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I have to warn anyone reading this up front that this post may be a bit disjointed as there were a lot of thoughts that have been floating in my head about it. I do ask that you PLEASE read the entirety of it, as well I will try not to make this TOO long.

In the limited experiences I’ve had debating pacifism, it seems like a lot of the arguments used toward the just war philosophy are based primarily on Old Testament examples, misquoted or context-avoiding New Testament passages or by using statements made by other men (men being the generic word used when talking about men and women, created persons). My beliefs about pacifism have been with me for a long time, though admittedly they had taken a back seat to my pride as an American citizen for a while. Ultimately I was brought back around to realizing pacifism is where my heart really is thanks mostly to Shane Claiborne’s wonderful book “The Irresistible Revolution”. While his book was a catalyst to my renewed devotion to non-violence he was certainly not the reason for my steadfastness.

While the “W.W.J.D.” question has become something of a cliche about how ridiculously Americanized the church has become, if done without the bracelet and with sincerity and an open mind to be taught, it can cause you to be a huge change in your world.

For the sake of being as legitimately G-d inspired as I can be, I’m going to keep myself to using strictly Biblical sources for my side of this debate.

Now I know some (probably most) have a rather differing opinion of war. I know plenty of people, whose salvation I could not even pretend to doubt, that would consider my wife and I to have “gone off the deep end”. Many of the opinions opposed to ours relate specifically to the ownership of guns and the use of violence against forces of the government that would want to disarm them/impede on their freedoms as American citizens. My question to this is, “Do you really have the right, as a professing Christian, to defend yourself against someone else with violence?” I understand that the ideas of self defense and war in the sense of going over seas to attack another country are very different, but the use of violence in either circumstance is still violence.

In Matthew 5:39 Jesus says:

“But I tell you, don’t stand up against an evil person. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also.”

That doesn’t sound to me like He’s giving us the right to defend ourselves. He says rather plainly “DO NOT stand up against an evil person”. He doesn’t say, “If someone slaps you on the right cheek, put your hand up to block your left cheek then break their hand so they can’t try again”. We are to turn the other cheek and allow the attacker to strike us again. What right do we have to defend ourselves against a human attacker when Jesus rebuked Peter for attacking the Roman in the garden of Gethsemane? The Savior of the world, the human embodiment of G-d himself would not allow His disciple to defend Him with violence, so how could we possibly claim to have the right to defend ourselves against anyone with violence?

As I said at the beginning of this post, I know there are plenty of Biblically based counter-arguments to my stance, but I’d like to suggest we look at some of the totality of what is usually used. One of the most commonly used verses is in Luke’s version of the night Jesus is arrested…

“He said to them, ‘But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.” -Luke 22:36

Now the strange part about using this verse with the declaration that, “SEE! Jesus tells them to buy a sword!” is that Yeshua doesn’t tell them how or when to use the sword. In fact the only time we hear about the sword being used by the disciples is shortly after this conversation when Peter attacks a Roman soldier with it. Right after Peter attacks the Roman Yeshua stops him and says to him:

“No more of this!” -Luke 22:51

After yelling at Peter for using the sword Christ heals the soldier of the wound that was inflicted! It seems insane to me that the apostles would be told to purchase a sword and then when the first opportunity to use it comes up, they are told not to! Shouldn’t that in itself discredit the referencing of that verse as a reference FOR the use of violence as a means of defending a friend/family member? I know, “Christ had to suffer his death on the cross and that’s why He stopped Peter from defending Him!” While I agree, Christ had to die for us and any other course of history at this second in time would drastically change the story of salvation (there wouldn’t be one), I like to believe Yeshua told the apostles to buy the sword specifically for the purpose of illustrating the idea that He didn’t want them to use it!

The most common way people debate against pacifism in the Christian sense is the idea of “just war”. This philosophy says there are ways that you can justify war when considering what you are getting involved in by holding it up against a set of guidelines and as long as your planned war falls within those, it is a “just” or fair war, and therefore allowable. When I hear people arguing for just war, I hear a lot of Old Testament quotes and other famous people espousing the criteria that makes war just, but these lists aren’t directly based out of Biblical principle or instruction. Unfortunately, most of what I’ve seen discussed as the list of things to check off to judge whether your war truly is “just” are fabricated by men that believe they have come to a logical conclusion based on moral truths and not on something given in scripture.

So to backtrack a little, I believe that G-d’s call for violence in the Old Testament is only justified in the Old Testament because of man’s separation from Him. While G-d did call for Israel to go to war throughout it, the need for man fighting man has been negated by the death of the Son. Yeshua says He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Therefore whatever rules were put in place in the OT have been dubbed fulfilled through the blood of Christ! We are no longer bound to serve the punishment as the old law required! Unfortunately plenty of people still refer to the G-d of violence as expressed in the OT as implying necessity for violence today, in effect telling Yeshua they don’t care about what He did. I dare to liken the people who keep this going to the Jews that brought Stephen up on blasphemy charges. As Stephen was preaching the gospel, those in attendance disliked his message that the Old Testament was fulfilled and finalized in the new covenant. His response to their hardened hearts against the gospel was:

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” -Acts 7:51-53

I know that sounds a little harsh, but is it really wrong? How often do we ALL decide not to listen to the Holy Spirit? The day that I confessed to my wife about my secret pornography addiction was spent arguing with the Spirit and trying to find a way out of telling her!

A man named Saul was in attendance at Stephen’s death for preaching these “blasphemies”. Saul actually brags about being there to witness the stoning of Stephen. Through the marvelous grace of G-d, Saul becomes converted through the power of Christ to become Paul who, ironically enough, writes a letter to the church in Corinth saying things very similar to what I can imagine Stephen was saying:

“Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which is being brought to an end, eill not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it…Yes, to this day when Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” -2 Corinthians 3:7-10, 15

So the idea of following the words of the Christ over the historical obsession with the OT teachings is nothing new.

One of the most interesting arguments I’ve heard to discredit a pacifist is the idea that a pacifist thinks they are on par with Yeshua by expecting to behave the same way He did at His trial. The argument says something along the lines of, “You devalue what Christ did on the cross be expecting you will do what He did!” Personally this sounds absurd to me. If this were the case, what would be the value in doing anything Christ asked us to? Christ instructed us with how to pray. Just about every follower of Christ knows His prayer by heart. Does repeating that prayer word-for-word as He delivered it devalue what He prayed? Of course not! Not only does the Son tell us to do the things He does, He also tells us we will do GREATER things than Him!

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” -John 14:12

If Yeshua tells us to do the things He did and even greater things, would that not show the argument of trying to be like Him and devaluing His sacrifice to be completely destroyed?

Now the complaint I’ve heard most often against pacifists is this idea that we have a holier-than-thou attitude and we think anyone who has/is/will serve in the armed forces is in the midst of some unforgivable sin and that we look down on these people. I’d just like to say that the idea of pacifism exists to express the complete opposite. For me, the claim to pacifism is a means for me to express how fallen my nature is. It keeps me mindful of the things I still do wrong. Not a single person alive is able to say they have no sin in them. Because of this, no one has any right to judge anyone else as less worthy to approach the throne. Every person that has existed since the death of Yeshua has had the same opportunity to be reconciled to the Father and no living person has the right to say anyone else has lost that.

And lastly, for the sake of wrapping up, I’d like to put out a couple more sections of scripture that can be included in the support of a Biblically pacifist lifestyle:

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” -Romans 12:19-20 (While plenty of people know the “vengeance is mine” part of this I very rarely hear people use it in context to the rest of the section which talks about blessing those who persecute you and not repaying evil for evil.)

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And

‘If the righteous is scarcely saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” -1 Peter 4:12-19 (I think this section is just loaded with goodness. We are told to avoid suffering as a murderer or meddler, and that we should willfully suffer as a follower of the Christ. While I’m sure plenty of people stretch it’s meaning to something other than what’s at face value, I like to apply the last verse to trusting G-d with our souls during any kind of suffering.)

While the main debate for or against pacifism is based on whether or not to go to war, there is much more involved. In a statement that will win me plenty of criticism, I’m sure, the modern American evangelical church has been lead dangerously astray from the heart of the gospel. We are to love our enemies, care for the poor, but instead we build our high castles of finances and self-worth. The world is so much bigger than the borders of our country and our decisions about war affect the very people we have been commissioned to spread the gospel to. I’d like to ask, how does war, regardless of how just we make it to be, help us fulfill the great commission? By pre-emptively striking someone with an air-raid, you are effectively sentencing someone to hell instead of reaching out to them with the love of Yeshua that can save them from damnation.

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” -Joshua 24:14-15

If there are any questions or points you would like me to clarify, please comment below or email me at RobRakis@optonline.net

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I’ve decided to forego any silly titles for this post and jump right to the legitimacy of what I want to convey with it. This will be a pretty controversial post to most of the people I’d hope would read it, but I promise it comes from the sincerest of hearts in the direction of caring and loving all people.

Over the course of my life I’ve developed certain opinions about life and government and religion and how they all interplay with each other. At one time I was very willfully turning my life against G-d. I thought I knew better and that I had an idea of a better way for people to live. As time went on I counted myself back in the G-d camp and became a rather proud nationalistic patriot. I had even toyed with the idea of a tattoo of an American flag crossed with an Irish flag and something along the lines of a Templar shield in the foreground. A few years later I started getting sucked back into the ideas of pacifism. I started to not understand how people (especially people who claimed to be followers of Christ) could willingly (almost excitedly) go to war against another nation. All people are people. G-d loves all people. He wants to save all people! The great commission doesn’t just include the people we want to see saved, we are called to spread love to all the world. With that being said, why would we willingly engage in violent combat against the people we are commissioned to spread G-d’s love to?

Along this last tangent, and in conjunction to it, I’ve come to learn that my beliefs and understanding of what I read in the Bible are not something new, or that I’m the first person to feel this way. In fact quite the opposite is true…

In the year 1525 there were a group of people who disagreed with the state of the “Christian” church at the time, Catholic and Protestant alike. These people were not so affectionately named “Anabaptists” which means to be baptized again. The term comes from the fact that early Anabaptists actually rejected the concept of infant baptism and believed strictly in a believer’s baptism (which is to say you get baptized when you accept Christ’s saving work on the cross) and so were baptized as adults.

I have come to associate my beliefs with the Anabaptists. I believe baptism should be reserved for repentant adults. Yeshua, after all, wasn’t baptized until He was in His adult years. As explained in greater detail above, I’m a hardened pacifist, which is another primary point to the Anabaptist structure.

I’m sure you’re wondering what all this has to do with marriage, particularly the related subject of the American Supreme Court looking to make their decision on same-sex marriage rights. I promise you I will be getting to that shortly!

Another important part of what has come to define my beliefs as a follower of Christ is the fact that no person, community, people group, state, country or empire has any more right to dictate to another person what they can or can not do. The “state” (to use the standard term to identify governmental powers) has tried for century upon century to dictate to people on all sides of the religious fence how they should live their lives. The intermingling of the church and the state have made this so much more grotesque. Under the mask of “religious fervor” people have waged crusades and inquisitions in the attempt to “save souls” by torturing and even murdering people. The state with the church’s aid have made a business out of telling people about the things they need to not do to satisfy G-d’s wrath.

I’d like to posit that G-d never told people they were flat-out restricted from anything.

Now before you get all hot in your pre-destinationalist, Calvinist pants, let me present the story of the garden of Eden. If you recall, the tree of which Adam and Eve were told not to eat from was not locked away in some far-off corner of the garden, but right in the middle of the garden, unprotected by any Heavenly host. G-d didn’t restrict the first father and mother from access to what G-d knew was bad for them, he gave them access to it with the warning that it would not be good for them. Ultimately Eve and then Adam partake of the fruit. Again, G-d didn’t come in and tear them apart. He expressed disappointment and continued love. To further exemplify the concept of free will, G-d allowed His creation to exist with all restrictions off. The Bible tells stories and heavenly beings having children with humans (no, really) and it isn’t until after this takes place for an unknown amount of time that God was displeased with His creation. He decided to forewarn one family and destroy the rest of creation with a great flood. If there was no room for free will, then why would G-d have let humanity exist in the capacity it had, for as long as it had only to come near to complete eradication of it? I know many people will argue that He does those things for His honor, so his grace can be seen in these things. But we don’t know how bad it all actually was. The Bible doesn’t describe the complete situation so we can’t take a snapshot of before and after to compare. The simple fact is the G-d of heaven created something and gave it the free will to do as it pleased until it went too far.

Now this is not to limit the scope of G-d’s knowledge and power. I’m going to borrow Greg Boyd’s illustration of G-d as a cosmic chess player. In chess, many people map out the game in their heads. They can see many moves ahead of their current move and keep track of all the options their opponent has in the game. Some people can even picture the options their opponent has and devise strategies for becoming victorious in the long run. I like to imagine G-d as this cosmic chess player that can see all the possible moves Satan has available to him at every step of the game, and that He knows exactly what move he has to make, based on whatever path Satan takes to become victorious at the ultimate end of the game. See, while G-d has to wait for Satan to make a move, He always knows what the next move is and therefore will be victorious, but only after Satan (or even the people He’s given free will to) make a decision as to where to go or what to do.

To reel this all back in, G-d has given people the ultimate right to do as they wish. Because of that, no government or ruling class has any right to dictate what ANYONE can or can not do. I understand that concept infuriates a lot of people, and probably more so than the idea of not wanting to bomb a Muslim nation, but it feels like simple logic to me.

However, not all things lawful are beneficial. I believe in ultimate freedoms to do whatever you wish, but those freedoms include the freedom to make poor decisions. I believe in the Bible. I believe what the Bible teaches about same-sex relationships. I DON’T believe it is man’s job to right the wrongs of decisions against G-d’s will with hate speech or violence. G-d doesn’t gay-bash G-d loves all people. Yeshua didn’t die on a cross for straight people, Yeshua died on a cross for all people.

Man has been given the opportunity to trust in the creator of the universe or to find their own way in it. People aren’t punished for not doing what G-d wants, they suffer consequences for doing things G-d warned them would be detrimental.

I truly love all people. I do my best to live like Yeshua did and care for everyone equally without hesitation for any reason. G-d simply wants what’s best for His people. If you’re reading this you’re one of those people. That person you work with or go to school with that you may not like for wanting to marry someone of the same-sex as them; they’re one of G-d’s people too. Show love. Show compassion and humility. Afterall, there are battles that everyone of every sexual orientation should be fighting against, but I’ll save my rant about the worldwide epidemic of human trafficking for another rant. 😉

I’ve come to realize I set my standards too high for my writing on this blog. My desire to be excellent with my writing of interesting topics has left me at a state of complete neglect of new posts. I have this idea in my head that I’ll only write a post when I have that awesome everyone-will-read-it article that I’ve completely ignored the fact that it isn’t MY job to be excellent, but God’s alone.

I think it also relates to how I am at work. I’m quite honestly VERY soft spoken about my beliefs. Too soft spoken. What it comes down to is I need to stop expecting to be the deliverer of an amazing word (Mario Savio style) and to just be the lips that part to say whatever God has for me to say, however short. Jarrid Wilson’s blog for instance has relatively short but awesomely inspiring posts relating to simply living in The Way. I encourage everyone to check out his blog as well. Yes, he seems a bit of a hipster (and I mean that in the BEST ways possible, I’m a bit of one too) but don’t let it deter you. We are about more than Earthly classifications anyway, right?

Keeping warm.

I just spent the last thirty or so minutes reading the blog of a guy named “John”. A friend of mine asked me to take a look at it to see if it made any sense to me. “John” was using variations of numerology to get “messages” out of numbers found by assigning a single-digit number to each letter of the English alphabet. He goes so far as to say he is the completion of a trinity of Johns (“John the Baptist, John the disciple and now we have John the PROPHET”). As if claiming yourself to be a prophet of God isn’t bad enough, he goes through all sorts of cobbled together examples of how things add up to be significant of God or Satan. Let me explain first off that at a time I thought there was genuinely something to numerology. As the book of Revelation says, we need to understand the mark of the beast (666, I have my own opinions on what the book is talking about which I won’t get into right now, but I will say that it’s not the number, or what letters we add up, that we need to understand, but what the number symbolizes). I have come to completely ignore any instances of numerology I have come across in more recent times because not everyone applies the same math, let alone one person applying it the same way to every one of their own equations.

Consider this, when Harold Camping was talking about knowing his predicted date was the one, he was basing it off God saying in the Old Testament that there would be seven days before the great flood. He took that section of Genesis and applied 2 Peter 3:8 (“with the Lord one day is as a thousand years,and a thousand years as one day”) and came up with the math that seven thousand years from the warning in Genesis would be the second coming of Christ. This is all well and good except for the fact that the Old Testament wasn’t written using a Gregorian calendar year. Biblical years were most likely based off a lunar calendar made up of about 360 days as opposed to our 365-day year. When you apply that difference over the course of seven thousand years, the date Harold Camping was counting to would have taken place some two hundred years ago.

Another example, though not quite as substantial, comes from the movie “The Number 23” with Jim Carrey. Throughout the movie the main character becomes obsessed with seeing the number 23 everywhere he looks. He goes so far as to add numbers in such a way that they equal 32 which then explains, “is 23 reversed.” So is 32 23 reversed or is 23 32 reversed? I believe there was even a scene with something along the lines of seeing a sign with the numer 113 where he adds the 1 and 1 to get 2 and leaves the 3, thereby coming up with a 23 again.

It’s not my intention to bash or slander a specific person. My intention with this rant (which it actually is) is to remind people to keep mindful of false prophets, be them famous radio folks or some guy with a blog. Mark 13:22 speaks to believers about what to expect in the end times: “For false christs and false prophets will arise andperform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.”

Coincidentally, this is actually tied in very well with a message that was given at our church this morning. Our speaker, Anthony, touched on keeping strong doctrine. He discussed how the letters to the church in Ephesus always encouraged them to keep strong in their learning so they can continue to follow the truth of the Spirit without discouragement and confusion. Eventually, in the letter to the church in the book of Revelation, the church is warned to go back to its old ways and reconnect with God or it would be cut off. I feel at this point the universal church needs to understand and apply this sentiment. There are so many beliefs, philosophies, doctrines, ideologies, political and economic strategies and even people with twisted desires that want nothing more than to lead us astray from God’s will for our lives. We need to focus. We need to test the spirits. We need to read and study the scriptures. We need to connect with each other and God through discussion and prayer.

Ultimately, the best news I have is we know that we will need to watch for these things. Mark 13:23 says, “But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.” Mark recorded the words of Jesus for US! God knew we would need a warning to keep our eyes open so as not to be lead off the narrow path.

So this blog doesn’t get anywhere near as much attention as I had initially intended it to. At all. To be perfectly honest I’ve been having a bit of time with my attention less focused on God. Not to say I’ve been slipping, I just haven’t been as dedicated and focused as I really want and need to be. If anything I’d just ask for prayers that I can be more fully focused on God’s grace, compassion and mercy.

Anyway, to get on with the actual post . . .

I recently read Philip K. Dick’s “The Transmigration of Timothy Archer”. I’m a big Philip K. Dick fan and I find some of his later work especially interesting. (Primarily the stories he wrote after his “religious experience”) This one was the last of a “series” of three books. The lead character was a woman recounting a story of the last two years of her life in which her father-in-law (Timothy Archer, a prominent bishop) got romantically (or at least sexually) involved with her best friend. One thing leads to another and her husband ends up committing suicide by gunshot wound, her friend commits suicide by overdose on barbiturates and her father-in-law dies in the middle of an Israeli desert on the search for deeper answers to his floundering faith. The whole story takes place from the perspective of a Berkeley grad who always has these high-class quotes from famous authors and works.

The thing that really hit me about the story was when the lead role (Angel Archer) realized all these things she had learned about literature and all this life that she had led so far wasn’t her own life. She hadn’t lived a life of value at all. She had spent all her days learning how to live and perceive life through other people’s stories.

I started thinking about myself and how I view what I know and love. Music is the closest comparison I have to Angel Archer’s literature. I also happen to love literature, but I haven’t devoted nearly the same time to it as I have music. Ultimately I came to realize that I sometimes come very close to being in the position Angel is in when she realizes she has been missing out on the most important parts of life.

The fact is, a lot of us build up knowledge and material possession and understanding. That is, in the sense that we know and understand so much of this world that we miss out on what’s really important, and we don’t live our lives with a Godly passion. When we finally come before the throne of Heaven and we look back at all of what we’ve learned to that point, will we regret that we focused on learning every fine detail and every nuance of something that was not ultimately of value? The only thing we need to focus on is God, what he has taught us through His son Jesus, what Jesus did for everyone on the cross and finally what the Holy Spirit is doing in us to help those around us and on the other side of the world to understand that same love.

So please take a lesson from Angel Archer. Don’t learn too late where your focus truly should have been.

Father in heaven, I thank you that you are ultimately patient with us. We miss the mark so often and I pray that you could help us to stay on track with you more. I pray this in your Son, and our conquering prince’s name, Jesus. Amen!

And to leave you with a song from the new Sleeping Giant album . . .

I have now finished reading the book of Acts after studying it slowly for the past few months. I apologize for not making entries about my studies. I want to tell you what really stood out the most to me in reading this book (this time around).

Paul stood up and proclaimed about Jesus time and time again even while he was beaten, in prison, and persecuted several times. How often have you possible backed away slowly when people start to mock Jesus around you but you are a believer of Christ (or tried to fit into a secular lifestyle so that people wouldn’t think you were some religious fanatic or something)? This man continued on time and time again even after he was just beaten to a pulp! It is incredible how the Holy Spirit was working through his life to tell people the truth so that they could know of God. How often do we cower from proclaiming Christ being alive to the public? It seems like many people are afraid of offending people, but Paul did not give up and preached to many wherever he went! That’s a great example of who we should be as Christians. Jesus is not to be selfishly kept to ourselves!

Paul testified about the person he once was a few times and how Jesus transformed his life! He repeated his testimony at least three times in Acts that I can recall in my head, and I am sure he did so even more than that, considering all the places he traveled to.  How many times have we wanted to keep our past history a secret in fear that people would look down on us, so we instead just talk about how great God is without saying how He might have changed us? Paul had people killed and tortured who proclaimed to be followers of Jesus, but he mentions his past to strangers and would tell them how Jesus entered his life and how now he found the truth and wanted to share it with others. There might be many ways that Jesus has touched your life and taken you out of a lifestyle that was not very good, and it is wonderful to share that with others so they can see “this is who I once was, but this is who I am now because of Jesus within me!” That is the Holy Spirit working within us to be able to do that! How did people react to learning about Paul? In three ways – they were touched by the Holy Spirit and also changed their lives around, or they hated him more and wanted to kill him, or they just listened and went on with their lives without dwelling on it. It is something that will happen and we need to accept that. What is more important to you: pleasing men or pleasing God?

In closing I want to encourage you to not fear what might happen to you in this life. Jesus said in Mark 13:13 “And you will be hated for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” This life matters. What you do for Christ’s sake matters most.

Say this prayer with me: “Jesus your name is so amazing and I don’t want to contain it inside for just myself to think on, but to help others learn about you and what you have done in my life. Help me to express how you have helped me and to never back down from preaching about you and your wonders in my life. Help me to not fear how others might view me but to be more concerned about how you see me. Amen”

“If our ultimate goal is to get up, go to work/school/whichever and try not to say a few cuss words, then we’ve missed the point completely.” –Mattie Montgomery (paraphrased)

Lately (not so lately, actually, it’s been a while now) I’ve been struggling with living my life at work to reflect my life as I live it outside of it. My biggest struggle is my language, learning to control my tongue. I’ve begun to concern myself that some days it feels like I’m not making any headway and some days it feels like I can go for a couple days without a four-letter-word without even thinking about it. For those who don’t know I work as a parts guy at a Dodge dealership, and let it be said that the overwhelming majority of people in my field are not Spirit-sensitive believers who are trying to submit themselves to the will of God.

The point I really want to make, however, isn’t so much my struggle (as much of one as it is). What I really want to touch on is truly seeking the heart of God, first and foremost. Struggles like lust and pornography addiction and over-use of vulgar language are things that exist in people’s lives and hearts due to a sin nature that we have being born to this world. The biggest downfall to exist in my life was a big lust/pornography addiction that I didn’t believe I would ever be able to get over. In the midst of doing some fasting and praying and truly seeking God through daily Bible reading and prayer I was told by God to hand over my issues, and he has since cleaned me of such things.

I have some more growth to do with a number of things, as do we all, and I pray that you continue to seek God’s will for your life, and not just try to live it in a petty manner that will get you to Heaven. I guarantee that when you truly devote yourself to His will and make an hearnest effort, you will be blessed and He will guide you without you realizing how much control He’s been given.

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