Publishing a magazine is lots of work. I’m restarting our Brazilian mag, trying to pull people in to help. It’s a challenge.
Updates from November, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts
“Don’t ask, don’t tell” was thrown on the trash heap of history recently. It was a so-called temporary solution about what to do with gays in the military. The fact is it didn’t solve a thing. A lot of us folks wished things could return to normal. The trouble is that we have lived with subnormal so long, that if we became normal, many folks would accuse us of being abnormal. I used to say that society was going to the dogs, but I had to quit saying that out of respect to the dogs. I have yet to see two canine bitches pairing off or two male dogs marrying. But America today has gone the way of Sodom and Gomorrah and it is only a matter of time before The Lord steps in. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
It was a custom in Samson’s day for the bridegroom to give a party which typically lasted for a week. Since Samson didn’t bring any friends to celebrate his marriage to the Philistine young woman, her people provided some for him–thirty in all. Samson made a wager with these men that lasted for the entire celebration week. If they could solve his riddle, he would give them thirty fine outer and inner garments. However, if they could not figure it out, they would have to give him thirty sets of clothing.
The riddle was stated as follows: “Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet” (Jud. 14:14). They struggled mightily with the riddle for three days but then let it rest until the seventh day. On that final day, they brought pressure upon Samson’s bride by threatening her life and her family if she didn’t help them solve the riddle.
“Then Samson’s wife wept on him, and said, ‘You only hate me! You do not love me! You have posed a riddle to the sons of my people, but you have not explained it to me.’ And he said to her, ‘Look, I have not explained it to my father or my mother; so should I explain it to you?’” (Jud. 14:16). Samson brought up a good point. He wasn’t being unkind or unloving to her by withholding the solution to the riddle. After all, he had not even shared it with his parents! His bride had wanted to know the answer all along, but after the threats were leveled against her she grows desperately persistent. She would have been much better off simply informing Samson of the threats her people had made against her.
Samson finally explained the riddle to her and she then communicated its meaning to the sons of her people. They gave the correct solution to his riddle and he reacted strongly. “The Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of their men, took their apparel, and gave the changes of clothing to those who had explained the riddle. So his anger was aroused and he went back up to his father’s house” (Jud. 14:19). I find the order of the actions recorded here intriguing: (1) the Spirit came upon Samson, (2) he slew the Philistines, (3) then his anger was kindled, and finally, (4) he went back to his father’s house without his wife. The Lord was indeed seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines, and Samson was the man He would use for the job!
The chapter closes with Samson’s wife being given to his best man. Samson was not aware of this.
After a period of time, Samson returned to his wife but was offered her younger sister instead by his father-in-law. Samson was greatly displeased and declared his innocence for his actions to follow because of this injustice. He proceeded to burn the Philistine fields by releasing 300 foxes he captured (after tying them together in pairs with a lit torch between their tails). Surprisingly, the Philistine people do not pursue Samson after learning who was responsible for the destruction of their crops and why. They recognized that his rights as a husband had been violated. They show their cruelty, however, by burning his wife and father-in-law and their home. This action provokes Samson to seek further vengeance. He attacked them with “hip and thigh, with a great slaughter” (Jud. 15:8). In other words, his attack upon them was brutal and unmerciful. But, this was just the beginning of the bloodshed.
The following is a “bare bones” outline for an exposition of Malachi 1:6-9 for you. I love expository preaching from any passage of the Bible, but the prophets are really fruitful, in my opinion. Even though it’s bare bones, it’ll preach.
A Son Honoreth His Father
A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? 7Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. 8And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts. 9And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts.
1. Where is MY honor? (Verse 6a)
2. Where is MY fear? (Verse 6b)
3. Where are MY sacrifices? (Verses 7-8)
4. Then, why should I regard YOU? (Verse 9)
Was Black Friday about saving money or spending it? Is it a coincidence that a day dedicated to buying stuff follows on the heels of a day for giving thanks? Or does the Evil One seek to erase whatever sense of gratitude to God might have been cultivated on Thursday in the frenzy of a good deal on Friday? Is anybody talking about Thanksgiving this week?
Our lesson today is found in 2 Sam. 11-12. Please let me briefly tell the story. David failed to lead his troops in their present war campaign. He was at home. Accidentally he saw a woman bathing while he was on his housetop. Deliberately he watched until he wanted her. He abused his power as king, sent for the woman, Bathsheba, and committed adultery with her and fathered a child. But it is so difficult to stop with sin, for often the sin must be covered. David sought to cover his adultery by inviting Bathsheba’s faithful husband home from the battlefront to sleep with his wife. Uriah’s faithfulness to his comrades kept him from enjoying his wife while his friends were in battle. Because David’s plan failed, he decided on another way to cover his sin. He would have Uriah killed at the battlefront. This he accomplished.
Think with me for a moment. If you did not know anything about the life of David but this event, what kind of man would you think David to be? His acts of adultery and murder were impetuous, self-indulgent, conniving, vicious and thoroughly evil. I might even say that such a man had no hope of being moved to repentance. How could such a man, who had committed such heinous crimes, ever be forgiven. He could not bring Uriah back. He could not bring his child back. He could not give Bathsheba back her support and comfort of her husband. But, David did repent. Most importantly, God did forgive him readily (12:13).
If you and I are to be forgiving as Christ was when he too was being murdered on the cross, we must be willing to accept and forgive the consequences of sin committed against us or those we love. This is the real burden of forgiveness. Regardless of the repentance of the sinner, the forgiver bears the consequence of sin committed against us. While you are contemplating these thoughts in your study today, examine yourself about your willingness to forgive with no grudge or animosity as God has forgiven us.
I preached a lesson this month on Making It Easy To Forgive. We know there is nothing easy about accepting the consequences of someone’s sin against us when we forgive. But it is made so much more possible when there is true repentance on the part of the sinner. David, when the accusation finally came to him, made no excuses. He did not get angry. He did not blame someone else. He repented. He humbled himself. This spirit makes it far easier for us to forgive. Let’s be this way when we commit a sin.
Brothers and sisters, thank God for forgiveness, for I have sinned against many. Forgive to be forgiven.
Do any of you fellows lie awake at night, composing mental sermon outlines you hope you’ll remember after you get to the office?
Churches are sprouting up faster than rabbits can multiply. That is the message from religious pollster George Barna according to the latest surveys. Americans have decided to remove God from the heart and store him in the closet. They are determined to believe what they choose and practice what they want. For every new public hankering there is some enterprising preacher who starts a new church custom-tailored to please their wants and soothe their guilt. If the Bible happens to agree with them, so much the better; but if not, then throw the Bible in the closet too. Becoming a Christian is no longer about conversion and transformation, but how closely can one walk with the devil and still retain respectability. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
‘Twas a busy weekend here, and it wasn’t even a holiday in Brazil. The Maiden started her driving course, the area churches had an all-day fellowship and cookout on Saturday, we had guests for the weekend, and I’ve forgotten other busy details. In all, a blessing.
• Over on the GoSpeak mission ministry site, I shared an annual date dear to our family. I spent most of my day setting up the new website for our Brazilian magazine, which we’ve published, off and on, since the 80s.
• Yesterday’s New Testament reading was Revelation 6, the opening of the first six seals of the scroll. No science fiction film can match the dramatic effect and the suspense of the four horses and their riders, or the souls of the righteous under the altar, or the unrighteous hiding in caves and among the rocks as the universe collapses in upon itself. When God judges, there’s nowhere to run.
• Check out the new entries on Christian-Poets.com, with a new poet in the group.
• Evil worms its way in quietly and grows in strength silently, until it has the power to manifest itself and take control. This influence, one among many strategies of the Father of Lies, applies to individual lives and congregation.
• We extend our sympathy to Betty Choate, whose mother passed away last week. She was 90 years old, active to the end.
In Judges 13:6ff, Manoah’s wife informed him of the Angel’s visit and His conversation with her. Their son would be a Nazirite from the very beginning. Samson would have no choice in the matter! Manoah then prayed for the Angel to return, and his petition was answered. The Angel came again and repeated His message. It is of interest to note that Manoah’s wife was personally bound by the Nazirite conditions even while she was pregnant. The implication is crystal clear–life begins at conception! If life didn’t begin until birth, then she would not have been required to keep any aspects of the Nazirite vow for the sake of an “embryo” growing inside of her. This very context proves that abortion is wrong. Samson would be a Nazirite even before he was born. There are many other Bible passages that also teach the truth about life beginning at conception.
The chapter closes by sharing some details pertaining to the Angel’s second visit as well as the fulfillment of the prophecy pertaining to Samson’s birth. Manoah offered to be hospitable to the Angel, but He declared that He would not eat anything. However, if Manoah desired, he could make an offering to Jehovah. Manoah wished to honor the Angel, but the Angel answered Him rather enigmatically – “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?” (Jud. 13:18; cf. Isa. 9:6). As a side note, I believe that the Angel of Jehovah is the second Person of the Godhead (i.e., the Angel of the LORD is the same Being we know today as Jesus the Christ). It is not in the scope of this study to prove such, but we will plan to undertake this task in the future.
As the Angel of the LORD departed, He did so in the flame of the altar. Manoah and his wife were convinced that they had seen God Himself. He feared for their lives, but she wisely pointed out – “If the LORD had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have told us such things as these at this time” (Jud. 13:23).
The transition from chapter 13 into chapter 14 covers many years. We know nothing of Samson’s childhood. He was already grown up at this time. In fact, he was of marriageable age–and the LORD was with him.
Samson foolishly desired a Philistine wife. His parents were against the idea, but the Lord was working in the matter. God intended to seek “an occasion to move against the Philistines” who had dominion over the Israelites at that time (14:4).
“So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. Then he went down and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well” (Jud. 14:5-7). The killing of a lion with his bare hands certainly demonstrated Samson’s miraculous physical strength which was made possible via the Nazirite vow and God’s favor. The woman pleased Samson very much; he planned to marry her.
“After some time, when he returned to get her, he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion. And behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the carcass of the lion. He took some of it in his hands and went along, eating. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they also ate. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the carcass of the lion” (Jud. 14:8,9). In that area, the intense heat has been known to dry up the moisture in a carcass within a day or so. Then it would lie mummified for some time. This experience would inspire the riddle Samson would soon pose.
More is found in a single page of the Bible than in all the books of man. The eternal remains, the ephemeral soon passes.
Some things are worth repeating.
During the time Abraham Lincoln was running for President of the United States he stayed in Springfield IL (it was not the norm for the presidential candidate to canvass the country for votes; this was done by his supporters). One day in October of that year (1860) Lincoln desired to survey all the voters (all males) in Springfield. He was particularly interested in the votes of the clergy. A book was given him, he looked at it, closed the book, and turned to his friend.
“Here are twenty-three ministers of different denominations, and all of them are against me but three; and here are a great many prominent members of the churches, a very large majority of whom are against me. Mr. Bateman, I am not a Christian – God knows I would be one – but I have carefully read the Bible, and I do not understand this book.” Taking a copy of his New Testament out of his pocket, he continued.
“These men well know that I am for freedom in the territories, freedom everywhere as far as the Constitution and laws will permit, and my opponents are for slavery. They know this; and yet, with this book in their hands, in the light of which human bondage cannot live a moment, they are going to vote against me. I do not understand it at all.”
Mr. Lincoln paused, rose to his feet, and walked up and down the room with his head bowed. When he raised his face it was wet with tears.
“I know there is a God,” he said, “and that He hates injustice and slavery. I see a storm coming, and I know that His hand is in it. If He has a place and work for me – and I think He has – I believe I am ready. I am nothing, but the truth is everything. I know I am right because I know liberty is right, for Christ teaches it and Christ is God … with God’s help I shall not fail. I may not see the end, but it will come, and I will be vindicated; and these men will find that they have not read their Bibles aright.”
(The Humorous Mr. Lincoln, Keith Johnson, The Country Press, 1988, p. 66)
Power Point Charts on the subject of: “‘Tis The Season To Get Drunk” are available at: http://doverchurchofchrist.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/How-To-Get-Drunk-And-How-To-Stop1.swf
There is a sermon outline titled: “Sins That Stop a Church” at: http://doverchurchofchrist.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/SinsThatStopAChurch1.pdf
A chart “The Church of Christ is the New Jerusalem” has been posted at: http://doverchurchofchrist.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/New-Jerusalem-Revelation-21.pdf
I hope you all will check this out, read it, and tell others about it– It comes out every Monday morning. I hope you will subscribe.
Pollster George Barna has published a new book, Futurecast, that tracks changes in America’s religious views over the last decade. One alarming trend is the decreasing church attendance, Bible reading, prayer and worship among professing Christians. The category “unchurched” has grown from 24% to 37% in the last ten years. Yet more people claim faith in Jesus as their savior and expect a heavenly reward than ever before. What caused this enigma? Barna blames it on the Sinners Prayer. For too long multitudes of preachers have told people that all they have to do is repeat this little prayer. But conversion is not about parroting a prayer, it is about transforming one’s life and thinking. It is about becoming a new person. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
Hebrews 11:6 teaches – “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” There are some important things we can learn from this context about faith. First, one who has no faith is one who cannot please God. This is true no matter how morally upright a person may be. Genuine faith is not guesswork; it is not a blind leap into the dark. Faith is always based on evidence – “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (11:1). Faith is believing and trusting God (i.e., taking Him at His word). Additionally, God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Those who choose to serve Him and live obediently to His will at any cost will not go unnoticed by the Lord.
Without question, the importance of faith is a central theme of the Scriptures. From the beginning, God has always expected man to exhibit faith. But, how can an individual demonstrate his faith? The answer: through his actions! A mere verbal acknowledgment of belief in God has never been enough. A study of James 2:14ff reveals that God desires that we prove our faith through obedience! It is still true that “faith without works is dead” (2:26).
It is accurate to affirm that all of the great men and women of faith of the Bible had an active, obedient faith. This was true of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and many others–including Samson (cf. Heb. 11, especially verse 32).
Admittedly, when I think of Biblical characters known for great faith in God, Samson typically doesn’t come to mind. When I think of Samson, I envision a man with great physical strength who had little self-control. I picture a man who violated his Nazirite vow, chose evil companions, fornicated, and caused an idol to receive glory that belonged to Jehovah. But, in spite of his flaws, Samson is proclaimed as a hero of faith according to Hebrews 11. We will study his life this week and examine the key events that were recorded for us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is our desire to learn what we can from his successes and mistakes.
We will begin by considering Judges 13-16. These four chapters are all we have recorded pertaining to the life of Samson, the thirteenth judge of Israel. Four chapters is not much in comparison with some Biblical characters, but it is quite a bit of information in contrast to what we have available on some of the other judges.
We will not read the chapters in their entirety due to time constraints, but we will read certain verses and summarize what is happening in the text.
In verse 1, we see apostasy in the nation of Israel once again – “Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.” Then, we are introduced to Manoah and his barren wife. The Angel of the Lord visited her and delivered a promise of a son. Undeniably, a family with no children is a good type to place a child in when special care is required. Three specific conditions were given by the Angel regarding the child who would be born. First, he was not to partake of strong drink. In fact, he was to abstain from the fruit of the vine period. Second, he was to avoid ingesting any unclean food. Finally, he was not to allow a razor to touch his head. The second condition was really not special in that no Israelite was to eat unclean food. However, the other two conditions were unique and included in what was called the Nazirite vow. This vow is explained in detail in Numbers 6. It seems that a special case of the Nazirite vow was in force for Samson since he was not prohibited from touching the dead. Obviously, God would not require him to fight in battle and also expect him not to go near dead bodies. Therefore, it appears as if Samson lived under a modified version of the Nazirite vow, and he was to do so for life. His life would also be special in that he would “begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Jud. 13:5).
There’s an outline of the Book of Mark at: http://doverchurchofchrist.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Book-of-Mark1.pdf
The Bradd clan (all 9 of us here in Clinton) went to Green Bay for our annual Thanksgiving visit. Had a great trip. I rooted for the Lions just to keep it exciting since my mom’s side of the family were all wearing green. But, it was a futile effort on my part (though the Pack did look shaky at times). Still, there is hope that the Pack will fall on Dec 25th (if not sooner)!
Stevelucas is discussing. Toggle Comments
Anyone who doesn’t believe covetousness is prevalent in today’s society only needs to look at the death toll on Black Friday.
This behavior matches Black Fridays in 2008, 2009 and 2010 when there have been injuries and fatalities because of over-zealous striving to have what they want no matter what.
Make no mistake. This behavior is a telling symptom of covetousness. This behavior is motivated by an inordinate desire for things, which is what covetousness is.
We have more things, yet we desire even more things than we have. Entire storage facilities are filling up with the things we have no more room to store in the face of our buying even more things.
Read Rick Kelley’s good article about the phenomenon of covetousness at http://bulletin-digest.com/.
Remember this: covetousness is not age specific. One may fall victim to it at any age! It does not affect just the wealthy: some of those who are overcome by covetousness are poor. Covetousness strikes regardless of race or of any other consideration.
As children of God, we must remember what God told us in Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,’” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV).
From Rick Kelley: Baptism365: College Grove, TN reports baptisms – B365 brings a dose of encouragement from around the world. Enjoy! http://www.baptism365.com/2011/11/college-grove-tn-reports-baptisms.html
Black Friday is so called because of its funereal nature, as we mourn the early death of thanksgiving.
All quiet in the biggest mall in town today. The Maiden and I were in and out in a jiffy. But I still got a rash from going in the mall. Here, no Thanksgiving Day (there is, but nobody knows it), and no Black Friday. Living life normally is the way. Now, waiting on The Missus to get back from her doctor’s appointment in Sao Paulo.
“Then the men of Ephraim gathered together, crossed over toward Zaphon, and said to Jephthah, ‘Why did you cross over to fight against the people of Ammon, and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house down on you with fire!’ And Jephthah said to them, ‘My people and I were in a great struggle with the people of Ammon; and when I called you, you did not deliver me out of their hands. So when I saw that you would not deliver me, I took my life in my hands and crossed over against the people of Ammon; and the LORD delivered them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?’” (Judges 12:1-3).
At first glance, one might wonder what the problem is here. Jephthah subdued a common enemy! Shouldn’t the men of Ephraim be thrilled? One would think so, but obviously a deep spirit of jealousy is at work here, as had been manifested previously (e.g., 8:1). These men of Ephraim were immature and didn’t like others to be successful. They have an attitude problem and they lash out at Jephthah for no good reason. Jephthah had invited them to help but they refused, and now they are angry at him being successful without their assistance and they want to kill him! Ridiculous!
“Now Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. And the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, ‘You Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites and among the Manassites.’ The Gileadites seized the fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites arrived. And when any Ephraimite who escaped said, ‘Let me cross over,’ the men of Gilead would say to him, ‘Are you an Ephraimite?’ If he said, ‘No,’ then they would say to him, ‘Then say, “Shibboleth”!’ And he would say, ‘Sibboleth,’ for he could not pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites. And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in among the cities of Gilead” (12:4-7).
The Ephraimites chose to fight against the men of Gilead for no good reason, and God blessed the Gileadites with victory. Over 40,000 Ephraimites died needlessly because of pride and stupidity! The Ephraimites who escaped from the battle would desire to cross the Jordan River to flee. However, the Gileadites took control of the fords and killed any Ephraimite who tried to cross. Even if an Ephraimite lied about his identity, the Gileadites would have him pronounce a word (“Shibboleth”) and his diction would betray him. In America, it is generally easy to tell from what part of the country someone has lived most recently because of his accent. So it was in Israel (e.g., Matt. 26:73). Apparently the Ephraimites had difficulty pronouncing the “sh” sound and the Gileadites knew this and used it against them for identification purposes. Jephthah was no fool; he tested those who claimed to be friends and would ascertain whether they were truly foes (cf. I John 4:1). Jephthah’s time as a deliverer (or judge) was short-lived (only six years), but he made an impact, endowing the next generation with peace.
“After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. He had thirty sons. And he gave away thirty daughters in marriage, and brought in thirty daughters from elsewhere for his sons. He judged Israel seven years. Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem [this is probably Bethlehem in Zebulun, not the same place Christ was born - SRB]. After him, Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel. He judged Israel ten years. And Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the country of Zebulun. After him, Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy young donkeys. He judged Israel eight years. Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mountains of the Amalekites” (12:8-15).
It is interesting that no significant events are recorded during the reign of these three judges. In one sense that is good, for it implies peace. However, we learn in the next chapter that the peace is short lived because Israel does not remain faithful to the LORD! It doesn’t take long for a nation to corrupt itself and leave behind the way of righteousness! Also, we have a record here of more extremely large families with dozens of children. Such was made possible by one man marrying a multiplicity of women. Polygamy, though not a part of God’s ideal will for marriage, was widely practiced throughout the nation’s history and caused many problems, as the Scriptures illustrate elsewhere (e.g., II Sam. 13ff; I Kings 11). The people seemed to live in peace and prosperity during this time, but it will not last because of their sins!
I have a little card that says, "When you help someone else up a hill, you get closer to the top yourself." I believe that statement is true and when we apply it to our life, it makes a big difference in our own life and our relationship with others.
The principle of helping others is revealed so many times in the word of God. It is said about Jesus that He went about doing good. He gave sight to those who were blind; fed those who were hungry; healed those who were sick; multiplied the loaves and fishes and fed the multitudes; and He taught the masses of people how to live in a way that would please His father. Finally, He was led to the top of a hill Himself and His life was taken from Him on a cold and cruel cross so that you and I could be freed from the guilt of sin and shame and come to the top of that hill and receive redemption.
Jesus taught us by example and through His word the importance of helping others to reach the top of the hill, knowing that it would bring us closer to the top ourselves. Have you taken advantage of the opportunity to help someone else up the hill? Do you know someone who is down in the valley of sin and sorrow? Do you see in that person the blessing of lending a hand and helping he/she to come closer to the top of the hill? Aren’t we glad that we are not alone in this weary and sometimes cold, cruel, life? Are we happy that someone helped us up the hill? Why not help someone else reach the top today.
May God bless your life this week. In America we will celebrate a holiday this week that we call Thanksgiving. We will be with our and we will pause in the midst of the celebration and give thanks to God for all of His bountiful blessings. One of the things for which we will thank Him is the opportunity to work in Romania and love all of you so much.
With Much Love,
Ted & Barbara
If you know of others who might like to receive it, send us their address and we will add them.
I Corinthians 14:26, "Let all things be done unto edifying"
An E-Letter from Ted and Barbara Knight to EDIFY our Brothers and Sisters in Romania
November 22, 2012
Below is a link to an article written by a friend of mine. Paul Merideth is the preacher for the Watterson Trail Church of Christ in Jeffersontown, KY – This appeared in their bulletin last Sunday (Nov. 20, 2011)
While we are willing for Him to return, we have some responsibilities to fulfil.
- First, We Must Keep Alert To The Voice Of The Shepherd. We discover His leading as we study the Bible, meditate, pray and obey what he reveals to us. We must follow Him one step at a time, one day at a time.
- Second, We Must Stay Close To The Shepherd no matter whether He leads us to the green pastures or to the dark valley. He is with us in both places. We must always have our eyes on the Savior (Heb. 12:1-2)
- Third, If We Do stray, We Must Call For The Shepherd’s Help He will forgive if we will ask Him.
- Finally, We Must Be Useful To The Shepherd. Each member has a gift. We must use it. All can do something for God. We must find our talent and use it for the Lord.
Character — 2 Cor. 7:1 "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
Heart — Mat 12:35 "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things."
Interest — Col 3:1-2 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
Stewardship — 1Co 16:1 "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
Talk — Eph 4:29 "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
Investigation — Act 17:11 "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Aims — Mat 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Name — Act 11:26 "and the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." Act 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
In Christ, Steve Preston
In our prior lesson, we read the entire context of both the uttering and implementation of Jephthah’s vow (cf. Jud. 11:29-40). Although some believe this judge offered his daughter as a human sacrifice, I do not believe that to be the case for the following seven reasons:
It is unlikely that the thought of offering a person as a burnt offering crossed his mind. Human sacrifice was always understood, from the days of Abraham, to be an offense and an abomination to God, being expressly denounced and forbidden (cf. Lev. 18:21; 20:2-5; Deut. 12:31; 18:10). There is no evidence that any Israelite ever offered human sacrifice prior to the days of Ahaz (734 B.C.). It is inconceivable that a man like Jephthah, who was God-fearing and knowledgeable of the law, could have supposed that he would have been pleasing the LORD by perpetrating such a crime.
Although some might call his vow foolish, it does not appear to be impulsive. His vow is not made in the midst of the confusion of battle where we might expect him to speak without fully weighing his words. No, his vow is made before he sets out to fight the Ammonites.
In 11:37, his daughter requests two months to bewail her virginity. This is significant. Note that she is not going to bewail her approaching loss of life. If she was going to die, why would she care about the fact that she was a virgin? However, if she is not going to be offered as a burnt offering but instead devoted to the LORD for His divine service, then it makes sense for her to bewail her virginity. Evidently she understands that under such circumstances she will not have the right to marry, and thus she will always remain a virgin.
11:39 states that “she knew no man.” This fact is mentioned after Jephthah had already carried out the vow. This would be a very pointless remark if she had been put to death. But, it has perfect relevance if she was devoted to the service of God at the door of the tabernacle for the rest of her life (cf. Exo. 38:8; I Sam. 22:2; Luke 2:36,37).
It is extremely unlikely that any priest in that day and time would be so corrupt as to assist Jephthah in offering a human as a burnt sacrifice. A priest would need to be involved since all burnt offerings made to the LORD had to be offered at the tabernacle by a priest.
The Bible does not explicitly say that he gave his daughter as a burnt sacrifice. It simply states that Jephthah did with her according to his vow. How one interprets that vow determines whether or not one is forced into concluding that Jephthah offered his daughter as a literal burnt offering. If one interprets Jephthah’s words in a spiritual or symbolic sense, then the difficulty vanishes. That is, perhaps Jephthah fulfilled his vow through the fact that his daughter knew no man and that her life was dedicated to God, as a “spiritual burnt offering,” not a literal one.
Jephthah is listed among the faithful in Hebrews 11:32. Admittedly, that doesn’t prove that he did not do something heinous here and seek forgiveness later, but the position I’m arguing for here (i.e., a spiritual fulfillment of the vow) is consistent with Jephthah being named among great heroes of faith.
Regardless of whether Jephthah offered his daughter as a literal or symbolic burnt offering, we must admire the great faith of his daughter. She encouraged him to keep his word to God, even at great expense to herself! What an example of submission and faithful obedience she manifested! She was not forgotten by her contemporaries and we should not forget a young woman of this caliber either!
So says today’s Quick Bible Truths. So we’re in good company when we give thanks to God. Let me register my thanks to all of you and for all of you. I’m blessed by your friendship and by the fellowship we share in Christ.
Thanksgiving leads to praise, and so, whenever the four heavenly creatures who gave thanks and glory and honor to the One who occupied the throne, the 24 elders prostrated themselves and praised the Lord:
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
We join them in that praise.
Just in case someone wants to use any article (or articles) on my Bible study blog relative to Thanksgiving and thankfulness, I’ve consolidated them here: http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2011/11/23/everything-about-thanksgiving-and-thankfulness/
Some people fear the holidays because they believe they will suffer deep depression and may more likely commit suicide
People do experience grief more acutely during the holidays mainly because there are traditions they’ve developed that strongly remind them of loved ones they’ve lost.
An example was a woman who lost her family to a plane crash. They had always celebrated the holidays in Florida, a tradition the woman continued after her family was killed. She became distraught during the holiday, but continued to go to Florida and sat on the beach sobbing.
One method of decreasing the depression is by changing the tradition.
A better way is to lift oneself up with the scriptures’ teaching about resurrection and eternity. Studying the scriptures can allow one to see above the sorrow. Do you believe Jesus can help you climb above it?
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 ESV).
Obedience to Jesus allows one to see a new life, and that life in Christ never really ends..
I’m with the ditto guy.
After the king of Ammon refused the path of peace, “the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed through Mizpah of Gilead; and from Mizpah of Gilead he advanced toward the people of Ammon. And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD, and said, ‘If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering’” (Judges 11:29-31). Before we focus our attention on this vow Jephthah made, let us note the victory that God gave to him. He successfully subdued the Ammonites before the children of Israel. This is what he desired to do, and God’s Spirit made it possible!
Now, regarding the vow, let it first be observed that Jephthah pledged to God–if victorious–whatever came out of his house to greet him. This could perhaps be an animal, but it would be much more likely to be a human! Surely Jephthah realized this possibility. Some scholars believe that the “and” of 11:31 could be properly rendered as “or.” That is, Jephthah promises to either devote to the LORD (a person) or offer a burnt offering (animal), depending upon what greets him. Although we may have an understandable hesitancy to change the “and” to an “or” in the text, if correct the difficulty we struggle with here dissolves. But, I’m not absolutely certain that this is the proper solution, so let us assume that the “and” of 11:31 is correct as is. Does this mean Jephthah would offer a human sacrifice in order to keep his vow if a human greets him first when he returns? Reflect upon that as we read the rest of the narrative. Carefully consider all of the recorded details.
“When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter. And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot go back on it.’ So she said to him, ‘My father, if you have given your word to the LORD, do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, because the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the people of Ammon.’ Then she said to her father, ‘Let this thing be done for me: let me alone for two months, that I may go and wander on the mountains and bewail my virginity, my friends and I.’ So he said, ‘Go.’ And he sent her away for two months; and she went with her friends, and bewailed her virginity on the mountains. And it was so at the end of two months that she returned to her father, and he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man. And it became a custom in Israel that the daughters of Israel went four days each year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite” (11:34-40).
Although some argue that Jephthah offered his daughter as a human sacrifice, I do not believe that to be the case for seven reasons, which I will expound upon in our next lesson.
Alonge Emmanuel is discussing. Toggle Comments
There is a Bible outline of the New Testament Book of 2 Peter available at: http://doverchurchofchrist.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Outline-of-II-Peter1.pdf
Working right now on sermon slides for this Sunday’s a.m. lesson: “Power in the Blood”