The search for knowledge can sometimes become an obsession that takes us away from trusting the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom. We want to know God better, and that’s fine, but what does God want us to know about Him?
The search for knowledge can sometimes become an obsession that takes us away from trusting the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom. We want to know God better, and that’s fine, but what does God want us to know about Him?
According to Revelations, the False Prophet is one of the deadly trio of demonic creatures that will rise up and rule in the end days. The false prophet will start off being rather lowly and unassuming, then will show great power and do miraculous things, leading people to worship the Beast. Essentially, it will perform miracles that had been associated with God and assign them to the power of the Anti-Christ.
We assume that the false prophet is a man, or some creature, but why can’t it be science?
For instance, take the Theory of Evolution: it is still only a theory. Yet, when we listen to the Discovery channel or read anything about animals in scientific publications, it talks about how they have evolved to adapt to their environment. Not that there have been changes to the species, but that it has evolved– using evolutionary terminology as if it is a fact and not a theory.
If you were to ask someone today, just an ordinary person you meet on the street, if evolution is a fact, I’ll bet they would say, “Yes.” And if you ask why they think that, their answer will be something long the lines of, “Because everyone knows it is.”
With humans, if you tell them something often enough, they will believe it. Even if they have never read about it, or studied about it, if they are told it is true often enough, they will accept it.
I am not here to discuss global warming, or evolution, or cloning, or stem-cell research: that is not the issue here. The issue is whether or not science is becoming a new religion.
I think the answer is an undeniable….YES!!
Because we have advanced our understanding of how the natural world works to the point where we can explain how and why some events in the world (and space) happen, we think that they are no longer miraculous. Because we have cloned animals we think we now can create test-tube life, but we fail to remember that cloning is impossible without an egg. So, where does the egg come from?
It’s like the story of scientists who told God mankind doesn’t need Him anymore because we completely understand the human genome and can fix any deformation or sickness. God asked if the scientists could create a man from a lump of clay, and they said they could. God said, “Show me.” The scientists went out and found a lump of clay with the molecular consistency they needed, and when they brought it into the laboratory, God said, “That’s my clay- you have to make your own.”
Technology is also a form of science, so think about this: Yeshua tells us in Matthew 7:24 about how the man who built his house on sand suffered a great destruction when the house was subjected to wind and rain. Today, the world is run by computers; computers are run by their CPU; the CPU is a chip made of silicon. And what is silicon? Silicon is sand.
Science has created a false sense of comfort and control, which is leading people to accept teachings that undermine the bible and in many ways reject the existence of God. It is, as the false prophet is going to do, forcing us to worship something other than God. How this turn from God will result in turning to the Anti-Christ, I do not know. But because I know what is happening, I can keep an eye out for where it is taking me.
Being able to do miraculous things is NOT the true sign of God or Messiah, or (for that matter) the False Prophet or even the Beast. Doing miraculous things may entail nothing more than good sleight of hand. We need to be aware and alert to distinguish what is truth that brings us closer to God, and what is truth that is misleading. And please don’t ever forget this one absolute truth- the most convincing lie is one that has a foundation of truth to it. Truth can be the start of a lie. The false prophet will start off without a lot of power or even seem to be a threat. Science started off that way, didn’t it? At first it was the most educated men trying to explain the natural world with simple things, such as gravity, heat, electricity and diseases. Today we are talking about wormholes that twist time and space, quarks and mesons that are smaller than atoms, strong and weak forces, and the study of physics has (pardon the term) evolved to the point where we have proven things that we can’t even see using mathematical and gravitational calculations as evidence of their existence.
Yacov (James) tells us what faith is in Hebrews 11:1:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
When we talk about faith in God or Messiah (although we haven’t seen either of them) we confidently hope for the resurrection, made possible through Messiah’s sacrifice. Honestly, we have no real proof of Yeshua’s resurrection, although we have plenty of evidence for it. The evidence of this is from the eyewitness accounts of His Disciples in the B’rit Chadasha (New Covenant writings), in our sensing of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) when we pray and worship, and the events in our life that, if we wish to accept it, have been and are being controlled by God. Science also faithfully hopes that the evidence they see, such as celestial bodies being affected by some force causing them to change elliptical pathways, or small points on a piece of treated paper to indicate mesons and quarks are hitting it when atoms are smashed, is proof that these things exist. It is a form of faith: not in God, but in science.
Science does work with facts, and can prove events in the natural world exist. Here’s where the problem starts, because once it has established itself as viable and trustworthy with these small facts, it can then grow in power from that beginning. It starts with something small and believable, then it takes a foothold and gets a finger-grip on humanity’s trust, and from there it takes humanity for a ride.
As I said at the start, the biggest lie has some element of the truth: start with enough truth to build a level of credibility, then upon that you can build the lie.
Look at how far afield from Judaism Christianity has gone, even though it professes to worship the same God that Jews worship. We all agree God is the same today as yesterday, and will be the same tomorrow. If our God it is the same God, and He is unchanging, then how can there be so many different ways to worship Him? If our God never changes, when He told us how to worship Him in the Torah, then that would never change, either. Yet, look at all the different ways He is being worshiped. Someone, somewhere, isn’t telling the truth, because all Abrahamic religions start at the same exact place. So how can we be so different?
Religion was created by man so that man could have power over other men. Science was created by man, also. It is a study of the natural world, but it was created by man. If mankind had not started to wonder about and investigate why things are the way they are, science would not exist. The lack of faith and trust in God to control things is how science came to be, and just as different religions question the validity of what God has said in order to fulfill their own desires, science has rejected God in order to fulfill our need to be in control of the world. Isn’t that really what science is all about today? It is more than just the desire to know how the world works- it is, ultimately, the desire to know how it works so we can exercise control over it!
I love knowing how things work, but I trust God to make it happen. And even if I can explain how something happens, that doesn’t make it any less of a miracle. If I knew that the Red Sea split open because of a natural event upstream that blocked the waters, so what? That doesn’t mean God didn’t split the Red Sea, it means God caused the event that split the Red Sea. It’s still a miracle of God.
Science is trying to take the place of God- don’t let it.
I really don’t want this ministry to become a political sounding board, but I am going to make an exception today because of what I see happening.
It doesn’t have to do with any policies or choices that President Trump (yes, he is- deal with it) has recently initiated, or with the controversy (ongoing and most likely, never stopping) associated with the past election, but with the reactions of the people to these events.
I have read about a shooting in a Canadian mosque where the main things written about the shooter is that he is pro-Israel and pro-Trump. Maybe those were his motivations, but I think he was probably anti-Muslim before he decided to be pro-Israel or pro-Trump.
In fact, what I think is this (and please comment below if you agree or disagree, although I will not let this discussion get out of hand): anyone who has a grudge against a people or a religion have it for their own reasons and not because of who is in charge. What they do, though, is use the person in charge as their excuse for taking the actions they would have done, anyway. And the media? They eat it up!
Was it Jodie Foster’s fault that John Hinckley, Jr. tried to assassinate President Reagan? This attack against a mosque has no more merit to it than that excuse did.
When the American diplomat’s in Iran were taken hostage, many Americans attacked and brutally mistreated many Arab people living in America. No one protested that.
During the Second World War, Japanese Americans (who, for the record, were Americans that were of Japanese descent) were herded up and forced into concentration camps (yes, that is what they were) for years until the war was over. It was a despicable event in our history (just one of many), but no one protested or attacked President Roosevelt for doing it, at least not on the same level as what is happening today.
When the world seems to be falling apart (or maybe we should say, tearing itself apart) the best thing to do to seek answers to what we, those who worship God, should do is to look in the Manual and see what God has told us to do:
Proverbs 24:21-22– My son, fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, for disaster will arise suddenly from them, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?
Hebrews 13:17- Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Titus 3:1- Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,
1 Peter 2:17- Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
(OK, let the jokes fly about ‘Trump’ and ‘Emperor’ in the same sentence)
Romans 13:1-7- Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.
Some of these may be a little out of context, but what Yeshua (Jesus) tells us, as well as God, is to obey God, and trust in God that the rulers He has appointed over you will also be judged by God. This, of course, is culturally a little different today, since in the biblical days the rulers were not elected. As such, in our day, because we elect the rulers we do have a responsibility to ensure that our rulers are just and true, subjecting themselves to the laws that govern all of us.
As a life-long student of history (my undergraduate degree specialized in early American history), I have to say that more often than not, our rulers have fallen short of that ideal. And when they have, to the extent that it is known, we have taken action: President Johnson (Andrew, not Lyndon) was impeached, President Clinton was impeached, and President Nixon was (essentially) forced to resign. Thomas Jefferson has been quoted as saying that the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of revolution, which today is more peaceably accomplished through demonstrations and protests, as we have seen since the election results of last year.
So, what’s the point? The point is that God is in charge, and if you believe that then you need to show it by accepting and respecting His choices.
We all complain, and we all seem to want someone else to do something about it. So, unless you are willing to do something against the leadership that God has placed above you, just give it a rest! I am fed up with all this hullabaloo about Russians hacking our systems- they’ve been at it for decades; the Chinese hack into our networks to gain political and military secrets and the Russians have their pharmaceutical websites to rip off the world. They have been doing this for years and will continue to do so. The media is making a big deal out of it not because it is a recent development, but to ride the wave of discontentment that had this country nearly split apart, politically.
I believe in our American system of jurisprudence, and I also know from my study of history that we have done more to promote justice, fair treatment and democracy than any other country in the world. We have our problems, and we will always have our problems; you can never please everyone. Now here’s a rose-colored glasses viewpoint, if ever there was one: if everyone was willing to go along with the majority and work together for the common good, we would be as close to an ideal form of government as human beings could ever create.
I am waiting for the only truly perfect government: a pure theocracy with Yeshua sitting on the throne over the earth as King of kings. It is coming, and until then all I can do is respect what rulers we have (if not the person, then the position) and work with them to try to make this country better. And if I disagree with the policies, and think I have a better one, then do something about it within the legal system. When I was in management and someone didn’t like what I was doing I would ask them for a better plan. If they had one, I would be willing to consider it (asking for suggestions doesn’t mean having to take them) and if they only wanted to complain, I didn’t want to hear it.
I am still the same way- either put up or shut up!
God is very much like that, too; He is always willing to listen to prayer; however, if you only complain about something, but won’t walk in faith to make change happen, God will not be going out of His way to support you. Prayer is asking God to make something happen, but we have to work towards it in faithful expectation.
In Matthew 21:22 , Yeshua tells us that we can pray for anything, and if we have faith, we will receive it. Yacov tells us (James 2:17) that faith without works is dead, so put these two together and we what we are being told is that when we pray for something, faithfully believing it will happen, we will receive it, and the way we show faithfully believing is to perform works, i.e., do what we prayed to receive as if we already have it.
So, if you want to change the legal system, write a bill and start getting the requisite number of signatures to put it before the Congress. If you want to change a policy, come up with a better policy and begin to get support, legally and respectfully.
In the meantime, respect the authority placed over you by GOD and work with it to make things as good as they can be.
Here’s another “winner” from the annuls of Dear Amy…. the woman writes how she is extremely happy with a husband who cares for her in every way, helps around the house, is loving, compassionate and considerate, EXCEPT (here it comes)- he doesn’t want her parents to pay for a big wedding.
They’re already married! They had a civil ceremony because at that time they couldn’t afford the big, glitzy wedding, which he is willing to do, once they save up their money. He wants to foot the bill himself and not have her parents pay for it. She is upset that he won’t let her parents pay for the big wedding she wants to have now.
OK- let me get this straight: you have a wonderful marriage with a wonderful mate, but without a “big” wedding ceremony you feel like you are missing out. Is that it? Do I have that right?
Yet, this is what America is all about now, isn’t it? Having the most, being the best, owning the biggest, more, more, more and… of what? More of what the moth eats? More of what the rust destroys? More of what will not work in a couple of years? Do you really need to pay thousands of dollars for a dress that you will wear for a few hours then will end up encased in plastic, languishing in a trunk in the attic, never to be used again?
In his letter to them, Shaul (Paul) tells the Colossians that they should seek the things of heaven and not of earth (Chapter 3, verse 2); throughout the bible we are told of the need to be concentrating on God and godly things, such as love, compassion, honesty, trust, affection, long-suffering (read the fruits of the Spirit that Shaul talks about in Galatians 5:22-23) and faithfulness.
Here are a few out-takes from God’s Word that remind us about this:
Colossians 3:1 If you then be risen with Messiah, seek those things which are above, …
1 Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise …
Psalm 91:14 Because he has set his love on me, therefore will I deliver him: …
Psalm 119:36,37 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
The things of God are eternal and the things of the world are temporary. Our lives are meant for one thing, and one thing only: to give us the time we need to make up our minds where we want to spend eternity.
That’s it, Folks- the answer to the question that has plagued Mankind ever since the first Philosopher asked, “What’s it all about?” is this:
You have been given this temporary existence to decide where you will spend eternity.
We need to get our heads back on our shoulders and thank the proctologist for his help in doing so. The things of this world are so much less important than the things that God wants us to have. Doesn’t Yeshua (Jesus) tell His disciples that they should look at how beautifully the flowers in the fields are dressed, and how God feeds every bird in the sky, so they shouldn’t worry about what they are to wear or eat (Matthew 6:28) because God knows all that they need and can provide it for them? We needn’t worry about the things of the world or desire them because they are a trap set by the evil one to detour us from our walk with God.
That doesn’t mean if you have been blessed (financially) to the point you can afford to buy a new BMW that you should get a used Tercel, instead. What it means is that if you have a used Tercel and it works, don’t set your eyes on having a new BMW that you can’t really afford just to have one.
When I read that letter to Amy I immediately thought of the TV shows “Bridezilla” and “Say Yes to the Dress”, and how they show the absolute worst sides of humanity- vanity, selfishness, covetousness, pridefulness, envy, boastfulness. These women wanted to have “the” wedding while wearing “the” dress. It was all about the show, and nothing at all to do with what marriage is really about. Marriage is about love, self-sacrifice, togetherness, compassion, respect, and a life together that is centered on God.
One of God’s great advantages is that He is already in the future looking back, so He knows where we are going and how we need to get there. We, on the other hand, are in a maze surrounded by tall walls of thick foliage and unable to know which way to go. Because God is far above, looking down, and can clearly see where every path leads we must trust in His eyes and not our own.
I believe we can also see backwards from the future. For instance, do you ever consider when you are in a moment of frustration what you will feel like in 5 years from now about this very situation? How many things that had you fuming or frustrated or upset that happened years ago can now be recalled without emotional strife and becoming upset?
NOTE: if you can’t recall things that upset you long ago without becoming upset, you need to search this site for all the posts about “forgiveness” because you really need to get that down before you can do what I am asking of you now.
This is what we need to teach ourselves to do: at the moment someone says something that upsets you and you are all set to fire back at them- stop! Think about what will result when you let go the words that are already in your mouth (just dying to get out), and ask yourself if, years later, you will be happy you said it or regret your actions? If you are even the slightest bit unsure how the future will see what you say now, then shut up!
Sounds easy…well, actually, it doesn’t sound easy, and the truth is that it’s even harder to do than it sounds. James 3:5-8 tells us that the tongue is nearly impossible to control, and Proverbs 16:32 tells us that the one who is able to control his (or her) anger is more powerful than one who can conquer a city (James repeated that message also in 1:19), so it is clear that this is something not just very hard to do, but has historically been a stumbling block in human relationships. Yet…just think how much better things would be if you could learn to do it, even a little bit, even just once in a while! I have taught myself that I need to proof-read my emails, and not just for spelling and grammar issues, but for “booby-traps”: things that may be saying something the wrong way or written in a derogatory manner that I will later regret having written. I have learned (most of the time but not always, I am ashamed to say) to delete the questionable sentences, or just not send the email at all. It has been very very hard to do that but I am learning to think “back in time” instead of being enslaved by what I am feeling “at this time.”
If there is a lesson in here anywhere, I think that is it- learn to think “back in time” so that you will be acting more from an eternal (i.e., godly) viewpoint than an immediate (i.e., human) viewpoint.
One of the most comforting quotes from the bible is Joel 2:32, where Joel tells us that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. In the New Covenant this is repeated in Acts 2:21 and, again, in Romans 10:13.
And it is true, of course, but that assumes the one calling is repentant, and remains repentant. Call on the name of the Lord and you will be saved, but that is only your ticket to come in. You still have to arrive, you have to be dressed properly and you need to bring your ID.
We first need to understand that “calling on the name of the Lord” means asking for forgiveness of your sins through the Messiah’s sacrificial death. It means doing T’shuvah, turning from your sinful life, and working towards sinning less for the rest of your life. If you ask for forgiveness, and mean it, you will be forgiven, but that isn’t the beginning and the end of it- it is just the start. You need to demonstrate your repentance through changes in your actions. You will still be thinking sinful things, but so long as you fight to overcome the sinful nature we all have, and you make progress, you will continue to be saved. Your works, the fruits of your salvation that you demonstrate in your everyday words, actions and thoughts will be the clothing you wear to the “wedding” and the gift you present to the King.
There are quite a few parables about those who have been invited (i.e., those who have called on the name of the Lord and received forgiveness), but because they did not fully repent or because they backslid they did not get to make it to the party.
There is the parable of the wedding guests who were invited but allowed their cares for the world to prevent them from going, so they did not get to attend the wedding. There is the another wedding parable about bridesmaids who didn’t buy oil for their lamps and when the groom came they were too busy trying to find oil, with the result that when they finally had what they were supposed to have already had, they were locked out of the wedding.
There is another wedding parable, this one about one person at the reception without the proper clothing (in those days the wedding host gave clothing to the guests as they arrived) so he was thrown out of the reception.
That’s not all!
There is the parable about the fruit tree in the garden (in the garden= already saved) but didn’t bear any fruit and ended up being thrown out of the garden.
The parable about the three servants given talents and the one returned only what he had been given; for not using what he had been given he was called a wicked servant and was thrown into the darkness.
In 1 Timothy 4:1 we read how, in the Acharit HaYamim (The End Days), even some of the chosen will fall away from the faith; this warning is first given to us in Matthew, repeated in the other Gospels and given as a final warning in Revelations. False Messiahs will come and perform wondrous signs that will fool even some of the Chosen, those who have been saved and given their ticket to Eternal joy and peace. They will turn that ticket in to the wrong place, and just like some stores will honor the coupons of their competitors, the enemy of God will certainly accept you into his realm. He will honor you and shower you with gifts of earthly power and wealth so that you will eagerly trade in your salvation.
Many teach that salvation is irrevocable, and they are right- it is irrevocable, but what does “irrevocable” mean? It means it won’t be taken back. That doesn’t mean we can’t throw it away! That doesn’t mean we can’t disqualify ourselves by accepting the grace of God then misusing or abusing it. Grace from sin is not license to sin, and too many people think that all they have to do is ask God for forgiveness and their position in heaven is set in stone.
We all can receive the forgiveness God has provided through Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) if we are repentant and if we change. We can’t be repentant without showing a change in our deeds and ways. As Yacov (James) says in the book bearing his name, a well cannot give both fresh and salt water. If you have done T’shuvah, and accepted the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) then you have to change. You can’t help it. It is slow, and there is always that fight between the little guy wearing the halo on one shoulder and the little devil on the other shoulder. That fight will never go away, but the more you read the bible, the more you allow the Ruach to rule your life, the more you “die to self” so that the Holy Spirit can live more fully in you, well, soon the little angel looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger and the devil looks like Steve Urkel.
No one likes to hear that when you call on God for forgiveness that you get it, but you don’t have it. Yet, that’s really what it comes down to- remember, God doesn’t work in the same time zone we do. He is, He was, and He will be- all in the same moment. There is no lineal timeline where God is concerned, so you can have something and not have it, all at the same time.
The guarantee of our salvation is not dependent on God- once He gives you that forgiveness, you have it, but now you have to keep it. The way you do that is to show the world the change that the Holy Spirit has made in you by doing more and more of what God wants. You’ll find those instructions in the Torah. That’s what God told Moses to write down so we would all have the same instructions; that’s what Jesus taught His disciples to preach and what He lived completely as an example to us, and the Torah has the rules for how everyone who worships the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is supposed to live.
In a nutshell, calling on the name of the Lord will get you that ticket to salvation, and there is a seat reserved for you, but you need to hold tight to that ticket, not let anyone else fool you into giving it to them, and to show up at the theater properly dressed, wearing the fruits of your salvation. Don’t wait until the first call to find fruit, because this show doesn’t adhere to any schedule. You may be called to appear at any time, and once the curtain goes up the doors are locked to everyone.
Salvation: if you ask for it, you get it. That’s the easy part- the hard part is working at it, keeping it and being able to show up properly dressed when the doors open.
In the letter Yakov (James) wrote to the Jewish Believers (not Christians, mind you, but Jewish Believers) in Jerusalem, he was talking about asking for things from God, and how we must be faithful when we ask. In James 1:5-7 he says:
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,…
Wow! Here is the brother of Yeshua (Jesus) saying that if we falter or are unsure of ourselves when we pray to God we shouldn’t expect that God will take that into account and still answer our prayers.
Heavy? Yes. Unfair? No, well…to humans it may seem unfair, but God’s way is not our way.
Think about it from His perspective: if He enables us to be weak and unfaithful in what we do then how will we be able to stand against the attacks from the enemy of God? Satan knows our weaknesses and our doubts- he works with them. God will strengthen us but the enemy works the opposite way, in that the enemy will weaken our faith by placing doubt in our minds. He will attack God by creating events that make us feel God is ignoring us, that God lies to us and that God doesn’t love us. The enemy will attack God by attacking our faith in God.
The enemy wants us to doubt that God will deliver on His promises.
That’s why God has to strengthen our faith by making us work at it. We are, by nature, lazy and we want to be led, that is what the enemy works with when steering us away from God. God, on the other hand, is trying to get us to work towards Him. He makes us exercise our spiritual muscles by forcing us to work at being faithful.
The Greek mythical hero, Theseus, recovered his fathers sword and shield by constantly trying to lift a large rock they had been buried under. Once he was strong enough to move the rock, he recovered these things, which were proof of his parentage and right to the throne.
We have a similar task: the large rock we need to lift is our doubts and our faithlessness, which we need to move out of our way in order to receive what our Father (in heaven) has placed there for us: salvation.
We talk about those who will take the mark and those who will not, but we forget to think about the ones who will turn from the faith in the tribulation. Revelations tells us that many, in some texts it says most (meaning more than 50%) will turn from their faith in God to take the mark of the enemy.
That scares the heck out of me! It should scare you, too, because if you are saying to yourself, “That’s not me- I will never take the mark!” I am right there with you. Except that I am not so sure of myself because I know my faith needs more strengthening, I know I can’t move that rock, not yet, and I need to be able to. It’s my fear of my weakness that keeps me alert and aware.
God will turn us from base metal, slag even, into beautifully refined gold. But we need to go through the fire to get there. The enemy will not do that- he will give us whatever we want, make our lives easy, peaceful, joyful, a hedonists’ wonderland and grant us (initially) everything and anything we want.
This is why Yakov tells us that we shouldn’t expect anything from God if we are unsure of His faithfulness, which is what our faithlessness reveals about us. That is a little hard to understand, so let me rephrase it:
When we are not sure God will do as He says, it means we think God is not able to deliver on His promises. That is what the enemy wants us to think, and it is easier for humans, self-absorbed and egocentric as we are, to believe that God is at fault for not answering prayers than it is to think that it is because of our unfaithful attitude that we don’t receive.
Faith is hard…very hard….to achieve, and even harder to maintain. It is by faith alone we are saved, and it is our faith that gives us the strength and perseverance to maintain our belief and trust in God. And when the fecal matter comes into contact with the air circulation unit, we better have strong and dependable faith.
It isn’t God’s responsibility to answer prayers as much as it is our responsibility to ask faithfully believing that He can answer them. Not that He will, but that He can. God always has the right to say, “No.” to a request from Him. Just because He decides that prayer is not going to be answered doesn’t mean He won’t answer other prayers.
That’s what it means to not waver, to keep walking even if the ground slants, or gets rocky, or we aren’t sure why we have to go this way and not that way. We need to walk with a sure step, with our eyes on the finish line, and not waver from this side to that side. We will probably slip and fall along the way; in fact, more than just once or twice, but God will always be there to pick us up. All the time, so long as we reach out to Him and ask for help. That is one prayer I believe He will always answer- a prayer for help.
All prayers should be submitted to God with the total belief that He is able to answer, even if He doesn’t. Even if His answer is, “Not yet”; even if His answer is, “Maybe later”; even if His answer is, “No way, Jose!”
It’s not about whether or not God answers your prayers, it’s all about believing that He can. If you can handle that truth without being upset or feeling that it is unfair, then you have proper faith and a properly respectful and humble attitude. That’s a good start, but it’s just a start. Very few of us can really lift that rock yet.
I know I can’t lift the rock, not all the way: I need to get back to that rock and keep trying.
We each of us have to work at “lifting the rock” of our faithfully believing in God’s ability to do what he says He will do. We need to walk, not waver, we need to stand firm, not bend in the wind, and we need to trust God, no matter what anyone else tells us or what happens to us.
It’s a big rock that hides our crown of victory, but it can be moved. We just need to keep at it.
Many people are taught that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. That’s accurate but not absolute. God will forgive us if we ask for it, and prove we mean it by doing T’shuvah (turn from sin), which will be to live our life showing that we reject sin, accept Yeshua as our Savior and follow the leading of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) as our guide and comforter.
Otherwise, the salvation God is willing to grant us will be lost- not taken away (no one can take away that which God has given you), but thrown away.
Let’s look at the warnings in the Bible about this:
Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
2 Peter 2:20-22 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
James 5:19-20 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Matthew 24:10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other
These warnings against falling away from the truth and the way clearly state that these people had known the Lord and were “saved” but chose to return to their sinful life.
Too often people are taught that once you are saved, you are always saved. And that is true, but only from the perspective that God will forgive you when you ask in Yeshua’s name. But that is not the end of it- it is only the beginning. When a slate is wiped clean, there is nothing on it. But when we come before God we are not to come before Him empty handed (Exodus 23:15 and again in Deuteronomy 16:16). As such, the slate He has wiped clean with the blood of Messiah Yeshua better have some real good writing on it (i.e., works of faith) when we bring it back to the Lord at Judgment Day. Look to the parable of the servants given talents by their master (Matthew 25:14-30.) The one who did nothing with what he had been given was not allowed into the master’s joy- he was thrown out into the darkness.
Yes, we are saved when we call on the Lord, when we ask for forgiveness in Yeshua’s name, and when we truly do T’shuvah. We are forgiven our sins, thus “saved” from them, but we are just starting the journey to salvation. It is a long and hard road, treacherous and difficult to stay on. And if we lose our way we may be lost, forever. The Ruach HaKodesh is our GPS system, but if we neglect the “Turn right in a quarter mile” when we hear it, often enough, we will become totally lost. And when that happens, as is human nature, we will deny it was our fault and blame the GPS for not giving us the right information.
What is your GPS? Is it the Holy Spirit? Is it a religious leader, like a Rabbi or Priest or Pastor? Is it some self-help guru? Is it a “fad” religion? There is only one true, reliable and proven GPS for salvation: God’s Word. And I mean the entire bible, which is Genesis through Revelations. Heck- you should even take a look at the maps at the end, just to make sure you don’t miss anything!
Salvation is promised by God to those who ask for it, but it is then our job to use His gift, to give Him back more talents than He gave us, and to have useful writing on the slate He cleared when we come before Him. James said faith without works is dead (James 2:14) so don’t kill yourself right after God gives you back your life.
One last parable to show salvation received is not salvation guaranteed is the parable about the spirit that was removed and then returned with 7 other spirits (Luke 11:24); again this demonstrates, unquestionably, that a person who has been “cleansed” can still be made “dirty” again if that person just does nothing with the gift he or she has been given. So make sure that you write on your slate, that you invest your talents, that you do not leave your house empty- make sure you use the gift of salvation or you will find yourself in the same place those who we read about in Matthew 7:22-23.
Will Rogers once said:
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Please- don’t sit on your salvation.
Do we, really? In a retail environment, the salesperson certainly wants to please the customer. In work, we want to please our Boss. At home, pleasing the spouse isn’t even a choice- you’d better!
But what about pleasing God? Do we put as much effort into pleasing God as we do to please people more “directly” influencing our lives? Maybe I should say more “visibly” influencing our lives, since God is in charge of everything and influences our lives from before we are even born, but He is invisible and people are visible; they are tangible and always in sight. Not in spiritual sight, but in physical sight; God is in the heavens but people are where we are.
In my experience I have seen people who do almost anything for someone that they believe can help them attain what they want in the world, but they are pretty much cavalier about pleasing God. Don’t they realize that what they have in the world, no matter how much of it they own, will be someone else’s when they die? That point is well made in Kohelet (Ecclesiastes.) Then they will only have the treasure they have already stored in heaven to spend eternity with. Think about it: would you rather live in a mansion for 30 years and a shack forever, or would you rather have a humble home for 30 years and a mansion forever?
I would like to offer an excerpt from my book (to buy the book, hardcover or downloadable, see the right margin) that briefly discusses how to please God. If you find this interesting or useful to you, please consider buying the book.
“Then tell me how to please the Lord”, you may ask. Sorry, but I will not tell you what to do, or (for that matter) what not to do. That would make me just like a religion. What I will tell you is what the Lord tells us. And the Lord tells us that to please Him we must obey His commandments. I will give you 2 places where He does this, although He tells and shows us this throughout the entire Bible. The places I will mention are in the Tanakh and in the B’rit Chadashah (New Covenant).
In the Tanakh go to Deuteronomy 28. This is the chapter where God gives us the listing of His blessings for obedience. You can see He blesses us going in and out, home and away, pretty much 24/7/365. Clearly, obedience pleases Him. The other place is in the Gospels where Yeshua (Jesus) tells us that if we love Him we will obey His commandments. Everyone is pleased by having people they love show that love back to them, and Yeshua is telling us that showing our love for Him (which must please Him) is through obedience.
Yeshua makes it even easier to demonstrate obedience. He tells us that the two most important commandments are to love the Lord and to love our neighbor. If we simply do this than everything else falls into place.
For the record, this isn’t a new idea. Yeshua was quoting Tanakh; in fact, there is nothing “new” in the “New Covenant”. It is all strictly and completely from Torah and the other Old Covenant writings. Every single reference Shaul makes, as well as John and James (Ya’akov), is from the only scripture that existed at that time, which is the Tanakh.
So there it is. How do we please our God? Simple- follow His commandments. That’s it. He doesn’t say to follow all the regulations and traditions that the religion to which we belong adds or takes from His word. He simply says do as He says. He even tells us that what we should do is not so hard to do. It is not so far away that we need someone to bring it to us, or so deep we can’t see it, or so high we can’t reach it. He says it is right in front of us, within our grasp. True, we can’t do everything as He wants us to do it; we are sinners and we are sinful, and our very nature makes living a perfect life impossible. That’s why He promised a Messiah. But Hey!, that’s no reason not to try!
Brothers and Sisters, please hear me now: God has no religion. His Word, His commandments, His Blessings, His House of Worship, His Messiah and His Salvation is for ALL people! Just as His judgment will be on ALL people.
I think it is important to remember, especially, that last sentence: His judgement will be on ALL people! And that judgement will be based on our heart and our actions, but it will not be based on what others tell us is right or wrong.
You need to understand (and I believe the Bible supports me in this) that God will judge fairly and rightly, but what He judges us on will be what we did and not on what others told us to do. That means if the Rabbi, Priest, Pastor, or whomever leads your religious organization tells you to do something that is contrary to God’s command, you will be responsible for your actions. And using that old, “I was just following orders” excuse won’t carry water with the Lord. He told us how he wants us to worship Him, how we should treat each other, what is important and what isn’t. And if you aren’t sure how to tell what is important and what isn’t, I will make it easy for you: if it is in the Bible, it is important. And, if it is important you had better know about it, right? So read the book! Don’t be a dope and just believe what anyone tells you the book says- read it for yourself. Read it for yourself because you will be held accountable for what is in it!
Think about that: in fact, don’t waste time thinking, just do. Read the Bible, start today. Only a chapter a day: do it at lunch, do it when you get home, do it before you get ready for work. Or do what I do- keep your Bible in the bathroom. No one bothers me there, and I have a guaranteed 10 minutes or so of quiet.
Please please God first, then people, if you must, but not at the expense of pleasing God. I think you wil lfind that if you concentrate on pleasing the Lord you will be surprised at how much more you will be pleasing to people.
What kind of a question is that? I think one that we need to think about.
I know many people who say they are a “Believer” but they make up their own rules, and they are more like a “Buffet Believer” than a Believer that obeys the Lord. I also know many people, all raised within one of the Christian religions, who say they believe in God and Jesus, and pass it off with as much enthusiasm as when they say they believe the Mets will win the pennant this year.
These people have been brought up being told that Jesus died for their sins, that they are going to heaven so long as they are “good” people (where ‘good’ is what the world says ‘good’ is), and although they all believe in Jesus they are anything but what we who have been “born again” would consider a Believer.
Even the demons believe in Jesus / Yeshua; in fact, they are the most stringent and trusting believers because they have met Him, they have seen His Father, they know His power and that’s why they shake from fear at the very mention of His name. I think the demons have a better chance of getting to Heaven than the vast majority of people I know who say they believe in Jesus.
This is because of the wrongful teachings that have been handed down over the centuries. Too many humans telling other humans what God wants us to do, what is the right way to worship, creating traditions that only enforce their power over others instead of truly bringing glory to God.
Here’s a list from Wikipedia of the different forms of Christian worship (I am presenting it as an example, not as a definite and complete listing):
Messianic Judaism \ Jewish Christians (Ed: really should be under Judaism)
What’s with that? There is one God, and He gave us the Torah with the Mitzvot, Hukkim and Mishpatim (Laws, ordinances and regulations) and He said to obey these throughout all our generations. If these are the instructions directly from God, then how is it possible to have so many different groups of people worshipping the Lord in all these different ways? Was God that confusing when He outlined the laws?
Moses said that to obey the Lord isn’t that hard: he said the laws aren’t so far from us that we need to send someone to get them or so high we couldn’t reach them. He also was adamant not to add to or take away from any of these laws, yet how can we have so many different means and ways of worshipping God, all with their own sets of “laws” if we never strayed from God’s Torah as He gave it to us?
Even the Jewish people, the ones that were given the Law and are the protectors and guardians of Torah, have 6 different sects that worship differently.
How can we know the difference between those that agree and those that truly believe? I guess the same way we know who to trust and who not to trust- by their fruit, by their ethics, by the way they live. People don’t mean what they say, they mean what they do, so are you a “believer” or just someone who repeats what you have been told, accepting things blindly because they are easy to live with?
Yakov (James) told us to be doers of the law and not just hearers of it. Decide if you really believe in Yeshua/Jesus; decide to accept the responsibility of knowing that He died so you can have a chance at salvation. The truth, Brothers and Sisters, is that you can’t make it on your own, and just because someone with a theological degree tells you the Spirit of God is in you and you are saved by the blood (after being able to answer three questions correctly) doesn’t mean you are a believer, or saved.
You need to decide that you are going to believe; you need to live your life showing that you are a believer by being a doer of the Word; you need to take possession of your salvation. You need to ask God for forgiveness: you, and only you because no one else can do it for you! If you just agree with what your Priest or Pastor or Rabbi, for that matter, has told you about salvation without deciding for yourself based on your own relationship with God, then you are a blind person being led by another blind person.
If you have decided to believe, halleluya! If you just agree, please please please get on the ball and make up your own mind!
Get real people- we’re talking about Eternity here!
Have you ever complimented someone, then they returned a compliment to you, but you knew that they were just saying something because they thought they should? Did it really mean anything to you?
When you pray to the Lord, do you really mean it? I’m not talking about when you ask for something you want, or when you have a dire need or are praying for someone else’s dire need. Stuff we pray for that we want, we do really want and we do really pray for, earnestly.
I’m talking about the “regular” prayers; you know, thanks for the food, thanks for the job, etc. When we give thanks for something do we really feel the emotions that we state, or are we just doing what we were taught we should do?
Are we just zombie praying? Are we just going through the motions without the e-motions?
I like to thank the Lord for the medicines I take each morning, and especially for the fact that there are so few of them. I like to thank God for the veggie egg wrap I get each morning from Dunkin Donuts each workday on my way to work (and occasionally I really, really pray they will bring back the turkey sausage one.) And when I thank God for the job I have, the people I work with, my wife, our love, the life He has given us together, and everything, (not to brag) I really mean it.
I have been blessed in having to scrounge up enough coins to buy a Dinty Moore Beef Stew can for my meal that day. I have juggled bills so well I could have starred on the Ed Sullivan Show (ooh- I am really dating myself now.) I have been bankrupt, came back and gained a good financial foothold, then lost all the money I saved to alimony and child support, only to see it go to smoke because I paid a ton of money for 2 years and my son was still wearing T-shirts for diapers, even though his mother lived rent-free.
I say this not to engender pity or respect, but to point out that, yes- it was a blessing to go through those trials because they taught me how to be really thankful. Someone who never has had a lack of anything (I believe) can not be truly thankful for anything. How can you appreciate having what you have never lacked?
And, since we are talking about God, about ethereal things, about salvation and eternity- all things that we humans can’t appreciate as much as we could if we were ,oh, say…a fallen angel, then how can we pray and really feel it?
It is possible, but you need to allow the Ruach to help you. I know what it feels like to be with the Lord- when the Ruach entered my body, I was ethereal, I was in the Spirit, and I was there for a second or two. But I will never forget what it felt like.
I have felt God’s touch, His embrace, and it brought me to tears of joy. I haven’t felt that so much in the past few years, most likely because I have become inured in my prayer life and in my worship. I pray as David prayed, to be given a clean heart and have a right spirit renewed in me, to remember the joy of my salvation. And because I knew God’s touch, I know how much I miss it when my worship is half-baked (my fault), and so when I pray for it I really mean it.
I don’t wish hardship on anyone but, well…I lied. I do wish everyone would go through hardships in their life. The gold will never be refined if it doesn’t pass through the fire, and metal will never stand up to stress if the slag isn’t removed. I pray (and I mean it, too!) that everyone who wants to be blessed by God go through want, and depression, and suffering (both physical and emotional), and hunger, and unrequited love. All the worst things that can happen to a person, only so that they will all the more appreciate and be thankful, truly thankful, for when they receive from God all that they had lacked.
If life is good and nothing is wrong, pray with thanks to God for His protection, but also realize that the Enemy will leave you alone if you aren’t doing anything for God. Trials and tribulations strengthen us- just ask Jimmy (his book is in the New Covenant writings) and pray that God will strengthen you. And get started doing more for God.
I am really thankful when I am thankful, and I hope that you can say the same. Look deep into your soul, because that’s where God sees you, and make sure that you are truly thankful when you pray. If not, I think it would be better to just not say anything.
Better a truthful lack of thanks than a hypocritical attempt to be “correct”, so don’t pray just to pray- pray as you feel.