Tag Archives: Jesus

The best business advice

As Jesus was teaching/preaching, a man was churning something over and over in his mind that had nothing to do with the sermon at hand, much like some do during modern church services.

“Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.””

Luke 12:13-21

Jesus takes the opportunity to make what was a disruption into a famous teaching moment. This is the best advice I can think of for all business persons.

Materialism distracts us from recognizing that God gives us the increases we receive in life, yet somehow this businessman/farmer was able to look past all that God had done to bring about his abundant crops, and could only see himself and his security in that wealth. Yet the bigger problem was not his lack of space to hold it all, or really that he had to come up with a plan to resolve his storage problem. His biggest issue was that in all his life’s work and planning, he never took time to make God a part of his plans.

It’s the thought that you can always get to God later in life once you’ve taken care of your material needs. The Devil rarely tries to convince people that God’s not real or that there is not pending judgement day. The Devil’s best tactic is to convince people that there is always room to get right with God, tomorrow. Business people have so much going on, that if you could poll all of them in one day, I bet there would be a majority that would similarly say they can always accept God tomorrow. But just like the parable, and the population being what it is, the odds are that a few of those same business people will not make it to tomorrow. Worse still are those materialistic people that business people feed into and off of, stats say there are more of those who are betting on tomorrow but will not see the next sunrise. Further in the New Testament, James hits the nail on the head in the advice he is giving:

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

James 4:13-17

To bet on tomorrow is and will be a losing bet for someone today. Don’t let that person be you, work to be rich toward God and seek the Lord while he may be found.

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Covenant (part 1)

God expresses His relationships in the form of covenants. The ceremony or elements involved in cutting a covenant serve to illustrate, by way of God’s condensation to man, what spiritually already exists to God and not the creation of relationship, as if no relationship and/or obligation was already in place.

In covenant both love and law are held in harmony, as parallel to God’s character (not mere feelings as somehow separate from His precepts, but united). Thus it is our obligation to conform to His character of love as expressed in commands from the heart.

Covenant is then both a relational and legal term, whereas more “weight” is assigned to God and His word, above that of our feelings and opinions, in care that we do not offend His character and to joyously seek to reflect His character.

Because covenants are part of God’s character and the relationship of us to His holiness, they are always present, expressing mans standing before God, and so is the constant context of Scripture.

The variety of covenants encountered in scripture are but one of two covenants, one of works and one of grace. Each signifies who the people of God are, and how they are to be identified. All other covenants clarify elements already present in these two covenants by way of pointing out continuities or discontinuities between the two.

#CovenantReformation

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Millennials, Gamers and the Christian Life.

“Millennials”is the stereotypical name given to those of the current generation who are typified by terms like entitlement, whiny and at times aggressively rebellious. I’d like to make an observation about them in contrast to gamers and true Christianity. I hope this widens the perspective of some so that they may go through the rest of life cherishing each day for what it is. 

I’m going to use “gamer(s)” in the sense of those who regularly grind through a game over and over, not just to win, but to improve upon their character’s stats, gear and/or level. 
To me the gamer is most like the Christian. They both enjoy the challenge of grinding out another seemingly monotonous day seeing only incremental improvements each day. Yet within each day there is the satisfaction of having completed more than there was to do the day before. The millennial, on the other hand, just wants the goal or prize. The day to day is pointless to them, a waste of time and even stupid because of a sense of chronological snobbery, if it’s old then there must be a better, more modern way. 
In life the millennial wants retirement asap, because years of the daily grind only prevent them from traveling and doing what’s supposed to be fun. Yet should you give it to them, they will likely tell you in about an hour that they are bored anyway. Why? Because they have nothing to make having gotten the prize worth it. 
So, too, in church, millennials get the end of the world benefit of salvation idea, but the day to day is boring or a waste of time. The spiritual benefits should be immediate because they want them and as a child of God they believe they are entitled to them now. Yet other millennials are more willing to sit on the end of time salvation benefit and just live the day to day as like the rest of the world. 
What they are missing is that like the gamer, the fun is in the details of grinding through the same levels/trials over and over. You build experience, friends and stories about these trials, and you learn not to rush into the next area of life, much less the end level of the game unprepared. There may yield few gains at the end of even a month of grinding, but the gamer knows they are making progress, and see encouragement in those who are ahead and along side them. They are even able to befriend those of weaker levels to show and help them conquer obstacles still too great for them to handle alone. 
Millennials need to both learn and hear from others that life is lived in the trenches, and that although you might want all the rewards now, they won’t be worth anything if just given. You may have the prize, but no experiences of what got you there, no friendships with people you fought and lived shoulder to shoulder with, no stories to share of close calls, rescues and setbacks. 
Life and especially the Christian life is hard. There is no quick fix or advancing to full spiritual enlightenment now. Each day is a grind, and although there many seem to be greener grass elsewhere and prizes you want, you need to be tested enough where you are to know if you’re at the right level to advance there. 
I think one of the reasons Jesus was told “No” in the garden, was because there was no skipping this level of difficulty. So when we are told “no” by God, we are to suck it up that this or that scenario just must be a level we need to complete or grind through again for His glory (not ours). There is no room for pouting or rioting, because that just sets you farther back. You just get up and play on. Breaking controllers and whining just delay the grinding you likely should be doing to incrementally see it to the next level. 

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Trinity, Humanity of Jesus and Mormonism

There is a problem in the Mormon claim that Jesus was once a man like us, who became the God of this world and like Him, we too can become gods of our own worlds. The claims of God (Jesus within that Trinity which Mormons do not accept) to be eternal, unchangeable, all knowing, all powerful and omnipresent are invalid if God was once a man himself. It is very hard to be eternal if you have a regular starting point in History as a man. Jesus alone can claim to be eternal as part of the trinity being 100% God and man. The Mormon concept, on the other hand, claims Jesus was a man like us who achieved the position of a god, so the divine attributes do not apply. The problem is that the Book of Mormon does not back this up, when it ascribes to Jesus divine and eternal attributes and confuses who is the Father and who is the Son.

2 Nephi 26:12, “And as I spoke concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God
Mosiah 3:5, “For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.”
Alma 13:9, “Thus they become high priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, who is without beginning of days or end of years, who is full of grace, equity, and truth. And thus it is. Amen.”
Doctrine & Covenants (D&C) 20:17, “By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them.” – But all these things are ascribed to Jesus in Mosiah 4:2, “for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things.”

So it’s as if, to be close to the Bible, Smith could not lose his grip on the trinity, but as theologians have a hard time describing it, he was not sure how much credit to give or take away from Jesus. We wouldn’t ascribe divinity to Jesus if he was once a man, living like us, within another parallel type of world, which existed before ours, who out of that world ascended to the position of a god, and so granted permission to be god of this world. If Jesus was once a man (as just described), then the attributes of eternity and such do not properly belong to him. He is more like a superman from another planet, come with powers to rule (however generously) over us.

D&C 130:22, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us,” (conflicts with John 4:24). There is no reason to attribute flesh and bone to God the Father unless Smith is trying to state that the Father was once a man too. If that is the reason then he cannot possibly have the incommunicable attributes associated with the definition of God.

The Trinity was something confusing for Smith that got more confused as he wrote. (Emphasis mine)

2 Nephi 11:7, “For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and he is Christ, and he cometh in the fullness of his own time.” – There seems to be a unity of God and Jesus, yet in a very singular way.
2 Nephi 31:21, “And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.” – Now we seem to have the Trinity the way Christians would describe it, except with a repeat of Christ and the Son, almost as if there are four. Here the Mormon has a hard time denying the Trinity being the language is so precise.
Mosiah 15:2-5, “And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son. The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son. And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.
And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.” – We seem to have Son and Father, but then they both seem to come from a division God. But there is again the positive statement that “they are one God.”
Mosiah 16:15, “Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen.” – In the Bible Jesus does not speak of himself as being the Father. He is one with the Father and so on, but there is a distinction to where the Son is not the Father, nor the Spirit either, and yet they are one God.
Alma 11:38-39, 44. Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” … “Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but everything shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.” – Again there seems to be a confusion of roles. The Son is not the Father. Yes the trinity is difficult to explain but theologian just admit the difficulty, they do not start confusing the Father with the Son.
Alma 18:26-29, “And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit? And he said, Yea. And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth? And he said: Yea, I believe that he created all things which are in the earth; but I do not know the heavens.” – The Holy Spirit equated with being God, and yet is still not quite the triune nature the Bible speaks of.
3 Nephi 11:27, 36, “And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.” … “And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.” – Jesus teaching about baptism, in a kind of a mix of New Testament passages. Still I do not see how they deny the Trinity when the nature of their passages seems to teach it. Although they confuse the roles of the persons of the Godhead, the teaching is still very much there.

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