Chapter 7 - Choices From The Heart



Chapter Seven

Choices From The Heart



— Deuteronomy 30:19 —

“I call Heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” NKJV


“I call Heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”  KJV


“I call Heaven and earth to witness against you that today I have set before you life or death, blessing or curse.  Oh, that you would choose life; that you and your children might live! ”  LIV


“This day I call Heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”  NIV


“Today, I call Heaven and earth to witness against you: I am offering you life or death, blessing or curse.  Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live.”  NJB


“I call Heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.”  NRSV


“I call on Heaven and earth as witnesses today that I have offered you life or death, blessings or curses.  Choose life so that you and your descendants will live.”  GW

 Your new life walking with God started at the very moment you gave God your heart.  It was a huge CHOICE that you made directly from your heart.  This should have been a point of total surrender to God’s authority that you eventually came to in life.  You may have reached that decision of your heart either through a great struggle or tragedy in your life or through simply a gift of understanding that God gave you.  For me, personally, it was through the gift of understanding that God gave me on one particular day after 32 years of wandering around spiritually in life.  Admittedly, it was a low point in my life and my heart was fully open to His Spirit.  It was an epiphany that I will never forget.


 If you have not reached the point of total [100%] surrender to God, it is unlikely that you are truly walking with God.  You may, instead, possess a certain amount of head knowledge of God that hasn’t moved down to your heart.  God has instructed us through the teachings of Jesus that: “You will know them by their fruits.”  This “knowing them” would also include the choices you make in life.  The choices we make in life are precursors to the blessings or cursings we receive in life.  Choices are themselves a fruit.


Those who walk with God are slaves unto righteousness and make choices FOR GOD throughout each day.  They also live in the present moment understanding the teachings of Jesus that we are not meant to live with worries about tomorrow, next week, month, year, etc.  Do you get the picture on not worrying that Jesus provided for us?  Each day is comprised of righteous choices for God.  A righteous day leads to righteous weeks, which leads to righteous months, years and a lifetime of service to God.  


For now, I will assume that since you call yourself a Christian, that you have made a choice from the heart that is a 100% surrender to God.  If so, it means you have chosen life and blessings over death and curses as God has asked us to do.  You have made the first choice of the rest of your life.


Choose Life & Blessings Over Death & Curses!


 For purposes of illustrating how much the various Bible translations actually agree, God instructed me to show you the above seven translations of Deuteronomy 30:19.  

I could, however, have provided a lengthy list of 20 or more Bible translations and you would find that they are all in agreement on this subject matter.  With few exceptions, all the Bible translations are in agreement and I will state that I believe this to be on 99% of the text.  Excluding some nuances as illustrated in the last chapter, you can trust in your Bible.  When you walk with God, His Spirit will also sort out and correct these nuances.


But Edward, you say: “Give me a break.  You are quoting from the Old Testament.  Isn’t it true that the Old Testament no longer matters?”  You are certainly right about the Old Testament citation.  However, if you have a heart for God, you understand that God has not changed as a result of Jesus.  That is truly the stuff of Christian mythology.  Consider the following verse from the book of the Prophet Malachi in which God speaks for Himself .


“For I am the Lord , I do not change!”  Malachi 3:6


This verse in Malachi is not a quotation from the Lord Jesus Christ; it is a quotation directly from God Almighty.  If God has not changed, you need to listen to what God says.  Our Bible teaches us in Hebrews 13:8 that: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  Therefore, you need to listen to Jesus as well.


I am constantly reminded of many preachers who teach that you can ignore the Old Testament and the Four Gospels.  Their reasoning is that Paul provided you with a higher teaching from God; a teaching of “total freedom” through grace.  Therefore, we should just live within the Epistles of Apostle Paul.  However, the sheer arrogance of those preachers would have you ignore the Ten Commandments, the other words of God and the teachings of Christ that God provided.  While it is true that certain aspects of the law have changed, I can tell you that you had better listen to the words of both God Almighty and His only begotten human Son, Jesus Christ.  


Apostle Paul’s words do not trump the words of God Almighty and Jesus Christ!  If your preacher or teacher cannot explain Apostle Paul without ignoring the plain words of God Almighty and Jesus Christ, then they are teaching you apostasy.  Listen to the words of Christ to the church at Ephesus in the Book of Revelation 2:6 “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”  God told Christ to compliment the church because they hated what the Nicolaitans were doing.  In contrast, God told Christ to criticize the church at Pergamos for having Nicolaitans within their congregation [Rev 2:15].


Who “hated” the Nicolaitans?  God Almighty and His Son Jesus Christ!  Who were these Nicolaitans?   Today’s Dictionary of The Bible 1 , 1982, Bethany House Publishers, provides the following information:


Nicolaitans         “The church at Ephesus (Rev. 2:6) is commended for hating the ‘deeds’ of the Nicolaitans, and the church of Pergamos is blamed for having them who hold their ‘doctrines’ (15).  They were seemingly a class of professing Christians, who tried to introduce into the church a false freedom or licentiousness, thus abusing Paul’s doctrine of grace (compare 2 Peter 2:15, 16, 19), and were probably identical with those who held the doctrine of Baalam (Rev. 2:14).”


Licentious         “Pursuing desires aggressively and selfishly, unchecked by morality, especially in sexual matters.”   Microsoft Word 2001 Dictionary 2


Listen to the words of Apostle Peter as he describes these types of people [the Nicolaitans who were licentious like Baalam] and then carefully consider the words of your own pastor or teacher.


“[14] Having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls.  They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.  They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.  These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.  For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.


[19] While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.  For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.   For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.  But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’ ”

 2 Peter 2:14-22


So your pastor [teacher] says you have “total freedom?”  From whom or what do you have such freedom?  Those who are free in Christ Jesus are “free indeed.”  Free to love God with 100% of their hearts and to do all that He requires of them.  Those free through Christ have their eyes on eternal life and not on licentiousness [sexual desires unchecked by morality] or on lewdness [an excessive preoccupation with sex that leads to lustful, obscene and indecent behavior] or on lasciviousness [sexually enticing behavior].


“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”  John 8:36


John makes it clear that “real believers” are free from sin.  Phrased in another way, John means: “We are free from the control of our flesh and the sinful behavior that results from a lack of morality because the Spirit of God resides inside of us and we are no longer a captive of this world.”  One can’t help but notice the descriptive words “A dog returns to his own vomit, and, a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”  I am a witness for God to these times in which Christians do return to their lives of sin after having been first made free of those sins by Christ Jesus.  


Peter aptly describes the strategy of the Nicolaitans who seek to destroy God’s people and take them away from eternal life.  These so-called Christians do not seek to openly say: “We are part of the devil’s crowd and we would like you to join us.”  No, theirs is a work of deception and God’s Word makes it clear that in the last days “a strong deception” will occur that threatens even the elect of God.  The prophecy that began this book indicated that the people perished because they were not “lovers of the truth.”  Once again, the truth for your soul lies within the words of God and of His Son Jesus.  If you cannot stomach reading the entire Bible, simply obtain a red letter Bible and read the words of Christ.  For months, God told me: “It is all in the words of Jesus Christ, My Son, as I gave Jesus to speak.”  Travel through the words of Christ and stay focused on those words and you will find eternal life.  You will not find life in the teachings of the Nicolaitans [those who pervert of Paul’s words].  You will only find death.


Now, I am certainly not here to tell you to obey the various laws on eating, sanitation, etc.  However, you ignore those laws at your own risk.  Likewise, you would not obey the laws on animal sacrifices for God.  To do so makes a mockery of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross.  


So, I agree that the law has been modified somewhat with Christ.  However, Jesus also “enhanced” the Ten Commandments with additional instructions [for our hearts] from God Almighty concerning murder, adultery and other subjects.


If you find yourself stuck in Paul’s teachings and being advised to ignore the words of God Almighty [Ten Commandments, etc.] and the words of Jesus Christ [teachings on eternal life, righteousness, etc.], it is time to leave and leave fast.  You are not in a congregation of God.  You are in the modern congregation of the Nicolaitans whom God and Christ hate.  You are among those whom Jesus will say: “I never knew you.”  In short, you have made a wrong choice from the heart.  Change fellowships.


Now let’s go back to Deuteronomy 30:19 and see the entire context of God’s instructions to His people to “choose.”  While this is directed at the Israelites, I tell you that you need to take these instructions to heart if you value your eternal life.  I will use the words of the New Jerusalem Bible starting at Deuteronomy 30 verse 8 and ending at verse 20.  Take heed.


“[8] And once again you will obey the voice of Yahweh your God and you will put all His commandments into practice, which I am laying down for you today.  Yahweh your God will make you prosper in all your labours, in the offspring of your body, in the yield of your cattle and in the yield of your soil.  For once again Yahweh will delight in your prosperity as He used to take delight in the prosperity of your ancestors, if you obey the voice of Yahweh your God, by keeping His commandments and decrees written in the book of this Law, and if you return to Yahweh your God with all your heart and soul.”


“[11] For this Law which I am laying down for you today is neither obscure for you nor beyond your reach.  It is not in Heaven, so that you need to wonder, ‘Who will go up to Heaven for us and bring it down to us, so that we can hear and practice it?’  Nor is it beyond the seas, so that you need to wonder, ‘Who will cross the seas for us and bring it back to us, so that we can hear and practice it?’  No, the word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to put into practice.”   [In your heart to put into practice!]


“[15] Look, today I am offering you life and prosperity, death and disaster.  If you obey the commandments of Yahweh your God, which I am laying down for you today, if you love Yahweh your God and follow His ways, if you keep His commandments, His laws and His customs, you will live and grow numerous, and Yahweh your God will bless you in the country which you are about to enter and make your own.  But if your heart turns away, if you refuse to listen, if you let yourself be drawn into worshipping other gods and serving them, I tell you today, you will most certainly perish; you will not live for long in the country which you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.”


“[19] Today, I call Heaven and earth to witness against you: I am offering you life or death, blessing or curse.  Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live, in the love of Yahweh your God, obeying His voice, holding fast to Him ; for in this your life consists, and on this depends the length of time that you stay in the country which Yahweh swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He would give them.”  Deuteronomy 30:8-20 NJB


God’s [Yahweh’s] message was clear to His people thousands of years ago.  Likewise, it is equally clear today.  No matter how many teachers in Christianity tell you that your sin does not matter to God anymore, God’s Word tells you differently.  You choose whom you will serve!


“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord , choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord .”

Joshua 24:15


“Choose For Yourself Whom You Will Serve!”


The first choice of your heart is to give it to God.  The second choice of your heart is to obey God.  The third choice of your heart is to obey Jesus Christ.  The fourth choice of your heart is to fellowship in a house of God that honors All of God’s Holy Word.  The fifth choice of your heart is to not accept any teachings that discount, alter or dismiss any of the teachings of God or Jesus Christ.  The sixth choice of your heart is to fellowship with friends who are also righteous.  These choices move you closer to God and farther away from Satan.  When you make righteous choices from your heart, you move closer to God.  When you make sinful choices from your heart, you move closer to Satan.

“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.”  Proverbs 12:26


 Each day we are faced with tens or even hundreds of choices.  These choices are made either consciously or subconsciously [mental auto pilot].  Some are big choices with a dramatic impact on our earthly life.  Some are small choices with a minor impact on our earthly life.  Some of our choices have a spiritual element in them that impacts our future eternal life.  Our choices can have a big impact in Heaven.  Remember, when a sinner repents “there is joy in Heaven” [Luke 15:7].  While any particular sin may have little consequence on earth, it can have a huge impact in Heaven as nothing we do is hidden from God.  Each choice we make in our life can be thought of as a crossroads in which we have the opportunity to move closer to God with our decision.  Likewise, the wrong decision moves us away from God.


        Your ability to make an informed decision for God is connected to your knowledge of the Bible and where your heart is with God.  When you really love someone, you choose to make decisions that honor him or her.  This is true of your spouse and it is true of God and His Son Jesus Christ.  The graphic below is the basic choice diagram and its implications to move us closer to God or closer to Satan.


Click link at bottom of page to see images in this chapter


Our Choices Move Us Closer to God or Satan!



        The problem with the perverted grace doctrine of the Nicolaitans is that it ignores the two fundamental spiritual forces of God when it comes to choices.  The fundamental forces are simple and straightforward and involve only two considerations.  Those two considerations are righteousness and sin, which is the opposite of righteousness.  Righteousness moves us closer to God and sin moves us closer to Satan.  No matter what you might think of God’s grace, it simply does not condone sin.  Furthermore, Paul’s teachings do not condone sin.  To twist the Apostle Paul’s grace teachings into the freedom to sin [licentiousness] is not only apostasy it is an utter abomination unto God.  The two fundamental spiritual forces involving our choices can be viewed as shown in the graphic below.



Click link at bottom of page to see images in this chapter


Our Choices Lead Us Into Heaven or Hell


 Life is really like the proverbial angel sitting on our “right” shoulder and whispering in our “right” ear to do good, while on the left shoulder the devil sits and whispers in that ear to do evil.  Which voice do you listen to?  While the metaphor seems trite in many respects, it is a very accurate depiction of the two very fundamental spiritual forces involved in each one of our choices.  Good and evil, which is another way of saying righteousness and sin.  When you engage in righteous choices, your spirit is edified [built up towards God].  When you engage in sinful choices, your spirit is defiled [corrupted and ruined, torn down towards Satan].  How else are you defiled?


Jesus said: “You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do!”  Mark 7:15 NLT


Jesus said: “It is the thought-life that defiles you.  For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.  All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God.”  Mark 7:20-23 NLT


Note that Jesus clearly states theft is a vile thing that originates within a person’s heart out of their evil thoughts.  That a theft thought [and the others] defiles the person and makes them unacceptable to God.  In chapter 16, when I explain the theft of Solid Rock Church, I will discuss why any pastor that steals a church will find no home with God.  A pastor who steals a church from God, its denomination, and its congregation operates very deep on Satan’s turf and has no fellowship with God.  Such a pastor and all who support and work with him in the theft are key players on Satan’s team working evil on this earth while pretending to be with God.  Christians are not to steal [Eph 4:28] and the thief is excluded from Heaven [Matt. 6:20].  Those who steal churches are ignorant of the two basic spiritual forces in play on this earth, which I explained earlier.  God is not real to their hearts.


Your Choices Either Edify Or Defile Your Life!


So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding?  Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.  These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”  Matthew 15:16-20 NKJV


 At any given moment [choice], we are either operating on God’s turf or on Satan’s turf.  When we make a godly choice, we aim towards Heaven.  When we engage in sin, we aim towards Hell.  Apostle James reminds us in James 3:2 that we are all prone to stumble [sin].  Anyone who has ever taught others is aware of the propensity of the tongue to go wildly astray seemingly on its own accord.  Only your heart can keep the tongue in check because that is where evil thoughts originate.  The truth squad I talked about in the last chapter did not understand that fact in either Jesus’ or in James’ teachings.  You will not be perfect; but you can certainly make righteous choices from your heart, especially if your heart walks with God Almighty.


“For we all stumble in many things.  If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.”  James 3:2 NKJV


“We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way.”

  James 3:2 NLT


 Imagine for a moment that you are now in the process of making a choice.  It doesn’t matter what the choice is or whether it is big or small. Take a look back at the two preceding graphics.  Your choice, whatever it is, will lead you in one of two separate and opposite directions.  You will either move closer to God [going up] with a righteous choice or you will move closer to Satan [going down] with a choice to sin.  



That quiet inner voice you hear is God telling you what to do.  To do what is righteous, you need to start listening to it [God].  IF that soft voice lines up with biblical teachings, this will be God’s way of testifying to your spirit that it is indeed He who speaks to you.  IF that soft voice runs counter to the word of God, this will be God’s way of testifying to your spirit that it is Satan whom you are listening to.  Take heed.  The truth is in God’s Word.


 Many Christians have never graduated into the basics of righteousness and ultimately this could pose a problem for their eternal life.  The writer of Hebrews uses the metaphor of “babies on milk unskilled in righteousness.”


“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. [13] For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. [14] But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.  [6:1] Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, [2] of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. [3] And this we will do if God permits. [4] For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, [5] and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, [6] if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put him to an open shame.”  Hebrews 5:12-6:6


 If you are unskilled in righteousness, you may not have graduated into the area of faith that places you above the minimum righteousness criteria that Jesus taught.  You’re not meant to live in sin.  You are expected to graduate into righteousness.

 Once you understand each choice you make results in a directional movement towards either God or Satan, you will start to consciously ensure that the choices you make are righteous choices made from your heart.  This is when you demonstrate spiritual maturity to God.  You are then on your way to eternal life living on the level where you are a “partaker of the Holy Spirit ‘tasting’ the good word of God and the powers of the age to come.”


 Warning .  If you graduate to this level of spiritual maturity and you fall away [back to willful sin], it is then impossible to renew you once again to repentance.  Why?  It’s because “you’ve crucified for yourself the Son of God and put him to an open shame.”  Rejection of righteousness at that level of spiritual maturity makes a mockery of Christ’s sacrifice and disrespects God.  Such people knew God intimately, but then blew Him off!  This issue does not apply to the typical backslider and those who worship and pray to Jesus Christ.  Neither of these groups is intimate with God operating at that level of spiritual maturity.  They can repent and rise to God’s righteousness.  However, the warning does apply to a lot of evil Christians in society.


You Need To Make Righteous Choices!



Click link at bottom of page to see images in this chapter


A Choice From The Heart For God


 From an illustrative point of view, a choice from the heart for God is a decision to move up and closer to God.  A pattern of choices for God looks like the graphic below.  Likewise, a choice from the heart for Satan and a pattern of choices for Satan look like the two following graphics.



Click link at bottom of page to see images in this chapter



A Pattern Of Choices For God





Click link at bottom of page to see images in this chapter



A Choice From The Heart For Satan






A Pattern Of Choices For Satan



Jesus makes it clear that our mouth is driven by what is in our heart and the evil thoughts that originates within it.  Therefore, you need to make sure it is God’s Spirit that resides in your heart along with the spirit of Christ.  They will enable you to consistently make righteous choices from the heart.


“At that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”  John 14:20


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 17:23




If you are a real believer, God’s Spirit resides inside of you and you listen to it.  If you are a real believer in Jesus Christ, the spirit of Christ also resides inside of you and you listen to it.  Ask yourself this question.  If God and Christ were resident inside of your heart, would they help you make sinful choices from the heart?  The answer is no.  If you find it easy to make sinful choices from the heart, it is a sign that Satan’s spirit is within you.  You don’t need to be an intellectual genius to figure this out.


At any given moment [of choice], you are not just going up towards God or down towards Satan.  You are also simultaneously operating on either God’s turf or Satan’s turf.  Therefore, you need to understand the two spiritual turfs we operate on as well as those two spiritual forces we have at our disposal to use as tools.  The two turfs are shown in this graphic.



The Two Turfs Of Life



While the above graphic shows both turfs combined, the graphic below shows God’s turf and various degrees or percentages of righteousness.  Remember that righteousness alone will not be good enough to enter eternal life unless it exceeds the minimum criteria set down by God.  The good works of those whom Jesus told: “I never knew you” was evidence of this fact. When you exceed the minimum righteousness criteria, you walk with God in the area of faith and you are far away from sin.  I will define the area of faith as the range between 51% and 99% righteousness; but only God knows the actual percentages.  If God defined faith at the 80% or higher level in the illustration below, what would it mean in your life?


The second turf is illustrated below and it belongs to Satan.

Click link at bottom of page to see images in this chapter




Satan’s turf is the area of unchecked morality and sin.  One of Satan’s big deceptions in Christianity today is a twisted doctrine on God’s grace.  The message is one of licentiousness by those who pervert Apostle Paul’s teachings.   It is a similar work of Baalam and the Nicolaitans.  Yet, for God Almighty, the characteristics of those who operate on Satan’s turf are clearly defined by characteristics of sin, evil, disobedience, iniquity, lawlessness, wickedness and unrighteousness.  Anyone who knowingly does what is wrong commits sin in the eyes of God.  Those who operate on Satan’s turf at the level of stealing a church are down at the 90% unrighteousness level.  They are very close to Satan and are active members of an evil team on this earth.  Think your pastor is a righteous man?  Does he pervert the word of God and preach man-made doctrines?


You need to be aware that from time immemorial, Satan has had his own ministers [and others] inside the church of God to deceive even those that are the elect of God.  Are you a lover of the truth?  If not, how will you know if you are being deceived by the very pastor who smiles at you and cordially greets you prior to and after your church gatherings?  Paul makes it clear that Satan’s ministers will appear under a false veil of righteousness.  You need to look behind the smiles and greetings and into their teachings!


“Therefore it is no great thing if his [Satan’s] ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”  2 Cor. 11:15


“Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

  Romans 1:32


“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” John 7:24



Righteous Judgments Come From The Heart!



“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”  1 Peter 3:12


“If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him .”  1 John 2:29


“Little children, let no one deceive you.  He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as he [Jesus] is righteous.”

1 John 3:7


Practicing Righteousness Is A Choice Of The Heart!


The Bible makes it clear that there is a narrow path of life that leads to eternal life and a wide path of life that leads to destruction.  We are told by Jesus to enter by the narrow gate.


“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14


If you have not studied the words of Jesus in Matthew 7, this would be a good time to stop reading here and go to your Bible and check it out.  After the admonishment to enter by the narrow gate, Jesus points out the deception, which will occur within the church.  Jesus says: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing [with angelic smiles and cordial greetings], but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.  You will know them by their fruits.”>


I spent four years inside of a Christian cult.  During those years, I always walked with God.  While the pastor ranted his man made doctrines, I would study the Word.  This pastor was clever to present himself as a righteous man of God.  However, his teachings were off in very subtle ways.



The pastor’s appearance was angelic and his smile captivating. However, if anyone confronted him about apostasy, we never saw him or her again from that moment in time.  The pastor expelled them from the church.  By this method, he slowly eliminated the righteous of God out of the church.  Today, it is left with only those ignorant of God’s Word.  Indeed, it is filled with those who travel the wide path, which leads to destruction [illustrated in the graphic below].  Please note that the wide path defined below contains 50% righteousness and 50% unrighteousness.  The people who travel this path operate on both God’s turf and Satan’s turf.  They believe that their sin makes no difference since they do good works.  They never exceed the minimum righteousness requirement; they never operate in the area of faith in God.



Click link at bottom of page to see images in this chapter


The Wide Path Leads To Destruction


Yes, the pastor I am talking about was a perverter of God’s Holy Word.  He was, in essence, a modern day Nicolaitan and minister of Baalam.  He preached righteousness, but practiced unrighteousness.  The pastor fulfilled the words of Jesus in Matthew.


“Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.  For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”

Matthew 23:3-4


Getting your heart straight gets your mouth straight for God and reduces your stumbling.  It also prevents you from being a perverter of God’s Holy Word.  When your heart and mouth are straight, you will NOT ignore the clear words of God Almighty and His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.  You have the heart of an apostle and their words cannot be denied.  You understand the truth concerning any man made alteration of the Word.


“Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”  Deut. 12:32


“If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”  Rev. 22:18-19


Did God Almighty lie when He said to “be careful to observe it?”  That is the effect of a lot of Christian teachings today.  God has not changed.  The explanation for our collective ignorance in Christianity today lies in the area of our ignorance of God’s Word and our collective unwillingness to obey.  Rather than learn and become accountable to God, Christians walk the wide path to destruction content with the teachings of the Nicolaitans.




Still, there is another path of life.  It is the narrow way described by Jesus and it is shown in the graphic below.  God’s people understand that they “cannot [willfully] sin” as Apostle John has taught.  They work aggressively to always be righteous people.  They operate 100% above the minimum righteousness standard in the area of faith with God.  They are far from sin and they reject sin in every choice they make.  They reject the opportunity to sin regardless if anyone will know about it because they realize it cannot be hidden from God.


Click link at bottom of page to see images in this chapter


The Narrow Path Leads To Eternal Life



God’s people cannot be perfect; but they can surely try from a heart filled with God’s Spirit.  When they stumble and find themselves in a sinful situation, regardless of the cause, they immediately repent with specifics to a forgiving and loving God.  They keep a short list of their sins with God.


“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9


“Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always keep your conscience clear.  For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.”  1 Tim. 1:19 NLT

Click link at bottom of page to see images in this chapter


Non-Perfect Narrow Walk Pattern


It can certainly feel like we go up and down in life.  Every time we make a negative or sinful life choice, we move down towards Satan.  Every time we make a positive or righteous choice, we move up towards God.  The above illustration shows how we can walk a non-perfect narrow walk with God.  First, we have to enter in by the narrow gate [Jesus Christ’s spirit].


The narrow gate [Jesus] leads you into the narrow way [righteousness] and this is the realm of faith located above the minimum righteousness requirement [wherever that line is defined by God].  We might bob up and down a little.  Every time we stumble and go negative, we repent with God immediately thereby keeping a very short list of sins with God.  Immediate repentance also keeps our conscious clear.  


In the preceding illustration, when we are very close to God, we are simply at the upper line [highest point] of the defined faith zone.  Think of it as being constantly in God’s presence and always making righteous choices from the heart.  The minimum righteousness line can then be thought of as a point of being very aware of the world that we live in and somewhat distant from God’s Holiness.


When we cross the minimum righteousness standard and move in a downward direction, we start to become friends with the world.  The Bible teaches us that if we are friends with the world, we are at enmity with God.  When we stay above the minimum righteousness line, we are Heaven bound and very righteousness aware.  We are no longer spiritual babies that wander around in the wide path of destruction as was previously defined.


At all times there exists a “thought-life” that comes from our heart as Jesus indicated in Mark 7:20-23.  Our thoughts are very important and God has provided further instructions to help guide our thought-life.


“And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter.  Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right.  Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  Philip. 4:8 NLT



Your Thoughts Are A Choice From The Heart!


Yes, Norman was right when he taught us all to be positive thinkers.  That is because he knew that our thoughts come from the heart.


You now understand that the TWO spiritual tools you will use in life are righteousness and sin.  You understand that the TWO spiritual turfs you will operate on are God’s and Satan’s.  And, you understand that you move in one direction or the other every time you make a choice from the heart.  What does a backslider look like on this graphic illustration?


Click link at bottom of page to see images in this chapter


Backslider Pattern


Of course, there are those people who give their hearts to God either with or without Jesus Christ and walk a righteous and narrow path with God the rest of their earthly lives.  Such a walk might appear as a series of steps going straight up to God.  However, it is also a narrow and straight line of righteous choices from the heart.  It moves them from evil and sin and takes them directly into the arms of a loving and waiting God.


True Repentance Pattern



“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  Rev. 7:10



Please note that salvation is simply NOT just through Jesus Christ like Christian mythology teaches.  Christianity has missed the message that God sent down with Jesus Christ.  It will be explained in this book so keep on reading.  Please note that in the above verse it is clear that salvation belongs to both God [who sits on the throne] and to the Lamb [Jesus Christ who is not sitting on the throne].  If this messes up Christian doctrine as taught by modern day Nicolaitans, you will have to make a choice from the heart to either believe God’s Holy Word or to believe the Nicolaitans.  Now consider the words of Jesus as the writer of Hebrews taught with some annotations.


“[24] Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears my [Jesus] word and believes in Him [God the Father ] who sent me [Jesus] has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into [eternal] life.”


Translation : If you listen to [and obey] Jesus and you believe in God the Father [who sent Jesus], you already have eternal life.  You also will not come into judgment and have passed from death to life.  Your belief in God is one out of righteousness.


“[25] Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the [spiritually] dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear [obey] will live.”


“[26] For as the Father [God] has life in Himself , so He has granted [Jesus] the Son to have life in himself, [27] and has given him [Jesus] authority to execute judgment also, because he [Jesus] is the Son of Man.”  John 5:24-27


Translation : Salvation or Life originates from God Almighty [the Father ].  However, God has also given Jesus Christ eternal life to distribute.  God has provided Christ with a power of attorney so that Christ may act on God’s behalf.  Do you get the picture that eternal life is in BOTH God [first] and Jesus Christ [second]?



All of our choices for God do not carry the same weight or the same distance.  The graphic below illustrates that some of our choices will carry us further towards God.  Likewise poor choices from the heart can carry us away from God further and faster than one could suspect.  Who or what controls the speed of your ascent or descent?  Your heart and the thought-life that is inside of it control it all.


Can your speed be altered by who you are and what knowledge you have?  Yes, it can.  As we get closer to God, His expectations of our behavior increase.  That is why God got mad at Moses for striking the rock and at David for counting his troops [war resources].  When you walk with God, He expects you to trust in Him and rely upon Him .  If you get as close to God as Moses and David did, you should know better than someone else that does not walk closely with God.


Clearly, each choice we make contains not only direction; but also distance and speed components.  Clearly, your heart is in the driver’s seat!


We CAN Make Bold Choices From The Heart



Taking real conviction into play along with the components of great speed and distance from choices of the heart, a different righteousness pattern might emerge in some individuals.  In the real conviction pattern shown below, the individual takes giant leaps for God and never looks back.  They know how to get close to God and that is where they plan to stay.  Such an individual is in the church of Philadelphia and will be raptured as explained by Christ.  In the presence of God is where I want to live 24/7 all the days remaining in my life.  Do you?


“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”  

Rev. 3:10


Real Conviction Pattern


The opposite of a narrow and righteous walk with God is a walk in the wide path leading to destruction that Jesus talked about.  Such a walk can be viewed as follows.  It is a walk on both turfs and it is not a walk dedicated to God.  You should understand that if you claim to belong to God, you have no business operating on Satan’s turf [in darkness].  Consider these words.


“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?  And what communion has light with darkness?”  2 Cor. 6:14


Click link at bottom of page to see images in this chapter


The Wide Path Leads To Destruction



Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world.  He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  John 8:12


“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me should not abide in darkness.”  John 12:46


God’s Word is simple and clear that we, as children of the light [God], have no business fellowshipping with children of the darkness [Satan].  To do so represents a lack of sincerity [a sincere heart] with God.  Those who walk the wide path leading to destruction operate with a mixture of righteous choices and unrighteous choices.  They flip-flop through life believing they can have it both ways and they operate in the “world’s view” of situational ethics [choices].  Whatever fits the current situation; that is what they do?  These people are simply unsaved no matter how much they can mouth the words that Jesus is their Lord and savior.


Their actions speak very loud to a holy God and their life represents a walk in the darkness.  They are lawless to use Jesus’ words when he said: “I never knew you.”


The above choice pattern is almost sinusoidal indicating those who walk this wide path could literally be 50/50 in their behavior.  Fifty percent of the time they think about being with God and the other fifty percent of the time they are actually with Satan.  Instead of situational dynamics, they need to practice righteousness dynamics.  That would carry them upward in an ever-increasing way far away from sin.  They lack an understanding that comes from a pure heart and are indeed double minded in their choices.


“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Matthew 5:8


“Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith”

1 Tim. 1:5




“Holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.”

1 Tim. 3:9


“Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  2 Tim. 2:22


“To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.”  Titus 1:15


Righteous Choices Come From A Pure Heart!


“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord ; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  James 1:6-8


There is No Double-Mindedness In A Pure Heart!


Today, many Christians walk this wide path of destruction.  They are double minded and have hearts that are not pure with God.  If they had a heart that was pure with God, they would not consider sin.  Instead, they would flee from sin knowing full well the impact it has on eternal life.  These people think that as long as they are “sometimes” righteous, that is all they need.  Their righteousness is like the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus talked about.  They might do good works but they fall short of the minimum righteousness standard.  It is Jesus who said: “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of Heaven.”  Matthew 5:20




Have you made the choice to believe God and His Son Jesus yet?  In other words, do you believe Jesus when he told you in clear and simple words that a minimum amount of righteousness was required to enter the kingdom of Heaven?  Or, do you dismiss this teaching in favor of one from the pulpit of your pastor that is user-friendlier?  Think about this, as your eternal life will depend upon your obedience to God and Christ.  It does not depend upon your obedience to your pastor, church doctrine, family, friends, work associates or social club.


The graphic illustration I have used also conforms to a zone view if that would help illustrate God’s Word.  Consider the following four zones.


Click link at bottom of page to see images in this chapter


God & Satan’s Turf Have Four Zones





In the above illustration, God’s turf is comprised of zones one and two.  Satan’s turf is comprised of zones three and four.  In the middle is the line that separates righteousness from unrighteousness [sin], good from evil.  Note the one-way arrows in zones one and four.  These arrows represent the one-way nature of these zones and people who are committed to either God or Satan with their hearts.  For those people, life’s choices only point in a single direction, towards God or towards Satan.


Zones two and three represent the wide path that leads to destruction.  These are the zones where people play around in life, spiritually speaking.  They like to think of themselves as a good person albeit only to the extent that it is convenient in life and it fits in with their own assessment of the situational dynamics in play at any given choice.  These are the people who do not stand on the truth and uphold righteousness at all costs.  For them, grace means licentiousness and freedom from all moral boundaries.  When life confronts them with an easy pass [sin], which no one will observe, they take it.  This could be as simple as accepting extra change returned at the store.  I.E. The clerk gives you change for a twenty, but you only gave him or her a five-dollar bill.  After all, it was their mistake, wasn’t it?


Think about those four zones above and the preceding illustrations and then consider the words contained in the book of Revelations chapter 3.


“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold.  I wish you were one or the other!  But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!”  

Rev. 3:15-16 NLT


God knows those who belong to Him and they operate inside of zone one only.  These people are hot for God.  God also knows who belongs to Satan and they operate in zone four.  Those people are cold to God.  The people who like to operate in zones two and three are lukewarm to God.  They have never entered the one-way path that is above the minimum righteousness standard.  That is why God says He “will spit them out” [of Heaven].  That is why Jesus says: “I never knew you.”


Living In God’s Zone Is A Choice From The Heart!


Zone one is where you experience the gift of God’s Holy Spirit.  It is the zone in which metaphysical events occur.  It is the zone in which your reality is not always what you can see or observe with your own senses.  When you are in zone one, your spiritual acumen observes a different kind of reality.  It is a reality where God will manifest Himself in the physical realm of this earth.  It is the zone where miracles occur.  It is a zone of faith.


When the writer of Hebrews wrote “it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance,” he was referring to people who once entered zone one and then left the zone.  They made a free will choice to no longer obey God.  At one time, they were close to God but then left.  They cannot return [repent again] according to Hebrews.  The Bible is clear in Ezekiel that the “soul that sins shall die” and in Romans that the “wages of sin is death.”  Do you understand that sin can occur in any zone?  Those who practice unrighteousness [sin] live in zones three and four or the wide path.


You’ve learned that there are two spiritual tools [forces] that are available in life.  You’ve learned that there are two spiritual turfs that we operate on in life.  You’ve learned that there are also two spiritual paths in life, a narrow path and a wide path.  These teachings have been illustrated for you in graphic form so you can better understand God’s Word.  Beyond the spiritual tools, spiritual turfs and spiritual paths in life, God also teaches us that there are also only two types of people.  There are godly and ungodly people.  These two ways of life [living] are contrasted in Psalm 1:1-6.

Godly And Ungodly Contrasted!

“Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; [2]


But his delight is in the law of the Lord ,

And in His law he meditates day and night.  [3]


He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper. [4]


The ungodly are not so,

But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. [5]

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. [6]


For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the ungodly shall perish.”  Psalm 1:1-6


God Knows Your Choices!


Modern Nicolaitans have really clouded up the idea of making a choice to be either godly or ungodly.  They have also clouded up the idea of what is right and what is wrong.  Nicolaitans would have you believe that there is a lot of gray matter [no purity of thought] in life.  That is the reason why so many people live in zones two and three.  They are content attending church on Sunday to ease their conscience.  Society and its pulpits have not made God’s Word clear to the people.  You should know that this tactic is intentional.  Satan is alive and well inside the church and a spiritual war wages for your soul.


Godly Or Ungodly Are Choices From The Heart!


It might seem unsophisticated to you to assert that there are two basic types of people in the world, godly or ungodly.  However, this is not my opinion.  I only point out what the word of God has to tell you.  Only you can choose to believe and true belief is of the heart, backed by our behavior.

Believing The Bible Is A Choice From The Heart!


There Are Two Spiritual:

  • . Tools [righteousness & sin] 

  • . Turfs [God & Satan’s territory] 

  • . Paths [narrow & wide] 

  • . People [godly & ungodly] 

  • . Choices [right & wrong] 

  • . Directions [up & down] 

  • . Destinations [Heaven & Hell]  


Your choices will determine the final destination of your soul. When you give God your heart, His Spirit will make its home inside you and help you to steadfastly make righteous choices.  Your soul is going to end up in one of two places, either Heaven or Hell.  Which choice will you make?


Now consider your choices when disaster strikes.  If you buy into Christian mythology, you might think that nothing bad can happen to the true believer.  There are many who teach a theology of health and wealth to God’s people.  If you suddenly find yourself sick, it must be because of your sin?  If you are poor, it must be because you do not tithe?  These topics will be discussed later in more depth.  However, for now consider the misery that Job encountered when Satan launched his attack.


Job was a “man blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil [Job 1:1].”  If you will recall the story you will note that the first disaster struck “when the Sabeans raided the oxen and donkeys” killing all the servants except the one telling the story.  While the first servant was reporting another came saying “the fire of God fell from the Heaven and burned up the sheep and servants.”  Again, only this second servant escaped.


While the second servant spoke, a third came and said: “the Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you.”  While the third servant spoke, a fourth came and said: “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell … and they are [all] dead.”


In a matter of moments disaster struck Job and all that he had was lost including his sons and daughters.  Job was barely able to take a breath before each succeeding disaster struck.  Can you feel the pain in Job’s chest?  Yet, Job had faith in his God and responded with a choice from the heart.


“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there.  The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord .”  Job 1:21


[22] “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”  


Job had a heart for God, in good times and in bad times.  When disaster strikes you, what will be the choices from your heart?  Will you turn away from God or have you learned to lean upon His higher understanding of our life?  Has your soul fully understood that we will be alive in eternity a lot longer than in this physical body on earth?  Will you NOW blame God?  That was the strategy of Satan when it came to Job.  To make him blame and curse God.  It did not work.


I thought of Job this week as I got my own taste of such disaster.  Just four days ago, my wife and I learned that she has inoperable cancer of the pancreas, spleen and liver.  She has been told that in the worse case scenario she may only have ten days to live.  In the best scenario she may have a few months up to a year.  This woman is my childhood sweetheart and in a few months we will have been married 39 years.  How do you say good-bye to someone you have loved for 43 years?  Of course, she is at peace with God.  The kind of peace that passeth all earthly understanding.



Myself?  I didn’t do so well on Wednesday night after the news.  For 25 years I have been fearless with my own willingness to leave this planet and go home to God.  Yet, it now seems my worse earthly fear materialized.  I was being told that I would lose my dear wife Jackie.  Quite frankly, I told God that I didn’t know if I really wanted to continue living by myself.  That reality was the toughest on me.  There was so much physical pain that my wife asked me three times if she should call an ambulance.  She thought I might be having a heart attack.  I wasn’t; it felt like the smashing of my heart into tiny little bits and pieces.  I will never forget the physical pain I felt, which did not relent for two days.  The emotional pain?  It is not over yet.


Some Christians think that you can just exert spiritual power over the cancer that invades my wife’s body.  Just speak the word and she will be healed instantly.  That is what I hear.  You might add: “After all, you are an apostle, aren’t you?”  Healing is not simply a matter of demanding what you want from God Almighty.  I will write a complete chapter dedicated to the issue of healing including at least two examples of where I did lay hands on people and they were saved from death.  So what about Jackie?  You’ll have to wait to see what God has in His plan.  For me, I have been reminded once again that no matter what life dishes out, I will praise the Lord .  Simply put, till the day I leave this earthly existence, I will make choices from the heart that move me and those whom I love closer to the God that I love.


“Remain faithful even when facing death, and I will give you the crown of life.”  Revelations 2:10 NLT


“When you really walk with God, your choices will bring you closer to Him , regardless of the earthly pain you may suffer.”  The Apostle Edward


It All Started When You Gave God Your Heart!

Now, You’ve Decided To Make Righteous …

Choices From The Heart

Click the link below to view graphic Images

Click To View Page As Designed

© Rev. Edward Palmer 2013