Bad situations don’t equate to being forsaken

There are times when the situations of life can make a person wonder if they’ve been forsaken by the God that they have trusted. Things ranging from health scares to family issues to financial crises can strain our understanding of God’s promise to never leave or forsake us (1 Kings 8:56-58, Hebrews 13:5). But when one considers many of the people that we read about in God’s word, we can see that bad situations don’t equate to being forsaken by God:

  • Joseph was thrown down into an old dry pit
  • Jonah found himself down in the belly of a whale
  • Jeremiah was thrown down into an old muddy pit
  • Daniel was cast down into a lion’s den

Various things were going on in the lives of these people, and their experiences were for various purposes, but regardless of how they may have felt about their circumstances at the time, none of them were forsaken by their God.

When the river of peace seems to have been swapped for the overwhelming floods, remember that the same God who made walls out of the Red Sea and who cleared a path through the flood stage Jordan River still stands by our side. Temporary circumstances, no matter how endless they may feel, cannot separate us from the love of God that’s found through Christ Jesus.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:35-39

#difficulties-of-life, #faith, #faithfulness-of-god, #feeling-forsaken

6-4-2015 Can You Handle “The Truth?”

Do you believe “the truth,” or what someone has told you as truth? Jesus told a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well what her life had been like, and she perceived that He was “a prophet.” She told her fellow citizens what had happened. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did’ (John 4:39 NKJV). After Jesus taught them for two more days, “many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world'” (John 4:42 NKJV). Can you handle “the truth?”

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#believed, #faith, #truth

5-28-2015 God versus “Climate Change #3

Paul warned: “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge– by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith (1 Timothy 6:20-21 NKJV). “Climate Change” is one of the recent “contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge.” Science can only deal in what may be demonstrated, and the age of the Earth and weather patterns cannot be demonstrated but merely “guesstimated.” “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV). “Climate Change” has no “evidence,” but only wild guesses and estimates to support it. “Climate Change” is founded upon “blind faith” but the Bible faith has factual “evidence” to support it! If “the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (Matthew 15:14).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#blind-faith, #climate-change, #faith, #science

We need more people like my daddy in the church

I didn’t think too much about it when I was first married, and mother told me what my Daddy was doing. Lately I have thought quite a bit about Daddy. Let me share what I am talking about.

Daddy had been out of fellowship with the church for over 30 years. One Sunday he walked down the aisle and confessed his sins and was restored in full fellowship to the church. We need more people who are willing to do what my Daddy did.

Daddy stopped drinking, smoking and cursing when he was restored. He set a perfect example in just doing it. He gave his life to the Lord a year before Doug and I married in 1965, and never looked back. So don’t think it can’t be done. I know it can, because my Daddy did it. We need more people like my Daddy.

Daddy drove, and mother rode. She never learned to drive, and it didn’t really bother her. Daddy and mother were always early to the services of the church. They didn’t come in late. We need more people like my Daddy.

Daddy was honored to serve. The church at Elba ordained Daddy a Deacon. I can understand that. Daddy was a serving member of the church. On Sundays he looked around on the ground to see if there were any new fire ant beds, and come Monday he was there first thing treating them. He didn’t want the people to be stung by those little fellows. We need more people like my Daddy who see things that need to be done and do them without being asked.

Daddy was a carpenter. No doubt today in the Elba church building there are things that my Daddy built to help make the work of the church more efficient. He used his talents in the Lord’s work. We need more people like my Daddy in the church.

Daddy took part in the worship of the church. I remember hearing him pray for the first time. He waited on the Lord’s table. He led in prayer. He greeted visitors. We need more people like my Daddy in the church.

Daddy went with Harris Winston to help teach people the Bible in the privacy of their homes. He did the best he could to lead others to the Lord. We need more people like my Daddy in the church.

I like to think about my Daddy. We need more people like him in the church.

#faith, #work

Faith/Grace/Obedience/Walking in the Light

Below, is the text of a Bible lesson that I taught Sunday morning, Apr. 12, 2015 at the State Line church of Christ. I hope everyone finds this study informative and comforting, but also alarming if you are NOT walking in the light with God.

James

FAITH/GRACE/OBEDIENCE/WALKING IN THE LIGHT 4-12-15

I. INTRODUCTION There is great misunderstanding and disagreement among our friends and even among ourselves regarding the roles that faith, grace and obedience occupy in our lives. Is faith in Christ the only thing necessary for our salvation? What does grace have to do with our salvation? If God wants everyone to be saved, He being all powerful should be able to give us executive clemency without us having to obey. Right? Since there is no sin in heaven am I doomed to torment if I die right after committing a sin? I’m sure that all of us have wondered about these things at various times in our lives. Hopefully, we will have a better degree of understanding and comfort about these issues after studying the following Scriptures.

II. Rom. 10:1-17 Paul stated in his letter to the Roman Christians the importance of faith/believing. He also mentioned the importance of confessing that faith. It’s obviously important to preach the Lord Jesus to those who have not heard about Him. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

III. Eph. 2:1-22 In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul reflected upon the sinful nature of man. God is a just God. He severely punished sinful people during the Old Testament era because of their failures to follow Him. In addition to being just, God is also loving and merciful. He desires that all would be saved. His love, mercy and desire for our salvation led Him to send His Son to serve as a sacrifice for our sins by shedding His blood on Calvary’s cross. Sinful man has done nothing and will never do anything that will “earn” salvation. If our works saved us through their merits, salvation would not be free, but earned. It is a free gift and gifts are not earned. HOWEVER, there are certain conditions or commands that must be met prior to qualifying to receive God’s grace. If one is to enjoy these blessings, it is necessary to be in Christ—in His body—the church.

IV. Jas. 2:14-26 Empty words do not show faith—faith is made known by the kinds of acts that a person performs. Even the demons believe in the one God and tremble, but that is not sufficient to please Him. Abraham and Rahab are examples of some who showed their faith by their works of obedience. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

V. Rom. 5:12-6:23 A person with more sins than another receives a greater measure of grace than the one with fewer sins. There are those who seem to teach that one may sin freely and God’s grace will cover those sins. It is hard to live without “slipping up” and sinning, but to sin freely makes a mockery of His grace. Paul stated, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” As one repents of his sins when becoming a Christian, his old sinful man dies to sin. This dead man of sin is symbolically buried in baptism just as Christ was buried. He then symbolically rises as a newborn Christian to walk a new spiritual life just as Christ rose to walk a new spiritual life. Even though a Christian may occasionally stumble and sin, if he has died to sin, he has stopped willingly living in sin or for sin.

VI. I Jn. 1:1-2:6 How can one be assured that he is saved? According to John, the person who says that he has not sinned is a liar and that makes God a liar—strong words. There are no sins in heaven. God is referred to as light. John stated that one cannot claim to walk with God if he is living in the darkness of sin. A true child of God walks in fellowship with Him according to His word even though he sometimes falls. As long as one keeps his trust in the saving power of the blood of Christ and walks accordingly, that blood continually cleanses all of those sins. This is a most reassuring and comforting thought. LET US CONTINUE TO WALK IN THE LIGHT!!

#faith, #grace, #obedience, #reassurance

The jailor asked What must I do to…

The jailor asked, What must I do to be saved? Paul said, Believe on the Lord and you will be saved. If you take that verse alone, you might decide salvation is a “faith only” proposition. But looking at the verse in context, shows it involves more than a mental choice or assent. The next few verses show that Paul provided more instruction. As a result the jailor took Paul and Silas, washed their stripes and was immediately baptized by them. The next verse tells us that what the jailor did, he did it “having believed”. What that means is the jailors actions including being baptized was a part of his believing. Faith is not static or fixed; it includes more than just a mental assent. Believing so as to be saved includes confession and baptism as well. This is Just-A-Minute.

#baptism, #faith, #jailor, #just-a-minute

2-24-2015           Atheism Equals Ignorance

The evidence for God’s existence is so abundant that an atheist can believe there is no God only by denying all the scientific evidence concluding with, God Is. Atheists are as Gentiles, “in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart…” (Ephesians 4:17-18 NKJV). Instead of “faith,” an atheist has a “vacuum.” “Atheist,” is a word meaning “without faith in deity” and they are known for what they do not or cannot know. “Ignorance” is defined as “the absence of knowledge.” It is practically impossible for any atheist to ridicule a believer’s “faith” because a Bible-believer has evidence for that faith, but an atheist is reduced to denial!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#atheism, #bible-believer, #faith, #ignorance