Forward to the past……

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Sometimes you just have to marvel at how mankind truly never does learn anything from history, but especially remote history, and more especially again, history which it seems to not even accept as ever happening (because the Bible says it’s so). But more and more recently, I really have come to the conclusion that scripture ever more reveals just how true it is, as the world races to embrace so many concepts and ideologies that were held by a distant civilisation and one not even that remote from our own – and that’s that of ancient Rome & later Greece. Although if truth be told I think mankind is actually trying to model itself on even earlier cultures which have been even more detailed through scripture such as those who lived in Sodom & Gomorrah.

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Is God schizophrenic….

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Following on from watching a TV programme “Tsunami- Where was God?” some time ago, I got to thinking about how the presenter had talked to those in other faiths (primarily Hinduism, Islam & Buddhism) using the generic term “God” in his conversations with them, asking questions about whether they felt angry with “God”.   The glaring obvious error he was making was in assuming that they worshipped the same God he himself supposedly did in being a somewhat lapsed Catholic.

This is a fundamental error too many make in the world today whether through ignorance or design.   Whether the world likes to know it or hear it, there is only ONE God – and His name is Jehovah.   And the reason I can stand on that statement is not through arrogance but rather revelation.   There is only one God who has not only created everything and told us about it in extensive terms (both physical e.g. creation & written i.e. the Bible), there is only one God who has revealed Himself to the world in human form i.e. Jesus, and there is only one God Who has provided a reason for and an answer to the age old problem of man’s sin/evil, through Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, and there is only one God who has provided the surety of heaven for those who are willing to accept their sinfulness, repent, and submit to Him and His Will for their lives.

The gods of other religions are false and glaringly so much of the time.   The god of Islam is a god of war not peace and promotes fear, deception, and angst amongst most of his followers who have no peace of anything much nor any surety of what will happen to them when they die.   Their religion of “peace” is a facade, a veneer which got overlaid on the faith after 9/11 in a means to appease the West temporarily and to promote the idea that muslims weren’t seeking trouble.   However, the years since have shown that while there may indeed be many peaceful muslims their religion is certainly not one promoting peace with a plethora of verses that provoke followers to kill Jews & Christians wherever they may find them.   Deception and fear are twin cohorts in this faith that uses them when it suits to force people to submit.   And if they don’t – well the edge of the sword will maybe help them but if not, they can be swiftly despatched without concern.  Again, I say – this is NOT the God of the Bible Who is being followed in any sense of the word.   Indeed the glaring obvious difference is that the God of the Bible has a Son – Jesus – who is the Saviour of the World, and I contend that that fact stands whether both Jews & Muslims deny its truth.

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.  By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’  Isa 45:22-23 

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A benevolent God??….

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Ch. 4 Tsunami programmeI’m only now getting to watch a programme that was on TV recently on the topic of “Tsunami: Where was God?”  (You might be able to view it HERE but only if you live in the UK)   The premise of the programme centered around how the presenter (who stated he was a Catholic) found the idea that a “benevolent” God would allow such a dreadful disaster to occur.   He raised questions about how if God was good and if, as many of faith contend, such disasters are as a result of the fall, and if God knew that His creation would have to undergo such horrendous misery then why did He ever bother creating us in the first place??   While he, no doubt, speaks for a large volume of people, particularly those without a faith, I feel he shows that while he may have been raised a Catholic, he was never taught or never heard the proper teaching of scriptural Law and Gospel as they apply to mankind.

I’ve equally often asked myself why God bothered creating man, but not because he was doomed to misery and destruction, but more because we were always going to be so bent towards sin and rebellion against Him!!  He has granted us the most incredible intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, and a constant thirst for information, yet with all of that, rather than acknowledge Him as our Creator and Provider, we’d rather turn on Him, deny Him, and ultimately try to tell Him we know better than He does!   Much of this errant attitude about God is because we have long moved away from any true reverence of Him.   Our Jewish ancestors and even many of those in Israel today have a much better attitude and. while it doesn’t prevent their nation from equally sliding into a humanistic secularistic abyss of their own making, it nonetheless shows us how we should view God.

David spoke often about his views of God in the Psalms and constantly recognised his miniscule position before an awesome and magnificent God:

Psa 8:3-4 When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have established; what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man, that You visit him?

We have turned things around completely – rather than the creation serving the Creator, we instead consider that the Creator should serve us and do so, whether we acknowledge Him as such or wish to seek out the true purpose for our lives.   The Westminster Catechism answers the question of why we were created very appropriately:

“Question. 1. What is the chief end of man?

Answer. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.”

When we only view God as some sort of benevolent grandfather figure in the sky – only ever seeking our “best life now” and just waiting for us to ask him for whatever our “felt needs” may be so that he can jump to attention and provide them, we are as guilty of idolatry and blasphemy as many of those in the Old Testament were and who died for their sin in being so.    God’s Love stems from his other major attributes – His Holiness and His Righteousness – sadly attributes we, as imperfect human beings, rarely seem to grasp or appreciate.   However, not being able to figure what they mean doesn’t take away from how they impact everything God is and does.   It’s precisely because He does love mankind that He has done everything to ensure we have every opportunity to overcome the damage sin does in our lives, and grants us the ability to be restored into the relationship with Him that He intended us to have.    His Holiness cannot look on sin and His Righteousness demands a price to be paid for it, so Jesus agreed to pay that price before the very foundation of the world was laid:

Eph 1:4 …. according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love….

Truly what an Awesome God we have – yes, He is a loving God, but He knows that love alone isn’t all we require to enable us to live as we should, and thus as our Heavenly Father, he equally demonstrates that love through justice and discipline, always aiming to take our focus off ourselves and put it where it should be – on HIM!!

A question for my Muslim readers…

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I’m curious to know what Islamic belief truly is when it comes to the person of Jesus, because to me, it seems somewhat minimalist or indeed not something a lot of emphasis is placed on, in comparison to that of Mary.   I hear often about how Mary is just as revered in Islam as in Catholicism and that made me start questioning why, given that Islam doesn’t hold to much else of Christian teaching.

Mary with Jesus
Mary with Jesus

Why is it that Islam places reverence on Mary (a fallen, sinful human being) to the point of agreeing with the Catholic Church that she was a “perpetual virgin” while ignoring the Deity of Jesus.    But more than that,  I also wanted to point out something I find odd in that respect.   If Mary is held in reverence because she gave birth to ‘nothing more than’ a prophet (as Islam contends Jesus was), then why did God send an angel (Gabriel no less!) to give her the news (which Islam accepts)?  No other mother of a prophet in the history of the world ever had her child’s birth announced to her by an angel – not even Muhammed!!   Muhammed did indeed have a visit himself from apparently that very same angel  but only to provide him with a “new revelation.”    Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t need to have another visit from Gabriel after his birth because He IS the “new revelation” – but not only of scripture, rather of God Himself.   And why was there a particular significance about Jesus being born to a virgin if He was purely going to be a  only a prophet – the greatest prophets in the world before Him weren’t born to virgins so why is His birth so different, and necessarily so??

Isa 7:13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

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Are you a fan of the “patchwork” Gospel??

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I have a friend who is.   Not hard to spot these days as she’s in good company with many of those who are supposed to be pastors who are too.   If you don’t consider scripture to be the inerrant Word of God (and thus above the words of anyone on this earth including the Pope!), anpatchwork quiltd you feel that it’s been changed over the years by the multiple translations and rewritings etc, so you figure you can’t accept it as it’s provided, but would still call yourself a Christian, then you are also a fan of the “patchwork” Gospel, whether you realise it or not.   Because if you feel that way, the only way you can thus read scripture is to figure that you’ll take whatever bits out of it seem to make sense to you, or which don’t offend your senses too much and leave the rest out comfortable in considering it to be errant or not how God intended it to be written – after all, Jesus “couldn’t possibly be the only way to God” and He really didn’t say “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” but just intimated that His way was “a better way of many” (anyone recognise those statements of late from one of the most famous female icons of this decade?).  Sadly she too is a fan of the “patchwork” Gospel.  

page with holeMy point primarily is this – IF you are that type of person who doesn’t consider scripture to be accurate in any part of it, then on what do you base your statement that you are a Christian??   You can’t say it’s because you believe in Jesus – how can you, if you can’t be sure that the portions of scripture that speak about Him are accurate.   How can you trust that He is Who He said He is?   And if He isn’t, then why would you want to be considered a follower?   What portions of scripture do you consider are accurate – just those bits that are warm and fuzzy and talk about love??   All very well and good, but it ain’t going to get you into heaven, which is where I’m presuming you want to go?   How can you trust “your” God, if you figure the half of what He tells you is wrong or do you have some other means of discerning His Will that the rest of us are missing out on perhaps?   How do you decide which bits to believe and which to ignore??   How can you have any hope in the future, if you can’t trust what’s happened in the past?  How big is YOUR God??   And I bet (like my friend) you then try to fill in the gaps with bits and pieces of other religions (hence the term “Patchwork” Gospel) that equally sound nice and comforting and tickle your ears and feed your need to not have to deal with anything awful like the word “sin” in your life.   You know it’s there but if you can ignore it in the bible, and don’t find it mentioned in other religions then it’s easy to just pretend it’s not something you need to concern yourself with.   But hey if you don’t believe in the concept of sin – then you certainly don’t need a Saviour do you??   So either stop calling yourself a Christian and instead use the proper term of “New Ager” or stop to recognise the SIN you are committing by not giving God His due and recognising His Power to ensure His Word is what He means it to be.   You are in danger of blaspheming the One you may state you serve – Jesus – John stated that He IS the Word and Jesus Himself stated that His Words would be eternal which is proving true thus far – no other writings have survived as long as scripture, in the way it continues to impact the world.   And the biggest difference about the Gospel message is how it  challenges and changes lives in the most incredible way.  

Of course, I’m SO silly for believing that God is big enough to be able bible graphicto ensure His Word says what He wants it to unto every generation, and that He can ensure its accuracy throughout.  That’s not to say that there aren’t some rather nonsensical versions floating around on the scene these days, but I suspect even those, He will use to His Glory to ensure that those who are willing to search will see them for the erroneous versions they are.   Ultimately we are beholden to seek Him (and not man’s version of Him) and if we truly do He will be true to HIS Word and meet us in our need and reveal Himself to us.   May He open your heart to accept His Truth for what it is!

NB:  Another site of interest on this topic is Truth or Fables

So you want to go to heaven? WHY????

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This is aimed primarily at those who are not Christians, or who otherwise don’t consider Jesus to be their Saviour and God to be the primary focus of their lives here on earth. However, many who call themselves Christians would do well to read on and equally give thought to some of the points I’m going to raise here.

heaven.jpgI suspect that if you asked 100 people whether they wanted to go to heaven or hell, at least 99 of them would sensibly say heaven. But if you asked them why they figured they should be allowed into heaven answers will vary from the sublime to the ridiculous with everything in between, with even some Christians not having a good answer sadly. If you’re one of those, read on as what I’m going to say may make you rethink your reasons.

I imagine most people want to go to heaven because firstly its something ingrained in us since childhood – this idyllic nirvana state we’re brought up to believe is pretty much our right if we are “good” and don’t do “evil.” Many have varying views on what heaven actually is. Most consider it to be a place of rest and/or peace, and some actually do think they’ll spend most of eternity sitting on a cloud somewhere watching the world go by. So lets start by having a little scripture lesson on the reality of the 2 places you could spend eternity in for starters – just so you know exactly what God says they are.

Hell:
It will be full of more people than heaven as Jesus stated that the road was broad (i.e. easier to travel on) that leads to it.
Isa 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

hell2.jpgThere will be angels (or rather demons!) there also:
2Pe 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

It is a place of final total and utter destruction with no hope of ever changing your mind:
Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Heaven:
By contrast it’s impossible to find any singular or even just dual streets.jpgverses dealing with heaven – Jesus spoke about it at length in more parables than about any other topic other than salvation itself (Matthew 25 in total, Matt 22:2-13, Matt 20, 1-14 and multiple other instances).

But Revelation 21 provides greater insight to the magnitude of the new Holy Jerusalem and is precisely descriptive. V. 22 is the one most people are alluding to when they talk about “streets paved with gold.”

“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. “

But over and above those descriptions is the purpose of heaven.  If it was purely a new home for everyone on earth who was good, once again, there would be no need of a Saviour for all would end up there, as there would then also be no reason for hell.  Some people seem to think hell is purely for Satan and his demons forgetting Satan’s role and purpose on this earth – he is the “Prince of the air” and has been given the earth as his domain!! In other words he rules here as is rather evidenced by the increasing propensity for evil even amongst children nowadays.  And his other role is to pull as many people down with him as he can and that’s becoming easier by the year as more people succumb to the “Live your best life now” syndrome rather than concerning themselves with their eternal future.   Heaven is solely for those who have been made worthy of living there, and who desire to live with God and to worship Him alone for eternity.  God created man solely to worship Him, but man determined from the outset he’d rather worship Satan and have his own way, so God has allowed him to do so, but has equally (thankfully) also provided a way back to Him for those who desire to take it. What Adam destroyed, Jesus rebuilt – a relationship with God by faith. There are no “good” people in heaven – only saved sinners.  Even Jesus Himself asked:

“And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God” Luke 18:19.

So if you’re one of those who errantly thinks you’re going to get into heaven by merit of your own “goodness” whatever that may mean to you, think again.  Jesus says otherwise:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt 7:21-23

And a final thought – if you don’t want to spend your time here worshipping God (90 years perhaps at most) then why on earth would you want to go to heaven where you will do so for eternity???

(Also read:  https://tikkiro.wordpress.com/2007/05/26/rapturitis-if-there-be-such-a-word/
https://tikkiro.wordpress.com/2007/12/02/the-difference-between-paul-washer-joel-osteen/)

Sorry but Mary is categorically NOT the mother of God!

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Mary & JesusFor some that statement won’t come as any surprise since many have come to recognise its Truth.   But sadly, it’s more common to hear how Catholics are of late being taught the opposite and indeed worse – that Mary not only is the mother of God, but was also sinless and thus equally able to answer prayers and become a 4th person in the Godhead – sorry, but that’s exactly what they’re stating – if she was sinless and capable of forgiving sins then she is GOD and thus also gains that additional title.   That’s the main reason the Pharisees were condemning Jesus – because He claimed to be able to forgive sins.  However, while I could very easily spend a whole post pulling this whole concept to shreds very easily – one scripture alone amongst others shows very clearly that Mary herself knew that was never the case:-

Luke 1:46-47 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

In other words, Mary recognised that she was a sinner before God in need of a Saviour and He was providing the same.  But aside from that aspect, I wanted to provoke you to think a little deeper than the usual way in which we all (esp Protestants) think of Mary in any respect in her relationship to Jesus.  When Gabriel appeared to Mary and she was granted the awesome prospect of becoming a parent to the future Messiah and King of Israel and the world,  she was specifically told that the Holy Spirit would undertake something amazing in her body:

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