Preachers and Doctors Agree on the Evil of Tobacco

It interests me that many years ago, well before scientific studies led to the conclusion that tobacco smoking was harmful to human beings, my church taught me not to smoke, that it was not pleasing to God, and that scripture upheld such teaching.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Corinthians 6:19 and 20

Those long-ago men of God spoke from the premise that since our bodies house the Holy Ghost, what we ingest must be considered with caution and with great concern. Although I have not researched the subject, I strongly suspect this position was held by most, if not all, denominations.

In relatively recent years, doctors have begun to speak to the perils of tobacco smoke, even to the extent that conversations concerning “second-hand” smoke are not uncommon. Today I came across this stunning video which graphically shows the dreadful damage smoking does to the human lung.

http://digg.com/video/watching-a-pair-of-smokers-lungs-vs-a-pair-of-healthy-lungs-is-pretty-crazy?utm_source=digg&utm_medium=email

God and His ways are far beyond our total comprehension. How it is that God’s Spirit can actually abide in a physical body is incomprehensible to me . . . yet I believe that to be so. How God’s actual presence can be felt by human beings I do not understand . . .yet I believe that to be so. How mortal men can be called by God to be His messengers I cannot grasp. . .yet I believe that to be so.

So those long ago days when I was but a child, men of God spoke as God’s messengers and taught me against ingesting cigarette smoke into my lungs. How grateful I am. How glad I listened. How happy I am to say–in all humility–that I have never smoked a cigarette.

 

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Danger of Comparison

Feedback from my August 24th Facebook post resonated with so many people that I sensed the subject had hit a raw nerve, and is of great importance. The response I received prompted me to also post the piece here on this blog site.

It is such a mistake to look at others to judge how well we and our families are doing, for all of us wear cloaks–as well we often should–and our private lives may little resemble the persona we exhibit. Many years ago at a Western District conference when my children were teenagers, and when things could have been much better with their relationships with God and with us, their parents, I recall observing another ministerial family and thinking how perfect they were. They were tall, handsome, beautiful people, associated with a large, successful church. I knew nothing of the bitter turmoil that was ravaging their home, and which ultimately led to divorce of the parents and the revealing of ghastly details. 

 

Paul addresses this very subject in II Corinthians chapter 10, verse 12: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

 

20140805-untitled (63 of 187)With a slight twist to this post, I add that a few days ago Ella and I walked Winston down to the woods and back. I watched her run with him in the fading day and considered what a happy life she has . . . but I thought also of other children who look happy just as she does, but behind closed doors, chaos reigns, and such children tremble in fear. I pray for them today.

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New post on my primary blog: http://writenow.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/a-moment-of-thanks/

 

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Stalwart

In the evening of yesterday, I spoke with a young man who told these sentiments: “I hate it when people speak in a hard-set way of themselves and others of their group as being so right, and of dissenters of their views as being so wrong.” In my judgment the  statement was a pure one, with no moral and biblical absolutes being in the mix, so don’t think the atmosphere was of liberality with a paucity of high-set bars and a lack of virtuous expectations. Not at all, for at the core of the conversation was the thought that we as people who are striving for godliness need to be precisely aligned with God’s Word.

My heart–not that beating one–the other one, the seat of my emotions, lurched in my breast and brimmed with pleasure and a certain pride.

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Stalwart are such young men. Their shadows lie long as they pass.Image

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Of Light

The words and the concept burned within me as I went about my routine activities this morning. Not being sure of the exact reference, I opened my Bible to its beginning pages, and found the verse in mind to be the 4th one of Genesis chapter 1.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Confusion lurks inside darkness, indistinct barriers and thorny walls, unknown ways, perhaps of chasm or of buried embers. Danger nudges against me, and I peer through the black, then with my hands tear aside the inky grit and film. Stock still now, for I find my unlit efforts to be in vain, I turn my head to search the light. A glint flares tiny in the distance, and to that point I make my way.

God knew the perils of the dark. And did He create the earth “without form, and void” with “darkness (being) upon the face of the deep,” or as some think was there a cataclysm between verses 1 and 2 . . .so that He must now separate dark from light? I don’t know. I know little except that my verse today is that God said the light was good.

I need light today. I need light in my spirit, and in my emotions; I need light in my everyday walk about the earth, in my decisions, in my ambitions, and in my dreams. And as darkness lay on the face of the deep, no line drawn between earth and sky, no hinge to connect the two, and as God spoke: “Let there be light,” and there sprang light, a separation, a divine intervention, let such be so in every facet of my being. Today and forever.

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Posted in Christianity, Creation, Devotionals, Genesis, Mornings with God, Word of God | Tagged | 2 Comments

My Swath of Earth

Since my claim is that God lives within me, should not my walk through the world leave a swath of peace and hope, of beauty and promise. Perhaps, too, will I create an aura of hunger, perhaps even of conviction. Let it be so, God, let it be so. Humbly, I breathe this prayer today.

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Unhurried LANDMARK and a Remarkable Family

Without question it is to my disadvantage that I do not know the Haney family well. Some of us are acquaintances, of course, seeing that for years Jerry and I were active in the Western District of the United Pentecostal Church, as were several of the Haney family. Though I do not know them closely, I deeply admire those great people and the work their family has done in the city of Stockton, CA; indeed around the world. I believe their church building is the largest in California that was actually built as a church; it seats several thousand. On another piece of property stand their older auditorium and multiple other buildings, including a Bible school campus.

Well beyond my admiration for the physical monuments the Haneys have erected is my respect for their attitudes, their closeness to God, and their obvious deep dedication to works of The Spirit. Last night’s service of their conference LANDMARK was an example of what I feel and am trying to say. I watched on my computer by live-streaming. Let me make a list; It is a short, but notable list that certainly will not encompass every positive aspect of the scenario, but it will help you understand the remarks I am making.

1. From the beginning I was struck by the lack of “hurry.” It was slow and deliberate, quite lacking in frenzy and any sense of desperation. The opening prayer service, led by Pastor Haney, lasted at least thirty minutes, and during this time, “we” were led into the Shekinah. True worship sang throughout that magnificent auditorium.

2. Pastor Haney gave every appearance and every sound and every sense of having been long in the presence of God. He was comfortable with it. He was authentic. He exuded a drift of foundation–deep, solid, robust. Yet, Pastor Haney appeared humble and unassuming. An aura of the Holy wound about him.

3. The musicians and singers were multiple, and almost without exception when the camera would pan on them, they appeared to be in a state of worship, sometimes with tears running down their faces.

4. Boldness, still without hurry, was marked throughout the service, as Pastor Haney ministered, calling groups to the altar area, and then other groups . . .and healings came and miracles, no doubt.

I believe it good for you to know these things.

http://www.clministry.com/

Posted in Christian Boldness, Christian Service, Conferences, Holy Ghost, Music/singing, Pentecostal, Preaching/Preachers, Worship | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Impossibility of Classification

On page 128 in my copy of his classic book of criticism, The Art of Writing, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, a distinguished Englishman of letters, writes: “In studying literature, and still more in studying to write it, distrust all classification! (Exclamation point his.) All classifying of literature intrudes “science” upon an art, and is artificially “scientific” . . .”

Surely, somewhere, someone has written similar words of caution to those who may be attracted to attempts at the classification of the working of the Spirit of God, and thereby to intrude science upon the Divine. Though my observations are at best anecdotal, I am convinced of the truth of this matter: The Divine, the Soulish things, the operation of God the creator of all that exists (and beyond) are beyond our full comprehension, and of a certainty cannot be accurately analyzed by any human scientific method.

With such thoughts already on my mind, I listened yesterday to Pastor Robert Traylor, a missionary, as he related supernatural events in his life that is leading to the establishment of an Apostolic church in St. Petersburg, Russia. According to his own words, this gentleman, a mere 13 years ago, was a drug addict with his face turned completely away from God. Now he is a minister of the Gospel, and during the 2 1/2 years he has been working in Russia has accomplished what seems impossible, including the procuring of resident papers and the owning of property, debt-free, on which he will build a home and a church. Should you have occasion to hear this man, you will be blessed and your faith will be increased.

So, whether you are a believer or yet remain a skeptic, I submit that God’s ways are far above ours, eons beyond scientific lenses, fashioned of the ethereal, extending beyond our grasp, and quite beyond our comprehension. Yet we see enough, we feel enough, we read enough to know we have tapped into Truth, unfathomable, though it may be.

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