Tag: Jesus

TRUSTING IN MAN (OR WOMAN)

I can think of several people within my extended family who are trusting in man. By “man” I mean the philosophies of fallible human beings…

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One is well and truly brainwashed and controlled by a large international cult, so that she has avoided all contact with her family for years, including her own mother. She is, effectively, “gone”, though certainly not unreachable by God himself. The question is, since God has given us free will (right-I’m not a Calvinist) whether she will ever respond.

Another, a born-again Christian for decades, has been following one particular televangelist-a man with a very colored reputation and some very dubious theology for several years, to the point that she now considers him to be infallible, and pressures the rest of her family to do the same. She is, to put it in simple terms, obsessed with him, and has abandoned her local church and her Christian friends. Other family members are ardent followers of other famous televangelists, and refuse to question their wealth-gathering tactics or their banal, un-Biblical theology.

One man who I grew up with, representing perhaps several others in my family, is so convinced of the theory of evolution ex-nihilo that he will not listen to a single word about a loving God. He cannot point to any evidence for his beliefs but he’s immovable anyway.

As I look around at the world, I see literally millions led in their political and religious thought by celebrities, who are now among the high-priests of modern day philosophy, along with angry atheists and a host of other “ists”, whose one common profession is that the God of the Bible is the one which should be ridiculed or ignored completely.

More immediately, many of us have found ourselves on the receiving end of an unfaithful lover or spouse, having once believed them to be the “right” one.

As I wrote in a post titled “Ex-ing the Experts”* my own conviction is that we should question everyone and everything. Yes, we have a lot to learn from others, but no human is infallible, and many are without doubt biased, twisted, or just plain wrong. I’ve been on both sides of faith, and now, certain that the God of the Bible is the One true God and the only One who is true and faithful, I agree with His word and guidance, and His only:

This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD (Jeremiah 17:5).

*EX-ING THE EXPERTS:

https://nickyfisher.com/2017/12/30/ex-ing-the-experts/

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UNITY? NO THANKS!

If I were to coin the phrase, “Holy Division”, it would not, contrary to the opinions of many out of and even in the Church, be an oxymoron: it would be a scriptural and practical imperative…

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It’s common to hear many people across the political and religious spectrum to piously declare that we should “come together”, “unify”, “compromise” and “unite”. It’s a lovely, cuddly, warm-sounding sentiment, without any regard to reality. The problem for me, and for many others, is that we’re all expected to “compromise” not in the sense of meeting half way, but by capitulating entirely. This is the new definition of unity: surrender to change.

Those claiming to occupy the middle ground, but who in fact are a long way left of what has for centuries in the West been the middle ground, want us to unite… under their ideology. Doing so would mean the rest of us completely surrendering to what our hearts and minds tell us cannot be surrendered to. And more than that, those who want us to unify their way are intent on calling anyone who will not unify “haters”, “bigots” and…well, you know the rest… in order to shame us and beat us into submission. Having once been a very liberal person in my BC days, voting firmly on the left of politics, I now find that my Biblical views earn me the additional labels “extreme right-winger” and even “fascist”. Such name-callers don’t know the meaning of the words and don’t know anything about history except perhaps the “revised” version. Yes, history is being revised as part of the effort to move the world away from what was once the real “middle ground”.

It’s also becoming increasingly clearer that true Biblical faith is inseparable from our view of politics, because it’s the politicians (and judges) who now largely shape the society we live in, including its acceptance of what is totally ungodly. Our view of politics is one expression of where we stand in regard to the Word of our God. For example, the subject of taking the lives of children violently before they have a chance to be born relates very much to the scripture. As David said:

You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed (Psalm 39:16).

There is a good unity-one worth living for. As the apostle Paul said, the saints are being equipped by Christ:

“…until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Ephesians 3:13 ESV).

That’s the unity I can go for. It doesn’t include, among other destructive and illogical concepts, the idea that there can be one God and at the same time no God, ten gods, and a million gods.

There is, in this ridiculous “post-truth”, post-modern age, a set of standards to live by which are as solid and unmovable as the biggest rock you can imagine, and that rock is Jesus Christ. He is the one who said:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36).

Doesn’t the scripture say that Jesus was born to bring peace on the earth? Not exactly. It promises “peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). That’s a very different thing, because his favor doesn’t rest on those opposed to his ways. Jesus wasn’t stirring up division, he was describing reality, saying that those who choose him and his ways will de-facto be separate and distinct from those who do not. And that’s the way it has to be:

What agreement can exist between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.” Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:16-17 NIV).

 

 

WHERE FREEDOM IS

Whatever our view of the beginnings of mankind, we can imagine the first humans having a huge amount of freedom…

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There-wherever it was-the first man and the first woman wandered the land. In every direction they looked they were free to roam. There were no streets, no traffic lights, no private lands, no “No Trespassing” signs, no busy roads, no Mc Donalds restaurants with one-way drive-in lanes and “stop” signs. It was all open, wild and free.

Adam and Eve, or if you like, “Aarg” and “Thug”, had no bills to pay, no car payments or mortgages to struggle with, no taxes, no boss to answer to, no fear of getting a ticket for riding their horses too fast, and no fear of getting locked up for trespassing or for trumped-up charges of collusion or lying to investigators. Their kids were content, attentive and helpful, because there was nothing to encourage them to be otherwise.

However (and in every human story there has to be a “however”) at some point in the virtual bliss of life along came Mr X: the new neighbor. Mr. X decided that he liked Thug, Aarg’s mate, very much, and also that the land the Aargs were living on looked a lot nicer than the land he was on. X plotted in his primitive but fertile mind how he might extricate Aarg and acquire what Aarg was enjoying, and make it his. He first attempted to “move in” on Mrs. Aarg, who wasn’t altogether against the idea of being acquired, because X, after all, was more handsome than was that guy she’d been stuck with for some time.

There ensued a battle between Aarg and X, in which X’s features were somewhat re-arranged, and he didn’t look quite so handsome or appealing any more. So X plodded off with his metaphorical tail between his legs.

However (and there’s another “however” already) while X’s pride and face were damaged his determination was not. Remembering that just over the hill lived that rather large and imposing man “Donk”, with his rather large and imposing sons, he took some trinkets: shiny rocks, fruit, and a nice jaw-bone hair brush, and went to make a deal with Donk. The following morning X, Donk and his rather large and imposing sons swaggered over the hill to where Arrg was banging some sticks on the cave wall- working on some pretty intricate para-diddles, and, with the gang behind him, he raised himself above Aarg, X declaring that he was now king of all he surveyed-including Mrs Aarg.

Aarg was forcefully employed twenty hours a day, digging for shiny rocks and cooking mammoth chops. He was confined to his cave at night, because everything else now belonged to X and his deputy, Donk. Aarg’s rent was two shiny rocks a day, for the cave which once belonged to him.

The worst irony of the story is that after some time, Donk’s slow but deliberate brain determined that he hadn’t done quite so well out of the deal as he could have, and X shortly found himself digging for shiny rocks with Aarg, and doing the dishes. He was, however, Aarg’s supervisor, so that poor old Aarg remained on the bottom social level of X’s kingdom.

I write this sad little story not because I believe, as the Communists do, that “property is theft”-I don’t: or as an example of how all unpleasant human circumstances come about. Obviously there are other causes of loss of freedom besides violent tyrants. Instead it’s intended to be a demonstration of how we as humans have moved from being once free to being under the thumb of the society we live in. We think we’re free in the West, but compared to the original freedom Aarg enjoyed, we’re rather constricted and constrained.

Step out of your door and you immediately find that there are places you cannot go, things you cannot do. Where once Aarg could wander and roam, you have an extremely limited path of legality and propriety. The fact that you can see buildings and roads and gardens and fields gives a false sense of freedom, because if you walk over someone’s lawn or through their house or over the field you’ll have the owner’s dog, or the owner or the police, chasing you. Don’t wander in the road or you’ll get squashed by a forty ton truck. Don’t drive too fast or go through the red light or you’ll get a ticket. Don’t try to explore that interesting structure or the security man will evict you and turn you in. Don’t say certain things in public or you’ll be verbally or even physically attacked or jailed.

Pay your bills on time or you’ll be on the streets in the cold. Pay your taxes or the weight of the government will come down on you. Don’t grumble too loudly against the government or you could be locked up for incitement. Don’t dress out of fashion or people will sneer and reject you. Vote to please those around you or lose your “friends”. Construct your sentences well and like all the right things and say all the right small talk and wear the right clothes and appear meek and yet at the same time confident and cool or people will shun you.

We, like Aarg, have been enslaved to the society we live in. To top it all off we’re enslaved by our mortality, and our lives are limited in time. What we like to think of as a free world and a free life is actually very restrictive.

However, true freedom can be found in the creator of all that we are and all that Aarg, or Adam, surveyed. This is the creator who has promised to restore what he originally made-this time under his own, good government. For life in this present world, the apostle Paul said:

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

And Jesus Christ said:

“If you hold to my teaching, you really are my disciples. The you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

Freedom is to be found in Jesus Christ, and our Creator, who will be in us if we want Him, where no-one can take it away.

 

A Sword from the LORD

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Hello! This is Nathan Fisher. I’ve seen my Dad publish a lot of fantastic articles here over the years glorifying God, and this seems like quite a bit of fun.

So anyway, on a more serious note, I was reading an article on the New York Times about “religion.” It correctly attributed the quote,

“I did not come to bring peace, but a sword,”

…to Jesus in Matthew 10:34. However, the author of the article, “How Well Do You Know Religion?,” implied that this shows the violent side of the Judeo-Christian tradition and that Christianity is as violent as or more violent than certain others towards outsiders. Was Jesus saying that He wanted Christians to convert by force, to oppress, or to conquer?

Unfortunately, this shows once again that the Bible has been misinterpreted. When Jesus first began to teach the gospel, He was hated, persecuted, and ultimately executed. This was the same for all of the apostles (except John) and the hundreds of Christians that came after. Those that wanted to preach Jesus’ real words to ordinary folk in their own language, such as William Tyndale, Martin Luther, and others were attacked and pursued.

When Jesus said the above quote, His intention was to show that the message He brought and His death and return to life would bring conflict and strife. His sword was metaphorical: a sword of division. It was not that it was His will to oppress non-Christians, but  who He was that would bring trouble. In the evil world we are in, good is not always accepted as what it is.

In fact, Jesus says, and I quote:

“For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’”(Matthew 10:35-36 NIV, quoted Micah 7:6)

…and this has happened in families throughout history, increasingly so as the events of Revelation draw near.

When He was arrested, the Messiah told Pilate,

My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.” (John 18:36)

And another thing about violence, especially concerning the Old Testament:

“For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:32)

The sword Jesus is describing was, and is, the violence stemming from the oppression of truth. However, the LORD has a plan to end this. We have the last chapter of history: Revelation.

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WE WIN!

Oh yes, and lastly, as a comfort to all of us, Jesus told us,

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jesus, John 16:33 NIV)