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Suicide?
11.29.05 (10:17 pm)   [edit]

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT...


SUICIDE?



"Do not be a fool--why die before your time?" (Ecclesiastes 7:17b)


Almost everyone would agree that life is the most precious gift that human beings have been given. Just the chance to be alive on this earth and play a part in the grand scheme of God's eternal plan is a privilege indeed. Yet, despite this, there are times when life becomes so difficult or unbearable that many have, at one time or another, wished they were dead or had never been born. For some, these feelings linger--and if they linger long enough, suicide seems to be the only escape. In fact, in the United States (and stats are similar in countries around the world) the suicide rate has tripled among teen and young adults in the past 40 years.


What does the Bible say about suicide? How does God view it? Do all those who kill themselves go to Hell?


Very few would argue with the fact that suicide is a direct breaking of the Sixth Commandment which is, "You shall not murder." We are not to murder each other or ourselves. God created human beings in His image and each of us carries within us the potential to overcome the evil in this world, and to rule and reign with Christ in heavenly places. If we are Christians, we no longer belong to ourselves, but to God. We are overseers of our bodies and our lives (which belong to Him), and we are responsible to guard that which has been entrusted to us.


Suicide is a grievous sin that seriously hurts both the heart of God, and those who loved the deceased. The pain of losing a loved one who took their own life is not easily healed, and often isn't fully healed until Heaven. Whether you are contemplating suicide or know someone who killed themselves, God wants you to know there is hope and life for you. He is the great Healer and Restorer of what has been lost or stolen.


Many of the greatest saints and heroes of the Bible faced overwhelming depression and sometimes wrote that they wished they had never even been born. King David, (Psalm 13:2-4), the prophet Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 20:14-18), and Job, (Job 7:15-16) among others, all reached low points where they despaired of their very lives.


Job says, "So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life. I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity" (Job 7:15-16).


Yet, each one of these men were blessed of God, and persevered through their trials as an example to us. Though they faced great suffering and injustice, they kept their faith in God and His goodness, and in so doing, were sustained and led into abundant life.


Though we may get depressed from time to time, we believe that the act of suicide never takes place apart from demonic influences driving one to take their own life. Suicide is directly counter to the power of life that God has put so strongly into His creation. Everywhere we look we see life growing, even in the most hostile environments. This "survival instinct" is a gift from God. In fact, if He didn't bestow this gift upon His creation there probably wouldn't be any life on this planet at all! Suicide, then, is directly contrary to the will of God, and originated in the realm of the demonic host, who come only to "steal, and to kill, and to destroy" (John 10:10). Though demons may try to tempt us to kill ourselves, as Christians we have power over the devil and he cannot push us to do this if we sincerely call on the name of the Lord!


We are all in a spiritual battle. The problem is, many of us are not aware of it, and do not know how to protect ourselves against attack.


Do all those who kill themselves go to Hell?


Some people believe that all who commit suicide go immediately to Hell. However, the Bible never says if this is the case. The Bible is silent on this issue. God probably did not address it in black in white for a good reason. If we knew that we would still go to Heaven if we killed ourselves, there would probably be a lot more suicides taking place than there already are. However, if we knew that all who killed themselves were automatically banished to Hell, no matter what their situation, it may be too much for the grief-stricken family and friends to bear. Murder and suicide are not unpardonable sins. The only unforgivable sins are rejecting Christ (Mark 16:16) and blaspheming the Holy Spirit.


(Mark 3:28-29 KJV) Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

All other sins can be forgiven. However, anyone contemplating suicide may be in danger of going to Hell, as their relationship with the Lord is not intact at that point. Those who would consider suicide may have a severed relationship with Christ and therefore they would enter the real Hell--which is worse than the hellish feelings they are experiencing at the moment.


It is so important to remember that God judges each of us individually, weighing all the factors of our lives, our beliefs and our motives. Each one of us is so intricate and complex, only God could really judge us in total truth, wisdom, and without favoritism. The most important truth of all, is that each one of us will stand before His throne and give account of our lives. If we lived intimately with this sobering truth, much of the sin in the church and the world, would immediately be stopped.


If you are contemplating suicide and are relying on God's grace to get you to heaven, PLEASE stop for a moment....God's grace never means that we have a free license to sin! Those who willfully sin after knowing God's grace, are in far greater danger than those who know less. Though you may feel that God is far from you right now, He is much nearer than you think. He may even be speaking to you through these words! Please open your ears and hear Him tell you how valuable your life is. You are needed on this earth and the purpose for your life has not yet been fulfilled. God loves you, and so do many people around you! God would not be God if He could not work this situation (no matter how unbearable it may seem) for His glory and for the good in your own life.


Depression is often anger, and a host of other emotions that have turned inward and become frozen. If you are carrying anger, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, frustration, jealousy, despair, worthlessness, hopelessness, fearfulness, vengeance and/or self-pity in your heart, you can turn these things over to God and begin to receive your healing right now, in faith. If you don't know how to let them go, confess it to God and ask for His help in releasing it to Him. No one can overcome these things by themselves. We all need the power of God to set us free from sinful and hopeless ways of thinking. That is why the Bible tells us that we must be "transformed, by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2)." The Holy Spirit is the only One who can help us break free and be healed of these deadly emotions.


Just as ailments in our physical body need to be treated with medicine to be healed, the same is true of our emotions. One powerful way to fight against depression, is to apply and confess God's Word as a healing balm to the places where you have been wounded. For instance, if you have unforgiveness in your heart, begin to confess God's verses for love and forgiveness, even if they don't exactly feel true right at the moment. If you feel worthless, confess the Scriptures of God's great love for you. A rote, mechanical repeating of words may not do much, but if you deliberately take these living words and hold on to them for dear life, you will have the enemy on the run. The devil simply cannot stand against the Word of God spoken in faith. God's Words are like spiritual antibiotics, destroying every germ and unclean thing in their path.


In closing, we would like to pray with you here. We have written a prayer below, and we encourage you to not only read it, but to say it out loud!


PRAYER TO GOD


"Father, in the name of Jesus, I come before You, confessing my need for You, and crying out to you from the bottom of my heart. Lord, You've said that you are near to those whose hearts are breaking and that you give grace to the humble. I humble myself before you now...I cast down any pride or self-justification that I would hide behind, and I present myself to you as I truly am--weak and helpless and despairing of my very life. I know there is no other Rock but You, and I turn to You with all of my heart. Father, please forgive my sin! I open myself up to receive Your cleansing, Your healing, Your forgiveness, and Your faith, hope and love into my being. I receive your love as a river, washing over the dry wasteland of my emotions. I see that in Your river there is life, and that every place your river touches in me is revived. I cast all my cares, my sorrows, my disappointments into that river and I let the current of Your spirit carry them far away. I believe You, when You say that You think good thoughts about me, and that Your plans are to give me a future and a hope. I believe You when You say that You knew who I was even before my mother conceived me--and that You wanted me to be alive on the earth right now. Thank you for giving me life! Thank you for working all things in my life for good! Thank you that I can call on your Name and You will be near me. Thank you for bearing all my weaknesses and diseases on the cross, and healing me, spirit, soul and body."


COMMAND AGAINST SATAN


"Satan, I close every door that I have opened to you and I renounce every activity I have partaken with you. In Jesus name, I submit myself to God. I resist you and command you to flee from me, as it is written in James 4:7! I remind you that you are defeated by the power of the cross--and with the authority given to me by Jesus Christ I command you and force you to leave me right now!"


PRAYER TO GOD


"Father, I receive Your breath of Life into my mortal body now. I lift up my hands to You, to receive it; I fix my hopes on it and turn my life completely over to You. From this day forth I pray that you will give me the grace and wisdom to guard my heart diligently, to obey You and to resist every scheme of the enemy. I commit all I am to You and I have full faith that You are able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all I could ever ask or think. Lord, send me the help I need now. Show me the way.


I thank you for the love that you have lavished upon me and I pray that for the rest of my life, I will show that same love, mercy and forgiveness to all those around me. Amen!" 



 
What Does The Bible Say About Divorce?
11.22.05 (10:57 pm)   [edit]

What Does The Bible Say About...


Divorce?


By Betty Miller


What are the spiritual consequences of divorce? Is there scriptural precedence for a divorced person to ever remarry? Can a divorced person fill a place in ministry? How are we to deal with those who have suffered in this area? With so many extremes being taught on this subject, it is difficult to have the proper perspective of this problem in the church. In this teaching we will examine how to deal with these complicated issues, in a spirit of both righteousness and mercy.


In today's society, divorce is a fast way out of an unpleasant situation. In the United States, roughly half of all marriages now end in divorce. This statistic is almost as high in the church as it is the world. What are we to make of this flood of broken covenants that wash across our land? Many are drowning in its tide, beaten by their own broken words and failure. Some are dying under a flood of guilt, while others sail merrily along, unaware that their boat is rotting and will soon sink under the waves. Is there a cure for this marital epidemic of broken promises, blame, guilt, unforgiveness, discontent and wounded children? Can God truly heal even the most broken of marriages?


Although God hates divorce, He loves the divorcee and will help all who call upon Him. He wants to teach us how to love the way He loves. The definition of true love is "God is Love." Unless God is brought into a marriage they will never experience true love. People can experience an emotional feeling we call "love", however this is only one aspect of love in a marriage. The kind of love that is needed for any marriage to be successful is the the God kind of love because this love is not a selfish love. God's kind of love, loves even when that love is not reciprocated. One attribute of love is faithfulness and loyalty. A Christian marriage is based on trust in God and each other.


Love is a Choice


Another thing we must understand about love is that it is a choice. True love is not something we trip into and out of easily. God's love for us endures all things and does not change, even when we do. He doesn't love us for measuring up to a certain standard. He loves us because He is love Himself. There is not one thing He does that is not motivated by love. When we fail, He does not reject us, but in compassion reaches out to restore us. Though He sees the hardness, blindness and hypocrisy in our hearts, He still loves us. He loves us enough to not overlook these things, because He knows they will destroy us. He loves us with a consuming, passionate, holy, jealous and gentle love. He loves us so much that he continually offers us forgiveness, comfort, encouragement, peace and joy. Finally, Jesus showed that He loves us more than His own life when he laid it down His life for us.


Because He loves us in this way, so we also are to love each other. Nowhere is God's love for us better illustrated than in marriage.


"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things--that she might be holy and faultless. Even so husbands should love their wives as (being in a sense) their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church. Because we are members (parts) of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning (the relation of) Christ and the church. However, let each man of you (without exception) love his wife (being in a sense) his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband--that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him and loves and admires him exceedingly" (Ephesians 5: 25-33, Amplified Bible).


In this verse we see that the union between man and woman is a portrayal of the divine romance between Christ and the Church. The only reason man and woman are attracted to each other and desire to build a life together, is because this principal is true in a spiritual sense. The natural realm is an illustration of the spiritual realm, and all spiritual truths existed long before the natural ones were manifested. In the same that way men and women seek each other to become one, so our spirits are also seeking oneness with God--and He with us.


Just as Eve was brought forth from Adam's side, so the church was brought forth from the wounded side of Jesus. We are "bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh." God is a "family man" seeking to establish a union of love between His son Jesus and His Bride, who is the church. Together, they will rule His creation and bring forth many offspring, just as Adam and Ever were originally commissioned to do.


God hates divorce because it is a perversion of the holy picture of the His Son and the Church. This is also why He hates homosexuality, sexual promiscuity and other sexual and gender-related sins. All of these have their source with the Evil One who seeks to pervert all of God's truths until they are a twisted lifeless shamble of what they once were. When God's truths are twisted, instead of being instruments of life and freedom, they become tools of death and destruction. What can bring us the greatest happiness can also bring us the greatest sorrow. God took a great risk when He put so much power in love. He knew it could both heal--and hurt--us more deeply than anything else He created. Yet, if this is true for us, it is even more true for God Himself. He also, is deeply touched and wounded by love. Yet, because He is willing to risk His very heart for the sake of love, so we must be willing to take that risk as well. He is our example. God's love alone has the deepest power to fulfill us. However, it can only fulfill us to the extent that we use and understand it properly--and we cannot know true love unless we know God.


The most basic principal of true, godly love is this: Love lays down its life for others. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).


This "laying down of our life" can be manifested in many ways. Basically, it includes loving others more than ourselves, thinking of their welfare, honoring them, forgiving them, wanting the best for them, etc. This is to be practiced for both those who love us and those who hate us. Furthermore, this is to be a way of life--not an occasional mood, when we are feeling benevolent towards the world! Love is a deliberate choice.


Generally, the farther away one is from us, the easier it is to love them. We can love them in a broad way. The closer we get to someone however, the more they are magnified to us. We see both their faults and strengths more clearly. It is here that love must become a choice. Will we continue to love them despite their failures, or will we back off? Because marriages are the closest of all relationships, they are also tested the most. If we have found that we are peering at our mate continually through a magnifying glass, it may be time to step back a bit and refocus on the "big picture." Likewise, if all we see is the "big picture" we can lose the intimacy in the foundation of marriage. When we peer closely at our loved ones, their faults are magnified, but so is their beauty as well. We need to continually seek the Lord for His perspective, so we can see the loved one through His eyes of love and mercy. After all, He sees us closer than anyone, and yet still loves us!


By studying God's love for us, we can learn that love takes work, patience, commitment, faithfulness, and the willingness to take a risk. How different from the way the world tells us love is--an effortless, easy emotion! Emotions are a beautiful part of love, but nonetheless, they are only a part. They are the frosting on the cake, the harmony on the melody, the bloom on the flower. They cannot stand on their own, but rest on and grow from something else entirely.


The Spirit of Division


There is a rampant spirit of division in the earth today that is seeking to destroy not only marriages, but all of our relationships. We must recognize this attack of the enemy and resist it. Satan especially seeks to destroy and belittle marriage, because of its spiritual parallel between Christ and the Church. It is our responsibility to recognize that the real enemy is not each other, but the devil and our own sin. Blaming each other or even our own inability, is the easy way out. Through Christ, we can do all things. He makes us strong where we are weak. He gives us the Holy Spirit to empower us. He gives us tools to overcome the enemy. In short, He gives us all we need. Every time we overcome the spirit of division with love and forgiveness, we bind the enemy and grow stronger ourselves. The following verse is an excellent list of spiritual tools that will overcome any attack of division:


"Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing: knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil" (I Peter 3:7-12).


It is understandable how those outside of Christ end up with broken homes, but how sad it is that now Satan is even destroying the homes of God's holy people. Perhaps it is because we have not been taught how to overcome the enemy or die to self. Whatever the reasons, there are many who are on the brink of, or have already suffered the trauma of divorce.


Those in bad marriages should not use divorce as an escape just because they are in an unpleasant situation, but should seek God for the healing of their relationship. The Lord desires to use such circumstances for redemptive purposes. He wants to heal and deliver the partner that is not committed to Him. This is perfect soil for the growth of the fruits of long-suffering (patience), faith and love to take place in the mate who is hurting due to lack of love in the marriage. God's kind of love can overcome in the situation, and a mighty miracle of healing can come to that marriage and home.


What About Those Who Have Already Been Divorced?


First we must call divorce what it is--sin. Then we must look to God's Word to see how He deals with this, or any other sin. Divorce causes one to commit the sin of adultery.


"It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery" (Matthew 5:31-32).


Now let us look at a case concerning a woman who was caught in the act of adultery and see how the Lord deals with her.


"They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him, But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (John 8:4-11).


From this account we see the Lord extending mercy to this woman and forgiving her of her sin. We also notice that He made an important statement, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone."


The Lord treats all sins alike as far as redemption is concerned; sin is sin. The answer to every sin problem is the acceptance of Jesus and His sacrifice that cleanses us from sin. If we turn to Jesus, no matter what sin we commit, we will find forgiveness and mercy. The Lord did not say she had not sinned, but forgave her and admonished her to "sin no more." The sin of divorce is not the unpardonable sin. No matter what sin we have committed in our lives, whether it be lying, cheating, stealing, murder or divorce, Jesus made a way for us to cleansed and forgiven. When the Lord forgives sin, He also ceases to remember it. God's love and forgiveness is so different from man's. Hebrews 10:17 says, "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."


What About Remarriage?


Yes, divorce is a sin. We can plainly see the damage it does to the lives of all involved. It is straight from the pit of hell. Yet, there is hope and forgiveness for the divorcee. Satan often lies and tells people that God is doing the separating, but it is not God. God is not the author of divorce. However, His Word does give instructions to those whose unbelieving mates desire a divorce.


"And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace" (I Corinthians 7:13-15).


If this happens, the mate that is left is not under any bondage to this marriage. He is free to remarry should the Lord lead him to do so.


Much conflict about Christians remarrying has arisen in the church because of Jesus' words in Matthew 19:3-9:


"The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Hath ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh? What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."


The Lord points out that those who divorce their mates have "hard hearts." God did not mean for divorce to happen. In the beginning His perfect will was for man and woman to remain married their entire lifetimes.


Does this statement of Jesus leave no room for remarriage? This verse has brought much bondage on those who have not looked at this Scripture in the light of the entire Word of God. First of all we must understand that the Pharisees here were attempting to trick Jesus into disagreeing with the Mosaic law so they could discount His ministry. Jesus knew this. Because the question asked here was in regard to divorce, Jesus quoted the perfect law concerning it. He, being perfect, could do no less.


Had the Pharisees asked him, "Master, is it permissible to lie or steal?" He would have quoted the perfect law in regard to these sins. Exodus 20:15-16, "Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." Jesus also knew that man was not perfect and that man would fail, so other portions of His Word deal with the problem of sin. Man could not keep the perfect law; he failed. But the perfect God made a way for imperfect man to be forgiven of his sins through the blood of Jesus. Therefore, no matter what sins we have committed, we can find forgiveness and cleansing through Christ. He not only forgives the sin of divorce, but because of His perfect forgiveness, He forgets the sin and it becomes as if we had never committed it as far as He is concerned. Praise God! We have a new start in Christ as the old is wiped away.


However, emotional healings are still needed for all who come out of split homes. In divorces, children suffer as much (or more) than their parents. God is healing and restoring those who seek His way. Those who continue in the world will only suffer more heartache until they allow the Lord to completely rule in their lives. God alone can "pick up the pieces" and put them together in a second marriage. Without God, a second marriage will only compound the existing problems. Men and women should seek God diligently in regard to this important step in their lives. Only by following God's plan and His Word will marriage be the fulfilling and beautiful relationship it was meant to be, regardless if it is a first or second marriage.


The Lord has a compassionate heart and He wishes us to have the same attitude toward those who have committed this sin. In fact, the Word of God deals with any transgression of the law as a serious offense. It matters not how big or little we might consider the sin to be. In God's eyes, sin is sin, and all sin must have the same remedy of Christ's cleansing. If we point our finger at other's sins without dealing with our own, we are bringing judgment upon ourselves.


"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment" (James 2:10-13).


From this Scripture we see that if we commit that least sin (one point), we are still guilty of the whole law (murder, adultery, etc.) Therefore we should not judge those involved in the sins of divorce and adultery without mercy, or else we will be judged the same way. We could be judging others critically in this area while committing the same sin in our hearts.


One can commit adultery without divorcing his mate, as this sin can be committed in the heart.


"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 5:28).


We are to minister to others compassionately in the area of divorce, for we have all sinned and fallen short of His perfection in many areas of our lives.


Can Divorced People Minister?


To ban people from ministering because they have suffered a divorce or to deny them the privilege of a Christian marriage is not in accordance with God's nature. If people have repented of their sin of divorce, then in God's eyes their sins are gone and forgotten. The true church should have the same compassion and understanding in its heart.


Some use the Scripture in I Timothy 3:2 to disqualify those who have been married before from ever becoming an elder or bishop. "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach." The reason for the specification of "one wife" here was that in Christ's day some were still practicing polygamy. Christ's teaching was calling people back to God's original plan of one man for one woman. In the Old Testament, polygamy had been introduced to God's people by the nations around them. The Lord had to purge His people from this evil as well as one of "divorce for every cause." The hardness of man's heart had led him a long way from the intended purposes of God.


However, we are warned in Scripture that we are not to use our liberty as a license to sin. "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Galatians 5:13). Divorce is never God's highest and best. Those in ministry who would lightly seek a divorce and desire to continue ministering, need to examine their hearts. Any obvious sin such as divorce can definitely weaken our testimony. If we are recently divorced, or in the in the process of one, or having marital problems, it would be good for a season to step down from any and all positions of leadership within the church. We can do very little good in our public life if our personal one is in shambles.


However, because God makes all things new, there is a new day of ministry, even for those who have been divorced. He can restore the worst of marriages and restore the worst of sinners. The question He asks of us is, "Are you willing?"


If we are willing to believe and submit to God, nothing shall be impossible! Amen!


"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13: 13).



 
What Does The Bible Say About Witchcraft? and Horry potter?
11.20.05 (5:35 pm)   [edit]

The Living Bible clearly addresses the fate of those who delve or as C. S. Lewis labeled “lust” for the occult:  “The Lord has rejected you because you welcome foreigners from the East who practice magic and communicate with evil spirits” (Isaiah 2:6).  “Crawl into the caves in the rocks and hide in terror from his glorious majesty, for the day is coming when your proud looks will be brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted.  On that day the Lord of Hosts will move against the proud and haughty and bring them to dust… All the glory of mankind will bow low; the pride of men will like in the dust, and the Lord alone will be exalted.  And all idols will be utterly abolished and destroyed”  (Isaiah 2:10-18).


Paul in Galatians 5:19-21 ascribes witchcraft as a deed of the flesh.  “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I did before that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  It is interesting to note that Paul’s warning is to the churches of Galatia whose members are already Christians.  They are warned that by engaging in sinful conduct they would not inherit the kingdom of God.  The warning is to those who have accepted Christ.  The modern day Christian who is entertained or allows his or her children to be entertained and/or participate in the works of the flesh, which includes witchcraft, should give serious heed to this warning.


White magic and black magic are not acceptable in Christianity and there is no such thing as “cheap grace”.  Christ died on the cross to forgive us for our sins, yet there is no excuse to take sin lightly.  Engaging in any sin including sorcery opens one to demonic oppression and with persistent sinful conduct possession. 


One cannot rationalize that one is not engaged in witchcraft but merely being entertained by books or movies whose characters participate in witchcraft, even though the protagonists are “good” witches.


The protagonist Harry Potter in the best selling Harry Potter series of books and current movie attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to become a wizard.  Harry and his friends are taking classes in casting spells, magical drafts and potions, transfiguration, history of magic, magical theory etc…  They are learning to become “good” wizards and witches.  Evil is represented by the “Dark Side,” reminiscent of the “Dark Side” of the Force in “Star Wars,” and embodied (or disembodied and seeking to re-embody) in Voldemort, the evil wizard who killed Harry’s parents. 


Harry is characterized as an average boy who has been oppressed by his very normal aunt and uncle and his cousin, reminiscent of Cinderella’s oppression at home.  The very normal family members are exaggeratedly oppressive.


From a Christian paradigm the problem with Harry is that salvation from his predicament comes from leaving home learning witchcraft, a condemned practice.   Children interact with ghosts such as the Friar and Professor Binns, a ghost who teaches the History of Magic.  Professor Binns was a very old professor who had fallen asleep by a staff room fire and went to teach the next morning, leaving his body behind. 


Christianity teaches that witchcraft, even charming, candy coated witchcraft, is evil and that redemption only comes through Jesus Christ and certainly not from the occult.  Communication with the dead is actually communication with demons or “fallen angels.”  Casting spells is prohibited. 


In Christianity, salvation does not come through witchcraft but by accepting the Son of God.  Good is what is of God and comes from worshiping Him.  “Innocent” or “mechanical” witchcraft is still witchcraft and as such dark.  Exposing one’s children to a heavy dose of the supernatural, even if portrayed through the activities of appealing characters, is not acceptable.  The siren call of the occult in children’s movies and cartoons can be appealing.  Poltergeists, ghosts, flying broomsticks, werewolves, vampires, witches, giants, bats, goblins, haunted hallways may be captivating but they can instill a spirit of fear.  They can certainly be “dark and heavy” and exposure to the occult can be addictive.  This writer is a case in point having been involved in séances, palmistry, astrology and eastern meditation prior to accepting Jesus Christ.  Interest in the occult started with late night “Chiller” movies and supernatural comic books.


Aside from a dark supernatural dimension there is the good supernatural dimension represented by the Heavenly Kingdom  (God, His cherubim and the angelic host).  For the most part this good supernatural dimension is rarely portrayed in children’s cartoons or recent popular literature.  How often do we see angels on Saturday morning cartoons?  The elves in the “Lord of the Rings” are such angelic type beings who frighten Sauron’s Black Riders pursuing Frodo.


Parents have a responsibility to screen what their children watch.  Studies have shown that children and adults who watch regular violence on the screen become desensitized to it.  The same applies with intensive exposure to the occult.  Jesus said, “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!  It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin” (Luke 17:1-2)


So what can be said of the Christian entertained by the occult?  The analogy can be drawn to the person who is not engaged in immoral sex but is being entertained by pornographic books or magazines.  There is no such thing as a Christian “voyeur.”   What is sinful to a child is sinful to an adult.  Christ does not respect the “adult” bookstore nor the “adult” voyeur.  Those who deal in darkness will be engulfed by it.  Poison is poison.  A little recreational poison can be as lethal as a lot of poison from the hand of an assassin.  There is no such thing as a recreational séance (channeling session).


For all those who have engaged in sinful conduct including occult or sexual voyeurism there is only one avenue for cleansing, nothing less than the atoning blood of Jesus.   Both the non Christian and the Christian need to repent of their sins by asking God to forgive them.  The non Christian needs to invite Jesus through a simple prayer to take charge of his/her life (“Jesus I accept your sacrifice for me on the cross.  Forgive me for my sins.  Please come into my life and take charge.  Help me walk in your light”). 


Take a lesson from the sorcerers and witches who came to a saving knowledge of Christ in Acts 19:19, “And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of all; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.”  All occult objects should be destroyed as these items are vehicles or “windows” for occult activity and oppression.  They are literally magnets, which draw the demonic host.


God is not an evil God.  He is not vengeful, but in the Bible he has given us a mechanic’s manual for our well being.  If we insist on placing lemonade in our engine instead of oil we’ll destroy it.  If we don’t obey God’s admonitions against witchcraft, sexual conduct and promiscuity, rage, envy, and substance abuse we’ll destroy our bodies and condemn our souls for eternity.  You may not believe in God, but violation of his principles will nevertheless bring destruction.  Witchcraft may be very alluring and comforting for you.  It may give you success and power.  It may give you the “warm fuzzies.”  Nevertheless it’s evil and dangerous just as the serpent was to Adam and Eve in the Garden.


For those who have had extensive occult involvement including the actual practice of witchcraft it would be advisable to seek the counsel of a pastor of a spirit filled Christ centered church involved in the deliverance ministry.  Keep in mind that you have power over all demonic principalities in the name of Jesus once you have accepted Christ as your personal Savior and are covered by His blood (“Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name” Luke 10:17).


In the 1950’s Science replaced God.  There was an ensuing spiritual hunger, which sought expression in the counterculture of the 1960’s and 1970’s through drugs, Eastern religions, and sexual promiscuity.  This led to materialism and the cult of the self of the 1980’s and 1990’s.  None of these substitutes can replace man’s deep spiritual hunger.  The absence of God can only be replaced with the presence of God, and certainly not by a counterfeit such as witchcraft.  Witchcraft is like illicit sex, it may offer thrills and gratification for a time but only a personal relationship with the God of the Universe through his Son Jesus Christ will satisfy, bring joy, and life eternal.





Michael Sherif practiced mantra yoga (meditated silently on a supposedly "meaningless" sound which was really the vehicle that drew him into a "Hindu" deity or really a demon from our Christian perspective). He was in bondage to this, in combination with hatha yoga for six years. According to his testimony this was a horrible experience for him. Yoga involvement is really an exercise in a demonic activity which is portrayed as "fun" and "healthy"  that can lead to demonic possession. He experienced different states of sensory consciousness which were dark and sterile until Jesus set him free. Since then he has written many articles exposing the works of darkness and New Age philosophies. You may read them at his website:  www.earthharvest.org



 
i am unique!
11.15.05 (8:37 pm)   [edit]
  i am fearfully and wonderfully made!!! kya kailangan mej p cute!!!

 
It's All About Jesus!
11.15.05 (8:24 pm)   [edit]
 







leaf65_thm.gif (1161 bytes)

It's All About
Jesus!


www.bible.com


This webpage is created for the sole purpose of exploring the central, (and most misunderstood) Person of human history. Who is Jesus Christ?   Our perception of Him is the basis for our relationship (or lack of it) with Him.   May we all perceive Him as He really is!


"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.   Do you believe this?'
" John 11: 25-26


 


How to Know Jesus:  If you came here seeking Jesus click here to know him personally.


Biblical Prophecies Concerning Jesus Christ:  Everything about Jesus; from where He would be born, to how He would die was written in the Old Testament, hundreds and thousands of years before His birth.


All the Names of Jesus: The names and titles of Jesus as listed in the Bible.


Read about Jesus in the New Testament


The Blood of Jesus: What the Bible Says About The Blood of Jesus


Jesus Film Project (View and Hear the life of Jesus in 50 languages) If you have audio and video capabilities, you can watch the movie of Jesus' life, in your own language.


The Four Spiritual Laws That Lead You to Jesus:  You can discover the way to know Jesus in over 140 different languages.


ARTICLES ESPECIALLY FOR MUSLIMS:


His Intimate Presence: A document that will especially appeal to Muslims and those with a Chinese background, as well as many others.  Check it out!


Jesus, The Mercy of God: The Qu'ran speaks of Jesus. This message is especially for Muslims who desire to know the truth.


Way of Forgiveness: This article outlines the way of forgiveness in a format especially for Muslims.



 
Got To Know
11.14.05 (5:31 pm)   [edit]

Vitamins & Minerals Q&A

Common Questions about Vitamins and Supplements





Is there anything I can take to help with an enlarged prostate?
The prostate is a small gland about the size and shape of a walnut. At birth, the prostate gland is tiny. When testosterone levels rise during puberty, the prostate grows rapidly, doubling in size by age 20. Growth slows down for the next two decades and the prostate does not usually cause problems for many years. When a man reaches his 40s the prostate goes through a second growth spurt. Half of all men have an enlarged prostate by the time they reach age 60, and by age 85, 90 percent of the male population is affected. Unlike the growth during puberty, when the gland expands uniformly, the enlargement that occurs in the second half of life is concentrated in the portion of the gland adjacent to the urethra. As the gland gets bigger, it interferes with the outflow of urine from the bladder. As a result, the bladder has to work harder to empty the urine, and eventually becomes thicker and prone to excessive contractions. Over time, this extra effort causes the bladder muscle to weaken, and urine cannot be expelled fully. The combination of these problems leads to the discomfort and complications associated with an enlarged prostate. There have been numerous clinical studies that have have shown that 160 mg of saw palmetto fruit (containing 80-90% fatty acids) twice a day or 320mg once a day can significantly improve urinary symptoms such as frequent urination, painful urination, hesitancy, urgency, and perineal heaviness. It is important to note that it takes approximately 1-2 months of daily treatment with saw palmetto before significant improvement of the symptoms occurs.





Is it safe to be taking Puncture Vine on a continuing basis? 
Puncture vine, also known as tribulus terrestris , is a plant which has been used anectdotally for male impotence, as an aphrodisiac and enhancing athletic performance to name only a few uses. To date, there has not been any reliable clinical studies to substantiate these uses. However, no interactions between puncture vine and drugs, foods, laboratory tests, or disease/conditions are expected to occur. Puncture vine contains saponins (a soapy substance found in many different types of plants) which have been reported to be effective in treating angina in people with coronary heart disease. Until more research is available, long term use of puncture vine is not recommended.





Can I take Ginkgo Biloba if I'm taking blood thinners?
Like most herbal products, ginkgo biloba can interact with other medications which you may be taking. Because of its mechanism of action, ginkgo biloba may increase the risk of bleeding if taken with other anticoagulants (blood thinners) and antiplatelet drugs. Some of these drugs include Aspirin, dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, indomethacin (Indocin), ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others. It is important to be monitored by a doctor if you are contemplating the use of ginkgo biloba while on blood thinners or any other medications. For blood thinning medication specifically, the dose of the prescription drug may need to be altered due to the additional blood thinning action of gingko biloba.





How can I prevent colon cancer?
Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor of the colon, rectum or both. Together the colon and rectum make up the large intestine. It carries the remains of digested food from the small intestine and eliminates them as waste through the anus. A tumor is the result of abnormal cell growth on the lining of the colon. These tumors begin as small growths (also known as polyps) on the inside of the large bowel. If these growths are not removed they eventually can become cancerous, penetrate through the wall of the colon or rectum and spread to other areas. You may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by exercising daily, enjoying a low fat diet, limiting the amount of saturated fats in your diet, and increasing the amount of fruits, vegetable and whole grain foods that you eat. Oats, barley and wheat bran specifically have been shown to aid in the prevention of colon cancer. Garlic and milk thistle may decrease the risk as well. In addition, there is some preliminary evidence that shows reduced risk of developing colon cancer in people consuming higher amounts of lutein and black or white pepper in their diet.





Why do people take apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is the juice from crush apples which has been fermented over time. Like apple juice, it probably contains some pectin, vitamins B1, B2, and B6, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C. It also contains small amounts of some minerals such as sodium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Anecdotally, apple cider vinegar has been used alone or with honey for weight loss, leg cramps, high blood pressure, and arthritis to name only a few uses. To date there is no scientific evidence to support the use of apple cider vinegar for these purposes. In theory, apple cider vinegar may help with the digestion of food by lowering the pH level in the stomach. For this use, a 285 mg tablet taken with each meal, has been used.





Is there anything I can take to help with my stomach ulcer?
A peptic ulcer is a type of sore or hole that forms in the lining of the stomach or intestine. An ulcer in the mucous lining of the stomach is called a gastric ulcer. One in the upper-most part of the small intestine, or duodenum, is called a duodenal ulcer. The mucous lining forms a protective barrier that keeps powerful stomach acids and pepsin (an enzyme that helps break down proteins) from damaging the very organs that produce them. If there is a break or ulcer in the lining, the underlying tissue is vulnerable to the acid's corrosive effects. If the ulcer is small and mild, there may be little pain and the wound can heal on its own. But if the ulcer is deep and severe, it can cause bleeding, and may eat through the stomach or duodenum wall. Some people with mild disease may have no symptoms at all. The most common complaint is a burning or gnawing pain in the upper abdomen that occurs two to three hours after eating or at night. Honey may serve to be helpful due to its antibacterial and antifungal activity , which might offer benefit in preventing wound infection and Helicobacter pylori infection in peptic ulcer disease. Studies have found that licorice may help accelerate the healing process of gastric ulcers. The pain associated with ulcers may be treated by taking a chewable calcium supplement which works as an antacid while at the same time serving as an excellent source of this important mineral.





What are rose hips?
Rose hips are the fruit of a rose that develop after the petals have fallen. They were used in Britain during World War II to prevent scurvy when there was a shortage of citrus fruit. Since then, rose hips have been used as a source of Vitamin C and in fact, have up to 60 times the Vitamin C of citrus fruit as well as containing the bioflavonoids that aid in the absorption and protection (against oxidative damage) of Vitamin C. Bioflavonoids have also been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-tumor properties. Because of these properties, rose hips may help to control allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammation diseases as well as protect the body from viral infections.





I suffer from fibromyalgia. Is there anything I can take that will help?
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome most commonly found in women of childbearing years or older. It is thought that fibromyalgia has more than one cause. Some researchers have suggested that it is related to abnormalities in a person's sleep cycle or low levels of a brain chemical that regulates sleep and pain perception called serotonin. Another theory is that a person suffering from this syndrome is too low in a chemical that is related to muscle strength and muscle repair and/or is too low in a chemical involved in pain perception. Many people with fibromyalgia also suffer from anxiety, depression, or eating disorders. Fibromyalgia can cause pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints almost anywhere in the body, including the neck, back, shoulders, and hips. Pain may be either a general soreness or a gnawing ache, and stiffness is often worst in the morning. Pain is commonly accompanied by a feeling of abnormal tiredness. For reducing pain and tenderness associated with fibromyalgia, a supplement called malic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid typically found in fruit, taken along with magnesium hydroxide and chlorella has shown to be beneficial. Studies have used 800-1200 mg per day of malic acid along with 200-300 mg of magnesium hydroxide twice daily to decrease pain and tenderness in individuals with fibromyalgia. Chorella may also be taken at a dose of 10 grams along with 10mL of liquid if so required. Finally, improved sleep quality may also improve symptoms. Increase the chance of good night sleep by avoiding caffeine, late evening fluid intake, and exercise late in the day. Taking a sleep inducing herb such as valerian, may also be beneficial since valerian has been shown to improve the quality of sleep.





What are the benefits of Cayenne?
Cayenne or Capsicum as it is often called, originally came from French Guyana. It is also native to parts of Asia, Africa, South America and parts of the United States, south of Tennessee. Whether used as a cooking spice, or as a medicinal herb, it is the dried fruit which is used. Orally, cayenne is used to stimulate digestion, as an antiflatulent, to improve peripheral circulation, for reducing blood clotting tendencies, and preventing arteriosclerosis and heart disease. Cayenne aids in digestion by increasing the flow of saliva and stomach secretions. Cayenne works to prevent heart disease by helping increase the circulation of blood and decreasing cholesterol levels. In sensitive people, cayenne may cause gastrointestinal irritation along with sweating and flushing of the head and neck. Taking cayenne with food may help to prevent these uncomfortable side effect. The active ingredient in cayenne fruit is capsaicin. Most people take approximately 500mg of cayenne powder per day.





Is there anything I can take to lessen the pain associated with carpal tunnels?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disorder characterized by a specific pattern of numbness, tingling, pain or weakness caused by nerve compression in the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome affects women more often than men, perhaps because women normally have smaller carpal tunnels. It is thought that repetitive and strenuous work with the hands is linked to this condition. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include burning, tingling or numbness of the fingers, difficulty gripping objects, and problems making a fist. These symptoms may be occastional or constant and usually occur at night in one or both hands. Vitamin B 6 (pyridoxine) deficiency is common in people with carpal tunnel syndrome. Several clinical studies have shown that when people who are low in vitamin B 6 begin to take a vitamin B 6 supplement, there is a significant relief in the symptoms associated with carpal tunnels. The recommended dose is between 50-100 mg per day which can be taken with or without food.





I have been taking 1200mg of lecithin daily for several years. Is this amount harmful?
Lecithin is a phospholipid composed of phosphatides consisting of phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylinositol, and varying amounts of other substances such as fatty acids and carbohydrates. Food sources of lecithin include eggs, liver, nuts, whole wheat, soybeans, and corn. Lecithin is thought to be beneficial since it may help break up cholesterol therefore allowing it to pass through the arteries. By breaking up cholesterol, lecithin may be playing a role in the prevention of atherosclerosis. The typical daily dose for lecithin is 1200 to 2400mg per day. There does not seem to be any concern about taking this dose long term.





Is there any risk with taking feverfew long term?
Feverfew is an herbal product that has been shown to help prevent migraine headaches and decrease the frequency of migraines. Migraine headaches that do occur tend to be less severe and have fewer symptoms of pain, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise. Feverfew has been used safely in studies that lasted up to 4 months. Although no significant adverse effects have been reported with long-term use, there is insufficient information currently available to endorse the use of feverfew over an extended period of time.





How can you prevent acid reflux?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a disorder which results when the stomach's juices flow backwards into the esophagus. These juices cause the lining of the esophagus to become irritated causing various symptoms including heartburn. There are many lifestyle changes that can help prevent acid reflux. Avoiding foods such as coffee, chocolate, citrus, fatty and spicy foods, and eating smaller meals are a few suggestions that may help prevent acid reflux.





What is Yucca?
Yucca is an herb which has been used to treat arthritis, stomach disorders and even diabetes. Yucca's beneficial effects are believed to be due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Preliminary research also suggests that yucca may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and the incidence of migraine headaches.






I find that my skin is cracking at the sides of my mouth. Is there anything that can help?
Using topical remedies such as vitamin E or aloe vera may help with the treatment of skin irritations due to their innate healing properties. Supplementing the diet with a high potency B-Complex, which includes the vitamin riboflavin (B-2), may also be helpful since a common symptom of riboflavin deficiency is cracking at the corners of the mouth.





What can help with restless leg syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a movement that leads to uncomfortable sensations in the legs. Although at this point in time the cause is unknown, there may be nutrients that can help with this condition. Studies suggest that iron and folic acid deficiency may play a role in RLS. Supplementation along with the absence of caffeine, alcohol, and smoking may help relieve leg discomfort.





Are there any side effects from taking vitamin E?
Vitamin E has been shown to be very well tolerated for the majority of the population. Rarely vitamin E can cause nausea, intestinal dysfunction or fatigue in sensitive individuals.





Can niacin lower cholesterol?
Studies have found that niacin (but not niacinamide) can reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and at the same time increase HDL (good cholesterol) levels. Many people will experience the niacin flush causing redness to the upper body. This flushing sensation is harmless and should minimize after a few weeks.





Is there anything that can lower homocysteine?
Homocysteine is an amino acid that is formed from the breakdown of protein in the body. It is not found in foods but is a by-product of the breakdown of methionine (an amino acid) to other amino acids. It is well known that with sufficient amounts of nutrients, homocysteine is recycled back to methionine or converted to yet another amino acid required by the body. If homocysteine builds up in the body, it causes damage to the blood vessels. Numerous human clinical studies have been performed on individuals with this condition to determine if supplementation of specific nutrients would decrease serum homocysteine levels. These results indicate that supplementation of folic acid (also known as folate), vitamin B12 (also known as cyanocobalamine) and B6 (also known as pyridoxine) can significantly reduce homocysteine levels and the risk of heart disease and stroke.





Is there anything I can take for acne?
Nutritional supplements that may be helpful include zinc and vitamin A. Both zinc and vitamin A have been shown to reduce the severity of acne. Tea tree oil may also be helpful due to its antibacterial properties.





I'm thinking about having a baby. Other than the Prenatal Supplement, should I consider taking anything else?
The fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) plays a key role in the structural development of the brain. Animal studies have found that those animals who were deficient in the omega 3 fatty acids (such as DHA) developed learning and vision disturbances. This did not occur when the fatty acids were adequately supplied. Due to these types of findings I suggest expecting moms to increase their fish consumption during pregnancy or take a fish oil supplement. This will help ensure that baby gets the fatty acids that are essential for proper development of the brain.





Is there anything that can help with insomnia?
Valerian is a herb that has sedative properties and has been used for centuries for helping with insomnia. Valerian has been shown not only to induce sleep but also to enhance the quality of sleep without the morning "hangover" which is a common side effect of prescription sedatives.





What can help with rosacea?
Rosacea is said to be an inflammatory form of acne. A topical preparation of vitamin A (prescription potency) has been shown to improve rosacea-induced inflammation. Due to its antibacterial properties, applying tea tree oil topically may also help with this condition.





How much iron should I take to treat anemia?
For the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in adults, it is recommended to take 50-100 mg of elemental iron three times daily. For best absorption, take on an empty stomach with a glass of juice.





Can I take too much calcium?
The saying "too much of a good thing" is true in this situation. Yes, you can take too much calcium. The maximum daily intake of calcium (set by the Canadian government) is 1500mg. It has been found that taking an amount exceeding 2400mg of calcium per day can cause renal impairment.





I am allergic to ragweed. Can I still take Echinacea?
Echinacea can cause an allergic reaction in individuals sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed as well as daisies, marigolds, and many other herbs.





The doctor says I have elevated blood sugar. Are there any supplements that can help?
Researchers believe that chromium can increase insulin receptor sensitivity hence enhance the uptake of glucose into the cells to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Another product is alpha lipoic acid which has been shown to reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes as well as improve blood sugar metabolism.





Can a vegetarian get enough protein from a multivitamin?
Multivitamins usually do not contain protein. If by chance you have come across one, more than likely you will not be getting an adequate amount. You may want to consider adding protein powder to you nutritional regimen.





What are the benefits of taking spirulina?
Spirulina is a natural food supplement. Some people like taking food supplements since they feel that they are getting the most natural source possible. Spirulina is a source of dietary protein and iron containing 50% and 29% respectively. Although spirulina has been used for other reasons, we need to have a better understanding of it effectiveness.





What can I take to treat constipation?
Constipation is the result of food not moving quickly enough through the gastrointestinal tract. Adding soluble fiber (found in vegetables and whole grains) to the diet along with adequate water, can help elevated constipation. It is important to drink at least 8 cups of water a day to help prevent constipation.





Can I take more than one supplement at a time?
It is very common to take more than one supplement at a time. The question is which ones? This question is not a simple one since each combination must be treated separately. In general, vitamins and minerals may be taken together but adding herbals must be done with caution since they can interact with medications.





Is there anything I can take to treat anemia?
Anemia is when a person has a low red blood cell count and low hemoglobin in those cells. Since these red blood cells are essential for oxygenating the body, anemia can cause symptoms such as fatigue and poor concentration. Iron deficiency is rarely caused by a low-iron diet alone but is often part of the problem. Including "heme"iron (found in poultry, fish, and other meats) will help to ensure an adequate supply of iron. Taking vitamin A along with an iron supplement has been shown to be more beneficial than taking iron alone. I suggest taking your iron supplement with fruit juice since vitamin C increases the absorption of iron.





What can be taken to help prevent the onset of macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in elderly Americans. The disease affects the macula which is responsible for seeing sharp details. To avoid the onset it has been suggested to protect the eyes from sunlight since sunlight triggers oxidative damage to the eye. Lutein is an antioxidant which is naturally occurring in spinach, kale, and collard greens. Lutein in the amount of 6mg per day can decrease the risk of macular degeneration by up to 57%.





What can help prevent gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis which is typically found in the joints (the joint in the big toe is the most commonly affected joint). Uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints and cause sudden pain and inflammation. The most effective way to control gout is through dietary changes. Avoiding foods high in purines such as protein rich foods can help control gout. Also, avoiding refined sugars can help since these sugars can increase uric acid levels. Interestingly enough, adding cherries to your daily diet may be beneficial since there seems to be an unknown active ingredient in cherries that may prevent attacks of gout. Supplements that have been shown to reduce uric acid levels include folic acid (up to 80mg) and vitamin C (4-8g).




What is MSM?
MSM stands for methylsulfonylmethane and is an excellent source of sulfur. Sulfur is essential for promoting good bone health including improved joint mobility and a decrease in the loss of cartilage. MSM also helps to keep your lungs healthy and regulate the immune function. MSM is found in most natural, unprocessed foods. However, once this food is exposed to any degree of processing, the level of bioavailable MSM drastically decreases. With this understanding and the fact that most people consume processed foods varying in amount of processing (pasteurization of milk and cooking and/or drying of grains, and vegetables), it is possible that many individuals may be deficient is this important compound.



Can children take herbs?
Each herb must be looked at separately. In general, I would not advise herbs for children since herbs are typically used for assisting in the treatment of an ailment. Unless you have consulted with your doctor or health care practitioner, I would not advise given “herbals” to children.





Is there anything I can take to prevent cataracts?
During one study, researchers examined the eye records of more than 3,000 residents from the town of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin and found that people taking multivitamins or other supplements containing Vitamins C and E for more than 10 years had a 60% reduction in risk of cataracts. Cataracts are an age-related condition that clouds the lens of the eyes and impairs vision. Researchers believe that antioxidants help combat oxidative stress and may help slow the development of cataracts. This research study confirms previous work suggesting that people who use vitamin supplements have a lower risk of cataracts.





How does the herb Echinacea work?
Echinacea has been shown to stimulate the immune system so that the body can fight infection. Colds and flu can be shortened in length and symptoms may not be as severe when Echinacea is taken at the onset of an illness.





Can garlic and vitamin C help prevent colds and flu?
While there is no cure for colds, there are some supplements that may be helpful in enhancing the immune system and therefore preventing illness. There is a growing body of evidence that garlic significantly enhances the immune system. Studies using garlic demonstrated positive effects on phagocytosis (a process where cells attack foreign bacteria and dispose of it ultimately decreasing the probability of infection). In addition to this enhancement, garlic may decrease the risk of infection since it possesses antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic properties. Vitamin C is an important nutrient involved in immune responses because it enhances white blood cell function and activity, as well as other immune system functions. This vitamin is therefore helpful in the treatment of asthma, as well as other allergies, the common cold, and infections.





Is there anything that can help prevent the onset of cold sores?
Once a person has been in contact with the herpes virus, the virus lies dormant in nerve roots close to the area that was originally infected. The recurrence of the virus can be stimulated by many triggers including fever, stress, and exposure to the sun. It has been shown that the herpes virus responsible for cold sore outbreaks have a high requirement for the amino acid called arginine. Since foods such as nuts and chocolate are high in arginine, it would be advisable to eliminate these foods from your diet. On the other hand, the amino acid lysine has been shown to prevent the virus from reproducing hence decreasing the risk of reinfection. Unfortunately, you cannot purchase lysine in Canada so you must rely on getting it from foods. Chicken, roasted soybeans and fish such as salmon and halibut are all good sources of lysine. A 100g serving of any of these foods provide approximately 2 g of lysine (1-3 g have been used successfully in clinical trials). Studies have looked at vitamin C and flavonoids (both bilberry or grapeseed are excellent sources) and found that individuals taking 200mg of vitamin C and 200mg of flavonoids 3-5 times per day had a reduction in duration of symptoms by 57%. Garlic may also be helpful in the prevention of a cold sore outbreaks due to its anti-viral properties.





Are there any particular supplements that would be beneficial for people over 50 years of age?
A personalized nutritional program can only be determined once a person is assessed. But in general, we know that individuals over the age of 50 have higher requirements of certain nutrients. For example, as we age we are not able to absorb vitamin B 12 as well. For this reason, it is a good idea to supplement to prevent a deficiency. Another nutrient that might be required is a Calcium and vitamin D supplement. Many seniors tend to drink less milk and may have less exposure to sunlight (required for the production of vitamin D internally) when compared to younger people. I would suggest taking a calcium supplement derived from calcium citrate since this form has a better absorption rate and is nonconstipating. Keep in mind that even though the thirst sensation decreases with age, it is important to drink 8 cups of water daily to prevent dehydration and constipation. There may be other nutrients required but again this will depend on the individuals specific needs.





What is Evening Primrose Oil?
Evening Primrose oil (EPO) is the oil that comes from the seed of the evening primrose plant. This oil is an excellent source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA has been shown to indirectly prevent inflammation (therefore beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis) and act as a blood thinner. In preliminary research GLA was found to have anticancer activity and to lower cholesterol levels. It has also been shown to be effective in treating PMS (especially breast pain) and eczema.





I've heard a lot about Flax. Can you tell me why people use it?
Flax is a seed that is high is an essential fatty acid call alpha-linolenic acid (LNA). Studies confirm that LNA if taken long term, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). One study in particular found that a 1% increase in dietary LNA reduced the risk of CHD by 50%. Studies have also shown that increasing daily consumption of LNA reduces levels of fatty acids responsible for the inflammation response. Animal studies found that dietary flax seed and flax oil had favorable affects on blood pressure and plasma lipids.

This fatty acid is also useful for the treatment of fatigue, obesity, dry skin and other skin problems, impaired immune function, high triglycerides, and PMS.

Flaxseeds and meal have the added benefit of containing lignans, which have been found to have anticancer potential. Lignans are known as phytoestrogens and therefore can also be helpful during menopause. As well, studies have found that flaxseed can increase the amount of bowel movements by 30% and therefore is helpful for people suffering from constipation. If taking flax oil, it is recommended to take 1 teaspoon to 3 tablespoons per day to prevent disease. It taking flax oil to treat an existing disorder, the intake range is 1-5 tablespoons daily.

The recommended intake of flaxseed or meal is 3.5 tbsp. or 50g. However, it is suggested to start with one teaspoon and slowly increase your daily intake.





Should I be concerned about lead content in calcium products?
Many consumers are concerned with calcium products derived from oyster shell or dolomite due to their potentially high lead content. It is important to contact the manufacturer to ask if they do the appropirate heavy metal testing. Many reputable manufactures have product specification that indicate that no calcium products can have over 10 PPM (part per million) of lead, which works out to be 0.005mg per 500mg. 10 PPM is the maximum but results can be below 1 PPM of lead and in this case would be almost undetectable. If you are able to confirm that the appropriate testing is done, then I would recommend these sources since they contain a high percentage of elemental calcium. Taking 2 tablets could provide 100% of the recommended daily intake of Calcium.





When I take a multivitamin, I find that my urine turns a brighter yellow. Is this normal?
Yes, it is normal and actually is a very common outcome of taking a multivitamin. This change in urine color is mainly due to the occurrence of a specific B vitamin called riboflavin also known as vitamin B2. This change in urine color is to be expected with the intake of vitamin B2 and is no cause for alarm.





I think that my spouse may be at risk for heart disease. Can vitamins help?
There are various supplements that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, but a person's individual risk factors should also be considered before choosing a supplement. For example, if the individual has been diagnosed with high cholesterol, garlic may be a good choice. Studies have shown that garlic may decrease total cholesterol, increase "good" (HDL) cholesterol and decrease "bad" (LDL) cholesterol.





Are vitamin supplements necessary if I eat a well-balanced diet?
A well balanced diet eaten every single day may provide a person with enough nutrients to prevent against diseases linked to nutrient deficiencies such as scurvy, which results from a low vitamin C intake. However, the number of people suffering from these types of diseases in today's society is extremely low. Canadians are at far greater risk of developing conditions such as heart disease. Increasing one's intake of certain nutrients-beyond the level in the average well balanced diet-may help to prevent such serious conditions.






At what age should children begin taking vitamins?
If an infant is being breast-fed, most pediatricians will suggest a vitamin D (or a combination that contains vitamin D and other vitamins) supplement immediately. Many parents continue with liquid supplements until the child can chew (usually around the age of 2). At this point, they can begin taking a multivitamin.






Are vitamins safe for everyone?
Your body requires vitamins daily. Without them you would not survive. The question may be the amount that should be taken every day. In general, it is advised that most people start with a multivitamin and mineral supplement. This amount of additional nutrients will merely "top up" your nutrient levels to compensate for what you may not be getting from your diet. It is suggested to build on to your nutritional regimen if you are at risk for particular conditions or have existing conditions.






Will zinc supplements ward off colds?
Zinc in the form of zinc gluconate has indeed been investigated for its treatment against the common cold. Zinc has also been shown to improve the activity of the immune system. It's been found that people who do not consume adequate amounts of zinc show signs of immune system impairment when compared to people with adequate intakes. An optimal amount of zinc enhances a sluggish immune system and may protect against colds and infections. A daily dose of 50 mg is the most commonly used dose.






Vitamin E is often claimed to be a "super drug." Is there any validity to the claim?
Scientists believe that the many benefits of vitamin E are due to its antioxidant activity and vitamin E's ability to decrease the viscosity (thickening) of blood. It is thought that vitamin E is possibly effective in slowing the decline associated with Alzheimer's disease. It has also been shown to slow down the hardening of arteries and reduce the risk of heart disease. The typical daily dose is 400 IU but this can be increased or decreased depending on whether or not other risk factors are present and on the age of the individual.






Will ginkgo biloba help improve my short-term memory?
Numerous studies have been done using ginkgo biloba to improve short term memory, stabilize or improve cognitive function in Alzheimer's disease, and treat dizziness. Ginkgo affects brain function by stimulating nerve cells and protecting nerve cells from being damaged. In addition, ginkgo leaf extract has been found to increase blood flow in the brain while at the same time decreasing the viscosity (thickness) of the blood. Like most supplements, ginkgo biloba will provide the best results if taken at the very first sign of a health concern.






How effective are multivitamins?
Multivitamins typically contain the vitamins and minerals required by the body to function on a daily basis. A multivitamin is a good starting point for individuals who want to address nutrition and disease prevention through supplementation. To get the most of your multivitamin, it is suggested to take the supplement with either your morning or midday meal. Avoid taking it on an empty stomach since the B vitamins may cause stomach upset.





Do I need to consult a physician before starting a vitamin program?
Absolutely. This becomes even more important for those taking any type of prescription the medication since there may be drug interactions between the supplement and medication. Even if you are not taking medication, it is advisable to inform a physician prior to use to ensure there is no underlying condition that needs conventional treatment. Also, once you begin your nutritional regimen, it is advisable to be monitored by a physician.





My arthritis seems to be worsening. A neighbour told me yucca might help. Is this true?
Yucca has been shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory properties. This means that yucca can help prevent the inflammation of joints which can be quite painful and immobilizing. Yucca has also been shown to lower blood pressure and correct abnormal cholesterol levels when combined with a proper diet and exercise.



 
homosexuality
10.25.05 (7:04 pm)   [edit]




What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?


We realize that with the growing popularity and glamorization of homosexuality, that this subject can be a very difficult one to address. Furthermore, as hate crimes specifically committed against homosexuals occur, many feel that this issue shouldn't be addressed at all for fear of only adding to the hostile environment that many homosexuals face. Despite the cultural climate in which we live, this issue must be addressed according to the Word of God. God's laws are always for our good, although man may see them as restricting. In the end, only obedience to the Word of God can bring true freedom. We address this issue out of God's love for the homosexual to bless and help him.


Much of our society has embraced many perverted sexual practices that are considered in the Bible as abominations to God. Homosexuality is among the list of deviate or abnormal sexual practices however, there are many other practices that can be included as well. Pornography, pedophilia, prostitution, bestiality, oral sex, phone sex and computer virtual reality sex, just to name a few of them.


1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV): "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters, nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."


Although the Bible doesn't detail each and every one of these sinful acts, it does clearly speak out about many of them. Any deviation from God's original plan for sex between a married man and woman is still a sin in God's eyes. The main reason we call these things perverted is because they are unnatural and scripture clearly tells us those who do such things are committing abominations. Leviticus 18:22 (KJV): "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind it is abomination."


Homosexuality is also referred to as the sin of sodomy. This reference comes from an account in the Bible of two exceedingly wicked cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, which the Lord destroyed. Sodom was known for its rampant homosexuality and unrestrained sexual lust, as well as other sins such as arrogance, haughtiness, and disregard for the poor. When the Lord sent angels to warn Lot who lived in the city that it was about to be destroyed, the men of the city actually wanted to rape the angels! Genesis 13:13: "But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly."


In the Old Testament the penalty for this sin was severe. Leviticus 20:13: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." Today the penalty of death comes in the form of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. It also brings death to  the soul and spirit of man because the life of God is pushed out by indulging in something that is an abomination to God.  God wants to deliver all who are trapped in this unholy practice and He will if anyone calls out to Him with a sincere heart.


Romans 1:24-32:


24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


These scriptures clearly state that these vile affections of men lusting for other men (gay men) or women lusting for other women (lesbians) are not the natural affections God created men and women to have for one another. Let me say here that God loves all homosexuals! However, He hates the deeds of homosexuality because they are sinful. God did not create any human being as a homosexual. They are not born that way, just as murderers are not born that way. However, these spirits can be transmitted to children, especially if someone who had this demonic spirit seduced or raped a child--or even if they were close to gay people. These demons can also be imparted to others through unholy sexual acts.


People become homosexuals because they yield to abnormal acts or lust. It is through some source that they have received a demonic spirit that drives them to their lust. Viewing evil videos or pornographic books is a way of opening the door for Satan to give one an evil, perverse spirit. Though people are not born as homosexuals, the Bible does say all human beings are born with a sin nature. If we yield to the evils of our flesh it will lead to our destruction not only in this life, but in the life to come. However, through faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross we can break the hold that sin has upon us. We do not have to yield to the old fleshy nature but we can now overcome evil temptations and live our lives controlled by the Holy Spirit.


Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.


Sex is God's idea and its purpose is not only for procreation, but also for recreation and the development of a deep relationship between man and woman. Nothing is wrong or dirty about sex when it is engaged in the bonds of marriage as the Lord commanded in the Bible. However, when perversions are committed inside the marriage relationship, this can be sinful also. God made man and woman and brought them together "face to face." Oral sex is of homosexual origin that replaces the normal "face to face" relationship God intended in a marriage. The Bible describes the sex act in Song of Solomon Chapter 4. In this chapter it speaks of this "face to face" relationship by describing looking into his lover's eyes and kissing his lover's lips and fondling his lover's breasts. Oral sex is not normal or natural as it is an unclean act.


No one has to live in bondage with an abnormal life of homosexuality nor any other abnormal behavior. No one has to be controlled by pornography. No one has to have evil thoughts plague their minds. There is a way out through what Jesus has done for us. He loves sinners and wants to free us from any evil practices. He will empower those who cry out for deliverance to get free and stay free. Here are the steps you must take to get free:



(1.) Make a total commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Be willing to turn your life completely over to the will of God and yield to His plan for your life. This means you must be willing to do anything, go anywhere and give up any thing as He leads. Remember, God will never lead you to do anything that is not in agreement with the Bible. You can trust God. He created you and has a better plan for your life.


(2.) Your must pray and read your Bible daily. You must study and apply the Word of God to overcome Satan's attacks. The way that you resist the attacks of the devil is by quoting the Word of God to him. When the devil came to tempt Jesus, He simply quoted the Word to him. Good praise tapes will also be of a great help when you are tempted. Put one on and start singing along with it.


(3.) You must pray for and seek out a strong Bible believing group of Holy Spirit filled people. You will need their help and fellowship. As you humble yourself and seek help, the Lord will deliver you. Ask God to lead you to someone that can pray the prayer of deliverance for you, as you probably will need to be set free from a demon. You should also seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit as you will need His power to get free and to remain free.


(4.) You must cut off all sources and relationships that would lead you back into sin. The Bible tells us to flee fornication (sexual sins). You must get out of any corrupt entanglements, or areas that you know will be a temptation to you. If you have been hooked on internet pornography subscribe to an Internet Service Provider that will filter out the pornography for you. Destroy all evil books and videos.


(5.) Should you slip or fall back occasionally, repent and get right back up and go on with God. Do not allow the devil to condemn you once you have repented. Put your sin under the blood of Jesus. He will strengthen you and you will win this battle because of the Lord's promise to you. Remember, He loves you and is there to help you. Run to Him when you get in trouble, never run from Him. He will not ever give up on you! We too, will be standing with you for your total healing and deliverance. Philippians 1:6: "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."


(6.) You must forgive everyone that has ever hurt you. You can only do this through the power of God. You must by a simple act of your will voice the forgiveness and then the Lord will give you the feeling of forgiveness. This may be a while in coming but just keep forgiving when you think of any wrong that has been done to you. The Lord will give you His love for those people who have wronged you.


Prayer for Deliverance


Finally we want to pray for you right now if you need it:



Dear Heavenly Father,


We come to you in the mighty name of Jesus and we ask that you touch this one right now, first of all with your love and forgiveness. Lord, wash their sins away. Wash away all the uncleanness and guilt. Lord we ask you to free them right now from the powers of darkness.



Now, we speak to Satan and his demons and we command them to leave in the name of Jesus! Satan, this one is no longer under your power. The blood of Jesus has set them free! We resist you and you must flee! This one belongs to God and you have no more authority over them! Be gone!


Dear Lord, thank you that you have set this one free and we are believing that you will lead them to the right people that will help them to walk out this deliverance. We break every chain of iniquity over their life and cancel every evil word that has been spoken against them. We declare they will walk in your victory and that you will enable them to do it. Lord, fill them with your Holy Sprit and guide them in the ways of God! We speak blessing and success to them. Most of all, we pray that they will feel your love for them right now. We ask this all in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.


If you need further help, email us or you can get help from the ministries listed below: (Please go to these links so you do not have to struggle with this issue alone.)


Exodus International:   http://www.exodus-international.org/ 
This is an international organization with ministries around the world to help the homosexual.


Desert Streams:  http://www.desertstream.org
This is a California-based Christian organization which offers programs for people seeking sexual and relational wholeness and healing.


Pure Life Ministries: http://www.purelifeministries.org
They are out of Kentucky. They have a great workbook on repentance that may be able to help you.
They can be reached at:
Pure Life Ministries
P.O. Box 410
Dry Ridge, KY 41035

(800) 635-1866
(To Request Information and Applications)
(859) 824-4444 (Office)
E-Mail: info@purelifeministries.org


Love Lines: http://www.lovelines.org Help for getting free of sexual addictions.


An Affair of the Mind by Laurie Hall







If you are struggling with this problem we have an excellent book in our On-line Chapel Bookstore that could be of help to you. Published by Focus On The Family and written from the first-hand perspective of a wife whose husband was addicted to pornography for over 20 years, this powerful book delves deep into many facets of sexual addiction. The principles in this book, if applied, can save any marriage and restore even those who are most bound to sexual addiction. The author shares candidly of her struggles as she sought the Lord for the salvation of her marriage and restoration of her husband. The things she learned from the Holy Spirit along the way will minister to every person who reads the book. It will help both husbands and wives.

Click here for a full description of the book and how to order.


 
God Loves You!!
10.23.05 (8:00 pm)   [edit]

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What does the Bible say about Abortion?


Of all the issues in our culture today, surely abortion is one of the most volatile. Perhaps no other issue has raised so much debate and anguish, plus time and monies spent by various interested parties to educate to public to their views on it. In the midst of such a controversial issue, many simply throw up their hands and vow to stay out of it altogether. In the name of freedom and under the guise of "it isn't my business" many choose to look the other way from this troubling issue, leaving the decision in the hand of lawmakers, doctors, and pregnant woman. Although there are many different issues concerning abortion, the following is designed to focus on what the Bible says about abortion, and the consequences thereof.


Does God care?


What does God say about abortion? Do the millions of abortions that have taken place in this land bother Him? Is a fetus a "real person" in the eyes of God? If so, where does that leave us? If an unborn life is truly just a mere mass of fetal tissue to God, we should want to know. If He considers the life of the woman more important than her unborn child, we should want to know. And if He does consider that unborn life a "real person", and just as important as the life of the mother that bears it, we most certainly should want to know. After all, we are all accountable to God not only for our individual lives, but also as a generation and a nation.


Thou Shalt Not Kill


Throughout the Bible God has plenty to say about the taking of an innocent life. Most people in our nation, though they may not be familiar with all of the Ten Commandments, know that "Thou Shalt Not Kill" is listed there somewhere. The word "kill" in this instance, specifically refers to "murder"--a premeditated and deliberate act of taking someone's life. It is different than other forms of taking a life, which could be accidental, or in self-defense. God has different laws regarding different sorts of death. But He continually opposes and speaks against murder, especially murder of the innocent.


Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land and atonement cannot be made for the land on which the blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it. Do not defile the land where you live. Numbers 35:33-34


God's judgement against the killing of an innocent life grows out of His love for humankind. The crime of murder is not only an offense against the sanctity of life, it is a pollutant upon the very land we live. God wants to spare us of the variety of ways this pollution is manifested. When the land becomes defiled with sin, people cry out "where is God?" yet they refuse to take responsibility for breaking His laws which were only given to us for our protection and good. Each sin that we commit is not merely an isolated incident, but will set off a chain reaction of other sins if not dealt with. Since the legalization of abortion for instance, child abuse has increased over 1000%. This is the exact opposite of what those who legalized abortion thought it would do since it was assumed that only children who were initially unwanted were abused.


In Psalm 106 God speaks specifically against killing innocent children and babies. He says of His people: They mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshipped their idols which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughter to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan and the land was desecrated by their blood.


Today we may scoff, or wonder in disbelief how anyone, especially someone who claimed to follow God, could sacrifice their child to an idol or a demon. Yet, an idol is anything that we worship before God. Today, children are sacrificed to the idols of selfishness, convenience, "freedom," and ambition--sacrificed to the very demonic powers that are behind such idols. Times really haven't changed that much. Human nature hasn't changed, nor has Satan's schemes against that which God considered so precious that He died to redeem it--human life.


When does life begin?


One may argue here that they agree that it is wrong to murder, but they still don't see how a fetus necessarily qualifies as a human being. Perhaps God doesn't feel the same way about a very young fetus, as He does an older fetus, a newborn, or a 50-year-old. It may be a different issue altogether with Him. Does the Bible say anything specifically about unborn children?


In Exodus 21:22 God gives a specific law regarding social order for the Israelites. He stated that if two men were fighting and hit a pregnant woman, thus causing her to give birth prematurely, they must be fined according to any damage done to the baby. The fine must be paid in relation to the amount of damage inflicted upon the child. If God would make a law specifically referring to the rights of the unborn, then surely the unborn must mean something to Him!


It has been stated If the womb had windows, there would be no abortion. As humans, we are not omnipresent and cannot know the full scope of what each human life is worth. We cannot dwell in the womb with a fetus, nor can we see it as it matures. But God can.


A Scientific View


Just 18 days after conception, the baby's heart begins to beat. At six weeks, brain waves can be measured. At eight weeks the vital organs are functioning and fingerprints have formed. At nine weeks, the unborn baby is able to feel pain. Over 700,000 abortions each year are performed after this point in the pregnancy. By the beginning of the second month, the unborn child, small as it is, has begun to look distinctly human, though the mother may not even be aware that she is pregnant! By the time the baby is eleven weeks old, he or she breaths (fluid), swallows, digests, sleeps, dreams, wakes, tastes, hears, and feels pain. Babies born prematurely can survive outside the womb as young as 20-25 weeks old. Yet, all that is necessary to make the baby a grown human being is already there from the moment of conception. All it needs is time to mature.


Former Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop stated "We now know when life begins because the test-tube baby proves that life begins with conception. What do you have in the dish? An egg and a sperm. What do you add to it to get a baby? Nothing." Though it is wee, it is still a real person, just as a crumb of bread is still real bread. No one who has been given the gift of life should dare despise the day of small beginnings. Have we forgotten so quickly that we were once as small?


"In the tiny, almost invisible thirty two cell blastocyst--in that one gram or so of tissue--there is a physical potential and moral destiny unparalleled in our universe. Next to it, a gram of plutonium is a triviality: plutonium cannot compose a symphony, cannot cure cancer, cannot plan our course to the stars". -Bernard Nathanson, M.D. and former abortionist-


A Spiritual View


God said to the prophet Jeremiah, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 God knew this man before he was born. As he was forming in his mother's womb God gave him his personality, talents, and temperament. If his mother had gotten an abortion, the "fetal tissue" she aborted would have been a real person named Jeremiah; a mighty prophet of God and the gift of God's voice to the nations, though she would never have known.


The Lord hath called me from the womb: from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. Isaiah 49:1 KJV


Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us within our mothers? Job 31:15


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13-14


The above verses are only a sampling of the many Biblical references we find to life inside the mother's womb. From them, it is clear that life begins when God creates it, not at some later point in time when it has grown to look like a newborn. God does not judge things according to their stage of development the way humans tend to. According to the above passages, even the tiniest embryo is the subject of His love and care. God sees each of our lives in the realm of our total existence, whether we are yet unborn, a young woman in the prime of her life, or an old man on his deathbed. He is patient with all of us, longing to bring each one of us into His maturity.


Do we look like God?


To wantonly destroy innocent human life is a crime against God, and a rejection of the truth that we were made in His image. Everything in the universe belongs to Him anyway. The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world and ALL who live in it. Psalm 24:1 Our own lives are a precious gift given to us, but ultimately we belong to God! We are His possessions; we have merely been granted stewardship over our lives, talents, money, time, the earth we live on and the things we "own." Though children pass through us they are not ours, anymore that we are property of our parents. Each of us has been given the gift of life and freedom, for which we are responsible and accountable to God. None of us has the right to deny that same gift to an unborn person. It is an honor to carry that powerful force of another life within our very bodies-- a life made in the very image of God! (Genesis 5:1-2)


God is no respecter of persons. If He knew Jeremiah in the womb, He knew you too. Do you believe that God lovingly fashioned you and loves you dearly? Do you believe that He has had a plan for your life from the beginning of time? A plan that none other can fulfill in quite the same way you can? That you came to this earth "trailing clouds of glory?" Or do you believe in your heart that you were a mere "accident" and that God has no personal concern for you or your life? Is it easier to believe that you are just a highly evolved animal? An animal (especially an undeveloped one) may certainly be easier to dispose of. It seems somehow even "natural," as the laws of nature lend themselves to the survival of the strong and the equipped. Yet it seems doubtful that even an animal would come up with a way to deliberately kill it's unborn offspring.


Even the jackals offer their breasts to nurse their young, but my people have become heartless like ostriches in the desert. Lamentations 4:3


Oh, let us turn from our heartlessness and defend the sanctity of human life! Out of respect for God, let us offer mercy and compassion to every life around us, born or unborn. Let us be givers of life instead of takers of life.


Am I my brother's keeper?


Every 20 seconds another baby is aborted in this country, yet very few seem to notice. Statistically, one out of every three of us will die by abortion, and we will never know what we lost in those lives. Our country goes along its way leaving lawmakers in distant buildings to decide how the carnage should continue. We've bought into the lie that those we dispose of are not real people. It is the same old lie that was used to keep slavery legal, and to exterminate masses of peoples in holocausts all over the world. We should be able to see through it by now, but as usual, most of us let circumstances and the current cultural climate dictate to us what is acceptable or not. Yet God tells us to: Rescue those being led away to death, hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say "But we knew nothing of this," does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done? Proverbs 24:11


In our society today we face a myriad of social problems as a result of our hypocrisy. Most of us have had to become somewhat doubleminded just to keep a vestige of sanity. We put warnings on cigarettes and alcohol, that their consumption is dangerous to an unborn child. Yet we deem it perfectly legal, even "responsible" for a mother to have a doctor poison that same child inside her, or rip it to shreds with a surgical instrument. We might charge a man who kills a pregnant woman with a double homicide, yet what if that woman was on her way to the abortion clinic to dispose of her baby anyway? Do we then charge him with a single homicide? Why do 21 states have legislation to delay a death sentence imposed against a pregnant woman who is guilty of a crime, until after she delivers her baby? If we really believed what we said about the unborn child being a mere blob of tissue, it would seem that no one would mind if that baby died along with the mother in the electric chair.


We wonder how respectable college kids can throw their newborn baby into a dumpster, yet what are we supposed to think? We're the ones who told them that it is irresponsible to raise a child at their young age and that an "unwanted child" (which is a fallacy) is better off dead. They are not to blame as much as the media, the lawmakers, the abortion counselors, the doctors, and the voters. When a woman can have an abortion on a nine month old unborn child, and yet a week later be tried for murder if she disposed of the child outside the womb (which at that point, would seem to be a much easier and practical way to dispose of the baby) what are the young people of this nation supposed to think? Do we really have to wonder at the lack of respect for human life that we see around us?


Evil prevails when good men, in the name of freedom, do nothing. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. I Peter 2:16 Very few of us would argue that crack cocaine, or rape should be legal simply because people are going to do it anyway, yet that is the argument that is applied to abortion. As a nation, our morals and ethics vacillate between honor and convenience, integrity and greed. We are slouching towards everything we have stood against and hated from the foundation of this country, yet we pave the way with our apathy. This doublemindedness has become a cancer eating away at the very heart of our nation.


History will speak of our abortion as a mark of the absolute decadence of our era. There will come a time when we will look back on abortion with the same shame we do now towards our evil treatment of the American Indians, and the blight of slavery. We wonder why history continues to repeat itself. It is because evil starts in little ways--it starts as a seemingly innocent thought in the heart of man. Sin always seems practical, necessary, or even "cute" in it's initial stages. It is only in hindsight that we can see just how atrocious those massive exterminations were and how they went against the very core of what the United States was supposed to be. Yet, we have no right to condemn previous generations for the same deeds we commit today. Then, as now, the masses simply went along with whatever was the popular opinion. In regard to slavery, it was even argued that the government didn't have a right to tell people whether they could own slaves or not... That it was a personal choice to be made and that freedom of choice is what our country is all about. Only in that case they forgot the rights of one whole people group. Sound familiar?


Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?" The Lord said. "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground which opened it's mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand." Genesis 4:9-11


As a nation, we must repent for the heartlessness we have displayed to the most helpless members of our culture. Though God is merciful, He is also just. He cannot ignore the cries of the blood that have soaked our ground and stained our hands. We are bringing ourselves under a curse, but do not have the eyes to see it. We only see the fruit of that curse and we wonder what went wrong. Like Cain, our ears have become deafened to the cries of those we have murdered.


True Freedom


There are too many of us who prefer to let the media do our thinking for us. Should we disagree, many of us are too intimidated to ever speak out with conviction. As we let time go by, our godly convictions begin to slip away and we become numb. Eventually, we may even support that which we had earlier condemned. This is called the "searing of a conscience." It happened in Hitler's Germany and it is happening today. How can we bring a dead conscience back to life? How can we know the difference between right and wrong? As was just established, we cannot merely "listen to our heart" and follow what seems best at the time. Some of the most horrifying deeds in history have been done by those who were following whatever moral code was most convenient at the time. Freedom is not doing whatever suits our fancy at the moment. That will only bring slavery and sorrow to our souls. True freedom is having the power to know what is right and to choose accordingly. But how can we choose, if we do not know? How can we obtain true freedom?


You shall know the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall set you free. John 8:32


We must cleanse our minds by the washing with the water through the WORD. (Ephesians 5:26) God's WORD is the Bible--ancient, yet ageless and seething with life. It will literally clean our thinking and bring life to our sin-deadened minds so we can see what He sees and feel what He feels. It will reveal our very thoughts to ourselves.


For the WORD of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12


Respect for God, His creation, and His Holy WORD, is the only way we will ever find true freedom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7 Wisdom and compassion cannot be found outside of God for He is wisdom and He is love. Long before heaven and earth were made, and long after they disappear, His WORD will still remain. On the Day of Judgement abortion and every other atrocity we have tried to justify will be shown for the evil it is. We must seek God now, while we have the time to do it! Today is the day of salvation.


It is not too late to repent and turn our hearts back to the Lord. We can bring healing and life to this land that we love if we will humble ourselves before God's mighty right hand. If my people, who are called by my name, and humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14


God Loves You!


If you are planning an abortion, please reconsider. Though your situation may seem hopeless, God will work something beautiful in your life if you trust and obey Him. Choosing to "remove" your problem will only create new ones. Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? Micah 6:7 You will have to bear the guilt of your abortion or else harden your heart to not feel guilty. God loves both you and your child very much, and if you feel incapable of raising him or her, there are thousands of couples who have waited years for the chance to adopt a baby. Though it may be difficult to give it away, you will have given it the greatest gift of all--life. As Mother Theresa put it so simply "love means to be willing to give until it hurts." Give your child to a family that will truly love it. You can make the dreams of a childless couple come true... and you can bless the heart of God.


If you have already had an abortion, please do not feel that this was written only to bring you under guilt and condemnation. What is done is done and cannot be changed. God has your child in heaven with Him, and longs to forgive you if you ask Him to. Once God forgives a sin, He literally forgets it, and DOES NOT HOLD IT AGAINST YOU ANY LONGER! Please do not hold against yourself what God has forgotten. Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I, even I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:18, 25. Receive His love, for He loves you just as much as the child you lost. He already took your sin and bore it upon Himself so you would not have to bear the punishment, which would be eternal separation from Him. He knows the agony you've gone through better than any other, for He was there too, with you. Open your life to Him and let Him give you a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of the spirit of despair. He will make you into an oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display his splendor. Isaiah 61:3


In conclusion, the words of God ring out as clearly now as they did over 3,000 years ago:


This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. Deuteronomy 30:19-20


 


 



 
Footprints in the Son
10.18.05 (10:41 pm)   [edit]






small graphic - Victorian LadyTitle - Footprints in the Sand








 My site had displayed a rendition of the poem Footprints in the Sand, that was freely available from the net. It was bought to my attention that the version I was displaying had been modified and was not as it was originally written. I know this to be true because the son of the original author contacted me after viewing my site, thanking me for acknowledging Mary and advising me of the correct version. The rendition below is the original as written by Mary Stevenson. To clarify the authenticity of the poem please visit a site set up by Mary's son displaying the poem, a bio on Mary and Forensic information.
The Official Footprints in the Sand
 








 One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from anguish,
sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints,
so I said to the Lord,
“ You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied,
“ The years when you have seen only one set of footprints,
my child, is when I carried you.”

--Author Mary Stevenson--



 
The Prodigal Son
10.18.05 (10:31 pm)   [edit]
 






The Parable of the Prodigal Son


in Christianity and Buddhism



Most of you know the Parable of the Prodigal Son as it appears in Luke's gospel, but probably few are aware that it has a Buddhist parallel in one of the major writings of Mahayana Buddhism. Although both parables seem to convey a similar message regarding God's compassion for humans, a closer look will reveal fundamental differences in their teaching and consequently between Christianity and Buddhism. Let us quote both parables and then analyze them.

First, here is the text in the Gospel According to Luke:


There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, "Father, give me my share of the estate." So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, "How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men." So he got up and went to his father.
prodigal_son_MurilloBut while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son." But the father said to his servants, "Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." So they began to celebrate.
Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. "Your brother has come," he replied, "and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound." The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, "Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!" "My son," the father said, "you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." (Luke 15:11-32)





The Buddhist parable is longer:


A young man left his father and ran away. For long he dwelt in other countries, for ten, or twenty, or fifty years. The older he grew, the more needy he became. Wandering in all directions to seek clothing and food, he unexpectedly approached his native country. The father had searched for his son all those years in vain and meanwhile had settled in a certain city. His home became very rich; his goods and treasures were fabulous.
    At this time, the poor son, wandering through village after village and passing through countries and cities, at last reached the city where his father had settled. The father had always been thinking of his son, yet, although he had been parted from him over fifty years, he had never spoken of the matter to anyone. He only pondered over it within himself and cherished regret in his heart, saying, "Old and worn out I am. Although I own much wealth - gold, silver, and jewels, granaries and treasuries overflowing - I have no son. Some day my end will come and my wealth will be scattered and lost, for I have no heir. If I could only get back my son and commit my wealth to him, how contented and happy would I be, with no further anxiety!"
    Meanwhile the poor son, hired for wages here and there, unexpectedly arrived at his father's house. Standing by the gate, he saw from a distance his father seated on a lion-couch, his feet on a jeweled footstool, and with expensive strings of pearls adorning his body, revered and surrounded by priests, warriors, and citizens, attendants and young slaves waiting upon him right and left. The poor son, seeing his father having such great power, was seized with fear, regretting that he had come to this place. He reflected, "This must be a king, or someone of royal rank, it is impossible for me to be hired here. I had better go to some poor village in search of a job, where food and clothing are easier to get. If I stay here long, I may suffer oppression." Reflecting thus, he rushed away.
    Meanwhile the rich elder on his lion-seat had recognized his son at first glance, and with great joy in his heart reflected, "Now I have someone to whom I may pass on my wealth. I have always been thinking of my son, with no means of seeing him, but suddenly he himself has come and my longing is satisfied. Though worn with years, I yearn for him."
    Instantly he sent off his attendants to pursue the son quickly and fetch him back. Immediately the messengers hasten forth to seize him. The poor son, surprised and scared, loudly cried his complaint, "I have committed no offense against you, why should I be arrested?" The messengers all the more hastened to lay hold of him and brought him back. Following that, the poor son, thought that although he was innocent he would be imprisoned, and that now he would surely die. He became all the more terrified, fainted away and fell on the ground. The father, seeing this from a distance, sent word to the messengers, "I have no need for this man. Do not bring him by force. Sprinkle cold water on his face to restore him to consciousness and do not speak to him any further." Why? The father, knowing that his son's disposition was inferior, knowing that his own lordly position had caused distress to his son, yet convinced that he was his son, tactfully did not say to others, "This is my son."
    A messenger said to the son, "I set you free, go wherever you will." The poor son was delighted, thus obtaining the unexpected release. He arose from the ground and went to a poor village in search of food and clothing. Then the elder, desiring to attract his son, set up a device. Secretly he sent two men, sorrowful and poor in appearance, saying, "Go and visit that place and gently say to the poor man, 'There is a place for you to work here. We will hire you for scavenging, and we both also will work along with you.'" Then the two messengers went in search of the poor son and, having found him, presented him the above proposal. The poor son, having received his wages in advance, joined them in removing a refuse heap.
    His father, beholding the son, was struck with compassion for him. One day he saw at a distance, through the window, his son's figure, haggard and drawn, lean and sorrowful, filthy with dirt and dust. He took off his strings of jewels, his soft attire, and put on a coarse, torn and dirty garment, smeared his body with dust, took a basket in his right hand, and with an appearance fear-inspiring said to the laborers, "Get on with your work, don't be lazy." By such means he got near to his son, to whom he afterwards said, "Ay, my man, you stay and work here, do not leave again. I will increase your wages, give whatever you need, bowls, rice, wheat-flour, salt, vinegar, and so on. Have no hesitation; besides there is an old servant whom you can get if you need him. Be at ease in your mind; I am, as it were, your father; do not be worried again. Why? I am old and advanced in years, but you are young and vigorous; all the time you have been working, you have never been deceitful, lazy, angry or grumbling. I have never seen you, like the other laborers, with such vices as these. From this time forth you will be as my own begotten son."
    The elder gave him a new name and called him a son. But the poor son, although he rejoiced at this happening, still thought of himself as a humble hireling. For this reason, for twenty years he continued to be employed in scavenging. After this period, there grew mutual confidence between the father and the son. He went in and out and at his ease, though his abode was still in a small hut.
    Then the father became ill and, knowing that he would die soon, said to the poor son, "Now I possess an abundance of gold, silver, and precious things, and my granaries and treasuries are full to overflowing. I want you to understand in detail the quantities of these things, and the amounts that should be received and given. This is my wish, and you must agree to it. Why? Because now we are of the same mind. Be increasingly careful so that there be no waste." The poor son accepted his instruction and commands, and became acquainted with all the goods. However, he still had no idea of expecting to inherit anything, his abode was still the original place and he was still unable to abandon his sense of inferiority.
    After a short time had again passed, the father noticed that his son's ideas had gradually been enlarged, his aspirations developed, and that he despised his previous state of mind. Seeing that his own end was approaching, he commanded his son to come, and gathered all his relatives, the kings, priests, warriors, and citizens. When they were all assembled, he addressed them saying, "Now, gentlemen, this is my son, begotten by me. It is over fifty years since, from a certain city, he left me and ran away to endure loneliness and misery. His former name was so-and-so and my name was so-and-so. At that time in that city I sought him sorrowfully. Suddenly I met him in this place and regained him. This is really my son and I am really his father. Now all the wealth which I possess belongs entirely to my son, and all my previous disbursements and receipts are known by this son." When the poor son heard these words of his father, great was his joy at such unexpected news, and thus he thought, "Without any mind for, or effort on my part, these treasures now come to me."
    World-honored One! The very rich elder is the Tathagata, and we are all as the Buddha's sons. The Buddha has always declared that we are his sons. But because of the three sufferings, in the midst of births-and-deaths we have borne all kinds of torments, being deluded and ignorant and enjoying our attachment to things of no value. Today the World-honored One has caused us to ponder over and remove the dirt of all diverting discussions of inferior things. In these we have hitherto been diligent to make progress and have got, as it were, a day's pay for our effort to reach nirvana. Obtaining this, we greatly rejoiced and were contented, saying to ourselves, "For our diligence and progress in the Buddha-law what we have received is ample". The Buddha, knowing that our minds delighted in inferior things, by his tactfulness taught according to our capacity, but still we did not perceive that we are really Buddha's sons. Therefore we say that though we had no mind to hope or expect it, yet now the Great Treasure of the King of the Law has of itself come to us, and such things that Buddha-sons should obtain, we have all obtained. (Saddharmapundarika Sutra 4)
 





The parable in its context


In Luke, the parable reveals the nature of God in Christianity, His expectation that all sinners may return to a father-son relationship with Him. Jesus told this parable to a large public consisting of both "religious experts" of the day, the Pharisees, and the people most despised by them, the tax collectors, prostitutes and other outcasts (Luke 15,1-2). The Pharisees considered these "sinners" to be outside the acceptable boundary of God's kingdom and accused Jesus for enjoying their company. In contrast to their attitude, He told the previous two parables in the same chapter (The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin), in order to emphasize His initiative in seeking and saving such sinners. In response, they acknowledged their sinful life and came to Jesus for healing and forgiveness, while the Pharisees considered themselves good enough according to God's standards (see the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector - Luke 18:9-14). Thus the Parable of the Prodigal Son reveals both God's love for those who were ready to accept it (the prodigal son who returns to his father), and His rejection of the Pharisees' hypocrisy and self-centered righteousness (the older son in the parable). Although the contrast between the two sons is an important point in the parable, as the Buddhist parable speaks only of a prodigal son, the teaching about the older son in Luke will be ignored in this comparison. * The Buddhist parable is part of the famous Saddharmapundarika Sutra (also called the Lotus Sutra, composed at the end of the second century AD), which revealed the new teaching of Mahayana Buddhism regarding the bodhisattva beings. The discourse of the Buddha is said to have taken place in front of a very large public, consisting of arhats, nuns, bodhisattvas, gods and other beings. His teaching was addressed to those who have reached the arhat stage of becoming and are supposed to advance further by becoming a bodhisattva. As the son in the parable shouldn't be satisfied by his lower status, the Buddhist disciples should also aspire to a higher position, that of becoming a bodhisattva. It will eventually be attained step by step after a long instructing and testing process.
 
 

The characters


In the gospel the father represents God, the Ultimate Reality in Christianity, while the prodigal son is the one living in sin who finally repents and returns to a fellowship relation with God. In the Sutra the father is Buddha (or more specifically, the Buddha nature - Dharmakaya), while the son is the one struggling to become an enlightened bodhisattva being.
 
 

The son's departure and miserable condition


The prodigal son in Luke declares he has had enough of staying home in obedience to his father and wants to be on his own. Not only does he want to leave home, but he even dares to claim his inheritance, the fortune he is supposed to get at his father's death. Such a demand is extremely outrageous, especially in the Middle Eastern context. However, instead of rebuking or even denouncing his son, the father grants his request.

Soon after this, the son left for a distant country and there he squandered his entire fortune in wild living. This probably was a quite new and interesting experience for him, but it brought him to bankruptcy. Now he had to find a job to make a living in that country, and the best offer he had was to feed someone's pigs. In a Jewish context, the pigs are considered unclean animals; therefore being hired to feed them and even being hungry enough to long for their food illustrates the worst possible situation one can reach.

The spiritual meaning of the prodigal son's leaving his home is assimilated in Christianity with man's rebellion against God, his heavenly father. God does not oppose one's freedom of will in choosing how to live. As the son in the parable claimed his inheritance and then squandered it, humans use all that God has granted them (wealth, health, time and relationships) not for serving Him in obedience, but against His will. This attitude is called sin, and brings humans to the lowest possible stage of decadence. Although living in sin is first very attractive and pleasant, in the end it leads to destruction, both from an existential and a spiritual point of view.

Another important observation here is that although the father in the parable gave a large fortune to his son, he was still rich after the son's departure. However, the father's only concern proved to be his son's personal safety and return to the family. His wealth plays no role for him. As the rich man in the parable didn't become poor by his son's departure, God does not lose anything by our decision to live in rebellion to Him. The only one who is losing everything is man. * The prodigal son of the Buddhist Sutra leaves home without any fortune from his father. His departure looks more like running away in secrecy. He also becomes more and more needy but is still able to make a living. The father doesn't seem to have been rich at the moment of his son's departure. He rather became rich after this episode, in another city than the one in which he previously lived with his son. Therefore the son had no wealthy position to remember from home and to eventually return to. Even if he would have, the father had left it, so there was no place for him to return. Regarding the father's concern in this story, he seems more worried about having an heir than about making his son happy again.

The meaning of the son's wandering in the Buddhist tale is that there is no initial position to lose in one's spiritual becoming. As the son leaves his home poor and remains poor, humans have no other inheritance than karma, which makes them wander from one bad incarnation to another. The only truth that governs human existence is suffering and karma, which leads to an endless wandering in the world, with no original position to return to. The only spiritual fulfillment is a permanent growth toward an impersonal liberation. This is the Buddhist treasure to be discovered by any cost.
 
 

The way back home


The prodigal son of the gospel finally "came to his senses" and acknowledged his dramatic condition. Ashamed, he planned to return to his father, confess his sin and ask to be hired as a servant. This position, no matter how humiliating it could be in front of his brother and the other servants, was a much better choice than staying with the pigs.

The process of one's "coming to his senses" is called repentance in Christian theology. It involves acknowledging the bad condition of living in sin and making the decision to leave it. * The Buddhist prodigal son made no decision to return to his father. He continuously wandered from town to town until he unexpectedly arrived at his father's palace. The son didn't even recognize his father, whose situation had changed a lot since his departure. More than this, the father's wealth inspired fear in the son and made him try to run away again in order to not enter into more trouble. Eventually, at the father's command, the attendants seized him and brought him to the palace against his will.

The son's wandering in the world can be interpreted as the effect of karma and reincarnation in one's life. They constantly push man on the one-way of becoming. However long the process of being reincarnated in different bodies may be, one has to finally reach liberation (that's why the attendants seize the son against his will). One constantly experiences suffering until he has to accept that the best solution for his life is nirvana. Although reaching the status of a bodhisattva (a being that helps other humans attain liberation) seems to confer a personal afterlife destiny, the ultimate stage of becoming is shunya, the void, where nothing personal can remain.
 
 

What happens back home?


According to Luke's parable, the father was waiting for his prodigal son. He probably knew that the son couldn't find true satisfaction in what the world had to offer him. Instead of punishing him for his foolish behavior, "while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him" (v. 20). Instead of humiliating the son as a repayment for the shame he cast on his father at departure, the father humiliates himself by running to meet him. Such a behavior was totally indignified according to Jewish standards of the time. After the son recited half of his prepared speech, acknowledging he was wrong, the father interrupted him and commanded the servants to bring him the best robe, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. The fattened calf was slaughtered and a feast ordered to celebrate his return. All these symbols prove a 100% forgiveness and rehabilitation of the son to his prior status. The robe was a sign of great distinction, the ring the sign of authority, the sandals a luxury (only slaves were bare-footed) and the slaughter of the fattened calf the sign of a very important celebration in the family. Instead of becoming a hired servant as he hoped, the son was fully restored to the position he had abandoned long before. * The Sutra presents in a whole different way the prodigal son's return home. The father unexpectedly recognized him standing at his gate and sent his attendants to seize him and compel him to come to the palace. The son didn't understand the situation and became terrified. The father initially treated him like a stranger because of his "inferior disposition". A sudden restoration was out of the question.

Understanding his son's mindset, the father set him free and managed that he be hired as a scavenger. Although filled with compassion, the father could not reveal his identity until the son deserved his proper place in the family. He met his son in disguise and encouraged him to be honest in his work in order to be promoted. He promised to increase his salary and provide for his basic needs. The son had first to prove high qualities before being accepted back into the family. So he lived for 20 years in a small hut while still being employed in scavenging.

The testing process would have probably continued if the father hadn't become ill, feeling his death to be imminent. Even at this time the son was not fully accepted into the family but only promoted to a higher position, that of accountant over all his father's riches. Without abandoning his sense of inferiority, the son became acquainted with all the goods. Noticing that his son's ideas had gradually changed for the good and that he despised his former status, only then did the father gather all his relatives and friends and declare the former servant to be his son and heir.
 
 

The teaching of the parable in Christianity and Buddhism


The Christian meaning of the parable is clear. All humans need to return to God in repentance and faith. He does not compel humans to do it, so it must be a personal decision. God's forgiveness is not conditioned by attaining high spiritual performances but only by repentance. The price for our reconciliation with God was paid by Jesus Christ, through His death on the cross and His resurrection. There is nothing more to add and one life is enough to accept it.

The parable depicts the amazing availability of God to forgive and restore us, His unlimited grace to bestow upon us, His great love to accept us independently of our status and past. This should give us courage to come to Him in repentance and faith, without fear, and inherit His Kingdom, where personal communion with Him will be everlasting. * The Buddhist parable has a different message. Both the process of being liberated (acknowledged as son) and the meaning of liberation (inheriting the father's estate) have a different meaning. One cannot simply attain liberation at once. The process is very long and demands a progressive accumulation of wisdom until one deserves his place in the hierarchy. Escaping from ignorance and suffering, attaining nirvana and the becoming of a bodhisattva is a hard-to-win prize that has to be attained gradually by a day-by-day effort in training the mind and overcoming karma. Grace, in Buddhism, cannot be shown directly, but only as the disciple deserves it, which in fact is no grace at all.

There is also a major difference from Christianity in defining the status of the liberated person. Personhood has no room in the system. Although the bodhisattva is a personal being, he acts as a temporary catalyst for the sake of other humans that they may also find nirvana. The true ultimate stage of spiritual progress is shunya, the void, where no personal communion can ever exist. It is the final blowing out of the candle. This means that an eternal communion with a Father in His Kingdom makes no sense in traditional Buddhism. Ultimately, there is no Father to have communion with.





The following table summarizes the teaching of the two parables and also reveals some basic contradictions between the two religions:
 
 






































Topic in the parable


Meaning in Christianity


Meaning in Buddhism


The context


Jesus is teaching sinners, emphasizing their need and opportunity to be reconciled with God.


Buddha is teaching spiritually advanced disciples (arhats) the need for attaining a higher position, that of a bodhisattva.


The characters


God and the sinners


Buddha (the ultimate impersonal Buddha nature) and the ones struggling to attain it


The meaning of the son's departure from home


The human attitude of rebellion against God, called sin


Ignorance starts the wheel of karma.


The son's miserable condition


The human condition under the power of sin, away from personal communion with God


Karma and reincarnation force one to wander from one physical existence to the next


The decision to return home


A personal decision to leave sin, called repentance


Karma and reincarnation lead one to the proper level where wisdom and spiritual progress can be attained.


The father's attitude at the son's arrival


Complete forgiveness of sin and restoration to personal fellowship with God


Buddha's "grace" makes one progress little by little toward liberation. One has to deserve his position by a process of spiritual development.


Who pays the damage for the lost fortune


God the Son incarnated as Jesus Christ paid the price for our forgiveness through His death and resurrection.


The disciple has to "pay himself" the price for erasing his ignorance, by constantly accumulating wisdom.


The son's inheritance


Eternal communion with God in His kingdom


Attaining an impersonal Ultimate Reality (shunya), where there is no room for personal communion


     


 


 


 



 
me myself i got nothing to prove!!!!
10.18.05 (10:16 pm)   [edit]

You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere


Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we'll make something
But me myself I got nothing to prove


You got a fast car
And I got a plan to get us out of here
I been working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money
We won't have to drive too far
Just 'cross the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
And finally see what it means to be living


You see my old man's got a problem
He live with the bottle that's the way it is
He says his body's too old for working
I say his body's too young to look like his
My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said somebody's got to take care of him
So I quit school and that's what I did


You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so we can fly away
We gotta make a decision
We leave tonight or live and die this way


I remember we were driving driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone


You got a fast car
And we go cruising to entertain ourselves
You still ain't got a job
And I work in a market as a checkout girl
I know things will get better
You'll find work and I'll get promoted
We'll move out of the shelter
Buy a big house and live in the suburbs


You got a fast car
And I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I'd always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me would find it
I got no plans I ain't going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving


You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away
You gotta make a decision
You leave tonight or live and die this way