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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Romans 5:15 - Grace Abounds to Many

Hath abounded unto many - That is, Christ Jesus died for every man; salvation is free for all; saving grace is tendered to every soul; and a measure of the Divine light is actually communicated to every heart, John 1:9.  And, as the grace is offered, so it may be received; and hence the apostle says, Romans 5:17:  They which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by Christ Jesus: and by receiving is undoubtedly meant not only the act of receiving, but retaining and improving the grace which they receive; and, as all may receive, so All may improve and retain the grace they do receive; and, consequently, All may be eternally saved. But of multitudes Christ still may say, They Will not come unto me, that they might have life. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. (NASB)
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. (KJV)
But there is a great difference between Adam's sin and God's gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and His gift of forgiveness to many through this other Man, Jesus Christ. (NLT)
But the gracious gift is not like the transgression. For if the many died through the transgression of the one man, how much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ multiply to the many! (NET)

The sin of Adam led to condemnation. The righteousness of Christ leads to Grace bestowed upon all who believe. There are a great many contrasts between these two expressed. In 1 Corinthians 15 Adam is a "figure of him that was to come" and Christ is the "last Adam" and "second man." Adam is an earthly vessel and Christ is the Lord from heaven. Adam brings to us all guilt, condemnation and death. Whereas Christ brings to all righteousness, justification and life. One single act of commission brought death to all mankind, while Grace covers a whole world full of debt and countless acts of sin!

The One who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:9 NLT)
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and His gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one Man, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17 NLT)
We must observe here that from the end of Verse 12 to that of 17 (Romans 5:12-17) is a parenthesis: only the idea is developed, as in similar cases.  In the parenthesis the apostle, after having presented Adam as the figure of Him who was to come — of Christ, argues that the character of the gift cannot be inferior to that of the evil.  If the sin of the one first man was not confined in its effects to him who committed it, but extended to all those who as a race were connected with him, with much greater reason shall the grace which is by one, Christ Jesus, not end in Him, but embrace the many under Him also.  And with regard to the thing, as well as to the person — and here the law is in view — one single offence brought in death, but grace remits a multitude of offences.  Thus it could suffice for that which the law had made necessary.  And, as to the effect, death has reigned; but by grace, not only shall life reign, but we shall reign in life by One according to the abundance of grace — by Jesus Christ. (Dr. John Darby)

Famine Ahead!

Famine Ahead!

“Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘When I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall turn to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.’”  Amos 8:11-12

Can you imagine if here in these United States originally founded using the Bible as the guide to even write laws, that there will come a time when the best selling book of all time, the Bible, could not be found anywhere, I mean anywhere?  Many scoff at this notion saying, "Becky that is not possible" but I say to turn off the secular news and tune in to things happening with Christians worldwide you never hear about on the three major networks.  Christian persecution is happening.  Even on some university campuses Christian Bible studies are not welcome.

There in fact may come a time according to this verse for today, when you will be starving for the word of God.  Now for people who don't even read it except on Sunday that will not be a loss, but to you who do love studying God's word you need to be hiding it in your heart so you will have it to rely on in troubled times ahead.  Imagine really starving for food which most reading this never have done.  Hunger yes, starvation no.  Literally starving I mean.  Imagine no Bibles anywhere.

Store up God's word in your heart.  Treasure it as if it were gold.  Many nations do not allow the Bible now.  Several years ago my husband travelled to the Middle East and hid his Bible in his suitcase.  Don't take God's word for granted.  Read it daily.

PRAYER:  I am so grateful to have a Bible, and many people have several.  Help me to treasure it above all else and use it daily.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Becky Juett Miller
God's Lemonade Stand

https://www.facebook.com/GodsLemonadeStand/
https://www.godslemonadestand.blogspot.com

Why is there a CMF?

Why CMF? — by Dan Cartwright, Chariman, CMF Board of Directors


SGM Dan Cartwright, USA (Ret)
Chairman, Board of Directors

More than a few years have passed since I enlisted in the ranks of Christian Military Fellowship. I joined CMF after hearing a presentation by a CMF staff member to a small group of soldiers gathered for a Bible study in a chapel at Ft. Devens, MA. This “prodigal son” had returned home not long before, and I was excited about my rediscovered faith and hungry for both the Word and Christian fellowship. As a result of that hunger, I had joined the small group that met once a week over lunch at Independence Chapel. What I heard about CMF that day really caught my attention!

I heard about a fellowship of believers who wore the uniforms of our Armed Forces. They were ordinary people, like this young NCO, with an extraordinary vision! They felt called of God to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their comrades-in-arms, and further, to help each other grow while serving in our country's military. I learned that the purpose of CMF’s small staff, in Denver, Colorado, was to help us “ordinary folks” accomplish the mission defined in the CMF motto— “To Win…To Disciple…To Equip…To Win.” In other words, CMF wasn't about an organization’s ministry TO the military, but about encouraging and supporting ministry IN the military. The “minister” IN the military was supposed to be the “man in the mirror"!

Through the years, the mission and goals of CMF haven't changed. If you read the CMF Orientation Brief today (available on the CMF website “Resource” page), you will find the following statement: "We are a PEER ministry TO military people BY military people WITHIN the military society."

You might be asking "Why?", and that's certainly a valid question. I found a large part of the answer to that question, already in practice, in a book called "Revolution in World Missions," written by K.P. Yohanan and first published in 1986.

K.P. is the founder and President of Gospel for Asia, an organization dedicated to sending support to native pastors in Asia. "Revolution in World Missions" discusses the shift from “colonial" missionary efforts sponsored by Western nations (foreigners), due in large part to countries in Asia gaining their independence from the rule of colonial governments (foreigners) and the tossing out of colonial missionaries (foreigners) along with their governments. The leadership of remaining Christian missionary efforts fell to the native believers, Christians born and raised in the now free countries and remote areas of much of Asia. The spreading of the Gospel became primarily an “inside job,” accomplished by indigenous believers. Was there still a role for the West? Absolutely!

K.P. Yohanan aptly remarks in his book:, "God still sovereignly calls Western missionaries to do unique and special tasks in Asia. But we must understand that the primary role for Westerners now should be to support efforts of indigenous mission works through finances and intercessory prayer."

What may have begun out of necessity (foreigners tossed out) has actually resulted in evangelization and missionary work in much of Asia that is far more effective than the efforts under the leadership of the westerners (foreigners). There are several reasons for the increased effectiveness of native missionaries, attested to by the many organizations that, like Gospel for Asia, are solely dedicated to supporting native pastors and indigenous mission boards:

“They already know the culture, the customs, the laws, the language. So they encounter fewer barriers in witnessing for Christ. They can go where no “foreigner” ever could.” - World-Wide Missions

“… the most effective work done in many foreign countries was that carried forward by the nationals themselves. There were many arguments in favor of such missionary endeavors. They were already on the field. They knew the language and the customs.…I later discovered there is another sound argument for national programs—the fact that the work cannot be closed down where there is any type of religious freedom at all.” Dr. Basil Miller. Founder, World-Wide Missions

Indigenous means, “native to the land.” A palm tree from Puerto Rico transplanted in Pennsylvania will not survive because it is not indigenous. But fertilizer from Pennsylvania applied to a palm tree in Puerto Rico will make it grow better in its native soil. Indigenous Christianity is not an imported denomination or other foreign organization. A Christian group started by foreigners hardly ever becomes truly indigenous. But an indigenous group can be inspired by visiting speakers from other countries (foreigners) and strengthened by financial help from believers overseas (foreigners), provided it is not used to buy control.” - Christian Aid U.S.A.

Let's summarize. Indigenous ministry would be ministry carried out by those who are:

  • Native to the land,
  • Already in the field,
  • Knowledge of the culture, language, customs, and laws,
  • Cannot be expelled,
  • More effective, and
  • Can go where no foreigner could

“Culture” is emphasized above because there is a distinct culture in the military. If the military can be viewed as a culture, the different branches can be called sub-cultures. Taken one step further, there are even sub-sub-cultures in each of the branches of service. I spent my entire career, aside from training and certain schools, in the Special Forces culture. If you are a current or past member of one of the branches of service, you know exactly what I mean. I need explain it no further. Suffice it to say that every culture or sub-culture has its own language, customs, and laws. Outsiders to the culture are viewed as foreigners in the same sense as the colonialists mentioned earlier in this article.

That last characteristic is strongly emphasized because, years ago, an Army Chaplain invited two young soldiers to a Saturday morning men's breakfast fellowship at a local church of his endorsing denomination. At one point the Chaplain told the assembled group: "These two men go places where I will never be able to set foot."

That Chaplain’s few words said it all then, and they still ring true today. They apply to every man and woman in uniform who, unashamed of the Gospel, live out their faith where no Chaplain will ever set foot.

And that's what CMF is about!

Romans 5:14 - Death is Here to Stay - Deny the Cross?

I'll steal your life and cut, out your heart.
Rip the core of your, world apart.
Then I'll, Take your sight.
Leave ya blind.
Laughing hard as you, loose your mind.
Smash in your skull!!!
Kick out your brains!!!
Dance all over!
What remains!!!

Life! The living danger,
Death! The welcome stranger,
In sin! You deny the cross.

Deny the cross...!

I'm an angel I'm, virgin white.
This only happens, every night.
Restitution, for my sin,
Imprisoned virtue, time begins.
Killer instincts!!!
Escape my find!
Path of destruction!
Left behind.

Life, it walks away...
It walks today...
It fades away...
Death, is here to stay...
Is here today...
To deny the cross...!

Draw and quarter, slice the meat.
Now there's something, more to eat.
Nothing left there is, just a frame.
This poor soul, has no name.
Back to dirt!
Six feet deep!
I take a breath!
Long and deep!!!

Deny the cross!!!
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. (NASB)
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (KJV)
Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did.  Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. (NLT)
Yet death reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam (who is a type of the coming one) transgressed. (NET)

They are torn from the security of their homes and are brought down to the king of terrors. (Job 18:14 NLT)

We still often search the clouds for the wrath of God to come thinking we have time while all the while judgment has already been pronounced!  Death reigns! It remains, as Bildad describes, "the King of Terrors."  We need look no further than the nearest cemetery to see wrath inflicted.  There is no escape even for the infant who "did not sin in the same way that Adam" solely because of sin imputed from Adams fall.  Were it not for the second Adam we would all be lost to eternal separation, the King of Terrors indeed!  But for those who are in Christ Jesus, we have the eternal blessing of forever knowing Him who set us free from the bondage of sin and death.  Not only so, but also to be able to share from the "hope that is within us" the amazing love we have thus experienced with those around us!

What then shall we choose?  Shall we do as the "Heavy Metal" lyrics ascribe and turn death into an object of worship believing that there is nothing beyond the grave.  Is that the end of our created being to become worm food?  If we evolved out of the primordial soup and have no reason for being except the random act of untamed amino acids then hope is a star trek myth.  If however, we are created in the image of the Most High, then perhaps hope is real and Christmas is the greatest gift of all! God come down as a man to save us from our sins!

Alas! and did my Savior bleed,
and did my Sovereign die!
Would he devote that sacred head
for sinners such as I?
Was it for crimes that I have done,
he groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
Well might the sun in darkness hide,
and shut its glories in,
when God, the mighty maker, died
for his own creature's sin.
Thus might I hide my blushing face
while his dear cross appears;
dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
and melt mine eyes to tears.
But drops of tears can ne'er repay
the debt of love I owe.
Here, Lord, I give myself away;
'tis all that I can do.  (Issac Watts)

Words. They Matter!

Words.  They Matter!

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.  Colossians 4:6

These past few months with political debates, television  adds many people have become so angry.  I have seen professing Christians just going ballistic on Facebook pages spewing unseemly words about one candidate or another.  Are we really justified in being so ugly?  The answer of course is no.

The enemy is having a hey day with the actions of many.  The issue is we as believers need to stop judging, mind our own business, and pray.  Stop spewing hate ourselves.

This was the most important election of our lifetime.  One of the biggest issues is the three Supreme Court justices that will be put into play by whoever is elected.  Everyone seemed too angry to remember that factor.  The election is over.  I urge all of you reading this to take time each day to pray that the transition will be completed peacefully.  If you are beside yourself with anger, turn on some Christian praise music to soothe your soul.

 PRAYER:  Dear Lord I am thankful for being born in a democracy.  Many in other nations probably laugh at us.  Help my brothers and sisters in Christ trust that you have a plan and help all of us know that once words are spoken they can't be taken back.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

What is God Like?

What is God Like?


SGM Dan Cartwright, USA (Ret
) Chairman, Board of Directors
“And this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 NIV)

This is an introduction to, and the first in a series of articles offering answers from Scripture to the above question.  To say that this is an important question, that deserves serious consideration, is a huge understatement!

I first learned something about God’s glorious attributes years ago from two main sources: Lutheran Catechism and reading the Bible for an “Advanced” English course as a senior in high school. Catechism provided sound doctrine (and large words) to describe characteristics of God found in the Bible.  In reading the Bible for itself, I found out that what it said about God matched the big words I learned in Catechism.  (As odd as it might sound in today’s scholastic environment, in those days it was permissible to write a paper about The Bible as Literature, my chosen subject.)

In addition to Scripture itself, a source of information for these posts is J. I. Packer’s book, Knowing God.   Scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the NIV and linked to their context in an online Bible.  Please read them, read the context around them, and let Scripture speak to you.  There are of course other, more exhaustive treatments of the Attributes of God; one of the most notable is Arthur W. Pink’s work, (http://www.eternallifeministries.org/awp_attrib.htm).

This article can provide only a brief glimpse into the awesome character of God and hopefully will whet your appetite to learn even more about the Creator of the universe and the One who sent His own Son to die so that you might live.  The reason for these posts is two-fold.  First, there seems to exist today, in American Christianity, a deplorable lack of knowledge concerning what God has revealed about Himself in Scripture.  Most of what we hear from pulpits across the country speaks only of God’s love, and even that, for the most part, is described according to our concept/definition of love, not His.

The second reason is from Scripture itself.  John 17:3 tells us that “eternal life is knowing God.”  That can be a bit difficult to get our heads wrapped around, but it speaks of how our eternal life has a “right here, right now” aspect.  How can that be explained in more practical, understandable terms? What effect does knowing God have on a person?  J. I. Packer suggests four great effects:

  1. Those who know God have great energy for God.
  2. Those who know God have great thoughts of God.
  3. Those who know God have great boldness for God.
  4. Those who know God have great contentment in God.

We must ask ourselves, do we desire such knowledge of God?   When you ask yourself this question, remember that it’s not a matter of knowing God so we can “become” great for God, it’s simply that really “knowing” leads to “having.”

And lest I forget, when God sees knowledge of Himself in His children, it gives Him pleasure.

“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6 KJV)

When you think about it, generally, the most we can know about other people is what they reveal to us.  The extent and quality of our knowledge of them depends more on them than it does on us. Knowing God is no different.  Only what God has chosen to reveal of Himself can be known, and that which God has chosen to reveal to us can be found in Holy Scripture.

Our quest to know God begins by understanding that God is our Creator and that we are a part of His creation (Genesis 1:1, Psalm 24:1).  God said that man is created in His image.  Man is above the rest of creation and was given dominion over it (Genesis 1:26-28).  Creation is marred by the “fall” (Genesis 3:17-18) but still offers a glimpse of His works (Romans1:19-20).  This glimpse of God that we do have is available to all men─we are all born with the knowledge that God IS. By considering creation’s vastness, complexity, beauty, and order, we can have a sense of the awesomeness of God.  However, considering how lightly and how often we use the term “awesome” in today’s culture, I don’t think it’s a nearly “big enough” word to begin describing God.

I remember when I was just a wee lad and we would visit my grandparents’ farm in Wisconsin.  There weren’t any street lights, and I remember looking up at the night sky and all the stars with a feeling of “WOW, God made that!” filling my little heart with wonder at how BIG God is.  That was awesome.

I also remember a church, nestled in tall pine trees across the road from Grandma’s house.  I found an old photo of that church, dated back to around 1955.  As if it were yesterday, I can still hear the hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy” resounding through the pines as we walked to church.  That was awesome.

I can’t describe just how “BIG” God was to this 5-year-old, from just looking at the night sky and hearing a hymn.  As we grow older and begin to read Scripture, our sense of God’s greatness looms even larger, or at least it should.

Face it: we don’t much care for hearing God when He speaks to us about our sin, our guilt, our helplessness, our weakness, our blindness, and our spiritual “deadness.”  We would rather hear just the “good stuff” He might say about us.  Nevertheless, knowing God involves listening to His Word and receiving it, as the Holy Spirit interprets and applies it to us and to the character of God.  When we see our “true selves” in the blinding light of Scripture, we can “know” God more fully, and might even have something to boast about.

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the LORD.”  Jeremiah 9:23-24

God is the Great I AM - Eternal and Unchangeable

“Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” Then what shall I tell them?’”

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.’” - (Exodus 3:13,14).

God is eternal, meaning He had no beginning and that His existence will never end.  He is immortal, infinite (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17). God is immutable, meaning He is unchangeable; this means that God is absolutely reliable and trustworthy (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; Psalm 102:26,27).

God’s life does not change.

Created things have a beginning and an end, however their Creator is from everlasting to everlasting.

“In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.  They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.  Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”   (Psalm 102:25-27)

A small child will often ask, “Who made God?”  Our answer is simple. He was always there. Children accept that answer more easily than adults, with the childlike faith that Jesus reminded His followers we all need.  When Mom told this little 5-year-old that God was always there, that settled it─Moms don’t lie!

God’s character does not change.

The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament.  Listening to sermons in many of today’s churches, one might come away with the idea that the God who destroyed His enemies, the enemies of His Chosen people, and those among people who would dishonor His Name, has somehow changed into a kindly grandfather who waits for us to jump into His lap for a hug and a bit of candy.  While God is certainly the giver of all good things to His children, His moral character is changeless, as James reminded dispersed followers undergoing trials and temptations (James 1:12-17 NKJV).

God’s truth does not change.

How many times have we had to eat our words because something that was said was not what was really meant, or something that we thought was truth turned out to be not true.  God’s Word, however, spoken but once, stands as truth for all eternity (Isaiah 40:6-8).

God’s ways do not change.

The wages of sin is death, so Romans 6:23 tells us.  It will always be so. This verse also tells us that God offers eternal life through His Son.  It will always be so.  God discriminates between sinners, causing some to hear the gospel message, while others hear the words but not the message (Acts 16:13-15).  To some he grants the gift of repentance and faith, while others He leaves in their sin, demonstrating that he owes mercy to no one and that it is entirely an act of His grace that any are saved (Romans 9:15).

God’s purposes do not change.

“One of two things causes a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of foresight to execute them. But as God is both omnipotent and omnipresent, there is never any need for Him to reverse His decrees.” (A.W. Pink)

The plans of God stand firm forever... (Psalm 33:11). Whatever God does in time, He planned from eternity; and whatever He planned in eternity WILL be carried out in time.

God’s Son does not change.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) Jesus is able to, and will save all who come to Him─all that the Father gives Him (John 6:37-40).

This fact is the strong consolation and assurance for all God’s people.

Romans 5:13 - Sin Not Imputed

Rom 5:13
For until the law sin was in the world - As death reigned from Adam to Moses, so also did sin. Now, as there was no written law from Adam to that given to Moses, the death that prevailed could not be the breach of that law; for sin, so as to be punished with temporal death, is not imputed where there is no law, which shows the penalty of sin to be death. Therefore, men are not subjected to death for their own personal transgressions, but for the sin of Adam; as, through his transgression, all come into the world with the seeds of death and corruption in their own nature, superadded to their moral depravity. All are sinful - all are mortal - and all must die. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (NASB)
 
For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (KJV)
 
Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. (NLT)
 
for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law. (NET)

Sin comes before transgression.  With the nation fixated upon the energy crisis you with think that the delusional ramblings of what now masquerades as journalism would refrain from large atmospheric releases of hot air in order to prevent further global warming.  However, what really transpires is the continuous Neanderthal homological chest pounding focused upon convincing homosapiens (Latin: wise humans) that perversion is merely the natural extension of orderly Darwinian evolution.  The argument used in a recent news magazine is that Jonathan and David were CLOSE friends.  Therefore, it is completely permissible to engage in licentious and lascivious conduct.  If that were truly the case then we should all commit adultery with Bathsheba and have Uriah the Hittite killed to cover up an unwanted pregnancy in order to exercise planned parenthood. When Jesus said, "let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone" He also said, "go and sin no more!"  The reprobate mind thus becomes the swine looking for pearl casters.  Except for Grace we would all be in the pit for our foot would "slip in due time."  The fact that Jesus came into the world to save sinners does not imply anywhere in Scripture that He condones sin for the purpose of inclusion. He came to save us from our sin not to leave us to expire in the midst of it.  I suppose that it would be good here to list a few verses:

Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. (Luke 11:35 NLT)
 
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that His word has no place in our hearts. (1 John 1:5-10 NLT)
 
With the Lord's authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against Him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. (Ephesians 4:17-19 NLT)
 

Back in Chapter One we mentioned that the wrath of God was being revealed against all ungodliness and all unrighteousness.  We ought not be surprise that our ever descending society wishes to replace the wisdom of the Almighty with that of our own and like Israel become lost in the midst of our own sin.  Sin is the judgment!  We have been "abandoned" in our own sin to do what is right in our own eyes (Romans 1:24, Judges 21:25 paraphrase mine)

"Notice the object of God's wrath. Paul, in two words, has summed up all of human sin, placing it in two great divisions: ungodliness and unrighteousness.  'Ungodliness' is a sin against the being of God.  Man is not only a moral sinner (he is unrighteous), but man is a religious sinner (he is ungodly).  The unrighteous man live as if there were no will of God revealed; the ungodly man lives as if there were no God."  Dr. Alva J. McClain, Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace.
 

Mind Altering

Mind Altering

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

There are things that can make a person's mind be altered in ways not from God.  Examples would be alcohol and drugs.  You hear of people who can't relax or want to have fun so they drink.  Maybe there are those with problems they feel a magic drug or alcohol will help cure.  Deaths have occurred from mixing drugs and alcohol.

The best and most preferred way to 'alter your mind' is not with substances mentioned above but from reading God's word.  The Bible helps transform your thoughts and help you acquire peace and joy instead of fear and unhappiness.  It is also your guidebook through life to keep you on the right path.

When you feel upset, fearful, angry, bitter, forgotten, abused, unloved pick up the Bible, for in it you will find rest for your weary soul.  Give it a try.

PRAYER:  Lord I know that only through you are problems solved not by drinking or taking drugs.  I pray for those caught in that trap, often one of fear and unhappiness.  I need you every hour.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Becky Juett Miller
God's Lemonade Stand

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Truth, Lies and Horseback Riding

Truth, Lies and Horseback Riding


SGM Dan Cartwright, USA (Ret)
Chairman, Board of Directors

You are probably thinking that’s a rather silly title for an article.  Maybe, maybe not.  If it stimulated your curiosity to the point you are actually reading this, it accomplished the desired goal of the author!  Therefore, it makes at least a little bit of sense. Agreed?  Now on to the point.

Months ago, maybe even years ago in some cases, while studying various aspects of Christianity in light of Scripture (a favorite pastime of mine), I began to see beliefs in Christendom that had little or no Scriptural support, and that some of those questionable beliefs had achieved the status of “doctrine.”  To disagree with them was labeled minimally as growth-hindering misunderstanding of Scripture, and, at the other end of the “error spectrum,” blasphemy deserving of Hell.  I had then, and still have now, a soul-deep conviction that God wrote the Book and therefore what was taught as truth, but didn’t agree with the context of Scripture, was wrong or false in some measure and in some cases, was an outright lie.

The unavoidable question brought to this inquiring mind was, “How did these falsehoods and lies end up so widely believed by professing Christians?”  The answer I arrived at after a considerable amount of Scripture study, researching a range of historical resources, and comparing them both to widely held beliefs of professing believers was and IS, precisely this: The “accepted” lie always rides in on the back of truth.  Without an element of Scriptural truth upon which to hitch a ride, the lie never survives.

A prime example from the early church would be the Pelagian heresy; it denied any adverse effect of Adam’s sin on the rest of mankind that was birthed after the Fall.  That lie didn’t get very far and was condemned as heresy.  The “Semi-Pelagianism” that followed acknowledged that Adam’s sin affected all of us, but said that man is still able in and of himself to cooperate with God in the salvation of his soul.  That was also condemned as heresy (at the Council of Orange), but is in fact alive and well in both major camps of Christianity. No segment of Christianity has ever admitted to being Semi-Pelagian, although a synergistic Gospel is by nature, exactly that.

There you have one man’s explanation of the connection between truth, lies, and horseback riding.  The initial lie, without an element of truth, failed.  The second lie, while admitting “some” truth, made a modified version of the first lie perfectly acceptable, and even pleasing to human sensibilities.

There have been other examples of lies riding in on the back of truth, some with a longer history of acceptance than others.  The two most damaging to both the cause of Christ and the souls of men are 1) that Christ established a single religious organization as the only true church with an “infallible” human as head of that church and 2) that God “accepts” us unconditionally, WITH our sin. (Don’t panic — please read on!)

Both have a segment of truth. Christ did declare he would establish His Church on earth.  God does LOVE unconditionally – it’s His nature and one of His divine attributes.

The Church that Christ established is made up of those persons for whom He died, from every tongue, tribe and nation – those whom He purchased with His own blood. We weren’t put on layaway!

If God could “accept” us into His Kingdom WITH our sin, His Son died in vain. The first point of the Gospel is that Christ DIED for our sin!

Romans 5:12 - Death Entered the World

But whence is it that men are so disingenuous?  The reason seems to be this:  The promise of eternal happiness is so agreeable to the inclinations and wishes of mankind, that all who call themselves Christians, universally and willingly subscribe to the belief of it:  but then there is something so shocking in the consideration of eternal torments, and seemingly such an infinite disproportion between an endless duration of pain, and short life spent in pleasure, that men (some at least of them) can scarcely be brought to confess it as an article of their faith, that an eternity of misery awaits the wicked in a future state.  (George Whitfield, Eternity in Hell)
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-- (NASB)
 
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (KJV)
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. (NLT)
 
So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned — (NET)
 
The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and He saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. (Genesis 6:5 NLT)
 
For the choir director:  A psalm of David.  Only fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!  The LORD looks down from heaven on the entire human race; He looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God.  But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one! (Psalms 14:1-3 NLT)
 
"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.   Who really knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT)
 
So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another Man.  Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.  (1 Corinthians 15:21-22 NLT)
 
As by one man - Adam; who is mentioned, and not Eve, as being the representative of mankind.  Sin entered into the world - Actual sin, and its consequence, a sinful nature.  And death - With all its attendants.  It entered into the world when it entered into being; for till then it did not exist. By sin - Therefore it could not enter before sin. Even so - Namely, by one man.  In that - So the word is used also, 2Cor 5:4.  All sinned - In Adam. These words assign the reason why death came upon all men; infants themselves not excepted, in that all sinned. (John Wesley)

We often wrestle with the origin of our present estate.  But here clearly is established that sin entered the world through the disobedience of our paradisiac parents.  We commit sins because we are sinners (not the other way around).  Wesley even reminds us that infants are not excepted.   Did we ever have to teach our children to lie, cheat, steal or demonstrate selfishness?  To the contrary, we had to spend much time in their training in righteousness.  The Scripture is replete with examples of our true nature and death being its consequence.  And because of our nature, death came into this satanically controlled world and continues to reign.  That is why we needed a Savior!

 

 


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