True Christian Love
A.W. Pink

Love is the Queen of the Christian graces. It is a holy disposition given to us when we are born again by God. It is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. True spiritual love is characterized by meekness and gentleness, yet it is vastly superior to the courtesies and kindnesses of the flesh.

We must be careful not to confuse human sentimentality, carnal pleasantries, human amiability and affability with true spiritual love. The love God commands, first to Himself and then to others, is not human love. It is not the indulgent, self-seeking love which is in us by nature. If we indulgently allow our children to grow up with little or, no Scriptural discipline, Proverbs plainly says we do not love them, regardless of the human sentimentality and affection we may feel for them. Love is not a sentimental pampering of one another with a loose indifference as to our walk and obedience before the Lord. Glossing over one another’s faults to ingratiate ourselves in their esteem is not spiritual love.

The true nature of Christian love is a righteous principle which seeks the highest good of others. It is a powerful desire to promote their welfare. The exercise of love is to be in strict conformity to the revealed will of God. We must love in the truth. Love among the brethren is far more than an agreeable society where views are the same. It is loving them for what we see of Christ in them, loving them for Christ’s sake.

The Lord Jesus Himself is our example. He was not only thoughtful, gentle, self-sacrificing and patient, but He also corrected His mother, used a whip in the Temple, Severely scolded His doubting disciples, and denounced hypocrites. True spiritual love is above all faithful to God and uncompromising towards all that is evil. We cannot declare, ‘Peace and Safety’ when in reality there is spiritual decay and ruin!

True spiritual love is very difficult to exercise because it is not our natural love. By nature we would rather love sentimentally and engender good feelings. Also many times true spiritual love is not received in love, but is hated as the Pharisees hated it. We must pray that God will fill us with His love and enable us to exercise it without dissimulation toward all.

I was raised as a faithful Roman Catholic and completed many of her sacraments which are said to be channels for the church to dispense grace to her followers. Yet the hard truth is that they never did for I was dead in my trespasses in sins as my life and heart bore ample witness. But this was totally unknown to me and I would have fought tooth and nail against anyone who told me I was not on my way to heaven but rather God’s judgment and the lake of fire. For I had been taught from childhood that I was on my way to heaven for one reason alone; this being that I was a Catholic. And that if I continued to do all the church hierarchy told me to do, all would be well with me even if I had to go to purgatory for a few thousand years.

This I know is the belief of countless Catholics across the globe. And you are not in many ways to be blamed for believing this because it is all you have known from your youth. Today though I am challenging you even as I was challenged many years ago during my “crisis of faith.” A crisis that happened as I read the Bible and compared what it taught as the Word of God verses what the priests and nuns taught as the words/traditions of men. The difference being as stark as night and day as the Holy Spirit graciously opened up my blinded eyes.

I encourage all Catholics to watch this video and to pray the the Lord open your eyes and grant you the ability to clearly see his word and to understand what it teaches. You are also encouraged to email me if you have any questions or care to discuss further.

There are countless regions of the world to pray for both believer and non believer. The nation of Kenya is one of these such places. In speaking to brethren over there whom I have contact with things are not good. Famine is growing and people are dying all around. Much of the famine in Kenya as well as the other African nations is due to the arid conditions and changing weather patterns. But much of it is also due to the thievery of billions of dollars of hard currency and food aid sent to these African nations. For it is not a secret that the corruption in many of these nations is the way of doing business.

I will go even farther than using the world thievery for in fact the cause of many of Africa’s ills are due to sin. Sin that is not a problem for the white man alone, he who is portrayed in today’s world as being the cause of all the world’s ills; no, sin that is a problem also for the black man in Africa. Because sin is common to all of mankind whether he be black or white or any other color. This truth of course runs contrary to the deceptions of the academics and pundits who blame the white man as the fountainhead for all of the world’s woes.

This I declare is far from the truth because sin is universal to mankind and whatever color a person’s skin is, they are a sinner with those in Africa being no exception. Here, so many African leaders have the blood of millions of their countrymen and women at their hands due to their abject greed and stealing of billions of dollars of aid sent to these nations. The things that could have been done with those monies to build up infrastructure, teach the people how to farm, how to irrigate, to dig wells, etc. boggles the mind. But the love of money, which is the root of all evil, held sway. Now, you have countless African leaders who live like kings even as their own countrymen die all around them because they did not distribute the funds sent to help these people.

Be it known to all these that the day of judgment is coming whereby these African leaders will be raised to life from the dead to stand before the Lord of Glory to give an account of all of their sins. Yet it is not only the rich corrupt leaders who will be judged by God; rather, it will be all who reject the gospel in this life and choose to live instead in their sin. Because I will also state that just as sin is not a white-man’s disease, so too sin is not limited only to rich people or corrupt leaders.

But be of good cheer because today salvation is offered to you whether you be rich or poor. For Africa I do not believe will change unless she repents and turns to the living God and forsakes all of her idols and false gods. And that many of these corrupt and wicked leaders will have their hearts crushed by the power of God’s words and will repent of their thievery even as Zacchaeus did.

And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:1-10)

I call on all Christians to pray for Africa and her people. Pray that God might grant them rains for their crops. Pray that he might soften the hearts of her leaders where many will turn to the Lord and repent of their evil. Pray that God will raise up more of the local people who know the Lord and believe his word to go forth and spread the gospel far and wide and that many will come to believe. Not to believe the false gospel from the fat-bellied American preachers who preach their false prosperity gospel, but rather to believe the simple truths found in God’s word.

Likewise, I call all of my African brethren to turn away from these greedy American preachers which includes Morris Cerullo, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Reinhard Bonke, Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and many others. Burn their books and do not give them another cent of your money. Do not go to their crusades for they are shams meant to deceive you, to steal your money and to keep you from the truth of God’s word. Turn to God’s word and trust only those who preach the simple truths from the Scriptures. Those who come to give you all of God’s word which includes the easy truths to hear, and the hard truths. Because those who preach that you will get rich or healthy through the gospel are lying to you because the call of Jesus is to a hard and difficult life whereby we take up our cross daily.

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:23-26)

In closing, I pray God is glorified in all things in Africa and that my brethren will be strong in their times of great adversity.

Introduction

by brother Michael

I am blessed to know two Christians, Daryl and Renda Loofbourrow. These two, as husband and wife, are honest reflections of the grace of God working in their lives. Christ-centric and generous people they are, known by brethren, family and the community for their love and simple obedience to God’s word. Yet they, like all Christians, struggle and wrestle daily against sin. Sin that works night and day to keep them in bondage to old habits and beliefs, where God’s desire for them is that they might be set free.

But being set free from sin though is not an easy row to hoe as our nature can be hard soil to till as it is laced with rocks and intertwined with roots that have sent their tentacles far and wide throughout our personal landscape. Roots and rocks that prefer to be left unmolested and covered by the darkness of Satan’s deceptions and our pride, than to be exposed by the light of God’s word and uprooted by the sword of the Spirit.

This is why I was especially touched when Daryl and Renda shared with me and others one of their deepest struggles with sin(1). This being with food. A struggle that has been with them since their earliest days where food became to them a much beloved friend but also a much despised foe. One that promised to give them comfort, which, for a short season it did, but afterwards left them depressed and on “…a roller coaster ride” of ups and downs. If you struggle with this sin or any other, know too that you can be set free for the Lord Jesus says:

If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:31-32;36)


A Revelation of Truth

by Renda Loofbourrow

I have been facilitating a faith-based class in my home to help women like me to lose weight. This class has been used to teach us quite a bit. However, in the 7th session, a class called, True Repentance, something out of the ordinary happened. One of the ladies received a phone call, so I stopped the tape we were listening to so that the one with the phone call wouldn’t miss any of the teaching. As I stood next to the tape player waiting to again push play to resume the class, I was quietly asked a question. My friend sitting next to the tape player asked a question in regard to what we had just heard on the teaching tape. The question went something like this, “Does it really feel like you are giving up a friend not to go to food?” It was like everything was still for a moment while I looked at her and contemplated her question. I answered her in the only way I could. “Yes. I guess it does, it really does.”

The answer took me by surprise really. I hadn’t thought about it like that. But now, I was not only thinking about this question and the reality of the answer, I was apprehended by it. Class resumed and I went back to my seat on the couch and began to write in my notebook all that was pouring into my mind. Food, I have gone to for every reason. Food was my best friend. Now I see that which I have trusted to always be there with me, for comfort, to laugh with me, to cry with me, to be with me when I was lonely, and to fill in my down time has actually been a deceitful underhanded traitor. As I gave this “friend” my heart, it devoured my life. “Oh Lord, forgive me!” I cried from the depths of my heart.

I became righteously angry at this “lie” of friendship. I knew I had to end this unhealthy bond. My devotion to this relationship was destroying me. The food itself is not the issue. Food for the proper reason: nourishment to my physical hunger was good and healthy; however, my “friendship” with it was not good. With great sobriety I began to write a proclamation in my notebook.

No More! Food is not my friend. I renounce my friendship with food, in Jesus name. From now on, by the grace of God, I will use food on a “as needed” basis. I will use food for its intended purpose. I will wait till I am truly physiologically hungry to eat, and I will stop eating when I am physically comfortable and not beyond.

After class was over and everyone had gone home, I started preparing our family’s evening meal. While doing so I mentally prayed and asked the question, “where did this ‘friendship’ all start?” My earliest memories of turning to food for comfort were when I was quite young and left alone. I would go to the kitchen, crawl up on the counter to the cupboard to find the powered sugar bowl. I would eat spoonfuls of it at a time. I even remember singing a little song as I did this. “I am sweet, because I eat sugar ever day” was my childish song. I also remember my mom sneaking food in to me at night as a treat because my stepdad, who was a cruel man, and among many other wicked things, would nightly wait till my brother and I were sent to bed and would then make a big ta-do about getting himself some ice cream or candy. He would laugh about his being able to have it and not my brother or I. My mom would, on some of these occasions, sneak something into us to try to make up for what she felt was injustice.

In addition to these memories, I could go on and on. The point is at a very young age and very subtly I formed a “relationship” with food. And this relationship has been a constant throughout my whole life. Diets, deprivation, binging, sneaking, hording, even releasing it to just pick it back up again has until this point, been my way of life. I have hated myself and then loved myself. I have gotten angry. I have fallen into depression. I have risen above only to fall again. I have heard of things in life being related to a roller coaster ride and I have to say this example is indicative of my lifelong struggle with this unhealthy “friendship” with food.

That night, after the children were in bed, I shared all these things with my husband. Unknown to me, he had been writing something about such a “friendship” in a Word document on the computer. After our talk, the next morning he was able to finish what he started and he brought it out to me. I read it and was awestruck by what he had written. I asked him what made him think of such a thing (besides the things he knew of both of our struggles in this area). He said that he had watched an overweight person coming out of the grocery store eating a candy bar with such an expression of lust that he thought he would write about it.

My Friend Snack

by Daryl Loofbourrow

Hi, you know me almost as well as I know you. My friends call me Snack but my real name is Food Lust. I have seen you look at me as you would a lover. I have seen the smile and excitement in your face when you find me in the cupboard or refrigerator. I know that passionate feeling I give you when you take me in. I see the look of shock on your face when you see someone eat a fast-food restaurant throw away half their French fries on the way out of the door.

I know that you can’t resist me and that you will never give me up, no matter what I do to you. I mock you when you look at yourself in the mirror and when you feel the tightness of your large clothing. I give you discomfort when you get up from the table after you spent time lusting after me. Even after you have gorged yourself I can still appeal to you when I smile at at you with with my sweet taste in the form of chocolate, ice cream, pie or cake. For the most part I have no fear of rejection when I have such a hold on you as I do. I love to tease you with sensual ads and displays in the grocery store and magazines. I mock you again when you try to find that nice shirt or blouse that doesn’t come in large sizes. I see you look at me at the check-out stand knowing that you really can’t afford me while I tease you at the candy display. But you pick me up and set me on the conveyor belt anyway. I guess you can do without the dish soap or those Q-tips until the check comes in, so you set them aside and ask the chashier to put them back for you.

As you leave the store you embrace me and take me in before you even get to the car. You got chocolate on your blouse/shirt and try to get it off with a napkin and spittle. You shy away from clothing stores because of shame. I mock you with the look on people’s faces that see you try to squeeze between the clothing racks looking for something that will fit you. Did you notice that your new sweater doesn’t make you look any thinner, or that your shadow on the sidewalk reveals your size? I have ruined all the beauty of your youth and taken away the bounce in your step. I cause you to feel sorry for yourself and then you come to me all the more. I have all you need and you know it. Who cares if you are sluggish and stuffed after a good meal? You know you have learned to embrace that feeling as comfort and peace. Exercise is too exhausting and hard especially when you have as much to lose as you do. It is like trying to empty a lake with a bucket, isn’t it? Who really cares anway? My only fear is Truth and Wisdom. I hate joy and happiness. Your having a relationship with God is my downfall but I feel confident that I can win you through depression and low esteem. It’s you and me girl/guy.

Signed,

Your best friend Snack

Endnotes:

(1) – It was at my request after I read Daryl and Renda’s writings to post them on this blog. They graciously granted me permission and only requested that I include their names for accountability.

The Catholic Sin of Presumption

©Copyright 2007 brother Michael

Some thoughts today on the Roman Catholic doctrine surrounding the sin of presumption. First, in doing this short study I turned to the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia to gain some insight into Rome’s definition for presumption.

Presumption is here considered as a vice opposed to the theological virtue of hope. It may also be regarded as a product of pride. It may be defined as the condition of a soul which, because of a badly regulated reliance on God’s mercy and power, hopes for salvation without doing anything to deserve it, or for pardon of his sins without repenting of them. Joseph F. Delany. “Presumption.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XII. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12403a.htm (emphasis added)

Note what is being said here. Rome defines presumption, which she labels a vice as “opposed to the theological virtue of hope”, as a person who has a “badly regulated reliance on God’s mercy” where this individual hopes “for salvation without doing anything to deserve it.” This is an amazing statement and sheds ample light on the theology of Rome and the false version of “salvation”. For Rome’s false salvation is based not only on what you do to maintain it, but also what you do to obtain it.

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