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Pressed, but Not Crushed

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2 Corinthians 12:10

The Message (MSG)

7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
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Bathyspheres are amazing inventions. Operating like miniature submarines, they have been used to explore the ocean in places so deep the water pressure would crush a conventional submarine as easily as if it were an aluminum can, Bathyspheres compensate for the intense water pressure with plates of steel several inches thick. The steel keeps the water out, but it also makes a bathysphere heavy and difficult to maneuver. The space inside is cramped, allowing for only one or two people to survey the ocean floor by looking through a tiny plate-glass window.

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What divers invariably find at every depth of the ocean are fish and other sea creatures. Some of these creatures are quite small and appear to have fairly normal skin. They look flexible and supple as they swim through the inky waters. How can they live at these depths without steel plating? They compensate for the outside pressure through equal and opposite pressure on the inside.

Spiritual fortitude works in the same way. The more negative the circumstances around us, the more we need to allow God’s power to work within us to exert an equal and opposite pressure from the inside. With God on the inside, no pressure on earth can crush us!

It is not enough to begin; continuance is necessary. Success depends upon staying power. Abiding in the word and prayer is the way to have strength to deal with the pressures of life.

Help Us To Know Your Ways

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John 13:7
The Message (MSG)
7 Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”

In this life, we have an incomplete view of God’s dealings, seeing His plan only half finished and underdeveloped. Yet once we stand in the magnificent temple of eternity, we will have the proper perspective and will see everything fitting gracefully together!

Imagine going to the mountains of Lebanon during the reign of Israel’s great King Solomon. Can you see the majestic cedar? It is the pride of all the other trees and has wrestled many years with the cold north winds! The summer sun has loved to smile upon it, while the night has caused its soft leaves to glisten with drops of dew. Birds have built their nests in its branches, weary travelers and wandering shepherds have rested in its shade from the midday heat or taken shelter from the raging storms. And suddenly we realize that this old inhabitant of the forest has been doomed to fall victim to the woodsman’s ax!

We watch as the ax makes its first gash on the cedar’s gnarled truck. Then we see its noble limbs stripped of their branches as the tree comes crashing to the ground. We cry out against the wanton destruction of this “Tree of God,” as it is distinctively known, and express our anger over the demolition of this proud pillar in the forest temple of nature. We are tempted to exclaim with the prophet Zechariah, “Wail, O pine tree, for the cedar has fallen…!(Zech. 11:2), as if inviting the sympathy of every less-majestic plant and invoking inanimate things to also resent the offense.

We should not be so quick to complain but should follow the gigantic tree as the workmen of “Hiram King of Tyre” (2 Chron.2:3) take it down the mountainside. From there we should watch it being sailed on rafts along the blue water of the Mediterranean. And finally, we should behold it being placed as a glorious and polished beam in the temple of God. As you contemplate its final destination, seeing it in the Holy of Holies as a jewel in the diadem of the Almighty King, can you honestly complain that this “crown jewel of Lebanon” was cut down, removed from the forest, and placed in such a noble setting? The cedar had once stood majestically in nature’s sanctuary, but “the glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house”(Hag.2:9)

So many people are like these cedars of old! God’s axes of trials have stripped them bare, and yet we can see no reason for such harsh and difficult circumstances. But God has a noble goal and purpose in mind: to place them as everlasting pillars and rafters in His heavenly Zion> And He says to them, “You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God”(Isa.62:3). I don’t ask my cross to understand, my way to see-Better in darkness just to feel Your hand, And follow Thee.

Is sentencing juveniles to life in prison without parole constitutional?

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We’ve all done something bad. But imagine doing something bad, so bad that you go to jail for the rest of your life, with no chance of parole. Would this be considered a violation of the Eighth Amendment, which protects us from “cruel and unusual punishment”?

That is the heart of the issue of the Supreme Court cases Sullivan v. Florida and Graham v. Florida. In both cases, the juveniles were found guilty of offenses in which no one was killed, and they received life sentences without the chance of release. These two are among the over one hundred cases across the country in which a juvenile was sentenced to life in prison without parole for non-homicide offenses.
In Sullivan, Joe Sullivan was sent away for life for raping an elderly woman when he was 13. The case of Graham focuses on Terrance Graham, who was implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17. In both cases, the judge ruled against the advice of the Department of Corrections and gave the stiffest punishment allowable by law.

In Sullivan, the judge said that he was “beyond help,” and the judge who sentenced Graham to life without parole stated during sentencing: “If I can’t do anything to help you, then I have to . . . protect the community from your actions.”

These cases come after the 2005 Supreme Court case Roper v. Simmons, where the court ruled 5 to 4 that it is unconstitutional to execute anyone convicted of a crime when he or she was a juvenile.

Now the issue is whether letting a juvenile spend the rest of his or her life in prison is constitutional. Furthermore, the issue of whether prisons are meant to rehabilitate criminals or keep them away from society is being raised.

Bryan Stevenson, who represents Joe Sullivan, concedes that there is a difference between the death penalty and life without parole. But he says that a life term is different from other prison sentences because it denies the prisoner any hope for a future. “They’re just two different kinds of death sentences,” he said before the court. “One is death by execution, the other death by incarceration.”

Nineteen states, including Louisiana, have filed a brief supporting life sentences without parole for juveniles in non-homicide cases. “I disagree that the juvenile crimes are any less culpable than the adult crimes,” said Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell in an NPR interview. “These are young criminals. That’s what they are, and the ones who are getting these sentences are the worst of those.”

The court seemed divided on the issue. Justice Stephen G. Breyer said, “The confusion and uncertainty about the moral responsibility of a 13-year-old is such that it is a cruel thing to do to remove from that individual his entire life. You see, we are at the extreme.”

Justice Samuel Alito disagreed with Breyer, remarking, “You are saying that, no matter what this person does, commits the most horrible series of non-homicide offenses that you can imagine, a whole series of brutal rapes, assaults that render the victim paraplegic but not dead, no matter what, the person is sentenced, shows no remorse whatsoever, the worst case you can possibly imagine, that person must at some point be made eligible for parole?”

In a victory for the rights for juveniles, the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that a sentence of life without parole is unconstitutional for anyone under 18. The majority opinion, which follows a 2005 ruling that executing minors is unconstitutional, said the punishment must be interpreted in light of the country’s “evolving standards of decency.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, went on to say, “By denying the defendant the right to enter the community, the state makes an irrevocable judgment about that person’s value and place in society.” Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote a dissenting opinion, said that interpreting the Eighth Amendment with the changing societal standards is “entirely the court’s creation.” He argued that the “question of what acts are ‘deserving’ of what punishments is bound so tightly with questions of morality and social conditions as to make it, almost by definition, a question for legislative resolution.”

Please let me hear from you on what you think about this issue. I have two young adults sentenced to life one in Maryland and one in California. I lost my daughter at the age of 18 and my son at the age of 19 and it haunts me every day. I can’t Imagine losing a younger child at the age of 13 to 14 years old.

Believe In Yourself “Don’t Quit”

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While being skeptical can be a healthy way to avoid getting taken advantage of, being pessimistic – that is, always assuming the worst – can have major negative consequences on your life. Seeing only the negative aspects of any situation can cause you to miss opportunities, neglect problems that need to be solved, and fail to take action that would otherwise improve your relationships and quality of life. In fact, studies show that pessimists are more likely to develop chronic illnesses later on in life than optimists.[1] Optimists look for the light at the end of the tunnel. If you’ve always had a pessimistic worldview, it can be difficult to shift your focus, but it is possible to start seeing the glass as half full, not half empty. In fact you may come to realize that glasses are generally full – it’s just that gravity attracts the more dense liquid material towards the bottom.

This world is always devising ways to sift people, whether by talent or caste status, belief system, color, race, ethnicity or origins the world and complex people in the world will try to make you quit. My wife and I are faced with a insurmountable obstacle, we are no longer the “It” of society, but the “Felon” and as such we are not expected to live nor continue to exist among the regulars in this world. If you are in this plight of life I want to encourage you to continue to believe in Jesus and what He has said, because we’re moving forward by His grace and so can you. Refuse to be redeemed by California or any state prison systems for 40,000 dollars and another extended stay in confinement. A plastic or glass bottle is given better chances than a human life. I solicit anyone that is challenged by life whether by past mistakes or any addictions or broken family and disappointed dreams to press onward with a plan and stand with the Word in your mouth and heart.

Many of us quit, half way through with what we have started and we have enough reasons why we do it. Years ago I owed a Engineering firm in California. Inflation and economics gave me a reason to compromise on how I did business and it cost me 5 years of my life and my company and 300 people their jobs . I had to quit. The reason seems genuine. Had I admitted to my dual addictions and faced them I would not have suffered those loses. I still face the consequences of quitting today due to the stigma’s placed on me by a unforgiving society. I failed as a minister of a large body of believers due to my compromising spirit of conduct. My dual addiction to money and cocaine and pride took me to an all time low. I lost material goods and very close family and friends. Recently I recalled the incident and this blog is a result of such introspection. What does the Bible talk about in terms of giving up? Does the Bible recommend us to quit or does it urge us not to give up.

Galatians 6:9 “…for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

What does it mean? The scripture tells us that if we do not give up on we will surely see the reward of it. For example the farmer sows his seed and takes the little grown stuff and plants it in the properly ploughed field. He does not see the grains immediately, he waits for the rain and the shine at the proper times and then a harvest, during harvest it is not what he sowed but several measures more than what he had sown. If this is true for a farmer I am sure the same principle applies for us too. The only thing is to wait patiently until we see results.

Before getting into the principles of how not to quit, let us examine a few reasons why we quit.
The reasons can be so many; I have tried listing a few of them…

1. Fear of failure.
2. Skepticism I am not the one.
3. I am not trained enough.
4. Someone can do it better than me.
5. I don’t want to be the first, let someone do it and then I will follow.
6. I have a bitter past experience.
7. This is not my cup of tea.
8. I don’t want to be embarrassed.
9. I am too sensitive to handle failures.
10. My support system is poor.
11. I don’t prefer to risk when all is fine.
12. Why get into a mess?

Some of the reasons are overlapping but still this is how we feel and reason out to quit and remain a bit satisfied though we know we can do it more than we have tried.

I want to drive home just two aspects for not giving up but before that I want to quote a few people and their views on never giving up…

Marilyn von Savant – being defeated is often temporary, giving up makes it permanent.

Thomas Edison – many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

King Solomon – for an upright man, after falling seven times, will get up again. (Proverbs 24:16)

The first aspect to consider if we decide not to give up is:
I. Making the most of every opportunity. (Ephesians 5: 15,16)
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

The wise person makes the most of the opportunity but the foolish ones miss out on every opportunity and grumble about their failures. Grab every chance that you get, never mind whether you fail or win – the result is secondary what is primary is the attempt. There is nothing wrong in giving it a try, it might click and we can become experts so I urge you not to miss a chance. Peter toiled all night at the sea but was willing to give it a try when Jesus told him to do so. He made the second time more than what if would have done the first time. He knew he had God on his side. That was blessed assurance. If we have such confidence we too can try and we will surely make it by not letting a chance go by. Therefore make the most of every opportunity and be wise. The second aspect is…

II. Marching Forward. (Philippians 3:13)
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.

If you have to march forward, you have to forget about what happened in the past, if we brood over the past more either success or failure it can ruin us. If we brag about the past success it will makes us complacent and would never make new attempts at the same time if we brood over our failures it will diminish the morale and the potential we possess. Therefore it is important to be moving and not stagnating.

Paul understood this and that is why he is going ahead with the goal and not worried over the past. If Paul had to think of his past as wretched man he will have be ashamed for the rest of his life not doing anything. He overcame the shame and guilt of destroying so many good Christians and began to be a blessing. He never gave up but carried on.

Dear friends, how about you? Better wise up, make the most of every opportunity. Never leave room for compromise, March forward don’t retreat. I think of Henry ford, his first car was not able to even go faster than the horse chariot, he never gave up and today these cars do well. The Wright brothers first flying machine fell and broke after it took off to a few feet but they never gave up and today we see planes that fly at a phenomenal speed at great altitudes. We have Jesus on our side we will surely be conquerors, not just conquerors but more than conquerors. God bless you.

Face Your Fears

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The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.

Amelia Earhart

Sewer pipe miracle baby leaves China hospital; No charges for mother

Local media reports on Wednesday said the mother had become pregnant after a one-night stand. Unable to afford an abortion and with her partner unwilling to acknowledge it was his child, the mother took to hiding the pregnancy by wearing baggy clothes and tying strips of cloth around her stomach.

The woman who alerted authorities to the sounds of a baby stuck in a sewer pipe has admitted that she is the mother. Police are treating the case as an attempted homicide.

She then secretly gave birth to the boy in a fourth-floor public bathroom of the building where she lived, only to reportedly have the baby slip from her hands after delivery. The boy dropped into the open, squat-style toilet and slid down into the narrow 4-inch in diameter sewer pipe.

Not wanting her child, but unwilling to leave him to die in the drain, she reportedly notified a neighbor of sounds coming from the pipes, who then called police to investigate.

Firefighters were then called to gently cut the child free from the pipe using pliers and handsaws.

The mother has been subjected to near universal condemnation on Chinese social media.

The Associated Press reported that the mother had told police that she had initially refused to step forward because she had been frightened about the incident, but eventually had a change of heart and told officials she was in fact the mother.

No matter where we live or where we are from, sin is prevalent and will try to destroy us any way we allow it too. Praise God for His presence in that situation and not Buddha, but The Living God.

Ezekiel 18:1-4, “The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

Israel loved to make excuses for their idolatry. They lived according to their own desires and forgot the God of Heaven, Jehovah, for days without number. Every time they would fall away, God would have to bring judgment upon them to return them to His laws.

Like we of today, the Children of Israel looked for someone else to blame for their own sin. In their search for self-justification they came up with a really cute and logical proverb that went like this: “The fathers may eat the sour grapes but the children’s teeth will be set on edge.” This meant that whatever the fathers of each successive generation did may not affect them but it would surely affect their children and grandchildren. This was Israel’s way of blaming their forefathers and even God, for the sin that they committed and the judgments they had to face. In using this proverb they absolved themselves from the penalty for their own sin and place it upon the head of their ancestors.

Just listen to any psychologist or psychiatrist and they will attempt to persuade you that criminals commit crimes largely as a result of their past environment. The blame for sin is never placed squarely on the shoulders of those who commit acts of violence or other crimes. It is always the fault of someone or something else. Perhaps it was your father, mother, aunt, uncle or some other adult who wronged you as a child and destroyed your self esteem. Perhaps it’s the peer pressure from school friends or co-workers that caused you to fall. After all, the man who loses his job as a postal worker because he was lazy and had a bad attitude, is somewhat justified in walking in and killing his former co-workers because it wasn’t his fault that he was fired, it’s their fault for being better employees than he was. I know that sounds warped but that’s the prevalent thinking of our day. The criminal has rights while the victim is looked upon as just a coincidence in the act of the crime and shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

In the 1950s a psychologist, Stanton Samenow, and a psychiatrist, Samuel Yochelson, sharing the conventional wisdom that crime is caused by environment, set out to prove their point. They began a 17-year study involving thousands of hours of clinical testing of 250 inmates here in the District of Columbia. To their astonishment, they discovered that the cause of crime cannot be traced to environment, poverty, or oppression. Instead, crime is the result of individuals making, as they put it, wrong moral choices. In their 1977 work The Criminal Personality, they concluded that the answer to crime is a “conversion of the wrong-doer to a more responsible lifestyle.” In 1987, Harvard professors James Q. Wilson and Richard J.Herrnstein came to similar conclusions in their book Crime andHuman Nature. They determined that the cause of crime is a lack of proper moral training among young people during the morally formative years, particularly ages one to six.

Christians don’t act much different than those who are worldly when it comes to facing up to their sin. We love to play the blame game too. I hear people say things like, “My former Pastor didn’t teach me right”; “The church that used to attend didn’t have a good training program or Bible study class”; I was never taught that doing or saying things like that were wrong”; and I have heard other things come from the lips of Christians as well because we don’t want to admit that we have sinned and that it is us who are at fault and in need of repentance.

It’s not my fault the church isn’t growing; it’s the preacher’s fault. It’s not my fault that the rumor was spread so quickly; they shouldn’t have assumed that I would keep a secret that important in the first place. It’s not my fault that we lost a family in our church; if they had been closer to Jesus they wouldn’t have left because I said or did what I did. It isn’t my fault that they had so many skeletons in their closet that they were ashamed of.

John Killinger tells about the manager of a minor league baseball team who was so disgusted with his center fielder’s performance that he ordered him to the dugout and assumed the position himself. The first ball that came into center field took a bad hop and hit the manager in the mouth. The next one was a high fly ball, which he lost in the glare of the sun–until it bounced off his forehead. The third was a hard line drive that he charged with outstretched arms; unfortunately, it flew between is hands and smacked his eye. Furious, he ran back to the dugout, grabbed the center fielder by the uniform, and shouted. ’You idiot! You’ve got center field so messed up that even I can’t do a thing with it!

Folks we can lay the blame wherever we want, but God spoke plainly to Ezekiel that “the soul that sins will be one who dies and not those who lived in the past. They will answer for their own sin and so will you. We cannot lay the blame for what we do at the feet of another person. James 1:14-15 says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” It isn’t the fault of anyone else when we sin. It’s our own fault. Until we realize that fact, there can be no forgiveness of sin and when we face the Great White Throne Judgment we will have no excuse.

We can’t blame the church, the preacher or the Sunday School teacher or Sabbath School Administrator for not being good enough because we are commanded by God to study and make ourselves knowledgeable in the Word of God. We can’t blame the priest, mom and dad, or anyone else for not teaching us right, for the Word of God says that we are to work out our own salvation with fear of our Holy God and remembering that our eternal soul’s destiny hangs in the balance.

Especially now, in these New Testament times, we have no excuse for sin and we cannot lay the blame for our “sour grapes” on anyone else. We have the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God, and the Blood of Jesus Christ to wash us, cleanse us and teach us to walk uprightly before God.

Listen to the words of God to the Prophet Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 31:29-34, “In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

God has taken away our excuses for sin. He has taken away our excuses for not living a holy, sanctified life. God has removed the skin of our reason for not obeying his voice and revealed the lie that is stuffed inside. We stand on our own now and we cannot blame another for the sin we commit.

God has given us everything we need to be saved. He has provided a way out of our death penalty if we will only confess that we are wrong in the first place and face up to our own guilt.

We will all live or die based upon what we do with the gospel and death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nation’s deserts. All vultures see is rotting meat, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking What about each of you? Has life dealt you a handful of sour grapes? Do you feel that life has been unfair? Don’t think that you are alone. All of us have felt that way from time to time.

It would be great if we could only release ourselves from the guilt of sin by placing the blame on someone or something else, but we can’t. Each of us must face up the fact that its “My Fault”. I am the one who chose to sin. No one made me do it. The Devil didn’t make me do it either. He may have brought the temptation to me, but it was my own desire and my own decision to yield to that temptation.

Only when we face up to our own “sour grapes” and confess that we are the ones at fault and no one else, can we find true repentance and forgiveness for sin.

Can We Follow Simple Instructions? Hate The World!!!!

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From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate.

Socrates

 

love & hate

Do not love the world or anything in the world.  What part of “no” do you not understand?  Or better yet: What part of “do not” do you not understand?  Who said those words?  It’s probably not the person you thought it was.

The phrase got a wider audience when it was used as the title of a popular country music song in 1992 recorded by Lorrie Morgan:

What part of no don’t you understand?
To put it plain and simple
I’m not into one night stands
I’ll be glad to explain it
If it’s too hard to comprehend
So tell me what part of no
Don’t you understand?

There are other versions of this question, such as:  NO MEANS NO!  Or no thanks.  Or no way, Hosea!  Never.  Nix.   Not at all.  Not on your life, etc.

Do not love the world or anything in the world.  What did John mean?

Billy Graham is quoted as saying:  “Our interests are in ourselves.  We are preoccupied with material things.  Our supreme god is technology.  Our goddess is sex.  Most of us are more interested in getting to the moon than getting to heaven. We are more dedicated to material security than to inward purity. We give much more thought to what we wear, what we eat, what we drink, and what we can do than what we are….”

He was right.  We all have our worldly side or worldly desires that often capture our attention more than God or Christ.

II Timothy 4:10 “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.”

If Demas fell in love with his world then we can do it too.  In fact, I think it’s a whole lot easier today to fall in love with the things of this world than it was for Demas.  WE HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO FALL IN LOVE WITH!

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

God said clearly, “Don’t love the world.  If you do, my love is not in you.”  Wow!  When and where do we cross the fence from loving God to loving the world?  God knows and we all need to find out.

What is so bad about the world that we are told not to love it?  Why is the world so evil?
1- The lust of the flesh
2- The lust of the eyes
3- The pride of life

I. THE LUST OF THE FLESH

For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.

This worldly temptation deals with the fleshly appetites: food, sex, excess in various ways, etc.

Jackson Brown Jr. (American author best-known for his book Life’s Little Instruction Book which was a New York Times bestseller) said:  I’ve learned that if you give a pig and a boy everything they want, you’ll get a good pig and a bad boy.

If we got everything we wanted in this world, we’d be in trouble.

A man said: While my wife and I were shopping at a mall kiosk, a shapely young woman in a short, form-fitting dress strolled by.  My eyes followed her.  Without looking up from the item she was examining, my wife asked, “Was it worth the trouble you’re in?”  This is just one temptation of this verse.

May and I enjoy watching TV’s DANCING WITH THE STARS.  We have often commented on the dress of both the men and the women, but mainly the women and the lack thereof!  Some of those professional female dancers don’t like to wear much clothing.  I assume they think it enhances their dance, but in reality, it may only enhance the judges’ eye!

If we’re normal, we all can be tempted with the lust of the flesh. If we were put in the wrong place at the right time most of us would fall.  We may be guilty anyway.

Matthew 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ’Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

The lust of the flesh deals with others things too.

Did you know there is a new Sonic drive-in on Cajalco road just down the street fromone of the houses I used to own?  I know this probably does nothing for you but it does for me!  They had a daily special while back which I liked very much.  It’s a chicken strip basket with french fries, a cup of white cream gravy, a piece of toast, one delicious onion ring and a drink of your choice for only $4.31.

Again, I know that this might not turn your crank but it does mine.  I happened to like chicken strips and these are just about as good as I’ve ever had.  The fries are good.  The gravy is good.  The toast is ok but better when it’s dipped in the gravy.

WE DO LOVE OUR FOOD!  We all love some kind of food.  In fact, sometimes we love it too much!

Do you eat to live or live to eat?  Many people live to eat food and many times a day.  And living to eat could well be a part of the lust of flesh, especially, if it controls us.

Did you read about that 600 lb. woman who wants to weight 1,000 lbs.?  Donna Simpson, 42, of Old Bridge, N.J., already tips the scales at 600 ounds but says she won’t be satisfied until she’s up to 1,000 – to grab the title of world’s fattest woman. She eats 12,000 calories a day!

Philippians 3:18-19 “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.  Their mind is on earthly things.”

I don’t think we want to be categorized with the enemies of the cross!  However, we can become something of an enemy to the Lord if we allow the lust of the flesh to control us!

II. THE LUST OF THE EYES

For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.

A gentleman mugger has been jailed despite his elderly victim’s pleas for him to be let off because he was so polite.  The pensioner told the court in Salzburg, Austria, that she had not come across such a well mannered criminal for a long time.

The man grabbed the old woman’s bag and ran off but returned when he noticed she had fallen to the ground.  “When he saw me fall, he came back.  Criminals just don’t do that any more,” she said.  “He was very neat and well mannered and asked me not to report him.  He said he was really sorry, but was just desperate for money,” she told the court.

The 27-year-old, who has not been named, then helped his victim search for her keys which had fallen out when he grabbed the bag.  Police arrested the well mannered mugger after being called out by a passer-by who had witnessed the incident.  He was jailed for two-and-a-half years despite the pensioner’s testimony after it was revealed it was not his first offense.

INTERESTING STORY.  We all know that stealing is wrong and stealing is a matter of lust of the eyes.  It’s the idea that we want what someone has and if we can’t get it by paying for it, we might steal it.  SOME WOULD.

The lust of the eyes deals with money and materialism.  Both grab our hearts and minds.  Some people live for making money and others live to spend money…that is, on material things.  Both are the lust of the eyes.  Some hoard and some spend.

Most of my life I’ve been spender.  I’ve been spender out of necessity: food, clothing, shelter, transportation.  However, there have been times when I’ve spent and didn’t need to spend or didn’t really have the money.  THAT’S THE LUST OF THE EYES. Buying things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.  Or something like that.

A few years ago I was on a Corvette kick, that is, I thought if I could find a decent Corvette for a decent price it would be a decent thing for me to have!  But I never did find one.  Most are far too expensive.  To buy a 1997 to 2004 Corvette will cost around $20,000 up to $35,000.  And that sort of killed it for me.

Occasionally, a person might fall into a good deal.  My friend Michael Best didn’t tell me about a good deal on a beautiful Red Corvette in his town of Oxen Hill Maryland.  I was sick when he told me about it since I missed out on it.

I think it was a 1998 model, in excellent condition, with only about 50,000 miles on it.  He said it sold for around $15,000.  Had Mike told me about it I probably would have drove asap to Maryland and bought it.

I am now thankful I didn’t buy it, because I want to be a better steward with the Lord’s money, meaning what He has given me.

The lust for either gaining money, making money, and keeping money OR spending money on material things that we don’t need is the lust of the eyes.  And it’s also idol worship!

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I Timothy 6:6-10 “6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

III. THE PRIDE OF LIFE

16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.  THE MESSAGE reads: wanting to appear important.

The pride of life deals with or can deal with fame.  Most of us will never be tempted this amount of pride, because we’re just not that talented.  We’ll never make it in Hollywood but some have
and we wonder what happened to their faith.

I think Denzel Washington is a good actor.  Did you know that his daddy was a gospel preacher?  Denzel Washington was born in Mount Vernon, near New York City, in 1954.  His mother, Lennis, was a beauty parlor-owner and operator born in Georgia and partly raised in Harlem.

His father, Reverend Denzel Washington, Sr., was an ordained Pentecostal minister and also worked for the Water Department and at a local department store, “S. Klein”

Washington and his wife, Pauletta of 26 years, attend the same church as actress Angela Bassett at LA’s West Angeles Church of God.

Washington’s big break came when he starred in the popular television hospital drama, St. Elsewhere from 1982 to 1988.  He was one of a few actors to appear on the series for its entire six-year run.

In 2000, Washington appeared in the Disney film, Remember the Titans, which grossed over $100 million at the United States box office.  AND he was nominated and won an Oscar for Best Actor for his next film, the 2001 cop thriller, Training Day, as Det. Alonzo Harris, a rogue LAPD cop with questionable law-enforcement tactics.

As far as I am concerned, Denzel Washington went downhill when he played in that movie (and some others) because of the horrible language that he used or had to use to do the part.  That makes me think less of Denzel Washington as a Christian man.
And it also makes me think that he did it for money and fame, which is a part of loving the world.  And I don’t want to be too hard on him, because if I were in his shoes I might be far worse! Let the truth be told I was in worse shoes than his, I compromised in the worse way in falling in love with the world. I probably still do when it comes to living my life by these new standards, but we have to immediately repent and stand for righteousness when conviction hits the mind and heart.

Fame or attention can come in many areas or arenas even if we are not in Hollywood.

I think many preachers are tempted in this area, particularly those in large churches or are in TV.  These preachers get a lot of attention and adulation and praise.  And pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

However, we all can be tempted in this area when we do something good and we are praised or patted for it.  We like attention but IF IT’S GOOD, IT’S FROM THE LORD.  Even when it seemingly comes from us.  He alone is the author of good in our lives.

I Peter 5:5-6 “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

All of us can fall into the sin of pride, desire for fame, desire for praise and accolades.


CONCLUSION————-

The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

One time a man said at a church meeting, “Mr. Chairman, I move that we move the world.”  Instead of letting the world grab us, we need to move the world by living the Christian life, by letting our lights shine, and by preaching the gospel of Christ!

Instead of being in love with the world, we need to be in love with the God who created and the Savior who died for us.  This world will pass away but whoever does the will of God lives forever.  How’s that for a deal?  Do not love the world!