george_hancockstefanIn a conversation a friend asked my opinion about another friend who he planned to invite for a speaking engagement at a conference.  I have known both of them for a long time and I mentioned that the friend whom he plans to invite is an excellent speaker if given certain perimeters.  In my experience I have found that he is better in 30 minutes that in 60 minutes and even more scintillating in 15.  However, if the perimeters are not given he talks for hours!

God in the Garden of Paradise placed some restrictions on the first couple – Adam and Eve. He told them that they could eat of every tree in the garden except one tree.  God in His divine wisdom placed restrictions, perimeters for the benefit of the first couple.  They had a choice to obey or disobey what the Lord gave them.

Paul writes in his epistle that we do not need to know the works of darkness.  He tells the believers that some boast about their knowledge of evil and he tells that in the knowledge of evil they should be ignorant.  He places restrictions on the new believers because he knows that the works of darkness possess magnetism and are tantalizing.  It is better for one to keep one’s distance than to come close and be dragged into the sin of darkness.

One of the fascinating aspects of our creation in the image and likeness of God is that we possess free will.  This is our reflection of our creatureliness.  We are not divine, but we have divine characteristics.  The will of the humans is demonstrated in the life of Jesus when he tells us that there is complete agreement between Him and His Father and that the words that He speaks are the words of His Father because the delight of His life is to do His will.

As my children have grown into adulthood, I found that I had a number of conversation in which I stated the positions of my father.  My father would outline the opposition to what I would like to do and then he would say: This is how I see things!  However, you are an adult! You can do what you think is the right thing.


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Many times I listened to my father and sometimes I did not. Often when I did not listen negative things happened, but while those things affected me negatively, it did not affect my relationship with my father.  He continued to love me, even though at times I knew that I hurt him deeply.

I find out that the guidance and the restrictions that God has placed upon me are found in the Holy Scriptures. How can a young man keep his path straight asks the Psalmist? We can do that if we walk according to God’s Word.


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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...