Month: January 2014

2014-01-30 Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

January 30, 2014

This is a letter to our friends –

Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God

Dear reader – Upon reading this paper my wife reminded me, “God said, ‘Feed my sheep’, not my giraffes!” I believe the text is incredibly significant as is. I choose not to “lower the bar.” You are challenged to rise to it.

Have you wondered why the churches of America are not aflame with a passion for God-given liberty? I have.

This morning a glimmer of understanding dawned. We were discussing things that lead people astray from truth. Christ said, “I am the truth.” [John 14:6]

We can be diverted by tradition (church doctrine and liturgy), personal experiences (“Is that really you God?”), logic (observation & reason once said the earth was flat).

God is interested in history. The Bible is filled with it. “Celebrate the date of one event or another.” “Build an alter (historical marker) to mark the spot.” remember, remember! If we know history we can relate today’s events with similar events and learn from the past. That is, I believe, why the ungodly are always either ignoring or distorting history (His-Story).

Today’s American has little knowledge of our unique and inspiring American Christian history. We have been taught in secular schools, that America is just another nation in the family of nations. Few on the street today can speak of “American exceptionalism.” Why is that?

Colonial pulpits and pews were as put upon by heavy handed government as we are today. The difference? They were more aware of the, “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” This phrase breaks down into, “Natural Law,” and “Revealed Law.” Nothing exists without a set of laws to govern it.

· “Natural Laws” are those which can be discovered by observation and reason.

· “Revealed Laws” are found ONLY in the Holy Scriptures.

NOTE – Natural Law and Revealed Law will never be in conflict because they come from the same source.

Today’s American church teaches the ultimate authority of “Revealed Law,” the Bible. Colonial churches did the same – but – they also taught “Natural Law.” In doing so, they joined human observation and reason with the inspired word of God, the Bible. Our observation and reason ( discoveries of “Natural Law”) will never be perfect. Thus the inspired word of God (“Revealed Law”) has infinitely more authority. The earth is not flat – we were misinterpreting what we observed.

On the other hand, “They who assert that a blind fatality (evolutionists) produced the various effects we behold in this world talk very absurdly; for can any thing be more unreasonable than to pretend that a blind fatality could be productive of intelligent beings.” That observation and reasoning was written in “The Spirit of Laws” by Montesquieu [1689 – 1755].

To understand political Power, right, and derive it from its Original, we must consider, what State all Men are naturally in, and that is a State of perfect Freedom to order their Actions, and dispose of their Possessions, and Persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the Law of Nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the Will of any other Man.” From “Of Civil-Government” by John Locke [1631 – 1704].

God leaves to man the choice of forms in government; and those who constitute one form may abrogate it.” From “Discourses Concerning Government” by Algernon Sidney [1623 – 1683].

Law, in its most general sense, signifies a rule of action; … …. And it is that rule of action, which is prescribed by some superior, and which the inferior is bound to obey. [‘If you want a ride in my car-pool, you may not smoke in my car.’]

[A] state of dependence will inevitably oblige the inferior to take the will of him, on whom he depends, … … And consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his Maker for everything, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his Maker’s will.”

These two excerpts from Sir William Blackstone’s [1732 – 1780] “The Commentaries” illustrate the relationship of the, “Laws of Nature” with the “Laws of Nature’s God.”

Remember – Montesquieu, Locke, Sidney, and Blackstone were contemporary authors to American colonists. Our founding pastors as well as our founding fathers quoted from their works a great deal. These writers were among those who planted ideas of liberty under God in the hearts of men.

Today, I wonder if ungodly influences might have separated our relationship with God, from our relationship with God’s creation. We are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. [Matthew 22:37] – And our neighbor as our self. [Matthew 22:39].

That means that we are to carry God’s will into EVERY sphere of our lives. Certainly, that involves our relationship with others (civil-government). The colonial pastors understood that and taught the principles of liberty under God to their congregations.

Is that liberty something you will defend with your life? It came to that in the American colonies. It may soon come to that in America.

2014-01-23 What’s all the fuss about?

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

January 23, 2014

This is a letter to our friends –

What’s all the fuss about?

Our “Bill of Rights” consists of the first ten amendments to our Constitution.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

With American citizenship goes the concept that you are under no authority but God’s (“the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”). The age-old conflict in life, is caused when someone or something, gets into the line of authority between you and God. Then you are no longer free.

Human nature is such that authority over others is addictive, there is never enough! Our founders understood that. They made it crystal clear in our founding documents that ”We the people” have formed a civil government to serve us in protecting our liberty under God from those who would attempt to usurp authority.

The ONLY way you can lose that liberty is to choose to surrender it! You do that by permitting something or someone to get into that line of authority. Those who would deny God’s authority over our civil government, churches, and families must offer an alternative.

“In proportion as Americans let go of faith in the absolute power of God, they have accepted the belief in an all powerful State. This is true of peoples or nations, for their idea of God determines the form of their civil, political, religious and social institutions.”

[Verna Hall, Preface to “The Christian History of the Constitution …” Sept 17, 1980]

Our Constitution does not determine what is legal for “We the people.”

Rather – Our Constitution specifies what is legal for the governing of the U.S.A. The Supreme Court is NOT the ultimate authority for what is legal, you are! The line of authority:

God > you > Constitution > Supreme Court. “We the people” created the Constitution which created the Supreme Court.

If you are being governed by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” you are enjoying liberty under God. I believe you are obligated to defend the Constitution which “We the people” created to defend that liberty from those who oppose it.

Treason “In the United States, is confined to the actual levying of war against the United States, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” [Webster, 1828]

There is much evidence of treason in our civil government. If those we elect to defend our Constitution fail to do so, I believe we are obliged under God, to replace them.

If those addicted to power resort to force to retain authority, each of us must choose whether to submit, or to defend our line of liberty under God.

2014-01-17 The Bible is challenged

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

January 17, 2014

This is a letter to our friends –

The Bible is challenged

The following crossed my desk today. It is well worth sharing — —

Some Interesting Facts

The Truth About The Bible

During a question and answer session at a recent speaking engagement, a university student asked me, "Why do you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God?"

Now this is a very interesting question, and probably one of the most important questions any Christian could ask themselves. What is so special, so unique about the Bible that Christians believe it is literally the inspired word of God?

In answering this student’s question, I encouraged him to consider the following facts about the Bible. First, the Bible is not just one single book. This is a more common misconception than many people realize, especially with people who do not come from a Judeo-Christian background. Rather than being a single book, the Bible is actually a collection of 66 books, which is called the canon of scriptures. These 66 books contain a variety of genres: history, poetry, prophecy, wisdom, literature, letters, and apocalyptic, just to name a few.

Second, these 66 books were written by 40 different authors. These authors came from a variety of backgrounds: shepherds, fishermen, doctors, kings, prophets, and others. And most of these authors never knew one another personally.

Third, these 66 books were written over a period of 1,500 years. Yet again, this is another reminder that many of these authors never knew or collaborated with one another in writing these books.

Fourth, the 66 books of the Bible were written in 3 different languages. In the Bible we have books that were written in the ancient languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic; a reflection of the historical and cultural circumstances in which each of these books were written.

And finally, these 66 books were written on 3 different continents: Africa , Asia, and Europe . Once again, this is a testament to the varied historical and cultural circumstances of God’s people.

Think about the above realities: 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1,500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents. What’s more, this collection of books shares a common story line – the creation, fall, and redemption of God’s people; a common theme – God’s universal love for all of humanity; and a common message – salvation is available to all who repent of their sins and commit to following God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength.

In addition to sharing these commonalities, these 66 books contain no historical errors or contradictions. God’s word truly is an amazing collection of writings!

After I had shared the above facts with this student, I offered him the following challenge. "If you do not believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, if you do not believe that the Bible is of a supernatural origin, then I challenge you to a test, I challenge you to go to any library in the world, you can choose any library you like, and find 66 books which match the characteristics of the 66 books in the Bible. You must choose 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1,500 years, in 3 different languages, written on 3 different continents. However, they must share a common storyline, a common theme, and a common message, with no historical errors or contradictions." I went on to say, "If you can produce such a collection of books, I will admit that the Bible is not the inspired word of God."

The student’s reply was almost instantaneous, he emphatically stated, "But that’s impossible!"

It truly is impossible, for any collection of human writings. However, the Bible passes this test. The Bible contains 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1,500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents, with no historical errors or contradictions. The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, bears the mark of Divine inspiration.

The next time you encounter someone who asks you why you believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, try sharing this challenge with them. Better yet, don’t wait until you’re asked, just go ahead and share this challenge with a friend today.

You don’t even have to mention the Bible up front, just ask them if they think it would be realistic to assemble such a collection of books. After they say, "But that’s impossible!" you’ve got a ready-made opportunity for sharing the truth!

Dr. Steven C. Riser

2014-01-13 Love

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

January 13, 2014

This is a letter to our friends –

LOVE

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said unto him,

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,

and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment,

And the second is like unto it,

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

[Matthew 22:36-40] (New Testament)

See also [Deuteronomy 6:3-9] (Old Testament)

I believe Christ was affirming that “Love God & love others” is the basic reason each person has been placed upon earth. Anything that comes ahead of that is rebellion.

Thus, we had best have a working definition of “love”!

The best definition I have found: To love is to “unselfishly will the very best for the loved one.” See John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,”

The world likes to define the counter-concept of “love” as “hate”. The counter-concept of my definition of “love” is “selfishness”.

Think about it – “Selfishness” is “What can you do for me?” “Unselfishness” is “What can I do for you”

In a society based upon “selfishness,” there will never be enough. It will be unstable.

In a society based upon “unselfishness” there will be an abundance. Unselfishness is a stabilizing influence.

Granted: There will never be a wholly unselfish society, but any degree of unselfishness will be a stabilizing influence. The Judeo-Christian philosophy will always strengthen a society. Those who claim otherwise are those who have not learned from history.

Respecting others is a form of unselfishness. Thus – Civil liberty has always improved under Judao-Christian influence. Laws that protect life, liberty and property against encroachment (taking what is not yours – selfishness) produce stability and peace.

Loving God and others (vertical and horizontal relationships) is a pattern we see everywhere. Whatever is of supreme importance in your life is your “god.” Whatever that is, will come ahead of everything else.

How do you discover what that is? Do you easily inconvenience yourself to serve others? Christ did!

The loving God, deserves your unselfish devotion in return. NOTE – He never makes a duplicate! Every obedience to God is unique to you. Only in that obedience will you find peace and fulfillment. Outside of that is selfishness toward both God and others.

2014-01-03 Human Nature

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

January 4, 2014

Apologies to the 210 friends who are receiving a 2nd posting. I failed to remove attachments from a previous mailing to PAG students and froze my Outlook app.

This is a mail-merge letter to our friends –

Human Nature

“The whole life of the Christian, from the beginning to the end,

is a conflict with the world and the powers of darkness,

a conflict within and without … .”

[Memorials of a Christian Life by August Neander]

Yesterday, a dear friend phoned. She was distressed over the future of our country. No doubt those reading these words share her concerns.

Human nature seems to focus upon the problem. News commentators are prospering by seeking, enhancing, and reporting ever more sensational examples of the problem(s). When we seek to stay informed, we are overwhelmed with negative events. Then, in conversation with friends, we do the same thing!

What does that produce? Awe at the size of the problem, a sense of helplessness & hopelessness, perhaps anger and frustration, often irrational actions that are counterproductive!

I would ask, “Excuse me, how big is your God?” Were God to drop by for an attitude check, I would not want to be found overwhelmed by the problem(s)! I want to be found excited about the things the Hand of God is doing in the midst of the “darkness”. I want to be found winning the “conflict within and without!”

How does one do that? By focusing upon the One who can overwhelm the problem as David and God overwhelmed Goliath. The glass is never empty. Focus upon what is left in the glass!

Will American civil-government degenerate into lawless chaos, marshal law, and tyranny? It is truly a reasonable possibility. One we would do well to consider and prepare for. Who can deny that it would illustrate the justice of God? Some Christians appear to welcome it as giving us what we deserve.

I am in another camp. Human history demonstrates that God prefers mercy over justice, when He can justify it. Would a wise judge release an unrepentant murderer? In a society, there must be corporate quality character to govern human nature. Not everyone, not even a majority, is necessary to qualify for God’s mercy over justice.

I want the world to see God’s mercy demonstrated to the world. Human nature understands justice. Justice produces bondage and death. Mercy produces liberty and faith.

Throughout this year, you are invited to join me in humbly praying, seeking God’s will over human nature, and turning from our selfish (i.e. sinful) ways. Then – Let us be informed, not only about the problems, but the Godly principles we may apply to overcome them.

Nothing confuses the enemy so much as a group of Christians rejoicing over the victory before the battle begins! Let us shun those who would join us in the battle while vigorously waving a white flag!

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