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Purification by Fire: NEGLECTING SPIRITUAL HEALTH (2)

         FROM PART 1: Much more importantly, most people are walking around in sin, with sin attached to them, with sin stamped on their minds, with sinful souls, and with much sin on their account. But they don’t know it. The sin is not acknowledged. It is unknown to them. The possibility of its presence is refused. But this doesn’t mean it isn’t there…

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         We live at a time in which people are highly encouraged to have frequent medical checkups. There are also many new checkup procedures not available in the past and instrumentation that is much more sophisticated toward discovering health problems or potential problems. Within certain industries and corporations, medical examinations are required for employment and periodic health screening is required to stay employed.

LARRY BIRD

         I just read an article about aging former NBA basketball players. The greatest professional basketball player who ever lived, regarding not only incredible playing ability but also work ethic, hustle, and heart, and a huge contribution toward winning, was, in my studied opinion, Larry Bird.

         His impact was such that without him his team would not only not have won, they would have been largely mediocre. He had great teammates. Some are in the Hall of Fame. But there is no question he was always by far the best, and they all knew it. He did everything to win while also playing completely within the rules, including the unwritten rules. He respected the game. He was a winner who often willed his team to win. He always gave the fans their money’s worth.

         That is why the following is all the more remarkable. It was discovered through medical testing after his playing career that he had a heart problem. He had the problem most of his life but never talked about it. He had spells that he kept to himself. He came close to buying the farm, apparently, on several occasions.

         I prayed for Larry Bird today. He just turned 59 years old. There have been several ex-NBA players who have died around his age, some recently. Some have died much earlier. It has often been due to heart attacks. Larry Bird believes that the former players who are most susceptible are big men like himself (he’s 6’ 9”), who have worked and hustled the hardest. He believes all the very hard work at such an incredible level of play, in addition to great size that makes the heart work harder, greatly increases the chances of a shorter life. That’s why, he says, you don’t see many old big men. Even very tall non-basketball players will die on average sooner simply because of their size. Short men, in reality, will have a decided tendency to live longer.

OUR TOP PRIORITY

         I say all this to say that there is a correlation toward today’s overt universal mandatory medical screening and pretty much zero spiritual screening, which means we also live at a time when a person’s physical condition is treated in the opposite manner of one’s spiritual condition.

         The same authority figures who desire and demand proper health screening as a top priority generally have no desire whatsoever for proper spiritual screening. This can only be due to placing this life and this realm above the next life, and for many it is because they do not believe in an afterlife. Most people certainly do not respect the Gospel.

         This life is so very temporary. The next life is eternal. Living for this life at the expense of the next life will cost a person his soul. Our top priority must always be getting right with God. To that end we must all undergo spiritual checkups beginning with initial repentance. We must deal with our sin and be rid of it. We must stop sinning. The Lord Jesus has given us a way to do this.

         Stay tuned. I will break down the following in our next lesson:

         “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

         “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

         “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” [Matthew 3:10-12] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Purification by Fire: VACATION HOUSE and THE LIGHT SPECTRUM (1)

         There was a vacation house out in the woods pretty far from the nearest town. It was located in the middle of a 1200 acre section of private land. There were no restrictions upon its building site or construction, though it was well built. The owner chose the site for its natural settings and views, but he didn’t pay much attention to the topography. He lived a thousand miles away and there were no close neighbors.

         One day it began to rain in those woods and the rain didn’t let up for several weeks. The locals had never seen anything like it. Unbeknownst to the vacation house owner, he built his little hideaway in a very old flood plain.

         At the height of the rains the flood waters had risen to four feet in the house and remained standing for a few days before slowly receding. The house was knocked slightly off its pier and beam foundation in the beginning which also damaged the framing in several places. This in turn damaged the roof’s integrity and several large leaks had developed allowing rain to pour in.

         By the time the owner managed to check on his house several weeks later he was shocked at the damage. It was inundated by black mold. The wood framing had started to rot. Every insect and bug known to man had taken up residence in the house as well as a vast array of critters, including rodents, and even small mammals. The house was still filled with drying mud.

         When the man started repairs he discovered that the mold had reached the tops of the walls in places. Even after removing all the wallboard and insulation he saw that the entire structure was affected. The critters had also taken up residence in the attic. Everywhere was mold, rot, and the byproduct of two months of small animals. The odor was overwhelming. It was an absolute mess.

         He had no insurance. He checked with his lawyer on local laws. The next day he cleared out a break around the perimeter of the structure and made ready a few hoses from the well. After waiting for a day that had no wind, he set the house on fire and burned it to the ground.

         “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” [Matthew 3:10-12] [1]

         Today’s lesson begins with a simple truth: Fire removes the disgusting filth of corruption.

         Corruption, of course, comes in many forms. There is the actual physical tangible filth that adversely affects the five senses, but there is also intangible corruption. For example, sin is intangible. You cannot see it. But you can certainly see its effects.

         Picture a very clean mansion beautifully decorated in which everything is in perfect condition and every appearance, even the clothing of the inhabitants, is perfectly tailored and pleasing to the eye. Then picture the intangible sinful condition of the inhabitants. Picture their evil hearts and machinations, and the gross behavior they engage in behind the scenes.

         The Lord Jesus says the intangible is much more real than that which is seen. If one could actually see the unseen corruption in the midst of the perfect and beautiful setting clearly seen with the naked eye, one’s opinion would change.

         But most people never see this. Most people simply do not have spiritual eyes. They are very easily swayed by the illusory perception of their five senses.

         Please see the following chart and look it over: Electromagnetic Spectrum

         As I’ve taught before, the visible light portion of the Electromagnetic Spectrum is an extremely small part of the overall Spectrum. There is much more light that is unseen rather than the very little that is seen. 95% of the entire Universe cannot be perceived by the five senses.

         Therefore, whoever bases their beliefs on mere sensory data cannot possibly have the full picture since the vast majority is completely unknown.

         To bring this home and make it more visceral, there are people walking around right now with problems in their bodies and they don’t even know it. They go about their daily business as if the problem isn’t there. They cannot see inside their bodies. Imagine that. Something so close to us and so much a part of us and we don’t even know.  

         Much more importantly, most people are walking around in sin, with sin attached to them, with sin stamped on their minds, with sinful souls, and with much sin on their account. But they don’t know it. The sin is not acknowledged. It is unknown to them. The possibility of its presence is often refused. But this doesn’t mean it isn’t there…

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.