Category Archives: PHILOSOPHY & SPIRITUALITY

So you want to authentically live the faith?

messianicjew-06

Following Messiah and living the faith authentically is countercultural & radical. One way to do so is in community as a monk or nun (Married or single is OK)

In keeping with this:

Getting back to pre-paganized Christian beliefs & practices

Ekklesia: Rediscovering God’s Instrument for Global Transformation by Dr. Ed Silvoso

The Real Jesus by Rev. Bert M. Farias

 

Getting back to pre-paganized Christian beliefs & practices

MESSIANIC CHURCH ARISINGIf you happen to be a believer who feels drawn to the faith tradition that was embraced and practiced by followers of Yeshua HaMashiach aka “Jesus the messiah” (before Constantine “paganized” everything, that is), then do I have a book for you! I refer to Dr. Robert Heidler’s “The Messianic Church Arising”.

Rather than reinvent the wheel in terms of writing a review, I will instead steer you to an excellent one at http://www.prophecytoday.uk/study/resources/item/364-review-the-messianic-church-arising.html

I, like this reviewer, have bought and given away many copies of this insightful tome. This link is to a retail source that offer’s Dr. Heidler’s book at the lowest price I could find on-line: http://www.deepershopping.com/item/heidler-robert/messianic-church-arising/4175247.html?utm_source=GoogleShopping&utm_medium=datafeed&utm_campaign=GoogleShopping&gclid=CKTu7JD3384CFQePaQod_QgDCA

Buy it, read it, then reread it. I would wager you’ll wind up buying and giving away copies to your family, friends,  associates and others.

Following Messiah and living the faith authentically is countercultural & radical. One way to do so is in community as a monk or nun (Married or single is OK)

The Dark Charisma of Donald Trump

FARIAS ON CRUZWhat follows below is a slightly truncated & edited email I sent to Rev. Bert M. Farias in response to a 5-4-16 article of his concerning the ever-growing embrace of Donald Trump by many Republicans, evangelical Christians and others.   

Good Thursday (May 5, 2016), Rev. Farias!

I perused your 5-4-2016 Flaming Herald entry titled How Cruz’s Dropout Exposes the Corruption of the American Soul and thought you might welcome some feedback on it.

First off, I have no doubt but that some of your readers and even supporters (especially any diehard Trump supporters) will take exception with your article and make an exit, stage far right (of course). As you yourself stated, “I know I may lose followers, readers and even friends over this article, but that’s OK”.

I am not a Trump supporter or fellow traveler — quite the opposite actually (I’ve been a democratic socialist since 1986). But even if I were, I would not head for the door after reading your article. One of the things I discovered early on in my work as a theorist is that truth, not only in science but in most other areas of life, is arrived at haltingly in the form of what famed astronomer Edwin Hubble characterized as “successive approximations”.

As such, I accept that none of us has truth all wrapped up in any realm, secular or sacred, but instead possess a mix of beliefs, facts and insights that vary in terms of the degree they approach what is “indisputably true” (in the absolute or final sense).

This way of approaching reality tends to put brakes on becoming so polarized (politically or otherwise) as to stop listening to worthy contrary opinions. And even when a particular belief, conviction, prophecy or what-have-you turns out to have little or no merit, I do not turn my back on the speaker, writer or such and head for the proverbial exit (Unless the speaker, writer or such consistently doles out material that is so intellectually and/or morally bankrupt as to lead only to error or harmful deception).

Sadly, I think many in the community of believers cling to an Americanized Gospel which equates what is biblically true and reliable with being part and parcel of various right wing political agendas. Actually, Christianity itself in the US and many other nations has been interpreted (and by virtue of this) rewritten to gel with  sentiments and ideas that actually run contrary to what Messiah taught and advocated (Torah based Judaism), e.g., unbridled capitalism and the greed it is predicated on and the corruption it engenders and promotes.

I dare say if Yeshua HaMashiach physically visited most American churches he would not recognize what was being taught and advocated as being remotely like what he articulated and lived.

Now, off my soapbox and back to your article:

In your article you mentioned that “Benny Hinn prophesied on New Year’s Eve 1989 that a woman would one day be president of America and would destroy this nation. It seemed like a far-fetched prophecy then, but not so much anymore.”

Whether this is a genuine word of prophecy or not, I can’t help but think Hinn’s pronouncement was in some way influenced by the fact Geraldine Ferraro was the Democratic Party VP candidate in 1984. Many of us back in 1984 speculated that her nomination presaged a woman becoming President at some point in the near or far future.

Of even greater concern is Hinn’s very disturbing track record: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/bhinn.html

Be this as it may, the Almighty has (at various times) used very imperfect vessels to transmit prophetic words. Maybe he spoke to Hinn — or maybe Hinn is like the proverbial broken clock stuck on a single time reading — right twice each day no matter what.

Whether Hinn and others who have said similar things about a future woman President heard from God or their own mental processes (i.e., subconscious thought streams bubbling to the surface which may or may not be a divine mechanism for weaving prophecies), I actually am fearful of having Hillary Clinton become this country’s chief executive. I base this on her track record which simply does not encourage confidence she is honest or a person possessing the kind of integrity one associates the leader of the free world. On the other hand, Senator Bernie Sanders is her almost polar opposite in terms of being consistently honest and an individual of unwavering integrity [His actions are IMO closer to the “care and share” core of Torah and (later) Rabbinic Jewish teachings, which the Messiah wholeheartedly embraced and exemplified in word and deed].

Of course, the alternative (now) to Hillary appears to be Trump (I am still holding out hope Bernie Sanders will get the Democratic nomination as this would shake things up in the best possible way and change what follows so as to avert the road Hillary or Trump would likely take America down). To be honest, his “fruit” has to be the most nauseatingly rotten to pop out on the political tree in many moons (The closest American equivalent I can find is Huey Long, who was not exactly unsympathetic to fascism). As you noted:

The crowds clamored for Trump no matter how arrogant he got, or how much he lied, or cussed, or was exposed for his filth and fraud. He told you what you wanted to hear and you believed him. Now you will pay and be held accountable for your most unwise choice. Standing up against one of the most electable and upright candidates of our lifetime, you have continued to use your mouth as a weapon to defend your idol against the opportunity gave you.

Naturally many people have found parallels between Trump and the patron saint of mass  manipulation, Adolf Hitler. Some of their analyses are deeply flawed, but there are elements and parallels that hold up and are very troubling. Trump’s pitches to evangelical (and other) Christians is very reminiscent of Hitler’s to the Church in Germany in his day, something very cogently laid out in the CBN segment “God & Hitler”: http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/churchhistory/godandhitler/

And when people talk of Mr. Trump’s charisma, I am reminded of Hitler whose own charisma emanated from his ability to discern what people wanted to hear and then feed them this in ways that mesmerized them. The BBC laid this out quite well  in a documentary titled “The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler” which is available online:

The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler – BBC – links to parts 1, 2, 3

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x12expq_the-dark-charisma-of-adolph-hitler-episodio-1-bbc-hd_school

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2zauo4_o-sinistro-carisma-de-adolfo-hitler-ep-2-the-dark-charisma-of-adolf-hitler-historia_shortfilms

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2zeca7_o-sinistro-carisma-de-adolfo-hitler-ep-3-the-dark-charisma-of-adolf-hitler-historia_shortfilms

Along this line, I ruminated on Hitler and his dark ways in “How do you kill 12 million people? Evil then and now: Recognizing & containing it” at https://biotheorist.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/how-do-you-kill-12-million-people-evil-then-and-now-recognizing-containing-it/

I would be remiss if I did not add this personal note:

My maternal great aunt-by-marriage, Val, was born and grew up in Germany under Hitler. She like most virtually all young ladies in Nazi Germany was a member of the Bund Deutscher Mädel and, as I recall, attended some of those massive Nazi rallies back in the 1930s. After her father surreptitiously witnessed the SS wipe out a Jewish community including women and children, he returned home and told his family that, “Our country is finished. The SS is murdering Jews, which means our Fuhrer is mad.” [I would say evil, but not mad — not until near the end of his days maybe.] Anyway, Val’s father smuggled Jews out of the evil empire from 1942 to 1945 — often with the Gestapo chasing him all the way. He was a cobbler, BTW — owned his own shop and made and lost a fortune many times over. Val inherited his wealth.

Val married my maternal great uncle, Horace, in August 1952.  Horace was a US soldier during WWII –a  Military Policeman  — later a high official in the Lubbock, Texas fire department (I was born in Lubbock).

What my great aunt Val and so many other Germans experienced and got caught up in the 1930s and 1940s carries all kinds of warnings about what is prophesied for the “end times”. The fact the core of Hitler’s evil and the Holocaust especially took place over a 7 year period with the last 3.5 years being devoted to the industrial scale murder of the Jews in Europe has convinced many Rabbis that this was the great tribulation period predicted in the book of Daniel. I consider the Nazi period an experiment in which HaSatan essentially tested and refined many of the methods & instruments for achieving total domination over people (I also contend that God is an experimentalist of sorts in this essay). Armed with insights gained during the Nazi period, he will recreate this wheel but without the obvious and largely rejected elements that characterized Nazi Germany. I personally tend to believe the anti-Messiah will have a neurotronic implant in his brain that will connect him to one or more supercomputers (Such an expanded intellect will make him appear all knowing). Hitler on biochips magnified many-fold. His “magic” will be largely technologically facilitated & enacted but will be more persuasive than anything Hitler pulled off or could have conjured up in his wildest imagination.

With this background and bit of commentary in mind, let me now return to Mr. Trump: I have heard many former members of the Hitler Youth — and understand my great aunt Val, who is now 89 or so years of, has said something to this effect too — that America is on a path that is very reminiscent of the one Germany was on just prior to the rise of Hitler.   In December 2015, New York Times op-ed columnist Roger Cohen captured this eerie “reinvented (evil) wheel” (–> history repeating itself) in an article he wrote titled “Trump’s Weimar Americahttp://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/15/opinion/weimar-america.html?_r=0       

And with this, I will draw this lengthy missive to a close. Perhaps there is something in my verbiage (or in the articles and videos I provided links to) that will prove helpful in terms of your own ruminations and future writings.

Dr. Anthony G. Payne

Below: links to articles of mine on various eschatological topics which may contain insights & ideas you can adopt & adapt to spin future articles & teachings on prophetic especially “end times” topics:
Biblical prophecy is primarily about Israel & the Jewish people, not the US!

Is the Shemitah upon us? (Divine judgment in the form of economic collapse)

When these specific events happen, you will know “doomsday” is near

Déjà Vu: Muslim extremist evils should sound familiar

Is global upheaval knocking at the door? (Red moons, ancient prophecies, and more)

Book recommendation for Rev. Farias’s “Purity of Heart”: “You shall be holy, for I am holy”

Buy Rev. Farias’s book “Purity of Heart” on Amazon.com by going to http://www.amazon.com/Purity-Heart-Rev-Bert-Farias/dp/0615722148?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00 or on his ministry website at http://holy-fire.org/books.html

© 2016 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.

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For those who feel unqualified, under qualified or disqualified to play a significant role in God’s doings in this world

If you are a believer who feels unqualified, under qualified or disqualified to play any sort of role in the Almighty’s work in this world, do yourself a BIG favor and watch the interview below.

 

 

Bernie Sanders and the Christian Vote

I became a democratic socialist in 1985 because, in large part, this approach seeks to address many societal and Red_Rose_(Socialism)other ills by addressing underlying (as opposed to superficial) causes. Many of these problems and their solutions lie in redressing specific moral failings such as unbridled corporate greed, which is something democratic socialists such as Senator Bernie Sanders tackle head-on with genuinely progressive, transformative ideas and proposed legislation. And, at the heart of democratic socialism, is a sharing and “level the playing field” ethic that is consonant with core Jewish and Christian beliefs and teachings.  Luke Tomycz “cores the apple” on an article titled “Bernie Sanders and the Christian Vote” which I wholeheartedly recommend you read and then share with others in your orbit: https://medium.com/@ltomycz/bernie-sanders-and-the-christian-vote-2350b31a6bbf#.94h2wp30g

Bernie Sanders and the Christian Vote

 

Body decomposition video (“Body Farm”) to help round out your Halloween 👻

Curious about what kinds of physical changes happen post mortem? The video below will fill in many blanks. Of greater concern to you is likely how and when you’ll shuffle off this mortal coil. Naturally, most of us prefer to “stage left” with as little pain and discomfort as possible, something medical science has make more certain than was true long ago. But die we must. The larger question is what lies afterwards – click to read.  First, satisfy your curiosity about what becomes of your “earth suit” after death and then read what follows below.

 

So you know what’s coming: You die and then face judgment. It is natural to think “Well, OK, I  think my good deeds outweigh my bad so I am good to go, right?” Wrong.  Ahem, dead wrong. The penalty for sin either must be paid by you or by someone qualified to pay it for you. The trick is there is only one individual who qualified to pay the penalty for your sins which he did. However, like a gift certificate purchased for you by a benefactor, you have to claim or redeem it and then follow the directions that come with it to preserve it. So how do you learn about this gift and how to claim it? The best way in my opinion is to hear from someone who has done it. In this vein, I heartily recommend you watch this video featuring scholar Dr. Michael Brown in which he shares how he went from hell bound to redeemed:  https://askdrbrown.org/about/personal-testimony/

Following Messiah and living the faith authentically is countercultural & radical. One way to do so is in community as a monk or nun (Married or single is OK)

© 2015, 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.

Is the Shemitah upon us? (Divine judgment in the form of economic collapse)

By

Anthony G. Payne

Lightning from Blue Cloud

Reports are beginning to surface indicating that retail sources for emergency preparedness or survival gear, dehydrated foods, seeds and such cannot keep up with demand. It isn’t hard to figure out why with articles and tweets and such appearing almost every few minutes on what is happening or lies ahead in term of climate spawned global upheaval, tectonic activity that is triggering volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and other calamities, fracking induced quakes, super droughts and massive wildfires, epidemics, increasing social conflict & unrest and gun violence, economic instability in nations great and small, the unrestrained barbarity of ISIS, not to mention terrorist acts taking place worldwide by people of every extremist stripe, and a seemingly endless litany of calamities both human-made and natural that are sending millions of refugees streaming into Italy, Hungary, and elsewhere. And this hardly begins to scratch the surface of how many ways life is now making various doomsday movies, books and such that appeared in the 1950s,  1960s and beyond almost prophetic.

As you might expect, many well known televangelists and other prominent figures in the evangelical world are frantically linking  headlines to their reading of ancient prophecies in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelations and other biblical books. Some are even offering emergency preparedness or survival supplies for donations.

At this moment messianic Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s books such as “The Harbinger” (2012) and especially “The Mystery of the Shemitah Unlocked” (2015) are selling like hotcakes and keeping him booked on various religious programs aired on TBN, CBN and such. Just in case you haven’t read anything by Cahn or about his spin on prophecy, he basically claims that certain laws, principles and promises originally given solely to Israel and restricted to her, apply to the United States.

Of course, it is almost a given that any attempt to tie in “end times” prophecies to America (which isn’t remotely alluded to anywhere in the Bible according to both Jewish and Christian scholars, historians and others), requires building a house on speculation and linkages that are typically tenuous at best.

Mind you, I very much believe that the ancient prophecies will be fulfilled. And yes, I see many, many patterns and events unfolding that indicate that what was promised will be fulfilled. But this does not lend credence to futurist predictions that are based on reading prophecies that apply solely to Israel into unfolding events in the US (and the EU for that matter).

Now let me sit back and throw a few thoughts at you:

(1) As I write this (9-2-2015) world economic markets are in upheaval. Economists and others see this as an expected “course correction”.  Many proponents of “The Shemitah” thesis argue that this signals a fast approaching economic tsunami and all the chaos and sociopolitical insanity this would likely unleash.

While it is possible Rabbi Cahn and those in his camp could be right, I would not see such a major economic crisis as prophecy fulfilled at all, as the “Shemitah” has no connection to the US. I would put it on the same level of prognostication as the old joke that “even a broken clock is right twice a day”.

If you need convincing that spinning predictions that plug America into biblical prophecy is problematic, go online and buy used copies of prophecy-based books such as Hal Lindsey’s “The Late, Great Planet Earth“. Then go through historic records and see how much of the speculation in these tomes came to pass.

(2) Now a word about ministers and others who are urging their congregants and TV/virtual viewers to donate money to get literally years of dehydrated foods, grains, etc., plus solar power generators and such: I think having a preparedness stash to make it through a 3-14 day power outage or such is a prudent move (Hurricane Katrina and other recent natural disasters alone argue for this). But for most people buying and storing years of supplies and solar generators and such is not only cost prohibitive, but would actually make them targets if our society was plunged into total chaos. I have often wondered how long these people think it would be before roaming hordes of hungry people would break into and pilfer their stockpiles. Some of these “Christian survivalists”, yes, are probably setting up underground bunkers to hide in and also have enough firepower and ammo to fend off scores of the desperate, but it is doubtful they can hold out interminably (The last 3.5 years of the “Great Tribulation” anyway, when evil has its way on a grand scale). And how, I ask, is this living out the Bible and Yeshua/Yehoshua’s admonition to share with those who are hungry, cold, etc.? It amazes me that neither the ministers and Bible teachers who are feverously hawking these survivalist supplies or their supporters see the inherent problems and (biblical) contradictions in what they are advocating and doing.

If you are interested in reading exposes on the biblical difficulties presented by Rabbi Cahn’s books (“The Harbinger” and “The Mystery of the Shemitah Unlocked”) read these articles:

“The Shemitah” (A critical response)

THE MYSTERY OF THE SHEMITAH: Is it real?

That God expects or will impose a Shemitah upon any nation other than Israel has no scriptural basis. Neither do the Scriptures provide any indication that the Shemitah is some sort of universal principle that operates throughout or even at various times in history.

And these “yours truly” penned:

Biblical prophecy is primarily about Israel & the Jewish people, not America!

When these specific events happen, you will know “doomsday” is near

Is global upheaval knocking at the door? (Red moons, ancient prophecies, and more)

If you are a believer who is fearful the “end times” is fast approaching — and it may well be (But be aware of those things that must precede it as laid out in When these specific events happen, you will know “doomsday” is near) — my advice is to steep yourself in faith-edifying teachings and prayer, bring your conduct and actions into obedience to what the Almighty requires, learn to discern what is evil from what is not (And yes, they are getting increasingly confused these days, i.e., evil is called good and good, evil), and connect with other believers who worry less about “worshipper friendly” banter and political correctness and more about holiness and empowerment (Spirit baptism, Grace, the fear of God). I highly recommend these books as a sort of “Faith & Empowerment 101” crash course:

Breakthrough Faith: Living a Life Where Anything is Possible by Larry Sparks

Go and Sin No More: A Call to Holiness by Dr. Michael L. Brown

Good or God? by John Bevere

But let me add this caveat: A lot of Christian theology and beliefs (including portions of the books above) draw on the very flawed letters (epistles) of Paul (Saul of Tarsus). It is therefore important that you also acquire the knowledge and insight to identify what is edifying and true from what is not. These two free, online resources will help you mightily in this regard:

http://www.judaismvschristianity.com/

Jesus’ Words Only (Second Edition 2007) (Free online in its entirety) by Douglas J. Del Tondo, Esq.

I am, by the way, a novice monk in the Knights of Prayer Monastic Order (Full monk in 2018) as well as in service as a monk to several other religious communities & monastic organizations which are part of the New Monasticism movement, and have my own website devoted to spiritual matters and resources at http://summerclouds.weebly.com/ which is geared to help people “sort the wheat from the chaff”. Unlike some believers especially clerics you might have read, watched or listened to (especially fundamentalists and many evangelicals), I do not have all the answers in every area of life and faith. I have come to adhere to certain core truths and am morally conservative, yes, but like many of you am still wrestling with and working out some aspects of what is most consonant with God’s word (Hebrew & Christian scriptures).

Anthony G. Payne (American Indian name “Summer Cloud”)

© 2015 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.

Christian Rock Music Video Supporting Israel Is Rightfully (Righteously!) Going Viral!

As a Texan, a Country Western music fan, and a messianic monk, I found this music video tribute to Israel a joy and well worth sharing. Enjoy and then tell others!

Click to access CBN’s Cross Country radio

 

Ashley Madison as a wake-up call for would be and real life cheaters

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By

Anthony G. Payne

By now just about everyone who keeps up with the news has read something about the hacking theft and now publication of the Ashley Madison “Life is short. Have an Affair®” database. If you somehow missed it here is a summary article that appeared today, Thursday, August 20, 2015: Hacker’s Ashley Madison data dump threatens marriages, reputations

In an article that also appeared today titled The Ashley Madison hack will have a mixed result for those involved, the writer shared this:

I had joined out of curiosity and for research purposes when I was Townsville’s premier dating columnist. And it’s safe to say that I am not alone in being a relatively ‘innocent’ Ashley Madison user.

teenage depression - teen woman sitting thinking isolated on white

I somehow suspect that more than a few individuals who joined Ashley Madison did so just to see who’d respond to the (no doubt inflated or totally fake) profile they posted.

In the same article, a computer security expert by the name of Graham Cluley shared this:

“For one thing, being a member of a dating site, even a somewhat seedy one like Ashley Madison, is no evidence that you have cheated on your partner,” he wrote.

“…if your email address is in the Ashley Madison database it means nothing. The owner of that email address may never have even visited the Ashley Madison site.”

It is also noted by Cluley that “It turns out Ashley Madison didn’t require users to verify their email address in order to use the website.”

“Put simply, people could enter any email and have access to the free features of the website.”

With all this said, a computer programmer created a simple search feature anyone can use to see if an email address appears in the Ashley Madison database. It is at https://ashley.cynic.al/

There are, of course, some high profile people who set up one or more Ashley Madison accounts and left a trail that leaves little doubt about who is responsible. One that is in the news is Josh “19 Kids” Duggar whose alleged connection to AM is discussed in this article EXPOSED: Josh Duggar revealed as having ‘paid almost $1,000 for multiple Ashley Madison accounts’ as 37 million would-be love-cheats are named by hackers who stole Ashley Madison accounts

As you might expect, articles now abound which offer advice as to what folks listed in the AM database should do next. Predictably this advice runs the gamut albeit most advise “fessin’ up” and dealing with the fallout head on. Naturally, lawyers, marriage therapists, psychologists and others are likely to see an upswing in couples visits in which one party cheated through Ashley Madison and was exposed after the AM database came to light.

Of course, there really isn’t anything all that shocking in all this. After all, a day hardly passes in which some prominent politician, religious figure, television personality, high ranking military officer or such gets caught up in scandal after an affair comes to light or some other dark sexual pursuit comes to light.

I get human weakness. And the fact that people (perhaps men especially) are predisposed by their nature (evolutionary biology) and upbringing to have wondering eyes. Throw in lots of free time and the ease of reaching others anonymously through the Internet and you wind up with the current situation: Married people flocking to date sites, sex chat sites, cheating sites, porn sites and all the rest.

Of course, people who have considerable influence, power or wealth seem even more vulnerable, if only because they attract those seeking solace or sex or money or what-have-you. Some feel “entitled to cheat” due to their special station in life or the challenges they must deal with.

If you are reading this and happen to be cheating on your significant other be it an emotional, sexual, or cyber affair, and feel shameful, guilty or troubled, then there is hope for you. How so? Ask yourself this: When people do immoral or unethical things and feel no guilt or shame about this, what happens when their dark pursuits are exposed? Typically, rationalizations and arguments surface that place the blame on the victim.

So if you are cheating in some way and feel bad about this, you have a conscience and know you are doing wrong. I now have another question to ask you: Why are you cheating?

Bored? Looking for missing passion? Lonely? Lust-filled and unfulfilled? Emotionally isolated or adrift? Feeling misunderstood by your significant other or ignored by him or her? Getting older and feel you need the attention of another to validate your good looks or worth? Overwhelmed in some way and feel you can’t look to your mate or family for help? Think there are things about yourself that if revealed are so dark or loathsome that only a stranger or new love interest could brush it aside and love or desire you anyway?

Maybe it’s one of these things or many of them or all of them or none of them. Let’s set aside the “why” for now and look at the fruits of cheating: Betrayal, disloyalty, a violation of sacred commitments, and, yes, cruelty. Does bad fruit bear a good crop? You don’t have to be a farmer or horticulturist to answer this question.

In our age of “I’m spiritual and not religious” there is a tendency to replace the 7th Commandment with platitudes that allow and excuse latitude; to forget, ignore, dismiss or downplay the fact that infidelity is sin; to gloss over the fact it offends the Almighty and has both spiritual and real world consequences.

The good news is that if you recognize you are sinning, forgiveness is a simple matter of changing your mind about what you are doing and asking forgiveness (A process called repentance or teshuvah), and then marrying right actions to your beliefs and commitment to do the right thing.

For most of you reading this, admitting your sin and seeking forgiveness is actually the easy part. The real knockdown, drag out part is breaking free of the pull of sinful pleasure and surmounting the temptation to backslide or (to use modern parlance) relapse. Triggers and lures abound and many find themselves so weak and overwhelmed by the almost drug-like pull of pleasurable sin that they can’t hold a straight course.

I get this too. To put it in familiar, Star Trekkian terms, your shuttle craft is caught in a powerful tractor beam and you have burned out your engines trying to break free or in the process of burning them out. Or so it seems.

The good news is that you actually can break free and achieve and maintain a moral course. Now for the nuts and bolts of how to “make this so”.

First, of course, there is the simple act of calling sin, sin and turning your back on it. I assume if you’ve read this far you either have made up your mind to do this or will seriously consider doing so soon.

Now the part that trips up so many people: Bringing conduct into conformity with their wishes, convictions and beliefs. The hard part which actually isn’t IF you do something most folks fear doing: Run to God rather than from him and ask that he do whatever is needed to redeem and change your sexual nature and its expression.

Whoa…say what?!?

Ask yourself this: What is the natural thing for people to do with bad habits and sin? Of course, hide them from man and God. Think about when you were a child and did something wrong and you feared your Mum or Dad would find out. Did you run to them and confess your wrong doing and seek help? No, you most likely hid the cookie crumbs or broken vase or what-have-you and lied. Then you grew up and stopped doing this with respect to a lot (maybe most) of your mistakes, sins and such, at least with respect to trusted others and intimates in your orbit. But when it comes to especially grievous sins did you run to or from God? And if you ran to God, did you do so without any real deep desire that he actually do whatever it takes to, well, straighten you out. Too scary eh, like opening yourself up to a spanking as a child?!?

Now let me show you what really turning something like lust and sexual weakness completely over to God’s keeping consists of (Again, this is the key to moving towards the obedience and holiness God demands if we are to live decent, happy, genuinely fulfilling lives):

In dealing with men who are cheating on their wives or did so and are tempted to do so again, I invariably walk them through admission of their sin and repentance, and then ask them if they are ready to marry actions to their intentions and beliefs. Once they say “yes” to this, I ask them if their sex drive or fantasies or memories or such seem to ruling them and undermining their resolution to do what’s right. For those that signal this or something like it is making mincemeat of their commitment to change, I hand them this challenge (This is a condensed version of what I tell them):

I want you to trust God completely with all you are including your sexuality. Your prayer to him is for resolution and empowerment, not a band aid that fits what you want or think will work. You need help and power to be obedient and do what the Rabbi from Nazareth said to sinners he encountered which is ‘Go and sin no more’. You’ve told me that your sexual needs are not being meet and your sex drive is overwhelming. What you are really saying is ‘God, help me but don’t mess with my sexual needs and drive’. I am telling you now that this is exactly what you must surrender to his keeping. And now comes the test of your desire to be holy as he is holy: are you willing to ask the Lord to diminish or even remove your sexual desires if it takes this for a time to free you to get into him and his Word and become conformed to what he would have you be sexually?

I call this “radical surrender” and for good reason! It isn’t for the faint-of-heart or insincere but I think it within the reach of every person who sees sin in him- or her- self and wants to do a 180 about and live in obedience to (and dependence on) God and his revealed Word (The kind of active faith that produces holiness). And, by the way, it works.

Can this be done without fingering underlying issues and dealing with them? I’ve seen some people do a turnaround that unleashed God’s power in their lives which effected change in them that resolved previously unresolved issues and weaknesses and the like. Others needed to identify their problems and issues, typically in therapy with their significant other, in order to get resolution and set specific goals and objectives for themselves and their relationship.

For those that need some guidance and tools to identify unfulfilled needs and “relationship busting” habits and behaviors and weaknesses, I heartily suggest heading on over to “Marriage Builders®” at http://www.marriagebuilders.com/. This website is filled with tests, article, guidelines and such.

Readers might also want to take this 5 minute online “Attachment Style” test which was developed by university researchers: http://www.web-research-design.net/cgi-bin/crq/crq.pl. Certain attachment styles are detrimental to intimacy with God and significant others and need to be addressed.

In this regard, check out Problems relating well to God & your fellow man? Your attachment style may be a major contributor

In addition, you’ll find many other free online tests covering personality, moral foundations and such here on my personal blog site: https://biotheorist.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/know-yourself-better-free-on-line-tests-empathy-systemizing-attachment-style-moral-foundation-implicit-biases-etc/. “Knowing yourself” better may reveal areas that need healing or shoring up.

And now for some “meat not milk” spiritual help (Evangelical in orientation but nonetheless brimming over with insights gleamed from Biblical truths and principles):

But let me add this caveat: A lot of Christian theology and beliefs (including portions of the books above) draw on the very flawed letters (epistles) of Paul (Saul of Tarsus). It is therefore important that you also acquire the knowledge and insight to identify what is edifying and true from what is not. These two free, online resources will help you mightily in this regard:

http://www.judaismvschristianity.com/

Jesus’ Words Only (Second Edition 2007) (Free online in its entirety) by Douglas J. Del Tondo, Esq.

If you are one of the people listed on the Ashley Madison database and were or are cheating, or cheated or are cheating without the use of any club or service or forum, consider the AM hacking scandal your wake-up call; your invitation to repent, turn your back on infidelity, and do what’s needed to “go and sin no more”.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anthony G. Payne, whose American Indian name is “Summer Cloud”, is a native born Texan and an American Indian (Bureau of Indian Affairs CDIB card holder) and member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Despite having grown up in the “reddest parts” of North Texas, Tennessee and Louisiana, he is a political liberal who embraced democratic socialism in the 1980s. He is also a religious and moral conservative but no friend of fundamentalism/creationism or those pet beliefs of evangelical Christians that run contrary to what the Rabbi from Nazareth advocated and lived. Dr. Payne is a married monk in the Knights of Prayer Monastic Order and is in service as a monk to several other religious communities & monastic organizations which are part of the New Monasticism movement. Readers and seekers can readily reach him at nativescienceguy@gmail.com.

© 2015 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.

100 year old Jim Downing, USN Lt. at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, remembers the trauma & triumph of WWII (CBN Video News Segment)

Centenarian Remembers the Trauma and Triumph of WWII

As the 70th anniversary of World War II’s conclusion is commemorated, one eye witness, veteran Jim Downing recounts what it was like to live through this unparalleled time in history.

Paul Harvey, Prophet (?)

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