Quick Comment Superbowl 2013

Image

I am a College Football Fan. I really don’t pay too much attention to the NFL. Both the teams I wanted to win today did. I was impressed by the solemn attitude of the Raven’s locker room at the end of the game.
Don’t forget to Honor the Lord on what our Nation calls Superbowl Sunday. Sunday is God’s day and He is more majestic than the NFL and he invites you into a more eternally significant time with him. I am not throwing rocks at anyone who loves the game of football. I have been there and will always enjoy a good game.
At the same time Ray Lewis’ quoting scripture out of context just bothers me.
Isa 54:17  No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
I am not against Ray Lewis and don’t know anything about him but I would caution against what RL is doing. I know others who have done what he is doing with the same passage and fell to a blindness and disillusionment because of scripture twisting.

A good friend of mine posted this to me in light of the above..

  • You might read this SI piece. A big theme is that Ray Lewis was raised without a father, a big wound for him.
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1108943/1/index.htm
    Thanks for the read Gary. Parents are the greatest hindrances and motivators in a child’s life. Kid’s with great parents make horrendous decisions and some kids with terrible parents go on to become some of the greatest inspirations. The truth sets us free. I would personally warn others that the way Mr. Lewis uses scripture might not be truth the way he is using it.  It seem that his use of Isaiah 54:17 might just be some mode for self motivation. Kind of like a name it claim it cult would do to hype themselves up. I hope that isn’t true but the scripture and context seem to indicate that.
    • I hope I am not being ungracious. Sunday Football bothers me as much as NASCAR. And I like them both. Our Nation has fallen sequentially and in parallel with how we regard the significance of the Lord’s day. Mr. Lewis’ and Sunday recreational sports just might be a tool used by the Devil to keep people away from what God has commanded. And Mr. Lewis is making his proclamation of scripture declaring there is a blessing upon him as he is violating the Lord’s day. This seems to be in conflict. I wonder if Ray Lewis remembers Psalm 66:18. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:  There was a time when our Nation was concerned about profaning the Lord’s day.  There are still Blue Laws on record in some states.
    • Psalm 66:18 and Isaiah 58 goads my conscience often. It appears we are ever growing less conscientious of God’s will concerning His desire for a Day he has set apart for us to worship and fellowship sacramentally for our benefit.   
    • There was a time when the Lord’s Day was recognized as a Holy Day appointed and desired by God for our good. The Sabbath was created for man and not man for the Sabbath as Jesus noted.  We are losing our goodness because we are seeing recreation as Holy instead of participating in His Holy calling. Does any of that make sense my friends?
       We as a nation are searing our conscious’ from knowing and doing the things that please God and keep us set in the Covenantal conditions God set up for us to behave so that we might receive his blessings. We have neglected the lesser things and now we are dealing with a Nation with No conscience that is killing its own children in the womb and forcing the Church to pay for it under persecution. We have fallen far. We are reaping what we have sown. We are the frogs in the pot of boiling water slowly allowing ourselves to be killed.  
      We can seek for repentance but we will have to seek for a heart to be  willing to sacrifice for the good of life.  This will not be an easy repentance since the Leadership of this land has turned its back defiantly toward God.  

      1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
      1Ti 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
      1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
      1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
      1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

      This repentance will have to come through Christ our Mediatorial King over all things.

      .

1965 Paul Harvey broadcast is scary shocking.

I heard this for the first time a few weeks ago.  Then I had my kids listen to it. Of course they had to ask me when Paul Harvey broadcast this. I didn’t know. I figured it was in the 80’s. I was shocked when I found out that this was originally broadcast April 3rd, 1965. I was just over two years old.  It evolved some with a few changes through the years but it amazingly called things as they were.

Paul Harvey sure knew how the Devil was going to make a conquest. All he had to do was keep his eyes, ears, and mouth open and proclaim the truth. God does give us wisdom. May he give us wisdom on how to repent and overcome the deeds of darkness for our Grandchildren and future generations. Repentance brings a Nation back into right thinking and blessing.

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived for whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.

Pro 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

 

Foundations, Personal, National, and Global Repentance in Light of the Current Crisis.

Image

Connecticut Crisis!

How can this Crisis not define or change all that are impacted by the devastation that happened in Connecticut? This is so incredibly terrible and saddening. As a Dad of three boys whom I deeply love I can’t imagine the pain and sorrow that is being experienced. I am praying for grace and mercy upon those souls. I thought divorce was crippling, I can’t imagine what they are going through.

Since yesterday’s murderous rampage of school children, family members, and total strangers people have been groping for answers.  I have one answer to the cause.  Here it is.

Isaiah 53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; …

I have been seeing posts about teachers who carry guns in their schools in other countries.  Supposedly they don’t have student killings. Just saw a picture of World War II German soldiers filling pits with dead citizens that had just been murdered.  Evidently the Government had outlawed civilian guns and became tyrannical. I saw a comment later that noted how the USA is a country with guns and how we are the country that is having all of the School shootings unlike other Countries that have gun restrictions. I later noticed that someone made a parody post.  The parody was about a young child asking God why the school killings where happening and why He wasn’t protecting the children. In the parody God answers the young child saying that he was kicked out of the Schools and that he no longer had authority in the School system.

Those posts show the frustration and desire to fix things.  But their observations and conclusions are missing the mark.  As I consider what has happened I am torn because I have seen great changes in our moral fabric as a Society and as a Nation.  When I was a child the foundations for our behavior were a bit more solid but they have been removed for the most part. We had a foundation for why we should go to worship.  We had a foundation for why we should obey our parents.  We had a foundation for why we shouldn’t steal.  We had a foundation for why we should honour the marriage bed and forsake adultery in heart, mind, and action.  We had a foundation for why we shouldn’t lie.  We had a foundation for why we shouldn’t lust after our neighbors wife or his stuff.  And if we did violate those things we knew we were expected to confess and repent.  There was a foundation for that also.  Yes, there was also a foundation for why we were forgiving.  I don’t think the foundation is gone but we have lied to ourselves and our children saying it isn’t there. We don’t want to be accountable for things or told how we should act or think. We desire freedom from what is right so that we can do and think as we please without God’s nose (or anyone else’s for that fact) being stuck in our business.  We have our rights and we demand them. But that is selfish anarchy and not freedom.

God did write the Ten Commandments and we have outlawed them. As Jesus noted, they are summed up in two Commandments. Love God with all of your heart and your neighbor as yourself. But we have wanted God to go away and now our kids don’t have any foundation. The foundation we have given them to behold is that they come from lower life forms.  So why are we surprised when they want to act like them?All I have to say is we are guilty. We all are guilty and we need a Revival of Truth and hearts filled with Repentance.

Christ has sent good men and His word to tell us to repent. God is long suffering (patient), but his patience does have a limit and he will let us reap what we are sowing.Let us return to the God of our forefathers and seek reconciliation with Him. Maybe he will grant us repentance and change the hearts of our children to become what they should be, lovers of God and mankind.Christ came to the World for a purpose. He came to save His people from their sin. From the manger to the Cross his whole purpose was to redeem and reconcile us to God because He loved His Creation. Christ is our only hope both in the temporal and eternal.

Please, I plead with everyone reading this before all of Heaven, turn to God. Quit divorcing the Law of God from the Church and Society. We are reaping what we are sowing. Call upon God and repent so that we may be saved. For it is destined unto man once to die, then the judgement.  And how shall we escape both the temporal and eternal judgments if we neglect so great a salvation that the Lord offers. He paid a high price to reconcile us to Himself. What kind of judgment do we deserve if we turn away from God and count all he did as nothing?  The Eternal God of Heaven became a man to fix the problem.  What are we doing neglecting such a love and gift?  Our children will follow in our footsteps.  And that is scary.  If we don’t repent then their fall and sin will also be our fault.  We will be the ones to blame for leading them astray.  But for now at least we have space to try to get it right so they can have a chance also.

This is what we are and where we have come from. May we honour God and turn back to Him. May God increase our faith and knowledge based upon His Law and Historical Good News of His Kingdom. He is the source of all that is good. He proved it from the beginning of creation, to the cradle, to the Cross, and to His Resurrection. Those are historical facts.  May we fall upon them and call upon Him to be saved.

Please carefully consider the following link to a pdf download as it presents the person and work of Christ on your behalf.

The rest of the passage in Isaiah 53:6 states this…..

and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

That was an Old Testament prophesy that God was going to lay on Christ, God the Son, the sins of the World.  As John the Baptist stated, “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the Word.”

Pray for the suffering families.  But do more than that.

Act 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Act 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

http://evangelismexplosion.org/wp-content/uploads/DYKFS_singlepages.pdf

Randy Martin Snyder

I am so saddened for my Children at this time.

In light of the 2012 political elections in the United (not really in heart) States of America…

I miss my Commander and Chief who recognized evil, Ronald Reagan. Atheism, Communism, and Socialism are creeping into our country. My President Ronald Reagan believed in the Ten Commandments and saw the Blessing and common grace God pours upon those who seek to keep His Law.

At the same time I have not put my hope in man. It is solidly upon the Lord. He is the Mediatorial King over all and He has all authority.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,… (1 Timothy 2:1-5)

I appreciated this counsel from Pastor Steve Bradley who posted this quote from Charles Spurgeon.
.
“Do not watch the clouds or consult the wind; in season and out of season witness for the Savior, and if it transpires that for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s you must endure suffering in any shape, do not shrink, but rejoice in the honor conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer with your Lord. And find joy also in this—that your sufferings, your losses, and persecutions shall make you a platform from which with more vigor and with greater power you will witness for Christ Jesus. Study your great example, and be filled with His Spirit. Remember that you need much teaching, much upholding, much grace, and much humility if your witnessing is to be to your Master’s glory.”- Charles Spurgeon

(1Ti 4:13-16) Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

We have sinned as a Nation. Including Me. We have become like sinful Israel. Now we will reap what we have sown. We are becoming forsaken by God and going down the path of Romans Chapter 1:18-32 and we will be cut off from Grace and Mercy if we don’t repent and call Evil what it is.
‎”They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off” (Hos. 8:4).

(Gal 6:7-10) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

(Pro 14:34) Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

(2Ch 7:13-14) If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

I am in tears over the condition of our people and how we are voting for murdering unborn children, recreational marijuana usage, and sexual sin to be accepted norms. We are so fallen from grace and mercy.  The thing that bothers me most is that my Children are going to reap what we have sown and our Grandchildren are going to pay a really big price of debt for our sin.  We have forsaken God who is our lover.  How can we keep forsaking TRUE LOVE and not reap what we sow?  Christ paid a big price to bring us to Himself.  Why are we forsaking Him and His Law?

Please hear me. Repent. There is no goodness in man when he forsakes God. He is cutting himself off from the very image he was created in.

The Agenda, Grinding America Down?

You can watch the video titled ‘The Agenda: Grinding America Down‘ for a few weeks from what I understand on vimeo.  I watched the video tonight and thought it was worthy to bring some notoriety to.  I am not one who has much appreciation for conspiracy theories and I hate the negativity of Dooms Day people.  They live their lives in fear wondering what bush the Devil and his minions are hiding behind.  I have too many other good things to be preoccupied with than overly worrying about how the Devil is trying to slip me a mickey or tempt me.  My heart alone is devil enough for me to worry about as the book of James and Jeremiah 17:9 states.   So I just want you to know that I am not an over alarmist type personality who wants you to fall prey to my fears.  At the same time I do think this movie documentary is worthy of viewing.

There is evil and wonderful grace in the world and history has repeated itself.  When I see what the world had to endure last Century I can only imagine the possibilities of how good things can be or how grossly evil it might get.  Either way we all have to meet our Creator on the other side of death and I hope everyone has contemplated that issue rightly before they breath their final take.  But till then I still have to live on this side and think of what the next generations will have to put up with.  I do expect to see my children’s babies if the Lord permits.  I want them to inherit a godly heritage and life full of God’s goodness.  So I am going to promote this video as something that is worthy to take note of so that we might recognize some issues.

I am not a fatalist.  I do believe the Promises of God.  I believe there is good and evil in this world.  I know not how evil I can be and desire to not to find out.  I appreciate the Prayer in Proverbs 30.

Pro 30:7 Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:
Pro 30:8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
Pro 30:9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

May we all just take notice, pray, and act accordingly as the Lord would have us do.  Let us speak the truth in Love and recognize that not everyone living is good.  In fact we are all sinners.  Some are more evil and actually do intend to harm us.  I don’t understand that but it is true.  Let us be on our guard and do something.  As it is noted that all it takes for evil to overcome in this world is for good men to do nothing.  Let’s do something.  Spread the truth.  Pray for the revival of God’s Church and for Christ to be recognized as the one who is all good and has all authority.

Enjoy this video on vimeo while it is available till the election is over.

http://vimeo.com/52009124

If you have time read some of the reviews written on Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Agenda-Grinding-America-Curtis-Bowers/dp/B003Z3CZGG

Sinners, Truth, and a Fallen Leader

Image

Sinners, Truth, and a Fallen Church Leader
A Pastor friend of mine made the following comment concerning a fallen Pastor of a very large church back in 2009. “In this crucial time of war within the fabric of our culture this will be a severe blow regardless of outcome.”  Evidently it is applicable again today as another Church Leader has fallen into difficult times.

The News of that Church Leader’s fall a few years ago was definitely devastating to his family, friends, and the many lives he had influenced. Some people also seemed to think it gave ammunition and fodder to those who wanted to discredit Christianity.  That may seem to be true but I always like to mention that this is an opportunity for us to point to the countless many faithful brothers who are not neglecting their souls nor the souls of their parishioners whom they shepherd. It also gives us opportunity to show what grace, mercy, discipline, and truth are.  This terrible situation gives us opportunity to show why the body of Christ is an organism in rebuttal to those who say they hate organized religion.  This is where the early verses of John 15 become applicable and where we see God’s Word is true.

When this kind of thing is mentioned and thrown in my face I appreciate the condemnation that is expressed because it shows that God doesn’t tolerate sin and we shouldn’t.  I believe it is actually a reflection of God’s character in mankind.  Most of the time it also reveals that the very people I am talking with are in fact ratifying that they know what is right and wrong.  This condemnation points to everyone’s need for a Saviour.  I like pointing that out to those I discuss such matters with.  I also like pointing out the fact that God has already told us what to do when this happens.  There are noted measures to take when offences are committed.  Nothing takes God by surprise and He has given us instruction concerning what to do in these situations. These situations actually prove that God exists and He does care and communicate with us per His instruction on what to do when these situations do arise.

Many of our Bible heroes were utter failures at some point. We all are. The Bible was written to show us this and call us back to God because we do fail and sin. The Scriptures are about God reconciling great sinners to Himself so that they can be conformed to the image of Christ.  It is a process and we all stumble and fall as we are growing up.  That is why God gave us means for living and growth.  It is why he gives us means to perform and point to forgiveness, reconciliation, discipline, and accountability.  But I am not writing this to discuss those means at this time.

By the way, this is how I am using the word means…
Noun
1.  Usually, means. (used with a singular or plural verb) an agency, instrument, or method used to attain an end: The telephone is a means of communication. There are several means of solving the problem.

We should be mindful of these things and not be overcome nor shrink back when these things happen.  Yes, they do damage and hurt us emotionally.  But when they do happen we can know that God is building His Church and that he does display His parental love over his Church.  He has gone to great lengths to exhibit that He is the Truth.  In my thinking, this kind of situation should make us point to Him with more confidence.  What Love, what forgiveness, what an awesome God we have!  He is building His Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail. These kinds of things actually prove His existence.  They prove that He has dominion and nothing is taking Him by surprise.

St. Paul’s prayer is that we may know…
(Eph 1:19) … what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
(Eph 1:20) Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
(Eph 1:21) Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
(Eph 1:22) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
(Eph 1:23) Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Truth is Truth and Christ is risen. He is Risen Indeed!  He is building His Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail as He proclaimed and as it is recorded in Matthew 16. He is in Control and we can be confident that this is nothing that should shake our faith in Him.

At the same time I think it is beneficial to recognize and heed the warnings of 1 Corinthians chapter 10.
(1 Corinthians 10:6-12) Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.  Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.”  We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.  We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.  Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.  Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Be Encouraged, God is ruling and on His throne.  He is the Most High.  Our faith is in Him. He promised us tribulation.  He also promised that He would discipline us if we were his children.  Hebrews chapter 12 makes that plain.  While discipline (chastisement) is an unpleasant thing to experience it does prove He cares.  It also proves a fallen leader can’t be used as ammunition against the truth.  It confirms truth.

Time for A Spiritual Examination. It can be hard if not harder than the physical one.

 

 

(1Pe 2:2,3)  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 

I am writing this for open encouragement to myself and my household so that we might examine ourselves. It is time for a spiritual examination. It can be hard if not harder than the physical one. It is a lost art that I have grown negligent of during seasons of my life and I ended up grieving the Holy Spirit of God and hurting the ones I loved. Fortunately for those around me and myself I didn’t grow totally deaf and still heard God during those times and found God to be faithful in chastising me and granting me repentance. What a loving faithful God we have.

So I thought I would just share some passages and a few short thoughts that have kept me from totally losing it and going completely off the rails a few times in life. God always remained faithful and kept telling me where I needed to be and what I needed to do even if I didn’t want to listen to him. I just didn’t want to listen sometimes. So metaphorically God patiently would make me march another time around the mountain and dessert to teach me about my rebelliousness and His goodness as he did with the Hebrews after the great Exodus from their bondage in Egypt. One scripture that always comes to my mind for examination is 2 Corinthians 13:5.  After I note that passage I will just keep on posting others and hope you are edified.  

2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 

The Lord’s table is a great place for this examination and as a means of Grace it is quite effective to ponder upon anytime.

1Co 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.
1Co 11:28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
1Co 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
1Co 11:30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
1Co 11:31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.
1Co 11:32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

1Pe 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Heb 12:3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Heb 12:4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Heb 12:5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.

If the Lord is not prodding your conscience about sin or encouraging you in righteousness then you should be fearful He isn’t chastising you for acting sinfully or encouraging you in your time of abiding. God loves to encourage us by His word and he is faithful to convict us when we are out of line. He leads us in paths of righteousness for His own names sake according to Psalm 23:3. If we do sense conviction, encouragement, and prodding we have much to rejoice for since God is our Father. If we are not sensing a prodding or a nagging conscience when we are acting sinful we should be greatly concerned that the Lord is not our Father and that we might be bastards concerning the faith. The reason why that is true is because the very essence of Grace is active and influential in a child of God’s life. It is divine empowering influence from the Spirit of God witnessing and encouraging us that we are the Children of God as we cry out Abba Father from our hearts.  Let’s confirm some of what I have just mentioned with what the writer of Hebrews says.

Heb 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
Heb 12:7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
Heb 12:8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Another thing I like to consider in light of this is the Parable of the Sower and the Seed. Jesus gives us a lot to understand here in this parable as he compares the word and soil with our intake of His Word and our lives. We all receive the word at some point of our lives. When we receive it and it bares fruit we have much to rejoice over. If we don’t bare fruit we should be alarmed. We should try to consider why it isn’t or hasn’t bore fruit if we have heard it.

Mar 4:3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.
Mar 4:4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.
Mar 4:5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil.
Mar 4:6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.
Mar 4:7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.
Mar 4:8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

Mar 4:13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?
Mar 4:14 The sower sows the word.
Mar 4:15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.
Mar 4:16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy.
Mar 4:17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
Mar 4:18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word,
Mar 4:19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
Mar 4:20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
Mar 4:21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?
Mar 4:22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.
Mar 4:23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Mar 4:24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.
Mar 4:25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

The Christian life is about a reconciled relationship between God and man. Its basis is the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is about being conformed to the image of Christ which is a long and hard process. It is a joyous one because it is about being reconciled to God (solely based upon His work of earning our salvation and not our earning it) and establishing a familial relationship with Him. But the process of being conformed to Christ’s image varies from person to person and some of us experience seasons of life when we wish we had not been called by Christ at all. I know that is hard for some people to understand but it is true. Some of us have acted pretty sinful and dealt with spiritual wickedness that is life draining. As examples I will mention King David in Psalm 51 and Elijah in 1 Kings 19. But God has called us to Glory and is doing a work in us if we are called.

One important sign of that calling is that we grow in our desire for the sincere milk of the Word as it is called. As a newborn baby desires milk at feeding time a Christian should desire to hear and take in God’s word. If that desire is gone something is wrong. Either sin has choked a lot of life out of an individual and they are spiritually anemic or the individual is simply a spiritual bastard who doesn’t have God for their spiritual father. Both are situations which should invoke great fear but the later should have more urgency placed upon it for seeking a remedy since it leads to a worse consequence for not heeding the warning signs. Eternity without God will hold nothing good for that individual. Nothing good! No good at all. No relief. They only have misery to look forward to and separation from everything good and blessed. And that is for all eternity after they pass from what life they had here.

So let me make a simple recommendation at this point. Jesus said that man cannot live by bread alone. We are to live by every word that proceeded from the Mouth of God according to Him. Let’s see if we can first confess what God says about our sin and seek forgiveness. 1 John 1:8-10 was placed in His book for a reason.

1Jn 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jn 1:10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
In response to His word above we can all probably just call out to him the same way, “Lord, Please forgive me for my neglect of you and your word and for following my sinful desires.” He knows we need this promise concerning confession and forgiveness. After that prayer of confession let us stir up that natural desire that is found in New Creatures of Christ. As newborn babes crave milk let’s drink in the milk of the word and stir up the gift that is in us. He said he knocks on the door and seeks to fellowship with His Church in Revelation 3:20. Let us open it and fan the flame of our relationship with God by opening up our Bibles and reading them. After all, He did pay an unfathomable price to ransom our lives so that we could be His children. Let’s start listening to His word. It is life giving. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God. So maybe it is time to put down the Xbox controllers or things that want to choke the word out of our lives and go listen to our Father. He loves us. I know as an older struggling brother in the faith.   Randy

Marijuana allowed in the church?

Image

This post is more concerned about the Churches understanding of Marijuana.  I also made a blog post concerning the legalization and hazards of marijuana in another article.  There is a good video about the effects of it in the following blog.  So if you have concerns about some of the interpretation of this blog and you really don’t see the connections this blog makes just go to the blog post linked below and listen and discern if it is harmful or not.  Please watch the video at the link just below this.

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/may-our-nation-repent-and-forsake-marijuana/

http://youtu.be/nnNPm5cG85c

We need to revisit this. Especially in light of the recent elections and the stupid information that is being taught to our kids. Marijuana is a psychotropic. It is not like alcohol. It deeply damages the soul, mind, and body.

An Aquaintence and wonderful man of God has written some significant lessons on an upcoming issue in the Church that I believe is important for our understanding.  Please give this wonderful Elder a listen.  Thanks….. He also wrote a piece and blog on the topic here. http://www.puritanboard.com/blogs/jerusalem-blade/marijuana-allowed-church-763/

There are a lot of dangerous trends, doctrines, and practices encroaching upon the Presbyterian and Reformed churches in 2012, but – next to rampant worldliness – I would say the trend of approving marijuana is the most pernicious. And I would say that the push for “medicinal use” of it is the deadly worm in the heart of the poison apple.

I think it passing strange to see those who uphold a vigorous confessional Presbyterianism and affirm the word of God as their rule of life and faith at the same time condone a practice condemned by God under penalty of the severest sanctions – cut off from the people of Israel and death under Moses, excommunication and eternal damnation (if unrepented of) under Christ.

Part of the problem, I think, is the cultural ignorance that prevails – and a consequent spiritual naiveté (taking so many of our cues from the culture as we do) – with regard to what the issues really are. This was not an issue from the mid-20th century and back, the matter relegated to obscure practices which were universally condemned. But in the latter half of the 20th century things changed. More on that in a moment.

I have seen it said, “Don’t drink the koolaid”, with regard to this topic, which phrase could be variously translated as, “Don’t completely buy into an idea or system, whether good or bad . . . Blind acceptance of something is generally not advised – rather engage in some critical thinking . . . Don’t succumb to any external influence that affects a person’s opinion of something.” To which I would say, it is not Biblical to be closed to “external influence”, especially if that influence comes from Scripture soundly understood, and it is indeed wise to “engage in critical thinking” on any topic of importance! People who are closed to any views but their own do run the danger of shutting out the Lord’s instruction and reproof.

A brief primer on Greek and Hebrew terms, on Biblically-defined sorcery, and the laws of God with respect to this in the Old Testament and in the New.

We have a word in the New Testament (in Galatians and in Revelation) which is translated “sorcery” or “witchcraft”, the underlying Greek of which is farmakeiapharmakeia. The same word –pharmakeia – is used in the Greek Old Testament (sometimes called the Septuagint) and is likewise translated sorcery or sorcerer and witchcraft or witch. The word in the Hebrew OT is kesheph.

So what is pharmakeia about? It is the Greek word used in Revelation 18:23, where harlot Babylon is said to have deceived the nations by means of her “sorceries” (pharmakeia), and it is also used in Rev 9:21 of the Textus Receptus / AV (while the so-called Majority Text and the Critical Text have a variant reading in which the Greek word is pharmakon: drugs “that induce magic spells”, although it doesn’t affect the translation, per the NASB or ESV). In Rev 9:21 it is used with respect to men refusing to repent of their “sorceries” in the time of terrible judgments in the world, those that survived these lethal judgments meted upon the rebellious of the earth. When Paul uses this word in Galatians 5:20 (translated “witchcraft” AV, “sorcery” ESV NASB) it is called a work of the flesh, equal to murder and adultery.

Related words (called cognates) are used also in Rev 21:8 and 22:15 of “sorcerers”, those who use and administer the drugs, and influence others by means of them. In 21:8 it says that these people have their part in the lake of fire – “the second death” – and in 22:15 these are said to be eternally barred from the City of God. Let’s try to get a sense of what this deadly (per Scripture) pharmakeia is. Consider this item from The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol 2, p. 558,

. . . pharmakos, magician (Rev. 22:15); pharmakeus, mixer of potions, magician (Rev. 21:8); pharmakeia, magic, sorcery (Gal. 5:20; Rev. 9:21; 18:23). The basic word pharmakon does not occur in the NT [save in the aforementioned variant –SMR], but its meaning of medicine, magic potion, poison gives the underlying idea of the words. Potions include poisons, but there has always been a magical tradition of herbs gathered and prepared for spells, and also for encouraging the presence of spirits at magical ceremonies (cf. possibly the final sentence of Ezek. 8:17: “They put the branch to their nose”). Sorcery is classed among the works of the flesh in Gal. 5:20. [underlined and last bold and italicized emphases added – SMR]

Another example, from the old ISBE,

“The word translated in the AV ‘witchcraft’ in Gal 5:20 (pharmakeia) is the ordinary Greek one for ‘sorcery,’ and is so rendered in the RV, though it means literally the act of administering drugs and then of magical potions. It naturally comes then to stand for the magician’s art, as in the present passage and also in . . . the LXX of Isa 47:9 . . . translated ‘sorceries’.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, Ed., Vol. 5, p. 3097.)

And from, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, by Spiros Zodhiates:

“Strong’s #5331, pharmakeia, from pharmakon, a drug, which in the Gr. writers is used both for a curative or medicinal drug, and also as a poisonous one. Pharmakeia means the occult, sorcery, witchcraft, illicit pharmaceuticals, trance, magical incantation with drugs (Gal. 5:20; Rev. 9:21; 18:23; Sept.: Ex. 7:22; Is. 47:9, 12). (pp. 1437, 1438)

The lexicons and the commentators hold that pharmakeia pertains to drugs used in the “magic arts”. In fact, Kistemaker says of pharmakon (drugs) – appearing as a variant in Rev 9:21,

farmakon [pharmakon]—“magic potion . . .” [and refers] to the concept of drugs that induce magic spells. [Emphasis in original]. (Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Revelation, p. 302.)

The picture we are getting is of drugs used for sorcerous potions, which may “encourage the presence of spirits” and “induce magic spells”. Often we find in the OT the use of synecdoche (a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa) when the word pharmakeia and its cognates are used, as the use of drugs is the essential and common component in almost all of the “magic arts”. Consider, the Jews who translated the OT Hebrew into the Greek LXX always used the word signifying “drugs used as magic potions” when referring to certain magic arts and its practitioners. Why would they do that – use that particular word – were it not actually so?

But what does all this talk of drugs used for occult purposes – for “sorcery” – have to do with 21st century life, and with the recreational (and sometimes “medicinal”) drug, marijuana? Aren’t sorcery and magic potions something of the ancient past, legends, and superstition? First, let us be clear to differentiate between the entire realm of superstition with regard to the occult and its practices, and the plain Biblical definition of the term. It is granted that there is a plethora of arcane nonsense in legends, fictional stories, etc. Yet it is also certain there is a Biblical definition with regard to pharmakeia / sorcery, for to violate it was death under Moses and removal from the church under Christ – very serious punishments!

Were there things happening in the 1st century (and earlier in OT times) that no longer happen now in our day? But if that’s so, why does John in the Revelation speak of sorceries as pertaining to the end times – the very end times – which may well be in or near our own time?

And can it be that such a sin as this – ranked with murder and adultery, and warranting eternal punishment if unrepented of – is incapable of being identified by modern exegetes?

There is an answer to these questions. Since the latter half of the 20th century – from events in the 1950s through the 1980s – we have developed a term never before used in the history of the world: recreational drugs. People differ in their views of them. They began in popular use in the ‘60s, and the two staples of the counterculture that used them were marijuana and LSD, although mescaline, peyote, hashish (and hashish oil – both of these derived from the marijuana plant), STP, PCP (angel dust), and sometimes various amphetamines or cocaine were mixed / used in conjunction with these drugs. To law enforcement these drugs are sometimes a big deal (though some agencies and laws are becoming more lenient), but to the general populace they pretty much are no big deal at all. Connecting them with sorcery, given their popularity and seeming harmlessness (at least as regards grass), seems farfetched!

Oddly, the properties of these drugs – and I will single out marijuana and LSD – have the same properties as the pharmakeia / sorcery drugs Scripture strongly warns against: the capability of “encouraging the presence of spirits” and inducing spiritual / religious states of consciousness. That ought to send up red flags of warning to those who ponder these things.

At any rate, prior to the 1950s such things – recreational drugs – were unheard of, save perhaps in small subcultures (Black musicians, for example, who used marijuana). In the pre-counterculture days going all the way back to ancient Israel, Biblically defined sorcery was a verboten – forbidden – thing, connected as it was to the demonic and demonic practitioners. History is replete with instances of severe inquisition and punishment of those suspected of sorcery and witchcraft; nor were all such occult activities merely superstitious or hoaxes, seeing as the God of Israel took it very seriously, instructing His primary Lawgiver to execute the death sentence on violators, and revealing to John in His Revelation to him that eternal torment would be meted on unrepentant violators of His law given through Christ and the apostles. So we know there is real substance to such activities, for the Bible to take such a view of them!

In the pre-‘60s counterculture times such things showed their faces only in the crawling shadows of the world, rightly condemned by society. These were shrouded activities, and no wonder superstitions arose about them – they were hidden, frightening, and unknown.

But now . . . welcome to the end of the world! And to the sorceries (pharmakeia) of Babylon the great, which deceived the nations by means of them! The Bible shows one picture, which we sort of dismiss as “unknowable, undecipherable”, while we have a picture of our own – borrowed from the world, of course, from which we take so many of our cues! – of groovin’ hipster Christians, PCAers endowed with great Christian liberty, full of ourselves, disdainful of the old paths of sobriety and godly fear.

On the one hand we say, keep the Sabbath, don’t even go out to eat on it (not weighing in on that issue here), while on the other we say, it’s okay to get high using these drugs, it’s just like wine. And in so doing we actually cause Christ’s little ones to stumble and sin! Is there no fear left of doing and speaking evil? Why do we carelessly shoot our mouths off like the wicked on matters fraught with such danger and eternal consequences?


Romans 1:32
 [People], Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Exodus 23:1-2 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment

The world that reviles God and His laws is well aware of the Spiritual Use of Cannabis, why are we so ignorant of such things yet ready to shoot our mouths off?

It will not do, those of you who say that because it is illegal, that is sufficient to settle the matter, because in some countries – with Christians in them – it is legal; and it is essentially decriminalized in parts of America, and it is legal if one has a script from a doctor. So the old laws of the civil magistrate are no longer fence enough against this evil. And I daresay that in a short time it will become legal throughout the United States. No, it is up to the church to come to understanding, and to take a stand. More particularly, it is up to the pastors and elders of God’s flock, and with them the sessions and classes and boards of elders, to teach and uphold the word of God.

Nor will it do to liken it to alcohol, saying that we must be sober and clear of mind, for it is an entirely different substance with a profoundly different effect on the human body and consciousness. It is foolish naiveté to confound the two.

Yet some will say, we are only enjoying ourselves; we are not involved in spiritual or occult activity, these Biblical prohibitions do not apply to us.

To answer: It’s common knowledge that there had been an upsurge in psychedelic drug use starting in the 1950s with the Beats, and in the ‘60s with the counterculture (as well government intelligence agencies, politicians, practitioners in the therapeutic fields, artists, intellectuals, teachers, lawyers, etc, etc). Seeing as this was such an open and widespread phenomenon very few have made the connection with the topic of Biblical “sorcery”, an activity commonly thought of as taboo and arcane. To add to this, the fact that many of those who used these drugs did so “recreationally” and not for any sort of occult or spiritual purposes has given the impression that these drugs were not necessarily “sorcerous” although they could be used for those ends. This was the time when “sorcery” /pharmakeia became widely popular and supposedly both fun and enlightening. “ ‘Sorcery’?” some will say, “What, are you crazy, we’re just having fun! Just because others have used grass and acid for that, don’t lump us in with that crowd! Our culture is not a monolith, there are many different things going on.”

Others will say, “I have seen people high on marijuana, and they are not mentally impaired but rather brilliant in their thinking and their arts.” No argument with that, except to say that the devil, prince of the demons (as well his underlings), are also “brilliant”, so brilliance is no sound criterion of judgment on a state of mind.

It just goes to show how poorly thought-out and naive our views on the topic are! People smoke or ingest marijuana to attain a psychological or psychic “high” – an elevated and enhanced state of consciousness – though some would deny calling this “high” as much a pharmakeia activity as a more spiritual awareness, or some would say not even that, but only a psychological high, or simply an enhancement of the senses . To deny that pharmakeia can involve enhanced physical sensation and pleasure through this psychic “high” – without any overt occultism at all – is an attempt to dissociate their sinning from pharmakeia activity. But this is taking refuge in lies. We must recognize that to use sorcery to indulge in sensory (including psychological) pleasure is as much one of its activities as the seeking of psychic, occult, and spiritual experience.

But what about medicinal use? Isn’t that legitimate? This is a more nuanced topic than the world realizes, as it does not have spiritual discernment. But we who are Christ’s should have it.

It is understood that a person psychically “elevated” by marijuana may experience a sense of detachment from the bodily source of pain, and thus a decrease in the sensation of its intensity; still, the very action that detaches from the pain will open one to other aspects of the “high” such as consciousness in a dimension not usually entered in the normal state of mind, the dimension spirits inhabit. Even were I (speaking personally) in extreme pain I would not opt for marijuana relief, as the “cure” would be far worse than the ailment: making myself vulnerable to demonic activity – deception, depression, oppression, delusion, attack, etc. The web page linked to earlier in this article, Spiritual Use of Cannabis, showing its use for shamanistic and psychic activity in a number of pagan spiritual paths, clearly demonstrates its effectiveness and power as a means of enhancing contact with the spirit world and its occupants. Does one think that by force of will – or “good intentions” – one can hold off demons one has opened one’s consciousness and heart to? One can surely hold them off by the word and Spirit of Christ, but if in disobedience – even if done unwittingly – opening wide the door to their entrance through sorcerous drugs, they will take advantage of that and either enter or exercise their influence under cover of deception. The folks who say, “I’m only using it for simple enjoyment; but for “sorcery” – be it far from me!”, deceive themselves thinking they can avoid the consequences of entering the dimension of satanic presence, even if they do not believe it.

Let me posit a possible situation in an area where grass is legal for medicinal use. What would one think of a pastor, say in Colorado or California where medicinal grass is legal under prescription for pain, or Holland where it is simply legal, who, having smoked before the service, ministers while high? Or where a number in the church are (legally) high in the service? Would you assert that, if they’ve done it in moderation (or for pain relief), this is fully in accord with the word of God? Does using a Biblically forbidden substance for pain relief exempt one from obedience to God’s law? Did God have a good reason for forbidding pharmakeia drugs?

Or if the assistant pastor – who teaches the teenage Bible study – has pain from a sports injury, and smokes (with a prescription) beforehand, is that okay? Though surely there will be teenagers – as well as adults – who, knowing their pastors are smoking marijuana (under medical license) for pain relief, will say, “Well, if they can do it for pain – and are okay mentally, and also accepted by the church – why can’t I do it as well for fun? We can see it’s not harmful if used reasonably.”

Besides the corruption of morals of others, children included, let me say what the Scripture view of this would be. A pastor has smoked his grass (ostensibly for pain) and expanded his consciousness by opening himself to the spiritual realm – much as the Hindus do to contact their spirit entities – and he is now open to energies and influences or thoughts that come to him from he-knows-not-where. But they seem to be godly and in accord with the Bible, and he has a new depth of feeling for the subject he is speaking on, and sharp insight, and he powerfully feels what he believes to be the presence and love of God. Has this man increased his godliness and anointing through the drug? Scripture says he has taken a drug (pharmakon) . . . known to induce magic spells, and to encourage the presence of spirits at magical ceremonies. Well, one wouldn’t call a church service a “magical ceremony” someone might respond! Unfortunately, using a sorcerous drug of the pharmakeia-class would turn that church service into a magic ceremony, replete with demonic agency operating through the minister intoxicated by it.

Recently (May 16, 2012) in the NYTimes online OP/ED section, an article appeared by a sitting New York State Supreme Court Justice, Gustin L. Reichbach, titled, “A Judge’s Plea for Medical Marijuana”, and is one of the most compelling, heartwrenching cries for the allowing of medical marijuana I have heard (and I’m sure those reading can come up with like cases they know of). Read it and see. Justice Reichbach is a for-real candidate for this medical use. Which better allows me to make my point: As far as the world is concerned, allowing this man medical marijuana – and as he puts it, the “inhaled” kind, not the synthetic – is simply a human right, a humane medical treatment. But spiritually, what is the cost? Now Justice Reichbach is not – to my knowledge – a disciple of Christ, but for a disciple what would it be? It would be opening the heart and mind to demonic activity. Let me put myself in his place: without some grass – inhaled – I cannot eat (my appetite has failed), and cannot sleep, both of which I need to prolong my life. But with it, I could do both. Would it be worth it to me? To the world this dilemma is false, delusional, and cruel! To the spiritual man or woman it is vital and actual: would I allow my communion with Christ and communion with other disciples in spirit to be open to influence or infiltration by demonic beings? Just for the ability to eat something, or sleep, or to relieve pain? Put another way, would I, under torture – being starved, subjected to sleep deprivation, and inflicted with pain – betray my Lord and my friends? Why, given the same conditions of affliction, would I voluntarily sin, if I would refuse to in the other case? No, God giving me strength I will retain my integrity of being before Him and my friends. I would refuse to smoke the “medicinal” marijuana for the sake of keeping my spiritual health and integrity. Especially if I were in terrible pain with advanced, terminal cancer, I would not use marijuana for relief. Would anyone in their right mind, when on the very brink of death, open their hearts and minds to demonic influence? That would be sheer destructive madness!

There is a dangerous naiveté regarding supernatural activity among some believers – the Reformed included – but this ought not to be the case when it comes to pastors and elders. I should hasten to say that I have never yet seen a pastor or elder support the use of these drugs even if legalized.

It was prohibited in ancient Israel because partaking in a pharmakeia drug would bring an evil presence into the community. This was supposed to be a spiritually sensitive and holy community, Israel. Just one sorcerer (or witch) – pharmakos – would bring an evil state of mind or consciousness into the community, and pollute it. For this cause it was commanded, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18; cf. Deut 18:9-14). The general equity of this law is understood with regard to the NT laws pertaining to pharmakeia use: not physical death but spiritual death (cut off from the church) if indulged without repentance. For the bringing in to the community of God’s people the spiritual presence of the demonic through the channels of pharmakeia users – that is, demonic influence through the minds and consciousness of people high on marijuana – is wickedly polluting the holy people with the spirit of alien and hostile entities. It is an abomination to God and to His church.

Pastors and elders, be aware that this is a fight that is coming quickly down the road. If we can see it here, in a relatively godly confessional community, it will be even more widespread elsewhere. Though I must say, it will rarely be seen in those despised IFBs, for they believe in being separate from the world, and would rarely fall for such deception.

Steve Rafalsky
Member, Queens Presbyterian Church, Astoria (PCA)
Queens, New York
USA”I am set for the defense of the gospel” (Philippians 1:17)”Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious
power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness…
” (Colossians 1:11)Jerusalem Blade’s PB Blog; Collected Textual Posts and Misc.
Lightning Sword: Journal of the Apokalypse