Stiff Necked Children

Submit to God   

As I was preparing a short devotion for a men’s breakfast about submitting to the will of God I became more interested in the subject and found more information than I needed.  That led me to expand my thoughts and to write this post.  There is much difficulty in Christians submitting to God. Starting with myself I might add.

I have always been a guy that wants to be in control.  Control and submission are like oil and water I regret to say.  I know the control issue is an issue of the flesh and the submission issue is something done through the spirit.  And so the battle rages on.  Why do I have such a problem doing this?  I believe most people in the Christian community continue to be hard headed and fail to submit as well, why ?

It’s not a new phenomena as we see in the Old Testament writings.  Submission to God has always been avoided by the human race.  And this occurs even when we know that the wrath of God will come.

In a discussion with my pastor this morning we agreed that less than one percent of God’s Church today is in submission to God.  What a rebellious society we are living in.  God’s word says to submit to His will, however most of us are not doing it while claiming to be Christians.  What is the answer to this and how can we please the Lord?  It’s clear that without submission there is eventually a price to pay.  At the very least something negative will occur in our lives that we could have been protected from if we had submitted to God’s will.  We know this yet we continue.

The definition of submit from Merriam Webster is to yield oneself to the authority or will of another or to surrender. Definition of surrender is to give oneself up into the power of another or to yield. The definition for yield is to give way to pressure or influence: submit to urging, persuasion, or entreaty.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

God’s word, the Holy Bible, clearly indicates we are to be in submission to God.

 

 

 

“Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.” (2 Chonicles 30:8)  This was written by Hezekiah after the Assyrians came and took the northern kingdom. They took the people captive and there was not much of the people left.  He is telling them to turn back to God. He is saying if they would turn back to God then God will provide and their families that were taken away will returned. He is practically begging them to turn their hearts to God and worship Him. He told them if they were to turn back to God then surely God would bless them because God is gracious and merciful.

For the people that will not submit to God and reject His grace and mercy, their lives do not go very well and then destruction occurs. God is merciful and compassionate, but He won’t protect us forever if we choose to remain out of His will and fall under the control of Satan.  Eventually you will reap what you sow and everything that goes around comes around. When that happens to people they blame God for the judgement that comes on them. But the only thing that can keep you from the judgement is God’s protection.

“Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.” (Job 22:21)  In other words, submit to God and you will have peace and some good will come of you. 

And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, “Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.” (Exodus 10:3) In other words – how long will you refuse to submit to me???

“Serve the LORD with fear, rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalm 2:12) The bottom line: Blessed are those who put their trust, or, happy are those who put their trust in Him. Submit to God’s royal son.  

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)  Jesus tells his disciples not to worry about daily needs and to seek first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness, then all these things will be added to them.  So let us have a good look at this, we know that the Kingdom of God is where the Lord reigns. That is where God is. If we have God reigning over our lives then we have the Kingdom of God within us.

So then, if we keep our priorities in order and do what is right we would, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

Moses said to the children of Israel, “Set your hearts unto all the words which I have testified to you this day, and you shall command your children to observe and do all the words of this law. It is not an option for, it is your life.” (Deuteronomy 32:46)

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30)

In other words- submit to the father…He (Jesus) is declaring that He is in perfect harmony with the Father with all the work He is doing. Then He told Philip, “The works that I do I do not of Myself, but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” And this is the same kind of testimony he gives here, “What I’m doing, I’m only doing because I’ve seen the Father do it. I’m doing the works of the Father in your midst.”

Jesus modeled submission to the Father. We would be wise to take the example. 

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)  No transformation without submission. Do the will of God. 

“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; and 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” (Ephesians 6:6)

Do what you do as unto the Lord, not to please men but to please the Lord, as a good witness for Him.  Submit to the Lord. 

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7)  You will need the help of the Holy Spirit to be able to submit to God. You won’t be successful on your own fighting the battle of the flesh.

“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8)

“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:17)

This passage is from a commentary by Check Smith:

You see, our problem is that we so often lose sight of eternity. As we are in this world we get so involved in the worldly things, that our vision becomes clouded and we lose the sense and the consciousness of the eternal. And when you lose the consciousness of the eternal, then Satan can just really do a trip on your mind.  The seventy-third Psalm, Asaph speaks about that trip that Satan did on his mind, when he got his eyes upon the world and the people in the world. He said, “Now I know that God is good, but when I sought to understand a few things I was almost wiped out. Because I began to look at the prosperity of the wicked, I began to see how they got along and they didn’t seem to have any problems,” and this that and the other. And Satan just really started to put a real trip on him. And he said, “When I sought to know these things, I almost slipped.” He said, “It doesn’t pay to try and serve God. It doesn’t pay to try and be good. And when I sought to know these things I almost slipped. Until I went unto the sanctuary of God and then I saw their end.” In the sanctuary of God his vision was corrected and he got sight now of the eternal.  “God, what are You doing? God, how can You say You love me? God, if You love me, why is this happening to me?” It’s because I have my eyes on the temporal, material advantage and God is looking at the eternal plan and the eternal advantage. It’s important that we step back and we get the long view and realize that the world is gonna pass away and the lust thereof. He who does the will of God abides forever.[1]

So why are we – men and women alike so hard headed?  We must learn to listen and we must obey and submit.  We are stiff-necked children.  We want it our way and we keep doing it our way. We want to be in control instead of letting God take the wheel.

Let’s try it Gods way.

Pray that we will kindle a deeper relationship with God. Pray that all Christians would be convicted toward turning to God and another great awakening takes place. Praise the Lord, King of Kings.  Pray for healing in our land and that our nation would turn back to God.  Lord have mercy on us. Please save us from ourselves Lord for we have lost sight of eternity!

 

God bless you,

The Tubthumper

[1] Smith, C. “C2000 Series on 1 John 2:12 – 3:24 by Chuck Smith.” Blue Letter Bible. Last Modified 1 Jun, 2005. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/smith_chuck/c2000_1Jo/1Jo_002.cfm

 

Here Comes the Judge Part 4

The Sentencing:   

DEATH!  YOU ARE SENTENCED TO DEATH

The Sentence: “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23, Gen 2:17)

Death – in Bible means (separation) Gen: 2:17 Man experienced the first death. (When Eve took of the tree of life it introduced death to mankind.)

Physical Death- separation of the person from the body.

Spiritual death- separation of the person from God.

Eternal separation of the un-repentant sinner to Hell.

And now there is an announcement in the court.

YOUR SENTENCE HAS BEEN PAID – YOU ARE FREE.     You can go free.  Your sentence has been paid by the judge.  The judge has taken your place.  Your offenses have been forgiven. The indictment is sealed.  

OH MY!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME????   The Judge took my sentence.  How do I deserve that?  Could that be possible? 

Oh yes, it is so. Jesus was put to death on the cross for you.  He paid the price for your sins and the sins of all mankind.  

The Judge paid the sentence. Amazing!!! 

The Miracle “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) This is Justification, The Gift of God is Eternal Life.

The nature of this miracle, it is free… “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 3:24)– “Justified Freely”- without a cause. Because of his Holy grace.

The persons in the miracle, He for you. – God sent forth… “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” (Romans 3:25) This word PROPITIATION is very important. It’s a Biblical word that we don’t often use in our vocabulary.  It means that an atonement has been made through a sacrifice of blood.  A sacrifice of Christs blood and His death on the cross has saved us.

  1. Satan- fought it
  2. Father – wrought it (shaped, fashioned, hammered out)
  3. Holy Spirit- taught it                   1 – 3 is the Justification miracle.
  4. Son- bought it

See the trinity at work?

5. Rich Man (Nicodemus) – sought it

6. Thief on the cross- caught it

7. I’ve Got it!

Saved! Saved! Saved!

The source of the miracle (3:24,28)      Freely by His grace (v. 24)   By faith (v.28)   Without the deeds of the law (v. 28)

The scope of the miracle- “Unto All”- unlimited (Rom. 3:22,29- John 3:16) “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him shall not parish but have everlasting life.”

The Bestowal of this miracle – limited (Rom. 3:22,26) Only to those that believe.

Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (v24) God does this freely because of His grace and love for me, I am an undeserving sinner and I have been made an heir of His glorious kingdom to spend eternity in His glorious presence in the fullness of joy and pleasure for evermore. Amen! 

If you have never, as of yet understood “Justification.”  Please understand it now.  Justification is a one-time act of God and an extremely important doctrine.  Sanctification is a continual process until you are taken to be with the Lord. We will talk Sanctification another time.  Understand this Justification by Faith Alone doctrine first.

Because man’s condition was totally ruined by sin, salvation is based on a truly remarkable principle.  We are justified freely by His grace.  Pay close attention to the words “justified,” “freely” and “grace,” those three words summarize how God meets ruined man’s needs.

“Justification is the legal and formal acquittal from guilt by God as the Judge, and the pronouncement of the believing sinner as righteous in His sight. This verb is in the present and continuous sense and shows a constant process of justification in the succession of all who believe and are justified.” Can you see the difference between being forgiven and being justified? When you are saved you can plead not guilty and your case is dismissed. The Lord Jesus has fully discharged all our obligations so there is no legal ground for charges to be pressed on us anymore. We have a perfect standing before God and are fully acceptable in His sight. And we are justified freely, he does not charge us anything. “By His grace.” Just to be clear… Grace is unmerited favor. It is getting something we do not deserve. How remarkable!!! 

I think it’s important to clarify this as well.

Salvation is free, but it is not cheap.  It cost God his only begotten son and it cost Jesus the agony of dying on the cross. The blood Christ shed for us is very precious.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1: 18-19) The cost of Calvary is far beyond any human comprehension. It is!   

The witnesses of this miracle. “Witnessed by the law and the prophets.” (Rom. 3:21) It is totally scriptural. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27) “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise” (Heb. 11:39) “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you.” (1 Pet. 1:10) – Prophesied of the grace.

The Legal accomplishments of the miracle – To reconcile God’s justice and God’s mercy by a mediator or bridge. We said it before, God set forth Christ to be a propitiation. (Romans 3:25) The sinner must be condemned, God wants to save the sinner.

The harmony between law and grace can be seen in the miracle. Do we need to keep the law? Yes, The Law cannot justify us but by following it but the Law can bring us to despair and cause us to take Gods alternative of committing ourselves to faith in Christ. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31)

The Bible is not the record of man searching after God, but it’s the record of God searching after man.

The judge died for the defendants.

It’s a miracle- The just dying for the unjust.

The three major Imputations of the Bible.  Impute= add to     1. Adams sin was Imputed to the human race. 2.  My sin and yours was Imputed to Jesus Christ.  3. God’s Righteousness was Imputed to all Believers.

The miracle of Justification is that we are sinners and Christ died for us. We are justified with His blood.

Because of Justification we have Hope.  Our hope concerns the future. Something good in the future, something possible in the future- the coming again of Jesus Christ. That is our hope.

(Romans 5:6-11) “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”

Back in the days of Moses the High Priest went to the Holy of Holies once a year.  Because of Justification we have access to the Throne of God immediately.  We don’t need to wait. I don’t need to provide a sacrifice.  My sacrifice was already offered by the savior Jesus Christ.

Let me be clear however,

Justification is only for “him which believeth in Jesus.”  I cannot say that strong enough.  Please hear me…

God justifies only those who believe in Jesus.  Everyone believes in something and everyone serves someone.  THE ONLY BELIEF THAT COUNTS WITH GOD IS BELIEF IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

I have the invitation. You have the invitation.  If you haven’t accepted it do it now.

Don’t ever forget the Judge paid your fine.  The Judge took your punishment.  It is the only Judge that will ever do that for you.  Enter the Kingdom. Tell Jesus you believe, you understand you are sinner and want to be saved by his grace.  Ask Him into your heart to save you from the chains of Hell.

God bless you all in the pursuit of Him,

The Tubthumper

Here Comes the Judge Part 3

The Defense 

We hear the Pagan Man’s defense.  – He thinks he should be acquitted on grounds of ignorance.

The Plea of ignorance is rendered and the plea gets refuted- because he has the gift of conscience, nature, etc.  Men seem to put human reasoning on the throne and place Devine revelation in the basement.  What a mistake.

“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:19-22)

We also hear the Moral Man’s defense. (Rom. 2: 1-16)  He makes a comparison- he is not as bad as the Pagan.

The plea gets rendered – the Moral man thinks he is a good person.

The plea is refuted- “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” (Romans 2:1)

The moral man underestimates the awesome knowledge of God.

The plea gets reviewed.  It is determined there is indifference to the forbearance and goodness of God. God’s forbearance is holding back his wrath, His goodness is His grace.

Religious Man’s defense.  (Rom. 2:17-3:8) He says, “I know the Law.” (I teach courses in religion.)

His plea gets rendered. His plea is refuted.

His plea is reviewed. (They don’t practice what they preach.)

The Jew had a National advantage but no spiritual advantage.  The Bottom Line- the Law could not save them, Circumcision could not save them and birthright could not save them.

Like so many people today in Christendom, they look at themselves like they belong to the church of Christ and they are heirs of Heaven simply because they were baptized at a baby. (A little sprinkle of water on the forehead.) And the Jew thinks that circumcision gave him a special status with God. A mere religious ordinance will not profit the soul without a vital and personal experience with Christ. It is circumcision of the heart that matters.

God see’s all—you cannot commit an undetected crime.

Smile because God loves you, but, Fear, for God will someday Judge you. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God’s Wrath.

On to the trial of the Ages!

Back in the courthouse of Law.

The Charge- High Treason

The Defendants- Pagan Man, Moral Man and Religious Man

The detailed indictment:

The Jury- 4 members – Conscious Man, Deeds Man, Works Man and Law of God Man.

The Defense

Based on testimony from expert witnesses: A search was launched throughout Heaven and no man was found worthy.  None righteous, not one. As it is written “All have sinned and come short the Glory of God.”  No fear of God, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:18)

None were righteous, none understood, none were seeking God.

Not even Mary was righteous, she was the very first to call Jesus Savior. (Luke 1:47)  She needed to be saved like all sinners. We all need the Savior!

The VERDICT: GUILTY, all are GUILTY!

Man’s Character is Sinful.

“They are all of them gone out of the way. They are together become unprofitable; there is none that is doing good, no, not one” (Rom 3:12)

In other words they have chosen to go some other way than the way of God.

“There is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Sin = Hamartia– (ham-ar-tee’-ah) TO MISS THE MARK– that which is done wrong, sin, an offense, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act.   Man misses the target.

Man murders his brother and mocks his God.  “their feet are swift to shed blood” You see murder was always in the heart of man.  Nothing new and killing is a heart problem and cannot be blamed on anything else.

Man originally was good but has gone bad since Adam.

Man’s conversation is sinful. 

And now Paul the court recorder is quoting from the Psalms. “Their throat is an open sepulcher, with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:13-18)

We see here God’s indictment – God is declaring that mans condition is apart from God.   Man has no connection to the Lord.

The sting of a vicious viper…

The stink from a tomb…

Cursing and bitterness…

“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

GUILTY!  GUILTY!  GUILTY! 

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” (Revelation 5)

MAN IS GUILTY AS CHARGED! 

 

Come back for the last post as the sentencing occurs.

We will see what the sentence is

And we will see the most amazing thing happen

In the “Trial of the Ages!”

God bless you all,

The Tubthumper

 

 

 

Here Comes the Judge, Part 2

The Court Proceeding

The Charge  

HIGH TREASON!  You are charged with High Treason against God.  A very serious charge… not against your country but against God! The Savior will be the judge.

It’s the Creator against His creatures. (Sinful) The defendants are the humans that God made and God the creator is the prosecution.

Jesus is the judge.  Not the Father, but the Lord Jesus. The Father entrusts Jesus to judge.  Whom He hath ordained & raised from the dead.

The defendants:

           Moral man- the heathen, they enthrone human reasoning and dethrone divine revelation.  Becoming consciously irreligious and consequently irrational. Basically it’s their darkened heart. He becomes conceited and foolish, or rather- very stupid.

           Pagan man- the hypocrite, thinks other people’s sins are worse than their own.  They compare themselves to others and think they are high and mighty.  They flatter themselves but foolishly are measuring themselves to the wrong standard. God’s standard of measurement is the Law and the sin of the hypocrite is that of being indignant at the shortcomings of others while being indulgent of his own. The hypocrite places himself on very thin ice. He faces the judgement of God himself.  “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds.” (Romans 2: 5-6)

            Religious man- the Hebrew, False religious systems enslave people both sensually and spiritually.  All were charged with High Treason. This is the man with a powerless religion. Mere orthodoxy in religion does not make a person more acceptable to God. Having access to an open Bible will greatly increase a person’s responsibility in the sight of God.  A persons access to the truth will increase their accountability to the truth. “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” (V.13) “The Truth shall set you free!”

Let’s review the detailed indictments: (V. 21-32)

First Indictment – (V.21) Ingratitude, not thankful for creation or redemption. And Pride, they had a heart problem.  Thankful people are not prideful and a lack of thanks leads to Apostacy.  Self-will and Pride both seem to be severe sins in the Bible. Lucifer and Adam had those traits. The Antidote for Pride is Thanksgiving.

Second Indictment– (V.22) An unsanctified philosophy, insolent fools- professing themselves as wise they became fools- morons. It’s a fool that says in his heart, there is no God. Let’s face it folks people are right now further away from God now than ever before. Man is self-sufficient. God is dead they say. But there is a reckoning coming.

Third Indictment– (V.23) They turned away from God and preferred idols. Man, birds, beasts and creeping things. They made God like man. They thought of God in terms of man.  They sought to bring God down to man’s level. It was man seeking to corrupt God.

Fourth Indictment– (V.24-27) Sexual Perversions, homosexuality, lesbianism, vile affections, everything under imagination… “God also gave them up to uncleanness [or filthiness] through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: for they changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” (Rom 1:24-25).

Fifth Indictment– (V.28-32) Incorrigibility, a reprobate mind, not convenient, depraved. “For this cause God gave them up to unnatural affections: for even their women did exchange the natural use for that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men doing that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was necessary. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are [unspeakable,] not convenient, [not proper]” (Rom 1:26-28)

  1. Fornication
  2. Wickedness- (Mentioned 360 times in the Bible.)
  3. Covetousness- (the one of the 10 Commandments impossible to keep)
  4. Maliciousness- (unusual cruelty)
  5. Envy- (unlawful desire of something or someone)
  6. Murder- (the only sin that can never be forgiven by the victim)
  7. Debate- (contention or strife)
  8. Deceit- (bait or snare)
  9. Malignity- (harbored hatred)
  10. Whisperers- (secret slander- “devil” means “to slander”
  11. Back Biters- (open slander)
  12. God haters.
  13. Despiteful- (insolence and insulting)
  14. Proud- (with a swagger)
  15. Boasters- (in word)
  16. Inventors of Evil- (torture and evil intentions)
  17. Disobedient to Parents- (The beginning of Anarchy)
  18. Without understanding- (Blindness of the heart and “darkened” Eph 4:18-19)
  19. Covenant breakers- (their word is worthless)
  20. Without natural affection- (without love)
  21. Implacable – (2 Tim. 3) (unforgiving, unsparing and unappeasable)
  22. Unmerciful

No one has an excuse. All are guilty before God.  As John said, man is “condemned already”, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18) 

The Jury

            Conscience of man (1:19) – Conscience is a goad but not always a guide. The conscience must be educated and monitored by the Word of God.

“Because that which may be known of God is manifested in them; for God hath shown it unto them.” (Rom 1:19) God has inscribed certain things into our hearts. We know what is right and we know what is wrong. God has shown it unto us. That’s what the word manifested means. We have Intellect- we know whether an action is right or wrong.  We have Sensibility – what would I like to do about it?

We have a Conscience- what should I do about it? The question is what shape is your conscience in?

An evil conscience, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Heb. 10:22)

A defiled conscience, “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” (Titus 1:15) “guilty”

A weak conscience, ” Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.” (1 Cor. 8) A bit immature- don’t have all the facts.

A good conscience, ” And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” (Acts 23:1) – This is what we want.

A seared conscience, “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (1 Tim. 4:2)  This is the worst.

What a devastating day it will be when God calls into the light all the hidden works of darkness. We all have guilty secrets, things we have done which we should not have done and things we didn’t do that we should have done. Those secrets will not be overlooked or forgotten by God.  One day it will all be exposed.  “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” (Romans 2:16)

               The Will– what I am going to do about it.

The deeds of man- good deeds cannot save anyone. “Who will render to every man according to his deeds” (Rom 2:6)

“But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment”. (Matt. 12:36)

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20: 11-15)

The Works of God. The invisible God is revealed through His creation and the Heavens declare the Glory of God. (Rom. 1:19-20

The Law of God. “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves.” (Rom. 2: 12-14)

We have seen the charge, looked at the  defendants, the indictments and the jury.

Join me next time as we look at the defense and continue in

the Trial of the Ages.

God bless you all,

The Tubthumper.

Here Comes the Judge, Part 1

The Trial of the Ages.

Please allow me to set the stage here.  We are about to witness a major trial and we are in the Court House. Can you see the Jury in your mind and the two attorneys about to argue the case?

We are in the courthouse of Law.

We have a trial in progress.

We need to introduce the Court Reporter.  It’s the Apostle Paul.  He comes with good credentials.

Paul declared the righteousness of God in these passages and it’s really what the book of Romans is all about.

  1. God is Righteous!
  2. God demands Righteousness!
  3. God provides Righteousness!

There must be a basis of righteousness in order for sin to be forgiven. If a judge wants to totally dismiss the charges against a guilty person he can but that’s not righteous.  So God can’t simply tell you, “You are forgiven.”  Not without that righteous basis. FOR GOD IS RIGHTEOUS!

For your sins to be forgiven there must be that Righteous Basis. And where is that basis found?  It is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

The sinner was sentenced to death (SINFUL MAN) and God established that righteous basis because Jesus Christ became the substitute.  He took your sin upon Himself and He died in your place.  It’s trading the righteous for the unrighteous. You are forgiven! He took your place!  He died for you!

The righteousness of God is revealed from FAITH TO FAITH. As it is written,

“THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” Verse 17.

And then we also see the WRATH OF GOD… which we will look at during the trial.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” (Romans 1:18)

Let’s look quick at the very first verse in the book of Romans:

“Paul, a bond slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.” (Romans 1:1)

So he was a servant… a bondslave… Paul was not his own person after being called. WE ARE NOT OUR OWN PERSON- WE BELONG TO CHRIST- HE PURCHASED US.  We are debtors to everyone unsaved once we become a Saint and become separated unto the gospel.

He was called apostle.  He was DECLARED! HE WAS SENT FORTH! In order to be an Apostle you must have seen the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul saw Jesus at least 7 times that we know of.  And God called him directly. Keep in mind this is now 25 years after Paul first came to Christ.  And he said, “Who art thou, Lord, that I may serve thee?” 25 years later he is still saying I am a bondslave!  I am an Apostle. He made his calling and his election sure. We should do the same… whatever it is that God calls us to do we should do. Nothing more nothing less. Whether it’s to be a greeter or bass guitar player or a preacher.  Whatever it is just do it.

My birth was no accident— Your birth was no accident— God desires to work the good works through his servants. (Bondslaves) He separated us unto the Gospel to do for Him…

Do you know the will of God for your life?  I want you to know that 90% of determining the will of God is being willing to DO-IT.  So just do it.

Separated unto the Gospel of God. – We are first separated from our mother’s womb and then separated from sin and the world to Christ as Paul is explaining.

Paul let us know in the written word the Gospel is not new and it’s still not new. (IF IT’S NEW IT AINT TRUE)

Paul presented the message of the Gospel right up front as he began to share the court record. Christ is the center of the Gospel message and Paul introduces Christ in a threefold way.

  1. He is the REVEALED ONE, the one “Promised Afore” (v.2), for the Gospel of God has its roots deep into the Old Testament.
  2. He is the REIGNING ONE, He is “Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” (v.3) The New Testament opens and closes with Jesus referred to as the “Son of David.”
  3. He is the RESURRECTED ONE, the one “Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (v.4)

It is all about Christ’s DeityJesus was 100 % God, 100% Man, 100% of the time.   And Paul is making that clear.

Paul had complete confidence in the Gospel because of its sufficiency and its supremacy.  He wrote, “It is the power of God unto salvation.”

John Phillips in his commentary on Romans wrote, “The world does not need a better system of education, more social reform or new ideas in religion.  IT NEEDS THE GOSPEL! The Gospel message grips the mind, it stabs the conscience, it warms the heart, it saves the soul, and it sanctifies the life.  It can make drunken (or drugged) men sober, crooked men straight and profligate women pure. It is a message sufficient to transform the life of any who believe.”

“IT IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION “TO EVERYONE THAT BELIEVETH.”  Could anything be any simpler than that?  It is simple, trust in God’s Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, as your personal savior from sin. Simple as that!

The Just shall live by Faith.

The Gospel MUST be received by FAITH.

Habakkuk 2:4- The Just shall live by Faith.

Romans 1:17- The Just shall live by Faith.

Galations 3:11- The Just shall live by Faith.

Hebrews 10:38- The Just shall live by Faith.

THE COURT RECORD

Lets look at the COURT RECORD– First 3 Chapters of Romans.

If you look around, it’s even likely here within our group, there are two kinds of people throughout the world.

  • People that have been delivered from the Wrath of God because they have sought God’s righteousness.
  • Everyone else, whom the wrath of God abides upon.

Paul indicated that those that are called and delivered from the wrath of God are to be called Saints. (v.7) This is not some special class of people within the church, but it describes all that have trusted Christ as their savior.  It means, “One set apart for God.”

You are either a Saint or a Sinner. More appropriate is to say a sinning saint or just a sinner for no one is righteous, no not one.  I am a Saint, but… I am also a sinner.

J Vernon McGee used to say, “There are two kinds of People in the world, The Saints and The Aints” 

During this trial God’s righteousness will be revealed, but then God’s Wrath will also be revealed.  Throughout the New Testament we see both God’s Righteousness and God’s Wrath.

God’s Righteousness was/is revealed to man by Nature, Human Conscience and by Human History. There is no excuse for being unaware of God.

God’s Wrath was/is revealed by His Word, the Natural World, and by The Cross.

Paul lets us know that the bad news of human sin comes before the good news of salvation.  “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” (V. 18)

Paul said Gods wrath is revealed for three reasons: First it’s revealed because of human ungodliness, second because of human unrighteousness, and third because of human unbelief.

I think it important to give some clear definitions at this point:

Wrath of God: Please note God’s wrath is not due to Anger on His part, it is a reaction to unrighteousness. The wrath of God is His judgment regarding sin and is a standard that reveals His displeasure toward sin.

Ungodliness: Having the wrong attitude toward God and having spiritual failure.

Unrighteousness: The wrong conduct toward God and fellow man and moral failure.

Stay tuned for the “TRIAL OF THE AGES.”

 

Join me in the next post as we proceed on to the court record as the trial begins…

God bless you,

The Tubthumper

 

Guiness and Hearing Loss- Part 7 for your health

New Study Suggests Guinness May Stop Hearing Loss

by

Irish Around The World July 20, 2017

While this is not my material and I am simply repeating it here I thought it a good addition.  In the early posts about how and why Christians were consuming this beverage they did mention health reasons.  This article just came out and seems appropriate to save. If you imbibe in a Guiness or two once in a while you will appreciate the benefits you are getting.

New research indicates that drinking a pint of Guinness a day can actually prevent hearing loss.

We heard before that Guinness has many health benefits and how its high iron content might combat hearing loss.

The new research, published in the Journal of American Medicine indicates the benefits of Guinness. Previously, Guinness was given to patients in recovery, now the iron in the iconic Irish drink, is to prevent hearing loss.

The research at the Pennsylvania State University found that high level of iron in our bodies helps prevent hearing loss.

The research was conducted on over 300 000 patients and the results speak for themselves.

Over 30% of the worlds population is anemic, lacking iron and is on the way to hearing loss.

The researchers at Pennsylvania University found that the lack of this valuable mineral can cause damage to the cochlea, nerve pathways and cause problems with the middle ear bones.

The study also showed that Iron supplements do not help due to DNA damage to the blood vessels. This all clearly shows that Guinness can be the answer to this increasing problem.

Although I do not recommend getting drunk with Guinness or any other alcoholic beverage it might actually be good for us, as we get more iron this way. As the ole advertising slogan indicates ‘Guinness Is Good For You’, a pint a day can lead you to better hearing.

And I think a pint a day is ok.  But leave it at that.

Don’t forget, “everything in moderation.” As always , I wish you the best in the Lord.

 

The Tubthumper

 

 

 

The Sage: ZAKEN; The Fulfilled Man

“Delighted to be but wise, for men improve with the years.”  William Buttler Yeats

Well guys, this is the last stop on the “Masculine Journey”.  This last stage of life is ideally conceived in the scriptures and we will try our best to portray it here.  I think it’s appropriate and perfect that I’m writing this on Father’s Day.  I’ll ask forgiveness up front for the length of this one but assure you it’s a good read.

Zaken is a Hebrew word that literally means “Beard”.  The Zaken is the gray headed man.  The meaning is a time of being old or becoming old. Getting to the Zaken stage and title is the goal of manhood.

  • Today in our society men are burning out at alarming rates. We feel as though time is running out and we are not there yet.
  • Scriptures provide a much longer look at manhood than we do. At 40 we just kids, guys.
  • Moses wrote a song- to remember what God had done. “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.” (Deuteronomy 32:7) This is so when one generation is denying what God had done and the ability of God, they would bring in the elders; The elders will tell what really happened.
  • It’s about what was learned from life, not what was accomplished. “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25)  Your goal men, is to be gray headed and to pass great wisdom on to the next generation.

However, having gray or silver hair alone does not mean you are wise. “I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.” (Psalms 119:100)  “And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I [am] young, and ye [are] very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion. I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. But [there is] a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Great men are not [always] wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.” (Job 32: 6-9)  To become wise you must have the study of scriptures, faith in God,, trust in Christ and the obedience to the truth. You must be doing things while you are young to ensure that when you are old you have the wisdom through scriptural insight and obedience.

THE BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

Respect and honor for the elder is rooted in the Ten Commandments, where God says, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12)

Please don’t miss the interesting concept here.  As we give respect to our older parents we ensure that we have greater longevity for ourselves. So, read between the lines men, if you do not want to live long go ahead and treat your parents with animosity.

“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:32)  In other words, stand up when your elder enters the room and have some respect. Do this because you have the fear of God in your heart. This isn’t an old wives tale from the south. It was part of the law of Israel.

“Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.” (Proverbs 23:22)

If these verses were obeyed, if people today heeded these instructions it would make our society so much better.  “This one section of biblical admonition could radically change our culture,” says Robert Hicks. It would change how parents are treated, how grandparents are treated and how seniors are dealt with and with no question, the change would be for the better.

ZAKEN: A Time of Fulfillment

Our society is looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places and all the wrong times. We constantly sacrifice the good of the present for the might-bes and wannabes of the future. We are rarely satisfied. Ultimately God must be the source of our satisfaction. Jesus said it, “Only those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (which comes from God) will ever find it and be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)

We do not think about how we want to die.  We are going to die and this culture does not prepare for it. We are a death-denying culture.  People today do not want to come to grips with death.

From a biblical perspective the Zaken is the time of ultimate fulfillment.  It is the time to prepare for a natural death. A natural death with all business taken care of and with all relationships reconciled.

If you notice how most people die today they go to death cantankerous, bitter, demanding and regretful.  And this is not totally because of physical pain and discomfort.

Three conditions make the Zaken time less than fulfilling.

  1. No Zakens in the family. “Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house. And thou shalt see an enemy [in my] habitation, in all [the wealth] which [God] shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever. And the man of thine, [whom] I shall not cut off from mine altar, [shall be] to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. And this [shall be] a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.” (1 Samuel 2:30-34)  Eli died alone with no other family and no connections.
  2. Grieving the needless loss of life from unnatural causes. “Moreover, thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet. Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.” (1 Kings 2:5-6) This is reference to both needless killing and also death from accidental means.
  3. Suffering the loss of our own young. Our children should never precede us and when it happens it takes a major toll. It robs a man of the joy of old age.

The two things these three issues have in common are the loss of life and the loss of family connections. The number one commonality on people that live long lives is the ability to suffer loss and move on from it.

The key to fulfillment is RECONCILIATION, having our important relationships maintained. We should do our best to reconcile any relationships severed or harmed in earlier times.

Zaken: It is a Time of Significant Contribution

We should not be short sighted and in a hurry.  Life is not over at age 40, not at 50, not at 60, 70 or even 80.

The Zaken of Israel defended their region.  “And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob: And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon. And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father’s house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress? And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the Lord deliver them before me, shall I be your head?And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The Lord be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words. Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh.” (Judges 11:5-11)

The Zaken defended their families and their cities. “And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab’s children, saying, Now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master’s sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, a fenced city also, and armour; Look even out the best and meetest of your master’s sons, and set him on his father’s throne, and fight for your master’s house. But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand? And he that was over the house, and he that was over the city, the elders also, and the bringers up of the children, sent to Jehu, saying, We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any king: do thou that which is good in thine eyes.” (2 Kings 10:1-5)

The Zaken furnished counsel along with the priests and the prophets. “Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumour shall be upon rumour; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients.” (Ezekiel 7:26) “Then said they, Come and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.” (Jeremiah 18:18)

Zaken is a Time for Mentoring

The concept of mentoring is coming back full-circle. All the major companies today are adopting mentoring concepts and relationships. Mentoring gives you a brain to pick, a shoulder to cry on and sometimes a good swift kick in the pants.  A mentor cares for a younger man in the totality of his life. A mentor helps the student to become successful in Life.  Not in accumulating things but successful in how to live.

There is a huge need for elderly (Zaken) mentors for young people today.

As a professor at the Dallas Seminary, Dr. Howard Hendricks always passed an anonymous paper to every one of his students. So here it is:

ADVICE TO A BORED YOUNG MAN

“Died age 20; buried age 60. The sad epitaph of too many Americans. Mummification sets in on too many young men at an age when they should be ripping the world wide open. For example: Many people reading this page are doing so with the aid of bifocals.  Inventor? B. Franklin, age 70. The presses that printed this page were powered by electricity.  One of the harnessors? B. Franklin, age 40.  Some are reading this on the campus of one of the Ivy League universities. Founder? B. Franklin, age 46.  Others in a Library. Who founded the first library in America? B. Franklin, age 25. Some got their copy through the U.S. Mail. Its father? B. Franklin, age 31.  Now think fire. Who started the first fire department, invented the first lightening rod, designed a heating stove still in use today? B. Franklin, age 31, 43, 36. Wit, Conversationalist, Economist, Philosopher, Diplomat, Favorite of the capitals of Europe.  Journalist, Printer, Publisher, Linguist, (spoke and wrote 5 languages).  Advocate of paratroopers (from balloon) a century before the airplane was invented. All this until age 84. And he had exactly two years of formal schooling. It’s a good bet that you already have more knowledge than Franklin ever had when he was your age. Perhaps you think there is no use trying to think of anything new, that everything’s been done. Wrong. The simple, agrarian America of Franklins day didn’t begin to need the answers we need today. Do something about it. Tear out his page and read it on your 84th birthday. Ask yourself what took over in your life, indolence or ingenuity!”

Zaken keeps connecting, keeps contributing and makes his reconciliations.

JESUS IS THE VOICE OF GOD!

Men, Jesus moves us from one stage to the next. Jesus is the only one that can empathize with us where we are. He can help us because he experienced the same stages. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

Because Jesus is the second Adam he was very much human. He was tempted in every way.

He was a warrior.

He was a wounded male. See Luke 22:39 through Luke 23:25.

He was the mature man during the resurrection. Wise beyond His years. (And that is an understatement!)

He is our sage.

It is FAITH men, day by day, event by event, stage by stage, that gets us through to the other side. New expressions of FAITH EVERY DAY!

I hope you got as much out of this Masculine Journey as I did.

Many thanks to Robert Hicks and his book The Masculine Journey, Understanding the six stages of Manhood.

God bless you men.  “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

Until next time,

The Tubthumper

It Grieved Him at His Heart, Part 3

We have now come to the key chapter of Genesis that bears the burden of the subject at hand which is God being grieved at his heart for creating the wicked and degenerate people on the land.  We are talking about mostly every human alive in that time with a few exceptions.  I believe we are close to that again now.  The Lord will never use a flood to destroy the earth again, next time it is fire.

I must note for clarity that the earth populated very fast with descendants of Adam and Eve.  As you read the genealogy and see the lines of families produced from Adam and Eve you might have a major question. Why don’t we hear about these family lines and people? When reading Genesis there is evidence that enough offspring were generated from some key people to build entire cities.  The human race was exploding!  One thing to keep in mind is that the Lord allowed men to live long, long lives and procreate the world.  A man can make a lot of babies in 1,000 years. The population at the time of the flood was great as it is now.  The population was high.

For some examples, we have just learned of Enoch in the last post.  Enoch’s father Jared lived 962 years. He fathered Enoch at the age of 162 and the Bible says he went on and begat sons and daughters for another 800 years. Enoch was taken up by God at age 365 but beforehand he begat sons and daughters one of which was Methuselah.  Methuselah lived 969 years and begat sons and daughters. An important fact is that Methuselah was the father of Lamech who was the father of Noah. Lamech lived 777 years and again this man fathered many sons and daughters.

The point I need to make here is the Bible will focus on the line that leads to the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  All other lines are unimportant to the story.  Pay attention to Noah and his 3 sons he had at around 500 years of age.  Shem, Ham and Japheth.  If you are reading this you are a descendent of Noah and one of his three sons.

We are now in Chapter 6 of Genesis and up to Chapter 9 we will have a drastic change in the way God treats mankind.  He allowed these men to live over 900 years but during that time they became too wicked.  Mankind had broken every single command the Lord gave except the command to procreate the world. They kept that command well. God will severely limit how many years a man can live going forward. I won’t address the Sons of God and daughters of men here because there is a special post on that subject you can go to. Please do … you can click the link at bottom of this page.  In short there was an outpouring of Satanic activity. One thing I will mention about the Sons of God and Daughters of men is that mixed marriages occurred that went against the will of God. Believers were yoked with unbelievers.  All of humanity was depraved and wickedness in both word and deed was universal and unparalleled. We have a full account of the worlds degeneracy, it’s apostacy from God and the rebellion against Him. Back in Chapter one and verse 28 mankind had a blessing. (Be fruitful and multiply.) What has happened is man’s corruption abused and perverted the blessing to the point of a curse and the sin that God forgave became more exceedingly sinful. It says in Proverbs 29:16, “When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth.” The more sinners there are the more sin increases and the multitude of offenders emboldens men.

And that brings us to the key verse which is verse six of chapter six.  “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.  And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:5-8)

And then… woe to mankind… All humans and life except Noah and his family and what they were commanded to save in the Ark.

“For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” (Genesis 7:4)

“Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.  And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:  All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.  And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.  And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.” (Genesis 7:20-24)

And so, at one time God saw that all was good, but now there was a change, a repentance, because it grieved God at his heart. He no longer saw it as good.  Can you feel his grief?  How terrible a situation where the evil became so bad that God had to wipe all life from the face of the earth and change the lifespan of man along with other things.  It grieved him at His heart. Oh my…

Noah lived to age 950. And then we have a period called “The confusion of all things”, and the “Origin of Nations.”

Men unified to honor themselves and all spoke the same language.  They built a huge city to keep together which was a breaking of God’s command to fill the earth. God separated them for their disobedience. He punished this evil attempt and separated mankind into small ethnic groups by confusing their universal language into many different dialects.

So now we have the origin of nations. The nations were all formed from the descendants of Noah’s three sons.

The first nation was the descendants of Japheth and would be Gomer (Germany), Magog, Tubal, and Mechech (Russia), Madai (Persia), Javan (Greece), Tiras (Italy), Togarmah (Armenia), Tarshish (Spain) and Kittim (Cyprus).  Can you identify a land you are from?

The second nation was from the descendants of Ham and would be Cush (Ethiopia), Mizraim (Egypt), Phut (Africa), Canaan (the Canaanites of Palestine), Nimrod (Babylon and Assyria), Sidon (Phoenicia), Heth (Hittites), Jebus (the Jebusites, the occupants of Jerusalem before King David’s reign), Philistim (the Philistines) and Sin (Possibly the Asian people of China, Japan, India, etc.).

The last nation was made from the descendants of Shem and were through the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: the nation of Israel. And through the Abraham, Ishmael and Esau: the Arabic countries of the Middle East.

I will end with a writing from the Anthropologist Arthur Custance, “And thus we conclude that from the family of Noah have sprung all the peoples of the world, prehistoric and historic.  The events described in Genesis 6 to 10 and particularly the prophetic statements of Noah himself in Genesis 9:25-28 with respect to the future of his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together combine to provide us with the most reasonable account of the early history of mankind, a history which , rightly understood, does not at all require us to believe that modern man began with the stature of an ape and only reached a civilized state after a long, long, evolutionary history, but made a fresh start as a single family who carried with them into an unpeopled earth the accumulated  heritage of the pre-flood world.”

And so there you have it. So many times, God said it was good and it was, until the will of man and sin entered the picture.  And it got so bad that God repented and it grieved Him at his heart. And then His wrath prevailed with the culmination of the great flood and the making of the nations of the future.  All in the master plan.  When I read this section it just tugs at my heart as a father.  Can you imagine the huge family you have created becoming so evil you had to kill them all?  Well, we cannot think like God thinks because we are human and he is the Almighty.  I know what the death of a dream is and I know the love a father has for his children.  All we can do is think like humans so it tugs at my heart.  I hope you received something from these posts.

Click here to visit the Sons of God and Daughters of Men post.

God bless you,

The Tubthumper

It Grieved Him at His Heart, Part 2

“And God saw that it was good,” remember that.

The end of chapter one says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”  Six days in and all is good!

Now there is a heaven and an earth but no man yet to till the ground. We now have the story of Adam and Eve.  There were no wild plants or grains growing on the earth so far. There was no rain.  What watered the land so far were springs that came forth from the ground.  God decided to make man to care for what he had made and so He formed a man from the dust of the ground.  Keep in mind he made man in his likeness (like Him).  The Lord breathed life into the man’s nostrils which created life and now we have a living person. A man named Adam. God then planted the Garden of Eden and put Adam in the garden. In the center of the garden the Lord placed a tree of life and He also put in a tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Man was supposed to care and watch over the garden and He gave the man a stern warning, “You can eat of every fruit and tree in the garden except one- He told man that if he were to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that he would surely die.”

Then the Lord said that it was not good for man to be alone.  The Lord caused the man to fall into a deep sleep and then took out one of the man’s ribs and made a woman out of the man’s rib.  This process by God is the design of marriage. It is why a man leaves his mother and father and becomes joined to a wife with the two being united as one. (The institution of marriage.)

We have just finished the creation and origin of all things. It took six days to create and one, day seven of rest.   We will now go through the stage of corruption.

The woman was convinced by the serpent who was the shrewdest of all the creatures that she should eat from the tree that God had forbidden. She ate some fruit from the forbidden tree and also convinced the man to have some.  As soon as they ate it they realized they were naked and saw things they never saw. They hid themselves because they were naked and when God came walking through the garden He could not find them.  God was not pleased with this outcome.  He then cursed the serpent. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15) You might think is about men and women hating snakes but it has a much deeper theological meaning. It could be interpreted this way, “And there will be intense hatred between Satan and Christ. Eventually, Christ will crush the head of Satan, while suffering a heel wound in the process.”  This verse is known as the “Proto-Evangel,” the first Gospel.

He said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” Because the man listened to the woman and also ate from the tree the Lord cursed the ground and caused it to be a struggle to grow food from it because now it will have weeds and thistles. The lord declared that now man will sweat in order to eat and live and will one day return to the dust he was made from.  This is where we had paradise lost and God’s judgment rendered, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden and will need to cultivate the ground to be fed from the dust that he made them. It seems the Lord now have the first of a grieving at His heart.  The subtlety of Satan has worked and Adam has sinned.  Can you feel it?  They were overtaken by the three deadly temptations that many centuries later the apostle John would warn us all to beware of. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.  Adam has been declared the first human sinner. In actuality, Eve ate first but because Adam was supposed to be the head of the human race he was responsible. (See Romans5:12)

We will now be introduced to God’s redemptive power and His holiness and grace.  We see his holiness as he pronounces five judgements. The five judgements were on man, (Gen 3:17) on women, (Gen 3:16) on all of nature, (Gen 3:18) on the serpent, (Gen 3:14) and on the devil. (Gen 3:15) We see His grace, as God deals with sinners. He showed grace as he sought out Adam in Genesis 3:9, “And the Lord God called unto Adam.” This is where God took the first step to reconcile man back to himself. He showed grace in promising them a Savior in Genesis 3:15 as mentioned above. He showed His grace in clothing them. (Gen 3:21) He showed grace in removing them from the Garden of Eden. (Gen 3:24) This was an act of mercy and not an act of judgement. If God had not removed them from the Garden it would have been a situation where all of mankind would have eaten from the tree and lived forever in total immorality. The next time we read of the tree of life is not until the end in the first two verses of Revelation 22.

As we get into chapter 4 we know that Eve has given birth to two sons.  And we witness the very first murder of mankind and the very first human liar. Yes, man killing man started way back then. This is nothing other than the effects of pure sin. We see the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, and Cain being driven from the blessings of God. Can you feel God’s heart grieving?  Remember all the times God said, “It is good.”

Before we move on to condemnation and the Great Flood. I want to mention the ministry of Enoch in Genesis chapter 5.  Enoch is one of only two men who walked with God prior to the flood. The other man was Noah who will be introduced next post. We know Enoch walked with God because God apparently had told Enoch that when his son Methuselah died the world would be destroyed by a terrible flood. This might be why Methuselah lived longer than any other human in the history of the world.  Methuselah lived to be 969 years old before he died. That was a prophecy of God and the reason Methuselah lived so long may have been because God was not willing that anyone should perish.  He was giving sinful mankind as much time as possible to repent.  (See 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9)

Enoch was a man of great faith and he preached of God’s second coming centuries before even his first coming took place. He was the first recorded preacher and he was the first of only two humans that got to heaven without physically dying. The other man that was directly taken up to heaven by the Lord is Elijah. He was taken up in a whirlwind. Enoch was taken up by God at the age of 365, he just was not there anymore because God took him.

Depending upon your level of belief and faith that may sound strange.  Someday however, millions of Christians will experience the very same thing as it is written.

Click here to jump to the next post when we will look at “The Condemnation of all Things.”

God bless you all;

 

 

The Tubthumper

It Grieved Him at His Heart, Part 1

“And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart”.  (Genesis 6:6)

I chose the title for this because of the incredible reverse of sentiment from the Lord in only six chapters of the first book of the Bible. As the book begins we see God creating the world. It is a wonderful display of His awesome power and His purpose.  He creates man and woman made in His image.  Before long though, sin enters the picture and what was once bathed in innocence becomes shattered by the Fall.  [The Fall was the willful disobedience of Adam and Eve.]  They broke the fellowship with God and evil was unleashed causing the destruction to begin. One right after the other events began happening.  We had Adam and Eve getting expelled from the garden of Eden, next we saw their first son become a murderer, evil bred still more evil and the world He created became so vile that God spoke those words I began with.  God started out saying, “It was good”, He said it repeatedly but ended by saying, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:7)

I hope you read and study the Holy Bible.  It provides a fantastic spiritual history for you.

Before we get into the heart of things let us start with some background information about Genesis.  There are 50 chapters in the book of Genesis comprised of 1,533 verses holding 38,267 words.  The key word for the entire book is “Beginnings”.  A key verse for the topic I am addressing is Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”   The topic I am covering with this title is the first half of the book, “the four great events”.  Another key verse is Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”  Please note that Christ is that seed of woman.

Genesis was written by Moses 1450 – 1410 B.C. and Moses was born at least three centuries after the events in Genesis ended.  In actuality, the book was written by God but breathed through Moses.  We will be dealing with what is called, “The Fertile Crescent”, in chapters 1-11 which spanned more than 2,000 years and 1500 miles. We will learn why God chose Israel to be His redemptive people by the time we end chapter 11.  We will only be focusing on the first 11 of 50 chapters, therefore how God chose Israel will be covered with chapters 12 to 50. In this topic, we will be covering the four great events which are: Creation– God is the sovereign Creator of matter, energy, space and time. Man is the pinnacle of the creation. The Fall– Creation is followed by corruption. Man gets separated from God then gets separated from man. Despite the curse of the Fall, God promised hope of redemption through the seed of the woman (Chapter 3, verse 15). The Flood– As man multiplied, sin multiplied until God had enough and was compelled to destroy humanity with exception of Noah and his family. The Nations– the unity of the human race, we are all children of Adam through Noah. Because of the rebellion at the tower of Babel, God fragments the original culture and language of post flood and scatters people over the face of the earth.  In a future segment, I will cover the second half which is, “The Four Great People”.

Ok, on to the beginning. As I was reading the book of Genesis I connected with several things I hadn’t before. The presence of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, reproduction of its own kind, the unknown population and the amount of grief the Lord experienced. Each time you study a part of the Bible the Lord will allow you some more meat to digest. So He opened my eyes on these.

I won’t go verse by verse through the first seven days of creation because you can read that for yourself.  I will note however that in verse 4 of the first chapter God said the first, “it was good”.  In verse 10 when the waters were separate from the land called earth he said the second, “it was good”. I want to mention that God made the stars to light the earth at night and he separated the light from darkness because we were meant to be in the light.  Good goes to light and evil goes to darkness. See verse 16.  I would also like to point out from verse 11 that He made the grasses and the herbs and the plants and fruit, “Whose seed is in itself.” In other words, it will always be the same. You can’t see wheat growing into a corn stalk or rice becoming apples because it is whose seed is in itself.  How awesome is that. In verse 12 He said, “it is good” once again and again in verse 18 He said it.  Then in verse 21 we see that God saw that it was good.  God then made man and women in His own image. He formed Adam form the dust of the ground. No rain had occurred yet, nor had the ground been tilled.

Before we get too far into chapter 2 of Genesis I have a question for you.  Have you ever thought about the fact that Jesus was there during the creation?  That is an incredible thing to get our arms around as human beings. He was there. He always was, even at the beginning we can see the mystery of Jesus Christ. The very first verse speaks of the plurality in the Godhead.  It is indicating the Trinity.  God is the Hebrew word Elohim.  El is a singular term for God and the im ending makes it plural so we have, “In the beginning Gods…” There are other signs and types throughout Genesis which I will visit later, but for now we can already see Jesus the Christ at work in the creation. In Colossians 1:16 it claims it was by Him (Jesus) that all things were created. In 1 Corinthians 8:6 it says all things came from God, but they came through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:2, 10-12 says that through Jesus the universe was made and Psalm 102:24-27 refers to Elohim as the One who’s hands made the universe. We must understand that Jesus was speaking the truth when He said He was one with the Father. Let us look at Genesis 1:26, Who is the us? It’s the Father, the son and the Holy Ghost.  Jesus was there and was an instrument of the creation. In Genesis 3:8 who walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden?  God the father is a spirit. (John 4:24) Only Jesus Christ takes on a form. (Hebrews 10:5) We will re-visit this later with the introduction of Melchizedek but there already is plenty of evidence Jesus Christ was there before the world was ever created and is still with us today. The same today as yesterday. Amen! When I think of this I can only say wow! And remain totally amazed and in awe.

Next time I will address the Fall in Chapter 2 and the evil overcoming mankind before the flood that brought that grieving to the Lord. For now, please read Genesis and be encouraged by it. The evil and darkness that is in the world can seem bleak but God has a plan. We have hope. You are in His plan and salvation is available.

To jump to part 2 click here.

God bless you,

The Tubthumper

 

Ish- The Reborn Ruler

The Mature Man                                                                           

Well men, we are never prepared to be defeated by life.  We expect to win in all we do.  And we are not wimps, you are not a man if you are expecting to lose.  That’s not the masculine thing to do. When it does happen we feel totally out of control. We cave in… it’s over. We feel like everything has gone out of control and we don’t respond well we are really confused. We now become slaves to the wounds. We are caught off-guard because, most men today didn’t have a father that modeled or taught us how to get through this wounding process.

Maturity comes only through adversity. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12)   In the Bible, the word temptation can also be taken as trials. So when a man has withstood the test, he will receive the crown of life God has promised to those that love Him.

How many times as a child or adolescent did you hear the words, “grow up?”  Does anyone really know what grown up looks like?  The only thing we know is that whatever it looks like maturity only comes through the crucible of pain.  Through the pain we learn who we are, what we are like, what we should do, and what or who we should be. Mr. Bly reminded men that the path to adulthood often takes a detour through Woundedville.  But it leads to the mature man, the resurrected ruler of the soul, the ish kind of a man.

The Meaning of Ish:

This is a Hebrew word that translates into, “man”, “mankind, or “Husband.” The adult male or mature man.  Ish speaks not only of man but also of God. The husband of His people.  (Hosea) The most important aspect of Ish is its reference to the adult male. This in contrast to the young man “yeled”.

Attributes, the Mature male is known for his attributes.

He is a man of something…

A man of bravery. (1 Samuel 4:9) A man of good presence or good looking. (1 Samuel 16:18) A man of Kindness. (Proverbs 11:17) A man of smooth skin or hairy skin. (Genesis 27:11) A man of understanding. (Proverbs 17:27) A man of peacefulness. (Psalm 37:37) A man of trustworthiness. (Exodus 18:21) A man of the priesthood. (Leviticus 21:9) A man of the King. (Exodus 2:14) A man of war. (Deuteronomy 2:14) A man of God, this is used 75 times in the Bible.  Also a man of the Spirit in Hosea 9:7. So we can see that a mature man is a man of attributes and he knows who he is.  He has decided to stop living through the eyes of someone else and lives his own life.

Ish is also used with reference to a women and shows differentiation.  Ish is the husband of a woman.  For a boy to become a man he needs to break free of mommy, find his father.  After this he must also break free from his father and become the man he will be by finding himself. Sometimes a wife ends up becoming a second mother and a woman can never make a boy into a man. There is a point when a boy must say goodbye to the Woman and become a man. It may not be just the differentiation from women but may be parents, teachers, pastors, churches, systems or friends Don’t get me wrong, these all have their place but can be barriers to personal development. This can be called, “detribalization,” we are all tribalized in some way and need to break free to reframe the disillusionment and wounding we suffered. We need to break away from someone else’s agenda and follow our own.

A mature man is also known for his individualization. Differentiation shows what a man is not, but a man must also show what he is.  So who are you? Can you answer that question?  Who really knows who this person is? Only God knows you and me personally and perfectly, because our self-knowledge is distorted. If a man is going through a mid-life crisis in order to do an appraisal he must look inward. It is a time to discover what the turmoil was all about. Time to find out where he hurts and find his wounds to be licked.  He needs to become more engages with himself to determine how he feels about a lot of things. The prerequisite for maturity is to know what you want to be and do and to know what you do not want to be and do.  Then you can become your own man.

It’s now time to re-kindle the dream. Time to dream again but you will modify the original vision and have a different perspective on it all.

You see, now we will swing a little less often but when we do swing the world had better look out! You have now challenged a mature male at the heart of his dedication.

John Henry Newman, the founder of the Oxford Movement, was rejected by both the Anglican Church (his church) and the Catholic Church he was converting to.  He wrote this: “God has created me, to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.  I have my mission-I may never realize it in this life, but I shall be told in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.  He has not created me for nothing. I shall do good, I shall do His work. Therefore, I will trust Him.  Whatever, wherever I am. I cannot be thrown away.”

So by getting in touch with who we are and doing the appraisal work needed we can be on a better positon to continue our growth. The warrior is really a one-dimensional man focusing on his weapon. The phallic male is focusing on nothing but his penis. The wounded male is unable to see past his hurting and his pain. Now the mature man (Ish) is finding a new richness in his life he has never experienced before. This does not mean the man has become an isolated man away for those he cares about.  He is also a relational man.

Ish is a relational man.

Ish gets used sometimes along with a similar word for women, Ishah.  This is seen in Genesis 2:23 where Adam gave his wife a name similar to his own. (Ish) but with a feminine ending. A mature man fids equality with a woman. She is like him, as proven in this scripture and she is not an animal to be Lorded over.  Nor is he a wimp without authority to name her.  Things now get more serious between a man and his wife. Both parties are no longer playing any games. Sex can be based on complete, unabashed union of their spirits.  They know each other very well. There now is sexual freedom and the relationship has a new dynamic.  That means we now have the liberty of enjoying our wives for the glory of God.  The best sex is yet to come.

Ish is also involved in civic and social responsibilities.  He is a man of fiends. (Proverbs 18:24)

Ish is a man that is belonging to certain groups, whether to his tribe or nation. (Numbers 25:6, Judges 10:1) He is also a man that holds a wide range of civic and social responsibilities. (Exodus 21-22) A mature man is involved in his church, in his work and in his community, he is involved in his family activities and all the things he simply enjoys.

And Ish is now becoming a royal type of person and is taking control and rules his life.

Ish as a Royal Man

“And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” (Deuteronomy 17: 18-20)

Men of Royalty such as Priests and Prophets, and messengers of God are often called ish Elohim or “man of God.” A mature man is one who will rule his life with the wisdom of scripture. He is required to meditate on God’s word daily and to tune out other voices. (Psalm1).

The blessing of maturing to the Ish kind of man is that you no longer listen to counsel of evil men, but only to the insights obtained by diligent meditation on the Word of God. The mature man listens to the voice of God in Scripture.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)

An Ish Bible Character

Elijah- Prophet of God.

He defeated the prophets of Baal and embodies the wounded warrior who grows up and mentors another younger man. He showed all the qualities and came through all the stages that typify the Mature Man. (1 Kings 17-19) (2 Kings 1-2) The young Elijah did everything God told him to do and God came through for him using supernatural strength. He multiplies food and raises a widow’s son from the dead. (1 Kings 17) This was a fantastic start for a young warrior prophet! Now Elijah is ready for the big times. God calls on him to take on the Canaanites and King Ahab along with the Prophets of Baal.

This has all the elements of the warrior challenge.  It has emotion, dreams, victory, pomp, and courage. (1 Kings 18) In 1 Kings 19: 1-2 Ahab tells his wife Jezebel of what is happening and Jezebel goes ballistic. She put a hit on Elijah’s life. Now how does Elijah handle this?  He runs for his life.  Here is a man that has experience with God taking care of him.  Why did he run this time?  There is no answer but I do know men have weak moments when they are at their breaking point.

So now all the elements of wounded behavior show up. Retreat, licking his wounds, self pity, depression, giving up the cause, and this is all in 1 Kings 19:3-10.

“And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.  And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.  And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.  And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.  And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.  And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?  And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

God responded to Elijah’s wounded warrior needs. (1 Kings 19: 15-18)

God provided rehabilitation for his personal needs.  God focused on what drives him.  God showed himself in quiet and obvious ways and used no special effects. God rejects the self-pity.  God renews the vision for Elijah to carry on. God re-commissions him to mentor the next generation. God re-assures him with a network of equally devoted colleagues.

Elijah grows up in his relation to others and he becomes a ruler of his own soul. He was wounded and then recovered through the word of God. He became re-born, resurrected in his spirit. Now as a mature man he is ready to be a mentor and sage to a younger man.

The Ish man pulls out of his woundedness and takes the road less traveled. Robert Frost said it well as the man ponders both paths. This is an important crossroad for us men. We can take one road or the other and hopefully will take the one less traveled. Think about the kind of life you want in the years ahead. Make your decision and move on ahead as Frost gives us his vision:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that, the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

Took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

(Robert Frost)

Come back for the next post about the last stop on the male journey.  Think about your roles at home, at work, at church and in the community. Is there an area you could be a mentor and take greater responsibility for the next generation?  Next post is about the Sage- The Fulfilled Man, Zaken.   Click Here to jump to the next post… The Sage.

Thanks and credit to Robert Hicks, The Masculine Journey.

God bless you all,

FJ1

 

 

The Tubthumper

 

 

 

 

Enosh: Part 2

The Wounded Male

Most men share a number of losses in common with Job.  Job’s struggle to make sense of his woundedness provides a rich commentary regarding the enosh experience we all go through.  We find this most particularly within Job 1-3, 6-7, and verse 14.

Job can’t except the fact that he has done anything in his life to deserve what is happening to him.  Why would God allow him to go through such things?  Job is struggling with his woundedness and he is struggling with God as he attempts to show that he is completely innocent.   When things began to happen to him he said in Chapter 1, verse 20, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” He had not sinned.

But later Job romanticized about back when he had it all and was in his prime of life, back when he had the respect of men and was in God’s favor.  So now he is alienated from God and experiencing the incongruency.  Things are now totally out of whack.  The same as we feel today when this happens… It is the most distressing when the angle that does not fit is the one with God.  When we were once intimate friends with God and now we cannot come to agreement. For a Christian this does not seem right or even valid. The experience is that we are distant from God, we feel alienated and it’s as though God is no longer present or involved in our lives.

Job did what he had to do and he analyzed all the evidence. What he saw probably did not point to a trustworthy God at that point.  But in the end, he kicked and screamed all the way, but he still decided to put his faith on God.  During these wounding time men we must keep the faith. We must place our faith in God even when it feels bad.  That is the incongruency. That feeling of alienation is normal and is part of grieving. This extreme incongruency with God could lead you to new understandings of the mystery of God and a new respect for His mysterious ways.  Show me the way Lord.

We learn in the Bible that death is basic to human existence.  Every time we experience wounds it is a process of death.  We see this in Genesis 5, Psalm 90:3 and Hebrews 9:27 so why do we fight it all the way as if it will never overtake us.  Why don’t we be serious about it and prepare for death instead of continuously pursuing our material dreams in warrior mode? We keep pushing, pushing, pushing on with life as though we can put death off as long as we want. You know how it is, Heaven can wait, but the American dream cannot.

The biblical patriarch Jacob epitomizes the wounded male. Jacob as a young man illustrates a male having been severely wounded by a dysfunctional family. We see this playing out in Genesis 25:19-34, 27:1- 33:20. The first part of the dysfunctional destruction occurred in the mother’s womb with the two twins wrestling. At birth Jacob comes out second but he was holding on to Esau’s heel.  Jacob literally means “heel-catcher”. (Genesis 25:19-26). The next stage carries on in the family kitchen where Jacob tricks Esau into selling his birthright. (Gen 25: 27-34). [You can see my blog post about giving up the birthright and the dysfunction in this family.]  It then hits an all-time low in the parent’s bedroom where Isaac was so unhealthy and blind that Jacob was able to trick him into showing favor to him and giving the blessing of birthright. Gen 27:1-40). Jacob eventually received the coveted patriarchal blessing reserved for the firstborn. We see sibling rivalry, parental favoritism, and fraudulent scams as they conspire for Jacob to eventually receive the coveted patriarchal blessing that was reserved for the firstborn.  Esau should be considered a “real man’s man” both then and now. Jacob was a typical momma’s boy.

Then later on we see Jacob running because he is full of fear, guilt and he is alienated from friends, family and also God.  Even when Jacob had the blessing he was feeling the alienation from God. So here is what Jacob the wounded male does during all this time to affirm to himself that he is legitimately blessed before man and God. He represses the hurt from his family of origin by staying away from them. He sold himself short to Laban, who out-schemed the schemer himself. He does what he learned and reproduces dysfunctional families in succeeding generations.  He practices self-deception and continues to deceive others.  He dreads a reunion with his siblings that he once abused, and appeases him.  He had become so insecure in his walk with God and with his standing with his brother he must prove he can still wrestle and win whoever comes across his path. His blessing that was stolen through deception and parental favoritism doesn’t count for much, but his blessing secured by God comes with a wounded hip.

A lot of men wrestle with strangers in the night searching for the blessing that was withheld.  Jacob’s experience can remind us that the wounding experience does not need to be a negative one but can be a time of wrestling with God to see what life is all about. Has God used a wounding in your life to bless you?  Consider yourself lucky. Why does it take so long to heal a masculine soul? Could it be because Satan actively stalks our souls?

There is admittedly a problem of male hostility and violence.  It is not rooted in men’s power over women.  It is rooted in men’s sense of powerlessness, stemming from deep woundedness. We do not condone the abuse of women under any circumstances but must admit where the violence comes from.

For men to survive the wounding they need to talk about it and get help.  They need to feel safety among fellow sufferers in order to share the pain. That’s why men should be involved in the men’s groups and ministries around. It remains difficult, however, with the loner nature of men. Most men simply withdraw.

Ok men, if we are done licking our wounds we can move to the next step.  In the next step on the journey we can emerge as rulers of our own souls. We reach the mature male stage.

“No one gets to adulthood without a wound.” – Robert Bly

Thanks and credit to Robert Hicks, The Masculine Journey.  See you later men at the next post which is the Mature Male…

Click here to jump to the next post.

God bless you,

 

 

 

The Tubthumper

 

 

Painful Incongruency

The Wounded Male- Enosh  

Many men are walking around wounded or have been severely wounded in the past which is effecting them now.  Becoming wounded is a part of growing up for a male.  It usually is a major piece of the teenager suddenly breaking into adulthood through trial by fire.  Just before the realization of the responsibility that full manhood brings with it.

The biggest problem with the wounded male is that it occurs in silence.  Even though this wounding is part of life we all know that real men don’t cry.  It’s instilled within us as youngsters.  Any other older male that has a direct effect on our lives lets us know that men do not cry.

It’s like when the little boy is out fishing with his grandpa and sticks his finger with a fishhook.  As the blood starts to run so do the tears and then grandpa shuts the faucet off with the words, “Hey, enough of that we men don’t cry!”  We men go through life experiencing painful shrapnel biting at us and we do not flinch.  Hey, man… being a warrior is noble and we are tough.  But given enough wars and enough scars and the man will be seriously wounded to incapacity or dangerous consequences.

 

The Ancient Metaphors and Archetypes of Wounds

 

There is a men’s movement under way and Robert Bly believes, the roots of the movement are within all the repressed pain inflicted from the battles of life.  For us to discover our manhood we must descend to the dark hallways of our souls to find all of our accumulated grief and deal with it.

Another metaphor is the thought of us wounding ourselves through all kinds of self-destructive behavior.  That discovery of manhood involves coming into contact with the innermost part of your soul and staring directly in the face of all our accumulated grief. In primitive societies men go through formal rites to manhood that involve the experiences of pain and wounds to their bodies. Circumcision is certainly a wound that is permanent and daily reminds him that he is a male.

Pain seems to be the pathway to manhood. It has been that way from the beginning of time and well recognized in most civilizations.  Here in our western culture that rite of passage is either denied or just plain forgotten.  The emerging men’s movement could be an effort to reframe and re-acquaint men and society with this wounding experience for men.

The Bible treats this wounding with honor and addresses it as a normal stop on our masculine journey. When men experience our wounds, we wrestle with God.

ENOSH: The Wounded Male

Enosh is a Hebrew word that conveys the concepts of weakness, being feeble and incurably sick.  It describes man’s mortality, calamity, frailness and the fears of men. [Isaiah 17:11, Jeremiah 17:16]

The life of Job pays homage to being wounded in the most severe form.  It illustrates the loss of his family, property, his health, and his wealth.

The prayers of Moses and David show is the Enosh man as well addressing a man whose “days are like grass” (Psalm 103:15) and who will turn “back to dust”. In experiencing woundedness we learn that we are not God, nor are we a little god, and we certainly are not even a little but like God.  It becomes an experience where we are wondering why or how God could possibly sohave anything to do with us at all. [Psalm 8:4] This is a normal experience yet why is it so very difficult for men to accept, talk about and heal from?

It seems both the biblical material and the contemporary literature on the subject support four convlusions:

One: The Deep Mortal Wound

The wound experienced is basically a mortal wound which means it is a death experience.  Every time a man gets a physical or a psychic wound it becomes another foretaste of death.  Each time we feel that pain something else dies within us. Men experience life through their bodies so when that body is wounded it is traumatic.

The wound is also spiritual and therefore the issues we face could be more of a theological nature than other issues.

When men experience midlife wounds, it could be the loss of marriages, jobs, dreams and ambitions. Sam Keen believes all men are in some way and some sense war-wounded. Because of this we have developed a well-crafted psychological armor to enable us to keep on functioning while not getting any healing.  Many men are becoming aware for the first time of the woundedness they experienced in jobs, failed marriages, drug addiction, and family origin or dysfunctionalism.

Two: Deep Loss Reactions

As men, we find our significant meaning by becoming the warrior and being phallic, therefore, when we become defeated in either of these areas it brings us a profound sense of loss. When we get wounded we no longer really know who we are.

Job was a warrior and he had it all. He had wealth and he had a large family, he had a supportive wife, a large estate, good friends and good health. But then one day he was dealt a cruel blow.  Likewise any of us could be hit with one well aimed cruel slug, it could be a car accident, a job loss, or a spouse walking out.  What happens then is we are wounded by life so we feel the remorse for what has been lost. We begin living in the romantic past when things were better.  That is what Job did.  [Job 29:1- 30:21]

Three: Alienation and Incongruency

When we get wounded by those blows that life deals out we tend to have our balance thrown off. A wounded believer will feel a sense of distance an alienation from God. (Psalm 73:1-14) Extreme incongruency with God might lead us to a new understanding and a respect for the mysterious ways of God. (Psalm 73:15-28) Men will tend to isolate themselves, buy some time and lick our wounds, and we won’t want anyone to come near us. This is usually seen as not wanting any help or a rejection of help, but it is a distinctive characteristic of a wounded male.

Just like a wounded animal, sometimes a wounded male can strike out at one that try to come with help. Men can externalize their pain and can manifest hostility and violence toward others

Four: Hostility and Violence

It does not matter how the wound occurs.  It could come from society or circumstances, by parents or a spouse, it does not matter because the male will feel powerless and will strike out. This hostile spirit is rooted in woundedness.  Many men in our society today are lashing out toward women, society, their bosses, and even God because they don’t understand the wounding experience. Men need to learn that out of their woundedness can come significant healing, meaning and growth.

PURPLE HEARTS for BROKEN SPIRITS

In our culture in America we have devalued the role of the warrior and also the role of his wounds.  By awarding a purple heart, the military recognizes, praises and awards the wounded male.  This is something that civilians are having trouble accepting.

We men need to affirm and value the wounds we receive ourselves.  Our own design and process as we go through life and our fathers, wives, and institutions are not going to do it. It might be that only in the circle of fellow wounded males can a purple heart for a broken spirit get awarded. Possibly from our time of wounding we could emerge as rulers of our own souls.

I believe its true that most of us men need the proverbial blow to the head with a two-by-four to wake us up and knock some sense into us.  In the movies we see men portrayed as the insensitive bozo’s that have no idea what is going on in their lives. We just don’t get it, when it is obvious to everyone else there is a problem. As an example a man will continuously deny his problem with drugs or alcohol until someone that cares enough finally confronts him about it.

“I must be ever so careful to remember that my pain is a precious salve that when used in the service of others can heal a thousand wounds and more. And I must likewise remember that if I do not use it as such, I have done nothing more than wound myself yet again.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

Again the credit goes to Robert Hicks and his book, “The Masculine Journey.”

Come back for the next post as I finish this up by exploring issues with other men and the Bible.  Click here to jump to next post.

The Tubthumper

FJ1

 

 

God the Warrior, Gibbor

GOD as Warrior 

As a reminder: Every society needs its warriors to survive.  It is the warrior in men that energizes us and allows us to defend our values.  It’s the warrior in us that allows us to stand our ground and protect and defend even to the point of death.  The warrior is an inherent instinct within the nature of men.

When looking at the term “gibbor”, we know that God Himself is a warrior.  We see the words of Jeremiah, “Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O Lord; thou art great, and thy name is great in might. [gibbor] – (Jeremiah 10:6) Please turn to Psalm 89 and you will observe the psalmist saying of God, “Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.  Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.” – (Psalm 89: 13-14)   Righteousness and justice is the foundation of his throne and He is full of power and strength, He is exalted and He acts with love and faithfulness.

When God saves, and vindicates us humans it is His warrior strength that overcomes the enemy. (Psalm 54:1-4, 20:6) God’s warrior strength and the relationship with His character allows His name Yahweh to be identified with gibbor: “Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is the Lord. [Yahweh]” – (Jeremiah 16:21) A commentator has observed, “One thing the Exodus does not require is any military violence on the part of the Hebrews… Moses arsenal does not include a single bona fide weapon – no swords, no spears, bows, or knives, much less chariots and horsemen. It is Yahweh who fights!

God is not passive.  He fights for His people to save, liberate, protect and sustain.  He has all the attributes of warrior.  I’m glad Jesus is a warrior, I’m glad He fought for my salvation by offering up His only son and glad He will fight again.

The Messianic Warrior

In the promise concerning the Messiah, one designation placed on Him will be “El Gibbor” or the mighty-warrior God.  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” – (Isaiah 9:6) His name is listed alongside eternal Father and Prince of Peace. This indicates that being God is not inconsistent with being a warrior and being a warrior is not inconsistent with being the Prince of Peace. God’s ultimate representative, His own son, the Messiah, is a warrior fighting and laying down His own life for His Father’s cause.  And one day soon He will mount His white horse and slay the armies of the world to establish a perfect and lasting peace. (Revelation 19:11-21)

Gibbor as National Warrior and Hero

All through the Old Testament the use of “gibbor” refers to the experienced veteran of combat or the hero status achieved from spectacular feats of bravery. Psalm 19:5, Isaiah 36:5, Genesis 6:4, Genesis 10:9 are all examples.

Gideon and Jephthath, two of Israel’s judges were called gibbbors. (Judges 6:12, 11:1) In Judges chapter seven Gideon made a name for himself by destroying the pagan altars and fighting the Midianites with a corp of three hundred gibbors.

The reign of David advanced the concept of the gibbor to an outstanding militia and hand-picked corp of warriors.  It was carried on by Solomon and the number of his gibborim grew to 60.  He comments on their “parade dress” appearance in Song of Songs 3:7-8.

The warrior is part of the routine expression of manliness in the Bible. God the Father and Christ are examples of what it is.  As men, we need to embrace the latent or rejected warrior within for our own development and for the sake of our society and church. The warrior never serves himself. The warrior serves his king and his commander.  We must know and understand what and who we serve. The power of the warrior needs to be in the service of a larger view of masculinity.

Let’s be clear, being a warrior is not the goal of manhood.  It is a stop along the way to full maleness. Scripture shows that a true warrior should develop as a spiritual warrior.  This takes more than just being tough, strong, or determined to win.

Gibbor as the Spiritual Warrior

Solomon says, “Wisdom is better than [warrior] strength.” (Ecclesiastes 9:16) The psalmist adds, “He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.  The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” – (Psalm 147:10-11)

Isaiah declares a man’s real strength lies in things like repentance, resting in one’s salvation, and in the quiet trust of God. (Isaiah 30:15)  This is reaffirmed through the prophet Jeremiah: “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” – (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

This clarifies the true warrior.  Not a warmonger or baby-killer but warriors that know their limitations and place their faith in God. The warrior does not trust in his own ability but he puts his commitment, allegiance and trust in God. For a man that has not had a significant male role model in his life this is bad news.  The fatherless generation could learn a lot about being a man through the study of God’s word and witnessing a true warrior in operation.  The true warrior does not trust his own strength but he trusts in the strength of the Lord.

On the other side of things, the psalmist admits that “gibbor” can use power for malevolent causes and become a violent man full of evil.  This is a possibility inherent in the warrior psyche.

“Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.” – (Psalm 40:4) and in contrast, “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” – (Jeremiah 17:5) 

Job was told by God to “Gird up his loins as a warrior would do preparing for battle” in (Job 38:1-3) He was telling Job to receive the words of God as a warrior would do.  For three chapters God put Job in his place by reminding him of who he is and asking him to receive the admonition as a warrior would.  The warrior salutes and carries out the order.  No debate, just Yes, sir.

King David was a supreme example of the spiritual warrior and the gibbor.  He always credited his military accomplishments to God and sang praises to Him. (1 Chronicles 29:11-14) David also illustrated the downside of the life of the warrior.  To be a successful warrior, blood must be shed.  There is a certain irony in the life of the warrior. It is a much-needed stop on the male journey. It is where we grow up. But, it still involves, blood, risk, and/or sacrifice. We need to prove ourselves. It is different with each man how that occurs. Sometimes it takes all the warrior courage we can muster up to pull the task off.  Whatever it is, however, we must call forth the warrior within us to kill it. We must trust God with the outcome and risk psychological or physical injury to become men. “What is a man without his sword?”

The challenge of being a warrior is twofold:  Knowing what to fight for, and knowing when to quit and neither of these is easy to learn. Usually it takes a major and very tragic loss or a severe wounding within the life of a man to move him out of the warrior perspective.  The warrior never leaves us but if the warrior fights enough battles he can become seriously wounded.  The arrows find their targets and we become wounded to the point of new an uncharted territory.  It’s a dark and scary place.  It is a stage on the journey to manhood most men would love to skip.  If you are stuck in the wounded male space, you are lost and feel you will never find your way back.

This brings us to the subject for the next post, The Wounded Male- Enosh: The Painful Incongruency, so come back for this in the next posting.

All credit goes to Robert Hicks and The Masculine Journey.

God bless you all,

The Tubthumper

Click Here to jump to next Post- Painful Incongruency…

GIBBOR: The Warrior

The Glorious Hero                                          

“We are not interested in generals who win victories without bloodshed…sooner or later someone will come along with a sharp sword and hack off our arms.”- Carl Von Clausewitz (On War)

What is a man without his sword? – Robert Bly (To Be a Man)

Back in the day there were men that had a fight within them. Men in their twenties would still be filled the fight of a rhinoceros.  (A rhinoceros is an animal that gets raving mad, charges massively, has two-inch thick skin, and runs over anything and everything in its way.)  That is where most men in their twenties should be.  The concern today is that we see men in their twenties that have already given up the fight. The warrior within has left them. Is it from dysfunctional backgrounds, divorces, lost jobs or what?  They are dead. It is a sad day indeed when we see young men have given up the fight. They have lost their sword. Here we have an excerpt from Robert Bly:

“The warriors inside American men have become weak in recent years…  a grown man six feet tall will allow another person to cross his boundaries, enter his psychic house, verbally abuse him, carry away his treasures and slam the door behind; the invaded man will stand there with an ingratiating, confused smile on his face.”

Young men who are fighters show it proudly.  You see it when you are on their turf.  You will see the trophies of the victories they have won.  The glory of young men is their strength regardless of where it shows, it could be on the football field or it could be in a business meeting.

If you talk to a young marine that just got word his position was canceled and now doesn’t have to go in harm’s way they are disappointed. You would think they might be happy or relieved to be home safe again.  It may surprise you that most will be disappointed.  The mind-set of a marine – of the warrior is to exist for battle.  That is what they train for and that is what their lives are all about. Semper Fidelis is about the warrior.  Always ready, always faithful-to the Corps.  That means to be always ready to be first ashore and first to die if need be.

There is popular rejection of the warrior in our society today.

The warrior has been devalued. Women have decried this as violence! It is very interesting however, that women say they hate violence but they love a conquering hero.  They like their hero to provide a safe home and security.  Is it possible women just don’t want to know about the psychological violence a man must deal with in the process of becoming successful? Women love the decorated hero’s their military husbands have become but they don’t want to know anything about what happened to get them the medals. They simply want a normal and peaceful family.

Much of society today wants to condemn the warrior. It is the anti-gun lobbyists, the feminists and the liberals that would totally dismantle our military in the name of peace. But much of the growing men’s movement in America is about the recovery of the warrior.  This comes with dismay of the feminists.

Robert Bly, the guru of the men’s movement said, “The disciplined warrior, made irrelevant by mechanized war, disdained and abandoned by the high-tech culture, is fading in American men. The fading of the warrior contributes to the collapse of civilized society.  A man who cannot defend his own space cannot defend women and children.”

Gibbor: The Hebrew Warrior

The Bible is a timeless book and it never changes. It is not affected by changes of culture or fads, or trends.  The Hebrew word for warrior is gibbor and it is associated with the concept of maleness.  Gibbor stands unapologetic through the Bible as one of the primary stages along the male journey. When men reach this stop they are at warrior station. Any men that do not discover the warrior aspect of their being are not real men. They are as Bly calls them, “mother-bound” boys still in need of a sword to cut them away from their mommies. 

The Meaning of Gibbor

Without getting technical to save time, the root idea of Gibbor is that of “power, or strength with an emphasis on excellence and superiority.”  The word lends itself to the idea of gaining an upper hand or to be prominent, important, or have significance. (To be distinguished.)

Some of the communication problems men and women have in marriage comes because men speak in a language of gibbor and women speak in a different language.  What I mean is that men use a language of a warrior. That is how we perceive the world, engage people and talk about any subject.  I experience this very struggle in communicating with my wife. We men, speak this language mostly unconsciously. Our language in our world is negotiations, one-ups or one-downs, it’s trying to achieve an upper hand to protect ourselves from others. It is a conquest, a struggle for independence and a struggle to avoid failure.  Women cannot understand this and they understandably get annoyed and feel put down. (Understandably) It serves me well to work at being aware of this in my communications with my spouse.  (When I can.) And trust me… I am often in trouble with it.  But I refuse to be “mother-bound.”

To be likened to a woman is a major putdown for a warrior. “Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?” (Jeremiah 30:6) It is men over 30 that are called gibborim, because men in the twenties did not yet qualify for the honor. “Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand. These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; even the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number of names by their polls, that did the work for the service of the house of the Lord, from the age of twenty years and upward.  For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above.” (1 Chronicles23:3,24,27) The Bible intertwines the concepts of strength and warrior as the Psalmist confesses, “I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit; I have become like a man [gibbor] without strength.” (Psalm 88:4) Like the successful young businessman with the fight of a rhinoceros young men at this stage of life are pretty much right on pace.

It is the warrior in us men that keeps us going, that keeps us pressing toward our goals that keeps us standing our ground, that allows us to defend our personal values even to the point of risking our lives.

The male warrior instinct is alive! It cannot be dead, no way, because it is intrinsic, it is woven into the very fabric of our being.  This is normal and it is a natural stop on the male journey.  It is not to be despised or devalued by women, or men for that matter.  Men that are abused and defeated by life, take note that God is very much a warrior.  And to the feminists and those that have an agenda to make sissies of men and feminize all the males you can to try and turn them into mother -bound boys…IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!  It is intrinsic, it is in our creation.  Forget about it.

Yes, many men today are so abused and defeated by life, (and in the defense of some women I must say many men simply gave up their positions because of weakness) they do not have enough warrior left in them to defend themselves or their families or their society.  For you men… the place to begin is looking at God and leaning on the strength of God.  God is very much a warrior.     

I’ll end this post here, but click here to jump to the next one and learn about

GOD the WARRIOR.

 

Yours truly,

FJ1

The Tubthumper

 

PS: The entire credit for this material goes to Robert Hicks and The Masculine Journey.

The Phallic Male

My apology to you for the length of this post, however I couldn’t see my way to breaking it to several shorter blocks.  I felt the entire message had to be completed.

This goes out to my fellow men.

How does the doctor know?  How does he know if the baby is a male or female?

That is a rhetorical question.  Of course, he looks.  If there is a penis then its male.  If not it’s female.  End of story.  Only lately has there been confusion around the subject.  It gets debated and politicized.  In this post we will observe what the ancient wisdom of scripture days about it.

Zakar: this word means “male”.  If we go deep and look at the sematic roots of the word it means sharp or pointed or in other words the male protrusion, penis or phallus.  The Arabic take on the word is close in being Dakar with the same meaning.

When we look at scripture it places the male identity and sexuality firmly in anatomy.  Where it should be.  It does not place it in a realm of psychology or sociology.  Modern psychology says that you are a male if, “you feel like one”.  Modern sociology says you are a male if, “you do the things they consider to be male things”.  The Bible on the other hand, describes and defines manhood by the phallus.  It’s just like the doctor saw it as long as it is a natural phallus and not something brought about by some perverse sex change operation.  Male is the Zakar as mentioned above.  There is a female counterpart described as Negevah or “bored through or pierced.  You can see the plain description for the parts on the human body the Lord created. You can also see that one was made to fit with the other.  Is that surprising? This identity was based on the equipment we were born with. With that said, most males have little to no awareness of this identity until puberty begins to set in.

The phallus also was a determination of religious service.  Spiritual service in the Old Testament was regulated by gender.  Because it was determined and regulated by gender it is offensive to most in our society today. The feminists have had a hug impact on this and they have had a planned agenda and movement over the last several decades. A lot of this agenda has led to the sissification (is that a word?) of men but that’s another subject for me sometime. You know what I mean.  I have driven down the road and been unable to tell if the being on the sidewalk moving in a way a sissy would walk is a man or a woman. Enough on that for now.  My point being that the feminists make all gender differentiation into political discrimination.  When a feminist reads the Bible they see sexual discrimination and do not see the true message intended.

Let’s observe how religious service was regulated by gender back in that time.  1. They celebrated animal offerings at feasts and the offerings were made on the basis of gender. The heads of households on Passover were to bring a male lamb. “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats”. (Exodus 12:5)  2. For a guilt offering only a female sheep or goat was allowed. “And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.” (Leviticus 5:6)  3. Peace offerings could be made with a male or female offering. (Leviticus 3: 1,6) 4. All free will offerings had to be male sacrifices. “Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats.” (Leviticus 22:19)

Feminists have pointed out correctly the fact only the males were required to bring a sacrifice. “Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord God.” (Exodus 23:17)  “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty.” (Deuteronomy 16:16)

Only males were counted in the national census. (Numbers 1:2,20,22) Only males could be Priests. (Exodus 28:1)(Leviticus 8: 1-3) This is probably another issue that raised the ire of the feminists.  But get this: Only males could be killed in mass murder and used as cannon-fodder in war. (Women and children were allowed to live. Deuteronomy 20: 13-14) Men also had to pay more money than women to make the very same vows. (Leviticus 27:3, 5-6)  Now isn’t this unfair?  Why is this?

The Bible indicates there is no conflict between sexuality and spirituality.  We are addressed by God in the Bible with terminology that describes who we are. We are Zakar. We are Phallic males.  By possessing a penis it places us with unique requirements before God. It also determined how we are to worship Him.

Your gender was also a symbol of dedication and connection.  It is no secret that the erect male organ has always been a symbol important to religion. I don’t really need to go into that much. The phallus was the male organ singled out as the unique site for the very first blood-letting and wound that a young man must face. “This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.” (Genesis 17:10,14)  The ceremony became a male marker for his dedication to God and for his connection to the community. The community of Israel.  It was a sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:1-8) The circumcision ceremony was also a symbol of God’s faithfulness in the provision of male offspring who could, in turn, produce more offspring to continue The Covenant. It was a daily reminder to every boy and man as to who he was. That he was different from the Gentiles and why he was different.  Sexuality and gender marking took a spiritual significance.

Today’s society does all it can to separate the phallus from any spiritual categories.  Our society does nothing to separate the phallus from other sexual exploits and in fact sexual innuendos have reached a fever pitch in our society. If it feels good then do it, is the norm. It needs to be pointed out that in no way is the suggestion here that true sexuality and spirituality should be united like it was with the sacred prostitutes of the pagan societies of the past.  Actually the Apostle Paul had to address the Corinthian Church because some believers were still having intercourse with sacred prostitutes in Corinthians 6: 15-20.  He encouraged marriage, abstinence, etc. but then had to tell them not to deprive themselves because they moved to the other extreme.  I guess there is hardly ever a good balance in anything.

Christianity in our current society is not able to openly deal with the male phallus in its full activity like it was in the Old Testament. Most secular therapists have not given much attention to the spiritual side of things that surround a complete understanding of the phallus.  They deal the sexual dysfunctions and addictions without a consideration of the larger and deeper connections that could be relate to worship, spiritual bondage or demonic activity.  Monick wrote, “People are uneasy with the correlation of sexuality and religion. Christianity, especially has separated the two in a way that would make them appear to be irreconcilable.  Psychiatry continues the disjuncture, emphasizing it with pathological labels.  The church elevates religion, devaluing sexuality.  Psychiatry does the opposite by elevating sexuality and devaluing religion.  The union of sexuality and religion is like an electrical connection. Wrong joining leads to disaster. No joining produces no energy. Proper joining holds promise.”

The fight between scriptural theology of sexuality and irreconcilable psychology can cause men to do harm to themselves in secrecy. It is believed that without proper teaching on the phallus they will have inherent spiritual tensions. This can be due to a spiritual god-hunger that is mysterious and powerful and will seek fulfillment in any way they can.  This could drive men into sexually deviant behavior.  Thus many men never graduate from the locker room school and are still caught in an adolescent philosophy.  Men get stuck in a phallic stage. Unbridled sexuality becomes harmful for men. Women too, however this is about men. When the phallus is given over to its full-blown spiritual power with no restraint, it will become an idol!

Therefore, in the scriptures, God makes it clear… The phallus, though being a symbol of God’s faithfulness and provision, must be regulated, lest it become a very mysterious taskmaster.  This must be kept in check.

How do we keep the phallus in regulation?  “And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.” (Deuteronomy 6:24)  We are to observe the statutes. We are to fear the Lord our God.  In our society today we see that with the onset of Aids and other diseases they are advocating abstinence, restraint and clean (monogamous) sexual partners.  And this is exactly what God was trying to do in the Law.  It was to regulate our sexual behavior because of the inherent potential for destruction when left unregulated. I will encourage you to read Leviticus 15: 1-33 to note the value placed on the emission of semen by the male along with nocturnal emissions. It is obvious that what happens to a man’s semen is important to God. In Proverbs 5:18 we note how important our sexual lives are to God as well. Our God know our hearts and He knows they need regulation otherwise we do what we will.

God seeks to orient our sexuality for our best interests and for His glory.  He placed a major prohibition with regard to the male phallus and the keeping of creational distinctions.  The first one had to do with bestiality.  The book of Leviticus is very clear on this subject. It is also very clear on the subject of homosexuality. God put these in the Bible because he knew we would be in those situations of temptation. The Bible simply calls them what they are: abominations.  Our society calls them other things like addictions, compulsions, obsessions and disorders.  The Bible also covers the subject of incest and modesty as well. These regulations have been ignored and now we have a society that is outwardly sexually compulsive but inwardly bored.

The real location of the lack of regulation or beginning of adultery is always in the heart and mind. Jesus made this clear in the scriptures.  So the phallus is stimulated by how the mind conceives the ultimate sexual experience and the role of fantasy plays a big part. Men primarily fantasize about having access to beautiful women without risk and without rejection.  This explains the popularity of pornography and addiction. Pornography plays with our minds at the very deepest levels.

When we think of the Phallic Man one that comes to mind is Samson. Samson’s fatal flaw was his phallus. Samson liked and fell in love with good-looking Philistine women. The first time he gazed on one of the daughters of the Philistines, he wanted her simply because she looked good to him. (Judges 14:3) And most of us know the story of Samson and Delilah.  Another Philistine damsel. Delilah got to Samson the same way the other women did, by using the old line of, “If you really love me you would.”  The she cut his hair off and the soldiers gouged his eyes out and imprisoned him. And the ending worked out because his hair grew back and he was able to pull the pillars down.  Samson was a high testosterone, man’s kind of man.  He was Zakar to the core. The only problem was that he never made it beyond the phallic stage. He got stuck like many men do. Even when the spirit of the Lord was upon him he failed at controlling his phallus.  He was hopelessly controlled by his phallus which allowed him to give in to his fantasies about beautiful Philistine women.

Here is some good advice about having some sexual sanity and controlling our phallus by Earl Wilson, a clinical psychologist.

“Sanity returns when three things happen. One, we control our sexual behavior rather than being controlled by it.  Two, we use sex for its intended purposes- pleasure and procreation rather than to meet other psychological needs. Three, we keep sex in its proper perspective and don’t take it too seriously…. There is a certain type of insanity with using sex for other than its intended purposes.  I strongly believe that sexual sanity come when sex is engaged in by a man and a woman who are married and deeply committed to each other.  People who engage in sex apart from these constraints run the risk of becoming enslaved to their sexuality and thus having it lose its meaning.  This is a waste and approaches insanity.”

We never outgrow our phallus. It stays with us all our lives even though its power may wane.  It’s been said, “The flesh never gets better, it just gets deader!” So it is with the phallus.

The phallic stage is only one of six and men can find themselves in several stages at once or in one solitary stage. This was a discussion at our men’s ministry meeting this month and based on the book, “The Masculine Journey by Robert Hicks.

Come back for the third stage of manhood called Gibbor: The Glorious Hero.  The Warrior!

Click here to jump to The Warrior!

The best to you,

The Tubthmper

 

 

The Noble Savage

“Do impulses toward sadistic cruelty lurk in the depths of every human psyche?”- Anthony Storr

“Man with all his noble qualities still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lovely origin.”- Charles Darwin

The Creational Male is the first of the six stages of manhood.  We are definitely not saints because for every heavenly thought we have there is the downward pull of our devilish and sinful flesh.  We could have the most noble desires and within us is seated the unexpected savagery of man.  Margaret Mead said, “We as men (and all of humankind) are noble savages

This first stage on the masculine journey is the only stage that also includes the females 0f the world. Every other stage is totally exclusive to males. The use of the word Adam is uniquely creational and we are creational kind of guys.  We were not created to be alone or to benefit ourselves and we owe something back to our creator.  It is written that man does not live on bread alone. (Deuteronomy 8:3) We are the Lord’s earthly representatives. We should have a relationship with the living God and we should also have a benevolent relationship with the earth and our fellowmen. (Which includes women.)O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” – Jeremiah 10:23  Genesis 1:28 tell us of our duty regarding wisdom, care and stewardship of God’s creation. We have accountability.  We are to include justice, kindness, and humility before God. This was given to Adam.  If we men try to run away from our Creator and try to run from our responsibilities we are really running from ourselves and running from what it means to be manly.  All men have the holy spirit following us around.  When we realize what it is that we are rejecting and running from and know that it is the creator and the character of Christ we fall down prostrate and see the Creator that we were created for.  This is called repentance, it’s in the Bible and repentance is a manly thing. If we don’t accept this we will never be the men we should be.

Turning again to the word Adam, we find that we are to have a certain relationship with women, our feminine counterparts.  And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.  And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.  And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.   Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.   And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:18-25)  There is much more to this than the thought of opposites attract because the Lord created men and women as opposites.  What a mystical and magical thing there is with this relationship.  It’s as if God certainly had a sense of humor. If you are married you know exactly what I mean.  And as a man, when I get out of the shower in the morning and look in the mirror at the equipment that was made on me I can tell I was created to go with another.

Please remember your worth, men. Because we are creational we have a dignity and we have a value. Our worth does not come from our performance or what we achieve but rather it comes from our being, from our birth.  We have incredible value just because we are, because we were made, not because of what we accomplish.  It should be encouraging to know you have value and the value is for no other reason than you are you.  When we get disgraced and our dignity gets dinged which is really called pride in our society, it just tells us who we are and what we are, Creational Males.

Well, that original high esteem and dignity we were made with by God didn’t last too long. Probably if Adam had not sinned we would have been immortal.  Young men always deny the sense of mortality that us older men begin to feel and realize.  It’s that foreboding sense of mortality and the deterioration of the human body that God said would be limited because of the curse. We thought we would live forever and not have a heart attack, lose the ability to do things on our own, or literally lose our minds. When you pass a cemetery just know that people are  just dying to get in there. I am amused when people are talking about the end while getting legal affairs in order and they say, “If anything happens to me”.  Hey brother, I’m here to tell you, “something will definitely happen to you, you will die.”  Every one of us will die and turn back to dust. (Numbers 16:29 and Psalm 90:3) We are dependent. Yes we are. My very breath is in my creators hands. (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7) I sleep trusting Him to keep me breathing during my sleep. The very sleep is His gift. (Psalm 127: 2)

Lastly we should address this noble savagery. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:16)  Whether male or female we humans always have the battle raging between flesh and spirit.  The intent of the heart in men and women (all humans) is evil from youth.  And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.” (Genesis 8:21)  It is very hard to explain how in “civilized countries” we have the surprising level of violence, greed, human degradation and depravity we see.  Underneath our noble presence and our refined culture lurks a sea of horrific evil. We may appear to be saints but underneath is a savage.  How is this? Why is this?  Should we be surprised by the savagery of our souls? 

We are made in God’s image, yes we are. We posses immense capability for good. However, because we are creational beings we also have a freedom of choice that allows us to be drawn to unholy paths and become the most evil of creatures.  Until we realize the evil we are capable of it is difficult to believe the presence of Christ means so much. It’s sobering to know what it is we are saved from.  For folks to think the world is made up of just good or bad people is a naive.  To say we are the good guys is crazy, We need to remember what is written in Ecclesiastes: “We have vanity, we have evil, and we even have insanity in our hearts.”

In the end we die and our physical bodies go back to dust where they came from.  Our soul does to either Heaven or Hell.  And yes there is a Hell.  See my post called Hell is Real. So I’ll end this one with the fact that decay always wins. (Psalm 49:10-12) “For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.  Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.”

Credit goes to  The Masculine Journey by Robert Hicks.

Come back for stage two which is Zakar: The Phallic Male.  Click here to jump to stage two.

Yours truly,

The Tubthumper

The Lost Christmas Story

The Lost Christmas Story

We could call this the ignored story behind Christmas or we could call it, “The Grinch that Almost Stole Christmas.”  As we see the Christmas settings around town there will always be a nativity scene.  We usually see the beautiful manger scene with baby Jesus but there is one missing figure every time.  It’s not Frosty the Snowman or Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and it’s not Santa.

Throughout the World Christmas pageants are common and have been a tradition in many churches. Our Sunday School classes have Christmas plays that always include three characters, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.  There could also be some angels, wise men, shepherds and/or a few animals. There is one person however that is never in the Christmas pageant.  And it’s right that he not be there for he is the vilest individual one could run into.  But he is an important figure in the story and must be kept in Christmas.

 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.  (Matthew 2:13)

My post revolves around the second chapter of Matthew and verses 13 to 23 of the Holy Bible.  Beginning back in Chapter 1; verse 18, Matthew describes an angel’s message to Joseph in a dream, followed by the journey of the magi in response to the appearance of the star, the magi’s conversation with Herod, their worship of the child, the slaughter of the innocents, and the holy family’s flight into Egypt, precipitated by another revelation to Joseph in a dream.

So, you see, the one figure from the biblical narrative you won’t see portrayed in a child’s Christmas pageant is King Herod. He is way too mean, nasty and evil to be involved on that holy night.

Most of us know the story of the wise men coming into the court of King Herod and asking where they could find the child born King of the Jews.  Herod, was thought of as the King of the Jews and believed he was.  Herod was crafty and thought he could have the foreigners lead him to this child born as King of the Jews and do away with him.  But, the wise men saw through the evil plans of Herod and returned home, “by another way.”   This is usually where the Christmas eve story typically ends.

That was only part one, though, of the two-part story.  The second part is what everyone wants to ignore because the details are just horrific. It gets a “R” rating for the intense violence.  We can’t be sharing this with kids heading home to put out milk and cookies for Santa.  We never want to replace visions of sugarplums with horrible nightmares.

You see, King Herod was enraged when he found out the magi had double crossed him and did not lead him to the Christ Child.  Because of this he sent his soldiers out to commit such an atrocity it ranks up there with Hitler’s deeds.  He commands them to break into every Jewish home in the region in and around Bethlehem, find every male child and cut their throats.

You may or may not know there is a Christmas carol about this wicked action.  It is called the Coventry Carol. The words are a melancholy lullaby, sung by grieving mothers to their dead children:

Herod the King, In his raging,

Charged he hath this day,

His men of might, in his own sight,

All young children to slay.

 

Then woe is me, poor child for thee,

And ever mourn and say,

For thy parting, nor say nor sing,

By, by, lully, lully.

The carol tells the story of everything having been sweetness and light.  But then, it all changed and they heard the pounding of fists on their doors as Herod’s soldiers were after all the newborn sons.   The mothers of the City of David weep their bitter tears, and they cradle their lifeless babies in their arms:

Lullay, Thou little child,

By, by, lully, lullay.

Herod was in his final year of his 41 year reign and he was definitely evil enough to commit these atrocities.  He was king in name only because the Romans were calling the shots then. It was Herod’s job to carry out all the dirty work like subduing a rebellious colony on behalf of the emperor.  And Herod relished his dirty duties.

To let you know the type of guy King Herod was:

During his reign, he had at least nine wives and at least 14 children and perhaps more. He executed one of his wives named Mariamne for adultery, her mother declared herself queen charging Herod was unfit to rule so Herod put her to death without a trial.  There were two young sons from his marriage with Mariamne and he looked at them as a threat so he executed them.  After murdering his wife, mother and two sons he named his eldest son the exclusive heir to the throne.  But then he grew jealous of the crown prince and had him executed. The emperor was so appalled that he refused to allow any of Herod’s remaining sons to claim the title of king- although three of them would eventually rule as “tetrarchs” each governing one third of his father’s realm.

Thirty-three years later, one of them, Herod Antipas, would look upon Jesus at last, as he stood before him in chains, wearing a crown of thorns.

Would anyone doubt that this man was capable of ordering the soldiers to kill babies?

We know that Jesus escaped that fate because an Angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream and warned him with instructions to flee to Egypt.  Some may find it troubling that God would send an Angel to rescue Jesus but let all those little babies die.

That is a part of the theological issue we face so often: the problem of evil and sin, the question of why a just and an all-powerful God allows human suffering to take place. With that question answered elsewhere in no easy way, King Herod is well suited to play the role of evil incarnate.

So, Herod does not belong in a Sunday School Christmas pageant or play. But we must not forget about him.

King Herod is important to the Christmas story because he will help us remember what kind of world we live in and why this world needs a savior.  Jesus did not come to the world to bring a mid-winter festival.  He was not born into some Christmas card scene, rather He was born into a World where Families wander homeless and corrupt tyrants rule by murder and deceit.  Jesus didn’t come to offer respite from the world.  He came to save the world.

For us,

His Christmas weary disciples,

We have a role in carrying out the mission, by using the spiritual gifts he gave us along with whatever material resources we have.

It may be easier to remember the mission if we keep King Herod in Christmas.

 

 

 

Gotta Serve Somebody, God Fearing Beer Drinking- Part 6

There is a line of the Guinness genealogical path that has been deeply committed to God.  It’s the descendants of John Grattan Guinness who was Arthur’s youngest son.  It has continued through the years and spurred a book written by Frederic Mullally called, “The Silver Salver: The Story of the Guinness Family.”  The book almost makes the rest of the clan look like rogue pagans. In reality, however the family was pretty much a God fearing Guinness story all together.  The Reformers changed the artificial lines between what was sacred and what was secular and showed that men were sent into the world by God to use their God-given skills to His glory.  This Protestant work ethic can be found all throughout the Guinness line beginning with the greatly reformed and faithful original Arthur Guinness and on through his descendants. They looked at their craft of brewing as being done as a holy offering because it was a craft they pursued within the service of the Lord.  They certainly never saw themselves as secular.  They looked upon themselves as having a calling. They were in God’s ministry of industry and trade.  They performed the work with the Reformation ideal that everything they did was done for God. They strived to please God with all they did.

There was of course a line of Guinness’s that were in-fact missionaries and ministers but we shouldn’t look at them as any more connected to God than the others. The great truth of Christianity is that a banker or a baker can serve just as important a role for God as a priest or pope. So the Guinness story has a base of Christianity and shows that spirituality was involved in their success.  It was the center of all the good they have done in the world.

HenryI would like to introduce the youngest son of the first Arthur.  To make a long story short he grew up and joined the army.  While John Grattan Guinness was in the army and in foreign lands he heard the Christian truth from men that he admired. He heard it from military men that fought mightily by day and worshipped Christ by night. They shared their faith with Captain John Guinness while together and John wrote home that he had become “born again.”  John married and he and his new wife became one as husband and wife and also in spiritual matters.  John returned home in 1824 sick and exhausted after a number of difficult and trying years.  His wife returned with him but died two years after. John tried to work in the family business which was also in the whiskey business at the time.  Having become an evangelical he was now a teetotaler, drank no alcohol and believed all men should do the same so John resigned from his position at the brewery.

 John met a widow named Jane Lucretia D’Esterre who also had a rough past and had found faith in Jesus Christ during a sermon at St. George’s Church in Dublin. The love between the two them became a cure for wounds life had hit them with. They married in 1829 and the first five years a happy life. In 1835 when John was 52 and Jane was 38 they had a son together.   His name was Henry.  Henry Grattan Guinness was a gift from God while his parents were in their later years.  He became such a man of God and full of faith that he would be mentioned with the likes of Dwight Moody and Charles Spurgeon as one of the greatest preachers of the day. He had a soul searching life as all young men do but when Christ found him this is what he wrote, “The future was lighted with hope. The gates of glory and immortality opened to my mental vision and there shone before me an interminable vista of pure and perfect existence in the life to come. It was the marriage of the soul; the union of the creature in appropriating and self-yielding love with Him who is uncreated eternal love.”  He was a man on fire for Christ. On his 21st birthday he wrote in his diary, “my only passion is to live preaching and to die preaching; to live and die in the pulpit; to preach to perishing sinners till I drop down dead.” He became such a great preacher that in 1857 he was preaching at Moorfields Tabernacle in London which had been George Whitfield’s home church. He went on to preach in France, Switzerland, Wales and Scotland bearing much fruit. He eventually returned to Dublin with much acclaim.  It was a Guinness who was now drawing national acclaim during a time when all the well-known, “Protestant preachers of the time were weighted against each other like professional boxers.”

Henry became one of the best known preachers in the world. He had incredible success in the lands north of Ireland and then he toured through the United States.  It was a time when the U.S was troubled over slavery and states’ rights.  He preached 9 sermons a week for many months.  Exhausted he returned to England for some rest and while preaching at a church he met Fanny Fitzgerald.  They were married on October 2, 1860. Although he felt he was now with his soul mate the following years were difficult and lined with turmoil and opposition. This was during the time when he took an antislavery and anti-alcohol stance. Still he preached on while travelling the world.

There was turning point in the Guinness family as Henry joined Hudson Taylor and trained missionaries in England to join Taylor in China. They began training school called Stepney Institute. The school later became known as the East London Institute for Home and Foreign Missions. Before long the support was so strong that land and buildings were donated to become Harley College.  The college was so successful it became a model for Moody Bible College in the United States.Harley College

Henry became an accomplished author as well. He wrote the best-selling book, “The Approaching End of the Age in Light of History, Prophecy and Science” as an answer to Darwin.  His work earned him the Doctor of Divinity and also resulted in is being elected to the Royal Astronomical Society.  He wrote more than 20 books and among them was, “Light for the Last Days,” published in 1886. It was a prophetic writing that came true and he also in that writing predicted the 1948 event when Israel once again became a nation. Henry was not alive to enjoy the pleasure of the role his writings played because he died in 1910 as a very revered man. Henry’s children all went on to do great things for God and the long line of the faithful Guinness’s would continue.  The grandchildren yielded Christian ministers, missionary medical doctors, Christian schoolmasters, Royal Air Force chaplains and missionaries to Asia to name a few.

How is it that ten of Arthur Guinness’s children would have a birth-line of devoted Christians that would move nations due to their faith?  Could it have been something that began within the very first Arthur Guinness’s heart? Could it have been fostered by those early Sunday schools? Whatever it was and is, it continues through time. A historian wrote, “The Guinness family had the brewers and the bankers, but neither of them could match, in adventurousness and energy, the deeds of the ‘Grattan’ Guinness’s, spurred as they were not by materialistic ambition but by a deeply felt, inherited faith in what they believe to be the civilizing power of the Bible.

This will end my review of “The search for, God and Guinness.”  Once again I recommend you read Mr. Mansfield’s book and fill in the details.Mansfield

Sorry for the length of this one, but in closing this last post reminded me of Bob Dylan’s song of which I will include his lyrics here:

“Gotta Serve Somebody”

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Might be a rock’n’ roll adict prancing on the stage
Might have money and drugs at your commands, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a state trooper, you might be an young turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody’s landlord you might even own banks.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be working in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You may call me Terry, you may call me Jimmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say.

You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

The Guinness’s chose to serve God.  Who do you serve?

May God be with you and bless you,

The Tubthumper

PS: One last post added by surprise.  CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO THE FINAL.

 

Righteous Wealth Works Wonders, God Fearing Beer Drinking #5

As the saying goes, a man becomes the company he keeps.

Just the same, a company becomes the culture they create.

Whatever is regularly affecting the lives of its workers becomes an indication of what type of noble accomplishments the company will make. The Guinness culture changed the lives of its workers, helped eradicate the poverty in Dublin and served as a model for other companies on how to care for their employees.   The culture of faith, kindness and generosity at Guinness taught men how seek ways to serve their fellow men and turn harshness to joy.

Dublin Famine sculpture
Dublin Famine sculpture

In 1990, Dublin was overcrowded and starvation and disease was rampant. It was the point in time that the culture propagated by Guinness moved out to the streets of Dublin and allowed men to serve the streets of a city that was dying. Guinness was able to demonstrate what good their righteous wealth can do.

Dublin was rife with filth and disease.  It had become a cesspool, people were living in squalor, sickness and had all the vices known to man.  It had the highest rates of contagious diseases and the highest death rate in all of Europe.  There was an epidemic of smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, typhus, whooping cough, diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid fever and tuberculosis. These diseases were spreading at an unprecedented rate.  Most of the misery and sickness was caused by the overcrowding which came about by the hordes of immigrants swarming to Dublin in 1840’s to escape troubled lives in their own land. So the poor, weak and sick people were all corralled into the city of Dublin.  A majority of the agony, pain and sickness was self-induced.  These people in Dublin that were extremely overcrowded regularly dumped their sewage into the same river that served as their source of drinking water.

There was also the revered Irish tradition of waking the dead and this played a major role in spreading the diseases around.  (This was the process of laying out the body of a departed relative in the house where they lived and died. All of the family and quite a few of the deceased one’s neighbors and friends would gather at the house. The body was usually laid out in the parlor of the house or living room. There would be lots of food and plenty of drink to be consumed. People would come and socialize and remember the departed person’s life. This wasn’t a time for tears to say the least, it was quite a party and hardly resembled a funeral. It was the traditional Irish way of celebrating one’s life and ensuring that they had a good send off. A proper Irish Wake was pretty wild in the old customs of that period.)  It was common for the body of a loved one to lay for as many as four nights.  The mourners exposed themselves to whatever it was that killed the deceased. One historian called Dublin, “A city of the damned.”

Doctor John Lumsden had just become the chief medical officer at the Guinness brewery.  He was an extraordinary man, devoted Christian with a calling that would allow Guinness to effect the lives of thousands, change Dublin for the good and break new ground in corporate social responsibility.  Doctor Lumsden wanted to serve his fellow man and alleviate suffering in Dublin. He figured out that if he could change the housing and living conditions he could really make a difference. He talked the Guinness board of directors into letting him visit every home of the workers and their relatives. This was 2,287 employees and 7,343 dependents.  The board supported him and they found that over 35 percent of the homes were actually inhabitable. The descriptions were wrenching and I encourage you to get Mansfield’s book to read the details.Mansfield It was much worse than you can think as a modern citizen.  The Doctor outlined a large list of goals and tasks to eradicate the squalor.

The Guinness board convened on 1901 and eagerly followed the Doctors recommendations. What an amazing benevolent move for the Guinness firm.  They absolutely adopted the vision that Doctor Lumsden put before them and approved the funding although they knew the cost was enormous. It is an amazing show of the desire that Guinness had to fulfill a legacy of compassion and generosity. The result of the labor, compassion and expense was that Guinness acquired a reputation of caring for its employees that was second to none. The company earned that reputation in the city that was named the deadliest city in Europe.

SJLumsden_small
Doctor Lumsden

For his work in all he did to serve society, Dr. Lumsden was knighted by King George V, which was very well deserved.

Doctor Lumsden had the vision, but he could have never done it alone.  He needed the strength of a culture of social concern, love of mankind and generosity.  He needed a vehicle, wise and wealthy men to stand in battle with him and help him save human lives. That is what Guinness gave to him. That is what Guinness and the doctor gave to the people of Dublin.  That is just one small example of what kind of good righteous wealth can do.

If you missed the last post you can jump back there and read it by clicking on the Mansfield book.

Come back for the next post when we learn about the Guinnesses for God.  In fact you can CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEXT POST.

Till then, may the Lord richly bless you,

The Tubthumper