Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Beast

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. (Revelation 13:1 ESV)

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. (Revelation 13:5-10 ESV)

Some say the Beast of Revelation is a diabolical individual who will rule the world for a short time, others say it is a political system. I believe it may be a combination of both. But of this one thing I am sure, we live in world system that is opposed to Jesus Christ, and his eternal Kingdom.

Those that are most vulnerable to the Beast are individuals that desire radical social change apart from the Kingdom of God. This worldview invites a totalitarian form of government, that has no concept of how Christ Kingdom works. The Kingdom of God is "righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" and is based on servant-hood, and sacrificial love, not bullying. 

This present anti-Christ environment in the western world has used a distorted view of Jesus, as merely a social activist, or as in the case of the EU (European Union) they don't use him at all, because they are atheistic to the core. This worldview rejects Christ teaching on sexual ethics, and his authority over their personal lives. And it attacks those that oppose their evil plans.

Globalization, "free trade" and the internet have been used to advance the Beasts' agenda. The minds of individuals are literally being re-wired by digital addiction. Our children are spending much of their days being brainwashed through gaming.  Facebook and other on-line activities are gradually causing us to lose touch with reality. These networks can be used for God's glory, and for good purposes, but overall its' users, are being programmed by an anti-Christ system, that is negatively effecting the way we think and reason.

The Beast has always had his minions in every segment of  our society, opposing Christ, and his people throughout the history of America. But in recent years 'it' has become more brazen. So, a false narrative has been created that intolerant Christians are the reason for our societies lack of social advancement. Ultimately through digital addiction, economics, false religion, and the desensitized masses, the Beast and his dark forces, at some future time, will temporarily enslave the world.

Our call as Christians is to make disciples of all Nations, and to resist this darkness until the Prince of Peace returns. He will return and give his followers, real peace, and prosperity, and a new age called, the Kingdom of God. The Beast will be defeated at Christ appearing. We must align ourselves with King Jesus, doing his work until he comes.  Until then, be careful of all those voices that preach world peace, and are not following the Prince of Peace. - Bobby

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Communion with God by Richard Trader

Hearing God is not some strange or mystical experience. It is not hearing God audibly, but hearing Him with your heart. "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 3:15). The heart of man is the mind, will, and emotions. It is the spirit of man, that is the inner-man. He gives thoughts for your mind. These thoughts are revealed in the Bible. He gives you desires for the heart, even the desire to know Him. He gives you emotions, such as sorrow for your sins and love for others.

Hearing God is a choice. Not all are willing to hear God. Those who want no part of hearing God have hardened their hearts. Only God can change your heart. He does this through the new birth, by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9; 1 John 5:1). He takes away your hardened heart and gives you a heart sensitive to His Word and Spirit. God says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you" (Ezekiel 36:26).

God's voice is the voice of the Holy Spirit. His Spirit communicates with your spirit. That's the reason God must put a new spirit within you. Otherwise, your heart is hardened toward the things of the Spirit of God. God is able to put a new spirit within you. Then the communication begins. "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:16).

Points to Consider

Communion with God begins through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me" (John 14:6).
Communion with God is through the Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirit. God's Spirit communicates with our spirit. That communication is in the heart of man, which includes the mind, will, and emotions.
Communion with God is talking to Him and hearing Him. It is a divine-human dialogue. We talk to Him in prayer. He talks to us through the word of truth in the Bible. That's communion with God.
The word communion comes from a Greek word koinonia which refers to fellowship. That is fellowship with God. A relationship with God is ongoing fellowship with Him.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

How Can We Hear The Holy Spirit Accurately? By Craig Keener

The Holy Spirit passes on Jesus’ words as clearly as Jesus passed on the Father’s. We should be able to hear Jesus’ voice as clearly today as his disciples did two thousand years ago and­— since we see things in light of the resurrection— understand his message better. Of course, Christians have often abused the promise of hearing God’s voice, hearing instead only what they wanted or expected to hear. What objective guidelines can help us learn sensitivity to the Spirit and enable us to hear God’s direction accurately?

First of all, the Spirit does not come to testify about himself; He comes to testify about Jesus (John 15:26; 16:14).  He brings to our remembrance and explains what Jesus has already said (14:2 6). What the Spirit teaches us is therefore consistent with the character of the biblical Jesus, the Jesus who came in the flesh (1 John 4:2). The more we know about Jesus from the Bible, the more prepared we are to recognize the voice of his Spirit when he speaks to us. Knowing God well enough to recognize what he would say on a given topic can often inform us what God is saying, because God is always true to his character. But be warned: those who take Scripture out of context thereby render themselves susceptible to hearing God’s voice quite wrongly.

Second,  the Spirit  does not  come  merely  to show us details such as where to find someone’s lost property, although the Spirit is surely capable of doing such things and sometimes does them (1 Sam. 9:6-20). Nor does the Spirit come just to teach us which sweater to put on (especially when it is obvious which one matches) or which dessert to take in the cafeteria line. The Spirit does, however, guide us in evangelism or in encouraging one another (for example, Acts 8:29; 10:19; 11:12.)  The  Spirit  also comes  to reveal God’s  heart  to us,  and  God’s heart  is defined in  this  context as love  (John 13:34-35; 15:9-14, 17). To walk in Christian love is to know God’s heart (1 John 4:7-8; see also Jer. 22:16).

Third, it helps if we have fellowship with others who also are seeking to obey God’s Spirit. In the Old Testament, older prophets mentored younger prophets (1 Sam. 19:20; 2 Kings 2:3-8). And among first-generation prophets in the early church, Paul instructed the prophets to evaluate each others’ prophecies, to keep themselves and the church on target (1 Cor. 14:29). Spiritual mentors or peers who are mature in their relationship with God and whose  present walk with  God  we can trust can seek God with  us and provide us a “safety  net” of sorts.

If we feel that the Spirit is leading us to do something, but recognize that much is at stake if we are wrong, we may do well to talk the matter over with other mature Christians. Proverbs advised rulers that wisdom rests in a multitude of counselors, and that advice remains valid for us as well. In the end, we may not always settle on  the counsel  others  have given us— like us, they too  are fallible— but if they are diligent  students of the Scriptures and persons of prayer, we should humbly consider their counsel. God sometimes shows us things for the church that others may not yet see; at the same time, God may well have shown some of our brothers and sisters things we have not yet seen.  I have a few spiritual mentors and peers whose counsel I especially treasure and whose wisdom time has consistently (though not always) vindicated.

Many of us as young Christians were intrigued by the frequent experience of supernatural guidance from the Holy Spirit. While most of us who have learned to hear the Spirit in that way still experience such guidance regularly today, after a number of years, sensitivity to the Spirit’s guidance in that form becomes almost second nature and thus becomes less of a focus than it once was. Nor is this guidance, exciting as it may be to one discovering it for the first time, always the most important form of guidance God’s Spirit gives us.

By this method of hearing the Spirit, we might help someone in need, because the Spirit specifically directed us to do so. But many of us have also learned to hear God’s Spirit exegetically, as the Spirit has spoken in the Scriptures.  By hearing the Spirit’s voice in Scripture, we might help that same person in need simply because Scripture commands us to do so.  But perhaps the  deepest sensitivity  to the  Spirit comes  when  we learn  to bear the Spirit’s fruit  in our  lives­ when our hearts become  so full of God’s heart that we help that person  in need because God’s love within us leaves us no alter­ native. All three forms of guidance derive from the Spirit and from Scripture. Yet where  needs  clearly exist, God’s  character that we have discovered  by means of Scripture and the Spirit is sufficient to guide us even when we have no other  specific leading of the  Spirit  or  scriptural mandate, provided neither the Spirit  nor  the  Bible argues against it. It is when the Spirit has written the Bible’s teaching in our heart that we become most truly people of the Spirit.

(Adapted from Three Crucial Questions About the Holy Spirit, published by Baker Books.)

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Mind Is The Target: The Christian At War

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV)

 All Christians, whether we know it or not are engaged in an ongoing conflict with an unseen enemy, in the spiritual realm. Our enemies' main target is our thought life. And it is reassuring to know that as followers of Jesus, we are uniquely equipped to withstand, and overcome the relentless assault against our minds. We  can confidently stand on the promises of Scripture, as we  receive guidance from the indwelling Holy Spirit.

 In contrast, the non-believer is spiritually dead, and unable to access the Spirit of truth, or to discern the origins of the battle that rages within them. Without spiritual transformation, and the knowledge of God, we cannot comprehend the source of  our emotional and spiritual conflict.

When we enter into the Kingdom of God by trusting Jesus as absolute Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit enables us to discern the source of the conflict going on, in and around us.  Those who are outside the rule of God's Kingdom are living in spiritual darkness. They may be good people, with positive motives, but they live in a state of perpetual deception.

 A society that seeks social reform apart from God's Kingdom rule, will be lead progressively into social, and moral chaos, which leads to spiritual totalitarianism. Satan makes mental suggestions to those that seek to reform society apart from God, but he is a deceiver, and a cruel task master. What those outside the Kingdom perceive as freedom, actually leads to spiritual slavery. Good people doing good works outside of the rule of Christ, can actually be deceived into thinking that they really don't need a Savior,

 King Jesus sets us free to live within the boundaries that he has designed for our good, and his glory.  The mind must continually be renewed with Scripture, and we must cast down all vain imaginations.  Satan's tactic is to control and gain access to the believers imagination. While we rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross through his death and resurrection, we must actively embrace the benefits of being a child of God.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

(Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)

We wage war with darkness form a place of victory, and intimacy with God, through prayer. For we have died with Christ to the old way of life, and have now been given  the power to live an overcoming life. - Bobby

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

New - Time Religion by Wesley J. Smith

The West, we are told, has entered the secular age. Religious faith is irreversibly shriveling, opening space for a society governed by reason. What such statements miss is that while traditional religion may well fade, we will never see an end to something like religious belief. We’re subjective beings whose need for meaning will never be satisfied merely by what can be “proved.” Thus, even if Judaism and Christianity are reduced to vestigial influence in America, they will be replaced not by unbelief but by different creeds.

Nothing illustrates this phenomenon better than the recent rise of transhumanism, a futuristic social movement that offers a worldly transcendence through faith in technology. Why consider ourselves made in the image and likeness of God when we can recreate ourselves in our own, individually designed, “post-human” image? Why worry about heaven, hell, or the karmic conditions in which we will be reincarnated when we can instead enjoy radical life extension, perhaps even attain immortality by uploading our minds into computers? Indeed, transhumanist prophets such as Google’s Ray ­Kurzweil and University of Oxford’s Nick Bostrom assure believers that science will soon wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, for through technology, the former things will all pass away.

I took in this new religion at the recent Religion and Transhumanism Conference in Piedmont, California. The human heart’s thirst for meaning was epitomized by the opening speech of conference organizer Hank Pellissier, director of the Brighter Brains Institute. He seems a very sweet man—evinced by his stated zeal for “charity,” which he criticized transhumanism for lacking. (More on that in a bit.) Pellissier traveled a long and peripatetic road to transhumanism—from Catholic, to hippie, to Daoist, to Quaker, to an atheism so “militant” that he once organized an atheists’ conference that included a “Bible-throwing contest.” When he found Dawkins-style atheism “too bashing,” he embraced transhumanism—although he now is thinking of converting to Judaism (Reformed, he assured the audience) because one of the lesbians in a couple to whom he donated sperm is a rabbi.

The religious nature of transhumanism was described by the conference’s keynote speaker Ted Peters, a professor emeritus at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley who researches how “displaced religious sensibilities resurface in secular forms.” He sees transhumanism as aspiring to replace the worship of God with a perception of evolution as something of a mystical force to which “homage must be paid.” Transhumanists view evolution as ultimately increasing intelligence—a benevolent deity of sorts. Therefore, they assume a moral obligation to “increase evolution” to the end that “just as humanism freed us from the chains of superstition, transhumanism would free us from the chains of biology.” This goal will be fulfilled when we have ­successfully redesigned ourselves into “cosmic beings”—a technological new heaven and new earth.

To be sure, there is no liturgical worship in transhumanism, and it doesn’t see belief or behavior determining eternal destiny, as do traditional religions. Still, in his speech Peters noted that transhumanism—like traditional religion—perceives itself as a “grand vision in which all the broken things get fixed.” Later he told me, “Much of what we have gotten out of religions we now get from science and technology: human fulfillment, salvation, (the potential for) eternal life. So, ironically, discarded religious beliefs come back disguised in scientized forms.”

Or not so disguised, as in the case of the Raelian science cult. Its representative—the almost surely pseudonymous Felix Clairvoyant—presented two videos on the supposed encounter of cult leader “Rael” with space aliens. Unlike orthodox transhumanists, Raelians deny evolution; they claim that all life on earth was intelligently designed by extraterrestrial visitors. That point of doctrine aside, the ­Raelians and transhumanists have much in common. Both deny theism and embrace scientism as the way to attain ultimate truth. Thus, Raelians claim that our interstellar “creators” are already trans-humans. Through applied biotechnology and other ­scientific advances, their bodies last for one thousand years. When they can no longer be maintained, their minds are uploaded into computers, they are cloned, and then their software is downloaded back into their new brains and they are good to go for another millennium. I could almost hear the sighs of longing from the audience. O Death, where is thy sting?

Meanwhile, Jason Xu, a “community organizer” for “Terasem,” a transhumanist church of sorts, told the audience that by embracing rituals, people who reject God can defend themselves against the gravitational pull of “nihilism and secular pessimism.” Terasem’s “devotion to technoutopianism” thus provides transhumanists with “the fulfillment and syncretization of all faiths.” Its four “core beliefs” range from platitudinous to wishful: 1) life is purposeful, 2) death is optional, 3) God is technological, and 4) love is essential.

What does this mean in practice? In Xu’s telling, it was all pretty vague. There are no creeds to which one has to adhere, nor moral codes to follow. Instead, Terasems cohere around a devotion to technology in the understanding that it will take more than achieving post-humanity to give meaning to daily life. To fill the spaces in the soul left empty by that God who is technological, Terasems meet regularly to share art, poetry, and music, and to do yoga.

Terasem comes across as Unitarian Universalism squared. Xu assured the audience that one can be a Terasem and a Catholic, Orthodox Jew, ­Buddhist, faithful Muslim, or member of any other religion. This would come as a surprise to many believers. After all, if God is “technological,” where does that leave the omnipotent God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? This was not a question Terasems seem to be asking. Maybe theology, like death, is optional.

Not a problem for Mormons, it seems, at least not if we believe Lincoln Cannon, a Latter-day Saint and cofounder of the Mormon Transhumanist Association. He claims that Mormonism “mandates transhumanism.” According to Cannon, Mormonism is a “­materialist religion, in which everything is matter and God is material.” Indeed, he said, “even God did not start as God.” Moreover, the transhumanist idea of recreating deceased loved ones through cloning or other technologies is consistent with the Mormon interest in genealogy and the faith’s practice of baptizing the dead. Thus, rather than rejecting their faith, Mormon transhumanists can come to the movement because of their religion. Or so says Cannon. Mormon authorities, I suspect, would disagree.

New Mexico State University English professor Mike LaTorra presented the Buddhist perspective on transhumanism. He also argued that Buddhism “mandates” a transhumanist pursuit. “Life is not satisfactory because of suffering,” and transhumanism can be the path leading to something better. An extended life span and the material abundance that hyper-technology will create will allow Buddhists to pursue their practice with greater concentration. Thus, with “transhumanism at the base,” the seeker will be better able to attain “transcendence at the apex.”

Buddhism and Mormonism notwithstanding, according to a recent poll the belief of most transhumanists is atheism. Zoltan Istvan writes for the Huffington Post and authored a novel called The Transhumanist Wager. He offered the atheistic point of view, flatly stating that transhumanism unequivocally “cuts at the core of” Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. “If you don’t have restrictions that religion casts upon our moral system,” he said, “you [are] more free to think.” As people learn they can “live indefinitely,” religion will erode, since people will stop worrying about death. Istvan also argued that for transhumanism, the only hope is in a material world, and therefore interfering with life extension research should be a crime. In fact, substantially thwarting efforts to achieve transhumanism would be a just cause for war. Onward transhumanist soldiers!

Although the sects disputed finer points of doctrine at the conference, it is clear to me that transhumanism aspires to be what monotheism was to polytheism. It seeks to supplant theism as society’s reigning source of mores and values. If it can be said to worship anything, it is an intense and potentially eugenic pursuit of a perfected humanity. We will be free from sin by definition—none of those moral restrictions on life. And we will be delivered from death by technology. Like many faith systems, transhumanism offers consolation in suffering (we can eliminate it) and hope in the face of death (it’s “­optional”).

Different strokes for different folks, as they say. But there are dangers. Terasemite principles aside, at the ten-hour conference there was little discussion of love for, or duties toward, others. The one exception was Pellissier, who ended the day with an angry story of excitedly organizing a charity drive to collect used cell phones for Africa from fellow transhumanists, only to receive zero responses from his brethren.

This sadly confirms my observations of transhumanism over the last ten years. Even the utopianism that should be one of its most attractive characteristics has a cruel aspect. Transhumanists tacitly—sometimes explicitly—reject the principle that each and every human being deserves respect and protection simply by virtue of being human. Such a morality impedes the benevolent god known as evolution—thus delaying the perfected human future they envision. To bring about the hoped-for future we must discard the notion of each human’s intrinsic dignity. One need not think transhumanists’ predictions will come true to worry that their ­values might take hold.   

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.  This article was copied from: