Monday, May 18, 2015

The Difference Between Women and Men

David, the great King of Israel, is celebrating one of the greatest moments of his entire reign, and the people of Israel are celebrating with him.

All except for his own  wife ... who is absolutely disgusted.  Why is she disgusted? Because men and women are different!

In chapters four and five of 1 Samuel, the Philistines have stolen Israel's holiest and most cherished possession: the Ark of the Covenant, the earthly repository of the most sacred objects the Jews possessed: the tablets of the Law given to Moses, Aaron's rod, and a jar of manna.  But the Philistines realized that this might not have been the smartest idea they ever had, when their great stone "god" Dagon repeatedly fell on "his" face before the Ark: thus showing the Philistines Who the real God was.  So, they returned the Ark to Israel, and King David brought it home.  It was a moment of unimaginable triumph and vindication and joy for the Israelites.  But not for David's wife, Michal, the daughter of Saul.  She was miffed!

And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house. Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD  (2 Samuel 6:14-21).
 


Michal's disgust and sarcasm were based, not on the return of the Ark - - - she was as happy about that as any Israelite - - - but by her husband's undignified, "foolish" behaviour.  It completely ruined this great moment of victory for her. (Incidentally: although the above illustration may be pretty accurate, this wasn't, as commonly supposed, a case of "indecent exposure."  When Michal referred to David "shamelessly uncovering himself," she might well have been sneering at his exuberant demonstration of joy, his total lack of "royal dignity," and the "exposure" of his own emotions.  Michal probably thought that kings were supposed to keep their feelings to themselves.)  And God was not pleased by her reaction: Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death (2 Sam. 6:23). 

Women and men are different.  Why?  Because God made them that way.  And I mean that quite literally: it all goes back to the way that they were created.


Have you ever wondered why boys and men, as a rule, are more comfortable with dirt and grime than girls and women are?  For example, all children love to play in the mud, and little girls are famous for making "mud pies;" but, afterwards, the little girl will want to clean up (if she's older than three or four), while the boy will be perfectly happy to stay dirty for the rest of the week, unless he's forced to take a bath!  Little boys can get covered in mud within five minutes of walking out the front door; little girls play dress-up, and have tea parties.


Have you ever wondered why boys and men enjoy "bathroom humor" more than girls and women?  (Not sexual humor; these days, female comediennes are as filthy-minded as any male.) Why do little boys laugh at certain bodily noises, but little girls are disgusted by them?

Because they're made that way.  And the basic difference is this: women are, by nature, more spiritual than men.

There you go!  How's that for a provocative statement?

By "spiritual," I don't mean more "godly," although women do tend to have more of an interest in spiritual things than men; I mean that men are more "earthy," more wedded to the grit and grime of life on earth, whereas women are more preoccupied with things of the spirit.  This is no great compliment to the ladies, by the way: some of the most absurd cults on earth, from Theosophy to Christian Science, were created by women.

We've all read the creation accounts of Genesis; but those accounts have profound implications that we don't always apply to everyday life.  In attempting to understand the differences between women and men, we need to look at how they were created.

The creation of Adam: And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Gen. 2:7).
 

The creation of Eve:  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man  (Gen. 2:21-23). 

It is not an oversimplification, but merely a fact of scripture: Adam was made of dirt, of dust.  Eve was made from human flesh. Their "basic materials" were different.  So why wouldn't their basic natures reflect this difference?



Males have a connection to the earth, and to the mundane, that women simply don't have, because the first woman wasn't made of the earth.  Women, having been made of flesh, are less "earthy," and more "high-minded."  I don't mean pure or noble or good: the Bible says that "high-mindedness" is not always a good thing (2 Tim. 3:4). This is a profound, inescapable difference between the sexes, and it explains a lot.

Let's go from the sublime to the ridiculous, for an illustration.  When they're in the grip of lust, why do some men find the ghastly spectacle of "female mud wrestling" to be so erotic?  They'll go to a club, and pay to see two women thrashing around in the mud; but they probably won't pay to see a women's team of synchronized swimmers.  It's because the spectacle of women in the dirt is counterintuitive: it's "sexy," to some men, because it's so unusual.  It's a perversion of the basic nature of females, whereas synchronized swimming is not.

 
(Female mud wrestling, of course, is merely a literal example of 2 Peter 2:22, but most men don't realize that.  And if they did, they'd probably enjoy it even more.)

 
As long as we're making controversial remarks, this also explains why homosexuals of either gender can never really "master" their sexual roles.  A man or woman can even have a surgical procedure (although they retain their original chromosomal structure, so there's no such thing as a true "sex change"); but they can't escape the basic spiritual and psychological nature that God assigned them.  This undoubtedly accounts for the high rates of frustration and suicide within this unhappy demographic.

Men are earthy; women are, for good or ill, more spiritually oriented. Which raises a question: why shouldn't women do the preaching and teaching?  Why are they specifically excluded from these roles?

 
Because, along with their inclination toward spiritual things, they are more easily deceived and confused by false teachings and false doctrine than men.  Perhaps because they're so "earthy," most men will give Benny Hinn or Deepak Chopra a well-deserved horse laugh; but many women will follow them, like lemmings, right off a cliff.   That's another lesson of scripture, and it's absolutely inviolable.  Men may be earthy, even coarse, but they're less likely to be suckered than women.  For Adam was first formed, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression (1 Timothy 2:13, 14). Women, for all their spirituality, have a capacity for being deceived that men simply lack - - - although individual men are often deceived, of course.

(I should specifically state that this difference does not preclude women from serving as executives, doctors, or Supreme Court justices: as far as I can discern, it is only certain spiritual offices, such as pastor, that are off-limits for them.)

Also, women are far more prone to self-righteousness than men.  A man will recognize his sins, even if he's not spiritual, or his crimes or his misdeeds, and even joke about them: "Well, I guess I'm just not worth shooting!"  Women tend to rationalize and even deny that they've done anything wrong, if their conscience and/or the Holy Spirit doesn't stop them.  "Yes, I may have done the wrong thing, but....." 

 
And, of course, there's the fact that God Himself is male.  Any religion that has a female "god," or exalts a woman to the place of God (a certain group based in Rome comes to mind), is a false religion.

But that doesn't mean that men are more "godlike" than women.  In the first place, nobody even bears the Image of God until they come to Jesus Christ, according to Colossians 3:10.  (It's not true that "all people are made in God's image:" after the Fall, Adam fathered a child in his own image, Gen. 5:3, and we've been in Adam's image ever since.) But God's great plan is for all of His children, male and female, who have received Christ, to ultimately become the Bride of Christ.

Right now, we Christians are the Body of Christ; but in time, we'll become His Bride. There's no room for feelings of spiritual superiority for anybody; and, it must never be forgotten:  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). 

But that's our spiritual standing.  Down here on the ground, the differences exist: and they're explained by the Bible, and the Bible only.  The "pop psychologists," whether Christian or non-Christian, are about as reliable as a Muslim imam.

Thank God for giving us His word, that alone makes sense of all human experience! Thank You, Father! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What a Surprise: Pope Francis Embraces Terrorism

It's official: this week, the Vatican announced that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, alias Pope Francis, has signed a treaty formally recognizing the fictional, imaginary "State of Palestine."  The official statement, from the Vatican website, can be found here.  Thus, to the surprise of no one, the greatest imposter in history, the Pope of Rome, has embraced and endorsed the bloodiest, most terroristic entity that has ever dared to call itself a "state."

It had to be so: the Roman Catholic Church, in its hierarchy and doctrines, is the most anti-Semitic institution in human history, and has never recognized the nation of Israel.  (There are millions of good and devout people sitting in the pews of Catholic churches, but the Catholic institution is Satan's masterpiece on earth.) Thus, it is necessary for a treaty (the old word is "concordat") to be made between the Vatican and the terrorist Mohammedans who comprise the "State of Palestine," formerly known as the "Palestinian Authority," formerly known as the "Palestine Liberation Organization."  If happiness were possible in Hell, Yasir Arafat would be smiling today.


It is no surprise when the followers of the demon-possessed, murderous pedophile Muhammad attempt to destroy Israel, which is God's nation on earth.  But it is sad, and truly disgusting, to see the largest "Christian church" on earth throw all of its reputation and resources behind God's enemies.

Of course, the Roman Catholic Church is not alone in its hatred of Israel and its support of the Philistines.  Such utterly apostate groups as the United Methodist Church and the United Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) have opposed Israel for years, and called for the establishment of a Palestinian state.  But such disgraceful and anti-Biblical behaviour is not on the same level as the Catholic "treaty:" after all, neither the Presbyterian nor the Methodist denominations are recognized by the United States government as 'sovereign states."  The Vatican is, and is even recognized as such by the United Nations.  Jew-haters in the Methodist and Presbyterian and other churches can only look at the Pope's "authority" with envy - - - and they undoubtedly do.

This is nothing new, of course.  The Roman Catholic Church has hated the Jewish people from its inception, calling them "Christ-killers" and slaughtering them whenever they got the chance (as when Pius XII joined hands with Hitler).  So, naturally, the church also hates Israel, and will make common cause with any group, no matter how unsavory, that promises to destroy God's nation. Even the "sainted" John Paul II was not above whoring himself out to the Mohammedans.


The Philistines (i.e., the "Palestinians:" listen to one of them pronounce the word) are on the winning side, at least partially, and at least temporarily.  The prophecies of scripture make it clear that there will be a "nation of Palestine" in the future, although there has never been one in the past.  It will undoubtedly stand on lands stolen from Israel. (Although it will never have full control of Jerusalem.)  But, unlike Israel, "Palestine" will not be blessed by God:

The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina (Exodus 15:14).

Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed times (Isaiah 14:31).

Such is the future, before Jesus Christ returns to set things in order.  When that day comes, the Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Mohammedans, the government of the United States, and all of the United Nations, will find out what "terror" really is - - - and justice.



UPDATE: On May 16, "Palestinian President" Mahmoud Abbas visited Bergoglio at the Vatican.  The Pope referred to this bloodthirsty Mohammedan usurper as "an angel of peace."  How typical. (Associated Press)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

An Unexpected Statement

Although Andrea Bocelli is one of my favorite singers, he's hardly a person from whom I'd expect to hear a deeply personal statement, especially about a hopelessly controversial issue.  But wonders never cease, and here he is.  If Bocelli doesn't have the right to an opinion on this matter, no one walking this earth does.

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MAMA

Mother, I am very happy
Because I return to you
My song tells you
That it is the most beautiful dream for me
Mother, I am very happy
To live far away because
Mother, only for you my song flies
Mother, you will be with me, you will not be alone anymore
How much I love you!
These love words that my heart whispers to you
Perhaps they are not used anymore
Mother
But you are the most beautiful song
You are the life
And for the life I will not let you go anymore
I feel your tired hand
Looking for my golden curls
I hear your voice and I miss you
Then the lullaby
Today your white head
I want to hold near my heart
Mother, only for you my song flies
Mother, you will be with me, you will not be alone anymore
How much I love you!
These love words that my heart whispers to you
Perhaps they are not used anymore
Mother
But you are the most beautiful song
You are the life
And for the life I will not let you go anymore
Mother, never again

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Netanyahu's secret weapon

Even as Barack  Obama plunges forward in his quest to make America, once Israel's only friend, into nothing more than another enemy; even as Barack Obama ignores the qualms of his own Democratic Party and the astonished disapproval of his countrymen by assisting Iran in its plan to acquire nuclear weapons; even at such a time, Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu of Israel has many weapons at his disposal.  Apart from those of a military nature, here is another:

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It should go without saying, of course, that Israel's greatest asset is not a weapon at all, but rather her Protector: God Himself.  Every square centimetre of the land - - - - and much more besides - - - - was given to Israel by God, and if the treachery of all the knavish nations of the world reduce Israel's land farther (which probably will happen, temporarily), Israel will never be utterly defeated or destroyed. Obama and the Mohammedans and other "lesser breeds without the Law" are no match for God, for Jesus Christ, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.  For the present moment, Israel was wise to re-elect Netanyahu: when he says "Never again," he means it.  His enemies would do well to remember this.

As for the book, a work of art created by Phil Chernofsky ... it belongs in every church, every library, and every home in the civilized world.  I'm not advertising it, but I'm buying a copy.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Earth Day 2015

Wednesday of this week is "Earth Day," and as certain elements of the world's population concentrate on environmental issues, it seems appropriate, as a renegade Christian, to reflect for a moment on what the Bible says about the earth (since the Bible doesn't capitalize the planet's name, neither will we).  Pardon the blood-red typeface, please: I'm a bit tired of the color green in this context, and red is its opposite among the primary colors.
 ....
First, the most basic and obvious facts.  On this, Bible believers and skeptics alike have some basic agreements.  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth .... and God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:1, 10).  The skeptics won't admit the "creation" part, but they'll certainly agree that the earth was "good:" that's what "Earth Day" is all about.  Hooray for earth!  Go, Blue! ...

But then Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God, and what Christians call "the Fall" took place: and the earth was utterly shattered. We can't begin to imagine how beautiful this planet was before the Fall; but, even afterwards, it remained magnificent.  But so much of its current beauty is the result of catastrophe: think of the Grand Canyon, or mighty mountains pushed up by volcanic activity.  Some of the most breathtaking sights on earth are the result of violence .... and the violence came as a result of Adam and Eve's rebellion.  In other words, earth started out perfect, and man almost immediately set about ruining it - - - and he's been ruining it ever since.  Fundamentalist Christians and radical environmentalists can agree on this part; the latter just leave out the "God" stuff, which they find inconvenient, many of them also being radical theophobes. 
...

The Bible describes earth's current condition, and does so without the help of Al Gore or "Friends of the Earth:" For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now (Romans 8:22). Earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, hurricanes: the planet is suffering.  And it's suffering because of man's rebellion.  The reason that the lion and the lamb aren't lying down together, yet, is because man destroyed God's perfect environment through sin.  And man will not restore that perfect environment through pantheistic orgies like "Earth Day," or even by the most dedicated "science."  It will be restored by God, at a time of His choosing, and not until.  
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(Actually, as Francis Schaeffer pointed out, it's not quite accurate to call today's radical environmentalists "pantheists."  Pantheism is the belief that nature is the manifestation of God, or is, quite literally, God: that God consists of the rocks and trees and star clusters.  But the "Earth Day" types don't, as a rule, believe that God exists at all.  They don't believe that everything [pan-] is God, because they don't believe God is there in any form.  So, as Schaeffer said, they should be called "pan-everythingists."  They don't believe that everything is God; they believe that everything is everything. They just haven't worked out the absurdity of their presuppositions.  And I'm not picking on the "Earth Day" people: Al Gore didn't invent pantheism.  Hindus and Buddhists and Native Americans have pantheistic elements in their ideologies; but at least they connect the visible with some sort of Deity, which the modern, educated Westerners simply don't.)
 ,,,
There are, to be sure, professing Christians who are terribly concerned about the state of the planet .... infinitely more concerned, I might add, than they are about the state of other men's souls.  These liberal "Christians," who predominate in the mainline denominations (Roman Catholic and most Protestant groups), will weep, and weep sincerely, over the destruction of a species or the clear-cutting of a forest, or beat their breasts over "fracking;" but they won't shed a tear over millions of people going to Hell every week because they haven't heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They will yammer about "stewardship," and say that Adam and Eve (in whom they really don't believe) were put here to be "stewards" of the Garden.  Which is true; but they don't talk about the Fall, and how sin changed everything.  When the Bible refers to "stewardship" in the New Testament, it is not talking about "preventing global warming." That's a political position; and clergymen who present it as the Gospel are traitors to their calling, if they've been called at all.  They're infidels, and they literally don't give a damn about the souls of men and women.  If that offends you, go ahead and let your blood pressure shoot up: it won't affect your "carbon footprint."
  ...

So, what about "global warming?" (That term isn't used so much any more; as it's gradually being discredited, the pan-everythingists are talking about "climate change.") Not being a scientist, I'm not going to enter that discussion, but as a middling student of the Bible, I can tell you God's plans for the earth.  At some point in the future (I believe the very near future), Jesus Christ is going to return to this planet, in the Flesh, with the scars showing, and sit down on David's Throne in Jerusalem, to rule the world with a rod of iron.  The planet will be restored for a thousand years; that's when the lion and lamb will lie down together, and the toddler will play, safely, with the rattlesnake and the anaconda. 
The planet will be ruled, politically, by the Jews: not the "Messianic Jews" or the "former Jews," but the Jews. And at the end of that time, there will be a final Judgment, the Great White Throne judgment of God, where every man and woman who hasn't received Jesus Christ will finally get his or her "day in court."  (I won't be there; my sins were judged at Calvary.)  Then, Satan will be bound and cast into Hell ..... and the human race will finally see what "global warming" is all about: 
 ...
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).   
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God burning earth
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And eternity will continue, and Heaven and Hell will continue ... and you and I will continue, in one of those places.  The earth will be, for some, a memory; others will have more wonderful things to think about.
  ....
What is the current significance of the planet earth?  It's a place of great beauty, but also great ugliness; great joy, but also unending heartache.  But, as someone said, many many years ago:  "This earth is all of Heaven that an unbeliever in Jesus Christ will ever see - - - and all of Hell that a believer will ever see." 
 ...
Enjoy "Earth Day," if you like.  Make yourself feel good by "caring for the planet."  But if you care about the things that are really important, like your relationship with the Creator, why not make this the day to actually meet Him, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ? But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).  Forget the politics and the fads and the fashions, and learn what life is all about!  You won't be disappointed!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Without Me ....

Every now and then, people read a passage or verse in the Bible, and skip over it without pausing to consider the real ramifications of what's been said.  (Unfortunately, this is the way most people, including most Christians, read the Bible.)  The profundity of the Bible is immeasurable, but it's often presented in such simple terms that we miss it.  A case in point is Jesus' statement in John 15:5: "Without me, ye can do nothing."

At the outset, we need to make a very basic observation about this statement: like all of God's statements, we need to realize that either it is absolutely true, or it's a lie.  (The Bible does record lies, but they're told by characters other than God Himself.)  When God makes a statement, be it a warning, a promise, or a revelation of Himself, we must face the fact that He's either telling the literal truth, or He's lying.  So, when Jesus makes the claim "Without Me, ye can do nothing," He means exactly what He says - - - and the implications are staggering.

As always, we need to get the statement in context: I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (John 15:1-5).


This passage, and indeed the entire chapter, describes one of the most important principles of the Christian life, and has been the subject of countless devotionals, sermons, books, and at least one entire ministry.  The obvious application is the fact that no Christian can be a spiritual success, or bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 5:9), apart from the direct enabling of Jesus Christ.  But instead of attempting to cover this great principle in a single post, it might be profitable to concentrate on a single snippet of Jesus' discourse: the words "Without Me, ye can do nothing."  Those six simple words are enough to occupy our minds for quite awhile - - - and they apply not only to Christians, who have received Christ according to John 1:12, but to unbelievers as well.  Jesus' statement, in one way or another, applies to every atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, or Existentialist who ever lived. ...

Every born-again Christian knows that nothing of eternal value can be accomplished without Christ's power.  Even after we've received Jesus Christ by an act of the will, as He commanded in John 3:3-7, we're still subject to the earthly limitations and tendencies with which we were born the first time.  As Paul said in Romans 7:18: For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. God expects us to read and study His word faithfully, but we're distracted by a thousand other things, and we make excuses, and procrastinate; in fact, most Western Christians have never read the Bible straight through, as you'd read any other book, a single time.  The number of Christians who actually dig in and study the scriptures, verse by verse, is disgracefully small.  We believe the Bible; we even have affectionate feelings for the Bible, and sometimes we enjoy reading articles and books about the Bible.  But Bible study itself?  That's a different matter; to be blunt, most Western Christians simply will not do it.  They'll do almost anything else with their mind, and their attention.  Because, as Jesus observed of the drowsy disciples,  the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). And when we do actually make time for God's word, we become too easily confused, or lack spiritual understanding, because we're still in the same weak body of flesh (including our brain) with which we were born.  For most Christians, Bible reading is a chore and a duty.  But when we turn ourselves over to Jesus, and acknowledge our reliance on Him, and ask Him to be our Teacher and Guide, He shows us such marvelous things in his words as can scarcely be described.  After all, He promised that He would.  Speaking of the Holy Spirit: And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you (John 16:8-15).  But we can't get it by ourselves.  Because "without Me, ye can do nothing."

The other things that God expects of a Christian are equally impossible without the direct enabling of Jesus. Are you facing a certain temptation, be it "big" or "small" (as we like to categorize temptations)?  You really don't want to give in; you don't want to sin against God.  But it's a struggle, isn't it?  We despise the sins we commit, even while we're committing them, unless we've totally seared our conscience (1 Timothy 4:2).  We want to please God. But we can't beat any sin by "willpower" or "self-control:" we may avoid the sin for a time that way, but when the temptation gets too great, we'll give in.  Unless Jesus Himself is strengthening us: because "without Me, ye can do nothing."

Do you want to maintain a good, healthy prayer life with God, keeping the lines of communication open, able to talk with Him at any time?  If you're like most Christians, you do; but that's not easy, either.  Prayer takes focus and discipline; and our minds are constantly distracted, or drift off to other areas; and, very often, the Enemy invades our times of prayer with doubts and discouragements and filthy, obscene thoughts.  Prayer, real, mature prayer, is all but impossible for us: when was the last time that you spent a solid hour praying, alone, without being distracted?  (Please don't ask me the same question!) Unless Jesus helps us, we can't enjoy His word, or pray, or do any of the other things a Christian is called upon to do; because "without Me, ye can do nothing."

But I said at the beginning that this principle doesn't apply to Christians alone.  It applies to all mankind, in one way or another: because Jesus Christ created mankind, whether men acknowledge Him or not.  Speaking of Jesus Christ, Paul says, firmly and unapologetically: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (Colossians 1:16-17).  You may be a Hindu or a Jain or a jeering, smirking atheist, but you are a creature of God, of Jesus Christ.  And not only were you created by Him, you actually "consist" by His grace and power: Jesus Christ literally holds this universe together, moment by moment, by His power.  If He stopped, the universe - - - and you - - - would simply cease to be, except in either Heaven or Hell.

Please don't waste your time and mine by talking about "man's unbounded ability," "man's creative genius," or the great accomplishments of this or that "self-made man."  I know all about it.  I don't sneer at accomplishment, or success; I have respect for every drop of honest sweat, or every positive new insight, that ever decorated a man's life.  Whether it's an astronaut or a great athlete or simply the man who gets up every morning, for decades, working at a job he frequently dislikes, to provide for himself and his family, I have no desire to belittle them at all.  But let's face facts: there's no such thing as a "self-made man" or woman, no matter how arduous one's journey has been.  At various points, there were helpers along the way: if not good parents, then teachers and coaches and friends and co-workers who enabled you to do what you've done.  (As someone has said, a "self-made man" would be a perfect example of unskilled labor.) We know you're wonderful, but those people deserve part of the credit too, don't they?


But even behind these people, there's Jesus.  Even the unbeliever lives and moves and breathes because of Jesus' patience and longsuffering and power.  You heart keeps beating because God wills it so.  You avoid being wiped out in an automobile accident because God wills it so.  You couldn't even get out the door in the morning, to go to work or school, without God's help.  Paul was not addressing Christians, but Greek philosophers, when he said of God, in him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28).  That's a very humbling fact, but it's a fact nonetheless.

This was borne in on me very practically a few years ago when I woke up one morning, having gone to bed thinking that I was perfectly healthy, and was virtually paralyzed: I could move my head and my hands, but I couldn't sit up in bed; I couldn't even turn off the alarm clock.  When friends got me to the hospital, I was diagnosed with with a very rare disorder called hypokalemia: to put it simply, most of the potassium had been leached out of my system, and my muscles were failing.  The doctor said that, in the next 24 hours, without treatment, the next muscle to fail would have been my heart.  After a few days of hospital treatment, I was fine; but for several days, I didn't even have the strength to turn over in bed or pick up my Bible. ....

That was a very small example of what your life and mine would be like without Jesus Christ.  It's not just that we'd be second-rate Christians; it's not a "spiritual" thing at all, except insofar as spiritual reality is the ultimate reality.  This is very practical.  Because Jesus meant exactly what He said: "Without Me, ye can do nothing."  Not even breathe. ....

If we had the proper view of Jesus, something approaching an accurate understanding of Who He is, this wouldn't be so surprising.  And, taken by itself, it could be discouraging: the Enemy would distort Jesus' statement, and make us feel hopeless.  But there's a corollary to "Without Me, ye can do nothing" .... and the Christian will find encouragement, and victory, and joy in meditating upon it.

Two more very simple verses, to be taken together with our original quotation.  Jesus also said,  With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). And Paul brought it down to the individual level, with a promise from God that any Christian can claim, at any time:  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13).
  ....
That verse, Phil. 4:13, was embroidered on Evander Holyfield's boxing trunks, the night that he came back from heart disease to defeat Mike Tyson.  But astounding the world, even in such a dramatic manner, is a very minor example of what Jesus Christ can do in the life of a man or woman who knows Him, and trusts Him, and believes His word.  Because Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).
 
Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!