The Apple Of God's Eye

July 31, 2011

God’s Required Qualifications For Grace!

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Some Christians believe we should still keep much if not all of the law. Some say that because Jesus fulfilled the law we are not bound at all to any of it. Like most polarizing issues, a right understanding is found in allowing God to guide our Bible study.

.There is a distinction between a birthright and grace we ought to understand. A birthright is normally passed on from father to eldest son. There are no conditions which the recipient is required to meet. The son does nothing to qualify for it. He receives it as his right for no other reason than he happened to be born his father’s son. He has a right to it without earning it or qualifying to be worthy of it. He could however, disqualify himself to keep, or even to receive it.

But the gift of immortality received by grace does have qualifying conditions. It is not your right, or mine, to receive the gift of eternal life. Think what conditions would result if it were. A rebellious, defiant, hostile, God-hating criminal or atheist could shake his fist at God and say:

“Look, God! I hate you. I defy you! I refuse to obey you! But I demand your gift of eternal life! It’s my right! I want to receive all the power of a son of God, so that I can use that power to oppose you! I want to make your family a house divided against itself. I will cause friction, hostility, hatred, unhappiness among all your children. I demand that power, as your gift, as my right, so that I may abuse that power – use it for evil!” (more…)

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February 1, 2011

Catholic Church: Arrogant, Corrupt, Secretive And Evil

Filed under: Catholic Church — melchia @ 7:31 am
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Editors Comment: Pope Benedict was drawn directly into the massive sex scandal involving his church after it was claimed that a paedophile cleric was able to continue offending after the pontiff, then Archbishop of Munich, decided to send him for therapy, rather than report him to police. According to the Times Online, not long after this priest was accused of the sexual abuse of  three boys in 1979, he was offered a new home in Munich by Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI. Ratzinger wanted Father Peter Hullermann to undergo psychotherapy. A psychiatrist concluded that Hullermann was untreatable, however.

So what happened? Believe it or not, Huth’s warning was ignored and this deviant priest was allowed to return to pastoral work in a local state school where he again abused boys. Of course he was again convicted of the sexual abuse of minors. But even that was not the end of his time in the church. He continued working with altar boys, and he was still working as a priest right up to 2010, when he was suspended from a Bavarian tourist resort for breaching a church order in 2008 to avoid any involvement with children.

Priests in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico and in the Pope’s former diocese in Germany have been accused of mistreating children. In the Netherlands, a spokesman for the Dutch church said that more than 1,100 allegations of paedophilia committed by clergy since 1950 have emerged this month. The Swiss Catholic Church is examining at least nine “serious” cases of suspected sexual abuse or harassment during the past six years. They are among 60 reported cases of sexual impropriety by Swiss priests or lay Catholics over the past 15 years.

The Rev Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at Georgetown University and the author of Inside the Vatican warned that the sex abuse scandal will only worsen, with thousands more cases likely to emerge across Europe. Similar claims have come from Canada and America (The Telegraph).

This unholy saga raises serious questions about the Catholic Church, which seems more intent on the protection of  the entity as a whole, rather than on the welfare of those it serves. Read the shocking article below to find out more on this subject.

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Arrogant, corrupt, secretive – the Catholic church failed to tackle evil

The Guardian, March 21, 2010

telegraph.co.uk

The cover-up of child sexual abuse by the Catholic church is not about sex and it is not about Catholicism. It is not, as Pope Benedict rightly argued in yesterday’s distressingly bland pastoral letter, about priestly celibacy. It is about power.

The urge to prey on children is not confined to the supposedly celibate clergy and exists in all walks of life. We know that it can become systemic in state and voluntary, as well as in religious, institutions. We know that all kinds of organisations – from banks to political movements – can generate a culture of perverted loyalty in which otherwise decent people will collude in crimes “for the greater good”.

In none of these respects is the Catholic church unique. What makes it different – and what gives this crisis its depth – is the church’s power. It had the authority, indeed the majesty, to compel victims and their families to collude in their own abuse and to keep hideous crimes secret for decades. It is that system of authority that is at the heart of the corruption. And that is why Benedict’s pastoral letter, for all its expressions of “shame and remorse”, is unable to deal with the central issue. The only adequate response to the crisis is a fundamental questioning of the closed, hierarchical power system of which the pope himself is the apex and the embodiment. It was never remotely likely that Benedict would be able to understand those questions, let alone answer them.

It is this contradiction that explains why the church has been trying, and failing, to put the abuse crisis behind it for well over a decade now. There is something symbolically apt, for example, about the way the grotesque figure of the dead paedophile, Father Brendan Smyth, has returned to threaten the position of the head of the Irish church, Cardinal Sean Brady.

Smyth emerged as a public figure in 1994, when he was convicted in Belfast after almost half a century of child abuse. He almost destroyed the reputation of Brady’s predecessor, Cahal Daly. He even contributed to the fall of Albert Reynolds’s government in 1994. It makes a kind of grim sense that his horrific career, and the failure of the church to take any real steps to stop him, has re-emerged to haunt another cardinal. (more…)

May 2, 2010

Effective, Fervent Prayer: Deepening Our Relationship With God

denniscesone.blogspot.com

Praying is getting to know God because we communicate with Him. Christians should pray daily and as often as possible. Besides equipping ourselves with the armour of God, prayer is the essential element that keeps the armour strong. (Eph. 6:18)

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the great jewels of the Bible. Every verse has deep meaning and hows us how to pray effectively to have a life filled with the love, faith and power of God.

Tithe Your Time In Prayer

Luke 11:2-4 is what we commonly call the Lord’s prayer and shows how Jesus Christ gave His disciples lessons in effective prayer.

We should give God a tithe and offering of our time. There are 1440 minutes each day, which means 144 minutes each day to God – giving 48 minutes of prayer, meditation and study. Throw in an offering of 12 minutes, and we have 1 hour of each daily. A Christian needs 1 hour of prayer daily to win the battle against Satan, the world and himself. (more…)

October 3, 2009

The World's Deadliest Weapon!

1What is the world’s most devastating weapon? Most people would probably say the H-bomb. Some might say the cobalt bomb. Others may point to a rumored laser bomb, a doomsday device, or even chemical and biological weapons. But none of these is right!

There is another weapon that every man carries around with him daily. It is with him when he gets up in the morning and shaves. It is with him when he goes to sleep at night. This weapon is not just some theoretical device which has never been used. In the history of mankind, it has been responsible — directly or indirectly — for the deaths of multiple millions!
But men have no monopoly on this weapon. Women also use it quite consistently — often to devastating effect.

The Worst Weapon in the World

What is this horrible weapon? It is the human tongue! Men have misused the tongue. They have turned it into a “world of iniquity.” Notice what God’s Word says:

“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell [gehenna — or the lake of fire]. “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3 :5-10).

The tongue, as these verses show, does not have to be a deadly weapon. When used correctly, it can be a wonderful tool for great good! But unfortunately, too few people have learned how to properly control it! Most often the tongue is used as an unguided missile which explodes upon the object of its aim with deadly effect.

How This Weapon Is Used

There are many wrong uses of the tongue. But perhaps the most dangerous and harmful of all is gossip. Gossip can do more damage and create more division than nearly any other activity.

In a study by Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D., entitled, “What Gossiping Reveals About You,” some interesting answers are brought to light. Doctor Rubin found that women have no priority on gossip! Men gossip just as much. “In fact, nearly everyone gossips to some extent, but some people carry it too far. To them, gossip becomes a chronic way of life that cannot be altered without psychiatric help.”

Some men and women are “chronic mouthmovers.” They must either eat or talk. And many times they gossip just to keep their mouths moving — spouting a steady stream of words.

Boredom and apathy also breed gossip. Idle talk becomes a filler to compensate for empty hours. Lonely people whose lives have become dull and devoid of interests use gossip as a form of reaching out or relating.

God’s Word shows idleness to be indeed one of the major causes leading to gossip. Speaking of younger widows, Paul says, “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they aught not” (I Tim. 5:13).

Malicious Gossip

“Repressed anger is perhaps the most common cause of malicious gossip,” says Dr. Rubin. He goes on to explain that many people cannot admit their anger toward someone else. So they disguise it. They release their venom in the form of deadly gossip — hatred and murder (I John 3:15) in the form of words! They seek to destroy through the spoken word!

God’s Word bears this out: “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool” (Prov. 10:18). Also God says, “He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him” (Prov. 26:24). And again, in verse 28 of the same chapter, “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.”

Jealousy and envy are also common motives for gossip. Says Dr. Rubin, “The object of gossip is to put down that person so as to remove the craving for what that person owns.” When we put down another person, we think we are raising ourselves. This is sheer vanity!

Have you ever envied another person? Have you been jealous of the things someone else possessed or the prestige of his position? We would all have to admit that at some time we have. When we did, we found ourselves tempted to speak evil of others. We wanted to impute motives and make insinuating remarks. We tried to excuse our stations in life in comparison with theirs by implying evil — gossiping. Subconsciously we wanted to “put them down” verbally — thus exalting our own self-image.

Tales CAN Hurt!

The Bible plainly tells us that words can — and often do — cause damage. Notice: “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth” (Prov. 26:20). In verse 22 God says further, “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”

Yes, words can hurt — they can hurt one’s reputation; they can hurt a person’s health; they can hurt friends; and they can hurt the one who misuses them himself! God certainly minces no words here. He tells us plainly how destructive the use of the tongue can be. Its use in spitting out thoughtless or mischievous words may cause irreparable damage to someone’s entire life!

The misuse of the tongue can cause serious offense. Notice what Solomon wrote: “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city…” (Prov. 18:19). How often have you “let fly” with your mouth and offended somebody else?

An Incredible Paradox

How can men praise God — stand in Church and sing praises to God, and lead in prayers over their family table and in Church — and at the same time speak evil from motives of repressed anger or envy of their brothers in the Church? Blessing and cursing comes from the same mouth. God says these things ought not to be! (James 3:10.)

“He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge” (James 4:11).

How many are using their tongues for a wrong purpose while claiming to belong to the body of Christ to help proclaim God’s Word to the world? Again, God commands, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings… grow …” (I Peter 2:1-2).

This is the way to preserve your life. God explains, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile (I Peter 3:10).

We must not tolerate gossip and the tearing down of others through malicious, evil words. “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26).

What Not to Say

Some will say that they do not gossip — they merely tell “the truth.” Thus, they feel that in telling “the truth” they are justified! But they fail to realize that the Bible defines a gossiper as one who not only speaks lies, but also repeats evil — even if it is “the truth” — when and where it is none of his business, or the business of the listener! You don’t always have to tell something just because you know it! Many things are far better left unsaid, even though they are true.

There are many things which are better forgotten. Says the Apostle Paul: “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Eph. 5:12).

Whenever you repeat any information about an evil deed to someone who should not be involved and has no business knowing, then you are gossiping. When you talk about anyone’s faults to someone who can do nothing about them, you are gossiping. Even when you repeat the truth — whether that truth is about an evil deed or sin — to a person who is merely a bystander, you are gossiping.

Gossip, naturally, also takes the form of misinformation. To imply motives, or to insinuate untruths, is gossip and lying. This kind of gossip is absolutely forbidden in the Bible because of its devastating effects. “He that covers a transgression seeks love; but he that repeats a matter separates friends” (Prov. 17:9).

How to Conquer Gossip

What can you do about gossip? How can you overcome this abominable habit in yourself? There is something you can do personally. You can begin an active campaign against gossip by stopping it at its source!

Here’s how. First, learn to recognize gossip in your own conversation. There will be many limes when you will be so absorbed in conversation that you will not realize you are actually gossiping. However, after the talk is over, you can look back and see where you gossiped. Once you apply your mind to analyzing your own words, you can catch yourself while talking. Then, as you are conscious of your words — which we certainly should be, since we are going to be judged by them — you will finally begin to think BEFORE you speak! (Prov. 15:28.)

Second, REPENT of gossip. Don’t take it lightly. You will never overcome gossip until you are deeply convinced of its evil. Most people, after they’ve gossiped, just shrug their shoulders saying, “Well, I guess I really should not have said those things, but. …”

Go to God on your knees. Realize the seriousness of gossiping. Ask God to forgive you for your attitude of heart which may have been the spirit of murder, or at least the spirit of carelessness and unconcern. Realize that Christ had to die to pay the penalty of THAT sin, too!

Third, don’t REPEAT gossip. If you’ve been gossiping — CHANGE! Put an END to gossip in your life!
You know how empty you feel after an unprofitable conversation centered around gossip. So decide not to do it again! Determine in your mind not to tear down yourself and others by your words. Instead, be positive — use words profitably to uplift and build up others as well as yourself.

Once you recognize gossip and repent of it, and henceforth stop repeating the pattern of conversations that lead to it, you will not be a gossip. But remember. Don’t lend your ear to gossip, for this encourages others to gossip. And it is just as wrong.

A gossiper needs an ear. He must have someone to listen to his talebearing. But if he finds no one to listen, then he can’t gossip. So simply don’t listen to gossip! God’s Word condemns the listener just as much as the gossiper. Yet many of us actually encourage others to gossip. We egg the gossiper on, delighting in the tidbits of poison he pours forth. We want to mind other people’s business. We want to get the juicy evils that come from gossip.

Have you ever noticed that people tend not to be as excited to hear good news as to hear bad news? Have you ever noticed how slowly good news spreads and how quickly bad news gets around? Why?

Because of human nature! By nature we want to listen to gossip and spread it. But you can stop it! Just DON’T listen! And don’t gossip yourself.

Judged by Our Words

There is a Judgment coming. And God’s Word plainly tells us that we will be judged by how we use our tongues. God says, “A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Prov. 18:6-7).

Jesus put it right on the line when He said: “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, that every idle word that man shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:34-37).

Can anything be plainer? Jesus tells us we will have to give account for our words. We will be judged by what we have said! Words are not empty. Words are much more powerful than we might imagine. We all feel — humanly, that is — that after words are spoken, they’re forgotten. But words are not forgotten. And although the sounds of words fade and the vibrations stop — those words can linger on and face you in the future.

What are the fruits of your words? Have your words separated friends? Have they hurt the reputation of another? Have your words caused strife? If so, you will have to give account.

Let’s practice — the instruction of Psalm 15:1.: “Lord who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in they holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.”

Determine now that you will not listen to gossip and not spread it. Determine in your own heart and mind to spread news of good events!

Source: The Good News, January-April 1971

September 29, 2009

Is Your Religion Offering You A Bailout?

Rev. 12:9 says this world started with Satan deceiving the first humans and he continues to do so to the entire world today. How many people (including organized religion) believe this verse? Does it really encompass the whole world, including the thousands of bickering religions systems in existence today? Of course it does, that’s why it is in the Bible.

II Cor. 4:3 – Scripture says the God of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe (II Cor. 4:3). Now I know that many Christians will say they believe, but do they? Are their actions in tune with what God says in the Bible? Let’s have a deeper look.

This is NOT God’s world or civilization

Despite the facts and evils that fly in our face, there is no good in this present world. America likes to hold itself up as the world’s standard, but despite the blessings of Abraham, this country leads the world in pornographic filth, drug consumption and a host of other evils that make other countries shake their heads.

This is Satan’s world entirely. God, at the present time, has a hands off policy towards mankind. That is why we see unparalleled human suffering.  Jesus came to start a new civilization which will be God’s world (future). God has NOT tried to repair the world and neither is there a power struggle between God and Satan.

When Christ first came to earth, He was a light to the world, but men did not recognize Him because they love darkness (John 3:19). This is not just talking about the Jews, as some commentaries state, but about all men – the entire world. How do I know that all men would have reacted the same way? Because Jer. 17:9 says man’s mind is deceitful above all things. Notice how powerful is Satan’s deception. He has deceived mankind to be incapable of seeing things in a straightforward manner. All are full of shrewd guile, and moved only by motives of self-interest..

After 6000 years, most still think this is a good world. Satan also sees his way as better than God’s, as workable. He is an espouser of change, just not positive change. How can we even know the heart if it is so dangerously sick?

Destruction of this world’s systems?

We usually think of Christ as the “Prince of Peace.” But did you know that your Bible says He is actually coming to make war with man? Has your particular religion ever explained this to you?

Rev 19:15 – “And out of His mouth goes forth a sharp sword, that with it He might smite the nations. And He will shepherd them with an iron rod. And He treads the winepress of the wine of the anger and of the wrath of God Almighty.”

Jesus Christ will actually fight against unrepentant sinning nations. He is coming to destroy the world’s systems of government. Some will say that God cannot do this, as He is love. But notice that Rev. 11:18 says He destroys those who destroy the earth. Man is destructive, not God. He has to put a stop to it or man would wipe himself out. God has to intervene by sending His Son to this earth.

The Pharisees in Christ’s time, much like our leaders today, could not understand that Christ would sit with sinners and not the “supposed righteous.” But He told them that THEY were wrong, and that they needed healing from their spiritual sickness, or their Jer. 17:9 mind (Matt. 9:10-13, Hos. 6:6).

Modern religion offers spiritual bailouts

We hear about bailouts, prop-ups, and rescues for companies today due to financial mismanagement However, all of these fail to address the cause, which is changing what is wrong. That is what Atonement is all about. If we keep destroying the earth, Jesus Christ has to intervene to stop us.

In Heb. 9, Paul spoke to people who knew the symbols, but not the meaning. This is much like the world today. It does not understand the Bible, and neither do religious denominations or groups who think everything will be provided for them – no change necessary, no looking at the cause. Quite simply, their religion offers to bail them out spiritually, to remove their guilt without effort, without repentance, without law keeping, without becoming one with God. This is impossible. Christ will not bear our sins and atone for them if we make no changes. The death of Jesus Christ is not enough to give us salvation, yet religion today worships only a dead Christ on the cross, not a living intercessor. This can only be done by keeping the law of God, because once we come out of sin, an unrepentant life will be of no value to God.

Verses 13-14 of Heb. 9 show a new project, a new way and new world to serve the living God. We have to have a clean slate and washing to move on from the dead works of this world to follow God. In God we live, move and have our being. Our guilt ceases to exist if we repent (Acts 17:28).

The Day of Atonement offers us the opportunity to fast (Lev. 23:29), which is a vivid reminder of being saved from destruction – the ultimate bailout. It is about salvation. Our dollar says in God we trust, yet God is the only one we won’t turn to in humility and prayer so that our guilt might be atoned for.

Our greatest need is for God to reveal our sickness, and then to change it. This is addressing the problem and starting over with what is right. If our sins are not atoned for first, then there can be a special relationship between God and His children (Lev. 23:28).

Humans are wracked with sin and deeply flawed. Sin divides man from God (Isaiah 59:2; Psalm 66:18). It is a chasm between us — a tear in the fabric of the family unity God yearns to share with us. As passionate as God’s love is, it is equaled by the passion of His hatred of sin. He simply will not abide sin.

God’s master plan involves spiritually converting human minds to the point where we come to despise sin and embrace righteousness as He does — in every thought, word and deed. This is the fundamental change required in God’s plan for mankind.

In other words, if we are ever to fulfill God’s purpose for us sinful human beings — if ever the violence set in motion by Lucifer’s rebellion is to be set right — God must institute a process of atonement. Sin must be dealt with; the presence of sin in our lives demands radical action to remove it, expunge it, wipe it out, so that true at-one-ment between man and God can occur.

Is this what your religion teaches, or does it offer a flaccid come-as-you-are doctrine? Only one can be right!

August 27, 2009

Why Does God Get The Blame, But Never The Credit?

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claimdynamics.com

We live in a funny world. When things go wrong, God is to blame, but when they go right, we will not give due credit. Take for example the innocent deaths of children dying the world over: It must the fault of God, because he created us and now has deserted mankind, right?

Or what about when a devastating tornado or hurricane hits a small town and wipes it off the map, or the 9-11 disaster: “Where is He when we need Him,” is the oft repeated cry, or “it’s an act of God,” putting God in the position of being accused. Airlines also invoke God when weather causes flight delays or accidents – it’s not the fault of the airline – blame God.

Then there’s insurance policy clauses, contracts or wildfire’s, earthquakes, floods and avalanches. Some people scream at the heavens, or bury their head in their hands and cry, “Why, God?”  Others seek to cast blame, even for those things which are not of human origin.  In legal and insurance realms the reference is made to Acts of God, which may or may not be insurable. Someone’s got to be blamed, even if no fault is found!

Conversely though, when we find ourselves in a life threatening bind, a big financial constraint or when we are emotionally distressed, we invoke God’s name for help. At this time, we may have no other recourse – no one is watching so what harm can a small prayer do, right. If He exists, then perhaps he will help us, because we’re essentially good aren’t we?

Process theology to the rescue

Now comes the school of religious thought called process theology. These modern theologians say that the question of why God allows these tragedies, or why God is not apparently powerful enough to stop them, has vexed religious counselors for centuries. And well it may. Because people simply do not understand that question!

If God is all good, if God is love, he wouldn’t want humanity to suffer, would he? And if God is all powerful, as the Bible says he is, why doesn’t he stop suffering? Why doesn’t he prevent it?

The credibility of God is now at stake, say the theologians. The world, they contend, has grown weary of religious spokesmen trying to defend God and explain why God allows these things – and at the same time saying that God is all love, God is all good, God is all powerful and he could stop it, yet he doesn’t. So modern theologians now have come up with this new theology called process theology in an attempt to explain this apparent paradox.  God, they say, is entirely loving, but is lacking in power.

They say nothing of the real purpose of life. They say nothing about the restoration of the kingdom of God, the only gospel that Jesus Christ preached.

The Origin and Purpose of Life

But what is the real trouble with this question? What is the reason that God has not stopped all this violence, all this human suffering?

In all the religions of this world – the many different religions we call non-Christian, and even the religion of Christianity – not one religion knows who and what God is. What is God? Is he a trinity? Is God one person? They just don’t understand.  Not one religion on earth fully knows what and why man is. Why are we here? What is the purpose, if any?

Notice what God says about all this in Isaiah chapter 40, beginning with verse 17:

“All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?… It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers [that is to God]; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

“… To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might [there it speaks of God’s might, his power], for that he is strong in power; not one faileth” (verses 17, 22, 25-26).

The earth turns on its axis. The different seasons regularly come. It is the power of God that is causing all of that. And that is mighty power.

And God formed man after the God kind, not after an animal kind, but in form and likeness of God. There is a very special purpose for man on earth and when you understand that, you begin to understand why God is allowing all the suffering on the earth today.

Notice, now, Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God [Lord there is the name of the one that became Christ] formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man [made of the dust of the ground] became a living soul.”

Man Must Choose

The man that God created now had to make a choice.

Character is the ability of some separately created entity to come to a knowledge of right as from wrong, of truth as from error, of good as from evil. To choose the right, or the good, and to reject the evil – even though he might want to do the evil – to have the will to do the good, that is character.

God is the supreme, holy, righteous, perfect, spiritual character. And He is reproducing that character in man. How is that divine character going to get into something made out of the ground? God placed a human spirit in the first man. That human spirit could have a relationship with God, who is spirit.

But God placed before that man two choices, symbolized by two trees in the garden of Eden. The one tree was the tree of life. How does God give that life? It comes through the Holy Spirit. The person that has the Spirit of God has life, and he that has not the Spirit of God does not have life. If the Spirit of Christ is in you, you are his (I John 5:11-12).

If the Spirit of God is not in you, you are “none of his” (Rom. 8:9, last part). And, verse 11, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make immortal] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

God made us mortal, but he made us to become immortal. And God required that the man had to make a choice, because character had to be built in the man! Character is built through choice.

The other tree, the other choice before man, symbolized the way of man’s taking to himself – deciding altogether by himself – the knowledge of good and evil. How do we come to know the truth of God? In I Corinthians 2:9 we read, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart [mind] of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” – in other words, spiritual knowledge.

God reveals these things to us only by his Spirit. The Spirit of God reveals God’s knowledge – spiritual knowledge and spiritual character. But man decided to take the basis of that kind of character to himself, to decide right from wrong, truth from error, by himself.

So, in punishment, God at that time closed up the tree of life. In other words, he shut up the Holy Spirit from man.

God had set out a 7,000-year plan and purpose in which to develop the godlike character in man, made from the dust of the ground. God’s purpose is to make us immortal like God, until we become God as he is God. That has got to come through human experience, but it has to come from God, with our consent, our desire, our decision and our wills.

I John 3:1-2 says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us [here is the fact that God loves us], that we should be called the sons of God [ultimately to be born of God, though now begotten of God; for God is reproducing himself, and we’re called the sons of God]:… now [even right now] are we the sons of God [but only begotten, not yet born], and it doth not yet appear what we shall be [in other words, what we shall be one can’t see yet]: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

Man is clay to be molded

The purpose of God is character building. That is why he made man of matter. We could be molded spiritually, in a body of earthly clay, into divine character. We read in Isaiah 64:8, “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”

Even Job asked, “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait [meaning in the grave], till my change come. Thou [God] shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands” (Job 14:14-15).

Job knew he was the work of God’s hands. We all are the clay. God is the potter. A potter molds and fashions clay into the form and shape he wants. Now God will – if we put ourselves in his hands, if we surrender to him, and to his will – take us and mold and shape us into the godlike character of love.

God is love. God will put his divine love in us, a love with which we were not born. It is a gift of God through his Holy Spirit.

We sow what we reap

Notice Isaiah 45:9, “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!… Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?… ”

What about the theologians reasoning that today’s divided Christianity is God’s religion, that this is God’s world, and God isn’t powerful enough to stop all of evil?

God is allowing man to make his own decisions. And if man makes the wrong decision, God has said whatever we sow we shall reap. God has told his people that ever since the beginning. He told Adam that. He told ancient Israel that. And Jesus Christ told us that. If we sin we will have to reap the consequences. God allows it. He allows suffering and the pain of sin for a good purpose.

God has given man a mind to think with. He gives man revealed knowledge in the Bible. Man can take that knowledge and learn to go God’s way. That is necessary for the development of character so we can become like God.

In Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus said, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name [Jesus said], saying, [that] I am [the] Christ; and shall deceive many.”

How can they do that? Jesus said in Matthew 15:9, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” They make the commandments of God of no effect by their tradition (verse 3).

The commandments of God are the right way to live; they reveal God’s way of life. Human beings have not kept the commandments of God. They have said, and many preachers are saying today, that the commandments of God are done away.

The commandments of God are the way of love, of love to God and love to neighbor. The first four of the Ten Commandments tell you how to love God, the last six how to love your neighbor. That is the way God lives and the way Christ lived while on earth.

But in Jeremiah 50:6 God says that the shepherds, the ministers of this world, lead his people astray and deceive them. That is exactly what has happened. The world has been deceived, and the deceived theologians can’t seem to understand why God allows all this suffering from disobedience till we learn our ways are wrong.

God allows it to teach us lessons. God allows it because we ourselves have brought it on ourselves, and because we have failed to develop the kind of character needed to become his children, to be glorified, to be given the gift of eternal life so as to live in happiness and peace and joy. There’s no other way for peace.

Man has brought all this on himself, in defiance of God! Man has been shaking his fist at God, telling God he won’t obey God and going his own way, the way that has seemed right to a man. It’s all a matter of cause and effect. It’s the way we have lived that has brought all these troubles on us, not God.

But God will show man whether he has power. God will finally deliver man from the evils of today’s civilization by his divine powers and establish his kingdom of peace over all the earth.

July 9, 2009

You Are What You Think!

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infinitygoods.wordpress.com

Did you ever hear someone speak out foolishly, sometimes instantly regretting what is said? Yes, that person may apologize, but the scriptures have a few words to say about what we so quickly let fly out of our mouths:

“A good person produces good from the good treasure of his heart, and an evil person produces evil from an evil treasure. For it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

Who thinks about their daily thoughts as evil – a sort of poison chalice? We should because thoughts, if left unguarded, will rule us with persistence. Why? Because we are what we think about. Thinking about things that are positive, just, honest and so on are completely foreign matters to most people. The mind loves to justify itself; gratify, satiate the ego. iIt does not like to think about others.

Let’s have a look at two competing scriptures – one with a godly mind:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Php 4:8)

And one with the mind of carnal man:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer. 17:9)

It is this second mindset which dominates most people on earth. We don’t generally think about what we think about – by that I mean our thought processes are generally involuntary – a freefloating smorgasbord formulated by what we see and touch. They may be many tiny thoughts we don’t remember thinking, but the result is either positive or negative.

Now think about this. All those tiny thoughts which are obviously formulated, but which we may not realize are there, could produce significant results. If we tend to think negatively, then we are generally so afflicted. If positive, then the other way around.

Thoughts on others

What about how we think about others? Prov. 23:7 tells us that “as we think in our heart, so we are.” If we harbor negative thoughts in our heart about people, then we cannot love them. It is hard to disguise what we think about and somewhere, sometime, our negative thoughts spill out to someone. We may feel remorseful, but that doesn’t make the situation any less real – we do not like that person. Apologizing at this point is wiping bug remains off the front of the car – a never ending job. We know, even if we get the car spotless, the bugs will continue to commit suicide on the grill.

So how do we get out of this vicious, negative cycle? Biblically, we are admonished to think “soberly (Rom. 12:3), which means to be of a sound mind, or moderate. (Strong’s # 4993, coming from # 4998). We are told not to think of ourselves more highly than we aught to think. In other words, drop the ego. Imperfect, negative thoughts can be stopped, with the power of the Spirit of God.Without that power, it becomes an exercise in futility.

Then, the next step is to meditate on things which are positive. This requires some effort and most people are lazy thinkers. They would rather do anything else than put some effort into thinking. but do so the true Christian must. Phil. 4:8 tells us how:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

What does this all mean? Let’s explain:

  1. True thoughts are generally something proven. We must make sure that our thoughts are not half-truths, or presumed truths.
  2. Honest thoughts can be trusted not to meditate predominately on the self, but to direct attention outwardly towards the care and consideration of others.
  3. Just thoughts are equitable in character, act, or innocent, holy, righteous. They reflect the mind of God and the way He thinks.
  4. Pure thoughts are considered innocent  (Strong’s # 53), meaning chaste, clean and pure. They are the opposite of our arch enemy Satan, who loves to make us break the spirit of the law.
  5. Lovely thoughts or of a good report are right thoughts flowing out of our mind, waiting to bloom for the benefit of the thinker.

Remember that Jer. 17:9 says all mankind has a desperately wicked heart (mind), where the self always thinks it is right. It takes effort and concentration to open the door of our mind to these Phil. 4:8 thoughts. They produce an orderly way of thinking, or better thoughts which produce the character of God.

If in doubt, go about your daily life and as you do so, remember what you thought about after doing something. Our thoughts are the father of our actions. All actions begin with a thought process. Examine your life and your surroundings, they are the reflection of your mind. Is it orderly, or untidy? Are your friends positive or do they have criminal tendencies? Do they curse God in their everyday speaking? Is this really just innocent banter, or the reflection of a passive resistance to God?

The Bible tells us to think as Christ thought, and even to take on the very mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5). We can’t so that if we open ourselves up to wrong thinking, producing weeds in the garden of our mind.

True Christians must examine their thoughts daily, and meditate on what is produced in their life, at work, in study, prayer and everywhere else. Is it the fruits of the spirit blossoming (Gal. 5:22-23), which produces “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” Once mastered, these become automatic reactions to our interaction with others. But weeds take time and effort to eliminate, as they take deep root and seldom like to relinquish their hold. Don’t allow them to find a home in the first place.

Learning to control our thinking teaches us to control our circumstances. Sift, sort and analyze  everything passing though the mind for value. Then our action, which are dictated by these thoughts, will have value. It is immeasurably important to build a future on right thoughts, which have produced right actions.

July 8, 2009

Is It Permissible For Christians To Fight In Self-Defence?

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Jesus said, “Resist not evil … whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt. 5:39). Does this mean Christians must never defend ourselves?

The Bible makes it clear we are to live by God’s law of love in every aspect of our lives. Therefore it would never be right for a Christian to fight back with the purpose of inflicting bodily injury, even if provoked.

Nonetheless, the use of RESTRAINING FORCE may at times be necessary and advisable. For example, if someone tried to strike you with a club, it would not be wrong to restrain the attacker if you were able.

The best defense is to avoid circumstances which are dangerous or threatening. In case of emergency, we should quickly ask God, in prayer, for protection and deliverance. God hears those who are faithful to Him (see Hebrews 11:6 and I John 3:22).

But, what of “turning the other cheek”? Does that mean Christians are to be pushovers and doormats? Certainly not! Jesus Christ was not. Jesus had the wisdom to know when to avoid confrontations and when to challenge injustice and evil. He forced the money changers out of the temple. Yet, He submitted to the most horrible verbal and physical abuse and finally allowed Himself to be crucified (thereby fulfilling His commission). But, through it all, Jesus set us an example of the type of attitude we ought to have, no matter what the circumstances.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written,
Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Rom. 12:19). What should a Christian do in the face of evil and injustice? The answer is, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (verse 21).

If we have a godly attitude and a proper personal relationship with God, we can have total confidence that He is
watching over us and will protect us from harm and evil according to His will (see Psalm 91).

June 24, 2009

Evolutionists Versus Creationists: Who Has The Truth?

2Evolutionists and creationists are at it again! Each claims to have the answer to the puzzle of creation. But does either represent true science or true religion?

Evolutionary doctrine is deeply ensconced in today’s schools as a legitimate part of most science classes. It is no longer presented as an unproven idea or theory. It is presented as fact. When children go to school they are usually taught the theory of evolution as the only intelligent answer to existence. Virtually all science teachers speak about it as dogmatically as though they saw evolution happen. Class instruction is done so effectively that students generally are embarrassed to admit before their peers that they still believe in a Creator God.

But what if creation were taught in schools? Which version would be taught? Could creationists agree on the exact version to include in the school curriculum?

Liberals, calling themselves theistic evolutionists, consider the Genesis account symbolic or allegorical. They would insist that God brought about the creation through the process of evolution.

Fundamentalist groups, often called scientific creationists, are in the forefront of a crusade to free school children from the evolutionists’ firm grasp. They would teach that all creation, including the sun, moon and stars, took place very recently — hardly more than six or seven thousand years ago. They seek scientific evidence to show that the fossil beds and fossil bearing strata were nearly all laid down during a Flood in the historic past. They contend that life forms were separated and arranged into sequential layers by the water’s turbulent action.

The real beginning

However, the Bible teaches that creation took place anciently — “in the beginning.” That when the creation first appeared the angels were so enthralled with its magnificence they “sang together and … shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). That God placed an archangel on earth to administer God’s government in love and concern. He rebelled (Ezek. 28:15-16). Destruction came to the earth. Then God’s Spirit moved upon the face of the waters (Gen. 1:2) and God began to recreate today’s realm. This time he gave mankind (rather than the angels) dominion over the physical creation.

It is obvious that no single version of creation will satisfy this world’s differing religious groups. So, even if creationists were given equal forum with evolutionists, what version would be taught? Even if a compromise could be worked out, who could be trusted to teach it convincingly enough to compete successfully with evolutionary teachings?

Roles Reversed

The problem that we face in education today is just the reverse of that which men faced a few centuries ago. At that time the church sat above the government in matters of education. Few dared to teach anything contrary to the religious dogma because of its backing from the civil government! When discovery or experimentation uncovered facts that were contrary to traditional teachings, the church not uncommonly vigorously repressed them.

When men were finally freed from that oppression in the pursuit of truth, the liberated world assured itself that it would not again come under such bondage. Educational institutions that were once part of the church became a part of the state. It is under state control that most schools now carry out the mandate of teaching future generations what the adult society considers the ideals of life.

The doctrine of evolution, timidly suggested by Charles Darwin, came just at the right time. It was seized upon and promoted beyond Darwin’s wildest dreams. It became instantly popular and has continued to grow in influence simply because it was the nearest thing to a plausible explanation of creation without a creator.

Interpreting the will of the adult generation to be the desire to be free of hindrance from doing what they want to do, educators feel safe only in taking the evolutionary approach. By denying God’s role in creation, freedom to do as one pleases seemed complete. But, there remains a problem. How can one explain the evidence of God’s creation without the Creator?

This is why not all scientists are evolutionists. A significant number of scientists now acknowledge that the magnificent, intricate universe is so extremely well organized and complex that it requires a supreme designer and sustainer in order to exist. Some freely admit that the God of the Bible is the only intelligent answer. A few even worship him in truth.

The question then becomes, not whether to include religious views of creation in the classrooms, but whether evolution should continue to be taught as a scientific theory of origins. Evolutionists know that the question of origins lies outside of the scope of natural science.

You Must Choose!

If you believe evolution, you must believe that man has no ultimate purpose in the universe. But if you believe in creation, you have a unique choice. You can believe you were created to spend eternity in idleness and ease in heaven, or that you were created for a grand purpose — of becoming a son of God (Heb. 1:1-5, 2:6-10, Rom. 8:29). Most creationists thoughtlessly assume the former view. They do not know we humans were born to become sons of God and that our creation is not yet complete!

We are created in the form and shape of God, but out of matter. We are not yet spirit. Before God will complete our creation and give us eternal, spiritual LIFE from his very own person, we must develop godly CHARACTER. Or we would not be fit to be his sons. This is what human life is all about! Evolution knows nothing of it. Most creationists are blinded by their false ideas of Christ and his message and have not understood it.

God cannot create righteous, godly character by fiat. This has been demonstrated by the creation of angels. God created angels as perfect spiritual beings, but some turned sour and chose to do evil (Ezek. 28:14-16, Rev. 12:3-4). Chief among them was the archangel Lucifer.

We humans were created as fleshly beings and given TEMPORARY physical life so that if we turn sour we will not live forever as evil beings. This physical life was made to ebb away and our bodies to grow old and die.

It is in this physical state of existence that God works in a chosen few, now, to build the type of character that is required of sons of God. We have our part, choosing God’s ways and his laws, striving against temptation and resisting the devil and the practices of this world. This, if you please, is the tree of life of Genesis 2:9 and 3:22 that Adam and Eve rejected.

Only those whom God now calls and works with can enter the process of further creation. When God calls us he sets before us the same choice as he set before Adam and Eve. He says to us just as clearly as he said to ancient Israel: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deut. 30:19).

You cannot create righteous character within yourself by yourself. God must do that in and through you by his Spirit, which is his very nature. You must become willingly and wholeheartedly oriented toward God, like clay in the hand of the Master Potter (Isa. 64:8, Jer. 18:1-6, Rom. 9:20-21). You must TRUST him to shape you into what he decides. You cannot start until the Potter singles you out and begins to deal with you.

Only then, if you become soft and pliable through the addition of God’s Holy Spirit, can you begin to be shaped into the CHARACTER of God. If you turn away, to remain lumpy and hard, he will cast you aside and work with other clay.
The ways of God are outlined broadly by the Ten Commandments and are enlarged upon throughout the rest of the Bible. The example of how to live by them successfully and perfectly was first demonstrated by Jesus Christ (I John 2:6), who blazed the trail for all who henceforth will live God’s spiritual way.

When This Truth Will Prevail

One day truth will be taught in all schools. It will be God’s truth as recorded in the Bible. Not false religions of men. It will be truly scientific. It will acknowledge not only the Creator but his laws and his authority. It will teach us all that there is to know about the creation around us; how and why it was put here, and what our role shall be according to God’s exciting plan and purpose.

In that day enlightenment will be so complete that it will make today’s knowledge explosion seem like the popping of corn by comparison! Here’s how it will be brought about:

When Christ returns to the earth to bring the whole world peace, he will come to set up the kingdom of God. It will be a world-ruling empire and Christ will be its “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:6, 16; 20:4). When forced to think about God’s perfect laws of love and happiness, people will become more enthralled with life than they have ever imagined that they could be.

Stubborn evolutionists, confused creationists — and all men alike — will be ashamed that they strove so hard to deny God’s way while they clung to their own folly. What a wonderful day that will be!

Source: The Plain Truth, February 1983

May 24, 2009

Arguments: Teach Your Mouth!

Filed under: Attitude,Hatred — melchia @ 1:32 am
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True Christians must learn to control what comes out of their mouth. Proverbs 16:23 says:

“The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.”

Educate yourself in good things, so you will have good, upbuilding things to say:

“The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.”

So don’t speak hastily. The things you say are very important; and many people aren’t careful about that. But God is highly concerned! (Ps. 37:30-31).

Sometimes what we say results in arguments. The root cause is usually pride (Luke 22:24) – a result of someone thinking too highly of himself. Lust is also a huge factor in division among people (Jam. 4:1). God says He resists the proud and give grace to the humble – not to the loudest, the most powerful, or the quickest of wit. Remember, if we’re looking out for the other person instead, that will eliminate a lot of arguing.

May 20, 2009

Should Christian Men Wear Earrings?

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Before I answer the question about men wearing earrings, we should first see that there is a need to keep a clear distinction between the two genders (male and female). God made two sexes. There is no third category, such as transsexuals.

Even today, there is a vast difference between men and women clothes and fashions, with each culture holding a clear distinction between male and female apparel. We need to accept that there is a gender distinction, a God-given male/female distinction that is defined by a culture and needs to remain a firm standard.

Zephaniah 1:8 states, “And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.” The Jamison, Fausset and Brown Commentary explains “strange apparel” as “…garments forbidden by the law—e.g., men’s garments worn by women, and vice versa.”

Is it biblically permissible for men to wear earrings?

The Bible does not speak directly about the matter of men wearing earrings. However, we find guidelines in God’s Word to follow in such matters. For example, we read where the apostle Paul says that even nature (common sense) should teach us that “if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him” (I Cor. 11:14). When considered in context, it is obvious that Paul was saying it is shameful for a man to look like a woman.

This, then, is a basic guideline. Men and boys should appear obviously masculine and not easily mistaken as feminine. Or, said another way, men and boys should not look like women and girls. Even more clear, however, is the clear command not to cross-wear, that is, men are not to wear women’s clothes and women not to wear men’s clothes.

A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 22:5)

So why is it now common to see men wearing an earring? One is tempted to conclude that because men now wear them, then there is no longer any feminine association with this action. But getting caught up in fads is wrong and it is precisely here where Christians can get caught off guard. Woman’s apparel should never become acceptable to both men and women.

God’s Word does mention earrings worn by men in several places, but they ALL involve God’s servants telling people to remove or give up earrings. There were pieces of jewelry worn on the ear lobe in Bible times (Gen 35:4). While these were generally worn only by Israelite women, the men among the ancient ISHMAELITES apparently wore earrings too (Judg 8:24-25). There is one incident where the Israelites (young men and women) brought their earrings to Aaron in order for him to make an idol out of it. It must have been an Egyptian (pagan) custom for young men to wear earrings. See Exodus 35:22, Numbers 31:50,; and Judges 8:24-26.  Also, recall the story of the golden calf ( Exodus 32). Aaron fashioned it out of the Israelites’ earrings—including the men’s (verses 2-4). In this account, idolatry is linked to earring-wearing!

Popularity does not make gender cross-wear permissible.

Christians need to accept that certain things which are acceptable to people within a culture are not acceptable to God.Why? Because it has crossed gender lines and distinctions become blurred every time men or women wear other clothing or apparel like earrings from the other gender.

Wearing earrings is traditionally a feminine thing. Men just did not wear earrings (in the modern Western context). Women can wear big or small earrings. Both are considered feminine even though one might be popular and the other not. On the other hand, men can wear all sorts of hats or jeans, but not feminine hats or jeans. When men blur the line of gender distinction, they are rebelling against God’s command to not share styles and customs. This is why there should not be any cross gender custom change. It is not popularity that makes it right or wrong, it is God’s word. Because it started off in rebellion, it will remain an item that displeases God.

The Christian attitude should be one of modesty, humility, and service to God and neighbor. Making a male look like a female or vice versa, or going to extremes — being motivated by personal vanity — is condemned. Our CHARACTER, rather than our outward appearance, should be the outstanding and memorable quality about us.

Modesty is the biblical admonition

According to the Word of God, a Christian is not to appear strange or outlandish, either in his actions or attire. In that light, men should also not become all fussy, have their nails buffed and dye their hair. A man bag is still a pocketbook and nail polish is nail polish even if it’s clear and you’re an aggressive stock trader with a firm handshake.

The Bible does not encourage us to call undue attention to ourselves, and it certainly speaks against rebellion (see Romans 1:28-32 and II Corinthians 12:20). Instead, we are to avoid “all appearance of evil” (I Thess. 5:22), and to be a light (Matt. 5:13-16). In short, God wants us to be good citizens and to set a clean and wholesome example of modesty and right behavior based on His law. Therefore, we ought to consider how our appearance will affect our relationship with others.

March 14, 2009

The Biblical History Of The Black Race

The Bible shows that all races are descended from Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:20). God intended that there be different races to develop the differing climatic areas of the world (Acts 17:26). Accordingly, it appears that God placed within Eve’s ovaries the genetic material which would produce the various racial characteristics in humankind.

The different races we find on earth today were preserved through the Flood by the wives of Noah’s sons. Noah’s sons were white, as was the wife of Shem. The white race was continued through Shem and his wife, the black race through Ham’s wife, and the yellow race through Japheth’s wife. God tells us He separated the families of man and decreed the boundaries of their dwelling places (Deut. 32:8). He intended that there be different nationalities and races and caused this to occur.

Sometime after the Flood many black people migrated to Africa. There, sad to say, they have been divided and hindered by tribalism. As the centuries passed, they did not develop technologically in comparison with other cultures. And, in this evil world where the strong prey upon the weak, evil men bought or captured many blacks for use as slaves in the New World. Often these slave traders bought the slaves from black men who rounded up their enemies from other tribes for the purpose of selling them into slavery. So, there were evil men on both sides.

Racial prejudice does not exist just between blacks and whites. This evil is found wherever peoples of different races and cultures rub together in competition for jobs, property, and wealth. In the United States the whites had the power to oppress the blacks, so that is what happened. The blacks and browns are at each other’s throats in parts of Africa. In Indochina there have been endless struggles for domination by one people or another. And, of course, there was the red versus white battle in the conquest of this land. No group has been guiltless; racial hatred is universal in all races, societies, and cultures. It is a terrible compulsion put into human hearts by Satan the devil — the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4).

Concerning blacks in prophecy, the Bible primarily concerns the history and future of Israel.  He intended Israel to set an example for all the other nations and to teach them His way. Because other peoples are generally mentioned only as they come into contact with Israel, the Bible does not say much specifically about the black race. A Bible concordance and other study aids will help you find where these people are referred to in some of the prophecies.

All people will continue to partake of both the blessings and curses which God will send upon the descendants of Israel (not the modern country). The ultimate destiny of man — whether black, brown, white, red, or yellow — are to be resurrected into the family of God. So therefore the Bible is not a book by a white God for white people only.  There is no racial prejudice with God: “God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34-35). Those who will put aside racial and other hatreds now and seek God, letting His Spirit reform and develop godly character, will be made immortal when Christ comes. Then all men will be taught to live in peace (Isa. 2:2-4). There will be a new era of blessings for all people.

February 23, 2009

Seven Rules To Right Decisions

by Albert J. Portune

Tomorrow’s World, June 1969

How many times has your life, your happiness, your self-respect been upset and disturbed because you’ve made a wrong choice, or an unwise decision? Looking back on our past all of us can remember choices we had or opportunities that presented themselves – and we wish we could go back and CHANGE what we did.

How would you like to be able to make the right choice – EVERY TIME? You can, you know, if you apply the right principles EVERY TIME! The principles for making right and wise decisions are available to you. If you are willing to diligently apply them each time, YOUR LIFE can become a series of successes in the decisions you have to make. Are you willing to learn these principles?

Life Is Choice

Life is a series of decisions. You can’t begin a day without making choices. What time to rise, what clothing to wear, what to have for breakfast, what course of action for the responsibilities of the day, etc., etc. The majority of our decisions are routine and dictated by routine and preset requirements of job, school, weather and environment. Most of us do well enough in these routine decisions. It is the bigger, more unusual decisions that affect our lives where we become vulnerable and need to make the RIGHT decision. Decisions like: Whether to buy a new car and which kind – whether to quit your job and move to another area – whether to go into business for yourself – whether to add a room to your house or buy new furniture – whether to go to college, or take a trip to a distant place.

Sadly enough, many have faced major decisions in life, chosen unwisely and found their lives in a shambles which took time and tears to remedy. Making wise decisions is not a matter of chance. Some people are not just “lucky” while others are unlucky. Success in choices depends on basic factors. Those who are “lucky” have their luck in accidentally or intentionally using the right principles in making their choices. If you KNOW the right principles and apply them, you eliminate most of the elements of chance. Success is assured because you have eliminated the risks.

The Right Source

Most people, faced with important decisions make the same fundamental ERROR! This error is common to man because man is basically a self-centered creature. He usually depends on himself for the inherent ability to arrive at a conclusion. The Word of God – the Bible – which is the book about man, but inspired by man’s Creator – God who knows man intimately, most accurately describes this basic fault in man.

“Oh Lord, I know that the way of man is NOT IN HIMSELF: it is NOT IN MAN that walketh to direct his steps.” These words were written, under the inspiration of God by His prophet Jeremiah, chapter 10 verse 23. The fundamental, underlying basis for making right decisions lies OUTSIDE the pole of the man making the decision. This seems remarkable, but it is nonetheless true.

Whenever we have a decision to make, the first thing we usually do is to ASSUME WE have the basic ability to come to that decision. In reality, God’s Word makes clear we ought NOT to rely upon our own abilities alone. True, we may have to use the abilities God has given us, but directed by God – not ourselves.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto thine OWN understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Wisdom is truly realizing the basic nature in man. Few people have discovered this basic nature. Most people feel they are benign creatures, basically good, gentle, having outgoing concern for others, generous, kind, considerate. Hence, being all this, they certainly could be relied upon to make a decision which would take all factors into consideration. But, unless God’s spirit has opened their minds most people don’t know they are inherently by nature selfish, covetous, greedy, full of vanity, deceitful, proud and wicked. It is true, you know.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:” and “the carnal mind is enmity AGAINST GOD: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be” (Jer. 17:9 and Rom. 8:7). Those who have come to know God have learned this about themselves and have come to the first point of wisdom which is NOT to depend on this source for a decision.

Leaning to this source for a decision will ALWAYS tend to lead us to a wrong decision. This source of wisdom will always tend to a decision or a choice that flatters self, looks good to others, makes the “big splash,” satisfies lust or exacts revenge. Truly the Proverbs describe this end: “There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12 and 16:25).

Rule One: Ask God FIRST For His Wisdom

So, the first rule in the SEVEN RULES to wise decisions is to GO OUTSIDE of self to God to get the wisdom. Any other first step would be foolish. God alone knows just the right course of action you should take ! No one else does! He should be the first source.

You will have other steps to follow, but unless they are guided by God they may avail you nothing. In fact following all six other rules could lead you to ruin without God directing them.

“…. the Lord is a God of knowledge and by HIM actions are weighed” (I Sam. 2:3).

When you are confronted with an important decision in your life, go to a private place and pray to your Father in heaven. Tell him about your decision – how it affects you, what are the alternatives that lie before you. Admit to him in prayer that you LACK the ability and wisdom you need and want His omniscient help and wisdom.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it [wisdom] shall be given him” (James 1:5). Admit in your prayer that without God’s help you would tend to choose the course of vanity, lust, pride, envy and retribution. Tell Him you want His mind and attitude – an attitude of service, concern for others, love, patience and mercy. If the decision is profound enough, add fasting to your prayers so God sees that you truly care and want to be guided by Him.

Solomon an Example

When Solomon became King of Israel after his father David, he knew he was faced with many momentous decisions. The responsibility of ruling a mighty nation and making all the decisions that are part of being a monarch weighed heavily upon him.

What was the first thing Solomon did? His actions are an EXAMPLE for us – recorded in the Word of God. “And Solomon said unto God, Thou has shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead … for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Give me now WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can JUDGE [decide for] this thy people, that is so GREAT?” (II Chron. 1:8-10). Because Solomon sought God FIRST and acknowledged Him as the source of RIGHT DIRECTION, God granted him wisdom and knowledge to make right decisions and choices. God blessed him and the nation Israel over which he ruled (verses 11:17).

No matter how large or small a decision we have to make, we should always go to God FIRST and acknowledge Him as the source of direction, wisdom and knowledge to make the right choice. Even if we must make a quick – rapid-fire – decision, we always have time – even if it is only an instant – to pray within ourselves, “Father, help me to see Your will.”

Rule Two: Get Examples From the Bible

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His LAW [the Bible] doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and WHATSOEVER HE DOETH SHALL PROSPER” (Psalm 1:1-3) .

The Bible — God’s Word – is an instruction book for man and a history of man’s mistakes, successes, rewards and punishments. It runs the full gamut of human experience. In the Old Testament, when God was bringing Israel out of Egypt, the people had to make many decisions. Some were right – many were wrong! These examples are priceless in helping us avoid making similar mistakes in decisions we must reach.

Some of the wrong decisions which led to disaster for the people are recorded a second time in I Corinthians in the 10th chapter. Notice what the apostle Paul says about these occurrences: “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (verse 11).

By a deep knowledge of God’s Word – through constant study and meditation – we have a backlog of experience to draw upon. We certainly can profit by the mistakes others have made, and also from their wise decisions. Seek in your knowledge of God’s Word, or by meditating further on it, to find a basic principle that relates clearly to your choice or decision. Try to determine how your reasoning may be similar to a specific example in God’s Word.

Jesus’s Example

Jesus, under severe temptation from Satan to make a wrong decision, knew this principle well. When the Tempter sought to entice Jesus to choose immediate world rule – showed him alluring world kingdoms to tempt Him – Jesus said: “IT IS WRITTEN, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Jesus also said twice more “IT IS WRITTEN !”

We should follow His example! Jesus knew God’s Word. He drew heavily upon it to make His choices. The unjust judges of this world follow this principle even if their choices may be wrong. No judge presiding over a court case ever comes to a decision without knowing the decisions that have been rendered previously in similar cases. Lawyers always rehearse previous court cases for what has happened in the past.

We have literally hundreds of “court cases” upon which God has rendered His verdict – IN THE BIBLE. Yet far too many of us neglect to seek that knowledge from God’s Word and apply it to our decisions. Far too many of us just do not know God’s Word well enough.’ Therefore we make wrong decisions on points for which there are direct examples in the Word of God.Your best insurance to guiding your steps through your changing pattern of life is a deep and profound knowledge of God’s Word. “Thy Word is a LAMP unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Rule Three: Get all the Pertinent Facts

In most decisions you will have time to carefully consider all the factors. Too many times when a decision needs to be made we “leap before we look.” This is another universal error most people make – they don’t take enough time to consider all the facts!

Basic “high-pressure” salesmanship is designed around this human weakness and natural human lust. Ninety percent of purchases made are “impulse buying.” People go “shopping” without a factual study of the type, quality, price, performance and need factors already clearly defined. Therefore they are prime targets for the fast talking line of the high-pressure salesman – and in HIS backyard – where his glittering gadgets have you spellbound.

Not that we’re specifically talking about decisions on buying, but it is an excellent thing to remember that the item you are tempted to buy will still be there tomorrow or the next day or next week. Only your desire to HAVE IT makes you feel like you must get it NOW. The salesman knows that too.

One key which will save you many headaches and pocketbook pains is learning to “wait 24 hours” especially in reference to impulse buying. Every salesman knows a person is most apt to buy on the spur of the moment after he has been pushed “off balance” by his basic desire to possess plus the strong “pitch” he has just been given. But if you will say, “I’ll think it over” – leave the store – go home and wait until tomorrow – most likely many factors will come to you which you were unable to consider under the pressure of the moment.

This key also applies to any choice you have to make. We are always “off balance” until we have carefully weighed ALL the facts. Whatever time you have before you must decide, use it to weigh carefully all the alternatives that lie before you and the costs or actions they demand. It is always good to accumulate a written list of all the pros and cons. It will serve two purposes. One: you won’t forget the unpleasant aspects which we are so often prone to nullify or treat lightly. Two. it will force you to take the time to consider the factors in detail, which, again, we are usually reluctant to do. Be sure you get the FACTS. Don’t be satisfied with guesses and assumptions. If there are FACTS to get, get them. It’s your life!

Rule Four: Seek Wise and Abundant Counsel

In getting the facts, we should again remember not always to lean to our own knowledge of the subject. We should seek those who have the most accurate information relative to our choice. Let us suppose you are considering a change from one area of the country to another. This involves a change of job – change of home – change of school for children – change of climate – change of cost of living – and many, many other things. A wise decision cannot be reached without learning what these factors are like in the new area. One way to learn these facts is to ask or counsel with someone who is an AUTHORITY on these factors in the new area.

In every case seek wise counsel from a reputable authority or sources you can rely on. Don’t rely on backyard advice or “water-cooler wisdom” for a decision in your life. Don’t be satisfied with one opinion only! A primary principle from God’s Word shows us to seek wise counsel: “WHERE NO COUNSEL is, the people fall: but in the MULTITUDE OF COUNSELLORS THERE IS SAFETY” (Prov. 11:14).

Many times we feel it is a sign of weakness to ask for help and opinions. This is again vanity and self-centeredness. Even in the largest corporations the wisest executives seek out advisors and counsellors to help them make wise decisions.

Rule Five: Make a Definite Decision

In applying the preceding rules, we will have come to the place where we are ready to make a definite decision: Now is the time! We have asked God for wisdom and direction; we have searched His Word for examples and lessons. We have gathered and weighed all the facts and eventualities. We have sought authorities, wise and abundant counsellors. The choice or decision should now be CLEAR. Make that decision DECISIVELY – POSITIVELY! Don’t vacillate! Don’t waver!

Again God’s Word gives us the example. “For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed … A double minded man is UNSTABLE in all his ways” (James 1:6, 8). This brings us to the sixth rule.

Rule Six: Have Faith in the Decision

Faith is one of the most powerful forces we can employ to cause circumstances to turn out right. Once we have come to a decision based on God’s principles we can have FAITH it will work out correctly. We should EXPECT our choice – to turn out RIGHT and GOOD. We can have ABSOLUTE FAITH that it will!

“Faith is the substance of things [or conclusions] HOPED FOR, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).

Believing is now our part! The whole eleventh chapter of Hebrews is a testimony of those who made choices and decisions in their lives toward an ultimate goal and they attained them THROUGH FAITH! Jesus said, “If thou canst believe, ALL THINGS are possible to him that BELIEVETH”! (Mark 9:23). Trust your decision. Trust the God who led you to it. Believe it will turn out as planned. Expect it to! HAVE FAITH.

Rule Seven: Work Diligently for the Desired End

The last rule is where many fall down. The right conclusion to a decision is NOT AUTOMATIC! We must go all out to bring the desired end to reality. In the course of obtaining all the facts and getting wise and abundant counsel we will have discovered many things to DO !

Now that we have made our choice and have faith that it will work out, we need to roll up our sleeves and GET TO WORK! Another basic principle from God’s Word will help. Wise Solomon learned from God: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Eccl. 9:10).

Here is where many of us fail. We do not diligently and systematically go step-by-step through every phase of effort toward the desired goal! Resolve, in every choice or decision, to thoroughly and judiciously do your part.

There is never a time in your life when you can afford to NEGLECT these principles. Write them down on a card and carry them with you. Learn them – make them a part of you. Put them into practice in your life.

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