February 29, 2004 § Leave a Comment
Author: Thomas Jefferson
“When we see ourselves in a situation which must be endured and gone through, it is best to make up our minds to it, meet it with firmness and accommodate everything to it in the best way practicable. This lessens the evil, while fretting and fuming only serves to increase your own torments.”
Source: COL John Baker, USA (Ret.)
September 8, 2001 § Leave a Comment
The apostle Peter describes the gradual steps a true Christian will follow on his or her path to perfection. These steps are a natural progression. They aren’t forced upon the person. He or she will undergo these phases in a very smooth transition, while the Holy Spirit works within them:
“And beside this, giving all dilligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” 2 Peter 1:5-9.
These steps or traits are very important for a Christian to know, and they will be discussed in more detail in another article. What I want to talk about here is the awakening of your conscience. What does it mean? When does it occur? Why does it occur? How does it happen?
First of all, let’s talk about what it means. Awakening your conscience is a phrase that refers to the result of following the path to Christian perfection. It means that you are now able to sift through your thoughts, your actions, the actions of others and your world in general, and realize what is wrong and what is right. It can also be referred to as an effect, and it occurs quite early in your progress. It comes with the first trait described in 2 Peter, namely virtue. Webster’s Dictionary defines virtue like this: “conformity to a standard of right: morality; a particular moral excellence… ; manly strength or courage: valor; a commendable quality or trait: merit; a capacity to act: potency.” The Bible defines virtue even more precisely. In Mark 5:30, the apostle writes: “And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?” The apostle Luke refers to it in the same context: “And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.” Luke 6:19 and “And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” Luke 8:46. The apostle Paul further clarifies the definition of virtue: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there by any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8.
Let’s summarize. Virtue is therefore a power, a trait that belongs directly to Jesus, which he used to heal the sick. It means moral excellence, and refers to truth, honesty, justice, purity, loveliness and good report. As Christians, we receive this gift from the Lord as soon as we have faith in him. It is His first gift to us! Isn’t this an overwhelming gift? It’s quite unbelievable to think upon the meaning of virtue, and realize that as Christians, we can expect to receive it as soon as we have faith on the Lord.
Now do you see why our conscience is awakened upon receiving virtue? We are imbued with everything that is right, just, true, honest, pure, lovely and of good report. Our conscience is brimming with virtue, and it now possesses the tools that it needs to sift the wrong from the right. It wasn’t the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden which gave us that power. Only God can give us this gift.
Having the power to see the good and the bad in things does not mean that we were not able to do it before. It rather means that we are able to do it in a much amplified manner. It can be compared to a person with rather bad eyesight, a myopic person. He is only able to see a blurry outline of things, and unless he is face to face with them, he cannot make them out. Let’s say his eyesight is corrected almost to perfection (I say almost because our conscience continues to awaken, or increase in power as we advance in our Christian life). Now he is able to see everything. What before was just a blur is now a tree. He can even see the leafs, and even make out the fruits on the branches. He can see insects crawling on the trunk, and a little birdnest cradled inbetween two little branches. He can see everything. Nothing is hidden from his sight. It is the same with us. Sure, we knew we had done something wrong if we stole something or we killed somebody. That’s obvious. Most everybody realizes the wrongdoing in something like that. But when our conscience is awakened by the power of the Holy Spirit, we begin to look at ourselves with a magnifying lens. For example, we realize that looking at someone’s body and its curves is quite wrong, and that it’s even more wrong if that person is already married or in a relationship. We realize that some of our comments either hurt other people or are loaded with perverse meanings. We realize that this great song on the radio or the TV is actually very crude and lewd, and that its lyrics should be kept far and away from our ears. Everything that we encounter now passess through a filter of much finer texture, and all of our sins are exposed in plain sight to our mind’s view. This is when we know that our conscience has been truly awakened.
Isn’t this a wonderful gift? Without it, we could not get closer to God. Without being made aware of our sinful and corrupt nature, we cannot ask forgiveness for our sins because we don’t really know the extent of our sinfulness. While we are here on Earth, God will actually never reveal the entire gamut of sins that we commit to us. It would be too much to bear. The burden would crush our spirits and we would quickly wish for death. But in His mercy, he reveals a little more to us every day, as we grow and are able to appreciate His gift. And as we get a better idea of ourselves, we become humbler, and we kneel down in prayer more often to ask for forgiveness.
So far, awakening your conscience sounds like a painful deal, doesn’t it? It is! As you grow in your faith, every time you sin will be more painful for you. As you commit bigger sins, the moment that you decide to go against His will and commandments, you will literally feel yourself falling from the grace of God. You will feel His presence leaving you. You will feel utterly alone and disgraced. You will want to cower and hide away. I cannot describe the feeling accurately enough even though I have experienced it repeatedly. But there’s a good chance that you either know what I’m talking about, or you will experience it in the future. It is an incredibly painful experience, but you know what? It is nothing compared to what God feels every time you sin. He gave his life for you, and you are crucifying Him over and over again every time you sin. You are spitting on his sacrifice when you sin, treating it like garbage. How do you think that makes Him feel? What you are feeling is nothing compared to His pain!
There are good news though! God will never leave your side. Even though Satan’s attacks are strongest just after you have fallen, and his evil spirits whisper in your ear that you are lost, that there is no hope for you, all you need do is kneel down and ask God to forgive you. God will forgive you! He always does! It is His guarantee to us. If we ask for forgiveness, He will give it to us, and restore us in His sight as if we had never sinned. This however does not mean that we can go on sinning. There comes a point of no return, when God says “Enough!”. There is no forgiveness after that.
This is why our conscience is awakened. As we walk along the path of Christian life, we are made aware more and more of each of our sins, and given the chance to correct them, to ask God for forgiveness and for deliverance from their influence on us. God imbues us with his virtue, and we see the true nature of our sins. We despise them, and if we leave ourselves in His hands, we will end up hating the sins that we used to commit. Our strongest desire will be to avoid committing them ever again. We will receive power over them, and over all the other sins in our lives.
Isn’t all this amazing? Does it not make you thankful that God works in such wondrous ways? Let us ask Him to receive virtue, that our consciences may be awakened and we may perceive our sinful natures, and let us also ask Him for forgiveness and deliverance from ourselves. Amen.
July 15, 2001 § Leave a Comment
I have an important assignment that only you can fill. I am inviting you to represent ME on earth and be the manager of all that I place in your hands. If you will accept this responsibility, please write your name on the blank line above. I welcome you as one of my stewards on earth. May I suggest some of the blessings our partnership brings?
As you make my interest first, I will watch over you tenderly, provide for your needs and make your interest mine. Since I can see the future results of the present decisions, I will help you make the right ones. You may confidentially leave your worries and concerns with me, for they are my responsibility. Daily depending on my guidance, you will find my yoke easy and my burdens light.
I have called you for this very special purpose of representing my character to the world. When your task for me is completed in one place, I will move you to another to continue your witness for me. Wherever I place you will be for our own best interest. Regardless of who will pay your wages, remember they are paying you with my resources and that you are always in my service.
All my unlimited resources that you can wisely use ill be entrusted to you. I will teach you my ways of channeling heaven’s blessings where they will be used most. The temptation will be for you to divert these to your own selfish use. I can use angels to distribute my goods but benevolence is essnetial for your happiness. This is the only way you can overcome selfishness and reflect my gracious character. If you will keep my blessings flowing to others, I promise to keep the channel full. Nothing will be impossible for US if you stay close to ME and follow my directions.
Some of the treasures I am committing to your stewardship are my grace, your time, talents, your body and mind and the means loaned to you to administer for me. Time is entrusted to you moment by moment like a roll of paper running through a press, which passes only once, and with my assistance the “edition” of your life will have no blank pages.
You will divide your time between study, communion with me, caring for your family and serving others. Further, through the wise use of time, your Talents will be multiplied, and by proper exercise they will be perfected. Talents are your lent capital to be dedicated to my service.
Your body temple, like all my creation, is governed by laws just as divine as the Decalogue. Live in harmony with them and you will have a healthy and happy life. Otherwise, you will invite diseases. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to my glory. Then I can add my healing power to keep you in health. And you will be more able to fully discern my sacred truths. I want you to be a living testimony to the results of living my way.
The material things that I placed in your hands are to be used to care for your needs, benefit others and help finish my work on earth. It will take a little time to adjust your thinking for you have been thinking as an owner rather than as my MANAGER. Never put your trust in material things. “I AM YOUR ONLY SECURITY.” You need never worry, for with my blessings all your needs will be supplied. Your simplicity and self-denial will be an expression of your love and gratitude and will bind you close to me.
My eldest son perfectly reflected my character when he walked on earth. Now, I am calling you to take his place in mirroring my love. As you glorify me you will daily grow more like me. Your unselfish life of service will be a living proof of what divine power can accomplish when united with human effort. Yours, my child, is a high calling – you are to be a reflector of my character and a manager of my resources. There is no higher calling, but do not fear. I am with you to fulfill it. “LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS…!”
Now will you place your name on the letterhead? Time is running out, and there is so much to do!
Your Heavenly Father.
Source: Ron Miller, The Clean Machine, Car Wash Inc., 954-923-1444
June 27, 2001 § Leave a Comment
[ The Doctrine of the Christian Life -- Christian Behavior ] :: [ The Doctrine of the Christian Life -- The Law of God ] :: [ The Doctrine of the Christian Life -- Marriage and the Family ] ::
This is what the Bible says about good children and bad children.
- “The Proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” Proverbs 10:1.
- “My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yeah, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things. Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. For surely there is an end; and tine expectation shall not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:15-18.
- “The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.” Proverbs 23:24, 25.
- “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.” Proverbs 27:11.
- “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord they God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12.
- “Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Deuteronomy 5:16.
- “And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.” Jeremiah 35:18, 19.
- “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments; For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:1-4.
- “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3.
- “Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents” Romans 1:30.
- “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.” 2 Timothy 3:2.
- “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” Proverbs 15:5.
- “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.” Proverbs 15:20.
- “There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.” Proverbs 30:11.
- “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” Proverbs 10:1.
- “He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy. A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.” Proverbs 17:21, 25.
- “A foolish son is the calamity of his father.” Proverbs 19:13.
- “He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.” Proverbs 19:26.
- “And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.” Isaiah 3:5.
What does the Bible say about how bad children are punished?
- “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.” Deuteronomy 21:18-21.
- “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” Proverbs 30:17.
- “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.” Proverbs 20:9.
- “Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.” Proverbs 20:20.
- “For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” Matthew 15:4.
- “For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” Mark 7:10.
- “And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.” Exodus 21:15.
Adapted from: Balan, Ioanichie (1984). Convorbiri Duhovnicesti. Romania: Episcopia Romanului si Husilor.