Book Excerpts

(From the Joy book)

Some folks, even Christians, find themselves perpetually locked up in spiritual prisons. The experience of joy, happiness, peace and tranquility is absent from the lives of these individuals. Oftentimes this is the result of over “busy-ness” in the modern world in which we live.  Or, they may be so intent on making money, they are unable to live out God’s will in their lives because there is no contentment.  Even church people can be too busy in church programs that they miss out on this joy of serving the Lord.
The lesson from Paul’s circumstance is that we need to learn to allow God to bring us victory in our lives, to break us out of the bonds of emotional strife that often bear down like heavy weights upon our shoulders. Those weights keep us from enjoying life to the greatest degree possible.
What was Paul’s mental attitude while in prison? Did he surmise that his Christian brothers and sisters would forsake him in his dilemma? When I read his letter to the
Philippians, and see the loving church that cared for him, I can tell that he knew that they loved, cared and prayed for him. He must have been comforted by their love.

(From the Love book)

The Greatest Thing in the World Agape was the motivating force for God sending His Son, and throughout all Christ’s ministry while on earth. Agape was the reason why Jesus walked about the Sea of Galilee and through the Palestinean regions preaching and teaching, healing the sick, raising the dead.  Agape was the reason why Jesus died a sacrificial death. It was the reason Paul, Silas, Barnabas, Stephen, Timothy, Philip, all the early apostles and others went throughout the uttermost parts of the Mediterranean world so that mankind might have a genuine relationship with God. Agape was why the Apostles all suffered and were martyred. Accordingly, it is important that it be the motivation of all we say and do as Christians. Remember that this is agape – God’s love. It is supernatural and divine and thereby must be attained by faith. It is unrestrained, unselfish, sacrificial, and absolute. It is unconditional so that it knows no barriers of race, color, creed, or nationality. . . .

Wouldn’t it be great to know all about the universe as God does? But even as we exercise the gift of knowledge that we do have, we are “spiritually zero” without love.
Without the underlying motivating force of agape, preachers, professors, teachers, missionaries, Sunday School workers and all other church functionaries are all nothing!
It is the spiritual dimension of agape that causes proclaimers of the gospel to communicate the truths of the gospel and theological principles by the Spirit of God. It is
their deep concern for their listeners that prepare them to be spiritual preachers of the gospel. It is not the knowledge of the gospel, but the love of God that undergirds it that converts men and strengthens them.
Throughout history men have spent entire lifetimes trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe. Just think of the secular and humanistic idea-thinkers such as Plato,
Aristotle, Kant, Aquinas, Hegel, Sartre – an endless list – as well as religious ideologies such as Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism – and all the other world’s, pietistic “isms.”
Yet, Paul, the great theologian of the first church era tells us that one who is able to penetrate mysteries, and who possesses much knowledge concerning things, or the meaning of God, is nothing without love. As for spiritual maturity, it really doesn’t matter how intelligent a person is – whether, for example, he is able to read the Old Testament in Hebrew or the New Testament in Greek, or decipher the prophetic mysteries of the Bible and apocalyptic literature with endless charts and graphs – if he hasn’t learned how to love with agape, he is nothing.

(from the Peace book)

This book is the third in a trilogy of books concerning those three principles. The first was based on Paul’s letter to the Philippians, keynoting the principle of joy. The  second book was an interpretative treatise on I Corinthians 13, the agape principle. This book deals with the principle of peace, and includes various principles concerning the Christian faith which should allow the reader a reflection on principles necessary for discipleship, as these principles are applied to one’s lifestyle as a Christian.

When one knows the love of God, and experiences the joy that God’s love brings, then one, inevitably lives a life of peace.  So, what I am doing, in writing my little trilogy of
books, is to share with you what I think are some important attributes of what we are as mature Christians – the characteristics that make us de facto Christians – love, joy,
and peace. Here is the one on peace.

(note:  The peace book is not a book that  deals with the definition of peace, nor aspects of political or civil peace.  It is a book which deals with the basic tenets of Christianity — forgiveness, salvation, etc.) Now we come to the crux of this book. What does peace mean within the context of the Christian faith? What does it mean to the individual Christian? What did Jesus mean when He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you . . . ”  . . .

Many people, including Christians, are looking for peace, the peace which passes all understanding, the peace that following Christ as master of one’s life brings. I hope
that something in this book, a verse of scripture, or comment, might be something you have been looking for that will seal a question of your life, or in some way bring you lasting joy and peace.
The intent of this book is, not so much to offer a commentary of what it means to have peace as a disciple of Jesus, but more specifically, how to acquire that peace. In essence, it is about authentic discipleship. True discipleship brings genuine peace to the heart of the Christian. When the heart of the individual is ruled by the Spirit of Christ, the person possesses and enjoys something the Apostle Paul proclaims that cannot be understood by the mind.

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