Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Gonna get political on ya guys for a moment. No, it won’t be an entire political post, but it relates to how we view Scripture, and how Scripture is being distorted in today’s world. Let me begin by addressing the confirmation hearings this week for Neil Gorsuch. Forget the crybaby hypocritical statements from Democrats about not being able to confirm Merrick Garland in a presidential year. It’s not about fairness for them though, it’s about them losing an opportunity to put someone on the Supreme Court that would secure their quest for ultimate and tyrannical power.

One thing that was said to prove this fact came from Diane Feinstein. She said that, “our constitution is a living document, meant to evolve as our nation evolves.” Nothing is further from the truth.

What Senator Feinstein means is that what is written in the U.S. Constitution can evolve and that no one can merely just abide by what it says in black and white terms. Can you see the danger in this yet? Let me paint a clearer picture for you–with the book Animal Farm. The pigs were in charge and anytime they needed to change something that they wanted to do, they would alter the rules of the farm just slightly so that it would suit them, and the rest of the animals suffered as a result. See where I’m getting at?

Now, would it surprise you that there are spiritual leaders out there who are doing the same thing but with God’s Word? There are pastors who are saying that we should not be abiding by God’s Word in such black and white terms and there are some who say that anyone who does follow God’s Word so well have made it an idol. Can you believe that? God’s Word an idol. The thing that Jesus said that man cannot live without. “Man cannot live by bread alone.” And what about Psalm 1:1-2? “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lordand on his law he meditates day and night.”

See, God’s Word lays out the story of God’s plan for redemption of mankind through His son Jesus Christ. And when people accuse us of following God’s Word too strongly, what is your response? Do you have one? Mine is that I follow God’s Word out of thanks for His Son’s sacrifice, and that to live according to His Word is the best way for me to constantly thanks Him. Does this mean I’m perfect? No! Of course not! No one is perfect.

See, when these spiritual leaders say such things about God’s Word, I accuse them of being what Jesus calls “a brood of vipers.” And I also ascribe to them the Seven Woes that Jesus put on the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23. Here, take a read…

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+23&version=ESV

You can change the Bible version if you’d like, ESV is just my preference.

That may be a bit harsh, but how dare people distort what God’s plan is for people and how He implemented His plan for redemption. God’s Word is just as applicable today as it was when it was first written. Take a look at 2 Timothy 3:16, my friends.

 

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Precious

What’s precious to you?

I’ve been silent for a long time. There’s been a reason for that. I’ve had to take some time to myself to really take stock of what’s been most important to me in my life. I’ve had to rearrange some things in my life, because, ultimately, I haven’t been putting God first. And I’ve been feeling it.

This is a recurrent theme in Scripture.

“I am the Lord your God, you shall have no idols before me.”

“Love the Lord your God with all your mind, heart, and soul.”

“What is the greatest commandment? Love the Lord your God with all your might, and the second is just like it–love your neighbor as yourself.”

God wants to be first in our lives, each and every single dang time. Any time I open my Bible, I get smacked in the face with that theme. There’s another verse, James 4:8, that really boils down all those verses. It says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

There is no pausing in a relationship with God, you either keep trying to grow it, or you backslide exponentially faster. And the only way to get back to that original point in your relationship with God is to turn to Him, ask forgiveness, and repent. I have done this the last few weeks and it has extremely been humbling in learning how God has been trying to speak to me these last few months.

I’ve been giving everything to God except really matters–me. What He really wants is what Jesus was trying to get at when the Pharisees asked him if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar.

“Who’s likeness is on the coin?”

“Caesar’s.”

“Then render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.”

Jesus is saying that God doesn’t care about anything we give him, except our love, devotion, and attention to His word.

 

 

Righteousness in an unrighteous time

The title of this post is a rewritten version of a line from one of my favorite movies, The Dark Knight. 

And when that line was spoken,  the context of the situation matches that of a person trying to live for Christ in the culture of today.  It’s difficult trying to follow Christ today, but why is that?  Because following Christ means to be like a fish swimming upstream against the current.  The Bible is clear that God’s way is not the way of the world,  and actually looks like foolishness to even the wisest of men. I mean,  take a look at Romans 5:6-9…

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that  m while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Christ died for those that hated him.  Paul even says that someone might even consider dying for a good man, but only consider.  But God demonstrated his love by dying for us.  On my own, I could never do that but it’s Christ in me that removes my selfish desires and places himself there. 

Living a life for God in a society that hates him and anyone who follows him is not easy,  but God,  in order to follow Him, says that we are to put away the things of this world,  take up our cross,  and follow Him.  Crosses are made for suffering and dying,  and if you claim to follow God,  but haven’t picked up your cross, you might want to look at your life,  because I’ve certainly failed inn carrying mine. 

Can you die to yourself? I’ve died to myself in all ways, tho my flesh keeps coming back with a vengeance,  but in one way I haven’t been tested yet….

Unwanted

When someone asks me if I’ve ever been jealous of someone else.  My answer has always been yes. Over numerous things.  But none more so than something I’ve struggled with in my life since I was 10– growing up without a father.  My father is still alive, but he divorced my mother when I was 10. And no matter what others told me, I grew up feeling like my dad didn’t want me. I grew up jealous of my friends who had awesome times with their fathers and learned many life skills from them that i still have to learn. One thing I did learn was that i would never leave my wife or child like that and leave my son or daughter feeling I didn’t want them. See, nothing hurts worse than to feel rejected by someone who is supposed to love you unconditionally. God filled that void with other men, but it wasn’t the same as having a father in the home.

Men, it’s important for kids to have a father in their lives. Why? For sons, its so that they can have a great example of what being a godly man looks like, for daughters it’s so that they can have a template, a good example of what a godly husband will look like. Without that example, a family can descend into chaos.

What brings this up? Valentine’s day. The world says that love comes in many forms, but love comes in only one way in fafher father and husband…and that is self-sacrifice. Loving others means putting your life last. Chocolates, flowers, cards, stuffed animals, jewelry, and fancy dates are fine, but if you’re looking for if that man truly loves you, look at where he puts others in his life, as well as you. If he’d go out of his way for you or someone to meet a need, hes someone to keep around.

Ladies, this is kind of directed at you. Don’t fall for the first schmuck you see, no matter his looks, his things, or his success. If you dont make that boy work for your heart, and if he doesn’t love God first, you’ll feel like I did growing up… lonely and unwanted.

11 Years

This is in response to a question in a blog post of a particularly great writer and very devout follower of Christ, probably more so than me–she makes my faith look like that mustard seed that Jesus was talking about. Her site is called Beauty Beyond Bones, if you haven’t checked it out I recommend doing so. Her question was one of asking what lessons have I learned recently…

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11 YEARS

 

That’s how long I’ve been single. And it has been by choice. All for one reason. I keep telling myself that I am not the kind of godly man that is fit yet to be in a relationship with a woman and help her to grow spiritually by being Christ in her life. But I’ve been telling myself that for so long, that now with Valentine’s Day approaching, I’ve been looking really hard at what has really been holding me back from looking for that woman…. And I am not that type of Christian that simply believes that God will bring her into my life and all I have to do is wait patiently. God does that yes, but it’s not gonna happen while you sit at home, writing on your blog late at night, and she’s gonna simply and magically appear… And for the record–yes, I am talking about myself.

After some deep hard reflection, I realize that I am simply afraid. I look at what God has taught me about being a godly man in a dating relationship, a marriage, being a parent. There is simply so much for Him to teach me. But I’ve been resistant to God in regards to Him telling me to begin searching out a relationship. Why? Mainly because I’m afraid I’ll fail in it. Which is definitely something for me to say, considering that, in my life, because I’m simply afraid of failing wasn’t reason enough for me to not do it. But the REAL reasons I’m afraid is this:

1. Failing in the relationship means I’ve let down God

2. Failing in the relationship means failing the woman I care about emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

3. Failing means that I haven’t truly learned anything from God.

 

With these three things, they may sound irrational, but really, numbers 1&2 scare me the most, number 3 I can look at in my life and at the lessons I thought God taught me and see where I screwed up. But 1&2 scare me the most. God has expectations of me when it comes to being in a woman’s life. If she is a believer, and she shares the view of how God wants that relationship to be, I must sacrifice myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually for her just as Christ did for His Church. And by demonstrating that, she’ll be living up to God’s expectation of her by submitting herself to me, not because I’m a man, but out of respect and devotion as the Church does for Christ because of what He did. But she will only do that for me when I demonstrate my love for her as Christ did for the Church. And that is a HUGE responsibility for God to lay on men. That’s not to say that the responsibility that God gave women is any less huge, but their response, as dictated by Scripture, should only happen when the man demonstrates his love for her by sacrificing himself physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the great benefit of his significant other to have support and to grow. The Church didn’t trust in Christ until after He had demonstrated His love and sacrifice for us at the cross.

Failing her in those ways means that I have most likely led her astray, and by that token, have done her great harm spiritually, and that can affect everything, even her own relationship with Christ, and also may cause her to lose trust in me as well as God, which is of the utmost importance in any relationship.

So, yes–I’m afraid of failing my girlfriend/wife, of which I have not yet attained hear in good ole Omaha Nebraska. God has been telling me for some time now that He knows I’m ready to be in a relationship, even if I don’t think so. But it is my own fear, something that Satan is good at using to hold the followers of Christ at bay with, that holds me back. I guess another lie I keep telling myself is that by saying I’m not ready, I am keeping myself humble, which can be true, but by doing this, I’ve found that it keeps me from applying any of the lessons that God wants me to apply in my life, and He keeps telling me, “You’ll never know if you’ll fail until you step out and do.”

And it took a tv show quote to shake me out of my fear this evening…it said, “if you’re not advancing, you’re retreating.” And I realize that by being afraid to apply the lessons that God has taught me, I have been denying myself the privilege of knowing God more deeply and growing my relationship with Him in another way, by loving another person in a way that matches the love of Christ for His bride, the Church. And by denying myself that, I have actually backslided away from God, out of fear of approaching Him in a much different way and getting to know Him in that fashion and letting Him to continue to grow me into the man of God He wants me to be.

So with that said, I’ve begun looking at ways I could find that girl and help myself begin applying the lessons that God has taught me over these 11 long years.

So, as my fellow writer and sister-in-Christ, Caralyn over at Beauty Beyond Bones, has done in her blog post, I have a question to ask… In what way have you been fearful and keeping yourself from approaching God and letting Him grow you? How might you change that? How would God want you to change that?

Your Fellow Brother in Christ and Author,

 

Tom

 

Dear Society

Dear Society,

Speaking primarily to American society but also to anyone in the world who wishes to read this. Society, you’ve set yourself against God’s Church, and I’m not surprised by that, since Jesus told us that it would happen, and if it didn’t, we weren’t following Him correctly if at all. But I just wish to address a few claims that you have brought against the Church. And even if you’re not part of the Christian faith, be it Mormon, Jew, Catholic, etc. we all have a faith in a higher power and that power drives us to be world changers for Him. Society, you have entered into a frame of wanting tolerance and acceptance in the world, wanting world peace, or wanting a utopian society where everyone gets along. I’m sorry to say that will never be feasible.

You push the Church out of your lives because we stand for something greater than ourselves, the Church is a reminder of why Christ came to earth–to die for your sins and to offer the gift of eternal life. It’s that reminder of sin that you don’t like, your sin makes you feel good and comfortable. It’s a falsehood though–that feeling. It won’t ever last. Whatever it is, it lasts for a time and then that feeling goes away and if you want it again, you have to go back to it. It’s like a drug–you want that high feeling and so you trap yourself within it. And eventually, you find yourself wanting out but you can’t do it on your own. There’s an answer for that.

This world is full of teen and unwed mothers, and they find that everyone has abandoned them because of it, even the Church. And for that, the Church is solely at fault. So these mothers turn to an abortion facility because they think they are doing their unborn child a favor by not bringing their child into a world where they would not be able to thrive. In this the Church is at fault for not standing up for these mothers and giving the the support they need. Adoption and also surrounding this mother-to-be with the love of Christ and offering them to help with the child is something that the Church should excel at, but it doesn’t for one reason–the Church is pushed out of those range of options by you, Society.

You blame “white, conservative, Christians” for not helping those in need, and therefore can’t be truly pro-life. Helping the poor, the helpless. But I ask you, Society, what do you keep telling people any time a religious option is offered? “We don’t need God” is what you say, because you say that you don’t have to believe in a “being in the sky” to be good. You are, in part, correct. We can do good. But doing good to others is simply not enough. God is glorified through the deeds of the Church, and the Church offers itself to those who want and ask for help, and even to those who spit in the Church’s face. I ask you, Society, could you do that? Could you offer your help and love to someone who hated you? Wronged you? Hurt you? Hurt your family? If you say yes, then you’re a liar, because I certainly know I wouldn’t be able to do that myself. However, remembering the love of God fills me up, seeing that I spat in God’s face and my sin put Christ through that trial and on that cross, and yet Christ still loved me and prayed for me by saying “They know not what they do” helps serves as a reminder that I can’t love people who hate me, but God fills me up and He loves those who hate me through me.

Society, you consistently blame the Church for not doing anything, while at the same time you tie the hands of the Church behind its back. You want the Church to help, but at the same time you don’t want it evangelizing. For the Church, the body of Christ can’t do one without the other. We minister to the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, the naked, and everyone else because we want them to come to the foot of the cross and give their lives over to God. Christ wanted us to serve, but through our serving we are also to be sharing about Christ–the two are inextricably linked to each other.

We are all sinners in the Church, and when you get a bunch of messed up people together there is going to be mistakes made by the Church. But we come together to worship God and wish to make Him more a part of our lives. And we wish to make you a part of the family of God–for we are all, by adoption, sons and daughters of the King.

Society, don’t rush to judgment about someone simply because they have an opinion about something, but haven’t done anything else to back it up. Just because you haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean they aren’t doing anything. They could be involved with one person and trying to help them. God gifts some with helping large amounts of people at once, but He gifts others so they can just help one person, and that one person God put in that person’s life because He cares about everyone. Christ took time to help thousands at once, but He also cared about the individual, and took time to do one on one stuff.

Don’t rush to judgment about these things if you haven’t done them yourself, Society, for if you don’t do it yourself, and accuse others of not doing it–you make yourself to be a hypocrite. And no one likes those.

 

 

Be A Voice

Today, I am most ashamed. I was forced to look back at my own rhetoric in regards to how I have criticized Barack Obama, and for sure, my own rhetoric was too blunt, some of it written out of anger that evolved out of my zeal for wanting to see our leaders do the right and just thing, and becoming upset that none of them were listening.

I apologize for how I have said things, but not for what the message I was trying to get across. America, in the last 8 years under the leadership, has become like that of Judah in Isaiah 1:1-20.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
    for the Lord has spoken:
“Children[a] have I reared and brought up,
    but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
    and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
    my people do not understand.”

Ah, sinful nation,
    a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
    children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
    they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
    they are utterly estranged.

Why will you still be struck down?
    Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
    and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
    there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
    and raw wounds;
they are not pressed out or bound up
    or softened with oil.

Your country lies desolate;
    your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
    foreigners devour your land;
    it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.
And the daughter of Zion is left
    like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
    like a besieged city.

If the Lord of hosts
    had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
    and become like Gomorrah.

10 Hear the word of the Lord,
    you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching[b] of our God,
    you people of Gomorrah!
11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
    says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
    and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
    or of lambs, or of goats.

12 “When you come to appear before me,
    who has required of you
    this trampling of my courts?
13 Bring no more vain offerings;
    incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
    I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
    my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
    I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands,
    I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
    I will not listen;
    your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
    remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17     learn to do good;
seek justice,
    correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow’s cause.

18 “Come now, let us reason[c] together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
    you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
    you shall be eaten by the sword;
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

I have been criticized today in the worse way possible. The tone of the message from the person was that of being called a hypocrite and un-Christian because I didn’t follow what the Bible says about submitting myself to the authorities–all because I took to calling attention to what Obama was doing as unconstitutional and illegal, and the reason this person said this is that I called people out for not accepting Trump as president, but this person accused me of not accepting Obama as president since I saw fit to criticize his actions.

To explain a bit why I will criticize any president who goes outside bounds of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution was created to constrain the depravity of the human will, for if unbound and unchecked, the human will can wreak havoc on it’s fellow man, and anyone who disagrees with said human will, will face repercussions, which can be fatal to such dissenters. For me, God created through the men at Independence Hall during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the US Constitution and that is meant to be the law of the land, for it creates the offices of the government’s leadership. I accept and respect those offices and whoever holds them, but that does not mean I will not criticize when the human will starts to go off and gratify its wants and desires with no regard to who it hurts and no regard to the rule of law.

Now, I shared a piece of Scripture earlier from Isaiah. Along with this can go Ezekiel 33:1-9 and 2 Samuel 12:1-15. I will address each in turn.

First, in hindsight, I guess I should have shared Ezekiel first before the Isaiah passage, but here goes. Ezekiel, in chapter 33, calls himself Israel’s Watchman. Now, to use the Roman military as a prime example, any soldier found sleeping while on watch/guard duty, was to be executed. No trial, just an on the spot execution. To fall asleep when you hold the lives of other people in your hands when you’re in a war was the most grievous thing to do. Those men counted on you to sound the alarm if an attack was coming. This is how Ezekiel is using the position of a watchman–to sound an alarm when something bad was coming. For the believer, this is a prime duty for him or her to do–to warn others of what can happen when you depart from God and when you follow God the benefits that can come from that. If I fail in this duty and people die in their sin and folly, God will require me to answer for their deaths. But if I do warn them of their folly, and they refuse to listen, God will require them to answer for their own deaths.

This is where the Isaiah passage comes into play for me and my shouts, mainly on social media, comes in. I see America in the last 8 years, following that trend. Paying only lip service to God with empty promises and prayers, while going and committing great wickedness in God’s eyes and against His people. And this is all God wants from His people:

learn to do good;
seek justice,
    correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow’s cause.

I firmly believe that my leaders over the last 8 years have wanted to succeed at this, I really do. But in doing so, they oppressed others and did injustice to others because they ultimately didn’t share their view on certain things, and those others are generally the people who only wanted to follow God in everything they did.

And so, those of us who can and do have an understanding of such things, we have a responsibility to make our leaders aware of such follies, lest they keep doing things the way they are to their own spirits’ detriment. At this, I have not been as soft spoken as I could have been, wishing only to see things as the Founding Fathers’ would have wanted in America. I can only hope that I will be going forward. I truly wish to see this country unite, with people coming together who don’t necessarily agree on everything, but agree on the simple principle of liberty and justice for all.

And that’s where the 2 Samuel passage comes in, being bold to speak out against atrocities, oppression, and all around evil when it rears its ugly head. That’s not to say that the person perpetrating the act is evil, he or she may have committed the act without knowing its full consequences. Not so in the case of 2 Samuel 12. David knew he committed murder and adultery. That’s why he tried to cover it up. But as believers, we may not necessarily have Christian leaders, but we can be sure to hold them to what God wants in Isaiah, and make them see that what they are doing is hurting people. Daniel and Jeremiah both did it with their respective leaders, though to their great detriment, they both had nasty falls from power. John the Baptist did it with Herod, but for saying what Herod did was adultery, John the Baptist lost his head.

To be certain, I did not vote for either of the prime candidates in the recent election, but whoever had been chosen to have the title of president, I would have kept a close eye on him or her. I am a champion of everyone’s American freedoms and rights. The Bill of Rights recognizes no color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, or gender. I will fight for those who I disagree with, for if I lose those freedoms, then everyone loses.

I pray that Trump will prove me wrong in his presidency. I pray for the entire leadership to turn to God and recognize His supremacy. And I will hold them to highest standard in the land. Not the Bible, since they necessarily won’t hold themselves to it, but rather the U.S. Constitution. For God instilled that as the Supreme Law of the Land, and it will be what I go by.