23 January 2017

Not By My Will

1 Corinthians 15: 50-57

Traveling today in the hopes of partially fulfilling the wishes of a dear mother.

My dear mother.

She hand-wrote the manner she'd like to have her material body disposed of.

Cremation.

She desired to have her ashes spread over the oceans of the loveliest places she knew while here.

Hawaii and her Cuba.

I was quite surprised when I read her will.

She made several copies of what she wrote on memo-sized lined paper in her near-perfect cursive writing, and mailed a copy to her children.

Some people never lose their penmanship over the years, others (me) begin writing hieroglyphics as soon as they leave school...sometimes having difficulty deciphering their own writing (me again).

Included in her will were a few short paragraphs outlining the manner she desired having her funeral; the music, certain colors, who would preside over the formalities and directives for her ashes.

She didn't realize there wouldn't be a coffin when cremation was the choice.

This was a curve ball that my sisters and I considered while at-bat before the mortician.

The mortician gladly offered an empty coffin for the showing (at an extra cost, of course).

Blue was her color.

Specifically; baby blue.

The urn was going to be a hue of this baby blue.

Tom Jones was her favorite singer.

I grew to like Tom's voice over the years, hearing it quite often in the car and at home growing up.

One of my first journeys into wealthier surroundings as an adolescent was accompanying my mom to a Jones Girls (Tom Jones fan club) gathering at a fancy abode atop the Palos Verdes peninsula (middle-upper class southern California location).

After the funeral church service we heard hit after hit of Tom Jones at the dinner while watching a montage from our mother's past.

I think everyone cried at least once during that journey through her visual past.

So now as I fly over the Pacific Ocean while gazing at whitecaps from a height of 36,000 feet, I wonder if I will get emotional when we finally attempt to follow through with her wishes in Hawaii.

I write the words 'attempt' and earlier 'partially fulfilling' in reference to my mother's wishes because sometimes things don't always come about as we personally would like them to... or according to the wishes of those we love.

I am a stickler for following the rules (most of the time).

I'm definitely a serious person when it comes to following orders / directions.

Fulfilling what someone close to my heart desires, or someone my heart desires to please (which can be all of humanity with very few exceptions), is very important to me.

My mother had very concise, simple and specific desires when she wrote out that will.

She wrote her will when she still had the capacity to comprehend thoughts long enough to write them clearly into written words and while still being able to formulate spoken words.

My mother's frontal lobes deteriorated into nothingness over the years, rendering her closed-off from expression and speech...eventually affecting her eating.

Her will was to not be attached to life prolonging devices...so after she ceased eating, it was less than a week before she was released.

When an older sibling decided to adjust my mother's wishes to appease the dogmatic ideas of the world's leading religion, I had an important choice to make.

Do I lean on my legalistic tendencies, or continue to keep the peace with my sibling?

Do I argue about how anything men consider beyond the direction from Above (theology) is of little consequence, or do I build upon bettering relations with my beloved sibling?

My mother's eternal fate is not bound by the manner a death ritual is conducted.

Whether a body is eaten by fish after a seafaring accident, or by an animal on land, or blown to bits in outer space or extinguished by the flames of an inferno...the eternal abode of that person's spirit is not dependent on such material varieties.

Some of the earliest believers were burned alive, torn apart by animals, cut to pieces and suffered many other manners of death.

In many instances, the church had no means to recover the bodies of their dearly departed.

Was the manner of their death, or the inability to recover the body, or the inability of a man to do certain things in the presence of the body a salvation issue?

Of course not.

What does arise in the heart after death is witnessed is doubt about the spirit's eternal abode.

Faith.

There is a part that men have been given; a small role in presiding over death.

After death was dealt a deathblow, man's role is about comforting people.

Comfort for those still breathing, not so much for the dearly departed (but this, as any religious topic, is highly contentious).

Man's absence (and the absence of that small role) holds no bound on the eternal trajectory of the soul.

There is a process after death for those either heaven-bound and hell-ward...unseen by most eyes.

How this process specifically comes about is not a widespread disclosure, yet many opinions exist that cause people to doubt, and differ in suspicion, and thus compels people to perform certain acts.

Speaking about these things, it is similar to not seeing a butterfly leaving its cocoon.

We only see the cocoon; remnant of a prior life.

There were some instances the 'butterfly' was witnessed after leaving the death cocoon.

What is of utmost importance is not 'knowing' the details, but peacefully abiding along with the collective in order to keep peace and comfort the understandings of others.

The proceedings after the fact (of death) is more of a process for those left behind; the still breathing sojourners on earth.

It is for myself and my dear siblings what my mother wrote in her will.

It is for our heart's peace and the calming of our minds.

It is for our enjoyment; the fellowship from breaking bread together while recalling the many good works our dear mother did for us.

It is an opportunity for communion; giving thanks over the body of yet another one of His children.

The 'life' after death on earth is for those still looking heavenward in wonderment of how our dearly departed are now existing.

What must their daily itinerary be like?

I wonder if my mother has a new favorite color or a new favorite singer...perhaps one of the singing angels of light is now her favorite.

What color is light?
I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 
   “Where, O death, is your victory? 
        Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Yeshua Christ. 
- 1 Corinthians 15: 50-57  

20 January 2017

El Chapo Meets Donald Trump

Luke 16: 19-31

Here is a tale of two billionaires.

One still enjoys his fortune, the other's fortune has been lost.

The eternal abode of both souls cannot be guessed at by human opinion, although many people give their judgmental opinions about each.

Both are now receiving government perks, but in very different ways.

This is not an article to vilify one man while honoring another (either direction).

This is an article to highlight what is one day called 'legal' or lawful can another day be found to be illegal or unlawful.

One man is accused of inciting violence against his competitors, the other man is also accused of inciting violence against his competitors.

Men write human laws and laws can change according to many factors, one being public sentiment (how people feel about something).

What you agree to be right and true may be considered wrong and false by another person.

Perhaps we can look at people and things firstly by definition and secondly according to what is relatively true or false.

One man's truth is another man's fiction, yet man's law attempt to clarify what is right and wrong every day...with the opinion sliding consistently.

This week in Amerikan culture and news, the U.S. government inducts an individual as its new president; arguably the highest public seat and strongest office on earth.

Also in Amerikan culture and news, another individual is also inducted into a position of sorts; a drug cartel boss extradited to a U.S. prison receives a prisoner's number.

The methods that both men amassed their billionaire fortunes have been questioned.

One of the commodities the drug lord traded in (cannabis / marijuana) is continuing its road to legal status in almost every state of the U.S. union.

The business allowances (ability to file bankruptcy, leverage taxable income, etc.) by one of the individuals has been highly criticized, yet these allowances are 'legal' according to U.S. law.

Historically, the ways mankind conducts 'business' have changed.

One day in a certain place, the idea of capitalism went from being legal and allowed to illegal and outlawed.

Another day in another place, the idea of communism went from being legal and allowed to illegal and outlawed.

These changes are witnessed when ideological sides trade places.

We can see a natural plant being outlawed in one century, and being legalized in another.

We can read about greed through market consolidation being dealt with by government means, and that same greed being somehow allowed by the same government in another era.

What is labeled a monopoly at one time, can be labeled another term some time later.

The same set of laws that allowed both men to become wealthy are also questioned as their effectiveness in restricting the challenges our collective consciousness struggles with: greed, power, morals and ethics.

In certain countries, all forms of drugs (and use) have been decriminalized...yet there still exists the business of meeting supply to the demand.

In some countries, private property is not a right legislated by a government body, but something only enjoyed if one has the strength to keep it.

Here is a list, according to a defined scale, of property rights and supported government legislation of property.

One thing that can always be counted on my man's opinions, their laws and their governments is change.

Change is a constant in nature, so why would change not be present with mankind's endeavor and attitude?

The key is how any individual adapts to change.

The business model of today's prisoner is becoming a vehicle of wealth creation for others according to new laws.

The morality and specific use of money, drugs, legislation and the rest of it, is according to an individual's perception and idea of what is right vs what is wrong.

18 January 2017

Picking Up The Clues

Ezekiel 34: 17-19

Observation is how science deciphers and attempts to understand the world; all that is in it and outside of it.

Through observation, the human can silently contemplate.

And although we may interpret the world through an anthropomorphic manner (seeing all things relating to and through a humanistic perception), doing so can be a first step to finding out deeper meanings...even in what may seem mundane.

In my opinion, physically speaking there is nothing more important on the planet than the human being.

I say this not to put human endeavors before the rest of creation.

Man has a great responsibility being the steward, manager and keeper of the planet, its resources and the abundance of life.

By observation of the world we can contemplate the life within us when reflecting ourselves onto the world.

We can absorb the world onto our consciousness and learn silent lessons.

On my way to one of my working and social locations today (a local coffee shop I both work and chat with friends), an interesting discovery was found on my path; a severed pigeon's foot on the sidewalk in front of a neighbor's house.

There is a sizable community of cats in the neighborhood, several having arrived with their human servants.

I wonder if it was the cat residing at this particular house that made a meal out a pigeon.

Maybe it was one of the three who hang out on the neighboring porch.

One of those three is a recent squatter from another home.

He's a tramp.

He muscled his way onto that porch that was previously occupied by two neutered male cats.

I chat with the homeowner on occasion and she's done all she could short of physically running off the newcomer.

She says she can tell the squatter isn't neutered.

In current street vernacular: he is making punks of the other two cats.

She leaves out a food dish for her two cats in the morning, and that new cat intimidates the neutered cats and has his fill.

I see him at other homes, making his way from house to house as if he is the top cat on the block.

Maybe he is.

You are what you think you are, correct?

Yes and no...

The consciousness of humanity tells them they truly are the stewards, managers and keepers of the earth around them.

The earth feeds us, sustains us and keeps us.

Man understands enough not to soil where he eats, and that his waste returns to him if that waste is not recycled and 'cleaned' in a proper way.

The salty oceans have a filtration system, along with the evaporation of water condensing and falling as waters the world over.

Man has observed and learned from his observation of the world around him.

Man is the earth's top cat.

And man learns the hard way when his tramping upon the earth realizes a harsh natural response.

It is better to receive corrective response from other humans.

Man, like that tramping cat, knows to move onto other places to derive food...or figure out new ways to derive an income to feed oneself.

A meal out of a pigeon has its time and place for a tramping cat.

A singular diet of pigeons for all cats would render pigeons extinct, and nutritional limits for cats.

I don't think the cats nor the pigeons know this, but we can understand this simply from prior observations and learning from those who preceded us.

Does the human know their role?

Does the human think their singular diet of ________ (fill in the blank of an obsessive ambition) is sustainable?

The earth is a wonderful place, full of wonderment and with many lessons to learn.

Let us learn what nature is telling us about ourselves, our efforts...and let us learn to do our part and know our place.

After all, you don't put on the same soiled pants day after day...and having the same pigeon meal can get old and unhealthy after a while.

16 January 2017

Picking Up After Others


I am one of those people who gets angry when I see someone throw their trash on the ground.

If I see something out of place as I go about my business, I either physically do something about it, or ponder in my mind if I should.

Along the path I traverse a home where the owner filled the space between the sidewalk and the street with pebbles and small rocks.

Every so often a rock or two find their way onto the sidewalk.

I take a moment and kick them back to where they belong.

I am that guy.

At the nearby park, a tree fell recently (most likely from being waterlogged from all the rain).

The city cut it down to the stump.

Some of the walking pavement was pulled up by the tree's roots.

The city put four caution markers along with some caution tape around the area, and the tape somehow falls to the ground.

I take a few seconds and wrap the tape around the tops of the cones.

That's me.

I'm sure a psychiatrist somewhere has already labeled my actions as something needing a prescription they receive an incentive to prescribe ;), but is it a 'problem' that I desire to see order in life?

Maybe this is what happens when one is getting older, for I think I do remember old people doing these exact things.

The desire in seeing things done properly, found in their proper place and according to a sub-conscience expectation hasn't always been in me.

There was a time I didn't care if my trash made it into a can.

I wasn't aware of where trash goes when left laying in the street.

As my time on this planet increases, so does my will to grow wiser and learn something new.

I don't have it in mind to leave a better place for the next generation.

Not that such an idea is a good one.

And it isn't that I'm wondering if God will judge me about picking up my trash or that of others, or straightening out what others twist out of place (the latter is arguable depending on what has been twisted).

But the cycle of life seems too obvious to ignore or dismiss.

The thought of not doing what is right when one already knows what is right, or better, is bothersome to me.

Perhaps this is by Design.

I don't take pride in it, I don't think.

But I'm sure there is a psychologist out there that has just the term for this obsession with seeing things done right; having a conscience.

13 January 2017

I Am Christian

Matthew 4: 19

It isn't a popular thing to be a Christian...unless you are among actual Christians.

What is a Christian as opposed to another term?

Where did the term “Christian” originate and in what context was it mentioned?
… The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. 
- Acts 11: 26b
As the Gospel spread throughout both Jewish and Gentile neighborhoods and regions of that time's empire, the outsiders would come up with names and labels for those adhering to the teachings of Him who is called Christ.

The Gospel message is foreign to those who are not touched in their hearts by Him who is from Above.

The Acts 11 verse may be the earliest historical mention of the term.

A second mention is found later in Acts in chapter 26:
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” 
- Acts 26: 28
Agrippa was an earthly Gentile king, and becoming a Christian was not a popular thing...especially for a man of wealth, power and position.

Being a Christian was seen from the outside as a stigma contrasting society's popular tastes.

A third mention is found in this context:
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the Name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that Name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the Gospel of God? 
- 1 Peter 4: 12-17
To bear the brand of Christ was, and still is, to invite insult, ridicule, contentment and possible death.

Today, Christians are still being put to death, not for being rebellious or criminals, but simply for what they believe in and how they live their lives.

Persecution was promised by Christ to His followers, not as a test from Him per-say (although this is evident), but also as a warning.

Imagine a flame atop a candle in a dark and windy world.

The wind can be viewed as constantly attempting to put out the flame.

That wind can also be seen as blowing wildly and doing as it has always done; whipping up storms, dust and trouble for all who feel it.

The darkness, in contrasting the light, always desires to envelope the light.

It is the nature of darkness to stay dark, and attempt to snuff out the light.

So when Christ says to His followers the following, consider what is being spoken to your heart:
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. 
- Matthew 5: 14-16
It is no surprise, then, that a Christian realizes hate when they succeed, or judgment from those who have their own definition of righteousness, when the Christian is actually called to let their light shine.

Talents, gifts, abilities while confessing their humanity and glorifying God for His love, grace and forgiveness.

We see that the disciples were called Christians...so let us look at what a disciple of Christ is.

Another definition of “disciple” (aside from being a follower of Christ) is simply a 'follower' and/or 'student'.

So when looking at what a disciple of Christ is, we are looking at students, followers and imitators of Christ.

Christ is the Great Teacher, and His students are always learning about Him, about the world He created and our role in the image He made for us.
Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done. 
- Matthew 16: 24-27
Part of being a student and follower of Christ is to deny oneself and carry one's cross.

We see why: “whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it”.

What do you suppose it means to deny yourself?

Is it denying oneself of what is honestly and purely good?
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from Above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the Word of Truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created. 
- James 1: 16-18
Perhaps it means denying oneself the corruption (and being corrupted) by a depraved and fallen world:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 
- Romans 12: 1-2
What are some specific things one must deny themselves of in order to bear their cross?
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 
- 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11
You can see that God accepts those who repent, deny themselves and carry the cross of their past sins when it says “and that is what some of you were”.

It is very possible, for those who have received the Spirit of power from Above into their lives, to overcome the world and its dark desires:
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Yeshua before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Yeshua, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 
- 2 Timothy 1: 6-10
Suffering is not due to being a rebel, or an insubordinate to the order of life on earth, but in aiming for perfection as He is Perfect.

The suffering is not only overcoming the weakness of the flesh, but the intimidations of wicked men who, for some dark ethereal reason, dislike with great hatred the righteousness the chosen exemplify as they imitate and follow their Lord and Savior, Yeshua Christ.

The wicked, who are moved by the darkness and winds of this world, use their religions, philosophies and contemporary ideas in an attempt to stamp out what God has established on the earth.
All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or Me. 
- John 16: 1-3
But we have a promise that is greater than any suffering, any earthly title and accolade that awaits us in full while being experienced in part:
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 
- James 1: 12
Being a student, follower, imitator and thus disciple of Christ is what God has called all mankind to be and become.

THIS is the purpose that God had in mind when He created you...to be just like He is.

11 January 2017

Way To Salvation Part Three

Acts 16: 31-34

We can help, but some still question and sometimes doubt: 'how' God works and 'how' our own salvation is realized.

There is much confusion in the religious world, and within the Christianity expressed today, regarding salvation and what man's mind can understand about God's salvation.

We learned in Part One of the Way to Salvation, the idea of salvation varies according to what people understand within their context of the world, religious upbringing and philosophical rendering.

Considering that the ideology of Christianity has permeated all corners of the world (and continues to), and with this effort the concept of salvation, grace, inclusion, love and peace being perpetuated ad infinitum in His Name, let us continue with how salvation has been understood since Christ testified to being salvation Himself.

In Part Two, we find that the Name revealed from Above literally means “salvation” and “to rescue”.

In a separate article, infant baptism's reality is explained.

In this third article on the subject of salvation, we include the established practice of infant / child baptism as originally ordained and established by God in mirroring His prior covenant.

The practice of ushering a new covenant member into the church, even as a child, is through baptism.

This practice mirrors the practice of circumcision under the previous covenant; the manner God commanded entrance into that covenant.

We should remember that infant baptism was never challenged until 1400 years after the fact.

John the Baptist was the final prophet of the prior age; the Old Covenant under the law of Moses.

What was the role of John the Baptist as described via a prophetic message through his father Zechariah?
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; 
   for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, 
    to give His people the knowledge of salvation 
   through the forgiveness of their sins, 
because of the tender mercy of our God, 
   by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
     to shine on those living in darkness 
   and in the shadow of death, 
to guide our feet into the path of peace.” 
- Luke 1: 76-79

- to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins

The knowledge of salvation began with John the Baptist.

John the Baptist seems to have recognized that Jesus didn't need to repent of any sin, thus why John doubted needing to baptize the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit:
Then Yeshua came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 
Yeshua replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 
As soon as Yeshua was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” 
- Matthew 3: 13-17
Christ taught a great lesson in humility when expressing the fulfilling of all righteousness.

We can also see what God had purposed by having the Christ baptized, the sign and the testimony.

After Christ was baptized, He taught Nicodemus (a religious teacher and ranking member of the priesthood):
Yeshua replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” 
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” 
Yeshua answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. 
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Yeshua, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 
- John 3: 3-12
We can see that salvation, and entrance into the new covenant, the kingdom of God, is a heavenly matter and a matter of heavenly understanding.

Thus why obedience to the Way, and following and imitating Christ in all things, is key.

One cannot fathom the manner one is “born again” unto God, yet we can read there is a water part as there is a spirit part.

One part is done by men, the other part by God Himself...as we can read John the Baptist explain prior to baptizing Christ:
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 
- Matthew 3: 11
Man does have, and can only do, his part.

It is up to God, and God's choice, for the other and greater part.

The manner 'how' or 'when' God's part comes isn't always perceivable by man's eyes.

Sadly, some think by babbling incoherent words means the Spirit is speaking (and a baptism by the Spirit has occurred), but such is not always the case.

What is noticed is a mimicking and attempt to reenact prior occurrences.

The Gospel testimony, letters and further writings show this was not the case with every conversion, whether after a baptism or after people heard the Gospel message and believed.

Salvation comes down to following Christ in all His steps as He traversed the earth; following in humility and obedience His Perfect Example, as He exemplified in humility and obedience to God.

We can see John's water baptism for repentance was carried over into the new age of Christ, the age of grace and truth.

We see there is a water part, which is man's duty to perform and thus "pass through the waters" (1 Peter 3: 21), and then there is God's election and choice of baptizing His children (what man cannot decide for himself or enact on His own) – the grace of God which no man can merit unto themselves.

And what occurs with the water aside from repenting from sin?
And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on His Name.’ 
- Acts 22: 16
Are sins actually “washed away” as one would wash away dirt off and away from the skin?

What is actually happening? (if we can attempt to understand the mystery of heavenly things)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, He went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits—to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Yeshua Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to Him. 
- 1 Peter 18: 22
- He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit

- in it [the ark] only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water

- and this water [the flood waters] symbolizes baptism that now saves you also

- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God

- it saves you by the resurrection of Yeshua Christ

Notice that baptism isn't simply an “outward sign of an inward grace” or a similar humanistic explanation based on man's logic, but something truly heavenly and according to God's order.

Notice how baptism “now saves you” by the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.

We can clearly read how salvation is tied to baptism in water.

Who can argue against what God has commanded, or what Christ exemplified and later revealed through His Holy Spirit?

In short, salvation is as simple as following and living as Yeshua did (your small part of obedience).

In short, salvation is accepting what God has done, provided and promised (His part making you alive).

The first 'thing' Christ did was get baptized...and accepted what God had ordained.

It can be argued that Peter was the first prophet of the new age after John the Baptist (after of course Christ being the Prophet mentioned by Moses).

What did Peter command after the people asked “brothers, what shall we do?” when they realized their sins contributed to Christ being crucified?
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Yeshua, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Yeshua Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 
- Acts 2: 36-39
- repent and be baptized...in the Name of Yeshua Christ for the forgiveness of your sins

Turning away (repenting) from the pride of one's heart in thinking you know better than what God has provided, or established, is essential.

Repenting from the sin of disbelief in the simplicity of what God has provided is also essential.

Here is the Mystery of the heavenly things come to fruition:
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through your faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. 
- Colossians 2: 9-15
Here we read how the circumcision which is from Above, by the Spirit and by the hand of God, not men, is performed.

This is why it is written:
For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which He has given about His Son. 
- 1 John 5: 7-9
We see God has loosened the Way in reflecting the prior model of the physical things into a spiritual reality that is made simple, through humility before Him and men.

The faith is when men realize who they are (lost, sinful and lacking God) and God showing men what He has done...and are baptized in His Holy Name.

The grace is what God has allowed for your children and for all who are far off...and are baptized in His Holy Name.

May God grant you insight into His Mystery, causing His Holy Spirit to also live within you by faith, by grace; by the order He has established...in His Holy Name.

10 January 2017

Goo Goo Gaa Gaa

1 Corinthians 13: 11

Met a gentleman and his 10-month old son today.

We shared an insightful conversation about married life and the adjustments a man must make when moving onto next chapters of life.

I learned a great deal in not only asking questions about child care, but also about growing along with an addition to the family.

We share a similar background and current dynamics.

After I answered his question about my current occupation, he mentioned several authors whose writings helped him bring new approach to life.

He shared about a the writer Eiji Yoshikawa who wrote a story about a warrior swordsman that one day decided to become a farmer.

He was horrible at farming, not knowing much about farming nor how to apply his previous work experiences to growing food.

Other farmers would pass by laughing at his dismal failure.

But the warrior-turned-farmer didn't allow failure or criticism to cause him to quit.

He began to look at the new surroundings, the landscape, and applied what he did know about being a warrior to farming.

A warrior is always aware of his surroundings and uses what is around him to his advantage.

The warrior doesn't try to change his surroundings, but rather incorporates their surroundings into their strategy.

The warrior becomes a student and learns from the environment, going along with the challenges, not trying to oppose the challenges as one would suppose.

Like the Bruce Lee quote: 

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

My new friend shared with me how this warrior began to work with the terrain, learning which way the wind blows, the contours of the land and the direction and speed of the river...all to his advantage.

In due time, by adapting to the surroundings (and not desiring to make the surroundings submit to his way), the warrior soon became a more successful farmer than his peers who previously ridiculed him.

The warrior brought a new perspective to farming that had not been realized before.

What sparked this response from my new friend was my comment that when I married my wife, I had to put much of my pride aside in order to adjust to my wife, who is now a singular part of me.

I mentioned how he must have also done an adjustment of sorts to welcome his baby boy into the world.

He shared with me how, instead of trying to make his child adjust to his or his wife's time schedule, he and his wife instead learned to observe their child for changes in mood; hunger, sleepiness, diaper changing, etc.

He explained how in adjusting to others, and new situations, their home is a happier and more peaceful place.

I learned once again that the journey of personal growth is like a continual peeling away at an onion...and we are like an onion.

Mankind was created to grow, to learn, to thrive and to peel away what doesn't work.

Just like peeling away at an onion, tears may come, but the outer layers need to be removed in order to get to what is palatable.

I remarked, as Wisdom would show the student, how children are truly a blessing in so many ways.