With all due respect, I don't think that it is possible for you to make such a "determination of fruit" by viewing the "fruit" as presented by a worldwide media that is obviously biased. Unless you really know this man (President Bush), do you feel comfortable enough to go around basing such judgment (or "fruit inspection") on the speculations or assumptions that are based primarily upon such a skewed reputation as presented by the media? This is the entire problem with most spiritual "fruit inspectors." Either they feel too determined to inspect fruit based upon their own understanding or perception of what "good fruit" and "bad fruit" is, or they are relying too much on "supernatural discernment" that is often anything but that!
Even though we are commended to "know them by their fruit," is it really our job to do the actual pruning? Would you feel safe enough to be the one holding the pruning tool? From what I understand from the Word, we are to do our best to determine the sheep from the goats, but it is the responsibility of the Son of Man to do the seperating (Matthew 25:31-33). I would not feel comfortable enough to do that. Yes, we are to seperate ourselves from this world -- but in a spiritual sense.
As far as a "fear" of the end of America: Why should we worry? If we are walking with the Lord, it shouldn't matter what the outcome will be, because "...to live is Christ, and to die is gain..." Jesus did not come to "take us out of this world" but to "protect" us from this world as we walk with Him (John 17:15). There are individuals that sometimes write troubling posts about believers "being deceived" by the anti-Christ before the Lord's return. But in reality, such warnings often come from believers that are upset that someone else doesn't buy into their particular beliefs about doctrine, views of physically-manifest holiness, or end-time prophecy. But if I am truly fellowshipping with the Lord, if I know His Word, and if I truly know and love His heart, and if the highlight of my life is to spend time with Him -- will I be so easily deceived?
As far the situation in Iran and Iraq is concerned, I believe that we are not to act us unwise in making assumptions about such issues. There are certainly many "armchair generals" that do not truly understand many of the deep and perplexing issues in this situation. Their research is confined to the internet and a certain selection of biased books. When I began my thesis research on the Iran Hostage Crisis, it was easy to distinguish real sources from sources of obvious bias. Unfortunately, it seems that many individuals have a difficult time with this concept. A biased work will often make a determination before the work is even begun. This is true with everything -- not just issues of faith, doctrine or even foreign policy.
Is President Bush a Christian? Like I said before, that is not my call to make. He openly claims to be one. Even though some question his policy decisions, the President seems quite sincere. He has acted upon certain issues (like abortion, stem cell research, etc...), that haven't made him very popular. Yes, there are certain things that can be determined by his actions. But his salvation? Besides, most of what we know is from skewed reports. And arent you glad that people dont inspect our fruit by what others say about us? And more importantly, arent you glad that people are not trying to prune us from the vine due to our apparent faults?
i didn't say anything about us doing the pruning but i see how you could have extrapolated that from what i said though. the Lord is the one who prunes, now he may use any one of us to do it or whatever other means. if the Lord were to say to me "I am going to use you to prune so and so or such and such" then i'll say "ok Lord, go ahead and do what you must, here am i"...yo bro, i don't doubt the man's sincerity on some things yet on others my spirit percieves lying. is there some lying going on, sure there is, i lie sometimes, so do you so do we all. at the end of the day though the Lord has things which can only be done through this administration so i wholeheartedly agreed with bush when he said he felt the Lord wanted him to be in power because if God didn't, it would not be so. as it pertains to me being pruned, if i need it,and God knows i do, prune me. if it appears the fruit on this tree look bad and the Lord needs for you Chris to be a tool for that pruning, hey man prune me!
as it pertains to me being pruned, if i need it,and God knows i do, prune me. if it appears the fruit on this tree look bad and the Lord needs for you Chris to be a tool for that pruning, hey man prune me!
But don't you think that it is possible to "prune" with our hearts and words? I personally feel that the Church is often too willing to personally prune as they "feel led" by the Lord. This would be wonderful if people were truly led by the Lord. Unfortunately, even in a room filled with wonderful and sincere believers, it is difficult to get two people to agree on certain matters. All it takes is for one believer to state their belief about a matter, and suddenly another believer is willing to "prune."
Did President Bush lie? This is a very strong allegation to state as fact -- when the statement itself might not be true in this case. This is often reported by Democrats, although they typically don't use the word "lie" (instead, they are told to say "misled" -- which, by constant spin, alludes to "mishandled leadership"). But as human beings, we seem prone to state our educated speculation (or even spiritual speculation) as fact. Someone may even feel like God felt a need to personally tell them such information. But by stating this sort of speculation or belief as a "fact," it might possibly amount to a lie itself -- or even slander.
I definitely will try not to "prune" you. I really feel that this is the job of the Lord -- and the Lord alone. He is the Master Gardener. Instead, I hope that we can encourage one another, with both gentleness and truth in perfect love. If we see something that concerns us, as the family of God, we can point out our concerns privately in the manner as prescribed in the Word. Hopefully, we won't have to resort to any sort of verbal pruning in a public forum. If this is how you feel about the President, why not write him a heartfelt note? Perhaps that note will make it to his desk. You might be surprised!
All the Shahs Men, An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East TerrorBy Stephen KinzerThe Zoroastrian religion taught Iranians that citizens have an inalienable right to enlightened leadership and that the duty of subjects is not simply to obey wise kings but also to rise up against those who are wicked. Leaders are seen as representatives of God on earth, but they deserve allegiance only as long as they have farr, a kind divine blessing that they must earn by moral behavior. To pray for it, generations of Persian leaders visited Zoroastrian temples where holy flames burned perpetually, symbolizing the importance of constant vigilance against iniquity. Cyrus and the other kings of his line bound their vast empire together with roads, bridges, uniform coinage, and efficient system of taxation, and the worlds first long-range postal service. But eventually and inevitably, the tide of history turned against them. Their empire began to shake after Darius, Persias last great leader, lost the decisive Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. The death blow came from no less a conqueror than Alexander, who marched into Persia in 334 B.C. and, in a rampage of destruction, sacked and burned Persepolis. For the next ten centuries, through periods of rule by three dynasties, Persians nurtured and deepened their strong feelings of pride and nobility. They flourished by assimilating influences from the lands around them, especially Greece, Egypt, and India, reshaping them to fit within the framework of their Zoroastrian faith. In the third century A.D. they began returning to the peak of world power on a scale that recalled the glory of the early emperors, capturing Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria and pushing to the walls of Constantinople. Persian armies suffered a reverse at the hands of the Byzantines in 626, but the great defeat was yet to come. A few years later, an army arose on the barren Arabian peninsula and turned toward Persia. These Arabs came armed not only with the traditional weapons of war, but with a new religion, Islam. The invasion by the Arabs, who to the cultivated Persians seemed no more than barbarians, was a decisive turning point in the nations history. Persias fate paralleled that of many empires. Its army had been worn down by long campaigns, its leaders had slipped from what Zoroastrian priests would call the realm of light into that of darkness, and the priests themselves had become divorced from the masses. People fell into poverty as the greedy court imposed ever-increasing taxes. Tyranny tore apart the social contract between ruler and ruled that Zoroastrian doctrine holds to be the basis of organized life. By both political and religious standards, the last of the pre-Islamic dynasties in Persia, the Sassanians, lost the right to rule. The merciless logic of history dictated that it be overrun by an ascendant people fired by passionate belief in its leaders, its cause, and its faith. Sassanian power was centered in Ctesiphon, the luxurious capital of Mesopotamia. This was not a city of stately columns like Persepolis but one bathed in excess. Its royal palace housed fabulous collections of jewels and was guarded by statuary of solid gold and silver. The centerpiece was the kings cavernous audience hall, which featured a ninety-foot-square silk carpet depicting a flowering garden and, metaphorically, the empires wealth and power. Rubies, pearls, and diamonds were sewn into it with golden threads. When Arab conquerors reached Ctesiphon in 638, the looted the palace and sent the magnificent carpet to Mecca, where Muslim leaders ordered it cut to pieces to show their contempt for worldly wealth. They destroyed countless treasures, including the entire royal library. In an account of this conquest written by the tenth-century Persian poet Ferdowsi, a general laments; Curse this world, curse this time, curse this fate / That uncivilized Arabs have come to force me to be Muslim. to be continued...In ChristJeff
Brother Boomatt wrote:
What are your current views on Iran?If they still persue a nuclear program,and continue to threaten Israel, would you advocate disarming them?
All the Shahs Men, An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East TerrorBy Stephen Kinzercontinued from previous post...
page 22By the time of the Arab conquest, Persians already had long experience in assimilating foreign cultures, and whenever they did so, they shaped those cultures to their liking or took certain parts while resisting others. So it was when they were forced to adopt Islam. They had no choice but to accept Mohammad as Gods prophet and the Koran as Gods word, but overA period of centuries they fashioned an interpretation of Islam quite different from that of their Arab conquerors. This interpretation, called Shiism, is based on a particular reading of Islamic history, and it has the ingenious effect of using Islam to reinforce long-standing Iranian beliefs. About 90% of the one billion Muslims in the world today identify with the Sunni tradition. Of the remainder, most are Shiites, the largest number of whom are in Iran. The split between these two groups springs from differing interpretations of who deserved to succeed the prophet Mohammad as caliph, or leader of the Islamic world, after his death in 632. Shiites believe that his legitimate successor was Ali, a cousin whom he raised from childhood and who married one of his daughters. Ali was one of those to whom Mohammad dictated his revelations, which became known as the Koran, and he once slept in Mohammads bed as a decoy to foil a murder plot. But another man was chosen as caliph, and soon Ali found himself in the position of a dissident. He criticized the religious establishment for seeking worldly power and diluting the purity of its spiritual inheritance. Economic discontent brought many to his side, and ultimately the conflict turned violent. Ali was passed over twice more when caliphs died, and he devoted himself to preaching a doctrine of piety and social justice that won him many followers, especially among the lower classes. He finally won the supreme post in 656, but the conflict only intensified, and less than five years later he was assassinated while praying inside the mosque at Kufa, a Mesopotamian garrison town that was a cauldron of religious conflict. According to tradition, he knew he was to be murdered that day but refused to flee because one cannot stop death. After being stabbed, he cried out, O God, most fortunate I am! The mantle of resistance passed to Alis son, Hussein, who was himself killed while leading seventy-two followers against an army of thousands in a suicidal revolt at Karbala in 680. Determined to suppress Husseins legacy, the authorities ordered most of his family slain afterward. His body was trampled in the mud and his severed head taken to Damascus, where Shiites believe that it continued to chant the Koran even as the caliph beat it with a stick. Retelling these stories and others about Hussein, the lord among martyrs, is what provokes the paroxysm that spread through Qom and other sacred Iranian cities every year on the anniversary of his death. Husseins embrace of death in a sacred cause has shaped the collective psyche of Iranians. To visit Qom during the mourning that commemorates his martyrdom is to be caught up in a wave of emotion so intense that it is hard for an outsider to comprehend. Processions of men and boys dressed in black move slowly, as if in a trance, toward the gate of the main shrine. All the while, they chant funeral verses lamenting Husseins fate and flog themselves with metal-studded whips until their shoulders and backs are streaked with blood. In storefront mosques, holy men recount the sad tale with such passion that soon after they begin, worshipers fall prostrate with grief, weeping uncontrollably as if the most intimate personal tragedy had just crushed them. The breathtaking authenticity of this scene testifies to the success Iranian Shiites have had in formulating a set of religious beliefs that is within the Islamic tradition but still distinctly native. to be continued...Strive to get a hold on this material...you will then begin to understand why these Shiite Muslims do the thing they do...In ChristJeff
2 Corinthians 10:3-43: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.4: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
continued from preceding post...Page 23Sunnis do not attribute great importance to the violent deaths of Ali or Hussein, but for Shiites, whose name comes from the phrase Shi at-Ali, or followers of Ali, they were cataclysmic events. To them, Ali and Hussein represent both the mystic spirituality of pure Islam and the self-sacrificing life that true Muslims must live. In this view, shaped by Zoroastrian tradition, the two heroes rebelled against an establishment that had become corrupt and thereby lost its farr. They are believed to have sacrificed themselves, as the truly pious must, on the altar of evil. By doing, so they embraced a pattern that still shapes Irans consciousness. They bequeathed to Shiites a legacy of religious zeal and a willingness, even an eagerness, to embrace martyrdom at the hands of Gods enemies. Ali remains the most perfect soul and the most enlightened leader who ever lived, excepting only the Prophet himself; Shiites still pore over his speeches and memorize this thousands of proverbs and aphorisms. Hussein epitomizes the self-sacrifice that is the inevitable fate of all who truly love Islam and humanity. His martyrdom is considered even more universally significant than that of Ali because it was inflicted by government soldiers rather than by a lone fanatic. Grasping the depth of this passion is essential to any understanding of modern Iran. Iranian Shiites consider Ali to have been the first of twelve legitimate imams, or successors to Mohammad. The twelfth was still a youth when he passed into an occult state, apart from the world but aware of its suffering. For Iranian believers he is still vividly alive. They revere him as the Twelfth Imam, often called the Hidden Imam or the Imam of the Age, and many pray each day for his return to earth. When he does return, he will be the Mahdi, or messiah, who will right all wrongs and usher in an age of perfect justice. Until that time, it is the duty of temporal rulers to emulate his wisdom and righteousness. When they fail to do so, they trample not only on human rights but on the very will of God.The Imam watches over men inwardly and is in communion with the soul and spirit of men even if he be hidden from their physical eyes, the twentieth-century Shiite scholar Allamah Tabatabai has written. His existence is always necessary, even if the time has not yet arrived for his outward appearance and the universal reconstruction that he is to bring about.The profound hold that this tradition has on the souls of Iranian Shiites raises their beliefs above the level of traditional doctrine to what the anthropologist Michael M. J. Fisher has called a drama of faith. They revere Mohammad but focus far more viscerally on Ali and Hussein, embracing what Fisher calls a story expandable to be all-inclusive of history, cosmology and lifes problems and reinforcing it with ritual or physical drama to embody the story and maintain high levels of emotional investment. Ali and Hussein gave them a paradigm that tells them not only how the moral believer should live, but also how he should die. to be continued...In ChristJeff
This is a side note...I read Brother Gregg's and Mike's request about conduct on this site. In particular, the idea of politics and pushing agendas. I thought about it for some time and searched my own motivations if you will...I do have an agenda which might be described as a pursuit to tear down the ways we allow ourselves to search for hope in the world of politics. From time to time I am guilty of baiting a hook to see if anyone might run with a divisive issue concerning politics. This method, I find now wrong. I will no longer bait people in this way. Please forgive me. There is much In Scripture which teaches us of man's ways and how he rules over others to their injury. I will not try to point to current day leaders as those who may be representative of the examples that are given to us in Scripture. I will endeavor to point out the examples in Scripture and let Scripture convict or confirm what is in each individual's heart. This is a path that I myself must learn. Authentic fellowship does bring the ugliness of our corrupt flesh into the light. For the ugliness that I have baited you in this thread please forgive me.In ChristJeff
Jeff,I think that is a very humble thing to do. You dont see many christians that are like that these days anymore.God bless you brother,boomatt