15If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1John 1:)
25And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (Dan 7:)
Times are indeed changing, and not for the better. It appears the more the world and the churches work to improve the world, the worse it gets.
21How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. 22Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: 23Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. 24Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies: 25And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, (Isaiah 1:)
The city is the city of God we now call the Church. The Church has become full of abominations because it lets in "strangers' and invites the "uncircumcised of heart" into God's sanctuary. And as stated above, the churches now say such abominable behavior is acceptable in God's eyes. Is not this the state of the churches? And I'm not talking about the "cults," because the cults don't allow such behavior. It's the "respectable" and the traditional churches, filled to the brim with thousands of people with itchy ears; it's the TV tube drawing millions to it and telling people how wonderful they are just as they are. No need to clean up our person or our actions. Those are works, and not acceptable to God the Father. He loves us just the way we are and wants to bless us just the way we are. No need to confess and repent. Sin is not sin anymore because the Son of God died so we can sin all we want without suffering the consequences. The blood of Jesus covers all sin and because of this covering God can no longer see our sin. He only sees the blood of His Son. God is Love, not anger. This is the message preached in the churches today. Some a little less than others, but the message in all the churches fall short of that message preached by Jesus and exhibited by the Apostles and the early Church.
Babylon is falling. And it's falling farther into abomination day by day.
I realize there are exceptions to the comments I make about the churches. But I think you'll agree that the exceptions are few, and becoming fewer by the hour. My broad statements are for those who's feet they fit. If they don't fit you, I'm thankful. Stay on that road and don't take off your track shoes. They get tight at times, and the feet get hot and sore. But keep on those shoes and strive for the higher calling. By the way, do you know what the "higher calling" is? If not, it's something well worth your checking into. It's a lot higher than mere salvation, this you can be sure. And if you've been shown the higher calling as Paul has, then you know that less is not enough.
We all are failing. This is the state of the world and the Church today. God has made that very plain. To deny our failing is to turn a blind eye to our Spiritual deficiencies, thus opening the door to becoming consumed in them. What each of us must do, and what every church must do, is make a close examination of its self and find where we have fallen short of the highest standards. We must check our "ark" for any punctures and leakage. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. We must examine ourselves and those in the church for leaven. Deal with the leaven even though it may cause hard feelings and empty out the church. A little poison fodder in the ark will kill all the animals. It's better to arrive at our destination missing an eye or a leg then to drown with the world and with the Babylonian church.
We are, and have been, dealing with a situation that goes by many names. We know of this, but we aren't aware of the process until it's too late. The Chinese call it "Death by a thousand cuts." We might know of it as the frog in the boiling pot or some other such name. The idea is that tiny changes go unnoticed until they are seen in distant retrospect, and then we're so embedded in our present situation we pay little heed to the direction we find ourself going. I've become aware of this process in a simple and benign way recently. We've just had a time change. The chances are slight that anybody paid much attention to the fact that the time change is not what it was just a few years ago. The calendar says to change our watch, so we change our watch. Computers and many clocks change the time automatically. I use very old technology, so my computers tell me the time has changed according to the old schedule. I have to correct this four times a year (twice for the old time, and twice for the now correct time. Please take note of "correct" time). If I were to follow what was correct a couple years ago, I would be out of step with what is happening today. For the first couple of years I was either late or early for church four times a year.
You and I do not establish what is "normal." Normal is a condition set by the society in which we live. What is normal does not just vary according to our culture, but it is in a constant state of flux, that is, it is ever changing. If we sit still in perfect harmony with our society as it is today, in a year we will find ourself outside the norm and looking foolish. This was not as pronounced a situation in times past when fashion changed little for decades, but today fashion and technology changes several times a year. The clothes one wears today is out of style tomorrow. The TV we own, the car we just purchased, the video game we just gave our children is still going strong, but it is out of date and a new one must be purchased in order to keep up with the demands of society. Add to this the modern invention called "planned obsolescence," a part of which is the ingenious intent of "reliable" companies to cease servicing the product they sell, a product that refuses to work with the updated version of itself.
In gym class (if they still have such things), like in the Army, we would all line up where we were told, everyone dressed and acting alike. We did what we were told without question. Rebellion and individual thought was not allowed. We found a comfortable place in the line, perhaps between two friends we liked to associate with. Then the coach or whoever was in charge said we must line up according to size. Now we end up between two people who despise us. We find a spot out of the mud in that tiny area we're allowed to stand. Then the coach says we're to extend our right hand and touch the shoulder of the person to our right, making an equal distance between each person in the line. We grudgingly do as we're told, and now we find ourself standing in the middle of the mud puddle with that person on our left trying his best to jab a hole in our shoulder with his fingernails.
Society is very much like this. It changes and we must change with it. The pictures I've presented here are of no particular consequence other than to point out that we have little or no effect on the circumstances that effect us. When times are pleasant for us, in due time we find ourself in unpleasant situations even though we ourselves have not changed. Family situations, our job, war, government, the economy; any of these might change and cause us grief that we did not bring upon ourself.
We look back and we can see how those little changes that went unnoticed has taken us far off our course. We see the schools, that eliminated advantageous programs and instituted new programs have disrupted the effectiveness of the schools. We see this now, but at the time the changes were made they sounded reasonable and the explanation given to us we considered logical. But when we found that the changes did not work, but instead only made situations worse, rather than backing out to what was working before the change, the institutions pressed forward with the programs adding more unworkable programs and creating chaos. They (the programs) became so imbedded in society that they can not be removed or criticized. Salesmen were known to use this technique and called it "foot in the door." Once a person opened the door but a crack to the salesman they couldn't close it because he had his foot in the door. We see this also in "temporary taxes" that do not go away, but once they are instituted they only grow. Consider Income taxes that in the beginning were illegal. Now they consume a huge portion of our income.
What is normal today is not what will be normal tomorrow. And as in the school example, the changes tomorrow will be no more effective than was the changes yesterday or the changes made many years before when the wrong road was first taken.
This is what is called "Creeping Normalcy." The normal creeps from its secure place and takes us to a place we don't want to go. When we allow creeping normalcy to begin it's like the lump of leaven, it will eventually take over (and destroy) the good that it is placed in.
Many years ago I was in a unique position where I was able to see creeping normalcy twenty years before it became apparent to the world. No one was paying attention, certainly not me. But I was thrust in the middle of one important aspect of it. I won't go into details, I've done that elsewhere. The point is we, the citizens, are at the tail end of what is happening in society. By the time we see what is happening, it has already been taking place covertly for many years. When the atom bomb was dropped we were shocked. We didn't even know there was such a thing. When TV first came on the scene we were surprised even though TV in limited form had been in use for years. We experienced this with the computer as well. Although a much higher quality of computer was available, we were sold small increments of improvement at a high price because they knew we're foolish enough to buy up whatever they offer us, and at any price. This is the way we humans are: We like to pleasure ourself at any cost. And it's costing us our soul.
When the concept of "The Love of Jesus" came into being it sounded like a good idea, and a reasonable doctrine to add to the Church. The idea was that by stressing the love of Jesus rather than the wrath of God it would appeal to those in marginal society, especially the youth of the subcultures, and bring them into the church. And that it did. However, instead of trying to bring those new converts to maturity, as would have been expected, the churches began to insist that the mature take on, or at least accept, the immature characteristics and the altitudes of the rebellious youth who did not want to change. Thus the beginning of Babylon.
I still hear those, and I mean those who are far away from the attitude or the direction just pictured, justify the concept of the love of Jesus because it brings people into the church. That's how far embedded it has become, and how blinding creeping normalcy can be. Any lowering of standard is going in the wrong direction. And once a step off track is taken, it's far too easy to take another step in that direction. We see this in the great effort Paul made to try and keep the churches on the straight and narrow. I think of him like the bottom man on the human pyramid in the circus, straining to hold all those people above him and at the same time keep a perfect balance. Paul knew it was a losing battle because there were already vultures pecking at the legs of the foundling Church. Paul said just before his death:
28Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:)
Wolves are not at the door of the Church, they're devouring the sheep who have been led to believe that being consumed is the normal thing to do, and the will of God.
14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:)
Are you pressing toward the mark? Or have you, as have all the other churches, taken down the mark and hidden it under the pulpit?
15Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Phil 3:)
Has God been trying to reveal to you an area where you have been less than perfect? Better listen so creeping normalcy doesn't effect your church, or your person.
6For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2Tim 4:)
Will you be able to stand with Paul and say you have fought a good fight and kept the faith? Or will you have to stand before God with a lump of leaven in your hand, the same leaven you've been feeding His flock?
Political correctness. You've heard this term, and you know what it means. But are you aware that political correctness is the method used to press everyone into conformity with the world's view? Take a look around you. Notice how the churches are bending to the will of political correctness. We see political correctness, that seems so innocent and correct on the surface, forcing the churches to abandon their call for sinlessness. Political correctness insists that no one speak negatively toward another, unless of course that other being spoken against is a Christian.
In our history we have had times when this country was called the "Land of the Free." And it was free, unless you happened to be black, or a Native American who lived here before it became a free land. If you were not one of the politically correct white folk, you were subject to abuse and death. Later that same attitude was extended to Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons and others who chose to exercise their freedom of choice.
As in creeping normalcy, what is politically correct one year may be un- politically correct the next. The shooting of Indians being one example. However, I suspect very soon the shooting of Christians will be on the politically correct list.
Political correctness has taken the churches from a high ideal to the depths of depravity, allowing everything the Bible speaks against to be practiced in the churches, not just accepted and approved, but to take its place behind the pulpit.
To begin with there was just a seed of leaven introduced. As mentioned above, the leaven merely allowed the introduction of the marginal society to take part in Church practices. Then the churches, instead of opening the door to the marginal, it catered to them. This then extended to include those who were not merely marginal, but avowed rebels who refuse to change their ways. These now preach from the pulpits their rebellion.
The other day I was riding the bicycle and passed a man who was walking his dog. The man had the dog on a leash that could be retracted and the leash be shortened. The man didn't see me since I came up behind him. The dog however did see me and began to run toward me. The man immediately applied a brake to the leash and stopped the dog from reaching me. I see others I pass with dogs do much the same thing. The dog owner shortens the leash and brings the dog along side them so they can keep the dog from causing mischief.
This is what the churches are no longer doing. They let those who will not follow the rules laid out in the Bible run wild and cause much mischief. Nothing is said to those people (unless their actions disrupts the doctrine or the functioning of the church as an organization), and eventually the church becomes a huge mess. The attitude taken is "don't ask, don't tell." If we had that attitude when we saw our doctor we could well die from a disease that could have been prevented if the doctor had been told of our symptoms.
There has to be a reigning in of the church if it is to survive. And if we don't do something ourselves, God said He will do something about it. And we know what He did with His other rebellious bride.
[This is an expanded excerpt from the very long study Fig Leaves.]
15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For 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. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1John 1:)
10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17And the way of peace have they not known: 18There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Rom 3:)
6And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, 7In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations. 8And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves. 9Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel. (Ezek 44:)
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