The Apple Of God's Eye

April 6, 2011

What Is A Christian’s Business?

time-warp-wife.blogspot.com

When Christ was 12 years old He asked His parents after they had been searching for Him for three days, ” How is it that ye sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).

What was that business and why did no one else grasp the deep meaning of this sentence? Even today, the world is unaware of the living, resurrected Christ’s preoccupation and concern for His Father’s business.

Christ came to do His Father’s work, and true Christians must know what this means and how they can be involved in their Father’s business – their real livelihood. Here is the biblical meaning of what Christ meant:

“My meat (food or substance) is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34)

God’s work is of primary importance to Him. True Christians today are to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33). They are called not just for salvation, but to support the work of God, which Christ died for.

This is no small incidental or half-hearted matter to God, as He states in John 5:17: “My Father works hitherto, and I work.” If we are to follow Christ, we have to work also because God works through human instruments. That means supporting the true body of Christ in prayers, study, meditation and financial means.

Those who argue this concept fail to understand  God’s government because their hearts are not in His work. They resort to selfish arguments to back up inconsequential and spiritually lacking efforts. They look only to their own interests, exhibiting few fruits in their life to enable spiritual growth. God says:

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6:21).

If Christ lives in the true Christian (Phil. 2:5), then whatever Christ is excited about, the Christian will also want to be doing. This requires the power of the Holy Spirit, without which we can do nothing (John 5:30).

March 2, 2011

Why Did Jesus Curse The Fig Tree?

Filed under: Fruits (Works) — melchia @ 2:50 pm
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Commentaries generally agree that fig trees in the area of Palestine produce fruit for much of the year, if they bear at all. Unlike most trees, the fig tree first produces its fruit and afterward its leaves (see Song of Solomon 2:13). The immature fruit, though green and hard, is considered edible if one is sufficiently in need. It was not out of the way for Jesus to look for fruit in March since the tree was shrouded with luxuriant green leaves, making a show of being a worthy tree. But when Jesus found nothing on the tree, He used it as an example to teach His disciples — and us — some spiritual principles. Seeing the tree was obviously worthless as a fruit bearer — not just at that time of year but all seasons — He had no compunction about cursing and killing it as an object lesson for all.

First, with a tree having leaves but not figs, an element of deception is involved. Secondly this incident teaches that the outward appearance and show is not what counts with God. What counts is production of fruit (Luke 13:3-9; Galatians 5:22-23). It matters not how much we profess to be Christians if we bear no fruit. And the rapid drying up of the fig tree pictures how we will likewise be cursed and die, if we are found to be barren at the time Christ calls for an accounting.

In Luke 13:6-7 (Revised Standard Version), Jesus expressed the principle this way: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down.’ ” Then the vinedresser prevailed on him to leave the tree for one more year, to cultivate around it, and to fertilize it, to see if finally it might possibly bear fruit, “but if not, you can cut it down.”

The parable shows the long-suffering of God, and His willingness to give every possible aid. But finally His allotted time for production comes to an end.

Though the fig tree, like the olive and the vine, was a symbol of the Judaean commonwealth, which was about to be cut down, verses 1 to 5 make it clear that Jesus meant the lesson to apply also to each individual.

John the baptizer also told the Pharisees and Sadducees: “Bear fruit that befits repentance … Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:8,10, RSV).

November 20, 2009

Catholic Church: Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned!

clericalwhispers.blogspot.com

The child abuse crisis in the Catholic church has been the subject of considerable attention, law suits and two major research projects. In 2004, the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People released a study titled, A Report On The Crisis In The Catholic Church In The United States.”

In addition, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York published empirical data on the nature and scope of the abuse problem in dioceses and religious orders across the country in its report: “The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and deacons in the United States 1950-2002, was also released in 2004.

Sex abuse rife in other religions, says Vatican

According to this article in the Guardian.co.uk, the Vatican lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was “busy cleaning its own house” and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger. Defiantly, it said that the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males.

The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that “available research” showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.

Yet, of all the world religions, Roman Catholicism has been hardest hit by sex abuse scandals. In the US, churches have paid more than $2bn in compensation to victims.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common. He also added that sexual abuse was far more likely to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbours, and male children were quite often guilty of sexual molestation of other children.”

Now that may be so, but many see this as nothing less than a damage control counter-attack — a feeble attempt to distance itself from controversy by pointing the finger at other faiths. It’s not working. The Vatican must be held to account, something it has been unwilling to do so far. It has not opened its files, changed its procedures worldwide, and openly reported ALL suspected abusers to civil authorities.

Sex abuse report pays special attention to homosexual priests

Looking further into the subject, I perused CatholicNews.com where it stated that when the bishops’ National Review Board issued its report on the causes and context of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, it paid particular attention to a long-controversial issue — the ordination of homosexually oriented men.

A four-page section of the report is titled, “Special Issues Relating to Sexual Orientation, which states that “81 percent of the reported victims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy were boys, showing that the crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior. In light of that, it said, the current crisis cannot be addressed without consideration of issues related to homosexuality.

While the board found a homosexual dimension in the preponderant abuse of young males by Catholic clergy, one of the John Jay researchers (Louis Schlesinger) who specializes in issues of sexual anti-social behavior said the board was correct only in part. He said the real problem is in the disorder of pedophilia, adult sexual attraction to young people, not in the person’s sexual orientation as such. “Some married men prefer adolescent males,” he said, repeating “married men” to emphasize the heterosexual character of their adult relationship.

Gay subculture in Catholic church?

The National Review Board said that, “In the 1970s and 1980s, in particular, there developed at certain seminaries a ‘gay subculture,’ and at these seminaries, according to several witnesses, homosexual liaisons occurred among students or between students and teachers. Such subcultures existed or exist in certain dioceses or (religious) orders as well.”

The board said it believes a failure to take disciplinary action against that conduct “contributed to an atmosphere in which sexual abuse of adolescent boys by priests was more likely.”

Noting the current debate going on in the church over the acceptability of ordaining homosexually oriented men, the board said it spoke with some bishops who do not accept homosexual candidates and others who do.

Are homosexuals more inclined to molest in a chaste lifestyle?

The Review Board stated further: “For those bishops who choose to ordain homosexuals, there appears to be a need for additional scrutiny and perhaps additional or specialized formation to help them with the challenge of chaste celibacy.” The board quoted one of the bishops it interviewed: “Training for celibacy is different if someone is homosexually oriented or heterosexually oriented. The occasions of sin are different. The danger flags are different.”

So why hire those who have inclinations opposite those that the Bible teaches? Is homosexuality not deemed a sin in the Bible? In both the Old and New Testaments, male and female homosexual acts are denounced as abominable, unnatural, vile perversions. Please read Genesis 19:1-13, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Judges 19:22-24, I Corinthians 6:9-10, I Timothy 1:9-10. In no scriptural reference is homosexuality approved!

In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul speaks of a people who “deliberately forfeited the truth of God and accepted a lie…. Their women exchanged the normal practices of sexual intercourse for something which is abnormal and unnatural. Similarly the men, turning from natural intercourse with women, were swept into lustful passions for one another…receiving, of course, in their own personalities the consequences of sexual perversity” (Romans 1:25-27, Phillips translation).

I Tim. 3:1-4 says: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous…disobedient to parents, un-thankful, unholy, without natural affection…lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…. From such turn away” (I Timothy 3:1-4). God wants us to avoid unnatural and unholy things—especially those that destroy families. The Catholic church merely condones such destruction by hiring those of homosexual inclination.

God, therefore, commands us to avoid the serious sin of homosexuality—and the Catholic church which says it is the true church of God-should then follow that admonition, should it not? That is, IF it was the true church of God.

So now the question posed was, “Are homosexual men more inclined to molest in a chaste lifestyle?” First, the use of sex within marriage between a man and a woman is the only God-ordained pure expression of romantic love. Many people will disagree, but homosexual thoughts are perverted – God says so. Think about it: Why would a wise Creator God design humans to be attracted to a member of their own gender? He wouldn’t. The Genesis account shows that our first parents, Adam and Eve, had a natural attraction for one another. And any good high school anatomy class supports the fact that a man and woman are compatible physically and can produce offspring. It was God’s original intent and purpose for man and woman to be sexual partners—not man with man or woman with woman.

Anyone can be tempted by a fleeting thought to commit a wrong sexual act. That is a temptation. But it becomes a sin if it is given in to and allowed to stay in the mind. Homosexuality is a lust (of the flesh), just like adultery or any other sexual sin. And allowing lusts to continue in your mind is dangerous, because thoughts usually lead to actions.

Jesus Christ taught that it is a sin even to look at someone else in lust (Matthew 5:28). Lingering thoughts or fantasies about illicit sex (in a chaste lifestyle while around young boys) can develop warped feelings or desires and cultivate evil practices that are nearly impossible to break.

The Catholic church admits that the abusers were homosexuals, and it admits it hires them. Do their thoughts about men (or young boys) merely go away while being priests? A chaste lifestyle is unbiblical and merely leads to temptation and wrong sexual thoughts. God says to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5).

Will the Catholic church accept blame?

While the Catholic church says child abuse is unacceptable, its actions and statements do not convey anything resembling repentance. In fact, the forthcoming statements more closely show defiance. Another CatholiccNews.com article featuring a 90-minute program broadcast on the Eternal Word Television Network says that sex abuse stems from a crisis of faith and morality. Sounds great, but then it is said that: “This is a societal problem, not a Catholic problem,and the work of the National Review Board provides “a model for everyone else to do a self-examination of their own institution.”

So why try to shift the blame? Does it matter if the problem exists elsewhere? Is this not like a thief telling the judge at sentencing that he is a thief because others are also thieves? Can a murderer blame other murderers for his actions? Clean your own house and don’t worry about others! You are supposed to be (though I dispute this) the true church of God. This abuse is happening in YOUR house. Who cares, as board member William R. Burleigh emphasized, “Things do not happen in the church that are not part of general society.” Does that make it right, or less of a crime? It sounds more like the feeble excuse a seven year old child makes in blaming his sibling for his own actions.

How many priests abuse children?

A study done by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York shows about 4 percent of U.S. priests ministering from 1950 to 2002 were accused of sex abuse with a minor. The 4,392 clergymen — almost all priests — were accused of abusing 10,667 people, with 75 percent of the incidents taking place between 1960 and 1984. During the same time frame there were 109,694 priests, it said.

The sex-abuse related costs totaled $573 million, with $219 million covered by insurance companies. The study noted, however, that the overall dollar figure is much higher than reported; 14 percent of the dioceses and religious communities did not provide financial data and the total did not include settlements made after 2002, such as the $85 million agreed to by the Boston Archdiocese.

FindLaw.com says the shocking and most telling of all was the statistic as to the percentage of abusers who were ever incarcerated — only 2% (3% were prosecuted and convicted but apparently, of those, a third either will not serve time, or have yet to serve time). I believe that it is primarily because the Church simply transferred the offending priests rather than report them to authorities. It made them a conspirator. That is why they have had such big judgments levied against them and why they have been advised by their own legal counsel to make such huge settlements. It shows a pattern.

Though the Catholic church likes to point fingers elsewhere to divert attention, other religions and institutions didn’t cover the problem and therefore receive front page news, by simply moving pedophile priests around the country for decades. They also didn’t threaten the victims with hell if they complained. This tells us the Church dramatically failed in its obligations to the public good. And it also tells us that one current “remedy” for abuse that the Church is still putting forward — more self-policing — will never work.

The United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops says that priests are not more likely to be child molesters than others simply because they are celibate, and that celibacy does not distort ones’ sexuality or attract a larger proportion of men with sexual problems. It states, “In fact, the sexual difficulties and inner psychological problems that give rise to child sexual abuse are largely in place long before a person enters into the formation process for a celibate priesthood.

So here we have the shift of blame again. It is NOT a celibate lifestyle (without the contact required of humans by male and female) that is to blame, but it definitely is thoughts previously harboured by men entering into the priesthood. So say the experts and so says the Catholic church. Proof enough?

While no mainstream researcher would suggest that there is any link between homosexuality and true pedophilia, that is, sexual attraction of an adult to prepubescent minors, the Bible says otherwise. It tells us that homosexual thoughts are “lusts of the flesh,” or the senses [Eph. 2:3].

Citing statistics that say most adults in society who sexually molest minors are not homosexually oriented is a cop out. The rejoinder to this is the fact that most victims of priests are young males, and this to me is not open to misinterpretation. A significant number of priests who sexually molest minors are involved with post-pubescent adolescent males, about 14 to 17 years of age.

The United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops will even admit that it appears to be true that many in this sub-population of priest child-molesters are homosexually oriented, but it then offers the lame excuse that “theirs is a particular kind of homosexuality, which one might call “regressed” or “stunted.” It downplays the significance of the problem by saying that homosexual men are emotionally stuck in adolescence themselves, and so are at risk for being sexually active with teenage males. The issue is therefore not so much homosexuality but rather their stunted emotional development.”

So therefore the problem is not that the church ordains homosexuals, but rather “regressed or stunted homosexuals?” That is, those who should not be blamed because of their own terrible childhood. Sounds like a large dash of liberalism to me. let’s give rights to the perpetrators because they themselves are victims. So therefore the solution, then, is not to ban all homosexuals from ordained ministry, but rather to screen out regressed homosexuals before ordination.

I can tell you this – a self policing of such sorts will never work. The sociologist and Catholic priest Andrew Greeley predicted long ago that the number of victims was probably on the order of 100,000. Decades ago, psychologist Richard Sipe, an expert on the issue predicted that as much as 6-8 % of priests sexually abused minors. Why are the numbers deemed so high? FindLaw.com says psychologists estimate that only a fraction of childhood sexual abuse victims ever come forward, anywhere from 5-35%. But let’s pity the poor regressed homosexuals, right?

ReligiousTolerance.org states: “Even if, as one researcher estimates, six percent of priests sexually abuse youth or children, then that still leaves an average of almost 19 priests out of every 20 who are non-abusive.”

Such language to me sounds pathetically weak. 1 in 20 is an astonishing figure! AllAboutReligion.com estimates there to be 400,000 Catholic Priests, worldwide. At six percent, that’s 24,000 pedophile priests that are molesting children — in the supposed true church of God.

Conclusion

While the Catholic church has recently taken some steps to tackle the problem, it also has gone into defensive mode and in my opinion, has not been repentant. Changes seem forced, purely because its sordid past has been revealed. This is proven by not accepting 100% blame and by the decades long cover-up.

In moral panics, as in wars, truth is often the first victim. Here we have the supposed church of God lying and breaking the ten commandments. We’ve witnessed a large number of priests – supposedly people of God – undertaking a crime so heinous, Jesus Christ would be aghast. In the true church of God, no cover up would be allowed. No such crime would be tolerated, and beyond the minimum time of proving the facts, accused priests should be removed from duty. The situation would be immediately remedied, as Christ loved children and God the Father is all about family. Yet this pope, and past popes, have known about the allegations for decades.

By taking upon itself to operate in a private sphere untouched by concerns with the public good, the Church by its own actions increased the number of crimes, pushed the numbers of victims to stratospheric heights and destroyed its own credibility on social and faith issues. My point – this is not the true church of God, as led by Jesus Christ as the head. By their fruits you shall know them….

October 3, 2009

The World's Deadliest Weapon!

1What is the world’s most devastating weapon? Most people would probably say the H-bomb. Some might say the cobalt bomb. Others may point to a rumored laser bomb, a doomsday device, or even chemical and biological weapons. But none of these is right!

There is another weapon that every man carries around with him daily. It is with him when he gets up in the morning and shaves. It is with him when he goes to sleep at night. This weapon is not just some theoretical device which has never been used. In the history of mankind, it has been responsible — directly or indirectly — for the deaths of multiple millions!
But men have no monopoly on this weapon. Women also use it quite consistently — often to devastating effect.

The Worst Weapon in the World

What is this horrible weapon? It is the human tongue! Men have misused the tongue. They have turned it into a “world of iniquity.” Notice what God’s Word says:

“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell [gehenna — or the lake of fire]. “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3 :5-10).

The tongue, as these verses show, does not have to be a deadly weapon. When used correctly, it can be a wonderful tool for great good! But unfortunately, too few people have learned how to properly control it! Most often the tongue is used as an unguided missile which explodes upon the object of its aim with deadly effect.

How This Weapon Is Used

There are many wrong uses of the tongue. But perhaps the most dangerous and harmful of all is gossip. Gossip can do more damage and create more division than nearly any other activity.

In a study by Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D., entitled, “What Gossiping Reveals About You,” some interesting answers are brought to light. Doctor Rubin found that women have no priority on gossip! Men gossip just as much. “In fact, nearly everyone gossips to some extent, but some people carry it too far. To them, gossip becomes a chronic way of life that cannot be altered without psychiatric help.”

Some men and women are “chronic mouthmovers.” They must either eat or talk. And many times they gossip just to keep their mouths moving — spouting a steady stream of words.

Boredom and apathy also breed gossip. Idle talk becomes a filler to compensate for empty hours. Lonely people whose lives have become dull and devoid of interests use gossip as a form of reaching out or relating.

God’s Word shows idleness to be indeed one of the major causes leading to gossip. Speaking of younger widows, Paul says, “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they aught not” (I Tim. 5:13).

Malicious Gossip

“Repressed anger is perhaps the most common cause of malicious gossip,” says Dr. Rubin. He goes on to explain that many people cannot admit their anger toward someone else. So they disguise it. They release their venom in the form of deadly gossip — hatred and murder (I John 3:15) in the form of words! They seek to destroy through the spoken word!

God’s Word bears this out: “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool” (Prov. 10:18). Also God says, “He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him” (Prov. 26:24). And again, in verse 28 of the same chapter, “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.”

Jealousy and envy are also common motives for gossip. Says Dr. Rubin, “The object of gossip is to put down that person so as to remove the craving for what that person owns.” When we put down another person, we think we are raising ourselves. This is sheer vanity!

Have you ever envied another person? Have you been jealous of the things someone else possessed or the prestige of his position? We would all have to admit that at some time we have. When we did, we found ourselves tempted to speak evil of others. We wanted to impute motives and make insinuating remarks. We tried to excuse our stations in life in comparison with theirs by implying evil — gossiping. Subconsciously we wanted to “put them down” verbally — thus exalting our own self-image.

Tales CAN Hurt!

The Bible plainly tells us that words can — and often do — cause damage. Notice: “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth” (Prov. 26:20). In verse 22 God says further, “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”

Yes, words can hurt — they can hurt one’s reputation; they can hurt a person’s health; they can hurt friends; and they can hurt the one who misuses them himself! God certainly minces no words here. He tells us plainly how destructive the use of the tongue can be. Its use in spitting out thoughtless or mischievous words may cause irreparable damage to someone’s entire life!

The misuse of the tongue can cause serious offense. Notice what Solomon wrote: “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city…” (Prov. 18:19). How often have you “let fly” with your mouth and offended somebody else?

An Incredible Paradox

How can men praise God — stand in Church and sing praises to God, and lead in prayers over their family table and in Church — and at the same time speak evil from motives of repressed anger or envy of their brothers in the Church? Blessing and cursing comes from the same mouth. God says these things ought not to be! (James 3:10.)

“He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge” (James 4:11).

How many are using their tongues for a wrong purpose while claiming to belong to the body of Christ to help proclaim God’s Word to the world? Again, God commands, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings… grow …” (I Peter 2:1-2).

This is the way to preserve your life. God explains, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile (I Peter 3:10).

We must not tolerate gossip and the tearing down of others through malicious, evil words. “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26).

What Not to Say

Some will say that they do not gossip — they merely tell “the truth.” Thus, they feel that in telling “the truth” they are justified! But they fail to realize that the Bible defines a gossiper as one who not only speaks lies, but also repeats evil — even if it is “the truth” — when and where it is none of his business, or the business of the listener! You don’t always have to tell something just because you know it! Many things are far better left unsaid, even though they are true.

There are many things which are better forgotten. Says the Apostle Paul: “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Eph. 5:12).

Whenever you repeat any information about an evil deed to someone who should not be involved and has no business knowing, then you are gossiping. When you talk about anyone’s faults to someone who can do nothing about them, you are gossiping. Even when you repeat the truth — whether that truth is about an evil deed or sin — to a person who is merely a bystander, you are gossiping.

Gossip, naturally, also takes the form of misinformation. To imply motives, or to insinuate untruths, is gossip and lying. This kind of gossip is absolutely forbidden in the Bible because of its devastating effects. “He that covers a transgression seeks love; but he that repeats a matter separates friends” (Prov. 17:9).

How to Conquer Gossip

What can you do about gossip? How can you overcome this abominable habit in yourself? There is something you can do personally. You can begin an active campaign against gossip by stopping it at its source!

Here’s how. First, learn to recognize gossip in your own conversation. There will be many limes when you will be so absorbed in conversation that you will not realize you are actually gossiping. However, after the talk is over, you can look back and see where you gossiped. Once you apply your mind to analyzing your own words, you can catch yourself while talking. Then, as you are conscious of your words — which we certainly should be, since we are going to be judged by them — you will finally begin to think BEFORE you speak! (Prov. 15:28.)

Second, REPENT of gossip. Don’t take it lightly. You will never overcome gossip until you are deeply convinced of its evil. Most people, after they’ve gossiped, just shrug their shoulders saying, “Well, I guess I really should not have said those things, but. …”

Go to God on your knees. Realize the seriousness of gossiping. Ask God to forgive you for your attitude of heart which may have been the spirit of murder, or at least the spirit of carelessness and unconcern. Realize that Christ had to die to pay the penalty of THAT sin, too!

Third, don’t REPEAT gossip. If you’ve been gossiping — CHANGE! Put an END to gossip in your life!
You know how empty you feel after an unprofitable conversation centered around gossip. So decide not to do it again! Determine in your mind not to tear down yourself and others by your words. Instead, be positive — use words profitably to uplift and build up others as well as yourself.

Once you recognize gossip and repent of it, and henceforth stop repeating the pattern of conversations that lead to it, you will not be a gossip. But remember. Don’t lend your ear to gossip, for this encourages others to gossip. And it is just as wrong.

A gossiper needs an ear. He must have someone to listen to his talebearing. But if he finds no one to listen, then he can’t gossip. So simply don’t listen to gossip! God’s Word condemns the listener just as much as the gossiper. Yet many of us actually encourage others to gossip. We egg the gossiper on, delighting in the tidbits of poison he pours forth. We want to mind other people’s business. We want to get the juicy evils that come from gossip.

Have you ever noticed that people tend not to be as excited to hear good news as to hear bad news? Have you ever noticed how slowly good news spreads and how quickly bad news gets around? Why?

Because of human nature! By nature we want to listen to gossip and spread it. But you can stop it! Just DON’T listen! And don’t gossip yourself.

Judged by Our Words

There is a Judgment coming. And God’s Word plainly tells us that we will be judged by how we use our tongues. God says, “A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Prov. 18:6-7).

Jesus put it right on the line when He said: “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, that every idle word that man shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:34-37).

Can anything be plainer? Jesus tells us we will have to give account for our words. We will be judged by what we have said! Words are not empty. Words are much more powerful than we might imagine. We all feel — humanly, that is — that after words are spoken, they’re forgotten. But words are not forgotten. And although the sounds of words fade and the vibrations stop — those words can linger on and face you in the future.

What are the fruits of your words? Have your words separated friends? Have they hurt the reputation of another? Have your words caused strife? If so, you will have to give account.

Let’s practice — the instruction of Psalm 15:1.: “Lord who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in they holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.”

Determine now that you will not listen to gossip and not spread it. Determine in your own heart and mind to spread news of good events!

Source: The Good News, January-April 1971

July 1, 2009

Cosmic Wisdom: The Mind Of God In Action!

There are many people considered wise among men – with academics and chairs of philosophy, a type of sign-board hung out to show the apparent abode of wisdom. That is what impresses other people, but not God.

Yet even for true Christians, there is much more to wisdom than they normally think about. God’s instruction in James 1 state:. If any man lacks wisdom, he is to ask God for it; and, believing, he shall receive it. A lack of wisdom can cause many serious mistakes.

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom” (Jam. 3:13).

Notice that godly wisdom is entwined with knowledge. Why? The connection may be found in Proverbs 9:10, which tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. This we could call “cosmic wisdom”—wisdom that originates from the cosmos. It has to come from God’s own mind to allow our choices and processes to mean anything beyond what affects our immediate physical life. This may be bridged back again to our own behaviour:

“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish” (James 3:14-15).

Devilish wisdom comes from the devil; from this earth. True wisdom is a gift from God. It takes wisdom to know what to do when God denies you something you earnestly desire, or how to navigate our fiery trials, for example.

James has the best definition of wisdom in the Bible, listing seven items that are outgrowths of godly wisdom: “But the wisdom that is from above is first:

  1. pure
  2. peaceable
  3. gentle
  4. easy to be entreated
  5. full of mercy and good fruits
  6. without partiality
  7. without hypocrisy.

“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (verses 17-18).

Here are the meanings of these seven outgrowths of wisdom:

  1. Pure – means it is free from earthly, sensual, diabolical thoughts or motives. It must be free from guile, like Nathanael (John 1:47). We must have a pure motive. When we are being led by God’s Spirit, we are not calculating—trying to take advantage of the other person or to get something from them. We must be pure, and simply give as our heavenly Father gives! If we speak words of wisdom, we bring joy and encouragement. Our tongue produces spiritual honey.
  2. Peaceable – it makes peace with others, especially within the family.
  3. Gentle – meaning forbearing—not demanding, and not looking down on others.
  4. Easy to be entreated –  or persuaded. It is happy to give in if the other person is right.
  5. Full of mercy and good fruits – toward the misery of others—desiring to relieve them.
  6. Without partiality – it is not swayed by self-interest, worldly honor or the fear of man. If Jacob, who favored Joseph over his other sons, had had this quality, the tragic problems wouldn’t have existed between Joseph and his brothers, and it would have changed the course of Israel’s history!
  7. Without hypocrisy — what you see is what you get. It doesn’t pretend to be something it is not. It requires wisdom to present yourself as someone who is trying to grow and improve, yet who never tries to come across as someone you are not.

“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (verse 18). The fruit of this righteousness will produce peace wherever we go. If any of you lack wisdom, go to God, and He will give it to you!

Study and learn what God’s wisdom will do in your life. If you understand it, you will be praying for more of a replenished supply of “the wisdom that is from above.”

March 31, 2009

Did The Catholic Church Change The 10 Commandments?

150Did the Catholic church change the ten commandments?

This is an important question, and the answer is clear when we are guided by God’s Word. There is no doubt as to the NUMBER of the Commandments. There are ten (Ex. 34:28; Deut. 4:13; 10:4).

It is their CONTENT which is of vital concern. It was not until the fourth century A.D. that this confusion even began to exist. It was then that Augustine (Catholic bishop of Hippo in North Africa) devised a new way of presenting the Ten Commandments in order to allow the use of images and statues in religious worship. He dropped the Second Commandment altogether, divided the Tenth into two “commandments,” and then renumbered his revised list of ten.

Dropping the Second Commandment makes it appear that there is only one commandment against idolatry. But, there are two kinds of idolatry — and two distinct commandments prohibit these two major sins:

  1. The First Commandment forbids worship of anything in the place of God (Ex. 20:3).
  2. The Second Commandment is altogether different and forbids bowing down to, serving, or otherwise using statues in the worship of God (Ex. 20:4-6). The latter is the one Catholics do not like, for obvious reasons.

The following from the Catholic Encyclopaedia Vol. 4, p. 153 also confirms the deletion of the second Commandment and the change of the fourth.

“The church, after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath of the seventh day of the week to the first made the third commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord’s Day.”

As mentioned before, in order to retain the correct number of commandments, Augustine made two “commandments” out of the Tenth (Ex. 20:17). According to Augustine’s mistaken idea, the Ninth Commandment is: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,” and the Tenth is: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.”

But notice how a New Testament servant of God was inspired to quote five of the Commandments — including the Tenth. Paul wrote: “For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not COVET,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'” (Rom. 13:9, RAV).

Unlike Augustine, Paul made no distinction between coveting a neighbor’s wife and a neighbor’s house. Paul elsewhere wrote, “For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said,

‘You shall not covet'” (Rom. 7:7, RAV). Clearly, only one principle is involved, and only one commandment governs it.

Below is the official Catechism of the Catholic Church for comparison – Vatican.va

Exodus 20 2-17 Deuteronomy 5:6-21 A Traditional Catechetical Formula
I am the LORD your God,
who brought you out
of the land of Egypt,
out of the house of bondage.
I am the LORD your God,
who brought you out
of the land of Egypt,
out of the house of bondage.
1. I am the LORD your God:
you shall not have
strange Gods before me.
You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself a graven image,
or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above,
or that is in the earth beneath,
or that is in the water under the earth;
you shall not bow down to them or serve them;
for I the LORD your God am a jealous God,
visiting the iniquity of the fathers
upon the children to the third and the fourth
generation of those who hate me,
but showing steadfast love to thousands of those
who love me and keep my commandments.
You shall have no other gods before me
. . .
You shall not take
the name of the LORD your God in vain;
for the LORD will not hold him guiltless
who takes his name in vain.
You shall not take
the name of the LORD your God in vain
. . .
2. You shall not take
the name of the LORD your God in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days you shall labor, and do all your work;
but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God;
in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son,
or your daughter, your manservant,
or your maidservant or your cattle,
or the sojourner who is within your gates;
for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
and rested the seventh day;
therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.
Observe the sabbath day,
to keep it holy
. . .
3. Remember to keep holy the LORD’S Day.
Honor your father and your mother,
that your days may be long in the land
which the LORD your God gives you.
Honor your father and your mother
. . .
4. Honor your father and your mother.
You shall not kill. You shall not kill. 5. You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery. Neither shall you commit adultery. 6. You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal. Neither shall you steal. 7. You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness
against your neighbor.
Neither shall you bear false witness
against your neighbor.
8. You shall not bear false witness
against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house;
you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,
or his manservant, or his maidservant,
or his ox, or his ass,
or anything that is your neighbor’s.
Neither shall you covet
your neighbor’s wife . . .You shall not desire . . .
anything that is your neighbor’s.
9. You shall not covet
your neighbor’s wife.10. You shall not covet
your neighbor’s goods.

Fourth commandment also changed

Notice also that the Catholic church has changed the fourth commandment to suit her Sabbath breaking. In 1562 the Archbishop declared that tradition now stood above scripture.

“The authority of the Church is illustrated most clearly by the scriptures, for on one hand she recommends them, declares them to be divine, and offers them to us to be read, and on the other hand, the legal precepts in the scriptures taught by the Lord have ceased by virtue of the same authority. The Sabbath, the most glorious day in the law, has been changed into the Lord’s day. These and other similar matters have not ceased by virtue of Christ’s teaching (for He says that He has come to fulfill the law, not to destroy it), but they have been changed by the authority of the Church.” — Gaspare de Posso Archbishop of Reggio, Council of Trent.

Most denominations falsely believe the fourth commandment refers to Sunday. The Catholic church however, the same one who changed this commandment in the first place, amazingly acknowledges this fact. Many of her official writings point to the fact that she changed the Christian worship from the biblical Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday.

Here are some revealing Catholic source quotes which show the incredible audacity of this  un-christian church:

  • “Is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.” — James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (1917 edition), p. 72-73 (16th Edition, p 111; 88th Edition, p. 89).
  • “For example, nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is the 7th day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the [Roman Catholic] church outside the Bible.” — Catholic Virginian, October 3, 1947, p. 9, article “To Tell You the Truth.”
  • “The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday. ‘The day of the Lord’ was chosen, not from any direction noted in the Scriptures, but from the (Catholic) Church’s sense of its own power…People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become 7th Day Adventists, and keep Saturday holy.” — St. Catherine Church Sentinel, Algonac, Michigan, May 21, 1995.
  • “Question – Which is the Sabbath day? Answer – Saturday is the Sabbath day. Question – Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Answer – We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 364), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” — Peter Geiermann, C.S.S.R., The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, p. 50, 3rd edition, 1957.
  • “It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church.” — Priest Brady, in an address reported in The News, Elizabeth, New Jersey, March 18, 1903.
  • “They [the Protestants] deem it their duty to keep the Sunday holy. Why? Because the Catholic Church tells them to do so. They have no other reason…The observance of Sunday thus comes to be an ecclesiastical law entirely distinct from the divine law of Sabbath observance…The author of the Sunday law…is the Catholic Church.” — Ecclesiastical Review, February 1914.
  • “It was the Catholic church which…has transferred this rest to Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord. Therefore the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the (Catholic) church.” — Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today, p. 213.
  • “I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ The Catholic Church says: ‘No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.’ And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church.” — father T. Enright, C.S.S.R. of the Redemptoral College, Kansas City, in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, February 18, 1884, printed in History of the Sabbath, p. 802.

Change led to death of innocent people

Yes, the Catholic church brags about her authority being above the Bible. This brazen change led to the torture and death of between 50 and 150 million Christians accused of being heretics for 1260 years called the dark ages.

The following two quotes reveal who the Catholic church refers to as heretics

  • “He is a heretic who does not believe what the Roman Hierarchy teaches.” — The American Textbook of Popery, p 164 (quoting from the “Directory for the Inquisitors”).
  • “Heretics (those who are not members of the Catholic Church or who do not hold to Catholic doctrine) worship a God who is a liar, and a Christ who is a liar.” — St. Augustine, (quoted in “Patrologiae Cursus Completus: Series Graca”, by Fr. J. P. Migne, Paris: 1866, 42:207).

The following quotes prove why they tortured and murdered innocent people.

  • “The church may by divine right confiscate the property of heretics, imprison their person, and condemn them to flames. In our age, the right to inflict the severest penalties, even death, belongs to the church. There is no graver offense than heresy, therefore it must be rooted out.” — Public Eccliastical, Vol. 2, p.142.
  • “A heretic merits the pains of fire…By the Gospel, the canons, civil law, and custom, heretics must be burned.” — The American Textbook of Popery, p 164 (quoting from the “Directory for the Inquisitors”).
  • “When confronted with heresy, she (Catholic Church) does not content herself with persuasion, arguments of an intellectual and moral order appear to her insufficient, and she has recourse to force, to corporal punishment, to torture.” — The Rector of the Catholic Institute of Paris, H.M.A. Baudrillart, quoted in The CathoClic Church, The Renassance, and Protestantism, p 182-183.

Obviously, the Catholic church today does not officially follow this practice anymore, but she has the same doctrines that led to the murder of innocent people. She has not rejected that which she firmly believes in. Yes, a modern pope has made a concillatory public apology, but it was not sweeping in depth, and neither was it genuine.  And it did not acknowledge the MURDER of innocent people, only a general wrong comitted.

We have to realize that the Bible says we are to judge by fruits. NO CHURCH  can commit murder and at the same time have Christ as its Head. The commandments forbid it.

So the changing of two commandments (without scriptural guidance) show that her false popish heads have acted on mere human carnal impulses, rather than spiritual guidance through Jesus Christ. A final quote saying Catholics should follow the Pope even if he were Satan himself supports the notion that we have here the worst type of idolatry portrayed as a Christian church, giving us commands contrary to the Bible:

“Even if the Pope were Satan incarnate, we ought not to raise up our heads against him, but calmly lie down to rest on his bosom. He who rebels against our Father is condemned to death, for that which we do to him we do to Christ: we honor Christ if we honor the Pope; we dishonor Christ if we dishonor the Pope. I know very well that many defend themselves by boasting: “They are so corrupt, and work all manner of evil!” But God has commanded that, even if the priests, the pastors, and Christ-on-earth were incarnate devils, we be obedient and subject to them, not for their sakes, but for the sake of God, and out of obedience to Him.” — St. Catherine of Siena, SCS, p. 201-202, p. 222, (quoted in Apostolic Digest, by Michael Malone, Book 5: “The Book of Obedience”, Chapter 1: “There is No Salvation Without Personal Submission to the Pope”).

Please try to find the command this person speaks of. Such mockery of scripture is an affront to anyone who seriously studies the Bible. So gross is the audacity of the Romish church, her popish head puts himself in place of God:

“The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ, Himself, hidden under the veil of human flesh.” — Catholic National, July 1895.

We should not sugarcoat this quote in any way. Its author does not, why should you? It means exactly what it says!

Conclusion

None of this post has to do with any animosity against those who are Catholics. They are simply misled and unaware of the facts because they are not spoken of or taught. But historical records do not lie.

It is the entire system of worship – the ancient pagan mystery religion – that I am against. To anyone sincerely seeking truth, this should be abundantly clear. The commandments are willfully changed and broken. Her doctrines willingly go against the written word of God. it couldn’t be plainer, yet millions upon millions on this earth are confused. This merely reinforces the scripture in revelation 12:9, where God says:

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world….

Note carefully what it says.  Don’t just gloss over this verse or spiritualize it away. Your Bible says it‘s the majority of the earth’s inhabitants who are deceived.  Now ask yourself this question: Are you one of the many who are deceived?

February 24, 2009

What Is The Biblical Name For The True NT Church Of God?

Have you ever noticed that churches in this world are often named after men, a devised system, or a kind of church government? The name may even offer insight into a significant doctrine they emphasize, or what men hope to make it — all-encompassing, universal or catholic. But is this the correct way to identify the true Church of God? After all, there is only one true Church of God – not thousands comprising a babble of confusing religions, beliefs, or doctrines!

So what are we looking for? I mean, the Bible should help us identify the name of God’s Church, right? Of course it does! Wherever that one true Church is, it will be named the “Church of God.” Read Jesus’ prayer in John 17:11, 12: “…Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me…. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name.”

A person’s name is important. When one acts in another’s name, one acts in his stead — by his authority. The name designates the source of the authority — it designates who the person is for whom one acts. It’s clear from the scripture above that the true Church is to be kept in the name of the Father, which takes the authority of His name. Since the name of the Father is God, the Church is simply named the Church of God. You can see why it would be important not to name it after a man or any other man-devised idea.

Twelve times in the New Testament, the Church is named the Church of God. In five such passages where the true name of the Church appears, the entire Body of Christ — the Church as a whole — is indicated. Thus, when speaking of the entire Church, including all its individual members on earth, the name is “the Church of God.” Here are these five passages:

1. Acts 20:28: The admonition to the elders is to “feed the Church of God.”

2. I Corinthians 10:32: “Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God.”

3. I Corinthians 11:22: “…or despise ye the Church of God, and shame them that have not?”

4. I Corinthians 15:9: Paul wrote: “I persecuted the Church of God.”

5. Galatians 1:13: This verse repeats the one last given — “I persecuted the Church of God.”

Where one specific local congregation is mentioned, the true Church is called “the Church of God,” often in connection with the place or location. Here are four more passages:

6. I Corinthians 1:2: “The Church of God which is at Corinth.”

7. II Corinthians 1:1: “The Church of God which is at Corinth.”

8. I Timothy 3:5: In speaking of an elder in a local congregation, Paul wrote Timothy: “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?”

9. I Timothy 3:15: “…Behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God.”

In speaking of the local congregations collectively, not as one general body, but as the total of all local congregations, the Bible name is “the Churches of God.” Here are the final three verses of the twelve which name the Church:

10. I Corinthians 11:16: “We have no such custom, neither the Churches of God.”

11. I Thessalonians 2:14: “For ye, brethren, became followers of the Churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus.”

12. II Thessalonians 1:4: “So that we ourselves glory in you in the Churches of God.”

In some New Testament instances, a descriptive adjective is added to the name, as the Church of God at Corinth, or the Churches of God in Judea. But that is not all. Many have appropriated God’s name (the Church of God), but are not proclaiming the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Neither are they teaching obedience to God’s Ten Commandments or repentance of transgressing that Law. They pervert nearly all of the doctrines found in the Bible to suit their own agendas, so by their fruits we understand that they are not representative of God.

While this is not an exhaustive study into the matter, it does provide oversight into the subject and gives a clear analysis from scripture into which direction we have to look in identifying His Church.

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