Thursday, May 1, 2008

Top 20 Bible Questions #7: What About Oprah?

Q. I am deeply distressed by the Echert Tolle/ Oprah web study about the latest of his books, "The New Earth." Isn't this promoting a "new" God theology? Isn't this opposed to the Bible position on God? What can we do to prevent this New Earth theology from sweeping the world?

A.I take your question very seriously and will answer it from several points of view.

Your very fine question is the subject of many pastor's Sunday sermon. Many Christian study groups bring this up every week in a sincere worry about cults forming, or questions being raised. This kind of question promotes even more divisions in the Protestant faith.

Currently there are 20,000 clearly defined groups of Protestant groups, each proclaiming they have the Truth. All of them can not be totally correct, and all of them can not be totally wrong. The Apostle Paul proclaimed that many taught Jesus wrongly, but he was glad the Gospel of the Good news was being preached.

In each of Oprah's Monday night webinars with Eckhart Tolle, I have witnessed the use of the Bible, the words of Jesus and many good insights into how to think about consciousness. I say in response: Thank God that Jesus Christ is being preached. This new trend of expanding consciousness will help us all find a place where we are comfortable.

What bothers you about any part of any group is just a signal that you need to think about what disturbs you and thank God for that sign. These TV people are not your ultimate teacher, the HOLY SPIRIT IS. You can count on this. You must get very quiet and let the Holy Spirit teach you.

As my final point, I would urge you to remember this: "As a man thinketh, so is he." This does not say, "What a man thinketh..." I stress as a man thinks, so his growth in God follows.

Keep asking questions as they come, because they are the stairway to heaven for you.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

To 20 Bible Questions #6: Interracial Marriage

Q. What does the Bible say about interracial marriage?

A. The Bible has much to say about interracial marriage. Boaz's marriage to Ruth the Moabitess was a condemned practice; and according to prevailing customs, she should have been stoned. That was the rule for most pagan tribes near or far, but we know that Ruth was a Moabite, of whom Jesus was a direct descendant.

We also know that Rahab the harlot who lowered the string over the wall of Jericho was a condemned person but also became the great grandma of David.

Even Moses put up with gossip because he had married a Cushite woman. So much for Biblical injunctions and dogmas about mixed marriage.

Our concern is the social impact on today’s way of living. Obviously, the complications of interracial marriage take many forms, some easier to work out than others.

The impact on mixed children differs according to which part of the world you are reared. Folks in the southern United States have taken longer to accept children of interracial marriages than have residents in the North. Much of this is due to the influence of the Civil War on the South.

As far as this writer is concerned, interracial marriage is a matter of two people falling in love or what seems to be that state, and then subsequently working out problems as they arise.

There are some great movies on this subject like unto “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” with Sydney Poitier and a cast of stars. My suggestion is to talk it over with both sets of parents, who might bring some wisdom into the picture.

It is my experience that nothing but experience helps while we live with a changing society. And we have to work out problems as they arise, one at a time.

Top 20 Bible Questions #5: Masturbation

Q. Is masturbation a sin, according to the Bible?

A. The question of masturbation has been a curiously loaded topic for as long as my 83 years can remember. Some parents warned their sons that it would cause blindness. Others mentioned the terrible sin of “self abuse” and added guilt to the simple problem of helping a child grow into mature adults with a minimum of such guilt.

The underlying problem has to do with “As a man thinketh, so is he.” If, as a little fellow, you think that playing with yourself is a dreadful sin, and you happen to do that quite often - especially if you have been to the beach and have seen your girlfriend in a tiny bikini - then the problem of your turning into a pervert or a molester of cute little girls is certain to crop up in one form or another.

Some people suggest masturbation is a sin because it is promoted by lustful thoughts. I would suggest that the hankering to get into the pants of your girlfriend as soon as possible comes from the first kiss, an impulse was planted there by God Himself who takes great joy in our desire systems and could care less if the little lady gets pregnant and life gets complicated.

When David looked at Bathsheba and got his pants in an uproar, the outcome was that little Bathsheba got pregnant and David had her husband murdered. Mind you, this was "a man after God’s own heart." Were there consequences of that action? Of course. For all actions, there are consequences.

But to call masturbation a sin makes it a special contention that has little Biblical support. All sin is forever forgiven by the slaying of the LAMB. When was that accomplished? “Before the foundation of the world.” This took care of all sin from every man, from the cave man to present day searchers. Sin is never the question; consequence is.

In a future blog post, I will have much more to say on this matter of the absolute forgiveness of all sin, while holding fast to “what you sow, that shall you reap.”

Good question.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Top 20 Bible Questions #4: Eternal Security

Q. What about "once saved always saved?" Is eternal security Biblical? Can a Christian lose salvation?

A. Writing about these questions has kept theologians busy for centuries. Any question of Salvation is predicated on the notion that we have a God who is always keeping score, watching every move and notion from his big white throne in the sky.

To most Christians and other religious sects, God is a extra-big old man with white hair. We must remember that according to Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man...”

Because God is not a man, we must suppose that he is a being, a force, an energy, a primal source or something of that nature. Paul tells us that God is ALL AND IN ALL. This is undefined and unrestricted. We do know that the Bible tells us in three places (Is. 45:23, Ro. 14:11, Phil. 2:10) that “At his name every knee will bow and every tongue will confess him as lord to the glory of God.” The word “every” is an unqualified word and means exactly that.

The word SAVED comes from the Greek word “SOZO,” meaning "to make whole, complete, unfragmented." It has nothing to do with an angry God.

There are many Christians living in pain that are on their way to heaven but are not saved in the Biblical sense of the word. It is clear from Revelation 13:8 and Ephesians 1:4 that the LAMB was slain before the foundation of the world. The lamb took away the sins of the whole world. This must include the cave men, the stone age men, the iron age men and all living being until this present age.

The “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is part of religions mythology. There is no foundation in that sort of Catholic and protestant theology. To predicate that God was so angry with His children that He could only get less angry by having his beloved son tortured and killed in the most painful way is a primitive, non-Biblical bit of pagan foolishness. God so loved the world that He lovingly gave us Himself in His Son to show us the need to die to physical things. This is called Calvary. Calvary precedes resurrection and ascension-consciousness. We can know this only by being still and knowing that God is God.

The doctrine of Hell is based on at least seven words that are translated "hell" in various translations. The foreknowledge of God precludes any concept of eternal punishment. That we reap what we sow is of good sense and is taken care of in the Scriptures in various way that I will talk about in a future blog.

Until next time...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Top 20 Bible Questions #3: Tattoos, Body Piercing

Q. What does the Bible have to say about body piercings and tattoos?”

A. Good folks who are “literalists” and strict religionists have always had a bias against body piercing and tattooing, labeled as pagan by citing Leviticus 19:28: “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.”

The same commandment is also cited in Leviticus 21:5, although this time, the instructions also prohibit baldness and shaving. We don't usually hear that part.

To have the ear pierced by the owner of a slave was a volunteer process of love and commitment. For an Easterner to paint a small circle between their eyes is a sign of the "middle eye," which is a powerful chakra or power center.

The Blood of Jesus is the ultimate covering of all such decorations. We can assume that God - choosing not to see either the tattoo or the body piercing - looks at the heart.

To me, this is a mute question to all who walk in the light of the Kingdom of God, because we are marked with his name in our foreheads, for we have the mind of Christ.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Recommended: "A New Earth" by E. Tolle

Q. Each Wednesday, you have graciously agreed to recommend a book you have found helpful to your growth. Which book jumps off the shelf this week?

A. This week, the book I’d like to comment on is A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61).

Oprah is featuring it as her Book of the Month recommendation, and beginning March 3, will sponsor a 10-week webinar class with Tolle leading the discussions. The book is a deep, thoughful page-turner to read. It makes sense, giving good direction to help the reader get quiet in the mind and heart. It has my strongest recommendation, as do his other excellent books and DVDs.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Top 20 Bible Questions #2: Homosexuality

Q. “What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? Is it a sin?”

A. Every social group tends to frown on deviation from the norm. According to Fuller Seminary writers, the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was social blocking and had nothing directly to do with the so-called sin of sodomy.

Paul, in the first chapter of Romans says that men sleeping with men is an abomination. In 39 of 40 uses of the word sin, he uses hamartano, the word which means pain, fragmentation, struggle. He uses “missing the mark” in the only other use of the word sin.

It is important to understand that Paul starts a long argument in Romans, chapter one. By time he gets to chapter four, he asks the question: “What shall we say that Abraham has found working in man?”

By time he gets to chapter seven, he cries out in verse 15, “What I’m doing, I don’t understand; for that which I would, I don’t do, and that which I would not, that I do. If I do what I do not wish to do, and don’t do that which I would do, I find that I am not the one doing it, but the law of sin.” This is the law of pain and confusion we call sin.

Paul continues his argument by crying out in vs. 24: “Who will deliver me from the body of this death?” His answer is simply: “I thank my God, through Jesus Christ."

He ends his argument with the first part of chapter 8. “There is therefore (You have to pay attention to the therefore, to see what it is there for.) no condemnation to those in Christ, for the law of freedom in Christ has set us free from the laws of sin and death. For what the LAW could not do, weak as it was in the flesh, the SPIRIT did for those in Christ."

When the LAMB was slain before the foundation of the world, that holy event took care of all sin. God can not see sin that’s covered. Certain kinds of pain (sins) are easier to focus on than others, but in the final analysis, any judging is of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We center in the Tree of Life and let God worry about so-called sin. It’s all covered by the Blood.

The answer to Question #2 is a strong no, the way I see it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Top 20 Bible Questions #1: Women

Q. What does the Bible say about women in ministry - specifically, women pastors and/or preachers?

A. Religious leaders who put the Canon together took the liberty to change certain parts of the scripture to make women look lower than the man.

The story of the woman caught in adultery, for instance, was inserted into the scriptures by a monk in the third or fourth century and most good Bibles will have a marginal note at the story saying that most good manuscripts do not contain this account.

The changing of the Garden of Eden to be a literal story rather than an allegory places the so-called woman as the culprit that caused the man to sin. It clearly ignores the part of the Word that says, "Male and female created HE them."

Religious leaders went on to fabricate sin as behavior problems, such as drinking, smoking or committing adultery - which are works of the flesh, not sin. The real meaning of sin is to be fragmented, in pain, and out of touch with the real self, which is hidden from the EGO.

The Apostle John tells us that 'the person who is born again cannot sin.' He points this out using two different words to indicate sin: Strong's Concordance #266 and #264.

Perhaps the most grievous distortion of text occurs when the word 'Woman' is made to mean gender. It is clear from scripture grammar that Spirit is always called male and Soul is always expressed as female or emotional. Every person is both male and female. It is by our manner of living that we demonstrate God’s will.

Most sound theologians admit that portions of Paul’s Epistles to the Corinthian Church were altered to imply woman werenot given authority over a man or the privilege of speech in the Church. This is simply not true to the first century church.

The man/woman issue is always and only present at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In the Kingdom of God, there is neither male or female, bond or free, but all are ONE in Christ (Galatians 3:8) To make them different is to be out of Kingdom reality.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Spiritual Realm vs. Spiritual State

Q. Some people are very comfortable communicating with God; others are not. Talk to us about prayer and other ways to access the spiritual realm.

A. How to touch God? How to touch the hem of his garment? What is that garment that must be touched? Can we touch it by prayer? To ask God for the very things He has provided us with already is to insult Him and drive His sweet holiness away.

Can we get close to Him by praise and worship? He is gentle and appreciates an open heart of love, but that approach leaves the EGO open for emotional hype and false emotions.

The way of getting close to God that meets my heart's desires, that meets the Bible requirements and posts the least resistance is, according to these Bible suggestions:

The Psalmist cried out with great intensity, “One thing have I desired of the Lord and that one thing will I seek after, that I might dwell in the House of the Lord (His consciousness) forever, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His tabernacle.” (Psalm 27:4)

Our essence is His tabernacle; our inner self is designed to seek Him in order to behold the Beauty of the Lord. To BEHOLD his beauty means that we pass up the usual watering holes of our EGO’S demand for emotional stimulation as we given in to our hunger to really know Him in all His hidden beauty.

Remember that God’s primary mode of communication is not language oriented. This is because language tends to be about things already over and done with. The communication that touches the garment must be in the NOW as it is happening. It must carry the hope that, if I can just touch his garment, the hem of that garment, He will reach out and touch me.

Will this bring us into a “spiritual realm" of some sort? Remember that God is Spirit. There is no place where God is not present. Therefore, it is impossible to be out of a spiritual realm; but it is possible to be insensitive to the Spirit. The Holy Spirit calls that state “the grieving of the Spirit.”

The most effective cure for grieving the Spirit is learning ways to quiet your inner man, to cut his brain noise to a very low level so that you can reach out and touch. The lesson to learn is that you are always in a spiritual realm, but not always in a spiritual state. Asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom in this area of your life helps to make "God consciousness" a reality.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Recommended: "The God Code" by Greg Braden

Q. Each Wednesday, you have graciously agreed to recommend a book you have found helpful to your growth. Which book jumps off the shelf this week?

This blog thing is real exciting. Off the top of my head I would suggest The God Codeby Greg Braden. It has some powerful stuff in it.

Greg Braden tells us how the ancient name of God is encoded in every cell of our body because science has named the DNA by that holy name, in code. Fun to read and well researched.

Beyond Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, Native, Aboriginal, white, black, red, or yellow; man, woman, or child, the message reminds us that we are human. As humans, we share the same ancestors and exist as the children of the same Creator. In the moments that we doubt this one immutable truth, we need look no further than the cells of our body to be reminded. This is the power of the message within our cells.

(Watch this short video.)

I’ll give this a lot of thought for the weeks to come.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Placing of a Son

Q. Please explain the second part of the meaning of "adoption," as it relates to "the placing of a son."

The word ADOPTION as used in this passage (Romans 8:15 KJV) is the Greek word “huiothesis," from huios (mature sons) and thesis (placing). [See #5206 in Stong’s Concordance.]

In the life of a Hebrew male, there were three major events recognized and celebrated by the community. The first event was Circumcision, which occurred when he was only eight days old. This was the moment he was marked as a "covenant man" in Israel.

The second major event was his Bar-Mitzvah, which means "a son accountable." This ceremony, usually scheduled as the son was about to enter puberty, signified 1) when the son became accountable to keep the Commandments of God, and 2)when he became an apprentice to his father in the family business.

The third event described in the Greek text is the "Huiothesia," - or "son placement," - known to most Hebrews as a young man’s "adoption ceremony." When a male child reached what was considered to be the age of maturity (somewhere around 30),
the father placed his hand on his son's head and openly proclaimed, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased!
I bestow upon him now all of my riches and power and authority (through power of attorney), so that he might act on my behalf in all of my affairs."

In the first usage, the son recognizes the Father; in the second the Father recognizes the son. This is a form of one of the Apostle Paul’s themes: “Apprehending that which apprehends us.” (Philippians 3:12)

This concept must register in our consciousness and convictions to bring change.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Spirit of Adoption

Q. I’ve heard you say, “The word ‘water’ will not satisfy a thirsty person.” Many people have read about God; but most people don’t really know Him. How can a person begin to get past the words to know God personally?

A. Your question is excellent, as it get to the bedrock foundation of how we live and experience the MIND OF CHRIST in our expanded or awakened Christ-consciousness.

Let me suggest that we first ask the Holy Spirit for the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry,“ABBA FATHER”.

In the Greek, this term (adoption) expresses first and foremost, recognition with great joy. It as if a child lost sight of his daddy at the mall and was frantic with fear until his father came to his side and said, “Here I AM, Tommy."

In his own way, Little Tommy would cry, with great joy, relief and happiness,“ABBA FATHER.”

This is the picture is of the Prodigal Son, who, while still a far off, having spied his father running to him, cried out, “Oh, ABBA FATHER!” as he fell into the Father’s loving, forgiving arms.

Then, the next part of the essential word takes place, which is summed up in the term, “The Placing of a Son.” But that’s for another blog post.

We must remember that the Bible is a book which contains some precious lessons to learn, but the WORD of God is “NEAR US EVEN IN OUR MOUTH." Just as the word water won’t help a thirsty man, the NATURAL MAN can never understand the Word of God. In deep, quietness we behold HIS glory, so that by being still, we can KNOW him, Whom to know is LIFE ETERNAL.