The Christian Nutrition Condition

 

Of all the people of the planet who ought to be feasting on the good Earth’s abundance, it should be God’s people, the Christians!  Isn’t that the most wonderful news?  At that news many will get up and dance, clap hands, and shout “praise the Lord!”

After all, how does Genesis describe Adam’s and Eve’s Eden?  Why, it says it was a garden!  (Genesis 2:8).  In fact, it even mentions “herb yielding seed and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind,” all of which God created in preparation for humanity (Genesis 1:11, 12), until life in Eden surely was a continual feast.

Look at this marvelous scene: God decided to make mankind in his own image, but he gave him a body in which to enjoy fellowshipping with his Maker.  In anticipation of the physical body, God began preparations for a place tailor-made for his domain.  It started with light. Then he put up a firmament in the sky, he rose up some dry land, he put a sun and a moon in the sky, he put fish in the waters, birds in the air, he strewed the land with animals, and finally, “whish!”  he created Adam and Eve to live in God’s paradise.  What an astonishing story!  It even says God himself “planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed” (2:8), a place God says was “good for food” (v.9).

Now let us draw near and peer into this divine setup more closely.  Here is all this edible stuff, herbs and fruit, and a whopping variety of all of it, no doubt salad greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, beans, radishes, and much more; there were apples, oranges, pears, pomegranates, plums, peaches, cantaloupes, watermelons, honeydews, and don’t forget grapes, berries of all kinds, persimmons, figs, not to mention honey, milk, pineapples, and bananas.  Obviously, we fool ourselves if we think all of that and infinitely more were not there for the eating.

But then came the fish of every sort.  After the fall there were even animal meats to feast on, as well as a host of fowls.  All of these things, until it staggers us to imagine the fantastic menu to choose from in God’s provision!  There God is, smiling down on humanity’s partaking of all of this delicious variety he furnished for the pleasure of our physical bodies.  Oh, he weeps at our sin, and he also weeps at some of the poisons we put into ourselves, but it pleases him when we treat our physical bodies in harmony with his magnificent design.  Blessings for this comes to the just and the unjust.

But watch it — here comes the downside to this picture.  The holy Scriptures came up with a word which Christian people do not want to hear.  It falls under a definition that can damn our souls, and appears in context with words like, drunken, stubborn, rebellious, riotous, winebibber, “friend off publicans and sinners” (Deut. 21:20; Prov. 23:21; 28:7; Matt. 11:19; Like 7:34).  It is the word “glutton,” or the sin of gluttony.  Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language, 1852, defines a glutton as, “One who indulges to excess in eating.”  Glut means, “That which is swallowed,” putting the definition in the same category as drunkenness.

Bringing the downside of it closer to home, church bodies of believers have brought us to a very fine line between fellowshipping around tables with rich foods, and the sin of gluttony, especially in America where every food imaginable is in bewildering abundance. If that were not enough, between those church tables of fellowship, a plethora of believers gather after church services at restaurants, hamburger joints, taco houses, ice cream parlors, barbecue pits, and much more, to feast like kings.  Many in the congregation are culled out by slim pocketbooks and cannot partake, sidelined by their brothers and sisters who can.  Such a practice amounts to division within Christian Fellowship, and acts as a wrecking ball to the oneness of believers which the Lord intended.  In fact, some of the believers who cannot afford it go out anyway to join them, even if it runs them short, to save face and embarrassment.  It amounts to a 1st Corinthians chapter 12 and 14, without 13.  Yes, God wants his children to partake of his plenty, but he also expects us to do it in careful moderation.  Being human, our appetites have a way of getting out of hand, but God expects us to exercise control, especially in our churches, and most especially in our pulpits!  Paul declared that if what he eats is offensive to his brother he would “eat no flesh while the world standeth” (1st Corinthians 8:13). That philosophy should also be that of our leadership.

Okay, now let us look at another side of God’s abundance.  This one is extremely important to the whole of humanity. Think carefully about God’s order of creation.  It is crystal clear in Scripture that God did not create Adam and Eve as a divine afterthought, but as a crowning act without which all his previous creative acts would be meaningless. The light, the firmament, the earth, and all life were created for Adam, not the other way around! What is the point?  Just this: God made the physical body of Adam to enjoy all, repeat ALL, of the edible things he created for it. If that were not true, then Adam and Eve could have been perfectly healthy in eating nothing but bananas! Or, how about nothing but radishes? Maybe you could have been in perfect shape on nothing but turnip greens. I’d be a peanut butter man. How silly is that?

What am I saying?  Mister, if you are a meat and potatoes kind of guy, you’ve got God’s order for the provision of your good health in reverse!  You cannot remain in the good health God expects of you if you refuse to partake of what even science has proven many times over to be a healthy lifestyle!  All you’re doing is cheating God out of the man he meant for you to be!  Eating with your mouth and not your brain is to eat strictly for taste, not using your brain to eat for God. An unhealthy body makes for unhealthy metabolism where your juices, hormones, blood, stamina, endurance, meditation, prayer, judgment, concentration and much more are weakened from what God expected of you if you ate properly.  You might live to be old, but your quality of life is likely to take you out of the race, and kill the joy you would find in God’s best, to say nothing of being cut off before being a blessing to your heritage.

One other point concerning Christian nutrition begs to be mentioned.  Let me begin this way: since the entry of sin into the human condition, the physical delights of the flesh have found it far too easy to bring down our spiritual highs.  Believe it or not, food has invariably been one of the most subtle points leading an incursion into questionable territory.  That amounts to a tempting foot in the door. With that beginning, momentum is slowly gathered.  Comes then tiny rivulets of justification for indulgence, the most common being Christian fellowship. Slowly, but eventually, the indulgers begin to appear little different than the worldly brand of partying, including drunkenness.  It is an amazing story to watch.  If you are elderly, as I am, you have seen this pattern over and over again.  Believe it or not, it can lead to extravagant things such as church splits, vicious gossip, unforgiveness, despite, hatred, lost souls, and more.  It really does happen! I have seen such things develop.  Too often, food seems to be the catalyst that begins the synthesis, because the discipline of separation begins well but ends sadly.  The flesh does it, not the spiritually strong.  We don’t want to think such things can happen from such an innocent beginning, but because the subtle process is usually very slow in building, perhaps decades,  the day finally comes when we cannot believe the difference in what we used to be, and what we have become.  Prayer and party are both six letter words, but we have foolishly associated them so closely that the heart of prayer morphs into the cold, prayerless stone off party.

Scriptural proof of this point is overwhelming.  Space prohibits enumerating all the passages, such as Jesus said of the days of Noah, that they were “eating and drinking… until the flood came and took them all away” (Matthew 24:39).  They partied at the Tower of Babel.  They partied around the golden calf.  The sons of Job partied, along with many other such passages where both food and fermented wine played the major part.  Think of it: when the people of God in Scripture would draw near to God, where did they start?  They fasted!  Whether it was one or the whole assembly, they fasted.  Jesus made the point that God’s answer often came only by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29).  The subtle point in all of this is that food must be seen as a delightful necessity in serving God, not a delightful serving of ourselves!  There is an eternity of difference.  “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24), mammon meaning the selfish indulgences of the flesh.

Our church leaders have surely failed in commanding discipline in these matters.  Do I think this little article will change that?  Don’t make me laugh!  But what I bring to the readers attention here does not seem to be in print anywhere, so perhaps it will benefit a few.  One can try to dodge the truth in it, but dodging truth is eventually humanly impossible.   Once that arrow buries itself in your chest, the only thing left is what you will do about it, live or die.

A good place to start to correct the perspective is to teach God’s people the vital difference between praying and partying.  The designated purpose of a sanctuary has always been preaching and prayer.  That is the place set aside where our faces look into God’s face.  The fellowship of God’s people is where we all as Christians look into one another’s faces, an eternity of difference.  If those get mixed we are in serious trouble!

God’s sanctuary must be kept sanctified as a tangible reality of our relationship to our awesome God.  It is not a place to party.  It should be seen as a real battleground between the forces of good and evil, an arena where God’s Spirit and evil forces do battle for eternal outcomes.  Any other vision of it is simply a truce.  It is not the place for earsplitting drums and amplifiers, nor for exhibitions of entertainment such as bodily swaying to the beat of music.  It must not be where screaming voices nor staccato rapping shatters an atmosphere belonging to God’s sanctity.  All of such disturbances belong to partying elsewhere, but not here.  No, this is where the thunder of God’s eternal words of truth should be preached into the very souls of those in attendance.  Anything leading up to such an awesome purpose should be in character with softness, sweetness, and what causes one’s soul to reflect with reverence upon God, and nothing else.  God’s holy presence in his designated place of sanctity is not the place to eat and drink nor even to bring food therein.

The effort to keep a correct perspective on God’s provision for our physical bodies should not be taken lightly by one or all people.  Nor should it be by just dropping a word once in a while.  No, it is of such importance as to command an ongoing work of discipline to keep priorities straight.

In closing this, please allow me to repeat an earlier sentence: food must be seen as a delightful necessity in serving God, not a delightful serving of ourselves. Food is never an acceptable substitute for God’s holy business.

 

–DA

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God’s Rules For Christian Romance

NOTE: While this is for young singles, it is also suitable material for Christians of all ages.

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Today a familiar excuse echoes from the new generations about romantic interests between the sexes. It is seen in such quotes as, “Us? Oh, we’re just taking it slow.”

The origin of such evasive philosophy gives itself away in the word “slow.” It truly characterized those multitudes of youth who were the “New Age Movement” during the ‘60s and ‘70s era, and today continues to contaminate young Christian minds. In it’s early stages, aggression was not their forte’. Even their walk was a lazy shuffle. Long, tangled hair marked them, together with brush piles for beards. Ragged was in, clean was out, slumped shoulders matched a forced facial droop, with sad eyes, sloped eyebrows, upside-down lips, and a protruding turtle neck. They shacked up together in communal dumps, smoked pot, and danced lazily in smoke-filled drug dungeons. They sewed the American flag upside down to the seat of their ragged jeans, cursed the military who protected them, and turned traditional American Rock music into what sounded more like a force 10 hurricane going through New York City!  Even the rich kids looked the same part, and shot their clothes with shotguns to make them ragged! Anything to fit in with the social drags. Their later generations of today are still at it: You can yet buy “distressed” jeans, shot to pieces with guns of all sorts. Yes, “slow” characterized them. Unfortunately, the smog of their culture slowly drifted forward with the winds of time and filtered into today’s Christian culture by way of “music,” television, public schools, and the Internet.

In that culture, the idea of “hanging out,” or such terms, meant two disinterested deadbeats doing nothing as “just friends” to see if both felt any “vibes” mutually strong enough to gravitate into more than just friends. Nobody pursued anybody.

The mentality behind such ‘hang outs’ was rooted in the New Age’s purpose of the destruction of what they termed “The Establishment,” meaning the traditional Judeo-Christian ethic around which all free societies had been structured for almost two millennia. The New Age idea was born of atheistic evolution’s notion that we were just animals running wild, and there’s no such thing as a divine order for what might be called the divine dance of romance, but rather simply an urge to merge, and then go on to the next one, much like the wild nature of wolves or hyenas.

Unfortunately, American society caved in to this cultural steam roller. And, sadly, too much of today’s Christian youth runs around slouchy and “hangs out,” walks with a shuffle, and even takes pride in the gun-shot ragged look. They are well on their way to hearing aids from living most of their days being assaulted with so-called “Christian” chaos, calling it music. One would think that today’s American Christian generations would refuse to borrow anything at all invented by such enemies of Christian-founded America! But they surely did, and America today is paying dearly for it. All of that is actually the real, documented history we older Christians visibly watched with our eyes and heard with our ears as it was born and grew up to contaminate our landscapes, invade our churches, steal our children, demolish our sweet Gospel music, desecrate our precious flag and sacred monuments, and bathe our sacred institutions of romance and marriage in a tide of cultural sewage.

God’s truth about romance was largely lost in that tsunami, so here, from God’s own point of view, is a restatement of the cold facts about this whole subject of romance. All the details in the paragraphs above are nothing but a cowardly cop-out of the God-given purpose which he created in males and females. That truth simply cannot be escaped, because it is as much a part of our physical beings as an arm or a leg. To exercise it outside of God’s parameters of reality is extremely destructive to human existence, ending in the charred remains of a raging wildfire.

You see, God endowed both male and female youth with complementary hormones to draw them into mutual attractions. The word, complementary, means the hormonal activity in each of the sexes as divinely formulated to fulfill the Adamic mandate clearly stated in Genesis 1:27, 28, to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Earth, and subdue it: and have dominion…” (KJV). But, as we can plainly see in ourselves, Adam and Eve were not charged to do this alone, but were carefully and perfectly designed to “multiply” and populate the Earth by what may be termed chain reaction.

Consequently, God-given hormones excited the resulting children with, shall we say, the dance of romance, with a divine purpose to fulfill God’s master plan. Mind you, not the insanity of merely satisfying one’s own selfish cravings like brute beasts. Hear me, young Christians, sex has a divine purpose without which God’s pleasure becomes God’s wrath! Whether to consider God first in your sex drive or not, is not an option! He must be considered in sexual unions, or else it becomes a sexual curse. We should all think that over carefully, because it vitally concerns innocent children. When Jesus walked the Earth, if anyone wanted to touch off his temper, they needed only to hurt the little children.

But there is far more to this so-called dance of romance than Christian society seems to understand. It involves a truth blossoming out of the meticulous order and purpose God exercised in the creation of Adam and Eve. That order and purpose ought to be looked at with great care by every youth today. It is so carefully stated in Scripture (KJV) that even the children can understand it, and yet it seems all of Christian society, including pulpits and church schools, either miss it or ignore it altogether so as to fit in with whatever cultural rage is in fashion.

God created Adam first (Genesis 2:7), then divine foresight prepared him to have a driving need. There stood Adam, freshly created, filled out physically in detail, equipped with everything he needed except a reflected companion physically designed to receive his own design. Here we all are today, still designed exactly that way! That “need” is carefully detailed in Genesis 2:18 through 25. Take special note of the detailed order, for this is vitally important to who we all are: Adam’s being first in order is a vital truth, although it seems society wants to ignore it. Now, to complete Adam’s design which God gave him, God took what he had already created in Adam, a rib, and created a receiver, whom Adam named Eve. They two, as joined together by God’s hand, became “one flesh” by God’s hand. Eve was created to be Adam’s “help meet,” that is, a helper, an assistant, an aide to God’s purpose in designing them both. She was literally bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. Why? Because, as it plainly says, God took her out of Adam (v. 23). She was not directly made of the dust of the ground, as was Adam, but from the flesh and bone of Adam himself. We overlook this meticulous fact at our own peril! Far too many of us do. We say, “Duh! Everybody knows that!” The problem is, we don’t act like it because acting like it puts us at odds with today’s politically correct notions pouring into our living rooms, public and private schools, on the job, and even at church! Radical feminism has educated the masses along that line. But let me tell you, the truth here is plain, and there are dire consequences if we ignore it.

Now lets use the previous paragraph as the loam out of which the facts of romance blossom. Look carefully: God designed Adam to plant the seed of multiplication, but Eve, being one flesh with Adam, received it and joined it with her own, upon which their seed of one flesh began a cycle of growth to become a separate person to increase Earth’s population, exactly as God intended. This harmonious arrangement of hormones required complementary consistencies, not just in brain and body structures, but in hormonal processes to fit and govern the created purpose in how they behaved toward one another. Their different human profiles simply and naturally acted as magnets in attracting the sexes to one another toward God’s glorious intent in creation, that is, a vast multitude of God’s family of people to walk with him in infinite fellowship, to serve him, and to worship him as their God. All of these perfectly designed harmonics is truly God’s dance of romance between a man and a woman. Yes, there is far more to romance than fallen humanity has allowed themselves to believe. That dance is a sacred dance, and should be kept pure and holy.

But it behooves us to be extremely careful in how we interpret that vital dance. Get it wrong and the hormonal signals become a snarled semaphore of ambiguous nonsense. Women find themselves stooping to a driven behavior of pursuit which men alone are hormonally equipped to handle, and we find men parking themselves against nature in an attitude of female passive neutrality, waiting to be found by the perfect female instead of going out to find one to pursue. Familiar words from such mish-mash go something like: “Oh, we’re just friends,” or, “We’re just taking it slow,” or, “we’re just hanging out,” or, “What’s wrong with the guys these days?” or, “Why are guys such deadbeats?” or, “It’s hard to find a decent guy these days.” (Note the word “find.” It means they’re beating the bushes in pursuit to “find” one). “Guys are such party animals.” He’s slow as Christmas, and that turns me off!”  On the other hand, guys say, “She’s too eager, and turns me off,” or, “All she wants to do is giggle and party,” or, “She’s smothering me.” But if she is well behaved and keeps her place, deadbeat guys say, “Why is she so distant?” or, “She doesn’t seem interested in me,” or, “She’s Miss Untouchable,” or, “She’s got that holier-than-thou attitude.” (Usually, only a guy looking for a party girl makes such uninformedcomments). Or, one common comment, “She’s still trying to get over a previous romance.” (It seems to have escaped the mind of a guy who makes such comments, that the most natural thing for him to do is to convince her that he is better man than the guy who broke her heart!).

All such comments are like the smog rising from a polluted landscape. The sordid atmosphere ought to be swept out to sea by the strong winds of God’s priorities in romance. Both sexes need to assume a hormonal balance, and forsake the atheistic notion that we are soul-less animals running around like crazed canines after each other’s body. Both sexes should put God first in their priorities, and rediscover the lost art of the divine dance of romance.

Now let’s dance! Here is the Scriptural order for God’s inspired romance between the sexes.

First, it should be understood that God equipped Adam for pursuit, not only to dominate God’s Earth, but to take to himself and provide for his “help meet.” I repeat, the unique hormone system God created in Adam and his male offspring was divinely aimed to the dominant purpose of pursuit and domination of the Earth. That is simply who and what he is in his core being. To achieve God’s purpose in his design, he must pursue, pursue, pursue! But it must be for God that he pursues, even if it is for a mate. Anything else defined as romance today is simply Scripturally abnormal and will not produce what God intended in humanity’s design. It will rather only add to the warped confusion already existing in the homes and divorce courts, Christians or not, with all the attending consequences. Hear me! Scripturally, men must pursue, or else they are assuming the role God created for Eve!

The female of Adam’s rib is divinely designed to the role of a helper. Mind you, not a doormat as some men seem to think, but designed to do a job Adam is not even equipped to undertake, even if he tried. He just cannot do it. The ability to give birth is only one of Eve’s marvelous functions that Adam finds impossible. It is an indelible fact that Adam without an Eve cannot endure. He is “Alone” (Genesis 2:18). There could be no humanity without Eve, and dominion would be impossible. But Eve without an Adam is without the needed strength and pursuit abilities she needs from Adam to even exist.  No, both Adam and Eve are themselves divinely unfulfilled without each other, unless God specifically calls them to celibacy, which is extremely rare. The very moment the female steps out of her divine role, she goes against who she really is by design in her core being. Such a misdirection, and the frustration that drives her to it, is simply a manifesting of her lack of faith in God to provide her with the male to fulfill the divine design she plainly sees and feels within her being. Her role is patience in waiting, faith in God for her needs, and a readiness to receive God’s provision for her. Should she jump ahead of that requirement, she will almost always end up with a great deal of unhappiness and disappointment, and even unintentionally pass it on to her offspring. That is a picture of the mistakes so frequently carried out today in most females. Every woman would be benefited by studying the great women of the Bible, but few will even crack their Bibles to do it, and so choose the world’s back alley as her path of life, instead of the thrilling scenery of God’s mountain pass. Such a mistake defies explanation, unless it is seen as simply lust of the carnal flesh.

Men, your role in God’s design for romance is to go out and diligently search all the right places for a female whose priority is to love God first. Study her to see if she is what you personally need to fulfill your divine purpose to even exist in God’s scheme of creation. Here are the rules to follow:

If she is single, she is fair game, even if she is wearing an engagement ring! All you must do is make your play, then study her reaction. If she shows interest in you, that is an open door for you to test further. If she sternly and flatly rejects your advance, simply erase her from your list of possibles. Maybe later. Note: Many will oppose the idea of approaching if she is wearing an engagement ring. Nonsense! Until she wears a wedding ring showing that she is bound to that man before God, she is still not married and is available to any man who tests the waters. But if she rejects you, you must respect that romance. Remember, she must show interest in you, or it is a dead-end. But also remember, that if she wears your engagement ring, she is also fair game to any guy who makes a better offer. After all, how can you know but that perhaps she is the one God has picked for you, or maybe that he meant for her to marry the other guy who stole her from you?  But I warn you, men, you’d be wise in courting her to not start up anything to win her, which you are not dedicated to keep doing after the wedding. WARNING: Give that one very special attention!

Women, your Scriptural role is a simple one. Assume the role of the prey, not the predator. Be a catch, not a catcher; the chased, not the chaser. Be desirable, not the desirer; the attractive, not the attracted. Do you get the picture? It might seem obvious, but the radical feminists have to a large degree switched those separate roles between men and women. They have made them fashionable, even though it is a formula with a guarantee in neon red that it will end in unhappiness. The Hollywood set shouts it like a bullhorn in every American living room! The Scriptural order is to attract a suitor, not insult his male nature as your pursuer. Please hear this truth: female violation of male nature attracts society’s dregs in the form of male predators prowling at parties, social gatherings, the Internet, at malls, parking lots, ball games, Rock concerts, and even at Churches. Their objective is female bodies to exploit, not female persons. They’re as thick as flies in this depraved world we live in. Some of them are extremely skilled in their methods, and very convincing, but if you’re a Christian girl entertaining such social scum, you are flirting with a lifetime of unhappiness at the least, and possibly bodily harm. It certainly does happen far too often, especially in modern society. The solution is never to be alone with any man unproven to be a gentleman. The risk is too great. Instead, maintain your Christian integrity at all costs. Real men, men of worth, men who desire a worthy mate, are searching carefully for women of honor and integrity. They will simply pass over any woman whose male companions are known to be nothing but party animals looking for a few laughs and female company.

An additional comment to women is in order here: Girls, it is completely unscriptural and out of natural order, even today, for a single woman to park her own life in order to find a mate for life. The unwise act of giving up personal ambitions, personal talents, job skills, education, and especially God’s special calling upon her, is to effectively sell her soul to a faceless man, making a fictional male her supplier of life. Such an attitude is to forsake the fact that Eve’s Creator was God himself, not Adam! No, when God created Eve, as her creator she was his own before she was Adam’s. Even though she was Adam’s helper, even though she was to be the bearer of children, even though she had a role as a wife and mother to fill, she was first and foremost an individual before God, to whom she owed first allegiance. Adam’s duty was to honor that, to support it, not violate it for his own selfish motives. He owed her dignity, respect, and courtesy. But don’t you see that if she herself failed to respect that order in her existence as an individual, it could only bring trouble to herself, her husband, and her children. Yes, marriage may change her priorities, but until then she must be true to God and herself.

Please hear me: God must take center stage in your life, or you will find yourself in great conflict. You will do well to learn and apply the following indelible rule: If you fail to pursue God first, good men will not pursue you. Ironically, it seems instinctive in all men to know that indelible rule, and yet it seems most modern females have missed it. Even in slimy social circles, men would rather catch an untouched female for themselves, rather than one who lacked self discipline with her body.

Finally, men, a word to the wise among you. Men like straight talk, a getting to the point. So be warned: Unless you are an Elijah, a John the Baptist, or a Paul, then if your choice is to remain unmarried, you are cheating yourself out of who God built you to be. God did not put those hormonal passions in you to waste on your own cravings. Without a “help meet” you will be stunted as a man, unfulfilled, lonely, turned inward toward your own appetites and cravings. You will have no children or grandchildren to “Rise up and call you blessed.”

But men, marriage is no piece of cake. The ceremony itself, for both male and female, is where old “self” is nailed to a cross in self-sacrifice to one another, and to your offspring. You are through with being an individual, because “They two shall be one flesh,” yes, but now two wills vow to die for one another! But never forget, God built the male to be the head sacrificer. He must lead or lose. He must be the guardian, the keeper, the CEO of the home. Because of his design, he cannot be a know-it-all, and so must consult in order to lead. His “help meet” must be his first contact in most matters. In fact, any man who bypasses his wife as though she is a nobody, will have a wife who feels like a nobody. Get ready for a lot of unhappiness; women do not do well with a foot on their necks.

Remember, men, you can be worth a fortune, sport around in a limousine, be knock-down handsome, dressed to the nines, have a physique like Arnold to show off, be a famous person, all of that and more, but if you fail in the very thing God designed you to be, you will always have an empty place in your gut. It’s like building yourself a castle, but spending your life in a cheap motel!  Be warned: If you choose the castle, get ready to sacrifice for the privilege. It seems anything worth having is not easy to keep.

So I close with this word to good, honorable men: Be leery of push-over women. Usually you must fight for the honorable ones. If she is the best, she will want permission from God, as well as her parents, before she will even date you. So you will have to convince all four of them if you’re going to get the very best. And you’d better have something good going on in yourself if you hope to do that. That might mean you will have to make some permanent changes in yourself. I close with this: If she was worth fighting for to win her, then she is worth fighting for to keep her. And if you now have her, your worst enemy is probably yourself.

DA

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Every Word

In today’s world, we know nothing in all of God’s breathtaking universe to match the unbelievable complexity of the human brain.  Probing its dimensions is a veritable trip into infinity!  And if that were not complex enough, an equal to that astonishing truth is the brain’s ability to freely speak its own mind, even to the shocking extent of objectively analyzing and evaluating itself!  In fact, human speech itself is an equal phenomenon, and every word of it is ultimately related to God’s pristine justice.

According to Genesis 2:19, 20, Adam knew the “languages” of all the living creatures, but more than that, he could walk and talk with God himself!  (Genesis 3:8,9).  Why?  Because God created him in his own image for that very purpose (Genesis 1:26).  In fact, the evidence is startling that when God finished creating Adam and Eve, immediately they thought perfect thoughts, talked a perfect language, with perfect words. The language of words pouring from the lips of God’s perfect couple was sweet music to him.  It was a pure language of praise, adoration, and thankfulness to their holy Creator, who took infinite pleasure in hearing its beautiful strains from creatures made in his own image.

But yet another stunning phenomenon attended them: being made in God’s own image carried one of the essences of his own being straight into us: FREEDOM!  Our freedom to choose became who we are in our very essence of being.  We do not have the ability to lay it aside, any more than we could lay our heads aside and continue to live. But we must mention that the essence of God’s bestowed freedom within us cannot be realized unless we make a genuine choice.  Therefore, God planted a tree of choice in perfect Eden with his warning not to partake of its fruit, nor even touch it.  It was not the fruit itself, but God’s personal warning which forced the choice.  As we all know, through Satanic allurement the first couple both touched it and ate it.

Sadly, that free choice to disobey changed the pristine course of all human existence into one of rebellion against our Creator, even one of bloodshed, alienation, and every attending evil against him.  But, thankfully, humanity’s curse was followed by the magnificent story of God’s rescue of fallen humanity, of the divine Savior, and of our full restoration to himself.

That introduction brings us abruptly to our subject: WORDS.  You see, words are vital to the essence of who we are.  We cannot even be alive without, in one way or another, expressing ourselves in words.  They are living concepts and experiences within us, and are the very framework of our conscious selves.  There in the private domain of our eternal souls, God speaks to us, convicts and moves us to himself in a one-on-one free exchange of words.  In that inner chamber we welcome or reject him until death itself ends that free ability, upon which we must give an account for it (Hebrews 9:27).

Pressing forward, we see that out of our mouths human language is actually driven into existence by the process of our living spirits forcing our physical brains to express our inner person.  But then the curse of death and a limited lifespan forced the burning desire to relay our gained knowledge to our future generations lest, at our death, it be forgotten or lost.  The answer was the graphic depiction of words, that is, writing, which very early burst on the scene of human history.

Now, with that short summation begins the vital story of God’s finger in the phenomenon of words.  You see, the circumstance of sin and its consequences also forced God’s own sovereign hand in the matter.  Here was the problem: the death factor demanded the perpetual divine assurance that God’s pristine plan of redemption must be present to every lost generation arising from those who had lived before them.  He could never expect imperfect humanity to pass forward God’s perfect plan without contaminating its truth in some way.  Imperfection in itself could never preserve God’s perfect word.

And so we come point-blank to the divine inspiration of Holy Scripture.  While humanity has imperfectly attempted to pass forward the divine revelation of God’s plan of redemption, God himself sovereignly guarantees it!  He states it this way, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).  The logic of it, and even God’s very own words, declare indelibly that his completed word will never pass away!  The meaning is startling: every generation that arises through history can rest in full assurance and faith that God’s pure, uncontaminated, pristine word of absolute truth will exist and be available to every new generation! Each person must decide for themselves if they care enough about their souls to seek it.  Satanic influence works overtime to contaminate and confuse it in the minds of humanity, and yes, a plethora of many and varied translations flood the landscape with a sordid list of subtractions and additions, but through it all God’s sovereign fiat of divine preservation stands as a guarantee that his pristine words all exist and are in full force and available to anyone who truly seeks them.  God does not leave such a precious requirement into our imperfect hands, but has solemnly promised to oversee it himself!

Of course, this leaves us with a glaring question: “How can I know which translation is the correct one?”  Here is the glaring truth of it: Look at it this way: when God himself is personally at work in the lives of fallen humanity, resulting in the obvious transformation of the human heart, none but himself can possibly take credit for it.  He is, “The God that answered by fire…” (1 Kings 18:24).  Therefore, God’s miraculous work in the human heart is always unmistakable!  So, which translation is the correct one?  It is so simple: Just look for God’s own fingerprints and footprints.  It is obviously the one he has personally used the most for the longest, and is still at it.  That’s the one!  Flirting with anything else is extremely risky business for souls with so very much to lose. Error is afoot!

Consider this: perfection itself does not get better nor worse.  It just is.  You cannot modernize its truth, add to it, subtract from it, improve it, nor alter it in any way.  If we will only humbly and sincerely exposed ourselves to it, his truth will always break the human mold we may have cast around it, and leap into our deep convictions.  There lies the truth.  We might clothe a king in dirty rags and tatters, but under it all is royalty in the flesh. Pity the deceiver who cloaks it with error to the destruction of those who follow them.  Such did the followers of Jim Jones.


We come, then, to the point of this article.  If it is truly God’s word, it is verbally pure even down to every “jot and tittle,” (Punctuation marks, Matthew 5:18), of the original manuscripts, which in different form become part of future inspired translations.  Theologians call it “Plenary Inspiration,” meaning full in all respects, entire and absolute, embracing all parts thereof.  As such, the Holy Bible is not just another book one uses to argue one’s pride of doctrinal position.  No, this book has its own life!  As one minister put it, “You don’t read this book, it reads you!”  The message bound up in every word of it is infinitely important to every soul, because it is literally God speaking to each of us.  Every word counts!  There is no excess or lack in God’s inspired word.

An incident occurred in my own life which literally transformed my approach to God’s holy Word.  I am a retired tax examiner for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Early in my employment there, I struggled with how to solve some of the more complicated tax returns. Frustrated, one day I asked my young manager, Mark, for help on a particular case.  His very first question was, “What does the IRS tax code say about it?”  Embarrassed, I said I hadn’t consulted it.  He reached past me, took my tax code book, and turned quickly to the subject at hand.  He asked me to read it back to him, which I did.  Then he asked, “What do you think it says about your case?”  I looked it over again and told him how I thought it applied.  He responded, “But that isn’t what the tax code says.  Read it again.”  I did, but still didn’t make the connection. Then he carefully pointed to the little word “and” in the middle of the code and said, “You are overlooking the meaning in that one little word.”  With that, he picked up the code book, showed it to me, and said, “This is the law as legislated by the United States Congress and signed by the President.  You have to read every word and understand it because, being American law, every word counts!  That tax return must agree with this law, or else it is wrong and that taxpayer must pay more tax than he has claimed, including any applicable penalties and interest that apply, even if he had his tax figured by the most trusted professional tax preparer in the country.  Always remember, every word of the tax code counts!”

Boing!  From then on that tax code book was always at my elbow, and I paid very special attention to every word of it.  But more than that, I was so jolted by the incident that the very next time I picked up my Bible,….BOING!  I began reading God’s word the same way.  I paid special attention to every word because this is God’s word, his law, and every single word of it counts in my search for God’s truth.  I had better be dead certain about it, or else I, myself, must give an answer to him personally when I meet him after death.  Nothing else matters in my life if I fail in this one thing because of the “penalty and interest” that go with it.  The question will not be if my parents were right, if my teacher or preacher was right, if my husband or wife was right, or anyone else.  None of those!  Rather, am I myself dead right about it?  That is the question on which my soul — and every soul — hangs in God’s balances of eternal justice.  Literally billions of souls are on that balance, but only individuals are weighed, just one at a time. It is a very personal matter between one’s own soul and God himself. Seeking final confirmation and assurance from any other source for what one believes other than from God himself, is a dead-end street! God alone confirms his own word of truth, so if we would know the truth of his word, then the pursuit of God himself is the path of personal assurance. There, and there alone, is a deep confidence, a peace of mind in the midst of storms, and especially when we must finally go through the valley of the shadow of death.

Every word!  Every responsible individual should be sobered by that sterling truth!  Readers be warned!  Even though every dispenser of truth, be they parent, preacher, or teacher, must themselves stand in God’s presence and be fairly judged for every word they conveyed to others — hear me!  — Regardless of them all, every individual hearer of the word will be held personally accountable for every word of God’s eternal message to every soul.  Other than the story of redemption itself, this truth is most important to every single human soul created by the finger of God. Look in the mirror. There stands the one and only person in your life that will stand alone before God in judgment and be held eternally accountable for every word he sent your way. Of all we have heard and read in the years of our life, there at God’s personal judgment is the moment of truth. That is not the time nor place for guessing or hoping we were right. There is the final occasion when we fully realize that, sure enough, every word counts. Every word!

DA

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Words That Are Good, Speeches That Are Fair

Everyone enjoys hearing words that warm the heart and stretches the lips.  Who does not disdain boring speeches or an oratory that offends?  Anyone with the gift of oral communication knows good words and fair speeches can open pocketbooks and gets backslaps of praise.  No matter who skillfully employs their talent toward taking advantage of humanity’s bent toward rosy words and fair speeches, whether politician, teacher, preacher, or parent, is not into communicating truth, but is rather serving their own appetites.  Such an appetite feeds on a hunger for power, prestige, a receiving of praise, money, and security.  A politician seeks power, the greedy seeks money and security, a teacher looks for prestige behind his degrees, a parent wants to fit in socially, and a preacher may thirst for them all behind a show of false humility.

It would surely benefit every artisan employing good words and fair speeches to visit with the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans (Romans 16:17-19).  Written by one of the most informed and brilliant minds of his time, he nevertheless said to the Corinthian church, “And I, brethren,… came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit of Power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

The reverse reality, however, is that evil intent’s pleasant words and brilliant speeches can be divisive and treacherous, even as false humility drips honey from its words.  The only telling sign of such intent will be their content of doctrine–or perhaps their lack of it.  What are they not saying?  What are politicians, teachers, parents, books, news media, and preachers not telling us?  Does your senator say abortion traumatizes a mother?  Does your professor tell you evolution is only a theory and the creationists are winning the debates about it?  Does your parents tell you your peers are just as ignorant as you are about the issues of life?  Does your preacher frequently tell you plainly that Hell is a real place of eternal torment were God sends people who sin against his only begotten son?  Is your spiritual leader on backslapping terms with false doctrinaires and never tells you such falsehood can lead your soul to Hell?  Does he claim to be a minister of the Gospel but only tells you half of it? Such half truths become a door ajar, a window cracked, a covert passage where an enemy can slip in with a surprise.

Bearers of enchanting words and captivating oratory is not new.  Paul had to contend with them wherever he traveled and in every church he founded or visited.  In the very passage where he mentioned words and speeches, he admonished the Roman church to “Mark those who cause divisions and offenses contrary” to true doctrine (Romans 16:17).  They were to “avoid” them.  Far from unifying God’s true children, these “positive preachers,” these “I’m okay, you’re okay” charmers, these non-offensive, not to worry, sweet talkers were actually church splitters and truth killers on the hunt for self-aggrandizement; leeches, if you will, sucking the lifeblood from the innocents.  Paul and the other apostles showed little mercy for these predators, and straightly excommunicated them from their churches.

Verse 19 of Romans 16 reveals a stunning statement by Paul.  He says to these Roman believers, “I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.”  This brilliant man of God is telling these innocents that they should dwell on the truth of spiritual matters and be “simple,” that is, “pure” in their encounter with evil, so that “We henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). In brief, they should use their time to know of the goodness in God’s salvation, and keep in mind the simple fact that evil will damn one’s soul!  That, in a nutshell, is the Gospel.  Preachers who dwell only on the roses in their ministry, are misleading their hearers away from the acute fact that God is a God of pure justice and never tolerates willful sin, and that Hell awaits those who ignore it.  Judgment day will probably hold a shocking irony: some who were saved under such a ministry may be shocked to learn that the preacher who led them to God’s saving grace might miss heaven himself, because he preached a “feel good” substitute for his own comfort.  I heard a Godly pastor say, “Folks, in this church every service is a battleground between the forces of good and evil, where every soul hangs in the balance.”  That church found no place for feel-good sermons nor ear tickling speeches.  It was a place where sinners found it very hard to sit still; they usually either ran for the altar or the door.  Come to think of it, that description fits the early New Testament church perfectly!

The Gospel of Christ is so unutterably sample, so sweet and satisfying to the soul, that the beauty of it can be overlooked in our search for what we’re missing deep within ourselves.  Billy Graham described it best, “Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where he can find bread.”  You see, a system of theology has its place, but the lost at large have a deep hunger for simple peace and contentment of soul and body, not a tangled maze of theological analysis.  They are like sheep looking for a shepherd to lead them to luscious green pastures.  The simple seek the simplicity even a child can understand.  Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 19:14).  Just so, every pastor has a flock gathered round him innocently believing his good words and fair speeches.  They are trusting that he is telling them the whole truth, leaving nothing out, withholding no solemn warnings.  As the saying goes, they are “putty in his hands,” and God will hold such pastors fully accountable in judgment. Ministers should be reminded of the horrible end of the Jim Jones cult. He led them to a mass suicide of more than 900 followers!  Ministers had best preach the simple truth of the Gospel, all of it, leaving nothing out, service after service, and all for the right reason, in a spirit of humility, but with and by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Paul told the Galatian churches, which had grown cold and drifted from his original message, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8 ).  Admonitions to preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth do not come any stronger than that razored thrust from the Holy Spirit’s sword in Paul’s hand.  One need only to read Paul’s epistles to see the whole of what he had preached to these Galatians.  It is all there!  In brief, he preached Christ’s life, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, the sending back the Comforter on the day of Pentecost, the Pentecostal order of the church, bodily healing, miracles, deliverance from demons, the return of Christ, the final judgment, purity of living, and the horror of Hell.  He left nothing out!

That, friends, is the whole Gospel truth.  Therefore, any preacher or teacher who claims to be a minister of the Gospel but fails to preach it all virtually every time he steps behind a pulpit or Bible class is indeed guilty of “Good words and fair speeches,” and is in grave danger of Paul’s “accursed.” No, the genuine ministry of the Gospel is not for sissies, the fearful, or the cautious.  It can get one burned at the stake or decapitated.  It can get one thrown out of a church, reduced to poverty, or deprive one of friends and even family.  Ask Jeremiah.

But there is yet more here than we want to think: we just finished quoting Galatians 1:8 above, but look at verse nine.  Paul is not kidding in verse eight about the “accursed” part, for he says the same thing again.  He fully intended that any “other” gospel than his is “accursed.”  We tend to think “erroneous gospel” is meant, and it is included, but to preach only a part of Paul’s Gospel is indeed “another gospel” because it is theft of the whole truth!  To preach Christ but not his resurrection is “another gospel.”  Preaching only the grace of Christ but ignoring the wrath of God’s Hell-fire judgment for those who reject him, is only half the truth, better described as a “feel-good” gospel.  To focus on going to heaven while ignoring the vital peculiarity of living a holy life above sin is to lead innocent Christians to Satan’ s slaughterhouse.  God said flatly, “Be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).  Pushing the idea of Gospel evangelism while stealing the  infilling of the Comforter of Acts 2 is like sending innocent children into battle alone.  Such peanut gospels Paul pronounced “accursed,” and pulpiteers would do well to remember that.  Hell’s fires will be hottest for those who for selfish reasons won’t enter themselves, but who stand in the way of those who would enter, but can’t because of wolves in sheep’s clothing standing squarely in the way to the whole truth of the Gospel (Acts 20:27-30).

DA

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You Be The Judge

This article is bound to make a lot of saints and sinners bristle like porcupines! It is really politically incorrect across the board. Like so many Scriptural truths, liberals love to warp this one and use it as a bat to bloody conservative Christians. The following quotes are constantly on the lips of Christ’s enemies, as well as loose Christians trying to justify their indulgent lifestyles. It is favored by youth, but it is also common to hear it from pulpits.

“I’m not trying to be judgmental, but…”
“Hey! Who are you to judge?”
“It isn’t my place to judge others!”
“Just who does he think he is, judging others?”
“Look at him. He’s one of those Christians who looks down his nose at others.”
“She’s one of those goody‑goody two-shoes in her self­-righteous robes.”

A lot of Christians, who are prone to embracing anyone and anything from any organization having a shingle outside claiming Christian leanings are apt to say, “well, they are all part of the body of Christ; I’m supposed to love and embrace them, not judge them. That’s God’s business, not mine.”

We love to cite Jesus’ famous words, “Judge not that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt. 7:1,2). And so we abuse those words as an excuse to be on backslapping terms with error. Such practice is far better known as compromise. As Rodney King said, “Can’t we just all get along?”

Friends, we need a vigorous shaking back to reality! The human act of judging is actually a vital function of the free will God saw fit to install in all of us. That’s right, He created as to be judgmental! Our free wills, for instance, have the power to simply quit eating, but good judgment tells us to stop such lunacy before we starve to death. The raw nature in us forces the making of judgment calls about everything around us, and we do it all our lives. That’s one thing we have no choice about – every choice is a judgment call simply because the base nature of choice is evaluation which by definition means judgment, and we are stuck with doing it constantly to survive.

That truth is so simple to demonstrate it borders on the absurd: try being in a room where someone suddenly whips out a stick of dynamite and lights the fuse. Quite suddenly judgment will flood the room! Nary a soul will find themselves saying, “now let’s not be judgmental about this.” How stupid is that! No! Nobody is going to run over and embrace this nut and look pitiful and say, “now, let’s all be patient with him and give him time to think carefully about what he’s doing.” Not a chance! Jesus said, “judge righteous judgment” ( John 7:24), and here’s a case where it had better be a fanatical righteous! I have a hunch human sanity would flood that room. And when everyone but the bomber had fled the scene and the whole house blows to smithereens, there’s hardly a question that everyone will be glad they exercised good judgment and nearly got trampled getting out of there!

Friends, Christian sanity dictates that we had better learn the fine art of being judgmental, because that is exactly what Judgment Day is all about! That’s where accounts will be settled as to whether or not we were obedient to Jesus’ command of, “judge righteous judgment.” We all know this by sheer instinct because every time we say such things as, “I misjudged him,” or “I made an error in judgment” we are admitting that without the error we would have “judged righteous judgment.”

The church has foolishly misconstrued Matt. 7:1,2 to say that Christians are not supposed to judge the behavior of others. It’s a typical case of ripping a passage out of its context to justify keeping our mouths shut at evil. Instead, what this passage teaches God’s people is to live a holy life before our holy God. Simply put, if you’re living like the Devil yourself, then stop running around accusing others of it. Verse 3 of Matt. 7 says exactly that. If our lives are laced with sinful behavior while we point a crooked finger of accusation at somebody else, then Jesus starkly characterizes us: He calls us hypocrites! (v.5). That’s the pure essence of verses one and two. The inferred truth here is that we should live holy lives before God so that no grounds of accusation exists. It should be said of God’s people in fair judicial proceedings that no fault is found in us. Paul could say, “Be ye followers of me as I also am of Christ” (I Cor 11:1), not that he was perfect, but that he willfully lived a life above reproach. In that capacity Paul ‑‑ and we ‑‑ are in a position qualifying us to exercise “righteous judgment.”

Passages in the New Testament where God’s people exercised judgment of others are so numerous it is monotony to dwell on them! Paul judged Peter’s behavior, (Gal. 2:11); he also judged Mark’s (Acts 15:38); Paul and Barnabas judged each other in a dispute (Acts 15:39); Paul judged the behavior of the Corinthians (I Cor 5). Peter came down on false doctrine; so did James; Peter, Paul, James, and John. In fact, every New Testament writer exercised judgmentalism upon each other, against erroneous doctrine, against troublemakers, against churches, and a lot more. It came natural with them in order to achieve righteous outcomes. Sometimes they were right, sometimes they were wrong, but judge they did because it was necessary.

In first Corinthians 5 and 6 Paul deals with a troublemaker in the Corinthian church. He called upon the church to exercise righteous judgment against this troublemaker,  to cast him out from among them, if you please! But what if they had assumed the role of some of today’s Christians? Hear the empty-headed excuse, “Oh, but who am I to judge? It’s not my place to judge him!” The result would have been a lowdown rascal, right there rubbing shoulders with them, who was sleeping with “His father’s wife!”

Paul says in chapter 6 verse 2 that the “Saints shall judge the world,” and so, his logic goes, “Are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” Friends, Paul blatantly taught that upright Christians are actually to be judgmental against bad behavior. That is our job! This old business of letting evil alone to do it’s thing among us is bad ‑really bad! And until God’s people rise up out of our own unholy behavior and call sin, sin and take firm action against it, sin will be the leaven that finally permeates the whole batter, turning the church into a social club instead of a righteous billyclub with which God’s purpose can be achieved. That billyclub is the uncontaminated, uncompromising, all powerful, Devil driving, life changing, pristine Word of the living God!

Now let’s put all of this into perspective. A lot has been said by saint and sinner about a “holier than thou” attitude. In fact, God had to chide Israel for that very thing, as shown in Isaiah 65:2‑5. James warned the church about arrogance and favoritism, as seen in James 2:2‑4. Proverbs names “a proud look” as the list‑topper of what God hates (Proverbs 6:17). Paul wrote the Corinthians, “They measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (11 Cor. 10:12). The context of all of these is the subject of judging others. The thing we seem bent on missing, however, is the plethora of passages assigning judgment to the saints. We cited a few of them earlier.

Jesus said, “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5: 5). He also said, “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33). In view of such statements, He didn’t mince words about what he expected of his church in the world he had overcome: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you  alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28: 199 20).  But we should take special note of verse 18: “… all power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth.” There it is: The saints are commissioned to take the planet for Christ.

Are we so blind that we cannot see that the mission commanded of the church is to Christianize the whole planet? The begging question then is this: if the church should obey and accomplish that task, who would then be in authority on the earth? That is, who would be occupying seats of judgment? The saints, of course, under the headship of Christ!

But let’s be clear: the meek shall inherit the earth. The haughty and proud will not “judge righteous judgment” now or later. Jesus went out of his way to demonstrate humility. God’s very Son even washed dirty feet! He said we should sit at the lowest seat and allow the host to seat us where he would have us sit, according to his estimation of our importance. (Luke 14: 8‑11). And there was the story of the lowly widow’s two mites. Jesus said this humble servant cast in more than all the others (Luke 21: 2, 3). Yes, the meek shall wind up in charge under Christ’s headship.

So these are the rules if we would judge, but never let it be said that Christians should not be judgmental in matters of right and wrong. But we had better judge our own hearts to see if we have any beams in our own eyes that need casting out first. The question is therefore not should we judge others; rather, it is who among us is worthy to do it? Are you? Look at your own life, and then cast the first stone. You can be a judge of others if you meet the qualifications. Trouble is, if God’s people fail to live above reproach themselves, then who is going to collar the sin and error that paralyzes God’s intentions? If you do qualify but you hold your tongue from judging righteous judgment, then you are yourself a partner and propagator of the sins that run like septic in the streets! God’s judgment will not go well with you.
DA

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The Secret of Ignorance

“…Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7).

There is a line in the movie, Love Comes Softly, in which little Missie says to grown-up Marty, “How did you get to be so old and not know how to do nuthin?” In this metaphor is an amazing human truth. Here we are existing in a world of overwhelming phenomenon of displays so vast, so high, so deep, so complex, so magnificent, bewildering, awesome, altogether a place where we are born, grow to live most of a century, all the time ever learning in an environment sufficient for a thousand or more learning lifetimes, and yet, despite such a fact, most of us are “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth!” Pray tell, how is that even possible?

This is crazy! Besides all the mind-numbing things mentioned above, Christianity alone possesses and promotes the Holy Scriptures, God’s revelation as to who He is, who we are, where we came from, where we’re heading, and precisely how every scrap of reality we hear, see, and experience came to be in the first place. And yet we read that many of us, not a few, are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth!” Imagine it! Truth’s reality is so present, relevant, and persistent that it leaves us as road-kill on life’s highway, and yet, for all our learning we still exist in stone ignorance of it! It just seems too bizarre to even think about!

This article will be published on an Internet blog where potentially millions of eyes and ears of all walks of life all over the globe can see and hear life-transforming truths which, applied, would bring peace, joy, and happiness in this life and finally in Heaven itself. And yet all but a tiny fraction of them will say something like, “Hmmmm, interesting. Oh well, off I go to another opinion.” Even that comment itself is very interesting. You see, such a person reads my articles as a gathering of information, much like a carefree person merrily going through the countryside picking flowers,eating berries, sniffing this and that in fascination of the world around them in a sensual experiment of existence, all with a view toward satisfying their inquisitive senses. Perhaps among all the things they touched, smelled, and tasted in such a process, was one item of deadly poison such as hemlock or

some other threat. But having sampled them all, their cluttered mind prevents them from having a clue of which one brought them to ruin. In a very real sense such a person would be “ever learning,” but if just one sampling was deadly, it could also be said they were stone ignorant after all.

Consider, for example, the enormous, impossible complexity of just one American Space Shuttle. Just imagine every tiny screw, rivet, gear, wire, component, panel, and tile, plus all the man hours expended to design and build it, the years of planning, the mountain of paperwork, all the training of the crew, the special fuels to operate it, and on and on. Regardless of all of that, it takes just one tiny flaw in one tiny tile to incinerate it all in a split second in a fiery streak across the night sky. All is lost because of just one tiny mistake, perhaps by a worker who foolishly took a shortcut in workmanship in order to get off early and attend a party.

Friends, when it comes to the human soul, though, all of the above pales in comparison to the eternal loss of just one of them, due to a simple failure to act on just one vital spiritual truth. It matters not one whit what the reason for the failure may be. A loss is a loss, and in this case one cannot shrug, get over it, and go on. The loss is a fiery streak across eternity that never burns out! So declare the Scriptures in plain language for all to read and consider. Those truths are not optional nor negotiable in any degree. It is just one way or nothing. As one minister puts it, “God is not saying, ‘lets make a deal.’ He’s saying, ‘This is the deal.'” If he’s right, then nothing else matters. It is time to quit sampling, smelling, tasting, and feeling, and start eating something in which there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Having made that point, let us ask why there are so many “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” The answer is in the context of that passage of Scripture. II Timothy 3:1-9 speaks of a “last days” list of human characteristics. I urge the reader to read them. We see there utter selfishness at work. “Lovers of their own selves…unthankful, unholy…proud…without natural affection…despisers of those that are good…lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…” But the striking truth here is that Paul is addressing the character of troublemakers that have invaded the church! Look around us; never in all church history was this more true than right now!

How, then, does this play out in reality before our very eyes? Here’s how: Consider first of all that “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Such selfish vanity feasts on the craving to be seen and heard. The global movie industries, especially Hollywood, enjoy a flood of wealth in offering icons for viewers whose vanity is unfulfilled, and so they identify vicariously with trained fakers. Identical to this, sports venues also offer vicarious fulfillment to those addicted to the games. This belongs to those “Lovers of pleasures” in Paul’s epistle to Timothy.

Today’s society is glutted with couch potatoes, movie goers, video gamers, book-aholics, faithful followers of the television Discovery, News, and Education channels, besides rabidly absorbing their lives with computers and the world wide Internet. A favorite among them is every form of pornography, readily available. Truly, this is the epitome of “ever learning,” but of things that can never bring them “to the knowledge of the truth.” Instead, such venues contribute heavily to being “lovers of their own selves,” to the mind of being, “unthankful, unholy,” to being “proud,” to being, “without natural affection.” A multitude in the church are guilty of these, and so sit in church with, “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” Sadly, especially the church youth through such exposure and peer pressure become well educated to be “despisers of those that are good,” meaning serious Christians, elders, parents, and anyone else who try to maintain a standard of godliness and holiness in a wicked world, and so suffer persecution from the very souls they care most about.

And so the secret of ignorance exists with those who engage in one or all of that, then sit around jawing about it in an egotistical “form of godliness,” without having humbly dropped before God’s throne as dead in a pitiful heap! This in spite of the fact that every last one of us have absolutely nothing to brag about when we consider who we are, where we were dragged from, and just how utterly helpless we were until God in His mercy had His only begotten, holy, spotless Son brutally slaughtered on our behalf, and delivered us from an eternal doom in Hell. There is absolutely no place in God’s Kingdom for starched britches, fused spines, nor prideful, selfish, debating boneheads! We must be humble, clean, repentant. We must be meek, lovers of God, and really, I say REALLY, feel ourselves to be as Paul put it, “Less than the least of all the saints” (Ephesians 3:8), in which Paul, in the Greek, stacked the comparative case on the superlative case to describe how utterly low-down he felt before God.

So let me ask this: Do you honestly know enough about the secret of ignorance to avoid it? Or are you one of it’s practitioners? You cannot hide the answer to that question—God is listening carefully to YOU!

DA

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How To Sow, How To Reap

How casually Christians mention God’s law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7)! Nevertheless, how solemnly we owe this law our undivided attention, for this universal law of God is an astonishing phenomenon. It is anything but casual! Treating it so loosely before our Creator is a telling measure of our true spiritual condition before Him.

The trap is in how we think about it. We want to treat it in a straight line of past and present without mixture. How often have we heard the saying, “The past is the past, so let’s forget the past and look to the future”? Such is the stuff of New Year’s resolutions. We fail to consider that our past behavior is the very reason we resolve to behave in a different manner. Worse, we fail to seriously consider that as we launch and practice our new behavior we have to deal with last year’s behavior! It is by no means a simple matter.

It is also erroneous thinking to assume sowing is something we consciously work up and execute, as if there was a choice of whether to sow or not sow. No, just being consciously alive is sowing. Dead people no longer sow; the living cannot avoid it. We all sow. God has created time for us, a parenthesis in eternity, if you will, wherein the one and only option given us is the “what” of sowing, not “whether” to sow. Sowing and reaping, after all, is a God-created fixture of nature. It is the scientist’s cause and effect. It is our Creator’s process of natural selection by humanity’s gift of free choice. There is no better example of this than our modern grocery market. Every edible item in there is the product of sowing and reaping, with the heaviest emphasis on the chosen quality of what to sow, with a view to please those who judge it for desirability. It is phenomenal that people shop there amid such an illustration, but fail to apply it’s vital principles to our own lives.

Perhaps the reason is that thinking of it in depth strains our mental processes. You see, when it comes to God’s law of sowing and reaping, we would do well to bear in mind that God’s law fixes it so that the past and the present join hands in a perpetual meeting. As we daily live our lives, our past refuses to be left behind, and after we pass it, then, just when we thought we were through with it, it races by us and meets us from the future! The result is that in the identical time element that we are sowing, we are also reaping! Such is the stark realism of God’s law of sowing and reaping.

Quite naturally, detractors will object that when God forgives our sordid past He “casts it into His sea of forgetfulness,” they say,  to be remembered against us no more. Yes, that is an absolute truth of Scripture, although that quote is not a Scripture (there are many others with that meaning, such as Psalm 103:12). However, let us understand this. He is speaking of our sin against His Person. Yes, through salvation He wipes the slate clean of what separated us from His favor, but we go wrong in failing to consider that God’s forgiveness does not negate His established physical law of sowing and reaping. That might surprise many saints of God. However, I think we can all see that past recklessness in sin can create conditions that extend past salvation, all the way to our deathbed. A drunken spree can kill innocent people, resulting in a lifetime of regret. A poison tongue can make a lifelong enemy. Children, aborted, born out of wedlock, or maimed for life out of uncontrolled anger, is a painful memory. We only fool ourselves if we think our past sowing of thorns will not produce thorns to torment us, even if we cease sowing thorns and begin sowing wheat. Thus, with the blessings of the wheat, we must also deal with the thorns. Things will improve with time, of course, as we sow good seeds, but some thorns can needle us for a lifetime.

However, there is far more to this than we seem to think. You see, even though we receive God’s forgiveness for past sins, as we live in His forgiveness we may purposely or unknowingly sow questionable seeds. However, the manner or quality does not matter at all to God’s law of sowing and reaping, any more than it makes any difference as to the degree of our disobedience to His law of gravity. He causes His rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike (Matthew 5:45). Perhaps the deadliest seed Christians sow is pride, preventing us from rising to faith, but forcing us into alternate explanations to justify a lower level of faith. One familiar quote coming from this is, “If it be thy will,” which in itself is bad seed that must be reaped. We cannot reap from the God of the impossible what pride has determined that He denied us. We must therefore live with that lack. This same God promised His people, Israel, that if they sowed righteous seed, He would give to them, “As the days of Heaven on earth” (Deut. 11:21). Instead, they chose to sow bad seed and so reaped thorns—even as they claimed favor with God!

Another aspect of God’s law of sowing and reaping is the misconception that it is an individual matter. Perhaps it will emphasize that error if we see sowing and reaping from the purely physical law of cause and effect. A violent storm, for instance, is not just an individual matter, although it is that, but a city matter, or a state matter or, as it was with hurricane Katrina, a national matter. However, the difference between the law of physics and that of the spiritual is in the cause of it. The direct cause of a tsunami is not human ingenuity, but the devastation of war is. Adolf Hitler came to power at the will of the German people. A devious mayor can wreck a city; a corrupt father can bring a curse to his family, and a minister’s bad doctrine can poison the minds of one church or a whole denomination, and more. Yes, sowing and reaping blesses or curses individuals, families, cities, states, and nations. It can change a whole lifetime, national history, and even the final record of accomplishment of the entire planet. All of this through God’s law of sowing and reaping where the whole process balances on our own choice of the quality of what we sow. Again, we must sow, and what we reap depends exactly on our own choice of what to sow. So states the law, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Another objection surely to be mentioned is Paul’s statement that when we accept God’s offer of salvation, we are then a new creature and, “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2nd Corinthians 5:17). Yes, this is absolutely true of our spiritual being, but certainly not of our physical existence here in God’s world of sowing and reaping. Otherwise, at our salvation our new creature would spiritually and physically, instantly be perfection on the same order of Adam and Eve before they sinned. No, even Paul never made such a claim. In that verse, then, Paul meant a rebirth of our spirit, soul, and body, but our bodies must wait for the physical resurrection before we realize complete perfection. Until then, our redeemed spirit must make the perpetual decision to sacrifice our physical body to righteous living as we daily walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh (See Romans 8).

For these very reasons Christians of the past separated themselves from the world, even as they lived and worked among them, so as to sow good seed and to perpetuate it by teaching it to their children. Any person, family, church, city, or nation who fails at this have sown bad seeds and must reap thorns, as surely as gravity will grab the feet of anyone who leaps from a great height under the false notion that they can avoid the fall.

Therefore, in light of these things, how, exactly, should one sow and how should one reap? In answer to this question, never let it slip that we do not have the option of “if” we sow. If we have a pulse, we absolutely must sow and we absolutely must reap.

Sowing must be the first consideration because if we would change the quality of the harvest we must alter what we are sowing. What, exactly, is the one and only existing key to sowing good seed? It is this: We can only change our sowing by coming to recognize good seed. Friends, that is no easy matter. Back to the grocery store example: Just how do we think those quality, salable products reached those shelves? Like this: Hard work, dedication, study, diligence, testing, patience, careful observation, and plain old hard-earned experience. That’s how! It doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen through loose living, compromise and absenteeism. All of that is required for the walk in the Spirit instead of the flesh. We must force ourselves to sow against fleshly appetites for sensual pleasures. That walk does not come naturally, and so we must “Study to show thyself approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2nd Timothy 2:15). As Dr. D. James Kennedy wisely observed, “If you don’t study God’s Word, then I don’t know what you’re doing in church, for that’s what the church is all about.” We can sow seed that pleases God no other way at all, and only that seed produces a desirable crop.

How then should we reap? Again, bear in mind that reaping is not an option. We absolutely must reap even as we sow. Of course, reaping the fruits of good seed is a joy, but there are always those bad seeds we sowed earlier, which we must reap along with the good. Jesus called the bad crop “tares” which grew along with the wheat. He explained that they must grow together until the final harvest (judgment day) when they will all be reaped together, the wheat to be saved but the tares to be burned (Matthew 13). The lesson He taught is that both wheat and tares are a reality of life with which we must live. The context from which he drew this speaks of the importance of always sowing good seeds regardless of the tares that trouble us.

So here is the lesson we must learn if we expect to live the Christian life successfully: Our first and most crucial task is always to continue sowing good seed in the face of a bad crop which is always in the way and cripples us. We are to press forward in faith, calling upon God for strength and healing to overcome evil with good, and do it in all areas of our lives. Fainting at that is to discontinue sowing good seed, and to fall back on sowing bad seed—all of which we must reap! This can never be done through doctrinal compromise, or going along to get along in any way. It is a fight to the death until death, all the way, and never lets up. We must, as a godly pastor once said, “fight the Devil as long as I have strength, then bite him as long as I have teeth, then gum him until I die!” We must go ahead and take the beating, but then get up from the mud and go right back to sowing and reaping.

One final aspect of sowing: The planting of good seed is always self-sacrificing and blind. We sow for the purpose of reaping a good crop, but we ourselves might never see its fruits in this life. Therefore, we should simply sow out of love for God just because it is the right thing to do for Him, even if it appears that we sowed in vain. After all, God only equipped us to sow, not to germinate the seed and make it grow. God Himself will see to that in due season (“…but it is God that giveth the increase.” 1st Corinth. 3:6,7). It is especially important to keep these vital rules of sowing in mind when we sow into our youth activities, into our romances, into our marriage, into our offspring, into our health, into our employment, or into our politics, for therein lies the greatest potential for reaping ruin—usually sooner than we think. —DA

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What Christian Salvation Is Not

According to the Word of God there will be at least three categories of people who wind up in Hell’s eternal flames, such as those who understood the message of salvation but rejected it, or those who never heard the message but ignored their natural intuition to seek more truth. But by far the greater category will be those who allowed themselves to be deceived into thinking they were bound for an eternal Paradise, even as they were heading for an eternal Hell instead.

If we are going to understand how that happens, we must accept two vital peculiarities about the Word of God:
1.) God’s WORD is perfect because,
2.) GOD is perfect.
Perfection means absolute purity, righteousness, and holiness. As such, He cannot remain perfect if He tolerates the imperfect in any measure without a perfect Advocate between Himself and the opposite. Jesus Christ is that Perfect Advocate.

This immutable truth falls out to us this way: God’s truth, being absolutely perfect, cannot  be progressive. It never adapts to changing human society, but rather demands without apology that humanity adapt to His own immutable, inflexible standard of what is right and what is wrong. He even said of our relationship to Him, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). No matter what it is that humans do, whether in word, deed, custom, dress, artistry, poetry, music, occupation, politics, and especially church, they must conform to God’s holy, righteous, and perfect standards, or else it will miss the aims of His will every time.

Brought under God’s scrutiny, if it has even the very appearance of evil, then something is afoul of His standard of holiness. Do we see our reaction to this? Since our very depraved natures are afoul anyway, we are by nature attracted to worldly offers, and find ourselves all too easily led astray by our fleshly appetites, most especially in our taste in vision, preference in music, and quality of speech.

With the understanding that God’s Word is perfect and cannot be progressive with human society, it is reckless, yes, reckless, to dismiss so-called Old School Christians of yesteryear as being outdated, behind the times, and should be put aside now for the modern generations with new innovations for evangelizing. What such reckless mouths forget is that on every occasion when the church had an awakening (three in America alone!), they always had to go back to what former generations had already found out: That is, go back and “Do your first works over.” Frankly, until the newer generations manage to get the quality of results the older generations did, they should keep their mouths shut. After all, if they do get the same results it will be because they also went back to the first works of the perfect New Testament pattern. There is simply no other way, no matter what clamor we hear about New-School, Purpose Driven, or any other such nonsense.

God’s perfect Word is always present in God’s earth to show us the way. Like sheep, we need shepherds who will not only feed us all of God’s pure truth, but who are not afraid to crack rebellious knuckles. But God’s Word is crystal clear: Unlike sheep, even without a shepherd we are personally responsible for how we treat God’s holy Word.

Since creation, the world has always teemed with other books and/or false prophets. But only God’s Book has proven itself beyond measure to be the one and only solution to the voracious, ever-seeking, restless souls of humanity. It behooves us, then, to know and understand exactly what God has openly declared to be the truth about His offer of salvation to every soul. In answering that sobering question of eternal consequence, the direction of this article is to show what salvation is not.

~ ~ ~ Christian Salvation is not a thing of the head. This one perhaps accounts for the greater part of those who miss the truth of it. Here is where many well-meaning souls flake off into deception through intellectually cold calculation. Millions of souls have side-tracked into this stark land of granite monuments of facts and figures. Old Testament Jewry slipped into this legal minefield with the Mosaic Law, and a great host of New Testament Christians are there as well through the same legalistic mechanical treatment. Jesus said, “These things ye should have done, and not leave the other undone” (Luke 11:42), meaning they had missed the very personal spirit of God’s Word.

So often we hear about many coming forward to make “Decisions for Christ,” as though that many actually received God’s genuine salvation. Unfortunately, the actual statistics show only a smattering of those go on to serve God. Yes, many were convicted of sin, but few committed. It is one thing to come under conviction of the truth, but it is quite another to make it one’s own. Why? Because God also demands immediate repentance, a turning away from former sinful practices, and a turning toward a life of holiness. Frankly, few are willing to make that reverse of lifestyle. The lack of it openly declares their sincerity in the whole matter, and so they return to their old ways.

However, if the prospective convert can be convinced that one can be saved while continuing in much the same lifestyle as before, many times they will proceed into the good graces of the fellowship of a church of similar deceived Christians while assuming that God accepts such practices. But a church whose standards of Biblical holiness are lowered to keep saints comfortable will have an atmosphere more common to a community club membership. Such a church is best depicted as the intellectuals Paul encountered on Mars Hill (Acts 17). They were there only to “Hear some new thing.” The second nature of which is commonly called GOSSIP.

~ ~ ~ Christian Salvation is not unemotional! There is no such thing as half a human being, unless it is a corpse. True salvation involves one’s entire being—body, soul, and spirit. It is flatly impossible for one to go from a state of separation from one’s holy, perfect Creator to a state of unity with Him—the imperfect suddenly comes into union with the Perfect—without it impacting one’s emotional state in some way. If a healthy human cannot keep from flinching at a nearby unexpected explosion, or from the sudden news that one has gone from rags to riches, or from a myriad of other such surprising impacts, then one cannot prevent the same reaction to sudden peace and fellowship with one’s holy Creator. Frankly, a simple change of mind in our value system is not enough. Worldly people do that all the time. When we cease being one creature but suddenly wake up a new creature where “Old things are passed away…and all things are become new” (2 Corinth. 5:17), we are going to DO more than casually go on about our business.

If our conversion experience fails to make us feel saved, we would do well to question what we are calling “salvation.” By our very nature the feeling part of our salvation follows the spiritual. If we walk daily with God in proper fellowship, we will radiate peace, joy, and happiness, all of which show up in us as emotional expressions. And if that is not what we are showing, then we have probably left the Lords presence and have foolishly stepped onto the conveyor belt heading in the opposite direction.

~ ~ ~ Christian Salvation has no family ties: not social, tribal, communal, ecclesiastical,  or national; not inner circle, outer circle, political, clannish, marital, regional, ethnic, racial, for the poor, the rich, the healthy, the sickly—none of those things. While it is for all of those, it is not tied to any of them. Just because one may have connections with one or all of them, salvation does not depend on any of them. Instead, it is for individual, solitary persons ONLY, to take place inside the confines of their God-given free wills when he created us in His own image of freedom. Scripture makes it starkly clear that only individuals are judged on judgment day. This free-willed image of God in each of us means a person cannot claim a bad upbringing, ignorance, a tragedy, or holding a grudge against God for anything, as an excuse for not accepting God’s salvation. All of that lame tommyrot is swept away in God the Father’s seeing the sacrificial death of His only begotten Son as the one and only reason He doesn’t sweep all of sinful humanity into Hell anyhow! There is absolutely no excuse whatever He will accept for rejecting that sole sacrifice to save us. Yes, He is aware of human suffering, and has compassion on those who got cheated in life, but to all those who reach the age of accountability, God’s steady finger points at our noses saying something like, “You now freely stand in the land of golden opportunity, thanks to my merciful Son. My question to you demands an answer: What are YOU going to do about HIM?” All too often we fix on doctrines that focus only on His Son’s compassion, kindness, mercy, love, long suffering, and other such qualities in His Son. Sadly, we forget about His Father, who’s base attribute is holiness and justice, which gave rise to the work of His Son. When we consider salvation, we dare not fail to look beyond the Son to see His Father who stands ready to execute judgment on those who reject His dearly beloved Son. There is a very good reason to FEAR GOD. Just as surely as there is eternal life in the Son, there is eternal doom in the hands of His Father! As His Word warns, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God” (Heb. 10:31).

~ ~ ~ Christian Salvation is not an escape from trouble and persecution. Most Christians will agree with that. But most overlook the fact that it is MORE than NOT an escape from it. If the salvation is genuine, it will amount to a guaranteed SHORTCUT to trouble, especially persecution. The Word of God is specific to this: “They that live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). The word is emphatic: SHALL, not might. The only escape from it is the old adage of “go along to get along.” A stand for right will get you shot in an ally, or your head severed from your body, you and your family eaten by lions, a life of chains in the salt mines, worked to death as an oarsman in a Roman galley, burned at the stake, living life as a slave to a despot, dying of starvation, being burned alive in your church. The fortunate will be merely the object of gossip, peer pressure, finger pointing, whispering, fun poking, even a challenge to fisticuffs.

Why? Again, because of the free will in every human. We fail to consider that evil men have free wills created by God to be just as free in this world as good men. We all have it by natural instinct, and know we have it as surely as we know our head sits on our shoulders. God guarantees the free operation of that gift, whether for good or for evil. The free wills of the evil men of 911 flying that airliner into the twin towers, for a brief instant came eye to eye with the free wills of some Christians in the Tower. They all met in a flame of death and destruction because God guaranteed the free operation of both wills. The spiritual law of humanity’s free will in both brought them both to the ground by another of God’s natural laws which He guarantees to operate—gravity. When God’s people who accept His salvation and purposely put Him in charge of their lives, individually or as a nation, they become a bulwark against evil men. If not, God’s law of free will guarantees that “Evil men shall wax worse and worse” (2 Tim 3:13). Christians get themselves into a heap of trouble under the false notion of “God is in control,” meaning whatever evil takes power must be there because God’s providence pre-planned it and “allowed” it. Such error nullifies God’s mandate to His church to evangelize a lost world with the Good News of  genuine Salvation.
—DA

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Grace, Faith, and Hope

These are not three sisters, but three very vital Biblical concepts.

GRACE: God’s marvelous gift of a measure of grace (I Corinth. 1:4) actually comes down to the simple truth of our God-given freedom to choose for ourselves whether or not to serve God or to thumb our noses at Him. God’s grace built and maintains the living existence of our fleshly house, but He parked His control at the door because He allows US to LIVE in it. He leaves it to us to bless Him for the privilege, or curse the landlord if we think we can get by with it.

FAITH: The essence of faith is simply the free choice to believe the truth of God’s Word and promises, or to doubt them or reject them altogether. He made it starkly clear that “All things are possible to him that believeth,” (Mark 9:23) and that He is ready to give us “Days as of Heaven upon the earth” (Deut. 11:21), but He made it just as clear that the recipients have to be only those who believe Him (exercise faith) for it.

HOPE: Hope exists where something good is yet unrealized. It is born of faith, made possible by grace. GRACE is essentially God’s created image in us to think and decide for ourselves. FAITH is the belief for the receipt of God’s provisions, and HOPE is our patient waiting for the product of God’s grace and our faith. Grace is our endowment of free will, Faith is the activity of free will, and hope is the free will in waiting.

When we subject these three subjects to careful, merciless scrutiny until we arrive at their bare essence as they relate to our humanity, we finally arrive at the simple, obvious, self-known reality of our God-given attribute of free will. That part of us is a vital, essential, core quality of who all humans are. It is there by God’s gift of grace upon His decision to make man in His very own image of freedom. So long as God is free, we are also free. In fact, if we ever in this physical world cease having that core attribute, the entire human race will suddenly die in a pile! We can live with one leg or one arm, or even without good sense, but freedom to choose is a piece of our being just as much as our soul or spirit. Without God’s image within of free will we are all corpses—instantly!

It follows, then, that if we get the notion that once we use that freedom to accept God’s gracious gift of salvation but that we then lose the will to reject it, we have foolishly mocked the reality of God’s gift of freedom that makes us who we all are. It also follows that a natural by-product of such an erroneous concept is the “God is in control” misapplication that flourishes in Christendom today. Yes, God is in control of His natural laws, including the maintenance of His image in us, but He has made it starkly clear that He has put ourselves in control of our own freedom to choose. We truly reap what we sow. When we as a nation elect a madman to rule us, we turn God’s stomach when we justify it with, “Well, God is in control, so I guess this is God’s will.” Such a doctrine moves God even closer to letting us have our madman.

Without free will as an essential part of who we are all our natural lives, there is no such thing as “Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord…”(Isaiah 1:18), since all He would have to do is press a few buttons and we would automatically obey His own choice of whether we were to be a Paul or a Hitler. If God predicated our fate upon His own fore-ordained will, there would have been no reason for a Savior, since He declared openly in His Word that, “God is not willing that any should perish” (II Peter 3:9).

But the very essence of our God-installed freedom of will is our ability to choose for ourselves APART from God’s own will, and so freely suffer the consequences. It is the same whether our will is individually, corporately, a family, a church, a city, a nation, or a world of people. If this were not true, God would have had no inspiration to urge the Apostle John to even write the Book of Revelation, which describes the consequences.
DA

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How To Give A Compliment

A compliment is the act of verbally expressing sincere respect to another, either in their person, or in their ability, or in their position. Scripture is quite clear about this. Therefore:

~Show me a person who will not freely praise God, and I’ll show you a person who will not freely compliment others.
~ Show me a church who does not compliment their pastor, and I’ll show you a weary pastor.
~ Show me a supervisor who will not compliment his workers, and I’ll show you a company in trouble.
~ Show me a politician who will not compliment his constituents, and I’ll show you a candidate in trouble at the polls.
~ Show me a person who will not reward their animal, and I’ll show you an animal you cannot trust.
~ Show me a man who will not compliment his wife, and I’ll show you an unhappy wife.
~ Show me a wife who will not compliment her husband, and I’ll show you a struggling husband to return the favor.
~ Show me a person who compliments in order to receive praise, and I’ll show you a person soon without friends.
~ Show me youth who will not compliment their parents and elders, and I’ll show you youth hard at work building their own unhappiness.
~ Show me parents who will not compliment their own offspring, and I’ll show you offspring being taught to wound their own.
~ Show me the head of a home who never compliments, and I’ll show you a home turned on its head.
~ Show me a nation that refuses to honor God, and soon there will not be a nation there to show me.

Why are all of these statements true? It’s because their foundation sits squarely on the human ability to be selfish, or to be unselfish. It’s as simple as that. Selfishness always demands an in-flow of personal backslapping praise, while non-selfishness always requires an out-flow of sacrificial respect for others. Stated in brief, it is the old truth of James 3:10 of blessing and cursing coming from that same hole under our noses. Meaning, persons who will not humble themselves to give compliments is completely immersed in their own selfish pride, and instead expects that pride to be fed. Conversely, a person who does compliment is one who steps away from cursing by blessing others. The first instance we find true to our carnal nature; the second we find unnatural unless we purposely choose to reflect the love of God.

Giving is not a natural act with human depravity, which is totally grounded in selfishness. One can give, yes, but what for? A compliment is a gift, but Jesus pointed out that if we do “good,” or “lend,” (same as giving) for the purpose of receiving back in kind, then we are no better than sinners and enemies. Rather, we should give “hoping for nothing in return,” if we expect to be called God’s children (Luke 6:32-35). Frankly, if we go through life failing to give honor where honor is due, refusing to give praise to those we love, then Scripture itself calls into question our very loyalty to God Himself! It behooves us, then, to cease cursing by inflow, and begin blessing by outflow; to stop receiving and start giving, and this in obedience to God because it is simply the right thing to do, whether or not we even want to or feel like it. And if we buy the old John Wayne image of “It’s not my way,” we’d better dump that wimpy excuse and stand tall as Christian stalwarts.

Again, a true compliment is an unselfish act. Once delivered, it should be left alone, expecting no return of any kind. The Bible calls the giving of praise the fruit of our lips ( Heb. 13:15). It is a sacrifice of one’s self, and the expectation of a return is to retrieve the sacrifice from the altar and to consume it ourselves. All humanity is told, “In Him we live and move and have our being,” (Acts 17:28), that is, the air we breathe belongs to Him. Therefore, “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8).

But some will surely say of the person to be complimented that there is nothing there worthy of compliment. This is ludicrous. The Hippie culture had only one song with even a grain of truth in it: “Everything is beautiful, in it’s own way.” Why? Because each person exists by the creative hand of our PERFECT God, even if they are born in sin. Try telling a Hitler’s mother she just gave birth to a murdering demon. On a milder note, a husband might compare his wife to a Hollywood super-model and decide in his warped mind that there’s nothing to compliment. Well, how about, “Honey, you must be a woman of pristine character to choose to marry the likes of me.” Or, if she is truly homely, try, “Sweetheart, you might not be the most beautiful woman in the world (which she already knows), but you are certainly the most beautiful woman in MY world.” If she isn’t, that man needs to stop negotiating with her and let God turn him right side out, since his own homeliness is a disgusting sight.

I suppose we should not be surprised at our present unthankful generations. After all, they were born and nourished in a society whose very music itself is a protest to common, quiet Christian decency. Music in one’s face is going to miss the heart. Shattering the eardrums deafens one to God’s “still, small voice.” Screaming and yelling chokes the “sincere milk of the Word.”

Certified barbarians graduate daily from our public schools and universities, diligently trained in godless evolutionary brainwash where Christian thought is banned—barbarians, because godlessness equals Freudian egoism of self-centeredness. This produces Hollywood sitcoms closely related to the sport of dog fighting, emulated in the viewers of such trash, all surfacing in children with firearms that turns schoolrooms into execution chambers. Even our welfare children grow fat on free delicacies, eat like royalty, wear designer jeans, afford expensive hairdos, own i-phones, are never denied, always receiving, never thankful, and instantly ready to curse anyone who dares withhold it from them. Such a society had better remember that God does indeed grow weary of such selfish, foolish people, and turns over those tables of delicacies and unfurls his dreaded whip. Many an affluent people have learned the hard way how to dig in the garbage heaps while in rags. Some of those were people claiming His name, but shaming His righteous standards.

Is it any wonder his Word tells us that in the last days would come a generation who were “unthankful,” and “unholy?” I must point out quite candidly, that anyone, Christian or not, contributing to such a spoiled, brattish society by denying them the Christian refinement of compliment will one day have to survive a social pig sty, and finally be hauled into God’s court of justice for such neglect. Therefore:

~ Show me a world who thumbs its nose at God, and I’ll show you the world described in The Book of Revelation.

So how does one give a compliment? Actually, there’s no long, complicated secret to it. All one has to do is open one’s mouth and let it go. But I must warn you in case you’re not ready for this: First you have to swallow that big wad of chewing gum called PRIDE!

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