Chili con Carne for Logophiles

If I labelled this post as ‘incarnation’ you probably would have skipped over it, but if I aimed at your stomach there’s a higher chance you’ll give this post a look – so “I got you!”

I’m doing another word thing, so I put Logophiles in the title line. Let me lead you through a review of Chili con Carne and other words, to get to something worth keeping in mind.

Chili con carne is the name of a meat dish, coming to us from the Spanish. Chili refers to chilli – duh! ‘con carne’ means ‘with meat’. The Spanish word ‘carne’ originates from the Latin and means flesh or meat.

The same Latin root is used in English words. A carnivore is a creature that eats meat. So, a crow is a carnivorous bird.

The word Carnival originated with reference to meat, since the original event was a festival that took place in the Lenten season, where meat is not eaten. So the ‘carn’ was lifted, giving us ‘carnival’.

To ‘incarnate’ means to make something into flesh. Thus to ‘re-incarnate’ means to make something into meat once again. The concept of reincarnation involves a person losing their ‘meat’ and being put back into a flesh body at a later time.

So that leads me to a closer look at ‘incarnation’. Incarnation is the process of something that is not flesh taking on human form. This is what happened with Jesus Christ. He has always existed as God. We know that God is spirit, so Christ was a spirit being, without fleshly body, from before the beginning of time. The incarnation is a miracle, because God stepped into the natural realm, which He is not bound by, and endured its impositions and limitations, so he could take upon Himself a human body.

The Shocking Incarnation

Some religions are offended by the idea of the incarnation. In the late 1980’s I heard a Moslem speaker contend with the claim that Jesus Christ is God. The speaker, at that time a leading international orator on behalf of the Moslem faith, claimed that the Koran defined a god as a being that did not have an anus. A deity should not be subject to the physiological impositions of our human existence. The orator pointed out that one of the Australian Aboriginal tribes also had the same definition of a god, by which he effectively put Islam on the same footing as a tribal belief system.

By reference to the Koranic definition of a god, the orator declared that Jesus Christ could not be God, because the requisite anatomical qualification was not met.

Now, it is true that the Living God is not subject to the limitation of human flesh. Due biological process is not something that impacts Almighty God in the slightest. He is spirit and free of all the limitations and constraints impacting mankind.

So, God’s willingness to endure the ‘incarnation’ makes it all the more wonderful. It is a miracle that the God of the universe should so choose to identify with the beings He created that He would subject Himself to the indignity of human existence. But there’s more. God not only became human, including the necessary biological implications, but He allowed Himself to be falsely condemned to death and then butchered in a sacrificial carnage.

Oh, and there’s another ‘carne’ word. Carnage refers to the flesh of slain animals or men. Carnage involves death and dead bodies. Bodies cut open, bleeding and dismembered befit the concept of carnage.

Jesus Christ had his flesh torn open by cruel scourging. His hands and feet were torn open by the nails. His side was spear-pierced and His head punctured with thorns.

It is shocking that any God would allow such treatment, especially when He had the power and authority to do as He wills. The only way such an event could occur is with the willing co-operation of God, Himself.

So the Moslem orator was right in his desire to elevate the quality of deity, but wrong in his understanding of the incarnation. His god would never perform such an act of love. His god would not suffer indignity and pay an inconceivable price to save his followers.

Our God, the true and Living God, God Almighty, is the God of the incarnation. Jesus Christ is the ‘incarnate God’ – the God who became flesh.

Now, the thing that often stops people from loving and accepting the salvation available via our incarnate Saviour is man’s ‘carnal’ nature. Man is spirit, but he is ‘also flesh’ (Genesis 6:3). That ‘flesh’ is our ‘carnal’ dimension. When we live out of our fleshly desires we are living a carnal life. If we live after the flesh we will die. But if we, through the Spirit of God, put to death the deeds of our carnal body we will live.

Christians have crucified (died to) their fleshly inclinations and they present their body to God as a living sacrifice. And therein they find life that is far beyond the rewards of their fleshly existence.

Now, you just go right ahead and enjoy your Chili con carne. And as you do, spare a thought for the wonder of the incarnation and the challenges of your own carnality.

Are Curses Genetic?

Now that researchers have been able to observe chemical changes within a person, directly linked to that person’s past experiences, there is a better understanding of how experiences can be translated into genetic changes. Those genetic changes may then be passed down to descendents.

Are these findings bringing us closer to understanding how curses are passed down from one generation to the next? Are curses genetic, and is there any scientific basis for understanding how they work?

I teach in my family seminars and explain in my flagship text, Family Horizons – Creating Families of Destiny (available from Family Horizons – www.FamilyHorizons.net) that the Bible teaches the reality of curses and of family curses. The Biblical case is for curses becoming part of the genetic inheritance of the family.

Here is a quick summary of some Biblical points to show that curses are genetic. At the giving of the Ten Commandments God specifically describes Himself as ‘visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me’ (Exodus 20:5). This process is clearly one of passing to the children some form of curse or negative outcome, which continues for four generations. This is effectively a genetic curse.

When Eli the priest failed to give honour to God, but supported his sons’ evil activities instead, God pronounced a curse on Eli’s family that would be there ‘for ever’ (see 1Samuel 2:31-33). That curse was confirmed a few years later when the young lad, Samuel, first heard God’s voice. God told Samuel that Eli and his sons were going to die for their sins and that a curse would be on Eli’s family for ever (1Samuel 3:13).

Eli’s curse is that none of the males will grow into old age. They will all die in the prime of their life. This curse was not going to work for three or four generations, but would persist for ever.

Some evangelical Christians find it very hard to accept that curses could exist today. My answer is to ask, Is the curse of sin and death still operating in the world? The answer is, Yes. Where does it come from? The answer is, Adam. What is your connection to Adam? The answer is, I am his descendent. So, there you have it. Every evangelical clearly believes in family curses. We all believe that the curse of sin and death comes upon all people today, even after the resurrection of Jesus, as a curse we receive from our ancestor. This is a family curse!

Allow me to leave the doctrinal case there. The question I have posed is, Are Curses Genetic? Since the Bible clearly shows that they are, we should expect there to be some scientific clue to a physiological reality. That clue is now uncovered.

Since our DNA prescribes the range of options available to us in our species, and even limits us to the collection of features that have been successfully passed to us from our immediate ancestors, it could be argued that there is no real room for a ‘curse’ to impact the DNA. Dominant genes will assert themselves over passive genes. It is completely unlikely that some new gene will suddenly appear in the DNA as response to some ‘curse’ being placed on our life.

But genetics has moved beyond DNA as the sole prescriptor of our genetic options. Related genetic process work on the DNA to cause various genes to be activated (expressed), or not. A simple protein molecule might be all that is required to switch on or off some genetic capacity. The consequence can be such things as disease, mental instability, personality changes and so on.

Recent findings indicate that suicide is being triggered in some men who have been abuse victims in childhood. Brain research on 18 such men indicates that, while the essential DNA is OK, the methylation process accompanying gene activity is different in these men, compared with non-abused men.

This finding points to the importance of the switching process. A curse can theoretically be switched on or off in your life, by a basic act of cell chemistry. Your genetic DNA won’t change but the function of your genes will.

And that may very well be how God goes about the process of activating a curse in a person’s life, which is passed down through the family.

So, are curses genetic? I can’t be adamant in my answer, but I can see how it is possible in the light of current genetic understanding. One thing is for sure, family curses are Biblical and real.

My book, Family Horizons, does explain how to break curses. So please don’t have sleepless nights trying to protect your DNA from rebel proteins.

Hyman Appelman – little jew with a big Jesus

This is the day that … Hyman Jedediah Appelman was ordained, in 1930.

This remarkable evangelist began life in White Russia on 7 January, 1902, born to an Orthodox Jewish family.  He was reared in the Jewish faith, emigrated with his family to America in 1914, became an outstanding scholar at various schools and universities and eventually (in 1921) was licensed to practise law.

During a holiday in Kansas City a newspaper reporter named Daly witnessed to him concerning the claims of Christ.  The next morning a Mr Garrett invited him to church – the first Protestant service he had ever attended.

It was later that year – now in Denver, Colorado – that Appelman was directed to Dr James Davis of the Central Christian Church.  There the 23 year-old Jew found his Messiah, was baptised the following Sunday, and sent a wire home to his family telling them the news.  His family disowned him, the Jewish law firm dismissed him, and his fiancée broke off their engagement. His father said to him, “When your sides come together from hunger, and you come crawling to my door, I will throw you a crust of bread as I would any other dog.”

But Hyman Appelman never faltered in his new-found faith.  He joined the United States Army, joined the Baptist denomination, and began preaching.

Shortly after his ordination by the Southern Baptists, he married Verna Cook (on 4 September, 1930), and commenced a remarkable evangelistic ministry that took him around the world, including Australia … in 1948. Just as the highly educated Apostle Paul laboured ‘more abundantly’, so too did this modern Jewish convert. It was hard to find a day when he was not ministering. He averaged two weeks at home out of a year.

Appelman looked directly to the Holy Spirit for his enabling. “The all-pervading, all-controlling, all-achieving Holy Spirit is the only Source of power. It is not in our schools, not in our churches, not in our organizations. It is not in our separation, not in our busyness, not in our attractions. It is not in our programs. It is solely the Holy Spirit who gives this power to do exploits for God, to promote the interests of God’s kingdom, to overcome Satan, to win the lost. There is no separating of spiritual power from the Holy Spirit. It is not power; it is the Holy Spirit. You cannot have power without the Holy Spirit. You cannot have the Holy Spirit without being flooded by Heaven’s power.”

Time Magazine once reported: Overflow crowds jammed Detroit’s Convention Hall to hear a sensational evangelist, Dr. Hyman Appelman, who calls himself “the little Jew with a big Jesus.”

This Russian-born Jewish American Baptist died in 1983.

Sovereignty Banned!

As I have reviewed the subject of personal sovereignty with you in recent months I have sought to open your eyes to the special privilege you have of doing business, directly and personally, with the God of all creation. Our greatest authority comes from the highest official – and so coming under the direct authority of God gives us authority that cannot be trumped by lesser beings.
True sovereignty, however, is not found in asserting personal rights, attending assertiveness training courses, defying authorities or the like. True sovereignty is all about you being in direct, personal relationship with God. He is the ultimate sovereign citizen of the universe. No-one can contend with His authority. When you are an intimate friend of God, falling at His feet and living only to do His will, you can walk in the fullest expression of your personal sovereignty.
Much of what others might think of as exercising their personal sovereignty may well be rebellion, arrogance, defiance against authority, self-will and ignorance. Please avoid such things.
Now, as I have pointed out, a person who truly walks in their personal sovereignty is able to exercise power and influence greater than governments, regimes and armies. That is the reason, I suggest, that evil regimes are so determinedly antagonistic to Christian faith and the Bible.
There is no more empowering experience and no more sure way to establish a person’s personal sovereignty, than to have them enter into personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no more empowering resource than the Bible. When people live by faith in God, through Jesus Christ, committed to the Bible as the inerrant word of God, they are empowered and willing to exercise personal freedom like no other people. Evil regimes, therefore, run the risk that divinely empowered people will be able to challenge them in the same way Elisha challenged the King of Syria, or David brought down Goliath. No evil regime wants to have young people in its own domain who can exercise greater clout than the dictator, nor some lonely prophet who can topple their power.
Have you noticed that communist and other dictators are quick to ban the Bible, restrict Christian worship and punish people of faith? It is a trade-mark of many regimes. They ban the Bible and Christianity, because they are trying to do away with personal sovereignty.
Notice this quote from Horace Greeley: “It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom.” The ‘human freedom’ identified by Greeley is that right to stand before God. A person who can stand confidently before his maker is the freest person on the planet. He may be in prison, outlawed, or otherwise oppressed by man, but his soul and spirit are free, even freer than the dictators who incarcerated him.
Napoleon also recognised the incredible power inherent in the Bible and the faith that springs from it. He said: “The Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all that oppose it.”
For that reason Bibles have been taken to oppressed people, as part of the process of setting those people truly free. The Bible has the power to liberate souls, and consequently to liberate peoples and nations.
Note, however, that in the West there has been a subtle banning of the Bible. It is no longer allowed to be read in schools as it was when I was a boy. A weekly Bible lesson was conducted in my classes, by the school teacher, as part of the class curriculum. That small inculcation of the Word of God had its effect, especially when combined with the many other places where the Bible was spoken and its teachings propagated. But today much of that sowing of the Bible has been made illegal, and we have a generation more ready to succumb to tyranny than we had before. We have a people closer to losing their human freedom.
I, for one, am keen to propagate the Bible and its teachings. I also encourage every one to explore their personal sovereignty before God. I want whole generations committed to walking with God, according to the Word of God, living by faith in God, obedient to the will of God, empowered by the Spirit of God, so that they can build the kingdom of God and turn back the forces of oppression which aim to enslave them and their children.
I commend to you your personal sovereignty. Don’t let anyone ban it or rob you of it. Pursue God. Read the Bible. Put your faith in Jesus Christ. Humble yourself before God. And live the destiny God has uniquely created for you. I challenge you to do so, in Jesus’ precious and powerful name. Amen.

The Un-Charming Prince – “I Kissed the Frog”

Someone who I discussed these recent posts with identified with what I have written and she had a cute way of describing the situation. She said, “I kissed the frog, and he’s STILL a frog!” This is the disappointment many young wives and husbands have about their spouse.

Someone else put it this way. When a man marries a woman he doesn’t want her to change, but she does. When a woman marries a man she wants him to change, but he doesn’t. Either way, both husband and wife find themselves living with a reality that is not their ideal.

One of the traps in the process of marriage is that both the guy and the gal are transformed from one status to another. As boyfriend and girlfriend they live in the reality of being single and full of hope. However, when they become ‘man and wife’ they are both brought through from single-hood to a new personal status of husband or wife. It is almost as if in internal switch is then triggered to readjust them to this new status. Whatever their factory settings are for ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ is what they now being to operate by. So the sweet little ‘girl’ is a ‘girl’ no more. The hopeful boy is a boy no longer. They both switch into the settings which they have been programming since their child-hood, most strongly from the example of their parents and their own responses to that example.

It should never be a surprise that both the bride and groom will change their behaviour once married. So this demands two effective processes at work, for ideal results. Firstly, we should each be aware of our humanity and need to become better people. The most ideal role-model for us all is Jesus Christ and we all need to become more like him, no matter what our religious persuasion. There is no-one in all of human history who is a more worthy example to us all. Each of us should be committed to changing to be more like Jesus all the time. So, when we discover that our internal, automatic settings cause us to behave less like him we should be quick to address that.

The other effective process is for the people affected, especially the spouse, to offer grace and forgiveness to the person who proves to be less lovely than was hoped. An important reason for this grace response is that God will treat us the way we treat others. If we are unforgiving and if we despise our spouse for not being what we want, we are inviting God to refuse to forgive us and to despise who we are. Since we are all imperfect it is very dangerous to engage in despisement of others who are also imperfect.

I counsel couples who are planning to wed, to realise that they may both change in the months following the wedding – if not even in the first week. They both need to be sensitive to this process and to see that they bring themselves to God so that God can teach and heal them, perfecting who they are. They both need to be ready to love and forgive each other, even when the frog stays a frog, or the princess proves to be unworthy of that role.

For those who have chosen to make Jesus Christ their role model there should be no Un-Charming Princes and no tainted Cinderella’s. That is, of course, unless they are still a ‘work in progress’. And I guess, we are all works in progress, eh?

This post is part of a series on the Un-Charming Prince:

http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince-thats-me
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/i-kissed-the-frog
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince-forgiven