Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Abbaga Family

My first encounter with a member of the Abbaga family occurred many years ago when I was a much younger "old guy" and a customer in one of our local supermarkets.

Making that first acquaintance was shocking to say the least. There I was, by chance, meeting a surly, short-tempered family member. That would lead to a string of similar meetings and my own reaction moved me to read the reactions of the other strangers to this family's collective character.

And that... resulted in launching me on an investigative journey that continues even today.

The infancy of my surveillance was an eye-opener for me as I had no idea how widespread the awareness of the kindred actually was. With each observation and subsequent interview, the reputation of the family’s untoward behavior became more pronounced.

Everyone seemed smote, and then left, with similarly hard impressions regarding the Abbagas, even in dealing with the nicest of its members.

As the weeks turned to months not only did my probings lead me to uncover whole segments of society who were genuinely offended, but still, to this day I discover vast groups of populace who avoid the family by the mere hearing of their reputation.

It was this last discovery that was, for me most astonishing.

To my way of thinking, it is one thing to avoid something because of a bad experience, and quite another to shun something because of word of mouth. "I heard that Steve’s situation went like this." or "Did you hear what happened to Suzie when she ran into an Abbaga?" Or worse... "I heard of this guy (no name?) who..."

The revelations of gross bigotry expanded with time.

More and more evidence surfaced that the majority of those who spoke unkindly of the Abbagas, had never even made personal contact!

I was appalled, and then quite resolved to analyze the motivations of those carrying the tales of bad reputation, as though they had a personal encounter, delivering their vexation and venom with more fervor than those who actually had an unhappy experience.

But now I had mentally turned the corner. I was determined to find all the facts with an open mind, not to somehow sanction this obvious bigotry but to understand it and thereby foster healing on both sides.

I looked into the Abbaga’s familial tree, searching out what might be the genesis of the trouble and found that the seed of their maligned reputation may have begun long ago with the family’s patriarch Rudolph, the first to hold the Abbaga name.

As I continued delving, I harvested a greater, unexpected, and much more hopeful approach to the distaste from both sides. After hours of research, I found that a planned encounter with an Abbaga, need not be as harsh as one might conceive at first go.

An otherwise uncomfortable circumstance might be moderated with proper preparations, I was near beside myself with good humor.

Meetings with any member of the Abbagas can be... as I can now certainly testify, an experience that is warm and nourishing for the soul.

While a chance encounter with one of the family can be... well, difficult, it truly does not have to go the way of the stereotypical.

My advice… keep a laundry list of preparations. A “recipe” if you will, for your own behavior and you are likely to be pleasantly surprised with the end result.

I have concluded that much of the "bad rap" the family receives is mostly due to what transpired with the patriarch.

What began as Rudolph soon became shortened, as is usual, to Rudy then shortened further to a more mean, generic referrence. And as fate would have it, through the weaving of time and tale bearing, the entire family became known by those prejudices that were empowered by their "nickname".

In my opinion, it was that abbreviation, that "nickname", that was the greater cause for the increasing malice against them, for now they are simply referred to, far and wide, especially in supermarkets, as the Rude Abbagas.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Humans in general seemed to be in a big hurry to get their nickers in a twist so we can exhibit some kind of, "that ain't right!" attitude.

Then couple that with the "rightness" one feels when they become saved and whammo major bunch!

Now here is a problem with all that, that we seldom consider. I have to kinda stop for a minute to make sure I am wording this right...

Our screening process is what is mostly motivating this whole deal, the little discerner that we all (humans) use to help us make descisions. It tells what is off center, what is not quite right so it (whatever it is) can be disqualified.

We (all... believers, non-believers) have a tendency to emotionally swell to particular rights or wrongs and get on board with them, or to renounce them respectively.

Here, is where we get back to the afore mentioned problem. Humans have this "no" machine that works for us, and we tend to trust it, too much in some areas and not enough in others.

Now remember this, the "no" machine is in all humans.

God put it in our persons, it is part of our free choice apparatus. And it works as a disqualifying, discerning filter, that is not as under our control as it should be. Or to put it more correctly under the Spirits control.

One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control (in KJV-temperance) and as a fruit of the Spirit we (the believer), need to recognize the true ownership of it even though it is called, "self" control.

This will help the believer mortify (kill) the deeds of the flesh that have a built in bent to disqualify even Godly things.

And under the flesh's empowerment, this can mean, the preacher becomes disqualified because of a disqualifying statement or maybe the statement is rejected, because of the preacher having been disqualified before.

Or... God... might be, because our flesh does not agree with Him.

Romans 8:7 NKJV
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor ideed can be.

(the carnal mind is the mind of the flesh)

Yes, getting our "no" machine "nickers" in a twist, can equate to unbelief. It is at work and empowered by the flesh and satan, in the un-believer, but also to a lesser degree in the believer.

The major problem is the flesh empowered, Self-righteous un-belief, found in the believer... that is a Major Bunch!

Monday, May 25, 2009


Scooter has a new link... "Pocket Parables"

"Primordial Gazette Newz from the Ooze" Comic will begin here, daily, soon. And I will have another blog link for my various stories.

"The Market Place of Ideas" debate blog has suffered a minor set back and may be awhile before it is up.

The essays and comics will continue on this blog link.

Short Story

"How short does this need to be?"

"Well... shorter than before obviously, but not too short"

"What is too short?"

"When you have too much room left over, then it is too short!"

"How much room do we have?"

"Not enough to go around, so it needs to be just right and not too short, but we can't have it go over either."

"What happens if it goes over?"

"Then it will short the excess on the other margins... it can't go over, make it a little short but try not to leave too much room... Oh for crying out loud, let me look... no, that is way too short!"

"So I have too much room?"

"You will, if you leave it that short, make it longer."

"How much longer?"

"Almost twice as long, maybe a little shorter."

"What are the margins for?"

"Sigh... In case something goes too long it will provide a little slack."

"So I need to make this a little shy of, twice as long?"

"Yeah, and don't go over, it will make our margins to short and we won't have enough slack for other mistakes."

"Okay... a little short of twice as long as it is, because now, it is way too short."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I "Was" Minding My Own Beeswax!

There I was, minding my own beeswax, when I heard my lovely bride declare, "Viruses have little motors to drive them around!" I turned from my online comics to where she sits at her PC, looked at the graphic on her screen, and immediately asked her to send me the link:

I gotta say! WOW! No… "wow" doesn't really cut it. But, that is the only exclamation that popped up. How can anyone, after having looked at this article, ever again dismiss intelligent design?

Seriously! A tiny virus having this type of complex sophistication in its life-growth? This information moves a believer to ask yet again, those unbelieving, militant, evolution soap-box toting, "tolerant", "open-minded", scientific Darwinian bigots... do you people even read your own information?

Not that the information comes from an evolution freak or a lab full of them, but really... wake up and smell the coffee and evolve yourself some... courage.

Look at the information and... oh wait... at the bottom of the graphic it credits "Steven McQuinn/ Venigalla Rao, Catholic University of America" so that "Catholic University" part would automatically discredit in the atheistic bigot's eyes, the information, because it came from a "religious" source.

The part that bugs me about that, is that they have the same information verified and re-verified but it never gets the "air-time" in their non-religious publications... simply because it does not reinforce their Spencer Tracy "Inherit the Wind", Scopes monkey trial entrenchment. Rather, it terribly undermines it.

Therefore "they" could not allow this information to become widespread in their collegiate market place of ideas, unless it did come from a tiny religious corner of the scientific community so it could be downplayed with vigor.

Okay, okay! I can hear (kinda), the comebacks to my mini tirade. "Take it easy, ya big lawn gnome, don't bust a gusset!"

But really, I mean on the one hand, I know we don't want to drive away potential believers (atheists) with insults. On the other, one might wish to shock them into reality; to have them stop overlooking, or hiding, the obvious. Take the truth and stand behind it no matter where it leads.

Darwin stated that his theories could not possibly work on a microbial level, that if it were proven that complex life existed with the single cell that his writings would fall apart.

Viral life is the smallest of all discovered life forms (possible amino acid exception?) and evidently it is very complex.

Sorry, Spencer Tracy-wannabe. You can stop acting like that lawyer, or a monkey's uncle and liberate yourself from the oppressive constraints of our socialistic national public school agenda.

While I am sure there are many in the realm of public and higher education that fully endorse their leaders Gestapo like, oppressive dictates (see Ben Stein's documentary "Expelled" avail Netflix). I remain just as sure that there are those who happened to start their journey as educators naive to the tactics that would be employed to force compliance in a strict evolutionary environment and would now like to be free of it.

As Christians, we are instructed to be harmless as doves and wise as serpents. It seems that too much focus is on the former and way too little on the latter.

How else could they slip this dreadnought, this six-hundred pound gorilla into the room? And, why does it seem to be an astonishing sort of coincidence that Darwin's Origin of the Species was published... then shortly after this, national public schools gained power? And, this, closely followed by the ACLU, Scopes monkey trial debacle?

Now we find that the obvious evidence of intelligent design (not necessarily creationism), is being denied to us, by those who work for us. People, this is our business, and we should get to minding it.

I would support a grass roots movement to fund work like Ben Stein's to inform Christians and the American public in general about this nonsense and thereby be an agent for change.

They (the government) work for us and not the other way around!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Will Rogers, Frank Capra, and Woody Guthrie

All great communicators from different media venues around the the time of the Great Depression.

These are three men who had a tremendous influence on American and global perception and thereby affecting change that to some extent endures even today.

Will Rogers became known as an outspoken humorist, with a take on the political community that played no favorites. I may be wrong, but in my estimation most of the things he said, sounded as though he mistrusted every part of the political machinery Republican, Democrat or whatever and he became the tongue in cheek voice of America.

Woody Guthrie was the original Protest Singer. He composed songs that supported the common man and his plight. His lyrics exposed hearts, the heart of stone that is found among the power brokers, and the burdened heart of the common man simply trying to do for his family.

Frank Capra, made movies... "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" among others. This movie especially, presented visuals of a hero's behavior against all odds that stirred our consciousness to believe and to hope that change could be had if we could find it within ourselves to try.

This is my early exposure to "The American" that I wanted, and still want, to become.

From Will Rogers biting commentaries about political corruption, to Woody's "This land is your land, this land is my land from California...", to Jimmy Stewart's portrayal of Mr. Smith going to Washington with good morals and ideals in Capra's movie; I, like many Americans were inspired to believe in America... not the machine but its living and breathing heart of the common man.

I believe that the heart's desire for the right thing is still there.

It may be hidden by the media, thrown into a witch's cauldron of confusing issues. It may be trying to find its Queen of hearts in the three card monte game being played by the governance of the global community.

But I believe it is there somewhere, still beating, even yet, waiting to catch a glimpse at some clarity.

These are some of the things these earlier media heroes placed in my mind and my heart.

The expectancy that God's righteousness will ultimately shine through, to break through our combined human darkness and guide us into His light.


Gandhi the spiritual and peaceful resistance leader for India at the end of British colonization of that country, was famous for many things but I want to borrow from him what he had to say about becoming a Christian.

He is reported to have said that he had read the Bible and would have liked to become a Christian as a result from what he found there, but having also been exposed to Christian's behavior he decided against it.


Who could blame him? I mean seriously... just to take a look at our collective behavior is enough to turn anyone off.

In looking at my own behavior HONESTLY, I am surprised that I have friends at all!

I am arrogant, opinionated, and "everyone is entitled to my opinion", or so the caption read on the coffee cup one of my daughters bought me for my birthday a few years back.

And when we bunch Christians together we tend to bolster one another, making our self righteousness balloon into something extremely grotesque.

Anyone being exposed to this who is not a believer and not desperate for God's ability to save them from a life devoted to self destruction, would rightly run the other direction to escape.

And following that line of reasoning, should we be greatly surprised by their anger? This anger could and does translate often to a stumbling block and an excuse for them to never approach a belief in God.

That isn't to say the persecutions that are leveled at Christians are our fault, but it isn't to say that we don't "own" some responsibility for their revulsion as well.

Sure we love our brethren, we should. The Bible encourages us to prefer the brethren.

But if you were to survey "the brethren" I think you would be greatly surprised to find out that a lot of "us" prefer non-believers to believers.

Could it be that non-believers are easier to be around, more restful?

Think about it... if this were true, why would this be? I believe the answer is simple, Jesus came to heal those that are sick. These would be those who are really messed up for a lot of reasons.

This basically translates into some really messed up lifestyles, thinking patterns, attitudes, etc. all manner of various dysfunctional syndromes, being miraculously changed both immediately and through long term processes.

Meanwhile, they have been thrust into the conformist meatgrinder of church that expects them to understand that, now their behaviors are forgiven (which they are), and now fixed and appropriate (which usually, they are not).

And within the confines of this assembly line of cookie cutter approaches we have the blind leading the blind, in the sense that the newbies are able to look at the old-timers for the examples of how to act.

Please do not misunderstand what I am saying!

None of this has got a thing to do with whether or not the errant old-timers are saved or whether the newbie is saved.

But it can have a lot to do with whether or not the angry atheist will be saved, unless the Lord can miraculously get him past how he or she sees us behaving.

Gandhi... could not get past the problematic behavior of those who followed Christ.

The number one complaint from the atheistic ranks is that we (Christians) are extremely hippocritical.

Please be honest, do not try to defend this, or any other fruit of the flesh to them.

Yes we are hippocritical, we all are, all humans are.

One thing we have in our favor is Jesus. Tap into His honesty, His humble nature and His wisdom and represent His truth.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Recommended Reading...

C. S. Lewis'

Non-fiction... "Miracles" "Mere Christianity" "God in the Docks" (Docks is a little repetitive)

Fiction... the space trilogy, "Out of the Silent Planet", "Perelandra" and "That Hideous Strength".

The Presidential Megalomaniacal Buffoon

The title of this essay is a bit misleading in two ways.

First, I am not (at this time) speaking of the sitting President rather it is George W. I speak of.

Second, I don't think he really is a buffoon but simply intended to project the characteristics of one.

The ultra-conservative movement has a few areas that are problematic and in the next few paragraphs I hope to touch on a couple that I think are the most difficult. And then I will tie it all in with the buffoon assertion.

The Republican Party regained a lot of it's ancient muscle memory at the time of the Reagan administration. The collective persona of the party grew into what later became known as the religious right.

Here is where I believe we can see our difficulties.

I don't really have a problem with politics being populated with outspoken believers, our founding fathers were nearly all pious and devout and vocal about it. What I find troubling is that on the whole we seemed to have earned a reputation as being arrogant bigots, especially in the last twenty or so years.

Never mind the sound economic measures that were implemented during that time, we are only remembered as self-righteous flag waving, religious rednecks with a sin axe to grind.

The economics of the Reagan Administration, what is now called trickle down economics were first introduced and advocated by Pres. John F. Kennedy (a democrat), and probably would have seen its first application through him, should he have lived.

After Reagan gave it life so to speak, George Herbert Walker Bush (who in the primaries against Reagan, termed it Voodoo Economics) continued that economic program (with variations) when he was elected.

The economics (at least on the surface) were a stunning success and with the advent and growth of Rev. Falwell's Moral Majority, followed by the Christian Coalition, the Republican Party had strong legs to stand on.

Then the "Democratic Rhodes Scholar" and his wife were elected and we had eight years of them, with the GOP not losing too much strength.

But evidently, something had to done (by the powers that be) to bring it down to a balanced, non-arrogant view of itself. But more importantly to pop the bubble of political empowerment enjoyed by the "religious right".

Enter The Buffoon.

Now without going all conspiracy theory on you, let me explain that I am personally certain there is much more to the motives of "the correction" other than simply to deliver a "spanking" to an obnoxious political child. But most of that is not for this essay.

George W. shows up around election time, acting all presidential and humble, and born again and subservient to the wishes of those who he wishes to be elected by.

He selects as his running mate (not on a whim) Cheney. Neither of these guys are idiots, neither of these guys in the long run exhibited impressively good moral behavior. Bush as a matter of fact displayed fluctuating religious convictions inordinate with his claims of being born again.

His willingness to lie to the American and International community about WMD's and other similar symptoms are not as troubling by themselves as they are when taken on the whole with everything that his collection of cronies and policies exemplified.

His leadership (or lack thereof) of the "Religious Right" has done more to bring about bigotry toward that sector of society than anything else the Democrats could have manufactured. And all this, under the lame disguise of him being an idiot.

Sorry, his projection of himself as an "aw shucks, down home, good ole boy" who just happened to get elected on his daddy's coat tails and his firm belief in Jesus, doesn't wash.

Honestly, this guy played himself up to be dumber than Pinocchio and in need of more strings being pulled for him than the story's puppet before the "Fairy" gave him life. With Cheney playing the part of Jiminy Cricket?


In my opinion that whole eight years was orchestrated to make the population of the Republican Party become an emasculated version of it's former self. And though Bush and Cheney are puppets of something much larger they are not dumb, they are participants.

While in some respects that administrative debacle might serve the good purpose of re-balancing the GOP perspective i.e. making us less arrogant. I don't think that was the real reason for the effort.

I believe it was done to remove the last remaining bits of hope for the Republic and not necessarily the Party thereof, but the general life force of our former American Government.

If this was the intent, then they (whoever "they" are), are well on their way to success.

Pinocchio, the Megalomaniacal Buffoon and Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio’s dark Intelligentsia Conscience, played their parts well.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Comic Strip

Coming soon...

The Primordial Gazette - Newz from the Ooze; comic strip is coming soon! As soon as I figure out this new fangled tech stuff and how to get it on the blog.

This is a comic that I composed a few years back that is the origin of the name for this blog.

Basically it is a spoof on evolution.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Market Place of Ideas

I heard a phrase many years back that took root and though it is a phrase that someone else used I am sure that it did not originate with him. His phrase was, "the free market place of ideas", and he used this to establish in the minds of those he taught, that the concept of such an exchange was alive even if the practice of it may be weak or dead.

Now I caught this teacher's messages around the same time that I also became acquainted with a little history regarding The Inklings.

The Inklings were a small group founded by JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. This group was somewhat famous for staging legitimate debates between atheists and believers in a forum that was non-threatening to either party, and any honest type of the faith non-faith controversey could be debated in an orderly manner.

The brew of these two concepts have been churning within me for lo, these many years. And with this blog, one of my many applications I would like to see come to fruition is the legitimate debate among the various levels of belief, non-belief, and or agnostisism etc.

This section of my blog will have a name soon but its format will be obvious.

It will take an approach with a wide range of issues that allow for the debate process to be addressed in an orderly fashion as follows...
Topic. side one / first day
Point. side two / second day
Counter point. side one / third day
Rebuttal. side two / fourth day
Counter. etc.
And perhaps additional rounds, but scheduled for at least three, six day minimum.

The Topic can be brought to the table by the either side,with a brief description of its value as such. When the Topic is introduced by either side, the description is their opening statement.

The side which introduces the Topic has a slight disadvantage, as the side giving the response will have the final comment regardless of how many rounds.

The exchange may be made as lively as the written media and proper decorum allows (no profanity or personal attacks). However, it will not be as lively as the slugfest scenario you may have been exposed to at chat rooms dealing with similar issues.

Whereas, the Topic may be "borrowed" from a chat room, the linear characteristic of the debate forum will allow for a full examination of the issue from both sides. Occassionally the Topic may warrant more than the above mentioned guidelines for length, but both sides will have equal "time" at around 500 words or less recommended.

Whoever introduces the Topic will not have the final response. In this forum there will be no "editorial like" conclusions drawn and no "winner" will be declared by the blog.

Each debate delivery will stand on its own merit and will be penalized for making additional comments in the areas for comments by non-participants.

The individual reader will draw their own conclusions and are free to offer commentary on the exchange each day beginning with the second day at the end of the first round.

If I have a comment on the debate it will be in the area provided for that purpose like anyone else, unless I was involved in the debate itself, in which case, I am not allowed further comment on the Topic.

Either side of the debate platform would be considered in bad form to comment beyond their participation and could be barred for a period of time from further debate participation, but is allowed comments as a non-participant, just not for the debate where he or she earned the penalty.

Any and all obscene language and individual personal attacks may result in that person being "blocked" permantley.

The issues, questions, topics, to be debated will appear in the full text of what was submitted excepting profanity or personal insults. If profanity is used, in the place of the offending word this will appear (profanity). If a personal insult or attack was used, in its place one would see (offense).

The reason this will be done is to convey what was said without offending mass sensibilities and to allow everyone's understanding of why that person should be penalized or blocked.

The argument must be delivered in the very close ball park of 500 words or less. If either side gives much more than that they will be asked to be more concise.

All submissions are subject to final acceptance by myself. I am willing to allow a huge variety of material to be discussed within the above mentioned guidelines.

Please submit all potential Topics to... "Free Market Place of Ideas"

To submit a Topic you would not necessarily need to be a debating participant. If you would like to have a subject or an issue debated this could be done as well by a selected proxy once we have enough people on board.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rules, Regs, and Relationship

Have you ever imagined planning the perfect road-trip vacation? The journey, taking in days of beautiful scenery and activities culminating with your arrival at a lovely spot with all your best friends and family members there to greet you?

You have created a very realistic scenario; having generated expectations of difficulties and have prepared the needed funding for the Murphy's Law of possibilities.

And, you have allowed for the length of the journey and provided plenty of time for those surprise adventures, "Oh that looks like fun! Can we go do that?" and you know with these time allowances that you will arrive when you should.

Now, tweak your mental scenario just enough to flip the coin of some abstract possibilities.

Side one. Let us throw in your total disregard for speed limits, traffic lights, any kind of road courtesy and while were at it, leave out any common sense.

What has happened to the beautiful plans you started with? Take it a step further.

You leave your driveway taking out about five feet of hedgerow scattering debris for a block as you force your accelerator to the floor. Not only you break the speed limit you more than double it! Instead of seventy on the freeway as posted, your doing a hundred and fifty! You have heavy traffic all around you and you're weaving in and out, it starts snowing and you don't slow down!

Cops are on your tail and you can't seem to shake them! Then it happens… some jerk, who could not tell there was crazy activity coming up from behind, him cuts you off by changing lanes right in front of you!

"Oh no! This jerk has ruined everything!" you scream aloud. You smash into his Hummer with your RV at a hundred fifty miles per hour and the ensuing chain reaction of destruction brings the certainty of your capture, thereby ensuring the rest of your journey at least, to be very unpleasant and your careful scheduling shot.

Okay, let us look at the other side of this abstract coin.

Again the trip is planned perfectly. This time your concern is for best driving behavior. Proper attention is given to landmarks and lights. Proper lane management for your turnoffs and excursions are observed. You have your GPS dictating optimum possibilities for travel and you have your spouse making adjustments there as needed.

Soon you have left your town and are beginning your journey with gladness. But before long you start to obsess about your perfect performance on the road. The speed limit must be observed perfectly! You have heard that there is a little four mile an hour buffer that the authorities allow for, but "No! I would rather maintain the speed limit exactly, so I do not have to answer questions from an over zealous police rookie!"

Now you begin to encounter those on the road who have no respect for the laws of the land, or common courtesy. "Where is a cop when you need them? Is there nothing to be done about these speeders and tailgaters?"

Worrying begins to accelerate, "Is my scheduling allowing for this construction? My temptation to speed is compounded by this traffic jam. Will I have to take out one of my planned stops? I need an antacid; did we bring any? Whoops! I just missed my lane change better do it now. Slow down, how long has it been thirty-five through here? It used to be forty five!"

The next few days follow sleepless nights; "Those last two stops were hardly worth taking a shower for much less including them on a perfect vacation! Who am I kidding? This stopped being perfect, the day I left the driveway! Slow down! I need to remain courteous even if these jerks are rude! Is that tanker leaking something? Oh… I would love to tell that guy off!

I hope the destination turns out better than the trip. The family seems like they have had a good time, I just feel sick! I hope they aren't putting on a happy face just for me, my headaches are terrible and my stomach won't stop hurting!" Etc, etc, etc.

Rules and regulations have value that can only be ignored at your peril. They provide structure for all, dependable wise guidance that, if followed promises a safe journey.

But they can never promise an abundantly joyful trip.

Our walk as Christians, like the analogy, is to arrive at a fine destination and to have an "abundant life" getting there. And in both sides of the abstract coin the destination may be reached, but neither provides the "abundance" that was planned.

The first side of the coin was bad because of obvious reasons, the second… not as obvious; so let us consider the obsession with rules.

Too often we confuse the observance of common sense and structures with our self-definition of what it means to be Holy. We have been conditioned and reconditioned with, do this and don't do that, so often and over such a long period of time that it is easy to lose sight of the reason the rules were provided.

This type of constant exposure to our own failures, shortcomings, and things to be careful of, is an eye opener at first. It is a continuation of sorts, of our conversion truths, educating us concerning our need for salvation and an introduction to Holy behavior.

The information is there as guidance away from unhappy results, but cannot assure us of abundant life.

Rules and regulations, if followed, at best can only provide one with contentment that his or her behavior has not brought misery. People who pride themselves with good moral conduct are capable of that!

A moralist who is also a believer might reply, "But it also reveals one's heart and is a display of good fruit."

True… in a sense. The ability to follow the law, to "Do this and don't do that" are the fruit of good morals, and in some respects are a revelation of heart status. But this, taken into "innocent" legalism can reveal a heart similar to a good Pharisee, such as Nicodemus or Saul of Tarsus. Both of which were shown the errors of their heart's conditioning by Jesus.

Keeping the law merely reduces the occurrence of sins, of either omission or commission and thereby renders the trip relatively free of despair. This is something that even the unbelieving moralist enjoys. As a result of pride in doing well he might say, "Of course I am going to heaven if there is one… I am a good guy!"

However misguided he may be, his assertion will not give him entry into heaven. And, as worthy an effort as "following the rules" is, it is not a description of a joyful, abundant life.

The joy (and true Holiness) can only come from His nature within us, which is there when He took up residence in our hearts.

Our flesh struggles with this gift that seems too good to be true. Our fleshy pride tries to force us to feel we must somehow earn it. But it is that perception that taints our motives and stifles its flow.

The perception declares, "This wonderful acceptance of us just as we are… must require something of us. It must have performance criterion as we proceed along. Once we are saved then we must conduct ourselves just so and display our good fruit." And the favorite, "He is not giving us license to sin."

He is not giving us license to sin? Very true, but he has given us the knowledge that we have more grace and mercy as believers than we did as his enemies at the time of our conversion…

Romans 5:10 For if, when we enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

This verse essentially means that we have more forgiveness for sin and more empowerment from His nature to avoid it after becoming a believer than we did before.

What follows is the description of why the "perception" is tainted and not healthy. And why the "flow" of abundance is stifled by that perception.

Why should our Bridegroom share the credit with any of us… for what his sacrifice accomplished?

His obedience to death removed the barrier that prevented the Father from living within us through the Son. It allowed Him to give us the faith we needed to follow Him. It opened the floodgates of his manifold gifts (grace) to run through his vessels (you and I). It allowed His children to actually experience what the angels and previous saints could only talk about.

And, should our pride (flesh), seek to gain some personal equity from the property that belongs solely to God, then the error will be corrected by the Spirit.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

This means every good thing that we do… ever! Is performed through us by Him. And when sin is avoided… either by doing the right work or not doing the bad one, it is Jesus working through the Holy Spirit in us to accomplish that.

When we grieve the Spirit and interfere with its operation by the sin of non-sanctification, we are forgiven and re-directed.

Allow me to repeat that with emphasis.

When we grieve the Spirit and interfere with its operation by the sin of non-sanctification, we are forgiven and re-directed.

The sin of not sanctifying the Lord is probably the most common of all sins. Similar to Moses at Meribah, who in disobedience struck the rock twice, also did not sanctify God when he said "Hear now ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?"

Instead, Moses could have appropriately said, "Thus saith the Lord… rock bring forth water!"

These things stifle the flow of abundant grace because it diverts the sanctification… the credit for the good accomplishment, to us rather than the Lord.

If this happens even a little, it would warrant the slowing of the progression of events, for the flow of grace into infertile fields of pride shouldn't continue. Keeping of the law, the doing of righteous deeds, trusting the Lord with all our hearts and minds… is not within our capabilities to perform. When it is done through us, it is accomplished by God's Spirit.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance (self control) against such there is no law.

Self control? Something as small and normally thought of as "us" territory… self control why would that be fruit of the Spirit?

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind (the fleshy mind) is enmity (make itself an enemy) against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

One could rightly say, "Well, what again of the moralist? Why would they exhibit self control in having good morals having supposedly no Holy Spirit?"

Because their flesh who is "making itself an enemy against God", is providing a realistic counterfeit.

Then it could be countered "What then of the believing moralist? Your so called legalist, why would he be able to perform good self control?" The answer to this is more complex…

Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

These are providing a much worse counterfeit, for they use the name of Christ to lift and support their position. And the fleshy, prideful motivation is a misappropriation of what is due only to Him, the credit and praise for the right thing performed.

It remains a not so obvious distinctive difference as one who knows the rules and regulations of the road and travels in joy on his journey to his destination in peace and abundance of Spirit. And one who is obsessing about his performance and making others obsess about theirs.

Either out of ignorance or intention, the legalists are preaching "another gospel" and need to repent.