How much money do you need to be happy? Princeton University economist Angus Deaton researched the question and answers that people who earn $75,000 a year have reached a plateau beyond which more money has no effect on day-to-day contentment. That may be, but the Proverbs says, “the leech has two daughters, More and More” and the next verse says, “there are three things that are never satisfied and four that never say “enough”. I have reached the conclusion that when it comes to money, contentment has little to do with the amount one has and everything to do with the importance one puts on accumulating it. Indeed, the love on money is a root of all kinds of evil. This is Just-A-Minute.
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He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, But trouble will come to him who seeks evil (Proverbs 11:27, NKJV). The word “evil” does not need to be understood in its worst case. The word “evil” in this setting is when one considers the Lord’s will, sets it to the side, and pursues one’s own course. In the 14th chapter we are told that there is a way that seems right to man, but ends up in his spiritual death (cf. 14:12). The “good” that one seeks may be variously identified, but the “good” that is transcendent of man is that which starts with God, and there is no greater place to start. RT
Before the terrible tornadoes (of this year) took place in Oklahoma I received a news letter from Apologetics Press that announced plans for a future debate between brother Kyle Butt of Apologetics Press and Professor Bart Ehrman who is an author and a self-proclaimed “agnostic” when it comes to the belief of the Christian God. Accordingly, the topic will revolve around the existence of pain and suffering and the existence of God and the compatibility or incompatibility of the two. Please keep brother Kyle and the efforts of Apologetics Press in your prayers.
Also, as I have said in the past, I would encourage those who have a desire to help with the relief effort in Oklahoma but no good means of doing so to keep The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief in mind. We support this effort at Keltonburg and I know that an untold number of lives have been physically and emotionally affected for the better as well as spiritually due to the many souls brought to Jesus through the help of this program and its efforts.
Two couples, one gay and one lesbian, have pushed and shoved their way through the courts demanding the Supreme Court Justices redefine what marriage is. As far back as history records, marriage has always and invariably involved a man and a woman joined in wedlock. Anything other than that was against nature and perverse with the word “Sodomy” used to describe how detestable it is. It is natural for a man and a woman to come together as one; they are made for this union and the marriage bed is undefiled. But a union of two men or two women is twisted, foul, artificial and debased. I am for normal, natural, traditional, God-given, heaven-approved, home, family and marriage. This is Just-A-Minute
As I was studying Luke 3 this week I reflected on the what the Scripture said with regard to what John preached. John the Baptist was a preacher who garnered the attention of the people as he preached in the wilderness (Luke 3:3; Matthew 3:5). John would not be “employed” by most churches today because the message he preached, while intriguing, was one that demanded too much.
His message was three-fold. First, he was preparing the way for the coming Messiah. John’s preparation was accomplished in the preaching. The imagery of Luke 3:4-6 would not have been lost on the people, especially as he illustrated this in his exhortations to the people when they inquired (Luke 3:7-14). Second, he preached and demanded those who came to him reflect a life of repentance; this, however, was much easier said than accomplished. The word “repentance” means “a change of mind” with regard to the sinful way one lives life, and this change being reflected in a godly life lived. Third, he baptized (immersed) those who came to him “for [with a view to] the forgiveness of sins.”
Baptism is not for infants and children who do not understand the difference between sins and righteousness. Baptism is for those who do understand; it is interesting to note that those baptized in the book of Acts are all identified as “men and women” (people who understand). More than the candidate for baptism is important here, however, it is the idea of repentance. Those who come to God need to change the way they live life if they would see Him who is Lord over all (cf. Luke 13:3-5). It is serious! RT
Hugh’s news & Views
WHAT MAKES A GOOD MINISTER?
People have all sorts of notions as to what constitutes a good preacher/minister. Some want him to be a good speaker who delivers rich, in-depth sermons, and takes no more than fifteen minutes to do so. Others want someone who can attract and hold the attention of young people (especially the 18-30 crowd). Some want a minister who is trained in and skilled at counseling. Others look for a good administrator and manager. Most church members would like a minister who is good at hospital and nursing home visitation. Still others want a preacher who excels at one-on-one evangelism. Many church members think the preacher ought to be a good “mixer” (warm, friendly, outgoing, never meets a stranger, turns up for every event the church has). Some want the preacher to be a cheerleader and a PR man for the congregation.
A few years ago someone facetiously wrote that after decades of searching the perfect preacher had been found. He is just exactly what every congregation wants. Here is the fascinating description of him.
He preaches exactly 20 minutes and then sits down. He condemns sin, but never hurts anyone’s feelings. He works from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in every type of work from preaching to custodial service. He makes $400 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books regularly, has a nice family, drives a good car, and gives $60 a week to the church. He also stands ready to contribute to every good cause that comes along.
He is 26 years old and has been preaching for 30 years. He is short and tall, slender and heavy set, handsome, but not overly so. He has one brown eye and one blue eye; his hair is parted down the middle, left side dark and straight, right side brown and wavy.
He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all his time with the older folks.
He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work.
He makes 15 calls a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing the unchurched, and is never out of his office.
Now, shall we get real about what makes a good minister? The apostle Paul wrote to the young preacher Timothy: “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed” (I Timothy 4:6). Did we hear what Paul said? “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ…” What were the things in which Timothy needed to instruct the brethren? Look at the preceding five verses (I Timothy 4:1-5). Among other things, a good preacher warns his hearers about spiritual dangers, about the fact that “some will depart from the faith” and fall prey to “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” How important is this with reference to your expectations of a preacher? (More …)
As many young Christians leave the High School arena and prepare to enter into the college realm they are going to be encouraged to give some thought into joining a fraternity house or a sorority club who proudly identify themselves with the various letters of the Greek alphabet. So what should you do as a young Christian in the face of the promising temptations that they offer? The answer is simple. Remember that the most important letters of the Greek alphabet are the Alpha and the Omega, and if their plans, ethics and morality don’t fit in between those two then you need to remind yourself that the house of the Lord will take you farther than any other house on campus.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)
The latest ABC/Washington Post survey found a substantial rise in support of same-sex marriage. A record-high 58 percent said gay marriage should be legal. In 2004 only 32 percent supported it. The biggest increases in approval were among young adults and nonwhites. These advances have come as more and more people believe homosexuality is something people are born with and cannot help, in spite of the fact that there is no evidence to prove the contention and plenty to disprove it. Public opinion has been swayed by celebrities and the media with their one-sided gay and lesbian support and in proportion to the decline of respect for God’s word. This is Just-A-Minute
When Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus to the Temple for purification reasons (Luke 2:21-24), they met a man named Simeon. Simeon is characterized as “just and devout.” He was fortunate to learn from the Lord that before he “passed on to his reward,” the Lord told him he would see the “Consolation of Israel,” which was to “see the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:25-26).
Simeon, after seeing the Lord’s anointed as a baby, praised the Lord and gave some exhortations to Joseph and Mary, “Listen carefully: This child is destined to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be rejected” (Luke 2:34, NET). These words that Simeon spoke to Jesus’ earthly parents boil down to “there is no neutral stance” to be taken when is comes to Jesus.
It is nothing short of disappointment to see the vast majority of people live thinking they can take a neutral stand concerning Jesus. This is done, however, because many preachers are guilty of the same! These people choose to live life just any way they want, and why not—a great many preachers won’t preach against the behavior. It’s not that these people think of Jesus in a bad way, but they just don’t want to submit to His authority and “go to church.” With this way of thinking these same people have failed to see that they have taken a stand with regard to Jesus, and it is not a neutral stand! RT
There’s a saying that says, “If you think you’re perfect try walking on water.”
It’s a wonderful saying that still carries a punch, but as I sit today typing up next week’s bulletin maybe one that would hit closer to home would say something like, “If you think you’re perfect then try turning off spellcheck!“
Yah, tht’l do ti every time.
“But I say to every one of you, through the grace given to me, not to have an over-high opinion of himself, but to have wise thoughts, as God has given to every one a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3 - BBE)
Some things never change: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The ranks of the world’s billionaires have again reached all-time highs. The 2013 Forbes Billionaires list now boasts 1,426 names, 210 more than last year. The U.S. leads with 442 billionaires. Carlos Slim is the world’s richest person; Bill Gates is second. While these billionaires increased their riches and wealth, families were ousted from foreclosed homes, single mothers struggled to feed children, workers were dismissed or laid-off, graduates ready to begin their career joined the lists of unemployed; the poor get poorer. Perhaps we should remind those who are rich, that the greatest riches is to be rich is doing good. This is Just-A-Minute
We’ve baptized people in hospital tubs. We’ve covered medical ports with plastic and tape, and sought permission from medical professionals to baptize patients. We’ve brought frail ones in wheelchairs, and carried some on folding chairs. We once used a hydraulic lift in the nursing home.
Isn’t that a bit extreme?
Not to someone who believes what the Bible teaches.
Baptism is a command of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a pre-requisite to salvation. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16; read also, Acts 2:38; 8:35-40; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26-29; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21-22).
There is not a single case of conversion in which baptism is not seen as an urgent matter. Why would we act any differently?
—Rick Kelley, Prestonsburg KY congregational bulletin
Here’s the basic points with a scripture that I’m using for tomorrow’s “graduation night” at Keltonburg for our High School students. This’ll work whether they’re heading to college or the job market:
- It’s time to grow up (1 Corinthians 13:11)
- Prepare for hard times (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
- When you think you have the world conquered its conquered you (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
- Don’t compromise your faith for a “good grade” or a “good job” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“Whatever comes to your hand to do with all your power, do it because there is no work, or thought, or knowledge, or wisdom in the place of the dead to which you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10 - BBE)
Today my good friend and brother in Christ, Alexandre Pestana, posted the following text on Facebook, on his congregation's page. He informed me that I had written the text in our work together with the Mt of Olives Christian Camp. I had forgotten that the text was mine, since it was written some 10-15 years ago.This might be of interest to you good Fellows and brethren here. An ancient document has come to light that I wrote some years back.
(11) PRIDE CAUSES SOME TO STUBBORNLY REFUSE TO DO THE RIGHT THING, REGARDLESS OF THE COST TO THEMSELVES.
11. PRIDE CAUSES SOME TO STUBBORNLY REFUSE TO DO THE RIGHT THING, REGARDLESS OF THE COST TO THEMSELVES.
Exodus 10:3,7 – “So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, ‘Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me.’ Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, ‘How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?’”
Pharaoh’s real problem was simple: a lack of humility! The power of his position had gone to his head. He would not tolerate defeat, though he would learn in time that fighting against Jehovah always leads to failure. Even his advisors can see the proper course to pursue, but Pharaoh is blinded by his arrogance. Some today will foolishly “dig in their heels” regarding a certain sin and consequently suffer greatly, when the wise thing to do would be to swallow one’s pride, admit wrong, and change!
For the past 8 months or so I’ve been working with maps as my daytime “profession.” The other day I saw an “interesting” street named “What If” and thought there are a lot more people living on that street than there are houses!
Of all the “What If” streets we can live on, the spiritual one can be the roughest, yet we know it can be avoided to an extent. May I add that I believe there’s a difference between wondering “What if I had done this a little better?” and “What if I had done anything at all?”
Paul encouraged people to follow him as he followed Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1), he wished that all others were as he was with the exception of his chains (Acts 26:29), and at the end of his life he was content with his decisions, labor and destination (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Sounds to me like “What If Street” wasn’t on his spiritual map!
Did Paul have regrets? Sure he did! But his advice for that topic was move off of “What If Street” and move over to “Press Ahead Avenue” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Life can be hard, and there will be times when we’re going to make the wrong choices; but we can choose the right Savior. We can choose the Savior who will help us move off of that spiritual “What If Street” and right into a home located on “Heavenly Homes Boulevard” that He has built just for us.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” (John 14:1-4 – NKJV)
An empty tomb welcomes tourists and pilgrims in Jerusalem. Located at the foot of a rocky knoll that looks so much like a “place of the skull,” if it is not the place of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and subsequent resurrection, it certainly evokes thoughts of those events. While it inspires interest in the events around the death of Jesus, it does not preach the word by itself (One stills needs a preacher, or at least a friend, for that). It does not feed the poor or heal the hurting. It does not visit those in prison or give water to the thirsty. This place does not baptize or sing or pray. Only people who believe that God loved the world enough to send his Son to die for us can perform those acts. Sadly, sometimes we do as much as the empty tomb. We may do less, since the tomb does teach by symbolizing the place where world-changing events occurred. After the resurrection, Jesus instructed followers to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV84). We need to leave the empty tomb and direct a spiritually starving world to the Risen Messiah, Jesus. It is time to obey; it is time to go.
When young men go into the ministry, they are ambitious and hopeful. They dream of saving countless souls and inspiring brethren immediately to become passionate and obedient.
However, reality soon sets in, and they learn that working with humans is more complicated than they realized. These aspiring preachers learn some harsh lessons in the meantime and struggle until they gain some experience.
When we embark into a new career, we need copious amounts of guidance, patience and grace until we know what we are doing. With that in mind, here are six lessons that young preachers may not be told in school or when they are in training.
On my new cell phone purchased last week, I can select little graphics to send in text messages. Among hundreds of tiny cartoonish images and smiley-faces, there are two that stand out as pitiful signs of the times: a man holding hands with another man, and an image of a woman holding hands with a woman. Another way for the devil to remind us he’s just about everywhere.
“O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (10:23, NKJV). One of the more well-known passages in the book of Jeremiah, and the sentiment is very clear. The context of Jeremiah’s words is related to the wisdom of man and his fabrication of idols. Man makes an idol that is entirely lifeless and rejects Him who created life! Now where is the wisdom in that? We ought not to think that the people of Jeremiah’s day are all that different than our own; we simply have exchanged their “sacred cows” for our own. Note what Jeremiah is saying in this expression: man can’t know (even though he thinks he can), man can’t know his way to godly and righteous wisdom or a blessed eternity. Paul complements what Jeremiah said in the first chapter of First Corinthians. It would be wise for each of us to remember this. RT
I was a young, young child when it aired but even I know the restaurant commercial that’s had such a lasting effect with the lady asking, “Where’s the beef?”
The emphasis, or point, was about how the talk didn’t match the walk, and now the punch line is used to make the same point on various topics. This morning I’d like to take the word “beef” and replace it with the word “peace” when it comes to the topic of Islam.
There’s a story out there (which isn’t getting a whole lot of press attention due to something about the IRS, Benghazi and something else about the AP and wiretaps, but you can read the story here if you’d like) about two men who may be asking, “Where’s the peace?” One man has been sentenced to receive 300 lashes with a whip and a 6 year prison term, and the other man has been sentenced to 200 lashes and a 2 year prison term. And for what? For helping a woman “convert to Christianity” and escaping the country to find asylum in another nation. With a reaction like that, I “wonder” why she had to seek asylum somewhere??? Hmmm.
I do not completely agree with the doctrinal stance of the two men or with the stated theological experience given by the woman as a part her conversion, but placing that to the side for a moment I can’t help but ask, “Where’s the peace?” I guess it all depends upon one’s definition of peace.
When one leaves “Christianity” it’s tears that get shed by others (Philippians 3:18), not blood!
So where’s the peace? The peace is found in Jesus and in no other.
“May peace be with you; my peace I give to you: I give it not as the world gives….” (John 14:27 - BBE)
The people will curse him who withholds grain, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it (Proverbs 11:26, NKJV). Clearly this pertains with sustaining life with more than just one person. Yet, is there an application to the local church? I think there is. We might desire to have a “rainy-day” fund, but if the Lord money is used for a rainy-day and the rainy day never comes, what good work (or works) was sacrificed to a day that never came? We don’t want to minimize the need for a reserve, but just exactly what do we need to reserve? RT
Many people today believe that God calls them to do something. This is true, for God indeed calls us. However the question is how does He call us? Does our Father call us individually through visions or dreams? Does He talk to us directly as He did with Moses? The Bible is clear as to how this call from God comes.
Not surprisingly God calls to each of us the same way, through His written word. Notice what Peter says in Acts: “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (2:39). God’s call to salvation is to every person. Acts 2:41 tells us that those who “gladly received his word were baptized”. Then in verse 47 we read that “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved”. God called everyone by His word through the apostle Peter.
The call of God is the call of salvation and is what Jude calls the “common salvation” (vs. 3) meaning it is the same for every person. God indeed calls to us, not through visions or dreams but by His word, the Bible.
In Christ, Steve Preston
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Floridian Jeffrey Bush went to bed one evening and disappeared into the earth without a trace. In fact the entire bedroom, furniture and all were swallowed by a massive sinkhole. Rescue workers rushed to the scene, where his family were gathered. But they soon discovered the hole was growing and any attempt to save Bush was too risky. His brother, Jeremy, was the first to discover the hole. He jumped in and clawed through the dirt in the hole but failed to find his brother. Days later officials knocked the house down, filling the hole and burying Bush permanently. Let all be reminded how frail we are and how quickly our life can end. One moment we are comfortable and confident and the next moment it’s over. What then? This is Just-A-Minute
For three weeks in a row an American state has “legalized” homosexual marriages (New Hampshire, Delaware and Minnesota). It’s sad, but amazing, how fast the smoke blinds the eyes of a nation to the truth (Revelation 9:2), but ere goes the truth of a slippery slope – the farther down you go, the faster you go!
And the surprising thing to me about it all is the virtual silence that’s coming with it. Most people don’t even know that these states are approving of something which is un-approvable. This is the tactic that’s now in play…out of sight, out of mind. Come to think about it, we’re already out of our minds, so it might as well be out of sight!
How any individual can say “God Bless America” and at the same time say “homosexuals deserve the God-given right of marriage” with a straight face is beyond me. What God do they want blessing America? The god of their fleshly appetite (Philippians 3:19) – that’s which god!
I thank my God – who is the God - for the freedoms that He has provided through His hand of providence; a hand I pray that continues to be us through the leaders who may still have an ounce of both common sense and spiritual sense (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
The truth will continue to spread, the cross will still be victorious and God will continue to reign from His throne in Heaven regardless of how fast the slippery slope carries us as a nation away from all three. The kingdom of God is eternal – the kingdoms of men are only dust in the scales of time (Isaiah 40:15).
“The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made; In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught. The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Meditation. Selah. The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:15-17)
When we offer our prayers to the Lord it is a good thing to be reminded that we ought do so in the Lord’s name. This phrase, “in the Lord’s name” simply means by His authority (with His approval). There are some, however, who close their prayer with a simple “amen,” and, it is likely, this is done because one is unaware that Jesus wanted prayers to God spoken in a particular way. The Scripture teaches us to offer our prayer in Jesus’s name. In the context of the Lord’s commission to the apostles (John 14:13-14), He said that when they (apostles) asked in his name, then that which is asked will be done. This is a good example for us to follow. RT
Hugh’s news & Views
WHAT MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME
This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, Mother’s Day was established by Anna Marie Jarvis (with the help of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker) following the death of her mother. Jarvis campaigned to establish Mother’s Day, first as a U.S. national holiday, and, later, as an international holiday. The holiday was first officially declared by the state of West Virginia in 1910, and the rest of the states soon followed. Mother’s Day in some fashion and on various dates is celebrated throughout the world.
I am glad our world recognizes the value of mothers. Without them none of us would be here! Someone said: “The sweetest sounds to mortals given, Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.” Almost fifty years ago, in a speech at David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University) in Nashville, the late Batsell Barrett Baxter said, “The Christian wife and other is the strongest influence in the church today.”
For almost fifty-six years I have been blessed with a wonderful wife who has been a great mother and grandmother. Her mother was taken suddenly from us in 1973 at the young age of 60 in a freak accident. She was a kind, thoughtful, and loving wife, mother, and grandmother. My own mother was a strong, industrious, and independent-minded woman. She passed away a little less than five years ago at the age of 93.
While not original with me, I can strongly relate to the following which someone listed as being lessons learned from an old-fashion mother. Perhaps many of our readers had a mother like the one described. In my judgment, we need more such mothers today.
My mother taught me to appreciate a job well done. “If you are going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning this house.”
She taught me religion. “You better pray that what you spilt will come out of this rug.”
She taught me about time travel. “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week.”
She taught me logic. “Because I said so.” (More …)
Do we remember and forget the right things? This is the title of a new lesson that has been added
to the Old Paths Archive in English and Dutch, in text and in audio.
May the Lord bless you.
This month the Joshua Generation characteristic encourages us all to be evangelistic. The slogan is “Go ye means go me.”
It is by the foolishness of preaching that God will save the world (1 Cor. 1:18-31). Therefore, I would like to turn our attention for this study to the first gospel sermon ever preached. Particularly, I would like for us to consider at least some of the preparation that made that first sermon possible.
To prepare us to make the application of the lesson, let’s you and I remember that we are “members one of another” (Eph. 4:25) and that we have “obtained like precious faith” with the apostles though they are long passed. What made the first gospel sermon possible? What made it necessary? Let’s take the second question first.
What made this first gospel sermon necessary? Simply, Adam, and every man and woman who has lived since then, has committed sin against God, others and self, thus bringing the penalty of eternal death and suffering upon all (Rom. 3:23, 5:5-18, 6:23). Paul would say that if one died for all, then all were dead (2 Cor. 5:14). No man has ever been able to find his own solution to sin or even to control of his passions and temptations (Jer. 10:23).
The second question is, “What made the first gospel sermon possible?”
The simple answer is, the love of God (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8). It is the details bringing us to that first sermon that teaches us the value of our soul and of those around us.
First, the plan was formulated before the world began (Eph. 1:4). Then, it was some 4000 years in the preparation (Eph. 3:9) until the time was just right for our Lord to enter the earth (Galatians 4:4).
Also, there was THE CHOICE. I am talking about the Lord’s choice to give up equality with God to come and to die (Phil. 2:5-8; John 10:17-18). There was also the process of training 12 men of human failings, emotions and intellect (consider Peter, Thomas, Judas) to preach, defend and live by the eternal message they were to carry to the masses and to the individuals. (More …)
A bogus bishop nearly sneaked into the closed-door Vatican meeting of the world’s cardinals as they prepared to choose the next pope. Ralph Napierski got past a checkpoint of Swiss Guards and was photographed shaking hands with Cardinals in the cobblestone square to the left of St. Peter’s Basilica. But he never made it inside to loin the more than 140 cardinals from around the world for their first formal meeting since the resignation of Pope Benedict. His undersized cassock, purple rather than red sash and fedora rather than a zucchetto, the typical skullcap, gave him away. When discovered, he was hustled out of the Vatican. I’m not sure what he hoped to accomplish, but it certainly reminds us that there are plenty of folks who are not all they pretend to be. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
Once each year there is a recognized day that all honor and call “Mother’s Day.” It is a day when the “fairer sex” mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters (who are mothers) are honored for the work of being a mother. A female is truly honored when she is loved and cared for, just as she has given her love and cared for the children (including the husband) in the home.
In a recent study I have been doing from the book of Ruth I have taken particular notice of Naomi. Naomi was the mother-in-law to Ruth, a woman of Moab. Naomi suffered devastation in her life that, in so far as I am aware, not a single one of us have experienced. Her husband and sons died, and now there was only her and her two daughters-in-law. She was on the verge of complete devastation. (The males in Israelite society took care of the females; when there was no male in the family it was the female who lived a destitute life.) This is what Naomi had in front of her as she prepared to make her way from the land of Moab back toward Israel. To complicate the matter before her, she now had two daughters-in-law for which she felt some obligation.
We know the story, but Naomi did not know, at all, what she was going to do; but once she determined to do it, with a heavy heart she set out back to her homeland.
The story in the book of Ruth is not about Naomi, but she is a prominent character who plays a significant role in the life of her daughter-in-law, Ruth. If it were not for the quality of person that Naomi was, to what would Ruth have attached (cf. Ruth 1:16-17)?
There are some lessons to think about along this line. First, Naomi heritage was crucial because it was this heritage that taught her about the one true God. Though she felt the hand of the Lord was against her (Ruth 1:13), in truth, it was the Lord who saw to her well-being. Second, that heritage in which she was brought up taught her values that allowed a young lady (Ruth) to attach when her own heritage was nothing but that which was connected to idolatry and emptiness. Third, it was the counsel of Naomi that encouraged Ruth to commit herself to doing what needed to be done by such a vulnerable young woman. Ruth was devoted to her mother-in-law and she was determined to take care of her, but it was Naomi that gave her the counsel and wisdom to know where to go when she had to move. Good lessons to learn whether are not anyone of us is a mother.
Much of life is about time, and time is that commodity that captures the human imagination. Even Pink Floyd made a few bucks, and amazingly quite a bit of sense, singing about time to a bunch of spaced out brains.
The Bible encourages us to place a great emphasis on spending the time we’re given wisely with verses like:
“Take care then how you are living, not as unwise, but as wise; Making good use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16 - BBE)
So give your advice. There are probably a lot more answers that you might think of at first, so take some time to think about it.
What are some wise ways we that need to be spending our time?
These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.
Verse 1: Where to “praise God;”
Verse 2: Why “praise God;”
Verse 3-5: How to “praise God;”
Verse 6: Who is to “praise God;”
Verse 1: “Praise the LORD” is “Hallelujah,” or praise Jehovah, The Self-existent Deity; the next is “Praise God,” or “Halleluel,” or praise Elohim, “The Power.” God’s “sanctuary” is the designated, set aside place as “holy” where God should be worshiped. The first in the tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 25:8; Hebrews 9:1-5) had a “sanctuary” where worship occurred, then “the Holiest of All” where God was represented as forgiving sins. Next, in the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:1-17), there was the “sanctuary” and the “inner sanctuary.” Now the church of Christ (Hebrews 8:1-2; 9:6-12; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 6:16) is the “sanctuary,” but Heaven, itself, is “the Most Holy Place.”
Verse 2: Praise Him because of “His mighty acts,” or all those miraculous or providential deeds far beyond “all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20-21). Praise Him for “His excellent greatness,” realizing nothing is great without God, but that all God does is greater than men (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
Verses 3-5: David added musical instruments to God’s worship (1 Chronicles 23:5), called “instruments of David” authorized by his own authority and not God’s (1 Chronicles 15:16; 2 Chronicles 7:6), and condemned by God’s prophet, Amos (Amos 6:1, 5). The only musical instrument specified by God for the church of Christ is “your heart” (Ephesians 5:19), and there is no authorization in the New Testament for the bringing over and use of “instruments of music, like David.” None of the instruments listed in Psalm 150 were ever used in the church of Christ by the authority of God.
Verse 6: “Everything that has breath” means every living creature: those that are not human “praise God” because they demonstrate His Wisdom and Creative Power; those that are human praise with words and deeds from their heart: “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).
“Praise the LORD!”
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
Give Someone an Ataboy…or an Atagirl | The Fellowship Room and Robert McCurdy are discussing. Toggle Comments
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Tim. 1:5). A grandmother and mother ignited and nourished Timothy’s faith in God. Mentoring by Paul focused Timothy’s faith, but it began in his family of origin.
Like Timothy, my faith took root and grew because of the influence of faithful Christian women in my family. My great-grandmother, Nora Ennis Taylor, widow of a gospel preacher, taught me that illness and age need not handicap one’s obedience to Christ. She also taught me to know what I believe, and to defend it, even when others disagree or attempt to place words in my mouth. I will always remember her sitting in our living room with her Bible in her lap. My father’s mother, Bertha Summers, took corporate worship seriously. She expected singing when that was appropriate, and reverent silence during prayer and sermons. During a night service at Bonner Church of Christ in McMinnville, Tennessee, I opened my eyes to discover that, should God’s all-seeing eye not be watching me, Grandma Summers’ eyes definitely were. My mother’s stepmother, Edna Taylor, taught me to love reading. When I attended a seminar to learn to conduct a series of classes called “Adventures in Christian Living,” the instructor told of an elderly Christian woman who had attended a recent session in another state. Despite her advanced age, she had inspired the rest of the class with her enthusiasm and faith. Yes, the instructor confirmed to me later when I asked, my suspicions were correct. Her name was Edna Taylor. My mother, Rosemary, demonstrated faith and passion in living for Christ. She impressed numerous young women as a camp counselor and a speaker at “Ladies Inspiration Days” and the Freed-Hardeman Bible Lectureship. The night before I preached my first two sermons at age sixteen, she made me rehearse both sermons to her until she was satisfied that I knew them. Even now, in her eighties, she goes with others to visit “shut-ins” who can’t make it to church services because of illness. These four spiritual matriarchs lived a sincere faith which survives in me.
We were in the A Cappella Chorus together at Freed-Hardeman University, went on the 1976 European tour together, but since then, continents and hemispheres apart, I’d not heard much from him. Thanks to the Internet we recently connected, and even met up for lunch one day on our last trip to the US.
So please welcome Michael Summers, military chaplain and man of prayer. Here’s his bio, already up on the Fellows page:
Michael Summers is a prayer-promoter, student of the Word, loves Christ and his Church; has preached the gospel and run 10k races on three continents.
The mom that every generation needs is a mom who knows when to dry the tears and when to make them, for a generation that has no respect for their mother is a generation that will have no respect for themselves!
“He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” (Proverbs 13:24)
10. THE WICKED WILL MAKE ALL SORTS OF PROMISES TO GOD WHEN THEY ARE DESPERATE.
Exodus 8:28 – “So Pharaoh said, ‘I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Intercede for me.’”
Pharaoh made many empty promises while begging for mercy, but then his heart hardened time after time and he refused to honor his word (cf. 8:32). We must be careful to always be people of our word before both God and men (cf. Matt. 5:37). Human nature is such that we are tempted to make great pledges of devotion and service when in a bind but then following through when the crisis has diminished is harder.
A scourge, striking rods, a crown of thorns, a hammer, some nails and a couple of pieces of rough and scarred wood! What did these things build? Our salvation!
What a stumbling block. What a moment of confusion. What a time of rejection. What a time of reconciliation.
To the world then, and to the world today, a crucified savior is a crux, a contradictory statement and a conclusion that just doesn’t add up. It’s good that Nazareth’s carpenter didn’t use the world’s math while building what had been drawn up.
A few days afterward, an empty tomb would put the pins in the door that had been hung at Calvary and all those who were willing to place their faith in Jesus as the Son of God would have access to the kingdom of God through the very tools of the trade that had tried to destroy it.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God…But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—” (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24, 30)