How Burdensome Are Keeping of the Commandments?

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

Take My Yoke1

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!

WoeToScribePharisee

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

 

 

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Kids & Pets

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We get our kids pets to accomplish several things in their lives and in ours. Pet ownership teaches responsibility and the value of life to our kids, it teaches the value of companionship, care of those around us and of the ill, such ownership teaches about suffering, the frailty of life and the eventuality of death…that all things live must eventually come to an end, and let us not forget about the ability to make those difficult decisions and following through with them. And the overall lesson is about the glory of God, His love for us, and what happens to us, as creations of God, upon our eventual demise.

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.

There are many ways we can take the above quote from Michael Landon, Jr. No matter how you slice it, we need to know and understand we will not live forever and, therefore, we must understand that we have a limited amount of time to accomplish in our lives and on this earth certain things. We need to understand salvation of ourselves and others. We must find our truest purpose, in God’s eyes, and we must determine our vocation (how we will survive and pay our bills.) And if you look at it, objectively, men and women live to the ages of 84 and 86 respectively. Relatively thinking, that is a short period of time. Consider that most people sleep away 1/3 of that time…approximately 28-29 years of that. Of course, these estimates are based upon the premise that you live that long! So, now we are down to 56-57 years on this earth awake. You can lop off another 20 years for school, some college and or some military time…36-37 years now. See how quickly time just erodes away.

But if you get right down to it, the context of this post is primarily about the first 20 years of your life. The Bible commands us to take care of the animals under our care. One of the signs of a righteous man, the Bible says, is that he takes care of his animals (see Proverbs 12:10). Even the animal of an enemy was to be treated kindly: “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to take it back to him” (Exodus 23:4). One reason God commanded His people to rest one day out of seven was so their animals would be refreshed (see Exodus 23:12).

If we are to show care to our animals, and for that matter we will be judged upon how we treat our animals, we must act as the animals we take on as a responsibility for the care of one of God’s created creatures. That said, we must care for it, feed it, take it to the veterinarian for health and legal reasons. This is a great responsibility for anyone, let alone a child. But this is how we teach our kids by delegating responsibilities. As they become more and more accustomed to doing such chores and as they grow older…they receive more responsibilities. Some families give a stipend or an allowance for doing such things…but that is not the crux of this post, so I will not waste my time on such.

God thinks highly of all His creation, remember when Jesus spoke on the sparrows?

Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.” ~Luke 12:6 NKJV

God does not forget about any of His creatures. Even in our darkest hours, God is right there with us. Even though there are times we do not feel His presence! He is THERE with US! This includes His animals, as well. Tending the animals was one of the tasks that Adam and Eve were ascribed to perform. Both tending animals and taking care of the garden.

The tending of the animals is where we are now, after all, is this not the same position that King David started in? The most humbling of positions of all, a sheep herder, caring for his family’s flock? He kept them together, sough out the lost sheep, he protected them from wolves & bear, and other predators. We learn much from such humble beginnings. Which means basics are the building blocks for our lives. It was from these basics that King David was able to cut down the giant Philistine, Goliath. And the rest was history.

In these humble beginnings I would believe that David learned to physically care for his flock by tending their injuries, if need be, to feed them if there was nothing for them to eat, and those which were injured beyond his ability to care and nurse them…he would have been forced to put them down, or euthanize them.

No one, myself included enjoys making such a choice for any animal under their care. But, sadly, these decisions will not make themselves and if you just wait for the animal to just die…such could be considered animal abuse.

In Genesis 1:26 God declares, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Essentially, as the highest order of created beings on the earth, humanity has full authority over all other creatures on the planet. While having dominion over the animals includes the right to kill animals for food (Genesis 9:2), it goes far beyond that. We are caretakers/stewards of God’s creation. We are all, in a sense, to be shepherds over the creatures that share this planet with us.

We have been given power over the animals of the earth, we are not to abuse them but we are to care for them. I honestly do not believe God wants us to blow up buildings or kill people over such abuses that occur these days, but rather for us to take all necessary actions (legal & moral) to aid, prevent, stop, help, etc., the animals that God has created.

Our kids can learn much and become greater citizens of this world if we will love them, teach them the necessary lessons that they need, in order to equip them to live a wise and moral life. And many of those lessons can be taught through animal care. By understanding that the animals they care for will one day die, they will come to the realization that they will one day die. Such a reality can reward them with a structure in their lives by learning of their Creator, what will happen to them upon death, seeking their purpose, their vocation, etc.

Each and every parent goes through the arduous task of determining what pet to 1461386_620795284625396_1979605500_nget, yet when it is time for the pet to be put down…they seek to protect the child from such input and harm to their psyche. Don’t get me wrong…IT IS DEVASTATING! Even to me! I cry like a baby every time a dog must be put down, because they are part of this family. We recently had to put down the farmer’s horse, but my wife and I were taking care of him for the last 5 years of his life. He was a beautiful horse who was put down just shy of his 32nd birthday. He had cataracts on both eyes and was stumbling badly at times. Sometimes he had such life in him where he would whinny because he heard you coming or he heard his name called. But with the tornado season coming and high winds, our mare would run him ragged and he had the susceptibility to get injured (potentially very badly). And yes, I cried like a baby when he went down! And being present when a horse is euthanized is far worse than that of a dog.

But this is how we teach our kids the responsibilities for their adult years. We are to train them throughout their youth to become the people they are meant to be. Through accountability and through training. But these ways of the old seem to have gone to the wayside. Most kids these days expect everything to be given them, not because they have earned it or deserve it, but because they exist. Perhaps, the old ways will come back with a vengeance…we can only hope & pray such is the case.

REFERENCES:

Billy Graham Answers

What does the Bible say about animal/pet euthanasia?

Until next we meet again, dear brothers and sisters!

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

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.

 

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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

…avoid foolish and ignorant disputes…

While on Facebook, someone wrote a single question:

Pls share your opinions. CAN A CHRISTIAN LOSE SALVATION ?

Foolish businessAnd foolish me…like so many others like me, responded. Boy-Oh-boy, let the games begin! You just wouldn’t believe it…you would think it was a political posting of some sort! I guess looking back at it in hindsight, I was really not all that surprised by what was to happen. Christians are as social, argumentative, and crazy as anyone else on the face of this earth…sadly, me included! We each will battle to justify our position and our argument, to sustain it’s viability. And if that is not bad enough, we will denigrate those who we think answer us rudely, even though they are just answering a question that we posed. [I don’t think I went that crazy!] But I was asked/told that something I stated was not in the bible, my response was it was in the bible and the scripture. When I responded with that I was accused of arguing…HUH?@#$!

At another point in time, I came to some semblance of sanity and stated/posted:

I have come to the conclusion that this is one of those “…foolish disputes…” (2Tim 2:23-26)that Paul spoke of that we should avoid as children of God! WOW!

I received several comments, some of which were “we aren’t arguing,” and “I wouldn’t characterize the end of time as a foolish or ignorant topic.” Which was not really the topic of discussion anyway. The topic, overall, was what did you (the respondent) believe? Therefore, the question went to the heart of one’s doctrinal beliefs. And trust me…there were a plethora of discussion threads! What was stated by me was that the argument was foolish, in that, we were instructed to avoid such disputes as we are to be of “…one mind…” as written:

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. ~Philippians 2:1-4 NKJV

How can we be “…like minded…” and of “…one mind…” where we are arguing over doctrinal issues that, in my opinion, should have been settled long, long ago! And while arguing, we treat others as though they are heathens and tend to answer curtly, coarsely, and denigrate one another in order to show our dominance over their “ignorant beliefs.”  WOW! Just wow! That is all I have. I am of the mind to argue and my wife will attest to such. However, there are times where I will just attain that “AH-HAH! Moment” that we all seek. And often are hit with at one of the most inopportune moments…you know…when you are winning the argument…er..eh hem…spirited debate. [Yeah, that’ll work for me! LOL]

YES! God does work in very mysterious ways, but why couldn’t He wait a few more posts cause I was winning?

So, my Christian friends, can’t we all just get along? What is it that makes us so different, yet very much so the same as all others in this world? As I have mentioned in a previous post, where I was looking into other platforms but Christian oriented, might not be such a great idea after all. Why? Because we each still possess a propensity to argue, as Tony Robbins once stated, because we knew we had to win! We were right after all and that opponent of ours was but a heathen.

Guess what? We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, which also makes us adoptive brothers and sisters. We are a family and we should be able to get along in these matters. Why, you ask? Because if we cannot get along with our brothers and sisters in Christ…how can we think that we will get along in the heavenly with God? Or even with Christ Himself?

The more I learn, the more I find out I still have a very long distance to go before I get to be even a halfway decent Christian…and that still doesn’t make me a good one! We each need to take a step back from time to time in order to see, or assess ourselves, as to how good we are as Christians. And YES…I do mean an HONEST assessment of yourself! We, as the whole body of Christ need to be:

bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” ~2 Corinthians 10:4-6 NKJV

Sometimes we may take a little longer than usual to get that “AH-HAH!” moment to slap us in the face. You know the drill, some of us just aren’t very sharp or quick witted! Yes, I’ll own that! There will come a point in time, usually during your discussion, where you will note that the argument is foolish or ignorant. So the bottom line is this:

Do you continue on with the argument until you win, or cease arguing and acknowledge to foolhardiness of the argument?

foolish-positinionMany of us have that propensity to fight on until we win [standing on sinking ground in a foolish position] and others are struck with an ethical roadblock [which is not a bad thing]. But there is that small segment of the population who, despite that ethical roadblock which crops up on them, can and will continue the argument until they are victorious. Which type of person are you? Sadly, I have a lot of work to do as I am of the ilk who has, in the past, continued on until victorious…which still makes me the loser in the long-run!

Please learn from my mistakes, that you do not have to go through life wondering why things are the way they are?

Until next we meet again, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

Original posting: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ilovebeingachristian/permalink/330412207486570/?comment_id=330965957431195&reply_comment_id=331074717420319&notif_id=1526187331985687&notif_t=group_comment&ref=notif

Attack Your Problems Head On

david-goliath

I was listening to a podcast of CARM on my way home one night and heard a commercial for Harvest America Moment with Greg Laurie which said of David,

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. ~1Samuel 17:48-49 NIV

We are to attack our problems as David attacked Goliath, the Philistine. We each have our own problems and shortcomings, but God at that moment had told me through one of those great AH-HAH! moments that it wasn’t the problem itself but my inability to obey that holds me back. Think about that for a moment or two!

attackAll too often we feign an attack, ultimately to no avail, because of our inner fears and insecurities. We constantly and consistently fail to push forward to glorify God in all we do all due to fear. We fail to have faith in God and His ultimate power. Who could be more powerful than God? The very one who created our very souls, our spirit, our bodies, the very world upon which we now live! It just get any better than that, don’t you think? Our God loves us and empowers & equips us to do His will. (1 Corinthians 15:9–10, Hebrews 13:20-21)

And do not think I am pointing fingers at you, only…I have to stare at myself in the mirror and do it to myself, as well! Yes, I am guilty of such failures! Remember the

There is none righteous, not even one” ~Romans 3:10 & Psalm 14:3

We are each guilty, in some small way, or grand… I am 57 years old this year and I am having more “AH-HAH!” moments within just this last year than I have had in a very long ah-ha-moment3time! IF, and that is the qualifier, I stay on this path…could you imagine all of the other ah-hah moments I am destined to have in the future? There is so much more to learn, so many difficulties to overcome, so many problems to solve, and so many challenges to overcome! But we each must persevere our plight of doing what is right and just and good in God’s eyes. We each must set our minds on things above and not our earthly plain. For the earth will come and go, it will change from one day to the next, but the heavenly realm we seek shall never change, excepting only the increase of those elected by God to be saved!

I was watching a clip of Legends & Lies, by Bill O’Rielly, about Stonewall Jackson. He was of such a mind that he did not concern himself about such trivialities of how he would die, because God had ordained such a thing. He was one of those individuals that took chances, chances that others would think foolish but he saw as necessary, and if he were to die such was the determination of God, Himself.

Sometimes God will use a show on television to teach us something. Sometimes we learn from that all encompassing ah-hah moment by reading a biblical passage, or verse. It is different for each of us, because God can use all things for His good! We are all called by God to do His will, but not all have responded to that calling. Remember the passage?

For many are called, but few are chosen.” ~Matthew 22:14 (NKJV)

We all have to learn to make those difficult choices in order to accomplish what we must, to God’s glory. At times it may be something on a small scale, but at other times it is on a grand scale! We must be willing to make that leap of faith! Believing that God is behind us desiring us to do our best to His glory!

No matter your position in the working world, nor in your youthful stage in life…God desires you and I to do our best at all times. Why? Because we are, potentially, a light to others who need to see God and we are the light for that person, or those people.

LightUntoTheWorld

Sometimes, and this may be difficult to grasp, WE are the only ones who will cross someones path for God’s sake…there is no other they will meet to bring such a light in their lives.

Think about that for a moment! That is a heavy load to bear for others in this world, but there are times it is true. It is for this reason that we must each challenge ourselves to face our problems head on! We each have a Goliath or a problem or , perhaps, a challenge (or two, or three) in our lives…WE MUST FACE EACH ONE DIRECTLY AND HEAD ON.

Such a thing is much like falling off one’s bike, we need to get back on that bike. Problems and challenges are the same exact thing…we must never stop facing them, because they will always be attacking us throughout our lives until our dying breath.

I hope this was helpful to you, my friends! Godspeed!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

Christian Alternatives To Facebook by Pastor Duke

Many Christians have gotten a little fed up with Facebook. Whether they are finding that their posts mysteriously disappear, or are not shared with all of their friends due to Facebook’s decision to censor religious speech, (Facebook, Apple, Google censoring religious speech?) or they are tired of posts that use inappropriate pictures or language, or they just want a place where they can go to get uplifted and encouraged, Christians have been looking for alternatives to Facebook. It was because of this need that I decided to use the popularity of my own website Taber’s Truths and our Facebook Fan Page to enter the Christian social networking niche and launch Christian Faithbook. However, since I have always had a big tent philosophy towards other Christians and Christian websites, I wanted to provide you with a list of the best Christian Social Networking sites for 2013. I have used a 3 point criteria for this list. I have made the decision on who to include based on the number of members, number of features, and whether the site is moderated to weed out spam and inappropriate posts and pictures. This list is not ranked, but just the 10 best Christian social networking sites I could find based on that criteria. [Original Article]

Top Christian Alternatives To Facebook For Social Networking

Christian Faithbook. The Faith and Family Friendly Christian Social Network

Of course, I believe that Christian Faithbook should be in this list otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered to enter into the Christian social networking market. It offers…..

• Facebook like styling and functions with a wall for friends posts and ability to like posts or comment on posts

• Uploading of Video, Audio, and Pictures

• Christian Groups and Forums

• Instant messaging of friends

• Membership of 450+ in 3 weeks

• Moderation of posts and pictures.

XX  Kindle

Kindle is a Christian social network to share your prayer requests. It offers….

• The ability to share prayer requests worldwide

• Groups for churches or Bible study groups to gather together and share their prayer requests with one another.

• Ability to comment on prayer requests

• Ability to let people know you support their prayer request.

Christians Like Me

Christians Like Me is a Christian social networking website that connects Christians from around the world.

• 1500 Members

• Christian groups and forums

• Chat room

• Member blogs

• Picture and Video uploading

Christians Like Me also seems to have some type of drug information section, a news section and a live TV section featuring the morning messages of John Hagee but I am not sure how these are relevant to Christian social networking.

XX  Faith Freaks

Faith Freaks is a Christian Social Network that is geared towards teens. Faith Freaks is a safe on-line environment dedicated to helping young people by providing help, hope & encouraging them to grow in their faith. Our trained volunteers help young people find resources to overcome the many challenges that they may be facing. Including, but not limited to, suicide prevention, depression, peer pressure, drug or alcohol abuse & other challenging or life threatening situations. We help by providing many types of resources both online & in their own communities. Additionally we try to encourage healthy decision-making. Moreover we strive to glorify God by providing an alternative social network that is safe, clean, friendly, and Christ-centered

• Over 72,000 members

• Private messaging

• Christian chat room

• Christian forums

• Member blogs

• Picture uploads

• Prayer request section

• Counseling for youth.

Faith Freaks is an impressive site and something every Christian should check out.

XX  Shout Life

ShoutLife.com is a free community / social networking website that offers customized profiles with unlimited photos, networks, events, private/instant messaging, blogging and more.

We are unique in that our community is clean and family friendly, yet is still feature rich. We focus on creating and promoting a fun and positive environment. At ShoutLife.com, you can connect with your friends and meet new people as well as amazing music artists, authors, comedians, organizations and more.

• Personal member profiles

• Author, Musician, Comic, and Group profiles

• Christian groups and directory

Shout Life has a great website design but I did not see a lot of features available. Of course they might be hidden until you sign up.

XX  Holy Pal

Holy Pal is a Christian social network powered by the Ning platform which is similar to a blog powered by blogger. Ning powers lots of different social networks and each one is created and managed by individual users. Holy Pal has ….

• 13,000 members

• Picture and Video uploads

• Christian groups

• Christian forums

• Member blogs

Holy Pal has a clean design and seems to be moderated. I could not tell if it has a Facebook style wall.

Faithbook by Fellowship of World Christians ‘Working Together in Union with Christ’

Faithbook is as the name suggests an alternative to Facebook. I could not tell how many members it had due to the need to sign up before seeing anything however it offers…..

• A Facebook style wall

• Video and Picture uploads

• Christian chat room

• Christian groups and forums

• A radio (podcast) channel

• Christian news

Faithbook looks like something to check out although I am not sure it is moderated.

XX  God’s Faithbook

God’s Faithbook is another Facebook alternative that has a simple design and not a lot of features.

The blogs are not moderated and are filled with spam posts. However it does have these things to offer.

• Almost 10,000 ,members

• Personal profiles

• Video and Picture uploads

• Member blogs

• Christian Chatroom

• Soduko and Crossword Puzzles

It looks like that God’s Faithbook has some good ideas but needs some TLC and knowledge to make it come into a full-fledged Christian social network.

Conversant Life

Conversant Life is part social network, part Christian bookmarking site, and part blogging site. It tries to tie together social networking with sharing content from other websites and having users create blog posts. It is actually a great idea and seems to have some very good traffic.

• Member profiles and messaging

• Posting your favorite videos and articles

• Member blogging

• Video and podcast uploads.

I use conversant life as part of my social strategy for Taber’s Truths.

???  Fellowship of Christian Bloggers.

As a last mention, I wanted to include FOCB. They are a group of Christian bloggers that have joined together to help encourage one another. This is a small social network of about 100 members and they are exclusively for Christian bloggers but many times when people are looking to connect via a Christian social network it is to connect with other bloggers, so I thought I would mention them.

Blessings to all of you!

Pastor Duke

********

Now Here is Where I and Pastor Duke Part Ways…

Since the writing of the original article, it would seem, many of these platforms are non-existent (XX). One seems to be a one-time fee based ($$) system and another is in existence (focbonline.com), but only has one posting, which for all intents and purposes is non-existent, the remainder I will touch on in order to see how they compare to say…Facebook or Titter. Thus far, I am unimpressed…Facebook for it’s platform and functionality is by far the greatest of the social media platforms.

But I continue looking into other platforms while sifting through my iTunes apps store:

(All those highlighted in RED are those that I continue to toy with.)

Christians Like Me is a platform that reminds me of MySpace…does it even exist anymore?? Yes, as a matter of fact it does. Chunky but functional. I will be playing around with it to see what it has to offer. The others, not so much.

FAITH BOOK & Conversant Life due to the fact that they are overseas based would be the answer as to why my AVIRA Security indicates that they are unsecured and are open to the public, even though they do not show the information you type in to sign-up or sign in.

MyPraize (www.mypraize.com) claims, “…is a free Christian social network with the best of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & YouTube.” This is both app form and online My initial playing with it on-line was rather chunky, as well as, my attempting to maneuver around. I sought help, but it didn’t seem to grant me any. Not the same in trying to make friends, but I will continue to play.

Christbox.com in both app form and online is chunky but functional. It reminds me of an upgrade to a bulletin board system back in the 1990s. It has some functionality of Facebook, but it is not facebook-like by any stretch of the imagination.

WWJDNOW is a simplistic messenger repository for prayers.

Way2Jesus is, also, a simplistic version of Instagram, in my opinion. No bells and no whistles…just picture posting and check-ins.

ThePowerOfOne is an app platform where your church, or organization, signs up to use. It enables a group/church/organization to maintain contact with one another through their set-up. Uncertain, specifically, how and through what it will make the connection.

iC (Instant Christ) I would say this is a hybrid of LinkedIN & Twitter rolled into one. Similar but with limitations. It has a nice and appealing look, but could be better, they have the ability.

MissionHub is more like a Goal making Reminder board. It is good for what it is, an aid to help you walk with Jesus by following the steps you have created. I will send notifications, but instead of using the phone notifications it is all via email.

FaithLife Much like LinkedIN. You share, you create different groups for discussions, church, books, bible study, etc. It could be a great way to network for church groups, churches, bible study groups, etc. But it is not necessarily limited to these. Helpful and seems to be self explanatory and fairly user friendly.

Precarii is a prayer app. Seems to be a very powerful prayer circle of friends. I have no friends and I set up my first prayer…and WOW! The responses were awesome! 31 people came to my following and prayed for my first prayer request. What a circle of diligent and ardent Christian Prayer Warriors! KUDOS!

VOKE A video sharing app, I would probably liken it to Instagram/Snapchat, but it does not have all of the added features that either one, or both, have to work with.

CollectiveFaith Unlike many other apps, you seem to have to sign-in every time you try to use it. I find this rather inconvenient on one hand, but more secure on the other.

MyDub I was not impressed, while I was setting up an account it required a password with 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number & 1 special character. I did so and it kept erroring out saying my password did not meet criteria. That being said, I emailed them and lo-and-behold the email was dead. There were no guiding principles.

Shine this app has the feel of a hybrid between LinkedIN and Twitter, maybe just LinkedIN…you decide. You create a chain of invites and build up your Christian network. You share, you discuss and you create groups.

$$ PrayerPower seemed like it was going to be an interesting and good prayer circle application set-up, based upon the grouping people and adding them through their cellular phone numbers; so you end up messaging (I assume) for all of your prayerful needs. Much to my chagrin it turned out to be a fee based. Sorry, paint me the king of cheap…I LIKE FREE!

PrayerWall Is an app that is a prayer platform where you pray with others, kind of liken it to Twitter. Not bad overall, but it also serves as a prayer reminder. Neither good nor bad…it just is so.

FaithLife is an app which is tied to LOGOS Bible Software. While I find their software intriguing, but no time to really try it out as well as it is an a-la-cart system of pay for this and pay for that – well set up in itself, but just need to get use to it. But as far as the FaithLife app, not quite certain how to use it, yet. But there are groups to join and I assume friends to be made. We shall see.

 

Many of these platforms have great potential to overtake Facebook and it’s lead in the world community, but there needs to be greater innovative ideas put into place! It is my firm opinion that each of these platforms could supersede Facebook just in the allowance of all speech without repercussion. While I, along with so many others, believes that one could share his or her opinion without all of the “colorful metaphors” that are used in today’s vernacular. But the transference of ideas is what is most important, in my opinion. Facebook lead because of it’s freedom to speak one’s mind without any problems, but now (in the advent of the 2016 election campaign & the liberal mindedness of the leaders in many of these corporations) have begun a war to stifle freedom of speech. Consider, for example, Google employee James Damore who was fired for freely speaking after Google promoted freedom and diversity of speech…hmmmmmmm…that was just the beginning.

I pushed off the posting of this blog an additional 2 weeks to give me the time to try each of the platforms. Thus enabling me to see what they were and how they handled. Hope It was helpful to you…it was helpful to me. Though, I will not tell you which is best or the worst of the bunch, that is not my purpose here. I am presenting to you other options for what seems to be liberally run and conservatively limited & censored platforms. It will, in fact take me a longer time to determine that which I like and that which I find sub par for use. Could these take the place of Facebook or twitter? Yes they could, but will they? That is the $64,000 question! Will there be a platform to take over? Eventually, I think there will be, because I think people are vying for such a thing to happen. They need their outlet of privacy and other forms of outbursts. Will it be a pay or fee system, it very well could be…BUT why pay when you can throw your tantrums for free?

Hope you were  able to get something from this. Hope it was an interesting possibility placed before you!

Godspeed my friends!

MK Murphy