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A GOD WHO SAYS IF

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Why in the world would an Omniscient God who knows the future in infinite detail ever use the word “If?”

God does indeed say “If.” My plan was to give you an exhaustive list, (I counted over fifty verses), but then I decided to give you two and let you find the rest.

Jesus said,If you will follow me, take up your cross daily and follow me.”

And God said, If you eat of this tree you shall die.”

Could you love a God who said, “When you eat of this tree (AND YOU WILL), you will die.”                                                     

We have a one motive God who always does the most loving thing for everyone concerned.

So any time we ask ‘why’ about God, the simple answer has always been, and always will be; because it just happens to be the most loving thing He could do for everyone concerned.

If I could look into the future and I saw that next week a friend of mine was going to shoot my dog, I would start treating my friend differently right now, but God is not like me.

God keeps doing the most loving thing no matter what He knows about our future.

A good example of this is the way Jesus knelt down and washed Judas’ feet even though He knew about Judas’ plan to betray him.

I believe it is quite clear that if God said, “When you eat of this tree (AND YOU WILL), you will die,” that would not be the most loving way for a Father to relate to his children.

God uses the word ‘if’ because that is the most loving way to relate to us, and the best way to honor our free will.

God uses the word “if,” because that is the proper word to use while speaking to a free moral agent.

(A cruel master would never use the word “if,” while speaking to one of his slaves) 

By using the word “if,” God acknowledges and validates our very existence, our power of choice, and the reality and importance of the present moment as compared to the past and future.

Even though God does know the future He relates to us in the present moment as if he did not. He is not playing dumb, he is simply loving us in the best possible way.

He knows what we will do, but he fully acknowledges that the choice is ours, and he never holds us responsible for a choice until we have actually made it.

Have you ever met a person who jumps in and finishes your sentences before you can. I don’t know about you but I find that quite irritating. How would you like a God who related to you in that manner?

When God does speak about the future it is not to be rude or to show off, it is so that when we see it happen it will increase our faith.  

The future is completely open, because by definition the future does not exist, – – –  it has not happened yet.

I believe God is everywhere, so that must mean He has also been in us, sharing every thought feeling, and heart beat, so He knows us infinitely well, He could be you much better than you can, so knowing what you will do and say in each new situation is easy for God; but His knowledge does not take away our choice.

We are co-writers of His- Story; and our part of history will not be written until we write it with our lives. 

September 14, 2017

The Old Testament God

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For a quick study, watch the new Wonder Woman movie; humans fighting the war on the physical level, and Wonder Woman fighting with Aries, the god of war, on the spiritual level.

Then read Daniel Chapter 10, about the Prince of Persia.

It’s almost impossible to theologize clearly when you’re standing in the middle of a battlefield full of bodies, including women, and children.

So please let me share what I see from a high altitude ‘overview.’

Satan rebelled; God choose to allow Satan to tempt Adam and Eve; they failed their test, so God  bans humans from the garden and the Tree of Life.

Cain kills Abel; God allows Cain to live; East of Eden.  Things go really bad.  The Nephilim, and all that, so God sends a flood.

Men decide to build the Tower of Babel.  God confuses their languages, and they scatter throughout the land.

Satan re-establishes his kingdom, placing his evil associates in positions of authority over his nations.

The Prince of Persia, in Persia, and other false gods over the other nations; with all of them building mighty armies in anticipation of God’s next response.

God decides to build His own army, beginning with Abraham, promising him many decedents, and the Canaan land.

After a forty year delay in Egyptian slavery, God sends Moses to free the Israelites, and continues with the plan to build His mighty army, out of the weakest of the weak.

God intends to keep His promise to Abraham, and along the way defeat the false gods.

And then, eventually find a way to show His people His true character.

I see the Old Testament as one big exorcism, God tearing down idols, and eliminating false gods, one by one.

Many Bible scholars are convinced some of these so-called divine beings could indeed do amazing acts because they were demons, or fallen angels, disguising themselves as gods.

When Moses confronted Pharaoh, the Egyptian magicians were able to duplicate some of his miracles, such as turning their staffs into snakes and turning the Nile River into blood.

“They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up.” (Duet. 32:17)

There was Ashtoreth, also called Astarte, or Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Canaanites.

Baal, the supreme god of the Canaanites.

Chemosh, the subduer, the national god of the Moabites, was also worshiped Ammonites.

Dagon, fish god of the Philistines.

Marduk, god of the Babylonians associated with fertility and vegetation.

Milcom, the national god of the Ammonites, was associated with divination, seeking knowledge of the future through occult means, and child sacrifice.

And the Egyptian gods; Egypt had more than 40 gods, including Re, creator sun god, Isis, goddess of magic, Osiris, lord of the afterlife, Thoth, god of wisdom and the moon, and Horus, god of the sun. (The Ten Plagues of God against Egypt were humiliations of ten specific Egyptian gods.)

Obviously God was not going to be able to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, through the desert, and into Canaan without major resistance.

I also see God accommodating the Israelites dream of becoming free, and possessing their land of milk and honey.

I believe God did this as a physical example of His spiritual plan of redemption, and as a negative lesson about the pain and bloodshed it takes to conquer land and hold it.

In other words, to teach us once and for all, that war doesn’t work.

I believe another reason for the Old Testament violence was to set Satan up for the Incarnation and the Cross.

The theologians were not the only ones expecting Jesus to arrive as a concurring Hero.

 

June 14, 2017

OLD TESTAMENT WARRIOR GOD ON TRIAL

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COURT REPORTER’S BRIEF NOTES:

God is on trial for multiple mass murders, and Genocide.

Prosecution’s First witness; Job.

Job says God killed all of his children, and his livestock.

Defense’s First witness; Satan.

Who killed Job’s children and animals?

Satan says, I did.

Prosecution cross examines:

Why would you do that?

Satan answers, God gave me permission.

Prosecution asks God, is that true?

God says, Yes.

Does Exodus 21:29 say, “if a man’s ox has a habit of getting lose and killing people, and the man fails to keep him in, and it happens again, the ox must be killed and the man stoned?

God says, Yes.

Where did Satan come from?

God says, I created him.

Has Satan killed previously?

God answers, Yes.

And not only did you not restrain Satan, you gave him permission?

God says, Yes.

Prosecution calls King Saul.

Did God’s Prophet Samuel order you to kill the Amalekites; men, women, infants, and animals?

Saul says, Yes, that is correct.

Did you? Yes, all of them, except King Agag, and the best of the animals.

What did Samuel have to say about that?

He said, “Because I didn’t follow God’s commands exactly, God rejected me from being King.’

Prosecution asks God, is all of this true?

God answers, Yes.

Defense calls Peter, one of Jesus’ main disciple’s, as a character witness.

Do you know God?

In a way, I do. I spent three years in ministry with His Son, His name is Jesus, He’s also called The Prince of Peace, the kindest most loving person you could ever meet. Jesus never lied, and He would never harm a fly, and Jesus said, “If you have seen Me you’ve seen My Father.”

So your point is?

Jesus’ Father is a God of Love, He couldn’t possibly be guilty of any of these accusations, because Jesus said He’s the perfect Image of His Father.

Prosecution cross examines Peter; It sounds like you’re inferring that this Man could not be Jesus’ Father?

Peter answers, Yes, there is absolutely no way this could be the True God.

Prosecution calls God back to the witness stand.

And asks God; Peter says, you can’t possibly be Jesus’ real Father, because Jesus’ Father is Good and would never do evil; but you keep admitting to all of the charges. Do you do evil or not?

God says; It is true that Jesus and I are One in spirit, it is also true that it is written; “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil.” In the sense – – –

Never mind, that’s enough, I rest my case.

Defense has no more witnesses.

Jury comes in with the verdict:

The jury says; “Our decision is unanimous; CRUCIFY HIM!”

Defense says; “The Defense calls for a re-trial.”

 

 

May 10, 2017

THE ACCOMMODATING GOD

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OR RAISING ADAM

Most of the Old Testament was one big accommodation. 

How can I say that?

I’ll be 80 this December, so I have ‘retrospectual-vision.’ 

Reminiscing about my life I see God helping me fulfill all of my dreams; – – – they were great, but after each of them were accomplished, they faded away; like sandcastles on the seashore.

Then one bright and sunny day Jesus presented me with a choice.

Door #1. My dreams.

Door #2. HIS DREAMS.

I argued with Him for a quite awhile, “That’s who I am, that is how I live my life!”

Finally I smiled and chose Door #2, that’s when the REAL ADVENTURE began.

I believe God was deeply involved with me and my dreams, first of all because He loves me, but also to get them out of my system.

He was a very accommodating God, for the first fifty years of my life.

                        – – – – – – –

Lucifer said, “I have a better way.” God said, “It won’t work, but go ahead, show me.”

Adam and Eve said, “The serpent told us about a better way, and we want to take it.”  God said, “It leads to a dead end, but go ahead and try it.”

The Israelites dreamed dreams of freedom, and a land of milk and honey.  God said, “Ok let’s do that, and see how you like it.”

They cried out for meat in the wilderness.

They promised to keep the 10 Commandments, God said, “Good luck with that.”

They wanted an earthly King just like everyone else.

– – – – – – –

We wanted Nations, and flags, and cars, and airplanes, and fast food, an instant communication, and free sex, and entertainment, and robots, and space ships – – 

 

                                                     Adam’s life lessons:

Material things do not satisfy.

Land taken by force must be protected by force.  

War doesn’t work.

Love is the only true power.

You had it all in the garden.

I have never condemned you.

I have always loved you, and I always will.

What you really need is Me.

Follow Me, My way is better.

Ok, First, let’s make a New (Spiritual) Covenant.

 

“The idea of a kingdom that is not maintained by might is inconceivable to us.” – Oswald Chambers

 

 

May 8, 2017

KNIFE AND GUN INCIDENT

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I had recently received divorce papers from my second wife, and while I was waiting on money from the sale of property in San Diego, I had been sleeping in my van in Monroe Washington.

About eleven p.m. after working out at 24 hour fitness, I walked to my van and climbed in. A few minutes later a middle aged white man wearing a sports jacket got out of his car, and walked towards me holding a map.

He tapped gently on my window, so I rolled it half way down. He said: “Can you give me directions to the Mukilteo Ferry?” I said: “Yea, just continue down this road to the freeway, then turn west,- – – then – – – I couldn’t remember the name of the next street, so I said: “I was just getting ready to drive down that way, you can follow me if you like.”

He hesitated for a moment, and said: “Can’t you just show me on the map?” I said: “O.K.” and rolled the window the rest of the way down, and took his map.

While I was studying the map, he reached under the map and slit my throat!

He jumped back out of sight. I opened the door to see where he went. He was standing there quietly, watching me in the rearview mirror.

I said: “WHAT is the matter with you?” He reached in his coat pocket and pulled out a gun! Before I could get the door closed he was back inside. I jumped backwards, my feet were still on the driver’s seat.

He leaned over the front seat and shot me in the left cheek. I cried out “GOD HELP ME!!!”

 My feet started kicking, I don’t remember telling them to kick, they just started kicking. The gun flew out of his hand and landed outside. I moved back into the driver’s seat, hoping I could beat him to the gun, he had two steps on me, picked it up and came back inside. I climbed back behind the front seats, but now I was completely out of ideas. I couldn’t open the side door from the inside, there was nothing to throw at him, and nowhere to hide.

He leaned over the seat and aimed the gun at the middle of my forehead. I sat there staring at the barrel of the gun.

Time is distorted at a time like this, but I think he aimed for a full second before pulling the trigger. I was doing some quick shorthand prayers, “Please take care of my family, and find a good man for Sherry. – – – I know you could still save me, – – but if not, – – this is probably as good a time as any.”

He was staring into my eyes, I was looking back and forth between his eyes and the barrel of the gun. All I could see in his eyes was a slight question mark, he was probably wondering why I was so calm, I was experiencing great peace. God’s grace was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Then the a gunshot, and felt the bullet hit the top of my head. I had heard that if you can hear the shot it’s supposed to be a good thing. He started to leave, hesitated, then looked in, pointing the gun at me again.

I didn’t think these thoughts, but these are the words that came out of my mouth; “Don’t hurt me any more- – – – I’m already dead!” Another moment and he turned and walked casually back toward his car.

I know it wasn’t out of sympathy, he was calm cool sober, and soul-less. He wasn’t out of bullets, the gun was a 22-caliber automatic, with five or six shots left in the clip.

I was bleeding profusely from my neck and head, so my best guess is after taking a look at me he believed what I said, and left me for dead.

My mind was still clear and I could still see out of my right eye, so I jumped into the driver’s seat and started the engine. I was only a block and a half from the fire station, so I was going to go for it.

Strangely enough he didn’t even look back, he just got in his car and drove away.

After turning around I saw a cab parked about thirty feet behind me. He was talking on his radio, so he hadn’t heard the shots. I circled around him so my door was by his and said: “Call 911, I’ve been stabbed and shot!”

He called, but was having a long drawn out conversation, so I got out and yelled in his window so the dispatcher could hear me. “I’m bleeding to death here, I need an ambulance RIGHT NOW!”

In about a minute there were three police cars, and then an ambulance. I gave my van keys to the police officer. I could still talk but I felt blood running down on the inside of my throat.

I described my assailant, and his car, and told them which way he went; then I gave them Sherry’s phone number and asked them to call her.

Then the ambulance attendants were inserting an I.V. and cutting my clothes off with a huge pair of scissors. They had called for a helicopter med-evac flight, which should arrive in fifteen minutes.

I wouldn’t be aware of anything else because they were sedating me. I heard the helicopter land, – – then I faded to black.

When I woke up in the hospital they told me the operation had been a success. I was on a respirator, so I had to write notes. I felt pretty good but I thought I had a bullet in my brain.

The doctors kept using the word miracle. They said one bullet had gone into my cheek and out the back of my neck, but missed everything important. One doctor said, “You should have at least lost your hearing!”

The second bullet hit high on my forehead and went under the skin, followed the top of my skull for about four inches and then back out. They thought the knife wound may have damaged my vocal cords, but it had missed both of my juggler veins.

The nurses kept asking me if I wanted pain medication. I said: “No thanks.” I didn’t even have a headache.

I was out of the hospital in three and a half days.

 

May 4, 2017

MID-AIR COLLISION

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 Doug, a close friend, and a student of mine, bought a used Citabria, a small two seat, high wing aircraft.  His insurance company required two hours of instruction before  carrying passengers.

We flew for about an hour and a half, and stopped for lunch. After lunch we planned to spend another half hour practicing landings. It was an exceptionally beautiful day for flying. The sky was clear and the air was smooth as glass. Except for a few hawks circling in a thermal, we had the flight pattern to ourselves.

I had never seen Doug so happy. He just kept grinning and grinning. I couldn’t help from getting high on his high. I commented to him that we were just like a couple of teenage boys with a new toy.

On final approach the thought crossed my mind: “Doug is doing just fine.” “Maybe we should make this the last landing.” Then for no special reason at all – – – (it was just one of those small decisions you make every day without thinking twice about it). I said to myself: “Naw; we’re having a good time, let’s go around one more time.”

Doug made another perfect touch-and-go landing, it was a joy seeing him starting to own his new plane. Then he flew around the pattern and lined up on final approach. I said: “Let’s make this one a full stop, O.K.!” “Sure, whatever you say.”

We were only about thirty yards from the end of the runway, and fifty feet high, when suddenly our aircraft lurched forward. Something had hit us from the rear! My mind raced through the possibilities. It had to be another airplane, and it had to be going faster.

My first thought was, it was a larger aircraft, and it was going to tear its way right through us— “Instant death for sure!”

However, it didn’t seem to happen instantly at all, I’m not sure if I could hear it or feel it, but I could sense that it was slowly but surely chewing its way up the fuselage towards me. I guessed it must me a smaller aircraft, but I was still sure it was going to chew us up and spit us out.

Then the chewing stopped, and for some mysterious reason we were still gliding in level flight. Suddenly something let loose, and we went into a vertical dive.  All I could see in the front windshield was asphalt.

My professional opinion? Sudden death!

A quick prayer crossed my mind asking God to take care of wife. I thought, just maybe, there was a slim chance of survival. So I crossed my arms in front of my face and grabbed my elbows, – – – – we slammed into the runway!

There was a deafening noise and all of the windows blew out. The airplane slumped over to one side, and then – – – silence. Doug’s head was buried in the dash, it looked like he was dead. Gasoline was running off of the wings, and down through the engine compartment. I could hear it sizzling as it hit the hot exhaust. I mentally reached for my seat belt, but my arms refused to move.

Extreme fear gripped me now, and shook my entire body. “Dying, well that was one thing, but being cooked alive—-?!”

I looked out and saw two men standing just outside the growing lake of gasoline. I yelled: “GET ME OUT OF HERE!”–“RIGHT NOW!!”

They waded bravely through the gasoline and tore open the door. They tried to lift me, but were having difficulty. One of them asked if I could push with my legs. I pushed, and they lifted me out and walked me over to a pickup truck and sat me on the tail gate. Then they went back to get Doug.

The Ramona firemen arrived. They put Doug on a stretcher. He was alive, but unconscious, and his head was bleeding badly. They called the Life-flight helicopter. I saw Doug’s girl friend Terry. She had watched the whole thing, and badly shaken. I gave her my wife’s work number and asked her to please call, and say: “Vance is O.K., but he’s been in an airplane accident.”

Life-flight arrived and flew us to Scripts Hospital. By the time we arrived things were starting to get blurry. In the emergency room a doctor cut a slit in my stomach and inserted a tube. I was bleeding internally. They ran down the hall with my gurney to the surgery room. As I began to lose consciousness my last thought was: “They’re running, it’s going to be a close one.”

Two years later we went to court. The accident, which seemed like five or ten seconds of total chaos, was blown up into thirty eight-hour days, and gone over in minute detail; with huge color photographs, computer generated videos, and hours and hours of testimony from eye witnesses and accident investigation experts.

After the court experience, I had a completely different perception of the word accident. With the facts laid out before me in all of this great detail, I decided that what I had perceived as total chaos was really more like a cross between a beautifully orchestrated ballet, and micro-surgery. Something like one of those ultra slow motion movies of a drop of milk hitting in a cup and bouncing up into a beautiful flower pattern.

While we were gliding in for our final landing, God was already moving in the witnesses for the upcoming law suit. A student pilot about to return to his home base on a solo cross-country flight taxied his airplane out to the engine run-up area. This gave him a ring side seat for the accident. And a lady pilot

in a Cessna 150 was just entering the downwind leg on her Private check-ride. She watched the Pitts biplane pass by her lower and inside; make a swooping left turn hit our airplane and chew off the tail section. (The tail section that would later be taken into the court room as evidence).

After studying the details, I call it a “Multiple stage miracle.”

First of all the Pitts stopped chewing two and a half feet behind me.

Secondly, his propeller surgically removed our battery, disconnecting the electrical system and preventing a fire.

His aircraft locked up with ours somehow, momentarily replacing the tail section it had cut off, and allowing us to remain in level flight down to about thirty-five feet.

All aircraft do not necessarily have shoulder harnesses, this one did, and we had them on.

The engine broke off, and the left wing crumpled, absorbing much of the impact.

Locking my arms in front of my face shattered my shoulders, but saved my face and neck, and probably my life.

The two guys were right there in time, and brave enough to pull us out.

One wing broke on the Pitts, causing it to roll over and land inverted. The top wing took most of the impact, and the pilot walked away without a scratch.

The biplane slid to a stop just a few feet short of hitting our aircraft a second time.

Instead of taking us in the ambulance they called the Life-flight helicopter. I would have bled to death internally before arriving at the hospital in an ambulance.

Doug had to have five pins put into his right ankle, and twenty-seven stitches in his forehead, but he was

Able to visit me on crutches a week after the accident.

During my first shoulder operation, I aspirated, which came closer to killing me than the airplane accident. They aborted the operation, and I ended up spending 44 days in I.C.U.

 

I was in the back seat of the orange and white aircraft,- – – note the tail section of our airplane to the right of the photograph, that was cut off in mid-air. Also note the red battery just ahead of the fireman; it was surgically removed by his propeller, thereby preventing a fire. The red bi-plane landed upside down and is lying just behind our aircraft.

 

 

 

May 3, 2017

MY ESCHATOLOGY

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There are many conflicting versions of Judgment Day and end time scenarios, and considering the way God likes to tell us what He will do, and then does it right in front of our eyes in such an unique way that we only realize it has happened in retrospect; there’s a good chance we may all be wrong. For example, a babe in a manger, who saw that coming?

To be ‘Biblical’ one must stick to the bible verses, but apparently there’s more than one way to ‘connect-the-dots.’

Anyway, here’s my version:

At Christ’s second coming the dead in Christ will be resurrected, and the believers who are alive will go with them to meet the Lord in the air and be with Him forever. (1 Thess. 4:15-5:4)

But the rest of the dead are resurrected a thousand years later. (Rev. 20:5)

Why two resurrections?

My best guess; the good guys have admitted their guilt and thrown themselves on the mercy of the court, but the rest have denied any wrongdoing, so they’re being held for trial.

The Bible says Satan ‘deceives’ them (the nations) to gather to battle, so the wicked are still under the deception of Satan. (Revelation 20:7&8)

But, then everything is put on hold while the Books are opened. (Rev. 20:12)

Everything anyone has ever done, and everything that has ever happened has been recorded in the Books of Heaven, so after the books have been reviewed there can be no more deception.

My version of “The Books being opened,” is a sermon by Jesus, titled, ‘The Truth, the Whole Truth, and nothing but the TRUTH.’

After His sermon, Jesus makes an alter call, and “Every knee bows, and every tongue confesses that Jesus is LORD.” (Isaiah 45:23, Romans 2:10-11, and Phil. 2:10-11)

Note: The Bible says; “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) And it also says, “No man can say Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.”(1 Cor. 12:3)

The Bible also says, “The gates shall not be shut.” “Open continually.” (Rev. 21:25 & Isaiah 60:11)

So I believe, if one of the ‘wicked’ suddenly ran for the gates of the Holy City, Jesus would welcome him with open arms, just as the Prodigal father welcomed his wayward son.

I’m assuming the wicked will have freewill after they are resurrected, and I am assuming God’s heart for His children will be as merciful as ever. I also believe God’s Justice is restorative, rather than retributive.

 

May 2, 2017

TWO PAIRS OF GLASSES

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We know how the story ends; every knee bows, and every tongue confesses Jesus Christ is Lord; and Wisdom has been justified by all of her children. (Phil. 2:10-11 &. Luke 7:35)

So with this knowledge, let’s review a couple of major historical events, through two pairs of glasses; our ‘Good and evil glasses,’ and our ‘3-D Glasses of Wisdom.’

By banning us from the Tree of Life, God pronounced a death sentence on the entire human race.

Through our ‘good and evil glasses,’ God’s actions appear to be an extreme overreaction, and a horrible punishment, – – – for eating fruit.

However, with our ‘3-D wisdom glasses,’ we can see it was the most loving thing for God to do.

Now the Cross; what kind of Father would toss His only Beloved Son to an angry pack of humans, and watch them tear Him apart?

With one pair of glasses, the most evil and ugly event of all of time; but with our wisdom glasses we see God’s beautiful plan of redemption.

Note: Satan gave us our ‘good and evil glasses’ when we ate from the wrong tree.

So now you decide; which glasses will you wear, reading Scripture?

 

 

May 2, 2017

FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE WARRIOR GOD

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Lately some of my theological friends have been writing books about how to read the Old Testament in a way that reconciles Jesus, the peaceful Nazarene, with what they are calling ‘The Violent Warrior God of the Old Testament.’

They begin with this verse, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father,” and then they go on to say, “To understand what Scripture says about God, you must read it through the lens of Jesus.”

With all due respect, this is where they go wrong, because any time God says or does something they can’t imagine Jesus of Nazareth doing, they go into their theological song and dance.

“Jesus would never do that, so that must have been Satan.” Or, “The Bible was written by men, and they must have gotten that part wrong.” Or, “The translators misinterpreted that verse, you have to read it in the original Greek and Hebrew.” Or, “God didn’t actually do that, He only allowed it.” Or, “That’s just a poem, a metaphor, or a parable, and it must be read subjectively, you can’t take that literally.”

One of my secondary assumptions is, ‘The Bible writers were inspired by God, so God has the responsibility to provide us with a certain degree of clarity. If it takes a degree in theology, or if you must read all of their books to begin to comprehend the Bible, that’s simply not fair to us common folks; personally I expect much more from The God of the Universe.’

No matter how many pages a theological book may have, what its pages are filled with depends mostly on the original premise their argument is based upon.

 

I begin with a slightly different basic premise. Yes, I do believe in the Trinity, but that’s a different subject; – – –  my premise is, “God is One,” and, “God is Love.”

“No one has ever seen the Father,” so anything you read about God speaking, (except for the few times Father spoke audibly from the sky), or doing, or appearing in any form, anywhere in the Bible, it is referring to The Christ, the Son of God; sometimes called, Michael the Archangel, the pre-incarnate Christ, the Captain of the LORD’s Host, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Prince of Peace, etc.

I do begin with the same verse, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father,” and yes, most certainly without any shadow of doubt whatsoever, Jesus on the Cross is the perfect window into the Heart of God.

However, I read this verse to mean, when you read anything about God anywhere in the Bible, Jesus is saying, ‘Assume it’s Me, Jesus; and whatever you see Me do and say, take it as if you have heard and seen the actions of My Father.’

I assume, “God is Love,” means, everything God has ever said or done, has always been the most loving thing He could possibly have done for everyone concerned, for all of eternity.

God has sworn that on Judgment day, when the Books have been opened, and all of history has been reviewed, when there is no longer any room for deception, “Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is LORD.”

This is God promising we will all understand, and agree, that His plan was perfect, that He got it exactly right at every stage of the game. So anytime His actions do not seem to agree with the Heart of Jesus, we must keep studying, until we see His Love.

To really get to know a person, you need to observe them in many different situations and circumstances. If the person happens to be a Judge, you will see a different facet of his character while he’s playing with his children, than you will when he is in court, pronouncing a death sentence.

Even if you think you know God’s Heart, to more fully understand His Character, you will need to consider all of His actions in the Old, and the New Testament.

“There is nothing new under the Sun.” So everything I have to say has probably been said before, but I haven’t heard it, or read it, so here’s my take on reconciling the peace loving Jesus of Nazareth, with ‘The violent Warrior God of the Old Testament.’

I believe the key to the solution is refining the definition of the word ‘violence.’

Violence proceeds out of the sinful hearts of angry, selfish, greedy, impatient, unimaginative, power hungry beings.

The use of force may be either destructive, or restorative, depending on the qualifications and intentions of the person applying the force.

The actions of a qualified person with proper authority, done from the motive of love, may be called ‘tough love,’ but should not be called violence.

The vengeance of a God of Love, The Ultimate Authority, can not equal violence, and therefore we have a God throughout the Bible, who is non-violent.

Simple, yes; – – – but certainly not easily understood, so please bear with me while I explain.

Here are some examples:

Medical procedures:

Dentistry, heart surgery, amputations, radiation, chemotherapy, etc.

Punishment/Discipline:

Parental discipline; for running into the street, or fighting with siblings. Peace Officers; arresting and incarcerating a person who is an apparent danger to themselves or others.  A Judge and jury; imposing a life sentence.

God’s vengeance:

Banning Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life, and thereby pronouncing a death sentence on the entire human race.

Most of us Bible students understand this to be a loving act that was necessary to prevent sin from becoming eternal.

IMO, all of God’s actions, throughout Scripture, may be seen to be just as loving and non-violent as this.

He is the JUDGE, we are not. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

I contend that anything done by God or commanded by God in the Old Testament, was done from a motive of Love, with full authority, as the Righteous Judge of the Universe.

Call it vengeance if you like, but no matter how severe His loving actions may appear to you, – – – you are simply not qualified to judge them as evil or violent.

Remember this; the human race gained our ‘talent’ to judge good and evil, by eating from the WRONG TREE.

Another key word we need to learn to see from Jesus’ point of view, is the word ‘death.’

Us humans are generally pretty freaked out about anything that has to do with death or dying, but Jesus sees death as a sleep. “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m going there to wake him up.”

An Anesthesiologist has the authority to place a patient into a deep sleep and then wake them back up again, nonviolently.

Therefore I have no problem with God putting people into a ‘dirt-nap-timeout,’ so He can deal with them later.

However, for me to be Ok with God placing people in this kind of timeout, I find it necessary to believe His mercy endures forever, and that He is a God of second chances.

For details, about second chances, see my blog, MY ESCATOLOGY.

MY ESCHATOLOGY

Another important factor is; God has designed our body and minds to refuse extreme amounts of pain, by going into shock.

I’ve been in aircraft and auto accidents, and on one occasion had my throat slit, and was shot in the head twice; so from my personal experiences, I can say, “dying quickly must not hurt very much,” because in all of these occasions, I felt very little pain until after I woke up in the hospital.

So I’m saying, God has already sentenced us all to die the first death, and if and when it becomes the most loving thing for Him to do, He has a perfect right to take as many people as He wants as early as necessary, and then continue His conversation with them later.

And yes, God does seem to like a dramatic story, so sometimes He cracks open the earth, and swallows people, sometimes He rains down fire and brimstone, or sends plagues, and causes floods, but for the people involved, it may be as painless as dying in your sleep, or experiencing an unsuspected catastrophe; – – – going into shock, and then fading to black.

At one point The Angel of the Lord killed one hundred and eighty five thousand Assyrians in their sleep, but then, the next moment, as far as the Assyrians would have known, they found themselves in heaven, surrounded by God’s Holy Angels.

Egypt’s firstborn died in their sleep also; and Ananias and Sapphira simply passed out.

I could go on and on, but I’ve decided to leave you with this.

I’m simply saying, I believe we need to trust our Loving God to do whatever He thinks is best, and Divine violence is an oxymoron.

JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, YES, YES, YES!

However, just lately I find myself falling in love with the Warrior God of the Old Testament, – – – be still my heart.

My plan is to simply play my part, and trust the Author for the happy ending.

 

Feel free to share this link, or copy any part of it, and if you have questions please leave them as a comment.

God’s Blessings on you and yours, Vance

 

April 13, 2017

JESUS IS THE SHOT CALLER

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Earth has become a prison planet, all of the bad guys in the universe live here, and Jesus is ‘The Shot Caller.’
He is the ‘Word’ who said, “Let there be light,” and “Let Us create man.”
Jesus drove us out of the garden, and called Cherubims with flaming swords East of Eden to guard the the tree of life.
He sent Moses to Pharaoh, to say, “LET MY PEOPLE GO!”
He called the shot at Sodom and Gomorrah.
And He sent the flood.
Jesus doesn’t hold anyone responsible for the ugliness in this world, He’s ‘the buck stops here’ God, who takes full responsibility for everything that happens on His watch, because He knows none of this would have happened unless He said, “Let there be light.”
So ultimately He is responsible, and He took that responsibility on the cross; but this is not His mess, it’s ours.
And yet, when it’s all said and done we will see that Jesus is Love.
Everything He has ever said or done has always been the most loving thing for everyone concerned, for all of eternity.
So if anything He’s done seems un-loving to you, don’t just throw up your hands, don’t cut verses out of your Bible, don’t blame it on the writers, or the translators, don’t try to blame it all on Satan, and don’t try to understand it all at once; assume it’s because of your fallen judgmental mind that God appears to do evil, then hold it all in tension by faith, and never stop praying and studying.
April 5, 2017