Tag Archives: sin

I, the Lord, Am Your Healer

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And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

Exodus 15:26

Most believers in Christ fall into two camps — People who believe in faith healers and people who believe that the gift of healing, along with others, like speaking in tongues, ceased at the end of the New Testament period. Just as God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, God does not want or desire diseases for His children. Yet, both sin and disease exist. C.S. Lewis wrote about the Problem of Pain. How could a God of love allow pain? How could a God of love allow disease?

The purpose of disease is clearly laid out in God’s Word. Since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment. Sin and disease are part of this material existence. We are sinners both by birth and by choice. We have inherited the sin nature of Adam and we choose to sin. Disease can come simply through our sin nature because of choices other people made or because of choices we make.  When a culture is obedient to the Word of God, that culture is freer from disease than that culture would be if it were disobedient.

It is not an issue of individuals but the principles by which the culture as a whole lives. They are not pushing people into poverty by government theft, they do not have sexual license but uphold marriage. Both poverty and sexual license result in more disease. People care about the conditions under which animals and food sources exist. They are not consumed by greed to the point of polluting food sources. Violating the principles of God’s Word has consequences, and one of these consequences is disease.

The purpose of divine healing by God in this generation is as a sign gift. It is to bring people to Himself. They must understand that even people who are healed are still going to die, and may still get other diseases. When Jesus healed people, it was a very small percentage of those who were sick, and he had a specific purpose in each one. In the days of King Ahab, a famine ravaged all of the people, but one woman was chosen to shelter Elijah and receive food. Many lepers lived in the days of Elisha, but only Namaan was healed. We must understand that our life is like a vapor. We certainly wish to be healed physically in this brief lifetime. All diseases can be a means to bring people to accept the Lord as Messiah. This is looking at the larger picture to see disease as a tool to bring people to repent of their sins. We must realize that life is brief and everything should be seen as a means to glorify God.

So God says if we obey Him that He wants us to be healed. What cause explains why  disease and death still exist? Disease is a judgment on sin. Gehazi received the leprosy of Naaman as a judgment on his sin. All sins that we commit affect other people.

The ultimate result of sin will be the destruction of the heavens and the earth, after which we will see a new heaven and a new earth, free of disease. God will wipe away all tears from our eyes.

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The God of Love Created the World. Why Do Tragedies Happen?

crash dummy and baby
Every few months the same story hits the national or world news. A family or a parent does everything right, but a child dies anyway. The child might be sitting properly fastened into a car seat and the car is hit while stopped at a light or stop sign. A home is completely childproof, the child is watched constantly, yet the child is killed in an unforeseeable accident. The names and specifics change, but the story is the same. In spite of every possible safely measure, someone completely innocent is killed or seriously injured.

Why? The same question is always asked over and over again. Why does the God of Love permit these tragedies?

First, there is evil. God is not only love, He is holiness and justice. God neither desired nor created sin. He gave the human race the choice of obeying or rebelling against Him. That rebellion was a choice. Choices affect everyone. There are no choices that only affect you and you alone. Someone in my family over 300 years ago made the choice to become an indentured servant and come to the New World. Because of that choice, I am an American. The sin of Adam is not only passed down through the human race, it affects the entire material universe. Both the inherited sin nature and the individual sins we commit must be judged by a holy and just God. That judgment must either be paid for by the individual committing the sin or by someone else. If you throw a rock and break a window, there are only three options; the window remains broken, you repair the window, or someone else repairs the window. It is possible that you work with someone else and both of you repair the window.

Second, we will all die. As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Romans 5:12 Someone who lives to be 140 would outlive everyone in his generation, perhaps even set a longevity record. 140 years is still a short lifespan. What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:4 While the death of an innocent child to us is a horrible, tragic loss, it is simply the loss of a few decades, at the most a century. God can use what seems to us as an untimely death to protect the innocent child from something far more horrible in the future.

Third, God is still a God of love, and to love someone is to do what is best for not only that one person but also to glorify Himself. This is said so often that we mistakenly dismiss it as trite. We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 God’s standard of good is not our standard, our vision of good. Good glorifies God and is the best for the person.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:6-12

 

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So, Who Is She?

Some time ago I was told the best way to handle people who call themselves Atheists is to simply ask, “so who is she?” He means that Atheists are Atheists because they want to commit fornication with someone. I have learned that that the desire is not always for a woman, it isn’t even always for sex. But it is always a desire for something God condemns as sin. The comeback is always some form of “who are you to condemn (judge, tell Me how to live) Me. You are just a hypocrite.” Evidence has never worked with any atheist I have talked to. Their minds are made up.

All humans are sinners. It is easy to point to our sins. But believers accept the payment of the blood of Jesus Christ for our sins. Because we are blood washed and redeemed, we face the Judgment seat of Christ. This is like a judge in the Olympics. It is rewards or lack of rewards for our activities in this life.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Unbelievers do not accept the fact of judgment. They face the Great White Throne Judgment. They will be judged on two things, what they did with the information God gave them concerning His Son, Jesus Christ and how they lived their lives. As the judgment seat of Christ is rewards or lack of rewards for believers, so the Great White Throne Judgment is degree of punishment for unbelievers.

Revelation 20:11-15  Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

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A Christian Continuum

The name or title “Q” is known to geeks and many others as the godlike creature in Star Trek the Next Generation. He was part of something called the “Q Continuum,” a race of fellow godlike beings who apparently liked being aloof and distant from mankind. This Q claimed he had benevolent feelings for humanity (include in this all the races of intelligent beings STNG insisted existed, please), and was just trying to figure man out. Usually, however, he did this by putting people in outrageous and impossible situations. He found out how to create these situations by asking questions about cultural ethics, values, and resolves, or at least those that the scriptwriters claimed man held. He would then reduce people to helplessness and cause them to fail. He was trying to help man, he insisted. He was trying to show the crew of the Enterprise how unprepared mankind was.

A conference of young evangelicals calling itself “Q,” hosted by Gabe Lyons, met in the middle of April of this year. Among other things the conference advocated providing contraceptives to singles in evangelical churches, as a ministry of the church. The name Q seems appropriate, given the repeated insistence by the group that they were caring and concerned, that they only wanted to help people, to get them prepared for the realities of life. I don’t know much about this Gabe Lyons or his organization, and I don’t know why he chose this name for it. It just seems ironically appropriate.

An excellent article in Christianity Today addresses these misguided people and their “Solution.” Matthew Lee Anderson points out that the conference advocated contraceptives because of the epidemic of abortions in evangelical churches. To those who protested that women who get pregnant should have their babies with the help of the church, they respond that no church member is going to be there with that mother when the baby starts to cry at 3 AM.

Please back up a step, Q, Gabe Lyons, and the rest of evangelical and many other kinds of Christianity. Maybe more than a step. You have given all mankind permission to fail. You have said that sin is inevitable. Single people are going to have sex. They are either going to use contraceptives or abort their babies. You have insisted the only way to stop this is with contraceptives. If we leave them alone with a crying baby at 3 AM what else will they be unable to stop themselves from doing?

Please explain to me why Jesus Christ bothered to die on the cross? I thought it was for sin. In fact, I’m sure it was. Even for the sin of being tempted to have sex while unmarried. He not only died for it, He provided the power to overcome it. If abstinence, true chastity and continence are jokes, then so is the Cross of Christ. The Cross, the sacrifice, the atonement, are all so much more than just Jesus “loving us.” Salvation is so much more than us “loving Jesus back.” The atonement is power, crackling supernatural energy to submit to God and do all kinds of amazing things that make sin anything but inevitable. Putting a condom in your pocket or a birth control pill in your mouth, as Anderson says, is admitting you’re going to fail. Wrapping the sheltering wings of Almighty God around you and strapping into place the armor of God is insisting that you’re going to succeed, not by your own power, but by tapping into the ultimate power source.

http://bit.ly/JmrZQG Christianity Today “Why Churches Shouldn’t Push Contraceptives to Their Singles.” Matthew Lee Anderson, posted 4/25/2012 10:46 AM

Gabe Lyons’ website http://bit.ly/JbfF8e

 

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How You, Too, Can Become Judgmental and Legalistic

The writer in yesterday’s post said to me, “using profanity is not a sin but being judgmental is.” She says this like a doctrinal statement, like she knows it to be a fact. But I don’t find a statement like that anywhere in the Scriptures. It sounds to me like a personal opinion. The Apostle Paul starts 2 Corinthians Chapter 11 with these words: “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly.” Like Paul, it might sound as if I’m joking in the title of this post, or perhaps as if I’ve gone crazy, but pay attention anyway.

Take a look at Romans Chapter 12. Take a good, hard look. The message of how to be legalistic and judgmental is very subtle there. You might not see it from this passage alone. In fact, root through the whole Bible. That’s what that scary title of Fundamentalism really means. It’s basing your belief on the “fundamentals,” thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, rather than men’s added-on thoughts and opinions. Fundamentalists are often accused of being narrow-minded haters. So try this Bible study thing out for yourself. See if intense, open-hearted, disciplined examination of the Scriptures doesn’t make you narrow-minded and hate-filled. (Hint: No, it won’t.)

Verse one: Purify and practice self-denial upon your living body through God’s mercy, thereby becoming holy and fit for service. It’s the least you can do.

Verse two: Be changed completely, take your mind out of the world, so that you will be able to understand God’s perfect will.

Verse three: God gives grace to everybody freely, the Apostle Paul and you and me included. Because of that, there can be no justification for pride. Be serious about using the faith you’ve been given, whether it seems to be a teaspoonful or a bushel basketful.

Verses four and five: The body has lots of parts with lots of different jobs. This analogy applies to us as people who are part of the Church. Still, numerous as we are, we are one body in Christ as well as part of each other.

Verses six, seven and eight: Gifts come by grace. We don’t deserve them. We have different ones. We should use them. Proclaim the Word, minister, teach, encourage, give, be in charge, and/or show mercy, with your teaspoonful or your bushel basketful of faith.

Verses nine and ten: Love honestly and wholehertedly. Hate, hate, hate evil. Hang on to what’s good. Operate with kindness, affection and family love and respect, and say, “after you,” or “no, after you,” a lot.

Verses eleven and twelve: You have work to do for God? Get busy, get excited to be serving the Lord! This is no dead-end job! You have eternal prospects. Yes, maybe it’s really, really hard, but hang in there, and pray, pray, pray.

Verses thirteen through sixteen: People who serve God have needs. Give missionaries a meal or a place to sleep, or both. God knows about the people who attack you. It’s not up to you to attack back. When someone has good news, shout hooray! When it’s bad news, cry with them. In other words, be able to pay attention to and understand somebody besides yourself. Don’t pay attention to riches and power and influence. Be kind to those who are ordinary, or below ordinary. Don’t think you have all the answers, or any of the answers, in yourself.

Verses seventeen through nineteen: Okay, so he did you wrong. No, you don’t get to do him wrong back. And your obligations to truth go far beyond “honesty is the best policy.” It’s the only policy. Try to be at peace with all men, but it may not always be possible. Even Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, said in Matthew 10:34, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” But don’t take revenge, don’t lose your temper, and remember that judgment belongs to God. He’ll settle accounts.

Verses twenty and twenty-one: Hungry or thirsty enemy? Feed him. Give him a drink. To “heap coals of fire on his head” could possibly mean that you make him miserable by feeding him and giving him drink, by being nice to him. He could be made miserable with guilt or he could just be made angry. You have a choice of about letting evil overcome you. If you make the right choices, you overcome evil with good.

What I just wrote isn’t a translation or a commentary or an official statement. It’s just one person’s (mine) understanding of one chapter out of the whole Bible. On the other hand, it isn’t just something out of my head. As you noticed, I added Scriptures from other parts of the Bible. Studying the Bible as a whole over, in my case, a period of forty years, can result in a better understanding of it parts. 1 Corinthians 2:13 says, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” You have the Scriptures, the spiritual writings God gave us, compared with the teaching of the Holy Ghost within you, and you can compare them. I don’t say I’ve studied the Bible forty years to be proud, just to make a point. That’s a lot of water running through my sieve. That’s a lot of washing my dish, a lot of soap and water. It’s bound to have an effect.

But if you keep on looking at Christianity as a matter of opinion and rarely open up that Book to see what it says about what you think or feel or want, well, what does that say about your sieve, your dirty dish? Still dirty, huh? Start working on getting it clean, right now!

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Comments on The Little Prince by Antoine de Sainte-Exupery

“But if you tame me, my life will be filled with sunshine. …”
The fox to the Little Prince in the story of that name by Antoine de Sainte-Exupery

People have tried to make me like The Little Prince for many years. I have read excerpts from it. Usually I don’t even respond when people quote from it. They seem to know it very well and love it. Some of them are believers. I haven’t read the whole thing, and I didn’t feel qualified to comment.

This is going to anger some people, perhaps hurt some feelings. Since the first time I heard anything from it I knew it was a bad story, with a bad philosophy. It was never a charming fantasy to me. Today someone who is my friend quoted from it again, and I suddenly realized what I’ve been needing to say about it.

The fox claims he wanted to be tamed. He promised to love the Little Prince and said that their relationship would make him better. Unfortunately, this is not the way it works in real life. The following describes people who asked God to give them laws and promised to obey them.

And all the people answered together, and said, “All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.” And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD. Exodus 19:8

Isaiah later recounts how God dealt with His chosen people, how they returned His love and care for them.

Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard.
My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
Isaiah 5:1-7

This is one of those passages hated by people who want a God of love. Even in the Scriptures, people questioned God’s judgment on their sin. Man asked to be tamed, whether by promising to follow the law or by accepting the atonement of Christ and becoming a believer. Part of the process is the purging of sin and rebellion and the purifying of a vessel fit for the Master’s use. But man squirms under this taming and instead invents a god that will be all loving and pleasant, one that will make him special, unique, important like the Little Prince’s rose.

“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye,” says the fox in the same part of the story. Yet the Scriptures say, “The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

I’m sorry, you who love The Little Prince. I can’t let it go as a charming fantasy. It’s philosophy. Everyone admits that. And I have to stand by my original assessment. It’s a bad story, with a bad philosophy.

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The Conflict of the Ages

Every good writing teacher tells us to narrow our topic because the sure sign of a novice is a paper entitled “The Universe and Everything in It.” Yet The Conflict of the Ages can rightfully include every thought every man has ever made. Augustine’s City of God, John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion and Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae are three attempts at this daunting task, yet they are incomplete. This brief overview, The Conflict of the Ages, will include information not available to Augustine, John Calvin or Thomas Aquinas. I also hope, by the grace of God, to make this much shorter work easier to understand for the modern mind. All Scripture references are from the KJV, unless otherwise noted.

The Conflict of the Ages references hundreds of authors, yet one source needs special mention. The website Sacred Texts by J.B. Hare is the largest collection of public domain material of which I am aware. The entire website of over one thousand books is available for purchase on either CD ROM or DVD ROM. All of the ancient texts I source are public domain books from this collection. A problem with this or any other collection is proving the validity of the primary sources. Though I do not know anything about J. B. Hare, except the information posted on his website, I believe that he faithfully and accurately scanned the texts. The problem is, are the texts reliable? Since they are public domain, they are older and sometimes not the latest translations. I am confident, however, that they are acceptable. Some sources I use are books where Westerners lived among a tribe and wrote down oral traditions. Though we trust that the authors accurately recorded the oral traditions, how much ‘contamination’ with outside influences shaped these oral traditions? The Lore of the Whare-Wananga, a New Zealand tribe, is well documented by the translator S. Percy Smith to be older than outside influences and free of ‘contamination.’  Myths of the Cherokee by James Mooney, however, was published in 1900 after more than 250 years of wars and close contact with outsiders. The level of outside influence on the oral traditions of the North American Indians is impossible to measure or deny.

Introduction

I. Desire and Interest

No power on earth can substitute for desire and interest. In the oldest written human record, The Epic of Gilgamesh, men are controlled by gods and goddesses through their desires. Children who want something can do unimaginable amounts of work to fulfill their desires when no amount of coercion can force them to fulfill their responsibilities. God has given us the responsibility is to control our desires.

A. Personal Responsibility

Some responsibilities we can ignore and others can do them for us, such as washing dishes or taking out the trash. Some can do other responsibilities for us with great difficulty, such as bathing an invalid. But some responsibilities cannot be done by anyone else. No one can memorize for us. No one else can change our will. Other people can change circumstances to force us to do something against our will, but no one can honestly change another person’s will.

1. Get Wisdom and Understanding

The purpose of this is to help us obey the command Solomon wrote in Proverbs 4:7. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” The way Solomon uses the word wisdom is close to our idea of skill. It means a combination of the knowledge necessary for a task and the discipline to do the task correctly. Solomon exhorts us to use all of our strength and ability to become knowledgeable and skillful in doing what is right and best. He put it another way in Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

2. Study Commanded

However, even when we have no burning desire, we are still commanded to sturdy. 2 Timothy 2:15: :Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” This is not referring to bookwork only, but is similar to what Solomon calls wisdom. It means learning what is right and doing what is right. This is a little clearer in Paul’s admonition in 1 Thessalonians 4:1: “Study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.”

3. Keep at it; a little at a time

Isaiah said in 28:10 and 13, “Precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” A strict interpretation of the passage is Israelites listening to another language in captivity. However, the same principles apply to any type of study, even involuntary. Keep at it, a little at a time.

B. Attitude of the World

Charles Stanley has often said that attitude is what controls us, that it is the most important thing in our lives. The attitude of the world is self indulgence, pleasure. Self-discipline is only important when the end result is greater pleasure.

1. Love not the World

I John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. The attitude of self-indulgence is at war with the love of God. This is a simple, though difficult, decision which everyone must make. 1 John 2:17: “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

2. Learn not the way of the heathen

Jeremiah 10:2: “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen.” Where John writes about the attitude of the world, Jeremiah writes about that attitude carried out into action. Once again a simple, though difficult command.

C. Study is difficult

Some people might find study a way of escaping other responsibilities. A very tiny number of people find study enjoyable. Most people, however, would rather do just about anything rather than study. Remaining focused on the subject of study is tiring and difficult.

1. No end to book.

Solomon said, in Ecclesiastes 12:12, “Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” No one has the time to do all the studying he believes that he should. Other responsibilities interfere. No one could have ever read all the books he should have. There simply are too many books and life is too short.

2. Study wearies the flesh

Study is one of the most fatiguing tasks God has given to the children of men. He has given us the responsibility to balance the tasks in our lives for His glory. But just because a task is difficult does not mean that we should ignore it.

II. Honesty

Proverbs 23:23: “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. “

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

Honesty and truth are similar, but not quite the same. Diogenes searched for an honest man, yet he never claimed to be one. Searching for honesty in others is certainly frustrating, but searching for truth can be quite fulfilling. Truth is an absolute, independent of the sinner. Honesty is a character trait. Since we are all sinners, each of us can be honest and truthful at one time and dishonest at another. A man unfaithful to his wife might be trustworthy with large amounts of money. A woman who lies to get a promotion at work might never even consider stealing from that same employer.

A. We are self-deceived.

Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

I John 1:8-10: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

We are born self-deceived and nothing we can do will change our basic nature.

1. We do what we want to do: Pride

Putting our own desires ahead of doing or thinking what is right is the essence of pride. Monks in the Middle Ages who gave up all their personal goods and rights would fight over a pen, simply because it was assigned to them. Apart from yielding to the control of the Holy Spirit, we are all proud. We ignore our pride by looking for pride in others.

2. What we want to do is not what is best.

This is a more subtle form of pride. We choose to do something that we are convinced is best, simply because it is what we want to do. The first and more obvious form of pride is simply doing what we want. This is convincing ourselves, and often others, that our course of action is best. True love is doing what is best for the ones we love. It is also honest.

B. Honesty is the greatest need on earth.

Complete honesty will begin by admitting that we are sinners and finish in Jesus Christ. Without honesty, neither individuals nor the human race has any hope. Wars are the result of national dishonesty. Endless fights are the result of personal dishonesty. Dishonesty is the root cause for personal destruction. Dishonesty is the root cause for family disintegration, national disintegration and ultimately, wars.

C. According to the Word of God, everyone who was ever born or ever will be born falls into one of three categories.

1. Believer

The Bible is a record of believers. Adam is a believer. So also are Noah, Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, Daniel, John, Mary, Peter, Paul and many more. They are also, as we are, sinners. Their sins are recorded along with their faith.

2. Unbeliever

The Bible is a record of triumph over unbelievers. Balak, Goliath, Jezebel and her prophets of Baal, Sennacherib, the Philistines, Tobiah and many others openly defied the living God. Their destruction is accurately recorded.

3. Compromiser

These are men who knew the Living God and chose to rebel against Him. Today we might say that these are men who want their freedom. Lot, Balaam, Samson, Saul the first king of Israel and Esau fall into this category. Without additional revelation, it is not possible to know if these men were believers or not. Their sins destroyed others and their life stories are great tragedies.

III. Tools

Very few people who look at beautiful cabinets wonder what kind of tools made them. Like those cabinets, very few people who look at our lives will wonder what kind of tools shaped us into what we are today. Tools, and skillful use of those tools, however, are essential for shaping us. We must not get wrapped up in the tools themselves, but keep our eyes focused on the ultimate goal, the ‘finished product.’

A. Designed for unbelievers or weak believers

If we look at ourselves honestly, each of us must admit that in at least some area of his life he is a weak believer. Only pride will toss aside these tools with the attitude of ‘I have progressed beyond this.’

1. Apologetics: Francis Schaeffer, Josh Mac Dowell

The science of Apologetics is the systematic defense of the Faith. It does not mean to apologize for. I am not endorsing any of the men I mention simply because I do not know enough about them. All men change from day to day. I am, however, endorsing these books. Josh MacDowell wrote two excellent books, Evidence that Demands a Verdict and More Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Both books now have been combined into The New evidence that Demands a Verdict. These books use an outline format that makes the information easy to understand. It is similar in format to many doctrines books, with a lot of information in a small space.

Francis Schaeffer, who is now with the Lord, wrote many books in prose. His books are easy to read, though the subject matter is difficult. His major apologetic work is The God Who Is There. Francis Schaeffer not only shows that God exists, but also that He is a God of Love. Each work of his that I have read remained focus on his main point and was a delight to read. If you do not enjoy outlines, I highly recommend Francis Schaeffer.

I realize that most people either skimmed over or skipped entirely my emphasis on honesty and the dangers of pride. The following is one example of why honesty and avoiding pride are so important. The source of this piece is the website http://www.infidels.org. Jeffrey Jay Lowder lists himself as editor. “Many readers will recognize me as the editor of a comprehensive Internet rebuttal to Volume I of McDowell’s Evidence. Yet McDowell completely ignored our criticisms in his “fully updated” New Evidence. This cannot be due to ignorance. I have personally tried to correspond with Mr. McDowell twice; each time I received no acknowledgement.” When I clicked on the rebuttal, I found a series of authors, with Mr Lowder writing the introduction. In the introduction he writes that the purpose for writing these articles is that “ETDAV is also arguably the most influential Christian apologetics book on the Internet, which is what led the Internet Infidels to write The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell’s “Evidence”.” The first author, Farrell Till, writes in his opening paragraph:

“In ETDAV, McDowell begins his defense of the Bible with the claim that it is unique. He parades before us an array of ‘scholars’ to testify to various features of the Bible that qualify it to be considered ‘different from all others [books],’ as if anyone would seriously try to deny that the Bible is unique, i.e., different from all others. At the very beginning of my analysis of this chapter of ETDAV, I will concede that the Bible is undeniably unique. Certainly, there is no other book like it, but this fact, as we will see, becomes more of an embarrassment to the Bible than proof of its divine origin.”

This is character assassination, a tactic they frequently use, as well as flawed logic. The poor writing style makes any kind of an intelligent response difficult. Rather than angering these people with points they do not understand, we need to look at the real issue, honesty.

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