Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Can You Smell the Coffee?" No, I awake unto Righteousness!

A legacy of "waking up" is inherent in American political culture, no question about it.

The real problem becomes making sense of the current reality which does not fit in with the ideal fantasy under which many have lived.

Philosophers attack the nature of reality itself, or at least our ability to grasp this reality stringently enough to make something of ourselves within it.

Political forces want to change or maintain this reality.

The truth is, as Professor Kelly Candaele of Cal State Chico refers to, the grace of God through the death of Jesus Christ leads us into all truth.

This invitation to the gospel, however, is not the prized possession of a limited number of cult followers. There is nothing paranoid about the fundamental truths which affect every human being on this earth:

1. We are all going to die.

2. We have a fear of death.

3. This fear of death carries with it an unending sense of judgment and condemnation, in which human being strives to get it right in their lives, or get in on to have as much fun before the die.

4. We all have knowledge of a Creator who exacts accountability from us.

5. The way to satisfy His righteous demands, and end condemnation in our lives, is through the Finished Work of Jesus Christ at the Cross.

This is not faraway secret tucked away for only the initiated to find following duress and danger.

Salvation is as close to a person as his heart and mouth!:

"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)

Through this belief and confession, the believer is not just woken up from the conniving plottings of pols and politicians, but is raised up in Christ to live forever, receiving His everlasting life here, now, and for eternity!

Thus Paul the Apostle exhorts his readers:

"Awake to righteousness!"(1 Corinthians 15:34)

For in Christ, all believers have this promise for themselves accorded to them:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

"No Easy Fix" Provides the Right Answers

I commend Nick Schultz for spelling out the obvious in his LA Times editorial "No Easy Fix"

Income inequality is a reality, but not the result of a cabal of corporate cronies cornering the market at the expense of the little guy.

He outlines three reasons why the the top "1%" is getting richer will the remaining "99%" seem to be getting less for the work.

1. Globalization and technology. More invest is going overseas as those markets are growing; financial investment and innovation is permitting more efficient trade without decline in quality, while the job market is still waiting for competent prospective employees to step up and take on the training to fill these available positions.

2. The "99%" are clamoring for the rights of illegal aliens to live and work in the United States. Yet the growing pool of unskilled labor is only driving down the cost of labor, depressing entry-level wages while limiting the number of available jobs for prospective employees.

3. The breakdown of the nuclear family. An intact home was the most certain way for an individual to develop cultural and economic capital to venture into the world and take care of himself. With the decline of two-parent homes, much of the time with only one parent caring and rearing the children, poverty has overtaken a greater number of youth who have less to learn and less to work with when the graduate from high school and face an uncertain world where the cost of post-secondary education is skyrocketing past inflation into a job market which demands a skill-set that outstrips the current offerings in colleges and universities.

Occupy Everywhere has done a large job -- hardly a good one -- of drumming up dissent and outrage. Yelling and screaming, however, will not undo the cultural barriers which have dragged down the education of young people to enter the world sufficient enough to fend for themselves without the ongoing aid of impoverished parents and a deprived welfare state.

Screw Guilt -- Because it was Screwed at the Cross!

One of the favorite phrases people love to kick around in recovery circles:

"Screw Guilt!"

But we cannot just "screw it". Even when there is no overt knowledge of right and wrong, a human being is still in bondage:

Everyone knows that there is a God:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1: 18-20)

We all have the innate capacity to judge others. This bent in human nature exposes the condemnation at work in all of us:

"Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

"But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things." (Romans 2: 1-2)

And the Psalms are explicit about the inner depravity of man:

"The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

"They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Psalms 14: 1-2)

Paul takes up this verse in his epistle to the Romans:

"We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

"There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

"They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3: 9-12)

But what's the point for Paul to tell us the painful, unavoidable, damning obvious?

"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3: 19-20)

This is inescapable for every person on the face of the earth: we cannot escape the condemnation of fall short of the glorious ideal of God, upheld in His law, given at Mt. Sinai to Moses and the Israelites. But there is a way out for mankind:

"But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

"Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
(Romans 3: 21-24)

We need righteousness, we need right standing with God, but we cannot get to it ourselves. But through the death of Christ on the Cross, we are set free from the bondage of sin, made the righteousness of God, and made One with Him in eternal reconciliation. Paul explains this ably in his epistle to the Colossians:

"And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

"In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

"And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2: 10-15)

We are complete in Christ, lacking nothing.

No wonder David could prophesy "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want."
(Psalm 23:1)

One facet of guilt, or condemnation, is a nagging sense of incompleteness in our lives. That is gone when you become one with Christ!

The sinful nature that we are born with through our first parent Adam
(cf Romans 5:12, 17) is forever removed from us, cleasned away for good by the death of Christ. We no longer have to check ourselves, watch our own backs, wondering if we have misstepped, consciously or unconsciously.

When Paul writes that through Christ's death " the handwriting of ordinances" was blotted out, he signals that not only are we set free from sin, but we are also set free from the bondage of the law and the painstaking insistence of keeping the rules.

The Law was nailed, screwed to the Cross, and therefore those ordinances hold no more power of guilt over us.

How can we make so bold a declaration:

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8: 3-4)

In Christ, we have been THE righteousness of God (cf 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Yet we do not fall into a licentious lifestyle. On the country, because we walk "after the Spirit", letting the Holy Spirit guide us, we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (cf Galatians 5:16, 24)

Despite our righteous standing before God in Christ, there will still be attacks from the enemy, his fiery darts of condemnations from the Evil One. Our faith in Christ more the equips us against this ongoing onslaught:

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." (Ephesians 6:16)

How is this possible? Back to Colossians 2:15, which reads:

"And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

How were these demons "spoiled" or "rendered harmless"? The law, the one right standing which gave the devil freedom to condemn fallen man, has been screwed to the Cross, blotted out forever. The devil can no longer use the law against us.

We can "Screw guilt", scorn any shame, because we have only to point to the Cross, Christ's Finished Work, which has given us complete freedom from sin, made us One with Him before the Father, that we may boldly declare:

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1)

and then

"And [God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6)

and therefore:

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4: 17-18)

Are you afraid? You feel guilty, hence the torment, but there is now NO condemnation, because you are in Christ.

SO you can say "Screw Guilt!"

Guilt, sin, shame, condemnation, all has been screwed, nailed once and for all and forever at the Cross!

Get Egypt out of Israel! (Not What You Think!)

Most preachers love to teach that even though Israel left Egypt, it was still going to take a while for God to get Egypt out of Israel!

I always thought that meant Israel had to give up their wicked ways, stop sinning and start obeying.

Yet that is not the case at all.

In Egypt, the Israelites were obedient, to a fault!

The problem was not doing wrong, it was doing instead of believing, and believing on the Great I AM!

Instead of believing on the One who led them out of bondage and sustained them with miracle after miracle in the wilderness, they still live by the flesh, trusting what they could see and sense with their flesh.

They had worked for everything, and they still lived in that category of work to achieve, instead of believe and receive.

Egypt speaks self-effort, for its first mention is in association with Abram's abrupt flight to Egypt during times of famine, when God had not directed Abram to go anywhere near there!

"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:" (Genesis 12:1)

The Lord gave Abram a simple and clear command: "Get out of your home to a land that I will show you."

But when hard times struck, Abram did not wait for God's direction.

"And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land." (Genesis 12:10)

The result: Abraham nearly imperiled the Egyptian king Abimelech, who lusted after Abram's lawful wife Sarai, because Abram had told her to hide her identity as his wife, lest he be killed that the king of Egypt could get her for himself. It was not a good setup, and Abram left soon after.

Egypt therefore is a symbol of self-effort, of taking matters into one's own hands, solving difficulties through one's own wit and strength instead of relying on the direction of the Lord and His Word.

While slaves in Egypt, the Israelites worked for their food, as well. Pastor Joseph Prince points out that they ate foods which had to pulled up through hard work.

We know of the toilsome food that they ate, based on their constant murmuring the wilderness following the Red Sea wipeout of Pharaoh and his pursuing hosts:

"We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:" (Numbers 11:5)

The Lord wanted to give His people a land flowing with milk and honey, foods which they would not have to work for, but which animals produce, and they would simply draw from.

What a wonderful example of God's providence for those who believe on Him!

So, when we talk about how the Israelites need to get "Egypt out of them" long after the Israelites got out of Egypt, we need to stress that it is not sin that they needed to be freed of precisely, but a works-righteousness mentality, which rejected faith in the Lord and trusting Him for all provision.

It was this fleshly mindset, disdaining the Spirit, which later caused an entire generation of Israelites to be forbidden to enter the Promised Land!

"Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;

"Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:" (Numbers 14:22-23)

The writer of Hebrews confirms that it was the Israelites' unbelief that sealed their fate to wander in the wilderness until the entire unbelieving generation of Israelites dropped dead:

"For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

"But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

"And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

"So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief." (Hebrews 3:16-19)

Therefore, all us of want to get Egypt out of our lives; yet to do so is not a question of right doing, but of right believing, believing on the Word of God, and trusting that He will bring to pass all that He has promised!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Discern Advice from Others

Never should we presume the advice from any person to be final and authoritative.

Only the Word of God carries such import.

The fallout from following even good advice can lead to very bad outcomes:

Despite the sure promise from God that Abraham's child of promise would come through his lawful wife Sarah, the wife became fearful and impatient:

"Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

"And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai." (Genesis 16:1-2)

The surrogacy through Hagar the bondmaid yielded Ishmael, and created nothing but strife in the household of Abraham. From the moment that Hagar conceived, she despised her mistress Sarah, who remained still unfruitful. Sarah grew weary of her bondmaid's contemptuous behavior:

"And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.

"But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face."

So, out of fear, our of false speculation, Sarah attempt to get a child for herself through her own efforts, and ultimately created a worse situation than when she had remained patiently barren.

Later, after Sarah did conceive a child with her husband, another source of strife emerged, this time when Abraham's son through Hagar persecuted Isaac, the child of promise.

"And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. (Genesis 21:9)

Sarah then spoke to Abraham:

"Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac." (v. 10)

Of course, Abraham was not pleased with this directive from his wife:

"And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son." (v11)

Abraham's reluctance was understandable. Not just because he was the father, but because the last time that she had listened to his wife, the result was conflict between mistress and bondmaid, followed by the birth of Ishmael. Why listen to her now, since the result would probably end up with a terrible outcome?

Then the Lord spoke:

"And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called." (Genesis 21:12)

The Word of the Lord confirmed the righteousness of Sarah's place and plea.

When anyone advises us on how to approach or settle a matter, let us always confirm the advice with the Word of God, which can never steer us wrong.

The first time, Abraham heeded his wife without heeding confirmation from God. The second time, God affirmed what Sarah commanded, and the result was blessed!

To discern the word of others, always measure it by the Word of God, that the proposal or position of others glorified Him who leads us into all righteousness!

Hearing From God -- Easier than You Think!

I used to think that hearing from God meant that I had to find some special connection, what for some voice to come into my ears, and then follow the special directions given to me.

Yet even that is too complicated, and Christ is so simple!

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:3)

How exactly was Eve, and later Adam, deceived? They stopped heeding the word of the Lord, and listened to corrupt folly of another.

"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1)

Which later to the conviction from the Lord:

"And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" (Genesis 3:8)

In truth, Adam and Eve already had the knowledge of good and evil:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

"And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so." (Genesis 1:27-30)

God gave everything for the man and the woman to enjoy. He command them to be fruitful and multiply, to have dominion. Not a bad deal, at all!

"And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:15-17)

He provided every form of sustenance of His creation, except for the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. As long as Adam and Eve were content to receive from God, instead of taking for themsevles contrary to the Lord's wishes, they would have remained eternally blessed in the Garden of Eden.

After the fall, God still offered a way for man to live righteously; not by rule-keeping, but through faith:

"[Abraham] believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Genesis 15:6)

The Word of the Lord -- that we can trust. Whatever we find in scripture, those precepts will inform us in the way to go:

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105)

When Abraham chose to trust in God, letting Him lead the Father of Many on the path that he should go, then was Abraham supremely blessed in all his doings.

Today, believers have something even better: The Word of God in the Bible, of course, and the inner witness of the Holy Spirit!

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13)


"But the anointing [of the Holy Spirit] which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." (1 John 2:27)

How can we discern from day to day, then, the right course of action in a situation? The peace of God -- which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit -- guides us!

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." (Colossians 3:15)

For a believer, the peace of God is the norm. Any move or decision which disrupts that peace is a clear signal not to do something!

This is far simpler than waiting for some audible voice! This is better, far more accurate than an oracle, a prophet who appears once in a while into our lives, or even signs and wonders!

Hearing From God -- Easier than You Think!

To Grow Up, You Must Grow in Him!

It is impossible to grow up unless you grow in the right soil!

Grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord!

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

Mark 4 demonstrates the importance of being soft, fertile ready to receive God's Word.

To grow up, we must grow in Him.

We do not have to strive to get into Him -- by His death, by receiving His grace through faith, we become one with Him.

That was Christ's request in the Garden of Gethsemane:

"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (John 17:21)

And this has been more than accomplished:

"And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." (1 Corinthians 3:23)

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." (Colossians 3:1)

This truth Paul follows up with:

"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:3)

You are already in Him! And in Him, nourished by His Word, you can only grow up!

He is Leading You -- Even When you Stray

In my walk with Christ, I trusted that I was saved, that I would go to heaven.

Still, I always assumed that I had to keep at least one eye open over myself, to catch myself in case I ever sinned.

I did not understand the full import of Romans 8:1:

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Only when I read Pastor Joseph Prince's book "Destined to Reign", that I learned that the second clause is superfluous, not to be found in the original manuscripts.

A better translation of that verse would read as follows:

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." (New American Standard Version)

It has nothing, nothing at all to do with us! Our right, nay our righteous standing Christ has nothing to do with us at all - not our right thinking, speaking, or doing!

What role do we play, then, in our salvation?

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

"Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

We believe, and from God the Father, by the death of His Son, through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, we receive all things (cf Romans 8:32)

So, it is not our doing, but our believing, which is the only way we can get anything, that He accomplishes all things through us!

Yet even if that were not enough for us, David in the Psalms speaks of the Lord's forever faithfulness:

"He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (Psalm 23:3)

God restores our soul -- our mind, will, and emotions, a perfect example of Biblical "metanoia" mind-altering repentance. We then are led by His Spirit in the paths of righteousness.

In fact, the certainty of His leading is made all the more unshakable for us in Christ:

"For he [God the Father] hath made him [Christ Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him [Christ!]." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

We are inseparable in Christ; or as Oswald Chambers most pointedly pointed out "We are the will of God!"

As the Spirit leads us, we have no desire to practice licentiousness, for we are under God's grace, and sin therefore has no dominion over us!

Still unsure of so great a certainty of our walk? Check out Psalm 139!

"If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there."

Even in your worst moments, when it seems hell itself is about to swallow you up, God is there with you.

I was never full satisfied with that, though. I need a God who leads me, not just lets me fail, and watched me fall.

Psalm 139 speaks to this concern!

"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

"Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."

Just when we think that we could even outrun God, behold -- He has been leading us the whole time!

Let's return to Psalm 23 for another example of where our errancy can still leave us led in His perfect will for us:

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

His rod beats away the bad elements. His rod keeps us righteously in line with Him1

Beloved, we cannot be lost! We cannot get away from Him. His grip is firmly on you forever!

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." (Isaiah 49:16)

This wonderful, eternal embrace Jesus emphasizes for us in the gospels:

"My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:29)

This sentiment must have stirred Jesus' listeners mightily, for they had heard this promise before, from the prophets of old:

"Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?" (Isaiah 43:13)

Believe on Him, receive from Him, let Him take you where He wishes by the peaceful power of the Holy Spirit. You cannot lose! You can never be lost, for you are forever in Christ!

Double-Minded Man vs. Single-Minded Peace in Christ

We are double-minded to the extent that we want something from God in order to get something else, or if a man fears that God will not come through:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

"For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1: 5-8)

Yet God is the sum total of all things. He is all that we need:

"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1)

There is no qualification. The Lord is my shepherd, I do not want.

We who live after the Crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ can say this, because:

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8: 31-32)

In seeking His blessings, rather than the Blessor, we are missing out on the source, we are bent on another end, one that is far less than everything that God is in our lives!

God is the X and the Y.

We should not seek X from Him in order to get Y.

Isaiah prophesied this long before Christ came to Earth:

"In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.

"Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3)

"This song will be sung in the land of Judah" -- Judah is the tribe from which Jesus the Messiah was born, and "Judah" means "praise"!

"We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks."

"Salvation" is not a "what", but a "who": yə·šū·‘āh יְשׁוּעָ֥ה , Jesus Christ!

"Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter"

We are made the righteousness of God in Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life by which we enter into this great salvation.

Therefore can we declare that our mind is stayed on Him! We can trust in Him, because He gave everything for us to reconcile us, even giving us Himself, that we may live His Life through His Faith:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

This city is made of Salvation, is a stark contrast to the manmade, failing constructs which man trusts in, which would doom the Israelites to flee to the Lord in darker days:

"And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee." (Deuteronomy 28:52)

God is not going to give us anything that will separate us from Him!

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39)

In Him, we have perfect peace, there is no need to seek this peace elsewhere, nor do we have any reason to busy ourselves with one pursuit to get another.

Rather, let us meditate on the Good that God is:

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4: 6-7)

His peace keeps us! That's something to keep in mind when you get troubled, confused, or upset in any way!

Let the Word take root in Your Heart

In the Old Testament, the Lord instructed the Israelites to bind on themselves His word and surround themselves with His precepts.

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

"And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

"And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

"And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

Solomon instructed the same (much good it did for him):

"My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.

"Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.

"Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart." (Proverbs 7: 1-3)

He had to instruct them to do this because they had hard hearts, hearts of stone bent on law-keeping and fending off the condemnation that comes from failing to keep the law of the Lord.

Jesus confronted the Pharisees with the same harsh reality:

"He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so." (Matthew 19:8)

Now, because we have received a new heart, a soft heart, built on the gospel, we have received His law, and through the Power of the Holy Spirit, we are led to live a life of obedience!

"Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart." (2 Corinthians 3:3)

As long as we let the Word of God take root in our hearts, made soft through God's saving grace, then we can do all things!

" So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)

Our hearts must be ready soil, tilled with the grace of God:

James speaks to this when preaching the twelve tribes of Israel:

"Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21)

In this verse, "engrafted" means "implanted", like a seed.

Let us connect this powerful truth with the Parable of the sower, through which, Jesus declared, all the other Parables are made manifest:

"The sower soweth the word.

"And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

"And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

"And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.

"And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

"And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred." (Mark 4: 14-20)

When we appreciate the fullness of what Jesus has taught his disciples (that includes you and me!), we see that indeed, God's word literally bears fruit in our lives to the degree that we allow our hearts to be soften with the gospel of grace, which in turn allows the Word to penetrate deep within us, and bear fruit:

Fruit is what we are all about!

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me." (John 15:4)

We can be certain that as we abide in Him, we do not strive to bear this fruit, but this work is done in and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

"Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

Let the Word of God take root in your heart, and watch what Jesus does, behold what the Spirit of God bears in your life!

Response to Editorial: "Road less traveled -- Gingrich's immigration view merits praise"

The issue of illegal immigration is fraught with emotion, yet we need to focus on the facts of this nation's current situation and the proper policies to put in place to deal with this problem.

The emotional toil of witnessing parents taken from their children is heart-breaking. For children to be informed that they will be forced to leave the country because they are in this country illegally, through no will or fault of their own, is terrible.

Yet the blame cannot rest on the shoulders of the state and local governments, which have a right and duty to enforce their borders and the immigration laws of this nation. The United States has prospered because it is a nation under the rule of law, with a rich legacy of promoting individual freedom and civil rights, especially against the encroachment of the government. A nation ceases to be a nation under the rule of law if if permits unfettered immigration, in which the proper authorities are unable to evaluate the efficacy or wisdom in

Nor should the blame rest on the children, although they ultimately bare the brunt of the illegal actions of their parents.

If anyone should be held morally culpable for this tragic situation, it must be the couple, the parents who entered the country illegally in the first place. Shamelessly did they sneak into the country, openly flouting the law of the land though hiding in the shadows. They must have known, or at least have engaged in the back of their minds, that there would always be the possibility of being caught and sent back. They must have, or at least should have considered the impact that such an outcome would have on their children, whether legal or illegal.

The best solution is a staggered amnesty, one which permits those individuals who have lived and produced for this country for a set number of years, perhaps a decade or more. All others would be forced to leave.

Businesses must be disciplined for hiring illegal immigrants. This black market for labor is a corrupt system which undermines the rule of law while placing the illegal immigrant in the precarious position of being exposed and deported, sometimes without even receiving their pay.

Most importantly, the United States must dismantle the welfare state which is a magnet for illegals. The state of Alabama proposed a legitimate response to illegal immigration, including not only a mandatory status-check during routines traffic stops, but a requirement that school districts receive proof of citizenship from enrolling students.

Of course, streamlining the immigration process so that immigrants would be naturalized more quickly and efficiently would also be good. Less bureaucracy, more attention to assistance -- that reform would be good for all, citizen and immigrant.

Love is Easy -- Stop Working So Hard

Love is easy -- if we are not trying to do it ourselves!

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)

What seems to be the problem for most people, then?

"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16)

Do you know that God loves you? Do you believe that God loves you? Many people do not know the love of God, or they do not trust that God loves them.

What is the basis for so bold an assertion?

Reread verse 10, and the verse that follows:

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." (1 John 4:10-11)

God sent His Son to die for us, and through Him giving us all things:

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32)

God paid the ultimate price for us. He moved toward us, risked and released all for us, even though we were not looking for Him, nor even respected the magnitude of His sacrifice:

" I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name." (Isaiah 65:1)

This prophecy is fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ:

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

Love is easy, then, because it was done of us infinitely and eternally. How is this so?

Refer back to the apostle John's first epistle:

"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:15-16)

"God is love" He is not an impersonal force, but a Person infinitely interested in us, working through us, doing great things that we release by faith:

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2: 12-13)

Therefore, this Love working is us emboldens to anything that He calls us to do:

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)

"As He is, so are we" -- He is love! Therefore, as you walk in faith, you radiate His love!

Again, what prompts this love to flow through us?

"We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19) The original text does not contain the word "him". In truth, we love -- PERIOD -- because He first loved us!

So, do not try to love. Trying in your own might only precipitates a fall from grace, the very power by which we can do all things.

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5:4)

How exactly does "trying to love" fit in with the law, and thus our attempt to keep this law leads to a fall from grace?

"But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.

"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

"This is the first and great commandment.

"And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

"On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22: 34-40)

All the Law, all the Prophets, hang on "Love thy neighbor" (literally, the one nearest you, not just the one who lives next to you), and "Love the Lord thy God" with everything you have.

Can anyone of us love God with "all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind"? No! Absolutely not! Jesus Christ magnified the Law and the Prophets to their proper standard, an impossible one for mankind.

Yet by the atoning death of Jesus Christ, wiping away once and for all the stain of sin, forever reconciling us to His Father, we are then empowered to love, by the power of the Holy Spirit:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love" (Galatians 5:22)


"Te love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:5)

So, love is a fruit of the Spirit, which He bears in us, which we receive and release by faith.

Yet what's wrong with trying to love, anyway?

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

"Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

"Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5: 19-21)

Here, "flesh" speaks of any effort through the body and the mind. If we do anything through our own power instead of relying on the grace of God in us, it will only produce all manner of evil. Even if we will to do the good or the right thing, it will still only produce weak and beggarly elements, dead works which profit nothing:

"I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

"For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

"But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

"I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7: 21-25)

In the last verse, Paul speaks to the mind of Christ, which is formed in every believer:

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:16)

However, we still possess a fleshly intellect, one which wars with the Spirit of God within us. Our body, our members are still fallen, not regenerated when we are born again.

So, every believer faces the temptation not so much expressly to sin, but to live from one's flesh, to try in one's own might to be obedient.

We love because He first loved us. He works in us to receive His love and release His love to others. However, because we still inhabit broken bodies, a reprobate mind, and live in a fallen world, the temptation remains to try and love, to try and forgive, and thus activate the flesh within ourselves and fall short of God's gracious and glorious ideal.

So, beloved, do not try to love. Magnify God and His love by faith and faithful meditation on the Word of God, and watch Him work wonders in your life.

Love is easy -- Because God is, God is for you, God is in you, and God does all things through us by faith -- So stop working so hard!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reflections on "My Utmost" November 28 Part II

"We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. Until we get there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves. We must enter into His kingdom through the door of destitution. As long as we are “rich,” particularly in the area of pride or independence, God can do nothing for us. It is only when we get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit. The gift of the essential nature of God is placed and made effective in us by the Holy Spirit. He imparts to us the quickening life of Jesus, making us truly alive. He takes that which was “beyond” us and places it “within” us. And immediately, once “the beyond” has come “within,” it rises up to “the above,” and we are lifted into the kingdom where Jesus lives and reigns (see John 3:5)."

Jesus spoke to this spiritual reality very succinctly in His Sermon on the Mount:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)

Of course, Jesus spoke these words before His death on the Cross.

What, then, is the Kingdom of Heaven? The dominion of God in us through the Holy Spirit!

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" 9Luke 11:13)

Which then couples with this grand promise:

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)

This kingdom every believer receives, based on the Finished Work of Jesus Christ:

"And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:" (John 20:22)


"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Romans 14:17)

Righteousness we become in Christ (cf 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Peace and joy are fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf Galatians 5:22-23)

Receive the Holy Spirit, receive Christ's dominion in your life, and watch what he does in you!

Reflections on "My Utmost" November 28

"The gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the truth that it reveals is not palatable or easy to swallow. There is a certain pride in people that causes them to give and give, but to come and accept a gift is another thing. I will give my life to martyrdom; I will dedicate my life to service— I will do anything. But do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do is accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ."

Yes! Well put, Mr. Chambers!

We insist on doing "something" -- but grace must be received -- cannot be earned, deserved, or merited!

Occupy Everywhere goes to the Port of Los Angeles

Occupy Everywhere has gone too far.

They have disrupted legitimate commerce, pushing out the Downtown LA Farmers Market, punishing legitimate bankers and traders in Wall Street.

Now they want to stop the Port of Los Angeles? Where does their hubris end?

"Raging against the machine" is ignorant madness. There is no "machine", there is no "corporate puppet-master"; however, there is a complex economy struggling into recovery in the midst of a territorial federal government intent on taxing and spending into prosperity, a scheme which has never worked.

Do these protesters not know right from wrong? The moral equivalence that has taken hold from New York to Los Angeles, and now to the largest port in the country -- this is all just ludicrous.

Clashing protesters who need to "get a job, and get a bath" would rather dominate the public square than take responsibility for their lives. No one is a victim -- but the liberalism forced-fed to students in post-secondary institutions have bewitched this loose horde to proclaim themselves "The 99%". I may not be a corporate raider, but I do not count myself represented by this outrageous mass.

One protester's poster reads : "This is what a police state looks like."

Excuse me?

Despite the global recession that menaced banks and national firms, the United States has managed to do fairly well.

We do not live in a police state, not by any means. We live in a free society which permits police action secure the rights of all.

Are the police powers perfect? Not at all. But I can stand a little excessive force to outrageous anarchy, which is brimming all over.

Shame on Occupy Everywhere!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gingrich on Child Labor

I am not voting for Newt Gingrich.

Unstable social views, plus an unstable private life made all too painfully public, make him an unacceptable Presidential contender.

His shelf-life as the anti-Romney will be short, though respectable.

Regarding his views on child labor, though, his views are in line with free market principles and the values that benefited young people at least a century ago.

When young people have an opportunity to earn something, they invest in their own future productivity while also saving money for financial investment.

At this point, I think most young people would learn more in the real world of employment than in the candy-floss, multiethnocentric liberalism that passes for education nowadays in public schools.

Reflections on the Debt and the Future

Mr. Petruno,

I appreciate reading your cautious pessimism in our of your last article for the LA Times.

I appreciate also that someone has the courage to state the obvious:

Excessive debt in pursuit of fabulous wealth has created this fantastic catastrophe all over the United and throughout the world.

Indeed, markets run extensively on psychological impulses, and their current signals are "grim"! The relative volatility of the marketplace is essential, I agree, to taming the overwhelming anxiety that is gripping so many investors and consumers.

Except for Congressman Ron Paul, none of the GOP Presidential candidates (and certainly not President Obama) has offered any meaningful solutions to the debt crises larding the machine of government.

In my opinion, it will take dictatorial executive authority to accomplish the tax cuts and moderate revenue increases needed to restore our nation to fiscal sanity. I do not believe that the excesses of "capitalism" created this enormous mess, but rather the excesses of government entitlements and regulations, both of which are eating away at what little revenue the United States manages to take in.

If the United States Government actually defaults, there would be short-term pain, but with proper free market responses restored throughout the marketplace, I believe that the United States will be able to climb out of the immense fiscal disaster which has been growing on us over the past thirty plus years.

Thanks again for your thoughts, and good luck in your next stage of life.

How to Stop Molestation Scandals -- and the End the Harm they Cause

We live in a fallen world, as a result of the disobedience of our parents Adam and Eve.

Man is ruled by his flesh -- therefore, no one is to be fully trusted.

Young people have been force-fed a saccharine view of the world, that people are basically good, that people with the right amount of knowledge will choose to do the good, and that all things will simply work out.

By extension, young people are taught, and in some cases forced, to place all their trust in others, especially adults.

This naive culture fosters an atmosphere in which child predation is easier to perpetrate.

The world is justifiably alarmed about child predation, yet the answer cannot be found exclusively in more stringent laws.

If we wish to help young people to stay safe, they must learn to accept the tragic reality of a fallen world -- that even those "closest" to us can do the greatest harm, and that no one deserves blind trust -- not even our parents, church officials, or other caretakers.

Jesus taught His disciples to invest the greatest attachment to Him, and to no one else:

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)

Here, Christ is not calling for every person to cruelly renounce every person in one's life, but rather to esteem our oneness with Him above all other relationships.

Imagine the power of our young people, when they know that by grace through faith, all their sins have been forgiven, that they sit at the right of the Father in Christ, that they do not need to gain the approval of man to be acceptable with God! That would put an end to the dangerous situations in which supposed caretakers take advantage of fallen and disadvantaged youth!

Only those who cast all their care on the Savior and live in accordance through the Holy Spirit, therefore, can possess the wisdom and worth to avoid being victimized.

Yet even if one is victimized, let us not fall for the wicked canard that a person's "innocence" is destroyed, or that a person is irrevocably "trash"

When a believer understands that he or she is fully "accepted in the beloved" (cf Ephesians 1:6), no terrible act committed once or even repeatedly can ever undo that person's joyous standing!

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Jesus Christ has taken all the shame, all the hurt, all the wrong, all the evil that we have perpetrated, and that has been perpetrated against us!

Let no one every say that God cannot restore to us what has been lost, or even taken, either!

"I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners." (Isaiah 57:18)


"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

"And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed." (Joel 2: 25-26)

And who can forget the glorious promises fulfilled in the life of Joseph, a blessed young man who never forgot that "the Lord was with him" (Genesis 39:2).

This same Joseph suffered unspeakable wrong at the hands of his own brothers, the wife of his master Potiphar, and was utterly forgotten by the butler whose dream Joseph had interpreted.

Yet when Joseph was promoted within one hour from the pit to the palace, he then bore two wonderful children, whose names indicated that GOD had made him forget all his pain, all his hurt, and had even made him doubly fruitful in the land of his affliction.

Not only does God restore to every person who has been harmed, even to those who have been the victims of child predation, everything that the feel that they have lost, He blesses every one who has been hurt with double, so that it seems as though no time has been lost!

Now, those who have suffered tremendous abuse --- who believe on the Finished Worked
of Jesus Christ, are forever renewed in the spirit. There will be awful thoughts and terrible sensations in a person's body.

Do not despair of God' glorious work in you! You mind must be renewed, just like every other person who is One with the Lord in Jesus Christ!

How is the mind renewed? By meditating on the Word of God! Meditate on these powerful promises! Reflect on how God has already made you complete in Him, and that no one can take this completeness away from you! (cf Colossians 2:10)

As for forgiveness, do not even try to forgive your perpetrator! God Himself has already given you the power to forgive (cf John 20:22-23)

As you meditate on the great forgiveness the God has already given you though His Son, you will be able to release what was done to you!:

"Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." (Luke 7:47)

Oprah Winfrey issued a scandalous and false indictment when she interviewed four convicted child molesters in one of her last programs.

She claimed that child molestation kills the soul of a human being. Nothing could be further from the truth!

In Christ, we are made the righteousness of God! In Christ, all things are restored to us, and more is added to our account to make up for the fear, shame, regret, pain, and physical trauma that a victim may endure.

Reflections on "My Utmost" November 27 Part III

"We must never allow anything to interfere with the consecration of our spiritual power. Consecration (being dedicated to God’s service) is our part; sanctification (being set apart from sin and being made holy) is God’s part. We must make a deliberate determination to be interested only in what God is interested. The way to make that determination, when faced with a perplexing problem, is to ask yourself, “Is this the kind of thing in which Jesus Christ is interested, or is it something in which the spirit that is diametrically opposed to Jesus is interested?”"

Nothing can "interfere" with our spiritual power:

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39)

Nothing can separate us from God, nothing, for we are now one with Him (John 17:21), hidden in Christ (cf Colossians 3:3)

Then what is the problem?

Pastor Andrew Wommack has provided an excellent teaching about "staying filled" with the fullness of God.

Drawing from the first chapter of Romans (v21), a believer who does the following things will never fail to remain aware of the fullness of the Holy Spirit in His life:

1. Never cease to glorify, or magnify the Lord

2. Be thankful for who He is, what He has done, and where He is still working -- in you!

3. Fill your mind with His power, promises, and purposes -- all in His word

4. Live with a pure heart, undefiled in the knowledge that there is no condemnation against you in Christ Jesus.

Living out these simple steps will forever flow the faithful power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Through these simple acts of faithfulness, we will be "interested only in what God is interested".

Reflections on "My Utmost" November 27 Part II

"It is not genuine consecration to think that we can refuse to be used of God now in order to store up our spiritual power for later use. That is a hopeless mistake. The Spirit of God has set a great many people free from their sin, yet they are experiencing no fullness in their lives— no true sense of freedom. The kind of religious life we see around the world today is entirely different from the vigorous holiness of the life of Jesus Christ. “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). We are to be in the world but not of it— to be separated internally, not externally (see John 17:16)."

We are already filled to the fulness with God's Power:

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


"I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

"That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;" (1 Corinthians 1:4-5)


"[H]is divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:" (2 Peter 1:3)

Reflections on "My Utmost" November 27

"If I dwell on the Cross of Christ, I do not simply become inwardly devout and solely interested in my own holiness— I become strongly focused on Jesus Christ’s interests. Our Lord was not a recluse nor a fanatical holy man practicing self-denial. He did not physically cut Himself off from society, but He was inwardly disconnected all the time. He was not aloof, but He lived in another world. In fact, He was so much in the common everyday world that the religious people of His day accused Him of being a glutton and a drunkard. Yet our Lord never allowed anything to interfere with His consecration of spiritual power."

We do not become interested in our holiness because we do not maintain as distinct from our infinite oneness with God:

"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:" (1 Corinthians 1: 30)

Christ Himself is out "Sanctification" -- He Himself is our Holiness!

We do not strive for Holiness, but we grow in Holiness in the following manner:

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (2 Peter 3:18)

How do we do that? Through the Word of God:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

Know Him through His Word:

"Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old." (Matthew 13:52)

When we are rooted and grounded in Him (cf Colossians 2:10), we do not worry about sin, error, persecution:

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)

The lust of the flesh is evident (and evidently very bad!):

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

"Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

"Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21)

Yet the fruit of the Spirit is: "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5: 22-23)

The Spirit within us produces these works, and the Spirit is producing them NOW! Receive this revelation by faith -- it has nothing to do with what you do to earn or make them come to pass.

All the rules and regulations in an attempt to "stay holy" are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ:

"Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

"(Touch not; taste not; handle not;

"Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

"Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh." (Colosssians 2:20-23)

We are dead to the law and alive in righteousness through Jesus Christ; therefore, we do not strive in our own flesh to "stay holy", but trust the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead us as we are already sanctified in Him who died for us.

Reflections on "My Utmost" November 26 Part III

"If I share my own words, they are of no more importance than your words are to me. But if we share the truth of God with one another, we will encounter it again and again. We have to focus on the great point of spiritual power— the Cross. If we stay in contact with that center of power, its energy is released in our lives. In holiness movements and spiritual experience meetings, the focus tends to be put not on the Cross of Christ but on the effects of the Cross."


Indeed, too many people love to dress up what God has done for them, as though His sacrifice at the Cross was merely initial, basic, elementary.

The Cross is everything:

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

"Author and Finisher" means not just initiation and continue, but the ongoing fruition of good works through the Holy Spirit (cf Galatians 5:22-23)

Our Faith in Him is everything,for by faith do we have access to His grace and all the goodness that we receive -- IN CHRIST!

Reflections on "My Utmost" November 26 Part II

"Pay attention to the external Source and the internal power will be there. We lose power because we don’t focus on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these. We are to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work. Concentrate on God’s focal point in your preaching, and even if your listeners seem to pay it no attention, they will never be the same again.

This is a masterful passage, one which every believer must refer to if he or she has any doubts, ever, about what he or she has in Christ through His Finished Work at the Cross.

Reflections on "My Utmost" November 26

"If you want to know the power of God (that is, the resurrection life of Jesus) in your human flesh, you must dwell on the tragedy of God. Break away from your personal concern over your own spiritual condition, and with a completely open spirit consider the tragedy of God. Instantly the power of God will be in you. “Look to Me. . .” (Isaiah 45:22)."

We have no reason whatsoever to be concerned about our "own spiritual condition" -- Christ is taking care of us.

In the Old Testament, the prophets, priests, and kings had to look out for God, and look to themselves to live holy lives. That's why David pined:

"Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me." (Psalm 51: 11)

Following the Finished Work of Jesus, there is no longer need for propitiation for sins:

"We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10: 10)

The Holy Spirit enters us, never to leave again:

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

"So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Hebrews 13:5-6)

We no longer have to look out for Him, but recognize with the "eyes of our understanding" that He is in us, doing and ever increasing and infinitely mighty work (Ephesians 1:17; 2:10)

Reflections on "My Utmost" November 25 Part III

"State your beliefs to yourself again. Get back to the foundation of the Cross of Christ, doing away with any belief not based on it. In secular history the Cross is an infinitesimally small thing, but from the biblical perspective it is of more importance than all the empires of the world. If we get away from dwelling on the tragedy of God on the Cross in our preaching, our preaching produces nothing. It will not transmit the energy of God to man; it may be interesting, but it will have no power. However, when we preach the Cross, the energy of God is released. “. . . it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. . . . we preach Christ crucified . . .""

"I am the righteous of God in Christ Jesus." Pastor Joseph Prince tells every listened to assert this eternal truth, even when you sin, especially when you fail and fall in your flesh, for in you spirit, you and I still sit in high places with Christ, at the right hand of the Father.

Nothing can shake this! Nothing!

Indeed, "However, when we preach the Cross, the energy of God is released" -- the power of God through the Holy Spirit is permitted to enter and dwell forever in us -- and all the innumerable and unsearchable riches pertaining!

Reflections on "My Utmost" November 25 Part II

"Consequently, he could let his external life change without internal distress because he was rooted and grounded in God. Most of us are not consistent spiritually because we are more concerned about being consistent externally. In the external expression of things, Paul lived in the basement, while his critics lived on the upper level. And these two levels do not begin to touch each other. But Paul’s consistency was down deep in the fundamentals. The great basis of his consistency was the agony of God in the redemption of the world, namely, the Cross of Christ."

"Rooted and grounded in God" -- what a wonderful phrase, right from the pen of the inspired Evangelist:

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

"Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. " (Colossians 2: 6-7)

"Our walk" is based on how "rooted" we are -- IN CHRIST. He leads us as we grow in grace and knowledge of Him!

We walk in the eternal glory of God's indwelling power through the Holy Spirit, and we can boldly claim this through the redeeming Finished Work of the Cross of Jesus Christ!

Reflections on "My Utmost" November 25

"When a person is newly born again, he seems inconsistent due to his unrelated emotions and the state of the external things or circumstances in his life. The apostle Paul had a strong and steady underlying consistency in his life."

What is this "underlying consistency" that Chambers is referring to?

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1)

No condemnation, none, zero, nada, absolutely none! Therefore, we can assent in full agreement with Paul to the Corinthians:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." ( 2 Corinthians 5:21)

If I am the righteousness of God IN CHRIST, then I have ultimate favor, glory, power, majesty, strength, and wealth -- for:

"And [God]hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:" (Ephesians 2:6)


"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4)

We have nothing, nothing at all to worry about! Paul goes on at length about the security, efficacy, and wonder of our standing IN CHRIST in Romans 8 -- nothing against us for He is for us -- promising to give us all things through His Son Jesus Christ!

That is your consistency -- not "your thinking about" even, for it will ever be there for every believer.

One of my greatest shortfalls in the my walk with Christ was that I had to "hold on" to Him with my thinking. But that runs counter to the revelation and release of His Promises:

"That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

"Not of works, lest any man should boast.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2: 7-10)

By grace -- unmerited favor -- are we saved, through faith, not by works -- not even "my believing" as an effort on my part. My faith gives me access to what God has already given me. That took the immense pressure of having to maintain myself -- when it is God through Christ through the Holy Spirit who leads me to work out what the Holy Trinity has already worked in!

Reflections on "My Utmost" November 24

"This verse is a description of total reliance on God. Just as the eyes of a servant are riveted on his master, our eyes should be directed to and focused on God. This is how knowledge of His countenance is gained and how God reveals Himself to us (see Isaiah 53:1). Our spiritual strength begins to be drained when we stop lifting our eyes to Him. Our stamina is sapped, not so much through external troubles surrounding us but through problems in our thinking. We wrongfully think, “I suppose I’ve been stretching myself a little too much, standing too tall and trying to look like God instead of being an ordinary humble person.” We have to realize that no effort can be too high."

We must always proceed from the truth that He is with us, in us, will never leave us nor forsake us:

"But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine." (Isaiah 43:1)

You and I are His as soon as we receive by faith His grace shed for us on the Cross through the death of His Son.

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 12:5)

Quite a promise from our Heavenly Father. Here is the confirmation of this infinite promise:

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

"Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

"As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:31-39)

I had to quote the whole passage - it's just too wonderful -- NOT to believe!

Nothing, not one thing, not even our sin, our falling short, can ever separate us from the love of God. Nothing!

He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Then what does Chambers mean by "Just as the eyes of a servant are riveted on his master, our eyes should be directed to and focused on God."

If we think of "eyes" as referring to recognize what and who lives in us, as opposed to picturing God as far away, then this exhortation makes more sense:

Paul prayed that the eyes of our understanding would be opened:

"Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

"Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

"Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

"Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

"And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

"Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Ephesians 1:15-23)

It is easy for us to be distracted and forget the unsearchable riches of Christ that dwell in us. Paul exhorts believers to be aware and grow in awareness of the following things:

1. That our calling in Christ predicts nothing but certain goodness and blessing

2. Our inheritance in Christ is never-ending glory for us

3.We have His exceeding power within us! -- the very power which brought Christ back from the dead

4.This power -- Christ himself -- sits at the right hand (the place of utmost favor),

5. Christ has subdued all enemies, every power, spiritual and temporal.

In the next chapter, we find out the following (!!!!!!!!!!):

"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

"And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:" (Ephesians 2:5-6)

As He is, with power, glory, dominion, and infinite everything-else, that resides in us! We are seated in honor with Him!

Chambers gives one the impression that these glorious, unsearchable treasures are precious beauties which we must still search for:

"Our stamina is sapped, not so much through external troubles surrounding us but through problems in our thinking. We wrongfully think, “I suppose I’ve been stretching myself a little too much, standing too tall and trying to look like God instead of being an ordinary humble person.” We have to realize that no effort can be too high."

In fact, we already have this infinite storehouse within us through the Holy Spirit -- It's only that our minds need to be renewed, refreshed with the Word of God, every reminding us who we are in Christ, and what Christ is effecting in us through the Holy Spirit!

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2)


"18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Response to "I Asked God"

I Asked God (author unknown)

This Poem betrays and denies all the covenant promises which God grants to all who believe on His Son Jesus Christ, that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may bear much fruit fitting and glorifying to the Father.

I have selected and implemented verses of Scripture to refute the notion that God impoverishes us in order to make us better, to discipline us, or even to make us holy. Such hateful insights are contrary to the Word of God -- no wonder so many people are convinced that receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is a smarmy fool's errand equipping people for nothing but loss and humiliation.

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.

I was made weak, that I might learn to obey.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)

I asked for health, that I might do greater things.

I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:24)

"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord" (James 5:16)

I asked for riches, that I might be happy.

I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

"Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;" (1 Corinthians 3:22)

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

"Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you." ( 1 Corinthians 4:8)

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:!9)

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.

I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

"10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10)

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.

I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

I got nothing that I asked for — but everything I had hoped for.

"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us" (1 John 5:14)

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

Officer's Widow Sues Manhattan Beach and El Segundo

It was tragic enough that a police officer died during the funeral honoring another peace officer who had passed away.

It is unscrupulous, offensive, and perverse for the living family members to then sue the cities for negligence for improperly training the other officer involved in the tragic accident; and to sue the cities for negligence in planning and the executing the funeral ceremony.

I am deeply saddened that so accidental a tragedy as the death of a police officer occurred during what should have been a fully organized -- and ultimately routine -- service.

However, an extensive lawsuit will not bring Officer Andrew Garton back to life, nor will an unjust civil prosecution undo the unforeseen individual carelessness that killed Officer Garton and irreparably harmed Sergeant Rex Fowler.

Manhattan Beach is now facing three major lawsuits from disgruntled former employees or their families. Since when did possessing wealth and efficient government automatically give unhappy litigants the right and opportunity to file lawsuits when things have not gone their way? With all due respect, the Garton lawsuit is one more example of lawsuit abuse looking for deep pockets to pilfer. This action serves no one and mars the memory of a peace officer who served capably for many years.

I cannot express this enough: the whole Garton affair is sad enough, but to use this tragedy as a pretext for a multi-million dollar lawsuit against an entire city and its community members -- this is just reprehensible and unconscionable, not to mention dishonoring to the man whose life was untimely cut short.

Iran's Nuclear Policy -- Nothing to Fear

I am no longer deterred about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Clearly, the Bible teaches that in the last days there will be a final battle at Mount Megiddo. Israel obliterated by a nuclear holocaust does not coincide with this prophecy.

Congressman Ron Paul is not derelict in his understanding of foreign policy when he submits that the Israelis are more than capable of taking care of themselves. Their nuclear arsenal is under mystery and under raps, yet the Jewish state is more than capable of defending its own in the face of a nuclear threat from the wacky Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Islamist ilk.

Grateful for David Suissa's Gratitude

"Always happy; never satisfied."

Only God is always happy and ever satisfied, at least for those who believe in the final atonement of Jesus Christ as Messiah for the Jews and all the nations of the world.

It is a worthy question to ponder: "How do we reconcile these tow Jewish ideals -- the ideal of always being happy with what we have with the ideal of 'never being satisfied'?"

I believe that this life is a gift in which we are ever happy and ever satisfied, but through the inner workings of the Holy Spirit:

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


"And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:" (Colossians 2:10)


"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3)

What then, is my job in the midst of all these blessings?

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)


"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13)

We are called to walk by faith in Him, and He in turn bears much fruit through us in our calm, steadfast, faithfulness!

I do not have to choose being happy to being satisfied, for one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is JOY! (cf Galatians 5:22-23)

Finding a Point of Contact for "A Collision of Fate"

Rabbi Yehuda M. Hausman argues that the Patriarch Jacob grows up longing for his father's love.

In fact, Isaac blesses him richly:

"And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.

"Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother.

"And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;

"And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.

"And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padanaram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother." (Genesis 28:1-5)

I believe that Jacob eventually settles for His Heavenly Father's love, even if he still insists on trying to force God's hand:

"And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,

"So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:

"And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." (Genesis 28:20-22)

God more than kept His end of the bargain, blessing Jacob with twelve male children, from whom emerged the nation of Israel, and through whom all the nations of the world have been blessed!

Beyond the insights I discovered regarding the love that Jacob was seeking, I also believe that Jacob was given a second chance, especially for playing favorites with his sons from his second wife Rachel.

Jacob had much to be thankful for, in spite of his many failures. He acknowledges his missteps, but tends to exaggerate them:

"And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.

"And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou?

"And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage."

That was simple not true. Jacob received a larger family with greater wealth, including the personal invitation of his son -- now the Prime Minister of Egypt -- to live in peace and prosperity in the Land of Goshen.

The next verse contradicts Jacob's low estimation of his walk on the Earth:

"And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh." (v. 10)

Imagine that -- the Pharaoh, a heathen king, accorded enough respect to Jacob that he received the Patriarch's blessing. Imagine what would happen if the Egyptians of today sought the blessing of the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, instead of fighting with them and plotting the demise of the Jewish State?!

Ultimately, one could argue that Jacob had always had his father's and his Father's love, but he never believed it and thus never received it.

Petty Picking at Alabama's Immigration Law

The state of Alabama is leading the Crimson charge against illegal immigration.

Even a federal judge had to conceded the greater portions of the law were permissible, and not in violation or contravention of federal law or the United States Constitution.

One of the provisions of the law requires that a routine traffic stop must be followed by checking the status of the driver. Those who cannot produce proper identification will be arrested instead of merely fined.

This is not an onerous burden, nor should pro-illegal immigration activists used this unforeseen outcome as evidence of the "draconian" nature of the legislation.

The driver in question who was arrested had been driving a car without license plates, an egregious and foolish error which justified a traffic stop by the Tuscaloosa police.

Rather than demagoguing one misstep or overreach, the Main Stream Media ought to report on the damaging implication of unchecked illegal immigration, which is exhausting state resources, tying up law enforcement, and diminishing the quality of life for all Americans.

Bahrain's Woes in the Midst of the Arab Spring

The international commission in charge of investigating torture allegations has concluded that the island nation resorted to excessive force was used.

Any force used to put down legitimate protest will always be excessive.

It is reprehensible for the King of Bahrain to manipulate the Islamist nation of Iran as a Western boogieman to maintain hegemony over the country.

The Arab people deserve to be free -- they do not deserve the ongoing tyrranny of "moderate" strongmen who play off United States foreign policy concerns to stay in power.

The United States CIA took out Bin Laden in failure-state Pakistan. They finished al-Awlaki in failed state Yemen, all without assistance from the Arab and Middle Eastern states whose aid we had been soliciting with political and economic favors during the War on Terror.

GOP Presidential Candidates and Foreign Policy

A Presidential candidate's lack of knowledge regarding foreign policy may be a plus.

We do not need to stretch our already stretched-thin armed forces any further.

We have forces stationed in Germany! The biggest crisis hitting the lead member state of the Eurozone is not military, but financial. Let's bring our troops home!

The South Koreans can take care of themselves. The North Koreans are so distracted and ill-fed, that they could not maintain a major military onslaught for long.

As for the Middle East, the Arab Spring has done more in less than one year as opposed to decades of financial and military aid from the United States. The last thing we need to do is enter into further armed conflict with nations whose dubitable sympathies may stir up as much trouble for our Middle Eastern allies and the West as the current crop of dictators.

Congressman Paul does not fear a nuclear Iran. I am no alarmist, either, but I do not share his unbounded optimism that free markets and open trade will deter madmen Islamists bent out wiping Israel off the map. However, I am of the opinion that Israel is more than capable of taking care of itself.

Herman Cain betray a gaping ignorance of foreign policy, although his paucity of knowledge concerning foreign affairs is of little concern compare to the empty and ineffectual 9-9-9 mantra that will hit hard-working taxpayers and free-trade states which have done very well without sales taxes.

Michele Bachmann insists on spending foreign aid to struggling countries, when Congressman Paul has already demonstrated that we give nearly twice as much to states hostile to Israel and our Western allies that to our partner countries. International handouts are foreign policy folly, as well as domestic stupidity for a nation that may need a bailout of its own.

I am not looking for a war hawk or a dove -- the United States for too long has a been a turkey when it comes to foreign policy. A statesman who is unafraid to remain uncommitted to political and military entanglements around the world is what the United States needs, and only Congressman Paul has presented this consistent message of measured isolationism.