“Why Your Life Sucks, Has Sucked, and Will Suck for the Rest of Your Life; and How God is In That”

Life sucks. In fact, I’m pretty much convinced that existing is only a centimeter’s step up from hell. Life is full of useless stupidity, terrible evil, and mundane nonsense.

We wake up in the morning, consume some form of nutrients (if we even have access to such things), go out (if we are able) into a world that generally doesn’t give one spit about us, just to earn resources (if we are even able or have a place we can do that) so we can do it again… and spattered throughout that might be a few meaningless laughs and other such “nice” feelings – but more often life is filled with pain, betrayal, disrespect, hatred, neglect, arrogance, loneliness and/or a general, overall emptiness…

All because we are creatures so twisted and selfish that we are no longer (if we ever were) worth the dirt it took to make us.

If you are a disciple of Jesus and you are reading this, your hackles have probably been raised in indignation (especially if you’re American), or you are just a little confused and suspect I’m not thinking Biblically… and you (the one who’s just a little confused) might have grounds for being so.

But think about it, what in life have you ever done, seen, or heard that – when you really thought about it and looked at everything wrong with the universe – actually had any lasting, meaningful Good to it?

If you’re a disciple of Christ your response should have been “anything that Glorified God” … and if you are a real Christian (and not just faking it) you might have thought to add that, in the end, even much of the stupid meaninglessness of human existence will be redeemed by the Redeemer.

But notice, I’m assuming that if you are a true Christian you agree with me on the base level that life really is just horrible on the human level.

Sin has turned humanity into an insignificant lunatic running around like a mad little beast eating when it wants/needs and throwing buckets of sand onto a mound that it fancies a castle worth preserving – that is in fact nothing more than a toilet used by itself before it runs to get more sand.

Frankly, the only difference with the redeemed creature, in the midst of all the other lunatics is that the redeemed is now somewhat sane and is actually doing its best to find good solid materials to build a real structure on the Rock that has been placed beneath it — oh, and it’s been given an outhouse.

Other than those things, it’s still surrounded by lunatics that spit and throw refuse everywhere; it’s still in a desert on the edge of an encroaching ocean of judgement; and – to belabor the point – it still suffers from all of the difficulties of being in the same wretched environment.

Yes, God has, is, and ultimately will (perfectly/completely) redeem His elect. But why on earth do any of us try to pretend that makes this desolate, vomit-inducing existence in the midst of sin any less a place of fairly consistent suffering?

I’m not perfect, or even sanctified “enough” yet, and some of my depictions on the Christian side might – on a microscopic level – be a little unbalanced, but I know I was not raised with (and have rarely encountered, let alone interacted with someone who held) a real, robustly Biblical doctrine of suffering.

So here I offer this rant for the reader to ponder (or be offended by), a list of assumptions from the Bible that underly that rant, and a link to a podcast discussing something pertinent to the topic – and that I should probably listen to again in hope of getting a little bit of a “lighter” attitude out of it… since everyone seems to think me and my “attitude” are the problem (or Satan is forcing that attitude into me – and THAT’S the problem)…

1: Sin has consequences for EVERYONE.

2: The only difference between the disciple of Christ and the unbeliever is that the Christian is being sanctified and when they die (or the Lord returns) they will be glorified.

Theology of the Cross

P.S. Though it is not quite a perfect parallel. . . My wife had me read “Grieving: Your Path Back to Peace” by James R. White today… and much of the Biblical exhortation and hope that he supplies in that book are pertinent…

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Colossians 3:1-4, Micah 7:7, etc.

Believer’s Authority vs. Scripture

I have compiled here a list of quotes from Kenneth Hagin’s book, “The Believer’s Authority,” that are unmistakably contradictory to the statements of Holy Writ. If the reader finds any fault with either my quotations of Scripture or of Hagin (e.g. the reader thinks I am quoting something out of context, etc.), I would encourage you to comment and point out such faults so that we may discuss them in detail…

(Side NOTEs: 1: I have paused my critique of the book by Hagin because I wish to work on a few other topics of study for a while – and I believe this list will prove more instructive to the reader than anything else I could write. 2: Hagin was not the only one that taught this heresy – today we have many false teachers/prophets who would agree with Hagin’s points and espouse deferring variations of them; e.g. Bill Johnson, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, etc… – thus why I think it is necessary to pursue this at all. 3: All Scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version)

“Salvation belongs to the sinner.” – Kenneth Hagin, “the Believer’s Authority” (page 13)

“Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people! Selah” ~ Psalm 3:8

“But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!” ~ Jonah 2:9

“After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God…”” ~ Revelation 19:1 (see also Revelation 7:10, etc)

“… We’ve told them God’s mad at them and is counting up everything they’ve done wrong. Yet the Bible says God isn’t holding anything against the sinner!” – Hagin, “Believer’s Authority” (page 13)

“God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts.” Psalm 7:11-13 (see also Psalm 90:7-11, Psalm 2, etc)

“But because of your impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed.” ~ Romans 2:5

“That’s what’s so awful: The poor sinner, not knowing this, will have to go to hell even though all of his debts are cancelled!” – Hagin, “Believer’s Authority” (page 13)

Romans 1-3… (In fact, read the entirety of Romans. Nothing in Scripture implies that the unrepentant’s sins(a.k.a. “debts”) are canceled while he is outside of Christ. See also my consideration of this quote HERE)

“The trouble with us is that we’ve preached a “cross” religion, and we need to preach a “throne” religion. By that I mean that people have thought they were supposed to remain at the cross.” – Hagin (page 23)

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”” ~ Luke 9:23

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. . . But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jew and Greek, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:17-18 & 1:23-24

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” ~ Galatians 6:14

“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” ~ Philippians 3:18-19

“When you preach the cross, you’re preaching death, and you leave people in death.” – Hagin (page 24)

“And he[Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” ~ Luke 9:23-26

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18

“For in Him[Jesus] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” ~ Colossians 1:19-20

“It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who are circumcised do not keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” ~ Galatians 6:12-15

“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” ~ Philippians 3:18-21

“All that Jesus did He did for us.” – Hagin (page 28)

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”…” ~ John 17:1-4

“In fact, Christ can’t do His work on the earth without us! . . . No, He can’t get along without you any more than you can get along without Him.” – Hagin (page 33)

God speaks of the insignificant puniness of us next to Himself ~ Job 38-41

“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” ~ Matthew 3:8-10

“He[Jesus] answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” ~ Luke 19:40

There are many more examples I can give (and will when I get back to this topic), but for now I believe the honest, Scripturally thinking reader can come to their own conclusions based upon this simple list.

Some Thoughts on Inter-religious Dialogue

Of late I have been following a controversy recently created and stirred up by professing Christians among the “right” in U.S. politics. This controversy primarily surrounds one event (taking place over the course of two evenings) started and participated in by Dr. James White – specifically a dialogue that Dr. White had with a Muslim imam named Yasir Qadhi – and unfortunately the critics focus most of their attention on lambasting and slandering the persons involved. I wish to avoid that end of the controversy, however, and address the views that are being promoted by the critics where it involves how a Christian should interact with unbelievers – particularly members of other religions.

(Side NOTE: the dialogues in question can be found at these links: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=updtj99Fp80 & https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r2tPHLOej1w . . . For those interested in being better able to share the Gospel with Muslims, I would highly recommend them)

Now, one of the more reasonable arguments I’ve heard from the critics of the dialogues has been pulled from Scripture by referencing 2 John 7-11. Their argument is basically that a public meeting, for the purpose of merely discussing certain issues, should never be held among Christians and people of another faith – because that would violate the spirit of the passage referenced. (Their argument particularly centers around a very fearful view of Islam, however I believe my summary captures the essence of the argument.)

The first thing the reader should note about the passage mentioned – and many like it (e.g. Romans 16:17-18, 2 Thessalonians 3:6 & 14, etc.) – is that the author is primarily warning followers of Christ away from the poison of those who practice and believe things that go against the teachings of Christ. The context of many of Scripture’s warnings against false teaching is false teaching and practice that tries to claim to be Christian.

Put another way, Scripture’s concern is to keep disciples away from false doctrine that claims to be in the same vein as what Christ would teach. It does not necessarily address false religions that do not associate themselves with Christianity, possibly because it is easier to recognize that they are not of God.

However, the strong language against the apostate does not necessarily correlate to assuming the disciples of Christ should treat the unbeliever with the same severity (at least, not at all times). In fact, I would say the actions of Jesus, Paul, and the other apostles is reason enough to think that we should regularly be interacting with the lost. 2 Thessalonians 3:8 implies their having worked daily among unbelievers as well as believers; the whole book of Acts would give examples – but Acts 17:16-21 is a pointed example; and obviously Jesus spent much time with people who He knew would end up deserting Him – John 6:64-66.Now, I have heard one radio talk show host complain not so much about the conversation but the “official public format” of the dialogues participated in by Dr. White and Dr. Qadhi. My question, however, is how is a public format any different than the examples cited? Other than the fact that more people get to learn and participate in the format used by Dr. White?

Lastly, unfortunately it seems this whole thing has become a controversy because so many Republicans in America fear (and sometimes despise) Muslims, and that extends into American Christianity because of how it identifies itself with Republicanism. I would encourage the reader not to make that mistake – a Christian’s politics might primarily be conservative (because of being affected by Scripture), but that does not mean the views or position of the “conservative right” are by default Christian.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

No disciple of Christ should fear anyone of any ideology or religion that sets itself up against God. Take courage, Christian, and share the Gospel with your neighbor (Muslim or otherwise) and treat them with love and respect as you do so.

Food-for-Thought & Terribly Accurate Satire

http://www.piratechristian.com/messedupchurch/2017/6/when-did-the-church-turn-into-amway

http://babylonbee.com/news/bee-explains-prosperity-gospel/

All to the Glory of God

As I stand rinsing a cup with hot water this gentle, soul-quieting thought enters my mind: this is supposed to be done to the glory of God.

I pause for a moment as my heart and mind continue in the odd, quiet stillness they settled into after having unleashed my pent up anger, confusion, and sorrow that had collected in the corners of my mind over the last few weeks in front of my wife in the form of a weepy rant.

As I suspected my mind had done even before I walked over to take care of the dishes in the sink, I realize the Holy Spirit had placed his finger upon the answer to my problem and confusion: I was not truly worshiping.

I begin to process this and move to place the cup on the top rack of the dishwasher. This is to be for the glory of God runs through my mind again as the green ceramic clinks against the rack.

Somehow – beyond all my mental assent and lip service to the concept – I realize and ponder what it truly means to live in a state of worship.

I do a few more dishes before walking over to my precious wife, who holds our month-old as she stares out the dining room window. She turns to me as I place my forehead on her shoulder and touch her forearm with the tips of my fingers.

This is to be to the glory of God once again dominates my thoughts as I think about the God that created and maintains my ability to feel and observe the soft, smooth skin that He formed upon the frame of a woman He made in His own image for Himself…

This sort of scene has repeated itself far to often in my life. Our flesh, our remaining in this Fallen world, makes it so difficult to not occasionally lapse into a self-centered quandary of non-worshipfulness for days at a time (for some of us, unfortunately, even longer). Praise be to God for His refusal to leave His people to themselves. Thanks be to His Spirit for reminders and rebukes unto our sanctification. And glory and honor be to His Son for being a Perfect Savior…

“If/Then” Statements in Relation to the Nature of God

My theological knowledge that was more orthodox than heretical began to develop in leaps and bounds around the age of 20 (I have no specific “conversion” memory, so I have no specific year to point at – let alone day) when I began to seriously study and read through whole books of the Bible in one sitting. That said, the idea that I am about to argue for was only a seed in my mind that wasn’t articulated until discussing origins theories with (at the time) my soon to be wife – so I will mostly be framing this concept within that realm.

This may come as a shock (or mild surprise) to some readers, but in my experience there are three groups of thought on origins theories within the Church (I.e. True believers disagree on which theory is the most Biblical). Those groups are “Young-Earth Creationists,” “Old-Earth Creationists,” and “Theistic Evolutionists” (I’ve heard Hugh Ross recently tossing around “young universe” etc. but as far as I know these terms are still widely used, so I’ll stick with them). Neither my wife or I find evolution to be a valid theory on any basis, so I will mostly be speaking in terms of the other two – also, both the former views tend to shy away from evolution as a validly scientific theory.

The names pretty much speak for themselves so I will not here go into more detail than this; Young-Earthers believe in a literal, 24-hour interpretation of Genesis 1 and a global flood, while Old-Earthers take a slightly less “literal” approach to Genesis 1 (thus allowing for about fourteen-billion years as opposed to ten-thousand for the age of the universe), and they believe in a “local” (but HUGE) flood…

That said, some groups in the Church are incredibly passionate about this topic and there has unfortunately developed a quite aggressive mindset among some in debating it. Though my wife and I have quite a few thoughts on what many Christians do wrong (and right) in this debate among brethren, one thing has always stood out to both of us as an essential that both sides SHOULD agree on; and that is this matter of “if/then” statements about God.

It has seemed to us that Young-Earth advocates seem to make this mistake more often than others in that many of them will make negative statements about God having been “wasteful” or “evil/sadistic” if He allowed or caused death and/or sickness to exist before the Fall of Man. However, I have also encountered Old-Earth advocates making negative statements about God being “deceptive” if the earth is young(thousands of years) because it looks old(millions of years)…

As the wise, unbiased, God-fearing reader will already know, even a hypothetical statement claiming that God is “bad” in any of those ways indicated above is an utter blasphemy that should never even cross a Christian’s mind, let alone his lips!

It shocks me how many professing to know and follow Christ do not seem to grasp this basic concept: God is the very DEFINITION of “Good.” (Revelation 4:8, Job 38-40, Isaiah 45:5-10, Psalm 24, Psalm 50, Colossians 1:16-17, etc.) As the Maker and Sustainer of all things He is the only being that can dictate “right and wrong,” define “good or bad.” And anything or anyone who rejects His Rules and/or Definitions is the very epitome of Evil.

The very expression “God is Holy, Holy, Holy,” is an acknowledgment of the fact that He is completely OTHER from His creation; He is SEPARATE in every meaning of the word as far as existence and/or being are concerned. Thus it is an absolute and obscene absurdity for any mere creature to pretend to be able to say something God does is “wrong” on any level!

So how should this effect our thoughts? Like so – if God deems it good/necessary to afflict the righteous or the wicked with a disease, then He is Good. If God decides to send a hurricane upon a continent, killing thousands of people and upsetting the lives of many more, He is Good. If God preserves the life of a child but gives it an intense disability, He is Good. So on and so forth, no need to explain His motives or reasons.

However, He HAS explained His reasons and motives to us in Scripture; He seeks to glorify Himself in Judging the wicked and unrepentant, and in showing Grace to a people for Himself. (Isaiah 45:5-10, Job 38-40, Psalm 50, Ezekiel 36:22-32, Exodus 4:11, Colossians 1:13-20, Romans, etc.)

Many will not like my implications that God is the source of calamity, disease, or any other thing that is not necessarily “good” for a person as people perceive it – but if they do not, that is merely because they have a sub-biblical view of God.

So, coming to a simple summary of my topic to close; God, as He IS and as He ACTS, is the VERY ESSENCE of what is Good, Right, and Perfect, and He dictates what is considered as such in His interactions with His creation, and in His creatures’ interactions with Him.

Some Thoughts on Satan Clubs and the Culture at Large

I haven’t been following it closely, but it has intrigued me whenever I have noticed articles in Christian News Northwest (the church I attend usually carries the latest edition of the paper) that pertain to a “After School Satan Club(s)” that the Satanic Temple is trying to start in schools to “offer an alternative to schools that have the “Good News Club.”” One odd thing that stood out to me in the most recent article I read was “though a press release from the temple’s Portland chapter said that Tuesday night event would be open to the community and members of the press, KPTV Fox 12 reported they were not allowed inside.”

The statement I’ve read over and over again containing what the club would include is “a healthy snack, literature lessons, creative learning activities, science lessons, puzzle solving and an art project” – which makes a refusal to let the press in on an ‘introductory’ meeting of any kind look to me like a reason for concern on any parent’s part – merely for the inconsistency in “innocuousness” that presents.

At which point I get to the reason I started tapping out this post.

No, hearing about this silly “satanist club in schools” endeavor has not concerned me very much. And, frankly, I think those professing to be Christians that are so worried about “Satan infiltrating” schools are a little late anyway. Just like the stupid uproar over “bathroom laws” – these “activists” do not realize that the fact that things are where they are is that “Christianity” has already lost this Culture War.

Public/private schools have been rampant with immorality and anti-Christian values for more than a few decades now, the homosexual agenda has been obvious and strong in media and entertainment for as long, if not longer, and the “Christian community” is only just within this decade getting into an uproar over it because officials and leaders are finally putting into governmental and public practice what the society has already been doing and tolerating for decades – granted, not in as extreme a public display as we see now, but why fight now when God has been offended far longer than Christians have bothered to publicly be?

Not to mention, this same “Evangelical” community has voted a completely morally corrupt egotist who doesn’t care about the Supreme Court’s decision on redefining (and thus profaning) marriage, into the Presidency in some strange hope of him fixing half the stuff related to these things (or “stem the tide,” at least)…

True Religion in America is far closer to dead than many would like the world to believe – American Christianity is alive and well, but that isn’t the same thing.

Don’t get me wrong, the Church of Jesus Christ still has a presence here, but the sooner we realize all the political professing “Christian” activists are not necessarily on our side and start preaching the Gospel more consistently to our neighbors, acquaintances, and friends – the sooner we WILL begin to see change in how people view babies, their own sexuality, the poor, and a plethora of other things the “religious right” has tried to portray itself as being an advocate for fixing, but has never done a blessed thing to truly change the “status-quo.”

However, the fact that the True Church has ALWAYS been doing the will of God and preaching the Gospel faithfully even in the midst of all this pretty much indicates that Judgement has come, and we should not be surprised if no repentance on the part of the nation shows itself.

Be we headed for persecution or change, may the LORD bring Himself glory, praise, and honor…
Quotes taken from “1st Satanist club in nation debuts at Portland school” article in ChristianNews Northwest: December 2016, Volume 23 | Number 7.

Other references – http://www.kptv.com/story/33720449/after-school-satan-club-holds-first-meeting-at-parkrose-middle-school

http://www.christianpost.com/news/donald-trump-gay-marriage-settled-supreme-court-decision-171477/