Is God Speaking to you?

MANY FOLKS I MEET say that God is speaking to them (separate and apart from the written word of God). It’s obvious to me that God is not in fact speaking with them. You can see it as well, because these folks are…

  • worshiping differently from the word,
  • acting (often with sin) different from the word
  • speaking differently from the word.

Ironically, these folks are lousy at quoting scripture, correctly referring to scripture and generally ignorant about scripture. If God is speaking to you then why are they so ignorant about scripture? Only 2 conclusions can be drawn, either they aren’t being spoken to by God (my belief) or God is an author of confusion. “For God is NOT the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” [1Co 14:33]. (emphasis mine)

There are 4 major problems with this position. Not only is it ERROR but it has a problem with AUTHENTICITY, a problem of REPEATED REVIEW by others and a problem with ACCESS to others. The written word of God solves every one of these problems. Let’s look at the first 2; ERROR & AUTHENTICITY.

The 1st Problem of A Personal Revelation, ERROR.

God speaks to us through His divine written word. Jesus said that “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” [Matt 28:18]. He also said that the Holy Spirit would come to guide the Apostles into all truth [John 16:13]. This is exactly what happened, and as the Holy Spirit guided them, He provided signs & wonders as a confirmation that what they spoke was from God [Mark 16:20; Acts 5:12; 14:3; 1Cor 2:4-5; Heb 2:4]. These men both spoke AND wrote what they received from God [2Peter 1:21; Eph 3:3; John 20:30-31]. Finally, after the revelation from God was completed, the signs & wonders also ceased [1Cor 13:8-10].

Therefore, when we read, we can understand and believe what they understood and believed about Jesus the Christ [Eph 3:4]. A person that studies God’s revealed, written word, can know EVERYTHING he needs to know regarding life, godliness and salvation [2Tim 3:16-17]. To suppose that God is speaking directly to you today (separate and apart from His written word) is to say that God is doing something that scripture shows to be a very RARE occurrence and that you’re somehow more special than everyone else making God out to be a respecter of persons [Acts 10:34].

Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”

The 2nd Problem of A Personal Revelation, AUTHENTICITY.

How do you know that what you’re “hearing” is from God and not due to a feeling, desire or lust? James wrote that we are drawn by our own lusts, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” [Jas 1:14-15]. How do you know that the “voice” you’re hearing is not a Mental health problem? You may hear voices if you experience psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression.

IF you’re being spoken to by God, how do WE know? In the Bible, the person who received instructions from God also had signs to CONFIRM that what they said was from God. He even gave us tests to know the difference between someone speaking from God from one who was not.

4 TESTS of a PROPHET;

First, do they deny that Jesus Christ came in the flesh [1John 4:2]? Second, does what they’re saying match the written word [1John 4:6; Gal 1:8, 9]? Third, does what they predict or affirm come true, or if they say a miracle will happen, does it [Deuteronomy 18:21-22]? Last, even if by some chance their sign does comes to pass, do their teachings contradict the teachings that have already been written [Deuteronomy 13:1-3]? If they’re able to perform a wonder, the accompanying teaching still must match the written word! Each of these tests has one thing in common, it must be consistent with what has already been revealed and written.

Conclusion:

To believe that God is speaking to you today (separate and apart from the written word) contradicts scripture and creates a huge problem of AUTHENTICITY. The next article will address the problem of REPEATED REVIEW by others. The only way to know what God’s will is for your life is through a diligent study of His divine word, rightly divided.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”   2Timothy 2:15

Is it a Happy New Year?

IS THIS GREETING A declaration, or a question? Is your happiness in the coming year a wish, or is it a resolution? I suppose it depends on whether you believe happiness is contingent on circumstance, or a matter of commitment.

If you’re one of those people who believe that conditions outside yourself determine happiness, chances are you also believe:

  • That people “fall in love,” rather than that they DECIDE to love.
  • That anger is something others “MAKE YOU FEEL,” rather than a CHOSEN response.
  • That for all practical purposes, God is impotent, and His promises are meaningless.

Whether life is LUCK or PROVIDENCE depends on one’s orientation to the Sovereignty of God. Unaided by divine intervention, the most careful planner, the shrewdest manager of life, may be undone by unkind circumstance.

On the other hand, the most innocent babe traveling through this jungle will not be deprived of true happiness if he responds to life’s adversities out of conviction that “in all things, God works for good.” [Romans 8:28]

HAPPY NEW YEAR” is a choice. To deny that is to deny the faith. God’s people are NEVER at the mercy of circumstance. If that be true, why not commit yourself to a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

  • I will do more than BELONG – I will PARTICIPATE.
  • I will do more than CARE – I will HELP.
  • I will do more than BELIEVE – I will PRACTICE.
  • I will do more than be FAIR – I will be KIND.
  • I will do more than FORGIVE – I will LOVE.
  • I will do more than EARN – I will ENRICH.
  • I will do more than TEACH – I will SERVE.
  • I will do more than LIVE – I will GROW.
  • I will do more than be FRIENDLY – I will be a FRIEND.

Author Unknown

Please everyone Lose everything

donkey

THERE WAS AN OLD MAN, a boy and a donkey. They were going to town and the boy was riding the donkey, with the old man walking alongside.

As they rambled along, they passed some old women sitting in the shade. One of the women called out, ”Shame on you, a great lump of a boy, riding while your old father is walking.” The man and boy decided that maybe the critics were right so they changed positions.

Later they ambled by a group of mothers watching their young children play by the river. One cried out in protest, “How could you make your little boy walk in the hot sun while you ride?!” The two travelers decided that maybe they both should walk.

Next, they met some young men out for a stroll. “How stupid you are to walk when you have a perfectly good donkey to ride!” one yelled derisively. So, both father and son clambered onto the donkey, deciding they both should ride.

They were soon settled and underway again. They next encountered some children who were on their way home from school. One girl shouted, “How mean to put such a load on a poor little animal.” The old man and the boy saw no alternative. Maybe the critics were right. They now struggled to carry the donkey. As they crossed a bridge, they lost their grip on the confused animal and he fell to his death in the river.

You know the moral of the story, if you try to please everyone you will never know what to do, it will be hard to get anywhere, you will please no-one, not even yourself, and you will probably lose everything. We can say it another way, DON’T SET YOURSELF ON FIRE TRYING TO KEEP OTHERS WARM.

We spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think about us. We are continually perplexed because we can never please everybody. The English poet, John Lydgate once said, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. Another problem that arises from seeking others approval, is when we find out that they weren’t thinking about us at all. STOP TRYING!

We ought rather, to strive to please God and do unto others as we would have them do unto us [Mat 7:12], instead of worrying about someone thinking us foolish. There is a lesson here for all of us. We will be happier if we learn it.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.” [1Cor 4:3-4]

There comes a point when you must realize that you’ll never be good enough for some people. That’s their problem. The only One from whom we need any approval is God and He always knows what is right and what is in your heart. [Heb 4:12; cr. John 8:29; Rom 8:8; 1Cor 7:32, 10:33; Gal 1:10; Php 4:18; 1Thess 2:15; 4:1; 2Tim 2:4; Hebrews 11:6; 13:21]

“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” [2Corinthians 5:9-10]

Did you think to pray?

Dallas prayers

 

Late Thursday evening, as bedtime approached for many, gunfire rang out in downtown Dallas. In an apparent response to violence against black lives, a shooter (or multiple shooters), took aim at Dallas Police officers, injuring 12. The trouble continued well into the morning and we awoke to the news that 5 officers had been killed.

This article makes no attempt to clarify the issues surrounding the racial tensions of our country, it’s only purpose is to ask; DID YOU THINK TO PRAY? In our songbooks we have a song of the same title. The scriptural reference for this song is Philippians 4:6.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

So, did you? Did you think to pray as peace has seemingly turned to chaos? For Christians, prayer is our first line of defense against chaos. Prayer should be continually offered by those calling themselves the children of God. It’s commanded; “Pray without ceasing.” [1Thessalonians 5:17]

Certainly we offered prayers for our family, friends and the innocent who may have been affected by the violence. Friends (sisters in Christ) of mine were mere blocks away from the Dallas shooting. Is that where our prayers ended? DID YOU THINK TO PRAY for the others? Did you pray for the police officers, the peaceful protesters, or the myriad of others caught in the crossfire? DID YOU THINK TO PRAY for the shooter? We are commanded to pray, but those prayers are to go beyond just the folks we like. Our Lord and Master taught;

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you[Matthew 5:44]

It may be difficult to pray for someone who has committed such heinous violence, just as it’s difficult to pray for those with whom we don’t agree, but the command is there. Can we ignore the commands we find uncomfortable? As a matter of fact, Christians ought to pray for ALL MANKIND…

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth[1Timothy 2:1-4]

It’s good that we pray for those we may call enemy, or those we dislike, along with those we love. It’s good because it’s nearly impossible to hold hatred in your heart for whose whom you’re praying. That is good, our God is so wise, for it’s hate that is the promoter of violence [Proverbs 10:12]. Hate can end in our prayers. It’s only then can we experience peace.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus[Philippians 4:7]

Remember to Pray.

spencer

Life’s Treasure Chests

It’s very true, we have more free time than our forefathers. (except mom’s, moms have no free time). In 2000, France’s government created a 35-hour work week. Adults spend 5.5 hours per day online, and the average teen spends 27 hours per week online.

What are we to do with this free time. If you do not know what use to make of this free time now, the problem will grow worse as the years roll by. I have no immunity to this problem.

We’re in a constant state of needing to be entertained. The scripture warns about too much fun, “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man;” [Proverbs 21:17]

There’s no sin in entertainment, just in too much of it. We (I) have no need to be entertained, I need to create and construct. I (We) need to become a part of an activity. There, we (I) shall find real entertainment and true satisfaction.

The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” [Proverbs 13:4]

We need to search out activities that can be both fun and valuable. There are 3 kinds of fun; MEANINGFUL fun, MEANINGLESS fun and HARMFUL fun. Give it some thought and you’ll easily see the difference.

If you and I search out activities and interests that are meaningful we may find others who find them fun as well. Here’s what’s cool about this, it may put us in front of more people. People who may be won when they observe our chaste conduct accompanied by fear.  [1Peter 3:1, 2] Our present lack of interest may only be a symptom of our lack of understanding on the subject.

A fellow once described life as a long tunnel lined on both sides with treasure chests filled with all manner of precious objects (these precious objects could represent people). Some individuals came out of the tunnel with only one precious stone — they had never stopped to dip into the other chests. There were others who came with pockets and hands so loaded they could hardly walk! They had explored many chests, and they described their journey in glowing terms.

Which person are you?

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

bowie

THESE WORDS are in the chorus for David Bowie’s song “Changes”. I was inspired to write this article, not so much about Bowie and his life, nor about the droves of mourning fans of a music icon, rather because of the song “CHANGES”.

As the news of his death rang over the radio, this song was often played. It reminded me of how life is so full of change and also the changes of thought about God. There was a time, especially in our country, that most folks revered the word of God. It was included in our schooling. In not a few social media posts, a photo on the “rules for teachers” from 1872, “after 10 hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.”

Oh how the times have ch-ch-ch-ch-changed. News stories abound about children being sent home, suspended or even expelled for even reading the Scriptures on their recess. A child need never actually read the Bible at school, just wearing a T-shirt can elicit the same response. 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…. There was a time when certain words could never be spoken on TV. Words like toilet or pregnant, but today these words and worse are continually being spewed into our ears. I’ve been told that many Christians quit going to movies over the words uttered by one Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…. There was a time that to show a married couple, fully clothed, in bed with each other was considered pornographic, but now it’s the norm. BTW, the Brady Bunch was the first TV show to break this barrier. The days without even the mention of marital “bliss” has evolved to inference, then to creative cropping of the camera lens to unambiguous scenes of amorous activities. To top it all off, there is no need for the couple to be married or even of the same gender! All of this for public consumption of even the youngest of eyes.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…. Back in the day, whatever day that was, an out of wedlock pregnancy was taboo, and perhaps unhealthily, the young girl was hidden from view to ward off any embarrassment it may bring to the family. Today, Hollywood Celebrities are celebrated for their promiscuity and there seems to be no discouragement for bringing a child into a single parent home.

Shall we continue to describe the moral decline of our society? We could speak about the pride of men, hedonism, disrespect of authority and the like. Should we be shocked or surprised of all these ch-ch-ch-ch-changes? No. The very book that so many have now come to reject has warned us about all of these things and so much more.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. [2Timothy 3:1-5]

fin

Judge not, for God loves me

judge not

ARE YOU AWARE of the most commonly used Bible verse? It’s usually quoted this way; Someone takes note that a sin exists in another’s life and to stop the rebuke this one will say, “Judge not, for God so loved the world that He gave His only son.

It’s as if to say, “You can’t judge me, God loves me just as I am.” They quote this verse in defense of sin, assuming the belief that the Bible condemns judging others because we’re saved by God regardless of our behaviors.

In the hybrid verse, “Judge not, for God loves me,” a new meaning emerges which is so very different from the meaning which can be easily understood if one will study the context of these verses.

In actuality, these are two separate verses, not one, which are, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” and “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [Matthew 7:1; John 3:16]

In Matthew 7:1, Jesus is teaching about making false or poor judgements hypocritically. We know this because of verse 2 & 3, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

Making judgements, determinations, is not condemned in scripture. The condemnation comes when we judge according to non-biblical or hypocritical standards. We must first begin with ourselves, looking at God’s standards, then we can look at others. If we were not allowed to make judgments, how then could we ever determine if somebody needed to hear the gospel to be saved?

The second half of this hybrid verse is also abused when it’s removed from its context. Yes, God does love us, all of us. It’s from this love that we even have a savior, [Romans 5:8]. To suggest that God’s love excuses un-repented sin is contrary to so many other verses in scripture. [Rom 6:1; Acts 2:38; 8:22]

Look closely at all of John chapter 3. Verse 5 shows the need to be baptized. Verses 20-21 shows the need to change from doing evil. Speaking about belief, John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the RIGHT to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (emphasis mine)

When we believe in Jesus, the Christ, we have the RIGHT to become children of God. Belief alone never GIVES US salvation, just THE RIGHT to become saved. [James 2:24; Mark 16:26; Matthew 28:18-20] Belief is the reason we will obey the Gospel. Any reason short of believing that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God” [Matthew 16:16], is inadequate for our salvation.

The Force Awakens

star wars

It’s been 32 years since Return of the Jedi, the final episode of the Star Wars trilogy that began in 1977 with episode IV A New Hope. Since the announcement of an episode 7, adults and children alike have endured a 2-year, Christmas like anticipation for the movie to finally arrive in Theaters, of which I am one.

Stories abound of fans scrambling to purchase tickets, pilgrimaging to theaters in droves, to be witness to the first public viewings. Folks have called in sick, one website offered a list of plausible excuses to use when you call off work, so as to be a part of this momentous event. Threats of “unfriending” folks from Facebook if they reveal any spoilers to those of us who have yet to navigate through the sea of people for one of the early showings.

This article shall neither bash those among the masses who make the trek to the early movies, adorned in their Jedi regalia, nor those who couldn’t give a rip that a new Spock movie just opened. (laugh if you got that joke.) No, just a comparison shall I draw. (laugh at that one too.)

I am curious about a few things, have we as a church ever posted online, for any amount of time, displaying our excitement for the coming day to worship our Lord and Savior? Or even better than that, the breathless anticipation of the Return Of The Christ? Oh how I long for the day we could anticipate the 1st day of the week, or His wonderful, triumphant return.

____________________________________________________
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. [Hebrews 10:25]
____________________________________________________
I can’t believe you missed it!

Has anyone ever excitedly said to you, “I can’t believe you missed it!”, when referring to the Sunday worship that you had to miss due to illness or work? Have they ever gushed out every single line from the sermon, every emotion and every point drawn? No? Yeah, neither have I. What I HAVE heard was, “Missed you on Sunday”, in that tone as if they were really saying, “what kind of sin kept you from the worship?” Worse than that are those that say, “missed ya on Sunday”, but really saying, “I had to be there, why weren’t you?”

To be sure, If I were given a $200 million budget and 3 years, I may be able to produce a sermon entertaining enough to draw in the numbers comparable to Star Wars. But alas, I do not. I have 6 days to produce 4 lessons (2 sermons & 2 bible Classes). Not counting the myriad of other personal Bible studies, calls and questions I receive. No, my budget is far less.

We have no authority to do anything of the sort. We are to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:” [Matthew 28:19-20] We have no authority to draw anyone by any carnal lust whether it be food, entertainment or money. No, we have the Gospel to draw folks in, drawn in with a “true heart in full assurance of faith” [Hebrews 10:22].

Our Lord warned us about such things. “Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” [John 6:26-27]

He was pointing out that some will only come if you feed them with food, but they should be laboring for the spiritual food that brings about everlasting life. A preacher once said to me, “what a person is converted with, they are converted to.”

I have nothing against Star Wars or many other forms of non-sinful entertainment. The question I must ask myself, and you must ask yourself, is this; Do I care as much about the worship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His Triumphant return as I care about a movie?

Spencer Blackwelder
Evangelist, Borger, Tx

The Bible talks about the internet

Cyber Bullying

1-23-15          BORGER, Texas – There is a viral video that is of a father’s response to kids’ cyber bullying his daughter. In the viral video, Brad Knudsen found out about videos being sent to his 14-year-old daughter Dee Dee, who is African-American, via Snapchat videos, which called her horrible things using the N-word. He sought to speak to the parents, but when that failed, he called police.

Rather than press charges, he requested to speak to the parents of the children involved. That ended poorly. The parent of the bully not only didn’t care, he supported what his child had done. It was this attitude that prompted Brad to make his video response, garnering millions of views and the attention of the media.

Then it got ironic, for his own daughter sent out videos of herself using the very same racial slurs.

That is the basic background of the story, if you want more information you can do your own research. The media is doing a good enough job addressing the bullying, so I will make no further comment beyond how wrong it is. They’re also doing fine showing the error of the daughter, which needs no comment from me.

What is missing from all of this is the discussion of the free, unsupervised use of today’s technology by our children.

Where is the discussion about these children having access to these powerful tools without any real limitations?

Let me interject that these devices have no sinful nature in and of themselves. They are very helpful tools of communication. However, children have yet to learn how to navigate our dangerous world. That’s the parents’ job, to train them, to protect them by supervising their activities. [Pr 22:6; Eph 6:4]

Why were these children given complete access to the internet through these devises? Were there no limits, no boundaries?

I recall when my children were given their first cell phones, facebook accounts and email. Because we were so afraid of their immaturity allowing the dangerous world to touch them, we made some very clear guidelines for the use of these things.

There were no private computers, email, facebook or whatever. Computing, via any device, was limited to public areas of our home. They were not allowed to use the computer behind closed doors. As they grew older, and hence better educated about the perils, these restrictions relaxed, but accountability never was.

Could we have done better? Yes. Technology is constantly changing, but that is no excuse to close our eyes to the dangers. To do nothing is to shirk our parental responsibility.

To help other parents, let me suggest 4 rules that you can establish in your home.
  1. No private internet / phone access
  2. Parental access to all passwords
  3. Random spot checking of all of their accounts / devices.
  4. No talking with strangers online

Any infraction should be met with a zero tolerance policy. Your child should learn that these devices are a privilege and not a right. These are for THEIR protection. If you don’t train them about the world, someone else will, and you’re not going to be happy with the results.

I would also recommend you download the “10 commandments for kids online” from the Kim Komando website.

DOES THE BIBLE TALK ABOUT THE INTERNET?

I’m a believer that the bible covers every situation in our lives. Though the internet is never mentioned in the Bible, the PRINCIPALS for its use are clearly stated.

  • Pornography – Mt 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. [Ga 5:16; 1Jo 2:16]
  • Cyber Bullying – Jas 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
  • Wasting Time – Pr 24:30 ¶ I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
  • Friendships – Pr 27:17 ¶ Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
    • Pr 17:17 ¶ A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Friends, the standards of the world should not be the standards for the Christian. Jas 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

This doesn’t mean we are to not be friendly, it simply means that we need to seek God first, Mt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; so that we can be a positive influence on the world, Mt 5:14 Ye are the light of the world.

Nor does it allow us to overly separate ourselves, 1Co 5:9  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

The world thinks we’re odd for not participating, 1Pe 4:4  Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

We need to be lights, and our parental light should be shining on our children.

Spencer

Under the Influence

As the New Year fast approaches, I know that many will be celebrating the new year, often while drinking adult alcoholic beverages. You’ve heard about driving under the influence? That is when a person decides to drink alcohol unto intoxication, or imbibing in some other mind altering drug, and then decides to get behind the wheel of their vehicle. In a recent news story, a woman driving while under the influence, ran a red light plowing through a crosswalk, killing 3 people including a child and his mother.

Here in Borger, Texas, it’s listed as DWI; Driving While Intoxicated. According to the Texas DoT website, a first offense DWI charge can get you; “A fine of up to $2,000, Three days to 180 days in jail, Loss of driver license up to a year and an Annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license.”

Just the first offense penalty would be enough for me to avoid DWI. When you consider the human costs with the possibility of causing someone’s death or even my own, then without a doubt I would never drive under the influence of alcohol.

But that is the secular human side of me. As a Christian, I abstain from alcohol use. I don’t drink. As I pondered this thing called DUI or being under the influence, I was reminded of a passage I had recently studied in Ephesians;

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,” — Eph 5:18

            This verse instructs us to NOT get drunk, but rather to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Some would suppose that we should be under the control of the Holy Spirit, losing our own control and free will. But this just doesn’t fit with the rest of the scriptures. Paul had just written in Chapter 3 of the same book:

“…if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,  4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),”– Eph 3:2-4

            When you consider these verses from the same letter together, what you will see is that we need to read and to study our Bibles, allowing those teachings to influence us. To “BE FILLED” with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the Helper promised by Christ;

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”– Joh 16:13

We have the Bible, the scriptures, because holy men of God were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write down the things of God. [2Pet 1:20-21] It’s through the study of the scriptures that we can know the will of God for our lives, to know how to live on this earth and how to get to heaven.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”– 2Ti 3:16

            Jesus charged the Apostles to teach the people “all things that I have commanded you,” and this they did as they traveled, speaking to people, and also as they, with others, wrote these commands down for us today.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. — Mt 28:19

Knowing all of this, let us not be drunk with alcohol or drugs, rather, let us be filled with the Holy Spirit by studying our Bibles, learning what is the will of the Lord.