Month: March 2013

HE IS RISEN

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"The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it." [–James Madison, letter to Frederick Beasley, 1825]

Around the world the traditional Easter greeting is, “He is risen!” and the response is, “Indeed He has!

It occurs to me that our society will continue to degrade UNTIL we return to beginning with, GOD EXISTS – ALL POWERFUL, WISE AND GOOD.

Fail to agree on that, and your house is built upon a false presupposition, (a house of cards).

Given that, there is within each of us a point of agreement upon which to build a relationship:

· First – With that God

· Second – With one another.

I suggest that fundamental starting point as the beginning of every question and dispute.

Our “human tool box” includes will, appetite, pride, reason.

Let us agree to subordinate individual will and appetite to individual reason. Then let us submit our individual reason to the will of God. God is wise and good and it is safe to trust His will. Each of us is wholly dependent upon Him and thus – Obligated to Him.

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It is Not Debatable

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Same sex marriage is derived from homosexuality, which is a derivative of rebellion, which is a derivative of universal depravity, which is a choice.

As I listened to the talking heads on TV news, it occurred to me that depravity is destined to win todays debate. In our “Principles of American Government” online course, we make a point of recognizing and not accepting false presuppositions. If you permit a false idea to be introduced at the beginning of a discussion – The whole structure of the discussion is built upon sand, NOT solid rock.

What is the false presupposition in the “same sex marriage” discussion?

God does not exist. Therefore the “laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” are invalid. Therefore the opinions, and not the sound reasoning, of humans is supreme (i.e. humanism).

Our unique American culture, based upon Christian self-government, has become so eroded that we are debating the un-debatable!

Liberty is not license. Nothing and no one is without a set of rules (laws) that govern it. Step outside those rules – chaos. Stay within those rules – peace. America’s founders understood that. Their reference to “natural law” and “revealed law” presupposed that God exists. (“We are endowed by our Creator … “.

Natural law may be discovered by observation and reason. We see the “edge” of the earth and conclude “the earth is flat”. Human reason is not always correct. Navigation based upon that false presupposition will not work! The truth – the earth is round – was not changed by faulty human reasoning.

Revealed law is found ONLY in the Holy Scriptures. Since there is a mountain of evidence that they resulted from the direct inspiration of God, “revealed law” is infinitely more authoritative than “natural law” which is based upon human observation and reason.

It is important to note that – natural law and revealed law will never be in conflict – since they come from the same source.

BUT – You say, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof: … “. [1st Amendment to our Constitution] Therefore, you can not involve God and either natural law, or revealed law (the Bible), in discussing “same sex marriage.”

I believe “religion” here, refers to systems of doctrines and beliefs, created by man.

Separation of church and state makes sense. Our founders feared a state-sponsored church. Separation of God and state is insanity! Both the Declaration and the Constitution presuppose a supreme lawgiver. We are wrong to equate God and His will, with man-created systems. Fellowship with believers (i.e.”church” ), is a good thing. – BUT – It is not a substitute for a personal relationship with God.

Both human reason and the inspired word of God will validate the wisdom of staying within the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. Any law outside those limits should be no law at all.

This is the discussion we should be having — Do God and His rules exist? We will agree in advance to accept a better, more proven, set of rules. What have you to offer?

Let us agree – It would be unwise not to live and govern by the best set of rules available.

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Passion

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“PAS’SION, n […, to suffer] …

3. Suffering, emphatically, the last suffering of the Savior.

To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs. Acts 1” [Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of The English Language]

It is my honor to be associated with a family in Alabama, the Flesher’s.

Listening to the attached clips from a Passion Play will make the ideal Easter blog post.

“Ben,

For the last three nights, we have watched the Mobile Passion Play. Tessa played with the orchestra. I wish you could have been there. The majority of the performers were students from University of Mobile, the Christian college Tessa plans to attend. The entire performance was breathtaking in terms of musicality, but it was the light of Christ shining through the students that moved every person in the audience. Playing with them inspired Tessa. They and the Lord working through them to bring the lost to Christ are reality.

Bonita

P.S. The links are to three of the songs use in the play – Mary’s song when she learns she is carrying the Savior, the song of the man healed from demons (short ad at the beginning, sorry), and the song of the thief on the cross.

[youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=QsXOP7aQeqQ][youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=QsXOP7aQeqQ]

[youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=VzGAYNKDyIU]

[youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=HMRi6XDeeRo]

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Which Reality?

[xyz-ihs snippet=”ByBenGilmore”]

Change of plans –

Before church today, I wrote the first half of a column about the biblical boundaries of the “promised land”. I planned to finish it this afternoon. While fellowshipping after church, a dear saint who loves the Lord and also reads these columns, approached me —

Ben, I like it that you are optimistic about America. I love it as much as you do – but – It is too late! God has to let us fall. There is just too much evil and corruption. We are the most blessed nation in history save perhaps Israel, but things keep getting worse!

I replied, “Everything you say is true – BUT – Which reality are you focusing on?”

Goliath was real. Goliath was a trained soldier who happened also to be a giant of a man. David knew that. David was also real. He was around 14and not a trained soldier. All that was reality.

David saw another reality. His God was real. His God wants to demonstrate His glory. Not because God is on an ego trip, but because people need to know God and make Him known. David saw both realities. Goliath was real. God was real. Focusing on Goliath was producing fear and defeat. Focusing on the reality that glorified God, produced victory, faith, and honor for God and man (David).

The Jews that God used Moses to lead out of slavery in Egypt were dumb and dumber! They saw the plagues on the Egyptians. They saw the “1st Passover”, when the angel of God killed all of Egypt’s first-born males. They saw their slave-masters load them down with gold, silver, all sorts of goods, and beg them to hurry and leave! They saw the waters parted. They saw the Egyptian army drown in the same waters. They saw the pillar of light leading them 24/7.

Then the first chance they got, they built a golden calf and worshipped it in God’s face – DUMB!!!

Egyptian slave-masters were real. Moses knew that. God was real. Moses saw both realities. Moses chose the reality that honored God.

God saw all that and gave up on His “chosen people”. Once before, God gave up on the human race and told Noah to build an ark. Then he flushed the race and started over. He told Moses He had decided to wipe out his people and start over with Moses.

Moses buried his nose in the sand and begged, “Don’t do it God. The world will see it and think you are a vengeful God. One to be feared and avoided. Wiping us out will give You a bad image.” The dumb people were real. God was real. Moses saw both realities. He chose the reality that honored God.

Washington lost the eight year war for American independence – until he won it! Washington saw defeat and discouragement after defeat and discouragement. The defeats were real. Washington also saw the hand of God, time after time, miraculously saving the day for another battle. God was real. Washington saw both realities. He chose the one that honored God.

Recently, I wrote, “Our chief executive appears hell bent on finding new ways to commit treason, almost daily. Our legislature is grid-locked in a socio-political conflict. Our Supreme Court justices are perverting the principles of our Constitution. What could possibly go wrong?” That is reality. God is also real.

My nose is buried in the rug (along with thousands of fellow Americans) begging God to release yet another miracle. We are reminding Him that though Americans have been as dumb as the slaves He chose to lead out of Egypt! He accepted Moses’ prayers and Moses’ concern for God’s reputation, and granted mercy rather than justice. We see both realities.

One reality demonstrates that God is just. The world will see human failure and the failure of the principles of Christian self-government. A dark cloud of hopelessness, anarchy, and confusion will cover the earth. In the other reality, God guides in the repair, rebuilding, and the restoration of America’s ship-of-state. The world sees restored faith, hope and a merciful God.

I choose to humbly join Moses and Washington in focusing upon the reality that God is bigger than the problem. When he checks in on me, I want to be found focusing upon things that bring honor to God and peace, good will to men.

What are your thoughts?

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Liberty – More Than a Word

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Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.” [2 Corinthians 3:13b]

“Liberty”, “freedom”, and “rights” are words that are tossed around freely these days. But – words mean things! When we begin looking for definitions we are drawn deeper and deeper until we reach an original statement, or a first cause.

Often that is a Bible quote like St. Paul in Corinthians (above). St Paul was a “newcomer”!! Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, David, and Moses all used the word, “liberty”! Wait – We can go back further – to Adam, a creation of God!

It is absurd to believe creation around us did not require intelligent design. Thus – This First Cause is what we call God. We can discover things about God by studying what is created.

For instance – Everything needed for a human to live a long, happy, healthy life was on earth before man was placed upon earth. Thus – God is concerned with man’s long, happy, healthy life.

God gave humans the gift of observation and reason. For example – Were you the only human on earth, you would be in a “natural state of liberty”. Because you had life, you had the liberty to gather the things needed to sustain life. Further you had the freedom to enjoy the fruit of your efforts, your property. “Life, liberty, and property”, sound familiar? That was the original text in our Declaration of Independence – “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – rights given by God to “all men”.

Now, suppose another human is placed on earth. Two of you enjoying the “natural state of liberty”. Both of you are constrained by the law of nature – (gravity, severe weather, need for food and water, …).

Observation and reason produce another law of nature – Each of you are constrained not to violate the other’s liberty. (i.e. My space ends at the tip of your nose J).

Next – A guy and a gal make a baby. Now we have a family. Several families join to make a tribe. They are free to join the tribe, or remain in their “natural state of liberty”.

The advantage of joining the tribe –

· Mutual protection from other tribes and animals.

· Shared burdens, farming, hunting, marketing, …

· Arbitration of disputes.

· Have a voice in the formation and execution of tribal rules.

The disadvantages of joining the tribe –

· Submit to a set of tribal rules (known in advance and documented).

· Submit to the system of just arbitration of disputes.

· Submit to specified penalties for violation of tribal rules.

We call this “voluntary union”. “Government by the consent of the governed”. In all of human history, every effort to form such a government had failed – until – September of 1787.

[T]he laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” were understood by the colonial Americans to mean “the will of God” discovered by observation and reason [“natural law”] as well as by Bible truth [“revealed law”], since both come from the same source.

Americans valued their understanding of individual God-given rights to “life, liberty, and property”, they were willing to risk their lives to throw off tyrannical government. No man may touch a farthing of my property without the consent of myself, or my representative.

Upon winning independence from England, American’s had no government. They chose to unite and create one for themselves with limited authority to protect their lives, liberty, and property.

Americans have never experienced harsh tyranny as have most others in the world. Rather, we have volunteered our precious God-given liberty a bit at a time, until we are so far removed from true liberty that we have forgotten its value.

Unless we renew our understanding of the source and reason of our “natural state of liberty” we may have to purchase it anew with our own blood and tears.

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The Road Ahead

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Your writer is approaching his 84th birthday. For most of you, I am 20, 40, 60 or more years up the road ahead of you on our mutual “life-adventure trail.” Almost daily, I come across things along the road, that would have been useful for someone to have told me about in advance. This is my humble effort to send a message back down the time-line to my fellow travelers.

About the topography – Often the path is broad, wide, and smooth (like an interstate highway). You need to be careful to watch the signs for your exit. Most of the time it is narrow, often rough and steep. You need to pay attention and not take the smooth, wide exits that lead to dead ends! It is a good sign when the path becomes straight and narrow and there are few other travelers along your way [see Matthew 7:14].

About the forks in the road — Along the way, you are bound to make the wrong choice and end up lost in a maze of ever more complicated grids. If you get frustrated, throw up your hands and give up, you may never get back onto the right path! Don’t give up!!!

What is on the road signs at the forks? Your very own internal compass (conscience) is reliable – BUT – you must choose to follow it. Your will and appetite will be in a shouting match with your reason! The signs read – “homosexuality”, “injustices”, “adultery”, “incest”, “idolatry”, “forms of wickedness”, “wanting what is not yours”, “meanness”, “envy”, “murder”, “contention”, “deceit”, “deep rooted spite”, “gossip”, “back-stabbing”, “haters of God”, “malicious”, “proud”, “boastful”, “evil plots”, “disobedient to parents”, “without understanding”, “promise breakers”, “perversion”, “won’t shut up”, ”unmerciful”, and “trying to get others to join you” on those dead end roads. [Romans 1:24-32]

A special message to men – Around 35 to 55 you will often discover the trail is not leading in the direction you expected. You need to be aware that many, many of your brothers are also battling this frustration and falling on a steep path to a dead end. Expect it and recognize it for what it is. Cling to your conscience. Protect it with your life!

A special message to women — As a male, I am only an observer. Reason tells me you are also subject to frustration and turning aside. If your mate is part of that frustration – I suggest caution regarding irreversible reactions.

A message to parents — You will make mistakes! You remain responsible for raising up that child in the way he should go. Do the best, (TRULY), that you can (i.e. avoid “easy ways out”) and God will do the rest. I have never seen the persistent prayers of a parent go unanswered.

Getting back onto the right path – There is a bridge directly back to the right path. Getting on it is always possible – but – there comes a time when your “compass” runs down and no longer points in the right direction. Don’t take the bridge for granted! Crossing this bridge takes only one decision – but – comes with a price:
 

  • You must admit violating your conscience (confessing is humbling and scary!).
     
  • You must believe God wants the best for you and has a right path ready for you to follow.
     
  • You must choose to stay on that path.
     
  • You must recognize that the penalty for your choices was paid by Christ
     
  • You must accept His offer to include you in that payment
     
  • In short – You must submit your will & appetite to Christ the Messiah.
     

The view from here – WOW! Each of us, with our choices, is adding to God’s providential mosaic pattern (His-story). It is beautiful! I can look back and see things in context that I missed “up close and personal.” God is doing all He can to teach us how to know Him and get along with one another! I can look ahead down the road and see an indescribably awesome future that goes on forever!

Be strong and courageous

Choose to stay on the path He set for you

I hope to see you at the end

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The Price of Ignorance

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(View online at: http://patriotpost.us/fqd/17089)

“But while property is considered as the basis of the freedom of the American yeomanry, there are other auxiliary supports; among which is the information of the people. In no country, is education so general — in no country, have the body of the people such a knowledge of the rights of men and the principles of government. This knowledge, joined with a keen sense of liberty and a watchful jealousy, will guard our constitutions and awaken the people to an instantaneous resistance of encroachments.”

–Noah Webster, On Education of Youth in America, 1790

Noah Webster, nicknamed “America’s Schoolmaster”. In 1790, fourteen years after we declared our belief in the “Laws of Nature, and of Nature’s God”, which included eight years of war, on our soil, to defend that belief, Webster pointed out, “In no country, is education so general — in no country, have the body of the people such a knowledge of the rights of men and the principles of government.

That was then – This is now!

Citizen friend of mine – Men of whom the world was not worthy, suffered, bled and died to leave that heritage to you and your decedents. For decades “We the people” have tacitly taken the easy way rather than, “guard our constitutions and awaken the people to an instantaneous resistance of encroachments.

The very same forces our nation was formed to protect against, have been nibbling at our belief in individual liberty for decades. We have become a collective flock of tacit “sheeple”. What is more, we are actively choosing to remain so.

The fruit of an evening of passion involves accepting responsibility for raising up a child in the way that he should go. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary states, “EDUCATION … … To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.

For generations American society has been dumbed down. Just compare last century’s text books with today’s socialistic garbage! [Were it not for politically correct restrictions I would tell you what I really think!] The reason many, perhaps most, parents leave “religious education” to others – They do not feel qualified. It is easier to leave it to someone else because their own was left to someone else.

The early American parents and their children understood “natural state of nature.” They understood God-given rights to life, the liberty to gather necessities to sustain it, and the requirement to possess those necessities as private property before they could be of any use to them. (Life, Liberty, Pursuit of happiness [Property]). They were aware of the liberty they had just won and they respected it – for a time.

Then the nibbling began. Slowly, we exchanged our birth-right for a mess of pottage.

On June 1st and September 9th we will begin our next “Principles of American Government” 3-month online courses. Adults and teens need to take this course. Homeschool parents – This is “the place to start”. We need to go back to First Cause and reset our foundations.

Call me and discuss it.

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Mt. Peaks of Nostalgia

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Each of us have major life-events that are significant in our life-adventure.

Last Thursday, I drove 700 miles (round trip) to attend the memorial service of a great man of God, Jim Dawson [11/21/1922 – 2/24/2013]. The nostalgia resulted from being immersed in a sea of giants, in the worldwide Christian missions family.

For the cynics who label this “The post-Christian era,” I suggest you Google “Jim and Joy Dawson and their association with world mission groups like YWAM (Youth With A Mission).

I chatted with people who are introducing Christ to people in hundreds of nations, including the most “anti-Christian.”

Among the hundreds of memorials I recommend that of YWAM founder, Loren Cunningham

Since I am an old geezer who still has trouble understanding telephones without wires that take pictures (!!), someone please send this along to the precious Dawson family members.

During our time in Southern California, it was my honor to be a prayer partner with Jim Dawson. Together, we started a “Friends of YWAM” group using a pamphlet Jim asked me to write, “Come and Die”. Jim Dawson’s stories have been shared with our Biblical Principles students for 3 decades now.

Easter week in 1975, Jim’s son, John Dawson, lead 185 college aged youngsters from all over the west to our small home-town, Morgan Hill. They stayed in 85 homes for the week and ministered to every church in town (save one). Each morning was a time of prayer and praise in a different sanctuary. Each afternoon two-by-two they took a religious survey of every home in town. Each evening they hosted a standing-room-only event.

One evening M.H.’s only theater hosted a worship service that prompted the (then) Mayor Daley, to label that week, “The most significant in the town’s history.” On another evening, they filled the Roman Catholic sanctuary (the largest room in town) with a service held in Spanish with an English interpreter! That service opened with the Baptist youth choir singing, “Sing Hallelujah To The Lord”. They were singing in Spanish!

Three generations of Jim and Joy Dawson’s family are in full time Christian missions activities. They have inspired thousands with their example and insight. Fran and I are part of that fruit.

The Memorial Service held in Jack Hayford’s “Church on the Way” in Van Nuys, was captured on TV. If the DVD or YouTube becomes available, I encourage every pastor and parent reading these words to view it.

“You will be missed, Jim!

We look forward to our next reunion!”

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Govt 101 – Exceptionalism

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How do you answer, when someone asks, “What is so exceptional about America?

For several generations the answer has not been taught. Today, few can give a sound answer. Rather, we have emphasized that America is just another nation in the family of nations.

My previous three posts to this column have presented “Separation of Powers”, “Democracy” (should have been named “Representation”), “Federalism”. None of those forms of government are unique to America. Each had been tried before with varying results.

Our founding fathers exhibited astounding wisdom and creativity by incorporating the advantages of each – while seeking to impede the defects of each. Amont the most unique attributes of American government –

For the first time in human history –

· Separation of Powers

· Representation

· Federalism

Were incorporated into a single governmental structure.

Our Constitution creates three Departments, Executive, Legislative, Judicial. Each is intended to be independent of the other two. Separation of Powers.

Our Constitution specifically requires that National and State governments must be “republics” i.e. by representation (as opposed to “majority rule” i.e. “democracy”.) Representation.

Our Constitution creates a vertical (national) and horizontal (state) relationship among our citizens. Federalism.

Our founders understood that there will always be a conflict between individual will (I want my space – back off) and corporate will (We have to go along to get along). “Internal vs. External.” “A conflict within and without.” [Neander – 1852]

The positive results of that combination of principles speaks for itself. The exponential shift away from those results is attributable to our failure to understand what our founders understood. We have permitted the external forces for ever more centralized power to overcome individual internal liberty.

Government created by “We the People” for the purpose of protecting our individual internal and external liberty is now challenging it!

By the way – Beside being sound history and reason, these principles are also Biblical!

The bottom line

Liberty is as evangelical as it is political!!!”

[Rosalie Slater – Co-founder,

Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE)]

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