THOUGHTS & COMMENTS
5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. (2Cor 10:)
I know it's not this thing called a "body" He wants. The one I now have I can hardly get to do what I want it to myself. When I was young and vigorous I could imagine God wanting my body for some purpose. I was rather enjoying it myself. But in old age my body is just a burden held together with hope and pills. Not much good for anything other than this, the writing I am doing.
As a child I could see possibly wanting my body, but it was too weak and mostly incapable of doing anything worth while. And certainly as a newborn, when many people die, our bodies are hardly more than a hindrance as mine is now.
So, as I see it, there are just a few in-between years that God can use any of us. And with some people who are invalids from birth, there are not even those years. Of course, God can heal the body and make it whole, we know that. But if God was after the body itself, He had that in Adam and Eve from the beginning.
So it must be something other than the body God seeks. But what?
Perhaps it is the mind that God wants. But God created the mind; and the wisest person who ever lived was Solomon, and we know that the wisdom he had was what God had given him. So wisdom is not something God needs from any of us.
How about the heart, by this I mean dedication. There are a lot of dedicated people giving their life to others and for various causes. If it was dedication God wanted then He could just take those dedicated people, and with that He wouldn't have had to surrender Himself to the cross .
So I don't see dedication as something God is desiring from us.
Perhaps it is "Works," that is, doing things in the Name of God. If Works is what God wants than He certainly has many fine examples of Works in the Catholic church (not in the Protestant churches because for the most part "Works" is a very bad word). Works can also be found in most of the "Cults" as well as in many of the "Heathen" religions where Works, that is good Works brings about good Karma at the least, and a rebirth in a higher form at the most.
Besides, the Bible tells us that during the Millennium God will instill a heart with love, thereby the Works He desires in Man in spite of Man's nature.
What is it that God wants from us?
Today it came to me. And it as obvious as the big honker on my face. And it is something that we talk about often, but dismiss because of the doctrines of the church that, though they say it's what God wants; by their actions and their doctrines they profess it just isn't so.
What God wants is something Adam and Eve refused to give God, and was thereby kicked out of the presence of God.
The Israelites, when they gave God what He wanted they were greatly blessed, and when they denied God what He wanted from them, they were punished, then ultimately kicked out of His land.
This Nation of ours, when we gave God what He wanted we were highly blessed above all nations. And now that we no longer give God what He wants from us, He no longer showers the blessings upon us we once enjoyed, and we are now hardly a nation at all.
What is it God wants from us? It is that very same thing the churches of today say God will take us into Heaven without, just as long as we perform a couple rituals in the beginning.
What God wants is that which without we can neither stand in the presence of God, nor can we legitimately call ourselves "Christian."
God wants our Will.
God wants that part of us that with all our energy and all our heart cries out, not for satisfying our needs and our lusts, but for fulfilling His desires for us, and His purposes.
We are taught just the opposite, that God's will is to satisfy our desires and our purposes. This just is not so. This type of message will get the people into the churches, but it will get them far away from the presence of God and His Holy Spirit.
As long as Adam and Eve wished to be with the Lord, to walk with Him and commune with Him, they had all they could ever ask for. When they directed their will to the apple, that is satisfying their own lusts and not God's desires for them, they lost everything.
While the Jews willingly, with all their heart, followed the Lord, they were a mighty nation and all went well for them. When they turned from God and followed their own lusts, God turned His back on them.
Are you a "Christian"? Where is your will?
On some street corners in some towns you see someone handing out brochures and telling about Jesus. You see going down the road a car with stickers all over it telling about Jesus. Or, for that matter, you may be confronted by a Hindu in a turban telling you about their favorite god.
These are all preachers; they are proclaiming the Word, or at least a word.
According to the dictionary, a preacher is one who: "Advocates or urges people to a certain quality or practice or action." The people mentioned certainly are doing that. In one sense of the word a teacher or a policeman might well be considered a "Preacher."
But, are any of these "Pastors"?
And, just what is a Pastor?
Taking to our dictionary again we see: "A minister in charge of a church or congregation."
That's the definition, but is it the meaning we should accept? I'm thinking about what the Bible tells us a Pastor should be.
In the New Testament the word "Pastor" is only used once, and then just to say that God gives us Pastors along with teachers and such. That isn't much help. But often Paul gives instructions to Timothy and others as to how they are to take care of their flock. And the flock, of course, is the sheep that belong to our Lord.
I take that to mean a Pastor is to be a shepherd taking care of God's sheep in the same way He, Jesus would if He were here doing so Himself. As I see it then, a Pastor is to not only be a Preacher, that is a feeder of the sheep, but also a Minister caring for the needs of the sheep.
If I had one lamb, I would care for it very lovingly and carefully, attending to its every need. We do this with our house pets and our children, don't we? I know of people who spend more on their aged pet, taking them to the vet, buying them medicine and providing the best of food and comfort; while they, themselves suffer great need and hardship because all effort is spent on their pet or child.
And this is precisely what Jesus did for His flock, as did the Apostles as well. Paul had many churches, therefore many sheep all across the known world. Yet he took time to consider the needs of even the smallest and the lest worthy of his lambs, chasing after those who had gone astray and bringing them lovingly back into the fold.
Is this a Pastor? Is this what you think of when you think of a Pastor?
Tell me then, is your "Pastor" a Pastor? Or a Preacher?
If a student needs advise, that student is sent to a counselor or some other person who's job it is to advise. That advisor does not teach. The student is sent to a teacher to be taught.
Of course I haven't told you anything you didn't already know.
But, as I said, times have changed.
I live in a town where there is just over 7,000 people. Now, under Old Time circumstances this might well mean 7 churches to handle a thousand each, or 70 churches to hold a hundred each. 700 churches to hold ten.
In this town there are 25 churches, that including Mormon, Witness, Quaker, Bahai, and every other denomination you can think of (including three Baptist churches. That's a lot of churches for such a little town, is it not? But with 25 churches to handle 7,000 people that would mean (let me get out my calculator - we used to use slide rules, but I don't suppose they make those any more) - 280 people including tiny tots for each church. Not a bad size for a church, I would say.
But, at one of the churches, one of the largest churches and one of the most well-known of the churches that seated, by my count, 150 people, there were 25 in attendance scattered throughout the pews.
Another had about that same number, but that was in one service out of two each Sunday, but it only held 50 people max, so their count couldn't have been very high.
The largest church had less than a hundred people in attendance. Of course, I can't speak for all those churches I have yet to attend, but I suspect to see something similar to what I have seen. However, I expect that the "Cults" will make a better showing for themselves.
Does it sound like I am down on the churches because they are so small? Not at all. I just wonder where all those other of the 7,000 people are, and why?
Of course, size of church is not my concern here. It is quality, it is the conduct of the Pastor I am considering.
And I don't see it. Not in any of the churches I have attended. Even the small churches I got the feeling that the Pastor neither knew, nor cared to know any but a few of their congregation. The Pastor's job was to preach, not to Pastor. If you wanted to be Pastored, you did not go to the Pastor, you went to someone assigned the job of ministering to your specific need (Often this means someone who has offered their home for a "cell" group that has taken the place of Pastoring).
But I took the job.
On and off there would be someone who had (or was given) the "calling" to be the Scoutmaster of this troop. At that time I then became the assistant Scoutmaster, until that person lost their "calling" to become "called" elsewhere, then once again I became Scoutmaster. Until the next person had the "calling." After three times of this, and about four or five months, I resigned and followed my own calling. (Incidently, at this time I was not even a Christian, nor had I been for many years. But this issue never came up. Interesting?)
It is obvious by this example that no one with a "Calling" had any interest in the kids or the Scouts whatever, except your's truly. But experiences such as this one give me a pretty clear understanding as to how the minds of church Elders work.
As I see it, the churches any more work like a machine, not an organism that is supposed to be alive and functioning.
Am I describing your church? Is your church a living, loving body of Christ? Careful now, you might be one of the In crowd and will give me a resounding Yes! to that question. But take a look at the little, scrubby lambs on the outskirts of the congregation; are they being cared for as well?
If you can still say "Yes," then hang on to that Pastor, because you might never have one like him again.
There are those people who stand and look, not necessarily seeing, just looking.
There are a few I see who look, and try to understand what I am talking about, but their old way of thinking bars them from understanding. Jesus' parable of the seed that falls to the wayside and the fowls (traditions to my way of thinking) snatches their understanding of the words from them. (I'm not equating my work to the Words of God. As I said, I could be talking about any subject). These people I have a particular appreciation for; especially if they ask questions or/and challenge what I've written. This opens up doors to their understanding, and at the same time stretches my ability to express them; and very often it brings about new or contrasting ideas on which to work.
Still others read what I have to say and run with it. Now, I haven't experienced this as yet, and I may never do so. It's just in the nature of us "folks" to do such a thing.
There are two ways a person can run; one direction is totally the wrong way. This is the direction most people run when they read the Bible. It's amazing how many directions go in the wrong direction. There must be, because there are thousands of denominations, each declaring that they are the right one and all others are wrong.
Then there are those who understand and go the right way (this doesn't involve my writing at all, there is no way attached to it; though there is a degree of understanding of the Word that might come from it). Those who understand what I have written realize there is just one single thing to understand. That one thing they must know in order to understand anything in the Bible, or what God has intended for Man, (that is for you and me).
To understand what God wants we must have received the Holy Spirit. And to receive the Holy Spirit we must be wide open to going the right way, that is, the direction God insists (not requests as the modern churches will tell you) we go. If we have this understanding, and are moving in that direction (not being a hearer only), then my writing has been understood.
There is a segment in the story where Pinocchio, who is trying to learn what being human is all about, is persuaded from a course he was instructed to take in order to learn the right ways he should take, onto an island that caters to all the pleasures of this life. Here he (and all the others who were certainly not looking for the right ways) could do whatever he wanted. One would expect that this "innocent" woodenhead would not fall into the corrupt behaviors of those who were so indulging. One might expect him to be more like Oliver Twist, who participated in criminal behavior only because he was forced to do so, and escaped as soon as he was able. But not so with Pinocchio. He found himself reveling in the wicked ways of the World. We learn that inside this innocent creature there lies a heart of self-serving and lust.
But had it not been for the Island of Pleasure where one is allowed to be that which he truly is, he might have never known that such a heart dwells in him. Like the Prodigal Son, who when freedom was presented, he learned that he was a mess, desperately in need of help, and willing to serve even his own father to get it. Meanwhile the loyal son, having never had such an opportunity, stands off and judges others who have failed while never having been tested himself for such possible failure.
Pinocchio learned why he should stay away from temptation, because he is prone to be tempted. Like an ex-alcoholic has learned that bars are not a place in which he can partake, although others might.
Well, you as a "Christian" have been given just such a privilege. You are set at liberty. Do with it as you will.
"I think it's about time we aborted him."
22And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: 23His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (Deut 21:)
Of course today there is no intention to actually harm your opponent. But this was not so in days gone by.
It was customary and expected to "defend one's honor." When one's honor had been impugned, by any slight infraction of protocol, it meant a challenge, often to the death.
Honor above all. Death was for the "Honorable." Cowards ran from death.
This was not only true in the Middle Ages with Knights and Musketeers, but in this country as well. We read about the "gunslingers" who's entire purpose in life was to get someone to "knock the chip off their shoulder" so they could challenge them to a dual.
Honor, Pride, Ego; they all say the same thing. They all say that the only important thing is ourselves and what comes our way. We may not carry swords or guns with which to defend our "honor," but we have our mouth that we often use as a weapon.
We may not choose to fight face-to-face as did our ancestors, but fight we do. Often this is done behind the backs of those we feel have offended us. Of course that does not speak well at all of the "Honor" we are supposedly defending; but that is what we do none the less.
Honor, "Ego" is the downfall of Mankind. It's "What's in it for me?" Adam and Eve had problems with just such a problem, and it was their undoing. And it has been the undoing of every one of us since.
Our prime ancestors were the first to fall into the temptation of yielding to their Ego. And they, like all who followed, tried to defend their Ego by blaming someone else for their failure.
It didn't work then, and it doesn't work now.
Yet, somehow, we think when all is said and done we will be able to stand before that very same God who did not accept Adam and Eves's defense, and get off scot free. "It was my pastor's fault," or "It was my parent's fault," or "Well, I might have done that, but I did these nice things too, and just look at him, I'm not as bad as that guy!"
Think any of those will work?
By the way, what are you going to say to the Judge?
But understand Him we must, or so we believe. So we whittle God down to size so He, like us, fits into little cubicles. There my be some people who know that God is not actually in the boxes he has built for Him. But there are a vast majority who believe He is the painting they have painted of Him.
God's Wisdom is just such an aspect of God that has been placed in a bottle and capped.
The churches have confined God to bottles they seal and label. Anyone who believes anything about God and what He has said that cannot be placed in their own little bottle has got to be in false doctrine in their opinion.
By placing God in a bottle this way, it allows the "Scholars" to know everything about God. And of course, if a person knows all about God, they become Like God, certainly in the respect that to learn about God, you must go to them.
There is just one little problem with this philosophy. It doesn't work. The Pharisees and the Scribes tried this very same thing, and Jesus cut them down for it. By having all the answers instead of having a lot of questions and no answers we bottle ourselves up and seal the bottle. Just look at what the Pharisees could have learned had they asked, and not told.
Wisdom in a bottle (doctrine) allows us to learn everything there is to know; and know nothing at all.
The finding I found interesting had to do with why many (I think it was saying "most," but like a lot of such articles, there are parts that are rather passed over lightly and not made clear) people go to church is to play it safe. They don't believe in an afterlife, Heaven or hell, but just in case, they will make the sacrifice.
If this survey is accurate, at least in the respect I just mentioned, then there is a very good chance that over half those attending your church are not really "Believers." In fact, it means there's better than a 50/50 chance that you are not really a believer.
Christians, it is supposed, are fine people. They are more concerned about others, morality, and doing the right thing than non Christians. Of course every one doesn't see Christians in that light. A vast majority of people, it seems, see Christians as bigoted, know-it-all, better-than-thou lowlifes. But, taking the better view, just what is a Christian?
I think most people would agree that the ultimate goal of a Christian is to live the Christian life as it is laid down in the Bible. Some would add that it is a higher goal to be just like Jesus in the same way the Apostles seemed to have been.
Although I think either of these goals are fine to hold and live up to; I don't think they are what a Christian is. I think they are in the direction of being a Christian, but they are man's way of trying to be a Christian, which simply cannot be done.
A Christian is not one who is trying, but rather someone who has let go trying to do any thing, and is allowing Jesus, by way of the Holy Spirit to do what He wants to do through the Christian.
A hard concept to grasp.
Not really, we just want to be seen as right. And one way to be seen as right is to have a lot of people believing as you do.
Birds of a feather, flock together. And so do birds of a Faith.
Now that you have formed your beliefs, you search out "experts" who agree with your beliefs. Having lined up your experts, you form a club or association of other Nerds, Athletes, or whatever; and publicize your beliefs as "Facts" proven by those you have found to support your Belief system.
If you are lucky you may find an organization who already believes as you do and you can join them. Or if you are one who likes to be a leader, you can still form your own organization and invite them to join you.
Then, to really stop the mouths of anyone who might oppose your Belief, you search diligently through the Bible and find a few verses that seem to support your view (being careful to avoid the mass of verses that prove you wrong).
Now you not only have absolute proof that you are right, backed up by God Himself; but your new-found organization can be called a "church" and be tax exempt.
What a world we live in!
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