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Thursday, January 5, 2012

God can operate on both sides of certain human issues

            “Then, when Satan lies to you and tells you that God is not listening to your prayers, that you won’t receive your healing or get that new job, don’t listen to him. Instead, begin to tell him about God’s mercy.  Tell him, ‘The Lord is good to all. He’s full of compassion.  His tender mercy is over all His works—and that includes me! I’m one of God’s favorites!’”

--Gloria Copeland, in “Pursuit of His Prescence”, by Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, devotional for January 3.

            One feature of God is that He can put exact opposite things on the hearts of different believers to His honor.  We emphasize how, in Acts chapter 10, Peter dreamt that what God has bless we should not call common.  This told the early church that  a) God was willing to bestow salvation on Gentiles, and b) reaffirmed that in the New Covenant, the Old Covenant law or teaching about refraining from non-kosher food had been abolished, as the covenant which it was connected to was fulfilled by Jesus on the cross, and, therefore, inapplicable to the New Covenant chosen people, without regard to being Jew or Gentile.  That was to be of utmost importance to Peter immediately as he visits the family of Cornelius, and the gift of the Holy Spirit comes upon them without Peter’s doing more than preaching (speaking from his heart, spontaneously, not the formal ritual we now think of as being preaching) of what the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have shown him.
          In this day, we, in some flavors of the church, bring up this subject to disagree with persons of a group who insist on vegetarianism.  What I have never heard said publicly (so now is as good a time to say it as any) is that, while these persons teaching on vegetarianism is quite rigid, it also removes a roadblock to speaking about Jesus to persons of a variety of Eastern religious backgrounds.  This is not trivia because, in some places, persons of that group operating vegetarian restaurants and health/organic food stores, because of this, come into greater contact from persons of those backgrounds.*
          Above, Gloria Copeland assumes the western Christian point of view that getting a better job is part of God’s blessing on a believer.  I certainly believe that, as a general rule, in a reasonably fair society, if one works as unto serving God and not man, the hard, thoughtful work will accrue financial benefit to ownership because it benefits the employer without regard to his/her/its (corporations are “it”s) faith.  My experience has been that, from faith in Jesus, like the Three Hebrew Children, my faith has been such that I could resist the pressure to do unethical things to gain promotion (and I must say that the employer I am thinking of is a company renowned for how ethical its operations are!).  Most large corporation executives have no clue that, in pursuing maximization of profit, the have stepped into the idolatry of worship of money.  Unlike David’s story, the tables have never turned, for me, in this life so far.  For many believers worldwide, not only have they never turned, they have received the worst jobs, jail, rejection of biological family, torture, and death.  According to others who are in a position to examine world trends, the last century has been the worst, even as the death rate in wars (civilian and combatant combined) in wars, as a percentage of total population, has been reduced to the lowest level in recorded history.

            Therefore, I am thankful for food, a warm and comfortable place to sleep, and freedom to say what I believe.  I know those are luxuries too many of my fellow adopted sons and daughters of Jesus are not enjoying today.  That I have access to communicate my thoughts in freedom is a luxury, blessing, but also a responsibility.  I just ran into a quote of Dr. Walter Martin: To be controversial for the sake of controversy is a sin, but to be controversial for the sake of Truth is a Divine command.

            *I know that, of my fellow believers, some consider the group referenced here to be within, and others, outside the umbrella of orthodox faith.  In this writing, I am not attempting to make either side of that point, either explicitly or implicitly.

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