Total Love In Christ Ministries
-- A Minister Answers Your Questions

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Table of  Contents

Personal Answers

HELP God -- Did I Marry the Wrong Person ??

"Forgiveness" and OTHER Legalisms

Birth Control vs. Spirit Control ??

WHY Does God Hate Me ??

I was wondering about some "techniques" for patience ?

How can I maintain my Faith ??

When and for What is it OK to "Ask of / Pray to" God

Well Done Good and Faithful Servant

On "Seeking vs. Finding"

The Principle of "Sowing and Reaping"

More On "Sowing and Reaping"

Godly Submission or "BONDAGE" ???

Does God REALLY Love Me "Just As I Am" ??

God's Word On "Anxiety, Depression And Fear"

On Hearing the "Call of God"

The "Forbearance and Patience" of God

"Jesus Is the Answer !!" -- Didn't Work for Me

It seems to me that neither God nor Life are very fair !

How do I deal with an angry, bitter "Ex-" ??

Is God Responsible for ........ ??

Is Christianity just a "Crutch" for the Crippled & Irresponsible ??

On "Trying vs. Believing"

Is It OK for a Christian to marry a non-Christian ??

Doctrinal or Theological

Does God REALLY Hate Me and You ??

Understanding the Suffering of Christ

How Do I Understand God's "Wrath" ??

Divorce in God's Word

Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter into the kingdom of heaven

Of "Evil" and the "Man of Sin" ??

Will ONLY 144,000 Be Saved ??

What About "Once Saved - Always Saved" ??

About the Tithe and Atonement

Can you tell me what Heaven will be like ??

What EXACTLY is Faith ???

What EXACTLY is Faith Part 2 ???

Does God REALLY say, "Thou shalt NOT kill" ??

Worship in Spirit and in Truth ??

"False Teachers", or Merely Teaching Falsehood ??

The "Arian Conflict", or is Jesus Christ REALLY a Created Being ??

What should our (Christians) attitude be toward the "Messianic Movement" ??

What Makes Jesus Christ so Special ??

Is "Kingdom Dominion" the Same Thing as "Universalism" ??

Does God approve of White Magic ??

Satan UNmasked !!

Slavery to the Fear of Death

Hell --- Fact vs. Fable

Jesus Christ and the "Roman Catholic Church" ??

Click on the Brown Bar at the bottom of each answer to return HERE

Question: I am a young, Christian woman, married for almost 2 years. My husband is a nominal Christian. For the first year he was in Kuwait. Now that we are back together we constantly fight, never spend time together and it seems that we have nothing in common anymore. I am miserable. I don't think I love him anymore, and I constantly feel that there is someone out there who is better suited for me and someone who is better for him. I know divorce isn't respected. However, when I think about being free I am overcome with happiness and clarity. I am at a loss as to what to do. I pray for help and feel nothing in response. I get angry with the Lord because I feel that he doesn't care and isn't hearing or helping me. I have absolutely no right to be angry at him but I am so lost and unhappy.

Answer: First, I want to thank and commend you for your courage and commitment to seek counsel in your pain. I know that it is not an easy nor a light thing to share such inner turmoil, especially with a stranger. This being said, I am going to endeavor (to the best light that God has given to me) to provide you with counsel that (I pray) will be pleasing to God and beneficial to you. It, however, may NOT be that which you wish to hear or which will make you feel better.

Thank you for your additional information. However, you didn't provide one of the crucial bits that I really needed, i.e.. "Why (at least in YOUR mind) did the two of you get married in the first place ??" I asked this to clarify the conditions under which you married -- i.e.. "were you pregnant, how long had you known each other, did you receive any premarital counseling, what are your and his views regarding marriage, etc."

Also, if you haven't already done so, you need to HONESTLY and OPENLY discuss these things with your husband. He is EQUALLY at fault for the trouble within this relationship. However, HE has NOT asked for counsel, may not even see that any problem exists, and even if he did, may not have any interest in doing anything about it !! His view of marriage is no doubt even more unbiblical than is yours. You definitely need to sit down with a Christian Minister or Counselor that YOU TRUST.

Even for Christians, today's views of marriage have been so warped and twisted by modern society and the media that they bear NO resemblance to God's view and Biblical understanding of the subject. The same can be said regarding OUR relationship to God as His child and He as our Father.

I need first to say that in the Scriptures, the marriage commitment has NOTHING to do with our "feelings", and ESPECIALLY not with the "sentimental, Hollywood drivel that passes for Love". It is a VOW, a commitment, a contract (I assume that the two of you took vows to "Love, etc., until DEATH do you part"). Feelings of "love" are like feelings of lust or feelings of hunger -- they come and they go depending upon our body chemistry.

When we enter into a marriage before God, we enter into a covenant of our WILLS (just as when we entered into our relationship with God through Jesus Christ). Before God you BOTH said, "I WILL commit myself to this man (woman), devoting myself to GROWING in intimacy and commitment to him (her) as we learn more of each other -- turning ALL desire away from anyone else (no matter how strong the lust may be)."

Jesus said, "IF you love me, you will KEEP my commandments" (John 14:15, 15:10). He didn't say that we would have "wistful, sentimental feelings" for Him when everything is going good. He said that we are to set our will and stand by what we already agreed to and know to be right when things AREN'T going so well !!

My wife and I certainly had "growing pains" in our marriage !! I am going to tell you now what our pastor told my wife then, "If you will invest the same amount of time and energy into believing in and working toward growing in THIS relationship with the man that you are NOW with instead of daydreaming and fantasizing (lusting) after the "man of your dreams" and about how you might escape your present situation, you will be FAR more likely to see God's Hand move in fulfillment of your prayers"

You wrote, "I pray for help and feel nothing in response. I get angry with the Lord because I feel that he doesn't care and isn't hearing or helping me". As a committed Christian, I am sure you know that this simply isn't true. If "He cares for the swallows and the lilies of the field", He most CERTAINLY cares about ALL aspects of your (and MY) life !! I ask you to stand back (in God's shoes - if you will - for a moment) and consider just WHAT type of answer or response to your prayers it is that YOU expect to receive.

You have already acknowledged that you know that "God hates divorce". Perhaps He should have your husband die so that you might be free to marry (again) someone "more to your liking" (until HIS shortcomings begin to surface also). No -- well perhaps God could "magically" transform your husband into the "man of your dreams" -- or wasn't THAT what you thought you were getting when the two of you married only two years ago ??

Before, I asked exactly HOW it is that the two of you came to be married (and you didn't answer). I was trying to ascertain just exactly HOW MUCH of a say God really was given in your choice of a husband. What I rather sense is that He had little if ANY say !! What I believe you are, in effect, saying to God is that, "I made a poor choice of husband, Lord. Even though I didn't consult you and you had no say in my choice -- Can you fix it for me now because I am miserable with my choice" !!

What I am going to say here may sound hard, but God gave us each the dignity of CHOICE -- that we might exercise our Minds, our Wills and our Wisdom to make meaningful choices in this world. That is how we grow and mature. If we are open and seek Him, His Spirit will guide us into godly, wise choices. He has also given us His Written Word, the Bible, to reveal His Mind and Wisdom to OUR minds. If we CHOOSE to ignore His Spirit and Word, and CHOOSE independently of Him, it is rather immature and foolish of us to expect Him to miraculously overturn and nullify OUR decisions !!

If the above two paragraphs DON'T apply and are NOT true for you, then PLEASE ignore them. I am working from "spiritual sense" since you didn't provide any direct information.

No --- God IS answering your prayers, by His BEST method -- by changing YOU into a mature "woman of God" -- who will walk with God and alongside her chosen husband no matter WHAT the circumstances. This is a VERY large part of what Christian marriage is all about. It is the part that the popular songs, movies and books fail to mention !! Marriage is, in part, a training ground where men and women can grow from being "little children" -- tossed to and fro by every little inconvenience of life -- and grow to become mature Sons and Daughters of the Living God !!

It is written that, "God spared not the life of His Only-begotten Son so that we might be rescued and redeemed from the World of Sin". It is likewise true that He will equally spare no expense in dealing with us as His Son's (children) so that we might be rescued and redeemed from our lives of childishness and selfishness !!

Growth is NOT always comfortable. Our years of physical growth were OFTEN very painful (remember the "growing pains of adolescence"). Likewise, growing through and out of SPIRITUAL babyhood and adolescence will also NOT come without ITS "growing pains"

However, I cling to a number of my most cherished verses by the Apostle Paul:

You received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God's children. And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. ****** Romans 8:15-18

My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained this – that is, I have not already been perfected – but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ****** Philippians 3:10-14

So I give you the counsel that you asked for:

(1.) Pray first that God change YOU, and give to you a new heart that can contain His vision of a godly wife and of a godly marriage.
(2.) Stop your lustful daydreamings and escape fantasies and seek God to reveal what YOU can do to better fulfill YOUR role in the marriage relationship. Stay away from occasions and situations where you are being exposed to other men (ESPECIALLY the ONE that you are struggling against). Also, ask God to reveal to you what it is that YOU are doing to undermine and destroy the marriage.
(3.) By ALL means, bring your husband into the situation, share your concerns with him (in a loving, non-abusive way), and definitely try to get counseling together.
(4.) The escape fantasies and lustful cravings for another (a different) man might very well be what we term "strongholds of the mind" -- areas of your thought life that Satan and his workers can use to torment, abuse and / or control you. Here is an excellent book covering this subject that I HIGHLY recommend -- The Three Battlegrounds: An In-Depth View of the Three Arenas of Spiritual Warfare: The Mind, the Church and the Heavenly Places, by Francis Frangipane. You may purchase cheap copies [ Here ].

Here also are two other responses that I gave to others regarding a "Christian marriage" as well as the primary scriptural teaching on marriage. I believe that the material contained within them will be of value to you. Please click [ Here ] and [ Here ].

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church – he himself being the savior of the body. But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, so that he may present the church to himself as glorious – not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one has ever hated his own body but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is great – but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. **** Ephesians 5:22-32

Question:I spend a LOT of time cruising the Net, and I came upon a video on YouTube by some preacher carrying on about how much God hates me and can't wait to see me in Hell !! He was relating some story about two guys names of Jacob and Esau. If that is what God thinks about me, I SURE don't want nothing to do with him !! What's wrong with those preachers, anyway. What makes them think that anyone wants to hear their garbage ?? I came upon your site by accident, and thought that maybe you could help me understand. My mother and father were religious, but I don't see anything in it !!!!

Answer: I am SO glad that God directed you to our site, and that you took the time and trouble to write. It tells me that, regardless of your opinion about "preachers", there is still an honest "yearning and seeking after God" in your heart. I have to agree with you in regard to your observation about some of the so-called "preachers" and the "hate filled" garbage that they spew forth !! I observe MANY today that are asking the same question as you, namely, "Does God REALLY hate me?" or "Why does God hate me?"

You will find an in-depth response to that question that I have prepared [ Here ].

Question: I am confused ??? Christians are always proclaiming that "God is Love" and that He loves everyone unconditionally !! The Universalists even go so far as to claim that, ultimately, He is going to save everyone. Yet I read in the Gospels, and ESPECIALLY in Paul's letters, about the "Wrath of God" and how God is a god of wrath, vengeance and justice. Now my question and source of confusion is, "How so ??? How can BOTH of these assertions be TRUE ?? Both sides seem to claim the support and backing of 'Scripture' for their assertions."

Answer: Thank you for writing -- I really appreciate your inquiring spirit !! The answer that I have to give to you is a rather involved and technical one. If you REALLY desire to know, than God will reveal to you the truth which you seek (maybe not FULLY from me). If, on the other hand, you are merely inquiring in order to justify a view that you already hold, than you already have your answer or "reward", so there is nothing more for you to receive.

Please go [ Here ] for an INDEPTH article covering this issue.

Question: I know my time is about to run out. I am 68 years old. I would like to know the truth, but I think that I all ready do. My life has been pure hell from the day I was born, as my dad cursed me constantly. People have told me through the years that I have a black cloud hanging over my head. I have been married 4 times and all have been pure hell after a while, as it is with this one. She drinks day and night and it is constant hell living with her.

I have been smoking for over 50 years and have tried every thing there is to stop. Now I have a tumor on my tongue and was told to quit by doctors. I have had the hiccups day and night for over 2 years, been to 17 doctors and they do not know why. I quit breathing 10 times or more a day and that is very SCARY! I also have A.D.D. I have tried praying to God, fasting, being still, had people pray for me, used prayer cloths, beat my chest and went to a guy who was a deliverance minister. I gave Him my life and would do anything in my power to serve Him. I would do anything, if I understood what to do. If I knew and had been taught this, I would have lived my life differently for sure as I have found out too late that there is only one power. Had I been born to different parents my life would have been different.

I do not want to be lost forever -- just thinking about it makes me cry. All I do day and night is think about Him and things get worse every day. It says, "As a man think in his heart so he is". I know in my heart that I am a good for nothing piece of crap and I hate myself. I was born no good and God hates me. I sit and tremble at the thought of dying without knowing Him. If He would only tell me why, or what my ancestors did, I would try to make it right or ask again for mercy. It says in Romans 9 that, "It not of him who wills or runs. It is God who shows mercy." I believe I am a vessel of destruction! It says, "Life and death are in the power of the tongue" and I am damming myself for telling the truth! 4 women can't be wrong and all those others can't either, including my dad, as He never cursed my brother and sister like he did me. They all say I am not fit for the dung pile. Jesus said there would be gnashing of teeth and mine are worn out from it. He also said it would be better that some were not born, and I wish I wasn't. It is hard to love a God who would do all this to me for no reason -- if He would only tell me why!! I have asked and asked Him!! At least Job knew God -- I do not, but I am no one to question Him. I guess it would not make any difference what I do as far as He is concerned -- if I quit taking my meds or whatever. I will do anything to escape this place if I could. I just cannot walk away and leave my wife with all the bills. Please let me know what you think. Why am I no good and will be destroyed, or is there any hope ???? Jesus said whoever hears my words and does them, God would send them the Holy Spirit. If I could do what He says, I would not need the Holy Spirit.

Thank you for your time ... and please do not think I am feeling sorry for myself. I don't and I would die right now if I knew I was not lost. Will He remember me in the Resurrection? The old saying goes that, "Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die". Well, I do. I have two tumors, one on my tongue and one on my adrenal gland. I WOULD drive to get help if it is possible that someone could help me! I need these demons cast out of me!

Answer: To say that your letter is confusing would be an understatement. Since YOU took the time and effort to write to ME, I am going to assume that you want whatever help God will enable me to give you. What this is going to mean is that I am NOT going to give you some mealy-mouthed, religious babble or "feel good" talk. You need to hear and face up to some TRUTH in your life !!

First off, I don't know WHAT "DEMONS" (human OR spiritual form) that you have been listening to, but your first step would be to STOP listening. Also STOP all of this negative, condescending BABBLE about what a TERRIBLE person that you are and how God hates you and has chosen YOU personally to persecute!! The truth is that God's heart toward us (ALL of us, YOU included) isn't and NEVER has been anything but LOVE and a desire to see HIS very best for us. This, DESPITE the fact that HE knows FAR better than any of us could bear to face EXACTLY what lost and wretched creatures we REALLY are. He tells us that while we were yet His ENEMIES (on OUR part, not His) He died for us (EACH of us). How much more will he give to us now that we are His son's and daughters. See scriptures at end.

It is NOT God or "demons" or 4 woman or EVEN your parents who have resulted in your life being as it is -- it is choices YOU have made, thoughts that YOU have filled your mind with and actions that YOU have taken !! I believe that ALL of your exaggerations about how "horrible" you are is nothing more than "religious babble" so that you don't have to hear what God REALLY wants to speak to you. You say, "Please do not think I am feeling sorry for myself" -- exactly WHAT would you call the entire contents of your letter ?? You need to start to take some responsibility for YOUR life !!

In one place you state, "I gave Him my life and would do anything in my power to serve Him. I would do anything, if I understood what to do." If I understand this part of your letter, you are saying that you DID give your life to Him (God). Yet you keep saying how you don't know Him, you are lost and "dying without Him". Which is true -- they BOTH can't be ?? Either you committed your life to God through Jesus Christ and received His forgiveness and salvation -- or you didn't. Which is it ??

What Jesus requires is nothing more or less, easier or harder than that you turn your ENTIRE life over to Him and allow HIM to heal and change it. No more religious works or talk, no more blaming self or others, no more wallowing in self-depreciating self-pity. You have carried YOUR burden and worn YOUR yoke all of your life and see where it has gotten you. Jesus invites you to wear His yoke and carry His burden, which He promises are Light and Easy compared to your own !!

11:27 All things have been handed over to me (Jesus) by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides to reveal him. 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 11:29 Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 11:30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry. **** Matthew

There are NO "works" or "secret doors" to salvation. You need ONLY come before God in your heart - confess that you have lived your life as a self absorbed, self righteous sinner who only really cared about what was best for him - repent of your past ways - ask for the forgiveness and salvation that He has made available in Jesus Christ - and, MOST important, BELIEVE and RECEIVE it !!!!

6:28 So then they said to him, "What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?" 6:29 Jesus replied, "This is the deed God requires -- to believe in the one whom he sent." **** John

As of that point, allow Him to begin to get rid of ALL of the destructive garbage that you have allowed your mind to be filled with. Find a GOOD Christian fellowship where you can find truth, love and friendship. Read the New Testament (Bible) to find out what God and Jesus are REALLY like. Allow His Holy Spirit to enter into you and start changing you from the inside -- ALL of your "religious works and efforts" are nothing but self righteous "dung" -- they are of no use or value whatsoever.

YOU have a choice -- you can choose to begin to believe the Bible, God, Jesus Christ, and me -- that God loves you, that you are His Son, that you have great value in his eyes, and that He has prepared a place for you. You can also choice to continue believing the "damnable crap" that fills both your mind and your letter. If THAT is what you decide to chose, then for YOU, it WILL be true. That is what is REALLY meant by the scripture that you quoted about, "Life and death are in the power of the tongue".

Read this article on "The Love of God in Jesus Christ". Click [ HERE ].

3:16 For this is the way God loved the world (US, YOU and I): He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 3:18 The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. **** John

2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 2:5 even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ -- by grace you are saved! -- 2:6 and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, **** Ephesians

4:9 By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. 4:10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. **** 1 John

5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 5:9 Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God's wrath. 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? 5:11 Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation. **** Romans

1:21 You were at one time strangers and enemies in your minds as expressed through your evil deeds, 1:22 but now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death to present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before him **** Colossians

10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we preach), 10:9 because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10:10 For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. 10:11 For the scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." 10:12 For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. 10:13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. **** Romans

Question: I was reading "Those Who Wait for the Lord". Click [ HERE ]. I was wondering about some techniques for patience? I know it was saying you have to trust in the lord, but I am impatient all the time. I know you wrote that he has to build the foundation before the roof, etc., but I always want results right away. I sit here with nothing to do and worry about all sorts of things and am not patient to PASS TIME, but want things to happen. How can I learn patience in a constructive way? Also, are there tasks God has given us to do so that I can keep occupied

Here is something you wrote that I like: "What we need is a VISION, a PURPOSE firmly fixed in our mind, heart and spirit as to WHAT we are seeking and growing toward."

I need to find a vision -- Something that guides me every day -- Something to inspire me. I believe if I could truly believe in the workings of God that I would be more fulfilled. I need a guide and guidance. I remember you said you used to pass each day as if it was never ending and going nowhere. That is how I feel. Each moment I am anxious for something to happen. I want results. I want to be able to have a sense of peace -- Not to worry. Maybe I should believe that God is taking care of everything in his own time, but why am I so impatient and uptight? I want peace of mind -- Not to worry about petty little things.

Answer: There is a Christian Joke that goes, "Lord, give me Patience, but give it to me NOW !!"

I am sorry to have to tell you the Sad Secret, but there is no "shortcut to patience" -- no techniques -- no special secrets -- no practices --- just GROWTH in God !!

The Spiritual Life is in SOME respects like the Natural Life -- it is a REAL life, having a REAL Birth and a natural growth cycle.

Many children can't wait to "grow up" (meaning to become teenagers) and many teenagers can't wait to "grow up" (meaning to reach 21 or "adult" age). In either case (though more so teenagers) they are filled with impatience, unrest, longing, anticipation, tension, and perhaps a sense of bitterness -- a GREAT need to HURRY the process along. Sometimes they may even pretend that they are older by assuming a more "mature persona" (affection). Sometimes adults will also pretend that they are Christians (have IN FACT the "Spiritual Birth") by assuming some of the outward affections. In the first case you have what everyone else can see is a child trying to act like an adult, and in the second case you have what the world knows as "RELIGION".

In either case, the reality is the same. Natural maturity occurs at its OWN pace from a REAL physical birth and there is nothing that we can do to speed up the process. Likewise, the Birth of Christ in our Spirit is a REAL birth and Spiritual growth is a REAL process that takes place through the Life of God working within us. We can no more bring forth or speed up Spiritual growth or maturity than we can Natural growth or maturity.

At this point YOU need to ask yourself a VERY fundamental question, namely, "Has there REALLY been a Birth of Jesus Christ in your Spiritual Man?" Have you REALLY accepted Jesus Christ as your savior ?? I am NOT talking about some intellectual assent because you think that it sounds like some "good philosophy" or because you hope that it might make you happy or more fulfilled. I am talking about REALLY acknowledging the reality of your "lostness and separation (your state of sinful existence)" before God and the reality that He has provided His Son Jesus Christ as the ONLY way to bridge this gulf and remedy your condition. Also, to repent from your self-willed and self-centered existence up to this point and ask Him that HIS Spirit and His Life might henceforth become yours and be the guiding, motivating force in YOUR life. You said once that you "tried to lead a good life and to be a good person". You need to see that this is simply NOT true. Without Christ, ALL people lead selfish, self-centered lives that are basically dominated by the motive of, "What is good for ME!!"

I bring up this point because you have said more than once to me that "you STILL do not know which side of the argument is true" !! You said this when your friend and I were having our "discussion" the last time that you were here. If you had, in fact, had an inner birth of Jesus Christ, you WOULD know it, just as you know that you had a natural birth. If ALL that you have are "intellectual notions", then YES, they are as subject to confusion as ANY other thoughts or ideas that we may have AND no better or worse, no more true or false.

A "New Birth in Christ" does NOT mean that you will cease having inner turmoil right away. As a matter of fact, it may increase, as you now have a new dimension for this war to be fought in and a new antagonist, Satan, who was perfectly content to leave you alone before, since you were already one of his. What it DOES and MUST mean is that you now know the reality of being a "New Creature (person) in Jesus Christ" !! The "old man" has passed away and inwardly, in your "spiritual man (woman)" a NEW being has been born.

I also think it needful to point out that I don't believe that God created ANYONE (you or me) to "sit at their computer ALL day, 7 days a week, 4 weeks a month, 12 months per year" !! I think that it is VERY misguided of you to expect to find a fulfilling life with THIS ONLY as its content. I know others have discussed this with you before, but you have made up your mind as to what you want to do, and you expect to get different results by continuing the SAME practices. It simply IS NOT going to work that way. If you want fulfillment in your life, YOU are going to have to put something FULFILLING into it. Even God will ONLY fulfill our lives insofar as they are being spend fulfilling HIS fulfilling purpose.

I hope that the preceding has been of SOME SMALL help. It is NOT a simple topic, and I still experience bouts of impatience and lack of fulfillment in my OWN life, and probably will to some degree until God separates me from THIS life.

I enclose this excerpt [ HERE ] from the writings of William Law as maybe casting more light on this subject.

Question:   I am a Christian woman who was married to a Christian man. While we were married, I had an affair with another man and ultimately divorced my husband for him. I am currently living with this man, who is still married to his wife, and we have had a child together. Ever since, I have been feeling terribly guilty and fearful as to what God might do to punish me for my sin. Do you have ANY answer ??

Answer:   In response to your question as to what I think that God will do regarding your divorce and adultery -- At first, I had no idea, but as I sought God in prayer,  I now feel that He has given me AT LEAST a partial answer. Contrary to what YOU might fear and that others might believe and/or tell you, I truly feel that His Word to me about it was that HE isn't going to DO ANYTHING.

As you know, He designed His universe (both physical AND spiritual) to function according to the principle of "sowing and reaping". Regarding a major offence of my own, I strongly felt that the Lord told me that if I continued sowing seed as I had been, I was going to reap some SEVERE fruit, and I REALLY took that word to heart !!

6:7 Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool (mocked). For a person will reap what he sows. 6:8 The person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 6:9 So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. **** Galatians

Regarding you, I believe that the Lord conveyed to me the idea that you were dissatisfied with the life that He, in His love and wisdom, had provided for you. You grew weary of the "manna" that HE had provided and "craved different food". He ALLOWED you to find and taste of it, that you might see and learn how YOUR choices compare to HIS. He KNEW what you would do from the beginning, but He ALLOWED (not compelled) you to exercise the dignity and power of CHOICE as one of His mature children !!

11:1 When the people complained, it displeased the Lord ...... 11:4 Now the mixed multitude who were among them craved more desirable foods, and so the Israelites wept again and said, "If only we had meat to eat! 11:5 We remember the fish we used to eat freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 11:6 But now we are dried up, and there is nothing at all before us except this manna!"" 11:31 Now a wind went out from the Lord and brought quail from the sea, and let them fall near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side, and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about three feet high on the surface of the ground. 11:32 And the people stayed up all that day, all that night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail. The one who gathered the least gathered ten homers, and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 11:33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before they chewed it, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague. 11:34 So the name of that place was called Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people that craved different food. **** Numbers

As He told me regarding MY ex-wife, I believe that He is likewise saying to you NOW -- that it will now be up to you to live with the fruit that has and will grow from this sowing. OF COURSE He will continue to walk with BOTH of us, loving, guiding, watching, caring for just as He has ALWAYS done. However, it will be down a DIFFERENT path than it would have been prior to OUR choosing. There will be blessings that He HAD for us that will NOT now be -- there will likewise be new, different blessings that previously we would NOT have received. We will continue to grow -- to mature -- we will have different opportunities to serve than we would have had before, but the path will be more difficult, strewn with boulders that NEED NOT have been there. Someone once pointed out that for Moses, the first set of tablets were hewn by the hand of God Himself. After Moses became angry and broke them, he had to chisel out the SECOND set himself, BY HAND !!

9:10 The Lord gave me the two stone tablets, written by the very finger of God, and on them was everything he said to you at the mountain from the midst of the fire at the time of that assembly. 9:11 Now at the end of the forty days and nights the Lord presented me with the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant. 9:17 I grabbed the two tablets, threw them down, and shattered them before your very eyes. 10:1 At that same time the Lord said to me, "Carve out for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones and come up the mountain to me; also make for yourself a wooden ark. 10:2 I will write on the tablets the same words that were on the first tablets you broke, and you must put them into the ark." **** Numbers

One thing that I must express VERY strongly, "Do NOT expect God's blessing upon your life or your household while you continue to live in flagrent sin and willful violation of His commandments -- KNOWING that you do so !!"

Question: I am now living with a man who is a new Christian. He seems to be a "good" man and I love him very much. I want VERY much to be a submissive, godly, Christian woman. However, he seems to be a VERY controlling individual and wants me ALL to himself. He even goes so far as to lay down stipulations as to how and when I may relate to my Christian friends. He gets upset if I do something "without his permission" !! Is this right and proper in Christ ???

Answer:  To answer your question from a Biblical perspective without resorting to some mindless legalism is going to be rather difficult for a number of reasons:

1. According to the strict words of Jesus, you are BOTH living  outside of God's "Wish and Will".

 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.  So He (Jesus) told them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.  And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery"� **** Mark 10:9-12

2. Scripture speaks ONLY of the relationship between Husband and Wife, NOT that of a man and woman merely "living together". In Jesus' day, such a situation would have been unheard of !!
3. The answer that I am going to give you (the ONLY acceptable kind to my thinking) will be based upon the "Spirit of God's Word" and NOT upon the "Legalistic Letter" !!

First of all, I want to say that I perceive that the intent of your heart, above all else, is to love and to please God, and that you presently find yourself in a VERY painful and difficult position. You KNOW what the Word of God says, but you are finding it exceeding difficult (if not impossible in your OWN strength) to obey it !! For this predicament, I can ONLY tell you to continue to look and pray to God for the strength and means. He promises that:

No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it. **** 1 Corinthians 10:13

The answer that I am going to give to you in response to your specific question is NOT going to be derived from the strict "Letter of the Word", but rather from the "Revelation of the Spirit" which I believe that God has given to me regarding the matter. It is also derived from my OWN personal and bitter experience, until God opened up MY eyes (through MUCH pain) to see MY sin and failing in this area !! It is going to be based upon verses which, at first, may seem to have NO bearing on the matter under consideration.

To begin, let me say that God HAS NOT commanded ANY woman to be subject to ANY man other than to her God given, God ordained, legal HUSBAND !!!!! If she DOES NOT have a husband, then like ALL Christians, she is to submit (in a LIMITED sense) to the ordained elders of her Christian assembly. The scriptures on submission have NOTHING to do with your present situation, and, in fact, CAN NOT.

5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, 5:23 because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church ....  5:24 As the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 5:28 In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 5:29 For no one has ever hated his own body but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, 5:30 for we are members of his body. ****** Ephesians

You will note that God commanded the wives to "submit to your husbands" and the husbands to "love your wives". Why --- because the wife shouldn't love her husband or that, at times, the husband should not defer to his wife's wisdom ?? Of course not !! It is because the wife will naturally love her husband, but that a domineering spirit is the thing that she will have to guard and fight against. Likewise, the husband will have NO problem with the desire to dominate his wife, so that to "lay down his life" and, with TOTAL abandonment, to love and cherish her as Christ does His Church will be HIS particular challenge.

I believe that this ABSOLUTELY can NOT occur outside of the boundaries of a God ordained and sanctified Husband-Wife relationship, sealed by the Spirit of God into "the mystery known as Christ and His Church". It is the coming together of two who were formerly separate and alone into "One Flesh", knitted together by the very Spirit of the Living God, as an allegory, type and shadow of that which will one day be revealed in ALL of its fullness and Glory. AMEN Lord, let it be soon !!!! It is totally foreign and alien to both "this World System" (the domain of Satan) and to the makeup and nature of the fallen or "natural" (unregenerate) man.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.  This mystery is great, but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church. **** Ephesians 5:31,32

Scripture also speaks of the wife being the "weaker vessel". I absolutely do not believe that this refers to her as being in ANY way inferior to the man, whether it be emotionally, intellectually, physically or spiritually. The distribution of these four qualities varies in full spectrum across the male-female population.

Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration as the weaker (772) partners and show them honor as fellow heirs of the grace of life. In this way nothing will hinder your prayers. **** 1 Peter 3:7

The Strong's Reference Number used for this word is 772. There are 23 verse references containing it -- Matt 25:39 Matt 25:43,44 Matt 26:41 Mark 14:38 Luke 10:9 Acts 4:9 Acts 5:15,16 Roma 5:6 1Cor 1:25 1Cor 1:27 1Cor 4:10 1Cor 8:7 1Cor 8:10 1Cor 9:22 1Cor 11:30 1Cor 12:22 2Cor 10:10 Gala 4:9 1The 5:14 Hebr 7:18 1Pet 3:7

If you will look at these verses, you will find that they DO all refer in some sense to a deficiency, a weakness, a difference in strength, that which is vulnerable. Perhaps this last word (vulnerable) might best convey the idea. The female is the weaker vessel in so far as SHE is more vulnerable to spiritual forces and influences, and is more emotionally motivated. I believe that this concept is illustrated by this verse:

For some of these insinuate themselves into households and captivate weak women who are overwhelmed with sins and led along by various passions. **** 2 Timothy 3:6

Her heart and spirit are more sensitive than that of the man (in general). Hence her STRENGTH becomes her WEAKNESS. Not only is her spirit more attuned to God's Spirit, but it is ALSO more vulnerable to attack from malicious spirits. Hence, she needs the protection and "covering" of her husband to help and guard her. It was, after all, EVE who was deceived. Satan choose to attack and work through her rather than to launch a frontal attack against Adam directly.

Now we come to the crux of your question, a matter VERY dear to My heart as it was to that of Paul's, and a matter of EXTREME spiritual importance -- your "Freedom in Christ" --- and those who would seek to abridge it !!!

PLEASE read this article entitled "It is for FREEDOM that Christ has Set Us Free !!" [HERE]!!

When I first met (and married) my wife, I didn't know it at the time, but she was a very emotionally hurting, insecure and needy person. Over the years, I also learned that I was a VERY domineering, dictatorial, controlling person who liked things done in a VERY precise way (MY way), and who liked my wife to think and do what I wanted (MY way). There were even areas that she didn't really mind my taking over, like our finances, since she didn't like handling money anyway. However, what she found out that she DIDN'T like was that, as I controlled the finances, I also controlled WHERE the money went and HOW much !! Over the years, these conflicts built up a great mental and emotional pressure within her.

As she grew more confident within herself (through the Lord's Love and Grace), she began to discover WHO and What she was. She lost a great deal of weight, learned professional techniques of makeup, hairstyle, and dressing - as well as honed her employment skills until she moved into management at her place of employ.

Ultimately, she blossomed outwardly into what she had ALWAYS been within - a VERY beautiful, confident, gracious and capable woman - and finally decided that she NO longer needed ME to live HER life for her or for her to live HER life for ME. To my enduring pain and grief, she left me. The moral of my relating this tale is that, I believe one day, you too will finally fully realize and blossom into who and what you already really are, and into the calling and graces that God has prepared for you !!

PLEASE read this article on GUILT [HERE]!!

Question:   God has been working VERY hard in and with me over the last few years to open my eyes to TRULY see who HE is and who I am !! However, because of my VERY strict and legalistic background and upbringing, I am still struggling to fully accept that God REALLY loves me JUST AS I AM, and that ALL of the works and labors that I might do for Him, though they be acts and expressions of love, will NOT increase His love for me ONE DOT (i.e.. He already does, and in fact DID, love me with the fulness of His love !!).

Having been "whipped" all of my life with the concept of "works" and earning God's Love -- and having it continually impressed upon me as to what a "wrenched Sinner" that I am and always WILL be -- and that I am not and could NEVER be worthy of God's love -- I am finding it almost TOO much to comprehend and believe what He is teaching me. Much of it is about how much He REALLY does love me, and merely because I am ME and NOT because of anything that I did, do, or might do in the future !! You might say that I suffer from an ACUTE case of LOW (really NO) self esteem. Also, I have been told repeatedly (and STILL am) that as a "humble Christian", I am NOT allowed to think well of myself -- that would be Pride !!

I am REALLY confused -- can you help me -- PLEASE ?????  ----  God's Love to you -- A searching and seeking "Sister-In-Christ" !!!!

Answer:  Dear "Searching Sister": Thank you so much for excising the Love, Faith and Trust to open your heart to me and trust enough to seek answers here. I VERY much want to answer your questions because I know how much these issues trouble MANY, and because that the answers that I am going to give seem to be SO LITTLE understood by SO MUCH of the "church".

An excellent and profound Christian author by name of C.S. Lewis once commented, "I believe that what God wants is NOT that we should think little or nothing of ourselves, certainly NOT that we should think much of ourselves, but rather that we might arrive at that place where we do not think about ourselves AT ALL !!" In other words, take the "little child" of whom Jesus speaks (Matthew 18:4). I believe that one of the endearing characteristics of little children is their "transparent spirit" -- they have not yet learned to be proud, so they therefore find no need to pretend to be humble. They JUST ARE as they are !!

I believe that certainly one of the things that awed (and intimidated) people about Jesus is that He was totally confident in Himself and totally without guile or pretense. He knew without a doubt, "Who He was, Why He was here, and Where He was going" !! He knew that He was TOTALLY beloved and accepted by His Father -- and that He was fully sufficient. He did NOT have to pretend to be anything or strive to prove anything. He could be what He was and do what was needful in perfect confidence. As John stated:

4:17 By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world. 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. 4:19 We love because he loved us first. ******  1 John

3:16 After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him. 3:17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my one dear Son; in him I take great delight"" 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. ****** Matthew

13:3 Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 13:4 he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. 13:5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself.  ****** John

The "orthodox" caricature of "Christian humility" is most certainly NOT the humility of Jesus - but is rather a mental disease, a sickness, a manifestation of "sin-twisted souls", corrupted and distorted by Satan's lies !!

Would sinners have flocked to anyone who manifested the broken, back bowed, head down, "I am just a poor, humble, wretched sinner who will never be anything more until the day that I die" mentality ?? Have they ever ?? Would YOU ????

Jesus stated that the second MOST important precept of the Kingdom of God is: "Love your neighbor as yourself". This would imply (to me, at least) that FIRST, I must love MYSELF !! How many are there (you have known them), who have rather, "hated their neighbor as they hate THEMSELVES" !!!!!!! Is not this why the world is as it is ??

12:28 ...... he asked him (Jesus), "Which commandment is the most important of all?" 12:29 Jesus answered, "The most important is: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. 12:31 The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these" 12:32 The expert in the law said to him, "That is true, Teacher ...... 12:33 to love him with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices".   ****** Mark

The Jews of Jesus day had a "good works" mentality -- they believed (as does MUCH of the "church" today) that they had to "work themselves" into God's Kingdom !! Jesus "burst their self righteous bubble" when He told them that, "the good works that my Father requires is that you BELIEVE ME" !! This is same "good works" that Jesus requires of us today -- that we would believe Him and believe and trust in His Word and NOT in the Devils lies and deceptions !! After all, when we disregard God's word and  believe rather in the Devil's lies, are we not, IN FACT, calling God a LIAR !! One of the GREATEST concepts that God wants us to FULLY believe is that we are TOTALLY beloved and accepted by Him, that we are His special, beloved children -- in Fact, Sons and Daughters of the Living God. As He looks forward toward that final day, He sees Sons in whom there is "NO spot nor blemish", totally conformed unto the "image of Jesus Christ" !!! AH -- GLORIOUS DAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you wish to read an OUTSTANDING expose regarding God's Ultimate Intention (or His Plan), I heartily recommend a book by that name written by DeVern Fromke. You might also enjoy "Unto Full Stature" by the same author and "The Normal Christian Life" by Watchman Nee. Another excellent read would be, "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. You may purchase them HERE --->> You may also read an in-depth essay by me HERE, entitled: "Will God, IN FACT, be All-In-All ??" Click HERE for an excellent explanation on the TRUE meaning of the concept of "Adoption of Sons".

6:27 Do not work for the food that disappears, but for the food that remains to eternal life, the food which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has put his seal of approval on him. 6:28 So then they said to him, "What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?" 6:29 Jesus replied, "This is the deed God requires, to believe in the one whom he sent. ****** John

3:1 See what sort of love the Father has given to us: that we should be called God's children -- and indeed we are! For this reason the world does not know us: because it did not know him. 3:2 Dear friends, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever, it is revealed, we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is. 3:3 And everyone who has this hope focused on him purifies himself, just as Jesus is pure. ****** 1 John

In the Old Testament, God put this plaintive question to His Chosen (His Bride), Israel:

So now, residents of Jerusalem, people of Judah, you decide between me and my vineyard!  What more can I do for my vineyard beyond what I have already done? When I waited for it to produce edible grapes, why did it produce sour ones instead? ****** Isaiah 5:3,4

Jesus makes a similar complaint:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, ...... How often I (Jesus) have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it (you would not come)! ****** Luke:
13:34

Today God (through Jesus Christ) continually cries out through His Word and His Spirit of His unbridled Love for His lost children:

He tells of the man who went in search of the ONE lost sheep -- UNTIL He found it !! (Luke 15:4)

He tells of the Prodigal son whom the Father ran to on the path, weeping as He threw His arms around the son and called for a great celebration -- so glad was He to have His son home again !! (Luke 15:11)

He emphasis His Love for us in that, while we were still His ENEMIES (in OUR hearts), when there was NO reason whatsoever for Him to love us OTHER than the fact that He is our Father -- at THAT TIME He did and provided ALL that was and would ever be necessary for us to return home. So how much more, now that we have been reconciled and returned to our rightful place in "Father's House", has He not ever so much more reason to love us ???? (Romans 5:10)

He tells us that:

I came not to judge the world (YOU), but to save the world (YOU). ****** John 12:47

Still we persist in doubting in His Word and His Love.

We continue to insist that we must WORK for His Love, must EARN it, must PAY for it through good works and acts of repentance -- Somehow we must DO something, if not to BECOME worthy of it, than SURELY at least to BE worthy now that He "Loves" us !!

We twist His declaration (ever so subtly, as did the Serpent), till WE make it declare that it IS NOT WE ourselves - our Hearts and our Love - that our Father seeks, but it is RATHER our LABORS in doing "GOOD WORKS" for Him and His Kingdom !!!!!!!!!! So, still in pain, the Father's Heart cries out, "What more can I do for my lost children beyond what I have already done?"

Click [ HERE ] for a more indepth look at "God's Love".

4:9 By this the love of God is revealed in us (In this was manifested the love of God among us): that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. 4:10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 4:15 If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God. 4:16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him.  ****** 1 John

5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 5:9 Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God’s wrath. 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? 8:12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh 8:13 (for if you live according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, "Abba, Father"" 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. 8:17 And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)– if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him. ****** Romans

4:3 So also we, when we were minors, were enslaved under the basic forces of the world. 4:4 But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. 4:6 And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls "Abba! Father!" 4:7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God. ****** Galatians

The Aramaic for father is "Abba". This is said to be a common and familiar term for father, similar to the Arabic "Abu" (equivalent to dad or Papa in English).

The word "Abba," is a transliteration. The word "Father," is a translation. There is no English word that adequately conveys the meaning of the Aramaic word, "Abba." This is why the translators gave us this transliteration – Abba. The word conveys a close intimacy that is reserved for parents and children. We might compare the word to dad, but this doesn’t do it justice.

Click [ HERE ] for a more in depth discussion of the word "Abba".

Question:  In my older years, I have gotten myself into trouble with the law. Lately I feel continually overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety, depression and fear. Does God's Word have anything to say about these feelings and, perhaps, how to deal with them ??

Answer:  Thank you for your confidence in writing. Yes, these are VERY common symptoms of the "Human Condition", shared at one time or another by most (if not all) of humanity !! You mentioned "older years", and it seems to also be common that these symptoms are magnified in our "twilight years" -- perhaps due to an increasing realization of our fragility, mortality, and weakness.

ELIJAH FEARED AND RAN FOR HIS SOUL

Elijah Runs for His Life

19:1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, including a detailed account of how he killed all the prophets with the sword. 19:2 Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah with this warning, "May the gods judge me severely if by this time tomorrow I do not take your life as you did theirs!" 19:3 Elijah was afraid, so he got up and fled for his life to Beer Sheba in Judah. He left his servant there, 19:4 while he went a day's journey into the desert. He went and sat down under a shrub and asked the Lord to take his life: "I've had enough! Now, O Lord, take my life. After all, I am no better than my ancestors"� 19:5 He stretched out and fell asleep under the shrub. ****** 1 Kings

What did this display of fear and cowardice say to all of those who had just witnessed such a mighty display of God's power in response to Elijah's prayer on Mount Carmel? Would it encourage them to go back to Baal worship? He now was running for his life. A solitary threat had caused him to flee. Why did he not remain and confront her emissaries of death? Had she sent a million-man army, he could have just stood his ground and asked God to send down fire to destroy them all. Yet he ran. Depression causes us to do things we would not otherwise do.

Elijah took his eyes off the all Sufficient God of Israel and looked at his weak self.

Fear entered, and flight was the direct result. He truly was "a man of like emotions" to us. Our emotions are based upon our perceptions. Our perceptions vacillate and thus do our emotions. They go from positive when we are looking outward, seeing God as the One to rely on, to negative when looking inward at ourselves.

Elijah ran for his soul.

He traveled over 100 miles southward to Beer-sheba, which is at the very southern border of Israel, to get away from Jezebel. There, leaving his lad and walking a days journey into the wilderness, he "came to sit under a certain broom bush," and there he begged Yahweh for his soul to die! He could go no further! He begged for his soul to die and said, "It is enough now! O Yahweh, take my soul from me, for I am no better than my fathers'" (1 Kings 19:4).

A MESSENGER STRENGTHENS

Nevertheless, God sent a messenger to strengthen him with food and water and to tell him: "The journey is too much for you." Does this not remind us of Christ Who also was "depressed and sorrow-stricken to death" (Matt. 26:37; Mark 14:33), and to Whom God also sent a messenger for strengthening (Luke 22:43)? Our Lord's thoughts concerning His journey to the cross -- the journey for carrying the sins of the world -- the journey to separation from the Father -- were too much for Him to endure. So the Father helped His Beloved Son out of His depression and weakness by sending this heavenly messenger so He could refocus on the joy lying before Him for enduring the cross

WHAT ABOUT US TODAY?

What might be helpful to us today when we become depressed? Many times when we are depressed, we are doing what Elijah was doing -- we are looking at ourselves rather than at God. We look at our failures, our shortcomings, and then we start dwelling on our troubles which seem more than enough! Yet Gods grace to us super exceeds!

FORGETTING THOSE THINGS BEHIND

As for our failures and troubles, we need a good forgetter: " ...... forgetting, indeed, those things which are behind, yet stretching out to those in front -- toward the goal am I pursuing for the prize of God's calling above in Christ Jesus" (Phil.3:13,14). When we forget those things which are behind, we forget our failings. But let us also be "stretching out to those [things] in front -- toward the goal." Paul was goal-oriented.

BE THANKFUL

"And let the peace of Christ be arbitrating in your hearts, for which you were called also in one body; and become thankful" (Col 3:15). When we focus on God and recount to our loving heavenly Father all the countless good things He has done for us, and give Him thanks for them, depression takes a back seat. By God's grace, let the messenger God has sent to us (the apostle Paul), strengthen us in keeping the good news before us in every circumstance of life.

Question:  How do I know if it is REALLY God that is calling me for a particular Work or Ministry, or just MY OWN desire or inner voice ??

Answer:   One excellent test is the attitude or feeling that you have toward the prospect. If you feel that you just "can't wait to help out God and give Him the benefit of your skills, talents and ideas", you can rest assured that it IS NOT God who is calling you !! If you feel cocky, proud, self-sufficient, pleased with yourself, overconfident, and "aren't I the One that God choose me" -- you may be guaranteed that these feelings are from the "god of THIS world".

If you feel the yearning to "do something BIG for God" - to become "someone MIGHTY in the Kingdom of God" - feel now that "God has YOU, the world will certainly see how mighty He is", or as a variant - "now that God is (YOU are) here, the world will see the "Power of God" -- you may be guaranteed that these motives arise from the "Kingdom of Self" !!

As a rule, testified by the pages of scripture, those whom God has TRULY called to do His work generally feel reluctant, unworthy, humbled, frightened, and inadequate. They at least have a hint of the price that they might be called to pay in His service !!

I will use myself as a pointed example. In earlier years, I was VERY religious and VERY zealous to serve God (like Saul and the Pharisees). God had indeed given me strong gifts - I was an excellent teacher and speaker with a strong prophetic gifting and calling. I had studied the scriptures for MANY years diligently, enthusiastically and thoroughly. I was NOT content to learn ONLY the letter of Scripture, but also the application and interpretation. Despite all of this, I was legalistic, cold, unloving, without compassion or mercy, and hurtful in my dealings with others !!

One day God spoke to me Very strongly and bluntly -- VERY unmistakably --, "Al, I know that you love me very much and are very zealous. You work carefully and diligently. However, you work for YOUR OWN Glory and NOT for Mine !!" I was very shocked and overwhelmed (not to mention hurt). In that instant though, I knew that it was indeed the Voice of God and that He spoke truly. Over the years since then my attitude HAS changed to align more with my answer to this question.

4:10 Then Moses said to the Lord, my Lord, I am not an eloquent man, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant, for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." 4:11 The Lord said to him, 'Who gave a mouth to man, or who makes a person mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 4:12 So now go, and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what you must say'" 4:13 But Moses said, my Lord, please send anyone else whom you wish to send!" ****** Exodus

6:11 The Lord's angelic messenger .... arrived while Joash's son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress so he could hide it from the Midianites. 6:12 The Lord's messenger appeared and said to him, 'The Lord is with you, courageous warrior!' 6:13 Gideon said to him, 'Pardon me, but if the Lord is with us, why has such disaster overtaken us? Where are all his miraculous deeds our ancestors told us about? .... now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian." 6:14 Then the Lord himself turned to him and said, 'You have the strength. Deliver Israel from the power of the Midianites! Have I not sent you?" 6:15 Gideon said to him, 'But Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Just look! My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my family." 6:16 The Lord said to him, 'Ah, but I will be with you! You will strike down the whole Midianite army'" 6:17 Gideon said to him, 'If you really are pleased with me, then give me a sign as proof that it is really you speaking with me'. ****** Judges

6:5 I said, 'Too bad for me! I am destroyed, for my lips are contaminated by sin, and I live among people whose lips are contaminated by sin. My eyes have seen the king, the Lord who commands armies'" 6:6 But then one of the seraphs flew toward me. In his hand was a hot coal he had taken from the altar with tongs. 6:7 He touched my mouth with it and said, 'Look, this coal has touched your lips. Your evil is removed; your sin is forgiven'" 6:8 I heard the voice of the sovereign master say, 'Whom will I send? Who will go on our behalf?' I answered, 'Here I am, send me!' 6:9 He said, 'Go and tell these people: ....' ****** Isaiah

9:3 As he was going along, approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 9:4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' 9:5 So he said, 'Who are you, Lord?' He replied, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting! 9:6 But stand up and enter the city and you will be told what you must do'" 9:8 So Saul got up from the ground, but although his eyes were open, he could see nothing. Leading him by the hand, his companions brought him into Damascus. 9:11 Then the Lord told him (Ananias), 'Get up and go to the street called ‘Straight,’ and at Judas’ house look for a man from Tarsus named Saul. For he is praying, 9:12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he may see again. 9:15 Go, because this man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before Gentiles and kings and the people of Israel. 9:16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name'" **** Acts

Apparently EVEN after his encounter with the risen Christ and his conversion, Paul still suffered from a tendency toward pride and arrogance. So much so that God had to give him a lifelong reminder:

12:3 And I know that this man (whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows) 12:4 was caught up into paradise and heard things too sacred to be put into words, things that a person is not permitted to speak. 12:5 On behalf of such an individual I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except about my weaknesses. 12:7 .... even because of the extraordinary character of the revelations. Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me so that I would not become arrogant. 12:8 I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. 12:9 But he said to me, 'My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'" So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. ****** 2 Corinthians

The original disciples - ESPECIALLY Peter - also tended to overestimate what they were made of. When the day of reckoning finally came (the arrest and "trial" of Jesus), ALL of them fell away and denied Him. It wasn't until later, when they were filled with the power of God's Holy Spirit, that they were REALLY ready to serve Him.

26:33 Peter said to Him (Jesus), 'If they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away!' 26:34 Jesus said to him, 'I tell you the truth, on this night, before the rooster crows, you (all) will deny me three times'" 26:35 Peter said to him, 'Even if I must die with you, I will never deny you'. And all the disciples said the same thing. ****** Matthew

10:16 "I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 10:24 A disciple is not greater than his teacher, nor a slave greater than his master. 10:25 It is enough for the disciple to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house ‘Beelzebul' (Devil), how much more will they defame the members of his household!" ****** Matthew

Jesus gave to the Apostle Peter a VERY clear prediction as to what following Him would ultimately result in:

21:18 I tell you (Peter) the solemn truth, when you were young, you tied your clothes around you and went wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will tie you up and bring you where you do not want to go. 21:19 (Now Jesus said this to indicate clearly by what kind of death Peter was going to glorify God.) After he said this, Jesus told Peter, "Follow me"” ****** John

Unfortunately, in keeping with the prediction of Jesus' own words, the so called "Church" today is filled with "ravenous wolves" and those who "come in their OWN name". They claim to serve God and His flock, but in reality, they come ONLY to serve themselves. The come looking for glory, for wealth, for acclaim, for power, for a following, for academic honors and achievement, to fill the vanity of their lives -- anything but to lay down their lives for their Master and His sheep !! Saddest of all is that the people REJOICE to have it so:

4:3 For there will be a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching. Instead, following their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves, because they have an insatiable curiosity to hear new things. 4:4 And they will turn away from hearing the truth, but on the other hand, they will turn aside to myths. ****** 2 Timothy

5:41 "I do not accept praise from people, 5:42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of God within you. 5:43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me. If someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 5:44 How can you believe, if you accept praise from one another and don’t seek the praise that comes from the only God? 10:1 I tell you the solemn truth, the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 10:2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 10:3 The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 10:4 When he has brought all his own sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. 10:5 They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice" ****** Matthew

I certainly DO NOT wish to paint a gloomy picture, ONLY a more realistic one. Those who ARE called by God and empowered by His Spirit WILL heed the call. If the REAL call is not as glamorous as you imagined, perhaps the call was ONLY in your imagination !!

For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. ****** Romans 8:18

12:2 .... keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 12:3 Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. ****** Hebrews

20:7 Lord, you coerced me into being a prophet, and I allowed you to do it. You overcame my resistance and prevailed over me. Now I have become a constant laughingstock. Everyone ridicules me. 20:8 For whenever I prophesy, I must cry out, 'Violence and destruction are coming!' This message from the Lord has made me an object of continual insults and derision. 20:9 Sometimes I think, 'I will make no mention of His message. I will not speak as His messenger any more' But then his message becomes like a fire locked up inside of me, burning in my heart and soul. I grow weary of trying to hold it in; I cannot contain it. ****** Jeremiah

These experiences are also indicative of the "Dark Night of the soul", as described by Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. Teresa is remembered for saying to Jesus after a particularly painful sense of absence, "If this is how You treat Your friends, it is no wonder You have so few of them." [Saint Teresa]

Question:   I do not understand why God deals with some people so seemingly quickly and harshly while others seem to escape with impunity having committed FAR greater offenses !!

Answer:   There is a saying that goes, "Be careful what you ask for (Do not envy what another has) or you just might  receive it" !!

Often the one who is dealt with QUICKLY has received an extra measure of God's grace, for his (her) offense or problem is dealt with and done, they are set free from it, and may continue their life and service to God unhindered and free. It may also be the measure of a flexible and teachable spirit.

Rest assured, the one who SEEMS to have "escaped with impunity" has NOT escaped God's loving attention !! It may be that their particular "demon" is far more deeply entrenched and will ultimately require more serious measures to set them free. It may be that their spirit is more stubborn and inflexible, and needs more time to mature. It may be that the "fruit of their sowing" is not yet ripe. It may be that the particular work that God has selected for them requires a more "tempered spirit" (more time in the fire and under the hammer). I believe that the Apostle Paul falls into this latter category. He was obviously a VERY strong willed and determined individual, both before AND after his encounter with God. As such, God had to implant an EXTRA reminder into the life of Paul lest he might become "lifted up" and think more highly of himself than was due. Paul writes:

12:7 ...... even because of the extraordinary character of the revelations. Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me, so that I would not become arrogant. 12:8 I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness"" So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. ****** 2 Corinthians

A more "real life" example is my wife and myself. She was always asking that question. In her eyes, I was "God's Favorite" because she felt that He was always "dealing with her", whereas He merely seemed to bless my life and wink at my faults and sins. Ultimately, she was VERY mistaken. My wife had a far softer and more teachable spirit than I apparently do. God worked His lessons into her life, she learnt them, and moved on. I, on the other hand, mistook God's patience for indulgence and seemed to have a very stubborn spirit. Whereas my wife's salvation took place over a weekend with a VERY "Paul like", dramatic experience, God had to work on me for YEARS before I finally committed to Him. On the other hand, while it takes me a very long time to learn a lesson or to make a change, once it IS made, it is "founded upon The Rock and NOT upon shifting sand". It took me some 10 years of extensive study before finally reaching a FULL conviction as to the truth of Christian Universalism (Universal Salvation). On account of my failure to heed God's voice, I lost my wife and had some very bitter, painful experiences. I finally reached a point in my life where I clearly heard God say (with my inner ear), "I have been VERY patient with you - if you do not heed my voice NOW, I am going to have to deal with you VERY strongly. You KNOW that I will do ALL that is necessary" !! Needless to say, He finally got my attention. Far better to have Heard AND Heeded many losses, pains and heartaches earlier !!

God is NOT in "a rush", as humanity seems to always be. There is a 17th century poem, 'Retribution,' by Friedrich Von Logau, that goes like this:

"Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all."

That is to say, because we do not see consequences today - or tomorrow - or next month - or even next year - DOES NOT mean that they are not forthcoming !! Some seeds sprout very quickly, others take a very long time to come forth.

6:7 Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool (mocked). For a person will reap what he sows, 6:8 because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 6:9 So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. ****** Galatians 6

3:8 Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice -- that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. 3:9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief ...... 3:14 Therefore, dear friends, since you are waiting for these things, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish, when you come into his presence. 3:15 Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him. ****** 2 Peter

2:4 Do you have contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, and yet do not know that God’s kindness leads you to repentance? 2:5 Because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourselves in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed! 2:6 He will reward each one according to his works -- 2:7 eternal life to those who by perseverance in good works seek glory and honor and immortality, 2:8 -- wrath and anger to those who live in selfish ambition and do not obey the truth but follow unrighteousness. 2:9 There will be affliction and distress on everyone who does evil, on the Jew first and also the Greek, 2:10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, for the Jew first and also the Greek. 2:11 For there is no partiality with God. 2:12 For all who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. ****** Romans 2

The bottom line is, "WE are here for God's Purpose to serve and please Him - He is NOT here for OUR purpose to please and to serve US (which seems to be the common thinking in today's "Bless Me Prosperity Church"). I believe that the scripture puts it THIS way (more or less), "And God said, 'I will make for Me a Son'" !! Adam was CREATED out of the "dust of the earth", but a SON must be begotten of His Spirit, trained and taught by said Spirit, until one day we shall emerge "Mature Sons" (woman included), raised up unto the stature of Him who taught us and bearing the full image of He who begot us ----- OH DAY OF GLORY INDEED --- Maranatha !!!!!!!! That is the inheritance and destiny of EACH one of us -- our Loving Father will accept or settle for NO less.

If you wish to read an OUTSTANDING expose regarding God's Ultimate Intention (or His Plan), I heartily recommend a book by that name written by DeVern Fromke. You might also enjoy "Unto Full Stature" by the same author and "The Normal Christian Life" by Watchman Nee. Another excellent read would be, "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. You may purchase them HERE --->> You may also read an in-depth essay by me HERE, entitled: "Will God, IN FACT, be All-In-All ??" Click HERE for an excellent explanation on the TRUE meaning of the concept of "Adoption of Sons".

12:5 And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? "My son, do not scorn the Lord's discipline or give up when he corrects you. 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts"" 12:7 Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 12:8 But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. 12:9 Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? 12:10 For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. 12:11 Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. 12:12 Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, 12:13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed. **** Hebrews

4:13 ...... until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God -- a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ's full stature. 4:14 So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. 4:15 But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. 4:16 From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together through every supporting ligament. As each one does its part, the body grows in love. ****** Ephesians

Over and above all, we MUST, as Paul exhorts:

3:12 Not that I have already attained this, that is, I have not already been perfected -- But I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. 3:13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded, Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, 3:14 with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 3:15 Therefore, let those of us who are perfect embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. ****** Philippians

We also need to FIRMLY implant into our minds and hearts that:

For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, says the LORD.  For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. **** Isaiah 55:8,9

9:14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! 9:15 For he says to Moses: "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion"" 9:16 So then, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. 9:17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth"" 9:18 So then, God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden. 9:19 You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?" 9:20 But who indeed are you -- a mere human being -- to talk back to God? Does what is molded say to the molder, "Why have you made me like this?" 9:21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use? 9:22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction? 9:23 And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory. ****** Romans 9

Finally, no matter WHAT our "human wisdom and earthly philosophy" may try to assert, God Himself revealed to Moses (YES, even in the OT) His TRUE nature and Character. Moses more or less said, "God, if you want me to continue to lead these rebellious people OF YOURS, I need to see the "Real You" !! God thusly responded with His Own declaration about Himself:

34:5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the Lord by name. 34:6 The Lord passed by before him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, 34:7 keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation."" ****** Exodus

You, O Lord, [are] a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in (full of) mercy and truth. ****** Psalm 86:15

Question:   I am a Christian and used to go to Church when I was younger, but not now though. My problem is that I am a bit confused about the "forgiving others before God will forgive you". I had some problems with my mother a while ago and I told her that I forgave her for how she treated me. I have tried to let the past be the past and I don't dwell on it, but it is hard to forget. Don't get me wrong - I don't spend hours and hours thinking about it - It just pops into my head every once in a while. Not so much here lately though, because I have been busy with college. When a thought about something bad she did to me comes into my head, I tell myself to let it go, and quit thinking about it.

I have heard so many different things about this forgiving topic that I am afraid that I am not going to get into Heaven. I am afraid that on Judgment Day, God is going to ask me about that, and is not going to let me through the gates.

I hope I am allowed to ask more than one question, because most of what has been bugging me does not necessarily have anything to do with this particular situation. I pray almost every night and ask God for forgiveness of my sins and tell him that I am sorry. The best way I can word my questions is like this:

#1. How do I know if I have forgiven her truly in my heart? As I said, I have tried to let the past be the past.
#2. Do you get a chance to repent of your sins on Judgment Day?
#3. Is a belief in God and praying to Him for forgiveness of my sins enough to get into Heaven?
#4. Will God not let me into Heaven because I do not go to Church?

Answer:  Your four questions are VERY good ones, albeit very COMMON ones that Satan uses to trouble the hearts of God's children. They can all be pretty well answered by one basic principle, i.e.. -- God's Gifts and Mercies do not in ANY way depend upon OUR (man's) efforts, intentions, wishes, desires, works, feelings, or beliefs. They are predicated and founded PURELY upon the Faith of Jesus Christ and upon His FINISHED work upon the Cross of Calvary !!

To take your questions in order:

#1. From the following verse, I would conclude that forgiveness is NOT a one time transaction but rather an ONGOING process. Whenever and as many times as you find need to forgive, merely FORGIVE and do NOT concern yourself about your feelings. Forgiveness is a lot like Biblical Love (Agape) and Faith. They are ALL matters of the Will or Volition, not of Feelings. You can NOT necessarily control how you FEEL -- You CAN control (by God's Grace) what you DO!! Someone has VERY wisely said, "Feelings will FOLLOW actions" !! Another made a similar observation, "You can't necessarily keep the birds from landing on your head, but you CAN prevent them from building a nest there" !!

Then Peter came to him and said, Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?  Jesus said to him, Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times (as many as necessary) ! ****** Matthew 8:21,22

Read one of my in-depth articles on "Forgiveness" HERE.

#2. This question is a little more difficult. I can NOT tell you what you will or will not get a chance to do on "Judgment Day" since the Bible does not tell us "Per sec". What I CAN tell you is that NOW (during THIS age) God is extending His Love, Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness FREELY, without cost, price or restriction to ALL who will hear and come. If there was someone who was saying (and you knew that he meant it), "Come today and get a free million dollars", would your attitude be, "Let me wait until next week and see if the offer is still good" ?? I doubt it -- You would probably be the first in line TODAY (I know that I would) !!

What the scripture DOES say is that at the proper time (determined by God alone), ALL of humanity (perhaps ALL of Creation) WILL appear before the Judgment Seat of God and His Christ !!

14:10 why do you judge your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 14:11 For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God. 14:12 Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 14:13 Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another. ****** Romans

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil. ****** 2 Corinthians 5:10

I and our ministry DO NOT believe that God's Word NOR Character teach nor support the orthodox, "fiery, 'eternal' Hell". We believe that, as specifically taught by the Apostle Paul in his letters, that at the "Conclusion of the Ages", ALL THINGS - ALL of God's creatures and creation - will once more be reconciled to and find a home in the arms of their Loving Father !!

Read my eBook on the subject HERE.

#3. This answer may sound REALLY strange to you as MUCH of the so called "church" believes your premises to be true, but the fact is that, "a belief in God and praying to Him for forgiveness of my sins" will get you absolutely NOTHING if ALL that you do is "believe and pray". You had might as well ask if , "a belief in Food and praying to stay alive will keep you from starving" ??? I believe that you would respond with the remark, "That is utter foolishness -- everyone knows that what is necessary is to actually partake of (EAT) the food" !! Well Jesus said the same thing about receiving HIS Life:

6:28 So then they said to him, What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?" 6:29 Jesus replied, This is the deed God requires, to believe in the one whom he sent. 6:31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat'. 6:32 Then Jesus told them, I tell you the solemn truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but my Father is giving you the true bread from heaven. 6:33 For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. 6:34 So they said to him, Sir, give us this bread all the time! 6:35 Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty. 6:36 But I told you that you have seen me and still do not believe. 6:37 Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away. 6:38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. 6:39 Now this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up at the last day. 6:40 For this is the will of my Father -- for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 6:43 Jesus replied, Do not complain about me to one another. 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 6:49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 6:50 This is the bread that has come down from heaven, so that a person may eat from it and not die. 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats from this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. 6:52 Then the Jews who were hostile to Jesus began to argue with one another" How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 6:53 Jesus said to them, I tell you the solemn truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. 6:54 The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 6:55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 6:56 The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me, and I in him. 6:57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who consumes me will live because of me. 6:58 This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors ate, but then later died. The one who eats this bread will live forever. ****** John

He means that we must be bathed in and renewed by His Spirit. We must literally consume it and allow it to consume us. We must be "Born Again" by the Spirit of God and His Christ" !! As Paul says:

2:19 For through the law I died to the law so that I may live to God. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 2:21 I do not set aside God's grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing! **** Galatians

As for the value of a simple "belief in God", James tells us that:

You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that --- and tremble with fear. **** James 2:19

#4. As for this question, my dearest sister in Christ, PLEASE put it completely out of your mind. God and I both commend you that you are concerned about it, but certainly NOT to the point of condemnation or fearing about your salvation. Many others worry about the reverse question, "If I go to 'church', will God grant me entrance into Heaven" ?? Both are EQUALLY false premises, but I believe that the latter arises out of much baser motives than does yours.

As I have stated up to this point, our salvation and entrance into "Heaven" have absolutely NOTHING to do with ANY works which we might be able to perform, INCLUDING "going to church". All of God's Graces to us are TOTALLY unmerited, undeserved, and unworked for by us, and are solely the result of what Jesus Christ accomplished and of our receiving it as our own.

Now there ARE good reasons for seeking out and belonging to an assembly (church) of like-minded individuals:

There is study and growth in the truth of God's word (which we REALLY will NOT find out "all by ourselves" (note your contacting me). It is a place to fellowship and enjoy the company of those seeking to "grow in God's Grace". It is a place to enjoy worship together with others. It is a place of moral, physical and spiritual support to enable us to grow stronger and be with us in our times of weakness, sorrow, and/or need. Perhaps most of all, it is a place to find support and protection from, "Satan's Fiery Arrows" !! Peter tells us that:

 5:8 Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. 5:9 Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering (temptation, testing). ****** 1 Peter

Remember, a lion in the jungle LOVES lone stragglers !!! 

Question:   I grew up in church all of my life, I believed in God, but I didn't take my spiritual search seriously. I went to church because mama told me to go. When I started to date, I found someone and married them without spiritual guidance, I have been married now for about 4 years. Now that I have truly found the Lord and am diligently seeking truth and a righteous way of life, I have conflict in my home because my husband doesn't want any part of Christ or church. I'm frustrated because I want to leave him, being that we are now divided in my home. He hates Gospel music, he plays sacred (secular ??) videos all day long and talks bad about the church. He calls pastors barnyard pimps and doesn't believe in tithing. He's angry about church and I'm disgusted. I know that there is something wrong for me to feel this way, but I want Out!! Am I wrong for feeling resentful and regretful about my marriage? Do I have to suffer this for the rest of my life???

Answer:   First of all, I want to commend you for your courage and faith in sharing these parts of your life. I can certainly sense your pain and frustration in the things that you wrote, as can I personally emphasize with the hurt and betrayal that you must be feeling. My wife left me in divorce many years ago, and the agony and loneliness were often overwhelming. Had Jesus not sustained me, I would have surely crumbled !! The world tries to spread its lie that divorce is JUST the rescinding of a contract, a piece of paper. Those who have experienced it know better. God tells us that it is more like the ripping out of a part of ourselves.

"The two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." **** Mark 10:8,9

I am going to start with the SHORT answer, then I will elaborate. First -- God HATES divorce, for the very reason that was just stated, "After God has joined the two into one flesh, you can not merely separate them back into two again -- at least NOT without permanent, devastating hurt, pain and suffering for ALL parties involved -- man, woman AND children."

"I hate divorce," says the Lord God of Israel, "and the one who is guilty of violence," says the Lord who rules over all. "Pay attention to your conscience, and do not be unfaithful." **** Malachi 2:16

God has warned against the VERY situation that you outlined in your note for JUST the reasons that you have VERY painfully discovered. 2 Corinthians declares:

 "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" **** 2 Corinthians 6:14

Now that I have given you the bare FACTS, I want to address YOUR particular situation a little more closely.

The being, "yoked together with unbelievers" doesn't seem to strictly apply in your case, since you were apparently only a "church goer" rather than a true Christian (believer) when you were married. I take it that your husband was not THEN nor is NOW a Christian.

The most complete New Testament discussion on divorce is given by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16. This seems to be divided into two parts:

In verses 10 and 11, he gives a command directly from the Lord, "A Christian husband and wife are forbidden to divorce. If they should, they are to either REMAIN unmarried or be reconciled." (cf. Mark 10:5-12).

7:10 To the married I give this command – not I, but the Lord – a wife should not divorce a husband 7:11 (but if she does, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband), and a husband should not divorce his wife.

In verses 12-16, he gives merely his OPINION or interpretation, NOT God's command !!

7:12 To the rest I say – I, not the Lord – if a brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is happy to live with him, he should not divorce her. 7:13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is happy to live with her, she should not divorce him. 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified because of the wife, and the unbelieving wife because of her husband. Otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 7:15 But if the unbeliever wants a divorce, let it take place. In these circumstances the brother or sister is not bound. God has called you in peace. 7:16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will bring your husband to salvation? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will bring your wife to salvation? **** 1 Corinthians

I am NOT going to offer you MY opinion, for it is NOT MY life. Based upon these scriptures and your own heart -- you, your husband, and the Lord are going to have to reach a decision as to what to do. Have you sought Marital and Spiritual Counseling from your pastor or a trained Christian Counselor ?? These verses seem to imply that you ARE NOT legally bound under God's Word to remain in an abusive situation (emotionally nor physically) with your husband. However, perhaps there is more in God's plan for you. For better or for worse, you and this man choose each other. Did you love him THEN -- do you love him NOW ??? If you do, "How do you know, wife, whether you will bring your husband to salvation?".

The final point that I have to make may make you rather angry, but I non-the-less implore you to search your heart before God regarding it. It is based upon, let us call it, "knowledge of the human heart and spiritual discernment". Look at a few comments from your note, "I'm disgusted. I want Out!! Am I wrong for feeling resentful and regretful about my marriage? "

Could it be that you are so angry and disheartened at what your marriage has become vs. what you had pictured it to be that you don't even wish to TRY any longer -- ALL that you want is to get rid of this man whom you have come to resent and perhaps even to despise. Is HIS attitude (at least in part) perhaps a reflection of YOUR attitude toward him. Have you been trying to "NAG" him into the Kingdom rather than, through you, allowing Jesus and the Holy Spirit to LOVE him in ?? After all, he married the OLD you. Maybe HE isn't so fond of the NEW you either. God obviously hasn't moved HIS heart to be changed -- YET !!

Please diligently seek God and your own heart regarding these things. In any case, to answer your final question, "Do I have to suffer this for the rest of my life???" --- NO you don't. Jesus tells us:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry." **** Matthew 11:28-30

Question:   Someone commented that they thought that, overall, the Literal Concordant Publishing Concern was a good organization, except that they seemed to embrace the "Arian" concept regarding Jesus Christ. Do you know what that means ??

Answer:   Yes, I do, and YES, they do. The "Arian" concept is very well delineated [ HERE ]. Basically, it says that Jesus Christ was (is) the "ONLY BEGOTTEN Son of the Father". Now, since this is EXACTLY what scripture says, I really fail to see WHERE there is a conflict ??    Please NOTE  that they are NOT saying that He is a CREATED being  (like man, who was, "Formed of the dust of the earth), but that He was BIRTHED from the Father -- like to like, God to God !!

Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we live, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we live. But this knowledge is not shared by all **** 1 Corinthians 8:6,7

The conflict arises from those so immersed in the "Theology of the Trinitarian Godhead" (which simply put says that Jesus Christ - along with the Holy Spirit and God the Father - are three eternally existent, uncreated, coequal, differentiated beings who exist as one unity), that they would raise the opinion of man above the Word of God !!

Since there is ONE and ONLY ONE source of reference regarding this issue, I fail to see WHERE there is a REAL conflict. In order to have a TRUE conflict, there should be FACTS on BOTH sides to support their contention. In reality, ALL of the facts (biblical statements) are on the side of the Arians, while the "Trinitarians" have on their side ONLY "the philosophy of men".

The ONLY source of reference for this matter is the Scriptures themselves, and they state UNEQUIVOCALLY that "Jesus Christ is the only begotten of the father", in not one but numerous places. See: John 1:14, John 1:18, John 3:16, John 3:18, Acts 13:33, Hebr 1:5, Hebr 5:5, Hebr 11:17, 1Joh 4:9 and Reve 1:5.

In the "Strong's Concordance", the word "'begotten" comes from three Greek words designated by [ only begotten <3439> (a unique reference to Jesus Christ), <1080>, and <4416> ].

It might be interesting to note that this one word <3439> is ALSO used to denote the birthing of HUMAN children in the following verses: Luke 7:12, Luke 8:42, Luke 9:38 and Hebr 11:17.

The word <1080> is used of bringing forth "spiritual children" in the following verses: 1Cor 4:15, Phle 1:10, 1Pet 1:3 and 1Joh 5:1,18.

The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten <3439> of the Father), full of grace and truth. **** John 1:14

From Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten <4416> of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood **** Reve 1:5

4416 prototokos {pro-tot-ok'-os} -- from 4413 and the alternate of 5088; TDNT - 6:871,965; adj
AV - firstborn 7, first begotten 2; 9
1) the firstborn
1a) of man or beast
1b) of Christ, the first born of all creation

In ALL these cases, the words denote a "bringing forth", a generation, a BIRTHING (as of an offspring). I believe it is safe to say that these scripture verses state that Jesus Christ is the FIRST and ONLY direct offspring of The Father, partaking of the same essence, divine nature and character as His Father (as ANY birthing brings forth like kind after that of its parents).

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation **** Colossians 1:15

The Greek term (prwtotokos) (firstborn) could refer either to first in order of time, such as a first born child, or it could refer to one who is preeminent in rank. M. J. Harris, Colossians and Philemon (EGGNT), 43, expresses the meaning of the word well: “The ‘firstborn’ was either the eldest child in a family or a person of preeminent rank. The use of this term to describe the Davidic king in Ps 88:28 LXX (=Ps 89:27 EVV), ‘I will also appoint him my firstborn , the most exalted of the kings of the earth,’ indicates that it can denote supremacy in rank as well as priority in time. But whether the element in the word denotes time, rank, or both, the significance of the element as indicating birth or origin (give birth to) has been virtually lost except in ref. to lit. birth.” In Col 1:15 the emphasis is on the priority of Jesus’ rank as over and above creation (cf. 1:16 and the “for” clause referring to Jesus as Creator).

Another disputed scripture verse is the following:

This is the solemn pronouncement of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the  beginning (first created) of God’s creation **** Revelation 3:14

“The originator of God’s creation”; “the beginning of God’s creation”; or “the ruler of God’s creation.” From a linguistic standpoint all three meanings for (arch) are possible. The term is well attested in both LXX (Gen 40:13, 21; 41:13) and intertestamental Jewish literature (2 Macc 4:10, 50) as meaning "ruler", "authority", (BDAG 138 s.v. 6). Some have connected this passage to Paul’s statements in Col 1:15, 18 which describe Christ as (prwtotoko"; e.g., see R. H. Mounce, Revelation [NICNT], 124) but the term has been understood as either “beginning” or “ruler” in that passage as well. The most compelling connection is to be found in the prologue to John’s Gospel (1:2-4) where the (logos) is said to be “in the beginning with God,” a temporal reference connected with creation, and then v. 3 states that “all things were made through him.” The connection with the original creation suggests the meaning “originator” for here. BDAG 138 s.v. 3 gives the meaning “the first cause” for the word in Rev 3:14, a term that is too philosophical for the general reader, so the translation “originator” was used instead. BDAG also notes, “but the mng. beginning = ‘first created’ is linguistically probable (s. above 1b and Job 40:19; also CBurney, Christ as the of Creation: JTS 27, 1926, 160-77).”

Taken from The NET Bible, produced for the ministry: [ bible.org ].

This supposed "contention" seems to me somewhat on par with the teachers of evolution who, lacking any definitive scientific research, proof or FACTS to support the claims of their THEORY, seek to establish their position by denigrating any who support an opposing position.

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. **** 2Tim 3:1

I believe that the BEST words that can be addressed to this matter were already given by the Apostle Paul:

Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy (theology) that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him all the fullness of deity lives (dwells) in bodily form **** Colo 2:8,9

Do we in ANY way even begin to comprehend or understand the place (dimension) of His (God's) existence, let alone the mode of His existence ?? How then can we, like small children fancifully discussing adult matters with an assurance that would lead a listener to believe that they ACTUALLY knew anything about that which they are discussing, even BEGIN to formulate such "Grand Theological Dissertations" with such rock solid assertions ??

I believe that Job had an encounter with God that ALL such could use, that brought him to a saner appraisal of his understanding of God, His Being and His Ways:

42:3 You (God) asked,‘Who is this who darkens counsel without knowledge?’ But I have declared without understanding things too wonderful for me to know. 42:4 You said,‘Pay attention, and I will speak; I will question you, and you will answer me.’ 42:5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen you. 42:6 Therefore I despise myself, and I repent in dust and ashes! **** Job

Question:   This question concerning the "Messianic Movement" was recently presented by Mike Burke to the Body of Christ on his forum at Biblical Universalist:

There are now Jewish synagogues that accept Jesus (sometimes called Yeshua) as the promised Messiah. These are called "Messianic" synagogues, and they're part of the "Messianic movement." Most of them observe circumcision, and keep the 7th day Sabbath, the feast days, and the Kosher laws (but not all of them seek to impose these things on Gentile believers). What should our (Christians) attitude be toward this movement?

Answer:   I believe that Paul addresses this EXACT situation (which was obviously a BIG problem as early as his time) in his "Letter to the Galatians". It was written to address the  ingress into and adulteration of  the "pure Gospel of Jesus Christ" by  the adherents of "law keeping" -- of ANY type and to ANY degree !! His answer was neither very kind (by today's indolent standards) nor very ecumenical !!

Follow-up Question by Mike Burke --    Re: "Messianic Movement":

(1.) The Galatian Judaizers wanted to impose the Mosaic Law on Gentile believers, did they not? (2.) Did Paul accuse James, and the Elders of the Jerusalem Church of Judaizing when they asked him (as a Jew) to participate in Temple Worship? (3.) Did he have any problem paying for the sacrifices that those under the Nazarite vow were to offer in the Temple? (4.) When asked to publicly demonstrate that he was not teaching JEWISH believers to forsake the Law, or forbidding THEM to circumcise THEIR children, did he have any harsh words to say?

21:20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all ardent observers of the law. 21:21 They have been informed about you – that you teach all the Jews now living among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 21:22 What then should we do? They will no doubt hear that you have come. 21:23 So do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow; 21:24 take them and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself live in conformity with the law. 21:25 But regarding the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter, having decided that they should avoid meat that has been sacrificed to idols and blood and what has been strangled and sexual immorality." ****  Acts

Since Paul agreed to this, it would seem that imposing the Mosaic Law on Gentile believers is what he had strong words concerning (and I would agree that when Messianic believers attempt to do this, it's equally wrong today).

As far as God being through with Israel after the flesh -- A. E. Knoch and his followers teach that there still is a physical Israel, and that God's covenant promises to them will be fulfilled during the Millennium -- which view I share (which I believe is scriptural).

(1.) Do you think God is through with Israel after the flesh? (2.) Do all the Old Testament prophecies of a Messianic Kingdom apply only to the New Testament Church? (3.) When I say "New Testament Church," that brings up another question -- Do you believe the Church that began on Pentecost exists today? --  Do you consider yourself part of the same Church that Peter, James, and John belonged to?

Follow-up Response:    I am NOT going to address the specific questions regarding my opinion or ,"what are my views regarding" the "Messianic Movement", any more than I am going to address them regarding "end times doctrine (Eschatology)" or "Election Theology".

You may find all of the answers that you desire, for youself, regarding the details of the "Messianic Movement" on the WEB. [ HERE ] is a listing from Google. A VERY indepth treatment of the subject can be found [ HERE ] and [ HERE ].

There have been devout and learned men of all Christian persuasions who have wrestled with the issue of "Amillenialism  (NO literal millennium)", "Premillenialism  (both pre and post trib)", and finally "Postmillenialism  (which basically says that AFTER the Church has ushered in the 1,000 years of bliss, THEN Christ will appear to set up His Kingdom)". You don't find TOO many adherents to this latter position anymore -- I believe that W.W.II and the succeeding years have dampened man's exalted opinion as to HIS and "The Church's" power to cleanse and subdue the Earth.

Or how about "Calvinism (election-predestination)" versus "Free will (Arminiism)" ?? As in ALL scriptural debates, ALL FIVE positions, with equal zeal and learned logic, claim the Holy Scriptures to support and defend THEIR view !!

I believe that the matter is somewhat analogous with the Jews inability to recognize The Christ when He was finally revealed. We marvel at THEIR blindness with 20-20 HINDSIGHT, but would WE have REALLY done any better in THEIR place ?? They could (or WOULD) not  reconcile the contradictory revelations of His coming as Lord, Ruler and King, in great Power and Glory, to set all Israel (Mankind) free, with the ones foretelling His most lowly beginnings and entrance, His being humbled and despised, and finally His being killed in a most despicable manner !! As Paul observes, "We see now (as then) darkly, as through a glass. In that blessed day, THEN shall we see clearly, face-to-face" !!

I will rest content to know that, at the time of His choosing, God will, IN FACT, usher in the "Conclusion of the Eons, and that:

"The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord." ****** 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17

A noted Evangelist and Teacher of the 1980's, Bob Mumford, commented that he was, "ready for Christ's return at any second, but would live and work as if He wasn't coming back for another 1,000 years". This seems to me to be a VERY good philosophy !!

As King David remarked, "I will not set my mind on things too wondrous for me to comprehend!"

Or as Paul stated:

"So I boast in Christ Jesus about the things that pertain to God.  For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through (revealed to) me ............. in the power of the Spirit of God."  ****** Romans 15:17-19

Or, as one of a less spiritual bend is quoted as having said, "It is better to remain silent and to be THOUGHT a fool, than to speak and thus REMOVE all doubt".

I believe that there is only ONE ultimate "Church" (or assembly of those with a common mind and purpose, which is what the word means) --- the Church of those who have been "reborn or recreated" by the Spirit of God into the Living Body of Jesus Christ.

The Vision and The Goal which I believe that God has placed within me is for a clearer and deeper comprehension of His True and Ultimate "Church" and "Worship" --- one birthed by a renewal in His Holy Spirit, the New Creature (Man) --- that worships Him ONLY in "Spirit and in Truth", in which there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, circumcision nor uncircumcision, but ALL are ONE in Him by His Spirit !!

Jesus, when He spoke to Nicodemus, hinted at this truth when He said to him:

"I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, You must all be born from above"  ****** John 3:5-7.

Though it was NOT the purpose or mission of Jesus at THAT time to reveal the "Heavenly Realms", He none the less hinted and implied that it was Spirit and NOT flesh - the INNER Man - that was ultimately important !!

According to Paul, all else and other are but "Works of Decaying Flesh", no matter WHAT name they may go under -- be it Anglican, Catholic, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Pagan, Pentecostal, Protestant,  MESSIANIC , New Testament, Tabernacle of David or Universalist !!

"Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! For we are the circumcision, the ones who worship by the Spirit of God, exult in Christ Jesus, and do not rely on human credentials – though mine too are significant...... I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, ...... – indeed, I regard them as dung! – that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness – ...... My aim is to know Him, to experience the power of His resurrection, to share in His sufferings, and to be like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead." **** Philippians 3:2-11

They do (or did) have their place and role in God's Ultimate Plan, but when that plan reaches its consummation (as it one day will), THEN  shall they ALL be rolled up like a great scroll, and the True Glory of God and of His Christ and of His Church will FINALLY be revealed for ALL of the universe to behold, and indeed --- THEN shall God FINALLY and TRULY be "All-In-All" !!!!!!!!!!!

For a full Essay addressing this matter more deeply, click [ HERE ].

Question:   What does it mean when Jesus will say, "Go away from me, I do not know you" ?? These were people who knew Jesus and worked for Him.

Answer:

7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 7:22 On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ 7:23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers (Grk "workers of lawlessness.") !’ **** Matthew

I believe that you misunderstand the scripture. It DOES NOT say that the people about whom Jesus was referring, "knew Him and worked for Him". It merely says that they were, "using His name" to accomplish their deeds !! Nobody, "works for Jesus", as if He were an employer. They may serve Him as a friend or a servant, or they may follow after Him as a learner or a disciple. They may even bow down to Him as their Master (Lord) and/or God.

9:38 John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he was not following us." 9:39 But Jesus said, "Do not stop him, because no one who does a miracle in my name will be able soon afterward to say anything bad about me. 9:40 For whoever is not against us is for us. **** Mark

However, non of these roles say anything about the quality of their lives (workers of lawlessness) or about their level of service (does the will of my Father in heaven). Nor do they require or imply a personal relationship (knowing Jesus). Many, IN as well as OUT of "The Church", when they say that they "know Jesus", in REALITY only mean that they know ABOUT Jesus, much as you may "know" the President of the US.

As much as we may hate to admit it as Christians (it seems to contradict our "doctrine"), there IS "Power in the Name of Jesus", and apparently, it can be used and wielded by the unrighteous as well as the Righteous, both in the days of Jesus' earthly ministry, as well as TODAY !! It is somewhat like accessing a bank account, "in the name of" the account holder", even if you DON'T "know" him !!

19:13 Some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were possessed by evil spirits, saying, "I sternly warn you by Jesus whom Paul preaches." 19:14 (Now seven sons of a man named Sceva, a Jewish high priest, were doing this.) 19:15 But the evil spirit replied to them, "I know about Jesus and I am acquainted with Paul, but who are you?" **** Acts

It is also a truth that "counterfeit power" may be granted to a person or being by the "Powers of Darkness"

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. **** Matthew 24:24

8:9 Now in that city was a man named Simon, who had been practicing magic and amazing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 8:10 All the people, from the least to the greatest, paid close attention to him, saying, "This man is the power of God that is called ‘Great.’" 8:11 And they paid close attention to him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. **** Acts

2:9 The arrival of the lawless one will be by Satan’s working with all kinds of miracles and signs and false wonders, 2:10 and with every kind of evil deception directed against those who are perishing, because they found no place in their hearts for the truth so as to be saved. 2:11 Consequently God sends on them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. **** 2 Thessalonians

He (the second beast) performed momentous signs, even making fire come down from heaven in front of people  and, by the signs he was permitted to perform on behalf of the beast, he deceived those who live on the earth. **** Revelation 13:13,14

Question:    With all the false teachers you hear about, are these teachers true believers in Christ, teaching out of ignorance, or are they deceiving their hearers knowingly? Thank you .

Answer:    Your question is NOT as easily answered as one might suppose. The term "false teachers" is a VERY subjective one, and may MERELY be used to refer to someone whose doctrine or point of view you may disagree with. This does NOT make them a "false teacher" - it merely makes them someone with a different point of view from yours. Were the scope of interpretation not so broad and encompassing, there would not be so many schisms, "isms", sects and denominations within the Christian faith, let alone all of the outright "cults".

I am reminded of the old story about three blind men who encountered an elephant for the first time. It being so huge, each man could only apprehend one small part of it. One of the men grabbed hold of a leg and proclaimed, "Surely this is a tree". Another touched its trunk and shouted, "No !! It is a very large snake." The third groped about one of its sides and remarked, "You are BOTH wrong. Most definitely this is a cliff wall !!"

As the apostle Paul observed in 1 Corinthians 13, "NOW we see as through a glass darkly -- One day we shall see face to face." The nation of Israel was given a partial revelation of God's Kingdom, plan and workings. When Jesus came to fulfill this "veiled image", and to reveal God more clearly and fully, their leaders conspired to murder The Christ because He threatened to destroy THEIR little kingdom and overturn their precious "establishment". So has THEIR sin and blindness been continued down through the "Church".

Ever since the "beginning of time", God has sought to reveal Himself to man in ever increasing clarity and fullness. C.S. Lewis observed that, "It IS NOT that all religions outside of Christianity are TOTALLY false. Even within them, God has revealed as much of Himself as could be understood. It is that they are INCOMPLETE and often filled with misinterpretations as to what was revealed." It is through Jesus Christ ONLY that God is pleased to reveal His completeness, the exact image of His character, the FULLNESS of His truth !!

2:8 Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 2:9 For in Him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, 2:10 and you have been filled in Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority. **** Colossians

There are many who teach that which they know accurately, but what they know is only partial -- INCOMPLETE. If these individuals are humble, sincere followers of Jesus, they should be open to have their understanding opened and enhanced, either DIRECTLY by the Holy Spirit or by said Spirit working through a qualified individual(s).

18:24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent speaker, well-versed in the scriptures. 18:25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and with great enthusiasm he spoke and taught accurately the facts about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. 18:26 He began to speak out fearlessly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately. **** Acts

There are others who, as did the Bereans, need to "search out these things for themselves so that they might understand the Word of God more fully".

There are, however, certain aspects that DO award the title of  ** "False Teacher"  ** to an individual or group. Both Jesus Himself, as well as the Apostle Paul outlined a number of these.

According to the words of Jesus, there are the "false shepherds", who enter into the flock like "ravaging wolves", whose only purpose is to abuse and use the flock for THEIR OWN profit, purpose and power. You will recognize them over time as you observe their life and the fruit of their "ministry". Is it to build up THEMSELVES or is it to build up and care for the "sheep" ?? You will also recognize them as your "spiritual ear" become attuned to the "Voice of the Master". You will come to be able to discern which is or IS NOT His voice !!

7:15 "Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves. 7:16 You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? 7:17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 7:18 A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 7:20 So then, you will recognize them by their fruit. " **** Matthew

10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. 10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 10:12 The hired hand, who is not a shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and runs away. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 10:13 Because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep, he runs away. 10:14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me – " **** John

Then there is the group who Jesus MOST strongly denounced -- the Scribes and the Pharisees (S and P). These He accused of winning converts or "disciples" merely to build up their OWN "religious kingdom", and thus increase THEIR OWN power, wealth and prestige at the cost of the poor downtrodden "sheep", whom the S and P really cared nothing for. As a matter of fact, Jesus observed that when the S and P were done "converting" them, they were more fit for God's Judgment than they had been before !!

23:13 "But woe to you, experts in the law (Scribes) and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven! For you neither enter nor permit those trying to enter to go in. 23:15 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves! **** Matthew

The Apostle Paul speaks of at least two groups:
(1.) -- Those who once knew the truth and swerved from it, either consciously or unconsciously, and now are ingrossed in teaching error and false doctrine.
(2.) -- Those who never knew the truth in the first place and teach merely for their own gain and power, and to satisfy the "itching ears" of certain peoples.

1:5 The aim of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. 1:6 Some have strayed from these and turned away to empty discussion. 1:7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not understand what they are saying or the things they insist on so confidently. **** 1 Timothy

3:5 They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these. 3:6 For some of these insinuate themselves into households and captivate weak women (AND men) who are overwhelmed with sins and led along by various passions. 3:7 Such women (men) are always seeking instruction, yet never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 3:8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these people – who have warped minds and are disqualified in the faith – also oppose the truth. 3:9 But they will not go much further, for their foolishness will be obvious to everyone, just like it was with Jannes and Jambres.
4:3 For there will be a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching. Instead, following their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves, because they have an insatiable curiosity to hear new things. 4:4 And they will turn away from hearing the truth, but on the other hand they will turn aside to myths. **** 2 Timothy

Finally, there is one group of false teachers upon whom Paul heaps the most drastic of penalties for their error. It is upon those who do not merely succumb to error in their understanding, but who, as Paul states, endeavor to teach a completely DIFFERENT Gospel !! If you carefully read the entire Book of Galatians, you will note that this "different Gospel" DOES NOT entail omitting saving faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, but consists rather of an ADDITION. It says that Faith in Jesus ALONE is not sufficient -- it must be accompanied by some form of "saving works", some additional ritual or legalism (as represented by "circumcision of the flesh" to the Jews) !! Consider for a moment -- how many so called "Christian Churches" of TODAY does this description apply to ????

1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel – 1:7 not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ. 1:8 But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed! 1:9 As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be accursed!
5:7 You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? 5:8 This persuasion does not come from the one who calls you! 5:9 A little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise! 5:10 I am confident in the Lord that you will accept no other view. But the one who is confusing you will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 5:11 Now, brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 5:12 I wish those agitators would go so far as to castrate themselves! **** Galatians

Question:   I am VERY angry and confused !! It seems to me that neither God nor Life are very fair. I've always been a "god-fearing man" and tried to lead a clean life. I work hard doing the best I can, and I loose my job. I try to be a good husband, and my wife leaves me for a younger man. I try to raise my children right, and they end up in trouble on drugs. Is God angry with me -- is He punishing me for something ?? All that I ever asked for out of life was what I was willing to work for, what was my due -- what I DESERVED !!

Answer:   Thank you so much for exercising the trust to submit your dilemma to me. I pray that I can provide you with BOTH comfort AND a path OUT of your anger and confusion.

First, I want to assure you in the strongest terms possible that, in the sense in which you are inquiring, God is neither angry with you nor is He punishing you for anything. Regardless of what previous religious exposure may have conveyed to you, God looks upon you with solely an infinite plenitude of Love, Mercy and Compassion !!

3:16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 3:18 The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. **** John

5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 5:8 God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? 5:11 We rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation. **** Romans

2:4 God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 2:5 even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! – 2:6 and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 2:7 to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. **** Ephesians

By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. **** 1 John 4:9,10

God is our Infinitely Loving Father. Sometimes, He will find it necessary to help us learn and grow, but if you seek Him, He will also reveal to you the reason for the chastisement, and that it is out of love and NOT punishment. Usually, judgment and punishment are brought into our lives solely by OURSELVES through our Sin, Stubbornness, lack of Love, and outright Rebellion and Disobedience toward God. Read John 3:18 again !! If this applies to you, receive the Love and Forgiveness in Jesus Christ TODAY !! Also read [ HERE ].

12:5 Have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? "My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. 12:6 "For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts." 12:7 Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 12:8 But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. 12:9 Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? 12:10 For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. 12:11 Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. **** Hebrews

1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. 1:15 Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. **** James

Second, it IS true that "neither God nor Life are very fair". Whoever said that they were or were supposed to be ?? God is LOVING and JUST --- but above all, HE IS GOD !! He IS NOT bound by OUR ideas of "fairness". He works ALL toward the end of HIS will and HIS purpose, which will ultimately be for our good and happiness.

9:14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! 9:15 For he says to Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 9:16 So then, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. 9:19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?” 9:20 But who indeed are you – a mere human being – to talk back to God? Does what is molded say to the molder, “Why have you made me like this?” **** Romans

As for Life --- it is as it is. Misfortune comes to all equally, whether you "deserve" it or not. It is the result of living in a "fallen and chaotic" universe populated by sinful and imperfect humans. Read [ HERE ]. One day, all of this will be changed !!

13:1 Now there were some present on that occasion who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 13:2 He answered them, "Do you think these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered these things? 13:3 No, I tell you! But unless you repent, you will all perish as well! 13:4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower in Siloam fell on them, do you think they were worse offenders than all the others who live in Jerusalem? 13:5 No, I tell you! But unless you repent you will all perish as well!" **** Luke

8:18 For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. 8:19 For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God. 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility – not willingly but because of God who subjected it – in hope 8:21 that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now. 8:23 Not only this, but we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. **** Romans

To answer your third point, what we "have worked for" and DESERVE is judgment and death !! I thank God for myself and for you that He DOES NOT give us "what we deserve", but instead gives us Mercy, Forgiveness, Grace and LOVE !! NOTE: Where it speaks of "works of the Law" in the following verses, it refers to ALL human effort and "works" to be righteous and forgiven before God.

2:11 For there is no partiality with God. 2:12 For all who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.
3:22 .... For there is no distinction, 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. **** Romans

2:16 Yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
3:10 For all who rely on doing the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law." 3:11 Now it is clear no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith. **** Galatians

6:21 So what benefit did you then reap from those things that you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. 6:22 But now, freed from sin and enslaved to God, you have your benefit leading to sanctification, and the end is eternal life. 6:23 For the wages (what we worked for) of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
3:9 We have already charged that Jews and Greeks alike (ALL men) are all under sin, 3:10 just as it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one, 3:11 there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. 3:12 All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one." 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 3:20 For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 3:21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been disclosed – 3:22 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 3:24 But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 3:25 God publicly displayed him at his death. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God, in his forbearance, had passed over the sins previously committed. 3:26 This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness. 3:27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded! By what principle? Of works? No, but by the principle of faith! 3:28 For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law. **** Romans

Question: What EXACTLY is "Faith"? All the people that I ask basically quote me this same scripture verse: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. {substance: or, ground, or, confidence}" However, they don't seem to REALLY know or be able to tell me what it REALLY is !!

Answer: You pose an interesting question and dilemma.

It reminds me of the time that I was sitting in a Bible Study class, and overheard the following exchange between the (T)eacher and a (S)tudent:

S - What is Holiness ?
T - Holiness is an attribute of God.
S - What does "attribute" mean ?
T - It means a unique quality, or virtue, or characteristic that makes something what it is. So Holiness is one of the things that makes God to be God -- Understand ??
S - So what is Holiness though -- what does it mean ????
T - Why, Holiness is one of the main qualities that distinguishes God as God
S - So what does it mean to be "Holy" ?
T - To be Holy is to be like God
S - But exactly WHAT is Holy or Holiness ??
T - Why, Holiness is an attribute of God and to be Holy is to be like God!!!

This same cloud seems to cover the mind regarding the subject of "Faith". People are quick to espouse the standard "religious jargon" regarding the meaning of the word, but no one seems to ACTUALLY be able to say EXACTLY what it is or what it means.

When the term is used in religious circles, it is often used as a proper noun, i.e.. "THE Faith". To most, this refers to the "Christian Religion" or to a "saving belief" in the redemptive power of the crucifixion, ressurection and assention of Jesus Christ. In its normal usage, however, the word "faith" means merely "belief".

It is Strong's reference number 4102, derived from 3982.

4102 pistis {pis'-tis}
from 3982; TDNT - 6:174,849; n f
AV - faith 239, assurance 1, believe + 1537 1, belief 1,
them that believe 1, fidelity 1; 244

3982 peitho {pi'-tho}
a primary verb; TDNT - 6:1,818; v
AV - persuade 22, trust 8, obey 7, have confidence 6, believe 3,
be confident 2, misc. 7; 55

It is a special belief though. It is NOT merely a mental ascent, such as, "I believe in a country called China". It is rather a fixed, unshakable belief such as you would stake your life or existence upon - a belief that encompasses your ENTIRE being. You may not think about it as such, but you exercise such "faith" every time you drive on a busy freeway. Think about it for a moment -- thousands of cars moving at upwards from 60 mph, often 3,4,5 lanes deep and maybe only separated from each other by less that two car lengths. Each driver has to move in harmony and synchronization with each other, each brain must make perhaps thousands of complex calculations and decisions EVERY second. Yet you have "Faith" that you will transverse this bedlam safely, and arrive at your destination without incident !!

Before I continue, I would ask you to read part of another article that I have written regarding "The Structure of Reality" [ HERE ]. Read down to the blue colored paragraph that begins, "At this point you may be asking (and RIGHTLY so, I might add)". Then read and CAREFULLY consider the following Bible verses:

He (Jesus) told them, "It was because of your little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you." **** Matthew 17:20

21:19 After noticing a fig tree by the road he went to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. He said to it, "Never again will there be fruit from you!" And the fig tree withered at once. 21:20 When the disciples saw it they were amazed, saying, "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" 21:21 Jesus answered them, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen." **** Matthew

8:23 Now a violent windstorm came down on the lake 8:24 He (Jesus) got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they died down, and it was calm. 8:25 Then he said to them, "Where is your faith?" But they were afraid and amazed, saying to one another, "Who then is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him!" **** Luke

So the Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this black mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled out by the roots and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. **** Luke 17:6

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.  Now without faith it is impossible to please Him (God), for the one who approaches God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him. **** Hebrews 11:1,6

He must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 1:8 since he is a double-minded individual, unstable in all his ways. **** James 1:6,7

Would you like evidence, you empty fellow, that faith without works is useless?  You see that his faith was working together with his works and his faith was perfected by works.  For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. **** James 2:20,22,26

I used to think that the first two verses from Matthew and Luke 17:6 were mere hyperbole, or an exaggeration on the part of Jesus to make His point. Then I began to consider that perhaps He was, in FACT, stating a valid and TRUE proposition. He was saying that IF we DID have that degree of PURE faith or trust and belief in Him and in His Word, that we could IN REALITY do as He said.

An excellent example is when, for a brief moment, Peter walked on water at the command of his Lord. Then, fear and "Reality" overtook his momentary Faith, and he began to sink.

14:26 When the disciples saw Him (Jesus) walking on the water they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” and cried out with fear. 14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them: “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” 14:28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water.” 14:29 So He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. 14:30 But when he saw the strong wind he became afraid. And starting to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 14:31 Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” **** Matthew

The problem is -- NO ONE of THIS world does have that purity of trust. We have been trained from birth to believe (KNOW ??) that such things are impossible. Hence, to us, THEY ARE !! Jesus knew differently, and therefore, He COULD exercise such faith and accomplish such feats. In the resurrection, when we are changed to be like Him, so will WE be able to accomplish such feats.

Whatever you ask in prayer, if you believe, you will receive **** Matthew 21:22

Many in the days of Jesus on earth DID trust Him with the childlike belief that says, "He said it so it must be so". Thus were they able "to do great miracles in His Name". Since that time down to today, select men and women have continued to exercise such Faith in varying degrees, enabling them also "to do great miracles in His Name". Most Christians have however, fallen into the rationalistic snare that says, "I KNOW that the Bible says so and so. We, however, being rational, intelligent, scientific, enlightened people KNOW that it REALLY means such and such !!!"

Thus, "He could do no great works because of the peoples unbelief".

When he went into the house, the blind men came to him. Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They said to him, "Yes, Lord."  Then he touched their eyes saying, "Let it be done for you according to your faith."  And their eyes were opened. **** Matthew 9:28-30

I believe, to sum up an answer to your question, I would say that, "FAITH is the POWER of a  firm, settled, unshakable belief and conviction" in the truth and reality of a matter.

Question:   I hear and read so many Fables and Superstitions about Hell. What do you teach and believe ??

Answer: I am so very glad that you took the time to submit this inquiry. I can understand how frustrating it must be for you to attempt to sort out the TRUTH from the Fables, Superstitions, and outright LIES surrounding this important subject. I have prepared an in-depth article on this topic, which you can find [ HERE ], which I trust should help you sort through the controversy and conflicting "tales", and arrive at what will satisfy YOU as being the TRUTH. I applaud you for being as were the Bereans, who sought out the things of God FOR THEMSELVES, that they might indeed find the TRUTH !!

These Jews (the Bereans) were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so. **** Acts 17:11

Question:   What do you do when someone you love has an ex who talks trash words against him and tells our other Christian friends that he is a bad person. He is trying to overcome alcohol and is going to church on Sundays and he trying to make it right with God on all the mistakes he has done. But this person talks to everyone who will listen to her. I want to write her a letter and tell her to stop all the talk and to get on with her life. We have and we're happy. But people do come to us and tell us all the things she says. But we try to avoid it and say the devil is up to it again. Cause we know gossip is of the devil and we try to keep on with our lives. But this person is being overbearing with all this. We are going to get married and she hates it. She is also trying to keep his money she has from him. Even though he worked so hard for it. She is holding that over his head. What kind of person is this. What do I tell her. Help me please. I need your guidance and prayer for her to stop. Thank you.

Answer: I can sense the pain and frustration in your eMail. I can also understand your desire to help and protect one that you care for. I believe, however, that your approach to the matter IS NOT God's way!

Let me address the more straight forward of your issues first. You say that, "She is also trying to keep his money". If you mean that they were married, lived, and divorced in a "Community Property" state, then she is LEGALLY entitled to one half of all of their possessions. If, on the other hand, she is somehow ILLEGALLY holding on to something that he has proof is his alone, than perhaps he needs to get the law involved.

Secondly, you state that, "He is going to church on Sundays and he trying to make it right with God". If by this you mean that he has truly repented and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, then that is the MOST essential first step. If this is the case, he does NOT need to "make ANYTHING right with God". God Himself has already done this through the sacrifice of His Own Son on the cross. There is NOTHING that needs to be added to it, EVEN including going to Church !!

Now DON'T misunderstand !! Going to church, bible study,  and fellowship with God and other Christians IS highly productive for spiritual growth, fellowship, learning, support, and friendship, as well as worship to God. However, they are NOT and can NOT be "bargaining chips" with God for His forgiveness. He has already provided that fully and freely, MINUS human deserts or efforts !!

Now to the third and primary point of your question. YOU can do nothing !!! It is up to the man involved to address and remedy this problem. YOU can extend your love, care, and support to him, but HE must do the work. It is HE who is responsible (to whatever degree) for the offenses and it must be HE who attempts to make it right. I don't  mean only with God, but I mean with his ex-wife also !! NO, it will NOT be easy, but if he ever wants peace for himself and for you, and in your upcoming marriage,  it WILL be necessary !!

My wife left me many years ago. At that time we were both filled with much anger, bitterness and resentment, especially my wife. She felt that she had been used and betrayed by both me and by God. I must shamefully acknowledge, as God has opened my eyes through this experience to see, that I had been a terrible husband. However, through much repentance and many tears on my part, God also gave me the love and grace to understand how my wife felt and to work with her toward forgiveness by her for me. After many years, we finally reached an amiable and friendly relationship, and I can sincerely pray for God's best for her new marriage.

You say that the man was an alcoholic. He probably put his ex-wife through hell !! While it IS true that it takes, "two to tango" in that BOTH of them bear responsibility for their marriage problems, HE needs to seek God to find the "eyes that can see", the love, wisdom and courage to take responsibility for HIS part, and to at least TRY to make it right with her. I AM NOT talking about a one-time, "I am sorry". It may take a VERY long time with MUCH humbling and trying on his part. It sounds like that right now she is a VERY angry, bitter and hurt person. She also no doubt feels that she has VERY valid grounds to feel that way !!

Also, forget about, "the Devil is up to it again". That is merely an easy "cop-out". This problem was not brought about by the Devil. It was brought about by the man and woman involved. Just "praying" isn't going to fix it. It is going to take some gut-wrenching, HARD, PAINFUL work on his part.

In the scriptures, Jesus Himself, as well as the Apostles John and James, expressed the idea that, "What value is it to merely SAY that you have faith and the Love of God if you DO NOT express and exercise them as living, everyday parts of your life. One who so says is merely deceiving him(her)self, and the truth is NOT in them". If he can't or won't do it, I foresee a very difficult future for YOU. In the Christian world-view, it is the place of the husband to love, cherish and PROTECT his wife as Christ does His Church. It is the wife's part to submit to her husband, as the Church does to Christ. A Christian marriage WILL NOT work if this order is not followed.

As for the gossip, that is a secondary manifestation of the problem -- it is NOT the problem. If the man is willing to deal with the REAL problem, I can assure you that God will take care of the gossip. As a matter of fact, many who are now carrying the gossip will come to praise the man for his truly godly life.

5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, 5:23 because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church – he himself being the savior of the body. 5:24 But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 5:26 to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, 5:27 so that he may present the church to himself as glorious – not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. 5:28 In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 5:29 For no one has ever hated his own body but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, 5:30 for we are members of his body. 5:31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 5:32 This mystery is great – but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 5:33 Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. **** Ephesians

Question: I consider myself to be a "self-made man" !! I believe that you have to stand on your OWN feet and take responsibility for your OWN life. I owe nothing to anyone -- what I have achieved I did on my own. You can't depend upon anyone else because no one can be trusted or relied upon. I think that Christianity is just a "Big Crutch" for crippled, irresponsible losers !!!!!

Answer: Thank you for your "to the point" letter and your honesty. However, you must be a VERY lonely man if you truly believe, as you stated, that, "no one can be trusted or relied upon".

Years ago, a well know minister would tell this joke about a "self-made man". One day this VERY overbearing and self-important man came into his office for an interview. The first thing that the man proclaimed was, "I want you to know that I am a self-made man. Everything that I have or am I owe exclusively to MYSELF". To which the minister promptly replied, "Well thank you for telling me that. I can't imagine anyone else possibly wanting to take the credit !!"

You are, however, greatly mistaken if you REALLY believe that you "owe nothing to anyone" or that "what you have achieved you did on your own". We ALL owe our existence to the community around us. Whether you consider that they were good or bad, you would NOT be here today were it not for your parents. Your school teachers imparted to you their knowledge and helped to shape your thinking. The community around you provided a place and an opportunity where you could live, grow, work, and learn. If you are an employer or an entrepreneur, you rely on your employees and/or business associates, not to mention your CUSTOMERS, for your living. You rely on the government and the civil service structure to provide a stable environment in which you are free to live and function. You see, NO man (or woman) is an island, and it is the height of blindness and arrogance to think that, "We owe everything for our success to ourselves alone" !!

As for, "Christianity being just a 'Big Crutch' for crippled, irresponsible, losers", in CERTAIN respects, there is an element of TRUTH in this statement. We ALL, without exception, need some type of "crutch" to make it through life, for in SOME respect, we are ALL crippled !! Often those with the greatest disdain for Christ are those addicted to the greatest "crutches" -- drugs and narcotics of all types (including alcohol and tobacco), promiscuous and perverted sex, violence, gambling, etc. Then there are the less obvious "crutches" -- workaholics (including our "self-made men and women"); excessive competition (in sports, etc.); health, exercise, and well being mania; lust for wealth, fame and power; "RELIGION"; and even that which corrupt humanity passes off as "LOVE".

Jesus Himself states that we can NOT even come to Him until we first recognize our need for a "crutch":

9:11 When the Pharisees saw this they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 9:12 When Jesus heard this he said, "Those who are healthy don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. 9:13 Go and learn what this saying means: ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry." **** Matthew 11:28-30

The man or woman who is truly at the point of perishing does not question whether or not they need a "crutch", or complain about the source or conditions of their help. The drowning person, or the one caught in a blazing house, or the one hanging on by one hand at the edge of a cliff does not say to their rescuer, "NO, I can make it on my own (at least not unless they are a complete egotistical fool)" They are overjoyed to be rescued !! The man with a broken leg does not refuse the crutch to help him walk (at least not if he is sane), preferring rather to lay in his bed, because that wouldn't be, "making it on his own".

Another joke to the point that I heard goes like this, "A man had slipped over a cliff and was hanging on by one hand, slowly slipping away. He was frantically calling for help, when this voice from above responded, 'Let go and I will catch you!' Unsure that he heard correctly, the man cried out for help even louder. Again the voice responded, 'Let go and I will catch you!' This time the man cried out, 'Who are you?' 'I am God', the voice replied. The man cried out in even greater desperation, 'Isn't there anyone else there??'"

10:2 For I can testify that they are zealous (for God), but their zeal is not in line with the truth. 10:3 For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law, with the result that there is righteousness for everyone who believes. **** Romans

It is the curse of lost humanity that we believe that "we can do it ourselves", even unto making ourselves "right before God". We foolishly believe that our "works" - our labors, our keeping some "system of manmade law", our "moral" character - will make us OK in God's sight (and in our own sight) (will make us righteous). As stated in the verse above, THEY WILL NOT !! The only "rightness" that there is comes as a FREE GIFT from God, to be received in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, totally free from human effort, merit or contribution.

1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1:26 Think about the circumstances of your call, brothers and sisters. Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position. 1:27 But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. 1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, 1:29 so that no one can boast in his presence. 1:30 He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 1:31 so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." **** 1 Corinthians

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