Why my mother is relevant


My mother is relevant to me. Not because she had something to do with me being born. This is not what makes a great parent. What made my mother relevant to me was that she did more than just feed me, give me a bath, and change my diapers. Other mothers sometimes do these things.

What made my mother relevant was what she taught me. After my horrific experiences in public school, my mom home-schooled me. It was she who taught me to read. Without her I would neither exist nor be able to read and write.

Many people have criticized my mother and often tried to separate me from her. Their many attempts at turning me against her never did work for one simple reason. They don’t even know her. If they happen to see her even once, they label her as sick, old, and fat. What relevance does this have to do with the fact that she was a great teacher to me and to her many music students? What reason do they think that they can pretend to be my friend and at the same time talk so hatefully about the woman who is relevant to the person I am?

My mother is also the reason I needed to learn how to publish books. She needed my help with the computer to write and publish her own books. Her name is Judena Klebs. I challenge you to search for her name on amazon.com and read her books. They are relevant to understanding not only her past but also mine.

Valentine’s Day (by Judena Klebs)


I have a theory about Valentine’s Day. No one really knows what to do with that day because hardly any one has a spouse or a  date that they’re not mad at most of the time but they know that if they don’t pretend to love them at Valentine’s Day that person will be even more mad and stuff candy hearts down their throat until they choke.  They also feel the pressure to spend hundreds of dollars on fresh flowers so that they will not be smashed over the head with the large vase that was positioned in plain view as a hint. There are naked babies with bow and arrows decorating every building. Anything you order from a restaurant is heart-shaped. If you are single, people look at you at parties as though you poked your head out of a casket at your own funeral. You see lips kissing and then realize it is just a decoration on a glass window or door. Where is the rest of the person? One must try not to think about what this holiday must have been about when the first mushy person tried to celebrate it. Why did it become traditional to give chocolate candies to the woman you just fought with because you insulted her about being overweight? Who started the tradition of checking couple’s memories about what kind of sausage they had for breakfast the morning before they first met? I don’t know about you, but Valentine’s Day strikes me as a very mysterious holiday. The only one that seems more useless is Groundhog Day!

Does God’s will always come to pass? (written by Judena Klebs)


Does God’s will always come to pass? (written by Judena Klebs)

I recently wrote an essay called “Is God responsible for our suffering?” which considers whether everything that happens is because God either causes it or allows it. The question which may be asked is “If God is sovereign doesn’t this mean that everything that happens is God’s will?”
First, what does “sovereign” actually mean? One of the definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sovereign) defines sovereign as “One that exercises supreme authority within a limited sphere.”
It is true that God is the ultimate authority and power in the universe but if one believes that He gave free will to His creatures, then He must have chosen to limit His own power to share it with others.
Throughout my life I have heard the slogan “God has everything under control.” Does God control everything? Even the evil done by people? Does God cause or ignore the terrible things that take place on the earth? If God is in control, that would make Him either evil Himself, or just indifferent to those who are suffering in various ways all over the world.
At some later time, I want to explore more about accidents, sickness, and natural disasters. I want to consider if they are ever God’s will. But for now, I want to explain one of the main areas where God is accused of having His will done: People’s choices. What does the Bible say about this?
2 Peter 3:9 says that “He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
Genesis 6:5,6 tells us that God saw the great wickedness on the earth and regretted that He had created people and that He was “grieved at His heart.”
Jeremiah 19:5 says that people were sacrificing their children as burnt offerings to the god, Baal, and that He, the true God, never told them to do such a thing, neither had it “even entered His mind.”
Abuse and neglect are not God’s will. Murder, theft, adultery, false witness, coveting, worshipping other gods, dishonoring parents,etc. are all condemned in the Ten Commandments(Exodus 20), so it cannot be God’s will that any of these things take place.
In Matthew 6:10, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” We would not need to pray this if His will were already being done on the earth.
God’s sovereignty does not prove that His will is always done. Angels and people have free will. This means that Satan’s choices were not God’s will and that many people’s choices to harm themselves or others in any way cannot be God’s will.
“Calvinism” believes that people don’t have free will but that God “predestines” some to be saved and to go to Heaven, while others are created for destruction and to go to Hell.
There are many things I could say about this theology, even showing a better way to interpret the verses in the Bible which are used in order to prove this doctrine. But a whole new essay would need to be written to cover this, so for now, let me just say to whoever believes that God’s will always comes to pass that it must be “God’s sovereign will” for me to disagree with you!

Halloween is not for Christians (comments by Judena Klebs)


Halloween is not for Christians  (comments by Judena Klebs)

Halloween is a celebration of fear and death.

A celebration of fear:

Fear is not of God.

” For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” ( Romans 8:15 )
” There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear; because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” ( 1 John 4:18 )

If fear is not of God, then why do Christians attend horror movies that were especially designed to generate and promote fear?
Why do they sometimes participate in haunted houses?

A celebration of death:

Jesus said, You are seeking to kill me…You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning…” (John 8:40,44 NASB)
” The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 )

Ghosts, skulls, skeletons all remind us that Halloween is a celebration of death.

” Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He, Himself, likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” ( Hebrews 2: 14,15 )

Is It A Church Or A Cult?(written by Judena Klebs)


Is It A Church Or A Cult?(written by Judena Klebs)

There are many traits of cults, but we have recently encountered three of them :

1) Not wanting people in their group to read anything but their own literature to interpret the Bible

Recently we were told that we should not even read books from the library. The leader who mentioned this seems to believe that pastors can read whatever they want to read.
Do you suppose that there are opinions or information that they don’t want us to know?

2) Ostracizing those who leave the group

One of the common traits of a cult is when they tell their people to have nothing to do with those who have left their organization. The people are ordered to exclude them in every way, not to be friendly to them in any way, and are usually encouraged to persecute them or punish them in some way for leaving the group.

3) Dominating leadership

A prominent sign of a cult is leadership that claims to have special access to God that no one else has, that they are the source of truth, and that others must obey everything they say, having complete loyalty to their control.
I have heard some leaders say that their congregation answers only to them and that the leader himself answers only to God, Without any say from other humans. They believe that only they know what God approves or disapproves and that they alone are God’s representative. They supposedly have rights and privileges that others cannot enjoy.
Jesus said that the one who wants to be great must be the servant of all. The Bible also warns the shepherds of their congregation not to “lord it over” the flock.
When we run into people who think that they are the “boss” and consider it their job to dictate every detail of people’s lives, we know that we are seeing evidence of a cult. If leaders say that they answer to no other human authority but instead answer only to God without being questioned and if they refuse to listen to anyone else’s input, they should not be followed. Too bad that there are so many “churches” that are really cults.

Is God Responsible for our Suffering ? (an essay by Judena Klebs)


Is God Responsible for our Suffering ? (an essay by Judena Klebs)

For as long as I can remember, I have heard people pass on traditional
beliefs that God is the one who either “causes” or “allows” our
suffering.I have heard it in various churches and in society as a
whole. It is so common that people don’t seem to question it very
often. Is this what the Bible really teaches ?
I have suffered in various ways throughout my life. Many times I was
judged by others that God had caused my suffering because of some
fault of my own. Other times, it was worded that God had allowed my
suffering because I needed to change in some way. Many times I have
become frustrated with people’s conclusions.
One day I made a list of many of the things I had heard and was still
hearing from people whenever I had a problem. There were twelve
statements that came to mind. Perhaps there are other statements that
people make to blame God for our suffering but these twelve seem to
cover a lot of ground. I decided to respond to each of these
statements with comments and with scripture to hopefully counter some
of Satan’s lies coming to us through traditional beliefs.

Reasons people say that God “causes” or “allows” our suffering :

1) To make us a better person

2) To teach us something

3) To test us

4) To make us able to help others

5) To make us patient

6) To make us stronger

7) To prepare us for Heaven

8) To punish us for something

9) To keep us from pride

10) To make us like Christ

11) To teach us to be content

12) To help us get rid of sin

My Response to Each Reason :

1) To make us a better person

If suffering will make us better people, why do some suffer more than
others? Do some people need more improvement than others? Even if they
suffer as babies or young children? If they suffer, does that mean
they are inferior people to those who suffer less?
Acts 10:34 tells us that God does not show favoritism between people.
Actually, what does a person define as a “better” person? What kind of
improvements in a person really count? Who is to judge the quality of
people? If I hit you over the head with a baseball bat, would I make
you a better person?

2) To teach us something

How does suffering educate us? We find out how painful our lives are,
that we are unhappy, and that life is difficult. If that is what we
are supposed to learn, how does that benefit any one in any way?
1 Timothy 3:16,17 say that the scripture is useful for teaching, for
reproof, and for training in righteousness to equip us for every good
work.
If the scripture teaches us what we need to know, wouldn’t suffering
only distract us from learning from the scripture? How can we
concentrate on the instruction we receive from our Bible study while
we are in pain?

3) To test us

The only tests God gave people in the Bible were commands to test
obedience. He did not send suffering except in judgment.
Except in cases where intercession turned the situation around, the
judgment was final. Since it was a final judgment, it could neither
teach nor test a person.
In James 1:13,14, God claims that He is not one who tempts anyone. The
words “test” and “tempt” are used interchangeably in this passage.
They come from the same Greek word, ” pi-ras-mos’ “. The kind of
testing that people say comes from God through suffering would be a
temptation to turn away from God rather than to Him. He cannot be
responsible to cause suffering in order to “test” people.

4) To make us able to help others.

If God causes or allows suffering to make us able to help others, why
did He cause or allow the other person to need help with the
particular problem they had in the first place? If no one was
suffering, no one would be needed to understand what the original
suffering person was going through.
It is true that once the suffering has occurred, it can be used for
the good of helping others. However, it is illogical to say that God
would cause or allow suffering so that people could be relieved of
suffering by being “helped”. Does He want them to suffer or be helped?
Which is it? Is His kingdom divided against itself?
In Matthew 12 : 24-26, the Pharisees accused Jesus of having a divided
kingdom by casting out a demon by Satan’s power. Jesus responded by
saying that every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed. How can
we accuse God of such foolishness?

5) To make us patient

Are we more patient when we suffer? I think not.
Many scriptures talk about patience but the word is often translated
as “perseverance” or “endurance”. These words describe a continual
obedience to God in spite of our suffering. Does this mean that the
suffering comes from God for this purpose?
James 1:3 in the King James Version of the Bible says that the testing
of our faith worketh patience. It does make us have to “work” our
patience. But only if we choose to endure.
It is actually harder to be patient when we are suffering because it
is only natural to fight to relieve our suffering. Why take measures
to ease our suffering by going to doctors or taking medicine when we
are sick, for example, if we lose the virtue of patience that way?
This goes back to the idea of suffering making us a better person. If
it does, we are bad when we feel better. Patience is a fruit of the
spirit, not the fruit of suffering ( Galatians 5 : 22 ).

6) To make us stronger

It is not the suffering that makes us stronger, but the endurance
through suffering that makes us stronger. God can use our faithfulness
through our suffering if we choose to endure. We can get through the
suffering to the other side of it, if we do not become bitter toward
God. This can be obtained by the realization that God is not the one
causing the suffering.
If we become stronger because of our endurance, God can use that to
bring good out of a bad situation. James 1 : 3,4 say that the testing
of our faith produces endurance. It does not say that God is the one
testing us. In James 1 : 2, it also says that keeping our joy in the
midst of our trials helps us to get through them and to develop
endurance.
The Bible does talk a lot about suffering but if you study the context
of it, it usually refers to the suffering of persecution. We are not
always delivered from persecution. People are free to persecute us. It
is one of the ways  we reach others for God’s kingdom. God also
promises to give us strength to go through it. ( See my notes about
“Paul’s thorn in the flesh” in point nine. )

7) To prepare us for Heaven

This is one of the strangest reasons given for suffering that I have
ever heard. As far as I know, there is no suffering in Heaven so how
could suffering here prepare us for it? Revelation 21:4 says that
God’s future Kingdom contains no mourning, crying, or pain.
What prepares us for Heaven is not our suffering but the salvation
from our sins that Jesus provided for us through His death on the
cross. Suffering is not God’s plan but it is the plan of Satan to try
to destroy us.

8) To punish us for something

Jesus has already paid for our sins. We receive Him as our substitute
and no longer need to be punished if we have accepted His free gift.
The Bible does talk about discipline but this is not the same as
punishment. Hebrews 12:5-13 talks about God’s discipline as correction
and instruction. It cannot be the same as punishment which is a
penalty for wrong and has no redeeming purpose. The Hebrews passage
above talks about ultimately producing healing for us.

9) To keep us from pride

People who believe that suffering is meant to keep us from pride are
usually referring to “Paul’s thorn in the flesh” spoken of in 2
Corinthians 12:7-10. This “thorn in the flesh” is said to be sent by a
messenger of Satan to keep Paul from being exalted. The context seems
to be referring to persecution which Paul suffered. To say that God
sent this thorn to keep Paul from being exalted does not consider 1
Peter 5:6,7 which says that God does exalt us in due time if we humble
ourselves. If God was trying to humble Paul through persecution, it
would not say that the “thorn” came from Satan.
God does not send us suffering to keep us from pride. He expects us to
humble ourselves. But then He promises to give us strength when we are
persecuted.

10) To make us like Christ

Philippians 2 : 4-11 tell us to follow Christ example by having the
same attitude toward others as He had when He humbled Himself by
letting go of His equality with God to come to earth and to become a
sacrifice for us. He did not exalt Himself so God, the Father exalted
Him. We are to be like Christ in the way He treated us.
Christ did suffer but He suffered in our place so that we would not be
judged. The only suffering that we are called to do is to suffer
persecution when necessary.
What makes us like Christ? When we live the way He lived on earth and
the way He lives now as He intercedes for us in Heaven. We are like
Him when we pray. We are like Him when we obey God. And we will be
like Him when He returns and we “see Him just as He is.” ( 1 John 3:2).
Suffering, in itself, does not make us like Christ. We may live for
Him or die for the sake of His gospel, but suffering itself does not
come from God.

11) To teach us to be content

This is similar to Point 5 ” To make us patient”. However, it also
suggests that we accept all our problems as coming from God. In
Philippians 4:11-13, Paul states that He has learned to be content in
every circumstance. He does not say that all his circumstances come
from God. He says that God strengthens him to do what He wants him to
do no matter what he faces. Suffering does not make him content but
God’s strength does.

12) To help us get rid of sin

If there is sin in our lives, we are told in 1 John 1:9 that if we
confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. That is the way to get rid of
sin. Inflicting suffering on ourselves in penance or expecting God to
inflict suffering on us does not do it. Christ already paid the price
for our sin. We go to Him to get rid of it.

“What about Job?” many people may ask. “Didn’t God allow Satan to test Job?”
If you know the story, Satan tested Job in order to tempt him to curse
God. Since Satan has been the “god of this world” ( 2 Corinthians 4:4
and John 12:31 ), he had power on this earth to do evil. God
recognized that Satan had some power to hurt Job. In the sense that
God gave free will to people and to angels, God did allow Satan’s
control to a point. But He limited Satan’s control. He told Satan that
He would not allow him to take Job’s life. That is because God had a
plan to make up to Job the suffering Satan had caused by giving Job
twice as much as he had before.
In John 12:31 it says Satan has been cast out as god of this world.
But because Christians are unaware of the authority given to us by
Christ, many allow things to happen while thinking that it comes from
God. God was the one who ultimately healed Job. In the end, it was Job
who had to pray for his friends because they had falsely accused God
of punishing Job for some sin in his life.

Many people blame God for “causing” or “allowing” our suffering when
it is really they or others causing or allowing it. Because we have
free wills, we can choose to either obey God or to disobey Him by what
we do. Ultimately, the “bad” comes from Satan, but we and others make
choices that either cause or alleviate suffering. It can be an excuse
for our own decisions and actions to say that God caused or allowed
these things. This is a way to justify them and make them look right
to ourselves and to the rest of the world. Stop blaming God and face
up to your own responsibilities!
These false concepts of God have been taught to the world throughout
history. Maybe we should take a second look at our interpretation of
the Bible and not keep passing on to others what we have heard all of
our lives. Sometimes traditional beliefs can do a lot of damage and
encourage us to judge others who are suffering.