viz: Walking In The Spirit
It's just about impossible to talk about Xian piety without somebody's nose getting a little bent because this topic deals with personal behavior. Human nature typically becomes defensive, and easily insulted and enraged in a discussion like this one; so consider it a fair warning for what to expect ahead. If you find your emotions getting the best of you; take a break and come back later. There's quite a bit of information in this chapter, and it doesn't have to be completed all in one sitting.
Walk In The Spirit
●Gen 17:1 ...When Abram was ninety-nine years old, YHVH appeared to him and said; I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.
One of the most common complaints we hear from non Xians is about someone they know who claims to be a born-again Christian and the meanwhile behaves like a heathen. Is that normal? No it's not. That heathen Christian needs to get down to business and clean up their act.
What we're going to talk about in this chapter; is not about what to do to get to Heaven, but rather, how born-again Christians ought to conduct themselves while waiting to leave and go there. If you're not sure about how to get a ticket to Heaven, stop here and first read The Passion; Why Did It Happen, and The Stages Of Salvation to make sure you're not inadvertently on the outside looking in. It's a very common error for aspiring Christians to get the cart before the horse and work on their piety in order to get to Heaven. But New Testament Christians practice piety *because they're going to Heaven, not so's they can maybe go to Heaven.
●Eph 2:10 ..For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
●Rom 12:1-2 …And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice— the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
●Eph 4:1 …As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
●1Pet 4:1-4 …Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer to satisfy human longings, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have tasted popular culture, having pursued a course of licentiousness, longings, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and flagitious idolatries.
●1John 1:3-7 ...We are telling you about what we ourselves have actually seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His son, Jesus Christ... This is the message He has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God while we live in darkness. We are not living in the truth.
The word *fellowship is derived from the Greek word koinonia (koy-nohn-ee'-ah; and means partnership. Here's an example of partnership:
Abraham and his nephew Lot were both righteous men (2Pet 2:7) and neither went to Hell. But of the two, only Abraham lived in fellowship with God. Thus providence worked to Abraham's benefit— but not so for Lot; no, there was no providence because he went out on his own down there to the city of Sodom; and there's no record of his ever praying and building altars like his uncle did; and even when The Lord advised him to flee into the mountains to escape Sodom's destruction; Lot resisted and went to a nearby town instead. So although Lot was a righteous man, he had zero fellowship with God; and seemed totally uninterested in nurturing fellowship with God. Spiritually, Lot was a loner; and I suspect he actually resented God's meddling in his affairs.
●Ps 32:8-9 ...I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.
We have a chapter of its own devoted to prayer. In this location, we would only like to say that if you prefer to keep your communications with God to a bare minimum, that's your decision and nobody has a right to hold it against you. However; the one topic you should never remain silent about is your own personal sins.
●1John 1:8-10 ...If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we insinuate that He's a liar and that His testimony has no place in our lives.
As they progress in the Christian life, most Christians eventually discover on their own that being honest with God about yourself really pays off.
The New Testament Greek word for *hypocrite is hupokrites (hoop-ok-ree-tace'); which means: an actor, under an assumed character (stage-player). Actors make their livings by pretending to be someone other than themselves. So you could never characterize an actor in-character as a person of integrity; no, people of integrity never play a role; viz: they don't pretend to be someone other than themselves.
Hypocrisy is an easy sin to fall into because the human mind is so naturally prone to brushing aside the reality of who we really are.
●Jas 1:22-25 ...And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don't obey, you are only fooling yourself. For if you just listen and don't obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you keep looking steadily into God's perfect teachings—the teachings that sets you free— and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
According to James' own personal testimony, hypocrites should not expect providence to work to their advantage.
●Gen 4:3-4a …In the course of time, Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the soil; and Abel, for his part, brought the choicest of the firstlings of his flock. The Lord paid heed to Abel and his offering, but to Cain and his offering he paid no heed.
Whether produce or livestock is the proper offering is not the issue here. In making a determination regarding the gifts, God evaluated the men themselves first. The Lord respected Abel, therefore He respected Abel's gift too. But although God very likely had been satisfied with Cain in the past, this time there was something wrong.
Cain was of a good family. He wasn't the product of poverty or an inner city barrio or dilapidated public housing. He wasn't in a gang, didn't carry a gun, smoke, drink, take dope, gamble or chase women. He was very religious and worshipped the exact same god that his brother worshipped, and the rituals he observed were correct and timely. Cain worked for a living in an honest profession. He wasn't a crook, wasn't a fraud, wasn't lazy, nor did he associate with a Godless crowd. The man did everything a model citizen is supposed to do; yet he, and his gift, were soundly rejected. Why?
Although God does everything in complete agreement with wisdom and moral conscience; He still has feelings. Just imagine a husband ignoring and abusing his wife all year long and then expecting her to forget all that when he brings home some flowers and an anniversary gift once a year. It's enough to make you puke, and to boil with indignation against husbands who do that sort of thing.
Well, that is what Cain was doing to God. He was like many pious pew warmers who make a point of going to church and synagogue every week-end; praying the prayers, and singing the hymns of praise right along with everyone else. When the collection is taken, they always pitch in. They never miss festivals nor holy days of obligation; but then they do as they please the remainder of the year. They actually think that showing up on important worship days, praying, and singing and giving, are supposed to make up for their wicked ways. NOT!
God was very displeased in the past with His people for that very thing. Many faithfully attended Temple services, they prayed regularly, and were careful to observe all the festivals and the holy days, and brought the correct oblations in abundance. They were in fact faithfully practicing the one true God-given religion. But their personal lives and business practices disgusted The Lord and insulted His ideals; therefore he rejected every one of their gifts, their prayers, and every bit of their church attendance.
●Isa 1:11-20 …What need have I of all your sacrifices? says the Lord. I am sated with burnt offerings of rams, and suet of fatlings, and blood of bulls; and I have no delight in lambs and he-goats. That you come to appear before Me— who asked that of you? Trample My courts no more; bringing oblations is futile, incense is offensive to Me. New moon and sabbath, proclaiming of solemnities, assemblies with iniquity, I cannot abide. Your new moons and fixed seasons fill Me with loathing; they are become a burden to Me, I cannot endure them.
…And when you lift up your hands, I will turn My eyes away from you; though you pray at length, I will not listen. Your hands are stained with crime— wash yourselves clean; put your evil doings away from My sight. Cease to do evil; learn to do good. Devote yourselves to justice; aid the wronged. Uphold the rights of the orphan; defend the cause of the widow.
Isaiah wasn't the only prophet who tongue-lashed his people for their two-faced morality.
●Hos 6:6 ...For I desire goodness, not sacrifice; and obedience to God, rather than burnt offerings.
●Hos 14:2-3 …Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have fallen because of your sin. Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him: “Forgive all guilt and accept what is good; instead of [offering] bulls we will pay the vows of our lips."
●Ecc 5:3-4 …When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. For He has no pleasure in fools; what you vow, fulfill. It is better not to vow at all than to vow and not fulfill. Don't let your mouth bring you into disfavor, and don't plead before the messenger that it was an error, but fear God; else God may be angered by your talk and destroy your possessions.
David too; recognized the hypocrisy of gifts offered by unrighteous hands.
●Ps 51:18-21 …You do not want me to bring sacrifices; You do not desire burnt offerings; true sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit; God, You will not despise a contrite and crushed heart. May it please You to make Zion prosper; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then You will want sacrifices offered in righteousness, burnt and whole offerings; then bulls will be offered on Your altar.
A wicked person's tithes and offerings are, de facto, oblations of sin.
●Pro 15:8-9 …The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright pleases Him. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves him who pursues righteousness.
●Pro 21:27 …The sacrifice of the wicked man is an abomination, the more so as he offers it in depravity.
Just exactly what it was in Cain's life that caused the Lord to lose respect for Cain is uncertain; however it was very likely friction between him and his brother Abel that offended God enough to refuse Cain's gift. The Lord and Master of New Testament Christianity taught that it's incorrect to worship God when the worshipper has wronged their brother in some way.
●Matt 5:23-24 …Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Maybe you aren't a murder, maybe you aren't a car thief, maybe you aren't an embezzler, maybe you aren't a serial killer; maybe you aren't gay and/or lesbian, maybe you aren't running from the law, maybe you aren't a corporate crook, maybe you aren't into gangs and drugs; but are you in the habit of hurting people with demeaning comments and thoughtless remarks? Are you sarcastic? Are you given to road rage? Do you fail to bring your car to a complete halt at Stop signs? Do you jay-walk? Do you take delight in chafing and ridiculing people, and pointing out their faults and errors? Do you lie awake nights arguing with people over and over in your head? Could you be characterized as a personality given to rivalry and grudging? Do you break promises? Do you tell half truths? Do you falsify information? Do you leave people with false impressions? Are you and members of your family often at each other's throats? Too bad; because all those kinds of behaviors annul both your church attendance and your church worship— you're abusing the system, and making my savior sick to His tummy.
●Rev 3:15-17 ...I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!
●2Cor 13:5 …Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
I've found that a very good way to test the quality of your Christianity is to run it past some of Christ's beatitudes.
●Matt 5:3 …Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
To be "poor in spirit" is just the opposite of being competitive, assertive and confrontational. You could hardly call opinionated people poor in spirit. The arrogant, the insolent, the bigoted, and those infected with superiority complexes and a spirit of rivalry wouldn't be categorized as poor in spirit either.
●Matt 5:5 …Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Law breakers, such as jay-walkers, speeders, and those who fail to bring their car to a complete halt at Stop signs, are not meek people. Neither are anarchists, nor the head-strong who play by their own rules. Those kinds of Christians could never be categorized as meek. True meekness submits itself to higher authorities; it's a team player, and doesn't demand its own way.
●Matt 5:7 …Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
The New Testament Greek word for *merciful is eleemon (el-eh-ay'-mone) which means: actively compassionate.
Webster's defines *compassion as: a sympathetic consciousness of others' distress coupled with a desire to alleviate it; viz: pity, sympathy, empathy, and commiseration (e.g. Luke 10:30-37).
The opposite of compassionate would be: indifferent, cruel, harsh, merciless; thoughtless, implacable, ruthless, and relentless.
A common mistake among Bible students is to assume that eleemon means to be forgiving. But that's not even close. Anybody can exercise forgiveness, but only a truly sensitive person can be actively compassionate.
For example; take the way I feel about my name; which is Weber— not Webby, nor Webfoot, nor Webhead; and it's spelled with one B, not two. I have expressed my feelings about incorrect spelling, and about being called those other names, time and time again with certain people and have yet to see them respond with compassion for my feelings; but have only been subjected to more and more cruel taunting; and it comes from people professing to belong to the largest Christian denomination in the world— Roman Catholicism, the very centerpiece of worldwide Christianity: from a people who profess to admire Jesus' mom, yet who consistently fail to exemplify her behavior.
Heaven is a place of peace; a place where cruel, thoughtless, insensitive people just don't fit in. They wouldn't like it there anyway, because they would suffer unbearable frustration if they couldn't be themselves whenever they wanted.
●Matt 5:8 …Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Being pure in heart doesn't necessarily mean you never have a dirty thought. Purity implies integrity, honesty, and sincerity— pureness of heart is just the opposite of deceit, fraud, dissembling, ulterior motives, half truths, hypocrisy, and lying.
●Matt 5:9 …Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
There are some people in this world who are simply implacable. They refuse to bury the hatchet and move on. No, for them, rivalry is a way of life: every disagreement is an act of war— they're thin-skinned, emotional, reactive, and thrive on sarcasm, complaining, criticizing, bickering, endless debate, and telling other people what to do.
According to Christ, the Son Of God; people who fail to measure up to the beatitudes, have failed to obtain the blessings; viz; they will not get the kingdom, they will not inherit the earth, they will not obtain mercy, they will not see God, and they will not be called the sons of God.
There's a safety net available for everybody failing to measure up to the Beatitudes. Click Here and Here
Born-again Christians come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some of us were in trouble with the law. Others were active in the armed forces. Some live in the city, and some live in the country. Some of us are very educated, and others have no more IQ than Forrest Gump. Others work in rugged blue collar trades, and many are white collar. Two of the most common vices found in human beings, regardless of their ethnicity or their background, are lies and profanity. They seem to go together like red beans and rice. But born-again Christians have to take the initiative to break those habits when they profess to follow Christ.
●Ps 103:7 ...He who deals deceitfully shall not live in my house; he who speaks untruth shall not stand before my eyes.
●Col 3:8-9 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.
Born-again Christians are supposed to have a heart; one that is friendly, outgoing, and kind. Kindness holds a very high priority with God; and He places its value above and beyond the value of religious rituals.
●Matt 5:7 …Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
●Hos 6:6 ...For I desire goodness, not sacrifice; obedience to God, rather than burnt offerings.
Here's the wording of the new covenant that is the foundation of the new birth for born-again Christians.
●Eze 36:26-27 And I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit into you: I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh; and I will put My spirit into you. Thus I will cause you to follow My laws and faithfully to observe My rules.
Peter had something to say about that too.
●2Pet 1:2-9 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
...For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
So if you know of a touchy Christian with a bad temper and tends to fly off the handle, and is somewhat cruel, thoughtless, intolerant, insensitive, and indifferent to people's feelings; you might remind them who their role model is.
●Eph 5:1-2 …Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children.
Webster's defines *quarrelling as an altercation; viz: verbal conflict between antagonists.
●Gal 5:14-15 …For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always biting and devouring one another; watch out! Beware of entirely consuming one another.
What you see there in that verse is Christian cannibalism via the knives and forks of quarrelling, which some professing Xians seem to forget is Christ-less and carnal; the activity of a worldly, depraved mind.
●Rom 1:28-29 …Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, ....quarrelling, and malice.
●Rom 13:11-13 …The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in ....quarrelling
●1Cor 3:3 …You are still worldly. For since there is ....quarreling among you, are you not worldly?
●Gal 5:19-20 …Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these ....quarrelling
Those verses, of course, are not meant to instruct non-Christians, but rather, are meant for people who believe themselves to be Christians since men like Paul wrote their letters to believers, not to unbelievers. So, it goes to show that professing Xians, most especially right here on Beliefnet's very own Christian message boards, are just as prone to the sin of quarrelling as outsiders; and sometimes even more so.
But just exactly what is it that turns an otherwise perfectly good debate into a quarrel? I think it's the introduction of rivalry and malice that does it; most especially rivalry, which Webster's defines as: competition and warfare.
Webster's defines malice as: a desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another; which implies a deep-seated often unexplainable desire to see another suffer. In other words, people overtaken by malice delight in hurting people; and since they can't get to you physically without committing a crime, rivals target your feelings.
Words as weapons; sharper than knives
INXS • Devil Inside
Of all the evil characteristics of human nature, I would have to say that rivalry is one of the very worst; even far worse than the spirits of jealousy, envy, spite, and resentment.
It was a spirit of rivalry that led to Abel's murder, and it was a spirit of rivalry that led to Jesus' arrest and the subsequent miscarriage of justice that resulted in his crucifixion.
Although jealousy and rivalry are related, the first is somewhat different than the second. Jealousy is related to possessiveness, while rivalry is related to one's reaction to competition. Here's an example of what I mean.
●1Cor 10:21-22 …You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord's Table and at the table of demons, too. What? Do you dare to rouse the Lord's jealousy as Israel did? Do you think we are stronger than He?
In that passage, the New Testament Greek word for "rouse jealousy" is parazeloo (par-ad-zay-lo'-o); which means: to provoke to rivalry.
Roman Catholicism's veneration of Jesus' mom is a good example of that verse worked out in real life. At the epicenter of New Testament Christianity is a man named Jesus Christ. But at the epicenter of Catholic Christianity is the woman who gave birth to the man. It's just a d_mn shame when the Christ of New Testament Christianity has to compete with his own mother for the loyalties and affections of people mouthing to be his faithful followers.
So then, why is it is okay for The Lord to be a rival, but not okay for humans to be a rival? Well… that's simple. The Bible's God doesn't respond to competition in the same way that humans do. Human rivalry can get very ugly because humans can't stop competition from affecting their feelings, and making them become malicious, spiteful, envious, critical, and resentful. But the Bible's God is never any of those. The spirit of His responses to competition are much different than the sprit of human responses.
●Num 12:1-3 …Miriam and Aaron began to speak against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. "Has The Lord spoken only through Moses?" they asked. "Hasn't he also spoken through us?" And The Lord heard this. (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
What they're really saying is; "Our brother is a sanctimonious ass and needs to come down off his high horse. He's no better than us though he may think he is." (chuckle) Some people just hate it whenever they're made to feel less than equal to others; and in this case, Miriam and Aaron were Moses' blood kin. Sibling rivalry is one of the most destructive passions in human nature; e.g. Cain and Abel.
The Old Testament Hebrew word for *humble in Num 12:3 is `anav (aw-nawv'); which means: depressed; which can imply needy, poor, and/or humble; viz: gentle in mind; i.e. lacking a superiority complex.
`anav is sometimes translated *meek.
Anybody who has studied Moses' life knows that the man was anything but a milk toast; far from it. Moses was actually quite strong and forceful. But what's missing in Moses' response to his kin's criticism is recrimination; which Webster's defines as: a retaliatory accusation; also the making of such accusations.
Recriminations are a very natural response to criticism, and so spontaneous that most of us would never consider them to be a sin. However, recriminations are emotional and reactive rather than rational and objective. Though it may seem an intelligent tactic during a quarrel to point out your accusers own faults— or to point the finger at somebody as an example and say; Well, what about so and so? —in reality, recriminations are a childish defense, and do nothing to change the facts and/or mitigate one's own culpability.
Professing Xians who practice recrimination are doing a poor job of following their Lord and Master's example.
●1Pet 2:21-23 …Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps …He did not retaliate when he was vilified.
Jesus had no qualms about vilifying the opposition (e.g. Matt 23:13-35), but he never did it with the intent to compare himself to others and thereby somehow diminish his own personal culpability. When you're wrong, you're wrong; so professing Xians are supposed to take it like The Man and not drag others through the mud just to white-wash their own faults.
One of the more popular humanistic responses to mankind's impending judgment is that according to the Old Testament, God himself is a warlord who is not above killing innocent women and children. My reply? Recriminations are futile. If people are hoping to somehow mitigate the punishments coming to them for their own sins by accusing the Bible's God of wrongdoing, I can easily guarantee that tactic will fail in court. God won't be the one on trial: they'll be, and He'll have the advantage of being on the king's side of the bench, and they the vassal's.
There's plenty of secular attention given to spousal abuse and to child abuse; but the only place you'll find much attention given to parental abuse is in the Bible.
●Ex 20:12 ...Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which The Lord thy God gives thee.
●Eph 6:2-3 ...Honor your father and mother— which is the first commandment with a promise —that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.
The New Testament Greek word for *honor is timao (tim-ah'-o) which means: to prize; viz: fix a valuation upon; by implication, to revere.
It should go without saying that Christian men and women who abuse their parents with insults, animosity, sarcasm, contempt, thoughtless remarks, demeaning comments, mockery, retorts, quarrelling, fault finding, and ridicule are failing to revere their mom and dad; and placing their own selves in danger of a shortened life and losing out on the benefits of providence. Grown children need to realize that in the economy of God; parents aren't beer buddies that can be carelessly treated like rank and file morons. Any Christian man or woman who feels otherwise is just plain ignorant and really asking for big trouble.
Certain types of parental abuse warrant the death penalty.
Assault & Battery
If you, as a professing Christian man or woman, are having troubles in your life; it might pay to stop and reflect on the way you've been treating your parents. That just might be the root cause of some of your difficulty.
●Gal 6:7 ...Don't be fooled into thinking you can dismiss God. A man reaps what he sows.
If born-again Christians aren't cautious, they can be easily taken advantage of by people who are very good at wielding certain portions of Jesus' teachings to protect themselves from taking responsibility for their actions.
While grudging is out of the question for born-again Christians; so is gratuitous forgiveness because it isn't right to let people off without holding them accountable for their actions.
● Pro 19:19 . . A man of wrath must pay the penalty. If you protect him, you will only have to do it again.
Here, in a nutshell, is the protocol for forgiveness.
●Then Peter came to him and asked: Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? No! Jesus replied; seventy times seven! Take heed to yourselves: If your brother trespasses against you, admonish him; and if he reconsiders, forgive him. And if he trespasses against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying: I was wrong; you shall forgive him. If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matt 18:21-22, Luke 17:3-4, Matt 6:14-15) .
Forgiveness then, is dependent upon two prerequisites.
1) The "sin" must be a personal offense. Crime does not qualify.
● Mat 18:21 . . Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?
● Luke 17:3 . . If your brother sins against you
2) The offender must own his wrong and seek reconciliation with the person they offended.
● Luke 17:3 . . if he repents, forgive him.
In the event of the commission of a crime, the incident becomes a matter for the cops and the courts.
● Rom 13:3-4 . . For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.
So then, in order to obtain forgiveness from either God or man, the offender has to take the initiative to first admit their guilt, and then seek reconciliation.
● 1John 1:9 . . If we confess our sins, He is faithful, and just, to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
So then, since God himself isn't a gratuitous forgiver, then I refuse to be one myself. People have got to own up to their faults first before they expect me to be lenient with their behavior; and I think it's fair to expect offenders to make restitution for any damages they've caused either to my pocket book or to my private property.
Question: Did Christ say those 490 sins are different sins, or could I commit the very same sin 490 times over?
Well… if I could commit 490 different sins in one day, and then 490 different sins the next day, for a whole week, it would add up to 3,430 different sins per week, and roughly 13,720 different sins per month. That would be quite an amazing accomplishment because I don't even know of that many different sins to begin with, so I would probably be confessing the very same ones many times over in order to reach my limit of 13,720 sins per month.
In point of fact, the only requirement to meet for obtaining forgiveness is to admit your guilt and sincerely seek reconciliation. Each and every time a sinner does that, God forgives. He has no choice to forgive because in order to deny me forgiveness; He would have to brush aside 1John 1:9; thus seriously compromising His own integrity. As long as I follow the protocol, God is forced to forgive in order to protect His reputation as a man of His word.
●1John 1:8-10 …If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful, and just, to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.
(In order to "justly" forgive, it is necessary for God to first comply with His own Law's demands for retribution. Jesus fulfilled the retribution part so that God's hands are now untied and He is at liberty to pardon offenders just as if it were themselves who died on the cross for thei sins)
Objection: But aren't repetitious confessions actually abusing the system
You could ask the very same question of the Laver that the Levitical priests used each day prior to beginning their daily ministry in The Temple (Ex 30:18-21). No, that is not abusing the system, that is using the system for what it was intended; to wash up in order to serve God acceptably.
●John 13:8 ...If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
Objection: But Jesus didn't wait for his executioners to admit their guilt nor to seek reconciliation before forgiving them.
Where did you see Jesus forgiving his executioners? His prayer (Luke 23:34) wasn't an act of forgiveness, but an act of intercession. Just think what the world was doing that day! It was guilty of felony assault and battery on a divine being; and of murdering Almighty God's very own heir apparent; His own next of kin, the one who was to inherit the universe and rule the whole world! The magnitude of that deed is beyond comprehension. If Jesus had held his peace, the whole universe— dark matter and all —might have gone up in flames that very day.
Although God was subsequently lenient with the Jews, He didn't let them off. In point of fact, Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, held them responsible for Jesus' death and accused them all of murder (Acts 7:52). And Jesus' parable of the vineyard (Matt 21:33-44) came true. Vespasian's son Titus conquered Jerusalem in 70AD and demolished The Temple; meanwhile more than a million Jews were slain throughout the land of Israel during the revolt of 66AD – 73AD. The misery of the Jews went on for many years afterwards as they were smashed, conquered, assimilated, relocated, holocausted, and trodden down of the Gentiles all the way to 1947AD. Thus the Jews got their wish: "Let his blood be upon us and upon our children." (Matt 27:24-25)
Objection: How can you possibly imply that God is an unforgiving person? Isn't that contrary to Jesus' teachings about love and brotherhood?
According to the personal testimony of the lord and master of New Testament Christianity, the majority of the human race is going to Hell (Matt 7:13-14, Matt 22:14). So then, there are literally millions of people in Hell right this very moment, even as we speak, whom God is never, ever going to forgive. No, they will stay unforgiven forever. Since that's the case, I do not believe I have to grant a gratuitous pardon to everyone who trespasses against me because not even God is doing that. No, it is absolutely essential that people first admit their guilt and sincerely seek reconciliation before The Almighty will absolve them; (e.g. Luke 23:40-43, Luke 18:10-14). That's the reality.
The tax collector at Luke 18:10-14 was absolved because he admitted his guilt and sought reconciliation. The convict at Luke 23:40-43 was absolved because he did the same thing: admitted his guilt and sought reconciliation. That's the protocol.
Objection: What if I just can't forgive someone's actions no matter how much they admit their guilt and seek reconciliation? How will that effect my salvation as a born-again Christian?
Your salvation will not be effected. However, your fellowship with God will be hampered. Please click Here and then Here.
●Matt 6:14-15 ...For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Refusing to forgive your offenders prevents God from forgiving you. This doesn't imply that your salvation is in jeopardy. No, your fellowship with God is what will suffer. We cannot be right with God while being unforgiving toward others.
Unforgiven sin won't jeopardize a born-again Christian's salvation because it's a fellowship issue rather than a salvation issue. Here's a passage that clearly teaches that a born-again Christian's unforgiven sins are a fellowship issue.
●1John 1:5-10 …This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
●Matt 5:23-24 …Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
If a born-again Christian has wronged someone unjustly, then it's not right for them to put something in the basket on Sunday morning until they first take the initiative to right that wrong. In point of fact, I would have to say that God rejects their whole morning at church because of a wrong they did to someone. And next Sunday's worship will be rejected too, ad infinitum, until they've attempted a reconciliation with the person they wronged.
Forgiveness In The Workplace
The born-again Christian's workplace can be very stressful at times because some people are difficult to work with. The best way to deal with difficult people in the workplace is to adapt Jesus' instructions regarding church-life strife to your situation in the workplace (Matt 18:15-17).
In that situation, Jesus taught that if a fellow Christian offender refuses to admit their guilt, and seek reconciliation, then they should be summoned before church officers for a ruling on the matter. If they then still refuse to admit their guilt and seek reconciliation, they are to be ostracized and excommunicated. And I would have to say that if the excommunicated person insists on attending church even after an official decision, it would be appropriate to obtain a restraining order to keep them off the property.
If nothing is gained after trying one-on-one to resolve an issue with a trouble-maker in the workplace; it's time to bring management into the picture. Some people just have to be forced to straighten up, so it's wise to ask your immediate supervisor for a sit-down with yourself and the difficult employee. This is not easy; as some Christians are very peaceable and not very comfortable in confrontational situations. But current labor laws are on your side. Everyone has a right to work in a peaceful workplace. Just one difficult person can turn your workplace into a hostile environment in no time at all if you don't take the initiative to do something about it.
Courtesy; like its opposites, insulting and rude, is an arbitrary behavior. There is no universal consensus on what is, or what is not, discourteous; so it's defined mostly by the varying sensitivities of individual emotions; hence, behaviors like courteous, insulting, and rude are perceived and felt, rather than objectively defined. Courtesy is perceived differently by different kinds of people; with difficult people the ones who suffer the most in their daily life from what they perceive as discourtesy, insults, and rudeness because they're thin-skinned, pretentious, and vain; viz: easily offended.
Courtesy is neither a debt nor a liability; no, courtesy, like a compliment, is an undeserved gratuity. When we're courteous it's not because we owe people anything or even because they deserve special treatment; quite the contrary, we extend courtesy, we don't pay it like a mortgage or a tax bill, nor because the law demands it.
A rough-hewn definition of courtesy is: undeserved good will. When people begin demanding courtesy, then they've stepped outside the boundaries of courtesy into the realm of merit. People who demand courtesy are actually demanding veneration; which can be roughly defined as respect paid to worth. Not that there's anything wrong with veneration; I believe accolades and awards are valid pursuits; but they're out of place in the realm of courtesy. When you get to the point where you feel that you deserve courtesy, or deserve special treatment, or that others are being rude when they fail to accommodate your own feelings and wishes; then you have reduced people's good will to the level of wages. Wages are not a courtesy; no, wages are a compensation for performance; whereas courtesy is based entirely upon charity, and any attempt to earn it is an insult to the spirit of charity.
That same principle works to deeply insult God when people attempt to merit a safe passage to the other side by their personal piety rather than by simply accepting safe passage as an undeserved gratuity. It's an insult to the spirit of charity, and a grave error on the part of pious people. It's all the same as ranking Jesus' crucifixion as a common death that has no value whatsoever as an adequate ransom to rescue people's souls from the wrath of God. According to the lord and master of New Testament Christianity, people who feel that way about Christ's crucifixion are actually damned already; no waiting period.
●John 3:14-18 ...Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert [Num 21:5-9], so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God was so concerned for the world that he donated his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God didn't send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to rescue the world through him. Whoever has confidence in him is not condemned, but whoever doesn't, stands condemned already because he isn't trusting in the credibility of God's one and only Son.
●Eph 2:8-9 …God rescued you by His kindness and generosity when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it's a gratuity from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
I discussed courtesy is this negative fashion, not to encourage you to be courteous, but rather, to discourage you from demanding it. Courtesy is far more appreciated, and far more likely to be extended to you in an atmosphere of charity and free will. So then, don't demand courtesy from others. Wish for it, yes, but don't expect to receive it all the time because the moment you think you deserve it, that's when you become a candidate for veneration rather than courtesy.
Companions and Influences
Years ago, there used to be a saying going around in regards to computers that went something like this: Garbage in; Garbage out. In other words, what you let go in your head is going to eventually influence your thinking and your behavior whether you're conscious of it nor not.
An essential to success with parole, and recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, is to avoid their usual haunts and companions because sure enough, they will be drawn right back into their old habits.
●Prov 13:20 ...He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
●1Cor 15:33-34 ...Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character. Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God— I say this to your shame.
This matter of appropriate influences is so serious that God forbids associating with even fellow Christians who have bad habits.
●1Cor 5:9-13 ...I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you.
Bad company would have to include certain kinds of music and magazines; and especially popular talk show hosts, including those on regular radio and television as well as satellite. These people are very entertaining, but very worldly as well, and they will influence you in subtle ways and cause you to eventually compromise your own integrity and make you become not only annoying to God; but also quite useless for His purposes.
●2Tim 2:20-22 ...In a large house there are vessels not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
We're not saying you have to keep your nose buried in a Bible, or that you have to avoid the world entirely like some sort of sequestered Monk; all we're saying is choose your influences wisely.
●2Cor 6:14-15 ...Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Satan? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
Question: I've met this girl that I simply can't get out of my mind. Does Matt 5:27-29 say I'm committing adultery by wanting her?
NO! And here's why.
Jesus was a genetic Jew related to David and Abraham by blood; was raised by orthodox Jewish parents in an orthodox Jewish home; and was, by reason of his genetics, and his ritual circumcision, obligated to comply with every last drop of Old Testament Judaism. The religion that Christ believed and practiced wasn't Christianity; no, not even close: it was Old Testament Judaism; and it's reflected in the Sermon On The Mount.
●Matt 5:27-29 ...You have heard that it was said to those of old; You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Jesus' teaching is based upon an Old Testament commandment that forbids coveting anything, and everything, that belongs to your fellow man.
●Ex 20:17 …You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or burro, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Coveting, per se, isn't a sin because Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians to "eagerly covet" the best spiritual gifts (1Cor 12:31). To "eagerly covet" means you go after something with the full intention of obtaining it.
Neither Ex 20:17 nor Matt 5:27-28 condemn erotic fantasies nor a healthy libido, no, they condemn premeditated adultery— which quite naturally implies conspiracy to commit adultery —and adultery is a sin committed with married people; not with single people. That's an important difference, and one you should never forget.
The teaching isn't about the so-called evils of sexual desire, but about scheming to sleep with a married woman. For a man to even have a plan like that in his head is equivalent to having already implemented it. But as far as I know, it's okay for men to drool over married women all they want as long as they don't start scheming on one with the intention of actually having an affair with her.
Objection: You approve of drooling; when the commandments forbid coveting another man's wife?
Haven't you been listening? The commandments don't forbid drooling; they forbid coveting: and they don't just forbid coveting another man's wife; but they also forbid coveting another man's goods; in fact, coveting anything and everything that is another man's (Ex 20:17). But does that mean a man can't look across the street at his neighbor's Mercedes and drool over it, turning green with envy? Or that he can't gape at his neighbor's buxom young wife, undressing her with his eyes, and having erotic fantasies about her? No, covetousness doesn't imply that at all. Covetousness implies a man forming a plan in his head to take his neighbor's buxom young wife, and his Mercedes, away from him rather than getting his own.
Objection: The Bible says envy is wrong (Gal 5:21)
The New Testament Greek word for *envy at Gal 5:21 is phthonos (fthon'-os). That same Greek word is used to identify the motivation behind the Jewish leaders wanting Jesus dead (Matt 27:18).
The kind of envy Paul is talking about at Gal 5:21 is an ugly kind of envy; the very same kind of envy you'll find in the story of Cain's motivation for slaying his kid brother (1John 3:12). The good kind of envy is happy for its neighbor's blessings and wants some of those blessings for itself (e.g. 1Cor 12:31, 1Cor 14:39). The bad kind is rivalrous, bitter and resentful; and would like nothing better than to see its neighbor lose their blessings.
The influence of religions like Roman Catholicism have had the effect of making Jesus' teachings far more strict than they really are. It's teachings about human sexuality especially are abnormal, contrary to nature, and contrary to the Creator's design. If men everywhere were to stifle their interest in women, then this world's population would drop to zero in just about two generations.
●Prv 30:18-19 …There are three things that amaze me— no, four things I do not understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, and how a man loves a woman.
I've been married to the same girl going on 27+ years. In all those years, I've never cheated on her not one time. But was I tempted to cheat on her? Yes, I was, and I expect to be tempted again, because during those years of our marriage, I met some very interesting women: women who were better looking, and far younger, than my wife. But does that make me an adulterer? No. I walked the line. It's only when married men give in to their passions, and scheme to get involved with other women, that they become adulterers.
In the movie The Bridges Of Madison County, there's a precise moment when Meryl Streep makes a definite decision to initiate an affair with Clint Eastwood. That's a good example of Matt 5:27-29. Meryl was okay with Clint up till the moment of her decision; but from that moment on, she was an adulteress before they even slept together.
Forsaking All Others
It's common for wedding vows to contain the words; "forsaking all others". Who are those *others? Are they old flames? Are they current involvements? No doubt they're included; but it's mostly future interests. Marriage changes nothing in either a man or a woman's libido; and even if they're unaware of it lurking in the background, they never lose their craving to be with someone special. If anything, living with the opposite sex makes us more comfortable with them, and thus, more susceptible to quicker emotional connections with others.
Older married people lack much of the silly reticence that plagues young single people; and because of that, it is much, much easier for older married people to initiate warm friendships with the opposite sex (When I say "older" I just mean somebody who's been married for a while). This freedom from youthful inhibitions has its pluses and its minuses. As an older married man, my day to day female social contacts are far more satisfying now than when I was a young single guy. But there's an inherent risk of extramarital involvement that comes packaged with social ease that young guys (and young gals too) need to be made aware of lest it catch them totally unprepared to cope with it.
I'm sure you've heard the tired old cliché that there's just one special person for each of us: our so-called soul mate. That just isn't true. During a maturing adult's lifetime, they'll meet lots of others with whom they'll experience a chemistry just as strong, or even stronger, than the chemistry they originally felt for the person they married. Grown-ups can handle those temptations fairly easy while their spouses are relatively young. But as their spouses begin to age, to get boring, to gain weight, and to lose their appeal, that's when older married couples begin to feel trapped. All of a sudden they find themselves facing sexual and romantic frustration for the remainder of their lives: and that's when the temptation to cheat really begins to be keenly felt; especially when a special someone comes along— and that special someone will come along, I can easily guarantee you they will. This is one of the cruel facts of life that nobody seems to say much about in sex education classes.
Adultery is one of the oldest sins known to man; and don't ever think that your own marriage is so solid that it can't happen to you.
●1Cor 10:12 …If you think you are standing strong, be cautious, for you too, may fall into sin.
When married people meet someone outside the home for whom it can be said; "I've never felt this way about someone before" it's probably true, they haven't. But does that mean the one they're married to now was a mistake? No, it only means they're still capable of meeting people; and it will never stop. If they were to dump their current spouse, and take up with a new interest, I'm willing to bet you a Cadillac against a donut that they will meet someone again later on after that one for whom it too can be said; I've never felt this way about someone before.
●1Cor 10:13 ...But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. But God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.
A portion of a man's midlife crisis is his aging wife's declining sex appeal. This is one of those temptations that "are no different from what others experience." An older man with a healthy libido is really in a pickle if his wife has gone to seed. What's a conscientious Christian man supposed to do in cases like that? Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for this. All I can say is; welcome to the club.
●Php 1:29 ...For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake
●1Pet 4:1-2 …Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer to satisfy human longings, but for the will of God.
You know what really keeps me from cheating on my wife? I want to win.
●1Pet 4:12 ...Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice— because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world.
I have a far view. This life is brief. It may seem long for now, but the day will come when this life will seem like it never even happened. My attitude is the very same attitude as Moses'. He had a far view too.
●Heb 11:24-27 …It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be treated as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God's people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the great reward that God would give him.
I don't want much out of life, but the one thing I do want more than anything (besides my guns and watches) is to celebrate each wedding anniversary with dignity, honor, and a clear conscience. I want to win, and by the literal grace of God, I am going to win.
●Heb 4:15-16 …For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Since Christ himself endured all the temptations that regular men endure, he can empathize with my own struggles in life. Because of that, I don't hesitate to tell him everything that goes on in my head, in my heart, and in my life; and I fully expect God to make good on that benefit in Heb 4:16.
Question: If I sleep with this amazing girl I'm dating, will I, as a born-again Christian, be committing any worse a sin than stealing or backstabbing?
Yes, particularly in your situation.
Since neither you nor your current significant other are married people, then sex together wouldn't be classified as adultery. However, the law of God mandates the death penalty for immoral girls (Deut 22:13 -21).
The activities that you have in mind with your girlfriend fall under the classification of *fornication, which Webster's defines as consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other.
The New Testament Greek word usually translated *fornication is porneia (por-ni'-ah); which means harlotry (including adultery and incest). Although harlotry can include prostitution, it mostly means promiscuity; which is defined as casual sex. Casual sex is a huge taboo for someone like you, and for a very good reason.
Every sin— but one —that Christians commit is outside their bodies. The one exception is the sin of fornication. That's not only against their own body, but against The Lord too because His spirit inhabits the bodies of born-again Christians. And by indulging in casual sex, Christians drag their Lord into disgrace, and into something He would never do on His own.
●1Cor 6:13 -20 …But our bodies were not made for sexual immorality. They were made for The Lord, and The Lord cares about our bodies. And God will raise our bodies from the dead by his marvelous power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead.
…Don't you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which belongs to Christ, and join it to a harlot? Never! And don't you know that if a man joins himself to a harlot, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say; The two are united into one (Gen 2:24). So the person who is joined to The Lord becomes one spirit with Him.
…Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Not only do you need to keep your head when you're with a girl who's the love of your life, but you need to keep a far view. Out ahead, you're eventually going to have children. And they are the people over whom you will have the most powerful influence of all the people in the whole world. If you go off the reservation now, your own kids will be terribly effected by it.
Just imagine how crappy you would feel if you were to discover your own parents had slept around. It would rob you of a large percentage of your own dignity, and you'd lose respect for your mom and dad upon discovering you had grown up with immoral parents.
Don't do that to your future kids. Sleeping around might be cool in movies; but it's not cool in real life. If you can't control yourself with this girl, then you have absolutely no choice but to obey God, and get the hell out of there before it's too late. Once you sleep with that girl, you can never undo it, and it will haunt you for the rest of your natural life; worse, you will find it next to impossible to stand tall with your own kids, and influence them in a right way.
●1John 5:16 …If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
The so-called "sin unto death" is not the same sin for everybody. For some people, it's lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11). For others, their untimely deaths are brought on by disrespect for The Lord's supper (1Cor 11:20 -32). I don't know what the sin unto death is for me, nor do I know what it is for you. All I can say is; don't push God too far.
●Eph 5:3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.
●1Thes 4:3-8 ...It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
Regarding morals; born-again Christians are supposed to be exemplary. We don't fault anyone for having romantic passions, gay or straight. Nor do we fault anyone for having immoral friends. But we do fault everyone who satisfies their passions outside of marriage.
●Heb 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
Born-again Christians are supposed to hold the line on sex. I lived without intimacy until I was 36 years old. That was not easy, especially during my youth. But I know for myself that it can be done if one puts their mind to it.
And never underestimate the flesh. The flesh isn't weak; no, it's very strong. The mandate in 1Cor 6:17-20 is to flee from sexual immorality; not to play around and see how far you can go. So don't give your passions the slightest chance to overwhelm you. The very best way for born-again Christians to tame the flesh is by marriage.
●1Cor 7:8-9 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
I have no doubt that there are many born-again Christians out there who should be thinking about marriage but are resisting. Maybe they have a legitimate reason, and maybe they don't. But if their passions are getting the best of them, then it's definitely.
FAQ: Where in the bible does it say that Adam and Eve we're married?
The most common Hebrew word in the Old Testament for wife is 'ishshah (ish-shaw'); which simply means: a woman-- of any age, married or unmarried.
What makes a woman a wife is the power of the Bible's God, and the principle of one flesh; as there really is no one word in the Old Testament for wife; nor one for husband either for that matter.
I'm going to render this next passage practically verbatim in the Hebrew to illustrate it better.
●Gen 2:24 . .Therefore shall a man relinquish father and mother, and shall adhere to a woman: and they shall be united flesh.
The New Testament's Christ agreed with Genesis that marriage is a one flesh unity sustained by the power of God.
●Matt 19:4-6 . .Haven't you read; he replied, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and He said; For this reason a man will leave his father and mother behind, and be united to a woman, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has yoked together, let man not separate.
According to Genesis, and according to the New Testament's Jesus, nuptials, though required by law, are not essential in order to make a man and a woman married. Copulation and the power of the Bible's God are what does it. So that the instant a man inserts his male pudendum into a woman's womb, they are man and wife. And in that respect, it is actually possible to drag Christ into a relationship that he would never approve of given the choice.
●1Cor 6:15-17 . .Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a strumpet? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a strumpet is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Webster's defines a strumpet as: a wanton hussy, viz: a promiscuous female.
In all fairness to the outside world, I must emphasize that 1Cor 6:15 does not apply to just any old Tom, Dick, and/or Harry that happens to be looking in on this discussion. The "your bodies" that Paul is speaking of, are the bodies of believers only, not the bodies of ordinary men, nor the bodies of the men of non Christian religions and philosophies like Atheism, Agnosticism, Islam and Hinduism. So when outsiders sleep around, they don't bring any shame and disgrace upon the New Testament's Jesus in the slightest; no, they're just inadvertently building themselves a harem.
●Rev 22:15 . .For outside are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
The New Testament Greek word for whoremonger is pornos (por'-nos); which means: a male prostitute; viz: a man that does it for money. We get the modern word pornography from that word. So it appears to me that studs in the porn industry should not expect to fare very well in the future.
FAQ: Why would God care for man's ceremony
When a marriage ceremony is required by law, then it is the Bible God's will that the law be honored; and to oppose the law is to oppose the sovereign will of the Bible's God.
●Rom 13:1-5 . .Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
. .For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because it's right.
Question: Would gay sex be okay if they could get married?
I'm afraid not. The Bible says that gay sex is not right.
●Rom 1:25-27 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
The Bible defines marriage as a union between a male and a female, not a union between same genders.
●Gen 2:20-24 And the man gave names to all the cattle and to the birds of the sky and to all the wild beasts; but for Adam no fitting helper was found. So the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon the man; and, while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that spot. And the Lord God fashioned the rib that He had taken from the man into a woman; and He brought her to the man. Then the man said, This one at last Is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one shall be called Woman, for from man was she taken. Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh.
●Matt 19:4-6 Haven't you read, he replied, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.
Christian gays have to come to grips with their own personal immorality if they really want to keep their relationship with God running on all eight cylinders. I'm not saying that gay Christians will go to Hell if they don't stop living the gay love life. I'm only saying that Divine providence will not work to their best advantage if they continue to indulge their gay passions. I don't know how, but they have got to get them under control.
●1John 1:6 ...If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
The pronoun *we* in that passage includes the writer himself; the apostle John. So all Christians, both the straight and the gay, the pious and the secular, the clergy and the commoner, the elder and the novice, are supposed to make every effort to honor God in their lives.
Question: But doesn't the Bible utterly condemn gays to Hell? How can there be Christian gays?
How can there be Christian gays? Well... let me ask you some questions in kind: how can there be Christian traffic violators; or Christian jay walkers. How can there be Christian liars, Christian cheats, Christian adulterers, Christian thieves, Christian fornicators, Christian profanity, Christian malice, Christian gossip, Christian idolatry, Christian drunks, Christian dishonesty, and Christian rivalry. All those things are just as sinful as the gay lifestyle.
●1Cor 6:9-11 ...Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Some people feel that all gays are doomed to Hell. But the passage above confutes that opinion. Paul wrote to Christians living at Corinth and said, after listing some common sinful behaviors: "And that is what some of you were." Therefore, if the sexually immoral can be washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; then so can homosexual offenders. If idolaters can be saved; so can homosexual offenders. If male prostitutes can be saved; so can homosexual offenders. If alcoholics can be saved; so can homosexual offenders. If thieves can be saved; so can homosexual offenders. If the greedy can be saved; so can homosexual offenders. If scoundrels can be saved; so can homosexual offenders. If swindlers can be saved; so can homosexual offenders. If adulterers can be saved; so can homosexual offenders. No one is excluded. Everyone can be saved. Everybody is redeemable.
●John 5:24 ...I tell you the truth, whoever listens to my message, and believes God who sent me, has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
People who have already crossed over from death to life cannot go back the other way with any more ease than they can reverse their natural birth. Once babies are born, they cannot become unborn so also those who have eternal life cannot be condemned; gay or straight makes no difference. This life's circumstances are only temporary anyway. So what if a Christian is gay for now? So what if a Christian is a swindler for now? So what if a Christian is a drunk for now? So what if a Christian is an adulterer for now? It will all be past soon enough.
Marriage For Love
Question: Isn't it a sin to marry for sex? I thought marriage was only for bringing children into the world. And what about birth control?
We have never seen any Bible passages prohibiting the deliberate prevention of conception, although some have tried to use a certain passage in Genesis to prove that it's wrong for married couples to not procreate.
●Gen 1:28 …God blessed them and God said to them, "Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.
That passage is a blessing, not a mandate. As a rule of thumb, blessings should always be regarded as gratuities, not as laws.
There is a case on record in Gen 38:6-11 where God executed a man for practicing birth control; but it was a special circumstance. It's a sacred duty among Abraham's posterity for a man's closest male kin to marry his widow and produce a boy to carry on the dead man's name. Well, Onan didn't mind sleeping with his brother's widow, but he made sure she wouldn't get pregnant when he did. However, God didn't execute him for practicing birth control. He executed Onan for using Tamar as a love toy while side-stepping his duty to engender an heir for his deceased brother.
A Catholic friend of mine said his priest told him it's a sin for couples to marry just for sex. He was also told that it's grounds for annulment if later one spouse changes their mind about children. However, the Bible doesn't list procreation as a specific reason for marriage. It gives but only two reasons for marriage to dispel loneliness, and to relieve sexual tension.
●1Cor 7:8-9 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
●Gen 2:18 The Lord God said, "It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a fitting helper for him."
In so making a statement like Gen 2:18; God made it very clear right from the beginning that human beings were not originally intended to live celibate lives. If Man were packaged in a box of software, one of his system requirements would be: Spouse.
Woman's potential for companionship is the very reason that God made her— not for her sex appeal nor for her reproductive value. God made the female to be the male's best friend first, his lover second, and the mother of his children third. Before God introduced the man to a woman, he first permitted the man to seek companionship from among the beasts of the animal kingdom. That route failed to produce a suitable companion for Adam.
After his failure to fit in with the animals, God put the man to sleep and constructed a woman from his own human tissues.
The Hebrew word for *rib is not specifically a skeletal bone. The word tsela` means side; which implies God used both bone and flesh— which implies using his blood too —from Adam's own body to make him a friend of the opposite sex. Adam exclaimed upon meeting Eve:
●Gen This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.
Eve was Adam's own kind: cloned (so to speak) from his own flesh and bones. Since she was just as much human as himself; she was therefore someone Adam could easily relate to an impossibility with animals. Eve's primary purpose in life was to be her man's best friend; and that is precisely why God made women: to be one with their husband in spirit and in mind.
The one who created Man said it is not good for a man to live alone. So if it's not good for the male to live alone, then it goes without saying that it's not good for the female either. If men are supposed to be happier with a woman, then women should be happier with a man.
In Shaunti Feldhahn's book "For Women Only" (ISBN 1-59052-317-2); she relates a survey taken among segregated groups of men and women with this question: Given a choice; would you rather be disrespected, or would you rather be alone and unloved in the world? Just about every one of the ladies chose disrespect rather than living alone and unloved in the world. Normal women want to live with somebody; and many prefer to live even with an abusive companion rather than live alone.
Of course when couples mistreat each other, then the Creator's design is frustrated. I believe the war between the sexes is symptomatic of serious maladjustments; on both sides. The Bible says in Isa 53:6 that Messiah had to be crucified for Isaiah's countrymen because the Jews all went astray like sheep, each going his own way. Deep within the sinful female nature, and also within the male's, is the desire for independence: to be independent not only of the opposite sex, but also independent of The Creator, and of The Creator's design. However, mankind's creator didn't intend men and women to function independently of each other. They were created to be together; as couples.
Question: But wasn't the apostle Paul opposed to sex? Didn't he say in 1Corinthians 7:1 "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman."
Within the context of the 7th chapter of 1Corinthians, the touching Paul wrote about pertains to promiscuity; something that was commonly taken for granted in the Corinth of that day. Ancient Corinth was very decadent and opportunity for casual sex was everywhere; even in its local religion. Don't stop at the first verse; continue, and read some more of that chapter and you'll see that he far from discouraging marriage; he actually recommended it for the Corinthian believers.
●1Cor 7:2 ...But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
Paul also addressed propriety in the dating game. When couples get to the point where they can't keep their hands off each other; it's time to either break up, or tie the knot.
●1Cor 7:36 ...If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.
According to Paul, it is not a sin to marry. Actually, that passage is also a pretty good one to use in curbing long engagements. Time has a way of passing; and people age. If they're not careful, youth will ebb, and life will pass them by.
Question: I have always had the impression that Paul considered women and sex as something less than to be desired but to go ahead and do it if a male cannot stay away from women.
Well, what about a female who can't stay away from men? What's she supposed to do? You didn't think of that?
You really think Paul believed that marriage and sex are a second-rate alternative to living a single, celibate life? You are so wrong. In his duties as an itinerant missionary, Paul would have been away from home for weeks, even months at a time. His wife would have become lonely, and his children would have grown up without a father at home. But not everyone is a missionary, nor does everyone's occupation preclude marriage, nor is everyone cut out to live alone. Celibacy was his choice; it doesn't have to be yours.
Some people are cut out to live alone. An old dowager was once asked why she never remarried. She replied; "I have a stove that smokes, a dog that barks, and a bird that cusses. What do I need a man for?" (chuckle) She was no doubt the exception to the rule.
●1Cor 7:7-9 Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they don't have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.
The reason Paul said "it is good for them to remain even as I" is because married life is a world of problems all its own with which single people don't have to cope.
●1Cor 7:28 ...But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
Well... after 27+ years of marriage, I have to say that he was right about the troubles; but if I hadn't become a family man, my life wouldn't have been worth living past the age of 40. It already felt pretty empty at 32. Maybe marriage isn't for everybody, but for a goodly percentage of us; it's the only sensible course of life.
Question: You kind of see how people would get the impression that the marital act so to speak is something that is not too desirable, kind of dirty in fact when you read some of these kinds of verses from Paul.
Only a person with a guilt complex, and a dirty mind to begin with would believe the way you do about marital love. And in case you've forgotten, I'll remind you that it was God who created sex, not Man. And when God finished His creation; He looked back on it and said it was all not just good; but *very good. (Gen 1:31)
As a servant of God, and an ambassador of the New Testament's Christ, Paul would never oppose the book of Genesis nor would he ever dare to annul his Lord's will regarding the marriage relationship.
●Gen 2:18 ...The Lord God said; It is not good for the man to be alone.
Question: But what about Jesus? He was never married. Wasn't he setting the example?
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Question: Well, how about Jesus' mom and dad then? Although Joseph and Miriam were legally married, surely they didn't sleep together. I mean; after all, she was the Mother Of God. How could Joseph ever defile a woman like that?
Let me begin by first stating very emphatically that Jewish women are not defiled by sex inside of marriage; they are defiled by sex outside of marriage (Heb 13:4).
Joseph was interested in Miriam prior to the angel's announcement (Matt 1:18) and he was of a mind to break the engagement because to all appearances, she was sleeping with another man (Matt 1:19). The gospel author inserted the source of her pregnancy as an editorial in verse 18; Joseph was unaware of the Holy Spirit's involvement until the angel told him so in verse 20.
What I'm getting at is this: Joseph was obviously a normal Jewish man who wanted a wife for the usual reasons that normal Jewish men want a woman, and Miriam was a normal Jewish girl who wanted a husband for the usual reasons normal Jewish women want a man. I know that because they were engaged before Jesus ever came into the picture.
Joseph was interested in Miriam prior to the angel's announcement; and not because she was some sort of super saint: no, it was because Miriam was the girl for him. So I feel very strongly that Joseph would never have agreed to lock himself into a platonic union with a girl that he liked. Nor do I believe Miriam would do that. Sexual frustration is a very psychological, and emotionally damaging condition for normal adults.
No; Joseph got into that relationship fully intending to eventually sleep with his best girl just like every other normal fiancé does, and I believe Miriam fully intended to do the very same thing. They waited till after Jesus was born (Matt 1:25) but no doubt felt the wait was worth it. And from that point on, I believe that they, a lawfully wedded Jewish couple, lived a normal, and natural Jewish married life just like all their married Jewish friends and relatives were living.
Objection: Matthew 1:25 doesn't imply they slept together after Jesus was born. The word "till" denotes a state or action up to a certain point, but does not necessarily denote a change thereafter, as in St. Paul's quotation from Psalm 109:1; "For He must reign *until He has put all enemies under His feet." (1 Cor.15:25)
You are suggesting that Jesus may no longer reign as a king after once his enemies are subdued; but that is far, far from the truth as The Holy Bible states quite clearly, and without ambiguity, that Jesus' tenure as the King Of Everything, will never end.
●Luke 1:32-33 …He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.
●Dan 7:13-14 …As I looked on, in the night vision, one like a human being came with the clouds of heaven; he reached the Ancient of Days and was presented to Him. Dominion, glory, and kingship were given to him; all peoples and nations of every language must serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship, one that shall not be destroyed.
You are also suggesting that Joseph and his wife didn't have sex while she was pregnant. To that we fully agree; but to construe Matt 1:25 to allude that they had no sex after Jesus was born is to invent. The obvious intent of the writer was to convey the fact that they did not mate prior to her delivery so that there would never be a question as to the identity of the biological father; and that's it. Their private life after that has to be assumed a normal Jewish married life in the absence of concrete Biblical data that clearly, and without ambiguity, establishes the contrary: especially since Joseph and his fiancé were already engaged prior to the angel's announcement, so that it's obvious they were to be married for the usual reasons that Jewish men and women want to get married; and that is to have companionship, to mate, and to have children of their own— not to be platonic and raise an alien kid from the sky.
Look, I celebrated my 27th anniversary March 2006, and dated other girls prior to my wife— some sweet girls and some mean girls, some moral girls and some promiscuous girls —so I can tell you, from long personal experience, that normal women derive a major portion of their self image, and their feelings of self worth as a woman, from a man's attention. Make no mistake. Attention from men of all ages, sizes, shapes, and looks, is important to normal women; and I can easily assure you that there are solo women all over the world right now, who, when they look at themselves in a mirror, often feel despair to the point of nausea and tears that their femininity is all for nothing because there's no man in their life to appreciate any of it. So I think you can well understand just how sick with emptiness Miriam would have felt if Joseph were to never touch her, never to say nice things about her sex appeal, never to caress intimate places on her body, never to cuddle and fool around, nor ever to take her to bed and groan with delight in her feminine charms.
If you're a normal, red-blooded guy; you should have no trouble empathizing with the frustration and the stress that a celibate Joseph would have been forced to endure whenever he saw his young wife bathe and/or don undergarments. Celibacy is not so bad when you live alone or with others of the same gender. But celibacy would be downright unbearable for mature adults living in close proximity with their significant other day after day after day; and I just don't believe a God of love would ever force married couples to live in that kind of an unnatural arrangement for the rest of their lives. Paul actually mandated sex between married Christians in the decadent city of ancient Corinth because they were vulnerable to adultery in cases of extended periods of abstinence (1Cor 7:3-5).
Far too many Catholics are infected with a gargantuan guilt complex over sex because its been drilled into them from their youth by a celibate leadership that sex is somehow unholy, dirty, and demeaning to women; that only carnal, dirty-minded, unholy men and women of the lowest animal mentality and the weakest character flaws take pleasure in sex. That is really sick.
●Prv 5:18-19 …rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
●Song 1:13 …A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night between my breasts.
Question: Aren't men inherently dirty?
Are you saying women are inherently clean? You ever been around one who hasn't been bathing regularly? One of the biggest headaches for female soldiers is sanitation. Men fare far better on battlefields with sanitation than women.
Men can be pretty disgusting at times. Even in the home office where my father-in-law worked before retiring as the senior vice president of Safeco Title Insurance, the men's restroom floor was so liberally moistened with urine that he always took his expensive trousers off and hung them up before using a commode so they wouldn't get contaminated by inadvertent contact with the floor.
But the question you asked goes farther than sanitation. The real question is: Why does Roman Catholic dogma dictate that Jesus' mom remained a perpetual virgin after he was born? What was the motivation behind such thinking since there is absolutely no inspired information given in the New Testament that clearly, and without ambiguity, says Jesus' mom remained unlaid for the duration of her married life?
There can be only two possibilities. Roman dogma makers were of the opinion that men somehow contaminate the sanctity of women when they have sex; consequently: it is unthinkable (in their minds at least) that any man would insert his filthy pudendum into the very birth canal that bore The Holy Son Of God; ergo: Catholicism implies that men are inherently dirty and cause women's bodies to somehow become unholy because of sex. Good L_rd! No wonder so many Catholic youngsters grow up with an overwhelming subconscious guilt complex about sex. Oh? And you really think they're willing to talk about it? No way Josè.
Actually, the Bible teaches that Jewish men and women both contaminate each other by sex; and temporarily render males unsuitable to partake of holy things (e.g. Ex 19:15, Lev 15:16-18, 1Sam 21:4). So then, whenever Joseph and his wife copulated, she made him just as unsanitary as he made her.
Another possibility is that Roman dogmateers felt that Jesus' mom couldn't devote herself fully to The Lord if she were hampered by a normal female libido; hence, in their opinion, God miraculously disabled both Joseph's and his wife's libido. (That's a very interesting theory given the Bible's numerous heroes of faith who were all sexually active. Abraham and Sarah, the very mother and father of both Judaism and Christianity, were both sexually active). That theory is of course a notion created right out of thin air because there is absolutely nothing in the New Testament that even remotely suggests God ever did such a thing to either of Jesus' parents.
Why Spend So Much Time on Libido?
Someone might be inclined to wonder why we expended so much effort on this section. Well.. let me tell you, there are far too many late teens and marriage-age Christians out there who, through no fault of their own, are very mixed up; and many wish to God their adult feelings and passions could somehow be turned off. They are actually suffering from longings for the opposite sex; the meanwhile tormented by an overwhelming guilt complex about those longings. Often compounding their anguish is an intensely felt animosity towards the opposite sex because the very existence of an opposite sex is what triggers both their longings and their anguish; causing them to avoid social contact at all costs; which only makes matters worse. Those Christians really need to be assured that longings for the opposite sex are okay because God equipped Man with a libido as a powerful incentive to reproduce in order to keep the race from dying out. And they need to be assured that it's Biblically okay to seek a partner to satisfy their God-created, God-installed libido.
Unfortunately, nothing we write can repair psychological damages wrought by the stupidity of abusive parents. Problems of that nature often require professional counseling; but we're hesitant to recommend it. The reason we're hesitant is because of current Federal gun laws. One of the questions asked on the forms is whether or not the purchaser has ever been under the care of a mental health professional. A *yes answer disqualifies a prospective gun buyer. In those cases, we recommend indirect counseling; e.g. seminars, audio tapes, radio programs, and books. The one author that we highly recommend with no hesitation is Dr. James Dobson; who hosts a daily radio program, and offers for sale several really good self-help books on childhood, family life, and parenting, and supports a web site that can be found at http://www.family.org/ Dr. Dobson's books can be purchased and/or ordered at practically any well stocked book store like Barnes&Noble, and Borders.
Making A Living
There are lots of born-again Christians who are in circumstances that prevent them from working for a living. And many more who live in depressed regions where work is scarce. This section is targeted mainly for young people who still have most of their life ahead of them.
Besides being the right thing to do, working for a living has many advantages. Things in life cost money. Entertainment, education, dating, food, clothing, toilet articles, make-up, hair cuts, cars and car maintenance, toys, plane tickets, tools, vacations, health care, gasoline, CD's, DVD's, IPods, video games, cable TV, homes, spouses, kids, clothing, big gulps, snacks, electricity and telephone service, guns, tobacco, alcohol, tattoos, body piercing and concert tickets just about everything has a price tag on it except maybe the air we breathe because the modern world, by and large, lives in a market economy rather than an agrarian economy.
Some people are content to mooch off others. But born-again Christians have to give up their freeloading, begin making their own way in life; and especially begin meeting their obligations.
●1Thes 4:11-12 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
●2Ths 3:10-13 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat. We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.
●1Tim 5:8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
What some Christians fail to appreciate is that the pay they receive is not a gratuity. No, it's fair trade: their pay is the price they agreed upon to sell a certain number of hours and performance out of their life. So the company making those payments is entitled to dictate how those hours and performances are utilized.
There's just a few work ethics that really matter to a Christian. One, is to give your boss an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. A second, is to always look out out for your boss' best interests. A third, is do do as you're told without giving your boss a hard time about it. And a fourth, is to avoid, at all costs, getting into a vendetta and/or a contest of wills with your boss.
●Col 3:22-24 ...Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to The Lord and not to men, knowing that from The Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
So then, should Christians respect their superiors as The Lord only if they deserve it? No, all superiors are to respected as The Lord, even the difficult ones; and failure to do so can result in disciplinary action, not just from an employer; but from the God whom Christians profess to worship.
●Col 3:25 ...But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
●1Pet 2:18-24 ...Servants, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
●1Tim 6:1 ...Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
●Titus 2:9-10 ...Teach servants to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
●Eph 6:8-9 . .Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
●Col 4:1 . .Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
It's a fact of life that when human beings are in positions of power, their natural tendency is towards despotism and abuse of civil liberties.
Once a year, Parade magazine publishes it's Top Ten list of the world's worst dictators. Without exception, all ten of those world leaders share a common political practice— they neither tolerate nor condone dissent, nor do they let dissidents go unpunished.
It sometimes amuses me that there are supposedly democratic people, who no doubt wouldn't hesitate to condemn Kim Jong-IL (North Korea), or Hu Jintao (China), or Robert Mugabe (Zunbabwe); the meanwhile favorably inclined to oppress their fellow American citizens by incorporating the exact same political policies in their own management practices. Here's a prime example.
I was active for a while in a community of online forums called Beliefnet; which, at the time of this writing, was neither a charity nor a public service, but rather, was a dot com business in partnerships with Yahoo and TIME magazine. Beliefnet.com was eventually acquired by Fox Entertainment Group with the intent that it become a part of Fox Digital Media; which supports Fox's cable, TV, and film brands online. FEG's primary goal is commerce; and its modus operandi on Beliefnet.com is as an advertising platform via a diverse spiritual hub where a wide variety of belief systems are attracted like moths to the flame as a target group for the distribution of consumer information. In other words, Beliefnet's financial goal is to make money off religion. Whether or not the passage below applies to Beliefnet and Fox Entertainment Group I don't know, but in my opinion, it ought to.
●2Pet 2:3 . .And through avarice shall they, with artificial words, make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
To the point: Beliefnet.com's forums are regulated by a body of proprietary law called Rules Of Conduct. Whenever a Beliefnet forum community member receives an infraction for alleged violations of the rules of conduct (allegations and infractions to which the accused has recourse to neither defense nor appeal), forum managers take the liberty to post the infraction in the member's personal profile for all the world to see. However, community members themselves are denied the liberty of posting management's behind-the-scenes abuses for all the world to see (two of which are the practice of arbitrarily construing the rules of conduct to mean things they don't say in writing; and of issuing infractions for alleged violations of rules of conduct that don't exist; viz: rules that haven't been published). Any critical comment posted about Beliefnet's management practices— especially its manipulation of the rules of conduct —is summarily deleted and the "offender" issued an infraction; and in some cases, given a suspension. Thus, Beliefnet forum administrators shield themselves from public scrutiny by the enforcement of a deplorable double standard.
Colossians 4:1 mandates Christian managers to be fair and above board; the meanwhile remaining cognizant of the fact that they will one day themselves have to answer to a higher power. It's understandable that a worldly financial conglomerate like Fox Entertainment Group would not be the slightest bit concerned about how The Lord feels about anything— after all, they're an ivory tower unencumbered by a democratic system of checks and balances —but it is just downright inexcusable for a manager who regards themselves as a follower of the New Testament's Christ to abuse subordinates, and take a despot's attitude towards civil liberties and common courtesy.
Objection: According to the Bible, debt is not the will of God. For example: For the Lord thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee. (Deut 15:6)
First off, it's necessary to point out that the book of Deuteronomy is a portion of what is known as the old covenant: an ancient, pre-Jesus pact made between God and the people of Israel. Gentile Christians are under no obligation to comply with the old covenant and would be committing a grave sin in putting themselves under its jurisdiction.
●Acts 15:10 ...Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
●Gal 5:4 …You who are trying to be justified by The Law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
●1Cor 11:23-25 …For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood.
●Heb 8:13 …By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
Secondly, if professing Christians insist upon placing themselves under obligation to their interpretation of Deut 15:6; then their own interpretation obligates them to not only refrain from borrowing from many nations, but it also obligates them to lend to many nations and to reign over many nations.
Objection: But even the New Testament says to owe no man any thing (Rom 13:8).
Some have construed that passage to mean that it's a sin to have a mortgage, a car payment, and a credit card balance. The Greek word for owe is opheilo (of-i'-lo); an ambiguous word with a number of meanings, one of which is to fail in duty; viz: fail to meet your obligations. In other words, Christians should pay their bills on time and not be deadbeats.
The true meaning of that passage in Romans starts with verse 1; so that by the time an intelligent Bible student gets to verse 8, they should have easily caught on by then that Paul isn't referring to debt like mortgages and credit cards at all; but to things like taxes, assessments, imposts, levies, and tariffs; along with respect for civil authorities and compliance with the law of the land; viz: ordinary civil responsibilities, duties, and obligations. How professing Christians can manage to totally brush aside those first seven verses in order to construe verse 8 to say something about personal spending habits is just beyond me.
Laws of the Land
Some Christians are of the opinion that they can break laws of the land and not be guilty of sin. But that is far from true. Christians are highly obligated to comply with Local, State, and Federal laws; and to break those laws is to despise God and sin against His holy institutions.
Many Christians are criminals and don't even know it. Breaking traffic law is a crime that makes the offender subject to arrest. Their signature on the ticket is technically a release on their own recognizance. Have you ever jay-walked, ran a red light, passed on the shoulder, exceeded the speed limit, failed to bring your vehicle to a complete halt at Stop signs, or honked your horn for any reason other than a warning? Those are all not only criminal acts against the State, but also criminal acts against God.
● Rom 13:1-7 . . Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
. .Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
●1Pet 2:13-17 …Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
I'm okay with turning the other cheek, but I am not okay with criminal intent. From time to time, angry people try to intimidate me with threats, and my canned response is:
"If either you, or any of your pals, come to my home and attempt violence upon either me or my wife, you will be met with an armed response and a call to 9-1-1 to summon a Sheriff and an ambulance. Assault and battery is a felony crime, and the law says that I may use as much force and violence as is necessary to prevent the commission of a felony."
Christians may be called upon at times to endure insults, unfair treatment, and possibly some physical abuse. But they are never called upon to put up with crime. They do in fact have a duty to resist crime, and to report crime, and help the State prosecute offenders. For example, suppose you're out for a walk in the park and a punk with a knife assaults you and takes your Omega, your cell phone, your credit cards, and your wedding band. Are you supposed to suffer in silence? Absolutely not! Armed robbery is a felony crime punishable by time in prison. You have a duty to report it and to appear in court against the punk who broke the law; otherwise God will hold you accountable for aiding and abetting a criminal and obstructing justice.
Suppose you're out cruising the mall with friends and accidentally bump someone so that piping hot latte spills on their wife. In a rage, they grab the front of your shirt, punch you in the face, and shove you down on your keester. What's the Christian response to that? That husband committed the crime of assault and battery; which is a felony crime punishable by prison; and if convicted, he will not only do time in prison; but Federal law prohibits felons owning a firearm— not even a shotgun.
Although the Bible doesn't permit you to retaliate and slug the other guy back— unless of course he keeps coming at you; but in that case your response would be self defense, not retaliation —crimes of that nature have to be resisted, and they have to be reported. Ignoring crime, and refusing to help the State enforce the law, only encourages offenders to do it again. Plus it makes a mockery of justice, and does nothing to help make communities safe. In some jurisdictions, failure to report a felony crime is itself a crime called misprision; which Webster's defines as: concealment of treason, or felony, by one who is not a participant in the treason or felony
I find it fascinating that the very people who go about quoting Matt 5:39 to condemn self defense, are the ones who typically least exemplify the Beatitudes in Matt 5:3-9, and none of them have yet to cut off a hand or gouge out an eye as Jesus suggested in Matt 5:29-30. All I see in Matt 5:39 is a prohibition against taking the law into your own hands rather than following due process.
As a Christian, I'm called upon to be peaceable, and strictly forbidden to exact revenge or retaliation. But I think it's absolutely stupid to use Matt 5:39 to condemn self defense. Following that kind of reasoning to it's logical conclusion would annul our entire criminal justice system and leave law-abiding citizens at the mercy of criminals and with no way to curb crime.
According to Rom 13:1-5, criminal justice systems are the arm of God, and any Christian who opposes criminal justice opposes the very God whom they profess to worship. The ultimate tool of an effective criminal justice system is the death penalty. And in that respect; the human race is fully authorized to play God.
●Gen 9:5-6 …But for your own life's blood I will require a reckoning: I will require it of every beast; of man, too, will I require a reckoning for human life, of every man for that of his fellow man! Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in His image did God make man.
●Rom 13:4-5 ...For the authorities are God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for they do not bear the sword for nothing. They are God's servant, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
God is very patient with wickedness; but not 100% lenient. Even God has His limits. Anybody who studies the Old Testament, and/or the book of Revelation, knows that. (people in Hell certainly know that). Jesus said to turn the other cheek, but he didn't say what to do after that.
●Luke 11:21-22 …A strong man, armed, keepeth his goods.
●Luke 22:36 …he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
What is the sin unto death?
● 1 John 5:16-17 . . If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
Well, for one thing, the literal wording indicates a sin unto death; not a sin unto Hell.
The unique thing about John's first epistle is that it wasn't sent to the world at large, but rather, sent to a group of Christians who were already in possession of eternal life even before his letter arrived.
● 1John 5:13 . .These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that you have eternal life.
Eternal life is a kind of life that cannot die; therefore, it's impervious to the wages of sin.
● Rom 6:23 . . For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The "death" spoken of in 1John 5:16-17 has to be a death other than Hell because Jesus testified that people with eternal life are no longer in any danger of eternal suffering.
● John 5:24 . . I assure you, those who heed my message, and rely upon God who sent me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from Death into Life.
However, though believers are no longer subject to the wages of sin, they are, nevertheless, subject to capital punishments as prescribed by State and Federal laws regulating felonies. Believers who commit capital crimes should be encouraged to man-up and face the consequences rather than expect sympathy from either their church or their Christian friends. Bleeding-heart Christians who pray for their life are not only attempting to obstruct justice, but also in shameful rebellion against the sovereign wishes of the very God whom they profess to worship and serve.
● Rom 13:3-4 . . For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
But now, supposing you live in a despotic country like North Korea, China, or Zimbabwe and a believer is arrested and sentenced to death for nothing more serious than the political crime of dissent. Can you pray for that? Yes; because that's not one of the sins listed in the Bible worthy of capital punishment. But will your request be granted? Maybe and maybe not since successful prayer is dependent upon consistent obedience.
● John 15:7 . . If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
● 1John 3:22 . . And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
The key word here is: moderation. I, for one, cannot control my drinking. So for me it's all, or nothing at all. I had to choose nothing at all. Everyone has to decide for themselves.
I sorely miss a cool one every now and then, Every time I see a Heineken advertisement I'm ready to break training and run out to a restaurant for a plate of spaghetti and a bottle of that beer. In the early days, I loved to put a six pack of bottled Pabst Blue Ribbon beer up in the freezer compartment of our refrigerator so it would be biting cold and almost frozen when I got home from work. Man that was good. I would drink all six of them; usually followed by a couple of glasses of red wine.
The trick is to avoid getting hammered. Alcohol, in and of itself, is not sinful. It's the drunkenness that's condemned. God Himself blessed mankind with alcoholic beverages to in fact cheer them up a little.
●Ps 104:10-15 You make springs gush forth in torrents; they make their way between the hills, giving drink to all the wild beasts; the wild asses slake their thirst. The birds of the sky dwell beside them and sing among the foliage. You water the mountains from Your lofts; the earth is sated from the fruit of Your work. You make the grass grow for the cattle, and herbage for mans labor that he may get food out of the earthwine that cheers the hearts of men, oil that makes the face shine, and bread that sustains mans life.
The word for wine in that passage is from yayin (yah'-yin) and means: to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication, intoxication. So the wine in that passage unmistakably contains alcohol, and clearly stated to be a blessing. But beware. Alcohol will have it's way if you have a weakness for it and lack self control.
●Pro 20:1 ...Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
I would have to say, that if you're vomiting, spending money, missing time at work, and missing appointments because of alcohol; it's probably time to give your appetite for drink some serious thought.
●Rom 13:13-14 ...We should be decent in everything we do, so that everyone can approve of our behavior. Don't participate in wild parties and getting drunk, or in adultery and promiscuity, or in fighting and jealousy. Clothe yourselves with Christ rather than thinking of ways to indulge your evil desires.
Gluttony is a big problem for Christians who live in America because we have so much. Even cereal aisles are loaded to the ceiling with an incredible number of choices. Regarding diet, a born-again Christian may eat almost anything they want;
●Rom 14:17 ...For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
●1Cor 8:8 ...It's true that we can't win God's approval by what we eat. We don't miss out on anything if we don't eat it, and we don't gain anything if we do.
●1 Tim 4:1-5 ...Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from what we believe; they will follow lying spirits and teachings that come from demons. These teachers are hypocrites and liars. They pretend to be religious, but their consciences are dead. They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanksgiving by people who know and believe the truth. Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it. We may receive it gladly, with thankful hearts. For we know it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
with the exception of just three things.
●Acts 15:28-29 ...You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals
The prohibition against eating blood is very old and began way back just after the Flood in Noah's day.
●Gen 9:3-4 Every creature that lives shall be yours to eat; as with the green grasses, I give you all these. You must not, however, eat flesh with its life-blood in it.
At issue with the prohibition against eating blood are the feelings of some that modern slaughter houses don't always kill animals properly. Many use a device called a captured-bolt to stun the animals and then slit their throats while they are unconscious. Sometimes the bolt kills the animals instead of knocking them out and then they can't really drain the blood out too well because the animal's heart isn't pumping to assist. So there are those who feel no one should eat common meat because you can't guarantee the animal's blood was properly drained. Exactly what the definition of *properly drained* is I don't know because it's impossible to drain every last drop out of meat no matter how you might go about it.
Objection: First of all, you must understand that these things are viewed as absolutely essential in order to consider anyone among the community of believers. James emphatically says that these things are necessary— not recommended for greater spiritual growth— but absolutely necessary. In other words, one who does not comply with these four simple, elementary principles (Acts 15:28-29) cannot be considered as part of the community of believers.
Your assertion just simply isn't true. The primary requirement for membership in the community of believers is confidence in Jesus' crucified body as an adequate remedy for Man's condemned status.
●John 3:14-18 ...And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so I, the Son of Man, must be lifted up on a pole, so that everyone who believes in me will have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. There is no judgment awaiting those who trust him. But those who do not trust him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God.
When the apostles and elders at Jerusalem wrote to the Gentile Christians and said "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements" they were not specifying the requirements of being a member of the Christian community, but specifying a minimum number of guidelines as regards pious living.
The letters were a response to the pressure being put upon Gentile believers to conform to Jewish Law in order to be saved. But Peter affirmed that Moses' Law was too great a burden to impose not only upon the Gentiles, but even upon the Jews themselves.
●Acts 15:5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses."
Peter refuted the believing Pharisees' erroneous legal mind-set by reminding everyone that the Gentile believers were all given God's spirit apart from Mosaic rules and regulations.
●Acts 15:8-10 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?
Don't you see the ramifications of that? If Christian Gentiles are already saved, already born again, and already in possession of God's spirit, do you really think it amounts to a hill of beans whether or not they eat meat from cows killed with a captured-bolt? However, if they would like to now go onwards in their new religion, and try their hand at pious living, then some entry-level standards for doing that would be what the apostles and elders wrote in their letters.
●Acts 15:28-29 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.
Now as regards the captured-bolt: sometimes it's successful and sometimes it's not. What should conscientious Christians do about that? Easy.
●1Cor -27 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.
Eating ordinary slaughter house meat is a decision each individual Christian has to decide for themselves. Regarding debatable matters; the New Testament says:
●Rom 14:1-3 ...Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
●Rom 14:5 Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
●Rom 14:14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.
I'll tell you something. If there is one thing in the *Christian community* that really chafes me it's a super sanctimonious churchian who goes around making up the rules for everyone else. Christians who do that are crumbs, and nothing less than guilty of playing God.
●Rom 14:4 Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Eating captured-bolt meat is a debatable issue; a matter of individual conscience; not a hard and fast New Testament rule for everyone. Now if you were to actually see that the particular cow whose meat you were about to eat hadn't been slaughtered *properly* (whatever that means) then I would agree that you should pass on it. But if you don't know; then don't ask.
As regarding eating blood; the inference is to fresh, living blood, right out of the animals veins. Fresh blood is still viable. But the blood you get in meats at Safeway is usually no longer viable. It can't be transfused back into a cow because supermarket blood is dead; and but for refrigeration, it's within minutes of decay. Same goes for the meat you buy there. It's no longer viable flesh; it can't be grafted back into a cow's body because the meat is dead and already subject to decay. Therefore there is very little chance of eating "flesh with its life-blood" from Safeway because Safeway blood isn't life-blood, no, it's dead blood so that neither the flesh nor the blood are viable. The biblical prohibition against eating flesh with its life-blood doesn't apply to raw, uncooked meat per se. It only applies to living meat: meat that's still quivering and viable. But the moment those meats and bloods become subject to decay; they are out of the "flesh with its life-blood" category because they have no more life.
This really impacts Asian diets where people in those cultures are accustomed to eating things that are alive even as they chew them. They actually eat their food to its death. I know that sounds disgusting, but if you were brought up in those cultures; you'd think nothing of it. However, Asian Christians have got to stop eating like that if they want their lives to bear a testimony for God because it is clearly anti-Bible for Christians to eat creatures that aren't dead-dead.
What about raw fish; like sushi? That's easy. Christians aren't mandated to cook their meats. Just make sure the fish is dead before you sink your teeth into it and you'll be okay.
The Hebrew word for *sabbath is shabbath (shab-bawth'); which means: intermission. The very first place in the whole Bible where that words appears is Ex 16:23.
The so-called Sabbath was never a holy day of obligation in the garden of Eden, nor was it a holy day of obligation up to the Flood; nor was it a holy day of obligation after the Flood in Abraham's, Isaac's, or Jacob's day; nor was it a holy day of obligation at any time during the people of Israel's sojourn in the land of Egypt up to the time of their liberation under the leadership of Moses and Aaron.
The Sabbath is specifically a law for people under the jurisdiction of the Old Covenant. It is not a Christian law, nor is it included under the jurisdiction of the New Covenant.
Bible Christians are not required to keep the traditional seventh-day Sabbath (Rom 7:1-6, Col 2:16). In point of fact, any professing Christian who attempts to earn their way into Heaven by keeping the Ten Commandments, or any of the rest of the Old Testament's commandments, is in serious trouble with Divine criminal justice.
●Gal 2:21 …I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through commandments, then Christ died needlessly.
●Gal 3:10-11 …For as many as are of the works of commandments are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the books of The Law to perform them." That no one is innocent by commandments before God is evident; for, "The righteous man shall life by his faith."
●Gal 3:21-22 …For if a commandment had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on commandments. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
●Gal 5:3-5 …You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by commandments; you have fallen from grace.
(Grace can be defined as the kindness and generosity of God with no strings attached, and nothing expected in return.)
Heaven can't be obtained by keeping The Commandments because Divine Law demands perfect compliance in order to avoid prosecution (Rom 2:6-11). So then, to get around His own Law's strict demands, God has made Heaven available to anyone, and to everyone, via trust that Jesus' crucifixion is an adequate ransom to rescue people's souls from the wrath of God (John 3:14-18, John 5:24).
It's much easier to be a man of faith then it is to be a man of commandments; so easy in fact that anyone can do it; so that nobody has to go to Hell if they don't want to. Unfortunately, some forms of Christianity (e.g. Catholicism) annul the kindness and generosity of God because their plan of salvation is essentially a merit system based upon performance: a mixture of works and faith— which is an exceedingly lethal combination that puts the kindness and generosity of God completely out of reach; and thus leaves God no alternative but to enforce His commandments to their fullest extent.
●Deut 27:26 …Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of This Law by carrying them out.
Peter and the Sabbath
●Acts 15:4-11 ...When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying; "It is necessary to ....direct them to observe the Law of Moses."
…The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them; "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."
Christians who insist that it is necessary to observe the Sabbath in order to obtain the grace of God are actually opposing the very man whom they claim as one of Christianity's very first church fathers. Isn't that amazing!?
Objection: Then why did God sanctify the seventh day if it wasn't important?
It's not quite true to say the seventh day "wasn't important". It was, and it still is, important to everybody under the jurisdiction of Old Testament Law. In point of fact, it was, and it still is; a death offense to violate the Sabbath (Ex 31:12-17).
Since the Sabbath is a *perpetual covenant between The Lord and the people of Israel, and to be observed throughout their generations *forever, then the only way out from under the jurisdiction of the Sabbath for a Jew, is to die— either die a natural death, or die with Jesus on his cross.
●Rom 6:3 …Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
My proxy participation in Jesus' crucifixion has taken me out from under the Sabbath's jurisdiction so that it no longer applies to me. I have personally myself broken the Sabbath on numerous occasions. According to the law of the Sabbath, I am worthy of the death penalty for doing so. Well… I got just what the law of the Sabbath demands by suffering the death penalty *in Christ so that I will not have to suffer the death penalty in myself at the throne of God.
●John 5:24 ...I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
To our knowledge; there are no Bible prohibitions against polygamy with the exception of specific ethics imposed upon church officers (1Tim 3:2, and Titus 1:6). But it would be grossly wrong to impose those same ethics upon rank and file pew warmers; so what we have to say next is just opinion. Please don't take it as law.
In the beginning, God fashioned the female from organic human tissue surgically taken from the male's side. He could have taken tissue from his other side too and given Adam a second wife but didn't. That has to be significant viz: one woman to one man. But men took such a shine to women over the years that they began accumulating multiple wives.
●Gen 6:1-2 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.
That is very, very demeaning to women. I sometimes wonder how men would feel about it if they were forced to live in male harems or even had to share their wife with just one other man let alone several at a time.
The antediluvian practice of harems led to a notable birth defect in those days called nephilism; which afflicted its victims with very aggressive behavior disorders. That early civilization prior to Noah's flood became so corrupt and violent that God was forced to exterminate the whole lot of them.
However, polygamy isn't a de facto bad thing. There are some practical benefits, especially in societies where men are relatively scarce. Wars, stress, disease, and accidents, keep men's numbers pretty much on the low side relative to women's numbers. If polygamy were completely outlawed worldwide, far too many women would end up childless and living alone; unfulfilled and unprotected.
That might seem okay in advanced industrial societies like the USA where women are openly promiscuous and have better things to do with their lives besides motherhood and homemaking; but in many primitive societies and third world countries, monogamy creates a serious situation. How would you, as a flowering young girl, like to arrive full bloom into the chemistry and maturity of womanhood only to be told in no uncertain terms that you had to live out your entire adult life never once in the arms of a man? Knowing that your womb, with its perfectly good plumbing, would never, ever have an opportunity to nurture a child into existence? And in spite of being filled out in all the right places; being told that your hair and your feminine figure would adorn you forever as just useless ornaments until everything finally grayed, withered, wrinkled, bloated, sagged, and drooped in old age? For any normal woman, that would be a justifiable cause of nervous break-downs, alcoholism, and perpetual prescriptions for Prozac.
Small societies, such as tribes, benefit from polygamy in that they can keep their numbers stable, and they proliferate a lot better if all the women have a man; even if they have to share him with other women. Sometimes it's necessary to sacrifice personal feelings to the consideration of just simply insuring your clan's survival.
●1Tim 3:1-4 …Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.
So church officers are supposed to be devoted husbands, married to only one woman at a time, and a conscientious father who takes an active role in raising his own children. No man may serve in his church if he's violent and abusive; and demanding his own way all the time.
●Eph 5:25-29 ...And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife. No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church.
It works both ways. Christian women aren't supposed to abuse their husbands.
●Eph 5:21-24 ...You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything.
●Eph 5:33 ...So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Submission and respect don't imply groveling servitude. They mean cooperation, as opposed to independence. Some women are inclined to be very bossy and independent— bickering, chafing, and stubbornly demanding their own way. Well... that should not be the case in Christian marriages. Independent women make very poor helpers for men; not to mention what Cruella DeVilles they are towards their own children.
The War Between The Sexes
●Gen 3:16d …and he shall rule over you.”
Many see subjugation of women in that passage; and that's exactly what it is: but only in marriage. Eve's secondary status applies only to wives; to *married women; not to all women at large in a man's world. (Eph 5:22, Col 3:18, 1Pet 3:1-6).
●Eph 5:22a …Wives, submit to your husbands
The word *submit is not actually in the Greek text but was inserted by the translators. Verse 22 is a continuation of 21; and when you put them together, reads like this: "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ; wives, to your husbands"
There is no inherent pecking order in marriage. This particular pecking order is imposed; and actually, to say it's *imposed in a Christian marriage isn't quite accurate. The word "submit" implies the component of *voluntary subordination (cp. Php 2:5-8).
As all Christians are urged to regard their fellow believers as superior to themselves, so redeemed wives are urged to practice the very same social philosophy at home. A husband isn't truly superior to his wife; after all, both genders were given complete dominion over the entire planet in Gen 1:26-28. It's just an arrangement— an arrangement that was originally imposed upon the whole human race all the way back in the third chapter of the book of Genesis.
Prior to Man's fall, there was no pecking order in marriage. It came later, after the fall; and Eve's subjugation to her husband was actually retribution for her part in the fall (a fall which she herself initiated). It takes a really mature Christian woman to comply with Gen 3:16; and those who resist, by being assertive, independant, and confrontational, are evidencing the shameful fact that they are not walking in the Spirit, but rather, in the flesh; a.k.a. the sinful nature— a nature that is inherently hostile to God (Rom 8:5-8).
Believers are urged to mortify the flesh; viz: to stifle its inclinations (Rom 8:13, Col 3:5). I can think of no other area of the Christian life that might be more difficult for women than to subordinate themselves to their husbands; especially with husbands of a lower IQ and of less mettle than themselves. Ladies, you have my sympathies in cases like that.
●Eph 5:22b-23 …as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
If a Christian husband expects his Christian wife to voluntarily regard him as The Lord, then his wife has every right to expect him to voluntarily act like a savior. Webster's defines a savior as one who rescues from danger or destruction; viz: a knight in shining armor. So by definition, saviors aren't supposed to abuse their wives, nor beat them, nor force them to do things against their will, nor things that degrade them or violate their conscience.
Some people have carried the concept of wifely subordination to extremes. No Go: that is way out in left field. There are definite limits to a Christian wife's subordination; and those limits are set by the Christian husband's God.
●Eph 5:24 …But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Fortunately Paul didn't say; "as Christians are subject to Christ" because if we took the average Christian's subjection to their Master as an example; then Christian wives might think they were at liberty to do just about anything they pleased.
●Eph 5:25 …Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
There's just no use in Christian wives demanding that kind of self-sacrifice from their Christian husbands until they're prepared to subordinate themselves to their men as the church is (supposed to) subordinate itself to Christ. It just won't work otherwise. A stubborn, assertive, confrontational wife will cause her husband to suffer sustained emotional injuries and mental cruelty; leading him to eventually lose heart. A wife whose husband has lost heart, is going to end up a very frustrated, unfulfilled female; and in danger of completely failing at marriage and driving her man into the arms of another woman.
You know, men can fail at marriage and it's really not that big a deal; just a bump in the road, because guys find their self worth in other areas. But normal women, as a rule, obtain a measure of their self worth from successful marriage. A failed marriage equals a woman who failed in womanhood. A failed marriage might be okay for celebrities and feminists, but for normal women, it's nothing to be proud of.
●Eph 5:26-27 …to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Love can be so selfish at times; and who doesn't know that already? We get so excited when we meet a special someone, and it's all we can do to restrain ourselves. We want to be with them all the time, and they're all we think about because they make us so happy. But Christian guys need to cool off a bit and think about what they're doing. That girl who has you wrapped around her little finger becomes a tremendous responsibility in marriage because Jesus is the role model for that kind of a relationship. Dating is one thing, but marriage is a colossally different world. If dating were a country, it would be Guam; and marriage would be China.
Jesus loved the church (that's in the past tense) and did everything in his power for her betterment; viz: he didn't woo her for his own self-satisfaction, but to make *her life better rather than his own. Let me ask you something— you Christian husbands —does your Christian wife count? Seriously. Think about that. Did you marry the girl of your dreams just so she could satisfy *your needs? Has her self esteem improved at all by living with you? Or has her feelings of worth as a woman actually deteriorated on your account?
Confession plays a very big role in the lives of Bible Christians (1John 1:5-10). I just wonder sometimes how many Christian husbands really ever confess to God that they are actively destroying their Christian wives instead of making their lives better than before they met? And how many Christian men are actually the worse off for marrying their wives? Just how much of a help to him has she really been; if any? Would he have been better off staying single than being stuck with you?
Eve's subjugation was part of her punishment, along with the pain associated with bringing children into the world; but it needs to be re-emphasized that subjugation is only supposed to apply in marriage, not to all instances in life. Subjugation of wives apparently didn't exist prior to the fall. So there's something about Man's fallen nature that now requires one gender in the marriage to stifle itself a bit to keep the peace.
There's a really good line in My Big Fat Greek Wedding; I can't remember exactly how it goes, but it's something like this; "Your father might may be the head of the house, but his wife is the neck; and the neck turns the head in any direction it wants."
I think the Bible teaches that a woman is just as much a human being as a man. Eve wasn't any less of a human being just because her gender was different than Adam's. And she wasn't created to be his slave, but his companion. Female companions are not inferior in marriage as if marriage were somehow a caste system. Companions are supposed to be friends; and the best of friends are equals in all respects— and we all know that friends are not supposed to hit each other.
It takes a lot of maturity and self-sacrifice for a wife to humble herself and let her husband be dominant in the relationship; especially for capable women who are much more competent, and surely a whole lot smarter, than the men they're married to. Women like that have got to be careful that they don't marry too far below themselves. It often happens that a woman with a high IQ marries a construction worker because she's drawn to his caveman mystique. I'm not saying it's wrong for women to be drawn to men like that. But a caveman might be a bit too far below an intelligent woman of taste. She's got to be absolutely sure she doesn't mind if her knuckle-dragging cave guy wears the pants in the family.
However, many cave guys are more than happy to shift the balance of power over to their wives. I have yet to see anything in the Bible that says husbands can't delegate. My own wife is qualified to teach kindergarten through sixth grade, and I'm a welder. She's educated; and I'm dumber than a brick. But our marriage has worked just fine for over 27 years because I don't demand that she submit to me at the expense her own worth. My wife is far more grounded and sensible than I am and does nothing on impulse. But me? …the typical drunken sailor ashore in the Philippines. If I demanded my own way in everything, our marriage would have been financially destroyed long ago.
A young girl contemplating marriage had better give some serious thought to her guy's character and personality. Is he the kind of man she can proudly, and confidently, allow to be the lord in her life? If not then maybe it would be more appropriate to tie this slogan on the back of the car instead of tin cans when they leave the chapel.
ALL MEN ARE FOOLS;
and I married their king.
Arranged marriages force women into relationships that oftentimes prove out to be unbearable for wives. But girls who have a choice about it have no excuse for binding themselves to a guy they can't look up to.
Christianity tears down the gender barriers and makes men and women pretty darn equal in many respects. So does that mean Christian women are free to do as they please? Yes, I'm afraid so. However, it also makes them free to exercise some personal discipline if they so choose. If they wish to please God and be accounted good examples, then there are some social skills they need to work on. Again, no one is putting a gun to their head. Faith works better through a willing heart than by force of law.
There is really nothing inherently wrong with enhancing a woman's appearance with Essie nail polish, lip gloss, a trendy hair-do, panty hose, wonder bra, make-up, flattering neckline, fashionable bling, and a spendy fragrance; unless of course it bothers their conscience. But the important thing is that Christian women don't put an excessive value on their appearance while overlooking their personalities because it's really a person's spirit that God looks upon to determine their worth as a human being rather than the shape of their legs or the texture of their skin.
●1Tim 2:8-10 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
Modesty is really a matter of culture. In countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait, it's considered immodest in many communities for a woman to reveal even so much as her face in public. But here in America, it isn't uncommon for women to appear on national television wearing little more than heels and fancy underwear. Each woman is going to have to decide for herself what's appropriate according to the dictates of her own particular culture, and of her own personal conscience.
The important point is: the Bible doesn't actually forbid women to fix themselves up. If they want to put a jewel in their belly button, wear hip-hugging denims, and a clingy camisole top, it's really no big deal. 1Tim 2:8-10 should be taken as a contrast between the outward self and the inward self, and the relative values of the two. I mean, if the only clothing women are supposed to wear in pubic is "good deeds" then there's a very real risk of them being arrested for indecent exposure.
●1Pet 3:1-6 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
Again, the contrast is between the beauty of the inward self and that of the outward self. Outward adornment, such as hair styles, jewelry, and fine clothes are not to be discouraged, no, not by any means. It's just that God puts a higher value on inward beauty than He does on outward beauty. (Men of course are typically just the opposite.)
So, according to both Peter and Paul, Christian women should put just as high a priority on beautifying their personalities as they do on beautifying their looks— most especially upon their relationship with their husband. A woman's appearance still counts for something, and I think every woman should try to look the best she can with what she has to work with; but not while neglecting the *me that she is and totally concentrating on the body she has.
Dumpy & Frumpy
One morning back in the 1970's, before certain kinds of magazines were required by law to be kept behind the counter, I was marveling at the graphic literature available for men at a convenience store where I always stopped on my way to work. Rhetorically, I asked the counter person why men don't just get married instead of buying girly magazines. He replied that among his customers were men buying the magazines because they're married.
There are wives all over America whose husbands are lonely and suffering with longing for a woman because the wives have let themselves go and no longer resemble anything feminine enough to satisfy their husbands' libido. Is it any wonder then that girly magazines and online porn sites are doing so well? If truth be known, there are plenty of otherwise virile men out there who need Viagra only simply because their wives are so repulsive. Christian men especially suffer with perpetual sexual frustration because it's against their religious convictions to divorce or take up with a girl friend. If you are one of the kinds of wives we're talking about, then I can just about guarantee your Christian husband is still with you only because he regards you as a cross he must bear in life and he doesn't want to fail at it.
Husbands are not only suffering sexual frustration with dumpy wives; but their misery is compounded by those wives' total lack of motivation to at least make an effort to improve their looks. There are way too many married women in America who don't have a clue how to love a man; and have somehow failed to appreciate just how important a wife's appearance is to her husband's happiness. For those kinds of women, we wish with all our heart that they read, and heed, this book:
For Women Only
By Shaunti Feldhahn
Frederick's and Victoria's Secret
For the longest time, we assumed Victoria's Secret was like the old line of Frederick's of Hollywood. But that was a huge mistake. The old Frederick's was for naughty girls, while Vicky's is for any and all girls who just want to feel special, and to feel prettier. And even today's Frederick's has really improved their couture with lots of pretty new colors, fabrics, patterns, and designs.
We took an interest in Victoria's Secret after Regis Philbin announced on his show that he went into a VS all by himself and bought a teddy (chemise) for his wife Joy. Our curiosity was peaked even further by advertisements for the IPEX line. We figured it was about time we went in and investigated Victoria's Secret for ourselves.
To our great surprise, and immense relief, Victoria's Secret is really little more than just a very special place to shop for women's lingerie and sleeping apparel. The store was well lighted, the atmosphere was cheerful; and the sales staff was extremely courteous and made every effort to make my wife and I feel like royalty.
VS's advertising can be somewhat intimidating and misleading. Just because the models look like angels from another world, doesn't mean it's necessary to be a young 10, or dress to your nines to shop at Victoria's Secret. No, practically every woman, and girl, we saw shopping were just ordinary people; the very same kinds of people you would expect to see shopping for women's things at a place like Macy's, Mervyn's or Sears. But Frederick's and Victoria's goes them one better. Their products are much nicer and far more exciting and feminine, and the attentive sales staff has just one purpose in mind: to help shoppers find what they're looking for, and to make them feel much prettier when they leave than when they arrived.
We're talking about Frederick's and Victoria's because there are so many Christian women out there who feel guilty about indulging in cosmetics and pretty nighties and undergarments. Well... let us state quite emphatically, that if beauty were a sin, then Sarah, Rebecca, and Rachel were big mistakes for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It's true that not all women are endowed with world-class appeal. But we think it is a good testimony to the joy of The Lord to do the best you can with what you've got to work with; and specialty stores like Frederick's and Victoria's can at least help you feel beautiful even though you may not think you're beautiful; and we cannot imagine the existence of a husband who wouldn't appreciate his wife's effort to make herself more appealing.
While you're at it, swing by a cosmetic shop like Sephora and check out all the latest make-up and skin care products.
We recently purchased Cable TV for the very first time and soon discovered the Food Network. One of our very, very favorite cooks is a perky Italian lass named Giada de Laurentiis (FYI: Giada's grandpa produced Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure). Not only is Giada perky, cheerful, and super cordial, but her grooming is impeccable. She is truly a magnetic personality and just impossible to dislike. Granted, Giada doesn't have little cry babies clinging to her skirt, whining, fighting, spitting up, and spilling things all over the place; so she can dress in cute, feminine outfits, fix her hair, and put on perfect make-up when she's in the kitchen. (Just you wait. Her day is coming.) But I think you get the picture. It's okay to be a slob some of the time, but certainly not a slob all of the time.
We believe it is extremely important that Christian women make an effort to retain their femininity; and not let it go to seed. So get out there and go shopping; primp and pamper yourselves a little! Start thinking and feeling like a woman again; and be sure to take your husbands with you. (Don't be surprised if they balk. Most guys are deathly afraid they'll be regarded as a pervert if they're seen in a lingerie zone.) Their input will be important in your final selections. Victoria's Secret encouraged me to join my wife in the fitting room so I could see for myself first hand whether or not what she was buying looked just as good (or better) on her as it did on the racks. My wife really appreciated that bit of courtesy, and felt a whole lot better about her purchases when she already knew that I thought they looked great on her. Erotica in marriage is not sin. It just makes good sense, and keeps things interesting.
We saw a very interesting bumper sticker one day that went something like this:
MEN ARE NOT PIGS!
Pigs are gentle, sensitive, intelligent animals.
(chuckle) Well, the girls can be just as piggy as the guys.
●Prv 11:22 As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.
We could go on and on to develop an extensive disciple's manual; but this chapter is okay for a starter kit; and easily qualifies as a minimum player's guide for born-again Christians. We highly recommend visiting the companion chapter on providence while all this is still fresh in your mind because providence is your reward for walking in the Spirit— a reward well worth seeking; especially if you've got most of your life out ahead of you yet.
Angels Watching Over Me