Monthly Archives: February 2016

Evil Twins

Yes you do indeed have an evil twin,

DOPPEL GANGER

ˈdäpəlˌɡaNGər/

noun

1. an apparition or double of a living person.”he has a doppelgänger named Donald, his invented twin brother”

Yes, when we received Jesus Christ as Lord he gave us a new nature. However, even though the dominion of sin has been crushed we still have to contend with our dethroned old master, self. In the old video game Legend of Zelda, Link the protagonist had to fight his own shadow and in the same sense, we must make a choice to fight our old patterns of living, our old ways of thinking, past tendencies and present shortcomings. It is indeed like fighting your own shadow.

However, Christ has given us victory and the Holy Spirit to help us, his Word to Guide us, and His promises to strengthen us!

Dying to self is not fun alot of the times, but it has tremendous rewards. The world needs less people consumed with themselves and more consumed with Christ and in addition those who have humility to think of others above themselves. Something I by no means am an expert at, but through your prayers I hope to grow to be so consumed with Christ that I no longer have any room for me.

Galatians 2:19-20 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

1 Peter 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.

Romans 7:18-20 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now 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.

Ecclesiastes/The Futile Life Without God.

{King Solomon wrote this book while reigning in the place of his father David Ecclesiastes is thought to have been written in Solomon’s latter years when he was an older man as well.}

(Ecclesiastes 1:1-18)

The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!”says the Teacher.“ Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their laborsat which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go,but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the southand turns to the north;round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea,yet the sea is never full.To the place the streams come from,there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again,what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. No one remembers the former generations,and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.

{Solomon was the wisest man living at that time and there had been and has been no one as wise as King Solomon aside from Christ himself, but even as the wisest man alive, his wisdom did not spare him grief or the monotonous repetition, he like so many other people past a certain point in life saw how futile the hamster wheel can be. To those living now it may be, “Get up, shower, brush teeth, go to work, come home, go to bed, so as to begin the same cycle again and again and again year after year.}

I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;the more knowledge, the more grief.

{Solomon first tries more wisdom to make him merry but he says its like “chasing after the wind”- in essence pursuing the unattainable illusion, a mirage. One cannot catch the wind and knowledge is not the source of happiness, on the contrary often the more one knows the more pain it brings. When we see some of the evil things that go on in the world or the suffering taking place we may not wish we knew at all. As the old expression goes, “ignorance is bliss”-although ignorance solves none of the problems we or anyone else has, it merely makes us oblivious.}

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

{laughter, pleasure and glee last only the moment they are taking place so it is only assumable that pleasure is a fire that constantly needs refueling, “I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives”- Solomon said, but this is how most people who do not know God live. After all, if we are only here 60 or 70 years and there is nothing left after then we might as well have a good time.
The Apostle Paul knew what is was to grasp on to the essence of real life not just the foretaste. This life is transition for the next whether eternal life or eternal separation from our God who created us to be in a relationship with him. He made it possible to overlook our offenses by nailing them to the cross with Christ, and Paul says,

1 Corinthians 15:29-32 Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,“Let us eat and drink,for tomorrow we die.”

Indeed Solomon and Paul had a point that if this life is all there is than there is no real value living contrary to each momentary pleasure and fix. After all if we are just born to die than we might as well live it up while we are alive for our short days here.}

Ecclesiastes 2:4-11 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.My heart took delight in all my labor,and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

{Solomon tries success and has successfully found it is too meaningless. Success has failed to bring him happiness or lasting joy}

Ecclesiastes 2:12-26 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly. What more can the king’s successor dothan what has already been done? I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness. The wise have eyes in their heads,while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realizethat the same fate overtakes them both. Then I said to myself,“The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?” I said to myself,“This too is meaningless.” For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered;the days have already come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too must die! So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless. A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Wealth, success, wisdom, knowledge, and pleasure have failed? What he concludes is that God gives us the ability to enjoy good things and but without God the enjoyment we receive lacks. Can we take our queues from some celebrities? Robbin Williams for example sadly and tragically ended his life, even though he was rich, well liked, hilariously funny and a successful actor. It is more lonely at the top of the ladder than at the bottom, the idea of the glory life is an illusion if it is meant to be acquired by earthly means.
Man’s solution is not found in the external accumulation of things, people, wealth or success. But only in a spiritual food that Christ taught about, “For man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”

For spiritual cravings, we need spiritual food. Time to lay aside the potato chips of possessions and the soda of success or the “more” smores.

John 6:26-29 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

God enjoys to bless people who follow him with good things to enjoy from time to time but then again they are just salt and pepper and seasonings not the actual steak. Only Christ is sufficient to meet the deepest longings of the soul.

What Makes Us Superior To Animals?

 

Humanimals?

What differs human beings from animals.Some suggest we are really just animals too and that their is no superior animal. I do not believe this and here is why.

For starters:

Conscience- even a child knows when he or she does something wrong. We all probably know what the feeling of guilt feels like when we did something mischievous as kids. When I was a three year old boy, I stole a plastic toy cow from  Topeka Bible Church’s nursury. I knew deep down I did something wrong and I was too young at that time to have had a lecture that stealing was wrong. It’s not as though I had studied the Ten Commandments at that point yet I still knew I did a bad thing. In the words of a three year old, “I did a booboo.”

As much as I love pets, they do not care about the concept of stealing, a dog can and will take the toy or bone from another dog if it is able. That’s just a dogs nature and we do not blame animals for doing what they do.

A cat will kill a mouse or cricket without afterthought or contemplation of whether it killed something. Or at least many cats, however, cats seem to have personalities at times and who knows what goes through their heads. My granny’s cat BW had the devil inside of her, I kid you not. But that’s a story for another day I suppose.

Another thing distinctive about human beings is we do seem to sense injustice. We all seem to have the capacity for anger when we see wrong take place. An dog may get angry if you step in its lawn, and a male Tom Cat might get protective over his she cat harram but I do not see any cats out protesting and joining labor unions or picketing or demanding cat-equality. Granted, I’m being humorous but animals, some, especially house pets seem to have a pretty cushy life until its bath time or time to see the vet. That’s all I’m saying.

Purpose- People seem to also be wired to have a desire to do great things, to effect the world and to be an agent of change. We long for purpose and not just survival. We want to survive but still that is not enough, we want to thrive. Many people if not most I’d say are discontented with the idea of getting up and going to work, just to put food on the table pay bills and repeat that cycle for the remainder of our days on planet earth.

A dog, cow, rat, cat or crab is not going to get up and say, “I wonder how I will change the world today” No, actually most animals are concerned with the next meal or what not.

We as human beings also have the capability of reading, writing, as well as creating things. We can invent, we can express thoughts and articulate ideas. We have the ability to do many things.

Not to say animals lives do not matter, in fact Im an animal lover myself and I have had every type of legal pet to own I can think of, hermit crabs, dogs, a cat, a hamster, lizards, and even a tarantula, but I believe we the only one created creature that can choose God or reject him. God created us as creations that can choose to be in relationship with Him. God could have made us constrained by instinct, granted we do have similarities to other creatures, such as a need for food, water, suitable habitat, and a desire for sex, companionship and what not. However, in an animal gets threatened or angry or has its meal infringed on it will attempt to in most cases kill or attack any animal who might steal his prey, but a human being can choose to kill or to refrain from an act of homicide if some other person swipes his lunch.

Human beings have a moral choice

Animals only have an instinctual choice.

So at the end of the day I believe we do rule above the other creation. This is not an excuse or right to abuse creation or animals though. Animals may not be made in God’s image but we should take care of God’s creatures in a way that glorifies their Creator who is our Creator as well.

No Absolutes = No Right To Get Angry. 

Some who do not believe in God will often say there is no such thing as evil or sin. They also suggest that we are products of evolution over billions of years. But if this were really true then some get very angry and say, “Religion is the source of evil in the world!”

I have heard one too many make this statement on a number of occasions. So when they assert that religion is the “source of evil in the world” they destroy their own argument that evil, sin, or right vs wrong does not truly exist. If evil or wrong were phantasmic concepts and figments of the religious man’s imagination then they would have no real reason to be angry over an idea that is non existent. After all, right and wrong cannot really exist if we are all just animals. On one token they expect people to act better than animals and get disappointed when people don’t but they assert we are animals really. “We are really animals also” they say, and some say, “We are no more superior to these little furry friends” yet they are shocked, surprised, and angry when a “human animal” commits a heinous act.

They seem to retain their rights to get indignant about evil they do not believe can truly exist. It is not logically possible to believe two contradictory belief systems simultaneously. It is incongruent.

Either we are animals following our “human animal” instincts and there are no absolutes or we are as the Bible says “Created in the image of God” possessing conscience and the capability to know right from wrong. And if the latter is true which I’d say it is, then we are guilty when we do wrong, and have no excuse and cannot blame “animal instinct” for our evil.

It’s time to make up our minds.

Does God Send Pain or Allow it?

John 9:2-3 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Sometimes God allows it to show his glory in such situations. So I agree, biblically speaking not all suffering is the result of discipline or God’s punishment. However, we cannot box God in and say, “He never sends suffering” in some cases he does, so people will repent of willful disobedience to get our attention. And ultimately get us to correct our ways! Even when he directly sends it he does so with hopes of good results.

1 Corinthians 11:32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

Jesus also said to one of the churches in Rev

Revelation 2:22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.

God would rather in some cases cause a person temporal grief in this life than totally abandon them in the next.

So whether God sends suffering or allows it is not as important as who we know God to be, loving and good. He uses pain ultimately for our good. We must respond to it rightly either way.