Archive for May, 2014

Entangled

The surreal and ominous thing about sin is its ability to draw us into it, and the minute we’ve committed whatever trespass, we long to be freed from its tentacle grip. Like a moth drawn to the luminous foreboding of a light bulb, caught in its grip, until the heat of the light or the spider which takes the opportunity given it to devour those that come so close. SW15God warned Cain in Gen. If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Gen 4:7) Once Cain sinned, he was caught in its web. Listen to his predicament:Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the Earth and whoever finds me will kill me.”(Gen 4:13-14).  Cain’s sin of murdering his brother, Abel, has dire consequences. God warned Cain not of the consequences but the overall condition of sin – enslavement and separation! “Its desire is for you”, was God’s warning to Cain. Satan wishes nothing better than to trap you in his web. His desire is to have you and hold you there in misery for all eternity. The serpent of old doesn’t care for your soul; he only wants you to react to circumstances that trouble you now. Someone is making you feel unhappy, unwanted, less than you think you should be, over-shadowing your potential, making you to feel unappreciated? The Devil says react, don’t let them do you that way, get even, get back at them, slander them, curse them, hurt them, leave them, do anything that you can because it won’t matter. God says, you must rule over that feeling, you can and you should rule over sin! Cain didn’t listen to God; he listened to Satan and was caught in the web.

David faced the same circumstances in life by giving in to the voices of lust and envy. David moved further into this spiral, attracted to the false light (Bathsheba), mesmerized by her beauty, hypnotized by want and desire, captured by lust, trapped forever in the sin of adultery, bound by chains to the guilt of innocent blood (Uriah).  When these terrible sins are made visible to a blinded King David, by Nathan, David’s sorrow and enslavement has just begun. Once caught in this vicious entanglement, happiness and joy are no longer:Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.(Psa 51:8)

The guilt of his trespass is forever there: For I know my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. (Psa 51:3)

The fear of separation from God looms:Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. (Psa 51:11)

The garments of dirt and shame are worn daily:Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (Psa 51:2)

For David, life would not be the same. Death and sorrow plagued his household, murder, rebellion, rape, incest to name a few. Once he crossed that threshold, he was no longer in control; he had sold that over to Satan. David knew who could purge him from this guilt and with tears and much petition he went to God and begged for mercy. God, of course, heard his prayers, forgave his sins and saved his soul, but the scars of guilt and sorrow would forever be there. Our Lord has paid the price to ransom our souls from Hell. He has freed us from the enslavement of sin with the price of His blood.  And being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness. (Rom 6:18)

Since He paid such a dear price, we are forewarned! Don’t get near the web, don’t even think about it. For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, (Heb 10:26).

Darryl Fuller

So what is Truth?

jesus-pilate-1024x658So what is truth? Sometime early on a Friday morning, after a long night of prayer and suffering, this question was posed to Jesus. (John 18:37-38) The question is actually rhetorical in nature. Pilate is not duly interested in a philosophical discussion with the accused, he is merely cynical.  The absence of a debate on the subject is the mark of one who, living in a world full of lies, cannot fathom any man, especially one reported to be a king, holding the absolute knowledge of truth.   I can almost see Pilate looking off into the distant courtyard, as the delegation of bloodthirsty Jewish leaders look on in eager anticipation of his verdict. What is truth? Truth is not to be found among them for he sees them for what they are, power mongers, threatened by this lowly, humbled and despicable looking man whom they accuse of treason. Pilate knows treacherous men. He’s spent a lifetime putting down insurrections, and this meek lamb is no traitor to Caesar. “I found no guilt in this man,” Pilate exclaims, but soon after caves to their demands and seals his fate. For if you don’t really believe that there’s truth then the innocence of an accused man is not worth fighting for. Who cares? Who’s to say he is innocent or not. Without truth, the masses who threaten rioting could be right. What is truth?, then becomes the way out of every moral dilemma.

There are many periods throughout human history in which truth took a backseat to human reasoning and moral decadence.   The book of Judges is a good example of a period in which, Every man did that which was right in his own sight. (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25).

Just before the children of Israel were taken into captivity, both before the Assyrians and the Babylonians, truth had been substituted for error. Isa 59:14-15  Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.  (15)  Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.

Even more frightening is the age in which we now live, the age of Post modernism. Emphasis is placed on power relationships, personalization, and discourse in the “construction” of truth and world views.  For example, if a child grows up believing that a Hindu god is truth, then it must be so.  Therefore, what we see and feel is truth, no matter that some ancient book may say otherwise.  God, of course, warned against this way of thinking, Pro 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

1Co 3:18-19  Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.  (19)  For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness.”

Our minds, as God warns us, are very susceptible to hard conditioning.  It is described often as being hard-hearted or more commonly, bull-headed.  God reminds us to guard it very carefully, Col 3:15  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (see also Phil 4:7; Pro.4:23).    

Ironically, during this post modernism era, tremendous gains have occurred in the fields of neuro-biology and behavioral science. Specifically, doctors and researchers have come to understand that our brains, once thought to only be pliable into early adulthood, are actually very elastic and can be retrained or re-molded from old norms and habits. It turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks!   The case to make here is that although our brains are more pliable than previously thought, they are indeed capable of becoming rigid or fixed in a way of thought.  One of the ways we can observe this (no pun intended) is in how we perceive our world through vision. Our minds have a way of tricking us into seeing things that are not actually what they appear to be, giving us what we call optical illusions.

Below are two examples of optical illusions.  On top is an American flag in false colors.  Look at the center of the flag for one minute, and then turn and stare at a blank, white paper.  What you’ll see is the American flag in its true red, white and blue. This is an example of how our brains have been pre-conditioned to see the flag in it’s true colors. You may have already observed that the illustration on the bottom appears to be spinning. I’ve not incorporated animation into this article, the circles are spinning because your mind perceives the arrows moving in the direction in which there pointing. (print the page on to paper and try it.)flag

optical-illusions-pictures-8

These are just two examples of many that illustrate how our brains can be tricked by what they see. Thus we see the importance of God’s admonishment to us to be very careful of what we see and test the things we see to know if they are true. 1Th 5:19-22  Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies,    but test everything; hold fast what is good.    Abstain from every form of evil. (see also 2 Cor.13:5; 1 John 4:1; Lam.3:40; Heb.11:6).  Some will say that our brains have been pre-conditioned to follow God, that we have been hard-wired to believe in Him and have believed in it so long that our brains have tricked us with this illusion of God.  However it is for this very reason that God so urged us to diligently seek Him and test the spirits to see if it were so.It brings us back to the dialog between Jesus and Pilate when Jesus said, You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the truth.”  What is truth? Jesus is truth! God is truth! His words are truth!  Everything prophesied about Christ in the Old Testament from Genesis Chapter 1 to Malachi Chapter 4 came true as God promised it would. That’s truth! Christ was no illusion, even the atheists today freely admit, He was real and lived in Judea during the reign of Augustus and Tiberius Caesar.  500 or more were witnesses to his appearance after the resurrection. (1 Cor.15:6).  His words have remained true throughout the ages and have brought joy and peace to many a lost soul.  Kingdoms have risen and fallen.  Kings and Queens have ascended thrones and descended, some to the point of losing their heads. Yet the church of our Lord has remained, through every war and transition of worldly power. No matter how much man has tried to change it or used it for personal gain and power, it has stood.  Even through the darkest of ages, men, women and children have gathered to worship the one true God and remember the death of His son. Wherever two or more were gathered, there was our Lord. The church of Christ is truth.

                It is incumbent upon us all to carry forth this truth.  We must not be swayed by the popularity of our time to dismiss truth as Pilate did.  Whenever men may say that there is no absolute truth, that truth is relative and changeable, that truth is what you want it to be, remember the words of our savior who said  I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6.

                There is truth, absolutely!

 Darryl Fuller

 

Prophet or Charlatan

This past Thursday, I had opportunity to meet with several Mormons and tour their worship facility. The moment you walk in the door you get the feeling you’re walking into any protestant denominational worship facility. However, within a few feet, paintings of Jesus (a very Anglo Saxon looking Jesus) appear along with paintings of Joseph Smith.  As I walked further into the facility, Jesus diminished and Joseph Smith increased.  Joseph Smith, contrary to what they may say, is a big part of who they worship.  One of their rooms is a resource facility, lined with pictures of  Joseph Smith and their modern day head prophet Thomas Monson. There’s a picture of him right next to Jesus and Joseph Smith. All of the books and teaching material in this room are by far centered on the book of Mormon. I saw no commentaries, encyclopedias, lexicons, dictionaries, atlases, concordances or any bible related material at all. Next, They invited me to have a seat in there genealogy and media center library, a long room with state of the art computer terminals and hi-definition flat screen displays on either side of the room. There was 6 stations to be exact, all very tidy and quite impressive. Within this short tour I was overwhelmed with the propaganda of Mormonism, not Christ.  It was an impressive selling tool. A kind of feeling you get when you walk into a car dealership. They overwhelm you with new looks, new smells, sparkling clean, bright colorful pictures, great slicks and fancy brochures, but if your not prepared and haven’t done your homework, your about to go into a debt you can’t really afford. Just enough of Jesus, to make you believe you are there to worship Jesus, but your really their to bow before Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and Thomas Monson. Theirs is not a religion of God but of men.

Once in the media room they showed me a video of Joseph Smith receiving his vision from the angel Moroni and their proclamation of how he was a prophet of God.  When we finished the video I asked them if we could stay and discuss some of the things they had shown me and they agreed. I asked if they would open the bible and turn to Deut. 18:20-22, it reads as follows:  But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’  (21)  And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’–  (22)  when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.  After reading this passage, I asked them this question: If Smith was a true prophet, he too should have repeatedly predicted the future, and His predictions should always come true. If his predictions ever failed, this would prove He was not a true prophet and we should not follow him? They agreed.

I presented them with the facts:

The Civil War

Smith predicted the Civil War on 12/25/1832 (Doctrine and Covenants 87:1-6; 130:12,13), one month after South Carolina had passed a law on 11/19/1832 threatening to secede. The whole country feared war, not just Smith. However:

Smith said war would be “poured out on all nations” (87:2,3), yet no other nations participated in the Civil War. He said the war would result in a “full end of all nations” (87:6), but no nation at all ended. And he said the war would occur “previous to the coming of the Son of Man (130:12). The war ended in 1865, but Jesus still has not returned. Joseph Smith and Mormon Scripture fail the test of fulfilled prophecy.

The coming of the Lord

In 1835 Smith said “… the coming of the Lord, which was nigh – even fifty-six years should wind up the scene” (History of the Church, Vol. II, p 182). Yet, the world still stands today.

Prophecies regarding Mormon apostles

Smith made predictions about Mormon apostles (History of the Church, Vol. II, pp. 188ff):

* Lyman Johnson – Smith said, “no power of the enemy shall prevent him from going forth and doing his work … he shall see the Savior come and stand upon the earth with power and great glory” (p 188). Johnson apostatized (1836), was disfellowshiped (1837), and drowned (1856).

* William M’Lellin – Smith said, “The tempter shall not overcome him … His days may be prolonged until the coming of the Son of Man” (p 190). He was excommunicated that same year (1835) and was later part of mob action against the church (Historical Record, Vol. 5, pp. 38f).

* John Boynton – Smith said, “Thou shalt overcome all the evils that are in the world … [and] shall see the face of thy redeemer in the flesh” (p 191). But he apostatized and never returned.

Did Smith’s predictions all come true, or is Smith a false prophet?

[Above facts confirmed by two sources: Mormonism, Ken Green, p 15; and Mormonism – Shadow or Reality, Tanner and Tanner, 1972 Ed., pp. 187,188]

Mormon temple in Jackson County, Missouri

In 1832, Smith wrote Mormon Scripture designating a specific plot of land in Jackson County, MO. He stated three times that a temple would be built there. “For verily this generation shall not pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord…” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:2-5,31). To this day, no temple has been built there (a Mormon splinter group owns the land and refuses to sell). This is admitted in Marvelous Work and a Wonder, p 180. (Cf. Doctrine and Covenants 124:49ff.)

The facts being presented, I asked the question again: According to God’s word in Dt.18:20-22, is Joseph Smith a true prophet of God?  They refused to answer.  Matter of fact; this pretty much ended the tour and discussion. I was invited politely to leave and that there was no sense in having another meeting. I had offended the spirit of God (but actually the truth had touched some nerves) and there was no way I was going to see their burning conviction.

I said that I would leave, and that I wouldn’t call on them anymore but before I left I wanted them to understand that if they wanted to talk to me, the door was always opened. I explained that they should not be afraid of the truth and pleaded with them to examine the scripture, not the book of Mormon.

Before we left, Mr. Evans, the one who asked me to leave, turn to me and said; would I mind leading them in a prayer. I agreed and prayed to God that He would open their eyes, that they could see His truth and Glory, through His Son, Jesus Christ.  He thanked me and we parted ways.  I pray they’ll both do as the Bereans; Act 17:11  Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

I ask all who read this article to pray for those in the Mormon church, that their eyes may be opened to the error of their way.

Darryl Fuller

 

Techno Problems

Technology is wonderful and horrific! It’s a blessing to be able to write post and send out messages to all those who will read and listen. It’s time-consuming and frustrating when the very vehicle on which we write, crashes. Such has been the case for this site for the past two weeks. However, with much agonizing and frequent calls to WordPress technical support, I believe the issues are resolved and we shall carry on. Thanks to all who read and support!
Darryl Fuller