Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

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Get Off The Cloud 0

Posted on December 26, 2018 by Alexander
Hilarious explanation of why we should not use the cloud.

I have been telling friends and businesses, that using the cloud, which is merely someone else’s computer set up as a web server, to not use the cloud since all your documents become their property.

The current climate is revealing the truth of my warnings. Privacy is a lie. These tech owners are immoral people who think nothing of selling your document information. They are untrustworthy and if you value your privacy, you will keep your documents backed up on your own thumb drives or CDs.

Sales of Indulgences 0

Posted on October 26, 2010 by Alexander

If you wish to hear the article instead of read it, click the link above.

The 500th Anniversary of the nailing of the 95 Thesis upon the Wittenberg Chapel door by Martin Luther protesting the sales of indulgences is only 7 years away.  For many years now I have been encouraging Christians to abandon the Fall Festival as the substitute for Halloween in favor of Reformation Day which is a legitimate Christian holiday still celebrated by the Lutherans. For those readers who may be unfamiliar with Church history,  on October 31st, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis protesting the sales of indulgences by the Catholic Church on the Wittenberg Chapel door, thus igniting the Protestant Reformation.   That single act by Luther opened the door for the Bible to be published in the native tongues of  the people instead of the dead Latin tongue used by the Catholic liturgy.  Consequently, millions upon millions of people have since discovered that the “just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17), not by works “lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:9). Read the rest of this entry →

Authority of the People 0

Posted on October 23, 2010 by Alexander

People are in God's stead

To listen to a reading of the article, click the podcast link.

My gym has no air conditioning, so the garage door is frequently left open for the classes. An open door provides entry to a variety of creeping and flying insects, bees are one example. When a bee flies in the children naturally panic. I tell them that fear only causes the bees to become afraid as well and are more likely to sting them. Instead I gently shoo the bee out the door with my hands. That bee has no interest in us. He is only looking for plants. Gentle shooing lets him know that I am not trying to kill it, but only direct it outside again.

I told the kids that they need to understand their authority over creation. Genesis 9:2 tells us that the “fear and dread” of men would be upon all animals. They are terrified of us, and we should not be afraid of them.

One of the families in my gym is going through a lawsuit. When I talked to the mother about it, she was clearly confused regarding lawful laws. So we talked about  why laws exist in the first place. This is  apart from the typical  answers given by organized religion which are theoretical and never connect with practical reality. Read the rest of this entry →

Iceland Revisited 2

Posted on August 28, 2010 by Alexander

Economic Volcano

I had made reference to the economic situation in Iceland in the  3 posts, beginning with “The Elephant in the Room” ,  followed by, “Integrity Amidst Corporate Evil“, then again with “Ethics or Morals“.   I never felt that I have done justice to the reason for mentioning Iceland in all those posts.

So, in this post, I want to share where I got my information so you can read on this further.  The main point, is that the 14 trillion dollar American debt is a fraud forced on the American people that does not belong to the American people and should not be paid.  Some of the debt is legitimate, but most is not.  The people of Iceland refused to pay a similar fraud foisted upon them, as well.

I first came across this story in an article by R.D Bradshaw who has been writing a series called, “The Goldsmiths” for the Gold Seek website.  Mr. Bradshaw has been explaining the actions of the banking cabal throughout this series.  The discussion on Iceland is found in his post # CXXXVII.  After reading so much about the banking/corporate control of nations through the economy that was discouraging, I found this lengthy post to be hopeful. Read the rest of this entry →

You’re a Christian? 1

Posted on August 10, 2009 by Alexander

Christ is not divided by labels

Christ is not divided by labels

Many of the believers who have left the paid clergy system for alternative gatherings in homes or other ways of walking with Christ express a snobbery regarding the epithet, “Christian,” preferring to call themselves, “Christ followers.” There are a series of clever YouTube skits parodying the PC vs Mac commercials on “Christian and Christ Follower” that make this point very well.  The Mac/Christ Follower is the cool guy while the PC/Christian is the uptight business guy.

The people who call themselves “Christ Followers” are trying to distance themselves from the rest of the body and to set themselves apart as the ones who are “really” walking with God.  This elitist attitude found in the emergent church circles and other such group is contrary to the Spirit of Christ, and is as old as the Protestant Reformation.

Cults thrive on elitist thinking.  The denominational divisions over doctrinal differences is no different than the division created by calling one self a Christ follower instead of a Christian. To make that distinction, even in one’s mind is carnal and soulish.  It appeals to pride.

Whether one calls one’s self a “Christian” or a “Christ follower” makes no difference to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  He is working with us all in our dying to self so that Christ may live through us instead.

Isaac Airfreight had a skit on denominational differences that applies today to the Christians who stay in the paid clergy system and those who have called themselves “Christ followers” and gather in homes or elsewhere instead.   The skit is 7 and a half minutes long.  For those who are reading this on Facebook, you have to click on the link that says, “view original post,” since the mp3 is not copied onto Facebook.

Choose Life 1

Posted on April 18, 2009 by Alexander

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon

Previous posts in the series:

Chapter 1/Speak to Me-Breathe

Chapter 2/On the Run

Chapter 3/Time

Chapter 5-7/The Great Gig in the Sky

Chapter 5-6/Money

Chapter 4-9/Us and Them

Chapter 1-10/Any Color You Like

Chapter 10/Brain Damage

The end of the book, “Ecclesiastes,” and the end of the album, “The Dark Side of the Moon,” brings us to the decision.  To choose life or death?  Solomon, throughout this book and Proverbs,  makes the contrast between wisdom and folly.  To choose life is wisdom.  To choose death is folly.  For my illustration I have used actor Ian McKellen who portrayed Gandalf in the movie, “The Lord of the Rings,” because wizards in the world were considered a picture of the wise men.   Wizards are portrayed as old men who have lived long lives, thus having obtained wisdom.   And the answer of  Solomon echos this view.  Choose wisdom and live a long life.

Every choice brings a consequence.  Hinduism calls it “karma kickback”.  Science calls it Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion: “for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.”  The Bible calls it “sowing and reaping.”  At the end of Ecclesiastes, Solomon advises his readers to take this seriously and to make good choices in one’s youth.  To “cast your bread on many waters” means to be generous and try your hand at many good endeavors.   In chapter 11 he gives a variety of word pictures illustrating that each action has a consequence.  If clouds are full, they rain;  trees remain where they fall; and procrastination because of weather brings no harvest.  The Creator is Lord over His creation and makes the final choice of what will prosper or not.  Therefore, apply your self to many good endeavors, for we do not know His choices.

Chapter 12 sums up Solomon’s point.  Good choices have to be made while we are young, for old age and the consequences of bad choices come upon us quickly.  Good choices may bring long life, but even with a good life, the infirmity of old age affects us all. He describes these infirmities with another set of word pictures.  “Sun light darkening” and “clouds cease rain” becomes a picture of death;  “keepers of the house” and “strong men bow down” picture the waning of our physical strength;  “grinders cease and are few” and “windows dim” picture teeth falling out and eyesight diminishing;  “rising at the sound of the bird” and “daughters of music brought low” picture the light sleep with the tendency of early rising along with deafness affecting the ears;  “fear of height” and “terrors in the way” picture the ease of injury in old age;  and finally, “grasshopper burden” and “desire fails” picture the diminished sex drive and inability to maintain erections in men.

Old age brings everyone face to face with death, from which there is no escape.  So Solomon reminds us that we all face God in judgment, therefore we should obtain a fear of the Lord early in life to make our way in life as successful as possible.

But not so with the main character in the “Dark Side of the Moon.”  He had no understanding of God, became overwhelmed with the world, went insane and sought a living death as relief from his suffering through a lobotomy.  The lyrics of Pink Floyd recount all that he knew would be lost to memory.  What Pink Floyd’s character does not understand is that the consequences of his choices remain, even though he loses consciousness of them.  To yield to the world system, choosing to live life in that way, is the path of death.  To believe that death will end the suffering is to deny the judgment of God that we all face and the punishment  of God upon all who have rejected Him and His Way of Life.   As Solomon said, dear reader, remember now the Creator in the days of your youth, and choose life, not death.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 11

1    Cast your bread upon the waters,  For you will find it after many days.

2    Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,  For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.

3    If the clouds are full of rain,  They empty themselves upon the earth;  And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.

4    He who observes the wind will not sow,  And he who regards the clouds will not reap.

5    As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.

6    In the morning sow your seed,  And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good.

Chapter 12

1    Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,  Before the difficult days come,  And the years draw near when you say,  “I have no pleasure in them”:

2    While the sun and the light,  The moon and the stars,  Are not darkened,  And the clouds do not return after the rain;

3    In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,  And the strong men bow down; When the grinders cease because they are few,  And those that look through the windows grow dim;

4    When the doors are shut in the streets,  And the sound of grinding is low; When one rises up at the sound of a bird, And all the daughters of music are brought low;

5    Also they are afraid of height,   And of terrors in the way;   When the almond tree blossoms,  The grasshopper is a burden,  And desire fails.  For man goes to his eternal home,  And the mourners go about the streets.

6    Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed,  Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,  Or the wheel broken at the well.

7    Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,  And the spirit will return to God who gave it.

13  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.

14    For God will bring every work into judgment,  Including every secret thing,  Whether good or evil.

11. Eclipse
(Waters) 2:04

All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel.
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save.
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy,
beg, borrow or steal.
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say.
All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight.
All that is now
All that is gone
All that’s to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

“There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.”

The Dark Side of the Moon is eclipse of light, which is a metaphor for knowledge.  To have a lobotomy may remove all ability to feel the pain of this world, but it does not cut out the human spirit.   Until he dies his spirit is trapped in a bodily prison that no longer participates in the creation.

The creation is not evil. The joy of life and the experiences of the senses is a gift from God to all creatures, mankind and animals.   But sin and selfishness are the driving forces of the world system that causes the pain and suffering in this world.  Life is not hard, sin and death is hard.  The more pleasurable life is, the greater the impact of tragedy when it occurs.  The natural defense of the body is to develop calluses.  The skin thickens to deaden the pain.  This happens in our spirits and conscience, too, as our hearts harden through time.

The answer is not a lobotomy. The answer is the circumcision of the heart by the cross of Jesus Christ.  God wants to help all people, and does in whatever way He can that does not violate our free wills.  But to gain His full aid in life, we must come into the covenant relationship that He offers the world through Jesus Christ.   The word covenant has its root meaning in “cutting away.”  To cut away the frontal lobe of the brain, does nothing to cut away the root cause of sin in our hearts.  The victom in the Pink Floyd drama lives senselessly in his sins and selfishness even after his lobotomy.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news in deed.  Jesus promised the abundant life.  That does not mean that He changes His creation, rather, it means that He will enhance our senses to appreciate all the good in life that is always here already.  Goodness in life is by far greater than the evil of the world.  For God means Good, and He is greater than all His creation.   He has filled His creation with goodness and beauty in every facet.  The new birth enables us to see that beauty and goodness everywhere.  However, anything scrutinized under a microscope will make the miniscule seem extraordinarily large.

And this is one of the failings of the Church of Jesus Christ.  Emphasis has been placed on the evils of the world instead of the good. Jesus told Nicodemus that the world was already condemned – a condemnation that began in the garden of Eden – but He did not come to condemn the world, but to save it.  We are not called to condemn the world, and that is how the lost in the world perceive the Church.   Rather we are called to point the world to true salvation that comes through Jesus Christ.    Not prosperity.  Not deliverance from struggle.   Not to self righteousness.   But to the eye opening wonder of knowing the eternal being who created everything, and the knowledge of His wonderful ways.

The Dark Side of the Moon is only a shadow.  The sunlight always remains.  Simply move out of the shadow into the sunlight and see again.

As a final word on this series, I want to commend those incredible musicians who crafted this classic work.  The Church has an “Us and Them” mentality that makes God appear to be separated from all people outside Jesus Christ.  This diminishes the glorious goodness of our Father.  He is involved in the lives of every person in creation.  He is not in covenant with every person,  which is why the Great Commission was given, but He is in love with every person, and helps them within the limitations that sin creates.   I believe that God inspired this work of Pink Floyd.   I believe that He wants the message of disaster that life without Christ creates.    This band saw the world system clearly and understood the destructiveness of the world system.  Their album clearly documents that destructiveness.

I encourage all believers to listen to this album in its entirety again with the lens of Ecclesisastes that I have tried to focus for you here.  You can buy the CD from Amazon.com and elsewhere.   Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Syd Barrett, Nick Mason and Richard Wright I thank you for your creative genius.  This album had touched my heart decades before I ever knew the Lord.  And because of my knowledge of the Bible, I now appreciate your work even more.

Struggling on the Edge 0

Posted on April 15, 2009 by Alexander

The world can bring anyone to the brink of madness

The world can bring anyone to the brink of madness

Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon

Previous posts in the series:

Chapter 1/Speak to Me-Breathe

Chapter 2/On the Run

Chapter 3/Time

Chapter 5-7/The Great Gig in the Sky

Chapter 5-6/Money

Chapter 4-9/Us and Them

Chapter 1-10/Any Color You Like

Both the book of Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon list the path to insanity that the world system tries to drive us  onward.  Here is a brief review of those things in the world that tends to frustrate everyone and that we all struggle with.

  • Futility of our Labors In chapter 2:17-19 Solomon laments that building wealth is futile because when he dies, someone else will control the wealth. Pink Floyd begins their album with the main character overwhelmed and running on a treadmill going nowhere.
  • The Fear of God’s Judgment Even when one denies the reality of God, the fear of His judgment in this life and the afterlife nags everyone. In chapter 3:14-17  Solomon says, “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work”
  • Time and Chance Time runs out for everyone since we die. In chapter 3 we are told that there is a time for everything and in chapter 9 time and chance happen to all. Without knowing God it seems that some just get lucky and that life is not fair.
  • Injustice To further increase the disbelief that God exists is the sense of injustice that occurs all over the world when wicked people are not punished and innocent people suffer. Solomon says in in 8:11, “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
  • Oppressed by the Wealthy Since the wealthy oppress the poor, then everyone wants to be wealthy so they won’t be oppressed either. In chapter 4:1-2 he says, “And look! The tears of the oppressed, But they have no comforter— On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter.” He concludes that it is better to be dead than oppressed (v. 2).
  • Over Taxed In collusion with the wealthy, the governments of the world serve the wealthy in over taxation of the poor for the benefit of the wealthy, and to fund their wars which increase the wealth of those already rich. In chapter 5 Solomon says, “Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field. … When goods increase, They increase who eat them; So what profit have the owners Except to see them with their eyes?”
  • Loneliness Pink Floyd did not address this, but loneliness is a huge struggle for many. If you make a lot of money, what good is it if you have no one to share it with? In chapter 4:8 he says, “There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, Nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, ‘For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?’ “

So in chapter 10 Solomon metaphorically speaks of the edge. Which way should one go? Try to be wise (v.1)? One mistake removes all that benefit. Live as a fool and be mocked by everyone (v.3)? Obey rulers (v. 4)? Why should we when so often the rulers are fools and the wise are debased (v. 5-7). Why try to do anything when every activity is fraught with danger (v. 8-11)? Too much talk is liable to drive one mad (v. 12-13). We all get pushed to the edge. Some make wise decisions, others make foolish choices. And this is the litmus test for us all. Which way do we choose: hope or despair?  Solomon chose hope.   Pink Floyd chose despair as their main character gets his lobotomy.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 10

1    Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, And cause it to give off a foul odor; So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.

2    A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, But a fool’s heart at his left.

3    Even when a fool walks along the way, He lacks wisdom, And he shows everyone that he is a fool.

4    If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, Do not leave your post; For conciliation pacifies great offenses.

5    There is an evil I have seen under the sun, As an error proceeding from the ruler:

6    Folly is set in great dignity, While the rich sit in a lowly place.

7    I have seen servants on horses, While princes walk on the ground like servants.

8    He who digs a pit will fall into it, And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent.

9    He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, And he who splits wood may be endangered by it.

10    If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.

11    A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; The babbler is no different.

12    The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up;

13    The words of his mouth begin with foolishness, And the end of his talk is raving madness.

10. Brain Damage
(Waters) 3:50

The lunatic is on the grass.
The lunatic is on the grass.
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs.
Got to keep the loonies on the path.

The lunatic is in the hall.
The lunatics are in my hall.
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more.

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

The lunatic is in my head.
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me ’til I’m sane.
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

“I can’t think of anything to say except…
I think it’s marvelous! HaHaHa!”

The Israelites were given a choice between two mountains before they entered into the Promised Land.   If they chose Mount Gerizim they chose life and blessings (Deut. 27:12).  If they chose Mount Ebal they chose cursing and death (Deut. 27:13).  Yahweh encouraged them to choose life (Deut. 30:19).

The Church of Jesus Christ has been given the same choice, and we need to encourage one another in what life truly is, and not the life presented in  the church sales pitch.  Life has been allowed by God to be very difficult to obtain.  He is not willing that any should perish and he wants all to come to repentance (2 Pet  3:9), but He is seeking a quality of character in His children, that lets many perish.

All life is a struggle whether in Christ or apart from Christ.  God allowed Adam and Eve to sin, which brought death, war, and disease into His creation.  Nature demonstrates the struggle to all who will bother to look.  Millions of sperm are sent, but only one gets the egg.   In many creatures many young have to be born to increase the odds of survival.

Jesus said that broad and wide was the road to destruction, but straight and narrow is the path to life, and few find it (Matt. 7:13-14).  It is a grave mistake to assume that simply means accepting the salvation of Jesus Christ.  The path to life begins after we accept Christ, and is littered with failure.  John Bunyan illustrated this in his book, “Pilgrim’s Progress.”  Jesus spoke in parables intentionally to keep people from understanding.  When Jesus walked on the water  He would have walked passed those in the boat if they had not cried out to Him, even though He was walking to help them.  We are told to seek God with our whole heart, not casually.

God wants us to have a love of the truth at all costs (John 3:21), wants us to do justice, love mercy and to walk humbly before Him (Micah 6:8).  The fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 is not automatic.  The struggles of life are used by the Spirit to carve these characteristics into our hearts.  These qualities are only created within us when we deny our lives (v. 24) and walk in the Spirit (v. 25).

Without struggles there can be no cross to bear.  Choosing life means losing our lives for Christ’s sake.  It is not religious behavior. It is trusting and depending on Christ in all our Spirit led endeavors.  There are many whose faith is shipwrecked like Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 19-20).  It is a blindness on our part to believe that many in the body of Christ are not struggling with the same despair that the Pink Floyd character on this album had succumbed to.  God is willing to help anyone, and does help everyone, whether saved or lost, but He maintains a goal and standard that never changes.  So many in the Church, misunderstand the work of God in their lives when the struggle comes.   Jesus, in His parable of the sower and the seed, said that these are those with no root in themselves (Mark 4:17).

Root in oneself is knowing that you have remained in the center of God’s will for your life, despite the trials or tribulations.  Joseph had root in himself when he was sold into slavery. He did not try to make God’s will happen as he saw in his dreams, rather he made the best of every situation he was in knowing that he remained in the center of God’s will.

We all struggle with the troubles that come with life, but to choose life means trusting Jesus in the midst of your every circumstance.  This is the choice that Solomon made, it is the choice that Joshua made, and it is the choice that my wife and I have made. It is the only sane choice that can be made.

The Pressure of Conformity 2

Posted on April 05, 2009 by Alexander

Multiple Personalities.

It is impossible to be like everyone.

Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon

Previous posts in the series:

Chapter 1/Speak to Me-Breathe

Chapter 2/On the Run

Chapter 3/Time

Chapter 5-7/The Great Gig in the Sky

Chapter 5-6/Money

Chapter 4-9/Us and Them

An instrumental called, “Any Color You Like,”  follows the song, “Us and Them” on the Pink Floyd album called, “The Dark Side of the Moon.”  There is no explanation as to the reason for the title of the song, so my interpretation here is only my guess.  Since the song that follows is called, “Brain Damage,” and is the song about the main character going insane, I believe that he slips into Multiple Personality Disorder at this time before he has realized that he went insane.

The pressure to conform is upon all of us.  It is a pressure that is fueled by the judgments, opinions, and gossip of other people.  It has its power because it is our natural tendency to look to other people for guidance in our lives.  This tendency is amplified as we try to please other people to get along.  Strife, war and politics between people is experienced by everyone, and no one likes getting shot at, neither physically nor verbally.  So we all try to go  with the flow of others just to get along.

The problem with this approach is the vast variety of opinions and views that we all come up against.  The reality is that we can not agree with everyone all the time. It is impossible since there are so many opposing points of view.  To do so will cause a nervous breakdown, or, as I believe what happens to the character in this album, fracture into multiple personalities.

It is a rule of thumb that copies of copies tend to degenerate in quality and integrity.   Movie makers keep their master film in a vault to protect  the pristine clarity of the original.   They make copies of the master as sub masters by which they make the copies for film distribution.  When those sub masters deteriorate with wear and tear through time, they pull out the original again to make new sub masters.

This deterioration happens through the generations as people copy people in an effort to find guidance in their lives.   Societies fracture as cultures and sub cultures develop as a result.   We can not live as people pleasers because the standard is constantly shifting with each new generation. When what the original was like is forgotten,  changes continue without recognition so that eventually, good is considered evil, and evil is considered good.

God is the original blueprint for man.  We were made in His image.  However, we lost contact with the original in the Garden of Eden when the sub-master of God (Adam and Eve) degenerated with sin.  God had to make a new sub-master for all of us to model our lives upon, so He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to be our new model.  Jesus, however, can not deteriorate as the sub master films do, so there is no need for a new version of Him, for He is also integrated with the master, God Himself.  Furthermore, when the Church is glorified with Christ, God will be fully integrated into the body of Christ, so neither will there be any loss due to  degeneration in the Church, too.

Solomon predates Christ, so the focus of his writings are more on the human condition in our generations.  This is what he has to say.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 1

4    One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.

5    The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, And hastens to the place where it arose.

6    The wind goes toward the south, And turns around to the north;  The wind whirls about continually, And comes again on its circuit.

7    All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full;  To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again.

9    That which has been is what will be,  That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.

10    Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.

11    There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after.

Chapter 7

5    It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise Than for a man to hear the song of fools.

6    For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, So is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity.

21    Also do not take to heart everything people say Lest you hear your servant cursing you.

22    For many times, also, your own heart has known  That even you have cursed others.

29    Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes.”

Chapter 10

20    Do not curse the king, even in your thought;   Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom;    For a bird of the air may carry your voice,  And a bird in flight may tell the matter.

9.  Any Colour You Like
(Gilmour, Mason, Wright) 3:25

(Instrumental)

We are told by Paul in the book of Romans:

Rom 12:1-2
1    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2    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.   (KJV)

Even though we in the Church have the Master to model our lives  upon, the natural tendency remains for us to conform our selves to other believers, just to get along.

Spiritual abuse has occurred in the body of Christ when some believers try to make out that they are the examples of Christ and should be followed if you want to abide in the will of God.  This is especially a problem for new believers who do not know what Jesus is like yet which makes them easily taken advantage of.

Jesus had made it clear that pleasing people is contrary to walking with God.  He said:

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-27 KJV)

We can not be His disciple if we esteem the opinion of men higher than the opinion of God.  We have to learn to look at the original in Jesus Christ and base our lives upon His example, not the example of other people.  Yes we are told in Hebrews 13, and in other places, to follow the example of others, but they all have the same condition: we are to consider the outcome of their lives (13:7) which should be like Jesus (v. 8).  How can you know if they are like Jesus unless you know already what Jesus is like?  You can not.  You must look to Jesus always, then you will be able tell who those are who are like Him, too.

So the Church at large is in the same danger as the character in Pink Floyd’s rock opera of suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder.  Instead of being transformed by the renewing of our minds, we become conformed to the Church, which is like the world, instead of  Christ.  Factions arise as congregations defend their version of the Gospel, hindering the unity of the Spirit.  Unity of the Spirit can only found in following the Spirit of Christ.

Envy and Strife 1

Posted on April 04, 2009 by Alexander

All wars are for greed and power of an elite few.

All wars are for greed and power of an elite few.

Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon

Previous posts in the series:

Chapter 1/Speak to Me-Breathe

Chapter 2/On the Run

Chapter 3/Time

Chapter 5-7/The Great Gig in the Sky

Chapter 5-6/Money

It is the truth of human history that all wars began by an elite few who wanted to increase their wealth and power.  To persuade the people to join in the war,  an emotional moral point has been hyped up to rally the masses into  the conflict.

In this series in comparing the book of Ecclesiastes with Pink Floyd’s, “The  Dark Side of the Moon,” I have focused on the story line of the main character who goes mad in trying to cope with the world system, and  ends up with a lobotomy to find his peace.   But the musical genius of Pink Floyd’s band should also be remembered.  They created sound-scapes that fit the atmosphere of each song.  In “Speak to Me/Breathe”  the music creates the image of someone under water coming up for air.  In “On the Run” the image is created of one running out of breath as though on a treadmill going nowhere.  In “Time” the ringing of the alarm and the ticking of the clock creates the sense of urgency since time is running out.  In “The Great Gig in the Sky” an eatheral and surreal sound is created by the singers crying in desperation pleading to Heaven for peace on Earth.  In “Money” a pompous sound of a rich, fat cat devouring everything is his greed is created in the music.  The band members wrote this album with a stroke of genius.

One would think that a sound-scape on conflict and war in “Us and Them” would have explosive sounds as bombs dropping with gun fire.  But the genius of the band created a dreamy, hypnotic music instead.  For the truth is, no one in their right mind engages in warfare.  The only way for the elite few who create these wars to get the masses involved is to hypnotize them with moral rhetoric that creates a sense of outrage amongst the people.  Pink Floyd has dialog that is often hard to hear and understand in their songs, too.  The comments in the dialog are flashes of reality (although confused) in the midst of the dreamy hypnotic delusion that the world system creates.

Despite what government historians will tell us, the American Civil War was not about slavery.  The slavery issue was used as the hypnosis to get the northerners into the fight. Yes, it was a real issue, but the war was about state rights and the federal government’s quest for dominion of the states.  This is true for every war if one will examine the issues closely.

I am not  arguing for or against a just war which is usually is predicated on defending one’s self from an attack.  Solomon did say earlier that there is a time for peace and a time for war (Ecc. 3:8).  These are matters that one must pray about and follow the leading of the Spirit and one’s conscience.  But what I am pointing out is that in all wars, there is an elite few who are seeking their own gain at the expense of the majority.

Solomon observes the oppression of the few over the many.  His discourse on the topic contrasts wisdom and folly.  Only fools will follow these leaders into battle, which is the same theme that Pink Floyd uses in their mockery of war in this song.  Solomon concludes his observation that wisdom is better than warfare, and by wisdom people have been delivered from war, but the majority of people are fools who forget the wisdom that has saved them (Ecc. 9:17) and that it only takes one sinner to destroy the good of many (9:18).

The seasons of war end by the grace of God, and Pink Floyd unwittingly acknowledge this at the end of their song.  For they say, “The old man died.” The oppressors all die eventually.  Arafat is dead. Hitler is dead. And the world can take some small comfort that God brings death to the oppressors in due season.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 4

1  Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed,  But they have no comforter— On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter.

2    Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead, More than the living who are still alive.

3    Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, Who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

4  Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

5    The fool folds his hands And consumes his own flesh.

6    Better a handful with quietness Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.

13    Better a poor and wise youth Than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.

Chapter 7

7    Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason, And a bribe debases the heart.

8    The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

9    Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.

Chapter 8

9  All this I have seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: There is a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt.

Chapter 9

3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

4  But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

5    For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten.

6    Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun.

13  This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me:

14 There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it.

15  Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man.

16  Then I said:  “Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, And his words are not heard.

17    Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools.

18    Wisdom is better than weapons of war; But one sinner destroys much good.”

8.  Us and Them
(Waters, Wright) 7:40

Us, and them
And after all we’re only ordinary men.
Me, and you.
God only knows it’s not what we would choose to do.

Forward he cried from the rear
and the front rank died.
And the general sat and the lines on the map
moved from side to side.

Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who.
Up and down.
But in the end it’s only round and round.

Haven’t you heard it’s a battle of words
The poster bearer cried.
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There’s room for you inside.

“I mean, they’re not gunna kill ya, so if you give ’em a quick short, sharp, shock, they won’t do it again.  Dig it? I mean he get off lightly, ‘cos I would’ve given him a thrashing – I only hit him once! It was only a difference of opinion, but really…I mean good manners don’t cost nothing do they, eh?”

Down and out
It can’t be helped but there’s a lot of it about.
With, without.
And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about?

Out of the way, it’s a busy day
I’ve got things on my mind.
For the want of the price of tea and a slice
The old man died.

James tells the Church:

James 3:14-16
14    But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15    This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16    For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.   (KJV)

The history of the Church parallels the history of the world in its warfare and strife.  The charge by those that religion has been at the root of all wars is partially true. For religion is self effort in righteousness.   A self effort that Christ died to remove, but the religious hold onto their self effort for they want the right to pick and choose what is right as a due for earning their own salvation. This should not be confused with the body of Christ who are those who let Christ live through them in ruling their lives.

The organization of Christianity has been just as guilty of warfare as has been the organization of Islam, and even Hinduism.  Sadly, through the organization of Christianity, the Church has been duped in furthering the agenda of the elite few who cause the wars.   The Church has mistakenly relied on fleshly means to accomplish spiritual ends.  From  the Social Gospel of the early 20th century which tried to feed the poor through socialism, to the culture wars of today that is trying to end abortion and homosexuality by legislative means.

Warfare in the Church continues within itself as factions argue over doctrinal distinctions that are academic in nature, but are held onto vigorously as their distictive that makes them more right than others. This is the pride of life that John declares in his epistle (1 John 2:16) that marks the world that we are not to love.   The mega-church pursuit by a pastoral staff is the lust of the eyes from that same verse.   The gluttony of Christians and the sexual immorality of both congregants and pastors is the lust of the flesh.

We are called to “come out from among them” (2 Cor. 6:17).  That does not mean to hide in a monastery, nor live as a hermit.  It means that we are not to engage our selves in the pursuits of the world.  We are not called to transform society.  We are called to allow God to transform us, and for us to be vessels that God uses to transform others by our lives and witness.

Solomon told us that wisdom is better than warfare.  But wisdom is forgotten because so many are fools who want to engage in the pursuits of the world instead of dying on the cross with Christ.  We forget the words of Jesus who said that those who try to save their lives will lose it, and those who lose their lives for His sake will find it (Matt. 16:25).

Post Script 4/8/09
I meant to state this is in the blog, but was reminded of this in a conversation with a brother. The religious mindset is an “us and them” mentality. The religious interpretation of 2 Cor. 6:17 is that now that we are “in Christ” we should have nothing to do with those “outside Christ”. This attitude creates an false conception of God’s behavior towards those that are lost. It makes us think that God has nothing to do with people until they come to Christ, then they one of “us” and no longer one of “them”.

In reality, God is actively involved with the lives of every human being on the planet, lost and saved. He is working in their lives to bring them to Him, but He is also taking care of them by feeding them, healing them, and comforting them. The “us and them” division is an artificial religious point of view. There is no “us and them”. There is only “us and Him”. All of us, lost and saved, are in the same human boat in need of Him. All of us face the same troubles and joys of life together. Stripping away the religious mindset opens our eyes to see the work of God in everyone’s life, and the common plight of all mankind together.

The Root of All Evil 2

Posted on April 03, 2009 by Alexander

You can not serve God and Mammon

You can not serve God and Mammon

Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon

Previous posts in the series:

Chapter 1/Speak to Me-Breathe

Chapter 2/On the Run

Chapter 3/Time

Chapter 5-7/The Great Gig in the Sky

The main character of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon had briefly considered God and religion, but assumes that he can go to heaven by his own merit.  He not only dismisses Christ, he decides not to commit suicide.  Instead he dreams about becoming rich and powerful.  A dream that he only contemplates, but one that Pink Floyd as a band succeeded in doing. So when they wrote their song, “Money,” they were living this dream.

Solomon also had money.  He was the richest man alive in his day.  He knew what money could buy and what it could not buy.  In chapter 4 of Ecclesiastes Solomon asks what good is it to labor for riches when one is all alone and has no one to share it with?   Money brings worry and anxiety over its management (5:12).   And  if one gathers riches and manages it wisely, who knows how that wealth will be used after one dies (6:12)?  For naked we are born and naked we die, we can not take it with us.  But the bottom line that Solomon addresses is that greed and covetousness is never satisfied. It always wants more.

In other verses he does speak of the value of money.  Money is a defense (7:12). So as a tool, money has a purpose and place.   But money can never satisfy the longing of the heart.  Neither will money bring true joy, instead it tends to breed envy and strife (4:4).

Ecclesiastes Chapter 5

10    He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase.  This also is vanity.

11    When goods increase, They increase who eat them; So what profit have the owners Except to see them with their eyes?

12    The sleep of a laboring man is sweet,  Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.

13    There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun:  Riches kept for their owner to his hurt.

14    But those riches perish through misfortune;  When he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand.

15    As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return,  To go as he came;  And he shall take nothing from his labor  Which he may carry away in his hand.

16    And this also is a severe evil— Just exactly as he came, so shall he go. And what profit has he who has labored for the wind?

17    All his days he also eats in darkness, And he has much sorrow and sickness and anger.

Chapter 6

1  There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:

2 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction.

3 If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he—

4 for it comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness.

5 Though it has not seen the sun or known anything, this has more rest than that man,

6  even if he lives a thousand years twice—but has not seen goodness. Do not all go to one place?

7    All the labor of man is for his mouth, And yet the soul is not satisfied.

7. Money
(Waters) 6:32

Money, get away.
Get a good job with good pay and you’re okay.
Money, it’s a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I’ll buy me a football team.

Money, get back.
I’m all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack.
Money, it’s a hit.
Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit.
I’m in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet.

Money, it’s a crime.
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today.
But if you ask for a raise it’s no surprise that they’re
giving none away.

“HuHuh! I was in the right!”
“Yes, absolutely in the right!”
“I certainly was in the right!”
“You was definitely in the right. That geezer was cruising for a
bruising!”
“Yeah!”
“Why does anyone do anything?”
“I don’t know, I was really drunk at the time!”
“I was just telling him, he couldn’t get into number 2. He was asking why he wasn’t coming up on freely, after I was yelling and screaming and telling him why he wasn’t coming up on freely.
It came as a heavy blow, but we sorted the matter out”

The dialog at the end of the song is hard to hear, but it shows the end result of wanting money: conflicts with others and ultimately war, which is the topic of the next song.

The Church of Jesus Christ misunderstands Kingdom Economics.  There is a bottom line for the Church that we tend to forget.  When Peter told those who collected tribute money, Jesus asked Peter later who pays tribute?  The children of the king or strangers (Matt 17:25)?  Peter answered correctly that the strangers pay tribute. Jesus then emphasized that the children are free (17:26).   The reason that the children are free is because all that belongs to the king belongs to the children, too.  It would be taking money out of the king’s own pocket to tax his own children.  This is the bottom line in Kingdom Economics.  Since God owns everything, and we in the Church are His children, everything belongs to us already.

That means that we will always be taken care of.  It does not mean that we have access to all that God owns,  since He manages our provision.  But He has promised to take care of us if we seek first the Kingdom of God and His rightesouness (Matt. 6:33).   There may be seasons where are provision is food from raven’s mouths. But the bottom line is that we will be cared for and we need not worry about it.

Regrettably, the Church at large does not comprehend this basic provision of God, and have sought wealth according to the world’s standard. The followers of the prosperity preachers will find their wealth consumed by others if they are trying to serve God and Mammon.  And, like the world, they will be caught up in strife and warfare.

Saints, the gospel is not about poverty, either.  It is about learning to live in contentment whether one is abased or abounds.  This contentment comes from  the security of knowlege that God is caring for each of us and is accomplishing His purposes in our lives. The love of money robs us of peace and contentment.  The peace of God that passes all understanding is found in trusting God and resting in His provision. For godliness with contentment is great gain and this is achieved by esteeming the riches of Christ greater than the riches of the world.

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