Tag Archives: Life

Doomed to Repeat History (Election 2016)

Old sayings tend to stand the test of time because they offer lessons gleaned from past experience. 

Learn from your mistakes. 

Think past your current situation. 

Weigh the consequences of your decision. 

Money is the root of all evil.

It is easy to take Liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you. 

He that is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else.

Everybody blames the culture without taking responsibility.

Unfortunately we have a large voting population of people who don’t take much time to learn and read about the past. They either don’t care about history or they are too self absorbed to see that everything around them is falling apart. The security that we so enjoy and the freedoms that we actually have are eroding away little by little. The seeds of evil intent are planted all around them, but they don’t know that. They don’t believe that. Why would they? Science taught them in elementary school that there is no creator, no devil, no spirits controlling the minds of men. Yes, indeed all people everywhere are kind and gentle with no aspirations to deceive to gain power. 

No, never has there been a man who deceived the people of such a powerful country and tricked its citizens into voting him in for change. No one ever used the patriot’s call of making their country great again to take control of a nation. Well, except….

I’ve often wondered if the generation before me felt that my generation would be the end of our country. At times I feel like the generation after me certainly could be. Sometimes there are glimmers of hope. Yet, the glimmers tend to be spread out among a field of dark minds who only think about “what’s in it for me”. Shells of people, skin deep people, people unable to think through the full spectrum of consequences related to a life decision. Even lacking the ability to understand that every choice we make has the potential to be a life altering decision.

I heard a Christian rap song today by KB called “Church Clap” and it made me think of this election cycle. One of the lyrics says; “we need discernment, check what you be affirmin”. This is exactly what we should be saying to our church friends today before they vote on Tuesday. Let’s not repeat history again.

I’ll leave you with these passages and quotes:

“All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, “See this, it is new”? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us. There is no remembrance of earlier things; And also of the later things which will occur, There will be for them no remembrance Among those who will come later still.”
Ecclesiastes 1:8-11 NASB

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)  

 

Citations:

Wikiquote. George Santayana. Retrieved 02/23/2016,     From https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Santayana

Bible.com. Ecclesiastes 1:8-11 NASB. Retrieved 02/23/2016, From http://bible.com/100/ecc.1.8-11.NASB

 

Copyright Johnathan Sexton

The False Teachers

First and second Peter, two short books with a lot to say. I found myself there this week. Many times when I am reading the Bible I come across things that I just have to share. Almost like I have the only remaining Bible on the planet and I must share what I am seeing. It’s not the fact that I may have never read that verse before that makes it new and exciting. Rather, it is events, circumstances, and my own experiences in the world that have changed to the point that the verses now has a deeper meaning.

You probably have your own stories of people in a position of religious authority who may not be teaching or expounding upon the word quite the way you remember hearing it taught in the past. Maybe it is totally wrong and void of theological correctness, but it is more inclusive and less harsh. Yet it gets more people on-board, and the tithes roll on in.

Let’s look at what the Apostle Peter has to say.

2 Peters 2:1-3 – 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. (www.Bible.com)
 
2 Peters 2:9 – 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish. (www.Bible.com)
 
2 Peters 2:13b – 22 – 13b They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer,who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,”and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” (www.Bible.com)

 

Some of these people say they believe in God, but they try to twist around the word of God and manipulate the meaning of verses in order to fit their desired lifestyle. In the Bible, Paul tells us in both his letters to Timothy what to look for in the later times concerning marriage, diets, and all sorts of daily activities that will be twisted around. (1 Timothy 4:1-4, 2 Timothy 3:1-5). He said that false teachers and prophets would suggest that what is right is bad and what is wrong is good. These people have consciences that are seared. They will quarrel about words and meanings and will give up their beliefs for money (1 Timothy 6:3-10). Paul gives Timothy this charge: 1 Timothy 6:20-21 –  “20Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.” (www.Bible.com)

Our job as believers is not to pass judgement, but to point these people back to grace and truth in Jesus. (Romans 2:1-16) We are not sinless. We are not perfect. We will not be perfect or without sin as long as we live in this world in these fleshly bodies. We simply have to believe in Jesus, that He is God’s son, that He died on the cross and took our punishment, then do our best to live without sin and accept His mercy and grace when we fail.

1 Peter 4:2-6 “As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.”
(www.Bible.com)

You see, it won’t be enough for them to lead children down the wrong path and to confuse those who do not take time to test their false teaching. No, their desire will also be to try and discredit the true believers, the ones who know and keep the Lord’s commandments. They will call us haters, war mongers, and any other name you can think of to make people turn against the truth. Giving a person a label is the quickest way to turn people against them. Think on that a minute. Any time someone comes out with a differing view from the mainstream, almost immediately a label is spewed out on them.  Hypocrite, bigot, racist, climate change denier, conspiracy theorist, pro-lifer, redneck, backwoods, so forth and so on.

Jesus spoke of the false prophets this way:

Matthew 7:15-2015 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (www.Bible.com)

In their book “Are We Living in the End Times”, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins write this about false prophets: “Most false prophets have a faulty view of Jesus. Some are blatantly false; the more dangerous ones will accept Him as a god but not God in human flesh. Never trust any teacher who does not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, His sinless life, sacrificial death, bodily resurrection, and His promise to come again physically to this earth.” (Chapter 4) “Many false teachers are endowed with a natural charisma, which at first makes them seem tremendously spiritual and insightful.” (Chapter 4) They will use the same old tricks they always have. The same type of trick that Satan used on Eve in the beginning. Don’t be deceived.

Even more so now, as the time of Christ’s return draws nearer, false prophets and teachers are popping up almost everywhere you look. Social media web sites are a perfect tool for these false teachers. It is the closest thing that Satan has to being omnipresent. Think about that a minute. How would you distribute false teachings and plant seeds of poisoned fruit to the masses if you were not an omnipresent being? This may be another post topic later.

Grace be with you all.

Get Up Press On Lean In Take Hold

Get Up Press On

Isaiah 6:5 –  “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Bible.com

Lean In Take Hold

Philippians 3:8-14 – What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Bible.com

No matter the shortcomings or the circumstances it’s time to take hold and press on. We must spread the gospel message quickly. Not as ones who have yet taken hold of the final prize, but as imperfect people who have faith in Christ.

They Loved Darkness Instead of Light

You probably know a person who absolutely refuses to believe that there is a God. In fact, in their opinion, anyone who believes in God is a weak-minded person. They say a person who believes in a creator must do so because they can not comprehend how the universe was really created. Perhaps the most propagated lie among many non-believers is that a real atheist knows the information in the Bible more than most believers do. I would say that this is obviously not true. It is a lie that I am sure many atheists want to believe themselves because it makes them feel good about the poor decision that they have made to deny the existence of God.

I would contend that the majority of believers and non-believers in my country know the Bible about as well as they know what is written in their fifth grade history book. Unless you are the fifth grade teacher or a person who is just extremely interested in history, you probably only remember pieces of what you read or learned years ago. Maybe they remember the high points, but certainly do not themselves comprehend the full breadth of what it is to know the Word of God. Who created God? That question in itself is odd at best, especially coming from an all-knowing Bible thumper like an atheist.

He was there from the beginning and so was the Word. The Logos (Word), Jesus. In Him there is life. That life is the light of all mankind. God and the Word was there in the beginning of what we know as time and matter. Our human science and ability to understand our universe are all limited by a fundamental inability to comprehend an existence without time or matter. Through Him all things were made that have been made and without Him nothing has been made. (Reference John 1:1-18, John 8:12) “All things” does not just mean things that we can see with our eyes or grasp within our mind. He did not need a creator because life was from Him. We can not understand anything outside of what has been given to us as a frame of reference by Him.

God is real and he is not and never will be dead. Yet, sin and the desire for sinful pleasure is a powerful attractant. To this end there must be a way for people to justify their sin. What better way is there to justify sin than simply denying that there is a God. Let me highlight a few things that may have been forgotten over the years since the last time you read and fully comprehended the Bible and all other religious texts and decided that there is no God. You may know and remember the verse John 3:16. However, do you remember what John wrote in the verses just before and after this verse? Jesus had just finished telling Nicodemus that he, Nicodemus, could not comprehend heavenly things and that only He, Jesus, had ever been in heaven and came back in the flesh. In short, only Jesus fully understood what it means to be born of the Spirit. Then, John tells us why people refuse to believe in God (this is only one place where the Bible says this, it is stated in many ways within different books of the Bible).

John 3:16-21 – 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (www.Bible.com)

You see, this is just one example where the Bible tells us why people will deny that there is a God and they will not believe in Jesus. Jesus is the life of this world and that life is light for us. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. (Proverbs 4:19, www.Bible.com)

Jesus said that whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. If you do not know where you are going then you are lost. That is why He is that light shining in the darkness to help us find the way to the Lord. (John 12:35) Yet, if you are too overwhelmed with the pleasures of this world you will refuse to look for the light and may even go so far as to say there is no light. Without trying to sound too harsh I will say that people may simply be mentally incapable of thinking about anything outside of mental or physical pleasure at certain points in their life, myself included. For some, these points in life seems to last until they are dead. Believing in a God and living a life that tries to honor the Lord would simply be an aggravation for a person who loves sin.

On the other hand there are those that say darkness is light and light is darkness. They call evil things good, and good things evil. This is not new, but Isaiah said it would be true in the future (Isaiah 5:20). These people say they believe in God, but they try to twist around the word of God and manipulate the meaning of verses in order to fit their desired lifestyle. In the Bible, Paul tells us in both his letters to Timothy what to look for in the later times concerning marriage, diets, and all sorts of daily activities that will be twisted around. (1 Timothy 4:1-4, 2 Timothy 3:1-5). He said that false teachers and prophets would suggest that what is right is bad and what is wrong is good. These people have consciences that are seared. They will quarrel about words and meanings and will give up their beliefs for money (1 Timothy 6:3-10). Paul gives Timothy this charge: 1 Timothy 6:20-21 –  20Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. (www.Bible.com)

Even so, through all of this we must remember that the battle is against the powers of this dark world and spiritual forces who oppose God. (Ephesians 6:12) The flesh and blood people of this world, who do not walk in the light, are simply lost and in darkness without the ability to comprehend a real spiritual battle. Yet, they would say that they can comprehend how the universe was made outside of the truth of God. Our task is to shine the light to those around us to help open their eyes to the truth so that they can ask forgiveness for their sin and accept the mercy and grace of the Lord. (Acts 26:18)

Our job as believers is not to pass judgement, but to point unbelievers to the light. (Romans 2:1-16) We are not sinless. We are not perfect. We will not be perfect or without sin as long as we live in this world in these fleshly bodies. We simply have to believe in Jesus, that He is God’s son, that He died on the cross and took our punishment, then do our best to live without sin and accept His mercy and grace when we fail.

We have to help people who are in darkness to find the light and to see why hating the light is a decision that they will regret in the end. Loving the darkness to fulfill physical and mental desires for pleasure is a decision to accept very temporary gain and a very permanent death where you will remain in darkness.

Grace be with you all.

The flesh is weak

Why am I writing this blog post today? I don’t know, it just came to me. Maybe this is for you, maybe it is for me. Let’s just see where it goes.

When you think about the vices that weigh most people down, you really have to place the blame on our inability to tame our flesh and rise above the primal desires that were designed into these mortal bodies we live in. Financial issues, non-medical obesity, adultery, laziness, theft, the need for the next electronic gadget; all of these things relate to an issue with controlling our fleshly desires for things, physical pleasure and comfort.

This is not just a modern day issue. Even the apostles had to deal with these issues. Look at what Jesus said to them. It was the night that Jesus would be betrayed by Judas Iscariot (sold him for some silver coinage). Jesus had took his closest disciples with him up on the hill to pray, but they fell asleep instead. Mark 14:37-38 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,”he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Bible.com) After all the miracles of healing, casting out demons, feeding the multitudes and walking on water, how could these guys fall asleep when Jesus asked them to pray? 

At some point in your life you are going to have to decide that you are not going to give into the desires for things that bring no lasting benefit to you physically, spiritually, or emotionally. Sometimes you also have to decide if something that will benefit you physically is really beneficial to you in the complete sense of your personal wellness when  the spiritual and emotional benefits must also be included in the calculation. The most obvious answer to which of these three things is most important relies heavily on the fact that our spiritual well-being has eternal consequences. Doing anything for momentary pleasure or short term benefit, without first thinking of the long term consequence, can have long lasting impact on ones life. Especially if those short lived pleasures are partaken of frequently.

In the book “Smart Money Smart Kids”, Rachel Ramsey states that winning with money means “learning patience, delayed gratification, and contentment” (p. 201). I would contend that these principles are important for winning in many areas of ones of life. Yet, these principles of living are not necessarily strengthened by the fact that we are advertised to almost constantly by all these electronic devices all around us. Then these advertisements put small subconscious messages in our minds that tell us that these things we see are acceptable and normal to have or do. I’m not saying these things are all bad, they are probably not. But the problem comes when you start to think that you must have these things to be content with life.

This is why we must continually be mindful of why we are doing the things we do each day. What is the real reason why you are going to buy that new iPhone? What is the real reason why you are eating that third plate full of spaghetti? What is the real reason why are are dashing on a little extra cologne today? We must make sure that our actions are being governed by something other than our own flesh. Sometimes you can’t follow your own heart or your mind alone, but you should have your heart, mind and the Spirit working together to make the bigger decisions in life.

The apostle Paul in the book of Romans says it this way; “Romans 8:7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” (Bible.com)  Knowing this, that the flesh is not able to submit to the law, our Lord the creator sent His son Jesus in the flesh to be a sin offering. Because Jesus, in the form of sinful flesh, was sacrificed as an offering for our sins, if we believe in Jesus he will be faithful to send His Spirit to us to help us make the right decisions in life. Our job then is to make sure the we are listening when the Spirit is guiding us.