Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Early christian look at holidays


Why, on the day of gladness, do we neither cover our door-posts with laurels, nor intrude upon the day with lamps?It is a proper thing, at the call of a public festivity, to dress your house up like some new brothel. However, in the matter of this homage to a lesser majesty, in reference to which we are accused of a lower sacrilege, because we do not celebrate along with you the holidays of the Caesars in a manner forbidden alike by modesty, decency, and purity,- in truth they have been established rather as affording opportunities for licentiousness than from any worthy motive. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 44

Yes, and persons who are now daily brought to light as confederates or approvers of these crimes and treasons, the still remnant gleanings after a vintage of traitors, with what verdant and branching laurels they clad their door-posts, with what lofty and brilliant lamps they smoked their porches… arts which, as made known by the angels who sinned, and forbidden by God, Christians do not even make use of in their own affairs. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg.44

What less of defilement does he recur on that ground, than a business brings which, both nominally and virtually, is consecrated publicly to an idol?… New-year's gifts likewise must be caught at, and the Septimontium kept; and all the presents of Midwinter and the feast of Dear Kinsmanship must be exacted; the schools must be wreathed with flowers; the flamens' wives and the aediles sacrifice; the school is honored on the appointed holy-days. The same thing takes place on an idol's birthday; every pomp of the devil is frequented. Who will think that these things are befitting to a Christian master, unless it be he who shall think them suitable likewise to one who is not a master?Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 66

"Then," do you say, "the lamps before my doors, and the laurels on my posts are an honor to God?" They are there of course, not because they are an honor to God, but to him who is honor in God's stead by ceremonial observances of that kind, so far as is manifest, saving the religious performance, which is in secret appertaining to demons. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 70

Let, therefore, them who have no light, light their lamps daily; let them over whom the fires of hell are imminent, affix to their posts, laurels doomed presently to burn: to them the testimonies of darkness and the omens of their penalties are suitable. You are a light of the world, and a tree ever green. If you have renounced temples, make not your own gate a temple. I have said too little. If you have renounced stews, clothe not your own house with the appearance of a new brothel. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 71

But as for you, you are a foreigner in this world, a citizen of Jerusalem, the city above. Our citizenship, the apostle says, is in heaven. You have your own registers, your own calendar; you have nothing to do with the joys of the world; nay, you are called to the very opposite, for "the world shall rejoice, but you shall mourn." Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg.101

It would follow as a consequence that we might take part in public feasts, if it were proved that the public feasts had nothing wrong in them, and were grounded upon true views of the character of God, so that they resulted naturally from a devout service of God. If, however, the so-called public festivals can in no way be shown to accord with the service of God, but may on the contrary be proved to have been devised by men when occasion offered to commemorate some human events, or to set forth certain qualities of water or earth, or the fruits of the earth,- in that case, it is clear that those who wish to offer an enlightened worship to the Divine Being will act according to sound reason, and not take part in the public feasts. Origen (A.D. 248) Ante-Nicene Fathers

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Should our interpretations of the Bible line up with the early Christians interpretations of the Bible ?

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." 1 John 2:15-16
And the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and accursed: loving vanities, pursuing revenge, not pitying a poor man, not laboring for the afflicted, not knowing Him Who made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from him who is in want, afflicting him who is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, utter sinners. Be delivered, children, from all these. "Didache (A.D. 80-140) ch.5"
Bear with me, brethren. Do not hinder me from living; do not desire my death. Bestow not on the world one who desires to be God's, neither allure him with material things. Suffer me to receive the pure light. When I am come thither, then shall I be a man. "Ignatius: to the Romans (A.D. 35-105) ch.6"
[For] I write to you in the midst of life, yet lusting after death. My lust has been crucified, and there is no fire of material longing in me, but only living water speaking in me, saying within me, Come to the Father. I have no delight in the food of corruption or in the delights of this life. I desire no longer to live after the manner of men."Ignatius: to the Romans (A.D. 35-105) ch.7"
“These are they that have faith, but have also riches of this world. When tribulation comes, they deny their Lord by reason of their riches and their business affairs." And I answered and said unto her, "When then, lady, will they be useful for the building?" "When," she replied, "their wealth, which leads their souls astray, shall be cut away, then will they be useful for God. For just as the round stone, unless it be cut away, and lose some portion of itself, cannot become square, so also they that are rich in this world, unless their riches be cut away, cannot become useful to the Lord. Learn first from yourself. When you had riches, you were useless; but now you are useful and profitable unto life.” "Hermas (A.D. 150) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg. 14"
(The angry temper) insinuates itself into the heart of the man, and for no cause whatever the man or the woman is embittered on account of worldly matters, either about meats, or some triviality, or about some friend, or about giving or receiving, or about follies of this kind. For all these things are foolish and vain and senseless and inexpedient for the servants of God. "Hermas (A.D. 150) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg. 23"
He said to me; "You know that you, who are the servants of God, are dwelling in a foreign land; for your city is far from this city. If then you know your city, in which you shall dwell, why do you here prepare fields and expensive displays and buildings and dwelling-chambers which are superfluous? 

He said to me; "You know that you, who are the servants of God, are dwelling in a foreign land; for your city is far from this city. If then you know your city, in which you shall dwell, why do you here prepare fields and expensive displays and buildings and dwelling-chambers which are superfluous? 
He, therefore, that prepares these things for this city does not purpose to return to his own city. 
O foolish and double-minded and miserable man, do you not perceive that all these things are foreign, and are under the power of another?” "Hermas (A.D. 150) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg. 30"
Therefore, instead of fields buy you souls that are in trouble, as each is able, and visit widows and orphans, and neglect them not; and spend your riches and all your displays, which you received from God, on fields and houses of this kind. "Hermas (A.D. 150) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg. 30"
The rich man has much wealth, but in the things of the Lord he is poor, being distracted about his riches, and his confession and intercession with the Lord is very scanty; and even that which he gives is small and weak and has not power above… "Hermas (A.D. 150) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.32"
These are they that are mixed up in business and cleave not to the saints. Therefore the one half of them lives, but the other half is dead. "Hermas (A.D. 150) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg. 42"
Some of them are wealthy and others are entangled in many business affairs. The briars are the wealthy, and the thorns are they that are mixed up in various business affairs. These [then, that are mixed up in many and various business affairs,] cleave [not] to the servants of God, but go astray, being choked by their affairs, but the wealthy unwillingly cleave to the servants of God, fearing lest they may be asked for something by them. Such men therefore shall hardly enter into the kingdom of God. For as it is difficult to walk on briars with bare feet, so also it is difficult for such men to enter the kingdom of God. "Hermas (A.D. 150) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.50"
We who valued above all things the acquisition of wealth and possessions, now bring what we have into a common stock, and communicate to every one in need."Justin Martyr (A.D. 160) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg.167"
And again, the Lord Himself exhibits Abraham as having said to the rich man, with reference to all those who were still alive: "If they do not obey Moses and the prophets, neither, if any one were to rise from the dead and go to them, will they believe him." Now, He has not merely related to us a story respecting a poor man and a rich one; but He has taught us, in the first place, that no one should lead a luxurious life, nor, living in worldly pleasures and perpetual feastings, should be the slave of his lusts, and forget God. "For there was," He says, "a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and delighted himself with splendid feasts." Of such persons, too, the Spirit has spoken by Isaiah: "They drink wine with [the accompaniment of] harps, and tablets, and psalteries, and flutes; but they regard not the works of God, neither do they consider the work of His hands." Lest, therefore, we should incur the same punishment as these men, the Lord reveals [to us] their end. "Irenaeus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg. 464"
Besides, He makes preparation for a self-sufficing mode of life, for simplicity, and for girding up our loins, and for free and unimpeded readiness of our journey; in order to the attainment of an eternity of beatitude, teaching each one of us to be his own storehouse. For He says, "Take no anxious thought for to-morrow," meaning that the man who has devoted himself to Christ ought to be sufficient to himself, and servant to himself, and moreover lead a life which provides for each day by itself. For it is not in war, but in peace, that we are trained. War needs great preparation, and luxury craves profusion; but peace and love, simple and quiet sisters, require no arms nor excessive preparation. The Word is their sustenance. "Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 195) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.235"

And again, the Lord Himself exhibits Abraham as having said to the rich man, with reference to all those who were still alive: "If they do not obey Moses and the prophets, neither, if any one were to rise from the dead and go to them, will they believe him." Now, He has not merely related to us a story respecting a poor man and a rich one; but He has taught us, in the first place, that no one should lead a luxurious life, nor, living in worldly pleasures and perpetual feastings, should be the slave of his lusts, and forget God. "For there was," He says, "a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and delighted himself with splendid feasts." Of such persons, too, the Spirit has spoken by Isaiah: "They drink wine with [the accompaniment of] harps, and tablets, and psalteries, and flutes; but they regard not the works of God, neither do they consider the work of His hands." Lest, therefore, we should incur the same punishment as these men, the Lord reveals [to us] their end. "Irenaeus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg. 464"
Besides, He makes preparation for a self-sufficing mode of life, for simplicity, and for girding up our loins, and for free and unimpeded readiness of our journey; in order to the attainment of an eternity of beatitude, teaching each one of us to be his own storehouse. For He says, "Take no anxious thought for to-morrow," meaning that the man who has devoted himself to Christ ought to be sufficient to himself, and servant to himself, and moreover lead a life which provides for each day by itself. For it is not in war, but in peace, that we are trained. War needs great preparation, and luxury craves profusion; but peace and love, simple and quiet sisters, require no arms nor excessive preparation. The Word is their sustenance. "Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 19

Monday, October 29, 2012

Walk in the light

Isa 33:14  The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
Isa 33:15  He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;
Isa 33:16  He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.

What a blessing to have such clear directions from Gods word. Most professing Christians wouldn't think it was wrong to watch football or even maybe boxing. Some would even justify watching tapout  ( a very ruthless fighting sport on tv ) But violence is evil and we need to shut our eyes at beholding it. Notice how it says " the sinners in zion " ? This is a verse for believers.

 .Psa 24:3  Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
Psa 24:4  He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
Psa 24:5  He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Sin of Gluttony

The Sin of Gluttony

And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Pr. 23:2
     Written by Mike Atnip .
It’s the sin we are all afraid to touch. I am not even sure why that is, except maybe it is like the sin of materialism; so many of us are guilty of it we hardly know where to start. Or, simply put, if we speak out we will be incriminating ourselves … so we conveniently move on to a subject that we feel more comfortable with.
As I ponder the situation, though, it is sort of amazing that in over four decades of church life, I can only remember one sermon that was specifically focused on gluttony as a sin. And I cannot recall one time in my lifetime that a church disciplined any member for gluttony. Is it because we do not have that problem in our midst? Or is it, like the sin of materialism, something we have just grown so used to that there would be a major revolt in our churches if people who obviously do not have their eating under control were barred from the communion cup?
To be sure, my heart sort of trembled—as I started writing this article—like Gideon’s probably did when he thought of destroying his father’s altar of Baal. To destroy something that family, friends, and fellow believers worship with a passion? I have to wonder just how much Gideon struggled with that command.
Before beginning, let me say that this article is not directed at anyone in particular. People in the past have asked me, after speaking or writing on a topic, “Were you thinking of me when you said that?” Or, “Did you have so-and-so in mind when you wrote that?” I usually refuse to say yes or no, and tell them, “If the shoe fits, wear it.” And so my advice to anyone who wonders if I was thinking of anyone in particular as I write, is this: If this article fits you, wear it.
Gluttony is a sin that historically has been closely associated with wealth. Even Sodom was used as an example, later in history, for “pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness … neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” Ez. 16:49 It strikes me that Sodom is remembered for laziness and gluttony rather than the gross immorality which we often think of when we think of Sodom. Sodom was wealthy, proud, and gluttonous, and did not use her extra resources to help the poor. So God let her be destroyed. Doesn’t that remind you of our North American society?
Do we have ears to hear?

What is gluttony?

We really do not need to spend a lot of time defining gluttony. We all know that gluttony is uncontrolled eating. And yes, skinny people can be gluttons. Some people simply will have a harder battle with this sin than others.
But let’s park here at this point for a moment. It seems our culture has made it taboo to speak against being overweight. There is virtue in not making fun of overweight people; in fact, we should make fun of no one. But we need to overcome our fear of speaking against being overweight, and face reality. And that reality is that most overweight people are overweight because they are gluttons.
Ouch! Do I have proof for such a statement?
In a recent conversation with a Christian Canadian medical doctor, I told him that from my observations, I think the percentage of people who are overweight from a medical condition is quite low; definitely single digit, and probably in the 1-2% range. Then I asked him what he thought of my opinion.
His answer somewhat shocked me. He told me frankly that I was wrong. He said the percentage of people who are overweight from reasons other than overeating was 0%.[1]
It is quite simple, he explained. If a person’s body is storing fat, then the person is eating more calories than what he/she needs to live. And it really is that simple! The answer to stop the fat-storing process is quite simple: eat less calories, or exercise more. He then told the story of how a lady came to him for advice about her weight gain. She had been to several other doctors, trying to find out what medical condition it might be that was causing her to gain weight. The other doctors could find nothing abnormal with her body, so she came to him.
“If you stopped eating, do you think you would still gain weight?”

“Yes!” was her convinced reply.
He told her in plain words what the answer was: she was eating too much. But she wasn’t convinced. So he asked her, “If you stopped eating, do you think you would still gain weight?”
“Yes!” was her convinced reply.
So he told her, “Why don’t you go on a two-week fast. This will see whether you gain weight even if you don’t eat.” She agreed, fasted for two weeks … and of course lost several pounds of weight.
But the story doesn’t end there. The doctor told me that the lady quit coming to see him for advice. He sadly remarked, “I suppose she went seeking for another doctor somewhere who would tell her that she had a medical problem of some sort that was causing her weight gain.”
I relate this story because it sums up so well the way we have come to view gluttony. We have convinced ourselves too many times that our sin is indeed an “eating disorder” or a “medical problem,” and not a sin. But I do want to be careful. There may well be some cases of people who have a medical condition that causes weight gain, even if a person totally fasted. But from my research, such cases are indeed rare. And, in some cases, weight gain may be from fluid retention, not fat buildup. If you truly have a medical condition that causes weight gain even though you eat nothing or practically nothing, you need feel no conviction. But for the rest of us, it is time we simply face the facts: fat buildup is from gluttony.

The “epidemic”

Our government here in the US is getting concerned. Two out of every three people in the USA are now overweight. One out of three are not overweight by a couple of pounds, but obese, which means seriously over ideal weight. Another recent statistic that I read stated that about 33% of all school-age children in the United States are now considered overweight or obese. In the US, the cost of dealing with obesity is estimated at $100 billion annually.[2] Yes, that is billions, not millions; enough to eradicate starvation in the whole world.
There are several reasons for this “epidemic,” but it can basically be narrowed down to two words: gluttony and laziness. What can we expect from a generation of children who grow up sitting on the couch watching TV and stuffing Twinkies down their throats? Obesity rates have tripled in the last three decades. Instead of making the children plant, weed, and harvest the green beans in the garden, and feeding them the beans when they are harvested, many in our society have opted for the “easy,” automated life. When children grow up with nothing to do besides eat Twinkies and watch perverted TV programming, can we expect anything but a 33% overweight rate and twisted ideas of morality? This is compared to a 12% overweight rate for children among “Plain” churches. Twelve percent is still too many, but the difference is the work ethic and a more conscientious approach to controlling eating habits.
Is it not time for the church of God to speak to the issue? Actually, now is not the time … the time is way past in our culture. The last few generations seem to have been too quiet about the sin of gluttony in our land.
Interestingly, up until a century or so ago, the church was not quiet about gluttony, and through the ages men of God have spoken and written about it in plain terms. Let’s take a look at some of them.

The early church

“The Shepherd of Hermas” is an early church document from the 1st or 2nd century that was held in high esteem among the early church. It is written in an allegorical style, and could be called “The Pilgrim’s Progress of the Early Church.” The author had this to say about gluttony:
For some through the abundance of their food produce bodily ailments, and thus damage their bodies. Meanwhile other people are damaging their bodies because they don’t have enough nourishment. And their bodies waste away. This intemperance in eating is harmful to you who have abundance and do not share it with those who are needy. Give heed to the judgment that is to come! You who are well-to-do, seek out the hungry [while there is opportunity].
I find it interesting that the author sees two evils in gluttony. First he mentions health reasons. The knowledge that overeating is harmful to a person’s physical health has been around a long time. It doesn’t take 21st-century medical technology to figure that out. But the other evil of gluttony is that of not sharing when we have more than we need. Woe to the man who has more than he needs, but does not share it. Gluttony is also harmful to a person’s spiritual health! Paul tells us quite plainly in Romans 8:13, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.” In modern “Street English” we could say, “If you keep feeding your face just because it feels good, God will have to depart from you.”

Clement of Alexandria

Clement of Alexandria lived during the late 2nd century into the early 3rd century. A prolific writer, he touched many themes. The following are extracts from the first part of Book 2 of “The Instructor,” concerning gluttony. I forewarn you, he minces not his words.
Food is to be simple, truly plain ... as ministering to life, not to luxury.
Some men, in truth, live that they may eat, just like the irrational animals do, “whose life is their belly, and nothing else.” But the Instructor enjoins us to eat that we may live … [Food] is to be simple, truly plain, suiting precisely simple and innocent children—as ministering to life, not to luxury. Our eating should lead us to two things—health and strength …
They are not ashamed to sing the praises of their delicacies, giving themselves great trouble to get lampreys in the Straits of Sicily, the eels of the Mæander, and the kids found in Melos, and the mullets in Sciathus, and the mussels of Pelorus, the oysters of Abydos, not omitting the sprats found in Lipara, and the Mantinican turnip; and furthermore, the beetroot that grows among the Ascræans: they seek out the cockles of Methymna, the turbots of Attica, and the thrushes of Daphnis, and the reddish-brown dried figs … Besides these, they purchase birds from Phasis, the Egyptian snipes, and the Median peafowl.[3] Altering these by means of condiments, the gluttons gape for the sauces. “Whatever earth and the depths of the sea, and the unmeasured space of the air produce,” they cater for their gluttony. In their greed, the gluttons seem absolutely to sweep the world with a dragnet to gratify their luxurious tastes. These gluttons, surrounded with the sound of hissing frying-pans, and wearing their whole life away at the pestle and mortar, cling to [material things]. More than that, they render plain food impotent, namely bread, by straining off the nourishing part of the grain,[4] so that the nourishing part of food becomes matter of reproach to luxury.
There is no limit to Epicurism[5] among men. For it has driven them to sweetmeats, and honey-cakes, and sugarplums; inventing a multitude of desserts, hunting after all manner of dishes. A man like this seems to me to be all jaw, and nothing else. “Desire not,” says the Scripture, “rich men’s dainties,” (Pr. 23:3) for they belong to a false and base life. They partake of luxurious dishes, which a little after go to the dunghill.[6]
But we who seek the heavenly bread must rule the belly, which is beneath heaven, and much more the things which the belly craves, which “God shall destroy,” (1 Co. 6:13) says the apostle, justly condemning gluttonous desires …
For they have not yet learned that God has provided for man food and drink for sustenance, not for pleasure; since the body derives no advantage from extravagance in foods. For, quite the contrary, those who use the most frugal fare are the strongest and the healthiest, and the noblest; as domestics are healthier and stronger than their masters, and husbandmen than the proprietors; and not only more robust, but wiser, as philosophers are wiser than rich men. For they have not buried the mind beneath food, nor deceived it with pleasures …
For it were not seemly that we, after the fashion of the rich man’s son in the Gospel, should, as prodigals, abuse the Father’s gifts; but we should use them, without undue attachment to them, as having command over ourselves. For we are enjoined to reign and rule over foods, not to be slaves to them …
But how totally irrational, futile, and inhuman is it for those that are of the earth, fattening themselves like cattle, to feed themselves up for death; looking downwards on the earth, and bending ever over tables; leading a life of gluttony; burying all the good of existence here in a life that by and by will end; courting voracity alone, in respect to which cooks are held in higher esteem than husbandmen. For we do not abolish social events, but look with suspicion on the snares of custom, and regard them as a calamity. Wherefore daintiness is to be shunned, and we are to partake of few and necessary things …
We must guard against those articles of food which persuade us to eat when we are not hungry, bewitching the appetite.
We are not, then, to abstain wholly from various kinds of food, but only are not to be taken up about them. We are to partake of what is set before us, as becomes a Christian, out of respect to him who has invited us, by a harmless and moderate participation in the social meeting; regarding the sumptuousness of what is put on the table as a matter of indifference, despising the dainties …
Wherefore we must guard against those articles of food which persuade us to eat when we are not hungry, bewitching the appetite. For is there not within a temperate simplicity a wholesome variety of eatables? Bulbs, olives, certain herbs, milk, cheese, fruits, all kinds of cooked food without sauces …

The seven deadly sins

Sometime during the first millennium of Christian history, a list of seven “chief” sins was compiled. These seven “deadly sins” were lust (or luxury), greed, wrath, envy, pride, laziness … and gluttony. My inclusion of this list in this article is not an approval or disapproval of the list or its use. But it is interesting to see that gluttony—and its close relative, laziness—were put right up there with what we usually consider to be among the “bad” sins of lust and anger. Essentially, these seven deadly sins were a list of the fruits of a self-centered life, the “me-first” syndrome. They are the opposites of seven virtues: humility, charity, kindness, patience, chastity, diligence … and temperance.


Temperance is self-control. When applied to gluttony, several aspects come into play. We think of overeating, which indeed is a form of intemperance. However, let’s consider the five ways that Gregory “The Great” spelled out eating intemperance in the late 6th century:
1. Eating before the time of meals in order to satisfy the taste buds. In other words, unnecessary snacking. Children easily fall into the habit of wanting a premeal snack, then they are not hungry when the beans are passed at meal time.
2. Seeking delicacies and better quality of food to gratify the “vile sense of taste.”
3. Seeking after sauces and seasonings for the enjoyment of the taste.
4. Exceeding the necessary amount of food.
5. Taking food with too much eagerness, even when eating the proper amount, and even if the food is not luxurious. In other words, making it obvious that the eating is done for pleasure and not for nourishment.
These five forms of gluttony are summed up in the matter of timing, quality of food, use of stimulants, quantity, and undue eagerness in eating.[7]

Potatoes, or potato chips?

Gregory’s five ways of being a glutton can perhaps be summarized in the war between eating potatoes and eating potato chips. Say you have the bag of chips lying around. Dinner is still an hour away, and the belly growls a little ... “Give me some food!” So you pop open the bag of barbequed chips. “Ummm, these are really good!” exclaim your small children. They entered the kitchen just as you opened the bag, and of course you didn’t feel good about eating some yourself and telling them to wait for dinner.
The chips cost about $3/lb. The potatoes cost about 1/10 of that. The barbeque sauce tastes so good that you eat more than you intended. The children can’t stop exclaiming how good barbequed potato chips taste. Now, reread the five ways of being a glutton above, and compare that to the situation just described. Gluttony is more than just overeating.
And, of course, when the potatoes are served an hour later, the children grump about having to eat plain old potatoes, and they are not hungry they say. So they eat a few bites of potato. Then two hours after the meal, the children complain that they are hungry, and want a snack …
This is not to say that to eat a between-the-meals snack is always gluttony. The point is to show that such habits are setting the stage for eating intemperance. Children who grow up in such an atmosphere are certainly more likely to fall into the 33% “overweight” statistic we looked at earlier. And have not most of us here in North America grown up in that very atmosphere, at least to a degree?

A Czech reproof

Moving on in time, we come to the late Middle Ages, in what is now the Czech Republic. Here we find Peter Chelcicky and the beginnings of the Bohemian revival that produced the Unitas Fratrum. Peter is rebuking the civil leaders and the authorities of the State Church for their gluttony. I warn you again that, like Clement, he minces not his words:
[They are] ‘honorable’ men, who sit in great houses, these purple men, with their beautiful mantles, their high caps, their fat stomachs. As for love of pleasure, immorality, laziness, greediness, uncharitableness, and cruelty—as for these things, the priests do not hold them as sins when committed by [the upper class]. They do not tell them plainly, ‘You will go to hell if you live on the fat of the poor, and live a bestial life,’ although they know the rich are condemned to eternal death by such behavior.
The [friars] pretend to follow Christ, and have plenty to eat every day. They have fish, spices, brawn, herrings, figs, almonds, Greek wine, and other luxuries. They drink good wine and rich beer in large quantities, and so they go to sleep. When they cannot get luxuries, they fill themselves with vulgar puddings till they nearly burst.[8]
It almost sounds like Peter may have been looking into the future at North America in the 21st century!

The Anabaptists

Many of us are familiar with the Schleitheim Confession. However, there is another early Anabaptist document called the “Congregational Order” that circulated widely—sometimes right alongside the Schleitheim Confession—among early Anabaptists. Our concern in this article is the sixth point of the Order:
A lavish meal
The early Anabaptists considered lavish meals to be gluttony.
6. All gluttony shall be avoided among the brothers who are gathered in the congregation; serve a soup or a minimum of vegetable and meat, for eating and drinking are not the kingdom of heaven.[9]
Compare that with some of our fellowship meals, or times when we have a get-together in our homes with long tables filled with exquisite foods. Imagine a church standard against big, fancy meals! While it is arguable whether the Order constituted a “church standard” as such, one thing is clear: the early Anabaptists considered lavish meals to be gluttony.
Heinrich Bullinger—Zwingli’s successor in the Swiss Protestant Reformation—had said some nasty things about the Anabaptists. But he had this to say about their conduct:
Those who unite with them will by their ministers be received into the church by rebaptism and repentance and newness of life. They henceforth lead lives under a semblance of quite spiritual conduct. They denounce covetousness, pride, profanity, drinking, and gluttony.[10]
They “denounced” gluttony. Do we?

Finney on gluttony

If you are inclined to eat too much, you must deny yourselves those kinds of diet that betray you into gluttony. Whatever those kinds of diet are, of which you are so fond, and that overcome you when placed before you, and lead you to transgress the laws of your being, put them entirely away. Do not suffer them to find a place upon your table.
The exact opposite of this course is generally pursued by mankind. From the general conduct of mankind, it would seem that they fear starvation a thousand times more than they do gluttony, and that the utmost attention must be paid to preparing tempting dishes, or mankind would not have sufficient appetite to meet the demands of their nature. Now gluttony is one of the most common sins in the world. It is the testimony of the best judges upon this subject, that excessive eating is the most common form of intemperance that prevails among mankind, and is the cause of more disease, especially in this country, than any other form of intemperance. How unwise then, how wicked, what tempting God is it, to continue to prepare and set before yourselves those tempting dishes, instead of furnishing your tables with those wholesome, bland articles of diet of which you will be likely to eat only the necessary quantity.[11]


When calling men to holiness, there will always arise the cry of “Asceticism!” among certain folks who love this world. And, there is indeed an imbalanced view of eating within asceticism. Let’s look at it …
Asceticism tends to view any activity that brings bodily pleasure as sin. So if eating good-tasting food brings pleasure, then in asceticism eating that food is sin.
Carnality has pleasure as the prime goal in its decisions.

Asceticism forbids any pleasure.

Holiness does what is right and joyfully accepts either the pleasure or the pain that accompanies the act.
But that is not what this article is promoting. We are lifting up the idea of holiness, which says that whatever we do, we do it with the chief aim being to glorify God. If our glorifying of God also brings bodily pleasure, we accept that pleasure and enjoy it. However, many times the path to glorifying God brings physical pain, or just a lesser pleasure to the body than what could be had if we would just “let loose and live.”
We can sum up three views concerning pleasure in this way:
  1. Carnality has pleasure as the prime goal in its decisions.
  2. Asceticism forbids any pleasure.
  3. Holiness does what is right and joyfully accepts either the pleasure or the pain that accompanies the act.
The following quote, by Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori, says it very well:
However, it is not a fault to feel pleasure in eating: for it is, generally speaking, impossible to eat without experiencing the delight which food naturally produces. But, it is a defect to eat, like beasts, through the sole motive of sensual gratification, and without any reasonable object.[12]

My personal “Battle of the Bulge”

I grew up on a farm and spent most of my life working in construction, farming, and logging. As well, as a youth I was active in hunting and other outdoor activities and sports. In other words, I had lots of physical exercise. We were “middle-class” Americans—which is actually “upper-class” if you consider the whole world—and I cannot recall a single day in my life when I didn’t have enough to eat. I can recall very few days when the opportunity to be a glutton didn’t present itself. There was desert available after most meals, and plenty of bacon and ham and cheese. And … the ice cream and cake for visitors in the evenings, after supper.
With an active lifestyle and some basic moderation, I never put on any extra weight. That is not to say I was never a glutton, as we have seen that gluttony is more than overeating.
Then came the change in lifestyle. And middle age. Instead of lugging a big chainsaw into the woods and cutting timber, or laying concrete blocks all day, I was sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen. And I started the “battle of the bulge.” Within months I gained maybe 10 pounds of weight.
I knew it was time to cut back on eating. But was it ever difficult! For over 30 years I had developed eating habits and tastes. To stop the gain, I had to cut back on my eating by about one third. And to lose that which I had gained? That was Hard, with a capital H. I have had to—and still have to—leave the table many times feeling not quite full. It is a simple fact; for every time a person overeats and gains weight, he/she will need to “undereat” to lose that weight. It is, boiled down, the law of reaping what we sow.
This battle has made me feel a little more supportive of those whose metabolism makes it hard to keep off the pounds. Those of us who have it easier need to be a support to those whose metabolic rate more easily reveals their intemperance. But let’s be honest; even those with a low metabolism (and thus they gain excess weight very easily) are called to temperance.
Some people need more food than others. My parents had a friend who used to visit our house occasionally when I was a boy. He was a thin man, with an extremely high metabolism or something. I have watched him eat up to a quart of ice cream … after having a big, full meal. I also watched him jump into a 55-gallon drum, flat-footed, and jump right back out … when he was 55 years of age.
Very few of us could eat like that and not be gluttonous. But this man needed to eat what seemed to be excessive amounts. Others have to eat less than normal to supply their needs. It doesn’t seem fair! The one man can enjoy pints of ice cream, in fact, he needs to eat a lot. But the next man can hardly eat a few spoonfuls of sweets without putting it on as excess body fat.
If taking up your cross means denying yourself foods that others can eat, then take up that cross.
Each of us has to find what temperance means for our specific situation. The cross is heavier for us in some areas of our life than for others. If taking up your cross means denying yourself foods that others can eat, then take up that cross and recognize it is heavier than your brother’s in that area of life. God chose your metabolic rate; learn to live by it, control your eating, and accept it. God does all things very well!

Young man, I warn you!

If you are like me, in your youth you can basically eat until you are full, and then later eat a bowl of ice cream … without any weight gain. But remember what was said above; gluttony is more than being overweight. Those bad eating habits—aka gluttony—will haunt you in days to come. Learn temperance as a 20-year-old, and when you hit 40 years of age the “middle age spread” will not be nearly as hard to control. Learn to say “No” to the ice cream and chips when you have already had a good meal. In fact, make it a habit not to replace nourishing foods with junk foods. Learn to drink water instead of soft drinks. Learn to not get excited and start exclaiming about how good the ice cream is while you are still young, and when the time comes that you have to pass it by entirely, it will be easier to say no.

Take care of your beast!

Proverbs 12:10 tells us that “a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.” This verse tells us that a good man will take care of his animals. He will feed, water, and provide shelter for them. Now let’s think about it: is not our body, were it separated from our spirit, basically an animal?
The wisdom in Proverbs 12:10 tells us—beyond the normal application—that we live in a body that God expects us to take care of. It is for this reason that we do not smoke, do not use psychotic drugs … and avoid gluttony. Wikipedia states that “obesity is a leading preventable cause of death worldwide.”[13] If obesity is preventable, by temperance, are we not called as Christians to prevent obesity?

In summary

The Bible is clear on the matter of gluttony, so clear that we have not spent much time in this article with the verses that speak on the subject.
We have travelled down through the centuries and looked at a few examples of how the church has spoken on the topic. We have seen that historically gluttony was considered a serious sin.
Let’s sanctify our eating.

Eat, not for pleasure, but for His glory!
Gluttony is harmful to our physical health. Therefore it is a sin to overeat, whether our intemperance shows itself in accumulated body fat or whether it doesn’t. But more importantly than gluttony being unhealthy, it is also unholy. God has called us to holiness; God cannot dwell in an unholy temple. It is necessary, then, for us to overcome gluttony and control our eating habits.
Eat, not for pleasure, but for His glory! ~
[1] He did not mention it, but I assume he was referring only to fat buildup, not fluid retention.
[3] His point is that to buy expensive foods shipped in from other countries is a form of gluttony.
[4] Quite plainly, white flour. The point is that in those days, making white flour would have been more labor intensive and therefore more expensive. And it was only to please the taste buds.
[5] Epicurism was the philosophy that nothing is wrong as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. This is contrasted with Christianity, which states that nothing is right unless it is holy.
[6] Meaning, not long after the fancy food is eaten, it passes out of the intestines and becomes dung.
[7] Orby Shipley, A Theory about Sin in Relation to Some Facts of Daily Life, Lent Lects. On The 7 Deadly Sins, 1875, 270–271.
[8] Mike Atnip, The Birth, Life, and Death of the Bohemian Revival (Primitive Christianity Publishers, 2009), 34–35.
[10] Guy F. Hershberger, The Recovery of the Anabaptist Vision: A Sixtieth Anniversary Tribute to Harold S. Bender (The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., 1957), 44.
[11] The Oberlin Evangelist, Lecture XIX, October 7, 1840.
[12] Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, 1835, 282.
[13] Even though it is arguable whether obesity causes more deaths than, say, smoking, we have to agree that overeating is unhealthy. It is time churches began to look at it as being as sinful as smoking. Is it fair to expect our brethren (or even Social Security) to help pay our hospital bills caused by our intemperate eating?

Sunday, September 30, 2012


                                                                    FOLLOWERS OF JESUS

These three men humbly chose to be called the above name . They described their practice of economical stewardship, which views spending money on new clothes as frivolous and a waste. Clothes should be “modest, and cover as much of the body as possible–neither skin nor shape should be visible.” Choice of clothing should never illicit lust from a fellow human. Dressing can be an act of adultery, the men claimed, if it is done to attract attention from members of the opposite sex. Those who become aroused by observing the way another is dressed is also considered a sin. Fashion, in effect, is the enemy.

  I think she might of mis understood us in some things but for the most part I liked this story a student at UW wrote about us. For the full blog post go to   http://ajkeehn.wordpress.com/

Friday, September 28, 2012

Witnessing in Washington

Well yesterday was a real blessing. Its been years since ive been to UW to witness. I dont remember so many students ! This school is Huge ! We had a host of good,bad,and ugly conversations about christianity. Alot of people really try to find fault with you when out preaching, but what can you expect. I do consider what people have to say when out and am constantly thinking of ways to improve on the witness. However Satan will never be happy with the way we preach against his kingdom and so much of their disapproval is to be expected. They spit on our signs at the Puget Sound community college, cursed us , gave us the bird, stole our signs at UW, protested against us, transvestites mocked us , and on and on. What a blessing to endure such grief without getting angry and upset at them. Some really humbled themselfs to stand with us in the midst of it all to listen and ask sincere questions.It reminds me of the scripture... "where iniquity did abound grace did much more abound "! It appears as though to the proud that we are out to get them, when in truth our desire is to see them repent and become our true brothers and sisters. At UW they were recruiting for fraternities and sororities. we set up right next to this inviting souls into the Kingdom of God. However, who do you think was the most offensive to the college kids, those who ask you to do all manner of abominations to join, or those who ask you to repent from all manner of abominations to join ?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Early christian look at seperation from this world

Let us not give loose reins to our soul, that it should have power to run with sinners and the wicked, lest we become like them. Barnabas (A.D. 70-130) ch.4

Let us be imitators also of them which went about in goatskins and sheepskins, preaching the coming of Christ. Clement of Rome (A.D. 96) ch.17

Let us rather give offence to foolish and senseless men who exalt themselves and boast in the arrogance of their words, than to God. Clement of Rome (A.D. 96) ch. 21

Wherefore, brethren, let us forsake our sojourn in this world and do the will of Him that called us, and let us not be afraid to depart out of this world. Second Clement (A.D. 100) ch.5

And you know, brethren, that the sojourn of this flesh in this world is mean and for a short time, but the promise of Christ is great and marvelous, even the rest of the kingdom that shall be and of life eternal. What then can we do to obtain them, but walk in holiness and righteousness, and consider these worldly things as alien to us, and not desire them? For when we desire to obtain these things we fall away from the righteous path. Second Clement (A.D. 100) ch.5

But the Lord said, No servant can serve two masters. If we desire to serve both God and mammon, it is unprofitable for us: For what advantage is it, if a man gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? Now this age and the future are two enemies. The one speaks of adultery and defilement and avarice and deceit, but the other bids farewell to these. We cannot therefore be friends of the two, but must bid farewell to the one and hold companionship with the other. Second Clement (A.D. 100) ch.6

And I too, taking part in the festivity, am permitted by letter to bear you company and to rejoice with you, that you set not your love on anything after the common life of men, but only on God. Ignatius: to the Ephesians (A.D. 35-105) ch.9

The work is not of persuasiveness, but Christianity is at it’s greatest, whenever it is hated by the world. Ignatius: to the Romans (A.D. 35-105) ch.3

Bear with me, brethren. Do not hinder me from living; do not desire my death. Bestow not on the world one who desires to be God's, neither allure him with material things. Suffer me to receive the pure light. When I am come thither, then shall I be a man. Ignatius: to the Romans (A.D. 35-105) ch.6

Rather stand you on my side, that is on God's side. Speak not of Jesus Christ and withal desire the world. Ignatius: to the Romans (A.D. 35-105) ch.7

Since I see, that you are exceedingly anxious to understand the religion of the Christians, as to what God they trust and how they worship Him, that they all disregard the world and despise death. Letter to Diognetus (A.D. 125-200) ch. 1

Those who have never investigated concerning the truth, nor enquired concerning the deity, but have merely believed, and have been mixed up in business affairs and riches and heathen friendships, and many other affairs of this world - as many, I say, as devote themselves to these things, comprehend not the parables of the deity; for they are darkened by these actions, and are corrupted and become barren. Hermas (A.D. 150) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg. 26

These are men who have been believers, but grew rich and became renowned among the Gentiles. They clothed themselves with great pride and became high-minded, and abandoned the truth and did not cleave to the righteous, but lived together after the manner of the Gentiles… Others at the last living with the Gentiles, and being corrupted by the vain opinions of the Gentiles, departed from God, and worked the works of the Gentiles. These therefore were numbered with the Gentiles. Hermas (A.D. 150) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg.42

The Lord said: "Judge not, that you be not judged: for with what judgment you shall judge, you shall be judged." [The meaning is] not certainly that we should not find fault with sinners, nor that we should consent to those who act wickedly; but that we should not pronounce an unfair judgment on the dispensations of God, inasmuch as He has Himself made provision that all things shall turn out for good, in a way consistent with justice. Irenaeus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg.504

I do not wish to be a king; I am not anxious to be rich; I decline military command; I detest fornication; I am not impelled by an insatiable love of gain to go to sea; I do not contend for chaplets; I am free from a mad thirst for fame; I despise death… Die to the world, repudiating the madness that is in it. Live to God, and by apprehending Him lay aside your old nature. We were not created to die, but we die by our own fault. Our free-will has destroyed us; we who were free have become slaves; we have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been created by God; we ourselves have manifested wickedness; but we, who have manifested it, are able again to reject it. Tatian (A.D.160) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.69

Among us nothing is ever said, or seen, or heard, which has anything in common with the madness of the circus, the immodesty of the theatre, the atrocities of the arena, the useless exercises of the wrestling-ground. Why do you take offence at us because we differ from you in regard to your pleasures? If we will not partake of your enjoyments, the loss is ours, if there be loss in the case, not yours. We reject what pleases you. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 46

We cannot sit down in fellowship with them, as neither can they with us. Things in this matter go by their turns. Now they have gladness and we are troubled. "The world," says Jesus, "shall rejoice; you shall be sorrowful." Let us mourn, then, while the heathen are merry, that in the day of their sorrow we may rejoice; lest, sharing now in their gladness, we share then also in their grief. You are too dainty, Christian, if you wouldst have pleasure in this life as well as in the next; nay, a fool you are, if you think this life's pleasures to be really pleasures. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 90

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Port townsand Washington

We stood on the corner today and handed out the sermon on the mount. My days always seem to go better when I set aside sometime to do some witnessing. It doesnt really matter where just that I try to reach out and share the gospel. Its really been a blessing to do so much traveling these past few weeks. I wish I would take more pictures to share with you all. Maybe some of you dont get to travel much and thats one good reason for me doing this. I hope you are encouraged aswell, remember it doesnt matter where, the super market , flea market, car wash whatever just go up to somebody if its peaceful and share the gospel its a blessing and God will water you for doing so.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Selfishness verses Selflessness

"For all seek their own, not the things which are Yeshua ha Mashiyach's." 
Philippians 2:21                                                  (Jesus Christ's)
(Some thoughts a Brother in Christ shared:)
 Most folks are accustomed to the idea that if you're not being obnoxiously selfish then you are ok. A person who habitually puts his or her interests first, without any regard for the inconvenience (or calamity) they may bring upon others, is generally classified as selfish.
However, such a definition of selfishness is far from satisfactory from a Scriptural point of view. The Word of God calls us, not to passive indifference, but to active selfless service.  According to the message of the New Testament, it is not enough to merely avoid overfly living for ourselves at the expense of others. Instead it can be stated that those who are not laying down their lives in devotion to God, & in service to others, are guilty of “seeking their own.” This type of selfishness mostly goes unnoticed though because we have been raised up in such a “me generation” society. So, rather than spending time on the obvious examples of self-centeredness, let us call attention to subtle ways in which people are being selfish, living unto themselves.
   Not uncommonly we hear people who profess Christianity justify something they do, or desire to do, with the statement, “I don’t see anything wrong with that.” Often this is due to failure to take the Scriptures  seriously; they enjoy their sin & will not be deterred by a few Biblical passages. Sometimes, however it is true that the particular action they are referring to, in & of itself, is not necessarily wrong. The problem is that their lives, even in the best examples, consist almost exclusively of things that “aren’t necessarily wrong,” in & of themselves. There is nothing blatantly contrary to Scripture about living in a house, working with your hands, taking a trip to another state, learning about a particular subject, enjoying music, passing the time with certain types of hobbies, or keeping company with like minded people. The goal, the very target of Evangelical Church folk is to have a life made up of such things. Nevertheless if your life consists of little more than this, it isn’t much of a Christian testimony. When the best that a believer can say about his life is merely that the vast majority of his time is taken up in activities that “aren’t necessarily wrong,” he is exhibiting a prime example of what the Scriptures call being “lukewarm” toward Y’shua (Jesus).  (See Revelations 3:15-16)
Nowhere in the New Testament are we taught that Christian life consists of doing whatever we want as long as it is not violently contrary to the Scriptures. The primary focus of a true follower of Y’shua is not about answering the question, “Is what I wish to do necessarily wrong?” Rather it is about answering the question, “Is what I wish to do something that God delights in?” The Holy Scripture makes clear the sorts of things in which our heavenly Father delights (e.g.: purity, kindness, study of the Scriptures, prayer, sharing our faith, service, etc.). The actual goal & target of a Christian is to have ones life consist largely of these types of things.
    In Matthew 11, some disciples of John the Baptist came with a message from John, essentially asking if Y’shua was the Messiah. Instead of just saying, “ Yes, that’s me,” which anyone could have done, Y’shua pointed out that he was doing things that to those who knew the Scriptures would identify him clearly to be Mashiyach (the Messiah, referring to Isaiah 35:3-6 & Isaiah 61:11 ). He then added, “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” Matthew11:6
   It would be an understatement to say that many people were offended at Y’shua, but we tend to forget this fact. After nearly 2,000 years, being trained by society to picture a Christ who is something like Mr. Rogers, it is easy to miss that Y’shua was “despised & rejected”, & eventually killed for what he taught. (See Isaiah 53) Multitudes came to be healed by him & to hear him; but in the bitter end, before the resurrection, only a small number counted themselves as his disciples. Apparently then, most people were offended at Y’shua, for some reason or another.
   Few would have been offended at the Messiah if he had come preaching only that we need change some of our beliefs, spend a few hours of the week differently from what we are accustomed to, & abstain from obvious vices, such as intoxication, brawling, or cheating on one’s spouse. Religions of the world, whether Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or otherwise are content to require little more than these types of things. A quiet, normal life of religious complacency would have suited people just fine, as  it has since time immemorial. But Y’shua’s words came smashing into people’s worlds with something new & radical, & this was offensive. He called upon people to go way beyond the complacent norms of society, & live out selfless devotion. Y’shua spoke hard sayings: about denying ourselves & taking up the cross to follow him, about dying to ourselves, about selling out & leaving all behind, about suffering wrong without fighting back, obeying his commandments even if it means losing our own families. The Messiah claimed authority as Master & Lord (Luke6:46 & John13:13) .  He taught that we should, indeed must, be willing to confess him before men, to bear affliction & persecution for him, & even to die for his sake (Mark 13:9-13).
   In short, Y’shuas message & call upon us is to give up our lives in service to our Creator (Matthew 16:24-25). As the Apostle Paul put it, we are to offer up our bodies to God as a living sacrifice (Romans12:1).  To become a Christian means to no longer live unto one’s self, but unto Mashiyach (the Messiah). (2Corinthians5:15)  He is telling us not to merely make a few alterations in our schedule & beliefs, but to totally & radically change virtually everything about our life; & become “new creatures” (2Corinthians 5:17) 
   In this light suddenly “not necessarily wrong” lifestyle is exposed as, in fact, all wrong. It is a life inherently & thoroughly selfish. The parable Y’shua spoke in Luke 12:16-27 illustrates this point clearly. Here we have a man who worked long & hard & received abundantly for his labor. Y’shua did not say that man was dishonest. He made no mention of him keeping wages back from any workers. From society’s view, it would be very difficult to point out anything he had done that was “necessarily wrong”. Yet, God was greatly displeased with him, & the reason is that all his work was for himself. The modern version of this parable is known as the “American Ideal”, a life centered around career & possessions. It is the very epitome of living unto one’s self: planning & working & saving & investing, with the goal of obtaining things for self. Though considered so normal, even admirable, through the lens of Y’shua’s message it is seen as selfishness, pure & simple. The New Testament message is about giving; the American Ideal is about getting. Y’shua taught self-denial, self-sacrifice, for the good of others. The American Ideal stresses self-preservation. The New Testament calls us to live by faith in an invisible Provider/the American Ideal exhorts rather to depend on visible securities such as material assets & armed defenses. The Christian life is about seeking first the kingdom of God, being willing to suffer affliction, & be content even when experiencing necessities (See 2Corinthians 6:4 ; 12:10). The American Ideal as prompted by it’s Evangelical Church world, advocates spending large amounts of time pursuing comforts & pleasures for self, And while the early Christians strove to perfect holiness in the fear of God, (2Corinthians 7:1) modern believers often justify their lives by saying that the things they do, even in their most optimistic opinions are merely “not necessarily wrong”.
   To those content to live a typical complacent life of self-preservation, Y’shua’s message has always been greatly offensive. It threatens their entire world-it’s too scary, too precarious, too radical & requires too much of them. This is precisely what happened to the young rich ruler. (See Mark 10:17-21 ; Luke 18:18-23).  Rather than letting his life fall on the Rock of Y’shua & be broken (Matthew 21:44) his self preservation prevailed upon his heart to become offended. He concluded that the cost of discipleship was too high. Many others have come to this conclusion; & this trend continues even today. Although many are willing to make some changes in their life for the sake of their faith, most are not in any way planning to lay down their lives, goals, plans, & careers in order to commit themselves to selfless, Christ-like service & devotion to God. Instead they are busy charting out their course of society’s normal, typical, predictable, secure, lukewarm, selfish lifestyle. To them a selfless Gospel like the one Y’shua preached is simply offensive.
   Consider two outstanding examples in the New Testament, the Apostles Peter & Paul.(Other non-Apostolic examples could be sited such as Timothy, or Titus, but these two Apostles will serve the purpose. ) Neither was content with a quiet complacent life, one considered normal by society’s standards. Instead they gave their lives to carry the Gospel to the world-they were both determined to live for others. Indeed this was what first century Christianity was all about. “by love serve one another” (Galations5:13)  “ I will gladly spend & be spent for you”(2Corinthians 12:15)  “neither count I my life dear unto myself, that I might finish my course with joy, & the ministry which I have received of the Lord Y’shua to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24) And it’s a good thing of course that they were willing to live for others rather than live a quiet life for themselves, or else we may never had heard about the Gospel today.
    It is by understanding this message of selflessness that we can grasp the meaning of the New Testament exhortations: to prefer one another, (Romans 12:10) to esteem others better than ourselves, (Philippians 2:3) & to take the lower seat (Luke 14:10-11) Y’shua himself did not come to be served, but to serve & to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew10:28) Paul echoes this by saying he had made himself servant to all. (1Corinthians 9:19) His reason for this, he stated, was to win others to Y’shua. Paul’s focus, & the focus of the first century Christians in general was not on merely avoiding actions that are “necessarily wrong” but on dedicating one’s life for the salvation of others, & to be able to help as many souls as possible. When believers fail to see themselves as servants both to God, & to all people, they tend to hold themselves more highly in importance; & this produces little besides selfish attitudes & actions. Something often associated with placing importance on ones self is putting great emphasis on being treated fairly. This manifests itself as: being quick to anger, a consistent demand for respect, & continual efforts to defend our own reputation, & to seek retribution when wronged.  If such statements surprise you, they should not. The concern of God’s people in the New Testament is not about “what is fair for me,” but rather, what is charitable & holy, & what makes for a truly Christian testimony. In the last 11 verses of Matthew 5 Y’shua makes this point clear. Now it is certainly true that Christians are not suppose to do wrong to others; but how should a Christian respond when he is wronged? Are we to demand fair retribution?
In 1Corinthians 6, Paul answers this question. Apparently some in the church had wronged their brethren; & those defrauded had reacted by taking them to court. This was “utterly a fault,” something horribly wrong that these brothers did not just bear & forgive. “Why do ye rather not take wrong?” Paul asks, “Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” Y’shua gave us an example of taking wrong patiently & charitably (Luke 23:34; 1Peter2:19-23). Stephan followed faithfully in his Master’s steps (Acts7:59-60). Many would do well to remember more often the Scripture that tells us to not take heed unto all words spoken (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22) It is easier to be of this longsuffering attitude when we are not holding ourselves in great importance. There is to be sure a time & place to “warn the unruly”  1Thesalonians 5:14) , & instruct with meekness those who are erring. James 5:19-20). However, our reason for acting must spring from charity, out of a desire to restore someone in need (Galatians 6:1), it should not be out of merely wanting to defend ourselves.
   When self is on the throne, trifling matters best left ignored become grounds for offense, & even anger & bitterness. “My opinion” becomes more important, “my way” is assured the best way, “my questions” are regarded as the ones needed to be answered first, & “my problems” are the most pressing. Meanwhile, it becomes difficult to see anything as “my fault”. When several people harbor attitudes, arguing & resentment are virtually inevitable. Further in this selfish frame of mind, it is easier to be offended at instruction & reproof than to receive them. It is with meekness that one receives the saving word (James 1:21) ; & meekness is not a characteristic of self-centeredness.
   Selfishness is as well present in all desire for vain glory, which can quickly lead to envy & strife (See Galatians 5:26). It brings one to thinking much about self, talking about self, & being concerned about the needs of self rather than “…looking on the needs of others” (Philippians 2:4). Each of us of course has needs & our Father wants us to ask Him for good things (Matthew 7:11).  However, when prayer time becomes little more than presenting a wish list of items for self, it can hardly be denied that selfishness is involved.
   The holy, upright love of God in a Christians heart is something that leads away from seeking ones own  (1Corinthians 13:6). Charity is never selfish; it is too concerned about others to place much importance on self. Selfishness is not upright, in fact it is at the base of virtually all manner of sin. Paul was aware of this connection; in 2Timothy 3, he refers to those who are “lovers of their own selves,” & lists numerous awful things that are associated with that. Few have pointed out the connection between womanizing & selfishness; but once considered, the association is inescapable. Pursuing ones desires without any thought whatsoever for its affect on others. Similar statements can be made about theft & other forms of dishonesty, as well as covetousness, murder, & many other sins.
   Everyone who chooses the world over service to God is being selfish, particularly those who leave God & His people, to return to the world as Demas did in 2 Timothy4:10. The result is universally the same: serving sin, being a hindrance & stumbling block to those who are trying to follow Y’shua & troubling others in various ways when they should be seeking to help. It is always for nothing else than seeking temporal pleasures for self.
   So we can see that merely abstaining from certain things that are obviously contrary to the Scriptures is not enough. Rather, a complete definition of selflessness manifests that if we are not actively being selfless—giving our life in service to Y’shua & for the good of others—then we are being selfish. If the best justification that can be offered for nearly all of the activities in one’s life is, “I don’t see anything wrong with it,” such a life can be classified as thinly veiled selfishness. It is an attitude that seeks first its own will, not the attitude of asking what will please God the most.
   Are you willing to lay down your whole life for the sake of others?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Do not long for division, but rather bring those who contend to peace. Judge righteously, and do not respect persons in reproving for transgressions. You shall not be undecided whether or not it shall be. Didache (A.D. 80-140) ch. 4 Every kind of faction and schism was abominable in your sight. You mourned over the transgressions of your neighbors: their deficiencies you deemed your own. Clement of Rome (A.D. 96) ch. 2
Every kind of honor and happiness was bestowed upon you, and then was fulfilled that which is written, “My beloved did eat and drink, and was enlarged and became fat, and kicked.” Hence flowed emulation and envy, strife and sedition, persecution and disorder, war and captivity. So the worthless rose up against the honored, those of no reputation against such as were renowned, the foolish against the wise, the young against those advanced in years. Clement of Rome (A.D. 96) ch. 3
Wherefore are there strifes and wraths and factions and divisions and war among you? Have we not one God and one Christ and one Spirit of grace that was shed upon us? And is there not one calling in Christ? Wherefore do we tear and rend asunder the members of Christ, and stir up factions against our own body, and reach such a pitch of folly, as to forget that we are members one of another? Remember the words of Jesus our Lord: for He said, Woe unto that man. It were good for him if he had not been born, rather than that he should offend one of Mine elect. It were better for him that a mill-stone were about him, and he cast into the sea, than that he should pervert one of Mine elect. Your division has perverted many; it has brought many to despair, many to doubting, and all of us to sorrow. And your sedition still continues. Clement of Rome (A.D. 96) ch. 46
Who therefore is noble among you? Who is compassionate? Who is fulfilled with love? Let him say; If by reason of me there be faction and strife and divisions, I retire, I depart, whither you will, and I do that which is ordered by the people: only let the flock of Christ be at peace with its duly appointed presbyters. Clement of Rome (A.D. 96) ch.54
As children therefore [of the light] of the truth, shun division and wrong doctrines; and where the shepherd is, there follow you as sheep. For many specious wolves with baneful delights lead captive the runners in God's race; but, where you are at one, they will find no place. Ignatius: to the Philadelphians (A.D. 35-105) ch.2
Abstain from noxious herbs, which are not the husbandry of Jesus Christ, because they are not the planting of the Father. Not that I have found division among you, but filtering. Ignatius: to the Philadelphians (A.D. 35-105) ch.3
He shall also judge those who give rise to schisms, who are destitute of the love of God, and who look to their own special advantage rather than to the unity of the Church; and who for trifling reasons, or any kind of reason which occurs to them, cut in pieces and divide the great and glorious body of Christ, and so far as in them lies, [positively] destroy it,-men who prate of peace while they give rise to war, and do in truth strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel. Irenaeus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg. 508

Cross country/updated

 This first picture is in Oregon at the sat. market. its a real good place to encourage souls. The brothers had a sign made up and so ive been using that one. i put it in the window when driving.
this is the old sign i used from Colorado to Oregon.

This is at the taste of Colorado festival in Denver.
 This is at a art show in parker Colorado.
 This is Utah ! AMAZING !!!!!!! Merea is at home in the woods.

 Truth is expensive and freedom aint free.
 This is our portable home.
 This road was so narrow ! if you had to big of a vehicle it could have been deadly ! it was a good lesson for me.

 This is a camp of brothers on the west coast .
 I wounder if Malie smells the food .

 the brother is building a yurt and this is the deck.The girls loved running around on it.

Urban homesteading

Work trade is great ! With the housing market the way it is today people are willing to let you caretake there delapatating properties. This is a house in PA. That I lived in that was really a blessing, eventhough someone robbed the copper pipes and it had no heat, with Gods help we were able to get it up and running for the pilgrims to rest their weary feet. Its hard work but well worth it. Here are a few pictures to tell the story.

Chruch community

Recently my wife has been riseing up early to make sister ashley breakfast. Sister ashley is 9 months pregnant and very thankful for the sisterly help. This post is in relation to one of the comments a few weeks back. Its a blessing to live in such a compressed environment with other believers.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saturday market

Yesterday was a longer day of street preaching. We went to the saturday market with brothers scott and joel and also to the osu football game. Our wives came along with us for part of the day . It was a pretty good day asfar as talking with souls and its possiable we will see some of them again. We are off to Washington in the morning and look forward to doing some street preaching there aswell.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Early christian thought

Happiness of man

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.Matt. 16:24

He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. John 12:25

For this cause is a man unable to attain happiness, seeing that they call in the fears of men, preferring rather the enjoyment which is here than the promise which is to come. For they know not how great torment the enjoyment which is here brings, and what delight the promise which is to come brings. And if verily they were doing these things by themselves alone, it had been tolerable: but now they continue teaching evil to innocent souls, not knowing that they shall have their condemnation doubled, both themselves and their hearers. Second Clement (A.D. 100) ch.10

For happiness consists not in lordship over one's neighbors, nor in desiring to have more than weaker men, nor in possessing wealth and using force to inferiors; neither can any one imitate God in these matters; nay, these lie outside His greatness. Letter to Diognetus (A.D. 125-200) ch.10

And the second, that is girded about and looks like a man, is called Self-Control; she is the daughter of Faith. Whosoever then shall follow her, becomes happy in his life, for he shall refrain from all evil deeds, believing that, if he refrain from every evil desire, he shall inherit eternal life. Hermas (A.D. 150) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.16

"What kinds of self-indulgence, Sir," say I, "are harmful?" "Every action," said he, "is self-indulgence to a man, which he does with pleasure; for the ill tempered man, when he gives the reins to his passion..." Hermas (A.D. 150) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.38

We cannot sit down in fellowship with them, as neither can they with us. Things in this matter go by their turns. Now they have gladness and we are troubled. "The world," says Jesus, "shall rejoice; you shall be sorrowful." Let us mourn, then, while the heathen are merry, that in the day of their sorrow we may rejoice; lest, sharing now in their gladness, we share then also in their grief. You are too dainty, Christian, if you wouldst have pleasure in this life as well as in the next; nay, a fool you are, if you think this life's pleasures to be really pleasures. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 90

If you seek to live, being a believing man, as do the Gentiles, the joys of the world remove you from the grace of Christ. With an undisciplined mind you seek what you presume to be easily lawful, both your dear actors and their musical strains; nor do you care that the offspring of such an one should babble follies. While you think that you are enjoying life, you are improvidently erring. The Highest commands, and you shun His righteous precepts. Commodianus (A.D. 200) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg. 214

When the Lord says that man should eat bread with groaning, here what are you now doing, who desire to live with joy? You seek to rescind the judgment uttered by the highest God when He first formed man; you wish to abandon the curb of the law. If the Almighty God has bidden you live with sweat, you who are living in pleasure will already be a stranger to Him. The Scripture said that the Lord was angry with the Jews. Their sons, refreshed with food, rose up to play…Hope comes with labor, and the palm is given to victory. If you wish to be refreshed, give help and encouragement to the martyr. Wait for the repose to come in the passage of death. Commodianus (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg. 214