Habakkuk and Iraq
November 3rd, 2006 What the Lord wants for the church is for us to come back to Him. End-time events in the Bible include Christians held captive in Mystery Babylon and a remnant heeding the call to flee from her. Most people do not study Bible prophecy and many of the ones that do, think these end-time events happen after the rapture so it is above them. If you worship the same god that told George Bush to invade Iraq, you have followed a false god. There are reasons to follow the beast other than a religious delusion of course, economics, militant nationalism, sadomasochism. It's time to return to the true God of peace, justice and mercy. There is a little book in the Old Testament called Habakkuk that I believe is very important in forming a true end-time theology so I would like to share it with you. Much of it is subject to various interpretations, I believe that it is one nation judging the oppression of another yet Habakkuk does not always make it clear which denunciation or malediction applies to whom. Judge for yourself. Whether in Babylon or not or how you interpret these prophecies, I have believed for some time that God has been raising up Islam to bring judgment upon America for her sins. I thought I would apply some of these words of Habakkuk to current events.
Habakkuk 1:1-4 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. The righteous is encompassed by the wicked, therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
November 3rd, 2006
What the Lord wants for the church is for us to come back to Him. End-time events in the Bible include Christians held captive in Mystery Babylon and a remnant heeding the call to flee from her. Most people do not study Bible prophecy and many of the ones that do, think these end-time events happen after the rapture so it is above them. If you worship the same god that told George Bush to invade Iraq, you have followed a false god. There are reasons to follow the beast other than a religious delusion of course, economics, militant nationalism, sadomasochism. It's time to return to the true God of peace, justice and mercy.
There is a little book in the Old Testament called Habakkuk that I believe is very important in forming a true end-time theology so I would like to share it with you. Much of it is subject to various interpretations, I believe that it is one nation judging the oppression of another yet Habakkuk does not always make it clear which denunciation or malediction applies to whom. Judge for yourself. Whether in Babylon or not or how you interpret these prophecies, I have believed for some time that God has been raising up Islam to bring judgment upon America for her sins. I thought I would apply some of these words of Habakkuk to current events.
What the prophet is seeing here is the miserable oppression of God's people and the violence committed by the Jews. Since the reconciliation of the cross extends to all people, we are all the children of God today but Habakkuk was of the nation of Judah. Let's call our current nation of violence, strife and contention the nation of Bush, or the Israel of today or Blair's Britain, whatever fits. Maybe every generation has had it's Babylon and there are certainly many heads to the beast, I can easily point to America in iniquity since Bush is the major player, the law is slacked and wrong judgment proceeds from her.
5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
Oy! Do I get this a lot. The Bush administration deliberately fabricated the case against Iraq, lying to Congress and the American people along the way. Nothing will get you a strong delusion from God as fast as believing his lies. I heard that Bush wants more troops sent to Iraq to curb the violence there. Curb the violence? Like that is going to happen. As if Bush is God's man for the job for such a time as this? Who do you think is causing the violence in the first place? Don't answer that.
6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs.
Here the rubber meets the road. God has a ministry for the Chaldeans? Interesting, since the nations of Iraq and Iran are their direct descendants. The Hebrew is future, "I will raise up." If God is raising them up in these times as instruments of His judgments, no matter how fierce and hateful they are, it is to fulfill the will of God. Of course they would say the will of Allah but you can't escape the implications from precedent, if we take the Bible at it's word.
7-10 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand. And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.
Arrogant violence stirred by God meets to judge the violence and exploitation of a wicked nation. If you choose to take either side of these impetuous world powers rushing to Armageddon, you are not fit for the kingdom. Hollywood can't make a bloody movie as violent for our children to emulate than how this drama will unfold. Iran was born for the next battle Bush wants to bring them, or whatever other idiot succeeds him as leader of the "free" world. His kind of aggression has always made things worse by making the resistance stronger, causing people to hate America even more. It makes sense that Osama is probably dead, but no matter, Bush isn't going to admit that. Bush needs terrorists as much as terrorists need Bush, to justify their cause and bring people to fear. If the Bush administration is drawing to a close, you may be sure that Georgie Boy will rush into it. My message is to return to the true God while you still have the chance.
2:1-3 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
Gotcha, you thought that the vision that the prophet saw was for the Babylonian captivity in sixth century B.C. Judah during the reign of Manasseh and in the first year of the forty-fifth Olympiad and seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, didn't you. Well maybe not. Run to this one people, it is meant for our time. God's word is true. We are several chapters into this saga and as we go, the Chaldeans may kick some butt. Uh oh. The final trump is God's intervention but that's another story.
I asked the question last time of what governments best represent the interests of the poor. Got no answers except maybe no government at all yet I do believe that there are some that are better than others. The Bolivarian movement probably best represents the poor today, I think it's sad that no one here picks up on it.
What do you think. Let us know. What of the question of the Muslims being called by God as instruments of judgment? Other than their own, they are feared, hated, seen as murderous monsters reserved for judgment from God themselves. In frontier America, the only good Indian was a dead Indian, we invaded Vietnam because we wanted to force capitalism on them, the only good gook was a dead gook. Now we have a war against ragheads, are there Iraqis who worship the true God? Are all Iranians called to fight western imperialism? Questions to ponder, fear and hatred are volatile subjects. A lot of discussion on this subject below. What can you bring to the discussion? Get back to me and tell us what you think.
Thought I would give you a little update. Really like reading that forward ho thread, Tim W and Mary, you reflect my soul.
I just quit my church. Should I say again? If you remember it was a Brethren Church this time and I had high hopes that I would fit in. Historically, the Brethren church has been a progressive peace church. This one was just down the street from us but nestled in an area where we didn't even know it was there. I was pleased to find it, but it turned out to just the opposite of what I expected. I put up with all the right wing talk, image of the beast worship from the pastor for most of this year and was able to share pretty well anyway and thought I was accepted but things came to a head that made me realize that I just don't belong there.
I have been pretty discouraged and depressed for the last week and a half but getting better the last couple of days. Too bad whenever those things happen, I had made friends and it is hard to leave. The big thing is the disappointment. I keep trying to find a church, don't know where to look. I had thought about the Methodist church, they are coming out against the war and of course, I have Wesleyan roots. Problem there is they don't have the charisms that my wife and I need. Barb and I both want a spirit filled place that sings the new songs, have prayer meetings with power and Bible studies with a lot of meat. The Methodist churches that we have seen haven't had much of that. I keep thinking there is no place that will meet our needs and then think that maybe I can fill a void somewhere but it always comes down to right-wing insanity getting in the way and I feel compelled to flee Babylon.
The last several weeks I have been working on my testimony. I plan to get back to the Bible College here that I attended a few years ago. A Few of you may remember last year when I decided to do that and then nothing happened. It was because of my autobiography which was required. It seems that things needed to be filled in through time before I could turn it in, my mind wasn't ready for that. The transition from the last church, which was part of the school through it's pastor and the experience at this church that I just left had to be completed before I could update the Bio to include the last years here at Stockton.
If you care to see what I updated, it is at http://latter-rain.com/perspectives/testimony.htm
Also, we are starting our vacation tomorrow so we will be gone for a week. Yea! We are taking a cruise down to Mexico at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Never done that. You are on the boat more days than you are on the land, I would just as soon fly and spend more time at our destination but Barb wants to have a cruise at least once in our lives. Should be real fun.
Good luck on your trip and thanks for your thoughts.
I can relate to your keep trying different churches and I know that you are not alone here. I think at least two factors are involved. The first is that the message in particular the commitment of heart God wants is not maintained. Yet we are imperfect and it seems as if God is leading us to a place beyond what any of the denominations can offer. What you will find is that when you don't attend you will feel great for a while, but then you will want company again. Its particularly tricky for people like myself who are single and have come from non orthodox Christian backgrounds.
I'm not sure that it's purely a right wing thing, though Jay. Seems to me that whether governments are right or left its still about an elite group at the top maintaining control over society.
Whilst I cannot limit the whole gamut of ways in which God is using people I see the purest form is as the church being separate from the world. There are dangers with that. We see many cult groups using that and isolating people into their particular mindset. We see groups like the Amish who have become very introverted as a result of that belief.
At the simple level the church are those people who are led by God's Spirit whereas the world is the system set up on the basis of the flesh. Both capitalism and socialism are fleshly in that they only deal with the external nature of things. Christianity is about repentance, faith in Christ and him changing us from within.
In other words the purpose of Christianity is that Jesus changes the world by changing our hearts enabling us to no longer live according to the flesh but the Spirit. This is why one of the first things that the early Christian church did was to share all things in common. This would be the ultimate expression of love for each other and the reason why we are not good at it is simply because it takes a lot of spiritual maturity. It's not about a forced or institutionalized thing, but where God puts us together in that circumstance.
Without the belief of FULL involvement in each others lives in practice each of is set against the world individually. What the world can do is remove our life support system. Yet even then the purpose isn't that we rely on each other, but is that we totally and absolutely walk in faith of God. Yes full sharing in common would work, but if its to work in a way which doesn't restrict our individual creativity God has to bring us together and that's where I feel he's taking us.
It's a radical step to move to God doing everything by his Spirit and rather than trust in him doing that our human tendency is to move into the flesh and try to enter the promised land in our own strength and the same thing happens to us as happened to the ancient Israelites. This is why there is no power in the churches, there's way too much humanism and not enough God there.
The fact is that what Christ is trying to lead us to is not reasonable in human terms. Its not reasonable to turn the other cheek or love our enemies. Its not reasonable to give when asked. Its not reasonable to hate our own lives or be willing to give up everything we own. Sure it would work if everyone was like that, but the reality is that most people are not like that.
Its totally reasonable for us to therefore compromise and we're being held back by our very carnality. Truth be told we are held back from fear too. What God is asking is nothing less than we live against the flow. That kind of faith does not come easily, but through trial. For us to get to that kind of faith requires that we take some risky steps of faith and not consume all our time with lots of activity. We are better off spending time out of the churches doing nothing until we receive power than spend all our time being taught how to do things realistically.
I hope this helps. Unfortunately the world has got Christianity suppressed and the scary thing is that people don't even see it's way of doing things as a system even. Perhaps the reason they don't is that it would seriously challenge everything their security rests upon, which is money, jobs, careers, lifestyle, pensions yet each day these things are getting visibly shakier anyway. Real security is built upon God and upon each other.
Blessings and much love,
Just read your email, be what God made u to be the church, right where u are at home, work,store, taking a walk. Where ever u go just talk to people and love them with the love that u have in your heart, if they ask about your life speak the truth and tell them what God has done for u. That is ministry that is the kingdom of God getting wider here on earth. The father love's u more than u will ever know or see.
His best to u today and every day.
Buenos Dias Jay to you and hi also Tim and everyone.
I am with you Jay on the disappointment, it never goes away. Sorry to hear that one fell apart. The good thing is we do belong to each other in the body of Christ and nothing can ever change that. It comforts me, anyway.
Thanks for the great responses Tim, lots to answer in there. What bothers me most (and I think this exposes the need for my faith to keep pace with my lifestyle) is that in order to be truly spiritual we will need to go beyond the law, because the law is increasingly failing the needs of the people, as it is changed more and more to exclude righteousness. Seen religiously, the church will fold its hands and say, well, we ARE spiritual people and we can handle whatever comes. Unfortunately many will be caught out by their spiritual pride because they will believe they have the necessary without having grasped the truth of their wretched condition.
I am seeing that there are hard situations out there on the street that actually require us to go beyond what the law asks in order to help people. To the authorities already in place, this is the same as breaking it and we would lay ourselves open to penalty and punishment. This is how come the brethren will be found in prison, and we will need to have been visiting them and helping them to uphold the Lord's requirements of us.
I am seeing that in these sometimes life-and-death situations where we need to attend to others' needs outside of the legal structure, we can count on the Lord to give us passage attended by angels if necessary, invisibility, like the first apostles knew. Like you say we can count on the Lord opening doors miraculously. I am seeing that although things seem pretty bad sometimes, if I will stop worrying I become aware of the protection already in place. The enemy comes against us, but the Lord is greater and shows His care. I have to count up the blessings. We are alive still. We haven't starved. We haven't suffered bodily. We have a lot more going for us with the Lord on our side and just have to count on Him. He is trustworthy.
A point I have to make though is that carnality is a fact of the physical body that Jesus addressed completely by His willing death on the cross. I say this because in the church we still think we have to get clean before we can do anything. Some things you can't get clean and the body is still dead because of sin. If anyone is thinking that they need to get cleaned up before they can begin to help someone, they need to be dislodged from that falsehood and get out there and start helping.
I feel that to survive in the time to come we will need to be peaking spiritually. This means not only in works but also in faith: we know that one is useless without the other. By faith we will obtain what God wants to supply for those in our care. We cannot afford to stop short because we think we are unworthy. Of course we are unworthy. Worthiness is not why we are saved in the first place. Our unworthiness didn't stop Jesus from doing what He did for us, and it shouldn't stop us.
The problem with being carnally minded is that it robs us of spiritual confidence. But we can be spiritually minded and still witness personally the motions of sin in the flesh. What we need is realism. Realism will keep us camped at the foot of the ever-portable cross, praise God.
Perhaps carnal man is becoming more carnal, and spiritual man more spiritual. When the laws fail us, only the truly spiritual will be able to survive...along with the ones that are in their care. That may be an apostolic thing, I don't know. If it is, we will probably need to know more of the shame that attends the apostolic in rejections and all that stuff they went through in early christianity on behalf of the church. Perhaps this has to do with your current church "homelessness" too Jay.
Love, Mary xxxxxx
Amen Mary and Hi Jay. God is looking for purity of motive. It's the just do it syndrome. Start living life now---so says the Lord. Amen. We; the Church must step in and do what the law is powerless to do. She must quicken the moral pulse of nations. She must raise the tone of the whole community. She must teach men the true meaning of Brotherhood by the proclamation of the Fatherhood of God. She must not draw up programs or formulate policies, but she must rebuke sin, and proclaim the gospel as the power of God unto salvation.
And Jay, so much for the past. The question now arises: Do we as the Church the capacity of adapting ourselves to the present and the future? There are those who hold that for all simple, positive, and progressive purposes it is no longer any good. And so we are faced with the problems of non-churchgoing, and we are assured that before many years the Church will be left as an outworn institution neither needed nor desired. Before, however, we resign ourselves to so melancholy an anticipation, let us consider a few facts. First of all, non-churchgoing, though not found in primitive days, is nevertheless a very ancient feature of Church history. St Chrysostom complained of it in the fourth century, and there is not the smallest doubt that it was more prevalent a hundred and fifty years ago than it is now. When the interest in the Church flags, and its influence seems to be weakening, the reason is almost always to be found in too great a conservatism. Some things the Church dare not, and must not change. She has no need to lower her testimony---no need to abandon her creed--- no need to reduce her fundamental beliefs. But it is otherwise with the externals of worship; the antiquated modes that grate on a modern ear, and, worse, the timidity which shrinks from speaking out against evil, oppression, and sin of every kind, social as well as individual, sins against the body as well as against the soul. The Church must take her stand against whatever hinders the full free growth of the children of men. It may be that in the past the Church has been accustomed to seek too exclusively the salvation of the souls of men. She needs to be brought back to the Scriptural thought that Christ came to save the whole man. Jesus never forgot this great fact; He fed the five thousand, while He preached to them. He denounced the Pharisees not only for blocking the gateway of heaven, but for devouring widows' houses.
What I say to all of you my friends is, you are definitely not alone and you are loved.
Hi everyone, I had a great time in Mexico. Thanks for all the comments on my leaving my church, I wanted to address Tim's letter (Tim Woodall) especially.
Tim, this thing about right and left in the church has me going. I agree that in this country especially, there doesn't seem to be a lot of justice and we are taking our place in exalting ourselves above others. I heard recently that we may have republicans and democrats here but actually it is a one party system with two right wings. I have to agree. The problem on the right of course is that they are acting out the nature of the beast around the world and God is raising up non-Christians to bring about judgment against her. I believe that if we do not repent as a nation, we are doomed.
On the ship, I finished a book classic that I had started a while back called "Discourse on Free Will" by Desiderius Erasmus and answered by Martin Luther. Erasmus wrote something I will never forget "if you want to straighten a curved stick, you bend it in the opposite direction." Kind of where I am. I keep going from church to church trying to find one that goes along the straight path with not much luck and for me, I have to take a position much father left than I would if I we were all going in a straight direction. It is a precarious position and I can understand when people see me as too much of a radical. You can especially see this in me on the dialogues I have on the latter rain list, I have to take the extreme positions against other extreme positions to bring the dialogue to any kind of moderate consensus.
Back to finding a church, I feel that I will have to wait for a while before people here catch up to the kind of moderation that will satisfy me. On one hand, the right wing insanity repulses me and on the other is the licentious behavior that repulses me even more. More and more I find that I just do not fit anywhere. Like you say, the purest form of church is separate from the world but not nearly as much as I would like it to be.
I commend you for mentioning holding all things in common as the ideal for the church and like you say, people will not accept it as long as we are so materialistic and selfish. This however is the direction I want us to go in dialogue, the idea that there are democracies and governments that hold to this ideal. We can look at Evo Morales of Bolivia and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. They are hated in this country for good reason, I believe that they offer the true Christian alternative to the false Jesus here, the image of the beast. People hate that kind of talk, it challenges their false notions of religiosity based on Imperialism and Manifest Destiny and includes them squarely in end time judgment.
Glad to be back.
Just read your letter to Tim, I don't know about right or left wing, but this I do know we are to follow Jesus his way of life , to take up where he left off on the earth so to speak. No where do I see in the word that we are to go to church, other then we are not to for sake the gathering of the children of God. So the way I see it is where ever God's children gather is where I am to be. I get to gather with a small group of God's children we meet on Sunday's only because that is the only day we all have off. Some of us meet during the week at night for dinner, or a few games of pool. We fellowship each other help each other get real with each other about our struggles, joys, and breakthroughs with our family and the people we deal with every day, meaning the world. We are trying to love the God with all our being and then just being our self with others. I am finding out that the more I love God the more I love others. I don't sweat the other stuff, because Jesus is coming back, and he will set everything in order. God made the us all, some for honor and some not. Only he knows why. All I know is that Jesus said for us to love God and to love other's and like I said when we truly love God with all our heart we then can love others because the love of the Father is in us, and then it flows out of us and spills out to the people around us, Just sharing my thoughts with you, keep loving God, go to him and ask him what u can do for him today
Have a great day..............Jackie
I know what you mean about taking extreme positions: I call it planting bombs. I recognize I need the same done to me so that I can evaluate a truer path than the one that I am on. It is a prophetic thing no doubt.
On finding a church, I guess I would rather be among people who do not pretend to be anything more than they are, which may or may not be what you call licentious. Was Elijah licentious, or was it just those passions he had that are common to man and woman, and that we all know are alive and well and active in our hopeless flesh? Jesus died once for all. Once covers the time angle: everything we could ever fail Him on, past or far future, He still died for us anyway. He knew it was going to happen and we can't shock Him. He can't be a prude because He made us and He knows what makes us tick. The church seems to want to make me tick to a dishonest beat, unrealistic, hypocritical, "religious"....having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof.
I believe there is no sin, none at all, that could separate us from the love of God in Jesus. Maybe I just have to believe that because I am so undisciplined. But the thief on the cross was equally undisciplined, clearly. Something else saved him, and it was faith. We can believe we have no sin but be under a delusion. I feel that is the case with the affluent, squeaky-clean church. How gross are sins of negligence and greed and wilful ignorance of others needs? Thank You Jesus for loving me. I am a mess in so many ways. But I know you won't let me go. Help me do a better job of what you ask me to do.
xxx all and love from Mary
Hi Mary and everyone,
God help us all to do better. As for my church, I just watched a movie that helps me make up mind on ever going back. The right wing ideology that I rejected there was that the war in Iraq was instituted by God and it is God that sending our boys there. Of course I know that it is not the true God but the image of the beast and I can no longer be part of a ministry that promotes violence as an answer to our problems and especially directed to a country that had nothing to do with 911. I would hope that everyone on this list is mature enough to know that we are not in Iraq because of freedom or democracy or even to defend our country from terrorists. We are there to secure the region so we can dominate the entire middle east. If Bush were to bring the troops home before he leaves office, it is because the oil fields are sufficiently secured, mission accomplished.
The movie I watched can be found here at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15319.htm
It is a hard movie to watch. I hated it because it was true and also loved it because the truth was told. It is full length, rated R because of the Marine Corps language, bringing too many memories close to my own experience, and of course the ravages of war, the blood and killing of women, children, innocent civilians as well as combatants.
If you have any questions about what is really happening there in Iraq, I challenge you all to sit through the entire movie. It may be hard to watch but necessary for us all.
Hi Jay and Mary
I will have to respectfully disagree. There was those during the time of The U.S civil war who propagated the notion that the civil war was about votes and representation based on population. The slave masters could include their slaves in the population head count and thereby obtain greater representation for the slave states.
As a minority and a descendent of those who were oppressed, I am glad the civil war was fought for what ever the reason. As far as I am concerned, the goal of God was the liberation of a people regardless of the motives of men. Men motivation may be evil but God's reason is good and he use the minds of men to effect his will. I believe many in Iraq are of the same opinion and are grateful the Iraq war has happen.
It is really naive of us to believe that justice can be had without a price. We have become accustomed to enjoying the peace we have as a result of the blood of those who have gone before us. Iraq and its people are removed from most of us and we can not understand how helping them will help us. Admittedly, the price is high and we would rather not pay it.
But to do nothing may cost us a lot more. We as human beings must understand how intricately connected we are to one another. Oppression and Tyranny is like a cancer, it will spread if not halted. If we ignore it, perhaps it want reach us in our generation. But what about the next.
History has shown, that tyrants insatiable lust for power can only be satisfied by more conquest. That is why Saddam went into Kuwait. The only solution was for someone to remove him. On a side note, I believe Saddam sealed his fate when he sent the scud missiles into Israel. Not because Israel is preferred by God to other people, but because Israel is the root from where the promise came and God must defend it for his Name's Sake.
I believe we will see a similar fate for all those who attack Israel. God will raise up men to execute judgment against them. President Bush and Blair were ordained for this work in Iraq.
RO 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
We worship different Gods Gene. Your God sent troops to kill over a half a million Iraqi civilians, not mine. That's all I want to say about it. I am through, thoroughly disgusted. Talk is over. Goodbye.
Blessings to you.
Tyranny is a good subject.
I may not agree with all of what you or Jay says but I absolutely uphold your right to say what you believe. To do otherwise is to sink into the same kind of morass that would dominate and conquer others by removing their right to opinion. I do not believe that God approves of that. He says not to overcome evil with evil, but to overcome evil with good.
It might be more useful in this discussion to identify the process of evil and this is where it is. Let none of us think we are free from it, we live in a world where the destroyer is having his way more and more as the days advance. The death and destruction, the stealing of rights and liberties. The oppression and deliberate misleading of others to prevent them from gaining rights and liberties and upholding the truth. It happens subtly and unsubtly, behind closed doors and open to view.
We are called to a better way and we are called to love.
The devil is the father of lies and we need to help each other to keep our eyes open and to move in the truth, however uncomfortable. Some of those uncomfortable truths apply to our leaders and their motives and then the results of their decisions affecting populations.
Even so, I will not be made to regard any fellow human as an object of disgust.
My hope is in Jesus and He made us all and died for us, for the sins of the whole world, not just the people we like and agree with.
Hope this helps.
Much love from Mary
QUOTE "I believe we will see a similar fate for all those who attack Israel. God will raise up men to execute judgment against them. President Bush and Blair were ordained for this work in Iraq". UNQUOTE.
No Gene...... Bush and Blair are warmongers after oil and should face the International Court in Geneva over their war crimes.
Men cause wars not God. God will not save us from man made war. God is not on anyone's side. He has given us free will and does not intervene in man's choices.
You talk of God's goal in liberating the enslaved Africans in America. God did not intervene.
Men and women chose to gain their freedom themselves and the civil rights movement swelled and grew until all people in America became equal under the law and the constitution but not without much opposition from the people who had the most to gain from keeping the ethnic minority enslaved.
God is not intervening in the war in Iraq. BushCo and his neocon cronies only want the oil like his Papa did. They don't give a toss how many people die in the process on either side.
The US gave Saddam the biological chemicals and war artillery in the first place back in the 80's and God did not have a say in the matter either.
BushCo (read shadow government)organized 9/11 as a prelude to war in the middle east to gain oil. Look at the evidence around the Internet. It was a controlled demolition and both building fell into their footprint at free fall speed taking 8 to 10 seconds.
Explosives were used to demolish buildings #1 #2 and #7. Who did it? It wasn't Muslims. It was done with the help of the Mossad Israeli forces who excel in covert operations abroad.
God did not intervene and stop it. So did he mean it should happen ? No !!! God allows men free will but the time is coming when He will return to extract his vengeance on what men have done to the innocents.
Israel is a land stolen from the Palestinians by the British in 1947 to form a Jewish state. Before that the Romans annihilated Israel.
This Israel is not the Israel that God tells us about nor is it in the place god intended it to be when he comes back to form a new Israel.. This is the Israel made by powerful men and is a place of incredible control over the American government do it's bidding.
I hope you watched the 1 hour 18 minutes video made by truth.org
The Iraq war veterans disagree with the war. They are maimed and broken physically, emotionally and psychologically after witnessing and participating in the blood bath of Iraq.
They get no help from BushCo. I asked the question on a forum, how many relatives of Bush, Cheney, Wolowitz, Rove and others are on active duty in Iraq ? ABSOLUTELY NONE !!!
The war is won as far as Bush and the Illuminati Neocons are concerned. War rages while the "black gold" sits under the sand and the price is pushed up and up and the new pipeline traverses Pakistan to Afghanistan for US-based Exxon, the UK giants Shell and British Petroleum (BP), the French firm Total, and the huge US-based Chevron.
Hi Jay, Gene and Mary,
I'm sorry but warfare and armies are not for Christians. It's totally against the principles which Christ taught. Even if this is all about terrorism (which is doubtful), if America is a nation of God it should 'turn the other cheek' and forgive. Fighting violence with violence can never create peace.
If you watch the link Jay sent it shows clearly that to be in the military a man has to be subjugated and bullied into unquestioning compliance. That's the reality and the reality that is also shown is that God brings the things we do wrong to bear on us, which is why people who fight in wars have to confront the ghosts of what happened. I'm not having a go at the soldiers, but they are the pawns in this as much as everyone else. They said many times 'we aren't the heroes that the story would like to present us as, the reality is different and it's hard to get it through to civilians'.
Christians have been taught to fight spiritual war though, but not with carnal weapons. We have been given the word of God which is the sword of the Spirit. To be a man of peace takes more courage than anything else, because this world is built upon carnality, it is built upon aggression and ambition.
I will not fight to maintain a carnal structure ever. It is not right. Christ would not even let Peter fight to save him. The early Christians history records would not fight.
Christians are not Americans or Iraqis or English people. They are a separate people, a chosen nation. They are like a nation spread amongst all the nations to show by practical example the non-carnal characteristics. It cannot be right for a Christian to be trained by a method which involves lots of intimidation, lots of swearing, shooting at man-sized targets and stabbing dummies. It just doesn't fit.
The kind of thing we should do involves courage. It involves a total and abject unwillingness to disdain such methods. Of course the problem is that we may be left defenseless. Of course they do. That's why we have to have faith in God. That's why Christ said he was sending us out as 'sheep amongst wolves'. If we accept only the realism of carnal methods we send out a dichotomous message about what Christianity is about.
Christ said 'if my kingdom was of this world then my servants would fight' Its not of this world. We are in the world and in God's kingdom but it's spiritual. Our allegiance is not to America, it's not to any country but Christ. One day very soon all the kingdoms of men will be broken down. The stone of Christ is already beginning to crush them but it's spiritual.
Sure they fought wars in the OT, but they were under a different covenant. They didn't have the light of Christ. They were still under a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ. God has showed us that the physical way of doing things was merely a precursor. Their understanding was more imperfect. Whilst they were to maintain physical separation, our separation is one of desire. Christ showed that when he healed the woman who had impurity of blood. Under the law he would have been defiled, but instead by touching her he cleansed her.
We have been called to convert the world through contact with it, but warfare compels us to enter into its lusts. In fact that's the difficulty with the whole world now in that it's becoming ever more controlling. Its not enough now to simply work and live and be a shining example. It wants us to think and feel the same. The charcaterists that it takes to feed and clothe ourselves in this world have become more exacting.
Its a system folks and not worth fighting for and it won't be solved by what kind of government we have in power. Christians in those positions have undoubtedly done good, but it feels to me that we are being called to something far more deeper. What we need is a revolution of spirituality at the bottom.
This world is all lies. The recruiter of the army gets his pays by selling soldiers a vision which is distorted and untrue. Politicians get in by selling visions which are compromises. Since it takes heavy financing to get into high power none of them truly question the basic assumptions of the system to any degree. They probably could not. Advertising and company sales programmess and all the fabrications of our world are lies. I'm sure that Mary working with the homeless can see that, because people at the bottom see the system more clearly for what it is - a power structure.
The difficulty of course is that as humans we are imperfect. We need rules to get along. Yet its still not right and its as if all the world is falling into a deep, deep trap caused by carnality. if we continued down that route we undoubtedly will end up in a high-control scenario of high-tech surveillance, control and militarization. That is not the kingdom of God.
Much love to all,
Hi Tigger, Gene and all,
I agree that war is not for Christians. We can't use the argument that God says there will be wars and rumours of wars to support our engagement in hostilities. We are to be as lights shining in a dark place and that means to do everything we can to uphold the principals that Jesus teaches us in spite of how bad things are. God also says there will be a new heaven and a new earth but that shouldn't us make us think we can be negligent over environmental issues...same argument. We are called to do right when the whole world under the dominion of the devil is doing wrong. It will only get harder from here on.
Having said that, there has to be place for war if it means the protection of populations against terror and the erosion of civil liberties. We can't allow people to suffer such threats against their basic rights and not act.
The problem is that with politics it is never a straightforward matter of goodness and righteousness. Because of the greed and the lies rampant in such circles we can never be sure of a pure motivation among our leaders. They may present issues to us as though they are doing the right thing and gather our support in doing so, but we all know the stories of history exposing the greed and lust and hatred at the bottom of our leaders' apparently clean decisions to do what they have already decided to do anyway. They just set about selling us the idea. The British have an expression, it is being sold "a pig in a poke"...(poke=bag)...meaning we buy it all blindly on trust, at an obvious foolish risk.
Sounds cynical but anyone who has ever looked at the "facts as they compare to the reporting of facts" will understand the bermuda triangle down which all wholesome principals disappear. It is a human thing. There is no depth that we won't sink to and Christ in us is the only hope.
It is on my mind at the moment that we should not use our liberty as a cloak for maliciousness, as follows:
Galatians 5, 13-21
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
A good proportion of those things that will rob us of our spiritual inheritance in the above scripture relates to war. Quite a lot of the rest relate to other areas of human lowness from which none of us is entirely exempt. This means that none of us has a leg to stand on in judging each other for having a different perspective and viewpoint. Positive Christian action however is to share that viewpoint, whatever it is, in the hopes that it will be mutually beneficial. Humility will enable us to change personally according to what is more real and more righteous. But let us not think that we can hide our pride behind soft words, our God sees all.
I cannot say I love my neighbour and then support the killing of him, actively or by negligence. Lord, this is milk surely.
Hey Mary and Tim,
Well you know that I am with you on this, war is not for Christians. If fact the scripture you quoted about wars and rumors of wars should lead us not to be part of them but rather let them not trouble us.
When it all comes down with it, I believe that the Lord is more pleased that we are peacemakers than war mongers. Makes perfect sense to me. I understand why people support the war in Iraq though, the Lord said that He has given the delusion to the ones that believe the lie. The war in Iraq was started with a lie, perpetuated with more lies and persists with even more.
Dear Jay, Mary.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Jay and Mary you are peacemakers and you will be blessed because of this.
Peacemakers are hard to come by today in the church which is sad and makes the Lord sad as he told us all to be peacemakers.
The Lord has told us to love each other, to help each other, to lift each other up before him.
If we cannot do that then how can we Love the Lord.
Today we find that people who claim to love the Lord do not really love him for they love their doctrines, denominations, money, and their own self's. The bible says that the love of many will grow cold and that they will bring in many teachers to teach them what their itching ears want to hear, Making those things idols which are strong delusions to worship in place of the Lord. Each one thinking that they have the truth and must join them or else so to speak this shows you that they don't know what spirit their off. (we also have to watch that we don't fall into that trap for it can creep upon us without us knowing its happening) We must be sober-minded and keep short accounts, examine ourselves daily to prevent this from happening I believe.
Well I have gone on enough (and got off track probably) so if I have please put me right and if I am wrong I am sorry.
What's we've entered is the final scenario of the world system. Its days are limited, but no one knows how to live outside the world system. We can see the shadow of what will be Great Babylon and the outlines are filling in quick. It is the beast, but it may not form exactly as per Revelation.
In a sense Great Babylon is the system which is set against Christianity. I think when we read the Bible its clear that the early disciples expected Christ to return in their lifetime. Who would not having seen the power of Pentecost?? What John saw was that something very evil had to form first and it seems reasonable to believe that they would have seen that as the Roman Empire. In later history it made sense for people to associate that system as the Catholic System as the inquisition gained power. So I would say be careful about forcing a scenario.
What is forcing the pace is that fossil fuels are peaking and with their decline the whole world structure that has been set up is in risk of collapse.
The problem is that the structure that we live in is based upon a realistic assessment of human nature i.e it is carnal. It is not based upon trust or sharing, but upon each person fighting for their own survival. That has led to the competitiveness and shallowness of life in the West and huge poverty in the third world.
I'm convinced that what God is trying to push us towards as Christians is perfection and he's trying to get us to hate the world system so much that we step out in faith and become a fully functioning army. If we look at the video link you sent their were good aspects about the army too. The discipline for example. The loyalty that army people have towards their own. The system does create strong people in certain ways doesn't it??
God wants us to unite so that by so doing we show the world another way. What we have done is set up structures that don't really create growth in people, because its fundamentally theoretical. No one truly expects Christians to develop faith, but what God is asking us to do is step out in faith and what I'm finding is that more and more lines are being reached where I just have to make stands and speak the truth whether its popular or not. And that's what I think we will all have to do one way or another.
Make no mistake about it lines are being drawn. It may seem safer to keep our heads down and hope everything turns out all right, but honestly the more mature we are and more straightforward we are the better chance we have of this system not gaining force. Once people get an insight into how the world really works they will not be able to be pushed into further compromise.
What's important to realize is that the system cannot survive. The reason its getting more controlling is out of fear - it's fighting for its survival and it knows no alternative other than more laws and controls, but each of these reduces its ability to be adaptive. It cannot survive because its working against the environment and resources are limited. To fight wars would not ensure its survival anyway. Its rather mad actually, because just as resources decline everyone goes into overdrive militarily, but the military machine consumes vast resources. To fight a war such as Iraq would take a huge oilfield to maintain. If the resources decline such wars would become impractical and of the course the danger would then be it could be taken to the next level. What is going on is not from God, it's severe madness and thank goodness huge numbers of people are beginning to see that.
Greetings to all members of the Body of Christ,
There is only one truth, that being the Word of God. There is no truth in the world neither is there any interpretation of the truth by mankind. The only truth that is in the world today came through Christ Jesus who is the Word of God and is interpreted for us by the Holy Spirit in our spiritual hearts as we yield and exchange our wisdom and knowledge for Christ's. Therein lies our only hope for peace and tranquility. Men, Governments, etc will never solve our problems, but Christ will. Until He returns let us persevere together in unity of purpose, run the race together in mutual support through prayer and action, leaning not on ourselves but the power of the Word and the ever increasing clarity and knowledge brought to us by the Holy Spirit, let us become Holy as Christ was when He was here in the flesh as men like we are now. By His power for His glory i now pray:
Ephesians 3:9-12 Dear Father, who gives wisdom so generously,
How thankful I am that the congregation of your people has become the channel through which your multi-faceted and many-splendored wisdom will be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. It thrills me to know that it was your purpose eternally to realize this in Christ Jesus my Lord.
Thank you that through him we have confident and bold access to you.
Help me, help all of your people, not to lose heart over what we suffer and what our leaders suffer for us. Help us to see this as our glory!
In the name of Jesus I give you thanks and make these requests.
Hi Mary, Tim, and Jay
I appreciate this conversation. I do believe there is a gross misunderstanding of the word peace among christians. Jesus said I give you peace but not the peace of this world. The peace which Jesus gave us is the peace between God and man. That is the enmity between God and man was broken and God's wrath toward us was appeased by his blood.
Therefore, we who believe have peace from God. Many christians confuse this will meaning peace between man and man. God has established rulers in the earth for the purpose of government. If we are against military action, then we must also be against police persons, judges, and any authority imposed on criminal behavior.
A man can be in jail for a crime and be converted to a christian. He will be saved, Yet he may still have to pay the penalty for his crime. Some christians may feel that he should be completely absolved of his crime since he believed.
But government is a part of God's plan. That is why Jesus said in Matthew 5
25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
There are christians in armies, in police units, as well as other enforcement units. They must not be derelict of their duties. We also see the centurion(s) in scripture who were officers in military service who believed. They were not told to forsake their occupation.
Of course, we are admonished to follow peace with all men as much as it depends on us. But it does not always depend on us. Also, when we think that we as christians will wipe out all violence in this present world, we are deceiving ourselves and do not realize that we are trying to make God out of liar.
It is clear in scripture there will be wars and rumor of wars until the end. Scripture must be fulfilled. Not one word will fail. Whose word are we trying to fulfill God of our own. And to suppose there can be peace without war is really naive of us. There is no compromise between light and darkness, good or evil. One must be eliminated so that the other may exist fully.
None of us are capable are bringing peace to the earth. Only the Lion of Judah when he comes will establish peace and he will come as a WARRIOR to lead his troop in battle and great will be the slaughter of God in that day. He will not come to compromise with darkness but to eradicate it. Believers will be members of his army. If the peace Jesus was speaking of is the peace of the world, why will he come with war to establish the Heavenly Kingdom on earth?
His message to Peter to put away his sword because those who live by sword die by the sword and the scriptures must be fulfilled.
MT 26:52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"
We as believers are to seek to fulfill God's will. Not to establish our own righteousness or a peace we deem as righteous. If we could eliminate wars we could succeed in making God a liar. But if God must wage war in the very end to establish peace eternally upon the whole earth, can we truly establish peace in the temporal world(s) with out war? Are we greater than God?
REV 19:11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
If a man attacks your home and attempts to rape your wife, kill your children, and spoil your home would you not rise up to defend your home by what ever means necessary? But, if your home is taken from you, your wife ravished and your children killed by the authorities because you believe in Christ, would you not use it as opportunity to witness.
But the one without authority the thief which comes to pillage your home you will defend it by what ever means. But legitimate authority you respond as christ:
JN 19:11 Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
Thanks for your thoughts, some of which I would agree with and some of which I would contend. And clearly you've touched on a lot of issues and it does on other areas such as government, politics and so forth and clearly wherever we are in life we are growing and we may do and find ourselves in politics which if we were more wise we would have better avoided.
Certainly the Bible says we are to obey governments and their purpose right now is to establish order. That doesn't mean we should support all that they do, but in general we should be law abiding folk. However if they command us to do things which would make us move outside of the commands of Christ we have to in conscience refuse.
You are right with your quote about peace though, because Christ said 'I come not to bring peace, but a sword and to set families at enmity with one another'. The peace he gives us is in the heart. In the world we are told to expect tribulation, but we are men of peace in the sense that our aim should be the opposite of violence and harm. The sword he brought, though, was not the physical sword but the sword of the Spirit.
The reason Christ brings a sword is because the message is repentance, which is a full giving up of the heart. The world does want us to share in its lusts and we are being asked to follow a pathway of living of holiness which is against the flow. The Spirit of God we read convicts the world of sin and it doesn't like to be convicted of sin. That's what causes the spiritual tension. Our job is to tell it that its ways are wrong.
Whilst the centurion may not have been in a position to give up his duty immediately, the record of history records the early Christians did not believe they should fight. I cannot see why he would not have been taught the sayings and principles of Jesus.
I can see that your thoughts are also flavoured because you believe that the kingdom will come by physical force with a literal Christ in front of a physical army. There are lots of people who believe that and most of their quotes comes from the OT. I was taught that too and the idea is that the Jews are God's people and that one day Christ will sit on a literal throne in Jerusalem and conquer the world with a rod of iron.
If we follow that line of thought then he would have to literally sit on David's throne, there would have to be a literal temple of Ezekiel 40 reconstructed and the sacrifices and law would have to be brought into effect again.
Clearly though there is something happening there, but I think we should be careful before we assume the full kingdom will come through physical force. It cannot be unimportant that the Jews have returned to the land of Israel.
What's amazing to me is that that view of how the earth would be ruled is exactly what the leaders of the Jews expected in Christ's time and they were wrong. What's interesting to do is to look at the quotations of the OT in the NT and actually compare them to what they say in context in the OT. Almost without exception you will find the writers of the NT quoted the OT out of context. What they did was to spiritualize all the prophecies.
My suspicion is that the prophecies have double fulfillment. If you like the nation of Israel is getting a fulfillment 'after the flesh' of the promises to Abraham and the nation of Israel 'after the spirit' is getting a spiritual fulfillment of the promises.
The problem with a literal fulfillment of OT prophecies is that Israel after the flesh become the people of God, whilst in NT terms Israel is now Christ and those who are 'in Him'. A literal fulfillment of the OT prophecies for Christianity needs the reestablishment of law. In NT terms the law is fulfilled spiritually. In OT terms the kingdom is physical centred in Jerusalem. In NT terms it is spiritual and it started at Pentecost when Christ came back 'in power'
If the physical version is right Christ is going to come and fight with a physical sword leading the State of Israel and all countries who accept that rulership. Its very worrying to me, because conversion by the sword isn't the way to make the heart love. How could we be sure that such a person wasn't the AntiChrist?? The character we would see was a warrior as you say.
If you read that passage that you quoted me in Revelation again Christ is indeed dispensing God's wrath, but he's doing it with a sharp sword that comes out of his mouth. If you like the kingdom comes not through physical force, but through spiritual force. Sure we can't do that, but Christ can by using us. If that was impossible then the sword of the spiritual doesn't really carry much force if you think about. Why after establishing the sword of the Spirit should the job be completed with the physical sword. Why after establishing grace should we go back to law??
I would suggest that the danger of being willing to follow the governments as God's servants wherever that would take you is that you could end up trying to maintain a structure which God wants to bring down. It is true that wars and rumours of wars continue to the end, but that doesn't me we should play a part in sustaining them. And to associate all the wars of the nations with a robber trying to kill one's family is not a fair comparison. Thankfully I'm single in these difficult times, but were I married my best interests would be in forwarding the principles of Christ. Fear in fact of what can happen to me or what could happen to them is the very thing which sustains the system of the world. Unjust rulership feeds on that stuff and uses our fear to control us.
Perhaps it may be worth us exploring how our carnal desire for families and material security has allowed us to moderate the principles which would change the world.
And sure Gene if Great Babylon is a world system it would love us to apply that verse in Romans without a recognition of a higher power altogether and sure Greater Babylon will be God's servant too. Wasn't Babylon in the flesh described as God's tool?? Wasn't Cyrus king of Persia and Pharaoh king of Egypt. That didn't mean that Daniel and his friends refused to bow to the image that was set up in their time.
The fact that Pilate was given power by God didn't mean that what he did was right. It didn't mean that the people shouting for the death of Christ were right to support him as an 'ordained power' it just means that God is as the Bible says the author of good and evil. It means we have less freewill than we would like to believe. It means that God rules in the kingdoms of men. What it doesn't mean is that he doesn't have at the same time a spiritual kingdom he expects to move to a different rhythm,
much love and blessings,
Thank you for the conversation. I agree with you that prophecy is often two fold or have double fulfillment.
2nd Sam 7:12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.
**This scripture is fulfilled in both Solomon and Christ. Solomon's fulfillment is a shadow or "type" representation of Christ. Such is the case with earthly fulfillments. They are merely a representation of something much greater in the spiritual realm. This was even the case with the temple.
However, I was not saying that we should take up swords and established the kingdom of God by force. The sword of God is his word. And men will be judged by the word and appointed to life or death based on how they respond to the word.
But none the less, the end result will be life or death by the sword of the word and those who receive death will be destroyed out of the kingdom. Obeying governments does not mean esteeming them before God. (You should have no other gods before me.)
We see in scripture where Jesus admonishes his disciples:
MT 23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
Then we see in scripture:
AC 4:18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."
So clearly context is important. I agree every man should be persuaded by his own conscious. It is obvious when a command of man is contrary to a command of God which commandment we should follow.
Also, I do not believe none of the New testament writers quoted the Old testament out of Context. If we say that they did we must also accuse our Lord of doing the same.
MT 17:10 The disciples asked him, "Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?"
MT 17:11 Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
There are undoubtedly some who would say that Jesus quoted this out of context, believing that Elijah must come physically. The New Testament writers interpreted the Old Testament the way Jesus did. That is they are fulfilled in how they relate to him. He is the fulfillment of all the old testament law and prophets. Since, the writers of the New Testament interpreted the Old as been fulfilled by Christ, they interpreted the scriptures in their proper context.
The book is all about Christ. He is the key. This is what Judaism cannot comprehend. And the peace of God many christians do not comprehend. We are to make disciples for God by spreading the good news. In this way we enlist soldiers in the Lord's army. But be assured that a day of reckoning will come and those who have rejected the blood of Christ will have to pay with their own blood.
As you know i am not very vocal with my comments and opinions on all the issues facing us (as believers in Christ)in todays generation. i much prefer to let scriptures speak for me and to let the Holy Spirit guide me to the appropriate scriptures according to the circumstances i find myself in on any given day.
One of the short comings of having an online relationship is there is no physical contact between the brothers and sisters who come together to share our thoughts and desires. So there is always something lost in our interactions and conversations. That is why i primarily lean on the scriptures themselves to speak what is in my heart when i post here on the lightship.
However, at this time i would like to step out in faith and speak directly to you according to what i believe my spirit has heard and perceived through these most recent series of posts as a brother to another brother.
Please do not be discouraged by the state of the world, this country, the government, the false church, deceivers, or any other person's spiritual convictions, not even any posts here that may vex your spiritual consciousness.
i know the pain and frustration that you are experiencing as i have also been walking in the same valleys as you, just perhaps not as long. i also know there is only one way out of this morass and that is to get back to our First Love. To find joy and comfort in the promise that all these things must come to pass according to our Father's infallible Prophetic Word. We must rejoice in the fact that we can now see the end is near. Taking comfort in our Lord's perfect plan for the redemption of all mankind that will willingly embrace Him and pursue Him with all our heart and soul and to double up our efforts to discover our part and function within His magnificent plan even in times of sorrows, seeking always His power that will enable us to succeed according to His Will.
Jay, i pray you find some comfort and encouragement in these words that are my own, yet guided by the Christ that is in me, as one bother to another whom i love and hope to share eternity with after our time here in this temporary world has passed. Looking forward to meeting face to face all my brothers and sisters who gather here in thought and spirit when the time is right (God's timing) and our salvation is complete.
May we all find our peace and rest in our First Love, Christ Jesus,
Hi Gene and thanks,
It's a good explanation, however I still can't somehow accept that the prophets talked as if they believed it was the physical temple that was to be rebuilt, but in their hearts knew something different. It seems more likely to me that they didn't understand the full import of where their words would led.
To me it is like the point you raise that God isn't interested in our technical accuracy of things, but in us having that childlike faith and trust in Him. It's like God's desire for us is only that we come to know him. That's the truth. All the rest is unimportant really and of course that's possible through Jesus and by His Spirit.
Within that sometimes we are called to explain things technically to others as best we can. For instance technically you can't beat the explanations of the relationship between the law and the purpose as revealed in Christ in say the book of Hebrews. Having come from a legalistic background I do find the need to understand some of these points, because it is what people are grappling with.
Whilst the Bible can aid in some quarters in other quarters it seems to actually be the obstacle. And it does seem as if a literalistic understanding is the cause of the difficulty. If we are fair-minded I think in this we have the root reason why Protestant Christianity has become so divided and is something which concerns me.
In my experience churches in the main are different sets of traditions. Some are very simplistic and others are so technical it's beyond. The biggest difficulties lie in the nature of God and Christ, the Spirit and the Trinity.
It's almost as though we have to get away from a purely Biblical approach and trust in the Spirit of God to deliver all our understanding. And to do that we will need to shed the belief that the Bible is some kind of infallible guide. It's not, because it was written by imperfect men with imperfect understandings. In addition to hang on to the view that we have to adhere to the written word is like hanging on to the letter of the law.
In other word what may be important to us isn't a belief that the practice we should adhere to is first century Christianity, rather it's that we should grasp where the Spirit is taking us today. The inner character of God is of course the same. It's the same Spirit working today as was working in the prophets of old. In that respect to move on what we need to do as Christians is recognize the unpalatable aspects of our history and where we have failed and why we have ended up divided and why it is so powerless.
It's repentance, isn't it?? We have created structures that remove faith. It's easier to believe in a book with all the answers than have the faith to have to rely on hearing God's voice direct. It's easier to want the support of others in a defined structure than have the faith to step out without watching who's with us.
There's nothing complex about what's needed. What we need is repentance and full giving up of the heart. We need God's power and scripturally that can only occur when we all recognize we have sinned and cry out to Him. We have to recognize we have compromised with the world and that the world has us trapped. And that won't happen until the church comes under adversity. In the meantime those who see it will consistently get more helpless. That's the pattern, isn't it, because those who are comfortable never appreciate the position of the helpless until they too experience it. It's truly shocking the way we are.
Surely the whole purpose of Jesus coming was to show us the way to God. Surely what he showed was the inadequacy of words and law and all things physical. The whole idea of the Spirit of God was to transcend that. God came to teach us directly, but we have that tendency to want to have some physical guide, some physical certainty. What he's showing us like the book-trained people of his days is that there's a 'hidden wisdom' that can only be understood with the heart.
We need repentance and full giving up of the heart if we are to grasp the commitment God is asking for in the difficult days ahead. So much has been moderated to what we feel is realistic. I think God understands our limitations, he does understand we have to grow, but I also feel he's trying to push us towards perfection NOW. That's the high calling, that's the athletic level he wants us to be. Let's face it if Christ is coming for a bride he wants her to be eager to marry him and he doesn't want her in a divided state or interested in other suiters like the world.
We won't get there simply by how much we read the Bible or how many prayer meetings we have, even though these things have value. We can pray and pray and pray and yet hold on to aspects of ourselves, because our hearts are so deceitful and it's hard to shed every ounce of trust in the flesh. Nothing but circumstance can truly drive us into God's hands and the world is going to press in and press in and press in. That's what I feel.
If we are to be ready as the bride, if God is every to resurrect the dead pieces which are Christianity we will have to expect full unity of heart. We won't get that without repentance. we won't get that unless we talk up the commitment. We won't get that unless God empowers us to live holy lives. We won't get that unless we appreciate that full unity and trust in each other will require that (as God leads us) we will have to make sacrifices for each other and share not only our minds and emotions, but also the fullness of what we own.
It seems to me this kind of unity will only come as we enter shared adversity. Those with the most resources are those who trust most in their resources. Those who gain the most prominence in general are those who have good outer appearances. God's way is so different. As it gets more adverse the servants of God will inevitably get more radical and their words will gain more of an edge, they will talk through the adversity of their souls. we should not understate just how powerful the sword of the spirit can be. It seems to me that the two witnesses in Revelation are symbolic of this. They are like Moses and Aaron standing before Pharaoh saying 'let my people go' and the world is deceived by the outer appearances of the false church (which is worldy) and they get opposition, but they fend off that opposition not with physical weaponry, but with 'fire that proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies' And it tells us that 'everyone who wants to kill them must be killed in this manner'
It's like the world system gets so complex it's got Christianity trapped and it starts to work against Christianity, but it cannot somehow get the Christians right out and you've got this kind of very active divide between Great babylon and New Jerusalem opening up. A person can no longer be in both camps. Those who are evil will be evil and those who are holy holy and no one will be able to change camps once we get past a certain time 'until the plagues are completed'.
It's like the Christians unintentionally get trapped, because the world doesn't want them in, but neither will it let them out either. And no one will be able to buy or sell without the mark of the Beast. We hear a lot of talk in many churches about a physical Armageddon, but it looks more to me as though what we are entering is the ultimate spiritual Armageddon, a set of circumstances peculiarly confusing where our very ability to act will depend upon how close we are to God. It's not even impossible that both scenarios could occur with a role for the State of Israel too.
Remember Paul said 'be careful not to fall into the same traps as Israel lest you suffer the same fate'. Well Christianity has reeated the sins of Israel and that's why just as they went into Babylon we are going into Great Babylon. However it does say that both parts will eventually be rejoined and that they have suffered for our benefit. Israel has suffered the curse of disobedience and it seems to me that they will under great adversity be brought to confess their need for Christ and as Christians we are being brought to the same position. The cry will be the same 'our father's have taught us lies'
Let's face it as youngsters today people like myself have been put in the impossible scenario. We have been handed a world which is disintegrating. It offers us less by the day. We are expected to compete ever harder for ever less. Most of us have no way of being able to afford a home, we have very little chance of affording a retirement and its a world of drugs and hostility and the response of the Christianity we have been taught in many shades is one of passive tradition, where the advice seems to be 'keep your head below the parapet'. Its not adequate and it's not sufficient for the demands we face.
I have realized like Elihu that although the old people ought to understand most of the time they do not. Man has a spirit and it is God that gives him wisdom. Why are the young getting so angry?? It's not rocket science, it's the world they have been handed. They will not and cannot have their spirit compressed into ever narrower boxes by the world system. It's time for the world to learn how to share and it's time for Christianity to recognize their sin and set the example. No one wants to follow a set of traditions that simply force them into yet another box. If I had been able to live a comfortable life and the chances were still there than I could live the rest of my life out perhaps I could, but the world that I have been given is a different one to that which my parents were given and I'm frustrates and angry by it and I believe my frustration and anger is right.
I don't believe the right way to get rid of that frustration and anger is to get depressed or to take drugs or to blow my mind out with alcohol. What I do expect is the people who taught me about God to follow through and raise their commitment level. I don't see how I can expect the world to believe until they are willing to do that. I don't know how to give a good witness to the world whilst it seems that too often I'm alone. Every time I come to the same conclusion. We have to become reformers. We have to challenge the churches from which we came and we aren't going to be popular folks for doing that. The problem is of course that people say 'well go out and be this supremely sacrificial person. In truth I have been. but people don't see it. They don't realize my own helplessness and perhaps its meant to be that way.
Perhaps we aren't meant to be understood. Perhaps we aren't to expect much help from those who have the means. Perhaps the objective is to keep us keeping on trusting ever more in God. Perhaps what we get so much of the time is the official church paying lip service to all the principles yet too bound by the flesh to truly do much more than gestures. Maybe in truth it is as the Psalmist says 'no help from man'
Maybe as the world sinks further into adversity without recognizing the obviousness of the solutions the justice of God will finally be revealed. So often the people at the bottom are seen as having 'the problems' when it fact they in truth are the symptoms that the world has not got it right. Maybe God is facing all of us with ourselves and our carnality and forcing us to have to change. Maybe he is crushing the spirit of everyone and maybe as those at the bottom, threaten to be the final spanner in the works the world will finally be forced to have to help them.
Much love and blessings,
May the peace of God be upon you. Thank you for your observations. What you say is true. The church is perfected through adversity and tribulation. That is why it is written that all things happen for the good of them that love the Lord.
RO 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
When we are persecuted or adversity comes for Christ sake, though it is meant for evil by our adversaries, God means it for good. We have only to look at the scriptures and see how Israel became fat and complacent and forsook the Lord. But, when adversity came they would cry out to the Lord. Such is the nature of man.
Dear Tigger we should not seek to be understood, but to understand.
PR 4:7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
I believe true understanding comes with knowing God. God is revealed in his word. The more we grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, the more we realize what is truly important. Our priorities change. We began to see things as God sees them and not as the world.
1st Cor 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
It is a misunderstanding of christianity that the purpose of Christ is to make this present world a better place. The purpose of Christ is to give us another world, a better world in which dwellest righteousness. The present world is corrupt and will past away.
It is the new creation which we seek and there will be no more tears. This does not mean that christians should become complacent. We are to be all that we can presently be and make full use of the gifts God have given us while abiding in his righteousness. He has given us both natural and spiritual gifts.
To obtain natural success one must be diligent.
Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
I am self employed and I am considered succesful by most standards. However, in the process of obtaining success, I have lost everything, slept on the street, laid under the bridge, and yet through it all I persisted when others had given up on me or did not believe I would succeed. This is how you prevail in a world where the odds are stacked against you. You persist.
But, be careful Dear Tigger, less you get caught up in the pursuit of an earthly kingdom and become overly distracted from the true prize, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. After, I obtained a measure of success, I realized an inner hunger that none of the things the world told me would fulfill me could satisfy this hunger.
Like you I had been raised in a legalistic congregation and been taught various traditions and doctrines. I could never measure up. I always felt that I was one step away from the fires of Hell. And so, one day I decided I would read the bible and find out if I was friend of God or an enemy. I asked God to show me the true and not according to tradition or what I had been taught and if I was his enemy I would go to hell outright!
I was not going to short change myself by following a form of godliness. Either I was going to be his or my own! What I found was Love indescribably. God revealed himself to me. And then I knew the true meaning of Love.
Also, I came to understand the infallibility of scripture. It is not scripture that is fallible, it is the fallible minds of men who read it. We can read the scripture to discover the righteousness of God or to establish our own righteousness or to justify ourselves in our own sight or the sight of men. When we chose the latter, we end up inventing traditions and doctrine contrary to God that places emphasis on our ability to perform certain works to establish us as righteous before God.
This is why we have so many teachings within christianity. The Lord warned of this in scripture and through his apostles:
Acts 20:29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.
Know this as a truth. As Christ plants, so do Satan. Satan sows seed among the seed of Christ. This is war. And was involves espionage(infiltration). The type and shadow of the Old testament will be fulfilled in us. Though the children of Israel were many, only a remnant was preserved. And so will it be in the church.
When the Lord of the harvest comes he will separate the tares from the wheat. To preserve oneself is to get to know the savior intimately, thereby quickly enabling us to readily recognize a counterfeit.
1st. Thess 5:21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.
1JN 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
True unity will be achieved among the true chuch at heart. Not according to denominationlism or coming into agreement upon every rule. For some eat meat and others do not. Some see one day as holy others esteemed every day the same. Every man is persuaded by his concious or condemned by his concious.
Love is where unity lies. I eat meat. But in the presence of my brother who does not, I refrain if it will cause him to stumble, because I love him. Love consider all things.
As to the world systems, we must remember Jesus prayed that we be taken not out of the world. The spirit spoke to me and told me this:
"I sent you to be a light and not to comdemn."
We are not sent to withdraw from the world but to be a light in it. If you are a soldier be a light unto soldiers, If you are a policeman be a light unto policemen, If you are a president be a light unto presidents, If you are a king be a light unto kings. In this way we are in the world but not of the world.
If we withdraw from participation in the affairs of the world, then satan wins. For there will be no light among the world. We are to be lights, but not become entangled with the world.
Satan wants to snuff out all light and to take captive those of the light and thereby relegate them to his realm of darkness. This is another reason why we get biblical interpretations that bring the hearers into captivity and make men the captives of these teachers.
And speaking of radicalism, my view of the two witnesses is extremely radical from tradition. I see the two witnesses as having already came, even as the woman and child in the next chapter of revelation has already come.
Both revelations are fulfilled in the same person Christ.
Thought I would get back into this dialogue before it gets any more off track. Your last message here gives me the opportunity to do that, especially since you appeal to diligence, testing everything, love, unity, light and understanding.
What I want to get back to of course, is the idea that we worship different Gods. You know me, you already have been exposed to my ideas on the end times so you know that it is ridiculous to anyone that is on the other side of these notions, Christian or not. What we are discussing here is the image of the beast, the mark of the beast, Babylon the Great and the delusion that God has sent to those that have believed the lie. Whatever these things might be, I believe that we are in the last days so whatever the truth is on these matters, they are very important.
We can talk about faith, unity, the trinity, abortion, homosexuality, all kinds of sins and heresies and false doctrine but in the last days, there is but one thing that will be the dividing line in judgment and that is if we have taken the mark of the beast or worshiped his image.
Sound crazy to you? Of course, this may be the reason that Jan is concerned about these things vexing my spiritual consciousness. No matter, I too must speak my heart and I agree with you Gene that participation in the affairs of the world can be a high calling and it is only my opinion that by worshiping the same god that has sent troops to Iraq suggests that you have been given that delusion and worship the image of the beast.
Gene, I don't want to pick on you but to reason with you, even fearing that it might be too late. You speak of light, "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" If there are truly scales upon your eyes, it is not just darkness but blindness. You have been around this list for quite a while and still think that Bush is God's man for the job, it's the wrong god. No amount of light will make a blind man see, the scales must come off first and that is spiritual. You acted like in what you wrote that you didn't even look at the movie that I challenged everyone to watch. Maybe you did but it sounded like you chimed in without the benefit of what we were talking about.
For the record, I do not completely believe anyone on this list, that's OK. We all have our disagreements and none of us can claim inspiration of our own selves or boast that we have it all together over any one else. We can probably all agree on that statement. Examples:
Chrys mentioned that Muslims did not bomb the World Trade Center. I disagree but that doesn't matter, she outlined clearly the imperialistic aims of the beast to a tee. Chrys does not worship the image of the beast, she recognizes it and has the spiritual understanding not to take the mark. By the way, the mark is spiritual, not physical, to think that it is a bar code or tattoo or some other nonsense takes away from the truth and puts the reality of it into the distant future.
Tim (tigger) believes that it doesn't matter what kind of government we have in power. I disagree, that is why I believe that the Queen of the South that comes to denounce this generation is governmental in nature. But that doesn't divide us because Tim does not worship the image of the beast, he recognizes Babylon enough to flee from her, he recognizes that lines are being drawn. Tim finds peace through the true Jesus of a spiritual kingdom, not the one that promotes war to solve our problems. The same with Mary.
Babylon is of a false Christianity that rides upon the back of the beast and from here, it looks as though you are up there waving her banner. Gene, you compared the war in Iraq with our Civil War, there could be no worse comparison unless it is to contrast, the administration of today is not the party of Lincoln. I would respect what you said if we were to compare them with fascist Germany or Imperial Rome but they have no relationship to freedom, only the domination of the entire world to their own economic ends. If you actually believe that this war is about democracy and freedom, you have believed a lie and God has sent you the strong delusion.
Since you have already judged me, I have nothing to say.
God Bless You
That is disappointing. God is the judge on these matters, not me, judgment day has not arrived yet, we still have time. Like I said, it is only my opinion on these things. You had the courage to speak out, that's good. Please don't misunderstand me Gene, I want to approach you in love, not condemnation, the best thing that we can do is come to agreement on the right side. We are facing the greatest divide that the church has ever faced. If we cannot dialogue in love, there is not much hope for the church getting in right in either case.
There are a lot of people that think that the church cannot be healed and I get criticized for sticking it out and not giving up on her. Maybe it is true that there is no hope for Babylon, we are told to get out of her but at the same time, I think we should be calling our loved ones out. Make no mistake about my faith however, I really believe in what I am saying, this is not one of those extremes for the sake of argument things. Anyone who believes in the same god as George Bush is worshiping the image of the Beast. If I am not mistaken, you believe in that God. Am I wrong?
Let's recap. You are grateful that the Iraq war has happened. Are you still of that opinion? The Washington Times reports that it is estimated that over 655,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed already. Is that something to really be grateful about or do you think that all Muslims should be killed, not to mention the 2785 U.S. military personnel killed so far. Gene, you have to realize the impact of your statements on someone like me that believes Jesus is calling us to peace, love and justice and that we are to love our enemies not bomb them. Please Gene, say something that restores my faith in the wonderful things that you have written since you have been on this group.
After a little reflection, I realized that we have both pasted judgment on one another. You feel that conservative Christianity has taken the mark of the beast and conservative Christians like myself feel that liberals are at the very least under the influence of the beast. Since, I realize that this forum is administered by those of the liberal persuasion, I will give a brief statement on my position as a conservative Christian. And let every person be persuaded by his own conscious. I do not believe it to be proper for me to get in a combatant dialogue with the administrators of this forum, since in my view that would be disrespectful of proper authority.
What is the Beast?
The Great Divide between Conservative Christians and Liberal Christians.
To get a perspective of our positions, let's examine the last U.S. presidential race.
We had two to ultimately chose a president from, George Bush and John Kerry.
It seems to me from my conversations with liberal Christians that the election was about war or peace.
Since, I am of the minority race in my country, and the overwhelming majority of my race give their support to the democrats and liberals without hardly a second thought, my voice was generally the lone voice in those discussions. Although, I am registered as a democrat, I elected to go with what I believed was in the best interest of the country.
Now I see the democrats as promising peace at any price. The promise of peace while allowing for the further moral decadence that will ultimately lead to the destruction of the country. The John Kerry's will allow same sex marriages (this allows for an already nearly morally bankrupt society to sink further in moral decadence). This would cause the country to become more Sodom like. He will not oppose legalized murder(abortion). So I believe that those of this sort deceive the people by peace.
For we know that God I is not mocked and will called everyone into judgment. As God called Israel into judgment when their kings promoted or allowed Israel to slip further away from God by their practices. But, when kings arose in Israel who turned the people back to God (although, some of these kings did not seek him with their whole heart), God delayed or postponed his judgment.
I believe that the wise learn from history.
1CO 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
Societies are generally influenced from the top down. We see this in Biblical history. When the man at the top has leaning toward what is right, the population has leaning toward what is right. This is truth regardless of the motivation for the leader's position. There are countless example, Joshua, Josiah, Hezekiah to name a few who were good influence. Then we have the Ahaz, Jeroboam, Jezebel, who became the leaders in Israel and Judah and the decadence that resulted under their leadership. This is why the kingdom of heaven when it is physically manifested upon the earth, all its inhabitants will be completely righteous. For its King is perfectly righteous.
As far as delusions is concerned, I know those who believe that an open homosexual can lead a Christian congregation are greatly deluded. Those who die believing that this will not be called into judgment have been given a great delusion, because they have willfully and repeatedly denied the truth that this is an abomination unto God. Despite the clear reference of scripture both old and new testament to the contrary, they chose their own will and became hardened and could not receive the truth.
Liberal Christians believe that peace at any price is Christ like. This type of peace Christ did not come to bring upon the earth.
MT 10:34 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword
John 14: 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
The world's peace is of course the absence of war between man. Liberals will rather have this type of peace even if it put those in power whose influence will accelerate moral decay. Politicians whose influence would cause a people already desensitized to truth to become even more hardened in their delusions and hasten judgment upon them. So I believe liberals lie in bed with the beast for the sake of peace.
Never mind same sex marriage, never mind murder, never mind whatever, just give us peace! So I believe liberals have enslaved themselves to the beast. The mark is received once they are fully persuaded contrary to scripture and can not turn. Because, they would not receive the truth, God sent them strong delusions so that they might be damned. But, it is their own refusal to accept what is truth that causes them to be given these delusions.
GAL 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction;
Actually an apology is necessary. When we first started this dialogue, I was under the notion that you had read my recent articles on the latter rain list since you are subscribed to it. My views on homosexuality always have been that sin is sin and we are not to tolerate sin in our lives and that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. I have been insulted with the world liberal before but it has always been my opinion that as a Christian I should be showing liberality to others as a fruit of the spirit. This is off the track but I will deal with it so that we can put it aside.
When I say image of the beast, I am referring to the false god that George Bush worships. Remember, I said it is only my opinion but if you pray to the same god that told George Bush to invade Iraq, it is a false god, one of delusion and deceit, one that I cannot have faith in. This has nothing to do with Republican or Democrat, both parties have fallen into the pit. John Kerry has nothing to do with the issue but what he said on the debates was that he believed that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. The same lie you believe was spread by republicans anyway and many other people believed the lie rather than the truth. I agree with Kerry on that but I also agree with him that there should be a legal civil union for gays and lesbians. That should end the matter but sin begets sin and the gays want it all and the anti-gays won't give them any rights at all so we are at an impasse under this administration. I am not anti-gay, I am anti-gay marriage and believe that it is not an acceptable lifestyle; that means that I have to fight off insults from both sides of the issue. I call sin, sin and homosexuality is sin. Again I apologize, these very things were discussed on the latter rain list and I thought you knew that.
I seldom contrast conservative with liberal rather conservative with progressive. I do not know anywhere in my writings that I have ever said that I am a liberal but I have criticized conservatives many times. Maybe we just have different ideas about conservatives. Did I really say that I believe that conservative Christianity has taken the mark of the beast? Point me to where that is, I would need to see what context I said that in because it is a generalization and I have tried to be real careful not to do that. Sorry.
I see conservatives tied to the past, like I say, I am progressive. Getting back to the practices of the early church is progressive, God has progressively revealed His will for us throughout history and I see conservatives tied to the tradition of man. I believe that we should live our Christian faith abundantly, not conservatively, I teach that our Christian service should be active, not conservative, I believe that our giving should be liberal, not conservative and know that the Bible bears me out on that. Republicans have an elitist base and will always oppose the Democrats platforms that champion human rights, civil rights, equality and economic opportunity for all. Democrats have all the faults associated with them simply because it is populist but I would much rather hang around with sinners in need of a Savior than the Pharisees any day of the week including Sunday.
The last couple days I have been working on the next latter rain list newsletter and this dialogue will be the cornerstone. Thanks for that Gene and all the others contributing to it, you have been a real help.
Maybe there are some others who would like to get in on it without getting it off track. The controversy is over the war in Iraq and of which god really told George Bush to invade Iraq.
BTW, the direction I am going with on the latter rain list is with some text found in the book of Habakkuk.
Thanks Jay. Apology accepted.
Hi Mary, Tigger, Jay
I have enjoyed this conversation. The Holy Spirit will guide us into all Truth.
Thanks Gene, that is very gracious.
Hi Jay and all,
The extreme position I would want to take in the case of war is of peace, justice, mercy, love. My stomach rebels at the sight of violence of any kind and I am glad, because as the movie shows, it means I still have things working properly on the inside. These boys have had it bludgeoned....I am sorry I mean "trained".... out of them and it is no different for our boys over here. If there were no training process there would be no victory. I guess someone somewhere said the end justifies the means.
I could even get my head around that as being a reasonable excuse for the belligerence of our species in the face of terrorism which is undeniably real. And the threat of terrorism is still terrorism: thats how it works, it is bullying in the worst way. While our liberty, security and peace is being assaulted, someone has to act on our behalf. The victims of terrorism are fortunate if they escape with psychology intact. I see the victims of terrorism as including those who have been thrust into action; I see their psychologies similarly wasted and distorted, no one really ever wins.
There are a great many who believe that this war is fought for all the right reasons: the alternative is too cruel to contemplate, naiivite a sweet hiding place from the political abuse which tempts us to trust that all is well with our leaders because they are Godly men. Oh Lord I have already been down this road with the church: I thought I ought to be able to trust them. I thought if I could trust anybody, it would be them.
So what do you do when your boy has been thrust into action and the only sense that you could make of it is that he is doing his country a big favour and protecting it from the spiritual violence that terrorism is. And then someone somewhere enlightens you that it is all for the oil, all for the greed, all for the spoils and your son has been somewhere psychologically he will never return from in this life or the next.
If it was my son I would want to kill anyone who suggested that. And if I found out it was true I would want to kill the ones who made him like it. Thats what it does to you. It makes you hate.
One way or another it makes you hate. And then the devil has won.
I get that kind of hate sometimes too but I don't think I would ever act on it. I play some new video games when they come out. I just love to take a gun and shoot something. Not really people though, they are more like robots are demon like creatures that have no soul. I did like a couple of games a while back where you shot people, not creatures, they were both World War II games. It seemed justifiable at the time to be shooting at Nazis shooting at you when in all conscience I would not be able to shoot someone in a game where Vietnamese people were just there defending their homeland.
I like action films too, real bloody ones sometimes. Barb hates them, along with gory horror films, I don't like them either. But a good old shoot-em-up spy flick or some action hero antics I crave more than any type of movie. Maybe it is just my fantasies acting up because I would never act it out in real life.
I also get fits of rage sometimes when I think of people in the past that wronged me and are deserving a baseball bat breaking every bone in their body. I may have this anger at times but when it ever came down to it, I never hurt anyone. I wonder how much of this is just our human nature and something that we can't always control unless we really have love in our hearts. I just can't understand people that can go to war and be able to kill so easily.
You said in your thoughts,
I just can't understand people that can go to war and be able to kill so easily.
The point is almost none of us (unless we are psychopathic) is like is that naturally. Not even soldiers. Here's an article which I read some time ago and which explains why our world is getting more violent and you may find it interesting:
Your film made this point too that in World War 2 the average man when suddenly sent to the frontline found it hard to kill. It's this natural unwillingness to sustain violence which requires our normal restraints brutalized out of us which makes me believe it cannot be right. In fact one soldier said that it was hard to regain his humanity. That ought to make us stop and think deeply
In other words warfare trains the carnal side and if we think about it that ought not to surprise us. We can't go singing songs of hate as a group and chant about killing people and the next second suddenly revert to 'loving our enemies'.
The problem is that it seems naive to believe in not fighting to 'defend our country' Yes it is, but it seems naive also to believe that we can develop our carnal side and then regain innocence at will.
In fairness, Gene, I don't think you have answered these objections. One thing you seemed to imply which I would like to answer is the idea that by believing in this separation from the world we are somehow playing into Satan's hands because we can't influence the world. Somehow that doesn't play true, because I wasn't suggesting that we should be hermits (although there's a place for that for some). What I would suggest is that a man on the front cannot really demonstrate his humanity well, because he is in a controlled state where he is expected to kill. It's not like a man can suddenly become a conscientious objector on the frontline, nor would it be fair to his fellow soldiers for him to do that. He has been trained to not question, but implicitly obey his superiors. He cannot say for instance 'well that move is going to kill lots of innocent bystanders and I can't take part' can he?? He is under the most intense peer pressure imaginable as soldiers also contested in the video.
The point about Jay's video was that the soldiers themselves made a strong case for non military involvement. This wasn't a bunch of idealistic conscientious objectors with their heads in the clouds. This was a group of men who had fought and who found the reality troubling and not consistent with what they had been taught to believe. They were struggling to reconcile the public face that it was honourable and they were heroes with the bloodiness and cruelty of war,
Thanks and much love,
Thanks for that, the article helps a lot, especially good when coming from a Christian viewpoint.
I suppose it may have only been by the grace of God that I was such a bad Marine in the sixties. I was in the reserves at the time where it would have been the draft otherwise and then the Vietnam war started. Actually I like to shoot real guns too, fired expert in boot camp and had firing range training later on studying police science in college. I hated the training to kill though. Tried to get out of every part of it, so I am thankful that it didn't get to me. I was subjected to the same abuse in boot camp that is described in the article except they could use physical abuse when I was in, recruits got punched, kicked and hit frequently, but not now. During one of the reserve meetings, we had an instructor teaching us about this neat type of percussion bomb that only killed people and left the buildings intact. It was horrific for us peaceniks to hear the obvious disregard for human life and several of the guys just walked out of the room in disgust. The instructor was stunned but kept right on teaching. I stayed to hear the rest.
Someone asked that if I was against violence, would I defend my home and family if necessary. Well, yes I would, of course. The problem is that if an Iraqi civilian would do that, it suddenly is not an act of defense but of combat, insurgency and terrorism and an entire block of innocents could be massacred just to blast away that one guy. I am not so blind that I cannot see. I think that if you take either side of the powers that be that are rushing us toward Armageddon, you follow the wrong god and part of a collective insanity. At the same time, everyone should have the right to defend their homeland from foreign invaders, it would be hypocritical to think otherwise.
What I have been trying to do the last few posts is to alert us to the dangers that exist in making others face up to the possibility that their trust in the governments and authorities in our respective countries has been abused fundamentally. I get the feeling sometimes that the liberal wing is easily as gung ho as the right in its way, and can be not only prideful in its opposite view but rather heartless too, so that it becomes a war scene again with people of different opinions shooting at each other and neither budging. There are always casualties in any kind of war and in this case it is liberty to speak. It was good to see we could resolve things properly on here.
You and I have been through enough at the hands of the church to know what it feels like to find out the hard way that people can say the right sounding thing but have another agenda: it amounts to abuse when you are the victim. I am saying that there are many thousands and probably millions of people who currently wholeheartedly believe that the war in Iraq is a righteous one, and that to change positions when e.g. your son has been psychologically damaged in being trained to kill innocents is going to take a lot more than we have offered on here.
Truth is a cruel thing, but we are called to live in it. God exists in it and our temptation is to depart into unholiness in order to either dislodge others from what we see as their wrong opinion or to wander into some unreal territory that makes us condone evil by neglecting to oppose it.
Then I always get to this point. What happens to the victims of blindness? With the war issue or Babylon there are people blindly following. We know we have to wake up and get out of the bullshit and get as many out as we can. To be a partaker in their sins is clearly easy when you are in that psychological environment. Maybe some people will only know what is really going on when they die. Will it be too late for them?
Trusting in our own government here is something that I gave up when Johnson was President. Nixon was a disappointment though, he took me by surprise simply because I was so naive, I was a Republican then. Reagan was very popular here and seemed like a good guy but I saw through him right away, it was then that I took my blinders off when I learned of the American intervention and oppression in Latin America. Reagan was credited with so much good but it was he that was to blame for the death squads in Nicaragua and El Salvador and the murder of Father Oscar Romero. I remember when Ollie North gave credit to God during the Iran/Contra affair, that's when I recognized the image of the beast. I saw Bush Jr. for what he was through his father.
As far as my church, I went in with eyes wide open. What I wanted was worship and fellowship and found it, that's sad. Bucking heads with a run the whole show pastor today is just part of the price we pay to be part of the body of Christ. It got me to the point of what you say with being a partaker of their sins. I wanted to get a food ministry started but what kind of outreach is it when we attract people to a church that has compromised and followed after a god, not of peace and justice but of Bush. As far as I am concerned, I had to separate from them, God has other things in mind for me, and maybe all of us can be part of it, to bring revival by other means. We need to cast our nets on the other side of the boat.
Your mention of the word opinion excites me. I have been thinking a lot of my own opinions lately as well as the opinions of others. When I tell people something and then add that it is my own opinion, in my own mind it is of an informed opinion with study, doing my homework and going to the ends of a conclusion through research. A personal opinion is entirely different and I hear far too much of it. At least an enlightened opinion can be informed by the Holy Ghost through reason but a personal opinion has nothing to back it up but their own ways. Respect of another can respect their opinion but it won't hold much weight.
The liberal wing in this country is losing ground because of the lack of spiritual direction, that is why so many are distancing themselves from it. I think that there will be a mass rejection of Republicans next week but electing Democrats won't make much difference. It seems that there are two sets of people that have a vested interest in this war, the neoliberals and the neoconservatives. Not much difference there. The progressive voice has always been way down there in terms of popularity but moving up fast in terms of social democracy and justice. I can see this as the fourth wave of the Holy Spirit when it hits the church.
It is always good to read what you say. I have always been on the left in my thinking here in the UK because there have been so many real steps forward in terms of social policy that cares for people in a truly Christian way. Not going over them now because I will just get miserable thinking how far we are straying off the track since political correctness made Christianity a dirty word and opened the door to a whole new era. In my mind we have the Thatcher years to thank for a lot of the sanitization of selfishness and greed but now despite having the opportunity to do better with an elected labour party, every political concept somehow comes wrapped up in acceptable packages and you are not allowed to call abuse what it is. The homeless people over here are an example of such victims: what happened to the dignity of caring.
Part of that dignity must be in allowing others to have their own opinion even if it just seems bizarre: everyone who has an opinion believes it is right or it isn't an opinion. Lots of people don't bother to look at the facts like you say but it still is their right to have an opinion. It is terrorism to annihilate that dignity and yet licence taken to an extreme like everything else ends up being bad for us, and that is what has happened here. We have become so licentious that the boundaries of what is right have been entirely smudged over. I believe the root of the problem is one of authority. While it ought to be everyone's right to have an opinion, and to democratically voice it, obviously it is only down to a small group of elected individuals, i.e whoever is in power, to turn opinions into policy. So if these folk are so weak they want to make everyone right, authority is gone and all hell will break loose before too long. It already is in a sense, and we see the result in arrogant youngsters who feel they are entitled to harass and abuse the community without penalty.
Ahhh what a thought. Let's have a war and throw all these arrogant belligerent miserable youngsters into the army and that will save us having to spend the money on what they really need to give them useful, caring and productive lives. Hey look, we can make them do what we want them to do so long as we offer them enough of a financial incentive and how can they refuse when they are poor enough.
Amounts to cannon fodder, legalized killing...who are the criminals around here?
Hmmmmmm I think I argued my way around a pretty terrible but very familiar circle. Feel like a hippy again.
It's very twisted our world, isn't it and somehow I don't think the politicians can do much about that. If we lived in a right society, then everyone would work according to ability and everyone would take according to need. In theory we live in the free world, but in practice we are not free, because what God freely gave to all have been carved out and some benefit from that more than others. Without altering the way that money works, then it's very difficult to see how politicians can make much more than surface progress. I truth our world is trying to force the human spirit into small boxes for the convenience of the system of trading which we have developed which is not only unfair, but is also unsustainable too.
I do get the feeling that we are moving towards something very akin to George Orwell's 1984. At least that's the danger and I guess it's because democracy is proving to have a few fatal faults. It's a nice idea that everyone should be entitled to their own opinion, but I do feel that needs some clarification, because that freedom also leads to the idea that everyone has an equal right for their opinion to be taken into account. The problem with that is that not all ideas are in agreement. If we truly respect freedom of speech then a man has the right to promote racist views, he has a right to promote any kind of heresy and challenge any popular assumption. It also allows people to be in favour of liberalizing degenerate behaviour, licentiousness. It also of course should give us the right to preach non-humanistic ideas of repentance.
The problem in practice is how to accommodate all these different views whilst still maintaining harmony and frankly it's impossible. They cannot all be right and a democracy may well allow evil to be done in the name of popular freedom. On the one hand people may promote radical Islamic views and on another they may promote radical Christian views and on an objective level not everyone is going to be content to allow their faith to be compressed into a belief level only. At heart radical people of faith do not believe in the right of people to live how they choose and if the democratic system works against that they will eventually conclude that they have to take other measures. As Christians we know that we are called to convert the heart and if true we would not be looking to take a path of violence, but if democracy as a system leads to societal breakdown then it cannot be a right system.
So at heart I'm glad that we have had freedoms of speech. I much prefer that state to the medieval mindset where people were send to the inquisition or that it highly autocratic countries like Korea. Yet I believe it has fatal flaws too.
In any case for a true democracy to work it requires everyone to assume full responsibility for everyone. At the moment someone with no self-discipline gets the same right to vote as someone who takes full responsibility. And whilst in practice everyone's vote is equally powerful and any man in theory can become president of the US in practice to get to positions of power requires a person to use influence and political positioning. In addition many campaigns require huge financing and companies with power form pressure groups and unduly influence the way things are run at every level.
Men judge after the outward impression whilst God looks at the heart. This is why we get so much spin. The men who get elected are those who use their influence and money to portray an electable image. In fairness they have to, because men do not want to hear bad things. There is also a problem in that as Christians the right thing to do would be to teach God's ways and not deviate at all, which might be undemocratic. It's hard to pay lipservice to popular democracy and be true to the electorate and at the same time be true in our desire to resist all compromise.
It seems to me that real meaningful change can only come by altering the hearts at the bottom level. The assumption that we have in these political discussions is that how everything is run is dependant upon who is in power. I believe Gene said the same thing by pointing out that when Israel had a good leader they were good and when they had a bad leader they were bad. We have to remember though that they were under law. It does show the way power works though and it shows the pressure that those in charge can put upon those at the bottom. Yet it didn't have to work that way. If the people had steadfastly remained righteous then the leaders would have had to bow out. At the end of the day there are way more people at the bottom than at the top and the only way they can be controlled is through fear. For every Hitler or Stalin there is an army of folks who don't make a stand and say 'this isn't right' and who don't say to the elected people 'I don't care whether you are doing your job or no it's not right and if you disobey the living God you will be found accountable at the judgement seat'. And 'doing your job' was never an excuse at the Trials after World War 2. Fear of consequences is what allows a few men to control the many and in a proper society where we had real freedom we wouldn't need a huge top-down structure.
The scriptural view is that the Spirit of God is able to change men. God is able to give them direct guidance to the heart. If everyone was led by the Spirit of God we would be able to start dismantling all the laws and structures which tie us all up. He would put us in the right place and sure maybe God has put a few Christians in high power, but God can use a person just as effectively at the bottom as at the top. He doesn't need to work within human structures to bring about change. If everyone did the right thing there would be no need for people at the top. We would all be on the same level. There were not need to be a fear of consequences to hold structures together.
Whilst Christians do not and should not fight physically most definitely there is a spiritual battle to be fought sometimes in words, sometimes in stands. Not everyone is right and peace in our kind of world doesn't come by everyone keeping their mouths closed and refusing to differ. That leads to an emotional stand-off and political correctness. What we are coming to is a battle of the worldviews where different ideas of how we should live are coming into conflict.
Unfortunately what democracies have created is a kind of wasteland over here in the UK. It has created a very materialistic and entertainment orientated society where the general tone and conversation is shallow. It has led to a breakdown of families and communities and my suspicion is that people at the top have very little respect for the electorate even though they pay lipservice to all the ideas. Why should they pay a lot of respect to such unbridled self-centred narcissism?? The maximum benefit the majority have derived from freedom is the endless desire to get more for themselves and do what they want regardless of anyone else. It has created a me, me, me society. It's a weak society and when things go wrong everyone says 'well, what's the government going to do about it??'
The government cannot at the same time give everyone lots of rights and freedoms and at the same time take all the responsibility. If the government takes responsibility then the people will find they will have to give away their rights. The right thing is not for big government to step in and organize childcare for everyone and train everyone and teach us using psychology how to get along and how to be good parents and so on and so forth. The right thing is for us to take responsibility for ourselves and for our families and for those around us in ever bigger circles of responsibility.
Hi every one
Maybe we should just pray for our mighty God to change the hearts of or leaders in Government. He does tell us in his word, that the only thing that changes things is prayer.
Look didn't he change Paul's heart in one day. I believe it was because of the prayers of the believers at that time when they were being hunted down, and killed for the good news of Christ. Just my opinion.
The Fathers love to all Jackie
To my brother Jay and everyone else in Christ
In view of the latter discussions, I would like to share a dream the Lord gave me a couple of years ago:
I am a passenger in a motor vehicle and part of a lift club to and fro from work. Everyday en route we pass this house (non-descript, like a farmstead) afar in a field and somehow I´m drawn to this house. I decide then to have a closer look at it. Next in my dream it is early evening and I´m walking towards the house and as I rounded the one corner, I saw the house has a steeple (not visible from the road).
The moment I entered the house I found myself in a typical underground parking lot the likes you would find under tall buildings in a city area. It was totally empty, no cars, just the bare concrete walls and square pillars. After walking awhile I was joined by other people but we were only a handful. We saw an exit ramp further on and as if guided started walking towards it. Bright sunlight emanated from it. We suddenly felt a very and this is very difficult to explain unless you experience it yourself dark, evil presence but couldn't see anything. It was like this invisible dark cloud floating just above and in front of us and it wouldn´t let us pass. We knew without saying that there was no way of passing through this presence/space unless we rely fully on Christ to help us. I was petrified.
We all together (unity) rebuked it over and over again and pleaded the blood of Christ over us. It was an incredible spiritual battle but eventually we could pass.
The next moment I found myself walking on the ramp, exiting the basement into bright daylight, to find a carnival/circus set up directly at the entrance of the ramp. Typical carnival music blared over speakers. I turned to look behind me, expecting to see the house, but all I saw is the ramp exit and posted on a pole is this big poster announcing the coming of the circus to town the face of the clown was replaced by a face of an elder in our church at that time.
Now, I know I am talking to Spirit filled, born-again children of God here, some who has the gift of interpretation. It was clearly a vision of the end times when the Body of Christ (the true church, the Bride, etc ) will be forced underground. No mega churches, high profile praise and worship’, no TV/radio coverage, in other words no popularity at all. We will convene in small groups in houses with utmost secrecy, in fear of our lives.
The main point I want to make is the fact that the evil cloud’ was not visible to the naked eye. Only through discernment were we able to identify the presence. Whoever the antichrist is, (for I believe that he is alive and ready for his big reveal, and I also believe like most of you, like Jay, that the political arena and not the religious is where he will make himself known} only few/elect/remnant, with the help of the Lord through His Spirit will we know who he is and everyone else, even fellow brethren’ (the poster of the elder) won´t believe us but will betray us.
So instead of looking for him under every bush’ let us rather watch and pray like never before and rely and trust upon the Lord, that when the time comes (too close for comfort) for all of these things to pass, we would be found worthy (with enough oil in our lamps) to enter His kingdom for all eternity!!!
Erika Stander, sister in Christ, South Africa
Hey Jay! Peace and abundant life be unto you and yours...I don't really think that any government represents the interests of the poor. There isn't a godly nation at all upon the face of the entire Earth. Every one seeks after his own interests which are monetary gain and power. Also, I am so tired of hearing hatred preached about the sin of homosexuality likes it is some special sin that there is no redemption for. The thing about homosexuality is that the practicers or committers of this sin have come out or as I put it are openly flaunting their sin today. There is a sin of pride that is accompanying this sin. There is no difference between committing adultery, telling a lie, dishonoring your parents or committing the sexual sin of homosexuality. Sin is sin!!! For some reason, some think that there are big and little sins. Truly love covers a multitude of sins so that we can see the precious souls that our Lord Jesus died for. If we walk in love, we see through His eyes. Speaking of the fruit of the Spirit...There are many who are bearing artificial fruit. Remember, we reproduce after our own kind. When we truly bear fruit, others are fed, seeds are planted and we will have our own harvest. Jesus cursed the fig tree because it didn't have any fruit on it. That is a lesson that we need to learn...
where is G-d. He is right here. Is this not the latter days? Do we expect that to be a easy time??????? Maybe this war will fulfill some Prophecy like Isaiah 17 or could this be the start of the Gog Magog war. I think we are living right before the time before the rapture and should expect to see the very worst as Satan knows he is on his last days and will reap havoc over this world until he is eliminated. Very soon G-d will snatch his elect out of this turmoil into his heavenly home. I am very afraid no government is doing the will of our L-rd right now as all have been corrupted. It should be up to the churches and the people of G-d to help and not governments. I see G-ds <
I believe any good that is being done for the poor is not coming from governments but from Father in heaven,because I suspect there is no righteous governments and vary few righteous politicians in this world.
Yes I see a crash coming and I say bring it on Lord.I believe it is what the so called western world needs but first the world should have the Truth presented to them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.There are still a billion plus in Asia alone that have never been shown the Gospel. As there economies increase in wealth they will have access to the truth.Then they will know,then comes the rain.
May Father continue to bless you, Amen
good to hear from you
read your article, good as always
it is almost expected of any Christian to backslide after great revelation in Jesus. Why? because they are now a threat to the enemy, and he fights dirty, to make sure we stay ahead of him.
as for governments strengthening the hand of the poor?
...............................oh, maybe a few "third world countries" but the "rich and civilized" nations are steadily feeding us to the dogs, and getting rich and fat doing it.
the news saddens me, what i can actually find to be truthful in it, anyway.
Bless you and your ministry, keep rocking the boat, Jesus walked on water, and we can follow :)
I love these newsletters.
The slimepits are not a pleasant place to be in but we are only discussing so we can stay safe while we all work this out together.
Where it is darkest is in where it is blindest and the church general has to take a good chunk of the blame on that. A symptom of the blindness that may well lead to spiritual death is the failure to address the sexual sins that are abundant among us, so we are going the right way here. Not until we have cleaned up our act and can be confident we are not engaged in any kind of sexual sin do we have the right to call for repentance among others.
Likewise, on lust for money. Seemingly two separate issues but the god of this world knows the potential of the flesh and laughs up his sleeve as we fall for every trick that gets us to behave unseemly. Hearts enticed away by the desire to increase in goods, "if I could just get that my life would be so much better" kind of thinking.
Such is the common trap of lust. And calling for repentance from both things without being delivered ourselves is just hypocrisy. And the power of God surely isn't going to rest on hypocrites.
On the street and in the world, hypocrisy is the main complaint about the church. Jesus would agree.
Come to think of it, it is the main complaint about governments too...how interesting. The squeaky clean image is just a red herring folks: rest assured, there is dirt behind the scenes. In Wales they say, if you find a good politician, shoot him before he goes bad with the rest. I am afraid to think how that impacts the mind if you substitute the word Christian for politician, aarrgghh. Too close for comfort.
What on earth are we going to do?
Can't speak for men but women sometimes have sex for reasons other than lust. Surprising fact of the day, haha. This is not to excuse the girls and pin the blame on the men, but to show that there are issues that cause waywardness, and it rarely is pain free. I am willing to bet that the woman caught in adultery and dealt with so beautifully by Jesus had a hunger she couldn't even name, let alone address. The answer to that hunger was Jesus' love and acceptance, and crucially His forgiveness which was by no means diminished by His full knowledge of what was making her sin. I bet she would have settled for a husband who listened to her and valued her however. Man, Jesus sure meant THAT one for good, look what she got instead.
Guys, we have to address the pain. It is that what we haven't done in the church. I lost count of how many times I tried to confess a problem, only to get the Pharisee boot stuck in to make me feel more vile than I already felt. If ever we are privileged enough to hear someone confess their faults and sins in confidence to us, for goodness sake lets show love and acceptance like Jesus does, and reveal the extent of His mercy, not send them off in misery with a powerless prayer sprung out of our own hypocrisy.
If in a marital relationship there is sexual sin on either side, ask why. Yes you men, this means stick around long enough to hear what your wife needs to tell you about how you piss her off enough to make her want to freeze you out physically or reject you or even stray. Likewise girls, adultery and porn addiction and straying of every kind is common among our husbands even in the church. So why is that? Is it a lack of commitment or a lack of honest communication? What is at the bottom of it all? It never goes away unless we deal with it, and deal with it we must.
Address the pain.
On the other subject:
Greed is the issue that makes others poor, and the solution is simple mathematics. We easily have the resources in the West to resolve all the problems of poverty worldwide, but we don't do it because we are greedy, and we have convinced our nations that greed is healthy and normal and desirable and human and respectable.
Well how respectable is it that we sit comfortably discussing making poverty history while famines and death continue to sweep the Third World one year on from G8? Is it only enough to be seen discussing the problem of poverty? Obviously not. Action is key, as you say.
Action is not going to happen unless we are looking at what we are doing honestly in choosing to be seen to do something good while effectively doing nothing. Do we really know what holy action is in the church? I wonder.
There is something I see common to these two problems of sexual and material lust. It is that God does not leave us orphaned with the rule book regarding our personal unsatisfactory circumstances. Jesus is powerfully with us as He promised in our individual situations, such as they are, actively present and ready to help. It is the only way we can make sense of what little we are all doing to shine as lights in this dark world. It means our confession and forgiveness, repentance and cleansing can be moment by moment, ongoing. That takes care of the bad stuff we so easily succumb to.
But then, also moment by moment, are situations arising in the plan of God where we can bless someone, help someone, feed someone, minister. If we all did that just as individuals, if we all did something good that was in our power to do, as God gave the opportunity, you betcha...a few things would change around here. I do not want to be caught napping when Jesus directs me into the slimepits with the message for e.g. a particular homosexual powerless against the pain of his own sin.
OK this letter is far too long but not to worry. Summing up, in the church wouldn't it be great if we would...
.....Address, and allow others to address the pain we have received and caused in all our relationships, and love each other enough to help each other forward to a better place.
.....Address the greed that infects us and this starts with "me".
.....Avail ourselves of the merciful and cleansing power of God moment by moment.
.....And then walk in the Spirit.
"Plenteous grace in Thee is found
Grace to cover all my sin
Let the healing streams abound
Make and keep me pure within
Thou of life the fountain art
Freely let me take of Thee
Spring Thou up within my heart
Rise to all eternity"
The Lord has given us the grace to reconcile the children to their Fathers
As One Body
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