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Lifting Yourself Up by Your Own Bootstraps

Cody, I greet you in the wonderful Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Here is the most positive statement you will ever hear: The Lord Jesus Christ is Who everything is all about. Here is a second positive statement: If you had not written your book, you would not have heard those things that are spoken to you in this letter, and therefore, it is, or can be a very good thing that you did write your book.

My name is Victor Hafichuk. I am a friend of your parents. You receive The Issues of Life from us. Your mother gave me a copy of your book. I have read it. I told her that I would possibly reply. God has given me to see you in your book and to speak to you. You have already written a second book, and here it is! The price is free but I wonder how many will read it. Joe and Bonnie, this book is for you too. I hope you understand.

I have some things to say which, according to your philosophy, you may not want to hear, and you may decide to ignore it all, judging it to be “negative” or “well-meaning but unenlightened.” That is your decision. It is only for me to write and leave it. “Motivators” and “positive, enlightened persons” often dare not to criticize. They think they must be politically correct, non-offensive, diplomatic and full of smiles and flatteries or “compliments” in order to succeed with their audiences.

Let me help you with some Biblical perspective here on ways of approaching others. (You have several times made reference to the Scriptures. You therefore treat them as authoritative, at least worthy of reference. I agree with you wholeheartedly and will be comparing the things you have said to what God has to say in Scripture, which is inspired by God). Of John the Baptist, Jesus said, “Of all men born of women, John is the greatest,” saying that he was “more than a prophet.” After all, John was the one appointed of God to introduce the Son of God to the world! Some calling! Now if you will go to the Gospel of Luke, you will find Luke’s record of John’s first words in his God-given and Spirit-filled ministry:

“Then he said to the crowd that came forth to be baptized by him, O generation of vipers! Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire” (Luke 3:7-9 MKJV).

Not very politically correct, not very diplomatic, or friendly or kind in appearance, though John did love God and the people. He was simply real, more real than any man I know of in Scripture, except for the Son of man/Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. I bring forth his example to help you to consider what I have to say even though it may appear to you to be something to avoid, according to your mentors and learning. It takes wisdom to know what to ignore and what to receive. Appearances are deceptive, and can fool wise men. Joshua, for example, the anointed leader, who led the nation of Israel to conquer Canaan, the promised land of milk and honey, was deceived, and all the elders of Israel with him, by some of the inhabitants of Canaan. There are many examples of men of God being deceived by others. If men of God can be deceived, it then should follow that you too can be deceived.

It is also written: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of the enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6). Who are your counselors, Cody? Are you in a position to know who is wise and who understands?

I say these things on the “negative” expectation because your book leaves me with the impression that while you teach others to be humble, to listen and be willing to learn, you yourself seem to think you may be well on the way to having it pretty much together. That is what I was like at your age and well beyond; that is how many people continue well into later years, and it is nothing new or unusual. I found out how wrong I was.

Yes, you are trying to motivate people, to inspire them, and while the act itself can appear commendable, God judges the heart, and knows the value of what you say, and WHY you say what you do. The disposition of thinking that we know more than we really do is not an uncommon or insurmountable problem to God…to man, yes, but not to God. It is a trait common to every human, growing out of what is known in the Bible as the “sin nature.” Only the Lord Jesus Christ can deliver us from ourselves. We cannot do it. Take note; I just spoke a wonderful truth, as negative as it might sound.

On the other hand, if God gives you the grace to read and pay attention, that would be good and profitable for you, and many others. I am available if ever you wish to talk and discuss things.

It is easy for someone to criticize without substance. That is the kind of criticism nobody needs. The reason I write is because God has given me to do so. I never would have purchased your book (I buy very few). God used your mother to put it in my hand for your sake. I would like to share with you. I want to give you solid evidence of your need, to tell you that you contradict yourself, and that you are in error on many matters. Those errors can lead to much disillusionment and heartache, both for yourselves and others. If you receive this criticism, it will be one of the best things that ever happened to you. Have I already lost you or are you willing to give it a try? If ready, let’s get into your book.

You do have some good advice that could potentially be quite beneficial. You speak of “thinking positive.” The Bible says:

“Finally, my brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8 MKJV).

You speak of “giving it all you’ve got.” The Bible says:

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no work, nor plan, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave where you go” (Ecclesiastes 9:10 MKJV).

You say, “Be willing to learn and to receive from others.” The Bible speaks of disciples. A disciple is one who can only be a disciple if he is willing to learn and to receive from others. The Bible says:

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool so that he may be wise” (1 Corinthians 3:18 MKJV).

And: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who listens to advice is wise” (Proverbs 12:15 MKJV).

And: “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 26:12 MKJV).

These are examples of good and true things you have put forth, Cody, and I am sure you know that you will need to practice what you preach. Let’s go on and see what you might learn.

Chapter One

I am left with the impression from your book that you believe that anyone can do anything they choose if they really put their mind and heart to it. Is that true? Of course, there are lines drawn. One can say nothing is impossible but the impossible. When a rich young ruler came to Jesus asking what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus told him:

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21 MKJV).

The young man went away sad. Jesus then said to the disciples, “Truly I say to you that a rich man will with great difficulty enter into the kingdom of Heaven. And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23-24 MKJV).

The disciples then asked Him, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 MKJV).

So we know that some things people simply cannot do, no matter how much they may want to do them. You ask a question: “Is one person born to succeed while the other one is fated to fail?" To that, you answer “No.” But what does the Bible have to say, or rather, what does God have to say in His Holy Word we call the Bible?

“Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel to honor and another to dishonor? What if God, willing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which He had before prepared to glory…” (Romans 9:21-23 MKJV). And:

“I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11 MKJV).

You seem to indicate (correct me if I am wrong) that man is the “master of his own destiny.” You suggest that “destiny” will respond if one takes the initiative. You give man credit, you give “destiny” credit, but I don’t see that you are giving God the glory as the Initiator, the First Cause, and Lord over all of His creation. God is sovereign over all things, Cody.

Just what or who is “Destiny?” Yes, you spoke figuratively, but think about it. Are we talking about something inanimate or some impersonal energy in control of everything that will not be accessed unless we have the smarts to make it happen? Where is God and God’s will in all of this? Is He mere “destiny?” Or does He leave it to man, who is lost and enslaved to sin, to “lift himself up by his bootstraps,” and accomplish the best in life by tapping into a thing called “destiny,” which God created or which is somehow independent of Him? Even to the pagan, Roman governor, Pilate, the one who turned Jesus over to be crucified, Jesus said to him:

“You could have no authority against Me unless it were given to you from above…” (John 19:11 MKJV).

Not only did He create everything, it is written that “by Him all things consist” (Col. 1:17). The Bible is teeming with testimonies of God reigning over all things, good and evil, great and small, animate and inanimate, physical and spiritual, seen and unseen. He, and not man or any other thing determines all things, Cody. It is written:

“A man’s heart plans his way, but Jehovah directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9 MKJV). And:

“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand” (Proverbs 19:21 KJV).

You write: “We are able to discover the pathways to peace through patience and by allowing our concepts of peace to evolve.” I don’t think so. Firstly, there are contradicting concepts of peace, as in the Middle East, between Jews and Arabs, for example, but there is only one true peace of God. Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace.” Now how can one arrive at true peace? After all, is it not true peace only that will suffice? How can we appropriate peace by our own concepts and permitting them to evolve, as you say? Why do you think there has been no peace in the world, Cody, or haven’t you noticed? It is written:

“And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword” (Revelation 6:4 KJV).

But there is a way to peace and I have found it, as have others. The answer is to believe, rely on, commit oneself to, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, to turn from all sin (the breaking of God’s laws), and to obey the Lord in all things. It does not come the way you say. How do concepts evolve by letting them? Who does not “allow” them to evolve, and how?

You say, “Speaking of peace, what a peaceful existence we would have if we all mastered the art of selflessness.” The problem is that men have tried, and failed. It is “the impossible” for them to which Jesus referred, well beyond an “art.” No man can do it, not you, not I, not anyone. But there is selflessness available, though not the kind you suggest. Paul the apostle describes it:

“I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf” (Galatians 2:20 MKJV).

There is only one way to selflessness. The Buddhists try their way, and fail miserably, contrary to appearances, because they depend on their own power to bring it about. The only way to peace and to selflessness is the cross of Christ, which must be experienced, by the grace and mercy of God, internally. Only God can do it for you. Can you nail yourself to a cross, Cody?

You write: “Part of that joy comes from the understanding of one’s self.” Do you indeed understand yourself? Does anyone? God says this by Jeremiah the prophet:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 MKJV)

You write: “Next, goals are the key to creating a transformed lifestyle.” You are right in that goals can be useful in some circumstances. However, I too had goals. Many have had goals. Frankly, I never really knew what I wanted in life, but I later discovered that such was the case because God had His plan for me which was purposely hidden from me, to be revealed in due time. I had no goal for which I could aim or strive. There are many examples in Scripture to testify to what I say. Take Saul of Tarsus, for example. He had great goals as a Pharisee, persecuting the Church of God. One day, the Lord Jesus Christ “stopped him dead in his tracks” and told him what He required of him. Read all about it in Acts, chapter 9. Saul, the rabid, antiChrist persecutor was transformed into an apostle. Now there was “a transformed lifestyle,” and more than a lifestyle…a life itself.

You write: “And what I’m about to teach you is that living your correct livelihood is the greatest service of all.” Again, there is only one way that can happen, and that is by the faith of and in the Lord Jesus Christ. We need saving/correcting; He alone can be our Savior/Corrector. As it is written:

“He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him” (John 3:36 MKJV).

You write: “Your life will be a reflection of your inner light, your inner beauty.” What does God have to say about that? Where Jesus Christ is not known personally, the wrath of God abides. There is no “corrected lifestyle,” no inner light or beauty, apart from Him; believe me. The Bible is clear on that point. The apostle Paul had this to say, quoting from prophets of the Old Testament, who spoke by the Spirit of God:

“There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable, there is none that does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their way, and the way of peace they did not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:9-18 MKJV).

What an indictment from the Mouth of the Creator upon every person ever born, other than the Lord Jesus Christ! Do you believe what He is saying?

What do you want, truly and specifically? What kind of goals are you setting? What kind of goals should you be setting, if any? Do you know?

Cody, you have been trained and taught humanistic principles by people who have not believed in the Lord Jesus Christ Who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…” Yes, they occasionally use His Name, and quote select words He spoke, as you did, but they do not give you the whole picture, not remotely. Many things He said they don’t want to hear, to put it mildly. They are willing to acknowledge Him as a wise philosopher, a great teacher, even a prophet, but He is much more. Therefore it is error. In His Name, I come to correct.

About goals, you write: “You can build this bridge best through applying wisdom, creativity, and most importantly, the energy of your youth to create powerful goals.” Apply wisdom? Easy to say, but how to do? Where does a young man get wisdom, Cody? Does he know if he has yet to obtain it? Do you have it? Here is what the Bible says:

“When I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on the earth; for neither day nor night do men see sleep with their eyes. Then I looked at all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun; because though a man labors to seek it out, yet he shall not find it. Yea, further, though a wise one speaks of knowing, yet he shall not be able to find it” (Ecclesiastes 8:16-17 MKJV).

“With what shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word” (Psalms 119:9 MKJV).

Do you think you can do what you want, “applying the energy of your youth” without consequence? What does the Bible say?

“Rejoice, in your youth, young man; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove vexation from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh; for childhood and prime of life are vanity” (Ecclesiastes 11:9-10 MKJV).

You were born a genius“? Tell that to the mentally-handicapped. Tell that to many whose simplicity obviously counts them out. Tell that to many average people. What is your definition of a genius? What about true knowledge? What about true wisdom? Is that genius? We have had “geniuses” in this world who have wrought much evil and destruction. Hear again what God has to say:

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7 KJV).

You write: “Without passion, can there be real purpose at all?” Let us reverse that: “Without purpose, can there be real passion at all?” Which is it that comes first? Dale Carnegie taught that when one had purpose, the passion was there, and when the passion was there, one could move audiences. Otherwise, it would not happen. One of the most moving motivational speakers I had ever witnessed was “Tremendous” Charlie Jones. He had passion because he had purpose. I didn’t know what his purpose was at first. He never did say. I found out later.

You write: “The survival and success of the human race itself is, in part, the result of the courage to follow passion.” Jesus came to save sinners. All were doomed, passion or not, because if there was passion, it was bent and “destined” to serve evil. Furthermore, when Jesus spoke of the end of this world (system of things, governed by man) He had this to say:

“And unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22 MKJV).

Napoleon had genius, creativity and passion. So did Hitler. So did Karl Marx, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, and so have many evil men. What was their end? Trudeau certainly had passion. Some might call him a genius and deem him to have had creativity. He left us with a legacy of many demanding their rights, based on the Charter of Rights. How many did he influence to acknowledge their responsibilities? Why is there not, rather, a “Charter of Responsibilities?” Today, anything goes, based on the interpretations of the passionate geniuses of the Charter. Wasn’t Morgentaler passionate? You see, the features you point out can be good or bad. They are neither, in and of themselves. But there are other elements that are good, necessary, and powerful. These I point out to you throughout this “book.”

You mention that it is not our circumstances so much as our attitudes in our circumstances that make the difference. Very true, Cody, very true. To His people, the Lord says: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Many times, in the face of sure loss and defeat, I have been given grace by God to give thanks to Him for my circumstances, and He has given me the victory. I can heartily say “Amen” to that.

You speak of being one’s true self. God says we have all been in bondage to sin, and cannot free ourselves. Therefore, we cannot, of our own volition, “be our true selves.” We need a savior. We must be born again. We (I speak of mankind through Adam) were born once; we fell away from God, and now we must be restored, reconciled to God, so that we can be what God had originally intended for us to be when He began to create us in His image. The whole lesson of mankind is that we cannot live unto ourselves or by ourselves. We were made for Him.

Success is important,” you say, and you give your reasons. But what is success? Do you know? It seems you speak of two successes here when there is only one in truth. I gather you speak of financial independence as success because you refer to the “gruelling bills.” Having succeeded economically, you then go on to “think about what you want” so that you can accomplish it (another success).

Let us take the Supreme Example for our guidance. We cannot do better than that. Jesus said, “A man’s life does not consist of the abundance of that which he possesses” (Luke 12:15). He was born to poor parents who had no prominence of any kind. He was not given an education (another necessity you mentioned). It was rumoured that He was born of an adulterous mother. Jesus had no connections, no credentials, no staff, no army, nothing but the Father. When He chose and sent out His disciples, they too had nothing. In fact, He expressly commanded them:

“Therefore I say to you, Do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Mat 6:25)

And: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things” (Mat 6:31-32).

And: “Do not provide gold nor silver, nor copper in your purses, nor a bag for the journey, nor two coats, nor sandals, nor staves. For the workman is worthy of his food” (Mat 10:9-10).

His disciples were not rich; quite the contrary, but they were not to pay any attention to that. While it is true that not all are called to be His disciples and to actively preach in ministry, still the truth is that nobody rightly related to God (any true believer) is to give any concern for the necessities of this world. These things are not an issue. They are all perishable, Cody; they come, and they go. There are several examples in Scripture of rich people, people who were or sought to be financially comfortable, being very “unsuccessful.” This story stands out most poignantly:

“And He said to them, Watch and keep yourselves from covetousness. For a man’s life is not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. And He spoke a parable to them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room in which to store my fruits? And he said, I will do this. I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and I will store all my fruits and my goods there. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat drink and be merry. But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul shall be required of you, then whose shall be those things which you have prepared? So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. And He said to His disciples, Therefore I say to you, Be not anxious as to your life, what you shall eat; nor for the body, what you shall put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing” (Luke 12:15-23).

Do you know what true success is? It is to do the will of God. That, and that alone is success of lasting value. All else perishes. John Paul Getty, the founder of Exxon, found that all his accomplishments in, and wealth from the oil industry left him empty. Marlon Brando bitterly declared near the end of his life that the notion that fame and wealth bought happiness was ridiculous. These were men who became “successful” as you define it, were free to pursue and acquire those things they wanted, but were disillusioned in the end. The world has been filled with such testimonies. Money is not what it is about, not even as a vehicle or a means to an end.

You write: “Freedom is what the truth about life is, not these types of limitations. Freedom is in your mind, it’s in your soul, and it’s in your heart. You are free to do whatever you want…” Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free…and when the Son (Jesus) makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Truth? He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man can come to the Father but by Me.”

No man is free to do as he wishes or pleases, not without repurcussions at any rate, not since the beginning when Adam and Eve sinned in partaking of the Tree of Knowledge when they were made subject to vanity. For that reason Jesus Christ came, to redeem us from the bondage of sin, that state of rebellion to, and separation from, God. What you are encouraging people to believe by your philosophy is that sin never happened, that mankind can do whatever it pleases, in spite of man’s relationship to God, or lack thereof, through the absence of the Lord Jesus Christ. You are, in essence, telling them the very same thing the serpent told Eve, that if they would only eat of the Tree of Knowledge, which God forbade, that they would become as God, having their eyes opened to know good and evil.

You go on to say, “…the only reality is your reality and the meaning you choose to place on it.” Believe it or not, I understand what you are saying, and I have to say that you are wrong. It sounds good; it sounds powerful; it sounds very promising, as though this concept had the seeds of the possibility of all things one could desire. However, reality is reality, and not simply how one perceives things to be. The lawless and selfish one, the one who prefers independence of God, except to perhaps philosophize or “religiosize” about Him, chooses to believe that all things are relative, and that all things are in his power, if only he believes it. It is not so.

Hitler perceived himself to be the millennial ruler, the second coming of Christ, the usher of the new age. He died huddled in a bunker, having committed suicide. That was in spite of the fact that he had persuaded many millions, and tyrannized many millions more to consent to his goals and concepts. Napoleon Bonaparte was a military and political genius. His men would do anything for him. He was one never to say “die,” but he died, a loser. Alexander “the Great” died at age 33, as the Scripture prophesied would happen. He had great ambitions but Heaven cut them short. Nebuchadnezzar, the great emperor of Babylon, that first great and glorious empire on earth, thought he could do anything. Suddenly a decree came from heaven that would teach him a lesson he would not soon forget:

“Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let the heart of an animal be given to him. And let seven times pass over him. This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones, so that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He will, and sets up over it the lowest of men” (Daniel 4:16-17 MKJV).

As Jesus said to Pilate, “You could have no power against Me except it be given you from above.” Pilate had thought his power was of his own choosing, just as you are suggesting to others.

There is THE Reality, Cody, and all things are made by and for Him. The psycho does his thing, pursuing his reality, and the policeman comes, in obedience to the social reality, not his own, yet his, arrests the pshycho, and society prosecutes. God brings all things into judgment, according to His will. As it is written, “A man’s heart devises his way (creating or conceiving his own reality) but the Lord directs his steps.”

You write: “The next building block is love,” and “Love is something you will discover as you read this book through and take in its amazing and rich content,” and then further into your book you say, “Love is the paramount principle of life.” If love is the “next” building block, then how is it “the paramount” principle of life? Of course there are many kinds of “love.” What kind of love are you talking about? The Bible declares, “God is love.” God is just a bit more than a “principle” or a “building block.” Jesus says, “The world loves its own and is at enmity with God.” His disciple, John, said that if anyone loves the world, he is at enmity with God. So what kind of loving are we talking here, what are we talking about loving, and not least of all, why are we loving?

You say, “Love brings out your greatest potential which is abundance and abundance is the object of your design.” If we “love” in order to gain, it is not the love of which God speaks in Scripture. It is not the love manifest by Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. What kind of love are you talking about, Cody? And how do you get the true love? Do you know? No, you don’t. Consider that I do.

The power of visualization! Which comes first, Cody, the chicken or the egg? Does one visualize something because that is what he is destined for, or does he initiate and create his own destiny because he visualizes? Does a creature become a chicken by determining and finding the way to lay eggs or does it lay eggs because it is a chicken? Did Moses visualize redeeming Israel or was he born to that end? If born for it, did he need to visualize in order to accomplish it? The fact is that at age forty, he fled for his life from “the job,” and remained in a wilderness for forty years until God appeared to him in due time. When God did call him to redeem Israel out of Egypt, he gave argument and excuses, to the point of angering God. Moses had no choice but to go. Jonah was opposed to saving Ninevah but that was the mission God compelled him to take on, and when he obeyed, after some extraordinary persuasion, all of Ninevah was saved. Were these men visualizing to bring about these great events? Not at all.

You see, Cody, you are attributing righteousness and power to man, and God says there is none whatsoever with man. In your wisdom, you are calling upon men to worship at another altar other than the one chosen and determined by God. That is the breaking of the first commandment, and the second, and the third… What happens when we break the commandments of God? It is called sin. What happens when we sin? We die. Breaking the commandments of God comes by loving ourselves instead of loving God and our neighbor. Love of self is the essence of sin.

Believe in yourself with all your heart“? That is the recipe for failure, disappointment, and disillusionment. I have more than explained already. As it is written:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7 KJV).

You write, “So keep pushing yourself and if it doesn’t work, it’s because you are not trying hard enough.” Those words may be true, but they are not the rule in every case, as you seem to indicate. My mother used to tell me that if I was forcing something, I wasn’t doing it right. I have also experienced breaking down closed doors, determined to accomplish what I wanted, only to find that I would have been better off leaving that door shut. Of course, there was good in that I learned not to force my way into things not meant for me. Amway, as well as many other entities, used the same principles to motivate their distributors. “If so-and-so can make it to the top, so can you,” they would say. It was a lie because only few can make it there. Only one can be president of the US at any given time. Is it because one tried harder than the other, or had more money and influence? However, what did God say to Nebuchadnezzar, as I have already quoted? And what did Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, aside from Jesus Christ, have to say?

“I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11 MKJV).

The greatest thing the Bible has to say on this matter is that God gives grace, and without that grace, we can work ourselves to death and fail. Grace is “unmerited favor.”

Yes, you say, “Your destiny is yours for a reason. It is pre-decided that you are to do that certain task…” I agree with you, Cody, but you must give the glory and credit not to the creature or the “destinee” but to the “Destinor.” He is the “Determinor” of all things, and if you are to serve mankind in truth, giving due glory and honor where it belongs, you are going to have to look to Him, and point all others in that direction. As it is written:

“O Lord, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You created all things, and for Your will they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11 MKJV).

And: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psalms 146:3 KJV)

You end your introductory chapter with these words: “You will also learn one of the most effective ways to increase your I.Q. score and your intellectual prowess, important attributes you’ll need to change the world.” Again, it is written:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7 KJV).

And: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the perceiving ones.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom did not know God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:19-21 MKJV).

Chapter Two

Covey speaks words that sound very good, but if he knew the truth, he would not express himself quite that way. It is not a matter of what is important to us but what is right. Many find a conflict there because what is important and what is right to one may be two different things altogether. What is important to God? What is right in His sight? Of that there is no mention in his quotation you give. For example, Cody, you may have a goal, one which is neither good nor evil in and of itself, but is it right of you in God’s sight to pursue that goal? What is the price of it? Who is paying that price, and how? Is it fair to others involved? Are you only thinking of yourself or do you consider them, as you ought? What price do others have to pay for your whims and fancies to which you set your mind and heart, while you justify yourself with your philosophy? Whom do you love more, them or yourself?

You write: “Learn how the world works, economically and socially. For if we are to make it work 100% for all humanity, then we must be able to know how the world works.” Cody, if you are going to quote the Lord Jesus, then get acquainted with all that He has said on record so that you will better understand what He means in the things He says of which you are aware. Get the context, the bigger picture. Of the world, Jesus said, “And unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22 MKJV).

His beloved disciple said this:

“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17 MKJV).

And: “We know that we are of God, and all the world lies in evil. And we know that the Son of God has come, and He has given us an understanding so that we may know Him who is true. And we are in Him that is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and the everlasting life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols. Amen” (1 John 5:19-21 MKJV).

Do you presume to learn how the world works, a world in which there are billions of variables and unpredictables, ever changing? Hear what God says of but ONE creature of billions in this world:

“My son, listen to my wisdom; bow your ear to my understanding; in order to keep discretion, that your lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of a strange woman drip honey, and her palate is smoother than oil; but afterward she is as bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell, lest you should meditate on the path of life, her tracks are movable; you cannot know them” (Proverbs 5:1-6 MKJV).

And you are going to understand the world? The US government does not understand. The UN does not understand. No religious leader understands. If they do, are they succeeding in solving its problems? Not at all, not even close, just as God has said. Is there no other person in this whole world who can choose the right “reality” and change the world? Has there never been such a person? If there has, why is the whole world in utter chaos? But I tell you, there has been One Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and He has overcome the world. The job is done, and now He commissions His servants to preach the answer to others, that they might hear the truth and be saved. That is why I write to you. That is why we write The Issues of Life. We bring light from Him to a world in darkness, and the world will be redeemed, in spite of the “realities” men presume to create and fulfill.

Why is it “important that only God knows how your success can multiply outward from just the tiniest decision“? What is important to know is that He is both the Author and Finisher of our faith in Him (Hebrews 12:2), that by Him all things consist (Colossians 1:17), that He reigns supreme over all things (Revelation 19:6), that it is He that causes us to will and to do of His pleasure (Philippians 2:13). It is important to know that we can do nothing, and are nothing, apart from Him (Luke 17:10). Even Jesus declared that He could do nothing without the Father:

“Then Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father do. For whatever things He does, these also the Son does likewise” (John 5:19 MKJV).

We have already talked about critics. Did you know that the prophets of God were critics? They came, sent of God, to tell the people where and how they were wrong. For example, God spoke to Isaiah, saying, “Cry aloud, do not spare, lift up your voice like a ram’s horn, and show My people their rebellion, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1 MKJV).

Invariably, the people thought they knew better, stoned their critics, and perished in their enterprising sins. You may walk away from your critics and make a million, which you would not have made had you listened. If the rich young ruler had listened to his “critic,” he would have lost all his goods. He didn’t listen; he kept his goods, but was that good? Does Simon really know what he is doing? Do you? He is trying to save bears. Jesus never made bears an issue, but He has made many other and far more important things an issue. How about those? How about acknowledging Him as Lord by believing Him and doing what He declares is important? Doing so, the bears will be taken care of, along with everything else. Having said that, and with the risk of appearing to contradict myself, Simon spoke truly when he said “his life’s work would choose him, rather than he choosing it.”

You write: “What sparks this inspiration in the soul or mind? Divine intervention. But, first the person must make room and thus, invite the spark.” We have already discussed Who the Initiator is, and Who reigns over all, determining all things.

Concerning Christopher Reeves, would he like to walk and lead a “normal” life again? What about Stephen Hawkins? Is the secret so much setting your mind and deciding to get whatever it is you would like, or is it to accept your circumstances as they are? Paul the apostle said this:

“I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. In everything and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13 MKJV).

Read Acceptance. Paul knew the wonderful secrets of submission to and acceptance of his circumstances. He knew that God was Engineer of all. He knew that when God decided to change his circumstances, they would change, and he with them. That is what the Bible refers to as “the rest.” This is all, of course, in the context of the personal knowledge and commitment to God through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. There is no other way to that rest and victory.

Chapter Three

You speak of Ryan giving the “water of life.” Jesus Christ is the “living water,” as He revealed to the woman at the well (John 4). We have this life, the life in this world, which inevitably ends in death, but those who are quickened by Jesus Christ through repentance of sin go on to receive true, enduring, substantial life.

You write: “Understand that when there are people in the world starving, or people dying of disease, it is your problem.” There are many testimonies in the Scriptures revealing that God sends the sword, famine, pestilence and wild beast. For examples:

“And I will send the sword, the famine, and the plague among them until they are destroyed from the land that I gave to them and to their fathers” (Jeremiah 24:10 MKJV).

And: “When I shall send on them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their ruin, which I will send to destroy you; even I will increase the famine on you, and break your staff of bread; yea, I will send on you famine and evil beasts, and you will be bereaved. And pestilence and blood shall pass among you; and I shall bring a sword on you. I Jehovah have spoken” (Ezekiel 5:16-17 MKJV).

There are many such testimonies. If the Word of God is true, and it is, how is it that I am responsible for something God is doing? First of all, is it a problem, and if so, to whom? To man or to God? Certainly it is a problem to man, but if God, in His infinite wisdom, judges a people by these adversities, knowing their sin, their need, their hearts, who then am I, a finite creature, to judge God and intervene? This I know, and have experienced for myself, that at times when I took pity on some person and tried to help him or her, I found myself suddenly under that same judgment God was measuring out on that person. I learned that I had to know from Him who or what was my problem.

While your words sound noble, they are not born of understanding. In speaking the way you do, you begin to lay burdens on people that are not necessarily theirs to bear. You are holding them responsible when they may not be responsible. Understand that there may be a time when we are to help in such circumstances, but it is not automatic by virtue of their existence. Years ago, the Americans went to Somalia to help the people there. They sent in the army to break up the fighting, and food to feed the starving in their time of war, famine, pestilence and wild beast (that includes selfish, tyrannical warlords). The UN sanctioned this, by the way. What happened? They warred against the Americans, and publicly dragged their naked, beaten bodies through the streets before cameras, with jubilance. The Americans had to retreat. God had sent the sword, famine, pestilence and wild beasts to an evil generation for judgment, and those who tried to intervene fell under that same judgment. When the time comes that these judgments have done their work, God withdraws them, I assure you. They are not necessarily my problem or anyone else’s.

What I AM responsible for is that which God determines for me. Consider that when Jesus Christ came to the earth, He could have done much more in physical terms to help the poor. He could have empowered His disciples to feed millions. But that was not the issue. When a woman poured very expensive ointment on Him, some disciples murmured about the waste, saying the ointment could have been sold, and the money given to the poor. But Jesus said, “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me with you.” He came to do the will of the Father, and not to meet needs, though some He met.

I tell you, that unless we learn and do what is the will of the Father, we will eventually perish, though we flourish and are “successful” for a time. Nevertheless, somewhat according to what you are saying, Cody, by the laying down of His life, Jesus DID meet the needs of every man. This we will come to realize in due time. At least in part, I think you are saying that if we do our duty that we are called to do, we will serve to better mankind in a way that others are not able to. That is partly true and partly error. While God assigns certain people for certain tasks, He really does not need us. He can bring forth praises unto Himself from stones, as He said. He is not limited.

Cody, your book is all about man and how good he is or can be. Your philosophy and your teachers contradict God and His Word, as hopefully you have seen. As His servant, I write you to cause you to know this, and to help you.

Chapter Four

You write: “…as a world culture we have not come to a clear understanding of what is important to the success of humanity.” You have that right. No doubt, as the Bible declares, the whole world lies in wickedness, in darkness, in hell and in death. Yet those to whom the Lord has revealed Himself do understand what is happening and what is important. One can know. I know, and do that which He requires of me. All that is, has been determined and purposed. As it is written:

“For the creation was not willingly subjected to vanity, but because of Him who subjected it on hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. And we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now” (Romans 8:20-22 MKJV).

You write: “What we really want is to be our own identity.” I think that is true, but our “originality,” as you put it, will not come by efficient or effective use of all our brain cells. It will come by faith in, and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. There has not been a man alive who has been able to achieve maximum potential by his own power or understanding. We have covered that truth amply by now.

For years, I wanted to be at ease, comfortable with myself and therefore with others. I wanted meaning and purpose, a “raison d’etre.” I was made a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, by His doing and grace, and He set me on a path, which took many years to travel, and finally brought me to peace and rest within, in Him. Now I have that “originality” you speak of, and which I know no man can have outside of Him. Those persons you write about cannot find it any other way, and neither can you. While people in the world have their activities and God’s purposes fulfilled in this life, yet they will be empty until they come to know Him. To know Him is true life.

Teilhard de Chardin spoke truly if he said that we are not physical beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a physical experience. It is the other way around, however, when men try to be spiritual in their own power and wisdom. Then they are creating God in their own image, which runs contrary to the will of God, and negating the grace and gift of God by the cross of Christ.

You speak of the importance of having money to counter limitation. We have discussed this matter already. Let all who will, stand up and proclaim that money is necessary. Where it is, God provides. He has certainly done so for me. I can tell you story after story. Money is never the issue; nothing external is.

Chapter Five

Concerning Adrian’s primary desire that all would obey the Ten Commandments, you write, “You don’t have to be a Christian to understand the significance of these basic laws. In fact, almost every religion in the world has similar basic codes of morality…

One: Adrian could only say what he said if he was Jewish or Christian. If he was a Muslim, Buddhist, Ba’hai, Shintoist, Hindu, some kind of New Age, or any other religion that comes to mind for me at the moment, I doubt very much that he would have said what he said. Now Christianity springs forth from Jewish roots. Jesus Christ was a Jew. True Christianity is in fact founded upon the Jewish religion founded by God. All other religions are founded by men. On the whole, men hate the law of God.

Two: While there are similarities in law codes of morality among many religions, yet there is little understanding of the Mosaic law of God outside of the true, Christian experience of the new birth, which even Jews do not experience. That is because they reject their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Maker and Fulfilment of the Law.

Three: One can only know and keep the law by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul clearly taught this truth. He acknowledged that in all his zeal for God and religion, he could not keep the law. Though in letter he excelled in keeping the law (Philippians 3:6), yet he was persecuting the saints of God, and in essence, the Lord Himself (Acts 9:5). Neither could anyone else in all of Israel keep the law (Acts 15:10). For example, while they were crucifying the Lawmaker, they were trying to get His body removed so that they would not defile the approaching Sabbath.

As it is written, He suffered the contradiction of sinners. He died and was raised from the dead for our sakes so that His life in us would be given to keep the law, which we, in the flesh, do not have the capacity to keep. Paul put it this way:

“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do, I know not. For what I desire, that I do not do; but what I hate, that I do” (Romans 7:14-15 MKJV).

This brings us to a more important issue. What is your point in saying that one does not need to be a Christian to understand the significance of the Ten Commandments? In essence, are you not saying that in order to get the best in life, you don’t really need to be a Christian (that is, worship the Lord in spirit and in truth), that if you can learn the secrets of success as you put them forth, think positively, harness, hone and perfect some concepts, stick with it, travel, educate yourself, and more, you will accomplish whatever your heart desires? Cody, there is nothing farther from the truth! If what you are saying is true, then Jesus Christ died in vain, the Bible is decidedly diminished to nothing of its intended value and purpose, and all those who laid down their lives to preach the cross, did so in vain. Many tens of thousands or more throughout history willingly suffered horrible persecutions in surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ and confessing Him as Lord. Their lives were saved and transformed. It was not without good reason that they devoted themselves to preaching the Gospel.

You say that Christians have the term “repent,” suggesting perhaps that others have another word for the same thing. If so, you are wrong. Repentance is unique to God, to the Jewish religion instituted by God and unique to true Christianity, which was founded in the Old Testament era, doctrine, practice and religion of the Jews. (I don’t want to call it “Judaism” because that suggests, as do all other “isms,” man-made religion. True Christianity is not man-made, though many works in the name of Christ and Christianity are).

The true, Godly, Biblical concept of repentance is to turn from being independent of God the Creator, from determining your own course (as you do and teach others to do by this book), confessing one’s self a sinner in need of salvation, incapable of securing it himself, and turning to the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Source of salvation, submitting to Him as Lord. Here are some testimonies of Scripture to refute your teaching:

“And answering, Jesus said to them, Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things? I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were sinners above all men who lived in Jerusalem? I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:2-5 MKJV).

Obviously, according to Jesus, setting goals, accumulating money and pursuing dreams are not sufficient, even if you can succeed. As to the possibility that other religions have equal or even sufficient status or ability for the souls of mankind, it is written:

“And there is salvation in no other One; for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 MKJV).

And: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-18 MKJV).

And: “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him” (John 3:35-36 MKJV).

And: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23 MKJV).

Cody, you are preaching “another gospel.” The Bible condemns both other gospels and those preaching them. I call on you to repent and be saved. What you teach leads to destruction, I assure you. Read this:

“There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12 MKJV).

I know whereof I speak, and I give you sure evidence and testimony to that end. You do not and cannot give me the same to support your position, which is not your position but that borrowed from men, who often have borrowed from others before them, all the way back to the Fall of man. As good and impressive as their words and ideas may sound, those men do not know what they are talking about. I do. Arrogant? No. I simply know what I am talking about. That is because God is my Teacher, my Source and Inspiration, my “Mentor.” His Book confirms my steps, my learning and teachings. Think about it: He is my Authority. What or who is yours?

You write: “Deciding to become great even when you are not is inspiring to everyone who comes into contact with you.” I for one would not be inspired or impressed at all. I would be turned off. Anyone aspiring to be great has an uncorrected ego that will need dealing with sooner or later, and it will be dealt with, believe me. When the disciples aspired to be great, and argued who among them would be the greatest (inevitable conflicts and results of pride), Jesus corrected them:

“And He said to them, The kings of the nations exercise lordship over them. And they who exercise authority on them are called benefactors. But you shall not be so: but the greater among you, let him be as the lesser, and he who governs, as one who serves. For which is the greater; he who reclines, or he who serves? Is it not he who reclines? But I am among you as He who serves” (Luke 22:25-27 MKJV).

Yes, you spoke of service, Cody, but only those who serve themselves seek greatness, as much as might appear otherwise. The truly great did not seek greatness. Abraham, Noah, David, Moses, John the Baptist, the apostle Paul and so many others simply did what they were called to do. It had nothing to do with being great at all. On the contrary, God had to cleanse them of any such attitude before He would apply them to their missions. Also, Jesus said to those who sought greatness according to man’s definition:

“And He said to them, You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:15 MKJV). There is something to think about.

You write: “Your heart has the inherent potential to tell you what is right.” However, by the inspiration of the Spirit of God, Jeremiah said:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I Jehovah search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9-10 MKJV).

You write: “The wisdom of the ages tells you that you must be quiet in order to come to know yourself, and to come to know the divine trying to speak through you.

This is why I am writing you. You are pitting the wisdom and ability of man against the wisdom of God. I know the difference, and you don’t. While you have come to know the knowledge and boastings of man, and give him an abundance of undue credit, you know very little of God, and deny Him the glory and worship that is rightly His. Therefore I write.

The “divine trying to speak“? Jesus Christ happens to be “The Divine,” and when He speaks, one hears. He is quite able to make Himself heard. He stopped the intensely zealous Saul of Tarsus abruptly, along with all his men when He decided to have Saul hear Him. You are attributing more virtue to man’s ability or attempts at hearing “the divine” than you do to the Lord of lords, Jesus Christ to speak and to make His will known. Let me tell you this, Cody, that man is so obtuse in his heart, and so incapable of discerning God in any way, that unless God graciously gives him the ability to do so, he is utterly at a loss.

You say, “Humble is the person who is willing to accept this concept,” referring to the heart and listening to it. As common and popular as this misconception is, I say, “Foolish is that man.” I hope that God will grant you the humility to allow yourself to be corrected so that you will no longer be listening to your heart but rather seeking after God. Many are those who have suffered loss and defeat by listening to their own hearts and the hearts of others who speak the foolishness of men and not the wisdom of God. As it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the perceiving ones. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Corinthians 1:19-20 MKJV)

And: “Because the foolish thing of God is wiser than men, and the weak thing of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brothers, that not many wise men according to the flesh are called, not many mighty, not many noble. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and God has chosen the base things of the world, and things which are despised, and things which are not, in order to bring to nothing things that are; so that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:25-29 MKJV).

Notice, God chooses “not many mighty, not many noble, but the base, the despised…” You tell people they are all geniuses, special, powerful, creative, and so forth, every one. These are the praises of man, Cody, and here is what the Bible has to say about that:

“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43 KJV).

You are going to have to learn that man has no praise coming to him, however much you would like to believe otherwise. Jesus taught thus:

“So likewise you, when you shall have done all the things commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants, for we have done what we ought to do” (Luke 17:10 MKJV).

That is the true reality, Cody.

Chapter Six

You write: “Another way…to solve problems effectively is to have a plan of where you want to be in exactly 30 years.” And, “I’m conditioning you for greatness.

We have already discussed how it is that “a man’s heart devises his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Here is another wise admonition of James:

“Pay attention to this! You’re saying, “Today or tomorrow we will go into some city, stay there a year, conduct business, and make money.” You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and carry out our plans.” However, you brag because you’re arrogant. All such bragging is evil. Whoever knows what is right but doesn’t do it is sinning” (James 4:13-17 GW).

Strong language. Truth. Reality. As it is written:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways, says Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9 MKJV).

Chapter Seven

You write: “When I think of goals, I think of…people that achieve high things.

Are they high, Cody? In whose estimation or opinion, man’s or God’s? We have mentioned several “great people” whose exploits have been admired throughout history but not by God. Their ends were not desirable either. I had goals too, practicing this same philosophy you now excitedly espouse. It is not new. Thankfully, I did not achieve those goals. Instead, God had other plans for me, of which I now have some fulfilment, some I say, because the process continues in its fulness. And the things God has given me I could not have conceived or achieved, had I desired to do so. I had no idea.

I personally knew a man who set goals and I believe he reached them. However, even reaching them did nothing for him because he was not rich toward God. Jesus told a parable to that effect:

“And He spoke a parable to them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room in which to store my fruits? And he said, I will do this. I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and I will store all my fruits and my goods there. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat drink and be merry. But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul shall be required of you, then whose shall be those things which you have prepared? So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21 MKJV).

Yes, Cody, I acknowledge that you speak of using those riches to ends serving mankind. It is a trap, one that seems quite justifiable and innocent. One assumes he can play with fire and not get burned like so many others have. The truth is not that most will get burned if they play with fire, but all who play with it get burned. Mammon is like no other fire, Cody, and when one looks to mammon as a necessity to achieve one’s goals, that one has knelt idolatrously at the altar of mammon, back facing God. Death then is sure. Not once did anybody serving in true righteousness need money or to appeal for any. God is the Source of all things. As well, God has not called us to the service of mankind, as noble as that sounds, believe it or not. He has purposed that we serve Him. The First of the Ten Commandments is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and mind and strength. You will have no strange gods before Me.” Men, in their fall and perversity, through Adam, have worshipped everything but God, even worship itself.

God’s ways and thoughts are true and sure. Ours are vain, no matter what any “positive thinker,” motivator or philosopher may say. Listen to what the apostle Paul had to say to his brothers and sisters in the city of Philippi:

“For we are the circumcision who worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh; though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other thinks that he has reason to trust in the flesh, I more. I was circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. As regards the Law, I was a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness in the Law, blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. But no, rather, I also count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them to be dung, so that I may win Christ and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death; if by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:3-11 MKJV).

Of all the people recorded in Scripture, people who were great in faith and exploits…Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samson, Samuel, David, Solomon, John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, Paul, all the apostles, not one did it by “positive thinking” or by setting and concentrating on goals. On the contrary, God did not begin to use them until whatever strengths and desires they had were wiped out. They did believe what God had told them. That is all anyone can ever truly count on…His Word. You will one day know that to be very true, without exception.

Therefore, all those statements and concepts you have garnered from the wisdom of men who do not know the Truth will be proven vain; statements like:

If you think so, it will be.

If you write it down, the ‘power that governs all’ (Jesus Christ) cannot say no.

This particular notion is really quite arrogant in God’s sight, let me tell you. Who is man that he can compel God to do anything he pleases, by merely writing it down, or any other way for that matter? That is the sin nature at work at its most presumptuous level.

Without further hesitation, decide where you must start and push and push until you are where you want to be.

One financially successful man once said, “There is God’s will, and man’s will. Man’s will doesn’t matter.” He came to know his Source, and he knew that he wasn’t the one to make it happen with his will or powers.

Cody, do you want the truth, or would you prefer to live in the silly notions, philosophies and vanities men call “wisdom?” Do you want to entertain your dreams and desires a while longer, until you realize that what God and I say is true, or would you like to get right down to the disciplined business of doing the right thing, the best way there is, now, according to the abundance of evidence I have given you in this document?

You write: “Teach yourself to be a humble person like all the greats.

There are several you and many others would and do consider to be great who, first of all, are not great as true greatness goes, and secondly, many are anything but humble. Napoleon is an example to serve for the moment.

Here is a Scripture, written by King Solomon, which speaks of the true essence of humility:

“Start with GOD–the first step in learning is bowing down to GOD; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning” (Proverbs 1:7 MSG).

Chapter Eight

You write: “Love is real, which is going back towards your sensory perception of life.” You also say, “I believe things such as your sensory perception and the laws of science are real.” Cody, I must point out to you that the senses can be easily deceived, and the world is full of such proof. For example, science today makes flavors that can fool most people into thinking they are eating the real thing. Diamonds can be manufactured which cannot be distinguished from the real by our senses. What about Galileo when it comes to laws of science? What are the laws of science? Are you sure? How many things have been “proven” and “disproven”?

The Bible says that it is all going to go:

“And, ‘You, Lord, have laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the works of Your hands. They shall perish, but You will remain. And they shall all become old as a garment, and as a covering You shall fold them up, and they shall be changed. But You are the same, and Your years shall not fail'” (Hebrews 1:10-12 MKJV).

One you quoted said, “That which is real is that which never changes.” I think that is right, depending upon one’s definition of “real.” Everything changes and will change. One thing only does not change, as the Scripture declares, and that is God Himself. All created things change; only the Creator does not. That is why there is no point whatsoever in placing faith in any other thing at any time. To do so is simply idolatry.

You say: “What I like about imagination is that it can never be incorrect.” If never incorrect, you would have to say that it never changes, and if it never changes, therefore it is real. However, let us see what God has to say about the imaginations of men:

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom 1:21).

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2Co 10:5)

Never incorrect, Cody? If man’s imagination never changes, it is not a good thing:

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5).

For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also certain of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring. Then being offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like gold or silver or stone, engraved by art and man’s imagination. (Act 17:28-29)

So you see, Cody, what God has to say about our imaginations. How does that compare with what you have to say? Who would you rather listen to or believe…God, or yourself?

You write: “…the idea that the universe or God, is like the main computer…

God is not the universe. He created it. He is not some kind of impersonal force, intelligence bank, or energy that His creatures “tap in to” or use like some utility or inferior, howbeit glorious tool and ultimately take the glory for themselves. He is THE Person, Almighty God, One Who became man and laid down His life on a cross for you, me and everyone else, to let them know that He knows, identifies with, and deeply cares about us. More than that, He is to be honored, revered, worshiped, loved and feared as our personal Creator and God. He may use us, Cody, but we do not use Him.

Mankind has been breaking His laws from the beginning. That is what God calls sin. You do not mention a word about breaking God’s laws, about sin as the root problem of mankind. You are not aware that unless the sin factor is addressed in every individual, all imaginations, devices and efforts of man are ultimately vain. Only God can address that problem, and He does it by the cross of Christ.

Perhaps I have said far more than enough, addressing several issues several times in this letter (or book). However, I cannot help but write, and know that often we need to hear the same things several times, see them from different perspectives, in different contexts, and so I continue.

You write: “The only way we are going to collectively make the world work for 100% of total humanity is by individually recreating the metaphysical theatres of limited realities.” You then say, “I am showing you how to do it by the principles of this book.

Those are high goals, high-minded intentions and notions, but are they valid? Are they not more of those imaginations we have discussed and which the Lord has addressed? What you are talking about cannot happen. I say this, not as a “naysayer” but as one speaking by the knowledge of God. What did Jesus say? Let’s listen to the One Who knows and understands:

“And He said to him, Why do you call Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17 MKJV).

There is not one good man, Jesus said. It is not about ability, intelligence, education, power, wealth, or even about good intentions or great works, physical or spiritual. As it is written:

“Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:22-23 MKJV)

Are you ready for that day, Cody? Furthermore, Jesus said, concerning the end of our age:

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22 MKJV).

The apostle John was the closest to Jesus on earth during His time. Here is what John had to say about the world:

“We know that we are of God, and all the world lies in evil” (1 John 5:19 MKJV).

He was not rallying the people of the world to change it. He knew better.

According to the title and theme of your book, you write, “Destiny will come after you make the first move.

That theory or notion puts man in the driver’s seat. It espouses the same philosophy you have been declaring all along, and I have addressed it abundantly. You are not the one calling the shots here, Cody. I am not the one calling the shots. None of us is. Good thing! We don’t have what you think we have, but we will have when He is done with us. Until then, we don’t have, and if we don’t have, then we can do nothing of ourselves. Even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Lord and Savior, OUR Savior, said this:

“Then Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father do. For whatever things He does, these also the Son does likewise” (John 5:19 MKJV).

Of His own disciples, He said:

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 MKJV).

He is not speaking of tapping into some all-pervasive intelligence, or connecting by dogged concentration, or prolonged meditation, as TM’ers or Yoga practitioners and others like to think. He is talking of a relationship with a person who has been born again, one who has, at some distinct point in his or her life, received the Holy Spirit, after repentance from sin. He is speaking of a genuine saint, a genuine Christian (one and the same). He is speaking of a true believer, whose life has been transformed by Him.

You have unwittingly come against the Ten Commandments, and thus against God Himself, by glorifying other gods when relating the example of Mohotty who gave credit to his gods as a Hindu. Hindus worship many things and many gods. You and many others have the erroneous (and deadly) notion that the Ten Commandments are common to many religions. You wrote: “You don’t have to be a Christian to understand the significance of these basic laws. In fact, almost every religion in the world has similar basic codes of morality…

While you did not specifically include Hinduism in that statement, you have granted Hinduism value and credibility. However, before God and in His sight, there is no credibility whatsoever. The first two commandments are:

“I am Jehovah your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make to yourselves any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them. For I Jehovah your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generation of those that hate me, and showing mercy to thousands of those that love Me and keep My commandments” (Exodus 20:2-6 MKJV). Have you ever considered why India has been so poor and backward?

Cody, think of this: You commend the Ten Commandments in your book, and then you uphold, as an example to promote your ideas, a man who breaks the commandments. Should this not cause you to see how much in the dark you are, though you are praised by others for your intelligence and ideas? As it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the perceiving ones.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Corinthians 1:19-20 MKJV)

Do you not know that people who cut, puncture and mar themselves as do Hindus and others, do foolishly? Think about it! Do you really think they please God? Did God give them their bodies to abuse? Their gods take pleasure in those acts because they are adversaries to the One True God. Yes, your point was the power of the mind. Let me tell you that while you glorify the power of man’s mind, which is corrupt, as demonstrated by your own examples, and as testified of by me with Scripture and by Jesus Christ, you bring shame to the Mind of God.

You speak of faith. Faith in whom or in what? If faith leads to actions such as those of Mohotty, of what value is that faith? Faith in God will not lead to those silly kinds of actions. You praise faith, but as it is written:

“You believe that there is one God, you do well; even the demons believe and tremble” (James 2:19 MKJV).

Believing is not enough. Even believing the right things is not enough. What is born of that belief? What is the source of that belief, and the fruit of it? Great indiscriminate works or works of value to God? What does He care if somebody cuts himself up in little pieces and sheds not one drop of blood?

You quote Cabot as saying, “If you are convinced, you are convincing.

Yes, that is very true. Many are convinced of many things, and though they have been wrong, as Hitler, Mussolini, Marx and Mao Tse Tung for examples, they have convinced many others. Your teachers, no doubt, may have been convinced, so much that they have convinced you, but they are wrong, Cody, and they lead you to destruction, I assure you. I am convinced, but am I convincing to you? I hope that it will be more than conviction that comes to you. I hope that the grace of God will touch your heart, and that of your family, and “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free…and when the Son of man makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Chapter Nine

You say, “…it’s time for you to take responsibility for everything that has happened in your life.

Yes, it is your time now. You then say, “Nevertheless, you are in control of everything that takes place in your life.

Indeed, it is a great truth that it is not our circumstances, but our reaction to them that makes all the difference, that forms us into what we are. Even those who do not know the Lord benefit with positive reactions. I can’t argue with you there, Cody. I once saw “Life and Times” about Tom Jackson. There he was, a “drunk Indian” in a north Winnipeg jail, and the police there decided to beat him. What was his reaction? “I will hate the white man forever? I will get my revenge?” No. I marvelled at the reaction of one who did not necessarily believe in Jesus Christ. He said he had decided, in that trying time, that if his lifestyle has led him to this state of affairs (which it did), he wanted no part of it. He decided to change. He did, and look at him now…from gutter to glory. Yes, Cody, he took responsibility for his actions and his state of affairs.

But are we in control? No, God is in control. We are in control of nothing. God gave Tom the grace to come through; to others He does not. It is written:

“You will then say to me, Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will? No, but, O man, who are you who replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him who formed it, Why have you made me this way? Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel to honor and another to dishonor? What if God, willing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which He had before prepared to glory; whom He also called, not only us, of Jews, but also of the nations?” (Romans 9:19-24 MKJV)

Jesus said, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Who is in control, the one being called and or chosen, or the One doing the calling and the choosing? Don’t be carrying a burden too great for any man to bear, thinking you are in control, and don’t be laying such a burden on anyone else. It is an impossible one. As James said, “You ought to say, Lord willing, we will go and do this or that.” If He is willing, you are not in control; He is. If He is not willing, you are not in control; He is. Whether willing or not, you are not in control. All those who have tried to control have perished, but if “succeeding,” corrupted all the more by the success of their attainment of control. As the saying goes, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That is because of the sin nature in man. God is demonstrating in all of this existence that we are not made to be independent of Him, that without Him, we die.

You say, “Nothing was ever real, unless it first was unreal.” If we go back to our conversation where you quoted one saying that only that which does not change is real, then God alone has been real because He alone is unchangeable. As it is written:

“I, the LORD, never change. That is why you descendants of Jacob haven’t been destroyed yet” (Malachi 3:6 GW).

And: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 GW).

Jesus Christ is known to the believer as the Anchor of his soul. He is that anchor because He never changes. Everything and everybody else does. He remains the same. We can justly put our faith in Him and be safe and sure.

He was never unreal and never will be. In keeping with your borrowed notion that anybody can do anything, that one is in full control, that one can create their own realities, you say, “If they can do it (referring to the young people), surely you can too.” Think about it, Cody. After all I have shared with you, I think you know what to think.

Does “poverty produce more poverty” as you say? Read this:

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, for your sakes He became poor, in order that you might be made rich through His poverty” (2 Corinthians 8:9 MKJV).

Nobody had a greater impact on the world than the Supreme Example. His apostles all had nothing either. You say, “Being poor never did anyone any good.” Read:

“Not that I speak according to need, for I have learned to be content in whatever state I am. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. In everything and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13 MKJV).

Being poor did me a lot of good, as it has done for many. Neither are the poor limited as you have been led to believe. Those who have told you so are in the worship of mammon.

Whatever has been accomplished with a lot of money will be judged by God as to its true value. As Jesus said:

“And He said to them, You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15 MKJV).

Just think, Cody. That which you are writing may be highly esteemed among men. These are teachings with which many others and I were very familiar, until I came to know the truth. But until then, I was thrilled with those concepts, and devoted to them. Paul the apostle has something to say about those things of great value to man in his case:

“If any other thinks that he has reason to trust in the flesh, I more. I was circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. As regards the Law, I was a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness in the Law, blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. But no, rather, I also count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them to be dung, so that I may win Christ and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death; if by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:4-11 MKJV).

You say, “You need plenty of money to pull it off if you really want to make a difference.” If that is so, then either Jesus doesn’t think that anything you are suggesting that others can or should do with their money is of any value, or, you simply do not need the money, because He said:

“Do not lay up treasures on earth for yourselves, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up treasures in Heaven for yourselves, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 MKJV).

The next few words He spoke as recorded in that passage are these:

“The light of the body is the eye. Therefore if your eye is sound, your whole body shall be full of light. But if your eye is evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:22-24 MKJV).

You end your book with a commendation to breaking the Second and Third Commandments, which say:

“You shall not make to yourselves any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them. For I Jehovah your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generation of those that hate me, and showing mercy to thousands of those that love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain. For Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:4-7 MKJV).

You say there is no worship involved? There were many things destroyed in the war. Why did they take such particular notice to the statue? Why will they not steer absolutely clear of offending the commandment and “play it safe” instead of playing with fire? Those who play with fire get burned. All those who partook of that statue were burned, Cody.

The words they printed on that plaque were poetic, clever, and apparently noble, but they were none of these. As it is written:

“Through Your precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalms 119:104-105 KJV).

Cody, all shows of wisdom and power and love by this world are vain and empty, because they are in conflict with the Lord and His laws, statutes, judgments, testimonies, ordinances and Word.

I have spent much time on this document, as you can see. I also believe that it may serve many, Lord willing. I hope and pray that it will serve you, your mother, and father, and many others well. It will all depend on the grace of God given to determine your reactions to the truth spoken herein. I know that one day, you and I and all others will be lifting up our hands to the Lord in adoration, thankfulness and joy, praising and thanking Him for His great love, goodness, mercy and unmerited favor toward us all.

Victor

THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE TO BE A GOD-ORDAINED POSTCRIPT, CODY:

This morning, it was reported on the news that Christopher Reeves had died. They recorded some words that he had spoken. He firmly declared that in five years, he and many others like him would walk again. He had an intense desire, a focus, a goal, and he publicly declared these.

Christopher determined to conquer his handicap. He determined to overcome the circumstances to which he was subjected. He was the one you quoted saying, “What first seems impossible, then becomes probable, and eventually inevitable.” He was applying those principles of which you write, the philosophies of men that you espouse. But it was not meant to be, because all things are determined not by man, but by God. We are not God, Cody; neither can we do as we please, or make Him do whatever we please.

Christopher could have been victorious, had he known the truth of God, which I preach. It was not his time. One day, it will be, though not in this world. However, I could be somewhat wrong in my conclusions of him, because in those trying times of his, he did learn something very important. He was invited to a conference in which people were promoting success and wealth. They were expecting him, a “positive thinker,” to give a stirring, motivational speech. Instead, he rather “rained on their parade,” and said this, “I had to leave the physical world. By the time I was 24 I was making millions. I was pretty pleased with myself….Since my accident, I’ve been realizing success means something quite different. I see people who achieve these conventional goals. None of it matters.”

He was addressing the very philosophy you declare. Cody, his sufferings were designed by his Creator to teach him that lesson, that truth, and he will have taken that knowledge into his next stage of learning, ahead of many in understanding, because God so ordained it.

The message of the hour is: The Lord God reigns supreme over all things.

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