My People perish for lack of knowledge…. (Hosea 4:6a)
The waves of cunning and craftiness, embedded in Christianity today, are making the multitudes fall in the traps Satan, who has seduced many gifted men and women into his nest with sweet promises of glory and triumph. Satan tried this trick with our Lord Jesus (Luke 4:5-6), and I am sure He tried many other tricks with Him, but this particular one is recorded in the Bible as a warning to those who would follow on Jesus’ steps.
The truth is that if our leaders were instilling in the brethren the profound knowledge and wisdom of Christ, the situation would be different. Yet our churches are rather spiritually disheveled and unkempt, bent as they are instead on social activities, on holding on to traditions, on going with the waves and trends of modern worship and ministering.
Yet true freedom has been sacrificed to a pantomime of faith, which focuses on almost anything except the true knowledge of Christ.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18)
But how could there be a vision if the knowledge which drives that vision has been cast away from the pulpit.
How could there be a vision for souls, a vision for learning, a vision for service, a vision for missions, a vision for stewardship, a vision for ministry, when the church of Christ Jesus is turning into an entertainment network, when the many have turned to the seductive attraction of power and fame and appeal and popularity, when the glory of God has been stolen and set on stage for the glory of men.
It is no surprise that so many mega churches continue to flourish and that so many television evangelists are becoming so powerful. (I must clarify, some of those mega churches might be doing a good job for Christ and maybe a few of those television evangelists might be honest about their commitment to Christ, yet although I have not made a study to this respect, most of those I have observed so far are no more than simple merchants of lies).
The traditional church however has gone flat and it continues to shrink. It has lost power, the power and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and this is happening because there is no true teaching coming from the pulpit.
The Job of the pastor is to equip, it is to prepare, and it is to build up, to fatten the brethren for ministry, and to motivate their desire to serve.
to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-13)
And for the lack of that knowledge, for the absence of powerful guidance and teaching, and for the lack of preparation, the Body of Christ is being quickly overtaken by a devastating disease.
I have seen around me great ministers who have fallen in the trap of this aberration, who have fallen victims to the seduction of Satan and who have tossed the Bible aside, to teach their sheep their own doctrines.
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
This warning is for you Christian, and for you Minister of the gospel. There is only one gospel and one Spirit and one body of Christ, there is only one god and Christ, and his teachings are fat with instructions to stay away from the deceptions of this word and of the artful men and women who have sold their soul to the Devil in exchange for carnal glory and riches.
Soak yourself in the knowledge of Christ through the only true inerrant guide to his life and philosophy, the Bible. And submit any teaching of this world to the knowledge of Christ. For God will never say a single word against His written revelation.
May the Lord of knowledge, continue feeding you with the knowledge of His will, and may He put around you a shield of revelation through His word, against the foolish knowledge of this world.
Rev. Jose A. Luna
A servant of Christ Jesus
My People perish for lack of knowledge…. (Hosea 4:6a)
As part of your military application process you will be required to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery or ASVAB. While this exam covers many different topics, many students seem to struggle with math concepts the most given that you are not allowed to use a calculator. And so questions that would appear quite easy are suddenly very difficult to solve.
Once such topic is calculating percentages. In this article I will show you a shortcut to save you time and help you figure out the correct answer for a standard percent type question.
Picture this ASVAB style question:
1/8 is equal to approximately what percent value?
At first glance the question seems impossible. Let’s discuss the long and short way to solve this question.
The Long Way
The long way requires setting up an equation where (1/8) = (x/100) so that x is the value we are trying to solve for. You can write out this formula, the cross multiply to solve for x. This requires multiplying both sides by 100 to isolate ‘x’ leaving you with a new equation: x = 100 / 8. Then comes the long and tedious part. You have to draw out the long division to calculate 8 into 100 which may take you a good 30 seconds to a full minute. But you should wind up with the correct answer of 12.5 which is close enough to 13 and thus choice ‘d’
The Simpler And Faster Way
The quicker way to solve ASVAB style math questions is to find the approximate value through rounding and simplification. This will allow you to rule out the incorrect answer choices so that you can guess the correct answer by the process of elimination.
Since the number 8 is relatively close to 10, we can simplify this equation to read 1/10 which is 10%
This is found by multiplying both the top and bottom by 10, all in your head.
Therefor 1/10 is the same as 10/100 which is 10%
HOWEVER we rounded to get 10% which means that the answer choice giving you 10% is incorrect. Rule that out. And since we had to make the number BIGGER to get 10% any number smaller than this value will also be incorrect
If our answer has to be greater than 10% then both choice (a) 8% and choice (b) 10% can be ruled out
We are now left with just 2 choices, and still haven’t put pen to paper for calculations.
Since a small rounding gave us 10% our answer is expected to be close enough. 13% is a close value, 22% is a much larger value, but let’s justify this further
22% can be written as 22/100. This number is very close to 20/100.
Since both 20 and 100 end in at least one zero, these cancel leaving you with 2/10 which further simplifies to 1/5. Keep in mind that we rounded the number down, meaning the actual answer is really somewhere between 1/4 and 1/5
Now let’s apply a final bit of quick logic, ALL STILL IN YOUR HEAD
1/5 is close to 1/8 but THREE whole numbers away.
1/10 is a bit closer to 1/8 and comes from our previous rounding efforts. Therefor we expect the number 1/8 to be closer to 1/10 meaning closer to 10% and so we rule out choice (c) at 22% and instead settle with (d) 13% as the correct answer
Now it may appear that this line of thinking involved a great deal of steps to come to a conclusion, but that’s only because the steps had to be explained. If you keep practicing this way you will realize that this is a much faster way to solve percentage problems
Many people have asked the question, what is love? There is no direct answer as the indescribable cannot be described. What we can do is look at what is not love and this action of negating all that is not love from our lives would then leave us with love. We know that judgments are not love. How many of us judge ourselves and others. What thoughts and opinions do you have when you look in the mirror? Are these thoughts loving or judgmental? Can you have such a thing as loving thoughts? Or is all thought based on the past, on memory, which is comparison. Comparison is duality, put into compartments of good or bad, so love itself is not thought, because it is not split into opposites. Try it for yourself, think of something or somebody and look at your thoughts to see whether or not you label it as good or bad? Therefore even positive thoughts are based upon judgments and opinions and ultimately not love.
If you belong to a religious secular, an atheist group, a government party or any other elite system, then that is also not love, because you are separating yourself from others and separation is not love. Anything that divides humanity is destructive, even nationality is a division of one from another. These systems have created a ‘me’ and a ‘you’ and a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’. The world is governed by systems based on duality and separation, whilst the real cry of humanity has been ignored. Nobody is truly listening.
How do we know this? When somebody is talking to you, do you truly listen or are you thinking at the same time and debating what to say next? Or are you forming an opinion based upon comparison? When you do this to another person are you loving them? Do you feel loved when it is being done to you? You cannot truly listen and think at the same time. If you truly listen by allowing your thoughts to come forth and move out without getting caught up in them, then you are committing an act of love. It would seem that love is not what you do, but when you stop doing or trying, then it is there naturally.
When you were first born your mind was empty, you had no memory, yet you had the instinct to cry when you felt pain or hunger and a response came from an external source to soothe that pain and hunger. You were also very sensitive to the world around you through scent, touch, listening and feelings. As you grew older you were influenced by your parents who filled you with their beliefs, their opinions and conditioning. Education added to, and reinforced these beliefs and your opinions, likes, dislikes and reactions to pain or pleasure were being moulded by the society that you lived in. You were no longer the empty vessel from birth, but rather something very far removed from that point, a product of beliefs, comparisons and judgments. Your journey into suffering had begun.
Who you have become is not the real you. Your parents, religion, country, education and society do not make you who you are, they only mould you into something that they believe you ‘should be’, and this has created a ‘false self’. Is it possible to know your ‘real self’ which is love? That which exists beyond all of this conditioning? If there is something beyond your false self, then what is the first starting point to uncover this ‘real you?’ If we see for a fact that we have become something other than what we truly are, then this ‘observation’ is the first step. This looking at the self without judgment, will set you free, as this is real self knowledge. No guru, beliefs, religion or new age system can give you self knowledge. This treasure of looking and seeing yourself just as you are and recognising all the striving and desire to become something, releases the constant external search on a supposed path to ambition or spiritual enlightenment.
No-one can give you self-knowledge. Only you can discover you. This discovery is the realisation and observation of the conditioned false self and what emerges from this awareness is the truth. Where fear and illusion is not, love is.
So, be true to yourself. If you find you are jealous, angry and opinionated, see that as a fact. Do not try to justify it, deny it, hide it or change it. Looking at something without labelling it as good or bad, which is comparison, sets you free as you are being non-judgmental. This also releases blame of yourself and others. When you see that blame is not love, then you can let go of it and the suffering will end. It is said that we learn through suffering, this is not true. We as humans have suffered for thousands of years and we have learnt nothing. There is still endless suffering and abuse upon this planet. When will we say, ‘enough is enough?’ Until you love, you will always suffer. You personally need to take action to find peace, love, honesty and joy inside of you, or the chaos will ensue.
You are the world and the world is you. The chaos and suffering is not ‘out there’. It is not someone else’s problem. The problem exists in each individual, making you a key element for peace on this beautiful planet; that’s how important you really are.
Only the truth will set you free.
I truly enjoy the process of becoming my best self! While I’m pretty darn good just the way I am, there is an excitement that comes with always seeking the next level of being. Each small step along the way is a victory, one to be acknowledged and celebrated.
Getting to know myself, as part of this process, has become very important to me, as it is impossible to move forward if we have no idea where we are. The following is a list of personal knowledge that I believe is essential to becoming my best self.
1. Values What qualities do we hold most dear? There are so many possible qualities that are deserving of being a core value, however, our particular combination of values helps define who we are. In addition, no matter how many values we actually hold dear and have an emotional investment in, there is a definite priority to those values. It is not enough to figure out what values we ‘value’; we need to understand which ones are most important to us. This will allow us to make our stress-free choices.
2. Beliefs A belief is a mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something or some thought. Our lives are shaped by these beliefs. Even though we accept them as truth or actuality, there is nothing that demands they be real. Unfortunately, mistaken beliefs prevent us from moving forward in different areas of our life. While it may be a challenge, it is absolutely possible to get clear about what beliefs we hold, and to decide whether those beliefs bolster us or not. Again, it’s not enough to know what we believe, we need to understand the impact of that particular belief on our life and to acknowledge that we can indeed change that belief.
3. Standards Standards are the behaviors we hold ourselves to. They denote a point of reference against which we individually compare and evaluate ourselves. They are closely related to our core values. It is quite an enlightening experience to identify exactly what behaviors make you feel good about yourself and allow you to consider yourself “in” integrity.
4. Boundaries Boundaries are the behaviors we hold others to. They represent what we allow others to do in our presence and almost always have a parallel standard. This is because they are related to our deepest values, so it makes sense that we would develop both standards and boundaries for those critical issues in our lives.
5. Role Model QualitiesFor me, a role model quality is an behavior which we hope that others will want to emulate because it represents the quintessence of that quality. I usually ask people what 3 qualities would they like to role model for others, to be an outstanding example of that attribute in action. For me, the top 3 are respect, compassion and wholeness (the quality of being one’s best self). Ordinarily, these 3 qualities could also be described as your top 3 values, the ones that we must live up to in order to feel “in” integrity.
There are as many ways to read Tarot as there are people who do. Tarot does not have to be a parlor game, does not have to be the one-card-at-a-time sophomoric routine, does not have to be New Age fluff. Mastering tarot by introducing it to yourself will take time and effort but has the same advantage that teaching yourself how to cook has: The recipes are uniquely yours.
The Rider Waite deck is the only serious one. The books that give you meanings are all written by idiots. If you want a book to ‘give you a leg up,’ Eden Gray’s “The Tarot” is useful, especially the part where she has paragraphs on the meanings of the cards based on the pictures on the Rider Waite deck. Her page-per-card writing on each major arcanae is a priceless shortcut to understanding Tarot. Ignore all reversed meanings, keep your cards upright. (The whole Middle Ages do-it-backwards put-it-upsidedown thing was a counterreaction to the dictatorial power of the Roman Catholic church at the time.) This mastery of tarot by teaching it to yourself project is going to be a long haul, something that is ‘not for everyone.’
Remember algebra: There can be only one unknown in an equation if you are to solve it. That is why asking questions you know the answers to tells you the meaning of the cards.
So, you will be asking only questions you know the answers to. You will use the whole deck for each of those questions because you want to know what the cards mean, and using the whole deck involves each of the cards in that subject matter. You want to discover how the same idea is expressed using different combinations of cards. On each Rider Waite card is a picture of a situation, out of which its meanings arise. That is why I want you to read Eden Gray’s descriptions of the cards. Always remember that your meaning for a given card in a given spread may involved any aspect of the story the card pictures. (You could be the one outsmarted or the one outsmarting.) You look to the rest of the layout to see what parallels there are, to apply that one card.
Use a spread that is equally divisible by 78, the number of cards in the deck. ( I used 13, modifying the Celtic cross layout by putting three cards across where the last card is.) Write down every spread of every question in a notebook and review those notes regularly. Yes, this is drudgery. Mastery involves that, haven’t you noticed?
Pay attention to cards that have the same meaning as you study your notes of what you have done. These are theme cards: very important. They establish the dominant meaning, and you choose meanings that agree with them for the rest of the cards in your layout. When you see them, as you become proficient, you will be able to identify a repeating theme in your answer. That repetition indicates accuracy. You will learn to look for these theme cards first to identify your answer more quickly.
Some things that may happen as you delve into tarot:
(1) Some cards will appear three dimensional. Don’t let that disturb you; it is your subconscious saying this card is important to this message.
(2) Once in a while, the pictures will seem to make a movie. This is the stage in which you are beginning to put things together and get an overview.
(3) You begin to read combinations of cards as they glom together modifying one another: This is tarot expertise, you are on your way.
Certain parts of the layout pair the cards. The Cover/Cross in the center (the second and third cards you put down) relate to one another closely, and may be the reading in microcosm. The cards on either side of those, commonly called ‘Behind’ and ‘Before’ are paired, with the one to the left representing the past and the one to the right representing ‘right now’ or ‘just ahead.’ The card below those is called ‘Foundation’ and the one above paired with it is called ‘Future.’ The positions affect the meaning of the cards occupying them. You will get the hang of that gradually. These seven cards form the first sentence of your three-sentence layout; and the sentences are accurate to the degree they repeat and support one another! This is a discovery.
Next sentence is the three cards going up, commonly called ‘The Tower,’ because of the Celtic background of this layout-style. The bottom card there is the second Self card. (The first Self card is the first card you put down, before the Cover/Cross combination. I don’t put it UNDER the Cover/Cross as the books suggest; I put it opposite the last three cards.) The second card going up is called ‘Others,’ which is self-explanatory. The last one going up is the turning point, or the point of conflict, commonly referred to as ‘Hopes and Fears.’
In the standard Celtic cross layout, there is only one card above those three. To use the entire deck evenly, add two cards and make three across there. All of these blend together to be the Outcome.’ And the Outcome is the third sentence.
The idea of the three sentences you will not find anywhere but here. And the idea that the theme cards establish accuracy when they appear in each of the three sentences in the spread is also unique. I discovered this, I did not ‘invent’ it–that is, I did not decide that’s the way it’s going to be.
As a beginner, you may prefer using only three or four cards at a time to answer the question. This works. Don’t try to use the whole deck that way; only some of the spreads will be clear answers.
The difference between just reading the cards and being a master of tarot is being able to blend combinations of cards (not just pairs of cards) into a single meaning. When you are proficient and are no longer asking only questions you know the answers to, you will see that, when you have a long session on the same subject, combinations of the same cards will link together and appear in spread after spread standing for a concept introduced earlier in the session. They will do this no matter how you shuffle. It is a shorthand. Occasionally, many or even all the cards in the whole layout blend into a meaning. When you can see that, you have arrived.
Let me here note that, like everything you do, there will be good days and cussed days in your Tarot Mastery Endeavor! And let me also note that when you tune into a confused person or situation with Tarot, the confusion is reflected in your spread: It is accurately describing something contradictory! Allow for that!
When you have mastery, you have truth, you have facts. Now you can ask questions about your own life that are more personal than you would want to share with anyone else. You can discover your own motives at your own pace. You can psychoanalyze yourself, something any good psychologist will tell you not to do. (But they aren’t looking!)
And then perhaps you can go on to do the same to other people, and to the people those other people are dealing with–if you want to.
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