No Murmuring

I am grateful for the recent rejection of the OSHA “vaccine” mandate by Iowa and by the Supreme Court for employees of larger businesses.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

Philippians 2:14-16

Me: Good evening Jesus!

Jesus: Good evening Jon!

Me: The phrase “all things” covers a lot of territory!

Jesus: Yes it does. What do you think murmurings are?

Me: Expressing anger under one’s breath?

Jesus: Secret anger. It assumes grudging compliance. Disputings are doubting questions about what ought to be done.

Back up a couple of verses and see the context of these things.

Me:

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

Jesus: So you see, the “all things” that are to be done cheerfully with a willing heart are those things that I Am working in you to further your growth in salvation (sanctification). How will these actions be done with that kind of attitude, for discipline is not enjoyable in the moment?

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Hebrews 12:11

These instances of exercise (discipline) will only be embraced as you see them as from Me for your perfection. You will be cheerful about them in as much as you delight in your relationship with Me.

Me: I pray health-care workers will find protection from vaccine mandates, as they have been treated differently under the law than other citizens. Please let them find equal protection!

Jesus: Had you not come to the conviction that you would not “practice taking the mark”, no matter the outcome of decisions about the mandate?

Me: Yes, without doubt.

Jesus: And you were trusting Me for the outcome, not the decisions of courts?

Me: With full conviction!

Jesus: Then pray, also, that healthcare workers will be strengthened in their relationship with Me. I will uphold. My promises are true. My plan is steadfast.

For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

2 Corinthians 1:20

Me: I will. Thank You, Jesus! I love You!

Jesus: You are welcome! I love you!

Pastel Sunset

Obedience to (Usurped) Authority?

I am grateful for Your faithful guidance, Holy Spirit!

1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Romans 13

I have probably mentioned it before. This passage has troubled me, since I first read it, many years in the receding past. I also can’t count the times I have been pointed to it by well-meaning Christians, telling me – no matter what – we are required to do what governing authorities tell us, because they are ordained by God. I have a few problems with this simplistic assertion. Let’s first admit that Paul, the author of the Roman Epistle, was no stranger to overbearing government, to Rome’s crucifixions and many other abuses. This passage was probably written eight to ten years before Nero’s worst treatment of Christians and it is not clear how much of Nero’s descent Paul was alive to observe. At any rate, there is little chance Paul was blindly optimistic about about all government. He was in prison for his faith, after all.

However, what type of government is Paul describing as “ordained of God”? Explicitly, one that rewards good behavior and punishes evil behavior; one who ministers the good of God and executes wrath upon the evildoer.

How, then, does a government that rewards or facilitates evil and punishes Godly behavior and conscience reflect on the Creator if we believe such a power is “ordained” by Him? If we believe such an interpretation, what does that tell us about the nature and character of the Ordainer? It took me a long while to recognize that the stance that any and all governing authorities are put in place by God is an outgrowth of the Calvinist theology that everything that happens is enforced by Sovereign God, conveniently absolving men of any responsibility and casting God as dictatorial and less than loving.

I digress. Don’t just think about our current government, rushing headlong to tyranny though it be. Consider also Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, to name a few recent examples. Did God ordain the torture and murder of more than six million Jews (and others) under the Nazis and their collaborators? By no means is the Holocaust the only example of government-sponsored genocide. Stalin may have outdone Hitler. The number of deaths during Chairman Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” tallied forty-five million souls between 1958 and 1961. I was between four and seven at the time, but I don’t remember anyone speaking of it.

No, I firmly believe the thirteenth chapter of Romans describes the proper function of government; that which God ordains. It does not follow that no other type of government can exist. Governors have free will, like all the rest of us. Malevolent behavior in government authority can exist as easily as it can in the heart of the individually governed. If we don’t believe that, then we have put 1 John 1:5 to naught:

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:5

A second point that I might make takes it stand, along with Peter and John, called before Annas the high priest and his cohort:

18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

Acts 4

One who resists the powers-that-be ought to never loose sight of the fact that the government “bears the sword”, as we read in Romans 13. That fact applies whether the government is of the God-ordained type, or the usurped-by-hell variety. Peter and John received a brutal beating (for which they rejoiced). There will be a cost for resistance.

Consider this passage from the Psalms:

4 For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. 5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; 7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; 8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord.

Psalm 149

That two-edged sword is a reference to the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). He who would resist had best be in constant, intimate communication with God. Consider the term “bind” in light of these words of Jesus:

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Matthew 16:19

This is work to be done in fervent prayer, offered in full knowledge and conviction of the Word. In the end, we have the government we will accept. We will be victors, or we will be victims.

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On the other hand, if in the flesh we take a stand opposing government, we risk a perilous trap:

But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

2 Peter 2:10

Want to know how to pray? Proper government is available within. The immigration policy is straightforward and there is no waiting period.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 9:6-7

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Revelation 3:19-21

Will you open?

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Something to Keep in Mind

According to a report by StatNews.com, two thirds of the members of Congress cashed checks from Pharma sources prior to the 2020 election.

For Iowa, the report lists $102,000 to Senator Joni Ernst, $32,500 to Senator Chuck Grassley, $1,500 to Abby Finkenaur, and $500 to Cindy Axne. These ties may help explain the response to those of you whom have written to your legislators about any concerns about medical mandates. If I were to paraphrase the tenor of the responses I received, “Thanks for contacting me. Were going to keep on doing what we have been doing.” How about you? Have these contributions damaged hearing in your representatives?

Check out the results for your own state.

Scattered Sheep

I am grateful for the endless nature of relationships; especially with You, God. No matter how I draw near, there are still mysteries and yet-undiscovered delights, heart-depths yet unsounded.

15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 2

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

Mark 3

Me:
You made that passage come to my attention when we heard it during our workout this morning!

Holy Spirit:
I also made you think of this one:

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me .

John 17

Me:
Yes, Holy Spirit, You did. I believe You are telling me these are related to the so-called demise of the “church”.

Holy Spirit:
I Am. All three of these passages are related to the decline in the human-ordered organization that is the church. As you saw in the Greek for 1 John 2:15, “world” is kosmos and the literal meaning of kosmos is “an ordered system”. That is what the denominational “church” consists of. It is not the assembly that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 16. You can be sure of this, because the very definition of denomination is the differentiation of the values of each piece. (Think of the word when applied to different pieces of money.) This division is the antithesis of the unity Jesus was praying for (John 17:23). Therefore you surely know that these divisions are judgment and fulfillment of the truth that the house divided shall not stand.

Me:
Judgment against what, Holy Spirit?

Holy Spirit:
Because the denominational “church” is a construction of man, it is an edifice built to his vain imaginations of what he thinks I Am like and of what he interprets My Word to mean. It is the very definition of that which is of the world. I have only allowed them to build little towers of Babel, as I have no intention of allowing a unified human organization to exist under the heading of the church. They even dare to call each little fractured bit the “house of God”. Do not think that the size of each fragment is an indication the degree my favor rests on it. The larger ones simply have more passive sitters who wait to console their lack of oneness with Me with the speech of their hireling shepherd (John 10:12-13).

When the children of Israel stood before the mountain and saw evidence of My glory, they shied back and told Moses, you listen to God and tell us what He said. (Deuteronomy 5:7) Moses was a prototype of Jesus as Mediator. Now that Jesus has come, placing another as mediator is an affront to His sacrifice. I Am sent to guide each believer into all the truth. Take seriously this passage:

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 2:5

Me:
I am grateful for our Mediator, and for You, our Guide! I pray You will continue to reveal more to me about the fulfillment of Jesus High-Priestly prayer.

Holy Spirit:
I will.

Me:
Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit:
You’re welcome! I love you!

Deratia

Conviction

I am grateful for the Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

John 1:1-5

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

Revelation 13:16-18

I am going to assume, up front, that no reader will be unaware of the use of an executive order by the White House to direct the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to create a so-called emergency temporary standard (ETS) to require all employers with more than 100 workers to show proof of vaccination or require masking and proof of negative weekly testing at the employee’s expense. If not, that ETS link will take you to the OSHA site.

I have been working to reconcile my understanding to properly address this threat to livelihood. One might think the answer is to go to work for a smaller enterprise, but the Executive Branch is signaling intent to extend to small business as well. The OSHA ETS is carefully written looking forward to that step. (One increment at a time, as always.)

You might ask, “Why have you cited the passage in Revelation 13 pertaining to the ‘mark of the beast’”? Do I think vaccine documentation fulfills the definition of the mark? No, I think it is apparently still short of the description laid out in Revelation. However, there are obvious components of that more intense scenario involved in this situation; prevention of trade (by deprivation of income), identification of individuals based on certain choices (impressed to make decisions contrary to the direction of God), and man as the apparent source, for starters.

I believe the current exercise has at least two purposes. The first is as a test: “If we run this up the flag pole, will the populace salute?” Failing the first test, the second purpose becomes more important – conditioning more people to incrementally surrender their personal sovereignty by continually elevating the level of coercion.

I work for an employer with a few thousand employees, so the first roll-out applies to me as it is now written. Employers are placed in an untenable position by prohibitive penalties for “violations”. An employer determined to resist on principle would be fined out of existence forthwith. Let us think about these penalties for a minute. In fact, let’s limit our gaze to the masking requirement for unvaccinated but weekly-tested employees. A single employee caught with only his nose uncovered could be considered in violation and subject the employer to a $13,653 penalty. Repeated or willful infractions have a 10X multiplier. Therefore, the second violation could cost the employer (who has been made responsible for enforcement) $136,530. That is for just one recalcitrant employee who – horrors, wanted to breathe better – out of potentially thousands. If this level of penalty is considered in conjunction with the near-real-time reporting requirement, one can easily see why an employer might start to use facial recognition/mask monitoring as a protection against this huge liability. What’s to recognize in a masked individual? Well, the forehead is visible. Hmmmm.

Because employers will be coerced (financially) to be agents of the government (OSHA), possible resistance will be mounted only by the individual. This is by design, of course. Imposing isolation has been the modus operandi for some time now. My belief is that these genetic therapies (propagandized as vaccines) are part of an evil affront to the created order. The gain-of-function manipulation that resulted in the virus itself is part of that. Sorry if you have taken the jab and that stance offends, but that is another entire discussion. So what about compliance with the smaller increment of masking-and-testing to keep working, buying groceries and utilities this winter?

The Holy Spirit handed me an epiphany a couple of days ago in the form of a question. Even if this tyrant’s edict via OSHA is merely a practice run in preparation for a time closer to the end or a diabolical barometer to determine if we are “there” yet, do I want to practice accepting a “precursor mark” to make it more likely that accepting the eventual “mark” will not look like a step too far?

I pray the ongoing legal challenges will prevail. God bless those who have started mounting them. I pray the courts are not all already too far around the bend. But a conviction has easily solidified in answering the Holy Spirit’s question to my own satisfaction. By the limitless grace of God, I am going to resist refuse with all that is within me by the power of God Almighty.

Lord, thank you that You are Jehovah-Jireh, God my Provider. In You I trust. I pray the ones implementing this evil will turn to You and repent. I pray the same for their abettors.

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Love and War

The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.

Exodus 15:3

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Revelation 17:14

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.

Revelation 19:11-16

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1 John 4:8

Are these statements about the nature and character of God incongruous?

Linked from https://www.ushmm.org/

Many persons in the armed services, law enforcement personnel, fire and medical first-responders, even parents; any whom have stood in the gap to protect others against the onslaught of evil unleashed in the world has no problem answering that question. Love is, in fact, the most effective motivation. Love enables one to look malevolence in the eye and stand for what is right and true, whatever the personal cost. The cost may not be trivial:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13

Peter learned that it takes more than passion to walk the path of sacrifice.

Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

John 13:37-38

We have to pick a side. This is war, after all.

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:8

1 John 3:8 does not mean we do not sin or have lost the capacity to sin. Those who are in Jesus have been redeemed from the controlling power of sin (as long as we desire to be). Surely you can see that if I sin, I am not carrying out the mission of the One described in the passage above from Revelation 19. What am I doing then? Aiding the enemy, making myself less fit for service to the King. Remember? This is war. Such transgressions start to have the stench of treason.

What are we to do? One thing, is recognize we have been issued state-of-the-art equipment. Put it on.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6

A soldier needs to know his mission. Not just generally, but the details of it. Generally, we get the gist of the mission from the written word. Are you in it enough to know the mission outline? The details come through our relationship with the Living Word. We have cutting-edge communications. Are we listening?

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

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 15:14-15, 16:13

We have a Faultless Example; understanding the enemy, communicating constantly with the Commander, encouraging His troops, faithfully executing the mission through giving in the power of love, whatever the cost.

7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10 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.
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

John 10

Look to Others

I am grateful for air, spoken into existence and maintained by You to satisfyingly fill our lungs, sustaining life at all times. Awake, asleep, running, or resting; thank You for providing!

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory (ego, overweening pride); but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Philippians 2:3-4 (King James Version)

Me: Good morning, Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit: Good morning, Jon!

Me: Considering that passage in Philippians 2, I have to admit chafing if my superiors at work take an opposing stance against any of my ideas of how things ought to be done.

Holy Spirit: Think back to Eve’s interchange with the serpent:

1 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?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3

What does verse six say about Eve’s rationalization? She “saw” that the tree produced fruit that was “good for food”, which is consideration for sating the physical self. She was going by how the fruit appeared to her, though I had said that it was deadly. Think of how she had to disbelieve My word. She “saw” that it was pleasant to the eyes, giving consideration to the emotional self. You experience, of course, My voice speaking to you and if you consider sinning against My direction, you know how focusing on the object of your desire instead of Me and My word leads to the same kind of decision as Eve made.

I made clear all wisdom is not from above. Let us look at what James says about it:

13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

From James 3 (NASB)

Eve was deceived and she desired wisdom from the wrong source. Notice the component of selfish ambition in verse 14? She did not ask Me for My wisdom. I have made it clear to you, also through James, how to get My wisdom:

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.

James 1:5

Finally, having partaken, Eve gave also to her husband. She was looking after her own interests, putting that demonic wisdom to work, right away.

Me: She was thinking, “If it hadn’t been a good idea, I wouldn’t have done it”?

Holy Spirit: She was. How often the deceived try to convince others to follow them!

Me: I definitely see the similarity to Eve’s deception and my egotistical chafing about being overridden at work. I pray you will help me be constant in seeking You and in putting the welfare of others before myself. I ask You to help me be gracious and convincing if You are guiding me down a path that has been opposed and quick to see and acknowledge if the other person is right.

Holy Spirit: That is a prayer I Am fulfilling.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

Purple Iris with Dew Drops (gracious gift from the Creator)

Divide and Conquer

Lady Justice, modeled on the Greek Goddess Themis, who was regarded as the personification of justice, has been depicted as blindfolded since the 16th century. Her blindfold represents impartiality. I believe this concept has found its way into the judicial systems of many societies because it is intrinsic to the character and nature of God and we are made in His image. Therefore, we have within us the same understanding of the rightness of impartiality in judgement. Listen to Peter:

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Acts 10:34-35

What American is unfamiliar with at least the beginning of the Declaration of Independence? Here too, the concept of equality is spelled out.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Second Paragraph of the Declaration of Independence

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1868, six years after the end of the American Civil War. The amendment clarified who is a citizen. Clearly the intent was to circumvent discrimination against former slaves. Two years prior, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 declared all persons born in the United States to be citizens, “without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude”. Note, however, there is nothing in the language of the Fourteenth Amendment that identifies any class of persons.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1

Taxonomy is the formalization of a system of classification. Its very purpose is to organize living organisms by identifiable differences. The process has been applied to humans. There are at least eight levels: Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. The graphic below is a partial illustration. The quotations above are all aimed at the tip of the inverted pyramid – Man (the species). That is, all of us.

Partial Classification of Man (my graphic)

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, continued with the approach of the Civil Rights Act of 1886. The newer act forbade discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin. It had the effect of creating “protected classes” of people. These acts came about because of general recognition of discrimination against some by business owners, landlords, even government officials, to name a few examples.

Additional legislation has been expanding “protected classes” ever since. Race, color, sex, religion, and national origin have been joined by disability/handicap, familial status, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and veteran status.

These additional classifications amount to subspecies branching out under the point of the taxonomic pyramid which have turned the figure into a pyramid resting on the roots of diversity.

It seems to me our forefathers had more wisdom than our later selves. The act of naming these subspecies in the law and making protected classes of them is antithetical to equal protection under the law. We did not need protected classes. We needed, and still need, equal protection under the law. It does not come by dividing us.

The Merriam Webster definition of “divide and conquer”: [Strategy] to make a group of people disagree and fight with one another so that they will not join together against one.

These problems are not accidental.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Withered?

12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:

13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.

14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;

16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.

17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.

19 And when even was come, he went out of the city.

20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.

22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

27 And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,

28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?

29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.

30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.

31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?

32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.

33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

from Mark 11
Photo by Dave Meckler on Pexels.com

I sat with an acquaintance (who shall remain anonymous) this evening who was recounting one after another of the things he judged to be perpetually wrong in his life, voicing his anger toward this family member or that one, the failure of mental health people to help him, his various “diagnoses”, why others were to blame for Every. Single. Thing. I found only one thing he said that I agreed with: the failure of those working in the mental health profession to help him. The truth can set one free from all these maladies. Coping strategies are, at best, only learning to live with one’s demons. If one has been conditioned that error is truth and truth is error, well, the steering is going to be off. Neither mental health professionals, nor I, nor anyone else can force someone to walk in truth they have discounted. (Why that condition exists in this case is a long story.)

I did try to get this friend to agree to look at the passage in Mark 11, especially verses 23 & 24. If one has a mountain to move, what are his chances of success if he dissipates all his energy giving voice to his inadequacy and the impossibility of the task?

The passage talks about believing and not doubting. Doubting in this context is simply unbelief. Belief vs. unbelief. Verse 22 says “Have faith in God.” That is who we are talking about here. People who know God. This friend says he is in that category.

I am sure the fig tree in this passage serves as an object lesson for exactly how to have a withered life. (Hoping one would choose to avoid that end, of course.) Where is the wisdom in a man cursing his own existence? If one does so, while blaming God for not “fixing” it, what shall we do with that promise in verse 23 that says, “[H]e shall have whatsoever he saith”?

I have written extensively before about the value of lending one’s voice to the truth the scripture proclaims about the believer. That is, acknowledging who we are in Christ.

My unhappy and misguided friend is applying his energy rushing headlong in a diametrically-opposed direction. We would all still be on that path if we were unable or unwilling to believe Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin is sufficient. Something deep inside recognizes the truth that we deserve destruction, except we acknowledge the value He places in us. Redemption in Christ brings us into His glorious light, even from the deepest darkness.

Lord, please open my friend’s eyes, for things are possible with You which are impossible with men. I know also, that he is not alone. I know what it is like. I thank You for leading me away from cursing my own life with the lips you gave me to express gratitude and Your majesty, and to marvel at all You have made and continually sustain for our benefit. I pray these words might give guidance to any who need to find You and learn to say what You say. Blessing and not cursing.

Liberty and Belief

I want to introduce you to a blogger that I have been following for some time. The link below is to a worthy read. You may have noted a steadily growing list of companies getting on board with the government’s emphatic desire to see everyone “vaccinated” and making getting the shot a condition of employment. I am one who believes God is my healer. I am pragmatic enough to understand that hedging my bets with another belief that does not depend upon Him is (at least for me) an expression of unbelief which works against my seeing that healing – already purchased by Jesus – manifest in my life. I know this may turn some of my limited audience off. But, I think it is important to think this trough from the spiritual perspective. Liberty stands squarely on that very foundation. I ask you to consider well. As things foretold draw nearer, we are going to need all the liberty we can maintain.

https://www.monkeywerxus.com/blog/to-jab-or