( THE WORLD ) ( TO WHOM DO YOU LISTEN )?

I’d like to start this by making a statement that many seldom ever consider. We can do this by going all the way back to the very beginning. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden; how many voices did they have to listen to other than their own? If you read in (Genesis) you will notice that God came down in the cool of the day to walk with them.

(Genesis 3:8)

AND THEY HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LORD GOD WALKING IN THE GARDEN IN THE COOL OF THE DAY: AND ADAM AND HIS WIFE HID THEMSELVES FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD GOD AMONGST THE TREES OF THE GARDEN.

I use this verse because it appears that this was a normal thing that happened between God and, Adam and Eve. We know that this had happened before. God had already come down and spoken to Adam. He had instructed him (the truth) concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. (Genesis 2:17) I always like to point out this fact when I write or speak about this fact. God only told Adam (the truth) concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He did so before he even created Eve. (I believe) It’s a very powerful point to made here as it concerns (to whom we listen).

Let’s talk about this before we get to the other voice we see in the garden. We can argue here that Adam was the most intelligent man that ever lived. We know for a fact that he was the smartest man in the Garden of Eden. With all the knowledge and wisdom, he had, it was completely worthless without (the truth) and that only comes from God the Father. I say that because of this fact. If Adam taught Eve the name of every animal, tree, herb and river in the Garden to which they lived; what good was all that knowledge if he failed to teach her (the truth) of God’s word?

Let’s say that one day , not long after the creation of Eve; She and Adam were walking through the Garden. she asked, pointing to a sheep, what’s that? To her question, Adam replied, I call that a sheep. Can we say that he just expounded absolute truth? Again, I asked, what good is (that truth) without the word of God being understood first and foremost?

We know from scripture that Adam and Eve had talked about the Tree of the knowledge of God and Evil because of the answer Eve gave the Serpent when he asked her about that tree. Let’s look at her answer:

( Genesis 3:1-3 )

NOW THE SERPENT WAS MORE SUBTIL THAN ANY BEAST OF THE FIELD WHICH THE LORD GOD HAD MADE. AND HE SAID UNTO THE WOMAN, YEA, HATH GOD SAID, YE SHALL NOT EAT OF EVERY TREE OF THE GARDEN? (2) AND THE WOMAN SAID UNTO THE SERPENT, WE MAY EAT OF THE FRUIT OF THE TREES OF THE GARDEN: (3) BUT OF THE FRUIT OF THE TREE WHICH IS IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN, GOD HATH SAID, YE SHALL NOT EAT OF IT, NEITHER SHALL YE TOUCH IT, LEST YOU DIE.

When we speak of (to whom do you listen). To whom did she listen? It had to be the voice of Adam that had given her these words she spoke as an answer to the question. However, was the answer she gave the Serpent a true statement from God the Father? Can’t we see added words to her answer? God never told Adam that they couldn’t touch the tree. He only instructed them not to eat the fruit thereof.

Can we say here this; that where God only gave one commandment, man has added to that commandment one of his own? We see here that God speaks to man and, at that point it becomes man’s responsibility to reveal truth to every other person. That truth never needs to be added to or, taken away from! The truth always needs to be (absolute) to the very best of man’s ability.

If man teaches less than truth or, if he adds to truth; do we then open the door for someone else to teach as well? We often hear of (man’s opinions) which has nothing to do with truth. I’m simply guessing here but, I’d say that in (Adam’s opinion) if he could keep Eve away from that tree, she would be fine. Therefore, he added, teaching her not to touch the tree. Can you see how that became a (doctrine of man), teaching to stay away from sin is the answer to salvation?

Can we also see how that not revealing (truth) can bring about the acceptance of other false teaching? Since Adam left (absolute truth) and formed his own man-made doctrine, we see where another came and also taught his own man-made doctrine. I (believe) we can take scripture and prove that Adam did not see the possibility of this happening. In reality, Adam was (well meaning) in what he said to his wife. Although Eve was deceived into eating the fruit, Adam was not deceived, he willing bite the fruit.

(1 Timothy 2:13-14)

FOR ADAM WAS FIRST FORMED, THEN EVE. (14) AND ADAM WAS NOT DECEIVED, BUT THE WOMAN BEING DECEIVED WAS IN THE TRANSGRESSION.

When we consider (to whom we listen) let’s also consider this; why is it that Adam willingly excepted God the Father as his (spiritual voice to follow) never being even tempted to bite that fruit, but Eve was deceived by another voice other than the voice of Adam? We see in the verses we read that: (ADAM WAS FIRST FORMED, THEN EVE). It appears that Adam automatically accepted the fact that God was superior to him but, Eve couldn’t see the fact that Adam being formed first was in front of her, being her superior.

Let’s just assume Adam wasn’t perfect in his spiritual teaching. Wasn’t it Eve’s responsibility to listen to him anyway and not (listen) to another’s voice? Can you see that Eve, even hearing another’s voice could have said: I’m going to find my husband and we’ll talk about this? Instead of, simply hearing (another’s) voice and yielding to that voice? Aren’t we; as member of the Church often guilty of doing exactly the same thing? We often readily believe what man has to say through teaching without even considering seeking to hear the voice of God’s Spirit in such matters.

Let’s look at something else here. Didn’t both Adam and the Serpent use partial truth in their spiritual discourse with Eve. Adam told her not to eat nor touch the fruit of the tree lest you die, the Serpent told her, (ye shall not surely die). Both are partial truths. When Eve bit the fruit, she didn’t die physically did she? What was (death) or (dying) to Eve anyway? Nothing around her had ever died and, she hadn’t experienced any part of a dying process.

One of the most powerful weapons of Satan today is the teaching of (the ignorance of death). Within that mindset, many people (listen) and heed to what he teaches. What (dying) is came abundantly clear to Adam and Eve very quickly after they had bitten the fruit. When God came down in the cool of the day (they hid themselves from the presence of God)! The way the world defines death is very deceiving and multitudes of people are (Listening) to it and being spiritually blindsided by what they are taught.

Let’s paint a very vivid picture here! The very minute that Adam and Eve bit the fruit is a spiritual type of the very moment you realized that you were a sinner. It could have been, as a small child, you told your mother a lie, knowing for a fact it wasn’t truth. The knowledge of good and evil is now in your possession! You know truth but, you purposely rejected the truth. Let’s just add this: one day you heard about Jesus Christ and his saving grace. You think back to the fact that you are as sinner, remembering the sins you have committed but, you don’t heed the call of God’s Spirit and his offering the free gift of salvation. Now, in a spiritual sense you can say that you just stood face to face with God; you have become naked before him in sin. However, this is just in a spiritual sense. If you will notice in scripture; Adam and Eve stood face to face with God, the Father the same way. In (Genesis 3:7-10)

AND THE EYES OF THEM BOTH WERE OPENED, AND THEY KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED; AND THEY SEWED FIG LEAVED TOGETHER, AND MADE THEMSELVES APRONS. (8) AND THEY HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LORD GOD WALKING IN THE GARDEN IN THE COOL OF THE DAY: AND ADAM AND HIS WIFE HID THEMSELVES FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD GOD AMONGST THE TREES OF THE GARDEN. (9) AND THE LORD GOD CALLED UNTO ADAM, AND SAID UNTO HIM, WHERE ART THOU? (10) AND HE SAID, I HEARD THY VOICE IN THE GARDEN, AND i WAS AFRAID, BECAUSE I WAS NAKED AND I HID MYSELF.

Now, I want you to notice something here. Adam and Eve had sown fig leaves together to hid themselves. However, they were still afraid to stand before God like they were. In a spiritual sense, when we refuse the call of the Holy Spirit, knowing we are sinners. That is, we walk away rejecting the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ when God speaks to our hearts then, we have just used (fig leaves) to cover our sinful shame. In other words, we know it’s not sufficient, but we are willing to try another way to salvation other than the blood of Jesus Christ. Both, Adam and Eve were afraid to stand before God in the covering they had made for themselves. But they did come forth! At that point, the Lord God preached a message unto them in the next few verses. We’ll read some of that message!

(Genesis 3:11-13)

AND HE SAID, WHO TOLD THEE THOU WAST NAKED? HAST THOU EATEN OF THE TREE, WHEREOF I COMMANDED THEE THAT THOU SHOULEST NOT EAT? (12) AND THE MAN SAID, THE WOMAN WHOM THOU GAVEST ME TO BE WITH ME, SHE GAVE ME OF THE TREE, AND I DID EAT, (13) AND THE LORD GOD SAID UNTO THE WOMAN, WHAT IS THIS THAT THOU HAST DONE?

Now, with these few verses in mind, let’s look at another verse:

(Isaiah 1:18)

COME NOW, AND LET US REASON TOGETHER, SAITH THE LORD: THOUGH YOUR SINS BE AS SCARLET, THEY SHALL BE WHITE AS SNOW; THOUGH THEY BE RED LIKE CRIMSON, THEY SHALL BE AS WOOL. (19) IF YE BE WILLING AND OBEDIENT, YE SHALL EAT THE GOOD OF THE LAND: (20) BUT IF YE REFUSE AND REBEL, YE SHALL BE DEVOURED WITH THE SWORD: FOR THE MOUTH OF THE LORD HATH SPOKEN IT.

When we consider these two messages from the Lord; it’s so much to speak of. According to (Isaiah) God Truly has a desire to (reason with us) concerning our sin. If you will notice, Isaiah is a prophet of God. He speaks word for word what God desires for him to reveal to his people. Another way of saying it is that (God is doing the speaking) even though it’s coming through the mouth of a man. As we consider, either Adam or, the Serpent what they both revealed was not all of God.

We do see however that both Adam and Eve was very willing to (reason) with God. God, as he spoke to them, he asked them this question; how did you find out you were naked? Who revealed that to you? (The Truth) is that (God Himself) revealed (The Truth) to both Adam and Eve. Now that they see themselves as naked, they are willing to (reason) with God. God preaches a message to them, revealing (truth) to them and, he also sheds blood to make them coats for a coving for their sin.

Every man that ever stands behind a pulpit is supposed to be (A Tree). He has (The knowledge of Good and Evil). (The Fruit) he has brought (truth) to those that hear him. The very same tree also brings (The Knowledge) of salvation to those that truly hear truth. Here’s something many people completely miss. It’s never (a person) that reveals to you that you are a sinner in need of salvation. Only God the Father can reveal that fact to any person.

God uses people to be his voice. He places his Spirit within born again believers to share that knowledge. When man seeks to show you that you are a sinner it only brings rebellion to the sinner. but, when God’s spirit opens your understanding of who you truly are, when you gain (the knowledge) of yourself and, you except (The Truth) from him then and only then can salvation come.

People often place themselves on a pedestal, putting themselves above the sinner they are speaking to. When to Holy Spirit is at work, every person is on equal ground. There are no big (I’s) or little (U’s). The Holy Spirit shows every person that they are sinners, and they need to be lifted above that sinful nature. When we consider this, if we are to be saved, we must never be satisfied being on equal ground. You see, didn’t Satan also place Adam and Eve on equal ground with him? He caused them to assume they could be satisfied being (like him)! (The Tree) revealed something different.

(To Whom Do We Listen)? What happens, far too often, we are taught to be satisfied being on equal ground by the very (tree) to is supposed to cause us to see ourselves as (naked) before God. Often there is some false and some truth mixed within the messages we hear. That fact makes the person speaking exactly like (The Serpent) or (Adam). What can I gain by being (like Adam)? Satan or, those that work for him will never show you the whole truth! When Adam and Eve bit the fruit; they then realized (the truth).

That is a fact because (the tree) revealed truth by the power of God. When (the tree) reveals truth then we see ourselves as naked before God. Once we gain that knowledge then God’s Spirit will always be there to point us to salvation by his saving grace. However, if we don’t gain that truth then we never see ourselves as needing salvation.

I want you to look at what (The Serpent) preached to Eve.

( Genesis 3:4-5 )

AND THE SERPENT SAID UNTO THE WOMAN, YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE. (5) FOR GOD DOTH KNOW THAT IN THE DAY YE EAT THEREOF, THEN YOUR EYES SHALL BE OPENED, AND YE SHALL BE AS GODS, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL.

I’d like for you to consider the term (as gods). Do you realize that Satan has always desired to be (a god) or (equal to God)? Now, let’s look at something. What is actually happening in the average Church today. As long as you are seen (as equal to) everyone else in that Church then; everyone is satisfied, that is, even the pastor. However, let’s add that you get a little out of line. You commit adultery. Now, we can’t have that can we? Therefore, you are approached by (the council). They advise that you must repent, turn from your wicked ways, or else!

So far, this is what you’ve done. You said you believed in Christ, got baptized and joined Church. However, you’ve been caught as a sinner, therefore, you confess your sin, stand before the Church and make things right. You stop committing adultery. My question to you; does this act cause you any closer to God the Father or, did you just get right with the Church?

Let’s also add a point here! Let’s say, if you are a man; the woman you committed adultery with is a woman that most of the men in your Church were committing the same act in their thought process with the very same woman, they just didn’t carry out the act physically, possibly because they didn’t have the opportunity. We can use the same scenario with the women and an individual man. Why is it that these people didn’t have to confess?

Now, let’s look at this verse:

(2 Corinthians 7:10)

FOR GODLY SORROW WORKETH REPENTANCE TO SALVATION NOT TO BE REPENTED OF: BUT THE SORROW OF THE WORLD WORKETH DEATH.

(To whom do we listen)? I know that what I’m about to say is not popular but, it must be said and understood. Satan’s mindset was then and, is now to set up his own kingdom. There are many religious leaders and denominations that do the very same thing. Often, without even realizing it (they listen) to a voice of some other person that are actually listening to Satan himself. We can give a verse to prove this”

(Jude 1:4)

FOR THERE ARE CERTAIN MEN CREPT IN UNAWARES, WHO WERE BEFORE OF OLD ORDAINED TO THIS COMDEMNATION, UNGODLY MEN, TURNING THE GRACE OF GOD INTO LASCIVIOUSNESS, AND DENYING THE LORD GOD, AND OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

I’d like to give a personal situation here. It will share how I feel about a certain subject and make a point at the same time. Let’s first read this verse in:

(1 Corinthians 14:39)

WHEREFORE, BRETHREN, COVET TO PROPHECY, AND FORBID NOT TO SPEAK IN TONGUES.

In this verse the Bible plainly tells me not to forbid to speak in tongues. There’s always been a controversy concerning what (tongues) truly are. My personal belief is that God, at one time gave men to ability to speak another language in order to be able to share the gospel with people that spoke other languages. When this would happen, the people that spoke the other language knew that it was of God (by faith). Another point is that, if a man was in a Church, let’s say that this Church needed spiritual instruction and, there was a person there that spoke a different language, God inspired him to stand and speak in his native tongue the message he wanted to share. In every case, there would be a person there that could speak both languages and, would be able to tell the people what this man just said. According to scripture, this would never be a woman, just men.

That’s where I stand! There are those that believe that there is an actual (unknown tongue) that some men can speak but, if this is the case, according to scripture; there still must be someone in that Church to translate what was just revealed that all can understand the message.

The problem: I cannot concretely prove my stand on this, not with scripture, if you can, I’d like for you to show me! However, I can say that the Apostle Paul told me not to forbid speaking in tongues. It just has to be done descent and in order. The verse next verse says this:

(1 Corinthians 14:40)

LET ALL THINGS BE DONE DECENTLY AND IN ORDER.

I seek to explain that because I desired to share this concerning (to whom we listen). My wife and I visited a Church a while back that we thought we might enjoy. This Church believed in the gift of tongues. I can’t say the actual way they believed it was to be carried out however, before the Church service started the pastor said this and (I quote) If any person here desires to speak in tongues, you meet with one of our deacons and share your message with him. At that he will decide whether your message is worthy to be shared with the Church or not.

I thought! Then who are we actually going to be (LISTENING TO)? You mean to tell me that what God shares with one man, then another man gets to decide whether I can hear it or not? In reality, if tongues are to be used in our Church today, then it’s a great possibility that (the pastor) will not be able to speak on that day; Why? Because a man is going to stand up and be recognized; it doesn’t matter whether he is speaking another language or, and (unknown) tongue. He is going to share God’s message with that Church and, then an interpreter is going to tell us exactly what that man said in our own language! It will never be left to another man to decide what he thinks it should be.

Now, this Church readily accepted what this pastor said! Do you see what I’m saying about (TO WHOM WE LISTEN)? Thats just one example! Every man, every person is just (a man). They are no different than you. As far as listening, every word that any person says should be weighed by God’s word, listening to God’s Spirit. If we do anything less then, we become fools! It’s our eternal destiny and, our relationship with God’s Son that is at stake!

When it comes to (whom we listen) there are two things we must never fall in love with. As I make that statement; I’m using the (love) in a very generic form. When we allow ourselves to fall in love with a building or a pastor, often that love becomes very blinding, it blocks out our ability to recognize (truth) and that by God’s Spirit.

Let’s close with these verses as it relates to (whom we listen).

(1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

THOUGH I SPEAK WITH THE TONGUES OF MEN AND OF ANGELS, AND HAVE NOT CHARITY, I AM BECOME A SOUNDING BRASS AND TINKLING CYMBAL. (2) AND THOUGH I HAVE THE GIFT OF PROPHECY, AND UNDERSTAND ALL MYSYERIES, AND ALL KNOWLEDGE, AND THOUGH I HAVE ALL FAITH, SO THAT I COULD REMOVE MOUNTAINS, AND HAVE NOT CHARITY, I AM NOTHING. (3) AND THOUGH I BESTOW ALL MY GOODS TO FEED THE POOR, AND THOUGH I GIVE MY BODY TO BE BURNED, AND HAVE NOT CHARITY, IT PROFITETH ME NOTHING.

As we look at these verses, charity means basically (love put in action). Now, what is love? How many people do you know that can give the correct definition to that word? The word love: like many words we use today is only known because of the word of God. It, also; like many words has a Biblical definition and, no other way that it might be defined matters. There could be a section in these series written entitled (LOVE DEFINED BY TH WORLD’S STANDARDS). SO, LET’S SEE THE BIBLICAL DEFINITION OF (LOVE).

(1 John 4:6-8)

WE ARE OF GOD: HE THAT KNOWETH GOD HEARETH US; HE THAT IS NOT OF GOD HEARETH NOT US, HEREBY KNOW WE THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, AND THE SPIRIT OF ERROR. (7) BELOVED, LET US LOVE ONE ANOTHER: FOR LOVE IS OF GOD; AND EVERYONE THAT LOVETH IS BORN OF GOD, AND KNOWETH GOD. (8) HE THAT LOVETH NOT KNOWETH NOT GOD; FOR GOD IS LOVE.

The world has its way to define love as well. Many people fall for (the worlds) way of defining that word. We often listen to people, teachers, pastors because (we believe) they love us. However, because we don’t understand how love is truly defined, we are deceived by those very people. They do (love) but, as defined by this world and not by God the Father.

The Bible says this in:

(Romans 5:1-5)

THEREFORE BEING JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST: (2) BY WHOM ALSO WE HAVE ACCESS BY FAITH INTO HIS GRACE WHEREIN WE STAND AND REJOICE IN HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD. (3) AND NOT ONLY SO, BUT WE GLORY IN TRIBULATIONS ALSO: KNOWING THAT TRIBULATION WORKETH PATIENCE; (4) AND PATIENCE, EXPERIENCE, AND EXPERIENCE, HOPE: (5) AND HOPE MAKETH NOT ASHAMED; BECAUSE THE LOVE OF GOD IS SHED ABROAD IN OUR HEARTS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT WHICH IS GIVEN UNTO US.

I realize that all this is a message within itself. However, I feel compelled to teach this as it relates to (whom we listen). The very first question you must resolve for yourself is: (have you been justified by faith)? As I say that; justification comes only through and by the Holy Spirit of God. It is meaningless for me or any other person to tell you that you have been justified. That would only be (the love of the world) speaking to you!

As you sit in any Church, listen to any pastor or teacher; you can’t prove for a fact that any person has been justified by faith. The only person that you can speak for is you. Now, the next part of this says this: (you have peace with God) (through our Lord Jesus Christ). I’ll ask you a question here. (DO YOU HAVE PEACE WITH GOD)? Can you answer that, not giving me the answer, but you? What does God’s Spirit reveal to you?

Let’s look at this a little. So, let’s just say that you are born again and, your pastor is born again. That means that (the love of God) is shed abroad in both of your hearts. When we say that we have (PEACE WITH GOD) we are saying that as long as our pastor preaches (the truth) (of God) no matter what he says, no matter how hard it hits us, we have complete peace with that truth. We are saying that because it’s our desire to have our fleshly bodies completely conform, to be completely transformed into all God desires for us to be. We beg to hear that truth!

When the majority of Church members are not born again and, when their pastor preaches simply showing forth the love of God as he preaches then, what he says is not pleasing words to the majority of the congregation. Why? Because they are not at (peace with God).

In this world, you can count on this fact: you can always find a man, a woman, somebody that can say the things you desire to hear! However, (TO WHOM ARE YOU LISTENING)? You are filled with the love of this world and not the love of God!

If we are born of his spirit (born again) we have access by faith to his grace, it tells us that in (Verse 2). When we see the word (tribulations) and (we glory in tribulations) it’s speaking of the storm that is occurring in our hearts as (the love of God) is being (shed abroad in our heart). Why? Because we realize that it is working patience within us and hope of the day when we can stand before him. prepared to do so.

Any person that calls him or, herself a pastor and offers anything less than the love of God to you is a hireling. He or she is simply bought and paid for by you or, your Church. They and you both, (have your reward)! They, the hireling gets compensated financially for the worldly words they offer, and you get to feel spiritual without changing a thing about yourself. I want you to consider this and, even consider (to whom you are listening).

(Matthew 7:13-14)

ENTER YE IN AT THE STRAIT GATE: FOR WIDE IS THE GATE, AND BROAD IS THE WAY, THAT LEADETH TO DESTRUCTION, AND MANY THERE BE WHICH GO IN THEREAT: (14) BECAUSE STRAIT IS THE GATE, AND NARROW IS THE WAY, WHICH LEADETH UNTO LIFE, AND FEW THEREBE THAT FIND IT.

In the average Church setting, most members consider this to be speaking to people that are not members of a Church. There are even those that believe that if you are not a member of their Church these verses are speaking to you. Howbeit, it’s actually speaking to all those that haven’t found that (strait gate). What would be that (strait gate)? If you will notice, Jesus Christ being to person that made that statement didn’t define what that strait gate was in those verses did he? He did however tell you in the next verse this:

(Matthew 7:15)

BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS, WHICH COME TO YOU IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING, BUT INWARDLY THEY ARE RAVENING WOLVES.

I want you to know that (this world) is filled with its (false prophets) to whom many people listen and are very deceived thereby. Within the word of God, the (strait gate) comes as a mystery. It is hidden from this world. The only way that mystery or hidden wisdom can be revealed is by (God’s Holy Spirit). By design, in time Jesus Christ did reveal that mystery but, it was not at that time. I like to show people these verses:

(1 Corinthians 2:1-8)

AND I, BRETHREN, WHEN I CAME TO YOU, CAME NOT WITH EXCELLENCY OF SPEECH OR OF WISDOM, DECLARING UNTO YOU THE TESTIMONY OF GOD. (2) FOR I DETERMINED NOT TO KNOW ANY THING AMONG YOU, SAVE JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED. (3) AND I WAS WITH YOU IN WEAKNESS, AND IN FEAR, AND IN MUCH TREMBLING. (4) AND MY SPEECH AND MY PREACHING WAS NOT WITH ENTICING WORDS OF MAN’S WISDOM, BUT IN DEMOSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT AND POWER: (5) THAT YOUR FAITH SHOULD NOT STAND IN THE WISDOM OF MEN, BUT IN THE POWER OF GOD. (6) HOWBEIT WE SPEAK THE WISDOM AMONG THEM THAT ARE PERFECT, YET NOT THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD, NOR OF THE PRINCES OF THIS WORLD, THAT COME TO NOUGHT: (7) BUT WE SPEAK THE WISDOM OF GOD IN A MYSTERY, EVEN THE HIDDEN WISDOM, WHICH GOD ORDAINED BEFORE THE WORLD UNTO OUR GLORY: (8) WHICH NONE OF THE PRINCES OF THIS WORLD KNEW: FOR HAD THEY KNOWN IT, THEY WOULD NOT HAVE CRUCIFIED THE LORD OF GLORY.

In the time we call the Old Testament and that includes the days to which Jesus Christ lived, there were people that already understood the (hidden wisdom and mystery) concerning Jesus Christ. Those people believed that through God’s amazing grace that he would make a way to redeem sinful man. They also knew that it would be something beyond what the eye could see, such as Jesus Christ in his flesh. They knew that simply believing that a man in the flesh (Jesus Christ) lived and died in the flesh was not salvation.

The world, in its wisdom believes that Jesus Christ lived and died. There are very few people that won’t admit they believe that. The secret is, that the world and its prophets desire for you to believe that (simply believing) is salvation! However, in the (hidden wisdom, the mystery) the gate that Jesus Christ spoke of goes much deeper than that: (and few there be that find it). In these verses we see, this is what the Apostle Paul is seeking to reveal to these people that say they believe. There are also many people that truly believe that Jesus Christ will return for his Church. That fact still doesn’t constitute salvation.

Salvation and how it’s gained is a mystery. It can be found only in the hidden wisdom of God. That mystery and hidden wisdom will only be revealed to any person by God’s Holy Spirit. When we consider (to whom we listen) it must be God doing the speaking. God chose to place himself within the body of sinful people that he might reveal himself to other sinful people. The sinful person that reveals truth has already heard the message from God, from another sinful person. That message opens his spiritual eyes to the absolute truth. The truth that he is a (hell deserving sinner) (without hope) in a (sin cursed world).

The very same voice that he is listening to also reveals that there is a savoir that is completely willing to redeem you from your sin cursed condition. Actually, it’s not the person that is doing the speaking, at that time, that you are listening to. It’s the Holy Ghost of God that you are hearing. The voice that we hear when truth is revealed also shows us what truly believing really means. It’s one thing to say (you believe) fire will burn. It’s quite another (to know) fire will burn. Isn’t both believing? However, the word (believe) is used in two different lights in the English language. For instance: If I say (I believe) this will work, I’m speaking with doubt but, willing to try it. I can also say (I believe) and mean (I know) something as a fact.

When we consider this in spiritual terms; we must clarify what we actually mean. That means when a man is preaching it must be clearly understood what (believing) means. I often feel we are missing this defining power in the message we hear. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in:

(John 3:7)

MARVEL NOT THAT I SAID UNTO THEE, YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN.

As we look at this one scripture; I’ll try to build a spiritual message here. In (John 3) Jesus Christ is the preacher. His congregation is Nicodemus. As he preaches his message, we see that his message is causing Nicodemus to ask questions, questions that demand an answer. It is absolutely no different than any person that is speaking or preaching to you. The message is being heard aloud. When we see Nicodemus asking question, it’s like you listening and all these questions popping up in your heart as you hear the message that is being preached. These questions need to be answered. As you read here in John, that is exactly the Jesus as the preacher does, he answers Nicodemus’ questions with spiritual answers.

One day in my life I heard the voice of Jesus Christ by his spirit that flowed through the lips of a man. By Faith, as that man spoke, I ask Jesus Christ to be my savior. Beginning on that day, I had many unanswered questions that it would take a lot of time and study to understand. I even had to learn that (to whom) I (was listening) was not the man standing behind the pulpit. The person that was teaching me was not the man standing behind the pulpit. When we learn (to whom we truly need to listen) it will transform our lives!

(The world) desires for you to just hear them! It doesn’t matter whether it’s a man or woman in a night club, a beer hall, a counseling session or, a person standing behind a pulpit. We have theological professors, doctors, teachers that truly want you to think they can teach you all you need to know.

Again, as we consider this, the small town I live in is centered in between at least four well known seminaries. I can drive less than three hours and be in the parking lot of at least five different schools that teach students to be pastors and teachers. Without knowing for sure I’d say that each of these schools graduate at least five hundred students every year. I’ve often wondered over the years, where do they all go? With all these people being taught spiritual lessons; it should be a revival of mass proportion happening within a two-hundred-mile radius of each of these schools. so, where does the problem lie? It lies within the fact that these students are being taught by man and not by the Holy Spirit!

God’s mystery, his hidden wisdom is right before our eyes. However, we must be willing to hear him, blocking out the deception that is in this world. My friends, listen to God’s Holy Spirit as I speak. There is nothing; spiritually speaking that you cannot find right in the confines of your own home. That is, down on your knees humbly before him and, then seeking his words as God’s spirit directs you to do so.

I might add; there’s nothing wrong with education! However, we must be careful (to whom we listen). The world’s desires to be so loud that it blocks out God’s Spirit. The world wants you to think they are something they are not. Hell is filled with people that thought they could trust the teaching offered by the world.

To whom do you listed? To whom do you hear? As you consider what I’m saying, consider this; every person, male or female that actually was inspired to write a book in the Bible, just how educated were they? As you consider that, it’s a point we can make. Every person from Moses to the Apostle Paul denounced what they had been taught by this world and, wrote what God told them to write. That even includes Doctor Luke!

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7

THE KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM OF THIS WORLD

(1 Corinthians 2:6-7)

HOWBEIT WE SPEAK WISDOM AMONG THEM THAT ARE PERFECT: YET NOT THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD, NOR OF THE PRINCES OF THIS WORLD, THAT COME TO NOUGHT: (7) BUT WE SPEAK THE WISDOM OF GOD IN A MYSTERY, EVEN THE HIDDEN WISDOM, WHICH GOD ORDAINED BEFORE THE WORLD UNTO OUR GLORY.

I often refer to these verses in the things I write. In these verses we see this phrase. (God ordained before the world). God’s wisdom is (before this world). We can compare it to a motion picture screen, to which all the world can see but, they must desire to see that screen! It’s a mystery, it’s hidden wisdom. In the verse we read; we see the word (before). That means that right now, it’s right in front of every person in this world to be seen. Often, we want to think or, look at it as being (before the world was) but, in this case that’s not what it’s saying. Men often make pictures that actually easily reveal one thing but, if you look very closely you can see something else.

God’s word is that way! As a matter of fact, most of the things in this world reveals God’s glory in hidden wisdom and spiritual knowledge. For instance, dirt is a very common thing, you can find it anywhere but, gold is a far different story. There are other minerals that are worth far more than just dirt; all the way up to gold. Every one of these things are normally not easy to find. It takes work and expence to find them. It also takes a desire to find things other than just normal dirt and rocks.

That is a perfect picture of the word of God. To the world basically speaking; it’s just words, just another book. The world can find a nugget in it once in a while. They use it to create or make within themselves a better person. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of countries that base their laws on things from scripture whether they even know it or not. many people pattern their lives after well-known parts of scripture such as (what we call) the Ten Commandments. Because of that fact they become very content within their own lifestyle assuming that God the Father is pleased with them because of their somewhat obedience to those laws.

Do you realize that the world is a religion within itself in one form or another? Every person in this world has a (God Consciousness). It makes no difference whether they like to admit it or not. Within that fact, every person sets out to appease that consciousness. I often use this as an example. There are those that worship the true God, more than likely some of them are born again. They call themselves (non-denominationalist). However, can you see how that the very fact they call themselves that name makes that (a denomination) within itself? Even people that say they are atheist create (a religion) within that very fact.

All these things can be found in the wisdom and knowledge of this world. In more cases than not, people set out to bring about good things for this world. I might also add that there are many things that make this world a better place to live that were invented by (born again believers) for the purpose of making this world a better place to live. However, in most cases the world took those things and used them for their own profit.

I went back and read about a forerunner of the invention of the radio for instance. He discovered (radio waves). He was a believer! The point is that the probability of things being invented all for a good purpose more likely than things being invented to be used in a corrupt way. The fact that this one man I read about was a born-again believer has very little to do with the knowledge he had to do so. The world and the people thereof are able to do things through wisdom and knowledge that was given them by God the Father. The people of this world can accomplish great things and have; just because of that God given knowledge.

God made a horse. At some point man ( through his own knowledge ) made a harness to put on that horse that he might use the power of that horse for his own use. There’s a group of verses early on in Genesis that ( I believe ) will make my point.

(Genesis 4:16)

AND CAIN WENT OUT FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, AND DWELT IN THE LAND OF NOD, ON THE EAST SIDE OF EDEN. (17) AND CAIN KNEW HIS WIFE, AND SHE CONCEIVED, AND BARE ENOCH: AND HE BUILDED A CITY, AND CALLED THE NAME OF THE CITY, AFTER THE NAME OF HIS SON, ENOCH.

Starting with these verses, I want you to notice that (Cain went out from the presence of the Lord). This man was apart from God but, he still possessed (knowledge). It says here that he and his wife had a son named (Enoch). That name (biblically speaking) means (experienced). If you will notice; it appears that) (built a city) and named that city after his son. Enoch gained experience from watching his father as he worked.

Now, let’s read a little more:

(Verse 20)

AND ADAH BARE JABAL: HE WAS THE FATHER OF SUCH AS DWELL IN TENTS, AND SUCH AS HAVE CATTLE.

We see here that (this world) has figured out how to build tents, they also know how to raise cattle. Can we assume they also see the value in doing so? (I believe) that we can see the very first act of (commercial trade). All this without the presence of God!

Look at the next verse:

(Verse 21)

AND HIS BROTHER’S NAME WAS JUBAL: HE WAS THE FATHER OF ALL SUCH AS HANDLE THE HARP AND ORGAN.

Can you see the worldly progression here? Just what did those harps and organs look like in those days?

(Verse 22)

AND ZILLAH, SHE ALSO BARE TUBAL-CAIN, AND INSTRUCTER OF EVERY ARTIFICER IN BRASS AND IRON:

These things are all that’s mentioned here but, can’t we see mining as well? Didn’t someone have to get the ore out of the ground and, form it into medal? My point is that all these things were done (out of the presence of the Lord). We, (as born-again believers) understand that without God these people wouldn’t even have life, just like the people of the world today. However, God allows men life; as we know it and, with that blessing even without believing in God, men can do great things.

Now, I’d like to move forward a little in Genesis and make another point.

(Genesis 11:1-4)

AND THE WHOLE EARTH WAS ONE LANGUAGE, AND OF ONE SPEECH. (2) AND IT CAME TO PASS, AS THEY JOURNEYED FROM THE EAST, THAT THEY FOUND A PLAIN IN THE LAND OF SHINAR; AND THEY DWELT THERE. (3) AND THEY SAID ONE TO ANOTHER, GO TO, LET US MAKE BRICK, AND BURN THEM THROUGHLY. AND THEY HAD BRICK FOR STONE, AND SLIME HAD THEY FOR MORTER. (4) AND THEY SAID, GO TO, LET US BUILD A CITY AND A TOWER, WHOSE TOP MAY REACH UNTO HEAVEN; AND LET US MAKE US A NAME, LEST WE BE SCATTERED ABROAD UPON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE EARTH.

As we look at this, we know that these people or, all of these people came out of the loins of Noah. Therefore, we can say this. The three sons of Noah were men that (believed God). We know that because they entered the Ark. We can compare the flesh of these sons to Cain. He also (believed in) God. However, that doesn’t mean he placed his faith in him. If we look at the sons of Noah, we see the faith line is seen in his son (Shem) and, not in either of the other sons. Can you see the same picture there as we see with (Cain and Abel) or (Seth)? This world is filled with people that say they (believe in God) however, that statement does not mean that their heart is in following him and doing his will. Let’s look at a few more verses.

(Genesis 11: 5-9)

AND THE LORD CAME DOWN TO SEE THE CITY AND THE TOWER, WHICH THE CHILDREN OF MEN BUILDED. (6) AND THE LORD SAID, BEHOLD, THE PEOPLE IS ONE, AND THEY HAVE ALL ONE LANGUAGE; AND THIS THEY BEGIN TO DO: AND NOW NOTHING WILL BE RESTRAINED FROM THEM, WHICH THEY HAVE IMAGINED TO DO. (7) GO TO, LET US GO DOWN, AND THERE CONFOUND THEIR LANGUAGE, THAT THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND ONE ANOTHER’S SPEECH. (8) SO THE LORD SCATTERED THEM ABROAD FROM THENCE UPON THE FACE OF ALL THE EARTH: AND THEY LEFT OFF TO BUILD THE CITY. (9) THEREFORE IS THE NAME OF IT CALLED BABEL; BECAUSE THE LORD DID THERE CONFOUND THE LANGUAGE OF ALL THE EARTH: AND FROM THENCE DID THE LORD SCATTER THEM ABROAD UPON THE FACE OF ALL THE EARTH.

Here, I’m going to get into some things that can’t be proven. However, it’s simply food for thought and, along with the things I might say will be some things that can be proven to make my point. We have no idea just how advanced the people had become before the (Flood of Noah). We just assume they were very primitive. As far as I know, there was not an organ on the Ark. If it was we don’t see it listed in scripture. We do know that the organ had been created at that time, because we see that ( Jabul ) was the father of such that handled them. I will say that (the knowledge) of how to make an organ was possibly on the Ark. We also know that, at that time there was only one language spoken.

As the sons of Noah began to go forth from the Ark, I’d say that (basically speaking) only Shem was focused on the things of God. As I make that statement; we can also say and know that all three sons believe in God. We can also say that even Shem had to do some kind of work to provide for his family. This at the same time he shared the righteousness of God. (I believe) that these people were somewhat like each of us. As we (as believers) go through this life we have to work. Spiritual inclined believers learn to use their ability at the jobs they do to create opportunities to be a witness for Jesus Christ.

Right on the other hand there are people that while they say they believe; they never become a witness in any form for Jesus Christ. In the situation of the three sons of Noah; I’m saying that two/thirds were more concerned about the things of this world rather than even considering sharing the righteousness of God. Another way of saying it; they learned to make organs and other things as they moved forward, teaching their children to do the same.

In just a short time after the Ark had settled back to earth (generally speaking) the people of this world were more concerned about worldly things than even considering walking with God. We see that they were trying to figure out another way to heaven rather than simply trusting God. I want you to see that it appears that the people that went forth to build this city, tower were descendants of Ham through Cush; Nimrod being the name it was related to.

However, I’d say that there is a much more significant point to be made here! Do you realize that these people are all related to Ham? He being one of Noah’s sons, a believer that was on the Ark? Can we make an assumption here? Let’s say that Satan himself would have showed a desire to enter the Ark; would God have stopped him? I’d argue that the answer to that question is (no)! However, that wasn’t necessary, was it? Satan was already aboard that Ark in the weak flesh of every person on board!

Can’t we see the very same picture in any Church! There are many people that will (say) they believe in Christ just because of the fear of judgement. They might even truly be (born again). But that still doesn’t mean they are going to surrender their lives to the will of God. As a matter of fact, the likelihood of (total surrender) or (any surrender) is less prevalent than simply living as it would be pleasing to the world today than anything else we see, and that even by those that say (they believe).

Consider this: when we consider the word (believe); can we agree that if we were to ask most of the people in this world if they believe in God, even Jesus Christ, most will say, yes? Then doesn’t that mean that most of them would have entered the Ark in that day? I, personally live in the United States of America. As it relates to Christianity, I’d say that the vast majority of us say (we believe). We even claim we are a (God fearing nation). Our motto is (In God We Trust). So, we can assume that most of the people in our nation would have entered that Ark. Am I correct?

To bring this back to the knowledge and wisdom of this world, we can see how that man in that day as well as today possesses great wisdom and knowledge, all given to them by God. How we decide to use that knowledge is a free choice! We see that the (God given knowledge) in the days right after the (Ark of Noah) was not being used as it would please God. Man was seeking another way to get to heaven rather than simply trusting, by faith to walk with God the Father.

Let’s build a spiritual picture here. We see that Noah and his sons built the Ark, working on it for one hundred and twenty years. Can you see the worldly wisdom and knowledge that was gained in that one act? One day God instructed Noah and his family to enter the Ark. This act was an act of the faith they claimed they had. Therefore, we can also look at our individual lives the very same way. We live our lives; gain worldly wisdom and knowledge as our lives unfold and, then one day we ask Jesus Christ into our hearts to be our savior; we become born again.

If we say, for example, we went down to an alter to be saved, by faith we just entered the Ark. The whole time Noah and his family was on the Ark before it, once again rested back to the earth can be seen as the time you were on your knees at the altar. Just as when they came off the Ark, when we get up from the alter, aren’t we supposed to be (a new creature in Christ Jesus)? Now, governed by a totally different set of rules?

If, when we get up from the alter; we continue as things were in our lives, aren’t we by default doing the very same thing those that built the tower of Babel was doing? I can see how it would have been very possible for some people, even Noah’s sons to have helped build the Ark, using their worldly knowledge to do so but then refuse to enter the Ark, not actually having any faith in God’s word when it was finished. I can also see how someone could have entered the Ark but, in doing so never had any intention of doing a work for God the Father after he had done all he had done for them.

Man has always had a way to appear to be (godly). Many walk a close line to (God’s way) but, in their actions they deny the power thereof. Even the (tower of Babel) wasn’t it proclaiming that there was a heaven to be reached? The people building it had just rejected (faith). They were using their wisdom and knowledge that they had gained as being part of this world to reach that place.

Pilate looked at Jesus Christ and asked him (What is Truth)? I believe that is a very profound question and, one that takes (wisdom and knowledge) of the Spirit of God to answer. In reality, the world desires to feed you it’s wisdom and knowledge to keep you from ever answering or coming to the knowledge of real truth. The Bible puts it this way:

(2 Timothy 3:1-7)

THIS KNOW ALSO, THAT IN THE LAST DAYS PERILOUS TIMES SHALL COME. (2) FOR MEN SHALL BE LOVERS OF THEIR OWN SELVES, COVETOUS, BOASTERS, PROUD, BLASPHEMERS, DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS, UNTHANKFUL, UNHOLY, (3) WITHOUT NATURAL EFFECTION, TRUCEBREAKERS, FALSE ACCUSERS. INCONTINENT, FIERCE, DESPISERS OF THOSE THAT ARE GOOD, (4) TRAITORS, HEADY, HIGHMINDED, LOVERS OF PLEASURES MORE THAN LOVERS OF GOD; (5) HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING THE POWER THEREOF: FROM SUCH TURN AWAY. (6) FOR OF THIS SORT ARE THEY WHICH CREEP INTO HOUSES, AND LEAD CAPTIVE SILLY WOMEN LADEN WITH SINS, LED AWAY WITH DIVERS LUSTS, (7) EVER LEARNING, AND NEVER ABLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH.

I went ahead and wrote all seven of these verses because of what it is saying however, I really wanted to show you (verse7) ever learning, and never able to come to the know of the truth. Do you think when Pilate asked Jesus (what is truth) he was really desiring to know truth? Can we relate him to the average person in this world today? When we consider (what is truth); can’t we say that two plus two equals four? And isn’t that truth? At the same time, what difference does (that truth) really make? (That truth), like many other things we can certify as truth falls under the category of the truth, gained by the wisdom and knowledge of this world. That, adding to all the other things we could become very complexed meaning we (are ever learning but, never able to come to the knowledge of the truth).

As we continue to go through the (knowledge and wisdom) of this world; I’d like to reveal some of the things the world calls and defines as truth. At the same time seeking to reveal (truth). The truth that Pilate actually needed to hear, just as every man today needs to hear and understand.

Let’s simply began with this in closing this chapter. (THE TRUTH) is that of the three sons that went with Noah on the Ark were not at all sold out for the will of God. We see and, know (they believed) however, what did they believe and how much wisdom and knowledge did they each have in the spiritual aspect of their lives? (THE TRUTH)! Very few people that say they believe today have any real spiritual wisdom and knowledge to speak of. Most people are filled with the wisdom and knowledge of this world. They never even consider learning anything concerning the spiritual aspect of their lives and dying to their own selfishly desire to do so.

By God’s grace, can I convince you to turn form this world of wisdom and to seek the (truth) as seen in scripture? (Forsaking all others)?

Before we leave this segment; I’d like to touch on another aspect of (wisdom and knowledge) of this world. Let’s consider just how far the study of medicine has come today. People, using the wisdom and knowledge granted them by God the Father have reached a point where they can keep you from dying for and extended length of time. For instance, a person can have a very bad heart. Doctors can actually remove that person’s heart and replace it with another. I personally have a friend that had a heart transplant over twenty-five years ago. If he hadn’t had that ability, he would have been dead years ago.

Not all that many years ago, if your kidneys failed, you would have died pretty quickly. If your appendix went bad, you would have died. We could go on and on about the accomplishments of man and medicine. Why is it all done? Is man in his efforts seeking to find a way to eternal life apart from Jesus Christ? Just looking at this world, how many people, let’s say in the last fifty years would have already been dead, standing before God right now if it hadn’t been for the knowledge of man granted by God?

We can take that from the very simplest form to actually preserving certain death in just a few moments. If you had a bad cut on your body somewhere which got infected, the rest of your body being in perfect health; without the ability to stop that infection, you would die. As a matter of fact, we can now have those medicines readily available at home.

All these things, God knew in advance. While we (even as born-again believers) might benefit from the (wisdom and knowledge of this world) it’s still and absolute fact that we have and appointment with death. Every person will keep that appointment.

(Hebrews 9:27)

AND AS IT IS APPOINTED UNTO MAN ONCE TO DIE, BUT AFTER THIS JUDGMENT:

As we look at that verse, we must understand that in order to know this, you must have knowledge of God’s word. While there are many in the medical field that know and understand this, there are also many that are bound and determined that they can beat death, they can find a medical way to have (eternal life). In the knowledge and wisdom of this world they seemingly forget God! I’d like to point this out. Man will one day actually raise a man from the dead! Look at this verse:

(Revelation 13:12-14)

AND HE EXERCIZED ALL THE POWERS OF THE FIRST BEAST BEFORE HIM, AND CAUSETH THE EARTH AND THEM WHICH DWELL THEREIN TO WORSHIP THE FIRST BEAST, WHOSE DEADLY WOUND WAS HEALED. ( 13 ) AND HE DOETH GREAT WONDERS, SO THAT HE MAKETH FIRE TO COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN ON THE EARTH IN THE SIGHT OF MEN, ( 14 ) AND DECEIVETH THEM THAT DWELL ON THE EARTH BY THE MEANS OF THOSE MIRACLES WHICH HE HAD POWER TO DO IN THE SIGHT OF THE BEAST; SAYING TO THEM THAT DWELL ON THE EARTH, THAT THEY SHOULD MAKE AN IMAGE OF THE BEAST, WHICH HAD THE WOUND BY THE SWORD, AND DID LIVE.

We seldom think about this but, everything we see in this world is all experimental, slowly seeking to reach a perfect place. For instance, do you remember when they first came out with the (cordless phone)? That was a prototype of what we now call a (cell phone). Now, since I mentioned this; I’ll take it a step farther. I’ve been born again for now over forty-five years. Let me show you something that back in the early days as a believer, I wondered about.

(Revelation 11:7-9)

AND WHEN THEY SHALL HAVE FINISHED THEIR TESTIMONY, THE BEAST THAT ASCENDETH OUT OF THE BOTTOMLESS PIT SHALL MAKE WAR AGAINST THEM, ANSD SHALL OVERCOME THEM, AND KILL THEM. ( 8 ) AND THEIR DEAD BODIES SHALL LIE IN THE STREET OF THE GREAT CITY, WHICH SPIRITUALLY IS CALLED SODOM AND EGYPT, WHEREIN ALSO OUR LORD WAS CRUCIFIED. ( 9 ) AND THEY OF THE PEOPLE AND KINDREDS AND TONGUES AND NATIONS SHALL SEE THEIR DEAD BODIES THREE DAYS AND A HALF, AND SHALL NOT SUFFER THEIR DEAD BODIES TO BE PUT IN GRAVES. ( 10 ) AND THEY THAT DWELL UPON THE EARTH SHALL REJOICE OVER THEM, AND MAKE MERRY, AND SHALL SEND GIFTS ONE TO ANOTHER; BECAUSE THESE TWO PROPHETS TORMENTED THEM THAT DWELT ON THE EARTH.

I wondered back in the early days how this would be possible. But, know because of cell phones, almost instantly, the whole world can see things as they unfold. This world is seeking to create things that will bring about an eternal place. We see in the verses where (the beast) was dead from a wound and he was made to live again! There’s something that this world is missing, they simply cannot understand. As we look back to (the beast); although man did create a version of eternal life for him, even he must keep his appointment with death and, he will.

In (Hebrews 9:27) that verse is actually of physical death. However, physical death is not an end to anything as far as God is concerned. As a matter of fact, in some cases, it’s only the beginning! So, can this be proven? Let’s see! This is something else I often try to make people aware of. Within the (knowledge and wisdom of this world) it sees death as when a person breathes their last breath or, when your heart stops beating. Not so with God the Father!

In God’s word we see a totally different picture.

(John 11:25)

JESUS SAID UNTO HER, I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE: HE THAT BELIEVETH IN ME, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE:

Now, let’s compare that verse to these verses:

(Ephesians 2:1-2)

AND YOU HATH HE QUICKENED, WHO WERE DEAD IN YOUR TRESPASSES AND SINS; (2) WHEREIN IN TIMES PAST YE WALKED ACCORDING TO THE COURSE OF THIS WORLD, ACCORDING TO THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR, THE SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE:

(John 5: 24)

VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, HE THAT HEARETH MY WORD, AND BELIEVETH ON HIM THAT SENT ME, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, AND SHALL NOT COME INTO COMDEMNATION; BUT IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE.

The way God sees life and death has nothing to do with physical death. The moment you realize you are a sinner, knowing right from wrong and, you choose wrong, God sees you as already dead! The very instant we ask Jesus Christ to be our savior, our life begins, we are passed (from death) (unto life) and that forever more!

If that act (the act of believing by faith) in the shed blood of Jesus Christ never happens then death comes. What is death? Death is (separation from God). While sin starts this separation, God’s grace allows us to live in this world. It not his will that any should perish but, that all men will come to repentance. Therefore, God’s grace gives you your whole life to change your direction.

Look at these verses:

(John 3:18)

HE THAT BELIEVETH ON HIM IS NOT CONDEMNED: BUT HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT IS CONDEMNED ALREADY, BECAUSE HE HATH NOT BELIEVED IN THE NAME OF THE ONLY BEGOTTON SON OF GOD.

(John 3:36)

HE THAT BELIEVETH ON THE SON OF GOD HATH EVERLASTING LIFE: AND HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT THE SON SHALL NOT SEE LIFE; BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDETH ON HIM.

From the very second you reject Jesus Christ, God’s wrath is upon you. You might live a very long life in which at any time you can still receive Christ if God draws conviction on your heart. However, if you die without the covering of the blood of Christ for your sin, then (eternal) death will be your home (forever). It begins, as far as you are concerned when you breathe your last time, your heart stops beating!

As I make that statement, we must understand, (the wisdom and knowledge) of this world might be able to help you, even keep you alive because of things they have learned but, death is still going to come at some point. I’ve heard people use the term (cheating death) meaning that they should have died but, because of what they consider (good luck) or (medical technology) they were able to stay alive. However, death was not cheated! It is coming in every person’s life.

When we look into the (wisdom and knowledge) of this world; we can see many things that this world has become unpresented in all it can do in almost every part of the lives we live. Most people will even give God the glory for the good things that happen in their lives and, without a doubt; without God, not one person would be able to do what they have done. Why? Because God even allows us to live. He gives us wisdom and knowledge to do even sinful acts. Without him even sin is impossible!

So, let’s weigh this a little in a spiritual light. If you say you (believe, trust God). With that being said, you begin to feel bad, running a pretty high fever. Therefore, you go to see your doctor. After he examines you, he tells you; according to the (wisdom and knowledge of this world) granted to us by God the Father; exactly what’s wrong with you and, that he can give you treatment to fix your sickness.

At that point. are you just going to except his treatment and get better or, are you going to ask God to reveal (his will) in the matter of your sickness? When we say we trust God; does that mean we even trust him if he would have us to die an early death, just taking things just like they unfold?

I truly believe there is an honest answer to those questions. Let’s say your doctor tells you; you have (sugar diabetes). Not all that long ago people would die because there was no help for that problem. However, today there are many treatments for the different types of diabetes, That’s just one example.

God’s people, we that are born again, live in this sin cursed world. We are supposing (Ambassadors) to this sin cursed world. God’s desire is for us to live here and seek to do his will as long as we live. We eat the world’s food, wear the world’s clothes and see the world’s doctors, we are even taught by the world’s teachers. With all that being said, it’s still our responsibility to use God’s wisdom and not the wisdom and knowledge of this world as we seek to do his will.

Just how that is accomplished is up to each born again believing individual. There’s no end to all that can be taught here or, all that can be said. However, this is a verse that comes to my mind as I make that statement:

(Philippians 1:27-28)

ONLY LET YOUR CONVERSATION BE AS IT BECOMETH THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: THAT WHETHER I COME AND SEE YOU, OR ELSE BE ABSENT, I MIGHT HEAR OF YOUR AFFAIRS, THAT YE STAND FAST IN ONE SPIRIT, WITH ONE MIND STRIVING TOGETHER FOR THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL; ( 28 ) AND IN NOTHING TERRIFIED BY YOUR ADVERSERIES: WHICH IS TO THEM AND EVIDENT TOKEN OF PERDITION, BUT TO YOU OF SALVATION, AND THAT OF GOD.

What is the Apostle Paul saying here? There must be a distinct difference in the way we present ourselves than of the people that totally trust in the wisdom and knowledge of this world. So, let’s first look at the first of these verses. He tells us to (let our conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ). He says for it to be that way (whether he is with them or, absent). There are many people that might act, talk or do things differently when their pastor is present than they do when he is not around. Why would that be? Because they are (of this world). They simply put on a show in front of certain people.

Personally, I believe this is a very powerful verse of scripture! As we get into the rest of this; it will all relate to the reason people have different ideas about truth. Let’s define the word (perdition). the state of eternal punishment into which a sinful person passes.

As we look at this; we must realize that spiritual maturity must be developed. It’s supposed to begin the day we say we are born again. My point is that if a person that hasn’t been born again long; fears death; that’s very understandable. However, what about a person that says they have been saved for many years? I realize that this too, has to do with an individual’s spiritual walk with Christ. However, what he is saying is that when a person says they believe in Christ, but they show fear then as far as the world is concerned there is no difference in the person that says they are saved and the people that simply trust the wisdom and knowledge of this world.

If you will notice what he says between these two verses it has to do with (spiritual wisdom and knowing truth). He says (to standfast in one spirit and one mind). And that (for the faith of the gospel). So, let’s look at something! In (Acts 7) we read that a man named Stephen was stoned to death. Do you think Stephen feared death or lacked the faith in Christ it would take to go to heaven? The Apostle Paul we know was beheaded. He made this statement: (I’m ready now to be offered)! (2 Timothy 4:6) He also told his brethren in (Acts 21:13) that he was not only ready to be bound but also to die for our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, what’s the difference in these two men and any other spiritually mature believer? These two men (stood steadfast) in the truth! They knew that even when their flesh lays down and dies, it has nothing to do with the life they have in Christ Jesus! (They both knew) that when their flesh died, heaven was their home!

This segment of this is (the wisdom and knowledge of the world). The next will be (to whom do you listen). Some of this will cross between both segments. However, we must see where we are in error. Let’s consider all the denominations we see today and, all the people that are within those different belief systems. The problem with this is the inability of people to distinguish between what is correct or truth and the wisdom and knowledge of this world. The Apostle Paul said to (standfast) in (one spirit) (one mind). Can you see how the gaining of wisdom and knowledge cannot be gained by listening to this world?

We must understand that every person that stands behind a pulpit to preach or teach, is in a body of flesh, even I as I write! All flesh is filled with the wisdom and knowledge of this world! Every person in every Church is also flesh and of this world. We must come to the resolve that there cannot be but (one truth) As we find that truth, we must all stand in (one mind).

(ONE MIND)! Every born-again believer must understand that every religious organization and denomination is man made by the wisdom and knowledge of this world. It’s very possible that there is some truth in every one of those things however, not one of them is (all truth). Therefore, we must, all seeking one mind, hearing one spirit look for truth. When we find that truth, it’s very possible that many of the members of your very own family and denomination will disagree with you. However, any person that is truly seeking truth, God’s Spirit will guide them to the truth you just revealed. It’s possible that it might even take some time for them to be convinced by God’s Spirit of truth but, be not discourage even if you have to stand alone, knowing truth!

The (wisdom and knowledge) of this world has a very blinding effect on many people. We could go on with this but I’m going to close with these verses:

First, let’s look at this:

(1John 2:18)

LITTLE CHILDREN, IT IS THE LAST TIME: AND AS YE HAVE HEARD THAT ANTICHRIST SHALL COME, EVEN NOW ARE THERE MANY ANTICHRISTS, WHEREBY WE KNOW IT IS THE LAST TIME,

And then this:

(Matthew 24:24)

FOR THERE SHALL ARISE FALSE CHRIST, AND FALSE PROPHETS, AND SHEW GREAT SIGNS AND WONDERS; INSOMUCH THAT, IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, THEY SHALL DECEIVE THE VERY ELECT.

It’s easy for people, whole Churches to get caught up in the wisdom and knowledge of this world. However, never forget that there are many (wolves in sheep’s clothing) today just as the Bible says. My advice, even if you don’t know Jesus Christ as your savior, seek Godly wisdom and if you are born again, be not deceived, seek and know truth!

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7

A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER

The term ( Grey hair and old bones ) comes to mind as I consider writing this; especially around this time of year. I suppose that it’s because of my age and the fact that I now have seen almost seventy Christmases, that, making me an older man. I, like most people will have to admit that I don’t remember anything about the first few Christmases in my life and, to be honest I can’t remember a lot about many of them.

One more thing before we move on toward what this is all about. When we are young Christmas is very exciting to us because of the fact we get gifts that we say are from Santa Claus. I’ve learn over the years this one true fact. That is only true when we are young, I often tell people now that Santa Claus changed as I aged. Now he always tlake more from me than he leaves.

The truth of all this is that very often as parents, sometimes even children, the gift we actually desire is something very special and, very deep within our hearts that actually has nothing to so with money at all. Often it has to do with an act of true and real love, not just words or, one time deeds.

One more point I’d like to make about the act of giving is this. Very often ( a gift received is not a gift given ). We seldom ever think about that fact. I’ll try and give you an example of what I’m saying.

As a pastor of a small Church, at Christmas time we would always have a ( Christmas party and present a Christmas play ). We would have a dinner and pass out gifts after the dinner. The way we would do this is we would draw names and set a price for how much each gift would cost.

One year as we were discussing this; I asked my members how much they would like to put in each gift. We agreed on $15.00 each. Once that price was set I then said; this year we’re going to do something a little different. Instead of passing out gifts to one another, let’s just take up the money we would spend and, find a family that is less blessed than we are and give them the money. Everyoe seemed to agree with that Idea. I mentioned this fact as we agreed on that concept. If each gift will cost and average of $15.00 then if there are four members in your family than that means your family will give $60.00 on the day we take up this money. Everyone understood what I was saying.

I now forget just how many people were in our Church at the time but, I haven’t forgottrn this fact. When we took up the money, it was less than half of what we should have taken up. That means that to someone ( a gift received would not have truly been given ). The people that didn’t give their money were expecting to receive a gift in return! If, within your mindset, you are expecting to get something in return for the gift you say you give then that that means that actualy it’s not a gift from you at all.

With that being said; often the giving of a true gift, not really expecting anything in return can be far more rewarding than the gift giver will ever expect it to be. That is the case in the true story I’m anot to share with you.

My family as I grew up was somewhat of an average family. It was six of us, my mom, dad, me and I had three sisters. My mom actually had five girls but, two of my sisters died almost at birth. We, as a family were somewhat poor but, I suppose that it wasn’t much difference in us than the average farm family around us, I just seen us as not having a lot of money, sometimes even to buy the things we really needed.

With that being said we always would have a fairly good Christmas. Mom and dad would see to it that we got the things we asked for as long as it wasn’t too expensive and, we were taught not only to ask for things we wanted but things we needed as well.

The one big problem that my family faced was that my dad at times would really struggle with drinking alcohol. Often he might go for months without drinking but, when he started he might drink for weeks. If you know anything about farm life then you know things of this sort can place an extra burden on the family and all the things that has to be done. One year I even remember having to get another family to come in and help us plant our cash crop because dad was not around to help us.

Before we go any farther with this story, I’d like to stop and say a few things that ( I believe ). First of all, I don’t like calling a person that has a drinking problem ( an alcoholic ). The Bible calls such people ( a drunkard ). The world has its way of redefining the words we see in the Bible. The world wants to define ( a drunkard ) as a sickness. The world likes to call many things by another name other than to simply call it sin. While telling a man or woman they have a sickness such as ( alcoholism ) instead of calling that person ( a drunkard ) had the ability to somewhat lessen the true conviction that people need to actually be born again by God’s Spirit. When, in reality that is what they actually need.

For example: let’s say ( the world ) actually helps someone that they call an alcoholic. That person actually quits drinking. Does that fact make them any closer to God the Father? Doesn’t it take acknowledging the fact you are a sinner and being born again from real conviction from that sin, to be where God truly desires us to be, no matter what that sin might be?

Another point that I’d like to make is that my dad, like many other men of that time served in World War Two. Again, ( I believe ) that many men and possibly women as well use alcohol to help them forget all they had seen in that war or, for that fact, any war. I do however realize that alcohol can become addictive and, at that, it can be hard to overcome that addiction. I also believe that people in gereral struggle with different levels of ability. Where one man might be able to overcome an addiction, that doesn’t mean every peron will; no matter what they do.

There’s people that are actually are born again but still struggle with the ability to overcome the sin in their lives. It becomes a problem with how people look at certain sin. For instance, not one of my family members at that time struggled with drinking like my dad did. Did that make us any better than he was in God’s eyes? It can actually get to the place that people become ( self righteous ) because they only see the sin of others, not their own. As far as my dad is concerned, it took me years to gain this knowledge! There are many ( born again believers ) that struggle with sin their whole lives. They are never able to overcome their sinful weakness and, they are often belittled by other believers because of their sinful weaknesses. The truth! We all have them, some are just more noticeable than others.

In 1968 my dad had basically overcome his drinking problem. My mom, sisters and I knew him well. In times past he would leave home with very good intentions. Sometimes maybe just going out to get bread or eggs, something of that nature. In our minds we knew when he should be back. If time moved foward, passed that time, we knew he had begin to drink again and would come home drunk. However, this year he hadn’t acted like that at all. We had come to the point that it was almost a forgotten thing in his passed.

On Christmas eve, 1968 my dad left home, telling my mom where he was going. It was about three 0’clock in the afternoon. As time passed we all knew without saying that he was out drinking again. Not one of us that I remember said anything anout it but, we all were hurt by this. We, as children were old enough to know all about Santa Claus and such but, my mom still would place things under the Christmas tree for us. My youngest sister was just about ten at the time. My oldest sister had graduated from high school and actually moved out of the house, she was going to school in another town. She and another lady roomed together to keep from having to drive so far everyday. However, she also was at home for Christmas.

That night around 11;30 pm I was in bed, I heard a pickup come up the driveway and knew it wasn’t my dad’s truck. I quickly got out of be and told my mom I would check on it, to see who it was. As I opened the back door, I recognized the young man, He was a good friend of mine, just a little older. He told me that my dad had gotten drunk at his house and, passed out on the couch. He would see to it that he came home the next morning. I relayed this message to my mom and went back to bed.

The next morning as we all got up, one at a time; Santa Claus had come. While we waited for a while for dad to come home, we decided to go ahead and open the presents we had given to each other. It was about ten O’clock, we were opening gifts when we heard dad’s truck drive up. As Children, we were still in school, we didn’t have much money to even think about buying gifts but, we would always give mom and dad, even each other a little something for Christmas.

When dad came in, he looked bad, I could tell he felt bad that, in more ways than one. We had all just about finished opening our gifts so, my olderst sister simply told dad to sit down and open his gifts. As he opened each gift, he thanked each of us for what we had given him. There was one big box left to open. It was from my oldest sister. She went to college and ,also worked a part time job there to help with her finances. I’d say this box was about an 18 inch cubic. As dad opent it, it was just another box inside it to open again. It got all the way down to a little box in the center of them all. When he opened the last box, it had a hundred dollar bill in that little box.

We often forget how much one hundred dollars was in 1968. In 1968 many people would’t make that much in two weeks working at their jobs. As my dad looked at that one hundred dollar bill; he said. This is more money than I spent this whole Christmas! My oldest sister looked at him when he said that and replied, daddy, all I asked from you is that you never let this happen again! I can’t remember if my dad even responded tothat or, if he even simply nodded. It really doesn’t matter because, if my dad ever had any alcohol to drink after that Christmas, I don’t know it.

If we go back to what I said: ( sometimes a gift received is not a gift given ). Can we argue that my oldest sister didn’t give a gift because she was asking something in return? I say ( no ). My sister had already gave this gift without the knowledge of the events that would transpire around this Christmas. I’ve always looked at my mom and, my oldest sister as prayer warriors. I’m sure that God used this situation as an answer to the prayers that had been prayed.

God’s conviction comes in many forms. Many years after my dad got right with God he shared this story with me. To set this up, we lived on a tobacco farm and had a few tobacco barns. We also went to a Methodist Church right down the road from our house. My dad told me that one day he and a friend of his were behind one of our barns, under to work shed drinking a beer. They were just talking to one another, not paying attention of their surroundings. At that time the pastor of our Church was a man named Preacher Brown. All of a sudden, unexpected to my dad and his friend, pastor Brown just walk under the shed and spoke to them. Dad told me that he and his friend both had a beer in their hands.

By the standards of this world; that might seem like a small thing today. However, at that time the very fact that our pastor caught him drinking truly brought great conviction on him. He told me that he never forgot that day or how he felt.

The Bible teaches us this: ( ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD, FOR THOSE THAT LOVE GOD, THE ONES CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE )( Romans 8:28 ) That scripture was one of my mom’s favorite scriptures, she quoted it very often; even when bad things happened.

As time moved foward, all of my mom and dad’s children married and moved on with their lives. After making many mistakes ( sin ) in my own personal life, I was born again in 1975. One of my sisters, her husband and my family began to visit an Independant Baptist Church. We ended up joining that Church. In 1977, my dad and mom started to visit that Church as well. Shortly after; my dad got right with God.

Although he already had a few grandchildren by that time; none of them were old enough to know anything about his life. I’ve shared this often. I even said this at his fumeral. The man that my mom, my sisters and I knew in 1968 and before was a totally different man to every one of my dad’s grandchildren. They all knew him as a saint of God, a man that could be completely trusted in any situation, a witness for Jesus Christ! He became a spiritual leader in his family and a man of wisdom, one that was an asset to any Church.

Each year as Christmas aproaches, I always remember that Christmas! I’m reminded of just how imperfect we all are, especially me! It would still take a few more years for me to see myself as the sinner I was. We often get so wrapped up, focused on someone eles sin that we cannot even see our own. As the years passed my dad and I actually became a souls-winning team! For years we would go out on visitation and witness to people we knew.

I feel lead to put this part of my family’s life in as well. Although my dad was not a Church going man, my mom was raised in Church and she made sure that my sisters and I attended Sunday School and preaching every Sunday. She faced some terrible things in those years but, she never faltered from her faith in Jesus Christ and his saving grace.

I often wonder, what if she would have said; well, my husband won’t go to Church so I might as well quit too. ( I believe ) that her faithfulness actually led to the salvation of her whole family! Far too often the denounce the very power of God simply by the things we do. Biblically speaking, that’s just an extention of every person that has ever had faith in God’s work from the very beginning.

If we go back the the verse I quoted:

( Roman’s 8:28 )

AND WE KNOW THAT ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD, TO THEM WHO ARE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.

This verse is a very powerful verse to me and, I’ve seen it play out often in my life. Let’s look at another verse:

( Hebrews 11:6 )

BUT WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM: FOR HE THAT COMETH TO GOD MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS, AND THAT HE IS A REWARDER OF THEM THAT DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM.

It’s two things I often say when I quote this first verse, how much do you love him and, just how willing are you to be used for his purpose and not your own? It takes ( faith ) to truly be willing to see God’s will come to pass. It says in the second verse, ( we must believe ) ( that he is ) and ( he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him ).

( Must Believe )! It’s far more to that statement than meets the eye! Consider: Even on this Christmas day that this act took place, there is no way my mom could have seen the Godly things that would transpire in the next few years and, all the way up until her death! However, but believing that God is able to do far above what we might ask. Look at these verses:

( Ephesians 3:14-21 )

FOR THIS CAUSE I BOW MY KNEES UNTO THE FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, ( 15 ) OF WHOM THE WHOLE FAMILY IN HEAVEN AND EARTH IS NAMED, ( 16 ) THAT HE WOULD GRANT YOU ACCORDING TO THE RICHES OF HIS GLORY, TO BE STRENGTHENED WITH MIGHT BY HIS SPIRIT IN THE INNER MAN; ( 17 ) THAT CHRIST MAY DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS BY FAITH; THAT YE, BEING ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE, ( 18 ) MAY BE ABLE TO COMPREHAND WITH ALL SAINTS WHAT IS THE BREADTH, AND LENGTH, AND DEPTH, AND HEIGHT; ( 19 ) AND TO KNOW THE LOVE OF CHRIST, WHICH PASSETH KNOWLEDGE, THAT YE MIGHT BE FILLED WITH ALL THE FULNESS OF GOD. ( 20 ) NOW UNTO HIM THAT IS ABLE TO DO EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL THAT WE ASK OR THINK, ACCORDING TO THE POWER THAT WORKETH IN US, ( 21 ) UNTO HIM BE GLORY IN THE CHURCH BY CHRIST JESUS THROUGHOUT ALL AGES, WORLD WITHOUT END. AMEN.

I wrote all those verses that you might see what he is saying. However, I really desire for you to see this one part. ( exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, ACCORDING TO THE POWER THAT WORKETH IN US ).

You must understand this. The power that dwelt within my mom and my sister on Christmas day ( 1968 ) was not yet within me! But, I’m watching and seeing things as they happen. When my oldest sister told my dad ( not to let this happen again ) it was her ( inner man ) that was speaking. What she spoke was words that was on the heart of my mom, by that same inner man.

In just a few short years, not only did God save my dad but, he saved me as well. Between those two dates, I put my mom through some things that she didn’t deserve, nor did my sisters or dad. However, it took those things in my life, just like the things in my dad’s life to bring us to the place of our salvation.

In closing, I’m sure if my mom could read this she would tell me just how many times she failed to be all that God desired for her to be. The problem, we are all sinners and fall way short of all God desires for us to be! I know I have. My youngest daughter said a few things to me a few months ago that made me stop and see myself.

I told her that ( she was right )! the failures that I have made as a born again believer have brought about hurt in a lot of people’s lives, I totally realize that as a man. However, all I can do is confess my imperfections! I also ( by faith )( by believing ) know that my God is able, ( according to the power that worketh within me ) to do far above what I might ask or think!

In my flesh, just as in any born again believer, it must be the Spirit of God that we place our faith in and not in our abilty to do anything. We all are sinners at our best. ( I believe ) God can use each of us to bring about his will when we trust him and seek, even when we are weak; to do his will in our lives.

To someone, even to me, every day is a ( Christmas Day 1968 )! We can’t see all that transpires in any person’s life but, God the Father can! When we actually fall in love with God the Father by his Spirit, when we become willing to be used in all things ( according to his purpose ), not our own, when we walk by faith, ( believe ) he is! And, not only that but, that he is able to do exceeding abundantly above what we think or ask. Then, no matter what we face in our flesh, as time moves foward, ( God’s will ) will bring ( his will ) to pass, not in out time but his!

In ( 2 Chronicles 1:7 ) God appeared unto Solomon and aked him ( what shall I give thee )? Solomon’s answer was very telling if you will read the complete text. ( What do you want to most ) I might asked each reader of this article? Then, what price are you willing to pay for what you desire? God’s desire is to bless his people! He desire for each of us ( to believe he is ) and that ( he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him )!

As we approach this Christmas day; what gift will you give? Will it truly be a ( gift given )? My gift to you on this Christmas is to give you a ( planted seed ). A seed that might begin to spiritually grow within each person and, as time moves foward; each person might see the fruit that comes from that planted spiritual seed that you will replant time and time again!

Merry Christmas and; may God richly bless each of you!

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7

THE CHIMES OF TIME!

What can be seen in an old house?

I went back to this place a few days ago just to see what it looked like once again. This is the house of my great grandparents. I remember going to this house as a little boy for a family reunion. There was a farm trailer sitting in the driveway with table spreads on it just filled with all kinds of food. It was a vast amount of people there; I suppose all family members of mine that I would either; in time get to know or, we would part and possibly never see one another again.

This house sit at the end of the driveway. On the left of that driveway were houses and, on the right was an open field. We used it as a baseball field, especially on that day.

My great grandmother died in 1960. I was only nine years old. We seldom went to their house, that is ; the best I can remember. However, I did get to know many of the family members and seen them often as I continued to grow up.

As I entered the driveway to my great grandparents old house, I seen a great deal of changes that have occurred over the years.

That fact is the reason I’m writing this. While just looking at the picture of this house through the eyes of people like me that remembers it from years ago, it actually hasn’t changed that much but, the beauty that I remember around it has!

I completely realize that life unfolds as we move forward in time. I can actually say the very same thing about the house I live in. I live in the house I was born in. I use to be pasture around it with just the farm buildings we needed around it but, now the farm is populated with houses.

My wife is from Dayton, Ohio. When we go back to her hometown she often shows me a place where her grandparents had a dairy. Now, it’s all stop lights, roads and shopping centers.

Time has always brought about change however, what else has changed over the years since my great grandparents have past on and, in what direction?

My great grandparents had a number of children. I can name most of them, at least the family members that stayed somewhat close by but, if I try I might miss one or two. The number of children is not important as I consider looking into the change that happens in life. It’s up to each child or person to decide how their personal lives unfold.

In my rememberance my great grandmother was a very spiritual woman, a prayer warrior in her community. However, her husband, my great grandfather was not as spiritual as she was. It’s not that he was a bad husband or man but, he just didn’t put his focus in life on Jesus Christ. My great grandmother did!

As I grew up, I became an electrician. I use to go down in the area of their house and do work. As I would meet people and use my great grandparents as a reference to who I was, almost everytime I mentioned their name; this would be the response. ( She ), being my great grandmother was a praying woman.  Back in those days they often had what was called ( cottage prayer meetings ). Many times people would come to one person’s home and have gospel singing and preaching right there at the house. Many people actually got saved at cottage prayer meeting in those days.

As people would take turns having those meetings, the people that lived near by would come to that particular house to be a part of the singing and preaching. I assume that’s how so many people heard my great grandmother pray. Now, I want you to take notice of something here! Did you notice it was my grandmother and not my grandfather that stood out spiritually? Can we not look at that as somewhat of a shame? Why is it often so uncommon for ( the man ) ( the husband ) to take the spiritual lead in a home?

As we look at this; can you see how Satan can take the advantage, causing the children in any family to have a distinct choice of to whom to follow? I believe that my great grandparents had nine children. I could be wrong but, that’s not the important part of the point that is being made. I would quess that my great grandmother seen to it that her children went to Church very often, at least every Sunday. With that being said, there’s a great difference in going to Church because you are made to go or, because you choose to go.

Time has a way of destroying the beauty of things around us. That is true with people as well as things. For instance; let’s say my great grandmother had all nine of her children lined up on a single pew on any Sunday morning. Do you see the beauty in that picture? But, just how much of that beauty is a true picture? Where were the hearts of the children?  I know, because I’ve been there! I know that very often, where ever a child’s heart is at that time; that can change a time moves foward, and that change, for the better or worse.

With that fact being known, you can see very well the spiritual mindset of families, what’s real, what’s not as the chimes of time ring out. Just like the noticeable decay of things, buildings and even communities; we can very well see the spiritual decay in the lives of the extended families. and that, of one that at one time had such a very powerful witness for Jesus Christ.

I’d like to make a point here. When I went to the old house of my great grandparents, I also decided to got to their grave site which is just a few miles away. When I found their graves in the graveyard of Mill Creek Baptist Church, I noticed something. My great grandfather lived fifteen years after my great grandmother died. He died in 1975. Guess what? I read that on the tombstone! That means that someone had to care enough to have the ( death date ) added on that tombstone fifteen years after his wife had passed away. As I walked around in that graveyard I noticed that some of my relatives didn’t have a ( death date ) although they had passed away some time after their husband or wife had. Can we see this also as adecay in the spiritual mindset of our family descendants, a lack of concern, a ( what’s in it for me mindset )?

As people, we have a basic understnding that ( the chimes of time ) is going to ring out, there is no stopping what we call time. However, we do have a choice how we use the time that is given us by the God of this universe. Let’s consider something here. Let’s say that I’m correct that my great grandparents had nine children. Let’s say they all stayed within a few miles to the old house in the picture. Let’s say that all nine children averaged having five child a piece and, their children also stayed in the same area and they all averaged having two children a piece. Let’s also say that they all became members of Mill Creek Baptist Church just as their mother, grandmother and great grandmother was. How many members would there be at that Church today? Let’s say that everyone of these people also had the same powerful prayer life that this mother, grandmother and great grandmother had; what would the Mill Creek community look like today?

As I stood and looked at this old house, a house that use to be the home of a very Godly woman, one that strived to be all she could for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As I noticed the massive changes all around this old house I also wondered, What is the spiritual mindset of this plase today? How many of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, even now beyond that actually picked up the ( mantle of Jesus Christ ) that she laid down in 1960 and took it foward for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?

All any person has to do is to look around, you can easily find the answer to that question! Is it possible that on the very same ground that my great grandmother use to exalt Jesus Christ in powerful prayer, being a powerful witness to her own children and beyond; that now, as the chimes of time have rang out, that now the only time his name is mentioned is in a slang manner? ( Cursing his name )?

If that happens to be the case, can we blame my great grandmother for that? I mention that because I like to bring things down to a very personal, individual level. That because, it’s all about ( you ) and the personal choices you make, physically and spiritually.

As a great grandson of Nanny Shotwell, a powerful prayer warrior for Jesus Christ, a great witness for his saving grace, what have I done to help advance the spiritual power of Mill Creek Baptist Church community or, the community to which I now live? Can we take that question and relate it to each generation before me? My mom, being her ganddaughter, my grandmother, being her daughter; what did we each do to maintain the spiritual level of life that is her legecy? You can look at yourself, your mother or father, which being her possible grandson or granddaughter and then, her son or daughter. What did they do to continue her spiritual legecy that she so powerfilly set forth?

At our very best, everything we own or, are physically a part of upon this earth will eventually decay away. It will become someone elses and, what they expect it to be as the chimes of time ring out. All things will grow old and become worthless as time moves foward. With this being the case, it’s not so with the spiritual aspects of our lives. Just as Nanny Shotwell was a prayer warrior, a witness for Jesus Christ, it can be just as powerful in your life as it was hers, never growing old or corrupt in any form. It can be just as new in you as it was in her from the very beginning.

Let’s consider a point. As the chimes of time moved foward; there was a couple that got married. They had a son, his name was ( Bunnie ). Not far away was another couple that also married. They had a daughter. they named her ( Nanny  ). One day, the young man and, this young lady came together and now, they are going to start a family. Do you realize that this young man and, this young lady is actually no different than Adam and Eve in the very beginning? 

If God the Father had created both, Adam and Eve, then he simply walked off; there is no way that coulple could have known God even existed. God had to reveal himself to them, teaching them, instructing them in righteousness. Can we say the same about the couple that came to be called Mr. and Mrs. Bunnie Shotwell? Didn’t God the Father have to use someone to reveal himself to that couple? In that sense, didn’t he reveal himself to them? Now, I understand that there is one basic difference. In the lives of Bunnie and Nanny Shotwell; someone else could have shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. However, isn’t it the responsibility of ( the father ) and ( the mother ) to be the spiritual guide to their own children? 

The point is that as each family begins, as they begin having children it becomes their place to instruct those children in righteousness. Nanny Shotwell did just that! I’d like to show you a verse  the Lord laid on my heart when I made that statement. 

                                                                            ( Genesis 4:25 )

AND ADAM KNEW HIS WIFE AGAIN: AND SHE BARE A SON, AND CALLED HIS NAME SETH: FOR GOD, SAID SHE, HATH APPOINTED ME ANOTHER SEED INSTEAD OF ABEL, WHOM CAIN SLEW.

I’d like to try and make a spiritual point from this verse as it relates to Nanny Shotwell, my great grandmother. Most people that has any knowledge of scripture know that Adam and Eve has two sons in the beginning. Cain, being born first and, Abel was born second.  Within these two boys we see a picture of each of us being born first in the flesh and, by God’s grace, one day being born again; which is the second birth. That being ( Abel ). He was the spiritual seed of Adam and Eve. He was the one that was to carry the story, the truth about the need of God’s redeeming grace foward as ( the Chimes of Time ) moved foward. If we, as individuals are not careful, we will allow ( Our Flesh ) destroy ( The Spirit ) that can live within us.

We see in this picture that the fleshly man ( Cain ) overtook ( Abel ) and killed him; leaving this world without anyone to carry the ( salvation story ) to the next generation. When God gave Eve another ( man child ) ( Seth ) she seen a great possibility that he could be ( that seed ) that would take the ( message of salvation ) ( God’s redeeming grace ) to the next generation.

In relating this to ( Nanny Shotwell ) she became at least one of those seeds in the family of her mom and dad. I can’t speak for any of the rest of the children but, I know she did. As a picture of this, we know that Bunnie and Nanny Shotwell had more that one Child. But, what did they all do? We know that each of them were born in the flesh. However, to ever be of any use for the power of God, they each had to make a spiritual choice to be ( born again ). At some point, as my great grandmother prayed for God to show her children the ( saving, redeeming grace of God ) one of her children became the very first one to be born again, to begin a journey for Jesus Christ. 

I can imagine ( Nanny Shotwell ) shouting from the top of her voice: ( GOD SHE SAID, HATH GIVEN ME A CHILD ) ( TO CARRY ON THE REDEEMING GRACE, SAVING GRACE ) to show forth the very power of the blood of Jesus Christ. As I say this; it’s very possible that more that one of my great grandmother’s children excepted Christ as their savior, maybe everyone of them, which would be a great blessing. However, through the facts of life; ( the born again ) experience had to take place in order for the gospel to go foward. Not one of ( Nanny Shotwell’s ) children could depend on her salvation to save them. 

That’s the point I’m making concerning the passion of Eve in relating her to my great grandmother. Someone, has to experience the grace of God in each generation in order for the message to move foward. The sad truth is; just because you join Church, say you believe in Jesus Christ and get baptized does not mean you are going to live a life ( dedicated to Christ ) ot even be a witness for him.

I’ll give you a personal example of this. My dad and I went out on visitation one night and visited a family member of ours. The man in this household had passed away. He, I believe, had been a deacon in a local baptist Church for many years. As his wife invited us into their home, she had a lady visitor there. The lady told us her name and said that they had been life long friends. As we went through the greeting process, began to fellowship with one another, I asked the lady visitor if she had been born again? I desired to know if she knew Jesus Christ as her savior.  

She expressed the fact that she had never been saved! In her conversation as we talked she had shared with us that she was sixty-nine years old. As I sit there, looking in her eyes, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, explaining that she was a sinner in need of Jesus Christ, she listen to my every word. She even admitted that she knew she was a sinner. This lady sit there with tears running down both cheeks. However, she would not except Jesus Christ as her savior. When I finished, this is what I desire for you to see. This lady said these words ( I’m sixty- nine years old ) and I have never heard that story. 

I replied. ma’am how long to you think it will be before you hear it again? When my dad and I had a word of prayer and went out to the car, I sit there for a minute, looked at my dad and said. Can you believe that? We just left a home of a deacon of a baptist Church, sit there and fellowshipped with his wife and one of her life long friends and, they have never told her about Jesus Christ!

Friends, it doesn’t take but one generation and, ( this world is going to hell ). What if ( Seth ) hadn’t been born and, it would have been left up to ( Cain ) to carry the message of ( God’s redeeming grace ) to the world? If you go back and see the lives of ( Seth ) and ( Cain ) in Genesis; and you happen to be a descendant of ( Bunnie and Nanny Shotwell ), who would you say you are nore like, ( Cain ) or ( Seth )? 

I feel impressed by God’s Spirit to call one more family member’s name here. One son of ( Bunnie and Nanny Shotwell’s ) was named ( Berkley ). As a young boy, a young man and, as my own spiritual life unfolded; I had the priviledge of working around this man a few times. When I became a pastor, uncle Berkley use to come to my Church very often at the evening service and sing for us. ( What a blessing! 

I could say a lot about him but, Over the years I would think ( I’d like to pattern my life after this man’s walk )! I actually made a casette tape once with my Church singing gospel music on it. On the beginning of that tape I simply talked to him about ten minutes and shared that with him, just how much a blessing he was to me. One Sunday morning when I got up it had come a little snow. I went to Church anyway. My mom and dad was the only other people that came that day. We just prayed and was going to leave. My dad looked at my mom and said: ( let’s ride down to Berkley’s for a while.

I gave that tape to them and asked them to give it to him. The next time I seen my mom and dad, they told me that as soon as they gave it to him he put it into his casette player and, they listened to it. The said that he was very blessed by the tape and sit there and shed tears of joy!

I share that story; not to bring any praise to myself or to him. I simply desire to make this point. If you notice, I didn’t say that about my granddad or grandmother did I? That statement is not meant to take anything away from them but, the fact speak for themselves. It will do that in their lives, my life and, even your life. If we walk a spiritual life, people around us will notice it. If we walk like ( Cain ) that will be noticed as well!

The fact that children are born to a Godly parent or parents does not automatically make them servants of the ( Most High God ). that is a personal choice. One of my favorite points I always try to make is this. There is a difference in the ( Holy Ghost ) and the ( Holy Spirit ). I’ll go back to ( Bunnie and Nanny Shotwell ) to make my point. Let’s just assume that both of my great grandparents were ( born again ). Again, this is not to be seen as harsh but, simply to make a spiritual point. If both of my great grandparents were born again then, that means that they both had the ( Holy Spirit ) within them. However, That Spirit within any person must become ( the Ghost of God ) to be seen by the world! 

( Nanny Shotwell ) allowed that Spirit to be seen. She placed the will of God within her above her own personal fleshly desires and, it was noticeable. In the case of her husband, most of the time, we seen ( Bunnie Shotwell ). We can’t be a judge of what’s in a man’s heart. I proclaimed for the sake of argument that they both were ( born again ). The question is; are you the ( Ghost of God )? When people see you, what do they see? Do they simply see you or, can they see ( God in you ).

If you ever come to Roxboro, North Carolina. Highway 501 is main street in our little town. If you ride north out of town on 501, you see a little store on the right hand side of the road. It’s called S.P. Gentry’s Store. It’s in the Mill Creek area. Just beyond that store on the left you will see ( Hayward Bailey Road ). If you turn there, about a quarter mile on your right, if you’ll look out behind all the things that is now built up in front of that house, you will see the home of Bunnie Nd Nanny Shotwell ). 

In that little house, my great grandmother raised her children in the nurture and admonition of our Lord and Savior ( Jesus Christ ). As far as I know, all of those children and their spouses have passed away. Possibly, a great number of her grandchildren have passed as well. However, what you see there now is still for the most part her descendants. If you get a chance to stick around for a while, you can decide. Is this place still a shining light for Jesus Christ or, what do you see the most? 

I personally don’t live on that end of the county. I live on the other side. If find 158 west toward Yanceyville, North Carolina, go out about five mile out of town to the ( Thee Hester Road ) on the left. My wife and I call that area our home.

My wife and I live in the house I was raised in. My mom was a granddaughter of ( Bunnie and Nanny Shotwell ). We actually have the same situation around us as you see there. We are all family, descendants of ( Bunnie and Nanny Shotwell ). I share that simply to make a point. Whether you ride down Hayward Bailey Road or, down Thee Hester Road; what you will find is a lot of ( Hell deserving Sinners ). Each of us has to make a choice of whether we will allow God to work through us or, we simply live for ourselves.

I’d like for each person that reads this to understand this very important fact! When Eve made this statement ( God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel ). She was making the point and, very passionate about it, that someone has to be willing to take ( TRUTH ) to a lost and dying world!

My great grandmother was determined to see to it that ( the truth ) did not stop on her watch. I thank God for that fact! Some of her children seen to it that ( that same truth ) didn’t stop with them. Some of her grandchildren seen to it that ( that same truth ) didn’t stop with them, my mom was one of them. 

I as ( Bunnie and Nanny Shotwell’s ) great grandson am determined that (  very same truth ) will not die on my watch! As long as God allows life to remain in me; I will shout from the housetops that Jesus Christ died and rose again that I might have life. My desire is that I always be his ( Ghost ) meaning that: ( He can be seen far above my sinful flesh )! 

I’d like for you to consider one more fact before I close. From the creation of Adam and Eve until the flood of Noah was somewhere around two thousand years. Seth and his family, we see in scripture carried the ( redeeming power of God ) to the world. However, after two thousand years, that voice became less and less. It was to the point that when the flood came, only eight people were on that Ark.

Today, some two thousand years since that flood; look at us now! We have a Church on every corner, often multiple pastors in them. Many of those Churches are filled with people but, just many of them are proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ? We often don’t consider this but, ( the Ark of Jesus Christ ) has been in the process of being built for over two thousand years. Many people over that period of time have given themselves, sacrificed their lives as in, allowing the ( Ghost of God ) to be seen in them. However. just how many are truly born again in the world we live in today? How many people actually proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ with their mouth?

When Jesus Christ shouts in the rapture ( come up hither ), God just shut the door of ( the Ark of Jesus Christ )!  Are you, as an individual ( born again )? Do you know Jesus Christ and his saving grace? If you answer this question ( yes )! Then I beg you to allow God’s Spirit to be seen in you Just as our Praying Great Grandmother did! Become a voice for the power of God, You become ( His Ghost ) that the people around you might see him in you!

As long as we have life within us, it’s never too late to do a work for Jesus Christ! If you decide to ride and see the house at the beginning of this article, the home of my ( great grandmother ). As you stand and look at it, also look at the potential! Isaiah was a man that stood and cried ( WOE UNTO THEM )! However, In ( Isaiah 6:5 ) God came down and spoke to him. At that point he said ( WOE IS ME )! In ( Verse 8 ) 0f that chapter; notice what Isaiah says:

ALSO I HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LORD, SAYING, WHOM SHALL I SEND, AND WHO WILL GO FOR US? THEN SAID I, HERE AM I: SEND ME !

It becomes awfully easy for me to sit in judgement of those around me, when in fact, it’s not my brother, nor my sister, Lord, but me that stands in need of prayer!  As the ( Chimes of my time ) slowly comes to and end in my life; Lord help me to be a light for your saving grace! Lord. help me to pray like my great grandmother did!

 THE GRACE OF GOD IS UPON ME! THE WILL OF GOD IS WITHIN ME! GOD GRANT ME THE POWER TO DIE TO MYSELF AND CHANGE TO WORLD AROUND ME! WHEN I LEAVE THIS WORLD, MAY THE GENERATION BEHIND ME AND BEYOND SAY OF ME: ( HE WAS A PRAYING MAN )!

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7

 

 

( CHOOSE YOU ) WHOM YOU WILL SERVE

What is the essence of you? When you wake up each morning, what truly drives you? What causes you to move foward?

With these questions on your mind, I’d like to show you a verse of scripture.

( 1 John 2:16 )

FOR ALL THAT IS IN THIS WORLD, THE LUST OF THE FLESH, AND THE LUST OF THE EYES, AND THE PRIDE OF LIFE, IS NOT OF THE FATHER, BUT IS OF THE WORLD.

This verse means exactly what it says. No matter what your flesh or eyes lust for, God is not in any of it! No matter how good you are at what you do as part of this world, how proud you are of all you have done in this world or, of this world; God is not in any of it. There’s a saying that goes like this ( HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS AWAY, ONLY THAT WHICH IS DONE FOR CHRIST WILL LAST )!

If you follow me, read things I write, you probably already know that my greatest burden, passion is seeking to reach ( Church members ) that are still of this world in their spiritual walk. In other words; they say they believe in Jesus Christ, they’ve been baptized and, afe members of a local Church however, they have never experienced the new birth in Jesus Christ, that have never been born again.

There is a dividing place; a place that will always seperate each born again believer from the cares of this world. So, how do we define that place in any person’s life? Is it possible to do so? Personally, I believe that it’s something that God, by his Holy Spirit must show each individual within themselves. However, it will take, in most cases someone that is truly willing to bring that knowledge to light within an individual’s heart. When the word ( heart ) is used here it’s speaking of the ( center of your being ).

I believe that the word of God gives us pictures of what I’m speaking of; we just have to be able to recognize those things when we see them. We must allow God’s Spirit to show us just who we are. I’ll use a couple of passage to make my point. The first one we’ll look into is:

( Genesis 13:5-10 )

AND LOT ALSO, WHICH WENT WITH ABRAM, HAD FLOCKS, AND HERDS, AND TENTS. ( 6 ) AND THE LAND WAS NOT ABLE TO BEAR THEM, THAT THEY MIGHT DWELL TOGETHER: FOR THEIR SUBSTANCE WAS GREAT, SO THEY COULD NOT DWELL TOGETHER ( 7 ) AND THERE WAS A STRIFE BETWEEN THE HERDMEN OF ABRAM’S CATTLE AND THE HERDMEN OF LOT’S CATTLE: AND THE CANAANITE AND THE PERIZZITE DWELLED IN THE LAND. ( 8 ) AND ABRAM SAID UNTO LOT, LET THERE BE NO STRIFE, I PRAY THEE, BETWEEN ME AND THEE, AND BETWEEN MY HERDMEN AND THY HERSMEN, FOR WE BE BRETHREN. ( 9 ) IS NOT THE WHOLE LAND BEFORE THEE? SEPERATE THYSELF, I PRAY THEE, FROM ME: IF THOU WILT TAKE THE LEFT HAND, THEN I WILL GO TO THE RIGHT; OR IF THOU DEPART TO THE RIGHT HAND, THEN I WILL TO THE LEFT. ( 10 ) AND LOT LIFTED UP HIS EYES, AND BEHELD THE PLAINS OF JORDON, THAT THEY WERE WELL WATERED EVERY WHERE, BEFORE THE LORD DESTROYED SODOM AND GOMORRAH.

As you read this, I want you to notice something about Abram. To Abram, it had nothing to do with what he could see with his eyes. His heart: ( the center of his being ) was steadfast on the fact that God would provide for him no matter what he could see with his eyes. I will say this, Abram was not a perfect man, just like each of us. We all have our weaknesses. If you’ll go back to ( Genesis 12 ) and read the first few verses; you will see that he was supposed to seperate himself from his family. He made a choice to bring Lot with him However, he now sees the wisdom of God in asking him to do just that.

Even in the picture we see, each of these men had far more than either of them actually needed. We see that as we read. If I had to make a guess about the strife between the herdmen; I’d say that Lot’s herdmen were picking to best grass spots and, watered spots for their herds and leaving the left overs for Abram’s herdmen.

In my spiritual eye, why couldn’t both men just do away wirh all they didn’t need and get it down to just what they needed? We can see the ( pride of life ) in that picture. With that point being made, it still stands to reason that Abram was growing spiritually and seen the need to seperate himself from lot. Even at that, he did’t just pick a way to go. He allowed Lot to make that choice. Within that choice, we see the ( lust of the eyes ) anf ( the lust of the flesh ). Lot chose according to what he could see.

As we consider ( the world ) and ( to whom we will serve ), let’s look at these verses a little deeper. If you will notice; in these verses, Abram pointed out that ( there were Canaanites and Perizzites ) in the land. As we look at Abram and Lot; they can be seen as God’s people living among ( the people of the world ). What happens to ( the people of the world ) when they see ( God’s people ) that have strife among them? As far as the world is concerned; have we caused great confusion as believers because we can’t come to an agreement about what truth is? The point is that Abram seen the fact that ( the world ) was seeing the strife between them.

As we look at this, let’s go back to the simpliest form of this. Often as ( Church members ) we forget how the world sees us. There’s not and, cannot be but one truth. If we say that Abram was truth and Lot was not in this picture; we can clearly see who God blessed as we continue to read. If you’ll notice, it was Abram ( God’s seed ) that was concerned about how the world seen him. At some point as time moved foward in the New Testament; there became ( a strife ) between what truth was and ( some man’s opinion ). At that point ( denominations was formed ), bring confusion unto this world.

Although Abram made a ( spiritual mistake ) chosing to allow Lot to go with him, at this point he ( seperated himself from the mistake he had made and moved foward spiritually. I’ve made this point before. I’ll use myself as an example. I got saved, was born again in a baptist Church. does that fact make ( the baptist ) correct in all they do? No it’s not! Is that denomination ( absolute truth )? No, it isn’t! What it means is that ( the truth ) and my ability to know it just moved into my heart. He ( the Holy Spirit ) is the one that directs me to truth, not a denomination!

( TO WHOM DO YOU SERVE )? Are you settling for what some man teaches you or, can you seperate yourself from what man teaches and follow the leading of the ( Spirit of God )? When we simply settle for less than the ( truth ) aren’t we being more like Lot and not at all like Abram?

So, we see a spiritual picture here with these two men. Before we get into the spiritual aspect any deeper, let’s also look at the next scripture God laid on my heart.

( Ruth 1:16-17 )

AND RUTH SAID, INTREAT ME NOT TO LEAVE THEE, OR TO RETURN FROM FOLLOWING AFTER THEE: FOR WHETHER THOU GOEST, I WILL GO; AND WHERE THOU LODGEST, I WILL LODGE: THY PEOPLE SHALL BE MY PEOPLE, AND THY GOD MY GOD: ( 17 ) WHERE THOU DIEST, WILL I DIE, AND THERE WILL I BE BURIED: THE LORD DO SO TO ME, AND MORE ALSO, IF OUGHT BUT DEATH PART THEE AND ME,

Here again, we see a spiritual picture of two people. In this picture, in this book, we see Naomi a woman and her husband that left the hardship as it unfolded in ( Israel ) and went to ( Moab ) a worldly land. There; her sons took two wives from this land. In time, her husband and, both sons died. Naomi is now returning to her homeland. She is seeking to persuade her daughters in law to stay in their land.

We see in this verse that Ruth is determined to go with her. She is very willing to give up all that she is and become exactly what Naomi and her people are! If you will study this all the way out, you will find that Ruth actually is a great grandparent of the people of Jesus Christ!

The contrast between these two sets of people can be seen in two different lights. While we can see Abram as a type of a new believer simply growing away from the things of this world, learning as he goes foward spiritually, we see Naomi and a spiritual person that choose to ( what we might call ) backslide and, go back into the world. Then, she decided to go back to her spiritual roots, Ruth was determined to become part of that spiritual life.

What we often fail to be taught or, see is the need to leave this world and to allow God’s Spirit to transform us into all ( that Spirit ) would have us be. Can you see how Lot was drawn to this world and all the good things he could see? Abram was blessed because he chose to place his faith in God the Father.

In all of Naomi’s failures, Ruth could still see a need for spiritual things in her life and was determined to follow her footsteps back to where God always wanted her to be.

We, like both Lot and Naomi are drawn to the things of this world. Even as believers; when things in our lives are hard we lean often on our own understanding and not on the faith we have in the will of God.

Lot can be see more as a man that only knows the things of the world. Naomi is more like a believer that trusts more in the world than her faith in God.

Personally, I believe that both Lot and a Naomi were believers. They both just made bad spiritual choices in their lives. However, in the world we live in there are many that are not saved and seek the pleasures, good things of this world. Both Lot and Naomi were blessed because of the spiritual knowledge they each had witnessed. What happens to people that never have that spiritual knowledge?

Before we move on and, with the concept of spiritual knowledge in mind, let’s look at Lot for a minute. Lot was the nephew of Abram. So, let’s just assume he knew something about the spiritual walk of Abram. He had even acknowledged God the Father but, he had his eyes on worldly things.

As we look at the herdsmen of both Abram and Lot, in most cases they were all family members and the wives they had married plus their children. We know that Lot chose the things he could see with his eyes. Was he not leading his children in that same sinful direction? If we continue to follow Lot, we will see that God saved Lot from destruction but, what happened to all that were with him? We’re they not destroyed?

As we get into ( CHOOSE WHOM YOU WILL SERVE ) this will be a major point. If we look at Naomi, she turned back to God the Father, Ruth went with her, choosing to face anything necessary to do so. Because of that choice we can watch the blessed things that happened as time moved forward. That is, even the birth of Jesus Christ! Ruth being in that line, brought about faith unto salvation of this world.

Also, that spiritual line we watch in Naomi and Ruth came from the loins of Abram. Remember the ( heart )? ( The center of one’s being )? The very fact that we, as we live today have the possibility of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ is directly connected to the heart of these people. However, where Lot? Where are his descendants ?

When we us the word ( descendants) in the spiritual sense; it’s much deeper that just those that are in our physical family line. It goes to the people that believe in God, the blood of Jesus Christ because of our faith, our witness as we walk through the time we are here on earth.

If we look at Ruth for instance. She was actually not any kin to Naomi was she? Ruth was a Gentle that married Naomi’s son. I’d like to show you something about Naomi in a spiritual sense, making a spiritual point. We can view Naomi as a type of the Church living in a sin cursed world. Just as Naomi wasn’t perfect, neither is the Church. However, it’s not within our physical beings that brings about spiritual regeneration but, it’s our inner man, our faith, it’s the seed of our being, Jesus Christ, God’s Spirit within us!

As I mention this, I’m not necessarily speaking of a local Church. I’m speaking of the ( Church universal) the body of Christ. We must distinguish between ( the local Church) and those that are truly born of God’s Spirit, born again. Let’s look at this verse.

Jude 1:11

WOE UNTO THEM! FOR THEY HAVE GONE IN THE WAY OF CAIN, AND RAN GREEDILY AFTER THE ERROR OF BALAAM FOR REWARD, AND PERISHED IN THE GAINSAYING OF CORE.

All three of these men mentioned were men that had the ability to seek and walk with God. The point that Jude is making is that there are members of Churches that are exactly like these three men. All they do has nothing to do with the will of God but, it’s all about themselves. Again, as we continue in ( WHOM YE SHALL SERVE ) these are the things we must point out!

( THE WAY OF CAIN )

When we consider Cain, the firstborn son of Adam; just how many different things could he have been taught? As we look at this, let’s begin with what God had already told Adam. I often make this point when speaking about this. God didn’t tell both Adam and Eve about the ( The Fruit of the Tree of knowledge of God and Evil ). He only told Adam. So, doesn’t that leave the responsibility of teaching Eve up to Adam? We can say that God did come down in the cool of the day to fellowship with them, I realize that; however can we look at that as a type of people going to Church on Sunday morning? A man takes his wife to Church on Sunday morning. The pastor has less than an hour with the whole congregation. The husband has the rest of the week with his wife. As I make this statement; I wonder just how much the average person pays attention to the pastor on Sunday?

I heard a story once about a pastor standing and preaching to his people. A man came in the door of the Church and began to steal all the coats and hats that were hanging in the vestibule of the Church. The pastor was the only one to see him. He yelled at least three times. ( SOMEONE’S STEALING ALL THE HATS AND COATS )! Not one person even looked back to see, therefore the preacher just continued to preach his message.

After thr service, all the people seen their coats and hats were gone. They questioned the pastor about it. He replied, I shouted three times about it, no one even looked back. The people replied; we thought you were just preaching.

The point I’m making about this is that ( spiritual teching ) goes much deeper that just a pastor on Sunday morning or, even just a man and his wife reading the Bible at night and praying together. There must be a noticeable difference in the everyday activities of a husband such as the job he has, hobbies he likes and, his spiritual walk with God continually. Our hobbies and jobs can be a great part of the world but, our spiritual walk must take the precedence in our lives, even as we do all the other things we do.

God had given Adam the responsibility to be the caretaker of the garden, to name the animals. ( Genesis 2: 8-20 ). However, that wasn’t the reason that Adam was here was it? Both Adam and Eve were placed here to fellowship with God the Father. Do you realze just how close Adam and Eve came to being seperated from God forever? In my heart ( I believe ) that both Adam and Eve realized just how close thay came to that and, ( I believe ) that they knew the importance of God killing an animal, shedding blood that they might be redeemed! ( I believe ) it was so real to them that when they let the garden, began to have children, they taught their children all about the grace of God.

When I asked the question; just how many things could have Cain been taught; don’t forget ( the serpent ) was still all about them! He has a powerful influence on any person and, especially on those that won’t believe in the blood sacrifice, with the importance thereof. I’d like to use something that Eve said to prove my point.

( Genesis 4:25 )

AND ADAM KNEW HIS WIFE AGAIN: AND SHE BARE A SON, AND CALLED HIS NAME SETH: FOR GOD SAID SHE, HATH APPOINTED ME ANOTHER SEED INSTEAD OF ABEL, WHOM CAIN SLEW.

Do you see the passion of Eve there? As a mother, she could see the mindset of Cain, the fact that he didn’t recgnize the need of a blood sacrifice. The son she had ( Seth ) did see that and, sought to share that grace with others. He replaced the son ( Abel ) that had been slain by the son that didn’t. She was ( shall we say ) praying to God that she might have another ( seed ) that would take that message far beyond the lives that they would live. God delivered that ( WORLD SAVING GRACE ) in the ( heart ) of Seth.

As you know, I like to see spiritual pictures in the things we see in scripture. Eve, being ( THE TYPE ) of the Church ( the body of Jesus Christ ) was more concerned abnout the spiritual aspect of mankind than she was the physical aspect. In any spirit filled Church it will always be about the spiritual wellbeing of people. never the physical. While a man, a husband might desire seed to carry his name foward in this world, the woman, the wife will always be looking, teaching those childern to be more concerned about the spiritual aspect of their lives.

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Cain believe he could do things himself that ( should ) be pleasing to God. As I look at this; I consider the mindset that someone might have. The fact that living above sin is ( serving ) God. There are those that believe they can live ( a sinless ) life and be pleasing to God. Isn’t that exactly what Cain thought? He offered ( the fruit of his hands ). The things that he was able to do. As we consider ( WHOM YE SHALL SERVE ) what does it mean to serve God? If I were able to live above sin, never sin; would I be serving God because of that fact?

Let’s say you decided to join the military. Once you joined, they gave you a handbook of all that they expected as far as how you cut you hair, the way you dressed, the way you clean your weapon, even how you made your bed. If you met all those requirements perfectly; does that mean you are serving your country? A servant seeks to do the will of someone else. It does involve living as much as possible as being pleasing to the one you serve but, that’s not the most important part of your service.

The Bible calls Cain ( a vagabond ). What is a vagabond? ( A person who wanders from place to place without a home or job ). ( having no settled home ). Is this not a description of a person to whom believes they can lose their salvation? They are never settled on whether heaven or hell will be their home. Why? Because ( they know ) they are less than all God desires for them to be! They seek to feel assured within their own minds that ( their righteousness ) is a homeplace for them, whereever they deem that place to be at all different points in their lives. As their lives unfold, they always have a way to justify their own actions but, they never actually find that ( home ) true place of security in their lives. This is ( the way of Cain ). Therefore ( to whom ) are you serving?

( THE ERROR OF BALAAM )

What was ( the error of Balaam )? We can easily tie this minset to the ( way of Cain ). The error of Balaam was ( assuming ). However,, it appears to me that it’s possible more than one way we can see his error. You can read the whole account of Balaam in ( Numbers 22 ). Basically, Balaam was a prophet of God. As you read, you will notice that the King of Moab, Balak, sought to get Balaam, God’s prophet to curse Israel. As far as what Balaam assumed, he knew Israel was far less than all God desired for them to be. He assumed, knowing that fact; that God would have to curse them. That’s what he, in his fleshly way of thinking thought. So, let’s see if we can place ( Balaam ) and ( Cain ) by their mindsets together. If we follow the ( way of Cain ) in our fleshly minds, we are doing things correctly. Therefore, when we see someone else doing things that we, in our minds deem to be wrong then ( we assume ) God is giong to curse them because of the things they are doing. The problem with that way of thinks is ( then we all will be cursed ). Why? Because we all are sinners and fall short of God’s glory. Whem Balaam looked at Israel and seen sin, wasn’t he also and Israelite? Didn’t he deserve the same comdemnation?

Now, let’s notice something about both of these men being ( Cain and Balaam ). Neither of them is seeking to form another God to follow, they are just not seeing ( the truth )! They can’t understand the grace of God. In ( Cain’s ) way; he’s saying to God. ( look at all I’ve done ). In Balaam’s ) error he’s saying to God ( look what they have done ). Can we agree on this fact. God doesn’t need a any prophet or either you or me if he decides to bring a curse on any one or, any group of people?

I’m seeking to show a picture of different mindsets of people; using these three individuals as our guideline. When we truly get into ( to whom we serve ) we truly need to evalate our own personal lives as we look into why we do the things we do. Are we truly seeking to yield ourselves to God the Father or, are we looking for him to do or, except our personal choice?

Consider this: when we pray; are we truly seeking God’s will or, are we seeking to get God the Father to take heed to what we are asking for? If you will read through ( Numbers 22 ) you will notice that when ( Balaam the prophet ) asked God the Father what to do about cursing Israel. Didn’t God the Father give him an answer? ( Yes he Did )? And, the answer was not hard to understand! However, when Balaam returned, after a while the king sweetened the pot. Therefore. Balaam went back and asked God the Father again. At that point, can’t we say that Balaam already knew the desire of God’s heart? Why ask again? He asked again because it was something of this world he desired and, that had nothing to do with God’s will. It also had nothing to do with a desire to help Israel. ( To whom was he serving )?

Balaam assumed God had to curse Israel because of their sin. He also assumed that he could change God’s mind if he continued to ask him but, he wasn’t asking for Israel to be better but for himself.

As we consider ( to whom we serve ) I believe it’s often also true in our prayer lives. God speaks and, either we don’t listen or, we are not satisfied with his answer. Very often we are also praying to receive something we desire and not for God’s will.

We can actually see three different sides of Balaam: (1 ) The error of Balaam. ( Assuming God must Curse ) ( Jude 1:11 ) ( 2 ) The Way of Balaam. ( He Desired to Sell the Gift Gad had given him ). ( 2 Peter 2:15 ) ( 3 ) The Doctrine of Balaam ) ( Revelation 2:14 ). The doctrine of Balaam was teaching a man to currupt a people that cannot be cursed.

We see all three of these things in one man. When we consider ( to whom we serve ) can we see the same things in ourselves? When we ( assume ) something; we are often driven to act on what we think and not what God’s truth reveals or, what God’s Spirit is actually saying to us. Also, what is the most important to you, the money you can make or, seeking God’s will for your life? There are many Churches today that say: ( we have hired a pastor ). And, that is exactly what they did! The person that pastors them has been educated in the way of Balaam, they commit the error of Balaam and they teach the doctrine of Balaam!

How do they teach this? They teach it by not teaching ( sanctification ) a seperation from this world unto the will of God. Not only is this seen in our Churches but, it’s the same way in the average ( so called ) Christian home. We teach our children that their secular education, the money they can make and, their social standing is what’s important. We like to see them jion Church, say they believe in Christ and, get baptized but, we never teach a true seperation from this world.

The Bible puts it this way:

( Matthew 6:24 )

NO MAN CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS: FOR EITHER HE WILL HAT THE ONE, AND LOVE THE OTHER; OR ELSE HE WILL HOLD TO THE ONE, AND DESPISE THE OTHER: YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON.

So, Balaam taught Balak and his people this. Since I can’t curse Israel, what you need to do is offer them the same thing you’re offering me. Help them to see the beauty and bounty of your lifestyle. Balaam is telling thim I can’t curse Israel but you can currupt them just as you have done me!

IN the average local Church supposedly, we see God’s people. Whether that is a true fact or not is only known by each individual and God the Father. However, have those members become so much like the world they live in that now, the world can’t see any difference?

If you noticed, I tied Cain to Balaam together in the first part of this. Can we also tie Balaam to Core together as the last man mentioned in ( Jude 1:11 )? I believe so. We’ll get to him now as we consider ( to whom we serve ). One of the first things we must understand anr realize is this. There’s no such things as a perfect man, that is even if he is a prophet! Balaam was a man that God chose to be a spokesman ( prophet ) for him. However, he is still in the flesh and, can easily be swayed by the flrshly body he lives in.

A prophet, just as any person has to be willing to speak truth, the truth that God tells him to reveal. ( In my flesh ) I often say ( I don’t have an opinion ). Now, any person that reads this probably understands that ( I do ) have an opinion, However, my point is that *( my opinion ) just like any other person’s opinion is no important. It’s the perfect word of God that’s important. ( In the iopiion ) of Balaam, Israel needed to be cursed. In his flesh he acted to bring ( his opinion ) to pass.

As bwe look into Core or ( Korah ) as he is called in ( Numbers ) he also had an opinion. ( In his Opinion ) Moses took too much upon himself. Now, let’s look at these verses of scripture:

( Numbers 16:1-3 )

NOW KORAH, THE SON OFIZHAR, THE SON OF KOHATH, THE SON OF LEVI, AND DATHAN AND ABIRAM, THE SONS OF ELIAB, AND ON, THE SON OF PELETH, SONS OF REUBEN, TOOK MEN: ( 2 ) AND THEY ROSE UP BEFORE MOSES, WITH CERTAIN OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY PRINCES OF THE ASSEMBLY, FAMOUS IN THE CONGREGATION, MEN OF RENOWN: ( 3 ) AND THEY GATHERED THEMSELVES TOGETHER AGAINST MOSE AND AGAINST AARON, AND SAID UNTO THEM, YOU TAKE TOO MUCH UPON YOU, SEEING ALL THE CONGREGATION ARE HOLY, EVERY ONE OF THEM, AND THE LORD IS AMONG THEM: WHEREFORE THEN LIFT YE UP YOURSELVES ABOVE THE CONGREGATION OF THE LORD?

Whether we like this or not, it doesn’t matter ( it’s truth )! ( IT CANNOT BE BUT ONE TRUTH )! And as born again believers we must diligently seek for ( that truth ) denying any opinion by any man or person. In the picture we see in these verse; we see people denying that one truth, one voice and believing that they all had ( an opinion ) about what ( truth ) might be.

In this picture ( Moses ) is the voice of God the Father to his people. It doesn’t matter whether the people like what he has to say or not. How God leads is always right! Core or, Korah as we see him in ( Numbers ) didn’t like the place they were, neither did a lot of other people in Israel at the time. Does that fact, ( that opinion ) alone mean that God didn’t have them there?

There’s all kinds of things we can say here however, we looking into ( whom will you serve ). The fact is at this point Israel had already made a choice to be where they were. Did you notice in the verses we read that ( Korah ) stated that the ( whole congregation ) was holy ( everyone of them )? Is that what we assume about ourselves today therefore we actually don’t need to hear the voice of God and his direction?

As we close this segment out ( TO WHOM DO YOU SERVE ), considering these three men mentioned in ( Jude ); we must see this! Jude is writing this to ( THOSE THAT ARE SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE FATHER ) ( PRESERVED IN JESUS CHRIST ),( Verse 1 ). He is pointing out that ( GIVE ALL DILIGENCE TO THE COMMON SALVATION ) to ( EARNESTLY CONTENT FOR THE FAITH ) which ) WAS ONCE DELIVERED UNTO THE SAINTS ). ( verse 3 ).

Why is that so needed? Because there are ( CERTAIN MEN CREPT IN UNAWARES . ( WHO WERE BEFORE OF OLD ORDAINED TO THIS COMDEMNATION ).

God the Father doesn’t have to call names! What is being said is that each of us are either like ( Moses ) or, any of the other prophets that truly sought to reveal truth or, we are possibly like one of these three men or, even worse; worshipping a false god. So, what is is doing here is causing men to stop and consider, ( to whom they are serving )! As individuals we must be mindful of being lead by ( false teachers ) of all kinds of falsehoods. However, just as Jude is saying, it doesn’t matter what the man’s name is or, what denomination, ( God still calles them bt one of these names )!

( CONSIDER: TO WHOM DO YOU SERVE )?

UNLESS A SEED FALL INTO GROUND AND DIE ( IT’S WORTHLESS )

( JOHN 12:24 )

VERILY, VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, EXCEPT A CORN OF WHEAT FALL INTO THE GROUND AND DIE, IT ABIDETH ALONE: BUT IF IT DIE, IT BRINGETH FORTH MUCH FRUIT.

The word of God is a book that is filled with mysteries and parables that God uses to teach by his Spirit to those that are truly interested in seeing the things he desires for each f us to see. There’s another verse of scripture that comes to mind as I say that. Therefore, we’ll try to incorporate it into this as well.

( Mark 4:8 )

AND OTHER FELL ON THE GOOD GROUND , AND DID YIELD FRUIT THAT SPRANG UP AND INCREASED; AND BROUGHT FORTH, SOME THRITY, AND SOME SIXTY, AND SOME AN HUNDRED.

( Mark 4:20 )

AND THESE ARE THEY WHICH ARE SOWN ON GOOD GROUND; SUCH AS HEAR THE WORD, AND RECEIVE IT, AND BRING FORTH FRUIT, SOME THIRTYFOLD, SOME SIXTY, AND SOME AN HUNDRED.

As we can see in the second verse we used in ( Mark ) he’s using the seed as a reference to people that hear the word of God.

As I looked at this; I realized that even fruits and vegatables are somewhat the same way. For instance, an apple will only have around four seeds in each apple, a tomato will have hundreds, a peach will only have one. Just consider this; what if every fruit or vegatable that ever grew to maturity actually produced fruit from every seed that it produced, just consider that for a moment! Most healthy tomato seeds planted in good ground will produce as many as ten to fifteen good strong tomatos meaning, each of them have hundres of seeds. Do you see what I’m saying?

God has so blessed us and, we don’t even realize just how blessed we are! Just think, in certain areas of this world there are people starving to death. If you could send one tomato for instance to that place, see to it each seed in that tomato was planted in the best soil possible; just how many tomatoes could be gernerated? It wouldn’t even have to be perfect. I heard a preacher say once that a man could take a bull dozor and completely clean off a whole acre of ground. Then, in less than a year; something would be growing back in that cleared spot.

I’d also like to make this point. You can build a pond. I realize that most ponds or lakes that are built are fed by some kind of stream but, I know of a few instances where they weren’t, however there is still fish those ponds as well. How did those fish get there? Over the years, hearing men talk about this, I’ve heard a few ways that men say that it happen. I just say it’s a blessing from God to mankind!

I know that a lot of people might not believe this but, I’ve actually seen it with my own eyes. I lived on a tobacco farm as I grew up. One day as we were working in the field a thunder storm came up and we ran for shelter. It was a pretty fierce storm but, as soon as the rain stopped we went back to work in the field. We seen two things that just amazed me. There were right many little frogs hopping around and we even seen a little fish laying in the row. I thought! How did they get here? What the sssumption is that just as the sun draws water up from ponds and lakes, when a storm comes up with the winds and so on it is possible that things little such as fish and little frogs can be drawn up as well and they are then rained back down to earth. To make a spiritual point here; the little fish I seen did’t ( land on fertile soil ), meaning he died out while possible other little fish might have landed in a pond somewhere and had the opportunity to grow and multiply!

Now, I can’t prove that! Maybe a bird flew over and dropped the little fish, I don’t know but I do trust God’s provisions and know well how he blesses mankind. Even the vilest of sinners, those that won’t even acknowledge God is blessed as long as they live by the provisions of God the Father.

I often write about seeds. It might be the farmer that lives within me that causes that, I don’t know, however the truth of the matter is that it takes something more than just being ( a seed ) to bring about fruit or for that matter, even growth. A single seed can fall into fertile ground but it still needs water to bring about germination. If that soil is dry then that seed will simply dry up. as a matter of fact; the dry ground will draw the moisture out of that seed, drying it up and killing it.

Jesus used ( the seed ) as a spiritual lesson, a parable to teach a spiritual point. Even I just made the point that it takes water to cause a seed to grow. In scripture water is often used as a type of God’s spirit and how it moves on a person. I like this particular verse:

( Ephesians 5:26 )

THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY AND CLEANSE IT WITH THE WASHING OF WATER BY THE WORD.

Do you realize that the word ( washing ) shows action? It’s has a cleansing effect but, within that cleansing, it takes action. Let’s say you put your clothes in a washing machine. That machine is designed to clean clothes. But, if you just place your clothes in that machine and walk of, nothing’s going to happen! If you actually start the process, what is the first ingredient that happens? Well, we can say that it adds water but., it also takes power to bring about that water.

I’m sure most people will agree with me that the simple fact of adding water and that we cause an aggitation effect with cause a cleansing. However, very often we must add something to the water to bring out badly stained spots in our clothing.

Within this spiritual picture, what can we see in the verse we mentioned. First of all, we must understand that we all need to be cleansed, we need to be placed in God’s washing machine! Every member of this human race must be placed in the washing machine, no exceptions. Not only that but, we are just like the clothes we wear; we need a continual washing, it’s not just a one time deal. Although we become new creatures in Christ Jesus when we are born again, we still need the cleansing power of God’s word, no exceptions.

So, let’s consider a local Church as a ( washing machine ) When any person, lost or saved walks into any Church, they just placed themselves into God’s washing machine. That person, even if this is their first time ever being in that washing machine is their with a lot of other dirty sinners that needs cleansing even if they are regular members of that ( local washing machine ).

Since we already know that every person there is stained, we must add some cleansing ingredients to this now. Just being place in the washing machine will not get the job done as we have already mentioned.

The very first ingredient has to be water. As we have already stated, that water in a spiritual sense represents the ( Holy Spirit of God ). Now, what is the only way ( God’s Spirit ) can get into any building! He must come in, not only in a person but, that person must be willing to allow him to be seen above themselves. Again, think on this, can you see how the cleansing effects of one drop of a cleaning sulution in a whole load of clothes will not be very effected but, if you place the proper amount in, it will cleanse clothes? It’s not to say it won’t be effective at least when it comes to God’s Spirit in one person but, my point is the more that Spirit is seen in a Church, the more cleansing will be possible.

I’ll give you a personal example of this. I was once invited to speak at a Church. As I give this personal example, I don’t want to come across as being more spiritual than anyone else. I’m simply trying to make a spiritual point. When I took the pulpit and tried to preach the message I felt God had laid on my heart. As I began to preach and, all through the message, it was like my words were bouncing off a brink wall and coming right back to me. Is it possible that the people there were ( seeing the man ) rather than hearing the message he was preaching?

I felt like I wasn’t welcome. Actually I was facing some bad times in my life and, the pastor of the Church was simply trying to be a friend and supportive but, that doesn’t mean that his people had the same mindset does it? Do you remember in the ( Book of Acts ) when it says ( they had all things common )? Do you realize that not one of those people were perfect, they had that in common didn’t they? They all we seeking to allow the Spirit within them to control them. they all had that in common.

When Jesus says ( unless a seed fall into the ground and die ), it abideth alone. God’s desire is for us to learn to hear his voice and, to act on the voice we hear. You see, when I was saved, the very first time I entered the Church, those people were all sinners meaning they were less than perfect. They didn’t se me as a sinner, at least not more of a sinner that they were. They seen me as being only different in the fact that they were saved sinners and, I was a lost sinner. They all had ( God’s Spirit in common ) and they acted on the Spirit.

Another way to say this same thing is they drew me toward Christ while if we are not careful ( our self righteousness ) will push people away. Can you see how that the pastor of the Church I went to speak in was seeking to show men love and support, to take me as a ( saved sinner ) under his wing and cause God’s Spirit to revive me? However, the circumstanses allowed the very people he pastored to hide the Spirit they said they had within them.

Just a few days ago someone share with me how they planted a seed but it didn’t come up. I think it was an apple seed. I asked them, did you plant the apple or just the seed? Thet replied, the seed. I answered, you should have planted the whole apple. A seed is within exactly what it needs to be nurished. I’m not saying you can’t just plant a seed and it will grow because often it will but, the fact still remains that ( the seed is often inside of all it needs to develop into a tree or plant, not always but sometimes.

As an apple rots away, the seed within it uses what is rotting to grow thereby. Can you see a spiritual picture there? Let’s say you poured out a whole busel of apples in the woods close to your house. Every once in a while you would walk by that place and see the apples as the began to rot away, you could smell the stink of the decay. However, one day you walk by and notice a little plant coming up out of all that decay, it was an apple plant!

As God looks down at this earth, what does he see? He sees a multitude of dead, rotton flesh, corrupt because of the sin curseness therein. Personally, I’ve never been around a person that has been dead for a few weeks so, I can’t tell you what it smells like. I have seen and smelled dead animals if that can relate. Can you imaginge the smell that arises into God’s nostrils from the corruption of this world? The stink he deals with on a daily basis? Often even his spirit will be within a person’s flesh but, that person will not allow that spirit to be seen or grow therefore, to God that flesh still stinks with corruption.

However, every once in a while someone will allow their flesh to die, their seed to fall into the ground and allow God’s spirit to be seen. As God looks down from his heavenly throne he see that little tree began to sprout forth from the corruption we see in this world and, as time moves foward he also sees the fruit that comes from that little plant.

The flesh of a born again believer is just as corrupt as any other sinner’s flesh. However, that person that is born again allows his sinful mind, his sinful ears and eyes to soak in the very word of God. He allows those things he feels, sees, hears to come forth out of his lips of clay and uses his mind to proclaim the very things that God would have him to say and never the world. Because of ( the willingness ) of that sinner to be yielded to God’s Spirit he will never be alone, he will multipy, not for himself but all for the glory of God. ( God sees that little plant as it grows and matures )!

If we can go back to the pile of apples that were thrown out it’s easy to see how many of those seeds can be covered with so much of the corruption as the apples rot that they never have a chance to develop. Even if one little seed right on top of the pile sprouts it’s very possible that it won’t make it because it can’t build a good root system in all the corruption. However, the seed that might sprout on the edge might be able to find furtile soil and grow to a healthy tree, producing fruit.

If we look at this from a spiritual standpoint it’s not that way is it? We, as people, while all our flesh is corrupt have the the very same opportunity to see ourselves for what we are and take root spirituall and grow. We live in a sin cursed world but, as far as we are concerned we all are scattered all over the earth. However, we must see ourselses as sin cursed and, in desperate need of a savior. Very often we bury ourselves in the pile of corruption offered by this world and, at that it makes it hard to see the spiritual need in our life. We surround ourselves with sinful things, blocking out the very savior that desires to help us see our spiritual need.

Also, our world is filled with deception! That deception often comes from the very people that are supposed to be shedding light on our spiritual needs. While an apple seed or, the seed from any fruit doesn’t have the power to move on it’s own; we as human beings do have that ability. If we are surrounded by corruption, covered by deceit and misinformation we have the ability to move to a better place to prepare ourselves to stand before God.

Most seeds have a hard outer shell. However, the ends or edges are easily opened especially when it is covered with water. The water softens it and allows life to spring forth. When we consider this from a spiritual standpoint, we also have a hard outer shell as people. The world begins to harden us almost as soon as we are born. The way it works is we are taught to be depentant on ( worldly things ) and ( worldly mindset ) almost from birth. Wise parents will begin to teach their infant children about their need for spiritual growth almost from birth. I’ve heard of mothers reading scripture out loud hoping their unborn child would hear God’s word even before they are born.

This kind of teaching will cause ( the water of the word ) to help keep the outer shell soft and ready to ( die to self ) and begin new life in Christ Jesus. I want you to notice this verse of scripture.

( Jeremiah 23:29 )

IS NOT MY WORD LIKE AS FIRE? SAITH THE LORD; AND LIKE A HAMMER THAT BREAKETH THE ROCK IN PIECES?

I also like the next verses:

( 30-32 )

THEREFORE, BEHOLD, I AM AGAINST THE PROPHETS, SAITH THE LORD, THAT STEAL MY WORDS EVERY ONE FROM HIS NEIGHBOUR. ( 31 ) BEHOLD, I AM AGAINST THE PROPHETS, SAITH THE LORD, THAT USE THEIR TONGUES, AND SAY, HE SAITH. ( 32 ) BEHOLD, I AM AGAINST THEM THAT PROPHESY FALSE DREAMS, SAITH THE LORD, AND DO TELL THEM, AND CAUSE MY PEOPLE TO ERR BY THEIR LIES, AND BY THEIR LIGHTNESS; YET I SENT THEM NOT, NOR COMMANDED THEM:

As we read these verses we see that God’s word is designed to be like a fire upon mankind, like a hammer that breaks down that outer hard surface, mellowing the heart that God’s word might penetrate and take root. God calls ( prophets ) or men to proclaim his word to mankind. According to these verses we see that those men change what God desires for them to say and that causes people to ( err ) from the truth.

Jeremiah was such a man! A man that sought to say exactly what God told him to say. Because of the hardness and unwillingness of man to change; they sought to shut him up and, other men became willing to say what made the people happy. God says he was displeased with this. We see in these verses the phrase ( my people ) speaking of the Nation of Israel, The Nation of Israel was ( God’s chosen people ). The people in gerneral in this world are called ( Gentiles ) and, are not at all chosen by God. However, God has devised a way that all men might be saved. The point I’m making is that; as we look at the world, every man is a ( hell deserving sinner ). Every person must be born again, having that outer shell, the hardness of our hearts cruched by the hammer of God’s word.

We all must ( fall into the ground ) and die to ourself and allow God’s spirit to take root within us and bring forth a tree that will bear Godly friut. Now, consider this; if I take a hammer and hit you on your finger, will it hurt? That is a very true fact! It’s the same way with any man preaching God’s word in truth. That truth will hit you right between the eyes and cause you to feel the pain of what you really are, a hell deserving sinner, completely without hope in the corruption of your flesh. Any man or woman that says they preach but, continues to and, allows you to feel good about who you are , just as you are is and, will always be you very worst enemy.

Even when we are ( born again ) the preaching of God’s word will never let you rest until you are ( dead to yourself ) and truly seeking to be completely pleasing to God the Father. I like to say it this way. Good solid ( Holy Ghost ) filled preaching will stick to your bones! When you leave the service, it is going with you and, it will cause you to ( consider what ) you need to change within yourself. What is it that needs to die in you this week to make you more like Christ! Just about the time, by conviction you get that settled, here comes another ( Holy Ghost ) filled message beating you with that same loving hammer once again.

Sin and selfwill causes each of us to be calloused and that is the tough outer shell of each of us. Have you ever considered what happens in a drought? It takes water to soften the outside of a seed that it might sprout. Without that water a seed will just lay in the ground and die. We are living in a time when there is very little true gospel being preached. We can call that a ( spiritual drought ). We’ve beem bombarded with false teachers and Churches looking to have big numbers and big buildings but, have locked the ( true Spirit of God ) outside the building.

There can be multiple reasons for this. The main reason is that the people refuse to hear the truth. They love to feel good about themselves and to think they are fine just as they are. Also, there are men that are willing to tell them just what they desire to hear as long as they are compenstaed to do so.

I’d like to share this story with you before we actually close. Twice as I worked as an electeician over the years I met two young men and had a priviledge to witness to them. Both of these young men were both members of the same ( religious sect ). These two events happen at least ten years apart. As I witnessed to these men at work I asked them if it would be alright if I came to their homes and sit and talked with them.

When I went to their homes, both young men still lived at home with their mothers. Now, this is the point I desire for you to notice. I looked straight at both young men and asked them this. Have you been born again? Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal savoir? In both cases; just as soon as I finished asking the question, their mothers said ( yes he has ), not giving their sons a chance to respond to the question. In both cases I looked at the mom and said; Ma’am, I wasn’t asking you, I want to hear it from them. In both cases, the mom continued to talk not allowing them to give an answer.

Now, I want to share something ( I believe ). When I say that, I say it to let you know that you don’t have to look at it the same way I do but, at least hear me out. There was a time when God’s Spirit was very strong in our country and in many parts of the world. As men preached the gospel and sought to stand behind their pulpits and say exactly what God told them to say. The Holy Spirit was hammering on the hard shells of sinful men and changing their lives. As those men grew, they felt the call of God, studied God’s word and preached with the very power of the Holy Spirit having no education, no schooling at all, just simply seeking to the best of their ability to speak what God told them to say.

We have to understand that from the time of Christ there has been sects of false teachers such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees. These false teachers had learning institutions and taught their teachings to men. I’ll even say that Good, God fearing men started good schools for the purpose of teaching scripture.

However, as time moved foward even the good schools were infiltrated by evil men, destroying the truth and changing it to the doctrines of men. There is a religious sect that teaches that you must be a member of that religious group or you are not a child of God. ( I believe ) that over the years that ( religious sect ) has infiltrated even the very best schools and now those schools are to some degree transformed into that very same way of thinking.

For instance, in the average Church setting today; you can say you believe in Jesus Christ, get baptized and join that Church. From that point on you are never questioned about your salvation again. The teaching of ( dying to self ) ( being transformed by the Holy Spirit ) is never even mentioned. In most cases ( the educated pastor ) talks or preaches to his whole congregation as if they are all ( children of God ) never even hinting that anyone their might be lost and on their road to hell. In the average Church today ( education ) ( by men ) is a requirement! These pastors ignorantly teach what they are instructed to teach and, the way they are instructed to teach.

Do you realize that you don’t have to formally say something to imply that it is a fact? In the ( religious sect ) I’m speaking of they actually teach that you have to be members of that Church to be part of God’s family. However, if that is not said but, the people are given to believe that ( Church membership ) is all they need, what’s the difference?

Unless a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it remains alone! ( Ye must be born again ). You must be transformed. All these things are found in scripture and we must understand what it means to ( die to self ).

Scattered all over this world is corruption in the form of human flesh. We all live on the surface of this earth. Unlike a pile of rotton apples, we all have the same opportunity to hear God’s word and to allow the Holy Spirit of God to softened our sinful outer shell and be born of God’s Spirit, To be born again! As God the Father looks down from heaven he sees all the corruption that covers this earth. He also sees each of those people that have received his Spirit and are beginning to bring forth new life, life from his Spirit that he allowed to spring forth as each person sees themselves as ( hell deserving sinners ) and asked Jesus Christ to be their Savior.

Are you one of these people? Have you seen yourself as ( being alone ) and of no value to God the Father ( Just as you are )? Have you died to yourself and now; are you allowing God Spirit to spring forth in your life and, are you bearing fruit for his glory?

This act is the act of salvation! This picture is the art of being born again! Allow God’s Spirit to spring forth out of you life, be willing to die to yourself!

ONE DAY, YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID!

marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7

THE WIFE, MY WIFE!

( PROVERBS 31:10-31 )

WHO CAN FIND A VIRTUOUS WOMAN? FOR HER PRICE IS FAR ABOVE RUBIES. THE HEART OF HER HUSBAND DOTH SAFELY TRUST HER, SO THAT HE SHALL HAVE NO NEED OF SPOIL. SHE WILL DO HIM GOOD AND NOT EVIL ALL THE DAYS OF HER LIFE. SHE SEEKETH WOOL. AND FLAX, AND WORKETH WILLINGLY WITH HER HANDS. SHE CONSIDERETH A FIELD, AND BUYETH IT: WITH THE FRUIT OF HER HANDS SHE PLANTETH A VINEYARD. SHE GIRDETH HER LOINS WITH STRENGTH, AND STRENGTHETH HER ARMS, SHE PERCEIVETH THAT HER MERCHANDISE IS GOOD:HER CANDLE GOETH NOT OUT BY NIGHT. SHE LAYETH HER HANDS TO THE SPINDLE, AND HER HANDS HOLD THE DISTAFF. SHE STRETHETH OUT HER HAND TO THE POOR; YEA, SHE REACHETH FORTH HER HANDS TO THE NEEDY. SHE IS NOT AFRAID OF THE SNOW FOR HER HOUSEHOLD: FOR ALL HER HOUSEHOLD ARE CLOTHED WITH SCARLET. SHE MAKETH HERSELF COVERINGS FOR TAPESTRY; HER CLOTHING IS SILK AND PURPLE. HER HUSBAND IS KNOWN IN THE GATES, WHEN HE SITTETH AMONG THE ELDERS OF THE LAND. SHE MAKETH FINE LINEN, AND SELLETH IT; AND DELIVERETH GIRDLES UNTO THE MERCHANT. STRENGH AND HONOUR ARE HER CLOTHING; AND SHE SHALL REJOICE IN TIME TO COME. SHE OPENETH HER MOUTH WITH WISDOM; AND IN HER TONGUE IS THE LAW OF KINDNESS. SHE LOOKETH WELL TO THE WAYS OF HER HOUSEHOLD, AND EATETH NOT THE BREAD OF IDLENESS. HER CHILDREN ARISE UP, AND CALL HER BLESSED; HER HUSBAND ALSO, AND HE PRAISETH HER. MANY DAUGHTERS HAVE DONE VIRTUOUSLY, BUT THOU EXCELLEST THEM ALL. FAVOR IS DECEITFUL, AND BEAUTY IS VAIN: BUT A WOMAN THAT FEARETH THE LORD, SHE SHALL BE PRAISED. GIVE HER OF THE FRUIT OF HER HANDS; AND LET HER OWN WORKS PRAISE HER IN THE GATES.

If you will notice this, I didn’t write the first ten verses of this chapter. I feel that I should write them now to begin to make my point.

THE WORDS OF KING LEMUEL, THE PROPHECY THAT HIS MOTHER TAUGHT HIM. WHAT, MY SON? AND WHAT THE SON OF MY WOMB? AND WHAT, THE SON OF MY VOWS? GIVE NOT THY STRENGTH UNTO WOMEN, NOR THY WAYS TO THAT WHICH DESTROYETH KINGS. IT IS NOT FOR KINGS, O LEMUEL, IT IS NOT FOR KINGS TO DRINK WINE; FOR PRINCES STRONG DRINK: LEST THEY DRINK, AND FORGET THE LAW, AND PERVERT THE JUDGMENT OF ANY OF THE AFFLICTED. GIVE STRONG DRINK UNTO HIM THAT IS READY TO PERISH, AND WINE UNTO THOSE THAT BE OF HEAVY HEARTS. LET HIM DRINK, AND FORGET HIS POVERTY, AND REMEMBER HIS MISERY NO MORE. OPEN THY MOUTH FOR THE DUMB IN THE CAUSE OF ALL SUCH AS ARE APPOINTED TO DESTRUCTION. OPEN THY MOUTH, JUDGE RIGHTEOUSLY.

Proverbs 31 is seen to represent a picture of a good wife. Many women read it and seek to be the type of wife that if revealed in these verses. We see here that it was actually a man, a king that wrote this chapter. He, the king was taught this by his mother seeking to prepare him to one day find this type of a woman to be his wife. Therefore, although it was given in scripture by a man, the wisom we see here was given by a mother; one that was concerned for the kind of woman her son would one day marry.

The question is asked, who can find a virtuous woman? I might add to that, is there any men that are truly seeking one? Can’t we; first of all give some credit to this mother for at least teaching her son what to actually look for in a wife. Not only teach it in words but, live those words in her every day life. It also says in this verse that ( her price is far above rubies ). Do we teach our daughters their true value today? Do mothers in general teach their sons what to look for when they begin to look for a wife? If not; why?

Not only did the mother teach this to her son but, he is now teaching it as well. Most women never stop to consider that ( a man ) wrote ( Proverbs 31 ). As far as I know, this king ( King Lemuel ) is not mentioned anywhere else in scripture. However, can you see just how powerful the words of this king and his mother became over time?

I personally admire any woman, any wife that desires to set her standards by the attributes we see in this chapter. ( I believe ) time as we look at it today becomes a problem. ( I believe ) our ability to have ( rubies ) rather than to be one is the mindset of often both, men and women. Within that mindset is where we spend the time in our lives that we should be spending becoming ( a ruby ) ( a pearl of great price ). That is for both men and women.

We seem to forget when boys and girls become men and women. We desire to push that age far beyond when it actually happens and, therefore we focus on the aspect of education that our children might have rubies rather than being one. In a lot of things I write I make this point about both men and women. We are born what we are; either a boy or girl. We have no choice in the matter. One day around the age of twelve or thirteen we become men and women, that is something else we have no control over. However, with both young men and women, whether we are ladies or gentlemen is completely up to the individual.

When we consider this time frame that means that a mother and father have just twelve or thirteen years to teach their sons and daughters to be ladies and gentlemen. That fact doesn’t mean they will marry at that age but, rather that they will be prepared to ( become rubies ) at that age. They’ll understand how to be rubies and, how to look for rubies. I’m using that word in reference to both men and women.

I’d say that my wife and I could be considered as perfect examples in one form or another of the average setting for children today. The only thing I might add is that it’s gotten worse over the years. As a man, a husband I was probably in my late thirties or even early forties before I realized that if I desired to have a ( ruby ) for my wife, I must first be someone that would attract such a lady. While I had been raised in Church I was never taught anything about the real responsibilites of keeping myself pure for one woman, my wife. The focus, while a little different was on work and earning a living. My wife, if she were speaking could tell you somewhat that same thing maybe with a little different slant but, still being abscent from the real understanding of what to be and,what to look for in a life long mate.

As usual, it’s always a spiritual education and something to be learned if we are willing to seek those things out. For instance; did you notice that it’s the mother teaching her son here? I’d like to build on this concept, even on the spiritual topic. Most people realize that young women mature quicker than the young men will. In every respectable sense of the word, the young woman has complete control. That is; until she freely yields that control to the man she will call her husband.

So, let’s put this into a Church setting on a local level. I’m going to use a verse I see in ( Acts ) to make my point here.

( Acts 4:19-20 )

BUT PETER AND JOHN ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO THEM, WHETHER IT BE RIGHT IN THE SIGHT OF GOD TO HEARKEN UNTO YOU MORE THAN UNTO GOD, JUDGE YE. ( 20 ) FOR WE CANNOT BUT SPEAK THE THINGS WHICH WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD.

If you will continue to read below these verses you will notice that when thay shared their stand within their own company, they all agreed with one accord with their stand. Let’s consider Peter and John as being pastors in a local Church, standing against ( established religion ) and the rest of the people being part of their congregation. That Church is the ( bride ) the ( wife ) of Jesus Christ. Therefore, wherein is the true power revealed? Is it not within the ( stand of the wife )? What if every local Church stood in unity and demanded that their pastor preach only what God spoke to his heart?

( The Church ) just as any young woman has the power within her to make any man be all he is suppose to be for Jesus Christ! She has the power to demand that a standard be set because she refuses to bend to anything less than what God expects from her or, the man she will call her husband. In this respect that man would be the pastor of the Church. The pastor of every Church stands where only Jesus Christ would be standing if he were here. If ( the Church ) is to be seen as a ( Proverbs 31 ) wife then she will except nothing less than the pastor of the Church to say and demand of her all that Jesus Christ would demand if he were here.

Any wife that is a ( Proverbs 31 ) wife desires her husband to be the very same way. She desires for her husband to be completely submissive to God’s will as the Spirit of God leads him. I’d like to add here that there is no such thing as any husband, wife, Church or pastor being perfect. A pastor or husband perfectly being ( like Christ ) is impossible. For any Church or wife to be perfrctly ( like Christ ) would have them to be is also impossible. It all has to do with ( will ) and God sees the desires of the heart.

In my heart; my wife truly seeks to be a ( Proverbs 31 ) wife. She, as my wife causes me to seek to be more like Juesus Christ. We both completely understand that neither of us can be perfect nor will we ever be but, the will is present in both of our hearts. She drives me to be more like Christ and, as I seek to do that it causes her to be more conformable to the will of God.

I’d like to take a moment here to share something personal in my life. The last brother on in my dad’s family died just a few weeks ago. He was also the youngest of my Grandmother’s children. There was something that my Aunt Christine and my Mother had very in common. Of course, they married brothers. However, neither of these men were in a family that attended Church on a regular basis. My mom and Aunt both were raised in Church. When they married both of these men were men that drinked alcohol on a regular basis. My dad really had a problem with it but, my Uncle, not so bad.

As time moved foward both of these women never gave up or sacrificed their walk with Jesus Christ. When their children were born they both made sure that their children were raised just like they were; in Church. They both went alone with no support from their husbands other than the fact that the men didn’t stop them from going. I’m sure it was from very trying times, I know it was for my mother but, as time moved foward both my Uncle and my Dad came to know Jesus Christ as their personal savior. I often tell this story. I told this at my dad’s funeral. Although my sisters and I seen a bad side of my dad, not one of his grandchildren or great grandchildren ever seen him as anything less than a saint of God. When my dad died, he was a deacon in the Church he attended, well respected as a born again believer. My Uncle, as far as I know was never a deacon nor did he have a desire to be. However, he was highly respected and loved by the members of his Church and in the community he lived in. Guess what? he was a deacon at heart! What people don’t often realize is this. You don’t have to have a ( title ) to be seen as a leader, first of all by God the Father and also, by the people around you.

I’m sure there are other stories to be told but, these two women were ( Proverbs 31 women ). They planted a garden. they gave to the poor, they were constant their whole lives in their will to walk with God. The wives, while they faced adversity, led their husbands to Christ, seen each of their children come to Christ. As far as I know, each of my Aunt and Uncle’s children, my cousins are born again. As far as I know all my sisters are born again, that includes me, the only son.

As a ( Proverbs 31 ) wife ) a ( Proverbs 31 ) Church seeds are sown, the fruit of those seeds are seen and, as our lives move foward we can look back and see where the real, true strength is, where it comes from. I realize that the Bible says that the woman is the weaker vessel. However, a ( Proverbs 31) wife and Church is the completion, the real strength of the men that they say they love.

I’ll go as far as to say this. I know this is a very hard saying but, any Church that will allow their pastor to be lass than what God desires for him to be actually doesn’t love him. That Church should, like the two women I spoke of, live a life that demands a change toward perfection, forcing the hand of the pastor to become all he should be in Christ. Any wife that conforms to the will of a husband that is less than what God expects rather than setting a Godly stand to the best of her ability neither truly loves her husband or her children. I’ll also say this, any man that treats his wife in an abusive maneer, being less than ( loving his wife as Christ loved the Church ) is , more than likely not saved and, he is very ( self centered ). He will never be pleasing to God the Father as long as he acts in that way.

What we often fail to understand is that the world has its way of defining ( love ) just as the Word of God defines it. Many people that say they are saved use the world’s definition of love to define their actions. That’s toward their children, husbands and wives.

If you will notice in ( Proverbs 31 ) it says that the husband of a ( Proverbs 31 ) wife is recognized in the gates among the elders. Don’t we have to give her some credit for that fact? As I say that, we must understand that in a Godly marriage relationship the husband and wife become ( one in Christ ). That means that they both are seeking to be pleasing to God and, have left the cares of this world far behind as a couple.

To try and put this in perspective as a marriage relationship. both of these people in a ( born again marriage relationship ) can be seen as a couple that are Ambassators of one country, living in a foriegn nation. While they are living in that country, they are still citizens of the home country. They might do things with the people they live among and try to be a part but, their mindset and heart is to show those citizens of that nation what their country is all about, trying to show a better way.

A born again couple; while that couple might live in this world they seek to show ( this world ) a picture of how the God of the universe would have them look in love, living and every aspect of their spiritual life.

So, Lemuel”s mother. The woman that taught her son this in ( Proverbs 31 ) was seeking to teach her son to look for such a woman to be his wife. KIng Lemuel never forgot the teaching as he began to grow and understand. I personally believe that as we consider this chapter, the responsibility of the husband and wife in the natural relationship and how it all relates to the need of true spiritual growth as we begin to grow in our natural lives, we will quickly learn how the weakness part of us will always become our strength ( spiritually speaking ) which is the actual only strength that will ever truly matter in the end.

I want you to notice these verses as it relates to this thought.

( 2 Corinthians 12:10 )

THEREFORE I TAKE PLEASURE IN INFIRMITIES, IN REPROACHES, IN NECESSITIES, IN PERSECUTIONS, IN DISTRESSESS FOR CHIRST SAKE: FOR WHEN I AN WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG.

( 2 Corinthians 13: 4 )

FOR THOUGH HE WAS CRUCIFIED THROUGH WEAKNESS, YET HE LIVETH BY THE POWER OF GOD. FOR WE ALSO ARE WEAK IN HIM, BUT WE SHALL LIVE WITH HIM BY THE POWER OF GOD TOWARD YOU.

Reading these verses we notice that true strength comes through our weakness. It’s all realative whether we are speaking of ( a Church ) being the bride of Christ. ( A wife ) being the strength of the husband through weakness or, ( an individual ) being strong in Christ through the weakness of their own flesh.

The ( Proverbs 31 ) mindset is a choice! It’s a spiritual choice! It takes spiritual knowledge to understand the concept that is being taught. The education or teaching of this concept has to begin in our homes, demanded to be taught in our Churches and stood up for by those that have the opportunity to do so.

I’ve already stated that ( the members of the Church ) and ( young women ) must demand this mindset instead of selling out for ( worldly popular ) mindsets. Could we name a few of those mindsets?

Let’s first look at a verse:

( Matthew 6:16 )

MOREOVER WHEN YE FAST, BE NOT, AS THE HYPOCRITES, OF A SAD COUNTENANCE: THAT THEY MAY APPEAR UNTO MEN TO FAST: VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD.

A ( proverbs 31 ) mindset spiritually understands that this world is not home. There is something far more important to work toward and build on than just what we can ever have in this life. If! And I do say if a wife has a husband that is a ( spiritually minded man then, while she is helping him while on this earth to have all the necessities of this life, they are both working toward a reward far above this earth.

So, let’s start with the Church, ( the bride of Christ ).

( 2 Corinthians 11:2 )

FOR I AM JEALOUS OVER YOU WITH A GODLY JEALOUSY: FOR I HAVE ESPOUSED YOU TO ONE HUSBAND, THAT I MIGHT PRESENT YOU AS A CHASTE VIRGIN TO CHRIST.

The Apostle Paul looked at himself here as the father of the ( bride of Christ ). He taugtht the Church from the very beginning to keep themselve pure from the cares of this world, to seperate themselves from the things of this world. In essence, he was teaching them to be ( proverbs 31 ) wives. To focus on the desires and needs of her husband, to be mindful of his desires and dreams. He was teaching them that although they were weak, to become his strength, standing on the principles he built that his house might be full.

A spiritual man desires the same for his daughter which will become a young woman. His wife will seek to teach his daughter that very mindset and to keep herself for one man, a man worthy of her and, that she is worthy of. While the wife is teaching this girl, young woman this, she is also teaching her what she needs to teach her children.

Therefore, worldly what have we seen? We see Churches that while they speak the name of Jesus Christ; they sell out his very principles for popularity and the love of money Those Churches commit ( spiritual fornication ) against the very man that truly loved them. Can you imagine Jesus Christ ( the Church’s husband to be ) sitting at the right hand of ( God the Father ) and hearing ( a Pastor ) standing and saying things that he never said! Sitting there and proclaiming, ( that’s not what I said )! You’re teaching, allowing things that are causing fornication! I don’t know these people!

How about a wife teaching her daughter anything less than keeping herself pure for one man? Even a father not caring about what she does or, being more concerned about her education, her ability to look after herself than to be concerned about her actual ( spiritual dedication ) her ( ability as the weaker vessel ) to become the very strength of some man?

Lord, how far we’ve fallen from the very picture you desire for us to paint with our lives! Now, we put young women on birth control, worrying more about physical problems rather than teaching them ( spiritual purity ). I wonder, how many young women now wear a white dress at their weddings that truly represents their purity to the people that they stand before, the man she is marrying? Do mom and dads even consider that fact now. There was a time that most pastors, if they knew that a young woman hadn’t kept herself pure would not even perform a wedding ceremony for her if she wore a white dress!

The world and, the Church it has designed cares little about the true things of God. Folks, it’s never too late to change! A ( Proverbs 31 ) wife, in whatsoever aspect you want to describe her knows who she is, where shes been and all her imperfections. However, she is determined to go foward from who she was into the perfect wife. Let’s say you as a young woman didn’t keep yourself and, you wore a white dress when you married. Does that mean you can’t take the knowledge of what you have been, your weaknesses and now begin to teach all that God wants you to teach?

God is looking for a ( called out people ). A people that see themselves in all of their imperfections and sin yet, are willing to walk away from this world and become a ( Proverbs 31 ) wife! Do you realize that ( Jesus Christ ) when he came to this world, born of a virgin; he already knew that he would not find a pure bride. However, his desire was to set himself within each person that believed and, to have each of them ( transform themselves ) into exactly what he was looking for.

If a young man is wise he will understand this. Every young woman was raise by another man, her father, she was taught, through her mother his ways. While we can say that those ways were either spiritual or otherwise, it was still by another’s mindset. When that young man desides to take a young woman to be his bride he must understand that there will be a transformation that must take place, By God’s grace it will be a ( spiritual transformation) but it will take time. He must be willing ( through the love ) he has for her to be patient. That’s a lesson for another day!. However, if his new bride truly loves him , she will be willing ( in time ) to be transformed into his way of thinking, yielding to him.

( WHO CAN FIND A VIRTUOUS WOMAN )? This is the very first question, thought mentioned as we began this. Can a young woman also asked this: ( WHO CAN FIND A GODLY MAN )? Is not one just as important as the other? If we go back to the story of my mother and Aunt, these two women became a transforming factor in their husband’s lives.

In closing, I’d like to tell one more true story. This is a true story I heard an evangelist tell once. He shared that a Church once chose a man to be their pastor that was a very hardened sinner until he was born again. God called this man to preach and, he excepted the call of this Church to be their pastor.

One morning as he was preaching, he began to use ( curse words ) in his sermon. When he realized what he had done; he closed his Bible, offered his resignation to the Church and simply walked out. That Sunday afternoon the deacons met to discuss the matter. As they talked, they came to this conclusion. We need to go to him and asked him to come back and continue to be our pastor. Any man that will get or become that passionate and angry about sin, we need him behind our pulpit!

Far too often we are not patient enough with each other. That being a ( woman with he husband ) a ( true Church with their pastor ) ( a Pastor with his Church ) or a ( husband with his wife ). We often expect our spouse to be something we are not! It’s a very challenging thing to learn to become ( one in Christ )!

In ( Proverbs 31 ) you see nothing about the man and what he does do you! Why would you say that is? Because there is nothing more powerful than seeing yourself as being the weakest, yet using the power within you to bring about ( spiritual growth ). And that; within any person that thinks he has more power! When we begin to lean on our weakness and forget the true power we have then, God’s word and will, becomes completely to none effect in our lives! For instance, if a young woman simply gives herself to any man, is she not ( leaning on her weakness )? If a Church allows less than what God truly desires from its pastor, is she not ( leaning on her weakness )? If any young man chooses the things of this world over the will that God offers, is he not ( leaning on his weakness )?

I often asked myself this question! ( AM I HALF THE WIFE I EXPECT MINE TO BE )?

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7

CONSIDERING NOAH’S ARK ( GENESIS 6 ) AND BEFORE

As we get into these Biblical truths I’d like to first have you see something that we put very little thought into that we actually see in the New Testament. I’ll use this verse of scripture to make my spiritual point.

( Mark 4:39 )

AND HE AROSE, AND REBUKED THE WIND, AND SAID UNTO THE SEA, PEACE, BE STILL. AND THE WIND CEASED, AND THERE WAS A GREAT CALM.

As we look at this verse of scripture we see a ship on the see, the disciples were with Christ on that ship. The ship was in turmoil because of the unsettled sea. While Jesus was asleep and at perfect peace, his diciples were afraid and feared for their life. In the New Testament the sea is often used as a picture of the world and, it shows just how unettled the world is. If you go down to the ocean or, sea you will notice that the waters are never settled, they are always troubled. That is exactly the way we see this world spiritually and often even physically. The reason for that is that the very person that can bring peace to this world is for the most part rejected by this world.

I love speaking or touching thr hearts of individuals, just like you. No matter where you are in this world, just look around for youself at the vastness of people that you see. Personally, I love the game of football. I often watch both college and professional just for the sport of it. As I watch, I see the stadiums packed with people; which is just a small part of all the people even in that city or state. I notice that. although that staium is fillied with people only twenty two people are actually playing football. Every other person is basically just a spectator; doing no more that watching as the game moves foward.

As we consider the ship, Jesus and his disciples were on; it can be seen as ( the Church ) in a very troubled world. My desire is to get more people i ( in the game ) of heving children born ( born again ) as members of the true Church and leaving the cares and troubles of this world.

There is a massive amout of people in this world, all confused, troubled and wondering basically without the peace that can be gain by simply knowing Jesus Christ as their personal ( individual ) savoir. With that being stated, let’s now look back at Noah’s day and make some points that many might miss.

So, let’s start this with the children born to Adam and Eve. You can go and read in ( Genesis ) , the first few chapters to see what I’m saying. The first child that was born to this couple was a child named ( Cain ). The second born was ( Abel ). Cain, being the first born killed ( Abel ) the second born.

Now, we’ll stop here a minute and make another point. Both, Adam and Eve had sinned in the garden. If you remember, God had told them that it they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ( they would surely die ). The moment they ate of that fruit ( spiritually they died ). We’re actually the very same way. As we grow from birth, we also gain knowledge. At some point we gain the knowledge of right and wrong and, we often choose wrong. However, the point is that once we reach that point, we then must make a choice; just as they did.

As you read, you will see that God came down and killed an animal to make a covering for Adam and Eve. They excepted that covering as a covering for their sin but, they could no longer stay in that perfect garden. Now, they had to leave and work by the sweat of their brow. They were now ( sin Cursed ).

This is when Eve began to have children. Her first ( Cain ) her second ( Abel ). As these boys grew, they made a choice. God was pleased with Abel but not Cain. The fact the ( the first born ) killed the ( second born ) is a picture of our lives and, our flesh overtaken ( God’s will ) in our lives to live for him. In the case of what we see with Adam and Eve, the picture is that now Adam and Eve are left with only a son that is seeking to please himself. He has no desire to walk with God.

Now, let’s read another verse of scripture.

( Genesis 4:25 )

AND ADAM KNEW HIS WIFE AGAIN; AND SHE BARE A SON, AND CALLED HIS NAME SETH: FOR GOD, SHE SAID, HATH APPOINTED ME ANOTHER SEED INSTEAD OF ABEL, WHOM CAIN SLEW.

Here, we see the heart of Eve! Before we move foward from this verse of scripture; we need to consider something. If you will notice, Eve made this statement and not Adam. In every marriage, the man, the husband has his responsibilities. Because of his responsibilities he is not always around but the mother, the wife is there to instruct the children. She is there daily because that is her ,shall we say, ( sole ) ( soul ) responsibility. In the concept of God’s word, the man is the bread winner of the home. He has his part in child birth but, he works in the field, he goes out sometimes maybe for days. In this concept he shares with his wife, his desires and she carries them out within the home.

We see that picture in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ had a responsiblity in every person’s salvation. He performed his duties very well, perfectly! However, where is he now? Hasn’t he ( gone to prepare a place for us )? At this time, isn’t the responsibility to teach, to raise the ( children born ) within the Church left to his wife ( the Church )? So, we see that Eve was very concerned about the spiritual aspect of her children and, the things that were being told them concerning to knowledge of sin, good and evil needed a voice, a voice like the voice of Abel that Cain had killed. She seen that voice in ( Seth ).

As soon as we leave the verse we qouted: ( Genesis 4:25 ), look at the very next verse:

( Genesis 4:26 )

AND TO SETH, TO HIM ALSO THERE WAS BORN A SON, AND HE CALLED HIS NAME ENOS: THEN BEGAN MEN TO CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD.

We often look at the fact that we only see ( sons ) mentioned in the life of Adam and Eve and, we also seem to only see a short period of time such as; ten or fifteen years but; look at these verses:

( Genesis 5:4-5 )

AND THE DAYS OF ADAM AFTER HE HE HAS BEGOTTEN SETH WERE EIGHT HUNDRED YEARS: AND HE BEGAT SONS AND DAUGHTERS. ( 5 ) AND ALL THE DAYS OF THAT ADAM LIVED WERE NINE HUNDRED AND THIRTY YEARS: AND HE DIED.

Do you see there that Adam was ( one hundred and thirty years old when Seth was born. How many sons and daughters were born to him in that ( one hundred and thirty years )? When we consider what is being said in: ( Genesis 4:26 ) ( then began men to call upon the name of the Lord ), can’t it be assumed that nothing spiritual was being taught or sought from the descentants of Adam and Eve or any of their other Children? We also know and, can follow the spiritual trail of people from the man called ( Enos ) the first born of ( Seth ).

In comparison; looking at the phrase ( then began men to call upon the name of the Lord ), we, as people today actually don’t call on the name of the Lord until we have the ( new birth ), until we are ( born again ). You see, although Cain had heard about the grace departed from God to both Adam and Eve, he didn’t encourage any of that teaching. If I use myself as an axample, I, as a child was taught the scriptures as in my mom took me to Church. However, nothing in my life reflected Jesus Christ until I was born again in 1975.

It appears; when we see the birth of ( Seth ) that Eve was asking God for a child that would teach his Children to value of a walk with God and, refraining from sin. If you will notice in ( Genesis 4 ) we see the descendants of Cain. All through that list of names we see people that done things that were part of this world. However, it is nothing mentioned about even speaking tha Lord’s name. As we get into ( Genesis 5 ), we see the descendants of ( Seth ). We see where each of these men had sons and daughters but, their journey through time brings us to a man called ( Noah ). In ( Genesis 6:8 ) it says this:

BUT NOAH FOUND GRACE IN THE EYES OF THE LORD.

If we go back a little and look in ( Genesis 5 ) we see something that ( I believe ) is worth mentioning.

( Genesis 5:24 )

AND ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD: AND HE WAS NOT; FOR GOD TOOK HIM.

I’d like to build something here on this verse. As I’ve stated, we’re looking at the ( God line ) as we move through time. These people are all descendants of ( Seth ) As we consider this, I realize that as these people walked and became witnesses of ( the grace of God ) it’s very possible that some of the descendants of Cain also became believers. According to scripture we know that they mingled together, they were all family. Look at this verse:

( Genesis 6:1-2 )

AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN MEN BEGAN TO MULTIPLY ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH, AND DAUGHTERS WE BORN UNTO THEM, ( 2 ) THAT THE SONS OF GOD SAW THE DAUGHTERS OF MEN THAT THEY WERE FAIR; AND THEY TOOK THEM WIVES OF ALL WHICH THEY CHOSE.

To put it as simple as I know how; as time moved foward the desires of the flesh began to overwhelm the very men that were suppose to be teaching the ( grace of God ). In other words, instead of the spirit of God in man winning over the people of this world, the people of this world were winning over the people of God.

I mentioned ( Enoch ) and the fact he walked with God and, he was not because God took him. Now, let’s look at the man that is mentioned being born to ( Enoch ). His name is ( Methuselah ). This man live longer than any other man. If you will look in ( verse 27 ) it says this:

AND ALL THE DAYS OF METHUSELAH WERE NINE HUNDRED SIXTY AND NINE YEARS: AND HE DIED.

I’d like to point something out here. Let’s run the numbers! In ( Verse 26 ) AND METHUSELAH LIVED AFTER HE BEGAT LAMECH SEVEN HUNDRED EIGHTY AND TWO YEARS. Now, look in verse ( verse 31 ) AND ALL THE DAYS OF LAMECH WERE SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY AND SEVEN YEARS. ( 777 )!

Therefore, Methuselah lived five years after his son died. I’d like to make this point here. I like Biblical numerics. In scripture the number ( 7 ) is the number of perfection, spiritual completion. The number ( 5 ) is Grace. We see those two facts represented in these to men ( father and son ). Now, let’s build a spiritual picture here. We see that ( Lemech ) ( was not ) because ( God took Him )! As I seek to build this I pray you can see ( Jesus Christ ) in the picture.

God the Father came to this world in the fleshly body of his son, Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life, was crucified, dead and buried. On the third day he arose from the dead. Jesus Christ made this statement:

( John 10:17-18 )

THEREFORE DOTH MY FATHER LOVE ME, BECAUSE I LAY DOWN MY LIFE , THAT I MIGHT TAKE IT UP AGAIN. ( 18 )NO MAN TAKETH IT FROM ME, BUT I LAY IT DOWN MYSELF. I HAVE POWER TO LAY IT DOWN, AND I HAVE POWER TO TAKE IT AGAIN. THIS COMMANDMENT HAVE I RECEIVED OFMY FATHER.

Let’s see one more verse:

( Acts 1:9 )

AND WHEN HE HAD SPOKEN THESE THINGS, WHILE THEY BEHELD, HE WAS TAKEN UP; AND A CLOUD RECEIVED HIM OUT OF THEIR SIGHT.

I see see this same picture in the scripture concerning ( Lemech ). Also, the fact that ( Methuselah ) lived longer than any man and, longer than his son makes him a type of the ( Holt Spirit ) that Jesus Christ sent on the ( Day of Pentecost ). We can say this: when ( Methuselah ) died, the flood of Noah happened. I like to refer to ( Jesus Christ ) as the ( Ark of Salvation ). When the Church is raptured out of this world, the Holy Spirit will go with it! That happens just before the ( Tribulation ) upon this earth!

From the birth of ( Seth ) to the ( Flood of Noah ) I’ll say was somewhere around two thousand years. As those years past the Spirit of God was less and less appealing to mankind. Man became more and more interested in the things of this world and, much less interested in the things of God. That is what God’s word says! Look at these verses:

( Genesis 6:5-6 )

AND GOD SAW THAT THE WICKNESS OF MAN WAS GREAT IN THE EARTH, AND THAT EVERY IMAGINATION OF THE THOUGHTS OF HIS HEART WAS EVIL CONTINUALLY. ( 6 ) AND IT REPENTED THE LORD THAT HE HAD MADE MAN ON THE EARTH, AND IT GRIEVED HIM IN HIS HEART. ( 7 ) AND THE LORD SAID, I WILL DESTROY MAN WHOM I HAVE CREATED FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH; BOTH MAN, AND BEAST, AND THE CREEPING THING, AND THE FOWLS OF THE AIR; FOR IT REPENTETH ME THAT I HAVE MADE THEM.

Now, look at the very next verse:

( Genesis 6:6 )

BUT NOAH FOUND GRACE IN THE EYES OF THE LORD.

We can say a lot about how God instructed Noah in ( Genesis 6 ). However, the point is that even as Noan built the Ark over the next one hundred and twenty years; no one, not one other person joined him other than the members of his family. I’d like for you to consider this. For all those years, not one child was born to either of Noah’s sons and their wives. What spiritual point can me made about that very point?

Let’s see if I can make the spiritual point I’d like to make here. So of this is mere speculation but, I’m looking at it from the things I see today. Personally, ( I believe ) that In the beginning ( seth ) and his descendants truly carried the same grace to the people that Adam and Eve shared with him as a child. If you remember ( Cain ) was a vagabond, he was cast out therefore, the majority of the people as the world grew was always around ( the mindset ) of Seth. However, as time moved forward even those people began to allow other mindsets to creep in and, control their lives. Remember the phrase ( sons of God and, the daughters of men )?

So, what happens to the children of many spiritual people? Let’s consider something else here. Where all three of Noah’s sons spiritual or, where they simply following their father? Again, ( I believe ) that there were possibly many other ( religious mindsets ) in the days of Noah and, many people looked at Noah and his family as ( spiritual quacks ). The ( grace ) that Seth preached in the beginning had been so changed that the people, if they believed at all were confident in what they believed. Look at this verse:

( Matthew 24:38-39 )

FOR AS IN THE DAYS THAT WERE BEFORE THE FLOOD THEY WERE EATING AND DRINKING, MARRYING AND GIVING IN MARRIAGE, UNTIL THE DAY THAT NOE ENTERED THE ARK, ( 39 ) AND KNEW NOT UNTIL THE FLOOD CAME, AND TOOK THEM ALL AWAY; SO SHALL ALSO THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN BE.

Deception my friends is a terrible thing! Do you realize that the same ( Serpent ) that deceived Eve was still walking the earth in these days and, is still here now? I spoke of even Noah’s sons that entered the Ark. I’d like to make a point about even them.

A true belief, a real exceptance of God’s Grace is a very transforming event in any person’s life. Let’s look at a Church today that actually stands and preaches God’s infallible word with power and conviction. Let’s also say a man and his wife truly are born again and become members of this Church. They have children and the couple raise their children in this Church. Their children, in time join this Church and, are even baptized but they never truly have the heart felt conviction of their sin, never truly understand the ( grace of God ). Although they are members of a very powerful, spiritual filled Church, don’t they still, as individuals have to die and stand before God?

Don’t we see the same thing with Noah’s sons? When the Ark settles back to earth, you notice the sons of Noah! If you will notice in ( Genesis 11 ) we begin to follow the descendants of Shem. We see in ( Genesis 12 ) one of those descendants is ( Abram ).If you will notice, the sons of Noah, right after the flood begin to do just as they chose to do. I’m not even saying Noah was perfect, he wasn’t but, he believed and followed the Grace of God. In essence, we see the very same picture with the sons of Noah as we did with the sons of Adam.

I simply point all this out to show you that in every case, as we move foward in time; the spirit of God becomes less and less important to the average man. I showed you a while back about Lamech, Methuselah and Noah, how I see them relating to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Church.

Jesus Christ had his responsibility as far as the birth and building of the Church. He carried out his responsibility to perfection. He also made a promise. Let’s read it in:

( John 14:15-21 )

IF YE LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS. ( 16 ) AND I WILL PRAY THE FATHER, AND HE SHALL GIVE YOU ANOTHER COMFORTER, THAT HE MAY ABIDE WITH YOU FOR EVER; ( 17 ) EVEN THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH; WHOM THE WORLD CANNOT RECEIVE, BECAUSE IT SEETH HIM HIM NOT, NEITHER KNOWETH HIM: BUT YE KNOW HIM; FOR HE DWELLETH WITH YOU, AND SHALL BE IN YOU. ( 18 ) I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU COMFORTLESS: I WILL COME TO YOU. ( 19 ) YET A LITTLE WHILE, AND THE WORLD SEETH ME NO MORE; BUT YE SEE ME: BECAUSE I LIVE, YE SHALL LIVE ALSO. ( 20 ) AT THAT DAY YE SHALL KNOW THAT I AM IN MY FATHER, AND YE IN ME, AND I IN YOU. ( 21 ) HE THAT HATH MY COMMANDMENTS, AND KEEPETH THEM, HE IT IS THAT LOVETH ME: AND HE THAT LOVETH ME SHALL BE LOVED OF MY FATHER, AND I WILL LOVE HIM, AND WILL MAGIFEST MYSELF TO HIM.

As we look at these verses I want you to see something else. Let’s look in:

( John 21:4 )

BUT WHEN THE MORNING WAS NOW COME, JESUS STOOD ON THE SHORE, BUT THE DISCIPLES KNEW NOT THAT IT WAS JESUS.

As you read this verse of scripture and, you can read and study more if you please; I want you to know that this same Jesus had just a short time before stood and talked to his disciples. If you remember Thomas didn’t believe but, at this time he said ( my Lord and my God )!. Now, to their credit; they are without the spirit of God at that time and, very weak in the flesh. But, my point is that any person has to have a desire to know and see Christ. That is even if you are born again.

When the Holy Spirit, the conforter that Jesus Christ had promised fell in ( Acts 2 ) those people were very eager to see and know Jesus Christ, they looked for him in everything, they listen to hear what was being said. They yearned for his return and, looked for him daily.

I’m writing a study through the ( Book of Acts ). In the last part, the last lesson I wrote; I made the point that we must be sensitive to the Spirit of God as he speaks. It’s very easy for man to build and create doctrines that are void of God’s Spirit. We see that, if we look in the very early chapters of Acts. Even in those days Satan was hard at work seeking to deceive the people.

The creation of the Church was a new beginning. Just like the life of ( Seth ) and, the days right after the flood. As you consider or, even if you could have been living in the days of the early Church, to whom would you have followed? As each day passed do you think you could single out the voice of the Spirit of God and, at the proper time, be a follower of the very person you were instructed to by God’s Spirit? That is a completely different study. However, my point is that now, some two thousand years later, are we not faced with the very same challenges that they faced then?

Look at all the denominations we have! All the religions that speak of Jesus Christ! Even all the different versions of what men call ( the Bible ). Aren’t we faced with the very same senerio that the people that didn’t board the Ark did in that day? ( What is truth )? Can we say for a fact today that ( the truth ) was that if you didn’t get on board the Ark, you would perish? Is that not recognized truth?

( I believe ) we have a problem! So, let’s consider! Jesus Christ is the ( ARK OF SALVATION ), period! Look at this:

( John 14:5-7 )

THOMAS SAITH UNTO HIM, LORD, WE KNOW NOT WHITHER THOU GOEST; AND HOW CAN WE KNOW THE WAY? ( 6 ) JESUS SAITH UNTO HIM. I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE: NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER , BUT BY ME. ( 7 ) IF YE HAD KNOWN ME, YE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN MY FATHER ALSO: AND FROM HENCEFORTH YE KNOW HIM, AND HAVE SEEN HIM.

I’ll begin this by saying, I say firmly on those verses, I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way that any person will ever see the Father. ( There is no other name, given under heaven whereby you must be saved.

( Acts 4:12 )

NEITHER IS THERE SALVATION IN ANY OTHER: FOR THERE IS NONE OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN, WHEREBY WE MUST BE SAVED.

I’d say that almost any Church you walk in, any denomination and, you can ask any person in any of those places if they believe this and, they will say ( YES ). So, where is the problem? If all those people believe this, does that make them saved? In these last days, this is where ( I believe ) that Satn has driven his wedge of deception or, woven his web of deciet!

While this is a true satatement and, a statement that has to be understood, what else has to happen? Is there anything else? When does ( believing ) actually become ( believing )? I heard a story once about a hiker that had fallen off of a very steep ledge. When he fell, he caught hold of a little tree that had grown off the side of the ledge, he was holding on for dear life. If it broke or, he let go, it was certain death! He had no one to help him so, he begin to pray. All of a sudden Jesus appeared just standing in mid air. When the hiker saw him, he begged him for his help, please Jesus , help me. Jesus Said, do you really believe I can save you? he hiker cried, yes Lord! Jesus said, turn loose the little tree! However, the hiker just kept clinging to the little tree and pleading for Jesus to save him, not being obedient to our Lord.

( I believe ) the true concept of ( being born again ) is not being taught and most Church people have no idea of that very concept! If you will notice the last few words in ( Acts 4:12 ) what does it say? ( WHEREBT YE MUST BE SAVED )!

Look at one more verse:

( John 3:7 )

MARVEL NOT THAT I SAID UNTO THEE, YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN.

In Christ; everything that is needed for your salvation is right there in his name! He is ( God in Flesh )! He became our sacrifice. There is none other but him! Jesus Christ is the very door of the ( Ark of Salvation )! In him do we have safety from the very wrath of God the Father! So, what does it take to be born again?

What did it take to be born the first time? Over the years this subject has been one that I’ve sought to explain, to give people a perspective about what salvation is. In reality,; when you were born the first time, a union was made between two individuals, male and female. When that union was made, a completely seperate individual was formed. While that individual showed characteristics of both; the male and female she or he was formed from, it was still a completely different being.

When you were born the first time, both the male and the female knew of the possibility of new life being form from their union. All these points are still very relative to the born again experience. I believe we could argue it even takes three to bring about the born again experience. Why would I say that? I realize the actually the only two that is truly needed is you, as an individual and the Holy Spirit of God. However, I’d like to show you a few verses. First:

( Acts 8:31 )

AND HE SAID, HOW CAN I, EXCEPT SOME MAN SHOULD GUIDE ME? AND HE DESIRED PHILIP THAT HE WOULD COME UP AND SIT WITH HIM.

We can say a lot about this scripture! First of all, at that time it was no New Testament. This Ethiopian man was sitting in his chariot reading ( Esaias ) the prophet. He realized that he, on his own could not understand what he was reading He looked at Philip and said basically; ( how can I understand it unless some man teach me ).

Now,, let’s look in :

( Romans 10:13-15 )

FOE WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED. ( 14 ) HOW THEN SHALL THEY CALL ON HIM IN WHOM THEY HAVE NOT BELIEVED? AND HOW SHALL THEY BELIEVE IN HIM OF WHOM THEY HAVE NOT HEARD? AND HOW SHALL THEY HEAR WITHOUT A PREACHER? ( 15 ) AND HOW SHALL THEY PREACH, EXCEPT THEY BE SENT? AS IT IS WRITTEN, HOW BEAUTHIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THEM THAT PREACH THE GOSPEL OF PEACE, AND BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS!

As we consider the first verse, we see that the ( Spirit ) led Philip to join the chariot.

( Acts 8:29 )

THEN THE SPIRIT SAID UNTO PHILIP, GO NEAR, AND JOIN THYSELF TO THIS CHARIOT.

As it relates to the ( born again experience ) it takes a person willing to hear, to receive! As we consider ( a preacher ); consider this. That person, such as Philip actually has not one thing to do with the salvation of a soul. The ( preacher ) is a man that is ( sold out ) to the very cause of Christ, nothing else. In other words, the things he says has nothing to do with his opinion, the Church he is affiliated with, his preferense of scripture, the desires of any other people. His complete will is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Therefore, we can forget about the ( third person ) can’t we? It is completely a union made between the Spirit of God and (you ) as an individual.

Now, just how far can we take this teaching of the born again experience? What if we forget about you to begin with? Why do I say that? Because as a sinner you’re dead, you are walking around ( dead ). You just simply can’t see it! You don’t even have the ability to help yourself, even if you desire to. Let me say something here that ( I believe ). It’s a terrible thing to be deceived by a husband, a wife, a friend, a Church member, a pastor and so on. But, the worst thing that can ever happen is for you to deceive your own self. For you to reach the place in your life that you cannot hear truth; no matter where it comes from is a terrible place to be!

So, we must start with finding out the responsibility of the ( Holy Spirit of God ). What is his part in your salvation, your ( born again ) experience? Let’s look at:

( John 16:7-14 )

NEVERTHELESS I TELL YOU THE TRUTH; IT IS EXPEDIENT FOR YOU THAT I GO AWAY: FOR IF I GO NOT AWAY, THE COMFORTER WILL NOT COME UNTO YOU, BUT IF I DEPART, I WILL SEND HIM UNTO YOU. ( 8 ) AND WHEN HE IS COME, HE WILL REPROVE THE WORLD OF SIN, AND OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND OF JUDGMENT: ( 9 ) OF SIN, BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE NOT ON ME; ( 10 ) OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, BECAUSE I GO UNTO MY FATHER, AND YE SEE ME NO MORE; ( 11 ) OF JUDGMENT, BECAUSE THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD IS JUDGED. ( 12 ) I HAVE MANY THINGS TO SAY UNTO YOU, BUT YE CANNOT BEAR THEM NOW. ( 13 ) HOWBEIT WHEN HE, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, IS COME, HE WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH: FOR HE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF; BUT WHAT SOEVER HE SHALL; THAT SHALL HE SPEAK: AND HE WILL SHEW YOU THINGS TO COME. ( 14 ) HE SHALL GLORIFY ME: FOR HE SHALL RECEIVE OF MINE, AND SHALL SHEW IT UNTO YOU.

This is what Jesus Christ said about the ( comforter ) ( the Spirit ) he would send when he left. I want you to notice the words ( UNTO YOU ). That comforter, that Spirit lives within the heart of the believer, those that are born again. Although he lives within the heart of every believer, God calls some special people to do the work here on this earth. While all born again believers can be a witness of the transformation in their lives and, should be, just as we seen in ( Romans 10 ) God uses people for specific duties. Look at this this:

( Ephesians 4:11-13 )

AND HE GAVE SOME, APOSTLES; AND SOME, PROPHETS; AND SOME, EVANGELISTS; AND SOME, PASTORS AND TEACHERS; ( 12 ) FOR THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS, FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY, FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST: ( 13 ) TILL WE ALL COME IN THE UNITY OF THE FAITH, AND OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD, UNTO A PERFECT MAN, UNTO THE MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULNESS OF CHRIST.

As you consider the list of the different types of people that God calls for the work of the ministry, consider the tremendous responsibility that goes with each of those things. The whole article is seeking to compare the days to which we live to the days just before the rains came after Noah had finished the Ark. As I look at this list; this verse of scripture comes to mind.

( Acts 9:15 )

BUT THE LORD SAID UNTO HIM, GO THY WAY: FOR HE IS A CHOSEN VESSEL UNTO ME, TO BEAR MY NAME BEFORE THE GENTILES, AND KINGS, AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL ( 16 ) FOR I WILL SHEW HIM HOW GREAT THINGS HE MUST SUFFER FOR MY NAME’S SAKE.

The Apostle Paul was a ( chosen vessel ). Now, I want you to notice something about men that consider themselves to be ( called ) into the gospel ministry today.

( 1 Timothy 3:1 )

THIS IS A TRUE SAYING, IF ANY MAN DESIRE THE OFFICE OF A BISHOP, HE DESIRETH A GOOD WORK.

Did you notice the word ( desire ) there? As I consider this; I often wonder why, the reason many people today get into the ministry. We see that, according to what God himself revealed to Ananias about the man that soon became ( the Apostle Paul ) that it can involve great suffering. If any man says he desires the office of a bishop, meaning to do a work for our Lord, just consider the tremendous responsibilty he has just taken on!

Just by way of a personal thought about myself, I noticed this about myself when I pastored a Church. Just like any other Church, each service would begin with singing, praying, offering and anouncements and so on. When I would take the pulpit, I’d read my scripture, then I would pray. Almost everytime right after that prayer, I noticed it would be ( a pause ) between the last word of that prayer and the word ( Amen ). By the way, someone else pointed that fact out to me one day. As I thought about it, I realized that at that moment, it had to cease to be me and I must allow my God to be the one speaking now! There is no exceptions! Either a man that says he is called by God is giong to allow God to speak through him to the best of his ability or, he is a fraud, a false teacher!

( I believe ) we have reached the time in, what we call ( the Church age ) that we’ve made the preaching of God’s word ( a science ) rather than actually allowing God to speak through the men behind the pulpit. Men now go to school to learn the ( how to’s ) of being a pastor or to preach. How to dress, how to speak. the right terms and words to use. Also, what to say and, what not to say.

I wonder if the same things were happening just before the flood? Was there a science that had been developed? Did the true ( truth ) as spoken by Noah become a laughing point in most circles, just as what is actually needed to be ( born again ) today has become? Today, if a man actually looks out at his concregation and calls them ( hell deserving sinners ) tells them that ( without the shed blood of Jesus Christ ) they have no hope, in most cases he is asked to leave!.

I need to get back to the thought about truly being born again! What happens is that when a man that is truly called by God, allowing God’s Spirit, the Spirit that lives within him to ( speak ) He is injecting the ( truth ) as reveal by the Holy Spirit of God straight into the heart of a ( hell deserving sinner ). To make a point; in the average Church service today; a person can go, hear the message the pastor preaches, get up, go home and watch television as if they haven’t even been to Church.I want you to know that when a sinner, being any person, even if they are born again hears the word of God preached with the power of the Holy Spirit present, that spirit shines light on the sin we are guilty of and, we cannot shake it! When we leave Church, that Holy Ghost conviction leaves within our hearts.

It takes scripture to prove points! Look at this:

Hebrews 6:4-6 )

FOR IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO WERE ONCE ENLIGHTENED, AND HAVE TASTED OF THE HEAVENLY GIFT, AND WERE MADE PARTAKERS OF THE HOLY GHOST, ( 5 ) AND HAVE TASTED THE GOOD WORD OF GOD, AND THE POWERS OF THE WORLD TO COME, ( 6 ) IF THEY SHALL FALL AWAY, TO RENEW THEM AGAIN UNTO REPENTANCE; SEEING THEY CRUCIFY TO THEMSELVES THE SON OF GOD AFRESH, AND PUT HIM TO AN OPEN SHAME.

Here in these verses he makes my point. There is nothing on the face of this earth that is more powerful than the Holy Spirit! When a sinner walks into a Church, that Church being ( filled with the Holy Spirit ), sees the power of God, sits in that service, hears God’s word preached with the power of the Holy Ghost, feels the convicting power of that spirit upon his or her heart then, that sinner cannot deny that it happened. He might deny it before men but, when he stands before God, God knows the truth!.

I want you to understand; I didn’t live in the days just before the flood therefore all I might say about is only supplication, I can’t prove a word of it. However, at that time; Satan was alive and well just as he is today! ( I believe ) that men had devised their own methods of reaching that place we might call security in God. That was so strong that it made Noah and his family a laughing stock to this world. To make my point, if you will read just a little while after the Ark had settled back to dry ground; there’s a man named Nimrod that has already began to seek to build a tower to heaven, by passing the way God desired for it to happen.

A continual evilness is within the heart of man! Today, just as in those days, the truth is evil spoken of. Jesus Christ is either not even recognized or, his is so diluted that the true power of the Holy Ghost and his saving grace is not even felt. If any person tries to stand and proclaim truth, he is as quick as possible, shut up and sit down.

The true Church is now the Ark of our salvation. Jesus Christ! His perfect life, his shed blood, his crucifixion and resurrection is the only door into that Ark. The world has its Church, it’s called the synagogue of Satan! He doesn’t mind that the name of Christ is used, that God is spoken of or, any part of scripture is used. That is, as long as the power of the Holy Ghost os not present. To be born again, that Spirit must be injected into the heart of a sinner to bring about new life. To be born again that Spirit has to show you that ( just as you are ) you are ( dead ) in your trespasses and sins. It must reveal to you that your very existance means nothing to God the Father without the presence of the Holy Spirit that he is now offering to you. At that point you become willing to die to yourself and, allow him to begin to rule yo your walk, your desires, completely transforming your mindset and the direstion of which you walk.

In the days of Noah, just how many people actually seen the Ark with their own eyes? At that time, how many people were pointed toward that Ark, instructing them that they must board that Ark? Fast foward todsay! How many people are actually being told the truth? How many people are being told that they are actually hell deserving sinners, completely without hope in this present world and, that without being washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, there home will be in ( Hell ) for eternity? How many people are being deceived by believing that just because the say they know Jesus Christ, they’ve been baotized and joined a local Church then everything is going to be alright, no need to look toward the Ark of Christ? How many?

The phrase ( AND THEY KWEW NOT UNTIL THE FLOOD CAME ). THe Bible says that after Noah and his family entered that Ark that the door of that Ark was left open for seven days. At that point ( God shut the door ). Consider this! The Bible says that after the rapture of the Church; there will be a ( seven year ) tribulation period. During that time, if a person has never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, then he can still be saved but, that person will seal his faith with his own blood! That’s a lesson for another day!

Have you been truly born again, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ? Are you in the Ark of Jesus Christ, the Church! Make your calling and election sure!

( 2 Peter 1:10 )

WHEREFORE THE RATHER, BRETHREN, GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: FOR IF YE DO THESE THINGS, YE SHALL NEVER FALL:

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE? ( JAMES 4:13-14 )

GO TO NOW, YE THAT SAY, TODAY OR TOMORROW WE WILL GO INTO SUCH A CITY, AND CONTINUE THERE A YEAR. AND BUY AND SELL, AND GET GAIN: ( 14 ) WHEREAS YE KNOW NOT WHAT SHALL BE ON THE MORROW. FOR WHAT IS YOUR LIFE? IT IS EVEN A VAPOUR, THAT APPEARETH FOR A LITTLE TIME, AND THEN VANISHETH AWAY.

As I ponder how to teach this thought and, often little things that might pop in my mind, sometimes it might be days before I can actually begin to allow God’s spirit to unfold the things that I truly desire to write. As I consider this, I begin with how the word ( life ) is defined, especially in this particular verse. In teaching I’ve often referenced the fact that when we are born we, on that day ( become a living soul ). The world desfines that day as having life. I actually don’t have a problem with that, realuzing that it has to be defied some way. In reality. ( Life begins with Jesus Christ ). Why? Because he is life! When we are born again is when we actually receive ( life ) and, that life is eternal. Here is one verse that teaches that:

( John 5:24 )

VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, HE THAT HEARETH MY WORD, AND BELIEVETH ON HIM THAT SENT ME, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, AND SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION; BUT IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE.

Jesus Christ also says this:

( John 11:25 )

JESUS SAID UNTO HER, I AM THE RESURRECTION, AND THE LIFE: HE THAT BELIEVETH IN ME, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE:

The verse we are looking into in ( James 4:14 ) says this: ( FOR WHAT IS YOUR LIFE )? If we desire to define what we have on this earth as ( life ); then James is explaining to each of us just what we actually have. One of the first things he mentions is that you can’t even say for sure you’ll be here tomorrow. Even with that uncertainty, many people cling to this life. They seek to gain more and more money or things.

As I sit here and seek to hear God’s spirit as I write, God just place a thought on my heart of a personal nature about me. I’d like to share it concerning what we might consider gain and loss in my personal walk with Christ,

Most people that we see are people that are ( of this world ). In their thought process they only see things from a physical standpoint as it might concern success or failure. Back when I was a boy, there was a man that many people actually made fun of. This man sought to preach the gospel and, he actually did for a while. However, he was a drunkard, hard drink finally got the best of him and he died because of his sinful weakness. But, what was his life? Can you see that through all his weakness he actually had a burning desire to serve Christ? It’s easy to belittle him, be critical of his failures but what have you done for Christ in your life? Have you even attempted to overcome you sinful self and attempt something for the glory of God?

I was born again in 1975. The Church I got saved in had a pastor that was sold out for Jesus Christ. He never just stood up and preached a message. His whole mindset was one of truly seeking God’s face on what to preach. As I got to know him, learn about him, I heard him say once that before he surrendered to preach he would walk the railroad tracks close to his house seeking an answer from God about what to do. Looking back now I can see why he was so hard pressed to know for sure what he was doing, and I haven’t even gotten to me yet!

The truth is, it doesn’t matter what your sinful weakness might be or, even if it’s not a weakness you have but, a weakness of someone else that destroys the true will of God for a life, isn’t it still destroyed as far as this world is concerned? What if a man has this kind of passion to walk in God’s will, to preach the gospel but, his very wife is not supportive of what and who he is? Isn’t the same destructive power still there? It doesn’t have to be his wife. It can be a simple group of people within a Church to are not willing to submit to God’s will but are far more willing to seek their own direction.

In 1980 this pastor resigned his Church. As far as I know he never pastored another one, never started another. However, ( WHAT WAS HIS LIFE )? Can you see that what was truly within this man he was never allowed to completely live out? In 1990 my family and I, also a few other families were actually voted out of this Church. I won’t go into why but, does it make us wrong because we were voted out?

The few families that were voted out were looking to me for direction. If I visited a Church, everyone of those families followed me to that Church. We visited a few but, I was truly struggling about what to do. God had called me to preach a few years before this and I was praying about starting a Church. That’s exactly what we did! Just like my former pastor I had a tremendous passion to allow God to speak through me and, not to simply allow myself to speak or say things from the pulpit.

I pastored that Church for ten years. Within those ten years we built a building and the Church grew. With all that being said, I made many mistakes. As a matter of fact; I walked somewhat the same path as my former pastor. Was it my weakness that caused me to resign? Actually, it doesn’t matter does it? However, I will say this, often a man’s life is not defined by his weakness but rather, his will. This is something we all can count on. If you are going to sell yourself out to do God’s will, to allow ( YOUR LIFE ) to be his and not your own; then Satan is going to attect you, no matter who you are! I will add that he knows your weakness, no matter what it might be.

You might ask., should men that have the ability to see their weakness even consider doing a work for Christ? To that question I would ask you ( WHAT IS YOUR LIFE )? The average person that will say they are born again are sitting on a Church pew on Sunday morning. They go to Sunday School, they tithe and they go home. It’s almost like a football game; the stands are full of people but there are only 22 people playing football.

Investing in the work of the Lord is never a failure. The world will look at what you’ve done and judge whether they think you were victorious or a failure. They’ll sit and talk about you behind your back, making judgmental statements. However, all the truly matters is how God the Father sees your life. Did you simply invest in you or, did you seek to place yourself in the battle for the Lord? I only point these things out because we often look at people, pastors, Sunday School teachers and we, judge them as being ( used of God ) when, in reality their whole lives has nothing to do with ( the will ) to please our Lord. This is the very point that Jesus Christ is making in this verse:

( Mark 7:6 )

HE ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO THEM. WELL HATH ESAIAS PROPHESIED OF YOU HYPOCRITES, AS IT IS WRITTEN, THIS PEOPLE HONOURETH ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEARTS IS FAR FROM ME.

This is the whole concept that James is speaking of. Like I said; you can define ( life ) as what you have if you please however, what we have, what we call ( life ) is soon going to end. This is a tremendous burden on my heart when I see what is being taught in Church and by most pastors today. Our Churches appear to be filled with people that ( honor God ) with their lips but ( their hearts ) ( their lives ) the way they actually live is miles from where God would have them be. Now, you might call that being judgmental and, I suppose it could be after I have gone to the trouble to show how often we see people not for what they really are. However, It’s truly not meant to be judgmental but with great concern.

You see, there’s some other verses we must consider. Look at this one:

( 2 Corinthians 5:17 )

THEREFORE IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW.

Look at this one:

( Colossians 3:9-10 )

lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; ( 10 ) and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Let’s even consider this verse:

( Luke 18:21-22 )

AND HE SAID,ALL THESE HAVE I KEPT FROM MY YOUTH UP. ( 22 ) NOW WHEN JESUS HEARD THESE THINGS, HE SAID UNTO HIM, YET LACKEST THOU ONE THING: SELL ALL THAT THOU HAST, AND DISTRIBUTE UNTO THE POOR, AND THOU SHALL HAVE TREASURE IN HEAVEN, AND COME, FOLLOW ME.

Often when I read verses that are saying what these verses are saying, I consider myself, even other people that I know come into my mind. ( WHAT IS MY LIFE )? Just how willing am I to give up all I have, give to the poor and, completely follow Jesus Christ?

I’d like to share an event that happened between my wife and I a while back. My wife is from Ohio, I’m from North Carolina. We Live in North Carolina; in the very house, on the very farm I grew up on. My wife was interested in selling out and moving back to Ohio to be a help to her family that in some cases needed us to help. What we have in North Carolina is ours with no debt. Therefore, I was apposed to selling and possibly going into debt to move to somewhere else. I actually didn’t mind moving so much but it became tense between us. I couldn’t sleep that night because it was on my mind.

The next day, around lunch I went to her and said this: Honey, if you desire to sell out and move, I’m on your team! If we are needed in Ohio then I don’t want ( things ) at any place to stop me from walking where God desire for me to walk. There are people in Ohio that need to be witnessed to just like it is in North Carolina. Therefore, when you decide to go, I’m going with you.

That’s been about two years ago, we still live in North Carolina. God’s Spirit taught me something about me during that time. I’t’s easy to say you are where God desires for you to be but, can you prove that fact? Whether it be me or, the rich young ruler, it’s not so much selling all that you have but, your willingness to do so.

I heard a pastor tell a true story once about a man, a member of his Church that owned three cotton mills in different cities. The pastor shared that this man went to each of theses cotton mills every week to check on them. These cotton mills were his life. As this man aged; one day he started to feel bad and he went to his family doctor. After examining him, his doctor told him he had cancer. The best he could offer him was about six more months.

When the man left to doctor’s office, he went straight to his pastor. This is what he said. Pastor, I have cancer, the doctor tells me I have about six months to live. You know, all my life I’ve loved my cotton mills, went to each of them each week. However, now they mean absolutely nothing to me!

In essence, we often go to Church, give what we consider to be fair in our offering. We consider ourselves to be good Christians. However, do we ever truly die to ourselves? When we read these verses, being born again is all about a transition, a transformation. It’s the act of giving up our lives and, allowing God’s Spirit to take control of what we do and who we are.

Far too often we are taught, by our Church to allow ( that Church ) to become our life. Often we have multi-million dollar Church buildings but, the members are starving to death spiritually. We have given our lives to that building! To its leadership, its pastor, its priorties! While we speak of Jesus Christ in a generic sense, his will is far from our hearts, we don’t ask him what he thinks or hear him if he speaks!

( OUR LIVES ) even the things we tie ourselves to will soon end. Let’s give a spiritual metaphor for this thought. In:

( Luke 16:23 )

AND IN HELL HE LIFT UP HIS EYES, BEING IN TORMENTS, AND SEEING ABRAHAM AFAR OFF, AND LAZARUS IN HIS BOSOM.

I’ll just give this verse to make my point but, you can read the whole account. As you read this you will see that this man was well off, he had very little time for Lazarus but basically looked after himself ( HIS WHOLE LIFE ). He also had five brothers. We see that, when he died, he went to hell. Do you suppose he had a beautiful funeral, maybe the preacher talked about how good he was, seeking to comfort his family, his brothers? Actually, all that doesn’t matter now does it, he in hell for eternity!

Now, you consider the last funeral you went to. Can you tell me for sure where the person that died ended up? We often hear about how good he was, how faithful he was to Church, his family, how good of a friend he was. That was his or her ( physical life ) but, what about their ( spiritual lives )?

The Bible says this:

( Matthew 7:13-14 )

ENTER YE IN AT THE STRAIT GATE: FOR WIDE IS THE GATE, AND BROAD IS THE WAY, THAT LEADETH TO DESTRUCTION, AND MANY THERE BE WHICH GO IN THEREAT: ( 14 ) BECAUSE STRAIT IS THE GATE AND NARROW IS THE WAY, WHICH LEADETH UNTO LIFE, AND FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT.

We read those verses but, almost every person that dies today, according to our pastors have found that strait gate! ( WHAT IS YOUR LIFE )? Have you found that strait gate? The gate that leads to life? I often say ( I’m not a judge ) but, ( that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned ) about what I see with my eyes. This is what I see. I see people falling in love with Church buildings, pastors, Sunday School teachers and, their quarterlys. I see people falling in love with different versions of God’s word but, the same people are never truly concerned about ( the truth ) in the Word Of God! I find that almost every member of our Churches today will tell you they have been saved. However, the vast majority of them only have a ( hope so ) slavation. Does that mean that they don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ , one that gives them the assurance of salvation?

I see, while many pastors might say they believe in eternal security. very few of them teach that very concept; leaving their people in ignorance of the truth. The very phrase ( WHAT IS YOUR LIFE ) cries out for an individual seeking of that truth, a personal walk with Jesus Christ.

( I BELIEVE ) and this is ( MY OPINION ). That means that you can leave what you think about what I’m about to say up to what God’s Spirit leads you to think about it. Most of our Churches today has made salvation a corperate entity meaning that salvation is more about the Church corperately and less about ( an individual walk ) with Christ. ( I believe ) we are living in the last days as it relates to scripture. Within that time frame, in scripture we see that we are headed for three main ( ones ). ( ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT ) ( ONE WORLD MONEY SYSTEM ) and ( ONE WORLD CHURCH ).

Each of those entities are being set up as we speak. My concern is ( the Church ). If you will just look back a few years there was a vast difference in our local denomination. It was very noticeable. Today, it’s not much. This was brought about because of the ( singleness ) of teaching. The average Church today requires that their pastor have at least an associate degree before they will be even considered as their pastor. I can go on about my opinion but, that’s not what I’m seeking to show you!

My desire is to get you to look at ( your life ) your ( walk with Christ ). There’s a saying that states this: ( THIS LIFE FOR YOU WILL SOON BE PASSED! ONLY WHAT YOU DO FOR CHRIST WILL LAST )! This is my whole point! When we come to the resolve that ( our lives ) that we live here is nothing and, we become willing to turn ( our lives ) over to the ( Holy Spirit of God ) and, begin to build our ( eternal lives ) is the focus of what I’m saying.

My pastor can stand, speaking at a funeral and say all kinds of good things about a person that has just passed away. All those words don’t mean a thing! He might truly make a family feel good about the love one they just lost. However, the true judgement comes only from God the Father or, I guess we should say, His Son Jesus Christ. Now is the time for you to look at ( your life ). Now’s the time for you to prepare ( your life ) to stand, not before a Church and your pastor but, before a Holy and Righteous God. I want you to look at ( your life ) and decide are you living that life for you, for your Church or pastor, for money, for fame or, for what? If you can’t say that you are living ( your life ) sold out to the best of your ability to Jesus Christ and his will then, please change your course!

I still contend that ( your life ) is never your own! The reason I say that is because it doesn’t matter what you might think, as you live ( your life ) you are either pleasing God,, by his Holy Spirit or, ( your life ) is pleasing to Satan! There is no middle ground for you to play in!

In closing; I’ll even say this. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with me or not. It all boils down to how Jesus Christ sees ( your life ) as it unfolds. Judgement is in his hands, not mine and, not your Churches or your pastors.

( WHAT IS YOUR LIFE )? Only you can decide the answer to that spiritual question!

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7