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  • John Henson 8:52 am on May 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: deify, , teach   

    Beware Elevating Men 

    My brethren, we must be careful to avoid elevating men to too high a status.

    Men are mortal and commit sins. If the Old Testament teaches anything, it teaches the hazard of putting men on a pedestal and glorifying them.

    An example of this is Solomon. When he was young, Solomon started life as a good person. But when he became king, he changed. He married a daughter of Pharaoh, strictly forbidden under the Mosaic law, and murdered two men, one of which had been initially pardoned by his father. After Solomon’s life was over, his nation divided and both parts were finally deported.

    Yet, to this day there are people who glorify Solomon for building a temple, something God specifically told NO ONE to do (2 Samuel 7:7).

    If we would glorify anyone who has lived on the earth, let us glorify Jesus Christ. The Lord Christ is the only person who ever lived on the planet who obeyed the whole Mosaic Law. The Lord Christ is the only person who ever lived on the planet that is worthy of praise!

    Humanism has used the educational system in the U.S. to teach people to deify people. In every school in every county of every state there are pictures of presidents and other people children are taught to revere. If the truth was taught along with the fables of these men, then children would know they are HUMANS, not gods.

    We must be the influence that teaches people to worship GOD.

  • John Henson 3:03 pm on June 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , teach   

    Send them away 

    While preparing for Sunday evening’s lesson, a study of Mark 6, something I read moved me to sadness.

    The apostles, who had just returned from preaching a message of repentance and helping the sick and demon-possessed, said something. While I know there is much more here, I was drawn to this something they said as the day grew late.

    “Send them away,” they said of the crowd who had sought out Jesus (Mark 6:36). Perhaps in the weakness of fatigue and hunger themselves, they forgot what their work was all about.

    It breaks my heart to think there are brethren, who for weakness or lack of vision, say this same kind of thing to those who are teaching the gospel, and thereby say this to those who are lost. How can we send them away? They wanted to be with the Master!

    We can’t send them away. We must feed them.

    Jesus couldn’t send them away. We mustn’t either.

  • Mike Riley 11:09 am on January 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , older, , , , , , , reclaim, , teach, , , ,   

    Waste Time? Never 

    The older I get, the more I realize the less time I have on earth, and thus, the more I realize how precious time is: http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2007/02/11/appreciating-the-value-of-time/. Once time is gone, it can never be reclaimed. Do I waste time? Not that I know of. I’m always busy taking care of my wife, working in the yard, paying bills, grocery shopping, preparing daily meals, studying the Bible, writing articles, reading good books and publications produced by faithful proclaimers of God’s word, preaching and teaching. Doing all of this plus working as a library substitute for our local school district, keeps me plenty busy – never have time to be bored, that’s for certain.

    I do watch the news and weather on television, plus two weekly shows, NCIS and Criminal Minds. Don’t know if that’s wasted time or not, because both shows motivate me to use my mind in figuring out the plots.

  • John Henson 7:32 am on July 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , teach,   

    An announcement that mattered 

    Our vacation Bible school was announced yesterday, and that was the most important announcement made.

    It was important because our VBS is more than just food, fun and frolic. It is an opportunity for people to learn the gospel so they might be saved.

    The announcement was important because VBS is an excellent opportunity for the church to reach out to those who are unfaithful and bring them back.

    It was important because VBS is a fantastic way to involve people in the preparation, presentation and representation of the truth. When one considers the real work of a preacher, isn’t it about convincing others to get involved in their salvation and the salvation of the lost?

    It is important because it trains young minds in the most important instruction a human being is ever likely to receive: the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The announcement made during services yesterday was crucial to us, wasn’t it?

    • Ron 7:49 am on July 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      John, I like those words. I think I may lift them and send them out to the local congregation for our upcoming VBS.

    • John Henson 4:04 pm on July 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for your kind comment, brother.

  • Mike Riley 8:44 am on July 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , strait, teach   

    The “little ones” in my life is my congregation of loving and caring people who help me when I’m in financial straits. Conversely, I help them in preaching and teaching the sound gospel of Christ (or whatever else needs to be done). We help one another, and in so doing, both of us are richly blessed by the Lord.

  • Richard Hill 2:44 pm on May 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , large crowds, , teach   

    Extrovert–6 1/2 

    I definitely lean to the extrovert side. Naturally, a 6 maybe 7. Like Mike, I push myself to be more outgoing. I do enjoy interacting with people and can meet and greet most with ease. Teaching the adult class at church, moderating and guiding the discussion is pure fun. Preaching is different. Sometimes I feel close to enjoying it, but that feeling can soon pass in favor of feeling pressure.

    I don’t like to be in very large crowds, like busy urban malls, shoulder-to-shoulder amusement parks, and packed stadiums. I do need my daily alone time, otherwise my discomfort level begins to rise. Speaking in front of people I don’t know, requires lots of self-talk interspersed with brief prayers.

  • John Henson 1:17 pm on March 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , teach   

    Teach us to number our days… 

               Through God’s mercy and providence, I began a study of Psalm 90 just prior to my mother’s recent death.

                The Psalm strengthened me through the grief process and helped me to understand some lessons I had never before considered.  Principally, is death purely a punishment, or did God institute death as a way to teach human beings a valuable lesson?

                As I studied, it occurred to me man’s problem has always been to think of himself as God. This began in the garden of Eden when man’s transgression was prompted by Satan’s temptation, “For God knows that in the day you eat from it (the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” (Genesis 3:5 NASU).

                When Moses fell by transgression, it was chiefly because he placed himself on a par with God. We tend of make a very big deal about what he did with his rod to bring water to the rebellious Israelites, but what he said in the process is very important: “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10). God told Moses his mistake was not “to treat me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel.” Moses was guilty of not making a distinction. God is the only God and should be identified as such.

                Moses is the author of Psalm 90, and it is interesting that he made its subject God’s eternality and man’s frailty. Moses made the following points:

    • “Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (verse 2). This is a significant distinction between man and God. God is immortal, man is mortal. That man lives only a finite time is instruction that there is only one God and man is not such an entity.
    • “For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it passes away…” Repeated in 2 Peter 3:8, this simply refers to the truth that time has no meaning with God. It matters a great deal to man, but not to the eternal. This is another distinction.
    • “As for the days of our life, they contain 70 years… we soon fly away.” Again, God’s eternality and man’s frailty is made evident. God will be in the world after we’re dust. He exists long after we leave this bodily form.
    • “So teach us to number our days…” Here’s the verse that caused me to stop and think about death as an instruction. God doesn’t say that we should consider death as a punishment. We should understand, while we are in this body, the distinction between us and God. If we understand that, we can use that knowledge to keep ourselves from sin. Isn’t it the case, after all, that almost every sin we commit begins with the thought that we should be able to rule our lives as God, knowing both good and evil?

                 Death was presented to man as a consequence of his own actions. God, however, means death to be a process in our spiritual education. He presents it to us so that he can, “teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”

  • Mike Riley 1:28 pm on February 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , please, teach, , , worthy   

    God’s mission for my life? To go into the world and teach all nations (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16); go about doing good (Acts 10:38); to walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing [Him], being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10).

  • John Henson 3:53 pm on January 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , teach   

    Switch on! 

               Whenever a light switch is turned on, we usually have little knowledge of what kinds of things  are done to produce the power we use, but it comes from a turbine-generator.

                These are machines of great power, also called dynamos. Steam is injected into the turbine, causing a shaft to spin. The generator, coupled to the turbine spins inside a coil and produces huge amounts of electricity, enough to power several cities.

                When it comes to teaching others the gospel, we need huge amounts of power. Our power comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 6:10, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” One of the operative words here is “strong,” defined from the original language of the New Testament as a “dynamo.”

                The phrase calls on us to be a dynamo in the Lord. Through the gospel of Christ, God’s power unto salvation, we become dynamos as we live within the sphere of influence of Jesus (Romans 1:16). It’s time we turned the switch ON.

                The people of God have yet to accomplish all they can do. We have yet to preach the gospel of Christ to the world, but we can if we just turn the switch on! The only thing limiting our ability to teach others is between our ears.

                The early church prayed that they would be granted boldness to preach God’s word (Acts 4:29). They were ready to turn on the switch of the great power existing  in Christ, and according to Paul, they preached the gospel to the entire known world (Colossians 1:23).

                We can do the same, provided we become dynamos, strong in the Lord. Switch on!

    • Mike Riley 5:02 pm on January 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      John, yes, all of us in the Lord’s church need to become “dynamos” for Christ! “Amen” to what you stated!

  • Mike Riley 3:18 pm on January 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , entrust, , , , , teach   

    What saying of Jesus resonates most? The one found in Luke 12:48-NKJV:

    “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

    In addition to our spiritual blessings in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), Christians have been given a great responsibility (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-116; cf. 2 Timothy 2:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:1-2). We’ve been entrusted with the gospel of Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:4; cf. 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:8-14). What a responsibility that is!

    We’ve also been given various abilities (Matthew 25:14-30) to carry out the above responsibility. We’ll be judged on how we used our abilities respective of the opportunities that came our way. Did we take advantage of every opportunity to preach and teach Christ to others, or did we miss a few?

    Luke 12:48 makes us think inwardly, doesn’t it?

    I’m including an article relative to the above Scripture:


  • Mike Riley 5:14 pm on January 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , teach   

    The best way to teach morality is to make it a habit with children.

    Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384-322 B.C.)
  • Mike Riley 1:38 am on January 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , teach   

    Who taught me the gospel? My grandmother was my primary example of teaching me the value of Bible study – she faithfully read and studied her Bible every day. She told me one day, “Mike, the Bible has the answer to every problem we face in life” – And so it does.

    And after reading and studying the Bible for myself all these years, I realize how correct she was in her assessment of how the Bible does indeed provide us with an answer to every problem we face in life. “If” we will only “hear” what God is saying to us through His inspired writings, and then take His prescription which contains the solution to our problems.

  • Mike Riley 3:08 pm on January 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lifestyle, , , , teach, ,   

    Think Outside The Box? 

    While reading the local newspaper this morning, I noticed this article by “Reverend” Kati L. Houts, the senior pastor, Metropolitan Community Church of El Paso. In her article entitled, “Think Outside The Box and See World In New Ways,” she opines that our society needs to “think out of the box” regarding same-sex marriages.


    A quote from the article regarding “diversities”:

    “Those who interpret the Bible literally refuse to look at life or people in all their diversities. These diversities are gifts from God and add to the richness and beauty of creation. Thinking outside the box requires openness to new ways of seeing the world and a willingness to explore.”

    The word we need to replace “diversities” with in the above paragraph, is the word “perverse,” and then add “lifestyles” to it. For “Reverend” Houts’ benefit, Christians don’t refuse to look at life or people in all their diversities, we look at life through the eyes of faith (Romans 10:17), and come to the only conclusion possible – that homosexuality and same-sex marriages are perverse in God’s eyes – an “abomination” worthy of death (Romans 1:25-27; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13).

    The “Reverend” goes on to say:

    “The issue of same-sex marriage will never be solved by the various religious factions.”

    She is correct in this statement, because God’s decrees are not based on “various religious factions” but are based upon His sovereignty and authority as Creator.

    She then states two words that are the downfall of religious entities, “I believe” instead of “What does the Bible say” on the matter? http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2006/01/07/i-believe-or-the-bible-says/

    “Reverend” Houts then states:

    “The benefits of a legal marriage do not apply to those who choose not to marry or those who cannot legally marry due to an antiquated law that defines marriage as only being between a man and a woman.”

    Yes, God’s law regarding marriage being between a man and a women is indeed “old” (about 6,000 years worth), but certainly not “antiquated.” It’s still in effect today (Matthew 19:1-6). Then she quotes the definition of marriage from Merriam and Webster’s online dictionary. Fortunately, God’s law is not based on that dictionary.

    Lastly, “Reverend” Houts praises God for “thinking outside the box!”

    The only “box” the “Reverend” is going to be “thinking out of,” is the box the undertaker will put her in at her demise. Then, she will face the Creator in person. Only then will she come to realize the results of her “diversified” thinking.

    Brethren, the world is one sad shape. May God give us the spiritual backbone to stand up and preach/teach the totality of God’s truth without reservation (Philippians 2:12-16; cf. Acts 20:17-27).

    • Richard Mansel 7:06 pm on January 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Well said!

    • Jonathan 8:19 pm on January 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply


      Your emphasis that “homosexuality and same-sex marriages are…worthy of death” seems curious to me. Perhaps I’m overly sensitive due to recent developments in Uganda (http://www.getreligion.org/?p=22731). Perhaps you intended a more generic “the wages of sin is death,” but I’m uneasy that you supported your statement by citing the passage from Leviticus that dictates capital punishment for a variety of acts including cursing of parents, adultery, incest, homosexual sex, bestiality, sex with a menstruating woman, etc.

      Would you elaborate further on what you meant by “homosexuality and same-sex marriages are…worthy of death”?

      • Mike Riley 9:17 pm on January 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Jonathan, the Scriptures that I mentioned in my article (Romans 1:25-27; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13) tell me that those folks who commit such acts “are worthy of death” (Romans 1:32). The reading in Leviticus 20:13 tells me that those who participate in such abominable acts, “shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

        I’m just citing these passages in order to indicate God’s view of such activity. If we are faithful Christians, our view must be the exact same view of sin that God has. When He states (through Moses) that an activity is “an abomination” (Leviticus 20:13) and states through the inspired apostle Paul that engaging in this activity is “worthy of death” (Romans 1:32), my only conclusion has to be that homosexuality, if not repented of, is (1) “an abomination” and is (2) is “worthy of death.”

        What other conclusion can you come to?

      • Mike Riley 10:18 pm on January 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Jonathan, there is no question that under the law of Moses, the death penalty (physical death) for the practice of homosexuality was in force (Leviticus 20:13), however, there is no capital punishment of this practice under the present laws of the United States. We know from Romans 13:1-7, that as law abiding citizens, we are to uphold and obey the laws of our land.

        Thus, the practice of homosexuality is not a crime worthy of capital punishment in our country (under man’s law). However, in God’s mind, the practice of homosexuality is still a capital offense, “worthy of death” (Romans 1:32-KJV), not only physical death, but spiritual death as well. Even though folks who engage in this kind of “abomination” do not incur “physical death,” they will not escape God’s judgment of “spiritual death,” if their abominable activity is not repented of (Revelation 21:8; cf. Acts 17:30-31). This “spiritual death” is associated with the phrase “second death” in Revelation 21:8. Believe me when I say that none of us want to undergo that “second death” (eternal separation from God – Isaiah 59:1-2). We all will die physically one day (Hebrews 9:27), but none of us has to die spiritually. That will be our choice – not God’s choice (2 Peter 3:9).

        Note that some Christians had once engaged in this activity (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) – note vs. 11, “and such were some of you”, but they had obviously repented of that activity in vs. 11, because the text reads: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

        Lastly, if you are asking me whether or not I approve the death penalty for homosexuals, let me answer the question in this manner. Know that I am not judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to condemning homosexual conduct or lifestyle – only God, who knows the motives of the heart can carry out the proper judgment on such conduct of individuals (Romans 14:7-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

        However, as a Christian, my view towards sin of any kind, must be the same view as God views it, otherwise I will be condemned as well (cf. 2 John 1:9-11). God does not condone sin (Habakkuk 1:13; Psalm 5:5) – thus, I must not condone sin. If God has determined that homosexuality is a sin, I must view it as a sin, no matter if there is or isn’t a capital punishment against it.

        As Christians, we cannot “hate” the homosexual, but we must “hate” the homosexual lifestyle, loving the homosexual enough to persuade him or her to change their mindset and direction of life to comply with God’s directives on the matter, God’s law always superseding man’s law.

    • Jonathan 4:28 am on January 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply


      Thanks for the elaboration. As far as I can tell, you seem to be saying that homosexual practices (like other sins) jeopardize one’s eternal fate…rather than support for a physical judgment. That’s what I assumed.

      Anyway, I recommend starting with the adulterers. The fields are white unto harvest.

      • Jonathan 4:36 am on January 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I think I meant “focusing on” rather than “starting with.”

  • Mike Riley 8:54 pm on January 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , teach,   

    The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically… Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.

    Martin Luther King Jr., American civil rights leader (1929-1968)
  • Mike Riley 8:03 pm on December 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: allegiance, , , teach, traits   

    If we want our children to possess the traits of character we most admire, we need to teach them what those traits are and why they deserve both admiration and allegiance. Children must learn to identify the forms and content of those traits.

    William J. Bennett, author and former U.S. Secretary of Education (b. 1943)
    • mark mcwhorter 8:29 pm on December 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      And for them to best learn them, they need to see them in the parents’ lives.

    • Charlotte Pollock 9:30 pm on December 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Brother Riley, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your writings.

      The points made in the quote about teaching our children is so important.

      Teaching and exemplifying the traits of a Christian life builds a wonderful foundation for our children. Sometimes, though, I think we take it for granted that they will understand all the why’s and how’s by osmosis.

      Making sure that our children understand our motives for the way we live our daily lives, and why we believe what we belive is an important point to me.

      After Jesus explaned the parable of the tares, at the apostle’s request, in Matt 13:36, He asked them, in Matt 13:51, “Have ye understood all these things?”. It was very important to the Lord that his apostles truly grasped the meaning of His teaching.

      As important as it was to the Lord, it’s equally important to Christian parents to take the time to make sure that our kiddo’s really do understand the Gospel message, that we live and teach, so that they will develop their own faith and know how, and want to live, a life of faithful service to the king.

      Keep up the good work.

      • Mike Riley 10:55 pm on December 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Charlotte, thank you for the kind words of encouragement. They are much appreciated. If you can use any of the articles on my Bible study blog, please feel free to use them as you see fit. I do have articles pertaining to child rearing and parents leading by example.

    • Bernard Barton 9:50 am on December 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      First of all the adults need to emulate the character traits they want the children to possess because children imitate the traits they see ijn adults: Atheletes, Singers, actors from La la land, Christians in the church and away from the church setting; you and me

  • Mike Riley 2:52 pm on December 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , teach   

    The Montana Street congregation faithfully adheres to and steadfastly promotes the faith. We help support the Lord’s work in Juarez, Mexico and in India. We help support our Spanish congregation in their efforts to teach and preach the gospel. We engage in a weekly television broadcast, preaching God’s word in El Paso and surrounding counties. We host the area wide singing of congregations here in El Paso. We also conduct a devotional at the local Veteran’s Home every fifth Saturday.

    • Ron 2:56 pm on December 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Year ago I obeyed in Alamogordo (1983). Years after that I gave a devotional at Northside. Otherwise, El Paso has fond memories for me. As best I can recall, a brother that introduced me to Christ lived (lives) there.

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