Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How Do You Measure Life?

Friday, June 17th, 2016

How do you measure life? Like you measure a string, by its length? Methuselah lived more than 900 years, and that is all we know of him. Some of our best were taken by war before they were 25. Some of the greatest died young. Life is more than length.

Do you measure life by breadth or sphere of influence? Alexander conquered the whole world and cursed his childhood because he never learned self-control. Hitler controlled more of the modern world than any other single man. Who wants to emulate Hitler? Life is more than breadth.

Do you measure life by its height — popularity, wealth, or fame? Many have reached the top and discovered emptiness. They made it, but were never sure of what “it” was. Life is more than height.

Real greatness is measured in depth. Everything else about a tree depends on its roots. Everything else about a building depends on its foundation. Depth is the measure of a person!

Shallow people can’t take pressure–they’re only good for fair weather and scatter like buckshot in a crisis.

One with depth is like the sea–winds of circumstances may ruffle the surface, but underneath are great, quiet, untroubled depths. With depth, one stands in the critical hour. Such persons meet the real emergencies. They’re clear headed when great thinking, strong leadership, and decisiveness are necessary.

The deep life, the mature soul, is no accident. It is the product of time for relationships with God, Scripture, prayer, spouse, children. To be too busy for God–or others–is to be too busy!

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their
strength; they shall mount up as eagles; they
shall run, and not be weary, they shall walk, and
not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Richard C. Halverson, chaplain of the
U.S. Senate 1981-1994

Proverbs and the Christian

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

The book of Proverbs has much to say that can benefit the Christian. One of the principal themes of the book is our relationship to God. True wisdom is stressed as fellowship with God, and Solomon declares that the basis of this communion is the fear of the Lord.

Two questions arise. Why is there a need for the fear of the Lord? And, what is the value of the fear of the Lord?

To begin with, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom itself (Prov. 1:7). Again and again, we are reminded that unless a person has a proper respect(fear) of the Lord, he will not be receptive to the word of God. “Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7b). Jesus warns us whom to fear in Luke 12:4-8; and it is not our fellow man, rather we are to fear God. A proper respect for God will cause us to carefully consider our ways.

Solomon gives us many reasons why this fear of the Lord is of great value. It prolongs life (10:27). His thesis is that by keeping us away from evil (16:6), thereby keeping us untouched by the evil (19:23), our lives can be prolonged. People often shorten their lives by their wickedness. There are several illnesses caused directly by wicked behavior. Often, emotional stress is brought on as a result of sin and guilt taking a toll on the body. But the one who heeds the word of God is spared from all this!

Fear of the Lord will increase the quality of life (22:4). It will give one a strong confidence (14:26a). Knowing you are led by the Lord leads to a life of poise and assurance, not despair. It gives one refuge in life’s turmoil (14:26b). It will make life an overflowing experience (14:27). Every day we can start afresh, knowing that in God we have forgiveness, joy, and peace. It will also help us to avoid the pitfalls that destroy so many (14:27b). Not only will we have “quantity of days” but “quality of life” as well.

Although contained in the book of Proverbs, all these principles were recognized by Christ and His apostles (Mt. 10:28; Acts 10:34,35; Phil. 2:12). We should recognize them as well.

Am I Diligent in Self-control?

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

“Know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? Even so; run that ye may attain. And every man that striveth in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
1 Corinthians 9:24,25 ASV

In writing to the christians in Corinth Paul alludes to the Corinthian Games, and encourages them to practice self-control in all things. Paul also tells the Galatian brethren that self-control is a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit (5:23). Peter tells us that we are to diligently add self-control to our faith (2 Pet. 2:16).

Certainly, all disciples must diligently cultivate self-control, and it is to be exercised in ALL things. Ad-
mitedly this is a difficult task. Even the Apostle Paul had to buffet his body (1 Cor. 9:27).

The Greek term means holding self within-keeping all appetites and desires under complete control. It is “controlling reason, emotions, and will through the knowledge of the word and will of God” Lenski-2 Peter 1:6.

Guy N. Woods, commenting on the same verse states, “The word denotes self-government, discipline, the ability to control his own life. It is acquired through the exercise of discernment, the knowledge by which one differentiates between right and wrong, and thus develops from it.”

It is directly opposed to the self-willed individual. One who is dominated by self-interest, and is inconsiderate of others. Many today arrogantly practice “lifestyles” regardless of what others may think, and certainly not concerned about God’s will regarding such matters.

As followers of Christ, we must be careful to maintain self-control in even the “smallest” of matters, and maintain a lifestyle that brings glory to God and His word.

Walking by Faith

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Christianity is a religion of faith (Rom 3:27;10:8;Gal 1:23). It is referred to as ‘the faith’ in Jude 3 and elsewhere. We are told that we walk by faith and not by sight. We have never seen God, or the Holy Spirit. We did not witness the resurrection, nor have we seen the risen Christ. Nevertheless, we believe! Infidels reject Christianity because of this, yet they will accept other things by faith with less evidence than we have for Christianity.

We must be careful to maintain the distinction between faith and opinion. Faith requires evidence (Rom 10:17; John 20:31). Faith presupposes testimony. No testimony-no faith! Opinion is what we think, or believe, without any evidence. Here are some examples. In Genesis 2:9 we are told that the tree of knowledge was in the garden-faith. What was the tree?-opinion. Samson caught 300 foxes in Judges 15:4-faith. How?-opinion. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night-faith. Why at night?-opinion. We can only go so far as God has instructed us in faithfully serving Him, no further.

To obey the Gospel of Christ is to walk by faith. Every step in our obedience is a step of faith. We are to believe (Luke 13:3,5). We are to repent (Acts 17:30). We must confess Christ before men (Rom 10:9,10). We are to be baptized for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). We do not see how baptism remits our sins, but we are told by Jesus and His Apostles it does (Acts 22:16;1 Pet 3:21;Col 2:12; Rom 6:3-5)

To come together to worship God upon the first day of the week is an act of faith (Acts 20:7;Heb 10:25;1 Cor 16:2). What we are to do in our worship is also a matter of faith (John 4:24) whether it be praying, singing, communion, or proclaiming God’s word. We must never insert our opinion as to what God would like, or would appeal to the masses and claim that we are living by faith.

Doing what God says in His word makes men and women of faith (Heb 11). The faith that leads us to obey God today will justify us just as it did those who are listed in Hebrews 11. Men and women are justified by faith when they obey what GOD HAS SAID, not other men’s opinions.

Our Warfare

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

“So then, my beloved, even as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12 ASV

Paul begins this verse with “so then”(ASV) or “wherefore” (KJV) thus drawing a conclusion from the preceding verses; wherein he writes of Jesus Christ giving up His glory to be fashioned as a man and dying on the cross for the salvation of our souls. The conclusion is that we must be about our own salvation with fear and trembling. The phrase indicates the seriousness of the task at hand.

Paul speaks not of terror, but of wholesome, serious caution. The caution that keeps one from ever doing that which would bring dishonor to God. It is recognition of the fact that our soul’s salvation is the most important and all-consuming concern we should have. It cost our Savior His very life on the cross and as soldiers of the cross we must be in earnest!

“Fools make a mock at sin;…”(Prov. 14:9) Men often talk lightly and idly about the devil and his wiles. Holy Scripture teaches us a very different lesson. We are engaged in a lifelong struggle against him. The conflict is deadly, awful. Its issues are most momentous–life or death, heaven or hell. The soldiers of the cross must be in earnest, for they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness”(Eph. 6:12). To talk lightly of the enemy, to jest about such matters so tremendous, is not only unseemly; it is dangerous. It puts men off their guard, and exposes them to the insidious assaults of the tempter.

We dare not take lightly the mortal struggle in which we are engaged. In the New Testament we find terms like “warfare”,”armor of God”,”the good fight of faith”,etc., used to express the Christian’s life. As we consider the society around us and the direction the world is headed, we cannot allow ourselves to become complacent.

Let us commit to labor more earnestly in this conflict-within & without!

Telling God How to do His Business

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

A Bible teacher was once asked the question, “Why was man God’s last creation?” The response was that if God had created man earlier, he would have probably tried to tell God how to create everything else! As far-fetched as this may seem, the Old Testament is brimming over with instances of men and women trying to help God run His business. Remember Sarah? How about king Saul? Whatever happened to Nadab and Abihu? If I remember correctly, even Moses failed to enter the promised land!

Is it any different today? Remember the words of David (By the way, what happened when he tried to move the ark?) “Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins.” (Psalms 19:13) are as relevant today as ever.

The New Testament teaches that man must obey the gospel to be saved. This includes even baptism, yet…! James reminds us that faith without works is dead, and that man is justified by works and not faith only (Jas. 2:24). But you will still hear many pulpiteers and radio-ranters proclaim that faith is all you need.

Paul warned the Galatians that if they attempted to follow the law of Moses as well as the gospel, that they would be severed from Christ and fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4). But apparently, man has improved upon that because we are told by many that it is impossible to fall from grace.

Our Lord built but one church, but thankfully, over the years man has improved upon His mistake by instituting hundreds of others. After all, Jesus is just too narrow-minded!

We are told plainly the type of worship God desires from us. Praying, partaking of the Lord’s supper in reverence, lifting our voices together in song without musical accompaniment, and exhorting one another through the word. But worship is now much better with the lights off, and the distant sound of stomping feet and hand-clapping & waving in the air, etc. Thankfully, too, we have musical groups that come and worship with us–for a fee! Can you imagine singing groups traveling with Paul from town to town, performing for the local church, then selling cd’s and tee-shirts in the front lobby?

Isn’t it great that God has us to tell Him how to run things?

Where Do You Stand?

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

The Scriptures present a problem!
All of humanity (every person that has reached an accountable age) is guilty of sin and in danger of being eternally lost.
It presents but ONE solution! It is Jesus’ death on the cross on our behalf and our complete submission to Him, in order that God may declare us righteous (Rom. 3:23-25).
Here is where ‘the plot thickens’! Our society esteems broad-mindedness as one of its greatest values. Accordingly, one cannot afford to be judgmental of others. On every hand we behold the “”I have no right to condemn or oppose” attitude.
This is nowhere more apparent than in the realm of religion. All world religions are considered viable. But the fact is the gospel of Jesus Christ calls ALL PEOPLE to respond to Him or be lost (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
This broad-minded attitude has gradually crept into the minds of those who claim to follow the Lord as well. One denomination is as good as another–we’re all on different paths to the same goal. But, division among God’s people is always condemned (Amos 3:3; 1 Cor. 1:10-13).
In John 17:20,21 our Lord prayed for the unity of His followers. We can read that He would build His church, and that there is but one (Mt. 16:18; Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:18). That being the case, the whole system of denominationalism and all sectarianism stand opposed to our Savior’s will! Who would want to stand in opposition to Jesus?
The Lord’s church is the only blood-bought and God ordained institution designed to accommo-
date His redemptive plan for humanity (Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:3-14; 22,23; 3:10-12). It is not a denomina-
tion. Neither is it only one among equally viable alternatives for those interested in ‘spiritual’ values.
The early Christians were bold in their affirmation of the uniqueness of the church of Christ, and were persecuted for their stance. Do we really think that it should be any different for us today?

Bible Classes Don’t Just Happen

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

In 2007 the “Rocky Mtn Christian” published an article titled ‘Dynamic Bible Classes Don’t Just Happen’. Dynamic or otherwise, it is certain that Bible classes do not just happen.
We usually have two or three ongoing weekly scheduled Bible classes for the members of this church. Sadly, it seems the majority of the church does not avail themselves of these opportunities to study God’s word.
Let us briefly note six ingredients necessary for a Bible class. As you read consider which of these, if any, you are doing.
First, for a Bible class to happen, it will take prayer. No, not the opening and closing prayer during class time. In this case prayer refers to the continued prayers of the teacher and students for the blessing of God upon the effort to learn His will for our lives, that hearts will be open to the Word, and that souls would come to a knowledge of the truth.
Secondly, attendance is necessary. What if the class assembled and the teacher never appears. What happens? The answer is the same if the teacher is there and the student(s) never arrive!
Next, Bible classes take planning. This is one of the reasons we have themes for the year & quarters. The students & teachers must have an understanding of what is to be accomplished in study.
Another ingredient is time. We’re not talking about the 45 minutes we spend in class. It takes time for the teacher to prepare. It should also take time for the students to prepare. How much time do you spend preparing for class? (assuming you come to class)
Fifth, for a Bible class to ‘happen’ takes study. This involves reading, thinking about what is read and making the application to one’s life. A key ingredient in studying is memorization of scripture.
Finally, the last ingredient for the study to happen is sacrifice. This may be the key ingredient that makes the other five possible. This may also be the reason so few attend Bible class!
Let’s add a seventh ingredient–You!

Thoughts on Worship

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

The church assembles together upon the first day of the week primarily to worship God. The primary factor in our worship is its acceptability to God. (If not, then why worship?) Our worship, then, must be according to His revealed will. In John 4:24 we are commanded to worship in spirit and in truth.
Consider briefly some “spirit” matters regarding our worship.
In our worship to God we should offer our best efforts. Is our worship worthy of the Lord? Do we dare come before the Creator in a careless or flippant manner?
We must worship with reverence and awe(Heb. 12:28). Worship must be conducted in such a way that souls are edified and well-fed. The worship service should be a time of learning more about God and His will for us.
All of these things should be on our minds as we assemble. So, how should we prepare for our worship assemblies? Here are some suggestions.

Show respect by our silence(Psalms 46:10)

Be prepared to listen and ACCEPT instruction from God’s word(Josh 3:9; Psalms 119:117).

Clear your mind of all thoughts that would draw your attention away from God. Think thoughts of praise and adoration for God(Hab.
2:20; James 4:8).

Understand that worship is a solemn occasion. It is not “showtime” or “happy hour” that brings us together. Rather, it is standing on holy ground in the presence of our Creator. This sacred reverence should be reflected in our attitudes, our dress, our singing, our prayers, our communion, and lessons. Because Jesus is with us as we assemble, we must respect His majesty and power(Mt. 28:18).

Is Belief In God Irrational?

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Must one abandon reason to accept revelation?
Most modern concepts of faith are fideistic; tending to deny or minimize the role of reason inChristianity. Many contend that faith and reason are somehow contradictory. More and more,we see Christians ridiculed as foolish, ignorant, or fanatical in the national media and
elsewhere. Of course, this is nothing new (cf. Acts 26:24). Unfortunately, many who profess to follow Christ speak and behave in such a way as to support the proposition!

Many in Christendom have misunderstood Biblical faith. Faith has become “a leap in the dark” wherein one lives righteously, hoping (with fingers crossed, perhaps) that there really is a God. Some even allege that to use the reasoning faculties in pursuit of righteousness negates faith. Is this the case? Is that Biblical faith?

Let’s explore briefly the question—Is Christianity of human construction or based upon truth and verifiable facts? Putting it another way, are we irrational in believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16)? This is extremely important. As Antony Flew stated:
“For the committed Christian what is at issue is the rationality of the commitment”‘

The scriptures present faith as an act both of the intellect and the will. Notice the case in John chapter four:
“And from that city many of the Samaritans believed on him because of the word of the woman, who testified, he told me all things that ever I did” (v. 39)

The Samaritan’s belief was based on the woman’s testimony. Her belief was a result of hearing Jesus’ very words regarding her history. As the story continues, the Samaritans further state: “Now we believe, not because of thy speaking: for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is the Savior of the world” (v. 42). For both the woman and the Samaritans, there was the claim (Jesus is the Savior) and belief in evidence to support the claim, which produced a knowledge of the truth of the claim.

Similarly, our Lord openly confronted Thomas with his unbelief and offered him the opportunity to empirically test the validity of the other apostle’s resurrection claim, urging him to touch his hands and reach in and feel the wound made by the spear (John 20). Notice that as our Lord extended this invitation he was encouraging Thomas to “be not faithless, but believing”(John 20:27).

Analysis of the New Testament demonstrates the authors were aware of the need to offer verifiable and credible testimony regarding their message. Peter and John both state that they were witnesses to the resurrection. That they had seen, heard, and even handled the Son of God, and were not following “cunningly devised fables” (2 Peter 1:16-18; 1 John 1:1-3).

Paul stated regarding the resurrection, that over 5oo people, many who were still alive, had seen Jesus after His resurrection (1 Cor.15:5,6).

An accepted, rational way of arriving at knowledge is through credible testimony (ie., a court of law). In fact, “faith” presupposes testimony. If nothing is said or reported, there can be nothing to believe or disbelieve. This is exactly the situation found in the Scriptures (Romans 10:14-17)! Wherever the gospel was proclaimed in the book of Acts, faith in the testimony of the messengers produced obedience to the gospel.

Is it rational to believe in God, have faith in His word, and submit to Jesus Christ? Yes!
Others may look at the evidence and choose not to believe, but they cannot honestly claim that it is irrational for those who do believe, to do so.

REFERENCES

Ashton, John & Michael Westacott (2006) The Big Argument:Does God Exist? (Green
Forest, AR: Master Books, Inc.)
Flew, Antony (1966) God & Philosophy (New York: Dell)
Geisler, Norman L. & Ronald M. Brooks (1990) Come, Let Us Reason-An Intro. to Logical
Thinking (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House)
Popkin, Richard H. & Avrum Stroll (1956) Philosophy Made Simple (Garden City,
NY:Garden City Books)
Sztanyo, Dick (1996) Faith and Reason (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press)
Woods, Guy N. (1991) 1 &2 Peter, 1,2,3 John, and Jude; New Testament Commentary
(Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Co.)