The Land Of The Free; The Home Of The Brave

When did the Supreme Court become the legislative branch of government?

The Congress is the legislative branch of the government. The Supreme Court is the judicial branch.

Obviously, most of our legislators are not schooled in the law of the land. Some of them are celebrating the decree stating that marriage is no longer defined as the union of one man and one woman.

There are two major problems with this recent decree.

First of all, it is not a law. That’s right! It is not a law because the Supreme Court can not make laws. They determine whether or not laws presented to them are constitutional, but they do not originate or pass any laws.

Secondly, since God ordained and defined marriage in the beginning, no man has the authority to change a law of God. Furthermore, God’s laws override the laws of men.

If two individuals of the same sex wish to enter into a permanent partnership and privately express their love for one another, they may do so. Employers already have provisions for so-called domestic partners, thereby enabling almost any couple to share insurance and other benefits.

I respect the right of an individual to follow their sexual preferences, however, intimacy is a private matter. Explicit sexual public displays are always unacceptable regardless of those involved. In addition, the homosexual lifestyle is destructive and detrimental to everyone. As with other behaviors which contradict the will of God, the LGBT way of life brings harmful results on those who take part in it. Nevertheless, I am no less willing to love and teach them.

Marriage is, and always will be, the union of ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN.

It is not the union of two men. It is not the union of two women. It is not the union of one man and several women. It is not the union of one woman and several men.

Is this country still the Land Of The Free and The Home Of The Brave?

We still have some of our freedoms, but they are constantly being challenged and systematically, stripped away at a rapid rate.

Many people hold the laws of men in higher esteem than those of God. They confuse the separation of church and state with the separation of God and country. Any time a nation passes a law which contradicts the laws of God, they are opposing God and everything which is good.

Are we still brave enough to fight for what is right? The U.S. Constitution was framed to provide religious freedom, promote the general welfare (not provide it), and secure the blessings of liberty for all of our citizens.

We can not permit unlawful actions to continue in our government. The recent action of the Supreme Court is both unlawful and ungodly. If our current government leaders do not stand against, and correct the situation, they should all be replaced by men and women who are willing to serve the people they represent.

Finally, many people, including some Christians, will disagree with my assessment of these things. This is primarily due to the skillful deception being used against them. If we do not keep ourselves sharp regarding the ways, works and goodness of God, we can not think in a godly manner and come to sound conclusions.

We must recognize evel when we see it and never assume that God is somehow responsible for it. If we do not begin to care enough about our freedom to work to preserve it, we will lose it!

Why Was The Man Born Blind?

At our May Prayer Breakfast, we read three verses in the ninth chapter of the gospel of John, concerning the healing of the man born blind. In order to gain a more complete picture of the situation, we read the three verses from three different versions of the bible.
Each version adds some interesting perspective to the event.


And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
John 9:1-3 (King James Version)
 

In this version, we see that Jesus and his disciples met a man who was blind from birth.
The disciples asked Jesus who sinned, the man or his parents that he was born blind?  Jesus told them that neither had caused the blindness, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
You could take this to mean that God caused or allowed the man to be born blind so that Jesus could heal him.  In fact, this is the way these verses are most often taught.  In my understanding of God’s nature, this causes a major problem.
There are many verses in scripture where God expresses his desire to bring only good things to his people.  He always longs to bless and prosper us and never to harm us.  Nevertheless, without gathering the many scriptures which testify to this truth, we can see it simply by looking at these verses in two other versions.
 

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”
Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.
John 9:1-3 (The Message)
 

Here we see a somewhat different emphasis.  Jesus does not attempt to offer an explanation as to why the man is blind.  Instead, he draws the focus of the disciples to what God can do in the situation.
I believe the third version provides the clearest rendering of the situation.
 

As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind since birth.
Jesus’ disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?”
“No, it wasn’t!” Jesus answered. “But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him.
John 9:1-3 (Contemporary English Version)
 

In this case, we are told that because the man is blind, God will work a miracle for him.  There is no indication that he is blind so that Jesus can heal him.
Once again, the cause is not stated, but clearly, Jesus wants his followers to understand and focus on the fact that God can and will miraculously heal the man.

No loving father would hurt his child so he could then heal him.  In a sense, most often we turn the cause and effect in these verses upside down, much as the disciples did.  They wanted to blame the man or his parents.  Unfortunately, we mistakenly blame God.
Taking all three of these versions together, the emphasis is on the goodness and power of God and the compassion of Jesus Christ in healing the man.
There is no attempt to explain the cause of his blindness.

Based on numerous references throughout scripture, we know that all sickness and infirmity originates with Satan.
At the time of the fall of man in the garden of Eden, sin was introduced and thereby, sickness and death. In the least common denominator, this is why the man was born blind in John chapter nine. This is also the reason we sometimes deal with these things during our lives. But this is not the end of the story.

  As we are reminded each time we come to The Lord’s table for Holy Communion, the body of Jesus was broken for us and his blood was shed for us.
He bore all of our sicknesses and infirmities in his broken body; he cleansed us from all sin by his shed blood.
Let us fix our focus on this twofold victory!

New Blog Homepage

In addition to our original web address, there is now a new domain which points directly to this blog.

The address is: http://www.understandingscripture.com

Due to the high volume of spam we were receiving, it became necessary to limit comments to registered users.

Please visit the Welcome/Registration page and supply your name and a valid Email address, and I will send you your login credentials.

We welcome your comments, suggestions and valuable contributions. As you will notice, we are using a new, pleasant theme. I hope you enjoy it.

Right With God

The enemy always works to point an accusing finger at the children of God. You are unworthy! You don’t deserve anything but punishment! What good are you, anyway! Don’t bother asking God for anything – he won’t pay any attention to you because you don’t deserve his attention!

How many times have you heard those words, or other similar accusations being whispered in your ears? Well, instead of paying heed to that destructive logic, take hold of this powerful truth from scripture.

God made this sinless man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with him we might fully share in God’s righteousness.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 (Complete Jewish Bible – CJB)

I have read this verse from other versions, but this rendering is one of the best ones I’ve seen. Jesus was a man dealing with human weaknesses just as we do. Yet he never sinned. Not only that, but he willingly suffered unspeakable torture to pay for all of our sins. He could have walked away, but then we would have remained in the condition which Satan speaks of when he reminds us who we were. Notice that I said we were – not we are.

Those of us who have professed Jesus as our Lord and savior are part of a new kind of person. We are no longer people with broken, powerless spirits, but now, in Christ Jesus, we are God’s new creation. Our new, holy spirit is perfect! It can not sin. Yes, we still fall short and sin in our body and mind, but our spirit is righteous just as Jesus is righteous. Our new spirit is holy just as God is holy! Read this over and over until you begin to believe it, because it is the truth!

Learning From Consistency

Recently, a friend asked me some questions regarding speaking in tongues. As you read through the scripture on this topic, you can learn a great deal.

What are you doing when you speak in tongues? According to 1 Corinthians 14:13-14 you are praying in the spirit. People have lots of questions about this subject, many of which can be answered by simply carefully reading 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14. However, some issues will not become clear unless you also consider the body of scripture throughout the book of Acts.

One question I am asked repeatedly is why I believe that all Christians can and should pray in tongues. Depending on how you read some verses in 1 Corinthians, it can be argued that not everyone receives the gift of tongues. I will not dwell on the reason why these verses may not be properly understood, except to say that if you read carefully, you will see that there are gifts as well as manifestations described. However, a more compelling argument regarding who can pray with tongues can be found in the book of Acts. There are five accounts in Acts where people believe in Jesus and accept him as savior. In all of these records, the people spoke in tongues. In fact, in one instance, when they declared their faith and did not speak in tongues, the leadership of the church was alarmed. This is because the normal response when someone received salvation was that they spoke in tongues.

This was the outward sign which always accompanied the reality of the inner presence of the holy spirit. The five sections are located in chapters 2, 8, 9, 10 and 19. It is important to understand the truth that all Christians are equipped to pray in the spirit. It is also equally important to understand the concept of how scripture clarifies issues by providing consistent patterns. When you come up against a verse which seems difficult, take a breath and look for other scripture which addresses the topic at hand.

I attempt to teach this, and other keys in the pages of my book as I present the various topics covered. As you will see, much of the scripture can be understood directly in the verse being read, but there are times where the surrounding scripture must also be included in order to get a complete picture. In some cases such as the one described here, you must search throughout scripture for references to a particular topic and consider the whole body of information in order to gain proper perspective.

Are you named in heaven?

I often hear people say that as long as we live decently and are good to others, we are on the road to heaven. The particulars really do not matter. After all, we are really all serving the same God. He just has different names and takes different forms for the various faiths in the world.

Indeed, some say that we do not even need to worship God, as long as we live ethical, honorable lives. First, pleaseknow that I am very thankful for anyone who lives in a peaceful and ethical manner. However, for the most part, I do not believe people live godly lives unless they truly believe in God.

If you have read any of my other posts, it should not surprise you that I believe in God and that I am a Christian. My standard for truth is The Bible. Because I believe that the bible is the written record of God’s will and testament, I strive to always base my beliefs on the proper understanding of the scriptures.

The closer you look at scripture, the more accurate it becomes. There are numerous accounts in The Bible which give amazing detail concerning events which occurred many years after they were written.

If the scripture is everything I believe it to be, then it should be our standard for truth. We should study it to learn who God is, if he is, and how to be a part of his goodness and life. The bible tells us that there is only one path to God, and that is through Jesus Christ.

Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
1 John 2:23 (KJV)

Many people oppose this doctrine. They stress inclusiveness and open-mindedness. While I respect the right of others to believe and live as they see fit, I am not the one who decides who is written in God’s book of life. That is God’s decision, and the scripture clearly gives us the criteria God uses to decide whether or not an individual makes the list.

This is not harsh or unreasonable. Rather, it is loving. None of us are good enough to earn the right or privilege to live a life with God. Nevertheless, he sent his only begotten son, who was pure and lived a perfect life. He laid down his life as a payment for us. We are corrupt and sinful. Nevertheless, if we surrender ourselves to be followers of Jesus, we can become partakers with him in the very life of God!

We do this by saying affirmatively that he is Lord and we believe that he died, was buried and was raised back to life after spending three days and three nights in the tomb. Then, we strive to line our lives up with the life of Jesus.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)

There are some other details which you should learn and begin to understand, but these simple verses are enough to show you literally what is required of you if you want to become a part of the family of God.
My book contains a great deal of information on this topic. I invite you to read and enjoy it.

So are there many roads which lead to God? Well, if the bible is right, the answer is NO. But the path which has been paved for us is straightforward and clear.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6 (KJV)

Does God Still Do Miracles?

Lately, I have been reading a book
by Kathryn Kuhlman called: I Believe In Miracles.

I love books such as this one, because they help raise my vision and expectations concerning what is possible with God.

I absolutely believe that God works miracles today, even as he has throughout history.

When I discuss this topic with most Christians, the conversation often moves toward the concept of God working miracles through modern medicine.

I have great respect and admiration for the dedicated men and women who work tirelessly to help people become and remain well. Nevertheless, God’s ability to heal and perform countless other miracles is not limited to what can be accomplished as God works through people.

Indeed, there are wonderful inventions, techniques and procedures performed every day by professionals, many who pray for and acknowledge the hand of God working together with them as they do their best to help people. The best and smartest professionals in all walks of life know that they need divine assistance if they are going to succeed.

If you believe what The Bible says, you must conclude that God is just as willing and able to perform miracles today as at any other time in history. You can read this in many places throughout the scripture, but here is one worth remembering.

For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Malachi 3:6 (KJV)