells them whatever they are, they can follow God’s call at every level of our beloved church,” Smith said.

Lonnie Brooks, Alaska Conference, said the election of Oliveto was the Western Jurisdiction declaring its independence from The United Methodist Church.

A lot of folks will look at it and think that is what they intend. What they haven’t given much thought to is that this will also cause a split in the West. We have some of the strongest red states here,” Brooks said, sounding a note of caution.

The Rev. William Lawrence — former president of the Judicial Council, the church’s top court — said before Oliveto was elected that if an openly gay person were elected bishop, anyone in the denomination could file a complaint. Some evidence, such as a wedding license, would be needed to merit processing of the complaint, he added.

The Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, vice president of Good News, said the Western and Northeastern Juridiction’s actions “effectively renouncing their connection to the rest of global United Methodism” mean that  evangelicals and traditionalists within the church will be conferring in the next few days to agree upon responses to what he called “this grave breach of unity.

IF OUR COVENANT IS NO LONGER IN FORCE, WE WILL BE FORCED TO LIVE INTO A NEW REALITY IN OUR DENOMINATION,” HE SAID.

Reconciling Ministries Network, an unofficial United Methodist organization that advocates for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) “celebrates with great joy the election of the first openly lesbian bishop in The United Methodist Church.

This is an historic moment in the movement of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) persons for spiritual and civil equality both in the church and the public square,the group said in a statement.

GOD’S JUDGMENT FALLS ON APOSTATE ‘TOGETHER 2016’ EVENT UNITING CATHOLICS AND EVANGELICALS

U.S. Park Police were forced to shut down the ecumenical event ‘Together 2016‘ after the influx of emergency medical situations related to the heat. Funny thing about that. I live in Florida where it gets crazy hot during the summer months. Millions of people come to visit here from areas of the world that don’t have such intense heat, yet, you see very little cases of heat stroke and heat-related illnesses on the beaches and streets here.

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by Geoffrey Grider July 17, 2016
A MASSIVE LAODICEAN RALLY TITLED ‘TOGETHER 2016’ WAS SHUT DOWN SATURDAY AFTER 400 PEOPLE HAD TO BE TREATED FOR HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.Romans 16:17-18 (KJV)

The ecumenical religious eventTogether 2016’ brought together over 40 faith leaders and recording artists and was organized by Nick Hall, the founder of PULSE, a Twin-Cities based nonprofit organization that focuses on student-led prayer and outreach efforts. The free event was expected to draw thousands and go until 9 p.m. Saturday, but the U.S. Park Police were forced to shut it down after the influx of emergency medical situations.

Funny thing about that. I live in Florida where it gets crazy hot during the summer months. Millions of people come to visit here from areas of the world that don’t have such intense heat, yet, you see very little cases of heat stroke and heat-related illnesses on the beaches and streets here. So to have hundreds and hundreds of heat stroke cases in a single event like what happened at ‘Together 2016‘ is very unusual to say the least. Perhaps The One that controls things like heat and the weather took issue with the apostate, heretical nature of this event which was designed to lure Bible-deficient Christians into the Catholic church.

The usual suspects included heretics like, Hillsong United, Kirk Franklin, Lou Engle, Tony Evans as well as videotaped messages of support from the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. Apostate Christianity has for many years now been being led right back into the darkness of the Vatican Whore by people like Kenneth Copeland and others.

The Bible does not prophesy any type of great movement of the Holy Spirit in the end times, in fact, it says the exact opposite. Jesus Himself says in Revelation that the last church on earth in the days before the Rapture will be a lukewarm, spiritually dead corporation focused only on material blessings like wealth, power and influence. He goes on to say that it will be so bad that He will be pushed outside and knocking on the door to be let back in.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.Revelation 3:14-20 (KJV)

The folk over at Pulpit & Pen noted the following:

THE EVENT WAS REPLETE WITH APPEALS TO A FALSE JESUS, OFFERED BY THE BIGGEST NAMES IN EVANGELICAL CHRISTENDOM, AND THOROUGHLY VOID OF A PRESENTATION OF THE AUTHENTIC GOSPEL OF JESUS. IT WAS A FESTIVAL OF APOSTASY. THANKFULLY, WE HAVE THE NAMES OF THOSE WILLING TO FOREGO OBEDIENCE TO SCRIPTURE. THEY SHOULD, INDEED, BE MARKED AS “TOGETHER” … UNITED IN THE ECUMENICAL APOSTASY THEY PROMOTE. SOURCE

These are the last days, the end times, and it will only get worse from here on in. Don’t waste your precious remaining time hooked up in false revivals led by heretics and apostates. Instead, click here to order yourself a box of street preacher approved and tests NTEB GOSPEL TRACTS and go out into the “highway and byways” and invite people to get saved.

Beyond Sunday: A Mystery Man

Sunday, May 31, 2015

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     Focus Verse
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” (Genesis 14:18)

Classic Commentary

During Abram’s sojourn in Canaan, this priest and king met and treated him with hospitality (Genesis 14:18-20). Much mystery appears to hang about this distinguished personage. Various theories have been advanced concerning him. Some assert that he was God Almighty. This is not so, for he was “…the priest of the most high God.” (Genesis 14:18). Others assert that he was Jesus Christ. This is not so, for he was “made like unto the Son of God;” (Hebrews 7:3). It is asserted in the Scriptures that he was a man (Hebrews 7:14). If you will reflect that the Scriptures deal with him in his official capacity, the difficulties and mysteries surrounding him will immediately vanish. Let us take a closer view. The history of the world, from the Biblical standpoint, naturally divides itself into three different periods, which for want of better terms I will designate,
the Patriarchal dispensation,
the Jewish dispensation,
the Christian dispensation.
Each dispensation is characterized by a priesthood peculiarly its own. There was no regular priestly line from the transgression to the giving of the law of Moses. In a general way, it may be asserted that every man was his own priest (Genesis 4:1-4, Genesis 12:7-8, Genesis 15:8-18, Genesis 26:19-25, Genesis 31:43-55, Genesis 35:1-15, Genesis 46:1). During this age Melchizedek appeared. He was king of Salem and priest of the most high God. We know nothing of his duties or prerogatives as priest or king. We know that he did not belong to any special priestly order. His priestly office was independent of all other men. In the priestly office he was without father and without mother and without descent. No record was kept of his installation as priest, his official acts, or his death; hence, so far as the record is concerned, he was without beginning of days or end of life.

At the inauguration of the second dispensation an entire family was set apart to the priestly office, and the priestly office remained in that family and was transmitted from father to son and from generation to generation to the death of Christ (Exodus 29:1, Exodus 29:29; Numbers 17, Numbers 18:1-7; Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 7:23-28).
David predicted that a priest should arise after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4). This is repeatedly affirmed by the author of Hebrews. The priesthood of the Christian dispensation is after the order of Melchizedek, and not after the order of Aaron. Jesus became a priest when he entered heaven by his own blood (Hebrews 8:1-4, Hebrews 10:11-12). His priesthood is independent. He had no predecessor, and he will have no successor. He will remain in heaven and officiate as priest until the work of redemption is done.
(Adapted from Ashley S. Johnson’s Condensed Biblical Encyclopedia, Melchizedek)

A Thought to Keep

Consider how carefully God has revealed Himself throughout the history of His grace. Nothing has or will happen by accident.

“Does God hate?

“If God is love, how can He hate?
The universalists repeatedly say things like, “God loves us all so much that He will save us all”; or “He hates the sin, but loves the sinner”; or “God is love, and will not send anyone to hell.”

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Universalists teach that God is so full of love, that He simply cannot send anyone to eternal hell fire. It is against His infinite love. They want God to forgive all, even those who openly reject Him and die cursing God.

I must admit, it is nice to think of God’s love being so infinitely great that all will ultimately be saved. Hell is a terrible place and I don’t want anyone to go there. But it does not matter what I think. It matters what the Bible says.

“God is love” (1 John 4:8), but God also punishes the sinner and hates all who do iniquity. God is not one sided. He is not simply an infinitely loving God. He is also infinitely just. He must deal with sin. He must punish the sinner.

In the truth of God’s word, we find that the Lord has provided one way by which we may be saved. That single way is through Jesus’ sacrifice. For all who trust in Him, salvation will come. But to those who turn away, God’s wrath abides upon them: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36).

Does God hate anyone?

The answer is yes.
Psalm 5:5, “The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity,
Psalm 11:5, “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
Leviticus. 20:23, “And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.”
Prov. 6:16-19, “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Hosea 9:15, “All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.”

Are these verses hard to read? Do they make you feel uncomfortable? They should. God hates sin. But, He does not punish sin. He punishes the sinner. Sin cannot be tied up and thrown into a fire. It cannot be put in a box or glued to a stick. It is rebellion. It is rebellion in the heart. It is breaking God’s Law. Sin occurs inside the heart and mind of people. Therefore, God must punish the sinner. Why? Because He is both Holy and Just and the person who sins offends God. God’s Holy and Just character will not allow Him to ignore this offense. Why?….

God’s Law is Perfect

When God said, “Let there be light,” it happened. When He commanded that the oceans be, they came into existence. God’s word is powerful. What He says is never futile, empty, or without power.

The Law is a reflection of God’s character. It is pure and perfect. It is powerful. The Ten Commandments reflect God’s holiness and justice. These commandments are not without punishments. A law without consequences is only an empty slogan.

To sin is to break God’s Law and offend His character. To sin means to challenge His character and authority. It means you go against His word. But God is not a liar. His word is true. He has said He will punish the lawbreaker.

But, praise be to God, that while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us (Rom. 5:6). There is no way we can appease God. That is why God became one of us (John 1:1,14; Heb. 2:17), to take our place and become sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21). Therefore, people have two options:

Trust Jesus, God in flesh, as your saviour and put your faith in the sacrifice that He made on the cross and in nothing you do.
Reject the cross and let the penalty of the Law fall upon you.
Either God pays, or you do — forever. Which will it be?

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” (Hebrews 10:26). If there is no sacrifice available for you, then God’s wrath abides upon you because He hates sin and your sin is not removed (John 3:36). Trust Jesus alone or the wrath of God will abide upon you forever.

Conclusion

The sobering fact is that God is so holy and righteous that He hates the sinner (Psalm 5:5; Lev. 20:23; Prov. 6:16-19; Hos. 9:15).
Some say that we should say that God only hates the sin but loves the sinner. But, the above scriptures speak contrary to that. But it is also true that He is love (1 John 4:8).

It is better to accept the love of God found in Jesus than to reject it and suffer His wrath.

I BEG you!

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Is God Racist?

by
Dave Miller, Ph.D.

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A certain segment of the American population has succeeded in perpetrating the notion of “political correctness” (PC) across a broad base of society. This ideology has infiltrated politics, education, and religion. While touted as a manifestation of “compassion” and “respect” for those with whom one disagrees, the fact is that PC seeks to silence any expression of disagreement that is not in line with its covert agenda.
What, specifically, is PC? A working definition would be the belief that we should avoid language and actions that could be offensive to others, especially those relating to gender and race. For example, the word “fireman” is considered to be a “sexist” term that slights women; the politically correct term would be “firefighter.” Those who embrace PC seek to avoid any forms of expression or action that might be perceived to “exclude,” “marginalize,” or insult any group that is deemed “socially disadvantaged” or discriminated against. Hence, the PC advocate constantly uses terms like “inclusion,” “tolerance,” and “multiculturalism.”
Observe that the term “offensive” refers to the subjective feelings of the individual who deems the term to be hurtful. This definition implies that no objective standard exists by which all conduct, language, and behavior are to be measured. However, the fact is that if there is a God, and He is the God described on the pages of the Bible, then the only standard by which human conduct may be measured and evaluated legitimately is by the Word of God and the Christian moral framework depicted within its pages. If there is no objective, higher standard that transcends human opinions and to which all humans are amenable, then who is to say what is politically correct? Who can authoritatively define “compassion” and “offensive”? Suddenly, all of society is thrown into a confused hodge-podge of conflicting views on proper speech and behavior. Each person becomes a law unto himself and what offends one person is deemed by another as appropriate and valid.
Hence, PC is driven by two foundational presuppositions: (1) since no absolute truth exists, every person’s views are to be considered as equally valid and steps should be taken to facilitate his views and silence all those who disagree; and (2) the beliefs, values, and moral precepts of Christianity are to be rejected and aggressively opposed. This latter assumption explains why the PC people are so accommodating to the encroachment of Islam into American institutions (though Islam is categorically opposed to PC and those who promote it). It also accounts for the open and widespread hostility that exists in the media, Hollywood, and among liberal politicians against Christian morality. Even as Amos described his contemporaries in their quest to silence his righteous pleadings: “They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.” (Amos 5:10). In their campaign to banish “hate speech,” the PC proponent is hypocritically guilty of the same. The solution? “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” (Romans 12:9).
The irrationality of the PC crowd is on display in their frenzied efforts to silence candidates and their supporters who say anything that conflicts with the PC agenda. The expression of any Christian belief that labels certain human behaviors as immoral or sinful is deemed “hate speech” and “racist.” Even otherwise clear-thinking Christians can be caught up in the societal propaganda that redefines critical Bible concepts, twisting them to the service of PC, including “love,” “grace,” “hate,” and “racism.” Even if a Christian possesses deep love and concern for a person overtaken in the sin of homosexuality, or the gender confusion associated with transgenderism, merely to speak against the behavior and suggest homosexual acts to be immoral, sinful, and evil is to invite accusations of “hate” and “intolerance.” Sadly, such sentiments demonstrate the extent to which American civilization and the church itself have lost touch with Almighty God.
After all, under the Law of Moses (authored by God Himself), God required the death penalty for same-sex relations: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.” (Leviticus 18:22,28, emp. added). Question: When God identified a particular human behavior as “an abomination” that would cause the land to expel its practitioners, was He guilty of “hate speech” and being “racist”?
Two chapters later, God again declared His view of homosexuality: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination:their blood shall be upon them.
Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out.
And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.
(Leviticus 20:13,22-23, emp. added)
Question: When God stated that he abhorred those who engage in same-sex relations, was He guilty of “hate speech” and being “racist”?
The psalmist called upon righteous people to possess the appropriate level of disdain for that which God defines as “evil”: “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil:…” (Psalm 97:10). Solomon taught the same concept: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil:…” (Proverbs 8:13). The prophet Amos articulated the same sentiment: “Hate the evil, and love the good” (Amos 5:15). The Bible clearly teaches that Christians are not to hate anyone (e.g., Matthew 5:44-48; Luke 6:27-36). Question: When God issued these divine admonitions to hate specific actions committed by humans, was He guilty of “hate speech” and “racism”?
Have Americans, and even Christians, become so accustomed to the moral filth that is rampant across the nation that they no longer blush or possess the same revulsion that God Himself possesses? (Jeremiah 6:15; 8:12). Can we no longer identify with the psalmist when he said: “I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.” (Psalm 119:163, emp. added)? The words of Proverbs 24:24-25 are extremely apropos: “He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:
But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.
Rather than being caught up in the PC atmosphere of our day, Christians would do well to breathe in the Spirit of God by adopting the disposition, attitude, and thinking of Him who sits upon the throne: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8). Such forthright expressions arise from the very nature and character of deity. We would do well to adopt the same perspective, and approach our current moral and spiritual confusion with a firm reliance on the example of God. Indeed, Americans desperately need to reacquaint themselves with the God of the Bible. Failure to do so will inevitably result in national crisis and reproach — “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
(Proverbs 14:34).

OBAMA DOJ REPLACES THE WORD ‘ALLAH’ WITH ‘GOD’ IN EDITED ORLANDO TERRORIST TRANSCRIPT

So today, when the Obama Department of Justice released the doctored 911 transcripts of the Islamic killer Omar Mateen, who used the word Allah and never the word God, all places where he said Allah have been replaced with Name of the God of the Bible. In one, fell swoop, Obama first sanitized all connection between the Muslim killer and Islam, as well as promoting the lie that ‘Allah is the Muslim name for God.’

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by Geoffrey Grider June 20, 2016

THE OBAMA JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPLACED REFERENCES TO ‘ALLAH’ WITH ‘GOD’ IN AN EDITED TRANSCRIPT OF THE 911 CALL ORLANDO JIHADI OMAR MATEEN MADE DURING THE PULSE NIGHTCLUB ATTACK.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.Isaiah 45:22

UPDATED: Under pressure from Republican leaders, the Justice Department on Monday afternoon reversed itself and released a full, unredacted transcript of the Orlando terrorist’s 911 call on the night of the massacre, calling the morning’s furor over omissions in the document “an unnecessary distraction” But don’t be fooled, the restored transcripts STILL replace Allah with God.

As any reasonable informed and well-read person is aware, the word ‘Allah’ is not the Arabic way to say God of the Bible. Christians and Jews say ‘God’ when talking about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that’s written about in the Holy Bible, both Old and New Testaments. The word ‘Allah’ comes from the compound Arabic word, al-ilah. Al is the definite article “the” and ilah is an Arabic word for “god”, i.e. the god. Rather than being the Name of the Creator, Allah is a purely Arabic word which refers to god or gods in the generic sense. Allah was the Moon god of antiquity long before Mohammad came on the scene.

DOCTORED ORLANDO SHOOTING 911 CALL TRANSCRIPTS RELEASED:

Officials have released the scrubbed and doctored transcripts of the 911 calls made by Omar Mateen during the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando. Listen to them listen to the perverted transcripts that foster the lie that the names Allah and God mean the same thing. Ironically, at the 2:15 mark in this video, the CNN anchor says “I want to read exactly what the shooter said”, and then proceeds to read the killer’s doctored words.

So today (20 June 2016), when the Obama Department of Justice released the doctored 911 transcripts of the Islamic killer Omar Mateen, who used the word Allah and never the word God, all places where he said Allah have been replaced with Name of the God of the Bible. In one, fell swoop, Obama first sanitized all connection between the Muslim killer and Islam, as well as promoting the lie that ‘Allah is the Muslim name for God.’

During the call, Omar Mateen made an Islamic prayer in which he said:

“Praise be to Allah, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of Allah [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.”

In comparison, the edited DOJ transcript says:

Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.

It’s obvious the Obama administration is doing everything it can to downplay the Islamic connection to the attack, all while demonizing Christians and gun owners.

“His very first words are the Bismillah (Arabic: بسم الله‎‎, ‘In the name of Allah’), the Islamic prayer,” commentator Pamela Geller revealed. “It’s what terror-tied CAIR chants in every press conference and press release.”

“The Obama administration knew right away and they have been deceiving the American people ever since, protecting and defending the ideology they calls for our destruction.”

THE NEW TRANSCRIPT STILL REPLACES THE MUSLIM GOD “ALLAH” WITH GOD:

2:35 A.M.: SHOOTER CONTACTED A 911 OPERATOR FROM INSIDE PULSE. THE CALL LASTED APPROXIMATELY 50 SECONDS, THE DETAILS OF WHICH ARE SET OUT BELOW:

(OD) ORLANDO POLICE DISPATCHER

(OM) OMAR MATEEN

OD: EMERGENCY 911, THIS IS BEING RECORDED.

OM: IN THE NAME OF GOD THE MERCIFUL, THE BENEFICENT [ARABIC]

OD: WHAT?

OM: PRAISE BE TO GOD, AND PRAYERS AS WELL AS PEACE BE UPON THE PROPHET OF GOD [ARABIC]. I WANNA LET YOU KNOW, I’M IN ORLANDO AND I DID THE SHOOTINGS.

OD: WHAT’S YOUR NAME?

OM: MY NAME IS I PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI OF THE ISLAMIC STATE.

OD: OK, WHAT’S YOUR NAME?

OM: I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI MAY GOD PROTECT HIM [ARABIC], ON BEHALF OF THE ISLAMIC STATE.

OD: ALRIGHT, WHERE ARE YOU AT?

OM: IN ORLANDO.

OD: WHERE IN ORLANDO?

[END OF CALL.]

What Is a Seared Conscience?

1 Timothy 4:1-2
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

What does it mean for a person to have a seared conscience?

The picture given by the apostle Paul is one in which a person’s conscience or convictions have been desensitized. Through repeated exposure to evil, a person’s sense of right and wrong can become numb to the point that a person can no longer easily distinguish between good and evil.

Isaiah condemned his readers for this type of spiritual insensitivity, saying, Isaiah 5:20
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” In Isaiah’s case, this way of life would result in judgment to God’s people (Isaiah 5:26-30).

In 1 Timothy 4, we see that “some shall depart from the faith.” This indicates that those who call themselves Christians or are at least associated with Christianity will leave it. Instead, they will be devoted to demonic and deceitful teachings that will come through insincere liars with a warped sense of morality.

These words serve as a warning for believers in two ways. First, as believers we must develop a mind that is focused on the things of God rather than the ways of this world. This includes prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-2), growing in God’s Word (Psalm 1:1-3), community with other believers (Hebrews 10:25), sharing the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20), and serving others in need (Acts 2:44-45).

Second, we are warned against following false teachings. Jude 1:3 also adds, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
We are to both live godly lives and stand against ungodly teaching. In 1 Timothy 1:3-4, Timothy was left at the church in Ephesus to keep people from teaching “no other doctrine” or unhealthy teaching. A vibrant Christian faith is one that is both growing in God’s grace and defending against false teachings.

When we draw near to God, He draws near to us (James 4:8). Activities that move us farther away from God or desensitize our heart toward God should be removed. This can include how much television we watch or the kind of content we consume, books we read, the websites we view, or even video games we play. In this way, we will avoid a seared conscience and live in a way that pleases God and changes the lives of others.

Why does God require faith?

The Bible often speaks of the importance of faith in knowing God. For example, Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches,
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 adds, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.But why does God require faith?

One way to answer why God requires faith is because He is our Heavenly Father. Our relationship to Him is similar to other relationships in the sense that it includes trust in the other person, time together, love, and respect. Because we cannot fully know another person, let alone an infinite God, all relationships require some degree of faith (trust). God is our Father and it takes faith to believe that He loves us and that He provides for our needs.

Faith is also important because God is not visible to humanity. Hebrews 11:1 teaches, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We cannot see God (John 1:18). However, we have faith in Him that provides assurance.

Faith is necessary to please God. Hebrews 11:6 notes,
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Not only does faith please God, it leads to reward—eternal life, heavenly rewards, and experience of fullness of life on earth (John 10:10).

Faith is important in order for believers to obey the Lord. For example, Adam and Eve had been given a command—to not eat from a particular fruit (Genesis 2:15-17). Because their faith wavered regarding this command, they ate the forbidden fruit and sinned. Contrastingly, James 2:23 shares, “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it (his faith) was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

God requires faith because it allows humans the ability to choose or reject Him. Without the ability to make choices, humanity would cease to be human as we know it. Because people can choose to have faith or not to have faith, there is a way for God to know those who have believed in Him and those who have not.

Faith in God is not Blind Faith as some argue. Instead, it is a choice based on the available information. The Word of God, the created world, the changed lives of believers, Jesus Christ, and other ways God operates in our world provide sufficient evidence for people to choose faith in God. As Jesus taught in Luke 16:31, “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
✞✞✞✞

Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?

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Dr. Craig,
Thank you for your diligent work for the kingdom of God. I hope you understand and appreciate how your work has impacted the faith of countless people across the world.
My question has to do with the concept of God in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. I am sure that you are aware of the current controversy over the “same God” comments of the professor at Wheaton College. As you can imagine this has caused a firestorm of debate between theologians, pastors and preachers. I understand from your work that you would say that while Muslims and Christians might worship the same God historically (the God of Abraham and Moses), their concept of God is fundamentally different (please correct me if I misunderstood your view). This refutes the “same God” idea because at the very core we worship a very different God even if the religions share a common background.
Several of the people who have defended the “same God” concept, however, have brought up the fact that Jews deny the concept of the Trinity and the deity of Jesus, and yet most Christians would say that Jews and Christians worship the same God. I agree that this seems hypocritical. Would you say that Jews and Christians worship the same God even if their idea of God (ex. the Trinity) is fundamentally different? If they deny the Trinity this would seem to be enough of a fundamental difference to say that we in fact do not worship the same God. This seems to me the only sound argument for defending the “same God” idea between Islam and Christianity. If we accept this then we either have to say that Christians, Jews, and Muslims all worship the same God or that all worship a different God entirely, regardless of historical background.
Sincerely,
Nathan

United States
The question whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God raises a nest of perhaps unexpected philosophical difficulties, such that at the end of the day I think that this is not really the right question to ask.
Consider, for example, my friend and colleague Frank Beckwith’s attempt to answer this question (http://www.thecatholicthing.org/2015/12/17/do-muslims-and-christians-worship-the-same-god/). Beckwith tries to answer the question by appeal to the notion of reference. He wants to provide conditions under which different singular terms (like proper names) are co-referring (refer to the same thing). So, he asks, “what does it mean for two terms to refer to the same thing? Take, for example, the names ‘Muhammed Ali’ and ‘Cassius Clay.’ Although they are different terms, they refer to the same thing, for each has identical properties.”
Beckwith here lays out a sufficient condition for two terms to be co-referring:
1. If the referents of two terms have identical properties, then the terms refer to the same thing.
Beckwith then applies that condition to terms for God: “So the fact that Christians may call God ‘Yahweh’ and Muslims call God ‘Allah’ makes no difference if both ‘Gods’ have identical properties.” Thus,
1*. If the referents of “Yahweh” and “Allah” have identical properties, then the terms refer to the same thing.
Since Muslims, like Christians and Jews, are classical theists, Beckwith claims that the sufficient condition for co-reference is fulfilled.
But this is far too quick. For the obvious problem is that Yahweh and Allah do not have the same properties. Yes, Muslims and Christians embrace classical theism, a sort of generic monotheism. But the Muslim concept of God and the Christian concept of God are very different. It is not just that Christianity embraces Trinitarianism with respect to God and Islam Unitarianism, but the Muslim concept of God is in itself morally defective, as I have argued in my debates with Muslim theologians and apologists. The God of the Bible is an all-loving God, whose love is universal, impartial, and unconditional, while the God of Islam is not all-loving, but loves only Muslims and whose love is therefore selective, partial, and conditional. Therefore the sufficient condition stated in (1*) is not fulfilled.
So Beckwith appeals to a phenomenon much discussed by philosophers of language, namely, successfully referring to something by means of a false description. For example, suppose we observe a couple walking in the park and, noticing their behavior, I say to you, “Her husband is kind to her.” We both understand whom I’m talking about. Suppose, however, that you know that the man she is walking with is not, in fact, her husband and, moreover, that her husband is nasty and mean to her. In that case I have said something true of the man I intended to refer to even though my statement is literally false. So, Beckwith says, “The fact that one may have incomplete knowledge or hold a false belief about another person – whether human or divine – does not mean that someone who has better or truer knowledge about that person is not thinking about the same person.”
Granted; but that doesn’t imply that in every case involving false description they are thinking about the same person! In some cases, their conceptions may be so fundamentally different that their terms are not co-referring. Take Beckwith’s own example of the Virgin Birth and the Immaculate Conception. Imagine an ignorant Protestant who thinks that these terms refer to the same thing, namely, Jesus’ being born of a virgin. He might say that he and the Catholic believe the same thing, except that the Catholic just uses a different term for Jesus’ being born of a virgin.
Suppose he then finds out that when Catholics use the term “Immaculate Conception,” they are referring to Mary’s being born without original sin. Would the Protestant now continue to say that he and the Catholic are referring to the same thing by their respective terms? No, he would now say that the Catholic was referring to something else, since they have different conceptions of what these terms refer to.
So what about the God of the Bible and the God of the Qur’an? Is this just a case of referring to the same God under a false description or of referring to two different deities?
The problem is that
Beckwith hasn’t given us the necessary as well as the sufficient conditions for terms to be co-referring. He hasn’t told us what conditions must be met for two terms to be co-referring. So his argument that “Yahweh” and “Allah” are co-referring, despite the different conceptions of God involved, doesn’t go through, and his article ends too abruptly.
This is just the beginning of difficulties. A further wrinkle is that “worships x” is what philosophers call an intensional (as opposed to extensional) context, where the term “x” need not refer to anything at all (as in, e.g., “Jason worships Zeus”). [1] In an intensional context co-referring terms cannot be substituted without impacting the truth value of the sentence. For example, even though “Jupiter” may refer to the same god as “Zeus,” still Jason, a Greek, does not worship Jupiter and may have never even heard of the Roman god. So one cannot say that Abdul, a Muslim, worships Yahweh, even if “Yahweh” and “Allah” are co-referring terms.
In view of these difficulties, I prefer to avoid problems of reference altogether by asking instead about the Muslim and Christian concepts of God. The conceptions of God in Christianity and Islam are so fundamentally different that they are not the same God. Miroslav Volf, an evangelical theologian who, like Beckwith, defends the claim that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, acknowledges,
In addition to contesting the Trinity and the incarnation, Muslims also contest the Christian claim that God is love — unconditional and indiscriminate love. There is no claim in Islam that God ‘justifies the ungodly’ and no command to love one’s enemies. But these are the signature claims of the Christian faith. Take the redemption of the ungodly and the love of enemy out of the Christian faith, and you un-Christian it.
I wish that those who insist that Christians worship an altogether different God than Muslims latched on to this difference — that instead of wanting to ‘end’ Muslims they deem to be their enemies in the name of God, they would seek to embrace them in the name of Christ. If they did so, they would need to show how struggle against enemies is a way of loving them — an argument that many great theologians in the past were willing to make (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/12/16/do-muslims-and-christians-worship-the-same-god-college-suspends-professor-who-said-yes/).
Volf rightly discerns how morally defective the Islamic conception of God is. I, for one, have emphasized this point, as he recommends, in my debates with Muslim thinkers. But I do not regard them, as Volf uncharitably suggests, as enemies. They have been deceived by Satan, who is the real enemy here. One way of loving Muslims is to explain honestly our differences, rather than to conceal them in shmoozey interfaith dialogue, and to argue for our point of view, just as the great theologians in the past did. I have found that such an approach wins the respect and even admiration of Muslims.
One final point: What about the Jewish and Christian concepts of God? Are they so different that they are not the same God? That depends on your perspective. The Christian does not reject the Jewish concept of God as the Muslim rejects the Christian concept of God. The Christian finds the same God of the Old Testament more fully revealed in the New Testament and looks for anticipations of the Son and Spirit in the Old Testament. By contrast the Muslim explicitly repudiates the concept of God found in the New Testament.
But if I were an Orthodox Jew, then I would say that Christians have a different concept of God and are worshiping a different God.
Look how certain Jews treated the apostle Paul. They regarded him as a heretic and pursued him from city to city across the Mediterranean in an attempt to kill him. Eventually, Christians were expelled from the synagogue. Once the doctrine of the Trinity emerged among the early church fathers, the break with Judaism became, from a Jewish perspective, unbridgeable.
So whether Muslims and Christians can be said to worship the same God is not the truly germane question. The question is which conception of God is true.
Notes
[1] For that reason, we should not say that Muslims are idolaters because they do not worship the true God, but that “Allah” has no referent in the real world; what they worship simply does not exist, anymore than Zeus exists.

by William Lane Craig | Submit your question to Dr. Craig

You Sure You Got The Right Jesus?

by Matt Moore
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The epic question of the ages is Jesus asking, “Who do you say that I am?It’s the epic question that leads to the epic answer that creates the epic crisis when the answer comes up short. In this blog post, writer Matt Moore challenges us to make sure we’ve got the right Jesus. (Copied with permission from www.MooreMatt.org)

A few weeks back I was writing on the patio of my favorite coffee shop when one of the baristas popped out for a quick smoke break. He noticed a book lying by my computer with “GOD” written in huge letters on the cover and asked about it, which led to a short chitchat about religion and politics—the two things my dad taught me never to talk about with people I barely know (didn’t listen, as usual!). He told me he has studied a wide variety of religions and they all, more or less, teach the same thing.

“But yeah, dude,” he continued, “I’m a Christian, too. I ain’t gonna hate on anyone who chooses differently, but for me, Jesus is the ultimate role model—strong, resilient, and fearless—and I want to follow in his footsteps and make something of my life.”

As we talked a bit longer, I realized “make something of my life” meant fulfilling his vocational aspirations and making a chunk of change while he’s at it.

Say, what? All religions teach the same thing? Was your “research” limited to the top three hits of your Google search? And Christianity is your pick of the litter because Jesus is a good role model—really? All these things and more sat anxiously on the tip of my tongue, but I kept my mouth shut because: 1) I naturally tend toward combativeness, so if I feel that rising up in me at all I try to reign it in before I start saying things in a way I will regret, and 2) there is a time and place for gently confronting the false perspectives people hold about the Christian faith, but I don’t think it’s in the first conversation you have with a guy while he is on a ten-minute smoke break.

So in an attempt to not be a jerk and preserve the opportunity for future conversations, I sat and listened respectfully to his reasoning—even agreeing with him that Jesus is strong, resilient, and fearless. Because, I mean . . .
He is.

But what I will sooner rather than later share with my new barista friend is that he seems to be missing the point. He acknowledges Jesus is real and that He’s one heck of a role model—which is great. Gotta start somewhere. But his understanding of who Jesus is, what Jesus has done, and what Jesus expects of the world is severely malnourished. He seems to think Jesus’ sole mission in his life, death, and resurrection was to set a good example and give us the tools we need to succeed in all our endeavors.

Yeah, sure—Christianity does involve imitating Jesus’ character and living by biblical principles that might enhance our quality of life. But these things are not the crux of the Christian faith. Jesus didn’t walk around like, “I’m here to make you the best you that you can be, so you can land that job or that wife or that six figure income that you want! ”

Jesus’ message was a God-centered gospel of redemption, submission, and relationship.

REDEMPTION

“…I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15). The biggest dilemma you and I have isn’t our low self-esteem or inability to make all our dreams come true. Our biggest dilemma is that apart from Christ, we are rebels against an all-powerful God and utterly unable to escape the condemnation that rests over us. But Jesus came to turn the tables . . . at His own expense. Rather than letting all of humanity suffer for their refusal to love and obey God, Jesus loaded our sin upon Himself and let his Father crush him. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

SUBMISSION

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23). The New Testament writers didn’t view Christians as “strong, resilient, and fearless” people whom Jesus helps succeed in all their self-centered endeavors—but rather as slaves of Christ. The word “slave” carries with it a negative connotation in our day but I think what the very capable (and inspired!) writers were trying to get at is this: Every fiber of the Christian’s being is indebted to Jesus. He gives his followers everything—existence, forgiveness, eternal life—and in return, they bow the knee. They lay down their selfish interests and gospel-less ambitions to live a life of joyful service to Him (Acts 20:24

RELATIONSHIP

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14). All throughout the gospels, we see Jesus demonstrating the relationship-dynamic He came to restore between God and man. Though He is perfect and holy, He didn’t distance Himself from people who fall infinitely short of His glory. He ate with them. He talked with them. He even told them they are His friends if they do what He commands them! Christ isn’t some standoffish entity who wants us to admire Him from afar; He is relational, accessible, and wants us to enjoy fellowship with Him.

If you’re like my new barista friend and view Jesus merely as a good role model who can give you some solid tips on how to live a successful life, please hear me out
—the Jesus of the Scriptures is not down with you imitating select parts of His character you find attractive, nor is He interested in you using Him to further your own agendas. He does not want to be your Gandhi or your genie in a bottle. Jesus is God—a good God who rescues sinners, rules over sinners, and loves sinners. He wants you to turn away from your self-worship and godless ambitions and embrace Him as your greatest passion and treasure. He wants you to experience the unmatchable joy of living the God-centered life He created you to live.

The only proper way to respond to Jesus Christ is in gratitude, submission, love, and worship. Nothing less.

Origins and Techniques of Monarch Mind Control

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Monarch Programming is a method of mind control used by numerous organizations for covert purposes. It is a continuation of project MK-ULTRA, a mind-control program developed by the CIA, and tested on the military  and civilians. The methods are astonishingly sadistic (its entire purpose is to traumatize the victim)  and  the expected results are horrifying: The creation of a mind-controlled slave who can be triggered at anytime to perform any action required by the handler.  While mass media ignores this issue, over 2 million Americans have gone through the horrors of this program. This article looks at the origins of Monarch programming and some of its methods and symbolism.

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NOTE: This article contains disturbing elements and might trigger Monarch survivors.

Monarch programming is a mind-control technique comprising elements of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) and Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). It utilizes a combination of psychology, neuroscience and occult rituals to create within the slaves an alter persona that can be triggered and programmed by the handlers. Monarch slaves are used by several organizations connected with the world elite in fields such as the military, sex slavery and the entertainment industry. This article will look at the origins of Monarch programming, its techniques and its symbolism.

Origins

Throughout the course of history, several accounts have been recorded describing rituals and practices resembling mind control. One of the earliest writings giving reference to the use of occultism to manipulate the mind can be found in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It is a compilation of rituals, heavily studied by today’s secret societies, which describes methods of torture and intimidation (to create trauma), the use of potions (drugs) and the casting of spells (hypnotism), ultimately resulting in the total enslavement of the initiate. Other events ascribed to black magic, sorcery and demon possession (where the victim is animated by an outside force) are also ancestors of Monarch programming.

It is, however, during the 20th century that mind control became a science in the modern sense of the term, where thousands of subjects have been systematically observed, documented and experimented on.

One of the first methodical studies on trauma-based mind control were conducted by Josef Mengele, a physician working in Nazi concentration camps. He initially gained notoriety for being one of the SS physicians who supervised the selection of arriving prisoners, determining who was to be killed and who was to become a forced labourer. However, he is mostly known for performing grisly human experiments on camp inmates, including children, for which Mengele was called the “Angel of Death”.

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       Joseph Mengele, 1935

Mengele is infamous for his sordid human experiments on concentration camps prisoners, especially on twins. A part of his work that is rarely mentioned  however, is his research on mind control. Much of his research in this field was confiscated by the Allies and is still classified to this day.

“DR. GREEN (Dr. Joseph Mengele): The most significant programmer, perhaps one could give him the title of the father of Monarch Programming was Joseph Mengele, an ex-Nazi Concentration Camp doctor. Thousands of Monarch mindcontrolled slaves in the U.S. had “Dr. Green” as their chief programmer.” [1. Fritz Springmeier, The Illuminati Formula to Create a Mind Control Slave]

“Dr. Joseph Mengele of Auschwitz notoriety was the principle developer of the trauma-based Monarch Project and the CIA’s MK Ultra mind control programs. Mengele and approximately 5, 000 other high ranking Nazis were secretly moved into the United States and South America in the aftermath of World War II in an Operation designated Paperclip. The Nazis continued their work in developing mind control and rocketry technologies in secret underground military bases. The only thing we were told about was the rocketry work with former Nazi star celebrities like Warner Von Braun. The killers, torturers, and mutilators of innocent human beings were kept discretely out of sight, but busy in U.S. underground military facilities which gradually became home to thousands upon thousands of  kidnapped American children snatched off the streets (about one million per year) and placed into iron bar cages stacked from floor to ceiling as part of the ‘training’. These children would be used to further refine and perfect Mengele’s mind control technologies. Certain selected children (at least the ones who survived the ‘training’) would become future mind controlled slaves who could be used for thousands of different jobs ranging anywhere from sexual slavery to assassinations. A substantial portion of these children, who were considered expendable, were intentionally slaughtered in front of (and by) the other children in order to traumatize the selected trainee into total compliance and submission”. [2. Ken Adachi, Mind Control the Ultimate Terror]

Mengele’s research served as a basis for the covert, illegal CIA human research program named MK-ULTRA.

MK-ULTRA

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Declassified MK-Ultra document

Project MK-ULTRA ran from the early 1950s to at least the late 1960s, using American and Canadian citizens as its test subjects. The published evidence indicates that Project MK-ULTRA involved the use of many methodologies to manipulate individual mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs and other chemicals, sensory deprivation, isolation, and verbal and physical abuse.

The most publicized experiments conducted by MK-ULTRA involved the administration of LSD on unwitting human subjects, including CIA employees, military personnel, doctors, other government agents, prostitutes, mentally ill patients, and members of the general public, in order to study their reactions.

However, the scope of MK-ULTRA does not however stop. Experiments involving violent electroshocks, physical and mental torture and abuse were used in a systematic matter on many subjects, including children.

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      Declassified picture of a young MK-ULTRA subject, 1961

Although the admitted goals of the projects were to develop torture and interrogation methods to use on the country’s enemies, some historians asserted that the project aimed to create “Manchurian Candidates”, programmed to perform various acts such as assassinations and other covert missions.

MK-ULTRA was brought to light by various commissions in the 1970s, including the Rockefeller Commission of 1975. Although it is claimed that the CIA stopped such experiments after these commissions, some whistle-blowers have come forth stating that the project simply went “underground” and Monarch Programming has become the classified successor of MK-ULTRA.

The most incriminating statement to date made by a government official as to the possible existence of Project MONARCH was extracted by Anton Chaitkin, a writer for the publication The New Federalist. When former CIA Director William Colby was asked directly, “What about monarch?” he replied angrily and ambiguously, “We stopped that between the late 1960s and the early 1970s.” [3. Anton Chaitkin, “Franklin Witnesses Implicate FBI and U.S. Elites in Torture and Murder of Children”, The New Federalist]

Monarch Programming

Although there has never been any official admittance of the existence  of Monarch programming, prominent researchers have documented the systematic use of trauma on subjects for mind-control purposes. Some survivors, with the help of dedicated therapists, were able to “deprogram” themselves to then go on record and disclose the horrifying details of their ordeals.

Monarch slaves are mainly used by organizations to carry out operations using patsies trained to perform specific tasks, who do not question orders, who do not remember their actions and, if discovered, who automatically commit suicide. They are the perfect scapegoats for high-profile assassinations (see Sirhan Sirhan), the ideal candidates for prostitution, slavery and private movie productions. They are also the perfect puppet performers for the entertainment industry.

“What I can say is I now believe that ritual-abuse programming is widespread, is systematic, is very organized from highly esoteric information which is published no-where, has not been on any book or talk show, that we have found it all around this country and at least one foreign country.

People say, “What’s the purpose of it?” My best guess is that the purpose of it is that they want an army of Manchurian Candidates, ten of thousands of mental robots who will do prostitution, do movies, smuggle narcotics, engage in international arms smuggling, all sorts of very lucrative things, and do their bidding and eventually the megalomaniacs at the top believe they’ll create a Satanic Order that will rule the world”. [4. D. Corydon Hammond, Ph.D]

Monarch programmers cause intense trauma to subjects through the use of electroshock, torture, abuse and mind games in order to force them to dissociate from reality – a natural response in  some people when then are faced with unbearable pain. The subject’s ability to dissociate is a major requirement and it is ,apparently, most readily found in children that come from families with multiple generations of abuse. Mental dissociation enables the handlers to create walled-off personas in the subject’s psyche, which can then be programmed and triggered at will.

“Trauma-based mind control programming can be defined as systematic torture that blocks the victim’s capacity for conscious processing (through pain, terror, drugs, illusion, sensory deprivation, sensory over-stimulation, oxygen deprivation, cold, heat, spinning, brain stimulation, and often, near-death), and then employs suggestion and/or classical and operant conditioning (consistent with well-established behavioral modification principles) to implant thoughts, directives, and perceptions in the unconscious mind, often in newly-formed trauma-induced dissociated identities, that force the victim to do, feel, think, or perceive things for the purposes of the programmer. The objective is for the victim to follow directives with no conscious awareness, including execution of acts in clear violation of the victim’s moral principles, spiritual convictions, and volition.

Installation of mind control programming relies on the victim’s capacity to dissociate, which permits the creation of new walled-off personalities to “hold” and “hide” programming. Already dissociative children are prime “candidates” for programming”. [5. Ellen P. Lacter, Ph.D., The Relationship Between Mind Control Programming and Ritual Abuse]

Monarch mind control is covertly used by various groups and organizations for various purposes. According to Fritz Springmeier, these groups are known as “The Network” and form the backbone of the New World Order.

Origins of the Name

Monarch mind control is named after the Monarch butterfly – an insect who begins its life as a worm (representing undeveloped potential) and, after a period of cocooning (programming) is reborn as a beautiful butterflies (the Monarch slave). Some characteristics specific to the Monarch butterfly are also applicable to mind control.

“One of the primary reasons that the Monarch mind-control programming was named Monarch programming was because of the Monarch butterfly. The Monarch butterfly learns where it was born (its roots) and it passes this knowledge via genetics on to its offspring (from generation to generation). This was one of the key animals that tipped scientists off, that knowledge can be passed genetically. The Monarch program is based upon Illuminati and Nazi goals to create a Master race in part through genetics. If knowledge can be passed genetically (which it is), then it is important that parents be found that can pass the correct knowledge onto those victims selected for the Monarch mind control.” [6. Ibid.]

“When a person is undergoing trauma induced by electroshock, a feeling of light-headedness is evidenced; as if one is floating or fluttering like a butterfly. There is also a symbolic representation pertaining to the transformation or metamorphosis of this beautiful insect: from a caterpillar to a cocoon (dormancy, inactivity), to a butterfly (new creation) which will return to its point of origin. Such is the migratory pattern that makes this species unique.” [7. Ron Patton, Project Monarch]

Method

The victim/survivor is called a “slave” by the programmer/handler, who in turn is perceived as “master” or “god.” About 75% are female, since they possess a higher tolerance for pain and tend to dissociate more easily than males. Monarch handlers seek the compartmentalization of their subject’s psyche in multiple and separate alter personas using trauma to cause dissociation.

The following is a partial list of these forms of torture:

1. Abuse and torture

2. Confinement in boxes, cages, coffins, etc, or burial (often with an opening or air-tube for oxygen)

3. Restraint with ropes, chains, cuffs, etc.

4. Near-drowning

5. Extremes of heat and cold, including submersion in ice water and burning chemicals

6. Skinning (only top layers of the skin are removed in victims intended to survive)

7. Spinning

8. Blinding light

9. Electric shock

10. Forced ingestion of offensive body fluids and matter, such as blood, urine, feces, flesh, etc.

11. Hung in painful positions or upside down

12. Hunger and thirst

13. Sleep deprivation

14 Compression with weights and devices

15. Sensory deprivation

16. Drugs to create illusion, confusion, and amnesia, often given by injection or intravenously

17. Ingestion or intravenous toxic chemicals to create pain or illness, including chemotherapy agents

18. Limbs pulled or dislocated

19. Application of snakes, spiders, maggots, rats, and other animals to induce fear and disgust

20. Near-death experiences, commonly asphyxiation by choking or drowning, with immediate resuscitation

22. Forced to perform or witness abuse, torture and sacrifice of people and animals, usually with knives

23. Forced participation in slavery

24. Abuse to become pregnant; the fetus is then aborted for ritual use, or the baby is taken for sacrifice or enslavement

25. Spiritual abuse to cause victim to feel possessed, harassed, and controlled internally by spirits or demons

26. Desecration of Judeo-Christian beliefs and forms of worship; dedication to Satan or other deities

27. Abuse and illusion to convince victims that God is evil, such as convincing a child that God has abused her

28. Surgery to torture, experiment, or cause the perception of physical or spiritual bombs or implants

29. Harm or threats of harm to family, friends, loved ones, pets, and other victims, to force compliance

30. Use of illusion and virtual reality to confuse and create non-credible disclosure [8. Ellen P. Lacter, Ph.D., Kinds of Torture Endured in Ritual Abuse and Trauma-Based Mind Control]

“The basis for the success of the Monarch mind-control programming is that different personalities or personality parts called alters can be created who do not know each other, but who can take the body at different times. The amnesia walls that are built by traumas, form a protective shield of secrecy that protects the abusers from being found out, and prevents the front personalities who hold the body much of the time to know how their System of alters is being used. The shield of secrecy allows cult members to live and work around other people and remain totally undetected. The front alters can be wonderful Christians, and the deeper alters can be the worst type of Satanic monster imaginable–a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde effect. A great deal is at stake in maintaining the secrecy of the intelligence agency or the occult group which is controlling the slave. The success rate of this type of programming is high but when it fails, the failures are discarded through death. Each trauma and torture serves a purpose. A great deal of experimentation and research went into finding out what can and can’t be done. Charts were made showing how much torture a given body weight at a given age can handle without death.” [9. Springmeier, op. cit.]

“Due to the severe trauma induced through ECT, abuse and other methods, the mind splits off into alternate personalities from the core. Formerly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder, it is presently recognized as Dissociative Identity Disorder and is the basis for MONARCH programming. Further conditioning of the victim’s mind is enhanced through hypnotism, double-bind coercion, pleasure-pain reversals, food, water, sleep and sensory deprivation, along with various drugs which alter certain cerebral functions”. [10. Patton, op. cit.]

Dissociation is thus achieved by traumatizing the subject, using systematic abuse and using terrifying occult rituals. Once a split in the core personality occurs, an “internal world” can be created and alter personas can be programmed using tools such as music, movies (especially Disney productions) and fairy tales. These visual and audio aids enhance the programming process using images, symbols, meanings and concepts. Created alters can then be accessed using trigger words or symbols programmed into the subject’s psyche by the handler. Some of the most common internal images seen by mind control slaves are trees, Cabalistic Tree of life, infinity loops, ancient symbols and letters, spider webs, mirrors, glass shattering, masks, castles, mazes, demons, butterflies, hour glasses, clocks and robots. These symbols are commonly inserted in popular culture movies and videos for two reasons: to desensitize the majority of the population, using subliminals and neuro-linguistic programming and to deliberately construct specific triggers and keys for base programming of highly-impressionable MONARCH children. [11. Ibid.] Some of the movies used in Monarch programming include The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio and Sleeping Beauty.

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      The movie The Wizard of Oz is used by Monarch handlers to program their slaves. Symbols and meanings in the movie become triggers in the slave’s mind enabling easy access to the slave’s mind by the handler. In popular culture, veiled references to Monarch programming often use analogies to The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland.

In each case, the slave is given a particular interpretation of the movie’s storyline in order to enhance programming. For example, a slave watching The Wizard of Oz is taught that “somewhere over the rainbow” is the “happy place” dissociative trauma slaves must go to in order to escape the unbearable pain being inflicted upon them. Using the movie, programmers encourage slaves to go “over the rainbow” and dissociate, effectively separating their minds from their bodies.

“As mentioned before, the hypnotist will find children easier to hypnotize if they know how to do it with small children. One method that is effective is to say to the small children, “Imagine you are watching a favorite television show.” This is why the Disney movies and the other shows are so important to the programmers. They are the perfect hypnotic tool to get the child’s mind to dissociate in the right direction. The programmers have been using movies since almost day one to help children learn the hypnotic scripts. For children they need to be part of the hypnotic process. If the hypnotist allows the child to make up his own imagery, the hypnotic suggestions will be stronger. Rather than telling the child the color of a dog, the programmer can ask the child. This is where the books and films shown the child assist in steering its mind in the right direction. If the hypnotist talks to a child, he must take extra precaution not to change the tone of his voice and to have smooth transitions. Most of the Disney films are used for programming purposes. Some of them are specifically designed for mind-control.” [12. Springmeier, op. cit.]

Levels of Monarch Programming

The levels of Monarch Programming identify the slave’s “functions” and are named after the Electroencephalography (EEG) brainwaves associated with them.

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  Types of brain waves in EEG

Regarded as “general” or regular programming, ALPHA is within the base control personality. It characterized by extremely pronounced memory retention, along with substantially increased physical strength and visual acuity. Alpha programming is accomplished through deliberately subdividing the victims personality which, in essence, causes a left brain-right brain division, allowing for a programmed union of Left and Right through neuron pathway stimulation.

BETA is referred to as “sexual” programming (slaves). This programming eliminates all learned moral convictions and stimulates the primitive instinct, devoid of inhibitions. “Cat” alters may come out at this level. Known as Kitten programming, it is the most visible kind of programming as some female celebrities, models, actresses and singers have been subjected to this kind of programming. In popular culture, clothing with feline prints often denote Kitten programming.

DELTA is known as “killer” programming and was originally developed for training special agents or elite soldiers (i.e. Delta Force, First Earth Battalion, Mossad, etc.) in covert operations. Optimal adrenal output and controlled aggression is evident. Subjects are devoid of fear and very systematic in carrying out their assignment. Self-destruct or suicide instructions are layered in at this level.

THETA – Considered to the “psychic” programming. Bloodliners, (those coming from multi-generational satanic families) were determined to exhibit a greater propensity for having telepathic abilities than did non-bloodliners. Due to its evident limitations, however, various forms of electronic mind control systems were developed and introduced, namely, bio-medical human telemetry devices (brain implants), directed-energy lasers using microwaves and/or electromagnetics. It is reported these are used in conjunction with highly-advanced computers and sophisticated satellite tracking systems. [13. Patton, op. cit.]

In Conclusion

It is difficult to remain objective when describing the horrors endured by Monarch slaves. The extreme violence, the abuse, the mental torture and sadistic games inflicted on victims by “notable scientists” and high-level officials prove the existence of a true “dark side” in the powers that be. Despite the revelations, the documents and the whistle-blowers, a great majority of the population ignores, dismisses or avoids the issue altogether. Over two million Americans have been programmed by trauma mind-control since 1947 and the CIA publicly admitted its mind control projects in 1970. Movies such as The Manchurian Candidate have directly referred to the subject, even depicting actual  techniques, such as electroshock, the use of trigger words and microchip implementation. Several public figures we see on our TV and movie screens are mind control slaves. Famous people such as Candy Jones, Celia Imrie and Sirhan Sirhan have gone on record and disclosed their mind control experiences…and yet the general public claims that it “cannot exist”.

The research and funds invested in project Monarch do not however only apply to mind control slaves. Many of the programming techniques perfected in these experiments are applied on a mass scale through mass media. Mainstream news, movies, music videos, advertisements and television shows are conceived using the most advanced data on human behavior ever compiled. A lot of this comes from Monarch programming.

7 Daily Steps to Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

Perhaps you’ve been told that as a Christian you must learn to trust in the Lord with all your heart; but this famous passage from Proverbs 3 contains more than just a general statement about living. Instead, you’ll find the steps you need each day to truly walk with God.

Follow these 7 daily steps to make sure you’re leaning on the Lord:

1. Don’t Depend On You
We live in a world where trust must be earned and seems to be in short supply. But Solomon, the famous king who wrote Proverbs, knew that trust is exactly where we must start:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
Most of us have faced disappointments, which have taught us that we can only depend upon ourselves. But living the life God has called us to means unlearning that lesson. Instead, we’re meant to rest in God’s understanding.

We may know in our minds that He possesses all wisdom:

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33
But sometimes trusting Him completely like that can be tough. So, each day we must consciously lay aside our own plans and expectations—and surrender to His plans.

What if we don’t feel like we can trust Him like that? That’s where step 2 comes in…

2. Cry Out To God
Surrendering to God begins with our lips and our thoughts. We need more than a commitment to depend on Him; we need to cry out to Him to show that dependence.

“In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:6)
When we pray, we admit that His ways are higher than ours. We show that we’re leaving our troubles and burdens and dreams in His capable hands. In fact, the Bible promises that when we reach out to Him in prayer, He hears us:

“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalm 55:17)
We handed the keys of our lives to Him, and we know that He’s able to lead us. But in order for that to work, we have to…

3. Run From Evil
So much in this world can clutter up our relationship with God. John, the writer of the fourth gospel, describes them as the desires of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride in our lives (1 John 2:16). In other words, our blessings can easily become our stumbling blocks when we think of them as what we deserve or what we need to be happy.

Instead, life works best when we remember the true source of our blessings—God—and focus on the things that please Him:

“Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:7)
Sometimes, the only way to live the life God wants us to live is by separating ourselves from the bad influences that keep dragging us down. That works the best when we start pursuing something else in their place:

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)
Is that easy? Not at all. Fleeing from the evil desires that pull at us means spending a lot of time crying out to God and leaning on Him. But our Creator promises to honor our commitment to Him when we shun evil:

“It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” (Proverbs 3:8)
When we pursue Him, we find life—abundant life. Running from evil and pursuing God doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Instead, it means we have to make a serious change:

4. Put God First in Your Life
It’s easiest to put ourselves first. When something good happens, we want to congratulate ourselves with a reward. When something bad happens, we want to console ourselves or find someone to blame. In other words, we often have a “me-centric” starting place.

And when it comes to money, the struggle is even harder. But Solomon, who had quite a bit of wealth himself, knew that his money didn’t belong to him:

“Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9–10)
If we can trust God with the first of our wealth, we’re truly showing how much we depend on Him. Handing over the first part of our paycheck takes a huge amount of faith, after all. But doing so means being God-centric.

To get there, though, make sure you…

5. Check Yourself By God’s Word
Let’s be honest. We aren’t so good at evaluating ourselves. We will go to great lengths to excuse our behavior, our actions, and our sins. Who needs a defense attorney when we can pretty much find a reason for any bad thing we do? The prophet Jeremiah captures this very well:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
If we’re ever going to truly trust in God and flee evil, we have to know exactly where we stand. We have to find an objective measure that tells us the truth. And that truth comes from God and His Word.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll always like what we see or how we see it:

“My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: (Proverbs 3:11)
That’s right. Sometimes it takes something bad happening or seeing ourselves in a bad light before we finally admit that we need to change. And the more we’re in the Bible, the more likely this is to happen.

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11)
When we have Scripture planted firmly in our hearts, God will often use that to deal with us.

6. Listen To Holy Spirit
When Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to the church, He told His disciples that this Counselor would be their spiritual compass or GPS:

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)
As we go through our day, this same Holy Spirit guides us, too. That means we don’t have to go it alone or hope we’re getting it right. No, the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth and protects us:

“That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” (2 Timothy 1:14)
After all, the gift of the Holy Spirit to us believers reminds us that we can truly…

7. Rest in God’s Love
When we face a difficult world each day, we can sometimes wonder if God even cares. Why do bad things happen? Where is God when I need Him? Solomon reminds us that God never takes a break or leaves us to fend for ourselves:

“for whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” (Proverbs 3:12)
Even in the midst of turmoil, God sticks with us and uses those challenges to shape us. When we understand that, our perspective completely flips. No longer do we see our setbacks as failures; we see them as moments when God, as our loving Father, works on us.

And that’s exactly why we can trust in the Lord with all our hearts. He cares for us each and every day. He gives us what we need to thrive. He pours blessing after blessing upon us.

Of course, following each of these daily steps isn’t easy. That’s why Jesus said we have to deny ourselves and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). Trusting God takes a whole-hearted commitment from dawn till dusk. But we’re never alone in it:

“and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:20b)

John Upchurch