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Jesus came from the Father; that is true in an Eternal sense, but not in the same way that my phsyical children here on earth came from me.  Anyone who acknowledges that God is infinite must also acknowledge that there are some aspects of God which are unknown and beyond full explanation (unless they also claim to have infinite knowledge).  But there is an outline – a light seen as through a veil – of who He is revealed to us by Scripture.

Consider what John says about Jesus:

John 1:1-3 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Notice that “All things were made by him”.  Compare that to Genesis.

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

John says Jesus – the Word of God – made everything.  Moses says God made everything.  Are they in disagreement?

When God appeared to Abraham to tell him of the child Sara would bear, how many men appeared to Abraham?  There were three.  I offer this point not as a proof, but as an aside, something to consider.

Another similar event is Christ’s baptism.

Matthew 3:16-17 – And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

For the sake of this discussion, consider the Spirit of God descending on Christ.  If the Holy Spirit is in fact merely a different “mode” or “manifestation” of Christ, was Christ truly the Son before the baptism?  Or was he just another man that became “possessed” (please forgive the connotation of the term) by the Spirit of God?

We all know, “the LORD is One”.  The word “One” in the Hebrew signifies a “composite” one; for example “one people”.

Consider:

Genesis 1:26 – And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Then balance that with:

Colossians 2:9 – For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

So, what do we have?  We know that all things that were made were made by the Word of God.  We know that God made all things.  We know that God has at several times revealed Himself and spoken of Himself in the plural.  Yet we also know that, according to Colossians, Christ is the physical manifestation of the Godhead.

Also consider this concerning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit:

John 6:46 – Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

John 14:9 – Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?

John 14:16 – And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

John 14:26 – But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 16:7 – Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

John 16:13-16 – Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.  All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.  A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

So…

* God made all things.
* Christ made all things.
* The Father is God.
* No one has seen the Father except Christ.
* If we have seen Christ we have seen the Father.
* Christ goes to the Father.
* Christ sends the Spirit from the Father.
* The Father sends the Spirit.
* The Spirit “shall hear” and “he shall not speak of himself”.
* When the Spirit comes, we will see Christ.
* Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father.
* The Holy Spirit is with us now.
* Christ is with us until the end of the age.

These are seeming paradoxes when you line them up like this but a paradox to our finite minds does not mean that it is not true.  As a slight digression, allow an example.  If you are familiar with physics, you are familiar with the concept of photons.  Scientists attempted over a century ago to determine whether the photon was a particle or a wave.  The answer, after many experiments, was determined to be “yes”; a photon is definitively both a particle and a wave, even capable of interacting with itself.  Intuitively it makes no sense.  But it is still true.

Jesus IS God.  The Spirit IS God.  The Father IS God.  They are distinct, but they are not separate.  “They” are One Being: Almighty God.

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new school prayer

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That’s no offense; it’s a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God’s name is prohibited by the state.

We’re allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They’ve outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the ‘unwed daddy,’ our Senior King.
It’s “inappropriate” to teach right from wrong,
We’re taught that such “judgments” do not belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It’s scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school’s a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!

Amen

Free form from the depths

I feel as though I’ve jumped off the pedestal with the noose around my neck only to find that I’m still alive but unable to breathe, and second guessing what I had wanted.  So I dangle and kick, gasping for breath, grasping for the beams around me, something – anything – to convince me to pull myself up for air.  Pain has become part of my existence.  I cannot function except in crisis, and yet there is the place I shine.  Am I cursed to live life from crisis to crisis?  Am I the one that brings these crises about, or is God molding me?  Well that much I know: He is.  But is it part of His plan, or is it just His Grace abounding more where my sin has abounded?  This fear of self-delusion haunts me; but from what am I deluding myself?  So shine I do in the pain, wishing the pain would stop.

After I awaken from these random thoughts, I wonder if they are just things that my mind created in its oxygen-deprived state as a way to protect myself.  Yet here I am dangling and unable to breathe except with the greatest of efforts.  My field of vision narrows, and I think of what I’ve lost, of who I could have been, who I could be, who I am, who I could have been with, who I will be with, who I will not be with.  The dream sets in and I’m momentarily granted respite from the angst, and I believe against reality that what I was meant to be, what I was meant to have, who I was meant to have, are all here with me.  Another breath enters me and I realize that this is not the case.  Or perhaps it is my lot; this pain.  Just a lesson for others.  But if my calling is to be an offering for others, is my life worth less than theirs?  Can I have happiness without pain?  Can those two things really be separated?

So much in me is being wasted.  I just want to breathe.

Pirates need Jesus too

I have tons (well, 65.8 hours) of worship music on my computer, about 90% of which is pirated.  Seriously, I have maybe seven or eight CD’s that are legitimately purchased copied down, and the rest is pirated, either from CD’s that other people let me copy, or from Limewire.

Does this make me a bad person?  For those that are truly creating music for the Glory of God, wouldn’t they want that to reach as many people as possible?  Didn’t Jesus turn over the money changers table for basically the same thing?  Would the true worship leaders really mind my having their music for no monetary cost?  Or is this a case of muzzling the ox while he’s treading the corn?  A lot of the stuff I like isn’t carried at the music stores around here (but I suppose you can buy just about anything from Amazon).

That is my current dilemma.  Thoughts anyone?

For those of you that know me, you know that I am marrying the most amazing woman this upcoming Saturday.  For those of you with whom I discuss our Faith, you also know that I am a Trinitarian Pentecostal, while my wife is a Oneness Pentecostal.  And for those of you who understand the difference, a painfully obvious question arises: how can you both walk in unison?

Through much prayer and meditation and study, I have come to the following conclusion: the doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly taught in the Scriptures, any more than the doctrine of Oneness.  Yet I am an unashamed subscriber to the doctrine of the Trinity.

This is not to say that I believe the doctrine of the Trinity is unbiblical.  Rather, the Trinity doctrine is a framework, based on Scripture, which allows us to logically make sense of what the Scriptures reveal to us regarding the nature of our God.  And while this might cause some contention with those who consider themselves Apostolic in their doctrine, I feel that the doctrine of the Trinity is a far better framework for understanding God than the Apostolic doctrine.

With that said, I also feel that any human explanation of who God truly is will without fail fall short of the greatness of His Glory.  “We see through a glass darkly.”  I am most certainly willing to be corrected by Scripture should I be incorrect or misled in any aspect of my faith or my walk, and I pray that God would help me to do so.  I can agree with Origen, one of the early church fathers, and one of the early theologians that helped develop the doctrine of the Trinity, when he said in Book II, Chapter 6 of On First Principles:

These are the ideas that were able to make their way into our minds as we took up these very difficult questions about the incarnation and the deity of Christ.  If someone comes up with better ideas and can confirm what he says with plainer assertions from the Holy Scriptures, let them be accepted instead of what we have written.

Even so, to anyone who puts their trust in Christ alone for their salvation, to anyone who from their heart calls Christ Lord, to anyone who believes that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and that Jesus Christ is indeed God in the flesh: you are my brother or sister.  I will not let some high-minded, self-righteous philosophy on either side of the debate separate me from the Family of God.  “What God has called clean, let no man call unclean.”

If I understand all mysteries but have not love, it is worth nothing.

And to my wife Cheri: I thank God for you, and may God use us and shine through us as an example to those who, willingly or unwillingly, have come to love contention.

“Father, may they be one, even as We are One.”

Gah… I hate dating. I just want a normal, healthy marriage. Is that really so much to ask?

Long story short: Romeo and Juliet spoke in tongues. Really!! It’s the tale of 2 star-crossed lovers, one is Assemblies of God, one is UPCI, both terribly in love with each other, yet held apart by differences in doctrine. Yet they are both Pentecostal… are they really so different? How will it end?

One can only hope it doesn’t end in the tragic melancholia of Shakespeare. (relax… it’s just a metaphor).

True Patriots

As many of you know, I do not consider myself a neo-conservative (i.e., using big government and big money to promote “conservative” values – that’s my definition of it, at least, but I think it is fairly accurate). Whatever happened to small government? To personal responsibility? What happened to the idea that the government provided society’s physical infrastructure and military, while the church and individual families were the ones that provided for physical needs, morality, culture, and even education? Aren’t these the cornerstones of a self-governing people? These points are lost on politicians today, and even the “conservative” media. It is not the government’s job to promote morality – not in this country or any other.

Barack Obama has recently disputed (arguably false) allegations that he is, in fact, a Muslim. Mr. Obama’s own words, however, show that his influences are actually an interesting potpourri of religious philosophies. Even if his gradual “conversion” to Christianity 16 years ago is genuine, he prides himself in his diverse religious exposure that his mother provided, and the fact that “[he] was made to understand that such religious samplings required no sustained commitment on my part.” Obama, and politicians in general, are masters at being “everything to everybody”, just for the sake of winning votes.

I am afraid that America, in depending on the government and (even more so) the entertainment and news media (are the two really that different?) to define who we are, we have lost our cultural identity. Further said, just because it might feel good to think that every religion and every philosophy is correct and are just alternate roads to truth, the fact of the matter is this is not true. Even from a purely secular standpoint, it is fairly obvious that man is capable of both great good and great evil, and it is foolish to think that every imagination of man is just another path to God.

Sadly, the doctrine of political correctness is destroying the right to free speech. Ironically, this is being done in the name of free speech, and it is being done by both Republicans and Democrats. Politicians primarily, and individual citizens secondarily, are afraid to stand for what they believe in. Politicians are afraid they’ll lose votes. Citizens are afraid they’ll lose respect. Eventually, both groups will lose their rights for stating what they truly believe.

If there is a God, why are we afraid of declaring our faith in Him? Why do we feel the need to pander to every philosophy? Perhaps we, as a nation, have lost that faith? Perhaps we have misplaced it? Liberals put their faith in institutions to bring about justice. Republicans put their faith in men to enforce their view of morality.

True patriots put their faith in the God that granted us our liberty, and are not ashamed of it.

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.

– John Adams