WHAT COMES NEXT

WHAT COMES NEXT   by Nancy Dobson, PO Box 71132, Bethesda, Md 20813

What is invisible is hard to see. That seems so obvious, what’s the point of saying it?  On the other hand, the reality and nature of invisible things has consumed our attention and has been the focus of lifelong debates throughout human history.

God is living, feeling, intelligent spiritual energy.  (John 4:24)  But for many it is difficult to see God.  Therefore they make idols, pray to saints or worship teachers of certain eternal moral truths.  They look with their eyes, but they don’t see, Jesus said.  (Matthew 13:14-15; John 8:43-47)  They haven’t learned how to look with their spirit.  While we can see God in what God creates — the materials, laws and design of our interdependent, functioning, life sustaining world — we can also perceive God by using the invisible, living, spiritual energy within us.  If we learn how to see using our spirit we can experience God’s constant presence with us and God’s communications to us.

Jesus said it is hard for the rich to enter heaven.  That’s because when we feel secure with our wealth we may fail to seek God strongly with our spirit and as a result we miss developing the spiritual health we need to be reborn in God’s kingdom.  When we are poor we have an extra incentive to seek God because we know we are unable to meet all of our needs by ourselves.  In order to exert the effort to use the invisible part of ourselves to tune in to the invisible Power that we call God we sometimes need something like poverty, sorrow or pain to goad us.

Actions that we can take that will help us perceive God’s presence, and then trust and submit to the guidance of our living, ever-loving Creator and Sustainer, are what Jesus came to teach us.  But why should we learn those lessons?

There was a great debate during Jesus’ time about whether some part of us continues to live after our bodies die and, if it does so, what happens to that part that is no longer materially alive.  The rich Sadducees denied that life continues after the body dies.  The Law-conscious Pharisees claimed that the invisible spirit within each of us lives on after physical death and is judged by our Creator according to how we behaved while we were material beings.  Jesus said that what is bound on earth continues to be bound in the spiritual realm, and that we are here to prepare for that inevitable continuation of life.  (Matthew 18:18, 10:28, 13:47-50)

God’s evaluation, or judgment, determines where we will live while we are in the invisible spiritual realm.  If we have followed certain laws of behavior, our spirit is able to return to live eternally with God.  If we have not followed those moral laws of behavior, then our spirit experiences the remorse of separation from God and the pain of punishment.  Then it eventually returns to the material realm and we have another opportunity to interact with those we knew previously and to correct previous errors.

Jesus taught reincarnation.  As Mark says (12:18-27) “Then some Sadducees — who deny there is a resurrection –” put this question to him.  The Sadducees debated with Jesus about the hypothetical woman with seven husbands because of his teaching about reincarnation.  (The same word was used for both resurrection and reincarnation.)  Jesus told Peter that the disciples would have rewards in the “regeneration.”  (Matthew 19:27-29)  He reassured the Pharisees of his position on this issue when he pointed out that King David claimed that the Messiah had lived before him.   (Matthew 22:41-46)  He said that John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated.  (Matthew 11:7-15, 17:10-13 and see Malachi 3:23-24 and Luke 1:5-17)  He said the dead would return.  Those who had done good would come back to a good life, and those who had done evil would return to damnation.  (John 5:28-29)  He gave the example of laborers hired at different times but all paid the same.  However long or often we labor on earth the final reward is the same for all.  (Matthew 20:1-16)  In two of his disputes with Jews, St. Paul created a record for us that shows that early Christianity taught reincarnation.  (Acts 23:6-8 and 24:14-16.)  Reincarnation was part of Christian teaching until Emperor Constantine imposed his will on the church in the 4th century.

In spite of his teachings about life after physical death, about the fact that we will be evaluated after death for our words and behavior during our physical life, and about techniques that help us develop clearer spiritual perception so we can make better choices during material life, and even though Jesus performed miracles to prove that he had spiritual power, many people remained skeptical.  Even many Pharisees, who believed in life after death, rejected Jesus’ teachings about how to prepare for life in the spiritual realm.  It is, after all, hard to see what is invisible.

After Jesus was rejected by the Pharisees, God led him to create an object lesson that would reverberate throughout time.  Jesus told his disciples that he would submit to God’s will so that all in the world would be impressed with his obedience to God.  He predicted that after his Resurrection the world would accept the truth of his teachings.  People would then learn how they must develop the ability to discern and submit to God’s daily guidance so that they too would be able to live for eternity with God.  (John 14:30-31, 12:31-32, 17:20-23; Matthew 12:50)

Jesus then submitted to gruesome torture and to death by crucifixion.  On the third day after his death Jesus appeared alive again.  He appeared to Mary, who had come to his tomb.  (Mark 16:9-11 John 20:1-18)  Then he disappeared.  He appeared to two men who walked to the village of Emmaus.  Then he disappeared.  (Luke 24:13-35)  He formed out of the ether in a closed door room and ate fish and honey to prove that he wasn’t a ghost.  (John 20:19-23)  Then he disappeared.  He invited Thomas to feel the holes in his hands and side.  (John 20:24-29)  After 40 days of appearing to and talking with his followers, Jesus ascended into heaven in front of them.  (1 Corinthians 15:3-7; Acts 1:1-11, 2:29-33)  Jesus was proving that the invisible spiritual realm is real and that we will live there after we die in the material realm.

Though reincarnation was accepted by Hindus, Buddhists and Taoists at that time, the debate about the reality of the spiritual realm and the possibility of returning for eternity to God’s kingdom needed to be settled for those to whom God had given the spiritual governance laws He wants all to use to reconnect with our Creator.  Also, the eternal validity of the Golden Rule needed to be proved to them.  The purpose of Jesus’ dramatic death by crucifixion was to settle the debate about life after death, to demonstrate that there is a reliable reward for learning how to discern God’s communications and for submitting to God’s guidance, and to prove the validity of Jesus’ teachings about how to do that.  This was the powerful message his disciples burned to share with all who would listen.  The great debate was over!  The existence of the spiritual realm had been proved!

Jesus’ Resurrection was proof positive that life continues in the invisible realm of spiritual energy.  Jesus told his disciples to go to all the world and teach the laws he had told them (Matthew 28:16-20) and to teach repentance for the remission of sins.  (Luke 24:46-48)  The laws he taught are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to treat others as we want to be treated.  (Mark 12:29-31)  If we love God completely we will follow God’s rules and submit to God’s daily guidance.  If we treat others as we want them to treat us we won’t tie ourselves to the material realm with behavioral debts.

All that “remission of sins” requires, Jesus said, is repentance — humbly confessing that we have erred and changing our behavior so that we live by the laws of spiritual governance that have been given to us.  By so doing we learn how to discern and submit to God’s daily guidance to us.  Giving up our arrogance and rebellion and learning to perceive God’s constant presence, trust in God’s guidance and submit to God’s will is the path we all must follow to return to God’s place for eternity.  (Matthew 21:28-32; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 13:1-5)  In Revelation John reiterates that those who follow God’s Law and submit to being God’s servants become pillars in God’s house and go out — reincarnate — no more.  (Revelation 3:7-13)

This is the importance of Jesus’ Resurrection.  We no longer have to fear and deny the spiritual realm.  The way has been explained and shown for how to prepare for our inevitable evaluation after our physical life is over.  The truth has been given.  Returning to eternal life with our Creator is possible.  Jesus is the way, the truth and life.  (John 8:31-32, 14:21)  It’s as easy as following the lessons in the text.  It’s a process.  It’s a lifestyle.  It’s salvation!  Praise the Lord for Jesus Christ!

Today many have lost sight of the impact Jesus’ Resurrection had on his disciples so long ago.  And many have become confused by misinterpretations of his teachings that have crept into Christianity in the centuries since his ascension.  But the phenomena of near death experience — where people have been revived after having been pronounced dead — jogs our memory of the relevance of what Jesus said and did.  Some who have been revived after physical death report that they spoke with departed loved ones on the other side of life.  One thing they are often told is that the departed are sorrowful that they did not prepare more diligently for life in the spiritual realm while they were on earth.  Life on earth is a brief and unique opportunity to strengthen our eternal spirit, and most of us waste it.  This is a warning to us.  The invisible spiritual realm is real.  That we will be alive in it is inevitable.  That what we do here will determine where we spend our time there and how we will be treated there is a fact.  Those who have visited the other side and returned have renewed our awareness of the reality of the invisible realm and the importance of heeding Jesus’ teachings to take responsibility for our behavior, repent and prepare for what comes next.

Books by Nancy Dobson:  The Torah Conscious Christian, Biblical Law by subject, paraphrased, with commentary; The Torah Conscious Christian’s GUIDE TO HOLY DAYS; The Gospel’s Message Within The Message; and Firming Up Your Flabby Spirit.  All are in print from Amazon, and all except the Holy Days book are e-books on Kindle.  SOUL Question, a fiction book, is also available from Amazon and Kindle.  Some political, health and religious essays are in the e-book If You Ask Me…. on Kindle.

THE BENEFIT OF A PALESTINIAN STATE

The Benefit Of A Palestinian State —   By Nancy Dobson, PO Box 71132, Bethesda, Md 20813

In “The Latest Threat To Evangelical Support for Israel,” (Faith and Freedom, fall 2014) Luke Moon threw down the gauntlet for someone to show, “how a future Palestinian State would be a blessing to Palestinian Christians, Israel and the surrounding nations.”

That can be done.  But first we should consider some background.

As we read in the Bible, there has always been tension between Jews (so called because they are descended from the tribe of Judah) and their kinsmen who were descended from the other eleven sons of Jacob.  For instance, David, a Jew, was not immediately accepted as king over all the tribes. He claimed he had been anointed in secret by a religious leader who had since died.  Seven years after Saul died, David gained the kingship by political intrigue.   (2 Samuel 2, 3, 4, 5:1-5)  Following his son Solomon’s death ten tribes broke away from the Jews.  (The 11th tribe, the Levites, were the priests, who were scattered among all the tribes.)  All this occurred 3,000 years ago.  About 500 years later, after the Jews returned to Jerusalem from their deportation to Babylon, Ezra, a high priest, insisted they put away their non-Jewish wives and keep their race pure.  (He overlooked the fact that King David had been a descendant of Tamar, Rahab and Ruth — all aliens.)  Over the centuries Jews have continued to distance themselves from their Hebrew kinsmen as well as from those of other monotheistic religions.

Jesus said he came to save the lost sheep of the House of Israel.  Those were the Samaritans, the descendants of Hebrews from tribes other than Judah.  Jesus taught in a Samaritan village for two days, made an example of the Good Samaritan and praised a pious Samaritan leper.  Just before his ascension, Jesus told his disciples to teach all the commands he had given them to those in Judea, Samaria and all the world.  Jesus desired for the House of Judah and the House of Israel to reunite.  But the rift between them was great.  Then the Samaritans were all but destroyed during Justinian’s reign in the 6th century A.D.

Jesus also said the world would know his disciples by their love.  That was because he had elevated the Golden Rule — to treat others as we want them to treat us; to love others with the same love we would want for ourselves — to be as important as the first law — to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  (Matthew 7:12; Mark 12:29-31)

Jews do not teach the Golden Rule.  Instead, they teach that Jews are God’s chosen people.  This leads them to be prejudiced against non-Jews.  They believe they have a special status with God because they are born Jews.  But what does the Bible say about that?  You might recall that included in the covenant with Abraham were Ishmael and all their slaves.  Included in the laws given to Moses were all those who drew their water and hauled their wood — the Gentiles who had been awed by the Hebrew’s God and had left Egypt with them.  (Deuteronomy 29:9-15)  Isaiah (66:18-24) and other prophets (Micah 4:2; Zechariah 2:15 ; the psalmist 22:27-31) acknowledged that God loves all people.  Furthermore, when the Jews rejected Jesus, he said God would take His kingdom away from them and give it to a people who would produce its fruit.  (Matthew 21:33-46)  And Paul made inclusion of Gentiles a cornerstone of his ministry.  That God chooses all who choose God is the message from those through whom God has spoken.

“Is it good for Israel,” is a popular Jewish motto.  This is such a frequent Jewish phrase that it might appear to some that a country called Israel is the Jews’ chief joy, instead of God..  (And see Psalm 137:5-6)  The Bible says Israel is a name that was given to Abraham’s grandson Jacob by an angel with whom he wrestled spiritually.  Though he feared for his life and his family’s safety, Jacob chose to face the brother who had sworn to kill him because God told him to.  Jacob became an example that we are meant to submit to God’s will.  It can be argued therefore that each of us becomes “Israel” when we successfully overcome the world in ourselves to be submissive to God.  Israel refers more accurately to a spiritual condition than to a place.

The land Luke Moon was referring to was originally given to Abraham, his son Ishmael and their slaves.  (Genesis 17:7-14)  The single sentence that suggests that Isaac is the sole inheritor of the covenant may have been added by Ezra, who is credited with harmonizing the Old Testament.  (Genesis 17:15-21)  Land east of the Jordan River was given by God to Moabites — descendants of Abraham’s nephew Lot — and to Edomites — descendants of Isaac’s son Esau.  (Exodus 23:31; Deuteronomy 2:1-19)  By this it is clear that God desired to protect the rights of other descendants of Abraham, not just Jacob’s line.   Muslims in the Middle East consider themselves to be descendants of Ishmael.  In Exodus 12:47-48 it says that any alien who with all the males of his household is circumcised becomes a citizen of the country.

Nevertheless, since Jews say, “God gave us this land,” they should follow God’s rules concerning it.  The land given by lot to the tribe of Judah is a portion of land below Jerusalem and next to the Dead Sea.  The tribes of Dan and Benjamin were north of Judah’s land, the Philistines were west of it and Simeon’s land was south of it.  Since the Bible says land cannot be transferred from tribe to tribe, this is all the land that God gave to the Jews.  (Numbers 36:1-9)  Jerusalem was not given by God to the tribe of Judah.  Though it was portioned to the tribe of Benjamin by lot, God did not allow them to conquer and live in it.  Since the Jews still do not accept the descendants of the other Hebrew tribes as being equal with themselves, they cannot claim that God is currently giving all the land currently called Israel to them.

But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the reason God gave the physical and spiritual descendants of Abraham a certain place to live was so that they would be a nation of priests on mission to the world, a people to spread God’s fame to all nations, to teach praise for God to all the world and to extol God’s splendor — God’s faithful love and forgiveness for all who return to love, obedience and submission to our Creator.  (See Jeremiah 13:11; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 2:1-4; Joshua 8:32-35; 1 Kings 8:41-43, 54-61; and Psalm 67)

Jesus reminded them that they were meant to be the salt of the earth.  Like salt cleans and preserves the body, the religion of the Hebrews was intended to clean and preserve the souls of all on earth.  He said they were to be like leaven, gentling and changing the nations around them.  (Matthew 5:13-16, 13:33)  A better motto for the Jews would be, “Does it help fulfill the desire God expressed at Mt. Sinai that the Hebrews be a nation of priests on mission to spread the truths of the One Almighty God to the world?”

Now we come to the question at hand.  How can a Palestinian state in Israel benefit Israel?  By this Luke Moon apparently means how can a Palestinian state provide material benefit for the Jews.  Since a Palestinian state would set limits to land acquisition by the Jews, it would help establish peace in the region and that would provide time and opportunity for material progress that would benefit Jews as well as all others in Israel.

But to consider only material benefit is too limiting.  During his temptation in the wilderness, Jesus said that God alone should be worshipped, and money and power should not be worshipped.  He later said, “What would it profit you to gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”  So if someone looks back over the past five years of their life and cannot see anything they have learned that is of spiritual value, they are indeed living in poverty no matter how much money — or land — they have.  To focus only on the financial benefits that could accrue from having a Palestinian state is too limiting.

Jews, Christians and Muslims need one another spiritually.  When they live in the same area it creates a style of tension for them that encourages spiritual seeking and leads them to consult God for understanding and daily guidance.  Like an oyster rubs grit to create a pearl, Jews, Christians and Muslims need to use the tensions between them to create a beautiful and priceless example to share with the world of love for one another and of love, obedience and submission to the Cherisher of human souls.

God said all on earth will be blessed because Abraham kept God’s Law and obeyed God’s voice.  (Genesis 26:4-5)  One of the sins God identified for which He destroyed Israel was that they had ceased to listen to Him.  (Isaiah 66:3-4)  Through Jeremiah (7:22-28) God said, “Obey My voice and I will be your God and ye shall be My people.”  Through Zephaniah (1:3-6) God said He would destroy the earth because its people do not seek or consult God.

Muhammad said God gave him the mission to reinstate what had been suppressed in Jewish and Christian teachings — namely, the teaching that submission to God is imperative and that no one returns to eternal life in God’s house without it.  This teaching still exists in Old and New Testament scriptures but it is not an active part of either Judaism or Christianity as they are taught today.

In Matthew 7:21-27 Jesus told us that only those who submit to God’s will shall enter heaven.  In John 14:30-31 he said his reason for facing the cross was to show the world his complete submission to God.  As branches from his vine we are expected to copy Jesus’ example.  (John 15:1-5)  Teaching us how to, and that it is imperative to, submit to God’s daily guidance is the reason Jesus came into the world.  Yet this lesson has been brushed aside in Christian teachings ever since the reign of Constantine in the 4th century.

In the Torah, all the laws teach obedience to God.  Yet these are general rules.  Moses also insisted that we must submit to God’s daily guidance.  God will be your God only if you follow His way, keep His laws and listen to His voice, Moses taught.  (Deuteronomy 26:17)

Jews and Christians need to reclaim and practice the essential teaching, the cornerstone of Islam:  submission to God.  The spiritual skills they learn as they work to understand and show respect and love for Palestinians will help them open up to God’s loving nature and better perceive and submit to God’s daily guidance.

Jews have kept God’s Law alive throughout all these centuries.  Christians and Muslims need to learn the pure Torah Law – but to learn it the way Jesus taught it, by its intentions and without rabbinic changes.  Jesus was a law keeper and taught others to keep God’s laws.  Jesus complained that rabbis had added to and changed to make ineffective some of the laws Moses had written for the Hebrews.  He said they worshipped God in vain because they taught as if they were laws rules made up by men.  (Matthew 15:1-9)

Living by the pure Torah Law is a signal to God that we are ready to renounce rebellion and bend our egos to show love, humility, obedience and submission to our Creator.  Keeping the Law Moses wrote the way Jesus taught helps us perceive the spiritual in ourselves and experience God’s presence.  Not living by God’s Law shows contempt for God.  (Numbers 15:30-31)

Many Jews do not believe in life after death and that God will judge them for what they do in this life.  To maintain this unbelief they have to ignore a growing body of proof from those who have died and been resuscitated.  This was a major break point between Jesus and the rich Sadducees of his day.  Jesus’ whole teaching revolves around spending our time on earth preparing for the life to come.  After his Resurrection, when Jesus appeared and disappeared several times in front of his followers, he proved the reality of the spiritual realm.  Muhammad also taught that this life is preparation for what comes next — after physical death.

This is a critically important message for Jews to learn from Christians and Muslims.  Understanding that they will be judged by God for their behavior and that that will determine where they spend their time in the spiritual realm should motivate Jews to work harder now to be fair, honest and just with all people because, as Jesus said, what is bound on earth is bound in heaven.

Many Jews are forbidden to read and study the scriptures of Christians and Muslims.  This puts blinders on their ability to understand the other religions that have developed from Abraham’s teachings and hampers their ability to communicate optimally with adherents to those religions.  It is also a way to carefully cultivate Jewish pride and prejudice, which has been a stumbling block for Jews for thousands of years.  Jews, Christians and Muslims should study one another’s scriptures.  God has spoken through them all.  The first step toward peace is to understand and show respect for one another.

Both Jews and Christians can learn a monumentally important skill from Muslims.  Because of the practice of usury (capitalism) Jews and Christians are destroying the environmental foundations of all life on earth. Muslims have created an interest free banking system that could be a saving grace for humankind.  Jews and Christians should study that system and create a sustainable economic system to be used by the rest of the world.  We are on the brink of environmental suicide because of our economic practices.  The interest free system could be a part of a sustainable economy that saves us.

Moses, Jesus and Muhammad all taught humility.  Moses told us to circumcise our hearts (our desires) (Deuteronomy 10:16) and to be God’s servants.  (Deuteronomy 6:13, 10:12-13)  Jesus said no one enters heaven until they become as humble as a little child.  (Matthew 18:1-4)  Muhammad said God’s servants are modest and when reviled respond, “Peace be on you.”  (XXV 63)  A Palestinian state in Israel will be an opportunity for those of all faiths to practice the humility their spiritual leaders have taught as they seek to understand, make room for and make peace with those of other faiths who worship the One God.  The exercise of humility is essential for each person’s spiritual development.  Here is a perfect opportunity to develop it.  The time when prejudice was useful to protect a sect is past.  To continue to grow spiritually we each need to give up prejudice and acknowledge the authentic spiritual teachings, and rights, of all who acknowledge the One God.

Material insecurity can be an indicator of spiritual insecurity.  For some folks, no matter how rich they are it is never enough.  They remain riddled with insecurity.  This is because they are starving spiritually but they don’t recognize that their feeling of impending doom is caused by spiritual malnutrition.  For those who practice a religion that came from Abraham’s life and teachings, no matter where in the world their religion is practiced, they should look within to identify how they can grow spiritually by showing love to one another and love, obedience and humble submission to God.  While this tension and growth can occur anywhere that Muslims, Christians and Jews live together, it can also occur in Israel and aid peace and prosperity there.

A Palestinian state in Israel would pressure the three faiths to grow spiritually and then to take what they learn to the rest of the world, thereby finally fulfilling the mission God had in mind when He made a covenant with Abraham, Ishmael and their slaves so many years ago.  The purpose for taking land from idol worshippers and giving it to those who worship the Living, Almighty God was to give them a place they could develop into a magnet to draw all on earth to hear God’s good news message of love, forgiveness and the way to restore the trust each of us has broken with our Creator and return to being one in purpose with God.

References are from The New Jerusalem Bible, Doubleday&Co. 1987  Books by Nancy Dobson:  The Torah Conscious Christian, Biblical Law by subject, paraphrased, with commentary; The Torah Conscious Christian’s GUIDE TO HOLY DAYS; The Gospel’s Message Within The Message; and Firming Up Your Flabby Spirit.  All are in print from Amazon, and all except the Holy Days book are e-books on Kindle.  SOUL Question, a fiction book, is also available from Amazon and Kindle.  BLOG:  nomagicwandchristianity@wordpress.com has some essays from the e-book If You Ask Me….

Response to U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning same gender marriage — Respect, But Not Accept

Response to U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning same gender marriage — Respect, But Not Accept

By Nancy Dobson, PO Box 71132, Bethesda, Md 20813

Yes, we should respect all people.  But we should not accept all types of behavior.  It is not an act of love to encourage anyone to behave in a way that damages their own soul and that encourages the young or vulnerable to experiment with behavior that will damage their souls.  All forms of selfish sexual behavior create imbalances in individuals and in society.  So it is appropriate to set civil laws to limit sexual behavior.  Civil laws in America have traditionally been based on the laws God has given us.

God has given us laws and told us to follow them.  To act against God’s laws for sexual self-discipline destabilizes society.  God said sexual immorality causes the country to vomit out its inhabitants.  (LV 18)  Those who refuse to follow the rules, God says, should be separated from society.  (NU 15:30-31)

Sometimes a blind person has someone with them holding their elbow to lead them.  They have to trust that person and give up some of their willfulness to allow themselves to be led.  We should all recognize that we are spiritually blind, but God is as close as our elbow and always desirous of leading us the right way.  We have to trust God and give up some of our willfulness to allow ourselves to be led safely through this life so we arrive at God’s wondrous place on the other side of this life.

Christ has proved we are accountable after death for our every word and act on this side of life.  Jesus proved that life continues after material death.  He appeared — then disappeared — to the two in Emmaus.  He appeared — then disappeared twice — to his disciples in a closed door room, and ate fish and honey to prove he wasn’t a ghost.  (Luke 24:31-43; John 20:19-29)  He ascended in front of a group of his followers.  (Acts 1:1-11; 1 Corinthians 9:1-8)  Proving that life continues after physical death, and teaching that where we will be in that next life depends on what we say and do in this life, was the world rocking message that sealed an important Hebrew teaching and began the Christian era.

Most Americans live by those principles.  Law makers have caved in to the manipulations of a popular media that is anti-God, anti-Christ and anti-American.  The highest court is supposed to be a holy place where God’s rules are enforced.  When the court rules against God’s Law it is because what is abominable has been set up in this holy place.

The justices to the U.S. Supreme Court are hand-picked by the President and recommended by business leaders who control mass media and can threaten damaging media coverage.  There are three overt Jewish justices and six “Christian” justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.  This is out of balance to the percentage of those who admit to being Jewish in our country.  All of the Jewish justices voted in favor of same gender marriage. In order to have justices who represent what citizens deem most  important, they should be elected by citizens (not using computer voting) for a set amount of time (though re-electable) and impeachable by referendum vote.  To make this possible in the United States would merely require a Constitutional Amendment ratified by the states.  Because of many injustices and cultural shifts away from morality perpetrated by the U.S. Supreme Court, citizens should demand this change.

When a government forces immorality on its people it loses the respect and willing support of its citizens, without which it cannot function optimally.  Those who want America to be successful work to identify and correct the moral errors of its government.

Why just lament what an immoral court has tried to force on the nation?  We have the power to change the Constitution and allow citizens to elect Supreme Court justices.  All it takes is an amendment to the Constitution ratified by the states and we can save America from countless judgments biased in favor of international businesses, assaults on nature and contempt for God’s Law.

 

CONSIDERING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACTS

CONSIDERING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACTS

By Nancy Dobson, P.O. Box 71132, Bethesda, Maryland 20813

The essence of the debate over whether or not a business owner is free to discriminate against LGBT persons distills around our desire as a society to either honor God’s laws and strive for self-discipline or reject God’s rules and encourage unnatural sexual behavior.  Someone who aids a criminal can be charged with being an accomplice and sent to prison.  Similarly, God gave a law that if you do not discriminate against law breakers He will treat you as He will treat them.  So when someone aids someone who openly breaks God’s Law, that person is considered to be an accomplice to the law breaking.  Breaking the Biblical laws shows contempt for God.  (NU 15:30-31)   The government should not be in the business of trying to force citizens to aid those who participate in unnatural sexual behavior and who break God’s laws.

Though there is a movement in some church denominations to teach against living by God’s Law, Jesus lived by it and taught it.  When a young man came to him and asked point blank, “What must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus’ response was, “Do you keep the Law?”  At another time Jesus said he knows God’s commandments mean eternal life.  (MT 19:17; JN 12:49-50)

“Laws define and limit the material and spiritual realms.  Like other animals in the material realm, we are bound by some fixed laws that govern our physical growth and development and the procreation of our species.  But there is an invisible something in us that can perceive and define the invisible laws of nature.  We use these laws to create safety and convenience for ourselves.

“The invisible something in us that perceives the laws of nature is like the Invisible Power that creates the laws, which Jesus told us is a Spirit.  Humans are both material and spiritual.

“An attribute of our spiritual nature is that we have free will.  As free will entities we are required to seek and use the laws that govern our interactions with one another and with God in order to have good emotional and spiritual safety and health.

“Like physics laws are cause and effect, the laws God created to govern free will beings also are cause and effect.  When we break them we draw the inevitable negative effects onto ourselves and our communities.  With our free will we have chosen our will over God’s will, breaking spiritual laws, and thus have separated ourselves from God.”  (from Firming Up Your Flabby Spirit, by Nancy Dobson)

When Jesus said that those who teach others to break even a small law will be considered least in the kingdom of heaven, it was not in the past tense but for all time in the future.  The Law is like an exercise weight that we use to build spiritual strengths.  Following God’s rules demonstrates our respect for God and helps us open our spiritual senses to His presence and personal daily guidance to us. Though some denominations teach that heaven is a free gift no matter what sins you commit, Jesus taught accountability.

God said He would test us to see if we really love Him and that the test would be a wonder worker who would teach against His Law.  (DT 13:1-4)  Keeping the Law is a signal to own soul as well as to God that we desire to be obedient to God.  This is a necessary first step in order to perceive, interpret and learn how to submit to God’s daily guidance – the essence of Jesus’ message to us.  Jesus said many will praise him and say they did great things in his name, but he will send them away and call them evil because they didn’t do the will of God.  (MT 7:21-23)  We can only discern God’s will, His personal guidance to us, if we have prepared ourselves spiritually by obedience to God’s rules as Jesus taught them.

LGBTs like to compare themselves with black Americans and claim that, like them, they have a “compelling interest” that is being discriminated against.  But there is nothing immoral about skin color.  If the courts rule that same gender sexual unions are normal and therefore moral, that is the point where those who seek and respect God understand that the government and the courts no longer represent the people.

Concerning scientific evidence for a homosexual gene — there just isn’t any.  No scientific test to prove genetic predisposition to homosexuality has ever proved accurate when repeated by unbiased scientists.  Genome studies searching for a “gay gene” didn’t find one.  The scientists concluded that, “The use of scientific inquiry is inadequate at identifying homosexual people.”  Homosexuality is a choice — even if the causative factors are not consciously remembered.  As such there is the possibility of changing the choice, and about 25% of homosexuals do eventually change to heterosexuality.  (This would not take place if the condition was genetic.)  That the popular media does not adequately report these unbiased studies reveals the prejudice and social engineering agenda of those who own the media.  Constantly drumming this bias into society by way of newspapers, magazines, radio and television does change the views of some.  Polls that show changed public attitudes reflect this – though their conclusions may also be the result of cleverly worded questions and demographically tailored areas that are polled by those who have a bias.

There are some who say that criminal activity is genetically based and point to interpretations of studies that seem to support that conclusion.  Should we therefore have no laws against murder and theft because we might hurt the feelings of those genetically predisposed to criminal activity?  Should we not rather protect society from those who act out that socially disruptive behavior?

If you go to a foreign country you need to learn the laws of that country.  Otherwise you could be — at a minimum — kicked out of the country if you break their laws.  The structure of the legal system of the United States is based on the Bible.  (Several books have been written about this.)  Other countries have their own legal systems based on their own scriptures.  We have a right to ours.  Over 87% of Americans are Christian.  We should not let loud and aggressive atheists and Christ-deniers destroy our culture.

In His kingdom God rules.  If we want to live in His kingdom with God in the spiritual realm we need to prepare ourselves by learning how to follow the rules of the King while we are on earth.  Then, when we die and are evaluated, or judged, we are spiritually ready to live there.  This is what, “May Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” – what Jesus told us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer – says.  We bring God’s kingdom on earth as we follow the rules of the King while we are on earth.

It seems a small thing that a business owner merely refuses to serve someone who is immoral. They may refuse service to those who don’t wear shirts and shoes, to those who use profanity, and to those who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as well as for other reasons.  Many businesses close on Sunday and thereby deny service to those who don’t keep the Sabbath on that day.  To deny business service to those who advertise that they are LGB or T gives the message that the business owner has values they are willing to give up some business to defend.  Does the person seeking service respect the business owner?  If they respect them, then they should support the business owner’s right to live by his or her own values.

Refusing service can be a good silent witness to law breakers that may cause them to reflect and get back on track.  Personally, I would not want to do business with someone who doesn’t want my business.  A reluctant baker might use poor quality ingredients.  A doctor knows many ways to undermine your health.  I have been prejudiced against for being female, for being a Christian, for being opposed to wars-for-profit and for being opposed to planned obsolescence.  I would much prefer if those who do not want to do business honestly with me post a sign that says, ““We don’t do business with females, Christians, peace makers or environmentalists.”  Then I can take my business elsewhere and avoid the stress of receiving poor quality products and services.  Honesty is so much simpler and healthier all around.

One reason there is a greater incidence of sexual identity confusion in developed countries today is because of the practice of some parents reassigning their baby’s sex at birth.  Because of the excess hormone estrogen that lodges in a woman’s body when she uses birth control chemicals, she may give birth to a male child with deformed genitalia.  Rather than leave him male, the parents may opt for surgery to make him appear female.  However they cannot change the baby’s chromosomes.  Gender is determined by chromosomes, and males think and feel differently than females. So, when the child grows up it has gender confusion — thinking and feeling male but being in a female body.  In coming years it may be possible for these children to reverse back to their chromosomal gender.

Studies have been done and the government knows that birth control chemicals cause this effect, but apparently they consider it a form of population control because they let it go on without warning women of the side effects.  In addition, men like the convenience that birth control chemicals allow, so they are reluctant to give up that advantage.  If men took more responsibility for birth control instead of putting the whole burden on women, it would be easier for couples to avoid having deformed male babies.

If one looks at this from a reincarnation point of view, those being born in this condition at this time may be those who in centuries past had their sons castrated so the sons would be hired by the rich and send money back to their parents.  This is the eternal validity of the Golden Rule — as you treat others you WILL BE treated in this life or another.  (Reincarnation was taught by the early Christian Church, prior to the 4th century.)

Another reason for people choosing homosexuality is that older siblings (or others) consistently frightened them as infants.  Those children grow up not understanding why they are attracted to same gender others, or to no others, because they don’t consciously remember what was done to them when they were infants that caused them to develop fear and insecurity in their relationships rather than developing love and trust.

In any event, these causative factors do not change the moral issue involved here.  God’s law is clear and firm against homosexuality.  Everyone on earth has a cross of some sort to bear.  One of the reasons we come to the material realm is to learn how to seek God while we are pressured with fear, sadness, temptations, confusions and other forces.  We have all chosen our will over God’s will, and we are all here to learn how to reverse that initial error and re-learn how to choose God’s will first in our lives.  Those who have been pressured into sexual confusion should seek God’s guidance for how to deal with that in the most spiritually constructive way and not succumb to law breaking.  They should strive to work to endure their particular challenge as others work to endure their own unique challenges.  Life’s challenges are meant to prune us to bear more spiritual fruit, but some reject them and do further damage to their spirit instead.

We can honestly disagree with one another and debate our views, but in a life threatening emergency we should help one another indiscriminately.  God says He holds us accountable for our own lives and for the lives of our neighbors.

The “judge not that ye be not judged” rule concerns gossip, rumors and misunderstandings.  Jesus also said to “judge righteously.”  So those who blatantly break and encourage others to break God’s Law should be identified and responded to appropriately.  The Golden Rule says to love all others as you love yourself and, again, to not treat others in ways you don’t want them to treat you.  If I am in blatant violation of God’s Law and, further, damaging my spirit by trying to force law breaking on society I would appreciate it if someone would give me a reminder of my error and in that way encourage me to reflect and change.

Jesus said to talk with those with whom you have a dispute, then talk with them with counselors, then take it to the community and, if there is no resolution, to shun them.  No scorning and no bullying, just don’t socialize with them.  No one should scorn LGBTs, but it is appropriate for society by its laws to remind them that their choice is against the will of the Creator of the universe and, by those who respect God’s presence and will, against what society will endorse.

Some who favor aiding these sexual deviants point out that other people do not keep all of the Biblical Law.  People break the Sabbath, eat pork, commit adultery, steal and show disrespect for God in many other ways.  But when we are evaluated at the end of our lives God will not ask, “What did your neighbors do?” but only, “What did you do?”  Each of us is accountable for our own decisions, words and behavior.  Jesus pointed out that God knows what is in your heart, and promised that we will be judged by our words and by our behavior.  (MT 12:36-37, 16:27)  The government shouldn’t require anyone to be an accomplice with someone who behaves and encourages others to behave in an immoral way.

The purpose of social discrimination is to encourage those who show contempt for God by breaking His Law to see that they are making an error that will cost them dearly on the spiritual side of life – and to give them strong encouragement to change course and choose a lifestyle that will be more beneficial to them for eternity.  Making their behavior “legal” by the civil law is an act of cruelty, not love.  It encourages those who break moral laws to continue their immoral activity and influences others to join their lifestyle.  It is cruelty to encourage someone to break God’s laws.  Some people do that just for their own entertainment — they like to advise others to do unwise things and then watch them get hurt.  It is tougher for those who care about their fellow citizens to speak out in favor of self-discipline and law keeping in the face of those who are belligerent about forcing immorality on society.

God loves each soul faithfully.  All that is needed to return to communication with our Creator is to confess that we have made errors and take actions to make restitution and change our habits.  When we become one in purpose with God, showing respect for God by following the rules God has given us, we are ready to submit to God’s daily guidance and fulfill Jesus’ prayer that, “God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

STILL WAITING

STILL WAITING

By Nancy Dobson, P.O .Box 71132, Bethesda, Md 20813

The sweet lie whispered in the Garden of Eden – that we could choose our will over God’s will and not be punished for it – is the same lie that is being drummed into society today.

In the hand washing debate, Jesus complained to the Pharisees and lawyers that they worship God in vain who teach as Law rules made up by men.  (Matthew 15:3-9)  First the rabbis added to God’s rules.  Then they asked God to validate rules they had made up themselves.  It was the same error that was made by “Adam and Eve,” and the same error that we continue to make today.  We are still insisting on our way over God’s way and piously asking God to validate our choices.

For example, we reject God’s laws for the natural order and create genetically modified plants, then solemnly pray for God to supply our daily bread.  We reject God’s laws for sexual behavior and call what is abnormal acceptable, then pray to God for marriage and family stability.  We reject God’s laws for finance (the laws against usury (capitalism)) and create social disparities and wars, then pray for God’s support for our economy and peace.  We reject God’s dietary laws, eat pork, shellfish, animal fats and other forbidden foods, then pray to God to save us from the cancer, heart disease and viruses those foods can cause.  We beg God for forgiveness and mercy again and again, as if begging is sufficient to make it happen.  But if we do not keep the lifestyle Jesus taught that enables us to discern and choose God’s will first in our lives we cannot reverse our inveterate sin of self-before-God of which we must be forgiven.  (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 24:46-53)

As if our own weaknesses are not enough, there are some who tempt us to judge God.  They blame God for the pain and suffering humans cause one another, tempting us to judge and turn away from our Creator.  They deny Christ (publicly or privately) and belittle him in the media, then emphasize false “facts” by spurious experts.  They misquote the gospels and misinterpret and teach against Jesus’ tough teachings of accountability.  They force immorality on society with strategic court cases and biased judges.  Jealous of a God-centered people, they create their own preferred reality and use false polls and a vast media controlled by a few to inform people that reality has already changed.  (Jeremiah 8:8-9)  The snake has become a dragon, and it is attacking our culture.

Jesus warned us to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They are those who pretend to be Christian the better to change Christianity from within by giving false advice, as well as those who pretend to oppose immoral court decisions so they can learn who else is opposed and target them for interference.  Those who believe the wolves who tell them that they don’t have to live by God’s Law fall captive to the Garden of Eden lie.   We are the snake.  It’s the lie we tell ourselves – that we can choose our will over God’s will and not be punished for it – that keeps us turned away and separated from God.  This is the same lie we have been telling ourselves since the beginning of human life on earth.

The “grace alone” mantra – “simultaneously sinful and justified is the only Biblical remedy” – feeds our desire to be assured that we can go to heaven without having to change our lifestyle, reduce our ego and humbly submit to God’s will.  These are false teachers who corrupt Christians by leading them to believe that they can do whatever they want and still live eternally in God’s kingdom.  “You don’t have to try to be good,” they preach, “you are saved by Jesus’ blood” – and the little snake inside each of us is tempted.

To say that we are saved by Jesus’ blood can be misleading.  Jesus didn’t die so we could go to heaven while continuing to sin.  As he said, he was facing the cross so the world would see – and remember – that he always did whatever the Father told him to do.  (John 14:30-31)  He gave his blood to impress us with this crucial message:  that we must submit totally to God.  As branches from his vine, he expects us to imitate his complete submission to God.  Submission to God’s will is the essence of Jesus’ message to us in the crucifixion.  It is also the message of his teachings and example.

Since the Jewish leaders had rejected his testimony and had refused to submit to the Son, it was necessary that Jesus demonstrate the truth and power of his message by being killed physically and then returning to his followers by Resurrection.  He then told them to go into all the world and teach all the commands he had given, and to teach repentance and remission of sins.  (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-53)  He never said that his death alone would eliminate our sins.  He told us and showed us how to reduce our ego and give our willfulness back to God.  This is the only way to repair the trust we continually break with God and to become one in purpose with God and prepare to be reborn into eternal life in God’s kingdom.  Humanitarian deeds aren’t enough.  Martyrdom isn’t enough.  Poverty and abstinence aren’t enough.  Our original and continuing sin is selfish willfulness.  The only way to repent of that sin is to learn how to perceive and then choose God’s will first in our daily lives.  Because of God’s grace, this then remits all of our other sins, because all other sins are committed as a result of ignoring and rebelling against God’s guidance.

What’s wrong with religion today is that it isn’t practiced.  Those who don’t apply the principles of the Bible to their lives are easily deceived.  When we apply Biblical principles we experience God’s presence and guidance.  Jesus said that God’s wrath stays on those who do not submit to the son – i.e., who do not do what Jesus taught.  (John 3:36)  We must do what Jesus taught, he explained, in order to build our spiritual house on rock.  When we live according to Jesus’ teachings we build on the firm foundation of experiencing God’s presence, power and intimate concern.  Those who praise Jesus but don’t live according to Jesus’ teachings build their spiritual house on sand.  When trouble comes, they cave right in.  (Luke 6:46-49)

There are some simple ways by which anyone can experience God’s intimate, powerful presence.  One is to live by the Ten Commandments the way Jesus taught.  If we will live by the Ten Commandments according to their intentions we will experience God’s presence and guidance and be able to begin to reverse our self-before-God habits.

The first rule is to worship the One God completely, to have nothing in our lives that is more important than God.  Besides telling us that God is One and that we must worship God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, Jesus told us to begin our prayers by saying, “Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.”  In the ancient world, to call upon the name of one in the spiritual realm was to ask for their presence.  Like prophets before him who taught that God is present everywhere (Isaiah 6:1-3; Jeremiah 23:23-24, 2:22; Psalm 139:1-12; Proverbs 15:3) Jesus was telling us to acknowledge and revere God’s constant presence.  When we say, “Hallowed be Thy name,” we should be thinking, “I respect and reverence Thy constant Presence with me.”  To live being constantly aware of God’s presence is a way to worship God.  God commands us to seek communication with Him and to heed His specific guidance to us.  (Deuteronomy 27:9-10, 13:1-5, 26:16-19; Exodus 33:7, 19:3-6; Genesis 26:4-5; Isaiah 30:1, 65:12; Jeremiah 3:25, 7:22-28, 9:12-15)  When we acknowledge God’s presence we can talk with Him about all our joys and concerns and then listen for His guidance concerning each day’s decisions.

It is difficult even today for some to think of God — the Power that designed, created the laws and materials for and brought into being the spiritual realm and material universe and all that is in them — as a Living Spirit that is everywhere.  Some try to cut Him down to human size.  But we should put aside the blasphemy that was institutionalized in the fourth century by Constantine when, for political reasons, he created the concept that Jesus is God.  Historians agree that until the time of Constantine Christianity was “emphatically monotheistic.”  Jesus spoke of himself as separate from God over 30 times in the gospels, referred to himself as the Messiah and never spoke of himself as a deity.  The importance of this is that we can then accept Jesus’ teachings that we are each accountable before God and that, since Jesus is our human role model, we are capable of doing what God asks us to do.  Jesus promised (and, by his baptism and repentance in the Jordan and his subsequent Resurrection after the crucifixion, showed) that repentance – i.e., confession and a changed life (a life changed to be submissive to God) — is what is needed for our sins to be remitted and to prepare us to return to eternal life in God’s kingdom.

Keeping the Sabbath the way God requests is a way to worship God.  At this time we should set aside our material concerns and acknowledge and give our attention to God.  God said that keeping the Sabbath as a complete day of rest is a signal between us and God that we are ready to be obedient to God’s rules.  (Exodus 31:12-13, 17)  The Sabbath should be kept from sundown to a little past the next sundown.  We should prepare food in advance.  We shouldn’t do any chores (or ask others to work, except in an emergency) or have distractions such as TV or Internet.  We may worship God by attending a religious service, reading the Bible, singing and meditating, but also by RESTING – opening ourselves up to receive God’s communications.  This is a signal to our own soul as well as to God that we seek to reverse our self-before-God attitude and return to being God’s obedient children.  If you are already keeping the rest of the Ten Commandments, try keeping the Sabbath the way God requests as an experiment for just four weeks; you will be surprised at the results.  Keep a journal and re-read it at the end.  You could also keep the Biblical law against eating pork during this time and evaluate how that affects your perceptions of God’s presence and guidance.  To do this half way is still choosing your will over God’s will.  It takes courage to dare to be engaged with the spiritual realm and experience God’s living presence.  If you can muster the courage, then keep the Sabbath God’s way.

We are God’s servants while we are on earth.  In the Ten Commandments we are told to work for six days.  We aren’t here to waste our lives in self-indulgence.  If you do not know what service God wants of you, then just ask Him in prayer and wait for the response.  Being God’s willing servant on earth is another way to worship God.

Honoring parents means more than giving financial support, as Jesus pointed out.  It also means living life as a credit to our parents, discussing our plans with them, seeking their advice and including them in special events.

Yet another aspect of worshipping God means having nothing in our lives that is first in importance before God.  This means that our money should not be more important than God.  Among the rules concerning money is the prohibition of charging or receiving interest (usury).  Murder and theft are side effects of the capitalist (usury) economic system.  The money to pay the interest on stocks, bonds and savings accounts comes from those too poor to own stocks or bonds or to have savings accounts.  In order to pay stock holder dividends companies have to charge extra money for their products.  This extra money is paid by the poor.  Bonds are just a way to tax the poor to subsidize the rich.  The money governments raise to pay the principle and interest on bonds comes from taxes.  The projects funded by bonds could be funded by taxes directly.  Because of the rules of the game – the laws of the country — the rich can hide money in various ways to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.  What they don’t pay is paid by the middle class and the poor.  This is theft.  In addition, tragically, there is ample evidence that shows that capitalism requires wars in order to infuse vast sums of money into the system, which the rich have depleted.

Those churches that invest in the stock market show that they prefer money over God.  They have become businesses and social clubs instead of soul savers.  They justify usurious investments by claiming that some of the profit is used for humanitarian purposes.  But a spiritual leader cannot break God’s Law and still perceive God’s guidance sufficiently to provide spiritual food and social guidance to a congregation.  (Ezekiel 34:1-16)  To keep the laws against murder and theft — and to keep religion as a power that provides spiritual food to individuals and moral structure to society — we have to reject capitalism personally and institutionally and choose a sustainable economic system.

We must be honest with ourselves in order to perceive and accept God’s specific daily guidance to us.  If we are dishonest with ourselves we cannot accurately discern God’s guidance.   And we must never give false testimony about someone else.  If we are unfair concerning someone else, we are unfair to God, Who loves us all.  This type of dishonesty, obviously, creates a barrier to perceiving God’s guidance.

The more accurate translation of the word rendered as “covet” is, “do not set your heart on,” which means we must not scheme to take what doesn’t belong to us.  If you see something someone has that you like, work to acquire a similar thing.  Don’t “set your heart on” and scheme to take what isn’t yours.  This also speaks to the issue of adultery.  Each person should put a fence around their imagination and should not desire someone who is committed to someone else.

When we break the laws God created to govern free will entities we are testing God – we are testing His patience.  It’s like a child who deliberately throws a glass of milk to the floor to see if his parents will punish him.  But when we keep the laws we are testing ourselves.  Like lifting weights helps us develop physical strength, the tension of law keeping helps us develop spiritual strengths.  When we live by the Ten Commandments we are choosing God’s will over our own willfulness – the first step of obedience necessary to learning how to discern and choose God’s daily guidance, which Jesus came to teach us.  When we add more of the Bible’s laws to our lifestyle we open our spiritual senses even more and deeply experience the presence, power and intimate communication of the Creator of the universe.

If instead we choose to live by the advice of the false prophets, then we lead ourselves step by step into punishments – such as weakened immune systems, cancer, earthquakes, a collapsing ecological system, social degradation, wars and more.

It pains us to hear the truth when we are invested in a lie.  To acknowledge the truth makes us feel guilt and shame.  This is painful — so we try to say the lie is true.  We may repeat it often, as if that would make it true.  We may refuse to hear the truth, as if that would exonerate us.  But if we can face the pain of honesty, we can begin the process of extricating ourselves from the sticky side effects of our original and continuing lie and relish the peace that comes from deep spiritual growth.

Because God is eternally faithful He has always chosen every soul.  He just waits for us to choose Him back.  We have an open invitation from the Creator of the spiritual and material realms to repent – that is, to acknowledge our errors and return to love, obedience and submission to God – any time we want.  What are we waiting for?  God has offered us eternal life in His wondrous kingdom where there is no pain or sorrow, hunger or thirst – but we are still choosing material lures and threats and refusing to humble ourselves and employ the techniques Jesus gave for how to discern and then submit to God’s daily guidance.  Jesus asked, “What would it profit you to win the whole world and lose your soul?”  (Matthew 16:24-27)  We should keep that question before us.  God is still waiting.

God is like the father of the Prodigal Son.  He loves every soul and is delighted to accept us back as soon as we apologize and change from being arrogant rebels to being loving and submissive children.  Jesus tells us and shows us how to repent for the remission of our sins – that is, how to develop the spiritual sensitivity to perceive and choose God’s will first in our lives which makes it possible for us — no matter what our sins — to be, by the grace of God, reborn into eternal life in God’s kingdom.  It is each person’s decision whether to learn and live by Jesus’ teachings and example.

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Books by Nancy Dobson:  The Torah Conscious Christian, Biblical Law by subject, paraphrased, with commentary; The Torah Conscious Christian’s GUIDE TO HOLY DAYS; The Gospel’s Message Within The Message; and Firming Up Your Flabby Spirit.  All are in print from Amazon, and all except the Holy Days book are e-books on Kindle.  SOUL Question, a fiction book, is also available from Amazon and Kindle.

BLOG:  nomagicwandchristianity@wordpress.com has some essays from the e-book If You Ask Me….

US Supreme Court and the definition of marriage

CONSIDERING THE ROLE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT IN DEFINING MARRIAGE

by Nancy Dobson, PO Box 71132, Bethesda, Maryland 20813

In their June 2013 decision against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) five U.S. Supreme Court justices thought they were clever by writing a convoluted decision. But the Court did take sides – against God, nature and the majority of those citizens whose states allow a fair vote count and who have voted on this issue. If DOMA was motivated by a “bare desire to harm…and impose inequality,” so are all laws, because all laws discriminate against law breakers, by definition. The justices strained out gnats while swallowing camels whole (Matthew 23:23-24). Cowed by a president who thinks he owes his re-election to the financial support of homosexuals, and by media that is in open rebellion against the entrenched Judeo-Christian culture of America, the justices caved in rather than uphold a simple and logical law passed by Congress. They had an opportunity and a responsibility to lead the country away from the extreme prejudice against one gender or the other that drives homosexuals. Instead, they misled the children of the nation to believe that those in the highest court in the land are unable to distinguish between moral and immoral behavior. Jesus said any who mislead or cause the downfall of a child who believes in him would be better off thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck (Matthew 18:5-10). Their error in judgment is likely to follow these unjust judges through several incarnations. What a tragedy for them.

Also in the Bible God, warns that those who know God’s Law and break it anyway show contempt for God and should be removed from the community (Numbers 15:30-31; Leviticus 22:31-33). The five errant justices — three Jews and two Christians – who have no excuse for not knowing God’s Law, while making a deliberate attempt to sabotage a culture built on Bible principles, have in the process drawn this additional punishment onto themselves. They may enjoy the balance of this life, but they should fear God and the judgment sure to come.

While the Torah Law says to respect the highest court’s decisions it also says the court must consist of priests. Priests would not show disrespect for God’s Law but would lead the nation in the way of righteousness (Deuteronomy 21:5, 16:19-20, 17:8-13; Leviticus 19:15; Exodus 23:1-3, 7-8). God’s Law, of course, takes precedence over the rules of unjust judges.

What they call homophobia is not a fear of homosexuality as much as it is respect for God’s Law, God’s presence and nature’s patterns. Nature’s force is limited by laws to create a balance that ultimately protects life. Humans have free will and can breach the laws of nature, but this creates imbalance that ultimately threatens life. Without scorn but in all honesty it is right to acknowledge what is unnatural and counter to the laws God created — for nature and for humans — and encourage those in all activities who show contempt for these laws to adjust and choose God’s patterns.

When someone tries to force contempt for God’s Law on others – whether it is for adultery, homosexuality, murder or something else – they are in error. If they try to force others to legitimize their error then those others have a responsibility to choose God over the errant party. Jesus tells us to shun the unrepentant. (Matthew 18:15-17) God promises to treat those who do not discriminate against Law breakers as He will treat the Law breakers. (Deuteronomy 13:13-19; Numbers 33:50-56) Even in civil law someone who knows about a crime and doesn’t report it may be considered an accomplice and treated as a lawbreaker himself.

The justices for the U.S. Supreme Court are appointed by the President, who chooses them from those promoted by his biggest campaign financers. They therefore reflect the views of that narrow group, not the views of the vast majority of the population. In order for the justices to be elected by citizens would merely require a constitutional amendment ratified by the states. Citizens could set a term limit, with the possibility of re-election. We could also make it possible to impeach a justice who rules against morality and nature.

In order to elect political representatives who represent the will of the majority in a democracy we need an honest vote count. Computers have proved unreliable in securing a verifiable vote count. Voters could hold fund raisers and use the money to print ballots, then obtain voter registration lists from their counties, mail and hand deliver the ballots and ask voters in each precinct to send the write-in ballots to a place where they are verified against the registration lists and counted by voter volunteers. Voluntary donations also could be invited. This would check the computer vote count in elections and take back democracy for America.

Here is one way to work with the ballots. Use 81/2 by 61/2 inch sheets, a separate sheet for each office and issue plus a cover sheet. All pages would have the voter’s name and voter registration number on them and the voter would sign and date each page after marking their vote. Either use a different color box frame for each page or a different size and placement of box on the page so that once separated and stacked the pages can be fanned to catch any that are in the wrong stack. After the ballots are mailed or delivered to each precinct, the intake person would remove the cover sheet and check off the name on the voter registration list. The next person would separate the pages and give volunteer counters at separate tables the sheet for the office or issue they are counting. The counters would put the pages in stacks according to who and what was voted for. The votes could be stapled in the top center in groups of 100 to make them easier to count throughout the day, and a total signed off on by two checkers at the end of each day they are counted, before they are locked up. Campaign committee members could easily check the stacks by fanning them to verify that all votes in each stack are for the candidate or issue voted for in that stack.

In the final analysis each person is accountable for their own sins. (Deuteronomy 24:16). And not all people follow the Pied Piper of Modernity, though some say law keepers are in the minority.   It is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to (eternal) life (in God’s kingdom) and only those who do God’s will find it (Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23). So even if it were true that only a minority are willing to show love and obedience to God, one should not be discouraged. It is because they have been misled by their teachers and leaders that some have not developed the wisdom and resolve to hold themselves accountable, follow Jesus’ example and teachings and choose God’s will over the dramatized popular will (Matthew 16:24-26; John 15:4-8). But today anyone can read the Bible and learn the lessons in the text. Whether your teacher is true or false the responsibility, and the judgment, are ultimately your own.

WHY RELIGION?

WHY RELIGION?

By Nancy Dobson, P.O .Box 71132, Bethesda, Md 20813

“Morals are just beliefs about right and wrong behavior,” I heard a woman tell a crowd recently. Then she said, “Research rejects religious investment.” That statement would have been laughable had the speaker not been serious. Those who are ignorant of God’s words and ways believe they are smarter than the Creator of the universe. Placed in teaching positions they mislead the vulnerable.

The secular approach to morals is like a desert mirage – something desirable from afar that disappears when you get close enough to put it to use. What unbiased research actually shows is that at the pressure points of life secular ethics break down. When someone feels the need, or just the desire, for adultery, theft, slander or murder and he believes he can get away with it, secular ethics gives him no reason to resist the temptation. Since right and wrong have been defined by humans, they can be redefined to suit the moment. After all, he reasons, to be selfish is human, and he is human, so why not be selfish if it suits his purpose.

Those who sincerely seek God understand the reasons for resisting the wide range of temptations and fears that press on us all in the complex milieu of human interactions during the course of life. One of these reasons is the knowledge that the spiritual realm is real, that the Living Spirit that creates and sustains the universe is present and aware of all that is done, even what is done in secret, and that this Living, All-Knowing Spirit cares about and judges human words and actions.

Humans throughout millennia have acknowledged the existence of the spiritual realm. They have had near death experiences, prophetic visions and dreams, communications with departed loved ones, and coincidences and answers to prayers. They also have listened to, written down and passed on the explanations of spirituality given by those who have dedicated their lives to spiritual seeking. Jesus, for example, explained that God is spirit and that we must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24) The Creator of the universe is a spiritual power and humans are both spiritual entities and material beings. The secular explanation of ethics belittles the human spirit as well as the presence and power of God.

The authors of Psalms and Proverbs wrote that God’s eyes are everywhere. God told Isaiah He knew where he was no matter where he might be. He told the prophet Samuel that He sees each person’s heart – meaning their intentions and convictions. Jesus told us to pray in secret and God will answer, and to give charity anonymously and God will reward us. From those who dedicated their lives to seeking God we have learned that God is omniscient, the Great Living Spirit that sees and knows all things. (Psalm 139:1-12; Proverbs 15:3; Isaiah 37:28; Jeremiah 2:22, 16:17, 17:10; 1 Samuel 16:17; Matthew 10:28-31, 6:1-6, 16-18)

We also learn from them that God cares about our behavior and judges us according to our words and actions. Moses taught that those who break God’s rules show contempt for God and should be expelled from the community. (Numbers 15:30-31) God’s rules are cause and effect. When we break them we draw their negative repercussions onto ourselves. (Leviticus 26:14-39; Deuteronomy 28:15-68, 8:19-20) Ezekiel pointed out that God treats us as our conduct deserves. (Ezekiel 7:8, 27, 18:19-32) Jesus taught accountability. We are judged by our words, he said, and by our actions, and those who sin are punished. (Matthew 12:36-37; 16:27-28, 25:31-46, 13:24-50; Luke 11:27-52) Paul insisted that converts live righteously. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:9-11)

God promises to forgive those who sincerely repent. Repentance – admission of error and a changed life – is available to all. Peter and Paul taught repentance,   (Acts 2:21, 37-38, 17:30-31) Jesus said that because the tax collectors and prostitutes repented they were forgiven, while the unrepentant Pharisees were not. (Matthew 21:31-32) When the Prodigal Son repented he was accepted back into his father’s household. (Luke 15:11-24) When we forgive others their failings, God forgives us ours. (Matthew 6:14-15) It is always within our ability to change course, to repent, and to choose to be obedient and submissive to our Creator.

Every religion on earth acknowledges the existence of the spiritual realm and that humans are judged according to a set of standards after their material lives end. What happens to them after this life depends on the morals they live during this life. It is this impending judgment and the fact that nothing they do can be hidden that provides a counter weight to unbridled selfishness.

Those leaders and religious teachers who weaken the eternal Biblical truths of accountability and judgment before God that was taught by Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed, lead their congregations astray and will be held accountable themselves for wrong teaching. (Ezekiel 22:26-31, 34:1-6) God judges the priests and leaders who turn away from His rules and who lead people astray. A greater punishment is in store for them, Jesus said. (Luke 20:45-47) Jesus called them hypocrites and a brood of vipers (liars) whose actions condemn them to hell. (Matthew 23:13-33; John 10:1-21)  Even Paul, who some claim taught against the Law, said, “how can uprightness and law-breaking be partners?” and “For not the hearers of the Law but the doers of the Law shall be justified.”  (2 Corinthians 6:14; Romans 2:13, 7:13)

Throughout millennia it is religion, in one form or another, that has made it possible for civilizations to cohere and advance. No purely atheistic society that has rejected the existence of the spiritual realm has ever achieved the status of nationhood. While the Chinese do not teach about God the way Jews, Christians and Muslims do, Taoism does teach reincarnation. From where would one reincarnate if not the spiritual realm? Living by a certain moral standard prepares one to reincarnate into a good life in the future. Confucius also acknowledged the spiritual realm, since he taught that reverence should be shown to departed loved ones. Why bother to show reverence to those who are dead unless they are alive in the spiritual realm? Such a teaching encourages moral behavior so that one will be respected and remembered after death. The other major world religions either teach reincarnation, and therefore accountability, or that the spirit survives after death and is judged.

But there is another reason why those who sincerely seek God make the effort to live by the rules God has revealed through those messengers who allowed God to speak and work through them. The second reason is to be set free for eternity from the injustices, physical pains and sorrows of material life. Jesus said that whoever hears his words and does not live by them faithfully will be judged by those words at the time of judgment. (John 12:47-48) Again he said, if you make my word your home – in other words, if you live according to Jesus’ teachings – you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. (John 8:31-32) The sincerely religious hunger for that freedom and endure the pressures of life employing the Bible’s principles and rules — living the truths Jesus taught — in order to experience the freedom of returning to God’s kingdom. As St. John said (Revelation 3:10-12) those who keep God’s commandments become a pillar in God’s presence and go out no more.

When we follow God’s rules we experience God’s presence and power in our lives. This increases our faith, our trust, in those who have told us that God loves us and wants us to return to live forever in His kingdom. Those who follow their teachings and learn how to submit to God’s daily guidance do not doubt the existence, intimate presence and wise power of the Living God. They experience God in their daily lives. Therefore they have a much stronger reason than human made rules to choose God’s rules for their lives and to choose to endure, to love, and to forgive one another.

Jesus criticized rules made up by men. (Matthew 15:7-9) Those self-serving rules made up by the ignorant and arrogant who deny their own spirituality and insist on choosing their way over God’s rules and guidance. Our first error as human beings was to choose our will over God’s will. (Genesis 3:1-19) We believed the lie we told ourselves that we wouldn’t die (spiritually) if we rebelled against God and chose our own will over God’s guidance. This is the same lie being told today! Make up your own rules and live the way you want, the false prophets teach. Don’t acknowledge God, or praise God, or show love and respect for God by following God’s rules, they say. Pretend you know more than the Creator of the universe. Live in that fantasy land. When your material life is over you will realize your error, but then it will be too late – what is bound on earth is bound in heaven. (Matthew 18:18)

Jesus said that those who do not open themselves up to understand God’s words make themselves spiritually blind, and when the blind lead the blind both fall into a pit. (Matthew 15:12-14) Fortunate are the humble and contrite in spirit who are open to receiving the word of God that can lead them to eternal life in God’s kingdom. (Matthew 11:25-26, 5:3)

As an intelligent being each person has a choice. You can believe the sweet lie that tells you to live by your own rules, or you can investigate why billions of people seek God. Then you can experiment with God’s principles and rules and honestly evaluate the aftereffects. This is religion; and for many this is the most important purpose of our life on earth.

If you are interested in learning more about Biblical laws and about Jesus’ interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures you might like the books, The Torah Conscious Christian, Biblical Law by subject, paraphrased, with commentary and The Gospel’s Message Within The Message. Both are available from Amazon and as e-books on Kindle. I wish you well on your spiritual journey. ND March 2015