“Happy” (or, in some Bible translations, “blessed”) is the person who is kind to those in need (Prov. 14:21b); who does his/her best to keep God’s commandments and laws (29:18b); who finds wisdom and gains understanding of God’s truth (3:13); and who trusts in God (16:20b).
True and lasting happiness comes from doing what God wants us to do with our lives (seeC-15, P-II). Satan will do anything to prevent us from realizing and achieving whatever God has purposed for us to do. Instead of providing us with things giving lasting happiness, the devil and demons keep us inundated with things and activities affording us momentary or temporary satisfaction. But the self-gratification by which we attain this “fulfillment” is a poor substitute for true happiness, because it fades so quickly; and, no matter what it is, we usually need at least as much of it the next time to attain the same “high” or level of pleasure that we previously achieved. Satan’s very own existence consists of short periods of pleasure (which he receives when he gains temporary victories over people) followed by longer periods of anger, frustration, and resentment when God miraculously turns his negative influences into good. Satan never will learn.
Misery loves company. Satan, therefore, wishes to 1) prevent us from being considerate of and generous toward others by injecting us with pride (see P-II), 2) keep us from regarding and obeying God’s commandments and laws, 3) rob us of the wisdom, knowledge, and peace of mind and heart that God wants us to have, and 4) make us believe that God is a liar and is not trustworthy. Doing these things causes us to substitute short-term self-gratification for long-term happiness.
The ten commandments (Exo. 20:1-17) are God’s substantial laws. They are summed up by two commandments stated by Jesus, who then added, “There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31b):
I) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30) encompasses the first four of the ten commandments:
1) have no other gods before the True God,
2) do not make or worship any idol of any god,
3) have respect for the Name of God and do not misuse it, and
4) keep the Sabbath day holy (set apart) out of respect for God.
II) “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31a) embraces the last six of the ten commandments:
5) honor your father and your mother,
6) do not murder,
7) do not commit adultery,
8) do not steal,
9) do not slander or give false testimony about anyone, and
10) do not covet other people’s possessions or successes.
God told Moses to tell the people, “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees...” (Deut. 8:11). Keeping God’s commandments and laws will bring happiness, peace of mind, and prosperity to those who do so. On the other hand, breaking any of God’s laws (which the devil wants us to do) is “sin,” a condition which will bring grief, mental turmoil, and ruin if left unchecked.
Some things always are wrong (for instance, slandering someone and worldly covetousness). Others are wrong sometimes or maybe all the time for some people (for example, accumulating great wealth or drinking wine). It always is wrong for someone to do something which somehow will compromise or distract from the association one has with God or which may harm oneself or someone else. Sin can cause meaningful relationships (with God or with other people) to crumble if the sinner does not seek forgiveness.
Legalism involves focusing obsessive attention upon laws and obeying them precisely, so as to qualify oneself as being righteous. Even if one could obey all of God’s laws and never break one, though, this would not justify him/her as “righteous” in the eyes of God (Rom. 3:20a). The purpose of laws is to show us what not to do—that is, how not to sin (3:20b). One of Satan’s biggest weapons, when we do our best to follow God’s and society’s laws, is making us feel guilty if we do something bad or wrong; Satan accuses people before God day and night (Rev. 12:10b). He sends us “legalistic” spirits who speak to our consciences and try to convince us how worthless we are for being “sinners.” (These spirits are not always demonic; they may be human, sometimes coming in the form of “legalistic Christians” who prefer to condemn and make someone feel terrible for doing wrong rather than to show compassion and understanding, as Jesus did and does. See “Holy Spirit vs. religious spirits”: P-I; and “religious spiritual battles”: C-10, P-I.) Satan’s goal in sending or influencing these lying demon or human spirits is to compel us to believe the lie (John 8:44c) that we might as well stop trying to resist the temptation because we are not strong enough and, also, that God probably has “written us off” anyway.
Satan made gospel singer and evangelist LaVerne Tripp feel so guilty with this lie that the mental torment finally led him to attempt suicide. He gave up smoking pot after accepting Jesus, but he was overwhelmed with guilt when he later began smoking it again and could not stop. He felt that God surely must have given up on him for being a hypocrite—trying to live a drug-free life when he knew he did not have the willpower to quit on his own. As he poured a bottle of sleeping pills into his hand, the phone rang; it was an old friend with whom he had not spoken for a year.
The friend told LaVerne he had been praying earlier. The Lord supernaturally had impressed upon him that LaVerne was in trouble and that he should call LaVerne at his office. LaVerne admitted that he was about to attempt suicide, and the friend showed LaVerne how the devil had lied to him and convinced him to take the pills. The friend pointed out that one does not have to be “good enough” to be a Christian and to make it to heaven. One’s salvation has nothing to do with how strictly one follows the law, because salvation cannot be earned; rather, salvation is a free gift, received by putting faith and trust in the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ. In LaVerne’s own words, “I recognized the truth when I heard it. It came to me as a revelation that set me free [sic]”
The apostle Paul stressed that we should
...know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ...because by observing the law no one will be justified. ... I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (Gal. 2:16,20,21).
This is not to say that following the rules and doing good works are not important. James indicated that good deeds automatically result when one has a true faith in God, and both faith and subsequent positive actions together justify a person in God’s eyes:
...[F]aith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. ... You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. ... As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead (James 2:17,24,26).
We cannot always follow the law on our own, nor can we do all the things for others which God wants us to do. Only with Jesus living in us by His Holy Spirit can we do it. And we can be assured that when we do sin (break the rules or fail to do what we should do), He does not point an accusing finger at us (as Satan does—Zech. 3:1) but, rather, picks us up and puts us on the right track again (see “on and off the track”: C-15, P-II).
The devil does not want for us to read the Bible—God’s inspired Word to us which, by imparting great wisdom and knowledge, can deliver us from the problems, infirmities, and snares we encounter in life. We should desire the Word because it helps us to grow (1 Pet. 2:2) and because “...the word of our God stands forever” (Isa. 40:8b). (See “the Word of God”: C-10, P-II.) When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He wisely quoted ancient, steadfast Scripture against him (compare Matt. 4:4 & Deut. 8:3b; Matt. 4:7 & Deut. 6:16; Matt. 4:10b & Deut. 6:13).
Ignoring God’s Word, though, leaves us vulnerable to anything the enemy (the devil and his dark spiritual forces) has to bring upon us. Since “...Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), it is easy for him to deceive many who do not have their foundation on the Rock of God’s Word. Jesus said that when some people hear God’s Word, “...the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they cannot believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12).
Only wisdom and understanding obtained from God are worth anything; worldly intelligence is of no lasting value. No matter how awed people are with how much we know and how “bright” we are, God is not impressed unless we have gained our wisdom and knowledge from Him or from avenues through which He has guided us. When, in a dream, God told King Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom. So, not only did God make Solomon the wisest man to ever live, but God additionally gave him riches, honor, and long life because he had not asked for these things (1 Kng. 3:5,9-14, 4:29-34); he had valued wisdom above all else. Solomon had supernatural insight into things about which other people did not even have a clue.
King Solomon later revealed, concerning true wisdom, that “...the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6), and that “...wisdom preserves the life of its possessor” (Eccl. 7:12b). God said of worldly (counterfeit) “wisdom” and “intelligence” that “...the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish” (Isa. 29:14b). Humankind’s “intellectualism,” standing on its own, is folly—false wisdom.
“Wisdom has built her house...[and]...calls from the highest point of the city, ‘Let all who are simple come in here!’ she says to those who lack judgment” (Prov. 9:1a,3b,4). “...Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out,...‘Let all who are simple come in here!’ she says to those who lack judgment” (9:13-16). The message of both wisdom and folly is to “...come in here!”; and, in both cases, this message is to those who are “simple” (that is, to those who lack total and complete understanding, which is all of us). Thus, the audience with whom wisdom pleads and whom folly entices is the same: common people like you and me. If one does not exercise careful discernment, which accompanies familiarity with the Word of God (the Bible), it often is difficult to distinguish the difference between true wisdom (from God) and folly (false or worldly “wisdom”).
James, differentiating between true wisdom (from God) and false wisdom (from the devil) said,
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness (James 3:13-18).
The reward for seeking after true, insightful wisdom (provided by the Word of God) is that “...your days will be many, and years will be added to your life” (Prov. 9:11); whereas, the penalty for accepting folly (the substitutionary “intelligence” of the world) is the “...depths of the grave” (9:18b). Folly (satanically-inspired, humanistic “knowledge”) is a clever, deadly counterfeit for real (godly) wisdom.
We all have experienced not getting what we want. And I feel there is nothing wrong with asking God, more than once, to help us obtain what we wish to have (Luke 11:5-10)—as long as we feel it is in the permissible Will of the Father for us to have it. For instance, we repeatedly may petition God to grant a healing, to approve a promotion and salary raise, or to provide wisdom in dealing with a certain situation or person.
Problems arise, however, when we want things (or people) we know that we should not have or which are impractical or impossible to attain or obtain. It can happen, in such cases, that fantasies will arise in the mind, and be seized by the heart, because the spirit/soul complex has a difficult time accepting the reality of certain situations, since the emotional pain or distress is so great. A demonic spirit can impress upon the mind, “You can have it the way you want it if you just will it to be that way”; and the mind may make an attempt to “change the outcome” of the circumstance to something more acceptable and appealing. In extreme cases, the mind actually can come to believe permanently in its own made-up version of reality; and a mental disorder—even a psychosis—may result. Usually, though, the delusion (“simulated reality”) is relatively short-lived; and the person returns to the “real world.”
The problem with a fantasy, if it is at all successful in temporarily decreasing the inner hurt and turmoil or even in bringing actual pleasure, is that it is like a drug. Not only does one find oneself indulging more frequently in the fantasy (“rewriting the script,” as it were, over and over again to come out the way one wants it to), but when a fantasy has run its course and the mind returns to reality, more pain, frustration, and grief can result than if the facts initially had been faced and dealt with and no fantasy had been created at all. The greater the pain and misery within the heart, the more the heart cries out for the mind to invent another fantasy and set it in motion again to bring some relief, albeit partial and brief.
Fantasies, verbalized by substitutionary excuses, also develop when one does not want to face one’s own failures and shortcomings, because acknowledging them as reality often results in feelings of shame or guilt (which no one wants to feel) and also in a conviction that something should be done to correct these deficiencies. Satan and his spirit followers enjoy observing people in states of mental rationalization and emotional turmoil. Just as people get sustenance from food, demonic spirits “feed” off of people’s denial and hopelessness. Satan is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44c). This not only means that he himself hates the truth; it also means that he wants for us to reject the facts (the truth) and give in to false mental inventions. He knows our imperfect souls are vulnerable, and he takes advantage of this by luring them into emotionally “dead end” situations where creating make-believe states seems like the only way to cope.
Even though creating substitutes for reality in the mind sometimes can be very tempting, this temptation should be resisted because, logically, we know they will go absolutely nowhere. One must bring to mind the end-result of a previous fantasy (or string of fantasies): dissatisfaction, discontentment, and an even deeper feeling of guilt or longing for what one should not or cannot have. (Satan’s entire existence is based upon an ongoing, self-delusional fantasy: that he can replace God’s Throne in heaven with his own; yet this never will happen.) Before generating a fantasy, one should remember this:
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it (1 Cor. 10:13).
One should ask God to keep one’s mind focused on the facts at hand. Then one should seek permanent emotional healing through the Savior and Sustainer of our souls, Jesus (see “Healer (emotional and spiritual)”: C-6, P-III). He can and will help our mind-spirits gain control over our emotions and find real, rather than “fantastic,” solutions to our problems.
Job, even after all the devastation that God allowed in his life, trusted God: “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15a). Mighty King David of Israel also trusted in God when his enemies were pursuing him and there seemed no way out: “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal men do to me?” (Psalm 56:3,4).
Obviously, Satan does not want for us to have any of the good things God has to give us; Jesus described him as the “...thief [who] comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10a). When the Word of God is “planted” in the minds of many people like a seed, Satan, the thief, “...takes away the word that was sown in them” (Mark 4:15b). Thus, the devil substitutes disbelief in God (and belief in false ideals) for the trust that should be present, because one certainly cannot trust something in which one does not even believe. In turn, one learns to trust in oneself (arrogance), in other people (who themselves do not trust in God), and in imperfect worldly systems for one’s sources of strength, security, and salvation. But God declared, “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord” (Jer. 17:5). On the other hand, “...blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him” (17:7).
Job and David were not fully aware that God allowed the devil to test their allegiance to God by attempting to destroy their confidence in Him. But they did know that, as long as they maintained their trust in Him, God forever would remain faithful and true to them—even if they were allowed to die—because they knew Him as their Redeemer (Job 19:25; Psalm 34:22, 103:4). Their unswerving trust in God is the only thing that encouraged them to pursue life and endure its hardships, against all odds.
We should not worry excessively about the daily cares of life (Matt. 6:25-34). Once we have done what we can to prepare for the future, we should not be anxious about it; we must trust God to provide for us—which He will if we “...seek first his kingdom and his righteousness...” (6:33). Trusting in God is faith; however, “...everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23b), resulting from disbelief. Disbelief ensues when we ignore the promises of God and blindly follow Satan’s distractions.
Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). After the Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost (on the fiftieth day following Jesus’ resurrection—see “Pentecost”: C-4, P-IV), Jesus continued His miraculous work on earth through His disciples/apostles. He did through them the same things He had done before He died (including healing) and even greater things (including baptizing people in His Holy Spirit, done only after His resurrection). For instance, through Peter, Jesus (in heaven) instantly healed a crippled beggar because the man had faith in the Name of Jesus (Acts 3:6-8,16); many even were healed by faith when Peter’s shadow passed over them (5:15). And, through Philip and Paul, Jesus performed extraordinary miracles, including healing (8:6,7, 19:11,12). Furthermore, “The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people” (5:12a). To the apostles, crowds of people brought “...their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed” (5:16).
Some believe that only the early apostles received certain spiritual gifts (see “gifts of the Holy Spirit”: C-6, P-IV), including the gift of healing. I disagree. Stephen and Philip were among seven disciples chosen and anointed by the twelve apostles to be business elders or deacons in the Church (Acts 6:2,3,5,6). Stephen “...did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people” (6:8); and, through Philip, miraculous signs were performed, including the casting out of evil spirits and the healing of many paralytics and cripples (8:6,7). Even Ananias, a disciple in Damascus (9:10), restored Paul’s sight by laying his hands on Paul (9:17,18a). (Of course, all of these were performed through Jesus by the Power of the Holy Spirit.)
Literally translated, Jesus stated, “...the [one] believing in me, the works which I do that one also will do, and greater [than] these he will do...” (John 14:12). The implication seems clear: that anyone who has faith in Jesus can receive God’s spiritual gifts, doing the miracles He did—and more. (I feel that “more” implies more than merely bringing lost souls to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, since Jesus personally brought the message of salvation to many. I believe it includes baptizing people in the Holy Spirit, as well as performing spectacular deeds in glorified bodies after being changed at the Rapture—see “changed bodies”: C-12, P-V, S-1.)
There is much controversy today, particularly in the Church, over those Christians commonly referred to as “faith healers.” Some who look upon their “feats” with suspicion even may believe that they are performing satanic, counterfeit miracles—the marked increase of which will be a sure end-time indicator (2 Ths. 2:9—see “deceivers and counterfeit miraculous signs”: C-12, P-III, S-1). One test for this is to see if the person points to Jesus as the true Healer (see “Healer (physical)” and “Healer (emotional and spiritual)”: C-6, P-III), because “...every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God” (1 John 4:3a).
Even if the healing Power is conceded to come from Jesus and not from the human healer, though, this alone does not validate, necessarily, the alleged healing miracles. This is because there are some so-called “healers” who use deceptive methods (for instance, providing “courtesy” wheelchairs before a service for some people who hobble in so that when they get up and walk during the service it will appear to others as though they are healed) or employ a type of “audience hysteria” to beguile people into thinking they are healed when they truly are not. Personally, I have no doubt that many in the healing ministry are genuine and that others are fraudulent; some do possess the Holy Spirit’s gift of healing (and use it effectively), while others do not.
Some people in healing ministries will “blow” upon people who desire to receive a healing and/or to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus did this, after His resurrection, when He caused His disciples to receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). Not infrequently, this results in a reaction referred to as “being slain in the Spirit,” where the receiver falls to the ground under the Spirit’s Power (which is sent by Jesus). Although I believe God’s Power can and does cause some people to be unable to stand up (Dan. 10:8,9; Acts 9:4; Rev. 1:17a), at the same time I believe others will fall, not really having received the Spirit (due to lack of faith or for whatever reason), because they believe it is “the thing to do” at the time.
Healing even can occur when articles of clothing or other materials, which have been touched by a person with the gift of healing, subsequently touch other people (Mark 5:25,27-29; Acts 19:11,12). Sometimes these materials are referred to as “prayer cloths,” because a prayer of healing and restoration is said over them. Of course, there are those who will touch such materials but, lacking faith that it is God’s Power that heals and not the cloth itself, will not receive a healing.
There should be no one from a healing ministry “mingling” with members of the audience before the service. The ministry should provide licensed physicians on stage who can verify that at least some of the healings are genuine; and the healer should encourage those healed to be checked by their own doctors to verify the reality of the healings. The healer constantly should point to and glorify God (specifically, Jesus) as the true Healer and refrain from showing any self-pride or self-glorification when a healing occurs. I have seen services on TV and live, with these and other “checks and balances in place,” where I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that some (or even many) people are being healed by the Power of God. Of course, due to the inevitable “excitability” easily induced within some people in such charged services, I believe there always will be certain individuals who feel they are healed but definitely are not.
Healing is a wonderful spiritual gift, and the healing ministry always will be frowned upon by skeptics within and outside of the Church. Those through whom God performs public healings, maybe more than those in any other ministry, must be above ethical and moral reproach. Successful healers inevitably will be under constant temptation by satanic forces to sin in an attempt to discredit their reputations. They should get on their knees everyday and ask God to keep them from falling captive to destructive sin, particularly (but by no means limited only to) pride; they never should think for a minute that they themselves are the source of any healing or other miracle. To do so is to ascribe divine attributes to oneself; this is blasphemy and will not be tolerated for long by God. A healing/miracle begins with the Father’s Will; then Jesus substantiates it, and the Holy Spirit imparts it or manifests it into reality (all simultaneously). The human healer merely is the “funnel” through which the healing/miracle is channeled. God always must be acknowledged as the Source of all healing and miracles.
Someone with the healing gift should not be held in “awe” by anyone. People should not attend a healing service if they are looking to the one administering the healing as the source of it; again, no man or woman has that Power, on his/her own, apart from God. People who are healed are those who acknowledge that God is the Source of their miracle(s); putting this faith and confidence in any person alone is a mistake which, more than likely, will not result in the healing for which one hopes. In any case where a healing does take place, the person healed should tell others what has happened as a testimony to the Power of God; otherwise, it is possible that the restoration will be lost. To God be the glory!
As this world’s insurmountable problems continue to grow and grow, mankind actually is looking into outer space, rather than to God, for answers. But why do we look for extra-terrestrial physical life? Do we think that aliens are going to come to take away our millions of tons of garbage of which some cities have almost run out of places to dispose? Will they be able to filter our air so we do not suffocate and restore our ozone layer so we will not fry? Will they clean up our seacoasts, lakes, and rivers so we do not poison our ecosystems and ourselves? Do we want someone with “superior” intellect to rule us, because we do not know how to rule ourselves—yet refuse to allow God to rule our lives and our nations in His perfect way?
I am of the strong opinion that there is no intelligent physical life, other than on earth, in this or any other galaxy in the entire universe. If so, Jesus, Who is the only way to the Father (John 14:6b), would have had to die for the sins of the beings on each planet containing life with the capacity to choose between good and evil. Yet, Christ “...has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. ... Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people...” (Heb. 9:26b,28a). Jesus took the form of a man here on earth and died once and for all for the people of earth. Had there been anyone else in the universe, Jesus would have had to go to these other planets and die for them as well. However, He did not die for anyone else, because there is no one else—that is how special we humans are to God.
Furthermore, as for John’s revealing vision following the Millennium (Rev. 20), he writes,
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21:1-3).
Why would God choose for His dwelling place, the New Jerusalem, eventually to come down to set down and remain forever on a renewed earth rather than on any other planet? I believe it is because there are no intelligent beings on other planets in the universe—only here on earth.
I believe that bona fide “unidentified flying objects” (UFO’s) not from earth do exist; but physical extra-terrestrials from other planets or galaxies do not occupy them. If such spacecraft are real, they are supernatural in nature (2 Kng. 2:11a, 6:17c; Psalm 68:17a; Ezek. 1:4), are able to defy natural laws of physics (like making instantaneous 90° or even 180° turns), are capable of causing unexplainable phenomena on the ground where they land (like, for instance, unusual scorch marks or circular patterns in fields), and are navigated by supernatural spirit beings.
Although the vast majority of UFO’s (I have heard 95%) are explainable as natural phenomena, a small number are not. I suspect that most who claim to have seen or come into contact with them and/or their occupants have had some association with and influence by the occult in their past, or else they possess the gift of spiritual discernment (see “gifts of the Holy Spirit”: C-6, P-IV). The “spiritual eyes” of either type of person have been opened to be able to see these extrasensory vehicles, just as the “eyes” of Elisha’s servant were opened to see the invisible horses and chariots of fire in the hills all around them (2 Kng. 6:17). Dabblers in the occult have been prepared mentally and spiritually to meet “aliens,” which are merely (evil) spirit beings taking on physical forms and pretending to be (counterfeiting) humanoid visitors from outer space. And, with an increasing frequency of visitations, more and more people will be convinced that “spiritual enlightenment, peace, and prosperity” are attainable by making contact with these beings.
God’s dietary laws, by and large, are summed up in the following Bible passages: Gen. 1:29, 9:4; Lev. 3:17, 7:23,24,26, 11:3-8; and Deut. 14:3-20. Generally, it is good for us to eat seeds, beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as chicken, turkey, fish with fins and scales, and lean beef. But it is not advisable to eat fat or blood. Also, rabbit and pig meats really should be avoided. Lean beef should be well-cooked (but not charred) to eliminate all of the red color, as well as possible bacterial infection (which crops up occasionally in fast-food hamburgers). Shellfish (such as shrimp and lobster—two of my favorites), unfortunately, have been found to contain increased cholesterol, as well as more bacterial infections and other contaminants than many other edible aquatic animals; they should be avoided, or at least minimized, in one’s diet.
Most of us are tempted almost everyday by two major food substitutes, chocolate and sugar, in the forms of candies, cakes, pies, and “junk” foods, all of which have virtually no nutritional value. There are a number of health problems that long-term chocolate and sugar addiction can incur, the least of which are teeth cavities and migraine headaches. The islets of Langerhans, which are the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, may become over-taxed with excess sugar intake and thus cease insulin production, bringing on diabetes mellitus. Even sugar substitutes (“food counterfeit counterfeits”) can cause problems; aspartame can cause headaches and a variety of other problems in some people, and saccharin has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals. It is easy for many of us, particularly after a healthful meal, to “indulge” in a rich dessert containing chocolate (which is very fatty and full of cholesterol) and/or sugar. (Our rationalization is, “I’ve been ‘good’; now I can afford to be ‘bad.’”) Better dessert choices instead are raisins, grapes, dates, pears, peaches, and other fruits (recall Gen. 1:29).
People whose diets are rich in fatty foods (which are “temptingly good” but which are high in bad cholesterol) have an increased incidence of breast, prostate, and colon cancer, as well as hardening of the arteries and heart disease, according to Reginald B. Cherry, M.D., a Christian practitioner in Houston (www.drcherry.org). Also, people with multiple sclerosis tend to have more nerve degeneration the more fat they consume. Although sickness and disease are allowed by God, they often are manifested by Satan (Job 2:7; Luke 13:11,16; Acts 10:38b).
Many “low-fat” labels on today’s food products are misleading and deceptive. Although steps have been taken by the FDA to prevent this by requiring nutritional information to be placed on most food containers, some foods may contain more fat than one is led to believe. (Saturated fat is worse than unsaturated or monounsaturated fat.) From the “Nutrition Facts” section on the container, one can calculate what percentage of calories in a serving is due to fat. Simply multiply the number of grams of fat by “9”; then divide this number by the total number of calories per serving. Healthwise, this amount should be no greater than .30—that is, no more than 30% of the calories being due to fat. For instance, a carton of “2%” milk may say “98% fat-free.” But if there are 5 grams of fat and 140 calories (per serving), then about 32% (calculated [5 × 9] ÷ 140 = .32) of the total calories is from fat—thus exceeding the recommended maximum of 30%. (Personally, I drink and recommend non-fat or skim milk.) Two of the best oils to use in cooking are canola and olive; both have a low saturated and high monounsaturated oil content. Animal fat (lard) should be avoided, due to the high cholesterol content.
The National Research Council has stated that leading health organizations recommend the following daily guidelines for moderation in eating:
1) Fat: an average of 30% or less of calories.
2) Saturated Fat: less than 10% of calories.
3) Cholesterol: less than 300 mg. per day.
4) Sodium: less than 2,400 mg. per day.
On his weekly TV show on TBN, “The Doctor and the Word,” Dr. Cherry and his wife/nurse, Linda, stress the importance of eating as the Bible suggests. They advise that protein should be limited to 10-15% of total calories. Complex carbohydrates (green and yellow vegetables, grains, fruits, beans, and peas) should be maximized in the diet. Also, eating an adequate amount of fiber (wheat and oat bran) significantly can reduce the incidence of some cancers, for instance of the breast and colon. Only 2 cruciferous vegetables have Vitamins A & C and fiber: broccoli and bok choy. (Both are excellent steamed for 5-6 minutes.) Other cancer-preventing foods include tomatoes, red bell peppers, and watermelons (which contain lycopene); citrus fruits (especially oranges); garlic and onions (which contain over 30 anti-cancer compounds); greens (especially spinach and dark Romaine lettuce, along with broccoli and bok choy); soybean products (like tofu and soy milk, which contain protease inhibitors and saponin); non-herbal tea (especially “green tea”); fish oil (in cold-water fish such as cod, mackerel, and herring which contain omega-3 fatty acids); orange and yellow vegetables (like sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and yellow squash, which contain beta carotene); cabbage; non-fat yogurt; and licorice (not the candy). And garlic (as well as olive oil, losing excess weight, and exercise) can increase the level of good cholesterol in the blood.
Dr. Cherry points out that free-radical molecules, which we daily inhale and ingest and which behave like “rust” in our bodies, may hasten the onset of the aging process and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Substances known as anti-oxidants, however, reduce free-radical levels. (Every week, several cancer cells form in our bodies. It is important to keep our immune systems strong—by way of good nutrition, as well as proper exercise and decreased stress—to fight cancer and other pestilent diseases which continually attack us.) In addition, the over-use of antibiotics by the general population over the past few decades has resulted in a resistance in, and an alarming increase of, many strains of antigens (primarily, disease-causing viruses, bacteria, and fungi). One example is the “flesh-eating” Streptococcus A bacterium, causing “necrotizing fascitis,” a condition which potentially is fatal in only a few days. Uncontrollable plagues and pestilences, caused by these potentially “killer bugs” (as in the 1995 motion picture Outbreak), will be one hallmark of the beginning of the end of this age (Luke 21:11a; Rev. 6:8—see “4th Seal/Jesus”: “the first six seals”: C-12, P-I; and C-12, P-II, S-4).
God made our bodies to be able to develop natural immunization to detrimental antigens, especially new virulent strains; this makes our intake of anti-oxidants, particularly in the food we eat, extremely important. Now, although anti-oxidants are found in healthful foods, the chemicals and additives used to process foods also can increase the amounts of free-radicals in our bodies (which is one reason I’ve grown some of my own vegetables whenever I could—something I recommend for everybody, if possible). Thus, no matter how well we eat, we should be supplementing our diets with vitamins and minerals. These are the daily dosages of some anti-oxidant vitamins and minerals recommended by Dr. Cherry:
|Vitamin/Mineral||Recommended Daily Dosage|
|Vitamin C||1,000 mg. in a.m.; 1,000 mg. in p.m.|
|Vitamin E||800 (natural) I.U.|
|Beta Carotene||30 mg. (50,000 I.U.)|
|§ Multiple Vitamin||one|
* More than the suggested dosage of Selenium is not recommended, as too much of this element actually may increase the risk of cancer.
§ Examples are Theragran M, Therapeutic M, Centrum; compare RDA’s on the labels.
Visit Dr. Cherry’s website: http://www.drcherry.org. By writing Reginald B. Cherry Ministries, CET (Community Educational Television), P. O. Box 721582, Houston, Texas 77272, one can obtain the following study guides: How to Strengthen Your Immune System, #87-S ($1); God’s Nutrition Laws, #204-S ($4); How to Shop for Food: Recipes for Healthy Living, #208-S ($4); Protective Food Sheet, #209-S ($1); Vitamin Study Guide, #211-S ($1); Eating to Prevent Cancer, #217-S ($1); and Foods that Affect the Mind, #219-S ($1).
Many people spend years—even their entire lives—believing that their basic needs are being met by the things the world has to offer and by other people which, in effect, have become their “gods.” Then a sudden catastrophe occurs: death of a loved one, financial collapse, betrayal by a trusted friend, major scandal involving someone revered, or a maiming accident. They are left devastated, scarred, and unable to cope, because their spiritual foundation was built on sand (worldly things and people) rather than on God, the Everlasting Rock (Matt. 7:24-27). The apostle John warned, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. ... The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15a,17). Likewise, Isaiah counseled, “Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?” (Isa. 2:22).
If you lack a feeling of complete security, peace of mind, and happiness in your life, and are you apprehensive about what the future holds for you and for our world? Do you sense that, no matter how many times scientists, politicians, and “New Age” gurus imply that we human beings are very resourceful and will be able to discover or develop solutions to all our problems, somehow we will not be able to repair this enormous mess without the help of the One who created the universe and everything in it? Does a still, quiet “voice” within your spirit ever suggest to you that you may be missing out on your purpose in life, or that the Creator of everything you see somehow is patiently “knocking at your door,” wanting to come in and communicate with you (Rev. 3:20), but you are reluctant to open that door?
If you do not know the True and Living God personally, but admit to answering yes to any of these questions, then I would say that you are wise enough to perceive reality and that the Lord is trying to get through to you. I believe that all you need to do is ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a reasonable way; if you are willing to put your faith in Him if He does (that is, if you have a hard time believing but are an “honest skeptic”), then I believe that He will do so. Stop settling for counterfeits and substitutes and go for the Real Thing. You were specially made in the image of the God (Gen. 1:26,27), who created the universe and everything in it (1:1-25), and this same God wants to have a personal relationship with you. Imagine that! At the very end of this book’s last chapter (see “real eternal choice”: C-15, P-III), you will find an explanation of how to invite God, your Creator and Sustainer, into your life. Doing so will transform you forever.
Proceed to Chapter 9, Part IV
Return to the Beginning of Chapter 9, Part III
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Go to the The 70th Week and Extensions: “Pre-Wrath” Rapture Table
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Copyright © 1998– by Ted M. Montgomery, O.D. Most rights reserved.