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Needless Pain

My dad was a tenderhearted man. If he was around when we had to discipline our daughter,
he left the room. He knew she needed it, but he just couldn't stand to be there for it. I had a
little of that feeling a couple of weeks ago when our son had one of those defining disciplinary
moments with our three-year-old granddaughter over a piece of gum. We were in the car and
our little girl had been chewing some gum, and she was starting to fall asleep. Mommy told
her to spit out her gum so she wouldn't choke on it when she went to sleep. This little girl,
who is amazingly well-behaved because of her parents' very fair and consistent discipline,
chose to defy her mother on this one. She was not going to relinquish her gum. Daddy
reinforced mommy's order from the driver's seat. The more she was told to do it, the more
defiant she got. It wasn't about gum, of course; the gum had to taste totally flat by this time.
It was about having her way, no matter what. Daddy threatened to ban chewing gum for a while.
It didn't matter. Then he threatened to pull the car over and give her a spanking. (His spankings
are kind but they're firm.) Still no backing down on the gum. Finally, Daddy had no other
responsible choice but to pull over, get out of the car with our granddaughter, and enforce
the law. Afterwards, he hugged her, he reassured her of his and Mommy's love, but the
showdown over obeying was really intense. Nobody was having fun. And no piece of gum
could be that good.

As the showdown over getting rid of that gum escalated; as the price for disobeying got higher
and higher, I thought, "Is that piece of gum really worth going through all of this?" Then I thought:
"How many times has God looked at me and said the same thing? 'Ron, why won't you obey Me on
this? Is it really worth all the pain you're going through because you won't do what I say?'" We're all
stubborn children, even when the Father we're defying is God Himself.

God's way is always the best way for us - the path of ultimate peace and joy and satisfaction and
no regrets. But many of us have these showdown issues with God over something we refuse to let
go of or change. Maybe there's something in your life like that. You know God isn't happy with what
you're doing or with the way you've let someone or something become more important to you than
He is.

So the loving process described in Hebrews 12, beginning with verse 5 kicks in. It's our word for
today from the Word of God. "The Lord disciplines those He loves ... God disciplines us for our good ...
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of
righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

God loves you enough to discipline you when you're out of bounds. You may have been blaming
the pain you're going through on the devil or on circumstances when it may be your Heavenly Father
trying to get your attention. And the more you defy Him, the more He has to increase the pain so you
will get the point. It could be that the pain you're going through is needless pain - pain which will stop
at a time of your choosing when you finally give in and do it God's way. Whatever you have to stop,
whatever you have to drop, whatever you have to fix, whatever you have to change, it's worth it to finally
have God's full blessing along with His peace and joy again.

In a defiant little girl I suddenly saw myself, and maybe she's a picture of someone who's listening, too.
Knowing what your Father has told you to do, stubbornly refusing to do it, experiencing ever more painful
consequences, going through so much needless pain over something that just isn't worth it. It's time to
obey and then experience again the enveloping hug of your Heavenly Father. - - Ron Hutchcraft

*Not amalgamated with 'Thought & Humor'.


I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really
foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus Christ]:
"I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I
don't accept His claim to be God."

That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was
merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would
not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic --
on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg --
or else he would be the Devil of Hell.

You must make your choice. Either this Man was, and is,
the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse ....
You can shut Him up for fool, you can spit at Him and kill
Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him
Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing
nonsense about His being a great hum! an teacher. He has
not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.

-- From Case for Christianity, by C.S. Lewis


The Biblical Case
For Chastity

A 25-year-old Christian man e-mailed a friend—a young Christian author
named Lauren Winner—and asked her a question. He claimed he had endless
opportunities for casual sex—including one that very evening. Why should he
not take advantage of them? After all, he said, he was already "dealing with
seventeen other things in my Christian walk. Shouldn't I just focus on
learning to pray, and deal with the sex stuff later?"

Nice try, buster. Winner, the author of Real Sex: The Naked Truth about
Chastity, says that in our sex-saturated culture, young, single Christians
find chastity much more difficult than many older Christians can imagine.
A college minister told Winner that "every college pastor I've talked to about
this says the same thing: Their students, even those in their leadership
groups, people leading Bible studies and so forth, are sexually out of

Winner herself converted to Christianity at age 21, when her ideas about
sexuality had already been partially formed by Hollywood and Cosmopolitan
magazine—not the Church. One thing she learned firsthand as a new Christian:
A few isolated Bible verses are not much help to those who have been
sexually active since their teens. What she needed was an entire sexual
ethic—truths that are "part of the large biblical narrative of creation,
fall, and redemption."

The starting point, Winner writes, is that God created us with bodies and
declared that they were good. But in the fall, "our sexual desires were
disordered, and one task of Christian ethic is to help us rightly order
them." Rightly ordered by a Christian moral vision, she says, "Bodies
are tools God uses for His glory."

Winner writes that biblical writers from Moses to Paul understood what
happened in the fall and articulated efforts to protect and perpetuate the
ordering of things that was established in Genesis. For example, the Mosaic
laws about sexual practices "do protective work, pointing to, guarding, and
returning God's people to the created order, the world as God meant it to
be." And in the Scriptures, the book the Song of Solomon, we find, among
other things, "the perfect expression of what this sexuality, restored by
law and grace, looks like."

When youth pastors talk about sex, Winner notes, they need to "begin with
the picture of intended reality that is laid out in Genesis." They should
invite teens to answer "a host of larger questions: Who created us, and for
what ends? What is God's creational intent? and What are we made for?"

We need to help youth understand that they are God's creatures, made for His
best purposes. And then, when they are alone with a boyfriend or girlfriend,
they "may think very differently—even righteously—about sex, and bodies,
and the context in which those bodies are to touch and be touched," Winner

I hope you'll read Winner's book Real Sex. It will help you understand and
help you teach children that the right question is not, "How far can I go?"
but "Who created my body, and for what purpose?"

By the way, her book is not just for children. It's a good reminder for us
all—for me and for you. BREAKPOINT with Charles Colson & Mark Earley

*Not amalgamated with 'Thought & Humor'.


Where The
Sidewalk Bends

As I was walking in my neighborhood a few days ago, I noticed a curious
thing. The sidewalk had been laid to take a short detour around a very
large tree. As the tree's root system spread, it encroached upon the
walkway, so the city planners simply moved the sidewalk to accommodate
the tree. But now, the tree is no longer there. The massive hardwood has
been cut down, leaving behind only the barest signs of a stump.and a
sidewalk that bends. I wondered to myself how many years people will
continue to walk on this sidewalk, following the curve around the tree
that isn't there.

I've heard the story of a woman who used to cut off the ends a roast
before she cooked it. Her little girl asked her why she did it, and she
replied that her mother had always done it that way. Later, she too
started wondering about the reason behind slicing off the ends of the
roast, so she called her mother. "That's what my mother always did,"
she replied, "You'll have to ask her." The mystery was solved when
the woman called her grandmother. As it turns out, she only had one
roasting pan, and it was not long enough to fit the whole roast!

Often, we adopt practices or habits for very good reasons, but as
creatures of habit, we may continue these practices long after the reasons
have been forgotten. This was one of the problems that Jesus confronted
in the religious people of His day. They clung to their religious traditions,
but they had lost any connection with the reason for the traditions. They
went through the motions of religion, but they did not fear and worship
their creator.

Some of the Pharisees were accusing Jesus' disciples of not observing
the ceremonial washings. Jesus had no patience for their external,
works-oriented self-righteousness. He rebuked them, saying, "You
hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
'These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men'" (Matthew 15:7-9).

These Pharisees clung to the rules they had been taught, but they had lost
any sense of the reasons behind the rules. They were not concerned with
the holiness of God, which is the lesson the ceremonial washings were
meant to teach; they were concerned with making themselves appear
outwardly righteous.

Another time, Jesus described a hypocrite as one who fasts to be seen
by men, mistaking the fact that the purpose of fasting is to draw close to
God in prayer. Hypocrites retain traditions, but they use them to serve
their own ends rather than the ends for which they were intended. No one
wants to be seen as a hypocrite, but we all need to consider whether we
have severed the relationship between what we do and why we do it. Are
you walking around trees that aren't there?

Make no mistake; I believe that tradition and habit are both important
for a healthy walk of faith. We should seek to cultivate disciplines and
habits that are honoring to God. But when we realize that we are
partaking in a tradition that has no meaning for us, we need to seek to
reconnect to the purpose for which it was intended. Then we will not be
people who simply honor God with our lips. We will honor God with our
hearts. Betsy Childs

"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of
challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who
would enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,
tell them to ple! ase call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).


"Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider
well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ
which is eternal life (John 17:3)."

- - - The Laws and Statutes of Harvard College in 1643

"All scholars shall live religious, godly, and blameless lives according
to the rules of God's Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, the
fountain of light and truth; and constantly attend upon all the duties
of religion, both in public and secret."

- - - Two central requirements in Yale College 1745 charter


The Roman emperor Diocletian, following an edict in 303 A.D.,
failed to stamp the Bible out. The French Revolution could not
crush it with secular philosophy (Rousseau, one of its heroes,
converted to Christianity). The Communists failed to stamp it
out with atheism and political ideology. One might well ask why
this book has been banned, burned, and bludgeoned with such
animosity and scorn. The great Reformation hero John Calvin
responds in this way: "Whenever people slander God's word,
they show they feel within its power, however unwillingly or
reluctantly." - Joe Boot
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Any discussion of the “global warming” theory must mention its high priest, Al Gore, who, along with John Kerry, is a graduate of the Jimmy Carter School of Bitterness. Concerning Mr. Gore, it is only fair to make it clear that he did not claim to have invented the Internet. That is a bit of folk lore arising out of a CNN TV interview on March 9, 1999 when he said, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” By dictionary definitions, there is – to a mind as keen as his -- a difference between “invent” and “create.” Webster’s Dictionary defines “invent” as “to produce a new device; originate.” “Create” is defined as “to cause to come into existence; to make; to originate.” It is easy to understand how he has been falsely accused of “inventing” the Internet. His claim was that he “created” it.

And it is equally clear that he did not invent the theory of “global warming.” Or create it. The theory had its effective beginnings in the early 1990’s with the creation of an organization named “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.” (IPCC) Yearly meetings were held, and the dangers of “global warming” were documented. But from the very beginning, there were problems. The IPCC predictions of rises in temperature varied with each report. In 1988 they predicted a rise by 2030 of 3.0 C; in 1990, 1.2 C and in 1995, 0.8 C. Actual reports were equally contradictory. Since 1979 the ground warming has increased between 0.1 C – 0.15 C per decade, but the more reliable weather balloons and satellite readings have shown a cooling of 0.04 C per decade.

But the IPCC pressed ahead and in Kyoto in 1997 developed the Kyoto Protocol aimed at recruiting the nations of the world to participate in a reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses. With 160 countries having ratified the Protocol, it went into effect in February, 2005, and has now been in effect for one year.

Mr. Gore, as Vice President, signed the protocol on behalf of the United States in November, 1998, but President Clinton decided not to seek ratification by the US Senate, and his successor, President Bush, has also decided not to seek Senate ratification. Both presidents wisely considered the resultant adverse effect on the nation’s economy.

There appear to be just as many supporters of the Kyoto Protocol as there are opponents. Also, there appear to be as many scientific minds favoring the Protocol as there are opposing it. One year does not appear to be an adequate time frame to determine if it is as beneficial and as necessary as its supporters claim. Thus the entire process appears to have reached a stalemate.

Up to now the theory of Global Warming has been discussed and argued about in terms of economics, science, geographical effects, and human life. Now a new element of discussion has been introduced – the religious element, and more specifically, the involvement of Evangelicals. Al Gore may have opened the door for this evelopment with his book “Earth in the Balance” (1992). The subtitle is “Ecology and the Human Spirit.” And it is in that aspect of the book that he delves into some religious connotations. For example, he states, “The richness and diversity of our religious tradition throughout history is a spiritual resource long ignored by people of faith [i.e. Christians], who are often afraid to open their minds to teachings first offered outside their own system of belief.” He proceeds to commend virtually all religions as honoring the earth, including the American Indians, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and the Baha’i as offering a sound theological basis for his concept of eco-theology. He even goes so far as to assert that the worship of the earth goddess preceded the Old Testamant presentation of one God, or monotheism.

It is through this door which Mr. Gore conveniently left ajar, that a few “Evangelicals” have walked in and have issued the “Evangelical Climate Initiative.” The “Initiative” says, in part, “This is God’s world, and any damage that we do to God’s world is an offense against God Himself.” Then the statement gets right into the issue, using these words, “The consequences of Global Warming will hit the poor the hardest, in part because those areas likely to be significantly affected first are the poorest regions of the world.” One could well pause and reflect that it is not even yet definite that there is, or will be, “global warming,” but these good people (and they do seem to be good people) have already determined which areas of the world will be first affected.

Even as Mr. Gore’s “theology” is subject to question, so that which is being demonstrated in this “Initiative” is a specimen of what is often called “proof text theology,” whereby its proponents affirm some theory or position which appeals to them, and then hunt through the Bible’s 31,174 verses to find one, or more, which support their belief. This is not to say that it is wrong for this group of “Evangelicals” to express concern, but before linking the Christian gospel with unproven contemporary political issues, regardless of how serious they may appear, we should be sure we have considered all the facts. Not all scientists and climatologists are agreed that the threat of global warming as espoused by Mr. Gore and others, is even a danger, or if it is caused by humans.

Fortunately, most who call themselves Evangelicals have not climbed aboard this “doomsday bandwagon,” as it has been labeled, and sound, reasoned minds are wisely expressing caution before joining in Mr. Gore’s crusade. Conservative columnist Cal Thomas addresses the issue well in his column appearing in Town Hall Opinion Alert, “What is it with evangelical Christians that so many of them need a cause beyond the Commission they’ve been given? It now appears that at least some cooler heads have prevailed over global warming. While some superstars of evangelicalism … have signed on to the global warming doctrine, many others have not. A better objective would be to follow another statement made not by a committee but by a single individual who claims ownership of His church and requires obedience of all who would follow Him, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations.’” (Matt. 28:19) Mr. Thomas also points out that Jesus directed His followers to obey everything He had commanded them, and we are reminded that none of those teachings involves global warming or the environment.

True, we should care for and not abuse this world in which we live, but directing our efforts toward solving a problem which may or may not exist is hardly the best utilization of the gifts and talents which God has given us.

Quote of the week: Jesus said unto them: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power, but ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me … unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)

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* * * Four Important Things To KNOW: #1) For ALL (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. #2) For the wages of above (see #1) are DEATH (Hell, eternal separation from God, & damnation) but the Gift (free & at no charge to you) of God (Creator, Jehovah, & Trinity) is Eternal Life (Heaven) through (in union with) Jesus Christ (God, Lord, 2nd Person of The Trinity, Messiah, Prince of Peace & Savior of the World). #3) For God so greatly loved & dearly prized the world (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime - while still living) believes (trust in, relies on, clings to, depends completely on) Him shall have eternal (everlasting) life (heaven). #4) Jesus said: "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE. No one (male/female - American, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Asian, Presbyterian, European, Baptist, Brazilian, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc. ) comes (arrives) to the Father (with GOD in Heaven) EXCEPT BY (through) ME (no other name). *** This wonderful loving GOD gives you the choice - - - (Rev. 3:20) {Please note that church membership, baptism, doing good things, etc. are not requirements for becoming a Christian - however they are great afterwards!!!} *** Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (Hell, damnation, eternal punishment), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Heaven, eternal happiness, forever with God), and only a few find it.

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But these are written so that you may
believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the
Son of God, and that by believing in
Him you will have life. Jn 20:31

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call on Him while He is near. Let the
wicked forsake his way and the evil
man his thoughts. Let him turn to the
Lord, and He will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for He will freely
pardon. "For My thoughts are not
your thoughts, neither are your ways
My ways," declares the Lord. "As the
heavens are higher than the earth, so
are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down
from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making
it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed
for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My
mouth: It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and
achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth
in peace; the mountains and hills will
burst into song before you, and all the
trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the
pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle
will grow. This will be for the Lord's
renown, for an everlasting sign, which
will not be destroyed." Is 55

O Lord, you have searched me and you
know me. You know when I sit and when
I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying
down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know
it completely, O Lord. You hem me in -
behind and before; you have laid your
hand upon me. Such knowledge is too
wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where
can I flee from your presence? If I go up
to the heavens, you are there; if I make
my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide
me and the light become night around
me," even the darkness will not be dark
to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. For you
created my inmost being; you knit me
together in my mother's womb. I praise
you because I am fearfully and wonderfully
made; your works are wonderful, I know
that full well. My frame was not hidden
from you when I was made in the secret
place. When I was woven together in the
depths of the earth, your eyes saw my
unformed body. All the days ordained
for me were written in your book before
one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,
O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would
outnumber the grains of sand. When
I awake, I am still with you. Search me,
O God, and know my heart; test me
and know my anxious thoughts. See
if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Ps 139

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up,
that I may show My power in you, and that My
Name may be declared in all the earth. Ex 9:16

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
- - Isaac Watts

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