Saturday, October 21, 2017

No Doubt - The Path to Moral Clarity

Now that we're back from the Feast, we enter the doldrums between Holy Day seasons, that time between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day until the Spring season of Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. 

This time between Holy Day seasons is very different from the one we just left. At the Feast of Tabernacles, we got a glimpse of what the Kingdom of God will be like. Now we're back in the world and our daily routines. Back to that constant spirit of contention and strife.

In addition to the normal stresses of everyday life, every day we are faced with a new dilemma it seems. There's always something. And no matter what it is, there's some kind of highly emotionalized argument made out of it.

People are separated into two camps by how they feel about it or how they should feel about it. The issues are shouted, posted, placarded, and shoved in your face by any means possible in order to get a rise out of you and force you to take a stand. Force you to reveal how you feel about it.

You HAVE to feel one way or another. You can't just remain neutral or non-committal. And woe unto you if you don't agree with the narrative that has been predetermined as the one prevailing majority opinion. You will be ridiculed and called “intolerant”. And they are not tolerant of people who are intolerant.

You must be “inclusive” and by “inclusive” they don’t mean what we would mean when we say we love all of God’s children. No, they mean you must not only embrace their cause but celebrate it. You will especially be called out if you hold Biblical values and faith in God.

Believe it or not, this constant barrage is not accidental. There are people working to fundamentally change America and the Judeo-Christian values, and laws. 


Princeton psychology professor Sabine Kastner discovered that the more stimuli the brain is exposed to, the harder time it has focusing on a single task, which makes us more impulsive. That's because when we are overwhelmed, the limbic system in our brain drives us to do what feels right, not necessarily what is right. And that compels us to embrace new ideas we haven't fully thought through. We simply react based on emotion, not on rational thought or values.

Social activists like George Soros have mastered the exploitation of this phenomena. When people are put upon constantly, relentlessly, without letting up, they will eventually succumb to the pressure. Generally, they succumb in one of two ways, either by adopting a supportive stance or they just stop talking about it to avoid conflict. 




"Spiral of Silence" 

Originally proposed by German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann in 1974, Spiral of silence is the term meant to refer to the tendency of people to remain silent when they feel that their views are in opposition to the majority view on a subject. The theory posits that they remain silent for two reasons:
  1. Fear of isolation when the group or public realizes that the individual has a divergent opinion from the status quo.
  2. Fear of reprisal or more extreme isolation, in the sense that voicing said opinion might lead to a negative consequence beyond that of mere isolation (loss of a job, status, etc.)



  
Either of which satisfies the agenda of the vocal majority. By "vocal majority" I do not mean necessarily the numerical majority. I do not mean that the majority of people are in agreement. By "vocal majority" I mean that opinion that is voiced the loudest, longest, and most pervasively leading us to believe it is the opinion held by most people.

For instance, the LGBTQ lobby would have us believe that 10% or more of people are born gay. The truth is that only 3% or fewer are gay. Studies have further shown that in the vast majority of cases, in the high 90th percentiles, the person was abused as a child. They were not born that way. But the LGBTQ has been given the vocal majority by the media and we are left to believe their narrative. And their agenda moves forward.

Whether we accept it or stay silent, it serves their purpose. Either way it serves to promote their narrative and to silence any opposing opinions in order to alter the perceived majority public opinion and to change public policy.

Daniel prophesied that at the time of the end, the beast system that was formed would have a dramatic impact on the saints.  The saints are God's people who have been sanctified by His Truth and hold certain beliefs and values that align with God's value system.

We do not fit in with the value system of the world and it's already having an impact. Those who don't fit in will find themselves isolated, minimized, ridiculed, and pressured to change. Opposing opinions will not be tolerated. We will be subjected to a never-ending attack in an effort to wear us down.

Dan 7:25 KJV  And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

I don't know about you but many days I am worn out! Many of the people I talk to are worn out. The onslaught is relentless.

However, brethren we must endure.

Gal 6:9 KJV  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Jesus questioned whether or not we would faint. He asserted that God would avenge his elect who cry out to him in weary oppression. Yet He questioned whether or not he would find faith on the earth when he returns. Those of us who have been called by God would like to think so. We hope so. We pray so. We pray that we will be found faithful and have the courage and strength to endure to the end. 

Luk 18:7-8 NKJV  And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?  (8)  I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"

Faith is always faith in something or someone. The first article of our faith is belief in God and trusting that he rewards those who diligently seek him. (Heb 11:6) There are spiritual attitudes we can fall prey to that chip away at our belief and especially our trust in God.

Jesus told us of four (4) enemies of faith. All four are conveniently located in the book of Matthew. I'll touch on three of them but then I want to expand on the fourth one and how it relates to the overwhelming onslaught we’re experiencing.

In each case they can be identified by the phrase, "O ye of little faith" or "O thou of little faith".

Worry - Anxious Care
Mat 6:30 KJV  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 

Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.  Don't worry or fret, God will provide for you.

Fear
Mat 8:23-26 KJV  And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.  (24)  And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.  (25)  And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.  (26)  And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? 

God has not given us a spirit of fear; but power and of love and of a sound mind. (2Tim 1:7)
  
Human Reason
Mat 16:6-8, 12 KJV  Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.  (7)  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.  (8)  Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?  (12)  Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Human reason apart from the wisdom of God can lead to disastrous results when every man does what seems right in his own eyes. (Prov 12:15; 21:2)



Quick sidebar by way of example –
Ref. 2 Chronicles 10. (parallel account in 1 Kings 12)

When King Solomon died, his son Rehoboam was made king. Before Solomon died he had invoked some stiff taxes which was one of the reasons the Northern 10 tribes divided themselves from the Southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

Rehoboam went to Shechem to see about reuniting the kingdom and becoming king over the Northern tribes again.

They pleaded that if he would reduce the tax burden they would once again serve the Southern government. Rehoboam requested they wait 3 days for him to make a decision.

What did Rehoboam do? He met with the wise counsellors who had advised King Solomon from the days of his youth.

They advised him that if he would reduce the tax burden on the northern tribes of Israel the kingdom would be reunited and they would serve him all their days. I suspect this was the original counsel they had offered to Solomon in the first place before he invoked such a burdensome tax.

But what did Rehoboam do? Instead of listening to his wise counselors, he did what so many young people do today. Instead of listening to the wise advice of their parents and elders, he posted it on Facebook.

And he got many "Likes" and Comments that validated the course of action he already wanted to take. His friends didn't want him to get mad at them or defriend them, so like good friends, they told Rehoboam what he wanted to hear so they could all still be friends.

So, Rehoboam hearkened to his friends and the rest is history.

He increased taxes, the kingdom remained divided and both halves eventually went into captivity. So, the lesson is, it's important not only to seek counsel but to seek wise godly counsel. (Prov 24:6) Not just seek validation for what you’ve already decided.



Doubt
Mat 14:24-31 KJV  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.  (25)  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.  (26)  And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.  (27)  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.  (28)  And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.  (29)  And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  (30)  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  (31)  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
  
 It is this fourth faith destroyer I want to explore with you today. Doubt is the cornerstone of every crisis of faith. And here's why.

Doubt is to be uncertain about something, to consider it questionable or lack trust in it. If we didn't doubt God and Christ, we wouldn't worry, we wouldn't be fearful, and we wouldn't try to figure it out on our own.

While Peter was totally focused on Christ, his faith was strong. Strong enough, in fact, to do the impossible. He walked on water!

When he took his eyes off Christ, he lost focus, he wavered, he waffled, he saw the wind and waves around him, he faltered, and he sank.

The same thing happens to us. When we take our focus off Christ, we're susceptible to other ideas, ideas that run counter to our faith. If we’re not careful, our faith can sink as well.

So why did Peter doubt?

Peter took his eyes off Christ and focused on himself. While he was focused on Jesus he gave no thought to the conditions around him. When Jesus told Peter to come, he didn’t even think about it, he just went. His faith and trust were in Jesus, that Jesus would make it so he too could walk on water.

But when he came to his senses he saw the wind and the waves. He couldn’t believe what he was doing. He, Peter, was walking on water?! How could that be?

The circumstances around him caused him to lose faith in Jesus. Not his faith in who Jesus was. But he doubted that Jesus could or would empower him to walk on water.

When we become doubtful, isn't that what we're doubtful about?

We have no doubt that God is God. We have no doubt that He can do all things. What we doubt is why would he do it for me! Why would He answer my prayer?

We don't doubt God's existence or his ability to do the impossible, to do whatever he pleases, but we doubt that he would do so for the likes of us. Why would the Almighty Sovereign Ruler of the Universe do anything for me, even me?

This is what David was really asking when he asked in Psalm 8:4, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” Why would God take an interest in me?

This is the crux of faith. This is at the very core of our faith. 

The very first fundamental article of faith is Hebrews 11:6, that to have faith we must believe that He is, and we have no problem with that. 
But it's that second part where we sink in the waves. ...and He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him

So, we question –
Do I diligently seek him?
Am I being diligent enough? 
Am I worshiping God correctly?
Am I praying the right way?
Am I coming to God in the right way? (protocol)
Am I living God's Way of life properly?
Am I studying enough?
Am I praying often enough?
Am I praying about the right things?
Am I diligent enough for God to reward me, even me?

Ultimately, what it comes down to is, we wonder if we're good enough. Are we worthy? We're not. In and of ourselves, we're not. We're not worthy of the exceeding great and precious promises of God and his Kingdom.

But Christ is.

Christ tells us that if we expect to enter the Kingdom, we must become like a little child, totally trusting in Him. We must put our faith in Him and stay focused on Him. 

Mat 18:3  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Have you ever watched a little child learning how to walk? Typically, you have Daddy at one end and Mommy a few feet away at the other end. You tell the child to walk to Daddy. And as long as the child is focused on Daddy, she toddles along. But as soon as she realizes that she's walking, she wavers and falls or sits down. As soon as she takes her eyes off Daddy and becomes focused on herself, she falters. Her faith and trust in Daddy with Mommy's encouragement empowered her to do something she had never done before. To walk.

Like Peter did when he first jumped out of the boat. He had his eyes on Christ. But then...

Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. (Heb 12:2) As long as we stay focused on Christ we can do the impossible! We can live and thrive in the midst of our enemies in a war-torn world bent on our destruction.

Where is OUR focus?

To overcome doubt, we must remain steadfastly focused on God and Christ. 

Doubt is to waver between two thoughts or opinions. We can see both sides but we’re unsure which is correct.

There are those whose sole mission is to inject doubt among the populace, especially people of faith. It's called cognitive dissonance. If you can get someone to see both sides of the issue, you have a better chance to sway them to your side. If you can get them to consider even one situation where their position is unreasonable, you can begin to break them down.

Take abortion for example. Is abortion wrong in all cases? What about if the health of the mother is in danger? What about in the case of rape or incest? What about if there is something wrong with the baby? What about if the child is unwanted, or the parents were not capable of supporting it? What kind of life would it have? Is that fair to the baby?

If they can get even the slightest agreement, they can get you to be sympathetic to the cause of abortion, chipping away at your faith a little at a time causing you to waffle and waver and lead you down the path to where abortion is acceptable under any circumstance the mother chooses.

Today there's a war waging for your hearts and minds.

Jas 1:2-8 KJV  My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  (3)  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  (4)  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  (5)  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  (6)  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  (7)  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  (8)  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.


We are constantly bombarded with information, facts, truths, lies, information, and disinformation. It's difficult and nearly impossible to sort it out. And the information is packed with emotional appeal. It attempts to sway our opinion by getting us to feel a certain way about it, to be double-minded and more accepting and tolerant.

We need to strip away the emotions, strip away the guise masking the ulterior motive behind it and examine it with moral clarity. Moral clarity that only Christ can bring.

God's Word gives us moral clarity. We can readily discern the issues of life so that we don't follow cunningly devised fables. (2Pet 1:16) No more tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive. (Eph 4:14)

We can speak from the strength of our conviction. If our conviction in the Word of God is strong, the conviction of our faith will be strong and our moral clarity sure and crystal clear. We are not tossed about by the constant doubt injected by the public policy hucksters who attempt to cause us to be double-minded with their continual rantings and emotional outrage.

How firmly do we have these things fixed in our minds? Do we know, and know that we know? Could someone come along and plant a seed of doubt causing us to waver between two opinions? The “evil one” will tell us 99 truths in order to plant just one seed of doubt.

Do we have moral clarity burned into our minds allowing us to instantly discern a falsehood or deceit? How do we cultivate moral clarity?

We must guard the doorway to our minds. We must examine every word and thought before allowing it to pass into our minds and lodge in our hearts.

2Co 10:3-6 KJV  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  (4)  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  (5)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;  (6)  And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Before we allow a thought to enter our minds we filter it through the lens of Jesus Christ. Filter it through the Word of God. And if it’s not in alignment with God’s Word, we reject it. We cannot afford to let them chip away at our faith.

Instead we need to pull down the strong holds, those so called “majority opinions”, those beliefs that are not grounded in the Word of God. If it doesn’t pass the test, we need to cast it down. Cast down any idea that is contrary to the Word of God.

If we keep our minds focused on the Kingdom of God and of his Christ, and practice those things in accordance with his righteousness, we will have the moral clarity we need to discern between dissenting opinions and to cast them aside.

By keeping our minds focused on the things of God, drawing near to him, he will keep our hearts and minds in perfect peace and draw near to us.

Jas 4:7-10 KJV  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  (8)  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.  (9)  Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.  (10)  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

We need to draw near to God, purify our hearts and minds, and he will draw near to us. Instead of being double minded, we have the mind of Christ.

We are under attack in an attempt to wear us down and wear us out. Our Biblical world view is considered outdated and our beliefs intolerant. There is an unrelenting force out there trying to get us to change our beliefs and to compromise the word of God. We must not compromise the Word of Almighty God!

If not compromising the Word of God is intolerant, then count me among the intolerant. We cannot afford to be lukewarm on these issues brethren.

Either we’re walking on the water or we’re sinking.

Either we’re looking to Christ for our salvation or we’re sinking in the mire of decadent decay. There’s no in between.

There are Four (4) Enemies of Faith that are being exploited every day by those who would tempt us through emotional appeals to make just one exception to our stodgy outdated belief system and to be more tolerant and accepting of other viewpoints and lifestyles.

The Four Enemies of Faith are –

Worry - Anxious Care
Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.  Don't worry or fret, God will provide for you.

Fear
God has not given us a spirit of fear; but power and of love and of a sound mind.
  
Human Reason
Human reason apart from the wisdom of God can lead to disastrous results when every man does what seems right in his own eyes. Don’t be like Rehoboam in 2 Chronicles chapter 10. Seek counsel among the wise and the experienced.

Doubt
About this one we spoke much as it is at the foundation of each of the others. It can shipwreck our faith and cause us to be double-minded and unstable in all our ways. Overcoming doubt is at the very core of our faith.

We overcome doubt by keeping our eyes focused on Christ. We put on Christ for it is he only who is righteous, our only hope of salvation and the glory of God.

We can’t have one foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom. We must not allow the world to get even one toehold in our sanctified kingdom with their contentious, emotionally charged appeals to be more inclusive and tolerant. We must recognize the attack for what it is and have the fortitude to stand against it for our sake, for the sake of our families, and for the sake of the cause of Christ.

When we embrace their concepts, we become friends with the world, and according to James 4:4 we become the enemy of God. We can’t help but doubt that God would do anything for us. 
Jas 4:4 KJV  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

When we do not have a clear conscience before God, we lose confidence, we doubt. If we have a guilty conscience, we doubt God’s grace toward us.

1Jn 3:19-22 KJV  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.  (20)  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.  (21)  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.  (22)  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.


It is only through the moral clarity of God’s Word and the simplicity of living God’s way of life in humble obedience that we can readily discern the issues of life. It’s through the lens of Christ that we guard the doorway to our minds. We pull down the strongholds of prevailing opinions that run counter to the Truth of God bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

We draw near to God in humble obedience like a little child. We look to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. We cleanse our minds and purify our hearts through the washing of the water of the Word of God. As we draw near to God with a repentant and humble heart, our conscience is cleared and the peace of God which passes all understanding washes over us. So, let’s not worry, let’s not fear, let’s not engage in faulty reasoning, let’s not doubt despite the circumstances around us.

2Co 4:7-18 KJV  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  (8)  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  (9)  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  (10)  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  (11)  For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  (12)  So then death worketh in us, but life in you.  (13)  We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;  (14)  Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.  (15)  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.  (16)  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  (17)  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  (18)  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

We maybe under constant attack against anything that is of God and faith. But if we renew the inward man day by day we will have the moral fortitude and clarity to stand against the trials of our faith and endure to the end.

1Pe 1:7-9 KJV  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  (8)  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  (9)  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

The road ahead is long and tiresome. Don’t sink under the waves of this world. Look to Christ and live. When he returns will he find faith?

No doubt.





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I strive to be as the Bereans spoken of in Acts 17:10-11 receiving the word with all readiness of mind, and searching the scriptures daily, whether those things are so. Check up on me in your own bible. Should you find me in error please let me know immediately. We must prove all things (1Thes 5:21) and rightly divide the word of truth (2Tim 2:15) together lest we be deceived. (Matt 24:24)

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Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

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