GOD, THE DEVIL AND THE HUMAN CONSCIENCE
Examination of the human conscience begins after this brief NOTE: (Isa. 14:12-15) It is obvious Lucifer is the name of the fallen angel who (Rev. 12:3-9) rebelled against God, drew one third of the angels into his rebellion (Isa. 14:4-24) and helped the king of Babylon program his own conscience to do what he did. God showed us how they worked together so we would understand how the Devil works to "stir up" a person's rebellion, pride, greed and etc.
This one third became known as devils and Lucifer became known as the Devil. Modern culture also calls them demons which came from the Latin/Greek word (Luke 9:42) daimon. (Rev. 12:9 keywords: deceiveth the whole world) Satan and the Devil are two of the descriptive names of Lucifer. He is commonly called the Devil in American culture and will be referred to by that name in this article.
The Holy Bible gives us enough information so we can know the Devil's method of work and attack. Lucifer's various names are his identity and job description. (2Cor. 11:14 & Eph. 6:11-12) The Devil is an evil spirit. (1Cor. 12:10 & 31) Discerning of spirits is a gift and we are instructed to covet earnestly the best gifts. How can you struggle against the Devil if you don't even recognize him?
The Bible is about God's relationship with man but enough information is given for us to recognize the Devil's presence and his work in us, in the Church and in the whole world. SO: It would be ridiculous if the Bible gave the Devil's opinion or action in contrast to every sentence, verse or situation in the Bible; all that would do is cause confusion and give the Devil a false fame to some Bible readers.
BECAUSE: As will be shown the Devil is a defeated enemy BUT: (Eph. 6:11-12) each Christian is expected to do their part in the continuing war to resist this malicious fallen angel and his devils! (Matt. 4:3 keyword: tempter---> a test, a trial) In reality the Devil is a "tester" and pass or fail can determine a Christian's eternal destination just like it did Simon Peter and Judas!
(John 14:26) Jesus was confined in His physical body and could only "touch" those around Him. When the Holy Spirit came He was not confined by an earthly body (John 16:7-14) and could "communicate with" all people at the same time. (Rom. 7:21) "---when I would do good, evil is present with me." (Luke 24:39) "---for a spirit hath not flesh and bones---".
The Devil can too because (Luke 4:5 & Eph. 6:12 then 2Cor. 11:14-15) he is an evil spirit, an unholy spirit, who operates in exactly the same manner as the Holy Spirit EXCEPT: (Job 1:6-12, Luke 4:13 & 1Cor. 10:11-13 keyword: temptation---to put to proof, to test) God limits the Devil's power against God's people as long as we fight with all of our (Eph. 6:10-18) weapons and resources!
Part of both their work, the Holy Spirit and the un-holy spirit, is to "help" people program their own conscience on an individual basis. Related scripture: (Gen 3:1-15; Job 1:6-2:7; Isa 14:12-15; Luke 4:1-13 & 22:31; John 13:2; 2Cor. 11: 13-15 & 12:7; Eph. 6:11-12 and Rev. 12:3-9).
As you read this please consider the ways your conscience has been programmed by your life.
NOTE: The word conscience is used only in the New Testament and it is defined as (moral consciousness) AND: that is an individual's perception of what is right or wrong. Of course the people in the Old Testament had consciences because there is repenting from sin (wrong) all through the OT.
(Acts 24:16) There is a singular (individual) conscience. (2Cor. 5:11) There is a collective (group) conscience made up of individual consciences that are in agreement. (Rom. 9:1) "---my conscience bearing me witness---." The effect of the conscience is to witness (give moral advice) to one's self (person) in one's conscious (awake) state to aid that person in making moral decisions.
SO: (Gen. 2:7-17) God created man with an un-programmed conscience and God programmed the first man's conscience when He told the man; "Don't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". The Devil stepped in and programmed the woman's conscience contrary to what God had said. They sinned, knew they had sinned because their consciences told them they had sinned and they immediately hid from God. You know the story. Sounds familiar doesn't it? It's really hard to say; "Lord, You were right and I was wrong, please forgive me and help me."
Programming of the conscience is accomplished from several sources such as family, friends, acquaintances, environment, church, job, society, school, government, reading, electronic media, SELF'S PERCEPTIONS AND MOTIVATIONS BASED ON WHAT YOU'VE LEARNED, (John 8:31-32, Heb. 2:1-2 & 4:12) the Holy Bible, (John 14:16-18 & 26) the Holy Spirit (2Cor. 4:2-4, 11:13-15 & Eph. 6:12) and the unholy spirit, the Devil.
We must go back to before the beginning of man to fully understand about the conscience. If you have the capacity to love you must have someone to love. (1John 4:8) God is love. SO: (Gen. 1:27) God created man. It hurts if you love someone and they don't return your love. AND: (Eph 4:30 & 2Pet. 3:9) God hurts. (Gen. 2:7) Now, picture God at the moment of giving life and soul to Adam.
God knew He would give man a conscience; "I'll give him a conscience as a part of his soul." BECAUSE: THE ONLY WAY ANY PERSON CAN KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG IS IF THEY HAVE A CONSCIENCE. (Gen 1:27) We are made in the image of God and (Gen. 6:5-7, Ex. 32:14, 1Sam. 15:35) God repented (to be sorry) of things so God also has a conscience! (Gen. 6:5-14) Man sinned to the extent God repented He had made man and God decided to destroy them.
BUT: God had a secret bloodline prepared (Gen. 5:22-6:9 esp. V.22 & 6:9 keywords: perfect in his generations); Enoch's great-grandson, Noah, was a just and perfect man and walked with God just like his great-grandfather Enoch. SO: It is obvious these generational fathers had lived right and had programmed their son's consciences in their generations to worship and please God.
It paid off in a big way when God told Noah to build the ark BECAUSE: Noah, his family, you and I and all the rest of us got to live! You know the story. After the flood all humanity came forth from Noah's sons (Gen. 10:1-5) Japheth, (Gen. 10:6-20) Ham (Gen. 10:21-32) and Shem.
(Gen. 11:1-9) To God (V.1) "the whole earth" is simply the part where this relatively small population was located because it was the "whole earth" population. It is obvious, as man multiplied, they had a common language, (V.4) developed a common religion that didn't include Jehovah God, built a city called Babel and obviously they had some kind of idol to worship with either an outdoor or an indoor temple in which to hold their worship services.
(1Tim. 1:17) Man likes to have a "visible" God to worship, a "physical" something he can see and/or touch. This situation was about to derail God's plan to develop another secret bloodline from Abraham to Jacob/Israel, through the Law of Moses people of Israel, to Jesus whose blood would establish a new "grace" covenant Church.
Can you see the Devil at work in all this? He was helping these idol worshipers program their individual consciences and their collective conscience so they would rebel against God! "Hey, look at the constellations of the stars, wind, water, sun, moon, animals; make your own god that is visible and means something!"
#1) The Devil tried to derail God's "people" plan in the Garden of Eden, AND:
#2) (Gen. 6:1-7) again when the Devil's rebellious angels produced children by copulating with the daughters of men and polluted man's "pure human" bloodline, AND:
#3) (Gen. 11:1-9) once more at Babel: The Devil always leads men to worship a counterfeit god. SO:
God confounded these idol worshiper's language and the way He scattered them was to let them drift away in bands of people who spoke "their own little band language" because without a common language they were not bound together by their common religion.
Of course this whole process must have taken from several hundred years to maybe a thousand years or so to slowly rise up, reach a peak at Babel and then trickle away. Who knows? These little bands (groups) of hunter/gatherers were the founders of the tribes and clans who eventually settled (Gen. 11:9) "upon the face of (V.9) all the earth".
Have you read about or seen on TV the ancient stone ruins all over the earth? They always have a religious, visible, idol worship "tone" to them. These ruins are the residual effect of that common Babel religion those scattering bands of wanderers took with them and they founded the various ancient, idol worshipping religions BECAUSE:
#4) the Devil, the evil spirit, went right along with each group (separated from all other groups by language) deceiving them and helping them program their individual consciences and their collective conscience as they went.
(#5) The Devil doesn't care what god you worship as long as it isn't (Ex. 6:1-3) Jehovah God (Acts 4:10-12 & 2Cor. 4:3-6) therefore, in God's plan, written in His holy scriptures (Holy Bible), all Christless religions are of man and/or the Devil and, for effect, they are Devil worship religions founded through conscience programming by man aided by the Devil including modern Christless religions.
The June 2011 National Geographic Magazine article available on the internet titled "The Birth of Religion." shows an example of this process. This article is from the standpoint of evolution and should be regarded as a historical source of information that contains no scriptural merit.
This writer fully acknowledges and accepts that God developed an extension of the Adam through Noah bloodline or if you wish to call it that, another secret bloodline, by way of Abraham on through Isaac then through Jacob/Israel, which resulted in Jesus who came to rescue mankind, just like God did through Noah's secret bloodline, but this article is not about that. If you wish to read about or study covenant please click on the commentary The Holy Spirit & You commentary on this website, scroll the menu to the three article series COVENANT: THE HOLY SPIRIT TRAINS SOLDIERS FOR SPIRITUAL WARFARE and read them.
Collective conscience: From that first man onward all people were born with a conscience. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights of America were written according to the knowledge of the men who wrote those documents as they were guided by their individual consciences. According to history there was some "political give and take" before they came to an agreement as to what to write before they wrote those documents SO: those documents were a product of their collective conscience.
Those men made many references to God and the Bible in their private writings and correspondence but they kept God out of those founding documents. The Constitution and Bill of Rights (the amendments to the Constitution) are the basis of the civil law of America.
The Supreme Court of the United States is the only court specifically established by the Constitution and was implemented in 1789 under the Judiciary Act of 1789. The number of justices on the Supreme Court is set by Congress. The sole function of the Supreme Court is to determine what the writers of the Constitution intended when they wrote the Constitution of the United States. Spiritually the Devil silently speaks into men's souls and programs their conscience and their thoughts and they say; "Intended! Hey, maybe that don't really mean what you thought it did when they wrote it back then SO: let's change it!"
These actual statements are underlined and are contained by quotation marks, all else, including highlighting and underlining, is the writers. Thomas Jefferson wrote that he; "was not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind."
AND: "As that [the human mind] becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times."
BUT: Thomas Jefferson also warned against treating the Constitution as "a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist, and shape into any form they please."
THEN: After Jefferson became President he wrote; "The Constitution on which our union rests, shall be administered by me according to the safe and honest meaning contemplated by the plain understanding of the people of the United States, at the time of its adoption,"
SO: The ever-changing constitution, the basis for civil law, is actually based on America's ever changing collective conscience.
The following paragraph is a guide into discovering how the fluid Constitution of the U.S. is constantly being changed. Do not forget to explore and meditate about the conscience programming that formed the opinions of this fascinating Supreme Court Justice who has been and is the "swing vote" that determines the outcome of so many of the cases brought before that Court.
A perfect, fascinating, "you must read it" example of Constitutional "tinkering" by the Supreme Court to change the civil law in America according to America's collective conscience can be read in the June 18, 2012 Time Magazine article "What Will Justice Kennedy Do". You can find the article on the internet at Time Magazine's website, your local library, your state's virtual library, or if you are a student you can find it at your university's online library. You can also ask a friend to obtain a copy for you.
It's worth your trouble BECAUSE: a direct quote from the article is; "the role of Kennedy on the Supreme Court raises an even larger question. Is there something wrong in a democracy when one person holds so much sway over so many people?" The article also states Justice Kennedy attended Mass on Sundays at the nearby Holy Spirit Parish church as a child. AND: "Growing up, he was really super Catholic," says Hamlyn. "He and I were altar boys together, and I can't count how many times I would say something, or I was going to do something, and he would say, "That's a sin". Remember to think about Kennedy's conscience programming.
The article gives Justice Kennedy's voting record on gay (homosexual) rights, abortion, election law, political campaign finance and etc. It also states "The Justice will likely be an influential player in key upcoming constitutional battles such as Indecency, Juvenile Sentencing, Affirmative Action, Same-sex Marriage and etc. Interesting huh? Like I said; it's a fascinating read.
Do you think it is possible for the Devil to "inspire" people to bring cases before the American Supreme Court? Why? Do you think the Devil can "influence" the Supreme Court's decisions? Why? Be prepared for your eyes to widen and your heart to beat faster when you type this question into your internet connection; "Is Supreme Court Justice Kennedy a practicing Catholic?" and read all the articles that come up. Then ask how many Supreme Court justices are Catholics.
BUT: God had some things to write too! (Mal. 3:6) God does not change (Rom. 1:25, John 1:1-14, 6:63, 12:48 & Rev. 22:18-21) and neither does His word. (2Tim. 3:13) "But evil men and seducers shall wax (to advance) worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
ALSO: this scripture is written twice: (Eph. 4:17-20) "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth (hereafter) walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity (moral depravity) of their mind, (V.18) Having the understanding (deep thought) darkened (to obscure), being alienated (to estrange) from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness (stupidity or callousness) of their heart (mind): (V.19) Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness (wantonness), to work all uncleanness (lewd or specifically demonic, foul, unclean) with greediness (avarice, fraudulency, extortion, covetous). (V.20) But ye have not so learned Christ;"
No changing or "juggling" of the scripture is intended but the above scripture will be written again using the underlined Greek definitions in italics to aid in understanding.
(EPH. 4:17-20 AGAIN) This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye hereafter walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the moral depravity of their mind, (V.18) Having the deep thought obscured, being estranged from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the stupidity or callousness of their mind: (V.19) Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto wantonness, to work all demonically lewd foulness with covetousness. (V.20) But ye have not so learned Christ." That word demonically in the definition shows that the Devil is helping people program their consciences. WOW! This scripture describes God's opinion of a lot of American society, government and some of the visible church!
(2Tim. 3:13) "But evil (singular-the devil, plural-sinners; lewd, malicious, wicked) men and seducers (wizard, imposter) shall wax (to advance) worse and worse, deceiving (go astray), and being deceived."
SO: As American morals decay and descend further into sin (wax worse and worse) society's collective conscience (the majority) is (1Tim. 4:2) seared (to cauterize, to render unsensitive) and hardened and that numb conscience is reflected in the changes to civil law and thus we have legalized murder (abortion), legalized drugs, legalized prostitution, legalized homosexual marriage, legalized robbery, legalized vote buying in the form of tax breaks, welfare and other entitlements and etc.
BUT: (Matt. 15:9) Jesus said; "But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines (function of the information) the commandments (to direct with authority and emphasis AND to prohibit or forbid) of men." Which means; paraphrased, Just because it's legal don't make it right!
(Ref. Scrip. 1Cor. 6:9-10 & Rev. 21:8 named sins.) Let's explore some conscience programming that happens in American society today.
#1) Remove prayer, Bible study and the ten commandments from schools, hand out birth control products because fornication is good, teach evolution and alternative lifestyles, and that there is no absolute right or wrong. RESULT: school programmed the student's collective consciences THAT: God doesn't exist, it's alright to sin, our ancestors were animals and gender confusion is normal.
#2) A male and female commit fornication (sin), the woman gets pregnant, the man goes his way to find other women, the male baby arrives, Mom gets pregnant again by somebody else, she doesn't have time to care for the child and the child eventually goes to the street. A street gang takes the child in as a junior member. RESULT: The street gang programs the child's conscience. THAT: fornication, being tough and turf protection are bragging rights, violence and drug abuse are expected, life doesn't mean much, education is un-cool and only for weaklings, dead beat Dads are the norm, jail is a probability and murder, robbery, drug sales and theft provide for your needs (all sin).
#3) Suppose the above child is female; Mom programs her daughters conscience THAT: it's alright to fornicate (sin), "Looka hear, don't get married, I've got five kids. It brings in a nice government check, free medical and dental care, free housing, free food, free cell phone and free clothes. Education is useless and poverty is great!" RESULT: Sin is the vehicle for "prosperity" and government subsistence is the sought after god.
Daughter does the same thing Mom did in an ever expanding entitlement community. Generational "poverty" has been born! Ditto false (lies= sin) workers comp., Social Security and various disability claims. It happens all the time in my community and people brag about it. Do you "see" the Devil in the programming? The Devil whispers, leads, gently grooms your emotions and makes what you want to do look like the right thing to do.
(Ref. Scrip. Mark 7:21-23 & 1John 2:15-17 keyword: pride) (Prov. 6:16-19) God hates a proud look! Writer, you are "picking on" poor, uneducated, people who are consumed by the circumstances of their birth. "OK, let's go to the other end of the spectrum of American society."
#4) Medical school programs doctors consciences. THAT: (the short version) Some leave school with a Hippocratic Oath as their guide and some leave school with the hypocritic oath as their guide. Look up Hippocratic Oath on the internet and hypocrite in your Bible. RESULT: Draw your own conclusions from what you know, see, read and hear.
#5) Law School programs lawyer's consciences.
#6) A political science degree programs the conscience of those whose aim is to be involved with politics.
#7) A business administration degree programs the conscience of future businessmen to be concerned with the bottom line of profit margin.
RESULT: #5, 6 & 7 draw your own conclusions just like you did in #4). When you read and watch TV about world events you can see, in one aspect or another, the world is in the same shape as America.
SO: For effect American society is galloping off to please self as directed by their programmed conscience. Nearly everything about American culture and society is focused on god SELF and the "bad outcomes" are always blamed on somebody or something else. Here's where and how the excuse making and blame game started.
The "biggest" words in any language are IF, BUT and MAYBE. At the very beginning of us God questioned Adam about his transgression. (Gen. 3:11-12) paraphrased as an example of the human thought process: "If it hadn't been for that woman You gave me I wouldn't have done it." Excuse made and blame shifted.
God questioned Eve; "What about you?" (Gen. 3:13) paraphrased as an example of the human thought process: Eve's answer is filled with implied words. "Maybe I wouldn't have done it but that snake, the Devil, tricked me!" She didn't have the nerve to finish it; "and You let him in here with us!" Excuse made and blame shifted.
The Devil, that serpent, didn't say anything; he had instigated man's rebellion and sin. When God is angry the devil has enough sense to keep his mouth shut. Most of the time people don't! If you read history, or watch history on TV, or study the Old Testament you already know people have always been this way!
Do you "hear and see" the Devil working with man in all this programming? THAT IS AMERICA'S NOW, 4/16/12. (Rev. 21:1-8) BUT: Something happened in the past that will take care of all the NOWS the world, including America, will ever have.
(1Cor. 15:20-23) Adam had spiritually given the Devil the keys to death and hell by linking sin and death together UNTIL:
THE JEW came! He was unlike any other Jew who ever lived, He shook up the world and, praise God, it's still shakin'. He didn't have a con game. (Matt. 23:23-33)<<< He didn't worship self by keeping the Jewish Law of Moses like the other Jews. He didn't bring rebellion against the proud Roman conquerors. He didn't beg, borrow, or steal. HE LOVED, He healed the sick, (Matt. 22:35-40) He explained what the Jewish Law meant, He gave the blind their sight and He didn't use His uncanny abilities to start a business.
He raised the dead and gave back their lives. (Matt. 9:2-7) He said sin was bondage and He could set them free! He had a finely tuned sarcasm (Matt. 23:27 remember the whited sepulchres?), He had a biting wit (Matt. 7:3-4 remember the mote and the beam?), (John 11:35) He wept, (Matt. 8:24) He slept (Mark 5:40-43) and surely He smiled. (John 3:2-7) The JEW said give me your old self AND: I will give you a new self. (John 2:1-10) He changed common water into the finest wine any man ever tasted.
(John 6:53-69 esp. V.61 & 67) HE CHALLENGED THEIR CONSCIENCES and He even told his disciples one soul (a self) was worth more than the whole world! (John 10:27-28) The JEW said He could give eternal life in paradise to those who believed in him! He fed five thousand men and their families with little more than a 15" pizza.
Every time the devil confronted this Jew the Jew spiritually slapped the spiritual spit right out of the devil's spiritual mouth. Then He committed the awfulest sin any of them had ever heard of; (Matt. 16:13-17 & 26:63-66) HE SAID HE IS THE SON OF GOD. And they killed Him stone cold dead for it.
The Jews, having instigated the murder, breathed a sigh of relief; (Mark 15:26-31) "Whew, we finally got rid of that rabble-rousing blasphemer Brethren." and they went about their religious practices and celebrated their Passover celebration that commemorated their deliverance from bondage in Egypt.
The Roman murderers laughed, drank, ate, told jokes, cursed, pranced, danced and bragged while the Jew's fist pounded, whip mutilated, thorn, nail and spear pierced, tormented body lay so cold, stiff and grey in a lonely, hateful grave.
AND: There in the spiritual realm we cannot yet see the Devil frolicked in uninhibited ecstasy. (Isa. 14:12-14 three things) #1) "I will rule!" "We tore down that meat house (Jesus' body) God lived in! (Luke 22:3) Did you see what I inspired them do to Him? Did you see His face while that Roman whip slashed His flesh to bloody, gaping ribbons? Did you see that spear; right up through His bowels into His chest cavity and heart!" He lolled carelessly back on his gruesome throne of darkness, raised his serpent's head high in arrogant pride and bragged to the admiring devils around him;
#2) "I will have men worship me!" "Adam gave me the keys to hell and death. I enticed and deceived that "secret bloodline" race of Jews 'til God's stupid Law of Moses failed. #3) "I will be God!" Nothin' can stop me now 'cause (John 14:6-9) I've killed God in the flesh (1Pet. 5:8 keyword: lion; which is an active predator) and I'll kill and torment men like a wild beast among them." The Devil's loud, vulgar, rude laughter boomed until he saw (Matt. 8:28-29) the stricken, terrified expressions on the faces of his demon band and he hushed.
In the silence Satan heard a rushing, eerie sound and turned to see a chariot of fire flashing toward them at the speed of light. The "royal chariot" thundered to a stop, the Son of God stepped out (Rev. 1:14) and regarded the cringing demons with flaming eyes that said there would be no mercy shown these fallen ones, Satan sagged fearfully to his knees and bowed his head because he could not meet his Master's hot, embered gaze.
(Rev. 19:13 & 16) Yes, the Jew's vesture was still bloody BUT: written in that precious, royal blood were the words KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev.5:6) Upon His beautiful, thorn-scarred brow (Rev. 14:14) rested the royal diadem of the King of glory AND: (Heb. 4:14-16) upon His once stricken breast, there over His loving, merciful heart, (Rev. 1:13 & Heb. 4:14-16) was the magnificent golden ephod of the great High Priest of heaven.
JESUS, THE JEW, stepped close and none could meet His stare. Jesus' clear, chilling voice knifed through the dark essence of Satan's wicked heart; (Matt. 28:18 & Heb. 2:14) "You managed to trick and tempt man in the Garden of Eden until they sinned and the death sentence was passed upon them and all men. That linked sin and death together forever BUT:
I didn't sin and BY THAT you had no right to kill Me, AND: (1Cor. 2:7-8) because you did kill me I have broken that link between sin and death. I WILL resurrect My slaughtered body into the newness of glorified life! I WILL have My new blood-bought grace covenant. I WILL have my Bride, the Church. (note: three I WILLS, three, God's number of completion) SO:"
Jesus' voice cracked like a red-hot, slashing, whip of Heaven lightening; "Give Me the keys of hell and death, NOW!" Still kneeling, his head down, with drooling, craven servitude (Eph. 2:2 & 6:12) the prince of darkness held the keys high to the Master of Forever.
The royal chariot roared away. 1st "I WILL": (John 10:17-18) There in the lonely solitude of His awful grave Jesus took up His ruined physical body and revitalized it. (1Cor. 15:3-8 and in the four gospels) Jesus worked among men forty days and there wasn't a thing anybody could do about it because Jesus had already defeated death;
2nd "I WILL": (Col. 2:14-15) "You've had your best shot boys, I took all the hate, and pain, and death you could smash upon Me and it wasn't enough to stop Me. I am triumphant!" and when He was done He ascended into heaven and His new blood-bought grace covenant was put into effect.
3rd "I WILL": (John 14:15-26 & Acts 2:1-4) Jesus came back in His Holy Spirit form to live within us so we could start building His Church, (John 3:25-36 & Rev. 21:1-7) His Bride. AND: (John 1:1-4 & 1John 1:1-3) His living Holy Word lives among us in the form of our Bibles to guide us.
SO: here we are, you and me, with our consciences. I don't know you. I only know me so I am the example I will use. I won't use scripture in describing the first part of my life because there wasn't any.
I am from what is considered a "Bible Belt" society. Yes, we had lots of sin, everything named in the Bible but Jesus and the Church were talked about in public too SO: my conscience was surely programmed by my society. I went to a one room country school for a couple of years; the missionary ladies came once a week and taught us Bible stories.
Of course I don't remember their lessons but they surely had their part in programming my conscience. When I was little Mom would get down on her knees with me at bedtime and let me pray. I don't remember ever hearing her pray but she taught me and let me pray and my conscience was programmed there too.
My Grandpaw ran the little country store on up the road from us and we and other folks from up and down Lick Fork Holler (mountain slang: the hollow, the valley between two mountain ridges) gathered there most evenings to pitch horseshoes in summer and sit around the big pot-bellied, cast-iron, coal stove and tell stories and gossip in winter.
Grandpaw had one of those huge old fashioned Bibles with the dramatic pictures of Bible highlights in it, probably copies of the works done by the old masters. He was a preacher before he got too old but he didn't have much to say about it. The Holy Spirit was programming my conscience when I'd look at those pictures and think about what they meant.
Of course I had my friends from that area and we'd play in the hills and creek. As we got bigger we'd play ball, fish and hunt together. As we got older and discovered the mystique about girls our conversation turned more toward endless speculation about this girl or that one.
When we could round up enough money we'd hitch-hike to one of the two local towns and go to the movie on Saturday night. One town was eight miles south and the other was five miles north of the mouth of Lick Fork Holler on the old, interstate, two lane, crooked as a snake's track, US 23 highway.
I, we, were like boys everywhere in their environment. Our life was great because we had no comprehension of any other kind of life. My friends had their part in programming my conscience.
My Dad was critical of the church people, especially his Daddy, my Grandpaw; "They're just a bunch of fornicators, liars and thieves; hypocrites". That programmed my conscience too. Daddy got a job in town and started me in the third grade in the city school, I was his passenger.
It was a one-horse town of about 4,500 people but it was a huge, bewildering school to me; no more missionary ladies. Daddy's hours were 7:30am to 5:00pm or later, mine were 8:00am to 3:00pm. SO: About sixth or seventh grade I started hitch-hiking back to home in the country after school because it got the despised town-time over faster.
I'd work to earn spending money however I could by helping people with their crops, picking wild berries to sell, gathering and selling wild herbs, trapping and selling fur, catching fish and turtles and killing wild game to sell if there was more than we could eat. I sneaked and learned to drive before I was old enough to get a driver's license. My buddy and I started hauling whiskey and beer from another part of the state for some bootleggers in my area in their old beat-up cars.
Mom wondered where we got all the money, she kept quiet about it and conducted her own investigation, nabbed me, then she wasn't so quiet about it and she ended that career. I got a "walking" paper route in town and started hitch-hiking both ways then because Daddy didn't leave early enough.
Since I had to be in town in the summer because of the paper route I took summer-school those two years and got the hated English 3 & 4 out of the way because summer-school was a "gimme", I don't remember anyone who ever failed a summer-school class. No, it wasn't for scholarly reasons, it was the easy way.
My conscience was programmed as I learned to lie, steal, fight and fornicate; programmed to feel good, look good, fit in with my crowd and survive. I believed in God but, looking back on it, I believed in the God of nature; I never associated Him as being a God who associated with people, especially people like me. I managed to struggle along and finish high-school. My conscience was mainly programmed by God, the Devil, me and by the way I lived.
I graduated high-school and joined the Marines. I didn't understand until years later that I should have looked into the mirror on that last morning and said "goodbye" to myself because I would slowly die and a new, terrible, curiously broken person would come back home in my place.
The Cuban missile crisis, a stint in Okinawa and two tours in Vietnam; the rest of my 6 year and 4 month adventure was intermittent duty (between overseas tours) in the states enduring endless Marine Corps training, drinking alcohol and chasing women.
EXCEPT: After I came back from my last tour in 'Nam I had about 7 months to go on my enlistment. I was assigned to the pool of Marines who provided honor guard troops to conduct military rites in funerals, in the state of North Carolina, for Marines killed in Vietnam, Sgt. in charge of my detail. I don't know, and I never asked, why we did not wear the famous "Dress Blues" of the USMC.
SO: You know, class-A uniforms, pall bearers for the closed, permanently sealed caskets, fire the 21 gun M-16 rifle salute--three shots each from seven riflemen; lonely, lonely taps in slow, shivering bugle notes resolutely marching their eerie melancholy parade across silent cemeteries like cruel banshees irrevocably taking the souls of their sons from Mommies' shattered, reluctant hearts.
Flag folded and flag presented to crushed, dying Mommies, surrounded by broken, shrunken Daddies, shocked, unbelieving siblings and sad, worried family members. I remember the Mommies' eyes, always the eyes, as I, straight, tough, cold-faced in my winter forest green or summer tropical worsted, bent over and gently placed the flag in their limp, wilting, strengthless hands. Those desperately wounded, forever changed eyes spoke to me; "That's it? A red, white and blue rag for MY SON?" Unspoken; "That's about it. It's all I've got."
Even though I didn't know their son's names or faces those lonely, lonely Mommies and Daddies would never know the dirty, bloody, stinking, days and nights their sons and I had shared. They would have never understood I was burying my brothers too because we had a brotherhood of rage, fear, suffering, sacrifice and the suffocating knowledge our own government would not let us win our war. The lonely, outcast feeling our countrymen despised us; "Baby killer, dope fiend, crazy!"; the thrown eggs, fruit and spit, the vulgar gestures, curses and hatred.
I guess that was our parade; "Welcome home you murderers". The 59,267 of us, as of 2010, who were put into the cold, emotionless dirt didn't have to suffer that final indignity; our Mommies and Daddies did suffer it though. After where I'd been, what I'd seen and what I'd done that funeral duty was a misery. Head to the whiskey store, go on home with whatever woman I was with at the time, a fifth of happy juice under my arm, a bitter toast to the dreary day, get drunk enough so my face would smile, my words would become light but my heart grew colder and colder through the unchangeable metronome of remorseless memories. Honorable discharge.
I was glad to point my compass north and head back to Lick Fork, KY. Haunted. My conscience had been programmed by the Devil, the military, society, ME; all of it. It didn't seem like God was around very much during those years. Of course He was but I was unaware of it.
That year I met a beauty and married her, started attending class in a trade school, a couple of years later we had our first son, graduated, went north to work in a steel mill as an electrician and saved every penny I could because that was the only way to get our own home. We had two more sons up there.
Three and one-half years later my oldest son was ready to start school the next year and I couldn't stand the thought of him going to school in what I considered that great, flashy, impersonal, hell-hole called Detroit.
Like five homing pigeons we headed south to Lick Fork, KY. Five pigeons who couldn't fly but I had a Pontiac that would and I had a coal mining job waiting in a neighboring county. We had enough money for a down payment on an old, raggedy, hillside with a flat piece of ground that had an ancient, rickety, three room house on it. Maybe God had been drawing me most of my life; I don't know for sure because I had always believed in God but I wasn't aware of Him.
I just didn't have much use for Him because of the way the world and its people were. I wasn't aware of the Devil either. He was the little red imp with his harmless pitchfork working on Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and Foghorn Leghorn. If those cartoon characters could defeat him so easily, well, he wasn't much. He was the butt of jokes on "Comedy Hour"; "The Devil made me do it." I didn't know the Devil promotes that harmless image to hide his identity as a destroyer. Life, the Devil and I had done a fine job of programming my conscience.
It started seeping through my hard head I was raising three little husbands, daddies, neighbors, citizens and ------ AND: I was involved in more than I had thought. I believed in God, Jesus and salvation but it wasn't for me; I simply was not concerned. When I looked at those sweet, darling, innocent faces I knew I needed to teach them about how to get saved.
I loved 'em so much I thought my heart would burst and I owed it to 'em but I didn't know how to teach 'em about all that. "H--- I really don't even know how to pray." I can't remember anybody ever directly witnessing to me but I knew where the answers were though and we became a church going family. Holy Spirit programming my conscience? You decide.
I knew almost everybody in that little country church but I still felt like I stuck out like a fresh mashed thumb in a horseshoe pitchin' contest. I was used to a rougher life but I stuck with it because of the boys and "for some reason" I started paying more attention to the preachin'. I didn't know it but the preachers, the church atmosphere and the Holy Spirit were programming my conscience toward salvation.
Me, my life and the Devil's conscience programming was against everything God was trying to do for me. (1John 4:8 & 2Cor. 4:3-6) I didn't know I was flat-out caught in the middle of two Gods' war for my soul.
About a year went by and I started getting the miseries because God was drawing me by revealing Himself to me and revealing to me that I was lost and didn't have a chance, calling me to come on home to Him where I belonged and reproving (conviction) me because I had lived a no-account life, that I was a sinner and I was going to split red hot hell wide open if I didn't do somethin' about it. The Devil and I were still in the war too; Lots of times I'd get high on booze while I relaxed on Saturday nights before I went to church the next day.