Answering John Noble

Someone named John Noble has been interacting with me beginning here.    I have been responding to him there, but his latest comment had a number of points.  So, I thought it best to break down those points and deal with them one by one.

I’m going to copy what he wrote, put it in italics, and then respond one point at a time.

Mike you seem to contradict yourself. You want people to believe you when you have said in the beginning that you want all to believe in Jesus and not you.

John the Baptist wanted his hearers to believe in Jesus, not him.  The apostle Paul wanted his listeners to believe in Jesus, not him.  When you tell your neighbor about Jesus, you want your neighbor to believe in Jesus, not you.  Yes, people had to believe what John was saying in order to get to believe in Jesus.  Same for Paul.  Same for you.  Same for me.  We all hope to be bridges to Jesus, but He is the destination.

Don’t hold views about him just live in him to experience the kingdom within.

It is indeed possible to hold views about Jesus without experiencing His kingdom, but it is not possible to experience His kingdom without holding views about Him.  Faith is viewing Him with our hearts (“fixing our eyes on Jesus” – Hebrews 12:1-2).

You also said you were once a Pastor in that case you had an anointing for those you were pastoring but you are now saying you are just a disciple. The lord relationship with you on these are different. In the latter you have equipment for your growth and development whiles in the former you get the equipment for the commission of ,the church for which you have been anointed.

In the kingdom of God, no human being has pastoral authority over another.  The Lord is the pastor.  We are all disciples.  Yes, we each try to share what we have learned with others, especially with those who lack the knowledge we have been graced to learn.  But none of us is set over others of us.  We are all brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Jesus is more that our lord. He is God, our savior, our master, our lord, our brother, our father, our king and our life. He desires us to relate to him in all these forms.

Yes.  Amen.

The bible is the Word of God written down. But Jesus is the Word personality and we commune with him to receive the Word substance of the Spirit, which transforms us unto his likeness. I am not saying don’t read the bible but Christ said the scripture talks about him. The scripture was there when he came but they refuse and did not recognize him. The scripture is fulfilled in Jesus Christ on his coming and in him is the kingdom in all creations.

Yes, the Bible testifies of Jesus – and it is Jesus who is Lord, not the Bible.  But the Bible does not become obsolete once we recognize Jesus for who He is.  Even Jesus used the Scripture to resist the temptations of the devil after He had been filled with the Holy Spirit.

We have the Bible – which was written by prophets and apostles by the inspiration of the Spirit – and we have the Spirit, too.  Thus by two witnesses our conscience is assured of the things we learn.  The Bible is a safeguard to help us be sure that we are not misunderstanding things that the Holy Spirit is telling us.  And the Holy Spirit is a safeguard because our own minds are insufficient to assimilate all that is in the Bible and apply it to any and every situation we face.

In 2 Corinthians 13:1, Paul writes (alluding to Deuteronomy 19:15) “…EVERY FACT IS TO BE CONFIRMED BY THE TESTIMONY OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES.  In this age, therefore, God has given us three witnesses by which we can discern His will each day in order that we might do it: 1) the Scriptures, 2) the Holy Spirit, 3) conscience.  When they are in agreement, we have strong assurance about His will for us…and His will is always righteousness.  That is, He always wants us to do right, to do good.  We are not wise to reject any of these three witnesses.  They are all important.

By these witnesses, we actualize the lordship of Christ in our daily lives. By them, we experience and demonstrate the kingdom of God.

An Antidote for the Lies

We live in a world of lies, liars, and lying.  Politically-correct speech is all about promoting and maintaining fictions.  Mendacity is corrupting all our public and private conversations.  We’re even lying to ourselves.

Jesus Christ is the antidote to all this lying.  He speaks the truth and only the truth.  He even described Himself as truth personified:

…I am the way, and the truth, and the life…
–  John 14:6

Coming to Jesus is coming out of darkness into light – that is, coming out of lies into truth.  Listen to how the Bible describes this process.

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.
–  John 3:19-21

Do you recognize in this passage the price we must pay to get from lies to the truth?  It is the acknowledgement and abandonment of our evil deeds.  The reason so few people are walking in the truth is that so few people are willing to turn from their private evils.  The private evils are those that only God can see.  It is a small price to pay for so valuable a commodity as truth.  Yet so many people are acting as if the price is too dear.

There is an antidote available for all the lying that is in the world.  Be sure you are willing to step up to the counter and pay for your daily portion of it.  Repent today from the sin you have been indulging too long.  Your reward shall be the light of truth – relief from the pain caused by lies.

Consciousness Raising

Similar to raising awareness and sensitivity training, consciousness raising is all about some group getting us to think the way they do.

Here’s how such groups use social media to affect our thinking and behavior:

Social-media activism gets a lot of criticism, some of it deserved, some of it less so. (There’s even a somewhat pejorative term for it: slacktivism.) On one hand, it’s an easy way to reach a lot of people, and it often amplifies the voices of the marginalized. On the other hand, changing your profile picture for an awareness day (something Autism Speaks asked people to do for Light It Up Blue) might just be the smallest possible unit of support for a cause. If not backed up by money or deed, it’s little more than lip service. But lip service is not nothing—if enough people do it, it could help shift cultural norms, as Melanie Tannenbaum wrote in Scientific American, about people supporting marriage equality by making equals signs their profile pictures.

“Based on everything that we know about our brains and their bafflingly strong desires to fit in with the crowd, the best way to convince people that they should care about an issue and get involved in its advocacy isn’t to tell people what they should do—it’s to tell them what other people actually do,” Tannenbaum writes. “And you know what will accomplish that? That’s right. Everyone on Facebook making their opinions on the issue immediately, graphically, demonstrably obvious.”

(Julie Beck in “What Good Is ‘Raising Awareness’?” The Atlantic, April 21, 2015)

So, whether its consciousness raising for a cause, raising awareness for a disease, or sensitivity training for minority issues, be aware of how others are attempting to shape your behavior by shaping your thinking.

Peer pressure is an undeniable dynamic – like gravity.  Attempting to deny such a dynamic is counterproductive.  Instead, you need to make such a dynamic work for you instead of against you.  For example, gravity works for you if your feet are planted firmly on the ground, but against you if you jump off a tall building.  Similarly, peer pressure works for you if you choose the right peers, and against you if you don’t.

Wise parents have always sought to position their children with peers (that is find friends for them) who lift up rather than pull down.  And wise investors know that the worst house in the best neighborhood is a better financial investment than the best house in the worst neighborhood.

Most of all, teach yourself and your children to walk in the presence of the Lord.  He is the Peer whose presence – gently and always – pressures you toward godliness.

Sensitivity Training

We need sensitivity training so that we might better recognize God and His voice.

The world has its various forms of sensitivity training, sensitizing us to this or that politically-correct concept.  They want to sensitize us to minority rights, women’s rights, and even animal rights.  Yet these kinds of sensitivity training only desensitize us to God and His authority.

Therefore, we need to seek more sensitivity to God – more awareness of His presence and His will.  (This is like our campaign to raise awareness of God in our own consciousness.)  If we were more sensitive to God, we would not mistreat anyone – even animals.

The futility of the world’s sensitivity training is seen, for example, in the fact that those most sensitive to animal rights seem to be among the least concerned about the rights of children in their mothers’ wombs.  It’s strange enough that people view a pre-born baby as less than human, but apparently those pre-borns are considered as less than animal, too.  Such are the follies of the world’s attempts at improving our moral outlook.

Let us therefore reject the sensitivity training that the world gives through popular culture, mass media, social media, and peer pressure.  Instead, let us do the things that make us more sensitive to God.  That begins with cultivating a receptivity to Jesus Christ.  He is the One sent to sensitize the entire world to God.  Be sensitive to Him…and your thought life will change for the better.

What to do when you fall down in your run toward Jesus

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus…
–  Hebrews 12:1-2

Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
–  1 Corinthians 9:25

Eric Liddell
(2 min, 10 sec)

Heather Dorniden
(2 min, 48 sec)

Raising Awareness

It seems that everyone is raising awareness of this or that cause these days.

Wikipedia defines the term “raising awareness” this way:

Consciousness raising (also called awareness raising) is a form of activism, popularized by United States feminists in the late 1960s. It often takes the form of a group of people attempting to focus the attention of a wider group of people on some cause or condition.

Of course, consciousness raising has gone way beyond feminism.  Outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins even says he wants to raise consciousness about atheism.  One area where raising consciousness has really taken root is with regard to diseases.  People wear pink ribbons to raise awareness of breast cancer.  Various colored-ribbons have been adopted to raise awareness of various other diseases.  Nor have consciousness-raising techniques been limited to ribbon wearing.  In 2014, it became all the rage for people to make a video of pouring a bucket of ice water on their heads to raise awareness of the disease ALS.  (I had to look it up to find out the cause, so maybe it raised more awareness for buckets of ice water than it did for ALS.)

So, it seems we’re constantly having our consciousness raised for one thing or another.  Why then do people get so disturbed when someone tries to raise awareness of Jesus Christ?  It’s eerie how easily perturbed they are by any respectful mention of His name in a public setting.

What makes any reference to Jesus even more upsetting to people is when we talk about His having died for our sins.  It’s that “sin” aspect that really seems to distress them, for if Jesus is portrayed to them (as He is by some) as a wimpy do-gooder with no qualms about hedonism, they seem less bothered.  Yet if sin is a disease that kills people (and that is surely what Jesus believed), then why is raising awareness of it disallowed when raising awareness of other diseases (such as breast cancer and ALS) is so freely allowed and even welcomed?

Speaking about Mary, the angel told Joseph:

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
–  Matthew 1:21

Please think about this:  Why do so many people resist having their consciousness raised about Jesus Christ?  Didn’t your life become better once you stopped resisting the awareness of this Jesus about whom the angel spoke?

The Folly of Progressivism

The folly of Progressivism is that it sees the answers to our present problems as lying in the future…but none of us knows the future, so how could we find answers in it?

The wisdom of Conservatism is that it looks to the past, which was by no means perfect, but at least is knowable.  Therefore, we can learn from it, repeating the behaviors that brought good consequences and avoiding the behaviors that led to bad ones.

Yes, the past is an imperfect guide to the future (because we can’t know all the past’s causes and effects), but to say that the future is a guide to anything is to spout foolishness.  It’s like saying, “I’m going to inform my ignorance with something about which I’m ignorant,” or “I’m going to learn about the future by studying the future.”

When progressives say, “We’re on the right side of history,” they’re assuming that they know how history is going to turn out.  In reality, all they’re doing is projecting their present hopes and calling it the future.

Learn from the past and you’ll contribute to a better future.  Ignore the past and your future will hardly ever turn out to be what you think it will be.

The antidote to cultural drift

The antidote to cultural drift is having a fixed point of reference.  Without such a reference point, you drift along with the culture…not even realizing that you’re drifting.

It’s like drifting on a raft in the river.  Until you look back and see how far you are from that tree where you started, you’re often unaware of the drift.

Here’s our fixed point of reference:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
–  Hebrews 13:8

Keep the eyes of your heart on Him and you’ll know when you’re drifting.  Stay attached to Him and you’ll begin to feel tension with the culture.  That tension’s a good thing, because it means you are not drifting.

The Declaration of Independence and Its References to God

[I’ve put the references to God in bold.]

The first sentence of our Declaration of Independence is:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

The Declaration’s penultimate sentence is:

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

And the Declaration’s final sentence is:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Isn’t it obvious that our nation, as a whole, does not think this way anymore?  And isn’t it likewise obvious that our nation as a whole has become hostile to those citizens within it who do still think this way?

I say this to encourage those of you who still think the way the founders did.  It is not you who have abandoned principle for pleasure.  It is not you who have bathed 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the colors of a morally decadent political lobby.