Are You a Good Person?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You Will Not Covet

This is the last of the Ten Commandments, but it's pretty inclusive. The word covet means "to want ardently (esp., something that another person has); long for with envy," and has synonyms of, "desire, envy, wish for; see envy, want." What's more, covet is a verb, not a noun or an adjective. It mean you are actually doing something. When the word "covet" is used, I think it is all too often vague for most of us, but when we change it to "desire" or "want" this commandment takes on a life. It seems like a strong hand strangling the very life out of you. For who doesn't have wants, desires, goals, ambitions? How many of us have wanted something simply because someone else had one?

Parents, here is a good teaching tool, but you must learn to live the truth of it as well. When a child says, "Aw, come on. All the other kids have one," tell them that they are guilty, already, before God for coveting something that is not their's. "All the other kids get to go to dances!" young Mary whines. "Oh, so you would covet this before God? You would give away the treasures He has to have what they have?" Now, you know they're going to bristle at this. So be gentle with the way you use it. The Law isn't meant to clobber people and beat them down. It is meant to train and teach. And if they must make mistakes to learn, do you, as parents love them any less? So it is with God. We will be looking at this in future posts. For now, teach, train, guide your children, and yes, yourself, so that you don't want something because someone else has it.

Confession time! I remember back when everyone had CB radios. My dad had one, of course he is an amateur radio operator to begin with. Then my brother got one. I felt I NEEDED one. I've actually had two or three. They were mildly amusing and helped time go by on long trips. But did I really need it? No, I got it because others had it. I coveted what my dad and my brother, and what seemed like everyone else had. If you must covet something, covet this, a closer walk with God, a love from Him that controls the way you think about yourself and others, and moves you to reach out and give. Covet this and you will do well. Covet the things of people and you will always, always, find yourself ensnared by them to one degree or another.

You Will Not Bear False Witness

In Exodus 20:16 we have a commandment which people have translated to mean the same as "Thou shalt not lie!" Now, while I agree that lying is a sin, bearing false witness is specific kind of lie. In the legal profession, it is called perjury, a prosecutable offense even in our courts.

Some of you may be breathing a sigh of relief, thinking I've finally come across a sin that you are not guilty of. Do you ever judge a person? Have you ever said, "Why doesn't that idiot get in the other lane if he wants to drive so slow?" or "Ms. Jones is a real pain in the neck as a teacher"? These are judgments which we have no right or authority to make. When we say things like this we often know they are lies or at the very least, exaggerations. Either way we have perjured ourselves before a Holy God, who alone is Righteous, having the authority to be Judge over all.

Perjury o being a false witness is the same as being a hypocrite, isn't it? It is a direct attack on someone else, using the weapon of the tongue. When we attack another we might just as well attack Jesus, for He who answered them, "When saw we thee an hungered and fed thee? or thirsty and gave thee to drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took the in? or naked and clothed thee? or when saw we thee sick or in prison and came unto thee?" to which Jesus replied, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Likewise He says to those who reused any such help, "Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not unto me."

We know that there are no levels of sin, for sin is disobedience to God. Yet this disobedience is an attack on God. Watch, therefore, what comes out of your mouth, for it will reveal what is in your heart. Better you should fill up your heart with good things, feasting on the Word of God, and spending times of fellowship with Him who is love. Then when you do open your mouth, good will come out, not evil. You will not perjure yourself before your God.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

You Will Not Steal

This is another of those commandments that, on the surface, you will either feel shame because you have or are stealing, or reassurance because you are not. That's the surface, however. When you look more deeply into it things get a little more harsh. Our perceptions of right and wrong are usually wrong to one degree or another. They have become dulled over the centuries so that a statement like, “Thou shalt not steal” means only one thing. I mean, it's obvious, right? It deals with stealing. The problem is that we tend to feel that if we only take some paper or pencils from the office, that's really not stealing. We put a value on the word. We also limit the word to just taking material objects, when it can be applied to so much more.

Stealing is taking something, anything, regardless of size or value, from another. When we view this commandment with this definition we realize that all of us have broken the Law. Now there will be a few hold-outs. Some who, in the righteousness of their own understanding, will say, “Nope, I'm not even guilty of that.” Well, let's see if I can refresh your memory. Can you account for all of your time? Have you spent time with your spouse, children, or parents the way you should, or have you been lazy or selfish, doing mostly what pleases you? I don't know of anyone who has been so perfect in handling their time that they have not stolen time from their families. How often we watch a movie where a child or parent watches the other die and grieve deeply because they never got to say, “I'm sorry,” or “I love you.” Money you can pay back. Items stolen you can replace. Time, however is a thief of all of us. It robs us and we cannot get that time back, nor can we get time back to make things right when we waste our time and rob time from our friends and families. What about the time we spend with God? Even if we get to Heaven, by the mercy of Jesus Christ, and His blood, and have eternity to praise God, we cannot get back that time that we should have had with Him. We cannot find those quiet hours of prayer we desperately needed in this life. We cannot possibly praise God enough, even if we were to start now and praise Him throughout eternity.

There is another, perhaps more practical aspect of our time stealing from God, which God Himself had His servants write in His Word. In Malachi 3:8 we read, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings.” What we have, all of it, is a blessing from God to be used to bless others as He has blessed us. Not to recognize that is an insult to God. Not to tithe is robbing, not just God, as it says here, but all the people of God. Not being open to hear His voice and give beyond that ten per cent, which is what an offering really is, is to rob Him of His chance to bless us, and our chance to bless Him.

With each commandment we find yet another way in which we have sinned, another reason for God to condemn us. Yet God, who is rich in mercy, says to those who receive His Son, “Blotting out the handwriting of the ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.” (Col. 2:14) Let us therefore live a life of service to Him in all gratitude, praise, worship and thanksgiving, not out of command, but out of love for Him who so greatly loved us.

Monday, September 24, 2007

You Will Not Commit Adultery

Those words are from Exodus 20:14. Jesus quotes from this in the Sermon on the Mount, saying, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:27,28) He equates sexual lust with the act of adultery itself. As I've been trying to point out, the keeping of the Law is something that must be kept in the heart.

To understand how relevant these words are today, think of all those, men and women, who are caught up in pornography. They may never go out and actually have sexual intercourse with someone, but according to Jesus, they are guilty, just as if they had. A lot of guys will say something to the affect of, "It's just natural to lust after a naked woman." Really? Is it really natural to go out and find places where you can look at a naked woman? Because in order to lust after her, you'd have to look at her. Unfortunately, the Internet has become the place to find pornography of every possible description and perversion. Women get caught up in this on two fronts; there are those who enjoy looking at pictures of naked men, and there are those who like to pose naked for men. Think of all those "Cam" sites where you can call a woman on the Internet and she will do all kinds of things so you can see her on your computer.

And it's not just limit to pornography either. Today's fashions are ridiculously obscene. Men are getting to see a whole lot more than I could have imagined when I was a kid. Some women are blissfully unaware of how tempting they look. It almost seems as if current fashion trends were set by hookers downtown.

Is Jesus really serious about this command then, seeing we are practically bathed in naked and near naked people? Consider the words following two verses, "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." (Matthew 5:29,30) Now I don't see anyone gouging their eyes out because it "offends" them, or cutting off their right hand, for that matter. That doesn't mean Jesus wasn't being extremely literal in what He was saying. If pornography has become such an addiction that the only way to free yourself from it is to gouge out your eyes, Jesus is saying, "Do it! Better that then have your whole body thrown into hell."

Being practical about this, however, we would have to admit that we are all guilty of committing adultery in some manner or another. Gouging out our eyes would only leave everyone blind. Jesus provides another solution. In the book of Romans we read, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1,2) In otherwords, instead of gouging out your eyes, take your whole body and offer it up to God as a living sacrifice. Let Him take care of it, transforming you into the image of His Son. You do this by the constant renewing of your mind. Again, as Paul writes by the power of the Holy Spirit, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:5)

Okay. Makes sense, at least more sense than cutting my eyes out, but how do I do this? By doing three things; First you must establish a relationship with God through His Son, then you are counted as family. The Father in Heaven no longer sees your sins, but His Son's righteousness. Second, you spend time with Him in prayer, for it is in prayer that you get to know God. You get to know His mind, that the way He thinks may become the way you think. Third, you spend time in the prayerful study of His Word. Many Christians fail at one or both of these last points. When this happens, it is like going into battle naked. You are without protection against the enemy, but worse, you have cut off communication from headquarters.

Therefore, let Jesus become your Commander in Chief, the Captain of the Hosts of Heaven, not just some vague "savior" figure. Spend time with Him, so as a soldier in His army He can train you, teach you and cloth you in His armor. Then open up that precious Bible and let the living waters of God wash over you, as it is written, "That he might sanctify and cleanse it (your mind) with the washing of water by the word." (Ephesians 5:26 emphasis mine)

We have committed grievous crimes against the God of Heaven, yet in a mercy and a love that cannot be measured, He extends forgiveness of all these sins. He took them upon His own body, that is upon Jesus, and nailed them to the cross. Let us leave them there and follow Him. Let us rejoice that the Father no longer sees us in our fallen state, but in the purity and perfection of Christ. Our best form of worship to Him then is to obey the Law, no longer because God commands us, but because we know that doing so will please Him. Let our love grow that this might be accomplished by the working of His Holy Spirit in us. - David Brollier

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Meet Stephen Todd Jones

As part of a "Blessing Tour" Disturbing Reviews has asked many of us to make posts for Stephen Todd Jones. There are many like him, so I am hoping that this will not be confined to just Stephen, but any Christians out there who are facing hardships will find encouragement in these posts. - David Brollier

Stephen Todd Jones is a writer and poet from Virginia Beach, Virginia.

While a sophomore at Liberty University, he sustained injuries in a car crash that left him in a wheelchair, and this perspective forms the basis for much of his writing. Through his poetry, he gives us a window into his world and his faith.

Why Not Internally?
By Stephen Todd Jones

Why do you not peer inside yourself,
Revealing what you see in review
As relates to the simple, yet complex
Matter that indeed is you;
Why do you not evaluate your own self
In light of that true indeed here
In order to best prognosticate what
Lies in an eventual year?
You may not like what you see inside,
Turning your gaze that way.
Oh, is that the reason behind avoidance
Of looking inside? Okay...
I see your reasoning though avoiding
That makes no less sure
The demons and devils, residing within,
As more than conjecture.

This unique poem points to a problem that a lot of us have. We can find the faults in others easily, but within ourselves, well that's something we aren't ready to deal with. The problem is what faults we find in others are usually those we have in ourselves, so we don't help matters, but make them worse. Plus, we avoid dealing with the problems (demons and devils as he puts it) in our own lives. Let's start to look inside, at our own hearts before we go about judging others.

In keeping with this poem I'd like each of us to wrestle with our own salvation, in fear and trembling, so that God may hear our broken heart and bring healing to our spirit, soul and body. I offer the following for Stephen, and all the other “Stephens” out there:

One step at a time,
I keep on walking.
One step at a time,
the road is long,
but I'll keep on walking,
one step at a time,
and it won't be long,
'til I find my way home.

This chorus to a song I wrote encourages us to walk in a victory we neither see nor feel, but one which we must struggle to maintain. I could give all these Bible verses about how we are healed by the blood of Jesus, but chances are you already know that. What is commonly left out is that we have to wage our own war through these trials to see these things come to pass in our lives. In the meantime, I want him and all those also struggling to know that there are many people praying with and for you. For they are going through the same things. Yet, all who have chosen Him as our Fortress, shall one day find ourselves standing before Him in His perfection, made holy by His precious blood. Until then, we press on towards the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus.

David Brollier

Saturday, September 8, 2007

You Will Not Kill

People have argued and debated the meaning of the word "kill" here for a long time. I remember, growing up as a boy, I would hear people say, "It refers to pre-meditated murder." I guess that's a point. I grew up believing that way, and that serving in the military would be an honor. (One that was snatched from me due to health reasons). Yet there is more to this.

When we read these words in Exodus 20:13 we tend to get tunnel vision. Jesus tears away the blinders causing this tunnel vision in His Sermon on the Mount. Notice what He says in Matthew 5:21,22, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

This isn't a popular teaching today. In fact it wasn't very popular back then either. How soon we have forgotten the Words of our Lord. Let us examine what Jesus is saying. First He states the obvious, that the way they had been taught was so strictly literal here that it only applied to murder. Sound familiar? Notice that the way it was being taught was not that those people would be in danger of going to Hell. The teachers of the law tried to soften the meaning of the law by saying those who did kill would be in danger of the judgment. Okay, that includes Hell, but the absence of naming it made it more palatable to the people. Jesus wasn't concerned about whether it hurt our feelings or not, but stuck with the issue. Jesus said that whoever is simply angry with his brother is in danger of judgment. He says that whoever calls his brother Raca, which means "worthless" would be in danger of the council. Yet whoever says, "Thou fool" will be in danger of Hell.

How often have you thought or said, "That person's a fool"? Have you ever called someone an idiot? Have you been so angry with someone that you screamed obscenities at them? What Jesus is saying here is that if you have you have broken this commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." That's an awesome statement. Calling someone a fool, an idiot or stupid has been part of my past...and I'm afraid I may stumble and make mistakes like that again. The law says I am guilty of murder. I am without excuse.

So what about serving in the military? Let me answer a question with a question. Can you go to war against someone without hating them? If you can, then I suppose you could serve in the military. If you can't (which is most of us), then even your honorable duty in protecting our country will be counted as murder. Please understand I am in no way putting down the military or asking people to force a withdrawel of our troops in Iraq. I am not saying we should be so self-righteous here that we leave our borders and our people unprotected. I'm just stating the obvious, where there is hate it is seen by God as murder. No war has been fought because they loved each other. It's fought because countries hate each other. This is murder.

Now God is a just God, a righteous God, and we seem to forget that to Him, sin is sin. The person who yells at his neighbor, "Hey, stupid! You want to get your kids out of my yard," is just as much a murderer as those serial killers we read about. When you assassinate someone's character it is the same to God as if you had physically killed them. With God there is no "wiggle" room. There is no bargaining.

What are we to do? All of us have at least called someone names from a hatred that was in our heart. All of us have said things that we regret. The Law of God condemns us. We are lost. We look to God and say, "God, I can't keep your law, not even these simple things that I thought I could keep. What am I to do? I don't want to go to Hell. I don't want to die. God, help me. Is there something that can save me, something I can do to balance the scales out." God answers, "There is nothing you can do to balance the scales because even your good works are filthy in my eyes. I cannot stand to look upon them. However, I have sent My Only Son to take upon Himself the punishment for all of your crimes. If you will receive this, My outstretched hand of mercy, all your sins shall be forgiven. I will not even remember what they were, so great is my mercy towards you. The work you could not do, the sacrifice you could not offer, My Son has done for you. All you need to do is to believe on Him, receive the life He gives to you and let His words live in you. Then you will escape punishment. Then my wrath shall not touch you. For your debt has been paid."

What about it friend? Have you ever called someone an idiot, a fool, "stupid"? Have you harbored hatred in your heart for someone? Do you see that the Law condemns you? Look then to the cross and see that His love has paid your penalty. You need not be in danger of Hell, but know you are a child of God, a citizen of Heaven. Would you accept this offer from him today? Write me if you have questions. I will be happy to answer them as best as I can. - David Brollier

Friday, September 7, 2007

Honor Your Parents

Until this commandment all others have address our vertical relationship with us and God. To complete this, however God shows us that there are horizontal commands that need to be addressed as well. "Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother," is the first of these. It is first because your parents are the first circle of human relationship that you understand. But it goes much deeper than that.

You see God has set Himself up as our Heavenly Father, so the first 3 commandments deal directly with Him. The 4th is how we are to respect and honor Him. So He has set the stage for us to honor our parents. These are thos special people God has given to us that we might understand Him. Tragically both sides of this equation has been so broken that God has to use others to teach us of Himself. There are parents who are abusive or negligent and apathetic towards their children. Then, there are those children who are intentionally rebellious and abusive to their parents. Clearly God's commandment means nothing to them. While grace is freely given to all, God still requires us to get this right. Why? Because the most precious thing you have been given is your children. And the most precious thing they have is you, their parents. If you truly loved your children wouldn't you do all that you could to secure their salvation? If that is so, love them as God loves you. Then as they honor you, they honor and come to know God as their Heavenly Father.

I remember a girl weeping when someone was talking to her about God being the Heavenly Father. She was abused as a child and couldn't make the connection between a loving God and the abusive father image she had. If was as if someone had just told her that if she would accept Jesus then God would abuse her, because that is how she understood what the word "father" meant. This command teaches children to become righteous parents to their children so the concept of God as father is comforting, not threatening.

David Brollier

Monday, September 3, 2007

Remember the Sabbath

The next law is going to cause a stir. God says "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." (Exodus 20:8-11)

First let me say I am not trying to cause division, nor am I trying to be legalistic. I am simply trying to state and teach what God says, even if that means saying some things that are a little uncomfortable to me.

I was basically born and raised in a Christian church, a Christian family, went to a Christian college and began a Christian family of my own. In all that time I have heard people defend Sunday worship in favor of Sabbath worship quote from Romans 14:5, "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." If they would go on they would see that those esteeming one day above the others were the Jews who persisted in lifting up Sabbath worship, and that those who did not accept this law of Sabbath worship did so only because everyday was as a Sabbath. There is no mention of worship on Sunday replacing worship on the Sabbath.

Some historical/Biblical references to Sabbath worship show us that Jesus worshiped on the Sabbath, as did His disciples. Paul also worshiped on the Sabbath. Look through the Book of Acts and you will see that "the day of worship" was the Sabbath. We get confused because we have been taught confusion. God is not the author of confusion. Did the first church meet throughout the week? Yes they did. In fact we are told in Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

The Sabbath is mentioned not only in the Law of God, but in the prophets, and the New Testament writers as something that will be observed in the end times. Jesus also spoke of the holiness of the Sabbath, saying, "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:" (Matthew 24:20) He also defended the Sabbath when others accused Him of breaking it.

What is the Sabbath? Many Christians will say it is Sunday. They will usually be quick to say that the Jewish Sabbath is Saturday, but the Christian Sabbath is Sunday, the "Day of the Lord", celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Now I'm all FOR celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Without it there could be no real salvation, no true gospel message. Yet, GOD defines the Sabbath this way, "Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God:" and the reason God gives us for doing so is this, "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."

The Sabbath worship is intended to help refocus our minds on the Lord, to remember that He alone is Creator. Jesus says that He is Lord of the Sabbath. God says that He set aside the sabbath and "hallowed it", that is God made it holy. When we do not keep the Sabbath we are not following the example given to us by Jesus, we are not allowing God's blessings to fall upon us because we have created our own sabbath, which is at odds with the one God, through Jesus, created and made holy. If you wish to use the argument that all days are holy, do you work on these other days? We are not to work on the Sabbath for it is holy.

I will openly admit to weekly breaking this commandment. Even if I went not to work on the Sabbath, I find that I do not know how to keep it holy. Nor do I know how to keep any day holy. Perhaps that is the whole point. Keeping the Sabbath keeps us on track with God. He makes holy those who receive His holiness.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Written in Stone

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Name Above All Names

We sing the song, "Jesus, Name above all Names", but do we really mean it? The 3rd Commandment is concerned with how we treat the name of God. Vain speech is improper to begin with, but making God's name no more than an adjective to spice up your sentence is an insult to Him. What society, and most of the church, is not breaking this 3rd Commandment, although I know many Christians teach that. I know of many Christian organizations teach this. And while I do not advocate the use of profanity, I caution the church against turning God's name into something that is profane.

"How can we do that?" Some may ask. It's quite simple. All you need to do is use God's name with the same disrespect you would use any other word you wouldn't think twice about. How about expressions like, "Lordy me, look at how big you've grown," or "For the love of God, can't I get at least one break here?" There are others. We hear these and pass over them, thinking them to be little more than misuse of the English language. I tell you the truth, whoever speaks the name of God without the intent to bring glory to Him or point others to His glory is guilty of breaking this commandment of God. They are "using the Lord's name in vain," that is without thinking, and without giving Him His proper place of honor.

Too many worship services today are empty and hollow before God. His name is spoken, but only to increase the feeling they have during worship. Isaiah spoke of being a man of unclean lips of a people of unclean lips. (Isaiah 6:5) Jesus said a time was coming and now is when men shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. (John 4:23) I tell you that both exist, and they exist within the walls of our church buildings. There are those who worship God with their hearts and in in all truth. The name of God is precious to them. You will find them weeping with joy, or perhaps dancing in the Spirit. At the same time there are those who worship worship. They have no idea of the Holiness of God and profane His name by calling out upon Him that they might "feel" better. They want church services to be times of comfort or praise, but it isn't true praise coming out of their mouths. They are vain words spoken so they might feel better and appease their god of worship.

It is easy to fall into this category. It is easy to worship with your mouth and not your heart. I pray that you might worship God with all your being, with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of you mind, with all of your spirit, with all of your strength, so that from your innermost being may flow words of praise and glory and honor unto the Almighty.

David Brollir

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Message to False Teachers about Hell

Satan has an arsenal of weapons at his disposal, and one of the more deadly of them is that Hell does not exist. While you teach that it does, you incorrectly take the horror out of Hell by stating that we, as physical beings, will not suffer a literal eternal punishment. You stated, "The punishment is eternal, meaning that it is permanent and complete." Then go on to talk about how the body will be either
decomposed or burned up and thereby be permanent. You will not stand guiltless before God when people come before Him for Judgment and find that both eternities,
Heaven and Hell, are literal.

You make your mistake by assuming mankind to be a physical being. But God's Word says, "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Gen. 2:7) Which shows us that the body was made physical, but the life within the body was from God and is eternal. Like God, yet it a much more limited sense, we are spiritual creatures. In 1st John 3:2 the Bible goes on to further clarify this saying, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." This teaching is echoed also by Paul in 1st Corinthians 13:12, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

There are many more Scriptures I can give you, but know this, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb shall be the Passover, which also, God proclaimed to be a feast kept unto Him forever. While the Scriptures above talk of the everlasting life of those who are in Christ, there are many more which speak of those who will live in eternal death apart from Christ. Think about what you said. The worms don't die because they turn into flies. But don't these flies die? So the worms (maggots) DO die, but they die as flies, not worms. Are you trying to tell me that God considers worms of more esteem than the creation made in His own image?

From a purely logical standpoint I can argue the existence of Hell and the eternal punishment for those choosing to go there. I am a retired correctional officer. I have seen murderers given "Life Sentences". This is what God is doing. The Lord God
Almighty loved us so much that He chose to become a man that He might pay the debt of sin in sinless man, that is Christ, for sinful man, which is all of us. Those refusing such an act of mercy by the Judge will be condemned for the death of Jesus Christ and sentenced to "Life in Hell without parole." There is no dying there, save that death is the separation from God. In that sense, they were dead long before they were Judged.

David Brollier

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Beginning of Wisdom

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth forever." (Psalm 111:10)

One of the things that is missing in our society, yes even in our churches, is the fear of the Lord. I recently heard a person use this phrase as just an exclamation, "For the love of God." How can we say things like this and not know we come under judgment? Have we forgotten that God is God? Have we been so indoctrinated into thinking that the Ten Commandments have nothing to do with us any more, so we can break them as we please? This is really scary when you stop to think about it. When was the last time you heard it preached in church that we should "fear the Lord"? Off and on I hear it mentioned, but I have always rationalized it to mean, we fear hurting His name and reputation. Let's look at that.

When we come to the Lord we acquire a new name. We become children of the Almighty. If we truly respect our Heavenly Father then we would turn from sin, because it brings dishonor to Him. As His children our love should be so great for God that we fear of bringing dishonor to Him. This is a very valid explanation of the fear of the Lord, right?

Only partially. We still haven't reached the point where we seem to have a clue who He is. I think we equate God with some of the other false gods, like Zeus, for instance. Our tiny little minds have difficulty comprehending the greatness of just who God really is. The Bible calls God the Father, the Creator, the Alpha and Omega, the Almighty, and many other names. Lord, is a name that is a majestic title. God is so much greater than we could ever comprehend that it SHOULD fill us with fear. Not just fear that we dishonor His name, but fear that we are judged against His perfect righteousness. We are condemned by that righteousness. The Law of God condemns us. Yet how can we begin to understand God if we do not study the Law?

People, now is the time to get alone with God and humble yourselves before Him. Ask God to break the hardness of your hearts so that He might reign in and through you to His glory. Seek the fear of the Lord, for in finding that you will find the beginning of both wisdom and understanding. How do we do this? By keeping His commands. Why does it say that? Because we can NOT keep His commands. So by keeping them we realize His Holiness and our unrighteousness. Through keeping His law we come face to face with what it really means to fear the Lord. Maybe then we can properly serve Him.

David Brollier

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tree Withou Branches

This post may be a little more disturbing than the others if you have thought of the Bible as just a book. Even if you have been trying to live a good Christian life it may be of a shock to you, but it's really not something I can keep to myself, and it is supported by the very words of Jesus.

It was in the middle of the night and I was trying to get back to sleep, without much success, when I suddenly saw a tree without branches. The image was imprinted upon my mind just as clearly as if I were looking at any object in the room. There it was, a strong tree, yet every single branch had been cut off and lay at the base of the tree. Then, even more to my amazement, I heard God speaking. "This is My Church," He said. "Unless they be grafted back into My Son they shall be cast off." I didn't have a tape recorder with me and even if I did I doubt it would have captured the holy words of the Almighty as He spoke to my heart. Still, it has always seemed that I shortened this sentence to what it says above. I felt at the time that He wanted to say, "...they shall be cast off forever into the Lake of Fire." Of this I cannot be sure, but I leave it with you so you will understand the impact God's Words had on me.

One thing bothered me. I didn't see a single branch that remained in the tree. They were all cut off. Was God saying that He couldn't find anyone who was faithful? So I asked him why all the branches were cut off. His answer was more startling than if He had said it was. This is what God said to my heart, "It is so that no one can say this vision is not for them."

I have tried to be faithful and relay this vision to as many people as I could over the next several years. I received a few responses from people saying that they bore witness that what I had seen and spoken of was the true Word of God. Yet it was the email of someone whose name I forget that directed me to John 15. Here Jesus talks about being the True Vine and we are the branches. Here we see the Father cutting away every branch that does not bear fruit. And here also we read how our life comes not from within us, but from the Vine. All who try to live apart from the Vine are fruitless and cut off. If they remain so they are gathered together and thrown into the fire.

I mention this so that you will know that Jesus taught this same teaching before I had the vision. While mine was of a tree and Jesus used a Vine for the illustration, they are in every point exactly the same. So what does that mean to me? What should it mean to you? It means that you must tend to your own salvation with fear and trembling. Forget the doctrines of eternal security of those who believe you can lose your salvation. Instead focus on the truth of the teachings of Christ, which were once again echoed in this vision, "If you abide in Me and My Words abide in you, you shall produce much fruit." This is the point of the vision. This is the will of God. We are to bear fruit for His Kingdom. If we are not bearing fruit, we are not doing His will.

Let me qualify this so some of our present day Pharisees won't twist it around to mean something it does not mean. Bearing fruit does not always mean winning souls to the Lord. In fact, Scripture plainly says that only He can save. The job of lifting Him up, that is the fruit. Living in love, joy, peace, goodness (See Gal. 5:22) that is the fruit.

But what has this to do with the Law? That is a fair question. What need do we have to be part of that Tree (or Vine as Jesus puts it in John 15)? It is the Law that teaches us that apart of God there is no life. The Law of God is perfect, condemning sin in sinful man ("Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." Romans 7:13) It is by the Law of God we realize that we have been cut off from the Vine (or Tree) and lay waiting to be cast into the fires of Hell. In such a state our need to be "saved" is born. The wrath of God is plainly seen through the Law, but grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. It is then the Law that directs us to Jesus that we might find a Savior. It is through the Law that we realize we have been cut off from God and need to be grafted back into His True Olive Tree. It is the Law of God that sends us running into the arms of our Loving Christ, that His blood might not merely be a covering on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of God (See Hebrews 9), but the very lifeblood that flows through our veins, seeing we are the Body of Christ ("Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." 1st Corinthians 12:27). And in doing so find that Christ completes and fulfills the Law in us, not as something done in the past, but as something done moment by moment through the power of the Holy Spirit, as God said to Moses, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." (Leviticus 17:11) For to the priests of God at the time of Moses, the blood was "given to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls", but now, having made of Himself that Perfect Lamb of sacrifice, offered up Himself upon the altar for our souls. We testify, and bear witness that it is through this precious blood that we now have peace with God ("And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:" Ephesians 2:16) and it is through this blood that we have also been made into "one new man" (Ephesians 2:15) This "one new man" is Christ, of which He has fashion out of us His Body, the Church. It is through this self-same body that His blood runs freely, cleansing us of every sin, a continual offering, through one act of a loving God. It is through the Law that we have found Him. And this blood is that which gives to us nourishment to our souls, life, peace with God. It is the sap that runs through the Vine which bears fruit unto our Heavenly Father. That is what all this has to do with the Law.

David Brollier

Friday, August 24, 2007

Only One God

Interestingly enough there are three major religious groups that believe in only one Supreme God over all; they are Islam, Judaism and Christianity. I've purposely juggled the order there so you don't know which I favor. The fact is that "religion" is man-made. As such it is opposed to God, but we will get to that in a minute.

Eastern religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism all believe in many gods. (Buddhists may argue this point. If they do, concede you don't know enough and move on. Don' let them pin you into a debate.) I have met people who believe in the Norse gods, as well as pagans who believe in "the lord and lady" a duality over a pantheon of demi-gods. There literally isn't room for me to mention all the religions, much less all the various gods these people worship.

The question then is who is right? I find it unique that those believing in many gods are willing to accept other religions that believe in many gods. For instance, Buddhists are tolerant of Hindus, yet both are very intolerant of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Why is that? Is there something about us that puts them off? Maybe it's the way we dress. Whatever it is they are not about to wander into the land of only one god, for that would mean they would have to admit their gods are false.

The thing is, when they are intolerant of monotheistic religions (religions believing in one God), they are actually affirming this to be true. Let me explain. I'm a mystery writer so I like all that CSI stuff. Suppose a CSI working a crime scene comes across a foot print. He looks at it and says, "Looks like a large foot, maybe a size 14." The detective says, "No, that's a size 12 at best." Does the CSI argue the fact. Do they spend the next decade arguing what size boot the foot print left? No! The CSI takes a ruler out of his crimescene kit, lays it along side the print and takes a photograph. He later compares that measurement with a chart of shoe sizes. Whatever he comes up with is what he has to go with, because he knows that is correct. So, when a polytheist (person who believes in more than one god) comes up against the Truth, they argue, not because they think they are right, but because they know they are wrong. Their argument is the ruler next to the foot print. Biblical text tells the correct answer. They can't live with that answer so they try to argue against it.

I don't want non-Christians to think I'm picking on them, because I'm really not. I'm just pointing out a truth. Here's another truth that speaks to those in religions, even Christian religions. Have you let something come between you and God? Is He the first and last thought of your day? Do you really "... love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind"? (Matthew 22:37) If your answer is "No" or "Not all the time" then you too are guilty of worshiping a God other than the true and Living God. You are a lawbreaker and we haven't even gotten out of the 1st Commandment yet.

So, what are some of these idols we worship? What are the names of some of these false gods? They may surprise you.
1. Self - this is the ultimate false god and from it stems all others
2. Money - having money is okay, it is when we love it that it becomes a god.
3. Things - the same with money, there is nothing wrong with having things, but when things have you, then they are your gods.
4. Family - People don't like to see this in my list of false gods, but if family is more important to you than God then they are false gods.
I'm sure you get the point. You could go on and on, adding to this list the various desires and things that have come between your fellowship with God at on point or another. These, all of them, are false gods. The worship of them is an abomination to the Lord.

Now let me ask you something else. Suppose you have truly repented of your sins and asked Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You have realized that you need a Savior, because without Him you are nothing but a filthy sinner in the eyes of God. One who rightly deserves death. Yet, now Jesus has become your payment for that death sentence. What does it say if you turn back to your old idols of money, things, family, friends, fame, house, position, and so on? What does this say to God Almighty who has purchased you with the blood of His Son?

You see, we must always keep the Commandments of God before us that we might walk a straight path and not wander into darkness and wrath.

David Brollier

What's In a Name?

"And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them." (Exodus 24:12)

You may be wondering why I chose such an odd name for a Christian site. Good question. It is because we have strayed so far from God's Law that we sometimes forget how important it is.

In the passage quoted above we see that the Lord actually did write His commandments on tables of stone. Sometimes I'm amazed at how many of our cliches have come from Scripture. "Written in stone" usually refers to something that cannot be changed. In conversation it usually means that whatever directions, commands, or the like that a person has received is only a guide. The statement usually goes something like this, "I know that your mother and I promised that you would be grounded for a week for staying out late, but it's not written in stone. Show us that you can be trusted and we can reduce that time for you."

Two things are being said, most of the time without realizing it. The most obvious is that if it's not written in stone it can always be changed, amended, corrected or in some other way modified. So mom and dad's decision made in disciplining their child can be altered in some way because it is not written in stone. In some ways this is a good thing, for as parents we need to be forgiving, not just mean people always looking to beat on our children. However, taken to the other extreme it is just as dangerous, because it teaches children that there are no absolutes, anything can be changed. Children are masters at manipulation. They know how to pit one parent against the other in order to get these directives modified in their favor. So teaching them that mom and dad's commands are not necessarily written in stone can lead to some dangerous consequences.

Why do I say that? Because the other thing that the above illustration says, by its omission, is that some things are written in stone. Some things are absolute. The Commandments of God are absolute, they are holy, they are perfect, they are just, and they are utterly beyond our capability to keep them. Jesus put it this way, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matthew 5:17,18)

Unfortunately for some of you I like the King James Version of the Bible, but I will try to clear things up as we go along. For the longest time I wondered what a "jot" or a "tittle" was. So that you don't have to go searching and worrying about that, it refers to the tiny markings in the Hebrew language that could change a word from meaning one thing to another. Making things simple for those simple like myself, in English it is the equivalent of saying, "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, not one dot over an 'i' or one cross of a 't' shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

We see then that God intended to give to us a perfect law that could never be changed, modified, altered or whatever. To impress this upon the children of Israel to whom it was given, God wrote His law in stone.

One might think this is terribly harsh for one who calls Himself a God of love, but it is precisely His love that causes Him to do this. Look at the following illustration.

When Columbus made his first voyage across what we now call the Atlantic Ocean, there came a point when the North Star and the compass pointing north did not match. The other men aboard ship with him were beside themselves. How could they find their way anywhere if they could not determine where true north was. Columbus told them to keep a steady heading and take another reading in an hour. That second reading had both the North Star and the compass point of north identical. So what happened? Did north change? Did it alter while they were sailing? No! They were using two different methods of finding north. One was the North Star, the other was the compass. As it turns out the compass remained steady, but the North Star was actually orbiting around a point in space that would have been true north.

When we travel through this life we need a means of finding our way, just as did Columbus. Tragically, many come forward with their own little ways of finding "north" so we don't get lost. Once you begin to observe them and study them you find that some of these supposed "helps" actually lead you in the wrong way intentionally. Others keep changing, just like the North Star, so they can fit whatever situation they want them to fit. However, unlike the sailors aboard ship with Columbus, the people following these movable points are not filled with the same dread as those sailors. So they drift off in life unaware that they are more than lost, they are headed for certain destruction. God's Law alone stands as the true compass point of north. The Bible itself becomes a type of spiritual compass so that we can navigate safely to God.

One last point for today, while the compass point of God, His true north is absolute, it cannot provide safety. Safety is found only in following the compass point of God's Law to the Cross of Christ. If those sailors actually sailed north history would be much different today. Instead, they used that fixed point to help them sail west. Likewise, the Law shows us where we are going without the mercy of God. It condemns each and every one of us. Knowing that, and because it is perfect, we look not to the Law to save us, but that because of the Law we have a need to be saved. This change in our direction leads us to Jesus, who offered Himself up for us, to die in our place. Knowing where judgment lie, we were able to navigate to the foot of the Cross and there find the mercy of God. It is amazing how many people still miss this and refuse the grace that God offers them.

Look to the Law. It is written in stone. It does not move, but remains constant that by it we would see ourselves utterly sinful. In light of that we can then find the mercy of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. That's when our life truly begins, not before.

David Brollier
Director of Operations for Soar Like An Eagle Ministries