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RADICAL DISCUSSIONS: Is The Message Of Paul The Apostle Different From The Message Of Jesus Christ?

Paul Banks

Image by Valeria Melissia Rosalez via Flickr

Welcome once again to radical discussions, where Femi A and Femi J have a series of arguments about various controversial and life changing topics. The rules of war are simple – we both choose a side and the debate begins.

Feel free to join in, but we do warn you that this battle ground is only for the open minded.

Now that we have our usual introduction out of the way, let’s jump into the discussion:

“Is the message of Paul the Apostle different from the message of Jesus Christ?’

I will begin by taking the position of “Yes”. The message of Paul is without a doubt a completely different message from the message of Jesus Christ.

There are many directions in which this debate can go, because i intend to highlight “many considerable differences” between both messages.

At this point i will begin with an example of one of those differences:

Matthew 23:1-12

1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practise what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honour at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted in the market-places and to have men call them ‘Rabbi’. 8 BUT YOU ARE NOT TO BE CALLED ‘RABBI’, for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9 AND DO NOT CALL ANYONE ON EARTH ‘FATHER’, for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 NOR ARE YOU TO BE CALLED ‘TEACHER’, for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant.12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

The instructions/message of Jesus in this passage is pretty straight forward and clear.

You are not to be called Rabbi/Pastor/Teacher/Father/Master.

There is only “one” teacher – Jesus Christ and there is only “one” father – who is in heaven.

Paul on the other hand says –

Ephesians 4:4-12

4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men. 9 (What does he ascended mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 IT WAS HE WHO GAVE SOME TO BE APOSTLES, SOME TO BE PROPHETS, SOME TO BE EVANGELISTS, AND SOME TO BE PASTORS AND TEACHERS. 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

How did Paul come to the conclusion that Jesus gave gifts to men, some to be apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers?

Either Paul does not know that there should only be “one teacher”, or he knows the truth and is deliberately distorting the message of Christ.

Nevertheless the society of today has chosen to follow the message of Paul, rather than the message of Christ – because there are thousands of pastors, apostles, bishops, teachers and “fathers in the lord”, who all think they have been given some sort of special gift.

This is only one of the very many discrepancies we will explore between the message of Jesus and the message of Paul.

But for now i pose the question to you.

Why is Paul appointing teachers, if Jesus says there should be only one?

Femi J. a.k.a Mystikey. Your move 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in RADICAL DISCUSSIONS, THOUGHTS

 

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LONDON TOWN IS FALLING DOWN

London Burning

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It was a loaded gun. The safety was off, and it was cocked and ready for an eager finger to pull the trigger. London town is falling down, and there are no fair ladies in sight.

Let’s face it, its been coming for a long time. It doesn’t take a sociological analyst to see that the English society is a bomb waiting to explode. News reports of how things will “get better” are simply not enough to calm down the impatient flames burning through the nerves of the system. A disease has only one word in mind, “spread”.

Flicking on the TV I am faced with countless reports which all seem to be on the wrong focus. London is on fire and there are a bunch of criminals on the streets creating and reaping from the advantage of chaos.

Granted, there is absolutely no justification for their actions. Setting cars on fire, destroying property and stealing things is wrong, as I am sure most of us will readily agree.

The English government has continuously emphasised this point, and has gone further to assure the people that those responsible will be punished severely for their actions.

In my view the government hasn’t quite got the picture yet.

One of the most popular discussions of all time is the Nature vs Nurture debate.

Some believe that a persons inherent personality has a greater impact on his actions. Others believe that the environment is a much stronger influence.

Personally, I am of the view that there are very few people who have a strong enough personality to always consciously do what they know is right – compared with the masses of people that would rather conform to the immoral norms of society.

On that note when I look at the London situation, I have a pretty different perspective from the focal point of the news.

First of all, the prison punsihment doesn’t work. There isn’t enough space for all of them, and they know this. Most are underage and there is a limit to their sentencing. And the rest don’t even care if they get locked away, because all they do is 2 days, the day they go in, and they day they go out.

You’re dealing with a hardened mentality that has a limited fear and even less respect for the system. There’s us, and there’s them.

“Them” are the ones that cut bugets, increase interest rates and taxes, bump up fuel prices, reduce the chances of people getting an education, and listen in on private conversations so they can be sold to “News of the World”.

“Us” are the powerless victims of these circumstances, and when the cup gets full, any excuse is a good enough one for a backlash.

Granted, they should be held accountable for their actions. But how do you solve a problem without paying attention to why the problem exists?

Is there something wrong with the system? Clearly there is.

In a society where people are taught to care only for themselves and make the most of every opportunity, is it really a surprise to find people who utilise the opportunities that chaos provides?

England is a place where people feel consciously victimised because of race or ethnicity. The authorities abuse their power and hide behind a charade of headlines and news reports. The gap between the rich and the poor is extending and people are getting further and further in debt. There are not enough jobs and the few jobs that are available won’t hire without a degree or work experience. But people can’t get work experience without a job, so they are forced to make do with benefits or minimum wage, and then face the news that it now costs £9,000 a year to go university.

You do the math.

It was a loaded gun. The safety was off, and it was cocked and ready for an eager finger to pull the trigger.
London town is falling down, and there are no fair ladies in sight.

 

 

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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in THOUGHTS

 

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NIGERIAN GANGSTERS vs GANGSTERS IN ENGLAND

An image featuring a gun and a rose, primarily...

Image via Wikipedia

“Its a beef ting, and man dem wanna come at me like I aint gon do nufink! This aint no joke, what do you fink vis is? Man lookin to lick them if they don quit gassing.”

The anger on the English streets is evident in the language, even though the language itself struggles to find its place in the Oxford dictionary.

When beef roams the streets the only thing it does is get rotten. Young boys think they are men because they carry knives and spend each night looking over their shoulders.

One can’t help but notice the division between black and white. English streets are known for having two breeds of gangster, the darker the shade the darker the side of the story.

In a society where white thinks its cool to be black and black does things without thinking, they are left with an example that isn’t worth the trouble it brings.

Anger isn’t motivated by a just cause, instead it is an opportunistic exertion of pride, and a chance to gain the reputation of being one of the man dem. Bored youths searching endlessly for a sense of importance.

Nigerian gangsters have a different story to tell. They are more a victim of circumstance than on a quest for man hood. You know them when you see them. They have everyday faces, but their complexions have been hardened by experience. I’m sure you have come across one before. The glare in their eyes offers no compromise as they go about doing what Nigerian gangsters do; hustle.

A Nigerian gangster is a man with no address. He doesn’t own a car, but he can sell all your car parts in less than an hour. He rarely carries a gun or a knife, but when a fight breaks out a nearby Coca Cola bottle is his favourite weapon of choice.

He has no regard for his appearance. The money he makes comes and goes on alcohol, cigarettes, women and a few carefully rolled portions of “igbo”.

He lives each day like its his last; recognising that there is little he can do but accept the lifestyle that was presented to him by society.

The important question to ask is “why are there gangsters in the first place?”

Is it an inherent function of their personality, or are they really just a product of society?

 


Click Here To Read More Of The NIGERIA vs ENGLAND Series 

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in THOUGHTS

 

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DARING TO UNDERSTAND FAITH 2: Primal Religions

idol worship

Image by roujo via Flickr

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of religious beliefs, so it would be much wiser to assume that several religions were at play within different cultures at opposite ends of the world. Continents like Africa, Asia and the America’s traditionally held on to certain beliefs and lifestyles that became a prominent part of their identity.

The core essence of the primal belief system revolves around spirits or deities that are capable of influencing life here on earth. In Africa for example there are many traditional stories about how disease and death began, and parabolic explanations of life through the use of animals and nature. Certain elements like water and thunder are given god-like or spiritual characteristics, often accompanied with worship and sacrifices in order to gain favour with these gods.

A distinguishing element to note in these religions is the fact that there are usually several gods, some considered to be higher, and others referred to as lesser gods; all demanding different levels of attention. On occasion there are designated individuals who are considered to be the middle men responsible for communicating directly with these gods; and they are generally seen as the example to follow when practicing their religous duties.

There are over 100,million people across the globe that believe in primal religions and still practice their faith.

I understand the fact that there are many wondrous things in nature, some of which are difficult to explain. The entire process of planting a crop and harvesting it allows plenty of room for all kinds of things to go wrong, which could be potentially life threatening. Gaining security from thinking that performing a dance or some sort of ritualistic offering to gods, to keep a sense of hope that things will go well, is a notion that i can understand.

I do not deny the fact that there is the “possibility” of the existence of spirits, which certain individuals have managed to tap into or communicate with. Nevertheless,  personally i do not believe in any of the primal religions. For the simple reason that there are certain natural processes that have been explained, predicted and demonstrated, so i have reason enough to believe that occurrences like rain and sunshine are not in fact dictated by the gods.

To be continued…..

 


 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in THOUGHTS

 

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MIND CONTROL 86: The Finale

Fireworks Finale

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This is the last episode of the series.

I will make an attempt to summarize where we have come from and where we are going.

Hopefully the summary in itself….. will throw the final bit of light to understanding the message of Christ….. and why he was sent to us.

So let’s start from the top.

Why exactly was Jesus born?

John 18:37
37 FOR THIS REASON I WAS BORN, AND FOR THIS I CAME INTO THE WORLD, TO TESTIFY TO THE TRUTH. EVERYONE ON THE SIDE OF TRUTH LISTENS TO ME.”

Jesus was born…… so that he could let us know the truth.

John 7:28-29
28 “YES, YOU KNOW ME AND WHERE I WAS BORN AND RAISED, BUT I AM THE REPRESENTATIVE OF ONE YOU DON’T KNOW, AND HE IS TRUTH.
29 I KNOW HIM BECAUSE I WAS WITH HIM, AND HE SENT ME TO YOU.”

Jesus has insight into this “truth”…… because he knew the Father….. and was sent by him.

Luke 5:32
32 MY PURPOSE IS TO INVITE SINNERS TO TURN FROM THEIR SINS, NOT TO SPEND MY TIME WITH THOSE WHO THINK THEMSELVES ALREADY GOOD ENOUGH.”

There is an open invitation…… for those of us who are interested in listening and want to get to know this “truth” that he talks about.

But it requires something:

Matt 16:24-25
24 “IF ANYONE WOULD COME AFTER ME, HE MUST DENY HIMSELF AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS AND FOLLOW ME.
25 FOR WHOEVER WANTS TO SAVE HIS LIFE WILL LOSE IT, BUT WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFE FOR ME WILL FIND IT.

It requires you to give up your life…… in order to find “life”.

Matt 7:21
21 “NOT EVERYONE WHO SAYS TO ME, ‘LORD, LORD,’ WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, BUT ONLY HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN.

Its not about “talking”……. It is about “doing” the will of the Father.

What is the will of the Father?

Luke 10:27-28
27 “‘LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND, ‘LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF.'”
28 “DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.”

Life….. is dependent on a relationship with the Father.

A relationship with the Father……is dependent on love.

John 7:16-17
16 “MY TEACHING IS NOT MY OWN. IT COMES FROM HIM WHO SENT ME.
17 IF ANYONE CHOOSES TO DO GOD’S WILL, HE WILL FIND OUT WHETHER MY TEACHING COMES FROM GOD OR WHETHER I SPEAK ON MY OWN.

If you do what Jesus says…… you will find out if his message is the truth.

John 17: 22
22 I HAVE GIVEN THEM THE GLORY THAT YOU GAVE ME, THAT THEY MAY BE ONE AS WE ARE ONE:
23 I IN THEM AND YOU IN ME. MAY THEY BE BROUGHT TO COMPLETE UNITY TO LET THE WORLD KNOW THAT YOU SENT ME AND HAVE LOVED THEM EVEN AS YOU HAVE LOVED ME.

We are no different from Christ once we follow his message.

We have been given his glory as sons of the Father

Luke 18:17
17 I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, ANYONE WHO WILL NOT RECEIVE THE KINGDOM OF GOD LIKE A LITTLE CHILD WILL NEVER ENTER IT.”

The only way you can enter the kingdom of the Father….. is if we become like little children.

Luke 17:20-21
20 “THE KINGDOM OF GOD DOES NOT COME WITH YOUR CAREFUL OBSERVATION,
21 NOR WILL PEOPLE SAY, ‘HERE IT IS,’ OR ‘THERE IT IS,’ BECAUSE THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU.”

The kingdom of the Father is not a place that you look forward to when you physically die.

The kingdom of the Father is within you…… and you have to make a choice about whether you want to be a part of it.

The choice is not dependent on words…… it is dependent on actions.

Matt 5:48
48 BE PERFECT, THEREFORE, AS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS PERFECT.

It is dependent on perfection.

Perfection……is defined by “love”

Matt 7:13-14
13 “ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE. FOR WIDE IS THE GATE AND BROAD IS THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION, AND MANY ENTER THROUGH IT.
14 BUT SMALL IS THE GATE AND NARROW THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO LIFE, AND ONLY A FEW FIND IT.

The gateway to a relationship with the Father appears hard…… but the truth of the matter is that it is easy.

It is solely dependent on your decisions.

Like I said…… this is the end of the series.

This series serves a purpose that revolves around only one thing…….. to point you towards the Father.

The cliché way to go would be to say “the end”.

But given the context of what we are discussing…… ill take the ironic approach.

It is my hope that this isn’t the end……. But the beginning.

The beginning of a relationship with the Father…… one that you will be able to actualize now that you know the truth about his will.

So this isn’t the end……. It is once again……. To Be Continued…..

One love.

 

Click Here To Read More of The MIND CONTROL Series

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in THOUGHTS

 

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MIND CONTROL 85: A Thin Line Between Pleasing God, And Men

Line

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Crossing over to the other end of the spectrum…… there are those who do have a genuine desire to know the Father…… but they feel the need to make this known to the rest of the world….. and end up going about things the wrong way.

Matt 6:1-18
1 “BEWARE OF PRACTICING YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS BEFORE MEN TO BE NOTICED BY THEM; OTHERWISE YOU HAVE NO REWARD WITH YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN.
2 “When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
3 “But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing
4 that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

What we need to understand is that it is all about you and the Father.

If the reason why you are giving 1 million pounds to charity is because you want people to see you as a good person…… you are not doing it because of the Father.

We need to make sure that the “good” we supposedly do…… does not have benefits for “us”…. Otherwise in truth your motive is very likely to be selfish.

Christians make a show of “goodness” indicating once again that they really don’t understand the message.

5 “And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
6 “BUT YOU, WHEN YOU PRAY, GO INTO YOUR INNER ROOM, AND WHEN YOU HAVE SHUT YOUR DOOR, PRAY TO YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN SECRET, AND YOUR FATHER WHO SEES IN SECRET WILL REPAY YOU.

I have a friend that lives next door to a church called “Mountain of Fire”.

True to their name they “call down fire” 3 times a week and are a complete nuisance to everyone that lives on that street.

What is the point of screaming all night at the top of your lungs…… fighting against demons so that everyone will consider you to be a “powerful Christian”.

How does this play any relevance to an individual relationship with the Father?

7 “AND WHEN YOU ARE PRAYING, DO NOT USE MEANINGLESS REPETITION, AS THE GENTILES DO, FOR THEY SUPPOSE THAT THEY WILL BE HEARD FOR THEIR MANY WORDS.
8 “THEREFORE DO NOT BE LIKE THEM; FOR YOUR FATHER KNOWS WHAT YOU NEED, BEFORE YOU ASK HIM.

I cannot count the amount of times as a child I had to say “the grace”…. And all sorts of other prayers that can only be described as “meaningless reptition”.

Imagine having a friend who every time you spoke to him you read something from a script.

Is that a relationship?

Never the less, Jesus gave us a guide line to help our frame of thought.

9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME.
10 ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.’
14 “FOR IF YOU FORGIVE MEN FOR THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS, YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER WILL ALSO FORGIVE YOU.
15 “BUT IF YOU DO NOT FORGIVE MEN, THEN YOUR FATHER WILL NOT FORGIVE YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS.

It is ironic that just above we are told not to engage in meaningless repetition…… yet verses 9-13, more commonly known as the “lords prayer”, is probably one of the most repeated scriptures ever written.

It is important for us to understand the prayer…. And not just repeat it …. In order for it to have any form of relevance in our lives.

The prayer starts with emphasis once again on the name “Father”.

The name “Father” is Hallowed…… meaning that it is holy and sacred.

Belonging to one single individual.

This establishes the relationship and terms of reference.

He then says that we should ask for the will of the Father to be done in our lives…. And for his kingdom to come to us.

It is important to emphasise something critical that we have talked about in the past.

The will of the Father is done in heaven…… but it is not done on earth.

It is your choice….. to take a decision to allow the will of the Father to be done in “your life”.

Then he says that we should ask him for food….. because the Father is in the business of looking after his children.

The Father is also in the business of forgiving….. but only if you are willing to forgive other people as well….. call it “tit for tat” if you like.

Then he says we should ask the Father not to lead us into temptation….. but to deliver us from evil.

Please note: evil is not something that we are absolved from….. but we will be delivered from it…… if we ask him.

This isn’t a prayer that is to be repeated constantly with the occasional rephrasing of words.

It is a guide that gives you an idea of what our mind set should be like.

At the end of the day….. when you have a “relationship” with the Father…… you can talk to him about whatever you want.

Bearing in mind that if you know him…… there are certain things that wouldn’t cross your mind as a frame of discussion in the first place

16 “AND WHENEVER YOU FAST, DO NOT PUT ON A GLOOMY FACE AS THE HYPOCRITES DO, FOR THEY NEGLECT THEIR APPEARANCE IN ORDER TO BE SEEN FASTING BY MEN. TRULY I SAY TO YOU, THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD IN FULL.
17 “BUT YOU, WHEN YOU FAST, ANOINT YOUR HEAD, AND WASH YOUR FACE
18 SO THAT YOU MAY NOT BE SEEN FASTING BY MEN, BUT BY YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN SECRET; AND YOUR FATHER WHO SEES IN SECRET WILL REPAY YOU.

It is important that we recognize that we are dealing with the Father….. and not with a man.

Its not about doing the things that you do so that other men can admire you for it.

It is about a relationship between you and the Father.

Jesus says:

John 4:23-24
23 A TIME IS COMING AND HAS NOW COME WHEN THE TRUE WORSHIPPERS WILL WORSHIP THE FATHER IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH, FOR THEY ARE THE KIND OF WORSHIPPERS THE FATHER SEEKS.
24 GOD IS SPIRIT, AND HIS WORSHIPPERS MUST WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.”

The Father is interested in a relationship with you that has a “meaning”.

He is not interested in your efforts to please men.

He is interested in one thing and one thing only……..”YOU”

To be continued……

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in THOUGHTS

 

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MIND CONTROL 84: A Narrow Road To Travel

The feet of a tightrope walker.

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As said previously……Jesus gives us the keys….. and puts us in the drivers seat.

Matt 7:7-14
7 “ASK AND IT WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU; SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND; KNOCK AND THE DOOR WILL BE OPENED TO YOU.
8 FOR EVERYONE WHO ASKS RECEIVES; HE WHO SEEKS FINDS; AND TO HIM WHO KNOCKS, THE DOOR WILL BE OPENED.
9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
12 SO IN EVERYTHING, DO TO OTHERS WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU, FOR THIS SUMS UP THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.

There is no beating about the bush.

If you ask…… you will receive.

If you seek…… you will find.

If you knock….. the door will be opened to you.

But it comes with a fundamental requirement…….”love”

13 “ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE. FOR WIDE IS THE GATE AND BROAD IS THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION, AND MANY ENTER THROUGH IT.
14 BUT SMALL IS THE GATE AND NARROW THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO LIFE, AND ONLY A FEW FIND IT.

Not many people will find the Father.

Not many people will get to know the Father.

There is no other way to get to the Father…..outside of love.

One thing is certain…… the gate of love is small…… the road of love is narrow…. And only a few people will have the willingness to find it.

Luke 11:5-13
5 And He said to them, “Suppose one of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;
7 and from inside he shall answer and say,’ Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything. ‘
8 “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet BECAUSE OF HIS PERSISTENCE HE WILL GET UP AND GIVE HIM AS MUCH AS HE NEEDS.
9 “AND I SAY TO YOU, ASK, AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN TO YOU; SEEK, AND YOU SHALL FIND; KNOCK, AND IT SHALL BE OPENED TO YOU.
10 “FOR EVERYONE WHO ASKS, RECEIVES; AND HE WHO SEEKS, FINDS; AND TO HIM WHO KNOCKS, IT SHALL BE OPENED.
11 “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?
12 “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?

The principle is set in stone so we need to understand it.

A lot of us talk to some being we refer to as “God” never really expecting to hear from him.

We attribute the good things that happen in our lives to God and the bad things to the devil.

We don’t really have a relationship.

It is mostly about as intimate as a gambler and a slot machine.

Constantly asking for things and giving things so we can get things in return.

Even our human relationships are not this fickle….. yet we think we can get away with this when dealing with a being that can see our hearts.

The scenario above is relatively symbolic.

A clear emphasis needs to be placed on the word…… “persistence”.

Do you honestly think that the Father cannot tell whether or not you truly want to know him?

Do you think that the Father cannot tell that what you really want are the things you feel you can get from him?

The Father says we should ask…..and we will receive.

But an important question needs to be considered……

What are we asking for?

Are we asking him for cars, houses, fame and fortune?…… Or are we asking him for a relationship?

13 “IF YOU THEN, BEING EVIL, KNOW HOW TO GIVE GOOD GIFTS TO YOUR CHILDREN, HOW MUCH MORE SHALL YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER GIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THOSE WHO ASK HIM?”

We have been told to ask…….. but my dear friends…… it is not a blank check.

The Father wants to see what you will ask him for.

The Father only gives one gift…… and it is the greatest gift he could ever give to you.

He gives you……. “himself”.

He gives you “his spirit”…….. the Holy Spirit.

But most of us do not see the value in this.

We do not see the value of having a relationship with the Father.

But we see the value in cars and houses.

It is this skewed way of thinking…… that ensures that we are constantly asking…..but never receiving….. we are constantly seeking ….but never finding…. we are constantly knocking….. but the door is never opened.

Because we are asking for the wrong things.

The Father is not interested in your level of prosperity in the world.

He is interested in “knowing you”.

But the truth of the matter is this…… we are not interested in knowing him.

If we had it our way….. we would choose to live forever and enjoy the pleasures of the world……. rather than choose to have a relationship with the Father.

It is our mind set….. that is the greatest hindrance to knowing who the Father really is.

Mark 10:13-15
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.
14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME TO ME, AND DO NOT HINDER THEM, FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD BELONGS TO SUCH AS THESE.
15 I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, ANYONE WHO WILL NOT RECIVE THE KINGDOM OF GOD LIKE A LITTLE CHILD WILL NEVER ENTER IT.”

We need to become like children.

Children of the Father are defined by what they do.

It is one thing to “claim to be” a child…… it is another thing to “be” a child.

You cannot be a child….. yet do nothing in relation to what your Father says.

To be continued…..

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2011 in THOUGHTS

 

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MIND CONTROL 83: Because I Tell You The Truth, You Do Not Believe Me

Disbelief

Image by kmakice via Flickr

Why is it that till now we have failed to understand the message of Christ?

Why is it that Christians have gotten the message upside down?

Its simple……

The reason why Christians have never understood the message.

Is because Christians don’t actually do what Christ says.

They do what the “Bible” says.

As we have realized….. there is a fundamental difference between the message of Christ….. and the message of the “Bible” as a whole.

The word of God is “in” the Bible….. but the word of God is “not” the Bible.

John 8:37-59
37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet YOU SEEK TO KILL ME. BECAUSE MY WORD FINDS NO PLACE IN YOU.
38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “IF YOU WERE ABRAHAM’S CHILDREN, YOU WOULD DO WHAT ABRAHAM DID,
40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did.
41 You do what your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.”

For whatever reason…. The words of Christ have not found a place in our hearts.

That is why we don’t do what our Father does.

That is why we don’t “constantly do good”

42 Jesus said to them, “IF GOD WERE YOUR FATHER, YOU WOULD LOVE ME, FOR I PROCEEDED AND CAME FORTH FROM GOD; I CAME NOT OF MY OWN ACCORD, BUT HE SENT ME.
43 WHY DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT I SAY? IT IS BECAUSE YOU CANNOT BEAR TO HEAR MY WORD.
44 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 according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
45 BUT BECAUSE I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, YOU DO NOT BELIEVE ME

The reason why we don’t understand the message Christ is not because it is difficult to understand.

It is because we cant bear to listen to his message.

Nobody wants to hear that if a man slaps you……you should turn the other cheek.

We want to hear that if a man slaps you…… punch him in the face so he won’t do it again.

Society teaches us to “look after number 1”….. every man for himself.

Nobody is interested in a man that turns the other cheek…… we are interested in heroes like Arnold Schwartzeneggar, Jet Li and Steven Segal…. People who would beat the crap out of the “bad guys”.

The irony of it all…… is the reason why we don’t believe in the message.

We don’t believe in the message…… “because it is the truth”

If is was a lie….. we would have believed it.

If it was what we wanted to hear….. we would have accepted it.

But the message of Christ does not fill churches.

People want to hear about physical blessings, fame and fortune.

That is what fills churches.

46 Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?
47 HE WHO IS OF GOD HEARS THE WORDS OF GOD; THE REASON WHY YOU DO NOT HEAR THEM IS THAT YOU ARE NOT OF GOD.”

The reason why we are not willing to hear the word of God is because we are still of the world.

We love the world…..and the things in it.

But you cannot love the Father ….. and love the world.

That which is highly esteemed in the world is hated by the Father.

How can we love what the Father hates….. and expect to be like him?

48 The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
49 Jesus answered, “I have not a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me.
50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it and he will be the judge.
51 TRULY, TRULY, I SAY TO YOU, IF ANYONE KEEPS MY WORD, HE WILL NEVER TASTE DEATH.”

Life…… is with the Father.

You will never taste death……because a relationship with the Father begins now….. and it never ends.

52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, ‘If any one keeps my word, he will never taste death.’
53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you claim to be?”
54 Jesus answered, “IF I GLORIFY MYSELF, MY GLORY IS NOTHING; IT IS MY FATHER WHO GLORIFIES ME, OF WHOM YOU SAY THAT HE IS YOUR GOD.
55 BUT YOU HAVE NOT KNOWN HIM; I KNOW HIM. IF I SAID, I DO NOT KNOW HIM, I SHOULD BE A LIAR LIKE YOU; BUT I DO KNOW HIM AND I KEEP HIS WORD.
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad.”
57 The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus said to them, “TRULY, TRULY, I SAY TO YOU, BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, I AM.”
59 So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

We need to make an effort to know this Father…….

Because without him…… we are dead…..

Dead men living in an illusion of what we consider to be life…..when in reality what we call life…..is death.

We have been given the keys and placed in the drivers seat.

All that the father requires us to do……. Is to hear and keep the words that he sent Jesus to deliver.

To be continued……

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2011 in THOUGHTS

 

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MIND CONTROL 82: Die Hard Love

Mike Tyson in the ring, Las Vegas, Nevada (2006)

Image via Wikipedia

It is critical that we understand one very important principle.

Contrary to popular Christian belief……. The love of the Father ….. is “not” unconditional.

John 14:23-24
23 Jesus replied, “IF ANYONE LOVES ME, HE WILL OBEY MY TEACHING. MY FATHER WILL LOVE HIM, AND WE WILL COME TO HIM AND MAKE OUR HOME WITH HIM.
24 HE WHO DOES NOT LOVE ME WILL NOT OBEY MY TEACHING. THESE WORDS YOU HEAR ARE NOT MY OWN; THEY BELONG TO THE FATHER WHO SENT ME.

The Father will only love you….. if you obey his teachings…..which he sent through Christ.

If you obey his teachings…… he will come and make a home with you.

He will become real in your life.

You will never know the reality of the Father…… if you don’t test out the message of Jesus in order to see if it is the truth.

As they say…… “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”.

It is all dependent on two commandments.

Mark 12:30-31
30 LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.”
31 THE SECOND IS THIS: ‘LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF.’ THERE IS NO COMMANDMENT GREATER THAN THESE.”

There is a popular bracelet that is sold with the initials……W.W.J.D…..which stands for ‘What Would Jesus Do’?.

This is completely off track.

It is not about what Jesus would do….. Jesus has already done what he had to do.

It is about what “you” would do.

Matt 5:43-48
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 BUT I TELL YOU: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO PERSECUTE YOU,
45 THAT YOU MAY BE SONS OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
48 BE PERFECT, THEREFORE, AS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS PERFECT.

There is no mistaking what the Father requires of us.

He requires us to be “perfect”.

The immediate reaction when someone is faced with the idea of perfection is almost always the same.

Can a man be perfect?

How can the instruction of the Father be for us to be perfect when we are human….. incapable of stopping ourselves from sinning?

It is a common error…….

One that we need to eliminate…… so that we can see the truth that is standing right in front of us.

The Father defines perfection by one thing and one thing only…….”love”.

The question “can a man be perfect” thus needs to be rephrased in order to get a clearer perspective.

The question then becomes…… Can a man do everything he does based on love for the Father and love for other people?

If the answer to that question is “yes”…….

Then my dear friends……. We have found “perfection”

Matt 5:37-48
37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

It seems like a tough pill to swallow.

Anyone who reacts in the way described above would be labeled as “stupid”….. a “pushover”.

But if perfection requires an element of stupidity……. Then it is important for us to recognize this….. if our aspiration is to become sons of the Father.

Matt 10:16
16 “BEHOLD, I SEND YOU OUT AS SHEEP IN THE MIDST OF WOLVES. THEREFORE BE WISE AS SERPENTS AND HARMLESS AS DOVES.

There is no doubt about it.

Because of the fact that we are “in” the world….. it makes us vulnerable.

I read a statement earlier from someone that said “ a wise man is a man who is aware of how little he knows”.

But this isn’t the case with us……..

We are wise……”because we know the truth”.

It is this wisdom…… that enables us to be perceived as stupid…… yet in truth….. be wise.

It is a greater demonstration of strength for a man like Mike Tyson to allow himself to be slapped without retaliation.

Ironically if a man does not retaliate….. the world views him as stupid.

Luke 16:8
8 FOR THE CHILDREN OF THIS WORLD ARE IN THEIR GENERATION WISER THAN THE CHILDREN OF LIGHT.

As children of the Father…… our wisdom is different.

We are “unwise” in the world…..because we refuse to engage in the evil the world does.

We don’t view things the way the world views things.

The world views things from an angle of selfishness.

We view things from an angle of love for the Father and love for other people.

This love dictates everything we do.

It dictates how we react in every day situations.

It dictates our goals and aspirations.

It dictates our thoughts and our actions.

Above all…… it dictates whether or not we are sons of the Father…….

Because the son always does what the Father is doing.

Our sonship needs to be demonstrated……”practically”.

Even though we are “in” the world……. we are not “of” the world.

“Love”….. is the defining element that causes the separation.

“Love” is who the Father is…….

And being his children…..love…… is who we should be.

To be continued….

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in THOUGHTS

 

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MIND CONTROL 81: If You Knew Him, You Would Know His Father Also

The father and his son.

Image via Wikipedia

Let us go back in order to go forward.

Jesus says:

Matt 11:27-30
27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. NO ONE KNOWS THE SON EXCEPT THE FATHER, AND NO ONE KNOWS THE FATHER EXCEPT THE SON AND THOSE WHOM THE SON CHOOSES TO REVEAL HIM.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29 TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU AND LEARN FROM ME, FOR I AM GENTLE AND HUMBLE IN HEART, AND YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
30 FOR MY YOKE IS EASY AND MY BURDEN IS LIGHT.”

The father has been revealed to us……because we have the words of Christ at our disposal.

One emphasis needs to be made…… the relationship…. Is described as a “yoke”.

A yoke by definition implies that it is restrictive……because you are joined to something…. or in this case …. “someone”.

But Jesus has assures us that his yoke is easy….. and his burden is light.

In other words….. what the relationship requires of us in relation to the Father….. is easy….. and the burden involved with it….. is light.

John 8:16-19
16 But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I STAND WITH THE FATHER, WHO SENT ME.
17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid.
18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”
19 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “YOU DO NOT KNOW ME OR MY FATHER, “JESUS REPLIED.”IF YOU KNEW ME, YOU WOULD KNOW MY FATHER ALSO.”

It appears there are certain similarities between Jesus and his Father.

If we can get to know and understand Jesus…..which is what we have been trying to do….. we will get to know and understand his Father.

John 5:16-20
16 So they began harassing Jesus as a Sabbath breaker.
17 But Jesus replied, “MY FATHER CONSTANTLY DOES GOOD, AND I AM FOLLOWING HIS EXAMPLE.”
18 Then the Jewish leaders were all the more eager to kill him because in addition to disobeying their Sabbath laws, he had spoken of God as his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.
19 Jesus replied, “THE SON CAN DO NOTHING BY HIMSELF. HE DOES ONLY WHAT HE SEES THE FATHER DOING, AND IN THE SAME WAY.
20 FOR THE FATHER LOVES THE SON, AND TELLS HIM EVERYTHING HE IS DOING; AND THE SON WILL DO FAR MORE AWESOME MIRACLES THAN THIS MAN’S HEALING.

There is an example to be followed.

And Jesus Christ sets the yard stick.

The Father constantly does good……. so the son constantly does good.

First principle…… in order to be a son of the Father….. you have to constantly do good.

This comes along with another emphasis…… “the son can do nothing by himself”.

As a son of the Father…… everything that you do has to be in accordance with the will of the Father…… even the remotest little detail of your life.

The son only does what the Father does.

As they say…… “like Father like son”.

Jesus says:

Matt 10:32-33
32 “WHOEVER ACKNOWLEDGES ME BEFORE MEN, I WILL ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE HIM BEFORE MY FATHER IN HEAVEN.
33 BUT WHOEVER DISOWNS ME BEFORE MEN, I WILL DISOWN HIM BEFORE MY FATHER IN HEAVEN.

By acknowledging Christ….. it is not limited to the level of faith and belief.

There has to be a practical manifestation of the acknowledgement.

Otherwise it isn’t real.

In other words……. Its not about “lip service”…… its about “doing something”.

John 10:34-38
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’?
35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came– and the Scripture cannot be broken–
36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? WHY THEN DO YOU ACCUSE ME OF BLASPHEMY BECAUSE I SAID, ‘I AM GOD’S SON’?
37 DO NOT BELIEVE ME UNLESS I DO WHAT MY FATHER DOES
38 But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

Severe emphasis needs to be placed on one thing.

The sonship that Jesus presents…… is based on “doing” what the Father does…… not just “saying” it.

As we previously established….. the Father constantly does good.

And thus Jesus leaves us with a significant injunction:

Matt 23:9
9 “AND DO NOT CALL ANYONE ON EARTH YOUR FATHER; FOR ONE IS YOUR FATHER, HE WHO IS IN HEAVEN.

It was an interesting day…… the day when Femi Aribisala (snr) called me and told me never to call him “Father” again.

That would be shocking news for any biological son to hear.

But from my understanding of things….. the message has become pretty clear to me.

We need to make a choice about who our “Father” is.

A son is obedient to the “Father’.

The son does what the Father does.

“Like Father like son.”

You cannot claim to have a “Father”…… yet pay no attention to what he says.

A Father by implication……”Fathers” his children.

He exercises parental control over his children.

He guides his children and teaches them what they need to know.

That is the significance of the parable of the “prodigal son”.

We have left the Father.

Some of us don’t even know that the Father exists.

We are dead……. because we are not with the Father.

Life…… is with the father.

Life can be found nowhere else but with the father.

Everything else is counterfeit.

We once were lost because we never knew……. but now that Jesus has told us the truth…….

We can get to know our Father.

And through knowing our Father……. we will find life.

To be continued……..

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in THOUGHTS

 

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