Good Morning to my friends of Strolling Through a Rose Garden Called Life…Living Holy From Birth to Death. Today I want to discuss a little snippet from Chapter II, The Rose of Awareness. Now, if you haven’t gotten your copy of Strolling…you won’t totally understand how this relates to the book, so run and get your own copy. I’ll sign it for you the next time I see you. It is available at Barnes and Nobles; my website (www.alfredaevansbooks.com); through my publisher, XulonPress.com; Kindlebooks.com; Googlebooks.com; in the bookstore of Full Gospel Holy Temple Church in Dallas, TX and, as of this week, WAYBRIGHT Bookstore in Dallas, TX.
It is the Mission and Mandate of the church to help people 1) to see the error of sin; 2) to get forgiven for sin; 3) to receive the power of the Holy Ghost in order to resist the pull of sin; 4) to do a work for God while living a holy life and; 5) to make it successfully into the Kingdom of God with all of its splendor and
rewards. In the process, we must praise and worship God, allow the Holy Ghost to mold us into the image of Jesus Christ and teach others to do the same.
People need to understand that no matter what we say with our mouths, if our lives and our actions do not measure up to the Word of God, we ourselves will be lost. What? You don’t believe that even if you carry out the Mission and Mandate that I just presented that you, your personal self, can still be lost if you don’t live right? Well, let’s see what the Scriptures have to say about that.
Ezekiel 18:24 (KJV) states:
24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath
sinned, in them shall he die.
Now, let’s move on to the snippet in Strolling. In each of the chapters of the book, I included a section called Decision Points. Decision Points is a scenario about a real life situation that relates to the age group in each of the chapters that it represents. I offer no answers to the questions that are raised, because it is my hope that reading groups, churches, Sunday school classes etc. will discuss the scenarios and come to sound conclusions based on the Scriptures. There’s nothing like researching the Word of God in order to know God’s truths. In the Rose of Awareness Decision Point we talk about a young woman who finds herself in an adulterous marriage. Originally, she and her new husband pressed past the truth about their situation. They knew that they were wrong
when they got married, but the wife suddenly came to herself one morning. One of the questions in the Decision Point is, “Will Bob (who died suddenly in the scenario) be judged with the righteous or unrighteous when he stands before God? Should we even think about his plight or is that judging?”
Here are my answers. The Scriptures clearly teach us that we are not to judge one another.
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
Judgment for sin falls into the province of God’s business. We have to remember that we do not know all of the aspects of an individual’s life. What may appear to be an adulterous marriage, simply because an individual has had four spouses, may not be the case at all. Not our business. And yet, as ministers, it is our responsibility to help to guide those who seek to make it into the Kingdom of God. The marriage situation is so touchy that somem ministers refuse to “go there” at all. In 2 Sam. 12:1 Nathan, the Prophet, was not afraid to confront David when he was in error concerning Bathsheba. God sent Nathan to David and Nathan stood boldly and told him “Thou art the man!” Nathan did not judge David, God judged David. Nathan simply told David the truth. As a result, David was able to REPENT and he got his life right with God. David had to bear the judgment of God, but at least he did not die in his sins because he repented.
2 Samuel 12:13-14 (KJV)
13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
It is especially important that a minister (or anyone) deals with his own situation and assures that his life is right before God. We are told in the Scriptures that if we judge another we are condemning ourselves if we are in the SAME SITUATION. How can a Minister teach young people to avoid pot when he smokes a joint when his Arthritic hip hurts? Or how can one judge another’s wrong marriage when he knows his meets the criteria for adultery?
Romans 2:1-4 (KJV)
1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. (Author input: Thank God that his judgment is according to truth.)
3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Thank God for this verse, for it is the linchpin of this dilemma. God is rich in goodness, forbearance and longsuffeing. Repentance is the key to it all.
So, what does a minister say to couples who come to him with questions about marriage when the minister knows that his own marriage falls within the area of *gulp* adultery? That minister should repent, seek God for wisdom concerning his own life, fall upon the mercies of God, obey whatever God directs him, trust God, live holy and guide the young people in the right direction. When a couple comes with their questions related to the appropriateness of their situation, simply tell them what the Scriptures say related to marriage; strongly encourage them to seek God about their decisions; and intercede for them. It would be irresponsible for a minister to see young people about to make a serious error and not make them aware of the dangers related to their decisions. The Decision Point in the Awareness Chapter attempts to do just that.
The book, Strolling…, makes it clear that simply telling the truth to young people who may be in a situation that appears to be, or may even be adulterous, is not judging them. God is big enough to make any wrong right if one repents and sincerely seeks His Will. As ministers, we must present the truth of the gospel to help the innocent avoid the pitfalls BEFORE they get into a bad situation and also help them understand the importance of repentance if they HAVE ventured into a bad situation. It is God Himself who will make the final decision.
Conclusion. My answer to the original question, “Is it judging when Holiness preachers and teachers tell sinners the truth?” is NO, It is not judging when Holiness preachers and teachers tell sinners (or anyone else) the truth. We are commanded and commissioned by God to expose sin. If an individual dies in his sin and we have refused to tell him the truth, THAT INDIVIDUAL’S BLOOD WILL BE REQUIRED AT OUR HAND. God will hold us responsible for that lost soul.
Ezekiel 3:18-19 (KJV)
18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
Therefore ministers and Saints of God, we must obey God and carry out His mandate for our lives. We must assure that there is no unrepentant sin in our own lives and that we continue to live the life that God requires. Love God and live Holy.
I value your response to this post. Please tell me what you think by adding your comments below.
(What You Believe Concerning Evolution vs. Creation Matters)
Thinking human beings want to know who we are and where we came from. Young children inundate us with the “why” questions. Why is the sky blue? Why is grass green? Inquiring minds want to know. Parents often answer their kids’ questions about where we came from with an explanation of sex, but it should go deeper than that. The children just may want to know more than the story of the “birds and the bees”. Some of them want to know where the birds and bees came from.
Those of us who love the God of the Bible begin the answer to the question of where we came from with this passage from Genesis 1:1
Genesis 1:1 (KJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
We who believe the Bible’s account of our beginning are called creationists. We accept by faith that God is our creator and we teach our children about our beginning according to the Word of God. Many of our three year olds are able to explain the biblical origin of man. Unfortunately, as soon as those same children get into the public (and some private) school system, our education system answers the question of where we came from with the Big Bang Theory and the Theory of Evolution. Today that’s what we are going to talk about because what you believe will determine where you will wind up at the end of your life. Absolute acceptance of the Big Bang Theory and the Theory of Evolution will lead you to the Lake of fire. Absolute acceptance of Creationism puts you on the right path to be able to inherit eternal life. You may think, “That’s so extreme, Evangelist Evans. I can believe in the Theory of Evolution and go to Heaven”. My question is, “Oh really?” Hear me out.
First of all, what is a scientific theory? A scientific theory, according to Wikipedia, “is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed, observation and experimentation. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge known to man.” The problem is, man does not and cannot, know everything. God proved this when He asked Job these questions:
Job 38:4-7 (KJV)
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Job did not have a good answer because he was not there when God created the heaven and the earth. We were not there when God created the heaven and the earth.
Man’s technique for discovering truth, using the scientific method, is to formulate an idea based on some previously accepted truth, test it over and over again, and, if it pans out according to his liking, then call it a fact. This scientific “fact” remains as the known “truth” until it falls apart because of someone else’s discovery of “truth”. The original “truth” could fall apart or be disproved at any time. Are there any scientific truths that have ever been proven to be false? Of course there are. I’m going to give you three examples of theories that failed or unraveled.
1. The Stress theory of ulcers. As peptic ulcers became more common in the 20th century, doctors began to link them to the stress of modern life. Medical management during the late 20th century was, essentially, for patients to take antacids, and change their lifestyle to cut down on stress. In the 1980’s Barry Marshal, an Australian clinical researcher, discovered that the bacterium H. pylori caused peptic ulcer disease for which he won a Nobel Prize in 2005. On a personal note, I had a duodenal ulcer when I was in my twenties and was treated with milk, Maalox, and a soft diet for years. God healed me of the ulcer when I got saved.
2. The “Earth is flat” was a widely held theory. It is true that some people knew the earth to be round such as Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and a few other learned men and women. Many in the scientific arena, however, believed it to be flat.
3. There was a theory that declared the existence of a planet named Vulcan that existed between Mercury and the sun. The mathematician Urbain Jean Joseph LeVerrier first proposed that it existed when he and many other scientists were unable to explain certain peculiarities about Mercury’s orbit. When he died in 1877, LeVerrier was still regarded as one who discovered a new planet. In 1915, however, Einstein’s theory of general relativity helped to disprove the existence of Vulcan. Today we all know the fictitious planet Vulcan as the home planet of the fictitious character Mr. Spock, from the popular television program Star Trek. Oh well, so much for man’s theories.
There are many other theories that were at one time widely held as “truth”, but are now no longer accepted because scientists no longer believe them to be true. I thank God that he is a God who never changes.
Malachi 3:6 (KJV)
6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
The two main non-biblical theories that attempt to explain our current universe and who we are as men and women today are the Big Bang theory (and I do not mean the TV show by the same name) and The Theory of Evolution. The Big Bang theory attempts to explain the origin of the universe and is widely accepted within the scientific community. This theory was first introduced by George Gamow in the 1940s. Supposedly, the universe started as very small, dense, and hot about 15 billion years ago. It then expanded into our modern day universe and continues to expand today. Here’s the problem with the Big Bang Theory…it doesn’t explain what came prior to the Big Bang. I also wonder why new worlds are not just banging out today. (IJS) The Theory of Evolution refutes intelligent design to all that we see and know. Common usage of the word “evolution” is the idea that living things in our world happened through some circumstantial unguided natural process in which we started from a primeval clump of subatomic particles and radiation, and evolved over approximately 20 billion years into who we are today. Let’s face the truth. The Theory of Evolution doesn’t explain the origin of life. It takes faith in nothing to believe the Theory of Evolution.
So why can’t we accept the Big Bang Theory and Evolution and still be Christians? That’s easy. It’s because we cannot call God of the Bible a fat lie and expect to go to heaven. Of course we know that creatures adapt because that too is a part of God’s divine plan. But we must never get the term adaptation confused with evolution. I remember an old song that we used to sing that goes like this: “I know the Bible is right and somebody’s wrong.” The song is certainly true. The Bible has our answers to life and death; to our beginning and to our end. We are told if any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God.
James 1:5 (KJV)
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
If some of men’s theories have the potential for being disproved, then they all have that potential. If a theory does not tell the whole story, then it’s obvious that there is truth beyond that theory. Does the Theory of Evolution offer you hope for today and direction for tomorrow? No. Worst of all, does belief in the Theory of Evolution explain the hereafter? No. What you need to know is that putting your hope, faith and confidence in the theories of men will get you nothing but death and destruction.
Why should we believe the Bible? The Bible explains the origin of man and all things that pertain to life in a way that is completely beyond question. How would you know that you are a man or woman without the Bible? The Bible tells us in detail about our history. It speaks to us about mankind today. Reading the Bible is as real as reading today’s newspaper. It portrays our present and predicts our future. The Bible is the voice of God and it speaks to us as individuals and as a corporate body. The Bible is a living organism that can soothe you and console you. It can guide you and encourage you. Most important of all, the Bible tells us where we are going when we leave here. So if that same Bible can tell us all of that, wouldn’t it just make good common sense to believe it when it tells us that God created the heaven and the earth? God created everything.
Psalms 104:5-9 (KJV)
5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.
7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.
8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.
9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.
Psalms 104:24 (KJV)
24 O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
I started this lesson with this subject, “Tell me where you came from and I will tell you where you are going.” If you tell me, in answer to the question, that you came from a mass that became a tadpole, that evolved into a monkey that finally turned into a man, I know that you don’t believe the Bible. You believe that man evolved rather than being created. That further tells me that you don’t trust the Bible and that you don’t believe that it is the infallible Word of God. Then that tells me that you have not accepted Jesus Christ who is the living Word of God. Voila. I can tell you that you are on your way to Hell. You see, if you really believe that you were created, then you have to accept the fact that you are responsible to the Creator. And, Lawd knows, unsaved men and women don’t want to believe that. If they did, then what about this scripture:
Ezekiel 18:20 (KJV)
20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Or what about this one?
Hebrews 9:27 (KJV)
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
The bottom line is that men and women just don’t want to serve God so they stupidly create a myth about an event that occurred billions of years ago that they can never re-create. That’s faith. It may be stupid faith, blind faith, but faith never the less. Why not just ask of God? If you seek truth you will find Him. Please consider what your hope or faith is built on. If it is built on the theories of man, like the Big Bang theory and the Theory of Evolution, I want you to know that the theories of man will fail. They cannot hold water. Christ is our solid rock. The Bible is our guide and we must obey every word. If the Bible tells us that there is a heaven and a hell we must believe it. If it tells us that God made us, we must believe it. If it tells us that He is angry at the wicked every day, believe it.
Psalms 7:11-12 (KJV)
11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.
Fortunately for us, we can also believe that He loves us and does not want us to perish.
John 3:16 (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
I would like to recommend a video that might prove helpful to your understanding. It is called God versus evolution and is available at www.godvsevolution.com.
Forget about the theories of men and accept the Word of God. It is my prayer that God will bless you in your quest for real truth. God bless you. (Singing) His name is Jesus. He’s the precious Son of God. He’s the Lily of my valley and He’s my bright and morning star…)
The Holy Ghost Makes the Difference
Tonight, I want us to take a little trip through the Word of God. We will be looking at the life of a man named Peter. You might ask, “Now who was Peter and why would we be interested in his life?” Well, in a sense, Peter was every man. He had characteristics of many of our next door neighbors…and maybe even of …us.
Today we are going on a trip down a special road, a road called the Highway of Holiness. The scripture that describes this highway is found in the book of Isaiah 35: 8-10.
Isaiah 35:8-10 (KJV)
8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
We are all on a journey. I know that many of us act as though we are going to be here on earth forever, but in our heart-of-hearts we know better. Every day that we wake up and see a new wrinkle or every day we feel a new stiffness or pain they remind us that we did not come to earth to stay. Babies want to be “big boys and girls” and teens want to be grown-ups. But by the time age 30 arrives, the outcome of aging becomes real to us. The cry of the human heart becomes, “Stop! I don’t want to keep aging. I don’t want to go the way of the older people”. It’s also about this time that we begin to understand that we have been on the path towards the end of our lives since the day we were born. Isn’t it amazing how much time and energy people spend trying to stay young? We have entire industries built upon trying to keep us looking 16, but they don’t work. Anti-aging products may delay some aspects of aging but ultimately, they fail. People hate change because they want to stay in the now, but change is inevitable.
Another great truth that many people just don’t want to face is the fact that unless we do something to change our ultimate destination, the end of life’s journey is The Lake of Fire by way of Hell. It’s going to happen whether we like it or not. And what is the “something” that we must do to change our ultimate destination? We must accept the escape route that Jesus provided for us when He died upon the Cross of Calvary and bought our salvation. We must repent of our sins. We must accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and we must choose to serve the Lord for the rest of our days. Our ultimate destination is then changed from the Lake of Fire by way of Hell to Heaven.
Joshua 24:15 warns us about the importance of making a wise choice concerning serving the Lord:
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
How do we know that Heaven can be our destination if we choose to serve the Lord? Our manual for life – the Holy Bible- gives us the answers about life that we need. Unfortunately, however, people just don’t like to read manuals. Though most people have owned a car, for example, few have read the manual that comes with it. If you’ve ever tried to assemble a bookshelf or a child’s toy the importance of the manual looms large. Have you ever messed up an assembly only to discover that after you read the manual or instruction sheet you actually have to go back and do your work over? The same is true with the Bible. If you read it early, you can avoid many of the pitfalls in life. If you read it as you travel, you can be sure that you are on the right road.
In Matthew 7:13-14 the Bible tells us about two roads that lead to our final destination. Both are entered by a gate, but there is a specific distinction between the two. The roads are called the broad way and the narrow way.
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
The gate of road number one, the broad way, is called the wide gate. The road is wide because the majority of the people will choose this road. What are some of the things that can be seen along this road? It is filled with loud and unholy music. Bright lights and lots of glam and glitter are along this road. Outwardly, the people on this road may appear to be happy because there is lots of laughing and backslapping. Inwardly, however, they are miserable. There will be plenty of clubs and partying along the road. The alcohol will be flowing and free sex is available. You’ll hear people lying and cussing. Fights will break out and stealing each other’s possessions and spouses will be rampant. Tattoo parlors and prostitution will be everywhere. You can expect backstabbing and cheating too. You are even going to find some “churches” along the way, but not the churches that will lead you to Heaven. In some of these “churches”, the pastor may be sleeping with every woman in the congregation. When you walk in this “church” the people will have a form of godliness but God is nowhere to be found. The people walking along this path resemble the children in the story about the Pied Piper of the Brother’s Grimm who lead the children in the city into a cave and caused them to die. How did he do it? He lured the children with enchanted music. They just pranced and danced right into the cave where they died. The same is true of a lot of people who are just dancing and prancing themselves into Hell. Satan is the pied piper who is luring them. One of the lures that he uses is by having them think that they are alright with God. Another lure that he uses is the lie that living saved is for old people. “You’ve got time, he says. “Just have your fun now and get saved later.” This might be a successful tactic were it not for the fact that we never know when our road is going to end. Those following Satan’s lures never know when they are going to drop off the end of the pier and fall into the lake. The lake that I am talking about is the Lake of Fire. Many people don’t realize it, but Hell is not the worst place to be. It is simply a holding tank because ultimately Hell itself is going to be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
Revelation 20:14-15 (KJV)
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Now, let’s talk about Road Number 2. The gate that leads to this road is called Strait and it leads to the road called the Narrow way. This road may not appear to be as exciting and appealing to the flesh as Road Number 1. Sure, it has a few and guidelines, but they are there for our own good. The book of Matthew tells us that this is the gate that we should choose. Why? We should choose this road because it is the road to eternal life with God. This road has another name, which is the Highway of Holiness. It is described in Is. 35:8 in this way:
Isaiah 35:8 (KJV)
8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
What is holiness? Some people think that we are talking about a church denomination when we say holiness, but what we are talking about is a specific way of life. To be holy means to be separated from sin. Though we are unable to live this life without the power of the Holy Ghost, we can when the Holy Ghost abides within. The Bible tells us that our God is holy and He wants us to be holy too.
1 Peter 1:15-16 (KJV)
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
The last half of Matthew 7:14 says “and few there be that find it.” That’s clearly telling us that not everyone will be found on the Highway of Holiness. While every man will be given an opportunity to get onto the Highway of Holiness, many will hear the truth but simply reject it. The Highway of Holiness is the road out of sin and into the Kingdom of heaven. God himself built this spiritual highway as only He could. John 14: 6 tells us that Jesus is our escape route from sin into sanctification.
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Not a single unclean person will be found on the Highway of Holiness. Individuals who are lying, cheating, cussing, drinking, drugging, fornicating and committing adultery are not on the right road. If you are clubbing on Saturday night and attempting to be an usher in church on Sunday, you’re on the wrong road. You can’t claim to love God, never pray, never read His word and be on the right road. Watch out. The devil has you deceived and you’re on the wrong road. The Bible tells us that the road is so simple that even the simple-minded will be smart enough to find it. Some people reject salvation because they are afraid that they will not be able to live for the Lord, but if a fool can do it, what about the wise?
The Bible lets us know that the Highway of Holiness is a safe place to be. 1Peter 5:8 tells us that Satan acts like a lion but we will be safe from the “lion” if we are on the Highway of Holiness.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
But Is. 35:9 says
9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
Is. 35: 10 gives us an idea of what the people will be doing on the Highway of Holines.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
At the end of our individual destinations, we are going to be eternally glad that we got onto the right road. As we close, let’s look at where the Highway of Holiness will lead us and who we will be living with forever.
Revelation 21:2-4 (KJV)
2 And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Emphasis added by the author).
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
May God bless you as you travel the Highway of Holiness. And if you are not walking this road…start while I’m talking.
Today’s post is based on the 107th chapter of the Book of Psalms. This is the fourteenth psalm of praise and it tells us why a specific set of people should praise the Lord. Of course these groups are only used as examples because every living creature is supposed to praise the Lord.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.
The six groups of people that Psalms 7 presents are: the redeemed or Israel; the rebels; fools who go against God’s word; sailors with bad experiences at sea; and both the rich and the poor people. This post will focus on that 4th group of people, the sailors. My own history is that I am from the island city of Galveston, TX, so I have a great appreciation for those whose lives revolve around the sea. The sailors’ story is told in Psalm 107:23-30.
23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
If there is any group of people who should be able to appreciate God for His deliverance from an angry sea, it should be this group of people because the sea is where their business is conducted.
24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.
These are the people who can see just how beautiful the sea is when the weather is good. Its quiet and majestic beauty is breathtaking. On the other hand, they also know that the sea can be horrible when the weather is bad. I lived through a terrible hurricane named Carla when I was 16 years old and I saw her firsthand effects on the Galveston Island. I know that the tempestuous sea can be awful! A ship in the middle of that kind of storm must have been a frightening place for the sailors to be.
25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
The “he” in this verse refers to God Himself. Only God has the power to raise this kind of storm and lift the waves in this manner. As a little girl, I remember that my Grandmother would make us sit and be still in a storm because God was doing His work. If men were wise today they would hold a better appreciation of God and His awesome power. I’m not saying that every storm is an an act of God’s anger, but it would be wise for men to recognize that He has the power to stir up a storm. And yes, negative circumstances could very well be the result of God’s anger at our bad behavior.
26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
Try to imagine with me how it might have been for the sailors on this ship. At first, the waves appear to take the ship as high up as a mountain. Then, it pauses at this height for a moment. Inhabitants of the ship see the valley of the wave on both sides. In the distance they see the mountains of other waves. The sound of the powerful wind is so loud that it threatens to shatter their eardrums. Then suddenly, the wave runs from beneath them and the ship takes a deep plunge into the watery valley of death below.
27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.
The battering of the winds, the waves and the fright would cause some men to absolutely lose their minds. For some, all hope is gone. The physical abuse of the winds on the ship makes it feel as though the ship will either be crushed or torn apart. The men wait, some of them expecting to be absolutely destroyed. They reel and rock with the movement of the sea; it is difficult to keep their balance. Can you imagine how it would feel to have your very foundation shifting like that? We depend on the place that we stand on to be sturdy, still and safe. It must be overwhelming to have your very foundation shifting. For these men, the years of experience of the crew did not matter. These men needed God’s help in the worst way.
28 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
The men humbled themselves and made a wise decision. They cried out to God who was the only one who could deliver them. They cried, “Oh God, save us!” Buddha couldn’t do it. Mohammed couldn’t do it. This storm required a living God of Power and they had sense enough to know it. And what did He do when they cried out? The 29th verse tells us.
29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
I don’t believe God had to yell at the storm. He didn’t have to say, “Hey! Waves, stop that”. He didn’t have to grab the whirlwind and shake it to make it stop. Remember how our Moms would give us “the look” in the grocery store when we were acting up? We knew that look meant that we needed to stop it! immediately? I believe God just gave the storm the “look” and all was well. That’s our God of power. That’s our God of might. And what happened after the storm ended?
30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
When God quieted the sea, the sailors immediately saw good weather. The dolphins were jumping again and the sun was shining. The waves were gentle, and a cool breeze was blowing. The sea appeared as though nothing had ever happened to it. These were some happy men. With their newfound peace, God quickly took them to where they were trying to go. Don’t you imagine they had a beautiful story to tell their families, friends and neighbors about the goodness of God?
I’m reminded of another situation in the New Testament when Jesus’s disciples had a similar experience. It is found in Mark 4:35-41.
35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
This situation was the same as that of the sailors in Psalms 107. The difference is that in the book of Mark, the men had Jesus on board. Jesus was quietly asleep on a pillow in the lower part of the ship. He was not worried about the little storm that blew up because He knew that He had the power to still it. He simply rebuked the wind. He might have said, “Oh shut up!” and the wind quieted. He said, “Peace, be still!” And everything negative turned positive.
The Apostle Paul, in Acts 27 and 28, was involved in a great storm in which the ship was destroyed, but God did not allow one soul to be lost. Paul extolled God’s goodness for his deliverance. We should do likewise when we are delivered from a great storm.
We will all experience storms in our lives. Every storm that arises is not the kind that occurs in the sea. Some are storms of sickness. Sometimes a storm is related to misbehaving children. At other times the storm may be related to our finances. These kinds of storm are just as real as those faced by the mariners in Psalms 107 and those faced by the disciples in the 4th chapter of Mark. But the solution that quieted the storm then is the same solution for today. Call on the name of the Lord and He will answer prayer. Rare is the person who is able to say, “I haven’t had any storms in my life”. To them I say in the words of my late Grandmother Ada, “Baby, just keepa living. The storms will be there.” Storms are meant to drive us to God, so when they happen, just cry out to Him. You need to repent first, so that you can be right with Him. If you are not saved and you try to cry out to Him with anything other than repentance, He might not answer. But if you repent of your sins, you will have a right to call upon the name of the Lord and He will answer.
Has anyone noticed that whenever America gets into trouble we (they) don’t mind calling on God? That’s a very good thing to do. Unfortunately, though, as soon as the storm is quieted, America goes back to our (their) sinful ways. We (They) act almost embarrassed that we (they) had to call on God for help. That foolishness needs to stop though, because if we (they) don’t break this cycle, one day we (they) are going to call on the name of the Lord and He is not going to answer. In Proverbs 1:22-33 He said that He would mock them when their calamity comes.
22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:
30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
There’s a storm coming and we need to be ready for it. We should be in a position so that we will be able to call upon the Lord and have Him deliver us out of all of our fears. Let us pray for our Country. As a matter of fact, let’s you and I pray now before the storm comes. May God bless you.
In the Post dated April 19, 2013, we talked about The Power that’s in the name of Jesus and the privilege that He gave us all when He gave the church His power of attorney. In today’s lesson, we find Jesus was in the process of preparing His disciples for His death, burial, resurrection and ascension. We begin in John 13:21 when Jesus’ reveals that he was about to be betrayed.
21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
Following the Passover supper celebration, the disciples and Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Many important things are associated with the Mount of Olives, including the fact that Jesus later ascended to heaven from there. Jesus also often taught on the Mount of Olives.
From the time that Jesus chose his disciples, He started to teach them, a little at a time, about some of the events that were going to happen to Him. He couldn’t tell them everything in the beginning, because the story would have been too discouraging for them. But, during this final teaching session before His death, critical events were beginning to unfold and He had to get his disciples prepared. In John 13:33, He told them plainly that He was getting ready to go and they would not be able to come with Him.
33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.
The disciples’ response to His words was to be sad, confused and perplexed. Peter alleged his allegiance in John 13:36-38, only to discover that he would betray Jesus rather than stand up for him.
36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.
37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.
38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.
Jesus encouraged them in John 14:1-4 again, saying that they should not be upset that He was going away because He would be coming back for them.
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
But then Thomas illustrated his confusion in John 14:5-7
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
And then it was Phillip’s turn to show his confusion in John 14:8
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Jesus had been with them for three years and they still did not appear to have a basic understanding of who Jesus was. His response to Phillip reflected the fact that the basic problem of the group was unbelief.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
The word “believe” means to consider a thing to be true or honest; to accept the word or evidence of a thing or person. In John 14:12 Jesus reminded them of the importance of believing on Him.
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Now, we’ll skip over to John 14:28-29. He’s telling them again that their belief is very important.
28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Then in John 14:30-31 He let them know that he didn’t have a lot more to tell them.
30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
This is interesting. The group was on its way to the site where Jesus would be betrayed and the disciples still didn’t quite understand the concept of His leaving and coming back. Jesus continued to tell them of the hard things that were soon to unfold; He told them again in John 16:16.
16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.
They were literally minutes away from the Garden of Gethsemane and his disciples were more confused than ever and voiced it in John 16:17-18.
17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?
18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.
Telling them again that He was going to be leaving, an amazing thing happened. Suddenly their understanding cleared. It happened after He told them again in John 16:28.
28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
They responded in John 16:29-30 by saying that they believed Jesus.
29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.
30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.
Jesus responded in John 16:31
31…Do ye now believe?
It was as though everything changed and they were able to understand and believe. All of the events that were going to happen began to happen. Jesus said in John 16:32-33
32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Jesus then prayed for His disciples, and they entered the Garden of Gethsemane. We know that after His Gethsemane experience He was betrayed, crucified, raised from the dead and returned to heaven. He bought our salvation with His own blood.
The gist of our lesson for today is twofold. First, we have to believe in God and His gift of His only begotten Son. We have to believe that Jesus died for us and that through Him only are we able to get into the Kingdom of God. My question of you is, “Do you now believe?” Belief is not just a head thing; it is believing to the saving of your soul. Your eternal salvation rests upon your ability to believe in Jesus as your Savior. The second point of the lesson is this. If you are having difficulty with believing any aspect of the gospel, ask Jesus to help your unbelief. Remember that the chosen Apostles didn’t quite understand what Jesus needed them to know until Jesus intervened and made His words clear to them. Look at the great men of God that they became after His intervention. Cry out to Him as the father of the child with a dumb spirit did in Mark 9:24.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
May God bless you.
In the name of Jesus, In the name of Jesus,
We have the victory.
In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus,
Satan has got to flee.
Who can therefore stand before us
When we call on that great name?
Jesus, Jesus, wonderful Savior we have the victory.
What exactly is a name and why do we all have one? A name is a word or combination of words by which a person, place or thing is identified. The purpose of a name is to differentiate one thing from another. Wouldn’t it be strange if we all had the same name? Let’s say we all were called Betty Jean. If I said, “Betty Jean come and get this dollar”, either everybody in the room could get up to get the dollar or maybe nobody would. That would be confusing.
George Foreman is a famous boxer who has around ten children. All five of his sons have the name George. They are George Jr., George III, George IV, George V, and George VI. But even though they have the same legal names, some differentiated by a number, they still had to have a way to differentiate one from another, so they have nicknames. The four younger sons are “Monk”, “Big Wheel”, “Red”, and “Little Joey”. His two daughters are Freeda George and Georgetta. So, even in that interesting situation, they still had to have a unique and clear name to avoid confusion.
Names have specific meanings and they sometimes “script” a person’s life, because some individuals try to “live up to” their name. Therefore parents need to be very careful about how they name their children. My own first name is Alfreda. Alfreda is the feminine form of Alfred and it means wonderful counselor. Interesting enough, isn’t it, that I am often found counseling? To show you that names can script a baby’s life, let’s suppose a child was named Delilah or Jezebel. Delilah was the woman in the Bible who caused Samson to fall and Jezebel was an evil woman married to Ahab. If an individual tried to live up to those names, the outcome could be disastrous.
We all know how important it is to have a good name. We live a clean life, protect our credit and pay our bills on time so that our name is kept clean. One of the reasons that identity fraud can be so terrible is because our reputation can be slaughtered by someone who fraudulently misrepresents himself as us. That person can then cruelly destroy our good name. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:1 (KJV)
1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
We can be assured that the name of Jesus is a good name and it represents a powerful and holy man. A very short time before Jesus was to be betrayed, beaten, persecuted, and crucified for your sins and mine he handed us, his church, one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. What was that weapon? It was the ability to ask our heavenly Father for anything, as long as we used the name of Jesus. John 16:23-27 says:
23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.
26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
Just a few days before He would be crucified, raised from the dead, take a quick trip to heaven, walk again on the earth among men for a limited time, then re-ascend into heaven where He now stands in intercession for you and I, He gave us this wonderful and powerful gift. He was giving the church a most powerful and legal weapon to use after He was gone. By allowing his disciples, and ultimately you and I, to use his name, He gave us his Power of Attorney.
A Power of Attorney is a written document or letter that is used when someone wants another adult to handle their financial or property matters. If someone becomes unable to make their own decisions (e.g., in a coma, mentally incompetent, etc.) they may need another adult to make decisions for them. When my grandmother became too ill to take care of her own business she gave me her Power of Attorney. Because Jesus was preparing to finish His work on earth, He knew that we would need the power to carry His work on. All believers have full, legal, redemptive, gospel, blood bought, promised and family right to use the name of Jesus in several different situations:
- In salvation:
Matthew 1:21 (KJV)
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Acts 4:11-12 (KJV)
11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
2. In baptism
Matthew 28:19 (KJV19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
3. In worship:
Matthew 18:20 (KJV)
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
4. In combat and in healing:
Mark 16:16-18 (KJV)
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
5. In Preaching
Luke 24:46-47 (KJV)
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
6. In Prayer
John 14:13-14 (KJV)
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
7. When receiving the Holy Ghost
Luke 11:9-13 (KJV)
9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
All of the things that we have spoken of today are for the blood washed, born again Saints of God. The name of Jesus is not to be used by the unsaved. If an unsaved individual attempts to use the name of Jesus for any reason other than repentance, they are attempting identity theft and have no right to do so. But the good news is, if the unsaved individual wants to be saved he or she can be saved. Then, they can feel free to use the name of Jesus. I have heard of many testimonies in which the name of Jesus caused people to be healed, accidents to be averted and needs met. One outstanding testimony follows that saved one of my friend’s life.
Bro. and Sis. H. gave a testimony about their shared experience when she used the name of Jesus. Sis. H. gave her heart to the Lord, which made her husband very angry. He didn’t want his wife to be saved. One night, as she was preparing to go to church, he began to choke her. Just before she passed out, she was able to say “In the name of Jesus!” Suddenly, “something or somebody” grabbed the husband, threw him against the wall and began to rough him up. He said that the entity rolled him, twisted him and tumbled him head over heels out of the front door, across the street and down the block. He could not see anyone, but when he finally came to himself he was leaning against a telephone pole, dazed, some distance from his house. Needless to say, he repented and gave his heart to the Lord. The name of Jesus is powerful!
We might as well get used to honoring and bowing to Him now because Philippians 2:9-11 tells us that the day will come when everyone will honor that name.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Since Jesus has given us this powerful weapon, let’s use it to the glory and honor of God so that the work that Jesus started can be finished through us. May God bless you all
Today we’re going to talk about a well-known parable, the parable of the Prodigal son. Let’s define a couple of words before we begin. The first word is parable. A parable is a story that illustrates lessons using human characters. It breaks down difficult ideas and makes them easier to understand. Parables also teach us about how people should act. Jesus often used parables to teach complex subjects in a simple way. A couple of His other more famous parables were the Ten Virgins and the Good Samaritan.
The other word that we will define is prodigal. Prodigal refers to a wastefully extravagant spendthrift. He’s the big spender or the high roller. Prodigal is the man who will walk into a bar with his weekly paycheck and, before he pays the rent or buys his baby’s milk, say, “Bartender, I’m paying for a set-up for everybody!” But a prodigal might also be that young woman who, when her parents send her to college with a credit card to pay for her books and dorm room, buys Gucci bags and 6 inch heels. A prodigal is a foolish and wasteful spender.
In our dear country of America, we are also foolish and wasteful spenders. Our national economy is set up to make us want more and buy more. There are some people who are on Welfare that will spend $300 to get their hair and nails “did”. They will spend $250 for a pair of Air Jordans for their child, when he is wearing jeans with holes in them. And if they can’t quite pull it together for Air Jordans, they will spend $100 for a pair of Bare Cordans that look like Air Jordans, when a good pair of $25.00 tennis would serve just fine. The child could also have a decent pair of jeans and a warm coat. We’re just prodigal or wasteful spenders. Of course, it is certainly not just the poor who are foolish spenders. Look at our actors and movie stars and their lavish and wasteful lifestyles. Look at the athletes who wind up with no money after 10 years of beating up their bodies. Foolishness. Some of that wasted money could better be spent towards getting souls into the Kingdom of God.
Let’s get back to our parable of the prodigal son. Most know the story well. Today we are going to look at the Seven Steps that he took as he went down into degradation and the seven steps that took him back up to Salvation. The First four steps down were Self-will, Selfishness, Separation and Sensuality. These steps are listed in the back of my KJV study bible and make the parable very easy to follow.
Luke 15: 11-13(KJV)
11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
Our parable tells us there was a man who had two sons. His younger son decided that he wanted to take his “inheritance” now and go and do what he wanted with his life. First of all, he had no inheritance because his father was still alive. Who reads a will and divides the proceeds before the death of the testator? At any rate, the father listened to his son, the spoiled brat, and gave him all of his inheritance. Some people are still doing this kind of thing today. For example, If you know that your daughter is not responsible, why would you give her access to her entire years’ worth of college money the first week that she goes to school? If you know that your son is a drug addict, why would you give him a pocket full of money? You know he will kill himself on drugs. Kids need their parents to be strong.
Ephesians 6:10 (KJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Well, the foolish prodigal took his money to go and find his fortune. But instead of investing his money and making it grow, he spent it in no time. Isn’t it amazing how quickly money will go when you are on a spending binge? Everybody will help you spend your money
So these are the first four of the seven steps that he took downward:
1. Self-will. He wanted to do things his way.
2. Selfishness. He didn’t care how his leaving the family affected everyone else. It was all about him.
3. Separation. He went into a far country. He wanted to get away from those who knew him. Everybody at home knew where his money came from, and he couldn’t be a Big Shot there, so he separated himself.
4. Sensuality. The fourth step down was sensuality. The word Sensuality means that an individual is focused more on physical pleasure rather than spiritual or moral concerns. Wild women and wild men took Prodigal on a wild ride. But where were those “friends” when the going got tough?
The next three steps show us the consequences of the prodigal son’s bad behavior. They are Spiritual destitution, Self-abasement and Starvation. Luke 15:14 through 16 illustrate this point
Luke 15:14-16 (KJV)
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
Oh my, our high roller had two bad things happen at once. First, he found himself broke. He was totally out of money. That money fulfilled the saying, “Easy come, and easy go”. At the same time, a mighty famine hit the land, causing him to be in want. His situation was so serious now that he was in serious trouble. We never know what tomorrow is going to bring, so the high roller days need to stop. This applies not only to the individuals, but to our government as well.
5. Spiritual Destitution. Destitution means to be in extreme poverty. It means to lack the very necessary means to live. The prodigal son is, of course, like the man or woman who has turned his or her back on God. Without the Lord we can do nothing. Those who have turned their backs on God have no one to turn to. The Bible tells us that a backslider is like unto a dog that has returned to his own vomit. (Gross)
Proverbs 26:11 (KJV)
11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
6. Self-abasement. The prodigal son is still going down because verse 15 tells us that he stepped into self-abasement. The only job that the Prodigal son could find was working for a hog farmer. Ever been close to a pig pen? There’s a reason that the pig pen is way away from the big house. It stinks! Then in verse 16 the man hits rock bottom. He stepped into Starvation. He almost ate hog slop. (Double gross).
7. Starvation. Sometimes backsliders have to be allowed to hit rock bottom before they come to themselves. Parents who rush in to solve their children’s problems all of the time do not do them any favors. Sometimes they have to experience the negative consequences of their foolishness. If we allow the backslider to bump the bottom of life, perhaps they will look up and live. (Never stop praying for them, though.) Alright now. Prodigal has hit the bottom and there’s nowhere to go but up. The next four steps are Realization, Resolution, Repentance and Return. These steps are leading the Prodigal back to His father, and back to God.
Luke 15:17-20 (KJV)
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
8. Realization. You have to realize, backslider, once you’ve had your hand in God’s hand, nothing is going to satisfy you except God. You can’t run from Him and get away. Many backsliders are just too proud to give in to God, but you must. You’re just rowing around in a tight little circle and getting nowhere. God loves you and He wants you back. You know you’re tired of the world. Come home.
9. Resolution. The prodigal son remembered the life he used to have and who he used to be. Thank God that he came to himself. He resolved that he would return to his father. His resolution was that he would work for his father as a servant. All pride was gone at this point. He thought, “These people don’t love me, but my Dad does. And even if I have messed up so badly that he doesn’t want to own me, maybe he’ll give me a job. I need to eat. I want to live and not die.”
Backslider, why don’t you make up your mind to return to your Heavenly Father? You blew it. Yes, you messed up, but the Bible tells us that God will abundantly pardon you.
10. All you have to do is Repent or say you’re sorry and God will forgive you. So you committed adultery; so you got strung out; so you extorted money and went to prison. God does not care about your past, because He loves you. (It’s true that He hates your sin, but he loves you.) He wants your life back into the safety of His arms.
11. Just Return to the Lord like the Prodigal son did. Prodigal had a very big surprise when he got home. His father welcomed him with love and kisses. Prodigal did not expect that at all.
Luke 15:20-24 (KJV)
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
12, 13, 14. The last three steps in the restoration of the prodigal son and the backslider are Reconciliation, Re-clothing and Rejoicing. The second half of the 20th verse says that Prodigal’s father had compassion on him, ran to him, and kissed him. Prodigal tried to give his Father his practiced speech about being willing to work as a servant of his father, but Prodigal was already forgiven. And backslider, you are already forgiven. You cannot activate that forgiveness, however, until you ask for it. Prodigal’s father put the best robe and shoes on him. He put a ring of love on his finger. He had a feast set up and he wanted everyone to celebrate with him. His son that was dead to him had returned. That return made him alive to this loving father again. If the Prodigal son had never gone home, he would never have been restored. (Besides, he might have been found dead of starvation or frozen to a fence post, but fortunately, that did not happen). Backslider, repent, be saved and live. There was great rejoicing in the home of the prodigal’s father. The Bible tells us that there will be great joy in heaven when you return to God.
Luke 15:7 (KJV)
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Backslider, you can come home again. Just don’t wait until it’s too late.
Recently, I had an experience with an individual that left us both disturbed. I believe that we both want to resolve a difference of opinion that we had. I was asked to give my opinion on a particular topic. Unfortunately, my opinion was not the one that the receiver expected to hear. That person became very angry, leaving me to wonder why my opinion was sought in the first place. Since anger is a universal emotion, I thought this Post would be a favorable spot to discuss it. My position: I was not going to lie and provide a positive assessment when I did not feel that one was due. These are the questions that I would like to discuss:
1. What could I have done to avoid the angry response that I received? Was there something in my presentation that fueled the angry response? If so, could I have sidestepped the issue, rather than be a participant in the disagreement?
2. Was I the cause of the angry response that I received?
3. How does one respond to anger in another individual?
The first thing that I decided to do about the situation was to pray about it. I went to God in prayer, asking Him to search me to assure that my behavior was not the cause of the problem. The Bible tells us to follow peace with all men and I desired to have peace in this situation.
Hebrews 12:14-15 (KJV)
14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
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;
When I went to God in prayer, He did not speak to me directly, but He spoke to me through the upcoming Sunday School lesson No. 11. My answer was found in the Bible Expositor and Illuminator, in the commentary related to Col. 2:9-10:
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
I’m going to quote directly from the lesson because it so clearly explained what I needed to know about anger:
“Remember that humility is knowing who you are not. Jesus was despised and rejected, so you should not expect praise and appreciation; but love people, regardless of how you are treated. One of the facets of this is that you no longer need to be angry with anyone. Anger is triggered by expecting to be treated in certain respectful ways, and if you are not, you become offended. The problem is pride and a sense of entitlement. If you remember that you are complete in Christ, you can adjust your attitude and love a person who otherwise would have offended you. “
“WOW!” I thought. “God gave me the answer that I needed concerning the other person’s problem which is pride. That individual felt offended because they expected me to give one assessment when I gave another.” Wait a minute! It’s so easy to see the fault in another individual, isn’t it? God quickly reminded me that when we seek Him for an answer, we have to be certain that we get what we need from His answer to make us a better person. A disagreement involves two people. Both share the responsibility for the outcome. Examining myself, I realized that I also expected to be appreciated for the answer that I gave. I was also shocked and amazed when the response to my answer was different than what I expected. Therefore, pride was the root of my problem too. *Gulp*
Proverbs 16:18 tells us that Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:32 also says He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
According to Proverbs 15:1 (KJV) A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
So, here are the answers to the questions that I posed earlier.
1. What could I have done to avoid the angry response that I received (triggered)? Was there something in my presentation that fueled the angry response? If so, could I have sidestepped the issue, rather than be a participant in the disagreement?
Option A. I could have been more perceptive in this situation. Anticipating that my assessment might not be well received, I could have avoided giving a response. I could have just said, “no” to the request for an assessment.
Option B: Even if I gave an answer, perhaps it could have been softer. We must always be truthful in our response to others, but we should avoid being hurtful, if at all possible.
Option C. Sometimes the truth hurts; we have to be wise enough to know whether or not the individual is really able to receive the truth (as we perceive it). The truth of this option was proven the next day. Another individual requested an assessment and my response was equally as thorough and critical as that given to the angry respondent. The second individual gladly received the assessment, made the suggested changes and left the experience appreciative rather than angry.
2. Was I the cause of the angry response that I received?
Option A: Probably. Since I am so accustomed to having my assessments received in a positive way, perhaps I was a little pompous. (Gotta watch that pride thing. Pride caused Satan to be kicked out of heaven and can infect us all if we are not careful.
Option B: Maybe not. Perhaps the individual had other issues that caused her response. I can only fix my issues (spelled Fix-Me-Jesus) and pray for the issues of others.
3. How does one respond to anger in another individual?
Ans: It depends on how the anger manifests itself.
Option A. When the person is angry, but non-combative. Don’t argue. If the person is willing to talk, stay calm and hear them out. They may just need to be heard. Make sure that they understand that you value them as a person. You are assessing some external object or work, not them. Seek to understand their point of view more than having them understand your point of view. Do everything in love. If you cannot resolve the issue immediately, let it rest. Sometimes a little time or distance is needed to get over a stinging situation. If they are saved, God will work it out.
Option B. When the person is angry, and losing self-control. Maintain a posture that does not intimidate. Pray. If necessary, RUN! (Just a hint of humor. Christian relationships should never collapse this far. But just in case it does…Pray and RUN FAST!) God bless.
This week’s Sunday school lesson is a very interesting one. The title, Family Relationships, does not give a clue that it reviews one of the most difficult concepts in the life of some Christians, which is the concept of submission. At the very thought of the word, some people begin to visualize a dominant, overbearing and unloving husband and father scowling and commanding his wife and children to obey, obey, obey him! They see a trembling and fearful wife and children skulking about, afraid to disturb the “master” of the home. But is this what God intended when he established the concept of submission? Ephesians 5:21-33 and 6:1-4 give a description of the true meaning of submission in the Christian’s life.
Ephesians 5:21-33 (KJV)
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Ephesians 6:1-4 (KJV)
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
These scriptures give a clear picture of the love, order and sacrifice that a family is to follow. The very first scripture makes it clear that in a family that fears God, submission is the order of the day for both the husband and wife. There is no place for a tyrant here. Next, the scriptures establish the order that a marriage should have. God placed the man as the head in a marriage. He is to have the final say about how his family runs. It is clear that someone has to be the head in a relationship such as marriage; a two-headed beast is a freak! The scripture lets us know that this is the order that God established and we are to honor it. The scriptures go on to describe the type of man that God expects a wife to submit to. A man is to love his wife as he loves his own body. He is to nourish and cherish her. He is to respect her decisions as well as his own. In turn, she is to reverence and honor him. It would not be difficult to submit oneself to a man who seeks God about his role, responsibilities and decisions. The wife who is married to this type of man realizes that she is ultimately following God’s decisions. Godly husbands also realize that godly wives have the power to pray to God concerning her husband’s decisions. This type of environment will be loving, peaceful and free of abuse and harsh conflict. What a great environment it would be to raise children in.
Children are told to submit to their parents, but parents are also told that they should not provoke the child to wrath, which is angry, violent indignation. Parents are to nurture them and bring them up in a godly environment.
Following a man like the one described in Ephesians would be easy for any wife. The difficulty comes, however, when the husband is not following God. What is a Christian woman to do when she wants to live for the Lord, but the husband has no interest in living for God? Suppose he even forbids her to live for the Lord? Is she to follow his mandate and risk losing her soul because she feels that she has to submit to him? Absolutely not! She is to submit to her husband in every way that she possibly can but, with a sweet spirit, stand her ground when his decisions violate scripture. Let’s consider the following situation:
John Jones was a young man who attended church regularly, but he was a hypocrite. He would drink late into the night in the clubs on Saturday night. On Sunday morning he would stand as an usher in his local church, sometimes weaving and bobbing from the left-over effects of the alcohol that he had consumed. The pastor at his church knew that the young man had a real addiction to alcohol, but he refused to address the problem. After all, the pastor also drank a little wine for his stomach’s sake and felt that he could not advise the young man properly. The young man’s wife made up her mind that she wanted to live for the Lord. She got saved, filled with the Holy Ghost and then began praying for her husband to be saved. She was directed to a church by the Holy Ghost where the people lived according to the Word of God. They embraced her and prayed with her concerning her husband’s state. Her husband became furious because she was now saved and no longer went clubbing with him. He actually went to the pastor of the church that his wife was attending, and attempted to have the pastor tell his wife that she was wrong for not following him to the clubs and the lifestyle that he wanted for her. After all, he said, “I am the head of my house”. Needless to say, the wife’s pastor attempted to help the young man understand a man’s true role as the head of his house. The young man rejected the pastor’s advice and left angry.
There are some people who might deem the pastor of the young woman’s church to be wrong for not directing her to follow her husband’s lead. Fortunately for this young woman, her pastor was a true man of God who sought God for His perfect will. The outcome of this situation could have gone either way. The young man could either have had his eyes opened by God (hopefully) and became saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost, or he could ultimately have divorced his wife. Either way, the young woman did indeed do the right thing. She was kind, loving and submissive to her husband in every way that she could be, but when he attempted to cause her to leave Christ, she stood her ground. The key that unlocks the entire situation is Ephesians 5:21.
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Emphasis added by the author)
May God bless you.