The Christian Process Part 2

I discussed in the previous post how when we first become Christians we are put under pressure to perform. Jesus came to perform two ministries, Redemption & Restoration. Redemption was achieved at the cross and with Him rising from the dead.

2Co 13:9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.
2Co 13:10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.
2Co 13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

We as the human race individually need to be restored to what God had originally intended for us. How do we do this? The answer is the Fruit of the Spirit.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Gal 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Gal 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
Gal 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

If our aim in life is to grow in all the above fruits then we will become what God was intended. There are two processes involved in the life of a Christian – Doing & Being. This is kind of a chicken egg scenario. Do we do to be or should we be to do. Let us look at Jesus. All we see Jesus doing is doing. Why is this so? Because He was already full of the Fruit of the Spirit. He didn’t have to BE because He already had it so He could concentrate on DO. Do we start doing to get the being? I don’t think so. I think we should concentrate on the being first so we can be more effective in the doing. Having said this I think that if we obtain a certain amount of the fruit then we can start doing and then in the doing we are able to see the deficiencies in out character to ask for more fruit.

An example would be someone who is called to be a Pastor. A Pastor should have a certain amount of love, patience, kindness and gentleness before embarking on the career of pastor. If we do not become distracted then the doing will help increase the being. We need to look at Paul’s progression to understand these processes.

Paul was called and commissioned on the road to Damascus.

Act 9:13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.
Act 9:14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”
Act 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.
Act 9:16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

When Paul got his sight back he started preaching the Gospel but death threats were issued against him and the disciples in Damascus has to let him over the wall in a basket. He then went to Jerusalem and did the same until the Apostles packed him off to Tarsus. Paul had a very significant revelation of Jesus and who can blame him for preaching Christ but he was a babe at this point. He did not get the discipleship training that the 11 had. From the book of Galatians we see that Paul went somewhere in Arabia and also Damascus before being called by Barnabas to minister in Antioch. Paul and Barnabas then did a fund raising trip to raise money for the Christians in Jerusalem that were hard hit by a famine. Then he did some missionary trips.

The whole point of the above is to show that Paul was exiled by God for the first few years after his calling to mature, to develop some fruit of the spirit and to learn the ways of God. (Remember the New Testament did not exist at this time.)

We need to change our thinking on the process of being a Christian. We need to spend time developing the fruit of the spirit and disciplining ourselves. The discipline we need is the same that soldiers or professional athletes go through.

1Co 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
1Co 9:25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1Co 9:26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
1Co 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Discipline is needed for prayer, reading scripture and controlling the wants of the body.  When John Wesley was doing his thing he had his followers up at 4am for prayer. Considering this what does Matthew 28:18-20

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Mat 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus spoke these words to the 11 disciples/apostles not to all his followers at this time. They were mature and had been discipled. They were to make disciples not just converts. Their job was to preach, teach and disciple and that means we should be taking new converts then helping to discipline them to do the same at God’s timing not our timing.

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The Christian Process Part 1

How many people when they decide to follow Jesus are browbeaten by other Christians that they must be out doing stuff? They partly quote Matthew 28:19 and tell you to go off and preach the gospel to anybody and everybody. Here you are a newly minted follower of Jesus and you are put on a guilt trip from the beginning. Even worse they tell you the bit about Paul after his conversion started preaching the Gospel and he had to be smuggled out of Damascus in a basket etc. etc. I am pretty sure most Christians have been through this. This essay and the following will hopefully address this little mess.

When we decide to follow Jesus as Saviour and Lord we are what is called Born Again as per John 3:3.

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

That is pretty simple and we start in the Kingdom of God as new born babies. As babies we need to learn to crawl then walk, to be able to hear and speak and very importantly be able to understand what He is saying to us and make decisions. In other words we must mature from baby Sons of God to adult Sons of God. As humans we all mature at different rates then as Sons of God we will also mature at different rates. Some really damaged people who come to Jesus may never mature properly. So why do supposedly mature Christians put new born Christians under pressure from the beginning?

Dan 7:25 He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

One of Satan’s strategies is to wear out the saints and he does that by getting the saints to focus on doing. Doing what? Doing anything and everything and it must be done at 150% or we are not pleasing God enough. We get bashed with “Successful Strategies for Sharing the Gospel”, or “Time Management for Pastors”, or just told that we don’t put enough energy into gospel sharing. You get the idea. However all this does is wear out the saints but really doesn’t do enough.

Let us do a quick tour of the life of Jesus. Birth to 30 years of age – did nothing. 30yo to 33yo preached the Gospel, taught his disciples, healed people, rose a couple of people from the dead, did a few other ‘miracles’, died and rose from the dead. Was Jesus worn out? Interesting question, Why did Jesus wait until He was 30? Yes I know theologians have answers for this but the Father could have bypassed all those answers and have Him start early. The really short answer is that He didn’t have to. He started when the Father told Him to start and this is the key to a successful Christian life.

The New Testament basically has two ministries, Redemption and Restoration. Redemption was successfully completed by Jesus and out of that restoration follows. What I mean by this is that people become restored to be the people that the Father can use on Earth. All those who become Christians on Earth will be fully restored in the Kingdom of God but by that time redemption is completed. The goal on Earth is to be restored as fully as possible so that more people can be redeemed.What has happened however is that restoration has fallen by the wayside and people try to do stuff as unrestored humans that is only people who are fully like Jesus can do. The plan was to have many Jesus’ running around doing His stuff and Satan’s plan would have been toast.

So what can we do about this? More in the next blog post.

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For Mormons or those who talk to Mormons

I had an amazing revelation a few days ago. I was told that Joseph Smith was approached by an angel with the gold plates of which has been called the Book of Mormon. After he had copied what was on the gold plates the angel and the gold plates disappeared. The angel was not from the Lord but from Satan and the gold plates were fiction. Joseph Smith was deceived. If he had read his scripture he would have known this.

Gal 1:8  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
Gal 1:9  As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

How important is Paul in writing the scriptures. The Apostle Peter wrote,

2Pe 3:15  And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
2Pe 3:16  as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

Peter recommended Paul who in turn told us not to believe angels who give us a “different” Gospel.

Paul wrote Eph 2:8  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
and
Rom 10:9  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Rom 10:10  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Rom 10:11  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Joseph Smith was unfortunately deceived by a spiritual being. It is time for that deception to end.

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Gehenna revisited

I wrote at the end of my last post

“God’s Justice is that those who refused Him will be put in a place where they can be their own God and cannot damage the Kingdom. All the angels that revolted will be put there also.”

I wrote this because of Matthew 25:41

Mat 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Some people argue that a Loving God would not send people into this fire. There are 2 different doctrines, universal reconciliation and the other is annihilationism. Annihilationism states that human souls will be destroyed. There is however one little problem, and that is the spirit of man   comes from God’s breath and God cannot destroy Himself.

The believers of Universal Reconciliation believe  that God will punish unbelievers for  a short time then let them into the Kingdom of God. The one major problem I have with that is that it nullifies the Christ’s work on the cross. No matter how it is sliced and diced, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross will be for nothing. God the Father sacrificed Jesus for a reason. Jesus died to take the sins of the world on His shoulders. As Paul says, through one man sin came into the world then through one man reconciliation can take place.

This is what the scriptures say.

Joh 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
Joh 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Joh 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
Joh 3:15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Joh 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Joh 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Joh 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

In those verses is the condition, “Who believes in His name…..” Sure Jesus took all the sins of the world on His shoulders but the only beneficiaries of this are those who “believe on His name.” Those that do not believe on His name do not benefit from His work on the cross and have to pay for their own sins.

Some people think that eternal fire is too long since there is no infinite sin. This is incorrect logic since Sin is rebellion against God and this is infinite. Those that hate God will hate God forever. Why should God let anybody into His house who hates Him. They will only cause trouble just as Lucifer caused trouble by persuading 1/3 of the angels to follow him. Man being higher than angels will cause even more trouble. Gehenna or the lake of fire was created to stop rebellious humans and angels from ever causing trouble again. God will protect those who love Him against those who hate Him and that is why Gehenna.

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Revelation of John

Mat 25:13  Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Many people don’t think it is worthwhile to know anything about the last days. Some think because they are doing their Christian stuff that when Jesus returns He will praise them and some will be correct about that. The above verse precedes the parable of the talents. However their will be many who won’t be doing their Christian stuff. The will tell you that they are doing their Christian stuff and you may even think they are but they are not. Jesus says, “Watch therefore…” so He is telling us to watch. With that in mind I just would like to summarize John’s Revelation starting with Chapter 6.

We begin with Jesus opening the Seven Seals.

1. White horse, rider with a bow but no arrows and a conqueror.

2. Red horse, great sword and war.

3. Black horse, famine and inflation

4. Pale horse, death by sword, plague and wild animals which is interesting in itself.

5. Great persecution – the saints are beheaded. They will probably be blamed for the first 4 seals.

6. Great calamity like an earthquake plus. The unbelievers cower. They know God is doing it all.

7. Power is now handed over to the Seven Trumpets.

We have Seven angels blowing seven trumpets.

1. 1/3 of the earth is burned

2. 1/3 of the sea creatures died + ships destroyed.

3. Water made bitter and people die.

4. 1/3 of the incoming light will stopped

5. Only people without God’s seal will be harmed. People in pain but no death. Maybe nerve gas.

6. 1/3 of mankind killed.

7. The 7th trumpet signals a time for praise in Heaven. I believe that this will be the rapture of the Saints.

Rev 11:18  The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
Rev 11:19  Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Also Paul says 1Co 15:52  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
The LAST TRUMPET which I think is the 7th trumpet above in Revelation.

The Seven Bowls.

1. Painful sores on those with the Mark of the Beast

2. Every living thing in the sea died.

3. All fresh water becomes blood.

4. The sun scorches the earth.

5. Total darkness descends on the earth.

6. Armies assemble at Armegeddon

7. Hailstones, Islands wiped out, mountains razed.

In between the descriptions of all that can go wrong are some interludes. Interlude 1 is at Chapter 7. This describes the calling and sealing of the 144,000 – 12,000 from each tribe of Israel. This 144,000 is mentioned again in Chapter 14.

Interlude 2 is at Chapter 10 and John is given a secret.

Interlude 3 is at Chapter 11 and describes the 2 witnesses.

Rev 11:3  And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
Rev 11:4  These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.
Rev 11:5  And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed.
Rev 11:6  They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.
Rev 11:7  And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them,
Many believe they will have their ministry in the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation period. I tend to agree with this. The major question is who are these 2 people. They could be Elijah and Enoch since neither of them died. They could be people who are alive now and are in the likeness of Moses and Elijah. Either way they are a marker in the tribulation that we are underway. They will be killed and 3 days later they will rise from the dead.

Interlude 4 in Chapter 12 is a sweeping history of Satan and his pursuit of the Israelite s and of course Jesus Himself when He was on earth 2000 years ago. 

Interlude 5 is Chapter 13 and tells us the rise of The beast from the sea. He will be Hitler, Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot all rolled into one. After him will come the beast of the earth – the false prophet and he will compel people to worship the first beast.

 

Ok that is the summary of the end. There is much unrest in the world at the moment. Many governments are going bankrupt and people are losing their jobs. Many young people around the world cannot even find jobs. Protests are rising in many countries.  The USA is losing its power and this is emboldening Putin in Russia. We could be on the verge but all we can o is watch.

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Facts & Opinion

There was a news item a few days ago where some researcher stated that there were mistakes in the Bible. He claimed that camels were only domesticated about 1000BC and that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob could not have had camels. Well really and the evidence for that is ?  Hate to tell this guy but HTF can you claim something like that when we live 4000 years after Abraham and Isaac and 3000 years after your claim. What is it with these people that they want to say the bible has mistakes? Ok I am getting a bit hot under the collar here. I then started to get into a discussion with some dimwit that there are no facts in the bible anyway.

So now I am not going to debate the “facts” or “opinions” of the bible since people want to believe whatever they want anyway. So lets get down to some real down and dirty facts.

http://www.thetravelingteam.org/stateworld/statistics/growth-church

According to this website there are added to the church every year 60 million people. That means there are 60 million new Christians who believe the bible and any amount of “supposed” mistakes are not changing their mind. There are more new people becoming Christians every year than the total number of atheists in the world. So lets ask some questions to the atheists and God haters of the world. What reward do you get for being an atheist and god hater? What makes you give up glory and riches in the Kingdom of God for some bleak unknown future? I liken it to the Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here”.

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?

People argue evolution V creation – it doesn’t matter because 60 million people per year have faith in God’s Word.

People argue over free will over determinism – It doesn’t matter because 60 million people per year put their faith in the Bible.

People over the centuries have burned the bible yet it is still the world’s best selling book.

Marx has lost, Islam has lost, Atheists have lost. Will you lose your place in the Kingdom because you decided to trade hot air for a cool breeze? You will die one day and you will have to face Jesus. Before throwing you someplace where you can be your own God, you will get a glimpse of what you gave away and see all those people which were part of the 60 million per year who came to Christ and you didn’t. And them folks is the facts.

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Making Judgements Again

I wrote this back in 2010. I wish I know how to pin this to the top but I don’t so instead I will link it.

Have a read

https://ultimatechristianity.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/making-judgements/

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Some Trivia

I have been rereading Parkinsons Law (and Other Studies in Administration) by C. Northcote Parkinson. It is a pretty good set of essays which deal with his observations of the civil service. One of his laws is the Law of Triviality. The general idea is that the more complex an idea being debated the less time is spent on debating that topic. However a lot of commentators miss an important point and that is this.

“People who understand high finance are of two kinds: Those who have vast fortunes of their own and those who have nothing at all.To the actual millionaire a million dollars is something real and comprehensible. To the applied mathematician and  the lecturer in economics (assuming both to be practically starving) a million dollars is at least as real as a thousand, they never having possessed either sum. But the world is full of people who fall between these two categories, knowing nothing of millions but well accustomed to think in thousands, and it is of these that finance committees are mostly comprised. The result is a phenomenon that has often been observed but never yet investigated. It might be termed the Law of Triviality. Briefly stated, it means that the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved.”

He then goes on to give three examples of a Nuclear Power Station costing $10 million, a bike shed costing $2,350 and Refreshments costing $57. The time spent on the Power Station is two and a half minutes, the bike shed is 45 minutes and refreshments for 1 hour and 15 mins and deferred until the next meeting. There are two aspects of this and that is the simplicity of the topic and the amount of money involved. I would like to put aside the simplicity of the topics and just concentrate on the money side.

How many people can visualize $1 million dollars let alone $10 million or $1 billion? Actually very few. Warren Buffet can handle it as can Bill Gates and a few others. When people go shopping for a house how much time is spent on being able to save large chunks of cash? Most people will haggle over the difference between kitchen bench-tops which may save $200 but lose sight of the total cost. How many people when grocery shopping will spend a lot of time trying to save cents on their shopping bill but the next day go shopping for a new car which they may be paying several thousands of dollars more than they should? This is real, the more the price of something is the less the purchaser will spend thinking about how to spend less.

There is an important principle here. How many stories have you read where a person or family who were dirt poor has won a lot of money on the lotteries and not only spent it all but gone bankrupt with many millions in debt. There was a story of such a man in Western Sydney many years ago. He won $10 million on Lotto. He handed out the usual cash to family and friends probably without thinking too much about it. He bought a property out Orange way to grow fruit. He made his next door neighbour the property manager. He also bought a few properties on the Gold Coast for rental purposes. Within 10 years he was bankrupt. He had lost the lot and about $1 million in debt plus he had the police on his doorstep. What happened? Well his next door neighbour who knew nothing about fruit growing decided that cannabis was more lucrative. Of course our lotto winner wasn’t checking up on his new found property manager. He had to liquidate his Gold Coast properties to pay for the farm that was losing money and there you have it -all gone. Why? In my opinion it was because he couldn’t adjust his thinking from trivial to large amounts.

Let us move on the more important people, our politicians. They have to deal with, vote for and allocate BILLIONS and TRILLIONS of dollars depending on the country you are in. Now from the examples above do you have any wonder why these politicians overspend your tax payer money. They CANNOT UNDERSTAND the amounts involved.

I will give you another example. How many people can visualize 1 light year. 1 light year is approx 5,865,696,000,000 miles. Which number is easier to work with? The reason scientists reduce numbers is because they are easier to work with and easier to understand. Large numbers are difficult to comprehend. In Parkinson’s example with the Nuclear Power Station, if Bill Gates was sitting on that finance committee he would have saved some serious cash – stuff the $350 for the bikeshed.

Politicians should not be making decisions about how to spend large amounts of money unless they know how to wisely spend large amounts of their own money without going broke.

What has all this to do with Christianity? OK did you know that Jesus tied in righteousness with being able to handle money?

Luk 19:12  He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.
Luk 19:13  Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’
Luk 19:14  But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’
Luk 19:15  When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.
Luk 19:16  The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’
Luk 19:17  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’
Luk 19:18  And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’
Luk 19:19  And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’
Luk 19:20  Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief;
Luk 19:21  for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’
Luk 19:22  He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?
Luk 19:23  Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
Luk 19:24  And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’
Luk 19:25  And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’
Luk 19:26  ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
Luk 19:27  But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.'”

Think big not petty.

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