C.R. Carmichael

Why “Baby Jesus” is Not to be Taken Lightly

Written by C. R. Carmichael |
Friday, December 30, 2022
Jesus is almighty to save! That which in itself is impossibility is possible with God. Sin which nothing else can remove is blotted out by the blood of Immanuel. Immanuel, our Saviour, is God with us; and God with us means difficulty removed, and a perfect work accomplished. 

Whether “Baby Jesus” is fodder for a Will Ferrell comedy, numerous cartoon gags or the funny graphic on an ugly Christmas sweater, it is a sad indictment on our culture that so many people today find amusement in the miracle of the incarnate God. In the following mashup from two of his sermons, Charles Spurgeon begs to differ with the idea that the infant born in Bethlehem can be taken so lightly when God’s amazing grace and condescension are powerfully on display to rescue the troubled souls who so desperately need Him.
OH, MY FRIEND, if you make light of Christ, you have insulted the only One who can save you—the only One who can bear you across the Jordan—the only One who can unbolt the gates of Heaven and give you welcome! Let no preacher of smooth things persuade you that this is not a crime. O, Sinner, think of your sin if you are making light of Him—for then you are making light of the King’s only Son…
Instead… BEHOLD the incarnate Son of God born of Mary at Bethlehem! What can this mean for us but GRACE? If the Lord had meant to destroy us, He would not have assumed our nature. If He had not been moved with mighty love to a guilty race, He would never have taken upon Himself their flesh and blood.
It is a miracle of miracles that the Infinite should become an infant; that He who is pure spirit and filleth all things, should be wrapped in swaddling bands and cradled in a manger. He did not take upon Himself the nature of angels, which would have been a tremendous stoop from Deity, but instead He descended lower still; for He took upon Himself the seed of Abraham. “He was made in all things like unto His brethren” although “he counted it not robbery to be equal with God” (Hebrews 2:17; Philippians 2:6).
It is not in the power of human lips to speak out all the comfort which this one truth contains. If any troubled soul will look believingly at God in human flesh, he must take heart of hope. If he looks at the infant Jesus believingly, his comfort will come right speedily.
The birth of Jesus is the proof of the good will of God to men—I am unable to conceive of proof more sure. Jesus would not have come here to be born among men, to live among them, suffer and to die for them, if He had been slow to pardon or unwilling to save us.
— Charles Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)
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Our Tender Shoots Ravaged by the “Mouse”

Written by C. R. Carmichael |
Thursday, December 29, 2022
America has been uniquely blessed with the opportunity to repent from this sinfulness which is quickly destroying the younger generation of our nation. In fact, we have been commanded by God to raise our children in the training and admonition of the Lord to avoid that great tragedy (Ephesians 6:4). This is why Christians, above all people, should never let up on protecting our precious ones from the field-ravagers of our time with the word of God and the love of Christ in the hope that His grace would save parents and children alike.

What exactly is going on with Disney and that cartoon mouse of theirs? This once-heralded icon of family-friendly entertainment was already drifting away from traditional, fairly-moralistic narratives some decades ago, but now they’ve gone completely off the rails and into the ditch of woke ideology that openly promotes moral confusion, subversive sexual concepts, and unbiblical spirituality to impressionable young children.
In recent years, Disney and its subsidiaries have overseen the obligatory inclusion of sexually diverse characters in their storylines for children (Andy Mack, The Owlhouse, Lightyear, etc.), favorable portrayals of satanic and New Age teachings for both children and adults (Pocahontas, Frozen, Little Demon, etc.), and seem more than willing to engage in a culture war against Biblical values in both their entertainment and corporate policy and activities.
Funny how not that long ago Disney was pursuing legal action against neighborhood daycare centers for using copyrighted images of Disney characters on their walls, but don’t seem to have a problem with “Disney-themed” drag shows that try to blur the line between child and adult entertainment. In fact, the company didn’t even bat an eye when a recent “drag” luncheon advertised in North Carolina had a performer, dressed as a Disney character, proudly proclaiming “Satanism” at the intersection of “queer(censored) and blasphemy.”
Who would have guessed that Mickey Mouse might one day abandon his status as a beloved cartoon hero to join with a mischief of common field-mice intent on ravaging the tender shoots of our golden fields of America—namely, the children of our once-promising society?
A Plague of Sin is Destroying Our Youth
To be fair, Mickey isn’t the only one spreading this childhood disease of the soul. These days, many different purveyors of sexual sin and chaos are specifically targeting our children for abuse and ideological recruitment. Ever since the Epstein scandal opened our eyes to this kind of secret horror, the sex trafficking of minors and proliferation of child pornography is being discovered more and more by law enforcement agencies as they peel back the layers of our degraded society.
Shockingly, our governing authorities seem hardly concerned by this sickening trend. For example, California’s lenient crime legislation has been releasing thousands of convicted pedophiles from prison in less than a year for horrific acts, including rape, sodomy and sexual abuse of kids under 14. And lately it has been reported that our federal government, for the sake of maintaining an uncomplicated border policy, is ignoring the trafficking of unaccompanied child migrants who are then “pimped out” by their criminal “sponsors” to pay their border-crossing debt.
Meanwhile, on the social scene, major news outlets seemingly have no problem publishing articles that try to normalize pedophilia; doctors are actively pushing for toddlers to be seen as fully-realized, willful sexual beings since birth; and the latest media scandal involves a popular celebrity-endorsed fashion company that is being called out for using calculated imagery of sexualized children in their advertising.
And in late-breaking news, American Girl, which makes a very popular brand of dolls, has reportedly just published a book for girls aged 3-12 which offers tips on how they can signal their sexual preferences “to the world” and also teaches them how to change gender by asking doctors for puberty blockers!
So what in the world is going on here? This increasing eagerness by some people to normalize the sexual prepping of our children has become so clearly obvious that one would think that this evil would be sharply denounced by every segment of our society. Alas, such is not always the case. To the contrary, this subversive activity is allowed to stand in many communities throughout our country; and sadly, the greatest promoters of this indoctrination are also the greatest influencers of children, other than parents: specifically, educators and popular media who have no problem putting sexually explicit materials or “toys” in the hands of our little ones.
The sad truth is, our nation has a widespread plague of sin-sickness that is victimizing and destroying our youth as much as Molech worship ever did, especially when you add abortion to the mix (Leviticus 18:21).
We Have Become Like the Philistines
Back in the 1960s, Ruth Graham (the wife of Billy) saw so much sinfulness in our country that she was provoked to remark in exasperation: “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gommorah.” One might wonder what Mrs. Graham would say if she were alive today to see this new level of evil. Perhaps, continuing with the theme she started, she might slightly amend her words to say, “If God doesn’t punish Americans, He’ll have to apologize to the Philistines.”
Why the Philistines? Like America today, the Philistine nation was also in open rebellion against God, continually harassing and oppressing His chosen people over the years. In one particular military assault, the Philistines defeated the Israelites in battle, stole their ark of the Covenant and placed it under the authority and physical control of their false god, Dagon.
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Walking on the Emmaus Road at Christmas

Written by C. R. Carmichael |
Thursday, December 22, 2022
As we walk down the road to Christmas Day, may we as joyful disciples draw alongside the true Jesus, our risen Lord and Savior, and learn from Him as He tarries with us along the way. Yes, sometimes it is hard to see Him in the dimness of this dark world; but through faith, our Savior is as real to us as if we saw Him with mortal eyes.

Would you walk with me as we travel through this holiday landscape towards Christmas just as two disciples once found themselves on the road to Emmaus?
Perhaps, like those like-minded travelers, we are a little dazed and confused by the events of the season where Jesus Christ has been removed from much of the social scene and replaced with non-offensive symbols, empty traditions and generic spirituality. Oh, sure, Jesus is still remembered from time to time, but the figure of Christ that the world puts before our eyes is often so distorted that we do not even recognize Him anymore.
Who is this “TV Jesus” that speaks “cool lines” that are “theologically plausible,” but outside the inspired word of God? What are we to make of the “Transgender Jesus” that is defended by a Cambridge dean as a “legitimate” viewpoint? And why are people laughing at the “Meme Jesus” in social media who wears swag gear and sunglasses to make hip, coarse jokes?
No wonder people are losing the true joy of the season! Are we to believe that this common depression is solely due to a seasonal affective disorder during shortened winter days? Is it from unmet expectations of a romantic Hallmark Christmas that never materializes in real life?
More likely, as sincere believers, we are somewhat discouraged by the hype and idolatry that corrupts the very real and profound incarnation of our Lord and Savior and turns that joyous, historic event into the consumer-driven focus of tinseled pine, a jolly old elf, and a red-nosed reindeer. No wonder we sometimes speak to each other of spiritual weariness, melancholy, or confusion in the midst of this pretense. What happened to our once-clear view of Jesus Christ now obstructed by all these twinkling baubles in the world?
It is here that I find great comfort in thinking about the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, who were confused and saddened by what had transpired in Jerusalem with the unexpected death of Jesus. They, too, had momentarily lost sight of their Lord, but how gracious Jesus was to walk beside them in their hour of need.
Likewise, how marvelous it would be if the Lord Jesus would see us traveling along in a similar spiritual malaise this Christmas season and graciously draw near to us to ask, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”
Then I, like Cleopas, would answer Him, “Do you not see what is happening in these days?” And He would say to us, “What things?” And I would say to Him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the living God, who has been relegated to the icon of a plastic doll in a fictional nativity scene, surrounded by three kings of the orient, a drummer boy, and a talking ox; and how priests still deliver Him up to crucify him again and again to no avail. How can we still see the true Christ when the world has brought forth a Jesus of vain tradition that is too often confused with Santa Claus?”
And Jesus might say to us, as He did to them: “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?”
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounds to us in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
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You Can’t Fix Sin With A Wardrobe Change

Written by C. R. Carmichael |
Friday, November 11, 2022
No doubt the perishing world will still call the Christian’s message offensive and ugly, but we know from God’s word, as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:15). This, then, is true beauty. Sadly, our Western society may still crash and burn in its arrogance to dress up their evil. And no matter what we do, many hell-bound people will still persist in calling the Gospel an evil thing and say that evil is the sassy, more chic virtue for today. But Scripture has already exposed this wicked deceit and it will not stand before God much longer. 

Right now in America we are seeing a crazy amount of propaganda from educators, politicians and media hacks trying to dress up immoral agendas in the clothing of love, tolerance and social virtue. To help facilitate this fashion makeover, a liberal arm of our society has actually seized control of the dictionary in a sly attempt to undermine God’s holy design with reworked definitions that display evil as the latest trend in goodness.
Nowadays, for example, abortion is defined as “reproductive justice,” sexually-charged drag shows are called “family-friendly entertainment,” pornographic books in school libraries are labeled “educational materials,” and body mutilation surgeries performed on children are considered “gender-affirming care.”
Moreover, they claim, a man can be a women, a woman can be a man, and that famous vaudeville joke has been reimagined with the hot new punchline: “That was no lady. That was my husband!”
They’re Trying to Pull the Ol’ Switcheroo
Quite simply, the world is still trying to pull the “ol’ Switcheroo,” a satanic wardrobe change that boldly attempts to refashion unrighteousness as a prevailing virtue in society. As touched upon in Isaiah 5:20, the prophet exposed this scam a long time ago and denounced anyone trying to redeem evil’s bad look. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,” he proclaimed, “and who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
Here Isaiah lays out the classic con job utilized by wicked quick-change artists who “endeavour to confound both the names and the natures of virtue and vice, of piety and impiety; commend and applaud what is evil, and disparage and discountenance what is good” (Benson Commentary).
The latest willing victims of this flimflam are the same ones found in Isaiah’s day: the desperate masses who are all too eager to conceal their moral imperfections with the flattering shadows of the world (John 3:19-29; James 4:4). By limiting their exposure to the Light and accessorizing their look with good deeds, they hope to erase the hard wrinkles of their sins. But according to Scripture, their beauty regimen will fail them when they find themselves in the polluted garments of their self-righteousness (Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 64:6; 1 John 1:8).
Sadly, there are even professing Christians who have taken off the armor of God to join with the world’s consumers, forsaking the holy pattern of Scripture and stitching together a cheap knock-off from the loose fabric of moral relativism (Proverbs 14:12, 26:4-5; Colossians 2:8). Some do this to earn “likes” and “retweets” from fashionable society, while others would rather question the Bible’s clear stand against sin than have to admit that their dear friend or relative is going to hell if he doesn’t repent and come to Christ. Yet whatever the reason, it eventually boils down to someone who loves the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God (John 12:43).
Why are People so Confused About Evil?
The scary truth is, everyone says they hate evil, and yet evil will rarely come to us wearing a screen-printed t-shirt that says in bold letters, “THIS IS EVIL. PLEASE HATE ME.” The great evils of our day are often cloaked in such a way as to remain hidden from common, everyday perception and many times come into our lives as a specter of virtue for the secret purpose of deceiving us. This deception is especially potent when we try to judge something as good or evil based on the shifting ethics of this world instead of judging with godly spiritual discernment.
This fundamental truth about evil is one about which the Bible has frequently warned us. From the very beginning of creation, evil has appeared in the guise of goodness in order to fool mankind into ruin. Indeed Satan, that serpent of old, tricked Eve into believing that transgression against God had its benefits, and she was thus convinced that the forbidden tree was “good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6).
Many centuries later, of course, Satan would try in similar fashion to tempt our Lord to turn stones into loaves of bread as He fasted in the desert, but Jesus sharply rebuked the trickery and exposed the hidden evil with the powerful spotlight of God’s word (Luke 4:1-4).
The strategy of evil to appear in comely attire, in fact, was always a pressing concern for Jesus and His apostles. The Lord himself warned that false prophets would come “in sheep’s clothing” while in fact being “ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15). In Matthew 24:24, He tells the disciples that false christs and prophets “will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
Likewise Peter warned of false teachers who tell fabricated stories and promise “freedom” when they themselves are “slaves of depravity” (2 Peter 2). And Paul alerted the Church to the presence of false apostles who would disguise themselves as apostles of Christ, just as Satan often masquerades as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
As John Newton wisely noted, many centuries before the popularity of glitzy cross-dressing:
“Satan is never more a devil, than when he looks most like an angel. But let him look and talk as he will—he is Satan still; and those who are experienced and watchful may discern his cloven foot hanging below his fine garment of light.”
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We All Know Better Than to Kick the Dog

Written by C. R. Carmichael |
Saturday, October 1, 2022
As representatives of God on this earth, we are not only called to care for the beasts of the field and the birds of the air, but we must care even more so for our neighbor who is of greater value (Mark 12:31; Luke 12:6-7; 15:3-7). And this, as it turns out, is the ultimate lesson of our sacred duty as the designated stewards of Creation.

When someone reads the Biblical account in Genesis for the first time, he might be surprised to learn that Adam, who was given dominion over the earth by God, never once strutted around the garden of Eden kicking dogs, yanking cow tails, or even teaching parrots bad words. Humor aside, there is a significant reason why cruel behavior against animals, though common in our time, was never recorded in those early days of Creation.
When God, in His divine wisdom, formed man from the dust, He hard-wired Adam and Eve to be connected to Creation in such a profound way that mankind’s call to stewardship was not so much a duty as it was a great honor. Made in the image of God, man was raised up from the virgin earth and established as God’s representative to “work it and keep it” with the same loving care and intelligent order that emanated from their holy Creator (Genesis 2:15).
Thus, God was very deliberate when He gave Adam the task of naming all the living creatures, which not only spoke to the unique status of man over God’s creation but also cemented a special bond with the birds, fish and beasts under his care (Genesis 2:19-20).
As John Gill explains in his Body of Divinity, God’s creation was specifically made for the use and benefit of mankind, with God conceiving the divine idea that the wholesome interaction between man and nature would provide for their mutual happiness, sustenance and profit:
“…All creatures were made for (man’s) sake, to possess, enjoy, and have the dominion over, and therefore he was made last of all: and herein appears the wisdom and goodness of God to him, that all accommodations were ready provided for him when made; the earth for his habitation, all creatures for his use; the fruits of the earth for his profit and pleasure; light, heat, and air for his delight, comfort, and refreshment, with every thing that could be wished for and desired to make his life happy.”
Even after the upheaval of the Fall, and to this day, the righteous desire to nurture and sustain God’s created world is still an inherent impulse of man that descends from the original stock of our first parents and spreads to all human beings. Though we don’t always show it because of sin, deep down in all our souls is the instinct to be a loving caretaker of the teeming life given to us on earth.
In other words, literally and figuratively speaking, we all know better than to kick the dog.
We Know Better Because Of Our Conscience
The mistreatment and abuse of animals is certainly a tragic thing to see in today’s world. Most likely, we have all witnessed this cruel behavior from our earliest childhood days; and for many of us, it shattered our innocence and made us sick to our stomachs to know that such a thing could be considered a trivial matter―or worse, an amusement.
Whether we have listened to Sarah MacLachlan as she sang over pathetic images of emaciated kittens, or read about a government-funded lab that drugged beagles and locked their heads in mesh cages while infected sand flies ate them alive for “scientific” study, we instantly know that this kind of heartlessness is morally wrong and downright evil.
Happily, as a child, I was also shown the better way. During the hot summers of my youth, I had the great honor of helping my grandfather on his farm and saw his kind husbandry in action. On many blessed occasions I would hop into his old Chevy truck and ride along as he visited the various pastures and barns to check on the well-being of his cows and horses, spy out their possible health concerns, and tend to their supply of good food and water.
On one particular tragic occasion (which I did not witness), the horse trailer my grandfather used to transport his prized Hackney ponies broke free from the truck’s hitch, careened and flipped off the road, and crashed. In the subsequent heap of twisted metal, the bloodied animals were wounded beyond any possible help, and my grandfather was forced to put them down to silence their suffering.
Afterwards, I was struck by the teary-eyed anguish on my grandfather’s face as he recounted the incident. To him, those ponies were more than just an investment of time and money. Though he could not articulate it with words, his obvious affection for those animals told you all you needed to know: these beautiful creatures of God had given my grandfather an unspeakable joy as he lovingly raised them, trained then, and cared for them.
My grandfather was not known as a man of professed faith, by the way. And yet, intrinsic to his very being, he was imbued with a God-given conscience that guided his tender care of the noble beasts in his possession. And such it is with every man and woman if they heed the “inner voice” given to them by God.
We Know Better Because Of The Scriptures
The moral caliber of our relationship with animals, however, does not have to rely solely on our imperfect gut instincts. Thankfully, God has revealed in the Holy Scriptures the profound truth about the sacred interaction between God and His creation, and the corresponding commerce between man and the living creatures of earth.
The Bible, in fact, has made this point crystal clear: God does not look kindly on those who are destroyers of the earth (Revelation 11:18), and nor should we. A person’s kind and thoughtful relationship with God’s creation is a thing of spiritual beauty because it aligns with, and reflects, the same righteous benevolence His Creator has shown to all the life of earth, including mankind.
Placing Adam and Eve in a garden was no trivial matter. In doing so, God established the ideal setting in which mankind could “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). It was, by God’s design, a lush organic world perfectly fit for their visceral use as tillers of the soil and keepers of livestock. The pursuit of money, which came later, was never the original standard of wealth, nor were the cities to which the sons of Cain fled ever an abode that could fully realize their potential as stewards of the earth.
Time and time again, the Bible connects our agrarian sensibilities with wisdom and righteousness.
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Dehumanization is Just Another Way to Kill

Written by C. R. Carmichael |
Thursday, July 14, 2022
According to the latest information from the Pew Research Center, Christians suffer more than any other religious group from various governmental and societal hostilities around the world today. Because of this reality, we should have the empathy to be more mindful of our Gospel call to comfort others who are in any affliction (2 Corinthians 1:4), and to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1).

Have you noticed the ugly trend of certain ideologically-driven factions painting their opponents as less than human? Or the ruling elites and angry protesters calculating a person’s human worth based on their perceived usefulness to society?
Recent examples of this kind of behavior may surprise you. They include an abortion advocate who painted the words “Not Yet Human” on her exposed, very-pregnant belly; a prominent church leader tweeting out: “Whiteness is an unrelenting, demonic force of evil”; and a Rutgers professor who pronounced that white people are “committed to being villains” who need to be “taken out.”
Such vile attempts to strip away the intrinsic value of an individual or group in order to legitimize their social banishment or destruction is called “dehumanization,” and it is re-emerging as a potent force in our toxic culture these days.
Figuratively speaking, it is like trying to eliminate someone with the cold precision of a sniper’s bullet. Dehumanization, in both its passive and active forms, is attempting to erase a person. It attempts to erase a person’s purpose, erase their unique gifts, erase their value, erase their morality, and equate them with expendable animals to be caged, experimented on, or swiftly put down at the perpetrator’s discretion.
One might rightly ask how this immoral act can exist in our so-called enlightened age. You would think that the attempt to relegate a group of people to a subhuman or abstract category would be considered abhorrent in our modern society—especially after the travesties of American slavery, the Holocaust, or the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Surely the emphatic statement, “Never again!” has been the foundational declaration of a wiser, more compassionate world over the last century, has it not?
Yet here we are in the midst of a sweeping new “cancel culture” of hate.
Dehumanization Emerges From Spiritual Disease
If you go by a majority of prevalent “woke” attitudes in American society today, dehumanization is the preferred weapon of choice—especially in the Wild West of social media and rage-filled protests. White people, political conservatives and the unborn appear to be the popular new targets, and are now sharing space with historically-oppressed minority groups. Yet the hatred directed at them still reeks of the age-old spiritual diseases of racism, bigotry, and rebellion against God.
Needless to say, it is astonishing to find how easily these twisted, hateful attitudes have become the endorsed rhetoric of our time. The latest diatribes against another race or creed is no more acceptable than when they were spoken against the Jews in Nazi Germany or African-Americans in the Old South. And yet such similar malevolence against certain brothers and sisters of our society is often celebrated by our ruling elites and propagated by corporate mainstream media as a way to control the populace through division or to intimidate those who stand in the way of their influence and power.
Today’s virtual murderers, regardless of their particular ideology or political bent, utilize the evil process of dehumanization so they can justify their violent behavior towards their “enemies” in the hope of erasing their opposing ideas from view. As journalist Slavenka Drakulic once explained it, “When a person is reduced to an abstraction, one is free to hate him because the moral obstacle has already been abolished.” Or as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn put it: “To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good.”
The problem with using dehumanization as a vehicle for righteous indignation, however, is that it doesn’t have a shred of moral integrity in its makeup. The Bible, the God-breathed standard for morality and ethics, doesn’t allow for this kind of evil among men. Why? Because the Bible has revealed to us this great truth: human beings were created in the image of God!
Dehumanization Disrespects The Image Of God
Indeed, from the beginning of the Biblical narrative, we are told that mankind is unique among creation because men and women, unlike the other living creatures on Earth, have been created in the likeness of God. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
This is why murder is considered so heinous. The shedding of human blood is a rebellious assault against the unique and sacred relationship between God and those who bear His image on earth (Genesis 9:6).
What an amazing thought to know that we all bear, in some profound way, the image of God regardless of race, creed or societal standing.
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Like A Dog Following After Two Men

Written by C. R. Carmichael |
Friday, June 24, 2022
An individual may pursue the world and retain a Christian profession at the same time and it is often difficult to ascertain whether God or the world possesses his affections. But by and bye he comes to a parting road where God calls him one way and the world another way. It is then that he will show to whom he really belongs. 

It is impossible for the mind to be governed at the same time by two opposite principles. And as the Bible teaches, the love of the world and the love of God are diametrically opposed to each other (1 John 2:15: James 4:4; Matthew 6:24). So what does this tell us about the professing Christian who pursues the world?
To borrow a quaint illustration from one of our old writers, “When you see a dog following two men, you do not know to which of them the dog belongs so long as the men walk together. But when they come to a parting road and separate from each other, then it will soon be seen who is the owner, for the dog will follow his master wherever he goes.”
Just so, an individual may pursue the world and retain a Christian profession at the same time and it is often difficult to ascertain whether God or the world possesses his affections.
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The Genius of Christianity Breaks the Snare

Written by C.R. Carmichael |
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
This is the stunning genius of Christianity, that we have obtained the true Spirit of freedom which is only found by faith in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17). “For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1), for “having been set free from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:18). Therefore, “live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16), knowing that “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

Jesus “unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”” — Luke 4:17-21
It is no accident that Jesus kicked off his earthly ministry by reading from Isaiah to proclaim He had come to “set free those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). This was a staggering pronouncement that would take direct aim at a downtrodden, sin-soaked world that had experienced years of judgment, captivity and political oppression at the hands of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, and even the wayward leadership of the Jews.
Not only was Jesus’ prophetic fulfillment “good news” to the poor, the blind, and the brokenhearted looking for relief from their various oppressors, but it was the unveiling of a new spiritual disposition of freedom that would show the depths of God’s love and mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ. As John Angell James once succinctly put it, “The very genius of Christianity is a spirit of freedom, and all its precepts are opposed to tyranny.”
The Gospel, you see, has bestowed upon believers, not only freedom from the tyranny of sin and death through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:18; 8:2), but also a deep and intimate understanding of the mechanism of demonic oppression that outwardly drives this world. We know, according to God’s word, that we spiritually wrestle against “the rulers of the darkness of this world,” and yet we are also mindful of our need for deliverance from “unreasonable and wicked men” who thrive in that oppressive darkness (Ephesians 6:12; II Thessalonians 3:2). Because of this knowledge, we as Christians are of all people the most capable of seeing the necessity for Christ’s “spirit of freedom” to guide us in our temporal affairs as much as in our spiritual duties (John 8:32).
The “genius of Christianity,” as noted by John Angell James, is in spying out and eluding the traps of this oppressive world. This dynamic spiritual intellect which comes with the “renewal of the mind” (Romans 12:2) has prepared us to rightly oppose tyranny in all its forms whenever it infringes upon the abundant life given to us by our Creator with His great expectation for all people, made in the image of God, to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28; 9:7). Hence, we join with the psalmist in asking our gracious Lord, “Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Your precepts” (Psalm 119:134).
Historically, this Christian “spirit of freedom” was the driving force which transformed Western society, triumphed over the tyranny of Rome, spread the Gospel to every corner of the world, and presided over the rise of thriving urban centers, organized free-market commerce, universities, hospitals, and the establishment of liberty and justice through the guiding influence of God’s word. Indeed libraries are filled with books detailing the achievements of men and women whose lives were forever changed by Jesus Christ and how they impacted the world through ideas found in Scripture in a wide variety of disciplines that greatly serve humanity. And all of this was done in the fertile ground of a free society cleared and tilled by the redeemed stewards of Eden to bring forth good fruit for the glory of God.
The Great Dumbing-Down
These days, however, this genius of Christianity seems to have become dumbed-down by professing Christians who have forsaken their God-given vocation as trusted guides to true liberty. Too much comfort and idleness in Western society has created an “ease in Zion” where some disciples have grown fat and happy with their luxuries, amusements, and friendship with the world. As a result, the grace of God has been recast as a cover for unrepentant sin, even within church building walls where mere professors have “crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness…” (Jude 1:4).
Sadly, the most recent statistics from pollsters like Barna Group and Pew Research Center indicate that American Christianity is, to some degree, a “salt that has lost its savor” (Matthew 5:13). The number of people who still identify as Christians, gather consistently for worship, or regularly read the Bible has now fallen to under half of our country’s population. Because of this noticeable drop in Christian influence, the type of liberty being pursued by many citizens is no longer guided by God’s revelation and the Holy Spirit, but is one that seeks to break free from God altogether, leaving Him out of our cultural and societal equations and our day-to-day living.
Individuals nowadays have been given full authority by the American “oligarchy” to determine their gender, sexual orientation, or personal level of fleshly excess: gluttony, drunkenness, slothfulness and the like (Galatians 5:19-21). It is the age of a self-serving freedom where people can engage in all manner of sinful pursuits, or as A. W. Tozer once specifically named them: the self-sins of “self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them.” According to Tozer, this idolatry of the Self has been nurtured by the triumvirate of “secularism, materialism, and the intrusive presence of things” which has “put out the light in our souls and turned us into a generation of zombies.”
Ironically, this growing aspiration of our American society to provide people with complete freedom from the moral constraints of God’s will is creating the perfect climate for the rise of a true tyranny. Having rejected God, or more specifically, the easy “yoke” of Christ, these self-focused zombies seem oblivious to the fact that they are escaping from the perfect “rest for their souls” (Matthew 11:29-30), and running headlong into the waiting trap of the ultimate slave-master: Sin, and the oppressive world which traffics in it (John 8:34). As Warren W. Wiersbe put it, “The worst bondage is the kind that the prisoner himself does not recognize. He thinks he is free, yet he is really a slave.”
Common Sense Aligns With God’s Word
This understanding about the devilish trap of personal freedom isn’t exclusive to Christianity, by the way. Even secular thinkers are beginning to see the problem with this mad pursuit for unmitigated self-focus and self-determination. Psychologist Barry Schwartz, for example, suggests:
There is a dark side to all this freedom from constraint, to all this emphasis on individuals as the makers of their own worlds, their own destinies. It leaves people indecisive about what to do and why. Freedom of choice is a two-edged sword, for just on the other side of liberation sits chaos and paralysis. Thus, there is a price for freedom—danger.
In a worldly sense, Schwartz has come to an insightful conclusion: the price for one’s unrestrained pursuit of freedom, autonomy, and self-determination is “chaos, paralysis, and danger,” or as he specifies elsewhere, the loss of a sense of safety and security when one is left to his own devices in a world of “too many choices.” In this instance, says Schwartz, total freedom can suddenly be “experienced as a kind of tyranny” that leads to “dissatisfaction with their lives and in clinical depression” as the weight of the world now rests solely on their shoulders.
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Stand Out from the Crowd: Read Your Bible!

Written by C.R. Carmichael |
Monday, September 13, 2021
David describes the good person as one who delights in the law of the Lord, and meditates every day and night. Never let a day pass without reading a portion of Holy Scripture, and realize that an important duty of the day has been neglected if Scripture reading has been omitted. 

No one can be an eminent Christian, no matter how frequently he hears his favorite preacher, who does not converse much with his Bible in secret. Anyone who wishes to grow in grace and in knowledge must commune daily with the Bible’s prophets and apostles. Through the medium of these inspired texts, the Christian must drink largely of the pure living waters and undiluted milk of the word. Alas, it is a weak and sickly faith that depends solely upon the hearing of sermons or the reading of Christian “bestsellers” for its spiritual support.
God’s word is the food of the soul. There is more concentrated nourishment in a single text of Scripture, drawn out by the digestive process of meditation to strengthen the heart of the believer, than in many pages of uninspired, though instructive, composition. God’s words are life, and they are spirit. Read the pages of Christian martyrology and you will find that the secret of the martyrs’ strength was in their intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures. They were Bible Christians, and not mere sermon Christians.
If you have any deep experience in the ways of God and the devices of Satan, then you would easily remember times of peril when the perusal of a single chapter, or even the pondering upon a single verse, sounded like the voice of God and seemed like the mightiness of His omnipotence coming into your soul. If, then, you want to relish the uncorrupted sweetness of the word; if you want to realize all its strength-giving efficacy; if you want to grow to the strength and stature of a perfect man or woman in Christ Jesus; if you want to be valiant in the fight of faith—you must be much in converse with God alone, through the medium of his own blessed word.
Is this precious privilege not often neglected by many of you? Does the Bible not lie upon the table or the shelf for days or weeks unopened? What excuse have you to offer for so ungrateful a return for this inspired book? Perhaps, you say, it is a difficult book to understand. Admittedly, there are dark and inexplicable passages to ordinary readers, and yet how much more there is that is clear to the feeblest capacity. And think how much more those dark passages would brighten and unfold their meaning with a more spiritual, more devoted, and habitual attention!
Diligence, prayer, and a holy state of mind will unlock to the inquiring believer most of the hidden treasures of inspiration. Those who complain of the darkness of the Scriptures are generally those who have devoted the least time and attention to the study of them. Many uninspired books are difficult to those who only dip into them occasionally, but which, to the very same people, become easy when studied with care. There is such a thing as becoming, by long examination, familiar with an author’s style and manner, just as our protracted acquaintance with an individual enables us to understand the drift of his remarks better than we did at our first introduction to him. If necessary, the aid of a commentary may be of service to those who have leisure to peruse it.
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