Helpers Of Your Joy

a hand up

In Matthew 16:8 Jesus teaches that human reasoning is one of the enemies of believing God’s word.

Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith [believing], why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?

John 7 is an example of human reasoning blocking believing.

We descend into the conversation where the people are discussing with the religious leaders Jesus status. Some thought he was a prophet, others thought that he was the Christ.

40 Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth, this is the Prophet.

41 Others said This is the Christ. But some said Shall Christ come out of Galilee?

42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?

43 So there was a division among the people because of him.

They knew that he was raised in Galilee but were unaware that he was born in Bethlehem, fled for Egypt with his family as a toddler, and returned to settle in Galilee.

44 And some of them would have taken him, but no man laid hands on him.

45 Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?

46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.

The officers were impressed with how Jesus spoke with authority.

47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?

48 Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?

49 But these people who know not the law are cursed.

Now let’s examine the human reasoning of the Pharisees. First, they accused the officers of being hoodwinked by Jesus words. Then, they asked them to consider that none of the rulers or religious leaders believed in him. This is the “majority is right” argument. Finally, they cursed the people for not knowing the law. This is human reasoning times three. They are persuasive, but are they right? The leaders introduced doubt, promoted reasoning, and pronounced fear due to ignorance.

50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)

51 Does our law judge any man, before it hears him, and knows what he does?

52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.

Nicodemus thinks that their statements lack justice. They then attack him, by doubling down on Jesus is not a prophet since he is from Galilee.

53 And every man went unto his own house.

Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

Every man went home, but Jesus went to the mount of Olives, probably to pray.

And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him, and he sat down and taught them.

The people arrived with humble hearts, ready to receive the words of life. The religious leaders came with prideful hearts, ready to reject Jesus and his words; Ensuring that the people understood why they were right and Jesus was wrong. The word of God is truth. Beware of leaders attacking the Word, presenting a skewed view, or promoting fear.

2 Corinthians 1:24

Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

Leaders are called to be helpers of your joy and not to lord over your believing.

Non-Diverse Judicial Branch

Diversity and inclusion is a hallmark goal of the government and business community. Our Supreme Court is not as diverse as other institutions.

Education

All eight judges are graduates from Ivy League law schools: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

Religion

Over 45% of the US claims to be Protestants, 23% are Roman Catholic, and 2% are Jewish. The Supreme Court makeup comprises five Roman Catholics, 3 Jews, and 0 Protestants. John Paul Stevens retirement in 2010 completed the last term of a Protestant.

% of US Population % of Supreme Court
Protestant 46 0
Roman Catholic 23 62.5
Jewish 2 37.5

Note: The nominee to replace Antonin Scalia is Merrick Garland, a Harvard graduate of the Jewish faith.

quote-at-the-constitutional-level-where-we-work-90-percent-of-any-decision-is-emotional-the-rational-william-o-douglas-52697

The quote above is from Supreme Court justice, William O. Douglas. Since all of the judges come from Ivy League schools, where liberalism dominates, then most graduate with a liberal mindset. Criminal law interpretation is clear-cut, whereas Constitutional law interpretation is softer. Not because Constitutional law is unclear, but because progressive judges believe in a living constitution. This is a fluid interpretation based on social norms, political climate, what the judge thinks “should” be right, and extra-constitutional sources. I believe that Justice Douglas is correct when he states that 90% of a Supreme Court decision is emotional and that the other 10% is justifying why the emotional choice is right.

Liberal Mindset + Emotional Decision + Living Constitution =  Unconstitutional Conclusion

Conservative judges are not taught to be conservative in most law schools. Therefore, a judge becomes a conservative by choice and convictions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Identification

self-identification

North Carolina is at the center of the national debate over self-identification. The city of Charlotte passed a local law allowing men to choose which bathroom, locker room, or shower based on their choice. The state of North Carolina passed into law, HB-2,  a state law to nullify the Charlotte law. This new law said that people would use the bathroom based on the sex designation on the­­ir birth certificate. This unleashed national outrage.

Paypal halted their new 400 employee office targeted for Charlotte. California and New York governments banned employee travel to North Carolina. Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, and Boston canceled concerts in protest.

Attorney General Roy Cooper refuses to enforce the NC law, claiming  unconstitutionality. (Note: Mr. Cooper is running for governor in the November election against Gov. McCrory. I left a voicemail and sent an email to Mr. Cooper’s office the day of his announcement, requesting his justification for how it violated the constitution. Mr. Cooper’s office has not responded as of this article.)

US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, declared that NC is in violation of Title 7 (Civil Rights Act) and Title 9 (university discrimination); threatening to withhold federal funding for schools and roads as a punishment.

President Obama parrots the same as the DOJ, speaking about NC discrimination at press conferences in the US and in Great Britain. He has not proposed for congress to pass a law to resolve this perceived problem.

The DOJ gave NC three days to respond to their request that NC overturns HB-2. NC asked for more time but was refused.  On the deadline date, NC did respond – with a lawsuit suing the DOJ. The DOJ responded with a countersuit.  Why a countersuit?  The NC case was filed in the eastern NC US district court and The DOJ case was filed in the middle NC US district court. This allows the DOJ to hedge their bets that one of the two courts will favor their case. Regardless, this is probably headed to the Supreme Court.

The opposition claims that the case is only about transgender people. This is about government over-reach concerning state’s rights. The DOJ is wanting to redefine the term “sex” in Title 7. The original meaning in the 1970’s was biological gender. Now the DOJ is redefining the term to mean “gender-identification”. The DOJ enforces the law, but Congress writes the law.

If discrimination is based on identification then when does it end? Can I identify as a handicapped person and receive benefits? Can I identify as an African American and receive scholarship money as a minority? Where is the dividing line between reality and identification?

I agree with Gov. Pat McCrory. I do not want men in the bathroom with my wife or daughter. HB-2 was a needed, but not perfect law. Stand strong, Governor, in support of common sense and decency.

The NC lawsuit elevates this case from an NC issue to a 50 states issue. I don’t believe that NC is the last of the 50 states to resist bathroom openness. But yet, NC is under the microscope for taking a stand, bullied by musicians, businesses, and local governments.

Our constitution is resilient when protected and defended. It becomes brittle when viewed as a living constitution due to a Humpty-dumpty mindset.

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

 

The Law, The Prophets, and The Psalms

Hebrew canon

The order of the books in the Old Testament varies in some translations and versions. Most of the English versions maintain the same order.  Most Seminaries and Theology schools teach the five major divisions of the Old Testament as follows:

  1. The Pentateuch (first 5 books of the bible; the books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy)
  2. The Historical Books
  3. The Poetic and Wisdom writings
  4. The Major Prophets
  5. The Minor Prophets

Is this how God divides the Old Testament?  In Luke 24:44, Jesus divides the Old Testament into three sections.

And he said unto them, these are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

Jesus divided the Old Testament into three:

  1. Law of Moses
  2. The Prophets
  3. The Psalms (writings)

Who do you think is right, Jesus or man? In the Hebrew bible, the sections are divided as Jesus specified.

Hebrew Old Testament Canon

Notice from the link above how the bible ends. In the English versions, Chronicles is in the middle of the Old Testament and Malachi is the last book. In the Hebrew bible, Chronicles ends the Old Testament and Malachi and the other “minor prophets” are in the middle. They have contrasting endings to the Old Testament.

In English –

Malachi 4

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

 

In Hebrew

2 Chronicles 36

23 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth has the Lord God of heaven given me; and he has charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up.

In English, The Old Testament closes with God sending Elijah before the coming great and dreadful day of the Lord when God will strike the earth with a curse. This is a foreboding ending.

In Hebrews, The Old Testament closes with building God’s house in Jerusalem. The Lord is with him [Jesus], and let him go up. This is a prophecy of Jesus. This is an uplifting and encouraging ending.

Communicate Like God

still small voice
I may not know you well, but I know one thing about all of you — you talk.  Talking is one of the ways that we are most like God because he talks also. We talk to communicate with our families, friends, co-workers, customers, and strangers.   In 1 Kings 19, God’s communication style is revealed.

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rents the mountains, and brakes in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

God’s voice was not in the strong wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but in the still small voice — a whisper. Winds, earthquakes, and fires are dominating, impossible to ignore, and destructive. Whispers are subtle, requiring the listener’s focus.

Seth Godin, an international speaker, and bestselling writer, summarizes this beautifully. Consider the following as it relates to communicating.

The problem with shouting is that it pushes people away. WHEN YOU SHOUT IN EMAIL, IT SEEMS ANGRY. Shouting creates a wall between us and the person at the other end (even though it seems like many people, sooner or later, there’s one person at the other end). 

Shouting destroys intimacy, and it hurts our impact, the impact that comes from authenticity.

We feel speech and words long before we hear the words, and we hear the words long before we understand them.

The solution is simple: whisper.

Practice whispering.

Sexual Perversion and Idol Worship

idol worship

Idolatry pervaded Judah and Israel under their first Kings, Jeroboam  from the beginning and Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, at the end. In 1 Kings 14, God details the decline.

22 And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.

23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.

The idols reside at the top of hills so that they can be seen and worshipped from a distance. Groves is the translation for Asherah, the fertility goddess. Why the fertility goddess? Because ritual sex had become part of the idolatrous service. One of the stone idols in the figure below is called an Asherah pole.  Notice the phallic shape. The same form is achieved by trimming the branches from a tree.

asherah stone

24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.

Continuing the sexual theme, there were male and female prostitutes integrated into the religious services. Perverted sex during idolatrous service is described by God as part of the “abominations of the nations”.

King Asa, Rehoboam’s  son, eradicated the idol worship but left the high places in 1 Kings 15.

And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah.

10 And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.

11 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father.

The good kings by doing what is “right in the eyes of the Lord” , but the wicked kings do what is “evil in the sight of the Lord”.

12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.

King Asa drove out the male and female prostitutes in addition to destroying the idols. Even his mother, the Queen, had to be removed and her idol burned, a wood idol in the grove.

13 And also, Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol and burnt it by the brook Kidron.

14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless, Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days.

The places of worship remained but the images and people were gone.  This pleased God greatly.

Idolatry and sexual perversion recur regularly in the Old Testament.

 

 

Dimensional Perspective

solomontemple

Solomon built his palace adjacent to God’s temple, dwarfing the house of God. The height was the same, but the front porch was 2.5 times wider and the footprint of the building was over 8 times larger than the temple. Visitor’s eyes were captivated by the palace first.

The temple was only 1340 sq. /ft., which is the size of a small 2-3 bedroom ranch style house. Our first home was about this size originally. The side view of the temple was shaped like a saltine cracker, 45 feet by 45 feet. A 45-foot ceiling  magnifies the height in a footprint this small.

Reference 1 Kings 6:2 for the dimensions of the temple

Solomon’s house was massive. It contained over 11,000 sq. /ft. on the ground floor (1/4 acre), along with a 45-foot ceiling. The awestruck visitors were engulfed by the copious accommodations.

Reference 1 King 7:2 for dimensions of Solomon’s house

For perspective, I compared the dimensions of Noah’s ark to the temple and Solomon’s house. The ark was 450 feet long (1.5 football fields in length) by 75 feet wide by 45 feet tall. Notice the height of the ark is the same as the temple and Solomon’s house. The main deck of the ark was about 34,000 sq./ft (3/4 acre). Since ship decks are not rectangular the number would be smaller, but less than 10%. He probably had 2-3 decks under the main deck. If he had two decks below the main then there was 1.25 to 1.5 acres for animals and food for 40 days. If he had 3 decks below, then there were about 2 acres available. How he separated the wild animals from the tame animals on the ark to prevent some of the predators being predators is another story.

When reading the bible it’s interesting to relate the dimensions and scale to our reality.

Note: My calculations are below. If you see any errors then let me know.

 

Solomon’s house L- 100 x W- 50 x H- 30 (cubits) 150x75x 45 (cubit = 1.5 ft.)

Temple – L- 30 x W- 20 x H-30 (cubits) 45 x 30 x 45 (cubit = 1.5 ft.)

Footprint

House – 5000 sq. cubits 11,250 sq. /ft. (about ¼ acre)

Temple – 600 sq. cubits 1350 sq. /ft. (about .03 acre)

House was 8x the footprint of the temple

Noah’s ark – L- 300 x W- 50 x H- 30 (cubits) 450 x 75 x 45 (feet)

Footprint of main deck – approximately 34000 sq. /ft. (about 3/4 acre)