Tag: Christian

The Bible and Our Very Flat Earth

Edit 2:

Edit 1: July 14, 2016: Added section ‘The Visible Second Coming of Christ” at bottom.  Coming next: General biblical cosmology – What does the Bible say about the rest of the universe?

First Publication: July 2016


While I continue my journey down the flat earth versus globe earth investigation, it has become apparent a need to pull together a simple list of any scriptures in the Bible that seem to support a flat earth model and, should I find any, include those that support a globe earth model. To give credit where credit is due, many of the foundational scriptures of this post come from this video.

Why Bother Exploring This at All?

Truth.  Does truth matter?

  • Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)
  • [He is] the Rock, his work [is] perfect: for all his ways [are] judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he. (Deuteronomy 32:4)
  • For thy mercy [is] great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. (Psalm 57:10)
  •  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
  •  He that answereth a matter before he heareth [it], it [is] folly and shame unto him. (Proverbs 18:13)
  • One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. (Deuteronomy 19:15)
  • All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (1 Timothy 3:16)
  • God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. (Romans 3:4)

The last scripture “Let God be true, but every man a liar” needs to be our modus operandi (M.O.) for receiving any information.  This is the information generation and therefore the greater the need for better filters.  One needs to take the position that every word of man is a lie and that every word from God is true.  Assume the world is lying and be surprised when it is not.  After all, Satan is the father of lies.

Let all men be liars.  Let God be true.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

If you love the truth and seek it, and filter everything through the assumption that everything you were ever taught other than God’s word may very well be giant pile of steaming something, then you are in a good position to find the truth and read your Bible in a new and exciting way!

The Implications – Why the Lie?

The very moment you start to explore even the possibility that the earth may be flat, you simultaneously must also ask yourself, “Self: why the lie?”

The Globe Earth Model Seems to Be a Direct Attack on God’s Word

Genesis shows that the earth was created first (1:1), then vegetation (1:11) and then, after the earth and vegetation were already there, God brings forth the sun and moon (1:14) – therefore members of mainstream modern ‘science’ present a direct and polar opposite attack on God’s word.  This should come as no surprise because evolution, also presented by the same group, constitutes a direct attack on the very creation and image of man as the Lord says clearly that He made us in His image (1:26), not as a byproduct of random monkey business.

The Great Deception

Although there isn’t a lot of time to expound on this one, there are several scriptures in the Bible that seem to indicate that ‘space’ and ‘asteroids’ and ‘green aliens’ will form part of the end time shenanigans of the anti-Christ and the final deception.  His ‘lying wonders’ will deceive even the elect and this never-preached, never-read and never discussed scripture has always seemed a little too close to the popular presentation of ‘aliens’ – which are clearly demonic in nature:

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs [come] out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, [which] go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Revelations 16:13-14)

Something is definitely ‘up’ with aliens and world-wide deception…

Money and Power

One simple thing that people forget is that organizations like NASA, and all those that are connected to it, make a lot of money.  They literally suck the money out of taxpayer jeans without account.  For what?  A few rockets fired up every few years?  Imagine if that money was dispersed to the needy of the earth for food, clean water, shelter and clothing?  Instead there is a money train that needs to keep chugging along.  And there are powerful people who want this globe earth model to continue.  It helps the average person feel very small and powerless and for those on top, who know the truth, it helps them feel much more powerful than they really are.

Why this Matters

If the above didn’t, of its own accord, pull your heart strings and stir inside of you a certain feeling of a concern that you may be already be deeply deceived, and if you need further help seeing why this topic matters, we now present the following list of reasons:

  • All of our astronomical teachings collapse
  • Atheism collapses
  • Humanism collapses
  • NASA and space exploration collapse and therefore must be a scam
  • Aliens (at least their origin and nature) collapse
  • Airlines and telecoms must be involved
  • Hollywood and popular music are involved
  • etc

But God’s word remains.

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane [and] vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called (1 Timothy 6:20)

Keep in mind as you explore this topic that a very large chunk of science is based on faith, not fact.  A theory is just a theory.  When ‘theory’ is taught as ‘fact’ we need to get very involved and concerned.  Evolution is just such an example.  And so it must be noted that scientists are not ‘unbelievers’ as they often claim.  Instead, they absolutely believe – but just not the words of the Bible.  They have faith in other things and other ways.  They indeed have their own gods and faith.

Scientists also have a long history of lying to the world.  Money always talks.  If the margarine producers of the world need to sell more margarine, they will find the right scientists to find the right data to present to the world in the right way.  Then when the butter producers realize their sales have plummeted because of this new and convenient ‘scientific data’ about margarine, they’ll go do the same.

Even though it may seem that I am 100% sold on the flat earth model, I am not yet fully there.  I log this journey only so that I can be sure I’m properly thinking it through and leaving a record for others to follow.  It is very inconvenient to try to explain all this when I meet people so I am hopeful that this post will be a good resource not only for myself but for others.

Consider a flat earth.

What you believe does matter.

The Scriptures

I have included Strong’s definition links for words that seem most critical for this study. You can and should, of course, go and do your own research because let God be true and all men liars, remember.

Immovable Earth

  •  Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved. (1 Chronicles 16:30)
  • The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, [wherewith] he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. (Psalm 93:1)
  • Say among the heathen [that] the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. (Psalm 96:10)

Foundation/Foundations of the Earth

  • And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.(2 Samuel 22:16)
  • Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. (Psalms 18:15)
  • Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens [are] the work of thy hands. (Psalm 102:25)
  • When he prepared the heavens, I [was] there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:  When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth (Proverbs 8:27-29)
  • Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: [when] I call unto them, they stand up together. (Isaiah 48:13)
  • Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth. (2 Samuel 22:8)
  • They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course. (Psalm 82:5)
  • Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; (Job 38:4-6)
  • [Who] laid the foundations of the earth, [that] it should not be removed for ever. (Psalm 104:5)

Pillars

  • He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them. (1 Samuel 2:8)
  • Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. (Job 9:6)

Four Corners of the Earth

  • And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:12)
  • Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land. (Ezekiel 7:2)
  • And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. (Revelation 7:1)

Ends of the Earth

  •  [Namely], of the gods of the people which [are] round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the [one] end of the earth even unto the [other] end of the earth (Deuteronomy 13:7)

Solid Dome Firmament Canopy

  • And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. (Genesis 1:6-8)
  • And above the firmament that [was] over their heads [was] the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne [was] the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. (Ezekiel 1:26)
  • Hast thou with him spread out the sky, [which is] strong, [and] as a molten looking glass? (Job 37:18)
  • Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth. (2 Samuel 22:8)

Sun and Moon Travel Around the Earth (geocentric)

  • Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which [is] as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, [and] rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth [is] from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. (Psalm 19:4-6) (Read expanded comments on this scripture here)
  • The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. (Ecclesiastes 1:5)
  • Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. [Is] not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. (Joshua 10:12-13)
  • The sun [and] moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, [and] at the shining of thy glittering spear. (Habakkuk 3:11)

Disc/Circle versus Globe/Ball

  • Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which [is] as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, [and] rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth [is] from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. (Psalm 19:4-6)
  • Thus [were] the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof [was] great. 11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: (Daniel 4:10-11)
  • [It is] he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof [are] as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in (Isaiah 40:22)
  • Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them (Matthew 4:8)
  • To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy [endureth] for ever. (Psalms 136:6)
  • Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I [am] the LORD that maketh all [things]; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself (Isaiah 44:24)

The Visible Second Coming of Jesus

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Before considering the flat earth model, I used to struggle with several scriptures that speak clearly of the second coming of Christ.  When I read the Word of God it seemed clear that I, and all the inhabitants of the earth would see, with our own eyes, the return of Jesus.  Yet, how is this possible if Jesus shows up in China and I’m on the top of the basketball in North America?  I resolved that Jesus would have to rely on man’s technology (ie. TV, internet streaming, etc) in order for every eye to see… which never quite sat well with a mortal man such as I…  The following scriptures either straight-up tell us that we will see Him with our eyes, or infer it:

  • And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:9-11)
  • Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Rev 1:7)
  • For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:27)
  • And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30)
  • Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. (Matthew 26:64)
  • And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. (Mark 13-26-27)
  • And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. (Mark 14:62)
  • Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21: 26-27)
  • For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

I look forward to any comments, additions, revelations to add to this post.

 

 

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Friends, Family and the Flesh

  • My dear spouse, why do I find it hard to receive biblical perspectives and teachings from you?
  • Why do my family and friends always discourage me from my heart’s desires?
  • Why are my family and friends not as excited about my prospective mate?

Do some of these questions hit home?  For Bible believers, they are tied together quite intimately.

Last night I was starting to sleep when my wife woke me up and asked me, specifically why it is that when I present my spiritual opinion or my biblical perspective on a theological topic to her that she immediately opposes or doubts it, instead of trusting and believing it.

My response that spewed from the depths of my near REM sleep was:

  • the Spirit of God is living in you, so He is safe-guarding you against deception
  • all men are liars and God only is true
  • I am your husband and you’ve seen a track record of imperfection, hypocrisy and failure

As I reviewed my knee-jerk response in the morning, I was actually pretty surprised at the truth therein.  But the cherry on top was that when I opened my Bible for my daily Bible-in-a-year cycle for the new testament, lo and behold I found myself one day ahead of schedule and landed upon Mark 6.  As I read the section I couldn’t help but get excited about how God has been speaking so directly to me lately.  Last week it was a friend from the other side of the country He spoke through and today it was His Word but in the most clear way I have seen yet.  Here is the excerpt with my underlines added:

And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing [him] were astonished, saying, From whence hath this [man] these things? and what wisdom [is] this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed [them]. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. [Mar 6:1-6 KJV] 1

Friends!  Family!  Flesh!

The un-spiritual trinity (lol?)

But seriously.  The only place in the new testament that I can find where Jesus could do no mighty work was in his home town where his flesh was raised.  Now check this verse out:

Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more. [2Co 5:16 KJV]

I’m guessing I don’t have to expound too much on anything here.  The answer to my wife is simple: she is my friend, my family and she knows my flesh, too.  I cannot think of anyone in the entire world who could possibly have a harder time trusting my spiritual insight, direction, theology, etc, than my wife.  She has to fight all three.  And so, my new response and suggestion to her would be this:

  • get even closer to God and subdue the flesh and submit the soul entirely to God
  • although you have experienced my fleshly humanity, try to view me as an eternal spirit and a resident of God’s kingdom passing through this troubling life
  • do not *know* me after the flesh.  Know me after the spirit
  • increase time in prayer together – somehow – anyhow

The last one is for some reason the toughest.

Friends and family, although they mean well and care, often times are unable to view their family and friends as spiritual beings but merely as earthly souls.  Hey – they did it to Jesus so don’t expect better from your friends and family.

That’s why the church is so important.  It’s the spiritual family – the one that travels into eternity with us.

Hope this little chunk of insight from God is useful to someone out there, not just Wayne Out There.

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Should Unbelievers Join Believers in Worship?

Frankly, this topic is a tough one which has recently occupied much of my thoughts.  The two conflicting issues are as follows:

  1. Does the presence of an unbeliever during times of fellowship hinder the power and holiness of God (a kind of quenching)?
  2. Do we remain totally open and let any polite person sit in our midst regardless of their spiritual position, so long as they don’t ‘disturb the flow’.

In one or more of my recent posts I first alluded to my  position of being, as of late, quite strong in favour of separation.  My position was this:

  • God called his people to be separate (you don’t have to look far to find this throughout the Bible)
  • Most people I have spoken to have noted a ‘notable difference’ in both the presence of God and the effectiveness of their prayers when praying in the midst of believers (all) and in the midst of unbelievers (even some).
  • At the very least an unbeliever, for their own health, should not be participating in communion (1 Cor 11:17-31)

Shortly after growing fairly cemented in my new position, I searched and came across this interesting discussion on the topic.  Somewhere in the middle one person posted 1 Cor 14: 23-25 which says:

If therefore the while church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?  But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, his is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

This not only shows that an unbeliever might be in your midst, but also that a great result might come of it, if (in context) the group has some ‘holy order’ going on.

But, I can’t help but notice the word ‘if’.  This word is not ‘when’.  It is ‘if’.  When is certain.  ‘If’ is conditional as in the following examples:

I will give you the book when I get there.

This person is expected.  The receipt of the book is expected.

I will give you the book if I get there.

This person is not fully expected.  To count on receiving this book would not be wise.

So, even this scripture above does not convince me whatsoever that the believers were expecting the visit of an unbeliever.  I read and interpret this scripture as follows:

If, by chance, while the brothers and sisters of light, who know and love the Lord Jesus are meeting together and doing holy things together (ie. studying the Word, praying, worshipping, etc) and someone happens to pop by who does *not* know the Lord Jesus, and has no fellowship with Him because the blood of the Lamb has not yet cleansed him, if the spiritual gift of prophecy is flowing mightily, this word of prophecy will come forth and convict this unbelieving sinner of his sin and he would fall to his face, repent, and be now able to worship the true and living God, and enter the fold.

I also interpret this to mean that if the spiritual gift of prophecy is not operating (and don’t deny that in most places it’s either not operating at all or operating in a weird way)  that there is no provision to be able to move forward in unity since there is now the presence of one who, without trying to sugar coat things, hates God and His ways.

I am therefore still not convinced that the current practice in the Body of Christ of having an ‘open to anyone’ policy for group meetings is wise.

Of course, I’m expecting that any reader at this point has a little voice inside of them saying “Well how then do we win the lost if we can’t invite them on Sunday?”

That’s easy.  You have an outreach focused meeting at your church building, if you so love meetings with unbelievers at your church building.

However, if I’m not even sure that that is the most effective way to win the lost. In this article I touch on that a bit.  I feel it’s more effective meeting the sinner where the sinner is, rather than meeting them at the very last place they would feel comfortable – at a worship service.

Saints worship and love God.

Sinners worship themselves and hate God (although they deny it in many fancy ways).

Simple.

In conclusion, I still stand fairly strong in my position that in general, with a few exceptions like the one above, that when we gather together to do God’s holy things (worship, prayer, Bible study, etc) that it should be the family of God – the children of light who are present.

For what fellowship does light have with darkness?  (1 Cor 6:11-18)

Please add your thoughts as I seek God’s answer on this ‘tough topic’

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Time to End the Weak Christianese

Something happened today.  I got an email from someone I know who in normal times doesn’t not freely speak of God or His word.  When in person it would be a rare occasion to talk about the riches of the Bible or what God is doing in our lives.  Then, randomly I got this well-meaning email forward from here which necessitated a ‘holy rant’:

* Hi Lord, it’s me.* *We are getting older and things are getting bad here.* * Gas prices are too high, no jobs, food and heating costs too high.* * I know some have taken you out of our schools, government, veteran’s funerals, and even* *Christmas. But Lord I’m asking you to come back* *and re-bless Canada. We really need you!* *There are more of us who want you than those who don’t!* * Thank You Lord,* *I Love you.* * ** * * “Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil – it has no point.”*

Let’s begin, shall we.  “Hi, Lord it’s me”????  Nice intro!  I can just imagine the omnipotent all-knowing Creator turning around and saying ‘Woah!  You really crept up on me there!  Whassup, kid?”

I have a strong hunch God knew it was you speaking…  but here is the actual copy and paste reply to the email:

Hi!

i don’t want to seem like a downer, but, these kind of messages show that the person doesn’t know the Jesus of the Bible:

1. Jesus was never in Christmas (refer to our age old chat). He was stuck onto a pagan holiday by people who liked the celebration of their days.

2. why should a god that people don’t care about be stuck in school? Should we force people to love Him? Jesus didn’t do that to me. He waited patiently for me, paved the way and then ran to me when I repented. I am partially on the seat on this topic but I lean much more content to separate the secular from the Holy. I don’t want my God mixed up in the ugliness of the thing they now call education. Thank God Jesus isn’t in that mess. The solution, by the way, is that so many people meet Jesus that everyone wants Bible study all day at school! Now that I can believe for!

3. government?? serious? When has Jesus ever been glorified in government? There have been believers in government. The Israel of the old testament was a different case and requires much time to expound on why, but since then and the resurrection of Jesus I can’t see how the truth of God’s word would be tolerated by a group of people who hate Him….

4. veterans? that’s a totally different topic. that brings up the mennonites and the other bible believers who decided that it’s not ok to kill people for their government anymore. but I’ll sit on the fence on this one. I also might take up arms against wicked men…

5. prices and monetary system:

a) God told us inflation would reach an epidemic level before his return in the book of Revelation:

6And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine.

b) he also said don’t worry about stuff in earth where rust and moth are going to destroy them anyways. He gives food to the birds and behold! I have a gut.

c) no jobs? I’ve got a good idea Start a business and make jobs. Problem solved. And that’s also in the Bible where Paul made tents to support his preaching addiction.

d) ‘there are more of us that want You than those who don’t’??? That’s totally, completely – FALSE. It always has been, and it always will be. Here is the scripture:

The Narrow Gate (Luke 13:22-30)

13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and **many** there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and **few** there be that find it.

FEW will ever meet Jesus and go to heaven.

MANY will walk down the nice comfy road of the five senses that leads to the fiery (and eternal) pit of hell.

I don’t doubt that this person is trying to love Jesus, but Jesus *is* the word of God. It’s because of mamby-pamby ‘christianese’ like these emails that people think that this is all the body of Christ has to offer our world:  A weak commentary on how bad the world is.

Great news! The world is the single best place I have ever set my feet and each day I awake I couldn’t think of another place or life I’d rather live. If they read the Bible they would quickly see the real Jesus and their hearts would melt within themselves (like what happened to my wife recentlY) and turn from their cold-hearted and wicked ways.

These *are* the last days. And even if they *aren’t* the last days, they could very well be *my* last days. By His grace i’M standing today and by his grace I breath.

a mighty fire has been kindled in my heart towards the Great God Jehovah and his son Jesus and my Comforter the Holy Spirit of God.

I will have not less than the real deal.

I will walk the narrow path.

End hard preaching.

Oh, by the way, I write this all in love. If it didn’t truly ignite something inside of me I wouldn’t have spent the time writing it. These kind of ‘christians’ are spreading a really lame gospel because they haven’t opened their Bibles. Thanks! This email cemented lots of cool stuff inside of me as well.

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Overcoming the ‘spirit of christmas’ with the Spirit of Christ: Part 6 in a Series: Dealing With Pressure to Buy Gifts

If you haven’t been following the series, it started a while back now and the goal here is to shoot some ‘sacred cows’ and see if the foundation we are building on is solid, or one of ‘shaky foundations’.

Here are some quick links to the series:

Today in Part 6 we’re going to focus on perhaps one of the most challenging and dangerous parts of our big holidays – the pressure to buy gifts.

First, as a believer, I wanted to review what God said about giving.  Thanks to the world wide webbers, I don’t have to do it myself!  Someone already made this comprehensive overview page on the topic.

>>What the God of the Bible says about Giving<<

I like how this page started out by pointing out the greatest gift of history: God gave Jesus to die on a cross for us.  Top that gift!  The next best thing you can do in line after that is to lay down your life for someone else.

Have you laid down your life for someone else or have you been clinging to ‘what’s in it for me?’  Don’t be hard on yourself.  It’s a work in progress.  Selfishness is rooted deep in your blood thanks to that couple that goofed up in the garden way back when.

Before we even talk about ‘gifts’ it’s important to look straight at our hearts and decide if we are ‘giving people’ or ‘taking people’.  I don’t suppose we can be both.  However, we also must learn how to receive.  Why?  Well, if you don’t know how to receive then you are blocking the giver from receiving their blessing from performing the good act of giving. Simple as that.  Now, if someone has evil motives for giving (ie. a brown bag of cash under the table to a politician) then you don’t need to be a receiver, nor will you block any blessings.  But if someone feels in their heart they want to give you a gift, you have to learn how to receive it and be thankful deep in your heart.

And for some reason this is hard for me, but I am slowly getting better.

For me, as soon as I receive a gift, I feel that I owe the giver something. I feel that I have to ‘level the playing field’.  This is especially true in Korea.  Ask any Korean how gift giving works at a wedding for the bride and groom!  But this is neither giving nor receiving.  This is cold, cruel accounting.  Our hearts, if we cannot receive a gift with thanksgiving, nor can give a gift with joy, are cold and of no value, in my not-so-humble-opinion.

Now that we’ve covered quickly the topic of making sure we are actually giving and receiving people, let’s look at gifts themselves.

For most people, they envision a gift as a box with wrapping paper.  Ask a kid to ‘draw a gift’.  I’m guessing they will not draw Jesus bleeding on the cross for you, but praise God if your kid does!  They will likely draw this:

ghetto-gift

But the thing is… people forget that a ‘gift’ is different to each person.  If you read the awesome and famous book ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman, you’ll quickly learn that for some people it is a gift in a box but for others, it’s a walk in the park.

Time is Money.

Time is a Gift That Cannot Be Replaced.

2008 until now has been a hard time for our family in the sense that we’ve had to rely on others due to some sad financial situation that has hit us that was largely out of our control.  This has made the idea of lavish spending and long vacations a difficult task to say the least.  Through it all, though, I cannot thank God enough for the experience because I can truly be content now.  I drive a 1997 Dodge neon. I have no idea when it’s going to die but praise God it works today.  My wife has the nice car (Ford) which I had to buy for a sales job…  Anyway, who cares?  I couldn’t be happier this year.  I’ve got my health, my family, my friends, my brain.  I’m learning, I’m growing and in due season ‘it too shall pass away’.

In the meantime, though, what matters?

I spent some time thinking back on my childhood about what I remember.  I can remember a couple of gifts (two way radios, and Wayne Gretzky’s Rocket Hockey) but the rest is pretty much gone.  However, what I do remember is a warm house with loving parents. I also remember my dad used to take me out and throw a baseball back and forth and play with me outside.  I’ll never forget that.  I have a great dad and mom.  Mom made me food for lunch so I could walk home and eat it while the other kids ate cheese and salami sandwiches.  I used to feel left out and now I realize I was a king’s kid compared to those processed meals!

That stuff matters.

That stuff lives on.

>>And none of it would be in my memory if they didn’t give their time to me!<<

The sweaters, smart phones, stereos, dancing reindeer, Obama bobble heads…. none of that matters.  It, like your flesh, will one day go back to the earth.

Your time and expression thereof is really all you have to give if you dig down to the heart of it.

And I think that concludes this post.  I got my revelation.

This does deserve a follow up with some practical gift ideas (box/wrap style gifts) for those who feel loved by getting them.  There are great ‘alternative gifts’ out there and I’d like to focus a post on them.  We don’t need to go into debt for this stuff.  Easter is coming and someone told me there is gift giving pressure associated with this holiday now.  Let’s start right now to prepare against that temptation and pressure.

Afterthought:  I also realize that you have to work (spend your time) to get the money to buy the gift in a box so it also, to some extent, is an expression of your time and life.

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Overcoming the ‘spirit of christmas’ with the Spirit of Christ: Part 1 in a Series: Roots

This series (I’m assuming it’s going to be a series because I really expect this to blow up into something interesting) did not come out of one moment of frustration, or a single event, but instead it has been developing inside of me for many years.  It also is not just about Christmas but this journey pertains to any other ‘holiday’ or celebration that is rooted in something – perhaps something you don’t even understand.

In fact, the content of this series, and exploring the path travelled to get here, should be of benefit to anyone who truly wants to question every little part of their life and why they are doing it.  I suspect it will be advantageous even as far as asking questions like ‘why am I using this pacemaker?” to “why am I paying taxes for this?” The true purpose of this is not to ‘kill Christmas’ like some Scrooge character, but to merely question why I’m doing something and whether I should be doing it this way or not.  And, perhaps, to answer this question: ‘Does it matter or not?”

It’s also worthy of noting that I have been trying for years to pull this topic together in some kind of tangible way to which the average disciple of Christ can relate.  Here is one such article I wrote as I made my first few attempts.  As you will sense throughout, one of the underpinning challenges with taking action is that it results in pressure (and sometimes severe) from the people closest to you.

On that note, we’ve all got busy schedules so thanks for joining and hope you enjoy joining the journey because I also suspect it’s going to be difficult to wrap this up.

The word ‘holiday’ can be read as ‘holy-day’.  Before I was a disciple of Jesus, it was no big deal. Just a word.  Didn’t think about it.  Then, one day I was reading my KJV Bible (I like my KJV so don’t mess) and I came across this scripture:

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days. (Colossians 2:16)

Being a man of the fine English language, one of my favourite websites is www.etymonline.com.  A quick search of the word ‘holiday’ reveals this:

holiday (n.)
1500s, earlier haliday (c.1200), from Old English haligdæg “holy day; Sabbath,” from halig “holy” (see holy) + dæg “day” (see day); in 14c. meaning both “religious festival” and “day of recreation,” but pronunciation and sense diverged 16c. As a verb meaning “to pass the holidays” by 1869. Happy holidays is from mid-19c., in British English, with reference to summer vacation from school. As a Christmastime greeting, by 1937, American English, in Camel cigarette ads.

And so the word ‘holiday’ is definitely rooted in ‘religious festival’ whether or not we know what the roots it are, or think about it, or care about it.  A tradition of any kind at all started somewhere but most people don’t really think about its roots.  As soon as you start to investigate the roots you will hear something along the lines of this:

“I don’t believe or practice the roots of that.  It’s not about the roots but whatever power you give to it.”

I have heard this argument given by supposed Christians who think it’s OK to do yoga.  After I explained that it’s deeply rooted in Hinduism (no one denies that) they brush it off as ‘well I’m just stretching or exercising’.

So do roots matter?

God thinks they do.

Isaiah 11:1 describes Jesus as follows:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots

The entire start of the very first book of the new testament in Matthew 1:1-17 shows that God is very much concerned about from which lineage the Messiah Jesus would emerge.  There are books of the old testament where huge chunks are dedicated to genealogies, or, if you will, the roots of those families.

But let’s bring it back to the earth for the heathen who may be reading this.

If roots didn’t matter then why do people make family trees?  Why is there a certain strange feeling of connection when you see a photo of a great grandparent in a photo in the trenches of a war?  Why do people take trips to Jerusalem to see where Jesus walked or go to obscure cafes where Elvis sat (did he sit in a cafe?)? Why do we feel a sense of unity when we sing our old national anthems?  We sense these things because there are roots that exist and there is power in those roots.  Grand pappy Harold sang that national anthem at his school, too when he was a boy just after walking ten kilometers uphill to school in the ice and snow!

Roots are also very important in every area of our earthly lives.  The first thing that comes to mind is a discussion I had with my friend who is, in my opinion, a great example of someone who understands business and money.  He explained to me how a process called ‘root cause analysis’ saved a large corporation he was working for in Asia countless amounts of money.  In medicine, the entire goal is to find out the *root* of a problem and find the cure.  In counselling, the entire goal is to find the root of the thing that’s causing the couple to want to rip each others’ eyeballs out.

And that’s why God was very harsh in the old testament about digging those roots out at any cost such as when Joshua took and killed Achan, his entire family, stoned them, and then burned them and everything they owned and capping it off with a giant mound of stones.

Why had God instructed this? Because Achan had, in his disobedience, taken an accursed item from the enemy and hidden it after God had clearly said ‘don’t touch the enemies stuff!”.

The root had to be cut out completely.

A root is the organic equivalent of the foundation for a building.  I learned a lot about this this year while I was weeding my garden.  Some weeds looked easy to get rid of but when you grab them, they rip off at the soil level only to reappear a few days later in the same spot.  Other weeds you could just rake out and the never come back.  The difference?  Depth of roots and strength.  I was deeply impressed with this one toxic product I bought.  I sprayed it on this cute little weed and came back the a few days later to see that Mr. Weed had taken his last drink – he was brown, withered and dead.  His roots couldn’t resist and he was slumped over in his green grassy bed.

All throughout the Bible we read about roots and foundations.  Jesus said somewhere in the Bible: “If you build your house on sand, it’s going to wash away in a storm but if you build it on a rock you’ll be good to go. (King Wayne Version).”  Preach it, Jesus!

Is it OK for a disciple of Jesus to have a statue of Buddha on their coffee table?

Most believers would say immediately ‘no’ because they know that the statue of Buddha represents another god – another spirit.  The Buddha statue represents an ‘accursed thing’ – and item destined for God’s ultimate destruction as well as anyone who would worship this other god or system.  The statue of Buddha *represents* the spirit behind the statue.

“Oh, Wayne.  You’re too serious.  The Buddha statue only has the power you give it.  If you were a strong Christian then it wouldn’t have power over you.”

It sounds very attractive.  It sounds like it’s almost spiritually accurate.  Until we think again about Achan.  If it were ‘just what power we give it’ then Achan and his family didn’t need to get barbequed and buried and God is therefore a ruthless tyrant ready slit our throats for a home-staging error.

Sorry. That ain’t the God that I know and serve.

Roots are very important to the God of the Bible and the God whom Christians claim to serve.

God is very gracious.  I’m sure that if Achan didn’t know full well that he should not have done what he did that none of that would have happened.  Achan knew full well what he was doing and the lives that could be lost if the power of God were to abandon the Israelites in the heat of battle over this.  And that’s exactly what happened.  Many lives were lost because of his choice.

Good news.  God is still gracious.  He allows us years and years learn in our season but there does eventually come a time when He expects action.  He does not tarry forever.  There was an appointed time for God to send Jesus to the world to save sinners.  There is also an appointed time for each of us to die, and that day may come before the scheduled time of the second coming of Jesus.

For me, I have reached the season where I have learned enough and I really, really want to start taking action steps towards purifying myself and my family from things that God might find to be offensive or downright sinful.

I want to axe out and radically amputate (term stolen from Setting Captives Free) any root in my life that could be hindering my spiritual walk in any way at all.

Now that it has been established that roots are important (at least to me) and carry meaning and power and influence, we can move on to dealing with ‘the christmas spirit’ (lowercase on purpose).

EDIT: 150106 – Found this amazing video on the topic.

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The Battle of Disciples of Christ as Parents of Children in a New Age Education System

Are you a parent of a kid in a ‘secular’ school and find that your spirit is grieved by stuff that’s happening?  You are not alone.  I also am battling this and far, far sooner than I had expected.

First, a quick background: I’m a disciple of Jesus the Christ of Nazereth, aka ‘a Christian’.  I refrain from using the word ‘Christian’ because it was never used by Jesus disciples nor anyone else after them, but was a title given as a label to explain them.  I’m not offended if you use it but I don’t want to be yoked with some of these people who call themselves Christian.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died on the cross for me, on the third day he rose again defeating death forever for those who believe.  I believe.  And I am striving to act and think more and more like Jesus with each passing day of my short life.  If you want to call that a Christian, go ahead.

Second, let’s get some terminology straight.  It was once explained to me that in BC here it’s a ‘secular’ school system, as opposed to, I guess, a school that teaches religious or spiritual stuff or worships God or a god.  I was under the understanding that a secular school separated ‘the church from the state’ or kept matters of faith ‘neutral’ if allowed at all.  Secular is defined by an online dictionary as “of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal” and, when used in the discussion of education or school “concerned with nonreligious subjects.”  Therefore, according to this definition, I should not be even writing this blog post.  My daughter’s school should be totally neutral.  No Christmas, no Hanukkah, no Ramadan, no nothing – a spiritually neutral place where they can flounder and float in the universe without rhyme or reason for their existence – if their parents don’t give it to them.  And this is the environment that I thought my kindergarten daughter was entering.  Within less than a month, I realize that this is not the case at all.  And I should not be surprised, because evolution is taught as ‘gospel’ at ‘secular’ schools.  But I’ll leave the evolution debate alone for now.

Last night, before going to bed, I received this email from our daughter’s kindergarten teacher.  Names removed for obvious reasons:

Hello parents, On Monday, October 20th we will be celebrating Diwali (a festival of lights celebrated in India) in Kindergarten. Our multicultural worker and the Kindergarten teachers have planned some stations for the afternoon. If you are able to come in and help us from 1-3pm, please let me know. thank you,

What is Diwali? Well, this teacher neglected to explain that or give links to what exactly it is which would be like telling students in India that they are going to celebrate Christmas, ‘a celebration observed in other countries’.  I believe a more detailed definition here would have been helpful so as to let parents decide whether or not they would like their children doing whatever Diwali is.  Thankfully I have been living in the Vancouver area long enough to know approximately what it is (I have a few Indian friends) but that is not the case with many newcomers to Canada.  To spare you a few seconds searching around online, you can just click this link for a quick overview.  After about 30 seconds you should come to the same conclusion that I did: it is a Hindu festival dedicated to Hindu gods and rituals and beliefs.  That’s it.  That’s what it is.  It is not a ‘celebration of lights’ which would imply it’s like our annual fireworks event in English Bay in Vancouver here each year.  Not even close.  It is not secular by the furthest stretch of the word.  It is, by its very nature,  a Hindu, pagan, spiritual festival.

And so now what?

The Bible is clear about stuff like this.  Here are a few quotes from my Maker, some of which you may already know:

  • “Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither you go, lest it become a snare in the midst of you. You shall tear down their altars, and break their pillars, and cut down their Asherim (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they play the harlot after their gods and make your sons play the harlot after their gods.”

and a few snippets from the 10 commandments (Exodus 20: 3, 4, 5), shall we?

  • Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  • Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
  • Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me

We are not to touch stuff like this when we are in full knowledge that it is rooted in idolatry and paganism – things God deplores.

Like yoga!  Yes!  Like yoga – and if you are a Christian, you need to read this blog post if you think yoga is ok.

Now it is one thing for this multicultural worker to come in and explain, in a third party and very removed fashion, what Diwali is, who celebrates it, how they celebrate it, and what they believe, is one thing.  Although I didn’t sign my Kindergarten daughter up for World Religion 101 and assumed this stuff would not be covered, she knows Jesus herself and need not be afraid of gods without power.  However, to have a multicultural worker come in and, without the clear and written consent or warning to the parents that there will be participation, even at arms length, in a pagan ritual (whether with some ‘light-hearted lanterns’, yoga, or full prostrated position on the floor worshipping a statue of Rama, I care not) is a totally different ball of wax. I shudder to think that my daughter might have been in this ‘celebration’ without my knowledge if they weren’t in need of extra help and this message not have been sent!

Until yesterday, I didn’t understand why parents sent their kids to religious private schools.  Now I understand.

But I’m a fighter and a writer and running, although easier, is not the solution here.

And so again – what to do?

Since this caught me off guard and I was blown away by the very subtle nature of this religious agenda, for now, I’m going to start by writing a polite reply to this email explaining roughly what’s going on.  I will send this and then offer her to contact me if she would like further explanation about why our daughter will not be there that afternoon.  If she replies and would like to know more, I will present her with a link to this blog post.

Here is my reply to her which any other person in the same boat as us may use as a template that you can tweak if it’s helpful.  And I will update this blog post as things develop.

————————

Dear ____ [teachername],

First of all, thank you for being a tremendous kindergarten teacher.  There is no doubt that you are great at it and our ____ [daughter/son] is really enjoying ___[his/her] first year in school and learning boatloads of great stuff.
Unfortunately, neither I nor _____ [spousesname] were unaware that Hindu religion (Diwali) were not only being taught but also practiced (some stations are apparently being planned) in our ____ [daughter’s/son’s] secular school.  We may have missed a memo with this information, and perhaps a consent form, but this email caught us completely off guard.  Further, as there are many newcomers to Canada who may be of different belief systems, I think it would have been expedient to explain in clear and plain English and in advance that Diwali is indeed a Hindu and non-secular event and offer the parents the chance to remove their students from the event.  If this email did not come out, there could have been a very notable issue if certain parents discovered that their children participated in a non-secular event without being given this notice.

As for our ____ [daughter/son], _____[he/she] will not be able to attend class during this time, nor will we as parents be able to support this activity due to the commandments given us in our religious Book.  We must, as we hope you’ll understand, maintain those commandments above all others.

Furthermore, moving forward, if you could be so kind as to send me the entire multicultural agenda as it pertains to our ____ [daughter/son] so that we can review it, that would be greatly appreciated because we are now concerned that there may be more such non-secular events planned for our ____ [daughter/son].

We again sincerely thank you for your understanding of this multicultural and multi-faith environment in which we all live and we look forward to being fully supportive of all future events, field trips, fund-raisers, and the like.

If you would like further details about this, by all means, don’t hesitate to task and I will fully explain to you our perspective.  It would be my pleasure.

Thanks, [teachername].  We appreciate you.
Sincerely,

—————————————————

 

 

 

 

 

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Should a Believer be Active or Passive Against Injustice and Evil?

If something unfair, unjust, or evil happens, should we simply pray for the power to forgive the evildoer or should we take action against the evil?  This is the question I was in sudden need of exploring after a friend of mine called into question the motives behind where I was spending some of my time and whether or not the work I am doing is worth it.  His comment was, “The Bible says to forgive and move on.  God will take care of them.”

The Bible says to forgive and move on.  God will take care of them.

I am in a law suit against a group of people I believe operate their business  in a very wrong way that violates ethics and morals and that has direct and negative impact on the people we know and the communities we live in.  I have see the results of their style of business which includes, but is not limited to: depression, anxiety, broken families and shattered marriages, extreme financial hardship, increase in suicidal language, hopelessness, anger, fear and more.  No one would every associate these kind of results with the chain that is causing them.  After experiencing enough of the pain myself, and discovering that I was not alone in this unneeded suffering, I decided it was right to take visible and public action against it.  The comment from my friend made me stop in my tracks and check myself to make sure I was at peace with my direction.

During my personal quiet time today, I came across this article in a Catholic publication about non-violence which is a must read.   This quote in particular jumped out at me:

Nonviolence is directed “against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to be doing the evil. It is evil that the nonviolent resister seeks to defeat, not the persons victimized by evil.”

It is true that I am not doing a rally, or a march or a boycott, although we most certainly entertained the idea.  By doing this, we would damage the franchisees of the brand during the process who are already suffering enough.

Filing a lawsuit is the next best non-violent option in an attempt to bring about justice and expose wrong-doings.  A lawsuit, if picked up by the media, will shed light on darkness and bring about enough potential damage on the wrongdoer that they may be forced to look at their ways and hopefully even change them.  Everyone knows that a plaintiff in a lawsuit, if they even get their legal fees back, has succeeded and that oftentimes the lawyers are the ones who end up with the payout.   For this reason there must accompany every lawsuit a purpose that supercedes the cut-and-dry black-and-white letter of the filing.  There must exist, with every lawsuit, a desire to see injustice resolved – not just for the plaintiff but for every person who follows.

There must exist, with every lawsuit, a desire to see injustice resolved – not just for the plaintiff but for every person who follows.

The courts have one very useful feature built into them:  once the documents have been filed, they become part of the public record and can be discussed freely in public without fear of being sued for saying something personal. This one key feature is the reason why I am encouraged to carry on and spend my time on this.  I hope that one day someone will come across this document, read the details, and steer clear of the path of destruction that my family and I were forced to walk.

The crux of the matter is this: your ‘why’ that powers the battle must be based on good intentions for others, not ill will for the wrong-doer.

I hope that the people who have wronged us and others change.  I most genuinely hope that they fall to their knees and meet Jesus.  All things are possible.  Jesus died for them as much as He did for me.  It actually intrigues me to no end when I think of what their lives and business would look like if they were dedicated to serving God.  I hope that through this lawsuit that all parties experience an amazing personal spiritual revolution and revival.  But that is up to them and God.  Not even God Himself will force them to their knees – yet.

So, between now and then, I believe that I am called to action.  It’s a kind of ‘mission’ if you will.  I feel that I am well suited to participate in the process of bringing this to resolution – and one that will bring lasting positive change to the community where I live.

But what about my friend’s comment about what the Bible says?  Interestingly, it doesn’t have much at all on the direct topic of courts and faith.  It has a clear scripture that Christians are not to sue other Christians, it also shows that the courts exist to deal with the matters of this life, but it doesn’t give much if any teaching on this.  But I’m not concerned because the deeper issues are always those of motivation and heart condition.  With any issue in this life like, whether to sue someone, whether to buy a business, whether to get married, whether to accept a job in another country, etc, etc, are all matters of motivation and heart condition.  Instead of asking myself whether or not I should be suing these people, I ask myself these questions daily:

  • Am I at peace, or am I fighting against God’s will here?
  • Am I doing this out of vengeance or to bring about justice?
  • Will others stand to gain from this or just me (is this selfish or otherwise)?
  • What is the ROI on my time? Is it worth it?
  • and so on

I have perfect peace that I am doing the right thing.  Even though I have spent a lot of time on this process, I have learned innumerable useful life skills and have become a consultant to quite a few people already to whom I can pay it forward.  I am fully confident I am on the right path and I sleep like a baby every night.  Much better than before the lawsuit was started, in fact.  Furthermore, since starting the lawsuit, I have made many  new friends I would not have otherwise met.

So check your heart.

And fight for justice wherever you can in your sphere of influence.

Satan wins when you stand around and do nothing about evil.

 

 

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Nik Wallenda, Confidence in Christ, and Assurance of Salvation

I was doing my weekly 3 minute review of what I’m supposed to consider important (scanning the news headlines) when I came across an article and video that actually made me open it in a fresh tab.

Nik Wallenda walked across this wire and became the ‘first person to cross the Grand Canyon on a type wire’.

Before I even read the article I started contemplating deep things about myself.  Would I ever do this?  Though I walk with Jesus, do I really have assurance of salvation (ie. If I were to fall from that wire, would I end the fall in heaven?)?

Then I watched the video and was interested to note that most of what he was saying while he walked was “Thank you, Jesus.”  Apparently Nik has assurance of salvation.  Many Christians would probably come down on me hard for encouraging such irresponsible behaviour and quote the scripture, ‘”Thou shalt not test the Lord thy God.”  To them I would say, “When was the last time thou stepped out of the boat and walked on the water?”

The act Nik performed might be perceived as insanity, but I suggest that we evaluate whether some of the things we do are insane.  Some people are insanely safe.  They hate their day jobs but they keep them because it’s safe.  They have always wanted to start a business or try something different but it’s ‘just too risky’.  I especially see this with government employees.  Many of these people take these jobs and all the associated nonsense because they perceive their path as the wiser and safer path (Pension, benefits, job security, etc).  I serve a lot of these fine folk coffee every day and last month another wave of cuts hit their department (it hit at least two major Federal Government departments in our building) and most of them are watching their lifetime colleagues getting picked off one by one – not my idea of safe or stable.

But not our Nik Wallenda.

He, on his own accord, got out of the boat and started walking. Nick took the ‘unsafe’ path and lives to tell about it (with videos on You Tube to prove it) while the rest of us watched from the sidelines.

Good for you, Nik. As tempting as it is to run back to the safety of solid ground, you have inspired me to continue in faith – not only down the narrow and difficult path of life with Jesus – but also in every part of my life so that one day I, too, might be able to kiss the solid rock of security on which I stand and look back on the exciting journey with satisfaction of a life well lived.

 

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Jesus is Not the Reason for the Season

MODERN DAY DISCIPLE OF JESUS DECLARES JESUS NOT THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

Before I was a disciple of Jesus, I thought that Christianity and Jesus and all that virgin birth stuff was the root of the Christmas holiday. Even the word ‘Christmas’ seemed like ‘the mass of Christ’ – some kind of ‘Christiany-Catholicky-religiousy’ thing. It didn’t help that everyone around me – including those who attended Christian churches – boldly claimed ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’.

It wasn’t until I actually decided to wholeheartedly follow Jesus Himself that some of these claims about Christmas started to show some cracks. A little bit of study on these topics allowed some water to leak out and after digging in to the next level, the ship had sprung a leak and was on its way down.

One of the first thoughts that made me question this Christmas thing was the fact that many unbelievers around me had absolutely no problem ‘celebrating Christmas’. For many of them it was a chance to get more drunk for a longer period of time without work getting in the way. To take it one notch further, when I announced to people around me that I wanted to drop the gift-giving thing from Christmas (at that time it was just because I was broke and realized the nastiness of the commercial aspect of the season on broke people) it was the unbelievers who seemed to be most upset. They said ‘It’s fine if you don’t buy anything but don’t prevent us from buying gifts for you.” It was from these same folk from whom I received emails ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’ or “Let’s put Christ back into Christmas’ or ‘I will say “Merry Christmas!” not “Happy Holidays!”’ as if they were standing up for something very dear to them. The notable thing was that I never heard the name of Jesus exit their lips at any other time of the year yet, for them, Christmas was about Jesus? They were ‘celebrating the birth of Jesus’ they sometimes said.

I have to admit – there was something about that ‘Christmas magic’ that compelled me. It had me addicted. Something about those gifts. Something about Santa. Something about that decorated tree. All these things are very deep, cultural, and most definitely unavoidable.

One of the second Christmas experiences that happened occurred while I was living in Korea. My wife is Korean and a believer, so I did Christmas Gangnam Style a few times. It was interesting for me to note that this entire country goes to work and school and don’t think twice about it. The Christians in Korea gather for a service focused on the birth of Jesus and that’s about it. I suppose even this is rooted in the long term connection between the North American and Korean churches. The Santa thing was considered an ‘American cute thing’ and no one treated him much more seriously than you would treat a fast-food mascot walking down the street promoting cheap burgers as you drive by. I don’t recall meeting anyone who would actually lie to their children telling them that this fat old man was real and had God-like moral authority over their lives. It made me question what this time of the year was all about and why I was even a participant as a Christian.

These events prompted me to search the history of all these Christmas symbols. I found that all of them were pagan or secular at best. There was even substantial evidence saying that mixing the birth of Jesus into this holiday was a way for the ‘church’ to be able to participate in the dominant pagan festivities of the time (related to sun gods and other winter solstice events). The ‘Christians’ may have felt left out and wanted a piece of the pagan pie. Or, another view was that they celebrated Jesus’ birth because there was already this event going on so you might as well ‘Christianize’ it. Regardless of the reason, there is no proof at all to substantiate that Jesus was behind this December event whatsoever.

There are, however, many reasons to believe Jesus is NOT the reason for the Christmas season. Here is just a snapshot:

  1. Christmas trees are a pagan ritual condemned in Jeremiah chapter 10
  2. Jesus wasn’t born anywhere near December 25th. All scholars agree on this one.
  3. Santa has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bible but instead is a significant distraction from the God of the Bible painting an inaccurate view of our Heaveny Father and the reality of faith.
  4. It wasn’t really until around the mid 1850’s that Christmas was even regarded as a special day in the United States. Before that the celebration of it was even condemned and the existence of a Christmas tree in a church was nothing short of heretical.
  5. {More to be inserted here one day, maybe winter 2013}

After having researched these things and inside of myself decided that as for myself and my family we will not participate in these aspects of Christmas, I started to realize the immense social pressure to do it so as to not ruin the fun for others. In fact, the very day after I decided this, our family ended up at a Christmas event where I was the only white guy (again). Within just a few moments I was handed a big box full of Santa gear and asked to be Santa for these kids, one of whom was my daughter. Instead of ruining the event I decided that I would give them one year’s warning of my non-participation and make sure that as for my daughter, she knew that it was daddy under the suit. The pressure to do all these things is akin to high school social pressure.

The argument against Santa for Christians, with which I concur is this: If you lie to your kids about Santa, what makes you think they will trust you when you are teaching about the God of the Bible? In fact, it is this exact ‘argument’ that many atheists use when trying to refute the stories of the Bible. They say ‘The creation story, virgin birth and resurrection are nothing more than fairy tales like Santa and the Tooth Fairy.” Is this the kind of foundation we want to leave with our children? I cannot stop you from lying to your kids but if mine ask me if Santa is real, they are going to hear the truth in the same way I will tell them the truth that God is real. Our words and actions must line up.

So, then, what is the solution?

I do not have a complete answer yet and it will likely be a work in progress over the next few years. The best one I have heard so far and I will attempt to implement it is the idea of following the feasts and celebrations of the Bible (mainly Old Testament ones like the Passover). This will create a better understanding of the Bible while allowing us to celebrate something with eternal importance. Further, I believe that preparing a solid answer as to why we’re not celebrating the Christmas that the world celebrates will open many doors of discussion.

One of my concerns, admittedly, was that someone might consider me a cult member like a Jehovah’s Witness. So, I think it’s important to create a ‘new thing’.

Something that’s fun: family, friends, social.

Something that’s different completely from the ‘Christmas’ that the world celebrates.

Something that honours God.

 

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