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  1. The apostle Paul warns of the serious danger that attends an attempt to mock God, that is, the danger that comes to one who thinks that the principles of God’s administration can be treated with contempt or can successfully be evaded. He writes to the Galatian Christians: “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deceiving his own mind. . . . Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap; because he who is sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but he who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.”—Ga 6:3-8. Here the apostle shows that a person should not deceive himself with a false estimate of his own worth, thereby ignoring God and his Word. He should clean up his life to walk by the spirit as the Word directs. If a person does not do this, but instead goes on sowing with a view to fleshly desires, he is ‘accepting the undeserved kindness of God and missing its purpose’ and is treating God’s instruction as contemptible. (2Co 6:1) He may deceive himself into thinking that he is safe. Nevertheless, God knows his heart and will judge him accordingly.
  2. Our daily need for forgiveness highlights the only legal basis on which God can cancel our sins—Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. Though this ransom was paid nearly 2,000 years ago, we should cherish it as if it were a gift given today. “The ransom price” for our lives “is so precious” that nothing any imperfect human could do for us would come near to paying it. Indeed, we should never cease to thank God for this great gift. Also, the expression “our sins,” not “my sins,” should remind us that all in our family of worshippers need this merciful provision. Clearly, the Lord wants us to be concerned not only about our own spiritual welfare but also about that of others, including those who might have sinned against us. Usually, such sins are minor and give us an opportunity to show that we truly love our brothers and are willing to forgive, as God has mercifully forgiven us.—Col. 3:13. Keep on with your newfound spiritual pathway and may the Lord continue to bless your efforts at living a clean life!
  3. One might wonder if "scary" thoughts or anxiety in general indicate a lack of faith, but the Bible does not support such a view. After all, living as we do during “critical times hard to deal with,” it is virtually impossible not to experience anxiety to some degree (2 Timothy 3:1). Faithful Christians cope with daily anxieties that are triggered by poor health, old age, economic pressures, family strife, crime, and other problems. Even in ancient times, God’s servants faced fears and worries. Consider for example the Bible account of Lot. God instructed him to escape to the mountains to avoid being swept away in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot, however, became anxious. He said: “Not that, please, God!” Hesitantly, he continued: “But I—I am not able to escape to the mountainous region for fear calamity may keep close to me and I certainly die.” Why did Lot fear the mountains? The Bible does not say. Whatever the reason, Lot felt quite intimidated. How did God react? Was Lot disciplined for lack of faith or trust in God? No. On the contrary, God showed consideration, allowing Lot to escape to a nearby city—Genesis 19:18-22. There are other Bible examples of faithful worshipers who became very anxious at times. The prophet Elijah became afraid and ran away after receiving a death threat. (1 Kings 19:1-4) Moses, Hannah, David, Habakkuk, Paul, and other men and women of strong faith also expressed anxieties. (Exodus 4:10; 1 Samuel 1:6; Psalm 55:5; Habakkuk 1:2, 3; 2 Corinthians 11:28) Yet, God showed compassion and continued to use them in his service, thereby manifesting a real understanding of imperfect humans. Persistent anxiety, however, can wear us down and lead to loss of trust in God. The apostle Paul referred to lack of faith as “the sin that easily entangles us.” (Hebrews 12:1) By including himself, Paul was likely admitting his own propensity to get ‘easily entangled’ in episodes of momentary weakness of faith. Perhaps this was the case with Zechariah when he did not believe the angel who informed him that his wife would become pregnant. On one occasion Jesus’ apostles were unable to perform a cure because of their “little faith.” However, these individuals continued to enjoy God’s approval—Matthew 17:18-20; Luke 1:18, 20, 67; John 17:26. On the other hand, the Bible also includes examples of people who lost their trust in God and suffered serious consequences. For instance, many Israelites who left Egypt were barred from entering the Promised Land because of their lack of faith. In one incident they even spoke directly against God, saying: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread and no water.” Indicative of God’s displeasure, poisonous snakes were sent to punish them—Numbers 21:5, 6. The inhabitants of Jesus’ hometown, Nazareth, missed the privilege of seeing more miracles performed in their territory because they lacked faith. Further, the wicked generation of that day received a scathing denunciation from Jesus because of lack of faith (Matthew 13:58; 17:17; Hebrews 3:19). Appropriately, the apostle Paul warned: “Beware, brothers, for fear there should ever develop in any one of you a wicked heart lacking faith by drawing away from the living God”—Hebrews 3:12. Yes, in extreme cases lack of faith could result from a wicked heart. But this was not the case with Zechariah and Jesus’ apostles in the examples previously mentioned. Their lack of faith was due to momentary weakness. Their general pattern of life showed that they were “pure in heart.”—Matthew 5:8. The Scriptures help us to make a distinction between general anxiety and the sin of lack of faith. Daily feelings of anxiety or even a momentary lapse of faith because of human weakness should not be confused with the complete lack of trust in God that springs from a wicked, unresponsive heart. Christians, therefore, need not be plagued by guilt just because they periodically experience anxiety. Nevertheless, caution is necessary so that anxiety does not grow out of proportion and dominate our lives. Hence, the wisdom of Jesus’ words when he said: “Never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to put on?’” This he followed with the comforting words: “For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you”—Matthew 6:25-33. May a calm peace be upon all here...
  4. Brother Jacob, I enjoyed your review of the physical aspects of leprosy, including its different physiological permutations, as well as its spiritual ramifications. The bottom line is that we all have to be aware of our need to strive for spiritual purity and although none of us can reach that level, it is the genuine effort involved upon which we are judged by God. Additionally, God’s power enabled Jesus Christ to perform a wide variety of astounding miracles. He cured not only leprosy but also every sort of disease and every sort of infirmity among the people. The inspired record tells us: “The crowd felt amazement as they saw the speechless speaking and the maimed being made sound and the lame walking and the blind seeing.” (Matt. 15:31) To perform such acts of compassion, Jesus needed no organ donors for transplants. He healed the very organs or body parts that were afflicted! And he healed people instantly, sometimes even from a distance. (John 4:46-54) Warm Christian Greetings,
  5. Holy spirit is God’s free gift to those who sincerely seek it. It can enhance not only your abilities but also your desire to do your best in his service. “God is the one that, for the sake of his good pleasure, is acting within you in order for you both to will and to act.” The precious gift of holy spirit, coupled with our earnest efforts to keep “a tight grip on the word of life,” will allow us to “keep working out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling.”—Phil. 2:12, 13, 16. With complete confidence in God’s spirit, pour your heart into every assignment, become skilled at what you are given to do, and look to Jehovah for assistance. (Jas. 1:5) He will give you what you need to understand his Word, cope with life’s problems, and preach the good news. “Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you,” and this includes receiving holy spirit. (Luke 11:9, 13) Indeed, keep on supplicating Jehovah that you may be like faithful ones—both ancient and modern—who were guided by God’s holy spirit.
  6. I realize that the good folks who run this website do so voluntarily and must have "day jobs" that pay their bills to "Caesar." But like the Apostle Paul, these many hours in maintaining this site go on top of one's "tent" making hours (See Acts 18:3). Keep up the fine work!
  7. I know that some religiously inclined folks refrain from celebrating holidays. However, it seems that Thanksgiving is about as a benign and non-controversial holiday one can find in the American culture. As a result, if one usually declines from participating in other holidays but participates in Thanksgiving, what Biblical reasoning does one use? Thanks,
  8. As we are just exiting the annual time period of Halloween and the Day of the Dead (which appears to be growing in popularity among non Hispanics), I would be interested in the reasoning that Christians have that allow them to conscientiously participate in these activities. Thanks!
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