May 7, 2014

May 15, 2014

Life Struggle

In “A Culprit Barely Pardoned” (Apr. 17, 2014), Clifford Goldstein puts
aside his intellectual, philosophical quotes and vocabulary to write a column
easily understood by lay readers. He states the truth that in following the
Truth, after years of study, prayer, Bible reading, and striving, there are
still flaws and reminders of sin and self.

A writer of another faith recently
stated that looking back over the years, he found he was confessing the same
sins. Goldstein finds himself in the same boat as Paul and the rest of us,
struggling with vexing reminders of our sinful nature. As he concludes, only in
Christ can we be redeemed and set free. Only by the grace of God will any of us
enter the city of God.

I was deeply touched by Goldstein’s

– Marilyn Petersen
Silver Spring,

Goldstein spoke for many of us regarding our honest feelings in his article “A
Culprit Barely Pardoned.” To find oneself still struggling after years of
knowing the blessed Savior can at times be quite disheartening. I am encouraged,
however, when I read how the Lord treated the Bible characters with all their
faults: not casting them off but enabling them through His grace to be
overcomers, willing, when necessary, even to die for their Lord.

I identify with Goldstein’s words because
they resonate with my own experience. He has to remember that God is using him
to encourage those of us who join him in this struggle. My hope, along with
Goldstein, is in Jesus Who has promised that when the dust settles He will at
last present us faultless before His throne with exceeding joy and gladness.

So by His grace I will keep looking to Jesus,
so He can finish however He chooses this work He has begun in me; and all the
time still count me righteous through His precious, atoning blood shed at

Thanks for the encouragement. We’re in this

–Ken Cartwright
Lubbock, Texas

Who Can Be

The article “Everything?” by Jorge Arevalo
(Apr. 10, 2014) is typical of the good old fashioned read about the virtues of
heaven that favors the poor over the rich. The author claims: “Material
possessions give nobody access to anything beyond the grave.”

Could he have
misspoken? Of course, there is nothing material about heaven; but material
things are given on earth to help people build God’s kingdom in their hearts; a
kingdom that foreshadows His kingdom of love in heaven. This article sends a wrong
message to people the church has to attract today: the rich and influential who
could help speed up the work of taking the gospel to all the earth.

Mark did not
identify the man in the parable (Mark 10:17), but Luke refers to him as a ruler
(Luke 18:18), and Matthew says he was young (Matt. 19:20). When he asked, “What
must I do to inherit eternal life” (Mark 10:17), Jesus knew at once that in his
heart the man was sincere.

“Jesus looked
at him and loved him” (verse 21). Mark saw unspoken love in the way Jesus looked
at the man.

But hearing
Jesus’ response the man went away. Apparently he misunderstood Jesus’ words, as
did Jesus’ disciples and many others, for he went away sad.

Jesus spoke to His followers in parables: “Children, how hard it is to enter
the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (verses 24, 25).

Fueled by subtle
articles such as Arevalo’s, this parable gives the notion that the poor have a
better right of passage than the rich when it comes to salvation. For Jesus
also said, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matt. 26:11). In fact, the
poor are now a majority in the church. Could this majority be the result of
refined messages and discussions that cause misunderstanding?

Jesus’ parable
is not meant to alienate the wealthy. It is to point the rich to a better
treasure that is found in heaven.

This parable
is neither Jesus’ answer to the question, “What must I do to have eternal
life?” Jesus’ answer to sell everything is a test of faith. Surely, to the same
question, Jesus would have given different answers to different people under
different circumstance. If one passes the test, Jesus will say, “Then come, follow
me” (Mark 10:21).

Jesus is clear
when He says, “How hard it is to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:23). That
means it is hard for everyone. But it also says, “All things are possible with
God” (verse 27).

So, why not
say so and avoid any other notion. That’s what I don’t get.

– Richard