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Christian Cowardice

Christian Cowardice

Christians, don’t pray for Manchester. Don’t pray for Paris or any of the hundreds of places where Moslem terrorists are killing people and destroying lives and history. Pray for yourselves. Because it is your cowardice and fear to confront the evil behind the murders, including the murders of members of your own Christian Body, that lets it continue.

While you condemn crotch grabbing and money making in your ivory towers Islam is poisoning minds. Demon worship is spreading like a fire because there is no Christian fire to counteract it. While you pray for murders your apathy caused, souls are going to Hell. Anarchists spread lies and destroy the history of the United States in exactly the same way the terrorists are destroying sites of cultures they disagree with oversees. But your fear of being called racist keeps you silent.

Evil is running rampant, babies are murdered, false witness is spread and judgment is coming because you and I, we, are cowards. JESUS says He is coming in judgment and asks almost mournfully whether He will find faithfulness to Him when He returns. Where will we be? On the front lines fighting evil with the Gospel, getting souls to JESUS and saving souls through Him? Or peeking out the curtains while adding the latest cutesy avatar on Facebook “Pray for (insert name here).”

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
Rev 3:15-17, NIV

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Christian Community

Christianity doesn’t so much measure competency (since one can’t create Spiritual gifts) but measures the expression of the grace that is given. Christian community is a group gathered to glorify God by constantly giving out the grace of the gifts GOD gave each member. Paul Villano #quote

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The Eternal Engine

So far we’ve discussed how you can separate the good feelings you had from being in love, etc. from the cause of those feelings. Rather than feeling pain at the memory of lost love you can realize that the effects and euphoria of love are gifts still literally engraved in the wrinkles of your brain. By remembering the euphoria as a thing in itself, like a beautiful seashell apart from the creature that secreted it, you can maintain the euphoria of love and release it at will with only your will as the new cause. You are your own emotional engine.

But what if you could hook up to an eternal engine? What if there were a lubricant that never needed replacing? That renewed rather than causing friction and overheating?

The only thing better than being your own emotional engine is having an eternal emotion engine for your good. Eternal, all powerful control over emotions and a constant source of peace and joy available at will.

Christians have such power available to them. By disconnecting from other people, places and things we are dependent upon for such feelings we are free to become our own emotion engines. But that is not enough. Buddhists separate themselves from “the world” but rob themselves by the connecting to nothingness. They seek neither pleasure nor pain but absence. But Christians refuse to discard the joy of life because of pain. Instead they rewire their brains to concentrate on the good, peaceful and joyful not only for now but throughout eternity. This isn’t possible in themselves so they put their trust in JESUS.

When we trust JESUS as our Ultimate Cause we are no longer limited in the effects. We aren’t dependent on having to disconnect from other causes because once we trust Him His Holy Spirit assists us. The Blood of JESUS from the Cross is the lubricant that never causes friction or the stopping of our joy. We collect the seashells of uplifting emotions and experiences looking past the creature that secreted them and to JESUS the Creator of the creature. And of us. And of all things, including Love and Joy.

We have His finished work applied to us, so anything that causes ill emotions are disconnected, all painful causes are overcome, and everything in Life becomes filtered through His Blood and empowering. We are connected to Christ not only for daily power and joy, which we can have at will by the remembrance of it, but for eternity.
The past pain is gone. The brain is rewired to think of past pleasure as gifts we retain and the Cause is Christ. And we are empowered, “supercharged” for eternity as well. Knowing we are forgiven and “rebuilt”, as it were, new creations of the Creator, we have the added power and pleasure of His promises.

JESUS endured crucifixion because He saw through the Cross like a window to Home. And by disconnecting from our former causes and reconnecting to Him as our Eternal Cause we see through His eyes.

We now see (as much as possible while in flesh) the Eternal Now, like a child looking through a toy telescope seeing what he was told more than what he sees. We see what we can perceive of what JESUS promises Glory with Him is like. And the Holy Spirit within us at the moment of trusting JESUS for our past, present and future, makes us see Home.

Connected to JESUS we are empowered at will to have all of the joy we have experienced in life still in our memories, disconnected from any Cause but Him. We are energized by the Holy Spirit to strain our eyes forward to the holiday Home in eternity out the window of our classroom of lessons in this life. And we can have temporal and eternal joy in Him anywhere and any time for the asking even in the most painful circumstances, knowing eternal joy is a moment away.

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Embracing the Effect

Causation (Cause and effect) applies Spiritually and emotionally as much as it does in physics. It even applies to love.

Cause and effect. You respond to a romantic interest in physical ways. Hormones get activated which stimulate the brain into wonderful sensations. The more you love and are loved the more stimulated you are. Your brain reacts to the cause of the Beloved with the effect of making you feel happy emotionally.

Those who are in love notice the truth of the statement “Everybody loves a lover.” As the Beloved makes you feel loved those loving feelings cause you to be more loving to others. You project those feelings and become the cause of those effects in others. You may even find that once you are in a relationship after a “dry spell” other possibilities suddenly appear. “Everybody loves a lover” and being loved allows you to project love and create love in others.

The end of love causes withdrawal. The endorphins that drove our feeling of joy we define as love subside and it feels like the oxygen has been drained from the room.

What if you could divide the effect from the cause? What if you could generate those same emotions, stimulate those same hormones, cause the same effect of being in love without the cause?

You would rewire your brain to feel love and produce loving feelings. You would be the cause of love in others. And you would be the object of the effect you caused in them.

Rewiring your brain makes love your default status with your own thoughts as the cause. The more you experience it from within and from others the deeper that rut gets until feeling all of the joy of love is your default state. And it is the cause of your own feelings of love for self and others, answered by the love of others but not dependent on it because your mind is your own love generator. The effect is a perpetual embracing of the effect of love, with yourself as the cause.

#CauseAndEffect #Love

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Coming Into the Kingdom

Coming into the Kingdom

Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) gave Christianity a tough time in his humorous stage shows and writings. It wasn’t true Christianity he mocked but its hypocritical, stodgy practices.

Clemens not only wrote about Tom Sawyer. He was Tom Sawyer. And he didn’t tell the half, such as his prank on friends…and enemies…of dropping watermelons on their heads from upper windows, nearly killing them. Huck Finn was no imaginary friend but a true friend of another name.

So to the muddy-footed boy those black-clothed preachers who equated melon dropping and dirty feet to being the devil were silly. And lace-bound aunts who thought shoelessness in church was damnation yet gossiped in the pews were irrelevant. That was the “Christianity” Clemens loathed.

But we know Clemens was a Christian at heart, or at least aspired to be, because one of his greatest stories, The Prince and the Pauper, explains the Gospel so well.

Young Tom Canty, a very poor beggar boy mistreated by his evil father, goes to King Henry’s castle to beg food and is discovered by young Prince Edward, his same age, who insists Tom play with him by exchanging clothes and discovers they look like twins.

Tom and Edward role play but when Edward goes outside for a moment he is mistaken for the beggar boy he appears to be and beaten away from the castle grounds despite his protests that he is their prince.

Tom, dressed as prince, is treated as if he is the missing Prince Edward and mistakenly made king when King Henry dies. All comes right in the end thanks to the discovery of the royal seal, which was hidden where both boys corroborated, proving their story of having played together, innocently exchanging places.

What better fiction to reveal the greatest Truth of all time? The King of Kings, GOD the Son, exchanges places with the least worthy sinner of all, me… for example. He, JESUS, gives me His purity so I can be with Him in His kingdom. All by making Himself the poor but pure pauper, sinless, yet abused and beaten until He returns to His rightful place through sacrifice and putting himself at risk to correct the wrong humanity has done. In the end, King and servant live together in joy in the kingdom, as we’re told that the worst sinner will be with Christ because Christ’s sacrifice as pauper gave the right to see Him as He is. That kingdom that began when the King lived among His citizens, the pauper Kings who know and love JESUS and serve Him among His people.

The way JESUS tells His followers to pray is to make them pauper Kings, serving Him by loving others and letting them know how to get back to Him on His throne. To make His kingdom come on earth by their representing Him and it among the masses. For the Father’s will to be done by His children pointing others to Him to bring them Home to the throne with them by pointing them to Him.

Sam Clemens knew that. He wrote about it. And I hope he is enjoying his King in the Kingdom today. And we Believers are pauper kings for JESUS, telling others about the new Life He has given us by taking our place and sealing us with His royal seal, no matter how muddy our feet were.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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Finding Our Father

Finding Our Father

I have probably spent over a thousand dollars for books over the last few years pursuing three advanced degrees. And yet just two words anyone can read for free in any library or online or in a dusty Bible somewhere in their home contain more theology and more wisdom and awe than all those books. Those two words are impossible to buy with money or to earn with muscle or mind. They are two simple words spoken by JESUS when teaching those who want to follow Him how to pray: “Our Father.”

When JESUS permits, even commands, those who follow Him to address GOD as “Father”, he reminds them of an ancestry they had available but put aside. GOD as Father was not mentioned in Scripture until GOD Himself tells David that it is Solomon, David’s son, who will build the temple David had hoped to build. And GOD says He will be like a Father to Solomon. David explains in his psalms that GOD is father to him and to all those who love and follow Him. But by the time JESUS is teaching His followers how to pray the Jewish people call themselves children of Abraham and David but not of GOD.

JESUS is calling them back to the Father, GOD. But as He explained to Nicodemus, there is only one way back: to be born again, through Him. As they were born from the womb of their mothers they must be born again through His Body given for them. His Holy Spirit must conceive the new birth in them so Christ Himself could live in their hearts. Then they could call out to GOD as their Father, as they were always meant to do.

The way the phrase “our Father” is worded in the sample prayer JESUS gives is better translated “Father of mine.” It is totally personal yet with the understanding it applies to others who are also followers of JESUS and children of GOD.

At the same time, JESUS reminds them that their Father is in Heaven. Followers of JESUS are children of the Heavenly Father. Their Home is His kingdom not those they try to build in their lifetimes. He is LORD above all, and as such He is to be obeyed and loved and followed before all. He is to be “hallowed”, adored and respected. Anything to do with Him, with His nature or character summarized by His Name, is to be respected and recognized as worthy of praise.

JESUS calls us now as He called followers then to pray by first recognizing GOD as our Father in Christ. Respectfully, acknowledging His greatness, and free to say anything our hearts are troubled over.

JESUS shows us how to find the Father through Him. We can climb into the lap of the King on His throne and whisper what’s bothering us in His ear. We can respectfully and lovingly pour out our heart to the One Who gave His Son to make us His children along with Him.

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭ESV

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Four Days of the Lamb

Take a lamb into your home. Feed him and raise him. Bond with him. Then slit the throat of the innocent lamb to pay for your sins. Spread the blood of the lamb in the middle of the top of your front door post and about shoulder height on the side door posts so they are connected by an invisible cross….Then wait safe inside eating the lamb while the cross keeps Death away.
#Passover

“7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.” Luke 22:7

“17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.
18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Luke 17-20

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30

#GoodFriday

“And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.”

Rev 5:13

#Easter #ResurrectionDay

“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.”
Rev 22:3

(Photo credit Billy Farm and Museum)

#AnyMoment

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The Way to Pray

The Way to Pray

Where I work we train civilian pastors turned Army officers (which makes them chaplains) how to pastor soldiers wherever they are in the Army. Chapel, desert, jungle, it doesn’t matter. They already are qualified pastors. We don’t teach them how to pray. They had to be certified by their denomination how to pray in their denominational style before they could become chaplains in the Army. We just teach them the way to pray in their denominational style in Army ways (in chapels, deserts, etc.). We train techniques not texts.

JESUS is teaching those who want to follow Him the techniques of how to pray to GOD as their Father. He is telling them not to repeat things by rote, over and over, to put themselves in a meditative state like others do. He says “pray in this way.” Obviously He does not mean with these exact words, because He is telling them not to pray by repeating the same words. That’s the point. This is conversation with the One Who loves us most, not a magical incantation. This is JESUS speaking, not Harry Potter.

We’ve mentioned in previous talks (and shame on you if you haven’t read them!) that we have the New Testament in Greek because it is a very precise language and that is true here. Although JESUS spoke in Aramaic and Hebrew the people He spoke to had the context of the time and place, His gestures and inflections, to know exactly what He meant. We have the New Testament in Greek to show that context in writing.

So we know that whatever JESUS said in Aramaic or Hebrew translated “in this way” or “like this” or “so” in English specifically does not mean “in these exact words.” That is what He just said NOT to do.

The Greek word for the phrase “in this way” or “like this” is “houtos.”If we wrote the phrase “My son is growing like a weed” the word for “like” we would use would be “houtos.” Is your son made of vegetable matter? No. Does he have his roots planted in dirt, live in the woods and have nothing but rainwater to drink? Hopefully not. But they have the fact that they grow very quickly in common.

We know this, again, by context. As in most things in life, context is everything. The settings and ways JESUS uses this same word in other messages similar to this one shows He means “in this style.” It is the same word used by JESUS when He tells us to let our light shine like a lamp on a lamp stand. Does He mean to sit on a lampstand, pour olive oil on your head and set your hair on fire on top of a hill? If so, we are all in serious trouble. No, He means “in this way” as in “with this intent”, with this mindset.

The prayer JESUS uses as the example, the “our Father”, or “LORD’s prayer”, teaches us prayer is conversation with our Father. There is a technique to speaking to Him (prayer). Just as there is a way you speak to your boss that is different than speaking to your buddies and a technique for talking to your wife that is different than talking to your children, and a technique that is (hopefully) different speaking to your children than to the dog.

That technique to speak to GOD is with familiarity paid for by JESUS. You stand in the Blood of GOD the Son. With reverence. GOD is in Heaven and Holy. And with openness, pouring out everything in our hearts.

GOD doesn’t need more parrots. He doesn’t need repetitions of prayers. Sing it if you want as a reminder. But when it comes to talking, say what you want to say openly, in your own way, lovingly, respectfully, and in awe and adoration at the same time when you pray.

“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

#prayer #Father #Respect

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Blah Blah Blah Blocked Blessings

Blah Blah Blah Blocked Blessings

My father never let things like having six kids (that we know of) and one wife (that we know of) to house and feed cramp his style. So after spending all of the money at the racetrack that my mother earned working at RCA all day, he thought it was funny to welcome her home by playing a song called “Yakkity-Yack, Blah Blah, Blah, Blah.” It was a pre-emptive strike, a song about a nagging wife intended to keep her from nagging him about being a bum. It never prevented a battle.

JESUS warns us that there is a difference between persistent prayer and saying blah blah blah to GOD. He wants us to “nag” the Father, in a sense, to keep telling Him our longings for as long as we long for them. As JESUS is teaching what it is like when we belong to Him, He invites us to repeat our needs, to tell the Father what we want. But not by repetition of the same old phrases that lose meaning.

Both the Buddhists and Roman Catholics miss this point. With their prayer beads repeating the same words, chanting the same chants over and over, the words become blah, blah, blah. They are like little babies whose own crying or cooing comforts them into stupors rather than responses from a loving Father. Buddhists have a sort of rattle they spin around with each spin counting as a prayer they don’t even bother speaking. They literally are going through the motions that mean nothing to a relationship with GOD Who calls Himself the Word.

JESUS says to stop that. He may have been remembering when Elijah, the prophet of GOD, challenged the worshippers of the demon false god Baal to see whose god was real. He made the challenge impossible to meet by any human means. The Baal worshippers repeated the same thing over and over and over and even cut themselves to try to get their false god to answer. Elijah even teased them to keep it up because Baal may be busy doing his business in the bathroom and might answer them when he was done. But their bloody blah, blah, blahs went unanswered.

Then Elijah made the challenge even more impossible, called out to GOD to answer him for the sake of GOD’s Holy Name and the sake of calling His people back to Him. And GOD answered (and destroyed the worshippers of the false god in the process.)

JESUS gave His life for us to bring us back into relationship with GOD as our Father. He rose from the dead to prove we have the right to speak directly to GOD Almighty as Daddy. But He warns, don’t blah, blah, blah meaninglessly. Speak as His child, in conversation, not yackity yacking at YAHWEH.

My father and mother never learned to get beyond blaming blah, blah, blah. But Christ calls us to communicate through Christ all that is in our hearts, meaningfully, to our Heavenly Father because He should be meaningful to us as we are to Him.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Matthew 6:7-8 ESV

#prayer #communication

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Secrets and Snuggles

Secrets and Snuggles

Why should a strange man in a mall have more fun than you? Every year children literally line up in malls across the United States to snuggle into the laps of strange men with fake beards they are told will give them the secret desires of their hearts. Parents will say no to a horse or rocket ship…or a horse that rides a rocket ship…Friends may laugh. But there is no secret dream a child won’t tell the stranger they are told to call Santa Claus. And they have absolute faith he can do what he promises. Some secret wishes, we learn from those strangers as they go back to their jobs as sales clerks, are quite poignant. A wish for a job for Daddy or make mommy well from this sickness she needs new blood for every week.

Even as adults we long for a lap we can snuggle into and an ear we can pour our secrets into. And JESUS says we have it for the asking and the only thing keeping us from it is seeking attention from others instead of snuggling into secret conversations with the Father Who loves us.

That is the reason JESUS, GOD the Son, came as a man to earth. His arms were nailed to the Cross to enable us to reach out in prayer to our Heavenly Father and be heard as His child. His feet were nailed to the Cross so that we can stand in His footprints as a child of GOD bought by His Blood into relationship with GOD the Father again. He rose from the dead to prove we are forgiven for His sake and can rise into the Presence of the Father and have a secret snuggle with Him through the Holy Spirit snuggling us close to Him and interpreting our childish gurgles into the longings of our hearts He longs to hear.

Any parent, grandparent, uncle or aunt knows the joy of a child curled in their laps. And if they are blessed to be trusted by that tiny heart they may be told the ultimate secrets of their lives. Maybe their words can’t be understood in words but in a look or touch or laugh. Or maybe they can verbalize that you mustn’t tell but there are untold riches…a whole quarter…hidden under the couch cushion in the sock the dog was chewing on last night.

JESUS is calling us to this joy of prayer. Stop shouting to the world for their approval, He says. They can’t help you and their attention and approval are worthless. But if we come to His Cross and follow His footprints into eternity as a child of GOD we have the comfort of the Holy Spirit anywhere we are in life. And we can know the joy of a snuggle, not with a stranger, not with a frail human, even if a family member, but with our Heavenly Father. We can snuggle into Father GOD’s lap and whisper our secret longings and be comforted by His Presence through the Presence of the Holy Spirit because of what JESUS has done.

“”And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:5-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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