The Carrot or the Stick

The Carrot or the Stick

Carrot – image pixabay.com
Bamboo Stick- – image pixabay.com

Some people want to portray GOD as just love while others as a vengeful god spewing “fire and brimstone”. Christians who study scriptures diligently must come to the conclusion GOD is both. To become a Christian we must admit we are sinners and repent. Elsewhere in the Bible there are numerous references to The Love GOD has for us and creation – of course Sin, Fallen Angels, Satan and Evil is excluded.

Romans 3:23 ESV

Punishment – image pixabay.com

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 10:9 ESV

Reward – image pixabay.com

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved

Salvation comes by accepting that Jesus paid for all sin: this is the “carrot”; un-confessed sin and an unrepentant attitude condemns us to hell: that is the stick.

Heaven or Hell – image pixabay.com

The Carrot is Sweet!

Sweet – image pixabay.com

Revelation 21:8 ESV

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

The Stick is Bitter!

Sour – image pixabay.com

Therefore we as Christians must speak truth: Yes God is Love he provides and has given Salvation through the sacrificial  work of Jesus Christ on the Cross but, to ignore the penalty for unrepentant sin does not help anyone and leads to eternal damnation.


SONG: Kristian Stanfill: My Reward – Official Lyric Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPOWMApmacY


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Dreams, Visions and Voices

Dreams, Visions and Voices

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SONG: Twila Paris – I Will Listen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUnk1td2sQU


General revelation (creation) suggests to most people GOD as the creator. The Bible Christians use is a special form of revelation:
Inspired Scripture – image pixabay.com
1) Holy Spirit inspired writings,
2) GOD generated visions and dreams,
3) Angelic visitation and,
4) GOD’s spoken voice. 
Let us look at an example of each:

1) Holy Spirit

John 14:26 ESV

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But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

2) GOD generated visions and dreams

Genesis 37:5-8 ESV

Spencer Collection, The New York Public Library. “Full-page miniature with four scenes” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 17, 2019. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-e9b4-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Spencer Collection, The New York Public Library. “Small miniature of John and full-page miniature of the First Vision” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 17, 2019. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-eca0-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

Acts 16:9 ESV

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And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

3) Angelic visitation

Luke 1:19 ESV

And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.
Angelic Visitation – image pixabay.com

4) GOD’s spoken voice

 

1 Samuel 3:10 ESV

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Moses receiving the Ten Commandments” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 17, 2019. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/b0d728c0-e148-0132-1904-58d385a7bbd0
And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”

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Why the Fisherman, Sinners and Tax Collectors

Why the Fisherman?

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Jesus was not starting a new religion, he came to lead the Hebrews back to GOD. All the people of Jewish hierarchy  were well in trenched in the dogma they established and perpetuated.

Fisherman – images from pixabay.com

Most of the augmented law of  The Pentateuch had been corrupted to benefit the religious and secular Jewish leaders. The Jewish fisherman and other laymen understood “The Law” and traditions but were open to what a new Rabi (Jesus) had to say.

Matthew 23:1-39 ESV

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, …

Sinners and Tax Collectors?

Matthew 9:11 ESV

And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Mark 2:17 ESV

And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jews Seek to Attack Jesus The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Jews Seek to Stone Jesus” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 10, 2019. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/6728e710-a397-0134-6963-00505686a51c

OK John the Baptist offered a way for the Jews to repent and regain favor with GOD and apparently most rejected him. Jesus came to offer the same to all the Jewish people but it seems only sinners and tax collectors heard and obeyed. Only a very few leaders responded as Nicodemus had. Eventually the hardened hearts resulted in the Crucifixion of Jesus and the offer of salvation to all people (including Gentiles).

 

 

 

 


SONG: Open the Eyes of My Heart by Michael W. Smith, lyrics included.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idQ1n3cdgfo

 


Acts 28:28 ESV

Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”


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Evil Redux

Evil Redux

About Evil – image pixabay.com
Evil Personified – image pixabay.com

Yes I wrote about evil before however, I thought it worthwhile to reiterate aspects of this seemingly ubiquitous aspect of life. If we just focus on The Ten Commandments and select those that instill an immediate threat to humans we should gain a bit more insight concerning evil. So, if I avoid debating social or cultural dilemmas head on cool heads may allow why sin is the source of evil. When GOD created the Heavenly Hosts they misused their Free Will as humans eventually had done later on when they were created. Satan and his demonic supporters fell from grace and influenced, and still influence, humanity: tempting us to give in to our sin nature thus perpetuating the influences of evil upon our world.

Isaiah 5:20 ESV

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Self defense,  defending good, defending your family may lead to killing because there is little choice; possibly self sacrifice if it can do good is possible, but:

Ten Commandments – images from pixabay.com

Exodus 20:13 ESV

“You shall not murder.

Rather than go through every possibility in a short blog I will point out how  two more sins cause evil to linger on the Earth.

1. Untruth: lies, omission, deception, manipulation . . . These cause the innocent harm; rob the innocent of what is theirs; encourages and enables a perpetrator to continue in these sinful ways.   2. Greed: How much does a person really need of anything? If a selfish person acts greedily innocent people loose out: food, clothing, healthcare, . . . . . employment doing honorable work.  

Left Out of Prosperity – image pixabay.com
There is no such thing as a victimless crime according to the Laws of GOD. Jesus paid for sin and fulfilled the penalty for sinning but He did not do away with GOD’s standards and definition for sin.
Our Hope – image pixabay.com
Accept Jesus’ sacrifice and gain eternal life.

SONG: I WILL FEAR NO EVIL / Worship Song by Pastor Daryl K Williams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8ChhXg8E-k  


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