Friday, December 23, 2011

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The Bible Under Attack

It is amazing to me that so many people who endeavor to teach us about the Bible, don’t believe in it. You see professors of theology on television shows like The History Channel and others, offering alternative versions of events written in the Bible that don’t correspond with what the Bible says. There are even pastors who attended seminaries and still don’t accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I guess they thought they were getting into an occupation that was easy and secure, with some amount of prestige attached. Easy, secure and prestigious; wow, what a miscalculation!

The rise of the Christophobic movement is indicative of our times and even talked about in the Bible. I came up with the word Christophobic because I needed a word to describe those persons who are afraid of Christ, due to their hardened hearts against the message of the Bible, or their desire to live their lifestyle anyway and ignore the eventual consequences. It is truly sad to see this emanating even from supposedly Christian associations. If you are going to make a living by teaching against the truths of the Bible, at least have the decency to admit it instead of hiding under the cloak of the church.

The war on Christmas, apostate teachings in our churches, and the blasphemous teaching about Jesus from the Moslem religion are just a few examples of Christophobism. Atheists could very well be the most intolerant people in the world. Because they don’t choose to believe in anything, they want to restrict our right (provided by God and Our Bill of Rights) to do so.

From the 1600’s on, the focus of the settlers of this land and the founders of our nation was from a Judeo/Christian perspective. Anyone who says that this is not true is lying and they know they are trying to deceive you. Our history is replete with the celebration of the God of the Bible as the inspiration for our country.

Archeology is bringing to light, on a regular basis, proofs of the factuality of the Bible. The Bible has never been proven to be wrong, although many have tried. Many who have tried to disprove the Bible have come to the realization that God is the inspiration for it, and that the Bible is truly the word of the One True and Living God.

The Moslems teach that Jesus was a prophet of Allah and that He will return some day, admit He lied and demand that everyone convert to Islam or be killed. They claim that their writings are the correction and completion of the Bible. I remember a passage in the Bible that says anyone adding to the Bible was headed straight to hell.

The “War on Christmas”, although many nonbelievers insist there is no such thing, is in reality an affront to Christians, our nation, and most of all to God. Because of their warped theology, or lack thereof, there are those who would restrict our rights, given to us by God and our Constitution. Christmas was not only celebrated by the founding fathers, but the principals of Christianity were encouraged as a positive part of our national fabric. That of course was before the lie of separation of church and state was invented.

Rick Rahn

Monday, October 31, 2011

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Gifts of the Spirit

          God is no respecter of persons; yesterday, today, tomorrow or any combination thereof.  There are a variety of gifts He gives to His followers, for ministry and growth in the Christian Life.  Salvation through Christ and love are without a doubt, the greatest of all.  What we will examine here are those gifts of the Spirit as listed in Mark, 1 Corinthians, Romans, Ephesians, Acts and Hebrews: wisdom, knowledge, apostleship, helps, administration, faith, healing, miracles, prophesy, distinguishing of spirits, casting out of demons, tongues, interpretation of tongues, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, mercy, evangelism, pastoring, preaching, hope and love. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all.”[1]  Romans 1:11 says that the gifts are given to make us strong.

          The gift of tongues is the most questioned and maligned.  Those who do not have the gift of tongues don’t seem to understand its usefulness, or perhaps are jealous because of a feeling of lack.  I will deal mostly with tongues here, as it seems to be the bone of most contention.

          I lack the expertise to determine the differences between stopped, abolished and cessation.  These are terms used to describe the disappearance of the gifts of tongues, knowledge and prophesy.  I do have some knowledge of that which is perfect, and His name is Jesus. Love will never fail. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.  Now we see through a glass darkly; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”[2] When that which is perfect is come (Jesus second coming, at the end of the age), He will show us everything.  “God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.”[3]   I have heard the Bible is considered, by some, to be ‘that which is perfect’.  I am sitting here with a King James Version, a New International Version and a New Testament in 26 translations.  It is somewhat difficult to discern which one is the perfect one.  There might also be a jot or a tittle out of place.  The Bible may not be perfect word for word, but it is perfect thought for thought.

          It is true that there are more important gifts than tongues: unless you have reached the point of total exasperation and you need tongues to express yourself to God in a way that you are, at that time, incapable of doing.  Have you ever been at a loss for words? 
     There are different kinds of tongues.  First, there is the type used strictly in praise and worship.  Second, is the type used to deliver a message from God, which is followed by interpretation (this is distinctly different from prophecy).  This is the type that my wife first heard in a service at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland, during a Bible study.  A woman gave a message in tongues and when she finished the teacher (Father Phil Zampino) would not continue until the interpretation was given.  After some length of time a black couple in the front row stood up and told them that the woman was speaking in Swahili, and it was an answer to prayer as to whether to stay in America or return to Africa.  This same thing went on at Pentecost when the crowd wondered how the Apostles could speak in their various languages. “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’”[4]  Third is the type that is used to express yourself   in prayer, to the Father, when you are not sure how to express yourself, and ask the Holy Spirit to take over. 

          At Pentecost, tongues were given as a ‘sign’[5] of the filling of the Holy Spirit.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them”[6].  No, you don’t have to speak in tongues to be filled with the Spirit.  There are those that are filled with the Spirit, but have never reached the point of overflowing.  Paul said that he wished we all spoke with tongues[7], but as in all things with God, in order.  In Acts 19:6,”Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.”. “Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.”[8]Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.”[9]  In the Law it is written: ‘Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to the people, but even then they will not listen to me,’ says the Lord.”[10] They heard those speaking in tongues, and praising God. Then Peter said, ’should anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ”[11].

          I have seen the counterfeit gifts that are the result of the Devil trying to lead people astray.  If the gifts were not real and in use by the Spirit today, there would be no reason for the Devil to counterfeit them.  I have seen the abuse of some of the gifts, even in Christian churches.  I attended a service at a Lakeland, Florida church where ‘Holy laughter’ was happening.  It was disruptive to the service and when I asked a woman why she kept doing it, she said she couldn’t stop.  That was a lie.  The Spirit of God always allows us to control ourselves.  A member of my Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship chapter was prone to give false prophesy and word of knowledge (I have a message for you from God).  I went to him in secret, and he didn’t stop.  I went with other members, and he didn’t stop.  Finally, we expelled him from among us.  All things must line up with the word of God.  One of the gifts I do have is the discerning of spirits.

          No one, not even God, is going to force you to speak in tongues.  The Holy Spirit is a gentleman.  He will never force you to do anything (that is why you have to accept the salvation of Jesus).  The difference between Pentecost and the continuing use of tongues is that now it has to be requested, and is not the only way to know if someone is filled with the Spirit. 

          Not every Christian is given the gift of tongues.  For that matter, apparently, no human being is given all of the gifts of the Spirit.  The Spirit distributes the gifts as He pleases[12]. 

          There seems to be some doubt if tongues are a genuine spiritual gift when manifested today.  There are those who say that the gifts of tongues, prophesy and knowledge have all passed away.  In other words, these gifts were only for the early church and petered out when John petered out.  This seems somewhat selective when you consider the list of all the gifts.  The knowledge you are gaining in reading this must be different than that knowledge of the early church.  There are some who say that it is possible to have a genuine experience of tongues that is “not against scripture” [13](but) “is not Biblical”[14].  Since the Bible is the scripture referred to by Christians, I believe this to be a perversion (distortion) of scripture.  If anything is scriptural, it’s Biblical.  In Mark 16:17 Jesus said “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues.”

          There are those who describe differing dispensations of the church.  Dispensationalism is a nineteenth-century evangelical development based on a futurist biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive "dispensations" or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants.”[15]  I know of two covenants: the Jewish one in the Old Testament and the New Testament one from Christ.  The church is the body of Christ. The dispensation we are living through is the salvation of Christ, available through grace, and faith.  The old dispensation was under the law of Moses. 

          Since God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; we either believe Him or we don’t. 

[1] 1 Corinthians 12:4, NIV
[2] 1 Corinthians 13
[3] Romans 11:29
[4] Acts 2:5-12 NIV
[5] Acts 2:4
[6] Acts 2:4
[7] 1 Corinthians 14:5
[8] 1 Corinthians 14:39
[9] 1 Corinthians 14:22
[10] 1 Corinthians 14:21, Isaiah 28: 11-12
[11] Acts 10:46-48
[12] 1 Corinthians 12:11
[13] “Balancing the Christian Life” by Charles C. Ryrie, pg.171
[14] “Balancing the Christian Life” by Charles C. Ryrie, pg.171
[15] Wikipedia

Monday, October 10, 2011

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Dressing The Christian Body Physically And Spiritually


Ephesians is a wonderful book from which to glean the importance of being properly dressed and equipped for protection against the ‘elements’ that may seek to cause us harm either directly or indirectly. When reading about putting on the whole armor of God, it reminded me about the time when each morning, the children and I would stand together and actually say and mimic the actions as if we were truly putting on God’s armor before we set foot out the door to begin our busy day. As I mulled over the importance of dressing properly, and the consequences of not doing so, the flood gates of thought seemed to pour in with numerous applications that God might have for us as individuals in our daily lives, both in the natural and spiritually.

In today’s world, it has become the norm for females, both young and old, to dress very provocative. It seems that the lower the neckline, the shorter the skirt, and the tighter the outfit, is the general guidelines for the fashions of the day. I don’t say this to be critical for I do not think that they even consider their dress to be immodest, but rather simply the fashion and therefore acceptable. My sisters and I were blessed with a Mama who always did her best to teach us to behave and dress as proper young ladies. Unfortunately, I can not say that I always did either. But at least I was given a good foundation from which to learn and my heart was then ‘prepared’ to be open to the process of further instruction from the Word of God in my walk with the Lord as He has worked to melt me and mold me into His image. However, every where you look today, the value of dressing modestly is not encouraged, but discouraged. Moms are setting examples for their own little girls that dressing in scanty tight clothes is the proper and normal way to dress. Yet, this is not recognized as a danger to the vulnerability of them selves or their daughters. God instructs us to dress in the moderation of modesty in order to protect us from lustful eyes.

I’m writing this with those of us who profess to be Christians in mind. We are supposed to be in the world but not of the world. We are supposed to be transformed and led by the word of God, not conformed into the image of worldly ways. Those things which are acceptable and pleasing in God’s sight should always be valued more highly, and therefore more important, in guiding our daily lives even down to the little regarded guide for dressing properly. My Mama gave us a pretty good guideline to follow as we began to develop into young women. She told us that a little bit of cleavage was acceptable but, when necessary a nice little insert of lace or other cover, perhaps like a camisole, should be worn for the sake of modesty.

As young ladies and women today, we have somehow lost sight of the fact that dressing immodestly provokes the male to then often assume that we are purposely provoking them to behave in lewd and even overt actions towards us. I am not saying that the way a female dresses gives a male the right to touch, attack, or assault a woman. I am saying that the way we dress can possibly be a contributing factor that could produce an undesired response or action towards us. That in itself is just another good reason to follow the directions of God to dress modestly.

Furthermore, I know that for gentlemen, this provocative type of dressing presents a real problem. It is common knowledge, even to the biblically illiterate that a man is stimulated by what he sees. You have heard it said that “all men are alike, or a man always looks at my breasts and not my face.” My husband, for one, does NOT want to be put into that box of generalization. He has even been known to say the following to a waitress: “I don’t want to be disrespectful of you and the other young ladies. Do you suppose you could ask your boss if you could wear your name tag higher so I wouldn’t be put in the position of appearing as though I am looking at you rudely?” Some men do look at women in a lewd manner, no matter how she is dressed. However, it isn’t fair of a woman to dress so provocatively and then complain that all a man looks at are her breasts when he is talking with her, or that he looks at her in a lewd manner as if undressing her with his eyes.

I thank the Lord for my Mama. I didn’t always understand her comments or suggestions at the time, but they were stored in my memory for future thought and ‘pearls of wisdom’ for me to consider. I remember when I was about thirteen or fourteen years old, I was wearing a slip in front of my brother-in-law, Mike. As far as I was concerned, he had been a part of my life since I was in the fifth grade. I loved him and thought of him as my bother. I felt so close to him, it was not unnatural for me to sit on his lap with my arm around his neck to talk with him even as I was thirteen or fourteen. He never gave any sign to me that he was ever uncomfortable when I did this. So when my Mama said I should put on a robe or something, I really couldn’t understand why she would say that, and I thought she was being foolish at the time. Regardless of how innocent my actions were in my thinking, my Mama’s words would return to me many times over the years to remind me that how we dress before others is important. Even if our actions are ‘innocent’ in our own eyes, it is more important to learn and move in God’s directive to give no place to the devil and give no appearance of evil. It is really being educated to be considerate and thoughtful of others and to follow the guide of moderation in all things.

God tells us that He is a jealous God. This does not mean that He is envious of us. It does mean that He is vigilant in His love and loyalty towards us. In like manner, He desires that we would be vigilant in our love and loyalty towards Him. He promised us this covenant type of relationship when He said He will be our God, and we will be His people. We have been given a human to human type of relationship that is meant to be a similar covenant which is found in the marriage relationship between a man and a woman. God says there is but one true God. If we truly believe that He is our God, we will be loyal to Him and Him alone. We won’t give any parts of our lives to any other gods. In like manner, one man and one woman are to be given in marriage, cleaving only unto one another. That word cleave holds an abundance of meanings such as loyalty, love, and submission to one another.

God has commanded that we are to have no other gods before Him, and we are to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and body. So too, man and woman are to be married to one another and not go after others. Our love is to be loyal to one another alone according to our marriage vows. What has all of this got to do with how we dress? Well, if a woman is to give herself entirely to her husband, why would she dress in such a way that entices other men to be drawn to her? Why would a godly woman want to contribute to the possibility of causing someone to sin? Isn’t it far better to know that those attributes that God has given you are to be shared only between the two of you and no others? As our covenant with God is between Him and only those who believe in Him as the one true God, so also a man and woman given in marriage are to have that same kind of covenant relationship.

God is a God of balance and order. He does not expect a woman to cover herself entirely as some try to teach. He tells women to dress modestly, not immodestly. So it should stand to reason that our neckline should not be so low, or our skirts so high and tight that we seemed to be very close to having most our bodies revealed to any and every one. Should a female, of any age, dress in such a way that to the world we seem to be saying, “Come one, come all, taste of my wares that I freely give without discrimination or regard.” First of all, what message do you want to convey to your husband? Are you his and his alone? Why would you want to dress in such an imbalanced way that it seems to advertise that you do not hold your self for the pleasure of your husband alone, but perhaps you are not loyal and that which was supposed to be for your husband alone is to be shared with any man that comes along?

As a Mom, what kind of an example do you want to set for your daughter? In guiding your daughter, what message do you want to give her about how to dress in a godly fashion instead of a worldly fashion? Did you know that they are making padded bikini tops for little girls? The image of dressing provocatively has even been reduced to the younger and younger ages. What are we trying to promote in our present society?

In today’s world, where the less we wear is becoming more and more acceptable,
immodesty seems to be the normal, and modesty is the unacceptable, prudish abnormal standard.
Perhaps, because it has become the normal, maybe you haven’t even thought about whether the way you dress is pleasing before the Lord or not. I don’t submit this to be judgmental of anyone. But merely as food for thought that we might seek guidance from the Lord in even such a matter as how we dress. For me, I would like to think, if I were standing before the Lord here on earth, that He would be able to look at me and say, “Well done my daughter,” even in such a small matter as how I have chosen to dress. We are to be in the world, but not of the world.

Never accept my word or opinion. We are always encouraged to “test the spirits”. If what ever is proclaimed does not line up with the Word of God, cast it aside. Being led into all truth through the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit is first and foremost. Moderation in all things is always a good guide in helping us know and do what is pleasing before the Lord.

I include a list of a few scriptures that may be of help to guide us in finding that balance in moderation for ourselves and daughters no matter what our age may be.

Romans 12: 2; I Corinth 10: 31; I Thess: 4, 4-7; Matt. 5:28; I Tim. 2:9; Prov. 3: 21-22; Phil 4: 9


Just as our bodies need to be dressed before we start our day, each of us needs to be mindful of the needs of our spirit to be dressed and equipped for the day. Too often, we think only of the outer man and neglect our inner man. When it’s raining outside we make sure that we prepare ourselves at least with an umbrella. If we are going to be exposed to the sun for an extended period, we apply sunscreen lotion for protection. We understand that there are elements that could cause our bodies harm, both from nature and from mankind. So we take measures to protect ourselves.

In order to be spiritually dressed and equipped for the day, we are reminded to “be strong in the Lord.” When we become born again Christians, we have become united with Christ which automatically makes Satan and his demons our enemies. As it says, these are not flesh and blood, but they are very real adversaries, and in many ways much more dangerous than the conditions or situations that would attack our physical bodies. Yet we go forth each day giving little or no thought as to whether we have taken heed of any part of Ephesians six which exhorts us to put on the whole armor of God that we may be equipped to withstand all the fiery darts of the enemy.

Ephesians 6: 10 - 17
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

It seems that the very first step in getting ‘spiritually’ dressed is to pray and spend time in the presence of the Lord, for without this step we have not given ourselves the advantage of becoming “strong in the Lord.” The very first part of our armor starts with protecting our mind, for the mind is where the battle against our spirit will begin. We are told to put on the helmet of salvation. Salvation is faith in the saving power of Christ. The helmet will protect us from the lies of Satan who never ceases to try to deceive us. He knows the word of God and is very adept at sprinkling in just enough truth to make his lies seem to be true. If we are to have the “mind of Christ,” we must be secure in knowing who we believe in, not just knowing about Him. Satan and his demons know about Jesus, but they will never believe in Him as Lord and Savior, and they will never obey Him. We are encouraged to always strive, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to have the “mind of Christ” in all situations and upon every occasion. We are to follow the actions exemplified for us by Jesus – love, humility, truth, service. Always endeavor to think and act as Jesus would. Do not let our desires lead us into sin. Avoid those situations that would open the door to gratification of sinful desires. We are exhorted to renew our minds. How? By the washing of the water of the Word.

We are to have the belt of truth around our waist and the breastplate of righteousness across our chest. Righteousness is granted us by the grace of God through faith in Christ. It is our faith in the Lord God that is imputed to us as righteousness just as it was to Abraham. Self-righteousness and righteousness are total opposites. Righteousness is the condition of being always right, completely sin and guilt free. Self righteousness says man can save himself through his own good works. Yet this is never attainable, for no matter how ‘good’ a man may appear to be, he can never keep all of the law and never sin. Man can never meet the holy standards of the Lord. Only Jesus is qualified as completely sinless and without guilt. Without God, man’s righteousness is as filthy rags. With God, the believer is covered with the blanket of righteousness bestowed upon him because of his faith in the sacrificial blood of Jesus. Faith, righteousness, forgiveness, redemption, and eternal life are all gifts from God. They are gifts that can not be earned, but received only because of the grace and mercy of God when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. “Let us walk honestly, as in the day, not in rioting (carousing) and drunkenness, not in chambering (sexual immortality) and wantonness (debauchery), not in strife and envying But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfill the desires of the flesh.” (Romans13: 12 – 14) That is how one is to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” in both attitude and behavior. “And be found in Him (Christ), not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God by faith.” (Phil. 3: 4)

We are to be equipped with the shield of faith. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God. How can ones faith be true and strong if it is not rooted and grounded in the Word of God? At times, our faith is non existent, shallow, or completely in error due ignorance, immaturity in the knowledge of the Lord, or just plain rebellion and refusal to build our faith based on the truth of God’s Word instead of the ‘truth’ as we desire to see it based upon our own opinions, or false teaching from other sources. Either way, it all boils down to our own responsibility to study the word of God that we can be a workman that need not be ashamed, but able to rightly discern the word of God. Disciples, apostles, teachers, preachers, etc. have all been given to the church that we may learn and equipped with the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord. God tells us that “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” This does mean worldly knowledge, but the knowledge of God. The Word tells us not to be deceived, by ourselves or others. If we are not diligent to study the Word, we will be easily led astray by every whim of man and Satan who both contribute to the mass of false teaching that is rampant in the world and even in some of our churches today. If it were not possible for even a believer to be deceived, we would not be told “be not deceived.”

Ginger Rahn

Sunday, October 9, 2011

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God And Israel

          Just as Jesus was sacrificed for the whole world in the Old Testament, the Tora was also given to the whole world.  The Jews were the only ones that received God’s call to obey the Tora, so God only attached His name to Israel.  “The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Israel, I am God over all who come into the world, but I have only associated my name with you.  I am not the God of idolaters but the God of Israel.”[1]  When we accept Jesus, as our Savior and Lord, we are grafted into the vine of the God of Israel.  Whenever the Israelis were exiled, the Shechinah Glory of God remained with them.  In the same way, the Shechinah Glory of God is with Christians in the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.  “All the peoples of the world proclaim the praise of, The Holy One, blessed be He, but mine (Israel) is more acceptable than theirs.  Israel declares, ‘Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one’, and the Holy Spirit cries, ‘who is like thy people Israel, a nation one in the earth’.  Whoever helps Israel is as though he helped The Holy One, Blessed be He; whoever hates Israel is like one who hates Him.”[2] 

          All the nations of the world were given access to the Tora; but only Israel accepted it.  Christ Jesus is the fulfillment of the Tora.  Accept Christ, and The Holy One, blessed be He, will accept you.   A gentile was accepted as a believer by the Israelites, as one of them, if he came to the Lord with pure motives.  After instruction in the Tora, and the plight of the Jewish people, the proposed convert would accept the condition of his conversion and “he is circumcised forthwith.  After he is healed, he undergoes immersion without delay, and two disciples of the Sages stand by him and instruct him in some of the minor and more important precepts.  When he has immersed himself and ascended from the water he is an Israelite in every respect”[3].  Under Christ, circumcision is not physical, but spiritual.  Baptism, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the same way, represents the death of the old and birth into the new life.   God, the Father, accepts those who sincerely receive Christ as Savior and Lord; then He sends His Holy Spirit to guide them, whether they are Jew or gentile. 

          The Shechinah Glory of God dwells not only in Heaven but also in each of us who have received the Holy Spirit (Ruach Hahadesh) who is God’s direct influence on man.[4]  The Holy one, blessed be He; The Lord God Almighty, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Elohim, the All Powerful One, the Mighty One, the All Knowing One, the Alpha and Omega, the I Am, the Holy One of Israel, Jehovah Jaira, Jehovah Shalom, El Shadi, Yahweh, and Jehovah Niche are all different names for God but I prefer to call Him Adonai which means “my Lord”.

          The Jews, in their attempt to explain away the Trinity of God, use Genesis 1:26 and the verse following.  In Genesis 1:26, God said “Let Us create man in our image, and let them rule over……..  In Genesis 1:27 God created man in His Image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them”.  The inference of Rabbi Simali was that “our” meant God, in addition to man and woman.  Since man had not yet been created, I don’t see the application of his theory.  The Hebrew word ‘Elohim’ has a plural form that I believe the rabbi missed.  Rabbi Simali wrote this at a time when Judaism was fighting the growth of the early Christian church. 

          “Whether atheism, in the sense of the dogmatic denial of God’s existence, was accepted by anybody in Biblical and rabbinic times is doubtful; but both in the Bible and Talmud the concern was with practical atheist who conducted his life as though he would never be held to account for his deeds.”[5]  As we see today, there are many who claim to be Christian, but are so in name only, having a semblance of the truth but not walking therein.  “Don’t forget that Jesus was crucified by church members whose sins He rebuked.”[6] 

          As concerns our walk in this world, the Talmud explains: “the hour of man’s departure neither silver nor gold nor precious stones nor pearls accompany him, but only Torah and good works; as it is said, ‘When thou walkest it shall lead thee [in this world], when thou liest down [in death] it will watch over thee and when thou awakest it shall talk to thee [in the world to come]”[7].  In Jesus time, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, the Sadducees did not, and were therefore sad, you see.

          Christ Himself was an Israeli, in His human form.  Many religions are vehemently against Christ because the only path to salvation is through Jesus, who was a Jew.   “Jesus said: ‘Come to Me’, not the church; to Me, not a creed; to Me, not a preacher; to Me, not an evangelist; to Me; not a priest; to Me, not a pope; ‘come to Me and I will give you rest.’ Faith in Jesus Christ moves you, not faith in the church.”[8]

How does God feel about you?   He knows everything; and has since before the creation of the world.  He knows who will be saved through Christ, and who will not.  If your name is not written in the Lambs book of life, you are lost. God, before anything was, knew whose names would be in the book of life.  That is what is known as predestination.  Now we can see why God wants us to treat everyone as a brother.  We don’t know who will wind up being one of us, and who won’t.  That is one reason why Jesus said the most important thing was to love God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself.[9]

          If you have a book that is thousands of years old, that was written over a period of thousands of years, which has never been disproved, that the archeological evidence supports and is in conflict with more recent writings; why in the name of all that is Holy, would you value the newer and obviously inferior writings? 

          Why is what the Lord has done for us not the lead story of every news presentation?  What could be more important news than that the Lord is doing His best to keep us from going to Hell?  Throughout all creation, God reached out to man.  Throughout the Old Testament He sent messenger after messenger to help mankind.  The New Testament describes how He sent His Son to redeem mankind.  What in the world is more important than that? 

[1] Everyman’s Talmud, A. Cohen, 1949
[2] Everyman’s Talmud
[3] Pg. 65 Everyman’s Talmud 
[4] Pg. 45 Everyman’s Talmud
[5] Everyman’s Talmud, A. Cohen
[6] Billy Sunday
[7] Pg. 69 Everyman’s Talmud
[8] Billy Sunday
[9] Mark 12:29-31

Thursday, October 6, 2011

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Righteousness Or Self-Righteousness

Christians have been accused by some as being self- righteous bigots based solely upon their stand that there is but one way to the Heaven. Some
of these accusers even claim to be Christians. They have even said that for any faith to proclaim that it is the one and only way, rather than believing in ‘many paths’ to God, is even fascism and self-preservation communication. If Christianity was merely a religion equal with all other religions then I too might even agree with those that say all paths, regardless of who or what the god is, lead to the same heavenly destination. However, Christianity is not just a religion, but, more importantly, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The God of the Bible proclaims that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one and they each bear record of one another. Man is given direct access to the Father through faith in Jesus Christ. Man must not just have head knowledge of Christ, for Satan and his demons ‘know’ Christ and the Bible, but they will never obey Jesus, or His Word. That is the main difference in a true believer and one who is a believer in name only. A true believer is not just a hearer of the word, but is also a doer of the word. He does not do the word out of tradition or ritual, but out of the desire to love and serve the one true God in thought, word, and deed that he might glorify and magnify the Lord with every part of his being. God desires our obedience to Him more than any sacrifice. All He asks of us is a contrite and humble heart.

I can understand those who think Christians are self-righteous when we claim to be better than others because of our ‘personal’ good works, as if we are not sinners like everyone else. Even born again Christians, though we endeavor not to practice sin, will fail and fall into sin time after time. As the scriptures say, Jesus did not come to save the righteous but the unrighteous. It is only when we repent and acknowledge our need for our Savior, that we can be forgiven.

Self-righteousness is boasting in ones own goodness and deeds. For the Christian, our own ‘righteousness’ is as filthy rags before the Lord. We can not boast in anything but in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and Him alone. It is He that paid the price for our sins. We are cleansed only by the precious blood of the lamb. We can not even boast in our faith, for it too is a gift from God. Nor can we boast in our good works, for our works do not gain us God’s favor for He loved us first. We are not saved by good works, but to do good works that we might glorify and magnify the Lord.

How can a person who claims to be a Christian not believe that the God of the Bible is the one and only true God? How can he not believe that Christ is The Way, The Truth, and The Life? How can He not believe that Jesus is the only way to God the Father? How can he be a Christian and not believe that the Bible is the true Word of God? How can he believe that other gods, like the gods of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, paganism, selfism, etc. are equal to or the same as the God of the Bible? How can we call ourselves Christians while we behave as though feeding from the Bible is like feeding from the trough of a buffet, while they picking and choosing what to believe or not believe based on their own imaginations and opinions? No wonder the church, the body of Christ on earth, is confused when we Christians don’t even know who we are.

I know that serving Christ and being transformed into the image of Christ is a lifetime commitment and process. It will never be completed until we see Him face to face and He completes His work in us. I know I am so often like the scripture says, I look into a mirror, turn away and immediately forget who and what I am supposed to be in Christ. Yet, I also know that He has sent His Holy Spirit to indwell me, lead me, and guide me into all truth. Without Him I am no more than a blade of grass that comes up, withers and dies, but with Him I am a child of the living and sovereign God who will never leave me or forsake me. I am His, and He is mine. His Word will forever stand, and I have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb by the grace and mercy of God the Father.
By faith Abraham believed in the one true God and it was imputed to him as righteousness. I am made righteous by the redemptive work of Jesus on the Cross. Because He was resurrected, I too will be given a new body and a home in Heaven with Him in Eternity. It is all a gift from God, and not of my own doing except for opening the door of my heart and asking Him to come in and be my Lord and Savior. So if I, or any other Christian, stands committed to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit based on the promises of God in His Word then I can not be self-righteous, for I boast not of anything except for Jesus, my Savior and Lord. It is His righteousness in which I boast and not in myself. It is His Word upon which I stand, committed to, enduring to the end. He is the Rock upon which I stand. I am carved in the palm of His hands and nothing can separate me from the Love of God. For me to live is Christ, for me to die is gain. How can anyone reject such a loving God? He’s done it all for us-paid the price and shown us the way.
Yet, even among those who profess to be Christians, the blood of Christ is made meaningless by luke-warm, fence sitters who would proclaim that those Christians that stand on the word of God and profess Jesus Christ to be the one and only way, as He says, are self-righteous bigots. Either they have not yet learned who they are in Christ, or they are Christians in name only and don’t really know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord. Lord, search our hearts and cleanse us Father that we be not deceived, but be forever committed to Thee in thought, word and deed. Forgive us Lord when we fail to stand as a flame on fire for the Lord. May each of us, with the help of the Holy Spirit, forever stand upon the righteousness of the Lord alone. Give us spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear and an obedient heart to serve forever the one true living God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Ginger Rahn

Thursday, September 15, 2011

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          If an unborn child is not a human being, what is it: an inhuman being?  What is the distinction between the following?

1. Abortion (as birth control). 

2. Sacrificing a baby for better crop yield (as in idol worship). 

3. Death of an infant from outside forces (murder as defined by our laws).

          There is no need whatsoever for an abortion clinic to exist.  If there is a real medical need for an abortion, it should be done in a hospital where they used to be performed.  Those medical personnel that believe like I do would not have a problem under that system.  ‘Abortion on demand’ is murder straight up.  Abortion is a legitimate medical procedure that, as far as I know, was never against the law.   Abortion on demand is nothing more than birth control used as a substitute due to laziness.  There are many forms of birth control that are much easier, cheaper and less complicated.  What about Choice?  Do you really want to go there?  If there was no choice in the causation of the pregnancy, it wasn’t sex, it was rape.  Since rape is not in God’s plan, it must therefore be considered to be from the only other power in the universe.  There are those wonderful women that chose to keep the child that is a product of rape which proves two things.  1. Good can result from evil plans if God’s people choose to make the effort.  2. The devil cannot create anything on his own, so he has to pervert that which the Lord has established.  Life is established and begins at the moment of conception.  There is no question left about this fact.  “Apart from God, there is no meaning in life.”[1]  Oops, is not, in my opinion, a reason to end a viable life, and that is what abortion on demand really amounts to.

I used to sell medical equipment.  In my years in the field of gynecology equipment sales, I was exposed to many facets of the medical field.  When I sold for Gynemed, I was introduced to the line of Berkley Bioengineering products.   Berkley was the company that made the abortion equipment.  At the sales meeting where the line was introduced, the entire sales force expressed our objections.  It was agreed that we would not actively promote the sale of the equipment, but rather act as customer service.  (I still regret staying with that company.)  We had plenty of other product lines to keep us busy.  Many of the hospitals I called on had the abortion equipment, including the Baptist hospital that was very close to Jerry Farwell’s church.  One of the nurses I remember talking to at the University of Richmond hospital was considering changing her field due to the increased number of abortions.  She said that since the government had stopped paying for their birth control pills the women were using abortion as birth control. 

Another story I would like to relate involves an abortion clinic in North Carolina.  The owner told me his story.  He didn’t even have a high school education, but was the owner of several of these clinics.  He explained that when Roe vs. Wade became law, he recognized the opportunity.  He rented a building, the furniture, and the fixtures.  He also described the doctors and nurses as rented.  At the point of my meeting him, he owned three clinics, buildings, furnishings and all.  He was making quite a bit of money.  He still described his staff as being rented.  He also had the staff sterilize and reuse the ‘disposable’ plastic instruments to save money.

Healthcare workers, with a fervent belief that abortion on demand is a crime or a sin, are told that they need to find other employment. There really is a growing crisis in this country, and that is the lack of sufficient supply of qualified personnel.  Taxpayers, regardless of their beliefs, are being told that they will be funding abortion on demand.  I believe that these same healthcare workers and taxpayers would have no problem with abortion being performed for instances such as rape, incest, miscarriage, health of the mother, baby died in the womb and perhaps some other circumstances - real, legitimate medical reasons. 

          Let’s see what God says about it - In Psalm 139:13-14, David said: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”  Jeremiah 1:5; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”  Luke 1:41; When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Exodus 20:13; “Thou shalt not murder.”  Proverbs 6; “There are six things the Lord hates ,seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

Margaret Sanger, the hero of the Planned Parenthood movement, is very seldom fully explained.  She was indeed concerned about the plight of those people who were being saddled with an over abundance of children.  Birth control was needed very much, if only to keep the women alive.  When abortion on demand became the law of the land, I was told by a close relative that it was a good idea because whites would never do it, and it would keep down the population of blacks.  Well as it turns out, that was one of Margaret Sanger’s reasons as well.  Some of her other reasons were, to limit the population of the poor, the retarded and physically and mentally handicapped.  Eugenics was also one of her areas of concern.  Hitler, and some others, joined right in with her.   

          Professor Priscilla Coleman –Bowling Green state Univ., Ohio said: “Terminating a pregnancy can double the risk of severe mental illness.  There are in fact some real risks associated with abortion that should be shared with women as they are counseled prior to abortion.  Among women, one in ten of all mental health issues is a result of abortion.”  Another area of concern is that the procedure sometimes causes infertility.

Keep in mind the “, liberty and the pursuit...”[2]   “…I set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life….”[3]

[1] Ecclesiastes  1:2 and 12:13,14
[2] Declaration of Independence
[3]  Deuteronomy 30: 19-20