The Third Commandment

Patricia L. Dickson

Exodus 20:7

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”

God gave The Ten Commandments to Moses after He had delivered the Israelites from under the bondage of their Egyptian slave owners. During their exodus, the children of Israel witnessed God’s countless miraculous provisions and protection. Because God showed His love for the stiff-necked Israelites, it is only natural that He would demand that they honor and respect His name. The third commandment focuses on showing respect for God’s name. God commanded that His people (Christians) not take His name in vain.

The Hebrew meaning of the word take is to lift up, bear, carry, use or appropriate. The word name in Hebrew is an outstanding mark, sign, or reputation. The Hebrew word for vain is lashav, an empty or thoughtless manner. The Greek word for vain is mataios, useless or without purpose. To use God’s name in a thoughtless careless manner is to show dishonor for Him. What are the ways that we can dishonor God’s name? When most people hear or quote “You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain”, the first thing that often comes to mind is using God’s name with profanity. However, the most common but often not thought of, way of dishonoring God is when a believer (Christians) conducts his or her life in a way that is contrary to God’s teachings. In other words, a Christian will dishonor God’s name in the presence of unbelievers if his or her (Christian’s) conduct does not align with God’s teaching. Moses knew that in order for the other nations to honor God, it was imperative that the Israelites (whom God had delivered from slavery) conduct their lives in a way that would honor God. Christians are responsible for revealing and teaching unbelievers who God is. Living a hypocritical life blasphemes His name.

Romans 2:21-24

Well then, you who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you teach against stealing, do you steal (take what does not really belong to you)?

You who say not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery [are you unchaste in action or in thought]? You who abhor and loathe idols, do you rob temples [do you appropriate to your own use what is consecrated to God, thus robbing the sanctuary and [h]doing sacrilege]?

You who boast in the Law, do you dishonor God by breaking the Law [by stealthily infringing upon or carelessly neglecting or openly breaking it]?

For, as it is written, The name of God is maligned and blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you! [The words to this effect are from your own Scriptures.]

We often think that anyone can take God’s name in vain. It is true that unbelievers carelessly use God’s name in conversation and often in connection with profanity. However, Christians are the ones that can truly take God’s name in vain because we are the ones that are in a relationship with Him. The world cannot honor God because it does not know Him (has no relationship with Him). Respect is the foundation of a good relationship. When unbelievers witness Christians showing reverence for God, that and only that will cause him or her to be convicted and refrain from profaning His name. However, no one that takes God’s name in vain will be found guiltless (free, clear, or unpunished).

Why is God’s name worthy of such respect? If we pose this question in reference to the Israelites, the obvious answer is that God brought them out of slavery. However; God not only brought them out of bondage, he protected them and provided for their every need. God showed them His love and faithfulness time and time again (even when they rebelled against Him). God does the same for believers today. His name is worthy of respect because of who He is and what He has done. No other name deserves the same honor and respect as God because no one has done what He has done. No one is able (regardless of claims) to do what God can do. There is no politician, minister, husband, wife, boss, father, mother or friend that can do for anyone what God can do. That is why His name is worthy of respect and should never be taken in vain.

 

 

The Fourth Commandment

Patricia L. Dickson

Exodus 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

It was quite easy to obey this commandment growing up in the “Bible Belt” South because most of the establishments were closed on Sundays. Because the majority of the counties were dry, there was no way anyone could legally buy alcohol. My mother and aunts prepared Sunday’s dinner (except for the bread) on Saturday nights so that all they would have to do was warm it in the oven after church. We were not allowed to do laundry or any other household chores (other than wash the dinner dishes) on Sundays. My parents would not even allow me to clip my fingernails or toenails on the Sabbath. In fact, remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy was my father’s grace that he prayed before every meal until the day he died.

After moving away from the South and living in large cities like New York and Los Angeles, I found myself easily breaking this commandment without much thought or conviction. With stores and restaurants open 24/7 in most large cities; it is easy for Christian patrons to be lured away from obeying this commandment. Christian employees are also compelled to work on Sundays if their employer requires them to do so.

Why is the Sabbath so important to God? The Sabbath is tied to our relationship with God; therefore, it is one of the most important commandments out of the Ten. God Himself, in Genesis 2:2-3 declared a day of rest from His work:

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

And God blessed (spoke good of) the seventh day, set it apart as His own, and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all His work which He had created and done.

The important words in this commandment are “remember and keep it holy”. Obedience to the commandment is centered on both the word and the phrase. Remember simply means no to forget. We must not forget the Sabbath day. Why should we not forget the Sabbath? We must remember it in order to keep it holy. When something is holy it is set aside for God. Christians are a people set aside for God’s purpose. As Christians we are commanded to live holy which includes our conduct, resources, talents, body and speech. The fourth commandment deals specifically with our time. Keep it holy means to set aside this day and time for God. Observing the Sabbath is a form of worship to God. Yes, many believers attend church services on Sundays; however, our worship should not end once we leave our place of worship. God is commanding that the entire Sabbath be a day of worship.

Why would God command us to not do any work on the Sabbath? Work and outside activities will interfere with and distract from our worship. Attention is to be directed to God in a way that is more concentrated and steady on the Sabbath than on the other six days. Worship is a state (an attitude) of spirit. The Hebrew word and definition of worship is Shachah – to prostrate, bow, do (make) obeisance or do reverence. The Greek words and definitions are Proskuneo -kiss toward, Sebomai (my favorite) – hold in awe, and Latreuo-to render religious service of homage.

Many today say that the scriptures, in particularly this commandment, are antiquated because the times have changed. Some have asked how is it that God could expect us to refrain from working on the Sabbath when He knows that some Christians have jobs and are required by employers to work. My response to them is: God in his infinite wisdom knew that times were going to change and become more commercialized and modern (nothing takes God by surprise). We must always remember that God is not some barbarian God who does not understand the needs of His people. He understands that many have to work on Sundays to provide for themselves and their families. Therefore, the focus on the Sabbath should not only be on what we cannot do. The purpose of the Sabbath is to also focus on what we can do. We should spend the Sabbath thanking God for how He has blessed us with a job to be able to provide for our families and for having the health, strength and mental ability to be able to get out of bed and perform on the job. We as Christians should use the opportunity to spend time with family reflecting on the events of the prior week and remembering how blessed we are to live in a country where we have the freedom to worship God without the fear of having our heads chopped off.

I believe that God wants us to obey the fourth commandment whenever circumstances will allow us. However, other than having to work on Sundays, there is no other reason that we should not be able to obey this commandment.

 

The Christian Faith: Protestant vs Catholicism

Patricia L. Dickson

The first time that I had to differentiate my Christian faith as either Protestant or Catholic was while I was serving in the military. While filling out my personnel file on the computer, I came to the question about my religious faith. I typed Christian in the space provided, however that triggered the choice of either Protestant or Catholic. That was the first time in my life that I had to choose a Christian affiliation. My supervisor explained to me that I was a Protestant since I did not identify as a Catholic whom she said were Christians too.

While stationed in Utah, I would engage in conversations with Mormons who would attempt to assure me that they were Christians too. When I would begin to discuss the Bible, they would refer to the Book of Mormons. The Catholic Church also uses other teachings besides the Bible. In fact, the Catholic Church added the following books to the Bible: books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees, as well as some additional stories and verses in the books of Daniel and Esther. Catholics refer to these seven books as the deuterocanonical” books, meaning the “second” standard books. The Mormons use the Book of Mormons as an additional book that goes along with the Bible (another testament). The problem with these books is that they contradict the 66 books of the Bible that Protestants use as the sole source for God’s divinely inspired word. My question to these religious organizations who claim to be a form of the Christian faith is how come each one of you feel the need to write (use), add another or additional books to (as they claim) go along with or is an extension of the Bible?

I believe that there are two answers to this question. First, The Bible removes man from power and proclaims that God is all-powerful (omnipotent). Man has always desired to judge and control other men regardless of his own weak and sinful nature. These additional books (written and inspired by men) places a man (a Priest, Joseph Smith) in the position of power to confer blessing or to require one to confess his or her sins to them. These church leaders are taking on the role of Jesus the Christ (although no one will admit it). The Bible levels the playing field by stating that all have sinned therefore rendering every human not worthy of judging another. Secondly, man’s sinful pride desires to earn his or her own salvation. In other words, man would rather go to God and say that he or she is good enough to enter heaven because he or she earned it by his or her own merit (through good works). The Bible forces men to humble themselves with the knowledge that there is nothing he or she can do to earn eternal salvation except to accept the gift of salvation through faith in His son Jesus. The imputed and imparted righteousness of CHRIST are both offered at the same time to those who accept GOD’S offer and provision of salvation.

Romans 3:22-24

Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction,

Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory [b]which God bestows and receives.

[All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,

All religions are aware that the Bible is considered the only book that is believed to be the divinely inspired word of God. Therefore other religions that claim to be another form of Christianity will use a few scriptures from the Bible out of context because they know that most people (including professed Christians) know little about the Bible and are not equipped to spot misquotes. It is a damning indictment that supposedly Bible believing Christians can be so easily stumped (by biblical misquotes) by religions that claim to be another form of Christianity. In fact, most religions often start talking about the Bible in the beginning. They know that if they were to admit from the beginning that they do not rely on the Bible as the sole source for the word of God that people would not listen to their teachings. Misquoting God’s words as a means to deceive is not new; it began in the Garden of Eden with the serpent and Eve. Eve; however at least had an excuse because she did not have the written word readily available (as we do) to compare the words that Satan attributed to God to God’s actual words.

My interest in learning the fundamental doctrines that separates Protestants and Catholics peaked during my recent Christmas vacation to Rome, Italy. The tour group that I was part of was present at St. Peter’s square on Christmas day and witnessed Pope Francis’ Christmas message. Since the Pope delivered his message in Latin, the tour guide translated it in English after the service ended. The tour guide said that at the end of his message, the Pope forgave our indulgence and we were then free to continue to indulge (in his case, excessive wine consumption). I immediately told him that Jesus had already forgiven our sins when He died on the cross and that no man has the power to forgive sin. Furthermore, Jesus would never tell someone that he or she was free to continue in sin. In fact, after Jesus healed someone he would warn him or her to sin no more. God does not command us not to sin because He does not want us to have fun. Sin destroys the body and the soul.

John 5:14-15

Afterward, when Jesus found him in the temple, He said to him, See, you are well! Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.

The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus Who had made him well.

The day after Christmas, we toured St. Peter’s Church. During the tour, I was struck by how Jesus was portrayed in statues and paintings. Jesus was always portrayed as weak and powerless whereas, the Catholic Priests and Mary (the mother of Jesus) were portrayed as strong and powerful. Jesus was either portrayed as a baby, suffering on the cross or lying dead in Mary’s (His mother’s) arms. Jesus is not some weak dead savior. He rose from the dead with all power in His hand. He ascended to heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus is in heaven interceding on our behalf. The tour guide that took us through St. Peter’s Church informed us that the Pope blessed the baby Jesus before it was placed in the manager at the large Nativity Scene display in St. Peter’s square. There are two problems with the Pope’s blessing the baby Jesus. First, there is no baby Jesus to bless. Jesus died and rose again at the age of 33. Secondly, sinful man cannot confer blessing over a holy God. Jesus was Lord at birth and Lord when He died and rose from the dead.

Three fundamental doctrines separate Protestants and Catholics. The Protestant relies solely on the word of God for instructions, and goes to the throne of grace in his or her devotion; while the Roman Catholic consults the teachings of his or her church, and offer prayers through the mediums of the Virgin Mary and Saints (dead humans). Mary, the mother of Jesus is elevated to a position of power in the Catholic Church that contradicts how she is portrayed in Biblical teachings. The Bible never says that Mary was anyone but an ordinary human whom God chose to use in an extraordinary way. Catholics take the term “highly favored” in Luke 1:28 out of context. The phrase “highly favored” comes from a single Greek word, which essentially means “much grace.” Mary received God’s grace. Grace is “unmerited favor,” meaning something we receive despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Mary needed grace from God just as the rest of us do.

In Catholic teachings, salvation is dispensed by the church, especially through the sacramental system. The church has the authority to grant partial or plenary (full) remission of the temporal punishment of sin by selling memorial masses and indulgences. These can alleviate, shorten, and even eliminate the time spent in the purging fires of purgatory.

“If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified… let him be accursed,” (Canon 12, Council of Trent).

“If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema,” (Canon 14, Council of Trent).

No one can MERIT the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can MERIT for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2027).

By contrast, the Bible teaches salvation is a divine gift of grace, not a human achievement. Jesus died to pay the penalty for all of our sins. We cannot earn justification or merit justification in any way. If we could, there would have been no need for Jesus to go to the cross.

Romans 3:28

For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent of and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). [The observance of the Law has nothing to do with justification.]

Galatians 2:21

[Therefore, I do not treat God’s gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ (the Messiah) died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain. [His death was then wholly superfluous.]

Rom 5:8-9

But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.

Therefore, since we are now justified ([f]acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God.

Is 53:5

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.

Which are we to believe? The Roman Catholic Church or God’s word? Any Bible believing Christian should be able to discern that we are living in the last days. We are witnessing what is prophesied in the Bible (2 Timothy 3) every day. Millions of souls are being deceived and led astray by false doctrines and false prophets. We who have been saved are mandated by God to teach the unadulterated whole counsel of God to a dying world. If we do not reach the world, who will?

 

The Fifth Commandment

Patricia L. Dickson

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Growing up in the south, my parents (and everyone else’s parents) repeated the verse it seemed on a daily basis. I am not sure if they were trying to teach us or scare us. In the wake of the events in Ferguson that has played out before the world, the discussion of this commandment is appropriate. In the case of both Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, you have teenagers physically attacking adults and authority figures without hesitation. It was reported that Trayvon Martin frequently found himself in trouble with authority figures and once bragged in a tweet that he physically assaulted a bus driver. Video footage captured Michael Brown grabbing a much older man by the throat while leaving the store with stolen cigars. Another video has surfaced on youtube of Michael Brown beating and stomping another older man. This kind of disrespectful behavior from these teenagers did not just pop up once they reached age seventeen and eighteen. In both cases, it was evident that neither had been taught to respect authority. There is no wonder both Martin and Brown lost their lives at such a young age. Poor black teenagers are not alone in showing disrespect for authority figures. Some spoiled rich white teenagers behave in a manner that shows disrespect for authority figures as well. Respect for authority is taught and learned in the home by and from parents (the child’s first authority figures).

Does this scripture still apply if a child does not receive proper parenting from his or her parents? With over 70 percent of black children in the US born to single mothers as well as a divorce rate of over 50 percent of all marriages, is it even possible for children to learn to honor his or her parents? Parents have a responsibility to conduct themselves in a manner to be worthy of honor:

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.

So, what was God’s purpose for giving Moses this commandment? First, I must acknowledge that God intended for every child to be raised in a home with both a mother and father. He instructed Joseph not to put away Mary when he (Joseph) learned that she was pregnant before the two of them had been officially married. God made sure that Jesus, His only son, was born into a household with both a father and mother. As believers, we are part of the family of God. I believe that it was God’s intent that parents teach their children to respect and honor them so that it would lead to children honoring Him. God’s purpose for this commandment is spiritual just as all of His commandments. God is our ultimate parent. Every commandment preceding this one emphasize the importance of man’s relationship with God (our creator and spiritual father).

Honor is a powerful word that means to revere, venerate, regard with deep respect or reverence. The Hebrew word for honor is kabad or kabed: to be heavy or weighty. We use honor in our military when addressing noncommissioned and commissioned officers. While serving in the military, I witnessed the difference in how kids readily adjust to respecting authority. The difference is both regional and cultural. In other words, kids from southern states were more likely to automatically (without being told or trained) to address their leaders with sir or ma’am. However, kids from the north and northeast had to be disciplined regularly for disrespect until it was programmed into them. Culturally, kids from two parent homes were quick to fall in line and obey commands from leadership. On the other hand, kids from one-parent homes were often defiant, would question authority, and showed more distrust.

I have also witnessed a difference in individuals when attempting to win people to the Christian faith. Individuals raised in homes without a father (especially males) have a difficult time trusting God as their heavenly father because he or she cannot relate to a father figure. Fatherless individuals often are hung up when it comes to believing that God, our heavenly father, loves them. How can these individuals leap to believing that God is their heavenly father and loves them when he or she has never experienced a father’s love? How can one honor God when he or she has not had the opportunity to learn to honor his or her mother and father?

Parents are ultimately to blame for children’s refusal to show respect for authority and in turn not honoring God, our heavenly father. God commanded parents to bring up children in the fear and respect of the Lord:

Deuteronomy 6:5-7

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might.

And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts; [then]

You shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.

The world is at a breaking point. The breakdown of the family is the root cause of all the mayhem that we are witnessing daily. God’s original plan for man and woman to first marry, (stay married) and then be fruitful and multiply has been supplanted by feminist and every other demonic entity (including the US government). Until this ungodly world turns to God, we will continue to see this commandment along with all the other commandments broken. We will also continue to see young lives lost because of disobedience and disrespect for authority.

 

 

 

What Do Gays Really Want From The Church?

Patricia L. Dickson                 Originally published at American Thinker

After a federal judge in Idaho recently ruled that the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, ordained ministers Donald and Evelyn Knapp who own the Hitching Post wedding chapel in the city of Coeur d‘Alene, were asked by a gay couple to perform their wedding ceremony. According to Fox News , the ministers declined to perform the wedding due to their opposition to same-sex marriage. However, because the Hitching Post wedding chapel is registered as a for-profit business rather than a church or place of worship (although the wedding chapel is registered with the state as a “religious corporation” limited to performing “one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible”), they must comply with a local nondiscrimination ordinance that was passed last year. The question that is most puzzling to me is why did the gay couple choose to do business with that particular wedding chapel? Were there not any other places that they could have gone (such as the Justice of the Peace) to have their wedding performed? Why did the gay couple in Colorado approach the Christian Bakery? Were there no other bakeries in their city or town? It appears that the gay community is targeting Christians and the Christian church. If that is indeed the case, what do they want from the church?

We were assured by President Obama after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act that he wouldn’t try to force religious institutions to conduct gay marriages. However; I think that the slippery slope metaphor is appropriate for this issue. I have always contended that the goal of the gay rights advocates is to somehow get the church to approve of the homosexual lifestyle by forcing churches to perform gay marriages. If gay couples were to win every court case against Christian business owners or if the law somehow changed so that every Christian pastor is forced to perform same-sex weddings in the church, would they be satisfied? I do not believe that they would because their battle is not a political one, it is a spiritual one. Spiritual issues need to be addressed with God, not fought in the courthouse. Neither man nor woman (through the court system or through his or her approval) can win a spiritual battle for an individual. Gay couples know that Christian ministers pray for God’s blessing over heterosexual couples when performing church weddings. They are seeking what man cannot give, God’s blessing and approval of their lifestyle.

The gay community is constantly attacking the church as if the church were singling them out. However, it is the other way around; the gay community is singling out the church. How else do you explain gay couples running straight to Christian business owners as soon as their state lifts the ban on same-sex marriage? The church does not single out the homosexual lifestyle when preaching against sexual sins — as though the Bible rates sin on some scale from one to ten. God rates and rejects all sin equally (lying, adultery, theft, fornication). On the other hand, God has love and compassion for sinners so much so that He sent His son Jesus to die and pay the price for sin so that all could be free from the bondage of sin and receive salvation.

1 Corinthian 6:9-10

Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality,

Nor cheats (swindlers and thieves), nor greedy graspers, nor drunkards, nor foulmouthed revilers and slanderers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God.

 

Romans 6:10-12

For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].

Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.

Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions.

 

When I read about Christian business owners being targeted and sued by gay couples, my emotions swing from one extreme to the other. My first reaction is righteous indignation when I consider the political implications of the same-sex marriage issue and the agenda against the church and the people of God. However, when I turn my focus to the individuals, my anger turns to compassion. When I look at the photos of gay individuals marching with signs and scowls on their faces, I am willing to believe that underneath all the anger lies a soul yearning for God’s approval of their lifestyle.

Yes, I know that many homosexuals and lesbians claim that the Bible is outdated and that Christians are bigots; nonetheless, the first place they run is to a Christian business owner or minister. If they really believed that Christians are bigots, why would they suffer being in their presence? Who do you know chooses to be in the presence of bigots? What these individuals know is that the safest place to be is in the company of God-fearing people. The Washington Times reported on the Christian ministers in Idaho: “On Friday, a same-sex couple asked to be married by the Knapps, and the Knapps politely declined.” Not everyone that opposes the homosexual lifestyle does so because of a religious faith. Some individuals are just plain bigots. True bigots are full of hate and have no problem verbally and physically attacking the target of their bigotry.

It is my belief that the church is the only place where gay individuals can truly find compassion. The gay advocate groups do not care about the individuals. They are just using them to further their political cause in the same way as the abortion advocates use women and young girls. When and if these individuals decide to seek counseling, the church should be the first place they turn. When they turn to the church or any Christian, we should welcome them while at the same time teach them what the Bible says peppered in love as Jesus Himself would do. As Ephesians 4:15 states, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

 

How To Tell A True Minister of God

Patricia L. Dickson

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14

I frequent Christian websites and blogs to keep up with what is going on in the Christian church in the U.S. and around the world. These Christian websites and blogs chronicles the recent news and events in the church world. The news is however; not good. Every other week, I read about a pastor’s adultery, mishandling of the churches finances, rape, child pornography, Pedophilia , spousal abuse or drug use. This is happening on a regular basis throughout the nation in all Christian denominations. Pastors of all ethnicities and races (mostly male). What is going on?

My concern is not so much with the many false prophets but instead with the size and loyalty of the flocks that they are able to manipulate. How do these men so easily deceive so many Christians? Some members remain loyal to the pastors even after the sins are confessed or exposed. Christians should not be taken by surprise by the exposure of the false prophets in the church today because we were warned about them in the Bible. However, Christians should not be so easily deceived by false prophets. The Bible is clear about the character that the men who lead the church should possess.

Titus 1:6-7

6 [These elders should be] men who are of unquestionable integrity and are irreproachable, the husband of [but] one wife, whose children are [well trained and are] believers, not open to the accusation of being loose in morals and conduct or unruly and disorderly.

7 For the bishop (an overseer) as God’s steward must be blameless, not self-willed or arrogant or presumptuous; he must not be quick-tempered or given to drink or pugnacious (brawling, violent); he must not be grasping and greedy for filthy lucre (financial gain);

Maybe the problem lies with the people who fill the pews in the churches rather than the men in the pulpit. What are Christians looking for in a pastor? Are Christians examining the character of the men who they so willingly allow in their pulpits? Certainly, these men do not appear from out of nowhere. Just as any job applicant, should not churches check resumes, professional and personal references as well as criminal records? Perhaps charisma and oratory skills are more important than character. Maybe the churches are filled with people who have itching ears and therefore hire pastors that will tell them what they want to hear.

2Timothy 4:3-4

3 For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,

4 And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.

Isiah 29:13

And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning],

Anyone that studies scripture can discern that the church is living in the last days. Scriptures teach us that in the last days there will be a great falling away. We are witnessing church leaders compromising the word of God claiming to be more inclusive and less offensive. In other words, they have bowed to political correctness. There is nowhere in the Bible where it teaches that the church should exclude anyone. Pastors who use the word inclusive are making excuses for not preaching against sin, mainly homosexuality. The Bible calls so-called preachers who refuse to preach the whole counsel of God false prophets. Everyone is welcomed in the Christian church. However, no one should think that if he or she attends a Christian church that his or her sinful lifestyle would not be mentioned. The Christian church is where all sinners go to receive forgiveness and salvation.

1 Peter 2:12

Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers, [yet] they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God in the day of inspection [[e]when God shall look upon you wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock].

Could it be that church members are so backslidden themselves until they are incapable of discerning whether a man possesses Godly character? Christians have become sermon tasters attempting to substitute intimate time with God through prayer and reading the Bible for instant gratification from the words of man.

1Timothy 4

But the [Holy] Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach,

If drug addicts, extortionist, and child molesters lead the churches, why would sinners attend? They might as well stay home and watch an episode of the Godfather. It appears that the church is becoming a big reality show. It is not difficult to choose Godly men to lead congregations. The church is going to have to repent and get back to prayer and studying the word of God to gain wisdom and discernment. That is the only way that the church can prevent being deceived by wolves in sheep clothing.

 

 

The sixth Commandment

Patricia L. Dickson

When discussing the commandment , “thou shall not kill” we must first understand that there are two different Hebrew words (ratsakh, mut) and two Greek words (phoneuo, apokteino) for “murder” and “killing.” One means “to put to death,” and the other means “to murder.” The Sixth Commandment is referring to murder. Murder involves the unjustified taking of another’s life.

I can imagine the guilt that Moses felt as God was giving him this commandment. Moses himself had murdered an Egyptian in defense of a Hebrew (his people). After committing the murder, he fled to the desert for forty years until God called on him to free the children of Israel from slavery under Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Today, it is impossible to turn on the local or national news without hearing about a murder. Murder is so common today that society has become immune to it. Many murders are committed by family members or close associates. Why would God include this commandment in the Ten Commandments? God places high value on life and He expects humankind to as well. Life is a precious gift. Only God is the creator and giver of life. Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed man from the [a]dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life, and man became a living being. What makes human life precious? God created man in His image. Man has only been given one life to live. Who has the authority to take human life? Since God is the giver of life, He commands that no one has the right to take a life.

The first recording of someone taking the life of another is in the book of Genesis, the story of Cain and Abel. Genesis 4:8 And Cain said to his brother, [b]Let us go out to the field. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. What drives man to murder? It was God’s plan that humankind would live together in harmony; however, sin entered man’s heart through the fall. Sin is the cause of murder. The sin of greed, jealously, envy, anger, pride and hatred are powerful motivators to kill another. Cain killed Abel because of jealousy. Because anger usually precedes the act of murder, Jesus Christ taught us not to become angry without a cause. God defines murder as any thought or feeling of deep-seated hatred or malice against another person. Man cannot hide his disdain towards another person from God because God looks upon the heart for the truth. Hate is the root cause of murder. John wrote in I John 3:15 Anyone who hates (abominates, detests) his brother [in Christ] is [at heart] a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding ([k]persevering) within him. Hate is such a strong emotion that God has commanded us to not even hate our enemy.

Is there a difference between murder and killing? Killing during times of war (also called defending) is not the same as murder. American Soldiers kill in order to defend country, the constitution and fellow soldiers. Murder involves premeditation (pre-planning). Cain pre-planned to kill Abel. He hated Abel because God accepted his (Abel’s) gift. Manslaughter is an unintentional form of killing. Is abortion murder? If murder is the intentional taking of the life of another, than how can abortion not be? Is abortion pre-meditated? Of course it is. Abortions are not accidental killing. However, as with all sin, God is able and willing to forgive anyone who asked. The Bible states,   “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].” I John 1:9-10

 

The Christian Message vs Social Justice

 

Patricia L. Dickson                         Originally published at American Thinker

The events in Ferguson, Missouri have propelled several issues afflicting the black community to the forefront. In most inner cities, it is common to find a church on every corner, which leads me to wonder what the pastors in these communities are teaching the people.   Rev. Fred D. Robinson  wrote a scathing article entitled What God is screaming in Ferguson, Missouri.  He made no bones about preaching Social Justice over the biblical teaching of repentance of individual sins and salvation. He feels that churches should address social justice and structural racism.  He blasted a fellow white Christian and preacher for wanting prayer and calm in the wake of the riots and unrest in Ferguson instead of lamenting what he called the modern-day lynching by law enforcement of innocent black bodies.

When did churches begin to replace the Christian message of forgiveness, repentance and holy living with Social Justice? How can any pastor preach about society’s ills while ignoring such individual sins as fornication, abortion, murder, laziness and theft (just to name a few)? Is society not made up of individuals? How can society be fixed without first changing the individual? The main topic of Rev. Robinson’s article focused on his objection to a white pastor’s call for more racially diverse congregations as a solution to what the author calls a racial cauldron in Ferguson:

I get tired of that one. His unrelenting insistence reminded me — in the most stark terms — of James Baldwin’s prophetic quip: “Racial progress in America is measured by how fast I become white.”

Simply having diverse congregations without addressing the weightier matters of social justice and structural racism is not better church practice. It is possibly subterfuge.

It ignores the fact that we have to do more than call sinners to repentance, we have to call societies, systems and structures to repentance as well.

The author compared the push for more multiracial churches to a quote from Dr. John Kinney, a professor of theology at Virginia Union:

“When white supremacy adopts diversity, it seeks to either cleanse you, contain you, co-opt you or convert you.”

Nowhere in the article did Rev. Robinson, a so-called pastor, quote any Scriptures from the Bible. The Bible teaches that Christians are one race:

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own [d]purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

 

Pastors are supposed to preach love and forgiveness, not hate and grievances. There is no place for racism and divisiveness in the church (from anyone). The church is where men and women go to learn of God’s love for them and receive His forgiveness. The Bible does not say that preachers are to call societies, systems and structures to repentance. It does teach that pastors are to call men and women to repentance. Whereas the Christian message teaches that individuals are sinful, Social Justice places blame and responsibility on society.

 Romans 3:23

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”

1 John 1:9

“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].”

Anyone that claims to be a pastor and refuses to preach individual sin and salvation has abandoned God’s calling. Assuming that God called him or her to begin with. Preaching victimhood is also against Biblical teachings. Christians are not victims. Pastors should preach uplifting sermons taken straight out of the Bible. An individual may walk into church a victim; however he or she should walk out a victor.

Philippians 4:13

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who [g]infuses inner strength into me; I am [h]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

Romans 8:31

What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]

“If God is for us, who [can be] against us” includes the supposedly structural racism that Rev. Robinson is so concerned about. Years ago I had an older black Christian female friend who would constantly speak about her faith in God, however; she would also lament about how racist whites were oppressing and holding back black Americans. One day I asked her if white people were more powerful than God. She was speechless. Rev. Robinson would have one to believe that God is screaming because of racism and inequality. However, the bible tells us that man’s sin is what grieves God. Our sin grieved God so much that He sent His son Jesus to die and pay the price for it.

If black pastors are preaching Social Justice in place of the Christian message taken straight from the Bible, there is no wonder the black community is in so much disarray. If the black church fails to teach against the sin of fornication, there is no wonder 70% of black babies are born to single mothers. If black churches are teaching black Americans that there is structural and institutional racism instead of telling them that God is on his or her side, there is no wonder that there is so much anger and destruction. The continual destruction of the black family is a sign that black pastors need to put down the sociology books and pick up the Bible.

 

Seventh Commandment

 

Patricia L. Dickson

 

The bible teaches us that God ordained and designed marriage. If we listen to the politicians and advocates of gay marriage, one would think that marriage was man’s idea. If we conclude that marriage is man’s idea than he or she has a right to decided who can and cannot marry. Because society has somehow hijacked the idea of marriage, man has taken upon himself to decide whether a couple should marry as opposed to cohabitating while at the same time bringing children into the relationship.

 

Since God has been completely taken out of marriage, society has a low disregard for the pattern that He designed. This is evident in the alarming rate of divorces here in the United States alone (even among Christians). Just what is God’s pattern for marriage? What was God’s purpose for marriage? If we look at Genesis 2:18, we will see that God wanted Adam to have companionship: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for a man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him’.” The Bible also states that God designed marriage for procreation, which serves as a mechanism to continue the human race. Genesis 1:28 says, “And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it’.” We see that God considers the procreation of children as a blessing and a good thing. God intended for children to be born of parents that are married to each other. God felt so strongly about marriage that He said in Matthew 19:6 “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

 

One of the main ways that men and women can cause a marriage to separate is through the act of adultery. The seventh commandment is Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery. Adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man or woman and a partner other than the legal spouse. In 1 Cor. 7:2 it states that marriage is monogamous and is a means to keep one from desiring sexual fulfillment from others, “But because of the temptation to impurity and to avoid immorality, let each [man] have his own wife and let each [woman] have her own husband.” There is no middle ground when it comes to adultery. One is either married or he or she is not. In other words, once one is married, an individual cannot decide that he or she can engage in a sexual relationship with others and somehow erase the fact that he or she is married. Why is adultery so deadly to a marriage? I think everyone will agree that adultery betrays trust between a married couple. Once trust has been lost, it is difficult to regain. Why would God be so against adultery? Because adultery carries the risk of procreating children between two unmarried people as well as causing the breakup of an existing family.

 

Adultery is also a spiritual sin against God. God compares the church with that of a marriage. The church is the bride of Christ. Throughout the Old Testament, God compared his relationship with Israel to a marriage. When Israel was unfaithful to God and bowed down to idols and other false gods, He called her an adulterous nation. Marriage is a covenant between husband and wife. God has a covenant with His church.

 

Why would God include adultery in the Ten Commandments? God did not want the Israelites to emulate the adulterous behavior of the Egyptians from whom He had just delivered them. Adultery and all kinds of sexual sins was commonplace in Egypt as well as the places where God was going to take them through. Adultery is the complete corruption of God’s good creation of marriage and it tears apart the fabric of society. Marriages and families are the foundation of society, if torn apart and destroyed, society will eventually collapse.

 

 

A Case For Critical Thinking

Patricia L. Dickson

If I had to list the life changing events in my life, I would have to include the semester that I took my first critical thinking course. I was an adult woman that had been in the military for a number of years when I decided it was time to complete my college education, so I enrolled in evening classes after work. Before I enrolled in the critical thinking class, I thought that I was a logical thinker (I always valued being blessed with common sense). However, I soon learned that although I did have a tremendous amount of common sense, I lacked critical thinking skills. The root cause of my skewed thinking skills was because many of my beliefs at the time were based on false premises. If one begins his or her thought process with a false premise, the rest of the entire thinking process will lead to a false conclusion. I immediately began to apply the concepts that I learned in that class in every area of my life. I learned so much in that first class that I elected to enroll in an additional two classes in philosophy and critical thinking. I have since joined a professional critical thinking organization.

The problem that America is facing today is the inability of the vast majority of the citizen to think critically. A male Liberal colleague and I were discussing the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. He began the discussion by immediately stating that he thought the decision was stupid and that Hobby Lobby was wrong for denying women birth control. I informed him that before the Supreme Court hearing, Hobby Lobby was already providing sixteen forms of birth control. I also informed him that the reason Hobby Lobby’s case went to the Supreme Court was due to the requirement under Obamcare that would force a business to provide the morning after pill which is a form of abortion. He was surprised and said that he was not aware of that. How do you comment on an issue if you do not have the facts? Why was he so quick to believe that Hobby Lobby wanted to deny women birth control? It was because he believed the false premise parroted by the media that conservative Christians are bigoted sexually repressed people that want to control the lives of others. Once you accept that premise, it is easy to believe the ridiculous meme that a Christian business owner’s agenda is to prevent women from having access to birth control. Any rational person would have come to the same decision as the courts and the media knows that and that is why they made it about birth control instead of abortion. The media’s first step is to create a false premise and then appeal to the emotions of the people with mush for brains. All of this is done to distract from the disastrous policies of the current administration.

I sometimes visit the websites owned and operated by black Americans. The one thing that is common on every site is the accepted false premise that every criticism of Obama is based on racism. Every article published on the sites brushes over the issues at hand and gets right down to the root cause of the opposition…….racism. The majority of the comments on the sites reinforce the same meme. How sad that the readers cannot see past false premises and participate in an honest intelligent discussion.

Critical thinking is critical as noted by Anniel, for the survival of this republic. The media has basically abandoned its responsibility of reporting facts in exchange for distracting, propagandizing and protecting. It is imperative that individuals acquire and hone critical thinking skills in order to navigate through the lies and distortions coming from the mainstream media. I recommend Set of Twenty Two Thinker’s Guides by Dr. Richard Paul & Dr. Linda Elder for anyone that lacks or wants to improve their critical thinking skills.

Every morning after reading the Drude Report, I tell my Liberal colleagues that American is gone and it is going to be difficult to bring it back. However, they (have their heads in the sand) begin their morning reading the Huffington Post and they believe everything is just fine. They think that I am the modern day Chicken Little crying, “The sky is falling.”

 

 

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