Points to Ponder: History and Religion and Their Dual Impact on Community Relations

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Evolution Of Racism: It's How You Say It

In a Monday, October 11, 2010 USA Today article by Paul Davidson Money Section B we are confronted with two revelations. One, the language of racism has evolved and two, most victims of racism are clueless and defenseless.

The article basically says there are jobs but you my little nigglet aren't getting any. That's not true many of you will counter. Things are better. Yes and no. Yes, America still has problems but if I am qualified I still have a chance, you say. Stop defending what you don't understand. Yes, America, not Black people, elected its first not completely white person. Hooray. It was a set up. A political coup de tat. And I believe, under the circumstances our President is doing a commendable job. However, the President's Economic Recovery Stimulus Program is purposely being stalled at all levels.

Go to Recovery.gov and check out your neck of the woods. There are millions in my county just sitting waiting for the Republicans to take over and offer a real fix. You will notice that money is in place, lots of money for jobs, for training and re-training but it sits day after day, week after week why most complain that Obama is not doing his job. BS. I say we (citizens) aren't doing our job, holding those accountable who lord it over us. I know, I got off track a bit to make a point. There is no logical defense against racism. None, natta, zero.

The USA Today article says "jobs are starting to open up again". Check the language: "Employers are thinking about hiring. They're advertising openings. They're just not hiring - at least in big numbers. Not yet". Check this out. According to a recent Us Labor Department Turnover Survey "job openings rose by 33%, in the year ended in August, while hirings edged up 4%. In evolved racist lingo this means: "hirings will pick up if conditions improve". But, what controls "conditions"? People in positions of power control "conditions". Now, there are plenty of justifications as to why there are plenty jobs but hirings are slow. Jeff Torres CEO of Manpower, the largest temp organization in the country has this to say - "part of the problem is a mismatch of skills". Most unemployed people realize this. This is why the President's Economic Stimulus Program is basically being ignored. If given a chance workers with mismatched skills could undergo re-training in deficient areas.

One company surveyed has more than a 1000 applications on file to fill 100 jobs but refuse to hire until the "right people" comes along. Not qualified people, right people. Others in positions to hire are talking "culture". Being a "team player" is no longer valid to keep certain people out of the job market. Now, unless you are a good cultural fit you probably won't get short listed for that much needed job. Do you own a motor cycle? Do you golf? Do your kids play soccer? Where do you vacation? Do you like camping, hiking or water sports? These types of questions are covered in the application section that says: Tell us a little bit about yourself. It is here that you are culturally stereotyped.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

Don't get angry. Get God. Follow his plan for your life. Seek Him first, then realizing that Faith without works is dead, go to the Department of Labor, after you have studied job market projections and request retraining based on your research. Make them change the language again, but never give up...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Christian Maturity

Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? (NASB)
Romans 6:16

Luke 22:25 And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called 'Benefactors.'

There is a grave danger to blindly follow and listen to "leaders".  It is crucial to spend quality time in The Word Of God and seeking diligently after Him. I'm not talking "prayer time" where you ritually and at a certain time, perform your duties. You might as well be Catholic, Jehovah Witness or Muslim. They perform rituals. My point is this; a mature Christian is a believer in Jesus who rightly divides The Word 2 Timothy 2:15, is able to discern spirits, Hosea 4:6, Luke 12:57 and Matthew 16:3 and whose character is bold yet humble. A mature Christian is like Caleb, he or she has a "different spirit" Numbers 14:24. Caleb means "bold, impetuous; dog". Caleb was as loyal to God as any dog to its master.  Caleb's tenacity allowed him to be the oldest soldier who fought his way into the promised land.  To be called  a "servant" by The Most High God Amen ones faith has to be impeccable. Only two were given the title "my servant" directly by God; Moses and Caleb.  Like Caleb my total trust and faith in God my Lord and Saviour, my Master Jesus Christ Amen cannot be affected by those of lesser faith . I can't be intimidated, broken or whipped into line and I care not what others think of me because The Word says all true followers of Jesus have a cross to bear and would be treated just as Jesus was treated.  We have to count it all as joy.

If I live to please spiritual leaders then I make The  Living Word non-and-void. A true sheperd like Jesus gives his life for the sheep. Most modern church leaders are spoiled and treat The Body Of Christ like a 9-5 job. They screen calls and openly demand that their congregation not call them  "after hours". That's like Jesus saying: "I only cast out demons Monday- Wednesday between 9 and 5. Thursday - Saturday is set aside for raising the dead  and I don't work on Sunday or Holidays. I know The Word says we are to obey those over us but it also says leaders in The Church are called to be different. They aren't called to sit high and "lord it over" the flock and be served but they are  to serve those in their care.  Modern church leaders are in need of being shephered themselves.

He (Jesus) also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.  Luke 6:39-40.  Paul warned, that each should be careful how they build.  This simply means if you follow a wise teacher you shall be wise but if you follow a blind teacher (one in error) then you learn the same way; in error.

   Romans 8:5 says "those who are controlled by The Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit". The Word says without faith it is impossible to please The Lord. So, in order to please The Spirit, The Lord you have to operate in faith.  The reason why there is so much strife in The Body Of Christ is because modern church leaders have drifted away from The Leadership Model that Jesus left for His Church and are no longer controlled by Holy Spirit but modern marketing strategies and techniques and the Body of  Christ because they are stuck in a milk fed state cannot discern where they are being led. The Blind leading the blind.

In the Church Of Acts we are told that decision making in The Body Of Christ was not the responsibility of pastors and elders but of the unified Body Of Christ -
Acts 15:22 Then the apostles, the elders, and the whole church decided to choose some of their men to send with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch.

1Co 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Too many modern church "leaders" are in grave error concerning church authority and they have not been challenged by believers who are equipped with sound doctrine. Too many modern believers are dependent on second hand "word" from from "pastor" and even when admonished by the pastors to search the Scriptures for themselves don't understand the difference between meat and milk :

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?  1 Corinthians 3:1-3

How many, reading these meaty words will reject them . The Word says - Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). James 1:5 says-

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  Once a believer receives Wisdom from God Understanding will follow.

Taken out of context The Word of God is made to support  modern church heirarchy. I am  threading  on religious ground in order to present an observation. Those who become angry from reading this are in great spiritual trouble because I say or write only what The Bible supports. Paul said this concerning authority -
1 Corinthians 3:10-15

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Wait a minute. "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain...." Psalm 127:1

But Paul said: ...By the grace God has given me, I (meaning Paul) laid a foundation as an expert builder He then cautions - But each one should be careful how he builds. And the curious verse 11;  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. Then why does Paul make a claim to laying "a foundation as an expert builder" ? No, Paul, we are called to build on the foundation which is Jesus Christ. Jesus was a carpenter and Paul was not. Paul was a tent maker. A tent isn't made to last. A foundation of a building is. Is this a heartless criticism of Paul ? No, this is a Spirit led observation of a real man, Paul who spoke  and wrote these words. I merely question them in light of Scripture.  In declaring that he laid a foundation and someone else is building on it sounds like heresy.

 It's impossible to build a foundation on a foundation.  Yet, this is exactly what Paul is saying. The Word says life and death is in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21.  
From AD 30, beginning with the Catholic Church to today hundreds of "foundations" (denominations) have been laid.  "For GOD is not the author of confusion, but of peace..."  1Corinthians 14:33. Indeed God is the author of Peace but His mission to earth was not to bring peace. Jesus asked this question:  Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth?"  Luke 12:51.

A common misunderstanding always lurking in the church is that Jesus is always and everywhere the great "smoother-over". Whenever he found antagonistic people or tense situations he smoothed things over. The written gospels, however, paint a very different picture. According to the gospels wherever Jesus went there was a disruption.

Jesus comes upon some orthodox folk who care more for their religious reputations and their supposed religious superiority than they will ever care for personal integrity and transparency before God. To them Jesus says, "You people go halfway around the world to lasso one convert, and when you finally get him you make him twice as much a child of hell as you are yourselves." Disruption. Next day Jesus comes upon some people who think they have preferential status before God just because they are Israelites. "There were many widows in Israel in the days when Jezebel, wicked woman, was seeking the prophet Elijah in order to kill him", says Jesus. "But who took Elijah , Israel 's greatest prophet, into her home and provided sanctuary for him at terrible risk to herself? A widow from a nation you Israelites pronounce 'godless.'" Another disruption.
III: -- The truth is, wherever Jesus went there was conflict. Yet Jesus never caused trouble for the sake of causing trouble. He didn't have a personality disorder that gloated over being a disturber. He caused a disruption only in order that his hearers might finally hear and heed and do the truth of God, therein finding the profoundest peace of God. Whenever our Lord caused pain he did so only in order that the people whom he plunged into greater pain might submit themselves to the great physician himself. Whenever God's truth is held up in a world of falsehood there is going to be disruption. There has to be disruption if the shalom of God is going to appear.
Victor Shepherd
January 2003

1 Peter 4:17-18 - "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Saved By Grace Through Faith : What About Obedience?

Popular theology has reduced the commandments of Christ and His Apostles to a practical nullity. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that." Mark 7:13. Teaching Grace out of context apart from obedience  has totally obscured the principle of obedience as the basis of our acceptance with God in Christ, by its doctrine of "justification by faith alone," and that too, of the most momentary character in the hour of death. It is part of the modern restitution of primitive apostolic ways, to recognize distinctly, that while faith turns a sinner into a saint, obedience only will secure a saint's acceptance at the judgment seat of Christ; and that a disobedient saint will be rejected more decisively than even an unjustified sinner. The Bible says it this way:  When a righteous man disobeys he will not be saved just as the wicked man's wickedness will not cause him to fall if he repents. Ezekiel 33:12.

The rule or standard of obedience is to be found in the commandments of Christ. Christ speaks very plainly on this subject of obedience in relationship to being in His perfect Will.  Jesus  summed up the importance of obedience in this saying  - "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love."
Before we can keep his commandments, we must know them; and in order to know them to any purpose, we must remember them. This epitome is intended as a help to the memory. The commandments are picked out from the apostolic writings, and classified in a way convenient to remember, and printed in a form convenient for carrying about on the person daily, so that they may be often looked at, and imprinted on the mind. The references are supplied for the satisfaction of those who desire to be quite sure of their foundation. What excellent men and women are those who keep all these commandments! Where are they? Lord, increase their number.

In the most Holy name Jesus Christ Amen. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight Oh Lord my Strength and my Redeemer...

Ezekiel 33:12-19 is about the righteousness of the righteous and how they wrongly divide the word . Of mans' righteousness Isaiah likened to "filthy rags" Isaiah 64:4-9.

This people draw near with their words and honour me with their lips service, but they remove their heart far from me(Isa 29:13)

The Lord says, "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean, take away from before my eyes the evil of your deeds. Cease to do evil, learn to do good" (Isa 1:16-17). The passage goes on to say that if the people do this willingly and obediently, they will be rewarded and blessed (Isa 1:18-20). But, the key here is that we must learn to do good.  We have to practice doing good.
Here’s another example: "Thus says the Lord, Preserve justice and do righteousness... How blessed is the man who does this..." (Isa 56:1-2).

So, here we are given the principle that we must "learn" in order "to do good". That principle is obedience. We must learn to be obedient. If being obedient was not a problem we would be through with sin. But, we all know that is not the case. This is exactly what Paul was saying back in Romans when he wrote this:

Romans 7:15-25 (New International Version)

15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
 21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
      So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. James says a double minded man is unstable in all he does James 1:8.

All of the Commandments are subordinate to Love. But, for us obedience is paramount. Why? Glad you asked: How can any of us have any hope of Loving like Jesus if we are disobedient? Through Grace right? Wrong. If we are living ouitside the will of God as unbelievers  then we enjoy God's Mercy. Some would argue "common grace" is extended to all. This is a Calvinist argument. Calvin taught that there were levels of Grace. There is common, special and saving grace. This is an example of the "traditions of men that has caused Gods' Word to be null and void". Grace is reserved for disobedient believers and believers struggling with overwhelming issues period. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says:   But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

My Grace is sufficient for you refers to Paul the believer, Paul who follows Jesus  by Faith, like us (modern believers). Paul received his understanding of Jesus through the Holy Spirit by Faith just as we do. We have to stop depending on Grace and focus our attention instead on being obedient to The Word of God. Grace is like a credit card. You are responsible how you use it...

As always: Seek ye first the Kingdom Of God and don't worry about the rest...