July 2005

teen-cigarettePeople often asked how someone could follow Manson to the extreme I once did? My usual reply is that the crazed Manson we see in interviews is not the person that misled us in the '60s. Things that deceive us often do not appear damaging until later.

Think About It!

The youngster smoking their first cigarette doesn't see it as developing into lung cancer. The alcoholic doesn't see their first drink leading to a life on skid row. Who could have seen those seemingly innocent peaks at pornography leading to divorce? And the person tempted with illicit sex didn't see it leading to unwanted pregnancy or an incurable disease.

People have fallen prey to unsound and misleading reasoning, since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Without God's wisdom, mankind was left with his own reasoning, not able to understand the wonderful things God has freely given us. Those who aren't Christians can't understand these truths. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what God means. We who have the Spirit understand these things, but others can't understand us at all. How could they? 1

The church in Corinth, Greece was established in 52 A.D. by the Apostle Paul in the midst of paganism and false teachings. It was no different than the world today. He wrote in fear that someone would lead them away from the pure and simple devotion to Christ, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent. Paul went on to say that such a person who leads astray is a false apostle. They have fooled you by disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. I am not surprised! Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. It is no wonder his servants can also do it by pretending to be godly ministers. In the end they will get every bit of punishment that wicked deeds deserve. 2

Who Are You Listening To?

Our belief system is influenced by those whom we listen to in life. It starts with our parents, continues with our teachers and fellow students who bring to school the beliefs of their parents. If these beliefs are absent God's wisdom, we are left to the foolishness of man. The Word of God says to not let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from evil powers of this world and not from Christ. 3 We are led astray by empty philosophy and human thinking because we do not know the Truth that is in the teachings of Christ. I had no excuse because my parents tried to show me the way of Christ. I remember one of my teachers assigning Psalm 23 for us to memorize, and I remember it to this day. I had every opportunity to turn to God, but I chose to serve the world, the flesh and the devil. 4

The truth about God is known to us instinctively. God has put this knowledge in our hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see His invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature. We have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. 5

The ancient peoples knew God, but they wouldn't worship Him as God or even give Him thanks. They began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. And instead of worshiping the glorious ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals, even snakes.6

What Is Your Excuse?

This is my story. I didn't have true love and peace in the '60s, and I knew it was missing in my life. I worshiped everything except God in my search for satisfaction. My mind was dark and confused all because I would not listen to sound reasoning. I thought I knew it all, but in reality, I was a fool to have worshiped Manson and his false philosophy instead of the true and living God. I have no excuse, the Lord was chasing after me, but my ears were closed to the truth.

I had every excuse in the book for not listening to God. I had a reason for doing everything I was doing mostly because of the way it made me feel. I smoked marijuana because it made me mellow. I chased girls for sexual gratification. I was a show-off in many ways to gain acceptance from my peers. I got into heavier drugs to help me deal with my emotional pains. I did it my way, instead of accepting Christ and allowing faith in God to arise in my heart.

My prayer is that someone will say, "I'm doing the same thing. I need help!" I can't help or fix anyone, but sometimes we all need direction when we've lost our way in life. I've had hundreds tell me how they could identify with my book Will You Die For Me? Alex Vanguard is out of jail now, but just wrote from Iceland telling me how his life was changed in jail after receiving my book from a guard. He took the time to read it and found a new direction. It is amazing to see how that could happen, but I've seen over the years, how the Lord has placed my books in the paths of many who are in need of help. It is a humbling experience, but one that I am always thrilled to hear about.

Where Is Your Vision?

One of my favorite truths from the Bible is: "where there is no vision [the redemptive revelation of God], the people perish [cast off restraint]." 7 We all have eyes for vision, but here we are talking about Spiritual vision. We have ears for physical hearing, but not all of us hear spiritually. Jesus said anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand! And be sure to pay attention to what you hear. The more you do this, the more you will understand. 8

This spiritual vision that God desires to reveal to us is the redemptive revelation of God's love. Redemption is deliverance by payment of a price. It refers to salvation from sin, death and the wrath of God by Christ's sacrifice on the cross. We were a slave to sin, but God in His great love put all the judgment that was due us for sin upon His Son, so that we could become right with Him. 9 This is the revelation of God's love for us. Without this revelation, we run wild, because true happiness is found within the constraints of revelation in the counsel of our Savior.

Remember, God saved you by His special love and favor when you believed. And you can't take the credit for this, it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in the righteousness of Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. 10 In my blindness, I was deceived by Manson, but now I see.

It is only this vision of God's love that brings provision for our life, as the Holy Spirit regenerates our hearts so we can see God's kingdom of love. 11 He comforts us by teaching us all things and bringing Jesus to our remembrance. 12 He gives us His peace, 13 love and joy that the world can never give. 14 The Holy Spirit shows us things to come and guides us into all truth. 15 He gives us the ability to reflect the light of His glory. 16 We are the temple of God's love, 17 and everywhere we go we carry Jesus, worshiping our Heavenly Father and blessing His people. 18

Let Us Rejoice

Let us sing to Jesus Christ with the elders and the living beings, with millions of angels around the throne and with every creature in heaven and earth: "You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For You were killed, and Your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And You have caused them to become God's Kingdom and His priests. And they will reign on the earth. The Lamb is worthy--the Lamb who was killed. He is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessings. Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever." 19

Jesus Christ paid the sin debt of the whole world, 20 but each individual must accept His payment for His cleansing blood to count on their behalf. The Lord says to all who believe Him and accept Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan--this rebirth comes from God. 21 Won't you believe and accept Him today?

A Prayer For You

Heavenly Father, I sense You are drawing me by Your love, which I have never truly experienced. I sense my eyes and ears opening to know Your great love for me. I believe that Jesus died on the cross in my place for sin, and You raised Him from the dead to give me eternal Life. I ask You, Jesus, to come into my heart, regenerate me and make yourself at home as Savior and Lord. You are the Way, the Truth and the Life and no man can come to the Father, but through You. I thank You for my new life in Christ and for my freedom from guilt and shame. Truly, this is my independence day. Amen!

Footnotes:

1) 1 Cor 2: 12-15
2) 2 Cor 11:3-15
3) Col 2: 8
4) 1 John 2:15-17
5) Rom 1:19-20
6) Rom 1:21-23
7) Pro 29:18
8) Mark 4:23-24
9) Rom 5:17-21
10) Eph 2:8-10
11) John 3:3
12) John 14:26
13) John 14:27
14) John 15:1-13
15) John 16:13
16) John 17:24
17) 1 Cor 6:19-20
18) Deut 10:8
19) Rev 5:8-13
20) 1 John 2:2
21) John 1:12-13

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