15 April 2014


This controversial law has been in the news of late, especially since the killing of a teenager in the state of Florida. There are pros for and nays against this law probably because of the abuse of it in some instances. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia defines the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law as follows: “A stand-your-ground law is a type of self-defense law that gives individuals the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation. It is law in certain jurisdictions within the United States. The basis may lie in either statutory law or common law precedents or both.” “Forty-six states in the United States have adopted the castle doctrine, that a person has no duty to retreat whatsoever when their home is attacked. Twenty-two states go a step further, removing the duty of retreat from other locations outside the home. Such "stand your ground", "Line in the Sand" or "No Duty to Retreat" laws thus state that a person has no duty or other requirement to abandon a place in which he has a right to be, or to give up ground to an assailant. Under such laws, there is no duty to retreat from anywhere the defender may legally be.”

Would you be surprised to learn that the Lord Jesus Christ requires every Christian to “Stand Your Ground” when threatened by a certain enemy and his devices? In fact, the expression, “stand your ground” is in the Bible. Please read this passage of Scripture found in the writings of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10-14: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm…” (NIV).

It is without controversy that the battle line in our country is becoming more and more evident between believers in God and His Holy Word regarding what is right and what is wrong; what is pure, holy and sacred and that which is carnal, worldly and sinful. There is a vast difference between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. The Savior Jesus Christ is the Captain of our salvation who leads His army of defenders of truth and righteousness. Satan, the father of lies and the deceiver of mankind is the ruler over the opposing army composed of those who would destroy man’s faith in God and His Word.

The forces of evil propagate the doctrine that men can marry men and women can marry women. That it is fine for unmarried couples to live together in a sexual relationship. Also, the life of an unborn child can be ‘legally’ aborted. That it is acceptable to believe there are many ways to travel religiously even in the belief of a multiplicity of ‘saviors and gods’. Or, there is no proof that God Almighty exist. The devil has influenced society to believe that there is no objective truth and one cannot be sure of anything except that which pleases self, etc.

Soldiers of Christ must remember that the armor of God provides no protection for one in retreating from the battle with the forces of evil. Therefore, we must stand our ground. The only offensive weapon that we have is “the sword of the Spirit” which is the “word of God”. Christians remember the words of the apostle Paul as found in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”

May we take courage in the lyrics of an ancient hymn that was written by the Reformer, Martin Luther when he bravely fought against the evil and corruption of his day.

A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe Doth seek to work us woe; His craft and pow’r are great,
And armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right One on our side The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He; Lord Sabaoth is His name,
From age to age the same, And He must win the battle.
And tho’ this world with evil filled, Should threaten to undo us
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.
Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also; The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.

07 April 2014


God is love and love is of God.  God is more than love but one of the great attributes of God is that He loves mankind and He desires that all men and women be saved (I John 4: 9-11; 2 Peter 3:9).  And if the love of God dwells within us, we love one another (I John 4:12).  While love has many positive characteristics, there are some negative characteristics of this God-like love and one is that love does not rejoice in the wrong doing of others.  In I Corinthians 13:4, 6 we read that “Love…does not rejoice in iniquity”.  Other translations are now presented that will enable us to understand more fully this statement.  The Revised Standard Version, “it does not rejoice at wrong”.  McCord’s New Testament Translation, “does not rejoice in wrongdoing”.  The New International Version, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”  Berry’s Interlinear Greek English New Testament translates I Corinthian 13:6 in this manner, “rejoices not at unrighteousness.”

The church of God at Corinth needed this lesson concerning the characteristics of love.  In chapter five we read of a brother who was living with his father’s wife (step-mother) and the church was not doing anything about it.  Rather, some were puffed up about the matter and seemed to enjoy the situation existing in the congregation.  The apostle Paul wrote them a rather stern rebuke and instructed them to deal with the problem in a scriptural manner.  This they did and the brother was restored to fellowship with God and the church (2 Corinthians 2).  The love of God in the hearts of the Corinthian disciples would have prevented their attitudes being what they were toward this brother and all the family involved. 

Permit me to present an example of what I writing about concerning the Christian’s attitude toward a brother or sister who may be guilty of a public sin in their lives.  Several years ago while working with a congregation, a brother in Christ became involved in an illicit relationship with a woman.  This brother was married and had a family of his own.  This ungodly relationship went on for sometime before members of the local church learned about it.  When this adulterous relationship became known to the brothers and sisters of the local church, hearts were broken because all the members loved this brother.  It was a very personal matter with me because he was one of my closest friends and a dear brother in Christ and I loved him very much.  Do you think that any of us rejoiced in this brother’s sin? Of course we did not delight in his wrongdoing.  Rather we wept openly and begged this brother to repent of his sins which he eventually did and was restored to full fellowship with the Lord and the church.

I have intentionally reserved until now mentioning two translations of I Corinthians 13:5, 6.  Phillips translation is as follows, “It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people.”  The New English Bible, “does not gloat over other men’s sins.”  For example, a denominational preacher in a nearby city has been accused by law officials of sexually molesting children.  Should we gloat over his sins simply because we may differ with him and his denomination over some biblical subjects?  It is a proven fact that scores of Catholic priests are pedophiles.  Should we gloat over this immoral situation because we cannot accept the organization of this religious entity as being acceptable to God?

How are we to deal with the terrible news that a sister in Christ has killed her husband for whatever reason?  Shall we weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15) or shall we delight in this horrible tragedy?  Shall we accuse the church collectively for her action?  The difference in how you treat this unfortunate tragedy will depend on whether or not the love of God dwells within your heart.  William Barclay in his commentary on the letters to the Corinthians writes the following concerning the passage of scripture in I Corinthians 13, “Love finds no pleasure in evil-doing.  It might be better to translate this that love finds no pleasure in anything that is wrong. It is not so much delight in doing the wrong thing that is meant, “as the malicious pleasure which comes to most of us when we hear something derogatory about someone else. It is one of the queer traits of human nature that very often we prefer to hear of the misfortunate of others rather than of their good fortune. It is much easier to weep with them that weep than to rejoice with those who rejoice.  Christian love has none of that human malice which finds pleasure in ill reports.”

Individuals who gloat over the mistakes and sins of other people because of religious prejudice or for any other reason are not truly disciples of the Lord.  To be a Christian is to be Christ-like and to be Christ-like is to have the love of God in one’s heart.  And that measure of love in one’s heart prevents him from rejoicing in iniquity; delighting in evil and from gloating over another’s sins.

02 April 2014


One of the fundamental lessons to be learned in playing golf is to keep your eye on the ball.  This is easier said than done.  In years past, I played this game each week.  I received most of my instructions from a dear friend when I lived in the city of Ozark, Alabama.  When I would look down the fairway just before I was about to take a swing with my club, he would say, “Keep your eye on the ball.”  Practically every time I would top the ball or hit it in the wrong direction, the problem usually could be traced back to my breaking that basic rule, that is, of not keeping my eye on the ball.

 In his exhortation to those early Christians to “run with patience the race that is set before us”, the inspired writer gave them a basic and necessary rule to follow in the game of life when he wrote, “looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1, 2).  In other words, ‘keep your eyes on Jesus.’  He knew that there were many temptations in life which would cause them to turn their attention elsewhere.  To them, the urge to return to the tenets of the old law with its rituals and ordinances was very real and enticing.  To others, it may be the lusts of the flesh or the call of the world.

 Among the body of believers today there are distractions that cause us to turn our eyes away from Jesus.  It may be that some brother or sister has disappointed us.  It could be that someone has spoken words against us.  Perhaps family members have been unfaithful or a child has become involved in sinful living.  Satan is a very strong and wise adversary.  If he could get our parents to sin in Paradise, don’t you know that he is a having a field day with Christians while we live in this world permeated with sin?

The answer to our problems can be found in the encouragement to look unto Jesus.  He walked among mortal men, suffered the agony connected with the rejection of His people and the crucifixion on the Roman cross.  Now, he says, “Follow me” (Matthew 8:22).  However, we cannot really follow Jesus unless we look at Him.  It was when Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and became concerned about the wind, that he began to sink into the sea (Matthew 14:30).  So, when you become discouraged and feel like quitting, remember this fundamental rule of life, ‘Keep your eyes on Jesus’.