Family Life & Christian Values

God’s perspective on the Christian family; the challenges and hurdles it faces in the midst of the culture wars in modern society.

WHEN GOD SAYS “NO”

Image result for FREE pictures of ancient sacrificial altarsHave you prayed very hard for something you want, only to find yourself waiting and waiting while nothing happens? You didn’t get the thing you prayed for and wondered why? After all, you’re a good little Christian who attends church services regularly, you may even be involved in the ministry of your church. You might be spending countless hours in intercessory prayer for others, and yet, your desired answer hasn’t materialized. You begin to question the Lord, or wonder if you’re praying amiss. Fact is, you might be, but it’s more likely that you’re not seeing the thing you’ve prayed for because the Lord has simply said “No” to your request.

Now, I know from personal experience that there are some things in life which we feel we just CAN’T live without if we’re to be happy and fulfilled. Many years ago I made a difficult decision that deeply affected several people possibly for the rest of their lives. The situation called for it, nevertheless I was emotionally distraught over it, and while my pain has lessened with time, it hasn’t gone away; it may never go away completely. In the midst of my crisis however, the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to me that He was ‘doing something’ which I wouldn’t understand now. He spoke this scripture verse to me verbatim, “You do not know what I do now, but you shall know hereafter.” [John 13:7] How did I know it was a word from God? His words always fill you with His peace, and I know the voice of the Holy Spirit who lives inside me. Despite that word, years later, that decision came back to ‘test’ my devotion to the Lord, to see if I would keep Him FIRST place in my heart, or succumb to bitterness and anger over the loss I’d suffered, and possibly “draw back” from Him. It wasn’t an easy test; I so badly WANTED what I had given to Him (someone I loved dearly) to be a part of my life, but it was not to be – GOD SAID “NO.” At least for now, that’s His answer, and I must accept it if I’m to remain in the center of His will, and be at peace with Him and myself. When we fight against God’s decrees He may withdraw from us or we may find ourselves withdrawing from Him, and for those who know Him intimately, that brings pain far worse than the loss of any person or thing on this earth! No human relationship can meet the deep needs of your soul and spirit like the Lord Himself. In His presence is fullness of JOY, and everything that you need. Need doesn’t exist in God, for He fills all things with Himself. On another note, it’s perfectly acceptable to God for us to express our feelings whatever they are, to Him. He actually wants us to bring everything which concerns us to Him in prayer —-

Php 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Php 4:7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

When we pour out our hearts to the Lord, we release our emotions in a safe place, to a safe Person, Who takes our inner turmoil and restores our souls with His peace. This is something I’ve experienced many times in my spiritual sojourn. Psa 147:3  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 

So, the truth of the matter is that we can live without those things we feel we MUST have in order to be happy. God will test us from time to time, to see if He’s first in our lives and if we’ll trust Him, or throw a fit and rant and rave at Him for not giving us our ‘dues’ so to speak. Who hasn’t on occasion, yelled at God in anger for some imagined neglect on His part, of his or her needs? While there’s ”no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” [Rms 8:1] one still needs to repent and ask God’s forgiveness when he realizes his error in falsely accusing Him of wrongdoing.  God is simply incapable of being mean, petty, selfish, cruel, unfair, etc.; for ”God is Love” in the purest and fullest sense. God deeply CARES about our needs and wants, but He sees the BIG PICTURE and the Future which we can’t see. Oftentimes, what we want so badly and get, brings us nothing but trouble, heartache, and loss. God allows us to have this experience again and again if necessary, until we LEARN TO COMPLETELY TRUST HIM WITH OUR LIVES.  He always has our best interests at heart, and “works all things together for good for those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose” [Rms 8:28].

God has a higher purpose for those who have received Him as their savior than just getting saved. Most haven’t been taught what that higher purpose is or what it entails. Apostle Paul wrote about it in Philippians, Romans, and Hebrews, but it seems this vital teaching gets little, if any, attention these days. God’s higher purpose for His called ones, is to conform them to the image of His Son Jesus Christ –

Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  God won’t be satisfied until He sees His image fully formed in those whom He has chosen to rule and reign with Him when His Kingdom is established on Earth. But not all will qualify for that position. Those who are ‘chosen’ must undergo the strictest training and testing now, to prepare them to rule then; there’s no getting around this. The ‘many’ are all whom God has called, they comprise the general body of believers, while the ‘chosen’ are those who are willing to pay any price to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” [Rev 14:4]. Their entire lives are “living sacrifices” unto God – Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. This means that they hold nothing back from God. All that they are and all that they have, want, or need, is laid upon the altar as a sweet smelling offering unto Him, to do with as He pleases! That is full consecration, and it’s what Yahweh is looking for in each of His called ones. Yet, not all who are “called” will advance to “chosen” status – “Many are called, but few are chosen” [Mt 22:14].

Tests and trials, often in the form of delayed or unanswered prayers, are required in order for the believer to grow up (mature) into the fullness of what God has for him. As a child I recall hearing that old adage, ‘God knows best.’ At that time I didn’t give it much credence, but now I know it was a true saying. God does know what’s best for each of us, and IF we let Him be Lord of our lives, we’ll end up with His BEST. Sadly, that’s often not the case because we insist on running our lives our way, refusing to let Him correct and mold us. God is supposed to be the Potter and we the clay, not the other way around.

If you have ever had a difficult time accepting God’s “no’s” and fully submitting to his dealings in your life (and who hasn’t?), I highly recommend two books to you, “The Secret of the Stairs” and “Waterspouts of Glory” by Wade E. Taylor. The first is an in depth exposition of the biblical book, The Song of Solomon. Both are anointed by the Holy Spirit, and contain pure, deep spiritual truths which you’ll want to read again and again. I wouldn’t (couldn’t) part with my ‘used’ but almost ‘new’ copies which I found at Amazon for less than ten dollars each. These books give insight into the “why’s” of God’s dealings with those who are being conformed to His Image, chosen to one day rule and reign with Him in His Kingdom.  Anyone who’s been ”called” can qualify to be one of God’s “chosen,” but there is a price to be paid. Dying to SELF and crucifying the flesh is required of those who wish to attain to the highest and best, the HIGH CALL of God in Christ Jesus –

Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

Mat 16:24 – 26 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 

Powerful words are they not? Fact is, not all will qualify to rule with Christ, for not all are willing to pay the price. If you are, God bless you as you seek Him with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. May you submit to ALL of his dealings in your life however painful, that you might become one of His “chosen.” Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. All of God’s dealings are for our ultimate good and His higher purpose, and because God is Love, we can trust Him completely to do what’s best for us.

Please feel free to write me with any questions or concerns you may have about this article.

Debra R. Stout © May 21, 2017

THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD

God began to speak to my heart the evening of March 10, 2017, as I sat still and quiet in my recliner. He began to tell me why the ‘fiery trial’ had come to me (earlier in the day I had asked Him WHY so many things were going wrong in my life).

He began by telling me that this trial was sent to refine or purify my soul; as silver or gold is smelted, the junk rises to the surface where the Refiner can then skim it off, leaving pure metal in the pot. He told me that I have two choices, to embrace it and advance, or fight it and stay the same. If I embrace it, the process will be easier to go through, but if I fight it, the process will be harder, and need to be repeated in the future. He said He won’t allow junk (impurities) into His Kingdom. Then He mentioned my impurities and said that they must go! 

He then directed me to Hebrews 12:5, and after meditating on it, He showed me that my walk was uneven; one day walking in the Spirit, another day, in the flesh! He wants our walk to be even and level, living in the Spirit day by day. 

Fiery trials are sent to cleanse the heart and soul of impurities, like wrong thoughts, words, and actions. As metal is purified by fire, so is the heart and soul of a man. When gold or silver was refined in ancient times, it was heated to a very high temperature which caused the impurities (called dross) to rise to the surface. It then could be skimmed off the top of the liquid metal, leaving an unmarred surface that reflected the image of the refiner, a picture of Jesus as the Refiner’s Fire. This trial came to me so that my impurities (which lay hidden most of the time) would surface, so that I would see them, repent, and ask God to remove them. Sometimes these types of trials commence a ‘crisis of faith’ – something else the Lord pointed out to me twice on the same day several days before this trial arrived at my door. Not by accident, I found the phrase, ‘crisis of faith’ in a book title I wasn’t even searching for, and in a book [1] I had in my personal library at home about Moses when God commanded him to lead the Jews out of Egypt. Moses’ encounter with Yahweh brought him to a ‘crisis of faith’ in which he had to choose between believing God and moving forward, or letting his doubts rule and refusing God’s call. If Moses had done the latter, he would have forfeited God’s plan for his life, and God would have found someone else to free the Israelites. Moses would have lost out on his divine destiny. Fortunately, Moses chose to believe and obey God. In like manner, God told me that I could either stay where I was (stagnate), or embrace the purifying process and advance! He said that if I receive and embrace it, the process will be easier to endure, but if I fight against it, it will be harder. The purifying process, like the refiner’s smelting, will be repeated UNTIL all the impurities have surfaced and been removed! In other words, if I fight against the loving, fiery trials the Lord sends for my ultimate good, it will delay my reaching perfection and cause me more pain in the long run. It’s like when a child stubbornly refuses his parents discipline and suffers severer punishments, and or worse consequences further down the road as a result. It’s easier to just submit to God’s discipline when he sends it.

God disciplines those He loves –

Heb 12:5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 
Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 
Heb 12:7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 
Heb 12:8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 
Heb 12:9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 
Heb 12:10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 
Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 
Heb 12:12  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 
Heb 12:13  And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 

And make straight paths for your feet,…. By “feet” are meant the walk and conversation of the saints, both in the church, and in the world, Son_7:1 and there are paths made ready for these feet to walk in; as the good old paths of truth, of the word and worship of God, of faith and holiness: and to make these paths “straight”, is to make the word of God the rule of walking; to avoid carefully joining anything with it as a rule; to attend constantly on the ordinances of Christ; to go on evenly in a way of believing on him; to walk in some measure worthy of the calling wherewith we are called, and by way of example to others.

Lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; a lame member, as the Syriac version, a lame member of the body of Christ, the church; or a lame person, as the Arabic version, a weak believer; one that is ready to halt, either through the corruption of nature, or through the weakness of grace, or through want of light and judgment, and through instability and inconstancy; lest such an one should, through the irregular walk and conversation of others, be stumbled and offended, and go out of the way, and leave the paths of righteousness and truth. God takes care of, and has a regard to such, and he would have others also, Mic_4:6. The Ethiopic version reads, “that your halting may be healed, and not offended”: that you yourselves may not halt and stumble.

But let it rather be healed; the fallen believer be restored, the weak brother be confirmed, the halting professor be strengthened, and everyone be built up and established upon the most holy faith, and in the pure ways of the Gospel. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

“In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” – Prov 3:6

The word ‘acknowledge’ is ‘yada’ – to ‘know, regard, recognize, perceive, experience, observe, be aware, comprehend, understand, learn, be instructed, and more. See Strong’s H2045

In all thy ways acknowledge him,…. Or “know him” (l); the Lord: set him before thee; have him always in view; consider him as ever present with thee, observing every step thou takest; and take not one step without his leave, and without his advice; ask wisdom of him who gives liberally; consult his word, and make the Scriptures thy counsellors, or the men of thy counsel, as in Psa_119:24; take him as your guide; observe the footsteps of his providence; follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes; walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; when things go cross and adverse, and not to your mind, submit to his sovereignty; and be still and know that he is God, that does all things right, for his own glory and his people’s good, Psa_46:10; and when things succeed, give him the glory of all; own his hand in it, and the bounty of it; acknowledge that all you have, in providence and grace, come from him;

and he shall direct thy paths; man cannot direct his own; no, not a man: this is a blessing from the Lord; who steps of his people, keeps the feet of his saints, and directs them aright in things temporal and spiritual, Jer_10:23. (l) דעהו “scito eum”, Pagninus, Montanus. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” – Psalm 119:105
Pro 4:24  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 
Pro 4:25  Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 
Pro 4:26  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 
Pro 4:27  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. 

Turn not to the right hand nor to the left – Avoid all crooked ways. Be an upright, downright, and straight-forward man. Avoid tricks, wiles, and deceptions of this kind. [Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible]

Ponder the path of thy feet,…. Consider well what path it is, whether right or wrong; or weigh it in the balances of thought, as Aben Ezra; or rather in the balances of the word, and see whether it agrees with that or not. The Septuagint version is, “make straight paths for thy feet”; to which the author of the epistle to the Hebrews seems to have respect, Heb_12:13;

and let all thy walls be established; so as to walk on steadily, constantly, uniformly, and not be easily moved out of the ways of religion and truth. Or, “let all thy ways be prepared”, or “directed”, or “disposed” (c); according to the rule of the divine word. Some render it as a promise, “and all thy ways shall be established” (d); when care is taken to look well into them; see 2Ch_20:20. (c) יכנו “dirigantur”, Tigurine version, Mercerus; “recte apparentur aut disponantur”, Vatablus. (d) “Stabilientur”, V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; “constabilientur”, Schultens. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

Ponder the path, etc., Pro_4:26. “Weigh carefully.” Act in haste and repent at leisure! Ask God to keep you back from presumptuous sins; and bear in mind the wise exhortation of Ecc_5:2. [Through the Bible Day by Day, F.B. Meyer]

In other words, consider well the course of your life, or the course of action you’re about to take (ponder the path of your feet). Let all your thoughts, words, and actions (ways) be prepared, directed, and ordered (established), by the Word of God. Ignoring it will yield negative consequences, and could result in ruin. May God’s sons escape such a fate.

May they all make their paths straight, and not despise the chastening of the Lord!

Debra R. Stout © March 11, 2017

Footnotes:

[1] “Experiencing God” by Henry T. Blackaby & Claude B. King, Chapter 3

Commercializing Christ’s Birth

 

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Christmas – ‘the happiest time of the year,’ a common refrain heard during the season of what is referred to as the time of Christ’s birth. What makes this holiday the happiest time of the year? Is it the birth of Christ or the exchanging of gifts which we’ve grown accustomed to? Just who or what do we celebrate? I’m sure many would say it’s not the gifts, food or drink, but the sharing of warm moments with family and friends that makes this holiday so special.

While that may be true, I wonder what Christmas would be like if no one exchanged gifts, but just spent time together remembering Christ’s birth? Would everyone still feel it’s the most wonderful time of the year, or, would they feel deprived? It would make for one very interesting experiment if people dared to try it, but I’ve not much hope for that since most are hooked on the excitement and expectation that gift exchanging engenders. Yet there are some brave souls who have pulled back, even disengaged themselves from much of the season’s rituals, alleviating themselves of the stress, and saving a bundle to boot. Right about now, I can almost hear someone screaming, “Scrooge!”

Movies like “Scrooge” are designed to heap guilt on people if they don’t give like they should. Who made up these rules anyway? A myth invented by men, many believe Christmas is based on Christ’s birth and that gift giving is based on the three Wise Men or Magi who brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus. Fact is, there’s no hint in that biblical account, or anywhere else in the Bible, that the actions of the Magi were to be repeated. The Magi’s gifts were for travel expenses such as food and lodging for Jesus and his parent’s journey to Egypt, a one-time event. But who cares, gift exchanging is SO much FUN, right?

If the Magi aren’t used as justification for our ritual gift exchange, it’s jolly old St. Nicholas, aka Santa Claus. At least using St Nick is honest, since gift exchanging began with pagan festivals like Saturnalia and Yule based on the ‘return of the Sun’ at the Winter Solstice. Ancient Roman Saturnalia festivities began on December 17 and concluded on the 24th, when gifts were exchanged. Homes and streets were noisy with banqueting, heavy drinking, and riotous behavior. ‘Gift-giving has its roots in pagan rituals held during the winter. When Christianity folded these rituals into Christmas, the justification for bearing gifts was redirected to the Three Wise Men, the Magi, who gave gifts to the infant Jesus. But in early modern Europe, it also had its roots in Christmas begging. During the holiday seasons, bands of young men, often rowdy, would “wassail” from home to home and demand handouts from the gentry, says Stephen Nissenbaum, author of “The Battle for Christmas.” Christmas involved an exchange between the social classes.’[1]

Another common refrain heard during Christmas, is that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Is He really? When families gather around their trees to open presents, how many talk about Christ’s birth or the Magi, even in Christian homes? Though many attend Sunday and Christmas Eve church services commemorating His birth, when they get home, their focus reverts back to gifts and other holiday trappings. It’s good for families to get together, but how has Christmas become the designated time of year for that to happen? The answer is simply, tradition or custom. But as Jesus once said to some Pharisees, Mar 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…

While Christ’s birth is supposed to be the centerpiece, the commercial aspects of Christmas have pretty much overshadowed Him. Sadly, most of the world has commercialized Christ. Think about that for a moment. If true, this means that Christ is being ‘used’ to sell things to fill the coffers of merchants, and to satisfy man’s lust for material things! Is this not the commercializing or merchandising of Christ? The false notion that we give gifts at Christmas because Magi brought them to baby Jesus, gives people an excuse to spend excessively, get drunk, and overeat – all in the name of honoring Christ’s birth. When did Christ ever teach men to overeat, get drunk, or do anything in excess? He taught moderation in all things, and to give without expectation of a return. Tell me that most don’t expect a gift in return at Christmas, or don’t end up feeling disappointed by what they got, or feel they didn’t get enough. How much is enough anyway?

If we truly wish to honor Christ, shouldn’t we stop commercializing His birth? Why not just admit that we exchange gifts because we WANT to, not because the Magi gave gifts to baby Jesus? Now I know that many, if not most, Christians will balk at these facts, stating emphatically that it doesn’t matter what people did long ago, but only what we do now, and all that matters is our heart’s motivation. Dare we search our hearts to see if our motivation is to honor Christ’s birth, or to satisfy our wants? It can’t be both. Jesus taught denial of self – Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 

Could we not break away just a little from the commercialization and merchandising of Christ? It’s just too much. My mother shared with me that in her childhood days, most people hand made gifts to give to loved ones at Christmas. Their celebration was simple and frugal compared to ours today. It’s despicable how merchants have turned Christ’s birth, a HOLY event which took place in a lowly manger, into a massive commercial behemoth. Should Christians take part in this yearly exploitation of their Savior’s birth?

Besides, giving can occur any time of the year, whenever there is need, and without expectation of getting something in return. Jesus taught people to give to those who can’t pay you back, so that He may reward you at the Resurrection of the Just. Luk 14:12 When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. 

Luk 14:13  But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 

Luk 14:14  And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. 

Jesus also taught, “It’s more blessed (happy, joyous) to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Debra R. Stout, December 15, 2016

Foot Notes:

[1] http://www.csmonitor.com/World/2013/1221/Christmas-How-did-gift-giving-and-caroling-get-started

Post-Election Riots Incited By Progressive Globalists

Image result for photos of American protesters burning American flag over Trump's electionImage result for photos of American protesters burning American flag over Trump's election

To the rioters who are protesting Trump’s election – loving people don’t destroy property, attack and injure others, deface buildings with racial slurs, trample and burn the American flag, or spew filthy, derogatory words from their mouths! Image result for free photos or pictures of protesters burning American flag, or effigies of Donald TrumpBurning effigies of Donald Trump is a very HATEFUL act, can you see that? You and the Democrats spout ‘Peace, Love, and Tolerance’ so long as things go your way, but the minute they don’t, you go out and behave the very opposite! Do you know the definition of hypocrite?

Trump supporters involved in this outrageous behavior, STOP and THINK! If this turns into a race war or Marshall law, it will be YOU and President Elect Trump who will blamed, even if the majority of those carrying out violent and hateful acts are Hillary supporters! Besides, I find it hard to believe that Trump supporters are painting Swastikas and ‘Heil Trump’ on church buildings. Is it possible that anti-American provocateurs are paying demonstrators to make it look like it’s Trump supporters doing these things? It would be the perfect ploy; one that George Soros [1] the billionaire banker and his friends the Clintons could devise to further their Socialist cause of destroying America.

Speaking of provocateurs, our news media daily serves a rich menu of Liberal-Socialist-Marxist opinion [2] and continually INCITES hatred and division among people, instead of reporting the news in a non-biased, objective fashion. Another sector which bears responsibility for shaping minds, is our educational system, which is sadly saturated with Socialistic educators and funders who choose the curriculum. Then there’s the Church, who’s supposed to represent Christ and lead the world to Him, incorporating Progressive ideas into its teachings and making itself a corporation of the State (501c3), instead of being separate from the world like the Scriptures command [3]. Is it any wonder so much of our youth has turned from the faith of their fathers to embrace Socialistic, progressive, ideologies? [4] PROGRESSIVE = HATER of traditional, biblical mores and values! Ever since Atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair [5] and others like her, got God and His Ten Commandments kicked OUT of our schools, courts, and all public places – America’s morality has steadily declined! “Thou shalt not kill…thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, house, or anything that is your neighbor’s….thou shalt not steal….” displayed in public places reminds people there’s a right and a wrong way to treat one’s neighbor! Men and women devoid of God and His spirit, are beasts who brutalize and terrorize their neighbor, as we’ve recently witnessed all across our nation. Beating and injuring people is something HATERS do! Haters can’t blame President Elect Donald Trump or Racism for their hateful speech and acts! All must take personal responsibility for their own words and actions.

People, open your eyes to what’s really going on. Where might your rioting, violence, and vandalism lead – a race war? Marshall law? Civil war? Although someone like George Soros may want to dismantle our Constitution and national sovereignty, and reduce America’s greatness to a third-world status, how would America’s collapse serve YOUR best interests? Is that really what you want for your families? If you’re so intent on living in a third-world country, go find one to live in, but leave America to those who RESPECT and APPRECIATE IT.

The problem with most of the demonstrators, is that they’ve had it TOO GOOD in America. They’ve gotten everything they’ve wanted (and demanded) for the past eight years at least. Perhaps a long stay in some third world poverty-stricken nation, or jail time, would jolt them back to reality? Most of them appear to be college students. Colleges today are nothing more than RECRUITMENT centers for Socialist-Marxist ideology and agendas which are faithfully taught from textbooks written by social engineers [6]. Being a college graduate myself, I saw how much of it students are exposed to.

RIOTERS, you’re being manipulated by liberal, Socialistic-Marxist-Fascist proponents in the media, schools, and government. STOP being their PUPPETS! They’re only USING YOU to bring about the ‘changes’ they want to see happen in America, which is to turn America into a full Socialistic-Marxist-Fascist nation completely under THEIR CONTROL! If that happens, personal freedoms and choices would be very restricted! Health care, food, water, clothing, housing, transportation, EVERYTHING – would be controlled and rationed by the government. We’ve been heading in that direction for some time, no thanks to rich and powerful Socialists who have infiltrated America’s educational, agricultural, medical, religious, and political institutions – to subvert our laws, our values, and our freedoms!

Those COMPLAINING of not having enough in America must not realize that there’s no better place to be! Where else does one enjoy as many rights, including the right to peacefully protest? Note that the law stipulates PEACEFULLY, peacefully does not include violence, rioting, battering people, and vandalizing property! If you’re so miserable in America, why stay? 

If you would put your faith in GOD instead of looking to government for what you need, you wouldn’t be rioting in the streets and assaulting people. Your REAL PROBLEM is that you have NO FAITH IN GOD, or don’t have GOD in your lives at all. I’m convinced that if everyone knew GOD, there would be real and lasting, peace, love, and harmony between all nations and races. For it is written, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love [7]. 

“Seek Him while he still may be found” [8]. Seek Him NOW. Pray this prayer in Faith, “Heavenly Father, I realize that I’m a sinner and can’t save myself, and that only the Blood of Jesus can wash away my sin. I invite you Lord God to save me from sin and your wrath that’s coming upon all unregenerate and unrepentant sinners. Jesus, please be my Savior and Lord this very moment – I believe that you paid the price for my sins that I might escape the soul-destroying fires of Hell and live forever in your presence. Thank you Lord, Amen.”

If you prayed that prayer or would like to know more about being Born Again and receiving Jesus as your lord and savior, please don’t hesitate to send an email to calm_meadow@yahoo.com I’ll try to answer any questions or concerns you might have, and would be happy to hear if any of the content of this blog has encouraged or helped you in any way.

“THE TIME IS SHORT” said the prophetic voice of God, spoken recently through a church member. It means that the time for evangelizing the world and for sinners to get save is short, because Jesus Christ is returning soon! So, there’s no time to waste on self-pity, excuses, rioting, drugs and drunkenness, partying, pleasure-seeking, and so on. Sinner and saint alike – SEEK GOD WHILE HE MAY STILL BE FOUND, ‘before the door is shut,’ ‘before night comes when no man can work’ [9, 10].

Debra R. Stout, November 15, 2016

END NOTES:
[1] http://thefreethoughtproject.com/soros-trump-protests-revolution/ and http://humanevents.com/2011/04/02/top-10-reasons-george-soros-is-dangerous/   
[2] http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/fascism_and_communism-socialism.html
[3] http://hushmoney.org/501c3-facts.htm and http://so4j.com/be-ye-separate
[4] http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2007/07/the-progressive-movement-and-the-transformation-of-american-politics and http://patriotupdate.com/progressives-war-christianity-judeo-christian-traditions/    http://patriotupdate.com/video-proof-donald-smashed-popular-vote/
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madalyn_Murray_O%27Hair
[6] http://akdart.com/edu32.html
[7] 1 John 4:8
[8] Isaiah 55:6 & 7
[9] Luke 13:25, Genesis 7:16
[10] John 9:4

Repairing the Breach/ God’s Perpetual Sabbath

REPAIRER OF THE BREACH
Debra Stout, July 2010

Today, Yehovah is restoring His 7th Day Sabbath which has been neglected (lain in “ruins”) for “many generations,” but He is raising up those called to “repair the breach,” just like He did in Nehemiah’s day when He raised certain people to “rebuild” a wall that had been broken down – Neh 2:17, 6:1 & 15. Contrary to what’s written in the Bible and what the early church practiced, most churches whether Catholic or Protestant, observe Sunday as the Sabbath since emperor Constantine changed the observance of it from the 7th Day to Sunday in 321 A.D. [1] Just as there were those who violently OPPOSED Nehemiah’s restoring the wall, there are those who oppose the “restoration” of the observance of the 7th Day as the Sabbath, based on human reasoning more than on the Bible.  

Isa 58:12 Then the places that have ever been waste, shall be builded of thee: there shalt thou lay a foundation for many kindreds. Thou shalt be called the maker-up of hedges, and the builder-again of the way of the Sabbath. (Tyndale/Coverdale Ver)

Isa 58:12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. (KJV)

Isa 58:13 Yea, if thou turn thy feet from the Sabbath, so that thou do not the thing which pleaseth thyself in my holy day: then shalt thou becalled unto the pleasant, holy, and glorious Sabbath of the LORD, where thou shalt be in honor – so that thou do not after thine own imagination, neither seek thine own will, nor speak thine own words. (Tyndale/Coverdale Ver)

Isa 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: (KJV)

turn away – H7725 שׁוּב shûb shoob
A primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbially again: – ([break, build, circumcise, dig, do anything, do evil, feed, lay down, lie down, lodge, make, rejoice, send, take, weep]) X again, (cause to) answer (+ again), X in any case (wise), X at all, averse, bring (again, back, home again), call [to mind], carry again (back), cease, X certainly, come again (back) X consider, + continually, convert, deliver (again), + deny, draw back, fetch home again, X fro, get [oneself] (back) again, X give (again), go again (back, home), [go] out, hinder, let, [see] more, X needs, be past, X pay, pervert, pull in again, put (again, up again), recall, recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, render (again), X repent, requite, rescue, restore, retrieve, (cause to, make to) return, reverse, reward, + say nay, send back, set again, slide back, still, X surely, take back (off), (cause to, make to) turn (again, self again, away, back, back again, backward, from, off), withdraw.

from – H4480 מנּי מנּי מן min minnîy minnêy min, min-nee’, min-nay’ For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses: – above, after, among, at, because of, by (reason of), from (among), in, X neither, X nor, (out) of, over, since, X then, through, X whether, with.

In the JPS (Jewish Publication Society Bible) it reads:

Isa 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot because of the sabbath, from pursuing thy business on My holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, and the holy of the LORD honourable; and shalt honour it, not doing thy wonted ways, nor pursuing thy business, nor speaking thereof;

Matthew Henry makes sense of it: “We must turn away our foot from the sabbath, from trampling upon it, as profane atheistical people do, from travelling on that day (so some); we must turn away our foot from doing our pleasure on that holy day, that is, from living at large, and taking a liberty to do what we please on sabbath days, without the control and restraint of conscience, or from indulging ourselves in the pleasures of sense. Great stress was always laid upon the due observance of the sabbath day, and it was particularly required from the Jews when they were captives in Babylon, because by keeping that day, in honour of the Creator, they distinguished themselves from the worshippers of the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth. See Isa_56:1, Isa_56:2, where keeping the sabbath is joined, as here, with keeping judgment and doing justice. Some, indeed, understand this of the day of atonement, which they think is the fast spoken of in the former part of the chapter, and which is called a sabbath of rest, Lev_23:32. But, as the fasts before spoken of seem to be those that were occasional, so this sabbath is doubtless the weekly sabbath, that great sign between God and his professing people – his appointing it a sign of his favour to them and their observing it a sign of their obedience to him. (bolding mine)

Here’s what Jamieson, Fausset & Brown have to say:

Isa 58:13
(Isa_56:2; Neh_13:15-22). The Sabbath, even under the new dispensation, was to be obligatory (Isa_66:23).

foot — the instrument of motion (compare Pro_4:27); men are not to travel for mere pleasure on the Sabbath (Act_1:12). The Jews were forbidden to travel on it farther than the tabernacle or temple. If thou keep thy foot from going on thy own ways and “doing thy pleasure,” etc. (Exo_20:10, Exo_20:11).
my holy day — God claims it as His day; to take it for our pleasure is to rob Him of His own. This is the very way in which the Sabbath is mostly broken; it is made a day of carnal pleasure instead of spiritual “delight.”
holy of the Lord — not the predicate, but the subject; “if thou call the holy (day) of Jehovah honorable”; if thou treat it as a day to be honored.
him — or else, it, the Sabbath.
not doing … own way — answering to, “turn away thy foot from the Sabbath.”
nor finding … pleasure — answering to, “doing thy pleasure.” “To keep the Sabbath in an idle manner is the sabbath of oxen and asses; to pass it in a jovial manner is the sabbath of the golden calf, when the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose again to play; to keep it in surfeiting and wantonness is the sabbath of Satan, the devil’s holiday” [Bishop Andrewes].
nor speaking … words — answering to, “call Sabbath a delight … honorable.” Man’s “own words” would “call” it a “weariness”; it is the spiritual nature given from above which “calls it a delight” (Amo_8:5; Mal_1:13).

WASTE (places) – H2723 חרבּה chorbâh
khor-baw’ Feminine of H2721; properly drought, that is, (by implication) a desolation: – decayed place, desolate (place, -tion), destruction, (laid) waste (place).

BUILD – H1129 בּנה bânâh baw-naw’
A primitive root; to build (literally and figuratively): – (begin to) build (-er), obtain children, make, repair, set (up), X surely.

OLD – H5769 עלם עולם ‛ôlâm ‛ôlâm o-lawm’, o-lawm’ From H5956; properly concealed, that is, the vanishing point; generally time out of mind (past or future), that is, (practically) eternity; frequentative adverbially (especially with prepositional prefix) always: – always (-s), ancient (time), any more, continuance, eternal, (for, [n-]) ever (-lasting, -more, of old), lasting, long (time), (of) old (time), perpetual, at any time, (beginning of the) world (+ without end). Compare H5331, H5703.

RAISE UP – H6965 קוּם qûm koom
A primitive root; to rise (in various applications, literally, figuratively, intensively and causatively): – abide, accomplish, X be clearer, confirm, continue, decree, X be dim, endure, X enemy, enjoin, get up, make good, help, hold, (help to) lift up (again), make, X but newly, ordain, perform, pitch, raise (up), rear (up), remain, (a-) rise (up) (again, against), rouse up, set (up), (e-) stablish, (make to) stand (up), stir up, strengthen, succeed, (as-, make) sure (-ly), (be) up (-hold, -rising).

MANY GENERATIONS – H1755 דּר דּור dôr dôr dore, dore From H1752; properly a revolution of time, that is, an age or generation; also a dwelling: – age, X evermore, generation, [n-]ever, posterity.

REPAIRER – H1443 גּדר gâdar gaw-dar’
A primitive root; to wall in or around: – close up, fence up, hedge, inclose, make up [a wall], mason, repairer.

BREACH – H6556 פּרץ perets peh’-rets
From H6555; a break (literally or figuratively): – breach, breaking forth (in), X forth, gap.

RESTORER – H7725 שׁוּב shûb shoob
A primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbially again: – ([break, build, circumcise, dig, do anything, do evil, feed, lay down, lie down, lodge, make, rejoice, send, take, weep]) X again, (cause to) answer (+ again), X in any case (wise), X at all, averse, bring (again, back, home again), call [to mind], carry again (back), cease, X certainly, come again (back) X consider, + continually, convert, deliver (again), + deny, draw back, fetch home again, X fro, get [oneself] (back) again, X give (again), go again (back, home), [go] out, hinder, let, [see] more, X needs, be past, X pay, pervert, pull in again, put (again, up again), recall, recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, render (again), X repent, requite, rescue, restore, retrieve, (cause to, make to) return, reverse, reward, + say nay, send back, set again, slide back, still, X surely, take back (off), (cause to, make to) turn (again, self again, away, back, back again, backward, from, off), withdraw.

PATHS – H5410 נתבה נתיבה נתיב nâthîyb nethîybâh nethibâh naw-theeb’, neth-ee-baw’, neth-ee-baw’ From an unused root meaning to tramp; a (beaten) track: – path ([-way]), X travel [-er], way.

DWELL IN – H3427 ישׁב yâshab yaw-shab’
A primitive root; properly to sit down (specifically as judge, in ambush, in quiet); by implication to dwell, to remain; causatively to settle, to marry: – (make to) abide (-ing), continue, (cause to, make to) dwell (-ing), ease self, endure, establish, X fail, habitation, haunt, (make to) inhabit (-ant), make to keep [house], lurking, X marry (-ing), (bring again to) place, remain, return, seat, set (-tle), (down-) sit (-down, still, -ting down, -ting [place] -uate), take, tarry.

ARE WE FINISHED WITH THE SABBATH?

Isa 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the LORD.

Here’s Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown’s take: Isa 66:23 Literally, “As often as the new moon (shall be) in its own new moon,” that is, every month (Zec_14:16). sabbath — which is therefore perpetually obligatory on earth.

Albert Barne’s Notes on the Bible states:

II. From the closing portion of this chapter Isa_58:13-14, we may derive the following important inferences respecting the Sabbath:
    1. It is to be of perpetual obligation. The whole chapter occurs in the midst of statements that relate to the times of the Messiah. There is no intimation that the Sabbath was to be abolished, but it is fairly implied that its observance was to be attended with most happy results in those future times. At all events, Isaiah regarded it as of binding obligation, and felt that its proper observance was identified with the national welfare.
    2. We may see the manner in which the Sabbath is to be observed. In no place in the Bible is there a more full account of the proper mode of keeping that holy day. We are to refrain from ordinary traveling and employments; we are not to engage in doing our own pleasure; we are to regard it with delight, and to esteem it a day worthy to be honored; and we are to show respect to it by not performing our own ordinary works, or pursuing pleasures, or engaging in the common topics of conversation. In this description there occurs nothing of unique Jewish ceremony, and nothing which indicates that it is not to be observed in this manner at all times. Under the gospel, assuredly, it is as proper to celebrate the Sabbath in this way, as it was in the times of Isaiah, and God doubtless intended that it should be perpetually observed in this manner.
    3. Important benefits result from the right observance of the Sabbath. In the passage before us, these are said to be, that they who thus observed it would find pleasure in Yahweh, and would be signally prospered and be safe. But those benefits are by no means confined to the Jewish people. It is as true now as it was then, that they who observe the Sabbath in a proper manner find happiness in the Lord – in his existence, perfections, promises, law, and in communion with him – which is to be found nowhere else. Of this fact there are abundant witnesses now in every Christian church, and they will continue to be multiplied in every coming age. And it is as true that the proper observance of the Sabbath contributes to the prosperity and safety of a nation now, as it ever did among the Jewish people. It is not merely from the fact that God promises to bless the people who keep his holy day; though this is of more value to a nation than all its armies and fleets; but it is, that there is in the institution itself much that tends to the welfare and prosperity of a country.

It is a time when worldliness is broken in upon by a periodical season of rest, and when the thoughts are left free to contemplate higher and purer objects. It is a time when more instruction is imparted on moral and religious subjects, than on all the other days of the week put together. The public worship of God tends to enlarge the intellect, and purify the heart. No institution has ever been originated that has contributed so much to elevate the common mind; to diffuse order, peace, neatness, decency among people, and thus to perpetuate and extend all that is valuable in society, as the Sabbath. Anyone may be convinced of this, who will be at the pains to compare a neighborhood, a village, or a city where the Sabbath is not observed with one where it is; and the difference will convince him at once, that society owes more to the Sabbath than to any single institution besides, and that in no way possible can one-seventh portion of the time be so well employed as in the manner contemplated by the Christian day of rest.

THE RESTORATION! —

Isa 51:3 For the LORD hath compassion on Zion and hath compassion on all that is decayed therein, and will make her wilderness as paradise, and her desert as the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, with thanksgiving and the voice of praise.

Isa 61:4 They shall build the long rough wildernesses, and set up the old desert. They shall repair the waste places, and such as have been void throughout many generations.

Eze 36:10 I will send you much people, which shall be all of the house of Israel: the cities shall be inhabited, and the decayed places shall be repaired again.

Eze 36:33 Moreover, thus sayeth the LORD God: What time as I shall cleanse you from all your offenses, then will I make the cities to be occupied again, and will repair the places that be decayed.

Eze 36:34 The desolate land shall be builded again, which afore time lay waste in the sight of all them that went by.

Eze 36:35 Then shall it be said, ‘This wasteland is become like a garden of pleasure, and the void, desolate and broken down cities are now strong, and fenced again.’

Neh 4:7 But when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that they had begun to stop up the gaps, they were very wroth;

Dan 9:25 Understand this then, and mark it well: That from the time it shall be concluded to go and repair Jerusalem again, unto Christ, the anointed Prince: there shall be seven weeks. Then shall the streets and walls be builded again sixty two weeks, but with hard troublous time. (Italics & bolding mine)

Amo 9:11 “At that time will I build again the tabernacle of David, that is fallen down, and hedge up his gaps. And look: what is broken, I shall repair it. Yea, I shall build it again, as it was a fore time,

Act 15:16 ‘After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, and that which is fallen in decay of it will I build again and I will set it up,

The main idea is to restore or return Zion to keeping God’s Laws which have laid in ruin and decay (been neglected) for many generations!!! This would be the Ten Commandments, including the 7th Day Sabbath! See Isa 58:12, which many ministers say is just speaking of a ‘spiritual rest’ which doesn’t square with what the Scriptures say. The book of Hebrews speaks of a rest which is a spiritual rest, but Isaiah is talking about an actual, physical day.  

OUR REWARD FOR KEEPING GOD’S SABBATH —

From Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown:
Isa 58:14 delight … in … Lord — God rewards in kind, as He punishes in kind. As we “delight” in keeping God’s “Sabbath,” so God will give us “delight” in Himself (Gen_15:1; Job_22:21-26; Psa_37:4).
ride upon … high places — I will make thee supreme lord of the land; the phrase is taken from a conqueror riding in his chariot, and occupying the hills and fastnesses of a country [Vitringa], (Deu_32:13; Mic_1:3; Hab_3:19). Judea was a land of hills; the idea thus is, “I will restore thee to thine own land” [Calvin]. The parallel words, “heritage of Jacob,” confirm this (Gen_27:28, Gen_27:29; Gen_28:13-15).
mouth of … Lord … spoken it — a formula to assure men of the fulfillment of any solemn promise which God has made (Isa_40:5).

From Matthew Poole’s Commentary:
And feed thee with the heritage of Jacob, i.e. thou shalt enjoy the good of the land of Canaan, which God had promised as a heritage of Jacob and his seed, Gen_35:12, and feed on the fruits of it.

Question: Why doth he say of the heritage of Jacob, and not of Abraham or Isaac?

Answer: Because the whole posterity of Jacob was within the covenant, but Ishmael and Esau, one the seed of Isaac, the other the seed of Abraham, were both excluded.

ENDNOTES: 

[1] http://www.sabbathtruth.com/free-resources/article-library/id/916/catholic-church-admits-they-made-the-change

 

“Where Have All The Fathers Gone?”

father reading from a bk to his girlAccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America — one out of every three — live in biological father-absent homes.

With the increasing number of premarital births and a continuing high divorce rate, the proportion of children living with just one parent rose from 9.1% in 1960 to 20.7% in 2012. – Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present.” U.S. Census Bureau July 1, 2012. [1]

One has to ask, Why is this happening? How can some men walk away from their own offspring? Where’s their sense of personal and moral obligation, or don’t they have any? What has contributed to this crisis?

Here are some possible answers —

1) The government, via welfare programs, has taken over the responsibility of child-rearing which the father should himself carry; making it easier for a man to ‘walk away.’ Many single mothers don’t report non-payment of child support, or don’t go after the father for child support out of fear or other reasons. Some men are substance abusers, mentally unbalanced, or abusive, and should’t have access to mother or child. In these cases its best if the father isn’t around.

2) The moral climate of society in America, is one of disrespect and disregard for human life in general – think this point needs no explanation.

3) Women are viewed as ‘sex objects’ by men, for the most part, and the media (movies, books, magazines, TV) exploits women as such, with little to no objection from themselves, society, and even the Church. From what I’ve seen, most churches today don’t preach about modesty, virtue, and a fathers obligation to his children born in or out of marriage. The Church et al has abdicated its responsiblity to its members, to God, and to society, through its silence on these issues and should be doing more to assist single-parent households. God wants the church to feed and clothe the poor, visit the sick and infirm, etc. 1Jn 3:17 But whoso hath the world’s goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? Mat 25:31 But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink? And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Mat 25:44 – 46 Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me. And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.

4) Women themselves have a hand in their own demise through their passivity and/or by actively supporting they’re being portrayed as sex objects. They do this by adopting the life-styles, behaviors, expressions, mindsets, work-ethics, aspirations, and fashions which the media and society suggest. Women in general dress provocatively in public; low cut and see-through blouses, heavy make-up, and skin-tight pants which show every curve and sometimes more. It’s become fashionable and acceptable behavior to accept a man’s proposal for sex before she’s had a chance to get to know him, and to continue having it without the benefit of marriage or commitment. Therein lies no protection for a woman, for whom sex is more than just a physical release no matter what the phychologists, agenda-driven social engineers, and media try to sell us. Women have lost more than their virginity from this immoral, dishonest, dangerous, and inaccurate portrayal, or should I say, betrayal! They’re loosing their natural instincts to what their true needs are in relationships, or are repressing them because they’re buying the false images they’re being shown of what they ‘should be’ according to those who only want to exploit them and make millions off their beauty. Sex sells, but at what a price, more so to the women being exploited than to anyone else. They either knowingly or ignorantly, exchange their modesty for a phoney sex image which robs them of their natural, innate beauty. Believe it or not, a woman’s modesty is what makes her truly beautiful! Modesty in women today has just about disappeared, which is a major loss for all. Children grow up thinking immodesty and self-exploitation is not only acceptable and normal, but even advantageous and desirable. The ‘new’ morality of today is turned around and upsidedown from what it was just fifty to a hundred years ago. Today, it’s almost considered a ‘virtue’ to dress and behave like a whore, to use your body and beauty to gain popularity, entice and control men, and or, to advance one’s career. Sure, hookers have been around for quite awhile but that life-style has mainly been looked upon as an immoral, at least it was before the so called, ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960’s. Since then, women and young girls seem to be ever declining in modesty and moral behavior; loosing their innate sense of what it means to be ‘a virtuous woman’ –

Pro 12:4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. Pro 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Pro 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. 1Pe 3:1 – In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Some Stats & Studies on the Effects of Absentee Fathers on their Children

Statistics consistently point out that children who grow up without their fathers are more likely to suffer from various social problems. Crime, drug abuse, abortion and school dropout rates are often directly related to father absence.

The biological relationship between father and child is well-established in the literature as a basis for paternal investment and, therefore, child well-being; however, the finding that the legal relationship between the parents is also linked to child well-being is a relatively new and important discovery. [2]

– Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2011, Table C8. Washington D.C.: 2011.

– Children living in female headed families with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6 percent, over 4 times the rate in married-couple families.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; ASEP Issue Brief: Information on Poverty and Income Statistics. September 12, 2012 [3]

– Children of single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.

Sources: The Lancet, Jan. 25, 2003 • Gunilla Ringbäck Weitoft, MD, Centre for Epidemiology, the National Board of Health and Welfare, Stockholm, Sweden • Irwin Sandler, PhD, professor of psychology and director of the Prevention Research Center, Arizona State University, Tempe • Douglas G. Jacobs, MD, associate clinical professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; and founder and director, The National Depression Screening Program • Madelyn Gould, PhD, MPH, professor of child psychiatry and public health, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University; and research scientist, New York State Psychiatric Institute. [4]

The Father Factor in Child Abuse

A study using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study revealed that in many cases the absence of a biological father contributes to increased risk of child maltreatment. The results suggest that Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies have some justification in viewing the presence of a social father as increasing children’s risk of abuse and neglect. It is believed that in families with a non-biological (social) father figure, there is a higher risk of abuse and neglect to children, despite the social father living in the household or only dating the mother.

Source: “CPS Involvement in Families with Social Fathers.” Fragile Families Research Brief No.46. Princeton, NJ and New York, NY: Bendheim-Thomas Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and Social Indicators Survey Center, 2010. [5]

**Click on this link, http://fathers.com/wp39/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/fatherlessInfographic.png, to see a ‘FatherlessInfographic.’

**An excellent resource which I HIGHLY recommend is, THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR FATHERING – a well designed site with plenty of resources and aides for fathers, including some free e-books and educational programs for your schools, community, and more. NCF was founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1990, with the purpose of “turning the hearts of fathers to their children.” Check it out at http://www.fathers.com/

Do it for your children, yourselves, and for future generations. Everyone matters and everyone can make a positive difference in the world, if they so choose.

Debra R. Stout, February 16, 2016

Endnotes:

1] http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/ch5.xls
2] http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=4210
3] http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/12/PovertyAndIncomeEst/ib.shtml
4] http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20030123/absent-parent-doubles-child-suicide-risk
5] http://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistics

Goals of the Transgender Movement; Not What They Seem

Photo: Transgender Female, born William Bruce Jenner (*Most natural born females don’t have broad shoulders like a man does. Personally, I think she still looks like a man, with muscular throat and arms; not at all attractive.)

EvangelistMParker | May 8, 2016
propheciesoftheendtimes.com/?p=57536

Transgender Bathrooms are just the beginning: a scary look into the trans movement’s end goals, Claire Chretien

May 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The battle over men accessing women’s bathrooms and vice versa has little do with bathrooms or even transgenderism, a well-known LGBT activist admitted last week.  It has everything to do with re-working society and getting rid of the “heterobinary structure” in which we live—eliminating distinctions between “male” and “female” altogether.

Riki Wilchins, who has undergone “sex change” surgery and is a far-left social change activist, wrote in the gay publication The Advocate last week that social conservatives and many LGBT activists are missing the point when it comes to the transgender bathroom debate.

The title of Wilchins’ article makes the points succinctly: “We’ll Win the Bathroom Battle When the Binary Burns.”

People should be able to enter whatever bathroom “fits their gender identity,” Wilchins wrote, but the fact that we even have “male” and “female” bathrooms reflects something about society that needs to change.

There are many “genderqueer” or “non-binary” people, Wilchins wrote, pointing to a student who recently “came out” to President Obama as “non-binary” at a London townhall as a notable example.

“Non-binary” people don’t identify as male or female and they often want to be referred to as “they” or “hir” or “zer.”  So the fact that there are even intimate facilities that reflect the “binary” truth about gender should change, Wilchins wrote.

In the eyes of LGBT advocates, the notion of only two genders (which one can pick, of course) is antiquated.

But transgenderism inherently acknowledges and actually reinforces the binary nature of gender.

Transgenderism presumes that a man can be “trapped” inside a woman’s body and a woman can be “trapped” inside a man’s body.  It encourages men “becoming” women to embrace femininity and wear dresses and make-up.  Similarly, transgenderism encourages women “becoming” men to make themselves more masculine through hormones and by altering their appearances, reinforcing the notion that men look and act a certain way.

“The long-term goals of many LGBT activists are actually not just access to the restrooms of their preferred gender identity, but actually destroying the concept of gender or the separation of the genders altogether,” Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council, told LifeSiteNews.  Sprigg noted that when LGBT activists are appealing to a mainstream audience, they “are accepting or implicitly accepting the separation of male and female facilities” like bathrooms.

RELATED: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/sexual-predator-jailed-after-claiming-to-be-transgender-in-order-to-assault

“They present this framework…that a transgender person is just born in the wrong body…[they say] the woman born in a man’s body is really a woman and therefore should be allowed to use the women’s room,” said Sprigg.  “But then, if you dig down…you find actually these acknowledgements that they want to do away with the gender binary altogether.”

The challenges faced by “non-binary” people “cut to the heart of arguments that trans advocates and their allies have been making for some time, in the face of furious right-wing opposition to trans identity generally and to ‘boys in the girls’ room’ specifically,” Wilchins wrote.

Wilchins continued:

    But what happens when a genderqueer individual, who genuinely looks and sounds profoundly non-binary or masculine, declares in a binary world s/he would be most comfortable accessing the girls restroom? To say the least, the optics will no longer work. Nor will appeals to practicality.

    What really needs to be contested here is not just our right to use bathrooms with dignity (which would personally be very welcome), but the entire underlying hetero-binary structuring of the world queers must inhabit.

The ultimate goal: an end to society’s ‘binary’ structure

People who advocate for bathroom privacy and transgender advocates who insist boys should be allowed in girls’ bathrooms and vice versa are missing a larger point, Wilchins wrote.  The fact that there are even male and female bathrooms reflects that our society is structured in a “binary” way, and this needs to change in order for the full goals of the LGBT movement to be enacted.

“Queer activists have been talking about [this] at least since the 1970s of Gay Liberation, even as the movement it spawned has continued to nudge it aside,” wrote Wilchins.

As the LGBT movement focused on redefining marriage and enshrining in law same-sex couples’ “right” to children, it also quietly introduced lawsuits advocating for the law to recognize one’s self-perception instead of biological reality as truth.  Once the Supreme Court redefined marriage, the media focus on the LGBT movement slowly began to shift to battles over gender and transgenderism.

RELATED: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/man-strips-in-front-of-girls-in-swimming-pool-locker-says-transgender-law-a

“They want to destroy the concepts of male and female entirely,” Rob Dreher at The American Conservative warned.  “This is what they’re after, and they’re not going to stop until it is accomplished.”

Dreher warned that parents need to evaluate how much of the prevailing culture they’re willing to submit their children to, and decide what the tipping point for them will be—the point at which they will remove their children from public schools and in some ways retreat from society.

“It will be very difficult to teach our children to live by Christian sexual morality if we do not teach them how being a Christian requires them (us) to live by a different political and economic code within our society,” wrote Dreher.

A society in which biological sex is no longer recognized “would be a terrifying society for a lot of women and girls,” Sprigg said, because “they would have the experience of being exposed to and being essentially forced to expose themselves to biologically male individuals in settings that were previously separated by sex” like locker rooms.  This could increase the risk of sexual assault and voyeurism, Sprigg said, and also violate people’s sense of privacy.

“Developing a strong and consistent and confident sense of your identity as biologically male or biologically female is an important developmental task for any child in the course of growing up,” said Sprigg.  A society that doesn’t recognize the true nature of gender “would make it exponentially harder for people to accomplish that fundamental human developmental task of understanding who they are.”

‘The family ends up abolished’

“What we are really talking about is the abolition of sex,” Stella Morabito, senior contributor to The Federalist and an expert on cults and propaganda, told LifeSiteNews.  “And it is sex that the trans project is serving to abolish legally, under the guise of something called ‘the gender binary.’  Its endgame is a society in which everyone is legally de-sexed.  No longer legally male or female.  And once you basically redefine humanity as sexless you end up with a de-humanized society in which there can be no legal ‘mother’ or ‘father’ or ‘son’ or ‘daughter’ or ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ without permission from the State.  Government documents are already erasing the terms.  In such a society, the most intimate human relationships take a hit. The family ends up abolished.”

“A sexless society is ultimately a totalitarian society because it erases in law the most basic human relationships,” said Morabito, “particularly the mother-child bond.”

Pro-family advocates have for years warned that the weakening of family bonds leads to a weakened society and greater government involvement in the individual lives of its citizens.

Morabito and Sprigg stressed the importance of speaking out when it comes to these issues and the difference that individuals can make by doing so.

“Ironically, just at the moment when the LGBT movement has achieved their greatest victory in persuading the Supreme Court to redefine marriage, they may be setting themselves up for a tremendous setback by…grossly overreaching” in trying to enact radical gender laws, said Sprigg.

“Sex distinctions are the germ of all human relationships,” said Morabito.  “Abolishing them legally basically abolishes family autonomy.  And this is an act of violence against children because it would serve at some point to separate them from their origins. Every child’s first transcendental question is ‘Where did I come from?’  If the law will not allow the child to see his own origins and wholeness in the faces of a mother and a father, it destabilizes the child’s sense of self.  It creates personal dysfunction in children and basically ends up spreading more dysfunction and even dystopia in society.”

Wilchins praised transgender advocates for their work, noting that they have “finally and perhaps unwittingly opened the gender Pandora’s Box, and over the next few years all sorts of unexpected non-binary things…are about to come popping out.”

Wilchins and the pro-family movement perhaps can agree on one thing, though: “This is going to be interesting.”

Prophecies Of The End Times Comments:

Below is what the bible states regarding Transgenders and the perceived disorder of thinking one is a man when they re a female, and when one is a man and thinks they are a female.

“What does the Bible say about transsexualism / transgenderism?

Is gender identity disorder / gender dysphoria the result of sin?”

Answer: Transsexualism, also known as transgenderism, Gender Identity Disorder (GID), or gender dysphoria, is a desire to change one’s sex or to fulfill the role of the opposite gender. Transsexuals / transgenders usually describe themselves as “trapped” in a body that does not match their gender. They will probably practice transvestism / transvestitism and may also seek hormone therapy and/or surgery to bring their bodies into conformity with their perceived gender.

The Bible has plenty to say about human sexuality. Most basic to our understanding of sex is that God created two (and only two) genders: “male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). All the modern-day speculation about numerous genders—or even a gender “continuum” with unlimited genders—is unbiblical.

In Psalm 139, we learn that God fashions each one of us. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . . . My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. . . . your eyes saw my unformed body” (verses 13-16). God’s creation of each individual must surely include His designation of gender/sex. His wonderful work leaves no room for mistakes; no one is born with the “wrong body.”

After the fall of man, it did not take long for gender issues to become confused. In Abraham’s day, homosexuality was widespread in some cities (Genesis 19:1-7; Jude 7). The Bible is unmistakably clear that homosexuality is a sinful perversion of God’s gift of sexuality (Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

In the Law, transvestism / transvestitism was specifically forbidden: “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this” (Deuteronomy 22:5).

Another possible reference to transsexualism is 1 Corinthians 6:9, where “male prostitutes” is listed as a separate category from “homosexual offenders.” The King James Version uses the word “effeminate” here; that is to say, the “male prostitutes” might be transsexual men who act as women.

No matter if the gender distortion has a genetic, hormonal, physiological, or psychological cause, the Bible clearly and consistently labels any sexual activity outside of marriage or not between a man and a woman as sin, rebellion against God’s plan. But following this realization is good news: sin can be forgiven and lives can be changed through faith in Christ. The Corinthian believers are an example of such a change: “And [homosexuals] is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). There is hope for any sinner, transsexuals, transgenders, those with gender identity disorder, and transvestites included, because of God’s forgiveness available in Jesus Christ.

THE ENDTIMES SODOMITE SPIRIT; PROUD, BOASTFUL, ANTICHRIST, AND ‘GAY’

H1341 ge^ gay’ For H1343; haughty: – proud.

Interesting isn’t it? The Hebrew term for ‘haughty or proud’ is GAY, the very term the homosexuals use to designate their sexual preference and life style! Is this just some strange coincidence?

Most ‘gays’ I’ve met are very ‘haughty’ and BOAST of their sexual perversions whenever possible.

NYC PrideThe word “gay” seems to have its origins around the 12th century in England, derived from the Old French word ‘gai’, which in turn was probably derived from a Germanic word, though that isn’t completely known. The word’s original meaning meant something to the effect of “joyful”, “carefree”, “full of mirth”, or “bright and showy”.

However, around the early parts of the 17th century, the word began to be associated with immorality. By the mid 17th century, according to an Oxford dictionary definition at the time, the meaning of the word had changed to mean “addicted to pleasures and dissipations. Often euphemistically: Of loose and immoral life”. This is an extension of one of the original meanings of “carefree”, meaning more or less uninhibited.

Fast-forward to the 19th century and the word gay referred to a woman who was a prostitute and a gay man was someone who slept with a lot of women (ironically enough), often prostitutes. Also at this time, the phrase “gay it” meant to have sex.

With these new definitions, the original meanings of “carefree”, “joyful”, and “bright and showy” were still around; so the word was not exclusively used to refer to prostitutes or a promiscuous man. Those were just accepted definitions, along with the other meanings of the word.

Around the 1920’s and 1930’s, however, the word started to have a new meaning. In terms of the sexual meaning of the word, a “gay man” no longer just meant a man who had sex with a lot of women, but now started to refer to men who had sex with other men. There was also another word “gey cat” at this time which meant a homosexual boy.

By 1955, the word gay now officially acquired the new added definition of meaning homosexual males. [1]

How I arrived here was by looking up the definition of ‘Barabbas’ in Luke 23:18 — the meaning of his name is of Chaldee [2] origin H1347 and Gk (G5 Strong’s). When you go to H1347 in Strong’s Concordance, you also see another term from where ‘geh’ (pronounced ‘gay-eh’) is taken! The Gk ‘gay-eh’ also means; LOFTY, arrogant, and PROUD!

In the Greek, Barabbas is only rendered as “son of Abba” meaning, son of a father or master [3]. Could that master be Satan in his case? Could it be that Barabbas was a TYPE of the AntiChrist, or the Son of Satan? While there have been and are now MANY antichrists in the World, there may be ONE final, major Antichrist, who will be none other than the Incarnation of the Devil in human form who inhabits a human body – alluded to as The AntiChrist, whom the Lord will destroy supernaturally with the Spirit of His mouth when He comes [4]. This same AntiChrist will set himself up as god in the last Jewish Temple built, and will speak vain words against the one, true GOD and His people, and will lead the disbelieving multitudes into perdition along with him and the fallen angels [5].

Barabbas was a thief and a murderer [6] and one ‘who stirred up trouble’ – a trouble maker, a rabble rouser. Read Luke 23:13-25 for the full account. All terms easily identified with any antichrist, or the AntiChrist whom Scripture defines as “a man of lawlessness,” “proud,” “arrogant,” and maybe GAY? There’s a bit of an enigmatic verse in the book of Daniel about his attitude towards women – Daniel 11:37, “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the DESIRE OF WOMEN, nor…..”

“regard” H995 – understand, attend, consider, perceive, regard, feel, etc.
“desire” H2532 – delight: desire, goodly, pleasant, precious; that which is desirable.

What this seems to be saying is that he won’t have regard for women’s needs and feelings – he won’t be ‘attentive’ to them. Thus, he’ll treat them harshly being insensitive to their needs and desires. He’ll be seriously lacking in ‘understanding’ of their delicate natures. It may be saying that the Antichrist will greatly disrespect women just as the adherents of Islam behave today towards them. Many Islamic women are treated like slaves, denied of basic human rights. The United Nations should be outraged, but is it?

According to biblical scholar Stephen Miller in his commentary on Daniel, the phrase has never had consensus in its interpretation even as early as Montgomery in his 2nd century commentary on Daniel. Miller states that the phrase could be interpreted in either of four ways:

“the one desired by women”
“the desire of women”
“that desired by women”
“the desire for women”

If we consult a Hebrew lexicon, the word that is translated “desire” in 11:37 is “hemdah” (transliterated). Of course, as with many words in Hebrew, the interpretation is made difficult because the same Hebrew word can have varied meanings, and often context is the primary determining factor for the translator. In none of its varied meanings, however, does “hemdah” refer to sexual desire. The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words states:

hemdah is a noun found twenty-five times, with the primary sense of “that which is pleasant, or valuable.”

“If it was God’s intent to so hide the beauty of woman, He would have given Eve her “eye covering” burqa on her way out the door. It seems that Islam has found a way to veil what God never intended to cover.

Islam fits the profile. It has no regard for the desires, the precious things, of woman.” [7]

….the grammatical construction disallows changing “desire of women” to “desire for women” (13). In parallel instances, such as Haggai 2:7 and 1 Samuel 9:20, the noun following “desire of” is the source and not the object. What the prophecy is clearly saying is that the Antichrist will disregard something that women desire.

At last we come to the only convincing interpretation. It recognizes that since “the desire of women” appears in a list of deities spurned by the Antichrist, the name must refer to another object of worship that he refuses to honor. To be precise, the name might signify either a god (or gods) that women desire or the desire of women to be gods. Of these two possibilities, the second is a better fit both to the context and to modern reality. It is the desire of women to be gods that the Antichrist will slight.

The context. The angelic messenger has just predicted that the Antichrist will speak marvelous things against the God of gods (verse 36). As we argued, he was alluding to the tragedy in the Garden, where Satan used the same lies to corrupt Eve. He succeeded by exploiting the woman’s desire to be godlike in her knowledge of good and evil. Although the result was downfall of the human race, that desire has never been extinguished. The fire of self-worship still burns in the hearts of all women who refuse to worship the true God.

Yet while recognizing the pride of women, we should not minimize the pride of men. The male heart is also prone to divine aspirations. After all, the future pretender to supreme deity will be a man, not a woman. But the Book of Daniel is concerned not to leave the wrong impression. To avoid suggesting that men are worse than women, the book adds a little reminder that apart from the grace of God, every woman is also an incorrigible egotist with a lurking desire to take over command of the universe.

Modern reality. In recent times, the desire of women to be gods has resurfaced in an especially pronounced form: the drive for so-called women’s liberation. At issue between feminists and Christians is not whether women are equal to men. The Bible says that in Christ “there is neither male nor female” (Gal. 3:28). At issue rather is whether a woman ought to be like a man, whether she should be seeking to exchange a woman’s God-ordained role in the home and church for a man’s role.

Imagine what feminists will think when the Antichrist sets himself up as the supreme god and denies equal billing to any goddess! They will regard the exclusion of women from the highest flights of conceit as discrimination. Whatever hope he offers them of attaining a lesser degree of godhood will hardly satisfy their ambition. Yet he will ignore their objections. That is, as the oracle says, he will not regard the desire of women. [8]

Some have interpreted that scripture as, ‘he will not understand nor have regard for the delight which a woman can give a man from having relations with a woman. A homosexual would have no desire for a woman, nor take pleasure in having sexual relations with a woman. Still others say Daniel 11:31, has nothing at all to do with the sexual preference of the AntiChrist. Another opinion is that the phrase, “desire of women” is speaking of Jesus Christ since all women wanted to be His mother, the vessel through which Christ would be born into the world, but where this fanciful interpretation came from I can’t tell, since I’ve not found one scriptural reference that supports it.

The traditional interpretation is that he will not be married, or be a homosexual. Even if we were to understand its application in this manner there are other alternatives to consider. For example: He will have no regard for women, practically speaking can mean to allow abortion. This certainly makes one have no regard for woman. He will disrespect the most basic function of woman, not caring for the unborn or the scars he will leave on young women. To not regard woman may mean he is against her role in marriage and childbearing (promoting abortion) denying the function God gave to women. He will divide the family unit and the woman’s role in it, reverse the roles of men and woman. Thus, No regard for women does not necessarily mean he must be homosexual or unmarried. He may promote same sex partnership other than traditional marriage. Many have pointed out that in the religion of Islam men have no regard for women, which will be of no consequence since it also says, “he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers.” So even if he is a Muslim he will not have the respect of the religion he was brought up in. [9]

When you put the Greek definition along with its Chaldee origin, you have the incarnated son of Satan – a proud, arrogant, boastful man speaking vain words against the true God; defiant of all laws and gods, who might also be ‘gay’ or sexually perverted in some manner. He may not be specifically homosexual, but may lead a sexually immoral life style, or promote it in general.

The Greek ‘diastrepho’ From G1223 and G4762; means to distort, that is, (figuratively) misinterpret, or (morally) corrupt: – perverse (-rt), turn away. G4762 means ‘to twist, turn around, or reverse.’ This is interesting since the general plan of Satan for the World is to twist, reverse, pervert, and turn upsidedown, God’s ORDER of all created things. Men become as women and vice versa is one example where God’s natural ORDER of things is being REVERSED and perverted!

A phrase often applied to the AntiChrist, “son of perdition,” is a curious one. The term, “son of perdition” isn’t limited to a MALE person! Look at the following Scriptures and definitions —

G5207 uihos; Apparently a primary word; a “son” (sometimes of animals), used very widely of immediate, remote or figurative kinship: – child, foal, son.

Just as the phrase, “sons of God” [10] is not gender specific but used to refer to all who’ve been Born Again of God’s Spirit and thus are children, or “sons of God.”

“sons” G5043 teknon; means offspring, children, child, male child, or daughter. See both Strong’s and Thayer’s Definitions.

Perdition means utter destruction, perishing, ruin, and eternal misery in hell.

Whether or not the final AntiChrist will be homosexual, what we know for certain is that Yahweh our God, will eventually pour out His judgment and wrath upon any nation which indulges in filthy sexual perversions, as He has done throughout history. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with sulfur and fire because of its sexual perversions – Genesis 19:1-28.

In Leviticus 18, God identifies incest, homosexuality and bestiality as the sins which cause the land to “vomit out its inhabitants” (v25). Even in this dark context homosexuality is singled out for special condemnation as “an abomination” (v.22).

In what is probably the most challenging Biblical passage of all, Deuteronomy 20:16-18, God tells the Hebrew people to completely wipe out the Canaanite inhabitants of the Holy Land. His explanation why is detailed in Leviticus 18:24-30.

“‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. ‘But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled); so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you. ‘For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. ‘Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the LORD your God.’”

It is certainly not within our right to judge God. We can only rest in the assurance that, by definition, whatever God does is justified. Importantly, however, his use of genocide to punish sexual perversion is instructive as to His perspective of the relative gravity of human sins, as is His admonition not to tolerate these forms of sexual conduct by any persons in the society, even “the sojourner among you.”

Of course, this does not condone hatred or violence against homosexuals. [11]

God brought about the fall of the Roman and Greek empires; both known for their sexual excesses and perversions. “The Greek “gymnasium,” where young men engaged in sporting events in the nude, was a center of homosexuality and one of the reasons sodomy became known throughout the entire western world as “Greek love.” In his article, Homosexuality & the Maccabean Revolt, Catholic scholar Patrick G.D. Riley notes:

“The all-male athletic club known as the gymnasium was notorious in the ancient world as a nestingplace for pederasty. Socrates himself was susceptible to it, as we learn in the Charmides. The lovers of boys came to the gymnasium in crowds, as Plato notes in that dialogue and in the Euthydemus. Plutarch mentions it in the Erotikos. Hence the gymnasium, with its sexual seductions, was bound to arouse alarm when it arrived in Jerusalem and “attracted the noblest young men” of Israel (2 Macc. 4:12). What follows that phrase bears this out. The original Greek of the text of 2 Maccabees continues with a pun: hypotasson hypo petason, which literally means “subduing [these noble young Jews] under the petason,” the broad-brimmed hat of Hermes worn by naked Greek athletes. But in the Church’s traditional Latin translation, known as the Vulgate, St. Jerome renders this in lupanaribus ponere, that is, ‘to put in brothels’

…Joined themselves to the Gentiles. In the Greek, this has a strong connotation of sexual union. The verb, zeugizein, means “to yoke in pairs,” a graphic metaphor for sexual union. It is used in a love-passage from second-century B.C. Alexandria, hence contemporary with the Maccabees, in a context implying copulation. Since the Greek gymnasium was traditionally exclusive to males, and since the histories present the Jerusalem gymnasium as male-only, the sexual union can only be homosexual. (New Oxford Review, September 1997). [12]

Will America, who is currently passing all kinds of legislation protecting the imaginary rights of gays, lesbians, transvestites, and transsexuals’ to aggressively oppress religious institutions by causing them to embrace the ‘gay’ life-style; marry gays/lesbians against their religious beliefs, and so on – not be judged for its immorality and sexual perversions as have other nations before her? When the state makes it a crime to worship according to one’s faith, isn’t that the quintessence of religious oppression? The Secularists are forever trumpeting the “Separation of Church and State” clause while hypocritically making LAWS and REGULATIONS regarding religious institutions. The original intent of that clause, penned by our nation’s forefathers, was to keep the state OUT OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS and from MAKING LAWS which oppress religious freedoms; ie., to worship as they please without government interference! For the history of how the ‘Separation of Church and State’ clause came to be, see [13].

According to God’s Word, the Bible, Christians are not to agree with, work with, or promote the “works of darkness” (which would include sexual perversions) – but rather “expose them” – Eph 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. [14]

This goes especially for all the ‘affirmative churches’ who not only welcome but endorse the ‘gay’ life style as normative, who assure gays that they’re OK the way they are (they don’t need to repent) for God won’t judge their sin, and who ordain gay and lesbian ministers. While we should not hate gays/lesbians, nor engage in violence against them, we don’t have to endorse their vile acts. Deu 23:17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. Deu 23:18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God. sodomite” H6945 qâdêsh; BDB Definition 1) male temple prostitute

Yeshua is soon to return, wouldn’t it be wise to be ready and be sure you’re not on the wrong side of the issues?

Debra R. Stout, March 25, 2016

 

END NOTES:

[1] http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/02/how-gay-came-to-mean-homosexual/

[2] Chaldee Language —

Employed by the sacred writers in certain portions of the Old Testament, viz., Dan_2:4-7, Dan_2:28; Ezra 4:8-6:18; Ezr_7:12-26; Gen_31:46; Jer_10:11. It is the Aramaic dialect, as it is sometimes called, as distinguished from the Hebrew dialect. It was the language of commerce and of social intercourse in Western Asia, and after the Exile gradually came to be the popular language of Palestine. It is called “Syrian” in 2Ki_18:26. Some isolated words in this language are preserved in the New Testament (Mat_5:22; Mat_6:24; Mat_16:17; Mat_27:46; Mar_3:17; Mar_5:41; Mar_7:34; Mar_14:36; Act_1:19; 1Co_16:22). These are specimens of the vernacular language of Palestine at that period. The term “Hebrew” was also sometimes applied to the Chaldee because it had become the language of the Hebrews (Joh_5:2; Joh_19:20).

[3] Barabbas – G912 a aßßa
Thayer Definition:
Barabbas = “son of a father or master”
1) the captive robber whom the Jews begged Pilate to release instead of Christ

[4] 2 Thess 2:8 -12; Rev 19:21

[5] Daniel 11:31-45, Rev 19:20

[6] Luke 23:19 & 25, John 18:40

[7] http://www.jacksmithprophecy.org/2012/10/09/no-regard-for-the-desire-of-women-islam-fits-the-profile/

[8] http://www.themoorings.org/Bible_prophecy/Antichrist/religion_and_name.html

[9] http://www.letusreason.org/proph34.htm

[10] Jn 1:12, Rm 8:14, Rm 8:19, Gal 4:6, Phil 2:15, 1 Jn 3:1 &2

[11] http://www.scottlively.net/2014/12/26/the-forgotten-last-days-warning-about-homosexuality-in-the-bible/

[12] http://www.scottlively.net/2014/12/26/the-forgotten-last-days-warning-about-homosexuality-in-the-bible/

[13] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_States

[14] G1651 ἐλέγχω elegchō
Thayer Definition:
1) to convict, refute, confute
1a) generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted
1b) by conviction to bring to the light, to expose
2) to find fault with, correct
2a) by word
2a1) to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove
2a2) to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation
2b) by deed
2b1) to chasten, to punish

SUFFERING & THE CHURCH

jesus_empty cross on blu bkgr So much has been written about the Rapture of the Church, but little about suffering for Christ. Don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly gotten the impression that most believers today do not expect to suffer persecution or hardship for their faith – ever. Most have been lulled to sleep by what I call ‘an easy street gospel,’ which is that since Christ bore our sins, griefs and sorrows, all they have to do now is sit back and live their little self-centric lives while waiting for His return and/or, their rapture off the earth. The focus of this study isn’t the Rapture or its timing, but suffering for Christ, which every saint is called to do, 1Pe 2:21 For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps:

I believe the Church has succumbed to the fantasy, taught by hireling shepherds who preach prosperity and the ‘ear-tickling’ message, that she’ll never have to suffer persecution for the cause of Christ. Those shepherds conveniently leave out the unpalitable reality that all true believers will suffer on account of the Faith. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12. How many believers take it to heart though? My guess is not many. Makes me wonder if the twenty-first century, western, Church has the ‘grit’ or fortitude of its fathers in the faith, men like William Tyndale [1] (murdered for printing the bible in English) along with thousands of other martyrs who were tortured and/or murdered for their faith. A good resource detailing these events is Foxe’s Book of Martyrs [2]. Torture devices were very common in Roman Catholic medieval Catholic tortureChurch dungeons. Is the Church willing to suffer intense persecution, torture or even death, as did the first century Church, or has it succumbed to the fairytale that it will never have to face such suffering?foxe-s-book-of-martyrs-c1780-hand-col-print.-burning-at-newbury-guernsey-[2]-27473-p

Since the Scriptures are peppered with examples of the sufferings, persecutions, and hardships of the church from the beginning and continuing throughout the ages – how can we in this church age, expect to escape these things just because we’re in the ‘age of grace?’ What about the millions who suffered burning at the stake, beheading, deboweling, and dipping in molten oil, by the monstrous Catholic Crusaders throughout the Middle Ages and beyond? Here’s a partial time line of these historic facts:

1096 Roman Catholic crusaders slaughter half the Jews in Worms, Germany.

1098 Roman Catholic crusaders slaughter almost all of the inhabitants of the city of Antioch.

1099 Roman Catholic crusaders massacre 70,000 Muslims and Jews when they capture Jerusalem.

1208 – 1226 The Albigensian Crusades in southern France. Roman Catholic crusaders slaughter approximately 20,000 citizens of Beziers, France, on July 22, 1209. Albigensian Christians and Catholics were slain. By the time the Roman Catholic armies finished their “crusade,” almost the entire population of southern France (mostly Albigensian Christians) has been exterminated. During the six centuries of papal Inquisition that began in the 13th century, up to 50 million people were killed. Read what J. A. Wylie’s The History of Protestantism has to say about the Crusades against the Abigenses.

1236 Roman Catholic crusaders slaughter Jews in the Anjou and Poitou regions of western France. The Catholic crusaders trample to death under their horses 3000 Jews who refuse baptism.

1243 Roman Catholic mobs burn alive all the Jews in Berlitz, Germany (near Berlin).

1298 Roman Catholic mobs burn alive all Jews in Rottingen, Germany.

April 26, 1349 Roman Catholic mobs burn to death all Jews in Germersheim, Germany.

1348 – 1349 The Jews are blamed for the bubonic plague. Author Dave Hunt tells us, “Accused of causing the ‘Black Death’ Jews were rounded up [by Roman Catholic mobs] and hanged, burned, and drowned by the thousands in revenge.”

1389 Roman Catholic mobs murder 3000 Jews in Prague when they refuse to be baptized.

1481 – 1483 At the direction of the Roman Catholic inquisitors, authorities burn at the stake at least 2000 people during the first two years of the Spanish Inquisition.

1540 – 1570 Roman Catholic armies butcher at least 900,000 Waldensian Christians of all ages during this 30-year period.

1550 – 1560 Roman Catholic troops slaughter at least 250,000 Dutch Protestants via torture, hanging, and burning during this ten-year period.

Apostle Paul’s sufferings alone are enough to make our heads spin, our hands shake, and our knees quake! Paul suffered stonings, whippings, hardships, and imprisonment for Christ. If any one of us today were called upon to suffer what he did, we would probably faint (fall away from the faith).

Last but not least, Jesus Christ suffered beating, scourging, mocking, and crucifixion unto death for Man’s sin. Joh 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, A servant is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you;

“There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution. In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution.” – Corrie Ten Boom, born April 15, 1892 in Haarland Netherlands, near Amsterdam. Corrie was a born again believer who’s family hid Jews during the Nazi takeover of her country. Betrayed by a Dutch citizen, her whole family was imprisoned in a Nazi death camp and murdered, but she survived and shared her story in a book titled The Hiding Place. She ministered to concentration camp survivors after the war ended, and began a worldwide ministry. She died on her birthday in 1983. [3]

Does the Church have what it takes to endure suffering for Christ? The Church needs to ‘gird up its loins,’ and brace itself for persecution and suffering which is surely coming. It’s inevitable if you’re a true believer and follower of Christ – “Truly, I say unto you, If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you….” The ‘easy street’ gospel, as I call it, isn’t the TRUE gospel of Christ, and is misleading many believers, lulling them into a deep slumber. We want to believe that we’re exempt from the kinds of suffering and torture that Christians have undergone in times past, but it isn’t true. It’s time for us to put away our ‘rose-tinted glasses’ and pray for the keen vision of an eagle, so that we might see that our true destiny in Christ is to suffer as He suffered, walk as He walked, and love as He loved! Anything less is an empty profession of faith; a mirage without substance and unacceptable to God!

“It would be years later at The Voice of The Martyrs conference that I would come face to face with my distorted understanding. I heard stories from all over the world of suffering happening to Christians. The first evening I listened as a man from Pakistan explained the hardships the Pakistani church endures, and then described the torture and eventual murder of a young Christian boy. This young man died at the hands of his torturers simply because he was a Christian. For the first time in my life I contemplated the possibility that God does not intervene in every situation and take the suffering away from His people.” Suffering – the Mark of the Church [4]

The true Church of jesus Christ is called to suffer hardships and persecution for their allegience to Him and to His Truth! The true Church of Jesus Christ is called to endure hardness like a soldier and endure sound doctrine versus the false ‘prosperity and easy street’ doctrines which compromising, hireling shepherds teach and preach to their flocks. Woe to those who compromise the truth or who teach only the palitable parts of it. Our Lord Christ doesn’t sanction teaching only part of the truth or half truths. It behooves every believer in Christ to study the Bible for themselves, to dig out the truth buried sometimes deeply in its pages. We must learn how to feed ourselves and quit being lazily content to eat left-overs and regurgitated food! Real faith makes certain demands on us, like ‘studying to show ourselves approved, workmen who need not be ashamed…’ 2 Tim 2:15. We’re to study the words of God for ourselves, and prove whether the things we’ve been taught, line up with His words or not – Act 17:10 & 11.

We need to OPEN our spiritual EYES. If you can’t see these things, then pray and ask God to open your eyes so that you may. The times we live in are dark and we need the Light of God’s wisdom and truth more than ever before; far more than material wealth and possessions. Most of Christ’s disciples lived in poverty or had only their basic needs met; most weren’t wealthy and yet they thrived on what’s more important. They lived not by (physical) bread alone, but by every word (rhema) which came from the mouth of God – Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4, and they had the LOVE of God and the love of His whole counsel (truth) BURNING IN THEIR HEARTS! – Luke 24:32

THAT, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, IS WHERE WE NEED TO BE AGAIN! We need to get back to a place where THE most important thing in our lives is following Christ, bearing His truth to the world, winning souls, and living HOLY lives before Him in HUMILITY (not in pride and arrogance).

So, therefore, let us HUMBLE ourselves in these dark days, SEEK His face in prayer and supplications with many FASTINGS – and WALK IN OBEDIENCE to ALL His instructions, not just the ones we like. If we ‘purify our hands and our hearts’ – “Purify your hands ye sinners, and sanctify your hearts…” maybe we’ll escape the dark schemes of the wicked to deceive and lead us into disbelief coming upon the whole world, and ”stand before the Son of Man WITHOUT SPOT, WRINKLE OR ANY SUCH THING….” James 4:8, Lk 21:36, Eph 5:27

Since we’ve all been called to SUFFER for Christ, walking in His footsteps, then it makes sense that we PREPARE our hearts and minds beforehand to endure to the end when it comes.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – Revelation 12:11

Debra R. Stout, March 10, 2016  *[caps, bold, and italics are mine].

Endnotes:

1] http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1501-1600/translator-william-tyndale-strangled-and-burned-11629961.html
2] http://www.ccel.org/f/foxe/martyrs/home.html (book is online to read for free)
3] http://www.biography.com/people/corrie-ten-boom-21358155#synopsis
4] http://www.persecutionblog.com/2014/09/suffering-the-mark-of-the-church.html

‘All We Need Is Love,’ But What Kind?

all_you_need_is_love_205438We hear a lot about love, ‘love is all we need,’ a line from a popular Beetle’s song that became quite popular in American culture back in the 60’s and 70’s. But what kind of love were they referring to? There’s more than one. ‘Eros,’ from the Greek language meaning desire and longing, where we get the term ‘erotica’ from, is the sensual kind of love based on physical attraction and is sexual love between a man and a woman. It’s primarily selfish and self-gratifying. What the pop culture means whenever it uses the term ‘love,’ is typically the sentimental, shallow, sensual, and self-seeking kind. It’s not the kind of love that can endure hardship, suffering, persecution, oppression, or that keeps commitments because it’s based so much on feelings which can be fickle. ‘The basic idea in eros is getting something for yourself. While it may involve a genuine feeling for someone else, that feeling is kindled by the attractiveness of that person and by the excitement, pleasure, and satisfaction which we believe that person will afford us. Eros poses as love for another but is actually love for oneself. It says, “I love you because you make me happy.” Its foundation is some characteristic in the other person that pleases us, such as beauty, charm, warmth, kindness, or talent. If that characteristic is taken away there is nothing left, and it dies. This kind of love looks primarily for what it can get. It may give a little, but the motive is usually to get something in return for what it gives. If it fails to get what it wants, it may turn to resentment, bitterness, or hatred.’ [https://bible.org/seriespage/5-i-m-love]

Another, more altruistic kind of ‘love’ considers other people as being equally entitled to the world’s resources. This kind of love requires some giving and sharing, even some selflessness. ‘Phileo’ is a brotherly type of love from the Greek term which means to ‘like’ or ‘befriend.’ Philia, the next higher level of love, relates to the soul rather than to the body. It touches the human personality—the intellect, the emotions, and the will. It involves a mutual sharing. We choose friends because of the pleasure we derive from being with them. There are personal qualities in them that we appreciate, intellectual and cultural interests that we share, and mutual self-expression that we find satisfying. We derive something enjoyable from the relationship, but we are also willing to give our fair share. This giving is not free from selfish motivation, but the selfishness is largely obscured by a sense of togetherness. Philia is a higher level of love than eros in that “our” happiness is involved rather than merely “my” happiness. Philia is love’s halfway mark—give a little, get a little; a fifty-fifty proposition. [https://bible.org/seriespage/5-i-m-love]

There exists yet another kind of love, the kind Jesus displayed during His earthly ministry, and which is taught in the Bible as the kind of love Christians ought to exhibit. ‘Agape,’ is a perfect or mature kind of love that doesn’t rely upon feelings; it’s a choice or an act of your will. With agape, you choose to love despite your feelings. Agape is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, the highest of the types of love. It does not seek pleasure for itself, but instead delights in giving. It is not kindled by the merit or worth of its object, but originates in its own God-given nature. Agape keeps on loving even when its object is unresponsive, unkind, unlovable, or completely unworthy. It desires only the good of the one loved. It lives to make the loved one happy, whatever the personal cost or sacrifice. It doesn’t give fifty percent and expect fifty percent in return. It gives one hundred percent and expects nothing in return!  [https://bible.org/seriespage/5-i-m-love] *For definitions of the three types, see the Footnotes.

Feelings are vacillating and don’t always lead us to do what’s best for our fellow man. Perfect love, the God-kind of love, doesn’t depend upon soulish feelings, but upon principles like selflessness, treating others as you want to be treated, caring for the poor and orphans, the disenfranchised of the world, and your neighbors, whoever they may be. Jesus taught these principles during His ministry, which were written down in the books of the New Testament. To get a full understanding of love in the Bible, you have to read all of it, for there are many examples given of how to love with godly love within its pages. Here are a few examples from the Holy Bible on ‘phileo’ and ‘agape’ love —-

Mat 5:42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
Mat 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Mat 5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?
Mat 22:37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Mat 22:39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
Joh 13:35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Joh 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Rom 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 12:9 Let love be genuine.
Rom 13:9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Rom 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

This passage sums it up nicely I think —-

1Co 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
1Co 13:2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1Co 13:3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1Co 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
1Co 13:5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
1Co 13:6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
1Co 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Co 13:8 Love never ends.
Col 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
Col 3:13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Col 3:14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

So, where does your Love-meter point? Does it point to the God-kind of love, to the brotherly kind, or to the lustful, sensual kind which seeks only to fulfill its own needs? With all the hatred, prejudice, murder, wars, and greed, in the world today, there’s a huge vacuum of the God-kind of love. It would seem reasonable to take personal inventory of our daily words and actions to see what kind of love is being displayed in our lives, and then take whatever steps are necessary to cultivate God’s kind of love in our hearts. One way to do this is to meditate, chew and digest the parts of God’s Word which teach us what godly love is and how to truly love ourselves and others, and let them go down deep into our psyches. When done regularly and consistently, meditating on God’s words will transform you; a process called, “renewing your mind” –

Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Eph 4:22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
Eph 4:23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
Col 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

To love as God loves is a goal to aim for, even though we often fall short of it. Without the Holy Spirit residing within us, it’s really difficult to love with totally pure motives, which is why everyone needs to be ‘born again’ – John 3:3-8.

God sees deeply into our souls and knows our motives. He cares about everyone, small and great, rich and poor, strong and weak. What we think, feel, say, and do – matters very much to Him. May it matter to us as well.

Debra R. Stout, February 13, 2016

Footnotes:

eros, 1: the Greek god of erotic love — compare cupid 2: the sum of life-preserving instincts that are manifested as impulses to gratify basic needs, as sublimated impulses, and as impulses to protect and preserve the body and mind — compare death instinct 3a : love conceived by Plato as a fundamental creative impulse having a sensual element [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

phileō G5368 φιλέω  From G5384; to be a friend to (fond of [an individual or an object]), that is, have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling; while G25 is wider, embracing especially the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety: the two thus stand related very much as G2309 and G1014, or as G2372 and G3563 respectively; the former being chiefly of the heart and the latter of the head); specifically to kiss (as a mark of tenderness): – kiss, love.

agapē G26 ἀγάπη
Thayer Definition:
1) brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence
2) love feasts
agapaō 1) to love dearly

A Biblical View of Self-Defense

What does the Bible say about self-defense? What is the Biblical view of using lethal force for self-protection? Can a Christian own a gun? What about gun ownership? Assault weapons? The Bible study below attempts to answer these questions using Scripture.

Introduction

This study examines the Biblical view of self-defense. We’re looking at questions such as, Is it right to employ lethal force to protect the life of yourself and others? Is it right to take measures that might kill an attacker who is wrongfully threatening your life or the life of another?

Self-defense here is defined as “protecting oneself from injury at the hand of others.” Self-defense is not about taking vengeance. Self-defense is not about punishing criminals. Self-defense involves preserving one’s own health and life when it is threatened by the actions of others. When we speak about using potentially lethal force in self-defense, we’re talking about using weapons to protect ourselves and others, even if the weapons used could kill the attacker.

Now why in the world would we take time to look at this subject? First, as Christians, we want to know how to apply the Bible to current issues in society. We live in a country with approximately 250 million guns and approximately 300 million people. Furthermore, in our country, it is estimated that law abiding citizens defend themselves using guns approximately one million to two million times a year. Almost 200,000 people in this state alone have a legal permit to carry a concealed handgun. What does the Bible have to say about that many guns actively being used for self-protection?

We live in a time where the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, current possibilities of economic and societal collapse, and crime have people buying guns and ammunition in large quantities for self protection. What does the Bible say about that? What does the Bible say about so-called “assault weapons”?

As always, we want our hearts and minds to be ruled and informed by Scripture–not by our emotions, not by our experiences, and certainly not by the World. And because the Scriptures have much to say about this topic, it is relevant and worth examining in the Church.

The focus of this study is specific. I am not dealing with whether lethal force can legitimately be used in wartime. I am not dealing with capital punishment. I am not dealing with Biblical principles involved in the American Revolution or the War Between the States.

This study is organized in five sections. First, we will look at the Biblical obligation to preserve life. Secondly, we will look at the Biblical view of bloodshed. Thirdly, we will look at passages dealing with the application of lethal force in self-defense. Fourth, we will look at what the Bible says about possession of weapons and skill in using weapons. Finally, we look at limitations and warnings about self-defense.

The Biblical Obligation to Preserve Life

We begin by first looking at the Biblical obligation to preserve life. The Bible clearly teaches that we must preserve life–our own lives and the lives of other people. 1 Corinthians 6:19f teaches that our bodies are not our own. Rather, our bodies belong to God. Our bodies are His property and so we are not permitted to treat or destroy them as we please:

19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own;  20 for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body. (1Co 6:19-20 ASV)

Not only are we to take care of our bodies and the life contained. We have an obligation to preserve the body and life of other people. Psalm 82:4 even cites an obligation to protect those who are in danger:

Psalm 82:4 Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. 

Consider also Proverbs 24:11, which indicates we have a duty to preserve the lives of those who are harming themselves:

Proverbs 24:11 Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.

Ezekiel 33 is a well-known passage:

Ezekiel 33 “… 6 ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’

If you know danger is coming to others, and you deliberately fail to warn the others of the danger, you are guilty of harming the victims. This is not to say that you can make people heed your warning. The surrounding verses also say that if the people refuse to heed the warning of the watchmen, the watchman is not guilty if they are harmed.

We also see principles in Mosaic law teaching that if we fail to guard the lives of others, we are guilty. In Deuteronomy 22:8, if someone falls from your roof, and you failed to install a safety fence around the edge, you would be held liable for the death of that person. Likewise, in Exodus 21:29-31, if a man has an ox which is prone to harm people, the owner is held liable if he fails to confine it and the ox harms or kills others. If the ox harms someone, the negligent owner is fined. If the ox kills someone, the negligent owner is to beput to death.

The principle could hardly be stated more forcefully: you must protect your life and the lives of others.

The Biblical View of Bloodshed

So we see we have a Biblical obligation to protect life. Now let’s look at the Biblical view of bloodshed. When we come to this topic, we enter an area that requires cultural re-calibration. As you read through the Old and New Testaments, it’s very clear that real blood, from animals as well as humans, has a significance not recognized in modern American culture. We must adjust our perception of blood to fit God’s view of blood.

Let’s look at some relevant passages and contrast them with what our culture thinks about bloodshed.

Genesis 9:5-6  

Genesis 9:5-6   5 And surely your blood, the blood of your lives, will I require; At the hand of every beast will I require it. And at the hand of man, even at the hand of every man’s brother, will I require the life of man.  6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: For in the image of God made he man.

These words come in the days of Noah. This is pre-Mosaic law. Don’t think this is obsolete thinking from the Mosaic law.

If a man was killed, the man or beast who caused the death must pay with his/its own life. God says here, “I will require the life of man.” Killing or bloodshed was not always wrong. But when it was wrong, the penalty was ultimate.

We learn here that there is sanctity to spilled blood. Why? Two reasons:

1) Life is precious, and the life is in the blood. When blood is shed, something precious is lost. You might not think blood is precious. We tend to consider blood to be just a “bodily fluid”. It is, however, precious to God.  

2) An attack on man is an attack on the image of God. At a trivial level, you’re messing with sculptures in God’s art studio. In God’s view of bloodshed, it is not merely a physiological event, but it is an assault on the divine image. Why is murder punishable by death? It says, “For in the image of God made He man.”

David

We learn more about God’s view of bloodshed from David. David is a man who loved God and who was loved by God. God raised him up to defend Israel. God sent David to physically fight to defend Israel. When David killed Goliath and Philistines in battles, it was at God’s command. They were righteous killings. Now, with that understanding, let’s look at a few passages:

1 Chronicles 28:3 “But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.’

1 Chronicles 22:8 But the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build a house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.

David wants to build a house for the Lord. This is a good desire. But God says, “David, you are disqualified from doing this.” Why? Not because of the murder of Uriah. Not because of his adultery with Bathsheba. It is because of the wars, and because David had “shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.” David had killed men in the sight of God, and that disqualified him from this spiritual service.

But wasn’t David obeying God in engaging in these wars? Yes. Did David sin in shedding this blood? No. But shedding blood is so significant to God that David was unfit to for certain “ministries”.

Killing someone is not a light thing. Our culture casually depicts killing. In television, movies, and video games, killing, whether it is legitimate or illegitimate killing, is portrayed with such a frequency that most people are relatively desensitized to it.

Here is the bottom line: Shedding blood, taking the life of another, is a big deal. Your life is forfeit if you wrongfully take the life of another. Even if you take life in a permitted manner, it is serious enough that it can disqualify you from certain types of spiritual service. Even if you are the “good guy”, you are “marked” in the eyes of God. I didn’t say you are guilty. I am merely showing that God viewed Godly David differently because David had killed men (though righteously).

Bloodshed must have the same significance to us. It is never a light thing, even if you are in the right, even if you do it righteously.

As we move on, I want to ask this question: Does the believer have an obligation to resist evil and to protect life? Think about it.

Having looked at the obligation to preserve life, and the Biblical view of bloodshed, let’s now look at passages dealing with self-defense and the use of lethal force.

Old Testament Passages on Lethal Force and Self-defense

We start in the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:13 

Exodus 20:13   You shall not murder.

Murder is wrong. This means the premeditated killing of others is wrong. Killing in a fit of emotion is also wrong and is prohibited here. But as we will see later, accidently taking the life of another is wrong. We must do all that we can to avoid it and stay as far away as possible from taking life.

Having stated this prohibition, let’s look at some of the qualifiers to this prohibition.

Leviticus 24:16-17

Leviticus 24:16-17  16 ‘And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death.  17 ‘ Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death.

From verse 17, we see that “killing” was a crime requiring capital punishment. “Killing” here is defined above. But note that not all killing is wrong. In the immediately preceding verse 16, there were times (such as in civil judgments) in which “killing” was commanded and sanctioned. Blasphemers were to be killed. Likewise, in verse 17 itself it commands that “whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death.” So we already see two qualifiers to the command “thou shalt not kill.”

Killing a man in capital punishment for murder or blasphemy was permissible.

We saw earlier in the examples of the ox and the roof that if you caused someone’s death through your negligence, you were also deserving of capital punishment. So, killing a man for causing negligent death was permissible.

Exodus 21:12-15, Numbers 35:6-34, and Deuteronomy 19:1-13

Exodus 21:12-15, Numbers 35:6-34, and Deuteronomy 19:1-13 give further qualifications to the prohibition to kill. Here the Lord deals with accidental killing where there is no negligence.

God defines accidental killing this way in Deut. 19:4: “…whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally, not having hated him in time past…”. It even gives an example: “as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies”.

These passages establish the cities of refuge. If you are not familiar with the system described here, I commend it for your study.

God says here, if you commit unintentional killing–that is, if you accidently kill someone, and it is not motivated by anger or hatred, and there is no negligence involved–then your life is forfeited.  You are guilty of killing and could be put to death by the avenger of blood, but there is a way of escape. If you committed accidental killing, and there was no negligence, you wouldnot be put to death if you fled to one of the designated cities of refuge.

This is like house arrest. In fact, it is stronger than house arrest! Number 35:25ff says that if you wander out of the city of refuge, you may be put to death if the avenger of blood finds you. The person guilty of accidental killing had to stay in a city of refuge until the death of the high priest.  Then he was free to return home. (By the way, this is a beautiful picture of Christ’s work—Christ, the city of refuge in whom we must remain hidden! And Christ is the high priest whose death takes our guilt and sets us free.)

It shows that killing someone accidently, with no malice, without negligence, made your life forfeit. It was almost as serious as murder in God’s eyes. God makes a merciful provision, but it did not remove the fact that you were worthy of death for unintentional killing.

Premeditated, intentional killing, as well as killing in passion, was absolutely forbidden. Such a one had no protection in the cities of refuge and was to be handed over and put to death (Ex. 21:14f, Deut. 19:11ff, Num 35:16ff ).

This far, we see that killing someone out of 1) hatred, 2) negligence, or 3) sheer accident were subject to capital punishment. In the case of sheer accident without negligence, God established a network of cities of refuge which made merciful provision to spare the life of the killer. With that important background, let’s look at passages speaking about victims of crime.

Exodus 22:2-3

Exodus 22:2-3  2 “If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed.   3If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed.

There are two cases here. In the first case, if someone breaks into your home at night, and you kill him, you are not held guilty of murder. You are not deserving of capital punishment. You do not need to flee to a city of refuge to preserve your life. The understanding is that at night, it is dark, and if someone has invaded your house, they do not announce if they are there merely to steal jewelry and tools. In the dark, you have no way of knowing if someone is coming to kidnap, to rape, or to murder. You are thus blameless if the criminal is killed in that situation. The passage does make it clear that if a man is breaking in at night with the intent of theft or worse (rape, murder, kidnapping, etc.), the defendant can righteously defend himself with lethal force to prevent the commission of the crime).  

In the second case, it says “if the sun has risen on him”, and you kill the intruder, you are guilty of his bloodshed.  The understanding is that in daytime, there is light, and you can discern the intentions of the home invader. The crime in question here is theft (“if the thief“). It is not legitimate to kill someone who is merely stealing your property. In creating civil laws, we see here that not all crimes are worthy of death.

In the daytime, it is assumed that the intention of the intruder can be discerned. If he is a thief, he may not be killed by the defendant. However, if the intruder is there to commit a different crime—assault, murder, kidnapping, rape, etc.—different laws/rules would apply. Though the crime of theft is not worthy of death, kidnapping was worthy of death (Exodus 21:16, Deut. 24:7) as was murder.

Matthew Henry writes: “…if it was in the day-time that the thief was killed, he that killed him must be accountable for it, unless it was in the necessary defense of his own life. … We ought to be tender of the lives even of bad men; the magistrate must afford us redress, and we must not avenge ourselves.”

Now let’s look at two examples of defending your own life against murderers.

Nehemiah 4:8-23

In Nehemiah 4, Israelites have been sent back from captivity to rebuild Jerusalem. They were rebuilding their lives with the sanction of the civil ruler, King Artaxerxes. This was not a wartime scenario. It was closer to a racial integration scenario where racists wanted to kill them. Think of the KKK threatening black homeowners and students. They are surrounded by people who hate them and want to kill them.

These were citizens, not soldiers. Nehemiah 4:13 says that people stationed “people by families” around the city. These were not trained soldiers or law enforcement officers. They were merely concerned residents and settlers—citizens, not professional soldiers or law enforcement agents.

Note that these families were armed, with “their swords, their spears, and their bows.” This is a situation where they are willing to apply lethal force to defend themselves.

Let’s briefly discuss swords, spears, and bows. Swords and daggers killed Ehud, Amasa, and eighty priests. At longer ranges, we know bows and slings killed men like Goliath, King Joram, and King Ahab. Spears killed men like Asahel, Absaolm, the Israelite man and the Midianitish woman, and many others. These are handguns, shotguns, and rifles. These are implements of lethal force. In fact, at close range, a sword is more deadly than a handgun.  These ancient weapons are as deadly as their modern counterparts.

Note that they are carrying these weapons for personal defense and civil defense, and that these are “assault weapons”, namely, the same types of weapons that armies would use for offensive purposes. And why wouldn’t they want assault weapons (for those weapons are the most effective weapons for defending oneself)? Why would you not want to use the best tools available for the task at hand?

Against what are they defending themselves? The crime of unlawful, racist murder. Hate crimes. They are defending their lives and their homes. Nehemiah 4:14 specifically says, “…fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” It is good and right to defend your family, even using lethal force weapons.

One final observation: In self-defense, these citizens did not merely own weapons. Rather, where they perceived a risk of harm to their persons, they carried their weapons with them, as many people legally carry weapons with them today, for the purpose of self-protection:

Nehemiah 4 17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon.  18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me. … 21 So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared..  23 So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water.

If you live somewhere where you have reason to be concerned about crime, this would be similar to legally carrying a weapon to defend your family, even when running daily errands to the store.

Esther 8-9

The final Old Testament passage we examine is in the book of Esther. Here we have a historical example arranged by Divine Providence. In this account, the Jews are under threat of racial violence. The civil authority, King Ahasuerus, grants them legal permission to use lethal force in self-defense:

Esther 8:11-12  11 By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives — to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions…

So they have legal sanction to “protect their lives” using ultimate force, much as we do in most parts of this country. They are allowed to “kill and annihilate” in order to “protect their lives.” Now, as people under obligation to obey God, not just stay within the civil laws of Ahasuerus, what do the Jews do with this legal freedom?

Esther 9:1-5 …the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them2 The Jews gathered together in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could withstand them, because fear of them fell upon all people. 5 Thus the Jews defeated all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, with slaughter and destruction,

We see that given legal sanction to defend their lives with lethal force, they do not choose non-violence. Rather, as it says in verse 11, to “protect their lives”, they use the “sword” (verse 5).  Here is another example of widespread use of weapons in self-defense—a non-wartime, non-law enforcement scenario.

New Testament Passages on Lethal Force and Self-defense

At this point, you may be thinking this is all relegated to Old Testament principles and thinking. Let’s turn to some passages in the New Testament dealing with lethal force and self-defense.

Buying and carrying a sword

Luke 22:35-39 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.”  36Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one37 “For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”  38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”  39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him.

Here’s the context. Picture this. Jesus and his disciples have just had communion. They are about to go to a time of prayer in the garden. Jesus says these words to His disciples, and it’s as if they are saying, “Look what we have with us, Lord. Two guns!” Jesus responds, “It is enough.”

If you read commentaries on this passage, there are a number of questions which are not clearly answered. There are questions about the applicability of this passage, of the intent of Jesus, of the meaning of His response.

Whatever your interpretation of this passage, there are a few broad-stroke observations we can make about this passage.

  1. Jesus expected them to have swords and anticipated a time when those without swords would need to acquire them.
  2. Among eleven disciples, they did have two swords–in almost a 1:5 ratio.
  3. Jesus expected them to carry the swords on their person as they traveled from the city to the garden prayer meeting.

It is difficult to make absolute claims beyond these observations, but the observations themselves have significance. Namely, among those closest to Jesus, some carried personal weapons in His presence with His consent to communion and to prayer meetings. We cannot make absolute claims as to the reasons, right or, wrong, for the carriage of these weapons. Perhaps it was in anticipation of trouble from the Jewish leadership. Perhaps it was protection against mere robbers. Paul in 2 Cor. 11:26 cites the “perils of robbers”. Though there are questions we can’t answer, we do know they possessed these weapons, that they carried these weapons, and that Jesus knew and consented. Furthermore, Jesus spoke of some time, present or future, when disciples would need to acquire personal weapons, even more urgently than garments.

The Garden of Gethsemane

Now, the next passage we come to follows these events. Jesus and the disciples are in the garden, and the men come to arrest Jesus. At least two of the disciples are armed, with the knowledge and consent of Jesus. Here is the question: Will they use the sword against the armed multitude which has come against Him? Let’s look at the three passages which recount this event.

Luke 22:49-53 (NAS) 49 And when those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”  50 And a certain one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.  51 But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. 52 And Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as against a robber?  53 “While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”

Matthew 26:51-56   51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.  52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword53Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels54 “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”  55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.  56 “But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

John 18:10-11   10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.  11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

In these three passages, you get a sense that Jesus is saying, “Though we have a right to employ our swords in defense of this unrighteous arrest, we are intentionally putting aside our lawful right, and I am allowing myself to be taken without resistance.” See how this is expressed: “Lord shall we strike with the sword?” “No more of this.” “This is your hour, and the power of darkness.” “Put up your sword… or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father… all this was done that the Scriptures…might be fulfilled.” “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup…?”

Why Christ tells Peter to put up the sword:

  1. Christ is willingly laying down His life, though He has the right to use sword and angelic legions to deliver Himself from this unjust arrest (Luke 22:51, John 18:11).
  2. Those who are quick to resort to violence will die by violence (Matt 26:52). The Lord hates the one who “loves violence” (Psalm 11:5).

The sword is not always the appropriate response, especially in persecution for Christ.

There is greater protection than swords.

Possession of weapons and skills with weapons a good and useful thing

Having looked at a number of passages that deal with weapons and self-defense, let’s spend a little time discussing Scripture’s view of owning weapons and being skilled in their use. The imagery of weapon use and skill at weapons use is often employed in Scripture, and it is often portrayed as a positive or desirable thing. The Lord’s might is something good, and it is often depicted using martial terms (Zec. 9:14, Psa. 7:13, 18:14, 21:12, 64:7, Hab. 3:11, Deu 32:42, 2 Sam 22:15). The Scriptures are a sword (Eph. 6:17; Heb 4:12). A sword comes out of the mouth of Christ (Rev. 1:16, 2:16, 19:15).

Possession of weapons is never discouraged in Scripture. In fact, in 1Sam 13:19ff, it is negatively reported that no spears or swords were found in Israel because of the Philistines:

1 Samuel 13:19-22  9 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears.”…  22 So it came about, on the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. But they were found with Saul and Jonathan his son.

Let’s look at two verses from the Psalms:

Psalm 144:1 Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

Psalm 18:34 He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze

Skill and ability to use weapons here, whether literal and/or metaphorical, is positively portrayed in these verses.

Further, we have accounts of David, not a soldier, not a law enforcement officer, but a youth, employing ranged weapons skillfully (with God’s help) against bears and lions. This is domestic use of lethal weaponry, non-military use, with non-military training. The weapons used by young David are not “kiddie” slingshots. They are powerful enough to kill a bear and lion–in today’s market, we’re talking about a .44 magnum, not a .22, in the hands of someone too young to be in the army.

We might be tempted to think that was just for dealing with animals that could threaten sheep. But aren’t humans worth even more protection than sheep?

We understand that according to Scripture, in matters not of worship or church government, whatever is not forbidden is permitted. I’m not making a claim that ownership of weaponry for the purpose of self-defense is requiredof the believer. It is not required, but it is permitted by Scripture.

Warnings

Now, let’s conclude with some warnings.

Trusting in the sword

First of all, it would be a mistake to leave this class trusting in the sword. Guns, knives, weapons… these are mere tools, and none of these things can guarantee protection, any more than owning a fire extinguisher guarantees that your house won’t burn down.

Psalm 44:6-7   For I will not trust in my bow, Nor shall my sword save me.  7 But You have saved us from our enemies, And have put to shame those who hated us.

We see in Nehemiah 4:14 that the people were armed and willing to use their weapons, but they were also trusting in the Lord:

 “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses….  20 “At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” 

Do not put your trust in weapons. They are tools that are useful, but they are only dead, inanimate tools, at the end of the day.

“…the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’s.” (1Sa 17:47 NAS)

Improperly resorting to the sword

Secondly, beware of improperly resorting to the sword. I would hope the passages dealing with the shedding of blood impressed on you the narrow limitations for when it is proper to employ lethal force. It is never to be in hatred, never in revenge, never in jealously. David in his pride nearly murdered Nabal, but Abigail restrained him. David would have killed Nabal…and regretted it.

1 Samuel 25:32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, who sent thee this day to meet me:  33 and blessed be thy discretion, and blessed be thou, that hast kept me this day from bloodguiltiness, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. 

Employing potentially lethal force out of anger, hatred, jealously, or revenge is always wrong and is condemned by Scripture.

Here is a warning: If you find that you have anger or self-control problems, owning weapons is unwise. The believer is to be “not soon angry, no brawler, no striker” (Titus 1:7). Lamech is an example of someone who should not own weapons (Gen. 4:23f).

When you are insulted or cursed, when your wife or your mother is insulted or cursed, you are not to resort to violence.

27 But I say unto you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you,  28 bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.  29 To him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and from him that taketh away thy cloak withhold not thy coat also.  30 Give to every one that asketh thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.  (Luk 6:27-30 ASV)

There are a lot of great virtues depicted in the classic westerns. The propensity to break into fistfights or gunfights when honor is insulted is not a virtue. The Lord, not you, is to take vengeance and set things right. An insulting slap in the face is something you can suffer as a Christian.

What if you are badly wronged? What if your wife or daughter is badly wronged? You must stop an attack that is in progress, but afterwards, you must not seek revenge. There is no room for vigilantes.

Rom 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 

A wrong admiration for the “man of violence”

Thirdly, do not admire the “man of violence”.

Proverbs 3:31-32  Do not envy a man of violence, And do not choose any of his ways.  32 For the crooked man is an abomination to the LORD; But He is intimate with the upright.

Those who resort to violence rather than Godliness are not to be admired. There are many similarities between David and Joab. Both were skilled at killing men, and both had killed many men. Were they both men of violence? Here is the difference: David, first and foremost, sought the Lord, trusted the Lord, and loved the Lord. Why didn’t he do violence against Saul? It wasn’t because Saul was his father-in-law. Rather, it was because Saul was theLord’s anointed. It was because of David’s regard first for the Lord that he would not resort to violence.

On the other hand, Joab, over and over, resorted to the sword to deal with problems. Joab was a man of violence.

Proverbs 1:16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood.

Romans 3:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood;

Earth was destroyed in the day of Noah because “the earth was filled with violence” (Gen 6:11ff). God hates violence. There is a narrow scope in which it is applied righteously, but it is only because of sin that such skill is necessary.

Beware of influences in your life which would encourage admiration of a Joab rather than a David.

Perspective

Fourthly and finally, keep the right perspective on this. Though we see sanction and even a qualified directive from Christ to possess personal weapons, we must remember three points. First, in the remainder of the New Testament, we have no further examples of believers taking up the sword. Secondly, the emphasis in the remainder of the New Testament is decidedlynot geared toward the issues of physical self-defense or righteous use of lethal force. Rather, we see more emphasis on Godly living, suffering affliction and persecution for Christ, and grasping the precious doctrines of Christ and the Gospel.  Thirdly, possession of weapons and acquiring the skill to use them in self-defense is permitted but not required by Scripture.

Believers should be conscious that personal self-defense is legitimatized by the Scriptures, just as the use of construction tools, cooking tools, transportation tools are legitimized by Scripture. And these matters of self-defense should hold in our minds and in our affections the same position as those other legitimate, but transitory, matters.

The tendency in some circles is to make the topic of self-defense of primary importance. Though heavenly beings do battle and render judgments with the sword, in the perfection pictured in both the garden of Eden and in the Heavenly city, the primary activities are fellowship with God, fellowship with His people, singing in worship, and living in peace.

That is our destination.

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Leaning To Your Understanding May Land You In Dire Straits & What It Means To Follow God With A Perfect Heart

Reflections on 2 Chronicles; Chapters 18 & 19

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah walked in the way of his father King David by not seeking the Baalim (pagan gods), but unto the God of his fathers. He walked in all the commandments of Yahweh. Thus, the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. All of Judah, some Philistines and Arabians, gave him much wealth and flocks. The king built castles and cities of store.

At the start of Chapter 18, King Jehoshaphat makes one terrible mistake in judgment when he “joins affinity” with wicked Ahab, king of Israel. To “join affinity” (H2859 châthan), means there was a marriage which joined their two nations. This is why he said in verse 3, “I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.

A Seer named Micaiah, the son of Imla, was asked to prophesy to the king whether the king should go up to Ramoth-gilead or not. At first Micaiah prophesied what the king wanted to hear, being pressured by the king’s messenger to agree with Ahab’s prophets – “Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good” (Vs 12)

“prophet” – Strong’s H5030 nâbîy From H5012; a prophet or (generally) inspired man: – prophecy, that prophesy, prophet. [Brown-Driver-Briggs] – spokesman, speaker, prophet, false prophet, heathen prophet

Micaiah’s answer was that he would speak what God said, Vs.12. However, that’s not what happened! Micaiah didn’t speak what God showed him, but prophesied falsely to king Ahab (Vs 14) – “Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand. “

But king Ahab knew in his heart that it wasn’t the true word of the Lord, so he demanded the truth from the seer. (see Vs 15 below)

“seer” – [Strong’s] H237 chôzeh; Active participle of H2372; a beholder in vision; H2372 châzâh; A primitive root; to gaze at; mentally to perceive, contemplate (with pleasure); specifically to have a vision of: – behold, look, prophesy, provide, see.

Why did Micaiah lie? I think it’s possible the messenger pressured Micaiah to lie because he didn’t want Micaiah to be imprisoned for speaking the truth, and maybe it had happened to him before? It’s also possible that Micaiah knew he would be imprisoned if he spoke the truth, since that was a common occurence in those times. King Asa had a Seer imprisoned for that reason in 2 Chron 16:10. Did the probability make it right for Micaiah to prophesy falsely? What would any of us do if we found ourselves in a similar situation? Is or isn’t it OK to lie in certain situations, say if it meant saving our own or someone else’s life? Did Micaiah’s false prophesying make him a false prophet? He didn’t do it just once, but many times, in Vs 15 king Ahab asks Micaiah, “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the Lord?”

I think Micaiah was between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place.’ He knew that if he told the truth he’d be in trouble, but if he lied by prophesying ‘good’ to the king, he would in effect be contradicting what the king said about him, “Did I not tell thee that he (Micaiah) would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?” (Vs 15) Many who have dared to contradict rich and powerful men have suffered imprisonment, and worse.

Micaiah in effect, was in a ‘no win’ situation, for whether he prophesied what Ahab wanted to hear, or what the Lord spoke, he would find disfavor with Ahab. Maybe Micaiah prophesied falsely to Ahab knowing he could possibly wind up in prison if he spoke the truth, or maybe he was following God’s example of telling the wicked what they want to hear? Doesn’t the Lord sometimes allow people to be deceived by telling them what they want to hear?

2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
Isa 66:4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. [KJV]

God not only allows, but “chooses” and “sends” delusions upon those who don’t listen to Him; because they don’t “love the truth!” God knew that wicked king Ahab didn’t love the truth and wouldn’t pay heed to it if he heard it, so he allowed all the king’s prophets to “lie” to him, including Micaiah. Micaiah did in fact end up telling the truth (Vss.16,18,19). If his motive was merely avoiding imprisonment, I think he would have continued lying to the king. Might Micaiah have been following God’s plan by telling wicked Ahab what he wanted to hear, knowing that he wouldn’t pay heed to the truth?

Vs. 16 – At the king’s insistence, Micaiah spoke what the Lord had actually shown him in a vision, which was that the soldiers would be scattered upon the mountains like sheep without a shepherd, that they should return to their own houses in peace (in other words, not fight). Micaiah also said he heard the Lord ask, “Who shall entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth?” (God knew the outcome of the battle and king Ahab’s fate beforehand). Then a spirit said that he would go and put a lying spirit in the mouth of the king’s prophets. So the Lord gave him permission to go and do it; thus, a lying spirit was put into all the prophet’s mouths. All the king’s prophets save one, LIED to the kings, telling them they would be successful in battle (Vss 5,11, 21, 22). It’s amazing that 400 prophets could all be DECIEVED at the same time, in the same place! God allowed a “lying spirit” to deceive the kings because they didn’t seek Him about the matter. The consequences of seeking guidance from someone other than God, can be disastrous or even fatal! We should never rely solely upon the words of prophets or man’s reasoning – Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Pro 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he will direct thy paths.

Vs. 23 – When Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, heard Micaiah’s true prophecy he “smote” Micaiah upon his cheek demanding sarcastically how the spirit of prophecy went from him to Micaiah. I love Micaiah’s answer, “You shall find out the day you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself!” Who it is that Zedekiah will ‘hide himself’ from isn’t stated, but I have a hunch it will be from the wrath of the Lord on Judgment Day, when all the wicked will try to hide themselves – Luke 23:30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. Rev 6:16 and they say to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

Vs. 25 – The wicked king of Israel has Micaiah taken to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash, the king’s son, to have him thrown into prison and fed with the “bread of affliction, and water of affliction,” until Ahab returns in peace (from battle).

Vs. 27 – Micaiah said that if Ahab returned in peace, then the Lord didn’t speak through him! The Lord had shown him in a vision that Ahab would “fall” in battle – Vs. 19.

Vs. 28 – 32 The kings of Israel and Judah went up against Ramoth-gilead despite Micaiah’s warning of dire consequences and loss if they did. Ahab tried to hide his IDENTITY from the Syrian army with some type of disguise, but instructed Jehoshaphat to “wear his royal robes” into battle! Ahab figured that when the Syrian army saw Jehoshaphat’s “royal robes” they would automatically assume that he was himself, and that’s exactly what happened. As Syrian forces surrounded Jehoshaphat (thinking that he was Ahab), he cried out to the Lord who delivered him by supernaturally causing the soldiers to “depart” from him. When the captains saw that he wasn’t Ahab, they left him alone for they were out to kill Ahab. Ahab’s “disguise” postponed the inevitable, and fooled the Syrian Army, but he could not hide from Jehovah! 

Vs. 33 – A stray arrow slipped through the joints of Ahab’s armour and wounded him fatally (not an accident, it was the Lord who directed the arrow which slew him). Ahab didn’t die right away but “stayed” himself up in his chariot until sundown, then died.

Jehoshaphat almost lost his life in this battle because he didn’t consult with the Lord about going to war, but relied upon his own understanding instead. When we haven’t sought the mind and will of God on a matter, we may not have His provision either, which makes us vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. Ahab attempted to save his life by concealing his identity, but he didn’t escape his appointed fate. If we try to conceal our identity in Christ, we risk loosing something far more valuable than temporal, physical lifeMat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. May we seek God’s provision and protection, and not devise our own COVERING!

Chapter 19

Vs. 1 – Upon Jehoshaphat’s return from battle, he was met by the Seer Jehu, son of Hanani. Jehu rebuked the king for aiding the “ungodly” and loving them that hate the Lord (vs 2), saying that God’s wrath (anger) was therefore upon Jehoshaphat.

Aiding the ‘ungodly’ and loving God’s enemies angers Jehovah! Jehoshaphat was OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD when he joined wicked king Ahab and went to war without God’s input or approval. God didn’t sanction either king going against Syria. When we get ‘out of the will of God’ we could suffer loss or even death, as did king Ahab (vs. 33-34).

Does the fact that 400 prophets were afflicted with a “lying spirit” (causing them to lie), make them FALSE PROPHETS? Is it possible for true prophets to receive a “lying spirit” and speak lying prophecies as a result, and retain their status as God’s true prophets?

While it’s good to listen to prophets, their words cannot be a substitute for hearing the voice of God in our own hearts!!! God wants to commune with us, and therefore we need to be able to hear His voice for ourselves. When God sees that His sheep aren’t seeking Him but using prophetic utterance as a substitute for hearing His Voice, He may allow them to get deceived in order to teach them to seek Him FIRST. He isn’t against our seeking a word of knowledge or wisdom from a prophet, but since prophets can be deceived, we can’t rely soley upon their words.

Vs. 3 – The Seer continues, saying that Jehoshaphat had also done “good” things by taking away the pagan groves (places of worship) out of the land, and preparing his heart to “seek God.”

“prepared” – H3559 kûn; to set up, establish, fix, make ready, to be directed aright, be fixed aright, be steadfast, be settled, be stable, be secure, be enduring
“seek” – H1875 dârash; diligently inquire, make inquisition, question, require, search, consult,

Upon realizing that doing things his way led him into dire straits, Jehoshaphat settles it in his heart to seek God instead of relying upon his own or someone else’s understanding. His close brush with death caused him to see his true spiritual state, of which he repented (changed his mind and heartily amended with abhorrence his past sins) and from then on followed God with a perfect heart.

“perfect” – H8003 shâlêm; complete, safe, peaceful, perfect, whole, full, at peace

Some examples of what it means to have a ‘perfect heart’; 1Ki_11:4, 1Ki_15:3, 1Ki_15:14; Gen_17:1; Deu_18:13; 2Ki_20:3; 1Ch_28:9; Job_1:1, Job_1:8; Psa_37:37; 2Co_7:1; Phi_3:12-16

In conclusion, when we realize we haven’t been seeking God or following Him wholeheartedly, we can repent, receive His forgiveness, and settle it in our hearts to seek Him anew! The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. (Psa 145:8) Amen!

Debra R. Stout © September 13, 2015

Root Of Bitterness vs. the Grace Of God

The Bible talks about a “root of bitterness defiling many” – Heb 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

“defiled” is a Greek word (miainō) meaning to ‘sully, pollute, contaminate.’ Heb 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, ‘Profane’ in the Greek (bebēlos) means, heathenish, wicked, or ungodly.

‘fail of the grace of God,’ in the Greek (hustereō) means,
Thayer Definition:
1) behind
1a) to come late or too tardily
1a1) to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall short of the end
1a2) metaphorically fail to become a partaker, fall back from
1b) to be inferior in power, influence and rank
1b1) of the person: to be inferior to
1c) to fail, be wanting
1d) to be in want of, lack
2) to suffer want, to be devoid of, to lack (be inferior) in excellence, worth

The word “profane” here refers to one who by word or conduct treats religion with contempt, or has no reverence for what is sacred. This may be shown by words; by the manner; by a sneer; by neglect of religion; – Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible.

While this verse is primarily referring to persons within the Body of Christ who become bitter at God when disciplined by Him (Heb 12:5-13), which could cause them to “fall away” from faith if not checked, it can also apply to any ungodly or profane individual. Bitterness is of such a nature that it spreads like a virus from one person to another, polluting and contaminating others. Having had some personal experience with this, I can say that what the Bible says about it is absolutely true. Bitterness not only defiles the person who has it, but others who come in contact with it.

Recently I met a man and wanted to know what his thoughts were of God and Faith. One day while we sat near a water fountain in the city square, I asked him if he had faith and if so, what relevance it had in his daily life. Talk about a loaded question! He began by saying that he was too busy every day, and didn’t have time for that. Then he added that he didn’t believe anything was ‘there’ and that he had learned to rely upon himself because of how his father had treated him. He was terribly abused as a child by his alcoholic father. He told me his father had ruined his life and he hated him so much he wanted to kill him, and would, if he could find a way! With empathy and compassion I said that thousands of others have had it just as bad, and that I too knew how being abused feels. I told him that God could help him forgive his father and mother, as He had done for me and many others. He retorted, “What good is God? “Where was he when I needed him?” Obviously, the man was very ‘bitter’ at God, blaming him for what happened.

When a person is in the clutches of bitterness towards God, he or she can’t receive His grace. The choice is either, hold onto bitterness and forsake God’s grace, or forsake bitterness and partake of His grace. We need God’s grace in order to forgive some men their offenses against us. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that we have to forget what they’ve done, or that we have to allow them access to our lives! In many cases, doing so would be foolish and harmful to our wellbeing. Forgiving someone simply means that we leave their judgment and punishment up to God, and that we let go of ‘demanding payment’ from him or her –

Mat 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Mat 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Mat 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
Mat 18:24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
Mat 18:25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
Mat 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
Mat 18:28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
Mat 18:29 And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
Mat 18:31 So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
Mat 18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
Mat 18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?
Mat 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Mat 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

We often forget how many sins we’ve committed against our fellows, but God has his way of helping us to remember when we’re having difficulty forgiving someone. Remembering how sinful we are helps us to have mercy on others, or it should.

There was no judgement or criticism in my heart or words for this man, who was obviously in great emotional pain and turmoil. I understood where he was coming from since I had hated my own father for many years before I was able to take hold of the “grace of God” which enabled me to completely forgive him, which set my soul free from the heavy weight of hatred and bitterness. I told the man that he could pray to God and find answers for his problems, that God helped me get through many tough times, and that I had to depend upon Him because there was often no one else around. I told him God helped me to forgive my father for committing acts which no child should have to see.

“Well, he’s never done anything for me,” he smirked. “That’s not true” I said, “Jesus paid for all your sins and the sins of the whole world when He died on the Cross.” “What sins?” the man indignantly asked me, “I didn’t sin, what my father did wasn’t my fault!” I said, “I know it wasn’t, all I’m saying is that we have all sinned at one time or another and were born with a nature proned to sin.” I asked him, “Have you ever told a lie?” As if he didn’t hear me he retorted, “God didn’t suffer as much as I did!” “All He did was hide in a cave…” [Not sure what the man was referring to.] I told him that forgiveness for his sins was available and that all he had to do was accept and receive it. I said, “All God wants is a relationship with everyone and we were designed to have that with Him.” He said that he didn’t believe it, and that the Bible was just a bunch of stories, “Who knows whether they’re true or not?” I told him that I knew. He asked me how I knew and I said, “Because I have tried it and found it to be true” – Tit 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, “faithful” means “true, trustworthy, sure.”

The man went on to say that he believed his father would go to hell when he dies (he said at the outset he didn’t believe in God or the Bible)! “That’s a possibility” I told him, “but you’re making your own hell here now.” Looking surprised, he asked, “How so?” “By holding onto hate and revenge which is eating you up inside and holding you back from going forward in life,” “You can’t go forward with baggage hanging onto you like that,” I answered. He objected saying, “But he hasn’t changed over the years, he’s still the same so how can I forgive him?” My answer was simply, “You forgive him in your heart in order to set yourself free.” Sadly, the man refused to listen, preferring to wallow in self-pity over the terrible things his father had done to him. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel empathy for this man, but I knew that holding onto past wrongs and nursing your wounds, keeps you in bondage. Freedom comes when we forgive those who have wronged us, regardless of the nature and depth of the offense. I knew that for anyone, healing of inner wounds is just about impossible while holding onto offenses. We also keep others in bondage by our unforgiveness, not just ourselves. That’s why Jesus made forgiving others their offenses a requirement for our receiving His forgiveness, Mar 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mar 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Luk 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: (See also Mt 18:21-35.)

Though full of anger, hatred, revenge and self-pity, I give the man credit for being honest. Most people try to cover up how they truly feel about God and life.

After leaving him at the fountain, I walked home feeling a bit defeated that I wasn’t able to help him. While it may have seemed that my efforts to steer him in the right direction, failed, I believe he’ll think on my words later, and maybe the Lord will use them to soften his heart. No judgment, ‘But for the grace of God go I.’ I hope he gets the help he needs, from someone, somewhere. Carrying around so much hate and bitterness is a heavy burden on anyone’s soul.

While it’s easy to accept in theory that God allows terrible things to happen because of man’s free will, it’s not easy to accept when it ‘hits home.’ Sometimes people are innocent victims of someone else’s sinful act and end up paying for it, suffering various consequences which can last a lifetime. When we’ve been victimized, we tend to blame not only the culprit, but God too, because we feel He shouldn’t have allowed it and can’t understand why He did. Why?” is a natural and good question, because there IS a reason for everything, and we often need to know ‘why’ something is happening to us, so that we can change our course if we’re going the wrong way. However, it’s a question that we might not get an answer to and one that God isn’t obligated to answer, nor can we make him answer. Another question we could ask is “What?” What is God (or life) trying to tell me? What is the lesson in this trial? What can I learn from it? There’s ALWAYS a lesson or a nugget of truth hidden in every trial awaiting our discovery! – Isa 45:3  and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places…. 

While this may not satisfy everyone, God allows bad things to happen to good people because He can’t interfere with the exercise of man’s free will. If God were to remove or override man’s free will, man would loose the ability to make choices, reducing him to an animal which can’t reason but merely follows its instinct. Man would loose part of the “image of God,” if his free will was removed or interferred with, and that would be tragic. The reason God gave man free will was so he could choose between right and wrong, and whether or not to love, worship, and serve Him. One of the most difficult obstacles in life to overcome, is the temptation and tendency to become bitter. Life affords some, many more opportunities than others on that score, but the Bible tells us that rewards for over comers will be far greater than anything they can imagine – Rev 2:7, To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Rev 2:11, He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Rev 2:17, To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: Rev 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; Rev 2:28 And I will give him the morning star.

“Therefore, let us not fail to become a partaker of the grace of God whereby we are saved.” (Ephs 2:5; Rms 3:24)

Debra R. Stout © July 29, 2015

Mother’s Day Awards

mom with son in wheelchair

In churches on Mothers Day, there’s a little ritual that happens right before the sermon where awards are given to mothers, not for anything they have achieved, but for having the most children, grandchildren, and being the oldest and youngest mothers in the congregation.

While that’s nice and all, what did these mother’s do that was worthy of an award? There’s nothing unusual about having children, grandchildren, and growing old. God made them fruitful and they multiplied; they had a lot of children who in turn had a lot of children. The same with giving birthday gifts, why should people get gifts for being born? They didn’t cause their births, Nature simply took its course. Did the oldest mother deserve an award for being blessed with longevity? Even if she somehow earned it by living right, why should she be singled out for special recognition?

What about the ‘single mothers’ in the church, or even better, the ‘single mothers raising disabled children’ whose work load is double, if not triple that of the average mother? Having been there myself, I can assure you that raising a disabled child, is equal to raising two or three normal, healthy children. A single mother has more stress and worries than a wife who has a husband to support her emotionally and financially. She has no one to help her with disciplining her children, and that’s hard, real hard. On top of the sole care of her child, or children, a single mother has no one to share the housework, shopping, taking the car to the garage for repairs, etc. There’s no one to take over for her when she’s ill – sick or not, she has to do what needs doing.

In several churches I have attended, awards were given to the same mothers, year after year, and I used to wonder why no one ever thought to honor the single mothers in their midst. Why wasn’t their extraordinary, heroic, efforts acknowledged? If anyone deserves an award on Mother’s Day, it’s them. I can’t help but think that God was grieved with those churches lack of sensitivity and compassion. Instead of taking the opportunity to show single moms that they understood their plight, they disregarded them. Were these churches merely shortsighted, or were they ashamed of their impoverished, struggling, abandoned single mothers, whom they felt were a blotch on their reputations?

I often got the feeling that married couples in the church were considered more respectable than singles. They were usually given more opportunities to serve than were singles and single mothers, and got appointed the highest positions. If a member exhibits a particular gift, shouldn’t he/she be given opportunity to use and develop that gift, regardless of his/her station in life? Shouldn’t Christ’s Body show equal regard for all its members? In his epistle to the church at Corinth, Apostle Paul wrote –

1Co 12:23 and those parts of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness;
1Co 12:24 whereas our comely parts have no need: but God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honor to that part which lacked;
1Co 12:25 that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.  

Single moms, especially those raising disabled children, face many difficult challenges. They deserve to be acknowledged for their extraordinary dedication and hard work. God bless them. 

Debra Stout, May 3, 2015