The Art of Deception

Look Closely - image from pixabay.com
Look Closely – image from pixabay.com

People Deceiving Each Other is Part of Life

It would seem that there are cases when one person or a group deceiving another person or a group is an acceptable or even good thing but, is it? Strictly by GOD’s standard it is a sin (Is it not?):

Deception is part of life - image from pixabay.com
Deception is part of life – image from pixabay.com

Exodus 20:16 ESV

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.  . . .”

Most people interpret this verse to forbid lying.  So why did a number of instances in the Bible convey a situation when a form of lying seems to produce a positive result?

David feigned madness

1 Samuel 21:13-15 ESV 

So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

 

Rehab hides the spies

Joshua 2:3-4 ESV

. . . Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them.  . . .

 

Gideon deceives the enemy

Judges 7:19-21 ESV

 

19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch. And they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. 20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran.

Bat Car - image from pixabay.com
Bat Car – image from pixabay.com

The Explanation?

I could say context, purpose or justification but, the real explanation is simpler than that in my opinion: “We are living in a sinful world ruled by Satan.”  In this era deception may be the only way that the righteous can out wit the schemes of the great deceiver Satan.

 

Ephesians 6:12 ESV / 90 helpful votes

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Facades nypl-digitalcollections-510d47e3-ca55-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99-001-v
Facades nypl-digitalcollections-510d47e3-ca55-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99-001-v

Some Bible Verses:

Proverbs 19:5 ESV

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape.

Proverbs 21:6 ESV

The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.

Leviticus 19:11 ESV

“You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another.

AMEN

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Our Brain: Life Long Modification

Brain - image from pixabay.com
Brain – image from pixabay.com

Do you realize our human brain never stops adapting, self-correcting and learning?

Once it was thought that the human brain was pretty much set to what it would be for life by the time a person approached the thirty year old mark but, that is probably too simplistic a view.  Changes continue past this age and while not as rapid or dramatic as when developing from childhood to adult hood, nevertheless a life long process.

Family - image from pixabay.com
Family – image from pixabay.com

Science seems to validate Biblical guidance for us

Bible Study - image from pixabay.com
Bible Study – image from pixabay.com

Some scientists think the brain starts out with more neuron connections and discards unused ones instead of creating new ones establishing the lion’s share by about twenty-six years old. This may explain observed individual traits such as linguistic accents, harder to acquire certain skills such as playing a violin

Skills - image from pixabay.com
Skills – image from pixabay.com

as we age or the difficulty adults can have altering their destructive behavior.  So what do I gather from reading about current neuron science? I am convinced what GOD teaches us in the Bible is being verified by science in this era.

 

Instructions and wisdom in The Word of GOD taught how to develop and maintain a well-balanced person long before scientist explained how our brain develops and works.

 

First: what milieu we are immersed as we go though childhood

New Things - image from pixabay.com
New Things – image from pixabay.com

has a great effect upon who we become; change can come later in life but it requires a greater effort to experience improvement than if we developed it earlier in life.  Next: The brain can be rewired and respond to rehabilitation after a stroke or, overcome physical damage or disease with proper rehabilitation.  Some studies seem to even suggest that a person with a brain under attack from diseases that are manifested in older people actually can “rewire” itself around areas that have been damaged. What to I believe about all this information?

Improvement - image from pixabay.com
Improvement – image from pixabay.com

I believe guidance for a healthy brain is found in The Holy Bible: 1) Children nurtured, loved and taught  right from wrong have a better chance to become good people within their society; 2) An adult trying to overcome a negative start in life must work hard to undo the negative affects but he or she can do it; 3) Learning what is right and good is a life long process for the human brain: it never stops requiring input, adaptation, integrating new information, assimilating new experiences and updated self meaning.

Here are some Bible quotes that reinforce my belief: 

Proverbs 1:5 ESV 

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,

Proverbs 1:7 ESV

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Proverbs 22:6 ESV

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

1 John 4:1-3 ESV 

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

Hebrews 4:12 ESV 

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

AMEN

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Population and Daily Life

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image from pixabay.com

More People More Problems

When Moses acted as preeminent leader and directed the Israelite Nation out into the desert as GOD instructed he came upon a reality: More people to lead meant more problems and he needed help in order to accomplish his job. His father in law (Jethro) observed a problem that Moses faced: As only leader set before the people Moses was overwhelmed by mediation requests and the back up of those needing a hearing tired the people also.  Jethro advised Moses:

Exodus 18 ESV

14 Jethro saw Moses judging the people. He asked, “Why are you doing this? Why are you the only judge? And why do people come to you all day?”

15 Then Moses said to his father-in-law, “The people come to me and ask me to ask for God’s decision for their problem. 16 If people have an argument, they come to me, and I decide which person is right. In this way I teach the people God’s laws and teachings.”

17 But Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “This isn’t the right way to do this. 18 It is too much work for you to do alone.

People Serving- image from pixabay.com
People Serving- image from pixabay.com

Serving the people meant delegating

Moses delegated the task of judging situations that the people under him had need for resolution to leaders and elders and numerous levels. The easiest decisions made at the lowest levels and only major or difficult judgments need be presented to Moses himself.

World Watchdogs- image from pixabay.com
World Watchdogs- image from pixabay.com

And so with global population increases administration of service tasks also increases.

The human experience on planet Earth thus began in such a way as heads of families then clans could provide leadership and judgments up to this day vast populations require ever increasing specialized jobs to serve the people.

(C) James Halifko
(C) James Halifko

Yes, the challenge is great but GOD’s standards still prevail to all people everywhere

 

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When No or Yes Really Means Maybe

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images from pixabay.com

Here in the USA it is high stakes political season

images from pixabay.com
images from pixabay.com

As I write the Republican Party Convention is underway and next week the Democratic Party Convention will be upon us: they are what dominate the media when underway.  Of course this fall we American Citizens will be voting to select the next president and here there is no higher political office – no more important office on the planet some say.  Yes GOD knows people require leaders and if not actually blessed by GOD governments exists because GOD allows them. You must study The Holy Bible cover to cover to truly understand this scriptural concept. Fellow Christian for the purpose of this article know that GOD is the ultimate overseer of even what politicians do as our leaders.

Romans 13:1  ESV

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

For me it is a challenge: I do not trust politicians.

images from pixabay.com
images from pixabay.com
images from pixabay.com
images from pixabay.com

I know that the term politics is applied throughout our world and it is not limited to politicians whom run for office desiring to represent us and act as leaders on our behalf.  We mention things like office politics, sports politics and even church politics; what do we mean by this much used and loosely applied term? It refers to the negative assessment many of us have of most politicians.  Often we say or hear someone else say, “Politics and politicians are a necessary evil.”  I for one dislike this characterization because the realms of duplicity, subterfuge and ambiguity may be part of human nature but, GOD has a higher standard by which our conduct is (or ultimately will be) judged.

[scripture no no yes yes]

History reveals the treachery of humans

Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "...and the Fuhrer to conduct extensive discussions on the German-Russian relations in the context of the friendship pact between the two states. The visit concluded with complete agreement." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed July 19, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ad8bf4f8-ab53-1f4b-e040-e00a18061930
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “…and the Fuhrer to conduct extensive discussions on the German-Russian relations in the context of the friendship pact between the two states. The visit concluded with complete agreement.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed July 19, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ad8bf4f8-ab53-1f4b-e040-e00a18061930

Hitler signed an agreement with Stalin during World War II dividing Poland between them and promising not to attack The U.S.S.R. but that did not last long. Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Russia in June 1941 this tragic betrayal contributed to the horrendous death toll attributed to the global conflict. This may be a monstrous example of betrayal but it is by no means the only example we can study.  A cursory review of history will review examples of treachery by individuals that had devastating effects on those who trusted them. Political and military traitors and even ordinary citizens at times committed this evil offense.

Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "At the invitation of the Soviet government, Reich Foreign Minister von Robbentrop is in Moscow for crucial talks..." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed July 19, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ad8bf4f8-ab59-1f4b-e040-e00a18061930
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “At the invitation of the Soviet government, Reich Foreign Minister von Robbentrop is in Moscow for crucial talks…” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed July 19, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ad8bf4f8-ab59-1f4b-e040-e00a18061930

The demonstrations of the treachery people are capable of often surprised me. That all change for me when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and begun to study The Holy Bible.  Scripture illustrated devious people in positions that inflected great harm when their duplicitous action was executed even in ancient times and taught me that we all are capable of such a sin.

Matthew 15:19 ESV

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

Most of us want to belong

images from pixabay.com
images from pixabay.com

It is our nature to want to be seen as “good”, accepted, included and so on. The desire to be part of a family, clan, tribe or nation is not a bad thing it is part of out heritage and has contributed to the survival of humanity on an often hostile planet.  When this longing to be counted in is part f the human experience it can mask many problems that the darker side of our nature precipitates. OK, we are reluctant “rock the boat” or say something when we observe something suspicious yet, as Christians GOD wants us to strive to overcome the evils and negatives of this worlds by being obedient to the standards GOD has revealed for us through the prophets now contained in the Holy Bible.

Matthew 5:37  ESV

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

images from pixabay.com
images from pixabay.com
Yes fellow Christian it is not easy but we must do what is right

Why do we gather in fellowship, study GOD’s Word and strive to obey what Jesus has instructed? We do these things to help each other be accountable, to encourage one another to do what is right, to teach the children and new Christians the truths so that we bring “The Light of Jesus” to a dark world.

James 4:17  ESV

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

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******* Special Blog Post 1 : Who Represents Christians *******

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images from pixabay.com

Romans 13:1 ESV

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Something about living in the U.S.A.

 

” . . . Thus, while it is clear that democracy must guarantee the expression of the popular will through majority rule, it is equally clear that it must guarantee that the majority will not abuse use its power to violate the basic and inalienable rights of the minority.  . . . ” 

Excerpt from* Majority Rule/Minority Rights: Essential Principles

*http://democracyweb.org/node/36

Referenced: Alexis de Tocqueville, “Tyranny of the Majority,” Chapter XV, Book 1, Democracy in America

 

Are we Bible Believing Christians now a minority in a Nation founded if entirely by Christians, overwhelmingly influenced by people who had excepted GOD’s Holy Bible as the preeminent authority; the guide to all matters people encounter and experience on Earth?

Is secular humanism deliberately diminishing our influence upon our Government and our people which has served to preserve “The Greater Good” despite the flawed and imperfect aspects of the human race?

images from pixabay.com
images from pixabay.com

Maybe it is time for the creation of a new Political Party that will represent our interests and preserve the Greater Good that only adherence to the word of god can maintain.

Major political parties*

*from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_the_United_States

A party that has “an independent state organization… in a majority of the states”[1] is listed as a major party. An “independent state organization” is not to be confused with the organization of an Independent Democrat or Independent Republican.

Political Party

States*

Founded in

Former Titles

International Affiliations

Democratic Party 50 + DC 1828 Progressive Alliance[2]
Republican Party 50 + DC 1854 International Democrat Union[3]
Libertarian Party 48 + DC[4] 1971 Interlibertarians[5]
Green Party 36 + DC[6] 1991 Global Greens
Constitution Party 26[6] 1992 U.S. Taxpayers’ Party

There is a webpage* that indicates “Christian Democrats of America”

* http://www.christiandemocratsofamerica.org/

My fellow Christians look into this group, similar groups or start one yourself in order to promote the influence of GOD’s Word upon our Country (and The World).  It is my hope that we can lesson the influence  and effects of evil on the people of our planet.  Thank You

(Permission to use)
(Permission to use)

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Love Beyond Lust

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images from pixabay.com
True love goes way beyond lust or pleasant feelings

Pleasant feelings and physical attraction may initiate a relationship between a man and a woman but true love is much more than this. Selfless caring for one another, spiritual growth as a couple and a commitment to limit sexual activity exclusively to each other.  From initial infatuation to a deep understanding of one another is accomplished through keeping the stated promise to be true and loyal to one another.

You ask , “The Bible teaches that no one is without sin; what happens when one or both fall short?”
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images from pixabay.com

The Bible also explains this:

1 Peter 4:8

English Standard Version
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

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images from pixabay.com

To me  . . . “love covers a multitude of sins.” means love overrides our own personal (often selfish) preferences and agendas.  Imperfections exist in every one; I have not seen proof of any kind that there exists (or has exited) a perfect human being.  No me, not you not your spouse . . . or even your parents or children.  Love gives us the ability to accept imperfection for what it is.  Of course manifestations of evil or behaviors intended to do harm must be considered more than imperfection if it becomes a threat to life and limb.  This includes deliberate metal cruelty beyond an occasional loss of temper or action done in ignorance.  Love therefore can be a life changing influence also.  The family unit is the building block of nations and love insures a positive outcome.

images from pixabay.com
images from pixabay.com

 But where does love come from?

1 John 4:19 ESV 

We love because he first loved us.

John 3:16 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

GOD taught us how to love and when we build family units with this spirit of love we build strong nations and demonstrate the good GOD wants for all people.

Love between husbands and wives is the glue that holds the family unit together and helps chart a course through life.

images from pixabay.com
images from pixabay.com

Marriage described in the Bible is an ancient covenant between a Man and a Woman for the purpose of having and raising children thus sustaining human life.  The quality of life and the result of people procreated and nurtured in this way promotes health mentally well-balanced contributing citizens of Earth.  The “good” we see in the world is sustained in this way when humans are diligent to follow the instruction revealed by GOD within The Holy Bible.  The formula is easy to understand and the goals are not difficult to achieve.  However, since the introduction of sin into the World we must work hard not to fall into temptation and yield to evil of any sort subverting the benefits of marriage .  Christians can rely on GOD helping to deliver the positive result from Christian marriage and procreation by, studying GOD’s Word and applying it to their life and the fabric of the family.

Husbands:

Ephesians 5:25 ESV

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, . . .

 Wives:

Titus 2:4-5 ESV

And so train the young women to love their husbands and children, . . .

 

 

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How to Become a New Creature

Christians receive many blessings and become new creatures

When we understand our true nature, agree with GOD and accept Jesus Christ and His message we become a new creature.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

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images from pixabay.com

What does this mean?  Does it mean we shed our skin and look different?

It means GOD no longer sees us as sinners – past, present or future – because Jesus has paid the price for sinning: death, ultimately spiritual death.  GOD has amnesia with respect to our sinful nature and we are assured of an eternal life.

Romans 3:23 ESV 

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

Hebrews 8:12 ESV

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

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images from pixabay.com

We have a new spiritual nature and depending on our progress as new creatures becoming more Christ-like we will display this change more as we grow in our Christian walk.

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images from pixabay.com
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images from pixabay.com

Some sins are easy to defeat but, some sins are PERSISTENT and take a RELENTLESS desire to purge from our being.

Hebrews 2:18 ESV

For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

And so my fellow Christian, if you keep up the “Good Fight” against even the sinful tenancies within your self Our Lord can help you succeed. Remain committed, recall the victories, if you stumble repent and continue to walk in the faith.  Study God’s Word each day, feed your mind what is good, and fellowship with like minded believers helping each other to be that “New Creature” even in this old world.

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images from pixabay.com

 

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The Greater Good

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In a world increasingly influenced by multiculturalism, pluralism and (seemingly CONTRADICTORY) individualism circumstances may beg the question: What is meant by The term “The greater good”?

If we could eavesdrop on two wise and learned people engaged in a debate about “The Greater Good”  – one from antiquity and one from a possible future – perhaps we may gain some deeper understanding of this concept.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Community Hall, promoted by the Little Theater, Fargo, N.D." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-b9e8-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Community Hall, promoted by the Little Theater, Fargo, N.D.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 7, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-b9e8-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Standing on a stage before a group of people from around the world and many different periods of time, are two distinguished representatives about to debate one another on what is meant by the phrase “The Greater Good”?

The representative for the ancients is a man named Manu on the right; the representative for people yet to be extant a woman named Ai on the left; I (James) shall be seated below and in front of them and act as moderator when necessary.

The Beginning.

Moderator:     Ai and Manu you have read the rules for this discussion; if you do not have any questions are you ready to discuss the topic “The Greater Good”?

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image from pixabay.com

Ai:                     Yes.

Manu:              Yes.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. "[Man with white beard wearing beaded necklace and tunic with design of large white bird.]" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-0f11-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. “[Man with white beard wearing beaded necklace and tunic with design of large white bird.]” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-0f11-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Moderator:     Manu please tell us about what the term meant to early humans before there were cities, farms or permanent settlements.

Manu:              In those days the created people emerged from the forests and engaged the world; the men hunted or fished as the women and children (able enough to help), gathered seeds, fruit and other small edibles.  All helped manage water use and waste disposal.  These practices constituted the first rules intended to insure survival; they insured all members of the group had the best chance to survive. Survival equaled “The Greater Good” Not adhering to them would certainly lead to death.

Moderator:     Ai in the eras yet to come does this clear concept still ensure survival for the people who live in the future?

Ai:                   “The Greater Good” in the future is the same as “Do what Ever Makes You Happy”.

Moderator:     Manu what kinds of humans suffered punishment and why if they were judged to do things or behave in such a way as to violate the rules jeopardizing survival of the many?

 

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Fort of Kelat-e-Giljee, a chieftain & female of the Giljee tribe & Huzzareh peasants" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-6a37-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Fort of Kelat-e-Giljee, a chieftain & female of the Giljee tribe & Huzzareh peasants” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-6a37-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Manu:              In the earliest days there were no jails or systems to modify or control recalcitrant individuals therefore capital punishment was the norm. Very few violators were punished in less severe ways. Gradually with the advent of larger populations other punishments requiring payment or restitution supplanted capitol remedies.

Ai:                  Allow me: In the future there is no punishment we understand all things are relative so we tolerate all but a very few crimes; the only remedies are control of a violator with substances that modify their behavior or relocate them. We no longer prosecute victimless crime.

Manu:          Excuse me, what kind of life do individuals lead?

Ai:                 Most law-abiding individuals are happy and content; everything is provided from cradle to death (death is only determined by choice of the individual) or they can live perpetually since science prolongs life indefinitely. People try this or that but most settle into a quiet lifestyle enjoying constant virtual reality entertainment.

Manu:          Is there nothing to engage in? No great people of science or leadership?

Ai:               There is no need for any of that.  Machines attend to every conceivable need a person may have. Machines do all the work and people simply seek pleasure and enjoy whatever pleases them.

Manu:         And what about spiritual life, family life, friendly competition, exploration of the universe or altruism?

image from pixabay.com
image from pixabay.com

Ai:              Those are all things of the past.  There are no needy people; we can explore any imagined world using virtual reality; there is no need for GOD, God or gods we are each a god of our own.  Humans can choose to live perpetually if they want to.

Manu:        What is the average life span in this Utopian future?

Ai:              Life span by choice averages about thirty years of age . . .

Manu:        What!?

Ai:             By that age most people have experienced all the joy they can  and chose to vacate allowing room for a newly emerged individual . . .

Moderator:     Ai and Manu I am sorry because that is all the time we have for today’s debate.  We hope to see you both again and continue with this topic.

image from pixabay.com
image from pixabay.com

to be continued.

I am not sure what you make think concerning this topic but, I as a follower of Jesus Christ trust Him for my future.

GOD has created us for a purpose that is beyond our selfish selves.  In this life we can be transformed by following HIS precepts; we can be fulfilled; we can know that we have a purpose and a destiny; HE will prepare us for a new future with HIS gift of eternal life that has meaning and fulfillment now and forever more.

Some Bible verses that point the way:
      1. 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!

      1. James 2:14-17 ESV

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

      1. Galatians 6:9 ESV

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

      1. Galatians 5:19-26 ESV

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. …

      1. Proverbs 4:27 ESV

Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

  1. Romans 12:21 ESV

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/

Beware of those who Spin Truth

Spinning Top from Pixabay.com
Spinning Top from Pixabay.com

Spinning truth is one thing but claiming a lie is true and truth is a lie is very worrisome indeed.

Politician The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "The Politician" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/129edc60-e8f4-0130-ec12-58d385a7bbd0
Politician
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Politician” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/129edc60-e8f4-0130-ec12-58d385a7bbd0

When I was teenager my love of folk music lead me to Greenwich Village in New York City where I spent most of my free time in the mid 1960’s.  I learned a great deal about the music business and recording industry but what had I learned most about?  How to negotiate life in “The Big City” and survive.  I became very street wise and not all my acquired knowledge came the “Easy way.”  Fortunate to survive unharmed and without winding up in jail was a major accomplishment.

Tammany Hall The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Tammany Hall, N.Y." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-1ff8-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Tammany Hall
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Tammany Hall, N.Y.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-1ff8-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

This practical knowledge has served me well throughout my life: when I served in The United States Army and curiosity led me to some seedy places; when I was a performer in country and rock bands that exposed me to nightlife that held many dangers; when I was confronted by unscrupulous business people.  I learned to really appreciate honest people who were truthful.

Today there is an insidious threat  permeating almost every level of society in the USA and World.

President Clinton from Pixabay.com
President Clinton from Pixabay.com

No duplicity is not new; the negative effect however can reach more people than ever simply because there are more people and they are better connected.  We can learn from the past in order to make life better but we can also learn from the past how to perpetrate more sophisticated subterfuge. On the surface it appears The United State s of America expects a  high standard of conduct from all its people but dig deeper and some disturbing trends appear.

Blind Man The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Blind man's buff ; 'Turn round three times, and catch whom you may.'" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-880c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Blind Man
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Blind man’s buff ; ‘Turn round three times, and catch whom you may.'” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-880c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Change is inevitable how we respond to it makes all the difference.

The middle class in the USA expected their children would have a better life: more economic success and security.  Sadly this seems to be falling short.  I met a skilled worker who would have many job opportunities fifty years ago but needed to accept a position as a laborer for low wages and no benefits.  If politicians spent more time seeking ways to work with change rather working with blame perhaps he would have chosen training in some other field (not going to list what fields are in or out in this article).

Political Booth The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Booths of commercial and political exhibitors at Eastern States Fair. Springfield, Massachusetts." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ba309cea-948a-4288-e040-e00a18066c61
Political Booth
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Booths of commercial and political exhibitors at Eastern States Fair. Springfield, Massachusetts.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ba309cea-948a-4288-e040-e00a18066c61

Politicians are not the only people ‘speaking out of both sides of their mouths.’

Yes No Bananas Music Division, The New York Public Library. "YES! We have no bananas" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-4f77-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Yes No Bananas
Music Division, The New York Public Library. “YES! We have no bananas” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-4f77-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Everyday people are taking their cue from politicians I fear: presenting a rosy picture on the surface while selfishly cutting corners behind the scenes despising their situation, choosing which laws to disregard and cheating where possible in order to gain an advantage.

As a follower of Jesus Christ I strive for something much better: honesty, empathy and constantly suppressing my flaws such as selfishness and self elevation at the expense of others. Instead I strive to make my yes a Yes and my no a No.

Examples from Holy Scripture:

Matthew 5:37 ESV

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil

James 5:12 ESV

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

Proverbs 17:7 ESV

Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince.
2 Corinthians 7:14 ESV

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

John 8:44 ESV

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Stewardship: Manage and Preserve

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Wise use of Earth’s resources insures our progeny can use them too.

"Oil is a Fossil Fuel" Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Earth oil wells--Yenanchoung." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c2633a1c-93ec-7539-e040-e00a180617a1 forest
“Oil is a Fossil Fuel”
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Earth oil wells–Yenanchoung.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c2633a1c-93ec-7539-e040-e00a180617a1
forest

I believe the famous Greek scholar Aristotle advocated the use and consumption of things in moderation.  This is good advice: apply the concept of “The Happy Medium” to what you use as much as possible.  If people were to do just that more “good things” would be available for many more people.  Even if we were to discover a dozen new Earths tomorrow astronomical distances are so great we would not be able to obtain natural resources from them nor, can we easily obtain any natural resource we may discover on the Moon, Mars or on asteroids.

Many of Earth’s resources have a limit and some cannot be recycled.

"Coal a Fossil Fuel" The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "A trainload of coal from Pittsburgh fields for Lake Superior consumption, Conneaut, Ohio." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-9944-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
“Coal a Fossil Fuel” The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “A trainload of coal from Pittsburgh fields for Lake Superior consumption, Conneaut, Ohio.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-9944-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Coal, natural gas and oil could run out there is a finite amount here on our planet.  Metals, papers and plastic can be recycled but I think recycling 100% is not realistic.  Ships are lost at sea so deep it isn’t practical to retrieve them.  Cloth and paper gradually turn to dust and get blown away by the wind. Yes items manufactured from plants (trees, grains) are called renewable but as the population of Earth increases land used to grow them for things may have to be used to grow food.  The oceans once seemed to be able to yield unlimited food but there now are indications that the seas could be with large intricate Eco systems faltering.   With the danger of oceanic demise comes the risk of widespread loss of our food chain; not counting the damage of climate change altering vital global climate stabilizing sea currents.

The Oceans once seemed to offer unlimited food and wealth.

"Fishing an Ancient Occupation" The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Pulling the nets, fishing in the Bay of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-599a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
“Fishing an Ancient Occupation”
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Pulling the nets, fishing in the Bay of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-599a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

It may be obvious to many people who stewardship of Earth’s resources goes beyond the use of fossil fuels, food sources and recycling plastics.  Humans have effected the oceans and the atmosphere with waste material which in turn seems to have initiated artificial climate change and harm on a global scale.  People have demonstrated high levels of intelligence and ingenuity when motivated by the opportunity for profit.  Opportunity to reap vast personal wealth from the process of invention and production of useful or desirable things.  Yes, innovation has improved the lives of countless humans and made some wealthy, yet the unintended consequences are now manifesting negative side effects; air and water pollution;  tainted land; degraded natural beauty.  Although greed and expediency may be significant causes of the ill effects, they are not the only reason for them: mismanagement and waste do harm also.

Farming is an ancient occupation that is now in change.

"Farmers Go Way Back in History" The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "In the great corn fields of eastern Kansas, U.S.A." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-6318-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
“Farmers Go Way Back in History”
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “In the great corn fields of eastern Kansas, U.S.A.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-6318-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

For much of human history farms were a family, clan or co-operative endeavor but now consolidation is transforming the way humans produce their food.  Large corporations and companies are consolidating small and medium farms and ranches into large mega entities; the family culture is being supplanted by efficient science based industrial operations.  Yes they increase efficiency but I worry about the potential for profit to be the priority over preservation and conscientious use. Short term gain may be more prevalent in our times which sacrifices long-term security but, does it have to be that way?.  Our children and our children’s children will also need to eat; need shelter; clothing; energy for heating and cooling.  I hope those who are considerate of long-term issues win over those who seek only immediate gain.

          My song about vanishing farms.

Christians can seem to be on the wrong side of these issues sometimes too. 

In my study of Biblical principles I have learned about God’s goodness and through His Word it is written that God wants humans to use what Earth and its resources for good. This includes plants, animals and materials.  Using and making use of, does not include excessive or abusive  behavior as I understand it the message: good stewardship benefits all and is part of what makes life good.  The behaviors associated with negative practices are greed, selfishness and neglect of the needs of others.  I am a Christian and it is my desire that all should obtain eternal life by acceptance of Jesus Christ but, I also believe the needs of people should be considered (and we should help them when we can) as we spread “The Good News” about our God’s plan for Salvation.

What the Bible says about good stewardship and competent management.

Genesis 2:15 ESV

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work and keep it.

Proverbs 12:10 ESV

Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.

Proverbs 27:18 ESV

Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit,
and he who guards his master will be honored.

as well.Numbers 35:33 ESV

You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.

John 6:12 ESV

When they had all, had enough to eat, he said to His disciples, “Gather the pieces that are leftover. Let nothing be wasted.”

Leviticus 19:9-10 ESV

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to the edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

 

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