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  • From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove

What does God say about starving to death?

The Bible tells us about two kinds of starvation, one caused by the lack of food absorbed by the body, Matt 25:35, “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:” and the other from the lack of spiritual food absorbed by the soul, Matt 4:4, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” It is easy to understand that the physical body needs food, and we have all seen pictures of starving children. However, recognizing a soul nearing death from a lack of God’s Word requires a more reasoned and thoughtful investigation.

When Jesus said, Matt 4:4, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” He was echoing what Moses learned directly from God, Deut 8:3, “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” God is telling us our spiritual life needs the food of His Word as much as our bodies need the food of this world. Without the food of His Word, our souls starve, and our chance of having a relationship with Him withers. However, if we seek Him, by studying His Word, we will have all we need of both kinds of food, Matt 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

The lack of these two very different kinds of food cause two very different kinds of death.

The first death is physical, and the minute we are born our cells begin dying, until one day, we are unable to replace those dying cells and we succumb to the death of our physical bodies, Heb 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

Some of us will face a second death, which is spiritual, after the judgment. Those facing this second death will have chosen not to accept God’s offer of salvation and therefore, will not be exempt from this second death. We can witness signs of those starving, some by the way they avoid God and anything that refers to Him, some by their willingness to attack all symbols of Christ, and others by their random acts of evil. We hear their screams, witness their depression, and feel their anger as it erupts in their daily lives. The only food that can prevent this kind of starvation is the very food they refuse to eat, His Word.

Those who do choose to accept God’s offer will be born again, not physically, but spiritually and will enter the kingdom of God, Jn 3:5-6, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” This rebirthing process gently leads us to eventually abandon the non-spiritual ways established at our first birth, 1 Pet 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” and Rom 6:6, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Reasoning with His Word leads us to accept Jesus as our Savior and sets our transformation into motion. A transformation that is demonstrated by our unwillingness to accept sin in our lives; no longer do we ignore the consequences of our sinning. Instead, we sin and respond by repenting. It is the repenting that reduces the amount of sin in our lives until one day it is gone. Jesus died on the cross for those of us who willingly choose to be reborn, and we will not face the second death, Rev 2:11, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”

This transformation process is defined by change, 2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Once we are reborn, our tastes begin to change. The old things we enjoyed doing seem somehow strange and meaningless. Our old friends notice this change, 1 Pet 4:4, “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:” One by one, we stop doing those old things and begin doing the spiritual things we learn about in His Word. This leads us to store up treasures in heaven, Matt 6:20, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” Over time, we move closer and closer to perfection, Matt 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Jesus will complete this transformation process when He returns, 1 Cor 15:51-53, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

Jn 21:15-17, “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” We know this is important because Jesus asks it three times! We also know that Jesus wants us to feed our children, as well as other adults, because He asked Peter to feed both the lambs and the sheep, Deut 6:7, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Notice, God is not asking us to go to church once a week and be satisfied.

Emanuel Swedenborg understood God’s calling, “To be spiritually thirsty means longing for truth with genuine desire.” God is asking us to diligently feed our children daily and to live His truth, as examples for our children. This is how we prevent our spiritual starvation and the spiritual starvation of our children. Of course, finding a church family will provide support and will make this transformation easier. A church family will also provide additional shelter from hell, and it’s followers, Matt 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Jesus is the cornerstone of this church, and He calls each of us to join Him, as he builds it, Eph 2:20, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”

It is this church, the eternal family, which Jesus calls us to. It is not a building or an organization; it is a family, the perfect family. It is love that binds this family; it is love that drives every individual to serve others. This is not physical love; it is spiritual love. We are drawn to it because this great God who created us loves us unconditionally, Eph 2:4-5, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” yes, a love so unconditional that He completed His sacrifice before we accepted Him as our Savior. It is a love that is never selfish, but rather puts others first, 1 Cor 13:5b, “seeketh not her own” this is the kind of love that feeds our souls, which keeps us from spiritual starvation and it could only come from God.

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