An Aide to Spiritual Growth

Some people have told me that they experienced a big improvement in their walk with God when they had a vision of the resurrected Christ.

I wanted to do better in my walk, but how does one go about getting such a vision? Details were light or non-existent. I remember one Calvary Chapel pastor encouraging the congregation to “visualize the throne room and Jesus sitting there.” Well, I could do some imagining, I guess, but that didn’t help. I was aware I was just making it up.

Since I found that Torah is for all believers, I have actually seen the Father and the Son as I read His Word and do what He says. I’m making a lot of changes for the better in my growth and walk with God, but some of the changes I need to make are coming slow. Do I need a vision of the resurrected Christ to become a different, more righteous person?

As I was pondering this a few days ago, I had what I think was in fact a vision. But it wasn’t of the resurrected Christ. I think God gave me a better vision, one which is going to help much better.

He gave me a vision of myself.

I don’t mean the same type of vision that some believers claim to see of Jesus. I mean God gave me a view of myself as He sees me, with emphasis on my character development (or lack of it). I got a glimpse of myself as I really am, which cut through the image I have of myself normally. We want to think the best of ourselves, and we craft an image that we hope is true. But most of the time it isn’t true. It’s just wishful thinking.

The downside to seeing yourself as you really are is it’s very discouraging. The upside is, when you accept the truth about yourself and take responsibility for your actions and for changing your actions, then you can make progress in moving closer to God. The reason is that as you draw closer to the light of the Father you become more aware of what you lack in perfection or holiness. You can either patch over your flaws with fig leaves as did Adam and Havah, or with improved vision you can accept and change.

It was painful looking at my history and seeing the bad decisions, the unwillingness to do what God said I should do, the times of stunted growth; simply because I didn’t want to give up my comfort.

So in a sense I did get a vision of the resurrected Christ through eating and drinking His body and blood (hearing and doing His word). But what really got me was the vision of myself as I really am.

I still need a lot of work, but the job is actually easier with an honest, albeit painful, self-evaluation.

Shalom

Bruce

The Law versus the Approval of Men

One of the many good things about God’s living oracles, or the law, is that I can take comfort and have confidence that I am an approved son. Oh, not that I get any special awards or accolades. It’s just that I can feel good about doing one more thing God says on a minute-by-minute basis. I am not perfectly behaved. I am not Jewish. I don’t have a bunch of people who hang on my every word, nor do I have frames of famous people I’ve met or recognition from colleges or learned men on my wall. What I do have is the satisfaction of doing what God says, no matter how small the effort or how many times in between I might fall.

The approval of men is much different. Most judge by appearances, or money, or by the number of followers on Twitter. Approval from people is ephemeral, vaporous, and without substance. As long as I think like them, do like them, make sure I feed their egos and avoid hurting their feelings, then I am accepted and part of the group. Step outside with a different thought one time, however, and you are done. Not only that but you will never be accepted by them again unless you spend a lifetime in obeisance, bowing and scraping and hungry for every tiny little pat on the head or scratch under the chin.

Each command, statute, hint or suggestion I do from what He says as outlined in His Word I know meets with His approval. I might not get a coin from Him immediately, or even a pat on the head or scratch under the chin, but each step connects me better and blessings flow. When I refrain from work on His sabbath simply because He asks me to I am made whole with His oneness and Spirit. I avoid pork or shellfish; He is there. His holidays channel the river of life through my soul.

Men do not approve. They’d rather my worship be at their direction and that I elect them to be as gods. The only reward from that, however, is in their regard which is as changeable as the weather during a Rocky Mountain spring. One minute sunshine, the next a freezing snowstorm. No thank you. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Shalom

Bruce

Audiobook for Whole Bible Christianity Available

It took a while, but an Audiobook version of our book Whole Bible Christianity is now available. It’s about 15 and a half hours, narrated by Bruce. You can get it free if you sign up for a trial membership at Audible.com. You get a free audiobook when you first sign up for the service. After the first month it costs $15.00 per month but you get one free book per month too.

If you click this link to view the print version, then click on the Free with your Audible Trial button and stay with Audible for two months, not only do you get two free audiobooks (for $15.00 the second month) but we get a $50.00 bonus! You can exchange any audiobook you decide is not for you, and your credit for one free book rolls over to the next month if you don’t use it. Even if you cancel membership after a while you can keep all your audiobooks.

What a great deal! Whole Bible Christianity, Blessings Pressed Down and Overflowing audiobook for free, a bonus to us, and you get more free audiobooks.

There’s also the print version of the book, and Kindle version for a pretty low cost. The Kindle and audiobook versions do not have the Scripture Index with almost 1,500 entries from every book in the Bible, and the audiobook doesn’t have the footnotes, but still you can listen on the way to work and back or read on a Kindle at your leisure. Get all three and get it all.

Shalom

Bruce

Stephen Hawking is Dead. Big Deal.

So Stephen Hawking, that icon of atheism and evolution, has finally stopped working. He explained once that death just means that the brain failed like a broken down computer. There is no afterlife, according to him, and no heaven.

Well, he’s right. For him there is no heaven or afterlife. More like after-the-computer-stops-working he’ll be deposited in the permanent recycling facility in the lake of fire.

Lots of public figures are expressing their condolences. Why? The guy’s computer just stopped working. I have a business fixing computers, and when one stops working permanently I don’t write articles. I don’t go around in sackcloth and ashes. I don’t mourn. I just build a new one for my client and they move on. No big deal.

Jesse Carey of the (supposedly Christian) Relevant Magazine thinks that making comments like this is “unhelpful” and “disparaging.” He cites Ray Comfort, who posted links on his Facebook page to a secular announcement of the death and to Ray’s movie Evolution vs God, as “mean spirited.” Really? It is mean spirited to comment on an atheist whose whole life was a disparaging comment on my God and my belief system? Stephen was a walking, I’m sorry, rolling, destructive testimony to bigoted and ignorant anti-God teachings. No telling how many people’s faiths he damaged or destroyed in his life by acting like a mean-spirited expert on a God he never knew.

Ray Comfort has a vibrant ministry bringing God’s Word to as many as will listen. Stephen Hawking was nothing but unhelpful in guiding people to life. Relevant Magazine is a wishy-washy self-serving rag floating with the winds of popular culture, rarely taking a stand on the Word of God. Of the three, I think I prefer the guy who is trying to deliver the Word as best he knows how. The others are just so much wind.

Bye bye Mr. Hawking. You were useless in life but now you can at least be useful as worm food.

Shalom

Bruce

Oral Sex Causing Cancer Epidemic in Men

…says the headline on Drudge (March 8th 2018), which sounds alarming, until you realize that the science in the title is all wrong.

As most high-school biology students can tell you, a sneeze does not cause a cold. It is merely the delivery method for the germs that cause the cold.

Oral sex does not cause cancer. If you read the article referred to by the headline you will find the cause is the HPV virus. Human papilloma virus causes infections which can lead to cancer. Also, if you read the article, you and most high-school biology students can see that another major factor is a compromised immune system. If the immune system is down, then almost anything is going to make you sick.

I’m going to get a little graphic here but the subject demands it. If you are not able to handle frank talk, you might want to skip a couple paragraphs. A few minutes reflection should also tell the mature, thinking person that an unmentioned factor is that it depends on what you are licking and how. If your tongue strays into areas it shouldn’t, that were not made for licking, then you will increase your chances of infection exponentially. The anus is not meant for sex, nor is it made for penetration. So if you are licking excrement, you can pretty much bet the filth is going to have an adverse affect.

This brings us to the unmentioned and largest factor in men contracting cancer from HPV. Homosexual men routinely put things in places that are filthy and disgusting, and then stick them in their mouths. Homosexuals also by and large have compromised immunes systems due to their lifestyle choices which expose them to other sicknesses. But homosexuals are not mentioned in the article, though they are the biggest group in the epidemic. We wouldn’t want to be politically incorrect now, would we?

A little bit of study and thought will help you navigate past the scary headlines. Realize the ongoing agendas of much of modern culture to normalize perverse, unhealthy, dangerous and deadly lifestyle choices. There is a plan by the ungodly to tear down all vestiges of God’s instructions for healthy living, and to try to destroy His kingdom. The homosexuals are filled with hate for one another and for God, and along with other unbelievers are not only destroying themselves but trying to bring others down with them.

Don’t fall for the hyped headlines. Godly behavior produces life and love. Ungodly behavior causes cancer.

Shalom

Bruce

Question

“Why do we never get an answer, when we’re knocking at the door
With a thousand million questions, about hate and death and war?”

The Moody Blues rock band. I like a lot of their music because it is not superficial like the stupid music mostly puked out today. The lyrics above are from a song titled Question from about 1970. Most of the band’s music is thoughtful and sincere. In this case though, I laugh every time I hear the words. Not the rolling on the floor kind of laughing, but more of a sad laughter.

You don’t get answers to your questions because the answer is already there, you are arrogantly demanding answers, and you aren’t connected with God in the first place. The answer is screaming at you in the face, and you just skip over it and keep looking for something more along the lines of self-seeking. You arrogantly demand something from God, and He doesn’t have to give you anything. He doesn’t answer because you are not connected with Him in any sort of righteous relationship. You are a wicked, unrighteous person, and God doesn’t answer the prayers of unbelievers unless He sees fit.

The songwriter Justin Hayward was upset about the Vietnam war. He combined two half-done songs to get this whole one. The result is a nifty tune, but at the same time rather stupid. It’s usually frustrating to me to listen to stuff like this because the answer is so obvious. In a God-rejecting world hate and death and war are as inevitable as the sunrise. Separate yourself from the Source of Life and all you get is death. Duh.

Justin gets close to answering his own question in the chorus and final lines.

“Why do we never get an answer, when we’re knocking at the door? Because the truth is hard to swallow, that’s what the war of love is for.”

“The truth is hard to swallow.” Oh yeah. The truth is God’s Word, and He tells us that we are lost without Him, wandering in a desert of hate and death and war. We have to turn to Him and follow all of His Words, including the Word of life, Jesus the Christ. We cannot return to Him on our own, but many want to trade what flimsy righteousness they have for eternal life. But it’s just not enough. A sufficient sacrifice must be made, blood must be spilled, which was done when we executed Jesus on a board. Then we must live all of His Words with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Yeah, that’s pretty hard to swallow for most.

“When we stop and look around us, there is nothing that we need.
In a world of persecution that is burning in its greed.”

“There is nothing that we need.” That’s what most people think. They are self-satisfied being their own gods, and don’t want the bother of turning to the God of love. They don’t want to accept the blood of the only begotten Son that God offers as the only ticket out of war and death and hate.

So keep asking questions, worldly musical idiots.

Shalom

Bruce

Literally Wood

Tired old argument #24: The Bible is not to be taken literally.

I’m sure you’ve heard someone say that the Bible is not literal or not to be taken literally. If you disagree, as I do, that the Bible should indeed be taken or interpreted literally, this person will then drag out a few verses to prove his point. Usually the verses have something to do with what they think is a ridiculous comparison such as God as a rock or Jesus as a lamb. Obviously, they intone, God is not basaltic, sedimentary or igneous. Jesus is not actually a small fuzzy critter either. And so they dismiss the literal interpretation.

But did they ever look up the term literal in the dictionary? If they had, they might not be so dismissive. The online Merriam-Webster defines literal thusly:

1 a : according with the letter of the scriptures

  • adheres to a literal reading of the passage
b : adhering to fact or to the ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression : actual

  • liberty in the literal sense is impossible
  • —B. N. Cardozo
c : free from exaggeration or embellishment

  • the literal truth
d : characterized by a concern mainly with facts

  • a very literal man

Literal is “concerned mainly with facts” or is “free from exaggeration or embellishment.” So dismissing a literal interpretation of the Bible is dismissing facts.

Dr. Walter C. Kaiser Jr. and others define literal as “the author’s intent.” God literally means what He says and says what He means.

God deals in facts. He communicates the fact that humans are lost in sin and must have a payment for sin. The fact is, He provided payment Himself in the form of the death of His only begotten Son on a chunk of wood. It is a fact that if we do not repent and accept this payment, we will not have enough to pay for sin ourselves and so will end up in a literal lake of fire. Does it matter if it’s a real lake or not? Either way it will be immersion in something painful and agonizing for a long, long time.

The Scriptures are literally God’s Word, as testimony if not His actual speech. Literally, God is a rock because He doesn’t change. Basaltic or igneous, it doesn’t matter. Did the rock come first, or did God make rocks so we would have a picture of His unchangeable nature?

What some people mean by literal is “wooden,” which is a literal term meaning they are inflexible when it comes to interpreting God’s Word. People are wooden when they attack the Word of God which allows them to relegate the parts they don’t like to the outer darkness. They start with a wooden interpretation of God as a rock or Jesus as a lamb so they can move on to getting rid of what to them are all the distasteful parts of God’s Word such as obedience, faith, Law, and salvation. It’s a slippery slope using faulty logic and ignoring facts that require a response.

Literal doesn’t mean wooden. It means that the ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression from God is the truth and demands we adhere to that truth. God literally means we have to conform to His Word, all of it, in every respect. If we don’t, we will literally end up separated from Him forever.

Shalom

Bruce

New Audiobook!

We’ve now produced an audiobook for Whole Bible Christianity. It is available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. I narrated it myself and it sounds very good. I did the narration because I don’t think anyone else could’ve really given the project the right tone except the guy who wrote it. It’s about 16 hours long but I don’t know what the pricing will be. Just check with Amazon under Whole Bible Christianity when you want a complete reference for Whole Bible Christianity to listen to in your car or while you are trying to go to sleep!

Shalom

Bruce

Law, Restated

Just put a new article up on the website titled Law, Restated. It’s about the imaginary restriction some people put on the Law that it is not restated in the New Testament. Therefore it is not something we “have” to do. I beg to differ. In the article we look at the many ways the Law is stated and restated in different forms throughout the Old Testament. Then we’re ready to look in the New and see if the Law is there. The conclusion is that yes, the Law is restated in the New Testament.

So now what?

Of Pigs and Men

Jesus meets a demon possessed man near a herd of pigs in the country of the Gadarenes or Gerasenes as recorded for us in Matthew 8, Mark 5, and Luke 8. He commands the demons, who call themselves Legion, to leave the man, and Legion’s last request is that Jesus allow them to go into the nearby pigs. Granting Legion’s request, they leave the man and enter the herd of about 2,000 which immediately rushes downhill and drowns itself in the Sea of Galilee.

Whenever I read these accounts, one of the first things that puzzles me is that the people ask Jesus to leave the area. Why, I wonder, would they send away such a powerful miracle worker, one who had returned one of their brothers to them? Why would they not rejoice that a local travel hazard was removed? What if the demons left that man and infected others?

Some teachers say that the expense of the pigs was a factor. Jesus had just cost someone (or maybe several someone’s) a lot of money. Others say that these people weren’t supposed to be growing pigs for market because pork was not to be eaten according to the Mosaic Law. I get that these were possibilities, and perhaps they can stay in the mix for explaining the incident. But they just are not that satisfactory to me. Wouldn’t the loss of the pigs be worth removing a hazard like a man who could break chains and attack people? I’d think so. Were the citizens Jews, who would care about the Law, or were they gentiles, who wouldn’t? The ESV study Bible says that they were Gentiles, but there must’ve been some Jews around too. And Jews aren’t exactly known for always sticking with all of the Law anyway.

I was able to make a great deal of progress understanding this situation as I read further in Mark and got to the rich young man of Mark 10, and the question on the authority of Jesus in Mark 11. Now how, you may ask, did I connect the people of Gennesaret unwilling to allow Jesus to stay in the area with a rich man unwilling to give up his riches and the unwillingness of the chief priests to answer Jesus about whether the baptism of John was from heaven or from man? I’m glad you asked that. (You might be guessing at the same conclusion as I because of the way I phrased the question.)

The chief priests could not answer a simple question, because they refused to acknowledge that the authority of Jesus was from God. If they did it would mean that their authority was from man, and they would have had to give up their cushy positions. The rich man knew that Jesus was a “good teacher,” but not so much that he was willing to suffer economic harm to follow Him. The Gennesaret people knew Jesus was at the very least a holy man of God, but were not willing to suffer further economic harm in order for Him to have stayed in the area.

In other words, none of these people wanted to go all the way. They saw the miracles done by Jesus, acknowledged His power and authority, recognized that He was from God, but didn’t take the next step of risking everything to follow Him.

In modern times we find the same sorts of attitudes. We hear people saying “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” all the time, in song and prayer and sermons. We see regular attendance at a church service, with many an “Amen” during the preaching. There are bumper stickers and hats and T-shirts proclaiming that the wearers “know Jesus.” Mega-churches abound, pastors have carved out positions with nice paychecks claiming to speak for God, and television stars rake in the bucks while hawking their latest books and trinkets.

Very few will see the Kingdom of God because the ticket into the Kingdom costs a lot more than simply raising a hand and “going forward.” Faith is putting your money where your mouth is, like the rich young man refused to do. It is the willingness to give up possibly everything you have to follow Him, like the people of Gennesaret could have done. It is submitting your will to His, and giving everything to welcome Him into your heart unlike the chief priests, Pharisees, and other religious leaders then and now.

Jesus obviously had authority from God because He did what God told Him to do and taught what God wanted Him to teach. Everything Jesus did or said was right from the written Word, and could easily be checked if one wanted to do so. But we don’t want. We fear to give up our position, our money, our reputations or our lives because the short term suffering is not worth the long term gain.

Like Frank Sinatra or Cain, we want to do it our way. We want to retain parts of the world system and try to merge them into the Kingdom. We say “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing,” not realizing that we are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. We want to patch the garment with unshrunk cloth because we don’t want the work of making it right. We try to fit new wine and old wineskins together when they are just not compatible.

We refuse to accept a message from the Christ because it will cause us too much trouble and might wreck the nice little corner of the world we have made for ourselves. It might cause us some discomfort. It might make us change. It might make us realize that even with the talisman of the name of Jesus we are still far short of what God requires of us.

Shalom

Bruce