Archive for the ‘worship’ Category

What or who may receive worship is the focus of today’s question from “Yahoo! Answers.”  A writer using the screen name “royy c” posted the following:

What is worship? Could it be more than acknowledging a supernatural power?

Many still think it has to be to a deity.

Do you think people can worship things, places or people around them? Or is that, to you, a re-definition of the word , “worship”? Or has this always been what worship means?

THE BATTLE AXE:  Meek Abram (10/17/2010)—Despite the promise of GOD that he would receive a permanent homeland, Abram lived and died as a nomad.  Before his death, Abram ministered to others everywhere he traveled.  In addition to digging and leaving an inheritance of life-giving wells of water, Abram built altars that served as monuments to the one, true GOD.  Abram commanded a community of over 300 servants in covenant with GOD, who worshiped in obedience, and were a role-model to the surrounding nations.

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  For who maketh thee to differ from another?  and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?  now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?   (1st Corinthians 4:  7)

*THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Meek Abram

You are correct in thinking that human beings direct themselves in worship to a broad range of forces and objects.  In addition to drawings (on cave walls), totems, and other man-made pieces used to represent the whole of unseen influences (called “false gods” and “idols” in Scripture), men have mistakenly worshipped such elements as the wind, the rain, the sun, moon and stars, birth, death, fertility, other living creatures, science, and wisdom.

For mature believers, the worship of GOD and Christ appears to emerge from interaction of (1) awareness of divine substance [e.g., faith, grace, holiness, humility, life, love, wrath against sin], and (2) self-awareness [i.e., a correct consciousness of ones capabilities, limitations, spirit nature, strengths, and weaknesses].  Because the fullness of collective and individual being come into expression, worship is at once emotional, intellectual, psychological, and spiritual.

One who worships experiences continuing and repeated discernment, and recognition of the same spirit content existing in others, and within the Greater Divine, that resides within oneself.  Without customs, rituals and traditions developed over long periods, worship is the simple acknowledgment of the Holy through acts of being.  Interactive and social behavior to express worship may not include celebration, church attendance, a music ministry featuring a one-hundred men’s or woman’s choir, “pomp and circumstance.”  Instead, worship may center in childbearing, fasting and other forms of self-denial, forbearance in judgment, giving, humility, obedience, prayer, respect, sharing, trust, and truth-speaking.

There is far more to be said, correctly understood, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, discernment and recognition vital to Christian worship occurs only by the active presence of the imparted, indwelling Spirit from GOD.  A man or woman must be re-born, as it were, possessing divine DNA.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

*SEE ALSO THESE ENTRIES POSTED PREVIOUSLY AT YAHOO! PULSE

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      How to “survive” the Second Coming, and more about preaching the Gospel are topics, today. A “Yahoo! Answers” writer using the ID “Chris” (Level 1 with 22 points, a member since April 15, 2013) posted the following:

If Jesus comes back what should I do?

Is there anything I can do at that point to survive?


THE BATTLE AXE: About Preaching the Gospel (04/18/2013)—(5.) Many believers hesitate to spread the Gospel in the sense that they “wait” to be invited. They are silent in their communities, schools, and workplaces because they hope to avoid accusations of imposing upon nonbelievers, proselytizing, and provoking division. More than this, they are convinced the seed of GOD must not be wasted, and should be planted only in good ground, among those who are meek and teachable. Even so, all men have not faith (2nd Thessalonians 3: 1-3), and all men have not obeyed the gospel (Romans 10: 16). Also, see Proverbs 26: 17, Proverbs 29: 20-21, Matthew 7: 6, Matthew 23: 15 and Matthew 13: 1-23, KJV.

THE GOLDEN ARROW: For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Romans 10: 4-11, King James Version)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Understanding Hell (01/09/2013); The Golden Age? (01/10/2013); The Common Danger (01/02/2013); The Root of Jesse (01/03/2013); After the Rapture? (11/01/2012); Opportunity to Repent (11/02/2012); After We Die? (10/04/2012); Does GOD Feel? (10/05/2012); Life and Death (09/26/2012); Mob Rule and Violence (09/27/2012)

      Chris, here are some points acceptable to many mature Christian believers:

(1.) The Advent or Second Coming is a sacred event to complete and fulfill a broad range of ongoing spiritual operations and eternal purposes. Included are deliverance for mankind from destruction of the earth; harvest and ingathering of souls; righteous judgment; and the revealing of GOD to all created beings and living creatures.

(2.) The idea of “survival” is a device of the World system, whereby a person is influenced to display patterns of behavior and thought that continue cooperation to secure and exchange such resources for living as food, clothing, and shelter. The World is displayed through collective institutions and programs that include culture, education, family, history, philosophy, politics, and science. Where the World defines bad/good, crazy/sane, false/true, godly/ungodly, illogical/logical, real/unreal, reasonable/unreasonable, scientific/unscientific the World also endorses denying, ignoring and replacing the truth from GOD. Thus, Christian believers understand: GOD created the heaven and the earth; mankind created the World. 
 
(3.) GOD and Jesus Christ are operating within the earth realm to establish the eternal existence of divinity. While all created beings and living creatures contain endowments of divinity, through self-will and sin, many have become transformed and weakened so greatly that a process of salvation has been required for their recovery.

(4.) What believers are prepared to do in the day of Christ’s coming is to acknowledge the truth of divine proclamations, promise and prophecy; confess the emptiness and impotence of the World; give glory to him; rely upon the righteousness of GOD; show honor and praise; trust; yield; and worship. At that time, there can be no bargaining, bartering, begging, or boast.
    
     There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, (5.) The repentance that must occur to make a person ready for the day of Christ has to begin while they are still carnal, physical and social beings—we could say, while they are yet sinners. As the experience of new life following spiritual re-birth, repentance is accomplished within and through believers by the Spirit of Christ; and is a continuous process of growth, learning and transformation.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

      Divine concern for human nature, and the worship of false gods and idols are topics along with more on the reproduction of spirit in the earth, and the offspring of Jesus. A “Yahoo! Answers” writer using ID “Terry” (Level 1 with 245 points, a member since April 2, 2013) posted the following:

Why would god wory about us worshiping other gods?


THE BATTLE AXE: The Obedience of Jesus? (04/15/2013)—The example given by Jesus to his disciples whereby the kingdom of GOD is replenished and continuously populated concentrates upon spiritual births, rather than reproduction of the flesh. Seed for eternal lives is to be sown; and relationships appear that center upon fellowship with GOD (Romans 8: 8-11, KJV). Those addressed by Jesus as “my little children” were usually adults, who despite having participated in the practices and traditions at the Temple in Jerusalem for many years, were nonetheless beginners and new learners seeking greater experience and knowledge in the things from GOD. Many had been “reborn” in the baptism of John; while others had come into new life baptized by the disciples of Jesus. (See Matthew 18: 3, John 13: 33, Galatians 4: 19-20, 1st John 2: 1-3, and 1st John 3: 18-19 and 1st John 4: 1-6, KJV.) The concept that sons, daughters and family are bestowed by GOD through covenant and by the bond of spirit appears for many of the Old Testament prophets, particularly Moses, Elisha and Daniel. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul stands out declaring his love for many as his offspring through the Gospel. Included are Onesimus, Timothy and Titus. (See Isaiah 56: 1-7, Daniel 1: 1-21, Matthew 19: 11-15, 1st Corinthians 4: 14-15, Titus 1: 4 and 2nd Timothy 1: 1-2, KJV.)

THE GOLDEN ARROW: Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day. Furthermore the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance: But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land. Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4: 15-24, KJV)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: A Godly Take on Guns (01/18/2013); No Contradictions? (01/15/2013); The Faith of Ones Parents? (11/18/2012); What is Reality (a.k.a., Truth)? (09/29/2012); Divine Self-Sacrifice? (09/30/2012); The Spirit by Measure (09/22/2012); A Man in Heaven? (09/23/2012); A House of gods? (08/31/2012); Heaven for Muhammad? (09/01/2012); Idols of Flesh (03/12/2012); The Work of Jesus (03/13/2012)

      Terry, the things of divine intent and operation usually do not become clear for most Christian believers until after they have shown respect to GOD in prayer, and “agreed” to allow their thoughts to be led, linked and reconfigured. Here are some points that should be helpful, particularly following prayer:

(1.) GOD’s concern for created beings and living creatures can only be understood where one has an in depth and mature realization of the existing patterns that describe the nature, possibilities and shortcomings of the living. Thus, for example, humans can not possibly become angels, just as cats do not become dogs; and the divine tool of death does not create new beings of any kind. By nature mankind affirms and endorses Self above all that is, and thereby fails to apprehend the truths regarding divinity.

(2.) GOD is a spirit and must be known through spirit content, and divine operations performed by GOD. Aspects of finite being exist that invite and support “forgetting GOD” (i.e., shut down of awareness; termination of communion and contact with GOD). The aspects of animation and movement important as life also generate frequent shifts in attention, concentration and focus within human beings. There are recurring events within the permanent aspects of flesh (i.e., appetite such as hunger, thirst, sexual craving; sense such as hearing, seeing, tasting; and mental functions such as desire, forgetting, imagination, memory) that dominate behavior, conduct and thought; and that also generate flawed beliefs about and unacceptable practices to acknowledge the true person of GOD. 
 
(3.) In addition to becoming incorrectly subject to features within their own person, created beings and living creatures may become subject to sin. Sin is no “thing” that exists; and is not created by GOD. Sin is without dimension and sacred substance; yet, sin does have direction, effect, and presence. Sin may dominate self-will in created beings and living creatures; however, sin cannot influence divine will. Sin cannot be detected and resisted without such tools as those provided by GOD including divine law, the holy writings, and the imparted, indwelling Spirit. Only GOD can accomplish the total elimination of sin. Many ongoing sacred operations are involved. For example, there must be death, judgment, rebirth, resurrection, and the second death.

      There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, (4.) False gods and idols generate warped notions of ones own inner power, and a believer’s true control upon objects and things made. Given that unseen elements are active (including demons and devils), the damage and influence generated by a single sinner continues to increase even long after the particular offender has been destroyed and removed. Thus, the sins of the fathers challenge their offspring for as much as four generations, 160 years.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

     Today’s post addresses the lessons and warnings from Jesus when asked about a recent slaughter of Hebrews by the Romans, and an accident resulting in more than a dozen deaths that was commonly known to have occurred nearby.  The “Yahoo! Answers” Top Contributor using ID “Bruce” (Level 7 with 92,590 points, a member since August 12, 2007) posted the following:


What did Jesus mean about tragic deaths by saying, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish”?

Luke 13:Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? 3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”


THE BATTLE AXE:  Our Need for a Son (03/04/2013)—A need for knowledge, relationship and right standing with GOD exits within all created beings and living creatures as an aspect of their makeup and substance that pertains to their completeness, perfection and quality as the handiwork of GOD.  By the revelation of himself through flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, the son of GOD from heaven, GOD has further prepared and transformed human awareness so that mankind may eventually display aspects of divine being that include incorruption and immortality.  While the existence of GOD does not result from any thing that has been created, the realms of existence (both heaven and earth) and all they contain are useful (yet unnecessary) as artifacts of divine existence that also make known the extent and continuing operation of divine power, presence and sacred purpose.  (See Psalms 19:  1-6, Revelation 21:  1-8 and Revelation 22:  1-5, King James Version.)


THE GOLDEN ARROW:  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  (2nd Peter 3:  9-14, King James Version)


THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  The Golden Age? (01/10/2013); Translation, Please… (01/11/2013); The Price of Humanity? (12/13/2012); Remembering the Holocaust (12/14/2012); According to the Eternal Purpose (11/20/2012); Henceforth, Of This Fruit (11/21/2012); Before the Fruit? (11/10/2012); The Priesthood of Kings (10/17/2012); Childlike Faith (10/18/2012); Life and Death (09/26/2012); Mob Rule and Violence (09/27/2012); The Common Danger (01/02/2013); Put Every Man His Sword By His Side (01/01/2013); Tragedy? (10/23/2010)


Bruce, may I share a few points that should be helpful?  The many lessons taught by the account from Saint Luke include warnings against those who believe in GOD for salvation becoming complacent, presumptuous, sedentary, and self-satisfied.  For the most correct understanding, a believer should be aware of various issues having influence at that time:

(1) Divisions among the people of Jesus’ day included longstanding ethnic arrogance and racism displayed as enmity between the Jews (i.e., those from the Southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin) and those of the ten tribes to the North that included Galilee.  The separation was not merely on political lines that came by the revolt against the house of David through the person of Rehoboam, son of Solomon.  Following dissolution of the Unified Kingdom, there were many efforts to replace Jerusalem as the center for observances and worship, including the establishment in the North of worship for the Golden Calf from Egypt.

(2) That men should be slaughtered while worshipping GOD was thought to indict their worship (i.e.,  could be taken as evidence that their beliefs were false and their practices idolatrous), cast a light of contradiction, and endorsed spiritual confusion regarding divine judgment, salvation, and other sacred operations of GOD.  Unlike anger and emotions that come and go or frequently shift, the wrath of GOD against sin must be understood as a continuous and permanent aspect of divinity that makes GOD who he is in relationship with all Creation.  Notwithstanding this, the divine provisions for atonement and propitiation of sins also emerge from eternal, unchanging aspects of divinity.

(3) GOD was identified as a direct cause and active agent in all the collective life experience of the covenant people(s).  Birth, death, inheritance, sickness and war were all regularly “explained” as actions by GOD independent of all input from mankind.  The accountability of mankind was thought to go no further than counsels, desires, petitions and prayers.  More than this, human condemnation was seen the result of bad behavior, poor choices and faulty decision making.  Jesus demonstrated that human substance (i.e., such elements as faith, holiness and Spirit) is correctly the primary element determining the life conditions and experience of mankind as well as the duration of human existence.

(4) The purpose of death as the tool of GOD was widely understood as only for the destruction of sinners and the punishment of sin.  Endorsing those teachings that spoke to the completion of human mortality and divine resurrection for the dead, Jesus manifested the use of death to complete judgment and establish eternal life through mechanisms of rebirth and resurrection.  Rather than concern for the recent tragedies, Jesus warned the multitude to have concern for the second death, the lake of fire and the total termination of ones existence.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, emotionalism, excitement and sensationalism are often our focus and response to events in the flesh.  Our salvation may be rightly embraced only where we yield to the imparted, indwelling Spirit from GOD.  Repentance for sins is not the product of human cravings, feelings, regrets, thoughts and self-will so much as by operation of the Holy Spirit.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

      Newness of spirit, righteousness and Sabbath keeping are major topics, today; and there is more on the promises of GOD through the root of Jesse. A “Yahoo! Answers” writer using the ID “SabbathDayFreedom” (Level 4 with 4,419 points, a member since December 1, 2007) posted the following:

When one observes the sabbath in the Newness of spirit how is that so very different from oldness of letter?

of the Law?

Additional Details

How and WHY did Jesus keep God’s Law was it a have to thing or a great LOVE thing

THE BATTLE AXE: The Root of Jesse (01/03/2013)—All the promises to mankind recorded in the holy writings were first established as commitments by GOD the Father to the Son, before the creation of heaven and earth. The name “David” is used in Scripture referring to the Old Testament king of Judah as well as to Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament, the appearance of GOD in flesh. First Adam, later David, was chosen as the one in whom, and through whom, the divine promises for an eternal kingdom, that were granted to the Son of GOD, would be fulfilled in the earth. This is a device similar to that found with Abraham: The promises of GOD to the Son appear as covenants and promises to Abraham, then, are fulfilled to and through the offspring and succeeding generations following Abraham. The promises to the Son of GOD are proclaimed in David, and carried out through his offspring that includes the Christ. More than this, the promises to the Son of GOD that were to be fulfilled through Aaron and others of Levi, that they would have an eternal priesthood, were transferred to the tribe of Judah, and therefore can be lawfully declared as fulfilled in Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 7: 11-28, King James Version).

THE GOLDEN ARROW: For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) (Romans 2: 12-15, KJV)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Knowing Who Your Real Friends Are (12/11/2012); Scriptures To Reassure (03/05/2012); Purity of Heart (03/06/2012); Law Violated? (11/21/2011); Sunday? (01/16/2011); Childhood Cancers? (01/17/2011); Annual Feasts (12/29/2010); The Afterlife? (12/30/2010); Lord of Sabbath (12/25/2010); A Holy Ghost? (12/26/2010)

      The eternal, unchanging aspect of covenant relationship, of all divine law, of all heartfelt love, and of dutiful obedience is one and the same: righteousness. This one element underlies such diverse commands as “thou shalt not steal,” “thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “thou shalt remember the Sabbath day.” Righteousness is always demonstrated and made visible through the action and behavior of created beings and living creatures when they forgo acting upon self-will to carryout and fulfill divine purpose (as when men submit to (obey) sacred law (i.e., the expressed will of GOD).

      The voluntary putting aside of ones own will to acknowledge, benefit and respect another is one of the most powerful indicators of love. In dealing with Almighty GOD as the Creator, it is the putting aside of self-will that constitutes acknowledgment and acceptable worship. More than this, where ones will is transformed through death, rebirth, repentance, and sanctification, divinity and the law are internalized. By faith, reborn believers operate in accordance with the godly aspects of will that now reside within themselves; that is, they obey the law of GOD as the natural expression of their own makeup and person, not as an external standard from another.

      There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, the law of GOD, the Spirit of GOD, and the Word of GOD always agree; and for mature believers, there is no confusion or contradiction among them. Although believers operate as new creatures—those having the imparted, indwelling Spirit of GOD within themselves, and acknowledging the Lord our Righteousness—the new life is not one of “do as you please,” pride, and self promotion. Rather, it is heightened awareness of the Holy marked by such elements as commitment, hope, humility, and meekness spirit.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

      Public schools as a divine tool for religious instruction, and more on the return of Christ to heaven are topics, today. A “Yahoo! Answers” Top Contributor using the ID “Olga”, (a member since November 14, 2012, Level 3 with 1,749 points) posted the following:

Christians: How can we get God back in schools where He belongs? +Pastor John Hagee…?

of the Cornerstone Church said this on the church’s Facebook page which is extremely inspirational:

“Hope for tomorrow begins with rational decisions today that guarantee a new direction for our nation. We have run God out of our schools, our lives, many of our churches
and God’s blessing has been lifted from our nation. I invite you to come this Sunday morning to hear the answer from God’s Word about “Hope for Tomorrow.” I’ll see you at Cornerstone Church Sunday morning; bring your Bibles and note-taking materials. Bring a heart that is ready to hear from heaven. God knows we’ve heard from everybody else long enough.” – Pastor John Hagee

Join us at 8:30 & 11am! See you in Church!

THE BATTLE AXE: The Ascension of Christ? (12/19/2012)—The lifting up of Jesus while he was yet in the flesh was witnessed by a group of men who had been carefully chosen and prepared through daily living, study, and laboring in ministry with Jesus. Without having first been built up through encounters and tests, the display of glory, holiness and power would have overwhelmed the carnal minds, emotions, and imaginations of the apostles. Instead of confidence and conviction, confusion and unbelief would have been the most likely result. Inarguable evidence that Jesus was truly sent from Almighty GOD to fulfill sacred covenants and promises had already been supplied by the events of Christ crucified, buried, and revived from death. The ascension appears as an irrefutable sign from heaven confirming the yet unfilled promise of a Comforter and further gifts to come from GOD. More than this, the apostles’ experience of his ascension sealed the truth that Jesus would return in glory.

THE GOLDEN ARROW: Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Galatians 4: 1-7, King James Version)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: A Slaughter of Innocents? (12/15/2012); Unexceptional Beginnings? (11/22/2012); Believing Everything? (11/23/2012); Attending Church? (11/12/2012); A Holy Kiss? (11/13/2012); Parental Duty? (10/08/2012); Why No Answer? (08/25/2012); To Be or Not To Be (08/26/2012); The Young Less Religious (08/18/2012); Why Jesus Prayed (08/19/2012); Trouble for the Good (01/15/2012); Chain of Command (01/16/2012)

      Public schools are correctly understood as mechanisms to discipline, educate, and train members of a community, particularly minor children, however, public schools are not designed to fulfill the sacred purpose of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Public schools respond to mandates determined by civil law, shared resources, and social consensus. The order, process and structure of public schools are not rooted in divine law, and the various truths essential to right relationship with GOD as Creator. Having said this, public schools are “elements of the world,” not the kingdom of GOD.

      In addition to issues that emerge from varying levels of faith, obedience, and trust, challenges for religious instruction through the public forum represented by schools include enforcement of dissent, demands for inclusion by those professing disbelief, imbalance that may be addressed only through interdependence, and nonnegotiable demands for sound belief essential in establishing unity. Academic settings permit only abstract and narrative descriptions of spiritual documents and events. Peculiar figures may be identified as thought leaders and objects of worship. Questionable summaries of belief systems may be studied. The bottom line is that, public education does not truly allow spirit content to be conveyed, experienced, and internalized.

      The church and the home are the “god-given” devices for religious instruction that will both emerge from and demonstrate divine presence in recognizable power. This is specially true now that our schools are no longer merely centers for the 3-R’s (reading, ’ritin’ and ’rithmetic). The schools are business centers involving millions of dollars in contracts for books, building supplies, electronics, food services, and repairs. The schools are independent social systems (like a small town within a town), and now include issues of absence of parental involvement, alcohol and drug use, inappropriate sexual activity, police presence and violence. Emotionally charged issues make it that students must take to the schools a knowledge of GOD that will preserve the schools, and increasingly do not take a knowledge from the schools that will preserve the church and home.

      There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, the issue of arming teachers with guns to protect students is now driven by fear and panic. In an emergency, access to a weapon worn as a sidearm and openly displayed will be very different than for weapons kept under lock and key for safety. Such options as the use of mace (stronger than pepper spray) or Tasers are not being highlighted in the present discussions. Doctrine and teaching accounted as nonviolence, and “turning the other cheek” may not be dismissed without violating the Gospel.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX Washington, DC

      When I visited a widow to share a birthday gift that would brighten her home, and encourage her gratitude toward GOD, I was embarrassed, surprised and a little shocked that a woman who is not the wife of my choice embraced me, and tried to plant a kiss on my lips. Those of you my regular readers who know my teachings on fornication will understand that I have been a little shaken, and upset since that morning. Today’s presentation, therefore, considers again what it means to share a “holy kiss” (see below); also, there is more on attending church.


THE BATTLE AXE: Attending Church? (11/12/2012)—In the same way community organizers make commitment to a peculiar neighborhood, and anchor themselves in the specific affairs and needs of those around them, mature Christian believers often accept a peculiar assembly or congregation of worshippers as their post. Without fanfare they operate with the understanding that church is where believers go to give and share; and they seek to make it that they themselves are always easily found at their post. Even without office or title as worship leaders such believers demonstrate faithfulness, and are the “life’s blood” for aid, fellowship, gathering, giving, help and pastoral outreach. The principles of oneness seen in those things for the church of Jesus Christ are traced from the beginnings of mankind where the male and female were both known as “Adam”, and later appear in the covenants for the promised land (first shared with the seven peoples, then with the sons of Jacob as the law of Moses) where the transgressions of one had consequences to all. Only GOD is immortal; yet, many aspects of the divine order that has been put forth are permanent and unchanging. Acceptable worship by finite beings and living creatures pertains to acknowledgment, agreement, consent and respect; and their worship expresses gratitude, joy, righteousness and wisdom never abasement, flattery, or self-promotion. For a universe marked by diversity, worship must be regulated so that all things may be done decently, and in order, without conflict and without confusion. Thus, just as there are laws for authority, miracles, prayer and sacrifice, there are laws for obeisance and praise that require strict obedience. Those opposing sacred law, judgment, and worship generally do so having their self-will under a foreign, nonmaterial, barely detectable influence called “sin”. Sin opposes the existence of all divine law, divine creation, and divine person.


THE GOLDEN ARROW: And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. (Luke 7: 37-43, KJV)


THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Binder 47: THE BLACK PHOENIX (11/13/2012); Family and Romance (10/13/2012); Double Standard? (10/12/2012); Wrong To Love? (08/17/2012); The Rules for Sharing Christ (03/15/2012); Birth Control and Sexism? (03/16/2012); Binder 29: Tried With Fire (10/26/2011); Binder 28: Purity (10/25/2011)

    
     I recently visited a widow who had been a neighbor for over twenty-five years. Before leaving this area, she experienced several falls in her home with hospitalization that followed. A breast cancer survivor, she presently is living across town in public housing for seniors; and has a cleaner, healthier home environment than ever before. Her husband deceased many years before I received the post, here, and so I never knew him except through the person of his wife.

      One of the first, most difficult challenges a believer faces is having to accept that you no longer have part and portion with those outside of Jesus Christ. Believers may not harass others, enter their homes uninvited, go through their belongings, and claim the property of others. Having no license from Christ to bully, intrude in anyone’s affairs, tell lies, show-off, or spy upon others, I lived here some fifteen years before learning the widow’s name, and during that time shared only the common courtesies I show to all. I knew she attended church regularly on Sundays, and had frequent visits from a pastor, who was also her friend. As a college-educated, African-American, Christian male who observes Sabbath as do those of the Mosaic covenant, I understood that my sharing with others would have to be with deeds, and not with words. When I began to take up the ministry and work of a Christian writer, this widow was one of the first to support my 1991 copy-righted, small press founding publication, THE INHERITANCE OF FATHERS: A Black Man’s Meditations on the Sacred Meaning of Marriage.
    
     In the past year, my efforts to serve the Lord by encouraging this widow have included using my private vehicle to assist her in grocery shopping and other local travel (wherein she always insists on “paying for the gas”), regular contacts to ensure her wellbeing, filing online unemployment claims, and allowing her to regard me as a friend who is not critical of her in any way (though I occasionally chide about gossip). On the one hand, I have refused being active in any relationships while having duty on the battlefield (see 2nd timothy 2: 3-4, KJV). On the other, I have sought to be the servant of Christ, and submit as an evidence of things unseen.

      Generally, a holy kiss of greeting within the church founded by Jesus acknowledges presence of the Holy Ghost, and is placed upon the forehead, not the lips or cheek. However, the actions of this widow are more akin to those from the woman with the alabaster box, and the woman who touched the hem of his garment. I am challenged to re-consider the first of these, because she continually kissed the Lord’s feet (not his lips), washing them with her tears, and drying them with her hair. Jesus did not ask for, or welcome her attentions, yet, he submitted to them in love. The woman who had an issue of blood that could not be otherwise stanched comes to mind because, when the widow kissed me, I felt a strange sensation, and had to wonder whether virtue had flowed out of me.

      In reviewing the experience, I asked myself, how do you suppose Jesus felt when those uninvited events occurred during his ministry in the earth? On neither occasion did Jesus respond with angry rebuke, condemnation, or denial when these women boldly took questionable risks to demonstrate their faith and trust. Even so, I’m convinced there was disappointment, embarrassment, surprise, and some concern regarding the standards for holiness, humility, and right respect. While Jesus proclaimed a message as an only begotten son of the Most High, and performed peculiar acts of reconciliation that carried out the will of GOD the Father rather than his own self-will, Jesus displayed humility and did not demand obedience, submission and worship for himself.

      There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, carnal and sexual intimacy are to be taken into the experience of all who live in the earth at various points in their continuing as mortal beings. In the service of GOD, this is always and only to build up, edify, and strengthen a couple through sexual joining that is also spiritual. Only where there is unholy desire and selfish motivation does spiritual defilement result from sexual joining.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC