Category Devotional Moments

If America Were Under God’s Judgment, What Would that Look Like?

If our country were under God’s judgment because of decades of butchering of innocent babies, the approval of hetero, homo, bi, and trans – sexual promiscuity, and the distortion of the image of God through extreme tattooing, acceptance of transgenderism what would that look like? Perhaps we would see plagues of disease such as AIDS, herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis, infertility, depression, suicide?

If our country were under God’s judgment because of our refusal to nurture our bodies according to God’s standards by overeating and gluttony, drugs, the eating of unclean animals, overdosing on sugar and not resting on the Sabbath and  feast days, what would it look like? Perhaps we would see cancer, swine flu, worms, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, ulcers, nervous breakdowns, going postal, mental disease, depression, obesity, psychosis, murder, and suicide?

If our country were under God’s judgment because of blood we have shed, the sexual filth we produce and distribute through movies and porn, our exploitation of children workers from other lands, and of the very land we live on, what would that look like? Perhaps we would see mass shootings in schools and in restaurants and in outdoor concerts? Perhaps  we would also see massive devastation of property (and life) from forest fires, floods, earthquakes, devastating tornadoes, and multiple hurricanes.

Perhaps this is what God already told us in Deut 28:22-68 (see below) – Our prayers go out to those individuals ravished by these many tragedies – yet we need to wake from our slumber – all of these things are the harvest of what we, as a nation, have sown for many decades. These judgments are not about the specific individuals – rather, these are about what we the USA have done.

So long as we continue to blame everyone else, we will not heal. We must take responsibility and we must repent, just as the Prophet Daniel repented for his people:

“We have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. “O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. “We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets…therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. (Dan 9:5, 8-11, 13)

There is hope. We simply need to turn to God:

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2Chr 7:14)

Deut 28:22-68: A list of the many plagues facing us today

“The LORD will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish. “And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron. “The LORD will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed. “The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth. “Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away. “The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. “The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart. “And you shall grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness; you shall not prosper in your ways; you shall be only oppressed and plundered continually, and no one shall save you. “You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall lie with her; you shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but shall not gather its grapes. “Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat of it; your donkey shall be violently taken away from before you, and shall not be restored to you; your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you shall have no one to rescue them. “Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look and fail with longing for them all day long; and there shall be no strength in your hand. “A nation whom you have not known shall eat the fruit of your land and the produce of your labor, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually. “So you shall be driven mad because of the sight which your eyes see. “The LORD will strike you in the knees and on the legs with severe boils which cannot be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head. “The LORD will bring you and the king whom you set over you to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods–wood and stone. “And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations where the LORD will drive you. “You shall carry much seed out to the field but gather little in, for the locust shall consume it. “You shall plant vineyards and tend them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. “You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil; for your olives shall drop off. “You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity. “Locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce of your land. “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. “He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. “Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. “And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants forever. “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, “therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. “The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, “a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. “And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you. “They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the LORD your God has given you. “You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you. “The sensitive and very refined man among you will be hostile toward his brother, toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the rest of his children whom he leaves behind, “so that he will not give any of them the flesh of his children whom he will eat, because he has nothing left in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates. “The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and sensitivity, will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter, “her placenta which comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of everything in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates. “If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD, “then the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues–great and prolonged plagues–and serious and prolonged sicknesses. “Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. “Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the LORD bring upon you until you are destroyed. “You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God. “And it shall be, that just as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess. “Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known–wood and stone. “And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul. “Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life. “In the morning you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were morning!’ because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see. “And the LORD will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you, ‘You shall never see it again.’ And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.”

Is God Listening and Does He Care? Devotional Moment

Partner with Douglas Hamp Ministries: https://www.douglashamp.com/partnershi…“You have spoken arrogant words against me,” says the Lord. “Yet you ask, ‘What did we say against you?’ (Mal 3:13)
You said, ‘It is futile to serve God,’ and ‘What did we get out of it when we carried out his requirements and went about like mourners in the presence of the Lord of the Heavenly Armies?’ (Mal 3:14)
and ‘Now we call the arrogant one blessed. Those who do evil prosper and those who challenge God escape the consequences.’” (Mal 3:15)
Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other. The Lord listened and took note, and a scroll of remembrance was written in his presence about those who fear the Lord and honor His name. (Mal 3:16)
“They’ll be mine,” says the Lord of the Heavenly Armies, “in the day when I prepare my treasured possession. I’ll spare them, just as a man spares his own son who serves him. (Mal 3:17)
When you return, you will see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not.” (Mal 3:18)

Did God Get Divorced?

To understand God’s relationship with Israel and the pain that He felt, imagine that you fall in love with a young woman who later gets sold into slavery. You rescue her against all odds. You scale mighty mountains; you pass through dangerous dales, and even defeat dreadful dragons. You have rescued your love at great cost to yourself but it was all worth it to save your true love. You sweep her away from her chains and prison and you two wed.

At your wedding, you exchange vows covenanting to be faithful and to love only each other. You proudly declare that she is your chosen, your special treasure in all the earth and that there is none as precious as her. You also promise her riches, children, peace, and joy, all that she could ever want. As part of your vows, she promises not to have any other men in her life, but to be wholly set
apart for you! She promises to not to have any pictures, videos, or keepsakes of any other guys in her possession, via email or on Facebook; she is going to think about you and you alone. As husband and wife, your names and reputations are now mingled as one: your name and reputation becomes hers and hers becomes yours. Whatever either of you do from now one, whether good or evil, will directly reflect on the other. Hence, you promise to honor and exalt her name and she promises to honor and exalt your name.

Then you promise to set aside one day in seven that will be a special day for the two of you. You promise that you will make it special for her in that she won’t have to work…she can just relax, sleep in, lounge around, kick back without a care in the world because you have taken care of everything. It is to be a day where you can grow in your relation to one another. You can talk to each other and share your hearts in a way that is distinct from the rest of the week.

In addition to these vows, you share with her your recipe for how to treat others which will lead to a successful and abundant life. Your formula is revolutionary because it is outwardly focused and not inwardly focused. It is concerned with how to treat others in a way that you would want to be treated. It always seeks the other’s good and their highest. You tell her that if you follow this formula it will lead to life and blessings but if she doesn’t that it will lead to pain, sorrow, curses, and ultimately death. She eagerly agrees to follow your formula knowing that you have her highest in mind as well. You then kiss your bride.

A great feast is held to celebrate the momentous occasion. After some time, she disappears and you can’t find her. After searching with an anxious heart, you sadly discover that she was in the room of an old lover. You are crushed, brokenhearted, and distraught. How could you true love do this? You promised. She promised. In fact, her unfaithfulness was on your very wedding day! How could she? Your sadness turns to anger at her unfaithfulness. You consider leaving her that very moment…but then you have pity on her. It was her upbringing after all; her parents were very poor role models and they cheated on each other from day one. She literally has never seen a good relationship. So, you decide to forgive and forget. However, already your enemies have heard what happened. You know that they will use it someday to slander you.

You then move into your new house and begin making it your home. You have children, you share wonderful moments. You are providing abundantly as promised. She on the other hand, has never quite overcome the tendency to see other guys. There have been many times during your marriage that you have had to simply look away and pretend not to notice. Of course, each time, it breaks your heart. But you are kind and patient. You really want it to work out between you so you just put up with it. However, a day comes when you notice that money begins disappearing from the bank account. You ask her about it but she denies any knowledge. Eventually, you discover that not only is she seeing other men but she is actually paying her lovers to be with her! At this point you are beside yourself. How in the world did this happen? Adultery is bad enough. Her receiving money from others as a prostitute would be worse. But no! Your wife is actually paying others to sleep with her! You confront her about it and tell her that this activity has to stop. You have become the laughing stock of the town. Everyone knows what your wife is up to. When you walk by you can hear their snickering. “Nice wife you got there!” One person shouts. “Thanks for the money,” another shouts. You look at another of the jesters and you are dumbfounded when you see the one of a kind necklace that you bought your wife on your anniversary on the neck of another man’s wife; your wife has paid her lovers with the precious keepsakes that you bought her. It isn’t just the money, but that it was something that you gave especially to her. Not only that, but she has actually murdered many of the children that she had from these illicit relationships. Finally, you can take no more. You have been married for decades and she has not changed one bit but has actually grown more destitute. With great sorrow you decide that it is over though in your heart, you vow to find a way to restore the woman you once knew and loved.

So you file the divorce papers and excise her from your will. Neither she, nor the children that she birthed from her many lovers will have any part of you or your estate. They are cut off completely. Oh how your heart aches! The wife of your youth is gone. Your home is not the same.

After some time, you find a way to bring her back to you if she is willing to turn away from all of the evil that she committed. You find a way to annul the wickedness if she will just admit her fault and promise not to do it again. When you exchanged vows there were some stipulations that you both agreed to. In your covenant, you both agreed that if she were found guilty of adultery, then you had the right to divorce her. If she became another man’s wife and the same thing happened that he found her guilty of adultery and sent her away, then she could not remarry you because it would pollute the land and bring a curse. You grin because you have thought up an amazing plan that will allow her to remarry you and will cancel the blood oath you both made in your marriage covenant. You pause for a moment, because, while your plan will resolve everything, it will come at tremendous cost to you.

Your plan is to die and then come back to life. By dying, you will cancel all consequences and curses that she incurred by having committed adultery when you were married under your marriage covenant. If you die, you reason, she will no longer be considered an adulterer because the law of the marriage is until “death do us part.” Hence if you die, then she is free to remarry! The trouble is, you want her to be yourwife again and not another’s. So, the second part of your plan is to actually come back to life. The cool thing is that you found a way to do that. So, you then prepare for the big day. You die as planned and the curses that she was under, because she violated your marriage covenant, are cancelled! She is no longer legally an adulterer. All the penalties and curses of the law of marriage are cancelled through your death. Part one is finished. When you come back to life, you and she can now remarry! All that is required on her part is to acknowledge her former adultery and promise not to do it again. If she will do those two things, then you promise to take her back and return her to her former position as your bride. The handwriting that was against her is literally destroyed through your death.

So, rather than picture God as angry and wrathful; picture him in your mind as brokenhearted and disappointed because of the choices that we as a country are making. Homosexuality, adultery, murder, stealing, slander, lust, and so many other behaviours are the same behaviours that Judah was committing when God said, “I was crushed by their unfaithful heart which turned from me and by their eyes which lusted after their idols… [and] of all their abominable practices.” (Ezek 6:9) You see, God was brokenhearted by Judah because she (and her northern sister Israel) were committing adultery through the harmful, destructive, and yes, offensive things they were doing. Just like back then, He isn’t looking to throw down the hammer because He has anger management issues; rather He is genuinely hurt and sad over what we are doing. He wants us to turn from our destructive path. So rather than focus on having to change to avoid judgment, let’s do those things pleasing to God because we don’t want to break the heart of our Father any longer.

Are You in Tune with with God? To Be One with God is to Align Yourself with His Instructions

Imagine if every member of a symphony tuned their instrument according to what they believed to be the A (440 Hz) versus everyone tuning to an agreed upon standard (such as the oboe)? Every musician would be playing his part well but would be out of tune with the others in the symphony. And instead of the “symphony” which means “together sound” it would be a dissonant cacophony of individual instruments.

The same thing happens when we, as individuals, decide to tune the instruments of our lives to our own pitch and not according to God’s, who is the master musician. Let’s face it, God has perfect pitch. We need to adjust our pitch to His, and not His to ours. Unity with the Father is precisely what Jesus prayed for us in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed:

That they all may be ONE, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be ONE in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be ONE just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in ONE, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (John 17:21-23)

If we desire to be one with God, that requires us changing our tune. God can’t change His tune because His tune, by definition, is perfect, (and you can’t change perfection). God told us what is in tune with Him (what is right) and what out of tune with Him (what is wrong) and those definitions cannot ever change. What is right will always be right and what is wrong will always be wrong.

Thus, when we think about keeping the commandments, it isn’t just a list of do’s and don’t’s but rather it is God’s instructions on how to be in harmony or as Jesus prayed, to be one with him. The more we practice the things he told us to do, the more in sync and in perfect pitch with God we will be. The question really is whether we want dissonance or consonance? When we violate the things God instructed us to do (or not to do) we are playing our instrument to our tune which results in dissonance. When we follow his instructions, we are in consonance with God.

J.R.R. Tolkien illustrates this theme in his book The Silmarillion where the archangel Melkor (akin to Satan) begins to play out of tune with the beautiful melody that Iluvatar (God) had begun which then begins to affect the music of the other angels.

Straightway discord arose about him, and many that sang nigh him grew despondent, and their thought was disturbed and their music faltered; but some began to attune their music to his rather than to the thought which they had at first. Then the discord of Melkor spread ever wider, and the melodies which had been heard before foundered in a sea of turbulent sound. (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, Houghton Mifflin Company Boston: 1977, p.16)

In conclusion, if our true goal is harmony with God, then we must tune our instruments to His. In other words, we must live according to the instructions He has given because they are perfect. To live contrary to them will bring discord and break the unity that we desire. On the other hand, when we live in accordance with His instructions, then our lives enjoy His peace, His rest, and His blessing; in essence we play our part in perfect harmony with His symphony.

Jesus Fulfilled the Law, So Can You!

In 1954 the Englishman, Roger Bannister was the first to cross the barrier of running the mile in four minutes. Up until that point, experts thought it was impossible to do…but once Bannister achieved the feat, many others have done so as well. In other words, Bannister was the first to fulfill it which paved the way for others to follow the example. So, too, God told Israel to put His Torah on their hearts (Deut 6:6, 10:12-13, 11:18). Unfortunately, they did not fulfill what God said to do.

Then Yeshua came and showed us how to fulfill the Torah. Unfortunately, many have gotten the wrong idea that because he didn’t, now I don’t have to. But that is erroneous thinking; just because Bannister ran the mile doesn’t mean that others don’t have to (to continue the analogy). Since we are all participating in the game of life, then we are naturally in the race. Yeshua’ fulfilling of the Torah doesn’t mean that I am now exempt from doing so! Rather he showed us how we too can do it, just as Bannister showed the world that it can be done.

People that say we don’t have to keep the (Old Testament) Torah any more because Yeshua did it for us are basing that on his words: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill [lexical form: πληρόω plero’o]. (Matt 5:17) The idea is that Jesus did all that was required in the law and through his death has freed us from the ‘burden of the law’. This thinking is faulty for several reasons.

  1. Yahweh, the law giver, said that if a man does them he will live through them. (Lev 18:5)
  2. Yahweh gave them for our good. (Deut 10:13)
  3. Yahweh gave the Torah and already put it “very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.” (Deut 30:14-15)
  4. The notion that the O.T. commandments (Torah) were a burden is not true as we read in 1st John: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1John 5:3)

The word “fulfill” is the key word in this passage. It is also used in Galatians 6:2, where Paul uses the same word to tell us that when we “bear one another’s burdens,” we “fulfill [lexical form: πληρόω plero’o] the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2) So we see that bearing one another’s burdens (an ongoing action) is the means by which we are following Yeshua’s example. This proves that Yeshua’s action of fulfilling the law does not mean that keeping the Torah has been set aside; it means that he did crossed the barrier (which no one had ever done) of living in complete harmony with heart of the Father as revealed in the Torah.

We are told to follow Yeshua’s example:

“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1John 2:6)

And we are to make disciples:

“teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…”  (Matt 28:20)

We too have the opportunity to fulfill the law and be in harmony with the heart of the Father. In fact, we are expected to walk just as he walked. Yeshua did not do the Torah so we don’t have to (as it taught by many churches); rather, just like Bannister who “fulfilled”  the four-minute-mile, Yeshua crossed the “here’s-how-you-live-out-the-Torah barrier” showing us how to do it as well. If we fall on the race track of life, we simply need to get back up and keep running until we too fulfill it.

“For though a righteous man falls seven times, he will rise again…” (Prov 24:16a)

 

 

 

Broken Hearted God

The Broken Hearted God? How Our Lawless Behaviour Breaks Our Father’s Heart

Many portray God as watching from heaven and is just waiting for the moment that he can rain down his wrath on this ungrateful and lawless world.

What we actually see in the Bible more than anything is a Creator who is brokenhearted and saddened by what his creation is doing. He is saddened just like I, as a father, am sad when my kids are mean to each other. God is grieved just like I am when my kids fight and hit each other. Unfortunately, by speaking of the righteousness and splendor of God, we have also painted him as a wooden, austere, and emotionless judge who is only concerned with meting out justice. We have this notion that He is impervious to sadness or feeling pain. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

God made us in His image and in His likeness and therefore the emotions that we have (with the exception of fear) are the same that God feels.  Before the flood, God felt intense sadness and grief at having made mankind – He was heartbroken because of their wicked and cruel actions. He agonized and was deeply distressed at what the beings that he created were doing.

Imagine if you were a brilliant scientist who could create intelligent, self-determining robots that had feelings. Would you not be sick to your stomach if they started abusing and murdering each other? Would you not be grieved in your soul and greatly burdened that the things you created to bring joy to you and to each other, had instead chosen to cheat, slander, maim, torture, and kill each other? Would you also not be racked with sorrow when you concluded that their choices had also polluted their very essence, their actual DNA and basically there was no undoing what they had done? That is the pain that God felt.

To understand God’s relationship with Israel and the pain that He felt, imagine that you fall in love with a young woman who later gets sold into slavery. You rescue her against all odds. You scale mighty mountains; you pass through dangerous dales, and even defeat dreadful dragons. You have rescued your love at great cost to yourself but it was all worth it to save your true love. You sweep her away from her chains and prison and you two wed.

At your wedding, you exchange vows covenanting to be faithful and to love only each other. You proudly declare that she is your chosen, your special treasure in all the earth and that there is none as precious as her. You also promise her riches, children, peace, and joy, all that she could ever want. As part of your vows, she promises not to have any other men in her life, but to be wholly set apart for you! She promises to not to have any pictures, videos, or keepsakes of any other guys in her possession, via email or on Facebook; she is going to think about you and you alone. As husband and wife, your names and reputations are now mingled as one: your name and reputation becomes hers and hers becomes yours. Whatever either of you do from now one, whether good or evil, will directly reflect on the other. Hence, you promise to honor and exalt her name and she promises to honor and exalt your name.

Then you promise to set aside one day in seven that will be a special day for the two of you. You promise that you will make it special for her in that she won’t have to work…she can just relax, sleep in, lounge around, kick back without a care in the world because you have taken care of everything. It is to be a day where you can grow in your relation to one another. You can talk to each other and share your hearts in a way that is distinct from the rest of the week.

In addition to these vows, you share with her your recipe for how to treat others which will lead to a successful and abundant life. Your formula is revolutionary because it is outwardly focused and not inwardly focused. It is concerned with how to treat others in a way that you would want to be treated. It always seeks the other’s good and their highest. You tell her that if you follow this formula it will lead to life and blessings but if she doesn’t that it will lead to pain, sorrow, curses, and ultimately death. She eagerly agrees to follow your formula knowing that you have her highest in mind as well. You then kiss your bride.

A great feast is held to celebrate the momentous occasion. After some time, she disappears and you can’t find her. After searching with an anxious heart, you sadly discover that she was in the room of an old lover. You are crushed, brokenhearted, and distraught. How could you true love do this? You promised. She promised. In fact, her unfaithfulness was on your very wedding day! How could she? Your sadness turns to anger at her unfaithfulness. You consider leaving her that very moment…but then you have pity on her. It was her upbringing after all; her parents were very poor role models and they cheated on each other from day one. She literally has never seen a good relationship. So, you decide to forgive and forget. However, already your enemies have heard what happened. You know that they will use it someday to slander you.

You then move into your new house and begin making it your home. You have children, you share wonderful moments. You are providing abundantly as promised. She on the other hand, has never quite overcome the tendency to see other guys. There have been many times during your marriage that you have had to simply look away and pretend not to notice. Of course, each time, it breaks your heart. But you are kind and patient. You really want it to work out between you so you just put up with it. However, a day comes when you notice that money begins disappearing from the bank account. You ask her about it but she denies any knowledge. Eventually, you discover that not only is she seeing other men but she is actually paying her lovers to be with her! At this point you are beside yourself. How in the world did this happen? Adultery is bad enough. Her receiving money from others as a prostitute would be worse. But no! Your wife is actually paying others to sleep with her! You confront her about it and tell her that this activity has to stop. You have become the laughing stock of the town. Everyone knows what your wife is up to. When you walk by you can hear their snickering. “Nice wife you got there!” One person shouts. “Thanks for the money,” another shouts. You look at another of the jesters and you are dumbfounded when you see the one of a kind necklace that you bought your wife on your anniversary on the neck of another man’s wife; your wife has paid her lovers with the precious keepsakes that you bought her. It isn’t just the money, but that it was something that you gave especially to her. Not only that, but she has actually murdered many of the children that she had from these illicit relationships. Finally, you can take no more. You have been married for decades and she has not changed one bit but has actually grown more destitute. With great sorrow you decide that it is over though in your heart, you vow to find a way to restore the woman you once knew and loved.

So you file the divorce papers and excise her from your will. Neither she, nor the children that she birthed from her many lovers will have any part of you or your estate. They are cut off completely. Oh how your heart aches! The wife of your youth is gone. Your home is not the same.

After some time, you find a way to bring her back to you if she is willing to turn away from all of the evil that she committed. You find a way to annul the wickedness if she will just admit her fault and promise not to do it again. When you exchanged vows there were some stipulations that you both agreed to. In your covenant, you both agreed that if she were found guilty of adultery, then you had the right to divorce her. If she became another man’s wife and the same thing happened that he found her guilty of adultery and sent her away, then she could not remarry you because it would pollute the land and bring a curse. You grin because you have thought up an amazing plan that will allow her to remarry you and will cancel the blood oath you both made in your marriage covenant. You pause for a moment, because, while your plan will resolve everything, it will come at tremendous cost to you.

Your plan is to die and then come back to life. By dying, you will cancel all consequences and curses that she incurred by having committed adultery when you were married under your marriage covenant. If you die, you reason, she will no longer be considered an adulterer because the law of the marriage is until “death do us part.” Hence if you die, then she is free to remarry! The trouble is, you want her to be your wife again and not another’s. So, the second part of your plan is to actually come back to life. The cool thing is that you found a way to do that. So, you then prepare for the big day. You die as planned and the curses that she was under, because she violated your marriage covenant, are cancelled! She is no longer legally an adulterer. All the penalties and curses of the law of marriage are cancelled through your death. Part one is finished. When you come back to life, you and she can now remarry! All that is required on her part is to acknowledge her former adultery and promise not to do it again. If she will do those two things, then you promise to take her back and return her to her former position as your bride. The handwriting that was against her is literally destroyed through your death.

So, rather than picture God as angry and wrathful; picture him in your mind as brokenhearted and disappointed because of the choices that we as a country are making. Homosexuality, adultery, murder, stealing, slander, lust, and so many other behaviours are the same behaviours that Judah was committing when God said, “I was crushed by their unfaithful heart which turned from me and by their eyes which lusted after their idols… [and] of all their abominable practices.” (Ezek 6:9) You see, God was brokenhearted by Judah because she (and her northern sister Israel) were committing adultery through the harmful, destructive, and yes, offensive things they were doing. Just like back then, He isn’t looking to throw down the hammer because He has anger management issues; rather He is genuinely hurt and sad over what we are doing. He wants us to turn from our destructive path. So rather than focus on having to change to avoid judgment, let’s do those things pleasing to God because we don’t want to break the heart of our Father any longer.

 

Seek First the Kingdom…and All These Things Will Be Added (Part 3)

All These Things Added by James Allen (Devotional) Continued (Part 1, 2)

I believe that James Allen has a unique understanding of our quest for righteousness that is worthy of bringing to your attention. Be blessed by his insights about how to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…and all these things will be added. – Doug

Every phenomenon in social and national life (as in Nature) is an effect, and all these effects are embodied by a cause which is not remote and detached, but which is the immediate soul and life of the effect itself. As the seed is contained in the flower, and the flower in the seed, so the relation of cause and effect is intimate and inseparable. An effect also is vivified and propagated, not by any life inherent in itself, but by the life and impulse existing in the cause.

Looking out upon the world, we behold it as an arena of strife in which individuals, communities, and nations are constantly engaged in struggle, striving with each other for superiority, and for the largest share of worldly possessions.

We see, also, that the weaker fall out defeated, and that the strong — those who are equipped to pursue the combat with undiminished ardour — obtain the victory, and enter into possession. And along with this struggle we see the suffering which is inevitably connected with it — men and women, broken down with the weight of their responsibilities, failing in their efforts and losing all; families and communities broken up, and nations subdued and subordinated.

We see seas of tears, telling of unspeakable anguish and grief; we see painful partings and early and unnatural deaths; and we know that this life of strife, when stripped of its surface appearances, is largely a life of sorrow. Such, briefly sketched , are the phenomena connected with that aspect of human life with which we are now dealing; such are the effects as we see them; and they have one common cause which is found in the human heart itself.

As all the multiform varieties of plant life have one common soil from which to draw their sustenance, and by virtue of which they live and thrive, so all the varied activities of human life are rooted in, and draw their vitality from, one common source—the human heart. The cause of all suffering and of all happiness resides, not in the outer activities of human life, but in the inner activities of the heart and mind; and every external agency is sustained by the life which it derives from human conduct.

The organized life-principle in man carves for itself outward channels along which it can pour its pent-up energies, makes for itself vehicles through which it can manifest its potency and reap its experience, and, as a result, we have our religious, social and political organizations.

All the visible manifestations of human life, then, are effects; and as such, although they may possess a reflex action, they can never be causes, but must remain forever what they are—dead effects, galvanized into life by an enduring and profound cause.

It is the custom of men to wander about in this world of effects, and to mistake its illusions for realities, eternally transposing and readjusting these effects in order to arrive at a solution of human problems, instead of reaching down to the underlying cause which is at once the centre of unification and the basis upon which to build a peace-giving solution of human life.

The strife of the world in all its forms, whether it be war, social or political quarrelling, sectarian hatred, private disputes or commercial competition, has its origin in one common cause, namely,individual selfishness. And I employ this term selfishness in a far-reaching sense; in it I include all forms of self-love and egotism— I mean by it the desire to pander to, and preserve at all costs, the personality.

This element of selfishness is the life and soul of competition, and of the competitive laws. Apart from it they have no existence. But in the life of every individual in whose heart selfishness in any form is harboured, these laws are brought into play, and the individual is subject to them.

Innumerable economic systems have failed, and must fail, to exterminate the strife of the world. They are the outcome of the delusion that outward systems of government are the causes of that strife, whereas they are but the visible and transient effect of the inward strife, the channels through which it must necessarily manifest itself. To destroy the channel is, and must ever be ineffectual, as the inward energy will immediately make for itself another, and still another and another.

Strife cannot cease; and the competitive laws must prevail so long as selfishness is fostered in the heart. All reforms fail where this element is ignored or unaccounted for; all reforms will succeed where it is recognized, and steps are taken for its removal.

Selfishness, then, is the root cause of competition, the foundation on which all competitive systems rest, and the sustaining source of the competitive laws. It will thus be seen that all competitive systems, all the visible activities of the struggle of man with man, are as the leaves and branches of a tree which overspreads the whole earth, the root of that tree being individual selfishness, and the ripened fruits of which are pain and sorrow.

This tree cannot be destroyed by merely lopping off its branches; to do this effectively, the root must be destroyed. To introduce measures in the form of changed external conditions is merely lopping off the branches; and as the cutting away of certain branches of a tree gives added vigour to those which remain, even so the very means which are taken to curtail the competitive strife, when those means deal entirely with its outward effects, will but add strength and vigour to the tree whose roots are all the time being fostered and encouraged in the human heart. The most that even legislation can do is to prune the branches, and so prevent the tree from altogether running wild.

Great efforts are now being put forward to found a “Garden City,” which shall be a veritable Eden planted in the midst of orchards, and whose inhabitants shall live in comfort and comparative repose. And beautiful and laudable are all such efforts when they are prompted by unselfish love. But such a city cannot exist, or cannot long remain the Eden which it aims to be in its outward form, unless the majority of its inhabitants have subdued and conquered the inward selfishness.

Even one form of selfishness, namely, self-indulgence, if fostered by its inhabitants, will completely undermine that city, levelling its orchards to the ground, converting many of its beautiful dwellings into competitive marts, and obnoxious centres for the personal gratification of appetite, and some of its buildings into institutions for the maintenance of order; and upon its public spaces will rise jails, asylums, and orphanages, for where the spirit of self-indulgence is, the means for its gratification will be immediately adopted, without considering the good of others or of the community (for selfishness is always blind), and the fruits of that gratification will be rapidly reaped.

The building of pleasant houses and the planting of beautiful gardens can never, of itself, constitute a Garden City unless its inhabitants have learned that self-sacrifice is better than self-protection, and have first established in their own hearts the Garden City of unselfish love. And when a sufficient number of men and women have done this, the Garden City will appear, and it will flourish and prosper, and great will be its peace, for “out of the heart are the issues of life.”

Having found that selfishness is the root cause of all competition and strife, the question naturally arises as to how this cause shall be dealt with, for it naturally follows that a cause being destroyed, all its effects cease; a cause being propagated, all its effects, however they may be modified from without, must continue.

Every man who has thought at all deeply upon the problem of life, and has brooded sympathetically upon the sufferings of mankind, has seen that selfishness is at the root of all sorrow—in fact, this is one of the truths that is first apprehended by the thoughtful mind. And along with that perception there has been born within him a longing to formulate some methods by which that selfishness might be overcome.

The first impulse of such a man is to endeavour to frame some outward law, or introduce some new social arrangements or regulations, which shall put a check on the selfishness of others.

The second tendency of his mind will be to feel his utter helplessness before the great iron will of selfishness by which he is confronted.

Both these attitudes of mind are the result of an incomplete knowledge of what constitutes selfishness. And this partial knowledge dominates him because, although he has overcome the grosser forms of selfishness in himself, and is so far noble, he is yet selfish in other and more remote and subtle directions.

This feeling of “helplessness” is the prelude to one of two conditions—the man will either give up in despair, and again sink himself in the selfishness of the world, or he will search and meditate until he finds another way out of the difficulty. And that way he will find. Looking deeper and ever deeper into the things of life; reflecting, brooding, examining, and analysing; grappling with every difficulty and problem with intensity of thought, and developing day by day a profounder love of Truth—by these means his heart will grow and his comprehension expand, and at last he will realize that the way to destroy selfishness is not to try to destroy one form of it in other people, but to destroy it utterly, root and branch, in himself.

The perception of this truth constitutes spiritual illumination, and when once it is awakened in the mind, the “straight and narrow way” is revealed, and the Gates of the Kingdom already loom in the distance.

Then does a man apply to himself (not to others) these words—And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thy own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shall thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thine brother’s eye.

When a man can apply these words to himself and act upon them, judging himself mercilessly, but judging none other, then will he find his way out of the hell of competitive strife, then will he rise above and render of non-effect the laws of competition, and will find the higher Law of Love, subjecting himself to which every evil thing will flee from him, and the joys and blessings which the selfish vainly seek will constantly wait upon him. And not only this, he will, having lifted himself, lift the world. By his example many will see the Way, and will walk it; and the powers of darkness will be weaker for having lived.

It will here be asked, “But will not man who has risen above his selfishness, and therefore above the competitive strife, suffer through the selfishness and competition of those around him? Will he not after all the trouble he has taken to purify himself, suffer at the hands of the impure?”

No, he will not. The equity of the Divine Order is perfect, and cannot be subverted, so that it is impossible for one who has overcome selfishness to be subject to those laws which are brought into operation by the action of selfishness; in other words, each individual suffers by virtue of his own selfishness.

It is true that the selfish all come under the operation of the competitive laws, and suffer collectively, each acting, more or less, as the instrument by which the suffering of others is brought about, which makes it appear, on the surface, as though men suffered for the sins of others rather than their own. But the truth is that in a universe the very basis of which is harmony, and which can only be sustained by the perfect adjustment of all its parts, each unit receives its own measure of adjustment, and suffers by and of itself.

Each man comes under the laws of his own being, never under those of another. True, he will suffer like another, and even through the instrumentality of another, if he elects to live under the same conditions as that other. But if he chooses to desert those conditions and to live under another and higher set of conditions of which that other is ignorant, he will cease to come under, or be affected by, the lower laws.

Let us now go back to the symbol of the tree and carry the analogy a little further. Just as the leaves and branches are sustained by the roots, so the roots derive their nourishment from the soil, groping blindly in the darkness for the sustenance which the tree demands. In like manner, selfishness, the root of the tree of evil and of suffering, derives its nourishment from the dark soil of ignorance. In this it thrives; upon this it stands and flourishes. By ignorance I mean something vastly different from lack of learning; and the sense in which I use it will be made plain as I proceed.

Selfishness always gropes in the dark. It has no knowledge; by its very nature it is cut off from the source of enlightenment; it is a blind impulse, knowing nothing, obeying no law, for it knows none, and is thereby forcibly bound to those competitive laws by virtue of which suffering is inflicted in order that harmony may be maintained.

We live in a world, a universe, abounding with all good things. So great is the abundance of spiritual, mental and material blessings that every man and woman on this globe could not only be provided with every necessary good, but could live in the midst of abounding plenty, and yet have much to spare. Yet, in spite of this, what a spectacle of ignorance do we behold!

We see on the one hand millions of men and women chained to a ceaseless slavery, interminably toiling in order to obtain a poor and scanty meal and a garment to cover their nakedness; and on the other hand we see thousands, who already have more than they require and can well manage, depriving themselves of all the blessings of a true life and of the vast opportunities which their possessions place within their reach, in order to accumulate more of those material things for which they have no legitimate use. Surely men and women have no more wisdom than the beasts which fight over the possession of that which is more than they can all well dispose of, and which they could all enjoy in peace!

Such a condition of things can only occur in a state of ignorance deep and dark; so dark and dense as to be utterly impenetrable save to the unselfish eye of wisdom and truth. And in the midst of all this striving after place and food and raiment, there works unseen, yet potent and unerring, the Overruling Law of Justice, meting out to every individual his own quota of merit and demerit. It is impartial; it bestows no favours; it inflicts no unearned punishments:

It knows not wrath nor pardon; utter-true
It measures mete, its faultless balance weighs;
Times are as nought, tomorrow it will judge,
Or after many days.

The rich and the poor alike suffer for their own selfishness; and none escapes. The rich have their particular sufferings as well as the poor. Moreover, the rich are continually losing their riches; the poor are continually acquiring them. The poor man of today is the rich man of tomorrow, and vice versa.

There is no stability, no security in hell, and only brief and occasional periods of respite from suffering in some form or other. Fear, also, follows men like a great shadow, for the man who obtains and holds by selfish force will always be haunted by a feeling of insecurity, and will continually fear its loss; while the poor man, who is selfishly seeking or coveting material riches, will be harassed by the fear of destitution. And one and all who live in this underworld of strife are overshadowed by one great fear—the fear of death.

Surrounded by the darkness of ignorance, and having no knowledge of those eternal and life-sustaining Principles out of which all things proceed, men labour under the delusion that the most important and essential things in life are food and clothing, and that their first duty is to strive to obtain these, believing that these outward things are the source and cause of all comfort and happiness.

It is the blind animal instinct of self-preservation (the preservation of the body and personality), by virtue of which each man opposes himself to other men in order to “get a living” or “secure a competency,” believing that if he does not keep an incessant watch on other men, and constantly renew the struggle, they will ultimately “take the bread out of his mouth.”

It is out of this initial delusion that comes all the train of delusions, with their attendant sufferings. Food and clothing are not the essential things of life; not the causes of happiness. They are non-essentials, effects, and, as such, proceed by a process of natural law from the essentials, the underlying cause.

The essential things in life are the enduring elements in character—integrity, faith, righteousness, self-sacrifice, compassion, love; and out of these all good things proceed.

Food and clothing, and money are dead effects; there is in them no life, no power except that which we invest with them. They are without vice and virtue, and can neither bless nor harm. Even the body which men believe to be themselves, to which they pander, and which they long to keep, must very shortly be yielded up to the dust. But the higher elements of character are life itself; and to practice these, to trust them, and to live entirely in them, constitutes the Kingdom of Heaven.

The man who says, “I will first of all earn a competence and secure a good position in life, and will then give my mind to those higher things,” does not understand these higher things, does not believe them to be higher, for if he did, it would not be possible for him to neglect them. He believes the material outgrowths of life to be the higher, and therefore he seeks them first. He believes money, clothing and position to be of vast and essential importance, righteousness and truth to be at best secondary; for a man always sacrifices that which he believes to be lesser to that which he believes to be greater.

Immediately after a man realizes that righteousness is of more importance than the getting of food and clothing, he ceases to strive after the latter, and begins to live for the former. It is here where we come to the dividing line between the two Kingdoms—Hell and Heaven.

Once a man perceives the beauty and enduring reality of righteousness, his whole attitude of mind toward himself and others and the things within and around him changes. The love of personal existence gradually loses its hold on him; the instinct of self-preservation begins to die, and the practice of self-renunciation takes its place. For the sacrifice of others, or of the happiness of others, for his own good, he substitutes the sacrifice of self and of his own happiness for the good of others. And thus, rising above self, he rises above the competitive strife which is the outcome of self, and above the competitive laws which operate only in the region of self, and for the regulation of its blind impulses.

He is like the man who has climbed a mountain, and thereby risen above all the disturbing currents in the valleys below him. The clouds pour down their rain, the thunders roll and the lightnings flash, the fogs obscure, and the hurricanes uproot and destroy, but they cannot reach him on the calm heights where he stands, and where he dwells in continual sunshine and peace.

In the life of such a man the lower laws cease to operate, and he now comes under the protection of a higher Law—namely, the Law of Love; and, in accordance with his faithfulness and obedience to this Law, will all that is necessary for his well-being come to him at the time when he requires it.

The idea of gaining a position in the world cannot enter his mind, and the external necessities of life, such as money, food and clothing, he scarcely ever thinks about. But, subjecting himself for the good of others, performing all his duties scrupulously and without thinking of reward, and living day by day in the discipline of righteousness, all other things follow at the right time and in the right order.

Just as suffering and strife inhere in, and spring from, their root cause, selfishness, so blessedness and peace inhere in, and spring from, their root-cause, righteousness. And it is a full and all-embracing blessedness, complete and perfect in every department of life, for that which is morally and spiritually right is physically and materially right.

Such a man is free, for he is freed from all anxiety, worry, fear, despondency, all those mental disturbances which derive their vitality from the elements of self, and he lives in constant joy and peace, and this while living in the very midst of the competitive strife of the world.

Yet, though walking in the midst of Hell, its flames fall back before and around him, so that not one hair of his head can be singed. Though he walks in the midst of the lions of selfish force, for him their jaws are closed and their ferocity is subdued. Though on every hand men are falling around him in the fierce battle of life, he falls not, neither is he dismayed, for no deadly bullet can reach him, no poisoned shaft can pierce the impenetrable armour of his righteousness. Having lost the little, personal, self-seeking life of suffering, anxiety, fear, and want, he has found the illimitable, glorious, self-perfecting life of joy and peace and plenty.

“Therefore take no thought, saying ’What shall we eat?’ or, ’What shall we drink?’ or, ’Wherewithal shall we be clothed? . . .’ For your heavenly Father knoweth ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Seek First the Kingdom…and All These Things Will Be Added (Part 2)

All These Things Added by James Allen (Devotional)

The Competitive Laws and the Law of Love

When I am pure
I shall have solved the mystery of life,
I shall be sure
(When I am free from hatred, lust and strife)
I am in truth, and Truth abides in me.
I shall be safe and sane and wholly free
When I am pure.

IT HAS BEEN SAID that the laws of Nature are cruel; it has likewise been said that they are kind. The one statement is the result of dwelling exclusively upon the fiercely competitive aspect of Nature; the other results from viewing only the protective and kindly aspect. In reality, natural laws are neither cruel or kind; they are absolutely just—are, in fact, the outworking of the indestructible principle of justice itself.

The cruelty, and consequent suffering, which is so prevalent in Nature, is not inherent in the heart and substance of life; it is a passing phase of evolution, a painful experience, which will ultimately ripen into the fruit of a more perfect knowledge; a dark night of ignorance and unrest, leading to a glorious morning of joy and peace.

When a helpless child is burnt to death, we do not ascribe cruelty to the working of the natural law by virtue of which the child was consumed; we infer ignorance in the child, or carelessness on the part of its guardians. Even so, men and creatures are daily being consumed in the invisible flames of passion, succumbing to the ceaseless interplay of those fiery psychic forces which, in their ignorance, they do not understand, but which they shall at last learn how to control and use to their own protection, and not, as at present, foolishly employ them to their own destruction.

To understand, control and harmoniously adjust the invisible forces of its own soul is the ultimate destiny of every being and creature. Some men and women, in the past, have accomplished this supreme and exalted purpose; some, in the present, have likewise succeeded, and, until this is done, that place of rest wherein one receives all that is necessary for one’s well-being and happiness, without striving, and with freedom from pain, cannot be entered.

In an age like the present, when, in all civilized countries, the string of life is strained to its highest pitch, when men and women, striving each with each in every department of life for the vanities and material possessions of this perishable existence, have developed competition to the utmost limit of endurance—in such an age the sublimest heights of knowledge are scaled, the supremest spiritual conquests are achieved; for when the soul is most tired, its need is greatest, and where the need is great, great will be the effort. Where, also, the temptations are powerful, the greater and more enduring will be the victory.

Men love the competitive strife with their fellows, while it promises, and seems to bring them gain and happiness; but when the inevitable reaction comes, and the cold steel of selfish strife which their own hands have forged enters their own hearts, then, and not till then, do they seek a better way.

“Blessed are they that mourn,”—that have come to the end of strife, and have found the pain and sorrow to which it leads; for unto them, and unto them only, can open the door which leads to the Kingdom of Peace.

In searching for this Kingdom, it is necessary to fully understand the nature of that which prevents its realization—namely, the strife of nature, the competitive laws operative in human affairs, and the universal unrest, insecurity and fear which accompany these factors; for without such an understanding there can be no sound comprehension as to what constitutes the true and false in life, and therefore no real spiritual advancement.

Before the true can be apprehended and enjoyed, the false must be unveiled; before the real can be perceived as the real, the illusions which distort it must be dispersed; and before the limitless expanse of Truth can open before us, the limited experience which is confined to the world of visible and superficial effects must be transcended.

Let, therefore, those of my readers who are thoughtful and earnest, and who are diligently seeking, or are willing to seek, for that basis of thought and conduct which shall simplify and harmonize the bewildering complexities and inequalities of life, walk with me step by step as I open up the way to the Kingdom; first descending into Hell (the world of strife and self-seeking) in order that, having comprehended its intricate ways, we may afterwards ascend into Heaven (the world of Peace and Love).

It is the custom in my household, during the hard frosts of winter, to put out food for the birds, and it is a noticeable fact that these creatures, when they are really starving, live together most amicably, huddling together to keep each other warm, and refraining from all strife; and if a small quantity of food be given them they will eat it with comparative freedom from contention; but let a quantity of food which is more than sufficient for all be thrown to them, and fighting over the coveted supply at once ensues.

Occasionally we would put out a whole loaf of bread, and then the contention of the birds became fierce and prolonged, although there was more than they could possibly eat during several days. Some, having gorged themselves until they could eat no more, would stand upon the loaf and hover round it, pecking fiercely at all newcomers, and endeavouring to prevent them from obtaining any of the food. And along with this fierce contention there was noticeably a great fear. With each mouthful of food taken, the birds would look around in nervous terror, apprehensive of losing their food or their lives.

In this simple incident we have an illustration—crude, perhaps, but true—of the basis and outworking of the competitive laws in Nature and in human affairs. It is not scarcity that produces competition, it is abundance; so that the richer and more luxurious a nation becomes, the keener and fiercer becomes the competition for securing the necessaries and luxuries of life.

Let famine overtake a nation, and at once compassion and sympathy take the place of competitive strife; and, in the blessedness of giving and receiving, men enjoy a foretaste of that heavenly bliss which the spiritually wise have found, and which all shall ultimately reach.

The fact that abundance, and not scarcity, creates competition, should be held constantly in mind by the reader during the perusal of this book, as it throws a searching light not only on the statements herein contained, but upon every problem relating to social life and human conduct. Moreover, if it be deeply and earnestly meditated upon, and its lessons applied to individual conduct, it will make plain the Way which leads to the Kingdom.

Let us now search out the cause of this fact, in order that the evils connected with it may be transcended.

(Go to Part 3)