Anybody have any perspectives on this chapter they’d like to share?
Updates from April, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts
Here’s a good article by Ron Thomas with some scary stats on our increasingly corrupt culture: http://etsop95.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/changing-attitudes/
- The nation Israel (northern kingdom) was in political disarray because their moral and spiritual compass was spinning every which way. Joram was king over Israel, but the Lord had anointed a new king over Israel; his name was Jehu (9:1-13). With Jehu now the Lord’s chosen over the northern kingdom (Israel), he sets out to do exactly the bidding the prophet said for him to do (9:7-10). This was, most certainly, a bloody purging (9:14-37).
- Application: Be sure your sin will find you out, Moses said to the tribes who chose to live on the east side of the Jordan (Numbers 32:23). No matter the efforts or the lengths to which man will go, he can’t go far enough and he can’t expend enough effort and energy to out-distance the Lord. When I was growing up, a favorite acronym used wasCYB (though the letter B was not used, but a vowel was). I used it often; then I learned that the best thing to do was simply do the right thing; then no acronym would be needed. Israel and Judah were complaisant with one another, and it would be foolish to think they were not always looking behind them to be sure their tracks were covered and/or protected. In all this the Lord was forgotten. However, the Lord did not forget.
Hello! I hope all of our readers are doing well. I wanted to share a potpourri of thoughts with you this Friday morning. We appreciate you very much.
- It is a beautiful sunny day in Southeast Georgia. We ask your prayers that we can get some rain. Our drought is nothing like the Southwest has suffered, but we are double digits below normal for three years. It is sad to see so many ponds dry. Also, continue to pray for rain in the Southwest, they desperately need it.
- I also ask your prayers for me as I continue battling a neurological condition. The pain has been especially bad, lately. I see a new neurologist in two weeks.
- I read that the Baptists in Kentucky are having a symposium on Calvinism. They say that only one of the speakers is a Five-Point Calvinist. I wish they would figure out that the Baptist doctrine of salvation is Calvinist-Lite and return to the truth of Scripture on how to be saved.
BTW, here is a shameless plug for my book on how to be saved.
- On a lighter note, the 17 year-old son of one of my cousins didn’t know who John Wayne was. Moments like these seriously make you feel old. Likewise, I recently realized that in 2014 it will have been 20 years since I finished graduate school at Freed-Hardeman University. Time flies much too quickly.
- Every Friday, I ask my friends on Facebook what books they are reading. In addition to being an editor and writer, I have a website on writing and a popular board on Pinterest on books. I also lead a writer’s group at the local library. I do what I can to help cultivate a love for books and learning. What do you do in this area?
- I am listening to the Bible on digital audio. As I write, I am listening to Acts 11.
- I am privileged to develop a manuscript on John 21 for the Southeast Georgia Lectureship at Richmond Hill. The lectureship is October 27-28. The last chapter of John is a fascinating study and I look forward to taking it apart and finding the treasures there.
This Sunday morning I will be speaking on James 3:1, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”
Of this passage, Burton Coffman writes:
“James did not seek to discourage any who might have been qualified for such work. As Harper suggested, ‘His words were meant to remind us of our responsibilities, rather than to deter us from our duties.’”
We must not allow this passage to be a path of rationalization to avoid evangelism. We must all become more knowledgeable about Scripture. What thoughts do you have on this verse?
For your reading:
- Mike Benson writes on the pain Jesus felt for the lost in Israel in All torn up.
- Stan Mitchell writes about Gossip.
- Paula Harrington gives an impassioned plea to bring people to God.
- My article from this week discussed how God is actively seeking sinners to come to Him.
- J. Randal Matheny wrote about saving the earth.
I’m working on my message for the Maywood Missionary Retreat (open to all). Looking again at what evangelism is and what its elements are. I’d be interested in reading your well-considered definition of evangelism.
J. Randal Matheny, How would you introduce a course on Christ and salvation? | Walking with God, John Henson, and 2 others are discussing. Toggle Comments
- Elisha’s work was, very much, noticed by the king. A famine on the land sent a woman and her son away for seven years; when she returned the king granted her request (8:1-6). Elisha grants a request of him by the Syrian commander concerning the king’s health (8:7-15). Resuming the historical sequence, we are told of Jehoram reign over Judah. He was the son of the righteous king Jehoshaphat. Jehoram (also known as Joram) was an evil king; evil because of two things: his heart’s desire and his association with Ahab’s family (8:16-24). After his reign of eight years his son, Ahaziah, took the throne and reigned only one year. He, too, was an evil king (8:25-29).
- Application: Why is it that people fail to see that association with evil is only bad news? Surely they have been taught it to one degree or another, but still there is the association. Perhaps it has to do with what people consider to be evil. Jehoshaphat surely instilled in his family devotion to the Lord, but there came a diluted period of time where the term “devotion to the Lord” became a confused concept. Another reason is connected to one’s heart desire. The confused idea as to what is right is swirling in the brain, and when one adds to this his own inclinations, then a recipe for disaster is primed and ready to go!
War is all around us. Names like Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Caucasus, Nepal, Syria and Yemen, to name a few, remind us that we live in a world full of wars and rumors of wars. All over the world, there are battles & skirmishes & conflicts & fighting insurgencies and civil disturbances & combat and wars both hot and cold. This is the day of atomic bombs and nuclear warheads. We live every hour of every day on the brink of destruction and on the edge of world-wide devastation. But frankly, the principles of peace do not rest upon disarming the superpowers. The principle of peace rests on changing people’s hearts. We could sink every battleship, blow up every powder factory and junk every warhead, and still men would go at each others throats, with their bare hands if necessary, so long as greed, and hate, and lust, and malice, and bitterness fill the hearts of mankind. This is Just-a-Minute with Ed Boggess
- The king’s servant, with much disbelief, in fact did not live to see the “plunder” given to Israel. This chapter outlines how that all came about.
- Application: With much disbelief the king’s servant expressed himself. Of course, it is easy to understand how he could say what he did. Given human experience, his country’s deprivation, and the current circumstances of an enemy’s army just outside the door – what was he supposed to think? This might be expected when circumstances present themselves without a prophet of God. However, one was present and he had his credibility established by the Lord that any thoughtful, conscientious, and moderately religious person could see. His unbelief cost him his life.
He’s already become a regular, since we’ve not properly introduced him, but you may still welcome Eugene Adkins to TFR. Shortly, we hope to have his bio up on the Fellows page. Eugene does a great job on his blog, and we’ve been delighted with the great contributions he’s made already to TFR.
WORRY gives a small thing a big shadow –Swedish Proverb
Philippians 4:5-6 – Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock
Brothers and sisters, wisdom is the principle thing. Let’s all be diligent to get wisdom. Our text today is 1 Corinthians 1:17-31. This particular passage is about two main concepts: the way man receives instruction about salvation and the nature of God’s wisdom in comparison to ours.
We would generally consider foolishness to be the opposite of wisdom. But verse 25 of our text says that God’s foolishness is wiser than any wisdom which man might believe he had captured.
Of course, God is never foolish. But that which God has done to provide our salvation, which seems foolish to man, is wiser than all the wisdom which the ages of man has been able to concoct.
Consider that the “sages” like Aristotle, Socrates, Plato constantly tried to explain the meaning of man and were never able to even come to consensus, let alone correctness. The “great” religious leaders of centuries past have only confused mankind about the right way to heaven by the establishment of multiple religions. Believing that they were capable of helping God’s plan, multiple new creeds and commandments have been written causing many to turn away from religion altogether and millions others to assure themselves even though they are outside the salvation of God.
God’s simple wisdom is: Salvation is through obedience to the Savior. The plan is disseminated to the world through preaching.
Brothers and sisters, let’s preach (spread the gospel). But let’s preach the simple message. Let’s not believe that we must embellish it in order to make it palatable to man. An embellished gospel cannot save. Let’s not ignore parts of it. The violation of even one point constitutes breaking the law of God (James 2:10). And, let’s not fail to preach it. That is the wisdom of God.
The Tennessean carried a picture of Managua, Nicaraguan peasants combing through tons of trash and garbage trying to find a lost lottery ticket. It is worth 6 million cordobas, about $1300. A restaurant worker threw away his ticket thinking it was out of date, but it wasn’t. It was later drawn. There seems to be no limit to what some folk will do for money. The amount of the money doesn’t seem to make much difference. Some have been shot down in cold blood for as little as pocket change. Satan’s lie that the key to happiness is a fat billfold continues to enjoy success. They think that if they can just “get ahead”, then they can kick back and enjoy life. So they work two or three jobs for a few more dollars. But often what they sacrifice in loss of intimacy in their marriage or time with their children is not worth what is gained. The best is traded away for the good. This is Just-a-Minute with Ed Boggess
- Extraordinary miracles in this chapter when one gives thought to it. I suppose, though, when one gives thought to any of the miracles recorded in Scripture they are all extraordinary. Not only do we read of something physically impossible, iron floats (6:1-7), but we also read of a warrior army receiving charitable treatment (6:8-23). With the Lord, however, what is physically impossible becomes possible, yea, even certain. Certainty in a king’s decree, on the other hand, does not always come to pass (6:24-33).
- Application: It is so easy to become discouraged when facing some of life’s greatest travails. It does not matter exactly what one considers an affliction or not; when a stressful situation arises it is not always easy to know what to do or how to do it. Often, there are some who hang their head in despair, quickly conquered by the circumstances. Life’s circumstances are not, necessarily, an indication of the Lord’s approval or disapproval. So easy it is to interpret things along that line. In the nature of the case, our circumstance can be either the result of our doing or the result of another’s doing. The Lord’s approval is condition on one thing: our faithful response to Him. When we respond like this then who is it that can defeat us? Even if one’s life is extinguished, who can defeat a faithful child of God?
There’s an old story about a farmer who one morning decided to plow the south forty acres. His tractor needed oil, so he started for the barn to get it, but on the way noticed that the pigs hadn’t been fed. Near the corn crib was a pile of sacks, reminding him that the potatoes were sprouting. But, on his way to the potato pit, he passed the woodpile and remembered that the kitchen stove was burning low. While picking up the wood, he saw that one of his chickens was ailing, so he dropped the wood to doctor the chicken…and so it was till the end of the day, and he still hadn’t oiled the tractor or plowed the south field.
Is your Christian life like this trip to the barn? Do you have grand visions of great service that never gets done? Have you found too many “other things” to do that interfere with your goal of being a productive servant in God’s kingdom?
The only way you and I will “get to the barn” of Christian service is to get our priorities in order. The farmer in the story didn’t have any priorities. He just flowed with the tide of events around him. Our life contains plenty of “pigs to feed,” “wood to cut,” and “chickens to doctor.” But, we can’t allow them to get in our way of serving God. If we will make the commitment and extend our effort, God will make a way for us to “get to the barn.” —George Miller
“Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver. And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone.” (1 Kgs. 20:39-40a)
The Relationship of Faith and Works in Justification
The Church of Christ is under the impression that evangelicals have no part for works in the salvation formula. This is incorrect. The evangelical understanding is that grace = salvation + works. Though the Church of Christ does not use such formulas, their interpretation is either grace + works = salvation (semi-Pelagian), or works = salvation + grace (full-Palagian). Note: The = sign in these formulas means “leads to” or “results in.”
We have attempted above to show above that the Church of Christ hermeneutic of legalistic patternism is flawed. So how should the Bible be interpreted? Because this is so crucial, we repeat. First and foremost the Bible must be interpreted in such a way as not to be contradictory. If the Bible is contradictory, it cannot be God’s word. Let us examine a statement made to us by a Church of Christ preacher regarding justification (how we are saved): “I completely teach, believe, and agree with this idea: No person who has ever lived, is living, or will live, can in and of himself do something by which he earns, merits, deserves, or is given salvation. Every person, however, who hears and does what God has said to do in the way that God has said to do it will be saved by the grace of God through the blood of Christ.”
1. Is it not clear that this statement—which is typical of how CC folks state justification—is contradictory? If grace is a free gift (Rom 5:15, 16, 18; Rom 6:23), if it is unmerited favor—then God does not require ANY work in order to be saved. As Paul says in Rom 11:6, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”
RT – This is pitiful! You assert that something is contradictory, but you did not demonstrate what is contradictory about it. O, you made an effort, but the effort you made bites you in the backside and you don’t even see it. You said, “then God does not require ANY work in order to be saved,” while Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:29). Now that is a contradiction! You can’t get around it because you said “God does not require any work…” (and you emphasized the word any). If God does not require any work, then that means work that includes God. Just pitiful!
2. St. Paul clarifies what the Church of Christ is risking in its hermeneutic. He states, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose (Gal 2:20).” This is serious. By its legalistic patternism hermeneutic, the Church of Christ is nullifying the grace of God! It is giving too much credit for sinful man and too little credit to God and Christ’s finished work on the cross. As put by C. K. Moser, “If man must still work for salvation we have in Christ an atonement that does not atone!” See Moser.
3. We fully understand how difficult the concept—that our salvation is completely by Christ’s work and none of our own—is. This is incomprehensible for our Church of Christ brothers and so too for Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Jews, and every other religion. Yet the Bible insists over and over again that we are saved by faith and specifically not by our works (Romans chapters 1-9, Galatians chapters 1-3, Ephesians chapter 2, Titus chapter 3, etc). In fact, we count over 100 instances in the New Testament when it is stated that we are saved by grace rather than works. Yet the Bible commands us to obey! So how do we reconcile faith and works?
4. We have asked the CC why they keep coming back to James 2 in an attempt to show that salvation is through works, and the answer has been, because others “keep denying what it clearly teaches.” This answer implies that, in spite of insisting elsewhere that we are not saved by works, that in fact the CC really believes after all that we are. Is James contradicting the rest of the Bible? Perhaps we just can’t get it, but it seems clear to us that James himself is teaching that works are merely evidence of a true saving faith—that is, explanatory of the kind of faith that saves us?
RT – Your words are becoming boring. All you do is assert this or that, read what other men say, fail to show where something is wrong, and then put it forth like you are on the pontiff stand. In Galatians 2, what is the context of the word “works”, or does it matter? You bet it matters! Context is crucial to a proper understanding, and you have not been very good at including it in your essay. The straw man you have built with this effort of yours makes you feel good about the challenge you have set forth, but this has not turned out to be much of a challenge at all. Remarks on James 2 will be in the next post.
1. There is the work of man. This pertains to that which originates within man regardless of the outside influences.
2. There is the work of the Law. This pertain to that which God authored, but man has manipulated to his own end.
3. There is the work of God. This pertains to that which originates with God and man humbly obeys.
By which are we saved?
A number of years ago I was teaching an adult Bible class and made the passing remark that many people think that the forbidden fruit of which Eve ate was an apple but that the Bible does not actually identify the fruit.An elderly lady from the back of the class spoke up and said that the Bible did say it was an apple.I kindly suggested that we turn to Genesis 3 and read the account.Of course, when we did so, it was easy to see that the kind of fruit of which Eve (and, later, Adam) ate is not identified.Not to be outdone, the good lady said, “Well, it could have been an apple!”We all had a good laugh, but the point was made that many people often think the Bible says a certain thing, teaches a certain doctrine, or authorizes a certain practice when, upon investigation, many of the things frequently attributed to the Bible are not actually found in the Scriptures.
Tradition says that three wise men came to visit the child Jesus, yet when the biblical record is consulted one does not find the number of the wise men given (Matthew 2:1-12).The title “Reverend” is commonly applied to preachers, yet the word appears but once in our English translations (Psalms 111:9), and there it is applied to God.And while it is true that the root from which the word comes is found in many places in scripture to refer to holy and sacred things, Jesus forbade the wearing of religious titles of distinction (Matthew 23:8-9).
When I was a very young preacher I was conducting a meeting in a southern state and staying in the home of one of the leaders of the church.He was a good man, loved the church, and had raised a good family of faithful Christian children.How shocked I was when one evening after the services he asked, “Hugh, how old was Jesus when He joined the church?”Since I thought he was being facetious, I came within a gnat’s whisker of laughing in his face.I caught myself just in time to realize that he was dead serious.Now, it is certainly true that Christ and the church enjoy an intimate relationship.The church is the body of which Christ is the head.For an understanding of Christ’s relationship to the church one needs to read and digest the first three chapters of Ephesians.But the church did not exist in historical reality during the earthly ministry of Christ, and Jesus never “joined” the church in the sense in which people today talk about “joining” the church.In fact, the whole concept of “joining” the church is deserving of deeper study, for the Bible speaks more in terms of a person being saved from his or her sins and being “added” to the church than it does of “joining” the church (Acts 2:41, 47).
In a certain city where I once lived a preacher of a particular denomination conducted a daily radio program designed to spread the beliefs of his church.His knowledge of both the Scriptures and basic grammar was highly suspect.On one occasion he cited Paul’s admonition, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).He then observed, “Yes, the Bible says the devil is wild, and he is getting wilder ever’ day!”While his observation likely was true, there is a vast difference between the “wiles” of the devil and the fact that the devil may also be “wild.”
We need to be diligent students of the Bible.People sometimes show their ignorance of the Bible by speaking against things the Bible clearly endorses.Desiring to appear to know more than they do, they oppose things the Bible commends.At the same time, not everything that is said to be taught in the Scriptures is actually taught in the Scriptures.Of the Bereans it is said: “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 these things were so” (Acts 17:11).Paul exhorted: “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21).We need to be diligently engaged in such today.
Hugh’s news and Views
April 24, 2012
- Naaman, commander of the Syrian army, was plagued with a sickness that would have certainly prevented him from serving if he were an Israelite. As a Syrian he was not prevented. Highly regarded as a military man, on one occasion he sweeps into Israel, gains the victory, and brings captives back with him for his king’s service. One of Naaman’s captive now becomes his servant, and she notes his ailment and speaks about the Lord’s prophet in Israel. Naaman inquires of his king, and the king of Syria inquires of Israel’s king (5:1-7). Elisha calls for the Syrian commander to come to his home; the commander comes, and Elisha sends out a servant to tell him to go and wash in the Jordon, being sure to dip himself seven times. Embarrassed, the army commander goes into a fit of rage and leaves. He is persuaded to think differently, and having returned from the Jordon, he is a clean man (5:8-14). Naaman is amazed beyond measure; he is amazed to the point, it appears, of complete conversion to the God of Israel (5:15-19). Elisha’s servant, however, was “converted” in a different direction. He lost sight of the Lord and sought to gain what Naaman previously offered. Elisha was fully aware of Gehazi’s spiritual failings and declared that what left Naaman was to cling to his, now, one time servant (5:20-27).
- Application: When we lose sight of that which is of great value the direction we begin to take is one further and further away from the Lord. Paul marveled at the Galatians because they were doing such a thing as that (Galatians 1:6; 3:1). Recognizing the value of the Lord’s Way, why would anyone turn away from it? The answer lies in the influences in life. It starts with just a little nudge, and before long that little nudge has turned into a torrent and moved us so far away that we wonder if we can find our way back.
“If Paul is free, he converts the world; chain him to a jailor and he converts the guard; put him in prison and he writes the Bible; if you kill him, you do him a favor as he goes to be with Jesus. Now how do you defeat a guy like that?“ – Billy Bland, Memphis School of Preaching Lectures
From Glad Tidings of Good Things - Jacksonville, AL
“But as for you, son of man, your people (who are talking about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses) say to one another, ‘Come hear the word that comes from the LORD.’ They come to you in crowds, and they sit in front of you as my people. They hear your words, but do not obey them. For they talk lustfully, and their heart is set on their own advantage. Realize that to them you are like a sensual song, a beautiful voice and skilled musician. They hear your words, but they do not obey them. When all this comes true — and it certainly will — then they will know that a prophet was among them.” (Ezekiel 33:30-33, NET).
Oh, that this wouldn’t be so – but it is!
Here’s an excellent article by Charles Pugh III, Director of the new Warren Christian Apologetics Center. If God is the foundation of rationality, then, to argue from a godless perspective is to attack rationality itself (since the cosmos [including our thought processes] is all a non-purposive accident.
You may have heard about a new bride who was a bit
embarrassed to be known as a honeymooner.
So when she and her husband pulled up to the hotel, she
asked him if there was any way that they could make it
appear that they had been married a long time.
He responded, “Sure. You carry the suitcases!”
A person wouldn’t sell very many papers with that headline would they? But that’s one of the “headlines” Paul used consistently when he taught about the “Good News.”
Not too long ago I preached a sermon from 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and how Paul was telling the church then that their faith was a faith based on “old news” that was “reliable news” – the Old Testament (Luke 24:44-47).
So many people in “Christianity” are looking for something new, something hip, something “evolved” but what they don’t realize is that the people could have said the exact same thing to Paul when he presented a Savior based upon the Old Scriptures. It didn’t stop Paul from following Jesus and I don’t see as to why the gospel being “old news” today should keep anyone from believing the “good news” about Jesus.
“Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.”” (Acts 17:2-3, NKJV)
- A poor widow woman seeks guidance from God’s prophet in how to relieve her economic burden (4:1-7). A young mother is told by Elisha that she will bear a child; when she did, some years later, the child died. Going to the prophet, she laments and mourns. Elisha goes to her home and appeals to the Lord for the child. The grants the prayer request (4:8-37).
- Application: Whether one was economically deprived, suffer a loss of a loved one, or have nothing to eat, in each case God provided. Our Lord said something about the Lord God providing when we seek first His kingdom (Matthew 6:33).
Thought this was a good read & worthwhile, though perhaps controversial toward the end. What are your thoughts?
|04/22/12||Sunday||2 Samuel 4-6||Luke 18:18-43|
|04/23/12||Monday||2 Samuel 7-9||Luke 19:1-28|
|04/24/12||Tuesday||2 Samuel 10-12||Luke 19:29-48|
|04/25/12||Wednesday||2 Samuel 13-14||Luke 20:1-26|
|04/26/12||Thursday||2 Samuel 15-16||Luke 20:27-47|
|04/27/12||Friday||2 Samuel 17-18||Luke 21:1-19|
|04/28/12||Saturday||2 Samuel 19-20||Luke 21:20-38|
I am always dismayed when I hear of society falling back spiritually. Moral decline in the world today is no longer incremental. It is in pure free-fall.
A school system in Alabama wants to change its policies so gender boundaries will be removed from what people wear. Like everything else in society, this is derived from a fear of being sued.
A lawyer recently addressed a school board where he:
“cited a case in Atlanta in which a male employee of the Georgia Assembly’s Office of Legislative Counsel was fired in 2007 after wearing women’s clothing to work.”
When my children asked why ridiculous rules existed in schools or in society, my answer was always the same. Somewhere along the way, someone was afraid of getting sued. Our entire society is being ruled by paranoid political correctness.
While the culture is traveling down the wormhole to hell and increasingly bizarre behavior is being rewarded, we must never think that God cares what they think. Before time and culture even existed, God had already decided what He believed and would accept (Psalm 119:89).
God’s Word will never conform to culture. We can burrow deeper and deeper into the slime but God will never follow us. We must not even “think beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6). If God didn’t approve it in Scripture, then it will never be approved (Colossians 3:17).
Today, we live under the law of the New Testament (Hebrews 9), not American law. God has NEVER taken a public opinion poll and He will never consult us for what we want (Exodus 20:3). We cannot change God or sway him to our side. God doesn’t need our opinions because He knows everything (1 John 3:20; Acts 17:25).
Truth be told, even in heaven there isn’t any discussion of the issues. God the Father is always the final voice (John 14:10; 16:13). If Jesus and the Holy Spirit can’t alter’s God’s mind, why do we think we will?
We must follow God, not men. End of story.
Our backyard is a haven for the fowls of the air and small animals that can weasel their way through the slats of the old dilapidated and unpainted fence. There are no cats or dogs to chase the beautiful birds away from the feeders. The squirrels and birds enjoy the area feeders and bird bath.
Out the double breakfast area window I have watched with great interest the little animals and fowl that frequent our yard. I’ve often tiptoed lightly, with camera in hand, to capture their antics. From the cardinals I offer these lessons.
Cardinals select a mate – It was on the fifth day of creation that God made the fowls of the air (Genesis 1:20-22). The cardinal is a favorite bird of many people. The beautiful male red bird chooses a mate in early Spring.
Cardinals mate and produce after their kind – It is interesting that the birds do not mate with other birds. The cardinal mates with the cardinal, the blue bird with a blue bird, the robin with a robin, the sparrow with a sparrow, etc. After the great flood God spoke to Noah saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth. So Noah went out, and his sons and his sons’ wives with him. Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark” (Genesis 8:15-19). God’s plan is perfect for the animal kingdom, the home and the family.
Cardinals mate for life – One male and one female for life is the way of the cardinal. The same way God planned for His children to set up their homes for life. One man and one woman until death parts them (Genesis 2:23-25).
Cardinals build a home – The male and female birds work together to build a home. Immediately that is their goal when they have chosen each other. They have left their father and mother and devote themselves to their little nest, to their little home. God set that plan in action long ago for man when He instituted the home. He said it beautifully, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife” (Ephesians 5:31).
Cardinal male is head of the home – I have watched the cardinals fly across the yard with the male leading the way. She is often right behind him. God planned for the male to be the head of the home (Ephesians 5:22-25). Whether seeking twigs for the home they are building, or watching for the unsuspecting insect on the ground, they are always near each other. There’s something noteworthy about the example of the birds even for us humans. Husbands and wives that delight in being with each other, cleaving unto each other, seldom find interest in others outside their marriage vows.
Cardinal male provides food for his mate - The attention of the male cardinal to his mate is beautiful. I have watched him sit on the bird feeder while she is standing on the ground near by. I have observed him choosing some special seed and flying down to give it to his mate. The beauty of God’s plan for the husband as the provider of the home can be seen in the birds. Time and time again, he flew to the feeder and dropped back down to the ground to give his mate the best he could find. (See picture above.) She seemed content with his findings. I didn’t witness any ruffled feathers, nor frightful fits, because he didn’t bring just what she thought was the right seed. She, like Paul long ago, learned contentment with such things that she was given (Philippians 4:13).
Cardinals protect each other – The birds work together to build their homes. They work together in caring for each other and protecting their home. Let a predator enter their area, and the birds immediately become protective of their zone. Swooping down toward the predator at a high speed, the enemy soon leaves the area for their own protection.
Cardinal female is keeper at home – The birds enjoy their love and the female sets about the task of nurturing the fertilized eggs to maturity. He keeps close watch from a limb nearby and is always ready to protect his mate. Husbands are the protector of the home.
Cardinals care for their young – When the baby cardinals hatch, they are kept warm underneath the loving wings of their parents. The birds protect their young. For their growth the father and mother birds search for small insects to feed their little ones. Soon the little birds down is replaced by feathers, and they outgrow their nest.
Cardinals train their young – The day comes when the little bird hops onto the side of the nest and flutters his wings. One by one the mother and father bird fly away from the nest to a nearby limb, setting the example and encouraging their little one to follow them. The training continues until the little bird flutters away. Just as the mother and father birds know their babies must be taught to fly, and to search for their own food, they go about the task of training them. God planned the same for us long ago when he said, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:1). Birds don’t forget their training. Again in Ephesians 6:4, fathers are to not provoke their children unto wrath but to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Cardinals are patient with their young – If the little bird happens to fall to the ground, the parents don’t get upset and reprimand him strongly. Just as a parent will stop and pick up a child that has fallen, and set them on their course again, the birds fly down to the ground and keep flying back and forth showing their baby that he can fly just like them, if he will only try. Often they have to take the little bird food on the ground. The day comes when the little bird is successful and flies away to start his own life cycle.
Cardinals live for only a year – According to research cardinals live only a year. Death comes to the birds as well as all living things on the earth. Consider the birds of the sky. God provides for them all year-long, even without our bird feeders. It is comforting to know that not one of them falls to the ground without our heavenly Father being aware of it (Matthew 10:29). The same is true with our Father’s deep love for us. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, and we can rest on that promise (Hebrews 13:5). Someone has said, “The old must die but the young do die.” Everything has a lifespan.
Consider the birds of the sky and the lessons they can teach us. If our heavenly Father cares for the birds of the sky, how much greater is His love for us? With that knowledge we should mount up with wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:30-31).
- After Ahab died Moab’s king justified himself in rebelling against the burden placed on and against him by Ahab (some political disarray occurring in Israel). Israel’s king, Jehoram, aligns himself with two other kings (from Judah and Edom) and proceeds to bring Moab back in line. After seven days of searching the king of Israel begins to grown apprehensive (panic?) about the Lord having brought them out to this wandering in order for Moab to be the victor (3:1-12). The king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, makes an inquiry concerning whether or not God’s prophet is in their midst. Elisha is present and makes it plain that were it not for the king of Judah, he would not serve at the king’s pleasure (3:11-19). The Lord’s prophet gave encouraging words to the kings and shortly thereafter victory was theirs (3:20-27).
- Application: The Moabite Stone has attested to the historicity of the king of Moab. I always write in the margin of my Bible things of this sort. Do I need, however, an archaeological find to attest to the veracity of Scripture? I do not, but surely it is an encouraging point of interest when it is unearthed. On the same note, when the king of Israel had been given testimony from the Lord with regard to what was going to happen, and did happen, did he take that information and “write it down in the margin on his brain”? Perhaps we might ask the same question of us.
Satan has no interest in banishing Christianity. Read C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters.”
Satan is perfectly content with having a form of religion around to lull people to sleep. However, he must make some changes until it is leading people down the road he has prepared (1 Peter 5:8).
Satan changes our language, re-defines our words and alters our focus from Christ to ourselves. We become more worldly when Satan tells us that the world can’t be converted by holy people.
Satan discredits Scripture and destroys God’s meanings for words such as grace, holiness, preaching, faith and repentance, replacing them with secular definitions.
Satan creates a faux Christianity without God that focuses on slick promotions, incense, clothes, hairstyles, poetry, emotion and entertainment. His religion is empty and shallow, appealing to a worldly view of “spirituality.” Satan would rather us connect with a tree than with God.
The Christian Chronicle published an article about a “Christian” movie called “Blue Like Jazz.”
In this series of posts I have been incorporating the entirety of words from a particular website; this includes all misspellings and other foibles. The intent was (is) not for embarrassment, but to keep it as complete as I can. This has a down side; much of the material is not worth reading. Be that as it may, I appreciate you reading it and enduring the length. RT
Christians throughout the ages have pointed out that Christianity is uniquely different from all other religions and cults because salvation is through faith and not through works. Can you see that the view of salvation through works puts the CC in close company with false religions and cults? While we are not saying the the Church of Christ is a cult, we cannot help pointing out the similarities between the Church of Christ and Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons: They were founded at about the same time (early 1800′s) in reaction to Reformed theology. The refusal to read “apostate” literature. (If the Church of Christ reader has refused to read the links we have provided in this article, our point is proven.) God’s grace through Christ’s finished work on the cross only makes up the small portion left out by my man’s own meritorious works toward salvation. (See Christian Grace vs. Mormon Grace. See also Mormon document Grace vs. Works. Note how craftily this Mormon document quotes the Bible as well as Christian thinkers.) Their group restored the true faith. (See Mormon document Restoration of the Gospel.) Their group is the only one saved.
RT – The paragraph is a non-sequitur – you laying out these assertions and trying to draw a conclusion is completely false. There is no other point, as I interpret these words, than to align a group with another group and say, “See! Note the similarities; they are from the same stock.” Whatever is to be said about the Mormons will stand or fall on its own. Whatever is to be said about the Lord’s church will, likewise, do the same.
19. Isn’t salvation not of him who willeth, nor him that runneth, but of God that calleth (Romans 9:11) and of God that showeth mercy (Romans 9:16) without regard to human will or exertion? Don’t we become sons of God by the power of God and not by the will of man (John 1:12-13)? Does anyone really seek after God on his own (Romans 3:9-28)? Don’t these verses clarify that it is the work of God, not of man, that saves us?
RT – Your underlined phrase is found where in Scripture? If it is not found, then you are guilty of adding to the Word – something the Lord is against. It is the work (power) of God that saves (Romans 1:16), but it is the response of man to that invite that the Lord requires of man (John 6:28-29).
20. Are we dead in our sins, or just merely sick (Ephesians 2:5)? Can a dead man respond? Aren’t we therefore made alive by the work of Christ alone, just as Larazus was raised from the dead?
RT – Since you mishandle the Scripture like you do, I doubt you took note of what Paul said in Ephesians 1:13. Yes, man is dead in sin, but that means, exclusively, that he cannot raise himself up from his “deadness” toward righteousness (John 1:12-13) because there is nothing within him that has that power. There has to be a life-giving power that comes from outside man, and that power is in the word of God (Romans 1:16; 1 Peter 1:22-23).
21. Just as our physical birth is not something we earn nor have any control over, isn’t our spiritual birth likewise something we do not earn nor have any control over (1 Peter 1:3-5)?
RT – No “control over” – what is that supposed to mean? There no earning (a word you are so fond of), but there is such a thing as obedience. The word is used twice in the very chapter you referenced!
22. Is CC theology similar to that of Pelagius, who who in the 4th century taught that man by his own powers, without the imputation of the Holy Spirit, can turn himself to God, believe the Gospel, be obedient from the heart to God’s Law—and thus merit forgiveness of sins and eternal life? Wasn’t this theology declared a heresy even by the Catholic Church—which places a high importance on obedience—because it is contrary to Holy Scripture, being the same works righteousness theology as the Galatian heresy and the Pharasaic heresy?
RT – Can’t say anything about Pelagius, but I can say what the Scriptures teach. Acts 8:12; 18:8 – will you deny it? It’s a strange thing to me, but I did not see the word “merit” in either passage. Your insertion of this word is just another example of your determination to follow the teachings of man.
23. Here is a single question that may quicky determine whether the CC is in fact legalistic: If it would bring more people to your church to hear the gospel, would you allow instrumental music?
RT – The question demonstrates more about you than it does faithful Christians. People of conviction don’t compromise with error; people who fail to have biblical knowledge will incorporate such man-made innovations.
RT – After you define “legalism” and it is an accepted definition, then consideration might be given to it. In this whole treatise of yours, however, you have not once defined the term. Thus, it’s not likely you even know what it means.
Yesterday, while reading my email from Audio Evangelism, I got to thinking about that ladder in Jacob’s dream. We all know what Jacob saw down here at the bottom rung. After all, we’re more than familiar with the ground view here on Earth. But can you imagine what the view is going to look like from the top of that ladder? We won’t be able to climb it alone that’s for sure, but through God’s grace we will see what it’s like to hit that top rung on “Jacob’s ladder” one of these days.
Let this thought encourage you today – I know I’m going to try to let it encourage me.
Text: Daniel 5:1-31
The King gave a party and invited all of us “friends.” When we want to do something we like to have those of like interests around,those who will approve or tolerate our behavior. At this party the forces of evil had a field day. There was much corruption and riotous living.
It was at the height of this party that Belshazzar called for the vessels of God that his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem. While they were drinking from these. And praising pagan gods something startling began to happen. Prior to this the king and his cronies were living it up. As the world says, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Then all of a sudden the king’s face grew pale and terror came into his heart. We might say he was “as white as a sheet as if he had seen a ghost.” But we all know it was more at that. The Most High God was making Hs presence known. He did something that would make them stand up and take notice.
What did Belshazzar do? He did the same thing that Nebuchadnezzar did; he called on his wise men to tell him what was transporting. These counselors could not come up with the answer. It is foolishness to think that world can have the right answers. Then a familiar tune: Daniel is called in. He read the writing; it was a message of judgment. (Daniel 5:1-24). What did the “handwriting on the wall” mean?
- Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
- Tekel: You have been weighed in the scales and found wanting.
- Peres: Your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.
It happened just like God said it would. That very night Babylon fell. There are a number of lessons to be learned from reading this account.
- Sin is not static. What do I mean by this statement? The one who sins never stays on the plateau. The path of sin always leads downhill (James 1:13-15). In many cases we do not learn from experience who God is and that He is the Sovereign God in control of the universe. Belshazzar fell into that category. He knew or had heard how God had dealt with Nebuchadnezzar; he went farther and blasphemed God by desecrating the holy vessels. This pattern of sin is clear from Romans 1:21-24; 26, 28.
- Sin puts us to sleep in regards to sin. We think that we are living “all right lives” and that we are in control of our destinies. We don’t even think we are sinning.
- God is not static. There are times in history when sin abounds and God does not seem to intervene. We must not think that just because God has postponed judgment that He will forget; He will pour out His wrath against sin. We say that there are only 2 sure things in life: “death and taxes.” Well, you can avoid paying some taxes, but death is certain (Hebrews 9:27). This verse gives another certainty for mankind: judgment.
- The final destinies of mankind. We see a foretaste of the final days here. All sin will be judged. Each of us has to make a decision on whether to follow Christ or not. Those who have followed Him and are alive when He returns will be caught up to meet Him in the air as recorded in I. Thes. 4:16-18. But what about the unbeliever? Read Rev. 20:11-14. It will be a time when “every knee will bend and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.” But for the unbeliever it will be too late. People think they have plenty of time to be saved. Where will you spend eternity? The choice is yours. God tells us the destiny of the wicked so that we might turn from sin to salvation. God desires that all be saved, but we know that will not happen (2 Peter 3:9).
If it were not for the long suffering of God we might not have had the opportunity to become a Christian. Judgment is coming! To those outside of Christ the three word on the wall have meaning today.
- Mene: God is going to number your deeds to show that you has failed to achieve His standards. At the Great White Throne, books are opened; all the evil you have do will be poured out on one side of God’s scales.
- Tekel: All the lies, hypocrisies, all the self-seeking, all the evil will be weighed as you stand there the scales weigh down to condemnation.
- Peres: The Greek word for judgment means divided. Thee is a path that leads to eternal life for those who have accepted Christ and have obeyed the Gospel But at this judgment, it is too late for that.
What will those who are lost say to God on that day? Perhaps they will tell God that they lives a good life. You must choose to live for Jesus and serve Him.
Christians must focus on sharing the Gospel message with the lost. We must help unbelievers find their way out of the kingdom of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel, this avoiding the destiny of the lost!
- Elijah, the Lord’s prophet, is now preparing to pass his mantle to Elisha. Elijah’s reputation as the Lord’s prophet was almost too much for another to try and measure up to. However, Elijah called out unto Elisha, and Elisha answered that call. When Elijah asked what he could do for his pupil, Elisha asked for something that Elijah considered difficult. Stipulations in place, it was granted to Elisha if he complied. That he did (2:1-12). Elisha received a “double portion of Elijah’s spirit (2:9), and the remainder of the chapter illustrates Elisha as work serving the Lord and His people (2:13-25).
- Application: It is tremendously difficult to follow in the steps of another when the one replaced has become an icon of sorts. Yet, it has to be done. What kind of person can do this? One who does not look to self to compensate for inadequacies in himself; rather, he looks to God to be able to do the task before him (or her). Can you imagine following King David? For preachers it can be a rather difficult thing to follow a man who was in a singular location for a period of time; that man could very well be an “icon” to the congregation and the community. How can the next man bear up under that? He needs to be himself and not someone else. He needs to accentuate his abilities and improve on those that he feels is lacking. He needs to not allow himself (or others) to compare with the previous servant. He needs to put his nose to the grind and do the Lord’s work. He needs to trust the Lord.
Appointing a king was a bad idea for Israel and God tried to explain that to them through Samuel.
Evidently, the elders of Israel had failed to take into account what appointing a king would mean. They believed they would have more influence with a human king to change some things they didn’t like.
Of course, what they really didn’t like was God’s rule over them. This was the controversy (1 Samuel 8:7). It was God’s way they resented. It was God’s rule they wanted to throw away.
Think of the calamity the monarchy produced in Israel. King David, the best of the lot, was guilty of adultery and murder. The remainder of the monarchy caused Israel to divide, ultimately taken captive and transported to Assyria and Babylon.
When people decide God shouldn’t control their lives, that’s when the problems start. It’s the same today as it was in the day Israel asked God for a human king. As the United States rules prayer in schools unconstitutional and as its people care more for alcohol than they do the worship of God has there been any good effect?
In the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan was elected president after asking a single question in a debate with then President Jimmy Carter. He said, “Are you any better off now?” Well, are you any better off now than you were when you threw the rule of God away? Is our nation?
A story in the news all over the television the past two days concerns two dogs that had gotten away from their owner and were in the street. One of the dogs was hit by a car and killed. The other dog stood by his dead friend even though the traffic continued to present great danger to him. Finally, assistance came and the living dog was taken to safety and the dead dog taken care of. The pictures that have been shown have been very moving to millions of people who have seen them and appreciated the loyalty of one dog to another.
This reminds me of a section of scripture that encourages Christians to have great care and concern for others. It is found in PHILLPIANS 2: 3-4. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Life is not all about “ME” is it? As a Christian I am to be concerned about the welfare of my fellowman and especially my family, friends, and fellow Christians. I am not to be so consumed with my life and making it better that I overlook the needs of others. It is a mark of greed and selfishness if I ignore others simply to promote self. Look at Jesus and the life that He lived. We are encouraged by the apostle Peter to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and that includes being concerned about the interests of others. Selfishness has a way of coming back to cause us problems whereas selflessness has a way of bringing rewards. Jesus was completely stripped of Himself in order to save us and we surely need to have that same kind of mind in us. PHILLIPIANS 2:5: “Let this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
May God bless you this week. We love and miss you very 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 to the list.
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
April 17, 2012
Challenge to a fellow preacher of a denomination: “You require more of a person than the Lord requires!”
“No, we don’t. I don’t believe it!”
“Well, suppose a man does everything the Lord requires in response to the gospel. Is he saved?”
“Of course, he is.”
“Is he a Christian?”
“Is he a member of your denomination yet?”
“Well, not yet. He will have to join.”
“So I have proved my point. You require more than the Lord requires!”
This is Just-A-Minute.
Day by day, I see you,
Walking in the Light.
Standing up for Jesus,
Doing what is right.
It gives me new assurance
That I can win the race,
So don’t give up; keep right on,
We’ll make it by His grace.
From Glenn Hitchcock
by Mike Glenn
Someone once said, “A word to the wise is sufficient.” As Christians, we are tasked with the challenge of trying to persuade people in the world to listen to the gospel. If the love of Christ constrains us, as it did Paul, to be urgent in trying to teach everyone we know the gospel, we might be discouraged if we fail to reach some of our own family or friends. Jesus offers some sage advice to keep us encouraged in the face of such difficulty when he said, “A prophet is not without honor save in his own country and in his own house. In Matthew 13:53-58, we see the reaction of his own people to him. They were more amazed that he had education they could not justify than they were about the truths he tried to teach them. On one occasion they became offended enough to try to throw him off a cliff (Lk. 4:16-30). His own brothers did not believe him, even in the week before his death (John 7:5).This statement of Jesus and subsequent events give us much encouraging, yet realistic wisdom.
·We should give effort to the salvation of those we know and those who are family. Sometimes folks shy away from a serious attempt to save friends and family on the basis that they will be rejected. That is certainly a possibility. Jesus knew that from the start and yet made the efforts.
·Be aware that our first efforts might be rejected. Do not be discouraged as though the fault is in your approach or method. Even the Lord was rejected by his own.
·We also learn to not give up. The week before his death, Jesus brothers were disbelievers. In a short time after his death, they were numbered with the believers (Acts 1:14) and it is certain that two became preachers of the gospel, perhaps all of them (1 Cor. 9:2).
·Do not be discouraged with immediate results. Hundreds of times, some faithful Christian has laid the foundation in the heart of a prospect without reaping a soul at that time. But, some other faithful Christian later builds on that foundation (which you laid) and a soul is saved (1 Cor. 3:10).
Brothers and sisters, he who wins souls is wise (Prov. 11:30). No need to quit because of rejection. If we keep on, God will give the increase (1 Cor. 3:6). Wisdom is the principle thing. Therefore get wisdom. In all thy getting, get wisdom.
The Apostle Paul, writing in Ephesians 2:4 wrote “but God being rich in mercy….”. In the first few verses of Eph. 2 Paul contrasts the two “life’s” of man. One is his lost state outside of Christ and the other, his life in Christ.
As is evident in many Scriptures, Paul contrasts what we common only call “both sides of the coin.” He shows us that we are influenced by both good and bad throughout our lives. He contrasts a life that is controlled by Satan and one who is controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Paul tells us that we all are following a course in life. Here in Eph. 2 we have the negative viewpoint, a life that is directed by Satan. It is a life that centers on the things of the flesh. It is a life that stresses living in the flesh and satisfying carnal desires. It is a life that is alienated to God. It is a life that has no room for the Lord Jesus Christ and one that will lead to Hell.
But, praise God that He exhibited His mercy. Romans 5:8 says that “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.” He is not a God who is stingy with His mercy; rather He is, like the title of our article, rich in mercy.
He has lavished His love and mercy upon us. Jesus said that He came that we might live an abundant life spiritually (John 10:10). We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly place in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
As a result of God being rich in mercy, Jesus came and died for us that we might have life in Him. Eph. 2:8-10 tell us of that great news of salvation. Paul tells us of grace and faith and their part in salvation. He tells us that there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn that salvation. He tells us that we have be saved in order that we might work for the Lord. Not working to be saved, but working because we are saved. Christians should be the best workers the Lord has.
Because He is rich in mercy and has delivered us out of the darkness of this world (Col. 1:14ff), we have the privilege to tell others of that mercy and help them find the marvelous light of the Gospel.
Let’s always be a thankful people, living the Christian life to the fullest and always be striving to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18) By doing this we will “let our light shine for Him.” (Matthew 5:16)
-Larry Miles, April 17, 2012