WHERE HAS TOM BEEN? PLAYING HOOKY AT THE LION’S DEN

From here.
From here.

From time to time I enter into a debate. Since I don’t have much time for blogging, that sort of activity chews up my blogging time. Still debate is what makes blogging interesting. Celebrating the Word with lions can be especially interesting.

When I read ColorStorm‘s post, Circuits down but the word is good, I discovered Arkenaten taking issue with ‘s post. Whereas  argued for the truthfulness of the Word of God, argued the case for Atheism.

Since I enjoyed ‘s post and agreed, I took his side. Therefore, I expect had a great time as the center of our attention.  Nevertheless, I don’t think we wasted our time.

  •   ColorStorm says:

    You know CT, some think we waste our time by engaging so.

    But God can take our small effort, and sanctify them for His good. It is not only good for unbelievers and atheists to see the uselessness of godlessness, but for us believers to see just how far people will travel to dismiss God above all, and strengthen our faith and prove His word.

    And thx back to you for your always valuable time and commentary done so in the most gracious way.

What was my favorite comment?

  • last I checked, following Jesus was a free choice…you follow or you don’t…nothing about indoctrination in free…or so last I checked…
    and the moniker of imbecile is simply one poor soul’s opinion…
    but based on what I wonder…Is it based on your choice to be free and follow whom you so choose? Reminds me of those who probably watched Noah building that silly arc of his….no rain in sight…silly old man…imbecile some probably said…and then it rained.
    But wait, I forgot…that was just a fairy tale of indoctrination….
    silly me….

What we believe is a choice, and we each have the right make our own choices. What we do not have the right to do is force others to suffer the consequences. So it is that Noah could have been wrong, and he would have wasted decades of work, but it was his time to use as he chose.

What comment of my own pleased me the most? Well, some of them got rather lengthy. So I will just quote of a portion of one comment, but first let’s hear from .

The biblical character , Jesus of Nazareth never, ever once said he was Yahweh (your god) and there are several places he not only flatly denied it, but based on what whoever wrote the gospels stated, it would be utterly absurd to suggest he was, as, for example, who the hell was he talking to upon the cross when supposedly cried out:
.” lama sabachthani”.

or who was he praying to in the the garden of Gethsemane?
Himself?
These are some of the blatantly obvious examples that show the character Jesus of Nazareth was not Yahweh.
The Trinity along with the god hood was devised by the Roman Catholic Church.
Go study some history and don’t come with your whining apologetics to me. (from here)

Here I reply to .

Why did Jesus say “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Have you ever read Psalm 22?

I read that quote, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”, in the Gospels, and for years I was confused. Then I decided to study the Bible, and I finally came to Psalm 22. I was shocked into awe. Here => http://biblehub.com/psalms/22-1.htm is Matthew Henry’s explanation. Here => https://www.gty.org/resources/print/bible-qna/BQ032913 is John MacArthur’s explanation.

What happened on the cross when Jesus died? Frankly, I doubt we will ever understand, even if we have eternity to consider the matter.

That mystery is so great and imponderable that it is not surprising that Martin Luther is said to have gone into seclusion for a long time trying to understand it and came away as confused as when he began.

Some say that for a moment Jesus was split from the Father, and some disagree (=> https://carm.org/jesus-cross-father).

When I want to understand how and why Jesus suffered for our sins, both as man (Hebrews 2:14) and as God (John 14:7), I first refer to Isaiah 53. Then I read the Book of Hebrews. I believe, but I still do not understand. Mostly, I just weep when I think of it.

Consider the typical child. When our mothers gave birth to us, they suffered a price. Both our parents labored to feed, cloth, shelter, and love us. God, as our Father, paid an even greater price for us. He sacrificed His Son on our behalf.

The Trinity bothers you? Who did Jesus pray to in the garden of Gethsemane? Of course, the man Jesus prayed to His Father. The Son communed with His Father.

You want me to explain God? How would anyone? How could man explain this?

Philippians 2:5-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Humbled and Exalted Christ

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

When people consider the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, I think many just balk. The evidence is not the problem; it is the very idea of God humbling Himself that they refuse to accept. Since they would do no such thing, they are horrified their Creator would and might expect them to do the same. The horror of humbling ourselves before our Maker, the Creator of the Universe, particularly when He loves us so much, is too much. They cannot bring themselves to stoop (as they see it) so low. So why would God? They think God models their behavior, of course.

Jesus observed both haughtiness and humility, and He explained the crucial difference.

Luke 18:9-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Pharisee and the Publican

9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

(from here)

What do I find most sad about ‘s denial? Because he does not believe (apparently does not want to believe), cannot understand the Bible well. He is so busy trying to disprove the Bible that when he discovers an apparent contradiction he never seriously considers any explanation. At least, I know I once did that sort of thing. Nevertheless, knows the Bible better than most people who call themselves Christian, and that is sad.

1 Peter 3:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

If we don’t know what the Bible says, how can we give a defense? How can we say have any reason for our hope in our Savior, Jesus Christ?

THE JOY OF BEING TORMENTED?

cross.pngWhen Jesus spoke, He must have caused lots of confusion. Can you imagine trying to decipher The Beatitudes, this one, for example

Matthew 5:11-12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus had yet to die on the cross. He only just begun to teach. He had performed miracles, but just who was He? Nevertheless, His followers soon saw the truth in His words. Christians did suffer for their faith in Jesus and still suffer from insults, persecution, and false accusations.

Here in the United States we are supposed to consider the persecution of Christianity a minor thing. Yet it is not. It is just more subtle.  So we get articles like this:

All this sort of talk is silly.  What is at issue is whether our we can fulfill our Christian obligations, whether the society we live in tries interfere with our duty to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

Consider two examples.

  • Do we want to educate our children in the Christian faith? Is it not obvious our government now hinders us in that effort. Over the decades, government has secularized our schools. They have practically banished the Bible, and they teach religion causes wars, including the Christian religion. Why would the leaders of our government do that? Christianity, which promotes individual rights, is an obstacle to the growth of government power, and some of our leaders crave more power.
  • Do we want the right to speak freely about our faith in public? Once that was commonplace in America, but over the years the mass media, desirous of selling sex and violence, has constantly pushed the envelope of decency. So it is that many corporate executives in the mass media, now dominated by sales people who want to use indecent behavior to mass market goods and services, feel obliged to repress Christians, who teach modesty, abhor gratuitous violence, and promote frugality.

Because sin is popular in all societies, even the United States, anyone who strives to follow the example of Jesus Christ will experience some degree of persecution. There is no point in pretending otherwise. The only issue is whether what we choose to do about it honors Jesus Christ.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, 1914, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, 1914, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts (from here)

Depending upon the the translation, some form of the word “thank” can be found in the Bible between 130 and 210 times. So it is fair to say the Bible has much to say about giving thanks and of the many reasons to give thanks.

Leviticus is largely about the ceremony involved in sacrifices, and it talks about attitude as well as procedure, substance as well as form.

Leviticus 22:29 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

29 And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the Lord, offer it at your own will.

Thanks requires thankfulness. King David was a thankful man. Thus, he wrote many psalms expressing his thanks. One ends with these words.

2 Samuel 22:50-51 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

50 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen,
and I will sing praises unto thy name.
51 He is the tower of salvation for his king:
and sheweth mercy to his anointed,
unto David, and to his seed for evermore.

King David, a great king, saw God as a merciful, loving, and unfailing protector.

Imagine the Jews returning to Jerusalem after their long Babylonian captivity. They gave thanks to the Lord for His forgiveness and for allowing them to lay a new foundation.

Ezra 3:11 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.

Daniel was one of those exiles, although it is not likely that he ever returned to his native land. Even as a high Persian official he endured threats to his life. What happened when the king he served, Darius, issued a decree against praying to any god except himself?

Daniel 6:10 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

Trusting in the Lord, Daniel ignored the decree and continued to give thanks. To those who love Him, the Lord will give cause for thanks. So it has always been for the remnant of Zion.

Isaiah 51:3 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

For the Lord shall comfort Zion:
he will comfort all her waste places;
and he will make her wilderness like Eden,
and her desert like the garden of the Lord;
joy and gladness shall be found therein,
thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

Those who give thanks in pride, however, find their prayers unwelcomed by God.

Luke 18:11 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

That Pharisee prayed with himself, not to God. Instead of extolling our own virtues, we give thanks to God for the virtues of others.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

We give thanks as our Lord did, in humility.

Mark 14:22-25 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

Jesus, humbling Himself in obedience to the Father, gave thanks for the bread and the wine. Then He celebrated the sacrifice He would make on our behalf so that we might not know the second death.

1 Corinthians 15:50-58 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

So it is that today we continue a tradition, thankful for the opportunity to live in a land founded by a great many thankful pilgrims, pilgrims thankful for the providence, the mercy, the grace, and the love of our Creator.

2016 POST ELECTION STRATEGY AND TACTICS – PART 1

ChristianknightAfter President Barrack Hussein Obama’s second election as our president, I wrote a series that starts here: FINDING PEACE IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE 2012 ELECTION — PART 1. That was a frankly Christian and Conservative perspective on what I considered a devastating defeat, that is, devastating from a human perspective. I was not alone. With others I went through the stages of grief. Then we started planning for the future.

Victory, such as it is, presents similar issues. It seems our Lord has a sense of humor. Four years ago nobody anticipated the election of President Donald J. Trump. We would have found the idea laughable, and most people still don’t know what to make of it.

Just as we are not altogether in our defeats, we are not unified in victory. We are always too busy scratching our heads, wondering. How did the *&%$#@! did that happen? Whether we have victory or defeat, it seems events drive us accept the fact that God is in charge.

So can we do? We can serve as our Lord’s hands and feet. In His Name, we can each can make a personal commitment to change the world for the better. Make of it what you will, but here is mine.

What Is A Commitment?

When we make a commitment, we need to define three things.

  • A Goal. To make a meaningful commitment, we have to commit ourselves to a defined purpose, an achievable goal.
  • A Strategy. To pursue a goal effectively, we must have a strategy. To achieve a goal, we have to enumerate the factors that must come together that make goal fulfillment a possibility.
  • Tactics. Every great undertaking is accomplished through the dedicated efforts of so-called little people. In a war, we call the little people soldiers. In war groups of soldiers work in unison by implementing squad, battalion, divisional,… tactics. In politics, we call the little people citizens. What citizens do to implement the overall strategy and achieve the goal we call political activism.

The Goal

Defining my goal begins with how I identify myself.

  • Why am I a Christian? I believe Jesus is who He said He is. I believe He died for our sins and that He rose from the dead.  I believe Jesus is God. I believe God is three in One: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe that through Jesus God gave us an example. Therefore, I strive to be a worthy disciple of Christ.
  • Why am I a Conservative? I believe God is God. I don’t believe any of us is God. I don’t believe any of us are wise enough or good enough to rule the rest of humanity as an all-powerful monarch.  Jesus will do so, but not one of us. Therefore, instead of trying to run other people’s lives, I work to protect the God-given rights of my family, friends, neighbors, and countrymen.

To spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to fulfill The Great Commission Jesus gave us, we need a stable and efficient government.  To protect our God-given rights, including our right to hear and live by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we need a government designed to protect those rights. Therefore, as my goal I seek to protect the constitutional republic given to us by the founders of this nation.

To Be Continued

In Part 2 we will enumerate the factors that must come together that make goal fulfillment a possibility, and we will examine why each of those factors is necessary for the fulfillment of the goal.