Exploring Christ's Spiritual Laws

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Webers.Home

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#1
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There's been times during my nearly twenty years of internet forum activity
when I've encountered people wanting to know what they're supposed to do
now that they decided to become a Christian.

A mega Baptist church that I attended back in the decade of the 1970's had
a discipleship program that incorporated an outreach booklet called The Four
Spiritual Laws
, authored in 1952 by Campus Crusade for Christ founder Dr.
Bill Bright.

Those guidelines are helpful as far as they go, but they're pretty elementary
and in my opinion inadequate for taking Christ's believing followers to
infinity and beyond, so to speak.

Some years ago, just for the fun of it, I set out compiling a home-spun
catalogue of instructions from the new Testament that apply to all Christians
regardless of denominational affiliation. In time I realized that a few of these
per day, accompanied by a little commentary, would make a pretty good
devotional.

I chose to start in the book of Acts because that's pretty much where
Christ's apostles began telling his believing followers what to do in accord
with the Lord's instructions as per Matt 28:19-20.

FYI: Should someone prefer a better quality devotional than mine; there's a
very popular one available online and in print called Our Daily Bread that's
been around for a long time. It's not only instructional; but also quite
entertaining, and it's available in children's versions too.
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#2
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Acts 15:20a . . Abstain from food tainted by idols,

Here's the text of a common Christian prayer.

"Bless us, Oh Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from
thy bounty through Christ, Our Lord. Amen."

That prayer credits the providence of God for the nourishment on the table.
Well; in the old Roman world, they sometimes credited the providence of a
pagan deity for their nourishment. According to 1Cor 10:25-31; this is one
of those don't ask situations; we'll get to that.

Acts 15:20b . . Abstain from promiscuity

Promiscuity typically refers to things like adultery, incest, shacking up, one
night stands, sleeping around, etc.

Acts 15:20c . . Abstain from the meat of strangled animals.

Strangulation is a slow, inhumane way to die. If you know that the meat
you're being served came from an animal that was choked to death,
consider it food fit only for barbarians. We want nothing to do with animal
abuse.

Acts 15:20d . . Abstain from blood

In other words: Christ's followers are forbidden to use blood as a beverage.

There are cultures that poke holes in cows' necks in order to drink blood
straight out of the living animal utilizing its own blood pressure like a tap to
fill their cups; a rather ghastly thirst that might be okay for Edward Cullen's
family but certainly not for us.
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#3
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Rom 6:11 . . Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

"dead to sin" in this case doesn't mean Christ's sheep don't sin (cf. 1John
1:8-10). It means that sin can no longer give God cause to slam them with
the sum of all fears.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believeth on him
that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation;
but is passed from death unto life." (John 5:24)

Note the grammatical tense of the "has" verb in the above verse. It's
present tense rather than future; indicating that people who hear Christ's
word, and believe on God, have everlasting life right now— no delay and no
waiting period.

I'm guessing that where Jesus said "hears my word" he's not just talking
about an auditory experience like listening to music. I'd say that he means
taking what he says seriously enough to move you.

For example: it's quite possible for someone to sit through an entire week
long Billy Graham crusade and go away feeling entertained but not so much
enlightened; while others lives are changed; i.e. some hear and some,
though they hear, don't listen.
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#4
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Rom 6:13 . . Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of
wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been
brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as
instruments of righteousness.

A pretty good example of "those who have been brought from death to life"
is Jonah. When God first tasked him to preach to Nineveh, Jonah took ship
and went the other way. Well; after God brought him back from drowning in
the sea, Jonah reconsidered.

Whether Christ's believing followers sin or don't sin will make no difference
in their eternal destiny. However, they really should make an effort to walk
as insiders who live in heaven rather than outsiders on their way to the
other place.
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#5
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Rom 12:1 . . Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto
God, which is your reasonable service.

Sacrifices are basically things dedicated to God; i.e. set aside for God's
purposes and/or utilized in such a way as to make God feel special instead of
disgusted and/or disappointed.

Rom 12:2 . . And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by
the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and
acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Personal Bible reading is a good place to begin with Rom 12:2; however, the
will of God isn't meant to be self-taught; it's meant to be instructed by
teachers empowered by God for that specific purpose. (Rom 12:4-8, 1Cor
12:1-30)

"Are all teachers?"(1Cor 12:29)

No, not all are teachers; which of course precludes self-teaching. Only some
are teachers and the rest of Christ's believing followers are supposed to be
students.

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists;
and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the
work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in
the unity of the faith" (Eph 4:11-13)

According to that passage, the goal of gifted teaching is unity. Well, when
Christians come together with differing perspectives, we're in danger of
becoming divided and taking sides as intolerant bigots instead of unified.
Like it's said: Too many cooks spoil the soup.

Sermons and Sunday school classes are Christianity's traditional sources of
teaching. But there's radio programs too, e.g. Thru The Bible with Dr.
J.Vernon McGee. These days with radio, television, and the internet; gifted
teaching is wide-spread and readily available.

In centuries gone past, it was necessary to go where the teachers were in
order to hear them speak. Nowadays, they come to speak right where we
are by means of electricity and electronic gadgetry.
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#6
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Rom 12:3 . . I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is
among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but
to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of
faith.

"soberly" is from the Greek word sophroneo (so-fron-eh'-o) which means to
be of sound mind, i.e. sane.

A popular saying going around is this: "You can be anything". No, you can't
be anything, and it's unreasonable to think otherwise. Know your limits and
stay within them; don't be setting impossible goals for yourself; especially in
matters of faith and practice.

"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members
do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one
body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts,
according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it
in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let
him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the
needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern
diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully." (Rom 12:4-8)

Some church managers have a really bad habit of recruiting people to teach
Sunday school who don't have God's gift for it in accordance with Rom 12:3
8, 1Cor 12:1-30, and Eph 4:7-12. Well; if teaching is not your spiritual
specialty; then you have to turn them down. Stay within your limits like Rom
12:3 says, and don't let those managers pressure you into submission by
making you feel guilty for refusing.
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#7
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Rom 12:6 . . If God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when
you have faith that God is speaking through you.

The koiné Greek word for "prophesy" in that verse is from propheteia (prof
ay-ti'-ah) which encompasses predictions. Predicting was common in the
early church; for example Agabus' predictions at Acts 11:27-28 and Acts
21:10-11.

Hunches don't count as God speaking through you. You have to really know
it. Don't ask me how to really know it because I don't have the gift; nor do I
want it 'cause these days prophecy mongers are written off as kooks. There
was quite a bit more acceptance of paranormal activity back in the day than
there is now.

Rom 12:7a . . If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well.

"serving well" implies serving conscientiously and whole-heartedly rather
than half-baked, grudging, and/or hit and miss.

One of my brothers has been a construction foreman for decades and one of
his perpetual complaints is that he never knows from one day to the next
whether some of the men he hires on jobs will show up. In other words:
they aren't reliable-- he can't count on them.

What I'm saying is: if you're thinking about becoming helpful in some way,
don't do it unless you're willing to commit to the long haul because people
need to know that they can depend on you to stay the course.
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#8
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Rom 12:7b . . If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching.

I had a Sunday school teacher once who worked as a maintenance man in a
public swimming facility. One Saturday he had to work very late repairing
some equipment at the pool and had no time to prepare his lesson plan for
Sunday morning so he just threw something together. It stunk; and my wife
and I got nothing out of it.

In contrast, I once knew a pastor who took all week long to prepare his
Sunday morning sermons rather than put it off till Saturday night. Now there
was a guy who knew what it means to do a good job of teaching; viz: a
conscientious job.

NOTE: Internet forums have given many of Christ's obscure followers a
convenient venue for sharing their time-won knowledge and experience with
a worldwide audience. For them, I highly recommend making a
conscientious effort to compose legible posts; neatly arranged and tidy.

Grossly long paragraphs, tiresome baloney, overuse of bolding, caps, and
colors, coupled with twitter spelling, unnecessary smilies, horrible grammar,
and a confusing variety of font styles and sizes, makes for annoying clutter
and forum graffiti that leave a bad impression.
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#9
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Rom 12:8a . . If your gift is to encourage others, then do so.

You know who really benefits from encouragement in a big way? Little kids.
Thoughtless grown-ups can break a growing child's fragile spirit by criticizing
them all the time and never once giving them an "atta boy" or a single vote
of confidence.

A fitting word spoken at just the right moment can really beef up
somebody's resolve to meet life head on. If you're good at that sort of thing,
then watch for opportunities among your fellow Christians to do so.

Rom 12:8b . . If you have money, share it generously.

Webster's defines generosity as characterized by a noble or kindly spirit, i.e.
magnanimous, kindly.

In other words; we're not talking about going thru the motions of duty,
obligation, good citizenship, and/or a guilty conscience. No, generosity
pertains to one's personality rather than their actions; viz; not all
philanthropists are generous; for example I could name a number of success
stories in the computer industry and social networking who have set up
charitable foundations yet obtained their fortunes by high-handed,
unscrupulous business practices.
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#10
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Rom 12:8c . . If God has given you leadership ability, take the
responsibility seriously.

A natural aptitude for church management doesn't count. It has to be God
given; that is: a legitimate Spirit-endowed ability. (cf. Rom 12:3-8, 1Cor
12:4-11, 1Cor 12:27-30). There are far too many people sitting on church
boards merely because they're a success in business. Well; if your church is
a business; then maybe you should think about finding another one.

Rom 12:8d . . If you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it
gladly.

That would probably correspond to incidents like the one depicted in the
parable of the man attacked by road agents in Luke 10:30-36. In that
instance, a passerby had the skills and the wherewithal to provide care for a
total stranger in need.

Personally, I'm not much at first aid and/or emergency medical services. But
what we're getting at here is that should you find yourself in circumstances
where you can be of genuine, effective assistance; don't lend a hand
grudging. It ought to make Christians happy to be of assistance instead of
getting irritated and grumpy about an unexpected inconvenience.

A solo Pacific Crest Trail hiker named Cheryl Strayed, in her book WILD,
recounts an evening wherein she was very low on funds and having no luck
locating a suitable place in the woods to set up her tent before it got really
dark. Cheryl found her way into a fee campground and set up at the extreme
end of the facility where she thought no one would mind; but later that night
the caretakers came by and, in a not-so-friendly tone, insisted that she
either pay the $12 fee or break camp and leave.

The Christian thing to do would have been to pay the fee for her instead of
forcing a woman to wander out into the pitch black forest all alone at night.

NOTE: The law is the law that's true but according to Jesus' teachings; there
are instances when human need— e.g. health, safety, and welfare —come
first. His hard-hearted religious opponents just couldn't get that through
their thick skulls. (cf. Ex 1:15-21)
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#11
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Rom 12:9a . . Don't just pretend that you love others.

Webster's defines "pretense" as fiction, make-believe, and/or simulation.
Ironically, pretense is foundational to ordinary civility and common courtesy.
But when it comes to love; Christians should never put on a front. In other
words: don't lead someone on to believe you care about them when in
reality you don't. That's not only dishonest; it's cruel.

I once asked a rather incompetent Sunday school teacher, in so many
words, whether feelings play a role in Christianity. He said that feelings are
emotions and therefore insignificant. Well; I have to disagree.

"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies"
(Col 3:12)

The koiné Greek word for "bowels" in that passage is splagchnon (splangkh'
non) which basically refers to one's intestines; i.e. the tummy; which says to
me that bowels of mercies are emotions rather than just good manners.

In other words: real love isn't a non emotional academic concept; it contains
things like pity, sympathy, empathy, compassion, thoughtfulness, and
sensitivity. Real love is easily mimicked, but not all that easy to feel;
especially by people who, by nature, are more monster than human.
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#12
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Rom 12:9b . . Hate what is evil.

Hating evil is second nature to God-fearing people; or at least it should be.

"You who love Jehovah: hate evil." (Ps 97:10)

"In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil." (Job 1:1)

"The fear of The Lord is to hate evil. Pride and arrogance and the evil way, and the perverted mouth, I hate." (Prv 8:13)

Well; I think it goes without saying that a hard, insensitive heart is evil; therefore something to hate; for example:

"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" (1John 3:17)

The love of God spoken of in that passage is an emotion because the word translated "pity" is splagchnon (splangkh'-non) the very same word that defines "bowels of mercies" in Col 3:12.

Emotions are a crucial element in the religion of Christianity because when people lack sufficient feelings for Christ, they will have little success properly complying with his wishes.

"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching." (John 14:23-24)
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#13
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Rom 12:9c . . Stand on the side of the good.

Christian CEOs on the boards of multi-national corporations have my sympathy. Good luck complying with that command.

I recently watched a very interesting documentary on NetFlix that analyzed corporations; and they found that corporations, as a personality, typically exhibit all five of the psychopathic behaviors listed below.

• Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.

• Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships.

• Reckless disregard for the safety of others.

• Deceit and dissembling; viz: repeated lying, suppressing information, stretching the truth, and conning others for profit.

• Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors.

One of corporate America's more shameful management practices is the exploitation of foreign poverty, cheap labor, defenseless employees, minimal safety requirements, and hardly any environmental regulations in order to keep costs down and the bottom lines of quarterly reports up. It's all about profits with corporations; while the human suffering exploited to obtain them is collateral damage, so to speak; and nowhere has that been more prevalent than the manufacture of textiles and garments.
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#14
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Rom 12:10a . . Love each other with genuine affection

Real affection is easy to imitate, but not so easy to duplicate. Going through
the motions is just not the same as feeling the feelings.

Rom 12:10b . . Honor others over yourselves.

Christians afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder have trouble
complying with those instructions. It's a mental condition characterized by a
grandiose sense of self-importance, a need for excessive admiration,
exploitive behavior in relationships, and a lack of empathy.

Narcissistic people are by nature insufferably arrogant, self-absorbed,
indifferent, and insensitive. They see nothing wrong with their behavior, nor
are they attuned to its impact on others. Were you to confront narcissistic
folk with your concerns about their attitude; be prepared for a counterattack
because they'll no doubt become indignant and defensive; possibly accusing
you of selfishness, overreaction, and hysteria. You see; they're never the
problem: you are.

As I was watching a recent series on the National Geographic channel about
geniuses; it became readily apparent to me that people in the genius
category crave recognition. Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso are two very
good examples. Their contributions to art and science were secondary to
their ambitions for greatness. I wouldn't say that all geniuses are like that of
course, but apparently the desire for greatness is not uncommon among
them.

I should think that most alpha achievers would have trouble complying Rom
12:10b too. I mean. why be a winner if not to feel superior to everyone
else? The alpha achiever's motto is: It's not enough to succeed: everyone
else must fail.

Feelings of value are important to everyone's sense of well being, but the
alpha achiever feels only himself to be of any real value; in his mind's eye,
those "below" him are of little worth, i.e. expendable and/or a dime a dozen.
(cf. Est 6:6, Matt 27:26, Mark 12:38 39, and 3John 1:9)
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#15
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Rom 12:11a . . Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit

The koiné Greek word for "slothful" is okneros (ok-nay-ros') which,
according to its use in Matt 25:26-27, indicates failure to honor one's
fiduciary responsibilities.

In other words: when people have put their trust in you, in whatever
capacity or circumstance: do not disappoint them, nor (God forbid) make
lame excuses for failing to deliver on your commitments.

"fervent in spirit" sort of means on fire-- i.e. highly motivated --which is just
the opposite of half-hearted, lukewarm, and/or procrastinating.

A touching example of the kind of reliability I'm talking about is Boaz. He
made a promise to Ruth that goes like this:

"And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for
all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman. And now
it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer
than I. Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform
unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if
he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a
kinsman to thee, as The Lord liveth." (Ruth 3:11-13)

That man must've had a reputation in Bethlehem as someone you could
trust because here's Naomi's response upon hearing all about Ruth's
midnight experience.

"Then Naomi said: Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For
the man will not rest until the matter is settled today." (Ruth 3:18)

And sure enough, Naomi knew what she was talking about: Boaz got right to
it just as he promised.

Here's an interesting thought. If Christ's followers are required to be
trustworthy, don't you think Christ would be required to be trustworthy too?

Well; I tend to think that Christ not only leads by decree, but by example
too; and I, for one, am counting on him to honor his promises and his
commitments: not just some of them; all of them.
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#16
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Rom 12:12a . . Be glad for all God is planning for you.

Christians unsure of their afterlife destination cannot, in all honesty and a good conscience, comply with that. For all they know, God has outer darkness planned for them. That's not something to be glad about.

Rom 12:12b . . Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful.

Patience is something every so-called mature adult is supposed to have but relatively few seem able to produce. What we're talking about here is "composure" which Webster's defines as calmness: especially of mind, manner, or appearance.

Composure is pretty easy to maintain when nothing is bothering us; but not so easy when we're upset, frightened, worried, nervous, angry, irritated, annoyed, over-worked, dead tired, under pressure, stressed, chafed, interrupted, ignored, cut off in traffic, in deep credit card debt, a sudden death in the family, behind in your mortgage, your car payments and/or your student loan; injured, life changing news like your job outsourced to China or you've got cancer, involved in a school shooting, and/or your spouse announces they've met someone and wants a divorce. People tend to come unglued at times like that.

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you." (1Pet 4:12)

A "painful trial" can be likened to a process to which assayers subject samples of gold to evaluate its worth as a precious metal. If somebody can maintain their composure under the conditions I listed above, I'd have to say that they are a high-value gold. As for the rest of us; we would no doubt benefit from a dose of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:12) hence the enjoinder to "always be prayerful".
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#17
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Rom 12:13a . . Share with God's people who are in need.

I'm guessing "God's people" in this particular instance pertains to Jews.
(Matt 25:31-46 and Rom 15:25-27)

FYI: The Jews are God's people in accordance with a covenant that He made
with their ancestor Abraham. (Gen 17:7-8)

Rom 12:13b . . Practice hospitality.

Webster's defines hospitable as: (1) given to generous and cordial reception
of guests, (2) promising or suggesting generous and cordial welcome, (3)
offering a pleasant or sustaining environment.

In other words; a hospitable person is civil, courteous, thoughtful, easy on
one's nerves, helpful, approachable, accommodating, and relaxing to be
with.
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#18
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Rom 12:14 . . Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

The koiné Greek word for "persecute" is dioko (dee-o'-ko) which means to
pursue; i.e. to hound. In other words; a persecuting personality is one
whose mission in life is to ruin somebody's day at every opportunity; and
they are pretty good at finding ways to do it.

Christians are under orders to remain calm with people deliberately out to
get you and not let them discourage the practice of hospitality. If they want
to behave like feral dogs, let them; just be careful you don't react in kind.
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#19
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Rom 12:15 . .When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad,
share their sorrow.

A number of factors play a role in the making of an insensitive clod; one of
which is defective areas of the brain called amygdalae. In brief, the
amygdalae control, to a large extent, our emotions; i.e. our feelings,
especially relative to empathy.

Normal amygdalae make it possible to commiserate; which can be
roughly defined as feeling sympathy and/or compassion as opposed to just
going thru the motions. For example: I heard somewhere that half of us go
to funerals to honor folk we couldn't be bothered with when they were alive
and then lie through out teeth when we tell the family "I'm sorry for your
loss."

Defective amygdalae are usually a genetic problem; i.e. people with them
were born that way. So, they are going to have a pretty difficult time of it
when it comes to sharing in the happiness and/or the sorrow of others.

"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?" (Jer 13:23)

The answer to both those questions is of course NO; like they say: you can't
get blood out of a turnip. So then, how is it reasonable to expect Christians
with defective amygdalae to share the happiness of happy people and/or the
sorrows of sad people?

Well; it isn't reasonable, but neither is it hopeless seeing as how a portion of
the fruit of the Spirit is love (Gal 5:22). In other words: there's a
supernatural remedy for psychopathic personality disorders. (Ezek 36:26)

BTW: It's surprising the number of Christians that I've encountered, even
Sunday school teachers, who honestly believe that emotions have no role
whatsoever in the practice of Christianity.
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Jun 23, 2018
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#20
Brother, we the christians are not ashamed of our name, while you use a coded name "Weber's.Home". My word (name) is Emil and am not ashamed of it. From followers of Lord Christ only few had their name changed by Lord Christ, and one of them is Paul . In all that you wrote you go in Acts and Romans. How, any one can to understand what is write in Acts and Romans when can not understand the teachings of Lord Christ from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in general Matthew chapters 1,5, and 6 ?
You wrote about " ...founder Dr Bill Bright ", and thruogh this you show how you personal never read Matthew 23:1-12,13-36.
If you was following the teachings of Lord Christ, and respected Lord Christ your teacher (Matthew 23:7,8.) you could understood what is write in Apocalypse (you all call it wrong " Revelation") 13:16-18. When can not understand Apocalypse 13:16-18, then how you can understand Psalms 97:10 ?
What is that number 666 ?
Then, who is your teacher ?
You LOVE those marks, and teach others to worship and fight for those marks.
Did you understood Matthew 19:16-24; 26:14- 27:10 ?
Then think about.
Now, take and study Genesis 3:16; 1 Corinthians 11:3-11;14:34,35; Ephesians 5:22,23,24; 1Timothy 2: 9-15; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-6 ?
Now, who destroyed these laws of Christianity, Holy God, His Son Lord Christ or Satan and his followers, namely the rich people what worship the mark(s) and the number 666 ?

In Christianity is only one LEADER, only one teacher, only one master , and that is only Lord Christ who was 2000 years ago upon this Earth and had the name "Jesus" and is the son of Holy God that created us and the life upon this Earth.