People of The Living God

Psalms 8

 

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September 2017



 

 

 

WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS

THE AGE OF PORNOGRAPHY

Alfred King

        “For those who truly know and fear God the 20th Century will be remembered, not so much for its phenomenal advancements in every area of science and technology, although this has certainly impacted mankind – but nothing remotely like that century's most defining event: THE COMING OF THE AGE OF PORNOGRAPHY.  By means of perfected photography and printing, pornography has unleashed a flood of moral evil that mankind will not survive.  No one has a proper understanding of pornography unless he sees that it is inseparable from direct, personal, satanic and demonic activity, and, ultimately – CONTROL in the minds of those who give themselves to it, resulting in a radical transformation of character and behavior.  And O, how sobering to think that as satan was gradually, relentlessly undressing the ‘civilized’ Western World in this way, the Lord's own beloved people were also being influenced by the fast, hectic pace which was strangely introduced by the very inventions and gadgets which were supposed to save time and effort.  And so, when precious hours alone with God were most urgently needed, for many, prayer was gradually pushed into a little corner of their busy lives.  The convenience and comforts of modern inventions HAD to be purchased, even if it meant that mother had to leave her God-given place as the GUIDE AND KEEPER of her family and take on public work, a largely prayerless life, and submission to the authority of a man other than her husband.  From a natural standpoint, all of us are products of the 20th Century, and it may help us to see that IN THAT VERY CENTURY, WHEN SATAN SUCCEEDED IN MAKING SUCH DISASTROUS INROADS IN THIS WORLD, THE SAINTS LARGELY ABANDONED RELENTLESS, PERSISTANT, PREVAILING PRAYER.  Dear reader, there is no pointing of a finger of blame here, but a felt need, and a precious hope IN THAT GOD WHO CHANGETH NOT, AND IS NEVER IN THE LEAST INFLUENCED BY CONDITIONS HERE.”  (Mathew Pacifico)

        Mathew Pacifico very succinctly and precisely sets forth what might be the most degrading element which has created major problems in our modern society.  Unfortunately, things have not changed since the 20th Century concluded, for in the first 17 years of the 21st century, the avalanche of moral decadence has continued unabated.  Rather than recognizing the degradation this plague has brought upon the citizens of this country, it has been encouraged by our government, our educational institutions and those who have the responsibility to keep our society free from immorality.  Instead of protecting, they have opened “Pandora’s box” and allowed this grievous curse even into our elementary schools to defile our children.  Our government has passed laws that support the pornographic industry and done away with former laws which were designed to protect our society and especially our innocent children from this destructive evil which proceeds straight from the master and creator of all evil, Satan himself.  How are conscientious parents to protect their children in this climate of debauchery that pours forth from the very pit of hell?  It can only be done on their knees.

        The Lord has given mankind His precious word to reveal the way back to God.  He gave His law, not for restricting or imprisoning man, but He gave it in love, knowing that His way would protect man from the snares of Satan, that great enemy of our souls.  In that word, given in love by our loving Father, we have an account in Numbers 22 through 24 in which Barak, king of the Moabites became fearful of Israel.  God had miraculously delivered Israel from Pharaoh’s bondage with many marvelous demonstrations of His power and now Israel was moving toward Canaan.  Barak, king of Moab, was afraid.  Barak sent unto Balaam, a man who was known for his apparent supernatural abilities to pronounce curses upon people or nations.  Balaam had somehow learned how to tap into the spiritual realm, and in that sphere he was able to affect things in the natural and physical realm.  So efficient was he in this that he could even communicate with God.  Against God’s instructions, Balaam went to see Barak with the intentions of cursing Israel.  However, God would not permit him to curse His people.  After three attempts in which God only allowed him to bless Israel instead of cursing, Barak was furious with Balaam.  However, Balaam was also knowledgeable of many laws in the spiritual realm and revealed to Barak how he could get God to bring judgment upon Israel.  God would bring judgment upon Israel if they could be persuaded to transgress His laws.  One sure way was to send beautiful women among the people encouraging and luring them into fornication.  This would cause Israel to sin and God would judge the people.  The tactic was successful and God’s judgment fell upon His own people.

        Satan’s schemes have not changed over the centuries.  He knows if he can cause a man, woman, society or nation to transgress God’s divine laws, God’s blessings will be removed and His judgment will fall.  Satan has blinded the minds of them which believe not and, because they love darkness rather than light, God has given them over to a reprobate mind (II Cor. 4:4, John 3:19, Rom. 1:28).  This is certainly the condition of the 21st century populace.  Who would, in their right mind, with any common sense or sensibilities at all, promote and encourage the defiling of our children?  It is incomprehensible and baffling to say the least.  Yet this is a growing problem in today’s society.  Young children are encouraged to “experiment.”  Do not our nation’s leaders and our educational professors and teachers have any foresight or discernment of the ramifications the path they are encouraging will have upon the future of our society?  Do they have no understanding of the demonic influence behind this devilish scheme?  Are they all so totally given over to the lusts of their own sinful hearts that they cannot perceive the dangerous path they are setting future generations on?  Has the god of this world so blinded their minds and hearts that they cannot catch even a glimpse of the dangers they are leading our youth into?  Surely God’s judgment will fall upon this nation just as it did with Israel when they fell into Balaam’s trap.

What Is Happening In The Spiritual Realm?

        When God gave His 10 Commandments to Moses and wrote them on tables of stone with His own finger, He gave His law because He loved Israel.  His laws were a safety for them, a wall of protection.  It was to keep them from becoming slaves to sin, through which they become slaves of the devil.  Satan has always been out to destroy mankind because man was God’s creation, made in the very image of God.  God’s law is a protection from this arch enemy, for Satan has come to kill, steal and destroy while Jesus came to give life (John 10:10).  Take special note of the contrast.  Yet man in his blindness, pride and self-will rejects God’s divine and protecting law in preferring his own ways, not realizing that he is giving himself to be a slave of the one who is out to destroy him.  Such is the blindness of those taken captive by Satan through his deceptive lures.

        “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16)  Consider this verse seriously!  To whatever power we give ourselves, we become slaves of that power.  If I give myself to pornography, I will become a slave to its power.  It will begin to control me.  It will begin to control my mind, my thoughts, my emotions and will eventually, if left unconstrained, cause me to do destructive things I would not in my right mind do.  How many families have been destroyed because of pornography?  All sin is addicting and destructive, yet there are certain sins that expose better how sin controls.  Anger is an avenue in which Satan gains control of people.  The increasing accounts of road rage on our highways is a flashing neon warning light that something is desperately wrong.  Road rage, as pornography, is irrational behavior.  These are just two very obvious signs of Satanic influence that is permeating and changing our culture.  Morality is cast aside for convenience’s sake.

        When anyone, adult or child, begins to break the restraining influence of his conscience, he begins to open the door for the enemy to begin a work in his heart.  Solomon gives warning of this in Ecclesiastes 10 verse 8, which reads, “Whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.”  The hedge is God’s moral law.  When we, knowingly or in ignorance break through this divine hedge, we open ourselves up to evil influence.  It’s not that we are possessed, but access has been made for evil to affect us.  The more we break down this hedge of protection, the more vulnerable we become to Satan’s fiery darts and the more we will be caught in his many snares.

        Friends, there is no end to the depths of debauchery to which pornography will take some.  It is not long when that which is presently gratifying will fail to fulfill.  It is then one must seek something more vile, more repulsive, more degrading to satisfy that ever-growing lust.  Lust can never be fully satisfied.  Sin is like a cancer.  It will eat away until it finally destroys the life completely.  This life of sin will take one deeper and deeper until it finally destroys.

        As we look around us it seems the enemy is gaining ground while the church sits silently in her pews.  She discusses the problems, is sad, disgusted and even angered, but sees itself powerless to stop this flood of sin.  Like Matthew Pacifico stated above, the church has become so absorbed in the cares, pleasures and riches of this life that she is too busy to spend much time in intercession before the throne of God.  Our gadgets have become our necessity rather than godliness and holiness.  Our hearts are calloused and, if not stone cold, certainly have become lukewarm.  How grievous must this be in the Lord’s eyes.

        Maybe there are some who are reading this article that are addicted to pornography.  Jesus loves you and He demonstrated His love when He came and bore your sins and mine on the cross.  He died in your place that you might be set free from the bondages of sin and of Satan.  I am not saying that the deliverance you need will come easily, but deliverance is available through faith in Jesus Christ.  Genuine faith is a working faith.  It is that which goes to God’s word and claims the promises contained within and in faith reaches up to God for forgiveness and deliverance.  Reflect upon this verse found in Psalm 119:9, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”  Take heed to God’s promises and remember this: “Unbelief weakens the hands of the Almighty while faith opens the door for God to show His power and grace.”   Many of those who received healing from Jesus when He walked in Galilee were those who were determined to “touch the hem of His garment”.  They would not be denied.  They pressed in with full assurance that Jesus was the only hope for them.  Likewise, today Jesus is still the only One Who sets captives free from the bondages of sin.  Trust Him today and reach out in faith and find everlasting peace and joy and love.

 

 

 

 

TRAVELING THROUGH THE DESERT

Wesley Owen

        A great deal is being taught today about Christians not needing to go through trial and tribulations.  These so-called negative experiences are said to be of the enemy, and we must simply arise and overcome so we can claim the inheritance which is rightfully ours.  It is true that we have an inheritance in Jesus Christ which we must learn to claim, but it is not true that all our trials and tribulations are of the devil.

        I would like to share a viewpoint that a brother shared with me during a time of great need.  This brother sent me a booklet, Beauty for Ashes, written by George H. Warnock.  Bother Warnock points out that there is great wisdom behind all our trials and tribulations.  He says it is in man's nature to always be in a hurry to his destination, in spiritual matters as well as material.

        God desires for man to reach his spiritual goal, but in God's own time.  “An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed” (Proverbs 20:21).  Patience and obedience are the essential elements which we need in order to reach our spiritual goal, and both of these elements are foreign to our nature.

        We can make a fair comparison of our experiences to those of the children of Israel as they traveled through the wilderness, for those experiences came to them as examples unto us, and much benefit can be gained by our considering how they met the many challenges which they faced.

        There is a great parallel of their journeying in the wilderness and our walking with the Lord in this day.  We have been called away from our old life of sin and bondage to enter into a fruitful walk with the Lord our God.  Even though we struggle with the many circumstances with which we come in contact, we have the assurance that God's provision is always there when we need help in overcoming our weaknesses.  The wilderness was, and is, the place of preparation for us in making us stronger and outfitting us for other and greater obstacles that lie in the way.  It is also the means of transition from carnality into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.

        As Christians, our journey begins at the Cross.  When we met the Lord and yielded our lives to Him, we started our trek toward our “Red Sea” and the eventual march through the wasteland of our old carnal nature, and on into the fruitfulness of the “Canaan life” of the Spirit.

        Our own fleshly lives are the unconquered areas with which God is working.  Our attitudes, our murmurings and dissatisfactions show how deep rooted the old life is and how slow we are to recognize and control it.  God uses adverse situations to demonstrate to us our need and to help us consume those carnal desires that hinder the free flow of the Spirit of Christ through our lives.  If we refuse to allow this corrective work to be accomplished we shall “bleach our bones in the wilderness,” even as ancient Israel did.

        God is preparing His people to enter into and to inherit the blessed land of promise, not the old Canaan of Palestine, but the new Canaan, a land of delight and bliss, of fruitfulness and plenty, that glorious abode of the Spirit where all is light and glory and beauty.  But we must meet the demands of preparation before we are eligible to enter therein.

        Our own nature wants a simpler way.  We hope to find a short cut, a direct, less entangled way through the wilderness, but this reasoning and counsel is of the natural mind, not of God.  And since we have chosen to go God's way, we must pursue the wilderness way.  It is by the light of His glory that we find ourselves entangled in the wilderness, but there He receives all of the glory, for He consumes our enemies and gives us the victory, even in the midst of our own confusion and disheartened conditions.  When we find ourselves hemmed in, with no apparent place to go or turn, then we are inclined to flee to God for help.  This is the reason He causes us to be hemmed in, so that we will go to Him.  As long as we feel self-confident and we can plan our own deliverance, we leave God out of the picture.

        If only we would learn to be followers of the Cloud, God will, as He did with Israel, direct and light our journey.  He will lead us into areas of utter loneliness and despair so that we will learn that He is God who makes a way where there is no way, and a path in the mighty waters.

        As stated earlier, there are many apparent shortcuts, but they are all mere mirages; not one will bring us to the destination promised by God.  George Warnock states: “It is possible to learn how to get and how to operate spiritual gifts the easy way, without total commitment, without waiting upon God, but sooner or later they will fade away.  You may think you have discovered a secure and safe covering in some church structure or institution, assuring yourself that you are being spared the pangs of finding your own way in the entangled wildernesses of life.  You feel that if you trust in certain leaders, in certain apostles and prophets, in a certain New Testament Church Order, that it is a much safer, much easier pathway.  But sooner or later you are going to discover that this is far more distressing and more captivating than the way of the Lord from which you sought to escape.”

        This can involve many groups and communities.  The fact remains there are no shortcuts, a lesson I am beginning to understand.  This does not mean we are not to fellowship with one another in Christ, but there is only one true fellowship and that is “walking in the light” of our Lord.  Our walk with God will involve trials and struggles which will lead us to turn to God for our light.  The travels through the desert, no matter how dry it is, are tools used by God to cause us to turn to Him.

        Praise the Lord for them no matter how difficult they seem to be.  Don't allow the enemy to persuade you otherwise.  Plunge ahead no matter how empty or alone you might feel.  Find strength in “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Cor. 10:13).

 

 

 

 

FORSAKING ALL

Alfred King

        Some things we find recorded in scripture are difficult to understand and some things seem strange to us and we wonder how, exactly, are they to be applied to our lives.  One of those difficult commands that Jesus gave is found in Luke 14:33.  “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”  If we esteem God as a God of love and one who desires only the best for His children, we must then conclude that He has given this command in love and for our good.  Also, we must understand and believe that all of God’s commands are the expressions of His person and His values as well as an intricate part of His divine nature.  In other words, God does not require of us what He would not do.  We must remember that we were originally created in the very image of God, and our first parents were defiled through transgression and lost that image.  We, being the offspring of Adam and having not the image of God, are called to return and be conformed to His image again.  It seems today that most Christians do not realize this “high calling” we have in Jesus Christ, yet the Apostle Paul had a wonderful revelation of this call which he passes on to us in his letter to the Romans.  Chapter 8, verse 29: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”  Those born again are predestinated.  In other words, God has predetermined that they should be changed into Christ-likeness.  Later in the same book, Paul again refers to this transformation in chapter 12, verses 1 and 2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  In order to become more like Christ, we must not conform to this world’s mindset or its way of thinking but rather to God’s word.  Scripture is a wonderful gift from God to show us the path we must take in order to be more like Christ.  Forsaking all is a part of that transformation.

        Lest any think that God is requiring something unreasonable, something that He would not do or an impossible task, contemplate what God’s only begotten Son did.  Jesus left His heavenly glory.  He left the side of His loving Father.  He left the heavenly beings, those that continually, day and night offer praise, glory and honor to God.  He left the holiness and absolute purity of heaven, that divine state and descended onto the earth to be born as a helpless babe in a smelly stable in Bethlehem.  He was born into a very sinful world and among a people who had departed from the living God.  He even gave up His own will to that of His Father in heaven.  He suffered rejection, criticism, abuse, hatred, and experienced constant conflict with the devil.  In the end of His life, He was taken, ridiculed, mocked, beaten, persecuted and finally hung unjustly upon a cross, where He suffered incomprehensible grief and pain until death finally took Him.  If there was ever one who forsook all, it was Jesus Christ.  Does He call us to do more than He did?  Does He deem what He has gained through His sufferings worth the price He paid?  Oh, yes!  Scripture gives us assurance, for it says in Isaiah 53:11, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”  It is through His great sacrifice, His willingness to forsake all that He will present to himself a glorious church (Eph. 5:27) and He will be satisfied, for it will possess the divine nature.  That church will be made up of believers who are holy, pure and undefiled.  It will be a church that loves Jesus Christ with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Oh, glorious day!

        Just as Jesus, in giving His life a sacrifice, will receive His reward, even so those who will forsake all and follow Him will receive their reward, for God, who cannot lie, has promised it.  If we can receive it, God gave the command to forsake all for man’s good.  However, this requires tremendous faith when faced with the idols that must be forsaken.  Remember how many times Jesus told those who came to be healed or have evil spirits cast out that according to their faith they received their request.  Placing one’s complete trust in God is to abandon one’s own ideas and thoughts and relying totally on God to control circumstances in life. 

        Jesus had purpose in His coming and in forsaking all.  Likewise, there is purpose in forsaking all for the one who desires to walk with God.  What were some of the things Jesus, in forsaking all, came to accomplish?  What were some of the purposes?  Over and over He stated He came to save man from eternal destruction and offered Himself to give them everlasting life.  He came to save man from sin, to save man from sin’s destructive power.  He came to produce a church which would be united in one.  A church which would love Him and one another.  He came to create a church that would be conformed to His likeness, one that would be pure, holy, and undefiled and which would become His bride.  He desired a church that would glorify God in the earth.  He came to bind Satan and limit his power over mankind and give to His followers that same power over Satan and all evil.  He came to set up His kingdom in the hearts of those who believe.  He provided the means through which the Holy Spirit could reside within the hearts of His children.  He came to make a way for man to return to God.  He came to redeem, reconcile and save a dying world.  To sum it up, He came because He loved us and that love compelled Him to pay whatever price necessary for our salvation.

        What then is the purpose when He calls His followers to forsake all?  Did God give this command because He loves us and desires what is best for us?  It is in forsaking our will in preference to God’s will that we begin to set our affections on things above instead of the temporal things of this world.  Forsaking everything in this life for Christ is how we begin to lay up treasures in heaven.  In forsaking all we follow in His footsteps, those steps that led Him to the cross.  In forsaking all we lay down our lives, our ambitions, our plans, our desires, our own will, our selfishness, at the foot of the cross and allow His nature to be formed in us by submission to His precious Holy Spirit.  Of course, forsaking all opens the door for all the provisions Christ died to make available for man, those mentioned in the above paragraph, to be wonderfully fulfilled for us personally.  It allows God to do a work within the heart that He is unable to accomplish while idols remain there.

 

 

 

 

BE YE READY

Randall Walton

        At the risk of becoming redundant we again sound an alarm of impending judgment, panic, and catastrophe.  Since we are not prophets, we cannot predict when judgment may fall, but we can announce with certainty that it will!  The words of Jesus and of the apostles are too plain for us to overlook; if we believe the Bible is the word of God, we must accept its message as valid and accurate.

        Jesus plainly foretold a time of trouble such as the world has not yet witnessed, a time that would try men’s souls to the point of hopelessness and helplessness, a condition so severe that only divine intervention could prevent the total decimation of mankind from the earth (Matt. 24:22).

        Too many people are now accepting the fable of a secret, at-any-moment, catching away of the church of Christ immediately prior to the “great tribulation,” a happening without substantiation or precedence in the word of God.  Entire denominations embrace this idea, and their ministers, pastors and evangelists are busy proclaiming this false hope to hundreds and hundreds of poor deluded saints.

        The consequence of this vain teaching is that it leaves its adherents in a state of abject unpreparedness, because the only requirement for eligibility is said to be that a person be “born again,” or be saved.  Some few teach that one must be “Spirit-filled” in order to qualify for the great trip to heaven, but little, if anything else is said to be required.

        Every child of God should read and study the words of Jesus in Luke 12:35-40.  The necessity of being ready is set forth as most urgent!  No one knows when the Lord will come; therefore, we are to remain in a state of readiness at all times.

        Now, we affirm that the Second Coming will take place only after some very outstanding events occur first, i.e., “Except there come a falling away (apostasy) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (II Thess. 2:1-3).  Related to these factors is the great tribulation which Jesus said would precede His return (Immediately after!) (Matt. 24:29).

        The time that is termed “great tribulation” will be a period of judgment, trial, persecution, deception, destruction, warfare, and spiritual conflict and upheaval.  Few Christians are ready to undergo such trial of faith as is set forth in the Scripture (Heb. 11:32-38).  It seems that the majority of church-goers in this country are more interested in religious entertainment, financial prosperity, and good times than they are in 100% surrender and consecration to the Lord of lords.  Prosperity and abundance of goods do not make a person fit to face the times of adversity and peril that seem to be close at hand.

        Our nation has miserably failed to faithfully carry the torch of light which the Almighty placed in its hands.  We had the blessed opportunity to become “the light of the world.”  We have sent missionaries to the ends of the earth, and have erected great monumental edifices in the name of the Lord.  We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to “Christianize” heathen lands, while at home we have succumbed to the Laodicean state of lukewarmness, and are about to be spewed out.

        Many of our missionaries have preached the gospel of entrepreneurism; the doctrines of profiteering and usury have accompanied the message of churchanity, membership in “the church of your choice.”  Preachers have confused the good news of salvation with the teaching of denominationalism.

        In the name of religious freedom, we have allowed the atheists to promote and promulgate their own religion.  (They purport not to believe in God, but they believe in Satan!)  We have languished in our homes as our children have been carted off to atheistic, sex-dominated, drug-filled institutions which are dubiously termed schools.  A few hardy souls have kept their children home, but for the most part, the degradation continues unabated.

        From statistics we have gathered, our “Christian” nation can now boast of a 60% divorce rate, one and a half million abortions each year, almost a half million illegitimate babies annually, around 25 million cases of incurable genital herpes, millions of people facing death from AIDS, while bestiality, incest, homosexuality, pedophilia, and many different kinds of venereal diseases are running rampant.  In addition to all this, our society is plagued with some half million attempted suicides each year!

        If any nation on earth should be aware of God’s hatred for sin, and His refusal to condone such, this nation should.  Bibles are everywhere!  We are a people without excuse.  We have coddled the transgressor and have tried to annul God’s holy law.  In the name of grace, our religious systems have sanctified sin.  They “call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20).

        Malachi 2:17 describes quite vividly the present attitude of our self-destructing society – “Ye have wearied the Lord with your words.  Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him?  When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?”

        Surely judgment can't be far away from this rebellious generation which is so defiant against the Creator of their souls.  For general precedents consider the days of Noah and those of Lot.  God's attitude toward corruption and violence was absolute abhorrence; Jesus said the same condition will prevail in the last days.  As judgment fell upon the inhabitants of Noah's day, judgment will come once again.  As destruction befell Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities round about, so also will judgment soon be poured out upon the cities and towns of the present era.

        The vital question we must all ask ourselves is: “Are we ready?”  Jesus said that there would be persecution of God's people in addition to all the judgments which would come on the ungodly.  How strong in the Lord are you?  How sure is your love for God?  Are you ready to lay down your life for the Lord?  Does He mean more to you than your relatives, your possessions, your ambitions, your reputation?  Are you dedicated completely to Him and His service?  Do you have other gods in your life?

        It will take this degree of consecration in order to stand in this evil day which is upon us.  May we urge you to yield your life to Jesus Christ and serve Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  It may be He will provide an “ark” whereby you and your family can find respite from the face of disaster in this last hour.

        “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (I Thess. 5:6).

 

 

 

 

A PURE HEART

Curtis Dickinson

        It was 50 years ago when Albert C. Outler, then professor of theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, expressed the belief that “we’re in for a very bad time in the next few years.”  He said that the church has been so busy passing judgments and offering advice on secular issues, it has lost sight of its primary mission of “calling people’s attention to the sovereign grace of God.”  At the same time other leaders were predicting a great revival in the next 10 years.  Edward Carothers, then associate general secretary for the United Methodist Board of Missions said, “It is my guess that the next 5 to 10 years will purge the churches of their essentially non-Christian members.”

        These predictions were made when drug abuse was just getting started among young people, obscenity and vulgarity were new to television, pornography was kept behind the counter and video porn was not available.

        There may be more people attending church now, but the “great revival” certainly has failed to slow down the plunge into the cesspool of our modern hedonistic society.  That society has come to expect nudity in its films, obscene language in its “literature,” filthy lyrics in its pop songs, and everyone involved in “sex” without benefit of wedlock.

        With so many talking “religion” and with “Jesus Loves You” plastered everywhere, why haven’t we cleaned up our act?  Churches are bigger and richer and enroll millions of young people in their activities.  Polls have indicated that 80% of the nation’s citizens believe in God.  How is it that the moral deterioration can continue as the church rolls increase?

        To get the basic answer we must go back to the basic purpose God had – and still has – for the wondrous creature called man.  “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26).  All other purposes and efforts stand as obstacles to our being what we ought to be – to being normal – for if we are created to be in God’s image, then any deviation from that image leaves us short of the goal.  All “fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

        We are well aware that the doctrine of evolution negates the normal, the image of God, and encourages those who think of their ancestors as animals to act like animals.  But this is only part of the story.  Moral weakness is not limited to atheistic evolutionists but permeates the whole fabric of our society, including much of that segment involved in the churches.

        At the very outset of His ministry, Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  It is this heart purity that brings one back to the purpose of God and holds him there; therefore, it is the foundation of Christian discipleship.  One might assume, at first, that purity of heart can be attained only after years of training and experience in growth, but, on the contrary, it stands at the beginning of discipleship to enable one to grow into the likeness of Christ.  Heart purity is not the condition of never being tempted by an evil thought but the state of a heart fixed on only one thing, as opposed to having it diluted by affections for many different things.  Pure orange juice is juice of the orange without the addition of grapefruit or other juices or imitation flavor.  A pure heart is a heart set on doing the will of God without the addition of other goals.  It does not mean that one renders a perfect performance but that it is in his heart to do so.  As Kierkegaard said, “Purity of heart is to will one thing.”

        It is the heart of Mary, who gave such undivided attention to Jesus that her sister, Martha, scolded Jesus for not bidding her help in the kitchen.  Jesus said that Mary had chosen the better part while Martha was “cumbered with many things.”  How cumbered we so easily become when we set our hearts on a multitude of things rather than the one thing of glorifying God and being fashioned in His image.

        Jesus promised that all necessary things will follow the one with a pure heart.  “Seek ye first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).

        This is an elusive priority.  “Yes, I will put God’s kingdom and righteousness first, but first I must attend to my financial security.”  “I want God to be first, but first I must resolve this problem.”  We want to put Him first, but first there is this family obligation, this business problem, this social duty.  But first is the sure sign of a divided and impure heart.

        Jesus taught us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.  In heaven nothing goes against the Father’s will.  Angels who sinned were cast out!  Jesus was raised to the Father’s right hand because He passed through this world of temptation always dong the Father’s will.

        In contrast to this simple ambition, the modern church focuses on the world and tries to accommodate itself to it in every particular in order to “grow” the church.  It follows the world in its distortion of music, to abandon the beauty of natural harmony and rhythm to adopt the sensual and raucous noise of “Rock,” adapting a few religious words to it, of course.  It institutionalizes after the order of business corporations and grooms its leaders in the worldly art of public relations.  For example, a local church advertised a meeting featuring the “most sought-after speaker in the brotherhood.”  I went to listen, expecting to be uplifted with great truths from God.  All I heard were some jokes and a pep-talk on being “positive.”  The name of God was not mentioned nor that of Jesus, and not one verse of scripture was quoted.  The speech was aimed at pleasing the world, not at bringing us to God.

        The question is, do we want to fit into society or fit into God’s purpose?  Is the church to fit into society or to call it to repentance?  What the world needs to hear is the teaching of Jesus, and what it needs to see are Christians who have their hearts set on the will of God, not on the collective will of man.

        When, from the cross, Jesus cried, “It is finished,” He did not mean that He had done everything that needed to be done or that He was capable of doing.  All the sick were not healed; all the hungry had not been fed; all the lepers were not yet cleansed and all the blind had not been given sight.  There was much more to be done.  All the people had not heard the gospel.  But Jesus had done what He came to do: the will of the Father.  “I do always the things that are pleasing to Him,” He declared (John 8:29), and His death was the main purpose of His entry into the world of human flesh, to please the Father.  Speaking of His death, He said, “I am come to do thy will, O God,” and “Not my will, but thine be done.”

        He could say “It is finished” because He had fulfilled His purpose.  He knew what it was to be pure in heart.  Never once, not even under the greatest pressure, was there in His heart any mixed feelings or desire to go His own way and please Himself rather than the Father.

        There is no end to the variety of activities offered believers today, and even though they may not be bad in themselves, they may so divert one’s attention and divide one’s heart that the eternal object is pushed aside.

        God will ultimately accomplish His purpose to make His people immortal and gloriously in His image.  This is our only hope and will be gained only by those who desire it above all else.

        “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

 

 

 

 

20th CENTURY HERESY

Harry Miller

        The present day professing so-called Christian church has no resemblance to the first apostolic church; as a matter of fact, the doctrine and customs of today’s church are so different and so far removed from the ancient order that many people conclude that we latter-day Christians are living in a different “dispensation.”  Many teachers have concluded that Pentecost and the miracle working power recorded in the book of Acts ended shortly after the gospel was introduced to the Gentiles.

        At the beginning of this twentieth century the devil introduced a system of doctrine known as dispensationalism; Bible teachers were shocked and many were horrified at the implications of this spiritual power-denying heresy, but time changes many things, and soon teachers and schools all over the land began to declare the NEW TRUTH(?).

        Dr. C.I. Scofield published a new reference Bible which was soon accepted by the masses who “deny the power” of the Gospel of Christ.  This infamous work by Scofield refutes the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST and by very clever manipulation presents what is called THE GOSPEL OF PAUL.  This learned man’s work has effectively frustrated the work of the Gospel of the KINGDOM in the hearts of millions of professing Christians.  Of all of the perverters of truth, this man’s work knows no equal; his notes interwoven with the Scriptures make a powerful guide in directing the reader’s thoughts, and the one objective behind these additions to the written Word is the POSTPONEMENT OF THE MESSAGE OF CHRIST.

        By postponing, or putting off the message of Christ for a future dispensation, the Savior’s message becomes null and void.  Nothing can so effectively abolish the power of the Gospel as assuming that its promises have no application for our present time.  Every minister of Jesus Christ should make a thorough study of both sides of the postponement theory and then take a firm stand on one side of the other – THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND, neither can there be any reconciliation between these two opposing views.

        At the advent of John the Baptist a new era began for all humanity: “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16).  The “old Covenant” ended with the coming of John; God’s work through but one family terminated, and the select priesthood of the fleshly tribe of Levi also ended: “The priesthood being changed” (Heb. 7:12).  ALL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST became PRIESTS: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation” (I Peter 2:9).  “And HATH MADE US kings and priests unto God” (Rev. 1:6).

        The message of John the Baptist, of the twelve apostles, of the seventy of Christ, and every apostolic preacher was: “THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND,” meaning that the KINGDOM WAS WITHIN THE REACH OF MEN, and not of Jews only, BUT OF ALL MEN: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:19,20).

        The kingdom that “EVERY MAN PRESSETH INTO” (Luke 16:16) was not “OF THIS WORLD,” it was not the kind of kingdom that would come “BY OBSERVATION;” in order to get into it one had to be “BORN AGAIN” and in order to have the new birth it was required that a man become as “a little child.”  This “kingdom of God’s dear Son” was not to be a political affair, neither would it ever appeal to the carnal nature, for “flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

        The laws of the Kingdom of God were laid down by the King Himself in His “sermon on the mount,” and they were to abide until “heaven and earth pass” (Matt. 5:18).  All of the teachings of Jesus were relative to this INVISIBLE yet ETERNAL kingdom – at no time did He offer Himself as an earthly king as Scofield and the dispensationalists claim.  As a matter of fact, there was a time when the Jews desired to take Him and make Him their king: “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and TAKE HIM BY FORCE to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone” (John 6:15).

        The Pharisees, “fundamentalists” of apostolic times, were looking for the restoration of the Jewish kingdom, an earthly affair, with their Messiah as King.  Their hopes were that the natural seed of Abraham would again rise to be God’s favorite among the nations.  Had Jesus offered Himself as such a king they most gladly would have accepted Him – BUT THE DISPENSATIONALISTS TELL US THAT HE DID OFFER TO BE THEIR EARTHLY KING AND THEY REJECTED HIM!  And, because they rejected Him, He then withdrew His offer and the KINGDOM OF GOD has now been postponed.

        “The kingdom of heaven announced as at hand…has been morally rejected – the rejected King now speaks of judgment.  The new message of Jesus: the rejected King now turns from the rejecting nation, and offers not a kingdom, but rest and service to such in the nation as are conscious of need.  It is a pivotal point in the ministry of Jesus” (Notes of Scofield, page 1011).  According to the postponement theorists the gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD is strictly a Jewish affair, and having been postponed, it will be fulfilled in the future millennium.

        If such a thing be true, then what are the implications concerning the present state of believers in Christ?  If there is no present kingdom, then by what right do we now approach the throne of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?  The dispensationalists offer this answer: The apostle Paul received a “NEW REVELATION” and he became the founder of a new gospel called “THE GOSPEL OF GRACE.”  The old Gospel of the Kingdom, which they said was rejected by the Jews, was now cast aside by Paul, and he became the “APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY” for a brand new religion.  The new gospel contains the “DOCTRINES OF GRACE” founded mainly upon the later writings of Paul – WHAT DEPTHS OF ERROR!

        Scofield became pro-Paul and anti-Christ in his notes on the second epistle to the Corinthians (page 1230, paragraph 3): “It is evident that the really dangerous sect in Corinth was that which said, ‘And I of Christ’ (I Cor. 1:12).  They rejected the NEW REVELATION through Paul of the doctrines of grace, grounding themselves probably on the kingdom teachings of our Lord as ‘a minister of the circumcision’ (Rom. 15:8); seemingly oblivious that a new dispensation had been introduced by Christ’s death.”  Those who have accepted any part of the postponement doctrine of demons are pro-Paul and anti-Christ, and it is high time that ministers take a definite stand relative to this horrible delusion.

        If the gospel according to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ is not sound doctrine and a dependable basis for our faith, then our hope of eternal life is without foundation and we are of all men most miserable.

 

 

 

 

“BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURETH FOREVER”

I Peter 1:25

John Sanderson

        How can Brother Peter make such a profound statement?  After all, we plainly see everything about us falling by the wayside.  Nations are changing rules at an alarming rate.  High moral standards are of the past.  Our money has almost lost its value.  Is there anything left in this world that is dependable?

        The words of the Lord have been described as being powerful, a lamp, quick, etc.  Can we really depend upon the Word of God, or will it end like everything else in our world?  Let us take a close look!

The Word Is Powerful

        “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made” (Psa. 33:6).  That is power beyond our wildest dreams.  All of the most powerful people in our history could not even begin to compare to the power of God (See: I Cor. 1:25).

        “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit” (Heb. 4:12).  The word of God does not leave any part of our being untouched.  It knows everything about us.  We can hide things from others; but, we cannot hide from the Word of God (See: Heb. 4:13).

        God is not so powerful that He would not care about us.  In fact, God love us so much that He sent His Son for you and me (John 3:16).  Christ said that He would not leave us (Matt. 28:20).  He also said that He would send the Holy Spirit to abide with us (John 14:16-20).

        Thayer's Greek Lexicon describes powerful as activeWebster's Dictionary describes it as having power; strong, mighty, influential.  These are some definite words to describe the Word of God.

The Word Is A Lamp

        “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).  With great wealth, land, and popularity, why would King David worry about having something to direct his life?  This great king of old realized where his source of leadership originated.  “For thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness” (II Sam. 22:29).

        The Lord has not changed since the days of the Old Testament.  He is “the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” (Heb. 13:8).  If we would allow Him to lead us, I am sure that God will make sure that we have light in this time of great darkness.  God has not failed anyone who has been faithful to Him (See: Hebrews - 11th chapter).

The Word Is Quick

        “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).  Thayer's Greek Lexicon describes quick as having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul.  Webster's New World Dictionary describes it as living souls.  In other words, the word of God is full of life-giving power.

        If you are at a time when everything around you seems dead, I suggest you read the book of Psalms which is full of Praises to God.  Also, you may want to read the book of Ephesians.  This book speaks mainly about Christ.  Ask God to help you to read His Word.  It will come alive – if you let it!

        These are but a few words to describe the Word of God.  There are but a few words to describe the Word of God.  There are many, many more words that people in the Bible have used to describe God's word.  Each one of these words can be a study in itself.  The apostle Paul said, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15).  How are we going to know the truth if we do not study?

        The Bible is like a puzzle.  Every piece fits together.  If one piece were to be taken away, then, the puzzle would be incomplete.  The first four books of the New Testament were written by four different men.  Each one wrote in his own unique style.  Yet, all four had a common subject to report – JESUS CHRIST.

        Matthew constantly quoted from the Old Testament to show the prophecies were fulfilled in Christ.  Mark wrote more about acts and in detail.  Luke presented the major facts of Christ's life.  John placed more emphasis upon the deity of Christ.

        Now, do not let anyone try to tell you that your puzzle is missing a piece.  Listen to what Christ said about the Word (or law): “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law” (Matt. 5:18).

        Your puzzle was made by the Master.  After all, He knows how to put the impossible together.  Man thinks he can help by putting his hands in the box.  God knows what the puzzle will look like when it is finished.  We don't!

 

 

 

 

IN GOD'S EYES

Curtis Dickinson

        A friend recently remarked that expressions on the faces of people passing by indicated a deep tiredness.  “It seems that the whole world is tired,” he said.  Everywhere people are burdened with mammoth problems to which they have no solution.

        World and national affairs have so captured our attention that one's own significance before God is lost.  Other questions and problems are so much greater: the Congressional hearings, the division and turmoil in our government, the dangers of war, nuclear threats, the economic crisis, etc.  Add to all this the questions of abortion, divorce, homosexuality, racism, and the general decline in morals.  One woman said that she became so depressed over all these events that she could hardly cope with her daily responsibilities.

        No intelligent person can ignore the world around him and all its threatening developments, but he must not be deceived into thinking that the evil work of men throughout the world are more important than his own personal relationship to God.

        While all the big events are under the sovereign hand of God, His chief interest is in His own righteous people.  “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show His might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward Him” (II Chron. 16:9).

        This kind of concern of our God is exemplified in the case of Noah and the flood.  In those days “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” and “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  Wickedness was so thorough that it was God's judgment to destroy man and beast by the flood.  “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8).

        God not only was impressed by the terrible wickedness of man, but also by the faith of one man, Noah.

        We all know the rest of the story.  God set a time limit of 120 years, then brought the flood which wiped out all the race except Noah and his family.

        Whether or not we live in a day like that of the flood we do not yet know.  We see corruption and sin on every hand and yet we also see a great many faithful Christians, people resisting the evil, striving to turn their neighbors from their wicked ways, working to establish God's laws in the land, and sacrificially giving of themselves to help the lost, the poor and the hungry.

        The ambition of the anti-christs is to destroy every article of Christian faith and to replace the teachings of Christ with Talmudic concepts.  We all can see how far they have been able to succeed.  But no one knows just how far God will allow them to go before His judgment.

        Jesus said that when He comes it will be as it was in the days of Noah: “They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.”  It was business as usual, all going about their normal lives and paying no heed to the fact that their wickedness was bringing God's judgment.  But there was one man who was aware of the fact that God was watching.  Noah could not turn the tide of corruption for the whole earth, but he could place his faith in God and obey His command.  It was Noah's concentration upon pleasing God that caused him to find grace in the sight of God so that he and his family could be saved

        Even though we may not be able to stem the tide of corruption that is sweeping over the world, there are many things that we can do.  We can cry out against sin.  We can not only raise our voices but we can take whatever action is open to us in re-establishing God's laws in the land.  We can vigorously oppose those who promote evil and support those who are Christian in their speech and actions.  Even after doing all of this, we may still feel the pangs of defeat and see all of our efforts wiped out as the brain-washed populace goes along with the clever manipulations of Satan and his followers.

        This was the experience of Noah.  For one hundred and twenty years he built, preached, warned and set an example, but none repented and all were destroyed in the flood.  Nevertheless, Noah and his family were saved.  God was with Noah.  A New Testament example of this situation is the Apostle Paul.  His most earnest desire was to see all Israel saved.  Yet, instead of turning to Christ, they rejected Him over and over and chose the way of death over eternal life.  Furthermore, instead of showing their appreciation for what Paul was trying to do, his countrymen persecuted him and made his life as miserable as they possibly could.

        The true people of God have always had to live as sojourners and strangers in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.  Even the true saints in the nation of Israel under the Old Covenant were generally in the minority.  King David recognized their plight when he wrote, “Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against them that work unrighteousness.  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  Trust in Jehovah, and do good: dwell in the land and feed on his faithfulness...The wicked plotteth against the just and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.  The Lord will laugh at him; for he sees that his day is coming” (Psalm 37:1-3,12,13).

        To follow such advice requires a patience virtually eliminated by today's concept of Christianity.  The church and its evangelists seek immediate success, which means popular acceptance and support.  To be effective in its appeal, modern evangelism minimizes the animosity which the world holds toward Christ.  And make no mistake about it, no matter how much people like to talk about the love of God and the brotherhood of man, unless they are committed to Christ Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, they are at enmity with God and dead set against subordinating themselves to the truth and the commandments of God.  To make the church “grow,” leaders often cater to the world's current fads and imitate its entertainment and social functions.  Christians who oppose worldliness and feel the brunt of the world's hatred, as Jesus did, often feel out of place in their own churches and abandoned by believers.  They are made to think they have failed, that the fault is theirs or that their faith is not what it ought to be, else they would be popular, liked by everyone, with their Christian witness honored by all.

        It is a popular teaching that Christian faith results in continual happiness in all circumstances.  Such thinking is unrealistic and unbiblical.  There is nothing to indicate that Noah found favor in the eyes of any of the people among whom he lived.  They neither appreciated him nor honored him for what he was trying to do.  Neither is there anything to suggest that Noah was always happy in his circumstances.  Without doubt the wickedness of his neighbors caused him a lot of grief, but this did not deter him from the mission God had given him.

        Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33).  He also said that when you are not of the world, “the world hates you” (John 15:19).  Remove some of the great technology with which we live, and we would have the same kind of world that Jesus lived with, a world of violence, bloodshed, wicked rulers, hypocrites in public office, hypocrites in religious power, and sin in the hearts of the common people.  To the Christian in such a world, Jesus says, “Be not anxious” and “Lo, I am with you.”

        In the midst of pagan cults, false messiahs and the world's persecution, Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20).  Life does not depend upon the kind of world in which one lives, but rather in the kind of relationship one has with God.  The flood is a type of the final judgment and destruction of all the unsaved.  Only those with true obedient faith in God will be saved to have immortality and life in His image.

        Christ reigns.  His purpose will prevail.  Our chief concern, then, above all the other concerns in which we may be involved, is to find favor in the eyes of the Lord.

 

 

 

 

“TO LIVE IS CHRIST”

Phil. 1:21

Maxine Coleman

        Living our own lives, and doing the things we want to do, might be all right for this life, but it won't get us anywhere in the Kingdom of God.  “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).

        When we begin living for God, He gives us a new sense of values. Jesus said: “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” (Matt. 6:25)

        Without God, our own desires mean more to us than the things of His Kingdom.  We are in bondage to the world system.  Here is the remedy: “seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).  When we let God rule our lives, we are no longer “subjects” of the kingdom of this world: “Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His Dear Son” (Col. 1:12,13).

        Until we recognize the fact that there is a Great Designer “who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11), we cannot see purpose in life.

        God has a plan, whereby we may put on the Divine Nature and attain unto Eternal Life with Him; but we have to humble ourselves and fit into His plan.  That life is in His son.  “For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given unto the Son to have life in Himself” (John 6:26).

        Fitting into His plan is not easy, and it is not something that our own human nature wants to do.  The desire to live for God, and to do His will, comes from Him.  It is only as we seek Him, and want Him in our lives, that we will be given this desire: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matt. 7:7).  These are the words of Jesus.

        Living for Christ requires sacrifice: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).  He has to come first in our lives.  Everything else must be secondary.  All human desires: our “ambitions, plans, and wishes” have to be relinquished to His Holy Spirit.  “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Eph. 4:1)

        According to Paul, a walk in the Spirit is a vocation, a heavenly calling. We are to “grow up into Christ, which is the head, in all things” (Eph. 4:15).

        Here is how we walk worthy: “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love” (Eph. 4:2).

        Love is the necessary “ingredient;” we cannot serve God through fear, “for God is Love” (I John 4:8).  Jesus said: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

        There is a reward for serving God in this life, as well as the life to come.  Here, again, are the words of Jesus: “Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mother, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29,30).

        This explains why Paul could say: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain;” whether it be a physical death, for the cause of Christ, or death to self, the reward is the same: and hundredfold now in this time, and in the world to come Eternal Life with God.

        How do you fit into God's plan?