30 October 2016

A Piece Of Peace In Due Time

Mark 1: 15

Following the blog article about an ancient greeting and blessing towards others (“peace be with / upon you”), I thought it proper to explore the heart behind such a phrase by looking at the main word:

Peace

noun

- freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility

- freedom from or the cessation of war or violence

- harmony in personal relations

- used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell

What comes to your mind and heart when considering peace?

Have you ever been 'at peace'?

Is peace possible in a world where we still see and hear of war, violence, oppression and such madness?

Is peace only a state of mind / heart and not an actual reality on the physical plane?

In today's political vernacular, a 'time of peace' is when any particular nation's army is not at war with another nation's army.

Between neighbors, it may be when the two can pass each other without having harsh looks or harsh words.

But have you ever noticed that despite what a nation does, or what neighbors may do, some people are not swept away into a warring mindset?

Have you ever noticed people who stay at peace within themselves and with others?

There was someone long ago who promised peace to those who would trust in Him, who would believe in Him and follow His Way.

The Messiah promised eternal peace, and peace was evidently realized by many after His appearance, according to what they wrote despite harsh experiences.

The number of those living in and according to His peace have grown exponentially since, adding their testimonies to the mountain of testimony of triumph over trials from all sides.

Peace was realized, but not as some would desire to understand it.

For some, there is no evidence of peace when they look at the world.

At the time of the Messiah's appearance, some understood He would usher in world-wide peace that would be evident with the ending of wars, strife, violence and fighting between tribes, nations and peoples of opposite viewpoints.

Since this reality has never (or not yet) been realized externally, they denounce the claim that Messiah has appeared.

But was the promise of peace one of temporal evidence or internal tranquility?
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. 
- John 14: 27
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 
- John 6: 63
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I Am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” 
- Matthew 11: 28-30
From my life's experience so far (in my 41st year of existence on this temporal plane), the peace spoken by Christ was not an external realization.

His peace is an internal reality.

As one grows into His love, peace and presence, this internal contentment continues to flow outwards for others to realize and be influenced by.

It, like living waters, continues to spring out and about for others to taste.

How did Christ describe this internal reality?
Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Yeshua replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” 
- Luke 17: 20-21
Centuries before the appearance of God in the flesh, the Messiah, a prophecy was revealed that succinctly defines 'who' and 'what' the Messiah would be, and the manner in which the kingdom mentioned in the New Testament would be externally realized via the spiritual realms.
For to us a child is born, 
   to us a Son is given, 
     and the government will be on His shoulders. 
And He will be called 
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
     Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
   Of the greatness of His government and peace 
     there will be no end. 
He will reign on David’s throne 
   and over his kingdom, 
     establishing and upholding it 
   with justice and righteousness 
     from that time on and forever. 
The zeal of the Lord Almighty 
   will accomplish this. 
- Isaiah 9: 6-7
The Lord's zeal continues until this Day to spread this unseen kingdom... and so many haven't much of a clue, but it seems to be God's will for His mysterious ways to not be widely known.

Blessed be His Holy Name!

28 October 2016

You Say Pot-A-to, I Say Pot-AH-to

The One Way Speaks To The Heart, Despite The Language Or Words Used

A play on words?

A non-issue?

Semantics?

Exemplary evidence of Sovereignty also represented in something perhaps overlooked?

Let's take a playful, and serious, look at two popular phrases in religious circles.

“Peace Be Upon You”

“Peace Be With You”

Is there a difference?

We see a single word difference, correct?

Do these two phrases message the same intention?

Some would affirm they do, others would disagree.

Taking a closer look, we can see a bit of a difference.

Some could say the difference is quite wide, others no wider than a human hair... but still a noticeable difference nonetheless.

Consider something that is 'upon' you.

Consider also something is that is 'with' you.


Upon

preposition (a word governing, usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause)

up and on; upward so as to get or be on

in an elevated position on

in or into complete or approximate contact with

immediately or very soon after

(see the rest and of the definition)


With

preposition (a word governing, usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause)

accompanied by; accompanying

in some particular relation to (especially implying interaction, company, association, conjunction, or connection

characterized by or having

(of means or instrument) by the use of; using

(see the rest and of the definition)

And now let us simply replace the phrases with synonyms (word or phrase that means exactly or very close to the same meaning as the original word)



“Peace Be Upon You” (upon synonyms)

“Peace Be Beginning With You” / “Peace Be Consequent To You” / “Peace Be Simultaneous To You”

“Peace Be Aloft You” / “Peace Be Atop You” / “Peace Be On Top Of You” / “Peace Be Beyond You”

“Peace Be Over You” / “Peace Be Touching You” / “Peace Be Near You” / “Peace Be With* You”



“Peace Be With You” (with synonyms)

“Peace Be Along You” / “Peace Be Alongside You” / “Peace Be Amidst You” / “Peace Be Among You”

“Peace Be Beside You” / “Peace Be By You” / “Peace Be For You” / “Peace Be Including You”

“Peace Be Near You” / “Peace Be Plus You” / “Peace Be Upon* You”


Some would argue a difference, if any, is vast.

Some would say they are saying very much the same thing all things considered.

We can see that as more synonymous words are used, the blending eventually unites meaning.

This is the phenomenon I think is prevalent with the direction all languages are going: influencing one another as one common language is being built, whether it would eventually be English, Spanish or Mandarin or another language is yet to be realized.

Such can be the argument between religions, when religious texts are critically analyzed and their meanings deciphered according to such specifics, despite the overall unifying message between or within such texts.

Aside from arguing what may be insignificant for some, or greatly significant for others, we should remember the following, for in this message we do see a chasm of difference, not a blending but a calling and very sobering warning:
And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. 
- Matthew 12: 31-32

27 October 2016

Walking In-Step With Him


He Walks Amongst Us...

...Ahead Of Us, Besides Us, Within Us
I think collectively, humanity struggles with inadequacy.

We all doubt.

For some, doubt is a plague, a constant thorn that sadly won't be removed... but His grace is sufficient.

For others, doubt comes and goes like the rising of the tide, only to subside and all things retreat to ease and peace once again.

Some have journeyed beyond the bouts with doubt, to arrive at other pastures, seemingly 'greener' from the vantage point of others, but known by the 'Some' who now realize an entirely different battlefield.

Once we were the religious, and then we graduate to realize that we've been 'made' righteous.

We are not righteous on our own nor by our own efforts; such is the way of religion.

For the religious (or those who effort righteousness outside of surrender), they consider an external effort will lead to internal peace.

Every religion (thought and effort process put together by people) has endless methods of achieving 'spirituality' or 'righteousness' or 'peace'.

For some of the religious, they are convinced the things they 'do' produce the desired goal.

For some, it does (because they believe it does)... and I think that is okay, for God's grace is sufficient.

God knows our individual shortcomings.

If we believe in a God that is Sovereign over all things, that nothing happens outside His will, then we can accept the notion that all the variety of ideas religious-wise exist because God has allowed them to exist.

Are all ways correct?

Of course not, there is really only one Way.

The Way of the One isn't always as people may argue it to be... and that is the rub every human being is challenged with, causing doubt... and causing strife within them and with others.

Is repeating certain phrases and mantras an automatic entrance into heaven?

Some would argue that it is... but is that truly the reality we are dealing with?

Is God a wizard that can only be accessed by finding out the magic spell that needs to be recited a specific way?

Some would have you believe such nonsense, in terms of invoking a certain 'name' or performing a certain religious activity.

But those who have tasted the goodness know this to be absurd and ridiculous, a fleeting shadow and empty of light's invocation.

I say that many have misunderstood what God has long ago established on earth.

Many misperceive that some may be 'lost' while they themselves are undoubtedly 'found'... yet these 'found' push the 'lost' away by their talk, their manners and their religious arrogance / indifference.

In reinforcing things that people believe, in the context of their religion, some blindly miss what God has established and forwarded since the beginning of time.

They do not see God's bigger picture, but their human perceptions and human arguments.

They see only themselves against the world, yet death has been conquered and remission of sins poured out for many.

Folks focus on the external details while not realizing that the kingdom has come, as promised.

The kingdom of God is already within those who have tasted the living waters... and the kingdom continues to conquer the world in unimaginable ways.

It is understandable the many misconceptions since the physical world is ever-present and continually before our eyes, thus why many people only see through the physical and what the physical paradigm represents.

In turn, they posture physically in order to perceive or attain an internal peace.

This is not to criticize, but to simply encourage love and understanding to those who are at this place, who may never graduate beyond this... but His grace is sufficient.

We are not saved according to a doctorate in 'faith' or theology, but according to the condition of our hearts and how we speak and treat others (1st and 2nd greatest commandments, all the law and prophets hang on these two).

Our heart's condition is dependent on God's gift of faith and grace upon us, and in small part on our choices.

If we were 'saved' according to our knowledge, or our exterior efforts, then the entire purpose of Christ's Gospel and the fulfillment of the law is a nullity.

Righteousness would have been achieved by at least one human being long ago... even after the law was revealed from Above.

But as many of us can attest, and what secular historical scholarship is continually realizing, is that only one 'human' being existed that was without fault, never strayed and never fell short of Righteousness' expectation.

Only One was Holy while on the earth.

Even the religion developed in the Arabian peninsula in the 6th century proclaims that only Yeshua was sinless from birth to death (His death being disputed, His ascension being proclaimed, while His pure nature being protected from fault strongly affirmed).

God knows very intimately our fragility and our hearts through and through.

Thus why God has provided a model of human obedience, of perfection, for us in Christ.

If only we would arrive at understanding His heart more quickly, then we would surrender in whichever situation we are in... and we would put down our arguments over things which only He can reveal to us according to His process upon our lives.

His grace is sufficient... even for you, whomever and wherever you currently are!

25 October 2016

Pork Barrels, Pork Bellies & Pigs in General




Politics.

For some, politics is the method to appease the mob with promises that usually go unrealized.

For others, politics is evidence that some people must dominate another people for whatever reason.

For some others, politics is simply a ruse that enables the less educated to misunderstand their position in the pecking order, being instigated against one another.

But for still some other, politics makes no substantial difference in our lives regardless of how difficult the temporal reality may become.

We understand that we must still make the most of our lives, our reality, our landscape (no matter how politicized it darkened by others).

This is because some people understand that politics is a tool, and that tool, since its invention, should be used wisely... but not as one may suppose or consider 'wise'.

You too can use the political tool wisely, and expertly.

For every measure, proposition, code, law, etc., must there be a vote, response or acknowledgement?

Have you ever heard of a congressman, or senator, or council person “missing” a vote?

Were they sick?

Were they unable to attend the voting roll call?

In some instances, perhaps these were the reasons for their voting absence.

Some of the reasons were quite simple: they didn't agree with the proposal, and a vote either way was not as good as no vote at all.

Consider what silence means.

Have you realized how powerful silence is in the face of strife, madness or hatred?

Sometimes, the wisest response to madness is no response at all.

Silence also speaks.

Not every single effort a politician brings forth needs to even be acknowledged, let alone voted on.

What are the majority of 'things' passed in legislation?

Don't we see them supporting business interests, or limiting rights or some other efforts in some manner?

Don't we see hired hands managing people and resources firstly according to their self-interests, and also that of their financial supporters?

This season's presidential cycle had a few people speaking very clearly about political realities, with striking statistics and sobering revelations being shared... but sadly, we have ended up with a popularity contest instead... as if we were on a school playground.

I received my 'vote by mail' ballot last night, and noticed that there are “party-nominated” offices and also “voter-nominated” offices... aside from other things that make me raise an eye brow to.

Guess which is on an 'executive' level (and not to be chosen by you), and which is a more 'union' or 'local' level?

In other words; guess which one is (s)elected by others, and which are (s)elected by you collectively.

Read about the electoral college contrasted with the popular vote.

I've been receiving DAILY promotional flyers, full of color, with easy slogans and attractive photography, encouraging me to vote for so and so, or vote yes or no for such and such.

Some include personal attacks... while others only mention a small portion of what the entire measure actually says in the detailed 'fine' print.

Sure, a flyer cannot contain the many pages of legalese the actual law will speak, but here is where scandals and slight of hands are conceived.

I used to try and read every single word of these extensive measures, or proposals, and also the 'for' and 'against' statements released by whichever supposed 'neutral' third party.

I'd then try to read and understand the 'rebuttal' to the 'counter argument'.

I can't tell who is telling the truth and who is simply a better writer or argument presenter after some time.

The truth and facts are difficult to decipher.

But what is very clear is the heading or title of whichever new law or measure that is being promoted (or denounced).

And if one reads critically the body of information, sometimes one can realize that the title is deceptive, misleading or only mentions a single issue within the body of writing containing many other issues (what is coined 'pork').

So this time around, instead of plowing through their garbage, their effort to legitimize their job of adding more legislation (instead of trimming away the fat and pile of career legitimizing), I casted lots.

Instead of voting on every single thing mentioned or proposed by people who must write propose something in order to legitimize their job, I let Another make the choice.

That's right.

I have a special coin I use to help me make sometimes simple decisions, sometimes difficult decisions.

Since I believe that what others call blind chance is actually divine destiny with a Grand Sovereign over all things... even minutia such as politics can be weeded out to a least common denominator.

One measure in particular touched my heart since I first read about it months ago, so no lot needed to be cast regarding this one.

For the presidency, as the picture included in this article shows, I started from top to the bottom, and you can see who was eliminated and who was picked.

With every subsequent page of the voting pamphlet, the answer was a continuous “no” regarding voting for anything on that page.

The images speak for themselves in showing the outcome and what was placed into the envelope to be mailed in.

I'm sure many people will disagree, or have issue with what I've shared herein, but let it be known that time and time again man's efforts are frustrated by what can easily be termed 'acts of God'.

This man's faith has been emboldened from Above, that this man knows that I, myself, am my best politician when it comes to maneuvering the world around me.

I am my best representative when it comes to earthly temporal matters.

I am the man to show up at the city council meetings, to voice not only my opinion by my research regarding the government's activities and voice praise, or voice disapproval.

We see the patterns in history, we see the patterns in our own lives, and we shall see these patterns continue until the heavens are rolled up into a single scroll.

Realize what is messaged in this quote from someone who did their best... and enjoy the video (and perhaps the entire documentary when you have a moment) -

“Now I know there are some people that say this isn't any business of the President of the United States... and who believed that the President of the United States should be the honorary chairman of a great fraternal organization, and confine himself to ceremonial functions. But that isn't what the Constitution says. And I did not run for President of the United States to fill that office in that way. Harry Truman once said 'there are fourteen or fifteen million who have the resources to have representatives in Washington to protect their interests,' and that 'the interests of the great mass of the other people, the hundred and fifty or sixty million, is the responsibility of the President of the United States'. And I propose to fulfill it!” - John Fitzgerald Kennedy's speech

20 October 2016

Pick Up After Yourself... In All Things

Find & Read Isaiah 55: 9-11

What is in a word... and how can a single word change the meaning or intention of any text?

Looking at the term “shall”, the several easy definitions are:

- (in the first person) expressing the future tense

- expressing a strong assertion or intention

- used in questions indicating offers or suggestions

- expressing an instruction or command

In a “legal” sense, the term “shall” is a command, not a request, suggestion nor opinion.

Thus why the climate talks of late 2015 became more of a dramatic affair than an actual resolution to address pollution as mentioned in the linked article in this sentence.

This next article is a bit less dramatic and clearer regarding the “market” always being the factor in determining what is done on the planet... the proverbial “babylon system” some of us have heard or read about.

The editing out of the term “shall” in the international agreement for the more convenient (and impotent) term “should” pretty much neutered the effort to curve pollutants being pushed into the atmosphere on the U.S.'s side.

If the term “shall” would have been signed by the parties (political entities) involved, then as was explained in the news, a treaty between nations would have been realized.

I'm surprised why the reluctance to do so, since all nations are conflating into a single conglomerate according to markets, economics and culture.

Perhaps it is too soon.

Or perhaps the financial interests are not leveraged out of their old energy systems and into the newer energy models to contemplate such a market move.

Such a demand on a market (or business interests) that is not ready, or willing, to change their dirty operations into cleaner solutions... would not only be costly, but a major inconvenience.

But notice how John Kerry is promoting the “market opportunity” in the second news article from the New York Times.

Technologies already exist for clean energy production: wind, solar and others.

Blanketing rooftops with solar panels would quickly resolve energy concerns for the U.S., but there is so much $$ that would be directed away from the current infrastructure, the current transmission of energy, and other 'inconveniences' for the old order of things.

It seems the motivation isn't dire enough... perhaps when people have to walk around with oxygen masks will people then have a change of mind (and heart).

The pollutants in the air in many major cities can spike into hazardous levels... or so scientists state.

Check the air quality in your corner of the world (if monitors exist).

In California, legislators passed a law to lower smog levels and also minimize the smell of car exhaust.

Some scientists claim that air pollutants cause Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Great efforts and intentions... but just because you can't smell car exhaust doesn't mean it still isn't there nor causing damage to your body.

Imagine yourself going into an important meeting, and when you sign an agreement, the contract isn't really a promise to do anything, but simply an agreement to 'think' about it.

The U.S. and others make demands on China and India, yet are unwilling to face up to the same demands it seems, or so I read what the news articles or saying in few words.

This is, to me, the implications of changing a single word... in this case, from shall to should.

Should you clean up after yourself?

Shall you clean up after yourself.

Civilized places have ordinances in place to cite someone for littering... but such hand-slaps are not yet implemented for large polluters... but 'credits' are swapped between gross polluters and cleaner businesses... a shell game.

Aside from the argument of man-made climate change, it makes sense not to pollute the environment in any manner... whether the air, water, or ground.

Mankind derives their very existence from the earth; food to eat, water to drink and air to breathe.

No wonder some people desire to take a rocket ship to Mars... to escape an infested earth.

But to think the same ignorance won't repeat itself on Mars, or wherever else mankind's ambitious mind takes them, is to really put too much stock in mankind's obvious pattern of frailty, hypocrisy and arrogance.

If men and women who are “supposed” to represent the interests of mankind cannot stand up to meeting an obligation to clean up after themselves (and the people / financial entities they actually represent), a “shall” of sorts, then why do people think the same mindset will turn a distant planet into a new 'Eden' and not another pollution-riddled dump?

To me, the solution is a personally conscience decision... regardless if there is a profit to be turned.

The economic motivation in some people's decision to do anything is part of man's arrogance.

What I find encouraging is that some people in Today's generation, as in generations past, are not 'buying in' to the consumerism, the waste, the chasing after what glitters and shines, the monkey-see-monkey-do.

Growing trends, both corporate and personal (a, b, c, d,) show the mindset of the wasting away of 'things', are being replaced with a 'return' to the reality that we derive our very physical sustenance from the earth.

How can we continue to dump trash in our own backyard and avoid the pile up, smell and disease?

Your decisions today determine tomorrow.

18 October 2016

To Protest Or Not To Protest... THAT Is The Question

2 Timothy 2: 14

Did the reformers (Protestant Reformation) of the 16th century-forward spark a new religion?

Did the reformers end up causing more of, or worsening, the very thing they were protesting against?

In pointing out Catholicism's clerical sins and Pharisaical attitudes, did the reformation end up becoming Christian Pharisees themselves... arguing over words, meanings and such?

I don't support the claim of a 'new religion' when criticizing the manners of the reformers, but I do realize that in the effort to correct major issues, an overcorrection passed the point of seeing clearly what God had already established in His earthly kingdom many centuries prior.

In bringing everything called "doctrine" by those who preceded the reformers (post Gospel and canonized letters), and questioning all interpretations, a great folly was brought forth.

This folly caused many people to doubt their faith in the 16th century.

It also caused bloody infighting, turning a peaceful brotherhood among the laity into sharp contention... leading to much killing and suspicion.

Did God change His mind when previously teaching to love one's enemies?

Did God now ask the reformers to kill those who opposed their 'enlightenment'?

A major schism sprouted that sadly still continues to sprout division to this very day... yet God is continually unifying into one those who have learned to look over the crumbling walls of division.

I don't agree with everything the Catholic church has put into doctrine over the years.

I also don't agree with every suspicious issue the Reformation (Protestantism) brings up.

I don't perceive corruption or error in every bit of [Catholic] church doctrine conceived after the 4th century.

I think consideration should firstly be applied to what is an issue of salvation, and if not, whether such an issue is simply building upon and elaborating prior realities.

Aside from believing and living out the basics of the Gospel's message, is salvation dependent on further ideas or what is touted as important 'doctrinal' positions by some people either past and present?

Faith in Christ as a basis of salvation is primary, this is an obvious to anyone who has read or heard even a small portion of the Gospel.

And as we can further read, some people very ignorant of God and the drama between Israel and God came to faith, were baptized, and were thus added to God's kingdom.

People with very little 'knowledge' came to faith and were saved!

And when we consider how baptism was extended to children and infants very early in the church (and was never disputed until the 16th century), it seems God had planned to mirror the physical circumcision of the prior (old) covenant by the baptizing (spiritual circumcision of the heart) of the offspring of believers... thus continuing His relationship with those who hold faith and hope in Him.

Accepting papal infallibility, or whether or not Mary ascended into heaven as did Enoch or Elijah is, I don't think, a salvation issue... but men seem to have made careers in arguing certain details or events from the past as somehow being a salvation issue.

But shall such contentions, or oppositions, cause division in the "one" church and body of Christ?

I say no, but some men are hard to convince... seemingly having a heart bent on arguing and striving to show error while they themselves most likely having major conflicts in themselves... and with such conflict peace is far off.

Here is where we can notice the urging of the reforming priests (many of the early reformers / protestors were priests in the Catholic, attempting to correct other Catholic priests), in correcting the arrogance and stubbornness of their peers and superiors.

Some of the arrogant men, whether guided by a wayward spirit or ulterior motives (usurpation - the same issue), seemed to have the need to legitimize themselves and their role in a social hierarchy by continually conceptualizing and writing more and more doctrinal points.

But what was more important after God had subjected the Roman state to the authority of the church?

Continuing to plow God's field by stepping outside authority's comfort zone and walking among the people one has been called to serve.

Remember that, after the faith absorbed all corners and exterior territories of that time's empire, God brought forward secular governments and men under the church's authority in order to be legitimized as earthly kings!

Without the Bishop of Rome's acknowledgement, no king was legitimate.

God truly grew the Messiah's kingdom while destroying and deflating the kingdoms of men as was messaged through the prophet Daniel.

I think too easily the influence and fingerprint God has made on all civilizations through the church is ignored, unrealized or simply mocked as a means to forward empty and sensational arguments.

As to the growing of doctrine, the longer any religious idea exists, the more and more can be written about it... and to this there is no end as God had already mentioned (Ecclesiastes 12: 12).

Don't we see this with both the Catholic and Protestant ideologies?

Did the Reformation urge a newness to the Christian religion?

The aim to correct the folly of some members of the clergy, being humans and thus erring as all mankind does, I think went overboard.

In going overboard, all things previous were questioned including the earliest interpretations and understandings of what God had revealed through Christ, the Apostles, the early church bishops and what had been captured in early writings through the Holy Spirit.

So I must mention "what has been loosened and what has been bound?"

This question goes widely unanswered, but some of us do see clearly some of this question's answers.

I must also mention the issue of baptism, a “rite” or “reality” that was again never brought into contention, nor questioned in the early church (Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic, et al) aside from some fringe heresies until many centuries later culminating during the reformation.

In my opinion, the zeal the reforming effort brought about confounded and confused much of what was established on the Rock... to the detriment of many, but thank God He is still gracious despite our ignorance and petty perceived differences.

So did in fact a new religion, or Christian perception, also start with the Reformation?

I think the issue is more of identity than labeling something a "religion" or "new religion" as some authors over the centuries have quibbled.

The default division of labeling someone "Catholic" and another person "Protestant" is sad and was warned against early in the letters... yet we still see some Christians aligning themselves with groups rather than properly addressing and defining their identities.

Some people call “religion” what became the body of doctrine revealed by Christ.

I don't think Christ delivered a 'new' religion, nor “religion” as was being ritually repeated by the Jews of that time or other peoples past and present in other places on earth.

Christ revealed God as fully as God intended Himself to be revealed in the Messiah, and it is about 'knowing' God according to our hearts and not our heads that one can derive their 'religion', or the manner in which they conduct themselves with others.

This reality is stressed in the Holy Spirit's appeal through Paul's letters to the believer not to stand in judgment of another believer's manner of worship, or in keeping certain festivals or rituals... but what is of great importance is love keeping the bond of peace, not allowing one's faith to destroy the faith of another.

Let us consider how a person with down syndrome, knowing possibly next to nothing of the intricate doctrinal issues raised in this article, can still be a loving, kind and forgiving person while being unable to explain to the satisfaction of a religious 'genius' why they love people and love God.

Don't we see plenty of 'genius' mathematicians or scientific 'prodigies', as well as violent religious fanatics, pushing religious rules while being very empty of any clear thoughts about God's love over their lives?

This is yet another thing that the reformers brought into contention, causing hearers to doubt the patient work God had established up until then in the lives of mankind... and continues to work out.

Does our knowledge of God (however minute or expansive) somehow determine our salvation?

Isn't it our heart's condition (which is navigated by God's hand) and how we treat others the litmus test to whether we (or others) know God, or better said, are known by God?

Did the reformation truly purge all the errors and corruptions promoted from the papacy and other Christian hierarchies of that time?

I agree reform was needed... much like we are to continually reform ourselves in light of God's law on our hearts, on a daily basis.

We, individually and collectively, are encouraged (even demanded) to better our manners, despite our misunderstandings.

We are called to examine ourselves in the mirror on a daily basis.

Many men can accurately recall knowledge and doctrinal information, but can many men truly be all things to all men... or love their enemy as Christ exemplified?

Not all things considered "error" and "corruption" are actually errors or corruptions.

Misunderstanding, confusion and arrogance have played a major role when men have called foul some things they do not understand. ( consider again answering 'what has been loosened / bound?' and consider again baptism )

Looking at Romans 2, when all men's hearts, despite their living under or apart from the Law of Moses prior to Christ, or found to have passed away in distant places having yet to meet a Christian or hear the Word of God, all these men (and mankind) will be judged according to Christ when they taste death.

What does this tell you regarding the infighting in the church?

God will judge all men justly, righteously and according to God's order in Christ, not according to man's limited perception of God's order and justice and their specific opinions.

God judges men according to God's standards, which I must say are still very much misunderstood in many Christian circles (whether Catholic or Protestant or other).

Will God judge men according to the quibbles and issues men have pushed back and forth in letters, in public arguments, from behind a pulpit, a podium, or in the virtual mediums of the internet?

Men think so, but God has revealed Romans 2 and much more that is still confused by the religious.

I say this in simply pointing out: if a pastor of whatever church (Catholic, or that favorite doctrine you agree with) was to be found out as a wicked person, would their sinful ways refute the Gospel as you've come to live it out in your life?

Would then, a priest in the Catholic church (either called Pope or the Bishop of Rome) or the pastor you consider being 100% perfect in his understanding of God, and disseminating perfectly the Gospel's doctrine, if they were to fall from grace... would such an event mean the entire church is now lost or also fallen from God's grace?

Of course not... Christ is the head of the church.

Thus why many intra-Christianity arguments are null and void for the most part, for again, we are not saved (on our part) according to the intricate knowledge of the Gospel, but according to our hearts and how we treat others (and according to God's grace and love in Christ on God's part).

( consider again the down syndrome person, how they are humble and led by the hand by their parent / guardian / pastor / Protector in all things... if only all of our hearts can humbly be like these )

Just as other religious groups grew up after Christ was revealed to the world and have written many things bringing into contention everything about Christ they either never heard, never understood and thus never believed, so do men from many walks of life question the things that only God can reveal to men's hearts.

Darkness has a difficult time dealing with the Light... and refutes anything the light exposes as mere novelty, something illogical or something contrary to God's order.

What about the actions of the early reformers when responding to the crimes the Catholic church had inflicted onto heretics?

The blood-stained hands of those who killed others according to their identity (Protestants killing Catholics and vice versa) can NOT be availed if their conscience alerted them to the wickedness they were committing.

Such warrants are not found in the Gospel nor the early church writings prior to Rome's influence on the church (early 4th century).

So guilty are those in the Catholic ideology who supported the killing of human beings... and also those of the Protestant ideology who also supported the killing of human beings.

Does God's kingdom on earth rule over the secular governments of men, or not?

If so, why have the faithful in positions of political influence allowed for the murdering of human beings (either criminal in whichever definition or unborn)?

In instances that the secular government is in rebellion to the precepts agreed to be Gospel and God's heart revealed in Christ, then why aren't the crimes against humanity (capital punishment and abortion) identified for the wickedness they are?

The study of the early writings of the bishops, their letters, their struggles and their arguments against early heresies up until the point when Rome began to encroach on the church is crucial in clarifying the point in time men began to indulge their thoughts and the secular demands of those unknown by God.

If people who identify themselves as Catholics, or Protestants, or whatever else... would simply look to the earliest writings after what is called "canon", and would build their perceptions of church history upon these, then I think unity could be realized... at least unifying agreement.

We can then resolve to identify ourselves as disciples of Christ, children of God and believers in the risen Christ.

Hopefully we can cease this division of labeling one another (and ourselves) as something not found in Scripture.

Hopefully also we can realize all that has been loosened and bound, according to God's Spirit working through men's hearts up until even Today!

The kingdom of God is truly within you... and no man still cannot claim "here it is" or "there it is".

17 October 2016

How Each Of Us Can Do Better... And Serve A Better Soup

James 1: 9 over Proverbs 16: 18


The Marriage of Politics and Economics; a constant and sometimes illicit affair throughout history.

Last night I was reading about the Russian American Company, an effort of the Russian empire from the 1800s to build trading monopolies of natural resource trading.

The reading included the use of forced labor, unfair government trading alliances (producing monopolies avoiding an open market) and occasional fighting over territory and resources on some Pacific Ocean islands and the coast of what is currently Canada and the United States.

On a historical timeline, the U.S. is a recent addition to the narrative of nation-building and wealth production.

Yet the use of inexpensive or cheap labor (indentured servitude and slavery) is a typical default considering the aim of wealth production and the methods of deriving wealth from resources, labor and products.

Looking further back on history's timeline and from the western point of view, ancient Greece had its pecking order of class based on the economic scale.

In today's 'modern society', we see a semblance of these walls of class distinction based on economic and political appearances being broken down in some places, being brought lower in other places, and still standing in yet other places on earth.

These walls primarily exist in our minds, being projected out onto the physical landscape of our lives.

These walls do not have to actually exist, yet their construction is almost a default reality according to what has preceded us historically... the next (or current generation) having to deal with what prior generations have built upon.

What are some longstanding realities that, no matter how much of an effort is made to correct what seems unbalanced, continue to persist?
The rich rule over the poor, 
   and the borrower is slave to the lender. 
- Proverbs 22: 7
Isn't politics simply the direct application of what the rich desire?

Don't we see the use of political office of certain 'representatives' to [re]present the interests of those who either have the responsibility and / or ability to direct the market place?

Politics is the management of people and resources... only the 'manner' and 'method' of how this effort is applied varies in very slight degrees as time and culture evolve (or devolve).

What seems appalling to some who have been following the 2016 presidential race in the U.S. has actually been a constant throughout time and culture.

Should we be surprised when we find out that one thing is said in secret / private, and something else is spoken in public by political representatives?

Can we not also be the same way considering who are listening audience is?

Yet for some of us, financial gain does not sway our public and / or private sentiments.

Do we not also desire to have more than enough of an income to satisfy our needs, desires and dreams?

And do we not also desire to have no more of a burden placed upon us than what we personally accept as a cost of earning our living?

For the amount if ills in today's American society that may be pointed out by critics and detractors, isn't it something quite unique that the employee can choose their employer?

The relationship of the servant and master has been broadened, bettered and built taller than some of the walls currently in place.

The employee can one day become the employer, perhaps not of the same business, but their very own business!

This is a phenomenon that was not a common occurrence in times past, yet has become more and more of a reality Today.

This brings us to a play on words.

Let us take a look at the word “minestrone”.

The journey the current lexicon (body of words currently in use) of words we use today is quite an interesting path to ponder when reading etymologies (where words come from and how their spelling and meanings sometimes change).

How words and terms originate, or conflate with other words and notions, or can completely change in meaning, is quite interesting and surprising.

'Minestrone' began as a soup with only vegetables.

As a state grew into an empire, and trade increased, the ingredients found in a minestrone [soup] also evolved.

Specifically, what preceded the term 'minestrone' was a 'minestra' (“soup” and “that which is served”), which came from 'minestrare' (which means to serve).

What term is very similar to 'minestrare'?

'Minister'.

I'd like to encourage everyone to be more like an ever evolving minestrone in their economic and political dealings with others.

We each have our position in life's pecking order of economics and politics, whether we'd like to admit it or not.

Yet, if we would consider our perceived high or low position in this order, and if we were to be like a bowl of minestrone (to serve one another), considering the logic that we would desire to be served by others (with kindness, respect, consideration and equality), perhaps navigating the landscape projected by past ideas can be easier done Today and in the future.

I suspect our human interactions can supersede the sometimes distasteful and offensive political rhetoric and mannerisms that some people project onto others in gaining (and sustaining) their means.

Perhaps the following lessons's reality can be realized, and the walls can be brought down, as some have truly experienced for themselves:
Yeshua called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” 
- Matthew 20: 25-28

13 October 2016

Muhammad The Killer?

John 16: 2b

Peace be with those who seek peace, who look to God as the originator of love and peace.

Blessings be upon those who deny their fleshly urges for revenge, to cause harm for harm done, and who depend on God for His judgment, His justice and His will over all things.

Did Muhammad, the believed-to-be prophet of Arabia, commit murder or violence against another human being?

Did Muhammad teach his followers to kill, or to lie, or to perform assassinations?

In Islam, "Hadith" are compilations of eye-witness accounts of events at the time of Muhammad and testimonials of what Muhammad said and did.

It has been my experience that many who claim to believe in Islam as a religion are somewhat ignorant of what is highlighted in this article regarding the nature and character of Muhammad.

Many Hadith exist, and not all Hadith are considered 'authentic' or reliable by all Muslims.

However, the most popular and widely recognized Hadith are Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.

These two Hadith are considered authentic and reliable to the Sunni branch of Islam.

Sunni Islam is the most popular and populated branch of the Islamic religion... and the one followed by some influential Islamic political states and religious organizations.

Taking a look at what has been recorded in the Hadith is quite insightful and revealing of the nature of the Islamic religion at that time, and what may still linger in regards to perceptions of the legend of Muhammad.

As for the man considered a prophet, the Hadith also explains why some people who identify as "Muslim" may still consider violence as an act of worship and a means to a spiritual end, while other self-identifying Muslims may deny such a claim and blame western media as portraying a false picture of Islam.

In Islamic theology, Yeshua / Jesus Christ is called al-Masih (the Messiah), but is considered as simply another prophet, and the prophet preceding Muhammad.

In Sunni Islam, Yeshua (or "Isa" as is the Arabic name) has a very low Christology (theological thoughts on 'who' Yeshua is).

In the following excerpts taken from the al-Bukhari Hadith where it is speaking of "Allah's Apostle", it is speaking of none other than Muhammad, the claimant of final prophecy in a long line of Jewish prophets.

Let us take a look at what authentic reports regarding Muhammad's attributes show:

Allah's Apostle said, "Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?" 

Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?" 

The Prophet said, "Yes." 

Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab)."

The Prophet said, "You may say it."

- al-Bukhari, volume 5, book 59, number 369, narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah

This report shows Muhammad supporting the killing of someone and also supporting the giving of false testimony (lying) in order to kill someone.

In the following reports Muhammad is witnessed, again by Islamic / Muslim sources, to have ordered an assassination, with some reports showing the assassination being done out of retribution (revenge).

Allah's Apostle sent a group of persons to Abu Rafi. Abdullah bin Atik entered his house at night, while he was sleeping, and killed him.

- al-Bukhari, volume 5, book 59, number 370, narrated by Al-Bara bin Azib

Allah's Apostle sent some men from the Ansar to (kill) Abu Rafi, the Jew, and appointed 'Abdullah bin Atik as their leader. Abu Rafi used to hurt Allah's Apostle and help his enemies against him. He lived in his castle in the land of Hijaz.

- al-Bukhari, volume 5, book 59, number 371, narrated by Al-Bara bin Azib

Allah's Apostle sent 'Abdullah bin 'Atik and 'Abdullah bin 'Utba with a group of men to Abu Rafi (to kill him).

- al-Bukhari, volume 5, book 59, number 372, narrated by Al-Bara bin Azib

I shortened some of the above entries, but if you visit the provided links they go into detail as to how the assassination played out.

In Islamic theology, the idea of peace is furthered unless someone causes you harm, or there is a 'just' cause to go to war, or justified response of violence, or other logically argued justifications.

Here are several accounts by different narrators regarding confession of murder / declaration of retribution Muhammad made (or evidence that Muhammad murdered / killed others):

Allah's Apostle (pointing to his broken canine tooth) said, "Allah's Wrath has become severe on the people who harmed His Prophet. Allah's Wrath has become severe on the man who is killed by the Apostle of Allah in Allah's Cause."

- al-Bukhari, volume 5, book 59, number 400, narrated by Abu Huraira

Allah's Wrath became severe on him whom the Prophet had killed in Allah's Cause. Allah's Wrath became severe on the people who caused the face of Allah's Prophet to bleed.

- al-Bukhari, volume 5, book 59, number 401, narrated by Ibn 'Abbas

Allah's Wrath gets severe on a person killed by a prophet, and Allah's Wrath became severe on him who had caused the face of Allah's Apostle to bleed.

- al-Bukhari, volume 5, book 59, number 403, narrated by Ibn 'Abbas

When Mecca surrendered to Muhammad and his warriors, the belief was that no blood was shed that day.

However, as these authentic and accepted Islamic reports states, some men died that day though they did not resist Muhammad... which is a contradiction of the popular legend that Muhammad entered Mecca peacefully.

On the day of the Conquest, the Prophet entered Mecca, wearing a helmet on his head. When he took it off, a man came and said, "Ibn Khatal is clinging to the curtain of the Ka'ba." The Prophet said, "Kill him." (Malik a sub-narrator said, "On that day the Prophet was not in a state of Ihram as it appeared to us, and Allah knows better.")

- al-Bukhari, volume 5, book 59, number 582, narrated by Anas bin Malik

Here is a report from Aisha, Muhammad's wife whom he married, by some accounts, at age six or seven, or perhaps nine or ten years of age, when the marriage was consummated (or so the Islamic reports state).

Regarding the Holy Verse: "Those who responded (To the call) of Allah And the Apostle (Muhammad), After being wounded, For those of them Who did good deeds And refrained from wrong, there is a great reward." (3.172)

She said to 'Urwa, "O my nephew! Your father, Az-Zubair and Abu Bakr were amongst them (i.e. those who responded to the call of Allah and the Apostle on the day (of the battle of Uhud). When Allah's Apostle, suffered what he suffered on the day of Uhud and the pagans left, the Prophet was afraid that they might return. So he said, 'Who will go on their (i.e. pagans') track?' He then selected seventy men from amongst them (for this purpose)." (The sub-narrator added, "Abu Bakr and Az-Zubair were amongst them.")

- al-Bukhari, volume 5, book 59, number 404, narrated by 'Aisha

If Muhammad was a prophet of the God who knows all things past, present and future, why would he be afraid of his enemies returning to cause harm?

Typically, a prophet of God is protected by God and is warn of danger or something that may cause the prophet to worry... but not in Muhammad's case it seems.

So just to be sure (or revealing Muhammad was not sure), here we see Muhammad sending out a raiding party to pursue those running away from him.

There is much more to reveal about the nature, character and man of Muhammad.

What has been shared is from a single book, from a single Hadith.

If these reports are not considered authentic, or if there is an issue, please respond with the correction or with what, if anything, has been misrepresented herein.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
- Matthew 5: 9

12 October 2016

Christ The Killer?

Luke 20: 18


Did Yeshua teach His disciples to kill / murder / be violent with others not of their group?

Did Yeshua teach His disciples to hurt those who rejected Him or the Gospel?

Sadly, many times the following passage is used to support a polemic against the integrity and clearly expressed teaching of unconditional love, peace and forgiveness revealed in Yeshua Christ and the Gospel:

While they were listening to this, He went on to tell them a parable, because He was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 
He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’

“But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

“He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

“The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’

“ ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’

“The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’

“His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’

“Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’

“His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’

“Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’

“ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’

“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’ ”

- Luke 19: 11-27

- this passage is identified as a parable... what is a parable?

- is a parable something that is literal or a teaching to be realized literally?

- is this parable speaking to the present or a future time?

- is this parable a teaching that the disciples are to realize and implement personally?

- is God judge over all things? If so, who other than God is righteous in judging others and thus exterminating His enemies or those who reject Him as King and Lord?

- is Christ teaching about what God will do at the Judgment?

- is there any evidence from the first three centuries (prior to the faith absorbing the secular state of Rome) after Christ rose into heaven of His disciples killing / murdering / fighting physically with detractors, apostates, rejectors or 'enemies'?

11 October 2016

Wizard Of Oddities

Who Is Behind "Uncle Sam"?... & Who Is Behind Sam?

If only more people understood that a president is merely the spokesperson and representative of an executive board of directors, who also has a chairman over them, and isn't the backstop to the country's problems or good attributes as is popularly perceived.

Some questions to ask, since many governments resemble a corporate business structure:

Who is the chairman of the board?

Who resides on the board of directors?

Who does the board of directors answer to; themselves, people we can name, or anonymous people?

The [p]resident of any kountry:

He / she is simply a man or a woman, possessed either by good intentions, personal convictions, or a spirit found in many people we come across in our everyday lives.

Whether their spirit is benevolent or malevolent isn't always too clear.

We should first judge our own selves prior to voicing our judgment of others, especially of people we have never met and most likely will never meet in person.

How a person acts or speaks through a particular office, whether private or public, isn't always 100% revealing of 'who' they are.

It is who they are in private, when not in their vocational position or public role, that the heart may be revealed.

For some people, who they are in private is who they are in a public setting; there is no major adjustment to their character or their efforts.

For others, they change like a chameleon depending on the climate of their surroundings.

But is adjusting to your audience or your surroundings a 'bad' thing?

Perhaps if it is deceptive, or holding intrigue in store for others.

Not every person reveals their heart consciously.

The heart is eventually revealed with careful observation and close listening.

What does a bad heart reveal?

Their humanity?

Their close likeness to our humanity, our banality and our collective shortcomings; our past, our current sentiments, struggles and failures?

Who is perfect?

Who is qualified for managing over humanity and the proper management of nature / creation?

Messiah has come and now lives in the faithful, so it is foolish to look for other messiahs in people who exist today; mere mortals... no matter how benevolent and righteous they are in word and deed or may seem to appear.

So let us look at others as we would soberly look at ourselves in the mirror, and our past.

Regarding political wrangling, and how people are so dull in their understanding of politics, history, society and societal issues, reading books by choice authors may help one understand things a bit more objectively.

But always understand that every single person holds a limited view of life; a limited horizon.

Every single person has their bias, and if you don't perceive another person's bias, then you share the same bias!

However, hearing from the other side (or several sides) of any argument, or from a critic, shows yet another bias but also a necessary consideration.

It is when criticism is censored, or vilified, when tyranny can rise and the truth disappear from open conversation.

This climate is evident in today's careful voicing of opinions and thoughts.

Some point to 'political correctness' as a culprit.

There is a way to clearly point out an issue, or a criticism, respectfully, without watering down the points being made.

Some politicians, orators, speakers and regular people are tactful in delivering critical admonitions.

Some other people lack such a talent.

We all have our sliding scale of objectivity, don't we.

An insightful book to read (with caution) is "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James Loewen.

This book may explain to you why ignorance, bias and narrow-mindedness was prevalent prior to the internet age.

The caveat is that not everything expressed on the internet always expresses clarity... so simply because we have at our fingertips the libraries of the world doesn't mean people are actually reading, learning, thinking critically and looking for objectivity in their search for truth.

Since humans are limited in understanding, objectivity and perception, the internet is overflowing with falsehoods, much expressed in good faith, but nonetheless mistaken or very askew.

However, objective truth can be found on the internet... like finding a flea stuck in a stadium-sized web.

The 'truth' of many things can be found on the internet... just look out for the large spider(s) of misinformation, doubt, false conclusions and poor opinions expressed as scholarship.

The book I mention speaks specifically to American history in secondary schools and colleges, but the same premise is evident in all cultures, nations and peoples... past and present.

Would you, or me, do a better job as [p]resident of any democratic republic, oligarchy, federal state or whatever label you'd give a business model that manages human beings?

How would you or I do as a dictator over a populous that demands a dictator?

How would you or I do as a king / queen over a 'legitimate' earthly monarchy?

Let us first see clearly what things we are looking at prior to judging individuals attempting to occupy such believed-to-be high offices.

Some people do a poor job of simply being a human being, let alone running any semblance of what some would call an honorable public office.

Let us consider our humanity (and that of others) prior to judging, or supporting or falling in blind obeisance to any human being, shall we?

10 October 2016

God Misrepresented

Northwest Corner of Cherry & 7th, Long Beach, Kalifornia
Does anyone, other than God, have a monopoly on the truth as the Truth would explain itself?

Some people would claim such a high stance... and have claimed such a thought throughout the ages.

Will the human mind ever conceive all that there is to know about the “truth”?

In other words, will any human being ever fully know the mind of God?

This man says no, for it is not man's place to occupy such a position.

And regarding the aim of 'finding' God, or defining the ways of the material / observable world, we have several paradoxes to contend with.

One recently discovered reality in science is how an atom can be in two places at once.

Man's search for truth into the invisible reveals that the previously conceived 'laws' of physics don't always apply.

Man is left developing yet newer theories to support the prior paradigm of idea... and thus man's wisdom is frustrated... and more books are written, published and sold.

However, mankind has been given a glimpse not only into the mind of God, and also God's heart... in Yeshua Christ.

Amen.

Regarding some of the harsh things read in the covenant God made with people from the past (as quoted in the Old Testament / Hebrew bible), some people propose the question:

"If" there is a God, how then can the testimony regarding killing infants have possibly been done according to the God that Yeshua reveals?

Following this question's logic, one may conclude that since all of us taste death in one form or fashion (with very few exceptions), that God is unjust in having mankind go through the pain, fear or discomfort of death.

Going further, we think the stillborn child of today has been robbed of their time on earth... yet some people living today are wishing to die soon so their suffering ceases... and sadly make the effort to remove themselves from this world.

There is something about the stillborn written somewhere... something worth reflecting on, I say.

Let us consider, with clarity and logic and whichever other faculty we currently have:
A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man—even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place? 
- Ecclesiastes 6: 3-6
We can conclude, agree or disagree, using our logic, the many ways we would / could consider God to be unjust, or somehow 'wrong' as we would understand things from our limited point of view, we being mortals only as wise as the previous day.

To think that a child killed as an infant, returning to the original question, is somehow robbed of life, is I think having a warped and limited view of the God we have come to know.

Is it just and 'right' to call God unjust for extinguishing any person's life, even a child that we can consider to be innocent?

Returning also to the reality that all mankind is to pass through death (again with few exceptions), or the transition out of the mortal / physical body, do we somehow conclude that God is unjust when those whose flesh ceases yet their soul continues onto eternal life?

Let us consider again that man has arrived at observing the atom to reside in two places at once.

If such a reality shatters our perceived paradigm of reality, is the idea that the energy powering our souls / spirits (although energy is not spirit, but for the sake of discussion the two are poorly referenced as similar) lives on beyond the material vessel of the human body?

God's testimony speaks of the innocent seeing justice, those who are seen in God's eyes as not being outside His grace.

So how can man's rationalizing (limited) mind then conclude God is unjust in taking any person's life, no matter how old or how young, when we do not know who are found to be justified or rejected by God?

It says elsewhere the children are not condemned for their parent's sin, and vice versa.

God's grace is beyond our measure of logic.

The same logic can assist us in concluding that the only sinless man to ever live, although being innocent according to their obedience to God in not trespassing God's law nor trespassing against any other person, was predestined to suffer death for the sake of us all.

Man's logic fails to wrap their conception around this thought, but such has been established as the sole atoning sacrifice for all of mankind.

The innocent for the guilty; the pure for the filthy; the righteous for the unrighteous.
But now in Christ Yeshua you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 
- Ephesians 2: 13
When reading Romans 2, a great mystery is revealed to mankind regarding God's righteous judgment of peoples and ages past and present.

That chapter reveals that God will reveal an accurate judgment of men's souls according to what is unseen and not understood by men.

Who is to say that the children previously 'massacred' in ancient times, or in present times, will not be the very ones that we will all witness praising God and found in His glory, being removed from further turmoil on earth.

Who is to say that the people we considered smitten by God and unjustly removed from the flesh are not those who, in God's grace to them, we brought into His grace in a timely manner unbeknownst to men's limited view?

If the goats will be identified and removed by the angels at the end, why do men suppose they can clearly identify those who are / are not the just and chosen of God according to fleshly eyes?

07 October 2016

What Light Brings


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness He called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. 
- Genesis 1: 1-5
The light is good, very good.

In fact, without light as we understand it, life would not have existed.

Without light from the sun, life would cease to exist on earth.

What does the shining of light cause to any surroundings?

Can anything be hidden when light is shone upon it?

What else does light cause to happen?

Light causes life to happen.

If you've ever left water in a glass out in the sun, perhaps on a window sill in the kitchen, you've noticed green algae begin to appear after a few days.

Same thing eventually happens if you have an aquarium whose water may have sunlight rays reach it.

Not to get bogged down in scientific explanations as to 'why' or 'how' this happens but life seems to come about because of light.

Interestingly enough, man-made light does not cause life to occur in the same manner as natural sunlight does.

Yes, there are methods in growing food in green houses using artificial light, but take a look at the issues.

As man is repeatedly reminded; there is no substitute for the real thing, what occurs in nature / creation outside our efforts.

In California, a response to the ongoing drought is government encouraging property owners to turn their front lawns into 'gardens'.

The garden is actually landscaping that reflects the environment prior to civilization taking over and foreign species of plants and trees being brought in.

Not a 'garden' as in growing edible fruits and vegetables, which do demand sustainable amounts of water.

The plant, tree and terrain choice is of the kind that doesn't need much water; the Los Angeles basin in California is made up of sand and desert-like brush, at least for the past centuries that modern man has been surveying the land.

Anyone who has ever traveled to / from San Diego from / to Los Angeles along the highway that hugs the coastline can see what the natural landscape looks like when traversing the military base north of Oceanside.

One effort in changing the prior landscape of grass is to uproot all the roots of grass and weeds, and put down a black tarp that doesn't allow any bit of sunlight to touch the dirt / ground.

Even without water, moisture occurs during the night and even a bit of sunlight will cause weeds to grow.

After some time making sure no light reaches the dirt, and thus no weeds or anything else has been growing, then landscaping can be migrated from lawn to garden.

With the new garden, new native soil and native plants, it isn't too easy for the previous weeds to show up... although they most likely will when the wind blows them from across your neighbor's lawn.

The idea that light allows for life to occur is quite striking.

What is also striking is the notion of removing one set of matter in order to introduce a new landscape.

What are the things which we must remove from our minds, hearts, bodies and lives in order to continue in grace and truth?
Listen to Me, My people; 
   hear Me, My nation: 
Instruction will go out from Me; 
   My justice will become a light to the nations. 
- Isaiah 51: 4
Many have been the laws that men have instituted among themselves.

Several laws preceded the law of Moses.

The Code of Hammurabi, Code of Ur-Nammu and others.

Many laws and religious codes exist today that attempt to turn men's hearts into righteous models of humanity, but we can see the evidence of failure when oppression and fear tactics are the effort to instill obedience in a populace.

Yet where the laws of men have failed in establishing truth and justice in the hearts of men, the law of Christ has grown from men's hearts in establishing a growing society based on grace and truth.

The law of Christ brings unity, oneness with mankind, unity with God our Father, with love for all mankind and peace being the first and last effort for those found in Christ.

Against the law of Christ, no laws of men or religions derived from men's minds can reproach.

The syncretism of prior civilizations, laws, modes of thought and even religious beliefs shouldn't become a trap or reason to doubt for the believer in God Almighty as revealed in Yeshua Christ.

These prior realities should reveal to the faithful the manner God, in all times and places, has worked tirelessly to bring forth what He has willed.

God spoke to people in certain places, showing portions of His light according to how they would understand, in order to further unfold what is still being revealed from Above to all mankind!
Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: 
   “ ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,  
         that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the Word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. 
- Acts 13: 46-48

06 October 2016

From Coffee Bean To Coffee House

Bring What Was Once Far Very Near
Having a conversation yesterday with some friends who seem to have a hopeless and negative outlook on life, on 'Merica and things in general... complaining mostly about lack of opportunity.

I pointed out that the internet is bubbling with information, but not all information is true.

The news is always sharing bad and negative news, instigating people to fear others and doubt themselves, be suspicious of their neighbor and hopeless when considering the world outside their front door.

Regarding opportunity, I point out that libraries are open, knowledge and wisdom is waiting to be absorbed regarding how to garner an income and feed oneself... literally and figuratively.

I told them that there are books awaiting them that can teach them how to make $100k by the end of the year... if that was their need or desire.

Point being: people are sharing their experiences, their insights and practically everything about their lives Today.

You can choose to listen to celebrity gossip nonsense, or the mundane things which bring you little value... but simply distract you.

You can choose to, if there is a need for an income, learn from people who made something out of nothing.

This information is free, but some do sell their expertise and insight.

One can also choose to focus on something in between, perhaps something that will simply fulfill the need to support a livelihood while being something to be proud of.

I mentioned to my friends that in some places on earth there are people who have NO choice in what they can do for work, or what they can do in order to feed themselves.

In 'Merica, the individual is FREE to move to any other state and start their life over, or get a new / another job, or whatever their heart's desire outside of something criminal or taking what others have worked for.

In some corners of the world, people have NO access to the internet or information beyond what their governments allow them access to.

In some cultures, women are refused an education or any other opportunity beyond having a child and making their husband happy.

But in 'Merica, a woman may likely become the most public and influential representative of a democratic republic (or oligarchy, depends on who you ask), and I see "help wanted" signs wherever my feet take me... but a business may better suit those who can handle it.

In 'Merica, you are FREE to quit your job and start your own business... and the latter is what I always encourage and hope people would pursue rather than the former.

In certain corners of the earth, people are oppressed by their masters, and to think that oppression occurs in 'Merica when civil rights, although not perfect since people are fallible, is continuing to peak regarding access to resource and information, their negative opinions are unfounded considering all things.

In 'Merica, you can tell your 'leader' (if that is what you think they are) to go jump in a lake... and you won't be tortured or jailed for it as would happen to you in other places on earth.

It is all about what is going on in between one's ears.

If you listen too long to the [bad] news on teevee and radio, you may be convinced that life sucks and all is lost.

There is a war for your mind... haven't you noticed?

There has been a war for your heart... and one is not always unhindered by the other.

Many people have their hearts in the right place, but their minds are mush and very confused.

However, if you simply look around you, talk to people who are near and far in your neighborhood, you'll realize that life on the ground is not what is being projected and marketed to your mind.

Do yourself a favor and shut off that negative media programming, my friends.

Choose a proper programming (if that is what you'd call it) in feeding your mind, your heart and your life something that is beneficial, something like a tool to build with.

I share the following article (which you should explore and read) not to infer that wealth is a means to an end, but simply to show that in 'Merica, your skin color, background, upbringing and all the negative factors of life do not always equal to a dismal existence... but are the very ingredients that foster a desire to never give up.

Since we have a worldwide marketplace that continues to grow, it seems this was God's will... not to live in a lurch like some countries and cultures who view something new as a novelty, and thus reject it and the possibility of income, employment and other things that come along with market participation.

May you pursue and find the true wealth that is granted within that far outweigh gold and rubies, and may what you find to be without be nothing more than a dissolving idea.