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by Kenneth Peterman
Years ago a book was written that took the world by storm – while it may not have the same impact today, it is still very popular. The book is entitled, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnage. Some critics think that it might be more accurately named, How to Win Friends and Influence People to Get What You Want. Who knows? Although there is a book that preceded Dale Carnage’s work by thousands of years that without doubt shows how to win friends and influence people. I’m talking about the little epistle of Philippians in the New Testament.
In this epistle, Paul emphasizes others, others, and others. This letter has no ulterior motive or underlying theme, just the welfare of others. Here are a couple verses indicating such: 2:3 “. . . let each esteem others better than themselves.” or 2:4, “Look not every man on his own things but every man also on the things of others.”
While such exhortations are easy to say, they are hard to do. How in the world are we really to put others first in our lives since we are such self-centered beings? The answer is in the very next verse, 2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” In other words, we cannot do it in our own strength but can only really seek the welfare of others by having the mind of Christ.
The question is asked, what specifically is the mind of Christ? We don’t have long to wait for the answer. In 2:6-8, the mind of Christ is demonstrated in Christ’s behavior. “Who (Christ), being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, (7) but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; (8) And, being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
The darkened words all indicate some form of humbling, humiliation or servitude. The Lord Jesus Christ, very God of very God, humbled Himself for us. He put us first by putting Himself last. The secret of putting others first is to put on the mind of Christ. But in order to do that, we must humble ourselves. We humble ourselves by allowing the Holy Spirit to control us on a moment by moment basis. When this happens, we will genuinely win friends and influence people.
by Dr. Kenneth O. Peterman
Just a few days ago, 27 people were shot and killed (19 others were wounded) by a lone gunman in a small church in Texas. This catastrophe has been obviously blanketed by the media. One newsman asked this question to a Christian writer he was interviewing, How can this tragedy be explained in light of a loving God? Where was God when this terrible, terrible event happened? Even believers begin to wonder why God did not intervene or do something to stop the carnage.
While the Christian writer being interviewed did not have an answer — the Bible does. God was exactly where He was when his own dearly beloved son died on a cruel and rugged Roman cross. The suffering that God the Father experienced at that time far exceeded any suffering man can endure.
Why did Jesus Christ go to the cross? It certainly was not for anything he had done (very similar to those innocents who died at the hand of this crazy gunman) but to pay the price for the sins of his own, “Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree . . . “
Let’s not forget that God originally made Adam and Eve without sin – with untested holiness. God himself had fellowship with them in the garden until they fell from grace and became sinners by their own choice.
Man went from the high and lofty position of walking with God in the garden to being called a child of Satan by our Lord in the Gospels. You may remember in John 8:44 Jesus said to the unbelievers before Him, “You are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there was no truth in him. . . “
The events in Texas has more to do with an ungodly sinner who is a son of Satan (a murderer from the beginning) than it has to do with a loving God. We should not blame God for man’s sin, but blame the sinner. This man’s horrendous act is the consequence of his following the example of his father, the Devil. Such an ungodly and evil act should remind us of the sinful state of all unbelievers. Such evil acts must never diminish or reflect negatively upon the love of God but broadcast and demonstrate the sinfulness of man.
By Dr. Kenneth O. Peterman
Three internal and one external factor lead to adultery in marriage. Only as each of these underlying factors are identified and counterbalanced by the Word of God can unfaithfulness be avoided.
The first internal factor involves the presence of evil thinking. Matthew 15:19 says, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” The word heart in this verse refers to the seat of our thoughts and desires. Evil thoughts and ungodly reasoning are the first-born of our unregenerate hearts. Those caught in unfaithfulness usually indulge in ungodly fantasies or mind games about things that are forbidden long before they commit the act. Unfaithful behavior reveals reasoning gone astray. One young lady who had a problem with adultery shared the type of mind games she played that encouraged her immorality,
“I didn’t even think of my husband. I just erased him. Then, I
could do what I wanted more or less and it made me feel like
I wasn’t hurting anybody else.”
This testimony is no textbook example; she is a normal, everyday homemaker who is frustrated with her husband. She is no different than any of us, and if we met her at the super market we might be shocked to think that such a personable individual could have such unrealistic thoughts.
One common myth about the thought life that leads people into moral trouble goes like this: actions are no worse than thoughts about those actions. In other words, if thinking about committing adultery means I have already committed it in my heart; I might as well go through with it in action since I am already guilty. This twisted thinking seems all too logical to many but when put into another realm, its foolishness becomes apparent. We would never agree that a person contemplating suicide might as well go through with it because he thought about it. What nonsense! While most Christians certainly would not follow this thinking about suicide, they seem so willing to follow it when it comes to adultery.
Counterbalance evil thinking by:
Developing Godly thought patterns.
Encourage Godly thought patterns through memorization of Scripture such as:
Discipline: 2 Timothy 1:7.
Eternal Life: Romans 6:23; I Timothy 6:12; Titus 1:2; I John 2:25; 5:11-13.
Holiness: Psalm 30:4; Isaiah 6:3; I Peter 1:15, 16.
Lying: Proverbs 12:22; 19:22; Isaiah 59:2,3; John 8:44; Colossians 3:9.
Turning from Evil: I Corinthians 6:18, 19; Romans 6:13; I Thessalonians 1:9.
Weapons of Warfare: 2 Corinthians 10:4.
Lust: 1 Corinthians 10:13; Galatians 5:16; I Thessalonians 4:7; James 1:13-16.
Control of the Spirit: Ephesians 5:18-17. Armor of God: Ephesians 6:11-17.
Thought life: Philippians 4.
For the greatest benefit from these passages, meditate on what you memorize. Meditation means reflecting on memorized material in the following ways:
1) Contemplate the meaning of the words in the verse and their relation to each other,
2) Consider the time element in the action words (past, present, future),
3) Mull over the subject and object of the action
4) Encourage your mind to roam through the verse or verses picking out contrasts, comparisons, similarities, and differences,
5) Determine the exact application to life. Revolutionize your moral life by memorizing and meditating on the Word of God because it is true: sin will either keep you from the Word of God or the Word of God will keep you from sin!
The second internal factor involves the presence of an evil purpose. Matthew 5:28 “But I say unto you, that whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with here already in his heart.” The original word for “look” stresses the persistence of the look. This is not a casual glance. The “looker” knows what he or she is doing and continues to do it over a long period of time. This is a willful and purposeful look. When one “looks” in this intense way, an evil purpose develops. It only takes the right occasion to encourage such a purpose to blossom into an immoral act. The act of adultery is more like harvested fruit than sowing seed. The purpose phase of adultery wedges itself between the viewing and the doing!
Neutralize evil purposes:
Judge evil thoughts and desires before they turn into evil purposes.
Remember that evil thoughts may enter our minds without our permission but they do not have to make a home there. We can do something about our own thinking processes by measuring our thoughts against the Word of God and by yielding to the Holy Spirit. Remember Scripture says “. . . greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4) and “. . . Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
The third internal factor involves an attitude of unbelief. On the one hand, adultery reveals a lack of faith; unbelief concentrates on the present, the immediate, and the short-term. Unbelief seeks instant gratification and pushes aside the warnings of God’s Word.
On the other hand, fidelity reveals faith; it looks to the future, it sees ahead, it takes God at His Word and is willing to risk everything on the validity of biblical truth. Men and women of faith do not allow themselves to develop evil purposes – not because they do not have the same pulls of the flesh – but because they have committed themselves to eternal values.
Read and study the Word of God.
Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” The word of God is the only means for developing faith. Peter confirms this when he says in 1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babes, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” (NIV) There is nothing more important for the individual struggling with moral weakness to take every opportunity to hear, read, and study the Word of God.
Seek situations in which faith can flourish:
Associate with other believers. We all need encouragement. Moving away from the fellowship of believers is like taking a live coal from the fire and expecting it not to go out. We need to worship together and to feel the warmth, the love the encouragement, and unity of others of like precious faith.
Spend time in prayer. Prayer is an excellent barometer of the reality of our spiritual lives. Prayer exercises faith. While the study of God’s Word nourishes faith, prayer strengthens it. If we “buy up” our time in prayer we cannot use that same time for ungodly or immoral purposes.
The one external factor involves toleration for lying. Lying plays an integral part in unfaithfulness in several ways:
We lie to ourselves. When we nurture an evil purpose, we can easily either justify or rationalize away the evil thoughts. We easily excuse our immoral behavior by blaming a negligent spouse for being the cause of our problem. A wife told me that during her affair, she didn’t even think of herself as a spouse. She lied to herself and did not face reality in order to do what she wanted to do.
We lie to our spouse. Misrepresentations and lying characterizes the life of the moral offender. The adulterer lies about schedules, phone calls, use of money, use of the car, etc. Lying becomes a way of life and causes its own confusion, stress and tension.
We lie to God. Many adulterers continue to worship, teach Sunday school classes, attend prayer meetings, and carry on church life as usual. They act as though God has no idea what they are doing!
Make a commitment to truthfulness. In Ephesians 6:14, Paul admonishes believers to gird themselves with truthfulness when he says, “having your loins girt about with truth (truthfulness).” Truthfulness is completely under our control. Paul also says, “Put on” the whole armor of God in verse 11. This command is a personal action. We must make a volitional decision to put on the whole armor of God, which includes the belt of truthfulness. We must commit ourselves to telling the truth to combat lying.
Keep short accounts with God. We must be willing to judge ourselves on a short-term basis, to confess our sins to God as they occur, in order to sustain a walk with Him.
Read more about this subject in the e-book: Remain Faithful to your Spouse in a Soap Opera Society. Watch the video on the first page of this blog.
By Kenneth O. Peterman
The concept of the ‘ends justifying the means’ should be repulsive to us because it is usually used to allow one to get away with wrong or reprehensible behavior, wrong behavior that would not be tolerated except for the end that it serves. It is easy to reason: since the end is acceptable and even commendable, the means leading to the end should tolerated and even justified. A member of a cult, for example, might change his doctrinal position to agree with whoever he is talking to at the moment to get donations. A church may defend questionable films, unbiblical topics of discussion or ungodly music to justify securing new church members. In the past, this concept has been labeled “situation ethics” or “moral relativism.” The means are acceptable because they accomplish the desired end. To a horrible degree this concept was used by the Nazi during WWII to justify killing Jews in order to “purify” the race. To a much lesser degree we too easily justify our questionable acts (means) to justify our acceptable ends.
Now, when the end is just and the means we use to accomplish it are completely legitimate, we should not hesitate to use them to determine the will of God. Paul, the apostle, used legitimate means in order to accomplish the will of God in his life. The means he used were reasonable, logical, and acceptable — and very human.
When Paul faced difficulties in life (and he faced many) he used all the human resources or means he could to legitimately deal with the situations. He didn’t just sit back and say, “Oh, the will of God be done.” No, he did everything he could to accomplish the will of God in his life by his own actions if at all possible.
In Acts 23, for example, he was brought before the Sanhedrin for an illegitimate examination. In verse 6 Paul perceived that one part of the Sanhedrin were Sadducees and the other part were Pharisees. These groups bitterly opposed each other and Paul took full advantage of it by boldly declaring that he was a Pharisee. He used this means to protect himself from their unsanctioned evaluation. When a great contention arose because of Paul’s statement, the chief captain rescued Paul and took him back to the barracks. Note that Paul, in the midst of the problem, did not say, “Oh, the will of God be done.” No, he actively used the means of his position as a Pharisee to help him.
Again, in Acts 23:12, when Paul’s nephew heard that a band of 40 men were set to kill Paul, he came to the prison and told him. Paul was not passive about it but told his nephew to ask the guard to take him to the chief captain and tell this story. Upon hearing the account, the chief captain arranged for 270 men to guard Paul when he was taken from the prison to see Felix. Again, Paul used this very legitimate means to accomplish the will of God in his life.
Lastly, when Paul appeared before Felix, the governor, for examination, Felix, had already cut a deal with the Jews to send him back to Jerusalem (and probably to his death), Paul used another means at his disposal and on the basis of his being a Roman citizen told Felix that he wanted to be judged by Caesar in Rome. Consequently, Felix had no choice but to grant his request and send him to Caesar instead of Jerusalem. Paul used his Roman citizenship as a legitimate means to avoid going back to Jerusalem to face an angry mob.
Let’s not forget that when we face decisions about the will of God, we can and should used whatever legitimate means are available to us. The fact that unsaved men use ungodly and wrong means to accomplish their ends must not discourage us from employing godly and righteous means to accomplish the will of God. We should be actively involved in determining the will of God — not merely passive participants.
While hurricane Harvey is wracking havoc in Houston, Texas, most of us look on in horror feeling rather helpless to know exactly what to do – especially those of us thousands of miles away. Although we can’t physically rescue people from the rising water or help in a shelter, we can do something very significant – we can pray and give. Yes, it is hard to know exactly how to pray but here are some suggestions. Let’s ask the Lord to:
- stop the rain,
- save lives,
- provide wisdom to those caught in the disaster to make wise and not foolish decisions relative to their immediate and drastic situation.
- grant safety to the first responders,
- give extra strength to those already over worked,
- touch the hearts of Americans to supply food and other necessities,
- provide wisdom to our President and other leaders who are working so hard on a national, state and local level.
- motivate the local churches in the damaged areas to meet the specific needs in their community.
- burden churches throughout the nation to minister as a group to meet whatever needs they can.
Obviously there are many, many more requests but these can prime the pump.
In addition to prayer we can give. While many Christians cannot give, most of us can dig a little deeper into our pockets and come up with something. I think the best way to give is to support those already on the ground. One of the organizations that is usually the first on the scene and the last to leave is The Salvation Army. They go whether people support them or not. They just do it. They certainly need our help right now and it is easy to give at their special website set up just for this disaster at helpsalvationarmy.org. If you can give anything, please visit this website right away. They need our help now!
My wife, Evie, shared a spiritual observation that I would like to pass on to you. She mentioned that she watched a nature show on TV about survival in the jungle. The part that especially interested her was about a very young monkey who was fascinated with a rather large boa constrictor. Evidently the monkey continually bothered the snake but was agile and limber enough to get away from danger without any consequences. The young monkey would not let this predator alone, taunting it and growing very comfortable in its ability to escape danger until it became more entangled with the snake than it intended. The snake grabbed and held the monkey in its grip squeezing it to death crushing its bones. Evie said, “Don’t we do the same with sin? Don’t we toy with it with the mistaken notion that we can escape its grip and consequences anytime we want to?” She was right. We, too often, think we can flirt with sin without any consequences, especially if we did so in the past and seemed to get away with it. The Scripture says in Ephesians 4:27 “Neither give place to the Devil.” This means that we should not toy with Satan and give him any opportunity to get us in his death grip. We must run from the him as far as we can because of his ability to snare us and cause us to fall. First Thessalonians 5:22 says something very similar yet in a more startling fashion, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” We must not even toy with the appearance of sin let alone with sin itself. If we do fool with sin and its appearance we are very likely end up just like that hapless and foolish monkey who thought taunting the boa constrictor was such fun!!
This is a review and summary of Dr. Jay Adams excellent pamphlet entitled, What Do You Do When Anger Gets The Upper Hand?
ANGER IS NOT ALWAYS WRONG – IT CAN BE A VERY LEGITIMATE EMOTION.
Ephesians 4:26 says “Be angry, and sin not . . .” Psalm 7:11 says, “. . . God is angry with the wicked every day.” (If God is angry, it certainly can’t always be wrong). In Mark 3:5 when talking about Jesus clearing the temple of profiteers, Mark said, “And when he had looked around about on them with anger . . .” Jesus was angry with those that were doing wrong.
THE TWO MAIN WRONG RESPONSES TO ANGER:
a. Clamming up
b. Blowing up
We clam up when we keep our anger inside and allow it to build into resentment.
We blow up when we express our anger in irresponsible ways. 1
While anger is not always sin, it is a sin not to deal with anger as God wants us to.
HOW DOES GOD WANT US TO DEAL WITH ANGER?
God doesn’t want us to blow up or clam up but to deal with the problem that caused the anger in the first place.
The answers to the following questions will help you do that:
1. What is the problem that caused the anger?
Explain the problem in as much detail as you can.
2. How much of the problem is your fault?
Explain your part in the problem. Be honest.
3. How can you specifically deal with your part or parts of the problem?
List the ways you can deal with your part in the problem; deal with it.
Once you have dealt with your side of the problem. Allow time for God to work in the other person’s life. Pray for them. Forgive them.
1 Adams, Jay E., What Do You Do When Anger Gets The Upper Hand? P and R Publishing co., Phillipsburg, NJ. 1975.
by Kenneth O. Peterman
The recent world-wide terrorist attacks prove that Satan is alive and well in our world. Someone has said, “Sin gratifies Satan. When lust or anger burns in the soul, Satan warms himself at the fire.” You might ask, how do you know Satan is behind these attacks? It is true because Scripture teaches that Satan has full power over every unsaved soul. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, Satan is called the ‘god of this world,’ “In whom the ‘god of this world’ hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Satan is also called the ‘god of this world’ or alluded to as such in John 14:30; 16:11; Ephesians 2:2 and 6:12.
Remember during the temptation of our Lord when Satan took Him to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, he said, “All these things I will give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” It is interesting that Jesus did not reply, “You don’t have the right to give all these kingdoms to me.” But He did say, “Get thee hence.” The Lord did not challenge Satan’s right to all the kingdoms of the world because He knew that Satan was the ‘god of this world’ and had legitimate control over all but God’s children.
Satan originates these world-wide terrorist attacks and carries them out by conscienceless men. If we are in the last days before Jesus returns, Satan knows his time is short and will wreck as much havoc upon the world as possible. In our better moments we must acknowledge that these horrific terrorist attacks demonstrate an evil supernatural force or element at work in our world today. These attacks are so evil they must be more than the acts of man; they must be the acts of the father of evil itself – Satan.
Once a man realizes these terrorist acts are clearly supernatural in origin and scope and evidences the presence and working of Satan, he is forced to acknowledge the reality of the battle between God and the Devil. He must make a decision which side to follow: Jesus Christ, the God of heaven or Satan, the god of this world.
To follow Satan you must do nothing. To follow Jesus Christ, you must acknowledge your sin (Romans 3:23), believe that Jesus died for you (John 1:12; 3:16; 1 Peter 2:24) and call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13).
While I seldom (actually never) urge folks to sign petitions, I believe this one is an exception. Unless you live on another planet, you’ve heard of the hideous stance by our government to open up our public bathrooms to the opposite sex. This is nothing short of diabolical. As you know, one of the stores that has taken a firm stand for this irresponsible position is TARGET Department stores. They feel it is alright for a man to use the woman’s restroom endangering our women and children. The American Family Association says about TARGET’S position: “Target has crossed the line by intentionally exposing women and girls to voyeurs and sexual predators with their restroom and dressing room policy.”
When I learned of this policy, I went to my local TARGET store (the one in which I frequently shop) and asked the manager if this policy was accurate. She said it was. I must confess that it was difficult to believe such a nice, young lady was telling me about a policy that could actually endanger her life as though it were of no more consequence than discussing the weather.
Christians must do something. One thing we can do is join the boycott against TARGET by signing the petition provided by the American Family Association. This organization is taking a stand and urging all of us to do the same. It doesn’t seem like much but in the short time the petition has been in existence over 1 million have signed it: pledging to boycott TARGET until the policy is changed.
Even though TARGET doesn’t want to acknowledge it, the boycott has already had a incredible effect on the profit margin of the TARGET organization. I urge each of you to sign the petition on the www.afa.net website. The more we boycott TARGET because of this policy, the more they are likely to change this position. This victory will hopefully discourage other stores from adopting the same ungodly policy.
Please go to the website and join the boycott!! http://www.afa.net/
In my book Encourage Others I give many specific situations in which comfort and encouragement can and should be given. Some of these situations are obvious and rather easy to guess while others are not.
The death of a loved one is probably one of the most obvious categories yet is the most difficult situation to apply comfort. Exactly how do you comfort someone who has lost a loved one? How to you approach them? Should you always use Scripture? Should you encourage them to talk about their departed loved one or should you sit with them and do and say nothing? What should you expect of a person experiencing grief? Does grief manifest itself the same in each case and in each individual? If not, how do you know what to do in each situation? Should you try to direct the thinking of a person in grief? If not, why not? If so, exactly how should you direct their thinking and what should you direct them to think about? Should you encourage mourners to talk? If not, why not? If so, exactly how to you do it? What should you encourage mourners to talk about? Should you try to stop mourners from crying? If so, why? If not, why not?
What is grief anyway? Are there stages in the grief process? If so, what are they and how do they differ from each other? If there are stages of grief, how do you know what stage a person is in and how do you deal with that stage? What specific biblical truth does a mourner need when going through each stage of grief? What attitudes should a mourner be encouraged to have? Does a mourner need practical help? If not, why not, If so, what type of practical help does a mourner need? Does their need for practical help differ in each stage of grief? Encourage Others provides answers to these questions and prepares you to know exactly how to comfort others in one of the hardest situations of all – the death of a loved one.
When you first log into the biblicalmatters.com website, click and watch the short video about the book Encourage Others.