Independence Day and Jeremiah

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Are you a preacher like Jeremiah? If you’re a preacher, you should be. If not, then you’re not doing the Lord’s bidding. In Jeremiah 1:9-10, the Lord set forth the prophet’s mission. He was to root out, tear down, and build back up. Now, it must be remembered that Jeremiah had an assigned mission in a circumstance that is not our own. Yet, his mission is not all that different than a mission belonging to the preacher of the Gospel. In 1:17, the Lord said to Jeremiah that he was to prepare himself for this mission because the people of the land would not hear what he had to say and, most certainly, they would not obey the charge that came to them from the Lord.

The reason for their stubbornness was because of their national loyalty, directly associated with their wicked heart (17:9); they held on to a hope the Lord would not let them be conquered. They were a deceived people holding on to this. We shake our heads at how obstinate some can be, not realizing that we are not much different than they were. For Jeremiah, a preacher of the Lord’s message, this was not something easy for him. One can be the Lord chosen servant, as Jeremiah was, and still look for the exit door when the “heat in the kitchen” becomes unbearable; the exit door looks mighty attractive!

Before Jeremiah gets underway in a serious sort of way, the Lord sets forth the problem. First, it was the Lord who led the Israelites out of bondage from Egypt. Second, the people chose to forget this and changed the glory of God from something else. Third, the Lord asked: “What injustice have your fathers found in Me…” that they would choose to leave their protective wall (cf. 2:5). Even though the Lord asked the question, He knew full well what happened and why, but He wanted them to think on this before He acted. Thus, He sent Jeremiah to get them to seriously consider the path they were walking and what the Lord was about to do. They refused. Because they did this, the Lord’s word was going to resonate in a such a way in which they were not prepared. “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and a bitter, that thou hast forsaken Jehovah thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts” (2:19).

In reading Jeremiah 1 and 2, there is a New Testament application. A preacher of the Lord’s gospel message is so serious that men who preach and elders who lead, if they are not serious students of the Word, the people are misled. Men who serve as elders and preachers are not to be devotional reader (only) of the Scriptures, but they are to be serious students. Why is that? Because they lead the Lord’s people and if they don’t know the Lord’s teachings to a deeper level than that which comes from a devotional reading of Scripture, then wolves arise from their own midst and lead the flock astray, and those whose knowledge is only surface-oriented are in no position to protect the Lord’s heritage.

In addition to this, they must be teachers of the Lord’s word, that is, they must be capable and involved in teaching the church the Lord’s way. This may include teaching the youth in their respective Bible classes, but it also includes teaching adults. If one can’t teach (or refuses), how can that one (or they) lead? If they don’t, they allow others to do it for them and they fail the brethren.

What about preachers? The same that is said for the elders applies to the preacher also. He is in better position to learn and know more than any in the congregation, but with that knowledge comes a serious responsibility. First, he must live what he learns. Second, he must not allow the accumulated knowledge to generate within him arrogance. Brethren see through this quickly and confidence is lost; when such is the case ears are turned away. Every time I read through Jeremiah I think of these things. I fear there are many men who lead who do not think enough along these lines. Liberty and independence were before Judah, but those of Jeremiah’s day refused to hear – and it cost them dearly! Let us hear the spirit of Jeremiah.

Twitter Debate

TWITTER DEBATE

My opening post and the subsequent replies.

Tom: “I don’t believe in God!” Mike: “Do you think that matters? You soon will.” #atheism #theism

This opening post generated a reply from icarus62 @icarus62 (This is his twitter description: Interested in science, low impact living, growing food, natural building. Vegan, atheist, naturist. Cycle 3,000 miles/yr. He/him. English.)

RT: his opening reply to my post consisted of this link. I opened it and replied with the following:

RT: It’s too bad he did not follow his own rules when he was challenged to an oral debate on the existence of God by Thomas B. Warren (google him) in 1980, affirming the proposition, “I know God does not exist.” He does now.

icarus62: No. 1 in Carl Sagan’s ‘cognitive tools’ is: “Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the ‘facts'” There is no independent confirmation that any gods really exist, so why (apart from emotional reasons) would it make sense to believe it?

RT: I assume, with your reply, you’re an atheist. Set forth a deductive argument with the conclusion, “Therefore, I know God does not exit.”

icarus62: I don’t think that’s something that can be proven. If you suggest that something (a deity) exists outside the universe and not subject to its laws etc., then I don’t see how you could use logic to prove it doesn’t exist… but there’s no rational reason to believe in it either.

RT: Then, you’re agnostic. You would be mistaken on this. That which came into existence must have a cause. The material universe came into existence. Therefore, the material universe must have a cause. This cause is necessarily outside the universe.

icarus62: “That which came into existence must have a cause.” Why? How do you know? What does ‘came into existence’ mean? Is it possible to have a state in which nothing exists? Is it possible to get ‘something from nothing’? I don’t think this is as straightforward as you suggest.

RT: It’s more than straightforward. A state of nothingness is only in relation to a material universe (so-called big bang). Your last question: Something exist, thus something brought it into existence. Something does not come from nothing. Logical and physical impossibility.

icarus62: “Something does not come from nothing. Logical and physical impossibility” By that reasoning, everything that exists now can never have come from nothing, and must have always existed.

RT: You did not pay attention to what I wrote earlier, which is directly connected to my previous post. “That which came into existence must have a cause. The material universe came into existence. Therefore, the material universe must have a cause.”

icarus62: So why doesn’t “The material universe came into existence” contradict “Something does not come from nothing”?

RT: In this question, you’re implying it does. You’re going to have to show from the law of contradiction how the two propositions are in contradiction to one another.

icarus62: You seem to be saying “the universe came into existence from nothing” and “it’s impossible for something to come into existence from nothing”. Pretty sure there’s a contradiction there, and that’s before we get to whether you have any basis for suggesting it came into existence.

RT: I said nothing of the sort. Read through everything I posted and see where I said, “the universe came into existence from nothing”. It is most certainly true that the material universe is something, this something came into existence, and this “coming into existence” must have a cause.

icarus62: I’m not trying to catch you out but I don’t see how the universe “coming into existence” is any different from coming into existence from nothing. There was nothing, then there was a universe. That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it?

RT: Yes, that is what I am saying, but the source of the material realm is not “nothing” but something. The “big bang” of the material universe illustrates “coming into existence.” There are only two options: 1) came from nothing; 2) came from something.

icarus62: We don’t know that the big bang was the universe coming into existence. The only thing science can tell us is that the universe, about 14 billion years ago, was very hot and very dense. Beyond that we don’t know what happened, or what came ‘before’ (if there was a ‘before’).

RT: Oh, yes we do. The number you used illustrates a point of origin. Thus, it’s not eternal, it came into existence. Science is not on your side in this regard.  

Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace

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How does one keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? When people willingly join themselves together, they do so with good intentions. Each one comes from a place that is not shared by others in that group. We all have our experiences, perspectives, and we launch into the future with that. Sometimes, we forget that not everyone thinks like I do. When we forget this, we attribute to others “they understand” my intentions (my motives) when, in fact, they may not. A great failing of humanity is this: attributing to another my way of thinking.

In answering the question, the only right answer is under the banner of the Lord’s leadership. We have political perspectives that align, but they do not always align perfectly. We have philosophies of life that align, but they do not always align perfectly. When we address another who is totally different from me, then what? Can we still be unified? Yes, but only under the banner of the Lord’s authority. The Lord molds us into a thinking people that aligns with Him, and not our heritage or perspective.

In this approach to keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace we gain the Lord (by coming to Him), and the Lord gains all those who love and obey Him. With love, devotion, and conviction, we live as Paul exhorted us to live, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me…” (cf. Gal. 2:20). With this new approach to life, we operate from the source of love, as revealed in that which God did for us; we seek to show this love to others, regardless of their point of reference and circumstances (cf. Matthew 7:12; 22:34-40). We are kind, gentle, teach the truth, forbearing to those we believe have done us wrong, allow not yesterday to get in front of today. In short, we live as Christ.

How much effort are you putting in to keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace? RT

Without God

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Without God in government, Congress makes laws with no intention of enforcing them. Without God, men and women in Congress live by their god (the $ bill). Without God, the communities are led by the forces of Satan. Without God being the center of the community, we are led into hedonism, which results in tragedies of great magnitude, but include smaller tragedies daily. Without men, husbands, fathers taking responsibility and leading their families in the Lord’s way children go awry. Without God, many women (mothers) have to go-it-alone.

Without God, we currently live in the United States with people living aimlessly, lost in a cold dark world. We are a lost nation arrogantly thinking that government is our “father” who knows best.

Tragedy in Texas

There are some things that are fairly easy to establish, such as there is no moral compass greater than that which has its origin in God. Without God, all moral actions are at the whims of the individual. #Thrasymachus (a character in Plato’s dialogue “Republic”) is the philosophy of today, which is “might makes right.”

How does that play into the tragedy of Texas? Only in this way: the solution of many is gun control, and whatever value there is in controlling access to guns, that is NEVER the problem, neither is it the solution.

The only solution is God, but our society has so long removed itself from God and that for which He stands, that His presence is in the tall grass and the effort to find Him is, well, not worth the effort. What is done in the meantime is to utilize the wicked wisdom of a society that does not even know where it’s going and “pray” to the demons of the world it will be a success (Jer. 10:23; 17:9).

“Finding” God is paramount to a civilized and safe community, and those who tell you otherwise are flat wrong, and have their own interests in view.

A Problem in Religious Communities

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“I know this is what the Lord wants. He placed this on my heart.”

Really? How do you know this is what the Lord wants?

“He placed it on my heart. Besides, this which I am thinking that is surely a good deed to be done for the community. Are you saying the Lord does not want this?”

I am saying nothing. I am only asking you how you know this is what the Lord wants. Did he reveal this to you in a dream, a vision, did He audibly speak to you, did you read it in the Bible?

“No, none of these things occurred.”

So then, how do you know? I guess we can conclude that what you think the Lord did is not something He actually did, but what you want to believe He did. In other words, you are not certain the Lord said this (“I know” corresponds to certainty).

In fact, all it really is, is your desire to accomplish something, and attribute it to the Lord. Since that is all this is, it is presumptuous for you or anyone to say, “I know the Lord did….”

There will be people like me who will demand evidence from you that Lord actually did say this or that. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1, ASV).

Love is

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Love is an action, less an emotion (though not necessarily unconnected). Love always seeks that which is best for the other person, even if the other person does not see it or want it.

What is best for the other person can be drawn from two sources. This which originates in a person or that which originates in God. If the former, look and see where this has gotten us. We live in a society full of moral and emotional corruption. Those who criticize the latter fail to see what love truly is and refuse to see that the love of Gods is not the problem, only that people in their selfishness have corrupted God’s love for their own ends.

Love is frequently seen as an emotion that allows the other person to be who they are, and while this may be an aspect of love, it is not love. Would you allow a person to be who they are if they are destructive to self, or others?

Neither is love is an emotion that seeks to satisfy self in earthly pleasures, though it is frequently used in that context. That is nothing but hedonism, selfishness.

When you say, “I love you” – what is it you mean?

Two Philosophies – No Third Option

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There are only two philosophies in life from which a person chooses to live and love. Those philosophies are either (1) of man or (2) not of man. There is no third option.

If the philosophy one chooses to live and love by is of man, then his (her) course of life will be directed by his best judgment as life unfolds. When one gets to the end of life, there is a strong desire to believe the life lived was of great value to those surrounding the one who chose this course of action. Not only that, but there is also a desire to believe at the point of death, there is a resting place that corresponds to rest in peace.

Yet, in the world of the unseen, this can’t be known.

There is another philosophy of life from which to choose. That philosophy chosen is not of man. If it is not of man, then what is its source? There are only two options here also. It is of God or not God. There is not third option.

God, however, revealed Himself to man to give clarity to the fact (truth) there is a realm of the unseen, an unseen realm that only God can know anything about.

If one chooses to live by this philosophy, the life lived on earth is radically changed, it is no longer of this world. Things thought, said, and done are from the source of this philosophy. “I am the way, the truth, and the Life. No man goes to the Father but by me” Jesus said.

Those who live by this philosophy can know whether their desired rest in peace is true or not, something that is not possible, that does not exist with those who choose the philosophy originating in man.

More than that. Those who have chosen this philosophy of life belonging to God want others to have what they have.  

Now that is love.

Mothers and Mothers-in-Law

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There seems to be light-hearted remarks about mothers-in-law among some, but my experience has not been able to relate with that. No doubt, some mothers fit negative stereotypes, and then when they become mothers-in-law….

I am also sure many mothers have heard these remarks and might even have gone an extra mile to make sure they are not guilty of being anything like the punching-bag fodder. When you think of your mother-in-law, what comes to mind? Whatever comes to mind, before her mother-in-law status, she was the only mother to your spouse.

As I was thinking about a bulletin article for this Mother’s Day, I looked at Mark 1:29-31, and Jesus’ healing Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever. The emphasis in these 3 verses is on what Jesus did, not on Peter’s mother-in-law, except to say that she was sick with a fever and after being healed, she got up and served them. There is nothing in this reading about any time-separation between her being healed and when she had begun to serve, only that she served them. Was she compelled? Not hardly! This was who she was, so let us think about the women in our families, about who they are.

As I was thinking about this, I thought I would jot down some things that come to my mind when I think of a mother. First, in the Lord’s eyes, He brought her forth from man, thus equal to him in all respects. Her equality was not a matter of doing what he did but serving effectively in the role the Almighty gave her, as he served effectively in the role the Almighty gave him.

Second, in the Lord’s eyes, she is the primary mover of the world. Think about it. While the husband/father leads the family, she cares for the children, and she raises them to be what they should in an adult society. Sadly, many females reject this role because they have bought the lies of Satan, thinking they can have a career and play a significant role in the lives of their children after they pick them up from the baby-sitter. Third, there is no tenderness like there is in a mother. Just ask the husband. Better, yet, as I reflect on my own upbringing, when I got in trouble, it was to mom I went. I knew she could soften the blow-back I would get from dad, and when our girls were at home, this is exactly the role my wife played as well. She did this because she was better at being a buffer than I and she effectively took care of the situation with the right amount of discipline.

Fourth, little boys are taught how to respect women when they learn it from their mother. They learn it from the father, of course, but the learning that comes from a mother is of a different quality. Fifth, who is better at dealing with the issues a little girl experiences than a mother who was once there. I laugh at myself when I think of this now, but I remember saying to our daughters several times, this is what you need to do, so just do it. I was not much on empathy, just buckle down and get it done (learned this from my dad). Don’t ask questions.

Perhaps that works best for boys, maybe some girls, but in my many years, not most girls.

Sixth, in a family with a mother and father, there is balance. Whatever strengths one has, the other enhances it. Whatever failings one has, the other makes up the difference. This is a family after God’s pattern. We don’t want to minimize the contributions of our fathers, but on this Mother’s Day, we want to accentuate a mover and shaker in our family and in this world. There is nothing like a mother (to me). RT