Last night after feeding and putting my newest granddaughter to sleep in my arms I did a mental inventory of my blessings and an analysis of my life thus far and came to the conclusion that I am absolutely unworthy of all that I have. I was amazed at the grace of God who has spared me so much despair and disaster that I fully deserved and bowed my heart at His throne. He indeed treats me better than I deserve. All praise to Jesus Christ for all that I have and for any good that I have done in my nearly sixty years on this earth as it certainly did not come from me for as Paul said “for I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…” May I one day have a far more grateful and obedient heart for He is worthy!


Questioner: sunji
Subject: Baptists: To eat or not to eat BLOOD
Date Asked: 2012-06-18 21:19:45
Date Answered: today
 
Question:
Hi Pastor!
 
I am a new believer in the Lord Jesus Christ from an independent baptist(fundamental in doctrine) in the Philippines. I am here in Qatar now and the church I am currently attending is a bible baptist. We as fundamentalist don’t eat blood since it is a commandment of God in the OT and in Acts in NT. However, this church I am attending now eats blood. It really disturbs me everytime the issue is being raised up and specially when they make fun of it…
Hoping to hear from you soon.
God bless
 
Answer:
Greetings, my new Brother!!!  I understand the many challenges of being a new believer as well as that of being in a new culture having spent time in Germany, Greece and Thailand.  My previous church had several Filipino families and I know some of your delicacies include blood.  I’m not into raw fish either.  😉  You are correct that the Scripture does say that while we are not under Law, the Jerusalem Council did give the following ruling for Gentiles to follow.
 
Acts 15:19-20
 
19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. KJV
 
Even if they say that we are under grace this rule was given by the Apostles who preached grace.  
 
Lev 17:10-14
 
10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.
11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.
13 And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.
14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.  KJV
 
Several things have been considered by theologians to be the reason for not eating blood, but regardless of God’s rationale the fact remains that it was prohibited in both Testaments.
 Here in the States it is very difficult to do this because most meat is not slaughtered according to the Levitical law.  Chickens are gassed whereas at one time they were killed so to allow the blood to flow out.  Thus if you eat a chicken killed that way you will get coagulated blood in it.  You have reminded me of this and I just told my wife to look for meat with a Kosher marking meaning it will not have blood in it.  
 The British have blood pudding and I have had a taste of a Filipino dish with pork blood in it.  I did not know it had blood until after I ate some.  
 
1 Cor 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. KJV
 
Your friends will probably say that we are under grace and even quote this verse emphasizing the first part but downplaying the last phrase.  While they will not go to Hell if they eat they are also not edifying themselves by ignoring a clear teaching of the Word.  This is not a gray area as so many Christians love to live in.  
 
I believe that we will find when we get to Glory practical reasons for God giving many of His commandments as well as spiritual reasons.  Our flesh and blood is similar to animal blood, but someday science will catch up to God and may find that there are bacteria or a virus in the blood of various animals that are quite harmless to them but may actually affect our immune system or cause some of our other health issues.  Some of the other animals prohibited in the Levitical Law have been declared less than ideal for us by nutritionists and others have caused health issues before we found the causes and changed our cooking or preservation practices.  I am willing to trust God that blood has a negative effect on me and that is one reason He prohibits it or just accept His right to tell me no for whatever reason whether He ever reveals it to me or not.  I will not die if I avoid blood and I may be healthier if I do avoid it and it is an easy commandment to obey.  Since I struggle with tougher commandments I am OK with taking an easy one. 
 
I would show the Scripture and my answer, if you wish, to your Pastor and other leadership.  If they laugh and kick it to the curb that is OK.  You stand by your faith and conviction.  You need to know now that there are going to be times when you have to stand alone and accept criticism and even ridicule by believer and unbeliever alike.  You may have the minority opinion, but as long as it is the truth hold your ground.
 
In the spirit of unity, I would not make a big deal about it.  Once you make your position known let it go and let the Holy Spirit use the Word to convict them.  That is His job, not yours.  You just quietly pass the blood dishes by at the fellowships and thank God for the food you have.  Don’t compromise your position, but don’t become proud or arrogant because God revealed something to you that others older in the faith have not yet comprehended.  Thank God for the blessing of wisdom and discernment and ask for more of it as you continue to grow. 
 
Keep studying the Word, my Brother!   May you grow strong in wisdom and grace!!!  Peace be unto you!!
 
 

Scars

June 19, 2012


As I was trimming the fuzzy remnants of hair on the crown of my bald head I noticed the scar from the head injury I received in the car accident that killed my Dad in 1959. The gash was deep enough that they told my Mom that had it gone another half inch it would have killed me. For many years barometric changes would cause me some pain like a headache and the scar was noticeable enough even when I had hair for people to ask me how I got it. Answering that was painful as it made me remember that day and the pain I felt for years over the loss of my Dad.

Today, nearly 53 years later it is rather faded and I have to point to it if I am discussing the accident with someone as part of my testimony. It is easy for me to see since I experienced the cause of it. I guess you could say it was an upfront and personal experience, yet I seldom think of it or really pay any attention to it . Some folks who see it think I was kicked by a horse since it is curved. They never did figure out what actually caused the injury, but whatever it was does not matter. Its impact was great and remains with me until this day.

As I write this I am in the back of my mind reliving that day and though it still brings some sadness the pain is not as intense and I am at peace with it. Oh, that so many of our emotional and spiritual scars would fade as easy and the memories more quickly tolerable. Because of unkind people and other circumstances I felt the emotional pain of that day long after the physical scar no longer hurt or was as noticeable to me or others.

My scar now reminds me that I am here for a reason as I have been close to death several times that I know of since that day and only God knows how many other times I have come close to death unaware that I was close. Obviously, I needed the grace of life to learn some lessons or repeat some that I have failed in hopes that I might pass the next time around.

I might even have some service to God that I have yet to perform and where I will see more of His glory and power than I have yet seen. I am grateful to be here for my wife, children and seven grandchildren. My son waited so long to marry and have a child that I did not think I would be here to see them if he ever had any and so far I am blessed to see Trinity Alexa. Since they are planning on trying to conceive again in October, I may get to see my eighth and most likely last grandchild. I might even make it to see a great grandchild since the oldest grandchild is eighteen. Who knows?

My scar which could have been on my dead body is a reminder to praise the One who allowed me to live this long so it is not a bad thing anymore. It is a mark of grace. That grace has also healed the emotional and spiritual wounds from that time.

Some folks have physical scars from saving people from a fire and others from wounds sustained in combat. These are marks of honor and though they may still hurt and may mar what some might call a handsome or beautiful visage by man’s standard of beauty, they are marks of true beauty for they came from showing love for a fellow human and country. They are badges of honor and all who see them should love the person bearing those scars and thank them even if it was not their loved one that was saved or a soldier in their family. Those scars and the acts that caused them benefit the whole of mankind for love is always in short supply. Seeing the results of love in action should be a joy to all and their appreciation for such acts should cause them to reach out in loving gratitude.

Some reading this may have scars that came not from honorable or loving actions but rather from acts of cruelty and hatred. You may have wondered what you have done to bear such pain and have such horrendous physical, emotional and spiritual scars. I say unto you, nothing. We live in a terribly wicked world where wicked men will only get worse and worse as we get to the end of the age.

Such evil exists because of the fallen nature of man and because satan and his minions exist to only cause murder and mayhem in this world. The very best of us can perform the most despicable acts and even be shocked by them for few think they could be capable of such things. This is how our heart which is desperately wicked deceives us.

Gal 6:17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
KJV

Paul was despitefully used and abused when all he was doing was preaching the Gospel of truth and freedom to people. Not only him, but all the Apostles were doing good things and all of them were ultimately killed by wicked people. Paul especially suffered having being whipped nearly to death, beaten and stoned at other times as well as being slandered.

He could have let all of that totally defeat him and though at times the pressures seemed as though they would kill him and his companions he turned to the God of all comfort who healed the pain and turned the scars into badges of glory and honor. For indeed, Christ also suffered innocently and had marks or scars upon Him.

Many Christians throughout the ages and even in this day are despised, abused, scarred and even killed. Yet, if you read the testimonies of those saints in their autobiographies or read about them in books like Foxes Book of Martyrs they bore the pain and gloried in their sufferings and scars. Some even embraced the instruments of their death for they counted it a joy to die for Christ. Many went to death singing and praising God as the lions leaped upon them or the flames consumed them.

Though God can and does heal many scars there some scars that will last for eternity.

Luke 24:36-40

36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. KJV

Christ appears to His disciples, soon to be apostles, in His glorified body and yet the scars remained. Thomas would not believe unless he saw them, but the scars were not kept for Thomas, but rather as a testimony throughout eternity. They are a testimony of His grace showing that He could righteously show mercy on sinners for justice had been carried out on the Cross. Sin had been paid for though the love of the Trinity. Each had a part in the redemption of man. Justice and love merged and triumphed on the instrument that created those scars and defeated all of God’s and our enemies! Glory to His name!!!!

Believers, do you have scars from sins past or even present? Bring them to your Lord and Savior. He can heal the pain and turn the scars of shame into a badge of mercy that you can share with others as you tell them how you got your scars and how you were healed of the pain.

Skeptic? Unbeliever? I know you have scars and pain for it is the lot of a fallen race. You can deny the cause, but you cannot deny the scars. Why do you fight it? There is nothing in this world that makes more sense than the Gospel. We see the proof of it every day. Despite our education, prosperity and so-called civilization man is worse off than ever since we can now literally blow the earth to pieces and barbarity is rampant around the world.

Evolution offers no real answers and only offers a cold lifeless universe at the end after suffering millenniums of pain and chaos. God has given us plenty of fingerprints for our intellect but not enough to preclude the need for faith or trust. That is where we went wrong in the beginning and still go wrong today. He only asked Adam and Eve to trust Him. In all His dealing with man it has been about trust. Why suffer the pain and bear the scars of no hope when hope, real hope is available? You can be saved and healed if you will but trust in His Word and the work of His Son.

Just as my head scar took a long time to fade and is yet somewhat visible some of your scars may take some time to be healed as you walk with Him and trust Him. Some pain may be healed instantly and the scars an immediate badge of glory. He handles each child and his/her pain differently for each child has different needs and potential, but in the end all will be healed and we shall stand completely conformed to His image in that day. O, that will be glory. Will you come, Brother and Sister to Him who will heal your pain and use your scars?

Potential Brother and Sister come and get the pain of sin healed by salvation and let Him work on the rest. Time is short. Why deal with the pain anymore? Maranatha!