The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nominal Christianity

'We are no longer just a Christian nation' - Barack Obama - 2006

Does a Christian nation allow for the murder of its most helpless citizens?!

When Barack Obama made that incendiary statement in 2006, most American Christians were outraged!

'How dare he declare that we are not a Christian nation?!' 

When he made this statement , I'm sure this soon to be presidential candidate was not referring to the fact that many Christians in this nation seem to have turned a blind eye to the ugly fact of abortion! I highly doubt that he meant to imply that, just because the Supreme Court of America declared child-murder legal in 1973, Amer could no longer be considered a Christian nation, but the fact is, a Christian nation does not murder helpless, innocent, and unborn children!

When America was founded, those many, many years ago, Christian principles, though maybe somewhat puritanical, were in force, and throughout her first years, it seemed that God had blessed her efforts, and the spilt blood off her sacrifices! It is safe to say, though with a sad heart, that America's sacrifices are no longer a pleasing aroma in the Face of God; they are simply the abhorrent savor of death!

Although there are no doubt many true & faithful followers of Christ in America, most if not all who have defended the rights of the preborn ever since, and even before 1973, the nation as a whole has done nothing concrete to stop this hellacious and abominable practice!

'Life goes on' and 'it is what it is', you might hear!

The murder of the innocent is not going to stop simply because legislation is passed saying that it's illegal, although if the penalties are harsh enough, it could sure make a dent, but by passing legislation making abortion legal, America has become complicit, as a whole, in these murders! Because of her complicity & lack of felicity, America has become displeasing in God's eyes, and will be brought to a painful and complete end unless she repents of her duplicity and begins, as she should, to protect the preborn, instead of murdering them in the 'cradle'!

America, once known as a Christian nation among the nations, is quickly becoming known for its duplicitous ways, and has fallen far from the lofty position she once enjoyed as 'a light to the world'! Nations all around us are seeing her for what she is, a wasteful, selfish, & slovenly whore! Her 'Christianity, what there is still extant in this country, has become a bunch of simpering 'panty-waists', 'evangellyfish', as a friend of mine calls them!

It is not too late!

If America's Christian will pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, cinch up their belts, and stop prostrating themselves before false gods, then maybe will will turn this 'colossus of doom' around, and bring America back to the once-great Christian nation she was meant to be!

May it be!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Your Kingdom Come

Remembering the eschatological nature of 'The Lord's Prayer', as it is traditionally called, and it's relevance to the history of Israel, when Jesus taught His disciples, in the 1st century, to pray 'Your kingdom come', we must understand first of all, that His Kingdom HAS come! It is a present reality! John saw and recorded in his Revelation ( 11:15 ), 'the kingdoms[f]of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!' Our Creator, in the Parousia of His Son, entered into His Creation, and made His dwelling with us!

And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
Daniel 2:44

The details of Nebuchadnezzar's dream were no doubt in the forefront of the Mind of Christ when He taught His disciples to pray this way! The disciples, being good Jews, most likely would have immediately thought of this prophecy as well.

As much as the Jews wanted to deny it, they were still in captivity, even though they were restored to the physical 'Land of Promise'! Since the Assyrian Captivity, and even before that, since the days of the Judges, at least, they were held captive, in some form or another!

Although every good Jew looked for to the Day that Daniel described, the Disciples of Christ must have had a slightly different understanding of this prophecy. Whereas most, if not all Jews looked for a physical and political kingdom, as do most Christians today, Jesus taught His disciples that this would not be a political kingdom, mediated through mere men, but that His Kingdom was of a more spiritual nature. Though He would rule and reign through His 'Body Politic'; this Kingdom would last forever, because it would not be upheld by any physical line of descent! Their history had proven that the strength of men would fail! Instead, this Kingdom would stand through spiritual generation!

In the same way that The Lord's Supper may still be observed without harming it's original intent, so the Lord's Prayer may still be uttered, in memorial. With the understanding though, that this Heavenly Kingdom has come, and is now a present Reality, to the casual observer ( or listener ) there may be even more confusion over this issue than over the continued observance of The Lord's Supper!

If The Lord's Supper, with its eschatological import, is fulfilled, how much more The Lord's Prayer, with 'Your Kingdom come'? We'll get into this more in the next several installments, but the qualifying statement is, of course, 'on earth as it is in heaven'. If, according to Fulfilled, or Realized Eschatology, God's Kingdom, the Kingdom that Daniel says 'became a great mountain and filled the whole earth', has come, then why would we still pray for it to come?

Unquestionably, although some do question it, God's Kingdom is a present Reality! To those with eyes to see, it is infinitely evident that He IS ruling through His People, from the Throne in His New Temple! We do not however see all men acknowledging Him, or bowing to His will. Nevertheless, we can see with open eyes, that though He is not acknowledged, and in many cases intentionally spurned, His Will, His Purpose is still accomplished, even through, or in spite of, the actions of wicked men!

So may we continue to pray, with our New Covenant Eyes, that His Kingdom would continue to come, or expand, 'on earth as it is in heaven', for we, His people, and the sheep of His pasture, ARE Heaven, the dwelling ( place ) of God!

Charles Haddon  Shank

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hallowed be Your Name

I do not do [ this ] for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.
Ezekiel 36:22

We honor our Heavenly Father in several different ways! When we live according to His Law ( of Love ), we honor His Name; when we worship Him as our Creator, we honor His Name, and when we prove His Love, we bring honor to His Holy Name! In fact, that is just what it means to 'hallow' something; to sanctify, to set apart, to consecrate for a special use ( especially religious use )!

Why, if He, as our Heavenly Father, is the Creator, and therefore, the epitome of all that is right, good and holy, should we pray that His Name be hallowed? Why should we set apart His Name and consecrate it to special ( religious ) use?

You shall therefore be holy, for I [ am ] holy.
Leviticus 11:45b

We are, ourselves, instructed to be holy! We, as the People of God, children of our Heavenly Father, have been cleansed, sanctified, and made holy, yet we are told to BE holy, as He is holy. This is to say, that we are to show, or prove, in actuality, that we HAVE been made holy, that we have been sanctified and set apart! So with our Heavenly Father; He IS holy, but it is through our holy living, our honoring His Name, that His name is in actuality hallowed!

When we pray, therefore, that His name would be hallowed, we do two things; we first of all, keep the lines of communication open between us and our Heavenly Father, and we make supplication for the strength & will to honor Him with our lives!

'The Lord's Prayer', as given by our Jesus to His first-century disciples was, as we have noted, nothing new. It has recently been shown that this prayer was modeled, with a few notable distinctions, on the Jewish Kaddish. This prayer was based largely on the hope & promise of the Davidic dynasty, on the fact that David and his Son would for reign upon His throne!

Eschatologically, the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples petitioned that His Name, instead of being profaned, as their spiritual fathers had, would now be hallowed sanctified, and made holy! This, in the context of Ezekiel's prophecy in chapter 36, was only made possible through the cleansing and renewal of the hearts of the People of God! David too, spoke of this time when he prayed, 'Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin', and 'Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me'. ( Psalm 51:2 & 10 )

Being eschatological in nature then, as it most definitely is, and thus fulfilled; should we any longer pray this prayer, and voice these concerns? If Jesus spoke these words to His first-century disciples, instructing them to pray that His name would be hallowed 'in the Land' ( Israel ) as it is in 'heaven', is it still for us to pray them?

It most definitely is! We should still, besides keeping up good communications with our Heavenly Father, seek His Strength & Will in our lives, that we may live according to His Law, in love, sanctifying His Hallowed Name!

We should pray, yes, that His Name would always be hallowed & honored in our lives, but more importantly, we should strive to honor Him in our lives, in everything that we do as well as say!

Charles Haddon Shank

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Sovereignty of God

Where is the promise of His coming? 
For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [ they were ] from the beginning of creation!
II Peter 3:4

If Christians would just act like Christ, tax-paid abortion would have ended in 1974! ( Actually, the Supreme Court might never have handed down their fateful decision on Roe v. Wade! )

This statement, to say nothing of the statement on our latest inflammatory sign, may seem a little harsh and a lot presumptive! I daresay, with no doubt whatsoever, if Jesus encountered this problem in His day, He would not have sat idly by while babies were being murdered!  Unlike the many denominations of the Church, or church; He would have, at the very least, over-turned the tables of the money-changers and driven them from His House, and would have done His best to over-turn the Supreme Court!

Since its inception, but especially since 1973, America,  like any other biological body, has been dying a slow, painful death!

This is our Father's world, and He rules it as He wills! If American Christians think they can sit idly by, cowering in their bunkers like the Lutherans ( and many others ) during WWII, they've got another think coming! Remember the Holocaust? Whether or not you believe it was right or wrong for Hitler to massacre all those people, innocent or not, it was still murder, and if those Christians had stood up for their brethren, and against the evil that men do, the effects could have greatly been lessened, and possibly even averted!

So, in our day, with the 41st anniversary of that fateful decision ( Roe v. Wade ) on the horizon, we can easily look at American Christianity of the not-too-distant past, and see that if they had been worth their salt, they would have risen en masse, as a Body, and put a stop to the legalized murder of babies, in fact, nipping it in the bud!

The naysayers quoted in the verse above, from II Peter 3, were questioning the promise of God's judgment on His people because evil had been present from the very creation, and still, evil was present! Many Christians today, because of a misconstrued theology, might ask the very same question! Many of these same Christians stood idly by and did nothing because they're expecting Jesus to return any moment, sweep up His poor petulant church, and destroy all the evil in this world in one fell swoop!

Those who questioned His appearance in the first century ( II Peter 3:4 ) saw His Coming in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD70, and the subsequent of the salvation of the followers of Christ, in their escape from that destruction!

The only way America will be saved from her destruction will be if She repents en masse of Her idolatries and especially the murder of Her unborn!

Only if we as Christians will take a Stand, and even Fight for the rights of all human beings to live, and especially the pre-born, will America return from Her destructive ways and begin to heal & prosper as a nation once more!

Stand & Fight, brethren; let this be our battle-cry, 'We do not Fear what Man Can Do!'

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Gentile Baptism, Part Two

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. 
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.[b]
John - Matthew 3:11

Why do some people feel that it is necessary to continue to baptize in water, even when it was promised that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire? Speaking off a baptism by fire, it is widely accepted that when John said this of Jesus ( though 'with fire' is questionably a later addition ), he simply meant that it would be through trials & tribulations that His people would be purified. Jesus' 'baptism by fire' ( 'But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!'-Luke 12:50 ) is a perfect example of this baptism, as He was referring to His crucifixion & death!

To baptize, as we have seen, is simply 'to whelm'. People can be, and often are, overwhelmed by many different things; life itself, with its many twists & turns, speed-bumps and illusions ( or should that be 'allusions'? ) is often overwhelming! One can be overwhelmed by a multitude of problems, issues, or even by too much of a good thing!

We have seen that the practice of water baptism was itself eschatological in nature. It began under the so-called Old Covenant, was carried on into the transition period by John, and finally revealed in its significance by Paul & the apostles. It really was, during that transitional period, anyway, a sign to the Gentiles that they too, had become part of the Body of Israel, or Christ!

In the church today, and maybe in particular, the evangelical church, Christians are thought to be ( and even called ) Gentiles, unless they are of course, physical Jews ( you'd be very hard-pressed, I believe, to find one of those anymore! ). This however, conflicts with Scripture, which says in several different places & ways, 'For there is no difference' ( Romans 3:22 ). Paul actually comes right out and plainly says 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.' ( Galatians 3:28 )

( 'Greek' & 'Gentile' are translated from the same Greek word, 'Hellēn' )

In some circles, those who do not necessarily view the practice as 'necessary', nevertheless still hold on to the practice as an identification with Israel. It most surely is that, an outward sign of identification with the Story that we read in the pages of Scripture, but we might ask the question here, for those of the Reformed persuasion in particular ( I was brought up in this tradition ); 'do we need to administer this outward sign in order for the inward Reality to be made manifest?' Will the outward sign guarantee the inward Reality? 

Obviously not, though some of my stauncher Reformed brethren might beg to differ!

Admittedly, one could well make the argument that when the unbeliever is awakened from his ( or her ) sleep and realizes the gravity & blessedness of right relationship with their Father in Heaven, receiving the outward sign of water baptism is a beautiful way to picture the Reality of their becoming One with the Body of Christ! Here though, we run into the same problems as we've already discussed! If one ( unbeliever ) claims to have become a believer, and so receives that outward sign, and later, for what ever reason, falls away, what good has his water baptism & confession done him? Nothing but harm!

However, as truly now as back then ( Luke 23:43, baptism by fire?), when one turns their life around, and begins to live in some sort of communion with the Body, it becomes fairly obvious that person has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is the True Baptism promised by our Father in Heaven!

Should we refrain then, from baptizing with water?

I, though I do not practice it myself, leave it up to the individual, but, for the very reasons enumerated above, advise ( seriously ) anyone reviewing the issue in their own mind, to realize the gravity & significance of either continuing the practice or not!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Our Father in Heaven

How often do we almost thoughtlessly and mindlessly recite this opening phrase of what is known as 'The Lord's Prayer'? Do we truly realize what it means to call our Creator our Father, or that we are children of the One who set the universe in motion?

One thing that I believe many people miss is the context of Jesus' words!

When Jesus spoke these words, He was answering a question that had just been posed to Him by His disciples. His disciples asked Him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.' Jesus' answer to them was 'When you pray, say, Our Father in heaven..............'.

Traditionally, these words are the beginning of what might also be called 'The Model Prayer'. Over the centuries, and probably even millenia, the exact words that Jesus taught His disciples to say have been taught to adults and children alike as The Lord's Prayer.

There a few things that we must understand about Jesus' words here. First, He was speaking directly to His disciples, the ones who were standing there at that time. This is not to say that we should not use these same words, though we must understand that there was an eschatological impetus to them!

As we continue to study this "Model Prayer', we will see more and more clearly the eschatological nature of these words.

As their Brother, Jesus wanted them to be clear that His Father was their Father. The relationship between a father & son is more precious than gold or silver! One reason for this is that the son will eventually, if all goes as planned, carry on his father's name, even his father's work, his legacy. What the father does, the son will one day do. Our fathers often seem harsh and brusque! They seem to be harder on us than anyone else. The main reason for this is that, one day, we will take their place; one day, we will have to fill their shoes!

Our Heavenly Father is definitely and infinitely  different, and so, our relationship with Him takes a different attitude as well. We dwell with Him, as we dwell with our human, natural fathers, but with a huge difference; our human fathers are finite, limited to being in one place at a time. It is possible to go any number of places to escape his notice ( trust me, been there, done that )! Not so our Heavenly Father; David wrote ( Psalm 139:8 ), 'If I ascend into heaven, You [ are ] there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You [ are there ].' He realized that there is no escape from the Presence of our Heavenly Father! Not only is He infinite in His knowledge and being, as well as all encompassing; He knows our very thoughts, and our most secret desires!

As such then, it is infinitely amazing and overwhelmingly gracious of Him that He would deem, not only to preempt to have a relationship with us, but that He would make us, His People, His Temple, His Dwelling!

Matthew's record of Jesus' instruction to His disciples is a bit more clearly eschatological! First, He instructs them, 'when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites'. He is clearly speaking against the elements of apopstate Judaism that was prevalent in His day, those who 'seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God' (Romans 10:3 )! We do have hypocrites, actors today, those who think that 'they will be heard for their many words',  but these hypocrites were the main focus of Jesus' indignation, their cup of wrath the one that spelled the end of the eschaton, fulfilling God's wrath!

Another thing we must understand about this 'model prayer' is that it was a reminder to His disciples, who were true Israelites, of their history! As we work our way through the The Lord's Prayer in these subsequent & sequential studies, we will see how this history unfolds.

In opening this model of prayer with 'Our Father in Heaven', Jesus made clear to His disciples that, although they were praying to their Father, He was not some human, finite Father! This was the Creator of heaven & earth, the One who dwelt in the heavens, who made the clouds His chariot, Who rode upon the wings of the wind! This is the One who claimed that 'Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool'!

David references throughout his many Psalms that Yahweh dwelt in the 'heavens'! It has been argued, quite successfully I believe, in certain circles, that these 'heavens' ( Hebrew-shamayim, Greek-ouranos, both of which mean, simply 'sky' ) referred, qualitatively and prophetically to His people, in whose midst He significantly dwelt ( Tabernacle /Temple ), rather than quantitatively to the 'place' where Yahweh dwells, apart from His People, often viewed as some 'pie in the sky' dream where His People will finally be ushered into His Presence upon their physical demise!

'Heaven' though, is more than just the dwelling-place of God, it is where He dwells with His People! In essence, you could well say; 'heaven is His people'! We ARE His throne, for it is through us, through His faithful ( and unfaithful ) people that He rules and reigns on this earth! 

Finally, we must understand that this is  'a model for prayer'! Jesus was not ( necessarily ) giving His disciples an exact blueprint of what words they must use when they prayed. In Luke's record of this 'prayer', Jesus told His disciples 'When you pray, say', but in Matthew's record, 'in this manner, therefore, pray', and so this point could well be argued, but really, I believe, it is beside the point!

Whether Jesus meant for His disciples to recite His words as a 'mantra', or was just giving them a pattern for relating to His Father and theirs, it is fairly clear that this prayer is eschatological in nature. Although it IS eschatological in nature, there is no harm in using it for our prayers too, for it is really almost as applicable today as it was back then! The same God that the disciples prayed to in the first century is still our Father, we still seek our daily sustenance in Him, and although His Kingdom has been made apparent on earth as it is in heaven, we still do not see it evidenced in all His People, though throughout all the earth!

'Our Father in Heaven' perfectly expressed the hope of Israel that their Creator was truly their Father who dwelt with them and would rule through them! The time would come when their prayer would become reality, and His Kingdom would be united, on earth, as it is in heaven!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Share the Love, Spread the Love

In this day and age, love seems to have taken several different forms, but are all these forms truly love, or are they simply just man's weak representation of that grand allusion?

Since the dawn of time, love has taken many different forms, some more clearly love than others, but all made clear in action. Beyond what Scripture has to say on the subject, it is clear that love must be shown or proven through action, or it is only words, or mere feelings. Not to be too repetitive, but 'love is an action, not a feeling'; you can tell someone 'I love you' till you're blue in the face, but unless you show them that you do, in action, how can they believe you?

Traditionally, Scripture tells us that fornication, or sex before marriage, and adultery, or cheating on your spouse, are both wrong, and condemnable offenses!

Common sense tells us that the latter of these two, especially, is not a good idea, and can bring condemnation, and possibly death. Fornication, which can include all sorts of sexual immorality, common sense tells us, is also dangerously condemnable, especially with the rash of STDs, not to mention angry fathers, brothers, uncles or aunts!

Although the act of love most definitely should include sexual intercourse, it is widely accepted, among Christians anyway, that this sort of intercourse should only occur when the two involved are married to each other. Among most unbelievers, and even some who call themselves Christians, a general consensus and individual commitment is enough to cement the relationship!

With the advent of birth control pills and devices, and especially the condom, the risks involved with casual sex, whether with your spouse or with some random ( yet chosen ) partner, are greatly lessened. Physically speaking, it could almost be likened to masturbation, though, in most cases, anyway, there is an intimacy involved in even 'safe sex' which is simply not there in masturbation.

There are some today who might question the validity of these ancient laws, those which seem to say 'no sex outside marriage', and even 'no sex with anyone but your spouse'. Admittedly, I have even thought, once or twice, of the impact of fulfilled eschatology concerning these issues! As might be guessed, I have come  to the conclusion that though these laws were fulfilled through Jesus' ministry, they are being fulfilled in us; we carry on His ministry!

How then do we share His Love, or spread His Love to a world that seems to think that we can have sexual relations without the ties that bind? How are we to answer those Christians who seem to think that, since the Law has been fulfilled, and 'we are no longer under Law, but under Grace', those laws concerning fornication, adultery, and even sin itself are no longer binding, or in force?

For the unbelieving world, all that we can tell them is the Truth, that Love is the fulfilling ( keeping ) of the Law ( the Law of Love, not the Mosaic Law, or Code )! It is by fulfilling the Law toward our neighbor, be he/she friend or foe, that we show Love.  To the modern Christian who has a mistaken view of fulfillment, we simply remind them that a contract, when it is fulfilled, necessarily ends, but not so a covenant! A covenant, when it is fulfilled, is simply 'filled up' or kept. A contract is a temporal agreement, but, especially in the case of Our Heavenly Father's, a Covenant is eternal!

The marriage vow traditionally ends with 'till death do us part'!

It is possible to share and spread the Love without committing either fornication or adultery, even to share a form of intimacy without succumbing to sexual desires, though experience and common sense would tell you that the two are not far separated, so be warned: do not seek the one, if you cannot afford the other!

In the Father's Love,
Charles Haddon Shank

The Freedom & Responsibility of Man, Versus State Licensing

The issue of State Licensure is very widespread! From the operation of a simple lemonade stand ( in some states ), to getting the state's permission to wed, from having to receive license to drive a vehicle to buy a permit ( license ) in order to make improvements on your own home, not to mention the property tax, which could be a whole other issue itself!

The most obvious reason for this licensure, like all other forms of taxation,  is of course the generation of revenue. It could be argued that this revenue is of the utmost necessity for keeping the wheels of the Federal or State Government running like a well-oiled machine. This is somewhat true, the money must come from somewhere; the revenue generated from this and other forms of taxation is necessary to pay all the State & Federal employees. But even here though, the question might be asked; 'are all these Federal & State Government employees necessary?'

Let's look, for a minute, at the issue of the Driver's License; is it really necessary? There is no doubt that it helps, at least that's the idea, to 'weed out' those who may not have the maturity to properly operate a motor vehicle on the road, much less on a major highway at high speeds, and along with other drivers who may or may not have the necessary skills, licensing, and insurance ( there's a whole other issue )! That, along with the revenues that must be generated for the necessary up-keep of the Highway System and other important considerations could give plenty of pause to most who might balk at these issues!

Freedom is a gift from God! It is a natural aspect of man's creation, of his very being! With freedom, though, comes responsibility, and so the greater the freedom exercised, the greater must be the responsibility shown. When freedom is taken or exercised without the necessary responsibility being shown, then not only is the freedom of the individual put in harm's way, the freedom and safety of all those around him is put in jeopardy, especially concerning driving without the necessary skills on major highways!

It is a sad fact of modern life that many people do not exercise the necessary responsibility that comes with freedom, so therefore, we find that the State & Federal Governments have taken this responsibility upon themselves! It's been said that if one does not govern himself, someone else will do it for him ( or her ), and this, unfortunately, is what has happened all too often! Most Americans are more than comfortable allowing the State & Federal Government to exercise their responsibility for them, while these Governments are more than happy to take this responsibility from them!. They realize, unlike too many comfortable Americans, that if they take the responsibility, they can also take the freedom!

There is no true freedom without responsibility!

Because then, for instance with the Driver's License, many Americans do no show the necessary responsibility to exercise freely the right to transport themselves and others, it may well be viewed as necessary for the individual to be tested for and obtain a permit from the Government before they can validly do so. Here, I believe, is one area in which the Church has failed! This is a long-running problem, and so it would be difficult to pin-point exactly where we went wrong, but because the Church has alienated so many people over the ages, many people have lost, not only their responsibility, but their respectability as well!

Americans, especially Christians, have been told by the Church for so long that 'you're not good enough', that it has become a fact, and so it is better that someone else govern them. This again is a sad fact, but a fact that need not be, and in some cases is becoming less and less of a fact!

Over the past few years especially, the American people, the younger generation in particular, and thanks in large part to the efforts of people like Ron Paul, have begun to wake up to this sad fact! In large part, this Great Awakening has not advanced very far beyond the 'disgruntled stage', and because much of this Revolution is not altogether based on True Freedom, it will likely end badly for some! If the Church will take Her part though, and begin to teach and show responsibility, instead of ceding Her God-given Dominion to the State & Federal Governments, we will begin to see Christians take a greater hand in their own responsibilities and learn to exercise True Freedom!

Listening to the ( relatively ) old folk ballad, 'Alice's Restaurant, by Arlo Guthrie, we are reminded how, not only must one have a permit ( license ) at times, to do something as simple as dumping garbage, this song also reminds us of the irresponsibility of many Americans, 'because, 'if they did it, why can't we'! It is this attitude that has pervaded Americana, and so we have what we have today; the Federal & State Governments making statutes saying, 'you can't do this, and you can't do that'!

Right is right, and wrong is wrong! People are free to do what they wish, but unless they exercise responsibility ( ie, love for neighbor ( and enemy ) along with that freedom, it is not True Freedom!

When men and women begin to take responsibility for their own actions, and love their neighbor ( enemy too ) as themselves, then we will see the exercise of True Freedom! As the Law of Love permeates the Church, and begins to flow even more freely throughout the society & culture in which we live, we will begin to see more and more self government, and less and less of the corrupt State & Federal Governments!

As go the people, so go the politics!

May it ever be,
Charles Haddon Shank

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Living Without Fear

We've discussed this before; it is very easy to become despondent, even somewhat depressed when faced with the harsh reality of what, not only Obama, but generations of American presidents have done to this country! Because God, not Obama, or any other corrupt politician is in charge, we worry needlessly!

Will the worst happen? All the horror stories that we hear about Obamacare, internment camps, and other such atrocities, will they have their intended ( and unintended ) effect? Not much doubt there; they most likely will, especially if this nation and its leaders remain on the same wide and destructive path that they are on now!

Scripture shows us that God has, in the past, used even foreign powers to bring His people to their knees. All things serve His Purpose, and when we understand that, even though we may chafe at the methods that He uses, it becomes evident that, as the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Church at Rome, 'all things work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are the called according to His purpose' ( Romans 8:28 )! If we act according to His Law, the Law of Love, we can be sure that, no matter what the Obamas or even Bushes of this world do, they can do no harm to us!

Eschatological arguments and implications aside, we can find the greatest comfort & assurance in these and other such passages, for we are God's people, as was Israel of old, and the words, though given specifically to those Christians in the first century, carry as much weight for Christians today!

You might be wondering how in God's Name we are supposed to just ignore all the evil that is going on around us, to trust God's purpose, and to live our lives as if nothing is wrong. I never said that we should ignore all that is going wrong around us! Yes, God is using even what seems very wrong to us to chastise His people, and to bring His wayward children back into family relationship, but wrong is wrong, no matter if God is using it for His purposes. You've heard it said, that 'two wrongs don't make a right'! Just because God uses evil people or occurrences to accomplish His purposes doesn't make the culprit guiltless. The wrongdoer bears the responsibility for his own wrongdoing!

Since God is using Obamacare and these other necessary evils for His own Purpose, and for our good, does that mean that we should just lay down and die, without a fight? Should we just cave in, bow the knee and do what this evil government says? Hell no! If all God's people did this, they would be just as complicit & guilty as those who instigated the evil in the first place!

Part of the problem, and really, a very large part of the problem in this country, is that, largely due to a false eschatology, God's people have been doing this for years!

It's not too late: if Christians can forget their fear, and begin to live their lives in a way that honors God, and not some national idol, then and only then will we be non-complicit and guiltless of the many atrocities ( evils ) that are rampant in this nation! It is true that it is largely through politics we will accomplish this, but it will never be politics as we know it! Politics as we know it is largely where this nation has gone off-track!

The blame for much, if not all of what has gone wrong in this country can be settled squarely on the shoulders and laid at the feet of the Church, but more to the point, it is the citizens of this great nation that must cry mea culpa, for it is the Body Politic ( where we get the term 'politics' ) that determines the course of government, humanly speaking!

Largely, the blame for the politics of the American people can be attributed to fear; fear, for example that if we don't vote for the lesser of two evils, the greater of two evils may get into office. Fear that if we don't vote for the candidate who has a better chance of winning, even though he may not quite measure up to God's Law, our choices down the road may become increasingly more evil! Fear that if we don't obey the government in every respect, we could loose our livelihood, our families, or worse yet, our very lives!

Why all this fear? Well, to begin with, Americans, even American Christians, seem to have abandoned the Scriptural truth of 'heaven on earth', and the Presence of God! Because these Christians do not acknowledge the Rule & Presence of our Heavenly Father in all of Life, the evils that surround us and beset us on every side have become more of a reality than these Spiritual Truths!

How can we deal with all the evils in this world without either ignoring them or fearing the outcome of the atrocities being perpetrated on a daily and even hourly basis? How are we to live our lives to the Glory of God in the midst of all this turmoil? For starters, we can acknowledge the current Rule & Presence of our Heavenly Father, and live our lives accordingly, knowing that it is His Purpose, not theirs, that will stand the test of time; it is His will that is being done! Remember, Yahweh told the Pharaoh ( king ) of Egypt, 'for this Purpose, I have raised you up.....' ( Exodus 9:16 )!

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done
On earth as [ it is ] in heaven.

Jesus-Matthew 6:10

Has this prayer been realized? Is it, as promised, a current reality?

Then let us live without fear!

Charles Haddon Shank