Politics and Lies



Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? (John 18:38 KJV)


Since the Fall of man, man has resorted to the tools of violence and deception in order to rule man. While the use of arms for protection of justice can be justified, the use of deception is a symptom of the inherent human vileness. Religion, superstition, education, media, propaganda, disinformation, riots and a host of tools have been politically exploited to keep the masses under bait.

Hitler coined the term "Big Lie" for a propaganda technique that he himself used.
"...in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying." - Hitler, Mein Kampf

In brief, the principle states, as someone put it: "Tell a lie, speak it loudly, repeat it often, and the majority of the masses will believe you."

The masses lose out for the power of appeal. Sometimes it is the appeal of authority (someone who is well knowledgeable would know better, they think; but, fail to register that that same person could be deliberately lying or have been deceived himself). Sometimes, it is the appeal of the masses (the majority cannot be wrong, they think). Sometimes, it is the appeal of a famous personality or a celebrity (the appeal here would be more of a psychological nature, because one often tends to like what is liked by the person he/she adores).

In the olden times, lie was woven into religion through myths and legends that tried to establish the superiority of the royal family, the division of family lines, the inferiority of certain people, and taboos that protected power. In modern times, when science has destroyed many of the mythical grounds, there are other lying techniques ready at hand that deceive and delude men to support a political leader or party.

The Bible predicts that this is how the Antichrist, who will be an agent of the Devil, the Father of Lies, will come.
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Th 2:9-12 KJV)

Modern Universities, Arts & Media, Politics, Markets, and Religion are all marching forward to the gate of deception that will soon happily welcome the Son of Perdition.

But, everyone who is of the truth hears the voice of the Lord; everyone who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (Joh 18:37; 3:21)
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The Lure of Pragmatic Theology

Pragmatism is the philosophy that basically states that anything that works is true; if not essentially, then at least functionally. It is the dominant philosophy of the modern age. This has had an adverse effect on theological thinking as well. For instance, one would argue that a particular man's teachings cannot be false since the results prove that the teachings work.

However, unless an essential connection between the fruit and the tree can be established, such embracement of theologies based on empirical results can be dangerous. Let's look at a few considerations now:

1. God's use of a practice in an exceptional case doesn't entail His acceptance of its theoretical backings. There are a number of instances in the Bible where God is seen to be using the very systems that He explicitly denounced. For instance, just because God used a medium to speak to Saul doesn't prove that God has finally accepted the practice of consulting the dead and the demonic doctrines associated with it. Similarly, just because God used a star to speak to the wise men, during Jesus' birth, doesn't prove that God commends astrology. Why He does that has its explanation within His own sovereign determinations. We only know this that Scripture is against sorcery, stargazing, and such occult arts. In the cases cited above, where God has communicated with people through the means He prohibited, we may understand that He communicated thus NOT BECAUSE of the practice, but DESPITE the practice; showing that He is in control of the world. His acts there only directly prove the falsity of those sciences that try to limit the world to just the natural. God's sign of the star shows that it is not the star that influences events; but that God used a star to signify an event that He is directly in control. Similarly, God sent Samuel to the amazement of the medium, evidently puzzling the expectations of her art, in order to act despite the falsehood of her system.

2. Any evidence (whether it is a prophetic prediction or a miraculous sign or wonder) on behalf of a doctrine that is explicitly opposed to the clear revelation of God is a deception. Sometimes the mind bypasses the evident fact of Scripture because of its craving for something else. This something else, the imagination powered by desire, becomes more real to the mind than reality. Then, deception is easy. Miracles or testimonies that try to teach a doctrine that is not clearly taught in the Scripture are not from God. In fact, God might have allowed them in order to test us to see if we will accumulate teachers according to our itching ears or listen to the true voice of the Spirit. Note the following verses in order:

"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying,`Let us go after other gods'-- which you have not known--`and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deu 13:1-3 NKJ)

But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. (Mat 12:39 NKJ)

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Th 2:9-12 NKJ)

Many cults and occults are based on testimonies of supernatural happenings. Such testimonies try to substantiate a host of false teachings such as reincarnation, energy channelling, spiritism, etc. The testing point of the spirits is simple. The Bible specifies them. Few are stated below:
a. Any spirit that teaches false godliness is evil.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. (1Ti 4:1-3 NKJ)

b. Any spirit that denies the divinity and humanity of Jesus (His incarnation, atoning death, and Lordship included) is evil.

"every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world." (1Jo 4:3 NKJ)

c. Any spirit that teaches any gospel other than that preached in the Bible is evil.

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:8 NKJ)

Any claim to truthfulness of doctrine that is not based on the clear teaching of the Word of God, but on signs and wonders, testimonies of supernatural experiences, visitation by angels, dreams and visions, and the like is not biblical - it is not based on the Bible after all.

3. Just because many scriptural verses could be used to prove a system of doctrines (a dogmatic theology) doesn't entail that the system is true. There are some who are committed more to the systematic theology of a human teacher than to the Word of God. But, it is not necessary any systematic theology is perfect. God didn't invent systematic theology; it is man's invention; because, man desires to find a unity of understanding; but, moreover, he wants a system that could explain the hard sayings of scripture; within which every jot and tittle would find a sense. This is, in a sense, a form of scientific pragmatism. It is based on the observation-hypothesis-experimentation model. Scriptures are read, a hypothesis (theory) invented, and verses are sought to validate the hypothesis. However, like science, this inductive process might only help functionally in some areas. For instance, Newton's laws are functionally helpful to explain and construct things on the terrestrial level; however, Einstein's laws are used for predictions and constructions related to the greater extra-terrestrial sphere. Yet, it is possible that both of them are not true.

A system has the power of twisting any text to suit itself. The trick lies in the way of interpretation. Thus, whatever text seems to fall in line is taken in and whatever seems to counter it is disregarded or explained away, sometimes in a way that begs the question and/or is closed to verification. A system that is closed is the most dangerous, as it anchors on the interpretation of the maker of the system rather than on the Word of God. Thus, if one hears someone quoting the sayings of Aquinas or Calvin more than quoting the Bible, that person is system anchored. This DOESN'T MEAN that one must not do systematic theology. However, it is dangerous to idolize systematic theology and then use it to interpret Scripture; rather than allowing the Scripture to speak to us face to face. One must be open to the Truth or else one will not be set free.

Does this mean that there are no absolutes? Of course, not. One can't deny the existence of absolutes without making an absolute statement himself. Only an absolute statement can negate an absolute; and that is a contradiction in terms. What is denied here is the validity of the pragmatic method. Just because a system works (in the understanding of many scriptures and one's personal experiences) doesn't prove its authenticity.

There were systems in Jesus' days, the Pharisees and the Sadducees being prominent. They prided in their interpretation of Scriptures, that very diametrically opposed to each other. Jesus condemned both of them as false and man made.

4. Just because a doctrine makes sense doesn't prove that it is right. There are many false things that falsely make sense to people and so the world is filled with so many apologists, of contradictory systems to each other, who find absolute sense in the doctrines that they defend. For instance, it made sense to people earlier that the sun rose and set over the earth. The theory worked to a great extent. However, it was only phenomenally (in appearance) true; but, not absolutely so. That the earth was flat made absolute sense to the ancients; to us, it is nonsense. Why people believe may be a question that psychology would try to answer; however, what belief is justified falls under the domain of philosophy. And, the dividing line must not be confused. There are some who argue that because there are certain things that make sense to a person; a person is justified in holding those beliefs. If that could be allowed, philosophy of law and jurisprudence, ethics, and politics would go berserk. A person can read the Bible and find a particular sense out of it, subjectively very satisfying - for instance, the Sadducees were very satisfied with the belief that there were no spirits. However, personal satisfaction is a utilitarian experience; it is not the essential qualification of truth.

So, what is the best way of doing theology, then? We'll conclude this by answering this question by quoting excerpts from an article on the qualifications of learning the truth based on Paul's exhortation to Timothy in 2Timothy 3.

Essentialities of Truth Perception

1. Moral Commitment to Pursuit of Truth (vv. 1-5).
Those who wish to follow truth must make a commitment to obey it no matter what the consequences would appear to be. Only the ardent seeker will find. [This commitment is missing in these last days of pragmatism, relativism, skepticism, and libertinism]

2. Critical Mind-set (v. 6).
Gullibility is a dangerous evil. It usually follows a will-against-truth-towards-pleasure. The credulous are easily deceived. One must weigh things before submitting to them. [False teachers take advantage of the gullible]

3. Truth-Orientation (v. 7).
All learning must be with the goal to know the truth, and not to heighten skepticism. Questions must lead to knowledge; not end in doubt. Too much of learning without any earning of wisdom is a wild chase after the wind (Ecclesiastes).

4. Faith (v. 8).
All knowledge is founded on faith. Faith is the lock of assurance, the ground of knowledge. Unless one has faith, one can't know anything. [The natural man cannot accept the things of the Spirit, for they are spiritually discerned]

5. Action (v.9).
Truth is wisdom; wisdom, truth. To possess truth means to believe the truth and act it out. The time test will reveal what is wisdom and what is not. The fruit of truth is wisdom; the fruit of rebellion, folly.

[Jesus said in John 7:17: "If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority." Also in John 3:20-21, He says, "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."]

6. Example (vv. 10-13).
Following the example of truth in the lives of people. Truth is livable; not just some theoretical conjecture about reality. If you can't live it out; you can't hold it on either - practically speaking. Followers of falsehood exemplify a deceptive lifestyle; followers of truth, a godly one.

7. Continuation in the Word (vv. 14-17).
The Scripture of God, given by the inspiration of God, is the source of all divine truth. It is the authority in matters of doctrine and faith. It makes one wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (faith is important, v.15). It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
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Ichabod

Ichabod was born at the juncture of deaths - his father was killed by the Philistines in war, his grandfather died from a shock fall on hearing the news of his son's death and the capture of the Ark of Covenant, and his mother died in childbirth. Before she died, she named him Ichabod, which means "no glory"; for, it is written: she named the child Ichabod, saying, "The glory has departed from Israel!" because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. And she said, "The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured." (1Sa 4:21-22 NKJ) Little did she know that the fall of her family didn't mean the fall of Israel; the Glory hadn't departed but had returned with vengeance, cleansing, and power.

The death of his father, Phinehas, was prophesied earlier already. The Bible says that it was actually God who wanted to kill them because of their wickedness. The wicked deeds of Phinehas and Hophni were extreme. They despised the offerings of God and violated His Law, they slept with women who assembled at the door of the Tabernacle of Meeting, and they didn't listen to their father's reproof; because it says that God desired to kill them. Eli himself was guilty of knowing of their evil deeds and yet not restraining them. God's displeasure is evident in His disclosure to Samuel: "I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever." (1Sa 3:14 NKJ)

The war against the Philistines, the killing of the Israelites in thousands, their defeat; the death of the priests, and the capture of the Ark might have portended dismal days ahead in Israel's history to Phinehas' wife. She might have thought it was all over now. However, the fact was that it had only begun. The next chapter shows the single handed victory of the Ark of the Lord unaided by human hands. God struck the Philistines in their own territory and also punished their gods; they had to soon decide to send the Ark away. Then, when the Ark arrived in Israel, there were more deaths numbering in thousands because the people violated God's command about the Ark by looking at it. All through, it was a time of cleansing. The Glory hadn't left, but had begun the cleansing. The Ark was finally brought to Kirjath Jearim where it remained for 20 years. During this time, Samuel began to teach the people the ways of the Lord; there was a great revival and a time of great repentance and prayer to God. God had delivered His people from oppression, lawlessness, and aimlessness; He brought peace, order, and meaning into their life. Phinehas' wife had seen a few things and interpreted them according to what she felt; but, the world has never run out of control. The failure of man is not the failure of God.
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Urdu Bible in Devanagiri (Hindi) Script


The Urdu Bible in Devanagiri Script.
Converted with Simple Bible Reader.
File source: Crosswire.org


DOWNLOAD: ESword TheWord MySword Android Bible GoBible Java



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The Atonement and Christian Identity in the World


Required Reading: John 1, 14,15,16; 2Corinthians 5:11-21; Romans 8; James 4; Galatians 5:11; 6:12-15

The doctrine of reconcilation teaches us that the world is at enmity with God and so Christ came to reconcile the world to God. He did that through His atoning sacrifice by the Eternal Spirit. Now, He appoints His servants as ambassadors in the hostile world and has given them the ministry of reconciliation. It is a ministry of reconciliation on God's terms; not a ministry at the mercy of the world in the world's terms. We are not called to make peace with the world at the expense of the Cross; we are here to declare the Goodnews that peace has been made by Christ on the Cross. The Cross will be a stumbling block to many, because they would like that the offence of the Cross didn't exist, so that peace would be natural. But, that is the same as being worldly and thus in enmity with God. The Cross is where the world is crucified to the Christian and the Christian to the world. You cannot be worldly and Christian at the same time. The world essentially loves its own and hates Christ and the Father; so, reconciliation consists in leaving the rebellion and submitting to the Lordship of Christ.

There are some who disagree that salvation is through the acceptance of the Lordship of Christ. However, the very idea of redemption is about buying a slave from a slave market. The one who bought us is our Lord and Master. The sense of "belongedness" is intense.
The Cross is where the world is crucified to the Christian and the Christian to the world. You cannot be worldly and Christian at the same time.

The world, essentially, belongs to Christ; because all things were made through Him and for Him. But, the world has rejected His authority through its decision to be like God, and thus itself becoming the criteria of good and evil. When man ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he had determined to shift the center of morality from Christ to self - the essence of humanism. So, when Christ came to His own, His own rejected Him; i.e. declared through word and action that neither they belonged to Him nor He to them. Yet, the one to whom we all belonged had chosen to belong to us, by becoming flesh and blood and make His habitation with us.

---------------
"The reason why the Son of God came to the world was because the world was made through Him – it ultimately belonged to Him. It was lost; yet, it was His. He was willing to leave alone the 99 in order to seek this one that was lost. But the world did not recognize Him, His own didn’t receive Him. There are sharp, acute, and yet distinct pictures here. The pictures are sharper in prose than any poetry can portray.

The world is not the world as a whole and yet it is the world as a whole. Not everybody failed to recognize Him, and not everybody rejected Him; and, yet in the moment of the Sacrifice, that was what happened. The world as a whole was represented by the leaders (both religious and political) who put to death the Son of God. The depth of estrangement and contortion was manifest in the kind of death administered: the death of the Cross. It was the world that failed to recognize Him – the world that belonged to Him. Yet, the real story is not that the world rejected Him; the real story is that He was willing to let the world reject Him. Divine self-emptying, divine servanthood, and divine crucifixion are powerful themes that shock the philosophy of religion. Nietzsche called the greatest of all sins to be the murder of God (deicide). There was nothing more sinful than that. On the reverse, the greatest of all righteousness fulfilled was in the self-giving of the Son of God. This self-giving brought an end to the history of hostility between man and God. It cancelled all debts. Man had committed the greatest of all crimes, and God had allowed it to be done to Him in the ultimate divine sacrifice. The Cross was where Justice and Love met vis-à-vis. It was where man affirmed his estrangement and God affirmed His belongedness. It was where God accepted man as he was.
The Cross was where Justice and Love met vis-à-vis. It was where man affirmed his estrangement and God affirmed His belongedness. It was where God accepted man as he was.

The one act of righteousness by the Son of God nullified forever the writ of accusation against all humanity. The veil was torn away; the entrance is paved, now the ball is in our court. He has accepted us. Do we receive Him or choose to remain estranged?

Therefore, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”

[From Estrangement and Belongedness in the Ultimate Sacrifice of God]
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The "world" is that which has always hated Christ, still hates Christ, and will always hate Christ. Therefore, "friendship with the world is enmity with God." (James 4:4). In John 14-16, Jesus gives us a glimpse of the relationship of the Triune God with the world and with the disciple.

1. The Father, Christ, and the World

Christ is in the Father and the Father is in Him. The Father is in Christ and works through Him. Christ bears witness of the world that its works are evil. The world hates Christ and hates the Father. The world doesn't know the Father.

2. The Triune God, the Disciple, and the World

The disciple is in Christ and Christ in Him. The Triune God makes His home with the disciple. Christ is unseen by the world but seen by the disciple. The Spirit cannot be received by the world but is received by the disciple. The world hates the disciple because it hates Christ. Christ has overcome the world and the disciple is an overcomer in Christ.



Distinctions of a disciple

Sanctity
The disciple is sanctified and purified by the word of Christ.

Words of Christ
Christ's words abide in the disciple.

Spirituality
Christ physically departs from the world and so cannot be seen by them. However, He is seen by the disciple. The Spirit cannot be received by the world but is received by the disciple. The disciple's relationship with God is spiritual.

Supernaturality
The disciple does the works that Christ does because Christ works through him. He, in fact, does greater works.

Faith
The disciple believes in Christ and knows Him.

Indwelling Presence of God
The disciple is indwelt by the Triune God.

Peace of Christ
The disciple has peace of Christ, such as the world cannot give. The disciple has peace in Christ. Christ spoke these words that in Him we may have peace.

Fruit of the Vine
The disciple bears fruit. He doesn't bear wild grapes, but fruit of the Vine.

Answers to Prayers
The disciple prays and his prayers are answered

Love
The disciple loves the Lord and they have love among themselves.

Obedience
The disciple loves the Lord and obeys His commandments

Persecution
The disciple has tribulations in the world, is hated by the world, and is physically afflicted by the world. The disciple is friend of Christ and enemy of the world. The world hates and persecutes him because it hates and persecutes Christ.

Victory
The disciple has victory in Christ. He has the peace of Christ and has peace in Christ and has overcome the world because Christ has overcome the world.
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Free Book Download - The Christian in Complete Armor

ABOUT THE BOOK

This book was originally written in three volumes between 1655 and 1662.

Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher and evangelist of the last century commented that Gurnall's work is "peerless and priceless; every line full of wisdom". John Newton, converted slave trader and author of "Amazing Grace", said: "If I might read only one book beside the Bible I would choose, "The Christian in Complete Armour." Dave Wilkerson said concerning this book: "Leonard Ravenhill, a very godly friend, gave me a copy of 'The Christian in Complete Armour' with these solemn words, "This book is going to revolutionize your life. It has had a profound effect on my life, and I believe you are prepared to receive its message now." Says Wilkerson: "at first I put the book aside; it was too long, too wordy, and written in 17th century English. Out of curiosity, I later scanned the first 25 pages. That is all it took to bring me to my knees. Gurnall, the pious puritan, had touched something deep within me. His were such probing, scorching, searing words that they shook my inner man. I devoured the book with great zeal." Later Wilkerson went on to say: "I will forever bless the day it was placed in my hands."


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Studies in Ruth - Self-Denial and Discipleship

There is only one requirement that Jesus has for those who wish to become His disciples: it is to deny the self and take up one's cross and follow Him. It implies that everyone has his own cross, but they aren't able to carry it because of a lack of self-denial. The cross is the mission that one has in his own life; it is that which he needs to bear, to carry when following Christ.

My Lord is there and He’ll show me
The cross to take, the path to go.
The cross is the mission that He gives me,
The meaning of life He lets me know.

As long as one is holding on to self, one cannot carry the cross. And, if one can't carry the cross, one cannot follow the Lord.

There are many things that we keep holding on to and wish that the Lord will not take away from us, things that we are not willing to part with; they are the idols of the heart. It might be a job, a material asset, a relationship, an earthly dream/wish, or even a ministry. As long as we have not given them to the Lord in a real way - not just verbally, not wishing that He would not take it away and after the test give it back to us - as long as we have not denied attachment with these and given it all to the Lord, we can't be His disciples.

We study today again Ruth. In Chapter 2, Boaz has this to say about her:

"It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before.
"The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge." (Rut 2:11-12 NKJ)

Whatever happened in Ruth's life was no longer an accident after she denied herself, took up the cross - it was her cross (Naomi might die after a few years, but the young Ruth would have to bear her own cross for an entire life). That she came to Boaz's field was divinely arranged, though she perhaps never felt it that way. She had no expectations, no plans, no more dreams. She only thought about fulfilling her duty towards her mother-in-law. But, Boaz saw that and he knew that the Lord would repay and fully reward her, because she had left everything completely and come under the wings of God.

Ruth and Naomi had nothing so she had to go and glean the leftovers from the harvesting. The Law of Moses instructed that one should leave the ends of the field for the poor and should not go after what has fallen behind; they should be left for the poor to glean.

`And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God. (Lev 19:10 NKJ)
"When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. (Deu 24:21 NKJ)

It might have looked very humbling for a young woman like Ruth to come to such a position. There could be rational questions. Was it necessary? She was young, should she waste her life like this? And, even Naomi would have no problem if she went away and had a better life. But, such thoughts didn't find place in her mind. She had denied herself and taken up the cross.

What had Ruth let go off?
1. She let go off her old family-ties. She didn't consider the attachment to parents or siblings as greater than the cross and the pursuit of Naomi's God. It didn't mean that she rejected them; it only meant that she let go off her old family-identity. She had found a new family when she married Naomi's son; now, Naomi was her mother. The same thing applies to the Christian life. Jesus said that "everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life." (Mat 19:29 NKJ) When someone told Jesus once that His mother and brothers had come to see Him, He turned to His disciples and said, "whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother." (Mat 12:50 NKJ) Volumes can be spoken on this theme. It is a sad sight today to see some Churches built on "Family-name". In India, earthly family-name is idolized very much. This then extends to caste. In the South, especially, I've heard of churches that are caste-oriented. They may call Jesus as their Lord, but they have not even learnt the first step of discipleship: to deny self and take up the cross.

2. She let go off her old nationality ties. She was a Moabitess. That couldn't be changed. However, she didn't allow Moab to come along with her. She left it and let it go. With regard to Christianity, the New Testament Church took some time to get out of the hold of its Jewish-ties. It took many years. The New Testament churches were never divided on the basis of language, culture, or nationality. The Church at Jerusalem was not divided into Greek Church and Hebrew Church, for instance. Language was not the idol. Neither was it the uniting factor. They were united in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Greeks and the Hebrews worshiped together and were in the same fellowship of one body. Sadly, in modern times linguistic and cultural nationalistic divisions prevent the Body from being a true witness of the Lord. The salt is useless as long as it stays with salt and in the salt bottle. It must go out and fulfill its meaning of existence by spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

3. She let go off any personal dreams and vision of her own. It might be natural for any young girl to have dreams that she deeply cherishes. With the death of her husband, perhaps all dreams came crashing down. Still, there were other rational possibilities in which her dreams could become real again. There was time. Her sister-in-law Orpah had taken that earthly chance. But, Ruth didn't need any such chance, because her dreams were already laid on the altar. They no longer belonged to her. She had no dream of her own. She had denied her self. It aches the heart in modern days when preachers talk and testify of personal dreams, not in the sense of glorifying God, or at least saving souls for the Kingdom of God, but with regard to buildings and projects and pursuing the pleasures and luxurious excitements that the world invents for the seekers of pleasure. On the contrary, our Lord Jesus wasn't enamored by the things of the world. When the devil offered to give them to him, He rebuked him to go away. He said to one that foxes had holes and birds had nest but He had no place to put His head. The earth didn't have a place for the Owner of it. Man had converted land into a material asset, amassing as much land as he could, more than sufficient for a single human and claiming them by name and buying or selling them. Jesus didn't have half a denarius to pay His tax; buying a land was out of question for Him. But, He didn't need any land either. The same is said about Abraham in Hebrews 11. The Promised Land for him actually was not the geographical area in Palestine. He lived in tents all his life. The Bible says that He looked to a city in heaven. One can't deny self unless one has a clear vision of heaven.

4. She let go off any right to comfort or easy life whatsoever. The Bible tells us that she worked till evening. She was hard working and diligent. She was not someone who'd be satisfied with the little. She was not task-oriented or target-oriented, to sit back after the target was reached. She worked as long as it was day. She kept working as long as there was time. Jesus said about Himself, ""I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work." (Joh 9:4 NKJ) There is no retirement age for the disciple. There is no vacation time for the servant of God. He must work while it is day.

There are many other things that we can learn from Ruth's life. The above four in the list is just a small part of what she possessed in her character. One can go and look at her life and would find the thing that he/she needs to deny today. Ruth chapter 2 is an account of a whole day in the life of Ruth. It was a day filled with surprises, blessings, and a full basket in the end. It was a day of filled with the favor of God, because it was a day that a girl entered with self-denial and when God saw that this vessel had emptied herself totally, He poured into her all that He had in overflowing measures. It was a day with the Lord.
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Studies in Ruth: Orpah and Ruth - Between Reason and Faith

The book of Ruth recounts a powerful story that illustrates the power of faith. In the first chapter, everybody appears to be quite rationally disposed (after the natural man, psuchicos) in their actions. They act according to visual observation, risk calculation, and wager decisions. Thus, when famine hits the "Promised Land", a godly family goes to Moab, a gentile nation, because the survival possibilities are better there. It was a rational choice. However, they didn't survive though they reached a "greener" territory. It reminds me of the story of Death in Tehran and Jesus' parable of the Rich Man who wanted to build new stores. Reason creates the illusion that one can control one's fate; however, we need to remember that only that which is in God's control is under control; and nothing under God's control can be out of control. If one thinks that the chances to die as a missionary in a hostile country is great, he makes the same mistake. The chances of being persecuted and dying a martyr in America are as greater as dying as a martyr in Asia or the Middle East. But, the rational mind only looks for mathematical certainties; and life offers none of them. Jesus made it clear, "whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it." (Mark 8:35). His rule was simple: "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt 6:33).

Both Naomi's husband, Elimelech, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion died in Moab. They escaped from famine only to fall by sickness; but, they fell and human wisdom suffered a severe set back. It reminds of the era of Modernism and Enlightenment when mankind believed that it had finally arrived, that God could be safely banished by science, and that utopia was not far away. However, the two World Wars shook human confidence so hard that the modern world soon gave in to the genre of the absurd, nihilism, and distrust in the absolute. But, there's no point in being bitter and complaining about meaninglessness when the fault has been our own: “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” (Ruth 1:20-21). Evidently, the more rational we seek to be apart from the faith of God, the more bitter our life becomes.

"When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you." (Psalm 73:21-22)

A heart not protected by faith falls severely to the fiery darts of the Enemy.

Orpah fell in line with the rationalism of the age. She did follow her mother-in-law to a distance and did assert, along with Ruth, that she will follow her to her people (1:10). However, she broke down and relented in face of the rational arguments that Naomi offered. Naomi did her best to prove why there were less prospects for them with her, that their chances of getting married were low, that their patience might break in time, that she had no strength to get husbands for them, and on and on. So, Orpah succumbed to the voice of reason and went back. She did weep and the emotional attachment was strong. However, the voice of human reason prevailed. We don't know if Orpah ever got to get married, or if she did, she got married earlier than Ruth - the history of her faith ceased there. God had nothing interesting to tell us about her anymore.

But, Ruth was different. She was distinct. She refused to listen to the bitter voice of reason. She decided to disregard the negative arguments of reason because they had no appeal for her. She decided to walk by faith and love. She decided to follow Naomi and the true God. Reason (Naomi) tried to show that Moab was positive and the Promised Land was negative. Naomi even tried to persuade by showing a visual example, a testimonial of reason: "Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law." However, Ruth only humbly pleaded: "Entreat me not to leave you, [Or to] turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people [shall be] my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If [anything but] death parts you and me." Volumes can be written just on these few lines; because they encapsulate the history of faith. Ruth wasn't concerned about the things and the prospects that Naomi had been talking about. Her focus was different. She is an example of the person who seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Ruth requested, entreated, to be allowed to go with Naomi. She didn't need motivation. There was no preacher to preach a motivating message there. There was no music to stir the emotions to action. In fact, there was only discouragement all around. There was every worldly reason to not do what she was doing. The only possible person who could be supportive in this instance, Naomi, wanted her to leave. But, her decision was not a decision of worldly reason, but a decision of faith that operates by love (Gal.5:6). That is where Orpah failed and Ruth prevailed. It is faith, not intellectual sharpness, that overcomes the world (1Jn 5:4). The modern world with all its intellectual brightness is only increasingly darker and utterly consumed with moral failure and monstrous evil. The sharpest minds engage in the most brutal and nefarious acts of human wickedness. On the contrary, God uses instruments that the world regards as fools, because the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of men. 

Ruth didn't need to argue or justify her decision. That she was right in God's sight was evident; "faith is the evidence" (Heb. 11:1).

It is interesting that the Bible mentions here that when Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she "stopped speaking to her." The voice of reason fell silent before the determination of faith. When faith resolves to obey the will of God, reason has nothing more to say; it falls silent, because faith cannot be persuaded by arguments or rationalizations; its meat is to do the will of God - God' will is its primary drive.

We know the rest of the story. Ruth helped Naomi find the right perspective in life. Faith brings meaning into life and drives all bitterness of godless reason away. It brings reason into right perspective with God. Later, it was Naomi who would take the lead to tell Ruth the steps she had to take, in accordance to the instructions God had given in the Law. The Bible doesn't downplay reason. However, it is not reason, but faith that creates history; because, only the things that bear the stamp of God's approval will last forever.

Ruth married Boaz, and in their line was born our Lord Jesus Christ, whose Kingdom shall never end. She sought God and God incarnated in her bloodline. The first chapter of the New Testament proudly records her name among the few women who feature in the Genealogy of Jesus Christ.

"By faith we understand the ages to have been prepared by a saying of God..." (Hebrews 11:3, YLT)
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Movies and the Imitative Arts - Quotes

Ravi Zacharias, EVANGELISM AND THE NEW MILLENNIUM:BARRIERS OF THE MIND, AND HUNGERS OF THE HEART, Amsterdam 2000. Sunday, July 30, 2000

"You see, the Bible does not say, “In the beginning was video.” It says in the beginning was the Word."

"What then do we make of our time when the camera controls the imagination of young minds? I am afraid some day we will wake up and wonder how we were so foolish to have missed this powerful influence. And we cannot run from it. We are in it. From the pictures that tell the story, to the music that is now visualized, we are in it. The sensations are being propelled through the eye-gate. It is not without reason that Jesus warned His listeners to let the eye be single, for it is the lamp of the body.

The implications here are extremely important. For decades science has been seen as an exacting discipline of the intellect, and the arts as a free-floating realm of the imagination. With the advance of computers, may I suggest to you that the two disciplines will converge, and the imagination may place the demand upon the sciences till a free-floating technological power will play the role of a creator of people’s fantasies. The intellect will be seduced by the imagination. The tower of Babel could well be built with one language—only it will be in pictures and accessed by buttons.

But there is another side to this, and we should not forget it. Just because this generation thinks visually does not mean they do not think deeply. They do, about the issues that trouble them. One day my eighteen-year-old son phoned home from school and said he would be a little late after school because he was stopping at the shopping mall to get something. When my wife asked him what it was he was getting, he was a little reluctant to share it because he was not sure how we would react. Then he told her what it was. He was stopping to order a little chain to put around his neck, with a pendant that just said “13.” It did not take long to figure it out, and he explained his reason. Just a few days before, in that dreadful shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, thirteen had been mercilessly shot to death. “I want to remember them,” he said, “especially the courage of the ones who were willing to lay down their lives for Jesus Christ.” You see, none of us as adults would have thought of expressing it that way. Our expression was in words. Young people often do it in symbols, and they are just as deep."


A.W. Tozer, "The Menace of the Religious Movie".

"For the motion picture as such I have no irrational allergy. It is a mechanical invention merely and is in its essence amoral; that is, it is neither good nor bad, but neutral. With any physical object or any creature lacking the power of choice it could not be otherwise. Whether such an object is useful or harmful depends altogether upon who uses it and what he uses it for."

"Now, what is wrong with all this? Why should any man object to this or go out of his way to oppose its use in the house of God? Here is my answer:
"1. It violates the scriptural law of hearing"
"2. The religious movie embodies the mischievous notion that religion is, or can be made, a form of entertainment."
"3. The religious movie is a menace to true religion because it embodies acting, a violation of sincerity."

"Sincerity for each man means staying in character with himself. Christ's controversy with the Pharisees centered around their incurable habit of moral play acting. The Pharisee constantly pretended to be what he was not. He attempted to vacate his own "I-ness" and appear in that of another and better man. He assumed a false character and played it for effect. Christ said he was a hypocrite.

It is more than an etymological accident that the word "hypocrite" comes from the stage. It means actor. With that instinct for fitness which usually marks word origins, it has been used to signify one who has violated his sincerity and is playing a false part. An actor is one who assumes a character other than his own and plays it for effect. The more fully he can become possessed by another personality the better he is as an actor."

"4. They who present the gospel movie owe it to the public to give biblical authority for their act: and this they have not done."

"5. God has ordained four methods only by which Truth shall prevail---and the religious movie is not one of them."

"Without attempting to arrange these methods in order of importance, they are prayer, song, proclamation of the message by means of words, and good works."

"6. The religious movie is out of harmony with the whole spirit of the Scriptures and contrary to the mood of true Godliness."

"To harmonize the spirit of the religious movie with the spirit of the Sacred Scriptures is impossible. Any comparison is grotesque and, if it were not so serious, would be downright funny. Try to imagine Elijah appearing before Ahab with a roll of film! Imagine Peter standing up at Pentecost and saying, "Let's have the lights out, please." When Jeremiah hesitated to prophesy, on the plea that he was not a fluent speaker, God touched his mouth and said, "I have put my words in thy mouth." Perhaps Jeremiah could have gotten on well enough without the divine touch if he had had a good 16mm projector and a reel of home-talent film."

"If the movie is needed to supplement anointed preaching it can only be because God's appointed method is inadequate and the movie can do something which God's appointed method cannot do. What is that thing? We freely grant that the movie can produce effects which preaching cannot produce (and which it should never try to produce), but dare we strive for such effects in the light of God's revealed will and in the face of the judgment and a long eternity?"

"7. I am against the religious movie because of the harmful effect upon everyone associated with it."

"First, the evil effect upon the "actors" who play the part of the various characters in the show; this is not the less because it is unsuspected. Who can, while in a state of fellowship with God, dare to play at being a prophet? Who has the gall to pretend to be an apostle, even in a show? Where is his reverence? Where is his fear? Where is his humility? Any one who can bring himself to act a part for any purpose, must first have grieved the Spirit and silenced His voice within the heart."

"Secondly, it identifies religion with the theatrical world"

"Thirdly, the taste for drama which these pictures develop in the minds of the young will not long remain satisfied with the inferior stuff the religious movie can offer."

"Fourthly, the rising generation will naturally come to look upon religion as another, and inferior, form of amusement."

"Fifthly, the religious movie is the lazy preacher's friend."


Tozer, Roots of the Righteous

“I believe that entertainment and amusements are the work of the Enemy to keep dying men from knowing they're dying; and to keep enemies of God from remembering that they're enemies.”

"The average man... has become a parasite on the world, drawing his life from his environment, unable to live a day apart from the stimulation which society affords him"

"The great god Entertainment amuses his devotees mainly by telling them stories. The love of stories, which is a characteristic of childhood, has taken fast hold of the minds of the retarded saints of our day, so much so that not a few persons manage to make a comfortable living by spinning yarns and serving them up in various disguises to church people."



Leonard Ravenhill

"Entertainment is the devil's substitute for joy. Because there isn't enough power in the house of God, people are always looking for something to take its place." (The Judgment Seat of Christ)

"I am angry that the Church, in many (and maybe most) cases, is an entertainment center." (Be Ye Angry and Sin Not)


Ravi Zacharias, "How Should Christians Watch TV"

"If anyone can conquer my imagination, he has conquered me."
"Appeals to the imagination can bypass the will and reason, and hold captive the conscience. This is why music and television are such powerful forces; they have that potential of circumventing the guardians of the soul."

"Second, television controls enormous themes in simplistic ways, making the viewer morally uncritical."

"Third, television produces a debilitating effect in concentration spans. How is it possible for a child raised on fast-moving scenes and cartoon characters to find his teacher exciting?"

"Fourth, television sets up heroes and models for the young who become almost cultic in their zeal."

"Last, from this writer's perspective, television produces a sociological phenomenon where authority is completely dislocated. A person becomes authoritative because he or she is well-known. Thus, a film actress who has no moral beliefs whatsoever becomes a powerful voice defending abortion."

"The illusionary world of most television programming runs from reality, distorts and makes enticing a way of life that is a lie. Let us instead, with all our minds seek God's truth, and do all to the glory of God. Quite candidly, could you imagine Jesus sitting in front of this instrument and feeding his mind on it?"



Bill Bright, Interview on CBN by Michael Little

Little: "Would you say that the 'Jesus' film has won more people to Christ?"

Bright: "There have been over 4.2 billion in 645 languages in 235 countries believe the film. We have reason to believe there are hundreds of millions who have made some kind of decision."

Little: "Sometimes I've read as many as 1/3 of the people who view it actually pray to receive?"

Bright: "I've seen occasions where most of the people present did that."

Little: "Yes".

Bright: "I remember a pastor of a large church in Nairobi, Kenya wanted to start a new church. So we took the film to a part of the city where there was a lot of foot-traffic and started the film. No one there but us. Soon there were about 1,500 people stopped to see it. And when the invitation was given over one half of them indicated they wanted to receive the Lord. So we started the church immediately."

Little: "Just like that?"

Bright: "You know about the Dawn Ministry?"

Little: "Yes, sure."

Bright: "Mr. Steele said their reports indicate that through the 'Jesus' film and other evangelism in which we were involved, over 750,000 churches have been started.

FROM THE SECULAR

Psychological Effects of Method Acting, Wikipedia. June 13, 2013

"Method acting is employed by actors to evoke realistic emotions into their performance by drawing on personal experiences. Raymond Hamden, doctor of Clinical and Forensic Psychology, defines the purpose of method acting as “compartmentalizing their own feelings while playing another character [so] they could bring the emotions of that personal feeling to cry if they needed to with that character.” However, when these emotions are not compartmentalized, they can encroach on other facets of life, often seeming to disrupt the actor’s psyche. This occurs as the actor delves into previous emotional experiences, be they joyful or traumatic. The psychological effects, like emotional fatigue, comes, however when suppressed or unresolved raw emotions are unburied to add to the character. not just from the employing personal emotions in performance. The question becomes whether the actor calls up resolved or unresolved emotions in their acting."

"It is commonly believed that there is a strong correlation between acting and the physiological reaction to acting. According to the task-emotion theory, “the positive emotions of the actor should be coupled with a specific physiological activation. In particular, excited physical reactions were expected to co-exist with task-emotions such as tension, excitement, and challenge.”

The danger comes when control precedence “manifests itself by sudden interruptions of behavior, changes in behavior or by persistence of [character’s] behavior.”. “Control precedence” by emotions is the “feelings, thoughts, impulses, actions or activation going along with aroused emotion that takes precedence over other planned or half executed thoughts, feelings, impulses, etc.” Control precedence is the main concern for method acting. It proves a challenge for actors to come out of character after employing method acting techniques, sometimes altering their behavior, urging them to follow impulses that would be foreign to their own personal nature. This difficulty of returning to one’s own behavior is the common concern linked with method acting.

Suzanne Burgoyne, Karen Poulin, Ashley Rearden,
The Impact of Acting on Student Actors: Boundary Blurring, Growth, and Emotional Distress


"The theory suggests that the blurring of boundaries between actor and character may be a significant condition for impact, and that the actor's ability to control that blurring may influence whether an acting experience leads to growth or emotional distress. Since some inside-out approaches to acting encourage the actor to use her own personal experience in building a character, thus facilitating boundary blurring, this theory has major implications for theatre pedagogy.

While some of our interviewees have learned through experience that boundary blurring may become problematic, none of them reported having been taught boundary management."

"Awareness of boundary blurring appears to be a first step for students to develop strategies for boundary management. Although teachers may understand that acting can have psychological side-effects, our interviews reveal that young actors may be unaware of that possibility until they have an emotionally distressing experience. On the basis of the theory emerging from this study, we suggest that the theatre profession address boundary management as an aspect of acting pedagogy."


Plato, The Republic

"In saying this, I intended to imply that we must come to an understanding about the mimetic art, --whether the poets, in narrating their stories, are to be allowed by us to imitate, and if so, whether in whole or in part, and if the latter, in what parts; or should all imitation be prohibited?"

"no one man can imitate many things as well as he would imitate a single one?"

"Then the same person will hardly be able to play a serious part in life, and at the same time to be an imitator and imitate many other parts as well; for even when two species of imitation are nearly allied, the same persons cannot succeed in both, as, for example, the writers of tragedy and comedy"

Aristotle, Poetics 

"Poetry in general seems to have sprung from two causes, each of them lying deep in our nature. First, the instinct of imitation is implanted in man from childhood, one difference between him and other animals being that he is the most imitative of living creatures, and through imitation learns his earliest lessons; and no less universal is the pleasure felt in things imitated."

"Next, there is the instinct for 'harmony' and rhythm, meters being manifestly sections of rhythm. Persons, therefore, starting with this natural gift developed by degrees their special aptitudes, till their rude improvisations gave birth to Poetry."

"Poetry now diverged in two directions, according to the individual character of the writers. The graver spirits imitated noble actions, and the actions of good men. The more trivial sort imitated the actions of meaner persons, at first composing satires, as the former did hymns to the gods and the praises of famous men."
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To Lean, To Look, To Long, To Live, And Be Led


The more I lean on the things outside, the more I grow weaker inside;
The more I look to the things outside, the more I grow blinder inside;
The more I long for the things outside, the more I grow emptier inside;
The more I live for the things outside, the more I keep dying inside;
The more I'm led by the things outside, the more I lose direction inside:
You never can be found in the things outside, for You live inside of me,
And You groan and You long that I be changed in the inside totally;
So, help me Father to lean on, look to, long for, live for, and be led by only You completely.
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12 Qualities of Eternal Life

1. IT IS UNRIVALED, UNIQUE, & EXCLUSIVE - There is nothing like it. It is divine.
"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (Joh 1:4 NKJ)
"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (Joh 17:3 NKJ)

2. IT IS SUPERNATURAL - Not this-worldly. It is heavenly.
"The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly." (1Co 15:47-48 NKJ)

3. IT IS IMPERISHABLE & INCORRUPTIBLE
"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1Co 15:51-52 NKJ)

4. IT IS INVALUABLE & PRECIOUS
"knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1Pe 1:18-19 NKJ)

5. IT IS IMMORTAL
"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." (1Co 15:53-54 NKJ)

6. IT IS ETERNAL - Without Beginning or End
"And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." (1Jo 5:11 NKJ)

7. IT IS MEASURELESS, ABUNDANT
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (Joh 10:10 NKJ)

8. IT IS FULLY SATISFYING
"Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." (Joh 4:13-14 NKJ)

9. IT IS INVINCIBLE, UNCONQUERABLE - Victorious
"For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) (Rom 5:17 NKJ)
"so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.(Rom 5:21 NKJ)
"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith. (1Jo 5:4 NKJ)

10. IT IS SPIRITUAL
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (Joh 3:6 NKJ)
"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (Joh 6:63 NKJ)

11. IT IS ILLUMINATED, ENLIGHTENED, FULL OF LIGHT
Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (Joh 8:12 NKJ)

12. IT IS FRUITFUL
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (Joh 15:5 NKJ)
"the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Gal 5:22-23 NKJ)
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Protection of the Innocent in the Old Testament (Deut 19)


1. CITIES OF REFUGE (Deut.19:1-13)
These cities were places where an unintentional killer (someone who didn't kill by intention, but by accident) could run and be safe. However, if he left the city, his blood was on his head.

2. LIMIT OF WITNESSES (Deut.19:15-20)
The limit of witnesses was at least two or three. The Law specifically states: "One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." (Deut.19:15, NIV)

3. MANNER OF INVESTIGATION (Deut.19:18)
The judges were required to make a "thorough investigation" (NIV), a "careful inquiry" (NKJV) of the matter.

4. DETERRENT OF CRIME (Deut.19:18-21)
"..if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you. And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you. Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." (Deut.19:18-21 NKJ)

CHAPTER 19 OF DEUTERONOMY [for reference]
"When the LORD your God has cut off the nations whose land the LORD your God is giving you, and you dispossess them and dwell in their cities and in their houses,
2 "you shall separate three cities for yourself in the midst of your land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess.
3 "You shall prepare roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, that any manslayer may flee there.
4 "And this is the case of the manslayer who flees there, that he may live: Whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally, not having hated him in time past--
5 "as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies-- he shall flee to one of these cities and live;
6 "lest the avenger of blood, while his anger is hot, pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and kill him, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated the victim in time past.
7 "Therefore I command you, saying,`You shall separate three cities for yourself.'
8 "Now if the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as He swore to your fathers, and gives you the land which He promised to give to your fathers,
9 "and if you keep all these commandments and do them, which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and to walk always in His ways, then you shall add three more cities for yourself besides these three,
10 "lest innocent blood be shed in the midst of your land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and thus guilt of bloodshed be upon you.
11 "But if anyone hates his neighbor, lies in wait for him, rises against him and strikes him mortally, so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities,
12 "then the elders of his city shall send and bring him from there, and deliver him over to the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.
13 "Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with you.
14 "You shall not remove your neighbor's landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.
15 "One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.
16 "If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing,
17 "then both men in the controversy shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who serve in those days.
18 "And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother,
19 "then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you.
20 "And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you.
21 "Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
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Tests of a True Prophet

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1John 4:1 NKJ)

Test #1: Fulfillment of Prophecy
"And if you say in your heart,`How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?'--when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him." (Deu 18:21-22 NKJ)

Test #2: Right Theology - The one that teaches fear of the Lord
"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,"and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying,`Let us go after other gods'-- which you have not known--`and let us serve them, "you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. (Deu 13:1-4 NKJ)

"By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world." (1Jo 4:2-3 NKJ)

"But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction." (2Pe 2:1 NKJ)

Test #3: Fruits, Actions
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.' (Mat 7:15-20 NKJ)

WHAT ARE NOT TESTS OF PROPHET

1. Prophesying in God's Name
"And the LORD said to me, "The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. (Jer 14:14 NKJ)

"Many will say to Me in that day,`Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them,`I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Mat 7:22-23 NKJ)

Not everyone who claims to be a Christian theologian/minister/teacher is a Christian.

2. Signs and Wonders
"For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Mat 24:24 NKJ)

3. Show of Spirituality & Meekness
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. (Mat 7:15 NKJ)

"And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works." (2Co 11:14-15 NKJ)
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