Tag Archives: Laws of God

Sukkoth, Gog, Magog, Armageddon, a covenant and Jerusalem

Moadim L’Simcha (Appointed Times for Joy) and Shabbat Shalom dear readers!

The joyous holiday of Sukkoth (Sukkot or Feast or Tabernacles or Feast of Booths), one of the three Pilgrim Festivals of the Hebrew Bible, is observed on the Jewish calendar dates of 15-21 Tishrei and is immediately followed by the holiday of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. The final day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Rabba (“Great Hosanna”) (In 2016 coming Monday and Tuesday) and with the eighth day should for Christians also be important, being it a day of Solemn Assembly, commemorating the completion of the annual cycle of readings from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and being called Simḥat Torah (“Rejoicing of the Law”). .

The seventh day of the festival of Sukkot, considered to be the final day of the New Year’s Divine “judgment” in which the year’s fate is determined; in addition to the Four Kinds taken on the preceding days of Sukkot, an additional willow is taken on this day; it is customary to stay up all night on the eve of Hoshanah Rabbah and study Torah.

During the week long festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), the regular Parasha (Torah portion) for Shabbat is suspended, and a special Parasha pertaining to the holiday is read in synagogues around the world.

Readings for Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot
Exodus 33:12–34:26; Ezekiel 38:18–39:16; Revelation 21:1–22:21

For lovers of God the Jewish reading for today is one which should concern all, being aware of the importance of the covenant made by the Most High.

“Behold, I make a covenant: before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord: for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.”  (Exodus 34:10)

In this special Sukkot reading, Moses asks that God’s presence would go with Israel, and God agrees. The marvellous thing about God the Divine Creator is that He loves His creation so much, that when people ask Him to be with them and to go with them, God will do that. He is there for all who want Him nearby.
Encouraged by this positive response, Moses also asks to see God’s glory.  Once again, God graciously complies with his request and invites Moses to ascend Mount Sinai with two newly hewn stone tablets so that He can re-carve the Ten Commandments. Those mitzvah or commandments were given to be a guide for mankind, so that they could build up a good relationship with their Most High Maker.
It was there on that mountain that God revealed His glory to Moses in such a fearsome spectacle of power that God had to protect Moses from being destroyed by it.
“There is a place near Me where you can stand on a rock.  When My glory passes by, I will put you in an opening in the rock.  I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand.  You will see My back.  But My face must not be seen.”  (Exodus 33:21–23)
It’s clear that Moses, having experienced the power of the presence of God, understands that His presence is more than sufficient against any threat Israel might encounter inside or outside of the Promised Land.
This is a great prospect for God’s nation. We also know now that God promised Abraham that his seed and sons by faith, would come to live in the Holy Land. In the end all Jews, the children of Abraham, will find their Holy Nation there and find Jerusalem to be the capital of the nation of God’s people. They would be sent in exile and have to endure lots of problems throughout history, but there shall come a time when they shall be all united under God’s Kingdom. God will gather His People to their own land and the whole world shall come to know it.
The world shall have to come to hear that Israel shall be restored and that also others came to know the Law of God and shall be willing to live according the covenant also brought to them by the sent one from God, rabbi Jeshua, the son of man and son of God, who gave his life as a ransom payment for all sinners, so that all people could come back to God to be His children. He provided a new covenant, one of reconciliation.
But we should take heed, God has given a warning that terrible times shall come  over the world. The Restoration of Israel shall be challenged.
“This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, My hot anger will be aroused.”  (Ezekiel 38:18)
In the Haftarah (prophetic portion) for this Shabbat Chol Hamoed (intermediate day of the festival) of Sukkot, the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel describes an end-time scenario in which formidable armies from the north, under the leadership of Gog, will challenge the restoration of Israel.
Gog (left) and Magog, wooden effigies in the Guildhall, London

Gog (left) and Magog, wooden effigies in the Guildhall, London – Courtesy of the British Tourist Authority

Gog is a chief prince living in the land of Magog (Ezekiel 38:2).  Many scholars believe Magog refers to Russia.  The invading land of Gomer is often believed to be Germany.

Several lands in the coalition army are easily identifiable: Iran (Persia), Northern Sudan (ancient Ethiopia or Cush), Libya (Put), and Turkey (Togarmah).
Last year at this time, Russia made significant moves into the Middle East, reportedly to fight against ISIS.  Last week, however, it negotiated its first “permanent” air base in the region at Khmeimim, Syria and its naval base in Tartus, Syria will soon become “permanent” as well.
Russia also recently installed its S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system in Syria and completed the transfer of the system to Iran last month.
In effect, Russia has become a major military broker in the region.  It is right now on the doorstep of Israel, and it plans to stay.
The nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38 will unite and come upon Israel “like a cloud that covers the land” for the purpose of looting the wealth that she has amassed in what was a desolate land only seventy years ago.
Yet, God will not abandon His People.  He will utterly destroy the coalition forces of Gog so that all nations will come to know the holiness of the Lord (Ezekiel 38:18–23).
The forces that come against Israel will be so large in their day of defeat that Gog’s weaponry will provide fuel for Israel for seven years (Ezekiel 39:9).
“They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel.  And they will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the Sovereign LORD.”  (Ezekiel 39:10)
Moreover, so many soldiers will die in this battle that it will take seven months for Israel to bury them all and cleanse their land (Ezekiel 39:12).

A man carries a Torah scroll that is protected by a silver Torah tik (case) during Sukkot at the Western Wall.

The Jews read about this end-time battle during Sukkot, because according to Rabbinic tradition, this war will be waged during the month of Tishri, the month in which the holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) falls.

Interestingly enough, the war that is described in Ezekiel is similar to the war described in the 14th chapter of Zechariah, the Haftarah reading on the first day of Sukkot.  And in Zechariah we learn that the Gentiles who survive the war against Israel will be required to keep Sukkot annually by coming up to the Holy City of Jerusalem to worship the Lord.
“Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles [Sukkot].  If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain.”  (Zechariah 14:1617)
This should give us food to think about the matter of feasts and holidays we do have to partake.

Sukkot at the Western (Wailing) Wall.

 

 

Psalm 27 presents a clear connection between Sukkot and God’s protection of Israel and those who trust in Him:
“For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle [sukkah]; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.”  (Psalm 27:5)
The word translated here as tabernacle is the Hebrew word sukkah (סכה)When evil threatens God’s people, He will hide them in His sukkah, inaccessible from the enemy on the rock of His presence.
Now that is a promise we can trust in during these last days!

 

The Battle of Armageddon

“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison, and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth — Gog and Magog — to gather them for battle.”  (Revelation 20:78)
Gog and Magog are also mentioned in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) in connection with Armageddon and the final battle between the forces of good and evil.
This war with Gog and Magog is not the same war described in Ezekiel 38 but a final end-time battle after the thousand-year reign of Jeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).
The Son of David, Jeshua, will come again — this time as our conquering Messiah to defeat the invading forces forever.  All who have believed in their Saviour, Jeshua, will inherit eternity in God’s Kingdom of which the New Jerusalem shall be the capital of a revived Garden of Eden complete with trees of life and pure living water that will be good to eat and drink forever.

Ancient ruins atop Har Meggido in Israel

Armageddon is mentioned only once in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) in chapter 16 of the Book of Revelation.
“They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty….  Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”  (Revelation 16:14, 16)
The word Armageddon is derived from Har Magedon (meaning mountain of Megiddo) and is mentioned many times in the Tanakh (Old Testament).
Megiddo is derived from the Hebrew word gadad, meaning to penetrate, muster troops together, perhaps even invade.
In this end-time invasion, we once again see Israel’s enemies mounting a war against Jerusalem.  This time, however, we see the spiritual forces behind the rebellion against God:
“They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.”  (Revelation 9:11)
The words Abaddon and Apollyon mean Destroyer.
And this time, God pours out on the Destroyer and all rebels the full extent of His judgment, including everlasting torment for Satan, the beast and the false prophet.
“They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city He loves.  But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.  And Satan, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:910)
With an Outstretched Arm
As we read how God will hurl His fury against Gog with pestilence and with blood, floods, giant hailstones, fire and brimstone, it’s easy to see from this Haftarah portion that God is furious with those who come against the Land of Israel(Ezekiel 38:22).
In fact, there are several parallels between God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt long ago and His future deliverance of Israel from Gog in the end times.  In both, we see that God saves and rescues Israel with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm.
The phrase with a strong hand and an outstretched arm (בְּיָ֣ד חֲ֭זָקָה וּבִזְר֣וֹעַ נְטוּיָ֑ה) has special meaning in Jewish tradition.  It represents God using His power on behalf of His people.  The “arm of the Lord” also represents His salvation, which in Hebrew is Jeshua.
“You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror.”  (Jeremiah 32:21, see also Deuteronomy 4:34; 26:8; Exodus 6:6)
As Russia expands its influence in the region and neighboring nations plot to annihilate Israel, there is certainly evidence that Ezekiel 38 is on the horizon.  Yet, this Sukkot Parasha reveals that God’s Divine Sheltering Presence over Israel has not ended but will continue past the end of this age.
God is not finished with the Jewish People and Israel.  This is plainly evident when we consider how Bible Prophecy concerning Israel is being fulfilled during these end times before our very eyes.
The Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) also tells us that God’s plan to reach out to the nations through Israel did not end with the death and resurrection of Messiah, but continues to this day and will in the world to come:
“For if their casting Yeshua [Jesus] aside means reconciliation for the world, what will their accepting Him mean?  It will be life from the dead!”  (Romans 11:15)
The Book of Romans promises that when the Jewish People come to know Jeshua, it will be like life from the dead for the world.
Before this can happen, however, they must first hear the Good News of Jeshua!
“How can they call on Him unless they believe in Him?  How can they believe in Him unless they hear about Him?  How can they hear about Him unless someone preaches to them?”  (Romans 10:14)
It is up to the followers of Jeshua to follow up the task given by this master, rabbi Jeshua. Therefore Christians, being aware that the times are coming closer, should make work of it, spreading the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God.
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With thanks to the Messianic Bible
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Additional reading

  1. Ninth of Av
  2. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  3. Jerusalem God’s City for ever
  4. Glory of only One God Who gives His Word
  5. Vayikra after its opening word וַיִּקְרָא, which means and He called
  6. Holy land Christian exodus
  7. How do we know the coming of Jesus is very near?
  8. Armageddon, har and megiddo, an action or a place
  9. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  10. Ransom for all
  11. Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom
  12. Bringing into safety from Irak and Iran
  13. 2015 the year of ISIS
  14. This Week’s Developments in Weekly World Watch 15-21 July
  15. The promise a guarantee of something and the heir that is going to have
  16. Chemical warsite and Pushing king of the South

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Further reading

  1. Understanding the Battle of Gog and Magog
  2. Trend Update: Burden of Damascus/Russian Embassy Takes Fire, October 2016
  3. Zork Nemesis – The Forbidden Lands
  4. War is upon us!
  5. Russia, Iran, and The War with Israel
  6. The Coming War
  7. Ezekiel blog: My version of the end of the world, part I
  8. Ezekiel blog: My version of the end of the world Part II
  9. Who are the real Gog and Magog in prophecy?
  10. Less of Me
  11. “My Relationship with Jesus Christ”
  12. Trend Update: Ezekiel 38-39/Magog (Russia)/Golan Heights, Passover 2016
  13. Alliance Formation

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Mishmash of a legal code but importance of mitzvah or commandments

Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, working in England, writes

Interestingly while Judaism teaches that mitzvot are divinely ordained and therefore not to be questioned or even necessarily understood, it does at the same time try to explain them as a rational force, and many commentators suggest reasons for our doing them.

We are told: – “The essential reason for the commandments is to make the human heart upright” ( ibn Ezra on Deut 5:18); or “Each commandment adds holiness to the people of Israel.” (Issi ben Akavia,  Mechilta on Ex 22:30); or even that “The purpose of the mitzvot is…to promote compassion, loving kindness and peace in the world” (Maimonides, yad, Shabbat) {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

English: The Covenant Confirmed, by John Steep...

The Covenant Confirmed, by John Steeple Davis (1844-1917), as in Exodus 24 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who believe in the God of Abraham, should know that this God of gods has given the many commandments to help man find his way in this universe and to live in a proper peaceful relation with God’s creation.

The world has been given Mishpatim, which we may consider judgements by ‘laws’ or ‘rulings’ and they will govern the community who agree to accept them. But not all humans will accept them, that’s a fact. Also in the previous times people of God did not have it easy at all times with those Mishpatim, though just after Moses has finished relating all the various laws to the Children of Israel, we can see in the Old Testament how often those People of God went astray.

English: Moses Showing the Ten Commandments, b...

Moses Showing the Ten Commandments, by Gustave Doré (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Real lovers of God should agree “to do all the things that God has spoken” (Exodus 24:3). They should cling to the Word of God as the only Perfect Rule Giver and should go for keeping “miẓwah”, the divinely instituted rule of conduct. As such, the divine commandments are divided into (1) mandatory laws known as , and (2) those of a prohibitory character, the . This terminology rests on the theological construction that God’s will is the source of and authority for every moral and religious duty. Many of the old laws were given to and concerned only special classes of people, such as kings or priesthood, Levites or Nazarites, or are conditioned by local or temporary circumstances of the Jewish nation, as, for instance, the agricultural, sacrificial, and Levitical laws.

For us today some rules may be curious, and that is why at a certain moment in time some changes were allowed. It was not God Who changed, but the people who changed and God came closer to them by adapting His rulings. As such we may now face other food laws and about sanitation than at the early beginning, plus about how to relate to others, because certain concepts changed, like the position of slaves.

Torah scroll and silver pointer (yad) used in reading

Torah scroll and silver pointer (yad) used in reading

Of the more than fifty mitzvot to be found in the sidra, we have some that deal with the treatment of slaves, with the crimes of murder and kidnap, with personal injury and with civil damages through neglect or theft. There are rules about witchcraft and idolatry, about oppression and unfair business practise, about applying legal codes in a prejudiced fashion and not giving false testimony; laws about not mistreating widows and orphans, and about care for animals. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

When we look at those laws and regulations we may not forget that many still keep going and should be fulfilled by a lover of God. It is not because we have Jesus as our Messiah who liberated us from the curse of Law that the Law has ended. No, not at all. The Law still counts. Even now we have received a New Covenant, should we keep to those law covered in that covenant.

Too many Christians commit a mistake by thinking they do not have to do any works any-more. We still have to keep the works of faith, keeping to God’s Commandments.

In parshat Mishpatim, the Israelites learn that accepting the commandments is a 24/7 job. {Parenting by the Parshah – Mishpatim}

We also must be fully aware of the most frequent mitzvah in Torah, given at least 37 different times in the text,which  is repeated in the Mishpatim too –

“you shall not wrong a stranger or oppress them, for you were strangers in the land of Israel.”

It is a mishmash of a legal code but what comes through loud and clear to the reader is the importance to the Jewish people of mitzvot, commandments.

From Torah we see that for the ancient people there were particular reasons for observing the mitzvot – firstly and most importantly because God tells us to. Secondly there was in the ancient understanding an idea that people who obeyed them would be rewarded, and people who disobeyed risked punishment. Then there were two different types of reason given in Torah – that the mitzvot were intrinsically imbued with divine wisdom, and that they would lead us to achieving holiness.  {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

Each person who wants to become a Child of God, or to belong to God’s People shall have to resign oneself to the Will of God. But none can belong to the children of God when they do not accept others to be their brethren and sisters, and loving them as their siblings. The agape love for the others is a indispensible necessary part of belonging to God’s family.

In Judaism as in Christianity too there might be a tension in their tradition

– do we do the commandments (mitzvot) simply because there is a Commander (metzaveh) who told us to do this and this should be enough, or do we search out a meaning behind each mitzvah? And if we do the latter, what happens if we cannot find a suitable reason and meaning? Do we abandon the mitzvah as unreasonable or pointless? Or do we continue to do it in the hope that meaning will emerge? After all, at Sinai the people famously answered “na’aseh ve’nishma, [first] we will do it and [subsequently] we will understand”. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

The tension and balancing between holding a religious belief and a rationalist position was as great in the ancient world as it is today. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

For those who love God ‘blind faith’ was never a prerequisite, neither of a Jewish life nor of a Christian life.

Judaism tends to the position of na’aseh ve’nishma – doing in order to understand, blending faith and reason and giving neither the upper hand, but instead knowing that if we behave “as if” we believe, if we follow the way of mitzvot, then further understanding may come. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

From Scriptures we should come to understand there is no way of doing “as if” because God sees the heart and He does knows each of us. We can not hide anything from Him.

1 Samuel 16:7 The Scriptures 1998+  (7)  But יהוה {Jehovah} said to Shemu’ĕl, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him, for not as man sees, for man looks at the eyes, but יהוה {Jehovah} looks at the heart.”

Jeremiah 17:10 The Scriptures 1998+  (10)  “I, יהוה {Jehovah}, search the heart, I try the kidneys, and give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.

Moses with the Two New Tables of Stone (illust...

Moses with the Two New Tables of Stone (illustration from the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our hearts may not be removed from God and by our way of living we should show to others how God is in our heart. Our heart, our feelings but also how we act should always be pure, full of love for God and His commandments. When we are willing to give ourselves into God’s Hands He will bring us where He wants us to be.

Proverbs 21:1-3 The Scriptures 1998+  (1)  The sovereign’s heart is as channels of water In the hand of יהוה {Jehovah}; He turns it wherever He wishes.  (2)  All a man’s ways are right in his own eyes, But יהוה {Jehovah} weighs the hearts.  (3)  To do righteousness and right-ruling Is more acceptable to יהוה {Jehovah} than a slaughtering.

Each day we have to work at ourself taking care we keep to the commandments of God.

Meanwhile we are impacting on ourselves and on our world in a positive way as we are directed to behaviour that may not be our first instinct – to support the poor and downtrodden, to value life, to respect the boundaries of others, to rein in our own power and desires so as not to trample over the lives of others. The list goes on. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

As tradition says again and again in different words, the same message:  “the commandments were given only to refine God’s creatures…”(Midrash Tanchuma). They change us, they cause us to think about what we are doing and not to act out of immediate self interest, they shape our behaviour and ultimately they may help us to bring holiness into our world. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

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Preceding

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

A Royal Rule given to followers of Christ

First man’s task still counting today

Whoopi Goldberg commandments and abortion

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?

Christians remaining hidden not sharing the gospel

Witnessing because we love

Leading people astray!

Crisis man needed in this world

Preaching Christ Is Not Enough

Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news

Preaching by example

A Christian has to have eyes and ears and a tongue to use in good ways

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

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Additional reading

  1. Bible in the first place #1/3
  2. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  3. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  4. Creator and Blogger God 6 For His people
  5. God-breathed prophetic words written torah and the mitzvot to teach us
  6. Words God speaks unto all and the Spirit that quickens
  7. The Bible is a today book
  8. Statutes given unto us
  9. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  10. God’s design in the creation of the world
  11. Time passing away
  12. Best intimate relation to look for
  13. Let us not forget it was God who chose us
  14. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  15. Engaging the culture without losing the gospel
  16. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  17. Knowing where to go to
  18. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  19. The inspiring divine spark
  20. A good idea to halt all activity for one hour some day
  21. Eternity depends upon this short time on earth
  22. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  23. Truth never plays false roles of any kind, which is why people are so surprised when meeting it
  24. Foundation to go the distance
  25. Preferring to be a Christian
  26. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  27. Purify my heart
  28. United people under Christ
  29. Honesty beginning of holiness
  30. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  31. How we think shows through in how we act
  32. Object of first woe
  33. Think hard before you act today

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Further reading

  1. The Kotel Decision: The Parties at the Table
  2. Mishpatim פרשת משפטים
  3. Mishpatim – Who’s Serving Whom?
  4. Shift and Consolidation: Thoughts on the Torah Portions Mishpatim and Terumah
  5. Commentary for Mishpatim
  6. Mishpatim – Its just a White Lie
  7. When the plumbers stop society’s moral leaks
  8. Parashat Mishpatim /
  9. Shabbat Parashat Mishpatim 5776–Shabbat Torah Study at Adat Shalom Synagogue–Don’t Make Him Tell on You
  10. Mishpatim – Wholly Love
  11. Parshat Hashavuah: Mishpatim by Alex Gage
  12. Scripture for 2.5.2016
  13. Stole My Heart – Parshat Mishpatim 5776
  14. Parsha Mishpatim
  15. Shabbat Shalom! – Mishpatim
  16. Dvar Torah Parshat Mishpatim 5776 2016
  17. Mishpatim 5774 – Visión y Detalles
  18. Double Cry – Mishpatim 5776
  19. Il monoteismo etico – Parashat Mishpatim
  20. Mishpatim: Where heaven and earth converge
  21. Parenting by the Parshah – Mishpatim
  22. Parashat Kedoshim – What is it doing here?

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Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs

The Mountain: Radical Love

In our second reposting from the paraphrased chronological harmony of the four gospels, by Frank Boulet we look once more at the central message of Jesus which is simply this:

 Love God by loving people, even your enemies.

with From Guestwriters we do want to spread this message of love and want to get enough people to see how we do have to control ourselves first before we can try to get a better world.

Our aim is also that those who come along our site, shall make the effort to read the appropriate Bible text and shall take time to meditate on the material.

Insofar as they convey that message, these meditations may be helpful as an introduction to the complete texts of the New Testament, or for daily devotional reading.

Those who call themselves Christian always should remember that they have to be followers of Christ longing for God’s Spirit to feed them. They cannot be called Christian when they do not keep to the laws and teachings Christ adhered to.

The spirit that God wants reflected to the world by your life is revealed in the law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets. {The Mountain: God’s Word}

As believers in Christ we do have to be believers in the One True God and become children of Him.

In order to live as God’s child, you must be faithful to the essential spirit of God’s word. {The Mountain: God’s Word}

It was on a mountain that Jesus began giving examples of the spirit of God’s Word. From that sermon on the mountain we should get to know that our faith needs those works Jesus spoke about.

As a Christians we should not only have a good relationship with Christ Jesus, but also with God and God His creatures.

If you’re about to worship God in any way, and you remember an unsettled dispute with another person, first go & make peace with that person, and then return to worship God. {The Mountain: Anger}

As a Christian we should follow Christ’s teachings and God’s commandments.

God’s law says, do not engage in sexual cheating (meaning sexual relations are to be enjoyed only with your husband or wife). {The Mountain: Sexual Cheating}

This means we have to be faithful to the partner we have chosen to share our life with. That faithfulness demands control and requires acts of love. The keeping our minds focused on the right persons is one of the works we do have to do. Because we should know that we may not even look with lust at a woman, because for God that is considered the same as sexual cheating in your heart!

We also should be careful which words  we use and what sort of promises we make.

It has also been said, ‘Do not break your promise to God.’

But I say, do not even make promises to God.

Yes we are told not to promise by heaven, by the earth, by Jerusalem, not even by your own head, because it’s sinful to try to add emphasis to your promises in that way.

We should not do the wrong things but the right things and as such

Instead of promising to do what God says, just do what God says. {The Mountain: Promises to God}

heart-of-a-good-samaritan-reveals

We also may not seek revenge against any other person, which again shall demand control of ourselves and not getting into anger which would bring us to do wrong.

extra_mile

Jesus gives an indication how in our relation to others we should care for them and even be willing to go with them.

If a soldier demands that you carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles.

Whenever another person asks you for something, give it to him.

Whenever another person wants to borrow something, lend it to him.

Matthew 5:38-42

Also to love your enemies we shall need to be stronger than the first reaction most people get against their enemies or to those they hate.

Jesus concluded:

Instead of being like everybody else, God wants you to love perfectly — just as God himself loves perfectly. (Matthew 5:43-48) {The Mountain: Loving Enemies}

Living for God in this life means you need to have different goals than most people.

For instance, you must love your enemies. {The Mountain: Radical Love}

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We should remember

  • things essential to gain all of God’s blessings:

• Admitting + Mourning self-inflicted spiritual poverty.
• Regretting your self-inflicted separation from God.
• Desiring to live God’s way
• Expecting & accepting trouble living God’s way will bring in this life.

  • Living for yourself in this life will never lead to God’s blessings in the next life:

Then the author says:

  • • goal in this life to be rich => poor in the next life.

  • • goal in this life to be full => hungry in the next life.

  • • goal in this life to be happy => sad in the next life.

  • • goal in this life for other people to speak well of you => no one will speak well of you in the next life.

But with death we have paid for our sins and then there comes an end to our life. When we die it shall be too late to do anything. there shall be no “next life”, except the life we shall continue to live on this earth in this system of things when we have done wrong and do not repent, or after Armageddon and the judgement when we shall be rejected or receive the entrance to God’s Kingdom, being able to live in the restored ‘Garden of Eden‘, the paradise, God’s Kingdom.

It is here, now or never that we shall have to do and make it. Several parables of Christ show us how for many it will be too late for them to change anything for their entrance in the Kingdom of God … they just shall miss it … because they have not done the required works to be saved.

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Preceding articles

Illusion of control

First man’s task still counting today

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

The Mountain: Radical Obedience

Restitution

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Also of interest

  1. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  2. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  3. Christ’s ethical teaching
  4. The business of this life
  5. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  6. Running away from the past
  7. Be holy
  8. Love for each other attracting others
  9. The Greatest of These is Love
  10. Unconditional love
  11. Love is like playing the piano
  12. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  13. Relying on the Love of God
  14. No person has greater love than this one who surrendered his soul in behalf of his friends
  15. Work with joy and pray with love
  16. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  17. We love because he first loved us
  18. Malefactors becoming your master
  19. 112314 – A Peculiar People
  20. Be ye angry and sin not
  21. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  22. He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger
  23. Singing gift from God
  24. God does not change

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Further related articles

  1. “Week One Reflection” by Dr.J. 2016 Fast Post 19
  2. The Difference Between Healthy And Unhealthy Shame
  3. God Can Set You Free From Your Shame
  4. The Surprising Key to Increasing Your Willpower
  5. How to gain self-control & self-discipline
  6. Control When It Counts
  7. Bible study: Blessed are the meek: For they shall inherit the earth (Mt 5:5)
  8. Frank Sinatra quotes from Sermon on the Mount
  9. You are the Way Jesus!
  10. Who gets your attention?
  11. Building on the Rock
  12. The Jesus Revolution
  13. Class #1: Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
  14. sermon on the mount – an introduction
  15. The King’s Sermon (Matt. 4:23, 25, 5:1-2)
  16. Blessed are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
  17. Sermon on the Mount: Ask, Seek, Knock
  18. Sermon On The Mount – Blessed are the meek
  19. Blessed are the Meek
  20. Sermon on the Mount: In the Eye
  21. January 17 Matthew 7:1-14
  22. Misreading the Bible: “Judge Not”
  23. The Sermon on the Mount (18)
  24. The Poor in Spirit
  25. Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit
  26. Blessed Are They That Mourn
  27. Sermon on the Mount: Wisdom
  28. The Sermon on the Mount is not a Guide to Christian Salvation
  29. God give us grace to face the Sermon on the Mount
  30. Sermon on the Mount: Blindness
  31. Salt and Light
  32. Sermon on the Mount by Vance Stinson
  33. The Lord’s Prayer
  34. The Third Way: Nonviolent Resistance
  35. Loving the Unlovables – Part One
  36. Be Different in Your Purity
  37. The Poor in Spirit (Matt. 5:3)
  38. Like A Bull In A China Shop
  39. God is Jehovah Jireh – The LORD Will Provide
  40. Thesis of Jesus
  41. Be Different in Your Anger
  42. Class #3: Three you are statements. Matthew 5:11-16
  43. January 12 Matthew 5:21-32
  44. January 13 Matthew 5:33-48
  45. Borrowed Trouble — Being Perfect, Part 4
  46. When Grief is Good
  47. Lay Down Your Blessings
  48. Teacher
  49. Master, teach us how to pray – The Lord’s Prayer
  50. James 1
  51. Be Your Attitudes
  52. beatitude
  53. The Beatitudes: Growing into the Kingdom of Heaven. Already.
  54. In Search of Eternity
  55. Be Different in Your Righteousness
  56. Daily Riches: Can One Obey Without Actually Obeying? (James Hannay and William James)
  57. A Greater Righteousness
  58. Out with the old, in with almost nothing
  59. Be Different in Your Influence
  60. Rain or Shine — Being Perfect, Part 1
  61. Virtue Signaling — Being Perfect, Part 2
  62. The Business of Blessing Others

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Lifestyle, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, Social affairs

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

The Christadelphian Agora comments

Reading 3 – Rom 3:9,10

“What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one’ ” (Rom 3:9,10).

“Our guilt is great because our sins are exceedingly numerous. It is not merely outward acts of unkindness and dishonesty with which we are chargeable. Our habitual and characteristic state of mind is evil in the sight of God.

“Our pride and indifference to His will and to the welfare of others and our loving the creature more than the Creator are continuous violations of His holy law. We have never been or done what that law requires us to be and to do. We have never had delight in that fixed purpose to do the will and promote the glory of God. We are always sinners; we are at all times and under all circumstances in opposition to God.

“If we have never loved Him supremely, if we have never made it our purpose to do His will, if we have never made His glory the end of our actions, then our lives have been an unbroken series of transgressions. Our sins are not to be numbered by the conscious violations of duty; they are as numerous as the moments of our existence” (Charles Hodge).

Peter Forbes comments:

3:2  If the Jews had a benefit simply because the Word of God was committed to them how do we view that same word? Do we feel privileged simply because we can read Scripture freely in our own tongue?

3:3 Paul (2Tim 2:13) develops the principles of this verse for the benefit of Timothy. – We have noted before that David’s Psalm (32) is used by Paul to speak of the way in which God forgives. Reflecting on what David had done – committed adultery and murdered a man – we probably cannot think of two more evil crimes. But it is these two crimes which God forgave which forms the basis of Paul’s encouragement to us.

David and Bathsheba, by Henry Bone (died 1834)...

David and Bathsheba, by Henry Bone (died 1834). See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:4 The quotation ‘that thou mightest be justified …‘ from Psalm 51:4 marks the beginning of an appeal to the repentance of David after his adultery with Bathsheba – see the title of the Psalm. This incident in David’s life, as terrible as it was, marks the magnitude of the Father’s forgiveness towards a repentant sinner. More notes on this in Romans 4.

3:4‘that thou … art judged’ is a quotation from Psa 51:4 That Psalm is a Psalm speaking specifically of David’s sin with Bathsheba. Paul highlights that the Psalm, though specifically speaking to David, actually has a general application to all.

3:5 This is the first of a number of occasions when Paul asks a question which he then answers himself. The others are Rom 4:1,  6:1, 7:7

Painting by Rembrandt of Paul, one of the most...

Painting by Rembrandt of Paul, one of the most notable of early Christian missionaries, who called himself the “Apostle to the Gentiles.” Paul, a Hellenistic Jew, was very influential on the shift of Christianity to Gentile dominated movement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:7-8   The “lie” that Paul is thinking about is the charge laid on him by others that he said “Let us do evil that good may come”.

3:8  The charge laid on Paul is similar to the hypothetical question he asks in Rom 6:1.

3:9     The teaching of Paul that we ‘are all under sin’ is quoted by Paul later – Gal 3:22–This is one of many times where Paul quotes elements of this letter to the Romans to other churches. Thus we see that Romans seems to be a letter that many of the other churches were aware of.

3:19 The phrase ‘every mouth may be stopped’ echoes the sentiments of Psa 107:42 thus demonstrating that the teaching that all men are sinners is not confined to the New Testament but is a clear Old Testament teaching.

3:23,24 These adjacent verses are at the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as the mind of man is concerned. One has to recognise the situation outlined in v 23 before one can be in the state described in v 24. Justification is only available to those who recognise their own personal need for salvation.

3:25-26        We should reflect carefully on the fact that God’s righteousness is seen in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our God is not a vindictive cruel God. Rather, as shown by the way He responded to Jesus’ obedience, He is merciful – which we should appreciate anyway because of the way in which He describes Himself –Exo 34:6-7

3:31   To the Jew the idea that the Law of Moses was no longer the route to pleasing God (if it ever was) was a major problem. So they needed to know that ‘faith’ did not remove the need for obedience

Peter Cresswell comments

English: manuscript of the Epistle to the Roma...

manuscript of the Epistle to the Romans (fragment) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:4 – Here we see a principle that we cannot ignore.  Let God be true is a clear instruction to us not to make God into what we think He should be – not to impose on Him what we feel are the qualities of a god, but instead to open our minds to let Him show us what he really is in truth.  We are still on the theme from the previous chapters which tell us how to avoid being like those whose worship is distorted.  Let us take heed, as through this we can be justified by faith, as we are being prepared to learn next.

3:20 tells us that the law can’t save because by it there is knowledge of sin.  This shows us that the law is inextricably tied up with the original curse – that we should know good and evil.  At the end this curse will be removed and we will know only good.  We do well to remember that this knowledge of good and evil is a curse, not a privilege.  One day, those who are saved, will leave it far behind.  One could argue that by God’s grace, we already have – 5:21, 6:7 – but in that day it will be actual.  Evil will no longer be remembered or contemplated or come into mind.  We must ask ourselves: Are we ready to leave behind the choice to do evil, without looking back, or do we still consider it a privilege?

Cliff York comments

Romans 3:9 – “for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” – in chapters one and two. Paul painted a word picture, first of the Gentile world – Romans 1 – then the Jewish world, which was even worse, for they had access to God’s righteousness – Romans 2.

v12-18 – Paul describes the cadaver of sin. As Paul’s scalpel opens up the body of sin, first the throat, then the tongue, lips, mouth, feet, and eyes are laid bare and examined – Hebrews 4:12-13. And Paul’s conclusion is given in v23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  What does this tell us? We all need Jesus Christ. No-one will be in God’s Kingdom who has not entrusted his life and his salvation to the only name given among men whereby they might be saved – Acts 4:12.

John Wilson comments

Rom 3:25  “to declare his  righteousness.” Christ, the bearer of the sins of the people. Not that Christ might be punished for others, but that God’s righteousness might be declared for others to see that they might be forgiven.

David Simpson comments

Rom 3:9-20 has at least 7 quotations from the Psalms, and one from Isaiah. Then in Rom 4 we can find 7 times when Abraham’s name is written.  There is no doubt, is there, where the Gospel’s foundation is laid?

Valerie Mello comments

Rom 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

A reader writes: “even though our Lord did not commit one single sin – even of omission, he still Came Short of the glory of Yahweh – by his very mortality that he inherited by his birth of a mortal woman – meaning he had to make atonement by his death for his ‘falling short’ of the glory of Yahweh by reason of his birth by a mortal woman who, wonderful as she was, still possessed a sin-prone nature herself.”

My reply: In Rom 1, Paul pointed out mankind’s refusal to acknowledge God and God’s truth and how God gave mankind over to their lusts and the practice of sin. Then in Rom 2, Paul describes God’s judgment on both the Gentiles and the Jews. In Rom 3, Paul sums up his argument and makes it clear that all of mankind is under sin and that “every mouth will be silenced and the whole world will be held accountable to God.” With regard to God’s judgment there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, rich or poor, priest or beggar, businessmen or drunk, churchgoer and atheist, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It does not say or imply that Christ because of his human nature fell short of God’s glory!

In Rom 3:22, we read that the righteousness of God is by faith in Jesus Christ to “all” – that is, mankind in general, Jews and Gentiles, “unto all and upon all that believe: for there is no difference” (cf. vv. 21,23). To fall short of the glory of God is to be in need of righteousness, a righteousness imputed to us by God through Christ (2Cor 5:21).

In Matt 5:20, we are warned that our righteousness must exceed those of the Pharisees. What Jesus is telling us is that it is not enough to submit to mere outward conformity as characterized by the Pharisees, but that it must be of both inward and outward conformity. Obeying the Law was more than just abstaining from killing, or stealing, etc., it also dealt with our inward being. So it is with us under the Law of Christ, and we can only exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees if we submit to Christ. Our own righteousness will never be good enough no matter how hard we try (cf. Isa 64:6).

Jesus was the only one who could lead a perfect life to the law of God in thought, word, and deed. Jesus’ mission was not simply to die on the cross. He had to be the Lamb without blemish, without sin. He had to live a life of perfect obedience, which he did and became the righteousness of God and, thus, could not have fallen short of God’s glory. Irrespective of Christ’s human sin-prone nature, he did not fall short, but continued in all things that were written in the book of the law to do them, otherwise, how could his righteousness be imputed to us, irrespective of our human nature (cf. 1Pet 5:10)? Christ was the perfect sacrifice and we can be made perfect only in him. We are to be Christ-like (cf. 2Cor 3:18).

Christ’s passive obedience (Isa 53:7) pays our sin debt and his active obedience of a sinless life gives us the perfection required by God if we submit (cf. Matt 5:48). What is required of us is active and passive obedience to Christ. Jesus came to undo what Adam did in committing and omitting, by which his character was tarnished and sin entered the flesh and passed on to his descendants – his sin was imputed to us (Rom 5:17-19). This was man’s fall from glory and made him in need of glory.  Man was created in God’s image for God’s glory (1Cor 11:7; Isa 43:7). Christ came to restore for us what Adam lost. We must have Christ’s righteousness, active and passive, transforming us from sinners who fell short of the glory of God to saints of God who fulfill the glory of God in Christ, or God will not accept us.

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Preceding articles

Elul Observances

To find ways of Godly understanding

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Continue reading: Additional comments to the 4th Letter to the Romans

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Additional reading

  1. Creation of the earth and man #4 Of the Sabbath day #2 Days 1,7,8 and 50
  2. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 3 Getting understanding by Word of God 1
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. Imprisonment and execution of Jesus Christ
  6. The seven last sayings of Christ discussed in the new edition of the Christadelphian
  7. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  8. God’s wrath and sanctification
  9. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  10. Theologians and a promised Spirit to enlighten us
  11. Atonement and the race been bought
  12. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  13. 138) Cheap Grace
  14. Christianity without the Trinity
  15. Not trying to make the heathen live like Jews #2
  16. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  17. Growth in character
  18. Love is like playing the piano
  19. Forgiveness is a blessing for the one who forgives
  20. He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass
  21. Forgiveness always possible
  22. A man who cannot forgive others
  23. Answering a fool according to his folly
  24. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #5 Not law binding
  25. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church
  26. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  27. Breathing to teach

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Further readings

  1. The creation of Earth and Man, the fall of Man, the cursed Earth, the redemption of Man, the resurrection of Christ, the resurrection of Man, the New Earth
  2. The Justification of Abraham
  3. Joseph and the justification of evil/sin
  4. Law and Grace
  5. Justification, Sanctification and Perseverance – By Grace through Faith
  6. Justification is by faith
  7. Why Justifying yourself is Destroying you!
  8. Are Good Works Necessary for Salvation?
  9. Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof
  10. Theories of Atonement: Recapitulation Theory
  11. Practical Theology
  12. Michael Horton Differentiates Law and Gospel
  13. Old and New Perspectives on Paul: A Third Way?
  14. Why the Law? Part 2
  15. The Justified Dead
  16. It’s not about you
  17. Reflective Paragraphs Week 4 – Romans 3
  18. Romans 3
  19. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:1-8
  20. Romans 3:9
  21. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:9-20
  22. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:21-31
  23. “And where does that leave our proud religious claim of having a corner on God? Canceled.” ~~Apostle Paul
  24. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  25. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  26. Nullify the Torah?
  27. Under The Law
  28. Psalm 57 – As a Deaf Adder; A Sermon Preached at the Amarillo Primitive Baptist Church – Sunday, October 18, 2015
  29. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  30. Confessions of a Hypocrite
  31. You are without excuse
  32. Are we good?
  33. More Fashionable Fig Leaves
  34. Elihu – A Word for young leaders
  35. Salvation & Obedience
  36. Would Your Faith Save You?
  37. Let Go of the Ladder
  38. The Playing Field Is Level!
  39. My Utmost For His Highest: The Nature Of Reconciliation
  40. Obedience apart from Christ won’t justify
  41. That One Sin!
  42. The Only Martyr
  43. we’re all “heirs according to the promise” – but we all fall short
  44. Everybody needs Jesus
  45. Rub Your Eyes (Rondel Grande)
  46. Romans Devotional- Day 25
  47. The Anatomy Of God
  48. When Perfect Is Not A Good Thing – Part 1
  49. When Perfect Is Not A Good Thing – Part 2
  50. Is just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned the true meaning of justification?
  51. My Sinfulness
  52. If you love yourself….
  53. Good Behavior
  54. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  55. PT. 9 (The end) You are justified in Christ
  56. Day 11: I Declare My Righteousness Is In Christ Jesus
  57. Subjected For Our Sake.
  58. Guilt & Shame Misapplied
  59. God Glories in Making You Righteous
  60. Our Comforter is our Peace
  61. We Distinguish…(Part 5) — Active/Passive Obedience
  62. We Distinguish…(Part 6) — Moral/Ceremonial/Civil
  63. Those Who Practice Such Things Will Not Inherit the Kingdom of God
  64. Do I seek approval?

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Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

 

 

“1  Then what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Because first of all, they were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 For what if some were without faith? Will their lack of faith nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 May it never be! Yes, let God be found true, but every man a liar. As it is written, “That you might be justified in your words, and might prevail when you come into judgment.” 5 But if our unrighteousness commends the righteousness of God, what will we say? Is God unrighteous who inflicts wrath? I speak like men do. 6 May it never be! For then how will God judge the world? 7 For if the truth of God through my lie abounded to his glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 Why not (as we are slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), “Let us do evil, that good may come?” Those who say so are justly condemned. 9 What then? Are we better than they? No, in no way. For we previously warned both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written, “There is no one righteous; no, not one. 11 There is no one who understands. There is no one who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside. They have together become unprofitable. There is no one who does good, there is not even one.” 13 Their throat is an open tomb. With their tongues they have used deceit.” “The poison of vipers is under their lips”; 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood. 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways.
17 The way of peace, they have not known.” 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19  Now we know that whatever things the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God. 20 Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 21 But now apart from the law, a righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the Law and the Prophets; 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all those who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; 24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God set forth to be an atoning sacrifice, through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness, because in God’s forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26 to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time, so that he would be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.

27 Where then is the boasting? It is excluded. By what manner of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is not he the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then nullify the law through faith? May it never be! No, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:1-31 NHEB)

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File:Abraham.jpg

Abraham Sacrificing Isaac – Laurent de La Hyre (1606–1656)

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Filed under Quotations from Holy Scriptures, Religious affairs

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

In our series looking at “Faith and works” yesterday (January 28) we looked at the letter from Paul to the Romans, chapters 3 and  4. the 4th chapter often being referred to to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Luther’s work

In our previous posting we saw how the German theologian and religious reformer who was the catalyst of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation Martin Luther gave enough food for the Antitrinitarians. He is one of the most to go against their idea we still have to do works to be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

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It is thanks to his marvellous work of translating of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) that so many more people could read and find out what was really written in the Holy Scriptures, which had a tremendous impact on the church and West European culture.

From 1510 to 1520, Luther lectured on the Psalms, the books of Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians. As he studied these portions of the Bible, he came to view the use of terms such as penance and righteousness by the Catholic Church in new ways. He became convinced that the church was corrupt in its ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity.

The most important for Luther was the doctrine of justification – God’s act of declaring a sinner righteous – by faith alone through God’s grace. He taught that salvation or redemption is a gift of God’s grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

Looking at Paul’s teachings

The blog “Washed, sanctified and justified” also looks at Paul’s teachings in the knowledge that lots of protestants refer to Romans 3:26-28 as their conclusion that a man is justified by faith. Some will say

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from works. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Many Christians forget to notice “of the law” which indicates something more and something different than just the “Blood of Christ” or “the Blood of the Lamb“.  The Jewish scholar knew very much the importance of “The Law” or the “Torah” in God’s Plan. And these words are very important to the idea that the apostle Paul is expressing. In the previous articles we have seen that the apostle is speaking of works of the law because that is what he was speaking of in the last chapter.

He didn’t suddenly change subjects. However, he has omitted the words of the law at this point. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Some Catholics may say the Jews did not have ‘Sacraments’, but they had a Covenant and arrangements (or sarcaments in the wider interpretation), also having their own religious signs or symbols and practices as forms of worship.

Paul was very well aware how men of God were justified in the past. Abram (Abraham), born way before God made the covenant with the Israelites, had come in the faith. When he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Genesis 12:1-4; Hebrews 11:8; Romans 4:3) He also had not forgotten, like today many Christians do, that Abraham became the father of many, justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar. (James 2:20-22)

Covenants given to man

The Abrahamic Covnenant may have been interchanged with the Messianic or New Covenant this did not make done with The Law. Too many people forget the terms of the New Covenant.

De Maria in “Romans 4 and the Sacraments” looks further at the misunderstanding of Faith without works.

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We remember from it:

Romans 4 = a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.

  1. Abraham = our father, according to the flesh
  2. if Abraham > justified by works = he hath whereof to glory > not before God.
  3. if Abraham justified himself = more power to him => it is not of God.
  4. Abraham believed God => counted unto him for righteousness.

=>  that means.

  1. him that works = reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt > obey God’s voice + keep His covenant => a peculiar treasure unto God above all people
  2. to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly > faith is counted for righteousness.
  3. Abraham was => did not work for debt
  4. Abraham did work for faith

He also looks at David, one of the circumcised =>  covenant of reconciliation

  • No one can deny David did many works <= all he did was believe in God’s mercy

reconciliation not only offered to Israelites (Abraham not an Israelite + not even circumcised yet) ===> God saw his faith at work => reckoned in uncircumcision to receive sign of circumcision=  seal of the righteousness of the faith

=> = prophecy which showed that even gentiles would be justified by faith.

=> We, like Abraham, believe and are imputed righteousness, in the Sacraments of Jesus Christ.

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St. Paul contrasting Old Testament with New Testament.

  • Old Testament = the Law.
  • New Testament = the Faith.

no ministry of reconciliation in Old Testament. ~~~ David’s reconciliation exception = foreshadowing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

=> Just as it is imputed to the Catholic, who believing the promises of God, approaches the font of grace and submits to the Sacraments, calling on His name.

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

+++

 

CatholicBibleTalk

 Romans 4 is frequently used to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone. But it is actually a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.  Let’s go through it.

King James Version (KJV)
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?Abraham is our father, according to the flesh. The Apostle asks, “what has he found”?

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Now, he asks, “did Abraham justify himself?” If he did, then more power to him, but it is not of God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Now, he quotes Gen 15:6Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

and he begins to explain what that means.

4 Now to him that…

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Luther’s misunderstanding

In our series looking at the faith of man and what he does with it or what faith should make him doing, it is good to look how some denominations got influenced by certain theologians who interpreted something not exactly in the right way.

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All Christians should come to understand that though we are given the Grace of salvation for free, we shall not be free for doing works according to the faith.

In several denominations of Christendom Paul’s letter to the Romans is frequently used to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

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In the articles January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works and Our life depending on faith we tried to show the importance of people having to find the way to God and once they found it how they have to act or react when they do come in the faith for God.

When we look at the many works written in Christendom we also find works which speak about the Sola fide a human doctrine of justification by faith alone. In those clergy works where is asserted that God’s pardon for guilty sinners is granted to and received through faith alone, excluding all “works” there is sand thrown in the eyes of those who look for God and want to serve Him well.

It is not because all mankind would be fallen and sinful, under the curse of God, and incapable of saving itself from God’s wrath and curse. In the previous posting you can see that certain people say God, on the basis of the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ alone (solus Christus), grants sinners judicial pardon, or justification, which is received solely through faith according to those theologians.

For them “Faith” is seen as passive, merely receiving Christ and all his benefits, among which benefits are the active and passive righteousness of Jesus Christ. Christ’s righteousness, according to the followers of “sola fide,” is imputed (or attributed) by God to the believing sinner (as opposed to infused or imparted), so that the divine verdict and pardon of the believing sinner is based not upon anything in the sinner, nor even faith itself, but upon Jesus Christ and his righteousness alone, which are received through faith alone.

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It should be known that in Christendom there are also several believers who are convinced that such a “Justification by faith alone” is not telling the truth to people or at least is only saying half of the matter, because some of them though saying we should not do any work to be saved in other writings do speak about “other graces of salvation” and speak about things believers should take part of , which they call sacraments. They then believe in a series of conceptual steps within the Christian doctrine of salvation which is often called Ordo salutis, (Latin: “order of salvation”).

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De Maria of CatholicBibleTalk shows us here that for him as a Catholic it is clear, from Scripture, that unless someone keeps the Commandments and does the Will of God, he will not be justified.

Having sought God‘s Face, for him it is the believer who first of all had done the work by studying to show himself approved. On the way to coming in the faith the work of prayers is already at that time necessary. We namely have to come to a prayerful relationship with God. Once having come into the faith the believer has to allow God to wash his or her soul with the washing of regeneration and renewal which is Baptism by water and the Holy Spirit.

He says

“we don’t do anything at that moment”

but agrees

“We only believe.”

Forgetting that to believe requires an act of setting our minds on God. Also coming to the baptism the person first of all has to repent, which demands action as well. Further the person has to arrange his or her baptism, which again shall demand some works to be done.

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At our baptism we do have to give ourselves to God Who sees our faith and credits it to us as righteousness and that is why we are called the children of Abraham or Abraham’s seed (Genesis 15:6).

The Catholic writer understands that it was because Abraham obeyed God His Voice, and kept His charge, His commandments, His statutes, and His laws, all works, that made Him righteous in the eyes of God. Also we, when baptised, shall have to step in the footsteps of patriarch Abraham and have to look for continuing on the Way the Nazarene master teacher Jeshua, Jesus Christ, laid out for us. Then we do have to put on the helmet of salvation.

We have to find ways of Godly understanding by being Faithful to the listening ear.

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De Maria his theory is that the 16th century German friar credited with initiating the Protestant Reformation, simply did not see the Sacramental Teaching which St. Paul was making when he wrote these words. He believes

that when St. Paul said, “we are justified by faith apart from works”, he was describing that justification which occurs in Baptism. But Luther was led astray. And the prophecy of 2 Peter 3:16-17 was fulfilled in him:

In Romans 4 and the Sacraments De Maria continues writing

There was no ministry of reconciliation in the Old Testament. David’s reconciliation was the exception and it was to show the blessedness to come. It was a foreshadowing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

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Lets not forget that love is a something that needs works. Loving is a verb. We should continually love God, which means we do have to come into an intimate position with God the Father. God also asks us to recognise His sent one, and like He is one with this person, we do have to become one with Jesus Christ.

Christianity is a love relationship and It’s love language is pursuit.  Just like God has pursued us He calls us to live a life in striving to come to know God better and to become like Christ, which shall demand lots of work.

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Preceding:

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

++

Additional writings

  1. Looking for a primary cause and a goal that can not offer philosophers existing beliefs
  2. Souls and Religions with Nirvana and light
  3. Between Alpha and Omega – The plan of creation
  4. God is the strength of my heart
  5. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  6. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  7. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  8. Finding God amid all the religious externals
  9. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  10. People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers
  11. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  12. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  13. People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms
  14. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  15. People Seeking for God 6 Strategy
  16. People Seeking for God 7 The Lord and lords
  17. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  18. Isaiah 55-56, Revelation 11
  19. Al-Fatiha [The Opening] Süra 1: 4-7 Merciful Lord of the Creation to show us the right path
  20. Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh
  21. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  22. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone
  23. Being in tune with God
  24. Faithful to the listening ear
  25. To find ways of Godly understanding
  26. Being Justified by faith
  27. Obeying the King
  28. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  29. Faith and works
  30. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  31. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying

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Find also

  1. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  2. January 25 – Clarity
  3. Hope is Strength – It Starts with Faith
  4. God’s Love Language: Christianity is A Love Relationship & It’s Love Language is Pursuit
  5. 21 Day Fast | Day 17- Removing Sneaky Idols & Refocusing Our Hearts

+++

CatholicBibleTalk

I have a theory about Luther’s misunderstanding of justification, see if it makes any sense to you.

1st: Before the advent of Martin Luther, the Father of the Protestant Revolution, some very prominent and influential Catholics also said that justification was by faith alone.

Basil of Caesarea (329-379) “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord, that Christ has been made by God for us righteousness, wisdom, justification, redemption. This is perfect and pure boasting in God, when one is not proud on account of his own righteousness but knows that he is indeed unworthy of the true righteousness and is (or has been) justified solely by faith in Christ.”

Ambrose (c. 339-97) “Therefore let no one boast of his works, because no one can be justified by his works; but he who is just receives it as a gift, because he is justified by the washing of regeneration. It…

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Our life depending on faith

Looking at the Bible reading for January 28

When we look at our bible readings of the day, we do find Genesis 46-47, Psalm 50 and Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter 3-4.

English: Apostle Paul in the apse

Apostle Paul in the apse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Apostle Paul when he was called Saul had been full of zeal for keeping the law and saw the followers of Christ as appearing to have no respect for keeping the law so he persecuted them – until he was dramatically converted. After his conversion and the maturity gained by the experiences that followed, he wrote his remarkable letter to the Romans, a letter primarily to the Gentiles.

The apostle asks a valid question, which should bring us to wonder what the good might be us of difference between a non believer and a believer doing good works.

People trained in God’s ways

Throughout history we have seen that there have been many people who were so called trained in God’s ways and even got titles of universities, declaring them to be theologians. Lots of people look up at them and think they are the person who best know how everything is about God, gods, religion, man, life and death. Lots of people got frustrated with what they got to know from those scholars  who often said we just had to belief this or that, because it is incomprehensible for a human being to understand. As such lots of human doctrines were introduced in Christendom.

People also got annoyed with certain behaviour of those so called religious men. Some had relationships not only with different wives, but there have also been clerics who had intercourse with children.
On the other hand the world sees lots of unbelievers who are doing very good works and are always ready to help others, plus giving very good examples how we make the best of our life in a good relationship with others.

God not abandoning people

It is true that lots of non-religious people are also good people, but the apostle Paul tells us as it turns out, it makes a lot of difference who is a follower of Christ and a believer in the Only One True God.

In history there have been many people who tried to bring the Word of God to others and make it alive for the future. We had the Jewish scribes who were being put in charge of writing down and caring for God’s revelation, what we call the Holy Scriptures or the Bible. In the course of doing that, when some of those Jews abandoned their post, we can see that God didn’t abandon them.

Throughout the Book of books we can see how God always stayed with His People, even when they did bad things or had moments that they forgot Him. Even the most important of these men of God had one moment of doubt, that he questioned God why He (Jehovah God) had abandoned him (Jesus).

Jesus at one moment also cried to his heavenly Father saying

 Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? (Matthew 27:46)

being a call unto God questioning Him why he had forsaken or had deserted the son of man Jeshua (Jesus Christ), who was willing to do God’s Will instead of his own will. (In case Jesus is God he naturally would always have done his own will and could never have left himself.)

Not cancelling out Jehovah his faithfulness

Do you think Jesus and other men of God their faithlessness cancels out Jehovah the Almighty God His faithfulness?

We are told that God keeps his Word even when the whole world is lying through its teeth. Scripture says the same

“God forbid! Yea, let God be true, though every man a liar. As it is written: “That Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou art judged.”” (Romans 3:4 KJ21)

We are given God’s Word which stand fast and true and is not given to confuse us or to.  We are given commandments in that book of books and are questioned if we make the law of none effect through faith.

The unbelievers can do good and bad like we too can do a lot of bad. But if our wrongdoing only underlines and confirms God’s right-doing, “shouldn’t we be commended for helping out?” remarks Paul. When having come into the faith we should be willing to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ (a work to be done) and should do our uttermost best to comply not only with his teachings but also with the ordnance of God.

Sayings we are saved and have to do no works

The people who do want us to believe we can do whatever we want because salvation is on us by the blood of Christ, must know that it is not by our bad deeds that God would come out better.  It’s simply perverse to say,

“If my lies serve to show off God’s truth all the more gloriously, why blame me? I’m doing God a favour.”

or to say

“The more evil we do, the more good God does, so let’s just do it!”

That’s pure slander. (Romans 3:7-8)

Same start for every one

It is not because we are Jews, Christians or Muslims that we would be we more excellent than the others and are getting a better break than the others. (Romans 3:9) Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it that there’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God. They’ve all taken the wrong turn; they’ve all wandered down blind alleys.

It may sound harsh, but there is “No one’s living right”.

“9 What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise! For we have before proved that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin. 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 there is none that understandeth; there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They have all gone from the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”” (Romans 3:9-12 KJ21)

Therefore every day we do have to be careful not to have our throats to be gaping graves,our tongues slick as mud slides. (Romans 3:13) With no tongues to deceit we should try to get others to know Jeshua, Jesus Christ, the son of man and the son of God. In him we did receive salvation, but in him we do have to grow (a work) so that we can run a good race, not for the honour of sinner-of-the-year, or for the one who made the most money on the back of others.

Afraid for those coming in

In our land littered with heartbreak and ruin, many of us do not want to know living with others. They are so afraid of the refugees coming into our nation. Are they afraid of them being able to get others to believe what they believe and to come to the same religion as theirs. Should they than not wonder how it comes that those immigrants not come to be surprised by the faith we are having and that they would become interested in the faith that lives in Europe? We think the greatest problem is that there is not so much faith in God living around in our regions. Most people never give God the time of day. This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else?

For sure it is not our involvement with God’s revelation that will  put us right with God. There are also many unbelievers who write about our God and about religion. There are also people who are against God who try to bring others in doubt by throwing lots of discussions at them.

Should we not more question why there would be a danger of Muslims converting people from here unto the Islamic faith? In case there would be enough people standing strong in their faith we should not worry.

Did Jesus also not give the task to his followers to go out and preach? When Christians would do what Jesus Christ ordered them to do we should have enough preachers witnessing about the works of god and about the real faith we should follow.

Man incapable to govern

Throughout history man has proven to be incapable to come to good governments, or to be able to rule this universe. By the Word of God we are forced to face our complicity in our sins. By all our stupidities we do have to come to see we can only have a good government under the jurisdiction of Christ Jesus.

Because by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified in God His sight (Romans3:20) we should know that for by the Law comes the knowledge of sin and are we given the ways to handle sin. Now we also do not have any excuse because in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about in our Scriptures, has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this.

“20 Therefore by the deeds of the law, no flesh shall be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, which is by faith in Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all those who believe. For there is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:20-23 KJ21)

“30  What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, who followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.” (Romans 9:30-31 KJ21)

Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God sent us His only begotten son and accepted this man’s ransom offering to pay for our sins. did it for us. The action of God, out of sheer generosity, was taken for the recognizance of the humbleness of  the Nazarene Jew who was willing to put his own will aside for complying totally to God’s Will.

A Freebox in Berlin, Germany 2005, serving as a distribution centre for free donated materials, and where the gratis is really for free.

With Jeshua (Jesus Christ) the world has received a pure gift. With God it is not, like we can see so many times today, that there are offers to people where they say it is gratis, but then they still have to pay so much money. By God Gratis does really means for free. We do not have to pay anything for the Gift of Grace. Salvation is given to everybody in the world. But it is given at one point and then we have to continue from there onwards. And that is what a lot of people seem to forget.

The mess we are in & Setting the world in the clear

God by the action taken, or by the work done by His son, got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where God always wanted us to be. In His plan fits a righteous people. Jehovah, the God of gods, did it by means of Jesus Christ. It was God who sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear.

God decided on this course of action in full view of the public — to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. For many that does not seem to be clear, but it’s now — this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.

Working at a relationship

When we come to know that Jesus is the Way to God, we do have to respond (an action to be taken or a work to be done). Our response to what God does for us should create our willingness to do the right works to come to a very good relationship with Him. to come to such a good relationship our lives have to get in step with God.

Jehovah God is the God of outsider non-Jews as well as insider Jews and this God of Abraham should be the Allah, Adonai, Elohim or God of Israel and God of all Jews, Christians, Muslims but also of all those who wander in this world without knowing yet what the purpose and the goal of their life is.

The apostle Paul warns the world to know that there is only one God Who has set right all who welcome His action and enter into it, both those who follow the apostle’s religious system and those who have never heard of his and our religion.

“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 KJ21)

“in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.” (Ephesians 3:12 KJ21)

“knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16 KJ21)

“And His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know. Yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” (Acts 3:16 KJ21)

“But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (Galatians 3:22 KJ21)

“23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24 KJ21)

“30 seeing it is one God who shall justify the Circumcision by faith, and Uncircumcision through faith.” (Romans 3:30 KJ21)

Having stressed “the faithfulness of God” (verse 3) and having told that God reacts to what he sees – seeing “faith” and also faithlessness – we should be fully aware that it is important how we act. Our behaviour is an important factor to our faith-life.

Several people are cross with God and left faith because they did not see any difference between them and the unbelievers. Many do say it is not right God also “inflicts” trouble, pain and sorrow to those who believe in Him.
We must not say,
“God is unrighteous to inflict wrath” (verse 5) on the disobedience he sees in his creation.
What God looks to see, Paul says as he higlights the example of Abraham in the fourth chapter, is – faith, genuine belief and trust in God for “faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness” (verse 9) and it will be “counted” to us also.

“Cometh this blessedness then upon the Circumcision only, or upon the Uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.” (Romans 4:9 KJ21)

English: Statue of Saint Paul at Bab Kisan, Da...

Statue of Saint Paul at Bab Kisan, Damascus, Syria Français : Statue de Saint-Paul à Bab Kissan, Damas, Syrie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul stresses this was “the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe … so that righteousness would be counted to them as well” (verse 11).

We read in Genesis earlier this month all the things Abraham did – through faith. Paul is stressing that

“For the promise that he should be the heir of the world came not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13 KJ21)

Acting faithfully toward God in our lives is what matters most of all and Abraham is the key example for us to follow. In the past the Jews had a contract or covenant with God. With Christ there was made a new covenant. In the knowledge that a contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect, we have been offered a much better contract. Yes, we as human beings do need some contract or written rules. As  such those who follow Christ, believing in him, can live with the promise that God made to our forefathers. God’s promise, though, can not be broken. This is why the fulfilment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and His way, and then simply embracing Him and what He does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them. For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father — that’s reading the story backwards. He is our faith father. Therefore Paul realized that “the law brings wrath” and

“15 because the law worketh wrath; for where there is no law, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be given by grace to the end that the promise might be made sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Romans 4:15-16 KJ21)

It depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace.

We should recall God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 17:4,5 and his life of faith beginning from when he left Ur. We must each reflect on our own acts of faith, for it is not just something we talk about! What things have we done, and are doing – that show our faith?

Our eternal future “depends on faith”.

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Preceding article: January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

++

Please do find also to read:

  1. Epicurus’ Problem of Evil
  2. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  3. Elul Observances
  4. God’s wrath and sanctification
  5. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  6. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  7. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  8. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  9. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  10. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  11. Being of good courage running the race
  12. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  13. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong
  14. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core
  15. Being religious has benefits even in this life
  16. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  17. Good and bad things in this world
  18. Salvation and Righteousness
  19. Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
  20. Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  21. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  22. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  23. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  24. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  25. Faith and works
  26. Not making yourselves abominable
  27. The attraction of doing something
  28. Re–forming ourselves
  29. Humbleness
  30. Wired to Connect?
  31. Bearing fruit
  32. Our stance against certain religions and immigrating people
  33. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  34. Whoopi Goldberg commandments and abortion
  35. Daring to speak in multicultural environment
  36. As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude
  37. 2014 Religion
  38. Disobedient man and God’s promises
  39. Crisis man needed in this world
  40. From pain to purpose
  41. Unconditional love
  42. Relying on the Love of God
  43. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  44. God’s forgotten Word 5 Lost Lawbook 4 The ‘Catholic’ church
  45. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  46. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  47. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church

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Further reading

  1. Faith (Heartfixxer)
  2. Embracing the Path
  3. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core (the Inscribed heart)
  4. See Other with God’s Eyes
  5. Faith is the Key
  6. Wear Your Faith on Your Sleeve
  7. We Need to Water Our Faith
  8. A Date With God
  9. Where is the Church that Christ built?
  10. Actions are the Megaphone of Words
  11. We are justified by faith and works, in a manner of speaking.
  12. Luther’s misunderstanding
  13. Faith-Rooted Practice – Rev. Dr. King and Prophetic Evangelicalism
  14. Declaring what is not as though it is
  15. What is Right?
  16. Thankful Thursday: God’s Faithfulness
  17. Great Faithfulness
  18. Grace Makes All The Difference

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63 Comments

Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Hillary Clinton Says Religious Beliefs About Abortion Have to be Changed

In reaction to what Hillary Clinton said at a recent Women in the World Summit on April 23:

“Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice – not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”

It is a strange way of saying to have “Religious Beliefs About Abortion” to “Have to be Changed”. When one has a certain faith it is because those people belief in certain doctrines. When the rules of that faith were notated long ago there can only be a change in belief when one considers changes in interpretation.

It is a misunderstanding or mis-interpretation to think she demands a change of believes.

She clearly demands rights for women and want to see that they can get access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth. How can this be a demand of changing matters of faith when those who say they keep to a faith are following the rules of that so called faith?

If they call themselves Christian they should follow the teachings of Christ. But naturally they perhaps could call themselves better Methodist, Pentecostal, Evangelist or naming themselves to belong to an other denomination and not giving others the impression that all Christians would think like them.

Jesus never told anybody that a woman had no rights to her body and that others could decide for her.

In life every person has to decide for himself or herself. It is no different for female beings.

God gave permission to have judges and leaders to be installed and to have laws been written to organise a society. Hilary Clinton is right to say “Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will.”
When governments promise things they also have to keep their promises. When they want to respect their citizens they have to give them rights which are equal for all.

Though naturally those in charge can not demand that “deep-seated cultural codes can be changed when they are based on the Law of God. But in many societies we can see that lots of people have preferred to follow human doctrines and in such instance those deep-seated cultural codes are based on human doctrines, religious beliefs and structural biases which can and perhaps should have to be changed or to be looked at closer to see if they should not be accommodated.

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Preceding articles:

Whoopi Goldberg commandments and abortion

My Choice (by Jezabel Jonson)

The Real ‘Choice’

“They Told Me What I Wanted To Hear” – Real Abortion Stories

The Things We Carry, by Penny

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Further reading:

  1. “The Vital Fact that’s Been Lost in the Debate Over Those Planned Parenthood Videos” | History News Network
  2. “Empty the Uterus”
  3. Bodies that matter. Bodies that don’t.
  4. Crucial Abortion In Coppell TX Information That You Deserve To Know
  5. Vital Abortion In Grand Prairie TX Information That You Should Be Aware Of
  6. Texas Defunds Planned Parenthood
  7. Meat On Our Bones: The Next Four Years
  8. The Opportunistic Morality of a Nation
  9. New at Live Action: Pro-Abortion Republican Murkowski Carries Water for Planned Parenthood
  10. New at Live Action: The Most Blatant Pro-Abortion False Advertising Yet
  11. Texas Defunds Planned Parenthood
  12. Crucial Information On Abortion Options In Grapevine TX That You Need To Know
  13. A Lesson On The Heart . . . .
  14. From the Sidewalk Chronicles: Crime of the Unborn
  15. Same Logic, Same Result
  16. Move to defund Planned Parenthood only hurts Texas families
  17. God Fearing Women Do Not Kill Babies
  18. Texas cuts off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood
  19. MSPs should hold abortion debate
  20. If we value life, we don’t get to choose which lives we value
  21. We Exist For Him
  22. The Church and violence
  23. Texas Defunds Planned Parenthood, Alleges Clinics Unsafe, Unsanitary
  24. Links for 10-19-2015
  25. Texas Cuts Planned Parenthood From Medicaid
  26. The Child I Didn’t Plan For
  27. Lawyer tried to keep pregnant refugee and rape victim in Australia, but government suddenly flew her out
  28. A False Choice
  29. A Revelatory Dream
  30. Missing Persons
  31. Why Should We Be Looking At The PP Defunding Debate? A Storify Assignment.
  32. How the investigation into Planned Parenthood affects student lives
  33. Can We Really Afford to Lose 700 Planned Parenthood Centers?
  34. Man Stabs His Pregnant Wife 17 Times to Try to Kill Their Unborn Child
  35. Abortion holocaust
  36. Shout Your Abortion
  37. Choices
  38. Even the smallest person can change the course of the future
  39. Abortion and crime rates
  40. Support With Diagnosis
  41. Reading for Abortion in the Victorian Novel
  42. Planned Parenthood: another written question from the European Parliament – this time from a Socialist
  43. “But it’s Legal” – Does the legality of an act make it moral?
  44. What If Planned Parenthood Is Sincere?
  45. Republicans’ Love Hate Relationship With Waiting Periods

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Filed under Health affairs, Juridical matters, Political affairs, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters

112314 – A Peculiar People

In Belgium lots of protests are going on against the measures taken by the government, bringing all burden onto the less earning people while the rich are saved and do not have to contribute to the economical crisis, have lower taxes than most people and even have companies or CEO’s not having to pay taxes.
In other countries battles on the streets are delivered or for the injustice which is done on social or juridical matters.

Some may think Christians may not higher their voice and have to let everything happen. But you can also wonder if a Christian does not have to come up for those who have no voice, like animals and plants and for those who are done injustice.

In certain states, like the United States of America, the injustice of treatment, the in-equality of race, and certain political decisions are used to create scenes of rioting, looting, and burning private and public properties. This is totally against the Law of God. Also a few weeks ago in Belgium some fighters used the national march against the government to make hammock and damage a lot of private goods and to seriously wound many cops. They misused and disordered the otherwise peaceful march.
The way we want to react to those “protestors” blocking roads and impeding the flow of traffic of travellers, who have no connection with the cause for which the protesters, aka anarchists, are mounting in their charge against decency, is important and gives the other person an opportunity to show other ways to get justice and to get the voice of the people resounding.
There may be people who do not like it that there are also “people who have decided to make a statement for their cause by lying down on department store floors and interfering with people who just wanted to buy some goods at those stores.” Those who object we have to ask what their reason of objection is. Often we hear selfish reasons, like that they can not get where they want to be in the time they want to be. Or that they are hindered because they can not get what they want. when they react to the protesters, not showing empathy for their cause, they often show their own selfishness and their exclusion for coming to understanding for what the protesters want to give a voice.

Both parties can be doing the wrong thing. Both parties can go much to far in their reaction against the other.

In such turmoil the true inner side of a person can come unto the surface. In such occasions where people feel their frustration can not receive a valve of expression, they can go much too far and loose all boundaries of respect and decency.
It is in such instances a Christian has to be careful not to chose the wrong site or not to give the impression he does not want to do with it at all.

It may be true that in certain cases (not all) some may consider this “peculiar” to relate to “such unlawful actions”. Some might also think it are only anarchists who are “truly odd and strange in the way that they go about life”. They seem to forget that lots of human beings do strange things and more than once go out of the boundaries of the “normal”.

Of course, the word “peculiar” can find its way into biblical scripture, like “the Jews were said to be a peculiar people because they were chosen by God to bring the Messiah into the world (Deuteronomy 14:2). Those of us who have come to saving faith through Jesus, the Messiah, are also said to be “peculiar” people.”

Certainly today those following the Laws of God are called peculiar or weird figures. Often they are considered to be fools, believing in fairy tales.

Jesus even told his followers it would not be easy for those who wanted to follow him, and that they would be shunned and would be hated in different circles, even in the family they would find members who would oppose them.
Those who show the outside world that they love God and have chosen to follow His son’s ways, are ridiculed, but know that they should not worry so much. They know they should fear God and not the human beings. But that does not mean they just do have to let everything happen what other human beings decide. We always should show our praise for God and His Creation. As such we shall have to show the world our respect for that creation and should make others aware of the value of that creation which we are allowed to use, but may not try to destroy. So, we do have to take care of mother earth and also do have to come up for it. We can not allow others to continuously rob it and destroy the life chances of animals, plants but also for other human beings. Therefore contrary many Christians may think, we should give a voice to the ones who do not seem to have a voice or who are pushed in the corner.

We, as believers in Christ, may also appear to the anarchists as being “odd” and “strange” because we don’t embrace their methods of “bringing about change” in our nation, but we can show to them other ways to demonstrate peacefully and to use other ways to give a voice for the right cause in righteousness.

Not reacting at all can give opportunities to silence the democratic system and to have other human beings using their power to oppress others. We should give dictatorship and oppression no chance. We also should avoid that others get the means, like weapons to oppress others.

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Of interest:

  1. Voice for the plebs
  2. The Y generation in conflict with itself
  3. To Work Longer or Die Younger
  4. Depression Economics and Paul Krugman
  5. Anti-Crisis anger calling out
  6. Ability for a community to come back from a crisis
  7. Violence or an other way to win
  8. Justififiable anger or just anarchism
  9. Shame on American police
  10. A dangereous way of censorship
  11. Democratic downfall
  12. Censor looming around the UK corner?
  13. Internet absurdities
  14. The Protester named Person of the Year 2011 by Time Magazine
  15. Catherine Ashton on the EU annual report on human rights
  16. Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America at war
  17. Ukrainians should be free to shape the future of their country
  18. Person of the year
  19. Journal for and from bothered citizens
  20. Re-Creating Community
  21. Chinese Village in Revolt
  22. ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protesters Gain Strength
  23. Busting Protesters, not Bankers
  24. UK Protesters Charged as Organized Criminals
  25. Thai Court Sides with Protesters

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  • Are you looking? (hopeofglory.typepad.com)
    This one nation under God has experienced a losing of itself under its present “leadership”. Focused on things not familiar orpreviously welcomed in this United States of America, these things have allowed many to lose their way.Believers associate this loss with a turning away from God. It’s a judgment of sorts on the abandoning of God and country, morality and responsibility, faith and respect. A sad commentary on the ease with which some will forfeit independence for dependence, goodness for wickedness, apology for justification. None of it typical of the America we used to know and love.
  • Calmness is Settling in Over Ferguson (fggam.org)
    We continue to be in constant prayer for Ferguson and the United States of America, America, Bless God!
  • Boko Haram: Nigeria berates US over ‘no weapon deal’ (sundiatapost.com)
    Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States of America, Prof. Ade Adefuye has chided the United States of America for refusing to sell weapons to Nigeria to effectively contain the Islamic insurgency in Northern Nigeria.
    He said the war against the insurgency would have been won long ago, had the US agreed to sell weapons to Nigerian government.
  • Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789 (wdeaver.wordpress.com)
    Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
  • The Constitution of the United States of America, 19th Amendment (nesaranetwork.com)
    The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Eternity

Psalm 8 King James Version (KJV)

The Glory of the Lord in Creation

1 O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts…

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Ecological affairs, Economical affairs, Juridical matters, Lifestyle, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Social affairs, World affairs

God’s wisdom for the believer brings peace

On the 22nd of April the Christadelphians in Belgium met in their tiny congregation. They do not have a mega-church. They do not have their own special church building. They would love to see more people in their congregation, but they know that we are living in a time where not many are interested in God.

In the darkness and the void of the world

CIMG2092Today we may find many people who would love to Get out of the dark corners of this world, and who would love to find solutions to live easier. Many do not come to see that solutions where already provided long ago. They should not stay with their depression, pain and suffering. Already long ago there was a man who was willing to take all the trouble of the world onto him. He was willing to bear all the pain of mankind and to face the death and take it with him to destroy it for ever. It looks impossible and many centuries people who could see the Works of the Divine Creator even doubted about the possibilities put in front of them. They had put lambs-blood on the doorposts, had seen that their children were saved, saw high walls of water and a road where they could pass but the soldiers of the Pharaoh were swallowed by the water, and still they doubted many times. How about us who have no such wonders in our days of our life?

Having to see what should be the centre of life

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The previous days we have looked how God assembled Him a people and how He took care of them in difficult times. God does not change, so also today He shall be there with those who are interested in Him. He shall guide them and help them when necessary.

As we meet with the people of God assembled to hear Moses as they prepare to move into the land we see simply and clearly what should have been the centre of their lives.

Forty years before this time, the previous generation had been given the law at Mount Sinai, Moses reminded them that they had actually heard the voice of God and were filled with such fear that they required Moses to act between them and God. At this time they were reminded that it was by the power of God that they had escaped from Egypt, and that He had given them a law and commandments that were quite different from those of the Egyptians. It was a law that would set them apart from all the nations surrounding them, it was a law that would give them peace in the land that they had been promised and which they would shortly enter, it was a law based on ten short commandments.

Commandments of the Maker of the Universe

Moses with the Ten Commandments

Moses with the Ten Commandments (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But even these commandments could be powerfully summarised, as Jesus did when questioned, into two commandments. When we behave ourselves good loving all those around us with all are heart we would be good on our way, because all people who walk around on this earth are allowed to be here by the Divine Creator. Without His allowance they would not be here living. So we should respect them as creatures of the Most High and we should respect his choice and love Him for all the things He provides for them and us.

Matthew 22:36-39 The Scriptures 1998+  (36)  “Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah?”  (37)  And יהושע {Jeshua} said to him, “ ‘You shall love יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’  (38)  “This is the first and great command.  (39)  “And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’

Getting out of bondage

In the reading of last Tuesday service we listened to the Words of God as presented in the Holy Scriptures in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 5.

Moses with the Ten Commandments

Moses with the Ten Commandments

In that chapter we could read how Moses called to all Israel to hear the statutes and the ordinances which God had given him. They were given so that they might learn them, and observe to do them.  It was in Horeb that YHWH יהוה {Jehovah} our Elohim and Highest of all made a covenant with those Israelites.  It was Moses who stood between God and them at that time, to show them the words of Jehovah, for they were afraid because of the fire.

Deuteronomy 5:5-6 The Scriptures 1998+  (5)  “I stood between יהוה {Jehovah} and you at that time, to declare to you the Word of יהוה {Jehovah} – for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up the mountain – saying:(6) ‘I am יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of bondage.

Serving only One

From the Holy One Who brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage they got to know that He that brought salvation to them wanted them to have no other gods before Him.  They were asked not to make any engraved image for themselves, or any likeness of what is in heaven above, or what is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, to bow down to them, nor to serve them; for He , YHWH, the Creator of heaven and earth should be their God.

Deuteronomy 5:8-11 The Scriptures 1998+  (8)  ‘You do not make for yourself a carved image, any likeness of which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth,  (9)  you do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim, am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,  (10)  but showing kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands.  (11)  ‘You do not bring{1} the Name of יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim to naught, for יהוה {Jehovah} does not leave him unpunished who brings His Name to naught. {Footnote: 1Or lift up, or take.}

Not to make an engraved image for yourself, nor any likeness of anything that is in heaven above

c. 1435

Carved images in front people bow. – c. 1435 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Through the ages many, also those who called themselves Christian, have forgotten that rule, not to make any pictures of any god to worship in front. In many churches today we can see pictures and statues and even priests walking around in procession with shrines and books, to which people bow down and make crosses. What do they think the jealous God of the Old Testament would feel like, seeing those things which are an abomination in His eyes? God assured His people that He would look down to the earth and see how people love or hate Him. According their position against the Most High He would treat them. He would visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate Him and would show loving kindness to thousands of those who love Him and keep His commandments.We should not take the name of YHWH יהוה {Jehovah} in vain, for He will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Therefore also those who do not believe in God, should not find any reason to use God His Name. We too have to remember that god His people were a servant in the land of Egypt, and יהוה {Jehovah} our God brought them out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm. They had as an assembly on the mountain heard out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice. We to can hear that Voice of God when we are willing to find God. Like He let His Voice come out of the the midst of the darkness, we to shall be able to hear Him is ourselves when we open our heart to Him.From the Old Book of books we should come to know all the wonders God has done for those who want to follow Him. In lots of the mega churches we can find around the world not much time is spent in the Unread bestseller where the Words of God are presented to all those who want to read. But many may prefer to Look to the East and the West for Truth and try to find answers in books written by people like them. They overlook the glory and the greatness which God has shown unto the world. Not many today want to hear the Voice of God. God made the promise that in case people would fear Him and would keep His commandments always, it might be well with them, and with their children forever!

Deuteronomy 5:28-33 The Scriptures 1998+  (28)  “And יהוה {Jehovah} heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and יהוה {Jehovah} said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken.  (29)  ‘Oh, that they had such a heart in them, to fear Me and to guard all My commands always, so that it might be well with them and with their children forever!  (30)  ‘Go, say to them, “Return to your tents.”  (31)  ‘But you, stand here by Me, and let Me speak to you all the commands, and the laws, and the right-rulings which you are to teach them. And they shall do them in the land which I am giving them to possess.’  (32)  “And you shall guard to do as יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim has commanded you – do not turn aside, to the right or to the left.  (33)  “Walk in all the way which יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim has commanded you, so that you live and it be well with you. And you shall prolong your days in the land which you possess.

Churchgoers and priests or ministers

Bible as a compass for life

Bible as a compass for life

A few in this world may go to church-buildings, and in some countries may go to mega churches, but are they doing the Will of God? How much do they like to have an Inerrant Word of God something to say in their life? Several people may Challenge saying ” Whose word and go into discussions about the (non) value of the Holy Scriptures, or what we would call The Inspired Word, in our society. Most of the people do not believe in the Eternal Word that tells everything. The priests of those mega churches should go tell the people to return to their houses and to go into their small room to meet the Most High. They should tell about the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which God has given to the world. They should keep them and should teach them, that they may do them in the land which God has provided for them to reside until the second coming of the Messiah.

Those priests and men in charge of houses of worship should give the good example. But we hear many bad things about their behaviour. Though they should have to know that the men of God shall observe to do therefore as Jehovah their God has commanded them, not turning aside to the right hand or to the left.  When we shall walk in all the way which the Elohim Hashem Jehovah our God has commanded us, that we may live, and that it may be well with us, and that we may prolong our days in the land which we shall be given, we should not worry to much.

Not to worry to prolong your days

As recorded for us in Deuteronomy

יהוה {Jehovah} our Elohim has shown us His esteem and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. Today we have seen that Elohim speaks with man – and he lives! (Deuteronomy 5:24 The Scriptures 1998+ )

Also to us the glory of the Most High God is shown to us. We too can hear His Voice and having such wonderful experience, like the faithful ones dedicated themselves to follow the words written for us in (v33)

Deuteronomy 5:33 The Scriptures 1998+  (33)  “Walk in all the way which יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim has commanded you, so that you live and it be well with you. And you shall prolong your days in the land which you possess.

Do you hear God telling us “that you may live, and that it may be well with you”?

Following these commands given by their God, should have given them long life, peace and prosperity, in the land that was just over the River Jordan, the land that should have been a very special land, with God as their King. These words form the foundation of our lives of faith today.

Ecclesiastes

As the writer of this book Ecclesiastes looks around the lives of the people among whom he lives he sees the same challenge. He looks at the cycle of life and the wisdom of the world; he dedicates himself to search out the best of the world’s knowledge and comes to the conclusion

“in much wisdom is much grief, and increase in knowledge, simply increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1v18).

This would all be very depressing if it were not for the conclusion of the book, which emphasises our theme,

“fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12v13).

The wisdom of God brings peace to the faithful. Today many may laugh at those who say they love God. Not many people dare to say that in public. We may find a little more people who want to let others know they follow Jesus. Though it is not always sure which Jesus they are really following.  Lots of people do not want to accept what Jesus really has done. They say it is impossible for any man to do what Jesus has done. Therefore they made Jesus in their god, forgetting that there is only One True God Who is One. They also made images of him, exalting him and bowing down before the pictures and statues of the person, they claim to be God. But how then do they follow the first commandment of that One True Creator God. Christ Jesus asked his followers

Gospel of  John 17 and 18

The final verse of John 16 makes clear to us that the peace that we can enjoy in the life we have chosen to follow is “in Christ”. Jesus in his short time on earth and a very short time for his public life, has said many important words and had done many wonders or miracles. But also his words we should take at heart. From them we can learn a lot and when we shall follow them up we can already receive a lot of peace in this world.

John 16:33 The Scriptures 1998+  (33)  “These words I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you have pressure, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”

The world has always gone against Jehovah God; Nothing has changed yet. The satan or adversary of God is still at work.

All those things Jesus spoke some two thousand years ago, should be useful for us to follow, and should be able to bring us peace. It is true it shall not bring straight ahead peace in our environment. In the world we too shall have tribulation, but we may be of good cheer; Jesus has overcome the world. It may not be without troubles or difficulties but we know clearly Jesus brought the Words of God to this world and explained the those words of wisdom from God, and therefore this is the way we aim to live.

Followers of Master Jesus, Being one

The amazing prayer of Jesus in John chapter 17 speaks directly to us 2000 years later, for this includes all who are his followers, not just there with him on that dreadful night, but all those down the centuries who read these words and want to be “one as we are” (v11) and “as one” in Jesus, and God his Father (v21). This is almost too wonderful for us to understand, we who are so ordinary, being included with the disciples and faithful ones between the time of the prayer and now. Jesus our Master is making it very clear in the words that he had spoken to them, and that have been written for us, that they are the words of eternal life and we have been called to that special treasure.

When we realise that the Master was within a few hours of his arrest, that mockery of trial and his dreadful death, it makes us feel very inadequate in the weakness of the lives that we live. Do not let us be discouraged however, for our God is merciful and forgiving to those of His children who come to Him in prayer truly sorry for the wrong that we do and feeling that wonderful forgiveness that only God can give through His Son.

Jesus the High Priest

And so Jesus and the eleven left the city, crossed over the brook Cedron, and went to that familiar place, the garden which Judas would know was a likely place for him to be with his disciples. So he and the guard came and after a little resistance from Peter, Jesus was arrested and his followers fled, probably to Bethany, with the exception of Peter and the other disciple “known to the high priest”; a brave move to put themselves into the centre of the opposition to the ministry of Jesus. As the trial went on we know that Peter was tested as he denied that he knew Jesus or was one of his followers, and following that we know that he wept, truly sorry for the weakness he had shown. But again we take comfort that he was forgiven and spent the rest of his life dedicated to the service of Jesus who he loved, and who loved him.

The trial went on with the Roman governor Pilate, who had no understanding at all of the accusations of the Jewish leaders, nor of the attitude of Jesus himself who made no attempt to defend himself. He was accused of being a king; treason against Rome, but he made it quite clear in the response that he did make; a teaching that we fully understand, that his kingdom was not of this world. The wisdom of God has declared that there will be a kingdom, but not at that time. In the mercy of God the time has been delayed and many more of us have come to know, understand, and believe that the kingdom of God will come to the Earth with Jesus at its head in the time God chooses.

Through the life and sacrifice of the Son of God better servants

With all these thoughts in our minds, as we began with a God given law in Sinai: the command to love God and our neighbour: the search by the wise man for wisdom, and only finding it in the wisdom of God: and the wonderful example of Jesus our Master, even in the last hours of his ministry when faced with the knowledge of his awful trial and death. In that lovely prayer he concerned himself with his followers who were with him and those throughout the ages that have followed.

Our hearts are full of thanks for all that has been made possible for us through the life and sacrifice of the Son of God. As he commanded let us remember in the bread and the wine, the love of God and His Son, that we might be better servants in the days that remain.

Times of the 21st century

File:Ifk goteborg osk.jpg

Film, television and sport-figures bring the contemporary idols and new gods. – IFK Göteborg, a swedish footballteam, celebrating a goal in a match against swedish team Örebro SK

We are living in a world in denial, where we can see lots of things happening like in the Roman times, bread and games. As in Roman times there is no fear of God before the eyes of many people living in this capitalist world. As in the Roman times the focus was on personal gain and entertainment, today people have more love for their money than they have for a partner or any other living person, let it be for some spirit they can not see nor hear. Lots having forgotten the promises which were brought by many prophets, like Abraham, Isaiah and Jesus are blinded by the wealth of this world and give much more attention to television celebrities and film-gods.

The spiritual does not say much to most people. They do not notice any more the beauty of the world. Nature does not interest them much. But they should be more aware of nature, because they are part of it, and what they do to it shall be of influence to themselves. So how they treat their environment shall be of very importance to the next generations.

Nature and its creatures

CIMG2037When those human beings in this capitalist world would give more interest to other creatures in this world (insects, plants, mammals, men and women) they would find that they could live more in unison with the plants and animals, and would have more rapport with other human beings. Submitting themselves one to another, in the fear of God, for many sounds as something ridiculous, something very absurd, but we should know that by respecting the other in this world, we shall be able to find a better place for each of them.

Faith, love and fear

Today many find it much more interesting to get more power by making others afraid of other people. The problem there is that so many have forgotten that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind, to use to help each other, even when it would be our enemy. (2 Corinthians 7:1 ; Ephesians 5:21; 2 Timothy 1:7)

Those who love the Most High should remember the faith of Noah who, being warned by God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Hebrews 11:7 )

Living in this world and Reading the Bible

It is not to late to change our attitude. It is not to late to take better notice how we can safeguard nature. It is also never too late to start reading the Bible, the infallible word of God. It is never too late to come to see what is written in it and what for treasures may be hidden in it. It is also never too late to get to see the power this Book of books may have to bring change.

In the Garden of Eden, the Creator of heaven and earth has given man the right to rule the world and to make the best of it as they can. Today we know they did not make much of it. We also do know we have to continue living in this world-system as long as Jesus Christ well come back. As long as he did not return we shall need to live in this world, which does not mean we shall have to be off this world.

We are selves do have to make choices. We do have to make up our mind what we do want to believe and whom we would like to follow. Those who made already the choice and choose to follow Jesus and his God, do know the importance of deciding “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes”. As for us Christians, there’s no question — we can’t keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard, and should let others know what we do think. (Acts 4:19; Acts 4:20)

Not following the majority of this world

When we watch the world going its own way, we should be careful not to follow the majority of this world. It is so easy to enjoy the worldly traditions, and to say such feasts do not harm. But is it really so, that by searching for eggs in the garden and connecting them with the resurrection of Christ, we do give the right honour and to Jesus and to his heavenly Father God?

We should take our everyday, ordinary life — our sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Not blaming others for what is gone wrong in our own life, but trying to adjust our life in the ways of God. Not preferring to be popular and loving their way of living, but embracing what God wants for us and what He does for us, knowing that that is the only best thing we can do for Him, but also for ourselves and our beloved ones. (Romans 12:1)

When we face the world we should know that we do have our own responsibilities. It are we ourselves who are responsible for how our own children act or behave, as well for how those we brought up, our pupils, behave or act in the world we placed them. Or do we not realize that we had to learn from the Holy Scriptures and had to behave accordingly, giving a good example to those around us. We should have been working at our body and soul to make it such that our body could be as a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit. Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. (1 Corinthians 6:19)

Looking at the beacon Christ

It is not because our world may be going the wrong way that we should go wit it and land up in the darkness. We when pushed by others in the dark should see the light Christ Jesus brought in this world; We should go to that beacon and be not afraid to fall in the hands of the smugglers. We may be shipwrecked sailors, but Jesus stilled the waves and God blew the wind in the right direction. The world may consider us failures, but you do not have to feel a castaway. It is more important what you look like in the eyes of God than in the eyes or minds of people.

Because many of us have not kept to the human instincts of normal behaviour many in this world behave like it should not. Having not allowed Gods Word to come over others by our way of living, acting and teaching, we excluded the Creator of all things in the works we wanted to do. God owns the whole works, but to let God shine in our works we do have to allow Him to enter us. So we do have to take care that people can see God in and through our body.  Our firm decision should be to work from this focused centre:

“One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat”.

Christians and atheists

Us not loving those who are around us, because they do not believe the same things as we do, is not having Christ Jesus his love. He loved believers, non-believers and sinners. Christ’s love has to move us to such extremes, that we should be better doing than all those atheists and other believers doing good in this world. Thinking that a non-believer can not do any good work is wrong-thinking. We should know historical facts and also see that ages before Christ was born, also in places were there was not spoken of God, there were people who tried to do good for each other. Therefore we better put our arrogance at the doorstep and look at Christ, who was open for everybody. His love should have the first and last word in everything we do. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own. (1 Corinthians 6:20;2 Corinthians 5:14 ; 2 Corinthians 5:15)

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Please do find concerned readings:

  1. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  2. Breathing to teach
  3. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  4. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #1 Creator and His Prophets
  5. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #2 Instructions and Laws
  6. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #3 A voice to be taken Seriously
  7. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #4 Words in Scripture
  8. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #5 To meditate and Transform
  9. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  10. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #3 Rejoicing in the insistence
  11. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  12. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #7 Prayer #5 Listening Ear
  13. God’s Blog recorded in a Book
  14. Creator and Blogger God 1 Emptiness and mouvement
  15. Creator and Blogger God 2 Image and likeness
  16. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  17. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  18. Creator and Blogger God 5 Things to tell
  19. Creator and Blogger God 8 A Blog of a Book 2 Holy One making Scriptures Holy
  20. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  21. Statutes given unto us
  22. God’s word…is a comfort to the one who yields to God’s will
  23. Commit your self to the trustworthy creator
  24. Man’s plans prevailed by God’s purpose
  25. Thoughts on Passover
  26. Commemorating the escape from slavery
  27. Deliverance and establishement of a theocracy
  28. Moving around looking for a homeland
  29. Passover and Liberation Theology
  30. The Evolution Of Passover–Past To Present
  31. Israel God’s people
  32. On the first day for matzah
  33. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  34. Shabbat Pesach service reading 2/2
  35. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  36. Written to recognise the Promised One
  37. The redemption of man by Christ Jesus
  38. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  39. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  40. Servant of his Father
  41. Servant for the truth of God
  42. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
  43. Blinkered minds
  44. Satan the evil within
  45. This is an amazing thing
  46. Depression, Anxiety, Pressure and megachurches
  47. When discouraged facing opposition
  48. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  49. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  50. Words to push and pull
  51. Certainty in a troubled world
  52. Fear and protection
  53. Fear of God reason to return to Holy Scriptures
  54. A world in denial
  55. Trust God
  56. Songs of Moses and the servants of God
  57. True riches
  58. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word

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  • Why I Don’t Celebrate Easter (and still love God… and still believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah) (christinachronicles.com)
    Once upon a time, Easter was adamantly NOT observed by Believers.
    In fact, Easter was observed looooong before Messiah even came to Earth…
    and it wasn’t by Believers.
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    We have been lovingly instructed by our Creator to observe the Appointed Times of the Scriptures that He put forth– which are filled with rich, beautiful meaning and foreshadows… and they are celebrations and observances that set His people apart from the rest of the world… that we may be a Light to the nations.
    These remembrances and rehearsals were instituted and blessed by YHVH (the LORD) Himself and are for ALL of Israel (Israel = His set-apart people that Believe and are in Covenant with Him).
    Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, and say to them, ‘The appointed times of יהוה (YHVH), which you are to proclaim as set-apart gatherings, My appointed times, are these:” – Leviticus 23:2
    (See also: Lev. 23; Ex. 12:14,17,24; 13:6; Deut. 16; etc…)
  • The Law of God vs. The Law of Moses (faithgracetorah.net)
    it is very clear here that it was YHWH who gave us the Law of Moses.
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    Moses was the chosen vessel for Yah to bring forth his instructions; this is truly a beautiful Remez of Messiah’s role as the right arm of Yah!
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    As the prophet like Moses, Y’shua came to fully teach the law of YHWH. We see the pattern of Moses repeated in Y’shua! Y’shua was anointed to come and as the right arm of Yah fully taught and practiced the Law perfectly!
  • His name… (mylife4yah.wordpress.com)
    I went through life comfortable calling Yahweh the titles that replace His name in the Bible. I found out that His name is Yahweh through the dictionary in the back of my Bible. Once I knew His name I decided to use it and I have been blessed ever since. The choice is yours but I feel closer to Him when I use His name. Here are some scriptures that prove His name is
    important:
  • Week 15: Friday – The Great I am (bolmdevotional.wordpress.com)
    In Shakespeare’s Hamlet he asked, “What’s in a name?” as if a person’s given name is wholly unimportant. A name can be significant in knowing about someone’s history and identity. Have you ever asked your parents how they came up with your name? Did you ever search your name on the Web and see what it means?

    Even the names that we see in the scripture were not given by accident rather it had meaning and purpose. When God gives a name to a person it usually signifies character, ability or mission. For instance, John Piper notes, “Adam names his wife Eve, because she is mother of all the living (Genesis 3:20). God changes Abram’s name to Abraham to show that he had made him the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah (Genesis 17:15). He changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 32:28).
    And when the Son of God came into the world, his name was not left to chance: “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

  • God about His name “יהוה” (christadelphians.wordpress.com)
    In the Holy Scriptures we are able to find what God says about His Name: And Elohim spoke to Mosheh and said to him, “I am יהוה. “And I appeared to Aḇraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Yaʽaqoḇ, as Ěl Shaddai. And by My Name, יהוה, was I not known to them?
  • Repost: Yom Kippur Studies (littleguyintheeye.wordpress.com)
    For those keeping Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement here are some studies on the subject for those interested
  • Water from the Rock (faithgracetorah.net)
    As believers in Messiah Y’shua we understand there there are no idle words in scripture, which is why it is so fundamentally important to grasp the deeper levels of understanding that we can see utilizing the PaRDeS method of study.
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    We know that everything in the Scriptures were written with a plan. More specifically we know that this plan was the plan of Salvation and Redemption through the Messiah.
  • Why I Keep the Seventh Day Sabbath (christinachronicles.com)
    I keep the seventh day Sabbath.
    It has nothing to do with denomination –
    it has everything to do with Who I worship and what He desires.
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    Our Father, our Creator, set the pattern, the example, the principle for us.
    A time to cease from work, a time to review, acknowledge, celebrate the beauty of the creation that He pronounced “good”. It belongs to Him from the very beginning.
  • Megachurch pastor Ulf Ekman: ‘We need what the Lord has given to the Catholic Church to live fully as Christians’ (catholicherald.co.uk)
    On Sunday March 9, Ulf Ekman stood nervously before the congregation of the Word of Life church in Uppsala. Dressed in a suit and pale blue tie, the Swedish pastor looked out at the faces of those whose delights and hardships he had shared since he founded the megachurch in 1983.

    “This is one of those days when I have something special to say,” he began. Several minutes into the address, which has been watched more than 8,000 times on YouTube, he got to the crux: “[My wife] Birgitta and I have in recent days sensed the Lord’s leading, urging us to join the Catholic Church. This may seem a very radical step. But we have great peace and great joy in this decision.

  • Megachurches Use Elaborate Sets and Easy Parking to Amplify God’s Voice (feeds.wired.com)
    Photographer Joe Johnson’s series Megachurches takes us down the aisles, inside the sanctuaries, and behind the scenes of jumbo-sized places of worship. Taken while the churches are not in daily use, Johnson’s photographs focus on both the mammoth interior space and the churches’ details — stage design, audio-visual systems, lighting, and convention hall seating — that make the facilities tick.

    It is estimated the number of megachurches in North America has risen from only 50 in 1980 to over 1,800 today. Johnson’s interest in them began when he visited his mother in North Carolina and accompanied her to a mega service. He wanted to experience contemporary evangelical life.

    “It was an admittedly voyeuristic impulse to watch what happens live,” says Johnson. “I was stunned by how sensorial the spectacle had been. There was a highly produced aural and visual sophistication being brought to the act of worship.”

    Megachurches have recently been in the news. Last month, in Southern California, the congregation of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries celebrated its final service within the Crystal Cathedral, the infamous Philip Johnson-designed megachurch. Crystal Cathedral Ministries, which pioneered the megachurch phenomenon, was forced to move out of its super-modern home after financial woe, some scandal, and a 2011 bankruptcy filing. The purchase of the Cathedral by the Catholic diocese of Orange for $57 million means worship will continue in the glass-facade superstructure. Different denomination, same God.

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The Evolution Of Passover–Past To Present

We can find many Christians who celebrate Passover or Pesach as the most important day of the year. But there can also be found many Christians who do prefer to keep to the heathen traditional feasts of light and fertility (Christmas and Easter). For those Christians and others, it is not bad to have a closer look at the 14th of Nisan. The man which title gave the name to a religion (Christ > Christians) was himself a devout Jew who kept to the Jewish feasts which were ordered by the Only One God.
Too many Christians forget this Jewish connection and have forgotten the Law of God or His Words of which celebration was never to be left out. As such not only Jews should have to observe when the Israelites were passed over by the wrath of the Most High Elohim Hashem Jehovah, as He moved through Egypt slaying the firstborn of each family. Even before the first Passover occurred, Moses ordered that the day would be kept as a memorial and a feast (Exodus 12:14).

Let us all remember.

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Find additional reading:

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  1. 1 -15 Nisan
  2. Day of remembrance coming near
  3. Another way looking at a language #4 Ancient times
  4. Self inflicted misery #5 A prophet without a hedge around him
  5. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  6. Seven days of Passover
  7. On the first day for matzah
  8. A Great Gift commemorated
  9. Jesus memorial
  10. Observance of a day to Remember
  11. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  12. In what way were sacrifices “shadows”?
  13. What does ‘atonement’ mean?
  14. Why did Jesus say he wouldn’t drink wine again until the kingdom when he ate and drank other things? (Mark 14:25)
  15. Children ate the OT passover so why not NT bread and wine?
  16. Deliverance and establishement of a theocracy
  17. 14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception
  18. 14 Nisan a day to remember #2 Time of Jesus
  19. 14 Nisan a day to remember #3 Before the Passover-feast
  20. 14 Nisan a day to remember #4 A Lamb slain
  21. 14 Nisan a day to remember #5 The Day to celebrate
  22. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  23. High Holidays not only for Israel
  24. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  25. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  26. The Song of The Lamb #7 Revelation 15
  27. Servant of his Father
  28. For the Will of Him who is greater than Jesus
  29. A Messiah to die
  30. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  31. Death of Christ on the day of preparation
  32. How many souls did the death of Jesus pay for?
  33. Swedish theologian finds historical proof Jesus did not die on a cross
  34. Why 20 Nations Are Defending the Crucifix in Europe
  35. Impaled until death overtook him
  36. Misleading Pictures
  37. A time for everything
  38. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy
  39. Fixing our attention
  40. Control your destiny or somebody else will
  41. Allowed to heal
  42. A secret to be revealed
  43. Your Sins Are Forgiven
  44. Slave for people and God
  45. Liberation in Christ
  46. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ
  47. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  48. A Holy week in remembrance of the Blood of life
  49. Peter Cottontail and a Bunny laying Eastereggs
  50. Bread and Wine
  51. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  52. The son of David and the first day of the feast of unleavened bread
  53. Deliverance and establishment of a theocracy
  54. Focus on outward appearances
  55. Fraternal week-end at Easter in Paris
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Jewish Engagement

The legacy passed to the future. The legacy passed to the future.

Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is the most widely celebrated Jewish Holiday. It begins on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts for either seven or eight days depending upon location and religious orientation. In Israel, all sects of Judaism celebrate Passover for seven days with one Seder (Passover ritual feast and in Hebrew means “order”) on the first night, while in the Diaspora (communities outside of Israel), traditional Jews celebrate it for eight days with two Seders held on both the first and second nights. This year Passover will commence at sundown on Monday, April 14th with the first full day celebrated on Tuesday the 15th. Passover is a Biblical Holiday, which commemorates the story of the Exodus—G-d freeing the Israelites from Egyptian slavery and bondage; establishing the Covenant with them as a people not just…

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Religions and Mainliners

In this world we have many sorts of religions and in each religion many subdivisions may be found. In Christendom there are groups which for good reason would prefer to speak of Christendom and Christianity and would prefer to say the world we are living in has also a Mainline Christendom instead of a Mainline Christianity.

Map of the distribution of Christians of the world

Map of the distribution of Christians of the world (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christendom is full of “Tradition” and has embraced the world whilst Christianity would prefer to stay disconnected from traditional worldly matters and though living in this world would not like to be “of this world”. In Christianity you also may find different groups or churches, which all want to honour God the Divine Creator. They would consider the main churches like the Catholic Church (Roman Catholics, Orthodox Catholics, Charismatic Catholics, Latin Catholic Church, etc.) Anglican Church, Church of England, Reformed Church, Calvinist Church, Lutheran ChurchBaptist Church, Episcopalian Church,  and Methodist Church, with the various Presbyterian groups.

English: Major branches within Protestantism (...

English: Major branches within Protestantism (excludes Restoration movements): Diagram of Protestant denominations and movements; see also Image:ChristianityBranches.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some might have been in a certain time of history bigger groups or not been considered out of mainstream, like the smaller denominations, such as the Amish, Mennonites, Quakers. Others like the Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, Christian Scientists, and Pentecostals may have been at first very small groups, but have gained a firm place in certain countries and have even become the main church in a country.

The Charismatic protestant churches and certain Evangelical churches could be seen as separated from Mainline. Some people, like Joel L. Watts who is building up a (sorta) response to Thom Rainer’s 20 Influential Evangelicals list. Unsettled Christianity company wants to  include mainline Christians, but in asking the question on Facebook, the administrator was equally struck by the conversation about who and what is a mainliner.

Calvinist church

Calvinist church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Conspicuous is that many many consider ‘Mainline Protestants’ having a different perspective. By many they are considered to have a more modernist theology. So, for instance, they would read the Bible, not as the inerrant word of God, according to Joel L. Watts, but as a historical document, which has God’s word in it and a lot of very important truths, but that needs to be interpreted in every age by individuals of that time and that place.

We would consider “mainstream religions” those which adheres to the orthodox standard teachings of the five major religions of the world. Those being the groups in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism which follow their biggest groups their core teachings. In those groups can be groups which do not want to belong or to take their mainstream teachings. In Christianity we can find the groups who stayed in the line of the Jewish thinking Jeshua, better known today as Jesus Christ. They believe like most Jews that there is only One God of gods Who is the Divine Creator of everything. Though the difference with the Jews, except with the Messianic (non-trinitarian) Jews is that they accept the Master Teacher Jeshua to be the son of God who has brought not only the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God, but who also by the Grace of God brought Salvation for all humankind. In those groups or churches who want to distantiate themselves from mainstream church are the non-trinitarian Baptist which became nearly extinct by the strong hold of the Baptist Unions who pressured the trinitarian teaching on their members. In the 1980-90ies most non-trinitarian Baptist went over to other non-trinitarian churches, like the Bible Students, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of God, The Church of Abrahamic Faith, Assemblies of God, the Nazarene Friends, the Restoration Church or to the Christadelphians.

Those non-trinitarian believers worship the God of the Hebrews, Whom they consider to be an Eternal Spirit Who is universal and indivisible. This God Who can not be seen by man, or they would die, also ordered not to make any image of Him. Like Jews and Muslims they would never create image of God because it is in His Law and because the infinite cannot be expressed in a mere image. They, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, all exhibit practices and/or teachings that are not among the more “traditional” practices and teachings of the mainstream churches.

The majority of mainstream Jews do believe a Messiah will one day come. In the contemporary movement we can find Jews who do believe that Jeshua is the send one of God who is going to bring salvation and going to break all human ruling. By those messianic Jews to groups can be found; the ones who believe Jesus is the son of God and an ordinary person, not a divinity like the Christian trinitarian Jesus; and a group who strangely enough take Jesus also to be God, and do not consider it braking with the rules and regulations nor in contradiction with all the words said to the prophets, like Abraham, Isaac and Isaiah.
Those non-stream Jews and Christians, like the Muslims have a similar belief concerning the unity and infinity of God. They do believe in Jesus, and even believe he will return in the end times, but once again he is considered a mere mortal, just like any other prophet, brought back entirely through the Will of God, not through any power wielded by Jesus himself.

Lots of Christians take offence of those who do not believe in a trinitarian god. Several of them are as fundamental as we can find fundamentalists by the Muslims, who hate those who do not think and follow the rules they are following.

It is this hate between believers in a god or in the God, that made non-believers in a divine creature or Supreme Being, make to consider religion the base of all the violence in this world. But we do think in case God would not have been there as Divine Creator and several people following him, people anyhow would have created religions, because all those things they could not understand or explain were transposed unto gods, like the god of light, the god of thunder etc..

The thinking of man, philosophies, system of ethics, cultural norms, etc.would have in any case created the syncretism or the formation of new religious ideas from multiple distinct sources, often-contradictory sources.

Some neopagan religions are also strongly syncretic. Look for example at Wicca which consciously draws from a variety of different pagan religious sources as well as Western ceremonial magic and occult thought, which is traditionally very Judeo-Christian in context. However, neopagan reconstructionists such as Asatruar are not particularly syncretic, as they attempt to understand the recreate Norse beliefs and practices to the best of their ability.

Many mainstream religions created smaller groups of which some became quite big. From Islam came the Baha’i faith which recognizes Krishna and Zoroaster as prophets, though it really doesn’t teach much of Hinduism or Zoroastrianism as being Baha’i beliefs.

English: A colour-coded world map showing the ...

English: A colour-coded world map showing the state religions of applicable nations. Buddhism Islam Shi’a Islam Sunni Islam Orthodox Christianity Protestantism (in England: Anglicanism) Catholicism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Believers and non-believers should come to see that in a way all religions possess some degree of syncretism. It’s how humans work. Even if you believe God (or gods) delivered a particular idea, if that idea was completely alien to the listeners, they would not accept it. Moreover, once they receive said idea, that belief can be expressed in a variety of ways, and that expression will be coloured by other prevailing cultural ideas of the time.

Those who stand strong in their shoes, should not have to fear of others and should be able to go to others to give them their hand offering them peace. It are those who are afraid of their own believes that they or others around them could loose it that bring fear to themselves and others. They create a fertile ground for problems and more than once also of hate and negative attitude to others.

Non-believers may accuse the God or the gods as responsible for all trouble in this world. Because many Christians advocate their God is behind all that is good in the world, they think God should also be responsible for all the badness there is in the world. What they do not seem to understand that when God allows human beings to be free and to make their own choices, people themselves can make good or bad choices which will have their consequences for others in their environment as well.

It is not because in the Bible God gives His Word and tells us that He creates light but also creates darkness and that He makes peace, and creates evil, that it is God Who makes that badness or war in the world. It means that God allows it to be there because man has chosen to go his own way (in the Garden of Eden).  The God and the bad are in this world, created by God, but what can be bad for some one or something can be good for someone or something else. Certain plants are poisons for certain animals and people but for others they are necessary to survive. God claims not responsibility for wars, diseases, smallpox, bacteria, etc.; but He claims to be the One Who allows it to exist, and that is a big difference.

Those who want to call themselves “Children of God” do have to follow God His rules. He has given humankind His Laws which would make the best of the world and which would bring peace all over the world. In case much more people would follow the Laws of the Divine Creator there would be much more peace in the world.

Christianity Today

Christianity Today (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who call themselves Christian should have the Spirit of God in them which imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty. All Christians should in a way have the same aim to bring others to the narrow gate of the Kingdom of God and to show others the peace we all can have because Jesus nailed the agony, pains and troubles on the wooden stake (‘the cross‘). They all should Love and cultivate that which is pure. they should not be afraid to show Tenderness and kindness because they are not signs of weakness and despair. They should try to Work together with joy and pray with love, and Guard well within themselves that treasure, kindness.

First on the agenda of a Christian should be Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word. They all should consider themselves as part of the Body of Christ, all being as part of the same family of God. United people under Christ. We all, believers and non-believers or different believers, should try to Sow and harvests in the garden of our heart.

Some years ago you could find everywhere running on the streets people “speaking”, “running”, and coming up for Christ? Perhaps it is high time we could see again such runners or Bloggers for Christ and Bloggers for Peace.

Trying to bring peace, there has to be peace at first in the own heart. Also the person has to have respect for others their beliefs. No matter what they might believe they should be fully recognised as worthy humans deserving full attention and love. Every human being should come to the understanding that it has to respect any other human being, animal and plant. We should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. In case a person wants to have a religion to feel himself good or to be at ease, he should be able to do so, whatever religion that person may choose. We never may impose our beliefs on others. We should leave everybody the freedom to choose which way they want to go, what to believe, and how to build up their own life. Any religious matter should be an option for private belief, without any pressure from others, be it by reason, science or rational argument. But it would not have to mean we may not discuss it. Any argument should be made in a peaceful manner and with respect for the other person his way of thinking.

Be it adherents of main religions, smaller religious groups or no religion at all, all people should come to strive for the same peace, being able to live one next to the other, in peace and tranquillity.

+

Please do find additional reading:

  1. The business of this life
  2. Did the Inspirator exist
  3. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  4. Only one God
  5. God is One
  6. God of gods
  7. A god between many gods
  8. Sayings around God
  9. Attributes of God
  10. God is Spirit
  11. The Divine name of the Creator
  12. God about His name “יהוה“
  13. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
  14. One God the Father, a compendium of essays
  15. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  16. Christianity without the Trinity
  17. People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers
  18. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  19. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  20. People Seeking for God 7 The Lord and lords
  21. Finding God amid all the religious externals
  22. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  23. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  24. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  25. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
  26. Experiencing God
  27. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  28. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  29. Faith
  30. Do not forget the important sign of belief
  31. Christian values and voting not just a game
  32. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  33. Yahushua, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Jehoshua of Jeshua
  34. God’s Salvation
  35. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  36. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  37. Jesus begotten Son of God #12 Son of God
  38. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  39. Who was Jesus?
  40. Jesus spitting image of his father
  41. Jesus and his God
  42. Is Jesus God?Jesus and His God
  43. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  44. Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
  45. How much was Jesus man, and how much was he God?
  46. On the Nature of Christ
  47. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  48. Jesus Messiah
  49. A man with an outstanding personality
  50. One Mediator between God and man
  51. One mediator
  52. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  53. The wrong hero
  54. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  55. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  56. The Law of Christ: Law of Love
  57. Christ’s ethical teaching
  58. Christianity is a love affair
  59. The Law of Christ: Law of Love
  60. The task given to us to love each other
  61. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  62. Church sent into the world
  63. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  64. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  65. Are Christians prepared to Rejoice in the Lord
  66. American atheists most religiously literate Americans
  67. Men of faith
  68. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #1 Christian Reform
  69. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #2 Roots of Jewishness
  70. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #3 Of the earth or of God
  71. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  72. The builder of the Kingdom
  73. Kingdom of God what will it be like
  74. The hands of God’s wrath
  75. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  76. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  77. Faith related boycotts
  78. Right to be in the surroundings
  79. Many churches
  80. Breathing and growing with no heir
  81. A Society pleading poverty
  82. Casual Christians
  83. Quakertime
  84. Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 highest ever on record
  85. Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant
  86. Roman Catholic Church at war
  87. Christian clergyman defiling book which did not belong to him
  88. Consequences of Breivik’s mass murder
  89. Representatives of the “Slave Class” or the Real “faithful and discreet slave”
  90. Mormons again gaining some attention
  91. Mormons, just an other faith
  92. Myanmar imposing population control on Muslim minority
  93. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  94. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  95. Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro
  96. Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite
  97. Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ
  98. Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ
  99. Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit
  100. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  101. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  102. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  103. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  104. Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful
  105. Those who make peace should plant peace like a seed
  106. Let me saw beliefseeds
  107. Bringing Good News into the world
  108. The Involvement of true discipleship
  109. Testify of the things heard
  110. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  111. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  112. Obstacles to effective evangelism
  113. A Voice to be heard
  114. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  115. Blogging for Jesus…
  116. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  117. Words to push and pull
  118. Good or bad preacher
  119. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  120. How should we preach?
  121. Breathing to teach
  122. Bringing Good News into the world
  123. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  124. Holland Week of billing
  125. Trying to get the youth inspired
  126. When discouraged facing opposition
  127. Messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time
  128. Who are you going to reach out to today
  129. Praise the God with His Name
  130. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  131. The Spirit of God brings love, hope and freedom
  132. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  133. Belonging to or being judged by
  134. Not all will inherit the Kingdom
  135. Preparedness to change
  136. Knowing where to go to
  137. United people under Christ
  138. Fellowship
  139. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  140. Pastorpreneur Warren
  141. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  142. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  143. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  144. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  145. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  146. Choose you this day whom ye will serveIt is a free will choice
  147. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  148. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

++

Further reading:

  1. What Evidence is There That God Exists?
  2. What is faith and is it the only thing required
  3. We Have the Best Home
  4. Understanding faith for our salvation
  5. Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  6. Against Religion? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  7. Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  8. Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  9. Trinity Doctrine vs Oneness Pentecostalism Doctrine – Berean Perspective Podcast
  10. The Trinity: A Fundamental of the Faith or a Fable?
  11. The Unitarian Universalist Church: A Personal Encounter
  12. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  13. The Doctrine Of The Trinity
  14. The Unholy Trinity
  15. God, the Trinity
  16. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  17. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  18. The Trinity – A Doctrine Overdue for Extinction
  19. Jesus Christ and God – Some Basic Considerations
  20. Defining Christianity (reneland.wordpress.com)
    Simply put a Christian is someone who believes in Jesus Christ.
  21. Cult or True Religion
  22. The Whore of Babylon? (inpursuitofhappiness.wordpress.com)
    Baal-vs-The “Catholic” God
  23. The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils
  24. Cult or True Religion (wordsonsergebenhayon.wordpress.com)
    “…if you believe in it, it is a religion or perhaps ‘the’ religion; and if you do not care one way or another about it, it is a sect; but if you fear and hate it, it is a cult.” Leo Pfeffer.
    +The Roman Catholic Church for example has been around ever since Constantine. He was a Roman emperor who used Christianity, which was a small cult at the time, as a means to impose his belief systems on the bishops; so he promulgated the council of Nicaea and thereby gained control of the populus. Now, over 1500 years later, people in Catholic churches today still recite the creed set down by Constantine.
    Many people question the Catholic Church and other religions, seeing them as some of the biggest cults in the World today: they are viewed by many as man-made constructs which have the potential to lead millions of people astray. Religion in its current form has become divisive due to it’s many man-made and dualistic doctrines which continue to divide, separate and cause wars.
  25. Billy Graham: Mormonism No Cult
  26. Mormons off Graham’s ‘cult’ list
  27. Is the Mormon “god” of Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck, the True God or a False “god”? Is Jesus the brother of Lucifer?
  28. Can A Cult Member Be President Without Cult Influence?
  29. Billy Graham Offers To Help Mormon Mitt Romney And Then Removes Section From Website Calling Mormonism A Cult! (soulrefuge.org)
    The scriptures make it very clear that true believers in Jesus Christ should not be “yoked” together with unbelievers. Why would any true Christian want to help and support a Mormon who teaches that Jesus Christ is the spirit brother of Lucifer?
  30. Billy Graham’s group removes Mormon cult reference from website after Romney meeting (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
    Shortly after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoyed cookies and soft drinks with the Rev.  Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham on Thursday at the elder Graham’s mountaintop retreat, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

    Billy Graham site removes Mormon 'cult' reference after Romney meeting

    Billy Graham site removes Mormon ‘cult’ reference after Romney meeting

    +
    The removal of the post from the Graham group’s website was first noted by the New Civil Rights Movement website and then later by the Asheville Citizen-Times, which reported that the information on cults was accessed as recently as Thursday afternoon.
    +
    When asked about Graham’s beliefs about Mormonism, Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross said in a statement that “Through an inclusive evangelistic ministry spanning more than 60 years, Mr. Graham was called to preach the transformative message of the Gospel to the whole world, regardless of one’s religious background, affiliation or none. As such, he never proselytized, targeted or labeled specific people, groups, faiths or denominations.

  31. Billy Graham’s Truce with Mormonism; Scrubs Cult Reference (crooksandliars.com)
    The Christian right has cried uncle and issued a truce on Mormons to try and help elect Mitt Romney.
    +
    During the Values Voter Summit in October, sponsored in part by the influential Family Research Council and the American Family Association, it caused quite a stir when Pastor Robert Jeffress, after introducing Rick Perry as a genuine Christian, called Mormonism a cult.
    +
    Christian political operatives are willing to throw away any trace of their contempt for Mormonism during the election cycle. This shows how much hatred they have for the left. They’d rather help elect a ‘cultist’ to the highest office in the land rather than stick to their alleged principles. Typically sickening.
    +
    To distinguish between a cult and a religion is to distinguish between influence and impotence. Both are, in fact, spawns of a smarmy fakery.
  32. ‘Mormonism’ Taken off Site’s Cult List (abcnews.go.com)
    The prominent Christian evangelist Billy Graham has taken public steps to embrace Mitt Romney for president this week, removing Romney’s Mormon religion from a list of cults on his website and taking out an advertisement that appears to urge people to vote for Romney.
  33. Jehovah’s Witnesses (calltoprayerministries.wordpress.com) {the writer of this article does not seem to see what it really means to be a ‘Christian’ and wants to take hold only on a sort-sighted vision.}
    Jehovah’s Witnesses come up in conversation more times than one might think. I guess that it’s because there are many people who know JW’s and there don’t seem to be many obvious differences between their faith and ours. Many JW’s are nice people, talk about Jesus, share their faith, and care about their families… just like Christians. So what are the differences? Are they just a different kind of Christian?

+++

  • Who is God? (richlewis3.wordpress.com)
    El Shaddai means God Almighty, God of the mountains.
  • “The God of Of Salvation, The Lord Of Death” (settledinheaven.wordpress.com)
    The God that we can call our own, is “the God of salvation” or, in other words, He is “the Mighty One that controls the deliverance of His people.”  Here, once again we can see a physical and spiritual aspect to this text…
  • Bush Era to Blame for Renewed Interest in Mainline? (religiondispatches.org)
    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.
  • How America’s Endless Civil War Between Protestant Sects Is at the Heart of American Identity (alternet.org)
    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.
    +

    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.

    In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:

    The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.

    Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.
    +

    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.

    In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:

    The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.

    Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.

  • Make your pick: Do Mainline Protestants need a new name? (religionnews.com)
    Mainline Protestants  made up 18 percent of U.S. adults in 2008. Fifty years ago, its members were the church of the Establishment.
    +
    Forget labels: Everyone and his brother, left or right, calls himself an evangelical. No one will admit to being a fundamentalist since its original religious meaning was overtaken by crazies like David Koresh. It takes Pew Research experts 20 minutes to delineate who is a Jew and they still offer a definition matrix. So let the branding go.
  • Are there dividing lines between Mainline and Evangelical? (unsettledchristianity.com)
    There is a great move towards social justice in many Evangelical (sub)groups and for that, I thank God. Do you think the view on Scripture and Tradition (Scripture is infallible in all things, Tradition is near to worthless) is a good start for a line?
    +
    But the dividing line between Mainline (which seems not to be something negative) and Evangelical (some people use this correctly, others not) is not so easy to grasp. I’m guessing because “Mainline” means, for a lot of people, a dying breed of Christianity. Evangelical means… well, it seems for Mainliners it means those who go and witness/serve for the Gospel. For Evangelicals, this term helps to codify something different.
  • MainlineDecline, Decline-Talk, and Decline-ism — Sightings (Martin Marty) (bobcornwall.com)
    You have heard it many times Mainline Protestant churches are in decline, but then so are most other forms of religion.  Attendance has not kept up with growth in population, etc.
    +
    Why point out decline among the religions when Sightings’ role is to spot and explore religion in outstanding events? What goes on here with “decline?” A fad? Maybe “decline” is not occurring. This claim is hard to support. Maybe headline writers are concentrating on the wrong aspects of religion. Maybe they are exhibiting the old “be-the-first-kid-on-your-block” syndrome, seeking to be a jump ahead, to get a scoop. Maybe enemies of religious institutions of all sorts are enjoying mass Schadenfreude, enjoying the misfortunes of others. Whatever else is going on, noticing this phenomenon should be liberating: we are henceforth allowed to yawn when one more headline-writer tries to play catch-up.
  • When the Christian Global South Heads West (juicyecumenism.com)
    Between 1910 and 2010, the global center of Christianity shifted from Spain to Timbuktu. As far back as 1980, there have been more Christians living in the Global South than in the first world. On any given Sunday, there are more Christians attending church in China than in the United States or Europe.
    +
    Hanciles also noted, with some disappointment with how the financial and political power in US mainline denominations remains in West, even when Africans outnumber them. “We might have to challenge the term “Anglican”, which of course means English,” he said. Hanciles spoke approvingly of African churches in the United States, which he claimed were very little-e evangelistic in their outlook.
    +
    Professor Virginia Garrard-Burnett of the University of Texas-Austin spoke at length about the religious tendencies of Latino migrants, including the often overlooked Protestant Latinos. Roughly 1/4 of Latino immigrants are Protestant, most of which are Pentecostal. Catholic Churches in the US that cater to these immigrants often take on charismatic forms of worship, she noted, often causing friction with existing native Americans. Latin-American Protestant churches take part in almost “reverse missionary” work, where churches in the Global South send people to minister to those in America. She cited the example of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, the third-largest denomination in Brazil, whose presence in the US is mostly mission work to Latin-American migrants.
  • Inoculated Against Christianity? (thelittleredblog.typepad.com)
    “The post-Christian world has been inoculated against Christianity because, over 1500 years, we never managed to give it true Christianity. ‘Found difficult and left untried,’ indeed. And this is to our demerit. There are also many, many things over these 1500 years to be proud about, and Christendom, for all its flaws, was probably better than the alternatives. But now we’re reaping what we’re sowing. We created this generation of post-Christians whom we vaccinated against Christianity. Thankfully, viruses mutate and occasionally beat vaccines.  In the meantime, if our aim is a fantasy of Christendom rather than Christ and His Cross, we are being idolaters.”I’m not sure that “probably better than the alternatives” is much of an endorsement.  Mr. Gobry’s point, however, is to distinguish between Christendom, Christianity, and following Jesus: a dilemma yet to be resolved for some 2000 years.  I await Gobry’s further insights with genuine interest.
  • The Coming Schism (wmbriggs.com)
    Maybe it’s not a schism but apostasy which I mean. Doesn’t matter. Continuing in our Curmudgeon Series, here are my guesses of the course of Christianity in the West over the next twenty years. Each point below deserves its own essay: these are rough points.
    +
    Since elites of secular institutions only truly care about elites at other institutions, the leadership of these churches won’t want to fall behind the CofE. They’ll issue cheerful press releases boasting love and then arm wrestle for who gets to perform the first homosexual ceremony. Most denominations already allow homosexual clergy.Theologically, since going to a service at a mainline Protestant church will increasingly be no different than reading the New York Times or Guardian op-ed section, which is more convenient and saves on gas, those willing to make the trek will dwindle and die off. If you’re in the market for an old church (aren’t they quaint?), look to the Methodists and Presbyterians. Besides, members are tired of being called stupid and irrational by the culture.
  • Stuart Murray on Christendom (abnormalanabaptist.wordpress.com)
    Anabaptists identify the “Christendom shift” in the 4th century as the time when Jesus began to be marginalized.
    +
    Anabaptist are convinced that, whatever its undoubtful benefits, the Christendom system seriously distorted Christian faith: the price the church paid for coming in from the margins was allowing Jesus to be pushed out from the center to the margins – Stuart MurrayThe Naked Anabaptist, Herald Press, 2010, p 52
  • Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    I do not know if it’s happening throughout worldwide evangelicalism or is restricted to the more intellectually inclined; but I have noticed a curious phenomenon on the internet—a movement amongst evangelicals from trinitarian to unitarian faith. This movement does not necessarily entail the rejection of the teaching of Jesus nor even rejection of the confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is a unitarianism that can accommodate the kind of subordinationism characteristic of some of the second and third century Church Fathers: Jesus and the Spirit are “divine” (in some sense), but only the Father is the one God. Consider, for example, a recent blog article by Kermit Zarley: “Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  • Why converting Muslims is taboo in the Catholic Church (catholicherald.co.uk)
    What are they talking about at the Synod for Evangelisation? This article by Sandro Magister tells us that the Bishops have broached the taboo subject of conversions from Islam to Christianity. It makes interesting reading, despite the rather ponderous translation, (read the original here ) and I was particularly struck by this section of it, which I beg readers to consider carefully:“The Muslims do not see the difference between Christians and Westerners, because they do not distinguish, themselves, between what is religious and what is political and social. What precedes the Westerners is perceived by the Muslims as preceding the Christians. Now, Western behaviour, especially on the cultural and political level and in a general way, harms the religious and national sensitivity of the Muslims, their values, their ethics and their culture. Consequentially, this forms an obstacle to their openness to Christianity and to their possible evangelisation.”
  • Billy Graham: Mormonism No Cult (orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org)
    Sociologists of religion use cult to refer to a religious group that does not regard itself as exclusively true yet has negative relations with the surrounding society. Those two factors—exclusivity and societal relations—form the basis for sociological definition of religions into four kinds of groups: church (exclusive with good relations), denomination (inclusive with good relations), sect (exclusive with bad relations) and cult (inclusive with bad relations). Yet almost no one uses these terms in the way sociologists of religion use them.
    +I think what is really meant by cult in most modern Evangelical parlance is “bad/weird religious group.” And of course perhaps such a definition is right in its own way.
  • Grahams tighten Romney ties (newsobserver.com)
    The election-year embrace of Mitt Romney by some evangelical Christians now borders on a bear hug, given a series of moves by Billy Graham and his family that appear to say it’s OK to vote for a Mormon.
  • Billy Graham website admits scrubbing ‘Mormons’ from ‘cult’ list after endorsing Romney (rawstory.com)
    The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed on Tuesday that it had removed all references to Mormonism as a “cult” from its website after their founder announced his support of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
  • Why I Am a Christian. (crawfordgarrett.wordpress.com)
    I have to admit that it’s not always the most simple and straightforward answer to give, because there are many reasons that have led to my faith in Christ.  However, I guess the first place to start is with my parents.  I am a Christian because of my parents.  There may be nothing remarkable about that, and often times I, or many other Christians, would not like to admit that truth.  I am a Christian because my parents are Christians, and that’s what they raised me to believe, just like Jesus was a Jew because His parents were Jews.
  • Christ didn’t come to help us, He came to Include us (melwild.wordpress.com)
    a surprising few resonate so much to the more important fact that the Father’s plan was to substitute Christ for us and place us in Him. I think this is unfortunate.
  • Jesus Christ was an Anarchist (blacksupremacylovenunity.wordpress.com) > Jesus Christ was an Anarchist
    Jesus came along to lead his followers out of this ungodly Roman system, preaching an alternative form of government. He spoke of a jurisdiction outside of the Roman state, based on the perfect law of freedom, outside the tyranny of men who would rule over their brothers and neighbors. He unified the early Christian church in a system of charity, hope and respect for the rights of each other, requiring that each person love thy neighbor as thy self in a system of mutual, not governmental support.
    +
    Jesus was showing a way to untangle people from the captivity of the social contracts they had made with the state of Rome and Judea, and the tribute and obligations they had become snared by. He proclaimed to call no man “Father”, as they called their Roman benefactors, but stated that “thou Father art in heaven.” The perfect law of freedom indicated that man’s unalienable rights stemmed from God and nature, and not governments of men. This was a system of anarchy, by strict definition, without the complex system of tribute that led to the decadence and decline of society, and the corruptible force of the state to back it up.The early Christian church was not persecuted for their belief in a different God or a Kingdom in Heaven, but for their opting out of the mutual taxation system and seeking to live apart from the kings and overlords, the gods many, who demanded their tribute.
    +Today, most of us find ourselves under slothful tribute to an emperor and a system that is not for our benefit. We have coveted our neighbor’s goods in a vain pursuit of “free” health care, education, welfare, unemployment benefits, social security and government protection. We have traded our inalienable God-given rights through social contracts both implied and explicit. Our churches are not ordained by God, but are 501(c)(3) corporations granted status by the state.As we head into what is certainly going to be a volatile 2014, we are going to need to dig down deep and find that anarchist in all of us, with a little more loving thy neighbor as thy self to boot.
  • Fanatic hindu who hated christians is an evidence of Jesus (pciniraj.wordpress.com)
    I never liked Christian missionaries. I used to speak against Christianity and was organising people near the temples against the evangelism activites.“But Lord Jesus mightly fighting for His children, if anybody persecuting Christians, for which I am a clear evidence”, now I am witnessing this every corner to corner by holding the Holy Bible in one hand and showing my terrific stomach to the public. “I was an enemy of Christians, but Jesus Christ loved me, made me alive and saved me from sin and death. Now I am His servant”. This is my testimony.
  • Pouring Into Others (comeawake.org)
    If you are a Christian, you are a disciple of Christ. You know Him, but what have you done to make Him known to others? And I’m not just talking about evangelism. I’m talking about how you can use your time, your energy and most importantly, your knowledge about who Christ is to help out a fellow brother or sister.The purpose of our lives is simply this: To know Christ, and to make Him known.
  • A Bad Reason for Thinking that Atheism is not a Religion (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
    a mere lack of belief in something cannot be a religion.  But atheism is not a mere lack of belief in something.  If atheism is just the lack of god-belief, then tables and chairs are atheists.  For they lack god-belief. Am I being uncharitable?  Suppose someone defines atheism more carefully as lack of god-belief in beings capable of having  beliefs.  That is still unacceptable.  Consider a child who lacks both god-belief and god-disbelief.  If lacking god-belief makes him an atheist, then lacking god-disbelief makes him a theist.  So he is both, which is absurd.Obviously,  atheism is is not a mere lack of belief, but a definite belief, namely, the belief that the world is godless.  Atheism is a claim about the way things are: there is no such thing as the God of Judaism, or the God of Christianity, or the God of Islam, or the gods of the Greek pantheon, or . . . etc.  The atheist has a definite belief about the ontological inventory: it does not include God or gods or any reasonable facsimile thereof such as the Plotinian One, etc.  Note also that if you deny that any god exists, then you are denying that the universe is created by God: you are saying something quite positive about the ontological status of the universe, namely, that it does not depend for its existence on a being transcendent of it.  And if it does not so depend, then that implies that it exists on its own as a brute fact or that it necessarily exists or that it causes itself to exist.  Without getting into all the details here, the point is that if you deny that God exists, this is not just a denial  of the existence of a certain being, but implies a positive claim about the ontological status of the universe.  What’s more, if  there is no creator God, then the apparent order of the universe, its apparent designedness, is merely apparent.  This is a positive thesis about the nature of the physical universe.Atheism, then, is not a mere lack of god-belief.  For it implies definite positive beliefs about reality as a whole and  about the nature and mode of existence of the physical universe.
  • Atheism Was the First to Show Me Compassion (jessedooley.wordpress.com)
    what is the issue with the idea of God that pushes most atheists to reject religion and to see it as the supreme evil?
    +
    When the tribal deity is the supreme king, and that deity is interpreted from a fundamentalist, all-or-nothing approach, then nothing can penetrate or alter that worldview, regardless of the reasonableness of the argument.
  • Are Liberals Too “Special” to Go to Church? (religiondispatches.org)
    New research from psychologists from the New York University suggests that the desire to feel unique can undermine consensus, cohesion, and mobilization—at least in political contexts.
    +
    Stern, et al found that “liberals underestimated their similarity to other liberals, whereas moderates and conservatives overestimated their similarity to other moderates and conservatives.”Further, the researchers found that liberals “possess a greater dispositional desire to be unique,” which, they suggest, “likely undermines their ability to capitalize on the consensus that actually exists within their ranks and hinders successful group mobilization.” The “desire to conform” among moderates and, to a greater extent, conservatives, likewise, “allows them to perceive consensus that does not actually exist and, in turn, rally their base.”Liberals, that is, emphasize in their beliefs, actions, and self-understanding uniqueness, creativity, and non-conformity even in the face of sameness. Moderates and conservatives, by contrast, focus on similarity and commonality even when little may in fact exist.
  • Are Esoteric Teachings Missing from Christianity? (jesusweddingthebook.wordpress.com)
    In my opinion, Christianity is the only tradition that openly celebrates both spiritual paths. I can agree that there is no secret teaching, because both spiritual paths are out in the open for everyone to see. However, by definition, the esoteric teaching is the second leg of the spiritual journey. The esoteric teaching does not have to be “secret” in order to maintain its mystery. The mystery of the esoteric path can only be revealed when the exoteric path or first leg of the spiritual journey is fully completed.
  • Discovering the Truth (cosmicmacduff.wordpress.com)
    for me it has been and is the walking that is important, not any place that I might arrive at or achievement I might accomplish.  I think that I have discovered  a lot since I started, but do not consider myself “enlightened”,  just aware of who  I am.  For me this primary truth, a recognition that there was/is something  more to me (my soul)  than my physical body, is what allowed me and still allows me, to find meaning and purpose in life.
  • Am I A Religious Person? (elephantjournal.com) + But is it my religion?
    I’ve heard it said that religion is having someone else’s spiritual experience and spirituality is having your own. It’s certainly true that some Buddhists venerate the Buddha or other teachers to such a high degree that they are just having the Buddha’s experience and not their own. I don’t do that. The Buddha warned us against doing that. He said, “Don’t worship me,” and right after his death, people started doing it.
  • Religion and Young People: The Lost Generation? (collectionofclancy.wordpress.com)
    I know of many relatives, friends and people I’ve met in general who are either agnostic or atheist and I don’t judge them for it. However what kills me is that their status gives me the feeling that they are the smarter and more enlightened people. But on the other side, the church gives me the feeling that because I have more liberal beliefs means I cannot truly be as good as the devout. A rock/hard place moment.
  • Does Religion Shape a Person? (meesh14102.wordpress.com)
    Atheism is my own personal belief and I understand and respect everyone else’s religious beliefs. I simply want to talk about the idea of religion shaping a person.
    +
    I don’t need a God to influence a good and honest behavior. My mom told me to never speak of my new belief (or lack  there of) ever again and to Never tell my father. I respected these wishes and continue to keep my thoughts about God and religion to myself. I believe a persons’ inner self shapes their character. I do not believe religion is what influences a good or bad character.Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and should live so accordingly!
  • Haunting the chapel: my thoughts on heavy metal and religion. (seanmunger.com)
    Is heavy metal inherently anti-religious? Having been virtually a lifelong metalhead, I can say from experience that many people, both within and without the scene, believe that it is, or should be. Critique of organized religion or aspects of it has been a common lyrical and thematic element in metal for decades.
  • Ask an Atheist: The Usual Questions (csgroome.wordpress.com)
    Atheism differs from religion, because we are not certain and would change our views if given evidence, but we are convinced by the lack of evidence and by all rational argument, that appealing to myths from intellectually dark parts of human history can not even begin to give us answers to any questions, even moral or epistemological ones.
    +
    Religion lies outside science and evidence, so you can’t prove it wrong. Why can’t you just accept this and that people want to live with a belief in a greater being?
    +
    I could believe whatever I want if it made me happy. But in all other ways, except for a religious conviction, the believer of a claim unprovable by science immediately pays a social price.
    +
    The absence of a belief is never a motivation, and while Communism may be a secular ideology, this does not mean that all atheists or secularists are communists and it certainly does not mean that we would wish to kill or destroy religious people or religious infrastructure.
  • All BEings are Divine (amuseinharmony.wordpress.com)
    all beings, including human beings are divine manifestations of Creator Source on the physical earth plane materialized in various forms for the purpose of expansion. the earth is mother to us all. we are organisms formed from her womb. as she ascends, so shall we. the mother loves her humans as she does all creatures or our existence would no longer be. our love and unity with her and all her inhabitants is our duty as earth walkers.
  • Dalai Lama speaks on harmony to religious followers at Tokyo temple (japandailypress.com)
    The famous leader went on to explain that most of the problems humans encounter are of their own making, and thinking that they are all different from one another. This kind of thinking has a tendency to separate people instead of uniting them. His speech centered on the essential “oneness” of all people and emphasized on the divisiveness that comes with focusing on the “them” and “us,” rather than on the “we”, as a whole. Religious harmony is one thing that His Holiness has committed himself to, and hopes that it is something that Japan can contribute to as well.
  • what is the happiest person in the world saying? (hunt4truth.wordpress.com)
    A friend wants to know if I’m still Christian. Yes, I am. Everything that I’m referring to from science and new age and Buddhist teachers is complimentary with Jesus’s teachings. I posted a couple of the most important Christian practices–in my opinion, 1 John (NIV) and the Our Father prayer are essential in Christian belief.
  • How to Argue for the Existence of God (omigassplus.wordpress.com)
    Anyone who feels God, can see and feel God inside them. They live inside God. God lives inside them. They see God as an energy that penetrates them and fills them up inside. They feel God as an energy around them and within them. They feel God touch them in their special places. They realize that God is a higher faith, a greater presence. They crave Him. They want to feel his love fill them up inside. Without God, they feel empty, unloved, lonely. Only with God inside them can they feel whole again.
  • Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
    The discussion in chapter nineteen of The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity is, in brief form, one of how Enlightenment philosopher-theologians developed innovative ways to discuss the Trinity and their effectiveness leading into the twentieth century.
  • Hans Kung on Trinity Part 2 (presenttruthmn.org)
    This is continued from the previous post on the Trinity. It is taken directly from Hans Kung’s book ‘Christianity: Essence, History and Future’
  • A Theology Big Enough for the Gospel: Reviewing Mike Bird’s Evangelical Theology (marccortez.com)
    despite the fact that Bird mentions the image of God throughout, clearly viewing it as an important topic that has bearing on a range of other issues, he devotes only five pages to it, one of which is just a recitation of the relevant biblical verses. His excursus on infra- vs. supralapsarianism is almost as long! And union with Christ hardly gets any attention at all. In a systematic theology, pages are like currency; what you invest in shows what you value. And I was surprised at a few of the investments.
    +
    Bird affirms a social trinitarian approach, defining the divine persons as “self-aware” beings who are “capable of consciousness” (p. 615), and he even refers to separate consciousnesses in the Trinity (p. 118). Regardless of whether you think social trinitarianism is viable, Bird’s discussion simply fails to deal with the historical and theological objections that can (and have!) been raised. And unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents.
  • What’s Old is New Again: The Return of “Biblical Unitarianism” (southernreformation.wordpress.com)
    While I’m used to defending the deity of Christ against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or fending off Mormon misunderstandings of the doctrine of the Trinity, I never thought I would see professing “conservative evangelicals” who were willing to jettison the central dogma that makes Christianity…Christianity.But it’s happening.
  • “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (1peter58.wordpress.com)
    “The Bible says…” The real issue here is that these individuals, and also those that belong to very young churches/institutes, claim for themselves the authority to teach new doctrine, claim for themselves the authority to reject unchanged ancient doctrine. How do you decide when to trust that a doctrine is truly of God? How do you decide what is a false doctrine not of God?
  • Because the Bible Tells Me So (mackerelsnapperblog.wordpress.com)
    Whenever a Catholic debates the Faith with a non-Catholic — Christian or atheist — the very first argument that often gets brought up is that Catholic teaching contradicts the Scriptures.
  • Sola Scriptura? (preacheroftruth.com) + > Sola Scriptura?
    Pythagoras is said to have been the earliest outside of Scripture (Isa. 40:22) to contend that the earth is round. He did not make the earth round with his assertions, but identified what already was.  Sir Isaac Newton certainly did not create gravity, but he is credited for our modern understanding of it.  Likewise, the term “sola scriptura” is not found in scripture (similar to terms like “trinity” and “omniscience”), but it was coined during the “Reformation Movement” as part of Martin Luther’s protests against perceived corruptions of the Catholic Church.  It was a “Latin phrase (literally ‘by Scripture alone’) describing the Protestant theological principle that Scripture is the final norm in all judgments of faith and practice.
  • (1) The Two Pillars of the Reformation (altruistico.wordpress.com)
    The Protestant Reformation saw the advancement of the Gospel and an understanding of right doctrine that hadn’t been seen since the time of Christ and the Apostles. It drew Christianity out of the dark ages of the faith; a time when the Scripture was forbidden to be read in the language of the people, when superstition reigned, where abominations within the church leadership was a norm, and when a knowledge of the Truth was virtually unknown.

 

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