In 1997 an Eagle Rock Junior High student won the Idaho Science Fair first prize. His project involved showing how easily we believe warnings of environmental problems. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control of the chemical “hydrogen dioxide.” The petition claimed it is a major component in acid rain, if inhaled it can kill you and that it decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes. He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical. Forty-three said yes, six were undecided, and only one knew that the chemical was H20 – water. The title of his prize winning project was, “How Gullible Are We?” Need I say more? This is Just-A-Minute.
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Jesus is a friend to all those who love Him, just as He wants to be the Savior to all those who obey Him. A friend is defined in the dictionary one attached to another by affection or esteem. If you would like to be a friend to Jesus, as He very much wants to be a friend to you, then all of us at Highway will do what we can to help you be a “Friend to Jesus.” Hymn # 699 is a song about being a friend to Jesus, and we are to Him because He is a greater one to us.
The word “family” is a word that has associations and a much deeper meaning than the word “friend.” for some people, unfortunately, the word “friend” has more meaning than the word “family.” It seems that some came from families that never really developed as the Lord desired. Whatever might have been in the past, all who are members of the Highway Church of Christ are members of the Lord’s family. The word “family” in our context of today is for the friends of Jesus to be a member of the Lord’s family. Our family and friends day is about relationships one with another and an occasion where all can worship the Lord in peace, love, spirit and truth.
Thus, on this day, our friends and family guests are the honored ones in our presence –as we honor and worship the only One who is the Creator of us all.
Metal, plastic, glass, and hidden wires,
Computers serve both gospel preachers and liars.
Is there anyone in the market for a church complete with its own cemetery? A medieval Scottish church and its graveyard have been put up for sale on eBay (2004). St Michael’s in Covington, near Biggar in Lanarkshire, has zoning permission to be converted into a three-bedroom home. The minimum bid is £75,000. The Daily Record says it includes its belltower, pews and a stained glass window. The building formerly housed a Church of Scotland. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of someone buying it and opening up shop. In this society if someone becomes dissatisfied with a church, they just go down the street and start a new one. What I wonder: did it ever occur to these folks to check with the Lord before they start their new enterprise? This is Just-A-Minute.
“For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, ‘I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.’”
When we gather into assembly (the word congregation is “ekklesia”), Jesus assembles with us and sings praises with us. This quotation comes from the Messianic psalm numbered 22. It has numerous references to the life of Jesus that are quoted or alluded to in the NT. Here, however, is a reference to what is happening after ascension and right now. There is something special about when the assembly assembles as a whole, an extra blessing, if you will. I know that Jesus says, “where two or three are gathered together” and I know that we have the promise “lo, I am with you always”, but do we not appreciate the former a bit greater than the latter? Is there not some bit greater assurance of Jesus’ presence, when two or three are gathered, than when along? If so, then should there not be an even great sense of presence when the whole assembly assembles for praise? Interestingly enough, Psalm 22 continues:
“From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.” (25-28).
A second time congregation (“ekklesia”) is used, but this time in the phrase “great assembly”. Could this refer to the same thing as in Heb 12:22-24?
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
There are two assemblies in Hebrews. The first is that of the firstborn on earth with their names recorded in heaven and the second is what the KJV calls the “general assembly” in heaven of all God’s praise giving beings.
Have any of you studied these passages in light of each other? Have you any thoughts on it? I am simply interested in learning more and discovering if anyone else is intrigued.
An Iranian newspaper reported the controversial story of a woman who claims to have given birth to a frog. The paper reported that the creature is believed to have grown from larva to an adult frog inside her body and the paper carried quotes from medical experts who said there are human characteristics to the animal. Clinical biology expert Dr Aminifard is quoted: “There are similarities in appearance, the shape of the fingers and the size and shape of the tongue.” The story sounds to me like it is better suited for the National Enquirer than a reputable newspaper. The scripture says, “Test all things” (1 Th 5:21). The old proverb is certainly true: he who believes everything, will fall for anything! This is Just-A-Minute.
Tonight during our group Bible reading, we looked at three major points about “The Future” as we near the finish of the series, “The Greatest Subjects of the Bible.”
1. Man does not know or control the future, Pro 27.1
2. God reveals the future in Scripture, Ep 2.6-7, Rv 1.1.
3. Let’s put our future in God’s hands, Psa 31.15.
We looked at other verses and, especially on point #3, what it means to put our future in God’s hands. But this ought to give you an idea of the direction we took on the subject.
The 3×5 card handout with the points and passages can be seen here:
In the KJV Jesus asked Saul why he kicked against the “pricks”. Other translations have “goads”. Goads in Saul’s day were sticks sharpened and jabbed at cattle to move them along. Cattle can be mighty stubborn and difficult to move. Years ago Will Mayhue, a fellow preacher friend and a fine one too, came over to help me load two steers, about 6 or 7 hundreds pounds apiece into the back of my pickup to take to market. We herded them into a stall, backed the truck to the stall door and placed a couple of bales of hay for them to mount on their way to the truck bed. I didn’t know how stubborn steers could be. We tied a rope around the neck of one and Will pulled while I pushed. After about an hour of struggle, we realized this we weren’t making any headway. This wasn’t going to work. Neither steer would budge. They simply dug in their feet and refused to cooperate. So we decided we needed a cattle prod. We went to the Co-op but they were sold out. So I thought I could make one using an electric fence charger. We went back and strung it together. Will got in the front to pull the rope around its neck and I got behind to apply the home-made cattle prod at the rear. Every time the electric pulse surged through the wire and into the calf, the steer would move forward and I told Will, “I think we are making progress.” Will replied, “You may be making progressback there but up here he hasn’t moved.” The calf was like an accordion. The rear was moving forward to escape the electrical charges but the head and neck wasn’t moving at all. Finally, the calf moved, jumped into the truck and the other followed easily. But I learned something that day about “kicking against the goads”.
God’s commands are all given for our good, but often we don’t agree with what God wants us to do. We may prefer to tell a little lie, to spread a little gossip, to hang onto a little offence or whatever. We want to do what we want to do! We end up like the calves, kicking against the pricks. Then finally, when we give in and accept God’s will, we wonder why in the world didn’t we do it before and enjoy His blessings that come with yielding acceptance and humble obedience.
In Romans 9, the apostle Paul deals with a problem that many Israelites, through the years, have surely thrown up to him concerning the ethics of God and the nation of Israel. Did not God promise Israel a land of inheritance? He did. If He did, why is it that God now is dealing differently with the nation? To this Paul addresses his words. He makes clear that in the writings of the prophets, God made distinction between the physical land and national promise to the collective people and those who God specifically chose through whom He would bring His messiah. Those who paid particular attention to His words would see this, but those who did not would begin to cry aloud that God is not fair. In part, this was the problem, and Paul said as much in this words: “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (10:2; NKJV). APPLICATION: let us be sure we have a clear understanding of God’s standard of right as we seek to help others understand and make application themselves.
- in the context of Israel not waking up to what was going on around them – “Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a mighty man who shouts because of wine.” (Psalm 78:65)
- in the context of getting out of sin – “Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”” (Ephesians 5:14)
- in the context of being given direction in life – ” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”” (Genesis 28:16)
Without doing damage to the original context with too much cut and paste here, the point is not that God actually sleeps or that our direction in life comes from dreams – the point is that it’s important to not test the patience of God. We must wake up from our spiritual slumber lest we find out too late that the Lord was with us but we were not with the Lord. Ignorance only goes so far (Acts 17:30) and that length is not one that we should be interested in measuring out. We must listen to the alarm before the alarm quits talking and the Lord starts shouting. Sound like a parable to anyone? Maybe one from somewhere around Matthew 25:1-13?
The books of the Bible were not originally divided into chapters and verses. Instead, each book was one undivided document. Stephen Langton, Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, is credited with first dividing the Bible books into chapters in about A.D. 1227. The dividing of the chapters into verses was a later development in the 1500s.
We can be grateful for the chapter and verse divisions of the Bible books for such facilitates the citing of particular parts of a biblical document. Imagine how difficult it would be if one wanted to cite something out of Isaiah 40 and the best he could do was to say, “Go over about two-thirds into the book of Isaiah and look for this statement.” Or one wanted to call attention to the eighth chapter of Romans and the best he could do was to say, “Go to about the middle of Paul’s letter to the Romans.” Thus, the chapter and verse divisions are a tremendous aid to Bible study.
It is interesting to note that, as it turns out, several interesting details about the church are provided in Chapter 2 of various Bible books. Consider the following. (More …)
Mama didn’t have a high school diploma, but she was wise beyond her years. I’ve often thought had she been allowed to go to college, she would have been a great success at whatever she chose to do. With 17 brothers and sisters, she had to stay home after finishing the ninth grade to help out with things around home. She and I went to the same country school.
One of the things mama taught me as a teenager was the importance of having a church home. I recall we were in the kitchen of our small country home when she said, “Everybody needs to be a member of a church. Then if they have a death or some trouble, they will have people who will help and support them. People that don’t have a church family don’t have people to help when they have trouble.”
She had already taught me the distinctiveness of the church of Christ. She said, “Jesus built one church. There’s just one.” I knew early on the church He built was the One that wore His name, and the only one we can read about in the Bible. Denominations hadn’t come into the picture when Jesus established His church, the first church. She taught me this long before we started going to worship regularly. That’s a long story, and for another time.
It’s true. Everybody needs a church home and for multiple reasons. Let’s consider some for a minute.
1. We need a church home for salvation. Jesus gave His life as a sinless sacrifice for us that we might live with Him eternally in heaven one day. We can’t separate Christ and the church (Acts 5:23).
2. We need a church home for fellowship. Christians are like family members. They laugh with us when we laugh, and they cry with us when we cry. They will stand beside us all the way. People seldom get into trouble when fellowshipping with followers of Jesus (John 17:12; 1 John 1:3).
3. We need a church home for spiritual growth, to learn more of God’s word. Preachers and teachers spend endless hours preparing Bible lessons to teach others about the Lord, to increase the listener’s knowledge. We need a church home to be built up in the faith (Acts 2:42-47).
4. We need a church home to obey the command to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1).
5. We need a church home for comfort in difficult times (2 Corinthians 1:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11).
The Lord intended the local church to provide much of the support and encouragement we need as His disciples.
There’s 1Th 4.11, of course. Then there are Jesus’ words to Peter when the latter asks about John. And we have warnings against meddling in the affairs of others, Pro 26.17, 1Tm 5.13.
What other verses can you think of that tell Christians to mind their own business? And how do you see this fitting in with the command to proclaim the gospel?
Continuing the thought from the previous article, there is a contrast between two methods of testing. In the Qur’an, the primary means of authenticity is in the majestic quality of the Surahs. In other words, the objector will be sustained in his objection if he can produce a Surah of the same quality. If this is does, then the Qur’an can be shown to be no higher than the quality of man’s work – nothing divine about it necessarily. Another means of authenticity is in connection to the lives changes by the Qur’anic teachings. This is contrasted with the Bible (Scriptures) approach to authenticity. There are a number of methods applied. They are the accuracy of textual transmission, archaeology, and prophetic language. It is the accuracy of textual transmission that is the focus in this article.
Apologists for the Qur’an’s textual credibility argue that the Qur’an “is the only revealed Book whose text stands pure and uncorrupted today” (Yusuf, footnote 2289). Yet, there is evidence that brings into question the credibility of this sentiment. Evidently, within the first twenty years after the death of Mohammad there was some significant dispute concerning the textual integrity of the Qur’an. “The Quran cannot allow us to come any closer to the original text than the Uthmanic Revised Standard Version 20 years removed from Muhammad” (www.answeringmuslims.com).
The reason for this dispute is associated with four people who were directly commissioned by Muhammad to be credible people in the “reciting” of the Qur’an” (www.islamtomorrow.com/articles/Bible_vs_Quran.asp) after his death. Of those four, one died in battle, so that left three. Of those three, there was some variation between the versions they produced. This, naturally, produced some confusion. At the request of one person, the leader of the Islamic community (the Caliph Uthman) set about to produce a uniform copy of the Qur’an. “Uthman then ordered four men to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies…and ordered that all other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt” (www.harvardhouse.com).
From this we learn there was an “original Qur’an” (634 CE), but this was destroyed in A.D. 667 by Muslim leaders. It’s clear “the original Qur’an was not accepted” (ibid). The obvious question to ask in this regard is why? Was it because there existed drastic differences from the earlier versions compared with the newest one? Was it because there were but small variations between the copies? “Why were the other copies and fragments ordered to be burnt?” The answer is found in the original statement: ‘Hudhaifa was afraid of the different recitations of the Qur’an’” (www.harvardhouse.com).
Thus, the “pure” Qur’anic text assertion is not so much the case. From one source, the oldest Qur’anic text dates to around A.D. 790, well over 150 years after the time of Muhammad’s death (www.bibleprobe.com/corruptedquran.htm). Of course, this is disputed by Islamic scholars. Without much comment, Yusuf Estes says there is one Arabic version (though he admits varied translations), but he addresses nothing of the historical remarks above.
In honor of the pre-Thanksgiving dusting of snow we got here in Texas last night, here’s a poem I wrote earlier this year…
“Ode To Ice”
It never stays
This thing called ice
That makes it mean
But makes it nice
Mean because we like it so
Yet still we like to see it go
Ice is good for limited run
Then luster’s lost
We want the sun
The cold that we anticipated
Becomes as something overrated
If only we could have a nickel
For every time our minds were fickle
In August we would feel a tickle
Just to see a lone icicle.
In regard to my posts on evolution verses creation and the consequences, people say, “You are just an alarmist. There is no need to panic.” I agree there is no need to panic, but I question the charge that I am simply an alarmist. I have been preaching nearly fifty years and during that time and under my watch I have witnessed a continental shift in regard to ethical standards and morality. Behavior banned as anathema for not centuries but millennia, is now defended and promoted. We’ve traded “Father Knows Best” for the “Modern Family” and fail to grasp we’ve been short-changed and humbugged. I wish I knew how to unspill the glass of milk. But, alas, I fear it is past recovery. This is Just-A-Minute.
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Have a personal library? Maybe it will help you to figure out today’s Bible riddle:
You have two books. One of them is upside-down and the other is rotated so the top of the book is facing you. What is the sum of the first page in each book?
Don’t have a personal library? No problem. All you need is a single copy of God’s word. Get your own Bible out or click the provided link to check out Genesis 29:1-20 and look for the word that answers the riddle.
If I bear no fruit, will God reject me?
On final judgment day he will inspect me,
A false and barren tree with naught but leaves,
A consumer who ungratefully receives,
A useless servant, talent buried deep,
Who planted nothing, yet fiercely hopes to reap. (More …)
In The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson says to start with a plan, any plan. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it ought not to be. You shouldn’t spend so much time planning that you lose energy and enthusiasm in the start. Good advice for human projects. Later on, that plan will get tweaked and adapted as needed.
Isn’t it good to know that when we start the plan of God, it’s already mapped out for us, all the way through to the end? We don’t have to spend time and energy making up the plan. He’s already done it for us. We can jump into it immediately with our full energies, knowing that the plan is perfect and will carry us to the final goal.
The plan is simple, effective, appropriate to our needs and challenges, and immediately available to us. All we have to do is run with it.
Where love is not, there hatred is; for the heart cannot remain a void.Bengel
A prayer to God to guide us in times of loss
Originally posted on Call for Fire Seminar:
Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock that belongs to you, which lives alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land. As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, show us marvelous things” (Micah 7:14-15).
I spent the last few days concentrating on ministry in response to disaster or pandemic. The enormity of need that explodes into existence when calamity strikes staggers me. The impact of Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina, and Sandy illustrates. Those storms damaged or destroyed millions of dollars of property. People who had believed themselves secure in their place of residence suddenly found themselves homeless. A cousin of my mother’s lost their house in Homestead, Florida, and everything in it during Hurricane Andrew. In the aftermath of some crises, public order breaks down; desperate people loot abandoned stores and homes. These disasters require great cooperation between government agencies, the…
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For those of you who may live in the middle Tennessee area, here’s a little FYI:
The Earleyville church of Christ will host a Creation vs Evolution Seminar on December 5-7 with Kyle Butt (of Apologetics Press) speaking.
Friday services will be at 7 pm and will be held at the building of the Bybee Branch church of Christ. Saturday sessions will begin at 6 pm and will also be held at Bybee Branch. Sunday services will be at the building of the Earleyville church of Christ at 9 am for Bible Class and 10 am for Worship.
Both of these congregations are found in Warren County, TN; Bybee Branch being in the city-limits of McMinnville, and Earleyville being not too far out into the country. Each can easily be found on sites such as Google Maps if you’re needing directions.
In the Spring of 2014, my father came to Wadsworth, Ohio to deliver a series of lessons on “The Christian Man”. He presented these lessons in some form back in Martinsburg, WV some years ago, but I wanted him to come to WCTV studios and record them for others to profit from. I was also able to get his parents to be interviewed as well to discuss their many years of service to the church.
I am thankful to the wonderful staff at WCTV in Wadsworth for assisting in accommodating the studio and schedule for my parents. My father is battling GBM brain tumor and my mother has been fighting MS since 1982. They have fought the good fight together for nearly 50 years!
Also, I appreciate the poem on the flyer written by Karen McCoy which reads:
I’ll follow in your footsteps Dad
I want to be like you
You know you are my hero
My love for you is true.
I feel safe when I am with you
You are so brave and strong
You stand by when I am happy
You hold my hand when things go wrong.
So make your footsteps smaller
So I can keep up with you
Then some day when I’m a Dad
I’ll be a hero, too.
– Karen McCoy
I have created a Playlist on YouTube so you can see these videos. Here is the link.
Did I hear Richard Mansel say he was going to break this record next week during his regular sermon? ;-)
Don’t know about you, but it sounds a bit gimmicky to me.
I grew up in a Christian home. I had good Christian parents who took me to church regularly. They were involved in the youth program and since we didn’t have a Youth Director in those days, they served that role. I was baptized at church camp when I was 12. I grew up aware of God and His love for me. Yet for all of that, I still grew up IN THE WORLD. I learned the values of the world from friends, from the radio and TV. While the church taught me to know God, the world taught me to live as though God didn’t exist. By the time I was a teenager I had learned to be two-faced! I was an expert at wearing masks. At church I wore my Christian mask; away from church I wore my worldly mask! I tried to be the person others expected me to be to fit in. I wanted to be accepted by my friends. I ended up doing things that I would be ashamed of and later regret. I wanted to be a thorough-going Christian, but I also wanted to be accepted by my friends. But gradually with the help of great Christian mentors and later a good wife, I came to grips with it all and decided it was time to be who I claimed to be. The old ways were sent one by one to the “trash bin” and then permanently deleted. This is not to say I have completed this journey. I’m still working on it. But I am working on it. I know who I am, to whom I belong and where I am headed.
If there is no Creator, then there are no absolutes, moral or otherwise. Your belief is just as good as mine; your truth is just as good as my truth. Morality requires a Supreme Being to set a standard of right and wrong, good and evil. Our great nation was built on the basis that there is a God in heaven who set a standard of morality. The proverb declares, “righteousness exalts a nation”. But if you remove God and replace it with the theory of evolution, who can say what is righteous and what is unrighteous? If America does not return to its roots soon, the soaring eagle will be replaced by a carrion eating buzzard as the national symbol. This is Just-A-Minute.
To write you must learn quiet.Suzanne U. Clark, The Roar on the Other Side
If everything came into existence by chance and natural processes, then mankind has no responsibility to a supernatural being. Religion becomes a crutch for weak-minded and superstitious people. Churches become monuments to human ignorance. Furthermore, if evolution is true, then our actions are consequences of billions of years’ worth of natural events over which we had no control. We bear no responsibility for our behavior. Whether we do what some perceive as good or bad is meaningless, since there is no good or bad. That is the logical extension of Darwin’s theory. It is one I can live without. This is Just-A-Minute.
There seems to be among some a predisposition against any organized assembly, yet that is exactly what I see in the NT. Moreover it has its roots in the heavenly realm.
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”
There is what the NKJV and NASV call a “general assembly (panegyris – a celebratory gathering, a festal assembly) in heaven. I prefer this reading for it includes all the heavenly persons (including the spirits of just men made perfect) in the celebration. Others (NIV, ESV, NRSV) connect this word with the angels only. But I believe all of the heavenly beings are gathered together, assembled in celebration and worship. The writer mentions another “assembly” (ekklesia) which is not yet in heaven but whose names are registered there. In Revelation John pulls the curtain back enough for us to get a glimpse inside and into heaven. Sure enough, it is an assembly and it consciously celebrates the greatness and goodness of God, worship, (to kiss towards indeed). Moreover, the picture is one of orderliness. It was a formal worship. There was an organization to what takes place, a set time the 24 elders prostrated themselves, worshipped and sang and times when all the angels joined in with their own songs of praise. All the heavenly hosts are present (assembled) and participate. I find it edifying that this heavenly gathering is the reality of which our earthly assembly is a copy and shadow.
In view of the heavenly assembly, should we be surprised or put off to find the most used identifying word for that which Jesus built and the apostles supervised is “assembly”? If we find that this assembly had a regular time, the first day of the week, to gather, should we not do the same? If the primary purpose of the assembly was to observe the Lord’s Supper and to share in assembly worship, should we not do likewise? No one is saying that assembling is necessary before one can worship. One can worship at any time or place he chooses, alone or with others. But those added in the NT became a part of the assembly, whose names are registered in heaven, and continue to be identified as such by participating in the assembling of all on the first day of the week. Is there edification? Surely there is. In fact Paul teaches us this is a significant goal in assembling. Is there fellowship? Surely there is. This too is a significant benefit of assembling. In fact the early church, following assembly for formal worship, gathered for a shared meal, another secondary assembly.
A hand is a member of a body whether the hand is present and attached or separated for some reason, yet its identification as a body member depends upon its connection to the body. When it is as designed, it is connected to the body at the end of the arm. The temple of God is built with many stones —
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”
— each one added is a singular stone built into the temple of God. He is part of the temple whether he is present in assembly or not, whether present with the rest of the building blocks or not. But his identity as a temple building block is established by his presence when the entire building is gathered as one, interconnected with the other building blocks. While the fellowship of all the stones interconnected, each supplying what it is able to the whole (“from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love”) the building’s primary function is that of a temple to God, a place where God is worshipped.
This issue is so central to the gospel and the truth, that I made a post out of it, on my personal website, and used it for a devotional today.
On the Reddit site, I linked to the prayer, “Hate the things you hate.” A person objected to the idea of God’s hate. God is love, she stated, and hate is the opposite of love. Here’s how I replied: If God is love, he cannot hate, right? Wrong!.
Why not add your reply as well, on the Reddit site? (A link to the actual conversation is in the first paragraph of the link above.) It might be helpful to clear up the lady’s confusion.
“Then Peter came and said to him, Lord, what number of times may my brother do wrong against me, and I give him forgiveness? till seven times? Jesus says to him, I say not to you, Till seven times; but, Till seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
If I had to guess, I’d say the only time that Peter was normally interested in doing math was when the fish were getting tallied at the end of the day. But regardless of how Peter felt about math, in Matthew 18 we find Jesus giving Peter a math lesson followed by a story so the point of his formula would not go over his head.
The formula is easy to quote. Most average Bible students are familiar with the 70 x 7 setup. It’s the answer that causes the frustration. I mean can the answer really be forgiveness as long as forgiveness is needed???
Do you think Peter ever wished Jesus would have left out the math lesson and stuck to teaching him how to be a fisher of men? Maybe. But if he ever did, he soon realized that the math lesson was doing just that (1 Peter 2:17-25).
So how did Peter get over the frustration that the 70 x 7 formula (which is much, much, much, much more than only 7) may have caused him? He did so by understanding where he stood in the follow-up formula that Jesus shared with him…and with us. By the time the math is finished, the story ends with the following:
“Then his lord sent for him and said, You evil servant; I made you free of all that debt, because of your request to me: Was it not right for you to have mercy on the other servant, even as I had mercy on you? And his lord was very angry, and put him in the hands of those who would give him punishment till he made payment of all the debt. So will my Father in heaven do to you, if you do not everyone, from your hearts, give forgiveness to his brother.” (Matthew 18:32-35)
Prayer and thoughts on behalf of American military veterans
Originally posted on Call for Fire Seminar:
I participated in a chapel service today, Veterans Day in the United States, that focused on prayer for our nation. Here is a synopsis of my comments and prayer today at Harding School of Theology:
As we pray for our Nation today, we pray in the social context of a national holiday that honors military veterans. Those who have not served seem to struggle when discussing Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Memorial Day honors those who died; Veterans Day honors those who came back alive. While indeed there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend, if a nation’s army fails to survive the conflict, the nation may cease to exist. The veterans of the Revolutionary War built a nation. The veterans of the Civil War rebuilt that nation. We honor veterans who served, who suffered, who endured. Veterans worship in our congregations; churches across…
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An evangelist in Bahia state wrote that Gilmar taught and baptized his own mother. Now there are eight members of the same family in Christ. Click below for photos.
Larry Young is a researcher at the National Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta. He studies the neurobiology that underlies pair bonding — what the world calls love. In the journal Nature in 2009, he published an article that claims “love” is the result of a biochemical chain of events. He claims that in the future people will be able to take pills to improve their love and social bonding.
But I beg to differ with Dr. Young. I suppose there is a kind of love that is based on feelings and these are undoubtedly linked to a biochemical chain of events. But that is not the love that God commands us to have toward our fellow man at all. Biblical love is a command that can be obeyed. It is a choice that we consciously make. Several months ago a wife came to our house and talked to Elaine and me. She was ready to end her marriage and divorce her husband. Why? “I don’t love him anymore!” I asked, “What does love have to do with it?” She said, “You can’t live with someone if you don’t love them, can you?” We told her “Of course, you can” and talked to her about the commitment she made to him before God and her responsibility to fulfill her vow. I challenged her to go back to him and treat him as if she loved him, to make it an experiment. She came back and talked to us again a few weeks later, and we continued to encourage her along the same lines. Then we didn’t hear anything for a few months until she posted a message on Facebook. Here is what she wrote:
“After a few months or years of being together, the euphoria fades. Your spouse’s idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts. At some point, you ask, ‘Am I with the right person?’ This is when relationships break down. The key to succeeding in a relationship is not finding the right person, it’s learning to love the person you found. People blame their partners for their unhappiness and look outside for fulfillment. It comes in all shapes and sizes: infidelity, hobbies, excessive TV, abusive substances. But the key to succeeding is not finding the right person, it is learning to love the person you found. Sustaining love is not passive, you have to work on it day after day. It takes time, energy and effort. Love is NOT a mystery. There are specific things you can do with or without your partner. Just as there are physical laws of the universe, like gravity; there are laws for relationships. If you apply these, the results are predictable. Love is therefore a ‘decision’. Not just a feeling. Remember: God determines who walks into your life. It is up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay and who you refuse to let GO!”
Friederich Engels, one of the founders of communism, wrote a letter to Karl Marx, another founder, and strongly recommended Charles Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species. In response, Marx wrote Engels that Darwin’s book “contains the basis in natural history for our view.” Marx offered to dedicate his book, Das Capital, to Darwin, but Darwin declined. What is plainly evident is that the theory of evolution had a strong influence on the founding of communism and the atheistic state of the Soviet Union. The USSR was a 70-year experiment in atheism and its consequences. I’ve visited post-communist Russia and seen the consequences first hand and I assure you, we don’t want to go down that road! ts is a country steeped in substance abuse, graft, broken marriages, bribes, shoddy workmanship and a host of other things. Wrong thinking leads to wrong actions which lead to wrong patterns of behavior. This is Just-A-Minute.
There is a congregation in the Northern section of Warren County, Tennessee, that is looking for someone to fill a preaching opportunity.
The interested person would need to be able to supplement their income by “sowing some tents” which is fairly common around the area.
If you know of any trusted individuals that would be interested, please have them email me (the address can be found in my gravatar) and I will forward the congregation’s contact information to them.
We’ve received word that bro. Claiborne’s health has taken a turn for the worse. He is now in hospice care. He is not eating, is very weak, and is not expected to live much longer, according to news received from the family and passed on to us. Please remember him and his family members in prayer at this moment.
“NOTS” IN THE DEVIL’S TALE
When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the garden of Eden, He said to them, “Of every tree of the garden you may eat; but of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). Later, Satan, in the form of a serpent, approached Eve and said to her, “You will NOT surely die” (Genesis 3:4). (Note: Satan was the world’s first “change agent,” changing God’s word by adding only one word to what God had said, but in so doing he changed the word of God to the opposite of what the Lord had actually said.) (More …)
An elderly preacher was on an airplane sitting next to an atheist. The preacher’s grandson came over and asked if he could get anything to make him more comfortable. The atheist sighed, “I wish my grandchildren would treat me with such respect. They hardly even say hello to me. What’s your secret?” The preacher replied: “Think about it. My grandson believes in God and is taught to respect his elders. But you have no basis for such a respect.” Beliefs have consequences. The values of the past are fast fading and all but forgotten among many. It is a natural consequence of modern education. If children are taught that they are merely animals, then they will act that way. This is Just-A-Minute.