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  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on January 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , brethren, , , , , , , , Palestinians,   

    (#137) The Proverbs of Solomon 18:19-Can You Forgive Your Brother? 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 18:19: “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

    Contentious statements that divide brethren are “like the bars of a castle,” that is, they defensively fortify brothers from each other. Enemies can be converted and changed more easily than a relative, and it seems the nearer the relationship, the more difficult it is to effect that change! The first brothers, Cain and Abel, were separated by Cain’s anger that his brother obeyed what was right (Genesis 4:1-12; Hebrews 11:4) but Cain was evil (1 John 3:11-12). Jacob and Esau were separated by Esau’s profaning his birthright (inheritance, Genesis 25:29-34), Jacob’s deception to receive that birthright (Genesis 27:1-46), and Esau’s bitterness and hatred for his brother. They were separated for years before they could reconcile (Genesis 33:1-15), but reconcile they did! Since the Jews come from Jacob, and the so-called “Palestinians” come from Esau, the modern-day Middle East should read the Bible and reconcile their differences as their progenitors did! Brethren in the flesh can be meaner, more violent, and destructive to each other than their enemies who are not related!

    Spiritual members in a church of Christ can become as bitter as Cain, and hateful as Esau, toward their brethren. The reason is the same, they have developed “an evil heart of unbelief” and departed from the living God (Hebrews 3:12). Their contentious words become “bars” to keep them inside their castle of ugliness. “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:13-15). This brings eternal damnation upon the contentious brother. No amount of attendances, giving, singing, or prayers can disguise the real intent of wrong brethren. “We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:19-21).

    The message of Jesus Christ, to His churches of Christ, is that of “reconciliation.” “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on November 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , brethren, , eye, good health, good report, , outside the churches of Christ, P.O.V., , , rejoices   

    (#102) The Proverbs of Solomon 15:30-How Are Things Looking Today? 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 15:30: “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, And a good report makes the bones healthy.”

    Like Job, life can make everything look dim: “My eye has also grown dim because of sorrow” (Job 17:7). But when youthful David was chosen by God to be king, he was described as having “bright eyes” (1 Samuel 16:12). The world looks to us as we see it! It’s either a good day to be alive, or the next step to the grave!  Before life’s cataracts form, the world is beautiful, colorful, fascinating, lively, in short, spectacular! It is a wonderful blessing to keep that P. O.V. (point of view) throughout life. God gives everyone the ability to see His blessings: “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The LORD has made them both” (Proverbs 20:12). Eyes are made to spark curiosity: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor the ear filled with hearing” (Ecclesiastes 1:8). Our eyes give our hearts the opportunity to respond to needs: “He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9); “A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, And does not consider that poverty will come upon him” (Proverbs 28:22). What the heart “sees” is up to the individual. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).

    Christians should “walk properly toward those who are outside” (1 Thessalonians 4:12), but unfortunately, those outside of the churches of Christ are taught to focus on the sins of some Christians, and overlook entirely their own need to obey the Gospel It’s too bad that Christians, also, oftentimes dwell on the sins of some brethren and ignore the marvelous work the Lord has done with the majority in the churches of Christ. In spite of the “antichrists” from the church of Christ who had forsaken the Lord, and Diotrephes who had ruined one church, the Apostle John could still see the good in the churches of Christ, which is more than some brethren seem to be able to do today! “I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father” (2 John 4); “For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles” (3 John 3-7). What we see is determined by what we want to see, and the rejoicing of the heart is determined by what we see!

    Our outlook on life is a key to good health. “A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). The best way to stay strong and healthy is to focus on the Word of God, let it be the “apple of your eye.” “Keep my commands and live, And my law as the apple of your eye” (Proverbs 7:2). Jesus said, “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34). Do you see Jesus’ statement to the world as good or bad? “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • Richard Mansel 2:02 pm on March 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , brethren, , ,   

    There are a lot of people who want better doorknobs without figuring out how to get a door. A doorknob is useless without a door. If we have faulty thought patterns, we remain confused and will never find what we are looking for. In fact, we can unknowingly prevent ourselves from finding it and then complain that it doesn’t exist.

    Brethren say that we cannot use denominational books and materials but then fail to understand where those materials come from. We refuse to support sound brethren to write full-time to produce scholarly works. Then we lament the lack of great books written by brethren.

    I don’t understand this at all. Why can’t people make the connections here? I have been wondering this for many years and I still don’t have an answer.

    Why can’t we allow qualified brethren to write full-time to produce quality writing? How can we convert the world if we do not have the books, tracts and materials to teach? If we refuse to do it, our only options are to use the writing of false teachers, which we cannot do.

    This is called a vicious circle that goes nowhere.

     
    • Mike Riley 4:52 pm on March 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Richard, I don’t understand this scenario either. I produce Bible-related materials for both the adult Bible class that I teach on Sunday as well as the sermons that I present. If I can do it (without an advanced degree), anyone can do it with a modicum of Bible knowledge.

      • Richard Mansel 5:02 pm on March 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I was looking at a spectrum of work. We need popular writing, devotional writing, good commentaries that range from basic to the highest technical level. The latter likely requires advanced studies. The degree angle must be understood in context. Thanks for helping me clarify, brother.

  • Mike Riley 9:41 am on November 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , brethren, doctor, , , , , , written   

    On Boredom 

    Regarding boredom, I’ve can always find something profitable to do – even in a doctor’s waiting room. I always take a good Bible-related book written by one of the brethren, so that I’m constantly learning while I’m waiting.

    As I grow older, I’m very aware that time is of the essence: http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2006/01/08/making-wise-use-of-our-time/

    As our Lord once stated:

    “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

    Here’s an article I wrote on being productive in a doctor’s waiting room:

    http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2010/04/15/productive-use-of-waiting-room-time/

     
  • Richard Mansel 10:32 am on October 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: brethren, ,   

    Proud 

    I’m at the building writing a manuscript for a lectureship. We have a carload of Ladies who are at a Ladies’ Day in Savannah. A man is cutting the grass at the building and two more are doing repairs and cleaning the baptistry for our meeting that starts tomorrow. When brethren act on their own, it is a beautiful thing!

     
  • Mike Riley 3:26 pm on July 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , brethren, , , phenomenon, ,   

    The “House Church” Phenomenon 

    From the Denver Post, comes the following article heading: “Growing number of worshipers make themselves at home.”

    Just wondered what views you brethren have on this growing phenomenon?

     
    • Richard Mansel 3:34 pm on July 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      As you know, this has been around for several years. But, it’s revival, I expect, is based in the Emergent Church movement. I fail to see how it fulfills the concept of a spiritual family gathering together as one for worship.

      Is it a rebellion against leadership? Does it yield a more compromising faith built on emotion? Does doctrine become diluted?

      I have serious questions about this old and new movement.

      • Mike Riley 3:55 pm on July 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Richard, I have questions myself about this growing phenomenon. While I understand that the apostle Paul taught “from house to house” (Acts 20:20), and the church definitely assembled in houses (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2), I’m wondering if present-day assemblies include elders and deacons, or is it just a hodgepodge of members getting together at a house to eat and conversing with one another?

    • Ron 5:04 am on July 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I have nothing against them in and of themselves, but I do become concerned when a fad, like house churches, becomes a norm. That said, however, I am of the opinion that the elders of the local congregation have the authority to exercise judgment in the implementation of “house churches” if they think it best for the local congregation. The concerns expressed by others, I think, can be reasonably addressed even to the point, if need be, of not having “house churches.”

    • John 7:42 am on July 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      How did the church in Acts assemble in the absence of a meeting house like was introduced after the close of the NT? Hebrews 10 refers to some kind of assembly. Was it one assembly or many? As the church became increasingly gentile, I doubt they would have been offered the synagogues. Where did they meet?

  • Mike Riley 12:35 pm on April 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , brethren, couch, , ,   

    A Person I’d Like To Get To Know? 

    The answer to this question is the obvious one. I’d like to personally meet and get to know each one of you brethren on TFR. You have a standing invitation – If you are ever out El Paso way, know that my wife and I have a bed and a fold-out couch for you to sleep on. And I promise that our little dachshund dog, Abbie won’t bother you! :)

     
    • Weylan Deaver 1:18 pm on April 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      El Paso is way out there. I’ve heard that Chicago is closer to Texarkana than El Paso is which, if so, is amazing. Even when I go to west Texas in June for the Pecos River Encampment in Sheffield, that will still be a long way from El Paso, so vast is Texas.

      • J. Randal Matheny 1:40 pm on April 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Spoken like a true Texan.

      • Mike Riley 4:38 pm on April 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, according to Yahoo Map distances, El Paso is 311.29 miles from Sheffield, so it is still “fer piece” away to El Paso. We’re called the “dropping off place” of Texas! :)

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