Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Professors, Petitioners, and Protesters



When an American feels he has been unjustly treated by the government, there are certain avenues in place to address it. It is a blessing that America has these things in place, not all countries do such as communist countries. However, it’s the responsibility of every American to become, what I call, a “professor” of the American Way. This being a person who has studied American government and civics, educating themselves on how America works.

Without knowing the ways of America, a person will not accurately understand whether or not the government is mistreating him. Or, if they do know they’re being mistreated, without understanding how America works, they won’t know the avenues in place to properly address it. (On a side note, in America, if a person feels they’ve been wronged by another person, there are civil courts to handle disputes between citizens. That is a separate topic not covered here).

There are three types of people, or you could say three behaviors, I want to point out in this article.

Professors of Principles

As I stated above, every American should be a “professor” of the American way—knowledgeable in the ways of our government and citizenship. Professors are first students themselves. They study the constitution, our founding documents, and the Bible. The Bible is one of our founding documents and it is where our founding fathers got the idea of all men being created equal with certain “inalienable rights.” America’s form of government is based on the biblical concept that certain rights have been given to all people by their Creator and no other man or government can take these rights away.

All citizens need to become professors, not just when they feel they’ve been mistreated. If we don’t, we won’t know when or if our rights are violated. Laws may be passed that take away our rights and we are not aware. Or we may accuse our government of not doing enough for us, when in reality, a limited government is necessary to keep the people free. These misunderstandings can lead to the deterioration of our freedoms and our country itself. It’s vital for all Americans to be students of the founding documents—especially the constitution and the Bible.

A professor of principles will study America’s founding documents to be sure he has a clear and proper understanding of them, including the Bible. This is where the core basis of truth is established. These documents are the legal authority which grant American citizens their way of living. Any legal or military action needs to be based on the authority of these documents. These documents state that Americans have the freedom of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The government exists to protect those freedoms. The government doesn’t grant freedoms. Since professors have gained understanding of America themselves, not only can they act accordingly in their own lives, but they are able to explain, or teach the American way to others.

A professor who feels he has been unjustly treated by the government—for example unjustly charged with a crime, or becoming aware of a law that appears to be unconstitutional—after knowing what his rights are, follows the next step—petition.

Petitioners in Prayer
A true petitioner of the American way will first have become a professor and studied the founding documents. If he believes there should be an adjustment or change he petitions for it. For example, if he was given a ticket or charged with a crime that he believes is not just or in line with the law of the land, he petitions it by going to court. This is in response to a governmental action against him. It could also involve contacting his legislatures when he’s discovered a law or practice that violates his rights. Or voting for or against candidates based on how closely the adhere (or don’t adhere) to the constitution.

It’s the responsibility of every American citizen to inform themselves of candidates running for office, to vote, to pay attention to what their representatives are doing, and hold them accountable when necessary.

A petitioner in prayer will approach the throne of God to ask for his/her request to be granted by the Lord. Go to the Lord to present your case, be open for instruction and a more accurate understanding of what is true and right concerning your request. Be humble and admit you’re wrong if that’s the case.

If petitioning hasn’t resolved the situation, and you are confident your request is right, then the next step is protest.

Protesters with Prophetic Proclamations

A true protester of the American way will first have been a professor who has a proper understanding of the founding documents, he will have some sort of action against him he is responding to, or discovery of something wrong, and has taken the route of petitioner and not gotten a favorable response. He protests to bring awareness of what has happened.

Once again, you need to make sure your protest is based on the core foundation of founding documents.

When protesters express themselves verbally, those who hear need to be professors themselves, so they can properly judge whether or not the protester is accurate in his accusations. This is vital, otherwise people can respond sympathetically or emotionally and give support to a cause that is unconstitutional and/or unbiblical. By knowing the founding documents yourself, you can make an informed decision as to whether the protester has a valid point.

The enemies of America have used protests against us. They know many people don’t know the constitution and will side with protesters out of sympathy. They want to change America, not enforce her greatness. They’re not protecting people’s rights, they’re actually trying to destroy America and the freedom of the people. They’re preaching another ‘gospel.’

Violent protests which violate the constitution are nothing more than an invasion of America and the American way. Once again, its important for all legitimate protesters to first be professors so they are working to keep America in line with her founding documents through their protest, not steering her into socialism, communism or some other ‘ism that oppresses the people.

If the government really is tyrannical the people have the right to bear arms and fight the tyranny. But there are those who are using protests or other types of chaos to try and make it appear that the government needs to step in to keep peace, make life safe or healthy, or whatever the case may be. Their goal is to give the government more power, reducing America’s freedoms in the process. As they protest for more laws to make things more “fair” or “safe” they are actually taking away freedom and safety by creating a monstrous government.

A protester with prophetic proclamations is one who will also, after having received the knowledge of the Word of God through study, and the heart of God through prayer and petitioning, will take what the Lord has revealed and prophetically proclaim it. This addresses the spiritual opposition, as well as bringing a prophetic word of God into a situation.

As a Christian American, it really is your duty to:
  • Educate yourself both in the Word of God and in America’s law of the land.
  • Address the areas that are out of line through legal means, voting, discussion, petitioning, as well as going to the Lord in prayer. 
  • Protest only to keep America in line with her founding documents, particularly the constitution and the Bible. Be careful not to support the protests of others who are out of line with these things. Proclaim and declare what the Lord has solidly spoken.

An excellent resource is The Founder’s Bible by David Barton--check it out here.


Monday, June 8, 2020

The Endless Stream



Joel was sitting at his computer looking for a new game to play. He had heard of one that sounded really fun but couldn’t remember the name of it. Something about a stream, or was it a river? The final stream maybe? He did a search on all those words and couldn’t find what he was looking for. Then he saw a link to “The Endless Stream.”

“That’s it!” he cried out as he clicked on the link. “I think…” he said doubtfully when it turned out not to be a game at all, but a story. He started to read…

Peter jumped in his dad’s old rowboat. And I do mean old. The faded blue paint was peeled in several places, and rust forming in its place. Peter hoped it would hold up. He was on a mission. They lived on a stream. It was a large stream, big enough for him to take the boat out onto. He and his dad often went out fishing on the stream.

Peter had heard that the stream ended at some point and he was on a mission to find the end of the stream. As many times as he went out on the stream, he never saw the end of it. Today was the day, he decided. So he dragged the old boat onto the water, put in the oars, a bag of chips and bottle of soda pop and off he went—downstream. Upstream, where he and his dad usually went, would be too much work.

He was excited about his adventure and rowed enthusiastically at first. But it didn’t take long and he stopped rowing to rest. He floated for a bit with the current and then slowed almost completely to a stop.

“This is hard work.” He said out loud as he opened his bag of chips. Just then a canoe came by with two people in it. They were moving pretty quick.

As they approached him they called out, “Did you see the apple tree back there?”

“No.” Peter yelled back. He had been so busy rowing he didn’t notice anything that was on the shore he passed.

“They’re really good!” They yelled as they passed him by.

Peter thought about going back to find them as he realized the chips wouldn’t last him very long but decided that would be too much work. He started rowing again, trying to remember to glance at the shore every so often to see what might be there. But soon he was just staring downstream looking for the end. Sometimes the stream would curve, and it looked like it ended, but when he rowed closer he saw it continued around the curve. By late afternoon he had finished his chips and soda pop and was really tired.

“How far can it be?” He asked out loud.

Then came a motorboat. “A motorboat!” He thought. “A boat with a motor!” He stopped rowing and admired the ease at which the boat quickly moved through the water.

“Where’d you get the motor?” Peter yelled out to them.

The man stopped and looked over Peter’s boat.

“Where you heading?” He asked, without answering Peter’s question.

“To the end. I want to find the end of the stream.” Peter answered.

“The end huh?” The man asked while rubbing his chin.

“So, where do you get a motor?” Peter asked again.

“Well son.” The man answered. “You need to stop sometimes. Learn how to build a good boat. Find those who make motors. People who can help you.”

“That sounds like a lot of work, and like it takes a long time.” Peter answered.

“Are you in a hurry?” The man asked.

“Well…” Peter answered. “I guess. My chips and soda are all gone and its starting to get dark.”

The man nodded. “Mmm hmm.” He said. “Well, there’s a spring just down the way a bit. Keep a close eye out for it and you can fill up your soda bottle with water. Then be sure to keep an eye out for fruit growing along the shore. You can find apples and berries all along in here.”

“O.K. Thanks.” Peter answered. Wondering if the man could just give him some food and water. But he was too afraid to ask.

“And listen.” The man continued. “Sometimes you need to stop and rest. You need to get off the stream and explore. Live life. You understand?”

Peter nodded.

“You want a nice boat? That’s what you’ll need to do.” He said.

“O.K.” Peter answered, wondering if that was really necessary.

The man left and Peter rowed with his eyes on the shore until he found the spring. He was happy when he found it. He wished he had more than one soda bottle to fill up, but he took a long drink from the spring and then filled the bottle up.

He rowed until well past dark. He was tired and stopped next to the shore. He decided to sleep for a bit and got off his seat and onto the floor of the boat. It was hard and uncomfortable, and Peter wished he had a pillow and blanket. His boat kept floating away too so he pulled down a small branch from the tree on the shore next to them and held onto it while he laid down.

Before long he heard some laughing and yelling and peeked up over the edge of the boat. There was a boat full of weird looking people. Pirates? He wondered. No, not on a stream. Right? Whoever they were they gave Peter the creeps and he stayed low in his boat hoping they wouldn’t see him. It seemed to take forever, but they finally passed by. Why are they going so slow? He wondered. He never knew there were such strange people on this stream at night.

Peter slept poorly. His hand was tired from holding the branch to keep them from drifting away. He was happy when the sun came up. Happy, but hungry. He was anxious to continue down the stream but first looked around for something to eat from the shore. He couldn’t find anything, so he started rowing while his stomach was still growling. He had every intention of watching the shore for apples or berries, but soon his mind wandered and his thoughts drifted back towards the end of the stream. By mid-morning his hunger pangs were quite distracting and he realized suddenly that he had not been watching the shore.

Just then, another motorboat came by.

“Have you seen any apples?” Peter asked.

“You just missed them a little ways back” The woman answered.

Peter looked down sadly and she stopped her boat.

“You know.” She said. “There are a lot of things on the shore that might help you on your journey.”

Peter looked up at her, thinking she sounded just like the man in the other boat. 

She continued, “Following the stream isn’t everything you know. Why don’t you go back upstream just a bit and get some apples? There’s a woman there making some apple fritters too.” She said with a smile.

Peter thought that sounded wonderful but also that it was too much work to row upstream. She must have read his mind because she said, “You know, we see a lot of young people like you in this stream. They get so caught up in the stream that they don’t know what they’re passing by. They’re looking for something they can’t ever find. The stream never really ends. Or if it does, its in a lonely place. Its meant to be used to help you build your life on the shore, with your loved ones.”

Peter looked up at her. She looked very nice and very happy, but he wasn’t sure what he thought about what she was saying.

“What I’m saying is, if you just follow the flow of the stream, eventually it takes you to a lonely place. Away from your shore.”

Peter didn’t answer. As she sped away, he admired her boats ability to go quickly, and how well she could steer. “She could even drop anchor if she wanted.” He thought, thinking of his sore hand. But Peter didn’t go back to get the apples and by mid-afternoon he rowed towards the shore and pulled out seaweed from the bottom of the stream. He ate the seaweed and didn’t like it.

Peter continued to follow the stream, but he started paying more attention to the shore watching for apples, berries, and springs of water. At night, he laid low trying to avoid the weird people who came out. After several days of this, he stopped and got out at a place where he saw a man making boats. It felt good to stretch his legs and he realized he had hardly gotten out except to use one of the outhouses along the way.

“What you looking for?” the man asked Peter, glancing up from painting a boat.

“I was looking for the end of the stream.” Peter answered.

The man stopped painting and looked more closely at Peter. “How’s the search going?” He asked.

“Well. One person said I needed to get out on the shore sometimes and another woman said the stream doesn’t really end, except in a lonely place. So, I haven’t found it yet.”

“You know.” He said. “This stream here is very useful. We use it for fishing, for traveling, for swimming, and just plain enjoyment. It’s pretty to look at. But when you never get out of it then it becomes more of a curse than a blessing. It can consume you—rob you of all your time, your people, and your energy.”

Peter nodded. He started to understand now. The stream was useful, and fun. It helps people with their purpose. But the stream itself isn’t the purpose. He couldn’t live in the stream forever.

“What are  you going to do?” The man asked.

“I never meant to run away.” Peter answered. “But that’s what I’ve done.” He started to cry then quickly wiped his tears. “I’m going to go back. Upstream. But I’ve got a long, hard way to go.”

The man smiled and said, “Well, I’ve got just the thing for you.” He stood up and motioned for Peter to follow him. They went into a barn and he picked up a motor. “This motor works for those who’ve made the decision you just made. Use it to go back upstream, back home to your family and find your shore there.”

Peter’s eyes got wide. Yet he wondered why the man would trust him to use the motor to go home. What if he tried to take it down stream?

“I’ll only use it to go upstream.” Peter said, feeling the need to reassure the man in case he was wondering. “I’m done looking for the end of the stream. If it never ends, I’ll never find it anyway and I’ll waste all my time. If it does end, but in a lonely place, well...”

“That’s the right choice son.” The man said with a smile. “Let me show you something.” He walked away and Peter followed. They walked along the shore of the stream and stopped a little ways down. The stream ran into a lake.

“Is this the end?” Peter asked.

“No, not really. It never really ends. It empties into the lake here but picks up again over there.” He pointed to a place far across the lake. “The lady told you right son. It doesn’t end. The streams keep going and if you don’t pay attention, they’ll take you farther away from your own shore—the place where you build your life.”

Peter didn’t know what to say. He was glad he made the decision to go back. This stream is nice to explore, but not something to follow endlessly.

“Thanks.” Peter said, staring across the lake, thinking how wrong it felt to go any further.

The man mounted the motor onto Peter’s boat and gave him enough gas to get home. He showed him how to use it and how to steer.

As Peter traveled quickly upstream, he watched the shoreline and saw all he had missed when he passed by before. The people living life, enjoying each other, talking, playing games, the beautiful houses, gardens, squirrels and birds. It was full of life. But with his head down and his eyes and thoughts focused on the stream, he missed it all before.

Before he knew it, he was back home. His dad was waiting, very happy to see him. When he saw the motor he said, “You made a difficult decision didn’t you?”

“Yes dad, and…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to run off like that for so long. It’s just… I thought… I thought I would find the end of the stream and that the end was someplace that would make me feel good. Like I finished something. Like I found something. The end. But it didn’t end. It keeps going. Some people tried to tell me. And there were weird people out at night. I didn’t eat right. I didn’t do anything except row, row, row, in the stream.” Peter was rambling but he didn’t care. He had to get it all out and his dad was listening intently.

“The boat man helped me. He gave me this motor…” Peter turned back to look at the new motor on the boat but it was gone. He looked at his dad and then back at the boat. There was no motor.

“You learned an important lesson Peter.” He said. “That motor is in you now. Once you’re willing to make the tough decision to get off the stream and back onto the shore of your life, you’ve gained new strength. Come on, we’ve all been waiting for you.”

Peter walked up to their house with his dad, knowing that this is the end of the stream for him. Or really, the beginning. This is where he belongs and where he can begin to build his purpose.

Joel finished reading the story which touched him deep inside. He no longer wanted to find that game. He wanted to find his shore. He climbed out of the boat and walked away.




Friday, April 24, 2020

The Olympic Christian

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
We're told to run the race set before us with endurance, fixing our eyes on Jesus--our example. We're told to run with winning in mind. We don't run aimlessly, but we discipline our bodies, making it our slave. In other words, we train like we were training for the Olympics.

If your goal was to try out for the Olympics, and not only make the team but win the gold medal, you would train intensely. You would spend hours a day. If you were studying for your doctorate degree, you would put much time into your studies, research, writing etc. In the same way, if you want to be an Olympic Christian--one who wins the prize in the race set in front of you to run, then you must train for it. You must prepare for it. It won't just fall in your lap.

So how do you train for it? Time and energy. Thought and attentiveness. Planning your life around it. In other words, make time every day for studying the Word of God and spending time in prayer. Go above and beyond.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15.
Study. Study to show yourself approved. It's not enough to read the Bible. Let me say that again. It's not enough to read the Bible. You need to study it. Study as if you were writing a thesis. Be diligent in this. Be disciplined in this. Like a doctoral candidate. Like an Olympic athlete.

I'm not saying to simply memorize the book order and be able to eloquently quote a multitude of Scripture. But study so you understand the thoughts and concepts that are written. Study to understand the message God is saying through the Scriptures.
And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” Matthew 13:23
Give diligence to understand the Word of God. Discipline yourself to inherit the imperishable prize. Train yourself daily, throughout the day. Day and night, so you are diligent to live according to the truth of it.
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Joshua 1:8
Shall not depart from your mouth means that its constantly in your mouth. It never leaves. It doesn't mean you don't speak it, but that you don't stop speaking it. Meditate on the Word of God. Speak it out loud. Ponder its meaning. Discuss it with the Lord. Don't just read it, put thought into it so you are sure you accurately understand. Ask questions. Why this, not that? What it the context, the setting, the history? Do all this and become the Olympic Christian you are called to be!






Sunday, April 12, 2020

Job and the Whirlwind


Job was a blameless and upright man. He was very wealthy, and helpful to the poor and needy. He sat in the gates and instructed others. He had the final word on matters, almost like a king. 

One day, Satan came before the Lord and the Lord bragged on Job.

“Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Job 1:8
Satan responded by saying that the only reason Job was faithful to the Lord is because He was protecting him. He said if God touched what he had he would curse Him to His face. So the Lord gave Job's possessions over to Satan, but told him not to touch Job himself.

Job suffered complete economic devastation, as well as the lives of his children. Yet he did not sin or blame God. "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there" he said. Job 1:21.

One day Satan came back to the Lord and the Lord again bragged on Job.
“Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.” Job 2:3
This time Satan said if He were to touch his flesh, he would curse Him to His face. So The Lord gave Satan permission, but said to spare his life. Job broke out in very painful boils all over his body. His wife told him to curse God and die but Job remained faithful saying, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" Job 2:10.

So we see Job as a wealthy, well-respected, upright man. God sees and is pleased. Satan accuses him of weak integrity that won't hold up under pressure. The Lord gives permission to Satan to test him, yet within boundaries. Job's grief is great, he wishes for death, while maintaining he's done nothing wrong. He says God has done this to him and he doesn't know why. He says his righteousness didn't keep him safe, and that if he could argue his case before God, he'd be vindicated.

Job's three friends came to comfort him, however they zeroed in on saying he must have sinned, and that God did this to him to get him to repent. Job insisted he had not sinned, that God is doing what He wants, but if he could just argue his case before God he would be restored. Job says his friends should comfort him, pity him, strengthen him, but instead they accuse him of sin and wickedness. His friends continue to say he must have sinned and he should repent and God will deliver him. Job 3-31

The discussion goes on for most of the book of Job. The young one, Elihu, spoke after Job and his friends stopped talking. He said that Job's friends really haven't answered Job, yet they condemned him. Then he rebuked Job saying he should listen to God's chastening and repent. He asks why he should expect God to tell him what He's doing. His case is before God and he must wait. Just because God hasn't come in anger, he says, Job continues to talk and multiplies words without knowledge. He says Job should consider the majesty of God and consider his own ways. Job 32-37.

Then the Lord came in a whirlwind and spoke to Job, humbling him. He spoke of creation and all that He did to form it, including what He does to maintain it. He asks Job if he can do all that. Job repents. Job 38-41.
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6
It was one thing for Job to hear of God, but another thing to see Him with his own eyes. Seeing Him speak from the whirlwind was enough to cause Job to humble himself before the Lord. We need the whirlwind of God to come speak to us! We need to see Him and not just hear of Him.

The Lord told the three friends that they didn't speak right of God, as Job did. He told them they needed to offer a sacrifice and Job would pray for them so they wouldn't suffer God's wrath. When Job prayed for them, his fortune was restored twofold and his friends didn't suffer the wrath of God. Job ended up with twice as much as he had before and lived another 140 years.

Why did God allow Satan to do this?
At least for two reasons. One, is that an accusation was made. Job was accused of being weak in integrity. Satan said the reason it wasn't evident is because God was protecting him. When an accusation is made, God replies. Just like in a court case, an accusation is answered with evidence. God presented evidence that Job really was an upright man. God doesn't hide from the enemy. He even brought Job to Satan's attention. He is light. He is truth. He is not afraid of Satan in any way. Not even for us.

The other thing is, that testing comes not just to prove our faithfulness, but also to strengthen us and perfect us in the areas we're weak in. Job had flaws. He didn't have a concept as to how great God really is, and how inferior he was compared to Him. He thought for sure that his troubles were God's idea and that He was the author of it all. So in the end, God set him straight, as well as his friends. Yet He restored what Job had lost, doubling it.

The devil is the one who accuses, to see whom he may devour. When these times come, we need to resist the devil firm in the faith, while remaining humble before the Lord. Yet that doesn't necessarily mean we won't suffer at all or experience any adversity. After our suffering, God Himself perfects us and establishes us.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,  casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.  After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11
If we just had God's protection, with no adversity, we may be able to appear perfect and blameless but in the end, when trouble or temptation comes, will we hold up? Do we have just a false appearance of integrity? When the tough times come, we learn to appreciate the times without it. There is darkness and we love light. There is suffering and we're thankful for peace. There is lack and we appreciate times of plenty. Paul learned from his trying times.
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Exchange of Breath--Truth for Lies



I mentioned here before that I am on an assignment which began Nov 1, 2019 and goes until Oct 31, 2020. I am speaking the entire Bible during this time-- reading out loud, writing summaries and making prayers and proclamations daily.

The Lord said that as His spoken word is released it will dispel the darkness, lies, and toxic breath of the land in America. It would be a cleansing of the land through the spoken word like Jesus said (John 15:3).

Since Nov. 1 various other themes have come up such as:
  • freedom to America (or any nation) coming through discipleship because when we study His word we know the truth which brings freedom (John 8:31-32).
  • Darkness being dispelled through transformation, not just displacement was another theme. (And conversion can come through discipleship, but discipleship doesn't always follow conversion). 
  • Cleansing being a separation from dirt, from that which defiles, so there is a holiness type of cleansing occurring (Jer. 15:9). 
But what I want to get to, is that most recently the focus has been back to the breath. As His word is spoken--breathed out--its released as a breath of truth and life. With each exchange of breath lies are exchanged for truth. Not driven away, but changed. The inhaled truth is processed through the lungs and heart. As the heart is changed, the breath of the lungs becomes pure and releases life and truth with every exhale (word). 

Specifically relating to the virus, this breath--His words that we've inhaled or studied and processed--will replace the toxic contaminates in the air (physical or spiritual) with life and truth, bringing both health and freedom. And the freedom will be more than the stay at home bans being lifted!

Psalm 12:6 says the words of the Lord are pure words as silver tried in a furnace of the earth refined seven times. We are the furnace and His words are processed through us--our heart, lungs and mouth--to release breaths of life and truth. As our spirits are filled with the Spirit of God, in alignment with His truth, then what is exhaled from our spirit--our breath--will be life-giving truth.

Take the time to hear and process the Word of God. Study it. Meditate on it. Put it into practice. Align your life with it. Make a point to intentionally inhale, process, and then, after all that, exhale (speak) the word of God.

Also check out The Parresia Anointing here.



Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Don't Be Misled


We are in an age of disinformation. Anyone can claim anything and appear to produce solid evidence of their claim. Articles, videos, photographs, “news” interviews etc. are all being used as documentation to sway people’s opinion.

This is concerning because many people are not investigating what they hear and see. I’m sure we’ve all done it. We’ve listened to someone’s opinion, watched a video, read an article and believed a lie. For the most part probably not too much harm was done. But in these days, its become more vital than ever that believers do not get deceived.

Don’t be Misled

When Jesus’ disciples asked Him about the days before His second coming the first thing He said was, ‘See to it that no one misleads you.” (Matthew 24:4). See to it. He put the responsibility on us. It’s our job to make sure we are not misled. How? I think we can begin to get a clue in James--
 “Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;” James 1:19
Awareness

To be quick to hear means that you listen to everything. You are paying attention. You don’t have your head stuck in the sand, but you’re alert and aware. There are many distractions out there, some even appearing to be ‘good’ things, but we need to be on our guard because we have an adversary roaming about seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8). The devil is just looking for an opportunity to take you out so awareness is essential.

Slow Down

Then, notice there is to be a time period between the time you hear and the time you speak. James’ wise advice here is not to hastily respond to what we hear. The instruction is not to just parrot everything we hear. Not to be quick to say, “Did you hear…” That’s just plain gossip. Take the time to process what you’re hearing or seeing.
“The ear tests words as the palate tastes food.” Job 34:3
Our sense of taste, along with our sense of smell, is a form of discernment. We can tell if something is rotten or appetizing. In the same way, our ears test words, at least they’re supposed to. Our sense of hearing includes a decoding process in the brain. The words you hear get processed through the brain so you can decipher what was said.

There are different levels of understanding to this. Once a child learns the meaning of words he is meant to grow from there to learn thoughts and concepts. This is a lifelong process. It’s something we should always do—grow in our level of understanding.

This period of time between being quick to hear and slow to speak is an investigative phase which should not be taken lightly. Its easy to just repeat and pass on things we hear, especially if from sources we trust, but we don’t have that luxury these days.

Think it Through

Finally, we are to be slow to anger. Once we hear and understand what was said, we must not react too quickly. Our passion for or against something needs to be tempered with wisdom as well as the Lord’s input.
“Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” Proverbs 11:14
Its safe to weigh things out with other input. Compare what you’re hearing with other reliable sources you trust. Of course, sometimes even reliable sources can get it wrong, but this is where having more than one source comes in. Two or three sources can confirm a thing (Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16) but not two or three sources that are just repeating each other!
“The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18:17
Hopefully, most of us have learned that the first comment we hear on a topic is not always the right one.

Summary

Reliable sources, confirmation from two or three other reliable sources, logically investigating something yourself, and seeking the Lord’s wisdom and input are all safeguards we’ve got to be using these days. Oftentimes people don’t mean to be spreading lies but being deceived themselves they don’t know that they are.

I’m concerned that a number of videos and articles and other posts I see are falling into this category. People are sharing things without thinking them through, investigating them, or seeking the Lord. I’m talking about Christians. We’ve got to do better! I include myself in this as well. If anyone thinks they are above deception, they already are deceived.



Sunday, March 15, 2020

Warriors of Freedom in the Battle of Truth vs. Self



In this day and age, the battles of nations are not about brute strength as the battles of old used to be. The weapons of today’s battles, (for example in the republic of America or democratic nations), are thoughts and ideas. Whoever can convince the people to believe them and follow their ideals “wins” the battle. They will be elected to leadership positions and rule as they see fit.

Because of this, deception becomes a primary tool of those who wish to rule in a way that is not good for the people. Kings would conquer lands and make slaves of the people. It was common. The remnants of it still existed when America was founded. But we recognized the wrong and did away with it. We recognized that freedom is a most basic right of all people—an inalienable God-given right. But freedom of the people does not give selfish, power-hungry people what they want. They need slaves. They need people to work for them to build their empire. So, what do they do?

They use deception to make people slaves without knowing it, without realizing what they’ve become. They do it through the schools. They indoctrinate and call it education. They don’t encourage free thinkers. They promote majority opinion over logic. As the people become hypnotized with the ideals the enemies of freedom are promoting, they willingly give up their freedom, happy to promote “the cause” of making things “fair” for everyone (or whatever the lie is), and happily vote them into office.

They also use accusations as a weapon against freedom. They make accusations against those who fight for truth to try and keep people from believing those who speak truth. For if people believe the truth, they become dangerous to those trying to obtain power through deception. They need you deceived and enslaved in order to fulfill their dreams.

They care only about their dreams. These selfish rulers do not care about you pursuing your dreams. They don’t want you to have personal rights or property rights. They want to own it all. They want to control it all. They can do better than you. They know what you need better than you do. They can’t have government by the people, of the people, and for the people and still build their own empire. So, they dumb you down. School agendas include a lot of wasted time and promotion of group thought. They can’t have free thinkers—those who want to debate and discuss—for they may think deeply enough, and cause others to think deeply enough, to disagree and challenge their ideals. They need loyal slaves.

The warriors of freedom must be properly armed. They must be both wise and good. One without the other won’t do it. Wisdom without goodness is just as dangerous as goodness without wisdom. For these wise and good warriors to be victorious, they must be thinkers, not just “educated.” They must have discernment to tell a lie from the truth, and they must have the nature of goodness Himself within. They fight the enemy of Good. They fight the enemy of Truth. So the battle becomes a battle of good vs evil, or you could say--Truth vs Self.

The focal point of freedom is truth. The focal point of freedom’s enemy is self. Jesus is the truth. The Word of God is truth. The Spirit of God is truth. These all bear witness to one another that they are in fact the truth. Believers also bear witness to this truth. God in heaven has the power to enforce the truth. Truth must be enforceable in order to be truth. Those who think they can make their own truth will, sooner or later, realize that they themselves were deceived and suffer the devastating consequences of rejecting both truth and freedom.

God gives freedom. It is His desire for all men to have the power of choice. Free will is given by God for the purpose of trying our hearts to see which side we will choose. It’s up to us. Consequences may seem delayed at times, but this is so the evidence is clear which side we are on and consequences are justified (Psalm 92:6-8).

Let’s compare the two types of warriors in this war of ideals.

Warriors of Truth
  • They have pure hearts, honesty, integrity, and goodness. They are lovers of truth and lovers of God.
  • Their weapons include divine discernment and wisdom.
  • To master their weapons, they must develop skill in knowledge and understanding. They must become reasonable, logical, and merciful people. They must humble themselves before the Lord.
  • They must be courageous—not intimidated or silenced by threats. Yet love rules them.
  • They must be righteous—not tempted by bribes. They do what is right, even if it costs them.
  • They must be resourceful and know that God is their provider and He backs the truth. They give of themselves and to others as the Lord instructs.

Warriors of Self
  • They are impure in their heart, dishonest, have no standard of truth outside of themselves, no knowledge of what is good or right apart from their selfish desires.
  • Their weapons are worldly knowledge and experience, the ability to flatter and deceive.
  • To master their weapons they may become educated, presentable, and socially acceptable.
  • They are not courageous but may be bold--mouthy and loud. Hate or anger fuels them.
  • They are greedy and work for self-gain, promotion, prestige, position, and power.
  • They are financed. Wealth is used to gain power and control. Their allegiance is to those who give them riches or status. They use people as pawns and are pawns themselves.

 Paul recognized this war of ideals when he wrote:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
May we do the same.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Forming of Beliefs



How and why do we believe what we do? How do we come to believe anything, not just about God, but our opinions and beliefs about life in general? To answer this question, we need to first realize that we have a connection with the world around us--the physical earth and the people in it. We are not all islands unto ourselves—gods who create our own universes with their own rules and laws. This would never work. There would be destruction all over the place as our “truths” collided. (Maybe this was what brought the earth to the condition of chaos in the beginning when God spoke our current world into existence). There is such a thing as Truth and it has the power to rule.

So let’s look at how the mind works. We must hear something first before we can form an opinion, agreement, or belief about it.
How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? Romans 10:14
This process involves our ability to hear, understand, and then judge ideas and concepts according to Truth. Bear with me, I’ll explain.

When we hear words, the sound goes into our ears and is processed by our brain. (Or, if we read words, they are de-coded by the brain through the optic nerve of our eye.) However it happens, we somehow “hear” language and de-code it—through sight, sound, or touch. For example, when we hear the word “winter” we know what it means because we’ve heard it before, and we’ve associated the sounds with the thought. (Or, if reading, we’ve matched the written symbols to the thought).

To some degree, we move from de-coding the sights and sounds to understanding the thoughts, concepts, and ideas that the author/speaker is trying to get across. The level of understanding varies according to our ability to think, allowing us to judge the thought according to Truth.

If you hear “the dog is red” you can understand what each word means separately, but you group them together to get the thought—the image—the phrase is conveying and in your mind you see a red dog. Thoughts and concepts vary in complexity. “The red dog is barking at the cat while a screaming man is running towards them.” Gives you a more complex thought than just “the dog is red.” You could ‘read between the lines’ to examine motive and predict what might happen. More complex sentences bring you into ideas, thoughts, rationales, explanations, right and wrong, truths etc.

Some people don’t get past the basic de-coding. They’re happy to understand at a basic level, but not at a high enough level to judge whether the concept is true. It seems they are content to de-code and accept, but don’t spend the mental exertion necessary to fully understand what the person they are listening to is saying, in order to judge whether its true or not. This may be more than personal laziness; it may be because our current trends in education encourage mental laziness.

Educators, and sad to say sometimes parents, offer to do the hard thinking for their students. However, this is nothing more than indoctrination, and children don’t often know the harm in it and will take the easy path if offered.

It’s hard work to understand. It takes effort. I would say God makes it like that on purpose because He wants a people who know the value of Truth. Look at the effort He says to give in going after wisdom, understanding, and discernment:
Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; 3 For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; 4 If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures;… Proverbs 2:2-4, emphasis added.
It takes effort. Yet people often skip over words they don’t understand while reading, guessing their definition by the context of the sentence. This can lead a person to agree with, and believe in, concepts that aren’t really true, with devastating consequences. Putting effort into thorough understanding is worth it. It’s necessary.

So how does this lead us to belief? Once a person decodes and then understands the thoughts and concepts he hears, he is then faced with whether he agrees or disagrees with it. Does he believe it to be true? Once again, some people don’t face this question. They are content to bounce around from thought to thought and let others do the “hard things” like deciding what is true.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; Ephesians 4:14
It’s dangerous to let someone else tell you what Truth is because there are those who will intentionally deceive you for personal gain if allowed. They’re not motivated by love for you (like Truth is). We must not be one who doesn't want to think and search for Wisdom and Truth.
Wisdom shouts in the street,
She lifts her voice in the square;
At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:
“How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge?
“Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you. Proverbs 1:20-23
(Of course, this passage of Scripture goes on to say the consequence of turning against wisdom, which is not pleasant. It’s worth reading the whole chapter).

So once again, when we arrive at the place where we understand a concept, we decide whether we agree with it or not. It’s important to note here that agreement is more than having heard it once before. Some confuse familiarity or recognition of a concept with agreement.
The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him. Proverbs 18:17
Just because you’ve heard something before does not mean it is true. When a person hears something once or twice and recognizes the thought as one he’s heard before, he might begin to repeat it and talk about it. Now it’s been given life. It’s been given space, and a rumor, or lie, is born.

Agreement is not just accepting something you’ve heard before as true. It’s taking a concept, comparing it to Truth, and making a choice about it. Some want you to think you don’t have a choice over what you agree with or believe in. They may express ideas in such a way that they prompt you to search your memory for a similar thought. If you find a familiar concept there, you begin to accept it. However, remembering is not agreeing. Knowing what something means, is not agreeing. The thought must be judged according to the Truth, which involves the person putting in effort to understand the thought, and then judging it appropriately. It is said if you hear a lie often enough, you’ll believe it. This does not have to be. This is a strategy our enemy uses against us. Yes, there is an enemy who wants to mess up your life.
…the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Agreement, or belief, is a spiritual thing. It’s free will. It’s a choice. Its where you say, “I want to know and believe this Truth,” or at least “I want to want to.” Agreement is not something you have no power over. If someone asks you if you agree with something, you don’t need to search some hidden reservoir inside of you to try and find out if you agree. You don’t search your memory banks to base your agreement on simple familiarity or recognition. You judge what you are hearing with what you have discovered to be Truth, and if it agrees with the Truth then you agree with it.  
Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, emphasis added.
Those who reject Truth and choose pleasure in wickedness over Truth, will be deceived and judged. It’s not about searching your memories or emotions to see if an idea sounds pleasant or acceptable to you. It’s not about collecting a wish-list of ideas to create a fantasy land. It’s about loving the Truth. Looking for it. Searching for it. Submitting to it. Even sacrificing for it, if needed.
Buy truth, and do not sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding. Proverbs 23:23
Truth might cost you something. Do you still want it? Yes, because sincere agreement with the Truth is the only thing that will give life, love, freedom, and all that is good because God is Truth and He is all those good things. Some may have trouble with the word “God” because of a misunderstanding of who He is and His nature. But God is Truth. He is life, light, and love. He is all that is good and right.
We want to bring the thoughts and ideas that we hear into alignment with what is good and right--what is life and love. This is what we want to agree with. This is Truth, and God is the source of it.

Let’s look again at how we come to believe, or come into agreement with a thought or concept:   

De-code it for a basic, parroting-type of understanding
Put mental effort--thought--into understanding the concepts and ideas presented
Judge the thought according to Truth
Agree (believe) or disagree with it

God has enabled us to determine Truth, not just from the Bible, or nature, or the experiences of other people, but He has given us access to the Spirit of Truth. When we compare the written Word of God, the experiences of our life, the testimony of others we know, with the Spirit of Truth speaking to our spirit, this gives us a confirmation that this thought or idea is of God—it is Truth.
Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 2 Corinthians 13:1 (See also Matthew 18:16, John 5:31-32, 1 John 5:8).
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth… John 16:13
Truth is revealed to us, by God, in a variety of ways. The Bible is a tried and true way. In the Bible, truths were revealed to men by God. The Bible is a written account or record of what the authors experienced and what was revealed to them. Their testimony has become history.

The Bible is the most accurate record of Truth because it’s been proven over millennia. It’s been tried and proven to be true in the lives of billions of people. People have testified that in their experience, the truths of the Bible are in fact true. This is what it means to be His witness. (Acts 1:8).

Our own testimony, and the testimonies of others, are spoken or written accounts of experiences, which, when taken in their sum total of a person’s life, may be used as a record of truth. If studied, one might see the Word of God proven true in their life—whether the outcomes are good or bad. This person’s life, along with other non-biblical classics—books, art etc. don’t have the same degree of testing and proof as the Bible, but may still contain truths which will help those who read to understand them.

Deception occurs when a person believes what is not true. How? When a person believes something is true it means he has accepted it as an idea that can and will be enforced. So he adjusts his life accordingly and tells others to do the same. Once again:
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5
We are in a war of knowledge, thoughts, concepts, and ideas. It’s political, yet spiritual. What you have heard, understood, and chosen to agree with is what you believe. If you’ve heard it, understood it and chosen to believe it, that’s where your faith is.

However, when you hear something familiar, that you’ve heard before, don’t mistake that recognition for faith. Don’t substitute the familiarity of a concept with belief or agreement with it. Understanding is necessary, only so we can properly judge a concept in accordance with Truth. If it doesn’t line up, don’t believe it. Don’t accept it. Others might, but you don’t have it. You have a choice. There’s thought involved. There’s free will involved. God made it that way.

You have a choice over what you believe in. You can’t change the truth by believing something contrary to it, but you can become deceived by choosing to believe something to be true when it isn’t. You have the ability to choose to disagree with the truth and not believe it, however, there will be consequence to that beyond your control. Truth, by definition, is something that has the power to enforce itself. We see this in laws of nature, like gravity. It’s true whether you believe it or not.
We have an enemy who wants people to think there is not one standard of Truth, there is no God, and there is no one to enforce Truth. This lie says that everyone can believe what they want. He uses the familiar to substitute for agreement because when a person agrees with the Truth, its powerful and our enemy doesn’t want that to happen.

This is why its important to read, hear, study, and meditate on the Word of God. To quietly hear from the Lord the concepts and thoughts He’s speaking to you in your inner closet, in your own still heart, where the Spirit of Truth speaks, to get an accurate understanding of truth.

The Word of God and the Holy Spirit within you, bear witness with each other to the Truth. And your own life becomes a testimony to it as well. Don’t just read and decode the Word, understand the concepts of it, according to what the Author means, then come into agreement with it. Judge according to truth, not familiarity.

This is why its so important to give kids the Truth at a young age.
like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 1 Peter 2:2
We must not wait until our children are older thinking they can’t understand “big” concepts. Feed them pure Truth so they can grow. Feed them from the book of Proverbs, short concepts of Truth. The book of Job is an example of a book that needs to be read in its entirety to get the whole concept of it, but Proverbs is perfect for the young. Bite size nuggets of Truth that can be discussed, while they develop their “thinking” muscles.
Let these words sink into your ears; Luke 9:44

The Mission of the Church

I’m adding this section to the end of this (long) blog, because I feel it helps explain why developing relationships with other believers is important “and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25).

It is very difficult for one person, by himself, to research and investigate every piece of information he comes across. Every news story, every trend, thought, idea, concept, argument, etc. He needs to be connected to a group that he can trust. Each member of this group will have their own set of experiences, knowledge they’ve gained, opinions, thoughts, interpretations, revelations and so on. Together, this tribe of believers can think and discuss concepts and trends of the day and come to conclusions regarding what is True and what is not.
…When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation… 1 Corinthians 14:26
It’s like the story of The Blind Men and theElephant. Each has their own viewpoint, which is true, but doesn’t give the whole picture of what an elephant really is.  

The job of the church is to bring the thoughts, concepts and ideologies of the day, of the current generations, into alignment (obedience) with the Truth. Through our discussions we destroy “speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” This means that we judge the current ideologies according to the Truth, teach our kids, and stand publicly with the Truth as needed.

We trust those who are in our tribe, yet we must always put God first. We don’t believe what’s popular, even within our own group, but seek the Truth first. Then, together we stand for Truth.
We are God’s “witnesses.” We testify of His goodness, His love, and all of His attributes, as if in court. We have a testimony—experiences we can share that validate who He is, that declares that His ways are the Truth. That our life has proven it to be so.

Each one in our tribe has personal experiences, lessons of life, revelations of truth, which becomes our testimony. We gather these things from:

·       Personal experiences (our testimony)
·       Personal revelation (from meditation, study, and prayer)
·       Biblical studies (our private time which brings revelation and interpretation)
·       Autobiographies, biographies (the stories of others)
·       Fictional stories and classics (the thoughts and concepts of others)
·       Lectures, teachings, and opinions of teachers (doctrines)
We form our opinions and beliefs based on these things.
And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old. Matthew 13:52
We must teach our kids from our stories--what we’ve learned, what we’ve come to believe, and how. Pull the old treasures from your house to share with your kids and grandkids. But there is also the new. Allow them to share their fresh perspective, based on what they’ve seen and experienced so far. It may be in its infancy, but they still have seeds within them that will need to be nurtured and grown. Rather than pulling out every concept that doesn’t agree with you, teach them how to find Truth and then, how to compare their seedlings of thoughts with it.


Thursday, February 20, 2020

Second-Season Fruit



Someone once said, you don't need to try and grow every plant in your garden. Not every seed you plant will sprout into a seedling. Some will never germinate. Some will try, but won't do anything more than use up the nutrients needed for the good seed. Some seedlings, even good ones, need to be thinned out so as to make room for the plants to grow to their full potential. There's just not time nor space to nurture every seed dropped into the soil of our garden of life.

Seeds may be dropped into our soil that are not meant to be there. They are not a part of our mission. They don't fit the purpose of our garden. They may be sown purposely by enemies or opposers to distract us, use up our resources, or wear us out. They may be sown innocently by those who think they are helping us, giving us something to do, yet they use up our time, energy and resources which are meant for other things. They may be sown by ourselves, out of guilt or an unrealistic sense of duty or obligation. Again, wasting our energy on something contrary to our destiny.

Once we identify and nurture the right seeds, our plants will grow and one day bear fruit. They could be edible fruit--berries or apples. They could be leaves we harvest for tea or nutrition. They could be the fragrance or beauty of flowers. They could be essential oils used for healing. Whatever the fruit of each plant, it will have a purpose that fits our life, our mission, our destiny.

Just as we don't need to nurture every seed into a plant, we don't harvest every fruit. Some fruit will be damaged by bugs, weather, or trauma, and we simply can't save it. Yet the lessons learned and the growth experienced by their loss is valuable. It isn't a waste. We gain valuable wisdom and knowledge to be used in the future, to help our garden or educate others.

As our garden grows, we enjoy the fragrances of some plants. We enjoy the visual effect of the garden--the contrast and balance of all of our plants together. We enjoy the taste and nourishment of the fruit, the healing of the oils and leaves. The garden brings us life. It nourishes, strengthens, and heals us. It teaches us. We work in our garden, like Adam or Even, and our work pays off in bringing us the blessing of all it has to offer, the fruit of it all in its many different forms.

However, just as we don't grow every seed, or harvest every plant, we don't consume all of the fruit ourselves. our garden gives us much more than we can use ourselves. Our garden grows, expands, multiplies. From a few seeds we reap much fruit. Year after year. Season after season. So we share our harvest with family, friends, and others. However, we must not let the joy of sharing consume us to the point where we forget to feed ourselves. Apart from fasting, which our winter seasons naturally provide, we must feed ourselves, harvest our seeds for replanting, or our gardens become barren.

This is when we begin to learn the lesson of second-season fruit. Before we know how to best offer our fruit to others, we must enjoy it for a season or two ourselves. Some fruit, leaves, smells, sights, oils, teas etc. need to be experienced by us for a while before we can offer a full, ripe, mature experience to others. What pairs well? When is the best time to harvest? How do we bring the best balance of beauty or taste? When is the nutritional level at its peak? The oil most potent and fragrant? We must experience and experiment ourselves with our own produce before we share with others and offer the best to them.

This is second-season fruit. Tried. Tested. Seasoned. We become seasoned ourselves. Experienced gardeners of our own soil. Knowing ourselves and lives well enough to offer our experiences, our history, the lessons we've learned, the knowledge and revelations, the understanding and wisdom, the failures and challenges, the victories and losses. We can teach, help, prepare, prevent, encourage, and guide others as they ask of us. As they come to our garden for a visit.

Of course, we don't force. We offer. And we don't deplete our own garden. We don't harvest too soon or out of season. We share at the proper time, in the proper way, properly prepared for the proper use.

Second-season fruit. You've waited until the full cycle of the plant has been completed. You've gone through all the seasons at least once. Nurturing, observing, experiencing, learning, and now you are seasoned in how to share this fruit with others. This prevents you from experimenting on others, and it teaches you how to fully appreciate your fruit. Try your fruit yourself first. Then, when you think its good, share it with your family--those who know you, love you, and can give you an honest opinion.

Don't offer it to others unless you'd give it to your own child. Don't offer it to your child, until you know its completely safe, nutritional, and healthy. Know your fruit. Know your life. Know the purpose of your garden. Wait until at least the second season so you what you have to offer is good and life-giving.



Sunday, February 16, 2020

Government by the People


When you have a society which has a minimal number of laws for the most serious offenses (murder, rape, theft...) and strictly enforce them, the people are much freer and happier than when you have many laws which attempt to prevent offenses and shape behavior. The latter causes people to seek permission from government for their behavior, rather than knowing right and wrong for themselves. That is not freedom. That is control.

This is what has happened to a certain extent in America. However, this is not the government's doing, it is the people's choice. While siding with those who say they want to make everything fair and easy, they have surrendered their freedom, and their conscience, willingly. The problem is, that in the process of doing this, laws are created which affect all Americans, not just the ones who wish to be controlled. This is the basic point of contention between those who want a big government, and those who want a small, limited government.

So how do you govern a society while still allowing the free will of the people? You don't. You set things up so people will govern themselves. How? By protecting, and promoting, their freedom to love and worship God. The desire to please God trumps any motivation a government could ever give.

I know that governments have sometimes used religion as a form of control, but just because it works to accomplish that goal doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. In reality, it is not just any religion that brings order to a society. All you have to do is look at history to prove that point. No religion has been perfect, because no people have been perfect. However, look at the holy books of each religion and you will find that a Judaeo-Christian people, when following God as He intends, will self-govern and create a society that flourishes.

This is contrary to religions who force conversion, killing or enslaving those who don't comply. This type of religion confuses the role of government with the role of their god. With a biblical standard, God governs men's hearts, who then rule their lives and families. Families govern communities and nations. Governing authority starts from individuals on up, not the government down, but it only works peacefully if the individuals themselves have submitted themselves to the true, loving God.

Every society needs a standard of truth. In America, the Bible has always been that. But now, those who have drifted away from (or never had) a belief in the God of the Bible, would like to establish their own truth. They say they want diversity and fairness for all, but what they're really trying to do is force a set of beliefs, their beliefs, on everyone. They feel if they can set up a powerful government who rules through these many laws, then things will be "better" for all. This is not true. This is not reality.

The beauty of America, led by biblical truths, has always been that men can respond to the convictions of their own heart. Yes there have been laws to protect which bring limitations, and no we haven't been perfect. But the answer is not found in doing away with the biblical standards that have made this country great. The answer is to promote, yet not force, these biblical standards more. Everyone gets to choose, but the laws, and consequences for breaking them, will be judged by the one standard we have always had--the Bible.

Fight it all you want, but it works because its truth.