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Loose Him and Let Him Go September 17, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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There’s a story in the Bible about Jesus raising a man from the dead.  The man’s name was Lazarus and he was one of Jesus’ good friends.  When the moment came for the great miracle Jesus stood before the open tomb and, “cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’   And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”  

We who believe the Bible is God’s Word accept this as a true story of actual events.  It can also be seen as an illustration of what happens when we step out of the smothering embrace of the religious systems humans create to reach God and thus accept what God has done to reach us.  When we reject the bewildering straightjacket of rules and regulations humans inevitably devise, and accept that Jesus paid the price, finished the work and welcomes us home He stands at the tomb of our self-help religion and says, “Loose him, and let him go.” 

Once we’ve confessed with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believed in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead we’re made right with God.  And though Jesus has ascended to heaven He didn’t leave us alone.  Just before He left He said, “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!”  Embracing that and allowing the Spirit of Truth to guide us is the ideal for those who follow Christ. 

Christ’s final command was to take this light to the world.  Instead we built thousands of competing lamps betraying the unity of the Gospel and confusing unbelievers with our multiplicity of slightly different presentations.  But then again it’s easier to make rules than it is to be sensitive to the Spirit of God.  Laws and regulations can appear to bring order out of chaos relieving the pressure of walking by faith in a faithless world.  But these endless rules cannot change us from the inside out.  To paraphrase Ben Franklin: if we seek order and security from religion we’ll never find either one of them. 

When following rules defines the state of our spiritual life we walk in constant fear of crossing the lines, of veering off even if it’s by mistake into the deception of sin.  This fear of deception won’t keep us from deception.  It’ll lead us into it.  We’re called to walk in faith not in fear.  So if we’re walking in fear we’ve already fallen for deception.  The Bible tells us that the only way we can avoid falling for deception is to embrace the Spirit of Truth.    

Think about it. When we open the blinds at night does darkness come rushing in?  No. When we throw open the blinds light rushes out into the darkness.  The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can’t overcome it.  If we’ll immerse ourselves in what God is calling us to, the unearned grace that flows from the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, we’ll find the order and security we long for. 

Following God which is walking forward in the light can at first feel like walking backwards in the dark because we’re surrounded by and have been raised in a world that’s in revolt against its creator.  We must dedicate ourselves to following the voice of the Spirit of Truth who lives within us.  It’s vitally important that we learn to recognize His voice so we can recognize it out of all the voices in the world.  When the whole of creation is shaking He’s the rock solid foundation giving us the security of our salvation. 

Does this mean we should abandon all restraint and follow the voice in our head?  First we must know whose voice we’re following, than we must acknowledge that God wrote us a book to explain it all from beginning to end.  His voice will never contradict His Word and His Word shows us exactly how to live moment-by-moment.   

Paul put it this way, “It’s true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say. It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the law code isn’t primarily for people who live responsibly, but for the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever! They are contemptuous of this great Message I’ve been put in charge of by this great God.”  

Because we live in a fallen and evil world some laws and regulations must be imposed to maintain people’s safety to provide external order.  However, rules and regulations must never be imposed to bring about spiritual purposes because only the Spirit can birth spirit. 

The Bible is the operator’s manual for life on earth.  In it God has shared with us the greatest wisdom and the deepest insights.  In it we receive not only the instructions on how to live in this world but also how to be born-again as a glorious Spirit-birthed child of God. It’s not possible to put a price on God’s gift of His revelation.  But even the Bible can be used to weave a web of soul-strangling regulations keeping us imprisoned in the law. 

We must always remember the Bible was given to us to lead us to Christ not to take His place.  The tyranny of the law seeks to confine us in a prison of our own making.  But Christ stands at the door to our cell and says, “Loose him, and let him go.” 

One last thing: Having a Bible we can understand really helps us to understand the Bible.  In the New Testament where Christ quotes the Old Testament He quotes from the Septuagint, a translation in the common language of the day and not from the traditional Hebrew texts.  The New Testament itself was written in the Koine dialect of Greek.  This was the supra-regional form of Greek spoken and written by the people.  I’m not trying to share a lecture on biblical languages.  What I’m getting at is that Jesus and the Apostles used the language of the day so that everyone could understand what they were saying.  They didn’t use the fifty cent words and nuanced meanings of the intellectuals or the technical jargon of theologians.  They didn’t use a language that was no longer spoken or a dialect that was from another era.

Today there are many translations that render the Bible in the language we use every day at work, at the market, and at home without all the thees and thous which no longer form a part of our daily speech.  I’m not saying don’t use a Bible with those words if that’s what suits you I’m just saying use a Bible you can easily understand.  Personally my favorite is the Message but there are plenty of others.  Find the one you’re comfortable with and let it speak the Words of God into your spirit and breathe the Spirit of God into your life.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Global Studies, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens 

 

Serving Those Who Served US September 11, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy, Uncategorized.
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After the rollout of President Trump’s Maintaining Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act (MISSION Act) Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie responded to the previously predicted problems on Military.com.  “One story said to ‘expect glitches.’ Another said it was ‘confusing.’ Some lawmakers who supported the bipartisan bill suddenly warned about the possibility of ‘overreach’ by the Trump Administration, while others warned of a ‘ tech nightmare.’  But thanks to thousands of dedicated VA workers around the country and President Donald J. Trump’s support for this historic reform, elements of the MISSION Act took effect on June 6, and veterans immediately began benefitting from the largest transformation in veterans’ health care since the end of World War II.”

Secretary Robert Wilkie went on to clarify what this fundamental change in the services we offer to those who answered the call and fought for our freedom and our interests around the world is.  “At its core, the MISSION Act reflects the President’s vision that veterans need to be at the center of their health care decisions. If it’s too long a drive to the VA, if wait times are too long, if we can’t offer the services a veteran needs, or if it’s simply in the best medical interest of a veteran to use non-VA services, they can now seek care in their community.

That change was a long time coming for our rural veterans, many of whom live nowhere close to a VA hospital or clinic. And it’s much more than just an extension of the Choice program enacted under President Obama. That program was temporary, narrow and incomplete, while the MISSION Act is permanent and will put a much broader group of veterans in the driver’s seat when it comes to their health.

The response from those who wore the uniform to defend this great Nation was immediate and sustained. A tool we developed to decide whether veterans are eligible for community care is being used tens of thousands of times each day.

The MISSION Act also created an urgent care benefit that finally gives veterans what others have in their neighborhood; access to nearby care to treat ailments that need immediate attention, like the flu or a sprained ankle. One veteran in Texas said this change is a ‘godsend’ because under the old system, getting a sore throat treated meant a 45-minute ride each way to the VA.

And he’s not alone. Thousands of urgent care visits have been scheduled for veterans under the MISSION Act. By mid-July, we were starting to exceed 500 visits each day, and that number has been growing each week as veterans learn more about this important new benefit.

In the end, the MISSION Act simply gives the VA what all other major healthcare systems have — a way of referring patients to outside care when needed. Community care is one piece of that, as is the new urgent care benefit. We have nearly 5,000 urgent care providers in our network so far, and that number is expanding as we continue to provide veterans with more options to get care when and where they need it.”

After years of neglect a broken system is getting fixed.  During his historic campaign in 2016, then candidate Trump called out the VA for its failure to meet the needs of America’s heroes.  It was a broken system that no president had been able to cure.  Now after two years in office we’re finally on the road to serving those who served US thanks to the vision and leadership of America’s blue-collar billionaire, President Donald J. Trump.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Global Studies, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

There’s Power in the Blood September 4, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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Long before I was born-again into the reality of my life in Christ someone once told me they could never become a Christian because it was a butcher’s block religion based on a human sacrifice and drenched in blood.  At the time I was in the seeker phase on my way to becoming an atheist and this sounded about right.  I knew from my parental enforced childhood study of Christianity at a Sunday school and catechism class they used for weekend childcare that Christians referred to Christ’s death on the cross as a sacrifice: they believed they were drinking His blood during communion, and they sang songs like, “There’s Power in the Blood.”

Now that I live each day seeking to be used of God in and through Jesus Christ, I’ve come to realize there’s some basic truth to this butcher’s block talk minus the negative spin.  Blood is an important part of Christianity.  And there is power in the blood of Jesus.

When He was instructing Moses in the revelation of the Jewish shadow of things to come God put it this way, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”  In the New Testament the writer of Hebrews explains it this way, “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.”

When Adam chose to follow his wife into disobedience instead of rebuking the Devil and throwing him out of the Garden God’s warning to them concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die” came to pass.  True, Adam lived another 930 years physically but he died spiritually the moment he disobeyed God.  Then everyone descended from Adam was born after his likeness with a spirit alienated from God and in bondage to the Devil.

God could have waved His hand and made everything as it was but that would not be just and God is a just God.  He created Adam as the overseer of His creation and only subject to Himself.  Man chose to listen to the Devil and follow him instead.  In other words, God gave the title-deed to creation to man and man gave it to the Devil.

Just imagine if I bought a new car and gave it to you.  It is now your car.  I bought it for you.  I wanted you to have it and enjoy it.  But then you decide to give it to someone else.  You sign the title over to them.  Now who owns the car?  I bought the car for you.  I wanted you to have it.  But now that you’ve given it to someone else it’s legally their car.  If I was to take it back and once again give it to you, would that be fair?  Would that be just?

That’s the situation God faced after our betrayal.  For the sake of justice a price had to be paid for man’s sin of disobedience.  That price is what God foreshadowed through the sacrifice of a lamb without blemish.  A spotless sacrifice whose blood when applied to the door posts of the Israelite homes caused the angel of death to Passover.

When John the Baptist looked at Jesus and said, “Behold the lamb that takes away the sins of the world” he announced to the world that the final sacrifice had begun.  The old plan for covering sins was passing away and a new plan was beginning.  The writer of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament was speaking to the Jews trying to explain to them how the sacrifice of Jesus did away with their millennia old tradition of animal sacrifices.  This explanation as presented in The Message covers the ground very well:

But when the Messiah arrived, high priest of the superior things of this new covenant, he bypassed the old tent and its trappings in this created world and went straight into heaven’s “tent”—the true Holy Place—once and for all. He also bypassed the sacrifices consisting of goat and calf blood, instead using his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all. If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.

Like a will that takes effect when someone dies, the new covenant was put into action at Jesus’ death. His death marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, canceling the old obligations and accompanying sins, and summoning the heirs to receive the eternal inheritance that was promised them. He brought together God and his people in this new way.

Even the first plan required a death to set it in motion. After Moses had read out all the terms of the plan of the law—God’s “will”—he took the blood of sacrificed animals and, in a solemn ritual, sprinkled the document and the people who were its beneficiaries. And then he attested its validity with the words, “This is the blood of the covenant commanded by God.” He did the same thing with the place of worship and its furniture. Moses said to the people, “This is the blood of the covenant God has established with you.” Practically everything in a will hinges on a death. That’s why blood, the evidence of death, is used so much in our tradition, especially regarding forgiveness of sins.

That accounts for the prominence of blood and death in all these secondary practices that point to the realities of heaven. It also accounts for why, when the real thing takes place, these animal sacrifices aren’t needed anymore, having served their purpose. For Christ didn’t enter the earthly version of the Holy Place; he entered the Place Itself, and offered himself to God as the sacrifice for our sins. He doesn’t do this every year as the high priests did under the old plan with blood that was not their own; if that had been the case, he would have to sacrifice himself repeatedly throughout the course of history. But instead he sacrificed himself once and for all, summing up all the other sacrifices in this sacrifice of himself, the final solution of sin.

Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.

Because of that sacrifice we can now pick up the keys, the car is ours again.  Jesus paid the price and purchased it back for us.  Paul said it clearly in the New Testament book of Romans, “This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God ‘Jesus is my Master’ embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not ‘doing’ anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: God has set everything right between him and me!’”

The best advice I can give is: devour God’s Word and let it lead you into all truth.  So if anyone ever says to you, “I could never become a Christian because it’s a butcher’s block religion based on a human sacrifice and drenched in blood” you can answer them confidently, “That’s exactly why I had to become a Christian because you see, there’s power in the blood.”

An old song has it nailed:

There is power, power, wonder-working power

In the blood of the Lamb;

There is power, power, wonder-working power

In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Sing it.  Say it.  Believe it.  Live it. And watch that power give you the life God designed for you.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Global Studies, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

Dr. Owens’ Next Book Signing Event September 3, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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When:

Friday        Sept          6      5 PM – 9 PM

Saturday    Sept          7      9 AM – 5 PM

Sunday      Sept          8      9 AM – 3 PM

Where:

Hawkeye Downs

4400 6th St SW

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Dr. Owens has five new titles published this year.

Bring in a book to be signed or purchase one new.  All fifteen of Dr. Owens’ titles will be available.  His books include: Five novels in the America’s Trojan War series, America’s Odyssey: You Can’t Go Home Again, America’s Odyssey II: You must Go Home Again, America’s Steel Brigade, and America’s Armageddon. Four books on Political Science: The Constitution Failed, Constitutional Philosophy in Action, Then Came Trump, and Drain the Swamp.  Four History Books: America Vol. One: Colonial History, The Azusa Street Revival, The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same (describes how the elites in America use presidential assassinations to create and sustain a secular political religion), and America Won the Vietnam War! A book on Leadership: COGIC History: The Dark Years, and a book designed to strengthen and encourage Christians called Faith.   All of these books are available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle.

All of Dr. Owens’ books are available in paperback and kindle at Amazon

 

 

 

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