When Men Run From God

RunFromGod2

My wife and I are both Christian,” the 70-year-old performer explains. “My father AliceCooperwas a pastor, my grandfather was an evangelist. I grew up in the church, went as far away as I could from it — almost died — and then came back to the church.” [ref: Legendary rocker Alice Cooper credits Jesus with curing him of alcoholism] We each have our demons, per se, those things which cause us to run away from God. Even though we tend to go that extra mile by telling ourselves that we are only running from the Church, the priests/pastors, or from the hypocrites within the Church. I myself was born into the Roman Catholic faith, but I always found it to be wrongfully preached or taught. When I was sixteen, I was in the pew listening to the priest say, emphatically I might add, “You are too ignorant and stupid to understand the bible. That is what we priests do, we learn the bible and teach you what you need to know.” While this was paraphrased, it was the crux of what this priest said, in essence, to the congregation. It was this particular straw that broke my camel’s back and sent me packing from the church, or from God. This was the driving force, in my opinion. I would truly say I left the Church because I did not accept what was stated, foolishly I might add.

Return-to-ChurchEventually, I ended up going back to Church, but it was a Pentecostal Church. Of course they had their doctrines which I disagreed with…after all, some of these doctrines that are taught in the Churches of a Denominational God tend to expound upon aspects of the Bible, which in essence, contradict the Bible, or God’s Word. After several other Return-to-Godconcerning issues, I left the Church, yet again. After a ten year hiatus, and much prayer, I returned. But unlike others I never actually left God. Though I had tested God, tried to disprove God, tried to explain away God…I still believed God. He tugs at your heart’s strings. Often times, you are saved from great dilemmas and problems which would essentially destroy you, and rightfully so – I might add. But God in His infinite & divine wisdom protects you in some of the strangest ways. Eventually, by God’s grace, you come around.

As discussed in a previous post we are the church, we the people, with Christ at it’s head. All the world IS God’s possession and can be used as a Church for God. What we do is return to God and return to His presence. It is our purpose to glorify Him in all we do…even if we do so through finding Him again and coming home to Him. Just as was spoken in the Parable of the Lost Sheep., or the Parable of the Lost Coin, or the Parable of the Lost Son.

I have, once I could identify it, always been of the mind of Jean Paul Sartre, who said (effectually):

“To name it is to kill it!”

Essentially meaning that if you define something through a naming process of some sort, you will in effect confine it. Yes, that does include God, as well as religion as a whole. When you name a religion that religion is then defined by it’s name through the associative process in your brain because you will associate all of the tenets of that particular religion to the name it bears, or it’s brand – if you will.

There are, as I recall, approximately 34,000 variations of Christianity throughout the world, today. Why? Because they each have a differing set of tenets to abide by. Drinking, no drinking, dancing, no dancing, snake handling (yeah! you heard me!), acknowledging holidays or not, etc. You change just one thing, one tenet in some manner or form…>>PRESTO!<< You now have a new religion.

Now I have gotten a little off the path of this post, BUT, you can focus on the remainder…This is why we as Christians that we MUST…ABSOLUTELY MUST…study the scriptures and read a lot! Because we will not learn all of this by osmosis. We must research and learn it all in order to have the answers for those who seek to know. We are a beacon of hope, in a manner of speaking. Those who are lost, they too are seeking. Either you and I will answer them…or someone else will misguide them. We have an obligation, according to the Great Commission to enlighten them and at very least steer them toward the truth that God has for them. In doing so, we fulfill the mandate in the Great Commandment.

There are those who are going through something similar to you in your youth, meaning they are running from God & the Church. And God has prepared you for just such an encounter by having you follow the path which you have followed over the course of your life. Man is never satisfied with what he has, because he always wants something more. Me in my youth I can truthfully say that I whored myself out to earn more money so I could obtain more. In so doing, I grew ever so slowly or quickly away from God by slowly divorcing Him out of my life. And though I obtained more, I was none the happier for it. But our God is strong enough and big enough to create something good, or help us to take away something good, from such an experience. And it is just such an experience that we need in order to help another who is going through such turmoil in their lives. We are able to show them God’s love and to let them know…”You are not alone in all of this!”

Jonah ran from God’s mandate and he was not happier for it, in fact he suffered for his brash actions until he fulfilled God’s command. In the Book of Hosea, Gomer ran from her husband back to prostituting herself for more until she was sent to the block to be sold. She was only to be bought back by her own husband, Hosea. This was the story of true love of God for His people and the showing of their ungratefulness.

The bible is full of the information we need, and I mentioned in a previous post as to Why we memorize scripture?…because of those AH-HAH! moments which we can learn quite a bit from.

I have written several posts concerning the subject of “Once Saved, Always Saved.” (Part 1, Part 2, & Revisited) I have always questioned such a thing; however, after much deliberation and much study on the matter I finally concluded that it is in fact the case. I have concluded that IF you do not believe in “Once Saved, Always Saved,” then you must hold the argument that YOU must do something over and above what God has already accomplished. I.e., the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus as the pure and unblemished lamb for our mis-deeds. Such a fallacious belief to have and I do not say such lightly. It is fallacious because you must ask yourself one very pointed question:

What can I do that is greater than the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, My Lord and Savior? What can I do that is far more superior than His being crucified for ALL of my sins?

[Keep in mind, when Jesus hung on the cross…you were not born excepting only that God knew of you before you were in the womb!]

I have often though long and hard on the opening monologue of the movie, The Patriot, where the opening words were spoken:

I have long feared that my sins would return to visit me, and the cost is more than I can bear.” ~Benjamin Martin, opening monologue of ‘The Patriot’

It is not our sins that come to visit us and cause us turmoil, but rather our bad choices. Choose now to follow Jesus, by accepting Him as the Son of the Most High God and as your Savior, YOUR sins shall be forgiven. Turn from your life of tumultuous behavior and turn toward Jesus who will guide you to the heavenly.

Godspeed my friends! I hope this was helpful and informative for you!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

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…avoid foolish and ignorant disputes…

While on Facebook, someone wrote a single question:

Pls share your opinions. CAN A CHRISTIAN LOSE SALVATION ?

Foolish businessAnd foolish me…like so many others like me, responded. Boy-Oh-boy, let the games begin! You just wouldn’t believe it…you would think it was a political posting of some sort! I guess looking back at it in hindsight, I was really not all that surprised by what was to happen. Christians are as social, argumentative, and crazy as anyone else on the face of this earth…sadly, me included! We each will battle to justify our position and our argument, to sustain it’s viability. And if that is not bad enough, we will denigrate those who we think answer us rudely, even though they are just answering a question that we posed. [I don’t think I went that crazy!] But I was asked/told that something I stated was not in the bible, my response was it was in the bible and the scripture. When I responded with that I was accused of arguing…HUH?@#$!

At another point in time, I came to some semblance of sanity and stated/posted:

I have come to the conclusion that this is one of those “…foolish disputes…” (2Tim 2:23-26)that Paul spoke of that we should avoid as children of God! WOW!

I received several comments, some of which were “we aren’t arguing,” and “I wouldn’t characterize the end of time as a foolish or ignorant topic.” Which was not really the topic of discussion anyway. The topic, overall, was what did you (the respondent) believe? Therefore, the question went to the heart of one’s doctrinal beliefs. And trust me…there were a plethora of discussion threads! What was stated by me was that the argument was foolish, in that, we were instructed to avoid such disputes as we are to be of “…one mind…” as written:

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. ~Philippians 2:1-4 NKJV

How can we be “…like minded…” and of “…one mind…” where we are arguing over doctrinal issues that, in my opinion, should have been settled long, long ago! And while arguing, we treat others as though they are heathens and tend to answer curtly, coarsely, and denigrate one another in order to show our dominance over their “ignorant beliefs.”  WOW! Just wow! That is all I have. I am of the mind to argue and my wife will attest to such. However, there are times where I will just attain that “AH-HAH! Moment” that we all seek. And often are hit with at one of the most inopportune moments…you know…when you are winning the argument…er..eh hem…spirited debate. [Yeah, that’ll work for me! LOL]

YES! God does work in very mysterious ways, but why couldn’t He wait a few more posts cause I was winning?

So, my Christian friends, can’t we all just get along? What is it that makes us so different, yet very much so the same as all others in this world? As I have mentioned in a previous post, where I was looking into other platforms but Christian oriented, might not be such a great idea after all. Why? Because we each still possess a propensity to argue, as Tony Robbins once stated, because we knew we had to win! We were right after all and that opponent of ours was but a heathen.

Guess what? We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, which also makes us adoptive brothers and sisters. We are a family and we should be able to get along in these matters. Why, you ask? Because if we cannot get along with our brothers and sisters in Christ…how can we think that we will get along in the heavenly with God? Or even with Christ Himself?

The more I learn, the more I find out I still have a very long distance to go before I get to be even a halfway decent Christian…and that still doesn’t make me a good one! We each need to take a step back from time to time in order to see, or assess ourselves, as to how good we are as Christians. And YES…I do mean an HONEST assessment of yourself! We, as the whole body of Christ need to be:

bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” ~2 Corinthians 10:4-6 NKJV

Sometimes we may take a little longer than usual to get that “AH-HAH!” moment to slap us in the face. You know the drill, some of us just aren’t very sharp or quick witted! Yes, I’ll own that! There will come a point in time, usually during your discussion, where you will note that the argument is foolish or ignorant. So the bottom line is this:

Do you continue on with the argument until you win, or cease arguing and acknowledge to foolhardiness of the argument?

foolish-positinionMany of us have that propensity to fight on until we win [standing on sinking ground in a foolish position] and others are struck with an ethical roadblock [which is not a bad thing]. But there is that small segment of the population who, despite that ethical roadblock which crops up on them, can and will continue the argument until they are victorious. Which type of person are you? Sadly, I have a lot of work to do as I am of the ilk who has, in the past, continued on until victorious…which still makes me the loser in the long-run!

Please learn from my mistakes, that you do not have to go through life wondering why things are the way they are?

Until next we meet again, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

Original posting: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ilovebeingachristian/permalink/330412207486570/?comment_id=330965957431195&reply_comment_id=331074717420319&notif_id=1526187331985687&notif_t=group_comment&ref=notif

Man…Is of few days and full of trouble

Man

Man who is born of woman
Is of few days and full of trouble.

~Job 14:1

We each were born and from that moment forth we began to die. Our demise was and is inevitable. It will come at different times for each and every one of us, but our death is certain and sure. On that same note we were born with sin on our hands, our very nature is that of sinfulness if not kept in check or if not guided. Without the outward guidance, we each would find ourselves in a relativistic immoral vacuum. Without a moral law giver, how could it be anything but immoral? Consider this: 1.  Everything that Hitler and his cronies accomplished was according to German law; 2. Everything Joseph Stalin accomplished was according to Russian law; and 3. Everything Mao Tse Tung had done was accomplished according to Chinese law. [The list could go on and on.] The fact is this, without an outside moral force (something personal and outside our plain of reality) to create our moral code for us, would simply create a relativistic vacuum where we would see that all things are permissible if our moral law giver does not exist…hence, God.

In either case, our lives would be full of trouble because of and wholly due to our sinful nature. We naturally want to press that red button we are not suppose to touch…it is in our nature. No cookies before dinner, or you will lose your appetite! And you get caught, or not, with your hand in the cookie jar. Again, the list could go on and on…

These are sins in God’s sight, Why you may ask? Because our parents are our elders  and our trainers and we are to “Honor your father and your mother…” (Deuteronomy 5:16 NASB) Our parents, together, are our first sight of the God who created us and we are to be trained up in order to learn our place in this world. We need to learn who God is and how He fits in our lives. And must learn the purpose for which we were created, how we can glorify the God who wove us in the womb of our mother, AND how we can attain salvation.

Once you turn your life over to God, in Jesus’ care and by counsel of the Holy Spirit…you are on the road to both inward and outward change. In time, time may vary in comparison to others, you will outwardly act in a manner which will glorify God, and God will use you and I. God has a tendency to use those who are weakest in their tribes to do great & wondrous things.

Thinking parallel, the same YOU who chooses not to turn his, or her, life over to God has other avenues of living. To live without God is to live without a moral lawgiver. To live without a moral lawgiver you live without recognition of sin & wrongdoing in your life…and hence, as mentioned earlier, without God then all things are permissible.

Consider this: If there are religions and there is the possibility that any one of TUITthem may be true, then we have a duty, for our own soul’s sake, to research them and determine for ourselves. If God exists, we have a duty…perhaps even an obligation to seek Him out and then to glorify Him and praise Him. Most people are of the mind that they will get to it later…much later. And sometimes that time never comes because we never got a round tuit! Guess what? Sometimes you will never receive a round tuit to get things done, YOU just have to do them on your own accord…me…I am pretty bad about such things. I would like to think I am working on it, but I fail at every turn. But we each must grab ourselves by our bootstraps and get up and GO DO IT!

Most of our lives are filled with turmoil, trials, tribulation and troubles…this is mainly because we try to do things without God. Even in the little things and small decisions…we need God. But we fail, miserably, at recognizing that even in those little things in our lives…God wants to be in on such things.

God is concerned for even the birds of the air, and you are a step above them as He knows your name and He knows your needs before you do.

In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. ~John 16:23 NASB

There are times you will ask and things do not seem to be happening. Sometimes the answer is no, it could be because you ask with wrong motives, or it is not God’s will for such a thing to happen. We consistently revert back to that angst filled teen that complains and whines because we did not get what we wanted..but get this, it may not be something you needed. God grants what you need. Don’t get me wrong, there are times He will grant you things that you want, but as a good Father in heaven…it is what you need that you will get. Sometimes we need to learn patience, or that we just won’t get all that we ask for. But God is always there, He will never leave you nor forsake you!

No matter how hard you try to be good or righteous in act or deed…you, along with me, will always fail in some way shape or form. As it is in our carnal nature to sin. We were reminded by the Apostle Paul:

“as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one” ~Romans 3:10 NASB

Which was intimated to us centuries ago by by King David:

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.” ~Psalm 14:1 NASB

We each have a problem, that is, we are human and very carnal creatures. We want what is easy, we do not want to work hard for anything, and if at all possible…we would love it to just be given to us. But this is not the way life works. While there is an uprising of those who are entitlement crazed, for you to have something is not necessarily a right…even if it is espoused by a political or religious leader.

We are in desperate need of a return to ethical and moral living, a reminder that God who supplies us with every breath we take and the moral laws that we should be living by. We need to go back to the old ways; while they may be harder, but more often than not it is better for our character.

Wait for the Lord and keep His way, And He will exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.” ~Psalm 37:34 NASB

“He strikes them like the wicked In a public place, Because they turned aside from following Him, And had no regard for any of His ways; So that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him, And that He might hear the cry of the afflicted—” ~Job 34:26-28 NASB

Things don’t always have to be troublesome, just turn to Him and pray for His guidance!

There you will serve gods, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice.” ~Deuteronomy 4:28-30 NASB

 

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

Once Saved, Always Saved ~REVISITED

eternman

Some of you are probably wondering, will he ever just move on? What is up with this topic? This, quite honestly, is a hot topic for many, not just myself. And as like so many, I want everyone to have as much knowledge and understanding at their fingertips in order to make a truly wise, understandable, knowledgeable, and prayerful decision as to what they truly believe about the subject matter at hand! In the past (August & September of 2015) I wrote a two part blog posting on this very subject (Once Saved, Always Saved? & Once Saved, Always Saved? ~Part 2). The blog postings were cursory and were unassumingly ambiguous, in that, I still was not certain at that time about the subject. However, I desired to get as much of the information out to you so that you could decide for yourselves, despite the fact that I was not 100% sure in either case. Many have the belief that once saved & always saved is a fallacy and a license to sin, because if one cannot lose their salvation then they can do anything without regard to consequences. Remember Father Zosima’s quote, from Dostoevsky’sBrothers Karamazov“, “If there is no God then all things are permissible.”

This is not what the bible teaches. And if you can lose your salvation then you aren’t truly saved, hmmmmmmm…also, this is not taught within the biblical text. So, this, I hope, is the last of this question and my input on this subject, as I am (as you can see) grasping information from numerous sources. But no promises on this being the last word on this topic of discussion. Also, it is not like I do not have other topics to discuss, as I have in my drafts anywhere up to 40-50+ topics. But as with anything else, your mind is constantly thinking on what NEEDS to be heard and understood by those who follow your blog(s). I hope I keep everyone busy and tantalized by the topics that are posted.

My greatest problem, that which holds me back from this teaching, is the fact that I believe that somehow we (mankind) can subvert our salvation through our God given right to choose (good or bad, right or wrong, righteous or evil, etc.) I understand that the grace of God is how we receive our salvation which is a gift from God. I also understand that many rely on this scripture:

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. ~John 6:37-38 NASB

My problem with this is that God, Jesus, says, “…the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out…” which leads me to believe that though Jesus will not cast a person out, but if he can chose to be saved by calling on God, can he not also choose to walk away from such a glorious gift, as well? Consider the story of George Wilson, the man who refused a presidential pardon. This is my dilemma, which I hope to solve by the end of this particular blog posting. Therefore, my friends, this will probably be my longest post, or several blog posts, only time and research will tell. Sorry!

So, what is the Doctrine of Free Will? According to Matt Slick of CARM.org he has defined as such:

Free will is the ability to make choices without external coercion.  There are debates as to what extent this free will is to be understood as it relates to people.  There are two main views:  compatibilism and libertarianism…The compatibilist view is the position that a person’s freedom is restricted by his nature as is described in Scripture and that his free will is consistent with God’s foreordination…Libertarian free will says that the person’s will is not restricted by his sinful nature and that he is still able to choose or accept God freely…[see more of this refer to What is free will? ]

Free will and the Christian religion

The problem of free will assumed quite a new character with the advent of the Christian religion. The doctrine that God has created man, has commanded him to obey the moral law, and has promised to reward or punish him for observance or violation of this law, made the reality of moral liberty an issue of transcendent importance. Unless man is really free, he cannot be justly held responsible for his actions, any more than for the date of his birth or the colour of his eyes. All alike are inexorably predetermined for him. Again, the difficulty of the question was augmented still further by the Christian dogma of the fall of man and his redemption by grace. St. Paul, especially in his Epistle to the Romans, is the great source of the Catholic theology of grace. ~Catholic Encyclopedia

This might be a good segue to ask what was the point of the law? What was the purpose of the law? Remember what the Apostle Paul told us, in Romans 7:

…I would not have come to know sin except through the Law… ~Romans 7:7 NASB

So, the law was a means of accomplishing your salvation, that linked with the blood sacrifice of animals could land you into heaven. Of course, you would have to adhere to all of the 613 laws on the books and properly and morally give your blood sacrifices throughout your life. And Jesus taught us that He was “…the way the truth and the light…” by which we could “…come to the Father” and it was only through He that we could do so. Toward the end of Jesus’ ministry He, during the Lord’s supper, stated (according to the Apostle Matthew):

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” ~Matthew 26:26-29 NKJV

We are reminded of the “My blood of the new covenant”, which was a foretelling of His own trial and tribulation that the Christ had to endure in order to become the final sacrifice…for us all…once and for all! Yes…do you you get it now? He died for you and me, for all of us and for all those not yet born. Now, with the “New Covenant” through the blood of Jesus we are no longer held accountable to the law. Now we are to live as Jesus lived; Jesus being our premier example of how to live.

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. ~John 19:30 NKJV

When Jesus said, “It is finished!” He meant that His task was completed for all mankind; i.e., He was that final sacrifice. Upon that moment Jesus gave up His Spirit and His blood was spilled on our behalf, as our final sacrifice. We were freed from the law…although, keep in mind the law is what we use to determine if we are sinning in any particular area of our lives. Of course, this is a no braniner since,  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (for better context refer to Romans 3:21-26 NASB.) This is why we are saved by grace through faith [in the blood of Jesus…the lamb which was slaughtered on our behalf.] Further consider what the Apostle Paul had written:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. ~Ephesians 2:1-10 NASB 

CrucifixionJesus suffered for each and every one of us and He was held accountable for each and every one of our sins. Those nails, the crown of thorns, the cross upon which He bore our sins…it is in our place that he was condemned, it was for our sins He died.This was prophesied by Isaiah, one of the major prophets:

He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. ~Isaiah 53:3 NASB

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth. ~Isaiah 53:7 NASB

We all think, at some points in time, that we are good people. But what exactly Maniacsdo we use as a basis for our arrogant statement? Why? Because we didn’t kill anyone? Because we aren’t Hitler? Stalin? Mao Tse Tung? Pol Pot? THAT is a bit relativistic, don’t you think? The list could literally go one for quite some time, but for brevity I will leave it there. But, yes, Jesus died for each of them. Yet, they did not accept Jesus…they rejected Him and therefore, Jesus also rejected them. Remember what Jesus taught?

“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. ~Matthew 10:32-39 NASB 

license-to-sin

Now, from a moral standpoint we are not given a license to sin. Because as children of God we are to strive to be better than what we once were. Unfortunately, I know people who take this literally as a license to sin. And if they do sin, there is no admission of such a thing, because it wasn’t them but the evil one who sinned within them…hmmmmmmmm.

So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.~Romans 7:17-20 NASB

This is but one, there may be others because the Apostle Paul generally refers to other things he has written about. However, people take this out of context for their benefit in order to sin and continue to keep on sinning. We are meant to understand that we do wrong because of the sinful nature within us. That being said, we are to use Jesus as our Godly example of how we are to live out our lives. But because that is way too hard to do…we should just let our bodies do what they will do, because our souls are saved. That is ungodly thinking and antithetical to the teachings of the bible. Look at the Apostle Paul who killed Christians his brothers & sisters. You can see in his writings that he is tormented due to the memory of what he once was and what he did, but he knew and held on to the hope that Jesus forgave him and he made great strides to do God’s work and fulfill the purpose for which he was created. Let’s look at King David who was a warrior, an adulterer, he lusted, and he killed in order to hide the truth, but God was there and saw it all. Consider, for a moment, that if we were to live as though we have a license to sin then why didn’t the Apostle Paul continue to torment and torture Christians? If what happens while in our flesh truly didn’t matter, then Paul had a license to continue to do what he was doing. And the same could be said of King David. But they each knew they were wrong due to the sin that was within them and they struggled to be better. If God could save David and Saul (Paul), then that gives us great hope…because God wants to save each and every one of us. He desires all of mankind to be saved and to enter into the heavenly realm.

I love the Matt Slick explained his point of view on this, in his article THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION:

…Let’s say that we are on a 20 foot boat out in the ocean. We are sailing along when we notice two men in the water. There is no other boat around, so it is obvious these two men are in trouble. We take a life preserver, tie it to a rope, and throw it to them. It lands just a few feet short. We start yelling and yelling for them to grab the life preserver so we can pull them in. “Come on,” we yell. “Grab it! Grab it!” One of the men, exhausted, reaches out his arm for the life preserver but falls short. “Grab it!” we yell again. He reaches again and his arm plops down in the water from fatigue. The waves slap his face, but he tries again. The other man is simply floating face down in the water. He isn’t struggling at all. But, the first man is trying for that life preserver. He is fighting against the ocean, the wind, and the waves, all which are greater than he is. That is when I ask the person, “Which one of the two men in the water is alive?” Always, the response is, “The one reaching for the life preserver.” “Right,” I say. “He is struggling for life. Dead people don’t struggle for life…. and spiritually dead people do not struggle against their sin. Only those who are dead, who have no life in them, do not struggle. The fact that you are struggling against your sin is one very good sign that you are very much alive in Christ. If you were not struggling at all, then it might be true that you weren’t saved. But, since you war against your sins, then it sure sounds like you’re saved to me.” Usually, the eyes brighten at this point. I then keep going…

Well, I think I truly kept my word, this is the longest post I have written…<<whew!>>

Here after the teaching of the Beatitudes while still speaking to the multitudes during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promised and forewarned us:

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 5:17-20 NASB

All in all, I believe the final belief that can be derived from this post is that we are saved eternally from the aspect that Jesus was that final sacrificial lamb to die for all of our sins. Those who have not yet been born and those who have died. We are told that we will answer for our sins, but unless we lived a life antithetical to God’s word without ever seeking God’s forgiveness, we are saved. Though we sin, we will still answer for them but we are heaven-bound.

Do not forget about the thief on the cross…REMEMBER HIM?

One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” ~Luke 23:39-43 NASB

You can be on your deathbed, and if you are truly seeking God’s forgiveness, He will give it. You might consider reading the minor prophet’s Book of Jonah. If God was willing to forgive the Ninevites, how much happier do you think God would be that YOU seek His salvation and forgiveness?

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.~ 1 Timothy 2:1-4 NASB

So now is the time for you to seek God out, pray to Jesus. Find a bible believing church in your area and start associating with the like minded. Search out a bible that you can read and that is good for your soul. I read the NIV, NASB, NKJV, and the KJV. Most of my references are NASB & NKJV. To help you look here:

BibleSpectrumChart1

Also, one of my other blogs I posted What is the Best Bible to Read? Which has numerous references and articles for you to glean through in order to make your decision.

May the Love of God Shine upon each and everyone of you in your life’s journey toward salvation! I pray for each and every one of you that you find your way, if lost; those of you who are already saved…I pray for you to see and understand God’s will and purpose for you in your lives.

Until next we meet, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

REFERENCES:

The Bible (BibleGateway NKJV & NASB)

The Assurance of Salvation by Matt Slick (CARM.org)

1 John 5:16-17, The sin leading to death

What is once saved always saved? by Matt Slick

What is the Eternal Security of the Believer? by Matt Slick

What is the difference between eternal security, once saved always saved, and perseverance of the saints? by Matt Slick

If eternal security is true, why did the Holy Spirit depart from Saul? by Luke Wayne

Can the Christian believer lose his salvation? by Matt Slick

What is free will? by Matt Slick

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem

Where was God in All this Tragedy?

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When a mad bomber sets off a bomb killing and maiming many, the people blame the mad bomber. When a drunk destroys the lives of family members and takes the life of the other driver, the people blame the drunk driver. When a man goes on a stabbing spree injuring and killing others in a large crowd, the people blame the man wielding the knife. However, in our Politically Correct culture when a man, woman, or child takes a gun into a “Gun Free Zone” and unleashes a whirlwind of bullets killing and injuring the innocence of life at a school, the people blame the gun. Why are people so skewed with respect to the weaponry used?? on February 14th, 2018, there was great travesty in Parkland Florida – a shooting by a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Now, I could go on with this topic for several blog posts, just based upon: What happened, what is being revealed, what is not being said, and who is being blamed. But on a far more serious and segue into the more important topic at hand…where was God in all this tragedy? To who should we cast our eyes for protection?

So, let’s address the elephant in the proverbial room…where was God in all this tragedy? God was right there in the thick of it! He was in the heart of every teacher that ran toward the gunfire, with fear but ever so courageously, in order to protect their students. With great adversity and trial God is shown in the courageous actions of Aaron Feis, Chris Hixon, and Scott Beigel. Admittedly, we may never understand the reasons for any, let alone all, of the evil and suffering that occurs throughout our lives, it is that simple. As a man of faith, and sometimes doubt, I believe that God in His infinite wisdom and in His glory has some morally sufficient reason for such things as these.

Could God have created a error free world without hate, without such travesty? Yes, in my opinion He actually did…it was that little known Garden of Eden from which mankind was kicked out for not abiding by the rules of the garden. It was without pain, fear, travesty, and death. And then Adam and Eve broke the golden rule of God:

The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”~Genesis 2:16-17 NASB

And according to the prophet Isaiah, who said:

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. ~Isaiah 59:2 NASB

This was an affront to God, man violated His law. Seem a bit harsh? Think about it for but a moment…how are you saved? Through the blood, the substitutionary blood of Jesus! By believing and claiming such, through the holy word of God, and faith (as that of Abraham) we are saved. It took the blood of Jesus, who hung on a cross for all of our sins…ALL OF THEM. Every sin which you ever will commit and ever have committed during the course of your life. God saw it all. And Jesus subjected Himself to the torment and torture of the cross out of love for all His creation! So, does getting kicked out of the Garden seem all that harsh in comparison to what Jesus endured for your sins, now???

God is a strict, but loving, God. He provided the sacrifice for our iniquities, suffering the gruesome consequences for not obeying His word. Had He not done so, we would still be sacrificing animals for our sins.

Getting back to it…God created the perfect world and we, mankind or more specifically his ancestry, botched things up. And even now, we as the species of man are not doing such a great job of following God’s commands and word. Even while being saved, we fail Him each and every day, with each and every thought we think and breath we take.

God was also with each and every student, both the survivors and the deceased. You are probably wondering why didn’t God do anything about this? Well, actually He did. The police were called to Nikolas Cruz’s home on 39 separate occasions (23 of which for violence, one of which he aimed one of his guns at the head of a child in the household in which he lived.) This was a police failure on a paramount scale. God gave man free will and regardless of what goes on, man has the ultimate choice. Then there were the FBI hotline tips that were not followed up on. Another Law Enforcement failure. The School Resource Officer failed to act in a timely manner and has since resigned. Then there were the Broward County Sheriff’s deputies who were hiding behind their vehicles with guns drawn while gunfire was going on inside the school when the local police arrived.

When Coral Springs police officers arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14 in the midst of the school shooting crisis, many officers were surprised to find not only that Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, the armed school resource officer, had not entered the building, but that three other Broward County Sheriff’s deputies were also outside the school and had not entered, Coral Springs sources tell CNN. The deputies had their pistols drawn and were behind their vehicles, the sources said, and not one of them had gone into the school. ~CNN Politics

According to Scott M. Sullivan, Ph.D., who is a Christian Apologist wrote on this subject within his Course on Suffering:

  • Christians must admit both that they think both, that:i. An all-powerful and all-good God existsii. Evil exists (evil is not an illusion)

  • In other words, Christianity holds both of these to be true. But morethan that. Christians also must admit that not only does an all goodand powerful God thinks there should be evil and suffering in theworld, but more particularly that GOD WILLS physical evils to happen(physical evils don’t fall outside of God’s control) and PERMITSmoral evils to happen (God cannot will sin for He is all-good but Hecan and obviously does allow it to happen.)i. GOD WILLS THE LAWS OF NATURE THAT CAUSE EARTHQUAKESii. GOD WILLS THE LAWS OF CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGYTHAT RESULTS IN DISEASEiii. GOD PERMITS THINGS LIKE MASS KILLINGS, TORTURE,RAPE AND GENOCIDE etc. ~Suffering Course Introductory Courses in Apologetics

 

If all evil were prevented, much good would be absent from the universe. A lion would cease to live, if there were no slaying of animals; and there would be no patience of martyrs if there were no tyrannical persecution.” ~St. Thomas Aquinas, S.T. I.22 ad.2

And furthermore, the observation of St. Thomas Aquinas is such that:

God is so good that never would he allow evil to exist, unless he were so powerful as to be able to draw good from evil. Hence it is due to neither impotence nor ignorance on God’s part that evils occur in the world, but it is owing to the order of his wisdom and to the greatness of his goodness, whence come the many and divers grades of goodness in things, many of which would be lacking were he to allow no evil to exist. Thus there would be no good of patience without the evil of persecution, nor the good of the preservation of its life in a lion, without the evil of the destruction of the animals on which it lives.” – Aquinas De Pot III.6

We must keep in mind that we, mankind, are finite. We can only truly speak on those things we have experiences or knowledge of or about. God, on the other hand, is infinite. Meaning God sees from the beginning to the end as though it were a unimaginably large panoramic picture. We can only see from our beginning of perceiving of a subject. There is a big difference with respect to the perception of these two.

And though we do not like evil, how are we able to determine how much evil should be in the world???

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28 NASB

Because of our limited understanding and perception how can we expect to know the morally sufficient reasons behind that which we deem as evil? And it is quite possible that nothing may not be realized until 10, 20, 30, 50, or even 100 years after the incident. Perhaps there are to be a series of incident that cascade off of one another over the course of decades. There are those who will go to hell and those who go to heaven.

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. ~1 Timothy 2:3-4 NASB

And considering that God desires all men to be saved, why aren’t they? God gave us free will and the gift of choice. That being said, the gift of salvation must be chosen and freely accepted. Consider the man who refused a presidential pardon, George Wilson (1833). This is why “THE ROMAN’S ROAD TO SALVATION” is such a popular and easy method to aid others in their road to salvation…the basis of which is that we must choose life (salvation), unlike George Wilson.

WHY DID GOD CREATE THOSE HE KNEW WOULD GO TO HELL? Here, St. Thomas Aquinas’ will never be popular with respect to his answer, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true – ALL PEOPLE WILL GLORIFY GOD – those in Heaven glorify God’s mercy, those in Hell glorify God’s justice. Thus, even those in Hell fulfill the very purpose of creation.

I hope this was helpful and informative.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Desperation Leads To Deliverance

Notes Deperation pt4

In Mark 5 we learn of several people: the man from the tombs who is possessed, Jairus and his dying daughter, and the woman with the bleeding disorder. Jesus, throughout His life made a great many “Bold Statements” to the people He taught, instructed, healed, befriended, etc. While the title of this post is not a bold statement which Jesus made…it is, however, a bold statement made due to plain observation of His many encounters with those who were desperate.

Each of these people had desperate problems, desperate needs, and (most had) faith in Jesus to heal.

Everyone had the notion in their heads, at one point in time, who is this Jesus? Who is He that He can heal? Only God can heal, only the healers and men of God can heal…who is this Jesus?

Gods handJesus, the Son of God, who has authority over sicknesses, ailments, death, hunger, the disposition & health of one’s soul, etc. YEAH, that Jesus. It is hard to believe that when one makes their way through the biblical accounts of Jesus, His travels, His trials & turmoil, His teachings & sermons, His healing of the sick and disenfranchised…hard to believe that anyone could ask such a thing. Considering the fact that even after His crucifixion & death, in the area of Jerusalem that His teachings were continued by His Apostles and followers. Jesus1If that which was taught about or by Him was wrong why was there no outcry against it? If He were not crucified to death, buried, and rose again…why then did not those who said, “this did not happen!” Why did they not produce His body? There were many assertions and theories on this, but then they go beyond the scope of this blog post. However, it should be in the back of one’s mind when listening or reading of the great things accomplished by Jesus and His followers.

Getting back on track…

First, we encounter the possessed man from the tombs. He who was possessed by Legion. Jesus commanded Legion, Come out of the man, unclean spirit! (verse 8) And, of course, Legion asked to be cast into the herd of pigs. And Jesus allowed it; then the pigs were sent running off the cliff. Now, you or I…today, would see this as a travesty that so much bacon would be wasted. But, as it was brought to my attention, that this was a great economic problem for the owners of the pigs. Why? You might ask…because the pigs were used in many of the pagan rituals and therefore, Jesus just deprived them of great money making possibilities.

And of course, the man who was possessed desperately desired to go and follow Jesus in verses 18-20. Why? because he had firsthand knowledge and experience of such power and healing that Jesus could perform [my interpretation and understanding]. The gratefulness and the gratitude that he had toward Jesus…could have been second to none! But each of us has a voice to be heard by certain people, apparently the recently healed man of possession needed to have his voice heard by his people…God’s will be done!

Second, we come in contact with one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus whose daughter was dying. Now this is something. a ruler of the synagogue sought out Jesus to heal? But when it comes to one who is near and dear to us, we will not concern ourselves with such a matter, despite what our fellow synagogue leaders think of such a man as Jesus. But family is family…to many, family is everything. Jairus even showed such courage and faith by saying, My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.(verse 23)

While on the way to heal Jairus’ daughter we come in contact with the third person of faith and desperation, the woman with the flow of blood issue.She who used up all her money to be healed. She could neither work nor be around people because she was labeled, “unclean.” So, by the mere touching of the hem of His clothes, she truly had faith that she would be healed…now that is faith, a truly strong faith! But such would not go unnoticed with Jesus.

As with the woman, do we not (in our youth) fail to ask for permission and find it more useful to wait (if caught) to seek forgiveness? But she knew that she was wrong in what she did, as she was “fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.” And once again, God was glorified! And Jesus responded, Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.

So, now back to the second person he ran into…Jairus. His faith was what was to heal his daughter. Those who came from the synagogue ruler’s house said, Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” This raises a question, or two, but those go beyond the scope of this post. One that comes to mind is: If this synagogue ruler was such a man of faith, why didn’t his whole household know of Jesus? Perhaps, I would speculate, that he didn’t want to be unfaithful to his brethren of the synagogue and Jesus was the last person he thought of in this time of trouble. As many of use might do. 

But Jesus in classic form said, Do not be afraid; only believe.” Which was assurance to His caller, the synagogue ruler, and perhaps his entire family. Then Jesus followed on with this, Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping. To which many around just laughed and ridiculed Jesus, considering such a thing just idiocy. After all, this crowd of people, many of which I speculate had seen the body of the girl and suspected or knew the girl to, in fact, be dead. But are we not called to believe despite what we have seen, or believe without seeing?

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” ~John 10:37-38 NKJV 

 Jesus said to him, “Thomas,[a] because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~John 20:29 NKJV

…God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed… ~Romans 4:16-21 NKJV

Face it, we are all raised to be skeptical of those things we do not see. We are also taught that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn’t. Sadly, we live in a skeptical world and this is one of the things we must overcome as we grow older and seek out God in our own way. There are a great number of things that preclude the possibility of knowing God, as we are taught to believe in the theory of evolution and other very smart and educated people who do not count God as a potential, or possible, First Cause for our existence. While some, and yes even some Christian sects discount the classic First Cause argument. But, let us return to our original posting…

Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” This had to be a grand spectacle for all to see! Immediately the girl arose and walked which, of course was not told to us until the writing of this Gospel.

These three instances spoke volumes to us all, that Desperation Leads To Deliverance. While my message is slightly different from the sermon presented by my Pastor (Scott Beckenhauer) the essence of it remains the same. We each follow a path in our lives, good and bad, but eventually we begin to ask the bigger questions which eventually lead us to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

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Desperation can lead us down a very dark and bleak road in our lives, or we can see a glimmer of light and hope at the end of the tunnel which takes us on the trail that leads to hope, faith, love and charity. God awaits all of us to arrive at the finish line, but not all will get there. We are all invited, but not all will accept His generous offer of Grace.

What about you? What is your heart seeking? Where do you desire to go?

Got God? Got Jesus? Got Holy Spirit?

Until next we meet, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Controlling Our Tongue

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While reading the first volume of Donald Grey Barnhouse’s exposition on the Book of Romans, this segment caught my attention. Really struck a chord with me, as my ability to control my tongue is rather weak. Habits are truly hard to break, and bad ones are even worse…as they tend to slap you in the face all of the time. Sadly, we all have the problem where we revert to things we have done before. That is regardless of whether or not we have been attempting to change, or not!

Our Lord’s brother, the Apostle James, once told us:

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. ~James 1:26 NKJV

And he told us,

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. ~James 3:6 NKJV

And he also reminded us about this, as well,

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. ~James 3:8 NKJV

Is our religion and our beliefs useless? All because we cannot control the carnal nature of our tongue? No, but it does give an air of hypocrisy in the eyes of those we are trying to be a beacon of hope for…doesn’t it? In their eyes we are, in no uncertain terms, full of crap! And yes, I can see that point of view, quite easily. The problem being is this: we are faulty creatures and tend to fail God daily. It is that simple…we are not perfect. Could God just spritz us with the very Spirit to purge us of all the evil and nature that we desire to be rid of? Yes, He could. But again, where would the fun and struggles be if everything were just handed to us without any effort?

Lee-pray

We tend to use, in our common everyday language, the profane idioms and blasphemous uses of God’s name or title. We each have the abilities to overcome our carnal natures , but because our uses of the same make us feel good, better, or all important in the eyes of others, we continue to do so. Donal Grey Barnhouse, stated quite emphatically and wisely:

The Word of God says that a man who would be able to control the tongue fully would be a perfect man.

He reminded us that We were each saved by Jesus Christ and through such salvation we have been given such power to control our urges, desires, and carnal natures. A power which will grow day by day enabling us to change our desires, our verbiage, our passions. Much like the bit that is placed into the horses mouth in order to guide such a large and strong beast…we are much the same.

bit-in-mouthThough we be the same, we are also different. God places His Holy Spirit within each of us to guide and empower each of us to follow God and His Word! By this same token, This Holy Spirit is that bit that we place within the mouth of the horse…with one great difference – we each have free will, and we must be willing to subservient ourselves to God and His will! This is a conscious decision that we each must make. We cannot tame our tongues by ourselves, we like horses need help and guidance.

Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. ~James 3:10 NKJV

Our Lord’s brother, the Apostle James, reminded us that both good and bad comes from our mouths. Blessings and curses. We will in once sentence tell our wives or children that we dearly love them dearly, and without skipping a beat will curse out the gut who either cut us off in traffic, or can’t seem to get up to speed while merging. Seriously? YOU angerhave the audacity to merge into highway traffic doing 65 mph or more, but you are only doing 35 mph????????

Well, you can tell what I think of such things! Pretty disgusted to say the least!

ANYWHOOOOOOOO…we do need to be more in control of our mouths, tongues, minds, and our natures in order to accomplish the greater good. ESPECIALLY with our spouses and our kids in the vehicle! You know, we tend to be more flippant with our language with those we are closer to than those we do not know. At least I have found this to be true for myself. This is where my toughest challenge lies.

Righteous-IndignationDonald Grey Barnhouse also reminded us at the end of his chapter entitled, “THE POISON OF ASPS”,

An if they are not to be, it must be by our submission to the restraining grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. May He give us grace to come for more grace.

We each have a task before us and that is to control our anger and our unnecessary outbursts. Not all anger and outbursts are ungodly, there is such a thing as righteous indignation. After all, did not Jesus turn over the tables of the money changers within the temple? Not all anger and outbursts are wrong, but we tend to misconstrue what we are suppose to do and then justify what we want to do. But, of course, that is another topic for discussion. And perhaps will require a greater ability to explain than I have at this time.

Give all of yourself over to God and be led by the Holy Spirit. Bridle your tongues, curb your thoughts, and submit yourself to God’s will! It will take time, but you will see a difference.

Godspeed on your quest, my friends!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD