Everybody’s A Christian – NOT!

What is a Christian? Really. I’m asking this question, not because I don’t know; but because the word Christian is so casually claimed. It’s the same backwards, flippant manner in which people claim to be in love after just meeting someone. Let’s get our word definitions straight. That’s lust, not love.
Furthermore, Christianity does not have the Burger King as it’s head. This is NOT a have-it-your-way faith. 
You can’t say or do any and everything you want with complete disregard for others, because this is NOT a self-centered belief. Part of our purpose is to serve others, by eliminating selfish thinking and self-centered motivation in ourselves. We have true liberty and freedom in Christ, but that does not endow us with a license to sin.
And for the record, Christians are supposed to be quick to recognize if they err and offend; not due to speaking God’s truth per the scriptures, mind you; but if they inadvertently caused harm to another, whether or not they had the intention to do so. Not only should recognize it through conviction of the Spirit, but they should be quick to apologize and ask for forgiveness, because we are called to be peaceable with everyone.
Furthermore, saying “I’m sorry, but…” Is NOT a real apology. It is a justification, which STILL means that someone is trying excuse their behavior, by crediting something or someone outside of themselves with the fault that led to their actions. It is a means of denying your responsibility for your own actions and choices. Therefore, such statements are insincere rebuffs, not sincere apologies.
I’m just sick and tired of false and illicit associations being made to my faith in an attempt to deceive the masses per someone’s agenda. Some who might be in the faith, might think that I am wrong to call this out the way I am. 
So many people who claim to be Christian, are too soft; and seem to think that passiveness is a demonstration of love. It is not. There’s a difference between being gentle and being passive. These same alleged Christians are so busy agreeing with the culture of political correctness pushed by atheists, that they’ve forgotten that we have been given power from on high, and that we are called to speak the truth with boldness
This, in my opinion, is why Ben Carson lost his spot in the presidential race, and has fallen by the wayside. However, he really lost me when he said that healthcare is not everyone’s right. Unfortunately, his voice was not a voice of authority, nor is it bold; therefore, he couldn’t really go head to head with someone like “The Donald“. I had a conversation with a friend about this, and I said, ” If only Carson had the boldness of John Hagee! He’d give Trump a real run for his money!” Unfortunately, despite having great ideas, Carson has, by his lack of boldness, shown the position of the church at large; that of being asleep. We are called to boldly speak the truth, not in judgment, but with love; and to stand against the culture. 
Regardless, I think some clarity is in order, with regards to defining what is a real Christian, as well as who or what it represents; and furthermore, defining what it is not, or what is not in any way associated with the Christian faith.

All scriptures listed here by number, are from 1Tim 6:1-16, unless otherwise stated.

1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

“Under the yoke” in this verse, essentially means you are employed; it is a reference to servants or enslaved people. The word “blasphemed” means to speak irreverently or disrespectfully about God or His doctrine, i.e.the set of beliefs He espouses or advocates; i.e. Christianity.

2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.

You can’t call yourself a Christian, and slouch off on the job, especially for a believing employer.

3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

Wholesome words mean words that edify, or lift others up. Words that are malicious, lewd, dirty, slanderous, or meant to put down, criticize, judge or destroy another, such as gossip and slander; are not part of the doctrine of Christ, or Christianity, which is according to godliness. I’m 
Verses 4 & 5 surmises what I see happening in the current political arena. Almost all of the current forerunners in the race for the party seat on either side, fit and demonstrate perfectly what these scriptures described.

Trump and Cruz are described perfectly by verses 4 & 5. Both of them know nothing. Trump makes things up, and in his egotistical arrogance, attacks, judges, and criticizes people and groups as if we are all still watching The Apprentice, and not an election. He separates and divides people, instead of bringing them together; and furthermore, supports racial hatred and division. 

Acts 10:34 (KJV)
Then Peter opened [his] mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.
James 2:9 (KJV)
But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
Colossians 3:25 (KJV
But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
Romans 2:11 (KJV)
For there is no respect of persons with God.

Rom 16:17-18
17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Trump then had the unmitigated gall…and the absolutely unbelievable nerve…to call himself a Christian! That got me fired up, because I considered him in the very beginning, because I liked the idea of us having borders and walls, but I was never under any illusions as to whether or not he is a Christian. 
However, it’s a cause of concern for those who aren’t aware of what a Christian really represents. He has attempted to associate himself, obviously, just to win votes. He seems to think that because he has money, he can say and do whatever he wants, and then, after bashing and ripping people apart, causing division and strife; that he can then align himself with the God of love?!? I think not! Remember verse 5 said about:

5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

If anything, Donald Trump more than anyone, represents the position of mankind that has turned against their Creator! He has that fist-shaking-at-God, I-can-do-whatever-I-want, spirit of Cain;  that, like the Eygptian Pharoah, says, ” Who is God that I should obey Him?” 
He even stated in an interview that he never asks for forgiveness. That is a key principle of Christianity. In order to accept Christ, you must ask for forgiveness of sin. Just because he occasionally attends a Presbyterian church does not mean he’s a Christian. Scripture says there are many wolves among the sheep. There are plenty of self-righteous people sitting in church week after week, who have never accepted Christ. 
Their presence in a building does not automatically graft them into the body of true believers, who strive to follow all of God’s word; and not just the parts that justify their own will. Scripture says that by their fruit you will know them. The fruit indicates that the only “god” Donald Trump serves is the god of money, not the God of true Christianity.
For years, Christians have believed that the Republican Party was the Christian based party, but clearly, it is not about the party, which apparently is not Christian based; but the position and actions of the person running for office. Any pastors who pander to a particular political party from the pulpit, trying to influence the vote are wrong. That is not their position, and certainly, not what they are called to do.
If Trump really wanted to ” Make our nation great again,” he’d be like John Hagee, leading the call to return to what our forefathers originally set up; a Christian nation. That is not what we are now; and certainly, it is not what we have been for a long time; even prior to the fault maliciously laid by some on Obama. 
We have long been pulled in this direction by the historically dominant party of long-standing, political “representation” in the Oval Office, which has been self-serving; working only for the high income level minority, as opposed to what was best for everyone. We have left our first love in favor of Solomon’s folly; marriage or con-joining with pagan nations, and the adoption of their cultures, doctrines and gods. 
But, scripture says, you are either hot or cold. You cannot be lukewarm with regard to God. You are either for Him, or against Him. You cannot serve any other gods. That’s the number 1 rule of the Ten Commandments.
Speaking of lukewarm, Ted Cruz has been a whiner that from the jump, complained instead of  stating his position boldly and standing on what he would do for the country. Now, he’s all inflated and talking big, like he’s so tough, but he is still doing nothing more than blowing hot air. Absolutely no specifics at all. He has no concrete answers nor direction. In essence, he’s like the short, insecure guy that buys a big vehicle to try to run with the big boys and act more manly.
On the other side, there’s the she-devil, Hillary; whose lies and dirty secrets have been hitting the fan for a while now. This woman is in collusion (board member) with the biggest bane to mankind; the enemy of the health and well-being, Monsanto. 
For those who don’t know, Monsanto is the chemical giant that has been poisoning our food supply; trying initiate legislation that would deny us the right to food labels that identify everything being processed into our food. She’s a part of destroying our greatest wealth – our health; so any health care reform she claims she’ll initiate will be purely in favor of Monsanto and the medical industry; not the people. 
Why should women vote for her to represent women as president, if she’s deceptive and manipulative? As such, she would not be a good representative, first for females, and especially as president.
She also jumped on the ” I’m a Christian” bandwagon, as it currently suits her agenda to now claim association to gain a few points. There’s no true association, because again,scripture says that people will know us by our fruits; i.e., by the love we demonstrate for others. Claiming to care, and then supporting an industrial giant that has been the cause of sickness and disease (like cancer), and death for the sake of population control; is not bearing fruits of the Spirit of Christ.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Not only is the love of money the “root” of all evil, and coveting it causes one to err and fall away from the faith. You can’t love money and God. 

Matthew 6:24 (KJV) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

This is what Christians are called to do. We are not called to follow after money or the culture, because love of those things will lead you astray.

13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;
14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
15 Which in his times he shall shew, [who is] the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords
16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Note that verse 15 states that Christ is the ” only Potentate,” not the pope. So if your faith Is in that figurehead, it is mis-placed. Furthermore, idol worship is condemned in the scriptures; in fact, not only is it right there in the first of the Ten Commandments, but throughout the bible.

image

No saints are to be worshipped or ” revered, nor any physical objects like rosary beads and statues. Doing such is idolatry, and is not part of Christianity, but one who belongs to that organization is not like to know that, because their bible is different.
That is another point. Changing the bible; adding to it or subtracting from it, and then claiming that your revised book is still THE Bible is a falsehood. The Bible has 66 books, not 73, like the Catholic Bible has. They are NOT one and the same.

Deuteronomy 4:2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.

Deuteronomy 12:‌32 See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.

Proverbs 30:6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

Revelation 22 
18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. 
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

For those who may choose to take offense about this; I am sorry you have chosen to take offense, rather than to personally do some serious research to find out if the doctrine you’ve trusted in is true or not. I can only state what I know.
Paul Crouch erred when he attempted to assimilate and join us to the Catholic Church. Why would you join with an organization that tortured and killed Christians, especially when the doctrine and traditions of that organization remain unchanged? Scripture mentions those that would kill in the name of Christ as not belonging to Him.
To my knowledge, Crouch was also willing accept Jehovah’s Witness, and their changed doctrine and bible; and if he were still around today, he might be saying that we need to accept Muslims who try to claim they are part of Christianity. There’s a difference between Muslims who have accepted Christ, and Muslims who have not. Those that have accepted are no longer Muslims, but Christians. There is no such thing as a Muslim-Christian. You are either one or the other, but you cannot be both.
 
Matthew 24:24 (KJV)
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Mark 13:22 (KJV)
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if [it were] possible, even the elect.

Crouch just flung open the doors, saying we should forgive and forget, as if Christ was willing to allow other gods and doctrines in conjunction with His own. He’s not, and none of those other religions have any part of true Christianity. But this is why there’s so much confusion. This is the reason everyone is just claiming it without living and walking it.
So don’t be so quick to believe someone who claims to be Christian, until you check their fruit. Watch their actions and spirit. No one is perfect and we are all ever growing in journey of Christiandom, but you should see more fruits of the spirit than fruits of the flesh in someone claiming to belong to Christ. Here’s how you know:

2 Peter 2:10 (KJV)
But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous [are they], selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
1 John 2:16 (KJV)
For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Rom 8
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit mind the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Galatians 5 (KJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Ephesians 5:9 (KJV)
(For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)


Beating Comcast-Xfinity At Their Deceptive Game

Life likes to keep us busy; distracted with nonsense and overwhelmed. This is, in part, why I have been missing in action around these parts for a while. However, I’m fighting back, and emerging from the muck in tact, and ready to tell it as it is.
In view of that, let me give you the run down on the fast one that Comcast-Xfinity attempted to pull on me. It may just resonate with the experiences of many of my readers with this company. To my future naysayers from the company, and I know they will attempt discrediting comments; my purpose as always, is awareness. 
I feel that circumstances like this affect not only the mind in frustrating people, but ultimately can be disheartening to the spirit; and furthermore, can affect the body, because muscles have memory and store emotional angst and trauma in the form of tension. 
Since my site concerns those three facets of spirit, mind, and body, I think the public has the right to know if a company deals deceptively with customers so they can make an informed decision on whether they chose to purchase services from them; or save themselves from a situation that can potentially have an adverse effect on their health and well-being.
That being said, I have long fought the idea of purchasing services of any kind from Comcast-Xfinity. Just because Comcast changed their public name to Xfinity, does not mean there was any revolutionary change in the company, or their manner of doing business. For years I heard horrible reports from numerous people about Comcast. I’ve read multiple consumer complaints about them, so I never had any intention of ever dealing with them.
So when I was discussing the Xfinity deal my son had informed me about, with a sales rep at Target; who subsequently referred to them as Comcast; I was immediately put off. 
“This is Comcast?!?” I said, in shocked disgust. “I’ve never wanted to deal with them! I’m not interested.”
imageBut at that moment, a Comcast field tech happened to be close by, and he claimed that the company had changed since becoming Xfinity. Between his comments, and the sales rep’s, and the area manager I spoke to on the phone, I was talked into trying the deal.
The deal was $19.99/mth and $10/mth for the box rental. All I wanted was internet. The set and installation was easy enough, and soon, we were enjoying having internet services at home. The first month was fine. I personally think that it’s the setup for a manipulation that is too easy for the company to do.
The next month, we “suddenly,” for no apparent reason, began having connection issues. It never occurred to me at that time, that they remotely control these lines, and could easily initiate a ” problem” on the lines from their location. When I called the company, the tech “checked” the line, and told me that the problem was coming from outside my home. She stated that they would send a tech over to fix it, but I immediately questioned whether my account was going to be charged any additional fees for this tech visit; as I clearly stated that I would immediately cancel the account if that was the case.
She assured me several times that there would be no charge to my account, and that I didn’t even need to be home for the tech to fix the issue. There was, according to her, no reason for the tech to come in my house. However, that was not the tech’s story. He claimed that he needed to check to ensure that my box was properly installed as well, so as to prevent the need for an additional visit, and subsequent $50 charge on my account. 
So naturally, I let him check it, still reiterating the fact the the rep on the phone assured me of no additional charges. He confirmed this, stating that the problem was indeed the outside line; and he said the box on the building needed to be replaced, as the cover was missing; but again, that was their equipment, and their cost.
When he left, everything was working and he reiterated to me that there was no charge because he was not required to do any installation. 
A week ago, I went online to my account, with the intention of paying the bill; only to find that my $30 bill has magically jumped up to $93. I immediately called the company demanding to know why (the hell) my bill was listed at $93, and assuring them that I would NOT be paying that amount.
“Let me look at the information, ” the tech says, after getting into my account.
“Well, the information I have here, says that $93 is due on your account.”
Again I very firmly (and loudly) reiterated that this is incorrect and that I will not pay it. 
“Let me look at the information, ” he says again; then says, “Didn’t a tech visit your home?”
I was getting hotter by the minute, and I stated that I had been assured by both the phone tech and the field tech that there was no charge.
“Let me look at the information,” he says again, irritatingly. “According to the information, an installation was done, which is the reason for the additional charge.”
“There was no installation done!” I yell, reiterating again about the original promises I was told.
“Let me look at the information,” he says again. “Well, ma’am, due to the installation that was done, your bill is $93. That is the bill.”
“You know what?” I say, fuming. “Get a manager on the phone! I’m not wasting any more time with you! I want to speak to a supervisor NOW!”
“Ok. Let me look at the information to determine if a supervisor is needed.” 
Say what?!?
“Look! I am not paying this bill! You either get a manager on the phone right now, or you can just cancel this account!”
Again he says, “Let me look at the information,” as if it’s not right in front of him on his computer screen. 
Now meanwhile, every time he has said, ” Let me look at the information,” and left me holding the line; I was having little conversations with my son about the reputation of this company and all the crap I had been hearing about them over the years. I stated how I had told him that this company was deceptive and a bunch of underhanded dogs, and that I never wanted to do business with them. 
I had these conversations without muting the phone in any way, so the rep heard every word. So the second to last time he made that same statement, while he had me holding, I hollered out to my son, “Hey! Look on that table over there and get me that card from Hughesnet! They sent me some information on their services, and I need to check them out, because I see no future with these idiots!” If they have a good deal, I’ll just cancel this account and deal with them!”
Then, the rep comes back on the line (allegedly, as if he had ever really left), and I said, “Where’s the work order receipt from your tech, that I signed, agreeing that your tech did an installation in my home? When you can produce a work order I signed, then we can talk about this $93 bill you people are trying to con me with!”
Suddenly, the rep says, “Let me look at the information so that my supervisor can credit your account.”
Then he goes on to say that he, himself, has fully credited my account, and my charge is $30 like before. Meanwhile, the “supervisor” never gets on the line with me.

One of my son’s friends does call center work just like this for AT&T. When I told him and his girlfriend, (who works with him) about this rep constantly saying, “Let me look at the information,” and how annoying that was; they laughed and said it sounded similar to what they say to customers. 
However, they also informed me that they can give the customer whatever they want, and basically must do everything they can to keep the account. The last thing they want is a customer cancelling.
I personally think it was the combination of my threat to close the account; the fact that I had another provider’s info already handy, and my demand for the work order receipt that made the rep credit my account. No supervisor was involved in this situation. 
There was no work order receipt. The field tech never provided one, because the work order was never for an installation in the first place. But, if you don’t stand your ground, an unscrupulous company like this will manipulate you as much as they want.
When another rep called yesterday to inform me that at the end of the deal, the rate would go up to $66/mth; I very curtly cut him off by stating that I have no intention of utilizing their services once this deal is done. I’ll find another provider, even if it costs as much or more than they charge. I refuse to do business with a company that would manipulate people like this, and which does not value their customers by provided great customer service in good faith.
No one needs such aggravation, because it causes stress and tension, which will not help anyone maintain a good state of health.


Spiritually Blessed

Everybody wants to be blessed. No one desires cursing. This why so many people call themselves Christians; despite the fact that they have no relationship with Christ, nor even any real association with God, nor any fellowship with Christian people or with a church. 

Many of these same people don’t even think about God unless they are in trouble, or once or twice per year at the time of a significant holiday. Worse yet, is the fact that God is not even mentioned from the majority of these same professing people except through crude jokes, or as a curse word. 

Yet, all such individuals want to be blessed. People associate themselves with Christianity, because they want to be seen as part of the group of people that God blesses and protects, yet He is nothing but an afterthought to them. This is why the verses below caught my attention.

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

You see, in verse 3, it talks about blessings. However, what most people misunderstand is that it is not just ” blessings” that are mentioned, but a certain type: spiritual blessings. And furthermore, not only are the blessings ” spiritual,” but there’s a specific location and association that comes with or enables receivership of those blessings.

In order to get those spiritual blessings, you have to be ” in Christ.” That is the association. For example, if you wanted to receive the wages and benefits of Microsoft, you’d first have to be “in” Microsoft. In other words, there would have to be an association…a relationship…an investment of yourself. 

Just because you know of Microsoft, or you know who started or runs that company, does not automatically entitle you to any shares of it’s profits. You may even own some of Microsoft’s products, but again, does that get you paid? Does that get you company benefits? No. It doesn’t. You have to be invested to get the benefits.

You see, the blessings mentioned were distinguished as “spiritual.” So why the distinction? Spiritual as opposed to what? Well, if we look at Christ, the answer is clear. At the time Paul wrote this letter, it was after Christ’s death and resurrection. He was on earth, but now lives in heaven with the Father. He was flesh, but now, again, He returned to the Spirit. 

“Spiritual blessings in Christ” is not a reference to the earthly blessings that most people covet. Those things are not eternal and will fade away. Even the location mentioned tells us this. The verse says these spiritual blessings in Christ are in “heavenly realms.” That has absolutely nothing to do with the earth. 

For those who ascribe to the “name it, claim it” philosophy, this verse nullifies that. Being rich is NOT a “spiritual blessing.” It doesn’t mean that those who have great wealth can’t utilize it to be a blessing to others. It just means that we shouldn’t be focused on riches and wealth, but on helping one another.

Matt 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

This is why the word ” mammon” is used in verse 24. It means wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of worship and devotion. If you only want association with God because you think it will give you earthly blessings, you are only deceiving yourself, because God knows your heart.

imageHowever, if you have truly surrendered your will to Christ, you have already begun to live in a heavenly realm. Note that I said “a” heavenly realm, not “the” heavenly realms. There’s more than one, and your life in Christ involves levels of growth. 

“It’s the climb.”  Miley Cyrus

The heavenly realms may encompass the sphere of your Christian experience through your identification in Christ, in the areas of nature, life, relationships, service, suffering, inheritance and future glory in the kingdom of God. (See the following references for more details: 2 Pet. 1:4; Col. 3:4; 1 Jn. 5:12; Jn. 20:17; Heb. 2:11; Mt. 28:20; Jn. 17:18; Phil. 1:29, 3:10; Col. 1:24; Rom. 8:16-17; 18-21; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6, 5:10.)

So now that we understand the type of blessings, the association of the blessings and the location of them; we need to know what these blessings are. For that information, I’m referring you another well written article that lists and specifies each of the 15 spiritual blessings. You can also read it in Eph. 1:4-14.  

The point is, don’t look to earthly treasures as your blessings. The real blessings are eternal. They’re in the spirit, and completely trounce anything earthly you may benefit from. Keep your eyes on Christ and you’ll have no worries; just situations that test your faith to grow you and mature you more in Him. Just remember that the rewards come later; not while you are still on the testing grounds.


Trials and Blessings

It seems as though I just disappeared, right? There is always a good reason for those times when it seems I am neglecting my site; when it seems that I’m not doing any updates or articles. Usually, it’s a trial that I’m going through. The Amusement Park that is our world, does not just contain rides like the Carousel, or the Chairlift, where you ride comfortably along, enjoying the breeze and relaxing.

You see, I’m not the big adventurer. I’m pretty content in my little world. My preference is to feel more like I’m flying blithely through life. Even if I stumble a bit, I’m usually pretty confident I won’t fall. After all, isn’t faith like that? You know that you can weather the storms because You are in the palm of his hand. My slogan is “What me worry?” I’ve never felt severely  threatened in any way, because as I always say, God‘s got me…got us, my son included.

Usually, my walk is more like the Ferris wheel. I go up, reach a nice pinnacle; coast for a while and enjoy the view, and then slowly descend into whatever the next test or trial is. Most of the time, despite the trials, my life’s ride feels like the Star Flyer, where God and I are just sailing on a breeze. I think that’s my favorite ride, really, but this year…the ride has been different.

I don’t know what rides you prefer, or what rides best represent what you have gone through lately, but I can tell you that the rides I’ve been on this year have not been merely Bumper Cars; and I happen to like Bumper Cars. I mean, despite the fact that you do get bounced around and jolted a lot, sometimes pretty hard, the Bumper Cars of life are nothing!

Let me tell you the rides that will really kick you hard on a level you knew existed, but just never really fathomed the depth of the terror such rides could put you through.  You see, I’m not a big fan of Roller Coasters, especially those big ones like the Behemoth. I just can’t handle the lurching of my stomach when the cars are heading down from the peaks. It’s not the “terror” of the descent, but the speed with the downward pull that gets you. 

BehemothYeah, I said it. I don’t like the ride down into the valleys. Being in the valley can be hard, but in all honesty, it’s the climb back up from the valley that is the most difficult. The cars are chugging along so slowly at that point unless there is some momentum already in play. It’d be easier to stay in the valley and never climb out, but I don’t really have a problem with the climb out. I don’t want to stay in the valley. The problem for me with the Roller Coaster is the speed, and too much fluctuation.

I’ve tried the Round Up, which spins so fast you are sucked to the wall you are leaning on, and the floor drops out beneath you. I’ve had the floor drop on me…so that is nothing new. In that ride, the floor dropping is gradual. I simply relax and close my eyes so I don’t get dizzy. Its more of a spatial issue. And recovery from this sort of situation is more favorable, because despite the floor having dropped, it stays like that for a while, and then everything returns to normal. Your world stops spinning and everything comes back into focus. So this ride is not so bad.

But I have never been on the Space Shot or the Speed Pendulum rides; and I wouldn’t ever be so inclined. I’m sure most of you remember the first Marvel Avenger’s movie. These rides represent that moment in the movie when the Loki attempted to assert his authority over the Hulk. Do you remember that scene? It was the funniest part of the movie for me. The Hulk flung him about like a rag doll, slamming him into the floor several times. It was hysterical.

The-Avengers-Movie-Roster-Concept-ArtFor me, those two rides would be similar in experience, so I don’t see myself every wanting to try them. Thus, we come to the reality of my experience in the past few months. You see, despite my efforts to be somewhat prepared, and/or insulated against such a situation; I got strapped in on the Space Shot, and experienced that rather speedy free fall. Shortly after that decent; as I stumbled dizzily away from that ride, without the time to fully recovering my bearings; I ended up on the Speed Pendulum, where I was flung from one situation into another, several times with rapid speed; having barely recovered from the first ride.

I was so shaken by all of this, that all I could do was cry and fall on the Lord like a desperate, unwanted step-child, begging for help and relief. Not to say I wasn’t praying after the disorientation of the first ride; I was, and God was answering, but with the pendulum, the swing is ok, if its at a slow speed, but when its fast…its just like Loki getting slammed by the Hulk. You really feel it; and if anyone recalls, he got a severe attitude adjustment as a result, because his tune changed after that.

the-avengers-loki
Loki, immediately after his attitude adjustment by the hulk.

I don’t think I went through the experiences of the past few months due to a similar arrogance. I just believe it was another of my growing pains. God’s trying to pull me in closer. I get that. He wants to fine tune our relationship, because He wants more commitment from me. I’ve had trust issues. He’s breaking those walls down. He’s demolishing the bricks of my expectations.

And now, He has once again demonstrated His grace in bestowing me with unmerited favor. I don’t deserve His grace, and certainly, not His unmerited favor, but He loves me, so I reap the benefits of that love. The situation I have gone through caused delays in my rent payments for the last 3 months. Remember the landlords I told you about in this post? These same landlords dismissed 3 months of late fees for me…and these guys stipulated a 5% late fee per day on the lease. Just the fact that they were willing to work with me, and did not process an eviction is miraculous, considering the past relationship as mentioned in that previous article.

God also provided a better employment offer that gives me benefits I wasn’t receiving before. But, like I said, God’s grace is more than sufficient for my needs, and He has ALWAYS got me…not just my back, but all of me. You know…I intended to write an article on this fab recipe I worked out yesterday when I was cooking, but apparently, God had other plans. My life is His to direct, and today, His intention was a testimony. I don’t mind. He’s good to me ALL the time. I have much to be thankful for.


All That And A Scoop of Honey!

My son and I have been reading in the book of Judges, and we came across the story of Samson. My son immediately waved is hand dismissively, stating, “I know that story.” He’s had these manga bible stories for quite some time, and references them frequently, but like I usually tell him, those are animated and much of the text is omitted. They stick to the basics of the more well-known stories, but there is much lost if only something like that is relied on, because everything in that bible is there for a reason and a purpose. So, knowing the basics of the story myself, I was interested to see what God might point out to me.

We had already covered the beginning of Samson’s story, concerning the foretelling of his birth. So we started this particular study on chapter 14 of the book of Judges. However, I just want to dip back into the last verse of the previous chapter. Jdg 13:25   And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol. The word Dan means “A judge.” Zorah means “hornet,” and Eshtaol means “entreaty.” It seems that this is statement of God’s displeasure and his mercy in spite of His anger. Chapter 14 opens up with Samson going down into Timnah, which means “a portion,” and saw a Philistine (immigrants) woman he wanted. When he returned, he just ordered his parents to “get her for me;” as if they were at his beck and call. This was the first thing that disturbed me about his disposition. brock_samson_face_detail_2_by_suarezartJdg 14:2   Then he came up, and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.” I mean think about this. This guy was called to be a Nazarite for life, prior to his birth. I’m sure his parents followed what the angel instructed them to do in chapter 13, without question. So Samson’s hair was never cut. He never drank fermented drink or ate a grape of raisin a day in his life, and he was a vegetarian – he had never touched or been near anything dead. Now he’s grown and is arrogant. He shows a total lack of respect for his parents in the manner in which he speaks to them.

As a man of God, a Nazarite in particular, he was separated to be holy for God. Its a spiritual thing. God intended to use him for his purposes. The thing is, God can use anyone, but this guy was specifically set apart to be holy for God’s purposes. Apparently, his being set apart caused some measure of conceitedness in Samson, because this seems to be reflected in the manner in which he treated his parents, and the arrogance he displayed. Even after his parents questioned his choice in verses 3-4, he dismissed it, but regardless of his arrogance, this was about God’s intents and purposes.

But his arrogance was displayed again as he and his parents were going to Timnah again to see about this woman. As they approached these vineyards, a young lion came roaring towards him. We think that his parents ducked into the vineyard for safety per Samson’s directive, and he went charging towards the lion. The reason we think this is because after he killed this lion, he didn’t tell his parents what he had done. Obviously, he was not on the path or the road when he fought and killed that lion. His parents weren’t in the area with him when this happened, and I’m sure they would have reprimanded him, because, he’s not supposed to be near dead things. samson_by_willustration-d3i9ptlWhat’s worse is that he went back to that same carcass some time later (verse 8). He specifically turned aside to look at the dead carcass of that lion. If you read Numbers 6: 1-21, it details what a Nazarite is, what the requirements are, and what they can and cannot do, or eat or touch, etc;. One of the things specified is not only not touching any dead thing, but Nazarites cannot even be near a dead thing. So Samson, being raised as a Nazarite, was fully aware of these rules regarding Nazarite law, yet he chose to turn aside to look at this dead carcass.

Not only did he make this choice to turn aside and look at the carcass, but in addition, in verse 9 he saw a swarm of bees and honey inside the dead carcass, and he scooped out some of it and ate it, and took some for his parents; again, not telling them where he got it. Now obviously, the reason for the omission with his parents was because he had violated Nazarite law. What I don’t get is, why would you want to eat honey that is inside a dead carcass. I mean, that “some time later” was at least a full day according to Strong’s Concordance. That means that carcass has had time to decay. The minute something dies, it begins to decay; there is no holding period. Samson not only scooped honey from a decaying carcass, but then, he ate half and gave half to his parents, as if he needed collaborators with him in his sin.

Even if having collaborators could have excused him, his parents weren’t Nazarites like he was, and furthermore, they were unaware of where he obtained the honey from. I can’t imagine that anyone, apparently outside of Samson; would be willing to eat honey oozing from a dead carcass if they knew that that was where it came from. It’s disgusting. Apparently, he was so full of himself, that he thought he could just violate Nazarite law, and nothing would happen. But, death was attached to the honey.

While Samson was satisfying his appetites through the lust of his eyes and the lust of his flesh in violation of Nazarite law; that law would eventually catch up to him. What appeared to be so sweet and attractive at that moment would later materialize into death and destruction first in the spiritual realm and subsequently physical realm. Sometimes, all it takes is one thought; just one wrong decision can lead you down the path to destruction. For me, if I had found out that someone I loved and trusted brought me food from inside a decaying carcass (that, furthermore, had been cooking in the sun a day already); I would never trust that person again. Its inexcusable and difficult to imagine that he would do that to his parents, but it confirms the point I made earlier about his lack of respect for both his parents and for God. But what I see here is not only his arrogance and contempt, which eventually led to his downfall; but also the reasons for his downfall, which are found in Numbers 6.

Num 6:6   All the days that he separateth [himself] unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body.

Num 6:8   All the days of his separation he [is] holy unto the LORD.

What I see here is that his parents may have spoiled him a bit, considering their careful consideration of what the angel had told them about this child; and especially because they had waited so long, and tried for a long time to have a child. He was an only child, and I’m sure, because of his being set apart for the Lord, he was catered to – to some degree, because he was considered to be very special as a Nazarite. There are Nazarites that are separated for life, and some that simply choose to take the Nazarite vow for a certain period of time, like Paul did. However, the bible only mentions 3 people who were Nazarites for life: Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist. The thing is, there is a certain procedure that is supposed to be followed if, for instance, someone dies in the presence of the Nazarite. This is detailed here:

Num 6:9   And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it.

Num 6:10   And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:

Num 6:11   And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day.

Num 6:12   And he shall consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.

Its not like you cannot begin your separation again, but there is a process; an order to how that works and it is the law of the Nazarites, which, no doubt, Samson was well aware of. However, Samson was so arrogant, and so full of contempt for God, that he disregarded the law regarding the separation process for holiness. Additionally, he refused to even acknowledge that he had made himself unclean. maxresdefaultSo in light of this, my question was why did God continue to use him? The simple answer is, God is able to use anyone He chooses to achieve His purposes, even someone who has violated this special law of holiness. My son and I discussed this at length, and determined that this law applies to a spiritual condition, but does not negate God’s ability to move in power through the vessel of his choice.

Samson’s arrogance and disregard of the privilege he had as a Nazarite was not lost on God, but there was work to be done first, to complete God’s purpose, prior to the time of Samson’s arrogance to be reconciled. God withheld judgment on the spiritual violation until later, so that He could use Samson to fulfill his purposes against the Philistines. Anyone can be used of God, but don’t think for a minute that He will allow a chosen vessel to escape judgment for blatant arrogance and disobedience to his law. He’ll be forgiven if he seeks forgiveness and repents. However, there will be a penalty. After all, Jesus said, Jhn 14:15   If ye love me, keep my commandments.


A Matter of Consideration

This world is so backwards. Last weekend the people that live a few buildings north of me had another of their big parties. Now normally, they aren’t too troublesome with their parties. Generally speaking, they tend to be respectful of the neighbors. They don’t play their music so loud that we hear it thundering through every room in our house. We hear it, but its not so bad as to be a disruption unless we are trying to sleep; and even then, its usually just the bass beat that we hear. I told them quite some time ago that their guests could not park in my yard, and for the most part, they have respected that. But every once in a while, there’s always one or two individual guests of theirs that want to give us a hard time about that. They act like they have the right to park anywhere they choose. Last week was an example of this.

So you are probably wondering why I don’t allow people to park in my yard. Its not because my grass is in such stellar condition. We’ve had a few issues with people both from our neighborhood, and outside it, with that same idea and disposition; the sentiment that they are entitled to park anywhere they choose. Unfortunately, I presently live in the neighborhood of necessity, instead of choice. That translates to mean that I live in an area where a lot of lawless types live or frequent. It is amplified by the fact that there is a good deal of cultural diversity, but predominantly, it is dominated by one outside culture.

Because of this, the level of civility and consideration for neighbors is almost non-existent. People from this particular dominant culture don’t tend to be in the habit of demonstrating respect for their neighbors; at least, I have yet to see evidence of this. Two years ago we had a blatant example of this. This little church down the street apparently was one of the havens of the independence celebration these people were having. My street became so filled with traffic that it was like I95. People who did not live in the neighborhood were just trolling – driving through with their flags flying from their cars; hanging out of windows, yelling and carrying on. There were so many people rolling through that police attendants were stationed throughout the neighborhood, including on the corner where I live.

Unbeknownst to me, people were parking in my yard, as apparently, they had been parking all down the street to where this little church was. I stepped outside to see cars lining my yard, and someone coming out of his car after parking in my yard. I immediately informed him that he needed to move his car; he could not park there. I then proceeded to ask the officers on the corner what was going on. I asked them what was to be done about all these vehicles parked in my yard, as I did not want them there. The officer said they would call the police, as these were simply from the city to help with the traffic problems.

The thing that gets me the most about them parking in my yard, is that there is a big empty lot directly across the street from my house, on the south east corner. It is not fenced in, and no one would be bothered if they parked there, but instead, they insist on parking in everyone’s yard. My neighbors directly south of me, belong to this cultural group, and the irate wife was standing outside when I spoke to the officers about the cars. She looked very angry but I didn’t care, because for one thing, she exemplifies the problems within this cultural group.

Her behavior is always very loud, rude, and disrespectful. She fails to control her children, (5) who are constantly a disturbance at all hours of the day and night; and her family members, including the kids, are very nosy, and have a habit of intruding into my yard and causing damage to my plants, trees, and the water sprinkler system. This is one of those people that you know on sight to leave alone; don’t just get involved with.

Needless to say, the police arrived with a tow truck, and they began telling people to move their vehicles out of my yard or risk being towed. The reason most of the people knew to come move their cars, is because aside from the woman looking at me with anger, there was a man from their same culture who was standing in the middle of the street between her house and mine, giving me the same angry look. He was calling on his cellphone to people to tell them to come move their cars.

Personally, I didn’t like the way this particular officer was addressing it. He came and spoke to me, telling me about how they’ve had problems with “these people” every year. This was the first time we had noticed this particular situation, so maybe the problems they had was on another street. However, I still thought his mannerisms with this one old guy was a bit harsh, because he failed to get there to move his truck before the tow truck loaded it. I was willing to let him go, but the officer told him he was trespassing when he tried to talk to me; and they told him he had to pay $100 to get the car now, or more at the lot if they towed it.

My reasons for having the cars moved, is that in every scenario that involves people parking on the swale, it is always first – a right they think they have, yet it is my yard. Second and most predominant, they cause damage and then drive away without regard for the damage. Either their tires have dug deep grooves into my grass; or worse, they have left my yard strewn with their discards and garbage.

It is not my job to clean up after someone else’s party; and I don’t say this because I wasn’t invited. These are not the type of people I choose to associate with, so its not like I care about their party nor want to go. I don’t want the mess in my yard, and currently, because my house is a corner lot, on the corner of a well travelled street for people trying to get to the main avenues, my yard is already being used as a garbage dump by pedestrians.

I saw the condition of the angry neighbor’s yard after this celebration was done. She had allowed a bunch of people, mostly teenagers, park on the side of her yard. They sat out there drinking, yelling and screaming for several hours, with their loud music blasting through my house; and when they had finally left, her yard was a disaster. Empty bottles and cans were everywhere.

Now, its not like her kids don’t throw all kinds of junk and trash around in her yard already. They throw junk into my yard as well, which is why I don’t want them in my yard. Her back yard, which is fenced in, is like a junk yard, literally. Her fence has big gaps and you can see all the junk back there, broken glass, huge metal drums…I mean, it is really like a junk yard. I don’t even understand how she lets her kids play back there, but like I said, she doesn’t seem to be too mindful of what they are doing.

This same disregard for people’s property is the reason why I don’t let anyone park in my yard for any of the neighbor’s parties. Like I said, there is a large empty lot right across the street that they could use without causing inconvenience to any of the neighbors, but that is the last thing these people want to do. Consideration is not at the top of their list in any circumstance.

So last week, a few of this neighbor’s party-goers began parking in my yard. I came outside and began telling them that they needed to move their vehicles. Two guys immediately moved without giving us any problems, as they were just pulling up when I came out. Smoker hip aggressiveTwo females sitting on a car parked across the street in my neighbor’s front yard began to give my son and I some abusive verbal lip service, and two guys decided that they needed to challenge us, so they decided to show out.

They approached us individually first, with the first guy posturing with aggressive body gestures like the dude from the smoking commercial. He wanted to get loud and boisterous, stating with his arms flailing, that this was “HIS NEIGHBORHOOD AND HE CAN DO WHAT HE WANTS!”  This guy doesn’t even live on our street.

I wasn’t impressed. I told my son to come in the house, but he was still trying to reason with them amidst all the verbal abuse. Then this other guy came up with even more aggressive behavior, that was meant to be threatening. He got in my son’s face, jabbing his hand at him, and according to my son, he actually stuck his hand in his mouth. I saw him jabbing at him, but until he came in the house, hot as he could be, I did not know the man actually touched him.

He was ready to get a weapon and confront the guy. He’s 19. I had to catch him and correct him. I told him that those guys were not worth him going to jail for and messing his life up over. That’s not how you handle this. You don’t stoop to their level. For all their noise and posturing, I simply told them that I’m not going to argue with them. If the cars weren’t removed, I would call the police. And that was all I needed to say. I have nothing to prove. I have no need to be concerned with impressing anyone. It’s just a fact.

They were infringing on my property, and I was within my rights to tell them to move their vehicles. Whether they like it or not, is not a concern. And, without having to showboat, I calmly got my point across, because 3 officers arrived, and an older woman from the apartments that were having the party, came running down the street to tell those people not to park in my yard. I told one officer that normally, the party hosts were respectful with their parties and generally not a problem, but they had some guests that got too disrespectful with my son and myself when we told them they could not park in our yard, and that necessitated the call to them.

They asked me for my name and if I was willing to call them back if anything else developed and press charges, because the dude who came at me talking smack about he could do what he wants, had already gotten in one officer’s face with a threatening gesture. I told them I’d call if there were any more problems. Simple. Done. And there were no more problems. The officers made everyone parked in a neighbor’s yard move their vehicles and directed them to the empty lot. The party was very quiet after that.

My mom got upset when I had told her a week or two ago about a similar situation with some people in the apartments just west of us.  She was upset over the fact that I went out there, or my son, to speak to these people, but in my mind, I was trying to be considerate of their party and give them the opportunity to adjust or modify the problem without calling the police first, which is normally my immediate action. It was the same thing with this other group.

They were having a party, and this started around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. By 11pm, we were tired of it, because they played their particular style of Caribbean music very loudly, and were generally very noisy. They were parking on the side of my yard in the back as the apartments were on the side of the well travelled street that runs next to my house. When I walked outside and past them, I was assessing first. As I came back, I asked whose vehicles were parked in my yard?

One tall guy came up to me and began to tell me that I must understand that they are having a birthday party. I told him I understood that, and had no problem with that, but I wanted to know how much longer this was going to go on, because the noise had been going on most of the day. I also told him that they had to move the cars. He started to get boisterous with me, because when he first responded about not moving the cars, I told him that it was very simple, and either the cars are moved, or I call the police.

He began getting louder and more physically aggressive and threatening, lying and claiming that he lives in the apartments. I interrupted him,  “Dude! Bring it down a few levels. I’m not going to argue with you. I know you don’t live around here because I’ve never seen you before. Listen, you are asking me to have consideration of the fact that you are having a party. I’m fine with your party. But at the same time you are asking me to consider your party, you are failing to consider that the neighbors here have been putting up with your party for hours now. All I want to know is how much longer are we going to have to put up with the noise. We’d like to get some sleep.”

At that, he calmed down and told me to give them one more hour. They moved their cars and as he said, they left after an hour. I do try to be reasonable, but I expect some consideration in return. When I go to parties my friends host, if I park in someone’s swale, I always check with the party host, to be sure its ok to park there. The parties I go to are never loud and noisy enough to disturb any of the host’s neighbors. We are always mindful of that. I don’t think its too unreasonable to expect the same in return.