Archive for the ‘Religious Liberty’ Category

pharisee or publican

A depiction of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican

 

Today, reply is on spiritual authority, humility, and responding to the challenges, criticism, and condemnation of Christian believers by secular people in America. The class of “secular people” is understood as a broad social segment that may include agnostics, atheists, complainers, disbelievers, idolaters, mockers, murmurers, scorners, and those who routinely judge others. Without discernment that develops gradually through practice, even mature Christian believers can not correctly and consistently identify those who are the true vessels of spirit substance imparted from the makeup of GOD. Sinners who become “born again” are not immediately flawless or perfected; and all are cautioned against judging one another. Aspects of ones inborn spirit (e.g., pride; selfishness; stubbornness) may continue to oppose the fresh endowment from GOD indefinitely. The born again also must “grow up again;” and become mature/ripe for harvest at the coming of Jesus. While gradually growing as developing believers, there will be many times they will come under chastisement from GOD. Thus, it is written: Psalms 19: 12-14, King James Version, KJV: 12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. 13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. A writer in the “Yahoo! Answers” Religion and Spirituality public forum who uses the ID “JSG” (Level 1 with 4 points, a member since March 28, 2019) posted the following:

 

Christians: Why do secular think they have a right to tell Christians how to act and what to do?

Hi. I am a Christian and I don’t get it. I am an American and Americans have freedom of religion and freedom of expression. When secular people express their views and opinions that seems to be fine, but when a Christian does the same thing, especially when it’s about something he doesn’t like, it seems like sometimes secular people are quick to vilify him?

Why?

Some secular people are quick to tell Christians what the Bible says. I wonder where they get their nerve from.

If you’re not Saved and you’re trying to tell me what the Bible says, I’m not interested in what you have to say. That’s not a secular person’s place to try to tell me what the Word says, or to tell me to adhere to the Word.

Please help- thank you.

Update: Christians: Why do secular people think they have a right to tell Christians how to act and what to do? – FIXED.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW: Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. (Malachi 3: 13-18, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Suffering Among the Saved (03/12/2019); Divine Fruit From Suffering? (12/19/2018); Serving In Christian Relationships (08/31/2018); Recognizing True Christian Prophets (02/26/2018); To Bear Wrongs Patiently? (02/13/2018); Rebirth, Growth and Transformation (09/29/2017); Driving Away the Enemy? (09/15/2017); Testing and Divine Process (06/12/2017); The Gift of Humility (02/19/2017)

 

JSG”, among Christian believers correction, edification, and even healing come by the holy writings; you may find the following is helpful:

1. Proverbs 9: 6-10, King James Version (KJV): 6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. 7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. 8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

2. James 1: 22-26, KJV: 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

3. Hebrews 12: 1-8, KJV: 1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

There is far more that should be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, 4. Luke 18: 9-14, KJV: 9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

Image downloaded 4:36 PM, June 04, 2019 @ http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lAt84QeTyWo/TtLvbkuJmMI/AAAAAAAALGI/RuT2kkPCEPc/s1600/pharisee2.jpg

 

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King-Darius

The image depicts King Darius signing a decree that would damage and persecute the Prophet Daniel and the Jews in captivity.

Today, reply is on government, idolatry, law, and persecution. Government through a chief or monarch (e.g., king; emperor; pharaoh) was modeled after the divine institution of family ruled by patriarchs and sacred law that appeared through a priesthood administering offerings and sacrifices of blood. As the tribes of the Exodus sought to enter the promised land, the seer, Balaam, acknowledged that “the shout of a king” and “the strength of a unicorn” was among the tribes of Israel as though there was already a centralized government described by a crown and stable domain, led by a recognized champion, located by a fixed seat (the throne), and administered from a permanent residence (a castle keep). Joshua and the tribes removed more than 30 kings; yet, during the time of Samuel (who is called the last of the Judges, the first of the Prophets) the people demanded rule by a king who would be a civil officer. Israel rejected divine counsel that the errors and infirmity of temporal kings include greed, self-promotion, taxes, and waste. Thus, it is written: 1st Samuel 8: 4-9, King James Version (KJV): 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. A fighter in the “Yahoo! Answers” public forum on Religion and Spirituality, who uses the ID “PeTer” (Level 3 with 1,478 points, a member since March 31, 2009) posted the following:

 

Daniel 6 Why would the king establish such a foolish law of worshiping him for 30 days?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW: 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. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 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: 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. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (Romans 13: 1-5, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: An Account of Lawlessness (11/16/2018); Called “The Anointed One” (05/08/2018); Politics and The Kingdom? (05/31/2017); The Peace to Endure? (03/28/2017); GOD’s Answer to Injustice? (04/28/2016); Martyrdom and Tribulation? (09/30/2015); GOD Rules (07/07/2015); A Price for Religious Liberty? (06/30/2015)

 

PeTer”, it was not foolish; and the accounts on government that appear throughout the Scriptures should not be taken as discrete and unrelated. In those times, it was believed that the judgment of GOD would reside within the king; and the king would be an embodiment of the law. Yet, the demand that Daniel petition only the king is no less the persecution of his faith than a demand that he worship a huge image of gold erected on the plain of Dura. The account from the Book of Daniel that petitions and requests (we say, prayers) be made only of the king for a period of 30 days has generally been seen as expressing envy, personal conflict, malice, “dirty politics,” and exaggerated pride by rivals in government directed against the Prophet, who was one of three Presidents within a one-world empire. On surface, a temporary suspension of activity surrounding the many idols, vanities, and worship communities would encourage allegiance, assimilation, unification, and commitment to the state. The empire expanded by using military force, and relocating the manpower, resources, and skills from conquered states within its own territory. That such government and practice is contrary to divine intent, and eternal purpose is always covered and obscured by arguments for economic increase, improving the quality of life, and an insistence there will be peace. Where men rely on government and civil legislation for survival, they often respond to a man-made abomination where they otherwise flee from idols and idolatry. It remains that peace is the outcome of judgment, not war; and there must be resolution of conflict and settlement of disputes by applications of divine law. Persecution is systematic behavior by government endorsing or being manipulated by a religious establishment to destroy, legislate against, and undermine developing belief within new faith communities. Because of the cruelty and violence that appear, persecution often is labeled as injustice, the denial of religious liberty, oppression, and terrorism. Consider the following that uses language from the Bible:

1. 1st Samuel 10: 17-21, King James Version (KJV): 17 And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh; 18 And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you: 19 And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands. 20 And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. 21 When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found.

2. Isaiah 10: 1-3, KJV: 1 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; 2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! 3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?

3. Daniel 4: 30-37, KJV: 30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? 31 While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. 32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. 33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. 34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? 36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. 37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

4. Ecclesiastes 5: 8, KJV: 8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.

There is far more that should be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, 5. Ephesians 6: 10-17, KJV: 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:) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

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religious-neutral-workplace

The image advocates religious neutrality in the workplace

 

Today, reply is on ethics and the obligations of employees to their employer regarding the expression and practice of their spiritual beliefs both in and outside of the workplace.  Becoming selected and hired by a going enterprise is more than a matter of selling oneself and being paid to labor; “getting a job” means entering a relationship to obtain benefits and resources for ones life.  In modern work settings—agricultural, financial, government, industrial, medical, theatrical—every employee is required to exercise restraint, and to help maintain a positive work atmosphere free of conflicts based on age, arbitrary differences, ethnic and national origin, personal traits (e.g., hair color, height, weight), religious beliefs, and their concerns for developing their own career or business.  One of the fighters in the “Yahoo Answers” forum who uses the ID “Anonymous” (no profile data shown) posted the following in the Religion and Spirituality section:

 

Did you know my company made a rule outlawing religious artifacts and praying at our work?
They states we can pray after work or on a lunch break in private.The company has no right to tell my conservative brothers and sisters when and where to pray!!! First amendment!

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.  (Proverbs 20:  11, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  The Relationship As Servant (06/03/2018); Blessed In Our Deeds (05/29/2018); Duties of a Christian? (03/13/2018); Called To Be Servants? (11/25/2015); It Comes With the Job? (01/11/2015); Religious Bosses? (07/08/2014); On Religious Items (08/29/2012); On Cults (08/30/2012)

 

“Anonymous”, here are some points on belief, conscience, personal integrity, and grace that may be helpful: 

Currently, when a worker accepts a position with a firm, they are expected to acknowledge that they are also a representative of the company Brand.  In the same way you are recognized and respected as a legitimate agent and representative who embodies the firm, and provides its “human face” to the public during work hours and in the workplace, a worker’s behavior and conduct before the public in non-work settings also will influence how the firm is evaluated, respected, and supported.  The relationship between employee and employer continues when you are in the public arena on the basis of ethics, principles, purposes, and standards, and is not simply a matter of consumer products and services.  Many young workers are not aware of this, and feel strongly that, once they complete their shift at work, they can dismiss, ignore, and openly oppose all the demands and rules of their employer, and their workplace. 

The covenant (i.e., the formal, legal agreement; the verbal or written contract) between an employee and an employer should be understood as projecting beyond the specifics of their job description, their to-do list, or a flow chart displaying their daily duties.  A workplace is a social setting having all the same needs for fiscal soundness, health care, hygiene, nourishment, law enforcement, and crisis management as those of a small town.  A workplace can include those from diverse backgrounds, marital status, multiple knowledge and skill sets as well as those having different levels of job experience, personal ambition, commitment to the company mission statement, and devotion to  the discipline/field, to say nothing of differences among its workers for their levels of emotional, psychological, and spiritual maturity.

Both employers and their workers also are expected to acknowledge a set of unspoken assumptions and conditions (we say, adopt a common-sense understanding; accept as binding points that are logically consistent and interdependent with those of their formal agreement).  Thus, knowing there is a company issued uniform, unless it is an aspect of his job, a new employee will not appear on his first day of work wearing logos of the competitor, and expect to continue in the workplace without challenge, comments that may be negative, and conflict.  A commitment to address and satisfy one another’s needs must come into view, and must develop over time establishing such features as continuity, flow, mutual accountability, shared identity, respect, job satisfaction, and trust.  Consider again the following that uses language from the Bible:

(1.)  Romans 6:  16, King James Version (KJV):  16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

(2.)  Romans 6:  8-14, KJV:  8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:  9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.  10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once:  but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.  11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin:  but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  14 For sin shall not have dominion over you:  for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

(3.)  2nd Corinthians 4:  17-18, KJV:  17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

There is far more that should be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (4.)  Romans 8:  5-9, KJV:  5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

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Today, Scripture points are shared on the value of religious beliefs, and the holy writings.  Many forceful and immature voices are now being heard through popular culture that argue the Bible and organized religion are antiquated, confrontational, divisive, exacting, homicidal, humiliating, incendiary, unnecessarily judgmental, and uncivilized.  These so-called “enlightened critics” promote the same spirit of defiance, insurrection, pseudo-intellectualism, and rebellion that was articulated through communism; however, their contemporary calls are that all doctrine, organized religious practices, standards, and teachings be outlawed and prohibited for the sake of global survival, and world peace.  Since the days of Abel and Cain, there have been those who desire the blessing GOD provides only to his own heirs and offspring; however, they continue to deny the lovingkindness, preeminence and sovereignty of the Creator.  Christian believers are cautioned against “thieves” who come only to rob, kill, and destroy; “wolves in sheep’s clothing;” and those displaying a form of godliness, but denying the true Power.  One of the fighters at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “Anonymous” (no profile information shared) posted the following:

 

Is the bible used by both evil people and good people. Does it serve a double standard.?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.  (Acts 20:  32, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Conflict Because of Religious Belief? (01/30/2015); Unto The Pure (11/15/2015); A Price for Religious Liberty? (06/30/2015); A Wandering Jew? (04/09/2015); Faith not Politics? (12/02/2014); Ye Are Not In The Flesh (12/03/2014); God Bless America? (09/12/2013); Law, Slavery and Redemption  (09/13/2013)

 

“Anonymous”, for the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ, the holy writings are an actual appearance and embodiment (we also say, a manifestation) of divinity.  So to speak, the Scriptures provide “a divine point of view” revealing the active presence of Deity by using thousands of events within thousands of lives over the course of thousands of years.  To have the fullest benefit from the Scriptures, a believer must receive the divine anointing and spiritual gifts that give meaning and power to their experiences of growth, guidance, instruction, and preparation.  Included are baptism, confession, forgiveness, penance, praise, prophecy, sanctification, thanksgiving, and worship.  Even so, many deal with religious beliefs, emblems, and sacred knowledge the same way “fans” will deal with their favorite sports.  They insist upon professional balls, jerseys, and playing fields, yet, are mere “weekend warriors” who rarely get involved in local league activity.  While they may boast, challenge each other, and “talk plenty trash,” few are career criminals, con-artists, and imposters seeking to exploit, “hustle”, and victimize those in their own community.  Similarly, there are many who “follow” as religious believers who do not properly discern the spirit content, eternal purposes, and sacred operations of divinity.  Such people can appear to be blasphemers, bogus or counterfeit clergy, and “false prophets” that misapply, and “wrest” the Scriptures.  However, more than being agents of Satan, cold-blooded crooks, disbelievers, and frauds, the many “fair-weather” and “nominal believers” (in name only) often are answering as babes to “growing pains”, for the even-handed and impartial responses by GOD to the human predicament often appear to be chance, coincidence, and a matter of ones “luck”.   Consider again how some of this is stated in the language of the Bible:

(1.)   Hebrews 4:  1-3, King James Version (KJV):  1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.  2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them:  but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.  3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest:  although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

(2.)  Matthew 5:  43-48, KJV:  43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:  for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?  48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

(3.)  Ezekiel 33:  30-33, KJV:  30 Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.  31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them:  for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.  32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument:  for they hear thy words, but they do them not.  33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.

(4.)  Isaiah 5:  18-21, KJV:  18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope:  19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it:  and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!  20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

There is far more to be said, carefully examined, and spiritually understood.  (For example, (5.)  2nd Corinthians 4:  1-7, KJV:  1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;  2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

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Washington, DC

New Disclaimer

 

 

 

Freedom, idolatry, the celebration of Christmas, and use of the Christmas tree are topics, today.  Cultural arrogance, ethnicity, and racism are vain, and do not nourish the imparted, indwelling Spirit from GOD.  For mature Christian believers the birth of Jesus is acknowledged as the fulfillment of prophecy, divine proclamation, and sacred promise, therefore even African American believers count themselves free to celebrate understanding principles for living that come from GOD.  However, for developing believers—those recently born again, or continuing their gradual growth as being in sacred relationship—the observance of Christmas may appear as only a family custom, the expression of popular culture, or merely a longstanding social tradition.  Even so, such features as Santa Claus, fantasy, gift-giving, and folk tales to amuse and entertain do not convey an antichrist spirit as does apostasy, heresy, and slander.  Americans include those having root as Black sons of Canada, Haiti, Jamaica, Germany, and even Great Britain.  Christian worship among those of Black descent in America includes African Methodist Episcopal believers, Baptists, Catholics, Pentecostals, and Seventh Day Adventists.  Among the true disciples of Jesus, there are many devices, experiences and lessons that are to be used to foster cleansing, growth, healing and perfection.  Consider again the holy writings, and the points shared below:  Psalms 97:  9-12, King James Version (KJV):  9 For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth:  thou art exalted far above all gods.  10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil:  he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.  11 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.  12 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.  Also, 1st Corinthians 13:  8-12, KJV:  8 Charity never faileth:  but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:  but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:  now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  The fighter at “Yahoo! Answers” who uses the ID “yahoosucks” (Level 1 with 18 points, a member since August 26, 2015) posted the following:

 

Why does Black America celebrate Christmas when the bible Jeremiah 10:1-5 clearly tells the Israelites not to?

I understand the white edomites breaking GOD’s laws but the blacks who are the Israelite tribe of Judah need to wake up

Update:  To all the dumb edomites, you remember the song “silver & gold” song during Christmas?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:  And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands:  and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.  Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law:  and the people stood in their place.  So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.  And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.  Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared:  for this day is holy unto our LORD:  neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.  So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.  And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.  (Nehemiah 8:  5-12, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  American Culture and Law? (07/13/2015); The American Covenant? (03/03/2015); The Christmas Spirit? (12/23/2014); Peace The Gift of Christmas? (12/24/2014); Beliefs, Customs and Racism? (09/24/2014); Are Holidays Bad? (11/16/2013); Denying GOD by Eating Shrimp? (11/17/2013)

 

“yahoosucks”, Black Americans are now privileged to be in covenant with divinity through the new testament established in the blood of Jesus Christ.  While many accept a heritage as Jews and inclusion within spiritual (not national) Israel, few claim place as “Israelites”.  African Americans have always been a diverse aspect of this New World experiment in democracy and the hope of a homeland that is to be a “melting pot.”  The bias and ignorance that established and maintained chattel slavery of Africans began in Portugal (Europe) 50 years before Columbus sailed.  Africa then (as now) was an entire continent serving as home to multiple cultures, language groups, and those who were grounded as believers in many different systems for spiritual truth.  Black Africans were never all from one tribe, one nation, one region, or one religion.  Many were Islamic believers; some answered forms of shamanism; others had received some instruction in Christianity.  Nevertheless, all were initially dehumanized and maintained as “beasts of burden,” “darkies”, and “niggras”.  In somewhat the same way, Americans whose ancestry and origin are traced to Africa, have developed differently in accordance to the peculiar challenges of life in rural vs. urban settings, status as freeman or slave, East coast vs. the West, and Mid-west vs. Northwest America. 

Today, African Americans practice spiritual disciplines that include Buddhism, Judaism, Mormonism, and Scientology.  All do not celebrate the birth of Jesus as the intercession of divinity for the deliverance of Creation from the shackles of sin.  Religious liberty is more than a political slogan in our lives; and, like the right to vote, pertains to the “quality of life” and self-esteem in ways that are fundamental.  The concepts of “equality” and “impartiality” are vital to the ideas of freedom and justice through law that are essential for stable nations.  More than this, commitment, conscience, and sacrifice—what we willingly give our lives to, or give up our lives for—is determined in response to a myriad of life conditions, challenges, goals, and opportunities.

All Black Christians do not acknowledge, praise, and reverence divinity the same way; nor do those who celebrate Christmas all do so the same way.  Blacks also may enjoy a “white Christmas” as do their neighbors across the Nation.  Customs and traditions vary like family life, home ownership, and the goals we set for our children.  As is true for all Christians everywhere, Black Christians vary in their level of knowledge, preparation, skills, and spiritual maturity.  The relationship to Deity through Jesus Christ—one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one God and Father of all—establishes Black Americans and all other Christians as having oneness (unity), rather than sameness.  Within the bounds and limits of new life through rebirth (the “law” some call self-discipline), believers all are free to pursue acquiring sacred knowledge, developing through fellowship with other believers, expressing personal devotion, maintaining sacred practices (we say, sacraments), continuing study of the holy writings, and pursuing congregational worship.

There are many other ideas that should be carefully considered, correctly understood, and made a part of ones own spiritual development, here.  (For example, many Black Americans have chosen Christianity as a way to express and satisfy their personal needs for affirmation, direction, and spiritual strength.  However, others accept Christian belief as a matter of their being chosen and put to work as instruments to accomplish divine and eternal purposes that are not their own.  These are in an ongoing process of permanent change and transformation that also alters how they perceive duty, their place in society, and their participation in both secular and religious traditions.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

 

New Disclaimer

Accountability, duty, ethics, and personal authority are themes for our blog presentation this Labor Day, 2015.  As a former Federal employee in my position for many years through the Library of Congress, I was very surprised when the entire staff was required to attend sessions instructing us with regard to the importance of ethics when performing our duties for Congress and the Nation.  To me, OJT (on the job training) orientations on honor, integrity, respect and trust seemed part of what should have been provided before our first full day of employment had finished.  We were being granted an opportunity to serve that should be held as a full-time commitment, not merely an eight-hour day or “9 to 5 grind.”  To use government computers, copy machines, manpower, paper, time in the workplace, and other resources for personal goals was to be understood as pilfering and theft.  Every government  employee’s attitudes, behavior, and conduct continue to be thought of as representative of their constituents and the employer, even, long after the workday is over.  The employer should be free to expect those hired to be in a covenant agreement for mutual benefit; yet, cooperation, permission, and restrictions will be in place for planned operations to be completed without duplication and waste.  Without direct confirmation of ones supervisor, personnel were to informally adopt or assume no added advantages, benefits, perks or privileges beyond those to fulfill their job description and work agreement.  One of the fighters at “Yahoo! Answers” who uses the ID “Anonymous” (no profile information shared) posted the following:

 

Why can’t I as an atheist do the same thing as Kim Davis?

“I’m sorry, I can’t authorize your christian marriage because they violate my atheist beliefs.” This is why Kim will not see the light of day for a while.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  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.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God:  and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  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:  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.  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.  For for this cause pay ye tribute also:  for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.  Render therefore to all their dues:  tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another:  for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour:  therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep:  for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand:  let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  (Romans 13:  1-12, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  A Price for Religious Liberty? (06/30/2015); Different Strokes, For Different Folks? (06/22/2015); Those Having the True Secrets? (04/14/2015); It Comes With the Job? (01/11/2015); Law in Christian Belief? (09/03/2013); A Need to Know? (09/04/2013)

 

“Anonymous”, here are a few thoughts I would like to share on the issues of civil disobedience, marriage, and the misuse of sacred knowledge in America, today.  The right to religious liberty with freedom to maintain ones conscience and practice ones own beliefs is not also the right to religious authority over those who disbelieve.  Liberty allows one to participate in a community of like-minded believers wherein there may be a division of labor and hierarchy to accomplish shared goals.  Such a broad liberty may be granted to all, however, the peculiar privileges of membership for those within a sanctified body (i.e., a collective set apart for service to divinity) will be restricted exclusively to those who are contributing participants of their own assembly, congregation, or community of faith.  Where we are granted secular authority in settings to provide civil and human services, it is both presumptuous and unethical to assume and exercise judicial or police authority.

Where an elected official or government worker feels their job description, and the demands of their position are in conflict with the mandates and policies of the agencies wherein they serve, resignation and separation without prejudice are the most appropriate actions to spare those who lack job satisfaction, and to resolve the apparent conflicts.  For an employee to insist upon refusing to carry out lawful orders, their insubordination may be seen as an attack upon the agency as well as acts that are criminal, disloyal, and seditious.

For those claiming to be Christian believers, it is to be recognized as pride and spiritual confusion when any person (particularly clergy) assumes they are above divine law; that they themselves are the primary advocate, and source of life and power for sacred law; and that their own righteousness permits them to wear a mantel of divine judgment.  There is ungodly arrogance in seeking to punish another individual, an ethnic group, a family, or a nation on the basis of finite and imperfect law (i.e., public opinion) that entails multiple levels of subtlety (i.e., barely visible differences; hidden shifts in meaning and value).

Thus, for example, those daring to call themselves righteous as terrorists are not true partakers of the fullness of GOD.  While wrath against sin come does correctly come into view, the eternal purposes of judgment are not to be dismissed, ignored or overlooked.  Foremost among the exalted aspects of divine intent are correction; divine order; continuing righteousness; gratitude; humility; sealing the beloved with the mark of GOD; completing the full revelation of being, existence and life that is divine priority; and preparing mankind for the harvesting of the earth, the end of mortality, and the permanent transformation of humanity at the coming of Jesus Christ. 

There are many other points that should be carefully considered, correctly understood, and made a permanent aspect of ones new life in Christ.  (For example:  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:  from such turn away (2nd Timothy 3:  1-5, King James Version, KJV).  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

Adornment, dress codes, indignation, and freedom in the church are topics, today.  No mature Christian will agree that believers may enter the divine presence looking like a flash mob ready to destroy a convenience store?  The sacred collective created by Jesus Christ is a body made up of spirits, and is not just another social organization rooted in material existence, personal preference, private opinions, and selfish choice.  Churches do not have bouncers and security staff like night clubs, however, the deacons and ushers are empowered within the shared covenant to maintain necessary order.  (I recall a fellow ejected one Sunday, shouting that he was a child of GOD, and it was his right to “come as you are.”  They rebuked him saying, as a son he must practice obedience; and they were quick to literally lift him up and out.)  Developing believers often are surprised that clergy and officers within their own assembly are endowed with divine authority, and also must demonstrate the wrath of GOD against sin such that the behavior of church members may come under censure for what appear to themselves as arbitrary, and a simple “matter of choice.”  Rightly understood, those who willingly come to Christ do so surrendering choice and free-will submitting themselves to the diverse operations of GOD that pertain to having eternal life.  Trusting GOD, believers may encounter divinity in settings that range from the bedroom to the battlefield, from the chapel to the burial place.  Whatever the setting for praise, prayer, and obeisance, Christian believers seek to be sanctified (i.e., cleansed; set apart for divine service; made ready to be taken when the Savior comes to harvest his followers from the earth) at all times, and be seen by the Father covered through the blood and righteousness of Christ.  With this in view, believers offer and present themselves sharing gifts made acceptable by faith, gratitude, humility, love, respect, reverence, simplicity, and truth.  The fighter who uses the ID “Hugh” at “Yahoo! Answers” (Level 3 with 1,103 points, a member since March 10, 2015) posted the following:

 

Religion and spirituality. I was thrown out of church (by force) because I did not comply with the dress code, is this any way for men of?

the cloth to behave, as soon as he saw me started to go on about how I was dressed and I was a disgrace and that I was never to come back again…..You could have knocked me over with a feather when the Minister rushed at me screaming at the top of his voice ‘put your trousers back on you heathen’ and then threw me out. What has happened to the church in this day and age?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:  that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.  Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure:  for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:  For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  (2nd Peter 1:  2-11, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Should Men Take Their Hats Off? (05/15/2014); The Issue Is Not Accuracy (05/16/2014); Worship Wear? (01/23/2014); Mankind Destroyed? (01/24/2014); Why Clothing? (10/15/2010); Known by GOD? (10/16/2010)

 

“Hugh”, a church is more than an abstraction or secular organization only when the believers faithfully discharge peculiar spiritual duties unselfishly sharing their personal resources (including knowledge, money, skills, talent, time).  GOD is to be approached as exalted, pure, and sovereign.  The casual behavior that many enjoy as harmless in other settings is specially regarded as abominable, filthy, offensive to GOD, and profane when occurring in the Sanctuary—the largest area of a worship place set apart for members and their guests to gather and welcome the divine presence.  Included are gum-chewing, gossiping, partial nudity and wearing clothing for sexual attraction such as shorts, skinny jeans, and swim gear, smoking, and whispering.  For Christian believers participation in the activities of their assemblies, congregations, groups for praise, prayer, service and study as well as for full communities of faith are governed by by-laws composed and adopted by the body as well as by commandments, examples, guidelines, and principles written in the Bible.  Those who voluntarily commit themselves to a church all are required to experience specific sacred events (e.g., baptism, confession, confirmation, instruction, offering, the ordinance of humility, the right hand of fellowship).  In addition to being present for various ceremonies, rites, and solemn rituals for worship, members are expected to regularly attend sessions for decision-making and handling the financial and practical affairs of the group.  Here are a few points from the holy writings that have helped born-again believers who must mature again understand their religious liberty, duty, obligation, and privilege:

(1.)  John 14:  23-27, King James Version (KJV):  23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words:  and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings:  and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.  25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.  26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:  not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

(2.)  1st Timothy 3:  14-16, KJV:  14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:  15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.  16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:  God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

(3.)  Romans 8:  5-9, KJV:  5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

(4.)  1st Corinthians 14:  36-40, KJV:  36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?  37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.  38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.  39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.  40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

(5.)  1st Timothy 5:  19-22, KJV:  19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.  20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.  21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.  22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins:  keep thyself pure.

There are many other Scriptures that should be carefully considered, correctly understood, and made a permanent part of ones own sacred knowledge.  (For example, (6.)  2nd Corinthians 13:  7-14, KJV:  7 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.  8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.  9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong:  and this also we wish, even your perfection.  10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.  11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.  12 Greet one another with an holy kiss.  13 All the saints salute you.  14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

 
THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC