Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Scriptural Authority A Must For Christians

Among Christians,  there has been a change from what is absolute to a standard that is relative and changing.  The perfect standard or Scriptural teachings have over time been consumed by the secular liberal teachings of progressive socialism.  This progressive socialist doctrine has triumphed over the absolutes of the Scripture.

The deep-seated convictions of early Christians were founded upon the teaching of the Scriptures. Through immediate revelation, Christians found the absolute set of standards, which were rooted in the character of God.  From this revelation, Christians were able to know Him who created us and redeem us.  Only from the revelation of scriptures do we find the absolute standard on which we base our lives and carry out our obligations to God, family, church, and state. 

God's absolute standards are not up for private interpretation.  These absolutes not only reflect the character of God but also define our duty as humans.  God instructs us to love Him and love our neighbor as ourselves.  The ethical standard set forth by the Scripture contains our responsibility to God and our duty to man.  They define what is right, just, and perfect.  They represent what makes our action right and what actions are wrong.  It is God that sets the standard of ethical conduct, He alone--the Creator of all things.  That is why the standards must measure all behavior and conduct He has established.

While most evangelical Christians agree that the Bible is their guide for faith and practice, you have got to wonder why so many of us are getting lost? If the Bible is the authoritative, life-giving, life-transforming, mind-renewing source of God and His revelation, why are God's people becoming more and more secular and accepting of a progressive socialist ideology?

The Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians, Be, very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is (Eph. 5:15-17).

The original Greek text says, "walk circumspectly." Circumspectly here means accurately, living our lives purposefully, carefully, according to God's Word.  To do this, you must make the Scriptures part of your life.

Again, Paul speaks to this idea in his letter to Timothy: All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting the error, for re-setting the direction of a man's life and training him in right living. The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God and fit him fully for all branches of his work (2 Tim. 3:16-17, J.B. Phillips New Testament).

Yet, this is where the struggle for many believers begins. Often, the world, our feelings, and/or our emotions direct us one way and God's Word another. What our culture deems acceptable and what God says is acceptable often conflict. So why would we abandon the most important tool God has given us to understand how to live out our lives?

Most Christians do not know how to evaluate Christian ethics or conduct in the light of the Scriptures.  Instead, they sit back and allow non-Christians or even atheist to dictate what is to be the ethical standard by which the followers of Christ are to conduct their spiritual lives.  Non-believers who deny the authority of the Scripture have established the ethical standards for abortion, human sexuality, the role of the state, issues concerning the taking of life, bioethics, and even the environment.  There are very few Christians who are willing to give a scriptural defense of the absolute standards of God's written Word.  It is time faithful followers of Jesus Christ speak the truth about Christians teachings.

The constant temptation for Christians is to blend in. We instinctively do not want to be thought of as being "different." The thought that living a godly life could cause us to be looked upon with contempt by our neighbors is very disagreeable. Such ideas make us feel very uncomfortable, and although we know the Scripture calls upon us to be pilgrims in our own culture (Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 11:13), we do not enjoy feeling like Sojourners. Satan, our ancient and crafty enemy, because of his experience with humans, knows our weaknesses very well and is not slack in exploiting them. Realizing that he would probably fail in a full-frontal attack, he attempts to convince us that Christianity is a relaxing, easy-going religion tolerant of diverse views. He tries to convince us that we do not need to keep our minds razor-sharp (I Peter 1:13). He tries to tell us that we do not need to be careful.  Nothing could be further from the truth taught in God's Word!

If our behavior is not radically different from the secular world, then we can be confident that we are not pleasing to our Lord and Savior. If we are being conformed to this world instead of to the image of Christ, then we can be sure that our heavenly Father is displeased with us. If our minds have not been transformed from what they once were when we served our own lusts, then we are not proving to the world what the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God is (Romans 12:2).

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I must believe the Scriptures.  The Scriptures were given by the Holy Spirit of God through the holy men of God, who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. It is in the Scriptures that we find spiritual life. They are to be read, believed, and fulfilled, and they are profitable for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works; and can make wise unto salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus.

Regardless of the errors which may have slipped in overtime, there is enough testimony left of all the essentials of the Christian faith to lead us in the paths of righteousness.  As Christians, we must believe that the Scriptures are the moral principle which regulates our actions and anything contrary to the Scriptures is a delusion of the mind by Satan.

The Scriptures are not open for the private interruption. The teachings and revelation of the Scriptures are only made clear to the mind by the operation of the Holy Spirit.  The moral principles declared in Scriptures answer every question which may arise in the course of our lives.

It is from the Scriptures we understand forgiveness and acceptance with God through the mediation of our Savior Jesus Christ through faith in His blood.  This doctrine of justification is absolutely fundaments and essential in Christianity.  It is in the Scriptures that we find "Christ gave himself, his body, for the life of the whole world, and paid the debt and made satisfaction, and He enlightens every man that comes into the world, that all through Him might believe; and he that does not believe is condemned already.   Christ offered himself without sin to God, and by his blood purges our consciences from dead works, to serve the living God. And so, we know that Christ, by one offering, forever perfected them that are sanctified. And so, as people walk in the light, they have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Christ will cleanse them from all sin. And Christ his own self bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we are being delivered from sin, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes we are healed. And we are being justified by the blood of Christ, shall be saved from wrath through him; for if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

It is from the Scriptures I learn that Jesus is the foundation of the holy prophets, and apostles are our foundation.  There is no other foundation to be lade, but that which is laid in Christ Jesus, who tasted death for every man, shed his blood for all men, is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. John the Baptist testified of him when he said, 'Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.

Justification is not based on "cheap grace." Justification is based on conviction of sin, acknowledgment of sin, confession of sin, acceptance of forgiveness of sin, and making an about-face away from sin.

A person cannot have the experiential knowledge of the plan of redemption, and not see the immense love that God has for humanity that He gave His only Son to impart life to those who were condemned to die.  That through our Savior Jesus Christ, who offered himself upon the cross as man, yet was he omnipotent, because of his deity, to bear the weight of the sins of all mankind, and just in proportion to the supreme dignity of the sufferer, is the comprehensives of the hope and joy which we receive from his sufferings. "He that spared not HIS OWN SON, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Rom. 8. 32.

It is from the revelation of the Scriptures I understand the Father, Son, and Spirit as the most authentic and perfect declaration of the Christian faith. So being led by the Spirit of God, we are his sons and daughters, and, by his Spirit, will come to know the three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. These are the THREE WITNESSES that are in heaven, that bear record of all things; for He is God in the heaven, and God in the earth. "There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. The Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father. No man knows the Son but the Father, neither any man the Father but the Son, and He to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. The Spirit searches all things, yet the deep things of God. For the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. Now the saints have received not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit, which is of God, that they might know the things which are freely given to them of God. For the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father sends in Christ's name, He teaches them all things and bringeth all things to their remembrance.

As Christian, we will not have the promised power until we accept the Scriptures as interpreted by the Holy Spirit.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Choosing Ignornace

     
If you have it, you usually don’t know you have it. That’s the ignorance of ignorance. But maybe you’ve come face to face with your own ignorance before. Among Christians the ignorance of Spiritual teachings found in the Scriptures has spread through the Church like a plague. How did the Church get to the place where there is such ignorance of God's Word?

Several years ago, I preached a message on the three-generation phenomena in the message I explained that it can be broken down into three steps.  The ignorance of today can be traced back to the choices of the previous generations.
We can find these three steps to apostasy in the scripture.
1.    Knowing the Law of God and why it is right and wrong.
2.    Knowing the Law of God but not understand why it was right or wrong.
3.    Knew certain thing was right or wrong but didn't care about knowing the Law of God.

During the time of Moses, while wandering in the wilderness, the Hebrews based their moral standards on the Law of God. There were certain things which were right and wrong, and the people knew why they were right and wrong. Even with the rise of Korah and his band, the foundation of hope lied with trusting and believing God. This generation passed the message of the Law--- obedience to their children. They taught their children the precepts with the more essential principles behind them but, they didn't take the time to explain the why's of the Law.

During the time of Joshua, the next generation grew up believing certain things were right and wrong because God says so--somewhere in the Law. They existed with a morality: an ethic initially based on the Law but had long since lost its spiritual meaning. This is what good people do.  This second-generation concluded that certain things were right and wrong, but they didn't know why. They were moral people, but their morality was not founded on clear teachings, even though they may have memorized portions of the Law. They were unable to explain why they believed; they just knew it was what good people do. The opinion of their neighbors was more important than what God thought of them.

In the third generation, they knew certain things were right and wrong, but they didn't care! They broke away from the rules of the previous generation. They abandoned their God. The lack of connection with the moral Law was part of their rebellion. This led to moral degeneration.  The very condition of the present young generation.

Yes, there is a problem in our society today and the problems of today can be traced to the choices of the previous generation. In the scripture, we have an account of a nation which forgot to teach its children the ways of God. We can look in retrospect at the Hebrews. We can trace their crisis back to the root cause of the problem. We can look at the factors which contributed to a generation that did not know God. We can see the parallels which exist between a culture that lived about 1100 B.C. and our present-day culture, and oddly enough the contributing factor to the moral and spiritual downfall of the early Hebrews is the same contributing factor to the current day decline in morals and religious values---Christian education is no longer critical. The church was too busy seeking respect from the world that it slowly shifted from the absolutes of God's Word to the standards of the world. Now the church's youth have absorbed the values of the more extensive youth culture of the world.

Why has all of this happened? Looking at the example given us in God's Word, an entire generation of children were not taught the teachings of the Lord God Jehovah. Parents, priest, and leaders failed to instruct their children in the ways of God. They were facing a moral decline. Their children did not know about the great deliverance from Egyptian bondage, the wanderings in the wilderness, and the victories over the kings of Canaan. They were ignorant of their spiritual heritage. Now they must survive in a culture that will soon absorb them into idolatrous pagans. How could this happen?

Before we can understand the present generation, we must look at the preceding generations.

First let me say, knowing where we are going is very important, but knowing where we are is just as important. As we read and study the life of the early Hebrews, we tend to be critical of their disregard for God. We must keep in mind that we can look in retrospect over several centuries of their culture. It is effortless to sit back and find fault with their actions. Yet we are in the same position that Israel found themselves after having entered the Land of Canaan.

I want you to understand something. You personally will be blamed for most of the social and cultural problems of the day. This is regardless of your race, religion, or social standing. You see, we live in a society that must blame someone for their actions. They must have a reason for the way they act. This is just another characteristic of our society. We start labeling children in school and continue through their adult life. They have in these labels the foundation for the way they act and conduct themselves in society.

It is evident that the differentiation of generations is a crucial issue; it is generally accepted that one can be considered a member of the young generation up to 29 years of age, middle generation includes people aged 30 to 59 years, and members of the elderly generation are over 60 years.

For a change to occur, there must be knowledge of the Law of God and why this Law is essential in our daily lives.  The study of the why's of the Law of God is called apologetics.

The word "apologetics" comes from the Greek word "apologia," pronounced "ap-ol-og-ee'-ah." It means "a verbal defense." It is used eight times in the New Testament: Acts 22:1; 25:16; 1 Corinthians 9:3; 2 Corinthians 10:5-6; Philippians 1:7; 2 Timothy 4:16, and 1 Peter 3:15. But it is the last verse that is most commonly associated with Christian apologetics.

"...but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence," (1 Peter 3:15).

"Apologetics is the work of convincing people to change their views."

Christian apologetics is that branch of Christianity that deals with answering any and all critics who oppose or question the revelation of God in Christ and the Bible. It can include studying such subjects as biblical manuscript transmission, philosophy, biology, mathematics, evolution, and logic. But it can also consist of simply giving an answer to a question about Jesus or a Bible passage. The latter case is by far the most common, and you don't have to read a ton of books to do that.

Apologetics can be defensive and offensive.  Phil. 1:7 gives us instruction on the defensive side, "For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me." 2 Cor. 10:5 gives us instruction on the offensive side: "We are destroying speculations, and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." The apologist can and should defend his reasons for believing (1 Peter 3:15). But he can also go on the attack. He can seek out those who oppose Christianity (2 Corinthians 10:5). Of course, he should be prepared to do this beforehand, and all apologetics is to be done with gentleness.

Apologetics is the work of convincing people to change their views.  In this, it is like preaching because its goal is ultimately the defense and presentation of the validity and necessity of the gospel. It is an attempt to persuade the listener to change his beliefs and life to conform to biblical truth and to come to a saving relationship in Christ Jesus.

Apologetics can be evidential (often called "classical") or presuppositional.  Evidential apologetics deals with the evidence for Christianity: Jesus' resurrection, the biblical manuscripts, fulfilled prophecy, miracles, etc. Presuppositional apologetics deals with the presuppositions of those who oppose Christianity because presuppositions affect how a person views evidence and reason.

Some areas of debate within Christian apologetics deal with the use of evidence, reason, and philosophy. Should the Christian use only those criteria acceptable to unbelievers? Are we allowed to use the Bible as a defense of our position, or must we prove Christianity without it? Is reason alone enough to show God's existence or Christianity's truth? How much should reason, and evidence be used considering the Scriptures' teaching that it is God who opens the mind to understand? What part does prayer, using the Bible, and the sinful nature of the unbeliever play in witnessing? How do these factors interrelate to bring an unbeliever to faith? The questions are easy. The answers are not.

Jesus chose one highly educated religious person as an apostle. That was Paul. The rest were fishermen, a tax collector, a doctor, etc. They were ordinary people of the day who were available and willing to be used by the Lord. They were filled with the Spirit of God, and they were used as vessels of God. God uses all things for His glory. So, we do apologetics by faith.

The Lord has called every Christian to be ready to make a defense of his faith. That means you are urged to give reasonable answers to questions regarding Christianity. Now, this does not mean that you must have a Ph.D., or that you must go to seminary. However, it does mean that you should be willing to give an answer for your beliefs at least. If you find you cannot provide a solution, then you must find the answers.

Why study when you could pray and ask the Lord to teach you what He wants you to know?  Why do I even need to read the Scriptures?  If I am filled with the Spirit of the LORD and led by the Spirit, why do I need to spend time studying the Scriptures?  We are to show that we are approved by God to divide the WORD of Truth rightly.  Don't know where to start?  Ask God to give you a burden for something to learn. It doesn't matter what it is. Just ask. Whatever you become interested in is what you should learn about because it is probably something God wants you to know for later use.  It is like having tools in a tool shed. The more you have, the more you can accomplish.

Another way to find out what God wants you to study is through circumstances. Let's say that a friend debates the deity of Christ with you, and you find you don't know how to defend it biblically.  In that case, you know you need to study biblical verses that teach Jesus is God in the flesh. Or maybe a coworker asks you how you know the Bible is true? If you don't have an answer, pray, and start researching. 

Sometimes God will make a verse or subject in the Bible "come alive" to you, and it might strike you as odd or unusual.  You could get a commentary and read up on it. You could ask others about it.  In so doing, you are preparing yourself through learning to be ready to answer questions and point people to the truth. You'd be surprised how many details God can use to help you in your witness even through those apparently odd times when verses suddenly "come alive."

Have you ever in the back of your mind asked the question, why do many obviously intelligent people prefer to believe that there is no God?

As an American, we pride ourselves on the freedom of choice. We were created as free moral agents who have been given the right to make our own decisions. Each person decides what he wants to wear, what he wants to eat, and where he wants to go. But most important, each person decides what he or she wants to believe. A speech given by the Old Testament character Joshua allows us to see just how free each one of us is to choose if we're going to believe in God. Speaking to the Jewish nation thousands of years ago, Joshua said: "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15). Joshua's point could not have been more explicit: the Jews—just like every other nation and all individual people—had the freedom of choice to believe, or not to believe, in God. Freedom, however, always comes with responsibility.

 With the freedom of choice comes the responsibility to think carefully, choose wisely, and act forcefully.  It is the responsibility of every human being to recognize, believe, and obey the truth. Throughout history, many people have decided not to believe in God. They have gone by many different names—atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, and infidels.

The word atheism means "without God." The atheist is the person who says that there is no God. The late Carl Sagan was one of the world's most famous atheists. He summed up atheism when he declared: "The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be." An atheist is one who plainly states that God does not exist. However, it is much easier for someone to call himself an atheist than it is for him to defend such a position. To know that there is no God, a person would have to know every single fact in the Universe, because the one fact that he did not know might be the fact that God exists.

The atheist cannot prove that God does not exist, because he cannot possibly know every other fact, there is to know.  The actual truth of the matter is that most atheists do not deal with facts at all. They are so set against the idea of God that they dismiss or ignore the evidence that proves His existence. The late Isaac Asimov, another famous atheist, once said: "Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't think that I don't want to waste my time." Atheism does not answer the evidence for God's existence and cannot offer a reasonable alternative for belief in Him.

Then we have the agnostics.  The word agnostic means "without knowledge." The agnostic does not boldly proclaim that God does not exist. Instead, he suggests no one can know whether God exists because there simply is not enough evidence upon which to base a conclusion.

Agnosticism says: "I don't know, you don't know, nobody knows, and nobody can know if there is a God." Agnostics frequently point out that man cannot know everything, and that he has never been able to "detect" God with his limited mind and capabilities. So, the agnostic suggests, people should quit searching. What the agnostic fails to realize, however, is that this concept must work both directions. Man must be unable to reach up to God, and God must be unable to reach down to man. But God is not unable to reach men, for He is not limited by the same constraints in time and knowledge as humans. An infinite God could make Himself known to us any time He wanted—and there is nothing to prevent Him from doing so.

Furthermore, there is good evidence that He has done precisely that. The agnostic's claim of "I can't know" really is a mask that he puts on to hide the fact that he realizes there is ample evidence (that he can neither explain away nor disprove) to establish the existence of God. Perhaps the agnostic cannot find God for the same reason a thief cannot find a policeman!      
                                                      
 Then we have the skeptic who doubts that there is a God. The standard dictionary definition is quite revealing when it describes a skeptic as one who holds to "the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain and who has doubts concerning basic religious principles." Notice that the skeptic does not claim knowledge of God is unattainable (as the agnostic does), but rather is "uncertain." The skeptic is not prepared to accept anything except that which can be verified by our five senses. To the skeptic, then, science becomes the only valid method of "proving" anything. Since God cannot be seen, tasted, heard, touched, or smelled, then skeptics say that either He does not exist or that He cannot be significant even if He does. However, the skeptic's position is faulty because even he "knows" some things exist that cannot be verified by the scientific method. Science never will be able to observe or explain such concepts as love, hate, sorrow, or joy. Science never will be able to tell why a man in a foxhole during a war throws himself on a hand grenade to save his fellow soldiers. The sad part is that the skeptic has paid a high price for his skepticism—the rejection and abandonment of some of the human race's most essential and cherished concepts. Why? To be able to say, I doubt that God exists.

Then we have the infidel.  This person not only refuses to believe in God himself, but who also is intolerant of, and actively opposes, those who do. The infidel speaks out against God and does all he can to condemn religion. The infidel despises God and the Bible—and anyone who believes in either.
So why do they refuse to believe in God? What are the reasons for disbelief in the God of the Bible?
Why is there such bias against God?  There is little doubt that many people find belief in God difficult because there is in their mind a bias that sways them against it. This built-in bias is what some have referred to as "the prejudice of unbelief." Many who do not believe in God remain an unbeliever because they like it that way.  In fact, any evidence of any source or to any degree fails to move him from their position because the heart is sharply bent against evidence and toward unbelief.  At times, people suffer from extreme prejudice, especially when it comes to belief in God. They operate within a framework of bias against the God of the Bible. The Christian God is utterly offensive to them because He represents a threat to man's own desires and ambitions. In other words, the will of man is on a collision course with the will of God. Such a path leads inevitably to a conflict of interests. Some people apparently would rather die in sin than live in obedience. Paul reminded the first-century Christians in Rome of those who, "knowing God, glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasoning's, and their senseless heart was darkened. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind" (Romans 1:21,28). The problem about which the apostle wrote was not a failure to accept what was unknowable (the text in Romans clearly indicates that these were people who could, and did, know of the existence of God). Instead, it was a problem of refusing to accept what was knowable—i.e., God's reality. Those to whom Paul referred had such a built-in prejudice against God that they refused to have God in their knowledge. The situation as mentioned above, then, caused the apostle to write (by inspiration of the Holy Spirit) that "professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:22). In biblical usage, the term "fool" generally does not indicate an unintelligent person, and it certainly is not used here in such a fashion. Instead, the word carries both a moral and religious judgment, as it does in Romans 1. Therefore, the psalmist (again, by inspiration) wrote that "the fool has said in his heart, there is no God" (14:1). If "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10), then, conversely, foolishness finds its origin in the rejection of God. Isaiah referred to a man as a fool whose "mind plots iniquity to practice ungodliness" (Isaiah 32:6, RSV). Bias against God, therefore, has become one of the chief causes of unbelief, which no doubt explains why the writer of the book of Hebrews warned: "Beware brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief" (Hebrews 3:12).

One of the most potent forces on any human being is parents. Mothers and fathers not only are the first influences in a child's life but also are a continuing influence. It has been said that a child's mind is like Jell-O and that the parents' task is to put in all the "good stuff" before it "sets." The mission of putting the right things into the mind of a child is difficult and requires much patience. It is a 24-hour, full-time process that should take place continuously—when sitting with a child, riding in a car, eating a meal together, and even while watching television (see Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Sometimes the education of a child is accomplished by instruction, which is why parents are encouraged to rear their children in "the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Other times it is accomplished by discipline, as the Proverbs writer noted when he commented: "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother" (29:15). On occasion, however, parents fail to teach their children to believe in God. Sometimes they even teach a child not to believe in God. If children see a parent who does not care about God or is skeptical of all evidence relating to God's existence, that child is likely to end up just as indifferent and cynical as his or her parents. The spiritual condition of entire nations has been affected adversely because of the failure of parents to instruct their children properly regarding belief in God and the reasons behind that belief.  It is time for the American Christian to know what they believe and why they believe it and teach their children the ways of the LORD. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Death By Despair

I ran across a phrase that caught my attention "death by despair." After reading several articles on this phenomenon, I thought I would share this information since our nation is in a crisis, and no one seems to really care what is happening. 
 Women are the fastest growing demographic of alcohol and drug use in the United States, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). As many as 4.5 million women over the age of 12 have a substance use disorder (SUD), 3.5 million misuse prescription drugs, and 3.1 million regularly abuse illicit drugs.
Prescription drug use is on the rise in U.S. More Americans than ever are taking prescription drugs, and they're using more of them, a new study finds. Fifty-nine percent of adults used prescription drugs in 2011-2012, up from 51 percent in 1999-2000. And 15 percent of them took five or more prescription drugs.
In 1999, for example, people in the "death by despair" group died from accidental drug and alcohol poisonings at four times the rate of Americans with a bachelor's degree or more. By 2013, they were dying at seven times the rate of their better-educated peers. In 2013, they also committed suicide at more than twice the percentage of people with more education and died from alcoholic liver disease and cirrhosis at five times the rate of those with a college degree.
Drug-related deaths were at 63,500 (two-thirds of these involved opioids). And, almost 45,000 suicides were recorded. Increases in deaths due to diseases of despair are contributing to declining life expectancy in the U.S. The Surgeon General stated that drug and alcohol abuse are costing the U.S. $442 billion annually.
Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury deaths in the United States, exceeding the number of motor vehicle fatalities since 2009 (Paulozzi 2012). The rapid growth in drug mortality initially involved prescription opioids like OxyContin, often in combination with other drugs (Jones, Mack, and Paulozzi 2013; Paulozzi, Mack, and Hockenberry 2014). However, the 20,145 and 15,446 fatalities during the latest 12-month period with available data reported to involve involving synthetic opioids (mostly fentanyl) and heroin substantially exceeded the 14,427 deaths involving opioid analgesics (National Center for Health Statistics 2017).
There those who have linked the economic decline of the working class and increasing deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide.  The question is, does rising economic inequality plays a role in the increasing disparity among those who die from deaths of despair? Other countries have seen a decline in the economy and have not experienced a parallel rise in deaths among middle-aged people.
I am not trying to simplify the issue, but there is among this group of people the lack of spiritual training.  I am not a clinical psychologist or even a counselor.  I tend to conceptualize things more spiritually. I see clinical despair primarily as a psychospiritual crisis, a prolonged "dark night of the soul." Depression is a universal human experience. We have all felt despair during painful periods in our lives. We may occasionally despair about our job, marriage, love life, family, finances, world events, etc. But typically, this despair disperses in time, and life goes on. At least till the next crisis. When depression doesn't dissipate but instead deepens, crouches down, takes control and becomes chronic, diminishing quality of life, impairing functioning, and keeping us from moving toward our goals, dreams, and desires, it has become pathological or clinical despair. Clinical despair can be intellectualized as profound and existential hopelessness, helplessness, powerlessness, and pessimism about life and the future. Despair is a deep discouragement and loss of faith about one's ability to find meaning, fulfillment, and happiness to create a satisfactory future for oneself.  If I have been raised without instruction in the spiritual aspect of life, I am open to a world of hopelessness and despair.
Several years ago, I was asked to make a presentation on the decline of the Sunday School and the impact it was having on society--so here it is.
When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.  Judges 2:10 NKJV
Over the past two generations, society has slipped into a mold of complacency and self-indulgence. Prosperity, hope, and noble ideals were replaced with an "If it feels good, do it" attitude, we became worshipers of self, while our culture has gone morally bankrupt. The present youth generation is at significant emotional, social, and spiritual risk. Young people are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than the youth of twenty years ago, and today's youth account for almost one-third of all abortions. Is there a way to change?
Yes, there is and the problems of today can be traced to the choices of the previous generation. In the scripture reading, we have an account of a nation which forgot to teach it's children the ways of God. We can look in retrospect at the Hebrews. We can trace the present crisis back to the root cause of the problem. We can look at the factors which contributed to a generation that did not know God. We can see the parallels which exist between a culture that lived about 1100 B.C. and our present-day culture, and oddly enough the contributing factor to the moral and spiritual downfall of the early Hebrews is the same contributing factor to the current day decline in morals and religious values---Christian education is no longer critical. The Church was too busy seeking respect from the world that it slowly shifted from the absolutes of God's Word to the standards of the world. Now the Church's youth have absorbed the values of the more extensive youth culture of the world.
Why has all of this happened? Looking at the example given us in God's Word, an entire generation of children were not taught the teachings of the Lord God Jehovah. Parents, priest, and leaders failed to instruct their children in the ways of God. They were facing a moral decline. Their children did not know about the great deliverance from Egyptian bondage, the wanderings in the wilderness, and the victories over the kings of Canaan. They were ignorant of their spiritual heritage. Now they must survive in a culture that will soon absorb them into idolatrous pagans. How could this happen?
Before we can understand the present generation, we must look at the preceding generations. During the time of Moses, while wandering in the wilderness, the Hebrews based their moral standards on the Law of God. There were certain things which were right and wrong, and the people knew why they were right and wrong. Even with the rise of Korah and his band, the foundation of hope lied with trusting and believing God. This generation passed the message of the Law--- obedience to their children. They taught their children the precepts with the more significant principles behind them. They didn't take the time to explain the why's of the Law.
During the time of Joshua, the next generation grew up believing certain things were right and wrong because God says so--somewhere in the Law. They existed with an unbiblical morality: an ethic initially based on the Law but had long since lost its spiritual meaning.
The next generation concluded that certain things were right and wrong, but they didn't know why. They were moral people, but their morality was not founded on clear teachings, even though they may have memorized portions of the Law. They were unable to explain why they believed; they just knew it was what good people do. The opinion of their neighbors was more important than what God thought of them.
The generation following Joshua knew certain things were right and wrong, but they didn't care! They broke away from the rules of the previous generation. They abandoned their God. The lack of connection with the moral law was part of their rebellion. This led to moral degeneration. How could this happen?
First let me say, knowing where we are going is very important, but knowing where we are is just as important. As we read and study the life of the early Hebrews, we tend to be critical of their disregard for God. We must keep in mind that we can look in retrospect over several centuries of their culture. It is effortless to sit back and find fault with their actions. Yet we are in the same position that Israel found themselves after having entered the Land of Canaan.
Looking back to the nineteenth century we can find the foundation for the significant problems facing the world today: environmental pollution, materialism on a large scale, racism, political terrorism, the alienation of the individual, bureaucratic dominance, drug wars, moral decay, religious intolerance, and spiritual apathy.
The resentment that many in the Third World now feel toward western Europe and the United States also stems from the nineteenth century. It was useless to try to comprehend China, African, Latin American, and Middle Eastern attitudes without understanding the effects of the dominance western Europe and the United States had on the world in the nineteenth century. It is just as useless to try and understand the social and cultural problems of today without understanding the past.
The conquest of Canaan was not an act but a process. This process involved changed. Having spent four hundred years as slaves and forty years as shepherds in the wilderness, Israel is now rapidly evolving into a different culture. Many dangers were confronting them.
The first danger was the possibility of extermination. The tribes had deliberately come among hostile foes who now surrounded them on all sides. Between the Hebrews and the eastern desert lay the Arameans (north), the Ammonites (center), and the Moabites (south). Cutting them off from the southern land lay the Edomite (southeast), and the Amalekites (southwest). Between them and the sea lay two powerful peoples, the Philistines (south), and the Canaanites (center and north). The Hebrews were in a do or die situation. They must stake roots and grow till their neighbors are pushed off the map, or they will cease to exist.
The second danger lay in the change in an occupation that the conquest made necessary, and the consequent adjustment to new conditions of life. Before they had been nomads and shepherds; now they must become farmers, vinedressers, artisans, and trade folks. It was a question if they could stop roving if they could master the difficult art of developing the land into a viable way of life. Could they give up their tents and live huddled together in unhealthy stone villages and survive new forms of the disease. The change was a challenge to their intelligence, courage, persistence, and faith in God. Some of the tribes would not meet the test; Simeon reverted back to a nomadic life, the half-tribe of Manasseh, east of Jordan, was absorbed by Arameans, Ruben was swallowed up by the Moabites, and Asher changed the plow and ox goad for a set of oars, becoming practically Phoenician.
The third danger was political. The Hebrews were from the earliest days thoroughly democratic. All of the tribes were on the same level of rights and opportunities, with special privilege for none, For two generations they have confirmed their love for democratic life and institutions. They now came into close contact with the hostile Canaanites and Amorites whose type of government was an autocracy in which the ruling family owned all the inhabitants as mere vassals and used them to defend or extend their power. As the Hebrews watched these kings grow in strength and succeed in war, it became a powerful incentive to drop their loose tribal form of government and copy the nations around them. Later during the time of Samuel, they did just that.
The fourth danger was the greatest---the realm of religion. Coming fresh from the desert with enthusiasm still burning for the God who had delivered them from Egyptian bondage, brought them through the wilderness, given them victory at Jericho, and aided them in the conquest of the new land, they had one bond that made them different form their Canaanite neighbors---they worship Jehovah. But they had come into land over which Jehovah was believed to have no jurisdiction. They were in the area of Baal. Jehovah was the God of the shepherd to be worshiped by the firstborn of the flock; Baal was a farmer's God to be honored with the first-fruits of the soil. Being no longer shepherds and in a foreign land, many of the Hebrews felt they were no longer under any practical necessity to be loyal to Jehovah. This is the generation that knew certain things were right and wrong, but they didn't care.
Just suppose a Hebrew claims a portion of land in a hollow to the south of Bethel and begins to toil the soil. He buys his seed from a Canaanite neighbor, sow it by guess, and sits back and waits for the harvest. It never came; the seed rotted in the soil. He goes to his neighbor, who sold him the seed to find out what happened. The Canaanite asks, "Did you make a sacrifice to Baal who owns the field and lives in the big tree at the end of it?" The Hebrew confesses that since he was brought up to worship Jehovah, he did not. At which point he is told he will never have a crop until he sacrifices to Baal. Not being rich enough to survive a second loss he takes the advice of the Canaanite who shows him how to make a sacrifice to Baal and just happens to teach him the correct method of when to sow and how to take care of his field. Next year he has a bumper crop.
This episode makes real the danger of Canaan. There was not a feature of the new life that was not connected with Canaanite religion---religion in those days was not a separate function but a vital part of everyone's life. Everyone firmly believed that all calamities came to men because of some slight to one of the gods. It was wise for everybody to keep on the best terms with all possible divinities---which meant that every Hebrew must become an idolater. He must worship the local gods of whatever part of the land he occupied, as well as the more significant gods, the sun, the moon, and stars.
The danger lies in just this---there was nothing left to distinguish the Hebrew from his neighbors. His moral, influenced by the example of his neighbors and by the debasing rites with which Baals were worshiped, will become corrupt, and in three generations there will be no Hebrews who worship the Lord God Jehovah.
Now let's look at our present-day society. As a "Baby boomer" I have contact with primary historical sources. I can or have talked with individuals who lived in the nineteenth century, my grandparents; and those who live in the twentieth century, my parents; and those who live in the twenty-first century, my children and grandchildren. I can personally cover four to five generations of history. Do you understand the responsibility that I have to the future of this world? Do you know the responsibility that I have to preserve the spiritual heritage of my family? Do you understand the responsibility that I have to maintain what is right, honest, just, and righteous? Do you know the responsibility that I have to correct the mistakes of my grandfathers? Do you understand that if there is to be a spiritual recovery, it is my generation that has been given the means to accomplish the task?
Fifty years ago, Sunday school was the place to be on Sunday morning in America. There seemed to be no end in sight to the booming growth this arm of the Church had been enjoying for more than a decade.
By 1980, Sunday school attendance had dropped dramatically. Christian educators began to turn their attention from theory to the very practical question of how the educational task of the Church could be accomplished in an era when the Sunday school was in serious decline.
Today, things still appear to be going poorly for the Sunday school, and the question remains, what are we going to do about it? How did we arrive at such a sad state of affairs in our Christian educational process?
Over the past two generations, society has slipped into a mold of complacency and self-indulgence. Prosperity, hope, and noble ideals were replaced with an "If it feels good, do it" attitude, we became worshipers of self, while our culture has gone morally bankrupt. The present youth generation is at significant emotional, social, and spiritual risk. Young people are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than the youth of twenty years ago, and today's youth account for almost one-third of all abortions. Is there a way to change? Let's compare what is happening in our society with what took place in Canaan some 3,000 years ago.
You have been raised in a rural lifestyle. You have never lived in the city. You have never faced the problems of adapting to a new culture or way of life. You don't understand all the issues that seem to be everywhere except in your own neighborhood. One night, God calls you to move into the city and clean-up the neighborhoods. You struggle with the call but know this is the will of God. Selling everything you have you move into the roughest area you can find.
First, I want you to understand something. You personally will be blamed for most of the social and cultural problems of the day. This is regardless of your race, religion, or social standing. You see, we live in a society that must blame someone for their actions. They must have a reason for the way they act. This is just another characteristic of our society. We start labeling children in school and continue through their adult life. They have in these labels the foundation for the way they act and conduct themselves in society.
The conquest of this neighborhood will not be an act but a process. This process will involve change. Having spent your life in the country, you are now faced with a new way of life. Many dangers are confronting you, and you will soon find out that there will not be many people to support your efforts to bring about change.
The first danger is the possibility of extermination. You have deliberately come among hostile foes who now surround you on all sides. You have across the street a crack-house, on the corner the local drug dealers hang-out that sells their death, every night hookers are walking the street, and down the street in an abandoned house is the local neighborhood gang---this is your new home. You are in a do or die situation. You must stake roots and grow till the wicked neighbors are converted or pushed out of the neighborhood, if you don't accomplish this, you will cease to exist.
The second danger lies in the change of occupation and the adjustment to new conditions of life. For several years you have worked for someone else. Now you are self-employed so you can give time to your unique mission in life. It is now a question if you can master the difficult art of living in the city and establishing a business that you can turn into a viable way of life. Can you give up the quite unhurried life to live huddled together in an unhealthy, unsafe environment and survive the dangers of the street? The change will be a challenge to your intelligence, courage, persistence, and faith in God. Some people have already failed the test; some have moved back to the country, others have been absorbed by the streets, while some have vanished altogether.
The third danger is political. The Christians from earliest days have been thoroughly democratic. All believers were on the same level of rights and opportunities with special privilege for none. For generations, Christians have confirmed their love for democratic life. You are now in close and hostile contact with the crack-dealer, the gangs, and perverts all whose way of government is dictatorial in which the ruling gangs own all the streets, and the inhabitants are mere slaves to be used to defend or extend their power. As you watch these gangs via for power and money, you are tempted to resort to violence to remove them. You are frightened because you are beginning to feel that these people must be removed from society if there are to be any remains of a free and moral society left. Keep in mind; your task is not to destroy these individuals, but rather bring about a spiritual change in their lives.
It is easy to get caught up in the political rhetoric of the day. The "left" telling us we need to be more nurturing and loving. The "Right" telling us to remove these people which cause the problems---make them pay. But we must look at both sides of the issue. But what side will you be taking?
There are those who voice their disgust over the inability of today's youth to pull their lives together. The breakdown of the family; deterioration of civility in everyday life; rampant greed at a time when one in five children is poor; an omnipresent sexual culture that fills our television and movie screens with sleaze, beckoning the young toward sexual activity at ever earlier ages; the enormous betrayal of children through physical and sexual abuse; the increase in legal abortions all have changed the culture in which we live. The 1992 report of the National Research Council says the United States is the most violent of all industrialized nations. Yet, it is the children of this generation that contributes to the problems of our society.
These are the children who are growing up not knowing God. Children whose parents are divorced; who are thinking about suicide at a young age, who are sexual activity before they are teenagers; who carry guns and knives to school; who are enrolled in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs before they are out of school; who are physically and sexually abused. The National Research Council's report states; the homicide rate for 15-24-year-old males is seven times higher than Canada's and forty times higher than Japan's. The United States has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates, the highest teen abortion rate, and the highest level of drug use among young people in the developed world. Youth suicide has tripled in the past 25 years. Who are these children? They are the children of this generation. They are mine and your children and grandchildren.
The fourth danger is the greatest---the realm of religion. Coming fresh from the rural and urban areas with enthusiasm still burning for the God who had delivered them from the perils of sin and the life without hope, who had given them victory, and aided them in the conquest of each new day, you have a bond that makes you different from your neighbors---you worship Jesus Christ. But you have come into land over which Christ is believed to have no jurisdiction. You are in the land of Satan. Jesus Christ is the God of the old folks. His name is an expression to be used when swearing. You are no longer among Christians. You are in a foreign culture where many Christians before you felt that they were no longer under any practical necessity to be loyal to their Christians teachings and beliefs. So they stopped going to Sunday School and Church. They might send their children on special occasions, but God was no longer part of their everyday life.
Remember Israel, an entire generation of children were not taught the teachings of the Lord God Jehovah. Parents, priest, and leaders failed to instruct their children in the ways of God. We are traveling down the same road only at a faster and more dangerous rate.
David Barton, (1990) in What happened in education? Found in his research that the significant event corresponding to the downturn in academic scores, school violence, dishonesty, disrespect for authority, peer cruelty, sexual activity, and self-destructive behavior was the separation of religious principles from the public school system. Using data from the College Entrance Exam Board, Department of Education, Digest of Education Statistics, The Psychological Corporation, Statistical Abstracts of the United States, and test results from the National Merit Program reach a conclusion that the event which started the decline of the public education system was the Supreme Court decisions of Engel v Vitale (1992) and Abington v Schempp (1993). Barton shows that before 1963, remarkable stability in academic achievement, violence, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, and etc. never moved more than two consecutive years in the same direction. In 1963, however, there were eighteen consecutive uninterrupted years of decline.
Barton concludes that a solution must center on an event originating in 1962-1963 which subsequently generated an on-going policy which had a lasting impact over the next two decade. The study included eleven reviews of Supreme Court decisions concerning the role of religious principles in public school. The findings were that nothing concerning God or His laws is officially welcome in our public school system.
There is today a generation that does not know about the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Golden Rule, respect for others, respect for authority, honesty, kindness, and a host of other moral values which were once taught in the public school. They are ignorant of their spiritual heritage. Now they must survive in a culture that will soon absorb them into materialistic, self-indulging, reprobates.
Some would have us to believe that teaching these moral values is not the responsibility of the school. I would ask then whose responsibility is it? The home? The Church? If it is, where do parents learn to train their children in these values? The Church? Then why doesn't the Church seriously engage in a responsible training of these moral values and principles? Why is it that spiritual education is left to telling Bible stories, sing choruses, and playing games? Why doesn't the Church feel the importance of making a difference in our society? Why isn't Sunday School the principal arm of training, equipping and evangelism?
Are we so different from the early Hebrews? Are we so blind to the present that we will not see the inevitable fate that awaits us? In the early 1800s, there was a Biblical morality. Certain things were right and wrong, and they knew why. By the late 1950s, we see a non-biblical morality, certain things were right and wrong, but they weren't sure as to why. In the late 1970s, our society had become immoral, certain things were right and wrong, but they just didn't care. Today, we live in an amoral culture. There's no such thing as right and wrong. Every man does what is right in his own eyes.
We have arrived at the place that the early Hebrews found themselves, a generation that does not know God. It has taken us less time than the Hebrews to raise a generation that is ignorant of God.
We need to cry out to the Lord in humility seeking his forgiveness and setting the present generation on the correct course by teaching them the ways of God as directed by the Holy Scriptures.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

How America Is Being Destroyed From WIthin


Back in the 1960s and even into the early 1970's I attended several anti-Communist rallies.  By the 1980's one of the lasting legacies for President Ronald Reagan during his time in the White House was his victories against communism. Reagan helped orchestrate the eventual downfall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.  I was ready to believe that we won the war with communism.  Was I ever wrong!
Have you asked yourself the question of how did America get in the mess we are in with the political polarization between the right and the left?  If you don't see this nation crumbling before your very eyes, you are blind. 
To use another expression rather than communism, I will use Cultural Marxism.  When the whole world heard "Tear down this wall!" that day on June 22, 1987, it was the beginning of the end of communism—or was it?  Since 1961 Germany was divided East and West by a wall constructed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.  American could now drop our guard the threat of communism was going to be just a note in the back of a world history book.  America had won the Cold War.
One thing I have learned about the American people we are all for instant gratification.  We like our victory celebrations.  Remember when George W. Bush declares mission accomplished from aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, standing directly under a "Mission Accomplished" banner, President George W. Bush said, "In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." WOW! 
Here it is 2019, and The State Department ordered a partial evacuation of the United States Embassy in Baghdad recently, responding to what the Trump administration said was a threat linked to Iran, one that has led to an accelerated movement of American ships and bombers into the Persian Gulf.  I thought the war was over.
Our government has this tendency to jump the victory gun.  We did it in the 1980s, we did it in 2003, we did it in Syria.  American leaders are not long haulers.  They would be in for the short "proclaimed victory" even if we failed in our mission.  While other nations have learned the importance of delayed gratification and look down the road for victory America has not learned that lesson.   America was convinced that communism was defeated and there was no fear of what they could do.  However, the Cultural Marxist had exploited the education system of American with our liberal ideology which allowed the Cultural Marxist to access our institutions of learning where they eventually submerged our education system in the politics of communism.
Our schools of higher learning have filled our youth with the doctrine of critical theory.  We now have a generation of progressive socialist who has no idea that they were manipulated to accept the agenda to destroy one of the greatest civilizations that have ever existed on earth. 

Here is what the Marxist were able to do while we were busy looking the other way:
    They gave us feminism, which was based on the lie of white male oppression.  It has destroyed the family unit.
Here is the Catechism of the feminist taken from Katherine Murray Millett, who was an American feminist writer, educator, artist, and activist. She attended Oxford University and was the first American woman to be awarded a degree with first-class honors after studying at St Hilda's College, Oxford. She has been described as "a seminal influence on second-wave feminism," and is best known for her book Sexual Politics, which was based on her doctoral dissertation at Columbia University.

Q. "Why are we here today?"
A. "To make revolution,"
Q. "What kind of revolution?"
A. "The Cultural Revolution,"

Q. "And how do we make Cultural Revolution?"

A. "By destroying the American family!"
Q. "How do we destroy the family?"
A. "By destroying the American Patriarch,
Q. "And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?"
A. "By taking away his power!"
Q. "How do we do that?"
A. "By destroying monogamy!"
Q. "How can we destroy monogamy?"
A. "By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution, and homosexuality!"
    They gave us class warfare, which is based on the lie of who is the oppressor.

According to the Marxists in the Democratic Party, working-class people have been downtrodden and oppressed by the greedy 1%, and their corporations for far too long. It is time to rise up and take what is yours. Well, most are to busy playing video games, or texting on their cell phones to do much "rising up" so the benevolent bureaucrats in Washington DC (Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, AOC, and friends) plan on doing it for you.  They may find it hard to convince the downtrodden and oppressed with an unemployment rate of just over 3% because people don't like the government taking away their hard-earned money, but they will try.
The problem is that many of the younger generations have already bought the lie of who is the oppressor because they were educated to accept the Marxists teachings.
    They gave us global warming, which is based on the distribution of wealth.
Many international environmental agreements include references to American greed and unfairness, and usually, contain mechanisms for large wealth transfers from rich to poor countries to rectify claimed injustices. In the Copenhagen agreement, the term "climate reparations" was used widely. Even Obama's advisers suggested using climate change agreements to effect "distributive justice." Some said that Kyoto would have rebalanced global power, and virtually mandated the de-industrialization of the West, as well as capped military consumption of fossil fuels, which might have reduced American influence overseas.
President Obama once told reporters his policies would bankrupt the coal sector, which provides 50% of U.S. energy. Why would he do this?  The reason the political left in America has adopted the climate scare with such enthusiasm is that some of the largest funders of their political opponents on the right are the coal and oil corporations (not the miners or oil workman).  Since oil is necessary for automobile gasoline, the oil corporations have largely escaped the wrath of the left, but the coal corporations are now under sustained assault and are already being compelled to reduce their financial contributions to the left's opponents.

As a side, note-Trump made his appeal to the miners with the promise to make coal great again and got their support based on his promise.  The miners broke with the traditional Democratic and voted for Trump.  Will they vote in the next election that will be based on what happens with the change in health insurance.
    They gave us multi-culturalism and diversity to replace the white oppressors (Christian oppressors in particular). 
Never has there been a time in the history of our country where white people are ashamed of being white.  We have white women who have identified with being African American, and Native American Indian because they believe whites to be oppressors.
White privilege, or whiteness studies, is now an entrenched part of far too many -ology and humanities classes.  This notion of white skin privilege has become an "article of faith among progressives," who assert that "whites, by definition and DNA, would remain racists, even if unwittingly, until the end of time."  Listen to the Democratic Presidential Candidates who are white by race yet are anti-white in their speech, condemning the white race. They want you to vote for them but they are saying they do not have the right color of skin and would not do a good job-stupid.
The so-called whiteness studies bore no resemblance whatsoever to other identity-based curricula like Black Studies, Chicano Studies, and Women's Studies. These fields celebrated their respective groups, but Whiteness Studies consistently depicts whites as "malevolent oppressors of people with darker complexions."
    They gave us environmentalism, which is more resistance to capitalist oppression.
There is an assumption among environmentalists that Marxism, holds a "productivist" ideology, and is not concerned, for the fate of the environment.  The idea that Marx and Engels were obsessed only with the conditions of workers is generally accepted by both the left and right.  However, Marx claims that thanks to the suppression of capitalism, modern societies could return to a higher form of an "archaic" type of collective ownership and production. Marx believed that in pre-capitalist societies there existed a kind of unity between the producers and the land, and he saw as one of the critical tasks of socialism to re-establish the original agreement between humans and nature, destroyed by capitalism.  The environmental issues of today are all aimed at resistance to capitalism.
    They gave us Social Justice to destroy Christianity.
Social Justice is an ideology birthed out of Critical Theory and Liberation Theology, the product of a wedding between Italian fascists and South American Jesuits, in which Marxist thought is combined with Theism to bring about political change.
Our seminaries and Bible schools are pumping out Social Justice drones who are not able to preach expository sermons and explain the Scriptures. They are intent on 'reforming' their churches by turning them into mercy ships in the name of justice and reconciliation.
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) has an "Office of Kingdom Diversity" — a program that hosts events such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X read-ins. It exists to promote liberal ideology such as "white privilege," "white guilt," and general indignation toward a predominantly white society and its culture. In other words, it exists to teach seminarians that to be white is shameful and "whiteness" must be eradicated.
Both Marxism and social justice are based on the distribution of wealth. Communism gives the same amount of income to each person independent of competency or uselessness. Social justice advocates push for the same on issues like the wage gap and diversity.  The phrase “living wage” is tossed around like it is the solution to the poverty of mankind.  Yet, no one has been able to determine what is a “living wage.” 

Social Justice has been crammed down the throats of local churches not by pastors, but by parachurch organizations that have infiltrated churches through media outreach. Social Justice is not a move of God, or it would have originated in the Scriptures.. Instead, Social Justice originated in academic and political think-tanks in Washington and in centers of political influence.
What is sad is that so many ministers have bought into the social justice ideology without looking at where it came from and who are its supporters. It's not local churches filling the minds of young and impressionable readers with Liberation Theology it is coming from workshops and seminars held by those claiming to be Christian.  It is time to return to the teachings of the Bible and forget the politics of liberal socialist and preach the message of salvation.
In conclusion, each of these issues is critical of our established society, and the mission is to be extremely critical of the American nation, to build numbers, to level and make waste of our society and replace it with the Marxist Utopia. A Utopia free of the oppressors who are making life so 'unbearable' today.
I repeat the people pushing these issues are mostly victims. Stupid, uneducated left- wing robots like the fools congratulating North Korea on building a hydrogen bomb. Unbelievably ignorant, this is an example what our Cultural Marxist controlled schools and universities are pumping into our youth today.
The knowing or unknowing spreaders of Critical Theory have infiltrated most of our cultural institutions and now control them. Not only our schools and universities but our media and our entertainment sector. Our newspapers, our television/ radio news broadcasts, our movies, and TV series, they are there, and they're everywhere.  In short, they are members of the Synagogue of Satan and are out to destroy everything the LORD holds dear.
Here is my concern, I cannot have much influence on a generation that has been raised on the progressive socialist ideology of Marxist, but I can warn people of the importance of looking out for the education of their children and to raise them in the knowledge of the LORD.  If you value your children, you will not expose them to the teachings of the Cultural Marxist.  What we are seeing today is just a small glimpse of the impending destruction that is coming on America.  We are one election away from changing America to a failed socialist/Marxist nation.
Christians need to wake up and see the shortness of the time left to us.  If you cannot do anything more than save your family from the coming judgment you have done well. It is heartbreaking to see your children and grandchildren entrapped in an ideology that was conceived in the depths of hell to destroy mankind and separate him from his Creator.  Knowledge is power, what will you do with this knowledge?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Seven Steps of Leaving Egypt. (part one)

1.    Worship God but stay in Egypt-   Exodus 8:24 
 Religion does not turn a lot of people on.  Doesn't this seem strange?  Even though many accept that there is a God of creation, they are not convinced that there is a hell; that people who do not make a commitment to Jesus Christ are destined to suffer some punishment as the worst of sinners; that God expects and demands loyalty; that good works accompany true faith. 
 Most people in this country take the pursuit of happiness very seriously.  It is an inalienable right.  Most of us spend a lifetime pursuing happiness.  Unfortunately, many people fail in their quest because they do not know and understand God.  They have never left Egypt. 
 Apathy monopolizes Christians as well as the non-Christian dimensions of our society.  Why is it so difficult to interest people in spiritual matters?  First, they are caught up in a condemned association.  Many people have experienced painful failures trying to find fulfillment and security in material possessions and physical pleasures.  Spiritual concepts and words do not easily capture the attention of these souls.  They have never experienced the joy of really knowing God.  They are still in Egypt. 
 One of the primary reasons given by the disillusioned and "turned off to religion" folks is that people who claim to be spirit-filled, born again, Bible-believing people, are just as unfulfilled as they are, and they are right. 
 Many folks are bound by guilt and going to church is just a walk through the performance, they never experience the new joyful relationship God intended for His children. The root of apathy among Christians stems from their initial relationship with God.  Did this relationship come about by some spiritual evolution?  Did it come from being born a Christian?  Or did it come from conviction of sin, confession of sin, and a full commitment to God? 
The Bible from Genesis to Revelation teaches a substitutional and vicarious atonement for the sin of man.  This is the only sane, logical, and scriptural doctrine of all those that are taught to man to help him in his fallen state.  The atonement of Jesus Christ should be understood as both legal and practical.   The reason and necessity for the atonement are evident when we know the love of God, His relationship to the human race, the fall of man, and his need for redemption.  The atonement is a necessity because of these truths.  We should understand the atonement as being not only necessary if a man is to be restored to original fellowship with the Creator, but that it was not an afterthought on the part of God because man fell.  It is the most wonderful pre-planned, necessary, just, authoritative, and legal work of God in all history.  The entire subject is a judicial one, and all the terms used in Scripture to express it are legalistic, such as an advocate, an intercessor, a mediator, a judge, a judgment, condemnation, pardon, justification, redemption, adoption, intercession, restitution, conciliation, law, sin, penalty, justice, and etc. 
In the fall of man, Satan appears as more than a kidnapper or slave-master holding his slaves for ransom or redemption, but he has assumed pseudo-sovereignty over a man on the principle of the consent of a responsible agent.  He governs men only by the consent of man.  His government is only by consent of the governed.  This kind of government is the only kind that God Himself recognizes or could reasonably establish with laws of rewards and penalties.  This is the only kind that could possibly be carried on with a free moral agent.  Satan became the usurper of man's dominion and assumed the position of "Prince of this world" and "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, Jn. 12:31; 1Jn. 3:8-9; Matt 13:38  The natural fallen man is bound to sin, and Satan by consent of the will is clear from the fact that when a man becomes old enough to be accountable for their personal acts they can continue in sin or freely choose to renounce sin and Satan and turn to God.  Jn 3:15; Rom 6:16-23; 2Cor 4:2-6.   They are willing subjects of sin and Satan and are free to become subjects of God and can willfully abandon the devil at any time.  But they do not because these individuals have never been freed from the power of Egypt and Pharaoh. 
If men could once and for all learn that they can of their own consent be made free from sin, and the works of the devil, that they can by their own consent refuse to be subjects of Satan and his governed; that they can turn from sin and become righteous through Christ; that they can reject and refuse defeat in their lives in any endeavor, they would reject all demon powers and doctrines; they would accept God and the truth and be made free and kept free by the power of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 
 All sinners can be transformed by faith in the atonement.  The divine life with all its love, nature, and ideals give them victory over, and freedom from the old sinful traits that are contrary to the will of God.  This is not salvation by self-effort or personal works, birth, or education.  It is a new divine life imparted by the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning work.  It is a spiritual life imparted to the inner man by the Spirit.  Mere natural cultured virtues are never Christian graces and powers, for that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Jn 3:1-8; Rom 8:1-16; Gal 5:16-26.  No human development, education, or human effort will ever transform human life from life after the flesh to live after the Spirit.  Conversion is never evolutionary but the making of a new creature by the divine supernatural act.   
 If all Christians could come to see this simple and biblical truth, it would solve many problems and answer many questions concerning God's dealing with the saved and unsaved.  It would settle many differences between those who accept Scriptural authority and those who fail to see its importance. 
 From Salvation, an individual knows the joys and fulfillment of life.  The Christian's pursuit of happiness is finding and doing the will of God.  The Christian is not caught up in being a prisoner of hope, with lost dreams, an unfulfilled life, defeated, depressed, and discouraged.  But instead there is a victory in knowing that our sins have been forgiven, we have been washed in the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ God's only son.  We know in whom we have believed and are persuaded that he can keep that which we have committed unto Him against that day.  We know and understand that God loves us and that He gave His only Son for our salvation. 
2.    You can go, you don't have to stay--just don't go too far.  8:28 
 Maintaining positive beliefs is essential to your effectiveness as a Christian.  That's why it's crucial to hold on to these beliefs in the face of challenges.  And make no mistake about:  Your beliefs will be challenged.  Yet while we are trying to interpret our Christian faith into the language of today, we need to remember that there is one thing worse than failure to practice what we profess, and that is to water down our professions to match our practice.  This watering down comes only when we perceive that what God has asked us to live cannot be lived because we are looking only at our human abilities and not as what God has promised to do for us.  We feel if we maintain certain respectability, then we are doing our best.  We know that we can leave Egypt, but we can also stay.  It is our choice. 
If we are to take our rightful place in God's more excellent work, then we must realize that there is more required of us than just respectability.  The foundation of Christianity is laid deeper than just maintaining an absolute minimum morality.  The old law of "thou shalt not" is superseded by the command of Jesus to "be ye perfect."
 No one who endeavors to live this life in sincerity, integrity, and purity will find it easy.  But you will find it morally stable.  Your personal loyalty to Christ will always be stronger when you are anchored to Him.  It is through this allegiance that power for life is received. This power for life enables us to make the right choices.  The ordinary individual does not understand the meaning of moral stability.  The average individual is far more likely to think of greatness and power, and the ability to control the lives of others more important than the power of a stable moral life.
 These individuals are discontent with life because they see no chance to realize this dream of power and wealth.   On a global scale when these individuals are seeking wealth and power, what do they get?  They get war, followed by economic failure.  I would think that a quick review of history would explain this cycle.  But on a personal scale, the same takes place there are small personality wars followed by failure of friendships.  The belief of how things should be, and the belief of how things are, creates frustration in our lives 
Whenever you believe what should be conflicts with what is, you're going to end up feeling frustrated.  That's what frustration is a gap between expectation and reality.
 When you are in line at the supermarket, in a hurry to get home, there always seems to be someone who must argue about coupons or some other silly thing, and you feel frustrated.  
Any time you believe that things must be different for you to reach your goals, you are going to feel frustrated, trapped, disempowered. The truth is, all your "shoulds' probably are 100 percent correct.  The reality is that many aspects of the church aren't the way they should be.  No one can fault you for feeling frustrated.  The question is what you are going to do about it.  Remain frustrated and accept dissatisfaction?  Or choose to be different?  Are you going to make a choice to stay in Egypt or are you getting out? 
 The choices we make about the challenges we face shape our spiritual lives.  You may stay with the shoulds and remain frustrated.  Or you may look at things the way they really are and seek solutions that move you toward fulfillment of your spiritual growth.  You can look at your spiritual life and see the hopelessness you are in and remain in the confines of Egypt and die.  Or you can choose to pack your bags and get out.  You must take responsibility for your spiritual life. 
Think of responsibility as a response-ability.  You can choose your response to the challenges.  If you take a position that you should not have to deal with the issues hindering your spiritual growth, you become a victim.  You choose to make yourself a victim.  You end up frustrated, bitter, burned out.  You give up.  You decide to remain in Egypt. But if you choose to respond realistically to the challenges you can find a way to have victory over them and preserve your spiritual life and keep you focused on the mission of helping get other out of Egypt this is winning souls for Christ. 
When you believe that the church is here to help meet the needs of this community, you will want to find ways to rise above the challenges.  The hardest problem you will face is in recognizing that you do indeed have a choice.  It is your choice.  It is your challenge.  It is your spiritual life that you must deal with. 
If you choose to change the direction this church has been going in for several years of never resolving issues; you can revitalize your spiritual life as well as help our church become the spiritual center that it should be.     You have made a conscious choice, which is a start in making a difference.  Don't allow your life to be made up of shoulds.  Don't have the regrets of having not ever left Egypt. 
3.    You can leave, but your families must stay.     10:10 
There is nothing sadder than seeing a family divided in their spiritual life.  Too many people have listened to Pharaoh and left their families behind.  First, this is not scriptural.  God did not plan to separate the family.  In the Book of Acts, we find that when salvation came to an individual, it came to the entire family.   
Satan knows that if he has the family back in Egypt, there will never be a strong commitment to God.  The spirit and emotions are divided between God and family.  It is all a matter of who you belong to. There are many people today who would say, "It is important to find out what belongs to you and make sure as you can that there's plenty of it."  Wiser souls would say, "It is more important to find out what you belong to.  What claims you, commands you, fulfills you and masters you." 
One of the most devastating diseases is loneliness.  It is basically a problem of belonging.  There is a significant difference between being alone and lonely.  An individual can be in a crowd and be lonely.  It has to do with being unrelated.  There is no meaningful connection with other people or with God.  Here stands an individual who is as lonely as a graveyard. 
 Paul states, "Brothers you are called to belong to Jesus Christ..."  Belonging to Jesus Christ is an aspect of relatedness, belonging to God's highest and the world's best---Jesus Christ.   What does it mean to belong to Jesus Christ?  In the sixth chapter of Romans Paul writes about our spiritual freedom in Jesus Christ.  This is not a freedom to do as I please it is a freedom from the control of sin. "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  Being made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."    I become a servant of God through Jesus Christ.  "But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruits unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."   No individual is without a master.  "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servant ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness."
 The question is who my master is?  If it is not Jesus, then it is Satan.  Satan enslaves us to the bondage of sin while Christ emancipates us.  "Who the Son sets free is free indeed."  I have noticed that the farther a man get from Christ, the less of a man he becomes.  Sin entangles us.  It is a powerful entity that does not stop until we are dead physically.  Yet, the closer a man gets to Christ the more of a man he becomes.  His convictions are based on the fundamental principles of God's Word.  His character is molded in fashion after Jesus Christ.  His life is dedicated to completing the will of God.  There is a spiritual oneness and not a self-awareness-- he becomes a whole man. 
The life of Jesus exemplifies mastery and liberty.  He was the Master of the storm.  When flattered that the people want him to become king, he remained humble.  When his popularity was high and his followers many, he did not forget his purpose in coming, he continued loyal to his Father.  When his life could have been filled with bitterness, he extended forgiveness. 
The life of Jesus shows Him as the Master of circumstances.  He did not despise material values and physical comforts; he did not allow them to become his master.  Regardless of the circumstances whether it was paying taxes, fishing all night, feeding the multitude, healing the sick, raising the dead, or finding a place to sleep, Jesus was the Master of the circumstance.  Most men will struggle to make themselves independent with wealth.  Jesus Christ made himself independent of wealth. 
Was the life of Christ without challenge and difficulty?  Listen as he says, " Father if it is possible to let this cup pass..." This took courage and confidence to face "...nevertheless not my will, but thine be done."  He says to us in the world you will have tribulation be of good cheer I have overcome the world.  James Stewart, the Scottish preacher, said: "Why do you linger amid the shadows of the prison-house when Christ has opened wide the door?" 
To belong to Jesus Christ, we must be more than believers in the forgiveness of sin we must accept it as a gift from God.  When I receive the gift, I become part of a community in whose membership we find true fellowship.  We now are in the company of saints.  Saints are not people who have been dead for a long time, they are not old and feeble, quiet and unbothersome people.  Saints are people who belong to God. 
We must be part of a community bound together in a fellowship that allows for our: spiritual gifts to develop, for spiritual growth, for spiritual fulfilling, for a sense of accomplishment.  Being apart from people is, but the achievement needed to remain whole. 
 All too often though, we want to start where we should be ending.  The Wright Brother's did not begin at Kitty Hawk.  They started by studying seagulls.  Einstein didn't start with the theory of relativity.  He started with multiplication tables.  Henry Ford didn't start with the Model T.  He began by repairing bicycles.  And Wendell Phillips. . . Who is Wendell Phillips?  He was called the Prophet of Liberty.  Twenty-five years before the Emancipation Proclamation this Boston aristocrat broke with tradition and friends to oppose slavery.  He became known as the golden trumpet.  Did he start when challenged by a speech of Lincoln?  No.  He began by speaking up for one Boston mulatto who was about to be hanged for saying, Slavery was an insult to God and human dignity."  In 1884 Phillips died not hated but honored. 
Why such a change?  Phillips heard Lyman Beecher preach on the Lordship of Christ.  He was so moved that he went home and prayed.  O God, I belong to Thee; take what Thine own is, I ask this that whatever a thing be wrong it may have no power or temptation over me.  Whenever an item is right, it may take no courage to do it.  O God I belong to thee. 
We are not called to be happy.  We are called to belong---happiness follows.  We are not called to service.  We are called to belong---service will follow.  We are not called to be.  We are called to belong--- following.  Belonging to Christ, we belong to His people.  We belong to the family.  We can open our hearts, let our hair down, share our problems, feed our faith, and encourage one another.  We now belong to a cause whose mission gives fulfillment in life. 
Young people, our tempted to be excited, energetic, enthusiastic about fads, superficial interest, and small loyalties.  I challenge you today to be passionate, energetic, and earnest in the most significant cause in the universe and show your willingness to start by belonging to Jesus Christ.  Do you belong if not you can?  Keep your family together. 
 Dad, have you let your wife walk a lonely road because you would rather stay in Egypt where is take no courage to live.  Are you afraid to head towards the Wilderness where you will find a new life, an exciting journey, and challenges?  Are you content to take your family to church while you stay at home?  Keep your family together.