Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying…

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” ~Michael Landon, Jr.

While not biblical, Michael Landon, Jr.’s statement is a matter of importance and fact. Importance because we tend to get ourselves into a comfortable state in our lives when we can keep our heads above water; yet, we know darn well that there is so much we should be doing. It is a matter of fact because we also have a tendency to push things off one-dayuntil another time, by saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” “Some other day,” “Another time,” ” Some day, honey, we will get there, or do such and such…” We all have our special line to let us know that we want to do it, but someday never seems to arrive.

We all have our ways, we each have our blow off statement(s), and we all in the back of our minds know we will not ever get there, or do this or that. It is just in our nature to put things off because we have other things that rise higher on our scale of important things to do list. We are reminded by King Solomon:

For the living know that they will die…” ~Ecclesiastes 9:5 NKJV

Man inherently knows that he will one day, no longer be. It is a sad truth to our lives, but death is every bit a part of life, it is the finale…if you will. Where the time clock of our life has run out…the game is over…curtains are down…well, you get the point. As we grow older, we tend to look more toward the legacy we will leave behind. Of course, there are those who began to build up a legacy right out of college, high school, or even the LeavingLegacy.jpgmilitary.

People such as myself, who have taken far too long to mature and, therefore, delayed – without any fore thought toward the ramifications of their decisions – begins to look at their life and see that they have not developed any kind of a legacy to leave either family or the world. One could even apply the techniques from Napoleon Hill’s book, THINK AND GROW RICH and develop a low level or some grand legacy, to both family and the world. But as with any goal, you must first know what it is that you want to obtain, or develop. Legacies are no different.

We have this tendency to get caught up in the daily grind, the rat race, or the job. Often times, these are but menial things, in retrospect. We all too often allow ourselves to get Morestuffcaught up in the mental mind set of keeping up with the Joneses, or just find ourselves wanting more and more stuff. Which, by the way, will end up in our closets, sheds, basements, garages, or attics…never to truly be used at all. So, why do we do such things? Well, who really knows, but the underlying thought is that it makes us feel good in the end. A certain amount of happiness in an otherwise mundane life of work…work…work…and more work. 50 to 80, and with others even more hours each week. And we have the feeling we are getting no where, fast. Sometimes we just cannot help ourselves, until one day you wake up and make a firm decision…NO MORE!

Some of have more time than others in our lives. Someone I graduated with in High School, back in New Jersey, he died at the age of 49, another died in her twenties, and another while we were in our Junior year of High School. Some people just have less time than others. But you know, being armed with such information and understanding that we will all go some day can be a blessing. If you can embrace such a mind set, then you will be a cut above many others who are constantly playing things safe. While I am not promoting living unsafe lives I am suggesting that we need to go out on a limb in our lives. By placing ourselves on a limb we will start taking chances and start seeking the purpose for which we were created.

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” ~ Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NKJV

Sometimes that million dollar idea you get could be the legacy you leave behind. Others will leave hind a beautiful family and others will leave behind children to carry on their name who were endowed with the wisdom that God blessed them with. Our Founding Fathers, here in America, left behind a legacy of a republic with the blessing of inalienable rights…the Great American Experiment. I had two great great uncles who were in the Civil war on the side of the North. I also had a great great great uncle who fought on the side of the British Crown on one of Her Majesty’s Ships during the War of 1812. Talk about being caught in the middle, eh?? My father was in WWII in Germany and one of my Grandfathers was in the military just after WWI and an Uncle who was in Germany during the Korean War.

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So, what is your legacy? What are you leaving for your family? What are you leaving the world? What are you leaving to testify that God was in your life while you walked this mortal coil, called earth? Search deeply in prayer and meditation on God’s Word…what does God want you to do? Keep in mind that you are dying, we are all dying, and what are you going to do to show the world that God was in your life?

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

 

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…do it heartily, as to the Lord…

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Colossians 3:23-24 NKJVAnd whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

Ephesians 6:5-8 NKJVBondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJVTherefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

No matter how you explain it, or say it, we are to work as though working for God, Himself! As we are God’s property, because He did create each and every one of us, as well as everything that is in this universe of His. We are to do so proudly, with happiness in our heart, with joy in our very soul, and as though our treasure in heaven depended upon it.

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.” ~Psalm 24:1 NKJV

We need to remember this. All too many people either have divorced themselves from God, or have helped to divorce God from our society only to replace God with big government. And in some cases we have become a polytheistic rabble; in that, we have replaced God with the following, but of course not limited to this list:

  • Big government
  • Our pleasures
  • Sports
  • Work
  • Money
  • Our entertainment idol(s)
  • Our spouse
  • Our animals
  • Our possessions
  • Our triumphs & accomplishments
  • Our “prowess”
  • Our agenda

Even I have a problem, quite often lately, of keeping my mind on work at my job. In that, I often believe that I am destined for something bigger, better, perhaps. But things often get in my way. Is this an excuse to allow me an out from my Godly destiny? No…perhaps it is just something that seems to get in my way, much as Napoleon Hill would describe as a roadblock, a challenge, etc. These are things that I (or we, as the case may be) need to make our way through, to conquer in order to truly achieve that greatness that we are destined to attain. But we cannot attain such greatness until we have overcome that which stands in our way. God does this for a reason!

Life-ChallengesHow can we truly work as though to the Lord, unless we can truly work through the difficulties and challenges  that lie before us?  That is a profound question…look at it for a bit and think on that for a moment or two.

Each of us tend to go through a period of time where things are going against us. Not only this, but many of us are brought to the brink of giving up. Think about that. Elijah, Moses, Job, and Jeremiah each were driven to the point of giving up and wanting to die. Now, think about that for a moment! Think also of the Apostles, each of them and the trials and tribulations that they went through up until their torturous end, excepting only John.

Those who stick with their task, until the end, will be rewarded. Those of us who will not stick to it until the end will end up quitting and depressed. We all hope for that golden ring at the end of the trek of ours, but guess what?..the golden ring will not be given to those who give up. In our youth we, or many of us, have heard the old adage:

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But times have truly changed as there is a wave of belief that all children should get a participation award and cut out who was first, second, etc. While I am a firm believer in the competitive spirit and I find it quite absurd to teach & raise our children with the mantra that “…the world owes you something…” attitude.

Without such a competitive how can we actually work as though to the Lord? There must be some kind of work ethic or attitude that the job must get done. However, that attitude will not be within any of us if we have the mindset that the world, or society, owes us something when it clearly does not! Napoleon Hill’s book, THINK AND GROW RICH, was based upon the competitive spirit within man to strive to accomplish your heart’s desire. Wealth, generally money, could actually be most anything. Just as the term “happiness”, originally it was to be “property”, within the framework of our Declaration of Independence was that which drove the American spirit.

We Christians, as a whole, truly have a great opportunity to show those around us Excellenceat work, shopping, etc., that we are ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven and truly represent God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We can do this by how we work at anything! Whether great or small task, it matters not, but we must work at it with a focus of excellence in our minds and hearts. Since we are not perfect, we can only be excellent, at best! Jesus reminded us:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. ~Matthew 5:16 NKJV

And in what we do, we should reflect favorably in the eyes of those around us, who witness us, and observe us, that God will be glorified! Let us make a pact to teach up our children, grandchildren, and God willing our great-grandchildren in such a light. Let them each witness us to glorify God in all we do!

Until next we meet again, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

 

 

Why Do We Remain So Sinful?

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Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” ~ 1 John 3:9 NKJV

While this scripture would appear to be circular reasoning, and yes it is; however, the epistle from which it comes was sent to believers in the risen Jesus. Why does this make a difference? Because those who believe what was written have no need of additional information due to the fact that they have already witnessed the miracles, they saw the risen Christ, they live according to the prescribed life of God. Their celebration is on the new day of Sunday and no longer on the Sabbath (Saturday.) They have no need of further descriptions or definitions or the many proofs because they already believe.

But then the question arises…If we are born of God and we continue to sin, how then can His seed truly be in us as we continue to sin and fail Him? This is a great question, also it is one I have asked of myself many times over. As I continue to read Systematic Theology, chapter 34 “Regeneration”, which reminds us (concerning 1 John 3:9) that while we as believers who have given our lives over to Christ who now have the spiritual seed of God in our lives, we will not have a perfect life; however, we will no longer have a pattern of life which no longer continues to indulge in sin. Our life’s pattern will change, some faster than others…but it will change!

Now there are several possibilities:

  1. We are not truly saved and must do something else to ensure our salvation.
  2. We are truly saved, but our sinful nature of the flesh gets the better of us.
  3. We can always blame it on free will, a gift from God.
  4. And there are other possibilities, but would enlargen the scope of this discussion to such a point that this blog post would become a multipart series…or just a much longer post.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ~John 14:6 NKJV

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” ~Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” ~Romans 10:9 NKJV

I believe the aforementioned passages pretty much handles the suggestion that we are not truly saved. IF you asked Jesus into your heart and life and sought to live accordingly, you are saved. Simple as that!

But we are also reminded by the Apostle Paul of our sinful nature:

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

The Apostle Paul reminded us that even though we will to do something and we do not do it, our sinful nature takes hold of us. This is what was meant by God when He spoke to Cain:

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” ~Genesis 4:7 NKJV

We have an obligation to lean to “…rule over…” our sinful nature. We can only do so through the guidance and help from God. Quite often we will feel as though we are on our own and maybe we are…to a degree. Think about when you were a child, remember when you road your bicycle for the first time? It was scary and what about when your dad took off the training wheels and sent you on your way alone? It was alright when you thought your dad was there, holding and stabilizing your every move. But guess what? Dad had to let go at some point in time so you could learn and have the confidence to do things on your own! (Of course, this brings up another topic for a blog post…but that is for another time.)

So this all brings us to the point of why do we continue to sin after giving and submitting ourselves over to God? While sin is bad, sin does remind of things:

  • Reminds us of where we came from
  • So we remain humbled
  • We can see our faults
  • Knowing & understanding God’s grace
  • By knowing & remembering we are sinful we are humbled – and stay such; we recognize God’s love for us, even though we do not deserve it. We are therefore unable to think too highly of ourselves. (Romans 5:8)
  • Until we become doers of good (James 1:22) promoted by Jesus and His Apostles, we will remain hearers of the word/good…stuck in a loop with eternal ramifications.

This reminds me of how Matt Slick explains the assessment of who is and who is not alive:

“...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…” ~The Assurance of Salvation, CARM.org

We each have our way of understanding things, even the difficult things. But we can all understand these things, even the difficult ones, in a manner where we can gain the full assurance of God’s salvation. Will we ever be sinless? Yes, but not while we are here on this earth…When we die and stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ we shall be adjudicated with righteousness. It is only through the blood of Jesus that we are righteous before God because Jesus is and always has been righteous. However, in our flesh…we are wicked and sinful creatures!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

 

 

How Burdensome Are Keeping of the Commandments?

Jesus once said, For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:30 NKJV

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Yet, Jesus was both man and God, He was without sin. Jesus, being both fully man and fully God was far and away better capable of enduring the temptations of this world than we. We, on the other hand, are wholly the species of man and are born into sinfulness. As reminded to us by the Apostle Paul and King David, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10 NKJV) Now, I do not mean to, nor intend to, contradict the bible; however, I will speak some things here which will appear to do so, but in actuality are things that we people tend to think and say without further research.

To follow these commandments of the living God is a burden to the species  of man. Why is it so? Because we seek the easy way out of every situation. Sometimes that entails lying…yes, we learned to do that when we were young. “No, I wasn’t taking the cookie out of the cookie jar…I was getting it for you!” And “No, that wasn’t me you saw taking that stick of gum, it was someone that looked a lot like me.” And so on, and so on… We tended to turn lying into an art form, even though everyone could see through our lies. We learned this task quite easily because we thought it would keep us out of trouble. It comes easy to us because we are steeped in sinfulness. Instead, we just got into deeper troubles throughout our lives. Until, of course, we came to God and gave our lives to Jesus. Though, it may have become easier, overall, but because of our history with lies and other sinful behavior…it was a new way of life. Much likened to quitting smoking or some other bad habit. Now-a-days, telling the truth is the new hate speech.

For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” ~Matthew 23:4 NKJV

We have even learned the fine art of sinfulness from those who mentor us. Our parents made a great number of mistakes, but we learned from them both good and bad. We have learned from certain church leaders, pastors, priests, deacons, etc. They have all had a hand in teaching us both good and the bad. But instead of using these moments for good teaching moments, those great teaching moments were brushed under the table and it seemed to be another Monty Python moment…

It would be far greater a learning experience if our parents and leaders alike would use both good and bad moments to teach us right and wrong. Unfortunately, most parents and leaders tend to not use those moments because they do not desire to be seen as doing wrong and therefore do not see those bad moments as failures, but rather as moments of righteous indignation.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” ~1John 5:3 NKJV

Keeping God’s commandments is tough enough, especially coming from a background of sinfulness. If we were to take a daily tally…we each would be on the losing end! Completely because of our sinfulness. At any given moment, we are thinking sinful thoughts and bombarded by sinful behavior from the television.

The fact is this, we can do nothing by which we can deserve our salvation through Christ other than to accept such a gift as grace from God, through Christ, and to do our best to follow Christ. Which means we will try to live as Christ mandated us through the Great Commission:

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”~Matthew 22:36-40 NKJV

We shall never be able to live up to such a high moral standard of perfection, it is the perfection of Christ which is in us that allows us to stand in God’s presence. We do have our victories, at times. Sadly, we must look at our sinfulness and our failures as learning and teachable moments…to ourselves and those around us. Consider what the Apostle Paul said to us:

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

This has always seemed to be quite the conundrum to me. But when you look at how we act individually, you can better understand it. Especially with an objective mind!

To dwell on our sinful failures on a daily basis, if dwelt upon too deeply, can either drive us to depression or suicide. But that is not the point, is it? No, it is not! The point is this: That by giving our lives over to Jesus and accepting His gift of grace and salvation, Jesus took our sins upon the cross and He was judged guilty in our place as a substitution for ourselves. He hung on a cross two thousand years ago, before we were ever born. But God knew we were to be born because God formed us in the womb, He formed our inward parts.

It becomes less burdensome to fulfill God’s will, in our lives, when we accept the fact that Jesus carries us through all of the muck and mire. Yes, we are going through it all, but we can rely on Jesus to guide us through it all…even at our weakest moments. Why? Because God loves us, all of us…Jew and Gentile alike! He abhors our sins and our sinfulness but He loves us as His creation!

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We will, all so often, wonder why the church or it’s leadership would cast upon our shoulders such heavy burdens that they themselves would not aid us with, nor would they acct accordingly. Jesus spoke on this subject within the warning to the Scribes and the Pharisees: “Woe to the Scribes and Pharisees” (Matthew 23 & Luke 11.) Sadly, man, regardless of his position tends to enjoy power and has no desire to give up such power. This is just as true for those who are in positions of authority within the church. There is but a small segment who will yield their power, or command over others. It takes a man of strong moral guidance and position to do so. The unfortunate truth about humanity is that they have the desire to feel important. even if that importance is false and at his own doing.

No matter how you look at it, we (the species of man) still have a long way to go and a long road to follow in order to learn about God’s humility. Our purpose is to glorify God, but our bravado consistently gets in our way…doesn’t it??

As mentioned before, none of us is perfect. The only way we can stand justified before God is through the perfection of Jesus. By accepting Jesus into our hearts and to Lord over our lives it is His perfection that God the Father sees…yes, even through our wretchedness. Even as wretched as we are, God loves us and gives us chances beyond our abilities to comprehend. That is the love of our Creator! We have until our dying breath…and that includes our church leaders. It is up to them to teach us the ways of God, but it is also up to us to learn those ways and read our bibles daily! It is up to each of us to check & challenge our leaders, in love, thus ensuring that we and they are on the same path. God wants each and every one of us to enter into the Kingdom through truth!

desires all men to be saved

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” ~ 1 Timothy 2:1-4 NKJV

We can surmise that by reading 1 John 5:1-5 a way of choosing the right and moral path!

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world — our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” ~1 John 5:1-5 NKJV 

Earlier in 1 John we were warned not to love the world.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” ~1 John 2:15-17 NKJV

If we will separate ourselves from loving the world and the things in this world, our faith will grow stronger and our hearts will be bound with great strength to Our Lord & Savior, Jesus. This is how we separate ourselves from our sinfulness and sinful behavior…by not setting our sights on the things of this world! Much like dieting or beginning a new routine for your life, it is burdensome in one respect because you are not accustomed to living that way. But once the habit is solidified and set in place, there is no longer a burden…because it is a part of your normal routine of life.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

Why Such Heavy Burdens Upon Our Souls?

Sisyphean toil (3d isolated characters on white background series)

The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?  But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” ~Acts 15:6-11 NASB

“Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth. “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.” ~Acts 15:27-29 NASB

But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” ~Acts 16:28-31 NASB

For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. ~Matthew 23:4 (NKJV)

And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. ~Luke 11:46 (NKJV)

Politics as UsualThree different authors, 2 Gospels, and one historical document later we see how burdens are placed upon us in different ways. We also see that no one from the church leadership, of Jesus’ time, did not aid the people in helping the people. Rather they only aided in the surmounting of the problems being placed upon the people.

The Sanhedrin are as much a political body as the Roman hierarchy, or Jesus’ time, or perhaps between the Republican or Democratic Parties of our time. The Machiavellian Theorem of the time (i.e., THE PRINCE) states:

It is precisely this moralistic view of authority that Machiavelli criticizes at length in his best-known treatise, The Prince. For Machiavelli, there is no moral basis on which to judge the difference between legitimate and illegitimate uses of power. Rather, authority and power are essentially coequal: whoever has power has the right to command; but goodness does not ensure power and the good person has no more authority by virtue of being good. Thus, in direct opposition to a moralistic theory of politics, Machiavelli says that the only real concern of the political ruler is the acquisition and maintenance of power (although he talks less about power per se than about “maintaining the state.”) In this sense, Machiavelli presents a trenchant criticism of the concept of authority by arguing that the notion of legitimate rights of rulership adds nothing to the actual possession of power. The Prince purports to reflect the self-conscious political realism of an author who is fully aware—on the basis of direct experience with the Florentine government—that goodness and right are not sufficient to win and maintain political office. Machiavelli thus seeks to learn and teach the rules of political power. For Machiavelli, power characteristically defines political activity, and hence it is necessary for any successful ruler to know how power is to be used. Only by means of the proper application of power, Machiavelli believes, can individuals be brought to obey and will the ruler be able to maintain the state in safety and security.  ~Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Niccolò Machiavelli, 2. The Prince: Analyzing Power

In a nutshell: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely! This mind-set lord-acton-power-corruptswas upheld by the writings of Murry Rothbard in Anatomy of the State where it is discussed that the purpose of the State (whether it be the Federal, state, or local governing authorities) was to maintain or increase it’s power in order to stay in existence even at the demise of those who yielded their rights to create the government in the first place. (Slightly paraphrased, but close enough!) Sadly, man has this propensity to increase his power over others in order to ensure their survival in their position and maintenance of of power and control. There was an adage during WWII in Germany where “it was not Hitler you had to worry about, but all the little Hitlers that were created along the way.” It seems to be much the same within all religious factions, once you get to digging into their histories.

This behavior was reiterated in the Bible, in that while at the end of the period of the Judges in the Hebrew peoples history when the people called for a King to be among them that they could be like other nations.

But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. ~1 Samuel 8:6-7 NKJV

The-patriot-pictureBy rejecting God, we have rejected His guidance and leadership. And thus we were to be led by men and all their corrupt ways, if they so refused to be led by the ethics and righteousness of God. It is by our poor decisions that our burdens become so heavy, and once day, as I mentioned in a previous post:

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’ [Posted on 6/11/2018 in “When Men Run From God”]

In this respect, our sins [or past decision] will return to visit us all, and in some cases the cost to each of us may be too much for us to bear! Sadly, we all run from God or the church for varying reasons, usually we are running from God because of the politics within the church…which is not a good reason, at all! We tend to justify ourselves, but wrongly so. All to often the church, or the church leaders to be more specific, are making greater demands on the people that are not biblical…yet, they themselves do not uphold these demands on themselves, as they are the ones in power.

We all have our reasons for doing just about anything and we find ourselves being able to justify our arguments. But rarely will we go deeply into prayer over any particular matter. Which is one of our downfalls, as was for Joshua when he failed to consult God over some travelers.  THIS is one of man’s greatest downfalls, we do not pray enough or seek counsel of God near as much as we should!

In my post, on 5/7/2018, in Prayer is the Foci of All Things, I spoke heavily on our need for prayer and God’s good counsel. Unfortunately for us, we fail to see how our poor decision making skills desperately need God’s counsel through prayer until after the fact. If we could just learn this one thing early in our lives, we could avert many of our problems and many more of our future poor decisions which tend to visit us later on in our lives! But we just want to get through this particular problem…and lo and behold, the problem crops back up on us. Why you ask? Because we do not seek counsel of God, because we do not pray for guidance or aid, because…because…because…

Often times, the load(s) placed upon us is a test of our character or ethics, because God knows that we can carry such a load, or because there is someone in our future with whom we will cross paths and we can help them. Yes, God does prepare us for those moments, just as God places the words in our minds and in our mouths for those arguments and debates for His greater Good!

The final synopsis of all this is:

FEAR IS OVERCOME WHEN WE LIVE WITH COURAGEOUS FAITH! ~Pastor Scott Beckenhauer, Calvary Christian Church

In the sermon given by Pastor Scott Beckenhauer, on 5/20/2018, one of the Lessons we learned was “Courage is not the absence of fear bu moving, in spite of fear!” the second Lesson was, “Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what God can do!” Now, these are not new lessons for us to learn, but they are age old lessons. Going back to the book of Genesis. Use them well, my brothers and sisters, remember them and pass them on to your children and grandchildren. We should not allow such teachings to be forgotten!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

God is with you wherever you go

Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:7-9 NKJV

crossing the Jordan joshua

While we are no longer under the law, but grace, Jesus gave us the guidance that summed up all the law and the prophets:

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. ~Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

But should we not know the word of God? Yes, for the short answer! It is easy to glean from the bibles we have. And so many believe we cannot truly know that the bible is what it was, because we have copies. But we can know. With all of these copies existing today, we truly can know. First off, most of what was stated was first leaned via the oral tradition, which meant it was memorized (to a certain degree) but provided you maintained the intent of the speaker. In oral cultures like this people often memorized LARGE amounts of material. Passing on information orally was the NORM in ancient Palestine. This means that people living in such an environment developed memory skills that sound amazing to our modern ears. Next we can ascertain the understanding and the original from what was printed ,also gleaning from the text that were anomalous mistakes from other comparative copies. The Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest known copy of the Greek Bible, written approximately 1600 years ago. You can use this, too, in order to understand what was written, even though it was written about the 4th century. There are several other concerns that are brought up in debates, or arguments, over the validity of the bible. Topics such as:

  • We don’t know who wrote the bible.
  • Bible not written by eyewitnesses
  • Bible was written late.
  • etc., etc., etc.

There is very strong evidence that the case for traditional authorship was valid and true. The external evidence throughout history accepts and promotes that each of the Gospels were written by those who have entitled them. [I.e., Matthew wrote Matthew, Mark wrote Mark, Luke wrote Luke, and John wrote John.] Papias (60-~130 AD) and Irenaeus (120-202 AD) support it. The internal evidence is rather indicative of it’s truthfulness:

  • The criterion of Embarrassment suggests traditional
    authorship for 3 of the 4 Gospels

    • Matthew wasn’t an apostle but was a tax collector –
      regarded as suspect – thus probably not invented Many of the specific events concerning the life of Jesus can be historically verified such as the Last Supper, the death by crucifixion, and the discovery of the empty tomb.
    • Mark wasn’t an apostle, why make him an author?
    • Luke wasn’t an apostle, why make up that name?
    • So we have three relatively “unspectacular writers”
      Why would someone make up names like this? Why
      not make up a more authoritative name? Peter? Paul?
      James? Thomas?
  • Furthermore, details in Gospel of John suggest the:
    • Author was a Jew with detailed knowledge of Hebrew
      feasts customs and scriptures
    • Author was a Palestinian with his knowledge of local
      geography
    • Author was an Eyewitness – given the repeated compelling
      references to people, places, etc.
    • Author was an Apostle – given his acquaintance with
      the activities of the Twelve.
    • All of this sounds a lot like John!
  • All of this amounts to a very strong case for traditional authorship!
    So whoever says “we don’t even know who wrote the Gospels” would have to shoulder a tremendous burden of proof to go against all of this evidence.

~Scott M. Sullivan, PH.D., How to Defend the Bible, pages 8-9

Despite frequent claims to the contrary, the evidence remains strong that the Gospels were written by the authors to whom they are traditionally ascribed – apostles or close associates of the apostles.” — Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, p. 41.

objections-gospels

The objection of the Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses is false, but is irrelevant even if it were true. Why is it false? Strong evidence suggests that Matthew and John were actual eyewitnesses and is supported by evidence of traditional authorship. The Gospels by Luke and Mark are not eyewitnesses and they do not claim to be, their purpose was to present the truth.

Now, why this objection wouldn’t matter even if it were true? How many of our history books were written by eyewitnesses? Relatively few, at best. Why? Because you do not need to be a witness to present factual truth and history. Also, Mark and Luke had access to eyewitnesses. Mark was a follower of Peter and because of his closeness to him he also had access to other Apostles which were also eyewitnesses. Luke, on the other hand, was close to Paul and followed him. Now, many will claim Paul was not an eyewitness. Yes, this is true, to a degree. However, Paul had a special relationship with Jesus and was truly touched in a different way. But those who disbelieve in Paul cannot overcome the sudden transformation of Paul from Christian killer and executor to martyr for the cause of Christ. Also, Paul had access to the original Apostles.

The objection that the Gospels were written late is a bit of a fallacy. “Late” gospels-greekis a relative term. When someone says “late” ask them what they mean. What the average person on the street usually means by “late” is a few centuries. This is flat out not true about the Gospels. There are strong arguments for a relatively early composition of the Gospels (showing that all of the NT was written before 70 A.D.!) but we don’t need to even go into those since the commonly accepted “later” dates do not pose a problem
for historical accuracy. According to the most commonly accepted later dates the Gospels were written about 35-65 years after the death of Jesus.

Consider this: Most of what was written about Alexander the Great was written 4 centuries after his death. That is a long time between his life and his death. But most people believe that he existed, that he lived and that he was a great leader. The biographies about Jesus (the Gospels) were written within 35-65 years after His death. But there is evidence that would push that even earlier (approximately in 40s AD) than the conservatively accepted dates of their writing.

This was but a topical overview touching on only a few objections. There are a great number of resources out there, especially within the topic of apologetics from which you can learn much.

Think about this for a moment more, if you can get beyond the objections that prevent you from reading the bible; then you can start reading the bible and start believing what it says and the promises espoused within it! That is a big jump, or leap in faith, for anyone. But grasp that concept and begin your journey of reading and believing. Your life will change, though you may be riddled with doubts during your journey…do not fear! God is big enough and powerful enough to help you overcome those doubts. There is always someone near to you who can guide and help you understand what causes you confusion.

I hope and pray this was helpful and interesting to you!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

…made them male and female…

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “ Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” They said to Him, “ Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” ~Matthew 19:3-9 NASB

Man and woman were created to enable man to have companionship, to male-femalefurther society, and to complement one another. There are only two sexes in God’s eyes. A man or a woman can go into a doctor, have surgery and be transformed into the opposing sex. However, that is a facade. Just because you had a sex change operation you are still a man or woman in God’s eyes. Also, though you put on a great show that you are now of the opposing sex, your genetic make-up still shows mle-female-transyou to be the man or woman you were born as. Sorry, Genetics do not lie. No matter what you do to your body, no matter what you think of yourself, nor how YOU personally identify yourself (or identify with) you cannot change who and what you are! Yet man continues the fight and plight to be and become like God. Beware of those who try to push God out of our lives! For there are many who desire to do so.

We each have an obligation to God, our Creator, to:

You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. ~Deuteronomy 11:19 NASB

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. ~Proverbs 22:6 NASB

The only way our children can know God is initially through us as parents. We children-and-Bibleare the first impression of God that our children will actually obtain, the snapshot that they receive from us by how we treat others, our spouses and the children, as well. Sadly, we as a nation have allowed ourselves to become so busy in paying the bills and making more money just so we can do more things, that we have forsaken God and His ways. In so doing this we have allowed others with a more liberal ungodly thought of how things should be to actually teach our children and fill them with foolhardiness and ignorance. It is truly a sad debacle this country has fallen into, also sadly that we do it so willingly.

Marriage is for man and woman. In order to create and flourish as a society, man needed both companionship and one with which would complement and create. And that was woman, because she came from man.

The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.~Genesis 2:22-25 NASB

The original marriage of man to woman was the vow or statement by Adam to Eve. If two homosexuals (both men or women) should marry, there is no way for them to produce a child. If a transsexual man has the surgery to change to a woman and then marries a man, they cannot produce offspring [and vice versa]. And, yes, there are some husbands and wives who do marry and cannot produce offspring, but they were a complement to one another. They were man and woman, there are just some of these things that do happen.

I am certain there are those in the LGBTQP community who will not like this message, not that I think that they are listening to me. But the facts are the facts. They are only able to have children through other means of procreation because they cannot make it happen. God made us who we are for a reason, for a purpose…some of which is to carry on the society. Being fruitful and multiplying, as it were. The purpose of the LGBTQP community is simply, in my opinion, to push the normalizing agenda that homosexuality, transgenderism, and pedophilia mind is good, healthy and normal. While those who have not fallen into such an agenda and hype or the masses, know this to be immoral from God’s standpoint. Think about this for a moment…the normalizing of immoral acts, or sinfulness, is quite simply a humanistic, or atheistic, act against God which has been repeated often throughout the history of man.

Face it, if God exists and He did create us, and we are in His image…this means we were not created to dishonor or discredit God. We were made to glorify and spread His goodness and love and His word! We were called and charged to do so by Jesus, Himself. While under the auspices and authority of the New Testament, women are to subject themselves to the authority of their husbands; this does not, however, grant an authoritarian regime of men over their wives. To do so falls under the sin of pride and in essence violates God’s will for our lives as man and woman.

This natural union of man and woman is indispensable for the
common good. We couldn’t have a good society without it. The
reason why is because in order to have a flourishing human society,
you have to have new people and proper formation. And marriage
is where this all happens in the best way. This act of human sexuality
is very important. It’s not some private act that the public shouldn’t worry
about. What people do in their bedrooms has a huge effect on the common
good.

So reason looking at nature shows us that marriage is a natural union between a man and a woman for the purposes of: 1. Procreation and
the education of children, 2. The mutual comfort of the spouses, 3. And a licit
outlet for the sexual desire. All of these purposes of marriage are good, but they are not equally good. Procreation is the principal end of marriage. The
reason why is because the continuation of the species is fundamental for human happiness.

In any civilized society, freedom is always limited by justice. No one should be given the freedom to do what harms the common good of man [as a whole], society, or the nation. Discrimination is only wrong when it is unjust. We rightly discriminate all the time. We don’t allow 12 years to buy guns and beer (discrimination based on age). We don’t allow drunks to drive (discrimination based on behavior). In order to have an unjust discrimination, someone would have to be deprived of what is rightly their due. But since same sex relations do not benefit society like traditional marriage does it does not deserve the  same recognition. Same sex & transsex couples are free to do whatever they  want in their private lives. This much is tolerated. But no civilized society should tolerate unjust laws and it is unjust to give same sex marriage the same legal status as traditional marriage.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

REFERENCES:

How To Defend Traditional Marriage Quick Reference Guide ~Scott M. Sullivan, Ph.D.

How To Defend Traditional Marriage: The Beginner’s Guide to
What Marriage Is, Why It’s Important And How to Intelligently Articulate
These Points with Charity and Precision ~Scott M. Sullivan, Ph.D.

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Chapter 22) by Wayne Grudem