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  1. Without question the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, the Bible... is our source of God's truth to us... alongside the Holy Spirit which will always agree with God's Word. Christ did not leave us alone. We have now Text and Teacher... the Bible and the Holy Spirit... to guide our every thought, word and deed... even the attitudes of our heart. Before I move on with the discussion I must add... to live and to move and to have our being in Him (Christ via the Holy Spirit in us)... we must be as mature Christians fully convinced of God's Word specifically Acts 2:38... "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized (by water) every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." We must not be without the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit in us... for it is He who teaches us and transforms us daily into the likeness of our Savior... born of spirit and of water... Looking at the Greek translation and meaning of the world 'be baptized' here we see clearly it is translated to mean physical water Baptism... then later at the end of verse 38 we see it refers to 'recieveing the gift of the Holy Spirit'. But first and foremost... the to 'be baptized' or βαπτίζω from the Greek... meaning to be submerged, to dip, sink, specifically of ceremonial dipping; I baptize. Strong's Concordance baptizó: to dip, sink Original Word: βαπτίζω Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: baptizó Phonetic Spelling: (bap-tid'-zo) Definition: to dip, sink Usage: lit: I dip, submerge, but specifically of ceremonial dipping; I baptize. Often we side with the opinions of men in our present day... making less of God's actual Word... because we do not want to upset the status quo... of how things have traditionally been in ones own denomination or sect. But this should not be... if in fact it is wrong. And if men still see the truth... yet continue in the traditions of men... that man's faith is not in God or His Word... but that man's faith is in men and the tradition of men. But does not God tell us to be humble, to have a teachable spirit. Yes. So let us be Baptized in water... that then we may be filled with God's Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit. Let us take God's whole Word as our Text... and not negate any of it. Sorry... but I felt lead to bring water Baptism up. Only God knows why... maybe there will be someone who reads this who will need to know... for there are many professing Christians in this land... but few possess the Holy Spirit... few have been water Baptized. Many believe it is enough to be baptized as a baby... but Acts 2:38 is clearly speaking of a person who has full understanding of what they are doing... where as babies do not. Water baptism is essential for receiving the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit we may have good intentions but being led by our own unctions and thoughts... and not by the Spirit of God. It would be a practice in futility and unbiblical stubborness not to be water baptized. Most who would retort Acts 2:38... have been muffled by modern theology. If this is not doctrinally important then why would God have Luke write this verse. He did write it as inspired by God. And we are to obey God. The Title... "The Modern Muffles Of The Church" is very much inspired by the Holy Spirit in me... along with the New Testament letters to the seedling churches warning them of false movements, false doctrines, false gospels and even false Jesus'. Even today these false movements hold some truth and on the outside seem appealing but their very core is black. That is why we must carefully look at and try to stop these encroaching movements before they become the norm... deceiving many... and causing many to fall away. These are some of these modern muffles in the church today with is another gospel and another Jesus. I am heart broken by what is happeing to our American churches today. 1) Lack of Baptism water and spirit / being Born Again in the church 2) Female pastors in the church 3) Homosexual pastors in the church 4) Lack of preaching the full Gospel in the church 5) Lack of integrity in the church 6) Lack of helping the poor, widows, orphans, sick, imprisoned etc. 7) New Age within the church... Yoga, philosophy, hypnotic repetitive beat music in praise and worship 'feeling the presence of God' sessions seeking an experience with God instead of seeking to be obedient to God. Some call this 'soaking' or 'soaking rooms'. The rooms are dark... usually with candles. There is no talk of repentance... dying to self... and walking in God's truth and in God's love. Please feel free to add any Bible scriptures... or thoughts on this issue of the muffling of the church. I believe we need to talk about these issues... because it is spreading like wildfire... BECAUSE we don't talk about these things but we should. Yes we can pray... but then as lead by the Holy Spirit... must act on what the Holy Spirit is clearly telling us to do.... for the Word will agree with what the Holy Spirit is saying to us. And we are the church. Amen. Let us use God's Word to correct, reproof and give instruction in righteousness to those around us... no matter who they are. The Lord has set me before church leaders, pastors and even a few Jewish Rabbis. I am called as all Christians are called... to be a light of God's truth... as the Holy Spirit and God's Word leads us every day. For many are too afraid to correct the modern shepherds of this day. But they need to be. Pray for boldness and the Lord Jesus Christ will give it to you... to speak His Truth in Love... where ever you are... He will give you the words to speak. Use God's Word to correct them. Speak His truth in His love. I meet them in the market places. I meet them in the churches. We are all called to be a light... especially now... as the world gets crazier and crazier. Be bold... give God's Word out... with out shame... be bold! Rip as many out of the fires of hell as you can. Life is so short. Life is not a joke. It is very serious. Many will perish into eternal damnation... but NOT ON OUR WATCH! NOT IN OUR CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE! LET IT NEVER BE THAT WE THE CHURCH BE ASHAMED OF JESUS CHRIST! NEVER! EVER! Here is your weapon church... to put out the darkness in this land... "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."... 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  2. I've wanted to post this for a while, but I struggled writing it since I didn't know how to effectively explain my situation. It's been hard for me to talk to anyone about this because I keep thinking no one would believe me or people would think I'm insane. Though I've been drowning in confusion, apathy, doubt, and hopelessness for the past few months, I've finally mustered up the courage to write this. I was saved in 2005, fell away for a while, then rededicated my life to Christ at the end of December 2017. I was very excited about God and the Bible for the first three months of 2018, but then began dealing with spiritual oppression in April 2018. I spent my time trying to figure out how to get rid of the oppression, then I began hearing that “still small voice.” Since May 2018, I thought I was in communion with God, until in January 2019, I discovered there is a demon inside of me. It deceived me into thinking it was God, and it even had the audacity to also call itself “Holy Spirit,” “The Father,” and “Jesus.” It spoke to me in my mind, flooding me with images, ideas, and thoughts. It answered prayers, such as if I asked where something was in my apartment, I suddenly received an image in my mind of the exact location. It was able to control my body parts: arms, legs, hands, feet, head, mouth, eyes, lungs, stomach, heart. At times, it spoke out of me: received a “message from heaven” from my deceased Dad, taught me and my Mom tons of error teaching, and falsely prophesied the 2nd coming of Christ. Once my Mom discovered it was a demon, it spoke out and told her that I would never find Jesus, and I began convulsing when she took authority over it. That same night, it caused me to vomit two disgusting substances, changed the pitch of my voice to an unnaturally high and disgusting tone, and at a different time, I heard growling come from my throat. While under its influence, it made me get rid of my video games, movies, and certain bits of clothing. It taught me scripture so it could use it against me. It convinced me to pray tons of false things, such as for Jesus to forget me. It deceived me into doing a 3-week water fast that put me in the hospital, nearly killing me. It convinced me I committed the unforgivable sin, that I was the Anti-Christ, constantly deceived me into thinking I would die in my sleep, and constantly condemned me to hell. It caused me to have constant nightmares of me being condemned to hell, one where I was involved in witchcraft, one where I supposedly received the mark of the beast and was separated from God forever, and one of Jesus Christ forever abandoning me. I feel completely violated because not only did it rupture the relationship I thought I had with the real LORD, this thing helped me come up with book ideas, movie ideas, a future ministry, improved my drawing skills, and even helped me come up with names for my future kids, all under the guise of “God.” I've essentially given up writing and anything creative because I'm not confident whether the ideas truly come from me. As of now, I have a constant anxiety towards my hands moving on their own; sometimes as I'm falling asleep, either a few fingers start to move or one of my hands will violently shake for a few seconds. I can’t even pray without hearing a mental response from it. I’ve noticed strange physical abnormalities, such as my pupils dilating irregularly no matter how much light is present and an occasional putrid smell coming from my nose and mouth. I can’t effectively concentrate, constantly dealing with tons of confusing thoughts. I feel irritated / an aversion towards the Word, along with tons of accusatory thoughts about my salvation and how God is mad at me (which isn’t true). If I do manage to read the Bible, I get flooded with tons of doubtful thoughts about how I don't understand anything I read and how God's forgotten about me (which isn't true). This spirit has put me through so much hell, and I have no idea how I even accepted it to begin with. I'm ashamed that I was able to be so terribly deceived. I can't even effectively follow Philippians 4:6 about praying if you are anxious because I'm anxious about praying because something else answers. I want to overcome the confusion, apathy, doubt, and hopelessness that all torment me on a daily basis. Where should I even begin with recovery? How do I recover from all the deception I've endured? How do I get past the constant irritation towards anything God related? Also, thank you for taking the time to read this. Even if you can't figure out a reply to this post, could you P L E A S E pray for me? I desperately want to be delivered of this.
  3. Good on Paul for addressing the dangers of temptation, deception, and corruption. "Seduction by any means" could well be Satan's motto. If he can lure new or careless converts by the preaching of another Jesus, and get them to receive another spirit, and accept another gospel, then such converts will be useless and unfit for the bride of Christ. 2Co 11:1-4 (1) Would to God you could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. (2) For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (3) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (4) For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him. I have the same concern as Paul when I come across professing Christians who are following a false Jesus, manifesting a counterfeit spirit, and giving credence to a false gospel. Good on Paul for coming against the ministers of Satan who were subverting his converts while disguising themselves as ministers of Christ. 2Co 11:12-15 (12) But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. (13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. (14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. Paul could have just adopted the attitude that once sinners were converted to Christ nothing can undo that, but instead he warns against the kind of deception that innocent Eve sucumbed to, the kind of deception that starts with seduction and results in corruption. There is an "absoluteness" in Christ that is not to be found in anything or anyone else, and Paul was concerned that the Corinthians who had begun following Christ would become less than single-minded in their discipleship, not content with the simplicity of pure and sincere devotion to Him. It's the same today...seduction by any means to corrupt the minds of vulnerable Christians from the simplicity that is in Christ. Not you though I hope and pray!
  4. God is the great revealer, Satan is the great concealer Man gave control over the world to Satan, at the beginning, through disobedience to God, God created all angels (disembodied spirit beings) and humans (spirits living in a physical body) with a freewill, the ability to choose, a will that is free to make decisions independent from Him. Satan and a third of the angels were cast out of heaven when they chose to rebel against God. Man transferred his God given dominion over the world to Satan in the Garden of Eden the moment he chose to hear and obey the devil’s words over the words he had heard from God. From that moment Satan became the god or ruler of this world and the source of all the evil that influences the lives of most of the human race. This is why in the temptations of Jesus, Satan could legitimately boast that “The kingdoms of the world …this has been delivered to me” (Luke 4:5-6 - and Jesus didn’t refute Satan’s claim). 1 John 5:19 We know positively that we are of God, and the whole world around us is under the power of the evil one (Satan). AMP 2 Cor 4:4 In whom the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. KJV Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. In the end Jesus takes back the dominion of the world from Satan, Rev 11:15 “The kingdoms of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” ESV/KJV Satan, the concealer, does not want us to know if or how he operates in our lives, Now Satan’s kingdom is a kingdom of darkness, meaning he operates where there is no light or insufficient light from God, who is light, in men’s hearts to expose his activities. God’s word makes plain to those who have light that Satan has an enormous influence in the lives of all the unconverted and sadly in the lives of many of those converted to Christ but who do not currently walk in the light. But all of these who Satan constantly influences for evil are largely unaware that Satan exists let alone is a dominant factor in their lives. Why? Because Satan is the master deceiver, and able to remain anonymous in the lives of those with whom he proceeds to steal and to kill and to destroy (John 10:10). Hence: Luke 21:8 (Jesus) “Take heed that you not be deceived…” Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived… James 1:16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. These are multiple warnings, not to the world that is completely deceived, but to us Christians who also have the potential of likewise being deceived by the great deceiver: Isa 14:12-17 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer…You who weakened the Nations…Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners. Rev 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world… Eph 2:2-3 AMP In which at one time you walked habitually. You were following the course and fashion of this world…following the prince of the power of the air. You were obedient to and under the control of the demon spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience…Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh, our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature, obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind…we were then by nature children of God's wrath…like the rest of mankind. The extent of our ignorance of Satan’s operations shows how successful he’s been with us, The scripture makes clear that Christians were all once under the influence of Satan as everyone else is without exception and, we like they, did not know that we were. Why? Because this master concealer operates through thoughts that he imparts into our thought lives, that we in our ignorance falsely assume to be our own thoughts. These are what the scripture calls the fiery darts of the enemy, thoughts which only the faith that comes from an active, deepening relationship with God can extinguish or take captive. 2 Cor 2:11 Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices (the same greek word translated devices is translated as thought in) 2 Cor 10:5 …Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery(thought) darts of the wicked one. Satan’s principal weapons are thoughts, and are the major source of all evil in the world! Not just thoughts of overt wickedness, but also more subtle thoughts that have the superficial appearance of rightness about them. But they’re thoughts designed to divert us from a full surrender to Christ and to challenge the authority of God’s words to us, just like he did with Adam and Eve. Satan can’t force his will on us, for we have a will and a conscience, but if we don’t know how to discern his influence he’s bound to have some control in our thought lives, particularly with respect to God. It shouldn’t surprise us therefore to learn that Satan, as the great concealer, can disguise the nature of his thoughts so that they appear to us to be both truth and light: 2 Cor 11:14 …Even Satan can disguise himself to look like an angel of light! TEV 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (consume with his thoughts). What are some examples of Satan disguising himself and his thoughts, which he imparts to people, as right and illuminating thoughts? Since there is only one mediator between God and all men, Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2:5) Satan inspires all the other, seemingly right, religions to divert those he can deceive from becoming Christians. Then within the Church he sows the thought seeds of many, seemingly right, Christian teachings. But they are all false teachings that oppose God and keep Christians from being fully saved and eternally secure. 1 Tim 4:1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that…some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. NLT Therefore, 1 Tim 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine (teaching) closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. He is able to get away with these deceptions because all of the false doctrines that contradict God, that he imparts through thoughts, like - “the inevitability of sin”; “God is in control anyway”; “I can’t lose my salvation” – These teachings all have a strong appeal to and give license to our sinful human nature, Inevitability of sin, 1 Jn 3:8 The one who practices sin is of (belongs to) the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the very start. This is why the Son of God was revealed, to destroy the (sin) works of the devil. Matt 1:21 …you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sin. Rm 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you… NKJV God in control, Matt 6:10 Your kingdom come, your will be done (because it is being hindered by the kingdom of darkness), on earth as it is in heaven. Can’t lose my salvation, Heb 6:4 …bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened, those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come, and who then turn away from God. NLT As Christians we do not have to be deceived, provided we grow and walk in God’s light, God has made it possible for every Christian to see through the deceptions of Satan and continue to walk in the light and not be snared by the subtle works of darkness. God’s two principal requirements to do this are: (1) A heart or spirit that remains tender toward God and receives daily the engrafting of more of God’s light giving words, and (2) A willingness to submit to and do God’s will and thereby remain under the leading and control of the Holy Spirit. Only such Christians as continue to hear and obey God’s voice, God speaking through His word and by His Spirit, and don’t listen to Satan’s thoughts or voice. John 10:4-5 And when He (The Chief Shepherd) brings out His own sheep...the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger (Satan) but will flee from him for they do not know the voice (thoughts) of strangers... 1 John 2:26-27 These things I have written to you (God’s word) concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing (Holy Spirit) which you have received from Him abides in you and…teaches you all things, and is true, and is not a lie… Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God (your spirit clothed with the protective truth of God’s words), that you may be able to stand against the wiles (deceits) of the devil. In particular Satan imparts thoughts that contradict the true teaching that every believer in Christ needs to be baptized with and remain full of and under the control of the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is the only One who can cause the word of God to become truth and light in the hearts of believers and so expose all of Satan’s works of darkness. Acts 19:2 Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? Matt 3:11 …He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit… Eph 5:18 …be filled (continually) with Spirit… Rm 8:14 …as many as are led (under the control of) by the Spirit, these are the children of God. Satan does not want to be known, but God wants to be known, He is the great revealer, 1 Cor 2:9-14 ….No (natural) mind has conceived the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit…that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God…But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God…nor can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned (revealed by God’s Spirit to a person’s re-born spirit). Matt 11:25 …Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes” (to those spiritually born again and willing to grow up in spirit). Col 1:26-27 The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known…this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Everywhere in scripture our loving and redeeming Father makes indisputably clear His eagerness to reveal Himself to the hearts or spirits, but not to the intellects, of anyone who will allow Him to do so. This of course is the absolute worst thing from Satan’s standpoint and he will do everything possible to conceal this truth. He wants to stop people becoming Christians, and then if they do, to stop them becoming true disciples of Christ. Since they, with Christ actively living in them, will make others of his captives into Christ’s disciples too. Although Jesus Christ defeated Satan at Calvary he still controls the world and most of the Church because of their ignorance of his devices. And what is God doing? He is regaining control one soul at a time, as each soul turns at His correction so that He can make Himself known to their hearts by the Holy Spirit and through His word. 2 Tim 2:24-26 …the servant of the Lord must not strive (quarrel); but be gentle to all men (people), able to teach, patient, in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if perhaps God may grant them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. NKJV Prov 1:23 Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out My Spirit on you; I will make My words known to you (to make you holy as He is holy and to expose the beguiling thoughts of Satan). Jn 16:33 Jesus, These things I have spoken unto you (the truths in this message!)…In the world you shall have tribulation (trouble, because of the world, our own flesh, and the Devil), but be of good cheer; I have overcome (All your enemies!)… NKJV Thank you Father for revealing the truth and for making a way for us to be more than conquerors, and to always triumph “in Christ”, Amen!
  5. The five points of Arminianism (from Jacobus Arminius 1559-1609) are in contrast to the five points of Calvinism. The Arminian five points are Human Free Will--This states that though man is fallen, he is not incapacitated by the sinful nature and can freely choose God. His will is not restricted and enslaved by his sinful nature. Conditional Election--God chose people for salvation based on His foreknowledge where God looks into the future to see who would respond to the gospel message. Universal Atonement--The position that Jesus bore the sin of everyone who ever lived. Resistable Grace--The teaching that the grace of God can be resisted and finally beaten so as to reject salvation in Christ. Fall from Grace--The Teaching that a person can fall from grace and lose his salvation.
  6. Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; Are some of us easy to deceive? The idea here is that because of their naivety children can be tricked, and that there are tricksters on the look out for easy pickings. Also warned against here is the potential of being carried in various different directions by the persuasiveness of doctrines coming and going like the wind. Calvinists think Arminians are deceived and vice versa, and in some quarters fierce debates rage between the two camps, but therein lies a deception, that somehow the body of Christ is edifying itself in love when the persons and beliefs of dead theologians are glorified to the extent that the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God is departed from, and the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ is no longer that which is desired. Eph 4:13-20 (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: My point is that if arguing various theological beliefs brings bitter divisions instead of unifying the faith and the knowledge desired by God for the body of Christ, as made known in His Word, then those who fall prey to it are taking the bait of those who are waiting to deceive. Now reasoned discussions that enable the body of Christ to edify itself in love, these I am all for. 💗
  7. I introduced a section within my first post in this series, as one of the most unbelievable scenarios you could read. In that section you have Rebekah and Jacob pulling off the deception of a lifetime, as Isaac is tricked into believing that Jacob was Esau merely by strapping a piece of sheepskin on Jacob's arm. I have to ask, have you ever seen sheep? They exceed the hair of man about 100 to one. While most would have run for their lives but not Jacob; and, I cannot give you any good reason why? As you see in Genesis 28:6-7, Isaac, after the deception, has instructed Jacob not to take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. After hearing this Jacob leaves toward Haran in order to comply and his mother goes with him. What just happened? Watch what Esau does. Genesis 28:6-7 NASB Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take to himself a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he charged him, saying, "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan," 7) and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram. This is the first time I noticed this aspect of the story. Note how it says, “and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram.” When you think about the reality of the situation and how furious Isaac should have been at Rebekah, then it makes all the sense in the world for her to with Jacob. Besides that, she may need to make the introductions and marriage arrangements for this favorite of sons. Esau, on the other hand, seeing how irritated his mother became about the women he married, (This is the same mother who deceived Isaac his father, and helped to cheat him out of his rightful inheritance,) went out and found himself a few more. Genesis 28:8-9 NASB So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan displeased his father Isaac; 9) and Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth. This next section focuses entirely on a dream that Jacob had. Indeed, it was a very vivid dream, in a manner similar to the dream that Abram had, it was as close to reality as you can come. You have to wonder how much understanding Jacob had about God, or where he got that understanding. The only thing we see is Isaac praying to the Lord in chapter 25. Isaac, being the son of Abraham, I can understand how and where he learned of the Lord, but the apparent influence on Jacob is not seen. Genesis 25:21-23 NASB Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22) But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23) The LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger." Jacob's Dream - Genesis 28:10-22 But first Jacob has to kneel before his father, apparently at his father's demand. Genesis 28:1 NASB So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. This is the second time Jacob has been blessed, however, Isaac is well aware of the deceitful methods that were used on him. Without going any farther, I already see a prime example of the nature and character of God, as Isaac overlooks the “sin” and bestows a purposeful blessing upon Jacob. Blessed is the Hebrew word bāraḵ: A verb meaning to bless, kneel, salute, or greet. The verb derives from the noun knee and perhaps suggests the bending of the knee in blessing. Would we expect to see Isaac kneeling before Jacob at this point? Not a chance, so it is Jacob, this time with intention, kneeling before his father. Do you think it is possible that Isaac could bring some punishment upon this son? No, and again, this is an example of God's grace, as we too, caught in our sins, deserved punishment, but what happened? The Son Jesus took all punishment on our behalf. I am well aware that I have no key character, in this scenario, that takes the punishment for Jacob. What I do see, is Jacob suffering abuse, at not only the hand of Laban but his own sons when we get to them. Pay attention to what Isaac tells Jacob. Perspective: The flood has come and gone, and, with it, should have been the giants and the evil and violence that were associated not just with them, but people in general. And, secondly, this has taken place before Moses and prior to the law. Is that what happened? Not exactly, for men still had the right to choose how they would live, and the giants returned. Genesis 6:4 tells us that afterward, they showed up again. After what? The flood. “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4 NASB Two pieces of evidence for giants after the flood comes from Numbers 13:33 and 2Samuel 21:16, both of which speak of giants still permeating the land. Canaan was one of those places and we learn of it when Israel sent 12 men to spy out the Land of Canaan. “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.” Do a word search and the first place Canaan shows up is in Genesis 9. Genesis 9:18-27 NASB Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan. 19) These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. 20) Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. 21) He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. 22) Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23) But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father's nakedness. 24) When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. 25) So he said, "Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers." 26) He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. 27) "May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant." Notice how Canaan is pointed out as the son of Ham; this is not a favorable distinction. Genesis 28:2 NASB "Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother's brother. The town of Bethuel gained it's origins in a man, as was the case with every city. Genesis 22:20-23 NASB Now it came about after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, "Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21) Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram 22) and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel." 23) Bethuel became the father of Rebekah; these eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. So here is your ancestry moment, It was told, Abraham: Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram 22) and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel." Kemuel produces a son Aram. Note the similarities to Paddan-aram! The son to be born to Nahor is Bethuel. Bethuel became the father of Rebekah Rebekah is the wife of Isaac, the mother of Esau and Jacob. This also means that Bethuel became the father of Laban. Jacob, still kneeling before his father Isaac, receives all these instructions and blessings; as though what he stole was not enough. Genesis 28:3-5 NASB "May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4) "May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham." 5) Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau. “ May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples.” “May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.” What were the blessings of Abraham? Genesis 12:1-3 NASB Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; 2) And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." Genesis 17:6-8 NASB "I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. 7) "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8) "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." I will make you a great nation I will bless you and make your name great I will bless those that bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. In you, all the families of the earth will be blessed. I will make you exceedingly fruitful and I will make nations of you kings will come forth from you I will establish my covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you … for an everlasting covenant. Be a God to you and to your descendants. And, I will give you and your descendants … all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. So, tell me, is this what you say to someone who has just deceived you? And yet, this is exactly what Isaac just did. “May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.” Genesis 28:10-11 NASB Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11) He came to a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. Haran, isn't that the place where Abram was and God told him to go to a land that He would show him? Yes, it is. But it is also the place where so many things will take place, and now Jacob is going there to find himself a wife. Fortunately, Jacob has his mommy with him to make the introductions; although we are not told that, it works for the moment. Genesis 11:26-31 NASB Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. 27) Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot. 28) Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29) Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30) Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31) Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there. Note this: “Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there. It seems God has His hands in everything, doesn't it? “He came to a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set;” Genesis 28:19 NASB He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. “And he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.” Genesis 28:18-22 NASB So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19) He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20) Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21) and I return to my father's house in safety, then the LORD will be my God. 22) "This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You." God's house? This statement is immensely significant, and so is this, “and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” Without any motivation of “law,” Jacob has made a commitment to tithe.
  8. This entire blog was spawned from a sermon entitled, What about Jacob? Or, can a man find healing in a woman? To make this brief, I did not understand, nor was I able to track with what the pastor said, as he tried to prove his point about Jacob. Sorry, I can't really see it but I am enjoying the study, as usual. As we finished part one of our look at Jacob, the grand deception was complete. Do you think Rebekah and Jacob gleefully danced around the campfire that night as they celebrated how well they pulled it off? Hardly, for Esau, as you will see, has every intention of killing Jacob once Isaac is dead. Notice how there is no concern on the part of Esau for how this will affect his mother. And, all this evokes another question, is it possible for Esau to regain his birthright? I don't think so, at least not in God's eyes. Cheating not only Esau but your father as well, you would think that Jacob would be gone already, but only minutes from now Issac calls Jacob before him and commands him to not a wife from the same cluster of women that Esau had chosen from. Isaac directs Jacob to Laban, Rebekah's brother. Maybe, Isaac knows full well what kind of man Laban can be considering the backhanded maneuver Rebekah has just pulled on Isaac. With that said, let's continue on. I mentioned in the previous post, that Esau did not take this selling of the birthright serious. If he had Wouldn't it seem logical to say something to Isaac? Wouldn't Isaac have known? Why would Esau bother to respond Isaac as though there was not a problem? “As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac, his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting.” Jacob logically only has seconds to get out of Esau's presence, and, his fathers. Genesis 27:30-37 ESV As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac, his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, "Let my father arise and eat of his son's game, that you may bless me." His father Isaac said to him, "Who are you?" He answered, "I am your son, your firstborn, Esau." Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, "Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed." As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" But he said, "Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing." Esau said, "Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing." Then he said, "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?" Isaac answered and said to Esau, "Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?" The deception is pulled off, and now you would think that Jacob has to flee, an exile. And Esau is the reason. Genesis 27:38-41 NASB Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father." So Esau lifted his voice and wept. 39) Then, Isaac, his father answered and said to him, "Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above. 40) "By your sword, you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck." 41) So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob." So Rebekah calls Jacob in once again. Genesis 27:42-45 NASB Now when the words of her elder son Esau were reported to Rebekah, she sent and called her younger son Jacob, and said to him, "Behold your brother Esau is consoling himself concerning you by planning to kill you. 43) "Now, therefore, my son, obey my voice, and arise, flee to Haran, to my brother Laban! 44) "Stay with him a few days, until your brother's fury subsides, 45) until your brother's anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send and get you from there. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?" But Jacob still hasn't left. To make matters worse, we now learn of Esau's wives and what grief they are causing Rebekah. Genesis 27:45 NASB until your brother's anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send and get you from there. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?" In response to Rebekah, Issac calls Jacob in once more. Genesis 28:1-5 NASB So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. 2) "Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother's brother. 3) "May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4) "May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham." 5) Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau. While Isaac's command is that he get a wife from Laban's daughters, we don't see anything that tells us he knows what he is looking for. Jacob, in a sense, stumbles upon Rachel, and she is a vision of how a girl should look. He wants her and is willing to work for her to get her. There is an irony here in that Rachel, is not an accident by any means, for Laban, her father is Jacob's uncle. (Consider: If Rebekah knew how to be devious it only makes sense that Laban, Rachel's father, would also know how to be underhanded.) Jacob makes no effort to negotiate for her but tells Laban that he will work seven years for her. (That timeframe may be significant on several levels. Seven is the number of perfection, redemption, and a theme that recurs throughout scripture.) It may be essential to consider Rachel's age at this time. I doubt he would have pursued her if he did not think she was old enough to marry. “Joseph married at about age 30 (Gen_41:45). This was old by Egyptian standards, since most males were still only boys when they married. Yet it is clear that a boy had to be not only sexually mature but also able to provide for his wife and thus settled in his occupation before he married. Girls seem to have married between about twelve and fourteen. They did not have to wait until established in a career. Some royal marriages, occurring for dynastic or other political reasons, took place when the individuals were very young. For example, Tutankhamen died at the age of eighteen or nineteen after a nine-year reign and marriage, so he must have been nine or ten when married.” NELSON'S Bible Manners & Customs, How the People of the Bible Really Lived, Howard F. Vos, THOMAS NELSON PUBLISHERS Jacob does not do what many desperate men would do, and rape her, he waits the seven years. He then goes to Laban and demands that she be given to him for he has paid for her. Laban deceives Jacob just as Jacob had deceived Esau and gave him Leah. Laban makes a statement here, in response to Jacob's shock and disappointment, that I never noticed before. And Laban answered It is not done thus in our country, to give the younger before the elder. Genesis 29:26 Brenton) As that particular pastor exclaimed: "this had to cut Jacob like a knife, as this is precisely what Jacob and his mother had done to Esau.” And, Uncle Laban may well have been told of it. If not, it is amazing how the Holy Spirit puts words in your mouth. According to the pastor, the premise behind all this is that Jacob, a broken man, (I am not so sure he could understand that for a long time,) pursues Rachel, the vision of perfection, in hopes that she would heal him and make him a better man. I am not sure I see all that, but it makes sense, as most men do just that. While the hope of finding something that calms the inward brokenness he feels may be going on in the back of his mind, it is not directly noted in scripture; many things aren't, and yet the more in-depth answers and subjects are there if we pursue them. One of the things that I see in scripture is that God is in control, regardless of how lousy the circumstances seem to be. The pastor said, “that God gives us examples of people who are messed up so that we can know what not to do.” If that theory is correct, then why would God tell Israel, explicitly, not to learn from the surrounding nations, for the surrounding nations were doing everything wrong, worshiping idols, and sacrificing their children to gods. While I might argue that learning from my neighbor how to work with Iron could be a necessity that would allow a civilization to create water pipes. However, there is often a hazard in close associations, especially with those not so grounded, as it can cause us to be drawn away by the deviant and those used by Satan. Along with that, I have had several acquaintances that claimed to be Christians. One, it turns out, was in a men's home (the men's home is somewhat irrelevant except that you can make an obvious assumption - and that is that the person from the home has had some mighty struggles in the past.) While the leadership of the men's home had mandated church services and Bible studies they had to attend, they could not seem to get the world out of this brother. He, in a short period, took a job on the night crew, and I rarely saw him after that. His reattachment to the world seemed to grow and he left the group home he was a part of. You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you. (Exodus 23:32-33 AMP) And you shall consume all the peoples whom the Lord your God will give over to you; your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you. (Deuteronomy 7:16 AMP) You didn't merely live by their ways and act according to their disgusting practices, but in a very short time, you acted more corruptly than they in all your ways. (Ezekiel 16:47 CJB) Is it the person becoming the snare? Perhaps, but what we do know is that Satan will deceive you through any means possible. In some cases, it might be an innocent but attractive looking woman. Yes, Jacob's life is one huge psychodrama. He is a liar, a cheat, and a general a mess; he does not even seem to slow down all those years later when he meets Esau again. But there is a method to God's madness. God seems to use broken people; he even seeks them out. He seems to find pleasure in lifting them up and healing them. On the plus side, our savior is a descendant of the line from Jacob. My point: That no matter how messed up the narrative, or, our story is, we can and should glean as much as we can from each one, for it is God's story. Sure, you think it is all yours, but it is never anything less than God's plan, you merely get to be a part of it. "For I know what plans I have in mind for you,' says Adonai, plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future. " (Jeremiah 29:11 CJB)
  9. In the Time Machine, there were people who were fed sumptuously--tables were laden with food daily. The people feeding at these tables did nothing, for they were fed by the Morlocks. Who were the Morlocks? They ate the Eloi who ate from the Morlocks' hands. God shared with me this morning that we have two options in the USA today--there are placemats set at opposing tables. Both are filled with promise; however, one is offered by satan and the other by God. Then, God gave me the song the Long Black Train. Beware of taking goods from the hand of Satan, for he usurps the place of Christ and leads men astray.
  10. Calvinism Arminianism comparison grid by Matt Slick 12/18/13 Calvinism and Arminianism are two main theological perspectives that deal with salvation. Calvinism is named after the teachings of the theologian John Calvin (1509-1564). Arminianism is named after the teachings of the theologian Jacobus Arminius (1559-1609). The Calvinist perspective has been summarized in TULIP: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints. No corresponding acronym is widely used for the Arminian perspective. Calvinism emphasizes the sovereignty of God and God's right to choose people for salvation (Acts 13:48; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). Arminians emphasize the ability and freedom of man to choose God (Joshua 24:15). In Calvinism, God is the ultimate and deciding factor in the salvation of individuals. In Arminianism, man's response to God's grace is the deciding factor. Calvinists affirm God's sovereignty over his creation (Rom. 9:22-23), sinful man's inability to freely choose God (1 Cor. 2:14), in God's electing and predestining people to salvation (2 Thess. 2:13) which is by God's choice not man's (John 1:13; Rom. 9:16), and that the saved are eternally secure because their salvation rests in Christ's work, not man's faithfulness (John 10:27-28). Arminians affirm the sovereignty of man's will and ability to choose God, that God's predestining of people is based on his foreseen knowledge of their choices, that Jesus died for all people who ever lived, and that is possible to lose one's salvation. Calvinism and Arminianism comparison grid CALVINISM ARMINIANISM Man Total depravity. Man is completely touched/affected by sin in all that he is (in nature he is completely fallen) but is not as bad as he could be (in action, i.e., not all murder, etc.). Furthermore, this total depravity means that the unregenerate will not, of their own sinful free will, choose to receive Christ. Free Will. Man is totally affected by sin in all that he is, but with the prompting of the Holy Spirit the unbeliever is capable of freely choosing God. Election Unconditional election. God elects a person based upon nothing in that person because there is nothing in him that would make him worthy of being chosen; rather, God's election is based on what is in God. God chose us because he decided to bestow his love and grace upon us, not because we are worthy, in and of ourselves, of being saved. Conditional Election. Election to salvation is conditioned upon God's foreseen faith in the person. Atonement Limited atonement. Christ bore the sin only of the elect, not everyone who ever lived.1 Universal Atonement. Jesus bore the sin of all people, the elect and the non-elect. Regeneration Irresistible grace. The act of God making the person willing to receive him. It does not mean that a person cannot resist God's will. It means that when God moves to save/regenerate a person, the sinner cannot successfully resist God's movement and he will be regenerated. Resistible Grace. The sinner can successfully resist the grace of God and not be regenerated when God convicts that person. Security Perseverance of the saints. We are so secure in Christ that we cannot fall away. Falling From Grace. It is possible to fall away from the faith and lose one's salvation.2
  11. “23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” (Matthew 24:23-25, NIV). Have you noticed, just how often on Christian television, you hear the televangelists uttering the word: “release,” usually as they point their fingers in a certain direction, then in said direction, they order God to act! It seems as if this term is now ubiquitous throughout so many evangelical churches as I hear it all the time. However, what is it that they are hoping to release? It could be the Holy Spirit, but another more likely contender is the anointing, a claimed blessing which had been promoted by an obscure American group, who were collectively known as the latter rain movement in the 1940s, but which has today returned to much of the evangelical movement as a new and unchallengeable orthodoxy. This modern movement, largely within evangelicalism, hopes to anoint certain special Christians, so that such anointed ones will then become super-Christians, that is a new breed of powerful miracle workers, by working signs and wonders, who’ll then convert the world for the Lord. Now the anointing is the key, as it’s this anointing which turns ordinary Christians into miracle working evangelical super-Christians! In the light of this, isn’t it relevant that Christ himself warned that the chief sign of the last days will be the arrival of a great many false Christ’s, who would deceive the elect (Matthew 24:23-25). But when one understands that the word “Messiah” or “Christ,” means “the anointed,” this prophecy takes on a new light, so it could this be a prophecy of a great end time false signs and wonders movement? Could be the modern Church, led and typified by rich televangelists, who repeatedly announce that they are releasing the anointing upon their deceived victims, actually be the fulfilment of the prophesied false Messiahs (Christ’s) of Matthew 24:23?
  12. Propaganda, deception, myth, junk science, can you distinguish the truth? published December 16, 2010 Notice the title carefully. It describes the subject. I will be using some examples of things that might fall into the categories above, but please remember that the examples are not the topic, the topic is about being deceived vs. discerning the truth. We are bombarded with messages from television, newspapers, magazines, movies, radio, schools, the web. Even our friends share their opinions and beliefs with us. It is easy to accept what our loved ones tell us. Children are especially susceptible to believing what parents tell them. I believe this is God's design. He want children to learn from their parents, and He wants parents to teach their children. While the most important subject that a parent can teach a child is about a loving Creator/God and His plan for redemption, it is not the only thing. We who are parents, are responsible for training our children in ethics and life skills, and from my observation, I think many are doing a poor job. Of course, it is not easy, the same things I mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph, are bombarding our children as well. This is not about parents and children though, it is about everyone, so let's look at some examples of challenges we face. Example 1 - Emotional Manipulation in Media Let's take global warming as one example. I am not here to debate the validity of either side in that debate, but I want to show one way that information is used to sway our opinions. The image below has become very famous. It is used in magazine and articles on the web, documentaries etc. It depicts a polar bears on a small piece of ice. Often, the accompanying test or commentary will say something to the effect, that this polar bear is drifting out so sea on this little chunk of ice, because man made global warming is melting the polar ice caps. Now, is global warming real? Maybe. Is it caused by man? It is possible we are contributing to it. But let's examine what the picture is, how it is used, and what it is said to be of. First off, you will notice that the photo I put here, has the iStockphoto watermark. iStock is the source of the picture, they are a stock photo agency that licenses buyers to use their pictures (without the watermark). If you were to go to the iStockphoto website, and locate this picture, you will find the text: "A polar bear managed to get on one of the last ice floes floating in the Arctic sea. Due to global warming the natural environment of the polar bear in the Arctic has changed a lot. The Arctic sea has much less ice than it had some years ago." Sometimes, that quotation accompanies the picture in articles. What you would also see at iphoto, is this: "(This images (sic) is a Photoshop design. Polarbear (sic), ice floe, ocean and sky are real, they were just not together in the way they are now)" In case you have not guessed, this last part is usually not quoted, maybe it never is. So what do we have here? We have people knowingly using a contrived picture, and implying that this is one of the last ice floes, and somehow, this lucky polar managed to find it. This is designed to arouse your emotions, feel sorry for the polar bear, and generate real concern about this disappearing ice floes. This could be expected to work on children, but it has also seemed to work on adults. Again, I am not debating global warming here, I am demonstrating manipulation. One might think that is is a good thing to do something like this, because it is an important cause which needs to be promoted. I say fine, if global warming is real, then sell it with facts. Will the people who use this kind of tactic bother to tell you that there are 5 times as many polar bears today as there were in 1950? I doubt it. Will the mention that DNA genome studies indicate that the polar bear has survived previous global warmings? Not likely. Do they mention that polar bears can swim 60 miles? Seldom. Do they mention that polar bears can live on land, without any ice? You get the idea. While the ice may be thinning, and the polar bear's normal habitat may be shrinking, they are manipulating information and images to manipulate your emotions. Resist emotional manipulation, recognize it when it is happening, and look deeper into things. Don't believe something, just because it tugs your heart strings, believe things because facts back them up. Remember, even people we trust, who would never lie to us, can also be deceived. Example 2 - Email Urban Legends I got an email one time, one of those chain emails that people forward to their friends. Fortunately, I do not have many friends, so i do not get these often. This one was talking about some woman who purchased a large potted cactus, and put it in her home as a decoration. Without going into all the details that builds the story up, the cactus later explodes from the pressure of growing baby tarantulas inside it, and the house is filled with the little critters. Now I read this, and had a huge laugh, because the story is so ridiculous. Where do I begin? Cactus are not house plants, they need sun. Tarantulas do not lay eggs in cactus. The babies, in order to grow, would have to have a food supply, they eat insects. If there were enough insects in the cactus to feed them, would not the cactus have already exploded from their volume? Cacti are not hollow, there is no place for all of this to even happen. Cacti are stronger that fragile spiders, if the pressure were that great, the spiders would have been squished. There are so many levels that point this out as an urban legend, but as obvious as it was so to me, apparently it was not obvious to the friend that forwarded it to me. If you receive this sort of email, do a little research before passing it on. Think also, of what the consequences of passing it on might be. For example, there are often emails forwarded about some new way criminals have come up with to get their victims. I won't go into examples, and I would not forward these. Most of the time, they are not true. Some of the time, the tactics might even be clever. By forwarding these around, the will eventually fall into the hands of criminals, who believe it or not, also have friends with email. Why give them clever ways to victimize people? There is one of these that surfaces once in a while about Madalyn Murry O'Hair, telling of here successful effort to remove Bible reading and prayer from schools, and her plans to get the Federal Communications Commission to ban the gospel from broadcasting. It urges Christians to petition the FCC. It also says that Madalyn is campaigning to remove Christmas songs and programs from public schools. I have no problem with Christian activism. What saddens me, is that people just assume that these sorts of emails are true, after all, it was forwarded to them by a trusted friend, so they forward it to people that trust them. So, is there any truth to the claims in the email? Ms. O'Hair never petitioned the FCC on the topic, nor does the FCC have the authority to ban religious programming. Those who know me, know that I believe that we need to be ever vigilant though, as the Federal government has had a track record of overstepping it's constitutional bounds. Never-the-less, petition number RM-2493, to which the email refers, had nothing to do with Ms. O'Hair and was not about banning religious broadcasting, it was about preventing religious organizations from obtaining broadcasting licenses on channels reserved for educational purposes, and then using them for other purposes. It was defeated in 1975, yet the FCC still is receiving petitions to stop Madalyn (who had nothing to do with it) from having her way. Now, if someone were to read this email, and then just look up Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the would discover that she went missing in 1995, and her remains were discovered in 2001, so you can rest assured that she is not a danger to your religious liberty. There is a newer version of this email floating around out there, that has president Obama as the villain. Scare Tactics Did you notice that in all the cases above, that those who were perpetuating this disinformation, did so one the basis of fear? You have heard all of the dire predictions of the result of global warming, the stripping of your religious rights, how scary would it be to have a house full of Tarantulas? If you read something, and it induces fear, that is a good time to take a deep breath and say "Wait, is this really true?" If you can get the fear out of it, you can more clearly think rationally, let fear grip you, and you will focus on the fear, and stop looking for the truth. Fear paralyzes, truth empowers. This tactic of employing fear is wide spread. We see it in politics - vote for us, because our opponents want to send your babies to war, and feed you parents dog food. I know, it sounds silly, but those have been used to mobilize opposition. For some reason, we are willing to believe our guys when they lie to us, and are ready to believe the worst of "the other guys". Don't fall for it, both sides lie and use fear in politics. It is true in day to day advertising as well. If you have dandruff, bad breath, tooth decay, wrinkles, you will not be happy. If your laundry is not a white as can be, if your car doesn't get 40 miles to a gallon of gasoline, you will be ostracized or you are not a responsible world citizen. Some of this stuff isn't even public advertising, some of it is just word of mouth rumor. Years ago, in a discussion on Worthychat, the topic of artificial sweeteners came up. One person contending that Aspartame (NutraSweet, and Equal) had formaldehyde in it, and could lead to cancer and brain tumors. Now, I am immediately skeptical of such claims, because our food an drug administration is fairly cautious, so cautious that you could make a valid case that thousands have died, as a result of being denied medications that could have saved their lives, because they have not passed the stringent FDA guidelines that allows release to the public. We sometime have to wait a decade or more, for the release of a drug in the U.S., that has been successfully employed in other countries. There is no way around this, we can either be cautious, and lose people, or we can be reckless, and lose people. My point is, that it is doubtful that the FDA would approve something, that it knew caused cancer and tumors. I did not challenge the chatter's assertion that Aspartame contains formaldehyde, because I just did not know the the facts. I did however, look it up in the next few days. What did I discover? Aspartame does contain formaldehyde, well sort of. Under certain conditions of temperature, a small amount of formaldehyde can form in aspartame. How much? Let's put it this way. If you drank 500 cans of soda sweetened with aspartame, you would be ingesting about as much formaldehyde as is contained in a single orange. A similar one, is that in some countries, they have all but ceased using sodium lauryl sulfate. What is that? It is the main ingredient in many if not most shampoos. It is rumored to cause cancer. Big surprise, most 'dangerous' things are using the cancer scare. It is said, that it is a powerful detergent, used to clean garage floors. Now, there is some truth to that. The properties that make for a good garage floor cleaner, would be that is is able to clean, dissolve oil and grease, be water soluble, and not be too dangerous. These are the same properties that we want in a shampoo, the ability to clean, break down grease and oil, and dissolve in water. Furthermore, since it is going down the drain, it cannot to too toxic, or we put the environment at risk. Bio-degradibility is what we need. This type of substance, is known as a biodegradable anionic surfactant. We usually refer to them as detergents. While there are others, they all do the same thing. Any ingredient that will clean your hair well, will also clean a garage floor. There are two types of people who will attempt to scare you about sodium lauryl sulfate - those who are ignorant, and those who willfully deceive in order to sell you an alternative. Use what you want, but don't be fooled by urban legend hype. How did this get started? The cancer scare and shampoo started in the early seventies, because shampoo contained nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are known carcinogens (cancer causing substances). What is odd though is that bacon contains nitrosamines, and we eat that. We were afraid to put nitrosamines in our hair, but not too afraid to eat them. Go figure. There is one ingredient commonly used in industry, which is responsible for the deaths of thousands. It is commonly dumped into our oceans lake and streams, and there is some in every household. An analysis of your blood, would show it's presence. It is not only in the chemical solutions of cleaning products that we use, it is even used in food preparation and even as an ingredient in the food itself. This dangerous chemical compound, is Dihydrogen Monoxide. according to the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division : Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the highly reactive hydroxyl radical, a species shown to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol. Petitions have circulated in the U.S., but to date, no legislation has been enacted to ban or curtail it's use. New Zealand, however, had been on the cutting edge of fighting DHMO. In 2001 a staffer in New Zealand Green Party MP Sue Kedgley's office responded to a request for support for a campaign to ban dihydrogen monoxide by saying she was "absolutely supportive of the campaign to ban this toxic substance". In 2007 Jacqui Dean, New Zealand National Party MP, wrote a letter to Associate Minister of Health Jim Anderton asking "Does the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs have a view on the banning of this drug?" You have probably heard of this dangerous substance before. In the U.S., we usually refer to it as water. That is how normal, ordinary things, can become something to fear. Nothing said about water above, was untrue. Of course, when there is a fear, it is an opportunity to sell the antidote - to sell hope. We fear cancer, so we will but things that offer us hope of prevention. I know someone who spent $500 on what amounts to a blender with colored LEDs. Supposedly, you put water in this, swirl it around, and you get hexagonal water, which prevents cancer. I wish you could see me roll my eyes. However, just because there is no science to back up claims of health from certain practices and substances, doesn't mean they won't work. Look up the placebo effect sometime. What is the point of all this? I'll bet you thought I would never come to that. The point is that we are easily and readily deceived. Deception What all of the above have in common is deception. Deception can be done to us, or we can be self deceived. The worst kind of deception by far, is religious deception. The are thousands of religions and cults offering differing world views and ideas. Atheism and related dogma (like evolution as an example), while not properly religion, are practically religion, because they are based on faith and offer alternative thought to traditional religion. Let's be clear about one thing, if there are ten ideas which contradict each other, no more than one of them can be correct. Some may question why I said religious deception is the worst kind. If it is true (and it is obviously true) that it is impossible for two or more contradictory statements to all be true, then we have to compare religious claims, and their implications. The bible tells us that mankind is too flawed to enter in to eternal life in Heaven, and that we need a savior to deliver us from the consequences of our sins. The Bible presents Jesus as that savior, and the only way that we may enter Heaven. That claim is either true, or it is false. If it is true, then we must follow that faith, or suffer eternal consequences. If it is false, then we should not go about being self deceived and deceiving others. This is of such vital importance, that we should spent to most effort possible, to arrive at what is true. To fail to do so is to risk eternal damnation for ourselves and for others. Nothing can possibly be more important. Much of what I discussed above, involves what many call "junk science". I would like to propose, that there is also "junk religion". Junk religion, is similar to junk science and urban legends. It plays on fears, exploits false hopes, and like junk science, can be exposed with a little research and a willingness to yield to the fact, if we can get past our emotions. Some might argue that playing on fears and emotions, offering false hope is exactly what religion does. That is true. Since it is true that no more than one religion can really be true (I am not talking about denominations, but truly different religions), then that means that all but perhaps one, is a junk religion, However, if there is one that is true, we need to find that one and avoid all others, and discourage others from getting involved in false hope with eternal consequences. we need to avoid all of them but one, if even one is true. I am haunted by something Penn Gillette said: "How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?" Pretty convicting words coming from an atheist. Whatever else you may think about Penn Gillette, I do believe truth is important to him. He just has not discovered it yet. Never-the-less this foul mouthed entertainer and skeptic, has done much to expose a lot of the junk science that is out there, one can only hope and pray that one day he will receive a blessing from God and use his sharp mind and investigative skills and apply them to the religious issue. We as Christians, are aware that forces of deception exist, but being aware of them is not enough to be free of their effects. We need to be vigilant in our pursuit of the truth, ever on the guard for religious deception, even from within our own ranks, perhaps especially so. Dr. John Warrick Montgomery wrote an interesting book called "Damned through the Church", it is worth a read. From within the ranks of those that call themselves Christians, we have seen doctrines emerge which appeal to our base instincts. The prosperity gospel, for example. Some have come to believe that God wants us all healthy, happy and rich. He wants us content in our circumstances, but that does not mean that He wants our circumstances to cause our contentment. As usual, I have not set about to write this blog, knowing exactly where I am going, so it should not surprise you to learn, that I do not know when and where to end. So, having grown weary of writing by now, I will leave you with the following verses to ponder: 2 Tim 2:15 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth. NASB 1 Tim 6:3-10 3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. NIV 2 Tim 4:3-6 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. NASB 1 Peter 3:14-18 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. NASB Be content! photo from freakingnews.com Omegaman 2.0
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