Looking Through The Looking Glass of Another Lense

The-Looking-Glass

I recently finished reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X as told to AlexMalcolmX Haley. Which you can read my review of it on Doc Murf’s Corner Bookshelf. It was one of the most moving and prolific books I had read in quite a while. I don’t believe I had truly seen through the eyes of another as staunchly and as vividly as this one. While I neither agree with Malcolm X’s methods, his religious beliefs, nor position on many things, I can truly understand how he came to believe such things. I understand and can empathize with his struggle and with the path he had taken to get to where he finally arrived. His beliefs about the white man that he encountered daily had truly softened by the end of his trek. It was when he sought out to take his pilgrimage to Mecca, THAT was when it all changed how he thought about man, in general. It was reading this biography where this blog post was conceived and birthed to get others to see through the eyes of another who, perhaps, is the butt of jokes, bullying, or on the receiving end of a hard time by yourself or by those who are your friends. We are not called to dog other but to guide, uplift, and help them…because they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Whether they are misguided and have taken a wrong path, perhaps God is placing across your path for you to help them…not to give them a hard time or pick on them.

We are called to:

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. ~Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV

And trust me, there are many more scriptural references to urge each of us on to help our brothers and sisters. And guess what? This includes that we should not be talking about anybody behind their backs and tearing them down! It is idle talk and idleness that truly tears us down and makes us look like hypocrites. Which is one of the main reasons so many people hate going to church. Because it is the hypocrite in each and every one of us that shows it’s ugly head every time we are out of church.

 

gandhi-quote-if-it-weren-t-for-christians

No, again I am not pointing fingers at anyone, because this is an individual problem…yes, me too! I tends to be these paths we follow that allow us to learn these hard teachings from God. We don’t like them, no not at all! Who likes being chastised as such? I do not. We see in the Book of Ezekiel:

Signs of the Coming Captivity
2“Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house. 3“Therefore, son of man, prepare for yourself baggage for exile and go into exile by day in their sight; even go into exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand though they are a rebellious house. 4“Bring your baggage out by day in their sight, as baggage for exile. Then you will go out at evening in their sight, as those going into exile.… Bible Hub

New American Standard Bible

But think about this for a moment, who would we run away from? Who would we exile ourselves from? All of us has the same problem, unchristian acts of our hearts. Those who are atheist, agnostic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Nondenominational, etc. (I won’t list them all, as it would take up far too much space and you would get bored! I think you get the point.)

If we were as smart as we thought, wouldn’t we change our bad, hurtful and harmful ways and pick-up & develop better habits? It sounds great but it also reminds me of all those “New Year’s Resolutions” from days long gone bye! We start and at some point in time we go back to our easier, no thinking ways.

Sadly, as the species of man goes, we are always judging others. At work, on the streets, passing people at the mall or while doing our grocery shopping…feel free, name the place, we are always judging someone. Concerning their manner of dress, their mannerisms, their actions toward others or the clerk(s), whether or not we can take them (in a fight), whether or not he/she is cute enough to date, and the list goes on and on. We were warned by Jesus Himself:

Judge not, that you be not judged.” ~Matthew 7:1 NKJV

Our reprehensible sin of judging others is always in our way! Jesus showed Himself to be the Light of the World because of His righteous judgement upon others, and His gracefulness and merciful attitude toward others. We are also subject to the laws of man, as well as God. Jesus noted that who are we to judge another if we ourselves are not free from sin? All things, all laws truly have their pitfalls…can we truly sit on a jury and adjudicate another for a crime? Truthfully, we can. While we cannot sit in judgement on other for spiritual matters without serious spiritual consequences, we can make judgement upon others for the safety of our society, as a whole.

Sadly, once again, nothing occurs within a vacuum with regard to life. Everything is constantly changing and is most likely very complicated. While Malcolm X lived through a great number of things which were travesties and shaped his worldview and how he viewed the white man, much the same goes on with us as to how we view the world, the occurrences around us, each thing we experience hones and shapes our worldview and our view on those around us.

bibleWe can use the Bible as our rock and moral compass for our journey through this life, but as is noted within the New Testament we do live in this world, until we move on to be judged by God, or stand before the judgement seat of Christ. The Bible should be our looking glass that we use in order to place things into the proper perspective. And if we are truly followers of Jesus Christ, our Bibles should be well used and broken in! Friends, when you overwhelmed by a problem of great importance or of significant magnitude…turn to the Word of God in order to obtain a better perspective on the matter.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

References & Other Reading:

Lesson 17: The Sin of Judging Others (James 4:11-12) | Bible.org

22 Inspirational Bible Verses About Empathy – Bible Reasons

Ezekiel 12:3 “Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings … – Bible Hub

Walking in others’ shoes | Staunton Mennonite Weblog

Developing Empathy: Walk a mile in someone’s shoes

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When Men Run From God

RunFromGod2

My wife and I are both Christian,” the 70-year-old performer explains. “My father AliceCooperwas a pastor, my grandfather was an evangelist. I grew up in the church, went as far away as I could from it — almost died — and then came back to the church.” [ref: Legendary rocker Alice Cooper credits Jesus with curing him of alcoholism] We each have our demons, per se, those things which cause us to run away from God. Even though we tend to go that extra mile by telling ourselves that we are only running from the Church, the priests/pastors, or from the hypocrites within the Church. I myself was born into the Roman Catholic faith, but I always found it to be wrongfully preached or taught. When I was sixteen, I was in the pew listening to the priest say, emphatically I might add, “You are too ignorant and stupid to understand the bible. That is what we priests do, we learn the bible and teach you what you need to know.” While this was paraphrased, it was the crux of what this priest said, in essence, to the congregation. It was this particular straw that broke my camel’s back and sent me packing from the church, or from God. This was the driving force, in my opinion. I would truly say I left the Church because I did not accept what was stated, foolishly I might add.

Return-to-ChurchEventually, I ended up going back to Church, but it was a Pentecostal Church. Of course they had their doctrines which I disagreed with…after all, some of these doctrines that are taught in the Churches of a Denominational God tend to expound upon aspects of the Bible, which in essence, contradict the Bible, or God’s Word. After several other Return-to-Godconcerning issues, I left the Church, yet again. After a ten year hiatus, and much prayer, I returned. But unlike others I never actually left God. Though I had tested God, tried to disprove God, tried to explain away God…I still believed God. He tugs at your heart’s strings. Often times, you are saved from great dilemmas and problems which would essentially destroy you, and rightfully so – I might add. But God in His infinite & divine wisdom protects you in some of the strangest ways. Eventually, by God’s grace, you come around.

As discussed in a previous post we are the church, we the people, with Christ at it’s head. All the world IS God’s possession and can be used as a Church for God. What we do is return to God and return to His presence. It is our purpose to glorify Him in all we do…even if we do so through finding Him again and coming home to Him. Just as was spoken in the Parable of the Lost Sheep., or the Parable of the Lost Coin, or the Parable of the Lost Son.

I have, once I could identify it, always been of the mind of Jean Paul Sartre, who said (effectually):

“To name it is to kill it!”

Essentially meaning that if you define something through a naming process of some sort, you will in effect confine it. Yes, that does include God, as well as religion as a whole. When you name a religion that religion is then defined by it’s name through the associative process in your brain because you will associate all of the tenets of that particular religion to the name it bears, or it’s brand – if you will.

There are, as I recall, approximately 34,000 variations of Christianity throughout the world, today. Why? Because they each have a differing set of tenets to abide by. Drinking, no drinking, dancing, no dancing, snake handling (yeah! you heard me!), acknowledging holidays or not, etc. You change just one thing, one tenet in some manner or form…>>PRESTO!<< You now have a new religion.

Now I have gotten a little off the path of this post, BUT, you can focus on the remainder…This is why we as Christians that we MUST…ABSOLUTELY MUST…study the scriptures and read a lot! Because we will not learn all of this by osmosis. We must research and learn it all in order to have the answers for those who seek to know. We are a beacon of hope, in a manner of speaking. Those who are lost, they too are seeking. Either you and I will answer them…or someone else will misguide them. We have an obligation, according to the Great Commission to enlighten them and at very least steer them toward the truth that God has for them. In doing so, we fulfill the mandate in the Great Commandment.

There are those who are going through something similar to you in your youth, meaning they are running from God & the Church. And God has prepared you for just such an encounter by having you follow the path which you have followed over the course of your life. Man is never satisfied with what he has, because he always wants something more. Me in my youth I can truthfully say that I whored myself out to earn more money so I could obtain more. In so doing, I grew ever so slowly or quickly away from God by slowly divorcing Him out of my life. And though I obtained more, I was none the happier for it. But our God is strong enough and big enough to create something good, or help us to take away something good, from such an experience. And it is just such an experience that we need in order to help another who is going through such turmoil in their lives. We are able to show them God’s love and to let them know…”You are not alone in all of this!”

Jonah ran from God’s mandate and he was not happier for it, in fact he suffered for his brash actions until he fulfilled God’s command. In the Book of Hosea, Gomer ran from her husband back to prostituting herself for more until she was sent to the block to be sold. She was only to be bought back by her own husband, Hosea. This was the story of true love of God for His people and the showing of their ungratefulness.

The bible is full of the information we need, and I mentioned in a previous post as to Why we memorize scripture?…because of those AH-HAH! moments which we can learn quite a bit from.

I have written several posts concerning the subject of “Once Saved, Always Saved.” (Part 1, Part 2, & Revisited) I have always questioned such a thing; however, after much deliberation and much study on the matter I finally concluded that it is in fact the case. I have concluded that IF you do not believe in “Once Saved, Always Saved,” then you must hold the argument that YOU must do something over and above what God has already accomplished. I.e., the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus as the pure and unblemished lamb for our mis-deeds. Such a fallacious belief to have and I do not say such lightly. It is fallacious because you must ask yourself one very pointed question:

What can I do that is greater than the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, My Lord and Savior? What can I do that is far more superior than His being crucified for ALL of my sins?

[Keep in mind, when Jesus hung on the cross…you were not born excepting only that God knew of you before you were in the womb!]

I have often though long and hard on the opening monologue of the movie, The Patriot, where the opening words were spoken:

I have long feared that my sins would return to visit me, and the cost is more than I can bear.” ~Benjamin Martin, opening monologue of ‘The Patriot’

It is not our sins that come to visit us and cause us turmoil, but rather our bad choices. Choose now to follow Jesus, by accepting Him as the Son of the Most High God and as your Savior, YOUR sins shall be forgiven. Turn from your life of tumultuous behavior and turn toward Jesus who will guide you to the heavenly.

Godspeed my friends! I hope this was helpful and informative for you!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

Desperation Leads To Deliverance

Notes Deperation pt4

In Mark 5 we learn of several people: the man from the tombs who is possessed, Jairus and his dying daughter, and the woman with the bleeding disorder. Jesus, throughout His life made a great many “Bold Statements” to the people He taught, instructed, healed, befriended, etc. While the title of this post is not a bold statement which Jesus made…it is, however, a bold statement made due to plain observation of His many encounters with those who were desperate.

Each of these people had desperate problems, desperate needs, and (most had) faith in Jesus to heal.

Everyone had the notion in their heads, at one point in time, who is this Jesus? Who is He that He can heal? Only God can heal, only the healers and men of God can heal…who is this Jesus?

Gods handJesus, the Son of God, who has authority over sicknesses, ailments, death, hunger, the disposition & health of one’s soul, etc. YEAH, that Jesus. It is hard to believe that when one makes their way through the biblical accounts of Jesus, His travels, His trials & turmoil, His teachings & sermons, His healing of the sick and disenfranchised…hard to believe that anyone could ask such a thing. Considering the fact that even after His crucifixion & death, in the area of Jerusalem that His teachings were continued by His Apostles and followers. Jesus1If that which was taught about or by Him was wrong why was there no outcry against it? If He were not crucified to death, buried, and rose again…why then did not those who said, “this did not happen!” Why did they not produce His body? There were many assertions and theories on this, but then they go beyond the scope of this blog post. However, it should be in the back of one’s mind when listening or reading of the great things accomplished by Jesus and His followers.

Getting back on track…

First, we encounter the possessed man from the tombs. He who was possessed by Legion. Jesus commanded Legion, Come out of the man, unclean spirit! (verse 8) And, of course, Legion asked to be cast into the herd of pigs. And Jesus allowed it; then the pigs were sent running off the cliff. Now, you or I…today, would see this as a travesty that so much bacon would be wasted. But, as it was brought to my attention, that this was a great economic problem for the owners of the pigs. Why? You might ask…because the pigs were used in many of the pagan rituals and therefore, Jesus just deprived them of great money making possibilities.

And of course, the man who was possessed desperately desired to go and follow Jesus in verses 18-20. Why? because he had firsthand knowledge and experience of such power and healing that Jesus could perform [my interpretation and understanding]. The gratefulness and the gratitude that he had toward Jesus…could have been second to none! But each of us has a voice to be heard by certain people, apparently the recently healed man of possession needed to have his voice heard by his people…God’s will be done!

Second, we come in contact with one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus whose daughter was dying. Now this is something. a ruler of the synagogue sought out Jesus to heal? But when it comes to one who is near and dear to us, we will not concern ourselves with such a matter, despite what our fellow synagogue leaders think of such a man as Jesus. But family is family…to many, family is everything. Jairus even showed such courage and faith by saying, My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.(verse 23)

While on the way to heal Jairus’ daughter we come in contact with the third person of faith and desperation, the woman with the flow of blood issue.She who used up all her money to be healed. She could neither work nor be around people because she was labeled, “unclean.” So, by the mere touching of the hem of His clothes, she truly had faith that she would be healed…now that is faith, a truly strong faith! But such would not go unnoticed with Jesus.

As with the woman, do we not (in our youth) fail to ask for permission and find it more useful to wait (if caught) to seek forgiveness? But she knew that she was wrong in what she did, as she was “fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.” And once again, God was glorified! And Jesus responded, Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.

So, now back to the second person he ran into…Jairus. His faith was what was to heal his daughter. Those who came from the synagogue ruler’s house said, Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” This raises a question, or two, but those go beyond the scope of this post. One that comes to mind is: If this synagogue ruler was such a man of faith, why didn’t his whole household know of Jesus? Perhaps, I would speculate, that he didn’t want to be unfaithful to his brethren of the synagogue and Jesus was the last person he thought of in this time of trouble. As many of use might do. 

But Jesus in classic form said, Do not be afraid; only believe.” Which was assurance to His caller, the synagogue ruler, and perhaps his entire family. Then Jesus followed on with this, Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping. To which many around just laughed and ridiculed Jesus, considering such a thing just idiocy. After all, this crowd of people, many of which I speculate had seen the body of the girl and suspected or knew the girl to, in fact, be dead. But are we not called to believe despite what we have seen, or believe without seeing?

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” ~John 10:37-38 NKJV 

 Jesus said to him, “Thomas,[a] because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~John 20:29 NKJV

…God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed… ~Romans 4:16-21 NKJV

Face it, we are all raised to be skeptical of those things we do not see. We are also taught that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn’t. Sadly, we live in a skeptical world and this is one of the things we must overcome as we grow older and seek out God in our own way. There are a great number of things that preclude the possibility of knowing God, as we are taught to believe in the theory of evolution and other very smart and educated people who do not count God as a potential, or possible, First Cause for our existence. While some, and yes even some Christian sects discount the classic First Cause argument. But, let us return to our original posting…

Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” This had to be a grand spectacle for all to see! Immediately the girl arose and walked which, of course was not told to us until the writing of this Gospel.

These three instances spoke volumes to us all, that Desperation Leads To Deliverance. While my message is slightly different from the sermon presented by my Pastor (Scott Beckenhauer) the essence of it remains the same. We each follow a path in our lives, good and bad, but eventually we begin to ask the bigger questions which eventually lead us to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

gotGod

Desperation can lead us down a very dark and bleak road in our lives, or we can see a glimmer of light and hope at the end of the tunnel which takes us on the trail that leads to hope, faith, love and charity. God awaits all of us to arrive at the finish line, but not all will get there. We are all invited, but not all will accept His generous offer of Grace.

What about you? What is your heart seeking? Where do you desire to go?

Got God? Got Jesus? Got Holy Spirit?

Until next we meet, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

While Breathing, Man Forgets His Breath Is From God

breath of life

We all seem to forget one of the greatest gifts we possesses, the breath of life which is within each of us by the grace of God! We each continue to waste our time and lives on such trivial things to debate if or whether or not that God exists…despite this great gift!

What are the Odds?:

And what something even more basic – say, your own existence?  A couple of months ago, a “probability chart” produced by Harvard Law School blogger Ali Binazir went somewhat viral, encouraging people to contemplate this very question.  In the chart, Binazir calculates just how improbable it was that the right sperm from your father hooked up with the right egg produced by your mother – by his estimate, it’s about one chance in 400 quadrillion (that number seems only slightly more tame in scientific notation: 4 x 10^17).  And that’s hardly the whole battle:  To even get to that stage, all of your ancestors, going all the way back to the beginning of life on Earth, had to survive to reproductive age.  Multiplying the string of probabilities together, he concludes that the odds of your existence are an astronomical one in 10^2,685.000.  (As you can imagine, not everyone in the blogosphere was kind to Binazir; one asked if it was painful to pull those numbers out of you-know-where.) (“Life, the Universe, and Everything: What are the Odds?“, 12/2011, Dan Falk)

Let us consider mathematical a understanding:

improbable = something that can happen, but its probability is comparatively low, but not zero. The distinction between probable and improbable is not, as far as I know, exactly defined.

if you roll one hundred dice, it is very improbable that all of them will land as sixes.

almost impossible = something that can happen, but its probability is exactly zero

if you roll a frictionless die, it is almost impossible that it will end up on its edge.

if you keep rolling a die until a six lands, it is almost impossible that you will never stop rolling.

impossible = something that cannot happen.

if you roll one hundred (standard) dice, it is impossible that at least one of them will land as a seven.

probable

if you do get one hundred sixes in a row, it is probable that the casino will kick you out.

almost definite

if you attempt to balance a frictionless die on its edge, it will almost definitely topple to one of its faces

definite

I think you will definitely try to balance a die on its edge. If you do succeed – remember it’s due to friction.

~cited work: John Dvorak (https://math.stackexchange.com/users/49851/john-dvorak), Improbable vs Impossible?, URL (version: 2013-10-05): https://math.stackexchange.com/q/515620

We are each in a physical existence, unless you believe life to be an illusion…but that is another story. The odds of us evolving to the point where we are (individually) today is an astronomical one in 10^2,685.000, if not more so. I say that because this number was the odds for either you or myself…not all of us on this earth. Which means that the odds would drastically and astronomically increase by an exponential factor.

 Accordingly, probabilities can be approximately 1010^23, give or take a few billion orders of magnitude.
cited work:Vincent (https://math.stackexchange.com/users/332815/vincent), Can something be statistically impossible?, URL (version: 2016-12-08): https://math.stackexchange.com/q/2049730
In order to show that something is impossible, the possibility of it happening must be less than zero. To the average man, woman or child getting much less than 10*-10^23 is not necessary…I believe that for the rest of us that this is sufficiently lass than zero to be impossible. Now let us look at the odds for something being probable to happen: One in 10^2,685.000. This is 1 chance in 10^2,685.000 (10 followed by 2,685 zeros.) Can it happen? Yes. Is it likely to happen? No. Consider the likelihood that we (any one of us) are able to win the Powerball. What are the odds? Last I checked into that it was one chance in 248, 000, 000. To me that is astronomical. So, when looking into it we have a greater chance of winning the Powerball than evolution producing you or I and having the breath of life in either of us.
Talk about chance and odds! We have been given a great gift, this thing we call life. We each need to hold dearly the idea that life is precious. This world has all but gone to hell in a hand-basket if it were not for those of us who hold dearly to the idea that God gave each and everyone of us a precious and beautiful gift…LIFE…THE BREATH OF LIFE!
we are dying

So, in the words of Clarence the Angel to George Bailey on “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE” rings true about now…

“You see (George), You really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?” When you step back from a situation and place all things in their proper perspective, we are able to see without all of the other distractions of life – objectively. We all do this at times in our lives. And I hope and pray that you see such is the case for yourself, my dearest friends, brothers and sisters.

 

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Repentance

repentance

Just as we learned from Jonah, where the Lord “repented,” though it was not actually the Lord who repented but the Ninevites…the Lord changed His course of action because of the Ninevites’ repentance.  So, cannot God do with us as the potter deals with his creation?

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to  build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it. ~Jeremiah 18:1-10 NKJV 

The funny thing is that many look at this and believe this is a contradiction…but is it truly a contradiction? No, I do not believe so. God does not repent in the traditional sense of the word as man would repent. So, what is repentance? According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, repentance means:

There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance. (1.) The verb _metamelomai_ is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).

(2.) Metanoeo, meaning to change one’s mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun _metanoia_, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.

Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one’s own guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments.

The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).

Was God truly “repentant”? No, but as the word means, in one of it’s definitions, He changed His mind. Was it proper for the writer to use the word that he chose to use? Probably not, but it was a means to get across the message that God would change His wrath to joyfulness, because the penitent changed from their evil ways to the ways of God.

 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. ~Luke 15:7 NKJV

With this promise to later on be said by Jesus, could you imagine the joy over the Ninevite’s turning over a new leaf and turning their lives over to God? Such joy to be had and noticed!So, was God sorry? No, He was glad and joyful that those who followed a path of evil had changed their minds and hearts to align with God’s heart and will. But He did change His course of action, instead of destroying the people of Nineveh He blessed them. Jonah went up on the hill to watch the Ninevites revert back to their old ways, because in Jonah’s mind “you just cannot trust a Ninevite!” On a side note God is always sorry and heartbroken that man chooses a path that leads him to Hell, because God “…desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

But, of course, man needs to want to do so, man needs to choose for himself that God’s way is the right way, and man needs to believe the word of God. These are choices that we all must make, if we happen to choose the opposite view we are on the precipice of choosing our own destruction and have no recourse of action. Nor can we truly blame God for our actions as we chose to do so of our own volition. This is why I taught and firmly believe that choice is man’s greatest blessing and greatest curse all wrapped up in one!It was on that hill that God had to teach the prophet, or evangelist, a lesson, or two, and gain him back to God’s way of thinking, again. And He did it through a vine.
As mentioned in an earlier post that man tends to get attached to the strangest things. Sadly, it doesn’t take too much for any of us to get attached to much of anything these days. Dogs, cats, lizards, money, work, etc. The list can get very long! Why was Jonah on the hill? Because he just knew that the Ninevites would fail and revert back to their old ways. Thereby, reverting back to their sinful ways and actions…business as usual. 

In the book of Ezekiel, and other places within the biblical text, we are told:

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul. ~Ezekiel 3:17-21 NKJV

God is forgiving, if we are repentant. But God will hold each of us accountable for the sins of our neighbors and brothers IF we do not warn them as we are told to do. We are each called to be ministers, priests, and evangelists. Bearers of the Word of God and therefore, we are to warn all peoples we come into contact with that their souls may live with God.

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We are the “Watchmen”, for the sake of men’s souls and eternal life! This is the endgame of bringing the word to others…to open their hearts in order to bring about a repentant heart that God my yield his mercy and forgiveness. Regardless of how repentant we may be, none of us is good…NO NOT ONE!

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May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

The Assurance of Salvation by Matt Slick (CARM.org)

I came across this site and article, which has changed my perspective on my belief in salvation. I had posted some time ago (Once Saved, Always Saved? Part 1 & Part 2; Aug-Sept, 2015) where I had a problem with the essential belief in “once saved always saved.” This article, along with others by Matt Slick, have through well thought out arguments have changed my mind (for the most part.) I still have certain concerns, however these are personal issues; perhaps, I am trying to hang on to the old in fear of the new, I do not know. Please enjoy…

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ORIGINAL ARTICLE<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The Assurance of Salvation

by Matt Slick

One of the more annoying problems in Christians’ lives is the issue of assurance of salvation. We’ve all been there.  We’ve all wondered if we are really saved or not.  We’ve looked at our lives and actions and thoughts and sometimes just said, “How can I be saved if I am like this?”  I’ve counseled many Christians who have doubted their salvation and who have worked themselves into a worry and sometimes even depression over the issue.  I’ve always thought that the solution was pretty basic.  I ask the person, “Why do you think you might not be saved?”  Almost always the reason is, “Because I have a sin in my life.  Because I can’t beat this one sin.  Because of my thoughts.   Because I keep failing.”  “Okay,” I say.  “So you know you’re supposed to be doing better than you are, right?”  “Yes,” they say.  “I am supposed to be doing better and I’m not.  This is why I doubt that I am saved.”  So, I give them this illustration.

Let’s say that we are on a 20 foot boat out in the ocean.  We are sailing along when we notice two men in the water.  There is no other boat around, so it is obvious these two men are in trouble. We take a life preserver, tie it to a rope, and throw it to them.  It lands just a few feet short.  We start yelling and yelling for them to grab the life preserver so we can pull them in.  “Come on,” we yell. “Grab it!  Grab it!”  One of the men, exhausted, reaches out his arm for the life preserver but falls short.  “Grab it!” we yell again.  He reaches again and his arm plops down in the water from fatigue. The waves slap his face, but he tries again.  The other man is simply floating face down in the water.  He isn’t struggling at all.  But, the first man is trying for that life preserver.  He is fighting against the ocean, the wind, and the waves, all which are greater than he is.  That is when I ask the person, “Which one of the two men in the water is alive?”  Always, the response is, “The one reaching for the life preserver.”  “Right,” I say.  “He is struggling for life.  Dead people don’t struggle for life…. and spiritually dead people do not struggle against their sin.  Only those who are dead, who have no life in them, do not struggle.  The fact that you are struggling against your sin is one very good sign that you are very much alive in Christ.  If you were not struggling at all, then it might be true that you weren’t saved.  But, since you war against your sins, then it sure sounds like you’re saved to me.”  Usually, the eyes brighten at this point.  I then keep going.

“Do you believe there is only one God in all existence, all places, and all times?”  “Yes,” they answer. “Do you believe in the Trinity, that God is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?”  Again, “Yes.”  I continue.  “Do you believe Jesus is God in flesh?”  “Yes.”  “Do you believe Jesus is the only way to salvation?”  Again, “Yes.”  “Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead three days later?”  Another, “Yes.”  “Good,” I say.

1 Cor. 2:14 says, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”  I continue by telling them that a natural man is someone who is not saved.  Now, these are absolutely, definitely spiritually discerned truths that they answered yes to above.  They are that there is only one God and that God is a Trinity, that Jesus is God in flesh, that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead three days later.  In other words, the fact that the person confesses these things and believes them is further, very strong evidence, that he is spiritually alive.  Usually, the person is encouraged even more.

And finally, I tell them that Jesus gives us eternal life (John 10:27-28) and He does not fake us out when we ask to be forgiven and for Him to be Lord of our lives.  He said in Luke 11:10-13, “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. 11Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?  12“Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?  13“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” In other words, you get what you ask for from the Lord (except for sinful and selfish things, of course); He does not bait-and-switch.  If you ask for eternal life from Jesus, that is what you get–no matter how you feel, no matter how your emotions may mislead you.  The truth is that God’s Word tells us that the Father will give the Holy Spirit to us if we ask.  The Holy Spirit only indwells believers.

We all have our struggles and we all need to take into account the fact that we are still sinful and we are going to struggle with our sin.  But, if you begin to doubt your salvation because you don’t “feel” saved, then stop trusting your feelings and start trusting God at His Word.  Ask yourself if you are struggling against your sin.  If you aren’t, maybe you aren’t saved.  But, if you are, then that is a sign of life.  Ask yourself if you believe in the Trinity, that Jesus is God in flesh, and that He died and rose from the dead.  If you do, that is a sign of spiritual renewal.  Ask yourself if you believe what Jesus said about Him not faking you out, about Him giving to you the Spirit if you ask. If you do, then that means you are believing Him at His Word.  Take your eyes off your feelings and failures and put them on Christ, His Word, and His sacrifice.  Trust in Him and Him alone…. not what you feel, not at what you fail.  He didn’t save you because of your works or your “goodness.”  He did not save you because of what is or is not in you. He saved you because of what is in Him: love and truth.

Matt Slick

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

…what I hate, THAT I do

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. ~Romans 7:15-20 NKJV 

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Talk about a recipe for disaster, eh? The Apostle Paul describes here to us that even he has problems staying on the straight and narrow road to God’s righteousness. And he was an Apostle, though some may differ in their opinion on that. This just goes to show us, layman or common men of God, that we are susceptible  to sinfulness and sinful thoughts. We are men, we exist, therefore we think. There was sometime ago I posted that the average man thinks approximately 70,000 thoughts per day; however, based upon further searching that is a bit high…it is more like 20,000 thoughts. In either case, we are constant thinking creatures, as well as deletion creatures. We delete many of these thoughts because of what we tend to focus on at any given time.

Since this topic is the sinful nature of man:

the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” ~Genesis 8:21 NKJV

When we sin, many, not all men, will tend to dwell upon what they have done. The old adage that we are our own worst critic, is quite true in this respect. We will, those of us that think on our actions and sin, will dwell upon them and mull over them for what seems to be an eternity. So much so that we will whip ourselves into a frenzy of despair or even depression. We all have those moments of disdain toward ourselves. The circular questions which lead us nowhere but to an blocked road without an exit.

  1. Why do I keep doing this?
  2. Why can’t I get past that?
  3. What the hell is wrong with me?
  4. When will this madness stop?
  5. Why do I keep failing God?
  6. Why do I keep failing myself?
  7. Why do I keep failing my wife?
  8. Why do I keep failing my family?
  9. Why do I keep failing my kids?

And the list if never ending dismay can continue until the end of eternity. So of ten we are so focused on the problem that we fail to look toward any solutions. Start asking different questions. More empowering questions. Such as:

  • What can I do to make better use of my time?
  • How can I avert further problems with THIS particular sin?
  • What can I do to glorify God?

The list of how to stop sinning list and the circular questioning list each can go on and on. The fact is that we sin, our imaginations are evil in nature (this we were told in Genesis 8:21 NKJV), but Jesus gave us an out from this problem. Yes, He did touch on the subject with His own  followers (i.e., the Apostles) where He said, in Luke 22:46 NKJV, “Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”” We can follow Jesus’ lead and suggestion to steer away from sin through prayer!

However, many of us do this wrongly. What I mean is that when we pray, we need to pray to God for the Spirit of understanding, wisdom, knowledge and workmanship in order to do something that will essentially glorify God in the long run. Unfortunately, many of us tend to pray not to do something (i.e., to not sin in this or that way again and again.) What we need to do is to pray to glorify God by doing His will, through knowing and understanding His word and gaining the necessary wisdom. Face it, we have all done it as some point in time. BUT now is the time to stop doing things the wrong way. When we gain the wisdom, the knowledge, the understanding, and the Spirit of workmanship to do so, we need to pass that on to those around us. Those who also are potentially having the same problem of what I call a “prayerful rut.” A “prayerful rut” Is much like mis-attributed quote to Einstein’s definition of insanity:

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Well most of us tend to pray to God in Jesus name to not do “x” or not do “y”. YOU-ARE-WHAT-YOU-THINKWell, guess what? When you do so you first place what you do not want to at the forefront of your mind and, thereby, keep it close in your thoughts.

Like Dr. Robert Schuller spoke, you are what you think about all day long. If that is so, why not think about what you want to, or choose to, do? Eh, what a concept! We need to look at what we desire to become along with praying about becoming such a person, and we need to envision ourselves becoming such a person at all times throughout our day. In so doing, you place those thoughts, as well as, those pictures at the forefront of our minds. By doing this you have a much better chance of becoming what you seek to become than by focusing on what you desire not to do. Also, since our minds work with pictures far more efficiently that with words, prayers, and inanimate thoughts, our minds focus on the pictures and images.

We all have that tendency to do what we desire not to do and not do what we ought to do. But we can change that by focusing on how to better handle and control our sinful natures. I hope this post was helpful to you all! All my prayers to you and the for the betterment of this country, as a whole!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD