"Should we strive to be kings in God's Kingdom? David was a man after God's own heart and he only wanted to be a bumble doorkeeper, didn't he?"
Many people have misunderstood what David meant in Psalm 84:10 simply because they have not read this verse carefully. Notice it. David says, "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be u doorkeeper in the house of my God, THAN to dwell in the tents of wickedness." In the modern English of the Moffatt Translation, we read, "Better a single day within thy courts than a thousand outside! I would RATHER sit at the threshold of God's house than to live inside the tents of worldly men!" David saw the CONTRAST! He didn't say he wanted to be only a doorkeeper. But he did say that he could see that it was far better to be the lowest servant IN God's Kingdom, than to be great OUTSIDE of God's Kingdom and continue to live in the wickedness of this world. Do you suppose that God will allow anyone to receive the gift of eternal life in His Kingdom if such a person would RATHER LIVE IN THE WORLD? Of course not! David could see the goal God has set before all of us. He realized how valuable life in God's Kingdom is compared to the hopelessness of this frustrated evil world. Verses Two and Three of Psalm 84 show how deeply David FELT the desire to have eternal life. It was the goal that dominated his whole life — it consumed his thoughts. David was not ashamed to admit that his innermost longing was to be born into God's Kingdom. He had no desire to continue in this present evil world. David was humble! He was not deceived into thinking that God will grant eternal life to anyone who puts forth minimum effort to qualify for a minimum reasonability — that of a doorkeeper. In Psalm 63:8 David says, "My soul followeth HARD AFTER thee..." He was striving hard — exerting maximum effort to achieve God's Kingdom. He knew, "If the righteous scarcely be sailed, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" Because of David's whole-hearted attitude God promised him a place of HIGH AUTHORITY in the World Tomorrow. "And I the Eternal will be their God, and my servant David a PRINCE among them; I the Eternal have spoken it" (Ezek. 34:24.) David will be a prince in the Kingdom of God, not merely a doorkeeper! God promises Christians today the opportunity of rulership in His Kingdom. In Revelation 3:11, Jesus warns: "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." A crown denotes a position of rulership! But God will not give that crown to us if we can't see the contrast as David did. If we are not willing to forsake this evil world and turn whole-heartedly to God — striving with all of our energies for His Kingdom — we may lose out on eternal life altogether!
"What should a Christian do when invited out to a relative's home for dinner and unclean meat is served?"
This is a problem which must be faced by virtually all of those who wish to obey God. God's Word clearly shows that we should not eat unclean meats (Lev. 11, Deut. 14). Meats such as pork or shrimp are simply not fit for human consumption — they are guaranteed to wreck human health, weaken the body and open the door for myriads of ailments. Therefore, what should a Christian do when eating a meal in a friend's home? Jesus Christ declared, "Let your LIGHT so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). For a Christian to go ahead and eat the unclean meats would be to HIDE his light — such action would not be a "good work." His light would not be shining — it would be OUT! On the other hand, we should not go to the other extreme. It would be rude and very uncivil to imperiously tell the host or hostess, "Don't you know that pork is not fit for food? The Bible tells us not to eat it!" Such a statement shows a great lack of manners, wisdom, and tact! Such an approach would very likely cause offense, hurt the feelings of the host, or even stir up animosity and anger. If a Christian has been invited out for dinner, he should let his friend (or relative) know ahead of time whenever possible that he does not eat certain meats. Of course, he should simply state this fact in a polite, friendly, diplomatic, "by the way," manner in order not to cause offense or give the impression of being a religious fanatic. Remember, a warning or statement in advance will save much possible embarrassment later, at the dinner table! Once in a while, of course, a person may find himself already at a neighbor's home for dinner — with a huge pork roast sitting on the table! The crisis has come! How should this situation be handled? Again, tact and wisdom are necessary. The best way to face this situation is to first of all BE VERY FRIENDLY — smiling and courteous. Then, it would often be best to sit down to the meal, converse in a normal manner, take the clean foods which are offered, and quietly, without ostentation or any great display avoid taking any of the unclean meat. Just pass it up with a friendly "Thank you, but I have found that pork is bad for my health," or "No, thank you." In many cases, that would be all you would need to remark. If the host is particularly interested, and asks why you do not eat pork (or whatever unclean meat is offered), it would be all right to explain a little further — depending upon the friendliness and attitude of the host. It may be all right to explain that you have found God's Word says pork should not be eaten, and therefore you have stopped eating it. A smiling, friendly approach will help to ease any "awkwardness" or alleviate any "coldness" which could conceivably arise. Remember to let your light SHINE! Obey God — but be friendly as you do so! Do not compromise the Truth of God — yet, on the other hand, do not make a "bad" impression by being rude or offensive. Ask God for wisdom and His divine guidance in these delicate situations, and He will give it to you!
"Does Luke 14:26 really mean that we must HATE others in order to be able to love Christ — and be Christ's disciple?"
Absolutely not! The Bible teaches honor and obedience to parents (Ex. 20:12). Ephesians 5:22-23 commands us to LOVE OUR MATES, if we are married. The Bible tells us over and over — LOVE your neighbor (Matt. 22:39). Yet how can this apparent contradiction be explained? Matthew 10:37 gives the same account in DIFFERENT WORDS. Here we find the true meaning.' "He that loveth father or mother MORE THAN ME is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Now the meaning is clear. Christ is speaking in COMPARATIVE TERMS! He is saying that we are to love our Creator MORE than any physical thing or person. First, we are to love God with all our heart and mind — and then to love others! The New Testament was inspired and written in Greek. The Greek word for "hate" is miseo and can also be translated "love less." You can check this in Strong's Concordance, No. 3404. This is the correct rendering of the word. This scripture should be more clearly translated, "If any man come to me, and love not less his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, arid his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." In Acts 5:29 we are told that, "We ought to obey God rather than men." That means if our love toward friends, family, neighbors — or even ourself — contradicts God's laws — we must love HIM first. Obedience to Him OVERSHADOWS ALL ELSE; even if this entails giving up your own family and friends — or even your OWN life!