Category: The Lords Notebook

A Merciful Death Penalty

How could a loving God advocate capital punishment?

The Old Testament of the Bible speaks with perfect plainness on the issue of capital punishment: “He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death” (Exodus 21:12).

Genesis 9:6 and Leviticus 24:17 also give full authority to those sitting in judgment to execute a murderer. Deuteronomy 19:11-19:13 commands unsparing punishment for such a killer: “…deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.”

Strong words, those. The God of the Old Testament clearly favored the death penalty.

About 7 out of 10 Americans favor the death penalty, too. But that number is beginning to decline. Recent events are casting doubts in many people’s minds.

First there was the report released clear back in June of 2000 showing high rates of judicial error among death-sentence appeal cases. A subsequent moratorium on executions by the Illinois governor at that time propelled the issue into the national spotlight, where it was taken up in force by the overwhelmingly anti-death-penalty news media. It reared its head in the presidential race, and was compounded by two death-row cases in Texas, the state in which the Republican candidate, George W. Bush, was governor. In one case, Mr. Bush, a self-proclaimed “compassionate conservative,” granted a reprieve to a convicted murderer. The second man was executed, amid a flurry of protests.

In the growing national debate, death-penalty advocates are being made to look heartless and uncompassionate. But let’s ask this fundamental question: Is the God of the Old Testament heartless and uncompassionate?

The Bible says that God is a God of love (1 John 4:8). So why would a God of love allow the death penalty? How could a loving God actually command putting someone to death?

As we will see, when the death penalty is understood from God’s vantage point, it is one of the greatest acts of love there can be toward society, and the condemned criminal.

First let’s answer this question: Does God really favor the death penalty? In the Old Testament, yes, but what about the New Testament?

God of the Old Testament

Many people believe that in the “Christian” era, the death penalty no longer should be enforced, saying that the grace of Jesus Christ does away with the need to execute criminals. That is an error! The one who became Jesus Christ is the author of the death penalty in the Old Testament.

The first chapter of the book of John tells us about the prehistory of God, at a time prior to Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him [the Word]; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-1:3). The Word made the universe, and then the one who was the Word became the Son of God, Jesus Christ (verse 14). That is why it says in Ephesians 3:9 that God “created all things by Jesus Christ.” Space is not sufficient in this letter to quote all the scriptures related to this subject, but please study such verses as Colossians 1:12-1:13, 15-17; Hebrews 1:1-1:2; Hebrews 7; John 1:18; 5:37 and 1 John 4:12, which show that Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament.

This is a very important point in our study of the death penalty. The one who became Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament who demanded death for murderers! Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Furthermore, that same unchanging Jesus Christ said in Matthew 26:52, “for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Likewise, Jesus Christ inspired the Apostle John (Revelation 1:1) to write in Revelation 13:10, “he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.”

By the authority of God the Father, Jesus Christ is the author and originator of the death penalty. He bolsters His words in the Old Testament with clear statements of support in the New Testament.

Old Testament authority to execute murderers is placed into the hands of men, as shown in the above-quoted scriptures. In the New Testament book of Romans, God reaffirms that authority: “Let every soul be subject unto the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist [speaking of man’s governments and courts] are appointed by God…. For he [a government or court official] is God’s minister [“servant” or “magistrate” in some translations] to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:1-13:4; New King James Version).

The God of love tells us in such scriptures as Hebrews 12:5-12:6 that for our own good those who commit wrong must be corrected. Correction is the God-given means to prevent crime and other problems. Using strong correction forces change in criminals convicted of lesser offenses and eliminates entirely the threat of those convicted of violent crimes such as murder.

“Punishment, when meted out in the proper manner, and at the proper time, is one of the greatest blessings a human being at any age can receive!” The reason is that if we do not receive correction, we will proceed on a course to our own destruction (Proverbs 14:12). Through correction, God can steer us in the path toward a happy, fulfilled life.

As will be shown later in this letter, that sound wisdom even applies to the death penalty.

“Mitigating Circumstances”

Many people reject God’s clear commandments involving implementation of the death penalty. And though the death penalty was reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976, Americans have demonstrated a fear to sternly correct evildoers, and are vacillating in their determination to use the God-given option of executing people for horrible wrongs. As the late fbi Director J. Edgar Hoover once stated about our modern permissive society, we have “substituted indulgence for discipline.” The result is that our prisons are full to overflowing and our society is inundated in violent crime.

Too often, we indulge the weaknesses of criminals. The liberal element in our society constantly seeks to explain away evil deeds by reason of “mitigating circumstances” that supposedly justify a lesser or softer sentence. Claims of parental abuse, mental instability and racial injustice have all been used to acquit clearly guilty individuals.

Science has even rushed to the aid of lawbreakers by trying to uncover genetic and biochemical predisposition to violent behavior. “Evidence Found for a Possible ‘Aggression’ Gene,” blared a 1993 headline in the journal Science. Some sociobiologists claim that “impulsivity,” a trait presumably caused by bad brain chemistry or bad genes, is enough to give someone the inclination to lead a life of crime.

That is the whining, indulgent nonsense that is preventing deterrence of crime today. We shouldn’t be trying to “understand” criminals, we should be harshly punishing them with retribution so severe that they never want to commit crime again!

And in the case of intentional murder, for reasons we will see later, that severe punishment should be death.

So says our great God, who understands human nature and tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that our natures are deceitful and desperately wicked. And in Romans 6:23 we are told that the “wages of sin is death” not separation from God, but death, the absence of life.

Mankind continually makes excuses for his wrong behavior and, in particular, has done so concerning crimes deserving the death penalty in the last 40 years. When will we learn that there are no mitigating circumstances, justifications, or excuses for crime and lawlessness? There are reasons why people do things, but those reasons cannot be allowed to become excuses for which they are given leniency. History repeatedly shows that when a society indulges its criminals with leniency, that society will drift into anarchy and total collapse!

Discipline Promptly

In Proverbs 19:18, God gives us the principle that applies to disobedient children, juvenile delinquents, or hardened criminals. We are told, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying” (Proverbs 19:18). There comes a point for an undisciplined child when there is no (or very little) hope of correcting bad behavior. Often, a delinquent, and finally a hardened criminal will result because the parents were too soft during their child’s early years, when they had the greatest hope of curbing the child’s self-centered and destructive ways.

As parents and as a society, we are not to “spare for his crying” by lessening the punishment. Proverbs 13:24 admonishes us, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (nkjv). For the good of society and the individual, swift, stern justice must be meted out when wrongs are brought to light.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 tells us the importance of swift punishment when it says, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” How clear and wise! When wrongdoing is not immediately punished, then all or almost all of the deterrent value to any subsequent punishment is lost!

As for determining a person’s guilt, there is only one biblical rule: “Whoever kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses; but one witness is not sufficient testimony against a person for the death penalty” (Numbers 35:30). Deuteronomy 17:6 agrees: “Whoever is worthy of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses, but he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.” In God’s eyes, repeated reprieves and appeals; and now, insistence upon dna testing to verify guilt should not be necessary for death-row inmates.

If mankind would only receive instruction from the word of God instead of doing what seems humanly right.

As pointed out above, without swift punishment, any hope of dissuading others from committing similar crimes is lost or greatly diminished. Ezra 7:26 guides us toward speedy response to crime by stating, “And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.”

The criminal mind does not respect authority. The only thing such a person respects is equal or stronger force! And when that strong force is used immediately to severely punish an offender, it makes others of like mind think twice before acting likewise.

However, once again, the liberal element in our society says there is little deterrent value in punishments such as the death penalty. They have a point but only because of how hesitant our courts are to use the death penalty!

The Deterrence Factor

No sane man or woman wants to put another person to death. It is understandable to have a certain degree of pity for someone who is going to die, even if he or she deserves to die.

But it is the seemingly interminable delays of 10 to 18 years that are taking the much-needed deterrent value out of the death penalty! The death penalty, once carried out, is as humanly irreversible as the murder itself, and therefore great care must be taken in implementing the death penalty. But human justice will always be flawed to a degree, and we cannot stop the wheels of justice or remove the deterrent value of the death penalty simply because we may make a mistake! To do so is to make a far greater mistake!

People who commit crimes are promised a fair trial, not a perfect trial. Yet so many of the habeas corpus appeals (many of which amount to little more than stalling tactics) are procedural and/or frivolous in nature, nit-picking the court over minor imperfections in court procedure. Flawed humans will make mistakes. But that must not stop us from following God’s plain commands! A swift death penalty was intended by our Creator to deter or restrain additional people from committing the sin of murder. To stop or delay the death penalty because the courts are afraid of making a mistake is direct disobedience to God and His laws!

Many a career criminal has already proven he cannot “make it” in normal society; and if he murders, rapes, robs, and commits general mayhem, so what? He knows he’ll be provided food and shelter for the rest of his life so that he never has to work again! Why should he fear to kill? Even though he probably murdered unmercifully, the “merciful” liberals will see to it that his life is spared so that the taxpayers can support him for the next 20, 40 or 60 years in a prison environment where he is “somebody” a suppose “man among the suppose men” so to speak!

We must not get softer on crime, we must get tougher!

The book of Proverbs states, “When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise,” and “Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware” (Proverbs 21:11; 19:25). People can learn vicariously from the experiences of others!

Even after 11 years of appeals, when convicted murderer Charles Troy Coleman was finally executed in September of 1990, the deterrent effect of the death penalty was clearly seen and reported in the news. On September 10, the day of Coleman’s execution, the Daily Oklahoman quoted fellow condemned murderer Howard Marquez as saying, “I felt the fear. I felt fear for my life.” Another death row inmate, Robert Grady Johnson, one of two men convicted of cold-bloodedly killing four people in the 1984 Geronimo Bank massacre, said after Coleman’s death by injection, “Several people here are saying, ‘I don’t have a chance. I’m going to be up there (in the death chamber) too.’” Johnson further said, “People here are scared to death.”

The deterrent effect of the death penalty is muted because of current practices. But even basic understanding of human nature tells us that, if administered properly, the death penalty would have a significant deterrent effect!

The Missing Dimension

Again, why does God command the death penalty? Why would a loving God allow a convicted murderer to be executed and supposedly end his chance to ever repent and change?

The answer to these questions is plainly revealed in your Bible as being the resurrection of the dead. All unconverted sinners will be raised alive from the grave while Christ is ruling the Earth, and then they will be given a chance to learn and change.

The pagan teaching of an “ever-burning hellfire” (to which most professing Christians today would condemn the executed murderer) is nowhere found in your Bible!

Hebrews 6:1-6:2 shows that the resurrection is one of the foundational doctrines taught by your Bible. And it is the knowledge of the resurrection that gives us God’s mind and understanding about the death penalty.

There are several references in the Old Testament to the resurrection, but only the Prophet Daniel begins to hint that there might be more than one resurrection. Daniel wrote, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). In the New Testament, Jesus Christ said, “… the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [judgment]” (John 5:28-5:29).

In Acts 24:15, the Apostle Paul plainly stated “that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Paul wrote at length regarding the resurrections in 1 Corinthians 15.

The simple truth of your Bible is that there will be three resurrections altogether (Revelation 20:4-20:15). The first will be at Christ’s return to Earth (1 Corinthians 15:22-15:23) when He will resurrect to eternal spirit life those who have received God’s Holy Spirit in order to belong to Christ (Romans 8:9) and who have overcome and endured in God’s ways and held fast to God’s truth (Revelation 3:11-3:12; 21:7). These are the Saints and Christ’s wife to be.

The second resurrection will occur 1000 years after Christ’s return (Revelation 20:11-12). Those in this resurrection will be given human physical bodies once again. For the first time, they will receive the opportunity to understand God’s precious truth and put it into practice in their lives (Isaiah 30:20-30:21) so that they, too, can be added to the spirit-composed family of God (Ephesians 3:14-3:15). The analogy of Children stemming from the result of such a Spiritual Marriage between Christ and the Bride-Church, within the Government, Family, and Kingdom of God is implemented here, enlightenment with wisdom.

This second resurrection is the missing dimension and key to understanding how a God of love can be in favor of a death penalty.

The third resurrection will also be a resurrection to physical life, but the end result of this resurrection will be eternal death, complete cessation of life, It’s not spending an eternity boiling and bubbling in an ever-burning hellfire, but death. Think about it, do you think God would want to hear his creation scream in agony for all eternity? A course not! For those that end up here will simply burn up and no longer exist ever. These individuals (the could of been saints) truly understood God’s truth and ways but came to reject them, through either rebellion or weakness (Hebrews 10:26-10:27; Revelation 20:13-20:15; 21:8). I call it spiritual abortion due to self infliction which makes sense if you truly understand that these people received true baptism (not the many false ones taken place today), they came to learn and understood all the truths of God yet then decided to reject God and his only way of life.. God will mercifully impose an eternal death penalty (no more life or existing) upon them to prevent the creation of another ever-living, wretchedly miserable murderer like Satan the devil (John 8:44).

To understand how the death penalty can be a blessing, one must have God’s perspective on human life. Human death don’t mean much to God except a temporary sleep (1 Corinthians 15:51-15:55), because God can resurrect humans from the grave! If we understand the resurrections, then we can see how the death penalty is one of the greatest acts of love there can be, even toward the condemned criminal!

Imposing and carrying out the death penalty stops the example of lawlessness in society which can corrupt other human beings into the same wrong ways of violence and murder. Swiftly carrying out the death penalty also prevents the murderer from continuing in a downward spiral of ever-deepening rebellion against God’s law. The longer such a person is allowed to live, the more deeply entrenched will become their evil habits and twisted and corrupted human nature, all of which must be changed when the person is resurrected to physical life in the second resurrection!

The merciful God will even resurrect Attila the Hun and Adolf Hitler, along with every serial killer and mass murderer who has ever lived! Once resurrected, all those who did not receive the truth of God in their brief human life (which is the vast majority of people throughout human history) will have their first opportunity to have an open mind and receive God’s truth!

Every human being only gets one opportunity to respond to God’s truth! Just because a person has lived does not mean they understood God’s truth. They will receive their one opportunity in the second resurrection!

That is how the death penalty can be implemented in love! It deters others in this life from committing offenses worthy of the death penalty. And it prevents a murderer or violent career criminal from continuing in his wrong and worsening ways and more firmly establishing habits which must be broken when he or she has their opportunity to receive God’s truth.

How beautiful is the pure truth of the merciful God!

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Prophecy is a Proof of God!

HAVE YOU EVER PROVED WHETHER THE BIBLE IS THE authoritative Word of Almighty God? We can know, definitely, that the Bible’s revelations are true. Only the great God could have accurately predicted today’s news long ago!

 

Today’s startling headlines of world news were written in Bible prophecy long before they actually occurred. And tomorrow’s news has already been written in advance!

 

Most people would acknowledge that it was impossible for men over 2,500 years ago to have looked into the future and foretold what is now happening in all the major nations. Weather experts often fail in foretelling the weather just days in advance and even within the hour.

 

Side note: Let’s read Song of Songs 4:16 “Awake, O north wind; and come thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”

 

This entire Song of Solomon is really called the Song of Songs and it’s the greatest love song of all time and will be throughout all of eternity because it’s from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The relationship utilized here between Solomon and his wife are the model examples and serving as admonitions for us today; but on a deeper level it’s all about the representation of the relationship between Christ and his future bride to be. It’s true that most people believe this particular book of the Bible is some sort of sexual relationship between Solomon and his wife. It may be truly the sexiest book of the Bible but rest assure it has nothing to do with sex at all and has everything to do with intimacy and chemistry. Think of two people whom are dating and according to the laws of God, sex before marriage is absolutely not permitted. In addition to the Spiritual side of things you can clearly see that there is no sex in the coming Kingdom of God, but there is deep intimacy and wide chemistry between two physical people dating, or at least there should be. Likewise their is deep intimacy and wide chemistry between Christ and his future bride to be (the Church of God). In order to have this with Christ one must not only communicate with the Heavenly Father but know how to through prayer (Your speech to him), Bible study (His speech to you), and meditation (the unity of thought between you and the Heavenly Father). Now straight to the bigger point here that i want to expound on, and the reason of bringing Song of Songs 4:16 to you’re undivided attention in affiliation to the overall theme of understanding the topic of prophecy being the proof of God. read it again, did you catch it? Did you understand it? Let me repeat the previous statement:  Weather experts often fail in foretelling the weather just days in advance and even within the hour. The Bible however, actually helps you predict the weather without any weather experts! Before you can eat fruit you first must have a garden, but before you can have a garden you first must have rain! We have had a lot of rain lately! Did you know before it rains, that the wind actually blows? For example if the wind blows from the East to the West, it’s a strong indication that were have a thunderstorm and THUNDER is an indication that God’s speaking to the inhabitants of the earth, mix that with the sure RAINSTORM making it a THUNDERSTORM and it’s not so pleasant to the inhabitants of the area. In fact it often results in flooding which can and will destroy a garden aside from other effects. Not so much of a blessing is it? It’s not designed to be either through the law of cause and effect. Now focus on the scripture again, Wind from the north blowing south is absolutely an indication that a blessed and decent amount of rainfall is on the way. Next time you feel the wind blow play close attention and put the understanding of the scripture to the test. It just may bring you closer to God on a deeper level of intimacy with a wilder ever growing chemistry.

 

What chance does anyone have of foretelling specific events to happen to great powers like the United States, Britain, the European Union, Russia or China, and having the prophecies come true; unless they were divinely inspired?

 

Such prophecies were made centuries before they were fulfilled and some are now being fulfilled precisely as the prophets foretold!

 

Fulfilled prophecy of history’s past is proof of the existence of God Almighty. It is proof of the divine inspiration of the Bible. It is proof that the Bible contains knowledge revealed from God that we could not otherwise discover or know. Isn’t it rational and even logical, then, to believe in the God who made His revelation known thousands of years in advance?

 

Some people think that the only way to prove the inspiration of the Bible is by means of Jesus’s miracles. But the skeptics do not believe those miracles ever happened, even though the historical testimony of unconverted Jews and pagans admit that Jesus did perform those miracles.

 

Others think of answered prayers as the major proof of inspiration. But the skeptics has had no prayers answered. They do not believe that the prayers of others has either, and attributes any such claims to coincidence or circumstance.

 

Yet here is a book, The Holy Bible… within it’s pages; challenging these skeptics by daring them to foretell the future history of this world. God declares us all to look within its pages and prove it’s undeniable inspiration by the one source of irrefutable proof = fulfilled prophecy!

 

Prophecy is the one proof upon which Scripture stands or it falls. It cannot be both and here is what God says: “Set forth your case, says the LORD: bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. And tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come” (Isaiah 41:21-41:22; Revised Standard Version). God says, as it were, “Let’s hear your prophecies that we may see whether or not they turn out.  Predict what is going to happen in the future, and let us see whether you can foretell. Can you make and unmake nations? Can you pronounce a sentence or a decree on a nation, and bring it to pass?”

 

If prophecies have not been fulfilled, then the skeptics would have proof that the Bible is a fraud. But prophecy HAS been fulfilled! Contrary to popular belief, the rise and fall of history’s great nations, including America and Britain, WAS prophesied by God in considerable detail in the pages of the Bible. In fact, an exciting, pulsating, vital “one third” of the whole Bible is devoted to prophecy. And approximately 90% of all prophecy pertains to our time, now, in these last days! Think about that for a few minutes, Its deep! The future 1,000 years of Christ ruling with the saints (upon their Spiritual resurrection) is the last and final 1,000 of a total 7,000 year plan (Symbolic to a whole week) in mankind’s physical existence (additional insight: “Ezekiel 37:1-37:14” the second resurrection involves all those who have ever lived but have truly never knew God. “At this point and time they will be resurrected back into their physical bodies to be taught by Christ and His new Spiritual Bride, about the Heavenly Father: before they themselves can be transformed at the end of that 1,000 year reign of Christ and His Church, where they will then be Spiritually born into the God family as the second harvest representing; “the Spiritual children”, the results, and the fruits within that Holy Spiritual Marriage between Christ and his Bride). As of right now at this very moment, nearly 6,000 years of mankind’s physical existence has occurred, so were very close to the second coming of Christ and that future 1,000 years; yet nearly 90% of all prophecy is due to occur between now and Christ’s return.

 

Moving right along: Yes, fulfilled prophecy is the proof of divine revelation! If one, throughout the Bible, speaking and claiming to be God, can prophesy and tell what is going to happen in the future to our cities, our nations, our world-ruling empires; then if it actually happens in every case, without a miss, no sane mind can deny that God must have spoken it. And for the 10 percent of prophesy that has already happened over the last past near 6,000 years can be found right there in God’s Holy Bible.

 

One of the most important pursuits of our lives should be to prove God’s existence and the inspiration of His written Word. Today, God is making His existence known to you by showing that His inspired Word (the Holy Bible) is absolutely dependable.

 

A Special Message

 

Many people love to discuss Bible prophecy today. But there is a missing dimension in all of those public discussions. There is a critical lack in their understanding. The underlying thrust of all Bible prophecy is positive. It’s about the return of Jesus Christ. However, there are some very dark prophecies that precede Christ’s return. Even those prophecies contain God’s hope and love, but mankind refuse to understand. The dark prophecies are designed by God to teach us that we must have God’s character. Man is dangerously incomplete without God. To understand that, all we have to do is observe what is happening in the world. Mankind has refused to receive God’s direction. That rebellion has produced the evil world in which we live. That is why man is facing so many dark prophecies. Upon the start of the Philadelphia Era, God sent an end-time Elijah to restore all things (Matthew 17:10-17:11) to His Church and proclaim “all things” to this world. He did so for more than 50 years. But most people rejected the message. Today I will and do proclaim the same message. Generally, men and women reject it. Shamefully, at the beginning of the Laodicea era, most members once of God’s own Church has rejected that message (Revelation 3:14-3:20) making a small flock a very small flock. Edward R. Murrow was probably America’s greatest news journalist ever. He tried to get the press to cover more serious subjects in order to prevent the news media from becoming a vast wasteland. He believed it was essential for the future of Britain and America. But he finally admitted that the press wouldn’t listen to him or anybody else! This is the problem of all mankind, and that attitude is why we face the black prophecies. We bring them upon ourselves and then often blame God! People love to discuss Bible prophecy, but they reject God’s view of His own prophecies! That is the missing dimension in Bible Prophecy, just as the Holy Spirit is the missing dimension in all the minds of the unbelievers. All of the dark prophecies could be changed immediately if we all heeded God’s message. In God’s own laws of cause and effect, He allows the evil to continue until we repent. Then mankind can fulfill its potential in the God Family forever!

Communication Builds a Marriage

The vital connection for a strong marriage.

 

A THRIVING MARRIAGE REQUIRES HONEST, OPEN, ongoing communication. These are simple but powerful principles. God tells us in Ephesians 4:15 to speak the truth -communicate- “in love.” God’s love is outgoing concern for the good and welfare of others. His communication “in love” has a profound effect.

 

LEVELS OF COMMUNICATION

 

Here we’ll look at three aspects of communication: talking, listening, and understanding.

 

The FIRST aspect of communication is talking.

 

There are different levels of quality in talking. Talking just for the sake of talking is not the same as effective, healthy, constructive communication. Good communication reveals one’s true thoughts and feelings about an action or situation. It is an open expression of what is in your mind.

 

Level 1: Cliche conversation. This is where a person hides behind the safety screen of cliches and small talk. He or she shares nothing personal. The conversation always stays on the level of “How are you” or “Looks like it is going to rain.” Level 2: Reporting facts. In this kind of conversation, information that is perhaps interesting or useful is shared, but no personal views enter into the discussion. Facts are simply quoted, much like a newsreader. Level 3: Expressing ideas and judgments. Here is where some real communication begins. The person steps out from his or her comfort zone and goes beyond just sharing facts: They also share their ideas and judgments-determinations about those facts. Level 4: Expressing feelings and emotions. Here the person begins to share genuine feelings about things. There can be no truly effective communication in marriage until both parties interact with each other on this level. Without such, neither will know how the other feels on vital issues. Level 5: Openness and honesty. This is the ultimate level; one of absolute openness and honesty. All deep relationships, especially the marriage relationship, must be based upon honest communication, otherwise the relationship will suffer.

 

SPEAK IN LOVE

 

We must also add to this God’s biblical instruction of “speaking the truth in love.” When we move our conversations beyond cliches and share not only facts but also ideas, judgments, feelings with openness, we create a world of communication that builds beauty and harmony into our relationships. We don’t want to use communication to create a world of misery. For a marriage to have beauty and harmony, the husband and wife must be committed to speak the truth in all things. Truth with love sometimes hurts, but this is part of healthy communication. Healthy communication always carries an overall positive and helpful message (Ephesians 5:25; Proverbs 10:19-10:20; 15:4, Psalms 37:30). Words can create or destroy relationships. They make life brighter or darker. They can spread a great deal of misery or joy. They can forge a chain of grief or satisfaction (Proverbs 25:11; 12:25). Words create an atmosphere of good or evil (Proverbs 17:9; Matthew 12:36-12:37; Colossians 3:8). Our communication produces either unity, harmony, and goodness; or the opposite. It either builds us up or pulls us down. God spoke to an Earth that lay in tohu and bohu which means chaos and confusion. God’s Word brought about beauty and harmony, making it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). If your marriage has a degree of chaos and confusion, then kind words can heal the problem (Ephesians 4:23, 29, 31-32; 5:2-5:4; 1 Peter 3;1-3:7). Satan’s speaking brings about wholesale misery (John 8:44). When God speaks, there is always a wonderful result (Genesis 1:27-1:28, 2:18-2:24; John 13-17). Each of us must speak the language of love in our marriages (Ephesians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13:13). The tone of your voice is also very important “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Some communication experts say that words compose 7 percent of the message, 38 percent is tone of voice, and 55 percent is body language. What you say is often less important than how you say it.

 

LISTEN CAREFULLY

 

The SECOND aspect of communication is listening.

 

James 1:19 states, “Let every man be swift to hear…” (See also Proverbs 1:5; 19:20; and 25:12). In a troubled marriage a ready listener is often lacking. Here are three areas that interfere with effective listening: DEFENSIVENESS: You are not listening when you are busy thinking of ways to shoot down the other person’s comments or thinking of all the reasons why you are right. SELF-CENTEREDNESS: You are not listening when you are talking, interrupting, being impatient, or being intolerant toward the other person. PHYSICAL OR MENTAL FATIGUE: You are not listening when you are tired. This certainly can dull your ability and desire to listen.

 

The challenge is to listen not only to the words but also to the feelings and meaning behind the words. If a person feel understood, then he or she will be less defensive and more receptive.

 

UNDERSTANDING YOUR PARTNER

 

The THIRD aspect of communication is understanding.

 

Seek always to understand your partner. Communication or the lack thereof is a matter of cause and effect. All behavior has a cause. “God made humans to be free moral agents,” He set in motion His inexorable law, which, if obeyed, causes peace, blessings, abundance; but which, when disobeyed, causes curses. He compels humans to choose. Each must make his or her own choice; either positively or by neglect. God has made His truth available! God expects you to grow in your marriage by using the vital tool of communication. If we all work on this regardless of how long we have been married, our unity with our spouses and quality of our marriages will grow stronger.

 

At all times: let’s talk, listen, and understand in a way that builds beauty, unity, and strength in our marriages. If we do, we will be developing the divine righteous character of God in preparation for the ultimate Spiritual marriage of Jesus Christ to the one and only true Church.

Powerful Ways to Think More like God

This simple, potent formula will purify and elevate your mindset.

 

GOD’S THOUGHTS ARE HIGHER THAN OUR THOUGHTS (Isaiah 55:8-55:9). He is flawless in character, limitless in wisdom and knowledge, and balanced in judgment and mercy. He created human beings to think like Him; to grow in character, wisdom and knowledge, judgment (understanding cause and effect) and mercy. We must learn to think more like our Father.

 

Here is a biblical formula to help you think like God: “Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken, HATE THE EVIL, and LOVE THE GOOD…” (Amos 5:14-5:15).

 

How simple. But learning to think like God in a world ruled by the devil isn’t easy. It means striving each day, each moment, to evaluate our choices, words and thoughts by this formula: hate evil, love good.

 

Satan and his society love evil and hate good. The devil broadcasts this attitude into our minds (Ephesians 2:2), and even ministers who once served God can begin to “hate the good, and love the evil” (Micah 3:2). We can all fall into this trap. The entire lesson of the two trees is that we can only tell what is good and what is evil if God shows us. But once God shows you, you must feel deeply and act decisively!

 

“Ye that love the LORD, HATE EVIL…” (Psalm 97:10). “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I HATE every false way” (Psalm 119:104). To learn what God hates, study His law (verses 128, 162-163).

 

Amos prophesied that in the modern era, even people in God’s own Church would be “at ease in Zion,” lacking urgency and glutted on luxury (Amos 6:1-6:5). He condemned them for not being “GRIEVED for the affliction of Joseph” (which is modern day United States and modern day England). God said, “I ABHOR the excellency of Jacob, and HATE his palaces” (verse 48). “What societies highly esteems, God ABHORS! That is a STRONG STATEMENT! What Israel exalts, GOD HATES! “Amos Had God’s view” HATRED OF EVIL MOTIVATED THIS GODLY PROPHET. If we are going to be motivated to dispense God’s message, we are going to have to hate what God hates! We must hate what is happening in Israel and to Israel which also includes the American society. We must hate how people are defaming God… When i read those words (in verse 8), I know i don’t hate this world as God does.”

 

Living in Sodom, righteous Lot was surrounded by evil = pride, gluttony, excess, idleness, haughtiness, sexual perversion (Ezekiel 16:49-16:50, Jude 7)- Just as we are today. The Apostle peter commended Lot for being “greatly distressed by the licentiousness (unbridled lust, shamelessness)” around him, and said he was “vexed (tormented) in his righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds” (2 Peter 2:7-2:8).

 

Could God say the same about you? The more you think like God, the more repulsed by this world and grieved by its sins you will be! The more motivated to have your sin purged. And the the more urgently you will pray daily, “THY KINGDOM COME!” With wickedness so common, it is hard to really hate it as we should. Lot’s sons-in-law thought Lot was joking when he said they needed to escape (Genesis 19:14). Even Lot himself lingered when God tried to get him out! (verse 16). This almost cost him his life!

 

Christ said, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). He said a time is coming when we will have to flee this sinful society (shortly right before the 2 & ½ years of tribulation begins) just as Lot and his family did (which was a small forerunner to the larger future event). When it comes, don’t make the mistake she did! “Lot’s wife looked back at Sodom and was turned to a pillar of salt. She still yearned for the sodomite lifestyle.” She left a powerful warning for God’s very elect today. THIS EVIL WORLD MUST HAVE NO APPEAL FOR US. OUR DESIRE MUST BE FOCUSED ON AND LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING OUT OF SODOM. We must have the desire to flee. This world is a sinking ship. We must get our minds off worldly ways and onto the commission God has given us. There should be nothing evil, in this evil world, that we want. WE SHOULD ONLY WANT TO FINISH OUR COMMISSION, SO WE CAN HELP CREATE A FUTURE NEW WORLD WITH GOD!

 

Once you have escaped the world’s pollutions, don’t go back! (2 Peter 2:20-2:22). Keep your mind clean and pure. This world is about to die. Live the way of tomorrow’s world which is the Coming Kingdom of God! Don’t be conformed to this world, be transformed by the renewing of God’s Spirit (Romans 12:2). Fix your mind on what is Good and Godly. “ABHOR (detest utterly) that which is evil; CLEAVE to that which is good” (Verse 9).

 

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (verse 21). If you are careless, evil will overcome you. But you can overcome it WITH GOOD! Fill your mind with the law and ways of God. Think on what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report-things of virtue and praise (Philippians 4:8). Submit yourself to God’s influence and learn to LOVE what God loves!

 

“He that will love life, and see good days… Let him eschew evil, and do good…” (1 Peter 3:10-3:11; see also Psalm 34:12-34:16 and Psalm 37:27-37:29). What a marvelous formula for learning to think like God!

 

P.S. It takes real obedience unto the Heavenly Father to wait and to move. When you do either under his direction, you won’t ever want to look back because of your faith in knowing that He is moving mountains especially for you.

 

Enriching Friendships

Strong friendships are one of the greatest joys of life. However, some people are overly self-conscious and shy away from those who could be their friends. Some open themselves up to only a small circle of friends. Some put their friends through a lot of difficulty and pain. And some are outgoing toward everyone, but never cultivate any close relationships.

 

How can you learn to develop strong, healthy friendships? God’s Word has particularly deep insight concerning human relationships. And it is full of advice on building a high-quality social life.

 

Loving Friendships

 

  1. How early in human history did God recognize the need for companionship? Genesis 2:18.

 

Our Creator made us to need relationships. God created specific relationships in the family. But He also designed us to need relationships outside of our families. These relationships help us become better human beings, stronger in character and more like the loving God in His thinking. Unlike family connections, which we cannot choose, we can choose our friends.

 

  1. What biblical principle explains how we should treat others? Galatians 5:14; Matthew 22:37-40. Does this include our enemies? Matthew 5:43-47.

 

Loving another person in the same way that you love yourself is a huge challenge. But this command governs our treatment of all other human beings. If you lack solid friendships, examine yourself. How good are you at putting others’ needs ahead of your own?

 

It is natural to have some friendships that are deeper than others. Though there are levels of friendship, they all must be based on love: unselfish, outgoing concern.

 

Proverbs 18:24 states, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly ….” The King James Version contains a mistranslation of this portion of the verse. The Revised Standard Version reads: “There are friends who pretend to be friends ….” It takes more than just putting on a show of friendship to develop strong relationships. It takes being a person who shows others that their opinions, needs, and desires matter to you; that you value their companionship. It takes a desire to love them the way you love yourself. This attracts others to you.

 

  1. Did Christ say there was an even greater love in a friendship than loving as you love yourself? John 15:13.

 

 

This kind of love goes beyond the love you have for yourself. It means even dying for your friend if necessary. In everyday application, it refers to putting your friend’s needs above your own. Do you have friends like that? Are you a friend like that?

 

Other Qualities of Good Friendships

 

  1. What else builds friendships? Proverbs 14:20; 19:4.

Superficial things draw people to us. But these proverbs aren’t saying we should seek material wealth to draw more friends to us. The word for wealth in Proverbs 19:4 can mean anything from material possessions to (My Favorite) wealth of mind and/or character. This Hebrew word is also used in Proverbs 13:7, which states that even those with nothing physically can have “riches.”

 

If you are rich in character, your personality will attract others. Proverbs 19:6 states that “every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.” Examine what your personality offers your friends. The richer your character and the more giving your personality, the stronger those friendships will be.

 

  1. What kind of friendships should we seek? Proverbs 27:6, 17.

Rubbing a knife against a sharpening iron makes the edge of the blade razor-sharp by friction. True friendship goes beyond common interests. Seek friendships that enrich your character and the character of others. Friends should have a positive influence on each other. Showing tough love to help someone through a problem is true friendship.

Not only can your close friends enhance your moral development and character growth, they can also accept you despite your shortcomings.

 

  1. What is a related quality of good friendships? Proverbs 17:17.

The Moffatt version translates this verse, “A friend is always a friend, he is a born brother for adversity.” Struggles and tough times reveal what friendships are made of: They even deepen relationships. They distinguish real friends from fair-weather friends. True friends will not desert you when things get rough or when they discover a weakness in you. They will see you through the adversity and help you overcome.

 

These proverbs say a lot about the kind of friend you should be, not just the kind of friends you should seek. Show your friends this unconditional love “at all times.” Be sure you demonstrate “wealthy” character around them, that your influence on them enhances their already strong character.

 

  1. What warnings do the Proverbs give about sure ways to ruin friendships? Proverbs 16:28; 17:9; 18:19.

These verses can refer to gossip that separates other people’s friendships. But gossip can also separate our own relationships if we spread rumors about our friends or share something with others that was told to us in confidence.

 

If you show yourself trustworthy; able perhaps to be blunt with your friends to their face in private, yet stick up for them around others and in the face of rumors, people will value your friendship.

 

We all make mistakes, though. A selfish act, an instance of stubborn pride, a hurtful comment; these can test the stability of a friendship. We should be able to apologize, and to forgive our friends when they slip up, to be a friend “at all times.”

 

Friendships to Avoid

 

  1. Does the Bible ever encourage two people not to be friends? Amos 3:3. Are there specific people we should not associate with? Proverbs 13:20.

 

Since we can choose our friends, God tells us to consider those choices carefully.

 

  1. Did Paul exhort Christians to avoid close company with nonbelievers? 2 Corinthians 6:14, 16-17.

 

These verses do not contradict the biblical law of “love thy neighbour as thyself.” Christians should hate the evil that people get involved in, but they should not hate the people. We can and should be friendly, help them if necessary, and even pray for them (Matthew 5:43-44). But do not associate with them or seek out their companionship.

 

There are also many nonbelievers that true Christians can become acquaintances with: people we work with or go to school with that we would not necessarily associate with beyond those situations. You can probably think of several acquaintances you have whose choices conflict with your values or morals in certain ways, but such a conflict does not typically arise in a work environment.

 

Use caution, however. Once those acquaintances move outside those boundaries, you could be dragged down by the lifestyle they lead. You may think you can be a good influence on them, but that is not what the Bible says. People who are bad influences will pull you down, often times you will not pull them up.

 

Close Friendships

 

  1. Are there some friendships that should be especially close? Proverbs 18:24 (last half).

 

Most of us have several good friends, maybe a few close friends, and maybe even one special, best friend. As you grow older, you will probably only be able to count your strongest, closest friendships on one hand. This is normal.

  1. As a human being, did Jesus Christ connect more with one disciple than the others? John 13:23; 21:20.

 

Instead of referring to himself by name in his own writings, the Apostle John refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Because Jesus was the great God in human form, the one who epitomized perfect love and friendship. His friendship with the other disciples did not suffer from the special bond He had with John. Jesus loved all men to the point of dying for every man. Still, Jesus referred to all of His disciples as His friends (John 15:14-15) and had a best-friend type relationship with John. In fact, Jesus, just before dying, told John to take care of His mother, Mary (John 19:25-27).

 

  1. Did David have a special closeness with a certain friend in his life? 2 Samuel 1:26.
  2. To what level did Jonathan love his best friend David? 1 Samuel 18:1, 3; 20:17.

 

Here is an example of outstanding love on the human level. Jonathan loved David “as his own soul.” Jonathan’s loyalty went to the point where he told David, “Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee” (1 Samuel 20:4). 

 

This relationship transcended even politics. Jonathan, son of King Saul (who was trying to kill David at this time), was the heir to Israel’s throne. But Jonathan had the courage to serve his friend, knowing that God had chosen David to be king, rather than cling selfishly to his position. It was a marvelous example of loyalty, mutual respect and admiration. It was unselfish love and up building of character in the other.

 

Treasure your friendships. Take time to learn who your real friends are. Choose your friends wisely. Then work at building those friendships. Examine the kind of friend you are and what you have to offer Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you do these things, your life can be enriched and your own character strengthened!

A Key Approach to Lasting Joy

Do you know how to apply what the Bible teaches? Do you know where to find the help to bring joy and happiness into your life and that of those around you? If you do, your life will be filled with radiant and lasting joy.

 

Is true joy and love absent from your life? Do you struggle to face or overcome problems? Most people repeatedly do. It is easy to become discouraged, even depressed when we are bombarded with trials and problems and we fail to conquer them.

 

It is easy to be down when our efforts do not yield results. Could it be that our efforts are misdirected? Could it be our attempts are purely physical? The Bible calls such an approach “the works of the flesh.” While our intentions may be right, this approach lacks the power to really triumph.

 

At times, even true Christians struggle to find real joy. Some can put on a great face at Church services while at home problems are boiling! Some homes are divided: A young persons turns 18 and wants to get out because he has seen hypocrisy within the home; a husband and wife are so divided they contemplate breaking the vows they made to God and to one another; a family has employment or financial problems leading to undue stress between family members. At times, the tension produced by these problems can get so thick you can cut it with a knife.

 

A common cause may be that some people’s religion is a purely intellectual exercise; they are not truly living it. The Christian life is not merely knowing, but doing (James 1:22; Romans 2:13). Someone convinced only of the arguments of God’s truth will not change.

 

Most people are not successful because they don’t know the way. Do you know the way? If not, how can you be prepared to help teach all mankind?

 

If you are in God’s Church, remember that judgment is now on you (1 Peter 4:17). Note that this verse speaks in terms of obeying the gospel. God considers, or analyzes, all our works (Psalms 33:15). Does God see harmony or division? Does He see His people struggling and giving up or does He see them going to Him relying on Him for help?

 

God’s ministers see all sorts of personal and interpersonal problems people face. They can also see the purpose for these trials as God is perfecting and purifying His people. God’s ministers are called to be helpers of your joy (2 Corinthians 1:24). Godly counsel can go a long way in providing vision, staying power, and drive to tackle the issues at hand. To help your joy, true ministers of Jesus Christ have to show, teach, and expound on the laws of God. Keeping those laws is what makes people happy!

 

Do you practice the way to peace in your own family? Are you able to fight against, and overcome the works of the flesh? How skilled are you in educating people in the way of peace in your own home?

 

CAUSE AND SOLUTION FOR DIVISION.

 

It is natural and easy for human beings to rely on the flesh. When we have a problem, we tend to rely on our own abilities to work out physical solutions.

 

Thinking of all those who have lived and died before the first coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, lets point out the ancient Israelites here momentarily. To the ancient Israelites, God gave His Spiritual Law, as well as civil laws, statutes, and judgments. Before the sacrifice of Christ He also gave “a sacrificial law to remind them of sin and He gave a ceremonial law of physical works; rituals and things to do morning, noon, and night as a previous and temporary substitute for the Holy Spirit. The rituals and ceremonies of ancient Israel were there as a temporary substitute. But the ancient Israelites did not rely on God, even in obeying those physical laws. The physical rituals God instituted would have reminded them continually of the need for their Creator. They ended up rebelling.

 

How often do you solely depend on physical efforts of your own, not drawing on the power of God’s Holy Spirit? When you do not rely on God and the power of His Holy Spirit, It is impossible to overcome your problems. This is particularly true for relational problems within a family. Look at what happened in the Laodicean era (the sixth era) of the Church after one of God’s true servants died: Soon after, the people were not using the Holy Spirit, and family division ensued (Malachi 1:2-1:3). “God is telling us that the main problem is FAMILY DIVISION. This is the main problem Malachi is attacking. HIS MESSAGE IS NOT FOR THE WORLD. IT’S FOR GOD’S DIVIDED CHURCH TODAY, WHICH IS RAPIDLY BECOMING MORE DIVIDED.

 

People might see the Spiritual application of this principle in the Church but fail to see that the Kingdom of God must start in our homes! A family is a miniature type of the Kingdom of God and is the building block of that new civilization.

 

Any time a family fails to apply God’s Law by using God’s power, division becomes the result. The government in our homes must be right (Malachi 4:4-4:6). The husband must be the head of his wife, and Christ must be the Head of the husband (1 Corinthians 11:3). If we don’t honor our head, there will be deep Spiritual division.

 

God hates division! If our personal lives are full of strife and division, we are apart of the majority that is rebelling against God!

 

Some members are unwilling to talk with each other at services. Some seem not to understand that this is even a problem! Oftentimes such division exists between members of a physical family. How can that be in a united body of believers?

 

The Church produces a lot of material: the knowledge is available, but not everyone reads it. Some claim they don’t know where to find it. Others may have God’s Word but fail to apply it. This is where God’s ministers can be of special help. A minister who helps you understand and apply God’s law is a true gift from God.

 

God’s true ministers have to lead the brethren in following God. They must show them more and more how to put God’s knowledge into action, step by step. Real love faces problems and difficulties head on. We must not sweep our problems under the rug. We must address the causes.

 

Family division is a result of a lack of Christ in us. God wants deep unity within His Family! He wants His people to be as unified as He and Christ are (John 17:11). Only through using the Holy Spirit can we have the unity and joy we need. We cannot produce Spiritual fruit on our own: We need God’s help (John 15:4-15:5). The closer we are to God, the more Spiritual fruit we will bear. The more we obey God’s commandments, the more of His love we will receive and exhibit (John 15:7-15:12).

 

In Matthew 25, we see the example of foolish virgins who were kept out of the Kingdom of God because they didn’t have enough oil. Oil here is a symbol of God’s Spirit. We must monitor and ask God to replenish the Holy Spirit we receive from Him, and we must do it every day. Romans 8:14 and 16 say that to be children of God, we must use God’s Spirit.

 

WORKS OF THE FLESH.

 

The Apostle Paul was dealing with Jews in Galatia who insisted that people had to be circumcised. He wrote, “For you were called to freedom, brethren: only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh {anything carnally motivated}, but through love be servants of one another” (Galatians 5:13 Revised Standard Version).

 

The Greek word translated opportunity means a base of operation. When our base of operation is purely carnal instead of purely Spiritual, it always leads to sin. True liberty is freedom from sin. We have been called unto freedom from the curses that come from disobedience.

 

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another (Galatians 5:14-5:15) because hate is a curse and fruit of vanity that fulfills nobody and it divides, conquers, and devours those who hate. When members of a family or congregation are attacking one another even passively, it affects the entire congregation and the whole body of Christ!

 

Any action that is solely a human effort lacks real love. Paul lists the “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19-5:21 referring to physical action, as the Greek word ergon implies; work that is produced through human effort: “Adultery, fornication (sexual vice, impurity-adultery committed by a married person, fornication by a single person), uncleanness (lustful living), lasciviousness (unbridled lust, excess),Idolatry (worship of any false god, even wealth, status, etc), witchcraft (magic, sorcery, dabbling in the occult; the Creek word “pharmacaia” can even mean the use of drugs to try to escape reality), hatred (quarreling, picking fights), variance (strife, seeking to debate and argue), emulations (envious and contentious rivalry, jealousy), wrath (a quick temper, anger that boils up, emotional immaturity), strife (electioneering; putting oneself forward: This is the opposite of God. It’s Satan-inspired. God wants unity! We have to handle divisions His way), seditions (dissentions, divisions, disunion, party spirit), heresies (a body of people following their own way), Envyings (spiteful jealousy, ill will), murders, drunkenness (drinking bouts, intoxication), revellings (carousal), and such like (there are more ways the flesh manifests itself!): of the which i tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.”

 

These works of the flesh are manifest, because this is the way of human nature. This is the way the world is going, the way on which modern society (man’s entire civilization) is built. Can you see you are harming yourself and others if you practice these things?

 

We all struggle against the works of the flesh to one degree or another, because we are physical. These are the actions we naturally default to if we are not using the Spirit of God. Christians are called to OVERCOME these disqualifying works of the flesh.

 

Society is drunk on these works. Sadly, society can rub off on God’s people if they allow it. People struggle and fail to make any significant Spiritual progress. In some cases, we have two, three or four generations caught in a trap. If you are reaping such curses, challenge yourself to let it stop with you!

 

True Christians must not love the world, because that way is incompatible with the love of God (1 John 2:15). The person who is fulfilling the lust of the flesh is not of God (1 John 2:16). “That is, desires of the flesh, to have things to please the different senses. The sense of sight; the sense of touch and feel, sex; the sense of the exhilaration that you get from alcohol and or drugs.” Lust of the flesh, what is it? Even the taste of food; Many foods that taste good are bad for your health, and people wonder why their health is not good. They don’t think about eating food that’s good for their health and will keep their minds clear and their bodies in good shape. They only think of what tastes good to the palate, lust of the flesh. Brethren, I tell you, were just simply loaded with that and we don’t realize it.

 

That is, desires. Just selfish, self-centered desires of your own flesh, of the five senses. The sense of hearing. Now there’s good music and bad music. And Satan has got bad music going and got so many and especially all of the younger generation today on bad music and its having a very bad effect on their mind and spirit.”

 

WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT

 

Commandment keeping is for our own protection. It is a common sense matter of self preservation. We are not to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1). As we do so, the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us (Romans 8:4). “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:5-8:8).

 

To be carnally minded is DEATH!

 

All humans struggle with the works of the flesh to some degree or another. It is important to deeply understand that “works of the flesh” just refers to any physical action. In other words, people may not want to sin deliberately but this is how they naturally act. If we don’t employ the power of God’s Holy Spirit, THESE ARE THE ACTIONS WE DEFAULT TO.

 

We MUST USE GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT TO OVERCOME OUR PROBLEMS! If we don’t, we will always struggle. Anyone who is not growing spiritually should truly ask themselves whether they are drawing on God’s help as they can and should. So many of the problems people face are being battled only with human will and human effort. If a person has been struggling with something for years, they should question their approach.

 

There is a war on wills and a lack of progress indicates a lack of depth in one’s Spiritual understanding.  The person in a health trial may try diligently juicing and dieting, but is he or she more importantly really looking to God for healing? How about you? Do you put your trust in the works of the flesh (anything you can humanly do)? You should do what lies within your power, but put your faith in God! Let your attack of your problems be of the Spirit. When we are motivated by God’s mind of love, our efforts are driven by God’s Spirit, not just our human will. That mindset will see real results.

 

God promises to strengthen, uphold, and help His people (Isaiah 41:10, 13). Don’t have a mere desire for help from God: (I HOPE GOD will help me with this.” Have faith: I KNOW GOD will help me). “This i say then, Walk in the Spirit, AND YE SHALL NOT FULFIL THE LUST OF THE FLESH. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:16-5:17).

 

These verses are both a command and a promise. Walk in the Spirit, being deeply focused on God’s perfect law of liberty and then you won’t be preoccupied with thoughts and works of the flesh. How awesome is that? You will not fulfill the lust, or longing, of the flesh. Why? Because you are overcoming spiritually and are not defaulting back to letting your human nature guild you. The liberty God’s law offers prods us toward perfection.

 

“It Gets down to doing, but IT STARTS WITH AN ATTITUDE OF MIND THAT INSPIRES THE DOING: and then you act on it.” We have to think, and we have to act accordingly to the thinking. And the mind must direct what we do, our actions. And sin is when that action, that thought, conceives into a WRONG action. I’m trying to get down to the biblical definition of sin and just what is sin. It is a spiritual thing.

 

God explains the standards and wants us to live up to them. We don’t have to guess but we do have to act! Even if we only do what is commanded merely on a letter of the law level (a Chapter covered in my book “The Tree of Life, You’re Journey – My Mind”), God considers US UNPROFITABLE servants, whose fate is outer darkness (Luke 17:10; Matthew 25:30).

 

HARVEST OF THE SPIRIT

 

Know that every day you must fight and battle to spiritually grow. Every day presents opportunities for growth. Seek God’s direction in your life, through the Holy Spirit, every day. Heed that direction and be an individual of righteous action!

 

Moffatt’s version translates Galatians 5:22-5:23, which lists the fruit of the Spirit, as “the harvest of the Spirit” and say, “There is no law against those who practise such things.” A harvest is a crop you collect after the seeds have grown over a period of time. We must be sowing and practicing these seeds and fruits of Godliness now! They will not spring into action without first planting them.

 

The world loves the works of the flesh and is miserable because of them. But “they that are Christ’s have crucified the (self) flesh full of it’s affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24-525). How can we live and walk in the Spirit?

 

“The human will and the human effort is what you use to follow the Holy Spirit, and then use it! But it is the power of God, The Holy Spirit of God, that does the good deeds.” True freedom, peace, and fulfillment come through harvesting the fruits of God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ living in us.

 

Resist the temptation to employ mere human efforts and solutions. Learn to follow and use the Spirit, and you will walk in the Spirit instead of giving into the lust of the flesh!

 

Build The Zeal Of The Eternal

FOR A PUBLIC SPEAKER, PASSION IS CRUCIAL. “SCIENCE shows that passion is contagious, literally,” writes communication coach Carmine Gallo. “You cannot inspire others unless you are inspired yourself. You stand a much greater chance of motivating and inspiring your listeners if you express an enthusiastic, passionate, and meaningful connection to your topic” (Talk like TED).

 

Gallo made these statements in a book in which he evaluated the most popular TED talks on the Internet. Some of these free lectures have been viewed as many as 10 million times! And of all the qualities he found in the most successful lectures, the first he describes is PASSION.

 

What works for public speaking works for LIFE. To really succeed at something, you need passion.

 

When directed at the right things, passion is a Godly Virtue. Consider (Isaiah 9:7) “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. THE ZEAL OF THE LORD OF HOSTS WILL PERFORM THIS.”

 

God is a ZEALOUS, PASSIONATE leader! We also need to be passionate in order to get things done. If you are excited about what you’re doing whether work, hobby, family, and or friendship, if you are devoting your heart to it, you will be far more effective at it. Those activities and relationships will be more satisfying and enjoyable.

 

Here are three reasons why passion is so important and why you should seek to build more of it in your life.

 

  1. Passion inspires action, Emotion is an impulse toward an ACTION. We are to be doers of the Word (James 1:22). And generally, you don’t do things you don’t want to do, at least not for long. That’s one of the human sides of emotion that we must all fight to overcome daily by developing a passion for God. Somebody once said “Nothing great has ever been achieved without enthusiasm.” If you’re passion about it, you’ll do it.

  2. Passion surmounts obstacles. When doing something difficult, complications always arise. It is easy to kill weak motivation. But if you are passionate about that thing, your motivation gets stronger and that strong motivation will get you through. When George Lucas made the first Star Wars movie, he experienced numerous setbacks that threatened the whole project. Lucas nearly had a nervous breakdown! But he possessed a passion, driven by a strong vision, that kept him pressing forward. It enabled him to complete one of the most successful films in history.

  3. Passion is contagious. It is very hard to lead others to make positive changes in their lives. Passion is crucial if you are to even have a shot at helping someone. A leader must be passionate in order to inspire others. “Fires cannot be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men.” One investment firm screened 241 companies over a four year period, and funded 41 of them; just over 1 in 6. When asked why, the investors said they looked first at the strength of the opportunity and the strength of the entrepreneur. But their next biggest determining factor: “PERCEIVED PASSION.” Perceived passion involves enthusiasm and excitement, and is distinct from how prepared or committed an entrepreneur may be to their venture, Gallo explains.

 

So passion is important. But how do you get it?

 

Some people seem born with passion; for a career, sports, music, or other activity. Most of us often don’t have that passion naturally. We tend to cruise along, give minimal effort, and become complacent. Naturally we don’t have enough of the right kind of positive, passionate emotion toward what we do and toward the people in our life. Life tends to smother enthusiasm with multiple distractions, daily routines, and other things. So passion is something we must actively, intentionally cultivate and nurture. Here are two points on how to build passion.

 

  1. Action inspires passion. If you know you should do it, DO IT! Don’t wait to feel inspired. Take action and motivation will follow. There is a loop here. In “Meditations on the Wisdom of Action,” Kyle Eschenroeder wrote, “Out fatal mistake is waiting to be motivated before we take action.” ACTION MOTIVATES. I don’t feel like working out until i get my blood flowing, … I don’t want to go to the dinner party until I’m there. … Instead of waiting to feel like working toward who you’d like to be, act in line with that desire, and the FEELING WILL FOLLOW, TAKE ACTION TO BECOME. Proverbs 16:3 makes the same point: “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” the deed precedes the thought. The action precedes and inspires the passion.

  2. Get passionate about what God is passionate about. God’s thoughts are higher than out and we have to rise to reach them (Isaiah 55:9). God is passionate; we have to go after that passion. For example, we prayers aren’t effective. God says fervent, effectual (Greek: energeo) prayers avail much! (James 5:16). Ask God for the right passion, and all the same emotions he has. Ask in faith, be persistent, and He will give it.

 

Build more passion in your life. The more you do it, the more motivated you will be, the more successful and effective will be your activities and your relationships, and the more satisfaction and joy you will have.