What will be MY response?

Posted in About the Book with tags , , , on September 18, 2017 by mclmuskrat

Forgiveness, what a word. The Bible tells us to forgive 70 x 7 times; in other words, an unlimited number of times. The Bible also tells us that if we don’t forgive others, that we will not be forgiven. We are all told to forgive one another but it is very hard to do. Here is why. There is a thing called the “stress response”. If the stress response is triggered by a meeting of one you said you had forgiven, then you had not fully forgiven.

A lawyer beat me out of a sizable architectural fee 40 years ago. He was an evil person and hurt many others. He also hurt my wife and children. The courts were of no help after years of trying, so one day I decided that I was carrying way too much baggage about this guy, after all I had recovered from the pain he caused. I wrote him and said I forgive you. Of course, I never got a reply; I didn’t expect one. He probably thought I was weak. Soon, I began to consider…what if I run into him on the elevator? How would I feel? Being honest with myself, I decided I would get nervous, flushed with adrenaline, and so thought I had not FULLY forgiven. It took about a year of working on my forgiveness before I decided I would have no reaction and could actually wish the man “a good day”.

Yes, to fully forgive can be difficult but I promise it will be YOU who will be blessed in doing so. Furthermore, each and everyone of us needs forgiveness for something; looking back, I could fill a book; I am so glad that God has forgiven me, now what will be my response be to God’s mercy and grace?

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So, what is a Christian anyway?

Posted in About the Book with tags , , , on September 11, 2017 by mclmuskrat

What is a Christian? Someone who knows Jesus Christ? No…the Bible tells us that the demons know Jesus Christ. Someone who knows Jesus is the Son of God? No…the demons know that too. Fact is, Jesus told us that many so-called Christians will call Him Lord and He will say, “I don’t know you”. So what then is the real Christian? Maybe the Christian is one who does good things. No, many non-Christians also do good things. So what then is the real Christian?

Michael Brown, past professor at a number of seminaries, wrote an article published on January 3, 2013, entitled: “What’s Right and Wrong with American Christianity”. He listed 8 “right things” and 12 “bad things”. The right things were about the things a Christian “does”: feed the poor, generosity, being helpful to others, being moral, pro-life, and pro-Israel. Jesus asked us to go and “do”, strive to be righteous and look after your neighbor; so I agree with Brown’s “right listing”, but these things don’t define a Christian. The bad things consist of having shallow faith, leadership scandals, moving away from orthodoxy, prosperity preaching, false teaching, and changing the church to fit the culture. Here we have a serious and accurate list. If we can reverse this “bad list” we will find out what a real Christian is.

A real Christian has a very strong faith in Jesus Christ and is willing to put Jesus above all things including self. The Bible teaches that leadership will be judged harsher than others; leadership should be stronger and humbly better, no excuses. The Christian’s faith must remain orthodox; the Bible is the very word of God, believe it with all your mind, heart and soul. A Christian does not change Jesus to suit his personal whims or to make the culture like a false message. A Christian loves Jesus no matter what the world thinks, no matter if it costs him his life.

Who in the World is Philip Melancthon?

Posted in About the Book with tags , , , , , on August 21, 2017 by mclmuskrat

Philip Melancthon, 1497-1560, was a German scholar and a humanist. He was a little delicate man, cautious, and a very smart genius who worked with Martin Luther. Luther, on the other hand, was a “bull in a china closet”, reckless and rough, like a hard-charging “tank” fighting an enemy. As a magnet requires two different poles, these two, very different individuals complemented each other. Melancthon soften Luther’s toughness so that people would not be afraid of his actions but would actually listen to what he had to say. It was Melancthon’s complementary disposition and political inspite that got Martin Luther be in the right place, at the right time. It took the two of them, working differently but in tandem, to get the job done. We must learn to celebrate our differences; that we are, in fact, all different parts of one body in Christ, that is brothers and sisters in Christ.

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-20 ESV)

 

In the very important “Lutheran Reformation”, Philip Melancthon (noted above) was in his own right, a great intellect of wide learning. He represented Luther at many conferences, and even wrote and presented the Augsburg Confession in 1530. Melanchthon was friends with John Calvin so after Luther’s death, Melanchthon, not being a good leader but willing to compromise on doctrinal issues continued to bring groups together in the Reformation.

Today, we Protestants owe a great deal to the Reformers; all Protestant Christians have heard of Martin Luther; we even have the denomination called Lutheran after him. But how many of you have heard of Philip Melanchthon? Just think if it were not for Philip Melanchthon, there would be no “Lutheran”! Melanchthon provided the catalyst for the Lutheran break-away experiment to begin and to finish. Without the calming impact of Melanchthon, most would not have even heard Luther’s argument. This is “Good Symmetry” over time in the developing actions from people not knowing the true impact of their work, people facing great opposition, people continuing through their long-term commitment to their LORD.

When in a Fish, Trust God

Posted in About the Book with tags , , , on August 7, 2017 by mclmuskrat

The story of Jonah and the whale in the Bible book of Jonah is very possibly a real story and not allegory. We will leave that discussion for others. I will not be the one to place limits on what God can do; but I do know this, the story of Jonah speaks to the truth that God will never abandon you. While many will shake their fists at God, blaming Him for their trials and tribulations, the anger comes from those individuals not seeing the whole picture, only seeing a fraction of the whole plan God has for you.

Chapter 2, Jonah is in the whale and calls out to the LORD…the LORD he was running away from in the first place. In verse 1, God answers Jonah because God was there and heard Jonah’s voice. Many times in the Bible the “seas” and “the deeps” are a synonym for chaos; do you have chaos in your life and feel God is far away? Verse 6 “…yet You brought up my life from the Pit, O LORD my God.” God never abandons His creation, only the creation abandons God.

God does have a plan for you. You have the freedom to accept it or reject it. Often the plan develops in ways we struggle to understand. We may even feel the pathway is a mistake or that we are on the wrong road. Let’s look back at our friend Jonah, verses 3 to 5 in chapter 2:

“You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surround me; all Your waves and Your billows passed over me. Then I said, I am driven away from Your sight; how shall I look again upon Your holy temple? The waters closed in over me; weeds were wrapped around my head”

Jonah surely would be puzzled by these events if he thought God was leading him somewhere, but you must believe in the goodness of God and His love for you. Jonah remembered…verse 7:  “As my life was ebbing away, I remembered the LORD;” and Jonah was saved, empowered to carry out God’s purpose for the salvation of a whole city. When in a fish, that is, when in chaos, turn and trust in God!

Your Inner Essence – Light or Darkness?

Posted in About the Book with tags , , , , on July 24, 2017 by mclmuskrat

Grand Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach authored an article entitled “Celebrating the Miracle of the Soul” published in the Jewish World Review. He wrote of the Hasidic or Chassidic Jews, a form of mystical Orthodox Judaism that began in the 1700’s in Eastern Europe with a name meaning “Master of the Good Name” in Hebrew:

Every Jew possesses an inner spiritual essence that can’t be tarnished by even the worst sin he commits. This inner spiritual point is so lofty and so holy that it cannot be contaminated. Even a Jew who discards everything “Jewish” retains this inner spiritual essence. This spiritual core is, and always will be, pure and holy. Indeed, it is to this, the Torah (Lev. 16:16) refers when it describes the Creator as He “who dwells with them in the midst of their uncleanliness.”

 Another version of this teaching is expressed by the Talmud (Sanhedrin 44a): “A Jew, even if he sinned, is still a Jew.” In fact, when one hears of a person who has transgressed all the prohibitions of the Torah and yet is awakened by the desire to repent and return to Him, it is a desire for return that emanates from this inner spiritual point.

As a Christian, admittedly I see this text through different eyes, and though I have some minor disagreement with the idea the inner spiritual essence will always be pure and holy no matter if a person completely falls away, I think I understand what is basic here. To be able to completely reject God and yet remain with a pure and holy essence means there is never a person or an angel that can fall from grace, but we know from the Bible that people and angels did in fact fall from grace. We are indeed free to reject God; this is actually true love from God, we are not prisoners in chains. We have freewill to decide what we chose to believe. More important than this discussion is the fact that we are indeed created in the image of God, and when God created us, He said it was good. Therefore, there is indeed a pure and holy spiritual essence in each of us, but we can indeed throw it all away and move to the dark side. There will be a judgment one day for each of us! Whose side are you on?

Knowing Who Jesus Is

Posted in About the Book with tags , , , , on July 17, 2017 by mclmuskrat

Many Protestant theologians (e.g., Luther, Calvin, and Barth) emphasize God as known in Jesus Christ, over God as known through creation. Is an emphasis on knowing God through creation, and the accompanying go-a-long traditional arguments for his existence, detracting from the knowledge of God as Redeemer as revealed His Word…the Bible?

I believe there is a great deal to be learned about God if you have the eyes to see the wonderment and glory of His creation. The book this blog patterns; I Am, the Great Creator God, is all about gaining the eyes to see. This “general revelation” is certainly enough to prove the existence of God. But if you are not reading the Bible, you will not know that all of creation is and was through Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity.  However, one can deepen their knowledge of who this Godhead is by reading His Holy Word. We find out who Jesus is throughout the Old Testament, and we find out what Jesus, the incarnate God, does and says in the New Testament. All this then is energized by the power of the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity (Trinity). Thus the Triune Godhead is revealed and knowledge is exploded in very special ways going far beyond and deepening beyond general revelation. Now, you are in the classic position for God to use your special gifts, greatly empowered for your role in a possible “special revelation” encounter with the living God.

Not all religions are alike; the difference in the big 3, is who is Jesus?  In Christianity, Jesus is the Christ; in the other 2 main religions of the world, He is not. Thus there is only one thing we can do…turn toward Jesus Christ and humbly come before that Messiah Jesus, on our knees, and call Him LORD.

The Existence of Evil Argument

Posted in About the Book with tags , , , , , on July 10, 2017 by mclmuskrat

Often I see or hear about people rejecting God because of there being evil in the world. This comes from a lack of understanding about evil, but this kind of statement is not good enough; we will not reach the rejecting humanity with a statement like that.  We Christians should ask and be prepared to deal this question:  How great a problem is the existence of evil as a counterargument against the existence of God as He is understood by Christians?

I think there are a great many who use this “evil exists” argument to say that God could not be real, nor be a God of love, nor all powerful…or He would eliminate evil. I believe this to be a huge problem. The Church has not done a good job to explain where evil came from and how people gravitate toward it instead of toward God. Evil was not created but is the result of people’s free will to choose what they want. Lucifer and one third of the angels wanted to be god by their free will and were cast from heaven. Adam & Eve wanted to have the knowledge of God and thus were cast from the Garden (actually this is an act of love by God to save them from eternal separation). I believe that God did not create evil but allows it and sometimes can even use it to open up the eyes of those He wishes to reach. As a parent may allow a child to finally touch a hot stove after repeatedly saying not to, the child finally learns the stove is indeed hot. The parent remains loving to their child. Love and free will allows people to accept or reject God. God wishes His creation to glorify Him, but because we are VERY much loved by God (John 3:16), God does not bind and chain us as prisoners. Thus we are free to reject Him and blame it on other circumstances, such as the existence of evil, or turn to God and find mercy and salvation from evil. You are not a puppet manipulated by a set of strings; you are free to decide to follow God or your own set of idols; only one of these two options leads to peace and grace.

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